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This timeworn diary was found amongst more valuable items. It is bound in leather and has a solid silver trim, which might be why it was saved. A few entries can still be made out.

16 Haring, 9:8

This has been the coldest winter I can remember, even the river is frozen. No one should be out there. Not in this blizzard. So you can imagine my surprise when there was a knock on my gate. A young woman. She's looking for the Fair Banks Cottage. I go out. I say to her, "Nothing fair about this weather. But yes, you are at the right place." She throws back her cloak and I see she is heavy, less than two weeks away. "Please help." She is almost in tears. I bring her into the house and sit her by the fire with some tea and slippers.

She is young, not more than twenty. her hands are smooth; they have not seen a day of work in her life. Her clothes are travel-stained, but fine. The cloak must be worth at least fifty royals. Beautiful blue, trimmed with fox fur.

Her name is Bernice, but she won't say more. Many girls come here not wanting to say who they are. I understand.

25 Haring, 9:8

Bernice has had the baby. A boy. Healthy. Full head of hair! She named him Everiste. She tried to pay me with a heavy gold locket, a falcon on its face. I asked her what it was. It looks valuable. She says it's her father's, and she doesn't care to have it anymore. I tell her she might not, but her son might one day want to know where he's from.

1 Wintermarch, 9:9

A new year. Bernice should be healthy enough to leave, but it is still cold and I just cannot turn her out. I will ask her to stay and be my assistant. I have needed help for a while. My fingers are not as nimble as they used to be. Clever girl. She will make a fine apprentice.

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