Esteemed Lady Knight,
You are welcomed into our number. The Order of the Hatchet is now your home. You will recognize other members by the hatchet incorporated into their heraldry, or by the phrase, “Dagnabbit, I wish I had a hatchet right now.” Your rank is Amaranth. In order to achieve the next rank, Campion, you must bring another girl warrior into the Order. Train her, test her, and when you believe in her, encourage her to contact us. Fight with honor, keep your secrets close, and if you have need of aid, call on your sisterhood before all others.
Your sister in arms,
Selene, Gentian, Order of the Hatchet
My Dear Daughter,
I hope this letter finds you well. It is my opinion that you should share your secret with the world as soon as possible. I know it would do my heart good to be able to communicate with you openly rather than using your sister as translator for your impossible ciphers. Thank you for the money. I have hired your mother a servant to do the dishes and the laundry for a year. This will really help! Speaking of sisters, I am sending you one. This little rogue, Esme, is trying your mother’s patience in the extreme. She will not work, she will not learn to read, she will not listen, and she claims to have fallen in love with one of the local smiths. She is nineteen years old. Do what you can with her.
Your loving parent,
It is with regret that we recognize your allegiance to the southern usurper. Without the mandate of the legates of Britain, he will never be other than a usurper to the Kings of Gorre, whatever sword he waves around to enchant our brethren in Malahaut. Perchance we will see you on the battlefield someday. Maybe that day will come sooner than you think. Say hello to King Lot if you see him. He may be your last hope to align yourself on the right side of the coming conflict.
Knights of the Order of the Golden Apple
I am disappointed but not surprised that you have not embraced the privilege to join our great Northern alliance and the Order of the Golden Apple. I trust your intelligence that you can keep yourself safe. Thank you for returning the sword – it pains me to know that in future it might have torn heads from the shoulders of my friends and allies, your uncles of the North. I’m glad your attention, for now, is on the Saxons. Beware King Lot. I rejoice that you are ready to wed and provide me grandchildren. Your mother says to tell you not to have your head turned by a pretty face. You and I know that is more difficult in practice than in theory. I was not able to find any women of suitable rank here that were willing to go so far from home and oppose their fathers’ wishes. Please keep me informed of all you do – even if my liege is someday your liege’s enemy, I remain your father, and you my son.
It is with honor I salute you as a Knight of the Lions of Logres. You will find many friends among the knights of King Uther. Should you be in doubt of a fellow knight’s allegiance, you may test them in the following way: If you say “the means becomes the end” and they answer “the spirit takes precedence over the letter of the law” then they are indeed a Lion of Logres. If they answer otherwise, and you so desire, feel free to decapitate them. Your rank is currently initiate. In order to advance to a novice rank, you must acquire a lion skin and craft it (or have it crafted) into a cape with a hood, to wear to our rituals. Here’s the catch: the lion must be a male, must be over a year old, and cannot have been killed by you. Welcome to the order! May we support King Uther on the throne into eternity.
Your Comrade in Arms,
Paeter, Captain of the Lions of Logres
I am so proud that you have become a knight! We miss you every year at Winter Solstice. I remember, since you were a wee lad, how you used to chant the ritual. Do you remember? If you are married, your mother wishes to know that you will teach our pagan rituals to your children, especially the winter solstice chant. Now don’t go marrying a Christian girl and forgetting your druid ways!
By the flame that burneth bright, O' Horned One!
We call they name into the night, O' Ancient One!
Thee we invoke, by the moon-led sea,
By the standing stone and the twisted tree.
Thee we invoke where gather thine own,
By the nameless shrine forgotten and lone.
Come where the round of the dance is trod,
Horn and hoof of the goatfoot God!
In fiery flame by starlight pale,
In shadowy host that rides the gale,
To the heart-beats drum! Come to us who gather below! We hear thy hoofs on the wind of night!
As black tree-branches shake and sigh,
By joy and terror we know thee nigh.
We speak the spell thy power unlocks,
At Solstice, Sabbat and equinox.
We hear very little news of the wars down South. I hope you will keep yourself strong and safe, and mace anyone in the head who appears to have other plans. ---Your loving Dad
Ye are a sassfaced young weed, aren’t ye? Well, ye’re lucky I appreciate humor in the young. I don’t question your loyalties any longer. I know now if I need to call on ye to betray your King and join forces with the Kings of Ireland ye won’t hesitate! Now ye are a Knight of the Red Branch of Ulster, ye must engage in one of our finest traditions: songmaking. Your current rank, as a new Knight among us, is Potato. To advance to the next rank, Slice of Soda Bread, you must compose a battle hymn for the Knights. This hymn must be of at least four verses and a chorus, must inspire warriors to fight our enemies. Further, you must teach this song to somebody else.
Welcome to the order, Flann! May you wander with dignity and honor and always carry a full saddlebag.
Your temper gets away with you! I had to listen to quite the whacking lecture from Sir Hort about your sassy retort to his questions. Please control yourself! I’ve sent along with this message a shillelagh – it belonged to your great grandfather who used it to hike all over Ireland. Now that you’ve surpassed your dad and become a knight, I can’t teach you anything about sword fighting and the like, but I can recommend you learn the fine art of Irish Stick Fighting. Look it up on the Merlinternet and see if you find an interest. Your sister is still lost, but the bears are healthy. Mother plans to make more sisters.