A SHADOWCASTER'S LETTERS
BY SMITH IN EXILE


In the year 857 b.S. an expedition sent by the Arkhaeon Guilders from Ehebion to investigate the rumours about a new prophet, found a lost collection of letters belonging to one of their envoys in the Moon Hills. These letters will reveal the story of a young Murmillion, a descendant of one of Ehebion's greatest and ancient Houses, Kalas Karonn.

Departed to find a wife that will save the Karonn lineage, he unwillingly became the prophet and leader of a Murmillion uprising on the Santerran lands. The story revealed by his unsent letters, follows a web of political and religious intrigues as well as the fate of the first Sarvonian sailors that reached the shores of Nybelmar, who were caught in the turmoil. Later on, Ehebion's scholars have acknowledged this collection of letters as the first sign of a new era in their religious thinking.
 


CHAPTER II: THE FALLEN

-4-
Fourth Letter to Kassian Karonn

ay Mari bless your walks, brother.

...And may She bless my walks too, because I think I will dearly need it. Here I am, writing to you again, yet I still have the previous letters in front of me. At the border fort I made the mistake of parading with my drakkar rank and those guys were all of the old school. So you can imagine that I wasn't really welcomed there. They provided me with food and shelter but that was all. And they made it clear that I should leave to whatever errand I have as soon as possible. Such a fool I was... Leaving Dasans in a hurry, my hopes were that I could commission someone at the border fort to bring you those letters. Maybe it's a sign. Maybe I shouldn't do whatever am I about to do. Yet here I am. Among the Fallen. Helpless.

Speaking of signs and bad omens - my first encounter with civilized people was a bit funny, to say the least. As I was approaching the first village I ran into a bunch of girls washing some clothes at the river surrounded by a group of children. And I must say that I wasn't wearing anything "unusual" (certainly not my uniform), nor did I have any weapons on me. But never mind that, when the children saw me approaching, they all ran away screaming and when the girls saw me as well, they ran away too. Screaming their lungs off, literally. Yes, that was I, your little brother, scaring girls and little children, could you imagine that? However, one of the girls stayed and when I wished her Mari's blessings she actually returned the salute! Now that was unexpected. I mean knowing what we know about the Fallen... Eventually I ended up staying at her house over night where I've spent the whole evening talking about Mari with her and her father. Yes, brother, I engaged in scholarly discussions with peasants. It turned out that she wanted to become a priestess but the Cult considered her "unfit" by the way of the doctrine. Oh, your eyes are not deceiving you: "The Cult", apparently the one and only cult of Mari on the Moon Hills.

Weird? I thought so... Peasants discussing the doctrine, peasants asking me "What are you?"... Yes, that question again. First they took me as a traveler because they didn't want to believe that someone really descended from Ehebion, but then as I got carried away and revealed my knowledge about Mari, the question appeared. What am I? A Shadowcaster I answered, just a mere Shadowcaster. They bowed before me and didn't dare to question my words anymore. The discussion was over.

I can't help not to think of this as a sign. Something is not right and I can't really say what. What am I actually doing here? Do I really know of my errand? Yet perhaps this is how it is supposed to be, "It's on the question that we ride..." like Menon told me... I found out that a noble House owns these lands and they have a mansion to the north. They also have a daughter and a lot of young men were seen at the mansion lately. Pretenders. May Mari bless my walks, because I don't think I know what I'm doing.

Kalas
 

-5-
First Letter to Menon, Grand Master
Arkhaeon and Keeper of the Sacred Scrolls

 

ay Mari bless your walks, wise one.

Yes, I have arrived on the Moon Hills and I am writing you this letter. No, I can't send it to you, but I am still writing it, just as you asked me to. Perhaps you will read it when I'll return; perhaps you will send someone somehow to pick it up. As I told you before, I will not question your reasons. I hope that the information that I have to offer you here are indeed of any use to you - after all, I am only doing my best.

First, I must say that things are quite complicated here, as our Fallen brothers do not seem to be at all the victims of that dreadful war. Because indeed it were not the Santerrans, who have defeated us, but it was us: the flaw was hidden inside our very own construction, just as you observed. Yes, five centuries ago, when the darkness veiled the lands, we, the Murmillions, have lost a war that cost us almost our entire Realm. Right now, the fishermen's excuse for a kingdom, so arrogantly called Aca-Santerra ("the holy... something", but you must know their tongue better than me), holds rule over all that is south of the Moon Hills. The Moon Hills themselves are still under direct lordship of our brothers, yet they have pledged their loyalty to the fish king. Far west of the Moon Hills, Legates of our Great Houses are still in control over the Infidels. However, they do not respond anymore to those, the truly free Murmillions, who dwell in the mountains of Ehebion - and that you, obviously, already know. But they do not respond to the Fallen Ones either. Seemingly despised by all those who still walk their path under the Shadow of the Burning Mountains, these "Legates" have become indeed oblivious to the holy cause that brought them there in the first place. They deserve whatever fate has got in store for them, and truly that isn't looking good at all, as I heard that the Infidels are uniting for once more.

Now why did I say that things were complicated? Well, it is true that the Santerrans are maintaining garrisoned troops in all the major settlements on the Moon Hills, and especially in the former capitol of Ehebion, the city of Lhindal. Yet they are not actually doing anything else than trying to preserve a certain peace here. No wonder for me, that when left without a true King the Murmillion noble Families turned against each other, fighting over all sorts of puny issues. So the Santerrans are trying to keep them from killing each other, probably so that they can have some decent taxes to collect. But apart from that I saw none of their unholy shrines, tainting these beautiful lands. I heard none of their celebrations being held in our cities. And I heard no fishermen tongue spoken on our streets.

So then, I ask, where are the subjugated Murmillions? There is no Santerran law to forbid the Shadowcasting. Of course, for them the Kingdom is gone, the Shadow Realm is no more and the Burning Mountains are away, but all of these were born only when we followed our holy path. And it seems that the Santerrans are not preventing anyone from following it. And there is even more to this, yes, more: I heard news of some fishermen walking the path of Mari!

Startling news, wise one, of course, if you didn't know them already... However, I saved this one for the end. There are no more Cults of Mari on the Moon Hills. It is common sense for all the free Murmillions that our one and only Mari cannot be praised in just a single manner. It is Mari, who walks in our dreams, yet each of us may walk that dream differently. That's why we had all those, really innumerable, Cults throughout the ages. But what did the Fallen Ones think? To have just one and only Cult of Mari. Yes, a one and only Cult, a blasphemy for which the cursed Theodunn Pheronn died in unspeakable pains, two thousand years ago. Oh, and guess what: all the priests of this heresy are overseen by a guild of "holy scholars" named "Arkhaeon". As it is among our highest laws that none may live to return from Ehebion, I think you have just found your heretics. As I have founded mine.

In your service,
Kalas, a Shadowcaster
 

-6-
Fifth Letter to Kassian Karonn

ay Mari bless your walks, brother.

It are two weeks already since I have arrived at this mansion. Unfortunately the girl whom I intended to meet was not here. Actually, except for the Lady of the House and several servants there was no one here until now. But today my luck has changed. As I was returning from one of my daily rides I was approached by the Lady with a dinner invitation: the young daughter of the House, Lykon, has just returned with her father and all their suite from the northern city of Daekas. I was immediately engulfed in doubt and impatience, but nevertheless relieved, for I was finally about to find out if my stay here were in vain or not.

As I walked into the dinner hall I found to my surprise that all the men were wearing clothes leaving their right arm free, but I didn't paid too much attention to such a detail until I saw one character that easily stood up from the rest. He was a tall muscular man, with a slightly darker skin than us (well, compared to my sick pallor he was not just "slightly" darker), and with an odd face with high cheeks and somehow elongated eyes. He was, literally, filled with all sorts of useless rings, bracelets and necklaces, loudly clanking at each of his moves. Yes, brother, I am describing a Santerran. Later I found out that having your right arm free of any clothing is considered to be a sign of respect among the Santerrans. Well, polite or not, I was not going to reveal my arm and not in front of him anyway. That was the last thing I wanted, to have him see my drakkar glyphs. But I know that it was this refusal that made him be suspicious about me from the very moment our eyes met. As the Lady made the custom presentations, I found that his name was Mardu and he was the captain of the Lhindal Guard - the Santerran garrison hosted by our former capitol city.

"Kalas, of the House Karonn", I answered, making a courteous bow. My real name. With all the chaos reigning over the Moon Hills in the last centuries, no one ever questioned my origins. They were at most wondering at the "resemblance" with the famous ancient House of Ehebion. Not this soldier boy. "Karonn? The Karonn House? As I recall, they disappeared after the Great War..." he said. Fortunately, Lady Lykon came to my help, so graciously telling, "Who would not desire to claim such a glorious name? Yet I would rather ask: who indeed has the courage to carry it? I smiled softly continuing her thought: "The Karonn name is a honor and a burden. Just our history is..." Luckily enough, we ended the discussion there, as the young daughter of the House Lykon was just making her entrance in the dinner hall. "My honored guests, may I present you... Mala, my precious, precious daughter."

Every man there dived into a silent admiration. "Blessed is she by the Lady of our Dreams..." I whispered not being able to take my eyes off her and I sensed Lady Lykon strangely smiling at me. We took a seat at the table and my heart started to pound against my chest when I saw that Mala was invited to stay beside me. Oh my dear brother, her skin was so soft and white as if she had bathed only in milk from the very day she was born. Her long dark hair cascading over her shoulders was radiating with a delightful perfume that filled my nostrils from the moment she sat down near me. I looked into her eyes, brother, and I saw the moonlight shining over the Nightvalleys in Ehebion. Mala... and I feel my veins throbbing in my hand even at this very moment as the quill writes down her name.

The rest of the evening... Oh, what about the rest of the evening? But I only wish I could say that, because there was actually to be more in this evening than just Mala and me. Indeed I felt that there was a bond forming between us from the very beginning. It didn't matter anymore who else was at that table with us. We were alone. And we dove into each other's eyes. We were two worlds colliding, two dreams opening to each other. "Close your eyes, my friend, as they will open up inside of you..." she once quoted our holy scriptures, but then she leaned into me, whispering at my ear, "...and there you will see me, whispering at your ear."

Unfortunately, brother, sometimes we are just doomed to live. As I lived to see the Santerran eat at the same table with me. His conversation? Fish, what else? Actually I don't know, as I didn't have any ears for him. The problem was that the servants brought to the table a special kind of fruit, which they called "watermelon". Supposedly some traders from the far south were traveling in the area and they were selling such "watermelons". It's a round fruit with a thick green skin and a red watery content. It's also very big, so big that one man alone cannot eat but only a piece of this fruit. I also found it quite hard to handle and a bit too sweet for my taste. But I called it "the fruit of the true face". Yes, brother, I first showed my disgust seeing the Santerran's manners while he was gulping down a roasted chicken trying to look noble in the same time, but Lady Lykon took his defense whispering to me that he is just a soldier actually. But when the watermelon showed up everything was clear. Obviously we weren't used with this strange fruit ourselves, but at least we had the patience and control to remove all those pesky slippery black seeds from its core, one by one, using a small silver table-knife. What do you think the Santerran did? Well, he tried to imitate us for a while but then he threw the knife on the table, grabbed his fruit piece with his bare hands and started to bite directly from its core. I had to struggle with myself quite seriously so that I wouldn't have bursted into a loud, honest laughter. The reddish water was dripping down his chin continuously and, while he was biting, splashes of red pulp were flying all around the table. Not to mention his loud chewing and champing and the occasional involuntary and half repressed barks. Oh, brother, I'm sitting in my room now, writing you all this and even now I can't stop laughing. Anyway, eventually he realized that he was in the center of everyone's attention and this made him even more obnoxious than he already was.

"So, tell me, noble Karonn, where did you say your lands were?" he asked me, while swallowing the last piece of watermelon. Given my situation - impersonating a Moon Hills Lord - I supposed that was meant to be an insult. "Everybody knows that the old Karonn estates were all beyond the mountains, in Ehebion", I answered. So, basically, as a Moon Hills Lord bearing the Karonn name I was something that they called "a noble rogue", a Lord without a land. "May I ask then," he continued, "what is it that you do, Kalas of the House Karonn?" And without thinking too much I gave him the answer, the same answer I was giving since my meeting with Menon, "I am a shadowcaster." An uneasy silence veiled the dinner hall and I noticed how Mala was looking at me with an unspoken question in her eyes. Lady Lykon was the first to break the silence though, explaining that a shadowcaster means a priest in the old Murmillion traditions. "Yes, a priest," she said, "but not the kind that you are used to see now in the city of Lhindal. A shadowcaster would be a priest not aligned with the Cult, a priest that follows our ways by heart." The Santerran smiled ironically. "A noble rogue, but also a holy rogue." I'm telling you, brother, these insults didn't touch me at all, yet only for his intentions, back in Ehebion I would have had him as warg bait by now... He told us then how he doesn't understand how one can be a priest without having anyone to preach to, and again Lady Lykon stepped in by telling him about that peasant girl I brought with me. Meaning that I was a priest indeed because I also had apprentices.

"Yet, why all these questions, these suspicions, noble Mardu?" I asked at my turn and I couldn't help not to notice a faint sign of nervousness when I called him a "noble". He started to tell us then some boring things about his mission in the north, where he was supposed to search for a party of strangers shipwrecked on our shores. Yuck!... More fishermen, and I guess they like to stick together after all... He seemed to be quite nervous about them though, but I couldn't care less. However, he explained that after chasing these strangers in vain, he had stumbled upon me here, a "noble rogue", and therefore he thought about it as being quite anther odd thing. But then Mala asked him something that made my blood freeze: "Why, Mardu, you don't actually believe that he came down from the mountains of Ehebion, do you?" Luckily everyone laughed. Charming Mala, I don't think there is any man in this world that could remain cold to her conversation.

"Demons are the only thing that comes down from Ehebion, said Mardu. "I once chased and killed, with my men, a whole pack of hungry wargs that were trying to prey on the outskirts of Lhindal. I know that in ancient times Ehebion's Nightvalleys were your seat of power, but there is nothing there anymore. Since the Year of Darkness there is nothing there but death and the poisonous fumes of the Burning Mountains. Nothing but wargs fighting dragons over the ruins of your once great cities... I know I sound harsh and I do apologize for that, but such is our destiny in this world, mere dust in the winds blown by the gods." Everyone was silent again and I wanted to spoil the Santerran's obvious contentment, about what he just said, with a sharp irony but I refrained from doing so. "What do you think, Kalas?" Mala asked me. "What do you think your Family's lands have become now?" At that point everyone started to imagine how Ehebion looks like and I must say that I was more than amused hearing what the human mind is capable of. And I also thought that the evening was over and that from now on my identity as a "noble rogue" wuld be safe. How was I wrong, brother, how was I wrong...

Returning to my quarters I stumbled upon the Santerran in one of the hallways. We were alone and he blocked my path laying his hand on my shoulder: "Well, noble rogue, an interesting opportunity this Mala, isn't it? Perhaps you'll get your hands on some land after all..." Now that I'm thinking more about that, I guess it could have been his way of making peace, of being friendly, his way of apologizing for the evening. But back then, having his hand on my shoulder, I didn't take it this way at all. It was easy actually, more than I expected, I don't know what kind of a soldier this Mardu was. In just a few moments he was down on his knees having my fingers stuck in his neck in a simple death grip. Oh, brother, you know that I didn't achieve a high training level yet, but I have enough to be able to control my emotions. Yet it was in that moment when I truly understood my trainers' warning me about such a control. The traces of shame that I bear makes it sometimes infinitely hard. Yes, I blame that moment when I acted against the Santerran on the ancient corruption that lies within me, and not on my lack of training or experience. And I blame it as such because in that moment I thrived on the Santerran's fear. It all happened so fast, unnaturally fast, from the moment I saw his eyes staring death in the face I felt nourished by his terror. Later, in my room, I threw up every single meal I had at dinner, but I don't know if that was because of that uncontrolled moment or just because of my nervousness. Yet, all hope is not lost for me, brother. Yes, all hope is not lost, because I managed to get myself out of that death grip, I pushed the Santerran on the ground, I tightened my clothes and making a short bow I presented him my apologies. He was too ravaged by the moment to answer though, as much as I was actually. So I turned my back on him to walk away when I heard him stuttering out something like "May Mari give me strength... You... you are... you must be..." So much for my covert identity. I used everything I learned as a young drakkar to have my voice fill his empty skull: "What?" I am just a shadowcaster, just a priest looking for someone to teach. I wonder if it worked.

"Pray that we won't meet again", and he threw these words between his teeth. Yes, I pray. But now that I have found Mala, perhaps my stay here will not take too long. And oh, Santerrans praying to Mari? Perhaps we will see each other again soon enough, brother.

Kalas


-7-
Sixth
Letter to Kassian Karonn

ay Mari bless your walks, brother.

I did not write you for a while, but I'm still here, at the Lykon manor. The Santerran left and no troops came to arrest me, so I suppose that he was too drunk that evening to remember anything. Or perhaps I didn't actually make the impression I thought I did. Or perhaps my little mind game worked indeed. I really can't say. However I had quite some time to spend with Mala.

She is so beautiful, brother, so beautiful... And I'm not talking about the way she looks but about the way she is. You know that every woman is beautiful in her own and special way. But Mala... there is something about her that made me stay here up to this day. And believe me, brother, I am not thinking like this all the time. I love her and I hate her all together. This moment the only thing I want is to take her with me, offering her my life as a gift, and in the next moment the only thing I want is to get away from this fallen world as fast as possible. Because oh, they are fallen, brother, they are fallen, so decadent and oblivious... Such cruel is the fate, to make them suffer and not letting them know that they are. Yes, they have deserted us when the Darkness came, they have refused our call to return to the lands that gave us power, and for that they are as guilty as sin and also harshly punished. But I can't help not to feel my heart drowning in sorrow seeing how they live their lives oblivious, seeing how they walk their path so far away from that which made us what we are.

But just like I bear the traces of shame within, they are burdened by their decadence. Perhaps that's why Menon allowed me to come here... We are so different yet so similar, but who can say what is really going on behind the Master's actions? In any case, I learned to accept them as they are, as even if I could do that, a single lifetime won't be enough to change them. Easier said than done, though, because Mala was still driving me insane even after I took that decision. Walk away! That's what I'm telling to myself in such moments, but I can't do it. She keeps me here. I often feel like I would be entangled in her spider webs, and I drink my thoughts away or ride like a madman on the hills around the manor. And then I see her smile again, and I feel her hand softly, secretly touching mine, and I see her accomplished eyes, looking at me. "We walk on the same edge of the blade, you know that, Kalas, don't you?" she's telling me. "Because if you don't, you should, there is a one dream holding us..." And I'm in love with her again.

Perhaps she likes so much to make me beg for her love. Perhaps she enjoys watching me suffer the strikes of her ice-cold heart. She took me once in a dark corner, she sat on my lap and then, embracing me, she kissed me quite in a strange way. So... distant, so dry. Biting my lip with her dry burning mouth. "Why did you do that?" I asked. She said she wanted to see my reaction. I smiled back at her, charmed nevertheless. But then, just the day before yesterday, one of these pesky pretenders who seem to have no end from where they come, approached me with a confused look on his face and told me that she just did the same thing to him. "What was that? he asked me, "Does this means that..." No it doesn't mean anything. She does that, you know... I mean, I really wouldn't mind her endless smiles thrown at her pretenders if I would be just one of them. But how could she tell me first that "there is a one dream holding us" and then to reject me with her coldness as if asking me what in Mari's name do I want from her? This was my state of mind yesterday and I was really going to leave when something even more unusual happened tonight.

There was a small reception at the manor, in the gardens just outside the house. Some Anpagan traders were passing by and they brought a small band of musicians and jugglers. First I was a bit surprised, as I know that Anis-Anpagan is quite a far away realm, and none of the scrolls that I studied were telling about Anpagan caravans to reach so deep into the east as in the Moon Hills. But what do you know... it looks like they got a good taste of our pipe weed and they are now searching for it assiduously. They seem to trade it for some kind of fine perfumed oils, which would explain why Mala seemed like a night queen flower when I first met her. Anyway, I decided to stay for this reception, curious to see their musicians and jugglers. Hmmm... nice, what can I say? They played some strange string instruments and their songs had quite a weird feeling, sad but hope giving if I may say so. Yes, I think I liked them. The jugglers? Well, they were absurd, like all the jugglers. Jumping around the place on some spiraled metal strings - though I have to admit that those devices had some good craftsmanship, they were a lot more flexible than I first thought. "What do you think, Kalas?" someone asked me, while we were watching those crazed jumpers. Anpagans, I answered, what else could you expect from them, they had to make those things because they think it  is so hard to just walk around... To place one leg in front of the other, and then again, and again, and again. Is plain boring and hard... Heh, but after all that's what the jugglers are for, isn't it? To make one laugh. Well, we did, nonetheless.

But as I was laughing at the jugglers, Mala came to me and we had a small drink together. "I heard that you fell in love, is that true?" she suddenly asked me. I was stunned. I mean what kind of a question was that, what was she expecting to have as an answer? Oh, brother, but she does that, you know... Asking me all sorts of questions, trying to make my mind stop. And she often succeeds, like she did this evening. And I also find it very often to be quite a charming thing, though please do not ask me why, for I can't say. "I heard that you fell in love... I blushed after a while asking her how would she know that. She just smiled mysteriously and turned around to leave. "I have to go for a while to greet one of our guests, but I'll be back, you will still be here, right?" Right, I wasn't going to leave anywhere, not this evening anyway. When she returned we talked for a while about the Anpagan traders and their perfumed oils and then she suddenly felt that it was so cold outside that I had to walk her back into the house. Now, probably this would be a good moment for me to end the letter, but she told me a few disturbing things that I need to write down.

"Oh, but I like your room so much" she said enthusiastically, "It's so warm, so beautiful..." It's your room, Mala, I'm just a guest here. "I can feel your presence in every object here", she continued as if she didn't hear my comment at all. And then she noticed the drakkar glyphs on my bare right arm. She took my arm near the candle and read them, softly passing her hand over each one. "Wards of the deep shadow, protectors of the true path." She stopped and looked into my eyes without saying any more words for a while and then she uncovered the last of the glyphs, the ones that stand for the House Karonn. "We hail the noble Karonns, ancient among the ancients, among the true redeemers of our souls..." And as we watched the glyphs slowly changing their colour there was no doubt anymore about my true origins. As the drakkars left the Moon Hills in the time of Darkness, they took with them this craft as well. No one here could have forged such an enchanted engraving. "You are indeed who you say you are, Kalas of the House Karonn, but you are not a rogue and that's a thing for sure." She passed her hands over my chest for a while, feeling for my heart beats and then she suddenly bursted with tears in her eyes, bumping her small fists against me: "Deserters! Dream-wreckers!" I grabbed her wrists trying to calm her down but I didn't say anything. I was actually speechless and I am still thinking how could I have not seen such a possibility ever before. We blame our Moon Hills brothers for our downfall during the Year of Darkness and we don't think, not for a single moment, that they could be doing the same thing actually. In their eyes we are the ones as guilty as sin and that makes my blood boil in anger - such is not a cruel fate anymore, but a murderous one. What have we ever done to deserve this? To see our kin turning against us... What have we ever done to deserve living on a curse from the very day we are born? She calmed down eventually and then she smiled again. "I always knew you were still out there, in the shadow of the Burning Mountains, in the valleys of Ehebion, but so few are still believing that here". In spite of her harsh words she didn't seem to be holding a real grudge against us. "Tell me Kalas, tell me everything, how it is up there, tell me that there are no wargs fighting dragons over ruined cities". She clanged onto me and closed her eyes, arching back her body, but I kept silent. "You came... Our savior, my savior, take me back with you, Kalas, take me home".

It was that easy. Or was it? I think that there was more to her words and actions than just a mere cry of an outcast. I think that there was more to her plea than just a mere cry of a lover. But back then, as I felt her near me, as I felt her heart pounding against my body, I was ready to kneel before her. Take my life, for I am your servant now. Take it, as it's yours to toy with. And by your will I shall live from now on. Yes, Kassian, that was the moment when your little brother fell in this game of power. She won my heart again this evening, yet feelings of doubt and distrust abound in my dreams: I am so tired now and I feel... fallen.

Kalas


-8-
Note from Mala to Kalas Karoon

ay Mari bless your walks, my Shadowcaster.

My father announced to me today that he is departing for the city of Lhindal. It was very early in the morning and you were not awake yet. But I leave you this note to let you know that I followed my father to Lhindal. I had to go, I know I didn't plan for this journey but when the opportunity crossed my path I couldn't help not to think about that ancient artifact you are keeping in your room. I also find it hard to believe that it could be indeed the sword of the Prophet King, but I know just the man who can verify such a claim. He is a scholar of the Cult and he can be found at the Amber Halls in Lhindal. I hope you won't be mad at me because I took the sword without asking for your consent. But I will return soon and we will speak more then.

With all my love,
Mala

-9-
Letter from Anna to Kalas Karonn

here was a stupid reception with a lot of drunken people walking around in the manor's gardens. We were sitting on the grass and Kalas was just in front of me. And I really don't know if there was anyone else there as I was too in love with him to notice such useless details. I wasn't standing near him because my love was one that needed to see and not to feel. And I was poisoning myself with him as I felt my body suddenly weighing too much, overwhelmed with a disaster just waiting to happen. But he was talking to some young nobleman and he was quiet to me. He was quiet even when he was looking at me and that was the sign of a painful path without return. As much as he loved me as much he was helpless. Humans cannot resist to wonders - perhaps that's why they can still love their gods even when they show features too human - and he was caught between two wonders: the wonder of loving and the wonder of being loved, and they were two wonders dragging him in opposite directions. Or at least that's what I wanted to believe, I wanted to save myself even for a few moments, I wanted just to see him a bit more... I liked his immobility, his petrified waiting, I liked everything she didn't like.

And there she was, the Danger, the walking disaster. She had white-laced gloves and dark eyes... She was beautiful, untold beautiful... special, so special. And he believed that she was that special something that he was looking for. And perhaps he was right, how can I compete with this so charming Danger, with this so skilled Danger... She puts her hands around his neck: "I heard that you fell in love, is that true?" He looks down to the ground and blushes, but when he speaks to her he's looking at me. "And how would you know that?" That meant that he didn't remember me anymore that evening, he didn't remember anymore how he let me feel his long hair and his brow, how he let me hold his hand when he didn't see the stairs, how he was telling me that he's going to heal me, that we're going to walk through his special places and through his dreams. And I understood that he didn't have the right anymore to remember. But he couldn't have me gone that evening. I know, my simple presence was a mist upon his desire, a poisonous background.

"Please, do not cry, not for me. It's not worth it, he told me. Maybe I should have understood long before why he was looking at me only when he was talking to her. He needed help. He needed me to be strong... "But I'm not crying! Why do you think I'm crying?" I just didn't want to see him dead. And the evening was so young yet... So much more to endure yet... He took it all from me, leaving me behind like a broken carcass, making me feel like that trace left by the paintings on a wall, after their owners move them away, to replace them. Some would say that this is death and I would almost want it to be this way, but it's not. We go on living, even underneath, in an everlasting suffocation.

She got up with a move that uncovered a small portion of her legs. Delicate, but not graceful. It was like within that soft body a small drop of led was burdening her moves, making them look always... thrown. Her arms were hanging from his shoulders, burying him. And she had the pale skin of the dark places through which she carried on her life. As for my Kalas? There was no Kalas anymore. There was just me remembering the times when the nights belonged to us, and when his voice was running through my blood.

I will be here Kalas, a Shadowcaster's apprentice, the same girl that you met in that village when you came down upon our world.

Anna

 

Letters written by Smith in Exile View Profile