The worst part in all of this was loving and losing you, Endolyn. Without you I am an empty glass falling to the rocks below. How much longer must I continue? “Just a bit further,” I tell myself.
Just a bit further.
She is close, I am certain of it. I can hear her whisper in the wind. Far too long I have endured this path without the promise of better days. Then today, another sighting; the second in three days. I have tracked her to a farming community just outside Mayenne, though I am still a few days out. No telling if she has moved on.
The locals have warned me against going there. Several merchants have not returned, and tales of monsters and plague are told from trembling lips. Engagements have been missed. Inquiries remain unanswered. They are not hopeful.
Perhaps they are just trying to frighten me. Several have given me letters to take with me, but I sense many have already buried their loved ones in their hearts.
I will go there and find them, for better or worse. Hopefully one of us will find relief.
I have crossed River Sarth, now a distance from the sea. Approach is limited. Few roads go into Avarié, most of them impassible. I have little choice but to brave the main thoroughfare. They will be waiting.
I hate being so exposed, but there is little choice. Elena is near; I will have to risk it. There is no time to survey the countryside, but perhaps this can work to my advantage.
In my encounters, I have used my father’s name Xavier, also my middle name. Those that know me wisely keep my name from their lips, lest bring ruin upon themselves. Upon my arrival in Mayenne, a message was waiting. The nobles of Avarié have already been contacted, and are sending an escort the day following. They refer to me as X. Hopefully that is all they know of me.
Again the dream visited me. Dare I say an omen?
The wooden door stared back at me. Nicked and cracked, it did not have a handle nor hint of the treasures within. As I ran my hand over the splintery surface, the door began to bleed. First a trickle, and then buckets, spurting out the frame. My heart hammered inside my chest as I pondered whose blood was painting the entry. Abruptly the door shattered, falling away like leaves.
Light poured out, blinding me for several moments. All I could feel was the warm breath escaping me. A young girl turned, no more than 16. Her blue eyes and sable hair gave her away immediately. A mirror image of you, my love.
“Leave at once,” she said.
“Elena, do you not remember?” I asked.
She gawked at me like an unwashed vagabond wandering the streets.
“Elena, please. It is I, your father.” Grating breath taxed my ears. Something wicked lurked in the shadows nearby. I raised my crossbow, careful not to point it in her direction. “Quickly, we must leave.” I grabbed her arm.
“Get your hands off me.” She ripped her arm away. “Surely I would know my own father if I saw him.”
“Would you?” I looked deep into her eyes. “A young girl gave this to me once in case our paths split.” I took out a golden chain and crucifix from beneath my collar. “The cross I bear is yours.”
Elena gasped, understanding well the wound over my heart. “Father?” Light poured from her in waves. I was beholden to her gaze, powerless to look aside.
I embraced her, kissing her forehead. “Far too long you have been the only candle in the night. Come.” I cocked my bow and stepped into the abyss.
“No, I cannot.” She cowered.
“I am not leaving you,”
“Things have changed…I have changed…” She revealed her fangs. “Your arrow is meant for me. Use it quickly.” Tears streamed down her cheeks.
“Regardless of what you are, I did not travel all this way to end you,” I replied.
“Then you must ask yourself what salvation truly is.” She lowered her eyes.
Suddenly the door pieced itself back together. I reached for her as the final patch fell into place, casting me back into the darkness, the moans of the dying closing in around me.
Too much time has passed. Am I a fool to think her still human? I refuse to give into the fear, but if she is no longer mortal, what then?
Sadly I must leave. My guide has arrived; he is gaunt, excitable. I only hope that the same cloud does not loom over him.
Help me find her, Endolyn; through her your memory lives. If I lose Elena, there is little left. Everything good in my life can be traced back to you. You are inscribed on my soul, the inspiration behind these words. I cannot give you up just yet.
As my letter is my virtue,