I smiled, and let out a breath I hadn’t remembered holding. The single sheet of rich parchment trembled in my shaking hands. I read on, my vision slowly beginning to blur as the tears began to well and prickled the backs of my eyes.
I have written this letter a dozen times over, and every time words fail me. After the Cataclysm I searched for weeks looking for you, I was hell bent on finding you. My mind was frantic with worry. I spent weeks alone in the wilds, hoping and praying that you were still with us and unharmed. As time passed and I found no signs of you I began to lose hope, and finally I was forced to face facts. You were lost to me.
I was devastated, and nearly overcome with grief. It took some time but I was able to recover, but I was not the same. The pain of losing the one dearest to me was unbearable, but I had my duties to attend to and could spare no more time for my pain. I devoted myself to my studies so I could become more powerful and so I would never again lose someone close to me. Time passed and my pain dulled, but my memories stayed fresh and sharp in my mind.
My dreams were often haunted by your visage, of our days at the waterfall, and our tree where we would laze quietly with one another. But through it all, I remained determined to not let it weigh me down or interfere with my responsibilities. This was my life, going day by day with a dull ache in my heart that I could never soothe nor replace with anyone else.
I choked, a sob biting at the back of my throat, and covered my mouth with the back of my hand startled at the sound I had made. I knew his pain… in a rush of sense memory so strong it left me gasping and bereft. I scrubbed furiously at the tears in my eyes so that I may continue reading.
When I first saw you in that cellar I had thought I was mistaken, that it couldn't be you. But when you looked at me I knew, and it was all I could do to keep my feelings hidden. After we handed you back to your people I was again plagued by dreams, and I feared for your safety. And yet, if you hold this letter now, you have found me again, though reading it means we have been parted again as well. It seems it is Aion's will that we be reunited only to be thrust apart again and again.
Well I have had enough! I must see you, but I would not risk your safety. When your people next control Asteria Fortress on the highest layer of the Abyss, I will be waiting. Just West of the fortress is a small cave system, its entrance is marked by a waterfall. I shall be at the end of the cave on the fifth day of every month. I shall await you once the sun has set in your land of Elysea.
Tell no one and come alone. Please, for you own safety, burn this letter. Though I know there are few of us left that know the old language all it would take is one...
I hope to see you soon.
A thousand years and still yours,
I crushed the letter to my chest and bent double, overwhelmed. The tears spilled freely down my cheeks, hot, immediate and unrelenting I sobbed. A thousand years and he still loved me. He had looked for me and hadn’t stopped for week’s maybe even months. If I had ever wondered if Elethor loved me back, I held the proof now. Oh Aion, Father, why must it be this way?
“Oh hey now, what’s this?” I sat up startled and quickly wiped at my tears. A man, another Cleric stood near, arms crossed over his chest, considering. “What’s the matter?” he asked.
“Nothing.” I answered and was surprised that in this moment, that was true. I was loved, and I would see him again, how could anything be wrong? I wiped my face with trembling fingers and smiled bravely.
… I will be waiting… I shall be at the end of the cave on the fifth day of every month...
“A woman does not weep like that if nothing is wrong, child.” He said gently, and took a seat at the other end of the bench. His coat was fine chain and a true red edged with gold. A Miragent Knight, though he had to have just come from an official meeting of some sort, for he carried no shield or mace. I considered him carefully. He looked careworn, but it did not detract from how handsome he was. He was young, having ascended no later than his early thirties, but his hair had gone white as the snows I had wondered at in Beluslan. Stubble shadowed his cheek, and you could see his nose had been broken and reset badly a time or two. He was a warrior and by all accounts some kind of leader with how his shoulders weighed with his responsibility.
I swallowed hard and folded the letter quickly before he could see any of it and tucked it away inside my cube, seeing I was about to speak he took a seat at the other end of the bench I occupied.
“Have you ever lost something or someone precious to you for a time, only to find years later that they were never lost at all?” I asked.
He leaned his elbows on his knees and considered what I had said.
“I can’t say that I have.” He finally said honestly. He looked back at me and smiled and I smiled shyly in return. “So I take it that these are good tears and the Abyss isn’t falling on your head after all?” he queried.
“Something like that.” I answered and smiled again.
“Oh, well good, what is your name?” he asked.
“I’m Sirona, Centurion of Legion Destiny and Cleric of Aion’s holy light.” I held out my hand and he took it shaking it firmly.
“Well Centurion Cleric Sirona. I’m Andrei, Brigade General of Ascendance and also a Cleric of Aion’s light.” My chest squeezed tight and my mouth went dry.
“Pleased to meet you, General Andrei.” I whispered. He laughed, and it was a genuine sound, clear and full of mirth.
“Don’t look at me like that Sirona.” He said.
“Like I’ve just sprouted a second head.” He laughed again, though it was more of a chuckle, and got up. “I’m glad you are feeling better. Blessings upon you.”
“And you sir.” I replied automatically.
“Not sir, just Andrei.” He said as he wandered off, the most brilliant tactical leader the Elyos had seen in almost a hundred years… both bless and damn my luck today.
I looked at the setting sun and got up myself. I had just enough time to meet Ailsie and not be late, Aion forbid I be late to a meeting with Ailsie, Bless her heart she was so punctual she made my mind ache.
*Special thanks for this post goes straight to the man who plays Elethor in game. He wrote the letter to Sirona for me because I just couldn't get into his character's head enough to do it my self which is why you guys haven't gotten anything from me in almost a month, Elethor wrote the letter, emailed it to me and I wrote three parts to the story last night. So here you go, here is another one. If you have the time and you play on Ariel you can thank Elethor on the Ariel official forums if you are Elyos or in-game if you are Asmodian. More to come soon.