Dear Adrian,

 

I know we both agreed that it was best that I leave the village and let the world assume my death. It seems that the zealots were only fooled for so long, but rest assured that I am alive and well. In fact, I have found sanctuary in the north with an order. I won�t divulge too much in this letter for fear that it will be intercepted.

 

It has been only six months since that night, near seven, but it feels as if years have passed since I last saw you. I regret that I never properly thanked you for assistance given my rushed escape. Understand that though I can never repay you, I will be forever in your debt and grateful for what you have done. You have given me a chance at life when others would have had me burn. Still the sorrow for the others that died at the hands of these hunters weighs heavily on my heart. I wish I had done more rather than ducking my head down for some meager attempt at survival.

 

I honestly wish our circumstances were different and we could meet as freely as we used to. It has been difficult living with the fact that our long friendship has been severed for the sake of my life. It feels selfish and cowardly to be running and straying from you, who has been much more to me than I have ever told you.

 

There is so much that I wish I could have said before I left, but I felt so afraid. Even in the moment when I knew that my life�s security was precarious at best, I still could not muster the courage. Now I am half a world away, writing everything that I meant to say before with the full knowledge that it will be for nothing. Nothing will ever come of my words save for complications in your life when you only deserve peace.

 

Know that you were so much more than my friend. As your title in the coven stated, you were a guiding light. A beacon in this ongoing tragedy that I have endured. Throughout the death of my family, the terrible realization of what I could not have, the deaths of our friends and colleagues, this crushing loneliness, and the terrors we must face daily. You were always there to keep me standing upright and weathering the worst of storms.

 

There has been no one in this life that I have loved more deeply and purely than you. I have long lived with the notion that there was so much more to love such as expressions and affection. I cannot place the exact moment, but to see you with your smile and all of its warmth looking upon me so unconditionally, I knew. There were so many nights that passed that I wished for so much more than being your friend and telling myself how wonderful I could have been for you. It took all of this time away from your light for me to realize that you never needed me. I needed you, and now I live with the void that you have left.

 

I have accepted the fact that this can never be, but there are times when I feel the space cutting so deeply into my chest. It has led me to wishing sometimes that I had died that night rather than enduring this pain. I am fortunate that now it only strikes me when I draw your cloak from my satchel, but it is so crippling. I can do little more than collapse upon my bed and clutch at my chest, hoping that the fit will pass. It leaves me unable to breathe and fills me with a sense of overwhelming dread.

 

I�m sorry I never told you and I�m so sorry for what I�ve become. I know, I have always known, that I cannot give you the kind of life you deserve. I tell myself every day that it will get better, but it can be so difficult. Perhaps I am still weary from the road or I have yet to embrace the new opportunities I have sought for myself. It�s just so damned hard to begin again, but know that I�m trying.

 

Out here and regretfully far from you, I am trying.

 

Yours,

 

Esr

 

A blot of water dropped on the page with black eyeliner swirling within it. Esreiella dropped her pen and wiped at the streams of black rolling down her cheeks. A splotch of ink stained the floor, dripping from the fallen pen as she lifted the pages she had just written with trembling hands.

 

She let out a muted sob and thanked the Light for the heavy inn room door to block it out from passing ears. Smoke began to rise from her fingers as she squeezed the pages, smearing fresh ink and crinkling the paper. Acid green flames ignited from her hands and licked at the letter, leaving ashes falling to the desk�s top until there was nothing left but a smoldering pile.

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