It's been a year since that day. That day I lost you. When Mai dropped me off I loaded a few duffel bags and caught a late night bus north. That very night; I just couldn't stay.
Sometimes I feel like I ran away. Other times I know that I probably escaped a very dangerous situation just in the nick of time. I mean, your grandfather knows my truename. I am powerless against him. I'll always be powerless against him.
So, what have I done in the past year? I didn't have enough money to buy a border pass, so I applied to work in a bookstore in one of those little boundary towns while I searched for a research job that would pay for me to cross over. With my credentials and magie it didn't take long. I teamed up with KI Pharmaceuticals, who specializes in identifying and cataloging new plants. I'm on the field team. My job is to find unknown plants and bring them back from the wild for classification. From there they are sent south to the lab where new medicines or other products are made.
It's a wonderful job. For weeks at a time I travel inland, northward. Just me and the world. And Cielen, of course. He's my partner for expeditions.
I'm so glad I came here. Because of my job, I've been able to live our dream. I mean, it's different then what we planned. We both wanted to explore on our own terms, not tethered to some big corporation. Just you and me and the wild. I still dream about that sometimes.
Living up here for the past 10 months is both beautiful and tragic. I desperately wish you were here. I'd love to tell you of the beauty--It's so quiet you can hear the trees sigh in the wind. You can hear a babbling brook or the tread of a bear long before you see it with your natural eyes. But words can't capture the essence of this place.
And the magic is wild, fey, and open.
Kind of like you used to tell me I was.
Cielen's working to save up money for his little sister. She was born with Panloinis disease, an incurable, crippling ailment. KI is one of two companies right now searching for a cure. I hope he finds it. It's amazing that he is both part of her cure and part of her care.
In the night we talk a lot. I was shy at first, but we've become really good friends. Maybe if things were different, we might have become lovers, too.
He's a good friend. You would have liked him.
That brings me to the point of my letter. I saw in the newspaper on one of my return trips that you are soon to be married. One year of engagement is a long time to me, but Cielen says that it's standard for "the big wigs".
Here I am living with our memories in the north, safe. And you are still trapped down there, about to marry a women you don't love. I left you behind in a cage your grandfather built and fled over the mountains from his wrath. Perhaps I fled a bit from you. I can't imagine looking into your eyes and not seeing your love for me reflected there.
But it's time. I always knew this day would one day come. That's why I'm writing this. Because I've taken a few weeks off work and I'm coming back. I'm coming back to get you. I don't know if we can still be together, I don't know if I can ever help you remember me--but I can't leave you there. I have to try. If I don't it will haunt me for the rest of my life. I'll never be able to move on. I'll never be able to start over.
My plan is to straight up kidnap you. I won't lie. By the time you wake up you'll be on a bus north with me to a safe place. A place we can talk, where I can tell you everything.
A place you can make a choice.
A choice to return, or a choice to flee.
I'm leaving this letter with Cielen. I don't want to forget, should something go wrong. He's to mail it to me if I'm not back in a month.
I've packed a bag. Readied my spells. Bought my bus tickets under a pseudonym.
But even if outward I'm ready--inward I'm not. I'm scared. I don't know what to say to you. I don't know what I'll see when I get there.
But I'm still coming.
See you soon.
-----------This the end of my novella, "What Losing You Did to Me". There will be a second part, written from both Aainn's point of view and Merienge's...sometime.
All my writing can be viewed here.