I don’t know how to begin. I’ve wanted to write you since I arrived here to tell you that I’m all right, that it wasn’t me that died that night. I almost couldn’t bear hearing your voice and all of the pain you were trying so hard to hide when you came to see B after…the attack. I was in his back room and very nearly came out then, to comfort you. To explain.
B got word that “I” had been killed shortly before you arrived, and he warned me to stay hidden. Considering the circumstances, he believed it wasn’t worth the risk of letting whoever had made the attempt on my life know that they had failed. And I agreed with him. I still do. Gods, I made such a mess of things…
You and I have discussed power. B recognized it in me as well, and he wanted to elevate me to a position where I might enact more significant – and, of course, profitable – change. I wanted that, as well. So, he and I spoke about getting out and meeting with his associates who could put my social talents to use in a grander fashion.
Before I left home, I wanted to go back to my room for a few personal items, like the necklace you gave me. But there had been threats, and B wouldn’t hear of it, insisting on sending another in my place. So I lent his girl my dress, and a simple illusion did the rest. She looked very like me, and I agreed that she would fool P long enough to fetch my things.
And then there was that awful explosion, at the worst possible time. That poor girl. I never did learn her name. It was safer that way. B’s foresight saved my life, and after he got me safely out of town, it seemed best to stay dead. I only hope that, since you know now anyway, enough time has passed that it no longer matters. Secrets always have a cost, though.
I am so sorry. I never meant to hurt you. I was only trying to protect you from the trouble I’d gotten myself into. And I never imagined that anyone might die over it. I only hope that you can understand…and forgive me.
All my love