Liberty Journal 17

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2 Wealsun, 595 CY

Dear Connie,

This has been a strange day.

We ran into the necromancer Filge – the former necromancer, really; he was dressed in rags and panhandling in the Foreign Quarter. After what he did to the graves of the Lands (and who knows how many others?), I was glad to see him suffer for his crimes. In fact, for the first time, I was glad we hadn’t killed him when we’d had the chance.

And yet I pity him. Xan plans to put him to work – to use him, as he uses everybody – but I wonder if there’s any way Filge can change. To turn away from the dark, even if it isn’t to embrace the light.

Probably not? Father would say that all the preaching in the world won’t matter if it falls on deaf ears, and Mom would agree with him. I mean Charles, of course, not our mother. She would just say something about how Wee Jas settles all accounts.

In the evening, we met with Eligos’s friend, Celeste, and her friend, Ekaym Smallcask. Celeste is a beauty, and sharp as a knife, so it made me smile to see Xan’s interest in her. I’d love to see him take on a woman who’s his equal, if not his better!

Ekaym has acquired a manager’s license for the Champion’s Games, but needs gladiators, so we formed an accord with Xan’s guidance. Drake will lead our team, “Burning Blood,” and I know it’ll be good for him.

Ekaym is sweet on me. He’s handsome, to be sure, and charming, known as “Honest Minstrel” in the Amedio Jungle. And his work with the Chisel sounds important, even noble. He has a way with a tune, and I shudder to think what the hands that coax such music from a lute could do to a woman…

But I’m putting business before pleasure. Besides, he’s nearly old enough to be my father, if not yours. Still, even though I’m courting another, I didn’t exactly spurn him, did I? Maybe I’m leading him on so I might use him, as Xan uses… or maybe I’m just keeping my options open.

I’m not sure how to tell Ilya that she’s got competition, when I see her tomorrow evening. Maybe I shouldn’t say anything…? I’ll find out if she plays an instrument, at least. You’ll be the first to hear how it goes.

All my love,

3 Wealsun, 595 CY

Dear Connie,

The Star of Celene was even more beautiful than I’d hoped. It’s decorated in living woods from all over the Flanaess, with polished mahogany floors. Every room is vast, so our table seemed like a private island… but the room was deathly quiet, even at the height of the dinner rush, so we conversed in whispered Elven over herbal salad and vegetable casserole.

Ilya wants to find comfort in familiar places like the Star, but I know she feels disconnected from them now. She can’t just bounce back from the things the doppelgangers did to her… she wants to take things slowly with me, and I’ve got to respect that. She’s barely out of adolescence in elven terms, after all; though she’s so much older than me, we both have a lot of growing up ahead of us.

But she also wants to hide our courtship from her parents. I find that a little reassuring, on one hand, since I thought riling them was her main reason for wanting to see me. Still, meeting in a public places full of elves her family knows means a lot of innocent conversation. No touching, no kissing, not even any flirting or long glances. It’s my fault for wanting to meet here; next time we’ll choose a safer rendezvous.

She’s excited to see me in the Champion’s Games – she was already looking forward to the spectacle, and now she has someone special to cheer for. I can hardly wait to show her what I can do on the field!

Just as well, really. I don’t know when I’ll ever get to show her what I can do behind closed doors…

I wonder if she’s a virgin, too. I feel like one of us ought to know what she’s doing.

All my love,

6 Wealsun, 595 CY

You’re alive?!

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Liberty Journal 17

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