Valweld'mion Gi'ila's Letters to Faelyn Ar'aphine, Letter 9: Response to Letter 3
30th of Dylin, 368
To start this: I am ashamed of myself for how quick I was to think you no longer wanted me, either. Also a little amused that we were having the same sort of thoughts and fears. That we both thought we’d overestimated our value to the other.
At times, I allow my anxiety to get the best of me. I often want reassurance to calm my nerves. As you need time to think, I may need to ask you to tell me when you need the quiet. Being shut out is so very scary. I know myself and I know I will take your silence as disappointment or anger. Neither of these are your fault.
I’m not asking to be let in, but please tell me when you need time. I do not mind waiting if I am told to wait. It’s only the unknown which brings me no small amount of fear.
I promise not to broach more difficult topics over Sending. So you may have the time and long conversations you need. If a conversation turns difficult, would you ask me to wait as I would ask of you?
You said I deserve someone who did not have to consider kindness. Someone who would not make me wait for niceties. Someone who is good to the last drop.
Even if I deserved this imaginary person, would they deserve me?
I am not kind to my core. The last drop of me is bitter and unforgiving and selfish and angry and cruel and cowardly. Every day, there is something new for me to regret and learn. Today, I am learning patience. And it will need to be practiced to be lived. Would you really inflict me upon someone who will utterly forgive my shortfalls? Someone who is too kind and loving to take an apology for the hurt I cause them? Someone who would never ask me to be better?
To be patient?
Sometimes I ask myself if you deserve me. You are working hard to be the person you want to be. You do not deserve to be hindered by me. And there lies all my worst faults in how I want for you. Even those times I think you would be better without me I cannot bring myself to truly admit it, much less to take action.
Home has meant one thing for so long. It was mist across jagged rocks battered by the ocean and flowers shaking snow from the late winter in an early spring and thunder making the shutters shudder. It will still mean that, too, but... You’ve so easily changed its definition. Lately when I carelessly say “home”, I imagine the tables I helped lay for dinner or your hand over mine or your arms around my waist as I read and you sleep.
I am not a creature who can live on a pedestal, mo corrachag-cagail. My body bleeds and my mouth is sometimes quicker than my good sense and my hands will look for yours. If you place me there, I will leap right into your arms.
The place you can keep me is by your side.
My heart has no numbers, love.
It is only made of people who I—perhaps rashly—gave part of myself to. They’ve almost always returned it, better than what I gave. I am more than content to be your number 2.
I know you do not completely trust me. Our six month anniversary is coming up very soon. Why would I expect all of you by now? As frank as I can be, you don’t know all of me either. Our lives are long and we both have so much of it left. There are stories I cannot tell. I do not begrudge your silence.
I’m glad for what you have trusted me with. And I want to make new stories with you; stories we’re happy to tell each other.
(Have you guessed what part of myself I gave you, mo chridhe?)
Finally, I see what you meant now. Whatever forgiveness I can give for what you said, I do. I know this is your first relationship, but I am not as experienced as you may believe. Sometimes, I don’t have the answer. I’m trying to do things “right” for you, whatever that means.
Of all of my romantic relationships, only 3 have lasted over a month. You are the third, Faelyn.
While I have done a lot of healing since my marriage, my ex-husband was my first in everything. Some things about what he did still makes me hesitate, makes me wonder.
I wanted what my parents had. For all my father’s faults, love was so clear in everything to do with my pa. His voice was softer, he smiled, he’d lean down when they were talking like a moth to a flame. My pa’s eyes would sparkle, his hands would still, and he’d smile bright enough to rival a flame. Even when they had a disagreement, their love never faltered. Whatever they saw when they looked at each other reminded them they could be better people.
As beautiful, funny and charming as I am... I’ve always been a little insecure. I wanted to be the people they were and found myself lacking. Lately, I’ve been made keenly aware of how much of a disappointment I was to both of them. Whatever I feel now is nothing compared to when I was younger and trying so hard at college.
I thought I was “in love”. While my ex-husband was younger than me in years, he was older than me, too. He was 50 when we met at my college. He was... charismatic, handsome, and I thought he was in love with me, too.
He took advantage of my insecurities. And by the time I realized, we had a child named after a father-in-law that hated me, a child my family didn’t even get to know existed. I felt so stuck and helpless.
Sometimes I ask myself if he knew what he was doing. The answer that scares me the most is the one where he didn’t even do it out of malice or greed. Maybe he even thought what he was doing wasn’t wrong.
Maybe he thought he was stuck, too.
I know now that falling in love doesn’t exist. What my parents had was probably the result of a lot of work and time I wasn’t alive to see. Like everything, I wanted it right away. I didn’t hesitate like I should have, like I can now.
I am bad at being first of anything. First impressions, first kisses, being the first of my parents’ children... I could go on. It scares me when I find myself to be the first for fear I may be the last for ruining it. I don’t want you to regret me. I’m so very scared of hurting you the way he hurt me.
So as much as you’re trying to be better for me, I’m trying to be better for you. I want to be someone who deserves the happiness you give me. What time we have, I want it to be good for you. That perhaps love isn’t “pathetic codependence” or feeling “stuck” and instead... more like what my parents had.
And... a part of me hopes one day you’ll fall in love.
And you’ll really mean it when you say you did.
If I were to pepper this letter entirely in romantic sentiments, I might tell you that I was waiting my whole life for you to decide you were ready for the moment we met. And then I may say I didn’t mind the wait because I knew I’d find you one day. It gave me time to be ready to meet you, too. Perhaps I’d lean in and confess I thought I’d met you many times before.
Every time, unfailingly, I was wrong.
But, I’d whisper—low and just for you—like a secret or a promise, this time I’m right.
“Well, who am I?” That’d be the right kind of question to ask.
Would it be the right kind of question for me to answer?
Valweld'mion Gi'ila's Letters to Faelyn Ar'aphine, Letter 8: A Note on a Ribbon
29th of Dylin, 368
I tried to tie a ribbon on Courier’s wrist, but I think they thought it was a gift for you? Sorry, dear, it’s a gift for them as thank you!
I love you.
My day was... Weird. We got attacked by mushrooms and Jeff caused a poor fae we rescued from a salamander fall in lust with him.
Also I think Marvey almost died because she touched things she shouldn’t have.
And... I did like your joke, too, but your laugh concerned me. (And Terestri is a very good dancer!!)
I love you, I love you, I must let Courier get back to you.
I love you all over again.
Faelyn Ar'aphine's Letters to Valweld'mion Gi'ila, Letter 3: Response to Letter 7
29th of Dylin, 1572
I will try to be as direct about this as I can: honest statements and evaluations. If it comes off as cold, it is because I am trying to lay things out cleanly and simply in a way that no matters of the heart can ever me. But I am clumsy with those matters, and I need to pretend I can find a logical structure here.
Trying to hold these conversations in jigsaw pieces is exhausting. I need a person’s face to see their heart. I need time spent, I need long conversations— passing notes will not suffice. This is not the first time this has happened, and so I have to ask you that before you ask me questions, begin complex lines of conversation, please consider if it will take me more than a handful of sending spells to answer in full.
Let me state this much before I go further: I have no desire to say goodbye. There is a rending in my chest at the thought. I am realizing now, less than three paragraphs in, that attempting to approach this pragmatically will not work. There isn’t rationale to be shared. There isn't a clean cause and effect I can defend. I cannot dissect my own actions and provide a reason behind each one in a way that either absolves me of guilt or declares it.
You wrote: why do you feel this way about me? It is a question regarding my accusation. I called you eager.
I do not feel that way about you. I did not see you off expecting you to fall into the arms of the first pretty face you deemed worthy of your attention. It was shock that made me say it — and that is not a defense, I only wish to explain as much as this can be explained. I do not want you believing that I’ve been watching you for a moment of unfaithfulness. I haven’t. When I heard you ask, I was shocked, and I was hurt, and I lashed out because of it. When I heard you ask, these were the thoughts in my head:
* You were asking me about seeing partners beyond each other.
* I had expressed no desire for another soul.
** Therefore, you could only be inquiring out of your own desires.
* You were asking me without precedent, over a sending spell.
** Therefore, there must have been someone you wanted at that moment.
In retrospect I see the other meanings, how the image can be turned to make something new, and I despise myself for thinking the worst of you, even if for a moment. I have never been foolish enough to think I could ever encompass all of your love, but I believed what you gave me was mine alone. And with that question I believed myself to have gone from being loved and being wanted by you, in a way that is unique and only for me, to abruptly being one of multiple.
I did not like being one of — two? Three? Five? More? Where did I fall, I wondered. Which number was I, in your heart? How much of it was divvied to me — was it less or was it more or was it perfectly equal to what you gave the imagined others?
I lashed out. I sought to hurt you with my words. I know that at my most basic level, I am a deeply unkind person. And you have a knack for stripping me bare.
I phrase that like it’s romantic — it isn’t, I hate it. I want to be my best self for you, even when broken down to the very core. You deserve someone who does not have to silence themself for hours, methodically biting back words, building phrases meant to cut to the bone and then disassembling them over, and over, and over just to ensure they do not escape his bleeding mouth. And there lies the explanation for my silence. I did not want to talk. I needed to think. I needed to find words that were not barbed.
Through that day, I tried to make myself comfortable with the thought of sharing. I could not. I know I would be bitter for it — Every kiss, every touch, every moment with you would be spent steeped in jealousy. I would cling to you for as long as I had you in the hope that somehow you would decide you only wanted me after all. I would seethe with hatred for your hypothetical partners.
But still, I tried to convince myself I could manage. Wouldn’t it be better to have some sliver of you than nothing at all? I never was able to reach an answer to that. I did not want to, as I could not find happiness at either end.
All that is to say, again, I have no desire to say goodbye. And that I am selfishly delighted to learn how terribly I’d been mistaken.
I apologize for calling this a pathetic codependence. It was the truth, what I said, that is how I once saw all such partnerships. When I spoke those words to you, they were entirely meant for me. I was aghast at how it weighed upon me. It felt embarrassing, truth be told. To have overestimated my value to you, and to fall to pieces alongside that shattered illusion. I am embarrassed now to have been corrected yet again.
I need to back up for a moment. I still worry about that ‘why do you feel this way about me’ you wrote. I do not. I have already said this, I need to say it again. I do not. I am not a kind person. I am not a trusting person. But I want to be kind to you, and I want to give you my trust. I have. It isn’t everything, I know. Please understand how much of this is new to me. I am new to having a home, and having a child, and having a lover. I am new to trying to be kind, and trying to be honest, and being dreadfully and terrifyingly helpless.
For all my life, I have had one person I genuinely trusted. There came a point where I pushed even her away, paranoia corroding the one good thing I’d managed to build with someone else.
You are number two. I will state plainly that I do not trust you with everything yet. Not all of me. But I want to. And I trust you as a person, I trust you when you say you love me, and when you write corrections about misinterpreted words, and I trust you to have you in my bed when I know my sleep is far too deep to notice if you were to take one of the many, many blades you carry and place it to my throat. There was not a moment where I did not trust you — only re-evaluated, only believed myself less in your heart, only felt wounded in this perceived excitement to have someone who was not me.
I am so sorry to have hurt you.
And I did like the joke. I thought I made one in turn but perhaps I was too forlorn to sell it.
When you come home, we can have a proper conversation. If that is what you would like. If that is still home.
Until then. I did miss hearing about your day, darling.
Valweld'mion Gi'ila's Letters to Faelyn Ar'aphine, Letter 7: An Apology
29th of Dylin, 368
Normally I delight in writing your letters. I think of what you must look like when you read them. Can I make you smile? Laugh? Blush? When you smile, I can see your freckles in your dimples. (Did I ever tell you that?) Whatever delight I hope to see across your face, I am content to bring you joy.
Never do I like to imagine you frowning, but I know there is seldom else to do with this letter. There is little joy in it, only hope.
I know I hurt you. I’m sorry. If I’d known it would only cause you pain, I would have never breathed a word of it. I hope you will give me a chance to explain myself, knowing I did not intend you harm.
Of late, you have mentioned how cold your bed is for lack of me. I thought someone else could fill the space I left... at least while I was away. My journeys away from you may be long. It is a concern of mine that you do not feel alone. I know you have Dahlia, Terestri, your friends... but I am scared you will be miserable for want of a lover beyond what my voice and letters can give you. If you took companionship beyond me, I would not mind.
And of course I want for you beyond your voice and letters, but there is no misery in it.
Someone else won’t fit the space I leave for you. To try to find something for you would make me miss you more in seeking people who have freckles in their dimples or teeth in their laugh or lingering mischief in their voice. None would ever be right for what delight I take in the flicker of glee in your eyes.
My broaching of the topic was meant to be an option for us to discuss. For me to tell you these things and time for me to listen to your side. Then, after all of that, we could decide together if it was something that could improve our lives. I feel as though you took it as a choice I had made for you or an action already been taken. You’re right that I should not have begun this over Sendings. It was... foolish. I’m sorry for that, too.
You asked if I could not wait or if I was eager and for a moment I did not know what you meant. Then your words clung to my heart like poison, filled with dread and pain. The implications of what you must think of me still leave me breathless with hurt. Have I misunderstood? If not... why do you feel this way about me?
When I first wrote this letter, it bled my hurt more than I’d ever wish upon you. Anger was there, too. For a moment, I lost sight of why I was writing it and why I wanted you to read it. Right now I sit with reminders of you close like the flicker of your music box beside my hand. I remember the starlight and ocean and magic everytime I hear it playing. If anything could bottle a memory, I’m sure it would be something you made.
That night we danced in Port Kahale, did you hear me helplessly whisper “tha gaol agam ort”? You drew it from me like a breath. I hardly knew I’d said it myself, it felt so natural a beat in your song.
And what a song you played.
When I was too young to know better, I tried to imagine the whole of a perfect song. It had to be everything I loved, of course. Starlight and ocean and magic. Silly. Childish. Impossible.
But you gave it to me anyway. As many times as you may protest it was my idea... you placed it there and made a wish I’d forgotten come true. How could I not say, “tha gaol agam ort”? How could I not want to do the same for you? To find a wish I can make true?
I love you. There is no other way to crystallize the memories and opportunities I have with you. You have given me so much. If you were to decide this is where we end, I would grieve you and move on, better than I was before I met you because of you. But... I wasn’t ready to say ‘goodbye’ when I did. I’m not ready now.
I want to fix this, but I don’t know how to do that alone. Can you help me find the steps like you did in Kahale? Show me what you want, what you need, what you’re thinking. I’ll await your reply.
I’d like to still be yours,
P.S. I’m sorry you didn’t like my joke.
Maybe.... Why was the picture sent to jail?
It was framed!
I am not very good at non-situational humor.
Journal of Valweld'mion Gi'ila, Volume 1, Pages 149-150: Dear Faelyn
15th of Eiral, 368
You may rip this letter out. I say "may", but I would prefer if did
rip it out. When I give you this journal, I give you my trust. Something to have of me while I am away. I started another journal just for you, but that will come to you in time yet.
I hope you can forgive me for any callous thing I have said here. I do not pry, but my curiosity and imagination often get the better of my good judgement. I am every bit the mirage you asked of me before. Here are laid bare my tricks.
Somehow, I don't see you thinking less of me for them. Let me know if you do? We could talk about it, the next time I come back to you. Which I will
. If I did not feel the call to fix these wrongs, I would not leave you. Will you have me when that day comes to no longer call me away?
There could be a day like that, don't laugh. I could settle behind your counter like a shop cat. Hopefully before I leave, you'll learn I'm not a bad cook. Maybe it's enough to earn my keep and a place in your bed. Not that I couldn't find alternate accommodations if you so desired.
Pity after such an illuminating
bath, I'm wondering what it'd be to watch the leaves turn over their colors in the course of many days or weeks with you. Knowing more of your touch has made me want for the sound of your voice very near. And you are near as I write this. Talking to the others, being wonderfully indulgent of us. I want to stay right here in the midst of it.
One day will come soon enough.
I love you. If I am gone when you read this then I already miss you.
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Journal of Valweld'mion Gi'ila, Volume 1, Pages 144-148: Today's Events, we awoke and found the facility was clean
15th of Eiral, 368
we awoke and found the facility was clean.
when attempting to break down a door, Aera was ambushed by one of the tall birdlike creatures we saw in the Shadowfell
a melee ensued where it only appeared to target Aera until it killed him
Aegis entered a strange mode and finished it off
Meyloni was able to revivify Aera.
we were able to continue through unscathed
we found a room of vats with liquid and strange figures, one had been broken out of
up the stairs was a kitchenette and a cot with handcuffs, some books, and the entrance we plunged through previously
a room down the hall held a door that seemed dented and dangerous
we decided to call for backup
(Page 144 has a drawing of a tall birdlike creature with an axe and an eye in its chest. A note beside it states its height, "7'?". It is labeled as "the tall bird creature". An arrow pointing to the eye reads, "An eye w/ red, seemed embedded".)
Umbra and Nox arrived, seeming to be in some frustration (pain?)
we proceeded inside after some questions
it seems the Court had previously swept through and cleared the building, they thought it inactive
they missed a censer Faelyn later identified as filled with souls, a phylactery, something members of the court should have been keen on eliminating
it was on the table, too
found a squashed teleportation spell scroll under the bed
in the room preceding it was a large tank that had been broken out in force
we investigated more, finding few other clues
the vats I was broken out of appear to emit a stasis gas that is blue
they definitely don't want Shadar-kai dying
red runes: disposal
yellow runes: capture
blue runes: entry
there was little else of interest, so we looked elsewhere
inside the inferno room was a trapped door we were unable to open, we decided we did not have the capability to deal with it in the moment
as we were exiting, we were confronted by an infernal woman we learned was Faelyn's shop assistant, Dahlia
Umbra and Nox asked if we were sure we trusted her prior to leaving.
learned the creatures we fought in the lake are sorrowsworn, creatures who were once Shadar-kai but betrayed Our Queen
I don't know what to think of that, I need time to process
Dahlia took us back to Silene
I will continue my thoughts in another journal
I think I will give this one to Faelyn
(Page 147 appears to be a map of the facility.)
(Page 148 is blank beside the page number in the corner.)
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Journal of Valweld'mion Gi'ila, Volume 1, Page 138: Today's Events (7th-10th of Eiral)
7th-10th of Eiral, 368
7th of Eiral
a storm is coming, delightful
maybe I should teach Aera to sing
I want to go! I'm restless
8th of Eiral
big storm! Big!!!
9th of Eiral
we'll arrive tomorrow
these last few days have made me sick with worry
I went through training just to work off excess energy
just want to be done and go home
isn't it funny that "home" right now means Silene?
10th of Eiral
took a rowboat to shore
Marvey didn't want to go in, took some convincing...
we made camp almost as soon as we landed
just want to run into the swamp
Journal of Valweld'mion Gi'ila, Volume 2, Page 2: Dear Faelyn
27th of Aul, 368
You said you treasured my letters so this is just another thing for you to hold onto. With the first journal, remove what you think is appropriate. Whether information I've asked or whatever you want or need to redact for your own safety or sanity (perhaps my father does not need to see me theorizing if you are an elaborate illusion...). I hope by the time you get this (if it is not because I've filled yet another journal in 2 months), you will have met my father.
Keep the first one for as long as you need or want. As much worry as my father has given me, he is a true immortal. He can wait on it. I just want him to have some piece of me if I am gone. He deserves that much.
I also hope my future proofing hasn't resulted in a very awkward situation if we've broken up. Well, here's hoping! (that we last!!!)
Journal of Valweld'mion Gi'ila, Volume 2, Page 1: Dear whomever it may concern
27th of Aul, 368
Dear whomever it may concern,
Best you place this in the post with whatever money you found on my corpse and have it delivered to the address listed below. This is a certain kind of cursed, but probably not of the variety that will lose you luck at gambling. Really, best you send it often and forget it entirely.
Don't blame me if you read it anyway.
Or someone who forgot the damn thing,
P.S. If this was simply lost, slip your address in the cover and I'll give you postage and a reward.
(Faelyn Ar'aphine's address is scribbled on the bottom of the page.)
Valweld'mion Gi'ila's Letters to Faelyn Ar'aphine, Letter 6: Response to Letters 1-2, Part 2
26th of Aul, 368
No cheating, this letter is the good stuff for when you’ve finished the hard-to-read letter.
I must admit, you made me blush quite a lot, Mr. Ar’aphine. My ears shook so badly, I had to set it down and cover my face for a moment. I’ve been a mess since you first told me there was a letter waiting for me.
I won’t ask how you got it to me, but I’m delighted to have both of them regardless. You’re a wonder, you know? That’s why this letter comes second. If it was ever in doubt, I want you to know exactly why I love you.
Or, well, what I mean when I say, ‘I love you’.
You’re the first person I’ve called ‘venmi’ since I was young. Marvey now shares the dubious honor of being called ‘venmi’, too. As much as I’d like you to feel special, it’s really a silly term of affection for people I love.
My pa called me that, because I loved the snow. I still do, really. Never had much issue with the cold. I prefer the winter. It’s beautiful. You remind me of snow, venmi. Obviously your natural color scheme helps in that regard, but it’s just something about you. I can’t put my finger on it even now.
I’m at ease when it’s snowing. You put me at ease, too. I should probably be more guarded around you than I am. It could be a natural aura of yours or me being attracted to you even at first sight. If I’d less to do, I’d certainly let you keep me for only that, venmi.
Not a bad life. Waiting for you to come back, reading all day in beautiful clothing and my weight in jewels. Eating only the finest, of course. The books would be illustrated by acclaimed artists and the pages gilded as a matter of course. When you finally came for me, I might even deem you worthy to kiss me.
If I was in a particularly good mood, perhaps I’d allow you more than a kiss.
Maybe two kisses.
Were you hoping for something else? Mm.
I don’t think you’d factored in how high the maintenance creatures such as me are to keep, Mr. Ar’aphine. No, better you let me roam wild and long to return to you so that I want to cover your face in kisses at the very nearest moment. Seems I’m getting the raw end of the deal here. Who do I complain to about these arrangements? I have to spend days traveling and tell you how much I want to hold you when I could be lounging in a silk slip making you brush my hair or something.
And don’t worry, I’d be jealous of the you that gets to hold me, too. I’m quite the catch you know. Not very easily gotten.
We should have danced in the streets while we had the chance, masks still in place for some sense of propriety. Just enough to remind us we might care if someone watched. I suppose I’d have to be the one who faked a stumble, just to pull you closer, just to brush your hair back and kiss you, too.
Ah, you see what letting me out like a street cat has caused? Now I’m the one who wants to run my hands through your hair. Next, I’ll want to do something ridiculous like bring you breakfast in bed just so we could stay warm and together for a little longer.
That does sound nice now that I think of it.
Perhaps I am already being kept by you and I’ve yet to realize it, dear. What a terrible fate for me! Oh woe, I am neglected of my gold for something as immaterial as affection and as easy as kissing. Instead of jewels, I am blinded by utterance of, ‘darling’.
What a mournful creature.
Better to throw me to the swamp, I say. No catch for you, no begging by buying for my attention. I will only crawl back to you from that awful place, miserable for want of your touch.
I am a fool to love you, Faelyn. An old fool who can hardly say your name without smiling. Hardly think of you without smiling! And here you say each smile is worth something to you? Truly, truly a fool to give you my love so freely.
I’m so glad I did.
I miss you.
I love you.
Haven’t you wondered why I sign it that way if it wasn’t true, dear?
Valweld'mion Gi'ila's Letters to Faelyn Ar'aphine, Letter 5: Response to Letters 1-2, Part 1
26th of Aul, 368
This is my reply to your first letter, the sad one. I’d like you to read it first.
First: This isn’t so easy as my letters look. I write them first in journal and then copy them again to send. Maybe it is a clever act. I censor myself from being too honest. I won’t do that in this letter, so you can see how much I cross out.
There are so many letters I do not send you. On the 8th of Roshan, I wrote, “You make me feel so very at home.” I crossed that out. I wrote, “You”, then I crossed out “are” and “very” and “cute” and “attractive” and “beautiful” before finally writing “look very nice with your hair up.”
On the 12th of Roshan I copied down the song you sang to Terrestri and tried my best to draw a picture of you two dancing. I’m no artist, but flipping past it makes me fond for you all over again.
On the 16th of Roshan, my heart still firmly with you, I wrote as part of the day’s event, “wow!!” and then “wow!!!” and then “He does kiss good...” and then “wow!” That night I wrote a letter to you. It said, “I’m always honest with my partners and I expect it in turn, but I know the price of certain stories.” I ended that line of thought with, “In return, please forgive my silence when it comes from grief, not distrust.”
On the 13th of Aul, I wrote, “I can't wait to see you again. I can't wait to start my day beside you.”
I never wrote these words thinking you’d see them. I’m still too scared to give you everything I’ve written. Scared of rejection, scared of being too eager, scared of being too honest. Your hesitancy in this regard is shared. I suppose I’ve been getting tired of being scared.
Maybe that’s why it seems easy instead of me saying, “Fuck it. Does it really matter?”
And of course it does, it matters a lot, but saying “fuck it” first really helps the rest go down. A spoonful of sugar?
Second: I’ve been many different people, Faelyn. I’m more than capable of fooling both of us. Right now, I’m not a murderer or a thief or a scoundrel.
I’ve been all of those things. Some of them for longer than I should have been. They are part of who I am. Part of what led me to the place I am now. I’ve never much been a believer in fate, but something keeps telling me I am exactly where I need to be right now.
Which I think means that you were exactly where you were needed, too, in a weird way.
Wow, that came off a lot more egocentric than I meant it to be. It was supposed to be really comforting. Normally, I’d just take that line out, but we’re not doing that in this letter. See, this is where my mystique gets ruined by not filtering all the stupid shit I think about.
At least it’s probably a good way to show you that I’m not playing any games with you, Mister Faelyn. I am trying to be all those people I’ve ever been and the people I wish I was all at once. And sometimes that means I say dumb things.
Third: I’d never thought of my hatred being born from love. I get upset, I get so angry when people who didn’t do anything wrong get hurt. I guess I’ve spent too much time on the other side of judgement to know ‘wrong’ is subjective.
When someone attacks me, I’m not wrong to defend myself, but that doesn’t mean they were wrong to attack me either. For them, I’m sure it was perfectly reasonable. Maybe they were scared, maybe they were desperate, maybe they thought I just deserved to die. I’ve had to make those calls.
How can I not mourn someone who never meant to wrong me?
This is silly, but there’s a reason I’m a vegetarian. I don’t like anyone or anything to suffer. The only thing I have ever took pleasure in killing was meenlocks, but they were—It’s really not important. Boy, I wish I could erase that line, but I won’t.
What is important is that I’m a simple creature, Faelyn. Death, Herself is not bad, but dying is. It’s a very general rule of thumb. There will always be grief in the wake of dying. I wish, most of the time, I wasn’t as good at making people die as I am.
Fourth: It would be stupid of me to tell you not to grieve for me. I wish I was callous enough to write you off like that.
In that letter I never sent, but almost did from the 13th of Aul, I wrote,
“I know this isn't a comfortable conversation, but neither is the silence that surrounds it. One day, we will part ways. I hope that we will have the luxury of 'goodbye'. Whatever may come, I will not be far from you. In your memories and my letters and the sea and the stars. You need look no farther for me if you still want me.
And if you need me once I am gone, go to the shore. I will be waiting for you, but you will not see where I stand. It will be where the waves cover the sand. Put your hand in the tide and you will feel me reach for you. I will give you what comfort I can.
I don't want you to fear for me, dear. Whatever I give to you, I want it to carry you forward and never hold you back.
I think that means I might love you.”
On the 14th, I told you I loved you.
Isn’t it awful how being scared for you, for what might come after me and how helpless I felt to not be able to protect you from that made me realize I might love you? Reading your fear here made my heart squeeze painfully. I can only do what time will allow me to try to shield you from whatever comes later.
It wasn’t the fear that made me realize I do love you. I don’t know if I’m in love you with you, but I know that I love you. I know that wherever I am, I am with you, too.
I am yours, venmi.
Fifth: If I have a choice in leaving you, I will tell you. I promise you this. I wish I could offer more than words.
I will not dismiss your fears, but I want to alleviate this one. You are important to me, Faelyn. If I need to leave you for your own good, I will give you ‘goodbye’.
With me, goodbye doesn’t always mean you’ll never see me again.
Tell Dahlia thank you for me. These are things we should talk about without fear. She was right to insist that this was important. The things you feel are important.
To end this letter, I’ll leave it off at the letter I should have sent you in the first place.
“I don't want to imagine life without you right now. Somehow, I can only see myself as the one who leaves and wanting to be sure I have given you everything before I go. Maybe it is only selfishness to not want to know a world you can't change with your wonderful mind, your wonderful heart.
I can't wait to see you again. I can't wait to start my day beside you. For all I’ve written of goodbyes, I dream only of the time we will spend together. Our goodbye is an afterthought to everything that will come before.
Can we watch the stars in your garden? I want to teach you songs. I want to teach you more songs for Terrestri. I want to sing for you. I want to know what I sound like when I sing for you. I want to sing with you. I want to take you to the tide and dance with you. I want to listen to you. I want to hear you talk about things I can only imagine by your words.
I want so much time with you, Faelyn.”
Journal of Valweld'mion Gi'ila, Volume 1, Page 122: Dear Willow
23rd of Aul, 368
Thank you for your persistence despite my quiet withdrawal from most things. I don't want grief to be between myself and answers to questions that have plagued me. These questions are more complicated than our little experiments.
What am I? Who can I be? Who have I been?
I don't know anymore than you do. This might answer some of my questions or only complicate things more. I'm tired of being left in the dark.
I was wrong about you. Your curiosity isn't self-serving. I don't know what it is yet. I hope I will.
Journal of Valweld'mion Gi'ila, Volume 1, Page 11: Dear Valrieth
28th of Raqi, 368
You're never going to forgive me, are you? Mm. I don't expect you to wait on me since it has either only been a couple months or a few years. I'm still unaware.
I hope you have moved on from me. I was never much in the first place. When I come home, I hope you still want to talk to me. I do miss you. So much has happened that I want to tell you about.
I still love you. I think I always will.
Journal of Valweld'mion Gi'ila, Volume 1, Page 10: Today's notes, 2 days until Harvest Fest
28th of Raqi, 368
2 days until Harvest Fest
Did some fighting in the Arena
Aera is really good!
Arena fight during the festival
Faelyn is a magic user!
he makes really cool stuff
I invested 100 gold in his business
I hope he uses it all on his brother...
I wonder what this weird journal we found in Strahd's gardening shed is about
I think Faelyn is my age?
(Drawn at the bottom is a banner with confetti bursting from it which reads, "FAELYN'S MAGIC SHOPPE". Below reads, "Grand opening!")
Journal of Valweld'mion Gi'ila, Volume 1, Pages 8-9: Dear Ridan Venmila
28th of Raqi, 368
Dear Ridan Venmila,
I'm sorry I haven't written you in some time. Not that it matter with all that was lost.
A monster wore your face. Even knowing it would kill me, I couldn't touch it. I hadn't seen your face in so long, child. I know I will never see it again.
Even if the Goddess - in Her Grace - has granted you life after death, I know you have grown since I left you with Grandpa and Grandda.
I think of you every day. I regret every day I was not there to watch you grow. You have no reason to remember me fondly. Even if I provided for you, i was not there for you. You were asleep by the time I came home.
Do you know, I would come home every night, every night
, and sing for you? No matter how tired I was, no matter how hurt or scared I was, I would sit in the old rocking chair in the corner of your room and sing for you. Even if you were asleep, you were the best part of my day.
You will always be the best thing that ever happened to me. I'm so proud of you, always, wherever you are.
All of my love,
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Journal of Valweld'mion Gi'ila, Volume 1, Pages 4-7: Events leading up to this journal
27th of Raqi, 368
Events leading up to this journal:
went to port to resupply
caught in fog on the road
met other travels with weird accents
stole a lamp from a post
Learned the names of the other travelers
aarakocra named Aera
firbolg named Himemiya Llue (Marvey)
human named Jeff Humanman
genasi named Willow w/ familiar Poko
tiefling named Meyloni
Found strange abandoned temple
inside was a half-orc named Titus
freed & I got hurt...
We befriended him and then went to the nearby town
Oh, at some point before this, we learned from some travelers we'd been kidnapped by vampires & sent to an alternate dimension
The people who told us this were Nettelis, Mae, and Cassia.
Anyway... In the shrine, I guess Marvey made "friends" with a god named Jergal
Maybe contacted Our Lady in a graveyard? it's difficult to tell with her
We were given a note to meet someone
Titus was kidnapped
Tried to raise an alarm, but Barovia's townspeople are
stupid slow to act
We gave chase, but stumbled into some angry mushrooms
I asked Our Lady for assistance and she guided us to approximately the right direction.
I think I sold my soul to find Titus...
found a town on the other side of a portal plagued by a series of murders
Met someone named Jess who I went on a date with to get information. The date wasn't very good
Long story short, we murdered the leader of a murder-cult, Yana, whose friend escaped
When we left the town, we encountered Strahd going under the name Sabien.
Later, still, we met Umbra & Nox who recognized me as Shadar-kai (How?)
They helped us infiltrate Strahd's castle
We killed Strahd with Umbra & Nox's help
Oh, also found Titus serving as a personal guard with a black dragon wyrmling named Kavyre
Afterwards, we were in the Shadowfell ever so briefly
Oh we also found a warforged named Aegis
We were left in a wheat field near Silene
There had recently been an earthquake that destroyed Savras's temple there
We signed up to retrieve bodies so Willow could investigate
killed some spider things that stole the faces + voices of our loved ones
Afterwards, found a weird jade temple to Savras with a circlet
when I touched it, I was thrown back
Willow grabbed it and fainted then grew new tattoos.
We made our way to the surface where we met a traveling merchant, Faelyn and his little brother, Terrestri, who we shared our story with.
I think that's it except the mayor of Silene doesn't like us.
(On the bottom of Page 7 is a drawing of Faelyn and Terestri. An arrow pointing to Terestri says, "his little bro". One arrow pointing to Faelyn says, "hot merchant!" and another arrow says, "definitely not rich tho..." with an unhappy face.)
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Journal of Valweld'mion Gi'ila, Volume 1, Pages 2-3
27th of Raqi, 368
To whom it may concern,
If you are Aera, Marvey, Jeff, Meyloni, Aegis, Willow, Umbra, Nox or Titus: Congratulations! You have the dubious honor of outliving me. I am not the true immortal my father was. Unfortunate we are both finding out this way.
If you are not any of these people and you found this in a pile of corpses: Well I can't say things will work out for you. Here's hoping whatever killed us died of old age. We certainly didn't!
If at all possible, please deliver letters of any known persons. Otherwise, give this journal to the nearest priest of The Raven Queen. I wish it to be delivered to my father, Eld'rhistel.*
If you are the priest: My father is one of the Court. Shouldn't be difficult to find. Fuck off tall, goth elf with bat ears - fuck, they're probably all like that, hm? Well, you've his name. I absolutely will
haunt you if you don't deliver this. I'm a stubborn bastard, don't test me.
* Maybe let Faelyn have a crack first. Thanks! -Mila from a few weeks later
** Faelyn, please remove indicated pages before letting this be given to my father
(Scrawled in the margins of Page 2 is Faelyn's address.)
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Journal of Valweld'mion Gi'ila, Volume 1, Page 1
27th of Raqi, 368
Don't snoop in my shit
Unless I'm dead. Then, read on to the next page at your leisure. What do I have to lose? I'm dead.
Or, as you know me,