Letter from Cheryl to Garion.
Written in Summer 74th, Imperial Age 153.
Five hours after the meeting, Cheryl sat at the dressing table in her bedroom and wrote the following words:
“Summer 74th, 153.
I know your habit of dropping everything and running after what’s in your heart, but it’s no use. When you get this letter, in the hole of our tree, it will be too late. Please be patient, read everything, and if your good heart allows, I beg you to forgive me.
That colorful day that ended Summer, when you proposed to me, was the happiest and most beautiful day of my life. I promise: that day, I was completely willing to give everything and everyone up, to flee Ayefall and live our Love.
As the days passed, however, an indescribable fear grew within me, to the point of wrapping my stomach. What would we live of? Where would we live? What would we eat? How to survive only with Love, which fills the heart and the soul, but not the belly?
You have neither money nor possessions; your only source of income is the goodwill of your adoptive father, which, I repeat for the thousandth time, does not care for you. I have seen how he treats you … If he really loved you, he would not put you to fight in his – illegal! – Arenas.
Desperate, for I wanted to be with you, but without risking my future, I broke the solemn promise we made on the last day of summer: I revealed our plans of marriage to my dad.
I hoped my father would convince himself of my arguments; that he would consider you a good man, a perfect husband for me. But he did not even want to meet you, because you grew orphaned on the poor and filthy streets of Ayefall, raised under the stick of a rigid old man that brought you into the wild, lethal world of Arenas. That was enough information to him.
For the first time in my life, I saw my father kneel. He begged me to open my eyes, and at least glimpse the possibility that you were deceiving me, for I am a maiden of noble birth, who would give you what you never had…
He then told me, categorically, that he would never welcome you as his son-in-law, and that I would have to renounce my origins if I wanted to marry you.
I asked my father to give me time to think. To my surprise, he accepted, as long as I promised to say goodbye, in case I decided to run away.
So, the last couple of times I sneaked away from home, I concealed from you my deep anguish, because I could not decide between respecting my family and abandoning them all for you.
I planned to make my decision the day after tomorrow. After we had … ah, I do not want to put this on paper… anyway: I thought it would be easier to decice after doing it.
But oh, Garion, how naïve I was! I thought daddy would let me decide my fate by myself!
Today, when I returned home, I found my parents and a strange man sitting on the living room sofa. They asked me to sit down and listen to what they had to say, something I immediately accepted, because I was worried they knew about our secret meeting earlier.
Dad had spent all that time – since I had revealed the plan to marry you – designing an operation to separate us.
Daddy pulled some strings with friends and contacts within the Empire, and he was just named Commander of an Arena to the east of the Central Sea.
And just like that, to my surprise, I learned that in a few hours, dad, mom and I will have to travel … and, in his words,‘to never return’.
The strange man was the son of a childhood friend of daddy, a very rich man, well-groomed and schooled. He treated me with extreme dignity and elegance…
Dad made a deal, for us to marry.
Garion, I do not have enough ink to reproduce our long conversation, so please forgive me for writing only my conclusions: I’m convinced that my father loves me intensely and wants me well.
I also convinced myself that the man he had brought to meet me is very kind, the type that would never hurt anyone.
My Love, I intensely desire to be the mother of several children, and I want all of them chubby, healthy, well-fed, educated in the best schools… in poverty, they would be none of those, and more subject to fatalities, diseases, hunger…
Seeing the conditions under which you live, I do not think you would be the most suitable father for my future children.
Maybe my dad made the right decision. I repeat: he loves me very much, and made me think of the future.
Until the end of the day, my whole family will start to gallop towards Goldraft’s harbor. I simply can’t muster enough strenght to resist the winds of change, and stay in Ayefall with you. Forgive me.
I know that, one day, if he is good to me, I will be able to love this lad, my fiancé, just as my mother loves my father. Maybe, just as I love you.
Please, do not come after us. Do not try to find out where we are. Live your life, be happy. That’s what I wish you.
I’ll forever keep the necklace you gave me. It’s beautiful, thank you.
Again: please, forgive me.
Proceed to Chapter 2 (coming soon) >>