The bard walks through the door to her house. He had just returned from his journey to Lennok’s Town in the land of Masa'tsu, where he met with the priests and the mayor, the fifth in the Lennok clan, to discuss a matter concerning the dragons of Taconica, in the mountains to the west. The priests needed a bard to learn the enchantment song of the Taconican dragons, and Tessal was renowned throughout the known world for his skill and talent. While in the process of attending to that matter, a messenger came to him from Airoti D’Azilé, his true love in Paixamour. Now, mind you, reader, that when the author writes “true love,” he does mean that these two were almost inseparable, and indeed were inches from engagement. However, the news borne to Tessal was not of the good sort. In fact, the message was disheartening. She had chosen to end the relationship, and would not have it any other way. Tessal, being in no position to respond or react, was distraught for the remainder of the moon cycle which he would spend in Lennok’s Town. His treatment of the dragons proving sufficient enough for the priests thereof, The not-so-Jolly Bard returned, as quickly as the winds would allow, to the Pleafwood Forest and his hometown.
Without even considering a venture home first, he enters her house, as he had almost every day for a year previous, and greets its residents starting with her mother.
“Why, Tessal! You’ve returned!” exclaims Arabra D’Azilé, rising from the table and dishing Tessal a tight squeeze. “How was your trip?”
“Oh, it was fine,” replies Tessal, squirming out of her grasp.
Picking himself up off his chair, Selrach D’Azilé stretches his hand out. “Is the world safe again, Tessal?” he half-jokes.
“Well, at least Mayor Lennok can sleep well for a while,” Tessal remarks back. Immediately, he becomes serious again. “Um… is Airoti around?”
Both parents look at each other, then Arabra sighs and points upstairs. “You’ll find her in her room. But, please understand, Tessal. She knows what’s best for her.” She gives a half-smile and sits back down. Selrach follows suit.
Tessal ascends the staircase contemplatively. «Why could she not wait until I returned so we could discuss the situation? Something must be dreadfully wrong.» He stands in front of her door, breathes, and knocks. She knows who is there, without even moving or speaking. His knock is all too familiar. She opens the door and silently beckons him inside. She looks a shade paler, and her usual smile has been replaced with indifferent lips. Shutting the door, she walks up to Tessal, and with a short pause, gives him a hug.
“I’m glad you’re back,” she sighs.
Tessal becomes confused. She releases and leads him to sit. Sitting next to him, Tessal notices she is as beautiful as ever. Nonetheless, something does not sit right with him. She stares off, and Tessal knows something is definitely bothering her.
“What is wrong?” Tessal inquires.
She turns to look at him. Her sunken, greenish, half-elven eyes look into his. From there, he can see right into her very soul, and he shudders noticing some kind of deep pain. For some reason, he feels like he cannot look any longer, as if something in her eyes were rejecting his. He turns away. A hole develops in his chest, and he feels lost and hopeless.
She speaks. “I’m hurting too, because of this.”
Tessal continues to not understand. «If this is hurting her, then why did she do it?»
“But this is something I need to do. I felt so… chained. Like I was trapped and I couldn’t escape. I’m young, Tessal. And I don’t need to be married now.”
Tessal dies. Or, at least he would have, if he had his sword on him. His world collapses. Nothing is right anymore. Hell is heaven, and heaven is hell. His mind spirals; he thinks of lots of things to say and lots of things to do, but his will power battles his mind. It is a close battle, one in which might never end now. A year flashes before his eyes. The meeting, the courting, the passion, the oneness: it all passes before him, and almost instantly, loses its lustre, becoming nothing. To go from everything to nothing is a big step. And Tessal has just taken that step. He feels like he is nothing, an empty void. A thousand powder kegs had just exploded in his heart. And it was taking no prisoners.
She looks at him, a collapsed, broken man. He cannot help but think that something else is behind it, remembering the nights they spent together dreaming of their eventual joining. But, without much else to do save begging, he bids her a forced good day, mentioning that he may not see her tomorrow. She immediately shoots up.
“Wait! What do you mean?”
He brings his head up, and she realises instantly his intent to do away with himself that very evening.
“No! Now listen.” She draws him into a sitting position on the bed. “Even though we may be apart like this, you have to realize that I still… care for you. I just feel like… I need some time. You must understand. We need to be friends.”
He takes some time. “Well,” he concedes, “if we are to be friends, then… we had better be best friends.” He adds with a weak smile, “You know too much.”
She returns a weak smile, and throws him one last hug. He kisses her on the cheek before getting up to leave. Just before the door, he stops and turns around.
“Never forget,” he says into her eyes. Then, quoting some song lyric obviously important to their former relationship, he exits, leaving the girl to herself. He wonders if there will ever be a time when they would once again rule over each others’ hearts.