The Quest for Personal Truth
The charming sound of Litha’s laughter warmed Jared's heart and soothed his soul. As Havanna sat herself down on the bench beside him, a sigh escaped the hybrid’s lips as she took his free hand.
“Well, what should I talk about? Did I ever tell you about my mother, Faolis?”
Jared gathered his thoughts, and told his cousins everything he knew about his dear beloved mother.
“So, Faolis was the youngest of the family. She was a magic prodigy, and graduated top of her class. I don’t know how, but she mastered every form of light magic imaginable. My mother never meddled with anything that shouldn’t be touched, dark magic, the fabric of reality or nature, you get the point.
“About a year or so after finishing school, she began to write the Faolis Volume, pouring all of her magic knowledge into it, with the hopes of passing it onto her offspring one day. And, believe it or not, during a family trip to Angadil Kulet, she met Edison Sandeye, my father, a master blacksmith and an overall fine young man. I remember him telling me once that it was love at first sight! Doesn’t that just warm your heart? Anyway, Kath’een disapproved of the courting, but Toradar and the Queen were in full support. Four or five years later, Faolis and Edison were married, and they both moved to Eselbrador.”
“Now, it’s tradition in Eselbrador that on the 10th birthday of your offspring, the parents should each give them a special gift, a treasure to last the rest of their child’s life. When the day came for me, my mother gave me her Volume, and my father forged my first sword. Both of these things I hold closer to my heart more than anything else. At first, I wasn’t sure if I should take my mother’s spellbook from her; but then she assured me that once I discovered my own magical powers, all the secrets of the Volume would be revealed to me. I also inherited my father’s blacksmith trade, and believe me, it made the work much easier for him, having an assistant and apprentice by his side."
Jared squeezed his cousins’ hands affectionately, giving each of them kisses on their cheeks.
“OK, listen, don’t ask me to talk about their deaths. Don’t make me tell the story about that bandit raid that changed my life forever. It’s just…not something I like to remember. It’s not that I have tried to suppress the memory, but rather, I don’t want to dishonor their memories. So, please, if it’s not too much to ask, please have some respect for the passionate love I have for my parents, because I treasure them more than anything else in the world.
“Anyway, did I leave anything out?”
OOC: I'm sorry that I made you wait so long.
Litha smiled sadly. "I remember how I felt when my father passed. It's a particular sort of pain, isn't it? Falmouth and I were betrothed just two months before… Before he left us." She shook her head and brushed away tears. "I still miss him, so much it hurts. He was supposed to be there, with me, on my wedding day... Ten years is a long time for some people, but it wasn't long enough for that dream to die. It wasn't until I was standing there with Falmouth that I realized he wasn't coming back. I've never felt so alone and afraid in my life. But Falmouth's here, now. Ten years of searching and I found him - we found him. I don't have to be alone anymore. I don't have to be afraid anymore. I don't have to be lost anymore, because home is next to him. Home is in his arms. Home is anywhere, so long as we don't have to separate. I could stare down the worst pain, even death, if he was beside me. Nothing is truly as terrible as it looks at first, not if you have your beloved beside you. I could go through hell with a smile on my face if Falmouth was with me."
Havanna hugged Litha. "None of us knew what to say when your father passed. You grew up so much faster than we did because of that pain." She turned to Jared. "Thank you, Jared, for telling us about our beloved Aunt. We never knew very much about her, and we've very much wanted to."
Havanna chuckled lightly. "I have no adventure to tell, no sad tale of loss and pain, no great story of how I found love... But all the same, I would not trade my song for either of yours. I am well content with my fairy-tale love story and my beloved."
Jared also hugged Litha as she spoke of her late father. He couldn’t help but feel his heart melt in sympathy, and he put his arm around her shoulder, holding her close to his chest.
“You and Falmouth are a match made in heaven. Your love for each other can and will never die. I know it, because what is made in heaven lasts throughout the eternities. The same goes for Havanna and Kefinal; when it is finally their turn to be sealed together in marriage, the Gods will smile down and bless them with good fortune and love that will always remain powerful. That’s just my belief, at least; you two might beg to differ, and I wouldn’t judge your perspectives.”
Jared looked down at the decorated bracelet on Litha’s wrist, then up at the golden dragon that decorated her neck. His gaze then turned to Havanna, who was staring at the fountain, her hand still curled around his own.
“My cousins, my beloved cousins…you are the family I never knew I had. Although I will never know the reasons why you were kept a secret from me all these years, I believe it’s for the best. Some things just have to remain secret, you know? Like some of the Faolis Volume: because I’m half-Human and not full-Elf, I can’t translate all of my mother’s magic spellbook. Very much of it still remains unknown to me, and maybe the time just isn’t right for me to learn the truth yet.
“Anyway, is there anything else you lovely ladies want to discuss? I’m open to any kind of conversation right now, the night is still fairly young.”
Havanna got up off the bench and curled like a cat in the grass, to stare up at the moon. "She's smiling tonight, Litha. I think you have made her happy."
Litha looked up and waved at the cream face of the moon, then looked back to earth. "So, Jared, what do you and Melinda have planned? When do you depart, has it been decided yet?"
Jared stood up and stretched, and joined Litha in gracefully waving at the pure white moon above their heads. He stayed standing while Havanna curled up like a gentle animal on the grass. The hybrid pulled Litha close to him and let her head fall on his shoulder.
“I’ve talked with the others, and we all agree that the best time to leave would be within a week from tonight. If that’s all right with you and your family. I know that Falmouth won’t object; I’ve already spoken to him about it. But I just wanted to get your opinion. As for Melinda and I, we don’t really want to get married yet. Too early would be rushed; too late would be, well, too late. Next year, I think, will be the right time.”
Litha nodded. "That sounds wonderful. I wonder if we might make the trip to attend the wedding? If you didn't mind, of course."
She sighed and moved to sit again. "By this time next year, we shall be a family of four. Shush, don't tell anyone. It's too soon to know for certain. But we suspect…"
She sighed again and relaxed. "It grows late and my lover awaits. Do we wish to talk further? I don't mind, but..."
Jared let Litha go and watched her sit down again. A tinge of curiosity suddenly touched his heart as the newlywed Elf-girl said that she suspected something.
"Wait a minute, dear cousin. You don't really think-?" But he stopped himself short and turned away from her. "No, no, it's too soon to jump to conclusions. It's not my place to ask. Sorry, Litha, that was uncalled for. I'm sorry."
"In any case, I'd best get you two home." Jared reached down and helped Havanna to her feet. "Let's go, the quickest way back out of the castle is through these corridors over there. Then we can make a cut through the throne room and out to the main road. Come on. Our lovers await us, and it'd be best not to make them wait any longer."
"It is too soon to know, and maybe I oughtn't have mentioned it. But one can hope!" She smiled warmly and took his hand as he led them out.
At the main road Havanna was met by Kefinal, who greeted Jared with a strong hug and Litha with a kiss to the cheek, then stole his intended away.
"Would you walk home with me, Jared? Falmouth has gone on with Marla, to put her to bed. I am not frightened to walk alone but it is most often friendlier with two. It is strange how different things can be sometimes. I spent such a long time hunting for Falmouth and now he's here, and I almost feel like no time at all was lost. And Marla, dear child, is here. And I have another cousin, and Havanna is betrothed, and… It is just strange to think of where I was a year ago and how vastly different it is now."
Jared looked on in amusement as Kefinal stole Havanna away, and waved to them as they exited the gardens. He took Litha by the hand, and obviously was quite amazed when she requested that he walk home with her. He took the youthful Elf lady in his arms and held her close to his chest, lowering his head down to kiss her hair. Then, letting her go, the cousin held her hand once more, and they too exited the Fountain Gardens.
"Litha, I…I can't start to express what I'm feeling right now. I generally thought – indeed, I accepted – that after my parents passed on, I had lost all the family I had left in this world. But you, your mom, and Falmouth… you changed me, and my life. We changed one another in more ways than we can even understand, don't you agree? To me, what we have right here, this is love. Yes, things are different now, with new family; yet we will come to learn why in time. There are only a few things, a few privileged secrets that the Gods aren't prepared to reveal to us yet. When the time is right, all truth as to why we are family will be uncovered."
With this, he kissed her warmly on both her cheeks and after that on her temple. He had taken in the practice from his mother, who had educated him in appropriate Elvish traditions and customs with family and companions. They proceeded not far off for a few more minutes, then as they happened upon the front yard of the house, Jared welcomed Falmouth with a firm embrace and handshake, and traded kisses with Litha yet again, he bowed respectfully to the couple, and went on his way back home, guided by the silvery white serene moonlight.
Litha watched him go with a faint smile flirting around her mouth, then turned and fell into Falmouth's arms. "Home at last, dearest…" She sighed, snuggling into her shoulder.
He chuckled and rubbed her back. "Come inside, Litha-my-love."
Litha nodded and followed him inside, turning to shut the door. She watched Jared out of sight before closing it with a contented sigh. Falmouth had two glasses of wine and a bowl of fruit on a tray, and he stood waiting for her.
"Night falls outside." Litha spoke softly.
"Yes. Even the Earth must have her rest before turning a new page."
~~~ So amazing to write with you, Jared! I don't think I have anything else to say for this story. Blessings, my friend.~~~