Ara looked at the small stone in his hand, still staring at the words.
Eternal love? What does that mean? This just can't be real. It just can't. But it has to be. There's no other explanation. She's bonded herself to me irrevocably. I can't change that, and neither can she.
So now I have no choice.
I have to explain.
With a despairing groan, Ara concentrated hard, searching for Flamara's mind. It was like scrabbling for a black stone in a dark room, impossible to see and impossible to get inside. Then he felt something nudge him, gently at first, but getting harder as he came closer. The stone! Ara blinked in amazement, the stone was showing him the link! Now all he had to do was persuade her to let him in.
~Flamara.~ he thought, pushing his words through her barriers into her mind, and slamming the link closed again before she could respond. He'd need to have his space if he was going to explain.
~I'm sorry for all this. I never meant to hurt you, but there's something you really ought to know. I'm not being a pig when I won't let you get too close. It's just that, once, a long time ago, I let other people get close too. They were more than just my friends, they were like the family I'd never had. They mattered more to me than anything in the world. I even disguised myself as a human in order to stay with them, hiding my true self and keeping my identity secret. But then others got suspicious. They started wondering who I really was. How had a wanderer just emerged from nowherea and taken up residence among them? They started looking for hints as to who I was, trying to bribe my friends to tell them who I was. They wouldn't, and the others got more and more frustrated until they tried to take me by force. I tried to get my friends to stand aside but they wouldn't. They swore they'd fight with me. But I didn't fight. I fled like the coward I was and left them behind, hoping my friends would be spared. But they weren't. By the time I realised what had happened I was too late to help them. They were dead by the time I got there. All murdered for the sake of a coward who had forsaken them to save his own skin. I don't want to let that happen again. I don't want anyone else hurt for my sake. I don't deserve it. I'm a murderer and a traitor. I don't even deserve to live for what I've done. I'm sorry.~
With that, Ara separated himself from Flamara's mind and leant back against the wall, mind flooded with memories.
Forgive me my friends. Please please forgive me.