How have you been? I know that your father and I have been gone for quite some time, but there’s no need to worry anymore. As of today, the Guardians drove out the Rogues that occupied New Perfi. By the time you get this, we’ll probably be just a Duscan away from the Castle.
Reading this brought Solana great comfort. It was a kind of serenity that she hadn’t felt in quite some time. Not since she left that fateful day to Crucani, where, upon her return, she stumbled upon Elijah for the first time. The days before everything changed.
I’m sure this brings you great joy to hear, because we are so excited to come home. We’ve been separated for far too long, darling. At least you have some incredible friends to keep you company. Celeste and Keith has always been so kind to you, and your new friend Elijah seems like a very nice boy. I hope his training is going well. Then again, I have nothing to worry about. A Hidden like him needs someone as level-headed as you to guide him.
Solana couldn’t help but feel somber upon hearing this. Two of her best friends were trapped by their own grief. Elijah, who had already felt the pain of losing his family, now struggled with guilt, as if he had been the cause of the death of Celeste’s father. Celeste only felt hatred and disdain for Elijah, unable to grapple with the thought that she had been betrayed by her father’s best friends.
But Solana, worst of all, lamented over even bringing the truth to the surface. Maybe if she didn’t push the two together, time would mend the wounds. Instead, the gashes that ripped into her friends stung after she tried to disinfect them. They were in even worse condition now than they were when they distanced themselves.
About Elijah...you say he’s a White? I hope that’s not the only reason you find yourself so close to him. Solana, please, you cannot worry yourself about that anymore. Your Essence shines brilliantly, no matter what color it may be.
Solana’s hands tightened around the letter. Her mother was much too clever to hide from. She recalled that crucial day in the forest, when her hand was interwoven with Elijah’s for the first time. She remembered how splendidly his Essence shimmered, how the ivory resonated from his palm. How beautiful it was, and how jealous she became.
“You’re right, Mom,” Solana’s eyes began to water. “It started out that way. It’s not every day you find Essence like his. I was curious; I wanted to understand what in Elijah triggered White Essence. But, worst of all...I grew envious of it.”
“It should be ours, Mom. We should have that Essence. What was different about us that White Essence refused to manifest? So, I thought that spending every minute with Elijah would help me get that answer. I even begged the Master to let me train him, so I could observe his behavior and delve into his thoughts.”
“But it’s not like that anymore. I’ve come to cherish all the time I have spent with him. Elijah really is a mystery, Mom. At times, he can be clumsy and reserved. But all of that can flip in an instant, and that’s when the true Elijah appears. He is so timid until you give him a reason to fight. Then, you can see the conviction flare within him, his eyes light up with confidence. When he finishes his training, he will be a great addition to the Order.”
“It’s funny, Mom. When he first came, he was like a lost puppy with a new owner. He was so unnerved, so frightened. All he could ever think about was finding his parents. But now, he’s finally learning that he has a family. I can see that the depression that tortured him for years is starting to subside. And I’m so happy that he is finally learning to deal with his inner demons.”
Solana frowned ruefully, thinking about how close Elijah was to freeing himself from his shackles, only to them to clamp harder onto his heart. Solana didn’t want to even mumble her thoughts, even though she had been confiding in an empty room. Her mother would not be able to hear her, but Solana pretended like she could.
I think your friend really deserves to know the truth, Solana, before he finds out some other way. I wouldn’t want to see your friendship crumble because of something that can be resolved so easily, darling. Especially now that your friendship is blossoming the way it has.
Fear overcame Solana when she thought of telling Elijah the truth. Solana knew that if she told him the real reason why she had done so much for him, Elijah would never look at her in the same light. He was someone who ached for someone who could fill that empty spot in his heart, and Solana was that person. Would he revert to his former ways again? Would he distance himself from Solana?
“Mom, that’s not an option. He can’t know. He can’t possibly know. It won’t end well for either of us. He doesn’t...he doesn’t need any more pain, Mom.”
I need to get back on the road soon. Like I said, expect us sometime during the next IE. I can’t wait to see you again, sweetie. Love you.
Solana smothered herself with her pillow as a river of tears poured from her eyes.