To my dearest Yomannin,
It is I, Iloku. I am not sure if this epistle will reach you. If it does, be assured, it will be my final one. As I am no seaman, I can only say that I write this from a lonely atoll off the southern coast of Vindavia. It is the result of a shipwreck aboard a Soravian merchant vessel.
I have roved my whole life Yomannin, since I left my homeland of Nusalle. The years that have passed since you last saw me have been eventful. In my travels, I have learned three more languages, such as that of the desert tribes of the Dabal B’quese, Pendaran and the guttural tongue of the Nezlanders. My sword has seen work as a caravan guard, mercenary and bodyguard to the wealthy. I have travelled all over the world and could write for the rest of my days on the wonders I have seen.
The adventures during my life have been many, as have been the women I have known. My heart has raced with the thrill of both and they have almost made me smile…almost, but I could never wash that tavern girl in Caliet from my mind. Aye Yomannin, it is you I have thought about this whole time. Each night, as I lay my head on a stone in the bush, or on a wealthier day; in rented lodgings, I have a great emptiness that could never be filled no matter how much coin I carry in my purse, mead with which I fill my belly, or the warmth of someone else’s touch.
I know that I was never closer to you than a fleeting acquaintance. I had hoped it could be more, but we both know that I could never return to Nusalle. I was a bitter disappointment to my father. Nusalle would welcome me with open arms if I was a swordsman the equal of my father, “The Great Barrand!” Unfortunately, his fame has left me in the shadows.
The reason I write to you Yomannin, is that I realise now that I love you and always have. I know this will be my last eve on this world. I tried to gather more ink from the octopi here. A curious little one with blue rings has bitten me. My vision blurs as I write and I begin to shake. Who would have thought that death could come in such beauty?
It is good to have someone to say goodbye to. The sunset here is the most beautiful I have seen and I cannot think of anyone other than you who I would wish to share it with.
I know you would never return the affections of the penniless wretch you once knew. No doubt you are married by now with a family and have long forgotten me. Just please allow me the delusion of what might have been as the light dims in my eyes.
Goodbye Yomannin, no man has ever loved a woman more before.
He rolled the parchment tightly and drained the last of his bottle of Pendaran rum, before placing it inside. Throwing the bottle into the surf, he gathered his legs in his arms, beginning to shiver with the coming night. The horizon was no longer distinct; just colours in his watery vision, yet still beautiful as he could make out the orange and red above, and the black beneath of what had to be the dusk sea.
His left hand dropped onto the sand, palm turned upwards. For the first time in years, a smile crossed his features as he imagined Yomannin slid her hand into his. The sky turned greyer so gradually, that he could not discern whether it was due to the coming night or his grasp on life was slipping away.
Iloku’s smile broadened. None of it mattered. He had found what few did during their lifetime—true love. The thought sustained him for the rest of his life as the world receded from his mind.
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