“Loss … Loss is something that you will unfortunately come to know well my dear one. Since you carry my blood in your veins you will outlive many of those who are special to you. It may be of natural causes from being a shorter-lived race or it may be sudden and, Ranayla forbid, violent depending on the company you keep. Just remember that whomever enters and leaves your life cannot ever be forgotten unless you allow it.”
Ta’lin sat in the cushioned window seat of her small but richly furnished room in Ozzie’s family home. She stared outside not seeing the sunshine or the rich colors of the trees just outside or hearing the muted commotion of city life. She sat motionless for uncounted hours, recalling the conversation she had with her father many years ago before she left to study at the bard’s college. She had always thought it was an oddly morbid send off speech for a young woman just starting her life on her own. Granted, her mother was very sick at the time but the physician had said she would recover within a fortnight or so. She was too young and too naive to truly take to heart what he was saying at the time. Ta’lin had never truly experienced true loss until recently. Sure, she was saddened when Gnawl was killed but they had only been acquaintances. Jerrick, in all his damned gruffness and ill-tempered manners was a dear friend…
She tried to recall the events of the past few days. She remembered seeing Tyna come in late at night with a tear streaked face and blood soaked clothes. She remembered the words, “Jerrick has been murdered… I avenged him by returning the favor to those responsible.” After that everything became muted. Ta’lin closed her eyes and pressed the heels of her hands onto her lids until spots began to form. Gods, she couldn’t even remember how she got to her room. She looked despondently at the gilded tray of cold tea and uneaten food. She had neither eaten or slept since she heard the awful news two..or was it three?… days ago. Everything was blending together now.
The tears she thought would…should be shed never came. It was as though even now she didn’t want to be weak, thinking he would somehow judge her for it. They may have fought almost constantly but there was a bond between them that she couldn’t describe. She hated that these last few weeks had been especially trying with him becoming more belligerent every day and she most likely helped fan the flames by shouting right back…Gods why?
Rousing slightly from her reverie, she noticed that night had fallen. Someone had come in and lit the fire as well as a few candles around her room. A fresh tray of food had been laid out…she wished they would stop wasting their food on her, she had no interest in it. She looked over at a chair by the hearth that served as a temporary stand for her lute. A present from Jerrick…It seems like ages ago that an “anonymous admirer” passed it on to Millie. She stared at it for a while, then stood up and walked over to the instrument. She picked it up with the gentle touch one would use to lift an infant. She ran her fingers along the dark wood, tracing the delicate and simple flourishing carved along the edges. She took it over to a small table and sat down. Grabbing the small knife she uses to sharpen her pencils, she flipped the lute over and began to carve. Hours passed and the candles shortened as she worked. Once her work was complete, she brushed the shavings away to examine what she had done. She was no artist to be sure, but in a way it worked with the subject matter. Etched into the back of her lute was a rough carving of Jerrick’s likeness as well as the large tree in Il’Valiran, her haven, where she brought him on the night that they truly became friends. Satisfied with her work, she laid the lute on the table so she could easily see the carving. She smiled and the tears began to fall.