"Look me in the eye and tell me you no longer love me."

 

They both knew it would be a lie. She could tell it as much from the warning gleam in his eyes as from the clutching dread in her chest at the mere idea. "No. My heart isn’t made that way, Nacaris. But--"

 

"No buts." He rested his fingers gently against her lips. "Telyn, I promise you this -- we parted ways for the last time back at Falraec. From this point on, where you go, I go."

 

"But Lurudan... Your family..."

 

He shook his head. "There's nothing left for me in Lurudan. There never really was. My future is with you."

 

Tears Telyn promised never to shed again after her mourning at Raiador filmed her vision, and the tracks of dampness on her cheeks told her there was no hiding them this time. Not that she wanted to. These were tears of joy, not sorrow, and she wanted to laugh and cry at the same time.

 

Nacaris was right. This was their time, their shared destiny. She spent too many cycles hiding behind her warrior's creed and the destruction was Fire's darker side, as a girl. It took Nacaris' entry into her life for her to face the wall she built, or even glimpse the passionate side of her nature. But she let her fear control her for too long, sending her running from his arms that night on the dunes, and then again, cycles later, in Ulambara. All he'd ever done was love her. He taught her to realize her heart wasn't dead. No amount of torture or death could ever kill it. Their fates were intertwined, and if she ran away from the powerful emotions Nacaris evoked within her, this time, she might never find the courage to trust anyone, or anything, again.

 

Unable to force sound past the trembling stricture of her throat, Telyn nodded. Nacaris would understand. She trusted him.

Contact Esther Mitchell at:

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