The Nightingale: No Matter the Consequence

My dearest Pengail,

I was five when I knew things were not as they seemed in my life. We were in the study and one of the girls, Romdin, bumped into a round mahogany side table. A fine porcelain vase fell to the floor. It never hit. I caught it. I never knew how, but that was what caught the attention of the Order, Deludhae told me. The swiftness of my reaction pleased her and she put me through a series of games that were really tests and I was on my path toward becoming a Rose.

I was five.

It was around the age of ten that I took the ink and the real learning began.

The power it gives is intoxicating. The world appears different when you know the strength of your arm can bend metal and render death in the blink of an eye. But it quickly became something terrible and frightening. The control needed to blend in with the rest of the citizenry was exhausting. The secret of it ate away at the heart and was crippling. And we needed more. We always needed more to survive. Without it, we would fade away to nothing and become mere shadows of who we once were.

The girls that were chosen to be Roses always had nothing else to turn to. When you owe the Lady your life, you give it. We were slaves or lacked family to protect us. If we disappeared, died, or shunned marriage no one would care enough to question it. We were forbidden to engage in relationships outside the Order to prevent such a care from forming.

And only since I found you do I understand why.

The strength and speed of the ink is nothing to the power I feel when I am charged with your love. I have everything to lose because I have you and you are everything. I cannot fix the pain I have caused you by keeping the truth from you. There is no time to regain your trust. Innocent people are hurting and lives are at risk because of me. I should have stood up to her long ago.

Master Kemendin fears I will not return from House Aearanel.

But it must be done.

Just as you said, I have to do good, Pen, no matter the consequence. If I did not do this, there would be no way I was worthy enough to even ask for your trust. Your love. You are my conscience and my guide to redemption.

Thank you. Thank you for giving the freedom of your love. I only wish I could grow old with you by my side and raise little horsemen that could jump so high they could fly and girls that could run as fast as the wind. I wish we were free to watch the stars come out each night and wake to the rosy dawn each morning and measure our lives only with our love.

Pengail, I know in my heart that even if I go there to die, we will find one another again. I will always be with you.

Always.

With all my heart,

~Arameril

P.S. Please take care of Auriel for me. She only just found her way to me.

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