Warm-Up Wednesdays | Untitled Fantasy Snippet | 10/19/2022

A little baby “enemy lovers writing letters in a fantasy setting” thing influenced by playing too much Fire Emblem lately. Also, wow, first person POV, how unlike me.

The ink flows thick and heavy as blood. I’ve always lacked the patience for letters, but today it comes out particularly sloppily. The weather is all wrong, cold and damp, and the paper absorbs the ink as well as a stone would. None of this stops the frantic scratch of my quill. The import of sending the message supersedes the need for skillfully doing so.

Cease this at once, my splattery hand reads. I know what you are trying to do, and it won’t work.

The candle beside me gutters thanks to a sharp huff of wind from the open window. Tsking, I use a spell to relight it, the words tumbling out of my mouth with the confidence of a lifelong habit.

To my dismay, lifting my arm to cast the spell had smeared the ink even more than it already had been. I groan, trace over the letters that had been smeared, and continue on.

I’ve seen you on the front lines. Such recklessness will earn you no respect from your people nor from me. You are better suited to the council and you know it.

I do not bother with signing the missive. She will know who it is from. My method of exchanging messages with her is by way of her vulture, a huge, ugly thing that always seems to know when to come to me.

Sure enough, I turn to the window and it is there, filling it up with its bulk. It allows me to attach the message to its leg. The bird does not so much as look at it me before taking off.

The reply comes in the form of a letter folded into a tiny star and placed amongst my weapons in the vault. It’s, as ever, a way to show how easily a spy can penetrate my ranks. What must they think, being told to perform odd little chores like this? Relishing in taunting me, perhaps.

My fingers feel thick and clumsy like I’m wearing gloves, but I’m careful not to tear the paper.

In a far more measured hand, with needlessly ornate script: No.

It is underlined four times in case I did not get the message, planted dead center in the middle of the paper. I almost rip it to shreds, stopped at the last possible moment thanks to noticing a more thorough message on the back. I smooth out where I had started to rumple it.

Your concern is touching, but unneeded. After all, you’ve gone this long without killing me. I think that you can hold out a while longer.

Perhaps I can, but I don’t trust my ability to stop any given soldier for pressing their advantage if they catch her unawares.

I start to write a letter to tell her as much, the ink less splattery and runny than before but no less impassioned for it. This endless back and forth is, in many ways, more taxing than exchanging blows on the battlefield, but… well. I can pretend to myself that they are love letters. I wonder if she does the same.

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