I cover Lux with Ashleigh’s altar and stare out over the cityscape. I think about the last time I was here, what feelings had been stirred within me, what thoughts were coursing through my mind. I wrap my cloak closer around me as a coldness spreads through my body that has nothing to do with the air. It seems so long ago.
I think on Brian and Mhairie. I’m happy for him, for both of them. It warms my heart that he has at last found happiness. He seems content and at peace. …Will ever I feel this way myself? No, I tell myself, you walk a lonely path. Marius’s words come back to me. You are not Ashleigh. I remember the fury, the anger, the offense at those words. As I gaze out at the quiet city, I realize that those feelings came because he was right. I was changing. I felt it in my soul. I have come so far from the girl that once sat here.
A feeling of great sadness comes over me as I think on the past few weeks. I had pushed away all those who would love me, all those who would care about me. I had pushed away parts of me, thinking that if I was alone then I wouldn’t hurt again as I had hurt when I saw that Ashleigh was not in Ellery’s liar.
Ashleigh… Jig’s words come back to me. Maybe he not dead. At the time, I had refused to believe that. I couldn’t allow myself to hold onto a hope that seemed so far away. I needed to grieve for my friend, my companion, my god, my love. What if he were to see me in my present state? What would he say? What would he think of me? I felt a feeling of guilt wash over me. I started to cry softly as I acknowledged the truth. Micah held the truth of it. I should not have left. I should have stayed. I should have continued on my own path. This was not where I was meant to be. No wonder I felt so lost. I pushed away everyone and everything, blind to anything but my own pain, my own hurt. I walked away because I knew that was the best way to do it, quick and simple, like the cuts I had put on Micah’s finger.
I missed them all.
I missed Kiira and her companionship, her quiet concern, her support, her love. I know I hurt her. I know my words cut deep. I meant them to. My heart hurts as I remember the cruel words and the harsh silence. I was wrong to have treated her as I did. She did nothing to deserve that. I was supposed to protect her, to love her. She is one of my closest friends. I wanted to deliver her baby not because of some sense of duty, but because I loved her and I wanted to share that with her. I wanted to see the baby safe into the world. I wanted to see the joy on Kiira and Jericho’s face as their child wailed. I wanted to put the baby into its exhausted mother’s arms as she wept in pain and relief and joy. I wanted to be a part of that because she was my best friend. I promised not because she needed me, but because I wanted her to need me to do that. An ache filled my heart as a lump got caught in my throat. I missed her so much.
I missed Jig and his broken common, the friendship I had just found in him. I miss his way of thinking, so simple and yet so complex. I miss him trying to teach me orcish. I loved seeing the understanding on his face when he finally was able to read. I was finding that I enjoyed his company, that he meant more to me than I ever thought possible. There was a depth there I had only brushed in passing. His face comes back to me as I tell him that I’m leaving. I see the hurt in his eyes and I know that there are some things that I cannot heal.
There are wounds I’ve created that are deeper than I know. I thought if I was alone that things would be better. But they’re not.
I let the sobs out then, the ones I’d been holding back. I cried for everything- for my friends, for this journey, for Ashleigh, for Sabwa, for Grimm, for Marius, for Micah. Fool girl! I chided myself. You left them. How could you? You left the most important people in your life behind without a second thought. They love you, Alanna. They love you. You are worth something. Your path is not a lonely one. You are not meant to be alone. That will never be your path. You are meant for other things. Alone is not one of them. Weep if you must, but then let it go, let the pain leave with the tears. Stop holding onto the hurt and let it go.
I look up at the stars. They were the same ones I had seen when I lay on the roof with Jig and Marius, although not as brilliant and clear as they had been then. It hit me all of a sudden. ... I had to get back. I had to go back to them. First I would go to Illidia and then I’d return. I knew that it would be hard. There were things I broke I’m not sure I can mend again. But I’ll be damned if I wouldn’t try. No more of this foolishness. No more of this folly. The time for childishness is over. I have grieved now. Let that be enough.
You are only as needed as you allow yourself to be. The wisdom in the words Lux spoke to me earlier started to sink in. I thought they no longer needed me, that I didn’t bring much to the party. I felt lost, helpless, unneeded. I thought no one would miss me. I thought I’d find my own path elsewhere. I was wrong. I know that now.
I hear my mother’s voice come back to me from a time long ago. Use your power for good, Alanna. Embrace it. Explore it. You have the power to change the world if you only believe in yourself. You are destined for great things, I see it in you. Promise me you’ll use your power for good.
“I will, Mother,” I whisper into the silence. I am Alanna Silverkin. I dry my tears. The time for tears is done. A great task lies ahead of me and I must be prepared for it. I must set out to change what I can and go where I am needed. I have much to do. I’ve already wasted far too much time.