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A Harried Departure
A follow-up to “The Snow Drifted Carelessly”, by Denton the Stableman

I watched as the young girl stormed in the door.Verily, she was quite the one to watch. With that exciting leather outfit, and the eye-catching red she wears, it's all I can do to keep my mind on the horses when she visits the Town Hall.

Anyway, she didn't seem to notice me there, as she was visibly distraught. Her pretty blue hair was frizzled, and didn't lay neatly in the girlish pleats she usually wore. Her eyes were wild and the few things that concealed her muscular limbs had obviously been donned in haste.The warrior-girl chomped nervously on her fingernails as she paced the floor. She was muttering under her breath. Curious, I strained my ears to catch her words. What could possibly distress such a carefree girl as this?

"Damn you!" she was saying. "This is all my fault.... I should never have released you..."

Then, in anger, she violently thrust her fist into the stone wall. It took all my self-control not to rush to tend her hand, from which a bright red fountain now gushed.

Her eyes went blank, and she sank to the floor while two great tears formed in her deep brown eyes. I wanted to comfort her.... but she was whimsical and fierce at times, and the sense of my own mortality told me it would be best not to interfere.

"This is all my fault... what should I do? I can't live with myself, knowing what my thoughtless, selfish actions have wrought.... how..... without you...." I looked on in horror as she unshethed a dagger, and stared bleakly at her reflection in the polished steel. Surely she wouldn't-- she couldn't---

...And suddenly a golden light filled the room. A peace, a golden calm, settled over me. There was someone in the next room with the girl, and though I could not see her, her silvery voice was audible to my ears.

"Daughter, thy manner and ways are that of a child. Now dost thou stand upon the brink of adulthood, with thy mind and emotions reeling through the realm reserved for those much more mature than thee."

She looked up, tears streaming freely down her rosy cheeks. "But what can I do? I cannot live.... not like this...."

Then there was laughter, light and airy, like the chime of bells. "Dwell not upon what thou dost not understand, as thou'rt unequipped to comrehend the changes coming over thee. Thou art a bud, tightly closed, that wishes to feel the warmth of the sun. But thou wilt not frolic in the sunlight until thou canst detach thyself from the ways of thy youth, and stretch thy petals to the sky."

Fear and apprehension crossed her delicate features as she thought upon those words. When the mysterious golden figure concluded her speech, my heart near stopped in disbelief.

"I abjure thee, Aya of Moonglow. Thou cannae remain thus as a child. Go thou forth and explore thyself. Put aside thy childhood and become the woman I intended thee to be, and return not unto this place until thou hast fulfilled my instructions."

She cried bitterly, and my tears joined hers. She was going to leave? I'd never mustered up the courage to speak to her on any subject aside from business. I was always too busy tending her horse to take her upstairs and ask her to dance. And now she was leaving?

She came to me with her tears still welling up. I held back my emotions and did my very best to act as if I had not eavesdropped upon the whole situation. She looked at me with eyes and burned in angst. Was she going to ask me to come with her? Would she tell me she would return soon? Would she confess that she would miss me until her return? Perhaps she--

"Vendor, I have to claim my horse from you now."

A pang of loss struck me to the heart. Not this day. I swallowed my pride and my pain. "Here is thy pet, Northwind." The other words swam in my mind, but I could not bring myself to say anything more.

She led the horse to the door, and my heart throbbed as I looked upon her, for possibly the last time.

The golde voice whispered as Aya ran away. "Learn to love thyself, Aya of Moonglow.... and then canst thou return to share thy love with others."

And now she is gone. Do I dare hope for the best?


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