Dearest Yun

By Minmei

Please forgive my rudeness. The war grows long, and I am weary.

I took a temporary leave of absence from my position as captain of the Zexen Knights, but I feel maybe I have abandoned more than that.

When I first walked into this place, this sanctuary, I still held within me this uneasiness. It is not that I knew of any approaching danger; I simply was not used to such a foreign people or their rituals. I felt as though I did not belong, especially not after all the animosity between our lands.

...Still, you kindly welcomed me, as did the rest of your people.

You say you knew of my arrival for many years, and that you felt that you knew me. Forgive me for saying so, but I doubt you knew me any more than a passing face would. Even if that face were to have seen all the blood I spilled in battle. For that face could not look beyond such titles as ‘Silver Maiden’ or ‘White Hero’...and certainly not ‘the she-devil who slays a ludicrous number of men with a single swing of her sword.’ I do not care for such titles anyway.

Annoyed as I was with tall tales and titles, they never truly affected me...until the day I lived up to one of those tales. It was never my intention to do so; I desired the survival and well-being of my men. The raid should not have gone as far as it did. We should not have been so consumed with bloodlust.

I...should not have taken that life.

I was merely defending myself, but I was in quite an ill mood. For that, I struck down an innocent lad.

The only comfort is that he went quickly, but that could not erase the remorse I felt inside. Nor could it erase the grief felt by the friends who surrounded him, and any family he may have had. I knew not if he had any family. Was he a war orphan? Or had he been separated from his parents? How would they take the news when they learned of his fate?

These and many similar thoughts filled my head when I was away from the battlefield and friends. Things, regrets, aching feelings...I knew they were there, but I was not about to let them loose. I am a captain of a renowned and respected group of knights. One of my men told me I should always assert myself. And that I should keep strong, for I am a symbol of hope for all those citizens and knights who believe in me. As long as I never had to think about my crimes, I could be strong.

But all that changed on this journey. Though battles I fought, they were not under the leadership of some courageous ‘Silver Maiden.’ I was only doing what I thought was right. All these tasks I completed brought me closer and closer to my goal--finding the man that held clues of the whereabouts of my father. Though I knew not exactly where these tasks would lead me.

You and your sisters never once judged me since the moment we all became acquainted. Forgive me for not having the courtesy to do the same; I had been stuck in Zexen ways for so long, I thought not of others. You see, Yun, whether I am a captain or a hero or a simple swordswoman, I will always be bound to the ways of the battlefield. My thoughts, my beliefs...they all come together there. Living and dying by the sword...for death is inevitable in war...

But never once did I consider it acceptable for someone to willingly sacrifice his or her own life, no matter the circumstance. I had always believed a person should have a say in his life, a chance to stand up and claim his place. He or she should have the chance to fight for that right, at the very least.

So when I learned you yourself had declined that right, I could not understand. You say you had seen this day for as long as you can remember...yet how could you live not dreading it? How could you go on knowing your fate, and in the end, not doing a thing to change it?

Knowing the outcome fills my heart with great anger...and overwhelming despair. For now, I am no different from you, knowing what will happen and not stopping it. It is now I realize how needlessly preachy I had been over a subject I knew nothing about, and I hope you’ll forgive me for that.

Forgive me for making a scene...your friends and family only had the best of intentions. Forgive me for having been skeptical...I could see in your eyes that you were sincere about everything. Forgive me for protesting the ritual...I was frightened that this time I could not prevent another innocent life lost. But I know how that you were no mere innocent life. You, from birth, knew of incredible events that were to come. And whether you strayed from the path of fate or not, you ultimately made your own choice on how to live your life. And it is because of that choice that I am here today.

I am holding onto you tightly, but I cannot help but be reminded of the one I slew. I knew more about your life than his, but that does not mean his life was of any less worth. I am sorry I must think of him as you are to depart...but I am also sorry I did not do more for him, or even think more of him, in his hour of death. But in your hour, I am overtaken with memories of both you and him...the grief floods inside me like a emotion pleading for release.

I weep openly and freely, knowing present will become past, and that past forever remains unchanged. And this time, it is not up to me to decide. Though I cry for all those who have lost someone in this war, I also cry for myself, recalling sins I left behind in my past. I wonder, will these tears wash away the blood I have spilt? Will they cleanse the blood of that young boy whose life I took, a stench which lingers on my hands still? Perhaps...I am hoping they will wash away those memories entirely...

Another battle commences...more blood strange it is I would fear for your life when you are to sacrifice it at this moment. Tears of anger stain my face as I fight with all my might...but their powers, their is too much for us. I pray they do not get to you. It is all I can do even as I use the last of my strength to prop myself up.

The fiends are gone. The crowd all around has grown quiet. Some are picking themselves up after this last battle, while others linger for one reason or another. You...are already gone. You went safely during the fight. This fact offers the slightest bit of comfort to me...but doesn’t change what has happened.

I feel a pair of hands wrap themselves around my waist, pulling me off of the ground. I am too physically exhausted to resist. Those hands pull me to their owner, but allow me one more glimpse in your direction. Gripped by my sadness, I cannot help but shed a few more tears. I turn and bury my face into his shirt, as though waiting for him to somehow bring you back. Nash consoles me as best as a friend is able to. Your sisters are strong, as they were waiting for this moment as long as you were. I can only hope someone was able to console his family too.

Though I hold Nash close, I am gaining the strength to realize many things. I must stop asking forgiveness, and learn to forgive myself. I am a knight, a captain, Zexen’s hope...I have no room for detrimental emotions. If I cannot forgive myself, how can I expect anyone else to? Consumed by such terrible feelings, I would only live half a life. I could not properly lead my men, the knights who depend on me. I could not truly protect the region I had sworn to.

Whether I am the Silver Maiden or the traveler I have been on this journey, I must always look forward. Both you and the other child are gone now, but I will not forget either one of you. When I think of you, I won’t remember the grief or regret, but I will always be reminded to go on. That today, my life is still in my hands. And despite the past, I will still go on to protect many lives with my sword. These are the sort of thoughts that carry me through this sad time. These are the thoughts that comfort me, filling me with renewed strength and hope.

Yes, Yun, I am ready to leave this place behind.

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