To my dear uncle,
How are you today? I’m doing well. I don’t really know what the weather is like in Shadowmoon, this time of year… though I suppose it doesn’t matter too much, being underground most of the time! It’s getting a lot colder here in Duskwood, though. Today was the first snow of the season! I thought it looked so lovely, the ground sparkling as far as they eye could see. Still fresh & untrodden, save for the road just to the side, which is always getting some traveller or another.
Winter was usually difficult, growing up. I’m sure you can imagine- it’s one thing to enjoy playing in the flurries, and making snow angels. But, it’s another thing altogether to have to brave a Dun Morogh blizzard in mid-December, when you live on the road, and in tents, and whatever inns you pass along the way. It is so… comforting, now, to be looking out from the porch and knowing I may retreat whenever I please.
...but, it’s not nearly as exciting, either. No adventure or danger to be found in a snowman with a carrot stick nose- nor, really, in a snowball fight with Ellisondra and Sevastien. There’s a childlike wonder, yes, but I feel myself craving that shock of adrenaline that I don’t get to feel, anymore. Do you understand that feeling, Uncle? It’s so confusing. I spent so long without any family in my life… surviving, best I could, on my own. And now that I have all this security and love surrounding me… why isn’t it enough? What else is there?
Perhaps I’ll go camping by myself, one of these weekends.
As I look out on the riverbank, nearly frozen solid across the water’s surface, I can’t help but give in to my curiosity. Did you like the snow, as a child? Did you once build snowmen with your little brother and sister, in Elwynn? Maybe even try to catch snowflakes on your tongue..? I bet they delighted in teaming up against you for snowball fights. Little siblings always do, or so I’m told. I wouldn’t really know. Did your Minn’da bundle you up for the cold weather- coat, hat, gloves… a scarf, maybe? Surely. That, at least, seems to be universal to those who had good mothers, and we can agree that Alaisynn is among them. I’ve no doubt.
Or maybe, you just stayed inside, studying. Eyes flickering over every bit of new information you could soak in, running out of books to read so quickly that you resorted to a dictionary. It’d explain your vocabulary, you know. Did you curl up by the fireplace with a nice book, then? I’ve been to the old Steele Manor, you know. We almost wound up living there, actually! But, there’s a memory that kept me from it. I don’t intend to divulge it to you, Uncle- it’s not really any of your business. But I guess… it’s funny how a simple memory used to bother me so much, and now, I look back on it and smile. Not because it wasn’t so bad at the moment, mind you! Rather, because I see my behavior then, as something that has begun to define me. That… protective nature, you and I both possess.
I think you know the Duskwood winters well enough by now, though. Do you think we should stock up on more firewood? I’m planning on taking Elliisondra’s tent down until springtime; she'll sleep inside on the futon when she visits, instead. I’ll want to get some new comforters, too… there’s so much to do before it gets too much further in the year. Before we know it, Winter Veil will be here, and the gala, with it. So much has changed since last year, uncle. I don’t know how I’m going to feel, this time, when we return to Steelhaven.
I’m… not sure if I should even go, to tell the truth. Did you expect that? Everyone’s sweet, and kind, and caring… but I feel they’ll be looking at me differently, now that we’ve met on our own as we did. And the fact is, there’s no reason they should. I am no different than I was before we met. Just armed with more knowledge, and knowing one more member of the family who I love & wish to be involved with.
How long has it been since someone said that to you, uncle? We’ll have to fix that, the next time we meet. I know you’re probably not ready to say such a thing to me, and mean it. But with time, Uncle Lachlainn, we shall see what happens! Perhaps I’ll worm my way into your heart sooner than you think- I’ve been told I have an annoying habit of doing that, with everyone I meet. What can I say?
I know you won’t be able to be there at the Winter Veil Gala- not really. So… consider this your invitation to come have dinner with us for Pilgrim’s Bounty, aye? I’ll work it out with Auntie, and Sev won’t mind, I expect. He’s great at cooking, you know. Not as incredibly blessed in that department as Sidda, but Sidda has had a lot more time to perfect her abilities. Actually… he’s doing really well in this whole domestic role he’s wound up filling- I’m ever grateful for all the hard work my husband does, even if I’m the breadwinner.
My husband. Light, Uncle, you don’t know how it feels to be able to say that, at last! I know you think such things are silly- you said as much when we last met- but it fills me with joy, nonetheless. Were you watching from the shadows, during the handfasting? Is that why Auntie insisted on being there in such a form…? Well, it makes me smile to think you might’ve been able to enjoy it, on some level, so I’ll keep doing so until proven wrong, aye? I think there’s nothing wrong with enjoying what you call mortal frivolity. It might do you some good to do it more often, actually.
I… don’t really know what the lifespan for a half-elf is, off-hand. Certainly longer than mine, and I have no doubt that you have extended yours beyond it, in some way or another. As has Isbeth, now, in her own way. But I doubt that you’re truly immortal, dear uncle- no one really is. Not even demons- though their end comes with extra steps, I suppose. So it’s funny that you call it that. “Mortal frivolities”. What is it that sets you apart from us, truly? You breathe, do you not? And sleep, however infrequently it may occur, I’ve little doubt. You eat and drink. You feel.
You’re just as much a part of humanity as the rest of us, I think- and you won’t be changing my mind about that!
There’s still a little time before the holidays really kick off- let me know if you’re going to come over, so I can make arrangements with Auntie! And do let me know if you’ve any allergies or dislikes I need to be aware of, I’d hate for you to wind up ending a lovely night with a stomach ache.
I’ll be seeing you soon, okay? Stay safe!
Sevastien returned home with two armfuls of bags after his recent trip to the marketplace in remote Stormwind City. Stopping at the doorway, he grinned then whistled sharply. The sounds of excitable panting and heavy thudding paws issued from behind the front door, followed by a fumbling at the knob. *Voila!* The door opened to reveal a greatly pleased Frostwolf sitting patiently, awaiting her due recognition and praise. "Good girl, Morji! 'Sup?!" Sev easily hefted the bags up and side-stepped inside the door with an amused laughter. "Morji...! Yeah, of course you're getting treats! You need to move, girl! Gaaah... Fine. Just gimme a sec--" Sevastien wiped his brow -- more by habit than actual exertion -- and set the bags onto the kitchen table, followed by a small stack of mail he'd retrieved from their postbox on the way in.
There was one distinct envelope in particular that immediately attracted Sevastien's senses. He immediately dropped all of the other letters back onto the table and examined the specific one, finally sniffing at it while inspecting the elegant scrawl on the label. He smiled, pumping his fist into the air! "Fuck yeah! Maureen's gonna be so happy!" Morji, in the meantime, padded into the kitchen and plopped down on her haunches, fully indifferent to the situation. Sev glanced at the bags then over at Morji. "Good thing I did the extra shopping today after all! Huh, girl?!" His brows furrowed suddenly. "...Wait. What if he said no? What if he's not coming? Maureen'll be so bummed... Shit! But I can't open this either, that wouldn't be cool." Sevastien folded his arms, thinking. Morji whined, still awaiting her promised treat.
"I've got an idea," Sev mused, tucking the curious envelope aside next to the drying rack by their kitchen sink. "I'll bring it to her with dinner and some of that really good bourbon An'da gave us. Yeah! Even if the news sucks, at least she'll be in a food coma and kinda tipsy." He smiled, rather pleased with himself, then tossed a fresh, new rawhide bone in Morji's direction. The Frostwolf caught the much-anticipated treat in her jaws then bounded outside through the back door to finally enjoy her snack in sweet solitude!
My ever persistent & idealistic niece,
It seems that approximately a fortnight ago - that is, in the Azerothian measure of time - your letter curiously found its way to my domain lacking any form of response. Etiquette dictates an apology as a remedy for such a breach of proper form… *a blot of ink has pooled following the ellipsis, perhaps an indication of a pause?* While I’m certain that much of what I truly do; the ways in which I toil and endeavor toward achieving my aims, yet remain largely a mystery to you, I know with the utmost certainty that you’ll understand.
You are correct, dear niece. We have no seasons to speak of in Shadowmoon Valley. Yet, I can still recall - however faintly - the winters in Duskwood of which your letter referred. I spent many a night there after all, particularly when the White Witch deigned to take me into Her care and under Her tutelage in my early adolescence. I could detect the scent of an idyllic Duskwood winter upon the envelope which contained your letter. It clings, in fact. Lingers. The smell of… what I can best describe as “the comforts of Home” is also residual upon this parchment. A more compassionate soul might even feel some pang of nostalgia for such a sensory reminder of what feels like a lifetime ago. Subsequently, I can easily discern from such stimuli that you must make a satisfactory dwelling of that home you share with your newly-wed husband.
Also, you will want to at least double your present supply of firewood in preparation for the colder winds of the more harsh winter yet to come. You reside at the riverside; the air is always a few to several degrees cooler there than the deeper environs of the woods. A fine opportunity to put your beloved’s strength to good use, lest such tremendous power as his continue to idle and atrophy amid his continued domestication - a wastefulness of abysmally tragic proportions, I might add.
The feeling you mentioned. To answer your question, yes, I do understand it. To live as I have and continue to exist this way, such a means is a necessity. You denied the observation I made at our initial meeting when I claimed that you court monsters. Yet, have you ever once reflected upon the idea that such desire is a by-product of your innate need for that… “shock of adrenaline”, as you call it. That excitement you crave. Keeping such rare, exceptional and downright unorthodox presences in your life that are forever bound to attract the attention of myriad others who are also drawn to them for a variety of reasons all their own.
Likewise, I can comprehend to some degree how you feel about suddenly inheriting so much family, security and love. Except entirely in reverse. I was the firstborn child; I watched from a tender young age while my Ann’da and Minn’da added to your new Clan and kin throughout the years and subsequent generations. In present-day circumstances, save for certain “considerations”, I am fully assured that those selfsame relations would deem fit to hunt me down and attempt most earnestly to permanently sever those familial bonds.
Speaking of such “considerations”... has She come calling to finally explain the Covenant I’d mentioned when last we met? I would venture two things about the ensuing interaction. First, that the good Priestess can deny you nothing, sweet childe of Hers, and She’s most likely offered at least a rudimentary explanation of the Covenant by now. Second, that She was hard-pressed to do so, yet - refer to my first point - begrudgingly agreed to do so, lest the confidence and admiration you heap upon Her name be lessened somehow. Particularly when She knows full-well of your designs of late on currying my favor.
Your contemplation of a camping trip in solitude calls to mind the rocky bluffs of Redridge Mountains. They are seldom trod by the commonplace passersby out for a stroll or merchant caravan seeking to peddle their simple wares. On many occasions throughout the august of my youth, I would journey there and make camp, embracing true solitude with only my books, studies and the occasional small experiment for companionship. Close to home, yet far enough away from the White Witch’s constant vigilance and ceaseless doting. Furthermore, I am given to understand that the pastoral Redridge province bears a strong emotional significance to you. Specifically, the village of Lakeshire, where your initial invitation first beckoned me on the night of our first meeting.
At any rate, perhaps I might show you this location I speak of somenight in the near future, should providence and opportunity allow...
Your excitable and verbose nature in person appears to extend to your writing of these letters. Indeed, upon numerous perusals now I continue to find much and more that you felt the need to share. As I look this missive over, it becomes apparent to me that I’ve unwittingly followed suit in my response! You must understand, dear niece, I am not in the habit of writing others. My communications tend to be far more direct and exceedingly to the point. And very seldom do they involve a quill and ink. But if it grants you some small measure of pride or victorious revelry, I shall concede that your loquacious ways seem to have proven infectious this particular night.
Having said this, however, I will summarily conclude this letter.
. . . . . ____ *a tiny splotch of ink has collected at the end of the inscribed line, as though the full quillpoint had been tapped there repeatedly*
There is but one more item contained in your letter which I must address more immediately: The Steelhaven Winter Gala. I implore you to reconsider not going, particularly on my account. Many of your new Clan and kin’s feelings toward me are hardly difficult at all to discern, this is true. But you should not allow any known associations with me to sour the relationships - established and budding alike - that you’ve otherwise enjoyed all this time. In their magnanimity, your actions will likely be perceived as mere curiosity for the one spoken of only in hushed tones. The Black Sheep. The Light-Shunned Bastard. The Devil. (And so on…) But you are your own person, Maureen, and as such your reasons ought to be your own. Aside from this, your absence would induce sadness upon Minn’da’s heart; she who would see this grievous rift irrevocably mended and closed, were true omnipotence laid bare at her feet. Tsk. Nevertheless, so frivolous a trespass as to cause Minn’da heartache, I would never tolerate. It behooves you to never forget that, dear niece, should our dealings persist and continue.
~ L ~
Postscriptum: As for your invitation to the observance of the Pilgrim's Bounty ritual... I accept.
To my dearest uncle,
It was scarcely a week ago when I saw you last, and yet, I must admit that I have been replaying our meeting over & over again in my head, ever since. Wasn’t it so nice, Uncle Lachlainn? To just sit & enjoy dinner a while- to spend time with someone, just for the sake of having their company. Well… mostly for their company, anyway. I’m not so naive to believe that your intent was purely to have dinner & amuse your “dearest niece”. As most things, though, that may yet change, and I am ever capable of being patient, you know. Especially in things such as this. It’s just going to take working at, aye..?
I miss you. I admit it, though I’m sure you may have suspected as much on your own. When you rose up from the dinner table, onto your feet, and said that it was time for you to go, I did not expect that I would want you to stay. My embrace- Uncle, did it warm you as you went out into the cold? For as long as you were out in it, that is- I felt your presence disappear, not too long after you left the house. It is such a confusing thing, Uncle. It left me feeling… hopeful, once more, but empty, too.
That emptiness, though- I suspect you had something to do with that. Was it you, Uncle? Are you the reason the whispers fell silent, that apparition vanished away, that night? In truth, it startled me, at first. I am so used to their sounds blending in with my own thoughts, now, that having a moment’s reprieve is a rarity. How odd, then, for me to have experienced it twice, in the same day. Surely, this is one date I won’t be forgetting any time soon.
Did you like my song, Uncle Lachlainn? It always makes me grin, when I’m able to catch Auntie off-guard, and I suppose that extends to you- perhaps it’s even more so, in this case, seeing as we seem to understand one another’s behaviors better than ever expected, before. Did it affect you as it does Auntie, or Evandre? More? Less…? In truth, its creation was an accident of my own making- I had been working with Spark on a shadow-activated music box as a gift for Auntie, and I wrote the song within. As I did, I could not help but think about the family I’ve lost, and that which I’ve gained. The memories of Mama & Papa, they come so easily- the works which stem from them, harder, as they cloud my head and bring tears to my eyes. And when Auntie listened to the song, it helped to calm her whispers. Not in the way you did for me- scaring them, almost, into silence & submission. But… easing them into a drowsy state, in a sense. It was the first time I managed some sort of bardic magic, and it hadn’t been intentional- not in the slightest.
Well, assuming that it worked as intended, even for just a short while, consider it my thank you. For spending this holiday with me, and taking me seriously, and telling me what I needed to hear, not just what I wanted to. For humoring me- your pesky , pest of a niece who you, no doubt, would rather just leave you be so you can focus on your own aims and goals without worrying about a frivolous mortal’s wants and needs.
[There’s several dots of graphite on the page, as if it had been struck several times, in contemplation.]
Perhaps that last is more the influence of the forces I work with, than anything else. I find myself second-guessing & more paranoid without any aid or physical anchor to ground me, now. It is only the beginning of this struggle, Uncle, I know. I also know that you would not have so readily accepted my request to take my locket, if you thought I could not handle it. There is no doubt in my mind on that, and that alone- you were the right person to ask, to care for that precious possession until I can withstand these side effects without its help. Still, I must reinforce it here- you must NOT return it to me until I’m stable enough on my own.
Have I ever… explained, why that locket matters so much to me, Uncle? Perhaps not. It is quite a simple thing… the string you’ll find within is from my very first guitar, and the picture is Mama, Papa & I, when I was very little. My burgundy hair was just as wild as my spirit then, too- do you see that? We were all so very happy, Uncle. Just travelling, performing, and living without much of a care. Mama & Papa loved one another much as Sevastien & I love each other now. And, they gave up their lives, to keep mine safe. It is something I will never, ever forget, and something I want to embody, in some ways. I would lay down my life to protect that which I hold dear. My very soul, even- you, of all people know this to be true, though you denied my offer, on our first meeting.
Perhaps it is best that you did. I am… too quick, at times, to jump to extremes, Uncle Lachlainn. It is something I continue to try and work on, but reflecting on it, I am glad for your refusal, regardless of the reason. Perhaps it is not always bad, when our plans do not work out as intended. Perhaps it was simply a window being flung open, after discovering a door was locked up tight.
Do you keep any mementos of home, Uncle? Of your parents- your Minn’da, perhaps? I cannot say for certain if you do, but I hope so. It is such a comfort, having something like that close by. Not having the locket drives me to push harder, with my abilities. To become stronger, as we discussed- the sooner I achieve this, the sooner it will be returned to me. Funny, actually- it’s not unlike a child, doing their chores to earn back their precious doll, wouldn’t you say? In my shadow & void, especially, I have grown far too comfortable remaining as I am. If Auntie will not allow me to learn of divination, of this sight you both possess, until I have progressed, I simply have to accelerate my progression.
Truth be told, Uncle, I do not know how far I must go to be up to what she expects for it. That is, if there’s even a feasible level attached to this goal of mine- it is entirely possible she intends to tell me I’m not ready for all eternity, regardless of how my control increases. I think she’s scared, Uncle Lachlainn- and why shouldn’t she be? Auntie knows the truth of why I want such a power, as you do. I want to understand, my dearest uncle, why you have taken the path you now follow. No- not even. I believe I understand the why, now, but it is the what that eludes me. What did you see?
I could have asked you to show me, at dinner. I could have- but I did not.
There are many things, really, that I wish to ask you. Some that simply slip my mind while enjoying your company- some, though, all too present in my thoughts, but… I am without fear of you, Uncle Lachlainn, but that does not mean I am without worry. If I ask you the questions that I want so badly to ask… what if you grow angry, or upset, and you leave? What if I somehow manage to push you away? I have done too much to get you into my life, I can’t risk you going, now. I just can’t. So, perhaps some day, in the future, I’ll find the courage- or maybe you’ll look into my thoughts, as you did at dinner, and find them yourself. Is it cowardice to prefer the latter? Maybe. How did you put it, Uncle? I can’t allow myself concern for what others think of my actions. So I must admit, I don’t care if you think it’s cowardly. I will ask, in my own time, in my own way.
Well, it is one of very few circumstances where I find myself not caring about your opinion, at any rate. Take that as you will- I don’t intend to elaborate.
She had originally asked if I would keep it between us, for the time, but I feel like you warrant an exception- and it is something I’d have no desire to keep hidden from you, as it is. Grandmother wrote to me, since we last met, asking to have tea together. I’ll give her your love, Uncle- I know you both care so very deeply for one another. That is something that’s been more than apparent to me, since meeting you, and reading over her words, here, it is only clearer than it was before. I intend to bring her to the house, in Duskwood, for this. As much as it may tempt you, Uncle, I ask that you not scry or appear at my home, during this. Alaisynn made it abundantly clear that she wishes our chat to be private, and I want to keep it that way. Obviously, I have no way to stop you, should you want to ignore what I ask, but it is up to you, now.
Winter Veil is only a while away, now, Uncle. What do you want for your present? Certainly not a question you’ve heard in quite a while, I’d wager- but nonetheless, we’ll be fixing that from here on in, and you’ll be getting presents every year. The Winter Veil Gala won’t take up all of the holiday, you know- I’ll be out to visit in Shadowmoon Valley as soon as I’m able! Just you wait, Uncle- I have something very special planned.
And… for what it’s worth, you were right, in your last letter. I should go to the Winter Veil Gala, like you said. Not only for the reasons you said, but for the sake of this: should anyone speak ill of our relations, or care to speculate on what they can’t hope to comprehend, I will be able to tell them off myself. I do love our shared kin, but it cannot be helped- they’re all awful gossips. Less than a week after we met for Pilgrim’s Bounty, and Alaisynn has already heard of it. Hah! There are few secrets in this family, Uncle. It is why we hold the ones we do have so close to our chests, aye?
I… imagine this letter has gone on far too long- I’ve already had to attach a second page! I hope you don’t mind how messy my writing tends to be, Uncle. Your letterwork always appears so neat, and elegant- written with a quill and inkpot, no doubt! I tend to stick with pencils from work, truth be told… it is easy enough to erase graphite, should I make an error in my words. It is harder, with something so permanent. Someone else might think that I’m overthinking it- it’s just a letter to them. But… you understand, don’t you, dearest uncle? Even if, now, you are so certain of your words and you think so far ahead with each and every one, there must have been a time when that wasn’t so.
And there I go again, after just saying this is too long! You were right, Uncle- I get so wordy, in these letters. There’s so many things I want to say, and share! But I’ll wrap this one up, now, in hopes that you’ll respond quickly enough for me to spill out the rest of what I’m feeling. I know- you are a busy man. But I will wait, with bated breath, even still!
Sending you my love,
Your dearest niece, Maureen.
((This IC letter was privately posted to Maureen on December 24, 2021 and intended to be timely to the date. Due to RL/OOC circumstances, this has been very late in being posted here on our forums for the benefit of those who are interested/invested in these inside looks at an aspect of Maureen's "private" life outside of the University! ^^; ))
To my intrepid & ever hopeful niece,
Once again I find myself remiss in not having responded to another of your persistent letters until far later than I’m sure you’ve anticipated. I’ll not explain myself; you have already resigned yourself to fathom the multitude of reasons why this may be so, and I shall leave you to them. To wit – should it be any measure of consolation for you, every letter I have written throughout the tenure of our correspondence has been of my own hand.
Nevertheless . . . *the small blot of ink here indicates the quillpoint has been tapped a number of times against the parchment* . . . far be it from me to ever exhibit poor form and bad manners under any circumstances. Especially matters of a familial nature. While it was not my intent to treat you so rudely and, worse, dismissively, I realize the disappointment of a lacking post box might cause you to begin losing heart. No. You have toiled diligently to earn better regards from me and more, dearest Maureen. For how you’ve chosen to conduct yourself in earnest throughout our dealings thus far and for the sincerity you’ve shown in your hopeful attempts to achieve whatever endgame you seem to aspire to. Such is your reward in turn.
As to my own ends, dearest niece, I must confess that I’d accepted your invitation to break bread with you for Pilgrim’s Bounty with some degree of consternation. I’d demonstrated rather concisely for you my ability to peer into your mind, your thoughts… and even a surface desire or two. This, with but a mere glance and some minor mental exercise. Yet, what amusement is there to be had in solving a puzzle with all of the pieces already laid out in proper order? Despite having this power at my disposal – among the many I possess, most of which you’re already aware of – you have succeeded in further intrigue and have now kept me graciously as your guest. Subsequently, you are deserving of more respect than to be deceived out of hand and used for ulterior motives to potentially bear fruit. You will not be a mere pawn in anybody’s game, as I recall... a lesson hard-learned, dearest Maureen; one which you had demonstrated in turn and I bore witness to, long before this most recent tête-à-tête began.
In brief, yes, dearest niece… you hosted a fine home, a welcoming hearth and a feast worthy of royalty to an erstwhile uncle whose presence and true intent remains unknowable. You honored my presence greatly; undoubtedly more than I likely deserve amid this precarious twilight of my existence. It has been a very long time, to my recollection…
Ah– but your verbosity along with the inherent sentiment which hangs from your every written word has once more proven infectious! If for no other purpose, these letters have proven a fine exercise in calligraphy. It occurs to me that I have written you in correspondence far more than I care to remember how long it’s been since I’d last done so. But do not let me sell our interactions so short, much less the role you have played specifically, dearest Maureen.
Nonetheless, your most recent letter of over a fortnight ago carried a wealth of conversation.I won’t answer each and every one of your individual queries and appeals here in my reply, lest this missive become more a list laden with enumerations in lieu of natural and organic repartee. Incidentally, there is indeed power in words and some bear even greater weight and impact when spoken in person to whom they’re meant for. I write this in full realization that much of your aforementioned verbosity is derived from a twinge of fear which resides in your breast. A deep concern that is twofold: First, that you feel you must condense as many of your thoughts and feelings as possible into our personal interactions because you know not whence we’ll meet again. Secondly, your plainly stated fear that the wrong word or reference to my past will drive me into anger and away from you indefinitely. While I may never be an open book to anyone ever again in this lifetime, you have at the very least earned the privilege of exploring my past on occasion; individually as well as that which concerns our mutual Clan and kin. I cannot wax romantically about how often I will appear to you, how frequently I might answer your summons. But I can assure you that there will be more than enough time for all of the answers you desire provided you are patient, my dearest niece. It is known.
Your song was remarkable and truly borne of a keen talent you seem to possess not only with the earthly gifts of creativity, but a certain spiritual and magical ken as well. It intrigues me. It piques my curiosity, this claim that your song is capable of soothing the ancient eldritch haunts which plague Her in particular from time to time. The White Witch. Your “Auntie” as you so affectionately call Her… Felmother, to me. She suffers these bouts to which you refer in utter solitude and by the sheer strength of her will and near-limitless patience and austerity. Almost out of necessity, I would venture. That you have experienced some fraction of the Whispers she contends with and weren’t driven completely and instantly mad speaks of an inner strength that I am forced to admit is quite admirable. But that you had attempted it in the first place without considering the dangers speaks volumes of your characteristic foolhardy boldness, dearest niece. Or, stupidity, in far less kinder terms.
Though alas your songs are not enough for yourself, Maureen. For all my temerity, I do not command and reign over all that which is mine with soft words and gentle urgings. You confided this emotionally significant talisman – your crutch – unto me with no expectation to see it returned until you are truly ready. Rightly so. For as dear as you have become to me, Maureen, still I would sooner see you triumph through trial by hellfire or be wholly consumed by it. There is no other way. Particularly if you truly deign to know – to wield – yourself, the powers which I and those precious few whom you marvel at and admire are capable of. But you had earned a boon, dearest niece, and so I did not hesitate to bestow it upon you before our parting.
You deserved a respite, having so suddenly removed the safety blanket you’d been shrouded within for so long from around your neck. No soft words or gentle urgings would do, even if that were my way. It is not my way. Thus, once the dread apparition sensed the sudden exposure of your new vulnerability and loomed threateningly in preparation to take hold… I exerted some degree of my influence to frighten her into submission. Spiritual currency, shall we say. A tremendous measure of which I have accumulated throughout the many years of my toil and erudition. Another secret that may yet be shared… Lo, but the road before you remains laden with perils and temptations, dearest niece. It is solely up to you to negotiate them all and arrive safely to the end with your newfound power and indomitable will intact.
In truth, even then you will never be rid of the terrors that encroach upon your very consciousness. But you will have learned to command their obeisance as well as usurp their power for the purpose of serving your every whim and desire. No longer will you suffer this apparition as the host suffers the parasite; no, instead your connection shall become symbiotic. Mutually beneficial, to put it most simply and plainly. Perhaps once you have accomplished this, there will be other paths made available to you. I see no reason why they shouldn’t be; why the knowledge and power that you crave ought to be denied you.
Such was always the prime disagreement between the White Witch and I… indeed, it eventually became the driving force behind her choice to rebuke me as her First Disciple and consequently our decision to part ways. It wasn’t our only ethical and moral impasse, naturally. But quite a significant one and chief among all else which subsequently transpired to see us at such a crossroad that persists even to this very night. Not that every mundane, commoner or especially lowborn ought to have the very secrets of the Cosmos laid bare before them; indeed, how many would truly even begin to grasp such notions and concepts? Dreadfully few would number those I would see fit to have even a remote chance at such power, let alone those who could actually fathom such notions and wield the result capably.
But you, dearest niece, show great promise and potential. I would scarcely endorse you as you are now for candidacy at my side, for as you could imagine, my standards of such acclaim are rather high. But, in spite of how far you’ve come all on your own, add to this your formal training at the hands of my erstwhile childer, and still you have been told you aren’t ready. Fie on that, Maureen. Surpass this current trial, my dearest niece. Prove yourself worthy of ascending beyond your current limits. Demonstrate to me your readiness to achieve even greater heights in your power. Then, and only then, will I consider showing you the way. Your letter mentioned an interest in learning Divination; you want to see what we see in order to better protect and preserve the lives of your loved ones, I presume? A just cause for such rare and precious power, I say. And what’s more… a fitting reward for your diligence and perseverance. For the toil and sacrifice you have already given and that which is yet to come.
In closing, my dearest niece who still denies courting monsters, I offer the following piece of advice. I trust in your characteristic wit and resourcefulness to comprehend its true meaning:
“Beware that when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster. For when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”
~ L ~