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Phoenix in Exile (Part 3 of 3)
Seventy Years Later…
Anabell walked over to Yansol as soon as the meeting was over. Clutched in her hands was her precious letter, the result of months of rewriting. She wasn’t sure this was the right thing to do, but she couldn’t think of anything else to do. He wouldn’t come to the King’s call, and he was somehow blocking the King so that no one knew where he was. And it was her fault. She knew it was her fault, even though Jefan and Ancon, her Match, had tried to convince her it wasn’t. She had seen his eyes that night. That horrible, horrible night. How could she have been so blind? She had loved him, but those wings had changed everything in her mind. Those wings had made him something to be hated and despised. How wrong she had been.
Yansol waited for her to come close, then flew down to the ground and shifted to human. “Can I help you, Anabell?”
“Yes,” she said, proffering the letter. “I know that Ancon and I are getting up there in years. We don’t have long now. And I know that it will be a long time yet until Aniel comes back. I want you to keep this for me, and give it to him when he comes back. If it isn’t during your lifetime, pass it on to someone else. You are the youngest phoenix, so you have the best chance. Will you do this for me?”
Yansol took the letter carefully, being sure not to wrinkle the paper. “I will. What is in it?”
“An apology,” Anabell said simply. She thanked him, and walked back to Ancon.
As she went, she thought of the contents of the letter, the ones she had thought about so much, they were engraven in her mind:
By the time you read this, I might be dead. I might have died long ago. But I couldn’t let you go thinking that I hated you because of what you are. Quite the contrary, in fact. I love you like a brother, I always have. In the village, when boys were tormenting you, I always wanted to stop them, but I knew they never would, no matter what I said.
But that is not why I am writing. For several years after you left, I was hurt and angry with you. I felt betrayed. But then, I met Ancon, another phoenix. He has helped me beyond my wildest dreams, and I know now how wrong I was. I am his Match, Aniel, and so I am part of the phoenixes. I gained a family when I came here, a family that should be yours as well. You have so many brothers and sisters who love you, though they have never met you. Trust them.
Aniel, I am so sorry for the things I have done, and that I am the reason you are gone. I hope, when you read this, you will forgive me.
It may be hundreds of years before he reads that, Anabell thought, but someday, he will know.
Yansol watched her walk away, thinking. He would keep this for her, but he didn’t know if Aniel would ever come back.
Far away, on the island, Aniel had no idea anyone was thinking of him. And he definitely would never come back.