To the strong woman who overcame a monster,
My name is Agonin. You likely don’t know me but I know of you. There aren’t words that fully express my admiration of you, truthfully.
I’m aware of the facts of what you’ve endured at the hands of the monster known as Zachurr. It’s something we have in common, I suppose. When I was younger, I was tormented by the same monster - though I was rather fortunate the duration wasn’t nearly as long, but it was…
There aren’t words.
There will never be words.
That brings me to why I write you, though finding words where there are none will be a challenge for me. I suppose I hope that if there is anything you may get out of this letter is this:
You are not alone in this world, no matter how much you may feel you are.
I wanted to give up a long time ago when I first came out of his grasp; I loathed his existence. I cycled through hatred and hopelessness endlessly. He had fabricated part of my life - I couldn’t tell what was real from what wasn’t. He was merciless and I know he likely took great pleasure in my pain and suffering because that’s just the kind of person he was.
The effects of what I endured lasted far longer than that creature’s life, and I’m sure you’re likely feeling it too. I was not as relieved at his death as I hoped I would be. Everyone kept thinking that the fact he was dead, alone, would comfort me, yet it didn’t make up for the fact that I would forever question my life and what I knew to be true.
Even today I still stare at mementos that belong to a fabricated portion of my life and swear them to be true. They just feel so real...
You and I are from a different era from many alive today. This world is constantly changing and it’s so easy to want to fold under the pressure to conform. The magical words ‘he’s dead now’ are supposed to be the cure-all to our ‘illness’ inflicted on us. That was always the most frustrating thing to me, I suppose. I wanted to get better. I did. I didn’t want to feel locked in forever to Zachurr’s disturbing will.
Some would argue I still am.
Maybe they’re right?
I would love to tell you it all goes away - dissolving like smoke into the air, but it’s unfortunately not that easy. You will have good days and bad, if you’re anything like me - which may not be the case, yet it’s the only way I can relate.
The important thing though is that you overcame him.
You read that right, you overcame that monster all on your own. This is where you and I differ. I had help and I still have barely a tenth of your strength. The world can seem so hopeless, yet at the end of the day, between you and Zachurr, you were the stronger of the two.
Zachurr thrived on being in control. He thrived on breaking people beyond repair. It was his sick pleasure as I’m sure you’re more than aware.
It’s hard to face life every day when it all feels so hopeless in the end, but it’s not hopeless. Something I took great comfort in was the very fact that my persistence and determination to live ultimately is the greatest way to spit in that monster’s face.
I must admit, I sincerely hope you’ll see it that way too. While we may have never met before, I can tell you with great certainty that I mean it when I say I admire you. One day, if you should permit it, I would like to express this in person.
I may not know exactly what you endured, but as someone who has suffered by the same hand I’ve found there’s solace in the thought that I wasn’t alone. I’ve given Stein a letter seal. If you seal up any parchment with it, that parchment will find its way to me.
Despite it all, I do have to admit that magic does have some uses, after all.
You, by no means, need to write me back, but I would be honored to hear from you. My door is always open, should you need anything at all.
With humble respect and admiration,
Soliana sat the letter down on the counter and smoothed it gingerly, her eyes skimming it one more time.
Stein had delivered the letter and seal the day before, dropping it off and watching Soliana with careful eyes as if she were about to burst. She had to admit though, she hadn’t wanted to touch the letter at first. Gods.
At least, that’s certainly how it seemed, yet this god was entirely different. He even sounded different. Listening to all the people around her speak sometimes made her dizzy, so it was almost a relief to see she wasn’t the last person of her time.
She kept expecting it to be a trick. She looked over her shoulder and waited for one of the doctors to come after her while she was distracted.
It hadn’t happened, though.
When Stein left her alone she had reread it more times than she could count.
Justice he did serve when he killed Zachurr.
She had held a letter from the very man who rid the world of the monster that haunted her. A man who had suffered a similar fate - could such a person even exist? Was this all just a game? Another trick?
No. It wasn’t another trick. She clutched the letter seal in her hand carefully and could feel the weight of it. He had given her the magic. The power to contact him when she so chose. There was no expectation of her like all the others seemed to have.
If it was a trick then he clearly had thought it through.
The monster didn’t speak the way Agonin did.
Her fingers touched the letter once more, tapping against the surface.
Would it hurt her to write him back?
Stein had advised her against it. Agonin was a busy man. He was a busy god. Oh how he had stressed that word. God.
What does that even mean?
The monster was supposedly a god too, yet all she saw was a sick man with too much power. Magic made her head spin on most days - or at the very least made her want to sneeze.
There was a strange prickling that would fill her when she neared it, she had found. Stein had found it curious at first but told her that was normal for some people.
Whatever that even means anymore.
She never used to get this prickle - or did she? She actually wasn’t sure anymore.
She technically wasn’t allowed to leave without guidance, but she was growing tired of having to wait on someone to come for her.
Despite her initial gusto, she hesitated at the door, anxiety filling her. She wouldn’t even know where to go.
What if there were more people like Zachurr out there?
She closed her fist gingerly and turned away from the door, preparing to go sit on the bed and wait when the sound of the door opening caused her to jump.
Stein was looking at her curiously with a smirk she wanted to wipe off his face. “Everything ok in here?” He was taking in her posture and seemed amused.
She clenched her fists and shook her head, keeping her chin raised. “You shouldn’t just leave a lady locked in here! I was actually about to come out and give you a piece of my mind!”
Stein leaned back against the door, crossing his arms. “You would’ve given me a piece of your mind regardless.” He pinched the bridge of his nose with exasperation. His voice dropped low, “you are ungodly stubborn, woman.”
“You’re infuriating. That’s not how you talk to a lady!” She pursed her lips. “You never listen to me anyways!”
Stein rolled his eyes at the comment and grit his teeth. After a moment he finally sighed. “I apologize, but you do know you can get ahold of me using that button I showed you, right?”
Soliana grimaced. “That’s not a button, buttons have holes in them and are sewn onto clothing.”
Stein returned her grimace. “Yes, and then there are technological buttons. Modern buttons like what we talked about… if you would only ever pay attention.”
“I do pay attention! How dare you accuse me of otherwise!” Soliana pointed at him accusingly.
Stein groaned, rolling his head back in frustration. “Must everything be a fight with you?”
“Fine… fine! I’m sorry.” Stein put his own hands up, attempting to diffuse the situation. His voice dropped once again and he sighed. “Why do I always end up apologizing to you for something ridiculous?” He shook his head, not seeming to want an answer to it, though the answer was simple - he was a buffoon. “What did you need, Sol?”
Soliana detested the shortening of her name in such a manner, yet everyone seemed to do it. She didn’t understand it at all. Sol wasn’t a name. Sol wasn’t even a word that she knew. Ana was a name, but there was no way in all the world she would let them call her that.
That was Jack’s name for her.
She even hated it when her friends would call her it, as the name held such a weight.
She had detested the name so much that she hadn’t realized that Stein was waiting for her answer. “Hello? Anyone in there?”
She clenched her fist and scowled at him. Carefully she regained her composure though as she straightened herself. She was above this squabble. “I…I will be in need of a quill and some ink as well as parchment and wax.” She paused and let out a very slow breath. “...please.”
Stein was quiet for a moment before he nodded. “It could be arranged. I take it you plan to go against my advice and write a letter to the Lord Agonin anyways?”
Soliana dusted off the bottom of her gown and looked away. “That’s none of your business.” She would need to get a new dress or two… or several. This gown barely covered her legs. How had she let herself live this way for so long? “...and perhaps maybe I could get some dresses? Ones that are actually decent and not held together by thin strings?” She paused again before resisting rolling her own eyes. “Please?”
Stein’s eyes glanced around, noticing the letter on the table. “What in the world was in that letter?” He leaned over to look when Soliana crossed the distance and snatched it up.
She would not have him in her private conversations - he was already pushing his luck and taking advantage of being in all of her other private business. “That’s mine!”
Stein, once again, held his hands up and shook his head. “Whatever it is the lord said to you… I suppose I’m just glad to see you’ve regained some fight.”
Soliana made a face at him. “Ladies do not fight.”
“I didn’t-” He stopped himself and sighed. “Right, right. Whatever you say, Soliana. Listen, I’m going to run and grab you some supplies.”
Soliana had to sit on the way he had phrased it before she nodded carefully, dismissing him. “I’ll be waiting.”
Stein looked as though he wanted to say something else but he refrained as Soliana silenced him with a patient smile. After he disappeared through the door Soliana looked back towards the letter and then down to the letter seal in her hands.
Agonin had been more than right.
Zachurr had wanted to break her and watch her fall - so she would make sure she did the exact opposite.
Stein was certainly right about one thing, she was a stubborn lady, after all.