(Author's note: last chapter!! I really hope that you've enjoyed this story, whoever's reading it, even though no one has reviewed it yet… *cough cough* The letter later on in the chapter is supposed to be in a different font, but I don't know how well that will work when transferring it to Fictionpress. If you've enjoyed this, again, please check out my other, much shorter stories called "Straight and Too Narrow," and "This is Your Time," and hopefully another one shortly called, "Outcast." Okay, that's all! Thanks for reading this!)

24: Celyn

"Celyn! Celyn! Celyn!"

"Celyn, wake up!"

"Celyn, hurry!"

I tumbled out of my bed and dashed out into the hallway warily, heart pounding. "What?" I demanded when I didn't see anything out of the ordinary.

Syd and Toby slunk out in front of me, doubled over in laughed. "You got a letter," Syd snorted.

I glowered at them. "Are you two crazy? It's barely after sunrise!" I hadn't woken up that early since I moved back home – no sunrise to sunset shifts at the tavern.

"Aren't you going to read it?"

"No. I'll read it at a more decent hour, okay? Go back to bed." I snatched the roll of paper from Toby's hand and steered the twins back towards the door to their bedroom.

Evyn hauled the door open wearily, wearing nothing but a pair of large, cut off trousers, yawned, and hissed, "What's all the racket about? You're going to wake Ma. You probably already have."

"But she's always up before us!" Syd protested.

Evyn looked at him sternly. "Not anymore, remember? We're trying to give her more rest so she can take care of Pa and still sleep. Which means you two have to keep quiet till the rest of us are up. Remember?"

"Celyn got a letter," Syd reported.

"The letter-deliverer threw it at the front door," Toby added.

"Yeah. It made a funny noise."

"So we went to-"

"Thank you," Evyn interrupted, "for that very detailed account. Now, back in." He pointed his finger into the room. They slumped dejectedly and crept back into the boys' bedroom. Evyn shut the door. "So are you going to read it? Maybe it's from your boyfriend."

I bit my tongue. "I doubt it. But, like I told the twins, I'll read it at a more decent-"

"It's either read it now with just me peering over your shoulder, or read it later with five extra pairs of eyes reading it along with you. Your choice."

"You make an impressive case. Fine, c'mere." I kicked open the door to my "room" (technically, it was designed to be a linen closet), and we sat down on my bed.

Dear Celyn,

This is Taly. You may not remember me – I'm Jesy's sister, the girl you met in the Square about a month ago.

"And Jesy was the boy who didn't recognize you, your boyfriend?" Evyn confirmed. I nodded. That subject had remained a strict secret between the two of us, and he knew that I didn't like to talk about it at all.

Since I've only met you once, I suppose you're wondering why I've bothered to write you. (Um… Dan wants you know that it turns out that crows don't eat corpses, they eat nuts… Nevermind.) Anyway, King Reyes wanted me to tell you a few things.

"Crows don't eat corpses?"

"I have no idea."

First of all, when Jesy found out that I'm writing to you, he wanted to add a few things to the letter. He wants me to tell you that you're the most beautiful thing he's ever laid eyes on and he's sorry he missed you in Emerald Bay because he loves you and always will. Based on my observations, though, I'm not entirely sure he'd recognize you any more than he did in Emerald Bay. I'm so sorry. Enclosed is the necklace that he always wore. It's ancient, a symbol of King Reyes, and probably very valuable, but he wants to make sure that you don't sell it. He wants you to keep it.

I untied the necklace from the twine that had kept the letter rolled up and examined it. I'd seen it before, but it always embarrassed Jesy that he wore it at all, so I had never looked at it for very long at a time. It was beautiful in that very coarse, basic way – a shard of pure green glass hanging from an old leather string.

"Nice," Evyn commented. I nodded.

Now, onto slightly more important things. King Reyes wants you to know that he loves you. Not like Jesy loves you, but like your father loves you. I'm guessing that doesn't make much sense to you, seeing as you've never met each other, and I'll do my best to explain it. Jesy knew that he had a sister. He loved me just because I was his sister, even though he hadn't seen me for ten years. It's kind of the same with King Reyes. That's really not a very good example, but it's the best I can do. You just have to trust me, even though it seems weird.

"Do you know what she's talking about?"

"Not really."

Next, things aren't over. Toryn isn't dead. All we've done is break one of his legs. (Dan now says that I should keep away from metaphors from now on.) His power will grow back slowly, like a snapped bone, and he will gain more and more influence over the citizens of Emerald Bay. We can help you defeat him, at least on a personal level. We can keep sending you letters explaining things, but you have to ask. A conversation requires two people, after all – we can't very well answer your questions if you never bother to send them to us.

Sending letters will help you, but things will ramp up in Emerald Bay. Toryn will return, stronger than before, and will take the city over. It will probably be similar to Jesy's situation, where Toryn will take over the mind of an average person and manipulate him for evil. ("Let's hope you don't fall in love with that guy, too," says Dan.) Things in the city will be bad, worse than you'd probably like to think. But Reyos the Prince will come back again, and he'll take everyone who's chosen to love him back back to the castle to live with all of us in peace.

"Is this girl right in the head?" asked Evyn, half joking.

"I have no idea."

Well, Celyn, now you know all this. You can't just forget that I ever told you this. You can choose to ignore it, or you can choose to act upon it. I'm not telling you one way or the other – you have to decide. What are you going to do?


Taly (and Dan and Jesy)