Speak the words again," she urges.
"I love you, and always shall," the young man replies. He is dressed in the uniform of a Bladesman, with a carriage waiting by the road. "Please, take this to remember me, my love," he says. From his sack he removes a small golden pendant, with a silver chain. The pendant is engraved with a tree and a doe sleeping beside.
The girl brightens with astonishment. "Oh Joel!" she exclaims, and buries her head in his arms. "I will miss you so," she says, "You do know that. Please come back soon."
The young man smiles. "The Light willing," he says. "I want you to marry me, Analise," he says, taking a small gilded box from his pocket.
The girl is silent, and then exclaims, "So you will come back! Oh, I will, I will!" She opens the box, and inside is a sparkling ring. "Oh, do hurry Joel! And the faster you will come back!" She giggles.
So Joel said his final words and departed into the carriage, disappearing into the mist, while his fiance stood on the bridge, listening as the water lapped against the rivershore.
And the days and months did pass, Analise would step upon that bridge and watch through the gloom of the night, praying her Joel would ride out of the mist to her arms. She dreaded for him, and her parents worried for her. After a year had passed, she taught herself to knit and made friends with several upstanding carpenters. She gave donations to the church. She tied her hair back, sat dreamily by the window of the cottage, staring at the sky, writing letters, and watching children play in the street.
Another year passed, but she only heard from Joel's letters, perhaps one every few months. A few months past, and she received a small message from Joel's father saying he had fallen honorably in a battle on the Aegis. Before he died, Joel sent his father a special note, and told his father to pass it on to Analise. The heartbroken girl tore the packet open, and began to cry. Inside was a sprig of brilliant white grass, with a note: "Dear Analise, please forgive me for the anguish I will have caused you. I will have died, to your memory, but I assure you I am very alive. Do you remember the white bridge? Beneath it, is a little shack, and inside lives an old man. Go to him, and he will explain everything. With love, Joel."
Analise found the old man. Upon glancing at the grass, he began to weep.
"What is wrong, sir?"
The old man replied, "It has been such a long time, dear girl, that I have almost forgotten. This grass is not of Fastheld. It is from beyond the Aegis. However you found this, girl, whoever found this, they are true warriors of the light, and the shadow will not harm them."
"How do you know?" the girl exclaimed.
"I have been there. I have seen the horizon."
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