I went to bed early last night and awoke before sunrise, so I had time to sit down with your package. Last night left me so exhausted. I cried into a pillow. What happens if we don’t learn who this person is until after le is assassinated? What happens if the bottleneck is a trap for my family and I am arrested due to some unknown law?
Thank you for sending me the protocols in the package, and as per your instructions, I will not describe precisely what they are in the journal. It really does put things into perspective, and again, xai ku tsekto xikanosaịrru tsurhjas tsansakssa. You deserve to have the benefit of doubt.
Of course, some of the protocols sound elaborate. Is this true, Liga? What are the notes about something called Eamaru? It looks almost like a grammar. I don’t think that I have ever seen those words before, and it sounds like you had to learn them all through trial and error?
The other conspiracies you have worked against had more well-organized antagonists. None of them has sloppily-executed conversations overheard by young political staffers on the Skyrail. The clumsiness of this cell is astonishing. Who would risk everything by saying careless words in a public place? How could they have been sure that the train was empty?
This raises even more questions. Tsemanok has conspired against them: The physical assault and state of shock that paralyzed me from moving is a small coincidence. So many other small coincidences have conspired against them. Daybreak should have placed more competent people in charge of this cell, but perhaps people with strong personalities prevailed over people with skill, and we should feel grateful for that. Tsemanok has given me this unprecedented access, although I question what outcome the god seeks.
I am writing out on the balcony with a light, waiting for the sun to rise. In the predawn light, the six-winged bird is murdering others of its kind. The remains of its nest lie in the grass. Its babies died. This must be a form of revenge against its fellows. I wonder what Tveshė was like right after the Occupation with so many lying dead in the streets. I wonder if Daybreak started because our world’s situation did look hopeless, and so many people did turn to violence.
People do strange things in the throes of grief. I had a nightmare shortly before I awoke that I was back in Kalgeitsị Park, and I thought you were there. The more I think about it, the more I remember your voice. It wasn’t just a dream.
This is something that I have blacked out of my memory because it was not my best moment, and the days after Kelis’ death and cremation still blur together. My mother told the therapist stories about what I did, and I have no memory. It was like my mind frayed apart at the seams, and some other Salus slipped in and inhabited my body.
I am fairly certain — I think you are the person — I know you are the person I met two days after Kelis’ cremation ritual. I am certain of this now. I spent the majority of those days wandering in the fine-misting rain, according to the therapist. My mother and aunts took photographs of the soaked dresses covered in mud. I wouldn’t have believed the therapist otherwise. I was just so out of my own head.
Most of my nightmares have something to do with those days.
At Kalgeitsị Park, where the water rolls over the falls in great sheets, I think I went to the lookout. Unlike the tourists or those pilgrims who take the long steps down to the shrines along the cliffside, I had nothing with me. I wore a red hatkrei gown. I had fallen in a sudden downpour because the rocks had become slippery, but the rain had already washed most of the mud away.
The thoughts in my head spiraled out of control. No one interrupted my crying to help me. I decided to jump.
As I climbed up onto the railing and onto the other side, I heard a thud behind me, and an umbrella rolled. It stopped at my feet. I gripped the fence and looked in ler — no, your direction. Rain beat against your half-formed buns and dripped from your nose. Your face reminded me of Suka’s, albeit masculine, and I nearly fell from surprise. I wondered if I had hallucinated Suka as a man.
You grabbed my shoulders and said, “Akah Nitañi, Suka sent me after you.”
I let go of the railing. My feet dangled into the abyss, and you pulled me back over. I started wailing, and you put your hand over my mouth. Your body was warm despite the rain, and you whispered lines from one of Akah Gysabala’s memoirs in my head — exactly what Suka had done before I threw lim out of my room.
As soon as you lowered your hand from my face, I whispered, “You cannot be Suka’s brother.”
You said a name, and I know now that you must have said — “Liga, Suka’s cousin. Come walk with me.”
“Leave me alone,” I whispered, or something like it.
“Suka is beside limself. Le needs you to come,” you said. You squeezed me. “It is all right to cry. I know that Kelis meant a lot to you. Suka wants you to eat and sleep. Your mother and relatives are very worried. You have a career ahead of you. Don’t jump.”
Eventually, you coaxed me away from the lookout, and we walked back towards Kobsarka. You had no umbrella now, so you must have left it. Suka let me in at ler family home’s back door, and you did not enter.
What happened at Kalgeitsị is the stain that made my family realize that I needed help, and I spent twenty-five days in intensive grief counseling. The ordinary purification ceremonies would have done no good with grief like that. How can someone become pure when ler head is not clean?
I resumed my duties at the Progressive Movement’s offices about a month after le died, but I often thought about lim whenever I was alone. In those moments, the world became darker.
What bothers me about falling in love with Aneti is that I don’t want to be in that place with a woman ever again — to want the dearly departed, to need lim, to see ler smile in my mind whenever I close my eyes, to open my eyes and realize that there can be no future conversations between the two of us, sheets over our heads, eyes filled with laughter.
For the first few months, I dreamed about Kelis almost every night. The dream started in my family home and moved into lers. We had conversations about what we wanted in life, and le told me over and over, “A fire will always wait for you.” I awoke with cold sweats.
I took sleeping medication and pushed through campaigning for the Movement despite my matriarch’s insistence that I scale back my work. The dreams stopped after the pilgrimage to the Navel of the World, where I received the last purification.
Kelis is why my matriarch allowed me to move to Galasu to work for the national Progressive Movement offices and why Kati decided to pursue ler career here. It was too hard to be in Kobsarka. My therapist strongly supported the move. I avoided writing about this after Suka told me to journal because writing that I went insane with grief and nearly committed suicide, that my family has worked so hard to reclaim me for the world of the living, and that still — still — Hatkranar pulls me down so strongly —— I cannot even finish that sentence.
Why do you think that I moved to Galasu before marrying? Why do you think that I pursued my career here instead of doing what is right and staying home — for a few years — having a marriage in Kobsarka? A child, maybe two or three? And gaining credentials in politics so I could run for the Senate there? Why do you think I am doing it this way?
The nuamua frighten me because the word nuamua makes me think about loss. What must it be like to spend centuries making connections with new people and to have all of those lives just fade away? It’s not the horror stories about the muakanua that frighten me. Pain is something I can understand. I don’t see how being faced with constant loss could make a person anything but callous. I don’t see how one could still be a person. Not after a century, not after two. Good gods, some of you are millennia old! This doesn’t mean that I cannot try to push all of that aside. Changing an opinion is easier than losing a beloved.
Deisurås says that you have a daughter. Is this what you are so afraid of? Are you afraid of hurting lim, losing lim, and having time and death separate the two of you without ever making things right?
Liga, you can call me.