Elizabeth woke up early. She sat up and glanced down at Emily. She smiled at the messy blonde hair. Pulling the duvet up to her shoulders so she wouldn’t feel the morning chill before sneaking out of the bedroom.

She checked her current potions; temperature was consistent and would be ready for mixing by tonight. She threw on some training gear and picked out a weapon before making her way downstairs.

The postman was making his rounds as she reached the garden.

“Morning Miss Owen,” he greeted, his mismatched brown and green eyes glancing over her before returning to the mail. “Couple of letters for you today.”

“Thank you,” she smiled but it faded as she glanced down at the two stock letters, one from her bank and the other the stable.

“Expecting something more exciting?”

“Oh,” Elizabeth glanced up, “no, no.”

The man tilted his head but didn’t ask any more question. “Well, I hope you have a lovely day Miss Owen.”

“You too, thank you!” she pocketed the letters and started her training.

Perfect posture, swift steps, balance, strong and purposeful movements as the sword cut through the air.

She heard giggling and noticed one of her neighbour’s kids watching her from atop of the wall. A cute yellow dragon with a fluffy tail, no older than six.

“Are you playing knight?” she asked, swinging her tail from side to side.

Elizabeth chuckled, “not exactly. I’m practising.”

“Practising for what?”

“Nothing specific.»

The girl hummed. Looking ready to bombard Elizabeth with questions. Then the sound of plates came from her neighbours’ home and the little girl groaned. “Have fun,” she mumbled before opening her wrings and jumping from the wall back towards her house.

“Making friends?” Emily laughed from the door.

“It would seem so,” Elizabeth turned towards the now dressed Emily. Accepting a cup of freshly brewed tea before kissing her.

They headed inside and Elizabeth dropped the letters on a table.

“Anything interesting?”

“Nope,” Elizabeth changed into her work clothes.

“It’s been a couple of months since you came here. Nobody ever writes to you.”

Elizabeth shrugged, “who would write to me?”

“I don’t know,” Emily shrugged. “I’ve also never seen you write to anybody.”

This got Elizabeth to pause.

“It might be nice to let your old friends know you’ve settled in.”

Elizabeth looked at Emily then to the letters, “maybe.”

“I have plenty of stamps.”

Elizabeth nodded, “yeah. I might write a letter… later.”

The morning was slow and later came sooner than Elizabeth expected. She sat at the bar with a coffee, a quill and a piece of parchment.

Dear Henry,

“The same Henry as Charlotte’s?” Emily tilted her head.

Elizabeth nodded, twirling the quill.

“You were close, right?”

Elizabeth nodded, “you could say that.”

“How close?” her tone was bland and uninterested, unlike her.

“Are you jealous?” Elizabeth snickered.

Emily blushed, “I’m curious. I don’t know much about your past. That’s all.”

Elizabeth chuckled, “not in that way. Never in that way.”

Emily visibly relaxed.

“He was… he was my boss.”

“Most people don’t send letters to their ex-bosses, I know you were friends.”

Elizabeth nodded, “yeah. Friends.” She frowned. “I don’t know. I don’t know how’d I’d define our relationship. We were close, he means a lot to me. He was there for me through some really hard times and helped me become who I am today…” she shrugged, “but… I don’t know. He definitely considered me a friend. But I think a lot of which I look up to him for he considers his duty and not a big deal.”

Emily nodded, sipping her own coffee. She had more questions, but some customers sat down at a table so she left to take orders.

Aerradra is nothing like I expected. Nothing like Oppida or any other place I’ve been. I’m well. So is Charlotte. I have a garden and am keeping with my training. Working on some new potions. I got a job as a chef. Thanks again for teaching me to cook. Bet you never expected me to make a living out of it.

More customers came and Elizabeth pocketed the letter for later.

Lunch came and passed; Elizabeth was washing dishes when Emily pushed a paper back towards her.

“What’s this?”

“Lunch.”

Elizabeth raised a brow, passing her the dishes to dry.

“I was thinking you might want to head out for lunch today.”

“Why would I want that?”

“So you could finish your letter.”

Elizabeth frowned.

“I recommend the Southern Tower. Beautiful views, real inspiring.”

“I’m writing a letter, not a poem.”

Emily smiled, “I know. I just thought…” she shrugged, “do what you want.”

“Oh no,” Elizabeth grinned, “I’ve been warned about when a partner says that. Isn’t that some kind of a trap?”

Emily laughed, “do I look like I have nothing better to do than set traps for you?”

Elizabeth finished cleaning the dishes, pulling the quill from behind her ear where it had been sitting for most of the day. “I don’t think I’ve been to the Southern Tower yet.”

“Well, if you don’t head there yourself, I’ll have to take you this weekend.”

Elizabeth hummed, grabbing the paper bag, “you’ve made the effort pack up my lunch. Guess I should go check out this tower?”

“Take your time.”

“Thanks.”

Even Elizabeth had to admit there were a lot of stairs, as she made her way up the big spiral stone staircase towards the top of the tower. No railings, making it awfully easy to fall down. It made sense. Dragons weren’t typically scared of heights and were rarely caught using stairs. She reached the top of the now abandoned watchtower. Leaned over the edge. The entire city was withtin view, including the train station at it’s entrance and the mountains with their weird shapes. She smiled.

She looked up at the sky, today was one of those beautiful cloudless days, the sun was bright. Dragons filled the sky like splatters of paint on a canvas. Different sizes, colours and flying techniques. She couldn’t help but smile at the amount of parents out with their young, it was the perfect day for lessons.

She threw her legs over the edge taking a seat and pulling out her lunch of fruit salad, sandwiches and slices of cheese. She enjoyed the view and the fresh air before pulling out the now crumpled letter.

She didn’t care much for appearances and just smoothed it out with her hand before taking the quill.

Are you still angry with me for leaving? Because I get it if you are. I hope you have found a new bodyguard and head of security. I know there are plenty of promising options. I stand by my recommendation. How is Philip? I hope he has not blown anything up recently.

I may of left, but remember you can ask me for anything. Work related or not. I’m not that far away, even if it does feel like a whole different world. Maybe I could help the dragons find a new representative? I’ve been avoiding politics but, I wouldn’t mind, for you.

Elizabeth stared at the paper. She hated letters. Hated the one-sided conversation. Hated trying to turn her feelings into words. She hated how guilty writing to Henry made her feel. So she threw the letter back into her pocket and headed back to the inn.

After dinner, after everything was clean and Emily was busy with some paperwork, Elizabeth pulled it out once more.

“Still not finished?” Emily frowned.

Elizabeth twirled the quill dripping ink all over the parchment, she shook her head. “You know I’m not great with words.”

Emily nodded, looking back to her paperwork.

On another note. I’m in a relationship now. Her name’s Emily. She owns an inn. She’s who I work for, as a chef. You know how work relationships go sometimes? To quote you, “seeing someone every day, seeing them try so hard and make it so far. How can you not fall for them?” I didn’t understand that back then. Now I do. Kind of. I’ve worked with so many people over the years, I don’t think work has anything to do with me falling for her. But seeing her every day, that did. You know how bad I am at expressing myself. I’m sorry. The point is. I’m in a relationship, she’s really nice, I really like her and hope you can meet her sometime. If you have the time.

I miss you.

Love, Elizabeth.

She signed it, folded it and asked Emily for a stamp. Ready to hand it the postman tomorrow morning.

Emily watched Elizabeth place the letter on the nightstand before bed. They were at Elizabeth’s house again. Next week they’d be at Emily’s.

“Are you alright?”

Elizabeth nodded, “I’m just not great at letters. You know?”

Emily smiled, “I’m sure this Henry will be happy to hear from you.”

“He was angry when I left.”

“Well, I’m sure he’s over it by now.”

Elizabeth didn’t seem as convinced, as she took her medication and climbed into bed. A little more anxious than normal.

 

“Your Majesty,” Henry caught Philip as he exited his living quarters.

“Henry,” Philip smiled, “how can I help you?”

“Is it okay if I skip the first meeting for today? It’s about the parks and their timetable, nothing too urgent.”

“Of course, Henry,” Philip tilted his head, “but why?”

Henry’s grip on the letter tightened, “I have an important letter to write. Elizabeth is well.”

Philip chuckled, “I’m glad to hear that. I’ll see you in an hour or so then.”

Henry nodded already opening the door to his own quarters, his mind wheeling with all he needed to share with the ex-head of security.