M̶y̶ ̶d̶e̶a̶r̶ ̶A̶
I have heard that you ̶f̶o̶r̶t̶u̶n̶a̶t̶e̶l̶y̶ still prefers to go by that name. I shall do my best to refer to you as that. ̶I̶t̶'̶s̶ ̶n̶o̶t̶ ̶l̶i̶k̶e̶ ̶i̶t̶'̶s̶ ̶h̶a̶r̶d̶ . Since that's the name you went by when we first met, I foresee no difficulties in addressing you as you prefer, although I would have immediately tried to adjust my own speech had it been different.
You have asked me for the story behind my claim that I have known you. ̶Y̶o̶u̶r̶ ̶m̶o̶t̶h̶e̶r̶ I have been informed by reliable sources that you have been trying to get the other dwarves to tell you. I apologize for the frustration their denial may have caused you. It has been many, many years since I first met your people, but all dwarves I have been able to reach-- and my reach is very long indeed- have all been placed under an oath not to tell you about me and how we're connected.
Please, do not think that I never meant for you to find out about the true story. I have always planned to be the one to tell you. It couldn't have happened while you were younger and easily influenced, though. I would not have you feel pressured by things that happened hundreds of years ago.
My name is Samuel. You might know that, but since your people seems to prefer to refer to me by titles, I thought it might be best not to take any risks. Many people have tried to shorten it to Sam. They have not tried a second time. I would not be averse if you called me that, though, even if I like my full name better.
I am sure you know I am part elf. My grandmother is one, and from her I inherited immortality when my father did not. You might get to meet her one day, if you'd like to. It's been a while. She misses you. ̶S̶o̶ ̶d̶o̶ ̶I̶.̶
But enough of things you probably already know.
This story is not a tragedy, Ankh. No matter what you decide at the end of it.
When I was a young man, back when my youth wasn't a trick of my genes even though my mental age doesn't seem to have matured much more than the 30s, I ventured into a town. I am, or I was, a conman. There is no shame in that for me, as I only ever tricked the truly rich, but it did require for me to be constantly moving. It wasn't a big city, or even a remarkably beautiful one, but I still remember it well as it was…
You couldn't see the stars back then when in a city, which was one of the only things I had against them. I loved towns. I loved the bustle of people, the movement, the libraries and museums and concerts. I especially loved how easy it was to trick people who thought themselves too smart to be tricked.
I had gotten out of a fight by the skin of my teeth when we met. It wasn't unusual for people, mostly humans, to try to kidnap me or try more upsetting things, like decapitation. I had safeguards in place- it was rare that it got so far. I got out mostly okay, even if a little worse for wear, and ducked into a bar for some alcohol, because I was young and, despite everything, quite stupid.
I hadn't seen many dwarves back then. I tried to avoid them in my job, for it wasn't a secret how attached dwarves were to the fruit of their hands, and in any case it wasn't as if I lacked less dangerous victims.
You had a silver beard back then, and silver hair as well, shining like the metal. I do not know if you still do. I haven't asked.
You sat down on the stool by my side, and didn't look at me as you asked the barman for a drink. Elves have long memory; I do as well, and even longer for every word you've ever told me.
"A fight?", you asked me.
"Is that a question or an invitation?", I smirked, trying not to wince. I dearly hoped it was the former. Maybe I could have taken on a dwarf in one of my best days back then, but not when I was still hurt and tired. You were young as well, back then; about fifty years old, which is equivalent of twenty-five to humans, and the same age you are now, but even a young dwarf is stronger than a human.
"A question, Mr…?"
"Oh,'' I said, taking a sip from my drink, "you may call me Samuel."
"You looked like you were limping when you came into the room,'' you said, still not looking directly at me, and tilted your head towards a group of dwarves drinking in a corner of the bar. "I saw you. And your eye is going to be black in the morning."
"Is this how dwarves flirt, Mr…?"
"My name is Ankh", you said. Since you weren't looking at me, I couldn't see enough of your skin to know if you were blushing. "And it is not. I just wanted to offer you aid, in case your wounds haven't been treated yet."
I turned around in my seat to look at you. Tapping on the counter, it took me a few moments to decide if I should trust your offer. The alcohol I had ingested did help.
"Very well, Mr. Ankh", I finally acquiesced. "If you promise to tell me when the flirting starts."
You laughed. It was the first time I heard your laughter, although not the last, and it felt to me as the comfort of darkness settling on one's shoulders when all sleep. My hands twitched, and so I tucked them into the pockets of my jacket.
"We can go to the inn where my companions and I are staying", you said lightly, adding quickly when I opened my mouth, "or perhaps, if you have a first aid kit, we could go wherever you're staying."
"Why, Mr. Ankh", I said. "Won't you even take me on a date before trying to get into my room?"
You were looking at me then; the little I could see of your face blushed, and I smiled with satisfaction.
But I must go; there are some matters that demand my attention. Do not worry, ̶m̶y̶ Ankh. I will resume telling you this story as soon as I can. You will know all of it, since it was your choice to.
̶M̶y̶ ̶d̶e̶a̶r̶ ̶
I don't claim to understand why you wouldn't let someone else tell me the story. I feel like it is my right to know. But you've been kind enough to at least start telling it, and I am grateful.
That was the first letter you ever sent me; in fact, I had started to doubt your existence at all, fearing all of it to be a trick or prank of my peers. It couldn't be, for my mother wouldn't have lied to me, much less for so long, but, well…
I am glad, Mr. Samuel, that you have written me, and I'd like you to keep doing so, perhaps even after that story is finished. It seems to me that you have many other stories to tell.
̶A̶l̶w̶a̶y̶s̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶r̶s̶,̶ ̶