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Beyond the Bridge of Morning Light

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The day when I will no longer remember him is not yet here. I can still feel the stench of evil in his room. I can still feel the chill of his claw of iron on my skin. The despair I felt when he sunk my sword in the Dead Lake still wakes me at night.

It’s hard to imagine that anything evil ever threatened Green Meadows’ Island. What used to be the Outer Land is today as green and beautiful as our island. On the ruins of what once was Sir Kato’s castle moss is now growing, a soft fragrant cover, hiding the dark stone.

Everyone else has forgotten him. Maybe not completely, but he only lives on as a memory from a time long gone, a story from the past, like any other fairytale. Maybe the Well That Whispers At Night tells children about him from its depth.

The ones who have not forgotten have tried to repress. Those who were once bewitched birds sometimes get something distant and desperate in their eyes when they lose themselves in the memories of a time and a place beyond the Bridge of Morning Light and the Forest of Moonbeams.

There is one who has neither forgotten nor repressed. There is one who keeps the memories alive, even though it’s painful. And that hurts me more than my own memories, because I know that he’s doing if for me. So that I won’t be alone.

He is not a child any more, he is a man, as I am. I am the King, and he my rose gardener and so much more than that. In his eyes there is a wisdom and a depth that only exists within people who have seen too much.

I miss the way his eyes glittered, and his easy smile when he marvelled over how little I knew when I was new in this world. Now we both know too much.

The Rose Garden has never been more beautiful than it is now, in his care. But it's quiet nowadays. The only thing heard is the distant song of the silver poplars. Sorrowbird doesn't sing any more. He left that fateful day so long ago and never came back. Jum-Jum misses him. He's never said it out loud, but I've seen him looking toward the highest branch of the highest tree, and sigh. As far as I'm concerned I am happy if I never again have to hear the song of Sorrowbird. For Jum-Jum it brought comfort, for me only anxiety.

The nightmares still haunt us at night. Not as often now as before, but the nights when we sleep undisturbed are still far too few. We don't talk about the dreams. It wouldn't help. We still can't understand.

No one can understand what I went through that night, when I lowered my sword of fire through Kato's heart of stone. Not even Jum-Jum. And no one can understand what Jum-Jum went through that night, when he waited for me in the Tower of Hunger. Not even me.

Sometimes he squeezes my hand so hard I think the bones will break. But I don't mind the pain. I know that I do the same thing sometimes, when I doubt that he's really there, that he's still with me.

The heat of his skin against mine is the only thing that can chase away the sensation of iron. His lips against mine makes the memories disappear for a little while. As close to each other as we can get, we finally fall asleep, and hope that the night will soon be over.

The day when we will no longer remember might come tomorrow.