1407 Graymalkin Ln
City of New Kingsport
West Casar Province
30 Martius, 2776 PE
1928 Rue d’Auseil
City of Legions
Erik, my dear friend,
I must apologize at once for both my presumption and my distance. It was my immediate wish to call you with my news as soon as I received it, but Raven prevailed upon me to wait. Perhaps that is best, for-- though I am entirely elated-- the occasion is of such import and far-reaching consequence that I cannot help but feel also a mixture of sorrow, anxiety, and loss. I understand these are my sister's predominant emotions, and have taken care to exercise sensitivity towards her perspective. Somehow, I must find a way to show her the depth of my gratitude for the life she has given me thus far, without making her feel as though I am somehow throwing it off or rushing to put a seal on this chapter of my existence. This opportunity requires a great deal of adjustment and sacrifice, but offers too many possibilities and rewards to shy away from now. By this time, Raven will have told you that I have been accepted to Athene's Basilica, and will take orders three weeks and two days from the date of this letter.
Admittedly, I am having considerable difficulty composing this letter. Aside from expressing my excitement directly, I suppose a good deal of the attraction of calling lay in the sort of emotional and intellectual laziness it would have allowed for. You deserve better than that, my friend. I cannot fathom how you'll react to my news but, whatever your initial feeling, I hope you can be happy for me. The Basilica is its own miniature city-- I will be as free to move about as any alpha or beta in your metropolis, and will be able to collaborate with like-minded scholars in person. I will received my own wage, purchase my own food and sundries, and have access to some of the most advanced equipment in the Imperium.
Doubtless, the first two items seem entirely mundane to you, but I have not ventured off the Xavier Estate for more than fifteen years. I know we have discussed this before, and it is not my intention to evoke pity or ignite political argument-- while such confinement is sanctioned by society, I know Raven would have let me leave at any time had I pressed the issue. I am culpable in my own way for having stayed. It is, as my old Nanny used to insist, simply not worth the risk. That being said, it can be very intellectually stifling, resulting in a sort of spiritual semi-coma. I imagine some omegas accept political marriages simply for the few additional freedoms the state can offer. That is, assuming they have an even mildly progressive alpha.
I've been accused of socio-economic elitism by some of my Omega-rights colleagues, and I am self-aware enough to recognize that is true, if mostly unintentional. I will never understand the daily pressure and anxiety felt by those omegas whose families cannot afford the trappings of 'propriety'. The daily threat of a veritas bond looming forever just around the corner, while you work in a society that will not recognize your contributions. Knowing that any alpha with a mind to could impinge upon your person, and the only thing the Law will do is force them to marry you.
Forgive the digression; I hardly need encouragement to pontificate, and you have been most patient in enduring my wilder remarks. It is merely to say that I know-- even within the greater context of society-- that I am a very lucky omega. Raven is the kindest sister and the most permissive guardian one such as I would wish for. She has always seen to it that I want for nothing; she has never discouraged me or made me feel unworthy. And I have had a dear friend in you. Erik, you have provided me with companionship, challenged my intellectual rigor, and offered encouragement when no one else in your station would. You have inspired me, and for that I will always be grateful.
I am aware that I am trading the cage of this estate for the larger metaphorical terrarium the Basilica provides, but this is my only chance! Don't you see? We have often discussed the obstacles faced by the Imperium's colonization efforts. If only there were some way to allow omegas to contribute more fully, to push all sexes beyond the 'instinctual' pigeon holes we've become trapped in, our race could expand so much further! The universe is full of wonders, and perhaps even answers to the peculiarities of our current polymorphic evolution. Discovering how and why the sudden changes occurred will tell us so much about Old Earth. At Athene's Basilica, there are *fifteen* scientists working on a genome project in just such a vein! Can you imagine? It is my sincere hope to add my own humble efforts to the noble goal.
I am going to miss you terribly, to be quite honest. [and here, the ink is smudged and diluted, the 'st' in 'honest' blurred and bleeding from the introduction of some other liquid. I always look forward to your letters like a child creeping about after midnight, trying to spy what Saturnalia presents might have been laid out. I suppose it is only the inevitable end that makes me so bold, but I care for you deeply. You have been the best friend anyone could wish for, and I am proud to know you. The contributions you've made (and will continue to make, I'm sure) to star-faring cannot be understated, and I wish you every possible success. I know there is pain in your past-- I so want you to find peace, happiness and healing in whatever form suits you best. You deserve all of that, and so much more.
There is no doubt in my mind that, in some other and more fortunate life, we could have been marvelous partners, accomplishing great things together. At this juncture, I can only hope that my work at the Basilica will result in contributions to your field. As I'm sure you know, cloisters regularly publish studies in many scientific journals though, of course, no personal names are attached.
This is a terrifying choice to make. Yet I feel I must do this in order to have any sort of truly fulfilling life and, perhaps, even find some measure of happiness. Which brings me to my presumption: along with this letter, Raven will have given you a package. It is a gift, but please do not feel any pressure to accept. I know it's somewhat inappropriate, and perhaps vain of me, to leave something with you in the outside world. I hope you'll allow this, though. The first item is something I found in the course of corresponding with several very dedicated antiquarians-- in particular, a rather eccentric beta hermit in the North. I wasn't sure I could convince him to part with it, but as soon as I heard of it I knew it ought to be yours.
The second item isn't much, but I am afraid I must have *something* to keep my hands busy while entertaining the omegas of Raven's business associates, or the young omegas of the estate come to call. It's not the best, I suppose-- my tutor was forever after me for stitching too tightly. All my fertility symbols were always lopsided, too. Fear not! I won't foist any of that tripe upon you. Instead, I took the design from that truly wonderful plate in Kesserich's Constellations of Earth That Was.
If you are amenable, I will continue to write to you as long as I am able, and will call you the evening before I depart. (Raven has hired a touring transport for my journey, so I can see as much as possible of the landscapes we traverse. She is too good to me.) I understand, of course, that there exist many reasons why you might not wish to correspond after this. I will respect whatever decision you make. I am well aware that my own choice is extreme, but I cannot let this chance slip away. I hope you can be happy for me, my dear hypaspistes.
In all sincerity, your friend,
Charles Francis Xavier