Letters from Liara

Letters from Liara

Awhile back, in response to the prompt I did the right thing, I wrote a little story about Domerin rescuing a teenage girl from a human trafficking ring, though the effort cost a fellow soldier his life. I really liked that little story. The more I thought about it, the more I thought he would have written letters back and forth with the girl he rescued; certainly if she sent him a letter he would have replied! So here are the results of those musings.

Incidentally, this prompt marks two years of weekly prompts! I can hardly believe it. It seems appropriate that this follow-up should mark the occasion!
. . .

Dear Mister Lorcasf,

I saw you on the news last night and my mother said I could write to you. I hope that’s okay. I know you must be very busy.

 I was so scared when you brought me home, I don’t think I ever thanked you properly. I’ve thought a lot about what happened over the past few months and I don’t think the words exist to express what I want to say. I’m sorry… That must sound so silly. I don’t mean to waste your time, I just wish I could tell you how grateful I am for what you did.

You must be wondering how I ended up in such a situation in the first place. The truth is very stupid, to be honest. My friends and I were on a hiking trip. It took months to convince my parents I was responsible enough to handle it. (Guess who isn’t allowed to go on any more trips like that for at least twenty years?) It start out with a stupid game of truth or dare – have you ever played it?

I have a certain… reputation among my friends. They think I’m the ‘good’ one. The nice one. The one that won’t ever do anything the least bit exciting. So when they dared me to climb over the wall and see what was on the other side, I felt like I just had to prove them all wrong. I’m sure you can probably guess the rest.

Please don’t think I’m stupid Mister Lorcasf. I have high marks in all my classes. I’ve never done anything like this before. My mother was horrified when I told her the story. I’m surprised she didn’t ground me for life!

It has been hard to go back to my normal life. I had nightmares for a long time after I got home. Do you ever have nightmares Mister Lorcasf? I bet you aren’t afraid of anything!

Anyway, I told my classmates about what you did for me. I wrote a report and the teacher even let me do a small presentation to the class. But… no one believed me that I had actually met you. Maybe it’s a stupid thing to be upset about, but now a bunch of the older kids in the school make fun of me for wanting attention. I wish I had never mentioned it to anyone else.

Anyway, I’m glad I was able to write you this letter. I will be happy just thinking that you read it. And thank you again for saving me. I promise I’ll never let myself get into that kind of situation ever again.

Best Regards,

Liara Gwin

PS: Here is a picture my mother took for you. I hope you like it.

 

From the desk of Domerin Lorcasf:

Dear Miss Gwin,

Thank you for taking the time to write. I’m certain you’re a busy young woman and it was kind of you to take the time out of your day to think of me. In truth, there’s no need to thank me for doing my job. I would never hesitate to help someone in a situation like yours. But your letter means the world to me, none-the-less. Your grandmother knit me a scarf – did she tell you?

While I’m flattered by your confidence in me, the main reason I wanted to write this letter – aside from thanking you – was to let you know that I’ve had plenty of nightmares in my time. Every time you see something out of the ordinary it stays with you. And what you experienced definitely qualifies as out of the ordinary. We can’t control what we see when we close our eyes, unfortunately. I wish I could reassure you that the images will fade with time, but they don’t always.

However, it seems that you are surrounded by wonderful people; your mother and grandmother, for example. And the friends you went hiking with. Light like that has a way of banishing the night shadows that haunt us. I hope it will prove to be the same for you.

Please don’t worry that I think ill of you. We’re all a little wild when we’re young, and we all get into our fair share of trouble. You might try to remind your mother of that – but gently. Your grandmother told me that you’re a bright young star and, from what I see here, I think she’s right. As for the kids at school, perhaps this letter will help convince them?

Please feel free to write whenever you like.

Sincerely,

Domerin Lorcasf

PS: Thank you for the photo. I hope you won’t mind if put it on my desk.

 

Dear Mister Lorcasf,

You’re going to put my picture on your desk? No way! That’s amazing! Thank you so much for your letter. I can’t tell you what it means to me. I never would have imagined that YOU, of all people, had nightmares like mine!

I showed your last letter to my mom. She made a weird face, but didn’t say anything. Maybe you were right!

Anyway, it’s easier just knowing that I’m not crazy. I thought I was just being silly with how difficult it was to get used to going back to school again. My teachers were all very concerned and I thought I had to go back to being myself right away. It’s hard to talk to people when it doesn’t seem like they understand. But I feel like you really do understand and it makes me feel so much better. I put your letter under my pillow and I think it helps chase away the nightmares. I hope that isn’t weird.

Anyway, I showed your letter to a few of my friends, but I don’t want to let anyone else see it. I’m too afraid they’d wreck it and I don’t want anything to happen to your letter. I couldn’t live with myself if I lost it. I know the truth, and that should be enough, right?

Our school is having a career festival soon. It’s supposed to help us decide what we want to be when we finish school. Does the Queen’s Division send people to job fairs? I would love to learn more about what you do.

Thanks again, Mister Lorcasf, for everything.

Best Regards,

Liara Gwin

 

“Hello? Yes, we’re here for the career festival?”

The door unlocked with a metallic buzz and Domerin Lorcasf motioned for his colleague to proceed him while he held it open. They’d have to make several trips to ferry all the boxes from the car, but he imagined the school had some system set up that didn’t involve bothering the secretary every time they wanted to get back in. She looked somewhat harried when they reached the office and she stared at both men with wide eyes.

“Y…You’re-” she stammered, glancing back and forth between the two of them. Maybe it was the uniforms?

“I’m Domerin Lorcasf. I called last week.”

“Oh… Oh yes.” Color crept into the woman’s cheeks. “I thought it was a prank.”

Domerin offered her a patient smile in return. “I’m sure you’re busy. If you’ll just tell us how we’re supposed to set things up…”

“Right this way!” The woman swept out from behind her high desk and led them through a series of hallways to what must have been the gymnasium. “Pick any empty table,” she said, “and let me know if anyone gives you trouble about it.” She shot an acid glare at a few other groups, who had apparently spent the morning squabbling over prime positions. “The presentations start at ten and then the students wander the fair in the afternoon. I hope you brought a lot of print-outs. I think your stand is going to be popular.”

Rilan set the box he carried on the nearest empty table and chuckled. “We’re new to this sort of thing but we’ll do our best.”

When they finished receiving instructions they made their way out the back door – propped open for this purpose – and retrieved the third member of their group, helping her carry the last of the boxes. The signs were hastily printed and the pamphlets were mismatched, but they probably gave enough information for anyone interested in their career path to sort things out. Domerin thought most of them would be more interested in meeting the presenters than in the information booklets anyway.

His superiors had been surprisingly eager when he suggested booths at high school career fairs, but it had drawn to light how little most people knew about the Queen’s Division’s recruitment process. It wasn’t like they were a secret organization, which made it well past time they clarify the application process.

“I’m so nervous,” Valia murmured as she finished spreading the pamphlets across their sparsely decorated table. Compared to some of the other booths theirs looked thrown together – which it was.

“Why?” Domerin snorted. “You regularly give presentations to high profile representatives from the palace.”

“Yeah, but these are teenagers, Domerin,” Valia countered, tossing her hair over her shoulder. “Toughest crowd there is.”

Domerin remained skeptical until he watched several of the other participants deliver their presentations to lukewarm reception and a smattering of applause. He could understand why the students might not be interested in accounting and law, but he thought the police and firefighters would at least keep their attention.

A strange murmur seemed to flow through the crowd when he, Rilan and Valia made their way on stage, followed by a hush deeper than any of the other presenters had received. It probably helped that all three of them had been on national news at some point or other over the past six months.

“Hi,” Domerin said, his voice echoing strangely from the microphone. “My name is Domerin Lorcasf. And in case you don’t recognize the uniform, I work for the Queen’s Division. A friend of mine, by the name of Liara Gwin, mentioned your career fair and I thought I should stop by. How many of you have any idea what the Queen’s Division does?”

A gasp sounded from somewhere near the middle of the right-hand section of the auditorium and it wasn’t difficult to pick Liara out of the crowd. It helped that everyone sitting around her was suddenly squealing, leaning close to ask her a myriad of questions before the teachers came over to shush them.

He waited for the din to disappear before he answered his own question. “We are specially trained to assist the queen with matters deemed too dangerous for the regular divisions of the military and police, though we help each of those groups when a situation demands. We’re here today to tell you how you can apply to the Queen’s Division in the future, if it sounds like the sort of work you want to do…”

*   *   *

“That was… different than I expected,” Valia admitted, tucking several stray hairs that had escaped their biding behind her ears.

Rilan laughed. “We survived. I think that’s all that matters.”

“I’m pretty sure some of the other participants were plotting our murders by the end.” Domerin chuckled. “I never expected we’d get swamped like that.”

“They all just want to see someone famous.” Valia clicked her tongue. “Maybe we should have let someone else handle this.”

Rilan shrugged. “It might have just had the same effect. Our division is pretty well known even if the individuals aren’t. Besides, I think some of those kids were genuinely interested in what we had to say. Some of those pamphlets might not even end up in the garbage.”

“Mister Lorcasf!” The shrill voice echoed across the parking lot before Domerin had a chance to answer his friend. Blinking, he turned to find Liara, weaving through cars as she waved. A small crowd of her classmates peered from a partially open door and several open windows in the nearest wall.

Despite the hectic afternoon, a smile lit Domerin’s features as he waved back. The teenager skidded to a halt just in front of their little group and bent double while she tried to catch her breath. She clutched one of their information booklets against her chest.

“I just wanted to say thank you,” she said when she caught her breath. Her cheeks burned with obvious embarrassment, but Domerin pretended not to notice.

“It was my pleasure. And it’s nice to see you again. You look like you’re doing well.”

“I’m doing fine, thanks!” She hesitated, her blush deepening. “Could I… could I give you a hug, Mister Lorcasf?”

That caught him off-guard. Domerin had never really been the huggy type. But he nodded, seeing no reason to deny the request.

He had barely lifted his arms when she threw herself at him, her arms clenching so tight around his midsection he was surprised he could still breathe. Slowly, he folded the girl in his embrace, patting her back lightly before he drew away. He didn’t want to linger long enough for things to grow awkward. But it was obvious Liara was thrilled.

“I thought a lot about the things you said this morning and in your letters. About how the Queen’s Division works for the people and not just the monarch. And I think I’ve decided. I’m going to become a police officer. If I do well enough, I can apply to the division from there, right?”

“Absolutely,” Valia answered with a wide grin. “My partner came from the police department in the capital and she’s fantastic.”

Liara’s eyes shone like two bright stars at that. “I’m going to do my best so that I can help people, just like you three do.”

“I’m sure you’re going to do wonderful things in the future,” Domerin replied, laying his hand lightly on her shoulder. He leaned close before he added, “And if any of your classmates give you any more trouble, be sure to let me know, all right?”

Liara laughed, though her cheeks still burned. “I will, Mister Lorcasf. I promise.”

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