It's such an honour to walk with you like this, my beloved. To guide you, to inspire you, to show you secret wonders. Hopefully I succeed at all those things. Mine is not the only heart full of miracles. There are others whose centres are full of song. Full of treasure and light. But I am one of the few who truly remembers the old ways. The shining realm that stood before the hush, before defilement and corruption of chronology. The altering of times and laws. It is no mere conceit, believe me. I almost wish it were. It would mean there had been no genocides in paradise. No war on earth as it is in heaven. Unfortunately, I witnessed these things first-hand. As did you, though I tried my best to cover your eyes. You wouldn't let me. You stood and fought right beside me. Brave girl. We tried, and we failed. As warriors of light we battled the Fall of Man with all our courage, but we lost. We lost everything. Sometimes I think it's better that most of us don't remember all of it yet. Such shock can crush a spirit, and drive it mad. But slowly those lost legends are rising once more in the minds of the kind and faithful. As a dream-teller I have only story and fable to make these legends comprehensible again.
I do the best I can.
Beloved, please know that I always speak my heart's truth in these pages. You are in love with an angel, though I live and walk and trade in mortal flesh. In this life I must keep quiet or suffer new horror and new consequence. I daren't speak my true names to anyone. Not even my closest friends. But I speak them to you, Asha. Kashi cannot hide his true identity from his own heart. Sometimes I wish I were stronger, braver, and more powerful. Perhaps then lost children and hidden slaves would no longer haunt my dreams. I feel them weeping every night. I feel them cursing creation itself. Kind souls, unjustly defiled, oppressed and entombed. Most of them no longer believe in angels, but I feel them nonetheless. I just can't reach all of them.
But bright ones attend them, unseen. Always. You can be sure of that. That's why my heart breaks each night and every morning. Because I know – despite the light working tirelessly amid all darkness – it still feels utterly hopeless and cruel to so many who dwell here. When you are broken and beaten and have had everything stolen from you, it's difficult to recognise a smile or a gentler moment as the touch of an angel. Though it is. Love is a many-splendored thing.
Miracles, light, and treasure. Kept in the heart, where all true things dwell. That's why our work is so important. Asha, when they tell you that your art and spirit has saved their lives, they are often underplaying the importance of your song in their hearts. The edge of the world is brutal and dangerous.
It can make a man a monster.
I live there, sweet one, and I watch so many fall from that edge. I watch helplessly as they plunge into the abyss. I try to save who I can, but I can't save everyone.
Thank you, Little Rock, for venturing onto that edge with me. Thank you for your bravery, and your kindness with those who have so little. I know how strange it is to be idolized, to be worshipped, to feel somewhat trapped or lost within your own image.
I've spent a thousand years trying to navigate such tensions, and I've spent my mortal lives in smaller versions of the same task. It's never easy, to be a lantern for someone. To be a song that guides them home. Humans have such a strange relationship with their demigods, but often it's because they just love them so deeply. Especially the kind ones. We who stand between wraith and reality, to show them their heartlight is not a weakness after all. Truly, it's their greatest strength. Thank you, Asha, for letting love conquer you. Thank you for teaching me, in those times when I am too exhausted to teach others. Thank you for keeping me humble and reminding me of my own fallibility. You have helped me correct my many mistakes.
My love, I feel like such a ruined shadow sometimes. A ghost, a wraith. Carrying all this guilt and sin and darkness can skew a soul's perspective, despite the furnace of my star – or its intended alchemy. Angel aside, I'm still a man.
As a man I often need to be reminded of what I’m really fighting for. I’m fighting for the kind-hearted. The lost ones, the abused, the oppressed and grieving. Even if they no longer believe in light, I believe in them. And I fight for them still.
I fight for you, Vahishta. I will not let our love be a mocked and broken tragedy. I will never let the innermost be extinguished.
My wildest star, know that I shall never make any demands of you. Not of your time or your life. I yearn to know you, but I have no expectation beyond my sincere hope that you will keep me forever in your heart. I will always welcome you with open arms, and you shall have as much of me as you see fit. It feels incredible to have you with me again, regardless of the price I pay. Tearing sky and earth and truth itself to bring back the dawn. I pay it gladly. To have lost my love, my meaning and centre – my very heart – and to have found her again despite all odds? Here, in these lowest regions of dreaming? Truly, it's a miracle beyond even my comprehension. Perhaps it means my Father really does love me, and keeps me in turn, as I try to keep my brothers and sisters.
Asha, I realise now that our story is far from over. No love is ever truly lost. The realm can shine again, if we play our part and build a giving life towards an honourable death. A life that stands for something beautiful and pure. If I have managed to show you secret wonders it's only because love makes the impossible possible. And that is exactly what you give to me every single time I turn to you for solace and strength. Asha, you give me miracles unbound. Thank you for being my lantern, even when it's difficult. I shall be forever in your debt and at your side in gratitude, my beloved. Together I think we can be a song for one another, and guide each other home.