III. So Foul and Fair a Day

He hated the rain. The icy weather only worsened the throbbing ache in his left hand. He found solace plucking the violin, empty sounds reminding him of the years passed unable to even press against the fingerboard. Of course, this rainy day was only worth noting because something beyond unpleasant memories and agony happened.

He was drawn from his peace when an unrelenting knocking threatened to break down his door, chronic pains trying his patience. When the door swung opened, annoyance gave way for shock.

“Eleanor?”

She invited herself in as though her random ultimatum last year did not even conspire, took a moment to appreciate the mostly unchanged arrangements, and turned to face him. How a person can change in only a year! The perpetual smile took an opposite direction, her eyes only glimmered from tears, and her words…he waited to see if the last item was demolished by time, too.

“Soulran…”

He dreamt of this moment, dreaded that his bitter gall towards her abrupt leave would ruin his chance of reconciliation. Yet this moment had no room for a thread of ill will: as she took a few steps towards him and choked out his name again, he could only take her into his arms.

“I-I…am sorry…I’ve wr-wronged you…deeply…”

“It’s fine, it’s fine now,” That was a partial truth, with enough genuity to assure her and enough unspoken sorrows to tranquillize the shock of her presence here.

After she settled began to explain the reason for her intrusion, “The past year had been…saturated with deception and foolishness…” A suitor winning her mother’s approval revealed his allegations with the Council when she refused his hand, forcing her to take his hand in marriage lest she wants the death of her family. “Who would have thought that the Duke of Edun would be a master at death threats?” She had no choice but to follow suit…she glared at the offensive ring fixed upon her finger before continuing. A month before their wedding, she regretted her decision and sent a servant carrying letters to Soulran for help. Of course, the letters were intercepted.

“The Duke threw the bundle of letters upon my dressing table one day, forcing me to put an end to my affairs with you at the same consequence of his previous threat. And I…If I’ve told you the truth, you would’ve try to help and I…” would rather let you hate me than die for me…The sentiment was communicated through a look, and Soulran tightened his clasp upon her hand.

“And I thought that was enough…my mother realized thorough her own means that man’s true nature…she began to oppose our match…” There was a long pause before she went on to tell of how the man drugged and abducted her to give the impression that she eloped with him, “My mother was heartbroken…I could’ve had more courage to tell her…” The Crisiotas were by no means capable of sustaining such a scandal, so her mother could only urge for the two’s wedding with counterfeit blessings.

“But I’m afraid that I cannot live under such tyranny…not anymore…”, She drew her attention from her narrative briefly to him, taking his pained hand into hers as she sought out the complaining joints and pressed against them; her mind drifted, but her tongue continued her tale. “The Duke almost killed Sirius once…it’s all too much…” She only had the chance to escape today because he was careless after a year of absolute obedience from her and left for a longer business dealing. “I need your help, Soulran.”

He realized that he was wrong about how the light in her eyes were gone; for once the glittering tears were dried, a deep flame of vengeance and hatred he knew not she was capable of harboring bore into him, even though he knew it was not even directed at him, “What is it?”

She shared with him the times and places: for she was to pay the Crisiotas’ a visit with her husband by the end of the week, and she planned to thwart him where she was most familiar. They conspired until it was time for her to leave, when she went to the door and could not help herself from pulling him into another tight embrace.

“Soulran…can you forgive me?” He knew that she wasn’t referring to her unannounced visit.

“…There’s nothing left for me to forgive now that you are here, Eleanor,” Her shoulders dropped, and she forced herself to let go.

“…Thank you…”

The handle turned, the door whined, and she was gone.

Soulran went to his window and picked out her frame disappearing into the hazy rain, a new ache beyond the reach of any aiding hand erupted over the persisting pains for ill premonitions.

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