A last Day of School
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The belltower of the assembly rang with the same gusto it rang every morning. It raised the students from their beds as usual, but for them this day was everything but. It was the last day for that year of schooling at the assembly. 

Thomen, as the other students, started his day with the usual routine. From his room he went to the washing room. Nobody had yet turned the heater on, so they could either shower in cold water or wait until it was hot enough to enjoy. Thomen had decided he would use every minute of the day so he gritted his teeth and went into the freezing water straight from the lake. 

The washed boys threw on their black trousers, white shirts and dark blue students’ coats and descended from the boys' wing to the communal wing of the dormitory and at the breakfast table, Thomen saw Elle. He was enchanted by her green eyes as she talked to her best friend Lila. Thomen would have drunk in more of her radiance if his friend and roommate Dale hadn’t bumped into him. 

“Hey, don’t stare so much, or people will think you want to shag the dog next.” 

“Shut up, Dale. I don’t care. She might not be a human but she’s still a person, isn’t she?” 

Dale’s voice took on a less humorous tone. “Let crolans to their kind, take humans to ours.” 

Thomen looked back to Elle, who had taken place not too far from him and Dale. He could not see her green eyes, but her short, cream coloured fur coruscated in the morning light. With her arm, she reached all across the table for a bread roll, cut it open and started buttering. Lila made a jest Thomen couldn’t understand and Elle giggled. It was a beautiful sound. 

“Stop staring, mate.” 

Thomen ignored that, but he did notice one of Elle’s ears perking up and twisting towards their position, she was about to look his way. Before he could see her eyes entirely, Thomen quickly looked away. He saw that his plate was empty. He reached for a bread roll and decided on bacon, scrambled eggs and cheese. When he had put it all together and took his first bite, he dared another glance. Their eyes met. Her pupils widened from slits to circles and he quickly looked away. They were both fifteen, any time spent too close to another would be enough to give people around them funny ideas. 

After breakfast, the students of all years left the dormitory and walked the short path upwards to the assembly. There would be no ordinary lessons that day. All exams had been written, all results declared and all curricula fulfilled. Each professor had the opportunity to endear themselves to the students for the next year, it was the last day before the students left for three months of summer. After six years in the assembly, Thomen knew which one would make the greatest display. The students were free to visit any presentation or lecture they wished, no restriction on age or subject, but he had given himself a specific instruction: he would go wherever Elle was going. She decided to go to Professor Carnelle, who was an excellent evocator. Her displays of fire and frost were a joy to behold. With her delicate hand, she wrote the finest patterns and scripts and managed to cram so many instructions and conditions on even the tiniest of areas, it was dizzying to think of the attention she put into it. 

A single wooden ball the size of her thumb whirred around its axis as it hovered over the heads of students, who were packed tightly in the small lecture room seating barely thirty. As this wooden ball whirred and hovered, the air flowed at incredible speeds through the carved grooves on its surface, the two distinct set of carved grooves that interlocked tightly but never truly touched. One of them cooled the air so far down it turned into a frigid mist sprinkling the students with snowflakes, while the other heated it up so far it tore crackling sparks with it and spewed them across the room, while Professor Carnelle guided the streams with her wand of ash, turning them into dancing swirls and clashing vortices above the students’ heads. One of the sparks landed on the far tip of Elle’s ear and she flicked it away with a movement as natural as blinking. Thomen stared without interruption, Dale had chosen to attend Professor Lucen’s presentation on minimalist control of telekinetic spells. 

Thomen met Dale at lunch, which was just a light meal; dinner would be a feast. 

“I decided against going home immediately.” Dale told. “I think I'll be heading to the north coast with Garre and the others.” 

“Why the sudden change? Won’t your parents miss you? What does your Master have to say about it?” 

“I will send a pigeon message from the city. They will be quite alright. My Master won’t mind, he barely ever needs help with his studies anyway, I just get in his way.” 

“I couldn’t do that. Master Tolle expects me back. He has another apprentice to teach before he can send him off to the assembly, too. If I didn’t help him out, he’d be overloaded with orders. There aren’t many magi around our parts.” 

“Oh, that’s right, you’re a countryside bumpkin. I could never be an artisan mage, I want to get a proper degree and then a doctorate.” 

Thomen raised an eyebrow in scepticism. “What do you mean, proper degree? Master Tolle has a proper degree. Just because it’s not from a university doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. He takes care of several villages. Without him the saws, mills and looms of dozens of villages would soon cease to work.” 

Dale raised his hands to assuage Thomen. “I know, I know. But I don’t want to be a mage who keeps the world turning, I want to figure out what makes it turn and how to forge ahead. I want to invent new looms and saws, or even new applications and tools entirely. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with your goals, but my ambitions lie higher.” 

“At least I can already make something. The greatest thing you ever made was turning that log into a piece of coal with your miscalculated spell last year. Either way, touring the north coast is no option for me. I wish you and the others much fun. Plan on doing anything other than drinking?” 

“Oh come on now, you know we’re not old enough.” 

“Never stopped us before.” Thomen said with a mischievous grin. 

Ignoring Thomen’s comment, Dale continued. “Besides, there are plenty of sights to see. The Watcher’s Rock is said to be pretty this time of year. I want to jump off it into the sea below.” 

For a moment, Thomen felt the urge to come with. The hot summer months were the ideal time to escape into the cold northern waters. He was interrupted in his fantasy by the beautiful sound of a certain giggle. Before he could turn his head – 

Don’t stare, mate!” 

“Let me. At least I didn’t get slaps or kicks from half the girls here for any creepy letters.” 

“A man got to be bold, or he’ll always stay a boy.” He seemed to make a pause. “But not so bold as to shag a do- AUGH!“ 

Thomen had kicked Dale’s shin with all his might under the table. “Stop talking about people of other races like that. If you talked bad about an urshog or mohouk this way, they’d cave your head in. You’re just being mean because crolans are smaller.” 

“Well she’s not an urshog or a mohouk, she’s a crolan and I don’t have anything against them, but come on, dating one? Doing it with one?” 

“I hope you dont plan on any long sea voyages then. There’s lots of sea dogs on a ship.” 

The comment was met with only eye rolling on Dale's side. They finished their meal and decided on the spectacles to observe. Dale decided on Professor Nall's class and Thomen followed suit when he noticed Elle going the same way, without Lila. Nall was a favourite among the playful and lazy. He taught most notably magic and mundane properties as well as mineralogy, but his passion was sports and games and so he liked to tinker on magical tools that made those more fun. His last lecture of the year would usually be letting the students test out his latest inventions.  

They sat in groups between two and six and were handed boxes by him with hastily scribbled instructions. After playing a game about caravans and escorts where the escort pieces would actually bump into each other on command, he decided to rotate to another group, in the hopes of getting to play with Elle, who had just received a large playing board from Professor Nall. Thomen sensed his chanced and moved quickly. 

“Are you looking for players?” He asked her and she looked at him in confusion. Her green eyes were the depth of mystery to him. Their colour reminded him of moss on sandstone and few specks of yellow and red could be seen. 

“I don’t know what to do with this. He said it’s played with usual playing cards.” She walked to a nearby table and put the board down, then pulled out a pack of cards and an instruction manual from her students' robes. “It says here we need to each draw eleven cards and place five face down on the board on our side and five plus one face up. Winner is who manages to force the other’s cards all face up first.” 

The wooden board was entirely covered with instructions carved in arcane glyphs. Some Thomen could understand, others would require some study. Some of the glyphs indicated the twenty-two spaces where they would put down their eleven cards: two rows at five cards each plus an eleventh “head card” that seemed to have some significance. When certain conditions were met, cards would flip face-down or face-up. Both Thomen and Elle tried to figure out the rules from the instructions, but they could not remember more than two of the convoluted rules. 

“I don’t get why he didn’t just put the glyphs on the cards instead.” Elle asked at some point. 

“Because every spell is only as durable as its base. The cards would just burn up after a while. Carving the board every thousand games or so is easier.” 

Elle hummed and nodded, which made the hair of her mane sway back and forth. “I guess that’s true, but it is so cumbersome.” Thomen had always been fascinated by the upright standing hair of the crolans’ manes. Like wild horses, their manes were stiff and coarse, and many of their women wove ribbons and beads into them to keep them somewhat down. Their men were often braggards and boasters that only too gladly showed off their manes, beards and chest hair. The females however were said to have no hair on those two specific areas, yet between those, a crest of puffy white hair sprung up, smooth like silk and smelling of- 

“What are you doing for the summer?” Elle’s voice interrupted his fantasy. 

“Uuuh.” Thomen had to think for a moment. “Help Master Tollen, I guess. He is always busy and I need the practice if I want to follow into his footsteps.” 

“Do you get to carve any glyphs?” Elle was again reading through the instructions to figure out why her eight of leaves had just flipped face-down. “All I get to do is removing old and worn-out ribbons from poles and hanging up the new ones.” 

“If I didn’t help him three months out of the year, he would barely have any time. Master Tolle gives me the blueprint for the glyphs, I draw the glyphs on the object and our artisan carves them in.” 

“Oh, I envy you.” Elle seemed to have found what she had been looking for and decided to swap one of her face-up cards. As she placed it, she put great care into not letting her claws touch the paper. Thomen paid close attention to each and every single one of her movements. She returned her hand to her lap and below the table, which left Thomen staring at her blouse, out of which poked just the tiniest tip of the silky hair of her chest, of that long crest that ran between her breasts, until Elle drew her students’ robes close with a quick movement. “I said my turn is over, Thomen.” Her glare showed Thomen she did not approve of his idle eyes. 

“Oh, I am sorry, yes, you are right.” Thomen’s heart sank, he did not know what had come over him. He decided to swap a face-down and a face-up card and finished his move by putting his hand on his side of the baord and announcing “My turn is over”, whereupon one of Elle’s cards flipped face-up, bringing her total count to seven face-up. His frustration however rose, as he had still not found a proper way to actually talk to Elle about what was truly on his mind whenever he saw her. 

Elle took the manual to council again and tried to understand what had just happened. Thomen looked at her green eyes scanning the awful scribbling of Professor Nall’s, until they glanced to him for a careful moment, she saw him returning her look and furrowed her brow in judgemental anger. 

She threw the manual up. “I DON’T GET THIS! AAARGH!”. She messed up her mane in frustration and scratched her head, which shortly after summoned Professor Nall to them. He held his colourfully painted staff close and smiled as if he was awaiting the punchline to a joke. 

“Is there something I can help you with?” 

“EVERYTHING!” Elle replied angrily, whereupon she quickly caught herself, adjusted her pose and corrected her tone. “I mean,… The rules are quite obtuse as they are written, I am afraid, Professor Nall.” 

True to his playful nature, Professor Nall merely giggled. “I guess it is a fairly early concept, why don’t you join those over there? They had quite the fun with their previous round and I want to see a bigger group trying their hands at that game.” He pointed to another group waving to them. 

Elle and Thomen did as recommended and for the rest of the “lecture” and had their fair bit of fun, but rarely exchanged glances. The second afternoon lecture would see them separated as Dale insisted on showing him Professor Carnella’s Pheonix Flight performance, a dazzling display of evocation, where raw energies were summoned forth to take the shape of a fiery bird performing aerial stunts, safely above the lake. 

During the entire performance, Thomen thought about a way to talk to Elle on more direct terms, when suddenly, the performance itself gave him an idea. He reached into his satchel and retrieved coal pencil and paper. With the ancient rune of butterfly, he managed to construct a spell to take a specific shape and behaviour, now all he needed was a fixed position from Elle and her direction and distance and he could send any letter he wanted. The dinner would offer the perfect opportunity. 

Dinner was served while the summer sun was still above the horizon. If he was lucky, he could invite Elle to witness the sundown above the lake with him. He hatched his plan. 

All the students from year one to seven gathered in the large communal dining room. Normally, the younger students would rise and eat later, but this day, all got to eat together in the large ballroom. No balls tonight, that was reserved for the winter solstice, but the feast was served. Roasts with gravy as thick as glue, potatoes as large as two fists baked to perfection, vegetables of all kinds in the lightest steam imaginable. For Thomen, it was the greatest feast of the semester. His friends may have wealthier parents, but he enjoyed this thoroughly for he had ample reason to. 

While he was enjoying the greatest course of his year, he scribbled the necessary calculations on his paper, judging distance and direction from Elle, who was again happily chatting with Lila. Dale was watching him scribble and calculate closely, barely any the wiser. Finally, between his first and second serving, he was done. He would enact his plan when the desert was served – shepherd's pie with cowberry preserves – and show Elle his true feelings. 

He wrote a short poem in the centre of the paper bearing all the necessary glyphs, to tell her his feelings and his plans for sundown. 

When fire and water meet. 

The summer’s dawn we may greet. 

Together in silent company. 

So that I may embrace you tenderly. 

He was sure, this would be the move he had been too hesitant to do so far. The shepherd’s pie finally came and just when one of the two servants remaining this late in the year had put it down before Elle, Thomen raised the paper sitting gently on his flat left hand and snapped the fingers of his right. The sound attracted some attention, naturally, and so everyone saw as the paper on his hand began to fold up into the shape of a butterfly, only for the current of magic energy to scorch and engulf the paper moments later. The charred paper nonetheless flew over to where Elle was sitting, burning up further on the way and landing on her preserves just as it crumbled into white ashes. 

Snickers and giggles were heard from all those at the table except Thomen and Elle. He gritted his teeth as she looked at him direly enough to curse his name. Dale leaned over to him with a stupid grin. “You forgot the first rule: a spell is only as durable as its base.” 

“Was that really necessary, Thomen? Are you this petty?” Elle took her knife and flung the pile of ash-covered preserves onto the table. Her glare went deeply into Thomen’s heart. He slouched his shoulders without noticing and jammed his fork into his pie without any appetite left. 

The sunset found Thomen sitting alone on the lake shore. The tiny island with the crone’s tower sat there, alone, only reachable by boat. He threw a pebble into the water. He heard someone approach from behind and knew it was Dale. 

“You messed that one up really well, I have to say.” 

“Shut up.” 

Dale sat down next to him. “No, really. Your mastery of that spell was probably just a single word off perfect, if your intent was to forever drive her away.” 

“Shut! Up!” 

“Maybe you ought to come with Garre and me and the rest. Maybe seeing different places will show you that there’s other things to care about than girls.” 

Thomen turned to Dale with a hiss. “You only say that because every girl here thinks you’re a creep or a pervert. Of course you’d look for girls elsewhere!” 

“Hey, I'm going on a trip with the boys. I got enough of that for a while. Maybe once we’re done here, I will go see what the university campus has to offer.” 

Thomen got up. “I have no nerve for this right now, Dale.” He decided to go for a walk all around the lake.  

The walk did not clear anything up in his head. When he was opposite of the assembly, he sat down again. The last orange rays were bathing the stone walls in fire. The dormitory with its horseshoe shape glittered the newest of all, of smooth sandstone blocks without any mortar staying atop each other with no problems of instability. The buildings housing the lecture halls in a multitude of styles and ages stood clustered together somewhat apart from the dormitory. Most of then were of closer-sourced granite, some buildings rounded, others with hard rectangular corner. The crone’s tower on the tiny island was the oldest one still standing, on the verge of crookedness, but still used for the pigeons and crows of the assembly. Despite the assembly’s remote location, it was still connected to the universities of the distant cities, not just by messenger pigeon, but also by the ropeway, hanging from pole to pole as far as the eye could seen to the distant west. 

Thomen sat there until the stars appeared on the night sky, a bright swirl like milk, seemingly watching over the world in silent contemplation. Thomen got up and went back to the dormitory. A few students were still playing in the common rooms, some even with Professor Nall's inventions, but most stuck by mundane playing pieces. He didn’t find Elle anywhere and toyed with the thought of staying, but he couldn’t motivate himself to join in anywhere. He retreated to his and Dale’s room and crawled under the sheets. He felt like just disappearing. 

The next morning broke and Thomen had not disappeared. He still felt like an idiot, however. He did not shower that day, he just ate breakfast, packed his things and went outside to the ropeway. Some students were already waiting, others had not yet finished packing or eating. The last pole of the ropeway's arm that was used to bring goods and people to this remote location stood right down from the assembly’s hill. 

Several of the rope gondolas were already lined up, basically just two long rowboats, one the roof of the other, affixed to a hooked mast at each end. The boats inside and outside, the masts and even the poles bearing runes finely carved and painted carefully all over their surface. The Professors were checking each of the gondolas with great care, to make sure the spell’s glyphs had not worn down too much. Where necessary, she touched up the crumbling paint. The students were coming together into groups of eight for each gondola, by whether they would head north, south or west from the next city. Thomen had to go south. 

Thomen went over to Dale, who would go north from the city. They exchanged a few words, he wished Dale great fun on his tour of the northern coast, then they waited as Professor Cornelle declared the first gondola fit for the journey and admitted the first group of students. The eight dragged the gondola over between the first two poles, where the ropes hung lowest to the ground. They hooked it onto the rope running to the right and got into the swaying and dangling boat. As the first put their feet on the boat’s floor, the gondola stabilised, the hooks hovered just an inch away from the rope and two of the students retrieved pushing poles from the gondola’s side. Everyone waved and called goodbyes, then the students used the poles to push themselves off from the ground. Gently and without sound, the gondola hovered along the rope. After just a few pushes with the poles, it began to accelerate by itself and soon whizzed towards the horizon. 

It continued like that, waiting for a gondola to be entirely checked, hung on the ropes and then off they were. Elle stood by the side. Her destination was the city itself, so she could ride in any group, she had come down last from the dormitory, maybe because of her morning groom, and joined the last group, Thomen’s. She stood with then, but talked to nobody, especially not Thomen, and stared out over the lake. 

Maybe for a few of the youngest, riding gondolas was anything other than a regular occurrence, so they quickly got in their gondola, waved the professors and servants goodbye and pushed themselves off. Moments later, the gondola had taken up enough speed to leave the assembly out of sight within minutes. 

Hills, hamlets and houses whizzed past them. The rhythmic rising and lowering of the rope as it was draped from pole to pole took over the scene for the students. Thomen looked over to Elle and sighed. He thought about what he could say to her, how best to apologize, but with the wind droning in their ears and all the other people here, it would not be the best situation. Thomen was disrupted in his train of thought by one of the younger boys pointing ahead and yelling. “Hey, one of the poles is missing!” 

And truly, ahead, one of the poles had been taken down and the ropes cut. A group of people stood at the ready with a new pole, which they were now trying to set up. It seemed the nearby villagers had been given a new pole in anticipation of another one’s failure. The gondola stopped at the last connected pole and the students got out to walk over to the crowd. 

A man among them was discussing whether to take the other poles down as well to attach the new ropes. Without a raised platform, it would require them to arduously fasten the new section of rope into the fitting while sitting atop the pole. Alternatively, they would have to take the other poles out of the ground as well to secure the ropes more easily. 

The people of the village kept arguing for either point, seemingly ignoring the students trying to get home for the summer, until Elle took a step forward. 

“I can do it. I can attach the ropes without you having to take the other poles down.” 

At that, the people of the village turned around. One mumbled something to another one so that the students would not hear it, then the frontmost man spoke up. “Sure, a crolan could do that. Be our guest, young lady.” 

Elle nodded and took off her shoes. From what seemed perfectly normal shoes for humans, she pulled something that was somewhere between a foot and a hand. Five long, dextrous toes that made up more than half the entire foot, ending in curved claws like the feet of a marten and a short, thick palm reminiscent only slightly of a heel. Thomen was eager to watch how she would use those to climb the poles. 

She bit down on the rope as far as it fit into her mouth to hold onto it, then one of the villagers gave her a heavy knife with an inward-curving cutting edge, which she put under the belt holding her skirt. As Elle climbed the pole, her swaying body and limbs got her up the ten, maybe fifteen yards of the pole in no time. Her strong fingers and toes as well as her claws found ample purchase on the soft wood. That’s when Thomen noticed something about the wood. 

It was white cedar, a very soft wood good for small workpieces and instruments, but horrible for poles bearing loads or construction. The glyphs and geometries of magic instructions had easily been carved into the surface with blunt and bent tools, Thomen had spent enough time helping the artisan Master Tolle employed to notice that. 

Elle had arrived at the top, pried open the brass fittings of the rope and started to cutting the ends of the two ropes with a diagonal cut, then pushing them into another tightly before fastening the fitting again with a few strikes with the handle of the knife. As she worked up there, Thomen saw that she was wearing short trousers underneath her skirt, as expected of a lady of a race that liked climbing this much, he had seen her laze about in the trees across the assembly’s area many times. Immediately after, he reprimanded himself in his head for even trying to look under a lady’s skirt. 

She was down the pole and quickly went up the second one to affix the other end of the rope just as quickly. She was done and the students pushed the gondola onto the new rope and got inside to test whether the ends of the rope were properly and solidly connected. The gondola stabilized and hovered as expected and the rope held; the people of the village cheered to the crolan. Elle made her descent, but on her way down, Thomen saw one of her claws catching into one of the glyphs. A piece of the glyph broke out and fell to the ground as a shredded woodchip. 

The gondola suddenly fell from its magic suspension and rocked left and right like a clock’s pendulum. One of the younger girls squealed at the suddenness and the people of the village groaned in anger. 

“Great, you broke it. Now we have to exchange that one too.” One man said. A women sneered at her “Cut your claws like you should! You’re not an animal, are you.” 

Elle stood there, back against the pole not knowing what to say. She looked over to the gondola, where the other students got out and prepared to take it off the rope. One of the boys called over to her. “Come on, we can just pull it over the few hundred yards to the next pole, continue from there.” 

Leaving the people of the village standing there after not really helping them in the first place seemed wrong to Thomen. He walked towards Elle and the crowd. 

“Go ahead, go with your friends.” One of the men said. “We will deal with this properly, that’s what we get for trying to take a shortcut, I guess.” 

Elle looked intimidated; her ears hung low at the side of her head, she fidgeted with her toes and took another step backwards. Thomen addressed one from the crowd. “Do you have a wood chisel and a smoothing stone? I can fix this properly.” 

“Oh, you go as well, boy. Let the adults handle this.” 

“Well, the adults used cedar wood, horrible for poles like this. I don’t know if someone gave you these for cheap or if you decided to crudely copy the other poles hoping it would be enough, but I know how to carve glyphs into wood, so hand me some tools.” Thomen came to stand next to Elle, who still fidgeted with her toes. He kept his chest puffed up and thrust outwards towards the man, who turned around and then, with only half conviction answered. 

“I guess we have some tools, I’ll go get them.” 

With a halfway decent wood chisel and a piece of sandstone, Thomen removed the entirety of the damaged glyph, then sanded the surface smooth. The wood of the pole now had a deep, wide dent, but into this, Thomen could easily carve the missing glyph. It was a minor act, but he paid attention closely to make sure it was better made than the rest of the pole. When he was finally done, he gave the other students a thumbs up. They got back into the gondola and it worked just as before. He wiped the sweat of his brow, then looked to Elle. She seemed glad, almost a tiny bit impressed. She gave him a half-hearted smile, as if she had still not forgotten his behaviour the day before, then she went ahead and hopped into the gondola. Thomen turned to the people of the village and gave a last bit of advice. 

“Use oak before you blame everybody else!” 

He got back inside the gondola and just with a few pushes, were back up to speed. It had been much more effort and time then just dragging the gondola over to the next pole, but he did not care. Solving a problem properly the first time is the way to go. Master Tolle may not be the fastest working, but his solutions always work and they always hold up. Some may work less accurately, maybe even give themselves more business on purpose by forcing people to replace their tools more often, but that was not the moral thing to do. 

The journey continued uneventful until finally, about an hour after they had left, the city came into view. It’s spires of mottled sandstone in red and yellow, gleamed in the noon sun as they rose on the central hill, at the top of which towers stood to keep all the city safe and operational. Ropeways converged from all directions, merged and split at switches, dutifully operated by mages whop recognized the students’ robes and waved to wish them fun on their summer break. Other gondolas with passengers and cargo joined them on the ropes or left into their own destinations. Students’ robes and caps of red and yellow and even more colours were seen around the city. The cart passed by the most outer wall and stopped by a station by the river. From here, Thomen and six of the others would take a cart southbound, Elle left, Thomen’s heart sank. 

Before she split from the group, he ran after her. 

“Wait, Elle, please!” 

She turned around with a glare. It seemed not quite as angry or judgemental as before. “Yes?” 

“I wanted to apologize. I acted kind of stupid. Especially that with the butterfly, I really wasn’t thinking that one through properly. Please don’t be mad at me.” 

Elle chuckled. “If I stayed mad at every boy my age who acted like an idiot, I’d be mad all the time.” 

A small spark of joy rose in Thomen. “Can I write you a letter then?” 

Much to Thomen’s relief, Elle nodded. “Address it to Mistress Gira. She’ll get it.” 

“I will. Have a nice summer.”  

“And you to.” Elle smiled and Thomen felt relieved enough to jump with joy, but he composed himself, then he caught up with the others. All that was left was to write a proper letter to detail to her how he felt. That couldn’t be so hard, could it?