I am sitting at my desk and thinking of you dear C. The clock only blinks now, it's stories forever lost. I tried to repair it in the beginning, but the damn thing runs off of universal adm. It's the only accurate thing around here anymore. It blinks its frustration with the star that abandoned it, resolutely believing it can function without it.
It has been too long since I held you in my arms, yet I still recall the faint scent of your soap; the soft hum that was never far from your sweet lips. It is a travesty that I should remember all that and yet have lost you! You who are my reason for survival, how I wish it had not been so. Each retched day I spend here, plugging away until my inevitable doom, could be made brighter with but one of your quips, one lithe song escaping from sweet alto lips. But then you too would be gone. We would both be gone. It would all be gone, every stronghold of man, but we would be together in our grave. As the night draws her pall around me, her skeleton fingers growing ever closer, I wonder whether I would have preferred it that way. I don't need to wonder. I would have. Only a few more hours or weeks until fireworks, who is left to count now? Who is left who counts, now?
 
 
"The map of Nazjdra may not be complete, as we know it," the king said. He stood over a large raised map and adjusted a few minor details, moving the location of the ancient battle site.
"It will have to do, Sire, we do not have enough time," the soldier was nervous, he had never seen his king so distracted, and to have called in such a lowly pawn as he to consult on their route, none of this made sense.
"You are right, of course," the King said, zooming in on the far Eastern territories and the edge of the Pekicau, where he knew there to be a secret route that led to the sea. He knew too that he had only one chance. If he missed the route he could easily miss her as well, and now that he found her, he was unwilling to loose her again. The king pulled the map off the tablet where he had finally settled on a route. He folded the copy and tucked it into his belt.
"I am ready now, soldier," the king said and with a wave to join him, left the mapping room.
The soldier stood for a minute, watching the map displayed on the tablet, where the King had left it in his haste. He wondered what the king had lost that he was willing to cross the forest and chance a meeting with the chaavan. He shuddered as he recalled stories from his youth wherein the fair ones were devoured by the brutes who, lacking language, could not even explain their violence, if any justification could even be imagined. The soldier hoped that the whispers of the king's insanity were unfounded, but either way, he felt an uncertain doom looming above their mission, and knew that he would not return. Watching the map slowly rotate, he fixated on the outline of the sea, visible at the end of the forest, and where the king had drawn a small star and the word "calyx."