Valentin: Farewell

Valentin walks into the graveyard, a single stem of foxglove clutched in one hand. He looks for a patch of ground, before kneeling next to a grave no more than a year old. Gently placing the flower on the grave, Valentin lets out a deep sigh.

“We did it, Camille” he says softly. “We killed Truth. We went into her own home and Alex killed her with holy fire. Jullienne is safe now, all of the Veneaux are safe. If Lirael was responsible for taking you from us, then we even got our vengeance. I never thought I would hate enough to want revenge, even against a Malefic. But that greedy bitch perverted her quest for knowledge. Took you from me. Nearly caused you to kill Julienne. She toyed with Sophie’s mind, and tried to make her into another of her puppets. I am so very glad she is gone.”

Valentin goes silent for a moment, fighting back tears. When he speaks again, there is the slightest quiver to his voice. “Julienne is safe from her now. And I promise you that I will do whatever I have to protect her and Pascal and Sophie from what is coming next. I don’t know how, but I will find a way.”

Lapsing into silence again, Valentin stares into the distance for a long moment. “When you died, I thought a large part of me died too. I had my inventions, and I had Julienne. Nothing else mattered. Even when your ghost came back, it was never about anything but protecting Julienne and the community. This time from the shadow of the woman I had loved so deeply. I couldn’t allow myself to want anything more, I had learned the lesson that trying led to disaster. I did not need to be happy”

Tears now roll down Valentin’s cheeks. “But somehow, despite everything that had been done to you Camille, you found strength. You pulled back some remnant of who you had been. And you started watching over Julienne and myself again. You saw my quiet misery, and you got Juliene to give me a push to try to find happiness.”

“And I did. I opened my eyes and I saw an amazing woman in front of me. Someone who heard what you asked, and her first reaction was to offer to marry me to bring you peace. Her compassion and tireless resolve are a blessing to all of Luisant. Sophie is brilliant and inquisitive and beautiful. She brings out the best in me, and brightens my day whenever I see her.”

“I never expected to fall in love again. But I did with Sophie. And I married her at the last market, one brilliant moment of joy in a day filled with horrors. I don’t know how long we will have together, but I intend to find every moment of happiness I can.“ A bittersweet smile crosses Valentin’s face. “Thank you my love. Thank you for finding the strength to recover who you were. Thank you for giving me a push out of my shell. And Thank you for helping me find love again.”

Valentin dries his eyes and pushes himself up from the grave. “Goodbye Camille. May you find rest in God’s embrace.” With a sense of finality, he turns away and walks back out of the graveyard.

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