“The blows were clearly from assassins and my father was certain that the rest of the family would be targeted. In my grief, for my heart was sorely torn open as much by my husband’s murder as by the fact that I had never forgiven him, the truth of my attack spilled out to my parents. We fled that night, as much of our belongings as we could carry, my two younger sisters not understanding as we crowded into our carriage that whisked us to the ambassador of Quoque’s mansion, where my father pleaded for asylum.
“They let us in, seeing how frantic we were, and my mother and sisters all in frightened tears. I felt so hollow in that moment; I’m sure I was a horrid sight, probably huge circles under my eyes and gray skin in my grief. The ambassador wasn’t a wizard but a Helexi, the first birdman I’d ever met. He was old, and all I really recall is the softness of his feathers as he came to hold me an hour or so later, and the scent of his tobacco on his breath. That was when I really cried. He interviewed me when I was done, or that’s what I realize now in hindsight.
“We stayed hidden in his mansion for a couple of days while I’m sure arrangements were made, and the old ambassador assured me over and over that Quoque was the place for us, and indeed was where we ended up. None of us have ever been back to Javern, and I never really saw my family much. They became servants to one of the wizards who is a professor at the college, and I poured myself into my studies. I was older, of course, when I started, but not by much, and my learning allowed me to bury my grief. I suppose I know I’ll have to accept Alasaia’s wisdom and deal with it honestly, but maybe just telling you, what only your wife knows, is enough.”