Time and time again, the arrow spliced through the previous. Each time, her breathing huffed out in determined pants. For hours she sat within the gardens poking holes into the targets made of straw and burlap. Nearly a week since her return, she still had not found herself adequate enough to venture on a hunt alone. Her wolves often accompanied her and still, she did not feel satisfied. Faethrunn stepped out of the back door to the kitchens with a dripping canteen of water and a red ribbon.
“Don’t be so hard on yourself, you were gone for months.” He commented, passing her the ribbon to braid her red curls out of the way. It wasn’t perfect, but it would keep the hair off her neck while she trained. A side ways glance was offered to him, taking the canteen to wet her tongue and her hands. Brushing the water against her neck, she sighed and glanced up towards the sky. The sun was shining, but given the location the clouds never parted to grant them the bliss of its true rays.
“I know it was an extreme amount of time, but I can’t waste anymore. There are things that need to be done. Business is to return to normal as soon as possible. I can’t appear weak when I step back into my empire.” She smiled at him and handed him the canteen before notching another arrow into her bow. The caw that sounded her arrival had the Queen lowering her weapon with a wider smile. “Ah, Rose. It has been far too long, my pretty bird.” She cooed, allowing Rose to perch upon her shoulder and hand her the letter.
As she read the letter, Faethrunn was instructed to cut some bits of apple for the raven and to bring her stationary. Gentle strokes to the underside of her beak and neck were offered as she hummed her usual tune in a duet with the familiar. Once he returned, Celestine set Rose upon a small garden table and splayed the apples out for her before beginning her task of responding.
Time has been unkind. It seems every time we have met, something has gone array. Perhaps it is me, or those we chose to spend our time with. I’m not entirely sure. I do know that Kael has taken quite well to you, the love of a friend, ally, and father radiates off of them whenever you are near or thought of. What you did for me, I can not thank you enough. I’m sure at some point you’ll come up with a way to be repaid, it is the least I can do.
However, until then, I have no desire to give sideways glances of disdain to you, or yours. What is in the past should stay in the past. Perhaps things will work themselves out, but the word of what happened has still yet to reach the ears of those who need to hear it the most. The second letter that will be with this one, I ask that you share it with those who are close to you. Your Magistrix and brother most importantly.
I’m not worried about what you could possibly say, I’m sure that most already know thanks to the drama that ensued after my slumber took hold. Take a moment and cherish what you have before you lose it, I know I should have.
To a brighter future and a friendlier one, I hope.
– Sincerely, Celestine”
She read over the letter and tapped the end of the feathered quill to her cheek as she pulled the next page. She began to scratch at the parchment, but for some reason these words were much harder to find than she had anticipated.
“To whom it may concern,
After a series of misfortunate events, I have returned. I am well and very much alive. There were some misunderstandings before and after my death was announced. Kurel is not to be blamed for my death, even if his curiosity helped my killer find me. Lledwyn is also not to be blamed for my death. Evidence showed he had come to the tavern, and he did. He left just before my killer had arrived. I didn’t even have time to write him a thank you note for dropping off his sister’s research. The Wolves are not your enemy, we never were. None of them have a desire to harm those of the Port, the Scions, or really anyone else associated with both. All is forgiven, but not forgotten.
It is my hope that we can look past this and move forward as stronger individuals. If we can not, then at least I made the effort to.
– Sincerely, Black General Celestine Winters”
She sealed both of the letters and let out a sharp whistle, sounding for Arrow to come to her side. As the large white owl landed, he blinked at Rose and took the letters without another sound. Celestine returned her attention to the raven, brushing her finger along the crown of her little skull.
The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 CE. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier. It serves as an entrance to town.
In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.