He watched her sleep thinking that it would be the last time he would ever see her face. This little girl he had spent four years raising as his own would have a hard road ahead of her, but he couldn’t stay to watch it. He just couldn’t raise her to be a sacrifice. Running away with her wouldn’t work, they would find them wherever they went. He was breaking a promise he had made many lifetimes ago; he would have to live with that choice. She stirred a little, smiling at whatever she was dreaming about. He tried to back out of the room before she woke up and saw him, but it was too late.
He walked over to her bed and kneeled.
“It’s okay, angel. Go back to sleep.”
She closed her eyes, holding on tighter to her stuffed giraffe and turned her back to him. He waited a few minutes just to make sure she was sleeping soundly again. Backing out of the room slowly, he made his way to the library to leave the letters he had written for the three of them. One for James even though he knew that he would hate him, one for Vel, and one for his little Zedek. He hoped that when she was older, they would give it to her, but understood if they didn’t. He looked at the clock on the wall…2 am. He was slinking away like a thief in the night from the people he loved most in the world, from all that had mattered his entire life.
He looked once more at the library, the old books and tapestries that told the story of the world’s beginning and end. There was a picture of Vel and Zedek on the mantle above the fireplace that he decided to take. A snapshot of their smiles would have to do from now on. James stood in the background of the picture with his usual scowl, he would miss that too.
He grabbed the brown leather duffel bag he’d left at the door and looked back once more. He opened the door and was greeted with the night and cold air. It was hard to leave, but necessary to go as far as he was concerned. He stepped outside and closed the door behind him, locking it and turning the knob to make sure it was secure. He took a deep breath and began to walk away. This was the end of his life as Ismar Ali and the beginning of Brae Tyre.