Once every threeday, I would make my way to the island and take the garrison’s headman’s report.
It was usually just three words.
“Yes, Lord Tremain.”
That would be the answer to my standard question which contained also three words:
“All is well?”
It did not take longer than the time it takes to wash one’s face.
I would check the food stores and the available minds on the island for any situations that needed my attention in some way, and it was there I found the unknowingness of the remaining three female slaves as what to do with the first letter.
I had provided writing materials.
She had written a letter.
I was tempted to give orders to have them destroyed and in the end, decided to have them brought to me instead.
I returned to Tower Keep, where Marani was now in charge of half a dozen young women who would clean during the day and keep me entertained in the nights and read the letter in the morning room and the company of a glass of wine.
It read thus:
You bastard. What are you doing to me? I can’t take any more of this. Please come and put an end to this, I beg of you. Whatever I have done, I don’t deserve this. You must end my misery, now. In the name of whatever love you once had for me, I beg of you.
Put an end to this.
I was quite amazed at this and passed my fingertips gently across the piece of parchment with the deeply scratched and untidy letters upon it. It fairly tingled with her presence, her emotions. A small darkness came to me and I alleviated it by calling upon one of the women, a redhead who reminded me somewhat of her but who was both more accomplished and more eager to please me than she had ever been.
I threw the letter into the fire and forgot about her again.
Until the next batch of letters.
Some were pleading, some were insane.
Some were vicious and some were loving.
Truly, I do not know why I read them at all. Perhaps I should have been stricter with myself but I was well aware that the time would come soon enough where there would be no more such things and thought there to be no harm in indulging myself whilst she could still write them.
Amongst the last she wrote was this one:
I have always loved you.
Not just here, but always.
So always that the age of it is unbearable when I look upon you.
I have always known you, always wept for you.
I have always waited for you.
I remember reading it for the first time and shaking my head at her fresh outburst of insanity, making to crunch it and throw it at the fire as usual and finding myself unable to will my hand to close upon it.
I was fascinated by this direct refusal on the part of my body to comply to my will and fought until I could make my desire overcome the strange resistance in my hand and the letter was crumpled; yet then I straightened it again and read it anew.
I would keep it for our son as a memento from his mother who had died in childbirth.
That, her ring and a lock of her hair.