Fire day: Letter

Folded letter pressed between two pages:

My lady,

We can agree that our empire is great. My humble thoughts are that it is a small price to pay for an end to coastal wars and that the only flaw in the system is the regional governors from the High City who do not even speak the language. Reinstate the monarchies and loosen the army’s grip and all will be well.

I wish to express my gratitude as well. You showed me kindness on a day when I was feeling quite downtrodden. To walk across the city on display would not have been new, but your thoughtfulness inspired me. I believe that in any reasonable society all could do such a thing without fear of reprise. Living in fear is such an unpleasant habit.

I shall assume your ladyship remains in the city, and comment on the unseasonal rains we have had. They have quite ruined my plans to have a boating party. Did you have any ideas for a more resilient gathering? I hope you know your parties were well loved and have been missed. With her highness still sulking and his highness gone away, the city is the quieter for it.

There is an impulse in my heart to tease your husband. It is not a kind one, and I shall do my best to be at least a little kind. I do not know how to explain this feeling to you, and I know it shall displease you. I can see the wisdom in how your husband has conducted his affairs.

He has asked me to trust him, and I do wish I could. I surmise the answer you would give me if I asked you whether I should trust him. I must take a great deal on faith during my endeavor, but I find it hard to trust a man who does not trust me at all. I am neither a monster nor do I have any ill will towards your family. I feel quite accused, somehow, and it is not a pleasant feeling.

Have you traveled very much? It has a way of changing how one sees the world. I think you would like my home country.

All the best,

Your friend

“Anything interesting?” Sev asked.

“He seems a very lonely man.”

“He would be, all the secrets he keeps.”

I waited a moment.

“No, wife. I have no wish to tell you secrets.”

“Why not?”

“I am untroubled. When I am troubled, you will know.” He continued, “So. What does your friend Dri advise? No, I didn’t read it.”

Answering questions I don’t ask is one of Sev’s annoying habits.

“He avoided advising or asking questions. He was actually quite well behaved.”

“That’s out of character,” said Sev.

“Perhaps he is missing you.”

“He is a mongrel in out of the rain,” Sev agreed. “I love you.”

I hesitated. “Sev-” I said.

“Suki.” His eyes were very serious, and he held my gaze.

I folded my hands. The children were absorbed in a game.

I found myself breathing rapidly and harshly.

“Easy,” he instructed softly, taking my hands in his. His hands were very warm. Hot.

“Heiye,” he spoke up. “Some water for my lady.”

I drank it gratefully. It was sweet. I tasted salt, and realized I was crying.

Sev’s arms were around me, and he was rocking me. I remembered to breathe.

Sev murmured to me, reassuring things, happy things, promises of fruit and love and riches. He brought the children to sit with me. More water.

I am so used to being scared. Every day, every hour, every breath, I fear for my husband and children and self. I fear Sev putting himself in danger and the path he has chosen. I fear our children will die in a dungeon where no one knows their names. I have nightmares that we really did disappear, and this is all a cruel dream that we’re still alive and hiding. Every day I pray we’ll be safe and I know we never will be. I am so tired of living in fear, but I don’t know how not to. I grew up being scared of my father and then I learned everyone had a father called the Emperor and it was even more important to be scared of him. I’m angry with Dri and Sev because Dri scares me and Sev I am scared for. I’m scared someone will read this.

I’m scared.

Comments (2)

_geist_September 22nd, 2009 at 5:40 pm

Oh, Suki.

adminSeptember 22nd, 2009 at 5:41 pm

Someone had a panic attack! Naming no names.

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