Before I Rest
Summary: Sir Agnes pens a letter before she leaves for war.
Date: 28 May 2013
Related: Tournament Feast
Agnes Emund 

28 May, 2013 — Khar-Mordune

It is the night before Agnes is to be deployed to the Shadow of Intent as a Marine. The Knight Lieutenant sits in her quarters in the heart of Khar-Mordune. She is a woman out of place in the delicate elfin architecture of her own rooms, but they are home.

She sits at a sturdy desk near her bed, wearing a simple linen chemise, writing by the glow of a bioluminescent lamp at her elbow. Yes, she is writing, the old fashioned way, by hand. It was part of Sir Meryn's training when she was a squire, to write everything longhand, to learn that not every task she would be given would be quick or easy, but that everything that requires effort is worthwhile.

Her brow furrows as she stares for long minutes at the blank pages in front of her. Then, finally, she begins to write.

Your Highness,

I regret that I am unable to fulfill your request to visit you in the Capital. Tomorrow I will be deployed to serve as a Marine on the Shadow of Intent, in the hopes that the Hostiles can be stopped before they can attack our citizen populations. I could not rest with a mind plagued with thoughts, so I chose to put them down on paper, thoughts mostly about you. This is, perhaps, my last confession before I face likely death on the battlefield. If the gods see fit to call me to them, at least I will have gone fighting, and defending humanity.

First I must apologize for the poor impression I made upon you at the tourney feast. I feel that I owe you an explanation for my awkward behavior. In all truth, that was the first time I'd danced with a man since I was a little girl (I was little once, for a very short time). That man was my father. As you can imagine, a woman of my physical stature does not often get asked to dance, as there are few men of a height with me.

So too, I hope you can understand that I spent my childhood and even much of my adulthood, being teased about my height. Granted, as I grew older, and stronger, the mockery was confined to whispers rather than shouts, but it is still something I live with daily. Put me on a battlefield and I am the utmost in confidence and competence. Put me in the arms of a man on a dance floor and I turn into a blithering 12 year old girl.

I apologize. I confess that when you asked me to dance, I feared I was being made fun of, and that a joke was being played at my expense. I should have known you would never stoop to that, as you are a man of great honor. I am ashamed for having believed, even for a moment, that you would be otherwise. I beg your forgiveness for this, but by the time I realized my folly, I fear the damage had been done.

I wanted to explain all of this to you, which is why I returned to ask you for another dance, but then the state of emergency dawned and my opportunity was lost. What I would have told you, beyond what was said here already, is that I was deeply honored, and also thrilled, to dance with you, Prince Emund. It set my heart to racing which nothing has done for me outside of combat. I felt, for once, like a lady, rather than like The Bear, as if I was respected and admired as a woman, not just as a Knight. You gave me one of the purest moments of joy in my life. I wish to thank you for that, deeply.

I do not know if I will return from this war. I hope someday I do, and that we see an end to the conflict while I still have some glimmer of life left in me. But I do wish, most earnestly, for you to have faith. Faith allows one to have hope. Hope allows one to have love. And love allows one to live. I wish for you to live, Your Highness, because you are a man deserving of it. You are a good man, a good ruler, wise, benevolent, and brave. You are someone whom I hold in the deepest regard, and with a burgeoning affection that leaves me sleepless tonight.

You won't ever actually see this missive. Though a brave woman of war I am, I am a coward in matters of the heart. But putting the words to paper even now does me enough good that I can seek my rest. I can only hope that the gods take the intent of my words, and grant you the faith, hope, love, and life I wish for you.

Sincerely, and with deepest respect,
Lady Sir Agnes Peake

Agnes sits back and reads over her words carefully, then sighs. The paper is folded, crisply, and settled into an envelope before being sealed with wax and the impression of her House ring. "Prince Emund Sauveur" is scribed on the front, before she settles the letter into a drawer of her desk for safekeeping. It will not see the light of day. She rises, douses the lights, and settles in her bed, her conscience lightened enough to finally sleep.

The next morning, she is gone some few hours when her handmaid, Gretchen, comes to clean the chamber and make sure her mistress has left nothing behind she will need. A few pens were left on the desktop and she opens a drawer to put them away, spying an unopened letter there. Believing Agnes has forgotten to have it delivered, she quickly rushes it to a squire, to take via the ways to the Towers of Matthias, to be given to the Crown Prince.

Nearly a week later, an electronic communication is routed to Sir Agnes Peake:

Sir Agnes,

It seems that the Six have seen fit to deliver your message despite your intentions. I am glad that I was able to ease your concerns at the dance, but am ashamed for my sex that you were so ill at ease to begin with. There is no forgiveness necessary, for the wrong was wrought by others. I will try to take your words to heart, but I fear that the darkness of these times weighs heavily upon me. I do not know if I am thankful that my Bella does not have to see these days, or if I grieve that she is not here beside me. I hope that you can find that faith, hope, and love that you speak so eloquently about. In that vein, I task you to survive this war, Sir Agnes, that you might discover the happiness beyond.


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