Thoughts of uncertainty -- concerning recent events and more importantly what the future held -- clung to me as I sat at the writing desk in my quarters. Though I had not received a reply from Eliza, I had already been jotting down some thoughts for my next letter. This activity was the only way to get my mind off weighty matters, even if just for a moment.
I reluctantly turned my attention back to a matter causing me particular concern -- a note from Rebecca. The first part of the note did not alarm me. She was requesting my presence at my earliest convenience. Because of the queen’s interventions, I had been able to avoid Rebecca and was hoping the trend would continue for quite some time. I drafted a quick reply, giving some generic excuse for my absence and promised I would meet with her soon.
I read the second part of Rebecca’s note again, breathing heavily as I did so. I lowered my face into one hand, sighed and rubbed my forehead with the same hand.
“Of course, she will come,” I said quietly to myself, pondering how long it would take Rebecca’s message to be delivered to my mother in Fandora. Despite that a mountain range lay between us, the mere mention of my mother could make me shudder.
The mountain range did provide a small sense of relief, though. A letter delivered by pigeon would not be available to Rebecca, for only the most urgent of messages were delivered that way. Besides, the uncertainty of successful delivery was usually reason enough to send personal correspondence by carriage, a trip lasting at least a week. Even if my mother left the same day she read the letter, I would not have to confront her in person for two weeks.
A knock at the door interrupted my thoughts, confusing me for a second. After realizing where the sound came from, I stood and walked to the door. After opening it, I was greeted by Moira with a letter in hand.
Handing it to me, she said, “I trust you will not break her heart.”
“I would not even think it,” I replied. Moira lowered her head and spread her arms out slightly, silently accepting my promise. After she left, I closed the door. I returned to the writing desk and read Eliza’s letter, which brought immediate relief.
I was overjoyed to receive your letter. To be rejoined with a dear friend from Ibera and read your kind words on the same day was almost too much to bear. There were times that I thought neither would happen. I’ve had a lot of time to think about my predicament, and the worst part of it all — not knowing what has been happening outside this lonely room.
Your news concerning Rebecca is not surprising, for her feelings were obvious to everyone in court, which only reminds me of what I hate about nobility. My father taught me from a young age not to indulge in the husband seeking activities common among the ladies of the court. The games men and women played to tempt each other held little appeal to me. Until meeting you, I feared that everyone was the same, that there was no one with a sense of true nobility.
I thank you for having the courage to tell me about the upcoming wedding, even if it was in a letter. Though the words pain me, I am encouraged by your resolve and your feelings for me, which are a pleasant surprise. The last thing I expected to find in Handrin was you. I had long since given up hope of finding a man whom I could genuinely care about. The men of court had always seemed shallow, too concerned with appearances and my family’s heritage than who I was inside. Who would have thought it would take crossing enemy lines to meet a man who was different?
I have received news that I am unwilling to commit to paper, though I promise I will tell you as soon as it is possible, news which the queen would be able to shed much light upon. For this reason, I desire an audience with her. If it is within your power, would you inform her majesty of this?
I do not know what will transpire over the following days or weeks, but I do hope these letters continue. In the end, if you must physically run from Rebecca, I want you to know that you will always have a home in Ibera. Perhaps with the queen’s help I will be able to join you. Until then, know that my thoughts are filled with your words and memories of the time we spent together.