To Whom It May Concern,
If you are reading this, then you already know who I am and the ending to my story. But let me explain myself and start at the beginning.
When I was a child in my father's castle when I first met him. I was only thirteen years of age, but I knew it was important. He was fifteen and his mother was a lady-in-waiting to my mother. I remember I was chasing the puppy I had been given for my birthday a week ago through the courtyard when he rounded the corner and my dog ran right into his legs. I giggled nervously. He was handsome. His long brown hair was tied back with a leather cord, but wisps were still falling into his face. I remember there was a smudge of dirt on his brow and he still wore the leather apron used in the smithy. He picked up the dazed dog and handed it to me.
"M'lady," he said to me with a smile pulling at the corner of his lips.
"What's your name?" I asked him impulsively.
"John, M'lady," he answered, "John Trevor."
"Is your mother Jesse Trevor?" I asked him.
"Yes, M'lady," he answered.
"Thank you," I said, referring to the dog squirming in my arms.
"You're welcome, M'lady."
I quickly turned and ran away as fast as I could in my dress. Only when I reached my room did I slow down. I quickly slipped inside and dropped my dog to the floor. I smiled widely. I wanted to see him again.
Over the next few years we met every chance we had. I found out that he wanted to be a knight and that he was working for the Smith in exchange for lessons. I found out that his father was a knight, usually abroad and rarely at home. And I found out that I loved him. I would stay up some nights just thinking about what it would be like to be married to him. I first kissed him in the same courtyard where we met. I was eighteen and he was twenty. He had finally become a knight and my father had sent him off to fight an uprising in Scotland. It was a farewell kiss, and short. He was gone for four years.
During those years I began to discover why he had been sent away. The French Prince Alastair began visiting my family more and more often. I noticed the way he looked at me and how he seemed to be everywhere. I hated him. I hated him because I knew that my father had sent John to Scotland only to be rid of him. My father was only ever interested in politics and wanted an alliance between France and England. So he had planned my marriage to Prince Alastair. He didn't tell me for four years, but I knew he had been planning it since the beginning. And I hated him for it. I had no choice but to marry the bastard. I wrote to John, praying the letter would find him.
I married Alastair on the nineteenth of June. That night. . . . That night I gave myself to someone I hated. And it was obvious that he didn't love me. He lusted after me, but he didn't love me. I cried the next morning like I hadn't cried before. I felt as though the world were falling apart, like I had betrayed John. Two days later John returned. He said he had received my letter and cut off his own foot during battle so he could return. I cried again. He asked why and I didn't answer. I crawled into the hospital bed with him and cried some more. I told him he was too late and that I was to go back to France with my husband in five days.
I didn't see John during those five days, I didn't dare. I don't know if he was there watching when I left; I didn't look. I didn't want to see his face. I wanted to forget him. I needed to forget him if I were to live at all. But I didn't forget him. During the whole eight years I spent in France I never forgot him. He was what kept me alive. Life with Alastair must be what hell is like. He was too much like my father. He poisoned his own father so he could take the throne, and then executed his mother for treason. I lived in fear of him. He had hit me more than once, and the only time he seemed to love me was at night in the bedroom. Finally, I could take it no longer. I took one of my horses and rode all the way back to England.
It was the middle of the night when I found him, John, and I woke him from his bed. I think he knew why I was there, recognized the look in my eyes. I was desperate.
"No," he sat up and told me firmly, "You are a married woman. The whole alliance depends on . . ."
He stopped as I brushed my finger against his lips.
"I need you," I told him, gasping for breath, "I need to know what love feels like. I need to know how you feel, how you taste. I need to see it in your eyes and smell it on you. Please."
My last words were strained; I remember that clearly. I knew Alastair was not far behind.
"Please, I want only to bear your son," I was close to tears.
He brushed his rough hand against my cheek and I rested mine against his chest. I leaned closer and kissed him on the lips. This one was longer, an invitation instead of a goodbye. I collapsed onto him and he rolled over on top of me. That night I felt something refreshing. It was the touch of love. Everything about that night was different from any I had spent with Alastair. I didn't want it to end. I want to be back there in his arms. But time is something the British Empire has yet to conquer. And so day did come. We slept late, exhausted from the night.
Alastair woke us. He knew I would be there; I had made no secret of my love for John. But I didn't expect the rage he went into. He tore John off of me like some wild boar. I don't remember the words he said, but I remember that he was screaming at me. He hit me over and over. He pulled my up by my hair and threw me, naked, against the wall. He drew a knife from his side and I screamed. I had never been one to scream, but that time I screamed at the top of my lungs. John leapt up and took the knife. But Alastair drew another. I was terrified. What if John lost? But he didn't lose. He plunged his knife straight into Alastair's chest just as Alastair's knife found its way deep into John's thigh. I dropped to my knees, exhausted. Then I realized that my head was bleeding. My eyes closed and after that I know little except what I was told. I was told that John was put on trial for murder and attempted murder. It was a desperate attempt by my father to keep the fragile alliance intact. Of course John was found guilty, there was no other choice in my father's eyes.
I woke the day before the execution and found out what had happened. They told me to stay in bed, but I stubbornly went to visit John in his cell. There we stayed the night. We didn't sleep, only held hands. He was taken out an hour before daybreak, the hour of his execution. And my mother came to take me to the doctor. She put a new dress on me because I refused to move at all. I was watching the horizon for the first sign of light and it came too soon. My mother forced me to go and watch. Even before he reached the block I felt my mind going. I felt as though the world was spinning out of control and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. The axe rose and fell. Then rose and fell again. Then I lost it. His head fell off his body and I began running at the executioner. It's unclear to me what happened. I only knew that I was enraged beyond the ability of any sane being. Two guards tried to stop me, but my limbs flailed and scratched at anything they found. It took five to subdue me. Still I struggled and screamed at the top of my lungs. The only man I had ever loved, the one I couldn't live without had been killed. Then my bloodthirsty eyes turned to my parents.
"I'll kill you! I screeched at them, "I'll kill you both! I'll kill you!"
I saw the frightened looks on their faces, but my mind was in chaos and it barely registered. I suppose they ordered I be sent to my room, I only know that was the next place I remember being. It seemed that I was in there for hours breaking everything I could, tearing at the walls and my bed. Finally I pried a large, sharp splinter of wood from the wall. My hands were bloody and I intended to kill myself. Maybe my parents thought I had calmed, because they entered. My mother was speaking soothing words, but I only remembered what they had done. First I plunged that shard into her neck and then her breast. My father tried to take it from me and I tore out a chunk of flesh with my teeth in return. I stabbed both of his eyes first, wanting to make him suffer, and then disemboweled him. I'm sure the bodies can't be a pleasant sight.
Then I wrote this. I wanted to tear down everything he had tried to keep safe with the ruining of my life and mind. So now you know the truth. Perhaps war will break out. I hope so.
And now I will kill myself. I would rather die by my own hand than by any decree from an unfair trial like that which killed John.
Princess Elizabeth of England