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The Baron's Monologue

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I do apologize. I lost my temper. I admit that freely. But you provoked me, storming in here like a woman possessed. Fortunately, it seems that we have both calmed down somewhat, so I'll ask you to not interrupt while I state my piece. I understand your objections, my dear, I do. I loved our sons dearly and would hate to lose another just as you would. But war was inevitable. We cannot simply allow our rivals to pillage us, can we?

You're not unlike your father, you know, in this respect. The stubborn old man. He took a shine to me, though, and he was good to me. I'll give him that. And he gave me the greatest gift of all: My ability to meet you. As the third son of a Margrave, being a Baron's cupbearer was no great dishonor, of course. But it was no great honor, either. Your visage is what got me through it. Your face was always so white; almost as white as it is now. No, don't be modest. You were like a ray of light into the dark room of my life. You brought sunlight and goodness with you wherever you went. Tears spring to my eyes merely thinking of it. Every day was a struggle and a war whose spoils were getting the privilege of gazing upon you even for a moment.

And my feelings did not go unrequited, as you let me know after some time. Elodie, I thanked God for letting me have one minute with you. I thanked Him for letting me have one hour with you; one day; one fortnight. And I still thank Him now.

Your father, as you know, was not convinced of our union. Please, no. Just listen for now. It's very important that I tell you this. Elodie, the night that... Well... one night I attempted to persuade him one final time. My heart was full of love for you and I had perhaps had too much to drink. But he was unmoved. He mocked me. He would not yield to reason, Elodie! He would not give an inch! No matter how I tried to make him see that we were meant for one another! I... lost my temper. Do not fear me, my dear, but by sheer accident I... took your father's life. He was old and fragile. I overestimated his vitality. I merely wanted to shake him out of frustration! But this shocked him and he struck his head on the wall, killing him instantly. I felt the life leave him as-... as he was in my hands. The warmth began to leave his body as it does a rug that has been brought in from the sun.

I loved him too, Elodie, for all his stubbornness. I do not expect you to forget, but I do expect you to forgive me. And it was only by his passing that you and I could be joined to one another. Love led to his death and his death led to love. But do not for a moment accuse me of not feeling his loss, for I feel it every day. He... He was good to me, after all. But obviously I could not be implicated in his death. So I made it look like an accident; that he had fallen out of his bed, struck his head on the cobblestone and died.

I did not want to leave any room for suspicion. I apologize for disfiguring your father's body. But I did what I believed to be necessary for us to be together. And I am sorry that you did not know this until now. But how could I tell my dearest wife that I was the cause of her father's death? The father that she loved so much. I tried many times to tell you, but mid-confession I would fabricate something I had not done to divert you from the truth. You must believe that I tried but could not find the words until now.

But I see that you forgive me. Yes. You forgive me and you understand. I see this. This pleases me immensely. I knew I did not go wrong in choosing you as my wife. You may be wondering, then, about the chamberlain that I had executed. Someone had to be blamed for your father being unattended to and falling out of his bed. It caused me immense pain to take two innocent lives in one day. Throwing him into a cell was not an option- I had considered it- he would simply keep talking about his innocence. And before I had his tongue taken out, I did speak with him in private. I calmly told him all that had happened and explained to him. He offered to simply lie to protect me (for a price, obviously). I considered this as well. He didn't ask for much. But if his lies could be bought so cheaply, for how little could the truth be bought? I told him my plan to execute him and I saw the color drain from his face. His shallow attempt at bribery had hardened what pity I had for him. Yes, he was innocent, but he may as well be guilty.

Don't give me that look. Blood to wash out blood. It was the only way. And it allowed us to be here today. So, really, can we object? Ideally nobody would die ever. But we can see that that's not the case, yes? Good. It makes me very happy when you are so agreeable. I know you're probably just going easy on me because you feel bad for losing your temper. That's alright. Don't feel guilty. Guilt is an unnecessary burden.

Oh, I know you're happy that we've made up, but don't cry. Here. Allow me to kiss your cheek. Now, I need to go and fight our enemy. Do not fear for me. I will be back when the sun rises tomorrow, arriving from the South. I shall place you on the windowsill so that you can see me ride off and watch me return. Yes, close your eyes for now. I'll look for you in the window upon my arrival. Goodbye, my love."

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