A small group crowds around the crumpled body, remaining far enough back to avoid treading in the pool of congealed blood. The white cloth of the man’s simple robe stands out in stark contrast to the dark, brown-red stains where the kukri hilt protrudes from his chest.
A servant approaches, extending a rolled parchment to the High Priestess, held closed with a simple dollop of red wax. The seal crumbles easily under her touch as she unrolls and scans the carefully handwritten script.
My Dearest Scarlet
I hope that you will someday forgive my terrible and dishonourable behavior. I regret that I did not have the courage to face you in person and offer my apology; it is now too late for such ludicrous theatrics.
My heart twists in shame at the thought of the embarrassment and revulsion that you must have experienced because of my clumsy and ill-conceived attempts at courting. How I wish that I had not listened when others encouraged me to follow my heart. That I had merely kept to my place, admiring from afar. The hubris of hope that I allowed to seep into my soul has torn apart the happy longings of the past, replacing them with only despair and shame.
I had hoped to redeem myself, not only in your eyes, but in those of the Council as well. Duke Faisal’s admonishments were harsh, but I cannot say they were unfair, and he was kind enough to leave some hope of reclaiming my lost honor. But it seems that I have failed in that task as well, now stripped of possible redemption through service to the Duchy. I can honestly say that I blame no-one but myself for the failure. The only villain is the one that I confront every morning in the mirror.
So I follow the path of the coward one last time, lacking the resolve to face the pathetic ruin my world has become. I hope that someday you will find it in your heart to forgive my terrible behavior and think upon me kindly.
Your servant everlasting,