Inspecting your suite I discovered an article of men’s clothing, the origin of which I feel entitled to know as your protector and the person in charge of your security detail.
Your servant refused to go into any detail as to the clothing except telling me that she would kill me by pouring hot frying oil over my head if I told anyone about them.
I must advise that liaisons with men at this point are very dangerous. Any man who is attempting to court you immediately becomes a suspect in my eyes. And should anything more than attempts to court you occur, very terrible things will result indeed.
I am open to other explanations for this. Do you craft these as a hobby perhaps?
I would have liked to ask these questions in person but you continuously avoid me, so to be discrete I forced this note under your door. I do not wish to die so soon.
— Centurion Geta
DO NOT come and go into my quarters whenever you please!
You are not my guest and you do not live with me!
I forbid you from entering the suite unless I am present!
Your rank means nothing to me!
I have nothing to explain to you! Be a good guard dog and heel!
— Princess Vittoria
29th of the Aster’s Gloom, 2030 D.C.E
Salva! It was such an in credible relief this morning to discover your name absent from any account of the horrors that befell the Academy. To think a Lady would be so gruesomely murdered in public! What is our society coming to? I have begun to make arrangements to procure a miniature revolver. I know now that I need to be ready!
When you write back, please lead with your current status. I need to know your health!
On to other matters — you might have noticed this envelope a little, fat, perhaps?
Enclosed you’ll find the pieces that I was able to collect. Though many of these books are forbidden to be printed nowadays, existing copies were never sought nor destroyed. Book collectors jealously guard their volumes. In your hands, hopefully you now hold the elvish translation of Lena Ulyanova’s collected writings on Mordechism-Lenanism, or as you better know it, Communism. Unfortunately, I was unable to find books about recent Ayvartan history. It is perhaps too recent and close to be History. But cheer up my darling, for I did find an account by Artanis of the history of the Ayvartan Empire.
I very lightly inspected and read the books, bits and pieces that caught my eye. I can assure you that they are in good condition and that you should find them readable.
You have queer tastes in books my sweet! Much sleuthing had to be done for this.
As for myself? I have kept quite busy with my designs. I’ve been planning our next little meeting. My father has of late been distracted with the oil fields of Borelia and even beyond. He has this ludicrous idea that his men can design and build a platform to draw oil from waters 30 meters deep. I don’t know how viable this is, but it sounds too dangerous for my tastes. Regardless, it keeps him busy. He is currently out at sea in fact. I’ve never felt freer. I believe the time has come for us to meet on my own lands.
We could have an entire indulgent weekend to ourselves. Two passionate nights, three comfortable mornings. You need this, my darling! I want so badly to take you away from your confinement in that place. I know you have never been so long away from your studies, and I know eyes are on you. Know that all of my resources are at your disposal to overcome any obstacle. I want you, Salvatrice. I will do anything to have you.
Next time you sneak out however, wear a dress. I want us to tussle fashionably.
Desperately seeking you; your beloved,
33rd of the Aster’s Gloom, 2030 D.C.E.
Fear not, precious Carmela! Physically I have never felt as well as I do now. Youth and womanhood surge through my veins. It is not physical health that I lack at the moment.
I am thrilled from tongue-tip to toe-tip that you continue to thirst after me, my caramel. It is with great regret however that I must quench the ambitious fire in your soul.
There is nothing in the world I want more than to sink against your breast, but my circumstances are still too difficult for a weekend retreat. I cannot promise, but I can at least attest to the possibility, of a single, very indulgent night, but not one in which I awaken beside you to bask in the afterglow. Anything more is simply too dangerous.
You will not be thrilled to hear this, but I was involved in the incident at the Academy. I saw it first hand and could’ve been in the path of the murderer had it not been for the Centurion involved in stopping the attack. My involvement in it was covered up, by my own hand. But I fear there is a violence surging under the skin of our society, my dear.
Though I received your letter on its intended date, it is only now that I write because I have pored over my words many times. I have decided that as your lover I do not wish to hide anything from you. I have told you more intimate things. So I will confide in you my worries though I know they will bring you pain and worry. I’d rather you know.
It has been made known to me that there are plots hatched against my life. In the process I have gained an asset in my struggles for self-determination, but it is a volatile one. I know not whether these plots are true. They may be attempts by my mother to curtail what little independence from her I possess at the Academy. Talk of plots allows her to hide me from enemies. All she needs is the talk. No plots are necessary.
However, judging by what I have seen and experienced, I feel that these whispers may be true. That there is a power out there seeking the demise of Lubon’s nobility, and that it seeks to strike me down with them, regardless of my innocence in the dealings of this wretched nation and its wretched partners. I am half the Queen’s blood, so I must die.
Two times now I have come too close to death. I can write these off as coincidences. But should I do that, and then a third time come directed at me, I would be unprepared.
Carrying a pistol now is wise, my beloved. I have begun to carry one as well.
I do not say this to alarm you but to comfort you. I have resolved not to lie to you, and I have resolved not to be so helpless that I must do such a thing. I am strong for you.
For now, we cannot talk of lusty meetings. But I do wish to see you more casually.
How does a picnic around the academy sound, in a few days? I’ll have a disguise.
Living and breathing your name, my treasure,
When you find this note please turn around from your door, head back down a floor, and return my side-arm to me. I cannot run around the school brandishing a rifle.
While you’re there, perhaps talk to me about the man’s shirt. Is it your size, perhaps?
— Centurion Geta
You absentmindedly left your weapon in my room and I have appropriated it.
As all things in the suite it now belongs to me.
This is what happens when you do not heed my commands.
Find a new side-arm and care for it better.
Stay out of my quarters and stay out of my personal life, legionnaire.
— Your superior
34th of the Aster’s Gloom, 2030 D.C.E.
Above everything in the world Salva, I treasure you, and I treasure the confidence that you have in me. When we first met, you casually confided in me your rank. I didn’t believe it. I didn’t believe I could be friends with a princess; nor that a princess could be so easy to be friends with. So easy to seek comfort in. So easy to fall in love with.
At first I didn’t believe that the only friend you had in the world was that girl Beatrice.
I didn’t believe how other people treated you. How they disdained and abused you in that way unique to polite society, where honeyed words must always sing over those most deep and lashing gestures of hatred. Back then what I wanted more than anything was to take you protect you from all of this, but I could not. I still cannot. All I can do is try to comfort you, and it hurts. I hope only that if you must hurt that I can hurt with you.
You have confided in me many things. All of them I do more than accept: I treasure. I treasure everything I know about those truly unique depths of your heart and soul.
In turn I have confided in you so much and I know you feel the same. Just as I love your secrets you love my own. It is our secrets that have defined our love so much.
You are right that this news distresses me. Of course it would. But I want to be distressed. It cannot compare with what you must be feeling. Today as I drink my tea, read my stories, chat idly with guests and girls, take walks, and have so many options available to me — I know that you are rigidly caged, and now I know that you are hunted too. I want to do so much for you but I know that I cannot. For all we have are these letters and the secrets, our feelings secret, our true selves secret. It does hurt.
I wish that we could have been born in a world that allowed us to love without secrets.
Absent that, I can only say, that my thoughts are always with you, and that should you think of anything I can do to support you, I will do it. Even if it would kill me, I would.
Please protect yourself Salvatrice. Use everything at your disposal and mine.
I cannot think of losing you. I would be well and truly alone with my secrets then.
Your desperate, eternal soulmate,
Please arrange a time where we can meet that does not disturb your affairs.
I am done making initial preparations. We need to discuss where to go from here.
Life cannot simply go back to peace while you are endangered.
It is my hope that we can be proactive in rooting out this threat to you.
Then perhaps we can forget it ever happened and return to our lives.
— Centurion Geta
I can hear your footsteps stomping up my stairs when you deliver these puerile missives to my door. Are you a child suddenly? You need only knock like a normal person.
Next time you compose one of your stupid notes, and decide to bring it to my door, I advice this: swallow the damnable thing and knock. Then you can speak to me.
Should your words please me enough I might deign to discuss some sensitive issues with you. I am willing to give you a chance here. Waste it and you will suffer.
— Princess Vittoria
POSTAL INTERCEPT RECORD, 17TH BLACKSHIRT LEGION
[report text is slashed across by several lines from an ink pen]
At the Praetor’s request, Rossa interception is to be put on hold. Centurion Geta will take care of any offending material at the point of contact. This is effective immediately and will last until the royal order is reinstated, if it is. Divert all units. — Legatus Marcel
I require your presence. Make your preparations immediately.
Her Highness The Queen Regnant, Empress Of Elvenkind, Guiding Light Of The First Born, Defender Of The Messianic Faithful, Keeper Of The Father-Tree, The Emerald Lady,
Passionale Vittoria II