“Empathy flows in both directions. At one point, afraid he might die in a coming conflict, the prince begs leave of his betrothed to lose his virginity to a courtesan, and she writes back in anguish telling him she wishes she had given herself to him before he left, even if he had rejected her as a whore, “For I may ever after fear comparisons and hate to know that what is mine, alone, and meant to be unique between us, is but trampled ground and weakly treaded by a wife’s regard. I long to give what brims up in my heart. And fear to learn what you may ask could crush that flowering with needs beyond my scope. I have no ambition to do service as a courtesan; and if I had to learn to hold your heart, love’s joy would be sacrificed to duty’s call. And yet I know not how to answer for I understand you are a man and the dangers that you face are dire. The friend that loves you says, ‘of course!’ The woman who would share your life grows cold. I don’t know how she may respond no more than you can say what knowledge of a courtesan may do to you. The world is complex, love, and men and women different in how they respond. What can I do but trust you with my simple heart? Decide, and things will fall out as they must. But I can no more promise it will make no difference to us than you can.”
This re-cap of a Demoran tale from the Okal Rel Universe got snipped from the MS for Part 10: Unholy Science. Editor Richard Janzen said “sorry”, it was nice on its own. But I agreed with him. It bogged down the flow of the story for a wife — seeking wisdom from literature — to take so long a detour in thought. Jennifer Lott, acting as copy editor to help me get this finished, suggested a book of story synopses from Demoran canon, for Reality Skimming Press.