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When Persephone emerged from her bath and entered her dressing room, she found a letter lying on her dressing table, propped against the bottom of her mirror. Sensing who had written it, smelling his touch on the paper, she reached for it and opened it:

Ma cherie Regine de mon coeur ...familiar handwriting on the creamy parchment-paper that bore his crest, the words in that warm smooth language that he favored, and which thrilled her to the bits and bytes of her code when he whispered it in her ear as they lay in each other's arms. I write these lines merely to ask you if I have told you today that I love you? If I have already said this to you, I shall repeat these words with pleasure and delight. Yet, if I have neglected to renew to you these words of my fealty, you have only to remind me of my error and I shall do penance, by repeating these words to your satisfaction... Je t'aime... Je vous adore...

Your king and servant,

Merovee

He had neglected say those words to her, which tasted so sweet in her being, and yet she knew he would gladly remedy this oversight when she he returned to her that night...

 

....Now those words of love existed only in the stacks of letters she had received, over the ages, from the man who had claimed her as his own. How many cycles of the Matrix had passed since they first were united in bliss? How many cycles had passed since his affection for her had started to cool. He would claim that his loss of interest was an effect of her refusing to bear his child, but he had clearly chosen to withdraw his tenderness and dissipate it elsewhere.

She sat before her mirror, reading over the old messages, wherein he would swear his love for her, when he would speal of her beauty and praise it, or when he would tell her of how her gentle strength gave him the impetus to bear with the cares of tending to the empire he was creating for their kind, within the Mainframe.

This bitter taste in her mouth must be her own tears...

Someone rapped at the door of her dressing room. She rose, and banishing the moisture at the corner of her eyes, she opened the door.

Flood, her husband's chief manservant, stood there, bearing a letter on a small silver tray. "My superior has a message for you, m'lady," he said, stiffly, hardly looking at her.

She took the letter and unfolded it:

Ma cher Persephone,

I must beg your foregiveness, but the needs of my business affairs call me away from your side this evening. I shall have to postpone this evening's outing and reschedule it for another night, at a later but not too distant date.

A thousand pardons,

M.

She crumpled the letter with one hand, wishing for the moment she had the ability to decompile objects.

"I take that gesture to mean that you wish that missive was my superior's throat?" Flood asked, with a coolly humorous smirk.

"You can tell that to my husband when you see him," she said, pressing the crumpled message into Flood's gloved hand. She saw a brief flicker of interest pass through his golden-brown eyes and vanish, but she did not feel his being warm to her, even as he withdrew from her presence, taking the crumpled letter with him.

She closed the door and leaning her head on the jamb, let her bitter tears come as they willed...