Saturday, January 11, 2020

Page 2015

When she had first met Ismael, the unimpressive nobleman from the backwaters of Luzo, she had thought him a puppy in the guise of a man. So innocent and meek. Not at all domineering like many of the other men of the Wetlands whom she had met.

She, on the other hand, had been so full of fire and ambition. Even from the beginning, she felt that she could wrap this silly, awkward man around her finger and get him to do whatever she wanted.

And she’d been right.

It had been so easy. A few teasing looks here. A few flirtatious words there. Ismael hadn’t known what to do. Obviously, he hadn’t had much experience with women before. In no time at all, he became so eager to please her.

The rest of his family probably would have been more wary of her if they weren’t in complete tatters. They were in a state of mourning, all of them. At the time, she didn’t know what exactly had happened to them, only that many were killed during some horrible conflict.

She could have inquired further. She should have. She didn’t.

It didn’t matter to her. Looking back, she wanted to think that if she had known more at that time, she would have acted differently, not tried to take advantage of Ismael the way she did, but that was probably just wishful thinking, she knew.

She was so selfish back then. Blind to the problems of others unless there was some way she could benefit from it.

Ismael was a means to an end. Nothing more.

The thought never even occurred to her that she might be the same.

Her mysterious benefactor had remained so for far too long. She had never given proper thought to why someone would just start mailing her money and instructions. She’d questioned it, certainly, but being in such dire need at the time, in a state of constant financial misery, she had been only too happy to take the help, wherever it came from.

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