Doest thou remember the promise I made to my beloved Marie?
That night the baby would not come, and the midwife said there was nothing more she could do, I held Marie in my arms as she cried out for the Lord to come take her and our child so the devil’s spirits would not claim them before the angels could. I brushed her wet hair from her face and reassured her that heaven awaited her soul. She smiled up at me for the briefest moment and told me she could see a light, and her mama, waiting for her. Then she tried to squeeze my hand and made me promise I would come find her in heaven when my time to leave this world came. She said it would not be heaven without me. She made me swear that I would reunite us in our love.
When Marie left me, I held her cold body for hours. I wanted the Earth to open up and swallow me whole to save me from my sorrow. I did not know how to keep my promise to find her. Marie’s good heart was the only thing about her greater than her wit and beauty, and how could I, a simple seventeen-year-old peasant, dream to live a life pure enough to meet her in the heavens? That is why I chose to join the monastery despite thy and Uncle Jean’s protests. I planned to sequester myself away, devote myself to God Almighty, if that is what it would take to bring me back to Marie.
Alas, I foolhardily followed Father Miguel on his crusade. We were supposed to help build up the Church, bring salvation to the Holy Land. Only now, Father Miguel has destroyed me. He and those knights who burned those souls in that church—they have made me break my promise to Marie. Because of them, I will never know heaven. I will be damned to hell as a demon wolf for all eternity. They have stolen my Marie and our child from me.
That is why they deserved to die, Katharine. That is why I have punished them. Two of the six men who burned the church and murdered those women and children died by my hands the night I became a wolf-man. At first I was disgusted and frightened by what I had done. Alas, now I know it is what they deserved. They needed to die.
I have hunted down more of the knights. Found them back in their homes with their families, living under the pretense that they had done nothing wrong.
In Dijon, I discovered one of the knights, telling stories in a tavern of his courageous feats, poisoning the crowd with his lies. Flaming rage filled me once more, and that night I let myself become a demon again. I stalked the knight on his way home from the town’s square and killed him, and the tavern wench who hung on his arm, before he could speak another lie to anyone.
In Amiens, I tore the flesh from the man who laughed outside the church and said he enjoyed the smell of burning traitors, but only after I killed his son in front of him.
The third man must have heard of the others’ fate, for he fled to Venice before I could find him in Amiens as well. He must have supposed himself safe from a wolf in a city surrounded by water. I left his body in a canal.
I have punished many others who I have encountered in my journeys. Alas, the worst murderer of them all continues to elude me. I know he hides behind his unholy robes, seeking refuge in monasteries, cowering from the stories of the demon-wolf who seeks to destroy all the men who took part in the slaughtering of the Greek Christians.
I swear this to thee, Katharine: I will not rest until he pays for what he has done. If I cannot follow my Marie to heaven, then I will drag Father Miguel to hell with me. No matter where he runs.
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