The story so far:
Morgan opened the door and stood for a moment shocked. A woman stood there, her face completely hidden within the folds of the hooded black cloak. She took advantage of his silence pushing past him into the tiny cell. He turned away from the door to find her making herself comfortable on the stool at his writing desk.
She pushed back her hood revealing a mane of red hair. She fixed his angry glare with one of her own- her blue eyes sparkling with defiance to match his. He still stood frozen, and unmoving. Her presence shocked him, and she knew it. She gave a small smile of victory and contented herself to wait.
Morgan nodded, giving in. He still refused to verbally acknowledge her presence. What she didn't know was that his course was set, he would not back down from it.
The silence lengthened. She allowed her gaze to wander the room- window, writing desk, fireplace, bed. Each was only steps from the other. It was neatly kept accept for the crumpled balls of paper covering the desk surface. She fought the impulse to unfold one and read it. Instead she stared out the window watching a horse and buggy pass below the window. Finally she sighed:
"Don't do it Morgan." Her voice was melodic, insistent.
"I have to. It's the only way to keep the secret."
"It's not the only way." Her tone became desparate. He thought for a moment:
"Brianna, they'll kill me if they find out. He theatrically spread his arms: I'm simply taking my destiny into my own hands. That's all."
She bitterly chuckled:
"What about your friends and family? What will they do when you're gone. You're a well-respected member of my father's council, a beloved hero of the kingdom. You can't honestly tell me that you've thought it through."
Every time he thought of them, it weakened his will to carry through on his actions. So he pushed them from his thoughts- it would be hard enough as it was. He looked at her and lied:
"I have. They'll be provided for."
He knew she would catch him in the lie. It wouldn't change his mind.
She shook her head, a silent condemnation of his actions. She knew the attempt to convince him would be a futile effort. But she had to try, in the vain hope that she could be the one person to change his mind. She had to hope her friendship meant something. Clearly it didn't.
Brianna rose from the stool standing imperiously by the desk her eyes widnening with fury:
" I will stop you despite yourself."
Morgan believed her. It still wouldn't change his mind. She pulled her hood up, again hiding her beautiful face. He breathed in her scent memorizing it as he held open the door.
He closed the door, crossing back to his writing desk. He pulled a blank piece of parchment out, and took his quill from the ink well.
When you find this, I will be gone from this world. All I ask is that you remember I lived, loved, and worked all for your betterment.
I know you all believe me to be a hero. Know I am not. There is nothing heroic about what I do now. My actions are those of a desperate man. One who does not willingly die but sees it as his only choice to protect a secret with which he was entrusted. Please understand that. I await you all in the next life with open arms.
General Morgan Arnwyn
Without a second thought he folded the paper, carefully labelling it. He gingerly placed it on a shelf by the door, and crossed to his bed. He put his hand in the straw mattress and pulled out a jewel-hilted dagger.
Morgan stared at it contemplating his end. Brianna was right, there was another way. He could make everyone think he was dead. Plant the suggestion in someone's head. He could burn his home beyond recognition. Nobody would look for a body. He could go into hiding, become a farmer in some part of the forgotten countryside. He grimly smiled: It had possibilites. He would have to shed just enough blood to make it believable.
He nodded to himself. He now had a plan of action. Now it was matter of seeing it through.