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My Life for Love

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Emilie knew deep in her soul that she would never see him again. She would never feel the soft pressure of his hand, or the feel of his lips against her cheek. She knew this to be true as she stepped out into the warm sun, finally free from prison, but marching towards death. It was August 1793. Paris, France. The Reign of Terror.
Before all this, Emilie was a simple girl who never caused trouble. She was obedient, good and kind. All that a woman should be, or at least that was what she had been taught.
And then she met him.
He was tall and proud, fiery and filled with spirit, passion, and the youthful optimism which dwells in foolish young men. Emilie remembered that he was a good public speaker, but when he spoke, he always had to have his hands behind his back. Always.
He talked, no shouted, to the crowd, demanding the king's imprisonment, demanding bread for families, like Emilie's. He was a patriot. And Emilie loved him for it.
But these were dangerous times. Dangerous even for lovers. Emilie remembered their last night together, in the park. The smell of cherry petals bloomed in the warm air, their petals falling to the ground in soft, swirling voices, almost invisible. Only a person with good hearing could hear them. It was the same way with a person with good eyesight, for the two lovers were hidden in the shadows of the trees.
But they were found anyway, separated, and sentenced that horrible prison.
Emilie had not seen him at all in the time she had prepared herself for death, but she resigned herself to it. She would not give her jailers the pleasure of seeing her weep like a weak child. Henri would have wanted it like that.
Emilie wished she could see him now as she saw the glinting blade in the sunlight. It seemed to beckon to her, seduce her with the promise of death. She wanted to look away, but then she heard a voice in her heart say, "Face death proudly, because you died for the love of your country."
It was Henri's favorite saying, but Emilie decided to alter it slightly. "I shall face death proudly, because I died for love." She would die for love, for not handing over Henri to the Revolutionary Tribunal, for not betraying him. She was the sacrifice.
She climbed the steps of the scaffold, her footsteps pounding in a rhythm like that of a heartbeat.
Then she felt him near her. She smiled as the blade fell.



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