The Crusader's Wife

"Vae victis. Tuebor. Ora pronobis. Amen," Woe to the vanquished. I will defend. Pray for us. Amen.

I went to the direction of the voice. There was a crusader rising up. In front of him was the altar. He turned and saw me, his pained expression brightening.

"Pro bono publico?" I say.

He replies, "Pro bono publico." For public good.

He smiled heartbreakingly and walked out of the chapel. As he neared the door to outside to rendezvous with his comrades, I rushed to him and held his hands.

"Fortes fortuna juvat." Fortune favors the brave.

He laughed and said, "Si Deus nobiscum, quis contra nos?" If God is with us, who shall stand against us?

I took away his head gear and ruffled his unkempt hair. "Odi et amo." I hate and I love. My tears fell without me knowing. His sad smile worsened the situation.

He says, "Vive ut vivas." Live that you may live.

He wiped away my tears with his thumb.

"Vade in pace. V-vale." Go in peace. Farewell. I let go of his hand and kissed him of the last time.

He held my gaze as he went down the stairs. The image was imprinted on my head. Then he turned back and jogged to his mates. Someone shouted, "Te, Deum, laudamus!" We praise Thee, O God!

The crowd answered him in unison, "Vivat Rex!" Long live the King!

They roared in gladness and bravery as I sink to my knees and looked up to the heavens. "Tant ae ne animis caelestibus…" I was about to say 'Can such anger dwell on heavenly minds?' when I heard a flutter of wings behind me. A white glowing feather fell out.

"Ride si sapis, semel pro semper," someone at my back says. Laugh if you are wise, once for all.

I turned around quickly to look at the speaker. But to my surprise, there was no one there. Not even a shadow.

I picked up the feather and held it in my hands as I looked above. For the first time for a long time, I laughed in glee.