Aljona - An unrealizable love
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England at the beginning of the year 1138
Tenderly fell the snowflakes down on the fresh earth and covered it with a soft white film, as well as the tracks of those who had already left this place. Only the two of them remained, because gradually daylight faded, was swallowed by the mist rolling in. Their emotions were as gloomy and grey as the landscape. But Richards eyes did not wander, he viewed the slim female figure, standing in the cold silently and numbly, wrapped in black. The delicate ice crystals came to rest upon her long brown hair. Like natural ornaments they gave her a fairylike glamour and gleam, as if she was not of this world. Even if a peaceful expression lay on her face in this moment of sadness, she was confronted with serous earthly problems now. He knew it and so did she. Why did the Lord have no mercy for her? Why did He take the ones who were close to her heart?
Her mother died in birth of her second child. In spite of all care her little brother could not be saved. Soon after his birth his heart stopped beating. Her father, who had adored his wife on the one hand and on the other hand had always longed for a male descendant and heir, lapsed into melancholy afterwards, did not notice his environment any more, ignored his daughter, desisted from eating and sleeping. No wonder it came to a bad end - one year later he followed his wife and his child. So the five year old girl was orphaned. She was put up by her uncle, who had lost one of his two sons much too early and now loved her as if she was his own child. They spend happy years together: The two children were almost the same age. They grew up like siblings, played and froliced, exercised themselves with wooden swords and chanced wild hacks on their horses. In doing so the girl's green eyes lighted up and her long blond hair waved in the wind. Her aunt disapproved of the child behaving
like a boy, but her uncle did not care. They were inseparable until Jacob had to leave his fathers castle in order to become a knight someday. Such a career was refused to her. Instead she was taught in suavity, dance, needlework as well as other female activities by her aunt and was prepared for her duties as a wife. For she proofed to be very skilled and talented she matured to a young, well-bred woman. Between her and her aunt developed a confiding relationship. More or less secretly her uncle trained her still.
Then came the day when Jacob was given a knighthood. On this day he introduced her to his best friend Matthew. They fall in love at first sight, their love grew stronger day by day and after a little while Matthew asked her uncle for taking her as his bride. He was just an ordinary knight and had not much to offer, but he treated her as an equal partner. Therefore he agreed with the marriage gladly. Too seldom matrimonies were born out for love. Though the couple lived together harmoniously and lovingly they did not conceived a child for a long time. Finally the young woman became pregnant and their happiness seemed brought to perfection. Unfortunately the joy did not last long, because she lost the baby. Matthew stood by her side and did everything to build her up and lead her out of sadness with his deep love. But the desire for a child weighed more heavily on her soul with every month passing, though she tried not to show it outwards.
However the most serious problems of their time, besides war and sometimes devastating blazes, were diseases and plagues. The hard winter took its toll, so the next blows of fate soon occurred. Only a few weeks ago they drew the curtain over her aunt and now, after a long struggle, her soul mate, her beloved husband died on a fewer. Now she stood there wrapped in sorrow, widowed with scarcely 24 years.
A frosty wind got up and made Richard shiver. In the meantime it got almost as dark as by night and the snow drifting got more intense. In the last wan daylight he viewed his beautiful niece again. The once sandy hair became darker during the years and her shining green eyes were full of tears. Nevertheless she was really handsome, a desirable young widow, a main prey for those, who took liberties with the chivalry. Richard was aware the best shelter for her was, to be wedded as soon as possible. But he knew her well enough to understand that she did not feel up to marrying again yet. Never would he force her to marry a man she did not love - he loved her too much. Temporary he tinkered with the idea of making her his son's wife. But he was reluctant to this idea, just as she would be. They simply were more like brother and sister than cousins. So there was only one possibility: he had to take her back home and put her under his protection as long as necessary.
"Aljona", he dared to break the silence at last, "you will freeze to death here in the cold. Lets go home."
Like being wrenched from a dream she turned to him and nodded, had a last look at the snow covered grave, before she let him lead her home.