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They were framed by the rising sun as they stood on the hill.
Charles's horse was saddled and waiting patiently as its master said his last goodbyes to the woman he loved.
"Go with God, Charles," Sophia said softly. He reached out and stroked her cheek with the pad of his calloused thumb. "I shall, Sophia. I am entirely convinced He rides beside me, for I am in the right in what I do."
Her blue satin dress blew in the gentle breeze, and on a sudden whim she bent and tore a length of the material from the hem. Softly, gently, she wrapped it around Charles' upper arm and tied it. "So that every man you meet will know there is a lady waiing for you," she said. "So that you will have a reason to come home."
Charles pulled her to him and kissed her. "I love you, Sophia. And I will do my best to come back to you."
Her black satiny hair framed her face, and he brushed it back, hungrily memorizing every inch of it. Her high cheekbones, her lovely chocolate eyes, even the birthmark that he never noticed anymore.
"Tell Sabrina goodbye for me, will you?" he asked, and Sophia nodded. "I will. Goodbye, Charles."
He didn't want to go. But it was his duty to God and man to see that the mission was carried out. Everything could well depend on it. And there was no price he wouldn't pay.
Even if it meant leaving his beloved Sophia alone and grieving in an unstable country on the brink of war.
"I'll be waiting," she whispered. "Right here, on this hill, every morning. And one day I'll greet you as you come home."
If he waited any longer he'd never leave. He mounted his horse and gathered the reins. "I love you, Sophia," he said again.
Sophia stood watching him go, the radiant sun bathing her face. It illuminated the single tear tracking down her smooth cheek.
For the second time in her life she watched a man important to her ride away.
The other had never come home.
That is a very interesting story teaser. I can't quite tell where they are or what war, or even get a clear time in history, other than - earlier than now. That is why it is such a teaser, eh? I would love to read the next parts that might answer those questions, and more.