23. Reckless Greed

Tereus’s passion is fierce, painful. He’s always enjoyed sex, but for him it’s a casual pleasure, well below drinking and battle and smoking, and good food, for that matter. Now that he is deprived of other vices, his constant, punishing rounds of craving and satisfaction center on Valeria and the need to possess her. Valeria […]

22. Forgive Me, Love Me, Let Me Love You

9/1/17— His beauty has gradually impressed itself upon me. I feel his intellect, the force of his will, but more than anything, I feel his masculine vigor. We lay there talking. Because he asked, I told him what I thought of him back then. He listened thoughtfully and said, “I always found you witty, intriguing. […]

19. The Golden Evening Rushed In

8/25/17— I should admit — at least in these pages — that I have come to care for Tereus: A man who revolted, angered and disgusted me — someone whom I hated. There are times when I still hate him, when his coldness and lack of empathy surprise and anger me. I’ve always respected his […]

18. The Carnal Pleasure of Work

7/15/17— Did I say the labor was unremitting? I had no idea. Now, in midsummer, all intellectual labor has ended, and leisure is a fond memory. We’re in the thick of manual labor, back-breaking at times. I have been canning for days on end, drawing water and chopping wood, standing for hours on end over […]

16. I Wish You Could Forgive Me

Tereus wakes well before dawn, like he used to long ago in billets and bivouacs. The farmhouse is still, though the others will wake up soon. He urinates and masturbates, spending just a bit longer on the latter activity. He slips down the stairs and out the door in his stockinged feet, boots in hand. […]

14. Xialo

Tereus enters a long, dark period. Later, it will feel as if he’d fallen under a fairytale curse. During this time, he engages in unbridled brutality, beating Lavinia, raping the odd parlormaid and terrorizing his valet. He has a series of  near-fatal carriage and riding accidents, which prove that neither is a reliable method of suicide. […]

13. Free Fall

Over the years that follow Sieia’s flight, Lucius and Valeria start to fill their nursery. Through some strange miracle, Lucius is an affectionate husband and father. Not only can he tell his children apart, he has an intimate knowledge of their likes and dislikes, and their intellects and temperaments. He and Valeria are aware that […]