"I must hold the country and the soil and for this all my armies, all the Hungarians,shall die before I surrender an inch of it...You will say that I am cruel; that is true. But I know that all the cruelties I commit today to hold the country I shall one day be in a position to repay a hundred full, and this I shall do. But for the present I close my heart to pity, I rely on you..."
"I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman. But I have the heart and stomach of a King, and a King of England too and I think foul scorn that Parma or Spain or any prince of Europe should dare to invade the borders of my realm."
Years of discipline and sorrow erupted like a volcano. Shakuntala wept, and wept, and wept, laughing all the while. Not the laughs of gaiety these, or even happiness. They were the deep belly-emptying, heaving laughs of a girl finally able-after all the years she had swallowed duty, never once complaining of it's bitter taste-to wallow in the simple joys and desires of any woman.
Humans were mind-blind. They could not taste as he tasted, and so perhaps, they did not suspect how deeply wounded their "princess" was. It even made sense, in a way, for the other things he tasted within that mind glow included pride, a sense of duty, a refusal to whimper or plead or beg, and an iron-boned determination to never, ever show weakness.
"A woman in my place has two faces, one for the world and one which she wears in private. With you I'll be only Sybilla. Tiberias thinks me unpredictable; I am unpredictable."
The Empress Theodora would never wail. Like any woman, she could have her heart broken. But it was a small, tough, stony heart. It's wounds healed slowly, and simply added more scar tissue.
These tears that burn my eyes are all the tears the Queen can't shed,
The tears I weep in silence as I mourn my Heralds dead.
Oh gods that dwell beyond the stars, if you can hear my cry—
And if you have compassion—let me send no more to die!