It wasn't written this November, but it is something I have written and not yet (self-) published. So here we go:
“This is madness,” Fletcher says, without turning to Strelley. “We don’t even have a side. The rebels would string us up for fighting them in Exeter, and these government soldiers are after our blood too. Well, your blood.”
“So, we just turn around and walk back… to where?”
“Anywhere where there aren’t five thousand armed men within a mile. Home?”
“I don’t have one. Not in London, at least.”
“Come and live with Longshawe and me. King Edward will give you a position. Or Cranmer. Or Somerset.”
“I can’t. I can’t be that close.”
“Edward…” There is a thundering report from a battery of cannon, clouding the battlefield briefly with gunpowder smoke. Fletcher picks up his own thought. “So you will not go to her? You’ll wait for her in heaven but you won’t see her at Hatfield?”
“It’s not for me, is it?” Strelley watches as the smoke clears, and there are gaps appearing in the rebel lines. “She has to think that there is no hope. Then she can be free of me.”
“If I understand you both right, you will never be free of each other.”
“I don’t know,” Strelley says, and he is crying. “For me, I don’t care. I will live. For her, I wish only that she is happy.”
“But, Edward, she thinks the same, doesn’t she? Save you from the hurt, take it on herself… Accept that, then you can decide.”
“You can’t change it. You fell in love with her, and she with you. You can’t just push her away, because she knows you well enough to know that’s what you’re doing. So believe in your love for each other.”
“You wanted me to resolve to stay away from her.”
“That’s never quite what I said. I thought it might save you from yourself.”
“Guy,” Strelley says, “did she send you?”
“You have asked me that before.”
“And you failed to answer the question then.”
“I saw her, before I set out west.”
“And,” Strelley says, eyes narrowing slightly, “did she tell you to bring me back to her? Or did she tell you to keep me away? You have been utterly unreadable.”
“She wants that decision to be yours.”
“I do not want to cause any further hurt.”
“Well,” Fletcher says, “if you think that you are helping her by being here, you are not. She suffers as she ever did.”
“So I am to choose for her, then?”
“No, you are to choose for you. She knows the pain of your absence, only too well. She does not know the pain of your presence, whatever it might be, but she is willing to take that risk. Are you?”
“I understand. Finally I understand. You came, but you were not to tell me what to do, one way or the other.”
“That is it. Your choice.”
“I wrote it down.” Strelley smiles thinly. “My prayer that I would not have to make this choice.
“God, do not call on me to choose: her or not her.
“Let me be, alone, with regret for things not said.
“Should she ask, I do not have the strength to say no.”
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When to the sessions of sweet silent thought