Rated: E · Short Story · History · #1830604
The untold story of Vlad the Impaler's second wife.
Jusztina ducked at her bedroom window just in time for the arrow to swish past her head. It pulled a few strands of hair from her head and she winced. She turned around to find where it landed and spotted it atop her bed. She approached it with caution and found a note attached to it. She picked it up, holding it as if it were a spider, and slowly unfolded the note. Her eyes widened in horror as the true meaning of the words written on the wrinkled paper sank in. She ran back to the window and found her husband's brother riding in on his horse with his troops. Her traitorous brother-in-law had converted to Islam some time ago and joined ranks with the Sultan. Who would be giving them a warning of the sudden invasion now?
"Vlad!" she cried out. "Vlad!" She ran to her bedroom door and peered out into the hallway. The air was already filled with cries and screams as the castle went under siege by the Ottomans. Her brow became damp with perspiration as she fought to remain calm and figure out what to do. She sat on her bed and bit her lip hard. I will not surrender, she thought. And I will not fight. Every fiber in her being yelled out to her to remain and fight. She wasn't unskilled. She was simply tired of the threats, the battles and the ominous Ottoman Empire that was now knocking down her castle's doors.
She knew her husband was a capable man. He would find a way to protect her, to get her back if she were captured. But how long would that take? Months? Years? She was too proud to be a slave. Even if that meant being alive. No, she knew what she must do. It was now or never.
She rose from the bed and laid down the note at her husband's pillow. She strode over to the window and observed a horrible scene below. With a difficult gulp, she gripped the windowsill and lifted her skirts up to stand in the window. "Death to you Turks!" she cried. And with that, she leaned forward and plunged herself into the unknown, the Arges River waiting to welcome her far below her bedroom.