I am not a beautiful woman.
I’m not even particularly pretty.
Oh, I suppose I’m handsome enough, with even features, green eyes, decent cheekbones. But without the benefit of the paint pot, I wouldn’t consider myself anything beyond merely plain.
Nevertheless in my long and very interesting life I have been called “beautiful”, “stunning”, “breathtaking”, and worse. I couldn’t tell you why, except that it is, I guess, a wish on the part of the speakers that I be those things to fulfill their own strange and fevered imaginings.
Well you may laugh, archivist, but you know it to be true. Aye, you heard it with your own ears at the… oh, where was that?
Never mind, ’tis of no import.
Hand me that goblet, will you? Too far for me to reach…
Now, what was I saying?
Yes, all those ridiculous men–and women, sometimes–wanting so much for me to be something I was not. Their vision of what royalty should be, or justification for hiring me to fuck–
Have I shocked you? Come now, you know all this, and you asked for candor.
Oh, very well. But no promises.
Let us begin, then, at the end of a dynasty and the beginning of a devil’s bargain…