Profession: The Crude Craftsman
Edmund woke up, same as every other morning, when the first ray of the sun appeared in the room. Getting out of bed, he slowly went to his window. A peaceful new day was beginning. As far as Edmund could see, there were fields, trees, animals. And there was his little workshop on the side of a road. Another day, and all this work to do…. It was always the same. All days were the same.
After having his dark coarse bread as a (kind of) breakfast, Edmund got dressed and went to his workshop. It was time to begin the day, with his half done daggers waiting for him, in a corner of the workbench. He had these to finish in a hurry, if he wanted to keep his regular clients happy. After that, he needed to do a whole bunch of torches for a new client. Quickly. New clients… Edmund didn’t like that; didn’t like the unknown, the mysteriousness, the dangerousness which could emanate from them. Not knowing was a bit too much for his taste. Edmund enjoyed knowing who he had to deal with. There was no mystery there. No surprise. He liked to know exactly what was waiting for him in a day, and every single detail was important. The routine was important. This way, he was controlling everything. It hasn’t always been like that in his life… But past events had lead to all these calculating thoughts and gestures… For Edmund couldn’t afford to not know how his days would unfold.
There was a time when he had a beautiful little house in another city, far far away, with stucco walls and a blue rooftop. The house was small but it was his. Edmund wasn’t doing the same job as he is now, but it was all the same in the end. He was creating pieces and crafting items for several clients. Only in that previous business, he had one particular client he wished he hadn’t known about…
Emilie… She was so beautiful, Edmund could not bring himself to look away. Every single day, she passed in front of his business. At first, she didn’t seem to notice Edmund but after a while, Emilie couldn’t help but notice this man who was staring longingly at her. Edmund wasn’t particularly attractive. Not in the classical sense, anyway. But there was a rugged quality about him that, in time, started to appeal to Emilie. More and more, the gazes between the two seemed longer, more intense, but not a single word was never said between the two. But after months of embarrassed glances and coy smiles, Edmund finally approached her. That’s when it all began. With a shy “Hello” from Edmund and a gorgeous smile from Emilie. From that moment on, it all escalated very quickly.
There were small talks, always in a hurry… Small conversations at the end of the day, which turned into meetings in the morning AND at night. Couple weeks passed by, and the quick meetings led to long walks and talks along the river, in the country side The meetings between Edmund and Emilie always took place in quiet places, far from the center of the town where the two of them could’ve been seen. Edmund didn’t think much of it. You see, Emilie was the daughter of a powerful noble in the city, and the young man knew she could not be seen by his side. So they were very careful… for a time.
On one of their secret nights, the two of them were sitting down, talking by the river –their favorite spot-, Edmund wanting to know everything about his beloved.. He already knew he was in love head over heels with Emilie, but he couldn’t shake this feeling that it wasn’t the same for her. He was constantly asking questions and she answered but she never said much, always making sure of what she was about to say. Edmund could tell Emilie was thinking and moving everything back and forth in her head, before saying it out loud. But it was okay. He wanted to be mindful, not pushing her to tell him something if she felt she wasn’t ready for it.
“I should be going, said Emilie to a disappointed Edmund. It’s late and I wouldn’t want my father to start looking family.”
Smiling sadly, Edmund got up and took Emilie by the hand.
“Ok, then, he said. Let’s get going. I wouldn’t want for you to be in trouble because of me.”
But right when he started walking away from the river, Edmund saw a shadow moving behind Emilie. Then, several shadows came toward them and before the young man could do a single move and realize what was happening, he and Emilie were surrounded by dozens of city guards. Courtesy of Emily’s noble father… They had been caught.
That episode wasn’t so dramatic, right? But it certainly came with a stern warning: Edmund could never see or speak to Emilie ever again.. Edmund couldn’t fathom the thought of never seeing his beloved ever again. He had to see her, to speak to her one last time. So after that one night, he waited patiently for Emilie to pass by his business again. It took a few days. And then, she was back, passing by, smiling coyly at him again. It was the sign Edmund had been waiting for: she, too, wanted to see him again. She, too, couldn’t stay away. So when the evening came, he closed business earlier and went back to the river; to their favorite spot. Surely, Emilie passing by his shop meant that she was sending him a message; some kind of signal. The two of them would meet by the river and rekindle everything. Only, they would have to be more careful, this time. Emilie’s father couldn’t know.
When Edmund got to the river, he got to see Emilie. Just like he imagined. She was there, as beautiful as ever. But she wasn’t alone. Some other man was sitting with her and talking to her. The man was looking at her the same way Edmund used to. And Edmund’s heart scattered all over the place. He approached them, silently. Hiding behind a tree.
“But it’s over right? Please, tell me you ended it…, asked the mysterious man to Emilie, in a resolute tone.
-Well… It was more my father who did it. Or his city guards… It was so awkward. But would you please stop worrying about that poor Edmund? I’ve told you so many times: it was never serious between the two of us. I was just having fun. That’s all.
-Well, it doesn’t matter. As long as you’re done with that stupid peasant! We can finally go on and get married!
– Don’t you think we should wait a little bit? Winter is about to start and I would much prefer to get married in the spring.
-I think we waited long enough, answered the man. And you know both our families are anxious for us to get married.
-You’re right, said Emilie, meekly. We should get married right away. Maybe we waited long enough.”
The man smiled and sighted deeply, relieved that Emilie agreed not to wait any longer. For a while, he had been worried that she was looking for a way out of this marriage. Maybe she was just having fun with that insignificant peasant but Edmund was not the only one. There were a few before him.
Emilie, on the other hand, watched her fiancé walk away in silence. She had to find a way to stop that wedding from happening. She thought that, by now, he would’ve gotten the message that she wasn’t ready for marriage, even though both their families were pushing for it. She genuinely thought her fiancé to be a good man. But she didn’t love him. She never would.
Surprised, Emilie jumped at the sight of Edmund.
“Oh my god! Edmund! What a surprise!” Seeing his angry face, she responded: “What are you doing here? How long have you been standing there?
-Just long enough, my beautiful Emilie! said Edmund, a stern look across his face. So you just wanted to have fun, right? Fine. I’ll give you fun”
“Edmund, wait! Please, I can explain. What are you…”
Emilie couldn’t speak; Edmund covered her mouth with his hand to stop her from screaming. It was now dark outside, so he was not worried about being caught, this time.
“You want to be free from me?! You just wanted to have a little fun on the side before marrying somebody else?!? Just try to run now and I will show you how to have fun! You’re mine Emily, don’t you get it? I will never let you go. Never!”
Edmund was furious, his hand still covering Emilie’s mouth, thinking of what to do next. What would his next move be? Emilie started to fight back, trying desperately to get away from Edmund. But the young man couldn’t stand to let her go, couldn’t bring himself to let her run away from him and tell everyone how she had made a fool of himself. However, Emilie managed to break free from Edmund. Having spotted Edmund’s horse, she ran and jumped on it, but while trying to run away, the horse tripped and fell, sending Emilie violently head first on a tree trunk.
Edmund rushed to see if Emilie was alright. His heart stopped when he found her unconscious, a little blood coming out of her head. But while trying to help the young woman, Edmund heard noises in the background. Someone was looking for Emilie. Her fiancé? Her father? Her father’s city guards? Right away, Edmund knew he had to flee the scene. He didn’t even know if Emilie was dead or alive but he was aware he couldn’t allow himself to find out. Whatever happened to her, he would be blamed for it, and knew that he would have to pay with his life.
Edmund got up and ran, far far away.
Emilie… It has been years, now. All these past events, all these thoughts were always in the back of Edmund’s mind. Even after all this time, Edmund couldn’t forget: the love, the hurt; the unbearable pain of not knowing, still, if Emilie survived or not. This hasn’t been his initial plan at all. Edmund wanted to propose to her. Even though the odds would have been overwhelmingly against him, he wanted to find a way to make Emilie his wife. His beautiful future wife. But you can’t always foresee the future.
Now here he was, a simple Crude Craftsman, an artisan, a routine man living in hiding on a field surrounded by a forest… All was quiet and peaceful. Edmund looked at the new torch that had fallen before him, still lost in his thoughts. He had to finish this for his new client. A bubble busted in his head; he thought “what would happen if someone found me here?” He took his tool on the workbench, shaking his head from left to right. Nahhh, nobody could find him. Right?