The Words Left Unsaid

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A/N: The is based on the novel Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper, NOT the 1992 movie which took far too many liberties with one of my favourite books of all time. The 1920 black and white silent movie is far more true to the book and beautifully done. In the book Uncas and Cora are what might be termed as "star-crossed lovers". Cora is the daughter of Colonel Munro who is an English officer during the Seven Years War with the French at Glen Falls in upstate New York and has creole blood from her mother who was a "mulatto" in the West Indies and Uncas was a full-blooded Mohican. In the novel it was very clear that Uncas was head-over-heels in love with Cora but we never quite got a good picture of what Cora's feeling were. So here is my wish for what Cora's feelings should have been if I had any say in the matter!

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We are lost in the forest. Walking in circles behind our false guide, Magua, when we come upon you unawares. I see you standing with your companions and I think to myself that you are the noblest man I have ever seen. It is you that convinces your companions to help lead us back to Fort William Henry and to my father. I see you speak to them and when you turn towards me, the look in your eyes takes my breath away. You turn back to your father, Chingachgook, and your friend, Hawkeye, and I am left thinking that so rarely does anyone look at me the way you do. Some look upon me with admiration from afar, some with lust, some with derision because of my mixed blood but never the way you look at me as though I am your equal.

You lead us through the forest like you are a part of it, you know secrets of the trees and the soil that I can only dream of. You lead us away from Magua who turns out to be our enemy and bent on revenge against my father. When at last we can run no more and Magua and his people surround us, you refuse to leave us until I entreat you to take my last words to my father. I do not want you to go but I do not want you to die for me either. So I entreat you knowing the power that my wishes have over you. And when you listen, I sigh with relief that at least you will be spared.

Magua and our enemies close in on us, my sister Alice trembles but she has Duncan Hayward to hold her steady. I have no one because I am the strong one. Always steady and resilient. But how I wish you were here with me. They take us captive and when they have me on my knees with a knife at my throat, I see my life flashing by and I think to myself how easy it would have been to love you. Even knowing that we would have had no future, the mulatto daughter of an English Officer and the son of Chingachgook, Last of the Mohicans, even knowing that I yearn for you.

And then you are there, an avenging angel to kill my tormenters. Doubling back and following our barely visible tracks until you find me again on my knees with a knife at my throat. You help lead us back to Fort William Henry where my father is awaiting us. You take my hand as we cross the battlefield towards my father in a dense fog with French bullets whistling inches from our face. Death stares us in the face and all I can think is how I wish I could stay in your arms forever.

That is the last I see of you for far too long. I walk the parapets daily hoping for a glimpse of you. We have barely spoken with words yet we have said far more to each other without them. I search for you daily but I never see you. What I would give to have another one of our silent conversations. You and I understand each other, we speak the language of our eyes.

We surrender to the French and Alice and I are bourne away by Magua during the massacre that follows. I see more horror and violence in those few hours than ever in my life before. A small baby dashed against the rocks. Defenseless women hacked to pieces. I hope and pray that you have been spared and that you will come for me again. Come for me and Alice from who I have been separated. Come to save us both from this hell of captivity. I wait days hoping for word of you.

And then one day you are there. You and Hawkeye and Alice and Heyward. We are captives and I am scared for our lives but you, you are fearless. When they keep you behind for torture, my heart withers inside of me from fear. I know you will never break but I cannot bear the thought of you in pain. I fall to my knees before the Delaware chief Tamenund to beg for you to be heard and then when they set upon you to kill you my heart clenches in fear and all I can think of is throwing myself at Tamenund's feet to beg for mercy.

Just when I think all is lost, he sees your beautiful tortoise tattoo and recognizes you to be his heir and I know then that we will be saved. And you do save us; you free us, all of us but not me. And I am left with the bitter taste of ashes in my throat. How could you not free me? I long for your touch and yours alone but you follow your Delaware rules and laws and you turn away and let Magua take me away from you as his captive to be forced into being his wife. I cannot even look at you then. I know you watch me being led away, I can feel your eyes upon me but I cannot even bring myself to see you one last time.

They take me and hide me in the caves. For hours, I wait in the dark not knowing what my fate will be and then I hear noise. A battle is beginning and I do not know who has come and who was winning. All I can do is sit in the dark praying that you have come to take me away from this hell.

I don't know how long I sit in the dark listening to the sounds of warfare before Magua comes for me and leads me up the mountain. I know you are following me, I can hear you cry out my name and I cannot go on any further. You are being reckless, so unlike yourself! And I see you drop your rifle to get to me. But I cannot let you die so I step out onto the ledge and drop to my knees and pray to God to take me and spare your life. Let Magua kill me as he threatens but I cannot bear for you to be hurt.

It is not to be; I hear your cry behind me as I feel the blade pierce my chest. And as my vision darkens I see you struck from behind just as you strike down the man that stabbed me. My last vision is of Magua lifting your nerveless arm and striking your blade into your chest over and over and over. Your proud head, which was never bowed down in life, does not bow down in death. Sleep comes upon me as I see you start to fall and I think that it will not be long before I see you again in your blessed hunting grounds.

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A/N: Kinda depressing I know! But it is a beautifully written book with a beautiful silent romance running through it. Bownie points to anyone who knows which novel inspired the line "Your proud head, which was never bowed down in life, does not bow down in death."

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