Now that my past life identity as William Longespee seems doubtful, it really makes my affection for Richard I as a person seem weird, misguided, and slightly creepy.
I don’t know what to say except I really felt that I had known him, and that although he was actually a very reckless king with a violent streak and a nasty temper who took too many unnecessary risks and died before he could really fix things, the person I felt I remembered could also be immensely charismatic, generous, affectionate with his favorites, and a lover of music, art, and poetry. It was not so much specific memories as the impression that I had a recollection of the general type of person he was.
He was also strikingly handsome. In the one memory where I may have actually recalled his appearance, he had intense eyes, a fiery red beard that framed a handsome face with sharp features, a tall, lean but muscular body under a flowing blue robe, and his every movement was deliberate and unflinching.
Letting go of the prospect of having known such a person is difficult and I’ll forever be left wondering if I really did know Richard, or what became of him in his later lives.
I shouldn’t be this emotional about it. It would have been better for me if the thought that I’d known him had never crossed my mind.