Fuzzy Epilogues

Yes, this is another one of those "thinking-it-out-as-I-go-along" posts. I'm in a quandry. I'm sure it can be sorted through, but I just need to think.

I have problem number one solved. But problem number two is this: Halt is a traitor and needs to be punished.

Right now, I have a sunshiny epilogue of Daniel and Ivolet returning to Belayer after their marriage to see Martin's coronation. This is all well and good. But Halt is still alive, and doesn't treachery usually result in death? That is the proper form of punishment, yes? But I can't, in good conscience, execute Halt in the epilogue. Why?
  1. It's the end. You can't end a romance novel with an execution. You just can't. I don't care if it is the bad guy dying; you can't use the epilogue as an opportunity to chop someone's head off. It's just not done. I want to readers ending with fuzzy feelings, not images of violence and gore, or even vengeance well-taken.
  2. I can't throw that upon Ivolet. At her marriage, she's ended her troubles. I know it's not reality - it's fantasy. But this is fantasy. Fantasy countries, fantasy marriages. They live happily ever after. And the end. "The first seven years" and blah-blah-blah? Nope. Not in fantasy-land. Okay, moving on.
  3. How on earth can Martin and Quin be convinced that it's the truth, anyway? Martin may love Ivolet, but he doesn't entirely trust her (thanks to Halt). Halt will plead his innocence, with much sound logic, and we'll start another war. We can't have that on our hands.
  4. What of mercy? I just finished The King of Attolia and it's really hard for me not to somehow justify mercy in my story. God does it all the time; my ways are beneath His ways, and as an author I cannot understand it. I marvel at His penmanship. But anyway, Halt somehow reminds me of Turner's Relius, loyal to the end. He was loyal - but to Martin, and only Martin. But I am not God, and I cannot find a way to give Halt mercy.
I had an idea as I began this 1-2-3-4, but I wrote all of them down anyway. Listen to me now. What if Halt commits suicide. I know it's not pretty, but hear me out. He hears that Daniel and Ivolet are coming, hears of their marriage (or impending marriage? That's another topic for another time.) and knows that Daniel must of told Ivolet the story of how he escaped Forest Pember. He realizes - no, he knows. Daniel and Ivolet send a letter ahead of them craving an audience with Halt under serious penalty of death. (They can do that; Daniel is the general of Evichburn and still the sultan's son.) Halt knows what it is about. And he kills himself to avoid facing Martin.

This idea is rather catching to me. I think I shall run with it as a long as I can. Thank you, blog! Seriously, I'm not sure what I would do without you. I probably wouldn't be as far as I am on my book. In the past, I used to make these long posts in Word with comments and questions. Then I usually ended up talking to myself - in different font of course. On paper, I can be a bi-polar author, I guess. Anyway, it actually helps my sanity to pour out my plotting woes to the endless void called the internet. At least I'm not talking to myself.

Or am I?

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