Ay, she understood. She felt crushed, but she understood… She knew that the general was right, in every respect, though she fought to disbelieve it… She forced herself to nod her head.

"Is there nothing you can tell me, good Cassio?" Desdemona begged, her slender, white hands pressed around his own. Her look was truly one of trepidation, and Cassio wished that he could erase the fear from the beautiful face, but he did not want to betray Emilia. In faith, the lady already seemed to be a little impatient with him, and he wanted to keep friends with her.

"My apologies, lady," Cassio said regretfully. "I hardly know more than you do."

If Desdemona did not believe him, she did not show it. She gave a silent nod and opened the door to hers and Othello's chamber. "If you see Emilia before I do, you must give her my reassurances," she said, running her fingers over the doorknob, obviously not wanting to be sent away thus.

"I will, sweet lady."

Desdemona slowly turned to go, but then she turned back, as if suddenly remembering something. "Cassio, do you profess yourself my friend?" she asked urgently.

"Of course I do!" Cassio answered immediately, somewhat surprised at the spontaneity of the question. "That is, if I deserve such an honor."

"If you are my friend, Cassio, do all you can to help my poor Emilia," Desdemona pleaded, not paying any mind to his last statement. "For Emilia is, to me, mother, sister, cousin...all. It grieves me so to see her thus." Without warning, her voice gained a note of unprecedented boldness. "I would help her, if I could! I would search all of Cyprus to find her husband and bring him back to her. But my lord has relegated me to our chambers as a father does his daughter, and I must not disobey him. I trust that you will do what I cannot."

"Of course, my lady," Cassio assured her, bowing deeply. He was unsure of what exactly was expected of him, but letting Desdemona down was not an option. "I will do all I can."

"Do, good lieutenant," Desdemona said, a small smile coming back to her face. "I am indebted to you. Adieu."

She closed the door and disappeared into the chamber. As Cassio walked back down the hall, he thought of Desdemona's declaration of loyalty for Emilia. That she would search for Iago herself to cure Emilia of her distress, or at least claimed that she would! What empathy the lady had; surely she outdid Cassio in chivalry. As much as Cassio felt that Iago had not done much as of late to put himself in a favorable light, Emilia was truly troubled by his absence… And forsooth, it was quite out of character for Cassio to leave a damsel in distress.

He would search for Iago, then. That way Emilia would know that there was at least one man who cared about her.