Download as a PDF to read here – A Queen’s Tale: Part Two
Gwyn curled up in her seat in first class, she had refused Logan’s offer of the private jet to fly home in but he would not hear of her flying coach, so she had plenty of room to stretch out here in first class on the aircraft.
She was not tired, she just did not want to be awake as she sat there.
The hostess had stopped fussing over her and was finally leaving her in peace. Gwyn uncurled her fist and looked down at the necklace that Myrddin had given her just before she boarded. It was beautiful and he had said he hoped it would help as a trigger for her. Age had not tarnished the silver that formed the base of the pendant, an intricately designed flower formed by Celtic knot work and in the centre of it rested a beautiful clear amethyst. It was a stunning piece that looked more like it should be in a museum than on her neck but she had promised Myrddin she would wear it. And she would once she was finished holding it. She was pretty sure it wouldn’t matter which part of her skin it was touching, palm or chest, it was still in her possession. The way the light caught the sides of the stone were mesmerising and Gwyn let herself be lulled by the dancing of the light as she moved the pendant around her hand, it stilled her mind, thought fell away as if she was trying to go in to a state of meditation. She was calm and at peace. Serene. It was a nice feeling.
Myrddin had not said but she knew that this necklace had been made for her, well her soul, in a life long ago. She just could not remember what life it had been, who she had been, nor who it had been that had crafted such a beautiful gift for her. Gwyn guessed the pendant was not one of her earliest lives, it was too well crafted but still, that left a lot of time to work with a lot of potential lives. She wondered if it might trigger something on the flight back and she kept pushing her mind to try and remember something, visualise anything that might awaken something inside her but the more she pushed the further that peaceful and serene feeling fled away from her. She kept at it though not wanting to let her mind have the chance to dwell on other thoughts that threatened her. She would not have to worry about having time to think once she returned to work. Logan was away and that left more work on Gwyn’s shoulder’s which she was okay about. Logan had just lost his father and inherited a legacy, it would stand to reason that he would need some time to himself to get his head on. Gwyn was surprised that Izzy didn’t but she seemed resilient, there was much she had been through and she had come out the other side, she had different coping mechanisms to Logan. And having a partner to stand with her might help, not that Roen and Izzy had a normal sort of relationship but Gwyn could see they wouldn’t find any one more perfect for each other. She was looking forward to their wedding; it promised to be an event.
Slowly her eyes drifted shut as she sat there and before she knew it she was dreaming.
Blowdyn looked up into the eyes of the stranger as his blade slid so easily into her belly. She did not know who this man was lurking in the shadows of the temple this night but from his face she could tell that he had not come here with the purpose of ending her life, he seemed as surprised as she and he seemed so regretful, his eyes filled with horror at the act and the desire to undo his actions. She wished to give him words of comfort, even though she was in fact the one who was dying. But she could not draw a breath to find her voice.
She was cold, as if all the heat in her was seeping out with the blood. She wondered if she would see Bedwyr again in the afterlife. If he would join her in Tir na nog? If she would notice the wait for him, or if she would be reborn again?
All these thoughts went through her head in the moments between the sword entering her body and the sound of footsteps approaching them. The footsteps hurrying towards them seemed so far away and even the face of this man seemed to be moving away, moving into a pin prick as everything around her changed. So this was death. It was not as she had imagined and not nearly as dramatic. It seemed she would simply drift away on a wave of breathless pain. She hoped she would be blessed by the gods and in death find the love she had lost. If this was her destiny then so be it. She had touched the lips of her love once, she had told him her heart and she would die knowing that he knew that she loved him.
Gwyn looked out the window as they flew over the ocean tears still resting on her cheeks, the image fresh in her mind but more than making her think about the past it made her think of the future. Things were in motion and though it would be years yet before the Hunt rode, it seemed those years would be eventful just as it seemed the past had been.
It was an afterthought that she realised; her ankle hadn’t hurt at all today.
Gwyn tapped her fingers against the keyboard, not hard enough for anything to be entered on the screen but just because she knew she should be working and she was bored and tapping her fingers at least gave the illusion she was working.
She was not bored because of a lack of work, with Logan away she had more than enough work to keep her busy.
She always did.
It was simply that none of it held the slightest bit of interest for her and she just wanted to be gone from her office, from work, from the city. She had images of sitting in the forest somewhere with tall ancient trees all around her. She could imagine a stream nearby swirling down around boulders and low hanging branches. The image was distracting in its power and peacefulness but she would rather be there. She would rather be most places than here right now, well most places in nature.
Her mind kept turning to Lance. She hadn’t been able to get him out of her head since she had returned from visiting her father’s resting site and seeing Myrddin. She had managed to get herself to a good point,the point where she missed Lance but that did not consume her, but now, now the thoughts were threatening to overwhelm her again. The truth of the matter was she was the she was hurting that he could see her again and that he had chosen not to.
Hearing her name she looked up from her screen to see Izzy standing by her desk, she hadn’t even heard her come in she’d been so lost in her thoughts.
“What’s going on? You look like someone just gutted your cat.” Izzy was always colourful in her language. Gwyn watched Izzy as she pushed the paperwork to one edge of the desk and sat herself down where it had been. Izzy turned to face Gwyn, running her fingers around the wedding band that Roen had put there just a few days earlier, eloping while Gwyn had been with Myrddin.“Spill sunshine.”
Gwyn sighed. “I’m sorry, it’s nothing like that, just thinking about my ex and having an insane desire to run away into the woods.”
“So do it.” Izzy replied. “Logan has.”
“This isn’t going to do itself.” Gwyn replied waving a hand over her desk.
“The company isn’t going to fall aparte’ make nothing happen Aidan, you well know that, I do not make the news I simply deliver it in advance..”ant on the kitchen because you took off for the rest of the day Gwyn, and if it does well tough titties.” Izzy smiled at her. “Or you can tell me about this ex of yours if you prefer. I love a good story and I know some people who could creatively dispose of him.”
“Izzy no!” Gwyn wasn’t sure if Izzy was serious or not, especially given the stories that Gwyn had heard about this woman. “It’s not like that. He broke my heart but with good reason because I broke his first.”
“And you want him back?”
“Yes, no…I don’t know. He doesn’t want me back so it doesn’t matter.”
“Oh.” There was a whole heap of extra emphasis when Izzy said the single word, understanding the key emotion she conveyed in the syllable. “He’s getting married isn’t he?”
“No.” Gwyn shook her head, that might be better or worse, no worse, most definitely worse. “He just doesn’t want me back.”
“Am I interrupting you dear ladies and your girly gossip?” Gwyn looked up and saw Myrddin in the doorway. She was surprised at his sudden appearance and somehow not surprised at all.
“Is that him?” Izzy whispered to Gwyn before sliding off the desk to turn and face the newcomer. Gwyn shook her head to say no. “Well then, hello handsome.”
“Down girl, you’re married.” Myrddin laughed sizing her up just as intensely. Gwyn smiled and rolled her eyes, it was like watching hyenas circling each other on a wildlife documentary.
“Oh I like him.” Izzy grinned. “So if you’re not the evil ex I don’t get to stab you but I would still like an introduction.”
“Stab me?” Myrddin raised an eyebrow. Gwyn just remained silent, she wasn’t getting a word in on this conversation anytime soon and she knew it. “Honey you can try and stab me if it’ll make you happy but I’m a slippery bugger. And I’m her brother, name’s Myrddin.”
“Oh very Celtic. What did your parents have an Arthurian obsession or something?”
“You know your mythology. I like her.” Myrddin winked over at Gwyn who just rolled her eyes again. These two would be perfectly suited for a fabulous kind of friendship that would provide countless hours of entertainment for all watching. Gwyn wondered if they already had done in another life, something told her that they had though she couldn’t remember anything, it was just instinct that told her yes this wasn’t the first time these two had interacted. Then she remembered that Myrddin had already said her path had crossed Izzy and Logan’s before so it made sense that his had too.
“I’m very likeable, lickable too.” Izzy grinned and winked gratuitously in Myrddin’s direction earning a chuckle.
“And how quickly would I lose my tongue via your husband Roen if I were to lick you.”
“Potentially very quickly.” Izzy laughed. “But it might be fun to find out.”
“Being around you sounds dangerous.” Myrddin moved in on Izzy pinning her against Gwyn’s desk and Gwyn closed her eyes with a quiet groan. She was sixteen again and waiting for the ground to open up and swallow her, what was it about family that delighted in embarrassing each other to death?
“Please don’t start going at it on my desk.” Both Izzy and Myrddin laughed tilting their heads to look at her almost as if they were choreographed.
“You know me better than that Gwyn.” Myrddin said and licked Izzy’s cheek backing off with a laugh.
“Oh I know you very well Myrddin and it would not surprise me at all.” Gwyn replied sighing dramatically before she continued. “Why are you here other than to provide a floor show with my boss?”
“Well of course I wanted to meet the infamous Izzy again.” He grinned and mocked a bow toward Izzy who did a crooked curtsey by way of a reply.
“Wait, again? I hate to break your heart sunshine but if we’ve met before I’ve forgotten.”
“Death will do that sweetheart.” Myrddin laughed and crossed to the couch *** across the wall sitting down.
“Death?” Izzy looked startled.
“You knew him in a past life he means.” Gwyn explained. She leaned back in her chair. Time to freak out the boss it seemed. But she wasn’t going to be the one telling the story if Myrddin had charmingly decided that he had to come and burst Gwyn’s easy little world.
“I wonder which one.” Izzy replied and Gwyn nearly fell off her chair. Izzy believed? She didn’t question it? Really Gwyn should have known better, Izzy and Logan had both spent time in India and Tibet and various other locations on something of a more spiritual pilgrimage, that Izzy should believe in reincarnation should not surprise her at all but she was so used to the normal mortal mind that failed to grasp such concepts that when someone believed and without any convincing it surprised her.
“You know some of them?” Myrddin leaned forward a more serious look on his face.
“I have not spent as much time as my brother with mystics, yogis, priests and other spiritual people but I have spent enough that past life regeneration is a normal term in my vocabulary.” Izzy replied eyeing Myrddin a little warily. “Why?”
“There is coming a time when it might be best for you to know those lives.” Myrddin replied and then his body language changed. The tension slipped away, the philosopher was gone again in place of the clown. There was clearly a reason he was born under the astrological sign of Sagittarius in Gwyn’s opinion.
“And the other reason you are here?” Gwyn asked before Izzy could reply, she wasn’t ready to have this talk yet and she wanted Logan here for it too but he was on his trip in the middle of the forest and did not want to be disturbed except in the case of fire, murder or arrest. He’d looked at Izzy when he’d said that at the time. Logan did not even know yet that his sister had run off and eloped while he had been gone. Gwyn thought it was all pretty romantic really. She frowned as the thought led her to Lance and the fact that she was most likely never going to be getting married, traditional or not.
“Wanted to invite you out to dinner with us.”
“Us?” Gwyn could feel her chest constricting and he had not even hinted anything about who else was with him. It could be a lot of people but somehow she knew.
“The big black bear and his foster brother are with me.” He said it so weirdly that she wanted to fly across the desk and hit that smile off his face. He was toying with her and he was enjoying it. As if she wouldn’t know who the big black bear was, or his foster brother. Adrian and Lance were with him. Her exes. Her exes were in town and Myrddin wanted to take them all out to dinner. Or was it he just wanted their reunion to be in front of witnesses to try and prevent bloodshed and drama.
“And they are code for? Or is this above my security clearance double O hotness?” Izzy was making light of it but Gwyn could tell she was not just asking to be silly or anything, she was trying to assess the situation. Gwyn smiled, it was nice that Izzy had her back.
“The big black bear is Adrian, my ex-boyfriend and Lance, his foster brother, is my ex-fiancé.” Gwyn replied in a quiet voice.
“You some kind of sadist sunshine?” Izzy frowned at Myrddin and Gwyn could see her fingers on her thigh, Gwyn knew that her knives were always there and it was kind of nice that Izzy was being protective of her, unnecessary but nice. She watched as Izzy stroked at her thigh and waited for a reply.
“Not all sweetheart but they have to get this over with, there are bigger things ahead.” He looked from Gwyn to Izzy and back again, no sign of the clown now. “They need to make peace. For all of our sakes.”
Adrian sat on the couch watching Lance at the window. It was a strange place they had come to. It had taken Adrian ending up in traction to get his head in check. Lifetimes of issues perhaps finally sorted. He had forgiven himself, forgiven Lance and finally forgiven Gwyn. It didn’t mean he was over it all, he was still hurt, still loved Gwyn in a way, but he had finally maybe accepted it wasn’t his side she was meant to be at, that he had hurt her more than she had ever hurt him.
He was ashamed honestly of the shit he had pulled in this life and especially in the others. Fucking hell, what kind of man treats a woman that way? He didn’t know if she was going to agree to come to dinner but he was ready to make peace with her. He had been for a while but it hadn’t been time, she hadn’t been ready for it but no one had realised just what she was going through until Myrddin had seen her. She was breaking down inside and she wasn’t going to be any good to herself let alone the Hunt unless she got her power and strength back and the truth was that as much power as she had with him, she had more with Lance, in almost every life.
It was time for her to be awakened and become the woman she was meant to be. Adrian couldn’t destroy her again in this life as he had tried to do in others. She was always meant to be with Lance, not him and now finally in this life Adrian could accept that and move on. Maybe one day even find the soul that he was meant for, the one that had always been there.
“I don’t know if I can do it.”
Adrian looked up at the comment, his large dark skinned hand smoothing against the contrasting cream fabric of the chair. His eyes watched Lance’s form as his foster brother fidgeted with the drapes that hung against the window. Adrian could hear Lance’s uneven breathing; the guy was clearly nearing a panic attack at the thought of Gwyn, of seeing her tonight.
“Relax man, you don’t even know she’s going to agree to see us yet. Honestly, my money is on a big hell no and I can’t say I blame her much given the shit we both pulled. Valid or not.” He held up a hand to silence the protest that Lance may or may not start. “You can’t deny we both fucked her over in our own ways, regardless of what she did, all she did was follow her heart and then lose confidence in herself. And that’s my fault. I started her down that path and I doubt she’s going to come to dinner tonight, but it’s the first step, the olive branch. You heard Myrddin. We just have to keep at it until she agrees, in her own time.”
“I know, I know! God all right already.” Lance growled. His tall frame was silhouetted as he pulled back the curtain and the motion light outside lit him up in the dimmer interior of the room. “What if she hates me?”
“If she hates you she hates you and we work with it.” Adrian didn’t believe in sugar coating and lies, he shot straight from the hip, always had. “And if she still loves you we’ll all have to deal with that.”
“And if she still loves you?” Lance wasn’t trying to be argumentative, he was just wound tight, scared.
“I’m not going to lie Lance. If she still loved me I’d be there like a shot but I already know she doesn’t. She will still love me, always love me, we’ll always be bound but she won’t be in love with me, she hasn’t been for a long time and never like she is with you. It’s taken me a long time to deal with that fact, centuries in fact because everyone is meant to bloody love me.” Adrian chuckled, settling back into the chair. Lance huffed at him, they’d known each other since they were boys and Adrian’s mother had taken Lance in. Though, because of their shared feelings for the same woman, they had stopped talking for a long while they were always brothers and now that they had made their peace with each other that bond was back the way it was meant to be.
Adrian started forward in his chair as the door opened behind him, Lance dropped the curtain turning almost in sync. An unsurprised yet saddened sigh rumbled from Adrian’s lips as Myrddin entered alone.
“She wouldn’t come.”
Myrddin saw the look on Lance’s face as it fell, he wished he could tell him the words he had overheard, the heartbreak when Gwyn spoke that Lance no longer wanted her but he could not. Lance needed to do this for the right reasons, not out of some vague hope that he might win her back. He needed to want to make peace with Gwyn for his own sake and for hers and not just for the hope of love, as powerful as that hope should be in the case of them all there was more at stake than just love. When the war came they would need to stand together, no matter where their hearts lay.
“She couldn’t do it. I could see how confused and conflicted she was by my request, she wanted to say yes but she is still too fragile. She couldn’t bring herself to do it. So we will continue on as we must and we will try again and again. I have a plan, never fear.” Myrddin tucked his thumbs into her jacket and gave the two a charming, one might say, cocky smile. “Familiar souls to us all are with her already and through them I think we can begin to awaken her and heal her and return her to us. She does not even know how far she is gone from us, the pain inside her blinds her too much.”
“I’m going for a walk.” Lance stalked from the room, fists balled right, back rigid. Adrian stood to follow but Myrddin lay a hand against his chest.
“Let your brother go, he needs to work through this, we cannot always be there for him.” Adrian relented to Myrddin’s counsel as he so often did, and let his brother go and cool off in the evening air. “You and I need to talk, it might be time for Logan to renew old acquaintances too.”
“Your brother doesn’t look much like you.” Izzy said as she settled
Gwyn down on to the couch back at the house. She and Logan were living in their family home since her father’s death. Izzy tried not to think about that, and in truth she couldn’t really. She had been there, been in the room when he was stabbed to death but whatever they had done to her she remembered nothing except waking screaming to find her father dead in front of her.
“He’s not my birth brother. It’s complicated, but he is family.”
“I like him.” Izzy grinned.
“I got that.” Gwyn smiled weakly as Izzy handed her a small glass of golden liquid, the smell of irish whiskey greeting her senses and reminding her to not drink too much of Logan’s good whiskey this time. “He’s kind of impossible not to adore and he sure knows it.”
“I got that.” Izzy replied with a laugh repeating Gwyn’s own words. “Are you sure you don’t want to change your mind and go to dinner?”
“No, I don’t think I can, really don’t think I can.” Gwyn sipped her whiskey to distract her body from any desire it might have to cry. She was struck by the absurdity of all this, she was sitting almost in tears in the home of her boss, her boss who happened to head some of the biggest companies in the country. And it seemed comfortable and normal.
“So sunshine, what did your brother mean about us and past lives?” Izzy tactfully changed the subject, she knew what it was like to not want to talk about a painful love life, she used to be the queen at it until Roen had broken through everything and made her discover that love could be real and not conventional at best or fake and abusing at worst.
“I don’t know, when I was over there the other day, he mentioned that you and Logan and I were bound by past lives. But you’ll learn something about Myrddin, he’s cryptic and annoying and he loves it, so I don’t know anything more than that. But he wants me to remember, he wants me to let myself remember and I feel so strange talking to you about this but not strange.”
Izzy laughed. “Sunshine my whole life is one whole big dance of strange but not strange. But I take it that means that you don’t know how we knew each other before then?”
“Not a clue. I have some memories from different lives, snippets really but I’ve never taken the time to look closer at them, to devote the time to doing any regression work. I know my exes have, after the whole debacle a few years ago, they’ve both devoted themselves more to their studies. Myrddin thought telling me might encourage me to. Kind of didn’t work.” And the conversation had come around full circle again. Izzy reached over and pinched her leg when Gwyn went quiet lost in her thoughts, staring at the remains of the whisky in her glass.
“Come on sweetheart, no more talking then. We are going out and we are going dancing somewhere too loud to even think or talk and when you reach the point of talking I’ll teach you all my tricks, just call me mistress and I shall teach you everything I know.”
“Mistress?” Gwyn looked at Izzy and blinked, wondering, the only life she remembered was Blodwyn and there had been a strong warrior woman who had taken Blodwyn under her wing, protected her, fought to restore her to Bedwyr, she had taught Blodwyn to be strong like her and Blodwyn had called that woman Mistress. But before Gwyn could think on it more Izzy was dragging her out the door to find some harmless fun to distract her.
“Gwyn what the hell are you doing sitting here in the dark? You’ve been called to work.” Myrrdin growled.
“Don’t care.” Petulant yes, Gwyn knew this, she was throwing a tantrum, she just hadn’t bothered with the flailing limbs and had skipped straight to the sullen I’m not coming out of my room ever and I hate you phase.
“What do you mean you don’t care? You are just going to condemn the soul because you’re feeling like being a madam?”
“Pretty much.” Gwyn still didn’t raise her head to look at Myrddin, she knew what she would see, long fringe falling into his eyes which would show both his amusement at her behaviour and how truly unamused he was by her ignoring her duties. He was right, there was a soul that needed to be ushered on to the next part of its journey and Gwyn was sitting grumbling on her couch still upset that Myrddin had asked her to dinner with Adrian and Lance, even though it had been days since he’d done it. Still upset by how they had treated her and still stubbornly not wanting to be the person to reach out and take the meagre olive branch that Myrddin had offered in some strange attempt to reconcile his sister with her two exes because The Hunt required them to work together.
“Gwyn that is hardly…” Myrddin paused and sniffed at the air. “What is that smell?”
“The spilled drink or the blood?” Myrddin startled visibly at her reply.
“Blood? What on earth have you been doing here in the dark?”
“I dropped my glass.”
“And punctured an artery? The smell is strong.”
“I might have played around with the cut and made it bleed more than it might have.” Gwyn sighed. The tears were coming again, stupid tears, had she not shed enough for those two stubborn assholes. How much did they want her to suffer?
“Gwyn.” Myrddin sounded exasperated and more than a little like an older brother than he ever usually did. “Gwynnie, this has got to stop. You can’t keep moping about like this and self-destructing. You should have come to dinner.”
“Shoulda, woulda, coulda, didn’t.” Gwyn replied.
“Brighid help me I’m talking to a six year old.” Myrddin growled. Sometimes he was the patient old man and other times he was the cantankerous old man, for all that he was just a few years older than Gwyn. He flicked the light on and Gwyn groaned pushing one of the couch cushions against her face to block out the sudden intrusion.
“The light it burns.”
“Oh shut your face.” Myrddin pulled the pillow from her grip. “You’re getting blood on that. I’ll get Adrian to take care of the soul and you have a date with Logan tomorrow and I’m not taking another no from you unless you want to shift your arse and go and do the job that you were chosen for.” He was not gentle as he pulled her arm out straight in front of him and inspected her hand and the wound across her palm. “Am I going to be playing doctor to you every five minutes? First your feet and now this.”
Gwyn gave him a half smile. He was right, they had not seen each other much in the years before and now twice in a matter of weeks or was it just days, he was tending her injuries. He was right though that she was acting like a child but she just did not have it in her to keep dealing with everything like a rational adult. She had beaten herself up over Lance and Adrian a million and one times, she had missed them both, she had hated them both, she had cried for them both. And Lance…Lance she had cursed so many times. Adrian might have hurt her but Lance, Lance had nearly destroyed her and she wanted him back and she missed him and he had just walked away and forgotten her and the pain of that, it destroyed her every single time she thought about; which was a lot. So was it surprising she was packing a hissy fit now, knowing he was in town and still so far away? She couldn’t face him at dinner, it would be written all over her face how she felt and it would hurt so much to see how little he cared now. She still loved him as much as she had when it had all fallen apart. She missed him so bad it hurt and drinking Logan’s whisky and being a brat was about all she had left to her.
“Wait what do you mean I have a date with Logan? I don’t like him like that, and didn’t he meet someone when he was away.” Best to focus on something she could talk about without the gross sobbing again. Logan was handsome, he was rich and he was a wonderful man and he was easily the kind of guy that any girl could fall for but Gwyn didn’t have room in her heart for anyone else in a romantic sense. She’d been in love with Adrian and she was completely still in love with Lance. And Logan had cut short his trip to the forest and returned home yesterday with a beautiful woman who he had found in the forest.
“It’s not a date like that pet, I want him to work with you on your meditation, you need something to take control of yourself again Gwyn, you’re woefully close to having some kind of breakdown and we both know that there is too much coming for you to be some catatonic mess who wastes a good glass of whisky and a pint of blood.”
Myrddin was right.