Download as a PDF to read here – A Queen’s Tale Part One
The path had once been a river bed before the earth had moved and the water had run a new course. Years of use as a path had compacted the river stones down but, as Gwyn was finding out, that didn’t mean that they were completely steady and locked in place, especially after the rain which had turned the lower land into a muddy sludge like substance. She fell over as a rock slipped and moved one way while her ankle went in the opposite direction and her leg chose an uncomfortable third direction to travel in. A yelp of pain was followed by some colourful cursing as she went down. Gwyn could feel the backside of her khaki pants dampening from the wet ground as she sat and nursed her ankle.
It was still a bit tender when she stood and put her weight on it but it would carry her where she was headed and hopefully back again.
This patch of wild forest was surrounded by extensive and not highly populated farm land and the strong ancient magic of the area played havoc with electronics to the point that there was little reason to even switch a device on, so no cell phone to even try to ring for a pick-up of her ankle decided it did not want to play ball with her plans.
Gwyn liked the fact that the area was not technology friendly. It made it more of a special place, more of a place of power. People tended not to visit unless they truly appreciated the energy and the landscape, it was amazing how few people that was, and how many who might visit wouldn’t, simply because they could not be without cell phone or internet connection for even the few hours that a stroll through this place could take. It meant that Gwyn could commune with her father in relative peace and any that stumbled upon her were generally the type to be pleasant and respectful.
The trees and bushes had grown up around the hill which contained the ancient spirit of the Hunt, hiding it from prying eyes. Stones littered the top, an ancient building that had seen much since its creation and had not stood the test of time. The path to the top spiralled around the hill to its peak; a longer walk but an easier incline for Gwyn on her ankle.
She was nearing the end of the path when she heard the snoring. She creased a brow for a moment confused. The sleeping Hunt did not snore. She did not know if that was even possible given the metaphysical nature of their rest and even their existence.
Gwyn’s confusion cleared as she came to the top of the hill and saw the sleeping figure resting in the shade of the half collapsed stone wall. She knew the figure well and held no small measure of affection for him, so she had no qualms in kicking his crossed ankles apart to wake him up.
It was a long running gag of sorts. No matter the time of the day the greeting between them always started with ‘Evening’ followed in reply by ‘Morning’ when they had not seen each other in a while. Myrddin and Gwyn were not technically brother and sister but were tied in a similar bond as Children of the Wild Hunt and bonded as strongly as if it was blood. Myrddin was the child of prophecy as Gwyn was the daughter of the underworld. Both were tied to the Hunt and to the events that were soon to unfold.
“What brings you here this fine afternoon?” Myrddin asked as he stretched out and tipped his hat back further off his face to look up at Gwyn.
“My feet bring me here… brought me here, though I am not sure they will take me back again so willingly.” Gwyn lowered herself to the ground sighing as all the weight came off her ankle. She unlaced her sneaker and eased it off followed by her sock, wincing as she did so. The ankle was quite swollen now; the rest of the walk had not helped it much at all it seemed.
“Other than your quest to torture your means of transportation, what brings you to the hilltop today?” Myrddin sat up as he spoke and retrieved the cloth bag that had been resting behind his head, or rather that his head had been resting on. From inside he pulled out a yellowed cloth that might once have been white. “Give me your foot clutz.”
“I always come here on this day.” Gwyn replied moving her foot into Myrddin’s lap.
“Why this day?”
“It would have been my mother’s birthday; I come to ease father’s pain.” She explained through gritted teeth as Myrddin began to poke and prod at her ankle moving it this way and that. “Would you cut that out, you don’t know anything about healing.”
“One does not need to be the child of Brighid to know how to check for a broken bone and I have been known in lives gone by to turn my hand to the healing arts from time to time. Oh and I am the child of Brighid too.”
“I forget sometimes that this is far from your first incarnation.”
“And it is far from yours.” Myrddin replied not needing to acknowledge her roundabout attempt at an apology.
“I do not recall much bar glimpses from Blodwyn’s life and no other.”
“I recall Blodwyn though my time with her was somewhat brief.” Myrddin looked beyond her for a moment as if there was far more to his words than he was saying and he was contemplating if he should say more. He remained silent.
“You knew her…me?” Gwyn asked, an accusing tone lacing her reply. He had never mentioned bgefore that he knew her in any prior life even when she had spoken of her time with the ancient warriors.
“Souls do not often travel far from those they are bound to.”
“And ours are so bound?” Gwyn asked hissing as Myrddin began to wrap her ankle with his discoloured cloth.
“I have salve at home I will apply when I take you back there to share an evening meal with me and in answer to your question, yes and no. Our souls have a small crossing of paths but we are both bound to the same souls. This is the closest we have been across our lives.” Gwyn sighed at Myrddin’s words; she knew instinctively which of the souls he spoke of, the same two souls that had been weighing on her mind more of late, Lance and Adrian.
“This may be the first life you have ever looked so favourably on me.” Myrddin laughed running has hand over her foot affectionately his touch light enough to do it without hurting her.
“You think I look on your with any kind of favour or fondness.” Gwyn replied with a smile. “I cannot for the life of me think why I would not always be so fond of you and your bad habits.”
“You did not always trust my actions for the greater good.” Myrddin replied, still smiling but speaking seriously. “And I admit that my attitude towards the fairer sex has not always been so pleasant. I have been driven in many lives to disliking and distrusting your species.”
“Would you tell me more of our lives?” Gwyn asked leaning forward in an unconscious show of interest. She chose to ignore the jab at her ‘species’ knowing that her brother only did it to try and wind her up, as always. “I feel like sometimes I am the only one who does not remember these things. It doesn’t really seem fair.”
Myrddin leaned over and ruffled her hair making Gwyn swat at his hand. “You are the youngest of us Gwyn, memory takes time and often times comes from triggers, triggers the souls you are bound to will give you. Those triggers are so much harder when you have driven many of those souls away from your side.”
“Bollocks. You did and you know it. You drove them from your side in fear, most especially fear of the truths they made you face about yourself.” Myrddin seemed far older than his form as he reprimanded her and Gwyn could almost see another version of him super imposed over his physical body. An old man, long hair and a beard that didn’t so much flow as fall in tangles from his scalp and face. “You see… Triggers can happen at any time given the opportunity.” He smiled clearly aware of what she had seen, which made Gwyn realise that she had not simply been imagining things. “You lament your solitary existence and yet it is of your own creation. I have watched you since you were a youngling Gwynnie and you have always pushed the souls tied to you most away from you. You ignored the triggers or feared them and you pushed those who created them away.”
Gwyn wanted to be indignant at his words to argue but she knew that he spoke truth to her. It might hurt but that did not mean it was not true. She did lament her more solitary existence but she had hurt and pushed away all those she cared the most about except Myrddin.
“Have there been more than just them that I have pushed away?” The them that she spoke of was the two that she was most aware of, of Adrian and Lance, her ex-boyfriend and her ex-fiancé.
“There have, but opportunity will present itself once more. Even Logan and Isabel, to whom you now tie yourself to, have had parts in your story before. You would do well not to let yourself push them out of your life again.”
A sneaking suspicion rose in Gwyn. “I might ask what brought you here today but your words do not seem by chance.” He had the decency to look at least a little abashed by her assumption, one he did not need to confirm after that.
You will not always listen to me and though you do not in all lives see eye to eye you have never doubted his wisdom or the truth of his harsh words before my sweet Gwyn.
Gwyn felt the stirring of her father in her mind, it was not often he spoke direct to her and without the aid of dreaming but it was always in this place when he did. Come to know Myrddin better and know that your presence here eases the soul of an old man.
Father you are not… but his presence in her mind was gone before she could reply. It lingered in the energy of the area and that in itself was of comfort to Gwyn as she sat there in the afternoon sun. Myrddin smiled and was quiet as if he was aware of what was happening and Gwyn had no doubt that it was the case. She was the youngest of the Wild Hunt and it seemed at times the youngest was always the weakest. But she did not truly mind, she did not know that she wanted more powers and more responsibilities. She kind of thought that she already had enough.
“You never did answer me whether you would tell me about my other lives, or the ones you know of and have been part of it.”
“I did not and I will not, at least not in the way you wish me too. But perhaps I shall spin a yarn here and there and you will find the truth behind the myth and legend and fairy tale. I have been known in lives gone by to be quite the orator. Perhaps I can regal you after dinner.”
“I never agreed to dinner.”
“You say that as if I gave you a choice in the matter.” His old man visage seemed to fade as the teasing tone came back into his voice. It seemed the moment for great truths and wisdoms had passed and the Myrddin she was more familiar with had returned.
“So, you intend to kidnap a helpless damsel back to your abode and force her to eat your cooking and listen to your old man ramblings?”
“The cheek of youth today.” Myrddin laughed and pinched her ankle which still rested in his lap. Gwyn let out a noise, half scream, half squeak. “Cripes I’m sorry Gwyn, I forgot for a moment.”
“That is to be expected.” Gwyn drew in a slow breath. “In one of your advancing years.”
Gwyn poked her tongue out and let her body sink back onto the ground, arm raised to shield her eyes from the sun three quarters of the way across the sky. The conversation deteriorated for while after that, to petty and juvenile taunts that had both laughing. It was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon Gwyn decided, in the company of a friend’s laughter. The sun had already sunk and the ruins become dark as the moon had yet to show her face on this part of the world before she realised that time had moved on. Gwyn knew the moon would rise soon over them. She had inbuilt instincts about the journeys of sun and moon, always simply knowing when it was the new moon, when the sun would rise, when high tide would be. It was occasionally a useful skill. Tonight the moon was waning but not yet dark and soon it would rise.
Myrddin helped her to her feet.
“Don’t worry I’m not going to make you walk all the way to my home.”
“I would hope not. Especially considering the only home I know of yours is in Caerfyrddin.” Gwyn said using the welsh name for the town. “And that is one heck of a hike from here. Even without a sore foot I very much doubt I’d make it there by dinner, Christmas dinner maybe.”
“It is to that adobe I wish to convey you now but I have cheating means.” Gwyn waited for him to explain but he didn’t say a word. He put his hand in his pocket, his other arm around her waist supporting her weight and the wind that was blowing across the hill died suddenly and light blinded her eyes. She scrunched her eyes shut and then blinked them and as the brightness abated she realised they were standing in his kitchen.
“Nice trick, how’d you manage that and when can I learn how to do it?”
“I’m afraid it isn’t a magic I can teach and one that only I am capable of doing and I can only return always to this area.” Myrddin helped her across to the kitchen table as he spoke pulling out a chair for her to sit on before swinging out another for her to rest her foot on. “Beyond that I’m not telling.”
“Well fine then play mister secretive.” Gwyn wasn’t stupid though, she knew of his soul ties to this area, his name gave it away in this life again. It was funny how the same names cropped up across the lives. There were always hints to whom they had been before. It was that thought that sparked something in Gwyn. She always simply thought about being named for her father Gwyn ap Nudd but for the first time she really thought about it and the hints that had always been there. Gwyn, Lance, Myrddin, it all seemed so obvious… but Myrddin intruded on her thoughts before she could continue them.
“Perhaps while I cook dinner you can tell me what you remember of Blodwyn.”
“I have fuzzy and random memories, like dreams, but I guess that’s what memories are like.” Gwyn fingered the edge of the table cloth as she spoke bringing to mind the things she had seen that she simply knew where true and not some make believe fantasy her mind had concocted for entertainment or lesson.
“And those memories are?” Myrddin laughed as he started to raid the fridge. “I can’t simply pick these things out of your head myself.”
“Well that would save a lot of time if you could.” Gwyn shared his laughter. She was not sure which memory to start with; she did not have a time line for them, well other than the ones where she was clearly a child which clearly were the ones that came before the adult memories. “I don’t know where to begin.”
“Start at the beginning and when you get to the end stop.” Myrddin replied which only made Gwyn continue laughing.
“Thank you for the helpful advice Mad Hatter.”
“You’re welcome. Now hurry up or I’ll have dinner ready before you’ve even started.”
“Spill it.” Myrddin growled playfully pulling a large bowl out of the cupboard to the side of the sink.
“I remember being married and not to the man I loved. The man I married was angry and cruel to me always as if he was punishing me for misdeeds I could not recall committing.” Gwyn could almost see the glint in the man’s eyes as she brought him to mind. He had always been so angry as if just the sight of her brought him to anger. He had been rough with her, taking what he wished for, as he could as her lord. From what Gwyn knew of those times it was not an uncommon thing, women were to be owned and used in much the same way as another beast such as a horse, though in the case of Blodwyn her husband’s horse might have been better treated and respected.
“You could not remember them and though his anger was in some measure warranted that was a lesson he had to learn, to let go of his hatred and anger and forgive.”
“That is not for me to say.”
“You’re annoying you know that?”
“So I am told, often.” Myrddin smiled. “Continue I am sorry for interrupting.”
“I remember being stolen away as a spoil of war and I remember the man who came for me, Bedwyr.” She wasn’t going in to details. She wasn’t sure that Myrddin wanted details. He most likely knew more about it than she did. But those memories were so vivid in her head she did not need to think very hard to bring to mind the details for her own benefit, she could almost feel the ropes that had bound her as she had been taken. “I remember my time with a tribe of woman warriors and I remember my escape. I remember finding him again with the priest, healing him with just my presence, the look in his eyes as he saw me again…I mean Bedwyr not the priest.”
Blodwyn entered the room and saw Bedwyr on the bed, a pale shadow of himself, weak from the fever that had gripped him and for the soul sickness that now held him. “Bedwyr, my love, I’m here. Come back to me, come back to me.” Her tears fell on him as she wept in fear and relief, relief that she had not yet lost him and fear that she might yet.
As that memory rose in her mind she looked at Myrddin, she thought about the priest and the way he had acted, spoken and a new suspicion rose. He had said he knew Blodwyn in passing… She looked at him and Myrddin sensing her gaze turned and winked.
“I remember my death and flashes of my childhood though they hardly seem that important compared to other memories.”
“And how do you remember these things?”
Gwyn watched as Myrddin put together their dinner and she thought about the answer to his question, how did she remember? He kept working on dinner and did not push her for an answer though from time to time he would glance back in her direction. The cold roast ham he sliced looked so good that by the time the salad was completed Gwyn felt like she hadn’t eaten for the better part of a month, she was so hungry. Everything was laid out on the table and Myrddin was sitting before she answered his question.
“Some things have come to me like day dreams, others like sudden memories rising in my mind. I remembered my time with the warrior woman for the first time the night that Lance and I first kissed. I always believed that his soul was the same as Bedwyr. That he was the one I kissed goodbye to save his life from the warrior women. I had never known such complete sorrow before I felt that memory. The grief she felt, I felt…” It was hard to know what pronoun to use, it was her and yet it wasn’t, the memories though strong were still removed by time and death.
Blodwyn broke from her place beside the warrior woman and rushed to him, to her Bedwyr. She spun him around to face her and pushing up on to her tip toes to bring her face to his, she kissed him. A kiss that was to be their first and their last and would have to sustain them both until they could meet again in their next lives, if the Gods willed it.
Tears streaming down Blodwyn’s cheeks she whispered her confession of her love for him and pushed him away to continue his walk into the dark of the forest and once he was lost from sight beyond the trees she fell to her knees and keened for the life and love she had lost.
Just the stirring of that memory was almost overwhelming in the intensity of its emotion. Gwyn could see the ancient place, the trees at the edge of the village, she could see the man walking away, she could feel the loss, the regret, feel her heart breaking knowing he could not return for it would cost him his life which she was doing this to save. Gwyn snapped out of the memory as Myrddin laid his hand over hers.
“I did not mean to bring make you cry Gwyn.” She had not even noticed that she was crying until her brother pointed it out but that fact did not surprise her at all.
“I always do when I remember that night. I guess because Lance is gone too and I know I am the one who caused him to leave.”
“Eat, we can talk of other things until after dinner or you’ll end up feeling sick. Emotion and food don’t mix well.”
“True.” Gwyn could not help but agree with Myrddin, though he had been the one to start the conversation down this path and when she looked up in to his eyes taking a plate from his hand she knew that he had known that the conversation would take this turn and he was sorry to have upset her.
Myrddin guided the conversation for the rest of the meal. They kept it as light as possible, the kind of conversations that normal people would have over dinner, harmless talk of movies and music, of work and world events. Myrddin was very interested in her work which was not surprising as it tied in with the Hunt, or so her father had told her.
Whitfield Industries, now in the hands of Logan and Isabel Whitfield, had a part to play in the coming time when the Wild Hunt would ride. It would be a time of great turbulence, war, and death, it was all to come and the Wild Hunt would ride and Gwyn would be called to aid the passing of the souls that fell to the Hunt. She wasn’t sure what Myrddin’s part was during the ride, she knew he had foreseen it or at least parts of it but his gifts seemed more passive.
Myrddin had been among those who had placed Gwyn where she was at Whitfield Industries so she would be among the story as it played out. Others were similarly placed, waiting, guiding, and watching. It had been a long time since the Hunt had ridden. The hounds had been out with her father on occasion but so many of the riders had slumbered for decades, since the last of the great wars had touched the planet.
There were still so many portents and events that had to happen before the Wild Hunt would ride in all its glory. It wasn’t about the number of dead, nor the destruction, there were other factors that were at work to summon the Wild Hunt, and it was for some of those reasons that Gwyn and her fellow siblings of the Wild Hunt were in place doing as they were to ensure that the Wild Hunt would be called and would ride in all its dark splendour. It was an awesome sight to behold but by no means safe, and innocents would become tangled within its effect.
Gwyn found she was talking with much affection about her new bosses and she sent up a silent prayer that they would not be among the ones to fall. But a silent prayer would do no good if their time on the wheel turned and they had to move on. It was not often that a story would be changed. But it never hurt to send out the energy, one never knew who was listening and who would look kindly on such a request. Gwyn, though she was caught up in prophecy and knew the Gods to be real, still did not believe that all things were destined and could not be changed. She was very fond of Logan and Izzy, and Izzy’s husband Roen, they were all very kind to her and made her feel part of their world even if she was just a glorified secretary. Gwyn was sure that Roen, being that he was one of the Fae folk himself, had worked out that she was not exactly mortal but still treated her well and had not revealed her secret. Myrddin listened with interest as Gwyn talked about them all, about their lives taking interest in the fact that Logan was away on a spiritual retreat and the kind of man that he was, and the romance that had blossomed between Roen and Izzy and their forth coming nuptials so Izzy could inherit her part the company as per her father’s will. Myrddin felt it most amusing to hear that, making jokes that Mr Whitfield would be rolling in his grave had he known. She was not sure how Myrddin could pass such a judgement on her recently deceased boss, but his words were accurate.
Myrddin helped her to his sitting room after they had finished their dinner and once he had settled her down on the couch he excused himself for a few minutes. Once he was gone Gwyn looked around the room finding very little had changed in the years since she had last visited him here. It had been not long after her father had returned to his sleep. The only real difference to the room was the slim silver laptop that sat on top of the large oak coffee table in the middle of the rug. Myrddin claimed he had made the table himself and the rough nature of it lent truth to his words. It was beautiful though, the way the grain of the wood caught the light, no varnish had been used, just ancient techniques and in Gwyn’s opinion it looked better than any table he might have purchased in a store. Varnish was quicker but there was something to be said for doing things the old way.
Gwyn looked away from the table as Myrddin returned; two steaming cups held in one hand and a small round container in the other. He set the cups down on the table and Gwyn knew it was hot chocolate from the marshmallows floating in the top of each cup. Myrddin had something of a sweet tooth. He took the lid off the container as he stood beside her legs on the couch dropping it down onto the table top beside him. He then moved to lift her legs bringing them into his lap once he sat down under them.
There had been something that Gwyn had thought of to ask Myrddin about while she had been eating but now it was simply gone from her mind. As she inhaled, trying to recall what her question had been she caught various scents coming from the earthenware container in his hand. Beeswax was clearly the base for the salve and he had most likely made it himself. She was trying to place the other scents; she was never very good with anything other than the basics. She was pretty sure there was lavender, and something, maybe geranium, there was something culinary in there too but right now she couldn’t place it at all. She wanted to say basil but that didn’t seem right.
“You should not worry too much on the past Gwynnie and stop trying to overthink it all.” Myrrdin said interrupting her assessment of the salve as he started to unwrap the cloth from her ankle. She smiled. No one had called her Gwynnie since she had been maybe eleven until him tonight.
“Thanks Uncle Merrie.” Gwyn replied and blinked as something familiar stirred, then she realised it wasn’t anything overly deep or spiritual, just a reference to a series of books she had liked as a child. She was trying to see something in everything right now and there was no doubt that Gwyn was likely to exhaust herself and drive herself mad if she kept it up, which was exactly why Myrddin had just said what he had. “It’s hard, I’m curious by nature.”
“And not overly patient.” Myrddin chuckled unwinding the last of the bandage from her foot.
“That too.” Gwyn said. She could admit it. Patience was far from a strong virtue in her, which was all the more ironic for someone who had more time to live than most.
“Things will come in time and though the memories may aid you in some ways they should not be allowed to overwhelm you in this life. Do not worry so much about what has happened before or you will miss the point of this existence. You are still going to learn the same lessons with or without that extra knowledge of the past. Well hopefully learn those lessons.” He winked at her as he dropped the cloth onto the ground beside the couch and stuck his fingers into the salve scooping out a generous amount smearing it on her foot. Gwyn let out a slow breath as he began to work it in. There were a few sensitive places but Myrddin was gentle. He massaged her whole foot and the lower part of her calf before he moved on to the other one. Gwyn was near purring before he changed feet.
“Don’t get used to this either Gwynnie.”
“Oh no, now I know you can do this I will expect it every time I visit and that may become more often.” Gwyn giggled.
“You don’t have anything to blackmail me with into that kind of servitude.” Myrddin chuckled smoothing his hands down the length of her foot, fingertips working along each toe in turn.
“I’ll find something.” Gwyn let her eyes fall closed. This was so relaxing, she couldn’t even remember the last time she’d had her feet rubbed and like most women she had a weakness for it.
Gwyn sighed and became slowly aware of a funny feeling in her left arm. She tried to move it and had no idea if she was succeeding. Bright light burned beyond her eyelids and she blinked them finding sunlight, quickly covering her face in response with her right arm. She realised in moving her right arm that the fuzzy left arm was in fact trapped between her body and a couch. A couch? Myrddin’s couch. She wiggled and rolled onto her back and after a few more moments lying there realised that she’d become so relaxed in Myrddin’s foot massage she had fallen asleep. She noticed there was a crocheted blanket over her and even a pillow under her head. Ever the gracious host, but Gwyn was slightly put out. She had wanted to talk more about her past. Gwyn wondered if Myrddin had drugged her to get her to sleep but when she thought on it she realised he wouldn’t have had to. Yesterday had been a long day, the plane ride, the drive out to the forest, the trek in and then once full up on dinner and hot chocolate it would not have taken much to put her to sleep.
She jokingly cursed him aloud anyway.
“Now that isn’t very nice at all, especially when I come bearing coffee and croissants.” Myrddin replied from the doorway coming into the room with a large tray in front of him.
“I could marry you right now. Foot rubs and breakfast, a girl could get used to this.”
“Now I would know better than to try and lay a claim to you in any way, especially a permanent way like marriage. I like my head attached to my shoulders.”
“I am single, I don’t have some towering husband to come and knock your block off.” Gwyn scoffed at Myrddin’s words as her fingers wiped the remnants of sleep from her eyes. She yawned and stretched as he balanced the tray on the end of the coffee table watching him in the moments when her eyes did not automatically close.
“No but I know of two men who would see fit to knock it off anyway.” Myrddin replied smiling as he set the plate and mug down beside her, before taking his with him to a rather comfortable looking chair that was positioned in the stream of sunlight pouring in through the window. Gwyn realised that the curtain over the window had been shut last night so he had clearly opened it recently to wake her.
“Interesting thought.” Gwyn shrugged. For two men who would hurt to retain a claim on her Lance and Adrian did a bang up job of not being in her life. How could someone care about you and not want to be part of your life?
“Trust me on this. They both would fight for you.”
“But they don’t.” Gwyn felt a familiar anger rise up in her, yes she had pushed them both away one had to be done, the other… well regardless neither had put up any fight to try and stay. Both men had gone, both men had just walked away, both men had left her and not looked back.
Lance… not a day went by that Gwyn didn’t miss him, and she had lost count of how many time she had thought about reaching out to make contact with him again, everything had crossed her mind; emailing, texting, making a call, turning up on his doorstep. But she didn’t. She was of the opinion that if he wanted to be in her life he would show it, but he didn’t so he must not and no matter how much that hurt it was just the way it was. Gwyn ripped her croissant up trying to block the feelings she did not want to deal with and she did not want to share.
“Easy on the croissant Gwyn, it’s an innocent in this.” Myrddin said, his voice was soft and there was a teasing tone to it but there was more and Gwyn didn’t want to look at his face knowing the pity it would hold.
“I can’t speak for them, it isn’t my place.” Myrddin continued after they had been silent for nearly ten minutes and Gwyn still had not eaten any of the pastry in her hands.
“Then don’t.” Gwyn did not know why he had brought it up if he was just going to upset her and then cowardly back out of taking any responsibility for it. Talking about this always made her emotional, most often it sent her to sadness but sometimes like now the pain hurt too much to feel sorry for herself, she had to lash out and right now Myrddin was here to turn her anger on. It was not fair but emotions so often were not. Emotions did not follow logic, they followed the heart.
“Why are we talking about this?”
“Because you are all going to have to find some peace and work together.”
“What?” Gwyn sat up at that comment. “I thought…”
“That they had been denied their place with the Hunt? They have served their punishment for that night and have received their Call. Both are now back in place where they are meant to be and your paths will begin to cross soon.”
Gwyn was too stunned to even swear. Myrddin moved to her side and put his arm around her. She was stiff in his arms trying to process this news. Lance had been restored to the Hunt but he had not come back to her. It was like a punch in the face.
“I hope this life maybe you three can untangle the web you wove all those lives again that has tainted each life. I hate seeing you all in pain and repeating that pain so often.”
Gwyn just nodded in response. It was one thing to know that Lance was most likely not coming back to her, to know he could have and had not was another thing entirely. To know he had turned his back on her, and did not care hurt. Hell for all she knew he had probably moved on and loved someone else now. Gwyn could not breathe as she sat there. She started to feel her stomach knot, she felt sick, physically sick at the thought of Lance touching someone else, wanting someone else. She could not bear the thought at all. And Myrddin was telling her that she was going to have to set that all aside to get the job done? She knew the fates had a strange sense of humour at times but this was cruel, this was a cruelty that Gwyn had hoped would not be turned on her ever again but there it was.
And what of him? She was still so angry with him she refused to say his name. He who had been her first serious relationship, he who had loved her and then turned so cruel. And she had hurt him, she had been as cruel as he had and it had cost all three of them in the end.
“Come back to me Gwyn.”
Gwyn jerked physically as Myrddin spoke and drew her from her thoughts.
“This is why I was there last night, I was picked to be bearer of bad news. The same news I have already shared with them.”
Gwyn wanted to ask how they took it, what was said, had they talk about her? But she did not for fear of what the answers might be. It was better to not know, it was easier to not know.
“When is your flight back?” Myrddin asked after she had been silent for longer still.
“I have to be there for check in and security by 4pm.”
“We’ll have to leave soon then. I’ve organised for your car to be picked up from the rest area where you left it, and I’ll drive you. If we leave in half an hour we won’t end up stressing you out if the traffic locks up. I do not want to be stuck in a car with you running late ever again.”
Gwyn found her laugh. “That guy had it coming.”
“I don’t think what you suggested is even physically possible.”
“I would have paid good money for him to try it.” Gwyn smiled and set aside her pain for a while more. She was good at that game of pretend, an expert. “Can I grab a shower before we go?”
“Towels are waiting on the basin for you. Just don’t use up all my shampoo, I know how good it smells.”
“I promise.” Gwyn let him stand them both up and she impulsively hugged him. He hugged her back and his hug was firm and comforting. She could not remember the other lives where they had not got along but in this life they were family. He was one man she could always count on, one man who would not willingly bring her harm.
Myrddin sighed sadly as he heard the water in the bathroom turn on. “She is going to be devastated if she finds out the rest of my prophecy.”
A figure moved out of the dark corner. “She cannot know one of us is to die. It would colour her judgement in all things, and we would risk her not being where she needs to be. I do not want her to know about it and we do not know if he will be the one or if I will be, let her live in blissful ignorance and let us three guard the secret from her. We all wish to spare her pain.”
“Spare her pain?” Myrddin turned on the man. “Did you not see the pain in her eyes? Your foolish pride and boyish games cause her nothing but pain and it is time you both realised that and learned your lessons. If you both truly love this woman then it is time to put all else aside and find peace within your trinity. For this may be your last chance.”
“What does that mean old man?”
“It means what I say it does. Gwyn may not be the one to send the soul on when it falls to the Hunt. There are others who will walk and work and with them souls may not always return.” Myrddin leant on the chair and suddenly felt the weight of the old man he had been. “The fates do not give infinite chances to learn your karmic lessons and better yourselves, and you three have been stubborn enough thus far. It is time to heal this wound before you all bleed out. I for one cannot bear to be part of this story again.”
“What am I meant to do then? How do I make this right?”
“If I knew that I would have told you lives ago. I wish I knew. You do not know how many hours of every life I have wasted trying to find out that answer from the first time onward but this is not my mess to clean up, it is you three and you can only do as you are guided by the voice inside you to do. Listen to it.”
“Head or heart?”
“You ask foolish questions boy, you always have, you know the answer.” Myrddin started to collect up the dishes. “You best go back to your room and hide before she comes back out and sees you, I don’t think she could take that right now. None of us had realised the hurt she was carrying inside her, we should have realised sooner.” Myrddin worried for his sister, he had not seen her so much in recent times and not seen how far the sadness in her went, how deep the wounds these two men had left in her ran. He had not realised how much she was hurting each day. It pained him to know she had been suffering alone. It pained him more that he could not take it from her. He looked up when his guest stopped in the doorway and spoke.
“I had forgotten how she lights up a room when she smiles.”
Myrddin watched the man leave the room and shook his head, his voice low so only he would hear.
“Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”