Download as a PDF to read here – A Queen’s Tale – Part Three
Gwyn sat in the park, her back resting against the trunk of a pine tree. The lunchtime sun was pleasantly warm on her skin. The ducklings by the lake were cute little balls of fluff trailing after mama duck who did not want them getting too close to the big scary human woman, even if the scary human did offer crusts of fresh bread. Gwyn could not blame the duck really, she would keep away from humans too if she could. Rotten creatures.
Gwyn sighed. The anger that festered inside her was just so unfamiliar. Lately everything was annoying her, little things that shouldn’t even register were making her turn murderous. Anger seemed an easier emotion to cling to than the others that were plaguing her this last week or so.
She was meant to be meeting Logan at his home in an hour and she was trying to think of reasons not to go but she had no reasons, only excuses, and as angry as Gwyn was with the world she didn’t want to annoy and alienate the people that did remain in her life, few as they were.
What Gwyn really wanted to do was to head off back to her father’s hill and find some measure of calm again.
Gwyn snorted a laugh.
That was exactly what Myrddin wanted.
He wanted her to work with Logan and find her inner peace, something she had completely lost for the moment. She never felt calm. She felt restless, depressed or flat out homicidal, the closest she had come to any calm was holding her necklace while on the plane, but she was wearing it now and it did not seem to be helping much. She needed to find calm and yet she was finding excuses not to. She knew she was not the brightest crayon in the box sometimes.
The final scraps of bread from her lunch went flying towards the ducks, a few chunks landed in the lake behind them, floating in the water to be drawn into the wake of the water wheel. Gwyn watched them float caught in the ripple of the water. Gwyn felt like that sometimes, that she was a piece of bread, soaked by the water and carried by it with no control. Only the water for her was fate and she was a puppet not a crust of bread. Less of a puppet than some though. Gwyn at least knew who she was, what she was. She knew what was was playing out behind the scenes of the world, what the rest of the population was blissfully unaware of. Gwyn was a woman of power, a soul of legend and she was disgracing herself by being caught in this emotional angst against the world and everyone she loved in it.
Gwyn pushed to her feet and turned her back on the ducks, the bread and the thoughts that plagued her.
She would go to Logan, let him help her and she would start facing her thoughts, her problems, and finally her exes. They were after all the main source of her angst. She had to face them and find some way to get over it all, get over Lance. They had duties and they had to work together. Gwyn would not be the one to let everyone down because she could not deal with her broken heart, the broken heart she had caused herself.
Gwyn sat cross legged in the afternoon sun that spilled through the glass sliding door into the study.
“Breathe deeply.” Logan sat in front of her, his hands resting on her knees. “Breathe with me, match my breath.”
“I can’t see your breathing with my eyes closed.” Gwyn replied, a smile twitching at her mouth.
“Why do my women always have to ride me with pedantic mocking?”
“First of all, I am not your woman Logan, and you can refer to point one for why I can say I have never ridden you in any manner.” The smile broke through but Gwyn kept her eyes shut and tried not to laugh as Logan growled at her, his hands squeezing her knees.
“I think I preferred you when you did everything I said without argument Ms Asher.” Logan replied but Gwyn could hear that he was grinning. He took a hand from her knee and guided her hand to rest on his chest. His skin felt smooth beneath her hand and she could now feel the rise and fall of his chest. “Now madam difficult you can match my breath with no further argument.”
He took a deep breath which she matched, slowly finding the rhythm to his. A ripple of sensation ran down from her neck all the way to her toes, leaving her feeling energised and prickly. A second wave followed and then a third. She found her awareness moving to a point inside her mind. She did as Logan had already told her, visualising the eye in her forehead and pushing through it, beyond it. There was a kaleidoscope of colour and light swirling in front of her eyes even though they were shut and saw nothing. She kept focusing on the breathing and pushing her mind forward. Her consciousness slowly slipped away without her consciously knowing and she did not notice the moment things changed.
She was still sitting in the same position but when she opened her eyes she discovered she was not in Logan’s home anymore. He was still sitting in front of her but was not dressed as he had been, his garb was from hundreds of years earlier, many hundreds, and her hand rested now against fabric instead of his skin. Looking down she noted that her own clothing had changed and matched his for the era. A beautiful dress, richly embroidered with intricate patterns. It would have taken so long to create this dress. Logan stood and took her hand and helped her to stand. She brushed the grass from her dress, noticing for the first time that they were in long wild grass, and in the distance there was a cottage, if cottage could be used to describe the building, shack maybe? It was not a flash dwelling, nor perhaps even that well-constructed but it was difficult to be sure from this distance.
“Where are we?”
“I have no idea, I’m here to aid you, not to guide you. This is your meditation, you’ve simply let me tag along.” Logan was playing with the sword at his hip, clearly tempted to unsheathe it and swing it around.
“You are such a boy.” Gwyn laughed. “Go on, swing it around.” Logan gave her an impish grin and pulled the sword free. He moved it around with great skill, as if he had always had this sword, knew exactly its balance and weight and was well practiced in the art of swordplay. “You’re a natural.”
“I’ve not touched a sword in a long time but this is more than just some lessons, this sword feels like it is mine and I know just how to use it, far more than I actually do.” He smiled, sheathed it once more and looked around. “So do we head to the hut since it’s the only discernible landmark currently? Trust you to plonk us in the middle of nowhere.” He turned back to her and bowed low grinning back up at her before he offered his arm to her in a true gentlemanly gesture and with a brief curtsey she took it curling her hand around his upper arm. They headed toward the hut and something began to seem familiar to her as they walked. She chewed on her tongue as they approached trying to work out why the hut, this place suddenly seemed like somewhere she had been before.
“I know this place Logan.” Gwyn began to move faster, dropping his arm to lift her skirts so she could run without becoming tangled and falling.
She moved at a fast pace and Logan had to sprint to catch up to her once he registered that she had run off. He had been getting lost in his own thoughts, he wasn’t sure if it was just his link to her in this place but it seemed familiar to him as well. He caught up to her and kept pace as they approached the little hut.
A weary looking horse grazed near the building, clearly a noble beast, it did not match the building. It was saddled still as it grazed and everything about the beast and its adornments suggested that it was owned by someone with power and money, it seemed strange that it would be outside what looked like the dwelling of someone who, for lack of a better word, seemed poor.
Gwyn approached the hut with Logan at her side and made to push against the door to open it. Instead she found herself moving straight through it. That was unusual for meditation, usually she was as corporeal as in the waking world but not this time it seemed, perhaps it was Logan’s presence that made this meditation different. Gwyn did not take the time to dwell on it further as her eyes fell on the two occupants of this house. Though they looked different she knew who they were. She looked at Logan who had followed her through the door, his face mirrored her own amazement.
“Shhh” Gwyn put her hand on Logan’s arm making him fall silent. On the bed lay a woman, her long golden hair spilling out from her head on the makeshift bedding of clothing and cloak. Her legs and feet were cut up, her dress raised to show them and the man kneeling beside her tended the wounds. She did not scream though they were painful, it was clear the pain had pushed her beyond the point of registering it any longer. Her lips moved mumbling words Gwyn could not hear.
“Hush, hush, he will bring help soon, he will not leave you to suffer.” The man spoke in a soft and gentle tone. Gwyn realised that the man had similar wounds to the woman’s and Gwyn’s hand fluttered up to her mouth to cover her gasp as she realised that the strange thing resting on his leg was in fact not resting on his leg but coming from within in. His leg was broken near the ankle and the bone had broken through the skin. He must have been in great pain and yet he tended her still with such gentleness and whispered these promises of rescue to keep her conscious.
“Gwaine.” The woman spoke his name softly and he pulled himself along the floor to be closer to her.
“Do not speak fair Guinevere, save your strength.”
“You must tell him if he is too late…”
“No my Queen he will not be too late.” Gwaine’s voice wavered and it seemed he was not so convinced of his words as he tried to reassure her.
“Please you must tell him, he must know, I did not give in, I was strong for them, I did not give myself to him willingly, I did, I did not, not willingly.” Tears pooled and spilled from her eyes, down her cheeks, some falling from her face into her lovely golden hair. Her tears were met with his own as he tried to comfort her and himself.
Gwyn couldn’t watch anymore as memory began to stream back to her, a long forgotten life that had become all too real to her in this moment. She rushed from the building, her ghost like form moving through the wall and back out into the field. She dropped to the dirt, not registering that outside of the hut away from her former self she had form again and the dirt was staining her dress.
“Did you know?” She asked as she saw Logan’s feet come into view.
“I had…” He replied. Gwyn looked up as Logan fell silent.
“I had no idea.” He finished turning his head back from the hut and kneeling beside her in the dirt. His eyes looked a little wild around the edges. “I knew I had lived before, I had been given small parts of my stories but never like this, not ever like this.” He took Gwyn’s hand in his and kissed her knuckles. “My Queen.”
“I’ve gone from your Queen, to your workhorse. I thought we were meant to move up in the world with each life.” Gwyn pushed him away with a half laugh, cheeks rosy embarrassed by the gesture of him kissing her hand. She joked trying to make light of the situation as the memories continued to rush at her like a tsunami.
“I did.” Logan laughed. The laughter was good, it lightened the mood. “This is not quite as the story I know.”
“I know versions of this, but now I know what happened.” The colour drained from her face as she recalled to mind what she now knew.
“I know the story too, the rape of Guinevere.” Logan looked horrified with himself the moment that the words came out. “Did he? Is that what you were telling me in there, that he took you against your will?” Logan was struggling to keep track of the two lives and separate them as snippets of memory came back to him but not enough to make the picture complete. He knew who had gone for help, Bedievere sometimes known as Lancelot, the King’s closest friend and protector of the Queen. They had found the Queen, they had saved her from the terrible lord who had stolen her away. All three sustaining injury in the traps that had been laid to stop any from approaching or leaving the island that she had been held on. Bedievere had gone for Arthur, for Merlin, though their names weren’t exactly that.
“Myrddin.” Logan breathed out the word knowing now why her brother had seemed so familiar and trustworthy to Logan instantly. They had known each other before and Logan had trusted him then and did now.
“I think, I think it best we go from this place before I re-live this pain further.” Gwyn looked around the wide and wild field of grass and the woods beyond it. “How do we get back?” She was suddenly terrified that they could not get out of here. She had never been in a meditation like this, this was more than a simple meditation.
“Here.” Logan sat down cross legged in front of her again, with some adjusting of his sword. She followed suit moving from her knees onto her backside, crossing her legs over in front of her, her knees just resting against Logan’s as they had when they were sitting in the study of his home.
“Just like when we came here.” Logan smiled at Gwyn looking so confident as he spoke that she felt some of her panic subside. He took her hand and placed it on his chest again and then rested his hands on her knees as they had been. “Close your eyes and match my breathing again. Just like any other meditation exit as you normally do.”
Gwyn did as he asked. She closed her eyes and focused on her chest and the rise and fall with every breath to match Logan’s. She visualised the dark tunnel in her mind that she had to climb to return home, she imagined herself doing just that, climbing higher and higher toward the light at the top.
A tremble ran through her and she opened her eyes back in Logan’s study. His eyes opened and they just sat there staring at each other, each unsure what to say, unable to sort their thoughts enough to even begin to speak. Logan moved as tears welled up in Gwyn’s eyes again and he pulled her into his lap locking his arms around her.
“You don’t have to talk about it. I don’t think I ever knew exactly what happened then, I don’t need to know now if you don’t want me to.” He felt sick in his guts, Izzy, Gwyn… How could men do that to a woman, especially these women. He wanted to hurt someone but there was no one to hurt. The man whose name escaped Logan still, Ma…something…was long dead and couldn’t be re-killed.
And then in a moment of clarity Logan knew just who that soul was.
It was not men who did such horrible things it was A man, singular. The same soul who had nearly destroyed Izzy in this life, had hurt a Queen in another. Scott Sanderson was a dead man, he just didn’t know it yet. Logan hated Scott for using his sister when she had been so young, breaking her heart and her soul. All too well he recalled nursing Izzy back to health after that man had nearly destroyed her. He had not thought he could hate Scott more than he already did, it seemed he had been wrong. He was filled with so much anger, with a need for vengeance, to make Scott pay for the wrongs he had done in this life and the ones gone before. Logan had blood on his hands already, the vengeance he had sought against others who had harmed his sister, it had only been Scott being such a public and influential person and the best friend of Logan’s father that had stayed him from justice before, now… now Logan did not know how to stop himself. Not right now, not while he held this beautiful woman in his arms while she cried for the memory of the horror she had endured.
“You do not know how happy it makes me that you have not pushed your knight away.” Gwyn and Logan both startled at the sound of Myrddin’s voice. “And that it worked.”
“You sent us there on purpose?” Logan asked his voice rough with emotion.
“Well I was not doing it for purposes of matchmaking. I gave up that business months ago. Terrible hours and I got sick of people slapping me.”
Gwyn couldn’t help but crack a smile, that was part of the magic of Myrddin when he was in this mood, it was infectious, if he smiled then so did you.
“Was Izzy…?” Gwyn started to ask, remembering what Myrddin had said about them sharing lives before.
“Yes she was there too, you will remember more soon, now that the floodgates are open. But sometimes it is better to remember the harder parts first. Especially with what is to come soon.”
“What is to come soon?”
“I don’t know, I have not been shown but there is a threat and I fear it. You and fair Isabel are in danger, the darkness is moving, knitting together events which could take either of you from us and weaken our side in this war. I do not mean to be sexist but the women must be protected, and if need be rescued once more.”
“No one is going to touch either of them.” Logan growled the words his arms locking even tighter around Gwyn protectively to the point she yelped he was holding her so tight. He loosened his grip.
“That is the plan Logan but we are not in complete control of the path we walk to our destiny, we may have no choice but to just react.” Myrddin dared not mention that if things happened as they might he was going to have to choose between his sister and his former Queen to aid. It was not going to be an easy decision but it was better he made it at the time and did not overthink it or he might do the wrong thing or drive himself crazy.
“No one is going to hurt Izzy or Gwyn, I swear it on my life I will protect them.”
“Done.” Myrddin replied. There was the sound of a crack of thunder though the skies were still clear outside.
“What the hell was that?” Logan jumped so violently he nearly dumped Gwyn off his lap and onto the floor.
“Your oath has been accepted.” Gwyn explained. “We are people of power Logan, and sometimes our words are taken at face value. You should be more careful what you say.”
“Gwyn.” Logan looked down at her and smiled. “I meant those words and if they are accepted then that is fine. I meant it completely. I will protect you and Izzy and anyone else I need to. That is my role.” And yet he knew that was not completely true. He was the avenger as much as he was the protector. That was why he already had blood on his hands.
“Gwyn I do not mean to push.” The smile slid from Myrrdin’s face as he looked at her tear stained face after a few moments of silence had hung between them all. “But I never knew what happened in those days, if you told Lance or Adrian in their previous incarnations neither ever told me. It is perhaps a sick curiosity to want to know but a curiosity I have nonetheless, what happened?”
Gwyn took a breath. “They never knew for sure, for I could never tell either of them the truth, the words would never come to me, I do not know if they will come to me today.” She sighed. “And if I tell the story now it shall be the only time I will tell it. I will not utter the words again.”
“Do you wish them to know the story now?” Myrddin asked moving from the couch to stand looking down at Gwyn waiting for her reply.
“I… I think so.” Gwyn said. “Though I do not know that they care to know such things or even remember me then, let alone wish to know me now.”
“If you would talk to us you would know that simply isn’t true.” A deep masculine voice drew Gwyn’s attention to the doors as they swung open and both Adrian and Lance stood there, dark skin to fair, dark eyes to bright. Everything inside her contracted painfully tight, nerves firing with the reaction their presence caused. She moved closer to Logan, not even thinking what they would think of her in another man’s arms. A man who was in fact shirtless as he held her close.
Logan blinked at the two men. “Adrian? Lance?” His mind was turning neat tricks trying to keep up and process the information as it came to him, because he knew both these men, he had known them for a long time.