Download as a PDF to read here – A Queen’s Tale: Part Four
“My god.” Logan was just gobsmacked to see Adrian and Lance standing in the doorway of his study.
“I was your liege not your god.” Adrian laughed, his laughter full and hearty. He moved across the room and Logan moved one arm from around Gwyn but did not let her go. They grasped wrists rather than shaking hands. Logan didn’t even think about it, he just did it.
“Brother.” Adrian’s voice rumbled powerfully.
“Brother.” Logan replied in greeting, his own voice a lower timbre. Lance had not yet taken his eyes from Gwyn but moved to follow Adrian and grasped arms with Logan repeating the greeting.
“These are the two we’ve spoken of?” Logan said tilting Gwyn’s head up to look at him as the two men sat down. She nodded in reply, her eyes darting to them and away again. “Then that would make you…” He looked to Adrian who nodded. “I never put the stories together, I was an idiot. You were the girl that they fell out over in college.“ Logan looked back down at Gwyn, he was feeling a bit conflicted. He’d been there and ragged on the girl with Adrian as they drank, he had been friends with them both, Adrian first and that was why he had been there for Adrian, and Lance had pushed them all away anyway. But now years later he had become friends with Gwyn, not even two nights before he had gone on his trip to the forest he had sat with her as she had railed against men, spilling good whisky as she did so and he had sided with her. He had never put the names together with the two men he had known in college, it had never occurred to him.
He was surprised that he did not feel uncomfortable that he was holding Gwyn right now, there was no embarrassment or worry that his old friends would see more than it was. He simply knew they would know that he gave her comfort if they knew what she had just seen.
Gwyn could not believe that Adrian was smiling at her, that he was jovial. The last time she had seen him, well he hadn’t been either and she had been left bleeding and crying on the pavement where he had thrown her down and cursed her to never seen him again. It seemed he was not all powerful for here he was right in plain sight. But it was Lance that was tearing her more apart to see. She had pushed him away and he had gone, not tried to fight for her at all, just walked away and never looked back. And here he was. She did not know how to take it.
Myrddin knelt down beside her and took her hand.
“We are all here and if you would tell us the tale, we will listen and promise that none shall judge you for anything that might have happened. We would not have then, though I know I poorly misjudged you for it and that alone pushed us apart in that lifetime. But I am here for you now as I should have been more in other times.”
Gwyn sniffled and nodded.
“I was riding and I was thrown from my horse. I do not know how it happened. One moment I was riding and the next, it was if something pushed me backwards and unseated me from my mare. I landed hard, painfully and my guard was quickly off his horse to tend to me. My guard…” He eyes moved to Logan. “It was you, you were riding with me because…” She turned to the other two. “You were busy, meeting with Myrddin.” They all nodded and waited for her to continue. “Maelgwas was there only moments later saying he had seen the whole thing. He bid Gwaine to return and bring aid for it was too dangerous to risk moving me without a healer. But as soon as Gwaine was beyond hearing he did move me. He carried me until we came to a river and a boat waited. A barge like thing and he placed me in it and we moved downstream to the lake and from there to the island. I was so scared and did not know what to do. He was one of my Lord’s lesser nobles and I was surely meant to be safe with him but I did not like the way he looked at me or the way his hand would be so casual in how and where he would touch me. I was scared beyond any fear I had known before that day. The day passed with nothing of interest to tell but as night fell he came to me with a nightgown, it was a fabric so sheer it was see through and like nothing I had seen before let alone worn. He said it was a spoil of war from faraway lands and he would be honoured if I would wear it for him. I refused, I knew he would be able to see my body through it and I would not let any but my lord see me in a state of undress. Maelgwas grew mad and he slapped me so hard the sting brought tears to my eyes. He told me that if I did not put it on he would tell the King I had thrown myself at him. I did not want that so I did as he bid. But in a moment of defiance I kept my cloak on and pulled it around myself. I returned to my seat and kept the cloak around me. He started to tell me stories, stories of things he had done to women, forced women to do to him and I tried not to listen. I had only lain with my King and only three times since our wedding night. Maelgwas kept talking and came to kneel before me. He pulled the cloak and exposed my legs in the short gown. He touched them and I moved away so he hit me again. He told me he would tell the King I drugged his wine and seduced him that I had confessed to having had many men before and worse he said he would tell the King that I had been with Bedievere most every night since he had become my escort from my home. That alone scared me more because I feared it would be believed since I had feelings for my knight that I had not acted on yet still felt like a betrayal.”
Gwyn fell silent, it was from here that the story became more difficult. Tears began to well up in her eyes again.
“I did not give in to him, I did not give myself willingly to him.” She whispered the words not noticing that Lance and Adrian had both moved to the floor and moved closer to her, their own eyes shining with unshed tears. All in the room knew what she was saying without her saying it but they had waited lifetimes for it to fall from her lips. “For two days he kept me there from that night and for two days and nights he raped me whenever the mood took him.” She collapsed into great gasping tears as the horror of the memory flooded her mind. She tried to crawl out of Logan’s grasp feeling dirty, used, not wanting to let another touch her, thinking that she was too disgusting to be touched. But he held her tight and rocked her even as a low growl issued from his throat.
“He is dead.” Logan stated in a low hiss.
“Long dead.” Myrddin replied.
“No, in this life, he is dead, he shall die for what he has done.” Logan needed to stand, had to stand as he was wound too tight to sit still. He looked around to see if someone would take Gwyn from him and Lance moved in behind him transferring her to his lap. She stiffened but Lance did not let her go and held her tenderly, silent tears falling.
“You know him?” Adrian stood as Logan did. As Logan paced, Adrian stood at Lance’s right shoulder grasping it with his hand linking the three together. Adrian did not touch Gwyn directly, he feared it was too soon after his last touch for which he had not yet had time to make amends.
“You remember Izzy?” Logan asked and Adrian nodded. “And you remember the guy Scott I told you about?”
“Yeah I know Scott well. You told me he was your Dad’s mate right, who cheated on his wife and used Izzy for sex right?”
“Scott was Maelgwas.”
Now Adrian growled. He was working for the man. He hated him, loathed him, but he was where he needed to be, where he had been put. He worked closely with the man to the point where Adrian knew where he would be at virtually any given moment.
“No.” Logan turned at the quiet feminine voice. He could not see Gwyn’s face but he stopped and looked at her anyway.
“You will not murder for something done so long ago.”
“But Gwyn, he has to pay. For you, for Izzy for all that he has done.”
“I didn’t say he wouldn’t pay. I said you would not murder him.”
Words that Roen had said the night after Izzy had killed their father sprung to Logan’s mind at Gwyn’s restriction. Roen had said he would take everything from Scott, destroy him as he had almost destroyed Izzy and leave him with nothing. Roen would want to be involved, Logan was not sure about Izzy but perhaps she would have a part to play. Instantly he knew she would and a plan began to knit together in his head.
“Who will stand with me against Scott and help deliver justice to him.” All in the room replied affirmative except Gwyn. Logan knelt on the ground beside her. “We will not do this without your blessing Gwyn, I will not do something you do not want me to.”
“Do not act yet, give me time, I am too raw from this to make any decisions. Make your plans but give me time.”
“Agreed my lady.” Logan reached around Lance and found her hand squeezing it.
Lance and Gwyn had been left alone in the room, he still held her but neither one had said a word since the others had left. Gwyn didn’t know what to say. So much time had passed since the night she had told him to get out, the night he actually had. Being here like this made Gwyn feel uneasy. She could not hide from the fact that even after all the time that had passed with no contact between them she still loved him. She could not deny that her heart was beating out a fierce rhythm and her stomach was knotted to have him holding her, that even now she wanted to turn her head and find his lips and be kissed and loved as she used to be. But he had been gone so long, he had not come back until events beyond their own control had pulled them back together.
“I should go.” He whispered, even that sounding strained.
“If you feel you must.” Gwyn replied her voice sounding more angry than the hurt she was actually feeling that he would run from her again, that he did not want to stay when she was so desperate for him to.
“I should, you cannot wish me to stay.”
“What do you know of what I wish Lance?” Gwyn broke free of his arms and stood, the world tilting for a moment from the swift ascent. Lance did not reply he just stood and walked towards the door.
“So good at just walking away.” Gwyn spat at him, her emotions were raw enough without this.
“So good at letting me.” Lance turned his own temper rising to match hers. He was meant to be here to make peace with her, to help heal the pain within her. Yet here they were arguing again.
“Letting you? I wanted you to fight for us, for me and you walked away.”
“Why did I have to be the one to fight, you didn’t fight for me, to keep me, to show me I was the one, the only one, show me that you had let go of Adrian, that I wasn’t going to lose you.” Lance growled.
“I…” Gwyn wanted to argue but all she could hear was Myrddin’s words in her head, that she pushed everyone away, that she did this to herself and to them. She looked down at the ground, her voice barely a whisper when she found the words for a reply. “You can never know how much I have missed you. It was you that my heart ached for.”
Gwyn turned away walking to the French doors, staring out over the gardens. She couldn’t look at him right now. She wanted to open the doors and run, to not feel anything anymore. There was no way he could still feel the way she felt about him. Not after she had driven him away in her own fear and even less now he knew what had been done to her. Even though it was not in this life she still felt tainted, unclean. She had a desire to flee, to find a place in the wild, a cold pool and scrub at her skin, to try and remove this feeling of disgust.
Out damn spot.
Somehow she knew, even though she did not have the specific memory to call to mind, that was exactly what she had done lives ago. The Queen had hidden herself away and tried to make herself feel better. Gwyn wished she could know more, know how Guinevere had gone on after it, how she had loved. She wished she knew what the rest of the story was. What the true story was. The tales of Camelot were more numerous than most stories, everyone had an idea, a slant on the tale but what was the truth? What was her truth? It was highly doubtful that the answers were going to parade across the glass that separated her from the outside world and distract her from the man standing behind her. The man she expected to just turn and walk away from her again.
Gwyn startled at a touch at her shoulder. “I missed you too.” She turned and Lance pulled her into his arms. Pulled her tight against him, so tight it felt like he was scared she would try and escape and he could not let her. She fought the desire to go rigid in his arms, to put the walls up. She forced herself to breathe out, to let her muscles unknit and relax. “You’ve never left my thoughts Gwyn, you’ve got to know that. I tried, I wanted to forget, to stop feeling but I couldn’t Gwyn. You’re in my heart and I couldn’t get rid of you.” His hand stroked her hair and her back. “I thought…I thought if you wanted me back you’d try to get me back. I thought you’d moved on, forgotten me, didn’t care.”
“You’re an idiot.” Gwyn was crying now, laughing and crying. “How could I stop caring? I love you so much Lance, so completely, I’ve been hollow inside without you. Sad, depressed. I’m not right without you loving me.”
Lance tilted her head up, teary eyes finding hers. Seeing the truth of her words. “I never stopped Gwyn. I still love you.” Gwyn licked her lips as his eyes fell to them. She could barely believe what he said, that he was saying it, that he meant it, that after all of this he loved her and he wanted to kiss her. But his eyes on her lips said he did, and his eyes did not lie. Lance bent his head closing the small distance between them and kissed her.
“Well that’s one problem sorted.” Myrddin rubbed his palms together and looked at the two other men that remained with him. “Granted it’s one problem out of Lord and Lady know how many but I’m not a miracle worker here no matter what the hype says. We’ve got a lot of work ahead, especially you two boys, and the others. One kiss doesn’t save the world alas.”
“They’ve made up?” Adrian’s voice was rough, he would always love Gwyn, it was built into him but he was working out his karma, he was letting her go because she was not his. That did not mean that knowing that she and Lance were kissing was going to be easy the first time or maybe even the hundredth but maybe eventually.
“They appear to be making up. It won’t be an instant fix as you well know.”
“It has to be me.” Adrian’s jaw set hard and his fists clenched. Myrddin looked at him and blinked, his face a mask of surprise as he leant on the kitchen table.
“I thought we had been through this…”
“Not that, I’m giving her up, I mean the prophecy we spoke of in your home. It must be me, do not make her lose him again.”
“I will make nothing happen Adrian, you know that, I do not make the news I simply deliver it in advance.”
“Not to speak out of turn. But I have no idea what you are talking about.” Logan moved to the cupboards taking out some glasses, playing the host. He pulled out a bottle of Cabernet Merlot, Adrian’s favourite from memory and poured them all a glass.
“There is an old prophecy I made Logan, many lives ago. We believe it relates to this time and if so it means that Gwyn is to lose either Adrian or Lance. But we do not know who.”
“Gwyn doesn’t know does she?” Logan was certain that would have come up the other night if she had. He knew Gwyn would never accept it and do anything to change it, even if it hurt her.
“She has no idea and I’d appreciate it if it remained that way Logan.” Adrian asked for Logan’s silence in his roundabout way already knowing that Logan would agree instantly. Logan’s soul would always wish to protect Gwyn’s, he’d done it before.
“She won’t hear it from me.” Logan raised his glass and Adrian returned the gesture, they had an agreement.
Lance held her in his arms on the couch, she was curled up in his lap. There were no words for in this moment none were needed they just needed to be close, be in each other’s presence after so long.
“I missed you, God I missed you so bad it made me crazy.” Lance held Gwyn tightly against him and she could barely breathe; not from the embrace but because of the way she was feeling. To be in his arms again. The words he was saying. She didn’t think she would ever get this again, she thought he was done with her and yet here he was telling her he loved her, telling her that he had never stopped loving her. “I tried to get over you, god knows I tried to let it go but I couldn’t I couldn’t let you go. I love you Gwyn, God I love you so much and I thought you hated me, I thought you’d moved on.”
“No.” Gwyn stopped him from rambling with a finger on his lips. “There has not been anyone, just you, always you. No one else could come close. I haven’t even kissed another man since you left me.” She might have said more but Lance kissed her. It was so hungry, so passionate, he was claiming her with his lips and she was his to be claimed. Darkness was coming, but with Lance at her side, powerful in his love, Gwyn thought she was stronger to meet the coming times. She had something more to fight for, and nothing was my powerful against the coming darkness than the force of love.