Calypso seemed to be frozen. Her eyes were wide, her mouth agape and her brow furrowed ever so slightly. It took her nearly an entire minute to register that Wayne had spoken to her, let alone what he had said. It seemed as if she would never respond, but after a long silence with the same shocked expression, she did. “Sir, I am more grateful for this kindness you have shown me, more so than even I can imagine, and I mean you no disrespect, but… Are you an idiot?!”
A handmaiden audibly gasped, and a few of the younger knights stifled laughter that was more shocked than actually amused. Calypso’s expression was that of anger now, and a great amount of it indeed. She’d not been here long, but she had already witnessed the close bonds of these people, and how much they deserved everything that was afforded to them. “I can only guess at how large a purse you’d need to have given to a Casterly guard for a prisoner’s freedom, let alone two! Why would you choose to waste that on me, when you have so many people that depend on that income, yourself included?! These people around you, they are your family! And in one swift notion of gold changing hands you have forsaken them for a murderer!” She covered her mouth with her hand, her eyes growing wider than before. She’d gotten lost in her own words, forgetting that she was the one at stake. She backed away from him on a few staggered steps, almost falling.
She didn’t know what had overcome her, her sudden urges to be honest. In so little time, she’d changed so drastically. She was almost the woman she was before she’d lost everything. But not quite. She would never be that woman again, and it was evident by her actions now. Before anything could be said or done, she turned and tore into the woods once more, regretting not drying her wings off properly after bathing. They would be dry by the time she reached the stream, but she would have enough time to think on her new situation by then.
Calypso’s reaction towards the generosity of the Knight, for paying for her release with the idea that she was sold, was one of shock and surprise. Any other prisoner would indeed be thankful for such a noble gesture, however Calypso acted out in anger, and she spoke with such pride of the very people that would now go without, since the purse was practically given away. The end though…when she said that she was a murderer, left many in shock and struck dumb. A collective gasp from many, with others unsure if she was truly telling the truth of her circumstance.
Before Sir Wayne could utter a response to her angered outburst, she fell back almost stumbling, and then took off into the forest, in the direction of the Stream Estelle hung her head in shame, for she knew that Calypso spoke the truth. Sir Reginald chewed his cheek and then nudged Sir Wayne. “Go on after her. I’ll deal with this lot and their questions.”
Sir Wayne did just that, striding on after Calypso, hoping to catch her up. They had not really spoken much, and he also had no idea about why she had been incarcerated in the first place. If she was a murderess as she so proclaimed then she had to have had a reason. Also, the woman he removed from that rotten cell, was a cold shell. Near death, and practically begging for it. The look of her when she had returned from the stream was completely different. Sir Wayne believed that no matter what we do in this life, we deserve a second chance if we show remorse for our actions. He felt she had paid the price of her sins. She deserved to be amongst people that could be her new family. She needed to understand this.
“Calypso!” He called out, as he marched through the foliage.
She stumbled slightly at his voice, looking behind her to make sure she wasn’t in view. She had almost reached the stream, but could only manage to throw herself behind one of the trees, trying her hardest not to make a sound. Would he take her back to be imprisoned? Perhaps he too would resolve to slay her where she stood. She’d committed so much treachery, ruined so many lives, and even taken one. She’d nearly destroyed Tulsyar with one swift motion. Of course, the killing hadn’t exactly been swift… or quick, for that matter. She closed her eyes to clear her thoughts, solely focused on not being caught.
Thoughts drifted in and out of her head. Maybe he wasn’t going to do anything. Maybe nothing would change. He had freed her on a whim. Why would he risk bringing her back? Of course, he had risked his camp’s very own survival… She tried to keep the thoughts positive, but they just wouldn’t stick. She was dangerous. She knew it. They knew it. Would they really allow her to stay with them, if they even allowed her to stay anywhere but a cell at all?
The Knight ran through the forest, pushing past the brush the covered his path in an effort to catch up with Calypso. His eyes darted around for signs of movement, a glimpse of her hair, her gown. Why was she running away? Couldn’t she see there was nothing to be gained from that? Sure, he was shocked by what the reason for her incarceration was, but surely she had paid for her crimes. She even begged for death, which he could never give her. Calypso was his responsibility now, and he had taken her in as part of their group. The band of brothers of Knights now had it in their lore to keep her safe, and that was exactly his intent.
Wayne shouted again, coming close to the stream. He came to a stop at the water’s edge, staring down into the glistening pool. He knew she couldn’t be far. Turning around, he sang out.
“You can’t run forever, Calypso. I know, you’re frightened, but please we are only trying to help you. Is that not God’s way. Forgiveness for our sins? You made choices in your life. Bad ones. We all do. But should we pay for them all our lives?”
He walked back from the stream a few steps and said;
“Don’t turn into me. A walking dead. I’ve been in your shoes. Lived that life, and one day…I said, enough. Time to give back to those that helped me through my darkest hours. Calypso. let the light in. Stop fighting it so.”
Calypso closed her eyes, listening to him as tears began to trickle down her white cheeks. She wished they weren’t so white. She would never be here if she had not been born into this damned subdivision of her race. It was true. She had been forsaken before she could even open her eyes, and there was no turning back from that. No amount of light she could let in would fix that, but she could not find the words to tell him so. She simply stood there, her back against what seemed like the most uncomfortably barked tree in the world, crying because she wasn’t good enough to repent for her sins, but she wasn’t evil enough to stand proud of them. She was someone in between, somewhere where she couldn’t bring herself to regret but couldn’t bask in the horror of it all. She just wanted out, but there was no way, and no way for her to make one. Her mind was stuck in an empty room, four walls that were closing in on her like predators, threatening to break her if she didn’t break on her own.
But alas, she was already broken. From the moment the wood stools dropped out from under her beloved and their son, she was shattered into a million pieces that never found themselves back in their rightful places again. She was put back together by time, but time had mixed and matched so much that she was unrecognizable, a new being in an age old corpse.
As her thoughts clouded, her wings seemingly took on a mind of their own, unfurling in a show of gray glory that she could not see, before tucking around her like two great shields as she crumpled to the ground, the weight of her mind finally breaking her as the empty room it had been trapped in had threatened so fiercely.
Watching the angel collapse with wings that shone grey, instead of the white that he believed hers to be, the Knight was taken aback. This was most unusual, and he furrowed his brow, to make heads or tails of it. Had she even heard the words that he said? Did she accept God’s light into her heart, or had the opening of her wings been a sign she simply wished to hide behind her fears? The Knight would have no more of this self pity. He had lived through it himself, and come out the other side a better man. Wayne reached through the feathered wings and clasped her hand within his weathered fingers, to pull her to her feet. Though her soul was truly damaged, and her vessel appearing to fight it with all its might, it was high time she learnt to appreciate what she was.
Even if he was to have to carry her back to the training camp, it was what he was prepared to do. Already the horns were sounding, and he knew they had to return. Time was wasting. His dark eyes implored hers to not give up the fight to live. Would she come with him willingly back to camp, or by force?
Calypso was at a loss of words. Tears still silently ran down her cheeks, but the way he looked at her… What was she even crying for? She didn’t even know why she had been so afraid now, and she could hardly think to say anything. Her emotions and her state of mind had been thrown around so much in so little time, it was almost numbing. But it hurt. It hurt her that he believed in her so greatly, and he hardly even knew anything about her. Just a few simple words, and maybe a general guess at her past, but that was it. Yet he showed her such kindness, such generosity. And it was so painful that she still thought she didn’t deserve it, no matter how much he wanted her to believe that she did.
As he stood her up, she had almost instinctively tightened her hand in his, and did not let go once she was stood. Her wings settled and disappeared beneath her borrowed dress, and she just stared at him for a moment. Then she gave a slight nod, silently agreeing to return to the camp without a fuss. When he left, she would follow. Time to give back to those that helped me through my darkest hours. She recalled his words, and silently promised that she would do the same. And she knew of one way at the moment, at least a small way. Before she could stop herself, she spoke.
“My husband and son were hanged for treason – an attempted assassination of Prince Derek – many years ago. I went mad. I conned my way to becoming a servant of Queen Metia, and deceived her and the others that I was not what I appeared to be. Every year, I met with a witch who gave me a locket with a glamour charm, and I would spread all the rumors and plans I’d heard of that year in another kingdom, under the guise that I was receiving treatment for my ‘illness’. When the war came about, I was… I was ecstatic.” She emphasized the word with a tone of disgust, releasing his hand and looking at her feet with a shake of her head. “But the war was going to end. And the houses would remain. I heard of a knight commissioned to kill King Charles… but he said no. And I thought… I thought if one king fell, the others would follow suit. So I killed him. And it haunts me. Every day, every minute for those seven long – long but far too short – years, I wished for death. But death never came. You came, and you… you made me stop.Thank you.” She looked up at him, a small, watery smile replacing the sorrow she’d held in her eyes just minutes before.
Calypso’s tale was one that even the most daring of writers could not possibly have dreamed up. The Knight stood motionless, as the maiden poured out her heart in a story that was full of sorrow, betrayal, hatred and revenge. How long had she suffered in this torment, and all to bring down the Houses, their Kings. Would that have brought back her son and her Husband? One thing in life, an eye for an eye may seem to be law, but once we lose our loved ones to death, the only way to rejoin them is through death itself. Innocents should not suffer the fate of another’s doing. When she released his hand, he stood and watched her with worried eyes, as her demeanor changed again. Disgusted with herself. This was why she hated receiving the kindness of words and the generous offers from people that barely knew her. She felt undeserving of such attentions.
The final blow was that she herself did the deed and killed King Charles, in the place of an assassin. Her dream that is one King fell that the others would follow, but if only she had thought a bit more, she would see that the other Kings would seize the opportunity to then increase their land holdings or even marry into the family of the lost King. Simple errors of judgement cost her greatly, and thus she lost another seven years of her life. She wished death and it never came.
You came, and you… you made me stop. Thank you.”
That statement was the most touching. Her admission that she had seen the light, though it was through the goodness of the Knight that she allowed it to grow within. Now the truth was out there, and the Knight acted as only he could. Stepping to her, he kissed her forehead, leaving a silver mark.
“God is of forgiveness. It is once you forgive yourself for your sins, that you can move forward. I have seen the change in you, and know you want to be helped now. The burden of your past is gone. You can raise your head once more, Calypso. Embrace this life…it is what your son and husband would have wanted. Wake each day, and see the rising of the sun. For them…for yourself.”
Wayne took her hand in his once more, and showed a soft smile. “Let us return. Your new life awaits.”
Calypso felt like she couldn’t breathe. His words were too king, too heartfelt, too honest. She was breathing just fine, but it felt like she wasn’t. It choked out her words, cluttered her thoughts, and sped up her heart to the point she thought it might fall at her feet. He’d already shown her so much generosity, and she had shown him nothing but a woman who didn’t deserve it, and he was still ready to give her more?
And, oh heavenly Father, his eyes. They bore into her very soul. The blackened little thing now had hope, albeit little. Or maybe more? Maybe a lot? Her thoughts were simply all over the place, which seemed to be much larger than before. Her mind had been so narrowed by her self-loathing, and her non-self-loathing, and her loathing of things in general, but now it open, free. Now, her mind was at peace. And her heart and body followed suit.
After a few moments of looking at him in silence, with a completely blank expression aside from the slight widening of her eyes, Calypso managed a shot, curt nod, and proceeded to follow him back to the camp when he led her.
In a sense, Sir Wayne was relieved by the way Calypso had accepted his words, and allowed it into her heart. A simple short curt nod and then following him back, was enough for him, and he trudged through the undergrowth, back past the camp markers and into the enclave. Many people were going about their daily chores, the forest filled with voices, children calling, animals, and the cheer over at the training site. It was good to see such normality, people moving about with purpose, and drive. Tasks that needed to be done, and people happy enough with their lot to do them.
Seeing Sir Wayne return with the Lady Calpyso, there was some whispers, but none disrespectful. It was no mistaking that many felt that Sir Wayne needed a woman in his life, especially after losing Ambrosia so long ago. To see him with the white angel brought smiles and nods from some of the maidens around camp, though some had hoped at a chance with the allusive Knight.
None of this seemed to phase Sir Wayne, who was just glad that he was back in camp, and could continue with the training of the younger Knights. Rumour had it that there was a disturbance in the Night lands, and that the King of Brax had returned to power after many years of war mongering across the continents. Would he ever try anything against the Casterly’s? There was the matter of the union of Selene and Joffrey, that had meant an uneasy alliance, but would it hold, if that union were to crumble. There was no mistaking that King Brandon loved the idea of conquest, and Sir Wayne knew that if that day came, they needed to be ready.
Smiling at Calypso, he asked. “Why not get a meal, and then join me at the archery range?’