“Death.” The word came from her mouth before she even registered the question. Death was the only thing he could bring her now that would ease her mind. Nothing would truly heal her, make her forget. No person, no animal, no object. No feeling. No matter what he did, what he gave her, what anyone gave her, she would always remember. And it would always tear her apart, piece by already broken piece. Death was her only option now, and though he had asked in such a way that showed he was offering whatever she answered with to her, he would not bring her death. He was too proud of a knight, too white of an angel. “But seeing as you are who you are, you cannot bring me that, so the true answer to your question is nothing. There is nothing that I wish for on this earth that you can bring me without defying the laws of God himself.” The words were not meant to shock him, but they might. Just because she had fallen did not mean she did not still have faith. Just because she chose to defy everything that had created her did not mean she did not believe in it. Falling had never been apart of her plan, it had just sort of… happened.
She looked away from him, ignoring an urge to cry that had all but suddenly come over her. She had not cried in front of even Metia before her imprisonment, and even after, she had not cried in front of the guards that once kept her safe from others, but had been taught to keep others safe from her. Therefore, she would not cry in front of this man that she barely knew, this man that had freed her from something she had not sought to be free of.
It was true, Sir Wayne could not give her the gift that she desired. Death. That was final, and totally out of his hands. Even if she begged him to kill her, he could not. He remembered how he had been in the same shoes, how he set himself up to die on the field of the tournament, to die with his boots on, on his terms. But it did not come, for Sir Arthur had seen through his charade, when his wife appeared in an apparition, and told him it was not his time. Sir Wayne’s purpose in this world had yet to be fulfilled, and so he learnt to live with this fact, though part of him does desire more than anything to lay in peace with his beloved.
“You are right, for I cannot kill you. Even if you were to betray me and those of my kin. It goes against my nature and my calling.”
Sir Wayne rose slowly, as he watched her turn her face away. “May you find solace in your thoughts, Calypso.” With that he walked out of the tent, then approached Estelle and the others. “Leave her be. She suffers far greater than I ever have in this life. She wishes death, though I cannot grant her that.”
The others all looked back at the tent, and wondered if Calypso may try something, either death at her own hand, if she was truly that great in need to leave this life, or flee into the bush to die like a sick animal. “Her path is not yet chosen.” Wayne said thoughtfully, and headed towards the training area, to teach.
Calypso stood when he did, taking a step toward the opening he had left through. She didn’t know what had compelled her to, but she had almost wanted to stop him, to apologize for being rash. But she didn’t, obviously, and just sat back down on the furs. She looked to the ground with a furrowed brow, a hand coming up to feel the ends of her hair as she unfurled her wings. They had been aching to move around for years, but she’d never dared, never wanted to let them. They were almost limp-like, and a tinged gray that was just a touch darker than most angels would consider still holy. She sighed as she retracted them back, not wanting to end up knocking anything in the tent around. She leaned back slightly, closing her eyes. Thoughts traced through her head randomly, disconnected.
And then, as if by the will of another, they began to connect, to make sense. She needed to play along, to act like she was going to accept his help gratefully, to recover, and maybe she could rise again, as a force of good instead of corrupt. Her brow furrowed once more. These were not her thoughts. They were the thoughts of another, someone more powerful than herself. Someone who really wanted her to change.
Sir Wayne approached his good friend Sir Reginald, who was helping a younger knight with his bow. Hearing the footsteps coming up behind him, he smiled. “So, how does it go with the White lady?’ He asked expectantly, thinking that there was more to this mercy mission then met the eye. Sir Wayne came to a stop and folded his arms. Thinking for a moment, he released his breath and said;
“She has lost her will on life it seems. Her only wish is death, one I cannot grant her.”
Sir Reginald was shocked by this. “She wished to die?”
“Perhaps all of her kin had passed on and she has no reason to live, no family. I simply do not know, she speaks to me with anger in her tone. Like she is mud beneath my feet.”
He glanced back at his tent, as Sir Reginald placed a hand on his shoulder. “Well if that been the case, you would never have put yourself at risk to have her brought down here. The time spent imprisoned, may well have dulled her mind. Give her time, Wayne. Perhaps she will come to find herself, with your care of course.”
“As always you offer good counsel. I am lucky to have you as a friend and brother.” The two men smiled at each other, an exchange that such kindred spirits bring.
Sir Wayne’s Tent
Estelle entered the tent, seeing Calpyso start to close her wings. They were practically limp and she knew what it was like not to be able to open hers for long periods at a time. Cautiously, the hand maiden of Sir Wayne approached.
“Why not come outside? There is a wonderful brook nearby to wash, and plenty of room to ….spread your wings, M’lady.”
Rashna had made it her duty to see that she cared for Henry. Seated on an ornate wooden chair, she cut back the long shaggy locks that had grown over the past eight years, and this was littered at the ground at his feet. Taking out the sharp razor she also shaved off the beard and mustache. With each passing moment, the years seemed to be pulled back, till he was revealed to a gilded mirror, looking as young as the day that he sang to Metia in the gardens of the castle. Staring at his reflection, as Rashna held the mirror, King Henry reached up to touch his face. It was almost as if he had forgotten that this was what he looked like.
“I look so different.” He uttered, turning his head slightly so he could see the line of his jaw. Henry turned his head back the other way, and Rashna commented. “Well of course. Hidden away underneath all that hair, lies the face of a youthful King.” She set down the mirror, and picked up a small brush, to clean away the excess fallen hair that lay on his shoulders. “I thought I looked good.” Henry eyed her, wondering what she was thinking. Rashna laughed softly, and replied; “You looked like a shaggy lion, who had been starved for weeks on end. That, my dear Brother is far from attractive.” Henry made a slight grunting sound of disapproval and Rashna thwapped him with the brush. Not to hurt him, but to make him behave.
“Were you always this disagreeable back at the Castle?’ Rashna asked, seeing him as being difficult to deal with. The King shrugged his shoulders and went to stand, staring out the window of the temple to the clouds that floated past the balcony.“For the last…seven..eight years, perhaps. I found my patience in many things wanting. Before that however, I had it in abundance. Guess that is what happens when you find out that….” He cut himself off, as he knew he would start to speak of Metia again.
Rashna rounded on her brother, and then she narrowed her eyes. “Henry…time for truth. You still love her, don’t you?” At this the King tried to look away, and this time Rashna seized his chin. Turning his face back. The woman had the will of iron.“Henry…? Yes…or no?” Henry found himself not being able to hide anymore. He was now exposed, and he knew his emotions would betray him anyways. “It hurts so much…because I still do.”
At this moment, another angel entered the temple…one that had flown in from the Vaas lands, and in her hand, she carried a white feather. A feather that belonged to the King.
“Forgive my trespass, but I seek the….” It was Lady Tanner. She saw the King, without the long hair and beard and found herself smiling brightly. “M’lord…” She instantly dropped a curtsy, as Rashna looked between her brother and this woman. Curious, Rashna approached and gestured with her hand. “My brother is not a king in this Temple, he is simply a Throne of God, like the rest of us. We do not accept the same customs.” Lady Tanner rose up and was astonished by the candor of Rashna. “Forgive me again…I came to find…Henry.”
King Henry looked confused as to why Lady Tanner would even be there. “What are you doing here?’ He asked, his eyes showing off a brighter glow. Lady Tanner approached the King and held out the feather. “Would it be wrong of me to say…I missed you?”
Rashna rolled her eyes. This was starting to get complicated.
Calypso’s eyes snapped to Estelle, opening her mouth to say something. But then it snapped shut and she seemed to try to collect herself for a moment. And then a small, gracious smile appeared on her lips. “I think that would be good. Thank you for offering, I would not have asked myself. And I apologize if I offended Sir Wayne with my less than thankful behavior. And…” Her smile grew just the tiniest bit, though it didn’t feel as if it were hers. “There is no need for any term of regard other than my name. I am no Lady, nor do I deserve to be.” The words and the tone felt foreign, but not as foreign as they would have just a few moments ago. “Is it far? Is there anything I can help carry?” She prayed that she was given something to do other than walk. She was a born and bred servant after all. THAT had never been an act. She didn’t want them to fuss over her as if she were some sort of nobility. She was far from it, both in behavior and in actual status.
Asking if there was something that Calypso could carry, since she felt that to simply walk empty handed was not fitting, Estelle nodded, and pointed to the water jugs. “Clean water is always needed on hand, and so I fetch it daily. You could always carry one of those. The maiden said, standing up, then waiting fo Calypso to do the same.
“They say the waters in these parts are from a special spring. Rumor has it that the tears of Goddess fell into a well, after the death of her love, and the water changed and has healing properties. Perhaps it can help you get better, if you bathe in it.”Estelle suggested, also bringing with her two large cloths, so that they may dry themselves if bathing.
Rashna could see what was going on, and not before time either. She came between Henry and Lady Tanner and snatched the feather from her hand. Lady Tanner appeared shocked and blinked, while Henry moved his eyes to his sister, Rashna.
“No..no, sorry. Not having that here.” the elder Angel Throne said, placing her brother’s feather within her own pocket. Lady Tanner wondered what Rashna was on about. “Forgive me, but you are?” At this there was another angel that entered the Temple; Orion. He was older than Henry, and some could say, better looking. He could see that one of the King’s fancies had shown up, and Rashna was about to read him the riot act.
“So even here, young Henry cannot escape the chores of his kingdom.” he turned to look at Lady Tanner and said;
“And that is our sister, Rashna…a Throne of God.” he said stoically, folding his arms, as Henry wanted to just leap out of a window, and end himself. Last thing he wanted was to have Orion interfering. Rashna placed a hand on Orion’s bicep and then shook her head. “Our brother still loves Metia.”
“Then what is he doing here? And…why is his little ladies following him like he is some…kind of God. This is no place for these types of shenanigans.” His voice was like a dull roar, as he reinforced his anger. Lady Tanner was starting to shy away, when she heard that Henry still loved Metia.
“I am here, you know.” Henry said indignantly “Well you should be back at the Vaas lands, setting things right, Henry.”Rashna added, and Orion nodded silently in agreeance.
“I agree…and you know what. I’m taking him back.” Orion said with a sly grin. “Be nice to meet the family. I’m an uncle, am I not?” Henry wanted to punch him one. He just left the castle to escape family, and now Orion wanted to get friendly with them.
“Well, if your going, then so am I.” Rashna added, heading off to pack her things. Henry raised a hand. “Now hold on just a second.” He didn’t like this at all. Orion slapped his hand hard on Henry’s back. “Isn’t this fun? One..big happy family.”
Lady Tanner slinked away, as the Brothers squared off. She knew that the Queen would not be pleased if she found out that she had gone off after Henry for her own ends.
Rashna came back with a small bag, and then Orion laughed. “Pack a toothbrush?’ He was enjoying this tremendously. “Let us be on our way….I want to see how the other half live.”
And with that, the three angels set off….back for the kingdom.
Calypso nodded and walked over to pick up one of the jugs. She doubted she could carry more than one, which was probably just fine. She assumed Estelle would tell her if it wasn’t just fine, but she didn’t know for sure. She almost laughed when the other woman told her of the rumors about the water. “There are plenty tears in the waters of these plains, but they are not the tears of a goddess. Still, I’ve no doubt the water will do more than its share of healing.” She felt strange, suddenly so willing to comply, so… social. She knew these actions might not even be her own, but she didn’t resent them – she just let it all happen, as there was nothing else she could do.
She turned back to Estelle and bowed her head slightly, a small prayer that Wayne was not still outside the tent flitting through her mind. “Shall we?”
Estelle watched Calypso closely. She was not terribly sure about the woman, but of course, Sir Wayne had mad his feelings clear about her. The last thing Estelle wished to do was cross him, and so she gestured with her head the direction of the spring. The day was joyous, with the sun offering its light, that streamed through the canopy that created shade to those that dwelled by the training fields. Treading with light feet, Estelle maneuvered her way around the rocks and logs till she came to the grassy edge of the stream. Setting down the pot she carried, she stretched herself out and placed her hands on the small of her back. Unclasping her dress, she let it fall from her form, and she started to wade into the clear blue waters. Only glancing back to see if Calypso was following. The Angel’s wings closed entirely and she dived beneath the surface, with the ripple seen across the shallows.
Her head popped up on the other side, and she spread her arms out, helping her to float in the waters. She cocked her head at Calypso and then asked candidly;
“Why did Wayne bring you to us?”