Gwendolynn's journey

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The King & Queen

Queen Matilda was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Her long blonde hair was curled and placed in a low thick braid to the side of her head, she had a small emerald coloured crown on
her head, which complimented her gown perfectly. The deep purple velvet gown was adorned with a large broach in the centre which held a sapphire diamond the size of my hand. She held her head high and I sensed a calm and sincere nature to her. I stood and bowed to her as she entered the room. She came right up to me and hugged me to her. I was taken aback, Elspeth had not gotten me ready for this.

“Merek tells me that you are in search of your brother. I will personally make sure that he is found. We would be honoured if
you would stay here until he is. No woman should be riding in such weather. Is that arrangement fine with you?”

I had no idea what to say, of course it was. I would be able to
stay here for more than one night? I truly was living in a dream. Merek coughed and tried to get me out of my thoughts.

“Yes your majesty. Thank you, your majesty.”

She waved away the gratitude.

“It is the least we can do for you. Please call me Matilda.”

I nodded, as she walked to the head of the table and sat. I sat as well and looked over at the door, expecting the King to enter next.

“My husband has retired early. He sends his excuses.”

Merek nodded, Elspeth frowned and I wondered what that meant. We talked about different things until the first course of food arrived. I couldn’t believe how amazing all the food was. I thought they only ate like this when there was a banquet or festivities, not everyday. We had deer stew served with root vegetables, oysters in wine sauce, several varieties of cheeses and breads, a large dish filled with fruits and many small delicious pastries. Every time more food was served, I thought it was the last of it, until more was brought out for us. I laughed half way through and said,

“how can everyone fit into their clothes after such a meal?”

Everyone at the table laughed. When it was finished at last, Matilda bid us goodnight and Elspeth decided she too would go to sleep. I needed to walk a little bit after such a full meal, Merek asked if he could accompany me in the gardens. I agreed and he led the way to the most beautiful indoor gardens I had ever seen.
After our silent walk, Merek escorted me to my room and showed me inside. It was yet another richly decorated and opulent room. There was a portrait of him on the wall facing the bed.

“Am I to sleep in a room with your face watching me sleep?”

He gave me a warm smile and nodded.

“I will protect you from bad dreams.”

He took my hand in his and kissed it gently. He looked right into my eyes, his gaze almost burning right through me. He shook his head slightly and let go of my hand.

“I hope you have sweet dreams Gwendolynn.”

He started walking towards the door, stopping as though he wanted to add something but he closed it instead and I was left alone in the dimly lit room. I wondered if all the guests slept in rooms such as this one. It had a beautiful fireplace in the centre, the fire was burning strong and I felt its warmth on my cheek from where I stood. The canopy bed was adorned with the most beautiful deep shade of green and the dresser next to it had exquisite carvings covering it. I walked to the portrait of Merek
and smiled, the painter had captured the loving nature behind his gaze. I walked over to the fire, undressed and placed my clothes on the chair for them to dry. I made my way to the bed and got under the heavy covers, I was instantly warm and fell asleep.

There was a knock at the door. Elspeth walked in, her arms full with clothes. She set them on the chair where my dress and cloak were and picked them up.

“I brought you some clothes. It seems we are about the same size.”

She smiled and walked out of the room. I rubbed my eyes and wondered how long I had slept. I was still sore all over, but I had gotten a very good night’s sleep. Maybe Merek did protect me from bad dreams and brought me good ones. I got out from the warm bed and into the cold room. The fire was almost gone, it
did not offer any warmth anymore. I picked up the clothes quickly and pulled the dress over my head. Elspeth was right, we were about the same size everywhere, except for my breasts which were slightly bigger. The dress was stunning, it was a deep green much like the bed fabric, it was soft to the touch and it was very heavy. It would surely keep me warm in the rooms where the fire had dwindled down. She had also brought me a pair of shoes, which I
wore gladly as I made my way out of the room. I didn’t quite remember how I had gotten to the room, so I wandered the hallways a little bit until I came face to face with an older man in
his bedclothes.

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