Gwendolynn's journey

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The old man

“Excuse me Miss, do you know where my room is?”

I shook my head but I told him that we could look together. He linked his arm in mine and we walked in the direction he had come from. We passed by many rooms, but he said that none were his.

“My room is simple, it doesn’t look like any of these.”

I reassured him that we would find it. Maybe he was a servant
in the household or the gardener, someone who lived in one of the lower class rooms. One of the rooms I was used to until now. We walked down some winding stairs and made our way to a room I recognized. We crossed the hall together until we came to the door that led to the next room. I didn’t have time to open it before Merek did and saw us arm in arm.

“Father! We have been looking for you everywhere.”

I looked at Merek with questions in my eyes. This was his father? The King? I gently took my arm away from his and bowed. The old King looked at me, puzzled. Merek took him by the arm and led him away into the next room. He gestured for me to follow them. I could hear the King talking to Merek as though he did not know who he was. Merek kept reassuring him the entire time we walked, until we got to a bedroom. This must be the royal chambers, I thought, as we walked in. The details in the window coverings, the wallpaper, the tapestries, the furniture, the fireplace, everything was immaculate and so opulent. Even if we didn’t know this was the royal chambers, we could guess from the beauty within its doors. Merek got his father to sit down on the bed and drink a tonic in the cup on the bedside table. When the King was finished, he laid down and closed his eyes, Merek brought the covers over him and asked me to follow him. We walked out of the room, he closed the door and we walked silently in the long hallway.

It took a few moments for Merek to speak, it seemed like it was hard for him to talk about his father.

“When you met me, I was searching for a cure that would end my father’s insanity. There was talk of a woman who had found a potion that would bring him back to us. I did not find the woman I was searching for. Instead I found you.”

It was so sad to see the emotions in his eyes, he was holding back so much. I put my hand on his shoulder and I smiled.

“To me, it seems like he has gone back to when he was a child. He was talking about his room being very simple, he did not remember that he was the King.”

He nodded and continued, “I don’t see it as insanity, more his brain that has gotten old. But the people want someone that can rule. I am not ready for that.”

I stopped walking and looked at him intensely.

“I can assure you that you are ready. I may have only spent some days with you, but you are a person who is fit to rule. You are kind, yet you are tough. You are sincere, yet you are brutally honest, you are gentle, yet you are rough. You have all the qualities a King should have.”

Merek looked at me as if he was scared that I understood him so well. He took my hand in his and kissed it gently. I wanted more, I pulled him close to me, until our faces were inches apart. He was taken aback but he understood what I wanted. He searched my eyes to be sure I was certain. I smiled and took his face between my hands. I kissed him gently at first, but I remembered the intense kisses we had shared and I began to kiss him more and
more until we were again consumed with each other. I heard footsteps behind me and pulled back from him. I turned around to see Elspeth staring at us. She smirked and waited for us
to separate more.

“I came for Gwendolynn, can you spare a moment?”

I nodded and walked over to her quickly, almost tripping over my own feet.

As we walked into what I assumed was Elspeth’s bedchambers, she motioned for me to sit on the bed as she did the same.

“My brother told us that you are a friend he was helping along the way. It seems like it is more than that.”

I didn’t know what to answer, she did see us kissing so i couldn’t deny it. I simply nodded and she smiled.

“I am so happy that he has finally found someone. I like you very much already and having a sister would be a welcome change.”

I did not expect her to talk about marriage between me and Merek.

“Merek has not brought back his other female friends before?”

She looked quite shocked at the question.

“You would believe that if you listened to the gossips, but Merek is nothing like they say. His mind these past years had been too preoccupied with finding a cure for father.”

The information was new to me, but after spending so much time with him, I knew what she was saying was true. He had been nothing but a gentleman to me, even after I had thrown myself at him. He was a kind soul and had been able to put up with me all this time.

As I sat down on my bed, I thought about all that had transpired during the day. I couldn’t help but feel a great sadness for Merek and his family. I had spent a bit more time with Elspeth, talking about lighter subjects, such as where I was from, what food I liked to eat and what my favourite colour was. She truly was a sweet person to converse with, she didn’t seem to have a mean bone in her body. I also learned a great deal about her family, where her
mother was from and what she had been through to become Queen. How her father was when she was younger, how much he loved horses and despite his illness, still did today.

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