Half a year had passed, but finally the day had come. Our wedding day. I was standing near the priest, in front of the altar. I turned around, and saw King Arthur, Queen Guinevere and most of the knights. I couldn’t see who were sitting behind them. I saw Merida’s mother, her brothers, the lords, and some people I didn’t really know.
The doors opened, and my jaw dropped. Merida was standing there, arm in arm with her father, and she looked like a goddess. She was wearing a beautiful white dress with golden details and on her head she wore a white and green coronet of flowers.
Music started playing, and she started walking towards the altar with her father. He smiled as he gave Merida away. I grabbed her hand and looked at her. She seemed just as excited as I was. The priest started talking, but I didn’t hear what he was saying. Merida was too distracting.
‘Do you, Gawain of Orkney, take Merida of DunBroch, to be your lawfully wedded wife? Do you promise to support and help her, be by her side for ever and above all, love and cherish her?’ the priest spoke. ‘I do,’ I said and smiled. ‘Do you, Merida of DunBroch, take Gawain of Orkney, to be your lawfully wedded husband? Do you promise to support and help him, be by his side for ever and above all, love and cherish him?’ ‘I do,’ Merida said happily.
The priest grabbed a small pillow, on which the rings were lying. I quickly grabbed the ring and put it on her finger. I wanted this to be over, I wanted her to be my wife! She grabbed my ring and did the same. We both looked at the priest, in the hope that this was all. He smiled when he saw our hopeful faces. ‘Then I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.’
Merida smiled, grabbed my both cheeks and pressed her lips against mine. I put my arms around her waist, and kissed her back. My wife. The guests started clapping and I grabbed her hand. Together we walked outside, where the party would take place. Merida looked at me. ‘We’re married,’ she said excitedly. ‘I know, I can’t believe it either,’ I said and kissed her again.
The guests had all come outside, and everyone was having a good time. Everyone congratulated us, and I felt happier than I had ever felt. Suddenly, I saw him. I grabbed Merida’s hand, and walked towards him.
‘Uncle Lyall?’ I asked. ‘Gawain!’ he said and firmly hugged me. ‘I didn’t know you were coming!’ I said. ‘I didn’t want to miss my nephew’s wedding day!’ he said. ‘I’m so glad you could make it,’ I said. ‘Merida, this is Lyall, my father’s brother. He’s in charge of Orkney now.’ He kissed her hand. ‘Welcome to the family,’ he said. ‘Thank you,’ Merida said and smiled.
Merida had returned to the other guests, but I had sat down on a bench with my uncle to chat a little more. ‘So, how are things in Orkney?’ I asked. ‘It’s okay. But everyone still misses your dad, and even though they tell me I’m a good king, I know I’m nothing compared to your father. He was the greatest King the Orkneys have ever known.’
‘But when are you two coming to visit? She can’t become queen if she’s never even visited her country.’ ‘So it is true?’ I asked. ‘What?’ my uncle said. ‘That I will become the next king.’ Lyall nodded. ‘It would be unfair if the throne went to one of my sons. You’re Lot’s eldest son, which makes you the only rightful heir to the throne.’ I nodded and smiled. ‘Then we’ll certainly pay you a visit soon,’ I said.
‘You’re going to be a queen,’ I whispered to Merida, who was talking to one of her brothers. ‘What?’ she asked. ‘Come with me,’ I said and we went to a quieter place. ‘I will become the King of Orkney when my uncle dies, and maybe even sooner, since he’s actually just substituting for me. I’m certainly old enough to become King now, and now that I won’t be an active knight anymore, I could easily become King.’
Merida looked at me. ‘But I’ve never even been to the Orkneys!’ she said. ‘I know,’ I responded. ‘And that’s why we will visit the Orkneys, so that the people can get used to their future King and Queen. We will go there more and more, and when my uncle thinks the time is right, we take over. Are you okay with that idea?’ I asked. ‘It’s so soon,’ she said. ‘But I’m okay with it. We’ll be the best King and Queen the Orkneys have ever known,’ she said convincingly, and kissed me once more.
After the party, I blindfolded Merida. ‘What are you doing?’ she asked. ‘I have a surprise for you,’ I said and helped her mount Gringolet. I told the other guests to follow us, and I mounted Gringolet too.
After a long ride, I finally saw my present. It was even better than I had expected. I helped Merida with reaching the ground safely, and removed her blindfold. She couldn’t see the present, because I had turned her around.
‘Do you remember this place?’ I asked. Merida looked at the river and the forest, but didn’t seem to remember anything, until we heard the sound of a seagull. ‘Oh! Yes! We slept right there,’ she said, pointing towards the forest, ‘That time we went to the beach. Of course I remember that! It’s just, from this hill it looks different. It’s even prettier than it is down there.’
I smiled. ‘Turn around.’ Merida did what I asked and gasped. In front of us was a small castle. ‘Is this...ours?’ she asked. ‘Yes,’ I said. ‘Oh Gawain, it’s beautiful,’ she said and hugged me tightly. ‘Want to take a look inside?’ I asked. ‘Of course!’ she said and walked away. I told the guests to follow us, and walked towards the courtyard as well.
When we opened the big front door, we were greeted by two big wolfhounds with ribbons around their necks greeted us. ‘Surprise,’ I said to Merida. When she was done with cuddling the dogs, she looked around. ‘It’s...perfect,’ she said. ‘I couldn’t have asked for anything better.’
I was really pleased with the results as well. The living room was cosy, precisely like I had expected it to be. Together with the guests, we took a look around the castle. It wasn’t big, but we didn’t need a big castle. We just needed a place to stay, and this was exactly that.
King Fergus approached me. ‘Good work, son. It’s amazing. I’ve already said it, but you’re really a perfect son-in-law. Thank you so much,’ he said, and I thought I saw some tears in his eyes. ‘You don’t need to thank me,’ I said quickly. ‘I do,’ he said. He started whispering. ‘You see, with Merida’s personality, I thought she would never find a man, and certainly not a man who’s some sort of royal. Oh, by the way, please don’t tell Merida.’
I smiled. ‘I see what you mean. But that’s the part I like about Merida. She’s valiant, and doesn’t care what others think. She’s not even afraid to tell the King of Britain her personal opinion. I think we should all learn from her.’
‘Wait...what? What has she said to Arthur?’ he asked with a worried look on his face. ‘Well, uhm, he laughed at her when she offered to fight along with the other knights. She got mad at him and said some rather nasty things,’ I said quickly. ‘Oh shit,’ Fergus said. ‘I should’ve tried better to raise her properly.’
‘I’m sure Arthur was ashamed when Merida came to save your butts,’ he suddenly said and started laughing. I wasn’t used to language like this anymore, but it was amazing to hear someone talk like my father used to, and I started laughing too.
Merida called us and the other guests for dinner, and Fergus quickly turned around and walked towards the dining room. I followed him and smiled. Today, I had not only gotten a wife, I got a father as well. I was happy that after today, he didn’t only feel like a father to me, he actually become some sort of father for me. And a pretty amazing one, to say the least.
After dinner, we danced all night. After King Arthur and the most knights had left, together with Merida’s parents and my uncle, we were together with Lancelot, Gaheris and Gareth. Together with the people I loved most.
‘I never thought you were the first one of us to marry,’ Gareth said when we sat down by the fireplace, which already was our favourite place in this castle. ‘Well, he’s always been considered Britain’s most desired knight,’ Lancelot said cheekily. ‘What?’ Merida said.
We all started laughing. ‘Before he was, well, in a relationship, all the women wanted to marry our big brother,’ Gaheris said. ‘I never understood that, though. I mean, there are obviously handsomer knights in Britain.’ ‘Like me,’ Lancelot said and he started laughing.
‘I actually meant me, or Gareth, but you’re okay too,’ Gaheris said. ‘But you were never actually single, so that explains why you didn’t get that title,’ said Gareth. My eyes widened. Did he mean what I thought he meant? ‘W-what do you mean?’ Lancelot said quickly.
‘Come on, Lance, everybody knows it,’ Gaheris said. Lancelot sighed. ‘I don’t want to, really, but my heart is just stronger,’ he said. ‘It’s okay, brother,’ I said. ‘As long as nobody else knows, it’s okay.’ Of course it was not okay. Of course he should stop. But I didn’t say that. He was my friend, and I could never hurt my friend.
‘I think it’s time to go,’ Gareth said quickly. I nodded, and looked at Lancelot. He looked wretched. ‘Don’t worry,’ I said to him when they left. ‘But Gawain-’ ‘Just don’t do stupid things,’ I said. He said nothing.
‘Have fun tonight,’ Gaheris said and he winked. ‘Goodbye!’ Merida said. ‘Come back soon,’ I said. ‘You’re always welcome here.’ The three knights mounted their horses. We went back inside.
‘It feels so weird to have our own house,’ she said. ‘I know,’ I said softly. ‘But it does feel like home already. It’s just perfect.’ ‘It’s always perfect when you are there,’ I said with a smirk. She rolled her eyes and laughed.
Then she looked at me. ‘Gawain...we’re married,’ she spoke softly. ‘I know,’ I said and smiled. ‘I never thought I wanted to get married. I always thought I would stay with Angus forever, and despise the idea of bearing children. And when I started catching feelings for you, I thought that I was sick or something, and that I would grow over it. But as the feeling grew, I started feeling the urge to be by your side forever. And now, from this day forward, I will be, and I couldn’t be happier. We will be together forever. You will be the father of my children, and I have no doubt that you’ll be the best father they could ever wish for.’
I smiled. ‘And I’m, as I’ve already told you, so happy that you’ll be my Queen. And you’ll be one badass queen, that’s for sure.’ She smiled, and hugged me. ‘I love you, Gawain.’ I smiled. ‘And I you.’
The next morning, I woke up. I expected to see Merida next to me, but she was gone. I sat upright, and to my relief, I saw her standing in front of the window. I smiled, and got out of bed. ‘Good morning, beautiful,’ I said as I wrapped my arms around her waist.
‘It’s just so surreal,’ she whispered. ‘Do you mean you want to leave me already?’ I asked. She turned around. ‘Of course not! I love you and you know that. It’s just weird that I’m suddenly married. But I like the idea. I like the idea of being married to you.’
‘I like it too, and it’s been less than twenty-four hours. I bet all those years we will be married, will all be even better,’ I said. She nodded, and turned around again, to look at the river, the forest and the sea in the distance.
‘A new part of our lives has begun,’ I said. ‘We just need some time to get used to it.’ ‘I think I’m going to like this part more than all the previous ones,’ Merida said. I smiled. ‘Have I ever told you you’re amazing?’ I said. ‘Only fourteen times the past day,’ she said with a smile. ‘Well, you are. You really are. And I’m really looking forward to exploring this new part of life together with you.’