Into the open Air

Merida

Gawain had already left. He had changed completely since the disaster that had taken place. I couldn’t blame him for being angry, but I thoroughly disliked the cruel, creepily angry Gawain he was now. The farewell this morning was weird. Our love was completely gone, but if Lancelot killed him, I would still miss him to death. So I decided to go after him.

I looked at the sea from the watchtower. I could see a lot of men and horses gathering on the beach, standing next to a couple of boats. I hated the fact that Gawain was one of them.

Suddenly, I saw another figure, and another boat on the beach, far from the others. I didn’t know why, but I felt like something was not right. I went downstairs, to the room where our little boat was stored. And just as I expected, it was gone. I grabbed my belongings, enough to survive for a month, my bow, arrows and a sword. I prepared Angus, and we galloped towards the mysterious figure.

I cleared my throat when standing behind him or her, because he or she didn’t notice my presence. The person turned around, and my eyes widened. ‘Guinevere? What are you doing here? I thought you were in Brittany, with Lancelot! You need to get out of here, Guinevere!’ I said.

‘I’m going to Lancelot right now,’ she said. ‘Can you sail?’ I asked. ‘No,’ she said. ‘But I’m sure it’s not that hard.’ ‘I’m coming with you, I said immediately. ‘No, I can manage,’ she said. ‘I’m sure you can,’ I said, trying to hide the fact that I was lying, ‘but I want to go with you. You want to be with your beloved if he is killed by mine, and I want to be with my beloved if he is killed by yours.’

‘I understand,’ she said. ‘Let’s go then.’ We prepared the boat. I sent Angus back home, and hoped he wouldn’t pass the other knights. And after some minutes, we set sail. To Brittany.

‘Did you steal our boat?’ I asked when we were at full sea. I had forgotten all about it because I had been so surprised to see Guinevere. ‘No, I asked Gawain to help me, and he did,’ she said. ‘You asked Gawain? He didn’t tell me anything. But he’s acting so weird lately, so it’s not that weird,’ I sad. ‘I noticed that he has changed a lot. He’s become so vengeful, so different from the calm, polite knight he used to be,’ Guinevere said sadly.

Hours later, we still were on open sea. ‘How weird is it, that one of us will return without our loved one,’ I said. I knew it wasn’t a very happy prospect, but I needed to get it off my chest. ‘If Lancelot is killed, I don’t think I’ll return to Britain. And if he survives, I think I’ll stay with him as well,’ Guinevere said.

‘I don’t know if I can live without him,’ I said. ‘Even though he’s been acting so weird, and that I hate the person he is right now, I don’t think I could be happy ever again. He’s become such a big part of my life.’ ‘I know what you mean,’ Guinevere said. ‘Let’s just hope that Gawain forgets his anger as soon as he sees Lancelot.’ ‘I wouldn’t count on that,’ I said.

‘Maybe we should try to stop the fight,’ Guinevere said. ‘I promised Gawain not to intervene, but I don’t think I can handle watching the one I love getting slaughtered by someone without doing something, and I assume you can’t as well.’ ‘I don’t think I can, but I think he would just kill us when we try to stop them.’

‘I’m sure he would never kill you,’ Guinevere said. ‘You haven’t witnessed him the past days. He could easily kill me.’ A quick tear rolled down my cheek. I hoped Guinevere didn’t see it, but unfortunately, she had. ‘Don’t cry, Merida. He’ll be alright. He’ll return to the Gawain you know, I’m promise,’ she said. I nodded. ‘I just hope that that doesn’t mean he has to die.’

It was evening when we arrived on the beach. ‘Do you see that?’ I asked her, pointing at what I saw. She squinted at the place I was pointing at, and then gasped. ‘Is that their ship?’ she asked. I nodded. ‘Let’s drag our boat to the woods, so they won’t find it. They are probably nearby, so be quiet,’ I whispered.

We found a safe place in the woods. I told Guinevere to collect sticks and moss. I dug a hole, and pushed the boat into the hole, so that the highest spots of the boat were even with the ground. When Guinevere returned, I made a fire, while she put the moss in the boat to create a place to sleep.

After we had dinner in silence (a squirrel and two birds I had caught), we lay down in the boat, and covered the top with sticks so we were protected from rain, animals and people. And like that, a princess and a queen went to sleep in a forest where their loved ones would fight each other in the morning.

I had already caught and roasted some rabbits when Guinevere woke up. ‘That was the worst night I’ve ever had,’ she said and yawned. ‘You’ll have to deal with it, I’m afraid,’ I said smirking. ‘Sorry,’ she said and blushed. ‘I’m just not used to nights like these.’

After breakfast, we went searching for the knights. I had my bow, to make sure we had something to eat in the evening, and to protect us from possible harm. I had given Guinevere my sword, although I wasn’t sure if she would be able to use it.

We searched all day, but not even a sign of anyone or anything. They had their horses, so they were way faster than we were. It was then that I realised that I had no idea where Lancelot was, and where the knights were going. I just hoped we wouldn’t be too late.

The next two days, we searched, and both without success. The third day, I sensed that Guinevere was about to give up, but I told her to keep going. However, I wasn’t too sure we would ever see them again.

Suddenly, we heard some sounds. We immediately looked at each other, and silently ran towards the place the noise was coming from. We hid behind a bush, and saw what was going on. We saw a castle on our left hand, King Arthur and some knights on our right hand, and Lancelot and Gawain right in front of us.

They were both wounded, and Lancelot seemed tired and unwilling to fight the man he still saw as his best friend. And Gawain looked terrifying. The hate in his eyes made him look like a devil, and I saw it gave him energy. But I knew these emotions would take a lot of energy, and because Lancelot was only defending, he would have more energy in the end and he would easily be able to kill him.

I looked at Guinevere, but she was gone. She had stood up, and walked right towards the two fighting knights, who were both very surprised to see her. ‘What are you doing here?’ Lancelot whispered.

Guinevere cleared her throat. ‘I am here to end this,’ she spoke fiercely. She turned to her former husband. ‘Arthur, I’ve known you for a long time, and I’ve discovered you have many sides. But never have you been vengeful. How can you watch your two best knights, and two of your best friends, killing each other, without doing anything? You can stop this, Arthur.’

Stupid Guinevere. King Arthur would step forward and behead her with just one swing of his sword. But he didn’t. Apparently his anger had vanished. ‘I just... I don’t know anymore,’ he sighed.

Guinevere turned to the fighting knights. ‘I won’t have you two fighting over me,’ she said. ‘We’re not fighting over you, stupid woman!’ Gawain shouted. I immediately stepped forward. ‘Gawain!’ I shouted. Everyone seemed even more surprised.

‘Stop this, Gawain,’ I said calmly. ‘I won’t let you kill him, and I won’t let him kill you.’ ‘If you keep taking his side, you can die together with him, if you want,’ he said, with fire in his eyes. Everyone gasped, because they weren’t used to Gawain saying those things.

I got really angry. All those days, I had dealt with the fact that Gawain was treating me like shit, but now I had had enough. ‘I won’t let you talk to me like that, Gawain,’ I said. ‘Of course I’m not taking his side! Of course I don’t think it’s good what he has done! But-’

‘But I didn’t mean to do it,’ Lancelot said. ‘It was one big mess, Gawain! You know that I would never kill them. They were my friends! They were brothers to me as well! And I can barely live with the guilt, but the fact that my best friend, my only brother, hates me, and wants me to die is even worse. Please, Gawain, I know it’s all my fault, and I know you’ll never forgive me, you have the right to never forgive me. But please, don’t fight me. I don’t want to kill my best friend, my blood brother, just because of a stupid accident. I beg you, Gawain, go home, and continue living your life.’

For a moment he was silent, but then he pushed me aside and prepared to attack Lancelot again. ‘GAWAIN,’ I shouted. ‘YOU LISTEN TO ME, NOW!’ He turned around and looked at me. His face would have looked funny under other circumstances, because it displayed a weird mix of hate and a small child who had been disobedient.

‘I won’t let the baby grow up without a father,’ I whispered. ‘What baby?’ he shouted, but then it seemed to dawn on him. ‘Are you...?’ he asked, but then he shook his head. ‘You’re lying!’ he said. I remained calm. ‘Gawain, I want you to be a good example for our child. Please, do you want your child to be filled with hate? Do you want it to grow up without a father?’

He was silent, so I grabbed his hand and placed it on my belly. ‘I’m pregnant, Gawain. You need to be a good example. Your story should be told as a good example, not as a way to scare our child.’

He looked at me, and the tears welled up in his eyes. He sat down on his knees, kissed my belly and started crying. I crouched down and hugged him, crying as well. ‘Come back to me, Gawain. Set your hate aside, come home, and be the best father our baby could ever wish for,’ I whispered. ‘I will, I promise,’ he whispered back, and I smiled, for his true self had finally returned.

When we had finally thrown out all of our emotions, I stood up and looked around. Everyone was looking at us. I saw Lancelot, with tears in his eyes. Never had I seen him cry, even during his trial he was keeping himself together. He smiled when he saw that I was looking at him. ‘Thank you,’ he whispered.

I didn’t see the one who murdered our brothers when I looked at Lancelot. I just saw Lancelot, the handsome, funny knight who had been a good friend of mine the past year. Should I hate him? He killed Gaheris and Gareth, but I didn’t feel like had. I hesitated for a moment, but then I smiled back. ‘It’s okay,’ I whispered.

Gawain had stood up as well, and he smiled. I had already forgotten what his smile looked like. Everything was fine, I realised. I couldn’t be happier.

Lancelot stretched out his arm, to shake Gawain’s hand. Gawain looked at it, but the softly shook his head and walked away. Lancelot seemed rather hurt, but I knew he understood what Gawain was going through.

An hour later, the other knights were preparing the ship to go back to Britain. ‘Are you coming with us?’ I asked Guinevere. ‘I talked to Arthur, and he said it was okay if I stayed here with Lancelot. I know he is still angry, but he says that it’s better to accept my choice than to remain angry forever.’

‘Wow,’ I said. ‘You do realise that you’re very lucky he’s so forgiving, don’t you?’ ‘Yes, I do. He might not be the love of my life, but I’ll always admire him,’ she said. ‘Merida, could you do me a favour? Will you keep an eye on him when you’re back in Britain? I know he’s a grown man and all, but I don’t want him to do stupid things because he is sad.’

‘I promise,’ I said. Lancelot joined our conversation. ‘They’re about to leave,’ he said to me. I nodded. ‘Goodbye, you two. And the best of luck,’ I said. I hugged Guinevere, who went back to the castle where Lancelot had hid for the past week.

‘Do you think Gawain will ever be able to forgive me?’ Lancelot asked when Guinevere was gone. ‘I’m sure he will,’ I said. ‘It’s not a little thing, you know. It will take a lot of time. But I’m sure that, in the end, he will be able to forgive you.’ ‘I hope you’re right,’ Lancelot said softly.

I smiled. ‘I’ve got to go. Take care, Lancelot,’ I said. He smiled as well. ‘Goodbye, Merida. I know Gawain is in good hands. And I wish you two, sorry, three, all the happiness and health in the world,’ he said, looking at my belly. ‘Thanks,’ I said. We gave each other a quick hug. Lancelot smiled. ‘Farewell, sister.’


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