Book 1 The Queens of Love and Beauty

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Thirteen.

March the 19th 281.

One Month and Two Weeks Pregnant.

Myself and Lya were stood beside my father in the Great Hall, Rhaegar knelt before us. Gwen and Merlin stood in the crowd.

“Do you solemnly swear to govern the people of this kingdom and its dominions according to the statutes, customs and laws laid down by your forebears?” My father said.

“I do, Your Grace.” Rhaegar said.

“Do you promise to exercise mercy and justice in your deeds and judgments?”

“I do, Your Grace.”

“And do you swear allegiance to the Tower of Joy, now and for as long as you shall live?”

“I, Rhaegar Targaryen, do pledge life and limb to your service and to the protection of the kingdom and its peoples.”

“Now being of age and now heir apparent, from henceforth, you shall be Crown Prince of the Tower of Joy.”

The crowd applauded, Merlin smiling proudly at Rhaegar. Rhaegar stood and facing the crowd. I could hear Gwen and Merlin talking, so I honed my listening, listening only to them.

“So, Merlin Snow, how does it feel to be servant to the Crown Prince of the Tower of Joy?” Gwen asked.

“Washing his royal socks will be even more of a privilege.” Merlin said.

“You’re proud of him, really. Even though you complain about him constantly.”

“I am not.”

“You are. I can see it in your face.”

“Those socks are very clean! Of course I’m proud of them.”

A Black Knight on a horse burst trough the stained glass window. Rhaegar and the knights drew their swords.

“What in the devil’s name?” My father said.

The horse walked to Rhaegar and the Black Knight threw down a gauntlet of silver. My father saw the crest on the Black Knight’s shield. Rhaegar sheathed his sword to pick up the gauntlet, but another knight got there first.

“I, Ser Owain, accept your challenge.” Ser Owain said.

“Single combat. Noon tomorrow. Till the death.” Tristan, the Black Knight said, then riding away.

Later when Lya and I had changed, Rhaegar came to speak with us. Lya and Rhaegar were stood, I was sat on the bed, Gwen stood next to Lya.

“He shouldn’t have picked up the gauntlet!” Rhaegar said.

“So put an end to it.” Lya said.

“The challenge has been taken up. The fight cannot be stopped.”

“Then fight in his place.”

“I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“Owain picked up the gauntlet. Owain is the one who must fight. That’s the Knight’s Code. He knew that.”

“But it’s a fight to the death!”

“I know.”

March the 20th 281.

Rhaegar and Merlin helped Ser Owain prepare for the fight. Lya, myself and Gwen had been seated already. Rhaegar walked out on the field, looking up at the knight.

“The fight shall be to the knight’s rules! To the death!” Rhaegar said, sidling into the stands. “Let the battle commence!”

Tristan and Owain began to fight. They locked in a fierce battle, each taking blows, Tristan dominating the fight.

“Come on, Owain!” Gwen said.

“One well aimed blow!” Rhaegar said.

Owain stabbed Tristan in the gut. Gwen held her hands over her face, not wanting to watch. Tristan kept fighting and killed Owain, the crowd gasped in horror. Tristan faced the crowd and took off his glove.

“Who will take up my challenge?” Tristan asked.

Tristan threw down his gauntlet. Rhaegar tried to bolt over the barrier of the stands, but my father grabbed him. Another knight jumped over the stands and took up the gauntlet.

“I, Ser Pellinor, take up the challenge.” Pellinor said.

“So be it.” Tristan said, then exiting the arena.

Afterward, I walked to the council chambers with Rhaegar, going to see my father, who had gone there just before we noticed he had been gone. We walked in, shutting the door behind us.

“Why did you stop me?!” Rhaegar asked.

“We have to give our knights the chance to prove themselves.” My father said.

“Have you seen how this stranger fights?!”

“And Ser Pellinor is more than a match for him.”

“He’s not recovered from the wound he suffered at Harrenhall when we escaped.”

“I can’t help that.”

“So you send him to his death?”

“It was his choice to take up the gauntlet! I am not to blame her, that Ser Pellinor’s.”

Later I walked outside the physicians chambers, not listening at first, but then I heard them talking. I put my ear to the door, honing my hearing senses, so I could hear them from behind the door.

“Tristan Knight was the brother of Olive. Marcus’ wife.” Lyon said.

“Roxy’s mother?” Merlin asked.

Tears began to streak down my face. I had an uncle. I had never been told about him. I slid down the door, still listening.

“Olive is still alive, at Winterfell by now. Back in her home, the Winter Rose castle. Tristan blames Marcus for almost letting Olive die and came to the gates of the Tower of Joy and challenged him.”

I looked down at the floor, then back up at the worried looking, Lya, whom most likely had heard everything they had said so far. She sat beside me, holding me in her arms, listening to them with me.

“To single combat.” Merlin said.

“Marcus won. But in his dying breath, Tristan cursed the Tower of Joy to one day suffer his return. I thought it was the ramblings of a dying man.” Lyon said.

“Men don’t just rise up from the dead, though, no matter how angry they are.”

“It’s my guess we’re dealing with a wraith.”

“A wraith?”

“The spirit of a dead man conjured from the grave.”

“So this is the work of a sorcerer?”

“Powerful magic can harness the grief and rage of a tormented soul and make it live again.”

“How do we stop it?”

“We can’t. Because it’s not alive, no mortal weapon can kill it.”

“Surely there must be something.”

“Nothing can stop it until it has achieved what it came for.”

I held tight to Lya, not wanting Merlin to ask the next question, wishing the question didn’t have to be answered. I knew what it was that the Black Knight had come for, what my uncle had come for.

“And what’s that?” Merlin asked.

“Revenge.” Lyon said.

“On the Tower of Joy? What does that mean for Ser Pellinor?”

“I’m afraid it doesn’t look good.”

March the 21st 281.

Ser Pellinor fought Tristan in the arena. Ser Pellinor was doing well and the crowd cheered. Ser Pellinor ran Tristan through. Tristan did not fall at all, not even staggering.

“The sword went in. I’m sure of it.” Gwen said.

“I saw too.” Lya said.

Tristan killed Pellinor, the crowd groaning. Tristan turned to the crowd once again. Rhaegar threw his gauntlet down, my father tried to stop it.

“I, Rhaegar Targaryen, challenge you.” Rhaegar shouted at him, angrily, hungry for this fight.

“So be it.” Tristan said.

“Single combat. Noon. Tomorrow.”

Myself and Rhaegar were stood waiting in the council chambers for my father. He entered after about ten minutes, in which Rhaegar and I had just glanced at each other awkwardly. And I knew he knew about my uncle, and that my father had killed him.

“How could you be so stupid? I’ll revoke the challenge.” My father said, as he walked up to us.

“No. The Knight’s Code must be upheld. That’s what you told me to do, Your Grace.” Rhaegar said.

“This is different.”

“Once the challenge has been laid down it cannot be rescinded.”

“You are Crown Prince.”“There cannot be one rule for me and one for all the rest.”

“I forbid you to fight.”

“You want me to prove that I’m worthy of the throne. I cannot do that by being a coward.”

“No, Rhaegar, this will be your death!”

"I’m sorry you have so little faith in me, Marcus.”

Rhaegar then left, and my father could not look at me. He averted his gaze, looking at the chair I was now lent on. I knew he knew that I knew about my uncle.

“Who told you?” My father asked.

“I heard it in passing. I was passing Lyon’s chambers. I heard him say that the Black Knight, is Tristan Knight, he’s my uncle. You killed my uncle, my only uncle.” I said, almost shouting.

“I had no choice!”

“Is that what you tell yourself each night? That you had no choice but to do so? You could have make it better. You choice to pretend like nothing happened.”

“She was sick. I could not have helped her. She wanted to die, she was trying to drown herself.”

“Thank you, for the last piece of the puzzle. Why did mother want to kill herself? Everyone has their reasons!”

“She had been kidnapped by a tribe of men. They had taken her. We’ve been here since we died in our real world. The world we know and love.”

“How are you both alive? You were dead. You killed yourself, and mother....a plane crash.”

“We know people like you, who can heal people. They took our bodies, and healed us from our deaths. We are alive because of your mother’s people, the Lux Veritatis. Konstantin found us, and he took us to the people who had those powers.”

“Your lying.” I said in denial.

“You know I’m not.”

“Kurtis is never going to forgive me if I get back late. If I don’t find them in the right time, then he will hate me for the rest of our lives. Holding it over me that I missed my girl’s lives.”

“You can’t go back. There’s no way to back. Your mother knew it, she saw it. She saw that there is only one way to get back. This is the world we know and love, it is just so many years into the past. We time traveled, we didn’t move to another planet, or galaxy.”

“Is everyone going to survive?”

“Yes, because you will bring them all back. Everyone one you want back, alive, you will have alive.”

Lya and I went up to Rhaegar’s room, we both didn’t want him to fight, and we were going to tell him. We were unstoppable when we wanted something, but if we knew there was nothing we could do, there was nothing we could do.

“We don’t want you to fight tomorrow.” Lya and I both said.

“You#re worried about me?” Rhaegar asked.

“I don’t know what it is. Please. We’re begging you.” Lya said.

“I have to do this. It’s my duty.”

“We understand.” Lya and I both said.

March the 22nd 281.

I was not present for the battle. I was laid in bed with Rhaegar when I woke, but someone had taken my uncle out. They had killed him again, and now he would not haunt us any more.

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