King Stephen, the Silver man and Greta the Witch

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Chapter 4 - Lavender

As darkness fell, and the camp became quiet, Greta stepped down from the carriage and silently stood in the shadows. She wanted to ensure she was not observed. It was unlikely because there was a protocol about the camp, that everyone kept a distance from the King’s tent after dark.

She knew that Eustace had posted sentries on the perimeter. She moved carefully towards the cooking fires and took a half loaf of bread and hunk of roasted meat from one of the tables. She put the loaf in her shoulder bag and chewed on the meat, holding it by the bone. She wasn’t quite sure what type of meat it was, it was too dark to see. It tasted like either partridge or pheasant, but could have been any sort of wild bird. Once she had eaten her fill she tossed the bone under one of the wheels of a carriage in the outer ring. Immediately three of the dogs pounced on the meaty carcass, barking and snarling, squabbling over the scraps. The sentry turned to see, and unseen Greta slipped stealthily into the night beyond the outer ring of carriages.

She moved quickly into the tree line beyond the road and settled down to wait for the moon to rise. She could smell lavender and wild garlic in the woods, and she wanted to gather some. She tore a hunk of the bread from the half-loaf in her bag and chewed it slowly to pass the time. She closed her eyes so she could feel the presence of her Mistress the Queen Matilda and her Sisters, the witches who were part of her Mistresses’ sect. She felt their presence strongly over the distance to Winchester, and sensed they were all warm and safe in their rooms in the castle. She could even smell the incense that her mistress favoured in her room. Even though she was 30 miles away.

However here there was an even greater force that Greta could sense. She had not lied when she had told the King the night before that La Fete was a sacred place. It was where two energy lines crossed, and she wanted to go to the crossing point and deliberate. She had felt something significant was about to happen, but she could not understand the meaning. She hoped by going to the celestial crossing point on the night of a full moon may help her.

She opened her eyes and saw the moon had risen above the tree line. She finished the last morsel of bread and set-off in her lolloping run first in the direction of the lavender smell. She placed some lavender in her bag, cutting it with a small razor sharp dagger. The lavender was a gift for her Mistress. She then found the wild garlic and took a large clump. She loosened her upper garment and rubbed it on her skin. She also found some fresh foxes dung, and rubbed her shoes in the mess. It was these smells that kept the men away from her, and part of her protection.

She tightened her clothing and set-off to follow the energy line.

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