The Queen's Command

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Chapter 5

Maddoc’s sense of reality was warped at the moment. All he was aware of was himself and Anwen. He could not get enough of kissing her or have her close enough to him. The feel of her around him pushed his desire to heights he had not known. It had been much too long since he had loved her. Any fears or doubts he had were forgotten. All that mattered was her and their mutual love and pleasure.

As he loved her, he whispered her name, thinking that she was truly his wife. They would never be forced to separate. He could never be taken from her because they were tied together by the law, their gods, and love. She gasped his name and it made him want to feel even more of her. He shifted so he could completely lose himself in her.

He held her to him tightly as she whimpered in his ear, “Maddoc, I can’t, it’s too much.”

He could barely make out what she was saying, and he couldn’t fully process it. He was so oblivious to anything but the sensations and emotions that flowed through him.

“I’m sorry,” he gasped. He couldn’t stop. He knew even if he tried, he wouldn’t be able to pull away from her. He buried his head into her neck as he felt himself reach his end. Deep within her, he found his release as he kissed her neck.

As the world came back into focus he realized Anwen was very still in his arms. He opened his eyes and raised his head to see her eyes were closed and she was limp against him. He laid her down gently and rolled off of her, reaching up to stroke her cheek. Her eyes fluttered open, and she looked over at him with a small, tired smile.

“Anwen, I’m so sorry,” he said.

She leaned over and kissed him gently. “Why are you sorry?”

“I should have stopped. I should have realized what I was doing to you.”

She gave a quiet laugh. “If you would have stopped, I think it would have been twice as bad. You do not need to worry; I am very well. It was all just too much to take.”

He rolled over on his back and closed his eyes. “I didn’t mean to hurt you. This is what I was afraid of.”

She moved closer to him and put her hand on his chest. “You did not hurt me, Maddoc. Far from it. I was just overcome with everything.” She paused for a few seconds. “I am your wife, and you are my husband. I don’t know why it made such a difference, but to me it did. I felt connected to you in some new way as you loved me. The feelings you stirred in me were not unpleasant. I have never felt such pleasure. Please don’t think you did anything to me I did not want.”

He looked down at her as she looked up at him. Pulling her against him, he kissed her forehead. “It was different for me as well. I have always enjoyed loving you. There is nothing I have experienced I love more, but knowing how we are bound together now made everything different. It made me want to show you just how much I love you and how tied to you I am.”

“So, you will not pull away from me again?” she asked as she moved up to be face to face with him.

“No, my love. I do not think it is possible. I am not sure how I went these few weeks without loving you.”

She leaned down and kissed him as he wrapped her in his arms and pulled her on top of him. He felt his desire for her start to build again. He thought he should let her rest, but her actions were showing him she had no interest in stopping. He moved his hands to her hips as she worked her way into the right position. Just before he moved to enter her, there was a knock at the door.

He growled in frustration as Anwen looked towards the noise. “I told them not to disturb us for the entire evening.”

Anwen looked down at him with a small smirk. “It must be something important then. You better go see.”

He moved his hands against her hips, not wanting to let her go. There was another knock, and Anwen leaned down to kiss him. “Do not worry, my king. I am not going anywhere.”

He let his hands fall off her as she rolled off him. He took a moment to compose himself before he found his shirt and pants close to the bed as Anwen pulled on a robe that was nearby. She sat on the bed, and Maddoc moved to the door. Opening it a bit he saw an anxious-looking Graves standing in the hall.

“Yes?” inquired Maddoc trying and failing to not sound irate.

“I beg your pardon, your majesty. I know you said you did not wish to be disturbed, but an important message has come. Mrs. Drivens thought you would want to see it right away. I believe it is from Quinlan.” Graves held out a letter.

Maddoc took the message and nodded. “Thank you. I will read it. If we need anything we will send for a servant.”

Anwen looked at Maddoc curiously as he sat on the bed and opened the letter. “It is from my mother.” Maddoc looked up at Anwen.

Anwen leaned forward towards him. “What does she say?”

Maddoc read the letter out loud.

Maddoc,

Your uncle knows where you are. He heard rumors of you being in the north of the kingdom and sent out some of the guards he controls. It took them many weeks to be able to traverse the northern mountains, but when they did they learned you were in the summer palace.

Your uncle has been trying to poison all of our highest lords against you. He says you have run away from your duty and do not wish to rule Calumbria. I know this is not true. I have stayed in Quinlan and fought for you. Do not worry about my safety. I have numerous guards on my side including your captain. Many lords have not turned against you, declaring that you are their king.

I am afraid of what Prince Korben might do to ensure he has the kingdom. I feel as though war might be brewing, and that would tear Calumbria apart. Right now, things are at an uneasy peace as Korben knows he does not have the support at this time. I believe his greatest wish at this moment may be to kill you. You must be cautious, and you must make your way back to Quinlan.

I have heard about what happened that day outside the palace. I do not understand it as no one could tell me all that happened. I doubt anyone, even those who witnessed the event, have any idea of what really happened. I heard about Princess Anwen’s grave injury, and the general thought is that she is dead. If this is true, I understand your desire to hide away. I can’t imagine what heartache you must be experiencing.

You must push through, my son, for Calumbria and yourself. You are the king, and you must come claim your place. I know I have not always been the best role model as a ruler, but even I worry about what will happen to our people should Korben have his way. He is still looking to unite our kingdom with both Parvilia and Lucidala. I think he might be courting both Princess Gwendolyn and Princess Meira as he tries to decide which will benefit him most. Princess Roslyn has stayed in Quinlan, and she seems to have some influence over the prince.

Do not write to me, Maddoc. Messages are being watched for, and I am sure yours would be intercepted. I am also not in Quinlan at the moment. I rode to the east of the kingdom to send a message in an effort to avoid detection. I do hope this has made it. When you come to Quinlan, you will have to be clever. I am sure you are being watched at the summer palace, and the usual roads will be surveyed as well. Find a way to avoid all detection.

I do hope to see you soon, my son. Come and be the king I know you are.

With all my love,

Queen Evalin Cadden.

Maddoc looked up at Anwen as she took the letter and read over it again quickly. “We have to go back as soon as possible, Maddoc.”

He nodded. “We will take a few days to prepare, but we will leave within three days. I had hoped to have a little more time for you to rest and to enjoy some time alone together, but it seems we cannot wait.”

She put the letter aside and scooted over to be next to him. Taking his hand she said, “I am very much recovered and ready for a journey. I would love to hide away with you for a little longer, but we have our whole lives ahead of us. Once our kingdoms are secure, there will be many times we can sneak away to be alone. I will not leave your side for any long period of time.”

He raised her hand and kissed it. “You are right. We must do what is best for our kingdoms and our people. Knowing I do have you by my side makes it easier. If you had actually died as many believed, I am not sure I could go on as my mother has requested.”

“You could,” said Anwen adamantly “You are strong, and you know your duty. It does not matter, though, because I am very much alive and ready to help you. Whatever happens, we will face it together.”

He kissed her bringing her close to him. “There is nothing to be done tonight. Let us not think of it just for a few hours. All I want to focus on is us. I want my memories of this night to be full of loving you.”

She kissed him before laying back and bringing him down with her. “Then love me, my king.”

He grinned as he lay over her. “As my queen commands.”

The next three days, they prepared for their journey. Maddoc wished instead he was able to spend his time with his new bride, but it was not to be. He vowed one day soon when all was right, he would take Anwen on a proper wedding trip, and there would be no distractions. He would spend lazy days reveling in her presence, and passionate nights loving her as she deserved.

They had to be clever and careful about starting their journey. They left the third night after their wedding. Anwen’s simple dresses were ready, and she put on a dark dress, before placing a simple cloak over her attire. Maddoc wore clothes procured for him by Graves. It was a dark shirt and light-colored pants that were more akin to a very low lord than a king. He put on an old cloak that was found in the servants’ hall, long forgotten.

Maddoc had two of his younger servants, a man and woman, dress above their station. He gave the young man his usual cloak. The young woman wore a fine gown that was his mother’s and had been left at the summer palace. He sent the two young servants out on a boat to the village. He and Anwen left on the other side of the island towards the forest where two horses waited for them in the woods with Graves.

Maddoc took a hold of one of the horses from Graves. They were not handsome horses, but they looked strong. They would do well for a journey on which both Maddoc and Anwen did not need to be noticed. All they needed were horses who were safe and quick. Maddoc had sent Graves out to find just the right type of mount, and it looked like the man had been successful.

“These horses will do for our journey, Graves?” asked Maddoc.

“Yes, your majesty. I know they aren’t the usual beasts you are used to, but they are from good stock. My brother raises strong, fast horses just outside the village. They are usually for farm work or for lower lords, but he knows how to breed them right.”

Maddoc nodded before taking a horse over to Anwen. All their packs and supplies were already secured to both animals. He took her by the waist and helped her to mount. She swung her leg over, showing the simple pants she had on under her dress. Maddoc patted her horse, looking up at her before walking to fetch his own.

“Thank you for your help, Graves. I will not forget all you and the other servants have done for us.”

“Tell, Mrs. Drivens, I will write her as soon as all is well. I look forward to seeing her and you during a happier time,” said Anwen.

“We are honored to serve you both, your majesties. I wish you a safe journey, and for a quick resolution to all the problems our kingdom face. You are our true king, your majesty, and our people know you. They will soon see what a magnificent queen you have picked as well.”

“Thank you, Graves. I am sure you will have visitors soon. Try to keep what you can about us a secret, but above all do what you must to stay safe,” said Maddoc. He looked to Anwen, and they both set out into the woods together, the bright full moon lighting their way.

They rode through the trees, keeping close to the shore of the sea. They planned to ride down the sealine towards the southeast of Calumbria. They would not have an easy journey. There were a few seaside villages and roads along the way, but much of the time they would have to keep to the forest and mountains, hidden out of sight. Maddoc knew they would have to spend a few nights outside until they could come to a safe place to stay. He had a few marked out on their journey.

They rode until just before dawn as they came to the base of the northern mountains. Anwen found a nice spot for them to hide just inside a shallow cave behind two large boulders. Maddoc saw to their horses as Anwen prepared a small fire.

“Are you hungry?” she asked as he sat next to her.

“Not really,” he answered her as she passed him a waterskin. He drank from it as she put her head on his shoulder.

“We should probably get some rest. We will need to get some sleep so we can get on the road as soon as we can after the sun rises.”

He put the wineskin to the side and dropped a kiss on Anwen’s head. “I’m sorry this is our wedding journey, Anwen. You deserve better.”

She raised her head and smiled at him. “I don’t know. Seeing how our relationship started, I think this might be the perfect way for us to spend our wedding trip. At least I have you all to myself.”

Maddoc laughed quietly and turned to her. “You are extraordinary, Anwen. Why did you ever agree to marry me?”

She leaned in and kissed him. “Because I love you, Maddoc. It is as simple as that.”

He smiled before kissing her. They lay back together against the ground. Though they both knew resting would be wise, they found there was something they needed even more.

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