Parts 1, 2 and 3 are here.
The Plan Unfolds
Day dawned and at the morning meal, the young priestesses and Harry’s companions continued their lively conversations from the night before. But Rebelia and Harry were once again reserved with each other. Directly after the meal, Tréan and Maith went to exercise their horses and assist the Stable Master; Estrelia and Auralunia back to their studies with the Wise Woman. Rebelia’s lack of experience with entertaining guests made her unsure of what to do next. She eagerly accepted the High Priestess’s suggestion that she walk with Harry in the Orchard to speed the healing of his leg and then return to the Rose Garden to rest.
Unbeknownst to all, the High Priestess and High Magician knew that this meeting between Rebelia and Harry had been prearranged 300 years before by the monarchs on both sides of the Narrow Sea. It was predestined the two would meet and form an alliance between the two peoples. Though clearly, a bit of magick was required to evoke a betrothal. Two things were necessary: Harry must see beyond Rebelia’s contrariness and Rebelia must acknowledge that unlike her previous suitors, Harry would encourage her to always be herself. And both must arrive at these conclusions within the fortnight if this alliance was to succeed.
To this end, the High Priestess conjured a spell. She spread a handful of powdered rose petals onto a small round plate made of gold. She traced the names ‘Rebelia’ and ‘Hhroldgar’ and the symbol for ‘archery’ in the powder linking the two names. She intoned a few words in the arcane language of magick whilst swirling the powdered petals together. She emptied the powder from the plate into a small blue glass bottle and went to the Rose Garden where the High Magician was waiting with two goblets of water fresh from the enchanted spring. The High Priestess poured the rose powder into the goblets and placed them on a silver tray on the table. Then both withdrew behind the trellis and waited for the magick to happen.
Presently, Rebelia and Harry returned from the Orchard with a small basket of cherries. It had been quite warm in the Orchard and both were thirsty. Though Harry would never admit it aloud, his leg hurt and he was grateful to sit down. They drank the water and ate the fruit in silence. After a short time, they both felt remarkably refreshed in a curious sort of way and gazed at each other as if seeing one another for the first time. Both smiled and conversation began. Behind the trellis, the High Priestess and High Magician nodded approval.
As Harry could not yet ride but was anxious to do more than merely pick weeds or sit still waiting for his injuries to heal, he asked Rebelia if there was a practice field for archery. Rebelia was immediately in favour of this idea and called the Sergeant at Arms to arrange for bows, arrows and targets to be set up after the midday meal. They impressed each other at the practice field; both excelled at archery. More importantly, they began to see each other in a new light. And archery became their favourite activity.
As the fortnight passed, Rebelia and Harry became more at ease with each other. A true friendship developed followed by love; although neither could express their feelings in words. To be sure the bond was real, the High Priestess reversed the spell. Rebelia and Harry were still enamoured of each other; the magick that brought them together was a success. Would a proposal and agreement be forthcoming?………
The Fortnight Ends and A New Story Begins
The Wise Woman examined Harry’s leg and pronounced him healed. The Stable Master did the same for Harry’s horse. As Harry and his companions made ready to sail back to their homeland, he realised the wedding he had been sent to this land to attend was his and Rebelia’s. He bolted from the chamber, collided with Rebelia in the passage way and they both fell to the floor. She had been on her way to declare her love.
“Well”, said Harry. “As long as I am down here on one knee I wish to propose. Rebelia, I love you above all others. Would you do me the honour of becoming my wife?”
“Not the most dignified of proposals,” Rebelia laughed. “But yes, I will.”
The High Priestess and High Magician sent word to the King and Queen that their daughter was betrothed. Surprised and elated they began preparations for the wedding that would take place on the next full moon. A message was sent to Harry’s parents, who sailed across the Narrow Sea in full Faerie regalia. Both sets of parents were overjoyed at the match.
The wedding was a grand and glorious affair lasting three days, with a multitude of folk from both sides of the Narrow Sea. It was agreed by all that Rebelia and Harry would spend half the year in each kingdom. They sailed to the Isle of Mists so Rebelia could meet more of Harry’s people and learn their customs. When they returned six months later Rebelia and Harry had exciting news for her parents; news they had once despaired of ever hearing. She was with child!
Rebelia and Harry’s first child was a boy, called Hhroldgar, of course. He was much like his father with curly red hair and an engaging, outgoing personality. Two years later he was joined by a sister they called Angharad, who followed him about from the moment she could walk. As they grew, they enjoyed learning, playing and competing with their cousins from both sides of the Narrow Sea.
On young Hhroldgar’s tenth birthday, the family were living in the Isle of Mists. The King and Queen, Harry’s parents, arranged a celebration and folk from both sides of the Narrow Sea attended. Young Harry, already an accomplished rider, was presented with his own horse as was the custom in the Isle of Mists.
When the family returned to Rebelia’s homeland, Angharad insisted on learning how to ride as well. A pony was found for her and she was overjoyed. She persisted in leaving her bed chamber and sleeping in the stable with the pony. She also refused to use a saddle, riding with only a bridle in the manner of her ancestor, Queen Rebelia. When she asked for a wooden lance in order to participate in mock jousts with her brother and cousins, her parents refused. Attempting to explain there was plenty time for that later produced a small tempest for which Angharad was becoming well-known.
One day Rebelia’s entire family were gathered around the Horse-Riding Circle, watching the youngsters perform their latest riding feats. Angharad wanted to ride alongside her brother, and was unhappy being made to wait to ride with the others of her age.
Rather exasperated Rebelia turned to Harry and asked in all seriousness, “Wherever did our daughter learn to be so contrary?”
Rebelia’s parents looked at each other and smiled.
(And yes, everyone did live happily ever after!)
©Morgaine du Mer 2016