As promised, here is the first chapter of Lady Gwen. Please note that this will spoil Captain Guinevere if you haven’t read it.
Copyright (c) 2018 Clara Bennet
Chapter One: Future Monarchs
Gwendolyn Patience didn’t care about the rain. She didn’t care about her sopping clothes. She didn’t—she simply couldn’t care about anything. Her parents were dead. Her baby brother was dead. Her heart had been ripped to shreds.
How could she ever lead Elyondaya? She had, technically, already ascended the throne, and she’d inherited a war. A war to fight and an entire country to guide. And her father, Percival, had been such a wonderful king, respected by all. How could she live up to that? How could she ever be the elegant, graceful queen her mother had been, while still handling all the problems that came with being the head monarch? She was terrified, and even with a husband she knew would always be there, she couldn’t shake the feeling that she wasn’t ready for any of this.
She’d sat through her parent’s funeral, even managed to give a short speech without sinking to the floor in a mess of tears, but she was losing control now. She was grateful for everyone who’d come, the lords, ladies and their children, the major business owners, rulers of other countries, some allies, some enemies who had, despite the differences, come to respect King Percival and his country. Some had spoken to her, others had said nothing, only looked at her sadly. Ignatius’s family had come, and they were more of a comfort than anyone else. Heidi and Stella, Ignatius’s aunts and her dear friends, had grasped her hands and told her they loved her and would be there to help with anything they could. Aldric had simply pulled her into a tight embrace. Eira, Gwen’s sister, had been with the Loyal princesses for most of the funeral, but she and Gwen had spent the whole morning before crying and talking, revisiting all their memories of the parents they loved so dearly.
The sky was clouded over, rain pouring down. Ignatius, her husband, was beside her, his arm tight around her. Everyone else, save for Gwen and Ignatius, had left the funeral. And the tears would not stop falling.
If only there was no Ravenoth. If only she had never run away from her betrothal. None of this would have happened. Her parents would still be alive. Niccolo would still be alive. But she had run from her betrothal to Ignatius and found herself wrapped up in a mess with the evil faerie, Ravenoth, the universe’s enemy. But Gwendolyn would defeat her, if it was the last thing she ever did.
There was an important council meeting the next morning to discuss the best course of action for the war against Glondaya. Gwen woke up early to Ignatius kissing her cheek, and she was already nervous about what the meeting might bring.
She bathed and dressed, wearing a simple black gown that symbolized her mourning. The traditional period of mourning would last until the yet unplanned coronation.
The day’s meeting was absolutely crucial to her country’s future. It could determine whether or not Elyondaya lost the war. And if Glondaya was victorious, Ravenoth would be victorious. Gwen could not allow that to happen.
Her people would not become the faerie’s slaves.
“You’ll be fine,” Ignatius said as they walked down to the council room.
Two guards opened the doors when they arrived, and the people inside rose from their seats. Gwen’s eyes immediately found Isolde, who was to be Gwen’s chief advisor. Isolde had been a queen once, ages ago, and she knew more about Ravenoth than anyone else in the palace. She was essential to this fight.
The chateau’s council room was one of its crowning glories—Elyondaya was a country that considered the council one of the most important aspects of politics, despite being a monarchy. The room was large, with a round table in the center. Centuries-old tapestries hung from the walls, depicting the most memorable events in the land’s history. There were tall, sweeping windows to allow the utmost possible amount of natural light to fill the room.
“Please, sit,” Gwen said as she took her own cushioned seat. “I’m not officially the queen yet.”
Everyone obeyed. The lords of the cities were there, along with a few ladies and knights.
“Let’s get right to it,” Gwen said. “Have you all been informed about Ravenoth?”
Most nodded, a few shook their heads. Gwen did her best to quickly explain.
“Ravenoth is the child of Hecate, the goddess of magic, and Tempere, a time spirit. Therefore, she’s the most powerful being in existence. And she’s the one behind the war with Glondaya. Sir Florent, whom some of you will know, is working with her. Ravenoth aided in my kidnapping a couple of years ago. She killed King Percival, Queen Sofia, and Prince Niccolo.”
“How do we defeat her?” asked the Lord of Perle.
“We find her half-sister, Rosianna Scarlet. Most know her as simply Rose,” Ignatius answered.
Gwen nodded. “No one knows the location of Rose, however, and finding her is no easy task.”
“There’s no other way?” This came from Lady Aimee of Oeil-de-Chat.
“No,” Isolde said. “Only Rose is powerful enough.”
“So saving the country depends on whether or not we can find this Rose,” said Sir Landon.
Isolde’s voice was clear when she answered, “Yes.”
Unnoticed by anyone, a peasant girl stood in the council room’s overlook. She had eyes for no one but Gwendolyn. She pulled an arrow out of her quiver and nocked it onto her bowstring, and then, with flawless, unchallengeable precision, she aimed at Gwen, and released.
“Get down, Your Majesty!” a knight screamed, just as an arrow seemingly flew out of nowhere.
But it was too late. The arrow spiraled towards Gwen’s heart, about to strike her and end her life-
There was a burst of light, and for a moment Gwen was so surprised time seemed to stop—and suddenly a woman was standing in front of her, trying to gain her balance until the arrow pierced her heart.
Gwen sunk to her knees beside her. “Get the healer!” she screamed. She looked into the women’s eyes. “You saved my life.”
“Gwendolyn,” the woman whispered. “Thank you for taking care of me for so long. But I’m afraid I’ll need you again. Soon.”
And then she was gone. Vanished.
Gwen thought she heard gasps from the council, but the sound, if it had even been there, was replaced a moment later.
“Rose.” Isolde’s voice rang out as she rushed over to Gwen. “She was inside of you.”
“Rose?” Gwen asked, shaken and bewildered. “That was Rose?”
“The very same. Ravenoth’s half-sister. The only one who can defeat her,” Isolde replied.
“We have to find her,” Gwen said, her voice shaky.
“Your Majesty.” It was one of the knights.
Gwen spun around. In between the soldiers was a young, dirty black-haired girl, bound at the wrists.
“We found her with a bow and arrow on the balcony.”
“You’re Ravenoth, aren’t you?” Gwen asked.
The girl only laughed.
“Aren’t you?” Gwen repeated.
A soft nod, almost imperceptible.
“Lock her up,” Gwen commanded.
The knights held the girl by her upper arms and began to march her out of the temple.
And then the girl vanished in front of them.
Gwen sighed. She’d expected this.
“What? Where’d she go?” she heard a knight exclaim.
“She’s gone,” Gwen said, walking towards the knights. Her next words were spoken in a quiet, reverent tone. “I can’t defeat Ravenoth, not without the help of the woman who just saved my life.”
Copyright (c) 2018 Clara Bennet
I hope you enjoyed it and I will do my best to post a few more excerpts here as I continue working on Lady Gwen.