Recently my novel, Captain Guinevere, has received some reviews, and I’d like to share them with you. It’s been very exciting for me to see my book reviewed, and has made me more aware of what needs to be edited in the sequel. Here are the links to the reviews:
And Leona over at inkgirlwords did a video review!
I’d like to say thank you to all of these bloggers for their reviews- it means a lot.
Ok, so today I’d also like to share one of my short stories. I wrote it around a year ago, I think, and it is sort of a prequel to Captain Guinevere, but you don’t have to have read the book to understand the short story.
Even in Death
(c) Copyright Clara Bennet 2017
He throws his head back, laughing. “Oh, Isolde, you’re so funny!”
I smile, green eyes glinting in the sunlight. “Regenold, I love you.” It’s something we tell each other every day.
“I love you, too.”
“I’ll race you to the glade!” I take off on my chestnut mare, cantering smoothly through the forest.
I beat my lover to our clearing. There’s a creek, and you can always hear the birds. Regenold and I are the only ones who know about it. This is our place.
I dismount and walk over to the creek, kicking off my shoes and stepping in, letting cool water flow over my feet. Regenold joins me, and we stand on the same rock, close together. His lips brush mine, and I feel myself start to fall, but he catches me in his muscular arms.
“Thank you,” I whisper, running a hand through his soft, curly black hair.
“Of course.” He kisses my forehead.
I never want this to end. This bliss- it’s wonderful.
We stay for an hour, talking, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company. But all too soon, we must return home.
When we reach the edge of the forest, we part ways.
“Goodbye, Sir Regenold,” I say.
He leans over and plants a kiss on my cheek. “Goodbye, Lady Isolde.”
He rides away, towards his mansion, and I return to the stables belonging to my family.
“What have you been doing, Izzy?” My little brother, Ian, appears as I dismount. “Kissing Regenold?”
My being in love with the knight is no secret. “It’s none of your business, and don’t call me “Izzy”,” I snap.
He responds by making kissing noises. And then he shouts it to all of the stable hands, “Izzy kissed Reggy! Izzy kissed Reggy!”
“Shut up!” I yell. “And it’s “Sir Regenold” to you.”
He doesn’t stop. Nearly ready to strangle him, I hand my horse to a servant and head inside, walking to my bedroom.
Jenny, my servant, greets me. “How was your time with Sir Regenold?”
“Wonderful,” I breathe in response, falling across the plush pillows on my bed. “Where’s Iliana?”
“I haven’t seen her,” Jenny answers.
“That’s odd; she usually greets me when I return.”
My mother, Ilissandra, rushes in. “Isolde, thank goodness!” She hugs me tightly.
“Mother? What’s wrong?”
“It’s Iliana- she’s been kidnapped!”
“What?” It couldn’t be- my sister could not have been captured.
“Come, come; the Council is assembling.”
I follow my mother into the Council chamber. My father, Lord Isaac Anouk of Oska, is at the table’s head, and Regenold is already there. I take my seat beside him, and the other members come in and take their places. Father begins to pace the room.
“My daughter, Iliana,” he begins, “has been kidnapped.”
Gasps from around the room.
“It is unknown who took her, but she was last seen walking with her maid. The servant escaped and made it back to tell us what had occurred.”
“What is to be done?” Sir Brian asks. He strokes his beard.
“I need someone to rescue her. I’d go myself, but I have a very important meeting with the King tomorrow.”
“I’ll go,” Regenold volunteers.
“No,” I start to say. He could die- or worse. But that is the way of knights, isn’t it? They risk their lives.
“Thank you, Sir Regenold. You will be rewarded.”
“That won’t be necessary,” my beloved replies. He rises from his seat. “I’ll go saddle up my horse.” He walks towards the door.
“The Council of Oska is adjourned,” Father says.
I run after Regenold. “You can’t go- you could die!” I cry.
He turns around, pulls me to the side of the hall. “I know.”
There’s no changing his mind, I know it. “Be safe,” I whisper.
He kisses me softly. “I will.”
“Come back to me.”
“I will, Isolde,” he murmurs. “I promise.”
He kisses me once more, and I feel a necklace go around my neck.
“What’s this?” I ask, fingering a skeleton key charm.
“My father gave this to my mother when he first told her that he loved her. She left it to me in her will, with the hope that I would give it to the woman I love. Father said that it was the key to his heart; now it’s the key to mine.”
“Thank you,” I murmur, knowing how valuable this must be to him. And now he is giving it to me, a token of his love.
We walk to the stables, hand-in-hand, and I help him tack up.
“I should go,” he says when we’ve finished. “There’s only a few more hours of daylight left.”
I put my arms around his neck, drawing him close to me.
“I love you,” I whisper.
“I love you,” he replies, a hand in my fiery red hair. “I’ll come back, Isolde. I promise.”
I kiss him, intending for it to be quick, but I linger. This could be the last time I ever taste his lips.
He pulls away. “I have to go, my love. I love you.”
He mounts his horse and rides away. And I pray to every god I know of that he’ll come back.
“Isolde!” Iliana rushes into my room and hugs me.
I draw her close, breathing in the scent of her golden hair. “Iliana, are you all right?” I kiss her cheek, so glad to have her back.
Mother comes in, her face solemn. “He’s gone, Isolde.”
“Gone?” I repeat. The look on her face confirms the worst.
The tears- hot, wet, salty tears- flood my face; I’m on my knees, screaming my sorrow to the world. This can’t be true; he can’t be gone; he promised…
“He promised he’d come back!” I yell. “He promised!”
Iliana tries to comfort me; I shake her off. Mother hands me an elegant envelope and then leaves with my sister.
“No,” I murmur to myself. “He can’t be dead. He simply can’t be.”
I rip open the letter and read slowly.
I’m so sorry. I know I promised to come back, but I haven’t. My love, forgive me. I beg you, Isolde.
Do not let my death prevent you from loving others. Do not blame anyone for my death. Be happy, my beloved Isolde. For me. Find someone else who will love you as I have.
I love you. More than anyone else, I love you. Your name is precious to me; every kiss worth more than gold. Oh, Isolde, I wish I was there to hold you. Never forget me, my love, and remember that I will always love you, even in death.
With all of my love,
I trace the letters of his name, tears falling onto the paper.
“I love you,” I whisper, kissing the page.
I change into a black dress, letting my hair hang loose, and touch the necklace he gave me. I would fulfill his last wishes. At the very least, I would try.
The sun is shining brightly as my family and the people of Oska gather in the town square. I look at the bright blue sky, hating how happy it looked. It mocked my grief.
Regenold’s body had never been found, so his armor and a shroud had been lit on fire. I kneel down beside the fire, tears falling softly. I’ll never cease to love him, even in death.
(c) Copyright Clara Bennet 2017
Please let me know what you think of “Even in Death” down in the comments!
Thank you all for reading!