All Because of One
It was dark and dank in this place of God. She had lost count of how long she had been here, but a few weeks ago Marius had brought in three new people: two women and a boy child one of which was her cousin, Guinevere. She sighed. It seemed hopeless. She would die here. Not even Lady Fulucina could save her now even with the food and water she sneaks in twice a week. She shifted her weight once again to her other hip and winced. If she couldn't find a way out of here soon, she'd never be able to walk again. When the days became so horrible and her throat to dry to talk because of the torture she went through, she'd lick the walls for the little droplets that gathered there. It wasn't a lot, but it helped.
She glanced out of her little cell and saw her cousin staring back at her. She smiled at Guinevere in an attempt to cheer her up, but she was sure it came out in a grimace. Her cousin smiled back just as hopelessly. She turned her eyes to the cell further down; the little boy and his mother. The little boy was whimpering because his mother wouldn't answer him. He was also cradling his arm. It was broken. She looked back to her grimy cousin. They both closed their eyes and bowed their heads. The mother was dead and her son had yet to realize it.
She straightened out her back once again. It popped. She sighed. Her nagging headache for the past three days was finally vanishing. She closed her eyes again when a loud creaking sound was heard. The Monks were back.
As they started on their droning of Latin and prayers, there was a loud crash as if something was falling down. The Latin nonsense abruptly stopped and they heard the priests demanding who was defiling the Lord's Temple. Guinevere and her shared a glace. Her's was filled with hope and Guinevere's was a guarded hope. She had always been the more optimistic of the two. They pushed themselves as close to the walls as they could when they saw the armored men come in.
"The work of your God. Is this how he answers your prayers?" demanded a hot aggravated voice close to her. It was male. Even though she felt hope, she couldn't let herself get closure to see if they were here to help or not.
She heard another voice order, "Check for survivors."
She watched as men started to open cells and look around. She heard them call out weather they were dead or alive.
She heard another man say, "By the smell, they are all dead."
She bit her lip and tried to speak out. She cursed herself when her throat refused to let out even the smallest cry. She watched as a large man opened the boy's cell. She smiled. At least he would live.
"Arthur!" he cried out and pulled the boy out.
"You must not fear me." The man said to the boy.
Two men kneeled in front of Guinevere's cell. They stared at her for a minute, before the one in Roman armor, slashed the cell with his sword, and pulled her out.
The one with curly hair turned around, and stopped. She felt fear well up in her heart. Please, let him see me. She thought. He kneeled down before her cell and looked in. She found herself staring into blazing dark brown orbs. She smiled slightly and scooted closure. The man stood up and sung his sword. She watched in awe as the lock fell to the ground and the cell door swung down. The man sheathed his sword and held out his hand. She bit her lip and placed one of her hands in his. His hand dwarfed hers and she let him pull her out easily as if she were not a child. When she was in his arms, she sighed in relief and closed her eyes. She felt him shift her and she squeaked in pain. He froze and looked down at her. She grimaced and shifted her hips then shook her head. She hoped he'd understand. His eyes widen. He did. He quickly moved about and soon she had to close her eyes in pain. She cried out weakly as he placed her down on the ground and moved to block the sun for her. She slowly opened her eyes and found her savior, Guinevere's, and the boy's all around her, her cousin, and the boy. They were calling for water. Her eyes stayed locked with her savior's as he gentle poured water into her mouth. She greedily took the water, but started to cough quickly. She weakly pushed it away and took a deep breath.
Her savior said softly, "My name is Lancelot. You are safe, My Lady. I shall have our Healer, Dagonet, look at her hips."
She nodded and smiled as Lady Fulucina knelt by her and offered her some soft bread. She gratefully took the food. When she had a small portion, she went to Guinevere.
Then her savior, Lancelot, arrived with a very large man. She recognized him as the one who saved the boy.
He stared into her eyes and hesitantly placed his large hands on her hips. She nodded.
He muttered something to Lancelot and he yelled, "GAWAIN!"
A very muscled man with blond hair appeared. The large man, Dagonet, muttered something to him and he nodded. He looked at her and smiled reassuringly.
Lancelot knelt by her head and said, "We are going to have to put them back into their sockets. This will hurt. Are you well enough for this?"
She smiled and said softly, "If I didn't scream when he pulled them out, I doubt I'll be much louder when you put them back, Sir Knight."
Lancelot smiled back. She might have been in despair before, but she was regaining her lust for life now that she was free.
Before they started, another man upon a white horse said, "They are Woads."
Their leader apparently knew this and the others interpreted his lack of response to mean, we're still going to help them-so help.
Dagonet said, "Lancelot will hold your upper body down while Gawain and I work your lower body."
She nodded and turned her head. She winced. Marius wasn't a happy man. She smiled when Arthur threatened to kill him now and seal his fate. She wished he had killed the little Roman worm. Lancelot's grip tightened and she closed her eyes. Gawain raised her hip and Dagonet roughly swung her leg up and forward. She cried out softly and tears fell quickly down her dirty face. Lancelot placed a hand on her cheek and began to mutter comforting things into her ear. The two men grimaced when they heard her cries of pain. They hated doing this to her since she had suffered so much pain, but it had to be done. They quickly switched sides and gave her no time to realize what they had done. In a short few minutes, she was able to move her legs again. She blinked and smiled as she realized this. She looked up at the three men and smiled beautifully at them. Gawain smiled in return and nodded in welcome.
Dagonet just nodded and Lancelot picked her up and said as he put her in the wagon, "You are welcome, Lady." When she saw that her cousin and the boy were all right, she allowed herself to fall asleep.
Arthur was smiling slightly. Lancelot was constantly looking over his shoulder and the sleeping Woad woman. She was beautiful, but the look in his friend's eyes weren't of lust but of protection and admiration. If he didn't know any better, he'd say his friend of close to falling in love with the young lady.
"What's so different about this woman Lancelot? Normally you'd be complaining about us moving to slow and how they won't survive and how we should just leave them."
Lancelot swerved around and smiled sheepishly. Arthur was right. Normally, he was very opinionated about whom they could save and whom they had to leave behind. It was a job he did not like, mind you. But someone had to remind Arthur that they only could do so much in a certain amount of time.
Lancelot shrugged and replied, "Something in her eyes when I found here touched me, Arthur. She had given up all hope of being free, but she still had some hope. When she saw me, she smiled. I could have just up and walked away and you'd never know she was still there. But, her eyes…they were so pure…so bright. I couldn't just leave her. I had to help her. And just now, when I placed her in the wagon, her eyes were watching me like I was one of your Angel's of Mercy, Arthur. I've never felt like that before."
Arthur smiled to himself as Lancelot drew back to travel with the wagon that held the girl he saved. Arthur raised his head to the heavens and gave thanks to his God that his old friend was back. Lancelot had been such a giving and warm Knight in the beginning even if he was bitter about being a Knight. He had helped all who asked and asked for nothing in return. But the years, had weighed heavily on his soul. Brother after brother had died before his eyes and many more innocents had died by his hand that gave him no offence. He didn't believe that any God, who truly cared for his people, would let them suffer so, so he didn't believe in any Gods. He believed that you looked out for yourself and those you care for as well as you can. That is why he was so passionate about not coming in the beginning. This journey could very well kill them all, on that he was in agreement with his second. But, he was still a Roman Officer and he had to obey the Bishop. He glanced back at the wagon. The girl he saved was awake. Lancelot was not to be seen, but his horse was tethered to the wagon.
"How is she Dag?" he asked as he placed a hand on the girl's forehead.
The Healer of the Knights, smiled slightly at his friend and said, "She is well, exhausted is all."
"And the boy?"
Dagonet looked into his friend's eyes and saw something he hadn't seen in many years-concern for others other than the Knights.
He placed a wet cloth on the boy's head and said, "He burns."
Lancelot patted his friend on the shoulder and moved to the back to see to his charge. He placed a hand on her forehead and nodded-no fever. Her skin looked healthy enough-not malnourished. Also, she was covered in plenty of fur blankets-not cold either. She'd wake up soon too. He sighed in relief. He also shook his head. He was feeling things he hadn't felt in many years. He had never quite grown as cold as Tristran when it came to people, but he was rather closed off and dark.
He turned around and said, "Come get me when she wakes."
Dagonet nodded and watched the twin sword wielding Knight exit the wagon. He glanced to his left. The Roman woman was staring at him again. He didn't know what to do, so he busied himself with ringing out the cloth and placing it on Lucan's fevered brow.
When she awoke again, she heard Guinevere's voice, "It is a beautiful country is it not?"
Then she heard her savior's voice, "If you say so."
"And where do you come from that compares? The Black Sea? This is heaven to me."
Her savior said, "I do not believe in heaven, as I have been living in this hell."
She frowned. He sounded so sure of himself. Well, they had been taken from their homes as young boys to fight in a war not their own. She was sure, she'd think the famed Sarmatia was hell on earth too if she had been forced to go there and fight enemies not her own.
Before Guinevere to goad him further, for that was her goal she knew, she said, "Let him rest Guinevere! His opinions are his own. I'm sure you'd think the famed Sarmatia was Hell if your and his positions were switched. Let him be. Go bother someone else."
Guinevere gave her and evil eye, but did as she smartly suggested. Lancelot grinned at her.
"I see you are awake. This is good. I had just come to check up on you. We have stopped for the night. Are you hungry?"
She laughed. And boy did it feel good to laugh again! Her savior's smile grew at the sound of her laugh.
"I'm starved, Sir Knight! What's to eat? Oh, silly me! I've forgotten to give you my name! I can't have you calling me, My Lady, all the time!"
Lancelot shrugged and said, "I see no problem with it."
She laughed again and said, "So the rumors are true! You are a charmer, Sir Lancelot! But, as flattering as the title maybe, my name is Emogen."
"Emogen." He stated trying it out for himself.
He shook his head and said, "Though it is a very lovely name, maiden, I think I shall call you, My Lady."
She slowly moved to leave the wagon. Lancelot quickly jumped off his steed and helped her out. He placed his hands upon her waist and lifted her easily out of the wagon.
She smiled at him and said, " 'Tis good to know you know what my name means, Knight."
Lancelot shrugged and said, "You live here for fifteen years and you can't help but pick up the language. Emogen the maiden; I spoke truth, it is a lovely name for an equally lovely woman."
"Come, let's join the others around the fire, yes?"
She smiled and nodded.
Before she could get far, Lady Fulucina interrupted, "Not before you are washed and properly dressed."
Emogen blinked and looked down at her attire. She was in what was left of her Woad battle gear and a fur blanket. She grimaced. She was covered in blue paint, blood, other bodily fluids, and the gunk that covered the cells five walls. She glanced up at Lancelot and nodded. He bowed his head and left them.
Lady Fulucina explained, "When we stopped an hour past, I asked for a tub to bath all three of you in. Sir Dagonet was good enough to help me. In this wagon is where we shall bathe."
With the Roman lady's help, Emogen got inside the wagon and sighed in pleasure as the torn rags of her Woad clothes were removed and she submerged herself inside the warm tub of water. The lady was a gentle washer. Emogen barely felt the rag as she washed her body. After a time, she felt a shiver flow through her-though it wasn't because she was cold. She looked over her shoulder and discovered her savior staring at her with his deep brown-black eyes. They had a fire within them. Only this time, that fire was a good one that sent shivers through her entire body. She returned the stare and saw Lancelot gulp and hurriedly turn his head away. She smiled. It was good to know that she had the same effect on him that he had on her.