Thursday, May 20, 2010

The long awaited Part 2 of Captivating

  To read part one go here
{Note: Not everything is historically correct - I've changed a few things for story purposes ;)}  Copyright Gwyniver@Celtic Cowgirl

The maidservant soon over came her fear and scrubbed Gwyn pink. Despite her skin being scraped and scratched, she was thankful to be clean again.
  Later, standing in a towel and shivering in the damp castle draft, Gwyn was given a green gown.
  “Put this on.” The maid said, handing it to Gwyn. Then haltingly, “It was his sister’s.”
Gwyn paused as she pulled the gown over her head, her boundless curiosity piqued despite her situation.
   “What happened to her?” Gwyn gasped as the maid tightened the gown’s lacings.
  “Skinny as a broom.” Was all the maid grumbled, avoiding Gwyn’s further questions.
The maid finished Gwyn off with what seemed to her a ridiculous braid that looped over her head like a sort of tiara. On another girl, Gwyn thought it would look lovely, but on her own scalp it made her look ladylike and prim. Maybe that was the idea. She felt sick.
The maid lead her along the passageway they had first come and then down another that lead deeper into the keep, towards what Gwyn could only assume was the great hall. Panic slowly sapped her determination. She should break for it now, she thought as they passed the last door leading to the courtyard. But at the same time knew she hadn’t a chance. Especially when she thought of her brothers, undoubtedly locked away in some corner of the castle until labor was assigned to them. No, she couldn’t even try running.
  The maid halted before the doors at the end of the passage and turned to Gwyn. “You are to dine with the master,”
  “Does this “master” have a name?” Asked Gwyn scornfully, inwardly trying to quell her mounting nerves. The maid only glared and continued: “You are to behave yourself and call him ‘my lord’,” Gwyn rolled her eyes. Why not ‘my liege’, or  ‘most high’?
  “None of that funny business you were toss’n round before, ya hear. He’s done more for you than you know.”
  “Done for me?” Gwyn exploded. “The only thing he’s done for me is dump me an’ my countrymen on this - this rock - to be slaves for you English dogs! As if Richard’s taxes weren't enough..!” She would have gone on but the maid shoved her through the doors. Angrily Gwyn gave them a sharp kick. “What?” she demanded from the guards posted on either side of the oaken doors.  They said nothing, only exchanged glances after Gwyn’s back was turned.
  There was no one else in the hall, Gwyn saw. Only a long table, a few benches,  a fireplace along the far wall. Gwyn had never been inside a castle before - once she had been in the bailiff's courtyard by accident when a goat had run away - but she was surprised how bare this one was and guessed that the lord, for all his cheek, was a poor one.
  Somewhat relieved her captor hadn’t arrived yet, Gwyn immediately pulled out the pins that held her hair and shook it out again. Feeling its familiar weight  on her back gave her some courage. Come what may, she was still Gwyn.

  The doors creaked again and the Master strode in. Gwyn noted with satisfaction that he had had to wash and put on new clothes as well. But her small triumph was dashed when he sent her another of his annoying smiles. “Ah, you cleaned up rather nicely after your ducking, didn’t you?” Gwyn only scowled. He shook his head. “Come sit,” he said motioning to the bench beside his own chair. Gwyn crossed her arms. “Won’t.”
  “That’s seems a bit ungrateful after my halls have offered you nothing but hospitality.”
  “Oh, does it? Well, excuuuse me! I am as yet unfamiliar will English hospitality. Where I come from stealing someone from their home, dumping them in some bucket barely fit for sailing, and then drowning them in court ponds isn’t really considered the ideal of kindliness. And beside that I don’t even know your name, let alone the name of this -” she motioned at the castle in general. “- this horrid place.”
   The lord donned a thoughtful expression. In the glow of the fire Gwyn realized how young he was; hardly more than three years older than herself, she guessed, which startled her. To her, lords and their vassals had always been mid-thirties or more; fat and in love with their tankards and purses.
   “Very well. I will enlighten you if you eat and behave well.”
 Gwyn moved to the opposite end of the table. “Aht.” He patted the bench next to him. The guards at the door were enjoying this, Gwyn was sure. Face aflame she stalked to the bench and sat stiffly.
  “Good girl.”
Servants entered the hall bearing trays and bowls of food, placing portions in trenchers before the two seated. As they ate - one of them anyway - the lord answered Gwyn: “My name is Nolen Azure, knight of the King of England and lord of Ilairha, this fine manor in which you find yourself. Pray tell what your name is.” Grudgingly but mindful of their agreement spoke, “Gwyniveir O’Hera, daughter of James the wheel wright.” Nolen burst out laughing. “I knew it! I knew it!” Still laughing he called to one of his guards, “Ranulf! Pay up! You heard it from her own mouth!” The older looking guard grinned good naturedly and tossed the young lord a gold piece.
  “You see,” Nolen explained when he recovered. “We heard about your little encounter with the bailiff of Riely last summer. And when they hauled you off that boat I knew at once I’d met the wheel wright of Riely’s daughter.”
  Gwyn was speechless. “I - I only -,” she struggled.
   “Only beat him off with a milk bucket.” Nolen finished. For the first time Gwyn almost smiled. But talk of her home town reminded her of her family. Suddenly her throat felt tight. “Where are my brothers?”
  Nolen quieted when he saw how Gwyn had changed. He cleared his throat. “I think it’s time I make clear that I am not the enemy. Neither I nor any of my people are responsible for you and your countrymen's capture and intended slavery.” He held up a hand when Gwyn began to interrupt. “I am in the pay of King Richard who is fervently against the ransacking and pillaging of the Irish coast that continues even though we are under the same rule. When such pirates enter my port I “purchase” their captives and soon after order my soldiers to take the ship and crew and send them on to London, where they will be given trials and sentences. Meanwhile those taken from their homes are returned with a few extra coins in their purses.”
  Gwyn was silent for a long moment, pondering everything Nolen had told her. Could it really be true that they would be sent home? Just like that? ‘Thank you for helping us catch these outlaws. You can go home now. Oh, and here, have a few coins!’  It seemed unreal. At the same time hope’s warm blossom unfolded in her heart.
“But you still haven’t answered my question: Where are my brothers?” she asked again. If he was telling the truth he wouldn’t hesitate to prove otherwise now.
  “There is a ship leaving for Ireland tomorrow at dawn for them and the others.”
  She swallowed. “ ‘Them’? ‘ The others’? Do I take that to mean I am not leaving with them?”
  Nolen paused, uncertain. “Well... I had hoped you would stay. To tutor my niece.”
  This was too much. Feeling the tears come, Gwyn shut her eyes and bit her lip.
   “Eleanor has done nothing but talk of you since your little rebellion.” Nolan continued speaking faster as if it would make it less painful. “She’s nine now. I think she see you as her matriarch. She won’t take orders from anyone, saying that you certainly wouldn’t.
    “Please, Gwyn,”  She jerked as if struck when he used her name. “Six months. Six months is all I’m asking. And then - and then if you wish you can return to Ireland far richer than any bailiff ever was. Will you consider?”
  Gwyn stared levelly at the dark haired young man before her, with a slight shake in her voice she answered bitterly, “How could I refuse?”

Hope you enjoyed! Constructive comments welcome! Oh, and I am going to write and third and fourth part :) I've got ideas flowing!! ~Gwyn
(copyright Gwyniver @ Celtic Cowgirl)


  1. That was great, I love it! All I found "wrong" as that the line "Why not ‘my liege’, or ‘most high’?" was missing the "quotes". And oh, the "...I think she see(s) you as her matriarch". The s is missing. Just minor things that a writer will always just read over. :) I do it myself alllll the time. But yeah, can't wait to read what happens next! :)

  2. Good job Gwyn! I write stories too, and I like this one! =D Don't ever let yourself get discouraged, and if you do, you just tell me and I'll perk ya up. =)

  3. Thanks you two! i don't know when I'll post the next two, but hopefully soon, before life really gets going.

    And thanks Felicia for catching those little typos. :) All I did before posting was a quick read through, so I'm not surprised I missed a few things.