|writing fairy stories
Author: Halewyn's Lady PM
Medieval fan girl meets Queen MabRated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Adventure - Chapters: 15 - Words: 43,304 - Reviews: 60 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 01-15-13 - Published: 04-15-11 - id: 6906108
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
After many months the curse has lifted from this chapter.
I am happy to present to you: Mab in Camelot.
Thank you for reading :)
Syrinx was strolling through Camelot. None of the castle dwellers –as she called all people living in the castle- would have let her go out on her own. Luckily she had perfected her sneaking abilities in Faerie. She had snuck out of the castle in the early morning.
She was already dressed up, should she stay out longer than expected. She often forgot time even existed when she was wandering around. Something she blamed on her time spent in Faerie.
Syrinx decided she could afford herself another quick tour of the market. If she stayed much longer there would be a fair chance of getting caught.
This morning's walk had been satisfying. At the gate she had seen a storyteller, a fancy one. He wore many colours. Lush pagan symbols were drawn on his cloak. He spoke with much flair enticing children and adults alike to stay and listen. The storyteller was new in town. She doubted he would be allowed into the castle. He was too unchristian in both his storytelling and appearance. He mentioned fairies in his tale as splendorous dangerous creatures. Syrinx' heart ached for Faerie. She wanted to see it all its glory. She wanted to see Mab in all her glory. For Queen Mab was Faerie. And Syrinx would see them both rise from their ashes.
If people could only see her queen, they would never want for another God.
The Old Religion was not forgotten. She saw merchants in the town square trade jewellery, pots and pans with pagan symbols. It was the latest fashion. A lost religion now admired for its aesthetics. But some still believed, some.
Syrinx shielded her face from one of the castle's noblemen walking past her. The man was looking at the richness of the pagan patterns accompanied by his tailor.
Suddenly Syrinx knew. Pagan influences had become stronger. The latest fashion in the heart of Camelot. She ran to the castle.
Under her breath she muttered Mab's name. It gave her hope. It would strengthen her queen's existence. In no time Syrinx was back in the castle. She walked hastily through several corridors. She told herself she would not get lost. "Mab." She whispered, slightly panting. Not much later she practically ran through an empty corridor shouting her queen's name for all to hear.
"I am here." One step to the next Syrinx found herself in the throne room. The door to the Round Table opened by itself.
Syrinx ran forward. Queen Mab was standing on the table. Her gaze went around the room. She observed the room as if she was reminded of some unpleasant event. She shook it off her.
Her eyes fixed on the girl.
Syrinx hesitated. Her steps slowed down. She could not decide whether she should just go in or curtsy first. Thoughts of greeting faded when she approached the table.
"I am here." The words echoed through Syrinx' mind. Mab's voice familiar to her ears, yet a distant memory.
Syrinx stared up at her queen.
Mab's shadowy cloak was pulled around her. Mab held her in her arms.
Her queen had suddenly appeared in front of her and Syrinx had stepped forward to embrace her. The chronological order of events however was trivial. Her queen was holding her.
Mab graciously placed her hands on Syrinx' shoulders and tugged her away. "We have much to talk about."
Syrinx smiled back at her. Mab's stone encrusted garments shone before her eyes.
Mab leaned against the table. She enjoyed being this close to her warm source of worship, also known as Syrinx.
The queen was more relaxed than when they last met. Reaching Camelot was a milestone. The war for followers was not over yet, but for the first time she was certain her existence would last for at least several more months.
Syrinx lifted herself onto the table. She sat next to Mab and glanced to her from time to time. She was fully aware of her presence and still her eyes needed convincing.
"How about the princes?" The queen's fingers brushed the nape of Syrinx' neck almost in fondness.
"They are.. I am getting to know them better."
Queen Mab was staring at her. Syrinx felt obligated to continue talking. Reporting to Mab made her uncomfortable.
"The youngest, your er champion, we meet, at night,"
Syr stammered when she saw the smile "Not like .. that… we do … fight practice."
"Yes, I arranged that."
"He is teaching me the basics. I get to practice with a new sword." Syrinx continued with gleaming eyes. "I'll never match a knight, he is painfully honest about that, but …"
"Is he showing any interest in you?" Syrinx was sad to hear a slight annoyance in Mab's tone of voice. Apparently a goddess did not like to occupy herself with petty events.
"I … don't know. Not really, I think."
To Syrinx' regret the hand slid away.
"And his brother?"
Syrinx reminded herself to close her mouth.
She was a young girl who had grown up in the countryside, outside of society, surely that was a valid excuse for not knowing if a man fancied her. Or pretending not to know.
She wanted to hide behind her hands. Though for the life of her she could not think of a reason to feel like this.
The soft yet intense look did not leave Mab's face.
"I don't like.." Syrinx pulled herself together. If Mab wanted a report on the princes it did not have to be this personal. Syrinx would not even mention their names. That should put some distance between herself and her current situation. "I have been observing both of them. "
"Yes, and? "
"The champion of your choosing is the better fighter. But I believe his brother would make a better king. He has been trained for the job."
She saw Mab's eyes darken. A Christian king was out of the question of course.
"You are not for him."
"Oh I don't .." Syrinx said without the slightest hesitation.
Mab interrupted her again.
"This is for you."
The faerie queen reached into the folds of her dress. A book materialized in her hand.
Warm butterflies filled Syrinx' chest at the sight.
"It is complete."
Syrinx smiled widely. She grabbed her book. She possessed no words to express her happiness. She stroked the cover. Then quickly flipped through the pages. She was sitting on the Round Table next to her pagan goddess with her own fairy tale book. This moment held three things so miraculous that their existence would never fail to amaze Syrinx. The Round Table, her book, Queen Mab. She wanted to look up from her book, at Mab. However the delight of having her book back would not allow this just yet. She tried talking herself into watching Mab with the logical argument that the book's existence would not be jeopardized by her unfixing her eyes from it.
Mab, seeing that words would not be able to distract Syrinx' attention from her precious book, took the girl's face in her hand. "I want you to tell people these stories. More than you have already been doing. Tell them at court, the marketplace, to everyone.
You have to get them prepared for when a copy of your book arrives, within the week. Frik will deliver the copy. I will keep a close eye on him and so must you." She released her grip on the girl. "This shouldn't be too hard."
Syrinx nodded. She had not stopped smiling since she saw Mab in this room and did not want to either.
"They will be eager to listen. Humans adore tales of bravery, mystic wisdom and faded glory. Legends that hold promise of fresh adventures and magic. It excites them." A teasing smile appeared on Mab's lips. It made a small wrinkle in her nose and made her eyes shine. "Fantasies will make them take rash decisions. Those knights will act recklessly and stupid. Which will work out to our advantage."
"Queen Mab," Syrinx said confidently.
Reason had entered her mind. "We are at the centre of a Christian empire. A new, old religion will be opposed. Strongly opposed." The girl would rather not give any thought to the possible consequences of promoting so called barbaric ways.
Syrinx' remark assured Mab of her dedication to this new task. The fairy queen smiled.
"I will know who disagrees. If you feel unsafe point potential trouble makers out to me. They won't cause you any difficulty. "
Syrinx was observing the glittery skin of Mab's hand. Right next to her on the table.
Her smile grew. She had missed magic.
"Christianity will be overthrown. Then you will take the throne."
Insecurity flashed over Syrinx' face. "I don't know if I would make a good queen. "
"Nonsense. You will be the greatest queen in centuries and completely loyal to the Old Ways. "
Syrinx could feel the full weight of Mab's gaze on her.
A ghastly fear crept into Syrinx' soul. "Mistress?"
"You have a question. "
Syrinx shook her head.
Her father was Christian. He would never change his believes. Not even for her. He was convinced that Christianity was the true religion, for him at least. When he made such an important decision he stuck to it.
In Queen Mab's Britain there would be no room for him in a high position. Mab would not take that risk. Syrinx could not think of a diplomatic solution to make him step down. Mab would have to hurt her father to fulfill her goal. Syrinx remembered all too well the image she had seen in the crystal. Her father begging for her life – because she worshipped the Old Ways? Or some graver crime which was still to come?- Whether Mab won or not Syrinx would loose her father. She was unwilling to bring such a sacrifice.
Mab stared for a while at the girl who was lost in thought. She plucked amber gems out of Syrinx' hair.
"What do you wish me to do?" Syrinx finally asked.
"It is of the essence that you keep the entire court on your side. Both princes, your father, your fiancé."
Queen Mab noticed Syrinx flinch at the last word.
"They are trusted men of the king and the most powerful men of the land."
Mab looked with contempt at the human made jewelry. They had lost their splendour in her hand.
"You know the role I want you to play. The innocent, unreachable maiden. La belle dame sans merci."
Mab's eyes did not leave Syrinx' silent face. She saw unhappiness in her eyes, doubt perhaps. For a moment she worried about the girl.
Syrinx had been looking at Mab's hand a moment ago. But it had not seemed physically present to her before Mab used it to put a comforting pressure on Syrinx' own hand.
"I will speed things up." Mab smiled, leaning towards her. Syrinx leaned back lulled to do so by the softness in Mab's voice. "Is there something you want from me?"
Syrinx blinked in confusion.
"You may ask anything of me. Once the throne is yours and my existence safe I will show you everything you ever wanted to know, to feel." She continued with gentle emphasis. "I owe you everything."
Mab observed the girl's reaction.
Her wide eyes, the way she was slowly sinking towards the tabletop. There was nothing, no one else in her mind but her queen. Mab enjoyed the empowerment this gave her.
"Everything?" Syrinx' voice sounded weak. She was proud that her voice did not fail completely or translated itself in a little shriek.
"Yes," Mab replied with a sly smile. "Everything."
She was sitting closer to Syrinx, as if she sought the comfort of a warm fire. The girl was lying on the table.
Queen Mab stroked the last jewel out of her hair.
"I will be eternally in your debt. Do you understand?"
How intimidated the young girl looked.
Syrinx could not bring herself to speak or nod.
"Is there something you want from me?" Her whispery voice sounded caring and patient.
"Save my father."
It was Mab's turn to be confused.
She sat back upright.
"Save your father?" she questioned, the words were hollow.
"I can't let him die or get hurt, in any way." Syrinx had to lift her head to keep looking at Mab. She lifted her upper body, putting her weight on her elbows.
"I … I know you do not approve of his faith and since he has much power I was concerned that you might.. be planning on disposing of him."
The queen shook her head.
"I would not do that." There was a laugh in her voice as hollow as her words. "He holds too much meaning to you."
"I knew that." Syrinx whispered. Mab smirked at this obvious lie. "I wanted to know for sure."
"You have my word."
"I had your word when you left me alone in the woods." Syrinx snapped. You promised me I'd be safe.
It's not safe here. I've been here long enough."
Mab raised herself from the table.
Syrinx anticipated a pathetic but much needed eruption of emotion next. She would shout angrily. "It's not safe here! It's not! It's not! You lied! This place was my dream. Now I don't even like it here and that's your fault!" Then she would go into a huff as if she never wanted to be taken to Faerie.
"You did nothing." she said calmly instead. "I'd already be married if I put my trust in nothing but your promise of safety."
Queen Mab gazed at her as some bird of prey. She did not have time for this.
"Trust works both ways. I knew you could do this." Mab said sweetly.
She moved towards the table silently, but it felt to Syrinx as if she stepped back.
"Please don't leave." Syrinx said, trusting her instinct.
She detected a fleeting smile. Mab was seemingly flattered by her desire for her to stay.
She was gone.
Syrinx stared for a while at the place where Mab had stood. Then she wistfully lay back down on cold stone table.
Queen Mab obviously liked refusing her things. Like when she had not wanted to accompany her through the woods.
Apparently doing the opposite from what you said was not considered lying amongst fae, providing you phrased it leaving out specifics. Or something like that. She was positive that Mab's vow of saving her father had been bounding. Mab and promises was a matter which needed closer inspection.
Syrinx no longer felt alone in Camelot. Her queen had arrived. Even if she did not stay.
She felt happy and relaxed.
A noise of movement made Syrinx look up in surprise.
The door opened. Noblemen and knights entered. There they saw her lying on their legendary Round Table.
"Lady Syrinx! What are you doing?"
Her father was not amongst them, that was a small relief. She jumped of the table with an apologetic smile. She wanted to grab her amber jewellery, but the neat pile of stones Mab had made was gone. She clasped her book to her and headed for her room.
She could not keep herself from skipping as she left the room.
"Lady Syrinx!" called a boy's voice. She turned around. It was Edward, the first son, the future king.
"I will escort you to your chambers." he said in a man's voice now.
This bemused the others.
"My lord, we can not begin without you."
"It will not take long."
"I am not allowed unescorted in the castle." Syrinx said as they climbed the stairs.
"You do remember."
"I most certainly do. All this protection is suffocating."
This was their entire conversation.
They walked next to each other. Syrinx felt his royal presence and the silence exhaust her.
He occasionally glanced at the huge book she was carrying. His mind was trying to make sense of that, but he did not ask her about it.
Due to lack of pleasantries his shyness came close to amusing her. She would not have liked it much if he had talked more to her.
When they finally arrived in the corridor of her room, he paused a few feet before they reached the door. He turned to her, standing too close to her for comfort. She stood her ground though backing away seemed the most natural thing to do. This was after all the heir to the throne standing in front of her, the Christian, the one she shouldn't show interest in. He took her hand. The movement was smooth, but the expression on his face was clumsy. He kissed her hand.
"Goodbye, lady. Until supper."
She curtsied, bade him farewell and watched him walk back out of the corridor.
"Mab?" She whispered entering her room.
Unconsciously she wiped her prince-kissed hand on her skirt.
She had spoken Mab's name many times during her stay at Camelot. Now there was a chance of her queen answering her call.
A knowledge which made it impossible for her to stop smiling.
Syrinx curled up in bed. She usually took a nap after her secret early morning outings.
She was not tired now. She wished for dreams that would take her back to Faerie.
Visiting her adoring servant makes her shine as brightly as a human in love, Frik thought grumpily. How unfair the world was.
Mab paced the library.
She had spent all the magic she could perform in Camelot on one visit. She hated feeling this drained. Patience, Mab told herself. Things would change. Soon she could visit as often and for as long as she wanted.
Frik played marbles with the trinkets Mab had thrown on the floor when she arrived. He found it particularly hard to focus on the game. From the extensive glaring and soft hissing Mab did at the amber stones Frik could deduce that Mab's encounter with the girl had not gone exactly according to her wishes.
Frik decided he should better get out of the room. His old body could not take another beating.
Mab continued pacing. Syrinx' request was outrageous. The Queen of the Old Ways had promised to keep an obstinate Christian safe. She could not bring a disbeliever to Faerie or he would kill magic from the inside out. She would have to find another way.
Hadn't she nudged Syrinx in the right direction? For the smallest of moments Mab feared she had lost her touch.
But the girl was completely loyal and always would be. Mab knew her deepest wish. No one else could give her Faerie.
She sat down and calmly thought things over.
That was my "let's have nice talk to motivate the poor girl" chapter.
Again Mab seems to be a tad bitchier than I intend her to be. Then again she has to be or… nah spoilers.
If it is any comfort, dear reader, it was my goal to have her be nice(r).
But… let's be honest…
does the woman ever stop scheming?
Is everyone not liking the way she treats Syrinx? :)
Please tell me what you think of it.
Things are going to get unpleasant from here on. *wicked grin*