Disclaimer: I don't own it. Everything you recognise belongs to Sir Walter Scott and AE. No infringement is intended and I'm certainly not making any money from this story.
Summary: Ivanhoe. A short vignette. An ending, of sorts, to what was begun in "Deus vult".
Here, in the garden, no shadows held sway. Not while her fingers were deep in the soil and the scent of the herbs filled the air. Not while the butterflies and the bumblebees flitted from flower to flower and the birds chirped in the bushes nearby.
It had been a year and more, since Templestowe, and her memory of those days were not as dark or as troubled as they once had been. She was safe and her father was safe and that was, in the end, what mattered the most.
In her thoughts, Rebecca kept a place for Wilfred of Ivanhoe and she wished him happiness, and peace. If she, at times, wished for other things, she did not speak of them.
During the journey from England, she had told her father everything and she had asked him, then, to greet any guest of hers with kindness,
for her sake. But it was not until they arrived at the outskirts of Cordova that he had, at long last, given his assent.
Rebecca wiped her fingers on the hem of her dress and reached for the small knife that she used to cut herbs. Rosemary and sage. Lemon balm and heart's ease. She whispered the names like a prayer.
She put the knife back down into the basket and got to her feet. It had been her father's voice and, to be sure, she spotted Isaac of York, standing at the edge of the garden. But he was not alone.
Her heart stopped, all at once. Stopped because she knew, even at this distance, even if the clothes were robbed of white and red.
She did not run, though her legs trembled as if she already had. She walked the whole length of the garden path, without haste, and she did not lower her gaze, she swallowed the sight of him whole. There were monsters, he had said, that ate in a like manner, when their hunger was great.
Her father stepped to the side and she noticed it, but she had no eyes, no words for her father now.
Only that. It was enough.
She took care; she did not touch him, but she could not stop the smile that grew wide. That spread wings, like a goshawk relieved of its hood, and took flight. It was unseemly, perhaps, but she thought he would not disapprove.
"You are, indeed, weary from the road, my lord," she said, "and you are most welcome."