Ragnelle awoke at an absurdly early hour. She couldn't fall back asleep. Today was her wedding day. She stretched, and tried to remember every tiny detail. After today, she would wake up next to her husband, her Gwaine. Ragnelle sat up. Quietly, she walked across her room to the mirror. She regarded her reflection, and cursed her looks. Gwaine deserved a beautiful maiden. Gwaine deserved the woman in his dreams. Tired by negative thoughts, Ragnelle climbed back into bed.
"You're actually going through with it?" Lancelot inquired. He was helping Gwaine dress for the ceremony.
"Yes Lance. I realize that the concept of marriage seems like eternal damnation to you, but I am happy. I cannot imagine my life without her."
"At least you have a choice in the matter."
"Lancelot, if this has anything to do with Gwen, I don't want to hear it."
"It doesn't." Lance answered. "Lady Elaine is with child. It will shame us both if I don't marry her."
Gwaine straightened. The doors opened, revealing Arthur. Gwaine tilted his head down. "Sire." Arthur patted Gwaine on the shoulder. His face was somber.
"Gwaine, I hope you are marrying Ragnelle because it is what would make you truly happy. A riddle is a silly thing to waste your life on."
Gwaine confided in Arthur. "I would wish to marry Ragnelle even if she had not promised to deliver me the answer upon our union." Arthur nodded, and his face broke out into a smile.
"Gwen says that Ragnelle is nearly ready. The guests have already started taking their seats. I think we should go out there." Gwaine straightened his cape, and took a deep breath. He followed Arthur and Lancelot out of the door.
"Sir Gwaine, do you take this lady to be your wife."
Gwaine stared into Ragnelle's eyes. Seeing the glow in her eyes, he had never been surer of anything. "I do."
"You may kiss the bride."
Gwaine leaned down to kiss Ragnelle. She was trying to suppress a grin while Lancelot, standing beside Gwaine in the position of best man, was trying to suppress his gag reflexes. The moment their lips touched, a sparkling mist descended on the couple. Gwaine pulled away, confused and a bit afraid of what was happening. Ragnelle was lifted into the air, the wind sweeping her hair back. The knights drew their swords. Arthur held his hand to steady them.
Ragnelle was transforming. Her hair slowly became a rich dark brown. Her hips became more defined, her face turned smooth. Her dress hugged her curves, and slowly she descended to the ground.
Gwaine stared at the woman before him. He recognized her. "You're the woman from my vision, but how?"
Ragnelle lifted her hand to silence him. "When I was young, my brother, Sir Gromer, cursed me."
"Sir Gromer? The man who told me the riddle?" Arthur inquired.
Lancelot spoke, hypnotized by Ragnelle's sudden beauty. "What is the answer? Tell us the answer, or Arthur will die."
"In due time, Sir Lancelot, at this moment, Gwaine needs to make a decision." Gwaine expected his wife to turn and face the audience, proclaim her announcement to the crowd. She didn't. She squeezed his hand, and quietly informed him. "You have a choice, my precious knight. I can keep my apparent visage during the day, but at night I will become a hag again." Gwaine tried to interrupt, tried to tell her that she was far from a hag, but Ragnelle continued. "Or, I can remain a hag during the day, and only appear this beautiful at night." Ragnelle turned her face away from Gwaine, slightly embarrassed by her next words. "When we share our marriage bed." Gwaine caressed her cheek. He truly was the luckiest man on Earth. Pondering her question, Gwaine stepped away from his bride. He looked at her, judged her. He assumed that she would want to look beautiful during the day. The ladies of the court could no longer make fun of her. She would no longer need to put up with Lancelot's rude, offhand comments; however, a part of Gwaine was selfish. He wanted this Ragnelle all to himself.
Entwining her fingers in his, Gwaine addressed the crowd. "I cannot make such a choice. It is for you to decide Ragnelle."
Ragnelle could not contain her happiness. She lunged for Gwaine, engulfing him in a hug. She raised her voice, for all to hear. "My husband! I cannot love you more than I do at this moment. You have figured out the answer to the riddle. A woman desires nothing more than sovereignty over herself. Because of your answer, we shall not have to choose. I will look as I stand before you, morning and night."
Gwaine smiled, and kissed his bride.
In a year's time, Arthur returned to the forest where he had first encountered Sir Gromer. Lady Ragnelle and Sir Gwaine accompanied him. The king answered the sorcerer's riddle, ensuring his safety, and the safety of his kingdom for a little while longer…
You guys! I'm super proud of myself. I've never finished a fanfiction before. I want to thank you all for reading and reviewing. Remember, I still want to know which knight you would like me to write about next.