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Chapter 1
Chapter 2


Written by Xenokattz
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 1

"On either side the river lie

Long fields of barley and of rye,

That clothe the world and meet the sky

And thro' the field the road runs by

To many-tower'd Camelot,

And up and down the people go,

Gazing where the lilies blows

Round an island there below,

The island Shalott"

Aurora sighed as she stretched her weary hands. Gently, she stroked the delicate weave on her loom. Every colour of the rainbow and beyond sang out of the intricate cloth. Roses bloomed, lilies turned their happy faces to the sun and the woods danced merrily to the light breeze's tinkling song. A fair steed munched on the sweet grass while his friend played a lute rather badly--Aurora thought--but whole-heartedly. To settle herself, she paced the room once around. It was a fair sized place with a high vaulted ceiling and four grey granite walls. A huge mirror occupied the southern end of the room. On the opposite side was a window. It was a tiny thing and very simple. Square and scarcely three hands across, it seemed so innocent and boring even with its embroidered drapes but to Aurora it was the most dangerous object in the world.The curse had hung upon her for as long as she could remember. The Sorceress of Destiny had told her that to look out of the window was to die a long andcruel death. And so she had been given a mirror instead. A beautiful, magical mirror that showed her all the sights she wished to see at her command. Not only that but it also allowed her to listen to the many sounds and noises in the outside. It was her most prized possession.

However, it wasn't perfect. The visions in the mirror were flat somehow, lacking in depth and feeling. It was much like looking into the tapestry that she wove. Beautiful but, for all it's vibrancy and brilliance, void of real life. Still, she wove, by night or day, her magical web.A snow-white hand, its long, elegant fingers unadorned save an emerald ring surrounded by bright gold, lifted up to touch the smooth, cold surface of the mirror. There was a great to-do in Camelot today. The winding highway was filled with people, surly village churls dressed in drab browns and blacks. The red cloaked market girls. A troop of happily chattering damsels with flowers upon their brows then, in contrast, the rough-hewn robes of a pious abbot. A shepherd boy, a page in his royal crimson. And the knights. Oh, the knights, in their flashing silver armour striding down the road on their great steeds.

How Aurora wished she'd had a true and loyal knight. After a moment of reflection, she turned to her great mirror. For a moment, her reflection hovered there. Dark chestnut hair, free of ties of ribbons with a pale streak of white along the middle. Her demon's sign. Bright green eyes flashed with anger, set upon large, thickly lashed eyes. She wasn't a paragon--not by what she'd seen so far--but to just be able to experience a full dressed ball and to--Sighing, Aurora cut the thought short.

"Mirror," she said softly, "Show me the riverside, the brook of aspens and willows near the fair city of Camelot."

That was the scene she was to weave today. Settling herself, in her stool, her hands poised over the loom, Aurora watched a scene unfold. Two young lovers, perhaps newlywed, kissed and embraced under the drooping willow. They glowed with their happiness and the Lady felt a pang in her heart. She would never experience a love such as that.

"I am half sick of shadows!" she cried out to the empty room.

With a determined step, she walked towards the window. Curse or no, she could not bear this half-life any longer! Trapped in a prison from which there was no escape, never being able to touch another person, to speak to them or to simply see real things. It was worse than death itself! Just as her hands had gripped the curtains, Aurora stopped. Her hands trembled. Then, her body let loose a great shudder as a sob wracked her body. Again, she reached for the restraining cloth and again, she pulled back just before true sunlight could pierce her room. With a choked gasp, Aurora sank to the ground. Unbidden, a song came to her lips.

The music travelled from the towered island of Shallot, riding the breeze down the river to that eddy swirl by the river. It passed by that troop of dancers and stopped their gaiety. It brushed by the two lovers, who held

each other closer in fear. The abbot looked up at the heavens, crossed himself and said a short prayer on behalf of that poor miserable soul. The blue-cloaked Lord Cai de Warren reined in his charger. Sunlight glinted off of his flaxen mane, which was also tied back by a ribbon of blue. "God's teeth, but that is a truly mournful song to be heard this morn. 'Tis to be a day of gladness! We are victorious against the barons of Kenwick and Garde


The knight just ahead of him also stopped. "Mayhap 'tis a supporter o' the late Baron Kenwick," suggested the noble Sir Christopher of Scotland, "They wouldna have much tae celebrate about." He nudged the red and blue cloaked compatriot beside him. "What say ye Remy?"

Sir Remy DeBeaumont, called the Lance for his expertise with the weapon, seemed to ponder the thought for a moment. "It cannot be that," he finally replied, "It is far too…full. As though the soul itself was sickened of this


Lord Cai's blond brows rose. "What's this, Remy? That comment seems far too dark for one as you. Especially since 'tis your victory we celebrate."

At this, Sir Remy smiled. "How right you are, Cai. Mayhap, 'tis just that song which has dampened my spirits."

"Then we must needs fix that!" Spurring his stallion on, Cai barrelled through the crowd. "Make way! Make way for the hero!!"

Remy chuckled and shook his head. Christopher just rolled his eyes.

"God's oath, tha' man grows more childish by the hour," commented the older man, flipping his brown hair from his eyes.

"And I vow you'll be thus after several tankards of ale and a look from the fair Lady Jeannette." Remy batted his eyes then kicked his horse on as well before Christopher could push him off.

"Victor o' the battlefield ye may be, DeBeaumont!" Christopher's grey stallion ate up the ground to catch up with the other man. "Aye, and victor o' the fripperies o' the court, the bedroom and the brothels. But I fear

ye'll will never win the war o' love."

"God willing, I shall not die at such a base death, mon ami." That smile of his, famed for its ability to charm the dourest of the dour and melt the iciest of hearts, made an appearance.

"Just ye wait, my wee Norman friend." Christopher winked. "Just ye wait."

Tears were for the weak. Tears did naught but make one more down trodden. Aurora chanted the phrase to herself, speaking in time with the rolling of the loom. Already, the two lovers had been created, made immortal by the resplendent threads. The abbot reverently made his way to the castle. By the light of a thousand candles, Aurora peered into the cloth. One, two, three dancers were twirling up the road and the fourth was half done.She glanced at the mirror once more. It was night time out there; the moonlight cast soft shadows upon the gently rolling hills of Camelot. The castle itself was sparkling with light. It looked to be a great celebration. There would have been well-dressed ladies with their silks and furs. The lords would also look splendid with their elegant hats and hose. There would be dancing and singing. Perhaps a stolen kiss.

"Mirror," she began, hoping for a watch the goings on.

The huge glass reflected her image for a moment then swirled around of its own volition. But instead of the bright halls of Camelot, the mirror revealed a little hidden copse in the middle of Queen Guinevere's gardens.

A man stood there, gazing into the shallow pool that dominated the intimate site. The full moonlight revealed his clear blue eyes, eyes that rivalled the sky with its rich colour. With a browned hand, he tucked back his

red-brown hair. He was one of the knights that she'd watched before, Aurora realised. Why was he all alone? If memory served her correctly, this knight was never without companionship whether it be his friends or his ladies.

Remy stared into the pool, wondering what in God's name he was doing in this forgotten part of Camelot. There was a feast in there, a feast held in his honour. With his new lands, not only would he gain the recognition that he had always wanted but he could have his pick of the women as well. With women, would come more money and with more money would come more prestige. Why did he feel so…so…

The pool swirled before him, bubbling slightly before settling into a smooth, clear plate. With a start, Remy realised that a woman's face had appeared in the water. He rubbed his eyes, trying to remember exactly how

much ale he had drunk. When the woman still didn't appear, he thought that perhaps Merlin had enchanted the fountain somehow. He'd play that wily little wizard then.

"Bon soir," he greeted politely, bowing low, "What is a lady as beautiful as yourself doing in such a secluded pool?"

The woman looked surprised to be talked to. Ah-hah! Remy wanted to crow at this achievement. Surely Merlin thought whatever drunkard that would happen upon this pool would be scared away.

"I…I would ask the same of you, sir," replied the lady. She talked strangely, as though each word was a luscious delicacy and she wanted to savour each one.

"I fear yonder feast is too dull for my tastes." Remy propped his leg up on the rim of the pool. "I much prefer the loud cheerfulness of the peasants' celebration. Now that is a true party."

The lady's eyes twinkled with laughter. "Aye, this I know. They give all of themselves into their feasts."

Remy was surprised. "You have been to a peasant's feast, my lady?"

"N-no." She looked away, a hint of regret in her voice. "I have only seen them…from afar."

"'Tis not proper for a lady to be out of doors over much."

She murmured something in reply that Remy did not hear.

"I beg your pardon, lady, but my ears failed to catch your fair words."

She tilted her head to one side, observing him for a moment. "You have a silver tongue, sir."

"So I have been told."

"By many a lady?"

"You said it not I."

When she laughed, the entire pool rippled. His heart leapt to his throat, fearing that when the pool cleared, she would be gone. But she was there still, her rosy lips spread wide in a truly happy smile."Aye, you are a slick one, sir, and I am glad of it. I do not--" She stopped, biting her lip worriedly.

"Go on, cherie," Remy urged softly, "I would know the reason why the light from your forest green eyes are gone so I may come and slay it."

This time, her laughter was curt and self-mocking. "I fear there is no one who could slay my monsters."

"You are enchanted!" Hunching over the pool, he kneeled on the rim and vowed, "If you would but tell me your troubles I would consider it an honour to be your knight errant."

The moment the words left this mouth, Remy realised what he had done. By the Sacred Cup, how Cai and Christopher would laugh at him now. He, who had once sworn never to be at the mercy of "love," had just pledged himself eternally to a woman he barely knew and met by an enchanted pool. If this truly was a jest--which he now serious doubted--it would follow him for all his days.It was an amazing emotion, all encompassing and pure. He would gladly slay her monsters, sing her songs and ride to ends of the earth to bring her the most perfect rose blossom. He felt joy and sadness at the same time. And, for once in his life, he felt…full.

"Who are you?" he wanted to know.

The lady looked surprised at the question. "No one has…ever asked."

Absently, she twirled a lock of chestnut silkiness between her fingers. "I am called Aurora, the Lady of Shallot."

"I am--"

"I know who you are, Sir Remy DeBeaumont, the True-Flying Lance of Camelot." She smiled her a sad little smile. "Victor of Normandy. Conqueror of Maisonwaithe." Then, in a quieter voice, "Thief of hearts."

"I beg to differ, ma demoiselle." He grinned mischievously. "The hearts were given to me upon a platter of silver."

"Oh good. I'd hate to think I was the only one to do that." As soon as the words left her mouth, Aurora wished them back. Fool! She chided herself. The good knight had other, fairer maidens at court.But…but his eyes spoke volumes and though it could just be the scant light of the moon but it looked as though he felt the same.

"I am honoured by the gift, ma demoiselle," Remy said in a low, gravelly tone, "I beg you, cherie, bid me to do as you will. I would die a thousand deaths to set you free."

Was that starlight upon her cheek or were they tears? "There is nothing you can do to take me from my prison, my love. Nothing short of death will set me free."

"I will not stop trying," he swore fervently, "Please, do not cry, cherie. I would not see tears redden your forest green eyes." He reached out to wipe them away. Remy could have sworn he felt the feather softness of her skin,

the warmth of her cheek just before the pool rippled and bubbled once more.

"No!! Don't leave!"

But it was too late. The pool cleared and Remy saw nothing but the moon with its secretive smile looking back at him.

"Aurora." The name tasted sweet upon his lips. Remy grinned wide and from the heart. Raising his arms up to the sky as though in thankful prayer to God, he let out a joyous whoop.

Her eyes closed, Aurora touched once again that place on her cheek where Sir Remy had caressed her. It had been so brief but so much more than she'd ever gotten. She cradled her cheek, humming joyously to herself. She'd been in excellent humour since last night. Small wonder when she'd found her true love. She'd never experienced true love, nor had she ever expected to. But what else could this emotion be? She had read books--she had more books than the monks did in the great abbeys of Gaul, although with more fantastical content that the good brothers. The fluttering in her heart. The weak feeling in her stomach. The lightness of the soul. She felt all that and more. She must look into the pool again that night.


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