Chapter 2. The Departure.

Chapter 2. The Departure.

A Chapter by Gaiamethod


The morning rose sharp and clear. It was a new day. Rosalind, tired from the past few months of campaigns and battles, was glad of the chance to rest. Since her husband’s death everything had changed. Rupert, now 22, had changed the face of the country. His rule had not been as his father’s and Rosalind was tired. She had done her best to try and guide her son all these years but had not succeeded as she felt her husband had wanted. Rupert was young, naïve even and had not inherited his father’s gentle demeanour or patience. Perhaps it will come in time, she hoped. He is young yet.
She spent many hours in the chapel, praying that her son would yet prove to be the king her husband wanted. She prayed that he would one day wake up and take on the mantle of Divine Kingship. She herself still did her morning ablutions with the rising sun, following the tradition of all the kings and Queens before her. She asked the spirit of her husband, who she knew was still around, to help her in the upbringing of her son, to give her the guidance she knew that he alone could give her.  He was still her strength, her pillar, and she missed him with all her heart. But she knew what her role demanded and so she did it faithfully.
The morning following the victory she woke up and she realised that something within the castle had changed. She couldn’t be sure what it was but the air itself seemed to feel different. She sat up in bed, pushing the covers off and sliding out of her warm bed. The rugs on the floor created some warmth but the floor was still cold to her feet. She quickly pulled on her sheepskin shoes and wrapped her cloak around her. The fire was nearly out which was unusual. The servants usually made sure that it was banked up, only needing to be stoked in the morning.
Rosalind felt nervous as she opened the heavy oak door. There was silence in the keep. No sounds from the kitchen. Usually, at this time of the morning, the castle was buzzing with activity. People running around, beginning the days chores. Something was very wrong. She quietly made her way to her son’s room. She rapped lightly on the door.
“Rupert,” she called as quietly as she could through the thick wood. “Rupert, are you awake?” But there was no answer. She slowly turned the iron ring, which served as a door handle, opening it soundlessly and pushed open the door, looking over her shoulder to make sure she was safe.
But when she entered the room she discovered that it was empty. His fire too, unmade. His bed, had been unslept in but she knew he had come there last night after their discussion. What was going on? Where was everybody?
She checked his garde-robe and noticed that his heavy hunting cloak was gone. She looked beneath the clothes where he kept his sword in a heavy wooden box and found that all of his hunting gear was missing. She let the lid fall shut and it banged loudly making her jump. She put her hand to her throat and held her breath, her heart beating wildly. But no-one came.
She walked swiftly but quietly out of the room and up the stairs to the chapel. Running downstairs towards her was the priest. He stopped as soon as he saw her.
“My lady,” he said breathlessly. “They’re gone. They’re all gone.”
“Who’s gone?” she asked fearfully. “Who is everybody?”
“Everybody, My Lady, your son, his entourage, the kitchen servants. Everybody.”
“But how? Where? They can’t just disappear.” Rosalind frantically searched her mind for any clues as to where her son might have gone. “But you…you are here. Why…?”
The priest shrugged his shoulders, holding his hands out in bewilderment.
“I don’t know.” Was all he could answer. He had asked himself the same question when he had discovered the castle empty.
“Is there no-one else? No-one at all?” she asked, trying to get to grips with the situation. Trying to figure it out.
“No-one.” Answered the priest. “Not as far as I can see. I have searched around the castle. There is no-one.”
“Well, we can’t stay standing here on these steps.” Rosalind said, realising where they were. “We need to go to the battlements. If he has left not so long ago then perhaps we can catch sight of him. He has taken all of his hunting gear.” She added as they climbed the steps to the battlements. But when they reached the top they found that the door had been locked.
“What in God’s name…?” the priest muttered as he tried to open the door.
“He’s locked it. He knew we would try to look out for him. I can’t believe he would do this. I am so angry with him. What can he be thinking?” She spoke her thoughts out loud.
“My lady, may I ask, could there be any reason why he might want to leave the castle? Did you speak of anything which he might have wanted to avoid?” The priest spoke reverentially. He knew that the Queen and her son did not always see eye to eye but he tried to be diplomatic.
Rosalind looked at the priest closely. He looked away.
“I do not mean to pry, My Lady.” he said.
“”I understand what you are saying Father Simon,” she spoke gently to him. “And yes, there is always something…” The priest waited for her to continue. She frowned and chewed her lip as she thought .
“The only thing I can think of was his behaviour after his victory. It worried me that he was so wild after it. So energised by it. We spoke of his father and the need for him to find a wife. But nothing so great that he would just leave the castle empty and leave me here,” she added, realising that he had indeed left her behind. Her heart sank. He had left, left her here with no servants and no help. What had happened to him? This boy who had been raised in the greatest of love had turned his back on that love. She felt so sad, so betrayed.
“My Lady,” the priest gently broke into her thoughts. “Perhaps we should go downstairs and see what we can do,” he suggested.
“Yes, yes of course. I’m sorry Father Simon, I’m just a little…shocked.”                          
“I understand My Lady,” he said, “but perhaps we should check the stables. See if he has taken all of the horses? He might have left one for you…” he trailed off knowing that it was unlikely, but his heart hurt seeing his queen, this woman who had so nobly taken the burden of rulership for her dead husband and now was left with nothing to show for it. Her sacrifice forgotten by the son who had benefitted from it. 
“You are right, of course.” Rosalind said, “Yes, let us see what, if anything , he has left us.” And she turned and walked back down the steps.
Hallelujah, he muttered to himself. At least he didn’t leave us entirely alone. They had searched the stables but had found nothing, then, in the carriage room they had found the stable boy, fast asleep. He was curled up in an old woven blanket and he was blissfully unaware that the most important woman in the country was now looking down on him and he fast asleep!
“Should we wake him?” Rosalind asked, feeling unsure for the first time in her life. She had very little to do with the stable servants and was unsure what protocol was necessary.
“I think we should do Mistress,” replied the priest, eyebrows raised, perplexed by her sudden lack of confidence. “He may know where your son has gone.”
“Yes, yes of course,” she muttered, feeling foolish, “I never thought.” And she leaned over to touch the sleeping boy’s shoulder. “Eh, boy,” she said, shaking him a little. She looked at the Father Simon helplessly.
“Let me Mistress,” he responded. Rosalind stood back, feeling annoyed with herself. What had gotten into her? She was queen for God’s sake. But her son’s departure had completely shaken her. To leave with no warning, no…anything. She felt totally confused by his actions.
The priest prodded the sleeping boy into wakefulness.
“Boy, boy,” he said loudly, “wake up, your mistress wishes to speak to you. Wake up boy,” he added more loudly when the boy only stirred. The boy awoke, startled. He stumbled to his feet, tripping over the sacking he slept on. He lurched clumsily into the priest, who had to steady him before he knocked him over too.
“Calm down boy,” said Father Simon when he saw the panic on the boy’s dirty face. “Its alright. You have done nothing wrong.”
The boy righted himself but still stood stiffly, his eyes bleary with sleep. “Madame?” he squeaked.
“Yes, boy,” she answered, I can’t keep calling him boy, she thought, so she asked him what his name was.
“What does your master call you boy?” she asked.
“Gareth,” the boy replied quietly, “Its Gareth Ma’am.”
“Well, Gareth,” the queen said to him gently. “Do you know who I am?”
“Yes Mistress,” he answered quietly, his cheeks flushing pink, “You are Queen Rosalind, Rupert’s mother.”
Rosalind smiled at the innocence of the boy. Yes, she thought to herself, Rupert’s mother.
“And do you know where my son has gone?” she asked him.
Gareth looked confused. “Gone Mistress, why he’s gone hunting, taken all his dogs with him he has, and his men. Even took some of the serving girls, though,” and he paused, thinking about it, “I don’t know why he’d take them with him Mistress. Not like they can do very much out there, on the hills.”
“Who else went with him Gareth?” she pressed. “Its very important. We need to know who else he took.”
“Why no-one Mistress,” he answered, bewildered, looking first at the priest then back to Rosalind. “No-one else went with him.”
Rosalind frowned. “Are you sure boy? There was no-one else with him?”
“No ma’am,” the boy answered, “Although…” he stopped, thinking about something else. “I did hear the stable master say that everyone would be leaving this morning…after him. But…I fell asleep Ma’am and I don’t know where…” he trailed off looking confused and miserable.
“It’s alright Gareth,” Rosalind smiled. “You have done well to remember so much.”
The boy was silent a moment and then looking at his hands as he spoke to her said “The castle is very quiet Ma’am. The horses are gone too….?”
Rosalind looked at this young boy. He too had been abandoned. Not important enough to remember. “Yes Gareth,” she replied, “Everyone is gone.” She sighed deeply and turned to go but the boy caught her by the sleeve.
“Ma’am?” he asked. “What are we to do now? Are we leaving too?”
Rosalind paused for a moment then making a decision said “Yes, Gareth, we are leaving too. Get yourself ready and we will leave within the hour.”
“Oh I’m already ready,” he replied cheering up. “I just need some food” he added sheepishly.
The priest laughed and he and Rosalind began to walk up the stairs, Gareth following along behind.
“Yes, food,” she said. “I think we will need it.” And the three went into the great kitchen and ate some bread and cold meat, dipping the bread in red wine to soften it up. They also prepared food for the journey and when they were finished they packed what clothes they might need.
Throughout breakfast Rosalind was deep in thought. She was deeply worried about this turn of events but knew that she needed to stay calm and not allow herself to be overwhelmed by them. She needed to fathom her son’s actions and discover why he had left like this, without so much as a warning. And to leave her here, unattended. What had gotten into him? She would have to find out. But for now she would seek refuge with her cousin Henry in Warwick. And from there? Well, she would just have to wait and see.

© 2008 Gaiamethod

My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register

Share This
Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Added on October 21, 2008



Luxor, Egypt

I'm a teacher of healing focusing on ancient priesthoods dedicated to the Earth Mother in all her facets. I teach a collective healing called The Gaia Method which brings back the developmental learni.. more..