Part 1 and 2 are here
What Happened Next
Harry insisted upon seeing to the horse at once and limped as quickly as he was able after the Stable Master. “Admirable, the man seeing to the horse himself,” the King said thoughtfully. “Although undoubtedly there is more to his story and I shall know all.”
“As both man and horse must stay to recuperate; I shall remain with the Princess if that is agreeable to Your Majesties”, offered the High Priestess. The King and Queen readily agreed. And for once, Rebelia was silent as she was discussed aloud by her elders.
Harry made his way slowly back from the Stable to the Rose Garden. “It is as the Stable Master says; my horse cannot travel until the bruised leg has healed. Now I find myself in the awkward position of prevailing upon the Princess for room and board.” Rebelia, still speechless, nodded assent.
“So then, young man. Do not prevaricate! Who are your parents? How do you come to be here in our realm?” the King demanded.
Harry bowed again before the King and Queen. “Your Majesties, forgive my manners. I am Hhroldgar, son of Hhroldgar and BláthAirgid, son and daughter of Hhroldgar and Orga, Hhroldgar and CrannGlas….,” and he continued on for quite some time naming his ancestors in a melodious language until the King held up his hand and bade him get to the point.
“I am from the Isle of Mists which lies across the Narrow Sea,” Harry complied quickly.
“What lands are these? The Land of Faerie, mayhap?” questioned the King, frowning at the prospect.
The Queen shrank back in her chair. ‘Of course’, she thought, ‘Rebelia ignores all proper suitors, a potential husband appears and he is of the Fae!’
Harry went on, “How I come to be here in your land I admit is a tale somewhat strange, even to myself. My people are much like yours in many ways. Most of our ancestors were of the Faerie Folk. So even today some of our offspring are blessed with magickal powers. Long ago The Faerie ruled all the isles on our side of the Narrow Sea and created the Unfathomable Fog which covers it to keep our lands hidden from yours. Nine days ago, our High Priest conferred upon me an honour most important. He instructed me to sail across the Narrow Sea to attend a wedding in your realm as a representative of our people. The High Priest cast a spell strong enough to lift the Fog long enough for us to sail across the Sea. He told me nothing more; only that all would be revealed upon my arrival on your shore.”
“We know of no forthcoming wedding in our realm or any nearby,” the Queen interjected; suspicious of what appeared to be a most dubious tale. Although she was interested to learn more about the man with such an impressive-sounding pedigree.
“There was no welcoming party upon my arrival,” Harry politely ignored the interruption and continued. “So I made camp and waited for another day with my two companions in the hope of being met. When no one appeared, I went in search of the nearest folk and met with my accident instead. My companions must be wondering what has become of me.”
Rebelia found her voice at last. “Companions?! We shall ride out to retrieve them if you would tell their whereabouts to my Sergeant at Arms. There are ogres and trolls about! You and they shall be my guests until your horse is ready to travel.”
The King and Queen consulted with the High Magician and High Priestess, who assured them they detected no duplicity in the man’s explanation. They reminded their Majesties that it had been so long since the Narrow Sea had been crossed that some had forgotten that many on both sides of the Sea had illustrious Fae ancestors. (What they refrained from mentioning might have caused an unnecessary royal rumpus. So as those in charge of magick often do, they wisely kept that information to themselves.) The High Magician stated he also would remain with Rebelia to allay their fears. Satisfied, the King and Queen called for their Coachman to take them home.
Rebelia organised the search party and made ready to ride with them. Harry wanted to ride out as well, but the Wise Woman insisted that he stay behind so as not to make his injuries worse. And the High Priestess insisted that Rebelia stay as well; it was very bad form to leave a guest unattended.
As the search party rode out Harry and Rebelia looked at each other. “Well, then,” Rebelia said at last to banish the awkward silence. “I best get on with the wedding, I mean weeding!” Embarrassed, she abruptly hurried away to change back into her gardening costume.
Upon her return Harry volunteered his assistance. “I fear I know very little about gardening but if you show me what to do I can certainly make myself useful in exchange for your hospitality,” he smiled.
‘He does seem nice,’ Rebelia thought. But to Harry she retorted, “Suit yourself. Guests are not required to work.” She was irritated and knew she had been impolite but did not know why.
Harry’s every attempt at conversation as they worked was met with monosyllables. He finally gave up and they continued in silence until almost every weed had been pulled. The sun was beginning to set when thankfully the sounds of the hunting horn, men and horses at the front gate signalled the search party had returned.
Rebelia, with Harry limping several paces behind, greeted the party at the gate. Introductions were swiftly made and Harry’s companions, Tréan and Maith, followed the Stable Master. Protocol required he settle male visitors in quarters above the stables. Harry limped after them, but the High Magician insisted the three men would stay in the castle. For the second time in one day, Rebelia was silent.
After being shown to their chamber by the Sergeant at Arms, he instructed them to come down to the Dining Hall for the evening meal when they heard the gong strike three times.
Rebelia, the High Priestess, High Magician, and two of the young priestesses, Estrelia and Auralunia, were already seated at the table when Harry and his companions entered the Dining Hall. Rebelia noticed that the visitors, Harry in particular, looked exceedingly handsome now that they had taken the opportunity to bathe and don fresh clothing. The guests complimented Rebelia, first on the castle and then on the meal. Conversation between the young people began slowly at first, but soon reticence gave way to laughter as the evening progressed. By the end of the meal, the High Priestess and High Magician concluded all was going according to plan………
(Part 4 to follow)