Lady Silvermoon by Laura Redmond
Chapter 14 – A Coming Together
Dawnstorm was racing now, round the southern tip of the woods and across the open fields towards the barrow. His tail and mane streamed in the wind and Lady Silvermoon almost had the breath driven out of her body by the speed. They galloped towards the tableau that had formed in front of the barrow. The dragon was pinned to the ground by ropes and fishing nets and Sir Robin de Coverlie was approaching, sword in both hands, to deliver the killing stroke.
- Do you trust me, My Lady?
- With my life!
- Speak as I advise you.
Dawnstorm charged into the scene and came to a skidding halt between Sir Robin and the dragon. While Dawnstorm looked at the dragon, Lady Silvermoon called somewhat breathlessly, “Put up your sword, Sir Knight!”
“Madam!” Sir Robin protested. “You have put yourself in extreme danger! Ride on! Ride on!!”
Lady Silvermoon did nothing of the sort. She knew that Dawnstorm was telling the dragon not to flame anybody, yet, no matter how tempting.
“Sir,” she said haughtily,”permit me to introduce myself. I am Lady Silvermoon, and you are on my land. Inciting MY tenants to injure MY dragon,” she added for good measure.
“YOUR dragon, Madam?”
“Well… my husband’s, but it is the same difference.”
Sir Robin, undecided whether to believe this plainly dressed young woman or not, turned to consult Will, and found all the men had removed their caps in her presence.
“This lady is ….” Sir Robin prompted him.
“Forgive me, My Lady,” Will said. “May I present Sir Robert de Coverlet. Sir Robert, this is the wife of our liege lord, Lady Silvermoon.”
Sir Robin made a sweeping bow which Lady Silvermoon acknowledged with a curt nod.
“Release the dragon,” she said imperiously.
There were muted protests from the villagers.
“You will be quite safe,” she promised them, hoping the dragon was listening to the unicorn.
The dragon was released and dragged himself towards the barrow, avoiding the arrows, his belly trailing on the ground.
“What did you do to him?” she demanded.
“We gave him cattle and sheep that we had killed and filled with stones,” Sir Robin said simply.
- Will that harm him? she asked the unicorn.
- No, his stomach acid will gradually wear them down if he gets peace to sleep.
“He is to be allowed to sleep undisturbed,” she said. “Garrison, I understand you were ordered to shoot anyone who woke him?”
“Yes, My Lady.”
“A duty you clearly failed to perform,” she said, looking coldly at Sir Robin as if she wished the duty to be completed there and then.
“With respect, My Lady, Sir Robert did not waken the dragon. The storm did.”
“I see.” She appeared to consider that. “Very well. Sir Robert, please accompany me. My husband will be happy to welcome a fellow knight. On a fine horse,” she added at the unicorn’s prompting. “Garrison, have the entrance to the barrow sealed with earth so that the grass will grow over it and conceal it, but the dragon may emerge if he wishes. And you WILL shoot anyone who approaches the barrow. Is that clear?”
“Yes, My Lady.”
“Are you ready, Sir Robert?”
“Yes, My Lady,” Sir Robin answered meekly, swinging up into the saddle.
They rode a few paces.
“Was it your idea to fill the cattle and sheep with stones?”
“I regret that it was.”
“No indeed, do not regret an ingenious plan. The beast will probably die now and you will be a hero to the villagers. Shall I have my minstrel write a song in your honour?”
“My Lady is too kind!”
“Not at all. We shall call you Sir Robert the Dragonslayer. Would that please you?”
Sir Robin looked as if he could purr.
- Don’t encourage him!
- Oh don’t be such a spoilsport! Let him have his moment of glory.
- One thing I am sure of, My Lady.
- What is that, my prince?
- Lord Silvermoon will win that fine horse off him before he leaves.
At about the same time as Sir Robert was being escorted to Silvermoon Castle, a farm cart was trundling into the west woods from the north. The fire was out, but the underbrush was black and smelled of burning. Galien carried a box containing some of the Warlock’s bottles and jars down into the cavern under the roots of a massive and ancient elm. The floor was wet and everything left behind was covered in soot, but otherwise undamaged. When he came up again to ground level the Warlock was coming down carrying the grimoires.
“Everything is black…”
“Indeed it is, apprentice, exactly as you described it.”
“I thought all the creatures were dead.”
“I asked you if you could see corpses.”
“You did, Master. And I said no… our storm forced them to seek shelter and made the woods too wet to burn. We did blast a tree, though.”
“Well, you can’t make a storm without some collateral damage,” the Warlock said, coming back out. “You did well today, Galien, I would praise you but it would only go to your head. I’ll bring the rest of the equipment in if you start supper. And don’t burn it,” he called over his shoulder.
“I never burn supper,” Galien said indignantly.
“I’ve seen you burn water!”
“Well, ‘simmer’ is such a meaningless word. Master…”
“Are you going to tell me what marrubium is?”
“You already know. You used it in the potion you made for me when I strained my voice.”
“Horehound? Why did you not tell me its natural name?”
“Latin always sounds more mysterious. Warlocks should be Mysterious and Frightening. Get on with the supper. Break a few eggs. You’re good at breaking things.”
Imi popped her head out of the box that Galien had carried in and set on the big oak table. ”Has he gone?”
“For the moment, but he’ll be back soon.”
“I have to go home now, anyway. Can I come again?”
“Anytime you wish, little one.”
“I have had such an adventure today! I’ve met an elf and a warlock, I’ve been to the mountains and I’ve seen magic and I’ve seen SNOW! I’m sure nothing as interesting has happened here while we were away.”
She spread her rainbow wings, making sure Galien saw them at their best, and flew away, waving a tiny hand and blowing a faerie kiss.
In the days that followed, Galien learned that not only had he/they been responsible for the only permanent damage in the woods, the loss of the elder tree struck by lightning, but that the thunder and lightning had woken the dragon that slept in the barrow, which could have led to the woods being totally destroyed and the local village being burned to the ground – only they weren’t, because everything was too wet due to the storm. It hurt his head, trying to make sense of it all. Everybody seemed to know part of what had happened but nobody knew it all. Most of the woodsfolk thought it was just good luck that the storm had driven them deep underground before the dragon came.
As a wood elf he felt intensely guilty about the destruction of the tree and about wakening the dragon, but the Warlock pointed out that without their intervention the knight might have woken the dragon anyway and then the woods and the village would have been totally destroyed. It was Galien’s intuition of coming disaster that had saved everyone and, the Warlock said, it had all come together in the end, just like a Faerie Tale.
Copyright Hilary Robinson 7.4.2010
Well, here we are at last, the final chapter. Here is Lady Silvermoon. All the unanswered questions get answered, I hope, let me know if they don’t!
Thank you for staying with me all the way.
Thanks to Steffy for the fairy, to Dawn for the unicorn, to Laura for Lady Silvermoon, to Monica for the little red cabin in the snow and to all the other Redbubblers who have commented..
The Faerie Tale is copyrighted and protected
Hilary Robinson 2010 and is not in the Public Domain.