A Sword of Roses, The Dream of Arawn

… it was a dream …
“I’ll go,” stood Morwyn, another knight of the ilk of Wade and Gaelis. Phantasee tugged at his hands, biding him to stay. Eurians also stood. “Please, Morwyn, you are needed here as well.”
Morwyn looked at the Bishop and then his wife, the cleric Phantasee. “No,” he said, “I’ll be fine, and Gaelis and Wade need more strength yet still. If you’ll have me, Lord Tehlien?”
The cleric nodded. “Certainly.”
“… Bastard.” Morwyn sank to his knees. He had been down before, certainly, and his calm head had always seen him through tough battles. He wondered why this one should be different, why he should lose his cool now.
Haunt smiled. Yes, that was why. “Ah, Morwyn, one of Barlyics loyal bloody terriers. What a pleasant suprise my brother will have when he hears about this. Already his chief rival’s death has made today quite profitable.” Haunt motioned to the corpse of Tehlien being torn apart by the battle crazed Trolls.
Morwyn forced his mind to calm. He took in the features of Haunt, the short frame, not even simply short for a Highlander, the curtly cut yellow hair. He had always hated this man, this sycophant younger brother of the ambitious Bishop of Cornwall. Hatred. Damn. He was doing it again.
“So, Morwyn, you know what happens now, yes? How should I kill you,” wondered the man in front of him. “The Trolls certainly seem willing to keep going after they’re done over there… hmm… or torture… I really do want to hear you scream, you know.” Haunt chuckled.
A massive Norseman approached Haunt, dwarfing the small man. “Bretwalda,” it said in a halting accent, “a hunter haff fund a smull group uf Saxun wif yur bruther. We shult show you whar.” Haunt nodded. “Excellent, I’ll run out there after this here.”
Morwyn lowered his head, meekness armoring him. His mind, however, raced with plans, knowing that should Haunt offer them his services of speeding them towards Sauvage, that he would certainly lead them all to death. The face of his wife came, unbidden, and his tears were hard pressed to hold back.
Haunt laughed. “Oh this is too rare, Morwyn. I thought I would have never seen this!” He motioned to the Trolls, who grabbed Morwyn and dragged him to his feet roughly. “Make him scream,” said Haunt, and he turned to leave.
Calm had won many battles for Morwyn. Calm was focused, ready, competant. Calm was capable, it was victory.
Calm was gone.
Morwyn’s mind had exploded in fury, all focused at the back of this … man … this Haunt Gravenor, this self absorbed psychotic who now held the life of the only thing Morwyn had ever loved in his soiled hands.
He heaved, strength coming to his arms, shaking himself free from the Trolls that vainly held him. He screamed, fury and spittle on his lips, a true war cry of a Highlander, a shout of defiance and discord, and in the afternoon sky, it was music, it was song, and no ear failed to strain for its call. A broken partisan was lain on the ground, its shaft sundered, but the blade well and sharp. With practiced precision, it bit deep in the traitor’s back. Dark sullen blood spilled from the wound, Haunt fell to the ground, crying out in pain and in shame. Morwyn stood over his betrayer, anger and murder in his eyes.
The courtyard of Caer Erasleigh was frozen in time. Morwyn looked around at the Norse and their hideous allies all staring at him, knowing that at any time now, he was surely dead and his body disgraced.
A Norseman walked directly towards him, unafraid, unchallenging, but in authority. Morwyn dropped the spear’s head to his side, and looked, unafraid, into his killer’s eyes. The Norseman nodded, once, and Morwyn matched his gaze once more, before the Northerner drew his sword…
… and Morwyn thought of red hair and a loving embrace, and then thought no more.
Eurians stopped reading. He could not even gasp out in surprise before the twin daggers found their way home in his wicked black heart. For all of his ambition… the cleric had always disregarded Mertel as a ruined drunk.
It is told in the Underworld that the spirits can carry their burdens from life with them. So did Morwyn, proud warrior of Humberton. And in the killing of Haunt, did Arawn grant Morwyn another chance, a choice… of living again, in constant pain.
For surely would the Rose Bearer need training…
It is told in the Underworld that the spirits can carry their burdens from life with them. So did Eurians, twisted Bishop of Cornwall. And in his attack upon his homeland, did he find an ally willing to give him another chance, a choice… of revenge.
For surely, The Queen of Air and Darkness welcomed all allies…
All this was dreamt. All this was real.
Mericet awoke with a start, his hand now automatically went to the Rose Sword when he did.
His choice would be coming soon.
to be continued …