I enter the courtyard one week before my army takes to war. I have not had peace even in sleep since I got the summons to join the battle. Apprehension plagues my thoughts whether sleeping or awake; I cannot escape what is in my mind.
One of my squires approaches me. My general has been searching for me. “Show him in,” I say.
I ask him about the army, the war preparations and if he feels everyone is ready. He nods. I turn from him, lost in my thoughts again.
“Milady, are you well?” he asks.
I nod my reply.
“You do not look it.”
I look away again. Am I okay? I do not know. Something just doesn't feel right. I have never felt this fear and apprehension preceding war before. My stomach tightens and my thoughts cloud just thinking about riding into battle.
Where is this fear coming from? I wish I knew and I wish I knew how to rid myself of it.
My general stands awaiting my reply or my orders, I know not. I look at him and then someone moving beyond him catches my eye. The kingdom steward is moving quickly in our direction.
“My liege,” he calls as he approaches. “Scouts have caught a man at the edge of your kingdom. He was roaming around the outposts.” He bows his head.
“Quick, speak. Who is it?” My general speaks on my behalf.
The steward looks back at me, concern showing in his pale blue eyes. “It is HIM, milady. The viscount you sent away.”
My breath catches in my throat. My world begins to spin and I feel faint. I reach out my hand to steady myself and feel the general take my arm. He leads me to a stone bench along the courtyard path.
Why is he here? Why did he return. Far away he was supposed to go and there he was supposed to stay. I do not want him in my life nor anywhere near my kingdom.
My vision clears and my head stops spinning. I take a deep breath and look from my general to my steward. “Bring him to the court,” I say.
The steward nods and goes to fetch the guards to bring in our unwanted guest.