Chapter Twenty-One

By the time that supper had been prepared, I had learned that after Leslie’s death Blanchette became Gavin’s official lover. Recently, though, she had been spending a fair amount of time away from the manor, supposedly to care for her ailing mother.

“I think she’s got another man in Gaul,” the cook confided as she tested the stew. “Move this a little closer to the fire, boy, it’s not warm enough yet.”

“So why is she back?” I asked. The cook gave me a doubtful look.

“Lady Morgan, you may have been a nun for about two decades, but I think you know why she’s back,” she said. I blushed at the thought, a rage building inside of me.

“Excuse me,” I said, rising and hurrying out of the room. “I have something I need to take care of.”

“I’m sure you do, Lady Morgan,” she said, smiling slightly. “Be sure to leave my name out of it, though.”

“If you wish,” I said, pausing in the door. “Thank you for telling me, though.” With that I left the kitchen, my skirts swirling.

Gavin… That sex driven pig! He cheated on Leslie, and now he intends to do the same to me, with that whore! How dare he say that he loves me, and keep that woman at the same time. How dare he! Rage had built up inside of me, and hot tears filled my eyes.

I pounded on the door of Gavin’s office, and then pushed it open after brushing the tears away without waiting for a response. Gavin looked up from the papers that Bartholomew had been showing him, surprised by my appearance. I can’t say I blamed him for that, as I never bothered him in his office, but on that day it only infuriated me further.

“Morgan!” Gavin said, rising from his desk with a look of concern on his face. “What can I do for you?”

“What can you do for me?” I asked coldly. “How about being honest with me? That might just be a good place to start.”

“If you’ll excuse me-” Bartholomew said, gathering the papers quickly, looking like a scared rabbit. Gavin waved him away, never taking his eyes off of me.

“What are you talking about?” he asked me as Bartholomew shut the door.

“It wasn’t bad enough for you to be unfaithful to Leslie,” I snapped. “Never mind that you’ve kept a common French whore as a member of your household for all of these years.How can you say you love me while you make love with Blanchette?” Gavin paled considerably as I spoke, but he studied me seriously.

“Morgan, calm down,” he said, trying to pacify me. “I can explain-”

“Explain what?” I asked, my tone waspish.

“Look, I was young and stupid when I took Blanchette on as a lover,” he said. “I was lonely, and believed that nothing could be worse than my fate. Leslie was a good wife, yes, but she didn’t believe that sexual behaviors were intended for anything other than reproduction. Her words, not mine. I believed that I would never be relieved, not if I had to wait every nine months or so to even have a chance or two, or three.”

“So you thought that infidelity was the key?” I asked, my tone harsh. He sighed heavily.

“You must understand, Morgan,” he said, his tone slightly pleading. “I believed that I would never see you again. I thought that I was trapped into living with a woman that dissaproved of sex for the rest of my life. Blanchette understood my loneliness. Her husband abandoned her after making her leave everything, including her homeland. One thing led to another, and I made a mistake.”

“Blanchette is still a part of your household, and she isn’t your wife,” I said coldly. “Leslie died many years ago, and your supposed ‘mistake’ is still with you. It’s a wonder that you haven’t gotten your whore pregnant.” Gavin blushed crimson.

“Would you stop calling her a whore?” he asked, trying to divert my attention from whatever was causing his conscience discomfort.

“I’ll call her what she is,” I said, feeling obstinate. He had no right to tell me what to do, even if I was currently living in his home.

“Morgan,” he began, sounding frustrated. “Would you just sit still and listen for once? I don’t want to fight with you.” I studied him with a look of disbelief.

“I’m sure you don’t,” I said tartly. “You wanted me and your whore, and I’d die before permitting that.”

“Morgan,” he started again. “I’m trying to fix this. I’ve sent a letter to both Blanchette’s mother and a letter to Camelot, seeking a place for her to return to. I wasn’t expecting to see you, which is the only reason that she’s here now.”

“There’s no need for any of that,” I said, my fury making me unreasonable. “I’ll be leaving by the end of the week.”

“What?” he gasped, horror and despair flickering across his face in turn. “Morgan, surely you can’t mean that!”

“I do,” I told him, my passionate rage driving me to the door. “Thank you for all of you kindness, I’m sure, but Mordred and I will no longer be a nuscience to you. Now, if you will excuse me, I have some work to be doing.”

With that I left his office. As I half-turned to catch the door and pull it shut I caught sight of his Gavin, who was sitting at his desk, his mouth gaping like a fish’s.

I made my way to the library he had given me and mechanically pennned a letter to Gavin, asking if he and his wife would mind taking care of Mordred, while I made other living arrangements. It wasn’t until I had started to write an advertisement, requesting a cheeply priced rent for a room that a single mother and her son would be able to live in, that the full relization of what had happened and what it meant hit me.

A slight moan escaped from my lips, and the quill fell from my  hand. I wanted to cry, to scream, to behave like a selfish three year old that hadn’t gotten her way, but I couldn’t.

My heart felt like someone had reached into my chest and ripped it out, crushed it, and then returned the broken remainders to their rightful place. I knew that I should be crying from the emotional pain of this, but I couldn’t summon the tears. I knew that I should be feeling something more accute than this ache, this terrible inability to feel, but I didn’t.

The best word I can use to describe it is “emptiness.” Emotionally, I felt dead, empty of everything.

I forced myself to finish writing the advertisement, two copies of it, and then to write a letter to Kellan and Cyric, requesting they send out the advertisement to try to find a home in one of the surrounding villages, those under Cyric. It’s odd, thinking about it, that I was willing to go back to Camelot, but not as the princess I had once been.

So very odd, I thought as I sealed and addressed the letters. I don’t think highly of the concept of returning to Camelot’s courts in kind terms, yet I am willing to place myself under the jurisdiction of a knight of Camelot.

Shortly after I finished the letters it was supper time, and I forced myself through the ghastly affair. Blanchette seemed to be the only one who was truely happy, as Gavin spent the entire meal staring at me pleadingly. I held my head high and put on a show for anyone who cared to watch me, a show that would put the actors to shame.

I cried myself to sleep that night, when the tears were finally willing to come. Over the next two days, as I waited for a response, I spent much of my time packing and avoiding Gavin. Just before supper on the third day, I recieved a response from Gavin saying that if Mordred was ready he could return with the messanger in the morning.

I sent Mordred off with him, feeling more alone than I had ever felt before. As soon as he was gone, I returned to my chamber, sitting down to read by the fire. That same day, I recieved a letter from Kellan, saying that there was a possible home for me, and that I was welcome to stay with her and Cyric until a decent home had been found.

To this day I remember Gavin’s face as I rode off, intending to never return. He looked so depressed, melancholic and remorseful, lost and lonely. I turned away, feeling my heart breaking again as I rode off, determined to find a good future, and whatever it might bring, on my own.