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Old 09-08-2008, 02:17 PM   #273
Messenger of Hope
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: In a tiny, insignificant little town in one of the many States.
Posts: 5,228
Folwren is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Folwren is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Rowenna and Saeryn

As soon as she had answered Eodwine, Saeryn spurred her horse into a trot. Her heart beat high in her chest, hoping that she would be able to find Rowenna and that Rowenna would stop and listen to her. What would she say that Rowenna needed to listen to? Saeryn did not precisely know.

As she came up the short rise and came level with the baker, she saw Rowenna, walking swiftly away from the entire encampment. Saeryn did not draw rein at all and continued to go forward quickly.

"Rowenna!" she called, when she was close enough. "Please wait!"

The woman didn't even turn her head. She kept on doggedly, but Saeryn saw her fists clench.

Saeryn urged her horse on faster, passed Rowenna and then drew rein just in front of her. "Please don't go. You didn't understand. I didn't understand, either."

Rowenna did not slow her pace. If Saeryn meant to bodily block her way, she would have to try harder than that. She pivoted around Saeryn and her horse and kept walking, but said, "What is there to understand? Eodwine wants you, and not me. There is nothing else to understand. I will not stand in your way, so I'm leaving."

Saeryn lifted one rein and the horse turned about on his hind feet and then fell into pace beside Rowenna.

"You think that being here, you would be in my way?" Saeryn asked. "Don't be a fool! What I meant was, you didn't understand the relationship between he and I, so it's little wonder you acted as you did. Because you did not win him, now you throw a tantrum and run off? This is your home, Rowenna, and running will do you no good. Take my word for it."

"You do not understand me. My tantrum, as you so kindly call it, is done. But my foolishness, as you name it, is not foolishness. I had but one goal, to win the lord of this eorldom as my husband. Now it is clear to me that my goal cannot be achieved, for he loves you. There is no reason for me to stay. I have a new goal."

"Perhaps you set your goal too high," Saeryn suggested quietly. "It's no reason to just turn your back forever on the friends you've made here. Where do you intend to go - where you can find a home and friends?"

Rowenna slowed but did not stop; it was not because of any persuasiveness in Saeryn's words. In fact, Rowenna had not even heard Saeryn's last words because she had become consumed with an ugly fact. It sapped her of the strength to walk toward her goal so quickly. A lump came to her throat; try as she might she could not swallow it down, and it came out in a plaintive hollowness in her voice. She stopped; Saeryn stopped also and turned her horse to face Rowenna.

"I have no friends in Scarburg. I thought you might be that for me, but now we are rivals. No, not even that." She grew angry again, but unshed tears stung her eyes. "Can't you see? I have no friends in Scarburg!" She stumbled around Saeryn and her horse, wiping at her stinging eyes. "Go back to your lover! Leave me alone!"

Saeryn's heart ached to see someone feeling and acting so rejected and alone. Saeryn had everything she wanted - even the man she loved - and Rowenna now believed she had nothing, or even less than nothing. Saeryn understood suddenly what Rowenna must be feeling. Rowenna had believed that Eodwine felt inclined to love her, and that soon, her goal of marriage might be fulfilled. She had thought that Saeryn was her friend, someone who almost could be relied on to hear things that lay close to her heart. These illusions had been wiped away, suddenly and without mercy. Eodwine had professed with his own lips his love for Saeryn, just after Saeryn had defiled Rowenna's name and reputation.

Saeryn slipped down from her horse and ran after Rowenna. She grasped her arm gently. "Please forgive me," she said quietly. "I did not mean what I said. I was angry, like you are now. Please don't go like this. I like you Rowenna, truly I do, and I don't know what possessed me to say such evil things."

Rowenna looked at Saeryn's hand on her arm as she listened. She had not trusted anyone, except for a growing faith in Eodwine, since her father had died. She had not been close to any woman since her mother had died years before that; she had been the apple of her father's eye, and somehow she had dreamed that she might have something like that with Eodwine. Now Saeryn spoke words of entreaty to her. To her! She could feel herself losing control. She did not like losing control, but she hated her isolation even more. For a moment she imagined melting into Saeryn's arms and bawling as she had not done since time out of mind, and she reckoned that it would be a humiliation beyond bearing. Yet she could not bring herself to reject Saeryn either, for her heart starved for what she was offering. To make it worse, she could feel herself slipping out of control, and something in her could not abide that either. She could not find a way through; yet something had to give.

She wrenched her arm from Saeryn's gentle grasp and stumbled to the side of the road where she fell against a tree trunk. She felt unbearable pain welling up from inside and it came out of her throat as an animal moan; she could not believe it was her own voice. Her eyes stung, for tears still would not come, but she fell to her knees for the pain inside was unendurable. She had to stop it! She hiccuped and fought to stifle the pain but it would not go away.

Saeryn didn't know what to do. She stood in the middle of the road, staring at Rowenna. It was true, she didn't understand her, but she did see clearly that the young woman - indeed, she was little older than Saeryn herself - was suffering a pain far deeper than Saeryn had ever known herself, or could possibly even guess.

A lump grew in her own throat. She swallowed back and then went forward cautiously. Rowenna did not turn her head or make any sign that she heard her approach. Then suddenly, Saeryn knelt beside her, put her arm about her shoulder and drew her to her own body, trying to comfort her as best she could. She soothed her like a child, murmuring softly into her ear - "Hush, Rowenna, it's alright - it's alright. You can talk to me."

Rowenna felt Saeryn take her close and whisper calm assuring words, such words she had not heard since she was a little girl. And for some reason Rowenna did not understand, it was endurable for Saeryn to come to her and offer comfort, so that she had not had to take that humiliating step. She could not cry, the tears would not flow, but as she rested in Saeryn's arms, the pain slowly ebbed until it was an endurable ball inside. She tested her voice and found that she could control it again.

"Saeryn, you are - you are good - good to me." Suddenly the tears came and she could not stop them. It was a long time before they subsided.

Saeryn waited until Rowenna had ceased to cry, and then she drew back and looked Rowenna in the face. It was only then that Rowenna saw that she, too, had been weeping. "Now," Saeryn said as she drew a trembling breath, "Let's go back and find a place where we can sit in peace. We've both missed the horse race by now, and no one will bother us so long as the games progress. If you like, we can talk, or I can help you prepare for whatever journey you feel you have to take."

Rowenna did not understand it, but for some reason, Saeryn's tears made it possible for Rowenna to make a decision that would have been impossible moments ago.

"Yes," she nodded, "I do believe that maybe I should leave Scarburg, but maybe not." A fleeting smile came to her face, the first one in many moons that had been unplanned. They stood and walked slowly back to Scarburg, Saeryn leading her horse by one rein, and both of them said much to each other about their lives, and it was in this way that they realized that they both had grown up in the Folde. This new sisterhood, as it were, added a new thread into the fabric of an unexpected friendship, and this time true, that had begun to weave itself between them.
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