Friday, 24 August 2012

Chapter 4

Here's Chapter 4, a mini one that makes up for chapter 3. Events from here onwards are subject to change, simply to keep continuity with ideas that happen later on, but the main body of it is more or less correct, and I don't plan on messing around with any of the characters. 

Chapter 4

    Arthur gazed around the tiny room he found himself in. He was lying on some blankets inside a medieval hut, and was surrounded by wonky shelves stacked with many different herbs and medical concoctions in gourds. The room smelt damp with an overpowering scent of lavender, but Arthur was grateful for the protection, as the drafty window above his head displayed wet and windy scenes from outside. This provoked him to remember the tornado in his room and anger began to rise within him, demanding answers from the illusive Time. He pushed aside the hessian sack laid over him, to reveal that someone had stripped him of his night shirt and had carefully dressed and bandaged each of his wounds.

An icy chill ran down his spine and he turned to see a young girl struggling against the storm outside, trying to close the door. The wind changed, the door shut and she leaned against the door, regaining her breath in shallow gasps. 

The old lady welcomed the new girl, and helped her unpack to contents of her basket. She glanced over in Arthur’s direction and her face shifted into a pleasant, toothless grin. “Woken up now have we, deary?” said she, shifting her ample frame to the side of Arthur’s makeshift bed. “Now, there’s no serious damage on the outside, but of course it’s up to you about the inside: whether you accept the incidents of the past few hours or live in this world as an outcast.”

Arthur stared bemusedly back. She continued, “Nothin’ a little fresh air and familiarisation won’t fix. The year’s 503 and yer happen to be in Camelot, ruled by King Uther Pendragon. Looks like Time’s made a mistake and he’s dropped you off in the wrong time stream, but don’t fret, deary, he usually sorts things out one way or t’other. Now, I’m Mrs Tailor, your nurse, cook, host and general motherin’ sort during yer stay in the here and now. Any questions and you don’t be ‘fraid to come ask me. As for yer wounds; I’ll let yer out in a couple days, give ‘em a chance to start healin’, and yer not to strain yerself. Understand?”

Arthur nodded obediently, and watched Mrs Tailor set herself about the workbench which could have been used as plain evidence during a witch trial. She worked quickly but surely, mixing all manner of cures and, no doubt, illnesses.

When he was sure that her attention was distracted to her work, Arthur extracted Time’s letter and set about studying it for answers to match his long awaiting questions.

He read: ‘I am deeply indebted to your trust, among other aspects, and in the circumstances, I fear your trust had been mislaid upon me, for reasons you nor I, could have foreseen. It is, therefore, upon my duty to write an apologetic and explanatory address. However, for myself to explain each and every manner in depth, would cause this to be a lengthy letter, so instead I will only say this: You are neither forgotten nor lost to me; I am channelling all my strength to return you to your rightful home, but in the meantime, I have left you in the good care of Mrs Tailor. She is perhaps not the most comforting of hosts, but it was the best I could do at such short notice, and her purpose will serve you well enough. I urge you to find friends outside her acquaintance, not least to pass the length of your stay, but to keep you from turning as crazy as Mrs T. Yours &c. TIME’

“Is everything alright, dear?” Arthur nearly jumped out of his skin at Mrs Tailor who had suddenly appeared pressed close to his face. He hurriedly stuffed the letter back into his pocket, and recovered his composure as best he could.

“I thought you might like to be introduced to my Grand-daughter.” She stepped aside to present a young girl of about 15, dressed in a plain blue tunic with her hair tied up practically with string. “This is Robyn,” said Mrs Tailor.

"Now then, dear," clucked Mrs Tailor, "You'll be wanting to get that head down now. Robyn will be here when you're feeling better." The girl bobbed her head nervously in response, and Arthur found that he couldn't do much more than mumble his thanks and sink down onto the pillow. The last thing in his mind as he fell into a deep slumber was to wonder if anyone back home had remembered to put Penny the cat out while he was gone."

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