The Queen Of Pain
Sweet Dreams.....Of Revenge
Brettifa awoke half expecting the queen to be dead. Before taking a look at Birsla's bruised and battered face the handmaiden took a long deep breath to prepare herself for the worst. What she saw, however, startled her ! The bruises were almost completely healed and the swelling had gone down to where it was barely noticeable. But was she breathing ? !
" My queen ! My queen !! " Brettifa shouted at Birsla as she shook her gently.
Slowly the queen opened her eyes, and looked up at Brettifa.
" Good morning my dear ! " the queen said as though nothing had happened.
Brettifa gazed down at Queen Birsla with a look of disbelief on her face.
"Are you alright my lady ? " the handmaiden finally managed to ask.
" Why of course my dear. I am just fine . " she replied happily.
Not completely convinced Brettifa tried another question.
" Did you sleep well last night my queen ? " she asked.
" Yes ! " Birsla replied and then paused. " I had a dream last night Brettifa. "
The handmaiden pushed a lock of hair off of the queen's face before asking :
" What did you dream ? "
Queen Birsla looked up at her handmaiden with a large smile.
" I dreamed that I was waking up from a nightmare. " the queen replied happily.
Then Queen Birsla stunned Brettifa with a request she had not made in over a year.
" I would like to go to the market today if you don't mind my dear . " she told her handmaiden.
As she dressed the queen, Brettifa was amazed at how most of the bruises, and welts had simply disappeared from her body. After a while she began to question if what she thought she had seen yesterday was real, or if it was somehow a strange form of delusion.
That question was partially answered the moment they left the guest hall. The look on Unnvaldr's face when he saw the queen said it all. The Royal Guard stared at the queen studying closely every part of her body that was exposed. The queen could not help but notice the attention.
" Am I so beautiful this morning Unnvaldr that you have forgotten how to bow, or even to say good morning ? " the queen asked with a pleasant smile.
Unnvaldr suddenly snapped out of his state of shock.
" Forgive me my queen ! Good morning to you ! " the guard replied with a befuddled grin on his face.
" And good morning to you as well Unnvaldr ! " the queen happily replied.
As Brettifa followed the queen on her way to the market she glanced over at Unnvaldr and shrugged her shoulders at him. The last she saw of the guard he was still shaking his head in disbelief.
" Who is this woman ? " Brettifa whispered to herself.
Queen Birsla, or the woman who looked just like her, was smiling and singing as she made her way to the first vendor. The queen usually walked with her head down, and seldom if ever made eye contact with anyone in the village. Shame will do that to you ! Today, however, she was looking all around as though she were seeing the world for the very first time. And still stranger yet, she was greeting everyone she passed by with a " hello ", or a " good morning " . It made Brettifa so happy she nearly began to cry .
The villagers were just as surprised as Brettifa ! The women nervously curtsied, and the men, including several warriors, not only bowed, but took off their hats and helmets as they did. Once they reached the first vendor at the market Brettifa was amazed at how engaging and friendly the queen was to the vendors who lined the streets selling their food and wares. One vendor, a kindly old gentleman, tried to give the queen a few extra apples, but the queen politely refused the offer. She told the man that he should keep them to make extra money for his family. And then she did something that made the man's face go flush. She paid him with a bronze coin, thanked him and used his full name to say goodbye as she left the stand.
" Thank You ! And good day to you Jokell Haraldson. " she told the gentleman politely.
The words rang in Brettifa's ears like a bell !
" Did she really remember this poor peasant farmer ? But she seldom if ever spoke to anyone before ! Had the queen gone crazy overnight ? Should I do something ? What should I do ! "
These and many other thoughts swirled around in Brettifa's head, but then she remembered what the queen had said earlier that morning.
" I dreamed that I was waking from a nightmare ! " she had said.
As happy as Brettifa was that Queen Birsla was enjoying herself, the handmaiden also knew that tomorrow the king would return. And so too would the nightmares !
They shopped all morning, and most of the afternoon. It was almost as though the queen had never shopped before, and the experience was somehow new and exciting for her. And it was not merely the shopping, or the people that she met along the way that made Birsla giddy, and eager for more. As they reached the last few vendors at the edge of the woods, a beautiful butterfly fluttered in front of the queen, and caught her attention. The queen followed the butterfly into the forest and watched the insect as it flew from flower to flower gathering nectar. As Brettifa struggled to keep up with the queen, while carrying everything she had bought, she could not help but think that Birsla, at least at this moment, was the happiest woman alive.
Queen Birsla's energy, however, faded with the setting sun, and they finally headed back to the guest hall so the queen could take a nap. Brettifa was relieved that the queen had tired because she was now exhausted as well, and needed to rest.
After helping the queen out of her dress, Brettifa watched as Birsla got into bed and snuggled under the blankets. The handmaiden bedded down near the queen, and before she fell asleep she tried to understand what had happened this day. But none of it made any sense, and soon both succumbed to their weariness, and were quickly asleep.
Brettifa jumped up off of her bed, throwing the blankets to the floor as she did ! As she quickly awoke she realized that the queen was screaming ! Through the fog of sleepiness she saw Queen Birsla on her knees in the bed, and she was stabbing her pillow with an imaginary knife that she thought she held in her hand. Brettifa quickly ran over, and shook the queen awake.
" My queen ! Wake up my Queen !! " she shouted.
" Are you alright ?! " Brettifa asked frantically.
Queen Birsla's eyes popped open and she smiled.
" Yes ! I am fine ! I was having such a sweet dream.... a sweet dream of revenge ! "
The queen quickly calmed down, and Brettifa helped Birsla back under the covers again. She sat by her bedside until both were once again asleep. As Brettifa left for her dream world, two visitors came from another realm. In her bed, deep asleep and dreaming, Queen Birsla smiled as the " sweet dreams " were becoming more vivid and powerful.
- End Chapter 8
- Next : Chapter 9 : The King Returns ( Helpless No More )
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2016.