When they reached the stream, Calypso carefully filled the jug before Estelle entered the water. She set it by the cloths the other female had brought. She carefully pulled herself out of the white prison dress, not caring that they’d forgotten the clean clothes. She wasn’t going to point it out – she didn’t want to seem like a snob within the hour of arriving. She frowned slightly as she waded into the water, her gray wings spreading slowly. A mere few minutes with Sir Wayne (albeit after quite a few years in a dungeon) had changed her completely. She shook her head slightly though and sank under the water, staying there for quite a long time. When she rose, she only just caught Estelle’s question. She looked to her, tilting her head to the side and moving slightly closer to better hear her.
“I do not know. Perhaps he will not mind if you ask him later.” She hoped Estelle might tell her if she did ask him, but she didn’t want to ask for favors that were not necessary for her own preservation. She did not know the boundaries of her welcome, but she did swear to herself and to Wayne that she would not cross them.
I had heard rumor of a knight being hired to slay King Charles of Tulsyar. The knight was weary, and was not going to complete his task. And, with much regret that I could not foresee at the time… I took the choice away from him. I killed the king. There is not a day that went by in that horrid cell that I do not remember the way he looked at me as he died. My decisions haunt me. They have worn me down to a shell. A shell of a fallen white angel, damned from the beginning simply because it came.”
The story that Calypso told was as tragic as it was shocking. Telling her story fro the days of her youth, the plans to marry her beloved and then have him die in a tournament, before she even had the chance. Her life’s tale was spun in words that left the young handmaiden chilled and she found herself swimming away slowly from her. Partly from fear now, of what this woman was capable of, but also the fact she was unattended with her.
“Does Sir Wayne know of these events? She asked, reaching the bank, and walking up, with water trailing off her. The angel flapped her wings and shook off the excess water.There were toweling cloths hanging on low hanging branches, and she started to pat herself down, not taking her eyes off Calypso. She knew that Sir Wayne was the most forgiving of souls, one that had himself crawled out of the pits of darkness and bereavement from the loss of his Ambrosia.
Standing on the bank, she then started to dress again, squeezing out her hair. “Please come with your jug when you can. We should get back.” Estelle said at first, then stopped and had one last question. “Will you take this new chance at life that Sir Wayne has given you, or leave us to seek out the one that brought you such pain in your life?”
Calypso’s gaze remained focused on the water as Estelle moved away from her. She knew that she would not be looked upon with the same equality and friendliness after telling the other woman of her past. She did not answer the first question – it was obvious, the answer. No matter how far Sir Wayne fell when Ambrosia passed, he would never free a murderer. At least, not if he knew that the said convict was a murderer. She hoped Estelle would not tell him, but she also knew that he must learn eventually, if she was to stay. When the second question came, she looked to Estelle with eyes still full of sorrow, but in them was something else… in her eyes was a promise, a daring promise that she spoke aloud immediately after. “I swear to you, I am done with my mistakes. I see now the error of my ways, and I know that no amount of bloodshed or ruin would bring me peace of mind. I have done many things that I am not proud of, but I did them in the name of my family. There is not much justification in that, but I hope there is some, even if it is very little. No loss of life makes another equal. It just adds to the pain.”
Estelle was not a woman with a black heart, and hearing Calypso speak of how she had done with the mistakes in her life, she believed there was a glimmer of hope that she had changed. The worst thing that could be done for all concerned was if Estelle betrayed her confidence, for though Sir Wayne was of good intent, he might not take the news of the reason for Calypso’s imprisonment well.
Realizing that this was best a secret kept between the two women, Estelle walked toward Calypso and offered her hand to help her from the stream.
“May this day be the start of a new life for you. Having opened up, is half the battle, and admitting what you did. I can shoulder the burden of your misadventures, and maybe you will come to like life here with us. It’s not as fancy as the castle or the trappings of royalty, but there is much heart and caring between the knights and their charges.”
Hopefully, Calpyso would take her hand, and then dress again, to take the water pots back to the camp
Calypso smiled the widest smile she had in a long time. At least, genuine smile. She was smiling at Estelle’s kindness, and what might be the beginning of her first friendship. “Thank you, Estelle. I have a feeling I might even come to love life here, with all of you.” She took the other female’s hand without hesitation, allowing her to help herself out of the water. Her wings slowly retracted themselves as she reached for one of the drying cloths, shaking her hair slightly. “Perhaps the water does hold the tears of a Goddess.” She said quietly, with almost a laugh. She dried herself off, then redressed, not even mentioning how much she hated the prison dress. It seemed fabulous to her now, and she hardly even noticed it. She lifted the jug with ease, which she thought she would be unable to do. Perhaps the adrenaline that had secretly snuck into her veins during her tale was the cause. She turned to Estelle and waited for her to walk, as she would follow her when she did.
Guards from the prison within the castle grounds, had come down to see if Sir Wayne had finished with Calypso. Afterall, he had taken her under the impression he was simply going to use her and send her back. When she was not returned in reasonable time, this raised questions, and so, the head jailer sent down two guards to take her back. Sir Wayne was watching a young pair of knights practice their skills, when the guards showed up. By the way that they were looking about, it was clear, they were looking for the white haired angel.
Estelle was coming up from the stream with Calypso, and recognised the guards, by their dress. She gasped, and then motioned for Calypso, to go into one of the other tents, where the maiden’s slept. When they got in, she asked Calypso to change into one of her own dresses and then tried to work out a good way to cover up her striking hair.
Meanwhile, Sir Wayne approached the two guards.
“What brings you down here? After a bit of practise with my brothers?” He asked sternly. The guards came right out with it. “The prisoner…have you finished with her? The jailor wants her taken back.” Sir Reginald then came over, and heard the questioning. “Oh…that girl. We uhm…we…we..” Another knight came up and he laughed. “We sold her.” At this, Reginald nodded. The two guards looked at each other and one took out his dagger. “Liars….now where is she?” At seeing the drawing of the blade on the Knights, this brought ALL the other trainee knights over, and the unarmed guard looked like he was set to shit himself. “Now…we told you, we sold her. Here..take the money and give it to the jailor. That should shut him up.” The Knight handed over a pouch of coin, and the guard with the blade, knew he best to take it. “That is enough to buy a house. Now…off with ya’s.” Sir Reginald said, as the other knights started to laugh.
The guards left, tails between their legs, and with the purse that effectively paid for Calypso’s life. Reginald then said. “I hope she was worth it.”
Everything happened so fast, Calypso didn’t even think to ask what was going on. She put on Estelle’s dress without having to be told twice, and just remained still as the woman fussed about her hair. She looked slightly confused, and in that genuine confusion, she appeared much younger. In fact, since they had returned from the stream, she seemed much younger in general. “Estelle?” She waited for a silence of some sort, or at least for the woman to stop moving. “What on God’s green Earth is going on?” Another handmaiden dropped a bowl she was holding, a bit shocked at Calypso’s question. She immediately resumed her task without a word, rushing out of the tent. Rumors of Calypso being a fallen had long since spread through the kingdom, though it was not entirely true – she had not yet fallen, but she was no longer a pure angel. She was somewhere in-between – an outcast, as she had always been. The only difference now was that she deserved her label. It was her own doing. Her appearance was not, and she was going to be offended if they were fussing about her because they didn’t want to have a constant reminder of how different she was from them.
It didn’t take long for the whisper to pass from Knight to servant, that the woman known as Calypso had just been saved from going back to the gallows. She was now a free woman. When a young boy came to the maiden’s tent and gestured for Estelle to come close, he whispered in her ear, just what had transpired. “He did what?’ She exclaimed, and the boy nodded, and said loud enough to be heard. “Paid the purse, and set her free. Six months worth of wages…spent on her freedom.” At this Estelle turned around to Calypso and was in a state of shock. “My Lord just…freed you.” Wide eyed, she exited the tent, only to see the group of Knights approach the tent. Estelle gathered her skirts, and ran for Sir Wayne. “Tis this true? Did you really pay for her freedom?” One of the other Knights chuckled. “Should have seen the looks on their faces. Not seen a purse that big before.” Estelle put her hands on her hips. “How are you going to pay for all of us…for food, supplies? Oh what are we to do?” At this Sir Reginald took out a flyer and unfurled it. “Easy…the King is holding a jousting tournament and carnival. Great gold prizes. Don’t be worrying. Between us all, we will win it back.” This brought a rousing cheer from the other knights, while Sir Wayne approached Calypso. He bowed his head, seeing her looking so much younger, and healthier now. The Stream really did have the properties that had been spoken about for many a year.
“News here travels faster than the swallow flies. I take it you have heard. You’re a free woman. Able to go anywhere and do anything without fear of imprisonment, or abduction.”