MATTHAIS & Siwan

 

BY

 

VICKI R

 

 

 

The battle against the Woads had only been going for a short time but Matthias knew that this one was different. For one thing there were more Woads than there had been over the last couple of months in this clash. He knew that not all of his brother Knights would be returning back to the fort they called home at the moment.

 

As he fought killing as many Woads as possible he received some slashes across his arms and body, but nothing too serious. He knew that not all his brothers would be as lucky. As the battle finally started to wind down many bodies littered the ground making it hard not to trip over. As Matthias finally finished his latest opponent another came upon him. But this one was different this one was a woman.

 

The woman was skilled, very skilled and it took all of Matthias resolve to fight her. He had never fought a woman before only the men of the Woads, though some of his brothers had and had talked about it after the battles. He didn’t think he could fight a woman it wasn’t in his nature, but here he was now fighting one for his life. After a short but fierce fight against the woman Matthias had her on the ground with his sword at her throat.

 

Breathing heavily after fighting the woman Matthias looked down on her on the ground. His eyes met hers and they stared at each other. Matthias knew what he had to do but he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. He looked the woman over noticing the little she wore and the blue paint on her exposed flesh. What he saw impressed him as he noticed that she was well defined and her body was that of a truly beautiful woman. Her hair looked to be brown with a reddish tinge to it and was braided in one long plait that had fallen over her shoulder as she laid there. After looking her over Matthias eyes locked again with the woman’s, it was only then that he noticed her beautiful emerald green eyes and when he looked into them he knew in his heart he couldn’t deal the final blow to end her life.

 

Making a decision that could be the end of him he quickly looked around to see if anyone was watching him. No one seemed to be, all seemed to be still engaged in combat, but there weren’t many skirmishes left being fought so he knew he had to act quickly. His decision made he raised his sword from the woman’s throat praying to his gods she wouldn’t take the chance to kill him.

 

The woman looked surprised as Matthias lifted his sword from her. Not knowing what he was doing and what she should do now that he had moved slightly away from her.

 

‘Go your free’ Matthias said just loud enough for her to hear only and no one else.

 

The woman still looked surprised at what was happening not knowing what she should do. One thought was to take the advantage and kill the man standing over her, but as she looked into his blue eyes she knew she couldn’t. She didn’t know why she couldn’t, she just couldn’t.

 

‘Please get up and go’ Matthias begged the woman in front of him. ‘Please before it’s too late’.

 

Matthias seeing the woman wasn’t moving went to her. The woman seeing him move towards her started to crawl backwards away from him believing that he was finally going to kill her. Matthias grabbed her arm pulling her up to be only a breath away from him.

 

Looking into her green eyes he saw the fear in them and knew she was scared of what he might do to her.

 

‘Go’ Matthias said again and this time he pushed her from him and towards the forest that surrounded the clearing they were in where the battle was taking place.

‘Go’ Matthias said once more pushing her away from him get to his point across.

 

Looking passed him the woman looked towards the battle that was still going, seeing no one looking their way bent down retrieving her sword and then ran to the cover of the forest nearby.

 

Breathing a sigh of relief Matthias turned from the forest the woman had escaped into and went to help his brothers.

 

After the battle was finally finished out of the 15 Knights only 14 survived, the Roman soldiers had been decimated and only a few remained that had been accompanying the Knights. Not many of the Woads had survived either and those who did fled upon seeing they had lost against the Knights yet again.

 

Matthias helped his brothers take care of their fallen comrade and once that was done they readied themselves for the ride back to the fort. All the Knights were sad and silent as they finally mounted their horses for the return trip. After Matthias had mounted his steed he looked towards the forest the woman he had let go had fled into wondering whether she was still around or not. He couldn’t get her emerald green eyes out of his mind.

 

Slowly the Knights with Matthias headed back to fort, Matthias thought again about the woman he let go. He didn’t know if he would ever see her again, he just hoped not on the battle field, but he did hope that maybe one day he would see her again.

 

~~~~~

 

The woman that Matthias let go was watching from the safety of the forest as the Knights left. After leaving the man who spared her life she had been trying to spot him again. Finally after what seemed like hours the woman finally spotted the man she sort. She noticed he was looking towards the forest, she hoped that maybe he was looking for her. Shaking her head she tried to get the thought that he was trying to find her out of it, he was the enemy not a friend or lover. But why did he spare her life? She wouldn’t have, but he did and she had to admit she had spared his as well. If anyone had caught her letting the Knight live she would be in real trouble from the elders of her village. She knew she should have killed him, but when she had looked into his beautiful blue eyes she knew in her heart she couldn’t. Even now as she watched him and the other Knights leave she could still see those eyes, they were like nothing she had seen before and they were like the colour of the sky.

 

Lost in her thoughts the woman didn’t hear the man creep up on her till he touched her shoulder. She jumped from being startled and quickly turned to face whoever it was with a dagger in her hand. Seeing who it was she relaxed.

 

‘Don’t do that I almost put my dagger in you’ the woman said to the man.

 

‘Sorry Siwan but I didn’t think I would find you alive, you’re needed’ the man said.

 

‘Alright Baltrac I’m coming’ Siwan said knowing why she was needed.

 

Siwan other than being a warrior was also a healer and an extremely good one at that. She had been ale to do miracles, well that’s what it seemed to others, but it was just that she had been trained extremely well in the art of healing. Slowly she rose watching the last of the Knights move out of her sight and followed Baltrac back to where the injured were waiting.

 

~~~~ 

 

After arriving back at the fort Matthias along with his brother Knights buried their fallen brother. After burying him they all went their separate ways to mourn their loss in their own way. Matthias didn’t go to the tavern as he normally did after burying a brother; instead he went for a walk. All the way back to the fort he couldn’t get the woman with the emerald green eyes out of his mind, he knew he should be mourning the lost of another brother like he had the others he had mourned before, but for some reason he couldn’t.

 

As the days wore on Matthias became more subdued and kept to him self, which was not like him at all. Some of his fellow Knights thought he was taking the latest death harder than anyone else. Others thought he was in love and teased him about it, he ignored them. Slowly over the next two months he came out of himself, but he started getting the feeling that someone was watching him. No matter what he did he could never catch who it was which started making him feel uneasy.

 

Siwan was experiencing the same feelings as Matthias was after the battle. She tended the wounded and helped with the dead. After a few days she couldn’t get the Knight with the sky blue eyes out of her mind. She took to wandering about the forest and around the village, but no matter what she did she couldn’t find any peace from the eyes that seemed to haunt her.

 

Deciding to finally do something about the blue eyed man she left her village and travelled to the nearest fort. She could only hope that the Knight she looked for would be there. When she arrived she was in luck as he was indeed there. Over the days and weeks that followed she followed him when he was at the fort and not away with the other Knights on a mission.

 

Siwan had camped a distance from the fort and village that was situated next to it and avoided as much contact with the people there as much as possible. Over the time she was there she moved about always making sure she was not detected at anytime. She didn’t need to go to the village for anything, she hunted for the food she needed and the vegetables she stole only when she had to. While living in the forest Siwan collected and dried many herbs for her to use in her healing. She knew she would have to return to her village as her sister would come looking for if she didn’t return soon.

 

It’s not that she hadn’t been away from her sister and village before for a lengthy period, it was more that her sister had noticed her lack of concentration she normally had around people. Normally she was bright and cheerful but since the last battle she had been moody and unhappy. Her sister had spoken to her as a sister and fellow warrior assuming it was about the devastating disaster of the last battle against the Knights and Romans, but it wasn’t. Not that she wasn’t upset at the senseless loss of life but in all honestly it was more about the Knight that had spared her life, but she would not tell her sister that. One reason was she would go off her brain if she knew as her sister hated the Knights and Romans with a passion. Her sister not had always been like that she had disliked them but nothing more, but since she had nearly died from a wound inflicted by them and a fever had set in that took all Siwan’s experience to rid her of it, her sister was never the same. Especially when she had to give up fighting, she had not been pleased at all. No Siwan knew her time away from her sister was running out.

 

After two months after first seeing the Knight with blue eyes Siwan decided to make contact with him. Following him around she had noticed he was wary like someone was watching him, so she knew she had to be careful when she did confront him finally.

 

The day arrived that Siwan had decided to confront the Knight. She had watched him with interest and growing affection for him as she got to know him from afar. He was a kind man and she saw this but she notice he did not show that kindness on the battlefield or when he sparred against the other Knights. Actually she really enjoyed it when the Knights sparred but she only had eyes for her Knight, especially when he had his shirt off. At first she was shocked to see the many scars that his chest, back and arms had but realised he wouldn’t have them if he hadn’t fought against her people. She grew used to the sight of the scars and started to enjoy the view he presented to her. He was well toned with a flat stomach and the muscles of his arms and shoulders were well defined indicating he also worked in the fields along the village people as well as other outside activities that she had seen him do over the time she had been there. He also had a nice tan too.

 

As she watched him spar she tried to think of a way to get him alone. As she watched and thought he finished sparring and left the training arena and went back to the Knights quarters to change and freshen up. Siwan followed him and waited for him to re-emerge; once he did he headed out of the fort and into the woods. Seeing that the Knight was heading into the woods she knew it was the chance she needed to finally confront him. But she had to be careful as he was carrying his sword and dagger on him.

 

As she entered the forest she poised listening to the Knights foot steps as he went along the path though the forest. Hearing his foot steps she moved to follow him hoping that there would be a place she could confront him. As she walked along the path following the Knight her thought went to how she was going to confront him without him trying to run her though with his sword. She was so lost in her thoughts she didn’t notice till it was too late as she walked into a clearing that was beside a small pool of water. Looking up she saw the Knight standing in front of her with his sword pointed at her and with a scowl across his face.

 

‘Why are you following me?’ the Knight asked with anger in his voice.

 

‘I’m sorry I wasn’t. I must have lost my way’ Siwan said hoping he would believe her lie.

 

Looking closely at the woman in front of him she seemed to be familiar. Where had he seen this woman before? As he looked and thought he took in her appearance. She was of average height for a woman with long brown hair with a hint of red though it with the most beautiful emerald green eye. Eyes, he now remembered.

 

‘It’s you’ the Knight explained.

 

‘It’s me?’ Siwan asked with a confused look on her face that she hoped he would buy.

 

‘Aye you’re the woman I spared on the battlefield about two months ago’.

 

Sighing she realised she had to tell the truth. ‘Aye I am’.

 

‘Why are you here and why have you been following me? It was you, wasn’t it?’ he asked.

 

‘Aye I have been following you. Why? I can’t really answer that because I really don’t know myself’ she told him.

 

‘Are you a spy?’ he asked warily.

 

‘Nay I’m only a healer and nothing more’.

 

‘Why haven’t you made yourself known before now?’

 

‘I didn’t know if you’d expose me to the Romans or not?’

 

Looking at her Matthias knew she was right. Knowing she was Woad would he have let the Romans know or not? Even he didn’t know the answer to that, but looking at her now in normal clothes she didn’t look like she would hurt anyone, but he knew she could.

 

‘You said you’re a healer then why fight?’ he asked.

 

‘Why do you?’

 

‘I have no choice I’m a slave to Rome like my brother Knights and those before us and those who’ll come after us’ he told her.

 

‘Like you I have no choice, but if I did I wouldn’t. We want the Romans gone from our land they have no right to it’ she said passionately.

 

‘Where are your people?’ Matthias asked looking around warily.

 

‘A long way from here’ she told him.

 

‘Are you here alone?’

 

‘Aye I am’.

 

‘How can I believe you?’

 

‘You don’t, but believe me if I wanted to kill you I could have’ she said.

 

‘Aye I believe you would have. So now that we’ve talked you’ll be leaving then?’ he asked.

 

‘Nay not yet’ she answered.

 

‘What keeps you here?’ he asked still a bit suspicious of her.

 

Siwan wanted to say he did, but instead said. ‘I’m looking for herbs for my healing; once I’ve enough I’ll be leaving then’.

 

‘Where are you staying in the village?’ he asked.

 

‘I’m not, I’m camped here in the forest’ she told him.

 

‘What is your name’ he finally asked her.

 

Siwan’ she told him.

 

‘I’m Matthias. Will I see you again?’

 

‘I don’t know. I must go I’m sure you’re needed back at the fort’ Siwan said and turned and left heading back into the forest.

 

Seeing Siwan leave Matthias felt like his heart also left with her. He didn’t know why he felt that way as he had only just met her. No that was a lie it wasn’t the first time they had meet. Ever since he had first seen her on the battlefield he knew that he felt something for the woman that he now knew as Siwan. He didn’t know if he would see her again but he knew in his heart he had to.

 

Slowly Matthias headed back to the fort. On the way there he thought about his encounter with Siwan. She was Woad, an enemy, should he tell someone about her?’ As he thought about it he knew he couldn’t, he believed her when she said she wasn’t there to spy. He just hoped he wasn’t making a mistake in believing that.

 

After returning to the fort Matthias went to the tavern to join his fellow Knights. But as the night wore on and his brothers got drunk he became quieter. As he watched the others drink enjoying themselves with wenches on their most of their laps all Matthias could think of was the beautiful woman with the emerald green eyes, Siwan. After leaving the tavern and returning to his room Matthias had trouble getting to sleep as he couldn’t get Siwan out of his mind. Finally deciding he had to do something about it he made the decision to seek her out the next day. Slowly he fell asleep haunted by the beauty of the emerald eyes of Siwan.

 

After leaving Matthias Siwan went to her camp site and slowly packed up. Now that she had finally confronted the Knight she now knew as Matthias there wasn’t any reason for her to stay, or so she thought. After getting everything ready, for she had plenty of herbs already collected during her time there so she wasn’t lying about that, she slept early and rose at dawn the next day. Not looking back towards where the fort was Siwan headed back to her village and her sister.

 

The next day Matthias rose early and did the chores he had to do like every Knight had, but once finished he went straight to the forest. During the day as he worked he thought he would feel her eyes watching him as he had been, but he never felt it. Heading though the forest he eventually came upon the clearing with the pond where he had finally met and talked to Siwan.  When he arrived there she wasn’t there so he waited hoping that she would come to the clearing again so they could talk more, but as he waited she never appeared. Slowly Matthias realised she wasn’t coming and decided to search the forest in the hope of coming across her camp site. As the light started to fade and the night started to creep in he found no sign of her or her camp site not even the remains of one. Siwan had cleared all traces that she had ever been in the forest and even tracks of her leaving as well, she was good for being Woad. Finally giving up as it had became too dark to search anymore Matthias headed back to the fort and the tavern.

 

When he got to the tavern this time he didn’t sit quietly like the previous night, no this time he drank. He drank until he was well and truly drunk, so much so that he had to be helped back to his room by two of his fellow Knights. Some of the Knights were worried about him as they had noticed he had been acting strangely ever since the last death of one of their fellow Knights. They hadn’t seen him this bad ever as he never drank to the excess he had done this night. They all noticed how quiet he had been the night before and had been worried then as he was more quieter than he had been, then to drink himself to nearly passing out had more than a few of them wondering what was wrong with him. Matthias wasn’t one for drinking heavily like some of the Knights, he usually was quiet and drank modestly and was the one to usually help the others back to their rooms they had never in all their time together seen him drunk. The two Knights that helped him back to his room hoped that maybe now he would finally talk to one of them instead of remaining silent as he had been for the last two months, he had always talked to one of them about problems he was having trouble with or coping with a death of one of their fellow Knights but he never drowned his sorrow like he had this night.

 

The next morning Matthias woke with a massive hangover, the likes of one he had never experienced before. He dragged himself out of bed and around the fort doing his duties. When he had finished he headed out to the forest and to the clearing. No one was there so he decided to search the forest again, but as he did he began to suspect that Siwan had left and that he would not see her again. Finally giving up his search he return to the fort and headed to the tavern. Unlike the previous night he sat alone in a corner. His brothers in arms tried to get him to talk and join them but he refused.

 

Over the next month Matthias became quieter and spent more and more time by himself often going to the clearing in the forest in the hope of Siwan being there. Even out on patrol he was quieter than he usually was but he was still very much alert. As he fought the Woads he was forever on the lookout for Siwan in case she was in the groups that attacked, but he never saw her. He had no idea what had happened to her or if he would ever see her again.

 

After Siwan returned to her village and her sister, she was quiet and moody as she had been before. Her sister Aeron was worried about her not knowing what was wrong. She had hoped that the time Siwan had been away collecting her herbs would have helped her, but it didn’t seem to look like it she actually seemed worse than before. Aeron tried to talk to her but got nothing out of her. Siwan even refused to accompany the others in the village when they went out to battle the Romans only going in some cases as a healer but never as a warrior. No one pushed her on that as they regarded her skill as a healer and the thought of losing her would be devastating to not only the warriors but for the whole village. As the month wore on Aeron noticed Siwan became more and more withdrawn to the point she was worried if she went into battle she would be injured or even die, but thankfully Siwan refused to go in battle easing Aeron’s mind if only a little.

 

Siwan knew she couldn’t keep fighting her heart just wasn’t in it any longer, especially when they were due to fight against the Knights. She only agreed to go with the warriors as healer not as a fighter and stayed hidden in the trees and bushes till she was needed, not even venturing a look to see if the Knight Matthias was there or not, she was afraid that she would see him again one day dead on the ground. Eventually she refused to go only when they fought the Romans. After a month Siwan refused to go at all stating she was a healer for the village and wished to stay and not go as healer for their warriors she just couldn’t do that any longer. The village elders agreed to her not going for they knew it had been hard for her to kill from the very beginning, but she had been trained as a warrior as well a healer never the less.

 

Aeron knew that something was definitely wrong with her sister and finally decided to find out what it was. When she confronted Siwan Aeron didn’t expect the reaction she got. Siwan had always been the calm one of the two sisters so it was a surprise when she exploded. Aeron on the other hand was a very fiery woman and her temper matched the redness of her hair. Not many people took on Aeron even the men were wary of her, even though she was quite beautiful like her sister. Many times her temper would get the better of her and more so especially since she had been badly wounded more than a year before in battle.

 

The two sisters argued and were that loud the whole village heard them. Some of the villagers were worried that someone would be hurt while others worried that enemies would find them and attack. The fight didn’t last too long, but it was really intense with the end result of Siwan storming off into the forest to be by herself. Aeron had tried to find out what was wrong by getting Siwan to tell her, but she refused to say anything. Believing she knew what was wrong and why she seemed to be different Aeron asked Siwan if she had a lover. Well if Siwan had had a dagger on her it would have found a way into her sister for even suggesting such a thing. This was the climax to their fight and the reaction Aeron got she knew for certain that Siwan did have a lover even though she had refused to acknowledge the fact. After denying she had a lover Siwan stormed off into the forest before Aeron asked any more questions, but leaving her with the impression that their was a lover involved even though she had denied the fact.

 

Aeron watched her sister disappear into the forest knowing it would be some time before she returned. She knew Siwan wouldn’t lie to her so she knew there was no lover, but she did know Siwan was in love with someone but had no idea on who it might be and it hurt her to see her like she was.

 

When Siwan had stormed off from her sister into the forest she had no idea where she would go. All she knew was she had to get away from her and her questions. Siwan was mad at her sister for even suggesting she had a lover and knew in her heart that if given the chance she would have one, but no one was ever good enough in her eyes or her sisters for her. Aeron had always been protective of Siwan as she was the eldest of them by two years, especially since both their parents had died when they were young, their father in battle and their mother in an attack on their village soon after. Aeron and Siwan had always been close and told each other everything. Siwan knew when Aeron had taken her first lover and knew they were still together even after years and it looked like they would marry and start a family. It surprised Siwan and even the people of her village that her lover stayed with her with her fiery temper but he seemed to love Aeron and was always kind to Siwan. Siwan hoped her sister knew she would tell her if she had a lover or anything for that matter as they had always done over the years, but this one time it seemed she was finding it difficult to tell her what was wrong with her. For the last three months she had had something on her mind and knew she couldn’t say anything to Aeron or anyone. No she couldn’t tell Aeron especially that she had spared the life of a Sarmatian Knight and then she had gone searching for this same Knight as well. No she couldn’t Aeron would kill her.

 

Siwan knew she had feelings for the Knight and when she had left him to return to her village and sister it had hurt. Now after the fight with her sister Siwan knew she couldn’t stay in her village any longer or fight. Her heart wasn’t in fighting any longer and the healer in her was more prominent than ever before. She also knew in her heart that she was falling for the Knight called Matthias and longed to be with him. She knew that by the time she returned to the fort he could be dead, but prayed to all the gods and goddesses to protect him.  Finally Siwan knew what she had to do and that was to go to Matthias.

 

Hours after the fight between the two sisters Siwan finally returned to the village. She searched out her sister and told her she was leaving the village for an undetermined time. This again brought the sisters to yelling at each other once more, but this time Siwan didn’t storm off making her sister understand she really needed to leave. Once Aeron was calm again, well as calm as she could get, Siwan finally told her about Matthias and how she felt about him. But at no time did she tell her he was a Sarmatian Knight only giving a brief description of him. When Aeron wanted to know more of the man who held her sister’s heart Siwan refused to say anymore other than he was a warrior and she didn’t even know if he was still alive, but she needed to go to him no matter what she would find.

 

Aeron finally agreed to Siwan leaving and spent the rest of the night with her talking and helping her pack. They both knew it could be some time before either of them saw each other again. The next morning Aeron saw Siwan off, even though she did not agree to what she was doing, wished her the best in her quest to be with her man.

 

Siwan arrived at the fort two days later after taking her time and collecting herbs along the way. She was a healer and hopefully she could find a village near the fort to live in, but not the one next to it, to be near enough to travel easily between the two, but couldn’t find one. So after arriving she decided to find a remote spot in the forest where she could camp and still reach the fort, as well as being out of the way of anyone who might venture into the forest and might stumble upon her by accident. After a couple of days setting in and finding her way through the forest without too much difficulty she went to the fort to find Matthias, but when she got there she found he wasn’t there. Enquiring about the Knights she found that they had ridden out the day before. Not knowing how long they would be away she kept an eye on the fort for any sign of their return moving about the village and market while doing so. She also moved about the forest moving her camp to more remote areas so she wasn’t detected by anyone. While she moved about the village and market she started to mingle a little with the people to see if they would accept her. Some questioned her about who she was and why she was there so she answered there questions as honestly as she could and they seem to accept her, though the questions about where she was living she tried to avoid altogether or by changing the subject if she could hoping it didn’t make them suspicious. They seemed not to be too worried as she seemed to be a private person keeping to her self mostly.

 

Over the weeks she lived in the forest waiting for the Knights to return Siwan decided to try looking again for a village to live permanently in. She finally found one just over half a days ride from the fort, but longer on foot. The people of this village seemed more welcoming to her than the others she had visited since leaving her own village. Asking for the healer she was directed to a house at the edge of the village but separate altogether from it, there she met the healer who was an old lady nearing the end of her life. After meeting Siwan and listening to her story the old woman decided to take her in. Already a healer Siwan didn’t take long to learn what the old woman had to teacher her, it was mainly things that she had heard of but never thought she would ever learn as her teacher didn’t know but had only heard of. After only a few days there with the old woman Siwan left to return to the fort knowing the Knights could return at anytime as it had been at least four weeks since they had left. The old woman was happy for Siwan to leave knowing that she would return again soon after she had sorted things out with the Knight.

 

With everything practically settled with the old woman Siwan headed back to the wall and the fort to await the return of the Knights. After setting up her camp she ventured into the market area to see if there was any news of the Knights. When she arrived in the market she noticed the solemn mood of the people, enquiring with some of the people she had gotten to know she found that the Knights had finally returned but all was not well. She was told that one of the Knights had died and some others where badly wounded. No one had seen them since they arrived back three days before, not even to bury their dead brother. When Siwan was told the Knights had returned her heart skipped at the thought of seeing Matthias again but then when she had been told that one Knight was dead and others hurt it sank. When Siwan enquired which Knight had died no one could tell her which of them it had been or who the ones that had been wounded. The Knights usually kept to themselves when they were at the fort but more so when one of them had died.

 

Not able to find out anymore about the Knights without anyone becoming suspicious of why she wanted to know, she decided to try and see if she could see any of them and maybe work out who was dead. When she finally saw one of the Knights he was at the tavern but he was alone she couldn’t see any others around. The Knight was not Matthias but she did follow him and over the next couple of days she saw more of the Knights but not the one she needed to see. About five days after Siwan had returned to the fort the Knights buried their dead brother. No one from the people that lived at the fort attended the funeral it seemed to be only the Knights themselves. Siwan didn’t know the Knights had buried their brother late in the day till the following day. It seemed they had gone to the cemetery they had beside the fort to do it after Siwan had left the fort for the day. When she found out about the burial she looked for the Knights only finding two of them around she followed them hoping that now they had buried their brother they would be around more, but she found this was not the case. Not wanting to be found following them Siwan had to hide and lost sight of them a fair few times over the next few days, but even so she could not find out if Matthias was the dead Knight or not. She didn’t see any of the injured Knights, not seeing any of the ones she saw with bandages on them, though they might have been covered by their clothing. No matter how hard Siwan tried she was not able to find out about Matthias.

 

Slowly as the days went by more and more of the Knights became visible, but they all looked sad and miserable. Not one of them was Matthias either and the longer she didn’t see him the more she started to believe that he was the dead Knight. Finally after nearly two weeks she finally believed that the Knight Matthias was dead.

 

The day came finally when Siwan gave up following the Knights and sadly left the fort to go back to her camp in the forest. Once there she started to get things together to leave and return to the old woman in the village where she had decided to live. Things were now changed but she still couldn’t return to her own village and sister, not when she had promised the old woman she would return to her. Siwan was an honourable woman and always kept her word not wanting to disappoint those she made promises to. She knew she couldn’t face her sister, not yet, but did plan to visit her when she could face her and tell her the truth about Matthias. But the real reason why she couldn’t return yet was she knew in her heart she had to come to terms that her own people could have been the ones to have killed him. No she couldn’t return to her village and knew she would never live with her people again, so she slowly continued to pack things up to return to her new permanent home with the old woman.

 

Even as she packed Siwan really didn’t want to leave, she had gotten to know the some of the people at the fort and village and knew she would miss them. But without Matthias she really didn’t have anything to keep her there and she had a promise to keep. Finally everything was packed, though she didn’t have much with her in the first place. Sitting down on a log her mind went to Matthias and just the thought of him finally brought tears to her eyes, finally letting go she cried for a man she really didn’t know but loved none the less. After a while she settled down and stopped crying deciding that before she left she had to visit his grave to farewell her Knight.

 

The cemetery where the Knights were buried was not far from the fort. It seemed to be filled with lots of graves of Knights from years past. Each mound with a sword at the head told a story of the Knight buried underneath. Passing though the mounds Siwan headed with a heavy heart and eyes sill red and swollen from crying, to the newest mound that had only been there not two weeks. Kneeling beside it Siwan offered up a pray to the Gods and Goddesses for the dead Knight to make his journey to the after world a peaceful one.

 

Not realising how long she spent there, Siwan didn’t hear nor realise she was no longer alone till a deep voice startled her.

 

‘You shouldn’t be here’ a deep voice said.

 

Startled Siwan swung around quickly losing her balance from the kneeling position she was in. Looking up she saw one of the Knights she had been following around for the last couple of weeks looking at her with a confused look on his face.

 

‘I’m sorry I didn’t mean to frighten you’ the Knight said.

 

Still watching the Knight Siwan started to slowly crawl backwards away from him. As she did so she began to become frightened not knowing what he would do to her, she had not thought to bring a dagger with her believing she wouldn’t need it.

 

‘Please don’t be afraid, it’s just I wasn’t expecting to see anyone here’ the Knight said seeing the fear in the woman’s eyes.

 

‘I’m sorry’ Siwan whispered slowly getting to her feet.

 

Siwan started to move backwards away from the grave and the Knight. Pulling her cloak tightly around her she just stared at him.

 

‘Wait please, don’t go’ the Knight said seeing the woman slowly backing away from him and the grave of his dead brother. ‘Did you know the man that’s buried here?’ he continued.

 

‘I don’t know. I’ve not been able to find out who it is?’ Siwan said not really wanting to say anything to him but knew she had to be certain about the man buried there in front of her.

 

‘His name was Bernhart’ the Knight told her.

 

‘Thank the Gods’ Siwan said sighing with tears starting to fall from her eyes in relief.

 

‘I take it he’s not the Knight you’re looking for?’

 

Siwan looked at the Knight in front of her not knowing what to do or say. She had stayed too long and if she stayed any longer she didn’t know what would happen. As she looked at the Knight she could see he was expecting an answer but she couldn’t tell him who she was looking for. She now knew Matthias was alive and for that she was thankful for the Knight telling her who lay in the ground, but she couldn’t ask about him it was too risky. What if he asked her how they knew each other or why he had not seen her around especially with Matthias? No she was risking too much as it was by being there.

 

Deciding she had to get away from the Knight, Siwan started to slowly back away again towards the forest she knew was only a short distance from where she stood. When she was at a safe distance from the Knight, Siwan turned and ran into the forest, leaving a very surprised and puzzled Knight behind her standing beside the grave of his dead brother. But at least Siwan now knew that it wasn’t Matthias’s grave but another. What now crossed her mind was why hadn’t she seen Matthias around the fort or why he had not searched her out? Maybe he had been one of the injured Knights and that was why she had not seen him about.

 

After running a safe distance into the forest Siwan stopped, panting as her mind tried to process the information she had gained from the Knight at the grave. Sighing deeply she finally knew that her heart’s desire was still alive. Slowly she walked to the clearing where she sat beside the pond to think instead of returning to her camp site.

 

After the woman left him standing beside his dead brother’s grave, the Knight left and headed back to the fort and the tavern. Arriving at the tavern he found some of the other Knights sitting and drinking, he went over and joined them still puzzled about what had happened in the cemetery.

 

‘When I was just at Bernhart’s grave a strange thing happened while I was there’ the Knight said to no one in particular. 

 

‘What was that Rowan?’ asked a Knight sitting on the opposite side of the table from him.

 

‘There was a woman kneeling beside his grave’ the Knight Rowan said.

 

‘What’s so strange about that?’ the same Knight asked him.

 

‘I didn’t think Bernhart had a lover’ Rowan said.

 

‘Now that you mention it I don’t remember any, other than the occasional wench. No one I would call a lover or anything. So what was her name then?’ the Knight asked.

 

‘I don’t know she ran away into the forest before I could stop her. She looked frightened’ Rowan told him.

 

‘So what did she look like this woman?’ the Knight asked interested

 

‘Why do you want know?’ Rowan asked.

 

‘Well she might be someone I know’ the Knight said with a smirk.

 

‘I doubt it Balduf, she looked too nice for you’ Rowan said to the Knight opposite him.

 

‘So what did she look like then’ another Knight asked interested now along with the others sitting at the table.

 

‘Well I just you could say she was about average height for woman. Brown hair with a reddish tinge to it from what I could see, like the colour of Ector’s hair. But her eyes were what I really noticed the most; they were the most beautiful emerald green’ Rowan said thinking back to when he saw the woman.

 

When one of the Knights heard what Rowan said about the woman’s eyes being emerald green, he almost choked on his ale.

 

‘Something wrong Matthias’ Rowan asked looking at him.

 

‘Nothing’ Matthias said coughing and trying to recover. ‘Just swallowed the wrong way’ he lied, hoping everyone at the table would buy it.

 

‘So where do you think she went off to?’ Balduf asked.

 

‘Don’t know, but I wouldn’t mind finding her though’ Rowan said with a smirk on his face.

 

Hearing this Matthias decided he had to go and try and find Siwan. He knew it was her from the description Rowan had given but what clinched it was the mention of her eyes, those beautiful emerald green eyes of hers. He had been dreaming of her ever since he had met her in the clearing in the forest. He just couldn’t get her out of his mind.

 

Rising from the table Matthias started to leave the tavern to go find Siwan. He hoped that maybe she would be at the clearing, but he wasn’t sure if she would be after what Rowan had said about being frightened. He just hoped she was still around and hadn’t left the area completely. He knew she wouldn’t know if he was alive or not, as he had kept a low profile and not ventured anywhere except to the cemetery to bury Bernhart, he rarely left his room preferring his own company like most of the others did this time. No one of the village people knew who of the Knights died so he was fairly certain Siwan wouldn’t have found out. Matthias knew if Siwan didn’t know who the dead Knight was, she would be thinking the worse, so he had to go find her.

 

‘Matthias, where are you going?’ Rowan asked seeing him walking off.

 

Turning Matthias said ‘I’ve got something I have to take care off’ he  only said leaving quickly after saying it, and hopefully before Rowan of anyone else wanted to know exactly what he had to do.

 

After leaving the tavern Matthias quickly headed out of the fort and into the forest, following the now familiar path to the clearing were the pond was. As he approached the clearing he heard some noise. Taking no chances he drew his sword as he continued the rest of the way to the clearing.

 

As he arrived at the clearing Matthias saw no one, creeping further in he finally spotted someone sitting beside the pond. The person sitting there seemed to be in deep thought and didn’t hear him approaching. The person was in a cloak that was tightly held to them with the hood up over the head so it was hard to distinguish if it was a man or a woman.

 

Taking a chance that the cloaked person was a woman, and the one he searched for, he put his sword away. Taking another step he called out ‘Siwan’.

 

Hearing her name Siwan turned around hoping it would not be the death of her, as she was unarmed. When she turned there stood the one person in the entire world she wanted to see again.

 

‘Matthias?’ she asked wanting to know if it really was him standing there in front of her and not some figment of her imagination.

 

‘Aye it is me’ he said.

 

Siwan got up and flew at him wrapping her arms around him to hug him tightly. Tears flowed down her cheeks at the relief of seeing him again.

 

Matthias was shocked at the reaction Siwan had given to seeing him again. Feeling her arms around him, though tightly, made him feel good. The warmth from her as she held onto him felt so good he just could not stop himself from reacting to her show of affection, so he slowly brought his arms up and wrapped them around her, holding on to her just as tightly as she held him. After awhile they slowly pulled away from each other, Siwan had stopped crying and looked into Matthias’s eyes. Matthias looked down into Siwan’s beautiful emerald green eyes, though they were red rimmed and swollen from crying, to see what he himself was feeling for this woman in his arms, which was love.

 

Without knowing it Matthias had fallen in love with Siwan and from the look in her eyes Matthias knew she had with him. Slowly bring one of his hands up to her face he gently wiped the last tear from her face. After he had wiped the tear from her Siwan lent her head so his hand caressed the side of her face. The warmth from his hand making her sigh and close her eyes in happiness. Slowly she reopened her eyes looking deep into his eyes and then slow he lent down and softly brushed his lips against hers. Pulling away slightly Matthias saw the desire in her eyes that he was feeling and lent down kissing her gently.

 

The kiss started off gently at first then Matthias tried to deepen the kiss by running his tongue along her lips seeking permission to enter her sweet mouth. Siwan feeling his tongue seeking entry to her mouth gave it willingly enjoying the taste of him for the first time. When Matthias’s tongue was granted entry his thought was he had died and gone where all warriors went when they died, it was pure heaven the taste of her as it was sweet and she tasted like honey. It was that and the smell of the forest on her that made her so intoxicating that Matthias groaned from the overload it was having on his senses.

tbc