The day was dark and gray, a familiar sight for spring in Camalann. Gawain was in the barracks with his brothers, a joke from Gaheris had just sent them all rolling with laughter.
Palamedes appeared in the doorway, his bronze face worried. "Gawain," his voice was insistent, "Come quickly."
Gawain stood, suddenly serious, and followed his fellow knight out into the courtyard. A light rain had begun to mist the air around them. He asked no questions but simply followed Palamedes to the main gate. A solitary figure stood there beside a flickering torch. As the two knights approached, the stranger lowered their hood. Gawain took a step back. The visitor bore a strange blue tattoo and their ears were pointed where they should be round. In their arms was a wriggling bundle.
"This is Gawain?" the stranger asked of Palamedes.
The Sasanian knight nodded solemnly.
"I was tasked with bringing this to you." They held out the bundle.
Gawain refrained from taking a step back, and instead grasped it. The cloth let out a small sound and Gawain nearly dropped the thing in surprise. "A baby? Who are you? Why have you brought this to me?"
The stranger shook their head. "His mother told me only to bring him to you, and only you."
Palamedes was looking fixedly at the baby.
"Riona of Cornwall," said the stranger.
Gawain's face paled, and he examined the child for the first time. Wide pale grey eyes stared up at him. Her eyes.
Gawain looked up as the visitor began to walk away.
"Wait!" he shouted.
The stranger turned and fixed him in an annoyed glare.
"What is his name?"
The visitor blinked slowly as if the question had taken them by surprise, finally, they answered, their voice lilting over the cold spring air. Gawain watched until the gates of the keep shut, obscuring them from view. The two knights looked down at the newborn babe and Gawain drew him closer to his chest, murmuring the name.
YOU ARE READING
The Hawthorn ThroneFantasy
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