Guinevere: Bright Shadow
by Sarah Provost
GENRE: Arthurian Fiction, Fantasy
“You may think you know my story. My name has been bandied in ballads and jests, for good and (mostly) for ill. High Queen, priestess, adulterer… but first and always a woman. Courage and honor shaped me; ecstasy transported me; grief, betrayal and terror tempered me.
“My loyalty to the Goddess was supreme. But as the new religion took hold, the pagan way was threatened with extinction. There were those on both sides who would use me as a pawn in that battle, even if it meant taking my life.
“Yes, I bear my portion of blame. I loved Arthur, and I loved Lancelot, will I or no. But that was only one element in the impending chaos. Britain was divided, my love was divided, and such divisions cannot endure. I did everything in my power – and learned new powers – to prevent an all-out war. But would it be enough?”
We heard footsteps in the corridor. Thinking it was the guard come to take us for sentencing, we stood and faced the door. But it was Edalwurf who stood there.
“What are you doing here?” I asked coldly.
“I have come to save you, Madam,” the bishop replied. “By law, the punishment for a woman who commits treason is death at the stake. But you have many friends, myself included, who do not wish to see you suffer. I have come to tell you that you can be spared.” Catlin tensed, then slumped back. She knew what was coming, and so did I.
“You are to be my savior?” I asked.
“Not I, Madam, but the Savior of all. Accept His mercy, which he offers to even the most loathsome sinner. Repent, vow yourself to the Christ and you shall be saved both in heaven and here on earth.”
“So if I submit myself to your authority, I can live out my life in a convent. If I do not, I am consigned to the flames?” He nodded.
I walked to the door, pounded on it for the guard. “I’d rather burn.”
I admit I was startled by the expression that met my declaration. It was not rage or frustration or even pity, which would have been surprising enough. It was satisfaction. This man had no interest whatever in saving my soul. He would be delighted to see me burn. “As you wish, Madam,” he murmured, and went out.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Sarah Provost is a poet, playwright, screenwriter and novelist, currently living and working in upstate New York. A collection of poems, Inland, Thinking of Waves, was published by the Cleveland State University Press. Her stage plays have been produced off-Broadway, in London, Los Angeles, and states beginning with K. No screenplays have been produced, but she made a decent living writing for Paramount, Disney, HBO and others until Hollywood broke her heart. After a period of recuperation and relocation to a place with much worse weather, she began writing Guinevere: Bright Shadow, her first novel. A second novel, The Real Girl, is in progress.
The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.