“There’s nairt as sorborin’ as a clompin’ grairt paw smashin’ through a wall!” Gemevere managed to shout whilst dodging a couple of flying stones.
“That’s more than a paw, my cousin!” Hempsty disagreed. “Verily that is a hefty claw!”
“Claw paw! Sairm thing!” Gemevere said as she ducked behind the table again. The dragon’s face reappeared through the hole and spewed forth another burst of bright yellow flame. “Ooh ‘eck! That’s gerrin’ ‘otter!”
“You don’t need to tell me, Gemevere. I think my left eyebrow’s singed.” Hempsty smoothed down his left eyebrow as he sat with his back to the table. “Cousin, if ever there’s a time when we need the assistance of Lady Reverence, I would hazard a guess at now being one of those times.”
“I can’t, ‘Empsty. Me crown’s back in the carriage.”
“Surely you do not need the crown to access thine abilities?” Hempsty looked at Gemevere’s forehead. “Surely they come from within?”
“Surely they do, ‘Empst, but me disguise dunt.” Another bright flame burst over their heads.
“Gemevere, there’s only you and I here. Those two are asleep, and how anyone can sleep through all this racket is beyond me.” He looked over toward Æthelstan and Katherine who were in exactly the same positions as they were before all hell broke loose. “And as for that Ursulondix, heavens knows where she’s disappeared to.”
“Yeah…” Gemevere pondered. “Funny that.”
As if on cue, Ursulondix appeared once again from the room in the back. “Oh, me days!” she declared as she saw the carnage. “I thought one of you’d fallen from your chair when I heard the bang out back.”
“‘Ow ‘eavy do you think we are?” Gemevere wasn’t impressed. “There’s naw ware we’d mairk that kind o’ noise, even if all of us fell off the chairs at th’same tarm. Does this karnda thing ‘appen often around ‘ere?” she thumbed towards the hole in the wall behind her.
“No, deary. Not very often. Here, have some wine.” Ursulondix brought over the carafe.
“Wahrn? At a tarm like this? Are you fer real???” Gemevere couldn’t believe what was happening.
“Now cousin,” Hempsty said, “Remain calm.”
“Calm?! We ‘ave a dragon tryin’ to cook us fer its breakfast, and she appears from nowhere offerin’ wahrn. No, that’s it. I’ve ‘ad enough.”
Gemevere stood up tall, and tore off her gown, revealing her tight-fitting bodysuit and body armour. She loosened the sash that draped more freely over her right shoulder. She turned to face the dragon.
“Lady Reverence!” Hempsty said, looking at the puzzled look on Ursulondix’s face. “Where did thee come from, and what have thy done with Gemevere, my cousin?”
“Eh?” Gemevere realised what she’d done. “I’ve tarken ‘er outside, villager. In the blink of an eye.”
“No you haven’t.” Ursulondix said sternly. “You’ve just taken off your skirt. I watched you do it.”
“Naw, barmaid, I ‘aven’t. It just looked that way due to all the commotion.”
“Nonsense. You look exactly the same as you did with the skirt on. Even down to the red rosy cheeks.” Ursulondix didn’t believe a word Gemevere said.
“Now look, barmaid. I ‘aven’t time to argue with you o’er what you think and what you think you may ‘ave seen. There’s a dragon outside what wants sortin’ out.” Gemevere noticed how red her cheeks were in a shard of glass that reflected her face as though she was looking in a mirror.
She made a move to fly out through the hole in the wall and stopped. There was no hole. The wall was intact. Hempsty was slumped forward over the table, in a similar pose to Æthelstan at the opposite side of the table. Katherine mumbled something across her chairs, but settled down again.
“I knew there was something about you.” Ursulondix said, looking intently into Gemevere’s eyes. “It took longer to get the truth out of you, but I did in the end. You cannot keep secrets from Ursula Sundown.”
“Ursula Sundown? Mother Skipton from Skipton Forest!” Gemevere was confused to notice she was still wearing her robe. “Eh?”
“I sensed you in the Forest, deary, so I followed you. We with power must stick together you know.”
“Sorry, love.” Gemevere stretched. “I doorn’t know what you think you saw, but I’ve jus’ ‘ad a really crazy dream.”
“A dream?” Ursula scoffed. “Nonsense. You cannot fool Mother Skipton. When next we meet, you will need to use your power well and wisely. Now I know you and have found you, I will do so again. Sleep now, child. For when your journey resumes you will need all of your strength.”
“Give me strength!” Gemevere sighed as she watched Ursula turn herself into a raven and fly toward the tavern door, which opened by itself as she approached. Gemevere then promptly slumped forward onto the table and joined her three travelling companions in their deep sleep.
This is the eighth part in the Reverence storyline. The previous seven parts can be found in my Storylines menu.