Violent Content Warning: This story contains scenes of a violent nature.
Alternative Content Warning: This story also contains scenes of a loving nature between two women. This story is not for those under the age of eighteen.
Uber Warning: This story is an uber. The two characters are based off of the leading ladies of XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS.
Historical Disclaimer: This story is set in the time of King Arthur. However, I am not a historian. The character of Rowanne was introduced in a cartoon on the Family Channel called The Legend of Prince Valiant, which is what the story is based off of, not historical fact.
Thanks: Thanks to Ri for the original research for this series. Thanks to Heather for making me finish this series, even going as far as to threaten me if I didnt.
Authors Notes: This is the fifth and final installment to my Rowanne series. I know what youre all thinking. "About damn time." Its been over a year since I worked on this series. So, I recommend reading Parts 1 through 4 before proceeding. All POSITIVE comments are welcome. Negatives I will simply ignore. Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Only One: The Story of Rowanne
I could not get the image of my Kathryn from my eyes. I will return my love. If I have defy fate itself, I will. I shook my head to focus my mind on the task at hand. "Rowanne."
"Sir?" Prince Valiant rode up to me.
"I will be leading my attachment to the South end of the borders. You go North, well meet in the middle."
"Yes Sir." I must focus. No concentration will lead to death.
We picked off what few managed to get through our borders. As I met the other knights at the strategy tent, the mood of the battle has changed greatly. Almost panicky, Valiant outlined the plan of attack. "They are going to try to cut off the Northern realms from the Southern to keep our troops at bay." My heart literally stopped. There was only one true way to do that.
"Bridgeford." I said quietly to myself, but the others turned to me.
"Correct Rowanne." We all looked down on the map of the area, which I knew to be inaccurate on several accounts. "The Duke is going to try to destroy the bridges to cut off military occupation which was probably his plan all along."
"Draw us out of the kingdom, then trap us." Sir Bryant said.
"Exactly. We need to knock out the men and equipment within the surrounding woods. While the main force will engage them."
"Sir, let me." I spoke up. Putting my hand on the map, I circled the woods with my finger. "I can sweep this area quite fast."
"I grew up in those woods, Sir. I can move quicker than any one of you."
Nods of agreement came from the others.
"I will show you a quicker route for the others. This map does not show everything."
After several minutes of planning, the routes were all set. Prince Valiant knows I know these woods well. Moving through them once again made me worry of my parents. The soldiers might choose to forcefully take his blacksmith shop. I have faith in my fellow knights. No harm will come to him.
A small band of soldiers, possibly a scouting party engaged us on sight. A rather foolish decision. Greatly outnumbered, I began to wonder. There was another goal in mind. As my men fought, I scanned the area. I caught the gleam of metal in the sunlight. I kicked my mount into a gallop and headed for the area. I heard the voices of men through the trees.
"Come on, Lads. Put your backs into it." I dismounted and moved quietly closer. It was a catapult squad. They were trying to sneak it through the lines. Running ahead, I climbed a tree directly in their path. I climbed high enough not to be seen. I took the bow from my back and several arrows out of my carrier and waited. As they came closer, I began to get nervous. What if they spot me in the trees? I studied them. One horse pulled the catapult along. One wagon behind them pulled the volleys. Three soldiers on foot followed behind the second wagon. I needed to take away the second wagon. The catapult was of no use without its weapons of destruction. I waited calmly for the men to move underneath me. Perched on a large branch, with my back to the trunk, I sighed as they did not see me. A bird-like whistle pierced my mental silence. Looking down, I saw my men at the base of the tree. I gave them the signal of wait, they nodded.
I put an arrow on the string of my bow and pulled it taunt. I sighed in concentration as I aimed for the driver of the second wagon. I fired, hitting him in the back. His scream was heard as I placed another arrow and aimed carefully. My target was much smaller this time, the latch on the wagon. I fired, hitting my mark. The large boulders began to roll out of the wagon, crushing the three soldiers in their path. I signaled for my men to pounce. They burst out of the covering woods and dispatched the remaining men. "You, you, and you." I pointed to three good men. "Take this catapult to the mouth of the main bridge, keep it well hidden. Gather several rocks before you leave."
"Yes Commander.......Lets move."
Just as I was mounting, I saw him. He rode out of the bush past my men. "Damn." I cursed. "Take the men ahead to the battle!" I scream as I give chase. I could not allow him to give away our position to a regiment or tell that we have control of the catapult. His horse was fast, but I was gaining. It wasnt long before he seemed confused, possibly lost. I smiled as I rode up beside him. He reached for his blade. I threw myself at him, knocking us both from our saddles.
My tears were drying. I knew there was no logic in crying until she returns. It will not help my love for me to stay upset. Drying my eyes on a cloth, I moved through the castle kitchen and down the hallway. I want to just sleep. Sleep away the time my Rowanne is gone. She promised she would return. I know she will.
"Kathryn." I heard from behind, scaring me. There was no one in this passage moments ago. I turn.
"Are you all right?"
"Leave me alone." I said angrily. She nearly caused my love to be banished.
"Whats wrong with you, Child?"
"You know what is wrong. You nearly cost Rowanne her life. Uncle Arthur nearly killed her because of your lies." A laugh began deep in her chest and seemed to radiate out of her body and fill the air. It was not Guinevere. The woman changed into a face I have not seen since I was a small child.
"Wrong Aunt, my dear."
"Oh gods." She laughed again.
"What is going on here?" I turn and see the queen. "Oh my......" she said as she realized who I was talking to. Morgana raised her hand. From her fingers, a green light began to form.
"Leave. Now." Another voice. This one male. Merlin stepped between us and Morgana.
"Merlin." the queen said.
"Leave. Kathryn, take the queen to safety." I grabbed my aunts hand and pulled her down the hall. As fierce flashes of light began to radiate from the two. A battle of sorcery was not something I wanted to see.
I released her when I thought a safe distance was between us and Merlin, which I was not sure what that was. "Kathryn, what in the gods name is going on?"
"Aunt Guin.....I believe Morgana has been impersonating you. Be honest with me."
"Did you send for Rowanne in the gardens?"
"Did you grab her and threaten her?"
"Of course not."
"Did you tell Uncle Arthur she raped you?" The shock on her face was not false.
"Certainly not, Child. I was merely interested in her." I believed her.
"Then it is Morgana who did this.........Rowanne is in trouble.......I must go." Without waiting for a reply, I ran as fast I could.
"No Kathryn!" I heard from Aunt Guin as I opened the door and left.
I needed to get to my love. Morgana was planning on separating us. I feel it. I will not allow that to happen. If I am going to die in my efforts, I want to die with Rowanne. If Rowanne must fall, I will be there. As I moved towards the stables, I stopped as I realized there was a supply wagon in the courtyard. It was being loaded with food, water, and bandages for the soldiers. It was the covered wagon that caught my eye. The women were being helped into it by soldiers. It was a nurses wagon. I grabbed a cloak, hoping to disguise myself. I held my breath as a soldier helped me in and I sat. No one seemed to know me. I heard the crack of the reins as the wagon began to move. I am coming my love
The man was strong was we wrestled for the upper hand. He pinned me to the ground. He laughed. "A wench as a knight." My fist collided with his chin. "Owwwww." I punched him again. Flipping us over, I pinned him. He managed to pull his knife. He aimed for my face. I managed to grab his hand and turn my head. The blade cut me near my temple. His hips moved and he managed to flip me up and over his head, but not before I grabbed the knife from his hand. I landed solidly on my back, but with a flip of my body, I was on my feet. I turned and watched him pull himself up. I stood ready with the knife in my hand. He drew his sword from his side. I tossed the knife away and drew my sword. He thrusted. After several attempts to strike me, I decided to end it. His next thrust, I stepped to the side, grabbed his wrist, and twisted his own arm up to his neck. Moving his wrist, his own blade sliced his throat. I shoved his body to the ground. I whistled for my mount as I sheathed my sword. I mounted my horse and kicked her towards the main battle.
I galloped at full speed towards the fighting. The hospital tent was up and sadly, it was being needed. As I rode closer, I saw the nurses wagon being unloaded. I moved around the tent at full speed. The guards waved in acknowledgment. I motioned back, but I never stopped or slowed. My mind was focused on the battle ahead. Lions Gate forces were clearly being driven back or they would occupy this area. "Rowanne!!!" Before I even finished hearing my name, my body pulled on the reins of my horse. She reared in anger at being stopped so suddenly. I turned her around. She reared again slightly. Turning her from right to left, trying to see who it was that had yelled for me. A hooded woman was standing alone in the field. She lowered the hood of her cloak.
"Kathryn!!" I kicked my mount forward. Almost before she stopped, I was on the ground running towards her. She lept into my arms. She began to cry as I held her tightly. Her arms wrapped tightly around my neck. "What are you doing here?"
"Rowanne, it was Morgana that hurt you, not Aunt Guin. She told me."
"Are you all right?"
"Yes, Merlin stepped in and they were fighting when I left......She wants to keep us apart. I needed to be here with you."
"You stay here at the hospice."
"You cant follow me into battle." She noticed for the first time my wound.
"Its a scratch." I kiss her softly. Releasing her, I mount my horse. "I love you, Kathryn. Stay here."
"I love you, Rowanne." She watched me until I was out of sight.
I smiled as I saw the catapult we captured being used against Lions Gate. I gasped as I saw two of the four bridges were burning. The main bridge was intact, but damaged. The forces of Camelot were great. Lions Gate are outnumbered. Yet the fighting had been intense. That much was clear. I wasted no time in engaging the nearest men. Swept through the soldiers, killing most of them before they even saw me. As I looked across the river, I saw three of Camelots knights pinned down. I heeled my horse to the bank and crossed the river between the small falls. Using my sword, I killed the man at the bank. Moving to the knights, I evened the odds greatly by dispatching two more. "Thank you, Rowanne." Sir Launcelot commented.
"Your welcome." They eached grabbed horses and mounted. "Come with us, Rowanne.
The Duke is over towards the West side of the battle virtually unprotected. Lets move."
We made our way through the lines to a small clearing. "Whats the best way to reach the other side of the hill, Rowanne?"
"Lets go." We found the Duke in a small camp. We moved in. He was only guarded by four men, who were easily dealt with.
"You stupid Camelot scum." he bellowed as Sir John bound his wrists.
"You will answer to your crimes against the kingdom of Camelot." Sir Launcelot said.
With the Duke captured, the battle was over. Many of his men were killed. Camelot would have won without his capture. He knew that as well as anyone. We escorted the Duke back to our camp where King Arthur was waiting. The knights formed a circle around the King and Valiant and the Duke. "You will be charged with crimes against the kingdom of Camelot and the crown of King Arthur."
"I will not answer to anything." he spat. I held a stern face as he looked around the circle of knights. He smiled as I heard the man next to me yell in pain and fall to the ground. The man burst through, heading for Arthur. Being the closest, I grabbed him. Before I could draw my weapon, he turned and sliced my stomach. I froze.
"Rowanne!" Arn yelled. He thrust into my stomach with a smile.
"NO!! Arthur yelled. I stood unmoving. The knights swarmed him. I recognized him. It was the Dukes son. "Kill him!!! Now!" He was killed on sight. I smiled, feeling the blood in my mouth. Arthur was moving towards me. I made eye contact with my king. Then, I dropped to the ground. The moist grass was my last sensation.
I open my eyes. They were damp. I have been crying. I felt a hand caressing my hair. My pain was returning. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I breathed. "Kathryn."
"Oh gods. Its hurts, Kathryn."
"I know, Love. Im so sorry." Merlin moves to me. Opening my mouth, he pours a bitter liquid down my throat while Kathryn supports my head. I cough slightly.
"Are my parents here?"
"Not yet, love."
"Theyre not coming are they?"
"Im sure they are, Love."
"How are feeling, Child?" Merlin asks.
"Weak, but better."
"Good........The King would like to see you when you feel up to it." I nodded.
"Merlin, could you give us a moment alone?"
As Merlin left his chambers, I turned to my Kathryn. "How are you?"
"I am doing fine. You concentrate on getting well. Dont leave me."
"I will never leave you. Death could not separate us........The Queen?"
"She explained to Uncle Arthur that she did watch you from a window on occasion and that did think of approaching you, but Morgana staged the gardens and attacked you in the kitchen."
"Merlin said he weakened her, but said you cant really kill a true sorceress."
"Did she start the war?"
"She played on the Dukes dislike of Uncle Arthur, but he really wanted the war just as much as she did. Morgana just had a higher goal than he."
"To kill her brothers."
"Have you spoken to your father?"
"Yes. I saw him at the hospital tent."
"He told me he loved me and wanted me to come home."
"Are you going home?"
"I am home, Love. I told him my place is at your side and your destiny lies with Camelot." I smiled at her.
"I love you, Kathryn."
"I love you.........Sir Rowanne of Camelot." she smiled, kissing me softly.
A soft knock on the door and it opens slowly. A face that makes me smile peeks in.
"Mother." I say softly. She begins to cry as she approaches me. "This is Kathryn."
"Lady Kathryn." She bows.
"Just Kathryn.........Do you want to be alone?"
"No, its okay.........Is Father here?" Her tears double.
"No, Honey.........Your father.......was killed."
"What?" I asked in disbelief.
"The soldiers came and took over his shop. Your father tried to stop them."
"Mother." She moves to me and she gently holds me. "It will be okay. You can stay with me in Camelot." She nods.
"How bad is it?" she asks, looking towards my stomach.
"Bad, but I will be all right."
"Of course Banna." Kathryn smiles. "She wont go anywhere. I wont let her."
"Is the war over?" Mother asks.
"Yes........The Duke was executed this morning." Kathryn answers.
"He was?" I ask.
"Yes, his attack on you put Uncle Arthur over. He was tried for murder of a knight of the Round Table and attempted murder of a knight, plus the military aggression."
"I thought King Arthur didnt believe in executions."
"Theres an exception to every rule." A voice said. "I hope I am not interrupting."
"No, my liege."
"How are you, Rowanne?"
"Good. I again owe you my life, Rowanne. Im awarding you a metal of honor for your service of the kingdom against Lions Gate."
"Thank you, Sire."
"Your welcome.........You have an exceptional daughter, Banna."
"I know, Sire."
"She is the only female to ever grace my ranks. You are the only one, Rowanne. You set a fine example for the others with your bravery."
"Thank you." He did something I would never expect. He bowed......to me.
Return to The Bard's Corner