A Chance AffairbyAlex the Cat©
Disclaimers: I did borrow a little bit of the characters, like Xena, Gabrielle, Ares, and Artemis from the TV show "Xena: Warrior Princess" which belongs to MGM. So, please bear with me. Thank you.
The short strawberry blonde haired woman reluctantly laces up her brown Doc Martens boots, and looks into the mirror one last time.
"Come on Rhi. You'll have fun. I guarantee it." The wild curly redhead says as she pulls the black velvet cape around her shoulders, then notices the somewhat reluctant look on her friend's face. "Please Rhiannon? Help me out?"
The young woman sighs. "Alright Ver. I'll help."
"Oh, thank you. I know you're going to have a great time." She heads for the door. "Okay, let's go."
The drive down to the fairgrounds is pleasant. Having left the confines of the hustle and bustle of the city is a relief for Veronica. As soon as they reach past the city limits, she rolls down the window to breathe in the fresh pine scented air.
The young blonde shakes her head at her childhood friend and laughs. Ever since they were kids, Veronica has always enjoyed the outdoors. The two of them used to spend all of their summer nights out in the yard sleeping under the stars, or in Veronica's tent.
The redhead parks the red Jeep Cherokee in the grassy field following the entrance sign of the fairgrounds. They walk through the field of vehicles all parked in neat double rows. "Okay, now I have an extra cape at the booth you can wear. You'll need to keep it on since you're in jeans."
"And what's wrong with my jeans?" the small woman states.
"Humor me, will ya? You know everyone here aside from the customers are in costume."
"Yeah, yeah, I know. Don't these people have regular lives by the way?"
"Rhi, what's wrong with you? I'm normal --- wait, don't answer that. Look everyone has a regular life and job. This event only happens once a year. We all look forward to it. It's our opportunity to travel back in time and have fun with it." Veronica shows her pass at the front gate to a large bellied gray bearded man wearing charcoal jodhpurs with black boots and a loose white drawstring shirt.
"Ah good morning Veronica. And good morning to you young lady." He dips his head in a courtly manner.
"Morning Walt." Veronica states.
Rhiannon chimes in with, "Morning."
They walk through the dirt covered roads, past chickens and goats, and little wooden shops just beginning to open.
"I can't believe I'm at a renaissance fair." Rhiannon comments and follows her best friend into the booth that has been designated as Veronica's Shoppe of Crystals, Tarot & Magic. She helps unlock the shutters and begins setting out the glass case of gemstone wands. "I do love these wands you've created over the year. Your handiwork is marvelous, and you've done so well in picking out just the right color of stones for each one. Ya know, I still need to get one of these for myself."
"Well how about this. Since you have been so gracious to accompany me today, you can choose one of those wands for yourself --- as a token of my thanks." Veronica comments as she sets a black crushed velvet cloth on a small round wooden table. In the middle she lays her deck of tarot cards. "Plus, your palm reading skills are going to be of great use in the shop today, and I appreciate it." She walks up to the blonde and placing a hand on her shoulder, she says, "Thanks again."
Rhi gives her a lopsided grin. "What are friends for? Come on, let's finish cause I'd like to take a walk around this place before the grounds open."
The windows and door of the Leather & Weapons Shoppe open, letting in the bright morning sun. The tall figure sets out a few of the long broadswords on wooden holders. Leather satchels hang near the doorway, battle-axes adorn the walls and daggers are lined up in a glass case below the counter. The raven-haired beauty breathes in the cool early morning air as she runs long fingers through black locks cascading past her shoulders.
"Good morning Aunt Jordan." A young teenage Goth girl says as she stands in the doorway. Her black velvet dress and heeled boots compliment her black fingernails and lipstick. The small ring in her nose matches the one in her eyebrow. A silver spiked stud protrudes from below her bottom lip. Jet-black hair equals that of the older woman. The only physical difference between the two would be in the height and the eyes. The teenager's eyes are a coal black and she happens to be five inches shorter than her relative is.
Jordan turns to the young girl. Sharp blue eyes look at her discerningly from a chiseled face. "Morning Amber. Ready to work?"
"Sure am. And may I say you are looking debonair this morning. That outfit is the best one yet."
Jordan sports black leather breeches tucked into black suede calf boots. The boots have a purple Celtic design running up the outer side of it. She has a white highwayman's shirt and a black and deep purple striped suede hamlet doublet. A musketeer hat and black hooded cape, which complete the ensemble, hang on a peg behind the counter. "Thank you. And you're looking good in your usual."
"Do you mind if I go pick up something to eat, before the place gets crowded with screaming kids and ogling customers? I didn't have breakfast."
Jordan smiles. "Sure."
"Thanks. I'll be back in ten minutes." She skips off down the dirt pathway.
The tall woman picks up a short sword and attaches it to her hip belt, and a dagger is inserted into the sheath of her right boot. She takes a seat on the wooden bench just outside the doorway and watches as the other merchants finish opening up their shops. Across the way she takes notice of the new crystals, tarot and magic shop.
"Ver, I'd like to take a walk and see what's around in this circle, if you don't mind." Rhiannon says as she looks down the pathway at the other shops.
"Sure. Business doesn't really pick up until later on anyway. Hey, why don't you check out Anne's Fine Clothes about three booths down the road? You might find something you really like. You know, all employees get half off everything at the fair." Veronica says as she finishes hanging the various gemstone pendants with their appropriate information tags.
"Thanks. I'll see you later then."
Jordan watches the strawberry blonde with the hunter green hooded velvet cape leave the booth. I wonder who she is? I've never seen her at the fair before, and I know practically everyone who's worked here.
"I'm back Jordie." The young girl calls out while holding onto to her egg sandwich. She sees the older woman gazing through the side window. "Aunt Jordan?" The young girl wonders what the older woman is looking at. She catches the backside of a cape and believes this is the person her aunt stares after.
"Huh? Oh, Amber, um... I need you to make sure all the items are tagged with the correct prices. There is a list behind the counter to help you out." She grabs her cape and hat off the peg. Donning the items, she steps outside. "I'm going for a short walk. I'm sure you can handle things until I return."
"No problem." Amber states with a raised eyebrow.
Rhiannon looks through the rack of clothes. She surprisingly finds that the various dresses actually appeal to her. I didn't think these outfits would look so cool. I guess I could try to get into this whole renaissance thing and just have fun today. Why not? She picks out a leather hunter green and brown oak queen bodice. Rhiannon runs her fingers across the imprint of autumn leaves on the epaulets and stomacher. Wow, this is beautifully made. She then chooses a dark green brocade circle skirt that matches, and a white Lady Jane chemise. This will definitely go well with the cape.
"Finding everything you need Milady?" The middle-aged woman known as Anne asks.
"Yes, thank you. Um...I'd like to take these. I'm working at Veronica's shop."
"Of course Milady." The older woman comments and smiles at Rhi's selections. "Ah, this outfit will look beautiful on you. I'll get you ringed up." She says as she takes the articles to the counter.
"Is there a shop where I can find shoes?" Rhiannon asks.
"Yes Milady. Just across the way. Jim makes fine footwear." She hands the wrapped package to the small woman.
"Thank you." She says and heads out to Jim's shop where she finds the perfect pair of brown leather boots there that reach mid-calf. With items in hand, she returns to Veronica's shop.
"Hey, I see you've bought some stuff," Veronica says excitedly.
"Yeah, I found a wonderful dress. Where can I get changed into it?"
"Go up the hill just past Whistler's Tavern and on the left are the porcelain bathrooms. They're the only kind on the grounds, so enjoy."
"Great." She responds sort of puzzled and wondering about her friend's side comment on the bathrooms, as she walks up the hill.
During this whole time, little does Rhiannon know that sapphire eyes are watching her. The tall dark figure can't help but wonder who this beauty is. What am I doing? This is ludicrous. I shouldn't be following her, and watching from afar like this. What has gotten into me? If she knew she would think me a complete freak. I better get back to the shop. Jordan returns and hangs the cape and hat back on the peg.
"So, who is she?" the young girl innocently asks.
"What?" Jordan spins around to face her. "What are you talking about?"
"Oh, come off it Aunt Jordie." Amber gives her a sly smirk. "You just don't leave the shop to walk around. So tell me."
Jordan laughs at her niece's quick insight and at her own behavior just a couple of minutes ago. "Actually, I don't know who she is. I haven't seen her around before but she is working with Veronica."
"You mean across the way? The crystal and tarot shop?" The teenager takes a quick look in that direction, the bustle of patrons and customers fill the dirt road. She barely sees the wild redhead known as Veronica.
"Come on Amber, we have stuff to do. I have swords to polish and there's some leather work for you." She puts a hand on the girl's shoulder. "Maybe you'll catch a glimpse of her later. It's not important."
"Oh, it has to be important for you to do what you did. Do you think you know her?" She faces the tall woman. "Someone from the past? Maybe the Fates are going to reveal it to you."
Jordan rolls her blue eyes at the girl's reasoning. "Your mother has been filling your mind with much of her Greek mythology, hasn't she?"
"I think reincarnation plays somewhere in this Jordie. I know you don't doubt mom's visions and knowledge. Look where it's brought you." Charcoal eyes look pleadingly at her Aunt.
"You have a point Shrimp, but enough of that for now. Let's get some work done." She sits at the bench outside the shop with a long sword and a cloth that had been dipped in polishing cream. Her thoughts wander a few years back to a conversation with her sister-in-law and the epiphanies that surfaced at the time.
"Jordan, I know what I'm talking about. Stop fighting it, please. Accept who you are. You were a knight in the Queen's army in another lifetime. Your protective qualities, your fighting spirit, your quest for justice, your gentlemanly mannerisms. I know what I see in my visions."
"Alright, alright. Can I ask you this? Was I a man or a woman back then."
"A woman. You were as butch as you are now for Christ's sake. And you were opposed by many because you were female. But there was a small band of knights who were your comrades and were proud to fight by your side. Jordan...something...happened back then. Your life was taken from you and it happened right after you found your soul mate. Because of this, the two of you will continue to seek each other in succeeding lifetimes."
"Oh, come on. A soul mate?" Her eyes suddenly widen. "Do you mean to say it's...?"
"Yes, it's her Jordan. I have seen here clearly."
"But she was lost to me eons ago." Jordan runs fingers through her silky black locks. "I know what I was in the beginning...the very beginning...before the time of Christ. I know that life so well," she sighs. A tear threatens to surface. "I miss the love I had, that we had. It was the only thing that saved me back then. But all these other lifetimes in between, and this thing of knights and kings, I just can't recall. And these dreams of a beautiful princess won't let me be."
Her sister-in-law lays her hands upon the tall woman's shoulders. "I know dear, but there's more. Regardless of your past, your soul mate seeks after you. Believe me. She will not stop until she finds you. Don't run from this. The past is the past, and sometimes we have to pay for it, but once payment is made, we can move on. Your life is different now. Don't continue suffering in every life. You deserve better. Your soul mate is your balance. She is going to bring light to the darkness."
Jordan hangs her head. "Is she the One, Delmar? Is she really my Love from long ago?"
"Yes, honey. She is the One. And she seeks after you."
Jordan is snapped out of her thoughts by a voice.
"That is a beautiful sword you have there. How much is it?" The young man with shaggy blond hair asks.
"It's two hundred. There are more inside if you'd like to look around." She motions him in.
"Thanks. Did you make these?" He asks as his eyes catch the glimmer of the other swords and rapiers and daggers on display.
"By the gods Rhi. You look fabulous. I love the outfit, and it's perfect with the cape." Veronica walks around her friend to catch the complete sight.
"Thanks. I do like it. I feel so medieval now."
"Wait," she quickly steps outside to stop a passing merchant carrying an array of flowers. "Here, this would look wonderful in your hair." She lays the garland of white flowers on Rhiannon's shoulder length shaggy strawberry blonde hair. "There. You look beautiful."
Rhi looks into the small mirror hanging on the wall near the pendants. She smiles at her own reflection and then an image flashes in her mind. She sees herself smiling into piercing azure eyes that look straight into her soul.
"Rhi? Are you okay?" Veronica asks.
"Huh? Yeah, fine. That was weird I thought I saw something. So...um...what are you charging folks and how in depth of a reading do you want me to give?"
The hours pass as merchants work and sell their products, and flocks of visitors come to and fro enjoying all that the fairgrounds has to offer.
"Hey Rhi, let's close up and go get lunch. Oh and there's a jousting tournament down by the pond today. Let's check it out. I hear the knights put on quite a display." Veronica says as she wiggles her eyebrows.
Rhiannon laughs at her friend's statement. "Jousting, huh? Boy, this place really goes all out."
Veronica chuckles. "You should see the Queen's parade through the village! Come on, I know your stomach is growling."
The one called Black Knight is grateful for the young girl assisting with the clasps and buckles on the suit of armor. The girl pulls the jet-black hair into the style of a folded ponytail in order to keep it out of the way during the match, then she hands the knight the helmet. "Ready to win again Jordie?" Amber asks her aunt.
Jordan gives her a lopsided grin before her face is hidden behind the metal.
Veronica and Rhiannon fortunately find a front row seat near the Queen's box. Using her grounds badge to gain quick admittance, they make it just in time as the announcer begins his speech.
"Lords and Ladies. Welcome to the Renaissance Fair to see the knights of the Queen fight gallantly this day. We begin with a joust between the reigning champion and the Queen's chosen, the mysterious and ruthless, "Black Knight"; and the opponent Sir Langhley the Green Knight."
The audience looks out onto the dirt-covered ring to see a large black horse whose rider in black armor looks intimidating and menacing. A black jousting pole with purple and blue ribbons adorns the handle held in a metal grip.
The opponent is on top a palomino wearing a highly polished suit of armor that reflects a hint of green in the brilliant afternoon sun. His white pole sports green and gold ribbons and the top of his helmet has three green feathers shooting straight up.
The Queen stands to start the match, and leaning over the edge of her box lets go of her white lace handkerchief. As soon as it touches the ground, the two horses are prompted to charge at each other. The riders grip their poles tightly as they come closer. Suddenly... the hit is made and the Green Knight falls from his horse. In turn his pole breaks off in splinters upon impact on the Black Knight's chest. The crowd goes wild with cheers and clapping.
Rhiannon has never seen anything like this in person, and is captivated by the show.
The announcer returns. "Lords and Ladies, the Black Knight wins this round. And now for the second, we have as our next opponent, Sir Dubois."
A silver armored knight upon a white horse readies himself with his jousting pole sporting gold and silver ribbons. Once again, the Queen drops the handkerchief and the horses charge toward each other at top speed. This time both riders fall from their horses upon impact. The crowd stands in wonder of what will happen. Four Pages enter the field. Two of them walk the horses off, and the other two present each knight with a sword. As they stand, the knights take the sword to face each other.
"Um...Ver, they're not really going to kill each other are they?"
"No, silly, its just part of the show. When both fall from their horses they have to fight with swords. They'll just knock each other around until only one stands as winner." Veronica answers as she watches the silver knight intently. She has had her eye on him for a couple of weekends already.
With their visors up, the knights duel.
Watching the fight take place, Rhiannon suddenly has another memory flash in her mind. Two knights fight on a battlefield. There is carnage and smoke from small fires surrounding them. The silver knight somehow manages to pierce his opponent in the side. The black knight stumbles. Rhiannon gasps and clasps her hands over her mouth to keep from screaming. Suddenly the black knight swings the sword in a quick swooping arc that comes down upon the other knight's neck slicing through the weak part of the armor and becoming imbedded between neck and shoulder. The silver knight falls. Rhiannon runs up to the black knight who embraces her, and she looks into piercing blue eyes.
Coming back to her senses, Rhiannon finds herself at the edge of the battleground, only a few feet away from the knights. She watches the black knight, whose visor is now up, swing the sword ruthlessly and advance upon the silver knight quickly.
Catching something in her peripheral vision, the black knight looks up to see the strawberry blonde staring at her. Rhiannon gasps upon seeing those same piercing blue eyes that she has seen before. "Those are the eyes from my dreams." She says under her breath.
While the black knight is distracted, the silver knight sees his open opportunity. He strikes the black knight's head in the blink of an eye, and the knight falls. The crowd stands to cheer.
Rhiannon runs up to the fallen knight. Veronica is on her friend's heels wondering what has gotten into Rhi. The winner is announced and the crowd begins to disperse. The small woman kneels at the knight's side and helps to pull off the helmet. Sea green eyes lock onto ocean blue and they hold each other's gaze in complete silence.