19 December, 2017 by katelaity
‘Is that…us?’ Tansy’s voice had an unsettling tone of excitement in it. I don’t know whether seeing one’s self portrayed in fabric form in a location one has never graced before can be seen as absurd; I only know it was completely unsettling.
But the woven threads were definitely embodying we three adventurers in absurdity and the lovely lady Judith as well. The tapestry captured us as we were that very moment, wandering the gloom of this seemingly empty castle completely encrusted in thorny vines of enormous size, staring up at a tapestry on the wall—presumably the very one we were looking at that depicted us so—
‘I think I need to sit down.’ I felt rather woozy all at once.
‘This is a conundrum, to be sure,’ Tansy said with that unhealthy air of eagerness that never boded well for us.
‘Prognostication,’ Chambers said, as if this sort of thing happened all the time. ‘Someone has had the ability to see into the future.’
‘Thomas Bloody Rhymer,’ I said gloomily for it appeared that no one was going to pity me for the discomfort I felt. These were not normal goings on. I just wanted someone to admit to that. But traveling with adventurous sorts had just these sort of drawbacks.
‘I suspect not, for he was not known for any kind of skill with the needle,’ Chambers said with an air of stuffiness that seemed very much part of the armchair adventurer he had been up to that point.
‘Could tapestry work be referred to as needle work?’ Tansy asked with insufferable curiosity. ‘Are they not woven?’
‘It might be more proper to call them loomwork then, I suppose.’ Chambers pulled out his memorandum book as if he would verify this nomenclature with some reference to a learned tome.
I was mostly irritated by this, which provoked me to say, ‘You do not know your warp from your weft and yet you natter on endlessly about trivia when you really ought to be talking about who on earth has seen us coming and what they will do to us when they arrive!’ My companions stared at me with surprise. I admit my tone may have been a trifle sharp but not without provocation a-plenty.
‘We were getting around to that,’ Chambers protested.
‘It was on the tip of my tongue,’ Tansy insisted.
‘And there is nothing to fear,’ a warm feminine voice said. But turning to the lady Judith we saw her staring at the stairs that swept up along the wall.
A tall woman all in black looked down at us from a greater height, but I rather fear she would look down on us from the same height. Not only was she perilously tall for a woman but there was something imperious in her visage that rather made one cower. I am not a craven man (well, there may be some who argue about that) but in my defence I must say that Tansy looked equally ready to take a knee and he was seldom intimidated by any personage whether he was a man or a woman.
We all sank before her, Judith in a curtsey that showed the extent of possibilities of the form. I could not say precisely why, but we knew ourselves to be in the presence of royalty. Perhaps it was the crown, true. But it was just as likely to be the imperious bearing she had as she made her way down the steps with all the grace of a panther.
‘You may rise,’ she said upon reaching our plane. Her voice echoed around the foyer.
When we raised our eyes again her hand was extended for our obeisance. Tansy went first of course. ‘My lady,’ he murmured over her ruddy fingers.
‘Off with their heads!’ The black queen said with a flourish of her arm.