9 January, 2018 by katelaity
‘And was it only the one tapestry?’ Tansy persisted, though I could hardly say that the idea of more astounding revelations would come with any welcome.
‘Oh no, there are many tapestries,’ the queen replied with surprise.
‘Of the same…unusual nature?’ Tansy asked with delicacy.
‘Oh, not all of them. There are some lovely small ones of unicorns and tigers that I put in the parlour because that is the sort of thing a lady likes to contemplate in repose.’ She paused.
‘Tigers!’ I could not help exclaiming. ‘A thing for ladies to contemplate in repose?’
‘Ladies in repose must think a great many unbecoming thoughts,’ the queen said with a frown.
Queens were not quite the retiring creatures I took them for but fancies like unicorns I could stomach more easily. ‘Unicorns, I suppose, are more genteel,’ I added thinking aloud.
‘Not if they gore you with their horns,’ the Lady Judith said with an unhealthy air of relish. The black queen quickly agreed.
I decided to say no more about any of the creatures.
‘But some of the tapestries are more…mystically motivated?’ Tansy could be rather persistent when he chose. Why he should want to be so obstinate on this topic I could not understand, given our unfortunate associations gained so far. Heaven knew what we might stumble upon next. I shouldn’t like to see our demise spelled out, so to speak, in colourful silks.
The queen appeared to think about the matter for a moment, then tapped her chin thoughtfully. ‘There is a tapestry in the library that might have some connection to current events. I completed it not long after this one,’ she said gesturing to the image that had so unsettled us before.
‘Do let us see, my lady,’ Tansy said with winning winsomeness. Say what you will the man was devilishly charming.
The queen agreed and led the way up the stairs and down a gloomy corridor. I did wonder just how long she had been on her own. There were cobwebs everywhere that no housekeeper worth her salt would have allowed. The way was lit only by the oblique light which filtered in from the small fortress windows. There were odd things hanging from the walls: tapestries, of course, but also weapons, tea trays, hats and even a broom. It made no earthly sense.
I was prepare for the library to look more like an alchemist’s laboratory but it was indeed full of books and with larger glass windows it proved a much brighter space than either the corridor or the grand hall. It was nowhere near as dusty either.
‘I spend a great deal of my time here,’ the black queen said as if in explanation. ‘The light is so much better than that of my chamber. Back in the day I would stitch there with my ladies but without the care—and the candles—it has become far too gloomy.’
‘But how are you cared for, my lady?’ The lady Judith could not hide her curiosity at such an existence. ‘Where are your servants?’
‘I have but few and they are as insubstantial as wraiths.’ The queen made plain her distaste of discussing the subject. ‘I shall have to do something about that.’ Though what she might do, stranded in a castle surrounded by terrifying thorns, remained to be seen.
I certainly hoped we would not be pressed into service!
‘There,’ she said at last, ordering someone to fetch the single candle stick burning on the table with an imperious gesture. ‘Bring the light and we shall see the tapestry that I fear comes next in the unexpected events.’
We followed her over to a gloomy alcove and Chambers lifted the candlestick high. What we saw there silenced us at once.