This direction or that, I could not decide. The main road looked promising with its wide open spaces and winding ways. I can see for quite a distance and there seemed to be little danger of being waylaid by mishaps, or robbers or wild beasts. The Kingsway, you can almost see the castle from here. I was certain we would arrive by midafternoon
But, as I turn in the other direction I can just barely hear the sound of a lute playing somewhere in the shadows of the tall trees. As I look further down the wooded path I can see a deer step out onto the path. Surely if there was danger lurking there she would not be wandering so openly. There is a river further down this way I’m told, amidst tall ferns, and there is a tale of a shallow place with a golden beach where the waters are warm and healing.
That is the great draw for me. As a small child I had fallen from the parapet of my uncle’s manor and had been badly injured. The trip from my home to this place was long and painful. It had taken more than two days to get here. I would have never come had it not been a summons from her majesty. But now I debated whether to go straight to the palace or take this short detour. It would surely take no more than an extra hour or two and I could perhaps be healed from this pain forever but the letter commanded that I come to the palace as quickly as possible.
“Mistress, shall we continue to the palace.” The driver was hot and dusty from the journey. I knew that he would benefit from a little rest in the shade as well.