Reflections of Lady Laurel, Former Wife of Sir Agravaine
On this day fifty years ago, I laid to rest my husband, and many other honorable men dedicated to the ideals of knighthood.
I still remember the shock and disbelief I felt those decades long ago as I stood back and watched the funeral boats carrying the bodies of legendary knights sail toward to the end of the horizon. The men's death made me question all that I ever knew: how had it come to be? Why had it come to be? And what would come to be of Britain's fate now that the kingdom of Arthur had collapsed?
I first came to the High King's court many years ago, before Arthur had ascended the throne. Back then, the High King was Uther Pendragon, Arthur's father. I had been brought to be a lady-in-waiting for one of the lords' wives at court. To my mistress, I was clever, resourceful, and pretty, and so when it came about that Uther died and was succeeded by his son, I was selected to be a lady-in-waiting to the new High Queen, a position that a poor knight's daughter in ordinary circumstances could not have ever dreamed about. Since my promotion at the age of nineteen, I have moved among the most powerful members of King Arthur's court. And though I departed the castle after only a few years of servitude to Queen Guinevere, my marriage to Sir Gaheris, who was son to King Lot and Queen Morgause of Orkney and brother to Sir Gawain and Sir Gareth, insured that I never lost touch with Camelot's inhabitants.
And so it was from afar that I watched Britain's stronghold, once my home, once a place I had imagined the most secure and safe on earth, crumble before my eyes.
Now, I am an old woman. I have outlived three husbands, five children, and two grandchildren.
And yet, like a never-ceasing stream, life rolls on. I accompany my great-grandchildren to the traveling troupe that comes through our city every month. The troupe that performed last week told the tale of a legendary king who united the tribes of Britain and brought a long reign of peace to the land the likes of which hadn't been seen since the Roman occupation.
The story, of course, was that of Camelot. The legendary king was none other than Arthur.
Though I knew the ending in more detail than even I cared to recall, I listened, fascinated and drawn in by the minstrels' tales of days gone by. It reminded me so much of my youth and brought up so many memories of friends and loved ones long gone that I nearly wept in front of everyone.
The crowd went wild after the show ended, for. I clapped along with everyone, for it had been a most enthralling story. The minstrel troupe had done a spectacular job of retelling the tale, capturing the most tragic and heart wrenching moments as splendidly as if they themselves had been there. But I was much disturbed by the gaps in their story. In all their musings, they had cut out a most important figure.
Except for mentioning her name briefly in the tale of the Quest of Sir Gareth and his rescue of the Lady of Lyonnesse, the minstrels all but brushed away the character of Lady Lynette, who was first darling of the Court and a good many knights' hearts, later an aloof and tragic character, and forever the little sister of Guinevere.
Perhaps I am biased, as I had been a lady-in-waiting along with Lynette and we had been close friends, but I do believe that her role in Camelot was that of a central one, and if not that central, then at least she does not merit to be swept aside by the minstrels with her name lost in obscurity while her peers' names live on in history.
For Lady Lynette was very much a person of consequence in Camelot. I myself could have easily been erased and none of the outcomes would have changed. But without Lynette…much would not have turned out the way it had turned out. She was many things to many different people at many different times, an admired court maiden, a de facto queen, an adored wife, a dangerous enemy, a hopeless desire, a manipulated pawn, and much more that I do not know.
So, I can only recall her as the way I knew her: a loyal friend, a passionate woman, and a girl who never understood that the world had limits.