When we last saw the Glamour Girls… well, something odd happened. The whole world changed. One moment, they were Changelings living in the Twin Cities area and the next… they were somewhere in the 5th Century bumping shoulders with characters straight from Arthur’s Britain.
They’ve undergone something called “the Flux.” The entire world changed and nobody noticed. Everyone entered the new world with complete lives and memories. Only three of the Girls remembered the past world and retained their memories. Misty did not. As far as she knows, the whole world has always been 5th Century Britain. And the Girls can’t find a way to change that.
Confused? Not as confused as the Girls are.
What’s more, some of the folks they knew back in the Twin Cities have shown up in Britain as well. Changed just slightly—some more than others—but still familiar. Familiar strangers.
Our cast of characters includes:
as Brangaine, a Cornish lady married to a Christian knight having an affair with a Pagan knight; as Anwyn, an Enchantress of Britain and apprentice under the Great Enchanter, Merlin; as Terrwyn, the Cambrian lady who disguises herself as a man to participate in tournaments; and as Ysbail, the Norman lady with merchant contacts in both Britain and the continent.
- And, tonight, a special guest.
as Sir Gwillym.
Barnabas begins his joust. Unfortunately, it does not go well. Not only is he thrown from his horse, but he is horribly injured as well. The Ladies rush down to check on him. Brangaine helps her husband back to his feet and moves him back to their pavilion. However, that means she misses her lover, Sebastian, in his joust immediately afterward.
(In Pendragon terms, she had to make a Loyalty/Love check. Awesome.)
Elsewhere, Terrwyn meets up with a strange man in rags and feathers. His robe jingles as he walks, the baubles making him sound like a junk band. He is paper thin and carries a long staff. At the end of the staff is an intricately carved dragon.
"Who is this?" the man asks. He looks over Terrwyn with his crystal blue eye and his blood red eye.
"Merlin?" she asks.
"The very same!" he says, bowing slightly. "And who are you?"
Terrwyn lies. "Terryn," she says.
Merlin smiles. Then, he sees the ring on her finger. "And what is this?"
Terrwyn shakes her head. "I’ve never seen that before. How did that get there?"
Merlin laughs. "Fate," he says. Then, he wanders away. He wanders away into Anwyn.
"I hear you have been looking for me," Merlin tells her.
Anwyn nods. "Yes," she says. She checks for a "Lord Strange" ring on his fingers. He has none. "Damn, it isn’t him," she mutters to herself.
"And exactly who am I not?" Merlin asks.
"Oh, nothing," Anwyn says.
"I need you to do something for me," Merlin tells her. "I need you to go to the Duke of Cornwall’s pavilion and convince him to accept Uther’s invitation to dinner this evening.
"All right," Anwyn says. The hesitation in her voice makes Merlin frown.
"Do whatever you need to do to convince him," Merlin says. Then, he looks at her with his burning red eye. "Anything. You understand?"
She nods. "I understand."
After Barnabas is put down to rest, after his wounds are healed, Brangaine sneaks off to Sebastian’s tent. He’s there, waiting for her.
"You weren’t at the joust," he says.
"I had to tend to Barnabas," she tells him. "He’s a good man. A good husband."
"You are lucky," Sebastian says, removing his armor. "Many arrangements such as your marriage end sadly."
"He’s a good man," she says again. "He cares for me. But ours was only a political marriage."
"He still does not know you have a lover?" Sebastian asks.
She shakes her head. "No," she says. "It is best that way."
He steps toward her. "I have a present for you." He lifts a veil from a cage. Inside the cage is a white raven. "I trapped it while hunting."
She smiles. "It’s beautiful."
"That is why I got it for you," he says. He touches her face. "You are so beautiful."
He kisses her. And they don’t stop there.
In Cornwall’s pavilion, Anwyn sees the Duke for the first time. He’s a handsome man. A strong man. He speaks with a voice that makes you want to follow him.
"The invitation did not come from Uther," Cornwall says.
Anwyn shakes her head. "No. Merlin would like you to attend."
"I am sure he does," Cornwall says.
Just then, another woman enters the room. All the fires burn brighter. Anwyn looks at her and sees her perfect hair, her perfect eyes, her perfect skin. Deep inside, Lilith thinks, She looks Photoshopped.
"Igraine, my wife," Cornwall says.
Igraine looks at Anwyn. "Has Merlin sent another of his whores?"
Anwyn stands still, completely shocked.
"My wife," Cornwall begins. She interrupts him.
"Send her away. We want nothing to do with that wizard." Then, she leaves. The room grows a little darker.
Anwyn tries to smile. "Merlin says the meeting is most important. He hopes you will attend."
Cornwall nods. "I will see what I can do."
Later that night, Cerddwr escorts Terrwyn to Uther’s party. When he sees her, he is startled. "You are more beautiful than your cousin said," he tells her. She doesn’t know what to say to that.
"Have you hear the rumor of ladies dressing up as men to compete in the tournament?" he asks.
She stumbles a step. "I have," she says.
"If a woman were to do such a thing, she must come up with a clever disguise," he tells her. "Most women just tuck their hair up under a cap and wear trousers and call themselves ‘a cousin’ or some other nonsense."
Terrwyn shakes her head. "Shameful," she says.
"If she were caught," he tells her, "it could ruin her reputation."
Terrwyn looks up at Cerddwr. Her eyes narrow.
"Unless she was discovered by a man who was sympathetic to her cause. And could help her better hide her identity next time."
Her eyes lessen their glare.
"Look," he says. "We are here." And the two of them enter Uther’s pavilion.
At the meal, Uther shows himself for the first time. The man is built like a fort. His head is shaved, his beard is short. He wears dull clothes and his eyes are keen. He looks like he was pulled from a forge by a blacksmith.
He sits on one end of the table. Cornwall sits on the other. The Ladies notice that Cornwall has not brought his wife with him.
"I am glad you accepted my invitation, Cornwall," Uther says. He looks at the other guests. "I am glad because I want to offer you a chance at peace."
Cornwall smiles. "For years, you have tried invading my lands, Uther. What makes you think I will trust you this time?"
Uther looks at Merlin. Merlin nods. "I offer you all the lands to the west of the river," he says. "No Logres man will cross that river without your permission."
Cornwall laughs. "And what sacrifice must I make to accept such a peace?"
"Call me King," Uther says. "And we shall have peace."
Cornwall looks across the table at Uther. A long moment of silence between them.
Then, Gorlois, the Duke of Cornwall says, "Very well. I accept your peace."
Uther says, "Then say it."
Cornwall nods. "Uther," he says. "The Pendragon."
A tense silence breaks in the room. Everyone realizes they have not been breathing.
And just then, sitting between two powerful men–one on the east side of the river and one on the west side of the river–Terrwyn’s memories rush back into her head. Misty. Bess. Lady Fate. Her mother’s murder. Her abduction in Arcadia. Walker. The coffin. Mister Finger.
All of it.
She catches her breath. Cerddwr touches her hand with his gloved hand. "Are you ill, my Lady?" he asks.
She shakes her head. A single tear rolls down her cheek. She doesn’t know what to say.
Uther shouts, "Let us feast to peace!"
The other guests shout as well. The men remove their gloves.
Cerddwr takes off his. And Terrwyn sees, on his left hand, the ring of Lord Strange.