People watched the hag melt. They could not turn away.
“The Wicked Witch of the West,” Margueritte said, as she took a big Lord Birch’s hand and stepped away from the wood pile.
“I remembered what my Lucky told me,” Lolly said and waved her water bucket with a big smile.
“Is it Lucky now?” Brianna asked as she ran up and hugged Margueritte.
“Abraxasss!” The Hag called out one last time.
“I told you he will not dare show his face here,” Margueritte said, but she looked around and up at the sky because she felt she was really bluffing. She heard Danna’s voice, however, inside her head, echo down the halls of time.
“I never bluff,” Danna told her.
Soon enough, the hag became no more than a wet lump of fur on the ground. She was not actually a child of the god, like the Grendel, and had no convenient lake to jump in to retain her shape in death.
“Majesty.” Brianna spoke to Lady LeFleur, but she had already gotten out her wand and in a second, every little one in that area became invisible.
“What is happening?” Urbon said as he came out from under the spell. Without Curdwallah to focus through, Abraxas could not maintain the enchantment.
All the people began to come to their senses.
The Franks rode into the village square. It looked like the whole army.
Margueritte felt surprised to see Duredain at the front. Owien rode there, too. Roland leapt from his horse and came running up but stopped. Tomberlain hid a smile which Margueritte did not understand. Charles, of course, lead the way, and he was aware enough of what was happening to hold his men in check before unnecessary fighting broke out.
“What?” Margueritte looked at Roland and wondered why he stopped. She wanted so much to throw herself in his arms, but she did not dare. What if that was not what he wanted?
“Just once,” he said, and turned a quick look to Tomberlain. “Just once I wish you would let me rescue you all on my own.” There, he said it.
“I promise,” she said. “Next time you can rescue me, and I won’t help a bit. All right?” She looked pensive.
“All right,” Roland said, and he stepped up and took her and kissed her and bent her to his desire, even as she was eager to bend, cliché though it may be.
“Ahem.” Sir Barth coughed and looked away. Brianna came up and took Barth’s arm and helped to turn him away.
“I told you I would be back,” Owien said, proudly. Elsbeth reached up for his hand, but her eyes were all on her sister and Roland.
“Jennifer?” Father Aden asked Tomberlain because he did not know who else to ask.
“She’s fine, and the baby,” Tomberlain said through his smile. “With Constantus and Lady Lavinia having a wonderful time.”
“Sir Roland.” Charles spoke from horseback. He paused to wait, but Roland did not pause. “Roland.” Charles said it again and drummed his fingers on his wrist and finally rolled his eyes. “Sir Roland!” He insisted. Roland and Margueritte barely parted.
“Sir?” Roland said, as if he was listening, but not by much.
“This young woman has caused me no end of trouble.” That got Margueritte’s attention and she looked up, so Roland turned his head a little. “Every time she gets in the middle of it, you go rushing off, and I lose you for weeks or months. I can’t have this.”
“I’m sorry, sir,” Roland said.
“Me, too,” Margueritte spoke in a whisper.
“Therefore, I have decided. As your superior I command you to marry the woman and bring her to the camp. Next time at least you won’t have so far to run.”
Roland and Margueritte, still held each other as tight as they could and looked dumb for a second before they smiled.
“Yes sir!” Roland shouted.
“It would be my pleasure,” Margueritte said, softly.
“No, mine,” Roland said.
“No, Mimmm.” Her word got swallowed up in a kiss.