see, heaven's got a plan for you; Ciara

A light knocking on the door had dragged him from his sleep.
"Your Grace?" a voice called from the other side. Arthur sat up slowly, taking care not to disturb the mattress or the covers and looked down at Ciara's sleeping form. She looked beautiful in the morning light, her pale skin bright and soft against the scarlet of the silk sheets, her blonde hair tumbling over her shoulder. He was loath to leave her. Carefully he pulled the bed curtains apart far enough to slip through and crossed the room on tip toe. He collected his trousers from the floor on his way past and paused to pull them on before opening the door. The sergeant of arms was waiting for him in the corridor.
"Sorry to disturb you, Your Grace," the man said with a smile. He was taller than Arthur, and seemed to be trying to glance inside the room. Arthur fixed him with a hard stare and drew the door to behind him.
"What is it?" he asked, folding his arms across his naked torso.
"Pirates, Sir," the sergeant replied, shaking his head, "we've had reports of them intercepting goods bound for the cove." The King closed his eyes and sighed. Could he not get even a moment's peace?
"Alright," he said at last, reaching for the door handle again, "I'll be along presently." Arthur waited until the man was gone before he opened the door and slipped back inside.

His tunic from the previous day hung half-off the window seat, poking out from beneath the curtains. He pulled it free as he passed and draped it over the back of his chair. As quietly as he could he found a fresh one in the wardrobe and pulled it on over his head. Sitting down at his desk he pulled out a sheet of paper from the top draw, dipped his quill into the inkpot and began to write.

My dear Cia,

I'm afraid I've had to sneak away; apparently we're overdue a run-in with the pirates. They've been intercepting deliveries to The Peaks.

I'm sorry to leave you, but I'll have someone bring you up some breakfast. Stay as long as you like and I will be back as soon as I can.

All my love,

Arthur pinned the note to the bed curtains where he was sure she would find it. He lingered a moment, running a bent fingers gently across her cheek. Reluctantly he collected his belt with one hand, his boots with the other and headed back out through the door.


He hadn't had chance to sit down since and what little sleep he had managed to have had been with his cheek on an open book at his desk. After the pirate situation had been resolved he had been caught up in the flurry around Croe's upcoming trial. It was a headache. Arthur had tried repeatedly to sneak away, only to be fetched back again to consult on some matter or other. It had been one problem after another. What must she think of him? He worried about it in the rare lull between each new wave of activity. Whatever his faults, he had never been the kind of man to leave a woman in bed without a word. His note had salved his conscience a little, but as they entered the third day his feelings of guilt pushed their way to the front of his mind again. Arthur found it increasingly difficult to concentrate. He sent a note to the gardener asking him to see that some freshly cut roses were sent up to Ciara's rooms.

It was late. The sun had set and candles spluttered away on the table top, illuminating the hateful stack of papers stacked around him. The lawyers took it in turns to speak to him, to explain, to argue, and he did his best to listen. He asked questions, he disagreed, he nodded, until finally it seemed like everything was finally starting to wind down. Arthur seized upon the opportunity. When he stood up, everyone else in the room followed suit, lapsing into silence.
"Well gentlemen," he smiled, "I think we've done excellent work, but I think your families' patience with me will be growing very thin indeed if I don't send you home at least once this week. We can pick everything up in the morning." The king looked around, pleased to see that many of the men and women around him were nodding in sleepy agreement.

Free at last, he trudged his way up the stairs to the residential corridor on the third floor. His footsteps fell silent as they hit carpet and he passed quietly the rest of the way to Ciara's room. Taking a deep breath he balled his fist and knocked firmly on the door.

see heaven's got a plan for you

photo by Jon Nelson at flickr.com


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