The path she trod was dry and dusty. The palace ground keepers had been caught off guard this season by the Spring rains. They had lasted for so long with such intensity... and then one day, they had simply ceased to be. Irick was blessed with sea air that kept the air and winds moist, but the ground still grew parched. And the keepers had not yet caught up and installed their summer water arrangements. But it would fall into place, like everything else here. It would conform and work, as any healthy system should.
Rowena stared, unseeing, to the sky line. For once, it was not out of choice that she was alone. In fact, perhaps for the first time in her life, she would have chosen for company. Elizabeth of Maldon was coming to mind - the one person she would have willingly talked to about... this. Her family would not talk to her. Or perhaps she could not bear to face them. It had come to the point where she could no longer decipher which it was, but also the realisation that it didn't particularly matter. What she had done was her own naive fault and no one should have to suffer for her.
She wasn't sure whether Clare had approved her return or not. But she had come back anyway. She couldn't have been away for longer than a few days, but the time she had spent in Camelot (in the end only a night and half a morning) felt like such a nightmare it could have been much longer. She had been back for barely a day and already she felt like a condemned man awaiting execution. As if, any moment, Clare would see her around the castle and expel her back to her dead end life. That is, if her parents would still have her. By the end of the day, she could lose her home, her family and her purpose. If she ever had that in the first place.
Frustration ruled her days. Anger at herself. No matter what happened, no matter how desperate her life would become she would never let herself speak his name again. Her thoughts of him she would banish into the midst of her memory and bury them so no one, not even she, could find them there.
One arm grasped the linen folded across her stomach. She picked up her skirts and turned castle-wards. Not beaten yet.