exchanging gifts

unknown time – unknown place

The great warrior advanced on his black stallion towards the castle gates.
The guards saluted him, and the gates swung open to reveal the castle grounds. He trotted, still on top of his horse, until he reached the entrance to the great hall where he left it with a stable boy and entered the castle.
as he walked, calm and graceful, on his way to the throne room, every lord saluted him. Every lady curtsied to him. and the maids scurried out of his way while some stopped doing whatever they were doing and stared at him in awe.
The queen was startled as the knight entered the throne room. She didn’t expect him, he was supposed to be with the troops, fighting in the mountains.
Forgetting every rule there is, she descended from her throne and hurried to the greet him. He has been away for long, but he still looks the same, she could tell, even though his grey cloak covered most of his towering form.
but there was something strange, his look.
the knight has only two expressions : no expression , and furious.
today he was wearing neither. He had a warm look, and his eyes shone with determination.
at this moment there was no knight. and no queen.
there was only these two people. Forgetting everyone else in the room, the queen spoke with a fervor, asking the knight about the war; what happened? why was he here? was something wrong? and on and on.
the knight let the concern and affection wash over him, and warmth enclosed him like a mother’s hug.
with a special smile, reserved only for the queen, he listened until she finished. And answered her every question. in short. The war was still raging, but they were winning and he was asking her permission to seize the lands.
then it was time for his sacrifice.
taking a step back from her, he knelt before the queen releasing his sword from it’s leather sheath, and balancing it on his hands.
he bowed his head and presented the queen with his sword, his most prized possession.
“My queen. Our army will win the war, and here I present you with my grandfather’s sword. I will forever be a faithful servant to this land.”
the queen stared at the warrior, taking in the greatness of his gesture. that sword was his pride and joy. his only family heirloom..he couldn’t have presented her with something more valuable.
“rise.” she said softly.
rising up to his full height, towering over her small form, the knight looked at the queen , silently waiting for her response.
with confident hands, she reached behind her neck, unclasping the lock and taking off her mother’s locket. the locket she constantly wears close to her chest, close to her heart.
she pulled his hand, held it palm up, put the locket inside, and closed his fist around it.
holding his fist with both her hands, she said “this land appreciates your sacrifices, good lord”.
but her eyes betrayed her true message, which was meant for him, and only him.
returning the sword to it’s sheath, her clutched the locket in his strong fist, silently vowing to never lose it, he tried to show his gratitude though his look. then when it became too much, he averted his eyes, bowed and left the room.
both returned to their duties, feeling their minds ,and their most vital organs, becoming farther an farther each passing minute.