Lancelot clamped a hand . . .

over Gwenhwyfar’s mouth and pulled her back through the trees, holding her against him. “Don’t scream. It’s Lancelot. We’re going home.”

Wildly, she twisted to look at him. Her eyes were blank and he saw no recognition there. She began to struggle.

He gave her a little shake. “Gwen. Come to your senses. It’s Lance. Arthur is waiting. We’re leaving the land of Faerie.”

Her eyes widened a little, but there was still fear.

We’ve got to go. You have to come with me. You’ll be safe.”

She moved her head negatively and tried to pull away.

He spun her around quickly and kissed her before she had time to scream. She did not respond; nearly desperate, he cradled her head and prodded her mouth open with his thumbs, thrusting his tongue inside, letting her taste him. His arms moved around her and his hands kneaded her back. Mother, Goddess, don’t let me be too late. Not after all of this. Then suddenly she was kissing him back, clinging to him, sobbing in the back of her throat. He leaned back a little, watching her.

Lancelot!” She was crying now, her arms wound tightly around his neck. “It is you? I’m not living another illusion?”

No, my love. But we must hurry.” Already the sounds of fury behind them had begun to diminish. Lancelot took her hand and they began to run.

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