Those Memories Made on Teardrop Lake – (24) The Christian Lady and the Pagans (Part 01)
It was in the middle of the 7th Century when 17 year old Olwen, the youngest daughter of King Osric, was pledged in marriage to young King Ryce of West Untenena.
King Osric’s tribe was in the east bordering Cantwarena and the marriage was designed to affect a treaty between the two tribes and preserve the peace by forming a mutually beneficial alliance against West Sexena.
Osric’s tribe in East Untenena were Christina converts and because of her faith, Olwen only agreed to the union if she could be married at St Augustine’s Church in the place of her birth.
The citizens of East Untenena were very pleased with the union as they hoped it would lead to a lasting peace.
Olwen was very popular among her people and the wedding was the cause of much celebration with seven days of feasting.
It was a joyous occasion and when it ended Olwen and her new husband then travelled under heavy escort to her new home.
Soldiers of both East and West Untenena made up the escort as an act of solidarity.
Olwen was also accompanied by her maids Esme and Elwin, and by her priest Father Audley.
Her new home was the great hall of King Ryce which stood in a settlement at the head of the Lake Tåre Drape on the edge of the great forest.
Although the marriage was forced upon her she was not disappointed with the union, Olwen liked Ryce and in time she grew to love him very deeply.
And she also grew to love her new home very much.
But she came from a Christian realm and she had married into a pagan one.
Though Ryce was prepared to adopt the new faith his subjects and more importantly, his chieftains, were not.
Although most of his subjects took to the new Queen and loved her almost as much as her own people did.
Though not all of them, in fact two of them were openly hostile to her and a third, Holt had threatened to kill any Christians who dared practice in his lands.
For the first year Olwen was content to have Father Audley attend to hers and her maid’s spiritual needs in her private chambers but she was not prepared to deny herself a place of worship forever.
So at the beginning of her 19th year she broached the subject with Ryce when he asked her if she was happy in his kingdom she replied rather unconvincingly
“You are unhappy?” Ryce asked
“No I’m not unhappy” she replied “but...”
“You still miss your home” he said
“A little yes” she admitted
“But really I miss my Church”
“I see” he responded “the one thing you miss is the one thing I cannot give you”
“Not even a small Chapel for us?” she asked in her most feminine voice.
“I can’t grant you that” Ryce said
“It’s doesn’t have to be grand or ornate”
“If I was to openly build a Church in this settlement it would give Holt the excuse he needs to move against me” He said and Olwen was crestfallen.
“I’m sorry” he said
“What if we built one in secret?” she asked
“Where?” he asked
“In the forest” she said
The King was very thoughtful for a few minutes and then he said
“I will give it some further thought”
Then he took his leave.
Olwen took that to mean no, but she left it at that for now, she didn’t want to back him into a corner.
But that didn’t mean she would give up.
After several days Ryce gave Olwen his decision as they lay in his bed.
“You may have your secret Chapel” he said
“Thank you my King” she said excitedly
“But it must remain secret” he reiterated
“If Holt or his kinsmen find out, there will be open revolt”
“Yes my Lord”
“No materials or craftsman from my realm can be used”
“I understand” Olwen said