Joan walked down the hallway, looking into each of the open doors before stopping at last one where a blonde woman lay motionless in the bed.
“They’ll wake up soon” Hux, Joan’s dæmon muttered from her shoulder.
“I know, that doesn’t make it any less stressful. I’m just worried about how they’ll all react to having a talking animal part of their soul wandering around with them” Joan nuzzled slightly into Hux’s fur as she spoke.
Joan walked down the stairs to where the other ladies in waiting were sitting with their dæmons.
“Still nothing?” Maggie questioned at the sight of Joan.
“No. Nothing yet” Joan sighed flopping down on the couch next to Maria, careful of Saxon, Maria’s cat dæmon who always made Joan’s own mouse dæmon nervous.
The four ladies in waiting and their dæmons sat in silence, the peaceful quiet broken by a frightened yell from upstairs that sent the four women running.
Catherine of Aragon was pressed up against the headboard, clutching her chest as she stares into the eyes of a golden lioness when 4 women, each with a different animal at their side, came bursting through the door.
“What is this?”
“Catalina” Maria steps forward slowly approaching the terrified woman “It’s okay. This is a part of you. You are safe here, I promise”
Catherine forced herself to look away from the big cat to her old friend. “That doesn’t look particularly safe”
“They’re part of you. They’ll never hurt you.” Maria turned to the big cat “You know she’s scared; can you tell us your name?”
“My name is Sian and I am an external part of your soul” the lioness refused to take her eyes off Catherine.
“Sian’s a dæmon, everyone has one, they are, as she said an external extension of our souls. I think it’s only right that yours is the queen of the jungle”
As Maria slowly talked Catherine into calming down, Maggie was trying to calm Anne Boleyn and her loud-mouthed ferret, Aston who ran around the room looking for an escape but never venturing more than a few feet from Anne.
Joan was not having any more luck in controlling Jane’s laboured breathing and Briar the spectacled bear who was trying to get closer to the panicking blonde.
Bessie was the only one who was having any success with Anna and her hunting dog dæmon.
“Hello old friend” Bessie greeted from where she was sitting on the side of Anna’s bed, next to but not touching the dog.
“Bessie… it’s so good to see you” Anna sat up and pulled the younger woman into a hug. “And who is this?”
“My name is Artemis” Anna jerked back as the dog spoke to her.
Bessie laughed before beginning her explanation into dæmons.
The first of the queens to wake up alone was Katherine Howard, the first thing she saw was a pair of different coloured eyes. The girl shot up, tumbling out of the bed and scrambling towards the wall.
“Do not be afraid. My name is Axley and I am part of you and in a way, you are part of me”
“Where am I?”
“I do not know” Axley moved closer to Katherine sitting opposite her.
“What do we do?”
“I can here others moving around, lets stay here until we know who is here” Axley lay down where he was in front of Katherine, his head on her lap.
Katherine moved her hand to his head, drawing comfort from not being alone unlike all those years ago.
Catherine Parr was the only one to not panic when they woke up and had a talking owl at her side.
It was she that moved out of her room first moving towards the loud voices she heard down the corridor, her owl Barnabus perched on her shoulder, stopping briefly to look into the room that contained a scared looking teenager and a dog curled up on the floor.
“Are you okay?” Catherine asked.
The girl and the dog were on immediate alert, the dog’s tail between its legs and hackles raised, the girl inching away from the open door, both of the room’s occupants a perfect picture of fight or flight.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to frighten you. I just wanted to check that you were okay” Catherine took a step back.
“Do you know where we are?” The girl asked in a timid voice.
“I don’t, no. But if you wanted to come with me, I think we can find out”
Catherine held the girl’s eye until she stood and slowly made her way towards the door, her dog, hackles still raised, walked pressed against the girl’s leg.
Catherine only made it a few steps before she ran into a hoard of women trying to go down the stairs.
“Oh good, you were our next stop” Maria exclaimed.
“Let’s go downstairs, have some tea and then we can start talking” Joan put her hand on Jane’s shoulder, the woman still looked panicked but was at least breathing normally.
Joan and the other ladies in waiting looked over the assembled queens, none of them talking to each other, never touching each other, only ever interacting with their dæmons.
Each lady in waiting had one thought running through her head ‘what’s going to happen now?’