Pairings/Characters: Arthur/Gwen, slight Merlin/Morgana, Agravaine, Elyan, Gwaine, Leon, Percy, Gaius, The Dragon.
Warnings: Spoilers up to 4x09, AU after that, with no knowledge whatsoever of future episodes.
Disclaimer: Not real. Despite birthday wishes and night time prayers to Santa (all Hail Amy Pond!) Merlin still isn't mine!
Summary: With Gwen gone from Camelot, Merlin wil rest at nothing to soothe the niggling feeling that something was wrong. Very wrong.
Author Notes: Beta'd by my wonderful Wifey, sgmajorshipper who I sync watched 4x09 with, we broke together on our first time sync-watching - heartbreaking.
I wrote this because I was broken after 4x09, though 4x10 did ease that pain, this and the two short sequels which will eventually lead into a bigger story that is yet to be start but will be shortly. I've not read any spoilers for forthcoming episodes so I would be incredibly grateful if nobody discussed any in the comments. It's been eleven months hard work to be thrown away now! I was a little wary about posting because of it but I had to before it was all resolved really...
The title is from the poem "A Prayer for my Daughter" by W.B.Yeats which you can read here.
Betrayal hung heavily in the air of Camelot, woven alongside questioning and misunderstanding, unseen sorcery. The town was empty save for Merlin sitting outside of the tavern looking down the main gangway to his friend’s house. He didn’t know how to react anymore. This wasn’t Gwen; she loved Arthur, she would never do this to him and now she was leaving and there was nothing he could do to stop it. And Arthur would never listen to him. No word against Agravaine was taken in by him, the man wasn’t right, not in this case.
Merlin had already heard the rumours; those who were so supporting of Gwen, the serving girl who had won their King’s heart soon turned into the adulterous woman, thrust from her home, and from grace. From being the most loved woman in Camelot to the Scarlet Woman. Merlin refused to let it happen. Maybe she had to leave for Arthur to realise how much he needed her, to allow him to get over his hurt and move forwards, but Merlin knew that he needed her; little though he may admit it to himself, he still wanted her despite himself.
When Gwen emerged from her small home Merlin fought the urge to run to her, tell her not to go, that he would sort it out, but part of him hurt for his other friend. The betrayal was running deep in the veins of the city and through Merlin’s own. He hurt, but there was always an explanation and if Morgana was at the route of Lancelot’s return, hurting their relationship couldn’t have been far behind. She would want Gwen away from him; off of ‘her’ throne.
He should have known.
He should have figured it out.
It was all Morgana.
He leapt from his perch and ran after her, calling out her name. She kept walking, her shoulders shaking as she hauled the cart towards the city’s edge. “Gwen, please.” He caught her easily, she was still small; she was struggling with the cart, unable to go much faster than a slow walk. When he rounded in front of her she stopped. Tear tracks were evident on her cheeks. He embraced her, “I’m sorry. I’ll do whatever I can. I’ll change his mind.”
“You can’t, Merlin,” she choked out against his tunic.
“This isn’t you Gwen, like it wasn’t Lancelot. He would never, you would never.”
“I ruined everything. It was all perfect, and I ruined it.” Merlin shook his head. “I have to go.”
“I’ll make it right, I promise you,” he told her, holding onto her arms and looking deep into her eyes. “I’ll find you when I do.”
“Don’t, Merlin. There’s nothing you can do.”
“I’ll make it right,” he repeated, “I promise you. Arthur will see sense.” Gwen shook her head at him, fighting a fresh batch of tears that threatened to fall, “At least let me help you.”
“You should be helping Arthur.”
“He needs to be alone.” She nodded in understanding. Merlin made to the other side of the cart and helped her to push. They walked in silence; neither had any more words, she couldn’t explain herself and he couldn’t explain what he knew without giving away far too much about himself than he was comfortable with.
When they reached the city gates, Merlin didn’t want to stop, he wanted to pull the whole thing back around and walk her back home. To the place where only three days ago she’d been the happiest she had ever been. The future queen. She hadn’t known Merlin had heard everything. Arthur’s mild confusion when she didn’t say anything, embracing him without a word. Her laughter as she realised she had never vocalised her answer. He would have sworn he’d have heard the smiles on their faces before he heard the sound of their kiss and he’s retreated then. He didn’t need to know what happened next.
He hugged her one more time, wrapping his arms tightly about her, “One day, I’ll find you, one day soon.”
“Gwen, he loves you. He’s hurting right now, but he will forgive you, he already has, but he’s hurting. Just give him time.”
She blinked back tears and chewed on her lips. She nodded. “Thank you, Merlin, for everything. I owe you my life, so does Arthur. I’ll see you again, one day. You’ll visit me?”
“Of course. Every chance I get.” Fresh tears fell then.
As he walked back through the town, past her house, he stopped himself from going in. Any other day and he’d have popped his head in to say hello if she was home. On an evening before going to the tavern with Gwaine or early morning when he had been on rounds of the market with Gaius. He would miss that. He would miss her. And it was Morgana’s fault. Her and Agravaine needed to be stopped. If only Arthur would believe him.
He briefly paused by the front door of the tavern and contemplated going in and becoming the person Arthur often saw him as; Gwaine’s biggest tavern rival.
He thought better of it. He needed to face Arthur, tell him what he knew; at least try and make him see sense about Gwen.
Days passed. Every time Merlin even tried to broach the subject of the departed figure in their lives, Arthur would shut him out, shout at him to leave or give him further orders. He hadn’t quite resorted to throwing things at him but Merlin wouldn’t have been surprised. It was like losing Morgana all over again. Though Merlin knew they’d lost her to the other side of the fight long before she was gone, it still hurt. Then, like now, he’d played out every other scenario in his head as to how he could have done things differently. If he’d realised sooner what Lancelot was going to do, if he’d stopped him, stopped Agravaine, then Arthur and Gwen would have finally been married. After so many years, and so much heartache, they would finally have been together in permanent union, against all odds and rules.
“Find Elyan, will you?” Arthur asked Merlin, “He didn’t report to training this morning.” Merlin didn’t even quip about understanding why he might pass. His sister was gone; it was more than understandable that he might not fancy swinging a sword around for a couple of hours.
“Of course.” Arthur had started to act as if nothing had happened. Each of the knights had taken a turn to talk to him about Gwen but each had been knocked back or ignored more obviously than the last. Leon had gotten the furthest with him before being turned away. If possible, Gwaine had spent more time in the tavern, drowning his sorrows he’d said, but never in front of Arthur.
Finding the missing knight had been harder than Merlin had thought it would have been. He checked Gwen’s house, the obvious place he thought, and the old Smithy, but found him in neither. He widened his search to the tavern, where Gwaine was already starting for the day; he’d asked him but he hadn’t seen the other either.
Once he reached the castle walls again he headed back to Gaius’ chambers, he should really learn locating spells; it would help for all those socks Arthur kept losing, too. He knew the physician was out on his rounds and wouldn’t be there, so to be greeted with a presence was a shock.
The knight didn’t look up at him, just down at his hands. Merlin followed his gaze to find a bracelet, one he hadn’t seen before. “I found it in Gwen’s cell.” He admitted, “She was wearing the last few days. Since Lancelot returned.”
“A real engagement present from Arthur?” So the King had thought past two days of sweating men bashing each other about on horseback. It was a memory that Merlin wanted to cling onto now, one of the last happy moments he had before everything had started to fall apart.
Elyan shook his head; “She told me Lancelot gave it to her, I should have realised something was wrong then.” He fell silent before throwing the bracelet across the room, “Why would she do that? To Arthur, of all people?”
Merlin’s gaze was still on the bracelet, “Maybe she didn’t.”
“Something was wrong with Lancelot. He wasn’t acting like himself. He looked at me like he barely knew me at all. Like he’d forgotten everything about me, that we were friends once. People don’t just return from the dead.”
“What are you suggesting? Magic?”
“Maybe he wasn’t the only one under a spell.” He moved across the room to pick up the bracelet; it was beautiful but that did not stop it from being dangerous. “Maybe this had something to do with it.”
“I’ll help you.” For a moment Merlin was hesitant, Arthur wanted to see him, but in a mood like this neither of them would help the other and the sorcerer feared that Elyan might lash out, though usually of sombre temperament, under the circumstances he wouldn’t blame him.
Merlin pulled several books down from the shelves, ones he had experience with and included what might help them.
“We’ll get her back, Elyan, I promise.”
It took them hours of searching before Elyan called out for Merlin, brandishing a page of book he’d been reading. They had found no sign of the bracelet, but the old smithy had found an enchantment for jewellery that coincided with the situation; Reawakening one’s old emotions.
“That’s it. This is brilliant!” Merlin said, taking the book from Elyan and beaming.
“What about the bracelet? Without some conclusive evidence to back us up we’ll never convince Arthur of it.” Elyan said, which dampened Merlin’s mood. Of course the knight was right.
“I’ll think of something,” he reassured him and mentally planned his route out to his usual clearing.
“There’s just one thing I don’t understand; who would do this?”
“Morgana would.” He had no solid evidence, and sure there were probably others out to bring Arthur’s throne out from under him, but only one person knew how to play the Lancelot card and only one would sink so low as to go against her friends like that.
Merlin stood in the middle of the clearing and called for the Great Dragon. The creature came elegantly and quickly, landing as he usually did before him.
He was weary.
“What is it today, young warlock?” he asked him, seeming to sigh with his words.
“Morgana has enchanted Gwen. She made her fall back on her past emotions and Agravaine set Arthur up to see it. She brought Lancelot back from the dead. He was a shade. We’ve found the spell she used but we have no way of convincing Arthur.”
“The young king is hurting, no? But perhaps he is looking for an excuse to bring her back to him more than you think.”
“It’s not an excuse.”
“That it may not be, yet, to him, it will. He is looking for somewhere to place the blame, other than her. Present him with the evidence and he shall take it.” The Dragon told him, gracefully bowing his head.
“But I have no evidence towards the bracelet.”
“Then, young warlock, do what you do best, and lie.” The Dragon laughed and took to the skies. Merlin was left stood in the middle of the field, mouthing the Dragon’s last words to him.
“I’ve got it.” He ran back to the castle quicker than he had ever moved in his life.
Arthur, unlike Elyan, was easily found. He was sat in his usual chair looking towards his window, pensive. He’d heard every manner of chatter about him the last few days, ranging from scolding Guinevere to reprimanding him. Some spoke of how it was out of character for her to act that way, how she had clearly loved Arthur, others called her a whore. Even through his anger towards her, he did not feel the comment fair.
“Arthur?” Merlin pulled him from his thoughts. “I bring news.”
“What news?” the King asked, down beaten and monotonous.
“I don’t want to hear it, Merlin.” He looked away from him, back out of the window.
“Just hear me out. She was enchanted, so was Lancelot. Morgana, she used him to break you apart. Agravaine fed him information and things to aid their plan. He must have told Morgana you were engaged to be married. How else would she know?”
“Why should I believe you?”
“Because I saw it with my own eyes; moments before he led you to find them, he was talking to Lancelot.”
“And I’m grateful he did, else I’d have married her and been made a bigger fool.”
“I understand that you’re hurting, Arthur. But think about it, you know her, better than you know anyone else. You love her, I know you do. And she loves you. This wasn’t her. She would never hurt you like that. I know you feel betrayed, I know you feel like she broke your heart and you’ll never love again, but think about it, Arthur. Be rational, please. You have to believe me.”
“How can I? How can I trust that all this time my own uncle has been in league with my biggest enemy?”
“You once told me that I was the only person you could trust, so trust me now. Please.” Arthur gestures for him to keep talking, “We found this in Gwen’s cell. Nobody has been in there since, look, it matches completely.” Merlin showed him the page of the book, next to the spell was now a picture of a bracelet identical to the one in Merlin’s hand. “She would have been under its spell since she started to wear it.”
“I’ve never seen that bracelet before.”
“That’s because Lancelot gave it to her. And Morgana to him.” Merlin said, his tone pleading the King to believe him, yet the blonde looked concerned.
“You’re telling me Guinevere was enchanted?” He asked him, finally looking as if he may be considering the words as truth. The Dragon must have been wrong, if he was looking for reason for Gwen to be innocent, he was sure showing his compassion in an odd way.
“She had to have been. She loves you, she would never have done what she did was she in her right mind. It was Morgana.”
“How can you be sure?”
“I saw Lancelot, talking, talking to Agravaine. He spoke about her like he’d seen her, like she was the one in control. She wants your throne; she’d do anything to get it. And if you married Gwen that would make one more person in her way. And besides, if they really were acting behind your back then surely they would have done a better job than hiding in the council chambers? There are plenty of other rooms in the castle for them to hide. It was like they wanted you to find them, and your uncle led you right to them.”
Arthur looked at him for a second, and Merlin thought he saw a shred of understanding, or knowledge towards the situation. Surely even he could see through his anger and hurt that it made sense.
“Merlin, this is ludicrous.” Or not.
“I can’t prove it was her, I know that. But you have to trust me, Arthur, I know what I saw. I know who I saw. It wasn’t Lancelot, I know him, and he treated me like a stranger rather than a friend. It was a Shade of him. He wasn’t under his own control. Think about it. You know she’s powerful. You know she wants the throne. What’s to stop her from using those closest to you to bring you to your knees? She knows of your feelings for Gwen, she knows that she is probably your only weakness. Rip her out from underneath your feet and you get left legless. You need her and Morgana knows it. Trust me, Arthur. Let me show you.”
Despite looking like he was ready to accept Merlin’s words, Arthur shook his head. “I can’t.”
“Because what if you’re lying to me too?” he shouted, standing from the chair he hadn’t vacated for hours, “What if all of this is a lie? I thought Guinevere loved me and then she goes and does this. My father lied to me for so long. Morgana. Everybody I’ve ever had lieds to me. I thought, in Gwen, that I’d finally found somebody I could rely on. I loved her, with every fibre of my being and she threw it in my face.”
“Listen to yourself, Arthur, listen to your heart, you know that wasn’t her.” Merlin countered, his voice rising louder than appropriate when a servant was talking to his master, especially given that said master was the king of Camelot. “There is no one in this world who loved you more than she did. You gave up everything for each other. Both of you were so willing to give up your lives to be together. Why would she go back on that?” he asked him, imploring him to see sense. Arthur was usually rather receptive to words and reason unlike his father but this whole ordeal had sent him deep into a similar mind set of the late King before he had lost his mind, “She loved him once, but not anymore. And definitely not the man Morgana brought back from the dead. I know it wasn’t him. I know I can’t prove that to you, it would be so much easier if he was still alive. Morgana covered her tracks well this time.” He stopped his tangent before he gave himself away for being more involved in certain things that he appeared to be. He pushed the book towards his king once again and pointed to the spell, “ I know that you don’t want to believe me. But I know if you could turn back time you would. You need her.”
“No Merlin, I don’t. I don’t need anyone.”
“Stop trying to fool yourself, it’s not working. And it won’t work on me, I know you still love her.”
“Yes, Merlin, I do. Thank you for reminding me about the one person who I don’t ever want to think about again. We were to be married. After so long of waiting, two days ago should have been the happiest day of my life, but it was the worst. I loved her, and yes I might have forgiven her, but I’ll never forget. I’ll never trust her again; I’ll never be able to look at her again. Now get out.”
Merlin quickly left the room but left the book before him. He heard the item be thrown across the room and hit against the wooden door with a crash as he moved away. It was the first healthy sign of emotion that Arthur had shown in days. Now if he would move on his grief he could make the man see that all of this had been a rouse.
Merlin was pacing again. He was grateful that love wasn’t something that plagued him on a daily basis. He missed Freya but he couldn’t bring her back. He knew what it felt to lose somebody but his love for Freya didn’t have the chance to ever run as deep as Arthur’s love for Gwen. Every fibre of his being was drenched with her, everything about her.
“He has to see sense.” Merlin declared, stopping to sit down opposite his guardian. The physician had been of little help over the last few days. When Merlin had suggested the idea of sorcery and enchantment to him the first time he had suggested that maybe this time it was simply temptation that had gotten the better of both of them. It had escalated into an argument about Gwen’s honour and the shade that Lancelot was, if he wasn’t there to kill Arthur then he was there to take away the one thing from Arthur that drove him to be a better man. Merlin needed Gaius to understand that without Gwen, Albion would never be born.
“He’s still hurting. What she did-“
“It wasn’t her.” He interrupted. He was fed up of people doubting him, of doubting her. He wasn’t willing to admit anything other than what he knew was fact.
“What he saw her do, was unforgiveable.” Gaius said to him. Merlin wanted to shout at him. Gaius knew Gwen too; he knew that she was pure of heart, that she wasn’t the sort of person who would ever do what she did. For the second time in their lives, magic was to blame and an innocent girl was falling in its place; Merlin had allowed it to get the better of them before, he wasn’t about to let it happen again.
“I know it was, but he has forgiven her. He understands that, he knows that, and I think that’s what he doesn’t like, that he’s already forgiven her. He knows her, he knows that really it wasn’t her, she wasn’t in control of her actions.”
“Know that he might, Merlin, but this is a delicate matter. He won’t want to see her.”
“But he does, I can see it in his face. He misses her more than he’ll ever admit.” Though the wound is fresh, in the past few months the way Arthur had dealt with emotional situations was to turn to Gwen and now he couldn’t. She wasn’t there to turn to. Any other number of situations and he would have forgiven her and they would have moved past it, fractured for a time, yes, but on and up.
“Then you have to find proof, Merlin.”
“I had proof.” He sighed defeated. Everything he had tried to far had failed.
“You need a confession.” Gaius provided but once again Merlin’s mind was driven to his discarded idea of mind control.
“Because Morgana is just going to come along and tell Arthur she framed his betrothed, again.”
“Morgana, or…” Gaius hinted.
In a slow moment of recognition Merlin looked up at him, “Agravaine.” There was every temptation within him to mind control Agravaine into telling Arthur everything but then Arthur would accuse somebody else of sorcery and nothing would go to plan and his uncle would walk away unharmed and still innocent in the eyes of the king.
“Agravaine.” Gaius confirmed.
Then it hit him. Merlin knew what he had to do to get his friend back and set Albion back on course she greatness.
He took off, like he did whenever he’d had a sudden wave of an idea. He didn’t say anything more to the physician, but he knew what he had to do now, and he wouldn’t stop until he did.
When Merlin turned to Leon, he hadn’t expected to be greeted with open arms. Gwaine had agreed forthright, as had Elyan. Percival hadn’t taken much convincing it was only Leon that he felt would be some problem. Yet when he mentioned his feelings to the knight he agreed, “For some time I have suspected something might be wrong. When I thought there was a traitor within our midst, I suspected it may be him, especially when he pointed Arthur towards Gaius which was preposterous. Nothing with him adds up, so yes, I’ll help you. For Gwen. For Arthur.”
“For the future of Albion?” Merlin supplied with a small smile on his face. It would certainly make his fight more likely to be victorious if Leon was on his side. Loyal to Arthur though he was, Leon had grown up with Gwen and had known her longer than any of them, Elyan excluded.
“So what do we do?” he asked, the other knights gathered with them in the small room they had met in.
“We need Arthur to hear him admit that he was involved, somehow. His own admission that he’s a traitor.”
“And how do we do that?” Elyan piped up.
“I don’t know.”
“It wouldn’t be as simple as just asking, he’d never admit to it.” Leon stated.
Merlin nodded, Leon was right, a plan though it was, it was going to be difficult to execute without thorough planning. There was only one way that Arthur would ever believe the whole story, “We need to follow him to Morgana, take Arthur with us. Some sort of animal hunt. It’s the only way Arthur would come.”
“Animal hunt; saving a damsel in distress,” Gwaine offered.
“Maybe not the latter. Any sort of quest and he’s ours for the leading.”
“Just as long as he thinks he’s the one in charge, eh?”
“That will be the challenge.” Merlin concluded. If they wanted to lead Arthur after Agravanie it would be no use if they did not actually follow his trail. “Maybe we’re following bandits, or we say we have a hot trail for Morgana, we can finally bring her to her knees.” They each agreed to the idea.
They finalised parts of their plans, following Agravaine would be hard; they would need to act fast once he was gone. Gwaine suggested following him one night to wherever Morgana was so they could just take Arthur straight there once they knew Agravaine was there. It seemed like the best idea; they would take it in turns, pairs, to keep an eye on him.
They disbanded soon after, with Leon and Percival taking the first shift watching him.
“Do you know where she is?” Elyan asked him, loitering behind once the other knights had left.
“She’s with Mary and John. She’s going to move on to Ealdor, to stay with my mother.”
“So she’s safe?” Merlin nodded, “She’d be safer here. She belongs here. This is her home. Our home. She’s my sister, I owe her everything.”
“We’ll get her back. We’ll make it right.”
“There’s one thing I don’t understand,” Elyan said, “Why now? Morgana’s known about their relationship longer than I have, if she wanted to put a stop to it, why do it now?”
“She’s tried before. A couple of times.” Merlin admitted, though did not go into details, they still all believe it was the old man who had framed her and Arthur before, not Morgana.
“Why would anyone want to hurt Gwen?”
“Because she is one step between Morgana and the throne of Camelot.”
Merlin was glad to have the knights on his side, on Gwen’s side. They were loyal to Arthur, but they could see as clearly as he could that something was wrong. Arthur was clouded by the supposed betrayal, he was broken. That was the only way for Merlin to describe it. Other than attacking Lancelot, Merlin hadn’t witnessed Arthur lash out at anything else. He hadn’t bloodied his knuckles so it was unlike that he’d punched any walls and there was no evidence that he’d cried. He just sat there, stoic. He didn’t seem like Arthur, the rough, tough, fighting-the-world-until-it-returns-to-h
He knew there was only one person who could bring it back, and if Merlin could prove to the King that she hadn’t betrayed him knowingly then maybe it would come back, in time. The hurt, no matter how manufactured by false means, would take time to heal.
It wasn’t long until they had their chance to follow Agravaine to Morgana, that night he left the castle by dark and rode to a lesser trodden sector of the forest. So close yet so far that they would never have found her easily. With the route memorised, the knights quickly returned to Camelot.
Morgana smiled. The news Agravaine had brought her over the last few days was pleasing. Guinevere was gone. Arthur never likely to forgive her for what she’d done. His defences were down, “This is good news. Our poor King won’t know what hit him.”
“I fear Merlin might be onto us.”
“He makes it his business to know what is going on with everything. Chances are he’ll be no harm. And if he is, we’ll dispose of him. Him and all the knights. If we cannot get Arthur, we take his support. And once the rest of them are gone, Camelot will be mine.”
The market was brimming with people from all over trying to sell their wares. Among them was a fishmonger, a swords smith, a fabric merchant and a lost girl. A woman by all means these day. She wondered through the stalls, a look of familiarity on her face. She had always enjoyed the markets. She ran her fingers over the soft silks she could scarcely afford. Years ago now she would have been buying them for her mistress, to make her dresses that would dazzle even the furthest travelled princes.
Around her neck she had a cord, the top visible above the neckline of her travelling wear, but the pendant hanging beneath her clothes; a simple ring that she would cherish forever. It would always remind her of her greatest love that she had lost, never to see again.
She had done the worst possible thing to him.
She jumped as an older woman grabbed her arm, “Your fortune, dear?” she wore a strange array of clothes, thin materials layered a top each other. She had many beads dangled about her neck and spindly fingers that curled their way around Gwen’s thin arm.
“No, thank you,” she politely declined but the woman wouldn’t let go of her. The last time Gewn had seen a woman such as this, it had been Morgause in disguise, come to give word to Morgana. She had seen the woman’s true self in a mirror. Gwen looked around and sure enough being close to the material cart there was one. In it, she could see both her reflection and that of the woman.
She looked identical.
“You want to hear what I have to say, Guinevere of Camelot.”
“I haven’t any money to give you.”
“I don’t want your money, just a moment of your time.” What harm could it do, the woman knew her name, which was something that disturbed her slightly, but if they were not going further than the crowd she was safe enough.
“This was not your destiny, Guinevere.” The woman told her frankly, “and it will not be. You are to be Queen of Camelot.”
Gwen laughed for fear of crying, “I fear you are a few days too late.” For the last days all she had given thought to was the reasons why she had acted as she had. As pathetic as it was she could not even lay a finger on why she’d done what she’d done. She could barely remember even making the arrangements to meet with Lancelot. During the tourney she could remember feeling the whole thing wrong but couldn’t stop herself from being within his company. She was drawn to him in a way she had been yeas previously but hadn’t paid heed to in such a time. She had put it down to her relief that he was not dead. The guilt she had felt when they had come back from the quest to stop the veil ripping apart the world with news that Lancelot had given himself so Arthur would not had reduced her to tears for so long that she feared she would never stop crying. Arthur had understood then why she was upset and left her to grieve. Later that night she had gone to him, explained to him in greater detail why she felt the way she did and he’d held her within the safety of his arms until she cried no more.
“So I have heard. But the young Pendragon, he will forgive you. For there is one thing in this world greater than any magic and it will prevail. But not without your help, Guinevere.”
“He does not wish to marry me, he does not love me.”
“Nonsense, girl, if there is any love that will last longer than time itself, it is yours. You may not see it now, but this betrayal, his harsh words, they may have been his own but your actions, they were not.” For a moment Gwen frowned, she was suggesting that she had been enchanted, but how? “Dictated to you by a lady.”
“They were not.” She denied her.
“He is in danger, Guinevere,” the lady old her, tired of her disagreements. “That who wished you ill, plans to kill him. Only you can stop her from doing so.”
“I do not think so.”
“Morgana Pendragon is a troubled being. She knows nothing of love or of true power. Evil rules her heart, with your help, Emrys will defeat her.”
“Emrys?” Gwen questioned, certain it was a name she had heard before but quite why or where she couldn’t recall.
“He is the most powerful sorcerer the Five Kingdoms has ever known. The last of the Dragonlords. You know him well, he means to save you.” The older woman told her much to Gwen’s confusion. She knew no sorcerers. She knew Morgana once but she was not going to bring herself down.
“I know no Emrys.”
“I believe he goes by another name, but you must discover this for yourself, Guinevere. Trust in him and the world will be balanced once again. King Arthur and his Queen, Guinevere, daughter of a blacksmith and a maid. Only then can Albionbecome what it is destined to be.” She handed her a crystal, “It will help you find your way, dear.”
The woman left quicker than she had come, leaving Gwen in the midst of a crowd of people bartering for the same sheet of cloth. Gwen looked after the woman but could not see her. She raised the crystal in front of her face to look into it. She could see, so vividly, Arthur’s face, he was sitting blankly looking out of a window. She had done this to him. That was all the drive she needed to make it right. She needed to see him smile again.
The image in the crystal changed to Morgana and another, a man with black hair, Gwen couldn’t see his face but she was smirking at him, clearly pleased. She walked past the man and towards the crystal’s front, the man turned around. Gwen’s eye widened. She had never suspected he would be in league with Morgana, despite finding it hard to ever trust him completely. If he was on Morgana’s side then Arthur truly was in trouble, for she could bring him down from the inside.
For the first time since what had happened, Gwen thought about the possibility that she may not be wholly responsible for her actions.
END NOTE: Again I ask if you could keep spoilers and speculation to yourselves, I'm trying so hard to avoid it all!