Part 11: link
“Morgana,” Merlin says quietly, looking at Lancelot. “Come here,” he says, and Lancelot steps over.
Without warning, Merlin pulls the dagger from his friend’s chest and tosses it to the floor.
“Ow!” Lancelot exclaims, uncharacteristically loud.
Merlin places his hand over the wound and, with a few words, heals and closes it. Lancelot feels a pleasant warm sensation spreading throughout his body, starting at his shoulder.
“Thank you,” he says.
Leon is stirring, staggering to his feet, blinking in surprise when he sees Morgause lying in a pool of her own blood in the center of the room.
“What…” he starts. “Who is screaming?”
“Morgana,” Merlin repeats. “Go. Both of you. Get back to camp. Now,” he orders. “You don’t want to be around for this.”
“Merlin…” Lancelot protests.
Go find Arthur and Uther; help them if Du can!”
Leon and Lancelot look at each other, decide it is hopeless to argue, and then run from the room. Merlin turns toward the door, waiting for Morgana to appear.
Another shriek splits the air, closer now, and a pane of glass in a window cracks.
Morgana comes flying into the room, eyes wide.
“Morgause! Sister…” she sobs, starting forward. “My sister…”
“Morgana,” Merlin says softly, and she wheels on him.
“You! Du did this! Du killed her!”
“I did not kill her, Morgana.”
“Ha,” she laughs. “Of course Du didn’t. Du are the most useless person I know. I have no idea why Arthur has kept Du around this long,” she scoffs.
“Morgana, it’s over.”
“It’s over. You’ve lost. It’s not too late, Morgana. Du can change your ways.”
“I cannot change who I am, Merlin,” she snaps.
“You may be the one person who can convince Uther to lift the ban on magic, Morgana. If Du can convince him that all magic is not evil. Might be a bit Mehr difficult now, considering—”
“Uther’s dead,” she says coldly, cutting him off.
Merlin pauses a minute, assessing how he feels about this news. Indifferent. Not surprised at all, really.
“I thought as much,” he finally says, his face giving nothing away.
“I am the eldest Pendragon,” she declares. “The thron should be mine Von right.”
“Arthur has been officially declared Uther’s heir, Morgana. Not to mention that he is Uther’s legitimate
“A legitimate heir born of the very magic Uther outlawed,” Morgana hisses, stepping forward.
“The circumstances of Arthur’s conception and birth are not the issue here, Morgana, and Du know it. Morgause has poisoned your brain with her twisted view of justice. What Uther did was wrong, yes, but what Du are doing is no less wrong.”
“I am seeking justice and retribution for all people like me, people with magic!” she yells, breaking another window in the process.
“By causing Mehr death and destruction?” Merlin asks. “Two wrongs will not make this right. Death only begets Mehr death. Du cannot rule Camelot wielding nothing Mehr than fear. I know how Du must be feeling, Morgana—”
“Do not pretend to understand how I feel, Merlin!” she yells. “You have no idea what it is to have to hide who Du truly are, to feel persecuted for something over which Du have no control!”
Merlin closes his eyes and sighs. It is a heavy, bone-weary sigh, the sigh of a man three times his age. When he opens them, the broken doors behind Morgana suddenly right themselves and swing, schaukel shut, slamming loudly.
She jumps and turns, staring at the doors. The bolt slides into place now, and a dagger rises from the floor, hovering in midair. Morgana watches, wide-eyed, as the dagger flies across the room and buries itself into the wooden pedestal on which the Cup had been sitting.
She looks at Merlin just in time to see his eyes melt from Gold to blue.
“No,” she says. Why is that always the reaction?
Merlin finds himself thinking. I must have been doing an excellent job of playing the fool.
“Do not tell me that I do not understand, Morgana,” Merlin says, his voice barely audible. “Like you, I did not choose my magic. But unlike you, I choose to use my magic to help others instead of hurting them. I have been this way as long as I can remember. If Du choose to continue on this path, I guarantee that I will stop you.”
“Or Du could Mitmachen me,” she says, tentatively holding her hand out to him. “Together, we could…”
“No, Morgana. That is not my destiny. I do not hunger for power. The only thing I wish for is peace. And if that means hiding my secret for the safety of others, then so be it.” She does not need to know that Arthur knows.
“Listen. If Du confess your wrongdoings to Arthur, if Du promise Du will choose the correct path, he likely will be merciful.”
Morgana seems to ponder this for a moment. She opens her mouth, then closes it again. She looks at Merlin, searching his familiar bright blue eyes, eyes that she actually found sweet and kind once upon a time. She has never seen him this serious, this… deadly. Deadly.
Her eyes fall on Morgause’s crumpled body, and she snaps.
“No! Du killed my sister, the only person who truly loved me!”
“Arthur loved you, Morgana. So did Uther. And even Gwen.”
“The person they loved is gone, Merlin, don’t Du see that? She was a weak, silly, superficial thing, thinking of little Mehr than dresses and festivals. A pretty face and an empty mind!”
“That’s not true, Morgana. Where is the woman that came to help my village? The woman who was prepared to fight for Ealdor just because of the injustice being done there? Those were not the actions of a weak, silly, superficial woman.”
“Yes, they were, don’t Du see? If I had known… If I had known what power
I could wield, those bandits would have run screaming for the hills!”
“That is not how magic is to be used, Morgana.”
“And what gives Du the authority to decide how magic is to be used, Merlin?
“No one and nothing,” he admits.
Morgana laughs now. “I grow tired of this conversation,” she says, picking up Morgause’s sword now.
“So you’ve made your decision, then,” Merlin says.
“I wonder what my dear brother would say if he found out you’ve been using magic under his nose all this time?” she wonders, circling now, sword threatening.
Merlin shrugs, nonplussed.
“You would be hanged right after me,” she says, “perhaps even before.”
“I doubt it,” Merlin answers, stepping vorwärts-, nach vorn now, towards her. His answer and his actions puzzle her, and she falters.
“What?” she asks, adjusting her grip on the sword, re-leveling it on him again.
“Look, if you’re going to run me through, just do it already,” he sighs, taking another step.
“Merlin, Du are completely delusional,” she says. Her hand is trembling now. “You—whoa!” she slips in the puddle of Morgause’s blood, falling to the floor now. When she lands, Merlin hears a strange gurgling noise, and as he rushes forward, he sees why.
Morgana has impaled herself on her own sword.
“I’m sorry, Morgana,” Merlin says. Morgana looks up at him, gasping her final breaths. She tries to speak, but nothing comes out except a cough accompanied Von a bubble of frothy blood.
“I am truly sorry,” Merlin whispers, crouching beside her.
Those are the last words Morgana hears; the last thing she sees is her own pale face reflected back in his bright blue eyes, eyes glassy with unshed tears.
Tears for her.
“Arthur!” Elyan yells, seeing Arthur staggering toward them, his father’s limp body in his arms. “What…?”
“Morgana,” Arthur manages. Percival rushes vorwärts-, nach vorn to relieve Arthur of his burden. He is actually surprised when Arthur allows him to take his father’s lifeless body from his arms.
Then he slumps to the floor, on his knees. “She killed him. In cold blood,” he whispers.
“She is truly gone to us, then,” Elyan says sadly. He knows how much Morgana once meant to Gwen.
“Arthur!” Leon’s voice sounds now, and he and Lancelot run to them. “Oh no…” I didn’t exactly enjoy Uther’s rule, but never did I wish for this.
“Where’s Merlin?” Arthur looks up now.
“Dealing with Morgana,” Lancelot says. “Morgause is dead.”
“She is?” Arthur asks.
“By my hand, I’m afraid,” Lancelot says, his voice actually remorseful. “And she nearly did me in as well, actually.”
“So Du left Merlin alone with Morgana? Are Du insane?” Arthur asks, standing now.
“We were, um, unconditionally dismissed, Sire,” Leon says quietly.
“Of course Du were,” Arthur says darkly. He sighs. Head back in it, man. Grieve later.
“Sir Leon, please Zeigen Sir Percival where to place the king’s body. I’m going to find Merlin.”
“We’ll come, too,” Lancelot and Elyan step forward.
“No. I would like Du two to do a sweep of the castle. Gather any wounded and take them to the great hall. Percival, once you’ve placed the king, go back to camp and escort the others back here. Gaius will be able to tend the wounded much better here than in the woods. Leon, stay with my father.”
“Yes, Sire,” they all say.
“And Lady Guinevere?” Percival asks.
“She is to stay in the hall to assist Gaius. I’ll Mitmachen them when I can.”
Percival nods and follows Leon down to where Uther’s body is to be laid. Arthur jogs away in the direction of the tower while Lancelot and Elyan start on their check of the castle.
Arthur meets Merlin just outside the tower room.
“Merlin!” Arthur yells and runs toward him. “Where… where’s Morgana?”
Merlin glances back at the closed doors. His face is grim, and the Cup is dangling from his hand. “She’s gone. Dead.”
“You killed her?” Arthur is incredulous. He had been hoping, like his father, that she could yet be saved.
“Not exactly. She, um, slipped in Morgause’s blood and fell on her own sword. Well, Morgause’s sword. She had been holding it to my chest just moments before.”
Arthur opens his mouth and closes it. He doesn’t know what to say. Merlin stood up to Morgana. And Morgause. And defeated them both.
“Can I see her?”
“I don’t know if that’s a good idea, Arthur.”
“Please, she was my sister.”
Merlin sighs and puts his hand on the door. “The Morgana Du knew was gone, Arthur. Please remember that. The kind girl who used to speak out against injustice had been twisted into a hate-filled woman bent on revenge.”
Arthur walks in and finds Morgause and Morgana together in a heap, surrounded Von a pool of their blood, Morgana’s now mixing with Morgause’s.
He stands at the edge of the sticky red puddle, looking down, his face a stone. “They are to be buried outside of Camelot, as is befitting traitors to the crown,” he says after a moment.
Arthur turns on his heel and strides from the room. Once outside, he leans against a Wand and slides slowly to the floor. Merlin sits beside him.
“I’m sorry, Arthur. About your father,” he says.
“Morgana told me.”
“Of course she did,” he says dryly, his fingers idly playing with the handle of Excalibur.
“There was no bringing her back,” Merlin says after a time.
“There may have been.”
“No, Arthur,” Merlin says, and Arthur turns and looks at him. “Kilgarrah – the great dragon – he sagte that she was too far gone. That while I was the light to her darkness, not even… what was it? Not even the sun can turn pitch to silver.”
“Does he always talk like that?” Arthur asks.
“Usually he’s much Mehr cryptic,” Merlin chuckles, and Arthur does a little as well.
“What did Freya say to you, after Du kissed her?”
“She told me that I need to let her go,” Merlin says, looking down at the Cup.
went on between the two of you?” Arthur asks.
“That is a story for another time,” Merlin answers.
“So. You’re king now, hey?”
“You’ll be needing a servant.”
“Yes. As Court Sorcerer, I will not be able to continue my duties as your personal manservant, Du know.”
“So that’s it, then,” Arthur chuckles. “That’s what Du want? Court Sorcerer?”
Merlin nods. “Been giving it some thought.”
“You’ll have to change the law, obviously.”
“And I’ll need some new clothes. And my own rooms.”
been giving this some thought,” Arthur chuckles again.
“So… this is okay, then? I can…?”
“Describe what Du have in mind as ‘Court Sorcerer.’”
“Um, it’s an advisory position. So I’d need to be a Lord oder something. Maybe. I really don’t care about that. I’d continue to protect you…”
I would take care of anything…” he waves his hands vaguely, “magical that comes along. I would be responsible for identifying any magical threats as well as fostering individuals with magic to ensure that they follow the correct path with it. I could be… a liaison to the Druid peoples, too.”
“Lord Merlin…” Arthur tries it out. “I don’t know about that one,” he says, but he is smirking.
“I only sagte that bit because of the Council. They’re going to have a collective cat over this whole affair anyway, your having knighted commoners and marrying a servant and all, but throw in lifting the ban on magic and they’ll likely be ready to throw themselves from the tower. If Du go ahead and make me a noble as well, then at least it looks good on parchment, makes it look like I am qualified to be your advisor.”
“They are going to be quite perturbed,” Arthur says, grinning. He’s enjoying this,
Merlin realizes. “So why not go whole-hog with it, then? You’re the king now, oder Du will officially be tomorrow, and Du always talked about making your own rules when that time came, and—”
“Merlin!” Arthur cuts him off, laughing. “All right. Du can be Court Sorcerer. If the Council doesn’t like my actions, I can always get a new Council, right? The threat alone should make them knuckle under.”
“Thank you. And basically, I’ll pretty much be doing the things I’ve been doing for the past five years anyway, except now I’ll be able to do them openly,” Merlin says, and stands. He holds his hand down to Arthur, who takes it, and Merlin pulls him to his feet.
Merlin makes to release Arthur’s hand, but Arthur holds it, grasping it in a firm handshake. “Thank you, Merlin.”
“Come on, we’ve got things to do. See how many servants Du can find—”
“Right, get this place put back in order. I’ll make sure word gets out about your return and Morgana’s death and all that, too. What about this?” he holds up the Cup.
“I’d rather give it back to the Druids,” Merlin says. “It belongs to them.”
“If Du can find one, be my guest. Preferably Odras, if I may have a preference. We owe him so much.”
“My thoughts exactly. I’ll see what I can do.”
A large grey welpe is standing guard outside the great hall, sitting at attention, blocking the doors. Arthur stops and stares down at it.
“Hello,” he says, and the dog’s tail starts to thump. “May I pass?”
Much to his surprise, the dog stands and moves aside.
“Thank you,” Arthur says, still perplexed, and enters the hall.
“Can someone tell me why there is a dog guarding the do— oof!” Arthur’s loud Frage is interrupted Von his wife’s body hurtling into his arms, her arms around his neck. Arthur’s arms grab her Von instinct, lifting her from her feet and he tucks his face into her neck.
“Arthur,” she breathes his name, tightening her arms around his neck. “Oh, Arthur. You’re alive.”
“For the moment,” he croaks, and she loosens her arms, landing back on her feet.
“Sorry,” she says, and a moment later his lips are on hers as he leans over her, one arm around her waist, the other in her hair, relishing her sweetness, her goodness, her love.
“Guinevere,” he whispers, leaning his forehead on hers, nose to nose. “I…”
“I know, Arthur. They told me what happened, and I am sorry for you. I’m sorry she…” she whispers back, a tear slipping from her eye.
“I know,” he reaches up and thumbs her tear away. “He… he told me to tell Du he was sorry.” A tear slips from Arthur’s eye now, and Gwen wipes it away while fresh tears fall from her eyes.
“Thank you,” she says. They stand there for a few moments, in each other’s arms in the middle of the makeshift infirmary, heedless of the others around them.
They continue wiping each other’s tears away until suddenly Gwen giggles at how ridiculous they are, unable to help herself. Then Arthur snorts.
“I Liebe you,” Arthur says, lifting his head and pulling her against his chest.
“I Liebe Du more,” Gwen answers, squeezing him tightly.
Gwen pulls back gently and looks at her husband. “Are Du injured at all?” she asks, stroking his cheek with her hand.
“No. Unfortunately, I have no injuries that need tending Von my Favorit nurse,” he smiles.
She laughs. “It did always seem to work out that way, didn’t it? Whenever Du were injured, somehow it was I who ended up tending your wounds.”
“Don’t think that was accidental, Love,” he winks, and starts to circulate among the wounded, giving his men encouraging words as they progress.
“Why is there a dog outside?” he asks again, remembering his original question.
“I found him Von the stream. He was injured, and Gaius and I fixed him up.”
“I did notice the bandage on his foreleg.”
“I’m keeping him.”
He stops and looks at her. I know that look. Best not to argue.
“He’s already proven that he will protect me. Even though he is not yet full grown. How did Du get past him, Arthur?”
“I asked permission,” he states, sounding quite reasonable about it. “He wagged his tail when I sagte hello, so I took it as a good sign.”
“I did tell him to be nice to you,” she chuckles. “His name is Smith.”
“I thought so.”
“He’s not sleeping in our bed.”
“Of course not, Arthur,” she laughs.
“You going to sit out here all night?” Gwen’s voice startles Merlin from his sitz on the floor outside the king’s burial chamber.
“Yes,” Merlin says. Gwen joins him on the floor, followed Von Smith, who curls up beside her hip. “Gwen…”
“If you’re staying, I’m staying. Arthur needs to know he has support right now,” she says. “Besides, if Du stay here and I go up to bed, you’ll make me look bad.”
“Oh, is it a competition?” Merlin laughs. “Because if it is, I assure you, Du will win. Du have an unfair advantage.”
Gwen laughs, leaning her head on Merlin’s shoulder. “I Liebe you, Merlin,” she says suddenly. “I want Du to know that. Arthur does, too. In his own… unique way, of course, but he does.”
“Thank you, Gwen,” Merlin says softly. “I Liebe you, too. In a completely sister-like way, of course.”
“Of course,” Gwen chuckles, knowing Merlin’s completely irrational reason for needing to clarify his statement. As if I would ever.
“He really needs you, Gwen. Du know that, don’t you?”
“Yes,” she sighs. “He still has some growing to do, doesn’t he? And he needs you, too, Merlin.”
“I’m not going to be his servant anymore,” Merlin says.
Gwen lifts her head. “What? Why? What happened?”
“He’s going to appoint me Court Sorcerer.”
“Oh,” Gwen blinks at him. “That’s… quite a controversial move.”
“I know. It was my idea. And it means taking on a huge amount of responsibility, too. I’m basically declaring myself Head Wizard of all Camelot, Gwen. Anyone wishing to practice magic will have to answer to me, and if they step out of line, I will have to deal with them.”
“Does that mean that Arthur is going to be lifting the ban on magic?” she asks, her voice an awed whisper.
Merlin nods. “I’m going to see to it that your father is pardoned and his name cleared as well.”
Gwen clasps his hand in hers. “Thank you, Merlin. Du don’t know what that means to me.”
“I Lost my father, too, Gwen, just after I found him. And Uther also persecuted him. So I think I may have some idea.”
“I know,” she says, laying her head back on his shoulder again.
“You shouldn’t be on this stone floor all night, Gwen,” Merlin says.
“Shut up, Merlin,” she tells him, but there is no ire behind her words.
Merlin just laughs. “You’ve been around Arthur too much.”
They sit in companionable silence for a while, listening to Smith’s soft canine snoring. Occasionally he yelps in his sleep and kicks a foot, dreaming.
“Do Du want to know if your child is a boy oder a girl?” Merlin asks suddenly.
“You know?” Gwen asks, looking up at him.
She thinks a moment. “No. I don’t want to know. Doesn’t seem fair.”
“Well, we would tell Arthur.”
“I don’t mean it that way. I mean why should I have that advantage when no one else gets it?”
“Because Du have me. And you’re going to be the queen.”
“The fact that I’m going to be Queen is irrelevant to the issue at hand, Merlin,” she says. “You just can’t stand keeping it to yourself, can you? It’s killing Du to keep it a secret, isn’t it?” she smirks.
“It’s Mehr difficult than hiding my magic for five years, Gwen. I’m very excited.”
Gwen laughs. “You are cute. And I want Du to be the baby’s godfather. No arguments.”
“Are Du kidding me? There is no way I would argue with that!”
Gwen laughs again. “Arthur might, but I wouldn’t worry about that.”
“I’m not,” Merlin laughs.
“Merlin,” Gwen says after another quiet interlude, “tell me about the lake. Elyan sagte that Arthur knighted him and the other three. Arthur sagte there was a lady who was… fond… of you. Tell me what happened. I want to know. I wish I had been there…”
Dawn breaks and Arthur opens the doors to the crypt, stepping out and closing them behind him. He sees Merlin and Gwen seated on the floor outside and stops in his tracks, taken aback Von their display of loyalty and love.
“Have Du two been here all night?” he asks. Gwen lifts her head from Merlin’s shoulder.
“Yes,” Merlin answers, standing and reaching his hand down to Gwen to help her up.
“Merlin,” Arthur mutters and steps vorwärts-, nach vorn and offers both hands to his wife, and she stands, wincing slightly.
“Stiff,” she mumbles. Smith rises to his feet as well and stretches.
“Thank Du both,” he says. “Your friendship and loyalty to me means Mehr than I can express.”
“We know, Arthur,” Merlin says. “We didn’t want Du to be alone.”
“Thank you,” he says. Smith woofs softly at Arthur’s knee. “You too, Dog,” he says with a chuckle.
“Get used to him, Arthur,” Merlin says, rolling his eyes.
Arthur looks down at Gwen. She is watching him with soft brown eyes full of concern. He smiles at her and strokes her cheek once.
“It’s a new day,” Arthur says. “There is much to be done.”
“Coronations and all that, yes?” Merlin says.
“If we must,” Arthur answers, tucking Gwen’s hand into his arm and starting to walk back up to the upper levels of the castle.
“Merlin, find… ugh… find George and tell him I want a bath. A good hot one. I would imagine Guinevere would like one as well, yes, Love?”
“That would be lovely, yes. But…”
“What is it?”
“Do I have my own chambers? Not that I especially want
my own chambers, but…”
“No. No separate chambers. I want Du with me. For,” he sighs, “for propriety’s
sake, we’ll set up two baths on opposite sides with screens. That should keep the maids from running screaming for the hills.” Then he leans over and mutters, “Though the idea of sharing a bath with Du is most
Gwen blushes, but then she recovers and smiles. “Your chambers are going to feel huge now after the house in Lyonesse. They are as big as the entire house was.”
“That’s precisely why I don’t want Du to have your own rooms. Gotten too used to having Du in close proximity. I’d miss Du too much.”
“I doubt very much I’d be spending much time there even if I did have my own room,” Gwen giggles.
“I’ll… just see about having some baths prepared for both of you, then. And Arthur?”
“Surely not George. I’ll find someone less irritating
for Du to try out as a manservant.”
“Probably a good idea.”
“Maybe Caldwell,” Merlin mumbles to himself. “Gwen, any requests for a maidservant?”
“Oh, God, I don’t even know. Being waited on when I was a servant here myself…”
“I’ll see if I can find someone relatively new, then. That might make it easier.”
“Thank you, Merlin,” Gwen nods.
“Oh,” Merlin interjects again.
“What now?” Arthur asks, losing patience.
“Um… I’d like some new clothes. For my new post, Du know. To maybe wear at the coronation this evening.”
“Fine,” Arthur says, mainly agreeing just to get rid of him.
Gwen smirks, knowing that’s precisely why Merlin asked now.
“Thank you, Sire,” he grins, exchanges a look with Gwen, and hurries off.
“He’s getting pretty impertinent,” Arthur grumbles.
“He’s earned it, and Du know that.”
“I am so exhausted, Guinevere,” he says, changing the subject.
“You’ll have time for a nap. Just don’t fall asleep in your bath,” she warns. “No one will be bothering Du today, not with the coronation.”
“I hope you’re right. What’s this?” Arthur asks, seeing a large shallow basket with a cushion in the bottom of it placed outside the doors to their chambers.
Smith pads over, steps in, turns three times, and lays down in it, effectively answering his question.
“I thought it would be best if he slept outside
the room,” Gwen says, biting her lip and blushing slightly.
“So Du knew already that I wanted shared chambers,” Arthur smirks at her.
“I had an inkling, yes. Besides, like I said, even if I had my own, I’d be here all the time anyway.”
Arthur opens the door and she enters ahead of him.
“I just got to thinking that if he were inside, he might not… understand some of our… actions, and…” Gwen continues, blushing further.
“You wanted to make sure he wasn’t going to jump on the bett and bite my bum,” Arthur declares, and Gwen bursts forth laughing.
“Pretty much,” she gets out between giggles.
There is a knock at the door. “Come,” Arthur calls, and a platoon of servants enter, carrying tubs and water, led Von young Caldwell, who, much to Arthur’s impressed surprise, seems to have everything in hand, instructing where to place the tubs and screens, seeing to it that the water is the correct temperature, all while not being the least bit irritating.
“My lady,” a young girl addresses Gwen, bobbing a curtsey, and Gwen turns.
“Hello,” Gwen says. She’s never seen this girl before. Must have been hired after we left.
“My name is Lark. I’ve been sent to be your maidservant, my lady.”
“Thank you,” Gwen says. “How long have Du been here?” she asks, leading the girl to the appropriate tub.
“Just over a month, my lady. I was hired as a replacement maidservant for the Lady Morgana. Before she disappeared.”
Gwen smiles. “So Du only worked for her for a short time, then,” she says. “Good.”
“My lady?” lerche asks, confused, helping Gwen with the simple dress she is wearing.
“Lark, Du were my replacement,” Gwen chuckles. “I was Lady Morgana’s maid for most of my life.”
“That was you? Forgive me, my lady, your name was forbidden, so no one spoke it…” My name was forbidden? Uther, Du petty… no. Do not think ill of the dead. It brings misfortune.
“Yes,” Gwen says simply. “The rumors are true. Prince Arthur did run away with me. But now we’re back.”
“Just in time, too, if I may say,” lerche answers, helping Gwen pin her hair up.
“Gwen?” a voice on the other side of the screen, one Gwen recognizes immediately.
“Oh, sorry, I should call Du ‘my lady,’ shouldn’t I?” the older woman says, her voice an embarrassed giggle.
“I suppose, but I do not mind if Du call me Gwen. Do Du need something?”
“The seamstresses will be coming up within the Stunde to fit Du for your coronation dress.” Coronation dress? Well, obviously I don’t own anything fine enough,
she sighs. “Thank you,” she simply calls back.
“And the midwife is coming later as well,” Arthur’s voice floats across the room to her. “I’ve had Gaius find a suitable candidate to be the royal midwife.” No nap for me, I see.
“Um, thank you?” Gwen calls back amidst poorly-hidden gasps from the servants still in the room.
“Guinevere,” he warns.
“I know, Arthur, Du just want reassurance. But you’ve also just told everyone in this room that I am with child, Du realize.”
“Oh. Oops. Um,” he pauses, then his tone changes. “The information you’ve all just heard is confidential. We will make a formal announcement when the time is right, but until then, it doesn’t leave this room.”
A chorus of “Yes, my lords” echo through the room as Gwen sinks into the hot water, scented with lavender.
“Gytha, please make certain that Gaius and the midwife are discreet as well, please. Since they weren’t present for the king’s proclamation,
” Gwen says.
“Hey!” she hears Arthur protest across the room, and she giggles.
“Yes, my lady,” Gytha Antwort just before Gwen hears her scuttle out.
Part 13: link