Part 30: link
Two days later.
“You remember where?” Gwen asks Sir Leon. She ambushed him on his way in from the training grounds.
“Of course,” Leon smiles. “It’s an excellent idea, Gwen.”
“Thanks. Merlin says he will keep Arthur occupied for us.”
“No idea what he’s got up his sleeve,” she shrugs.
“Could be anything,” he laughs.
“How many men do you think you’ll need?”
He thinks. “Probably ten. Plus at least one large wagon and horses.”
She nods. “Tomorrow, then?”
“I’ll talk to the men.”
“Thank you, Leon,” she says, laying her hand on his arm. “Oh, and Leon?”
“Yes, my lady?”
“This is a surprise, so do impress on them to keep their mouths shut.”
He nods with a smile, and leaves to go join his men.
She turns, and almost bumps into Merlin. “Oh! Merlin, sorry!” she exclaims as he reaches his hand out, steadying her.
“Entirely my fault, Gwen,” he laughs.
“Heading in for lunch?” she asks.
“Actually, I’m going down to the archives to look for more books. I know there have to be more down there,” he says, pursing his lips thoughtfully.
“Perhaps I can get the keys to the vault from Arthur sometime. I’ll bet there are some things in there that you might find useful as well.”
“Don’t know if he’d allow that.”
She waves her hand dismissively. “He can come with us, then. We have nothing to hide.”
“Not anymore,” he smiles.
“Would you like some company?” she asks.
“Of course,” he says, offering his arm. She takes it and they walk inside together.
“So am I glowing today?” she asks, teasing him.
“A bit, yes,” he laughs, and she joins him.
They walk a bit further, and she decides to ask him something that’s been on her mind. “So Merlin, do you know of anyone else that has magic? Has anyone else come forward?”
“No, not yet. Some people may still be hiding, thinking it’s a trap of some sort,” he frowns. “Others may just be keeping to themselves. Who knows, they may be happy staying underground. And I’m sure a lot of people have left Camelot for other kingdoms.”
“That’s too bad.”
“Yes. But of course there may be people out there with magic who don’t realize it yet, too. Those are the ones I’m most interested in.”
They descend the stairs leading to the archives.
“Why is that?” Gwen asks.
“So I can help them. Help them use their gifts in a positive way. For the good of the people.”
“Do you… do you think that Arthur might eventually let me take on students? You know, an apprentice or something?”
“I think if you presented it that way, he would. That you want to instill the proper values of magic use in others; to ensure that it is wielded for good.”
Merlin nods, and they turn a corner. Suddenly a mouse scurries across the floor, and Gwen yelps in surprise, laughing.
“Silly thing. Startled me!” she laughs, watching it disappear under a crack in the wall. No. Not a wall. There’s a door there. I’ve never noticed that before.
“Gwen?” Merlin asks as she steps away from him, in the opposite direction of the archives.
She waves her hand behind her, dismissively, as she walks to the hidden door.
“What’s this?” Merlin asks, coming up behind her.
She reaches up and sweeps a dust-encased cobweb from the door, wincing at the cloud that it causes.
Merlin coughs, and she reaches down for the slightly rusted handle. She pulls.
“Is it locked?” Merlin peeks over her shoulder.
“There doesn’t appear to be a lock.”
“Here, let me try,” he says, reaching down. He pulls, and it groans, but still nothing. “Hmm,” he grumbles, then fixes the handle in his stare, flashing his eyes at it, and the door springs free.
“Thank you, Merlin,” Gwen says, walking in.
“Happy to be of assistance.”
“You’re just happy to be able to use your magic without fear,” she says over her shoulder at him, her brown eyes scanning the surprisingly large room.
He laughs, and walks to one wall while Gwen strolls slowly up the middle of the room.
Merlin pulls back a heavy red curtain, thick with dust.
Guinevere blinks as a bright shaft of sunlight intrudes on the room, surrounding her where she stands in the center.
“Oh…” she looks around, finding herself in the center of a perfectly circular sunbeam. She looks down, and under her feet she can make out a smaller circle. She steps back and sees the faint outline of the Pendragon crest etched into the stone floor.
“What is it, Gwen?”
“I need a broom.”
“Come here and look.”
Merlin steps over, and she points. He holds his hand down, his palm facing the floor, mutters a word, and the dust blows away. The dragon from the crest is there, plain as day.
“More,” she whispers.
“Step back,” he says, and she steps out of the sunbeam. Merlin repeats his action, using both hands this time, and clears the entire circle.
“That looks like…” he starts, stepping back to join her.
“This is where it goes.”
“Wow,” Merlin says, crouching down to study the carved floor.
“Oh!” Gwen exclaims, her hand to her stomach.
“What is it, Gwen?” Merlin stands, concerned. Baby is fine, what…?
“I felt him. A small flutter. When I looked down at the crest in the floor. It couldn’t be, though, could it? Surely it’s too early.”
“You’re glowing again,” he says, approaching her. “May I?” he holds his hand out towards her stomach.
“Of course,” she drops her hand.
Merlin gently places his palm on her stomach, and closes his eyes. Gwen watches, interested. She feels the same small flutter again, and a smile spreads across Merlin’s face.
He drops his hand and grins at Gwen. “He’s just happy. He… hmm. How do I say this without it sounding strange?”
“Just say it.”
“He knows you’re doing something special for Arthur. He can feel the love between the two of you, and he knows he is a product of that love. So, um, things like this make him happy.”
“Well, not consciously. He… senses it. Feels it. Here: close your eyes, and think about, oh, Elyan.”
“Okay,” she does, and a small smile crosses her face.
“Now…” he pauses trying to think of someone more neutral, “Geoffrey.”
“Okay,” the smile slips away, her face expressionless.
“Now, um, Morgana.”
She scowls furiously.
Her face brightens immediately, her pulse quickens, and she feels warm and secure. Beautiful. Safe. Loved.
She opens her eyes. “I understand.”
Guinevere feels Arthur stir beside her. She opens one eye, watching surreptitiously. He moves to get out of bed, so she grabs him, pulling him back in.
“Whoa!” he says, surprised. “I didn’t know you were awake.”
“I’m not,” she mutters, snuggling into him. “But I don’t want you to get up yet.”
“But…” he tries.
” he tries.
She scoots up higher, leaning over him, and kisses him softly, nibbling at his lower lip just a little.
“You don’t play fair,” he moans, pulling her lips back down to his, wrapping his arms around her.
“What are we going to do with Arthur in the morning, when the knights head out with the cart?” Merlin had asked. “He’ll see them leaving. I can’t keep him away
Gwen smiles. “I’ll make sure he stays in our chambers for most of the morning.”
“How are you…
Oh. Never mind.”
Arthur kisses a path down her neck, and Gwen knows her plan is a success. She leans over and lightly bites his ear before closing her lips around his earlobe, and his hand slides down to hold her backside, pulling her closer to him.
He rolls them over, so he is above her and captures her lips with his again as his hands travel the familiar contours of her delicious body. “You always feel so good,” he mutters between kisses, “so soft.”
She feels his hand skim along her ribcage, down to her hip, as if illustrating his point, and she runs her fingertips down his back. He shivers at the sensation, and she smiles against his lips.
A large clattering, crashing sound reaches their ears, from outside. The direction of the courtyard. Arthur lifts his head. “What the hell was that?”
Men. Give them one small task to do, and they somehow manage to turn it into a huge undertaking, a string of catastrophes in their wake.
“I’m sure it’s just a cart that knocked over in the courtyard. Probably a vendor with a wagon in need of too much repair already,” she says, spinning a half-truth. She caresses Arthur’s chest, trying to draw his attention away.
“Maybe I should go ch— oh!” Arthur starts to get up, but Gwen’s crafty hands have suddenly convinced him otherwise, silently compelling him to stay in the bed.
She pulls his head back down to hers with her free hand, kissing him hungrily, her tongue darting, caressing his, quite effectively making him forget about the ruckus outside.
“You need to finish what you’ve started,” she says quietly, her lips brushing his ear.
started?” he asks, eyebrows raising as he gazes down at her. “You were the one that wouldn’t let me out of the bed.”
“I don’t see you complaining,” she teases, bending her knee to rub her leg seductively against him, her small foot sliding on his calf, her inner thigh sliding against his hip.
Arthur groans and scoots lower to kiss her breasts, suckling, nibbling, as her hands move into his hair, fingers dancing on his scalp. He drags his tongue lightly down the center of her stomach, trailing liquid fire. His tongue dips briefly into her navel before he feathers kisses all over her stomach, smiling at the slight extra now present.
Lower still, he settles between her thighs, kissing the tender skin there before delving into her womanhood, his tongue touching, sliding, swirling. Gwen arches her back and grips the bedclothes in her fists, crying out softly at the contact.
Arthur’s tongue delves deep into her, thrusting inside, as his hands reach up for her breasts, palms grazing her nipples. She gasps his name and places her hands over his, squeezing them against her before running them up his arms, enjoying the feel of his muscled arms under her hands.
He flicks his tongue against her most sensitive point, and she grips his arms, digging her nails in. He gently kisses her moist folds a few more times, slowly, indulgently, then turns his head and lightly bites the skin of her inner thigh before crawling up over her, kissing a path back up to her lips, parted and waiting.
“Tease,” Gwen jokes just before his lips close over hers, her taste still on his tongue as it melds with hers.
“Oh really?” he purrs at her, dropping his hips forward and entering her, swiftly and easily
“Oh!” she cries out as he pulls back and thrusts forward again, his hand trailing at her thigh, pulling her leg around him.
Gwen reaches up and runs her hands from his chest around to his back, pulling him closer, craving the feel of him against her. She wraps her other leg around him as well, and he groans, dropping to his elbows over her, worming his hands under her shoulders.
“God, I love you.” A plaintive gasp, whispered against her neck as he moves over her, carrying her with him as his head spins, a spiraling freefall of heady sensation.
“Ar… I… oh…” Guinevere tries to return the sentiment, but the throes of her climax as it bursts forth from her prevent her from being able to form a complete thought. She pushes her head back into the pillows and clings to him, gasping and panting.
Arthur manages a smug smile watching his beautiful wife explode with passion, her bliss carrying him to his own release. He holds her close and kisses her deeply as he pushes deep inside, motionless save the pulsing of his manhood within her, surging into her.
He resumes breathing, exhaling into her neck before rolling over, pulling her with him. She snuggles onto his chest, content.
Gwen pads to the doors of their chamber and opens them a crack, peeking out just in time to see Haylan tucking a flower into Daisy’s hair while she blushes and looks coyly up at him.
Smiling, Gwen turns and goes back into the room and waits a few seconds for the inevitable knock.
It comes and Arthur bids them enter. He is dressed already, and Daisy, still slightly pink, hurries to assist Guinevere.
Haylan bustles about tidying up, gathering laundry, inquiring about breakfast, while Arthur looks over some parchments his new servant has brought in for him to read.
“Is the room ready?” Gwen asks Daisy behind the changing screen.
“Yes. Half the staff has been down there cleaning. Place should be sparkling in no time,” she says.
“Good, thank you.”
“Does he suspect anything?” Daisy whispers.
“I don’t think so. What was that clatter earlier?”
“The cart had a wheel that turned out to be in bad shape. It broke and they had to fix it,” she frowns.
“It was loud,” Gwen complains.
“Sorry, my lady.”
“Not your fault, but Arthur almost went to investigate,” Gwen laughs.
“I’m sure you were able to, um, distract him,” Daisy giggles.
“Daisy!” Gwen turns and grins at the girl, whose blush returns.
“It’s all right,” she laughs. “I like your flower, by the way,” she adds pointedly.
Daisy looks down and bites her lower lip.
“He is a handsome young man, Daisy, and you are a pretty and clever young woman.”
“You’re not angry?”
“Of course not. Just be careful.”
“Don’t let him push you around,” she smiles knowingly at her maid.
“Oh,” the girl’s face brightens, “I understand. And you’re all set, my lady.”
The two walk out from behind the screen, and Gwen walks to the table.
“What were the two of you gossiping about back there,” Arthur asks.
“Nothing that concerns you, my king. Girl talk” Gwen says dismissively.
“My lord, if there is nothing else, I’ll take these down to the laundry and return presently with your breakfast,” Haylan says, arms now laden with a basket.
“Very good,” Arthur waves his hand, not looking up from his parchment.
Daisy leaves and Haylan turns to follow her, but Gwen stops him, her hand on his arm.
“Haylan,” Gwen says softly, “while I do not disapprove of your attentions toward my handmaiden, your intentions are
Arthur peeks up at her over his parchment, observing his wife. Her eyebrows are just slightly raised, and he’s heard that tone before, but not from her. Where? Caerleon. The question that is not really a question. Annis would be proud, indeed.
He smiles to himself and returns his attention to his reading.
“Y-yes, my lady,” Haylan says, taken aback at this different side of the queen, “of course. My mother raised me right, I promise you.” That look even looks like the one Mum gives me when she’s not pleased.
“Of course she did,” Gwen says, patting his arm and releasing him. He practically sprints from the room.
Haylan returns with breakfast, and Gwen and Arthur have just started to tuck in when Merlin strolls in, sitting down opposite Gwen.
“Good morning, Merlin,” she says.
“Morning? It’s nearly noon,” Merlin laughs.
was fully prepared to get up and start the day much earlier, but Guinevere
— ow!” his words are cut off when Gwen kicks him under the table.
Merlin laughs again and reaches across to snag a sausage from Gwen’s plate.
“Merlin!” Arthur scolds.
“What? She’s not going to eat them all,” he defends himself, taking a bite of the sausage.
Gwen laughs, and hands Merlin a hunk of cheese as well. “Thank you,” he nods to her.
Arthur looks up, toward the window. “Quiet today. Where is everyone?”
“Some of the knights are practicing,” Merlin says, striving to be as vague as possible. “No council meeting today, so the lords are probably going about their own business, whatever that may be. Oh, and Sir Leon and some of the lads went out on patrol into the woods. Just another round of searches,” he says casually.
“Which lads?” Arthur asks, taking a drink.
“Um, Gwaine, Elyan, Percival. All your favorites are gone.”
“I do not have any favorites!” Arthur protests.
“Yes, you do,” Merlin and Gwen chorus in reply.
“I—” Arthur starts to argue, but gives up. No point.
“They took Drake and the twins with them as well,” Merlin adds.
“So who’s overseeing the training?”
“No training. Some of them are practicing on their own. I did spot Sir Kay wandering among them, though.”
“Hmm. Maybe I should…”
“Um, Arthur?” Merlin interrupts.
“You remember what I said before, about the dragon?”
“The part about him wanting to meet you.” Merlin’s eyes dart briefly to Gwen, who is finishing her breakfast as if nothing were unusual. She’s really good at this.
Merlin nods. “Yes. Today would be a good day to meet the dragon.”
Arthur looks at Gwen, and she says, “I think that’s a good idea.”
“You’ll come?” he asks her.
“No,” she says. “I’ll be staying here.”
“Arthur, the dragon wants to meet you.
He will meet Gwen another time,” Merlin says.
“Yes, Arthur, he’s right. This isn’t my meeting.”
“But I want you to come,” he says, taking her hand.
she realizes. “Love, it’ll be fine,” she says quietly, kissing his fingers. “Merlin won’t let him torch you,” she smiles, teasing.
“I’m not afraid,” he says defensively. She just raises an eyebrow at him.
“Of course not.”
Part 32: link