Welcome to yet another King Arthur fanfiction of mine! This idea struck me one night when I was lying on my bed, and I thought it's an original plot, so here's the story: The Traitor.
Full Summary: She is a Briton. She has betrayed hundreds of lives to live one of a traitor's since the day she lost those dearest to her. She is the Saxon army's spy and scout, a reluctant betrayer of her people, but a traitor nonetheless. When she is captured by the Knights of the Round Table, will she be able to learn how to trust and be trusted again? Or has she gone too far to turn back?
This story won't be too long, maybe only ten something chapters. But I hope you'll enjoy it nonetheless! Reviews and constructive criticism are always welcome.
Chapter 1: The Beginning of the Betrayal
November, 451 A.D.; Northern Britain
"Catch me, George! Catch me!" shrieked Francesca, the third child of the Langridge family. Her silky blonde hair billowed behind her as she dashed into the caves, her voice echoing in the hollow area.
"Catch me too, George!" bellowed Neville cheekily, following his twin into the caves.
"I'm coming!" yelled George, the second eldest in the family. He was thirteen years old and was growing to be a fine young man, with handsome features from his father, Stratford. His brown eyes were shining with amusement as he crept into the cave, hoping to surprise his siblings who were three years younger than him.
Abigail turned her attention from her running siblings and smiled at Dolores, the baby of the family. She was only three years old, but she was solemn little thing.
"Look," she held up a little hand which was clutching a big seashell.
"Oh, a seashell," cooed Abigail tenderly. "Where did you find it?"
Dolores pointed to where their parents were working. "Mama gived it to me."
"Gave, silly," smiled the older sister, standing up from the rock she was sitting on. "Shall we go and find some more shells?"
Dolores nodded seriously and took her hand. "There are many shells in the water."
Stratford and Helen were collecting stones by the water for building a fireplace. Winter was coming, and they looked forward to the warm, cozy moments in store for them, when they crowded around the would-be fireplace in their little cottage, sharing meat pies and stories.
"Dolores!" cried Stratford fondly when he saw his children walking towards him. "Are you having fun?"
The little girl nodded without smiling. "Gail and I are going to find shells."
"That's a good girl," he grinned and gave Dolores a pat on her head. Then he turned to his eldest daughter, "Have the twins gotten into trouble yet?"
Just then there was a piercing scream and a splash of water. Abigail laughed and said, "It seems that they have."
Helen laughed too, putting a large stone into one of the two straw baskets they brought along, which was half-filled with jet black stones of different sizes.
"Are you having a good time?" she asked Abigail in her soothing, deep voice.
She nodded. "It's always good to be by the sea."
"Yes, its is," agreed Stratford, inspecting a stone before placing it in his basket.
"Do you need help?" asked Abigail.
Helen shook her head. "You go and have fun. Besides, our Dolores wants to collect some shells, doesn't she?" she bent down and gave her youngest daughter a peck on her cheek.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Dolores, I forgot," apologized Abigail, smiling at her scowling sibling.
"Let's go," she said, tugging on her sleeve.
Abigail helped Dolores fold up her sleeves and remove her shoes before she led her into the shallow water. It was chilling, but their skin got used to the cold temperature soon. The waves were lapping gently onto their bare feet, and Abigail felt at peace.
"Look!" came the shout of Francesca from the caves.
The family looked up and gazed at the direction where the girl was pointing, straight into the mist of the sea. Abigail could not see anything at first, but then she saw several black objects sailing out of the white fog.
"Ships!" cried Neville excitedly, jumping up and down, waving his hand.
Abigail could not recall seeing any ships take anchor near their village before, and she could not help worrying about this unusual phenomenon. She glanced at her mother, who was frowning with doubt. Her father was curious though, wading into the water to get a better look.
Suddenly, there was a ear-splitting scream. Abigail whipped around and saw Francesca fall onto her back, an arrow protruding from her chest, before her lifeless body burst into flames.
A scream escaped Abigail's mouth and another arrow hit Neville, and he too fell dead at once.
"Gail! Run!" her father's terrified yell broke through Abigail's shocked mind, and she immediately grabbed Dolores' small hand in hers and ran towards the cover of trees. George joined them, but he stumbled just before they reached the bushes.
"George!" screamed Abigail, stopping abruptly.
"Gail, we have to go," said Dolores calmly in a small voice.
She tore her gaze from George's burning corpse, and rushed into the safety of the thick bushes. She wrapped her arms around Dolores and the little girl silently leant on her. Abigail was in an extreme state of shock and terror. She was shaking all over, and she felt cold as if snow was piling on her back.
Abigail looked down at her baby sister, who was staring at her with her blue eyes steadily.
"Where is mama and papa?" she asked in a whisper.
She looked through the leaves of the bushes they were hiding behind, and saw five smoldering bodies lying on the beach. The ships were very near now. She could see men on them, clothed in black, some bearing blazing torches.
"They are gone, Dolores," answered Abigail quietly, struggling to keep her voice from shaking.
She glanced at the ships again. They were only a few feet from the shore.
"Dolores, listen to me," Abigail said, pushing the little girl to her feet. "You must go back to the village now, run as fast as you can, and go to Mrs. Hicks. Tell her danger is coming, and you must run away with her. You understand?"
Dolores nodded solemnly, and said, "Yes, Gail. Be careful."
Abigail swallowed a sob and said, "Go."
She watched Dolores' small figure disappear into the trees and turned to look at the beach again. The ships had stopped at the shore, and strong-built men were jumping onto the sand. She watched the men who killed her family tread over their bodies as if they were mere dust.
A large man, clearly their leader, clad in armor with animal skin draped over his shoulders, was surveying the beach. Abigail stopped breathing as his eyes stopped at her hiding place, and she resisted the urge to run. She must stay and buy time. She hoped that Dolores had arrived and that her people were fleeing.
Abigail shook more violently with each step the man took towards her, and she was on the brim of tears as the ugly man stared down at her. His face was mapped with scars, and his hair was messy like wild grass.
"What have we here?" he said loudly, an evil smile unfolding on his face.
"You killed my family," snarled Abigail, her anger momentarily overtaking her fear.
"No, I didn't. My fine archers did," he laughed cruelly, and grabbed Abigail by her hair, pulling her on her feet. "Where is the nearest village?" he yelled into her ear.
Abigail stayed silent, and she got a sound slap across her face.
"Where is the nearest village?" he yelled again.
She shook her head defiantly. She could not tell him. She would not tell him.
The man angrily threw her to the ground and kicked her hard in her stomach. She bit her lower lip, refusing to show her pain.
"Tell me!" he bellowed, grabbing her hair and pulled it violently.
"No!" she screamed at him, venting her pain through her voice.
The man glared at him, then his face relaxed to a smile.
"Well then," he grinned wickedly and unsheathed his sword. "I suppose I can't change your mind?"
Abigail glared at the man, dread bubbling in her heart. She did not want to die under the sword of the man who killed her family.
Then she felt weakness. She was afraid to die. She did not want to die. She wanted to live.
"Don't kill me!" she shrieked as the sword swung towards her body.
Its tip stopped at her neck, and its wielder laughed harshly. "Someone doesn't want to die, huh?"
A roar of scorning laughter erupted behind him, and a tear trickled down her face.
The man knelt down beside her, and asked in a low and dangerous tone, "Why shouldn't I kill you?"
She looked at the man in the eye, but did not feel the courage she was looking for. All she felt was intimidation. She stammered, "I- I know the roads well. I can read and draw maps. I can track and I can hunt. I can ride horses."
"Oh," the man nodded with mock admiration. "She is a scout! Then can you tell me which part of Britain are we in?"
"The Northern part," she replied promptly.
"North?" the man raised his eyebrows.
Abigail nodded. "North. Fourteen leagues North of Hadrian's Wall."
The man growled and stood up, shouting at a man who had black hair and a hawk on his shoulder.
"You told me you would get me to the South!" he yelled furiously.
The man cowered a little, and said, "I thought we were following the right direction…"
"Well, we haven't, have we?" the leader barked, then without warning, he pulled a dagger from his boot and threw it straight at the man's chest.
He fell backwards from the force of the throw, and his hawk squawked, flying from his shoulder. There was a silence, then the leader turned to Abigail again, who was sobbing to have witnessed such a cold-blooded murder.
"You don't want to die like him, do you?" he whispered.
Abigail shook her head.
"He was my scout. You will take his place now," he said.
Reluctantly, she nodded.
"Cynric!" the man yelled.
A young man whose face was similar to the man stepped out of the crowd which had gathered on the beach. He had a long beard on his chin, but his head was bare.
"Yes father," he said.
"You take your infantry to the village, this…" he pointed at Abigail.
"Abigail," she replied.
"Abigail will take you there," he finished, smiling.
"On your feet," ordered Cynric, and she scrambled clumsily on her legs, which felt heavy. "Men!"
A group of about twenty men stepped forward on his word, and Cynric pushed Abigail forward, causing her to stumble.
"No mischief," Cynric's father warned in a low voice.
She meekly nodded and led the way into the forest slowly, hoping that the villagers had fled.
"Faster!" yelled Cynric, giving her a rough push again.
Abigail broke into a jog, and the men followed behind. Dread clutched her heart as she saw her village loom into sight, a neat little community with clean cottages and friendly Britons. She was dismayed when she saw familiar figures still at work in their farms, and prayed that they would run away now.
"Stay here," Cynric said and pulled her behind a tree. "While we massacre your people." He laughed evilly and the man echoed the gesture, breaking into a run and sounded a thunderous battle cry.
Abigail shut her eyes and slid to a crouch, sobbing her heart out. There were horrible cries of agony and screams of terror, and she heard the slice of swords and the thud of arrows. There was the smell of burnt flesh and wood.
Soon the village was silent, and she heard Cynric calling for her. She wiped away her tears and stood up shakily, then walked to her village.
It was now burning, and corpses were scattered everywhere. She saw her family's cottage which was nothing but a mess of burnt wood and debris. Her eyes wandered over the wretched sight, and stopped at the body of a little girl and an elderly woman.
"Dolores!" she cried and ran over to her little sister's body.
"Dolores!" she cried again, tears streaming down her cheek and onto her sister's lifeless face, which was ashen white. Blood crusted on her chest, staining her favourite white dress. Abigail ran a hand through her hair and over her darling face, sobbing uncontrollably.
Abigail lifted her head and glared fiercely at Cynric.
"You killed her!" she screamed suddenly, leaping up and raked her fingernails across his face.
He yelped in pain and punched her in the stomach, causing her to fall back onto the ground. He kicked her a few times, shouting insults at her, while nursing the bleeding lines on his face.
"Kill her!" he roared in fury.
Again, weakness and the desire to live overpowered her. She let out a pathetic cry and crawled onto her knees, shaking her head. "Don't!"
Cynric grabbed the collar of her dress and forced her on her feet. "Then there will be no acts of disobedience from this minute, you understand?" he hissed into her ear, his hand roaming boldly over her body.
She bit her lip, then nodded. He released her and she fell back onto her knees, right in front of Dolores' body.
"I'm sorry," she whispered, tears once again falling from her eyes.