Title: The First Day
Character/Pairing: Gwen, Morgana
Rating: Quite G.
Word count: 1051
Author's note: comment_fic: Merlin, Gwen/Morgana, first day on the job. / 1 ) - Beginning? 52_flavours
Gwen had heard the news that she was to serve the new lady just a week before she arrived. She'd thought all through what this new girl would be like – would she be mean? That was the first thought, even before wondering if she'd be pretty. She'd heard horror tales from Elvira, her neighbor who had gone to work for a wife of one of the knights. It seemed every day she was complaining that her lady was the most pompous, strict person on all of God's green Earth. Gwen hoped to high heaven that she wouldn't get someone like that. Her job would be nigh unbearable if that happened. Then, after the first fears wore off, she began to wonder what the girl would look like? Would she be a pert little blond thing? Or dark and swarthy? Or maybe a redhead, she'd always thought redheads were very lovely with their hair like fire. It made her want to touch that hair to see if she'd get burned.
So a sort of giddy nervousness settled over her as she practiced all the proper manners to keep while attending to a lady. She ran them over in her head after she'd pressed Elvira for details. Don't tarry. Don't touch her lady's things more than necessary, or she'd be accused of theft before she even knew it. Elvira said that there were even nobles who threw around accusations of theft for fun. Such a thing was so cruel she could barely believe it, but Elvira swore up and down that it was true and such a thing had happened to someone her cousin Eldrich knew.
This did little to assuage her fears on the matter. So it was that she was more than a little nervous when the day came. She was lead to a room with many pretty things, but Gwen didn't dare look too much at them lest she be accused of theft before she even started. Instead she looked at the stones – because no one could get in trouble for examining some stones, now could they? When she was sure no one was looking in on her, she took quick glances. There was a ghastly bearskin rug when Gwen detested. She felt for the poor thing, even if it was a fearsome predator. The bed was a four poster bed with a pretty curtain-like covering. She would have looked more, to be honest, but when she heard approaching footsteps, she bent her head right back to the stones.
A girl not much older than herself came in, a girl with the palest, most unblemished skins she'd ever seen, so much that it didn't look quite real. Like she was made of something other than skin, like stone. Her hair was long and dark and fell in curls down her back. Her lady had a look of innate sadness there – hadn't she heard that the reason for her placement at Camelot was her father dying? She felt a stab of pity for the girl. So young to be orphaned and far from home. There was a knight beside her as well, a rather uninteresting man with dull brown eyes and a mustache. Beside her new lady, he might as well have faded into the walls for she outshone him in every way.
She stood there, gaping, until the knight that came with her – a bodyguard she guessed – cleared his throat.
"Oh, um. I'm sorry! I'm Gwen, milady. I'll be attending to you."
She curtsied awkwardly and peeked up, shy to the face of her new mistress.
"I am pleased to meet you, Gwen," she said, smiling slightly back. Even her smile was a bit stiff, a bit constrained, but it did soften her up a bit.
The knight who had brought her cleared his throat again. "That's a bit familiar for your handmaid, Milady."
"But she's my handmaiden, right? So I can treat her as civilly as I wish – and isn't it a bit of a hypocrisy for you to tell me this? You are below me in status, after all."
"Forgive me, lady. It is only that if you coddle them, the servants will start being troublesome. First they'll get lazy, then they'll start thinking they are something."
"I'll take that chance. You are excused, Sir Frederick," she said coolly.
He bowed and left.
She turned back to Gwen. "I'm sorry for that. Sir Frederick is so pompous. I'm glad to be rid of him."
"Oh, oh. It's no problem. I'll just...let you get changed. Just ring if you need anything.. Oh– you're probably tired with your journey, do you need anything?"
The lady chuckled. "There's no need to be so worried, I'm not a harpy and won't eat you up."
"It's just, I'm new at this, you see. I've never been a real live lady's handmaid before. I just worked in the kitchens and helped my father."
"And I've never been in Camelot or away from home," the lady said
"What is it?" she asked.
"I didn't get your name. All I heard was that I was to serve a lady – they never told me your name, just your father's and...I'm so sorry about that, I didn't mean to bring it up–"
The look of loneliness and sadness came over her face again and Gwen mentally kicked herself. She hadn't meant to say it, especially right on the first meting.
"It's Morgana," she said.
"Right then. I am pleased to serve you, Lady Morgana."
She curtsied again and again peeked up as she did. This time to judge what mood her lady had fallen in after that mention – maybe she'd have a horrible temper after all?
But Lady Morgana didn't look sad, just wearied. Poor thing. She'd had to travel such a long way.
"Would you like me to draw a bath for you and get your things put away? You must be awful tired after a trip like that."
"Thank you...I'd like that," she said.
And while it'd not been long yet, she had a good feeling about her.