Author's Note - Hey, guys, I literally produced this plot-bunny today and I just couldn't shake it so I had to write it down. It will be a multi-chapter fic if people like it.
Note to any readers of Last Dragon Egg - by the way, I won't be around for the next few days as going on a Medlink course. Whey! No chapter updates until, can you believe it, MONDAY!? Ooh, and what are your opinions on the name Pegasus, do I name it Pegasus and make it like 'the original' from the myths or give it another name?
In the dead of night, when only the owls and the bats roamed the velvet black skies, a shadow slipped through the smooth stone archway. It went unseen by the two guards who slumbered against the wall. Quietly as a ghost, it floated across the cobbled courtyard, bare feet slipping out from beneath a frayed woollen cloak. The stars winked down upon it like a thousand watchful eyes but they could do nothing about the crime that was about to come to pass.
The castle was silent as its residents slept and the intruder wandered the echoing corridors without being discovered. Torches flickered warily in iron brackets, the light they cast glinting off a delicate bracelet that was revealed momentarily from the folds of the material. A glimpse of flesh was also exposed. Doors creaked as they were pushed gently open in order for the slight figure to glide through.
It knew where it was headed. It knew what its orders were. Nothing could stand in its way.
With a firm hand, it reached out and twisted the handle to the door behind which lay its prize. Burnished oak swung forward as it was granted easy entry into the room. A pair of cold eyes swept the darkened space with a calculated detachment.
The room was relatively large with tapestries and rugs lining the walls and floors to keep out the draughts. Obviously, the occupant was well cared for. A tall window stood in one corner, the glass stained with coloured paints. On the furthest wall hung a painting of a dragon, golden in colour and emblazoned on a crimson background. Swirls of yellow fire curled from its open jaws.
Sleeping on a low-slung bed in the corner was a humped shape that rose and fell rhythmically with its breathing. A splash of long mahogany tresses on the pillow meant that it must be the maid. The figure wasn't interested in her though.
Steadying its footfalls, excitement rising in its usually perpetually icy heart, the shadow slunk forward like a cat stalking a mouse. Its even gaze had fallen upon the trophy that it had come to collect.
Ornately carved with twisted rose branches and beautiful flowers, the cradle was skilfully crafted and time-consuming to create, much like the child that it held in its elm wood arms.
A little baby boy. Feathery golden blond locks framed his face like a cherub; long eyelashes were closed on pink cheeks and his small tight fists were clenched beside his head as he slept. He continued to slumber on, unaware of the ominous shadow that had drifted across his cradle.
He was just one year old.
Glancing surreptitiously at the pile of blankets that was meant to be the infant's nursemaid, the figure reached down towards the babe and grabbed hold of it with inexperienced fingers. Instantly, the child's eyes opened, vivid blue and surprised as they fell upon the unfamiliar greenish hands that encased him. His handsome face creased, reddening by the second and a keening wail escaped his rosebud lips.
The king wasn't quite sure why he had woken up. Perhaps, he had had a nightmare that he now didn't recall or perhaps he had been too cold – as was the problem when winter was making way for spring and he wasn't sure whether he needed so many blankets. Running a calloused hand through his short hair, he looked around him, pondering.
That's when he heard the cry.
Like a hound from a kennel on hunting day, the king was out of his bed and through the door before the sound had even finished. Uncaring of his bare feet that slapped on the cold flagstone, he charged along the length of the corridor to his son's room. His heart rampaged against his ribs.
No, no, no. Nothing could have befallen his child.
He said a quick prayer to the gods as he barrelled into the room and looked around him. What he saw made his blood run cold and practically freeze solid in his veins. The cradle….the cradle was upturned, thrown haphazardly onto its side like the children's toys it was surrounded by. But the content of this cot was far more precious than those playthings.
"Arthur…" The name escaped his lips like the words on the last breath of a dying man. "Please….no…" he moaned, his hands reaching desperately into the air.
"Sire! Sire, I am so sorry, I have no idea what happened," the nursery maid wept, huddled in the corner.
Uther stepped forward, raising his hand as if to hit her but found he couldn't. Instead, he let the limb drop uselessly by his side. His son, his only son, had been taken from him. The thought made him feel sick with hopelessness; especially as he knew the only perpetrators capable of such a crime would be the sorcerers. Those witches and devils that had stolen his wife just one winter ago – they were pure evil.
"My lord, what shall I do?" the girl whispered, her whole body quivering.
"I think you have done enough," the king spat, his voice laced with venom.
And then, as he turned to go, a piteous whimper reached his ears and he froze, hope swelling inside of him. Spinning on the spot, he rushed over to the overturned cradle and lifted the wooden structure up. His face broke into a relieved smile as happiness flooded his system. There, lying on his front, gurgling at the floor was his son; perhaps, looking a little paler than usual and a little worse for wear but nonetheless here and alive.
"Arthur…" This time the words seeped from his mouth in a tender caress. "You're all right."
Words couldn't even begin to express how Uther felt at that moment in time as he carefully pulled his tiny son out from beneath the devastation of his bed and cradled him in his strong arms. Staring at his small innocent face, the king couldn't help but keep the broad grin off his face.
That had been a close call. He could have lost his son and he certainly wasn't going to allow it to happen again. Security would be increased tenfold.
Little did the ruler of Camelot know, as he cuddled his son close to his chest, was that there was a lone figure loping through the darkened forest, a little baby boy clutched tightly beneath the folds of his cloak.
Okay, so really that was just a taster but what do you think? Good? Bad? Obviously, its written in the past and will feature Arthur as a baby/child all the way through but Merlin will play quite a key role as well (I can never keep him out of my stories, I love him waaay too much).
See ya next week!