Ravenously, Myra took a baguette from the basket near her plate. She was ready to mash it right between her lips and swallow it whole, she was so hungry. Although, she caught Merlin giving her a wary grin, and she daintily put it on her plate, tearing off a piece to put into her mouth. Merlin nodded approvingly.
Tabitha, who sat beside Merlin, followed her sister's movements almost precisely, picking up the bread like it were a tiny fern. Some crumbs caught onto her lips, and she swiped her napkin across them, though careful not to smudge the face powder.
Myra looked at Tabitha. How the years had changed her, for now, her golden-brown hair was piled atop her head in a peculiar kind of twist, stray locks of hair almost hiding the jewels clipped into it. She wore a dress that prominently displayed her chest, and the brand new necklace that gleamed against her bright skin. Myra could even spot some growing breasts beneath the fine silk dress.
But then, Tabitha sighed, dropping her hands.
"Tabitha," Merlin acknowledged her. "What is it that's turned that smile the wrong way?"
"I've been thinking," she said, her voice still that small, high-pitched birdsong. "And I wonder how I can…do something…"
"Oh?" Merlin said, giving her a semi-knowing smile. "Well, surely, Tabitha, it's nothing we can't help you with. What's the trouble?"
Tabitha was about to speak, but then she started to turn a bright shade of pink.
"I saw a boy in the village when I was outside on my horse," she said in almost a whisper. "And I…I think…"
Myra put her hand to her mouth, stifling a laugh. But Tabitha already turned her eyes on her sister.
"Don't laugh at me like that, Myra!" she scolded, slapping her hands on the table.
"I'm not laughing," Myra protested.
"She just means she knows what you're thinking about," said Arthur gently.
Myra looked at the king. The dimples in his cheeks deepened suddenly, and she tried to keep from grinning like a dummy, as she tended to do around him.
Arthur looked the image of a king—well, what was so different about that?—with growing curls of blonde hair that framed his youthful, bright face, and robes of glistening colors draping over him. His blue eyes still retained their gleam, amid the creases that barely showed on his skin.
He reached up and readjusted his crown, although it wasn't really falling off of his head—like it did several years ago when he was a child.
Myra laughed before she could stop herself, though Arthur didn't give her a strange look in return.
"Ten years haven't changed you very much," Arthur observed.
"Unless you're wearing a blue silk dress, have brownish gold hair, and have a sweet inkling for some village commoner," Myra playfully said.
"He is not a commoner!" Tabitha exclaimed, getting up from the table so quickly that her dishes rattled precariously. But when everyone at the table looked at her, she froze, turning bright pink again.
"Stop that, Myra!" Merlin said, as he fixed her with a hard look.
"Don't worry, Merlin," she said, holding up her hands in defense. Then she looked at Tabitha. "Tell you what, Tabitha. Since apparently you think this young man should be a part of your life, what would you say to taking a ride into the village tomorrow, and meeting him?"
Tabitha's face turned a strawberry red, and she slipped into her chair a little more. "Would you come with me?" she squeaked.
"Absolutely," said Myra with a nod.
Tabitha squealed again, and everyone at the table couldn't help but chuckle.
Late that night, Myra slipped behind her changing screen, and tossed her gown over the top edge, pulling on her nightclothes. She was content afterwards to blow out her candle, and begin to dream of more days with Arthur in his kingdom of Camelot.
She took a breath to blow. But then, she heard a noise.
Myra pulled her breath back in, not moving, as she strained to hear an accompanying sound. Still the castle remained silent.
She looked to her door, picturing the outside hall. Long minutes passed before she decided to lie back down—until a loud creeaak bounced into her ears.
Myra's muscles tensed, her fighting instincts kicking in. And climbing from her bed, she moved to put her hand on the knob, as she assessed the situation. She retraced the sound in her mind, remembering it coming from down the left hall, by Arthur's bedchamber.
It took most of Myra's willpower to not throw open the door in a blind crash. Rather she gently stepped outside, and didn't light her magic to see her way. She just started to walk, listening once again.
But then, etched into the shadows, Myra noticed something moving. It looked like ink against the dark, moving fluidly and gracefully, though Myra could be sure that whatever it is wasn't quite benign. She stopped moving, putting herself against the wall so as not to be seen.
But then, the shadow vanished completely, having ducked into the wall as Myra had. She blinked twice to readjust her sight, but cautiously moved away to follow the shadow, a sense of dread growing within her, as she reached that spot along the hall.
It was as she suspected. The shadow hadn't plastered itself to the wall. Rather it had vanished behind a door—a door that had a huge, ornate "A" engraved into the wood.
Instinctively, Myra gasped, putting her hands against the door. She didn't wait for a sound to invite her in, instead turning the knob and opening the door as snail's pace.
From behind the door she was startled to hear a groan. Only it wasn't a normal groan. It was low, airy—erotic, almost. As if…
Myra pushed her head into the room, and what she saw made her hair stand like grass on her skin. A woman, with long, raven-black hair, and a delicate, slim figure, was standing beside Arthur's bed. The moonlight coming through Arthur's window illuminated the woman, as she stood up, and started to play with the bodice of her dark dress.
Finally, she pulled at a string on her dress, and her arms started to slip out of the sleeves, the dress falling to reveal her bare back, then her buttocks, and her long, snowy white legs.
"My dear," she said in a slithery, voluptuous voice, reaching out a talon-like finger towards Arthur's head. Her nails brushed his hair, and she started to climb into the bed.
The moment she turned to lay down, Myra recognized the woman.
"Morgause!" she cried, remembering in that instant who was about to be conceived in Arthur's bed.
Before Morgause could react, Myra fired a ray of bright silver light at her, stunning her for just moments. It was enough time for Myra to lunge at her aunt, wrestling her off the bed. They tumbled across the floor, bumping into the wall, knocking the air out of Morgause.
There was no mercy in Myra's mind. Her magic was in control, while she grappled against Morgause. The witch didn't have the time to cast a spell against her niece, but she was still strong, matching Myra's. She grunted, snarling, while she moved to push Myra off of her.
Myra yelled out some words, and suddenly, Morgause screamed, as the place where Myra gripped her skin burned with heat. It smoked, the pain giving Morgause a rapid boost of strength, and she tossed Myra off.
Myra quickly rebounded, and leapt for her aunt like a tiger, with poisonous magic at her fingertips. The moment that Morgause was going to counterattack, Myra swung her leg upright, knocking Morgause squarely in her jaw. Myra felt her aunt's teeth cracking, blood being drawn, and when she flung her powered fist into the stomach of her aunt, a trilling scream was all she heard.
When Myra came back to the floor, she kept her stance steady, ready for more. Morgause breathed hard, choking out gasps. Blood trickled from her teeth, her hands shaking as they held her walloped stomach. Her dress was smoldering off, showing a dark blue-and-red mark starting to form over her navel.
Myra heard Arthur's bed creak, just as Morgause's eyes closed.
They never once fluttered, as Myra was sure that the mark—just over her empty womb—might not soon heal.