The sun rose from behind the mountains to the east of Camelot. It was early September, the harvesting farmers were out in the fields taking their crops. The King and Queen of Camelot too rose from their slumber. He had an important meeting with his court that morning. She had an important appointment with the Court Physician just before midday.
The King's manservant entered with their breakfast and left them again as he had ever morning for the last week. The Queen had been a little worse for wear in the mornings and the King had requested they were given privacy until she was well again.
"Not to sound too hopeful, Guinevere, but have you considered the possibility that-"
"Yes, Arthur, I have," she snapped, immediately looking apologetic, "Sorry. I have an appointment with Gaius later. He should be able to tell me more."
"Okay, have a good morning okay?" he kissed the top of her head before grabbing an apple from the table, "Try not to get into an argument with Lady Katherine today."
"If she mentions one more time how any child of mine will be an unworthy heir of Camelot I won't be held responsible for my actions."
"Do you want me to talk to her?"
"I can handle her myself, thank you Arthur."
"Okay, just don't start a war."
Gwen had decided that instead of sitting with the other Ladies that morning she would sit in on court proceedings beside her husband. She offered him her opinion whenever he requested it – which was often – much to the annoyance of the other noble ladies in attendance. They regarded her as they did usually, with disdain and an acute jealousy.
Maybe that was their only problem with her, they were jealous of what she had.
As far as she was concerned she had earned her position. She'd helped Arthur many times in the last five years. She'd been there for him and they'd been through more together than people would ever realise.
Yes, Gwen had more than earned her position both on the throne and in Arthur's heart.
Once the public audiences with the King were through, Gwen discreetly excused herself, kissing her husband she departed. She had an appointment to keep.
On her way out she passed Lady Katherine in the open corridor, the woman always had her nose turned up when Gwen passed, spoke or even breathed. Gwen had had a conversation with her once and it had ended in a verbal dispute.
This time would be no different.
As Gwen walked past her, her head held high, she caught the topic of conversation Lady Katherine had raised with Lady Sybil; her.
"Her father was executed for sorcery," a lie, "Common filth he was. Never worked a day in his life," another, "His first bastard child left in shame," and another. Gwen could feel her hands clenched into fists at her sides.
"Come back, he did; Sir Elyan," Lady Sybil replied with disgust in her tone, "Commoner in court."
Gwen couldn't hold her tongue any longer, "Rather a commoner with an open mind than a rude and insolent Lady who cannot form an individual opinion," both Ladies turned and looked at her with disgruntled expressions on their faces, "I might not be of noble birth, far from it, but is it not nobler of mind to not speak ill of those you dislike and find the good qualities within someone? That being said, I'm finding it impossible to find a good quality in you."
"And you say it is I who is rude."
"At least I express my displeasure to you directly rather than behind your back. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have an appointment to keep," Gwen walked away with her head held high.
"Common Queen. Common Heir," Gwen froze in her steps, "Camelot shall never be ruled by nobility again. The King lost all sense of nobility the second he set eyes on you."
Gwen turned back around on her heel, her – frankly more expensive and grander – dress impressively moved around her feet, "Excuse me? I think you'll find nobility comes from the iway/i you are not iwho/i you are."
"Who told you that? Your father?"
"My husband. It is something he, and the knights, live by. You will do well to remember it."
"The Knights of the Round Table?" Lady Katherine scoffed, "What a noble idea."
"Everybody within the court is the same. The King values what they have to say. You cannot tell me you prefer the way King Uther ruled?"
"It is improper to comment on such things."
"Is it? If the people are unhappy with the way the King is running his kingdom should they not have the right to say so? You seem to freely display your displeasure about me. A comment against your Queen is a comment against your King's ability to make decisions. Surely that is a comment against your King and therefore improper for you to speak about," Gwen stated keeping her voice level and firm, "Yet, here you are, talking me down like I am some sort of common scum? Perhaps you should think before opening your mouth in future. Now if you'll excuse me," Gwen strode past the pair of them and began down the cloisters towards Gaius' quarters.
A slow clap echoed down the open corridor from behind her.
The Queen turned.
Sir Gwaine, Sir Elyan and King Arthur stood in the doorway to the Great Hall, each with a smile on their face. Gwaine clapped a few more times, trying hard not to laugh.
"I'm impressed, sister," Elyan said, "We've been waiting for that for a long time."
"So long we were prepared for it," Gwaine offered with a toothy grin.
"What happened to court?" Gwen asked looking slightly sheepish.
"More pressing matters to contend with," Arthur answered taking the gold band from around his head and giving it to his manservant.
Gwen smiled at him as he offered her his arm, "Good luck," Gwaine said before ushering Elyan up the cloisters the other way.
"You told him?"
"He was asking a lot of questions. He got there himself. He hasn't told anyone."
"How can you be sure?"
"Because nobody else keeps staring at your stomach," Gwen ran her flat hand across her abdomen and smiled up at Arthur. She knew what Gaius would tell them, she could feel it. She just needed him to confirm it. She had seen him a few days previously, he'd told her his suspicions and ran the tests he'd required, taking a sample of her fluid.
They both approached Gaius' quarters in anticipation. The husband more nervous than his wife. In his mind she could be in danger. They could be in danger of history repeating itself. He wouldn't worry Guinevere with his uncertainties. Not when things were changing for them. It wasn't about him and his problems. This was something they would get through together.
"If it's not what we think, it doesn't matter," he said in no more than a mumble before she raised her fist to knock on the wood of the door.
"We have time."
Gaius could still clearly remember the day that he had informed his previous sovereign that his wife was with child. She had been scared and didn't know how to tell him herself. The Queen had asked him to inform the King on her condition.
Uther had never been more joyous.
A life for a life.
That's what it had come down to in the end and the Queen had lost her life in order to bare the King a son.
The present leaders, however, did not have the shared problem. Gaius assured them as he informed them. Guinevere was a healthy individual who he had every confidence would bear the next months well.
He finished by telling her that she was already glowing.
The pair of them were speechless as they left, walking down the stone steps separately, breaking into the sunlight that was cast across the courtyard.
"It's true," Arthur said in bemusement. His Queen stood before him with a smile fixed to her face. He lifted her from under her arms and span her in the air. She grabbed his shoulders to steady herself. He kissed her as he lowered her back to the ground, his hands on her waist.
"Congratulations," Gwaine said as he appeared down the main castle steps. He clapped Arthur on the shoulder and kissed Gwen gently on the cheek, "My lady."
"Good sir," she laughed. Her brother stood behind him looking confused.
"Congratulations mate," Gwaine said to the younger male, "Looks like you're going to be an uncle."
Suddenly he didn't look so confused anymore. He congratulated his sister, hugging her tightly and bowed his head to his King, "When he's King-
"Or she," Gwen pointed out.
"-or she's Queen, what'll that make me?" Elyan asked.
"Monkey's uncle," Arthur replied, cracking a grin at his brother-in-law.
"Great," Elyan replied, laughing.
Weeks later the King called his court in session and he stood before them proudly presenting them with his wife. They had looked on confused to begin with before he had continued with his announcement.
The Queen was with child and was due to give birth in the Spring.
Lady Katherine stood with Lady Sybil at the back of the congregation with a sour expression on her face. The look completely contradicted that on her sovereign's features.
Nobody else in the room seemed to be with her in her displeasure. Even Lady Sybil had joined in the congratulatory applause.