Mordred knew he was doomed the moment he saw her.
Sneaking into Camelot had always been a gift of his and it was made easier this time that Morgana wanted him to spy on the celebrations of the princess's sixteenth year and her coming out celebrations. That was, her 'coming of marital age' party.
Every damned prince, baron and lord in the land would fall over themselves to try and win the attentions of the famed Linnet. They were hungry for the power that marriage with her would give to them. They'd have all fought over her if she had been ugly. The fact that she was beautiful and supposedly a lively personality made her all the more desirable.
Morgana had joked cynically that Linnet had inherited her mother's 'je ne sais quoi' when it came to her ability to attract men, inflame their desire and drive them to a madness where they would do anything to win ten seconds of her approval.
It was an approval that Linnet was not forthcoming with. She was known to tease and joke with the boys that fumbled over her, giving her flowers and kissing her hand. She would never be cruel but she'd tell them they were being silly. She didn't take matters of the heart seriously yet, as if she was waiting for that one special person to spark her off and make her care.
Mordred clasped his drink and looked around. No one recognised him.
The entire room went silent as the court announcer called the princess forth so that she might present herself to the king and queen, her parents, and so that they might in turn present her to the minor kings and nobility of the whole of Albion.
All eyes turned to the door as it opened.
'Her Royal Highness Eiliwedd, daughter of Arthur; the Lady Royal of Camelot and High-Princess of the Isles of Albion.'
Linnet appeared behind the announcer, clearly amused by the mouthful he had just said. She saw no reason why everyone needed to be reminded of who she was. But it was tradition and there was nothing Camelot liked better than good old tradition.
The High-King Arthur and his wife Queen Guinevere both stood from their throws and beckoned their daughter forward.
Linnet smiled mildly and walked into the hall as elegantly as she could manage. She had never been comfortable in prissy and fancy expensive dresses but due to the grandeur of the occasion, Linnet had been forced to endure standing still for at least an hour each day for ten weeks while the royal dressers fitted the dress and stitched on the ornate decoration.
The result was breathtaking. Everyone including Mordred stared in disbelief at the beauty of the girl before them.
Yet it wasn't just her beauty that moved Mordred. There was something more innate and primal now.
He found himself wanting to walk through the crowds, reach out and touch one of the carefully twirled tendrils twisted either side of her head. He wanted to look her in the eyes and read her soul. He wanted to think her thoughts. He wanted to hear what was going through her mind. He wanted to be as close to her as possible. The magic within him demanded it so.
He could feel every movement she made.
Mordred wondered, Is this destiny taking hold?
Linnet curtsied to both her parents and spoke the words she had been practising for weeks. Just for that one moment so much work had gone into preparing for it. When she had finished the king stepped forward, took her hand and she turned to face the rest of the hall, curtsying to them gracefully.
She wouldn't have noticed Mordred in the sea of faces. There was no reason why she would. Yet Mordred found himself hoping she would look in his direction. She didn't.
I will make her notice me, he vowed to himself.
He would not avoid the prophecy any longer. He would use it and bend it to his own will. They said that Linnet would tame Mordred, when Mordred would tame Eiliwedd. He would make her want him as much as he wanted her and more if possible.
Mordred would make Linnet his. He would steal her and make her his by any means or force needed. Her parents the 'great' Arthur and Guinevere won't be able to stop him. If they tried, he would kill them.
Whoever takes Linnet, takes the whole of Albion.
Mordred was determined that would be him.