He had never expected to fall in love with a lady. In fact, women were the last thing on his mind currently. Although Arthur managed to defeat Cenred's immortal army, Morgana and Morgeuse were still at large. Camelot was still not safe, and as a newly appointed knight, Gwaine wanted to prove himself worthy of the title.
They had first met at one of Arthur's banquets. When Arthur was crowned, the kingdom could not sit idly by. There were parties; there were festivals. People wanted a reason to celebrate. It was a relief after such a time of grief and mourning. With Gwen at his side, Gwaine was sure Arthur would be a fair and just king. One of Arthur's first orders of business was to change the old ways. Magic was no longer outlawed. Magic was not the enemy. It itself was not evil; however, it could easily be used for the wrong reasons. Arthur began looking at the sorcerers instead of their gifts. Gwen was crowned queen. Camelot did not need to form an alliance with an outlying kingdom. Their defenses were strong. Especially after Arthur allowed anyone to become a knight. Gwaine, Lancelot, and Elyan were all knighted, and they were teaching the boys in the town skills. Arthur had started a revolution.
Tonight was a going away party; although, it had not started out that way. While planning a banquet to honor Sir Leon, Arthur received a message. Two days before the dinner, a wounded soldier returned to Camelot, only to warn Arthur that Morgana was active again. She had formed an army, and was getting ready to attack.
Gwaine was sitting next to Merlin. Merlin was sitting next to Gwen, and Arthur was next to her. Gwaine had grown accustomed to sitting at a table with Arthur; although, that table was round. Gwaine was amazed by Arthur's conviction and control. The rude master of Merlin was not the same man who sat at the round table, listening to his knights and accepting council.
Arthur tapped his goblet. "Friends, honored guests, it is my pleasure to share this evening with you. My wife and I would like to thank you for coming. Even in this time of darkness, we must not forget to laugh. Camelot's defenses are strong. The knights are proud and ready. I am honored to be fighting beside them. Sweethearts, wives, I promise they will come home to you." The crown stayed silent throughout Arthur's speech. "I would like to thank Lady Ragnelle for coming all this way. Your presence and your talents will serve us well." Gwaine had heard about the Lady Ragnelle. She was a gifted healer, and she had offered to come and stay in Camelot. Her eyes caught his, and he smiled. Arthur continued to talk, but Gwaine didn't pay him any heed. He was captivated. While her looks would be considered plain, Gwaine felt a heart as courageous as his own. "To Camelot."
A chorus of voices sounded around him. "To Camelot." Gwaine took a sip from his goblet, and ate his dinner. He would find himself stealing glances toward Lady Ragnelle, but never caught her looking at him. He was not discouraged. He had a duty to Camelot. He did not need to distract himself with a woman. Although, it never hurt to have a maiden waiting for your safe return from war.
After the feast, the nobility of Camelot rejoiced with dancing. Gwaine was enjoying himself, clapping his hands to the music and drinking many glasses of mead. Lancelot was busying dancing with all of the eligible ladies of the court. Every once in a while he would sneak a glance at Gwen, who was happily dancing with Arthur. The couple, since their marriage had embraced their new married life with elation. They no longer had to hide and feel ashamed about their feelings.
Lancelot danced his way over to Gwaine's side. "The Lady Ragnelle can't keep her eyes off of you." Gwaine glanced toward the foreign guest. She was smiling at the dancing couples, and it was clear to him she did not expect to join the celebration. "I've never seen a more unfortunate looking woman." Lancelot continued. "It's no wonder no one has asked her to dance." Gwaine glared at Lancelot. He started walking toward Lady Ragnelle, admittedly, he was a bit drunk.
"My lady" He addressed her, bowing slightly. Blood rushed to his brain, but he had to stay polished. He needed to sound sincere. On his way out of the bow, although he tried his hardest to concentrate, he faltered. Ragnelle quickly stood up and caught the slightly intoxicated knight.
"You sir, are drunk." Gwaine smiled, and stood up straight.
"I am not drunk. At leat, I am not drunk enough to fall over on the dance floor." Ragnelle looked at him, puzzled. Had he just asked her to dance? He confirmed her assumptions. "Would you care to dance? Lady Ragnelle?" Without verbally answering him, she placed her hand in his. Gwaine led Ragnelle to the dance floor. He was right. He wasn't too drunk to dance. In fact, she was a better dancer than her.
"I gather you've done this many times before." Gwaine laughed.
"Haven't you?" Gwaine grabbed her hands, and grabbed her hands, guiding her into a turn.
"I don't get asked to dance very often." She said, almost too quiet for him to hear. Gwaine raised an eyebrow. "Many of the lords who visit my father's estate are like Sir Lancelot." Gwaine looked over at his contemporary. Lance was with a blonde woman who was giggling and throwing herself at him. Lancelot had a look of calculated boredom. While Gwaine was watching Lancelot, the music stopped. The dance was over. Lady Ragnelle cleared her throat. "Thank you, sir Gwaine, for the dance." Gwaine turned toward his partner. He kissed her hand.
"The pleasure was all mine." Ragnelle walked back to her table, and Gwaine went to get a drink. Lancelot intercepted him.
"Dancing with the ogre. She didn't step on your feet or blind you with her horrible stare, did she?" Gwaine took a deep breath, calming himself. He couldn't think of anything to say to Lancelot. Instead, he walked past him with a cup in both hands. He snuck up behind her, surprising her.
"Would you fancy a drink?" Suddenly, she turned around.
"Sir Gwaine? I had thought that –"
"I went to get you a drink." He sat down and handed her a cup. Nervously, she took a sip.
"Please, tell me what Lancelot said." Gwaine looked at her, pleading with her. Please don't.
"What brings you to Camelot?" He asked, changing the subject.
"My father wishes to form an alliance with Arthur, but since marriage is no longer an option…" She stared at the royal couple. Their hands clasped, sitting at the head table. "Father wanted to support Camelot, so he offered me. I have a gift with medicine."
"Are you homesick?" She placed her cup on the table.
"Sometimes. It is rather lonely here. I don't know many people."
Gwaine extended his hand. "I'm Gwaine, and now you know me." She smiled.
"What about you? Were you born in Camelot?" Gwaine shook his head, taking his last sip of mead.
"I've always travelled around."
Arthur interrupted Ragnelle's next question. "Gwaine, a scout just reported. Morgana and her army are less than a two days ride from the castle." Gwaine stood up, momentarily forgetting about his company, his mind focused on his knightly duties. On his way out of the hall, Gwaine turned around. He kissed Ragnelle's hand.
"Thank you for the dance."
The lady watched her knight walk through the door. It was the last time she saw him for many months. Gwaine went to battle the next day. Ragnelle would sit awake and wonder if she would see him alive again. When that thought wasn't in possession of her brain, she was wondering if he would even remember their special dance, or if she was just another woman.
This whole story is written, but I plan to turn it into a series. 'The Romance of Gwaine' is just the beginning. Please leave a review telling me which knight I should write about next. Lancelot? Percival? Elyan? Leon? Arthur? A historical knight of the round table like Bedivere? Tristan? Or a Welsh hero Gwydion (I'm obsessed with Gwydion…)? In a review, please tell me who you want to read about next. I'll start writing their story.
Thanks for reading!