Author's Note: Second part of the two-episodic story of my version of Merlin's fourth series. Please read previous episodes prior to reading 4.06.
Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin. I do not own its characters.
"For the Love of Guinevere" – by AudiRox
A few days have passed since Arthur's unsuccessful journey to and from Ealdor. With Lord Godwin and Princess Elena still visiting, Arthur has had to force himself to put on a face, but those who know him well see the hurt that poisons his heart.
Life must go on for the sake of Camelot's wellbeing.
Elsewhere, within great walls, a beautiful butterfly of blue and yellow flies around. Morgana is entertained by its beauty and so she laughs to herself. "Beautiful," she thinks. "It works!" she says with great excitement as she looks down at a bowl of water. She looks up again and tenderly holds out her palm so that the butterfly can take comfort in it. "It finally works," she whispers to the little creature. She takes a few steps towards the light that comes through the open window and softly blows at her palm so that the butterfly can fly away. "Go. Be my eyes," she says with a smile as the beautiful winged creature flies away.
Moments later, excited with her new creation, Morgana chuckles as she walks around the corner with a bowl of water in hand. As she enters yet another room, hoping to find her sister, her smile vanishes at the site of two other men in the company of Morgause. One of whom wears fine linen and stands close to her, and another that stands a few feet away with a hooded cloak covering most of his head.
"Morgause?" says a concerned Morgana.
Morgause, seated in a chair, and the two men turn to look at the intruder. "Sister," says the crippled woman. She sees Morgana's concerned expression, "come closer. We are among friends."
Morgana sets the bowl of water on a table by the window and walks over to her sister. "Who are these men?" she asks as she curiously looks at them of both.
Morgause smiles, "Do not fear, dear sister." She turns to the man closest to her and smiles as well, "Let me introduce to you one of my dearest friends, King Lot of Lothian."
A somewhat handsome man with a beard steps forward, "It is a pleasure, Lady Morgana." He holds out his hand to which Morgana feels obligated to meet with her own.
"King Lot? Pleasure is all mine," she curtsies.
"And the man standing in the back is his loyal servant and advisor, Emer of the Northern Plains. A friend of the Druids."
The man removes the hood of his cloak to reveal his bright blue eyes. He bows but does not utter a word.
Morgana is still concerned, but remains calm. "And to what do we owe this surprise visit?" she asks as she scans the room.
Silence as Morgause looks up King Lot.
"Sister?" asks Morgana.
"My friends believe that I can be cured."
Both Morgause and Lot look at Emer, which prompts Morgana to also look in his direction.
"Magic?" she asks. "You are to be cured with magic?" she turns to her sister.
"Not all magic is bad as your father seems to think," says Lot.
Morgana is startled by King Lot's knowledge.
Morgause smiles at her sister, "King Lot knows of your struggles with Camelot. He has invited us to his kingdom while I recover."
Seeing Morgana's resistance, Lot responds, "We are only here briefly to give invitation in person. Of course, you have time to think on it."
Back in Camelot, festivities are underway to celebrate the friendship of Uther and Godwin and also the quick recovery of the kingdom. The streets of Camelot are filled with people buying and sharing goods. Laughter can be heard from children as well as adults down in the markets just before sunset.
In the castle, the large hall is decorated with ferns, flowers and candles to light the large space and big spreads of food and continuous music to pleasure the ears and entertainers to entertain Camelot's nobility.
Arthur is seen standing at one of the big spreads of food lost in thought. He looks up to find Sir Gwaine wandering into the hall, weaving through the crowds. "Gwaine," he thinks, "he is back." Which means that Gwen is also back in Camelot.
"Gwaine!" shouts a familiar voice, which prompts the knight to look in the direction of the joyous sound. Merlin walks quickly over to his friend. "You've returned!"
Gwaine chuckles and gives his friend a manly hug. "Yes, I have. Can't pass on such festivities."
"How are you? Where is Gwen?" the young warlock looks around. "She was requested to attend by Princess Elena."
"She'll grace us with her presence soon, I'm sure. We arrived this afternoon."
Merlin smiles but is curious, "How is she?"
Gwaine shrugs, "Fine, I suppose. She hasn't spoken much since…" he gestures at the prince, who has now moved his attention to Godwin and Elena.
"I see," says Merlin with a look of concern.
Gwaine leans in, "If I were the prince, I wouldn't let her go that easy."
"It is easier said than done," admits Merlin.
"How is he?"
"Arthur?" asks Merlin, "Well, you know… he isn't himself. He hasn't yelled at me once since our return from Ealdor. It's starting to worry me."
Gwaine chuckles, "Yes, a sure sign of worry indeed." He pats his friend on the shoulder, "Come, let's eat."
Uther walks over to Godwin, Elena and Arthur. "I hope you're enjoying yourselves?"
Godwin chuckles, "What is not to enjoy? Good food and drink, with endless amounts of entertainment. I fear you're spoiling us, Uther."
Elena curtsies, "Thank you, sire. I'm thoroughly enjoying myself. Although…"
The king and prince of Camelot look at Elena.
"I was hoping for Gwen's presence, and I have yet to see her," she looks around.
Arthur is forced to speak, "I believe she has just arrived in Camelot. You will see her soon, princess."
Uther notices strain in Arthur's speech.
"Wonderful!" says the princess with excitement.
Arthur looks around and spots Gwaine again at a distance.
"Father," says the princess to Lord Godwin, "come, you must try these berries."
"Excuse me," says Godwin as he is led away from the group by his daughter.
The Pendragons stand in silence as they observe the people around them.
"What worries you?" asks Uther to Arthur's surprise.
"You haven't been yourself lately," the king turns to Arthur, "what's wrong, son?"
Though caught off guard by his father's sudden concern, he looks away. "Nothing."
Uther presses on as he looks around, "Does it have anything to do with Gwen's absence?"
Arthur briefly looks up at his father, "You don't have to worry about that anymore."
"What do you mean?" softly asks the king.
"You have gotten your way, father. Guinevere no longer shares my feelings and insists we will not be together. Let's not talk of this again."
Uther stays silent but sees the hurt that takes hold of his son's heart. "She is a good woman."
"Please," says Arthur desperately, "let's not talk of her."
Uther takes a step closer to his son. And while he looks around at the people around them, he speaks softly so that only his son may hear. "If you truly love her, you wouldn't give her up so easy."
With these words, Uther leaves Arthur in surprise.
Just as his father leaves his side, instinctively, Arthur turns around and sees a woman dressed in a lovely royal blue gown enter the hall. As she walks deeper into the hall, he is mesmerized by her… the woman he loves. He notices the gown made by her tender hands. That alone makes the garment look lovelier than any purchased with many a coin.
His aren't the only eyes on her. Gwen is greeted by Merlin, who is also mesmerized by the presence of his dearest friend. "You look beautiful, Gwen," says Merlin with the biggest smile.
Gwen blushes ever so slightly, "You're too kind."
"Come," says the young warlock, "Lady Elena has been asking for you."
Gwen nods and follows Merlin.
Arthur's eyes can't help but follow her as she weaves through the people across the hall. His position as one of the heads of the festivities gives him an advantage, and so he watches her walk over to Elena.
Many miles away, Morgana is in the presence of her sister, Morgause.
"King Lot, he is to be trusted," says Morgause.
"And Emer?" asks Morgana.
"A loyal servant."
Morgana isn't pleased, "No man is to be trusted. I beg of you not to take him up on his offer."
Morgause curiously looks up at her sister.
Morgana kneels beside her, "Of course, I want to see you cured and walking again! But…"
Morgause cuts in with a smile, "Let's not strain ourselves. Besides, I haven't accepted his invitation yet."
"Now, what were you going to show me?"
Morgana grins as she brings a bowl of water and places it on Morgause's lap. "It worked!"
The older witch sees an image on the water of trees and lakes as they are passed… as if an image is seen through the eyes of another.
"A bird?" asks Morgause with excitement.
Morgana shakes her head, "A butterfly. The spell finally worked!"
"Very well done, sister," says a proud Morgause. "It is a wonder as the spell very rarely works."
Morgana smiles as she looks into the bowl.
Back in Camelot, the festivities are at its peak. Merlin walks around with a carafe of wine as people of nobility mingle with each other.
"More wine, sire?" asks Merlin as he shows up next to the prince.
The prince seems distracted by the presence of Gwen, whom he has yet to lock eyes with.
"Arthur?" asks Merlin as he follows Arthur's gaze. A smirk appears on the young warlock's face.
"Sorry," turns Arthur to his servant. "What is it?"
"No, thank you." He returns his eyes to the woman across the room.
"Lovely, isn't she?"
"Gwen. She looks… beautiful."
Arthur briefly looks at his servant and very subtly nods.
"You should go speak with her," says Merlin.
With hopes of mending his own broken heart, Arthur nods. "I should."
With his words, he takes a leap of faith and walks towards the woman in question.
"Guinevere," he says prompting the woman to turn around. Behind her, Elena observes as the prince takes away her companion's attention.
The sight of the prince makes Gwen's heart race not letting her look directly at him.
"May I have a word?" Arthur asks softly.
"A word?" asks Gwen.
"In private," says the prince as he gestures towards the exit.
Gwen subtly nods, turns around and curtsies, "Pardon me, my lady."
The prince walks out of the hall followed closely by Guinevere.
When they arrive in the hallway outside the festivities, Arthur turns around.
"What is it, sire?" asks Gwen.
"You look…" the prince briefly looks at Gwen's gown and then locks eyes with her. "You look beautiful."
Though flattering, Gwen isn't comfortable with the compliment. "Thank you."
Feeling more uncomfortable, Gwen looks at the floor. "Is there anything more you wish to speak to me about, sire?"
With a surge of confidence, Arthur takes a step forward. "Yes," he lowers his head, "I…"
Just then Sir Leon, with a couple of guards enter the hallway in haste, "Sire!" says Leon with purpose.
Leon's voice breaks them apart. Gwen takes a step back and looks up at the loyal knight.
"What is it, Sir Leon?" asks Arthur after he takes a deep breath.
"I bring you news," he bows and takes a step to his right, which prompts the two guards behind him to do the same.
Their swift movement reveals the man behind them.
With shock and surprised, Gwen utters softly, "Lancelot?"
A sudden smile appears on Arthur face and with excitement he says, "Sir Lancelot!"
The knight nods, "Sire, I have returned."
The prince takes a few big steps forward. "I thought we lost you."
Leon smiles besides himself.
"Not yet, sire," says the knight with a smile.
Uther arrives in the scene followed closely by Merlin - hearing of Lancelot's return from his quest. Arthur steps aside to reveal the knight's presence. A bright smile appears on Merlin's face as he sees his friend alive and well.
"Sir Lancelot," says Uther.
The knight bows, "I bring news of Lady Morgana's whereabouts."
"Speak," commands the king as Arthur, Gwen and Merlin listen attentively.
"Morgause yet lives. She and Lady Morgana are in hiding in Ealdor within Cenred's walls."
Uther sighs. "I see."
Arthur cautiously looks over at his father wondering what thoughts are running through his mind at that very moment.
Uther takes a deep breath and turns to return to his guests, "Come, we shall talk about this in the morning." He turns around again to face the knight, "Well done."
Lancelot tentatively nods as Arthur pats him on the shoulder.
Just as Merlin and Leon walk over to greet the knight, Lancelot's eye catches the beautiful sight that was hidden behind the men… Gwen. He can't help but be mesmerized by her sight, and so he smiles and nods at the woman. After following the knight's gaze, Arthur is left wondering as everyone returns to the festivities inside.
Back in Ealdor, seeing through the bowl of Lancelot's return to Camelot and his subtle look of admiration at Gwen, Morgana turns to her sister. "Well, well," says the woman with pale skin and bright eyes. A smirk appears on her face.
Please continue onto second chapter...
End Notes: Stay tuned for the second part of this episode.
Thank you so much for all your comments. I really do appreciate them. Let me know what you think so far.