A/N: Sorry it's been a while :) Bet you thought I'd given up, eh? Not Pigeons. I'm trying to use all of the books people have suggested... and as a result Camelot is becoming a strange place. (Stranger than usual, that is). Hope you enjoy it, and don't get too confuzzled!
Arthur sat in his room frowning.
He was rereading that same passage again and again and again, and yet he could make no more sense of it.
He held his birth certificate up to his face and scrutinised it, yelling out in frustration at his Brewer's.
"My real name is not Artorius!" he insisted. "My name is and always has been Arthur Pendragon, it says so right here!" he pointed at his birth certificate, which confirmed his demented ramblings. "What do you have to say to that?"
Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable had nothing to say to that, as it turned out.
Arthur stuck his tongue out at Brewer's.
Brewer's didn't care.
Arthur scowled. He was going to have to make sense of this one way or another. He stormed out of his chambers with an angry, don't-mess-with-me-Merlin expression on his face, and walked smack into the warlock in question.
"Shut up, Merlin."
"Oh dear. Did someone get out of the wrong side of bed this morning?"
Arthur was about to berate Merlin when something occurred to him. "Did you know that Julius Caesar believed that?"
Arthur rolled his eyes. "Believed in all of that getting-out-of-bed-the-wrong-side nonsense. He was very superstitious about it."
"Oh. Where'd you learn that?"
Arthur tapped the Brewer's tucked under his arm. "This book comes in very useful. Do you know what else I can do with it?"
Merlin looked expectantly at Arthur.
Arthur clobbered Merlin over the head with it.
"Ow! That's the second time in seconds you've injured me!"
"I suggest you don't mess with me, Merlin. My name means bear."
Merlin could think of too many clever things to say in response to that (most of which would get him in trouble) to know what to do.
"Come on, Merlin. We need to go and find Geoffrey of Monmouth. He has some explaining to do."
Merlin nodded, and followed along.
They stomped down the corridor, and were just about to reach the turn that would lead them to the library when they recognised a train of lavender dress trailing along the floor in the distance that signified the presence of a certain handmaiden.
Merlin winked at Arthur.
This earned him another clobbering over the head with the Brewer's.
Merlin was told to naff off, and thought it best to do so promptly.
"Guinevere," drawled Arthur, trying to lean nonchalantly on a pillar and slipping a little.
She looked up from some papers she had been reading and blinked at him in confusion as he appeared to be having extreme difficulty standing up straight.
"I was wondering if I might have a word with you."
"Do you know what the word paramour means?"
Gwen blushed. Was he asking her out?
"I believe so, my lord…"
Her reaction told him all that he needed to hear. He was absolutely crestfallen, and wanted to slink away from her in shame, but felt the need to ask, "Do you have any feelings for Lancelot, by any chance?"
She wrinkled her nose at him. "Not especially. What makes you ask?"
"Oh, nothing. Nothing," he smiled. "Have a nice day."
She shot him a look that said she knew he was up to something, but then swiftly returned to whatever it was she had been so engaged in before, and scurried away.
Arthur looked down smugly at his Brewer's. "Wrong again," he told it. "Tragic loves? Psh."
Gwen looked down at the Official SQA (Scottish Qualifications Agency) Past Papers with answers, Higher History 2006-2009, and scribbled something in the margins with a pencil.
It might have been an odd thing for a maid of Camelot to have been reading.
Frankly, it was odd for a maid of Camelot to have been reading at all, but Gwen had had enough of people pointing that out.
She'd found the thing amidst the books and papers being cleared out of Arthur's room. Apparently some evil sorcerer had decided to torture the poor prince by pelting him with reading material from throughout the ages. That was truly wicked.
What she'd found most intriguing had been the topic on Women's Suffrage. As a woman who had been raised to be meek and docile, it had honestly never occurred to her that women ought to be treated as equal to men.
But it had occurred to her now.
And it was not going to un-occur.
At first she'd been horrified by the tactics of the Suffragettes. How on earth they could believe that such violence and mania was acceptable or feminine was beyond her. She could not fathom how one poured acid in a post box without spilling even a little bit of it on one's skirt, and she did not have all that many skirts. She'd probably spend an entire night mending the stupid thing, and she was really fed up of sewing.
No, at first her vote had been with NUWSS, the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, who should probably have put someone a little more creative in charge of their name. They wrote letters, and made petitions and that all seemed far more sound and reasonable to her.
However, these women had been aided by circumstance. They'd had a world war (not that she fully understood quite how one went about organising one of those) to work on the home front and prove to the men that they were valuable and needed to be listened to.
There were no wars going on at the moment.
Morgana and Morgause had been annoyingly quiet from wherever it was they'd skulked off to.
No new magical threats had emerged recently; they had passed through those few horrible months every year when the city seemed to be constantly plagued with danger, and now they were faced with the calm, boring lull of everyday life.
Gwen could hardly start a war herself.
She'd tried writing a disgruntled anonymous letter to the council.
It had been laughed at.
The Suffragettes were starting to sound more and more appealing…
Arthur scowled at Geoffrey of Monmouth, who was too busy trying to get to the next level to notice.
Geoffrey jumped to his feet and something shiny clattered to the floor.
"What have you been saying about me?" demanded Arthur, slamming the Brewer's in front of him and pointing. "It says you've been writing fabulous things about me, that means you've been making things up, doesn't it? I could have your hanged for that!"
Geoffrey gulped and checked the page. It did indeed say that.
"No, Sire. You misunderstand. It's a modern use of the word fabulous, it means good. I've been telling everyone how marvellous you are. You're fabulous!"
Arthur narrowed his eyes. He was about to make some comment in response when a loud thud! at the window interrupted him.
Geoffrey and Arthur shared a glance.
"What was that?"
They marched over to the window and peered into the courtyard, where Gwen was standing, looking slightly mad, lobbing eggs at the windows of the castle and heckling any passing knights and noblemen.
"I probably ought to go and deal with that."
Arthur zoomed out of the library and hastened down towards the courtyard, not really looking where he was going.
"Ow! Arthur! That's the third time today!"
Arthur scowled. "Not now, Merlin. We have bigger problems." Arthur stormed off.
Merlin returned to his fascinating new book, The Gormenghast Trilogy, and his mind wandered off in dangerous directions.
For once, it seemed, Arthur was right.
They did have bigger problems.