Gwen sat on the floor of the royal nursery, crying.
She had only gone in there to make sure everything was in order. The sight of the newly-fashioned cradle, the neatly folded clean yellow-white sheets and the simple tidiness of the room made the young queen burst out into tears.
Gwen placed both her hands on her large swollen stomach. She knew it was just her emotions running high but they ran through her like warm water over the skin.
Once she had recovered herself from that little episode, she dabbed her tears away and surveyed the room again with a smile. She ran her hands over the polished wood of the dark cradle. She pushed it gently to rock it and wondered why it was that babies were comforted by being rocked. She imagined that she would get sick if hers and Arthur's bed could rock from side to side.
She wondered if it was because babies were used to movement, having lived inside their mothers.
It was then Gwen felt a tiny kick beneath her dress. It had been the first time it had kicked that day. Her hands immediately went to feel the sensation. The little fluttering seemed to be spreading throughout her stomach, all at the same time. She had first realised that those sensations were the kicks of the baby a few nights ago. It had been when the baby made one great, big kick - so big that it woke her up. She immediately shook Arthur awake and placed his hand on her tummy for fear he might miss it.
Since then she had found it hard to keep dry eyes whenever she felt their baby announce its presence.
"Are you awake, little one?" Gwen whispered to herself. The baby kicked again, and then again.
With the court now confident that the child inside the queen's body was alive and well, the question of the child's name had come up. Everyone hoped for a boy so most of the names suggested to the royal couple and discussed between Arthur and Gwen had been boys names.
Gwen walked over to a small dresser for the baby and pulled out a baby gown to admire it. She compared it to another one of a slightly different shade, and then to cream and yellow bonnet. She had made all her baby's clothes herself. She had worked furiously ever since Gaius confirmed to her that she was pregnant. She was currently working on the Christening grown - and she cried as she did that too.
She had received some funny looks from the Privy Council the other day when she sat in on a meeting sewing and suddenly started crying. She did it quietly, but they could see the tears.
"Are you a boy, little one?" Gwen asked herself again. There was no direct response. "What do you think of the name 'Anir'?"
She neatly folded the baby clothes and bonnets away.
"I think it means something to do with sound," she mused thoughtfully. "I can't remember whether it means 'a sound' or 'a song' or even 'silent one'."
She chuckled and closed the draw.
"I like 'Anir'," Gwen told the baby, whether it heard or not. "I always thought if I had a son I'd call him 'Anir' or 'Amhar'. I never knew anyone with that name but I always liked the sound of it. It's probably silly."
The fluttering in her stomach welled up again.
"I think your father prefers the name 'Llacheu'," Gwen spoke aloud to her womb. She looked in another cupboard to find more clean white sheets for changing the cradle's bedding. "I'd never heard that name before but Arthur says it means 'bright one'. I love that meaning and I even love the sound... even if it sounds like an eye in a lock."
She decided to fold away some of the sheets left out herself. Gwen imagined the servant had become distracted by something but she didn't mind. She was a very forgiving mistress.
"I suppose 'Llacheu' sounds more like a prince," Gwen conceded, although she had feely admitted she loved the name. "Yet 'Anir' sounds more mysterious, more handsome. Then again 'Llacheu' sounds like a true hero. But you will one day be a king - so maybe a name like 'Duran' would be best. I could see a King 'Duran'."
The name 'Duran' had been suggested by Merlin when he had come with Gaius to check on them. According to Merlin the name 'Duran' meant dark, to which Arthur told Gwen that if they had twin boys they could call them Llacheu and Duran. Bright and Dark.
"I don't like Duran as much as Llacheu or Anir," Gwen said, and she sat in a chair close to the cradle. She wished she had brought the Christening gown with her so she could do some more sewing. "Gaius thinks 'Gwydre' would be a good name." It meant 'to rise' according to him. "I like it but I think it sounds a bit low-key."
The baby kicked hard as if to agree.
"But what if you're a girl?" Gwen said with a gasp. "I wish I could tell right now what you will be because there are so many girls names that I like."
There were indeed so many girls names that she and Arthur had tossed about as names they liked. They had listed their five favourite female names, then compared notes and crossed out the names they didn't like to make a compiled list for them to choose from. 'Eirian' was cut, as too were 'Gwylfai', 'Marwyn', 'Delun' and 'Dilwen'.
Arthur wasn't very fair by deleting four of Gwen's suggested names when she only deleted one of his. He said he didn't like names that began with a 'B', 'M', 'D' or 'E' although he allowed Gwen to keep 'Eiliwedd' on her list as he liked the meaning. It meant 'glorious image' or 'idol', a good name for a princess. The only other name Gwen had on her list that Arthur liked – and oddly enough had on his list too – was 'Arianwen'.
Other than 'Gwylfai', Gwen had liked all the names on Arthur's list. 'Ciara' was one of them, 'Aderyn' was another and so was 'Rhian'... Merlin had then suggested that for a girl, they blend their names and call her something like 'Awena', which meant 'muse'.
Gwen got up again and adjusted the veil over the crib.
"What are we going to call you?" she suddenly said out loud. "What if we pick the wrong name for you?"
...and with that she started crying again.