Disclaimer: I do not own the wonderful world of Merlin and all characters associated with it.
I have now got a wonderful Beta reader by the name of GypsyBlaze. She is just amazing. I am so grateful for the amount of work she is putting in to keep this story in great shape. So please go onto her page, check out her stories especially Heart of Darkness, which I am currently reading and enjoying. She deserves a whole lot more credit for taking on this story to Beta read.
As per usual, please review. The more reviews the quicker I'll update. So really it's up to you to keep this story going.
As always, do enjoy and let me know your thoughts.
The servants who live and work in Camelot are treated with the utmost respect. Thank you very much. There may be a few who might not get on so well with their masters, but overall there is a sort of pleasant feeling when working in the King's headquarters, especially whilst preparing for a feast.
Beneath the beauty and calm atmosphere of the palace rests the tired faces of the Camelot maids working extra shifts to prepare for the upcoming Banquet. However, some of the maids have the easier life working in the quarters of the King and his son, Prince Arthur. Guinevere was an example of one of those lucky maids.
Gwen was the maidservant to the Lady Morgana from a very young age, and over the years the two became close friends. That relationship was destroyed when Morgana turned on Camelot and her King causing King Uther to fall into a daze unable to control his kingdom.
His son Arthur was left in charge. With Morgana gone, Gwen was offered the job of watching King Uther who was in need of constant surveillance. The news of Gwen's promotion was spread through the halls of the castle, from servant to servant and although they were all happy for Gwen there was bigger news at hand. Another maid would have to take Gwen's previous position.
In the days leading up to the Banquet, Gwen received numerous letters from willing maids offering themselves up to receive the new role in the castle. Gwen was flustered; she needed to make a decision fast before Gaius got on her back.
Sighing she sat herself down at the rusty table in her small cabin in Camelot village. Flicking through numerous pages of 'Please Gwen' and 'I'll work longer hours' was tiring for the young maid. She was just about to leave when she heard someone knock on her door gently.
"I'm not taking any more applications," she called to the waiting guest. Preparing herself for a crying sob and hateful slogans, Gwen moved towards her bed hoping to avoid the dramatic tears of one of the maids, instead she heard a small laugh.
"Gwen, don't be silly!" A small voice cried from behind the wooden door. "I don't want that silly job, I came to see you".
Gwen relaxed slightly, recognizing the voice. Charlotte Hill, the young maid who worked in the horse barracks peaked through the small gap in the door. Gwen smiled slightly walking towards the girl, when she opened the door she was greeted with a large hug.
"Gwen, how are you?" beamed the young girl. At first glance you would not assume for her to be a maid. Her flowing strawberry blond hair was braided in a beautiful plat that immediately highlighted the blue in her eyes. However, once you move her eyes towards her clothing the title of 'maid' becomes evident. Unlike Gwen who dressed in fitted clothing, Charlotte covered herself in old hand me down from her older brother who moved to another town. The baggy oversized clothing made her petite figure seem all the more invisible.
Charlotte smiled brightly at Gwen. No matter what condition she lived or was forced to work in, the girl would always smile.
"Hello Charlotte!" Gwen replied brightly. "How have you been?"
"I'm doing good" she replied brightly "Except those Knights always leave the horses in a complete wreck when they return from hunting, and I'm forced to groom each one, it takes so long!"
Gwen felt for the young maid. She always said that Charlotte had one of the toughest jobs in Camelot.
"Never mind me" She shrugged as she made her way towards Gwen's desk. "Look at all this! I feel sorry for you Gwen, all those maids. Besides you do realize that all they want is to get up close and personal with the Knights, especially Arthur." Gwen frowned at the idea; she was not fond of other women flaunting themselves in front of her Prince. Charlotte noticed her frustration.
"Oh Gwen don't fret, Merlin is the only servant allowed to be in Arthur's chambers" She beamed and Gwen couldn't help but smile back, she always felt at ease around Charlotte.
"Still Charlotte, it's so difficult!"
"Yes it is, look at this stuff...'please Gwen' that is ridiculous, obviously they don't understand the purpose of being a maid - especially one at that level. There is a lot of responsibility, am I right Gwen?"
Gwen yawned in response. "And tiring," she added in looking down at the applications. "There is a lot here Charlotte and nobody makes the cut," Gwen sighed in frustration.
"Yes and I wish I could help you Gwen, but I really have to go back to work," she piped in eagerly.
"Haven't you just started your break Charlotte?" The girl nodded in response as she made her way towards the door.
"Honestly I just wanted to come see you Gwen, besides you don't have breaks when you work for the King, well at least you're not exactly supposed to." Gwen smiled at the girl's working ethic, Gaius was always impressed by Charlotte's eager attitude to work.
"I'll see you later" She beamed waving her hand towards Gwen.
"I'll come visit you later on," Gwen called turning back towards the applications. Who was she supposed to choose, nobody was good enough for the spot.
Charlotte's voice echoed in Gwen mind. 'You don't have breaks when you work for the King'.
It hit Gwen like a large rock had just fallen on her head.
Charlotte was perfect for the job.
Before she realized what she was doing Gwen leaped after the girl.
Charlotte was skipping up towards the horse stables in a daze greeting her neighbours with a wave on her journey. When she approached the stables she waited for a loud neigh to greet her, but when she heard nothing she sighed with worry.
As she tuned into the stables she was greeted by one of the knights of Camelot.
"Excuse me, Sir" she squeaked smiling brightly at the gentleman in front of her. The knight jumped at the voice and turned towards the girl. He nodded his head at her presence.
"I was beginning to think these horses where left alone" He remarked, his husky voice echoing across the room.
"Sir, my apologies. I was just visiting my friend Gwen" He nodded slightly turning back to the horses. Charlotte was overwhelmed by the presence of a knight, especially one who spoke to her with such calmness.
She always found Knights interesting. Their entire attire was remarkably fascinating; she opened her mouth to ask him a question when she heard Gwen screaming her name from afar.
"Charlotte!" Gwen called towards the girl. Charlotte beamed and gestured towards Gwen.
"I've got great news" Gwen called leaping on the young girl. She was shocked when she noticed the night Percival staring at the girls curiously.
"Sir, forgive my behavior" She frowned turning her head to the ground. The knight Percival laughed slightly.
"Gwen, don't be ridiculous, how have you been?" He asked kindly. Gwen arched her head towards the Knight curiously.
"I'm good and you?" She asked in a hush whisper.
"Quite fine, I was just about to go on a hunting trip, Arthur sent me to make sure the horses were prepared." He smiled towards Charlotte. "Would you mind preparing them?"
Charlotte was staring curiously at the Knight. He was extremely handsome. The little hair he had was a slight shade of blond; Charlotte wondered why it was so short. In a daze she jumped when Gwen shoved her in the rib cage with her elbow, Charlotte was too astonished to notice both characters staring at her oddly.
"Y-yes" She nodded ignoring Gwen's gaze.
"Perfect" He replied beaming down at both young maids. He nodded his head in approval and turned to leave. Charlotte stared absent-mindedly at the Knight as he walked past her.
"I have great news, Charlotte!" Gwen said pulling Charlotte's gaze from the Knight.
"Oh! What is it Gwen?" Charlotte asked curiously. Gwen pulled the girl further into the stables cautious that nobody overheard them.
"I've decided who will replace my previous job" Gwen said enthusiastically. Charlotte smiled half heartedly towards the maid.
"You!" Gwen beamed pulling Charlotte into a large embrace. "You're perfect for the job. I can trust that you will do your work." Charlotte smile faded for the first time in all the history that Gwen knew the girl.
"I can't work up...There!" Charlotte said shaking her head in disgust. "They won't approve of me, Gwen"
"Don't say that, honestly Charlotte you will be amazing!" Gwen said lifting Charlotte head with her hand. "Besides, you will be waiting on the knights of Camelot" Gwen added slyly. Charlotte frowned disapprovingly.
"Gwen...I don't think-"
"Charlotte I chose you for a reason. You are the only person I can trust at such a position. Please say yes or else I'll have to choose another maid who I'm sure will murder for the job" Charlotte laughed at Gwen's pleas.
"OK fine, I'll do it for you. But, can I stay working in the stables...I can do both!" Gwen sighed putting both her hands onto the young girls shoulders.
"Yes you can do both. But if you feel like it's too much, tell me straight away. You're too young to have to do all that work." Charlotte pulled away in frustration eying her new boss.
"Too young! Gwen I'm seventeen! I'm only a year younger than you!" Gwen laughed at her anger.
"Charlotte, you're almost as funny as Merlin" Both girls laughed loudly, their voices echoing through the stables.
"I'm sorry Charlotte must I must return to the King." Gwen said thoughtfully. Charlotte nodded in response aware of Gwen's duties.
"I must tend to these horses for the Prince"
Both girls embraced before going their separate ways. Gwen informed Charlotte that she will start her new duties tomorrow morning at the break of dawn. The girl expected such a time, working in the stables requires waking up early in the morning just before all the maids, Charlotte knew she could fit in her horse duties as well as her new job requirements.
To prepare the horses was a simple duty, what was difficult was cleaning them when the Knights return from their hunting. At that point Charlotte found herself working at least an hour on each horse, which was a lot of work considering there were eight horses in the stable.
Charlotte finished her job relatively quickly relieved that she spent those extra hours brushing each horse in the early hours of the morning.
The armour was always the hardest job for a girl of such a small frame. Although she was seventeen, she had the body of a fifteen year old, luckily she could hide behind large baggy clothing she wore whilst grooming the horses.
When she finally finished with the horses she stood back to analyze her handiwork. Yes, she was happy with her effort.
At that moment the Prince and a hand full of knights arrived at the stables, chattering amongst the air.
Prince Arthur was gorgeous. There was just something about him that made women swoon in his presence.
If only they knew of Gwen.
It is obvious when he looks at her; it's as if there are no other women on his mind. Charlotte has told Gwen of this a number of times but she always receives the same response. "Nothing can happen" Gwen would say. Charlotte sighed at the thought.
Charlotte turned back towards the horses pulling out a brush to look occupied when the Prince approached. He smiled widely towards the young girl. Charlotte who was always smiling curtsied.
"Your Highness, your horses are prepared for your trip" She said gesturing towards the stallions.
"Thank you Charlotte" He said in response. The girl paused in confusion shocked that the Prince knew her name.
"And congratulations on the new position, I'm sure you'll do a great job" Charlotte continued to stare as the Prince addressed her kindly.
He gestured towards the knights who all walked forward and received a horse each. Charlotte stood up the back untying the last horse.
"Congratulations" A deep voice said from above Charlotte. She arched her head towards the voice and smiled widely when she was greeted with the knight Percival. "I Suppose I will be seeing a lot more of you in the castle?" He asked taking the horse from Charlotte's grasp.
"Yes, I assume so" She replied brightly.
"I'm glad" was all he said as he left the stable. Charlotte stood in shock but couldn't help but smile at his response.
"Close your mouth missy" She heard from behind her. She turned and was greeted with a smiling Merlin. He was carrying a large bag which without doubt belonged to the Prince.
"Merlin!" She beamed hugging him around the supplies. He smiled brightly attempting to remove one of his hands to embrace her but was unsuccessful when the bag dropped on his foot.
"Ouch!" He cried. Charlotte burst into hysterics moving towards the back of the stables. "Luckily I prepared a horse for you Merlin"
She pulled out a black stallion that was primped and ready to hunt. Merlin almost leaped on her with joy.
"Thank you Charlotte, where would I be without you?" He screamed in delight. "Wait until Arthur... damn it, I better go" He tied his bag onto the mount before he tugged the horse out of the stables.
"I owe you one Charlotte...Oh I can't wait until we work together" He called from outside. Charlotte smiled at the servant boy, glad of her friendship.
Charlotte sighed happily. Maybe working in the castle wouldn't be so bad after all.
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