Author's Note:: Welcome to the second installment of Griffins and Dragons. Thank you again, for all those who have reviewed, subscribed, or favorited.
Disclaimer:: Merlin belongs to BBC.
-Running her hands through the tangled mess that was her hair, Anastasia fidgeted as she tried to make herself at least presentable before the king arrived. She tried to ignore the constant staring and whispering from the court as she stood in the grand hall awaiting for her audience with the king. The clothes the boy Merlin had given her were itching and she tried to refrain from scratching. She also kept rolling up the sleeves of the wool shirt, the garment obviously too big for her. A slight cough was heard to her left and her eyes averted to the stag. He cleared his throat and nodded towards her. She released an agitated sigh as she forced the sleeves down. Annoying little...
The court bowed as King Uther entered and sat in his throne. His hair ridden with gray and his eyes were dull as if he haven't slept in years. The young woman's eyes averted to her sword that was placed in his by the blonde who she presumed to be Prince Arthur. He eyed the insignia and his eyes landed on her. "Who are you?"
Anastasia bowed, which caused a few whispers in the court. "I am Anastasia Von Beau, Your Majesty." She responded as she rose up. The people of the court began to murmur and Uther raised an eyebrow.
"Von Beau?" Uther repeated, extending the sheath. "Where did you get this?"
The young woman blinked as if taken back by the question. "My father, mi-lord."
"And who is your father?"
"Basil Von Beau."
The murmurs rose to chatter as the name passed on within the court. Arthur stepped forward as his father leaned further in his throne. "Sir Basil Von Beau? We was informed that he was defeated in-"
"the Great Purge." Uther finished his son's sentence. "He was a brave and valiant warrior. How did he survive?"
Anastasia sighed, her hands fiddling with the sleeves. "My father was indeed close to death. He and his regiment was attacked and he alone was left barely alive. My mother was the one who nursed him back to health. He only died five years ago, when I was thirteen." Her eyes narrowed on her sword. "That sword, is the only thing that I have left of him..."
Uther's face revealed interest. He handed the sword to one of the servants who placed the heirloom back in the young woman's care. "So why have you come here? Alone?"
"My mother..." Anastasia paused, contemplating on her words. It would do no good if Uther knew of her mother's magic. "My mother was murdered, your highness, on the night we tried to escape and seek shelter here. My lord, our village was attacked by dark creatures. Creatures of the dead and darkest depths of hell... the necromancer, Teivel, he-he controls them. I know he is planning to attack Camelot."
The court was now in awe and uproar. People of the court talked amongst themselves. Uther rose from his seat, "Silence." His voice caused the court to quiet. He looked to Anastasia once more. "You child, shall have sanctuary within the walls of the castle. Your father was a loyal servant and proud knight. It is the least I can do." He nodded towards Arthur, "Matters of Teivel will be discussed soon as possible."
"Thank you, sire."
Uther dismissed and so did the court.
Anastasia gazed at her reflection in the mirror, her own sea green irises gazing back at her. However, they appeared to have more depth than anytime she remembered. The color contrasted with the dark black rim of her eyelashes and charcoal that was painted on her. Strands of her kinky wave hair fell into her face while the rest was being casually brushed down her back. The black dress that was given to her fitted her nicely, the top slim around her womanly graces and filling out at the legs and pooling around her feet. White lines contributed to a design that were sewed into the lace sleeves. It was indeed a lovely mark of clothing and Anastasia couldn't really believe how long it has been since she wore a dress.
"You look beautiful, milady." The maidservant spoke behind her as she noticed how Anastasia was gazing at herself. "The dress fits nicely."
Smirking at the compliment, Anastasia looked at the girl over her shoulder in the reflection. She was a little older than herself but she retained to have been through a lot but her dark brown eyes smiled. "Thank you, Guinevere." Once the maid stopped brushing the locks, Anastasia turned fully around. "Prince Arthur told me you were quite good at seaming. I just didn't realize how good."
"I just had a lot of practice. And call me Gwen, milady." Gwen responded with a smile, "Arthur informed me to take care of you as best I can. So if you need anything, just call."
The tone caught Gwen and she chuckled, blushing slightly. "I mean Prince Arthur." With a curtsy, Gwen dismissed herself.
Anastasia was once again left in her new chambers. She walked over to the window and pushed open the stained glass. The spring early noon breeze blew through her loose strands. She gazed over the kingdom, the voices of the people mixing in with laughter of children. Pine and something sweet wafted on the breeze. She folded her arms on the sill and rested her head. "I promise I will save you, Mother..." Here she was, safe and guarded by walls while her mother was in the hands of one of the most notorious sorcerers. She sighed. It was a bother waiting for the final decision of the king and Arthur. There shouldn't be any discussion about it. Teivel will destroy this place and many more if he isn't stopped.
Rising up, she decided it would be best if she made her way around the grounds to take her mind off of it. She never really knew how to be patient. Things always made themselves happen or she forced it to. Being a lady of the court would take much getting used to. Taking her sword, she tied it around her waist and made her way out. It took much longer to get out of the castle than she was prepared for. Luckily, a few guards pointed her in the right direction. Her eyes wandered from shops to the merchants and the merchants to the passing people. There were so many sights and sounds that it somehow felt a little overbearing. The town was so much different from her little village. Music caught her attention and she found herself in front of the tavern. Taverns were always a place of such entertainment. Intriguing stories, juicy gossip, singing... no matter where you were, taverns never really changed.
The scent of cheap ale and smoke filled her nostrils as the young woman entered. A drunken woman sung poorly as she danced far off. Men and wenches sat tables, most were drinking, while some arm wrestled, fought, or played cards. A smirk formed on Anastasia's lips. This was something familiar. Taking a seat at a lone table, she called for a cup of ale. She ignored the looks that some of the patrons gave her. She knew she probably looked like she didn't belong there- all dressed up like royalty. A waitress retrieved her order and set the cup in front of her before wandering back off again. A relaxing sigh left her lips as she picked up the cup and placed the bitter alcohol to her lips. She grimaced as she swallowed. I definitely tasted better...
"Hey, sweetie," a man slurred as he stumbled over to her table, "Never seen your pretty face around here before. How bout I treat you to sumthin betta?" He smiled, revealing yellowed teeth. He was obviously too old to be hitting on someone as young as Anastasia. Dirty gray hair was pulled up into a pitiful excuse for a ponytail. His face was cursed with wrinkles.
Anastasia rolled her eyes. "Sorry. I'd rather not." She stated before she took another sip of her drink.
"C'mon, babe. I really had a hard day." His hand gripped her wrist and Anastasia sent him a glare. He couldn't possibly be this stupid where he didn't think she would use the sword on her hip.
Rising from her seat, Anastasia glared up at the over-sized man. "Remove your hand or you will lose it, sir." Her free hand lowered to the hilt of her sword.
The drunkard laughed and his grip tightened. "A woman with a sword is like a monkey with a stick-can't figure out what to do with it!" He pulled her a little closer, "Now sweetie, how bout we go somewhere more private?"
As Anastasia was about to unsheathe her blade, a man interrupted. "The lady don't seem to be interested. Maybe you should try your luck with some other fish, eh?"
"Piss off, pretty boy."
Anastasia's eyes widened as her 'rescuer' sent a solid punch into the man's face, causing him to tumble backwards and falling over a table. Dark brown eyes focused on her. Matching chin length hair and stubble beard against tan skin. He looked to be in his mid-twenties but had a wild look about him. He smiled. "Didn't want you to use that on this trash." He glanced over his shoulder at the now stumbling man who was now coming at him. "Excuse me." Before long, the tavern was now in a brawl.
Ducking flying bottles, Anastasia watched as men went flying, tumbling, and falling. She laughed a couple of times at her rescuer, who was now on the man's back, punching him in the head. As his opponent slammed him against the bar, the young woman broke a bottle over the man's head. She shrugged at the small smirk on his lips. "Thought you needed help."
The man chuckled, and hopped off of the bar top. "Let's get out of here, shall we." Grabbing her hand, they made their way through the brawl and burst through the tavern door, then took off, laughing the way.
They finally stopped to catch their breath. Both were panting and chuckling at the same time. He looked to her and smiled. "You know, a lady shouldn't be in such a place like that."
"Well I'm different than most ladies." Anastasia responded with a smirk, placing a hand on her hip.
"That's obvious." He laughed. "You are more gorgeous." The words caused a laugh to come from her lips.
Gwaine raised an eyebrow. "So you're Camelot's guest? Well then, milady," He took a bow, "It was an honor to have saved your life."
"Yeah, a real knight in shining armor."
He shrugged, "The knight part's right."
Before Anastasia could respond, a stage caught her eye and she sighed. He ran up to them, obviously must have been running all this time since he was panting by the time he reached them.
"Merlin! You just missed some fun in the tavern." Gwaine greeted him with a pat on the back.
The boy smiled before his eyes looked to the girl. A sigh left his lips. "Please don't tell me she was in on the fun..."
"More or less."
Merlin shook his head. "Milady, you aren't suppose to leave the castle grounds without a chaperon." When he noticed the small irritated sigh, Merlin quickly added, "The king's orders."
"Fine." Anastasia grumbled before heading back towards the castle.
Gwaine nudged Merlin's arm. "A little spitfire isn't she?"
"Annoyingly, yes. Though she is beautiful." Merlin rolled his eyes at Gwaine curious look. "Oh like you weren't about to say it, Gwaine."
"That's Sir Gwaine to you."
Sitting by the fire, Anastasia fiddled with the engraving on her father's sword. Her fingers running over the engraved letters. "To die without honor is to have lived as nothing." she repeated the line, her eyes gazing into the dancing flames. Everything was so different here. Women were expected to stay silent and look pretty. They were to curtsy instead of bow, to be told what to do instead of following her own way. Oh and don't go into taverns and drink cheap ale. Arthur was upset with her wandering off to the tavern, and not to mention the fighting. Even though Anastasia wasn't the one to randomly get into fights, she believed sometimes it were necessary. A soft knock was at her door and she sheathed her sword. "Come in."
Merlin entered with a tray of food, a small smile was on his lips. "The King and Arthur missed you at dinner." He set the tray down and begin setting the table. "I believe you are still upset with the rules."
She scoffed and stood up. "Of course. I mean I'm not defenseless. I have been able to take care of myself in the past."
"Gaius informed the king of your condition when you had arrived here. No one wants to see you hurt again." He stated plainly and pulled out the chair.
The girl sighed but accepted. She sat down and looked at her plate: pork, potatoes, and greens. A bowl of grapes was to her right. A small smile formed and she took a bite. After chewing for a minute, she looked to Merlin who was now closing the window. "I know I may appear very ungrateful to what all of you have done for me..." she sighed, "It's just a lot has been happening and I can't control it... It's a lot to adjust to."
Merlin raised an eyebrow, "Well I never heard such a pitiful lie."
"It's the truth, Merlin!"
The stag laughed and enjoyed the slight irritated blush on her cheek. "I was just joking. How bout I'll help you? I know when I first came here, I was thrown in the stocks twice... and since then, many more times."
"I-... that will be helpful. Thank you."
Merlin smirked and head for the door. "Gwen will be in shortly to get you ready for bed. Goodnight, milady."
"You can call me, Ana."
"As you wish. Goodnight, Ana."
Yes, I am finally done! I don't really know why this was the hardest chapter for me to finish. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it. Please review and see you next time!