Please ignore my crappy title, it has nothing to do with the story, I just couldn't think of a good name. Anyways, this little idea to kind of play out Balinor's life popped into my head and would not leave me alone and finally, I have finished something. I hope it is as good as I think it is(;
I apologize in advance for any mistakes I have made. Also, I have kind of twisted what happened to Ygraine during Arthur's birth a little... Sorry :/
It was a blessed night, and yet it was a cursed one.
In the King and Queen's private chambers, Queen Ygraine writhed in pain on the bed, gripping the white sheets with closed fists until her knuckles were of such shade. Her mouth opened in a wide "O" as she screamed in pain. A select maid dabbed a white towel across her sweaty forhead. Uther gripped her wrist.
"It is almost done, Sire," Gaius, the court physician encouraged the lady as she jerked in pain again.
"This better have worked," Uther thought to himself as he struggled to comfort his wife.
Many painful moments passed until Ygraine's cries of pain were replaced with a young child's sobs of confusion. Gaius wrapped the newborn baby boy in a sheet of pure white and rocked him gently as he checked him over. The baby seemed healthy.
"Let me... Let me see him, Gaius, please," came Ygraine's hoarse voice as she weakly pulled herself up into a sitting position, holding herself up against the headboard of the bed. Wordlessly, Gaius placed the baby into the Queen's outstretched arms. Ygraine cuddled her son lovingly to her chest, smiling when he opened his bright blue eyes and stared up at his mother. "Arthur," she whispered, stroking his cheek gently. "Prince Arthur."
And then, suddenly, she laid her head back and closed her eyes and stilled, so quietly that one might think that she had fallen asleep out of exhaustion. But a new mother did not simply "fall asleep" while holding her newborn child for the first time. A worried look crossed Uther's youthful face. "Ygraine?" he called, but his wife did not stir as she usually did at the sound of his voice. "Ygraine!"
At no sign of movement, Gaius rushed forward and placed his fingers at her neck, searching for a pulse. A second later, his hand fell and his eyes drooped in sorrow. "She is gone, Sire."
Uther surged forward and collapsed next to her. Tears poured out of his eyes as he gripped her hand, chanting a mantra of "No, nonononononono..." over and over as he sobbed into her lap. The baby, distressed at the sudden tension around him, began to wail as well.
Gaius looked away sadly. "Sire..." he began.
"Leave!" Uther bellowed. The maid rushed from the room. Gaius gave him a small bow before turning and following her, shutting the door quietly behind him.
As soon as they had left, a new voice cut through the room like a knife. "I told you the price, Uther Pendragon. In order to create a life, one must be taken. The balance of the world must be restored."
"You did not tell me that the life would be her own!" Uther shouted at the priestess of the Old Religion. "Bring her back."
"You struck the deal," Nimueh replied calmly, looking down at Uther, his wife, and their new son.(1) "I gave you Arthur. In turn, Ygraine died to balance the world. The balance has been restored." And with that, the witch disappeared.
Uther looked back down at his wife. Already she was paling and her hand, the one enclosed in Uther's tight grip, was getting colder. The King's eyes filled with tears as he buried his face back into the blankets over his wife's lap and sobbed, forgetting, for the moment, about baby Arthur, who cried as well, wrapped in a blanket next to Ygraine.
Gaius opened and shut the door to his personal chambers and bowed his head. In the corner of his eye, he saw movement, and suddenly Balinor, one of the DragonLords, stood and walked over to him. "Well?" he asked impatiently. "Is it a boy or a girl?"
"It is a boy," the physician responded, looking at his friend. "However, it cost the Lady Ygraine her life."
Balinor's face fell. "Oh..." he breathed. "Oh no. Uther must be heartbroken."
Gaius nodded in agreement. "I fear that magic may have had a part in this," he gestured to the door. "I can only imagine what Uther will do."
"He is a strong king," Balinor argued. "He will pull through this and raise his son the right way. I have faith in him." He walked back to his chair and sat down. "By the way, what is his son's name?"
"His name is Arthur Pendragon."
The people of the inner village had heard of their Queen's death. At night, they stood beneath her window, standing still like statues, all holding a lit candle. Uther tried to ignore it.
It was three days after Ygraine's death. Everyone of the inner village had gathered beneath the King's balcony. Gaius stood behind the King, with some guards and a knight. Balinor had been hunting alone in the woods to get outdoors for a while. Uther looked down at his people, frowning. "I have called you all here to make an important announcement," he bellowed, silencing the whispers below. The knights straightened. Gaius frowned. "A new law is being passed in the kingdom of Camelot. From this point on, all sorcery is banned from use in this land. Anyone caught practicing or using this dark magic will be executed instantly. I would like all sorcerers and DragonLords rounded up. I will have no more dark magic in my kingdom for as long as I live!"
There were shouts of protest and fear as the select number of people who were sorcerers and DragonLords tried to run. Guards and knights easily knocked them to the ground and brought them all forward. With a flick of the wrist, Uther commanded, "Behead them all" and he walked back inside.
Gaius, the guards, and the knight followed. The court physician couldn't help feeling the panic rising in his chest at the thought of Balinor trying to get back into the castle and being beheaded. A servant that Gaius knew and had helped many times ran over to him. "Gaius, what about Balinor..." she asked nervously.
"I know," Gaius responded as he looked around.
"You can't let Uther know his whereabouts," she whispered fearfully.
"I will do my best," Gaius promised and walked quickly away.
Entering his room, he gathered all of Balinor's supplies and packed extra clothes and food for his journey. Grabbing his bag, he shoved everything in and hurried to the stables. Saddling up his horse, he took off, trying to ignore the screams of protest as the magic users and DragonLords were murdered.
It took Gaius a few hours to finally track Balinor down. "Gaius!" the last DragonLord smiled at the sight of his friend, but it fell when he saw that the physician did not look pleased. "Gaius, what's wrong?"
The old man halted his horse next to Balinor's and thrust the backpack out at him. "I do not have much time," he told him and began to explain what had happened as Balinor opened the pack and meddled through the supplies. "Uther has banned the use of magic from Camelot, and plans to kill anyone who practices it! This includes DragonLords. The others are already dead by now."
Balinor felt his blood run cold. "The others... They are dead?"
Gaius nodded confirmation and bowed his head. "I am so sorry. I wish something could have been done."
Balinor let his eyes droop, feeling numb. "It's okay, Gaius. There's nothing that you could have done." Gaius watched his friend sadly. Balinor let out a breath. "I had more faith in Uther Pendragon than this," he spoke, looking back in the direction of the castle. "This will not play out well for him in the future."
Gaius followed his gaze. "You must run and never return to Camelot as long as the ban is in place," he pleaded. He turned and pointed in the opposite direction. "If you ride a ways that way, you will find yourself in Cenred's kingdom."(2)
Balinor bowed his head and shook his friend's hand. "I will never forget you, Gaius," he told him. "I wish you luck with Uther and Arthur." With this farewell, Balinor turned, dug his heels into the pony's side, and took off deeper into the forest, leaving his old friend watching him go.
Gaius waited until he could no longer see the DragonLord, and then he turned and rode slowly back to the castle to face Uther and his new rule.
It was two days into his journey when Balinor ran into his first sign of trouble.(3) A group of five bandits had him surrounded when he woke, grinning and ruffling through his supplies. The man in front of him smirked. "Well now, what's a fancy man like you doing in the forest, all alone?"
Balinor realized that he was still wearing the red cape the signified the kingdom of Camelot. He frowned at the bandit, wrapping a hand around his dagger. "I am making my way into Cenred's kingdom."
The leader laughed, a deep, rough sound that made the DragonLord's skin crawl. "What business does a man of Uther's have in Cenred's kingdom?"(4)
Balinor shuddered. "I am no man of Uther's."
"You bear his cape."
"I should have disposed of it sooner."
The bandit was interested now. He crossed his arms and loosened slightly. "So it is safe to say that you are an enemy of his."
Balinor tensed. "I am not his friend, but if he decides to allow magic back into his kingdom, I will go back."
"And why is that, DragonLord?" the bandit smirked at the shocked look that came over Balinor. "Yes, we have all heard by now that Uther has banned magic and has killed all the others." He smiled. "And to think of how highly we would be rewarded if we brought the last DragonLord in..."
This was enough for Balinor. The man leaped to his feet, pulling his dagger from it's sheath and slashing at the bandit. The bandit pulled out his sword and attempted to deflect it. They crashed to the forest floor, Balinor on top. He stabbed the ground around the man's head, who had dropped his sword in the fall. It lay a few feet away, half buried by dead leaves fallen from trees.
The others pulled out daggers and attempted to pull Balinor off. He slashed at them as well, succeeding in a few small shallow cuts on their arms and faces, enough to make them hiss and retreat for a few seconds.
Balinor stood and began to call for the dragons, but the leader laughed and pulled out a dagger of his own, slashing and making a small cut on the DragonLord's cheek. "Don't depend on your little dragon friends to come and help you," he mocked. "Uther has had them all killed."
Balinor's breath escaped him as he thought of his brothers and kin dead. Uther had overreacted with Ygraine's death on this. Something had to be done to stop this eventually.
Still, they fought, until, laughing, the bandits retreated back into the woods, mounting their hidden horses and riding away with all the DragonLord's supplies. Balinor watched, somewhat worried, as they disappeared into the darkness.
A sharp pain suddenly flared from his side, and he looked down, suprised to find a small dagger buried into his right hip. "When did that happen?" he asked himself.
He gathered many herbs from the forest floor and mushed them together to make a salve, one that Gaius had taught him how to make, that he put over the wound after yanking the dagger out. He slowly mounted his horse, careful not to jostle the wound too much as he continued on in the forest, eager now to get farther away from Camelot.
But as the days continued to pass, he felt himself growing weaker from hunger. The salve did good on the wound, but with his growing hunger and weakness, it grew infected and throbbed even more. He found some edible berries and tried his luck at hunting, but it did no good to satify himself and he grew sicker as he travelled. Three days after the bandits attacked, his eyes showed him a small village.(5)
There were many people carrying crops around, some working hard in the fields, others staying at their houses and cleaning. The village was small, and didn't look very rich. The buildings were shabby and crumbling, but it was a village nonetheless. Taking his chances, Balinor surged his horse slowly forward.
The rocking motion of the horse made him nauseous, and didn't help the wound either. By the time he was up close to the buildings, he was panting from pain and exhaustion.
A young woman around his age, who had been washing something in a bucket, gasped and ran to Balinor when she saw him. He halted his horse and allowed her to help him down. "Tell me..." he panted. "Am I in Cenred's kingdom?"
Wordlessly, the worried woman nodded.
Balinor smiled. "Then I... Then I am free." And he blacked out.
Something warm and tasty slipped past his lips and into his mouth. He swallowed and moaned.
"Shh," a soft voice soothed and a soft hand pushed his sweaty hair back from his forehead.
Uther slammed his fist on the arm of his chair and glared at the guards. "I want the last DragonLord found and brought back to me so that I can execute him for his use of magic!" he screamed angrily. The guards bowed and walked out of the room.
Balinor's eyes fluttered open. He saw a ceiling above his head, felt warmth crawl about his skin, and felt nothing but softness, supporting his back and draped over his body. He sat up, sending a quick flash of pain through his head and down his body, but that quickly disappeared.
A young woman, the one who had first come to his aid upon entry of the town, walked over and smiled warmly at him.(6) "Well, now," she greeted. How are you feeling today?" She moved until she was sitting on a small wooden stool set next to the bed.
Balinor shot her a grateful, weak half-smile. "Much better," he praised. "I thank you." He paused, looking around. "How long was I out?"
"Five days," she shook her head. "You were starved, thirsty, and that nasty stab wound in your side was not doing well, but the salve that was put on it kept it from growing fatal. Tell me, how did you let this happen to yourself?"
So Balinor told her the whole story, starting with Ygraine's death. He told her how the anger and depression in Uther for his wife made him snap and ban all use of magic in the kingdom, ordering for all the sorcerers and DragonLords currently housed there to be executed. He told her that he was a DragonLord, but that, at the time of the new law, he had been deep in the woods hunting, and that a close friend of his who had been there for the exiles had ridden out with supplies and told him to get away from Camelot before Uther knew that he had escaped. He told her he had travelled long, and then that he had run into some bandits who had stabbed him and stolen his stuff. He had gone on, trying to find a village in Cenred's kingdom and get some food, but the wound had made it hard to hunt and lack of supplies hadn't made things much easier.
By the time he was done, the woman watched him with mixed emotions: disturbed, scared, intrigued. She folded her hands neatly into her lap and avoided eye contact. "You must be hungry," she spoke finally. "We should just feed you broth, until you can ease onto solid foods." She retreated back to a pot over the burning fire, pouring some of it into a small bowl. She brought it over and held the first spoonful out for him.
embarrassed by his weakness, Balinor reached out to take the bowl. "I can do it," he mumbled shyly.
"No, no," the woman laughed, slipping the spoon around his wandering hands and finally into his open mouth. "I've been doing this for five days. I don't mind at all." So Balinor gave in and allowed the gentle woman to feed him some broth.
When his stomach was satisfied, he pulled back with a mumble of "No more, thank you" and she put the spoon into the bowl and dropped it at her side. He stared at her, taking in her appearance. She was a skinny thing, with shaggy brown hair pulled into a messy twisted bun at the back. Her skin was pale, eyes a lovely shade of blue, dress a lighter shade than the eyes and a white shirt on underneath with longer sleeves. "I just realized," he spoke up. "You have helped heal me for days and I do not yet know your name."
She blushed, but smiled nonetheless. "Hunith," she looked at him. "My name is Hunith."
Slowly, Balinor gathered the strength to eat solid foods and start to move around on his feet again. His original plan was to leave as soon as he was able to hold his own weight, but he grew fond of Hunith's company and found himself opening up more and more to the lovely woman.
Hunith welcomed him with open arms into her house. Soon, he had his own bed set up a ways away, and she took him into the fields and showed him what she did to work. He helped her gather crops, clean the house, cook meals, and anything else to stay by her side. Soon, they were never seen apart.
Hunith began to write Gaius. Her first note to him was under Balinor's request from bed, to tell him that he had made it to a small village called Ealdor in Cenred's kingdom and housed with her. She received a thoughtful reply a couple of days later, and soon, she wrote him often for anything. It was like they were close friends.
One night, about a month after Balinor's arrival in Ealdor, he and Hunith were finishing up cleaning her dishes. Balinor walked out the door to try to get some fresh water when he spotted the moon high in the sky. A smile stretched out upon his face. He knew the woods outside of the village very well.
Walking back in, he set the empty bucket by the door. Hunith turned and smiled at him. "That was fast!" she greeted.
"Come with me," he beckoned to her, holding out his hand. Hunith stared at him, confused, before standing and walking over. She placed her hand in his, smiling when the warmth of his closed around her's. He pulled her out the door and they walked, hand in hand, through the village. No one was out, making the sounds of the woods louder and more lively. Hunith looked around thoughtfully before finally looking at Balinor. "Where are you taking me?"
A half-smile crossed his face and he continued to walk, slowly, to enjoy the scenery as it was. "You will see."
They walked through the village, past the growing corn, and into the woods. Hunith was confused, but she was also excited. She had never really been into the woods this late at night; she had kept her boundaries to the edge of the forest by daylight and even closer to the houses at night. But Balinor was sturdy and strong, and Hunith trusted him.
Eventually they made it to a clearing, and the young woman gasped in suprise. Balinor watched her, smiling with success. The clearing was beautiful. There was tall, soft green grass with beautiful white flowers growing out of it. This surrounded a peaceful small lake. The full moon from the skies reflected off the water, sending off a beautiful glow. Stars sparkled above them, and the wind made the tall grass and flowers sway gently with it, almost as if it were dancing. "Balinor..." she breathed. "It's so beautiful!"
He took her hand in his and together, they stared out at the water, enjoying the moment of peace. Their eyes met through the dark, locking on each other, soaking in the other's company. Balinor moved first, leaning slightly towards her, with a questioning look on his face. Hunith closed the distance and for the first time, the DragonLord and the village girl shared a kiss. It was a small peck at first, but Balinor leaned in again and they kissed again and again, only seeing each other through the moonlight. It was perfect.
They ended up on Hunith's bed, lips only parting slightly to breathe. It was the best night of Hunith's life, as it was for Balinor. Finally, they were together.
Balinor and Hunith, from then on, were viewed as a couple. Balinor stayed faithful by her side, working hard to be able to feed her and give her everything she needed, and she helped him as much as she could.
For a month and a half, the DragonLord found his paradise.
"We're sorry, Sire. There is no sign of the last DragonLord."
Uther shouted out and stood, pacing. He pondered over himself, thinking of what to do next, and suddenly, it hit him. "He would not be in Camelot anymore," he realized and turned to the knights. "Search the outer villages of Cenred's kingdom."
The knights bowed and exited with their new orders.
Though the knights were quick, having left in the early dawn the day after their new assignment, Gaius' note with the new information was quicker and reached Ealdor about a day before the guards would. Hunith ran quickly through the town, making everyone turn and watch her with curiosity at her sudden burst of energy. She ran past everyone and into the fields, where she knew she would find him. "Balinor!" she cried.
The man dropped his gathered crops into his basket. A wide smile lit up his face as he held his arms open in greeting. Hunith ran into him, wrapping her arms around his middle and sobbing. Balinor was quick to respond to the hug, holding her tightly. "My dear, what is the matter?"
Hunith pulled back and wiped a tear that was rolling down her cheek. "A note from Gaius arrived today," she handed it to him and summarized it in her own words as she read it. "Uther is still hunting for you, and now he's sending troops into Cenred's outer villages in search for you."
Balinor's face fell at the news. He knew what he must do now, and it would break his heart to do so. He dropped the note dejectedly and looked at the ground. "Hunith..."
"You must leave," she begged him, placing her hands on his cheeks. "I do not want to be the reason that your life will be in danger." She squeezed her eyes shut. "You must leave me and run far, far away."
Balinor placed one of his hands over one of her own, meeting her red eyes with his tear filled ones. "I know," he whispered sadly. "And it will kill me to do so, but I do not want your life to be in constant danger because of Uther's hunt for me. I will leave Ealdor, and you will stay here. But I will never return."
Hunith sobbed again and was pulled back into her lover's arms. She did not want this to happen, but she knew that he was looking out for her safety as much as she was looking out for his. He did not want to put her life in danger, and she did not want him to be in danger. So she held onto him and sobbed for her loss.
She gave him a small pack of supplies. She put food in it, along with his medicines and a small blanket. He wore his usual outfit that he had worn in Ealdor while he had worked. She pressed it into his arms once he had gotten his horse saddled up. "I will miss you," she whispered. "Your stay with me has changed my life, and I love the way it is now. I will miss you, and I will never forget you." Her voice cracked on the last statement, and Balinor pulled her in and pressed his lips to her's one last time.
"I love you," was the last thing he whispered into her ear before he mounted his horse and took off, leaving the village and disappearing into the woods for good.
The guards arrived the next day. They searched everyones house, but found no trace of the DragonLord having ever stayed there. And no one in the village would admit to having seen such a man of the description.
Hunith found herself slightly hating Uther and his knights, for ruining her life with Balinor. But she covered and said that she had never seen this DragonLord man, nor had she known that there was such a man on the loose. The knights easily fell for the lies and moved on.
However, Hunith did understand that magic had ruined Uther's life with his wife. She could now understand where his rage came from.
Balinor did not house in another village. He did not risk the chance of the knights having been in a village and the people arresting him and turning him in. Nor would he dare to form a bond like that with others again. It would only be ripped from his grasp by Uther's determination to find and execute him.
Instead, he found a cave. It was a fairly large cave, but it was cozy and had a small bubbling brook that ran just outside of it, and for miles there was nothing but green shrubs and towering trees. He made his way to the back of the cave, set his pack down, and sank to his knees. Later, he would trade his mare in for some supplies, but for now, he would sit and think about what he was going to do with his life from this point on.
"Sire, there is no sign of the DragonLord."
Uther pinched the bridge of his nose and relaxed back in his throne. "I am tired of this chase," he verbalized his thoughts. "We will wait and see if anyone reports of seeing this man. If nothing comes, we will stop acting."
The knights bowed and were gone.
The letter arrived about two weeks later.
I inform you that Balinor has made his way deep into the woods and plans to never return to me in order to keep me safe. He has escaped the knights that came to my village, but if he was able to escape them out there, I do not know. Lately, I have felt different. It has been sad to wake up and no longer see him next to me, smiling and promising for a better day. Things happened between him and I, and I am afraid of what will happen to me now. But I have bigger, more recent news.
I am pregnant, and I fear that the child is Balinor's.
1: I don't remember if Uther struck the deal with Nimueh, but that's who I put because I couldn't think of anything else.
2: I'm not sure if Cenred was the ruler at that time, but if he wasn't I don't know who was, so I just put Cenred.
3: I'm not exactly sure if it would take a shorter amount of time than two days to reach Cenred's kingdom?
4: Were Uther and Cenred enemies even back then? I don't know :3
5: Again, I'm not sure if it would take that long to reach this location from Camelot.
6: I can't remember how Hunith's house was set up, forgive me for lack of details. :/
I thank you all for taking the time to read this, and I apologize if I have gotten any information wrong. I love getting reviews, they just make my day(: Love you all!