Sum: Gwen saw the caged girl. Her eyes were familiar.
I love Freya.
Her eyes made Gwen stop.
The night was swollen with rain, threatening to burst, and this caged girl would be caught in the thick of it. Her hands, weak, were chained and her dress was torn and her neck was bruised.
Gwen shouldn't have cared. You weren't supposed to care about these sort of people in Camelot.
But those eyes were familiar.
The girl met her eyes tiredly. Gwen faltered, hesitated, reminded herself, and passed on.
It was a warm afternoon and Merlin was scrubbing furiously at a pair of boots while Gwen mended a dress beside him. The two were chatting and Merlin had just turned his long neck over his shoulder to say something no doubt ridiculous and impertinent, when Gwen remembered.
Dark holes for eyes. Pain written plainly in every tear in her ragged dress. Despair and a misery so wrenching and hell-low Gwen hoped fervently she would never understand.
Gwen blinked the image away. There was nothing to be done for that girl anymore. Perhaps she was out of her misery now, somewhere she could finally find peace. Gwen hoped so.
Merlin's eyes were long-lashed and lowered. He said something ridiculous and impertinent, about the cook or someone, and Gwen laughed, plucking his sleeve. Why had Gwen recalled that caged girl now, talking with Merlin? He knew how to make her feel better, and soon Gwen put it out her mind.
Only many years later did Gwen understand. Merlin and the caged girl.
Their eyes were identical.