“There were two sisters, Igraine and Nimueh. Morgause is your cousin by blood, the daughter of your aunt Nimueh and Duke Gorlois. Morgana is both your cousin and your half-sister, being the daughter of Nimueh and Uther.” Merlin swung around to face the Prince. “And in an effort to bind her loyalties to Camelot, you have suggested to King Uther that he make his illegitimate magical daughter, whom he may or may not know is his daughter and definitely does not know that she is magical, a lawful Princess of Camelot and potential heir to his throne. Have I just about covered it?”
Arthur sighed heavily. “Yes, Merlin, that just about covers it. Again. Repeating the same thing over and over again won’t make it any less true. Unfortunately.”
“Bloody hell.” Merlin breathed, still pacing.
Despite the gravity of the situation, Arthur couldn’t help the small involuntary smile. He had never heard his friend curse before, not even when they were caught in the most dire of situations. Then again, it was a lot of information to take in, but he was pleased to see this side of the other man finally coming out. He had taken a chance in confiding in Merlin, for all that the servant had shared his confidences more and more over the past two years, but this was different. A part of him had wondered if the balance of power would change with the knowledge that Merlin was in fact his equal as far as magical royalty went. All that had changed—at least, for the moment—was Merlin’s attitude. Without the burden of his magical secret weighing him down, the warlock was moving and speaking with more confidence and authority than Arthur had ever seen out of him. And the prince had instinctively reacted to the change, treating Merlin like an equal and advisor, rather than the bumbling manservant the rest of the world saw.
“That doesn’t make sense.”
The prince frowned at his companion. “What doesn’t make sense?”
“Everything you just told me. Morgause is older than you, and Morgana is younger. So the timeline doesn’t make sense.”
With a pang, Arthur realized that he was right. That niggling feeling of wrongness that he had the night of his conversation with Kilgarrah appeared again.
“The dragon had it wrong,” he said slowly. “Morgause is the daughter of Nimueh and Uther, and Morgana of Nimueh and Gorlois. Nothing else fits.” He swallowed hard.
They stared at each other for a long moment as the implications of what that meant sank in. Morgause was a Pendragon, unacknowledged but still with claim to the throne of Camelot, if she so desired.
“So what do we do about it?” Merlin demanded, turning to face him.
“Wait. Watch.” The prince sighed. “She may try to infiltrate Camelot through Morgana, if she knows that they are half sisters.”
“They did show an intense curiosity about each other,” Merlin murmured. “Gaius mentioned it, in passing.”
Arthur sighed, although it was more of a groan. “I will still push my father to make Morgana a Princess of Camelot. Hopefully that will bind her loyalties to us, rather than a sister who has left her alone for all these years.”
Merlin nodded slowly, struck by a sudden thought. “What about her magic? I could help—“