Their plans were pre-empted the next day, however, when King Uther called for Court and Council to gather.
Merlin quickly shook out Arthur’s formal court outfit, and with a murmured word it was as new and clean as if it had never been worn. The prince glared, but allowed himself to be dressed as the heralds sounded the warning call—a bell located inside every noble’s chambers, rung only when High Court was gathering.
Properly attired, prince and warlock made their way to the throne room. Arthur joined his father on the dais and Merlin went to stand near Gaius and Gwen.
“Where’s Morgana?” Merlin whispered.
“The king ordered her to wait outside until summoned.” Gwen replied worriedly. “The heralds wouldn’t tell us why though.”
On cue, King Uther nodded to the door guards and the major domo, who commandingly tapped his staff twice to gather everyone’s attention. “Presenting the Lady Morgana, daughter of Lord Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall, and ward of Uther Pendragon, King of Camelot.”
Surprised, for Uther rarely indulged in such formalities unless it was to showcase the wealth and power of Camelot to visiting dignitaries, the court watched as Morgana glided down the aisle, coming to a stop before the king and dipping into a graceful curtsey, although she did not lower her head or eyes.
Uther’s mouth tightened, but he raised her, his gaze distantly affectionate with a hint of warning. Behind him, Arthur’s eyes sparkled with reassuring warmth and a hint of mischief. So, Morgana thought. He knows what this is about, may have orchestrated it himself.
“Council members, lords and ladies of the court. Citizens of Camelot. Lady Morgana has been my ward for most of her life, since the death of her father and my dearest friend, Lord Gorlois. You have all seen her flourish, blooming into a spirited, willful, beautiful young woman who is as much a daughter to me as she is sister to my heir and son, Arthur.” He took a moment to turn a benevolent gaze upon the prince, who inclined his head slightly in acknowledgement. “I am not getting any younger, and life is far too short for me to take my good fortune for granted.” He took a deep breath. “Therefore, it is on this day that I proclaim the Lady Morgana, once and still of the House of Gorlois, a Princess of Camelot and a daughter of House Pendragon, heir to my heir.”
“My lord!” Morgana gasped, as murmurs and whispers filled the room.
“It is no more than you deserve, although it took Arthur to point out the obvious.” Uther said quietly, gesturing for Geoffrey of Monmouth to come forward to begin the rites. “I know that we have had our differences,” he continued. “But you are truly a daughter to me and a sister to Arthur in all of the ways that matter. I am only officially acknowledging what is already unofficial truth in the eyes of the people.”
Morgana cast her eyes demurely away, unable to respond.
“Make no mistake, however.” The king warned suddenly, his voice hard. “Once you accept the crown, you also accept the obligations and responsibilities that go along with it, especially to your king.” His gaze was diamond sharp, unyielding. “No more outbursts of defiance or rebellion, Morgana. It ends here.”