“You rail and storm against Uther’s proclamations, but it is like water on stone. This way, at least you can help the people directly, and build and establish trust.” Gaius scolded.
“Besides,” Gwen added more softly, touching her mistress’ arm. “This way, you will hear of any rumors of magic before Uther does, and be able to deal with it yourself—or take it to Arthur.”
Merlin, Morgana, and Gaius had all stopped and stared at her in surprise, causing the handmaiden to blush and avoid their gazes. After a moment, the Princess had yielded to Gaius’ wishes, and they took their place at his work table, grey and dark heads bent over the first book of herb lore that he had decided was fundamental to their basic knowledge.
Merlin had continued straightening the vials with a smothered grin, inwardly cheering at the shrewdly bold argument of his friend, who had shown astuteness and a flash of the Queen she would become.
“I know you have explicitly ordered me to not reveal my gifts to Morgana, but may I at least tell Gwen? She’s my friend, and a strong influence on Morgana. She can’t protect the Princess alone anymore.” He asked, briefly going on the attack with a flurry of blows.
Arthur frowned, easily countering the moves—he was the one who had orchestrated them, after all—but didn’t immediately dissuade him. It took three more bouts before he made a decision.
“You may tell Guinevere, but discreetly.” He said heavily. “I cannot go forward without you three by my side. We will tell them both, eventually, but only after you deal with Morgause’s bracelet.”
The warlock nodded, content with that decision, and both men turned their attention in earnest to their work.
“No!” Morgause seethed, glaring into the Crystal. Her voice echoed through the courtyard, bouncing off the walls and only magnifying her ire. The source of her rage continued on, blissfully unaware. It was breakfast time, and the three Pendragons were engaged in a lively debate, and although they were laughing and gesturing at each other, there was no malice in the actions.
“It was perfect! Arthur was in a murderous rage when he left here! Uther should be dead now, dead for his deeds and sins! And Morgana—my spells were undetectable on that bracelet. She should be mine now, mine to control and mold, full of hate and fury. So why are they not acting as they should?” She questioned furiously. “Why are they sitting there laughing and joking with that blood traitor?”
The Crystal offered no answer as the agitated sorceress began pacing.
“No matter,” she decided, suddenly composed, although there was an ominous rumbling in the air, like the calm before a tempest struck. “I will have to finish it myself, whether or not she is willing. Blood loyalty only goes so far, as Uther Pendragon has proven time and time again. Prophecy states that he is destined to die, consumed by the fires of rage and hate that are his own making. That will still happen—with a little help.”
Her flat, cold brown eyes gleamed with fanatical rage as she strode briskly away.
“I need a huge favor.” Merlin announced, closing his book with a snap. “But it means going against your father and lying to him if need be.”