The two royals glared at each other, neither backing down. Finally Arthur yielded slightly, dropping his gaze. “I apologize, dragon,” he said. “The very fact that I’m down here speaking with you indicates some semblance of trust on both of our parts, after all.”
“My name is Kilgarrah.” It was hard to tell who is more startled, Arthur or the dragon himself. But now that the words were out, he could not take them back. Still, his lips tightened over his teeth in an instinctive gesture to do just that, as he meets Arthur’s gaze defiantly once more.
The prince bowed, once again giving the acknowledgement of royal to royal. “Kilgarrah.” The name rolls off of his tongue with ease, despite the strangeness of it to his ear. “You have given me much to think about, Kilgarrah.” He frowned darkly, thoughts already turned inward, then glanced up. “Thank you.”
“A word of additional warning then, Prince Arthur.”
Arthur paused, but did not turn back to look at him.
“You are a warrior, Arthur Pendragon,” Kilgarrah began slowly, trying to put to words the warning of the vision he can feel ghosting over his skin. “By birth and by nature. You know your physical strengths and weaknesses, and are learning where to verbally yield and where to stand firm.” He paused, and Arthur half-turned so that his face was partially in the light, partially shrouded by the darkness. “You also know what it means to take a life, and the scars it can leave on the soul. Merlin has had some hard lessons and painful truths as to the extent of the power at his fingertips, and that frightens him and fascinates him in the same breath. Remind him that there are many types of strength, and be his anchor, as he has been and will be yours.”
Arthur was silent for many long moments. “I will take your words under advisement.”
“One more thing, Arthur Pendragon.”
The prince raised his brows, but waited.
“Since it is a night of revelations about the sins of your father, I would reveal one more for your judgment, that the witch Morgause did not. The Lady Morgana…is your half-sister and also kin to Morgause and the Druid boy, Mordred. She is the first born daughter of Uther Pendragon and the Lady Nimueh, born during the dark of the moon when Lord Gorlois was away, fighting under the king’s banner.”
“No.” Arthur denied, horror slowly rising up like bile in the back of his throat.
Dragons couldn’t actually raise their eyebrows, but Kilgarrah gave a very good impression, reminding the Prince of Gaius for a heart-stopping moment.
“Here is some more family history then, so that you will understand the full depth of your father’s sins. Two sisters were come to the du Bois family, alike as sun and shadow. They were the Lady Igraine, and the Lady Nimueh.”
Arthur’s body jerked, as if he had been physically dealt a harsh blow.
Kilgarrah continued, merciless. “The Lady Nimueh was born second, and was quickly overshadowed by her older sister’s beauty and grace. When Uther laid eyes on your mother, it was love at first sight. Nimueh was jealous, but she was soon betrothed to Lord Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall. It was because of that union that Morgause was born.