Uther’s mouth dropped open in outrage, and Arthur hastily added, “Not that I am looking forward to your demise, father, but it is something that I have to consider as Crown Prince. Morgana has a home here in Camelot for as long as she wishes; but you know her. She is ambitious. She cannot simply sit around and knit or sew or whatever it is that the noblewomen do around here for the rest of her life. She barely tolerates such things now.”
The king’s mouth closed slowly, even as his frown darkened. “I assume that, since you have been considering this matter for some time, that you have a solution to suggest.”
“Yes. Adopt Morgana as your daughter in truth. Make her a princess of Camelot.” Arthur said earnestly. “She is already like a sister to me, and a daughter to you to everyone except the eyes of the law. Give her the status and power that she deserves, and it will cement her loyalty to you, and to Camelot.”
“She is my ward; she is already loyal to me.” Uther snapped.
“Is she?” Arthur countered, bracing himself slightly. “You know how passionate she is. I understand your reasons for the execution of those with magic, but Morgana is a woman. She gets emotional; she doesn’t see, doesn’t truly understand. Making her a princess will subject her to the laws and standards that we as Pendragons must uphold. She will have to learn to rule with her head, not her heart, as you have taught me.”
“You are crown prince of Camelot. I will not have her usurp your throne.”
And there lay the true heart of the matter. Morgana was her father’s daughter, ambitious and cunning to the core, and Uther knew it—and feared it, were she to ever know the truth.
“Then draw up a contract. Give her the status of a princess and all that comes with it, but also state very clearly that she will not inherit Camelot. If, however, she is married off, the lands of Cornwall will be part of her dowry and inheritance, to be kept in her name. Not her husband’s. And,” he added, “if she ever raises sword or hand against her homeland-or allies with someone else to do so—she will be immediately stripped of her status and exiled, and Cornwall will come under Camelot’s banner.”
Uther nodded slowly, his frown slowly clearing. “What else?”
Arthur blinked. “Sire..?”
“You clearly have been thinking about this for some time. What other plans do you have for Morgana?”
The prince hesitated. He had thought up another idea, but wasn’t sure the parties involved would go for it. Oh, well, he thought. In for a penny…
“Have Morgana apprentice with Gaius as a healer.” He stated. “As loyally faithful as Gaius is, he is getting on in years, and deserves the right to retire gracefully as the cherished member of the court that he is. He needs an assistant to help and eventually succeed him. Merlin is complete rubbish at it, plus he has other duties to me now. Have Morgana, and possibly her hand maiden as well, learn the healing arts. It will give her a purpose, security, and it is a good skill to have.”
And apprenticing under Gauis would give the court physician and Morgana a chance to refine skills not directly related to the healing arts, which could only benefit everyone. A Morgana in control of her powers was much less dangerous than the distant, cold, sardonically bitter Morgana of late. If Kilgarrah was correct, and Morgause and Morgana were truly half-sisters, then the combination of blood and magic could cement Morgana’s loyalty to her true, acknowledged kin rather than to unknown brother, father, king and court. Hopefully these steps would circumvent some of those ties and at least level the playing field. Arthur refused to lose his sister to the lure and seduction of magic and power that Morgause represented.