3.55 – Crossroads

Revenge hadn’t helped.

Morgana had been so sure of it. She’d been so convinced that the dull, hollow pain in her chest – the rage, the anguish, the slowly increasing sense of despair – that it was all because of Morholt. All because of what he had done. The sorceress desperately clamped onto that thought. She’d obsessed over it, unable to think of anything else.

It was his fault.

Morholt was to blame for everything. Everything that had happened. If it hadn’t been for the Witch Hunter, then none of the events that led to Sarah’s death would have come to pass. He wouldn’t have been able to interrogate any of them. Guinevere wouldn’t have ended up getting dragged into the throne room. Arthur and Gawain would not have compromised themselves in an attempt to protect her from Uther—

And Sarah would not have sacrificed herself.

If it hadn’t been for Morholt, Morgana’s mother would still be alive.

The sorceress had never felt such a strong hatred before. Morgana couldn’t think about anything else, could focus on nothing but the growing sense of rage in her chest. She wanted to hurt him. She wanted to make him pay for what he’d done. Morgana wanted revenge, deluding herself into thinking that it was justice. She longed to make him suffer in the exact same way that Sarah had suffered. To force him to feel what she’d felt.
To kill him like he’d killed her mother.

And… she had. Easily. Effortlessly.
It had been frighteningly simple.

But it hadn’t helped.

Morgana had expected to feel relief. She thought that she would feel vindicated, like justice had been served. Like her actions had meant something.

But none of that happened. Morholt’s death did absolutely nothing. It didn’t bring Sarah back. It didn’t exonerate her. His death made no difference at all – there was no feeling of relief that eased the dull, constant pain that continued to throb in her chest. Morgana felt no closure. No peace. It hadn’t helped. If anything, it had made it worse.

Because now, the witch no longer had a target. She had nothing left to distract her from the truth. From what she really felt.

The sorceress couldn’t keep her balance. As her limbs finally shrunk back into their real form, her body exhausted from the cascade of magick that had surged through it, Morgana felt herself trip. There was nothing to break her fall. She crashed to the ground, hitting the grass underneath her with a dull thud.

It took her a moment to realize that she hadn’t felt the impact. The sorceress didn’t feel any pain. She couldn’t really feel much of anything. Morgana’s hands were completely desensitized to the grass underneath her, her skin not even feeling the sharp sting of the rock that had grazed her palm.

Softly, Morgana groaned.

That wasn’t good.

With a weak groan, Morgana lifted herself from the ground. The trees around her wobbled and spun as she did so, making her sway and almost fall back down a second time. In the far distance, she could see the tell-tale stonework of the ruins that held her faerie circle.

She could do it. It wasn’t far. She just had to reach them.
She just had to reach help.

Morgana wasn’t sure how she managed to drag herself to the ruined tower. She couldn’t feel the ground underneath her feet anymore. She couldn’t sense the cold air around her. Her limbs were slowly going numb as a horrible, malefic cold settled inside her body, wrapping its tendrils around her and gradually taking her breath away. Her vision started swimming.

She just…

Just had to make it.

But when the sorceress finally reached her destination, barely keeping herself upright as she looked down on the small circle of flowers… Morgana suddenly stopped.

She didn’t know where to go.

She couldn’t face her coven. Not after what she’d done. They would know – and Morgana instinctively knew how the group of gentle priestesses would react to her recent choices. They’d abandon her. Her coven would cast her out without a second thought.

She couldn’t face any of them.

And, deep down… Morgana didn’t want to. She didn’t want to see Monoroe, or face the disappointment in her sister’s eyes.

Morgana didn’t want to see any of them. She didn’t want to explain herself.

She hadn’t wanted to kill anyone. Not really. Morgana realised that now, too.

She just…

She just wanted her mother back.

“Shh. Hush, love. It’s all right.”

“You don’t have to do this alone.”

Sarah would never be able to fulfill that promise. And neither would Ygraine. The sorceress had made sure of that.

Morgana had killed them both.

Why had she killed them both?

“Because sorcerers are wickedness incarnate?”

Morgana vaguely noticed a dull twinge of pain coursing through her body. She could no longer feel her legs. Her eyes were beginning to cloud over, the edges of her vision gradually staining black. She didn’t even notice the growing darkness that enveloped her. That was slowly, steadily taking over.
She didn’t notice anything.

The sorceress didn’t care where she went. She didn’t want to go anywhere. She just wanted to be gone.

She just wanted to be with her mother.

She just wanted oblivion.

Miles away from that ruined tower, deep in the safety of Cornwall territory, Emrys and Morgause were in the middle of a heated conversation.
Neither of them actually wanted to be there. Both of them disliked the other person, for their own reasons, both sides wishing for the encounter to be done with as soon as possible. But this time, neither one of them could afford to walk away.

For the first time in years… their interests had finally aligned.

Or, at least, that is what Emrys was trying to convince his opponent of.

“We’ve reached a turning point, Morgause,” the druid spoke. “Muiri has seen it. Albion is at a crossroad in history – and if we want to have any chance of swaying history in our favour, then you and I need to face what comes next—”

“That is rich, coming from you,” Morgause scowled, glaring at him as she cut him off mid-sentence.
“I know-“
“I doubt it. In case you don’t remember, druid, you’re the one who has been sticking his head in the sand for half a decade. You are the coward that spends year after year in his forest, ignoring everyone outside of his precious druid circle.”
“Things have changed-”
“Things change all the time,” Morgause snapped back, unwilling to let him finish even a single sentence. “What happened to ‘letting the Watcher decide’, Emrys? I’ve invited you lot to Cornwall before. I’ve asked you to step in and help nearby settlements. You’ve always refused. You’ve always run away, tail between your legs, making sure that just your druids were fine.”

Her anger wasn’t undeserved. In the past, Emrys really had turned his back on others in need. Multiple times. At the time, he’d had no choice. His magick hadn’t been strong enough yet. And the High Priest knew that, even with all the magick in the world at his fingertips, he still couldn’t help everyone. With every person that he saved, the ones that were already in his care would be in more danger. He had to prioritise the ones that were with him now. The ones that the Goddess had brought to him.

In his own way, Emrys was doing whatever he could, too.

But not everyone saw things the same way as he did.

“I know I’ve failed in the past,” Emrys said, his voice soft and patient. That only seemed to anger Morgause further.
“So? You don’t seem to have changed your hermit ways. Why do you suddenly care what happens to the rest of us? What could possibly change your mind now?”

But this time, Emrys refused to buckle under her glare. The High Priest straightened his back, raising his chin as he looked the witch in the eyes.
“What changed my mind… is Arthur Pendragon.”

Emrys  tried his best to ignore her expression of disgust and disbelief. He knew exactly where it came from. Emrys was well aware of why Morgause was so hostile towards Arthur – towards him and his father. In a way, the witch and the High Priest were the same.
They’d both suffered greatly at the hands of Uther Pendragon.

But if he wanted to have any hope of changing the future for the better, then Emrys had to step in. He had to change her mind.The High Priest needed to help Morgause to see past her anger. To finally build bridges where there should never have been cliffs.
He had to stop her from running.

Emrys let out a sigh, looking up at the star-riddled darkness above him.
“I welcomed a new child into my circle last month,” he explained. “A toddler. He can’t control his magick well at his age. The two of them were traveling to find a High Priest. His father told me that they were arrested in Camelot. They nearly lost their heads.”

“They were lucky to survive,” Morgause replied. “And fools to enter in the first place. Everyone knows that to our kind, Camelot is the most dangerous place in all of Albion.”
Emrys bowed his head in response.
“You’re right. They were lucky. But there’s more to it than that. Someone freed them.”

“Arthur Pendragon freed them,” Emrys smiled, remembering the reverence in Basil’s eyes when he recounted the tale. “He broke him out himself. Arthur risked his life to get Basil and his son to safety. Uther’s heir did that.”

For a moment, Emrys let his mind travel back in time, remembering a moment when he had been that child. He still remembered the dark hallways of the catacombs, the paralysing fear of ending up on the pyre.
Back then, a very similar act of kindness had saved his life.

Emrys could feel a wave of affection for the royal siblings. The druid had always known that, when the time came, Morgana would prove herself to be an ally. A friend. But the High Priest hadn’t dared to let himself believe that Arthur Pendragon could become one, too. Even after meeting the Crown Prince himself. Emrys’s smile widened as remembered the words he’d spoken to Morgana just a few months ago.
How wrong he’d been.

“You’re going up against two hundred years of history! And the other Kings are exactly the same as Uther Pendragon—”

“Not all of them.”

At the time, he hadn’t understood. But he did now.

Emrys finally understood… what kind of person she’d entrusted her life with.

“Arthur is different,” the High Priest spoke, his doubts finally replaced by hope. “He’s not like the others. I’ve seen it, Morgause,” he continued, cutting the witch off right as she opened her mouth to disagree with him. “Arthur has willingly gone against Uther’s teachings to come to our rescue. Twice. He is our best chance at creating another Kingdom where our people would be safe. He might be our only chance.”

He could see that Morgause wasn’t happy with his words at all. With every sentence that he spoke, her expression grew darker. He could see her nails digging into the skin of her arm, her body language betraying what her face was trying to mask. But Emrys couldn’t give up. The High Priest had to reach her. He had to get through to her somehow.
For everyone’s sake.

“We could return to the Old Ways again, Morgause,” Emrys said softly. “Muiri has seen it. Morgana is trying to reach for it from the inside. We need to do what we can, too. If the Old World is reunited with the new, then we’d no longer need to fear for our lives. We’d be accepted. Witches and druids could finally appear out in the open—”

If looks could kill, Emrys would have been frozen solid.
“You really think that Arthur Pendragon would let that happen?” Morgause sneered, completely unconvinced. Emrys shook his head at her in return.

“No,” the High Priest replied. “I don’t think that Arthur Pendragon would do that. Not on his own.”

“But if we guide him properly, he will.”

Emrys ignored the mocking, unbelieving snort that came out of Morgause’s mouth. Undeterred, the druid continued to speak.
“This war has gone on long enough,” he said. “It serves no-one. Us least of all. We need to stop letting the only potential allies of magick in all of Albion wage war on each other. Morgause, we need to bring this feud between Cornwall and Camelot to an end.”
“And how do you intend to do that?” the witch sneered. But Emrys had been prepared for that question. He’d considered it at length, thinking over all possible scenarios that could unfold. And the more he thought about it, the more he’d become convinced of the way forward.
There was only one thing they could do.

One thing they had to do.

“We need to forge a new peace. Not one between Uther and Gorlois. They are not the future that we want to reach. But you are, Morgause. You, Morgana and Arthur are our future. Don’t you see that?”

“No. Arthur—”

“-Is not his father,” Emrys said, cutting her off as his tone turned into a plea. “He has never done anything to you, Morgause. Arthur is a good man. And when it comes down to it, he is the only one in Camelot that can make a difference. A real difference. If he’s shown the right path, he can give our people a future.”

Morgause angrily crossed her arms, breaking eye contact as she looked away from him. He knew that he was getting to her. But he could tell that Morgause, stubborn as ever, did not want to consider any of it. The very thought seemed to fill her with anger. And so, she lashed out.
“I gave you a future. I invited you to Cornwall. You chose to run.”
“I did,” Emrys nodded. “My people and I don’t belong in civilisation. We thrive in the safety of the forest. But I didn’t run, Morgause. I’m looking after my people the best I can. The only one running away from responsibilities is you.”

That got to her. Emrys could tell. He could see her falter, her hands balling themselves into fists as she opened her mouth, then closed it again. Emrys was so close. So close to finally breaking through to her. The High Priest smiled, a gentle expression rising to his lips.
“Morgause,” he said, speaking softly. “I know how much you’ve sacrificed for Morgana. You were willing to help your sister in a heartbeat. You need to help Arthur, too. We’re the only ones who can.”
“I don’t want to.”
“Morgause, he is your blood—”

That was wrong. Emrys could feel it. In an instant, the woman in front of him changed. The stubborn dancer that he knew so well vanished. In her place, something else broke through the surface. Something dangerous. Something that he’d never noticed in the witch in front of him before. Emrys could feel the hairs on his head rise up as the air around them filled with electricity. He could see streaks of lightning trailing down her arms, coagulating around Morgause’s balled-up fingers and only barely kept from running him through.

In a low, stone cold voice that sounded nothing like her, Morgause growled:
“He is not MY blood.”

Emrys involuntarily took a step back. He could sense the sudden cascade of magick that radiated out from the woman in front of him. It took him completely by surprise.
He’d never felt raw power like that before.

No… that wasn’t right.

He had.

No. He couldn’t let himself be distracted now. And he couldn’t let himself be blasted off the hill, either. He would make her see reason one way or the other – even if it ended up in a fight. He owed his people that much. Emrys took a deep breath, grounding himself and preparing for the worst.

But the blast of lightning never came.

“He is not my blood,” Morgause growled, her words charged and filled with outrage. He could feel the anger radiating off her. But she didn’t act on that anger. She didn’t lash out at him.
Morgause was still in control.

And Emrys immediately made use of it.
“You know that he is,” the druid argued. “Whether you’re willing to admit that or not. If Morgana is your blood, then so is Arthur.”
“I don’t care. There cannot be peace while his father is alive-”
“I disagree,” Emrys replied. “There cannot be peace while Uther is King. It’s time that this war ends. And you and I both know that you have the means to end it. I will not deny that Uther has a lot to answer for. But it’s not Uther Pendragon that will write the future of this land. It’s his son – and it’s you. Arthur and you are the same, Morgause. You are your father’s heir. You are the future Queen of Cornwall.”

“You have to stop running away from that.”

Slowly, the electricity in the air disappeared. Emrys could feel the spirit around him settle as the eerie glow in her eyes faded away. Morgause let out a groan that lay somewhere between frustration and defeat. The witch turned away from Emrys, cursing under her breath as she rubbed the top of her nose.
“You sound like Lincoln.”
“I do. Because he is right. You’ve run for long enough.”

As Morgause struggled with herself, the druid looked back up at the sky. It was a beautiful night. The moon shone bright, bathing the lands around him in a light that made the hills look like they came straight out a storybook. He could hear the earth thriving around him. He could feel the magick, the spirit flowing through everything that lived.

He could sense it.
Tonight was a night of promise.

“You don’t have the slightest clue what you’re asking of me, Emrys,” Morgause finally groaned. “I can’t – you have no idea what kind of promise I’ve made to Gorlois. If I go back…”

Emrys simply shrugged at her return.
“You’re right. I don’t know,” he admitted. “But I do know something else. I told you that Arthur Pendragon is the only one who can change Albion for the better. That’s not entirely true. There’s not just one person, Morgause. There are four.”

Emrys smiled.
“I think it’s about time that they start working together.”

“Don’t you?”

11 thoughts on “3.55 – Crossroads

  1. I feel the one risk Morgana took killing Morholt, is a possible wave of witchfinders coming to Camelot wondering what happened to one of them, and it’ll be worse for everyone regardless of if they have magic in their blood. Like I don’t feel bad about it at all, I wanted him dead XD but there is the risk of an onslaught of nonstop witchfinders turning up to investigate the last load of dead witchfinders.

    I wonder if this is just a result of the sudden-ness of all that’s happened, or if it’s partially from performing what must have been some pretty powerful magic? Although she seems to feel sudden remorse, I feel like it’s more a ‘first time for everything’ kind of remorse and not a genuine one. Like in a dark way I imagine first kill will wreck you and it’ll only get easier, and if she wants to stay alive there’ll probably be more…she may have not wanted to kill anyone now, but I feel like it’s unavoidable from here on out. I really like this scene though the aftermath of Sarah’s death and Morholt’s murder.

    Morgause has good reason to be annoyed, but at the same time, priorities are priorities sometimes, but of course try explaining that to the Fae (can’t remember if Morgause is fae or just lived with them a lot? my memory is shite.) Emrys has a point about Arthur, but also I don’t blame Morgause for not being on board straight away. How does she know it isn’t something the Crown Prince did once to create a false sense of security for sorcerers to show their faces again and be rounded up for slaughter? Of course we know Arthur wouldn’t do that, but Morgause…As much as I appreciate the druids’ mostly-pacifism, it’s druid mostly-pacifism versus fae-style ‘Fuck around, find out.’ Welp, here come the Fae Eyes again.

    Hmmm wait, so….I’m probs reaching. if Arthur is of Morgause’s blood, is there a chance he has dormant magic in his blood? Possibly? Maybe? Or is it kind of like Divided in that it can possibly just not be in people’s blood sometimes?
    I love the long shots of the castle. < 3 If only I could piss off to the land of the Fae when I'm not doing well. I'd eat their cake and let them break my legs < 3

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup, that’s a very valid concern. If someone important goes missing, at some point in time, people are going to start asking questions. And those questions usually lead right back to the last place that they were seen. Unfortunately one does not tend to think rationally when taken over by vengeful emotions 😅

      She sure seems to be feeling rather awful, doesn’t she? But is it remorse, or is it something else? Oof, you’re predicting more murder in the future? We’ll see if that prediction comes true…

      Morgause doesn’t seem entirely similar to normal witches, does she? Then again, neither does Monoroe. When the Fae are involved, things get a little fuzzy. Ooooh, that is a devious thought there, Arthur pretending to be an ally just to lure even more of them into a trap. You’d do well at court.

      Who knows? Storytelling is a good dose of “never say never” when it comes to the unlikely. He hasn’t shown any, though- or has he?
      Nope, nooooope, placing you anywhere near the Fae would not be a good idea 🤣 no leg breaking allowed. You definitely need some lessons from Lincoln first before you go dancing, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ohh I don’t think Arthur would do that, but from Morgause’s point of view, it’s difficult to believe that Uther’s son would be at all anti-witch. Even with Emrys’s attempts at convincing her it’s still very difficult to believe. AND YES LET ME INTO THE FAERIE REALM!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yup, it sure would be. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” became a saying for a reason, after all 🤔 Nah, you’re not dumb! Just reiterating your point 😄


  2. Poor Morgana. ❤ She's spiraling, and I hope that someone can comfort her. What happens to Sarah isn't her fault, and if she were to discuss it with others, I think they wouldn't abandon her. The final sequence of images with her is beautiful. I love how soft they are.

    The way things happen with Morholt is unfortunate, but he was trying to cause more trouble. It's hard to tell if his early (but not quite as early as would have been ideal) death is going to cause more issues or if it's preferable to him running back and telling whoever whatever he was going to say about Morgana's ability to kill.

    I also hope Morgause can productively work with the others, even if it's not 100% as Emrys wants. Morgause's control here is interesting compared to Morgana's lack of control… I hope she can guide Morgana further.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She really is. I agree that Sarah’s death ultimately isn’t her fault, but it’s very hard for a spiralling teenager that “pushed the button”, so to speak, to see it that way. Let’s hope that wherever she ended up at the end is kinder than where she came from.

      Who knows? It might have helped, but it also might end up biting them in the behind later in a big way. Time will tell. Not too much time, I hope. By now, everything up until the finale has been bullet-pointed out. Now to write it.

      Fingers crossed that she can – and that Emrys can accept help that is not 100% as he wants 🤞


      1. What is meant by finale? The actual ending of Tales of Camelot? And this finale is not too far off?

        In the meantime, I just hope that it’s not Lancelot or Guinevere who comfort Morgana. They are dealing with or have done enough.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The finale of the arc, at least! We’re over the 2/3rds point. I’m aiming for a total of around 70 chapters, so there’s not that much left 😊

        Oof, they really do have enough on their plate. They’re also both the type to try and pile on even more if it means unburdening someone else. We’ll see who Morgana ends up running into…

        Liked by 1 person

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