3.58 – Antebellum, Part I

A heavy downpour of rain welcomed Morgause as she returned to the castle of Cornwall. She had bid farewell to her coven the previous day. She had kept her destination a secret, unwilling to reveal her intentions to anyone other than Lincoln. They didn’t need to know.

They didn’t need to know what she was about to do.
They didn’t need to know… that this farewell had been a permanent one.

The conversation with Emrys had been the final straw that pushed Morgause over the edge. It was time. She had finally decided to stop running, her mind made up with a newfound determination.

It was time to fulfil her end of the deal.

As Morgause stepped into her father’s reading room, a bittersweet feeling washed over her. His hoard had grown even larger than the last time she’d been here. The room was cluttered with books, models, and various objects her father had hoarded over the years to distract himself from the pain of losing her mother.

Morgause had made jokes about his hoarding in the past. But now, looking around the room, she couldn’t help but feel a sense of anger brewing deep within her. Her father’s compulsive hoarding was a constant reminder of the void left by her Ygraine’s absence, and it was painful to see him still struggling after all these years.

She knew he’d never fully recover.

And Morgause knew exactly who was to blame for that.

She should have been there with him.

That she was not… was because of Pendragon.

Morgause stood in the doorway of the reading room, taking a deep breath. When she spoke, her voice was grim and determined, reflecting the seriousness of her purpose.

Gorlois slowly closed his book, a small smile appearing at the sound of Morgause’s voice. However, as he saw the expression on his daughter’s face, his smile quickly faded. And his gentle, fatherly demeanour vanished with it. When he spoke, it was in the cold, authoritative tone of the King of Cornwall.

“Morgause. Have you come to settle your debt?”

It was time.

The witch nodded.
“I have. What will it take for peace?”

There was a brief moment of silence. Then, Gorlois’s face darkened.
“A death,” he replied grimly. “Uther needs to die. We must make him answer for his crimes. The wrongs of the past must be righted. Only then can we hope to have peace.”

The weight of his words hung heavily in the air, a stark reminder of the bitter feud that had torn apart their kingdoms for years. The blade that had shattered her family. That had ripped her mother away from her and had permanently separated her from her sister.

That was still hurting them.

It was time to stop running.

“Will you help me?”

Morgause nodded solemnly, her mind made up.
“I will.”
She knew that she’d reached the point of no return. Things would never be the same. But she’d made up her mind.
There was no going back.  


“Then let’s begin.”

A week passed.

Life in Camelot sped up. As the days became longer and the evenings began to stretch further and further before bringing darkness, Spring officially gave way to Summer. The blue skies and raising temperatures brought with them the promise of warmth and better days ahead.
It should have been a good omen.

But it wasn’t.

That Summer, Arthur, there felt no warmth.


The Crown Prince could feel dread.

Cenred, the King of Essetir, had decided to pay a second visit to Camelot, arriving with a grand entourage and making a proper announcement of his presence this time. He had brought troops with him. They’d offered to help Camelot secure its borders. It was a large show of loyalty that made him appear like a true ally. The King of Essetir spoke positively, promising to help lead the way to a better future.

That was the reason… or so Arthur had been told.

Perhaps he was biased.

But Arthur did not believe it for a second.

“Say, Arthur… if you’re worried about things…”

“You know you can talk to me, right? Maybe I can help.”

The Crown Prince let out a sigh.
How was he supposed to tell Gawain that he was doubting his own sister?

He couldn’t. He knew that Gawain would set him straight the second he opened his mouth – his friend had placed Morgana on a pedestal that she’d never come back down from – but Arthur already knew that he wouldn’t be able to get rid of that sense of doubt in the back of his mind. And he couldn’t air his thoughts without consequences. Not this time. Arthur’s careless words would absolutely be interpreted literally, and knowing Gawain, he’d go straight to Morgana and end up doing more harm than good.

Besides… Arthur had already put him in enough danger.

“I appreciate the sentiment, Gawain. But I don’t think you can do anything here.”

The Crown Prince watched as Gawain’s expression fell. His friend hesitated, his smile faltering for a moment before responding.
“O-oh. Yeah. Maybe. It’s just… okay,” Gawain replied, attempting to mask his disappointment. “I’ll be at the training grounds, if you want to spar.”
But Arthur shook his head. “Sorry, Gawain. I have too much on my mind right now. I wouldn’t be able to focus on training.”
“All right,” Gawain said with a shrug, understanding in his eyes. “If you need anything, let me know.”
“I will.”

Arthur turned around, leaving his friend in the courtyard as he headed for the castle entrance. He was grateful for Gawain’s offer. He really was.

But he couldn’t shake the feeling that, this time… there was nothing his friend could do.

Tell me about spirit magick.

A sliver of a smirk spread across Cenred’s lips.

It is the origin of all life. The core of magic, connecting every living creature in our world. The power to influence thoughts, instinct, drive, emotion. The ability to strongly affect the mind. To command it. It is your strongest power.

 I can affect someone’s mind?

You already have been, Cenred replied. To command spirit is to command a creature’s essence. When powerful enough, you can project your voice without talking. You can influence the body and stop the heart from functioning. You can befuddle the mind and cause illusions – you can even shapeshift into other forms. That, the disguised dragon concluded, is your legacy. That is who you are.

Cenred’s eyes gleamed with satisfaction as he watched Morgana’s smile falter, revealing the rapidly growing hunger within her. He knew he had her, just as it was always meant to be.

I can make them see what I want?

Just as he would have all of them.

Lancelot moved like a shadow through the dimly lit halls of the castle, his keen senses on high alert. His footsteps were soft and measured. He had been tailing Pellinore for weeks now, following him through the castle’s twisting corridors and shadowing his every move.

He’d had to choose between tailing Pellinore and investigating Morholt. It was Arthur that had ordered him towards Pellinore – but not being able to do both had been his own failure. And the consequences had been dire. Part of him blamed himself for everything that had happened.

He couldn’t fail again. He wouldn’t. Lancelot was determined to complete this mission successfully, despite the dangers that lay around the corner. His heart raced with anticipation as he hugged the wall, staying out of sight and avoiding detection at all costs. He knew that the slightest mistake could mean the difference between success and failure, and he was not about to let his King down.

Pellinore had started acting strangely. Lancelot knew that he’d reached the verge of a breakthrough, If he shadowed him a bit longer, he would uncover something significant. Something big.
Something that would affect lives.

Lancelot had no idea just how right he was.

“The order will be given soon. Have you cleared the way?”

Lancelot pressed his back against the wall, preparing to strain to hear the conversation. But this time, neither of them was being quiet.
“Don’t insult me, Pellinore,” Mithian sneered, crossing her arms as she looked up at him. “Of course I have. I’ve had a clear shot for weeks.”

“Good. We strike tonight.”

“Your Majesty. Our troops are in position.”

When one of your generals was a powerful witch with several Fae favours, moving large numbers of men across vast distances suddenly became child’s play. Their preparations had finished sooner than any of them could have anticipated. Gorlois turned to face his general, his expression grim.
“Have any been discovered?”
“No, Your Majesty,” the general replied. “Infiltration has been successful. Camelot has no idea that they’ve been surrounded. Our divertive manoeuvres have been a grand success.”

“Distracting their army at the border while sneaking through Essetir was a stroke of genius,” Sir Dudley chimed in, admiringly studying the map. “We owe your King a debt, Erec.”

“Trust me, he intends to collect,” Erec replied.

Morgause remained silent, watching the men around the table intently. She could see her father glance back towards her.
“Morgause. Bring me to the outskirts,” he ordered. “I will give the order. We march with them ourselves. Tonight. I intend to end this by tomorrow.”

The dark-haired witch didn’t answer. Morgause gave a silent nod, stepping towards the door as Gorlois returned his focus to the map. With a dark frown, he looked down at the small icon that represented Camelot.
“As for the inside…” he began, but was interrupted halfway his sentence. Richard of Nemeth cut in. The noble’s eyes glittered with malice as he spoke, his hand resting on his chin.

“You needn’t worry about that,” Richard said with a vengeful grin. Erec of Essetir, standing beside him, gave an affirmative nod.
“Mithian and Pellinore are both in position. They will complete their missions by nightfall.”
“Indeed. When our armies break down their door, Camelot will be too divided to answer.”

Morgause watched the noble on the other side of the war table, a cold chill suddenly running down her spine as she saw the malevolent glimmer in his eyes.
“I’ll make her regret crossing me.”

Lancelot’s back was pressed firmly against the wall as he listened to Pellinore’s conversation, knowing that any sudden movement could reveal his presence. He had to let Arthur know. But he couldn’t move yet. He knew that he had to wait until they left. As he held his breath, Mithian’s voice echoed out from behind him.
“And the King? Who deals with him?”
Pellinore’s reply sent shivers down Lancelot’s spine.
“He’s not a threat. We deal with him last. The others come first. Take away his support, and even the strongest pawn will…”

Lancelot’s heart pounded in his chest at the sudden, abrupt silence. He strained to hear any sound, any movement that might betray his presence. And then, it hit him like a bolt of lightning. The hairs on the back of his neck rose up as he realised that his sleeve was visible.

They’d seen him.

Lancelot’s eyes darted around frantically, searching for an escape route, a quick way to conceal himself. But despite the richly furnished corridor, there was no piece of furniture large enough to hide his body. He was trapped, with nowhere to go and nowhere to run.

Pellinore’s voice sliced through the tense air like a cold, sharp knife.
“Mithian. You go on ahead. Report back when it’s done.”

“I have some vermin to deal with.”

As Morgana’s new servant stepped out of the castle kitchen, on her way to her chambers with her favourite wine, she immediately lost her footing on a slick grease stain that had dripped from the nearest lamp.

Her hands instinctively flew up to save the serving tray she carried, but it was too late. The tray flew out of her grasp and crashed to the ground, the sound of shattering glass echoing through the hallway. As she painfully landed on her back, the wine bottle rolled away from her, coming to a standstill on the other side of the corridor.

As the servant lay on the ground, wincing in pain, she caught a glimpse of someone walking into the hallway from another room. She could hear a gasp.

“Oh no. Oh, dear – are you all right?”

The servant winced again as she sat up and rubbed her sore back. She looked up to see Mithian of Nemeth kneeling down to pick up the wine bottle, a concerned expression on her face as she surveyed the shattered glass on the floor. The servant tried to stand up to clean up the mess, but groaned as the pain in her back intensified.
“Are you all right?” Mithian asked again, slowly approaching. “That was a bad fall.”

The servant’s face turned red with embarrassment. She frantically tried to gather the shattered glass into a pile.
“Apologies for the graceless display, milady-”
Flustered, she grabbed onto the serving tray. She instantly wished that a noblewoman, of all people, hadn’t witnessed such a clumsy display. It was the same as publicly announcing your own incompetence. But Mithian didn’t laugh. She didn’t scoff at her at all. To the woman’s surprise, she watched as the future Queen held out the wine bottle, neatly placing it on top of the tray.
“Ah- you really didn’t need to, I mean-“

“That’s quite all right. You all work so hard for us every day. It’s the least I can do,” Mithian said with a smile. The servant beamed with pride over being acknowledged, straightening her back and lifting her chin.
“Yes, milady. Thank you, milady,” the servant replied gratefully.
“Is that evening wine for Lady Morgana?”
“Yes, it is. I need to hurry,” the servant replied, still a bit flustered.

“Off you go, then. I’ll call someone over for the glass. And be careful, please,” Mithian cautioned with a smile. “We don’t want that wine to spill again.”
The servant nodded, grateful and embarrassed in equal measure.
“Yes! I will. Thank you, milady – please excuse me.”

She immediately hurried away, tray in hand. Mithian watched her grab a fresh wine glass as she passed through the sitting area. From there, it was only a short walk to the West Wing of the castle, and Morgana’s chambers.

The servant was inexperienced.

She hadn’t looked carefully at what she’d received. She hadn’t checked for foul play – hadn’t noticed the small, barely visible puncture hole in the leather cork of the wine bottle.

The girl hadn’t noticed anything.

6 thoughts on “3.58 – Antebellum, Part I

  1. ‘Uther must die-‘ Cool, deal. Let’s fucking go! I see Arthur thinks something’s up…MY BOY GAWAIN! He’s precious. I love that he’s always unfailingly there for everyone. SHAPESHIFT! DO IT MORGANA! BECOME DERGUN! DO IT DO IT DO IT and then never turn back. Damn, what a convo to walk in on XD The drama unfolds….again! DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH LANCELOT I WILL PERSONALLY GUT YOU…One moment are his eyes red in that picture before the ‘vermin’ line?
    UGghhh remember when I fell for Mithian’s bullshit? I hate this. DON’T you go brainwashing the new serving girl. So many questions and so much panicking at unfolding drama ;-; I think Morgana should just go full Dragon and just kill everyone except the good guys in a blast of fire. Huzzah!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bwahaha, always ready to write off Uther in any situation, I see! Who knows? You might get your wish very, very soon 😅

      Yup, his eyes are not normal in the picture before the “vermin” line. “Pellinore” is not who he seems and both Lancelot and Arthur are aware of that. It’s why he’s been shadowing him all this time… but it seems Lancelot has finally overplayed his hand.

      Full dragon mode and killing everyone in a blast of fire. Gotcha! That is, if the wine does not get to her first…☠

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish Arthur would speak to his sister. Those two have such awful communication. I feel for Arthur here because no one is guiding him, there are enemies everywhere, and it seems like we’re on the verge of a big mess.

    About Mithian, I like Mithian. I don’t care. She’s always been a prisoner. She’s not crossed any lines yet and whatever she does is most likely fair play, anyway, imo. Maybe. If Morgana were with Richard, I doubt that she would be any better, but picking Morgana as a target is questionable. Also, I don’t think it would be that easy for Mithian to openly defy her brother. He’s obviously in contact with her and if Uther/Arthur/those at Camelot cared, they would pay more attention, maybe even help her escape her family’s influence. The way they run their kingdom is disgraceful. A normal unmarried princess would never be allowed to run around without supervision–she would be watched 24/7 and no one would allow her any mail or anything that they didn’t first investigate. There’s obviously something wrong with Pellinore, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup. If only they would talk to each other openly. but deep down, neither of them truly trusts the other, Morgana didn’t from the start and after everything that’s happened, now neither does Arthur. ☹

      It sure seems strange that Richard is able to get to her even in Camelot, isn’t it? Either supervision is abysmal, those siblings are -really- good at smoke signals, or something fishy is going on. She’s been shown with guards posted around her before but yeah, Arthur and Uther sure seem to care about her less than they do for others…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Okay, now I’m sitting at an actual computer and can type fast enough for my thoughts. These will appear random and totally out of order. Basically what I was thinking as I was reading, um, the last 20 or so chapters?

    One thing: Back when the witch hunter dude first showed up, I’d swear I saw “Mordred” once, referring to him. Was that a typo? Or maybe it was one of the helper dudes. I was only able to catch snippets as I waited for orders (food delivery). Maybe I missed something.

    It’s SO COOL that Morgana’s element is spirit. That’s just… there isn’t a cool enough word. Dope. There.

    It is really hard to know who to trust. I mean, for instance, the stuff Cenred said felt believable (and gave me a bit of Skyrim flashbacks with the whole dragon religion thing–doubt they made that up themselves). But do we trust him? I mean, Morgana was hesitant. I think I trust him more than Nimueh.

    Is Guin ever gonna realize her mom ain’t dead? And now she AND Arthur are both working on dealing with the refugees. 🙂

    Gawain is a sweetie, but what a temper! Dayum!

    So… Uther needs to die. Not step down. Somehow I don’t see that happening. He needs to die.

    And speaking of… *gasp* what will happen with Lance? Is the creepy shape-shifter (guessing) gonna get him? And for that matter, he’s LANCELOT for duck’s sake. Dude knows how to hold his own.

    Now I wanna see how Morgause is going to handle being part of the attacker and still manage to save her siblings. Because that Mithian’s brother dude is a douche. He needs to die too. MITHIAN is the mega-douche. Poison too? Ugh. What a bitch move.

    Okay, so the RIGHT people need to die. Not the WRONG people. Understand? Hm? 🙂 lol

    I’ll probably think of ten things I forgot to include in this. If I get a chance, I’ll put them in later.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my. You’re all caught up! Welcome to the front of the roller coaster 😁 haha, random thoughts over the last X chapters are the best. Strap in and I hope you enjoy the rest of the ride!

      The Witch Hunter’s name is Morholt. If there was a Mordred there, that was a mistake on my part. Which it very well might be, all these “Mor-” somethings are really confusing sometimes 😂 we can all blame the legends for that HA.

      Dope seems to sum it up quite well 😄

      Oooh yup. Everyone is grey in ToC. There’s only a select few all-good or all-bad characters in the story and Cenred is definitely not one of them. Neither is Nimueh. 🤭 Another one for the “Uther needs to die” camp, I see! That one’s getting rather crowded…

      Dude does know how to hold his own but Lancelot, being as smart and strategic as he is, does not have the same brawn as the others…

      Hard agree on Mithian’s brother being a potato. Hahaha, I see you’re not fond of the entire family there 😆 The right people need to die? And not the wrong ones? Gotcha! All the right people are about to die, I promise. Who those are depends on your definition of “right”, of course 🤪

      Liked by 1 person

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