Although most people would complain, the chill air the early morning of spring was in Anwen’s opinion refreshing and served as sort of reminder that even this early in the morning, any possible traveller should be alert at all times to the possible danger that lurked in the woods and isolated places that were distant from frequently used travelling routes.
She came to a stop just outside the village that was on the border of Escetia and Camelot. It was called Ealdor and was home to the mother of her dear friend she met when they were children and she was passing through with her parents on the way to Odin’s realm Bernicia. The village seemed to be quiet and peaceful, there were small pillars of smoke rising from few houses but otherwise she could see no one outside.
That struck her as bit strange, even though it was early, peasants would already be outside on the fields. Her sharp eyes noticed an arrow bolt imbedded in nearby wooden fence and made her wonder if this is why everyone was in their homes. When she approached the village, she found no evidence of attackers. Either way, she came here with a mission to see her friend’s mother and then backtrack a bit to Camelot to see Merlin.
Merlin was first to wake up. Although little confused at first, he quickly remembered where he was, why he was here and who came with him to Ealdor. After making Kanan run yesterday, Arthur decided to start training the villagers in some basic fighting skills to improve their chances of winning because four of them alone could not fight them all.
He dressed up and decided to let three of his friends sleep little bit longer whilst he went out to get fresh water and help his mother with breakfast. When he turned to go back inside, he noticed a fair skinned, blonde woman riding on a pure white horse towards him with smile on her face.
Although from a far he did not recognise her, when she came closer he saw her to be an old friend, woman he met when they were merely seven years old. Princess Anwen. Wide smile appeared on his face as he put the bucket full of water down and speedily approached her, holding her horse as she dismounted.
“It has been a long time old friend.” Anwen murmured in her soft voice and hugged him.
Despite what Merlin may have thought of him, Arthur noticed immediately when Merlin got up and left the house. He was also aware that he did not wake the rest of them and went to get fresh water and help his mother with the chores. Even here, in his own home, he did his best to be his manservant, however annoying he was with his wit and clumsiness.
So when Merlin did not come back long after he left the house, Arthur got up himself and went out to find him, seeing as he instructed villagers to remain inside their homes to the late morning. He was surprised to say the least to see him hugging a young woman clad in light armour and he could tell the way they were talking and smiling that they were old friends. Maybe even more…
“Merlin?” his tone was still slightly sleepy but curious and two friends separated immediately.
As Arthur took in her appearance, he got the feeling he should know her and for some reason he knew she looked lot like him, her expressive blue eyes were what drew most of the attention. Although he did not know who she was, the way her eyes narrowed at the sight of him, he knew she recognised him.
“Be nice.” Merlin whispered to her when she stepped forward to meet Arthur.
“I greet you Arthur Pendragon, crown prince of Camelot and son to Lady Ygraine.” Anwen greeted respectfully, Arthur could tell that she was either frequent visitor to some court or lives on one.
“I greet you as well, my lady though I am afraid I do not know your name.” Arthur greeted back courteously.
“I am not surprised you lack the knowledge to recognise me. I am Anwen Averay, daughter of prince Airell and princess Inis of Solascoill.” Anwen introduced herself, noting his surprise with small amount of inward glee.
“And what is princess of Solascoill doing so far from home?” Arthur’s knowledge of northern kingdoms that openly welcomed magic was deficient but Solascoill was a great kingdom that has seen peace and prosperity for three centuries now and no one dared to instigate a war with them.
“It would seem that Merlin has a talent of befriending royalty. Although I came to visit his mother Hunith and I planned to visit Merlin afterwards in Camelot. Now I can see them both at the same time.” Anwen replied with wide, honest grin.
“Seeing you have armour and a sword, I presume you know how to fight.”
“Yes, Merlin told me everything.” Anwen nodded and looked to the house. “Is Hunith in there?”
“Good. I’ll go see if she needs a hand with breakfast.” She smirked and promptly left after she tethered her horse to the fence.
“Whenever did you meet the princess of Solascoill, Merlin?” Arthur raised an eyebrow.
“When I was about seven. She was passing through to Bernicia with her parents and we have been friends ever since.”
“And you didn’t tell me that because…?”
“How does my friendship with her relates to you? Especially since she comes from magical kingdom.” Merlin deadpanned.
“I suppose you are right.”
“Of course I am.” Merlin answered rather cheekily before trailing after Anwen inside the house.
“Who did that?” Arthur asked, approaching Merlin, William and Anwen right after Merlin’s spell ended.
“What?” Merlin asked, acting confused.
“Wind like that doesn’t just appear from nowhere. I know magic when I see it. One of you made that happen.” Arthur stated.
“Did you temporarily forget where I come from?” Anwen deadpanned in bored tone of voice, drawing everyone present attention. “Or are you of belief only those of common birth have magic?”
“What?” Now it was Arthur’s turn to be confused.
“Did you really think I would just wield my sword and take up as many as I could when I could just cast a spell that would permanently defeat them and scare them off?” Anwen’s arms were crossed at her chest.
“Look out!” William shouted, forcing them all to turn around or look away to see Kanen firing a crossbow he got his hands on.
This time Anwen’s eyes actually flashed gold and froze the bolt mere inches away from her face. She calmly plucked it out of the air and snapped it in half before she focused her somewhat annoyed, angered gaze on the stupefied brigand and the rope that lay few feet away.
“Binden þeos man mid strang healdan.” Anwen murmured and the rope jumped in the air before it found its way onto Kanen’s body, wrapping his entire body tightly. “You may do with him what pleases you.” she added and looked at Arthur again.
“Don’t give me that blank look Arthur. You look ridiculous with it.” She muttered and walked past him right to her horse.
“I’m going to check the woods for any lurkers whilst you simmer off or whatever.”
“Why didn’t you tell me Merlin?”
“Oh come now Arthur.” Morgana cut in to save Merlin from explaining himself. “Surely you must have at least assumed when she told you where she is from that she has magic. I know I did. And why does that distress you anyway? We are not in Camelot and she saved dozens of lives by conjuring that wind.”
“Just because Uther says something, does not make it true.” Her anger for her guardian once again spiked, it was no secret she fought with him all the time when she could.
“Let’s just all calm down.” Hunith interjected, she did not wish for them to fight now when they managed to win seemingly lost battle.
“I wish you all well. Maybe one day we will see each other again.” Anwen spoke few hours later after they left Ealdor as they stood on the border.
“And you.” Arthur inclined his head before urging his horse into canter again.
“Oh and Arthur?” Anwen called after him.
“When you return to Camelot, ask Gaius about my mother. I am certain he will tell you an interesting story.” She stated mysteriously and rode off with small laughter ringing in the air.
“Do you have any idea what she talked about?” Arthur looked at Merlin with You-better-not-lie-to-me-this-time.
“I honestly have no idea.” Merlin shook his head, he too wanted to know what this was about.