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When Anwen came back to the realm of consciousness, first thing she noticed was Lancelot sleeping besides her, clad in his daily outfit with small worried frown gracing his brow. She sighed a bit and caressed his stubble cheek, wondering how long she was asleep and how long was he keeping vigil over her before falling asleep from the exhaustion himself.

Her movements seemed to have woken him and soon she found herself staring in his dark brown eyes that were full of concern and fear. But fear of what?

“How long was I asleep?”

“Two nights and one day, you were really worn. For moment we thought you just slipped away.”

“I am sorry to have caused you such worry. What has happened whilst I was out?”

His eyes meandered away for only a second but it was enough for suspicion to bubble up inside her.

“Lancelot…” Her voice pitched up slowly.

“A girl from outskirts village arrived early in the morning, said her village was attacked. We went to the village to find out more after both Gaius and Kyna identified the creatures as Dorocha and whilst we were searching the village, Merlin and I found out his magic doesn’t work against Dorocha. I don’t know who looked more terrified of that information…Merlin or Kyna.”

“Dorocha are the spirits of the dead. Magic rarely works on something that’s dead.”

Was it his imagination or was she angry?

“Anwen…”

“How could you all be so stupid? To go to the outskirts village in the dead of night with spirits of the dead traipsing around. I would understand that if it weren’t for Kyna. I am more than aware she knows what it means to wander around in the dead of night without protection with Dorocha breathing down your neck.”

“Anwen…Kyna tried to dissuade Arthur from going. So did Gaius but he was insistent.”

“I’m sorry…” Her anger visibly deflated at his tone. “I should not be taking out my frustrations on you. I just think about what could have happened whilst I was unconscious. Why are you putting on your chainmail?”

“I…uh…”

“I just apologized for getting angry with you, don’t anger me again.”

“Gaius told Arthur that the only way to fix this mess is to heal the Veil.”

“Well that is our only option.”

“It requires blood sacrifice.”

“Yes it does.” Her eyes widened in shock. “He is not that stupid is he?”

“He did not say anything but Merlin has long learned how to read between his lines. He believes Arthur wants to sacrifice himself to heal the Veil.”

“That bloody, stupid, prideful…So what he intends to sacrifice himself and you are what…his funeral procession to the Isle?”

“Kyna has stalled our departure because she believed it would be best to see if you would wake. Now that you are, perhaps you can talk to him on our way there. You know that once his mind is set, it is hard to dissuade him.” Lancelot snapped back harsher than he wanted to but it only resulted in surprised eyebrow raise; for he was not a man to raise his voice.

“Fine. If you are ready to go, then go and tell Arthur I will be joining you all shortly. I assume Merlin and Kyna are coming as well.”

“Yes, they are.”

“Good. Now go.”

Anwen was not certain if this was their first fight as a couple but she bit her lower lip as she watched him leave her chambers with frustrated sigh. Having no time for washing and choosing outfits, she cast a cleaning spell as she rummaged her wardrobe for the first set of clothing that had sensible match and dressed, putting her light armour over it. If there was one thing she learnt during her stay on Bælial eight years ago; was the fact that she always had to have a bag packed specifically for emergencies like this one.

Her long fingers worked quickly to tie her hair as her eyes flashed gold and brought out small wooden chest from the cabinet. Tying the end of her braid rather tightly, she opened lifted the lid of the box and her eyes focused on Carublæd, a gift from Rhiannon when Kyna and she passed the final test.

Gift…

Anwen snorted at that thought as she picked up the outstandingly crafted dagger in its beautiful sheath. She knew what must be done so how could she consider something that would soon introduce her to unbelievable amount of pain a gift? She tucked it safely in the sling bag she threw over her shoulder and marched out of her chambers.

Everyone was relieved to see her up and about but the angry glare she shot at Arthur made them realize that she was still angry at finding out that they were originally planning to leave without her so they decided to be quiet and let her speak first. Merlin knew something else was going on in that head of hers. He came to know her looks and facial expressions long time ago.

‘What are you thinking?’

Anwen’s eyes flitted to his before focusing on the trail before them.

‘I am thinking I am very angry at Arthur for even considering to leave without me and sacrifice himself on the Isle of the Blessed.’

‘You do not have to worry about that. I will take his place.’

‘No you won’t.’

‘Anwen…’

‘I have another way which I will share with everyone before we reach the Island.’

‘But Gaius and Kyna were specific…Sacrifice must be made to heal the Veil.’

‘With all due respect to Gaius and Kyna’s intellect and experience…There are some things Rhiannon taught only me. As future queen of Solascoill, my knowledge about certain aspects of the Old Religion is deeper than yours.’

‘I won’t like it though, am I?’

‘No…you won’t. I do not like it either but it must be done.’

Eerie silence fell as they made their way through the forest on a journey that was fated to bring them fear, inescapable pain and surprise of a lifetime.

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