“We must do this more often.” Kyna remarked as she rode beside Anwen through the woods of Camelot, in disguise of course.
Kyna was Anwen’s best friend since childhood and they shared many adventures together. One that did not know them would mistake them for sisters seeing as they were that close.
“What? Sneaking around the forests in the kingdoms where magic is banned or at the very least frowned upon?” Anwen smirked a bit.
“No…I meant these quiet rides. I think this is the first time in the long time that we had peace and quiet during our rides. Usually we are interrupted by bandits or worse, revenge bent magic wielders.” Kyna remarked.
“Now you jinxed it.” Anwen murmured.
“No, I didn’t. There isn’t a single…” Kyna was cut off from talking further by the sound of swords being released from their sheaths and two men suddenly appeared on the road before them.
They were quite the pair. Both in chainmail, swords at ready. One was very tall, Anwen would guess him to be 6’5’’ at least and had good set of muscles on his broad frame. The other one wasn’t so short either, around 5’11’’. Both of them also had brown eyes and brown hair though that differed in dark and light shades.
“Who are you?” The shorter of the two asked, his baritone was smooth and pleasant.
“Right to the point. Just what I like in men.” Anwen smirked a bit. “My name is Anwen and this is Kyna. We are adventurers and we were simply passing through the forest. If you could repay as the curtsey of knowing your names?”
“I am Lancelot, my lady, and this is Percival. And I do not think it is safe for you to be wandering around, especially now.”
“And why is that my good sir?”
“You do not know?” He seemed surprised.
“If I did, I would not be asking you.” Anwen replied.
“The lady Morgana has betrayed the king and has taken over Camelot.”
Anwen was surprised even though she really shouldn’t be. She was suspicious of Morgana and told Arthur so when they met three months back but just like Uther, it seemed Arthur was eating right out of her hand.
“What of Prince Arthur?” Kyna asked instead Anwen who was obviously mulling over something in her head.
“He was not in Camelot when the immortal army struck. Why would you like to know? Do you know the prince?”
“Didn’t I tell him not to trust her? Idiot!” Anwen cursed.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” Lancelot said.
“They’re related.” Kyna shortly supplied.
“Oh…Will you join us in that case? We were on our way to meet the prince and small number of friends that are with him.”
“Might as well. Come on.” Anwen offered her hand to Lancelot to jump on.
“You are not going to walk when there is perfectly enough space on both horses for you to get on. Come now, time is the essence.” Kyna reiterated firmly and seeing the ladies would be stubborn about it; two men sheathed their sword and settled on the horses.
“Where to my good lord?” Anwen asked kindly for direction.
“There is a cave in Darkling Woods that has a concealed entrance and fresh water. That’s how Merlin described it anyway.”
“Merlin? So you are that Lancelot…I have heard a lot about you.” Anwen chuckled.
“Did you now?”
“I think Merlin described the cave we stayed in last time we went through Camelot.” Kyna remarked.
“Yes, quite possible.” Anwen agreed.
As they approached their destination, their attention was drawn by near battle cries. They jumped off the horses and unsheathed their swords as they readied for possible battle nearby. Coming up on the edge of the small gorge, they could clearly see Arthur and small group of his friends running away from immortal soldiers, sight that sent Anwen’s guts to twist, she has never seen something more twisted than that.
“You think you can push those stones down?” Kyna asked Percival, nodding to the boulders that were for their luck and convenience placed right on the edge.
“I think so.” Percival nodded, sheathed the sword and walked over to push the boulders down the gorge.
“Look out!” Percival shouted as he pushed the boulders that came crashing down with significant force, effectively cutting off the path for soldiers to follow.
Four warriors took a step forward to reveal themselves to the small group of exiles that was relieved and happy to see them though Anwen could see that Arthur was confused as to what she was doing here with Kyna.
“I take it that rock fall wasn’t an accident?” Arthur asked when they reached reasonably safe place to rest with both Kyna and Gwen fussing over visibly tired out Gaius.
“This is Percival. It was his strength that brought it down.” Lancelot patted his friend on the shoulder.
“Your Highness.” Percival greeted respectfully.
“Arthur.” the prince corrected him upon which Percival flashed a little smile and shook his hand to which Arthur winced in surprise, man had one hell of a grip.
“So it’s Arthur now? Got over your human sized ego, eh?” Anwen cut in teasingly as always and before Arthur could hug her, she clipped him behind ear.
“Ouch! What the hell was that for?” Arthur asked like a five year old with almost equal pout on his lips.
“How many times have I warned you about her?”
“And did you listen?”
“Have I ever given you an advice or answer that wasn’t true?”
“Then next time when I advise you to be on lookout for something or someone because I suspect that they are not all what they seem to be, you actually take that into account.” Anwen’s arms were crossed at her chest and to everyone else who was standing around it looked like mother admonishing her child for getting into trouble.
“Fine, are you finished now?” Arthur bit back snappily.
“Yes.” Anwen snorted a bit.
“Do you mind cluing us in sire?” Leon asked confused, he has never seen anyone talk to the prince like that.
Sure, Merlin always complained and on several occasions grounded Arthur in front of his men but he never spoke to Arthur like that. Not to mention that the young blonde woman strikingly resembled Arthur and they appeared to be of same age.
“This lovely, charming young woman…” Arthur said it as sarcastically as he could, making her roll her eyes. “Is Anwen Averay, princes of Solascoill and to my misfortune my cousin.” that earned him a playful but strong slap in the arm.
“Cousin? Just how many family members do you actually have princess?” Gwaine asked in his usual bantering manner, smirk on his face.
“Well, if we count Morgana in which we should despite her doings, Arthur has me, my sister, my parents and grandparents. Although seeing where we come from, I think it makes sense to you why Uther never spoke of his late wife’s family. Or at least part of it.” Anwen replied instead of Arthur.
“I am pretty certain this is all quite interesting to rest of you but we need to find shelter.” Merlin cut in.
“Yes, that we do. I am so sorry for ignoring you, old friend.” Anwen immediately hugged him.
“It’s good to see you too.” Merlin gave her that ‘Merlin smile’ as Anwen called it seeing as no one else smiled like that but him.
“Gaius, you can climb on my horse. There’s no need for you to tire yourself out more.” Kyna pulled the reins of her smoky black mare to bring her over to Gaius. “Elwyn is quite calm and tame.”
“Thank you.” The court physician nodded and climbed on the horse, he was well aware not to protest with suggestion and he was tired.
“Any ideas?” Lancelot asked.
“There is an abandoned castle north-east of here. If we go now, we can reach it by nightfall.” Arthur elaborated.
“We should move.” Anwen’s tone was no longer cheerful or sarcastic
It was chillingly low intoned and her eyes looked into the forest behind them with great deal of suspicion; and it served as additional motivation for the small group to get going. Arthur led the way so Anwen relaxed at the back, walking behind Merlin.
‘Uther wanted the Cup of Life removed from the druids because he feared Cenred might get his hands on it.’ Anwen mentally snorted.
‘Of course he did, the blithering fool. The druids are very capable of keeping relics like the Cup of Life away from things like Cenred.’
‘Well, now it’s of no use to dwell on it. We need to figure out how to defeat the army, Morgana and Morgause.’
‘Don’t worry Merlin, we will. You are not alone.’
‘I know. I really missed you.’
‘And I you. But pray tell me more about Lancelot.’ she heard Merlin laugh in her head.
‘You like him.’
‘Oh yes, you do. I am going to have so much fun teasing you.’
‘Merlin…’ Anwen’s tone pitched up a bit in warning.
‘I am the mighty Emrys; you would not dare to harm me.’
‘Not yet.’ Anwen’s cheerful, innocent tone rang in his head and died out with soft laughter.