“What the hell were you two doing?” Was the first thing that came out of Arthur’s mouth when Anwen, Merlin and Lancelot approached him in the courtyard since they met half way.
“We will have to work on your ways of expressing gratitude in the future.” Anwen sighed, shaking her head disapprovingly.
“Gratitude?! We almost got killed down there!”
“You were perfectly safe Arthur.” Kyna pointed out from where she was tending to Elyan’s wound.
“That still doesn’t explain what you two were doing.” Arthur glared at Lancelot and Merlin.
“The alarm bell was well guarded for some reason so they decided to help me. And I am grateful for their help, otherwise I would have had greater problem getting through the guards to the Cup.”
“Do you have it?”
“Yes but I am not giving it to you.”
“What?” Arthur looked at his cousin as if she had suddenly grown another head.
“This is hardly the time for you to argue with me over something I clearly have more knowledge off. The Cup should not have been removed from its original guardians to begin with. This entire event, although Morgana’s true nature was exposed in the process, is entirely your father’s fault. I am taking the Cup of Life to Solascoill and will entrust it in druids’ care. They will keep it safe and use it wisely.” Anwen elaborated with raised eyebrow that frustrated Arthur greatly, as seemingly everyone but him was able to master that look.
“She is right Arthur. The Cup needs to be placed in safe hands.” Merlin agreed, earning a death glare in return.
“You cannot hope to keep it in Camelot’s vaults. Others like Morgana and Morgause will not hesitate to break in and steal it. And if we are taking a moment honest, you have no means of defence.” Kyna pointed out even though she telepathically apologized to Merlin for saying that.
“Perhaps it is for the best if ladies Anwen and Kyna take it to Solascoill.” Leon wisely chose to cut in.
“Oh for goodness sake, take it! And you better keep your word.” Arthur warned her.
“Whenever do I not keep my word?” Anwen smirked in return, completely unaffected by Arthur’s dangerously low intoned warning.
“If you are finished with your little discussion, someone should get Gwen and Gaius. And many knights needed medical treatments.” Merlin added.
“I need volunteers for escorting Gwen and Gaius back to Camelot.” The moment Arthur finished the sentence, five hands were in the air, resulting in Arthur chuckling.
“I thought so. Go on and make sure they arrive here safely.” he dismissed his knights.
“We will take care of the wounded.”
“No magic though.”
“We are well aware of that.” Kyna muttered grumpily and walked away toward physician’s chambers where injured knights were waiting.
“Anwen…” Arthur stopped his cousin by grabbing her arm gently and spun her around to face him. “I know you do not have any particular love for my father but can you please look at him? See if Morgana did something to him while he was imprisoned?”
“You are right, I have no love for him. But I will look at him though I do not believe there is anything I can do for him. From what Kyna managed to observe down in the dungeons, he had a mental breakdown. There is no remedy for that, none other than time and hope that he would recover.” Anwen replied, shared a look with Merlin before walking back up in the citadel to Uther’s room.
The room was pretty much untouched, making Anwen realized Morgana hated Uther to such extent she did not even wish to enter his room, despite his absence from it. After all, these chambers were the largest in the citadel and most elaborate ones so it was strange that Morgana did not take the opportunity to enjoy the luxurious accommodations.
Her eyes zeroed in on a hunched figure of Uther Pendragon, half sitting up in bed with his haunted eyes staring blankly at the tapestry hung on the wall across the bed. Different emotions stirred inside her as she approached him, some cried to kill him and rid him off his misery whilst some cried for compassion and pity at the very sight of him. This was their first meeting and as fate would have it, Uther would probably never fully recover from the betrayal inflicted by his flesh and blood.
‘It’s his own fault.’ small voice murmured in the back of her mind.
“Sire?” she surprised herself how caring she sounded but she got no reply from him as he continued to stare at the tapestry. “Sire?”
“Do you think I do not know who you are?” Uther finally rasped out, his broken eyes looking at her.
“I would not dare to be so over-presumptuous. In fact I would be disappointed if you would not recognise me.”
“How could I not? You look just like your mother. And Ygraine.”
“Yes, so I have been told. Too bad I will never meet her.” Anwen’s voice was slowly turning venomous.
“Nimueh betrayed me.”
“Nimueh did as you asked. Do not think you can lie to me, my mother told me everything. You bathed this realm in blood of innocents for twenty years because you could not live with what you did.”
“I would have never harmed Ygraine.”
“On purpose no. But you were so desperate for a child you were willing to pay the highest or prices and arrogantly assume it would be some…lowly peasant. Magic does not work that way.”
“Do not play ignorant fool on me.” Anwen placed both of her hands on his face and her eyes flashed gold as she inspected his mental state.
“Anwen?” Arthur’s slightly alerted voice reached her ears and he hurried over to his father’s bedside.
“In a moment.” Anwen murmured and took a deep breath after few seconds of silence as her eyes stopped glowing.
“What did you do to him?”
“Nothing…in fact I left him in far better state of mind then he was minute ago.” she replied calmly and got off the bed, motioning for Arthur to follow her outside.
“I will be honest with you. There is hope that he could recover from this…but it is very slim. I advise you to prepare yourself for taking up more responsibilities because I do not believe your father will be able to rule in a long time to come. I am truly sorry.” Anwen pulled him into comforting hug.
“When do you leave?” Arthur asked after few minutes of silence.
“As soon as possible. But we will return.”
“You better do because I will need your help.”
“You have Merlin.”
“Please…what good is that half wit anyway aside from fun?”
“He is your good friend and advisor. Even if you refuse to admit it. That damn Pendragon pride has already cost you so much. Perhaps it is time for you to cut it down.” Anwen admonished him lightly and walked off down the hall, leaving a confused Once and Future King alone with his thoughts.