“Why are you fidgeting?” Merlin asked his friend and prince regent of Camelot as the said man went over his casual, daily attire once again with his fingers.
“I’m not…fidgeting.” Arthur muttered, Merlin could not really see what has put him in such mood, seeing as Anwen and Kyna were due to arrive any minute now.
“Is this because of what your uncle said this morning?” Merlin prodded, he did not like the man at all but tolerated his presence because he was apparently back in Camelot after decades long absence to ‘help’ Arthur now that Uther was indisposed.
Though Anwen promised to return to Camelot, she has been delayed in the fulfilment of that promise by five months because she was sent to aid Solascoill’s ally, Listinoise in battle against the ever reappearing Saxon invasion force. Thus, Merlin was forced to watch as Agravaine slowly but surely started to weave his little ‘web of trusting advisor’ around Arthur and was powerless to stop it.
After everything they have been through, Merlin really wanted to slap Arthur hard on the head for being so naïve although he had to admit Agravaine has been nothing but helpful so far and has done nothing to make Merlin suspicious of him. Well…more than he already was anyway. Hopefully Anwen could knock some sense into the blonde prince since he was not paying any attention to what Merlin was saying.
That being said, Merlin called back the memory of this morning’s visit Agravaine paid Arthur in his chambers whilst Merlin was cleaning around.
“What can I do for you uncle?” Arthur asked, still eating his breakfast.
“I wanted to talk to you about Anwen’s visit.”
“It’s more than just a visit uncle. King Galen has extended hand of trust to Camelot and given Anwen permission to reside in Camelot for the foreseeable future and advise me on running this kingdom.”
“I just do not believe it is a good time for her to arrive in Camelot so soon after…Morgana’s betrayal. Common people might not know who she is but most of the noble court and councillors do. They will not like two witches residing in Camelot.” Agravaine elaborated.
“I know you have not spoken to my aunt in a very long time uncle but Anwen is good person, kind princess to her people and woman of her word. She promised not to use magic unless she ends up in direst of situations that will force her to use it. And Kyna has given me her word too. I trust them uncle.” Arthur argued back, he could not understand what Agravaine had against his own niece and he noticed the man was on edge ever since Arthur announced Anwen’s arrival two weeks ago.
“And I trust you Arthur. I just am not so sure about other council members.”
“When they meet my cousin, they will change their minds. I am sure of it. Besides…I think it is time to show people that magic isn’t necessary evil.”
If Merlin were drinking anything when Arthur said this, he would have probably choked on it. Instead, he just looked at Arthur from where he was cleaning on the floor before quickly averting his gaze. It was unspoken but Merlin knew that Arthur’s view on magic has been changing ever since he first met Anwen. But to actually hear Arthur say that out loud was completely different thing entirely. Perhaps he would not have to keep his magic secret for much longer.
“Sire?” Agravaine blinked few times, utterly confused by Arthur’s reply.
He was Uther’s son, he was supposed to hate magic and everything related to it. This was not fitting into his plans and he knew lady Morgana would not be pleased to hear this as well. Why did his sister’s daughter have to meddle into affairs of this kingdom. Wasn’t her kingdom enough?
“As I got to know my cousin and her best friend, I came to realize that not all my father tried to teach me about magic is true. True, there is still much for me to learn about magic and I am hoping that Anwen’s stay here in Camelot will change that. Maybe she can show everyone else what she has shown me and my close friends.” Arthur elaborated.
“Very well…but you do realize the risk of their staying here?”
“I do uncle and I take full responsibility for them. Now if you excuse me…” Arthur got up from his seat. “I have training with my new knights.“ he added and Agravaine left quickly after that dismissal.
Merlin watched the dark-haired man carefully as he retreated from Arthur’s chambers, he was well aware that Agravaine and many other nobles still disapproved of Arthur making four commoners knights. Well, three but Gwaine was still keeping his mouth shut about his noble origin.
Many members of the court, like Geoffrey of Monmouth were far more lenient on the matter and approved of Arthur’s choice; after all the four knights did help Arthur reclaim Camelot from Morgana and defeated the immortal army. The fact they were made knights, in Geoffrey’s opinion, was the least Arthur could repay them with for their help.
“I just do not understand why uncle does not want Anwen here? It’s more than just his concern about what other people would think about me bringing two witches to the court of Camelot.” Arthur remarked, fumbling with his sword belt.
“I wouldn’t know anything about that but perhaps you can ask Anwen when she arrives.” Merlin replied smoothly, even though it was a lie.
He knew very well why Agravaine did not want Anwen and Kyna here because Anwen already told him everything in a letter that made him wary of Agravaine in the first place. Merlin knew that Anwen’s mother Inis had a fallout with Agravaine around the time Ygraine died and has not spoken to him ever since.
“I most certainly will. There is something…” Arthur was cut off by sound of something scratching the glass of the window and was soon followed by short Gyrfalcon’s chirps.
Merlin crossed the room in three long steps and opened the window, revealing a large, white Gyrfalcon whose feathers were streaked with brown, brining out a smile on Merlin’s lips.
“Hello Shae.” He greeted the big bird that released string of pleasant sounding chirps in return and pushed her white head into his palm.
Arthur surprised an urge to snort out loud, his servant was good at befriending anything and anyone, including animals. Ever since he met Merlin, he wondered what exactly did Merlin inspire in people so they would all practically roll over if he so commanded it. Shaking his head, Arthur approached the falcon as well and after Merlin was done petting her, he did the same.
“Do you have a message girl?” Arthur asked and the bird somehow seemed to have understood what he asked her because she shifted her weight a bit and clinked her feathers a bit.
“She doesn’t have anything tied to her leg and she obviously hasn’t brought a letter. I think Anwen sent her ahead.” Merlin pointed out.
“I think you are right.” Arthur agreed, something he rarely did; and nodded for Merlin to look through the window.
Two female riders came riding to the citadel, wearing silver-grey cloaks and were instantly greeted by five Knights of Camelot they were very familiar with.
“Let’s go and greet them.” Arthur good naturedly clapped Merlin on the shoulder and bolted through the door.
Jumping off the horse easily, Anwen pushed down the hood of her cloak to reveal her face and instantly hugged Lancelot that was standing closest to her. She knew he was taken aback a bit by her way of expressing friendly affection but she did not care and proceeded to hug every other Knight that came to greet Kyna and her.
“I am glad to see you again lady Anwen.” Leon stated courteously.
“We’ll have to work on that too.” Anwen said to Kyna.
“On what?” Elyan asked.
“That you call us by our names rather than our titles.” Kyna explained.
“That will be difficult to achieve but somehow I have a feeling you will succeed cousin.” Anwen’s head whipped around to see Arthur coming down the flight of stairs with Merlin right behind him.
“Arthur…” Anwen’s sing-song voice spoke his name and she embraced him tightly.
“I’ve missed you too. Perhaps you can let go now, I still need to breathe.” Arthur managed to rasp out and she promptly let go of him and went to hug Merlin.
“Some nobles might not approve of that.” Arthur pointed out, earning an instant death glare from Anwen.
“I just said some wouldn’t approve. I did not say I am among them.” He raised his hands in surrender.
“How about we go inside?” He proposed after two stable boys collected their horses. “We can have early dinner and talk.”
“I would like that.” Kyna piped in and allowed Gwaine to escort her inside, earning snickering look from both Anwen and Merlin.