The small, almost inaudible growl that escaped Anwen’s throat caught Arthur’s attention as he was showing her around the castle later in the same afternoon after Kyna and she settled down in their new chambers. He followed her line of sight and saw his uncle walking down the distant corridor with his servant, chattering away the orders for whatever his uncle had in mind.
If his uncle Agravaine saw Anwen, he was not showing it in any way but he did seem tense. Arthur wanted to know what exactly happened that made them both so jumpy around one another. The question however would have to wait until late hours after supper when they would finally be alone.
“When are we having supper?” Anwen suddenly asked, stopping in her step.
“In two hours. Why?”
“I will go and see your father.”
“I’m not sure he will be delighted to see you.” Arthur warned.
“No…he won’t. But I have a message for him.”
“My mother. And it is for him alone.” Anwen emphasized.
“Very well…But please…don’t agitate him.”
“I promise.” She smiled softly and kissed his cheek in sisterly manner, making him groan a bit in annoyance. “I will see you at supper.”
Arthur shook his head when he heard soft laughter echo the walls as Anwen walked away, she showed her sisterly love for him in public just to annoy him. Or according to her, she was teaching him how to show his more ‘sensitive’ side to his people. He still claimed she did that just to annoy him and to entertain Merlin who was always second away from laughing out loud at his master’s inconvenience.
Gwen curtsied her when they met on the doorway of Uther’s chambers and left uncle and niece alone to talk. Or in this case, it would be Anwen that would do the talking because Uther has barely spoken a word in these five months. Anwen noticed that his gaze was still dull but not as much as it was when she last saw him.
“Good day my lord.” Anwen greeted quite respectfully when she approached his chair.
His figure stiffened a bit in the armchair he was sitting but looked up slightly nevertheless. She wasn’t sure what slight shine in his eyes meant, maybe she reminded him of Ygraine or something; she was not certain.
“What are you doing here?” He asked in his hoarse voice, his hand shaking as he set down the goblet still half full of water.
“I promised Arthur to return and help him. With you…incapacitated, he needs help running this kingdom. And my grandfather agrees with me in opinion that Arthur and I should try to rebuild the relations between Camelot and Solascoill, the ones you destroyed over twenty years ago.” Anwen replied calmly, leaning on the wall next to the window.
“Do not fret, I already promised Arthur not to use magic. Unless of course I am forced to use it.”
“Why are you here? With me?”
“I bring you a short message from my mother.”
If she was not looking at him whilst she was talking, she would have missed the ghost of all smiles that crept on his lips at the mention of her mother
“She wants you to know that she does not hate you. She never has and that she has long ago forgiven you for what you did to her sister, whether it was intentional or not.”
“Your mother was always kind person. A trait I see, she passed onto you.”
“Yes, it was said many times that I am too kind for my own good.”
“If there is nothing you require of me, I will take my leave. I want to explore the castle bit more before the supper.” She looked at him and Uther merely nodded his dismissal after which she quietly slipped out of his chambers.
‘One down, one to go.’ Anwen thought to herself as she set herself on the new mission and that was to find that uncle of hers.
It turned out to be a simple mission as she found him lurking through the corridors near the freshly repaired Council Chambers. Without any restraint, she silently followed him before she spotted an empty, dark alcove in one of the corridors and placed a strong grip on his shoulder, shoving him in it. He looked startled and maintained the confused, surprised face when he realized who shoved him in.
“Anwen? What is the meaning of this?” She got to an inch from his face and narrowed her eyes.
“As far as I know up until now you have been nothing but caring uncle. But I am warning you uncle…If you so much as bat an eyelash the way I feel it’s wrong, I will get you. And you will not like what I have in store for you.” Anwen all but growled her threat venomously and Agravaine, a skilled actor he was as her mother told her, looked even more confused and now he added shock to his facial expression.
“What is wrong with you Anwen? What gives you an excuse to threaten me like this? You have never met me before today.”
“Exactly…I do not know you. But my mother does. She still refuses to tell me what you did to instil such mistrust in her. Fact remains she does not trust you and she warned me about you. Be aware that the moment you start acting suspicious, I will be watching you.”
“I think you take too much of rights in your stay here.”
“I disagree. And if you have a problem, do not hesitate to discuss it with Arthur. Though I imagine that would not do you any good. Enjoy the rest of your day uncle.” Anwen gave him sickly sweet smile with mock curtsey before rushing out of the alcove towards her chambers again.
“Why are you and Agravaine so jumpy around each other?” Arthur asked later that evening when he was sharing supper with Anwen in his chambers.
“You really want to know why?”
“I would not be asking you that if I did not wish to know.”
“I do not trust him and neither should you. At least not extensively as Merlin tells me you do.” Anwen sipped blackberry juice rather than wine, she had no wish to get even tipsy on her first day in Camelot.
Not to mention that last time she got really, properly drunk she made whole alley of oak saplings into full grown trees that looked at least century old. And she overflowed the wells in the lower level of Aelhall.
“And why is that?”
“Honestly Arthur, sometimes you really make me wonder about your intelligence. Man has been absent almost your entire life and now when Uther has suffered mental breakdown; he, for the lack of the better word, magically appears out of nowhere and showers you with advice and guidance. Do you not find this suspicious at all?”
Her question was met with heavy silence and the only thing you could hear was crackling of the fire in the hearth.
“I am not saying you should treat him with outright suspicion and cold shoulder. I just want you to be careful because I do not wish to see a repeat of Morgana.”
She saw him stiffen a bit at the mention of his half-sister’s name and hold on the goblet in his hand increased a bit.
“You are right. I should not put all my blind faith and trust. As I cannot put the same blind faith and trust in you.” He met her gaze and she actually smiled.
“Good. Finally some of my words reached that head of yours.” Anwen remarked.
“How is your family?”
“They’re good. Cara is enjoying wandering around Bælial though she is due to return home in a month or two. I think being absent from home for almost four years was enough. Grandfather and father are as always busy with kingdom’s affairs and grandmother…well she is really a helping hand.” Anwen set down the goblet and looked at Arthur. “Mother has expressed her wish to come and visit for your birthday in two weeks.”
That was really surprising news indeed. Arthur wanted to meet his aunt for a long time now but there was no chance in hell before to even think about it, little less make it happen.
“Really…I promised I would mention it to you and let you decide if you want her here or not.”
“Of course I want her here.” Arthur stated as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“Alright. I will send her a letter then.” Anwen nodded and continued to converse with her cousin long in the night until they concluded that they were both tired and needed rest for the new day.