Greetings, Your Highness! 🙂
This is the much awaited continuation of Quest of Avalon, which is the second story in the series titled The Eventful Life of Morgan Le Fay.
So, as you recall, the previous part, Quest of Avalon: Part I, was about Morgan recalling the letters she had received from King Arthur, and worrying for the fate of Camelot…
Camelot and its impending doom rests heavy upon my mind, even this morning, as I descend the spiral staircase for my morning meal, shoes tapping a slight rhythm on the marble.
‘Good morrow, my lady.’ The manservant scrambles to greet me, as I step into the dining room.
My morning meal is laid out on the grand table—a trencher, soon to be filled with three silver platters of meat, seasoned and succulent. The first is a haunch of roast boar, still dripping with honey and glistening with lard; the next a chunk of venison, stuffed with pepper and tomatoes. The third and final platter takes up the largest space—a fowl, with feathers still attached, and stuffed with turkey. A silver goblet, filled with mead, is placed next to the trencher.
The manservant—I forget his name—pulls out the chair for me, at the head of the table. I remain standing, eyeing the food.
‘I shall have my meal outside.’ I state imperiously.
The servant swallows, and nods hastily, calling out to two other servants to carry out the platters to the gardens outside.
He runs out himself to lay the table by the gardens… and is back, a quarter of an hour later.
‘What is taking so long?’ I ask.
He approaches me with a look of trepidation. I raise an eyebrow, tapping my foot to show my impatience.
‘My lady… There seems to be an issue.’ The servant begins hesitatingly.
‘What is it?’ I demand.
‘I’m… I’m afraid that you may not be able to have a meal outside.’ He says, wringing his hands nervously. ‘You see, my- my lady, I—’
‘Surely it is not impossible to bring it outside?’ I cut swiftly across his stuttering, with a bite of impatience.
‘Impossible, no, but utterly unnecessary.’ A new voice perks up from the doorway, behind me.
I whirl around, a dagger sliding out of my sleeves into my waiting hand, before I spot a man who looks as if he is in his late twenties, but whom I know is much, much older, standing in the doorway—Merlin.
That meddlesome fool.
‘Merlin.’ I hiss, angry that he can catch me in surprise.
‘Lady Morgan.’ He dips his head in my direction. Sunlight glints off his brown hair, making it look golden. His eyes, a turquoise colour that reminds me of the sea, flashes with amusement.
It is always Merlin’s style to drop by out of nowhere, even without a polite knock on the door.
Merlin sits at the table uninvited, and I reluctantly take up my position opposite him, applying myself to my meal.
‘I bring grave tidings from Camelot.’ He begins, as a fresh trencher, just out of the oven, is placed before him.
‘What news?’ I ask, with a sinking feeling.
‘You must have heard of the skirmish with the Saxons. Well, King Arthur lost his sword in that little fight, and I am tasked with the heavy burden of finding him a new one.’ Merlin waves a long finger vaguely in the air, an irritated expression transfixed on his face.
‘Come now, old man.’ I say, laughing at his petulant expression. ‘Do not trouble thyself with the atrocities the asinus can commit. I am surprised, if not quite disappointed, that Arthur is still alive.’
Merlin gives a slight smile at the allusion I make of the King.
‘An ass he maketh, indeed.’ He agrees, albeit more cheerfully.
Merlin is the only one who knows what truly happened in the castle two years ago. He therefore arrives at the same conclusion—King Arthur of Great Britain, ruler of Camelot, is an assinus, an ass.
Conversation ceases as we begin our meal.
Hmm.. so why does Merlin want Morgan’s help in acquiring a new sword? 🙂 More to come!