Greetings Milords and Miladies!
Once again, I find myself in want of thy pardon, for the tardy update! Life as a bard is difficult, and this time, I found myself donning the bells of a fool to amuse the ladies in court. Alas, my dignity is naught but air…
Pshaw! No more of that senseless prattling. If you wish to catch up with the previous parts in Quest of Avalon, you may check out The Eventful Life of Morgan Le Fay.
Here’s a recap: A war looms in Avalon. Morgan has just spoken to Faylinn, commander of the guards in Avalon, and she now goes off to gather her forces to protect the home of faeries. What can she do?
Alvarie and I alight lightly on the castle grounds. I take a deep breath as I glance up at the sun, and realise that it is just past noon.
I release Alvarie’s hand, and survey the streets of Avalon. There are stalls lining the streets, selling trinkets and baubles, which sparkle with a magical tint, and promises to catch the eyes of the customers.
Avalon’s streets are crowded with faeries; they walk in groups, laughing with their high, clear voices, and talking freely. As Alvarie and I maneuver through the crowds, we catch snippets of conversations, which interests me more than I have expected, as I realise that I have missed Avalon’s people, as much as the place.
‘Did you see what he gave me?’
‘Pshaw…Twas merely a star woven with water…’
Two faeries, their fair hair woven with streams of satin, brush past Alvarie and I, as they are busy examining a star-shaped object in one of their hands. The object glows with starlight, which sheds light on their features—dark eyes suspended like polished marbles in their pale faces.
‘… couldn’t catch one at all!’
‘They don’t swim in the pond these days…’
Random phrases are thrown in our way, as Alvarie and I wind our sinuous way through the crowds, which is as crowded as a market place in the World of Men, but far less rowdy.
I find myself grinning, despite the desperate situation at hand. An unconscious smile tugs at the corner of my lips, and I feel a soft tug at my hand, only to look down to see Alvarie smirking up at me.
‘What is it, little elfling?’ I ask lightly.
‘Whom do you miss more, the people or Avalon?’ Alvarie smiles impishly.
I snort slightly, saying, ‘Methinks it’s both. But out of all, I have missed you the most.’ And I mean it.
Alvarie leans into my side with a smug smile upon her small features.
‘Come, my aunt awaits us,’ she pulls me towards her house.
‘Patience, little elfling. You forget the impending war. Tea with your aunt can wait for now.’
‘Morgan, Aunt Elaine is in command of the enchantresses now. It was Faylinn who put her in charge when you were gone,’ Alvarie informs me cheerfully.
‘Ah, so it is. To your aunt’s, then!’ I concede.
Alvarie’s house is off the main streets, secluded by a field of sea grass waving gently to and fro, as if beckoning us to enter. The house is actually a small cottage, made of stone, and now, the gentle glow of firelight shines out from the round windows, looking warm and inviting.
Before we can knock, the door flies open, and out steps a woman who is almost as tall as I, but whose features are rounder and kinder.
‘Alvarie, there you are. I was beginning to worry.’ Elaine sidesteps to let us enter. ‘Morgan, it is good to see you again.’ Her voice is strong and firm, almost as commanding as mine.
She smiles at me, and we embrace.
‘Elaine, it is good to see you too. How are things?’ I say warmly. Elaine chatters about light-hearted things, like how her little store on the main street is doing, the things she sells—fresh flowers that never die, little ornaments that produce a soft glow of light, and other such items.
She knows I am talking about Avalon’s force of enchantresses, although she deliberately keeps our conversation light. I am mildly irritated, but glad, as she is allowing me a brief reprieve from the madness of preparation for war, which I have not given myself.
It is not until that we sit opposite each other, with Alvarie perched on a stool, and a cup of tea in front of each of us, that our conversation moves on to the issue at hand.
‘Avalon has thirty enchantresses and enchanters, all within a day’s ride on seahorse back. Granted, they can all be here in a flash when summoned,’ Elaine says placidly, sipping her tea.
‘It seems that we have to station them at all the entries to Avalon,’ I say, rubbing my neck.
‘Other guardians like Shadowbreeze should be on their guard too. We must send messages to them,’ Alvarie chips in, a gleam in her eye.
‘Quite right, little elfling. In fact, we had better warn the entire population of Avalon,’ I muse, taking a bite of cookie.
‘Would that cause unnecessary alarm?’ Elaine asked, wringing her hands.
I pause to consider. Then, I shake my head firmly.
‘Nay. An attack will come any day. It all depends on the scouts Faylinn has sent out,’ I say.
As if on cue, a knock sounds at the door.
‘Enter,’ Elaine calls.
It is a young faery boy, wearing the gold and white uniform of Avalon. One of Faylinn’s scouts.
‘I cometh to deliver a message from the great enchanter, Merlin, for Morgan Le Fay, the moste powerful, moste beautiful enchantress of Ava—’ He begins, standing at attention.
‘Cut to the chase, boy!’ I bark at him.
‘My apologies, my lady. Uh… I meant to say, that is, most of the enemy is nearing the North gate. There are about three hundred approaching. But they have spread out to the three other gates as well. We have overhead the hags’ conversation, and they plan to enter Avalon in two day’s time.’ The scout stands at attention at the end of his grim announcement.
‘Thank you. You may go,’ I say dismissively.
As the door shuts behind him, I glare at the wood.
Merlin could have easily delivered such an important message by himself, and joined the discussion of deploying our forces. Yet, he had sent a scout.
What can be more pressing than the imminent battle?
Oh, the asinus’ sword.
A great war is steadily approaching in the World of Men as well.
I scowl at my own selfishness. Merlin has his duties to the crown, and so do I. Yet, the asinus’ betrayal has stung me more painfully than I have expected, which has kept me away from aiding Camelot.
Rubbing my forehead, I sigh. Is it time that I put aside my disdain for the King… and save him?
It is time. I tell myself.
Yet, with the imminent siege on Avalon, not to mention pleading with the unreasonable Lady of the Lake for a weapon, and returning with haste to the World of Men, before the battle against the Saxons can take place, we might not have enough time.
In fact, there is no time at all.
Asinus: Latin for “ass”, as Morgan so aptly calls King Arthur
There, so here it is. A longer update this time to make up for the long absence. 🙂 So how is Morgan going to acquire a weapon for King Arthur? Do you think it’s right of her to put aside her disdain for him? Feel free to comment below!