Hi, sorry for the long wait for this chapter. I got sidetracked with work. This is the end of the second Camelot Arc and the next part will be in the present again. As I still need to write most of that, this story is going into a break until I have that part written down. As soon as I have fourth year written, I will update again.
I'm still debating which of the other stories I'm working on will be next to be posted, but I do plan a Christmas story again. But no telling which one yet ;)
The patrol around Sir Edmund and King Arthur returned to Camelot in company of Lady Morgaine and her companion. Nobody thought anything strange about it. It was known that the king was visiting Lord Constantin in Somerset with his nephew and if he arranged to meet with his sister to travel back to Camelot together, it wasn't surprising. After the experience with the bandits, the king had taken to expanding the numbers of the men going on patrol and expanded the range to be informed about rumours of unrest and potential other groups stepping up to fill the void left by the previous group.
The festivities of Beltane had still taken place at Camelot, even if the king was absent and Sir Lancelot had taken over the job of rewarding the winners of the competition in absence of the king. Sir Ronan's squire Timothy, a large brown-haired fifteen years old boy, had won the race and won the price, which this year had been a new sword to be smithed by the master smith of Camelot. For a squire that was an incredibly valuable price to win. The young man had of course also got the kiss from a pretty lady that most of the teenagers looked forward to as much as to the actual price they got to keep. Joycelyn, the daughter of Sir Gawain's older brother, had been the one to reward the winner.
When Harry asked how his friends had done, he heard that Frederick had come in third and Cameron had been unlucky to have his horse shy to the side when the arse Wilbur was hitting his own horse to make it run faster. The idiot really didn't know how to properly train a horse. The poor horse would do much better with any halfway competent rider that appreciated it. Predictably, Wilbur had come in on one of the unimportant places. He had been a snit over that part. Perhaps he also realised that his time was ticking away. He would have been a page for two years in July. Then he only had six more months to convince Sir Norick that he had the level needed to be promoted to squire. And thanks to his attitude that wasn't that probable to happen.
Mordred meanwhile was thriving under the firm but loving care of Sirius. Everybody at Camelot had accepted the decision to relocate the child to his distant uncle, as they had claimed the relation to be. It was normal that a young noble boy needed the guidance of an older male to learn what he would need to know for his future. Considering that Mordred like his older brother had inherited his magic from his mother, it was best to have a wizard like Sirius Black take care of the boy instead of somebody closer related to his father, who was now officially declared to be Jayden of Blackmoor.
Lord Kyron, when he heard about the situation, had sent a messenger to Camelot that he didn't have the means to support another brat, he really had written it in those words, even if the boy was the son of the King's sister. If Sirius was a distant relative, he was welcome to raise the boy. He wouldn't interfere with the situation at all. Probably Lord Kyron, who had five surviving sons and three daughters to his name, next to at least three grandchildren from each of his children, was simply glad to not one day have to pay for a wedding or something like that.
Lady Morgause had tried to protest, an attempt to not have her work in vain, but the claim of a male relative outweighed that of a female one, even if the female was closer related to the child. Arthur had made sure to repay any kind of costs that Morgause may have had while raising Mordred for the six years he had lived at her castle. But he firmly wrote to her in a letter that it was time that Mordred was raised to fill his future position as a magical knight of England. And that could only be done by a nobleman that was also a wizard. He didn't hide that Mordred had even already managed to make such a great impression with Sir Godric that the man had offered to take him as a page when he was old enough, should he continue his training and studies like he did before. It was hard to argue against that type of arguments. It was incredibly rare after all that any knight took an interest in such a young boy for his future development.
While the old religion allowed women to rule their land, even there it was seen as normal that the upbringing of any child would be done best by an adult of the same gender as the child, simply to teach them the different expectations that society had for them. Meaning, while she was a wonderful replacement for a mother in Mordred's youngest years, he now needed a father figure to be prepared for his future, and she certainly wanted him to become an influential and capable man. She couldn't argue against that part. Even if everybody knew she wouldn't give up lusting for more power. But thanks to Harry's and Sirius' knowledge from the future, it was worth the intervention with history.
The timeline had the habit to balance changes done to it in some way. The people in their time would still be born in some way, as long as they didn't go around killing others that they knew had been ancestors of people they would rather not see born. Otherwise Sirius would have gone and looked for Voldemort's ancestors. But Morgaine had explained why that type of interference was a horrible idea. Harry would check how the change in Mordred's custody would influence his future when he was back at Hogwarts.
Harry, Morgaine and Sirius had discussed how they would go about the need to return to the future for Harry to attend his fourth year at Hogwarts. Contrary to last year, it wouldn't work out for Harry to 'accompany his mother to Avalon' after he was promoted from page to squire. Sir Edmund wanted to continue his training without long interruptions of the time. There also was the fact that Mordred needed to be taken into consideration now. Sirius could get away with leaving his adopted son at Camelot for a week or two on end when he went on a trip for his business. Because right now it would be far too early to take the boy with them into the future.
Dumbledore at the front of the busybodies would try to find out where the child had come from and before they hadn't set up something to explain things, it would be far too risky to take Mordred with them. Thus, the next return trip would only be done by Harry and Sirius. And they needed to time it in a way that they would only be gone for about two weeks' time in the past. That part wasn't a problem, as Fawkes could take them to any point in time with his powers. It was important to keep the knowledge that Harry and Sirius were from the future a secret from those outside the core of trusted people that knew what was at stake. They would become priority targets for those that wanted more power should that be known.
Once they were back in their time, Sirius could set up a scheme to explain away how and why he had adopted a young child. There were ways to disguise what was really going on. Mordred first also needed to be used to being Sirius' son before he could be taken into their trust. He was too young to not let something slip without being fully comfortable around his new family. There were ways to secure the knowledge with spells, but those were also stronger if the one keeping the secret wanted to do it. It was all based on intent. Mordred needed to be convinced that nobody wanted to trick him. That they didn't lie to him to hurt him but to protect him from their enemies.
And it would be a shock for the boy to experience the modern world. Even if the wizarding world was a good deal behind the mundane world in their habits and the things they used. It was a lot more advanced than what was known in this era. They had considered simply using the excuse of business trips all the time to keep Mordred ignorant but in the end that would cost them his trust once he figured it out. And Mordred was smart enough to do that over time. It was better to explain things to him and swear him to secrecy.
Thus, the plan for their return to the future was to let Fawkes collect them in the middle of August and be gone for two weeks. That was easily arranged, and Sir Edmund's youngest sister was due having a baby around that time and he had already asked for permission to go and visit her to see his first niece of nephew. Due to him being Harry's teacher, Morgaine had offered to assist with the birth, and having the experienced healer with him was something Sir Edmund wouldn't refuse. Harry would accompany Sirius on his trip to spend a bit of time with his godfather and nobody needed to worry about anything else.
Guinevere and Arthur would look after Mordred while the others were gone. And things were looking good in regard to her possibly being pregnant. Her normal period was overdue; she prayed each day that the ritual had worked, and she was carrying her first child. They would know for sure when it hadn't come by July. The ritual could have the effect to skip one period, as Morgaine had told Arthur and Guinevere. But if it was a pregnancy the period for July would also not come and she would have side symptoms that many pregnant women experienced, like morning sickness and mood swings. Guinevere would happily take the morning sickness if only to finally be pregnant.
Morgause thought she had found a great solution for her problems. The only reason why Mordred had been taken in by Lord Sirius was that he was a male relative of the boy. From her investigations, any other male relatives didn't have the intention to take care of the boy in any way. Arthur was too busy to care for Mordred and he couldn't afford to give the impression of favouring his younger nephew over his older one. Harry was designated crown prince until Arthur managed to have a son of his own. While it had come as a disappointment that Mordred's father was revealed to be the fourth son of a lesser lord like Lord Kyron, she had hoped it to be the lord of a region, like it had been the case with Mordred's older brother's father, the important part was Mordred's maternal heritage anyway.
Through Morgaine, Mordred was related to Arthur. And outside of Morgaine there were no other close relatives that remained for Arthur. It was one reason why the situation in England had been so volatile after Uther died. There were no known male relatives that could follow him onto the throne. That was why drawing the sword from the stone was used as a means to determine the rightful future king. Nothing but that relationship mattered in the long run. But she needed to regain control over the child. Probably it had been a mistake to take the child with her to Camelot, but at the time she didn't have anybody she trusted to leave the boy with while she went on her trip. And she had thought that she could plant a small seed into the minds of the nobles at Camelot that there was a spare heir, in case something happened to Harold. And for that the boy needed to be known. Sadly, it had all spiralled out of her control.
But she hadn't planned for years and plotted how to eliminate any chance of Arthur to have a son of his own to now give up. She hadn't spent all the gold for the witch that had cursed Guinevere to be barren to let others have control over the child. She wanted Camelot and the power of being shadow ruler and she would get it. No matter what price others would have to pay. But she knew that she had to be smart about it. Aunt of the king or not, she wouldn't get any mercy if she was found out. But there were many others that could be used as scapegoats in her stead. And planting a few innocent suggestions into the minds of some overambitious fools that wouldn't know how to plan long-term was far too easy. She would let them deal with Harold and in best case Sirius as well.
Then Mordred's protection would be gone, and he would have to come back to her castle to be raised. Because neither Arthur nor Morgaine could do it. She would win in the end, even if she had to take this unexpected hit. She would make Morgaine pay for trying to foil her plans. She deserved to rule England.
It was official. Morgaine gave Guinevere and Arthur, who both had come for this examination of Guinevere a happy smile and a nod.
"It worked. Guinevere is pregnant," she informed her brother and sister-in-law.
Guinevere broke into happy sobs.
"Thank you, thank you so much, Morgaine. I, I am so happy," babbled Guinevere.
"Thank you, sister. I can never repay you for this gift," added Arthur, holding Guinevere in his arms, letting her use him as a pillar of strength while the tension of fear that it hadn't worked left his wife.
"It was honestly my pleasure, brother. And without Harry, we wouldn't have managed to figure out what was wrong and how to counter it. But we need to be careful. I suggest you keep the pregnancy a secret until it becomes too obvious to hide anymore," she advised, "Many will try to hurt Guinevere to get rid of the unborn child to still see their ambitions realised."
"We will. I will set up two of my most loyal knights as her protectors when we can't keep her pregnancy a secret anymore," nodded Arthur, "Normally we should manage to hide it until she reaches the fifth month of pregnancy."
"Possibly we can stretch that until the sixth month if Guinevere wears wide dresses. Thankfully, she won't show too much during the summer months, where wearing such dresses would be seen as strange due to the warm weather," commented Morgaine, "And during the winter months, there are far less people around the castle. Those that live here, won't travel around to spread the news until the baby is born, which will happen about a month after the new year begins."
Guinevere nodded. She would do what was necessary to hide this baby that she finally had conceived. She would protect her child from whoever wanted to harm it. And she would find a wonderful present for Harry to show her gratitude for his help. Thanks to his tireless research into ways how she could have been cursed into infertility she now finally, after years of pain and humiliation by the other noble ladies had the chance to become a mother.
Morgaine listed several things that the two of them needed to take into consideration to ensure that the pregnancy would go well. While she would be around many times, she still had to travel back to Avalon regularly to take care of her duties. It had been a good thing that she went there for Beltane, this freed her to be away from the island for a few months afterward. Taliesin was after all in the know and supported the education of Harry to be ready to take up his position as the guardian of magic in the future.
It was time. Sir Edmund had left Camelot, knowing that Harry would accompany his godfather on a trip for two weeks. He had left a list of exercises that he expected Harry to do each day with the now fifteen-year-old teenager. At east in this time, he was fifteen, even if in his normal timeline, he would be considered fourteen. But that was a side effect of the time-travel. It had been different to celebrate his birthday in the past in Camelot. His family and friends had been present and this made all the difference for Harry. There had been a small party for the squires that Harry was friends with the evening before, where they met and had a good time with some snacks and drinks that Harry had ordered from the castle kitchen. The knights had agreed to excuse them from morning training for that one day. Mainly because they all knew that the boys would have to work normally the following day and it wouldn't mess up their training in any way.
Many people had congratulated Harry to his birthday, he was immensely popular. Especially daughters of nobles around his age had given him small self-made presents. It ranged from sweets to useful items. Harry was honestly a bit overwhelmed by the attention, but he thanked each girl politely and with an honest smile. He knew that many of them enjoyed the idea of being the one to win his heart. Sirius and Uncle Arthur had explained certain things to him, next to his mother and Aunt Guinevere adding to it from a female perspective. Mordred didn't understand all of it but liked teasing his brother over so many girls fancying him.
Concerning another area, Harry was used as a good example for the new page candidates that had arrived in Camelot at the beginning of July. Having been a squire for nearly a year and being taught by one of the strictest Knight of the Round Table, Harry had a great sense of duty and attitude concerning his work. Many of the pages that started the year before that were normally the ones to take the new pages under their wing for the first month for general things all pages needed to know told them some stories about his achievements so far. Mostly during the morning runs. That was a time when they could talk with each other and the speed set for the first week before the weights were to be put on again was considered a vacation of sorts by the experienced squires and pages.
And by watching how Harry dutifully went through his training exercises systematically, the younger boys realised that they had a long way before them to reach their goals. Harry didn't mind, as he had used older squires as role models as well when he started out.
Now he was clothed in his normal travelling gear and sat on Thunder's back. He waved towards his family that stayed back, wishing him and Sirius a safe journey and good luck for Sirius' business deals. It was an incredible feeling to know that he had this now. A family that loved him and supported him. And he would protect and defend them against whatever enemy wanted to hurt them. While this wasn't his time period and he would one day have to return to the future permanently, he would enjoy it while it lasted. And possibly he could convince Fawkes to help him with the occasional visit in Camelot even after his education was finished.
Sirius went first towards the gates of Camelot with Harry following on Thunder. They would travel to the same spot that they had used the previous summer to arrive. It was far enough away from any kind of settlement to prevent that accidental observers could find out about their vanishing act. Once they had left the city, they spurned their horses into a faster gait and soon had left the immediate surrounding of the city. They knew that Hedwig would meet them at their travelling spot. The snowy owl had taken off an hour before the two of them. It was better to not let people see her leave with them. It could lead to unwanted rumours. And like every person of importance, Harry had to watch out how he was seen by the public.
Sirius and Harry found Fawkes sitting on a branch next to Hedwig.
"I guess this is it," commented Sirius.
"Yes. I can't believe what happened during this year here in the past," agreed Harry, "It will certainly be different to be back at Hogwarts in the future."
"Having got the chance to study under the founders, you are one lucky bastard," nodded Sirius.
"Even if the reasons for it were bad, I enjoyed it. Their approach to magic is totally different to what the teachers in our time pass on," agreed Harry.
"Well, we better get going. We will have to see on which day Fawkes brings us back," commented Sirius.
"Probably sometime at the end of the break," stated Harry, "I wonder how 'disappointed' Dumbledore will be."
The grinning face told Sirius just how little Harry cared for the old man's opinion in the matter. Honestly, Dumbledore had no right to interfere in Harry's life. He wasn't his guardian and in no way related to him.
"If I didn't know for sure that Dumbledore hates giving up information, he would send both of us a howler as soon as he gets a hint of where we are," stated Sirius, "but that would include having others possibly listen into his 'admonishment' and that is not to his liking."
Harry chuckled. He didn't care about the opinion of a man that only wanted to control him like a puppet. He and Sirius secured their things, telling Thunder and Starlight, Sirius horse, to go grazing in the area but to not be seen by others until they were back, which would take a bit under two weeks, as they would then be brought back by Fawkes. Thanks to shrinking charms, the saddles and bridles of the two horses were stored in their travelling bags easily and once everything was ready, Fawkes flamed them back to the future.
And cut for now. Until I have written the entirety of fourth year, then you will get new updates. I have a few parts written so far, but to have everything consistent, I won't post it until I switch back to Camelot time again. And I have a lot of cool things planned for the school year.