A/N: Sorry for the LONG wait! Just for that, I'm going to make this chapter a LOOOOOONG one! This is the bit where the plot REALLY starts moving! Oh yeah and, I saw KA yesterday, and I remembered that both Arthur's mum and dad died. Eek! Sorry, Lizzi made a boo-boo.
Disclaimer: Touchstone pictures owns the movie. Morgaine, Morgause and Viviane belong to the myth I guess. Catherine, Isabella, Catalina, Morwen and Gabrielle belong to the ETB. The song, Everybody's Fool, is © Evanescence.
As Guinevere walked back to her chambers, she passed Morgaine's room. The priestess's door was open and Guinevere could see her inside. Morgaine had a carpetbag open on her bed; she was throwing clothes in it. She paused and sniffed, wiping her nose. Tear streaks trailed down her face and her eyes were red.
"Morgaine?" The priestess jumped a little, then relaxed when she saw who spoke.
"It's only you, my queen." She bowed a little.
"Where are you going, Morgaine?" Morgaine lowered her eyes.
"I am returning to Avalon, Queen Guinevere."
"Please, Morgaine, call me Guinevere. I need no title." Morgaine smiled at Guinevere. "Morgaine, why are you going back? You are welcome here as long as you like. Yes, I know you have duties in Avalon, but here you have friends here… and Galahad." She paused.
Morgaine's head snapped up from her bag. "How did you…?"
Guinevere laughed a little. "I am the Queen, no? I have spies." She paused again and smiled, mischievously. "Actually, he told me. You don't mind, do you? I will tell no one."
"No… no I do not mind. I return because, though you welcome me, my brother doesn't. Besides, I am the Lady and I need to go. I left my sister, Morgause in charge in my stead, but she has other things to do as well."
"Can he not go with you to Avalon?"
Morgaine shook her head. "I must leave now, Guinevere." Tears filled her eyes. She put a black cloak on. Tying her dark hair back into a braid, she pulled the hood over her head. It covered most of her face, leaving her forehead and eyes in shadow. Guinevere followed the priestess outside, into the stables. Morgaine went to a large black horse. It was all ready for the long journey.
Morgaine was just about to mount the horse, when she turned and looked at Guinevere. The priestess pulled the hood off her head, revealing her face. "Goodbye for now, Guinevere. I have a feeling we will meet again… very soon." She smiled and kissed Guinevere's forehead. Morgaine mounted the horse and rode away.
Guinevere sprinted out of the stables and stared after her friend. "Goodbye, Morgaine. Till we meet again." The queen sighed and started back inside. Galahad was sitting on the stone steps leading into the castle.
"She's gone, hasn't she?"
"I'm sorry, Galahad. I really am; she said that she needed to return to her duties in Avalon."
Galahad smiled at Guinevere. "I know. I just wish she would have waited to say goodbye." His eyes were bright with tears. Guinevere reached out to him, her fingers gently touched his cheek.
"I'm sorry." She said again, before turning to go.
For a while, Galahad gazed out at the horizon before he whispered, "Farewell, Morgaine, my love. Until next time."
Later, over a dinner of cold rabbit pie, Arthur announced that he would leave Camelot for a while.
"Why?" Bors asked.
"I'm leaving for Cornwall, to talk to the duke about the Saxon forces. I'll be gone for seven days." He turned to Guinevere. "You will be ruler in my stead." Guinevere bowed her head. For a few moments, no one spoke. The silence was broken, however, by a loud choking noise.
Gawain began hacking and hitting himself in the chest. Everyone paused and stared at him. "He-help!" He coughed. Bors stood and walked briskly over to him. With one swift smack, a large chunk of rabbit pie went flying out of Gawain's mouth and across the room, where it hit the floor with a wet splat.
"You know, Gawain, that's why I chew my food." Galahad said calmly, raising his eyebrows.
The following morning, everyone was up early, ready to bid the king goodbye. "Why are you going alone?" Guinevere asked for the umpteenth time.
"Because, if I travel in a large group, someone is bound to spot us. And that someone could be a Saxon. Don't worry, Gwen. I'll be alright."
"Are you sure? I mean, I could come with you. I-" Arthur placed his hand on her mouth.
"Don't worry. I'll be fine, I promise." He kissed her and Guinevere placed her hand over his.
"Stay safe." Her dark eyes were full of concern. She kissed him again. "Return to me."
That night, all of the Knights were sitting in the tavern. Even though their leader was gone, they were still laughing and talking. Gawain stood and left their table for a moment, before returning with a woman. She was very pretty, with long, wavy fair hair and blue eyes.
Gawain met her a month ago in the tavern. Her name was Gabrielle and she was French. She hardly English, but she loved him, and he loved her.
"Who's your friend, Gawain?" Bors pointed at Gabrielle.
"This is Gabrielle. She doesn't speak a word of English. Only French." Gabrielle smiled at Gawain.
"Gawain, you don't speak French." Lancelot said.
"And you do?"
"My mother was French. She taught me before I was so kindly taken from my family. I'll talk to your bella ami for you."
"Oui." Lancelot grinned at the pretty woman beside Gawain. "Bonjour, jolie bonne, je suis monsieur Lancelot, un ami de Gawain."
Gabrielle giggled. "Bonjour, Monsieur Lancelot. De façon ou d'autre, vous semblez me connaître, bien que nous ne nous soyons jamais réunis." She giggled again. "Vous aimez Gawain, non?"
"Oui." To Gawain, Lancelot hissed, "What do you want to say to her?"
"Tell her that I love her."
"Amour de Gawain vous beaucoup. L'aimez-vous?"
"She loves you too."
"Really? What should I do now?"
"Kiss her and ravish her."
"Well, that's what Bors does to Vanora when they get into fights."
"But we haven't had a fight."
"Shut up now."
"Well, I'm just saying-"
"That's not shutting up, Gawain. That's still talking rubbish."
In the end, Gawain and Gabrielle went away with each other, probably Gawain was taking Lancelot's advice. The dark haired man sighed. It was dark and he was tired. He yawned and stood, walking back into the keep for his room. Who gives a rat's ass about staying up all night? "Not me." Lancelot muttered.
He crawled into his narrow bed and was just about to fall asleep, when he heard his room's door open. A tall figure came in. It was dressed in a long, black cloak with the hood up, covering the person's face.
"What are you doing here, Lancelot?" Guinevere's soft voice came from the hood.
"I was about to ask you the same thing."
"You should be out with the rest of them."
"I grew weary. Where were you all day, Gwen?"
She pulled off her hood. "I was in my chambers, reading." She held her hand out to him. "Are you still fatigued? I should go then; you need your rest." The queen turned to go.
"No!" Lancelot nearly shouted. She looked back at him, an amused smile playing on her face.
"You don't want me to leave? Very well, then…" She took off her cloak, revealing the long, pale green gown underneath. She tossed back her hair and sat on the bed, beginning to crawl up to him, purposefully kneeing Lancelot in the groin. He gasped and Guinevere smirked.
She leaned forward to kiss him and he craned his neck to return it. At the last second, Guinevere pulled her head back. Lancelot moaned. "Temptress," he whimpered. She smiled as she ran her fingers softly over his lips. Leaning forward, she placed a kiss on his lips. Lancelot returned it, hungrily. He kissed her neck, down to her shoulder. Guinevere moaned and kissed the top of his head.
"This is a dream." He murmured to her. "This is all a dream and I'll wake up to nothing."
"No. No, this isn't a dream." Guinevere's voice was soft.
She pulled off her dress and cast it to the floor. Lancelot planted a trail of kisses from her lips down to her flat stomach. Guinevere yanked off his shirt and threw it away. Lancelot pulled off his trousers and flung them onto the ground. The moment they were undressed, Lancelot kissed her furiously. Guinevere's tongue touched his lips, begging for entrance, which he granted. He moaned into her mouth as their tongues battled each other. She toyed with a curl of his dark hair and he ran his hands up and down her warm back. Soon, Guinevere pushed Lancelot down and lay on top of him.
Their callused hands eagerly touched and stroked and lips met, sometimes softly and sometimes passionate and fiery. Sometimes they murmured to the other, other times they cried out. Hours later, they lay together, with their arms wrapped around each other. Lancelot rubbed her back. He always did this after lovemaking. Guinevere's back was not like the other woman's. Their backs were soft, sometimes flabby. Guinevere's was smooth, warm skin over firm muscle. He placed a soft kiss on her lips.
"You are my light." He whispered.
She reached out and smoothed out his black curls. "And you are my downfall." She murmured.
He propped himself up on an elbow. "Why?"
She grinned at him. "You made me weak. I was once a strong, brave warrior. Now I am I frail girl." She smiled again. "But it's alright. My mother once asked me what my weaknesses were. I think I was eight or so. I was already learning how to fight; I wanted to battle Saxons. I was the strongest girl in my village, so I told her I had no weaknesses."
Lancelot laughed. "You were a cocky thing, weren't you?"
Guinevere made a face. "Of course I was. I am the granddaughter of Merlin." She fell back onto the soft pillows. "But if she asked me again, I would say you were my weakness."
"I am all ladies' weakness." Guinevere laughed at his remark and gently hit him in the arm. They kissed gently and soon, both fell asleep.
The following week went by quite well. Guinevere kept control over Camelot, and she was a good leader. So, when Arthur returned, Camelot was not in ruins like he'd expected. Guinevere greeted him at the door, telling him about everything, except, of course, Lancelot.
"We missed you, Arthur." She said, after she told him about the past seven days. He embraced his wife and kissed her. "I love you," she whispered into his ear. "I missed you." She said again. It was not a lie
Though she was a strong, powerful leader, Guinevere had had no real experience ruling a kingdom. Though she loved Lancelot, Arthur was like a brother to her; he made her feel safe, she wanted him to be beside her. That night, Arthur and Guinevere made love, and when she fell asleep, she felt more secure with Arthur, like he was watching over her, like a Christian angel. She reached out and ran a hand down his face.
The following morning, Guinevere awoke earlier, hoping to have a word with Galahad to thank him for his help. She found him, wandering alone in the gardens. "Galahad!" Her voice rang out. He turned.
"Ah! Guinevere." He walked over to her, taking her hand and kissing it.
"Galahad, I wanted to thank you for all of your help." She took his hands in hers. "It meant the world to me. And I'm sorry about Morgaine."
He smiled. "Don't worry. Morgaine is my best friend; I know her better than anyone. I know why she left." For a moment, he stared into the Queen's dark eyes.
It all happened fast. Lancelot came out to see where Galahad was, when he saw Guinevere and Galahad holding hands and talking in low voices. What? He thought. Then, Galahad leaned forward and kissed Guinevere. In that quick, ugly moment, all of Lancelot's life, and heart, was shattered. He stopped, dumbstruck. The moment passed and he was furious. Turning away from them, he stormed back inside.
Perfect by nature
Icons of self indulgence
Just what we all need
More lies about a world that
Never was and never will be
have you no shame don't you see me
you know you've got everybody fooled
She betrayed me. She's betrayed Arthur twice. Now she has Galahad wrapped in her web. She's a minx, a coquette.
look here she comes now never was and never will be
bow down and stare in wonder
oh how we love you
no flaws when you're pretending
but now I know she
you don't know how you've betrayed me
and somehow you've got everybody fooled
never was and never will be
She doesn't deserve anyone. She takes us and makes us worship her. She thinks that she's better than us. She doesn't deserve Arthur. The poor man; he's probably wretched, cursed by his god.
Without the mask where will you hide I know the truth now
Can't find yourself lost in your lie
I know who you are
and I don't love you anymore
I know the truth now
I hate her. I don't love that deceitful flirt. I don't. She's lost herself in all of her lies.
It never was and never will be It never was and never will be
you don't know how you've betrayed me
and somehow you've got everybody fooled
you're not real and you can't save me
somehow now you're everybody's fool
It never was and never will be
When Lancelot reached his room, he fell on his bed and he did something he couldn't remember doing since the Romans took him from his family. He began to cry. I loved her. He thought. I would do anything for her. But she's gone now. I loved her.
Lancelot couldn't dwell on his sorrows for long. Guinevere was going to have a child, and Camelot was celebrating at the birth of an heir. The following winter, a baby girl was born. She had black tufts of hair and dark eyes. This was clearly Guinevere's child. They named her Catherine.
"Ow, that hurts! Can't you tie it looser?"
"Now, that's how everyone wears it in the market place."
"Well, they must be mad! It's ripping out my hair."
It was fifteen years since the birth of the princess. Catherine grew into a willful, spirited young girl. She was accompanied nearly everywhere by her friend and handmaiden, Catalina. Catalina was a girl from Spain, who was brought to Britain to flee her father. Catherine and Catalina could pass as sisters. They both had long dark hair and dark eyes, with pale skin.
Catalina tied a kerchief around her friend's head. "Hold still, Kate! It shouldn't hurt that much. It's because you're moving!" After the kerchief was secured, Catalina pulled out a long, ragged dress and shoes. She shoved them into her friend's arms. "Put these on." She instructed.
Catalina herself was already clad in rags. Her pretty face was smudged with dirt, and her hair, usually in a neat bun or plait, was in a messy braid. She reached out to Catherine and yanked out her tidy bun. "Ouch! Catalina."
"Sorry." She mussed the princess's hair and braided it like her own. "There. Perfect." The girls looked in the mirror.
Two peasant girls looked back at them. They were dressed in peasant garb with dirty faces and rags in exchange for fine dresses. Both of them could pass as peasants. Just in case, Catherine had a rag that she tied over mouth and nose.
"Remind me why we are leaving the Keep, when your new husband is coming in just three hours." Catalina asked her friend.
"I've already told you a thousand times, I want to get out before he arrives."
Arthur had arranged a marriage for his daughter with a Roman man, Lucius. He was coming to Camelot in a few hours' time to visit his friend and his future wife. Catherine wanted to escape the keep for an hour or two before she had to go meet her betrothed.
"So, are we ready?" Catalina interrupted her friend's thoughts.
Quietly, the two slipped out of Catherine's room and down the hallway. No one was in the way, obstructing the path to freedom. But as they turned the corner, Catherine ran right into someone.
"Ah. And what are two lovely young ladies, such as yourselves, doing out?" Lancelot asked with a smile.
Lancelot was like a father figure to the princess. She adored him because he treated her as if she was a normal girl; he was teaching her how to sword fight. Lancelot liked Catherine as well. She reminded him of Guinevere, who he still hadn't forgiven. She had come to him several times, nearly begging forgiveness that he refused to return. He'd even given Galahad the cold shoulder.
"We're going out before Lucius arrives."
"You don't want to marry him, do you?"
"No, I don't. I don't know him. I want to be like my mother who married because she loved my father."
That's a lie. Lancelot thought. He knew about Merlin. He wasn't about to tell Catherine that, of course.
"Lancelot, we'll be back in an hour or so. If anyone asks, tell them that I'm asleep and not to disturb me."
"Yes, milady." Lancelot said, mockingly.
"Thank you, good sir." Catherine smirked. She and Catalina ran to the door of the keep. The guards at the door thought the girls were servants or washerwomen, so they were able to get out easily.
The streets of Camelot were slightly crowded. It was a cold day, and they hadn't eaten in a while, so they went to the food seller, where they bought warm ale, bread and cheese. As they sat with their backs against their wall eating, they heard the sound of hooves. "What in hell?" Catherine stood up.
Whispers flooded her ears.
"It's the Romans!"
"Lucius has arrived!"
"Princess Catherine will be so pleased!"
Catalina looked stunned. "Let's go!" She whispered.
The two girls sprinted down the horribly crowded streets. Everyone was in their way. One man shoved Catherine, earning him a whack from Catalina. The two began to get frantic. On the way back to the keep, Catalina grabbed an armload of clean linens. When they reached the gate, they silently showed the linens to the guards. They nodded and the girls ran inside.
On the way to Catherine's room, they passed Lancelot. "Lancelot, the Romans are here. Stall for time, please!" Catherine begged.
Lancelot shrugged. "Alright. I do far too many favors for you, Kate." He grinned at her.
"And I am eternally grateful. Now go!"
She and Catalina ran into Catherine's chambers. Catalina wasn't going to dine with them, so she didn't have to get ready. As Catherine searched for a dress, Catalina filled up Catherine's bathtub with water. Finally, the princess found something to wear and she leapt into the tub, scrubbing herself furiously.
"Where's Catherine? Lucius is almost here!" Guinevere paced around, nervously. She was still the beautiful woman that both Lancelot and Arthur had been enamored with. She still had raven hair and smooth skin. The years had not been so kind with Arthur. Some of his hair was grey and his face was getting wrinkles. He reached out and patted his wife on the shoulder.
"Relax, Gwen. I'm sure she's fine," he said. At that moment, ten men entered the room. Nine of them bore Roman standards. The tenth was Lucius. He was tall and fair-haired with a strong build and steel grey eyes. He looked at the King and Queen. His lips formed a smile.
"Ah, Artorius, Guinevere. It has been long since I saw you; you were only a boy, Artorius." He reached out and kissed Guinevere's hand. At that moment, Lancelot burst into the room.
"My lords and lady, the princess will be with us momentarily." He announced. Noticing Lucius, he bowed. "My Roman lord Lucius. It's a pleasure to meet you." He raised his eyes to Lucius' face. How do they expect Kate to marry that? Lancelot forced a smile.
Just then, footsteps were heard and everyone turned to see a girl. She had long hair that fell to her waist in raven waves; she was tall and slender and her face was very pale and lovely and her dress fell to the ground in pale blue folds. Her dark eyes lingered on Lucius for a moment before she curtsied "Hello, I am Princess Catherine. It is an honor to meet you, my lord. My father praises you highly." Inside, she was laughing at herself. I sound like those idiots that fall over Lancelot and Galahad in the taverns.
"Well," Guinevere said, relieved that Catherine finally showed up, "let's go have dinner!"
In the course of fifteen years, Arthur had more knights come and go. Now there were eighteen: Lancelot, Galahad, Gawain, Bors, Tristan, Kay, Pellinore, Lamork, Turquine, Gareth, Gaheris, Agravaine, Carados, Palomides, Percival, Balin, Balan and Lucan. Lucan was now twenty-three and was a good fighter. Most of the other men were an upwards of thirty, but Lucan could best many at fighting.
In an instant, Catherine found herself wedged between Tristan and Palomides. She was never fond of Palomides, but she liked Tristan. She found him fascinating; he was so mysterious and strange. Then loud words disrupted her thoughts. "Artorius, why do you have a round table?"
Catherine piped up. "My father believes all men were created equal. So no one can sit at the head and seem more important." She smirked at Lucius. He smiled and leered at her.
"I don't like him." Tristan muttered.
Catherine looked at him. "Pardon?"
"I don't like that Roman."
"Nor do I, but I have no choice, Sir, but to marry him."
Later that night, after a rather uneventful dinner, Catalina told Catherine to run away. "If you don't want to wed him, then flee. Go to Avalon with you aunts. Leave this place. Don't worry, princess. I'll make something up to tell them."
"Are you sure?"
"Positive. Now go!"
It was midnight when Catherine left the silent castle. She was dressed as a peasant and she left on her horse, Pelles. She had a bag full of food and clothes and her sword. She had never been to Avalon, so in her hands was a map. The clouds parted and the silver moonlight fell on her. Oh, God. Please protect me.
It was a three days journey to Avalon. She didn't know what she would say to her aunts Morgaine and Morgause. She had never even met them. Her mother had met Morgaine once. She told Catherine that Morgaine was a kind, good woman. That was all she said. Morgaine was a Druid priestess who worshipped the goddess. But other than that, she knew nothing.
Near noon on the third day, she reached the edge of the Lake. It looked like blue tinted glass. Green trees were all around the side. It was lovely. "Thank you, Pelles, my loyal friend." She was pondering on how to get across, when three Saxons came out of the trees.
The Saxons were ugly brutes that Catherine heard about, but never really saw. They were fur clad and disgusting. "We have here lady!" One yelled. Catherine leapt off Pelles. Raising her sword, she hacked off the first one's arm. Silently, she thanked Lancelot for teaching her.
The man screamed and fell to the ground. The second and third ran at Catherine. The second, she killed with one stroke; she cut off his head. The third was large and wielded a sword. He swung it and caught Catherine in the arm. Warm blood gushed from the wound. She felt dizzy. She lifted her sword, but he got her again, in the stomach.
Catherine fell to the ground. The Saxon stood over her. She threw her sword at him and it struck him in the head. Catherine heard a loud thud, and the Saxon fell to the earth. Blood was everywhere. She touched her stomach wound and her hand turned red. Slowly, Catherine's surrounding faded to black and she fell unconscious.