1.5 – Arthur, Part One

A more light-hearted chapter this time, guys. Slightly shorter too, since we’re swamped at work right now. At any rate, enjoy!

Under the warm rays of the midday spring sun, Prince Arthur and Gawain were sparring together.
Or rather – Arthur was wailing on Gawain without mercy, while his opponent tried to block his blows as much as he could. The Crown Prince had kept his word. As soon as the red-haired boy was discharged and declared healthy by Gaius, a castle servant had come to fetch him. Arrangements had been made. Time had been set apart.
Now, every Friday, Gawain was expected in the castle courtyard.
And every Friday, he got his hind quarters expertly handed to him.

“Ow!” the boy yelped, almost dropping his sword as Arthur slapped his weapon down on his wrist. He immediately followed it up with a thrust to Gawain’s neck. It was a nasty blow, and one that required a great deal of skill. Gawain wasn’t impressed, though. With an angry voice, he yelled:
“That’s not fair! You’re fighting dirty!”

“Of course I’m fighting dirty,” the Crown Prince replied. “Fighting fair is a sure way to get you killed. I’m training you to survive, not to perform in tournaments. You’re not supposed to fight fair.”
To emphasize his words, Arthur lifted his weapon in the air, jumping at Gawain and bringing it down in an overhead strike. The boy saw it coming, raising his own sword as well- and Arthur kicked him straight in the stomach, changing attacks at the last second. Gawain doubled over in pain. The sword clattered on the ground next to him. He heaved, glaring at Arthur in anger.

“Gah! *cough* you flap-dragon! Wagtail! Stupid, pig-nutted-“
The next second, Gawain remembered who his opponent was. He quickly and awkwardly backtracked with:
“Err… I mean… milord.”

“You can swear as much as you want, muck-sprout,” Arthur quipped back. “I don’t care what you call me, as long as you’re learning from it.”

And learning, he was. Gawain had only been training with Arthur for a short few weeks, but the boy picked up the basics incredibly quickly, to the point where even some of the guards took notice. Before too long, watching the two of them spar would become a spectator sport among the guards of Camelot.
The red-haired boy wasn’t quite there yet, though.

With an exasperated sigh, Gawain sat down on the stone floor.
“Fighting dirty is hard.”
“I never said it would be easy,” Arthur grinned, looking down at him. “Come on, get up. We’re not done yet.”
“I just need a moment.”

Arthur raised a single eyebrow, the grin turning into a mocking smirk.
“Fine. If you want to be a sissy about it, we’ll stop here.”

“I’m not a sissy! I just need to catch my breath, is all!”
The Crown Prince couldn’t help himself. Teasing Gawain was just so easy. He jumped at the slightest provocation, and the more Arthur did it, the more Gawain’s cheeks began to resemble his hair colour. The Prince shook his head, laughing.
“All right. You have two minutes, muck-sprout.”
He could see Gawain’s mouth mumbling unspoken obscenities in response. It made him chuckle.
Even though he was just a commoner… spending time with Gawain wasn’t so bad.

Five minutes into their break, the Crown Prince sat down next to Gawain. Something had been on his mind for a couple of days now, and Arthur couldn’t come to a decision. He normally wouldn’t think twice about asking a lowly commoner about anything… but Gawain was here now, anyway. Why not? Arthur scraped his throat, getting the boy’s attention.

“So… you spend a lot of time with Morgana, right?”
“I… suppose so, milord,” Gawain replied. “Why? Do you need me to deliver a message?”
“No, no. Nothing like that. We have servants for that. No, I was wondering… has she talked about anything she wants, lately? Like a pretty doll, or a golden hair brush or something?”
“Eh… I don’t think so, milord.”
“Oh. All right.”
An awkward silence fell between the two of them. Gawain eyed the Crown prince with a confused expression on his face. He raised a single eyebrow.
“Are… are you looking for a gift?”
“What?” Arthur snapped. “No. Of course not. Her birthday isn’t for months, anyway.”
“Oh.”
Another silence fell.


“But if I were, hypothetically speaking,” Arthur continued, “What would she want? Jewelry? A pretty mirror? Ballroom dresses, or something?”
“…You are looking for a gift, aren’t you?”
The Crown Prince turned red in the face. Gawain couldn’t help it. He snickered, amused at Arthur’s embarrassment. How the tables had turned.

But Gawain wasn’t the type to make fun of Arthur for it, and so he answered honestly.
“Milord… those things don’t sound like Morgana at all.”

That surprised Arthur. His sister absolutely sounded like that to him. In his mind, his sister was a proper princess, even when she was calling him fat or blackmailing him about letting him hide in her closet. Morgana was always…delicate. Girly. Frilly, with pink cushions in her chambers and dolls sitting by her bedside. Arthur had never seen another side of her.
But Gawain had. The Crown Prince suddenly grew very curious at the thought. What side of his sister did Gawain know about, that Arthur, her lifelong older brother, did not?

“What would you give her, then?” he asked. Gawain frowned, looking at the sky.
“Oh, I don’t know, milord. Something personal, I suppose. My father says that it’s best to give something handmade, if it’s someone important. It’s more meaningful that way.”
“Something handmade?”
“Yeah. Like a carving, or a poem, or a bracelet. Something that you can make yourself. Of course, that’s how us commoners do it. I don’t know what gifts are good to give to royalty. Maybe you should get her a whole castle.”

Gawain laughed, expecting Arthur to understand the joke. But the Crown Prince was mildly intrigued. Gift giving among nobility had always been about wealth, and increasing status – both for the receiver, and the gift giver. The more expensive or exotic the gift, the better. Compared to a gold-inlayed jewelry box from a far-off land, or a royal dagger taken from a defeated king, what worth could some handmade trinket possibly have?

Arthur pondered that thought for a moment. The answer had to be… nothing. Commoners had nothing of worth, after all. And that had to be the only thing they could give each other. He nodded to himself. Yes, that had to be it.
“I think I’ll stick with something that has real worth, Gawain.”
The red-haired boy shrugged at him.
“Yeah, that makes sense. You probably can’t make anything, anyway.”

Something about the way Gawain said that caught Arthur’s attention. He turned towards the boy, frowning.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Well, can you? Make something, I mean.”
“I’m the Crown Prince. I can do anything.”
Gawain raised a single eyebrow.
“Really? Did you make that sword yourself?”

Gawain pointed at the wooden blade in Arthur’s hand. The Crown Prince scoffed.
“Of course not. I had a servant fetch it for me.”
“That’s what I mean,” Gawain answered. ”I carved my sword by myself. So did all of the other village boys. And most of them know how to make other things, too. Merec knows how to play the vielle, and Peter can carve dice out of animal bones. Guinevere can make quilts and blankets. And Krea is really good at cooking. Even little Angmar can make some things, and he only has one hand.”

The merchant’s son sat up straight, making eye contact with his Prince.
“What can you make, milord?”


For a moment, Arthur was at a loss for words. He honestly didn’t know how to answer the boy’s question. Arthur was the Crown Prince – he was very good at sword fighting. He knew about Camelot’s history and court manners. He was a good dancer, and he knew how to manipulate people around him. The prince was well-versed in political intrigue, his family legacy, war, the knight’s code of honour and the complex rules of engagement on the battlefield-

But making things? Cooking, making clothes, playing instruments, carving wood? Arthur had never done any of those things. He’d never even thought about it. The young Prince had always had servants to do everything for him. Everything, from fetching his food to dressing him in the morning.
He’d never had to make something by himself. Ever.
Did that mean… that Gawain was better than him?

No, that couldn’t be. Arthur was the Crown Prince! He was the best at everything. Or at least, he was supposed to be. Even commoner things. He couldn’t be outdone by a Gawain of all people – could he?

“I – all of those things, of course!” Arthur snapped as he got up from the ground, arms crossed angrily. “I can do all of them, and I’m really good at all of those things, too!”

Any noble child would have seen right through his bluff. But it didn’t take much to fool Gawain. An impressed smile spread on the boy’s face as Arthur’s lie went completely over his head. He sprang to his feet, excitedly yelling:
“Wow, really?! You can do all of them?”
“Of course I can,” Arthur scoffed.
“Even the cooking?”
“Especially the cooking!”
The red-haired boy nodded eagerly.
“That’s so cool, milord! Okay, prove it!”
“Of course I… wait, what?”

The red-haired boy placed a hand on his chin, thinking out loud.
“Prove that you can cook, play the vielle, sew clothes and carve animals out of wood. And I’ll choose what you’re the best at, and you can use that to make a gift for Morgana! How does that sound? Problem solved, right?”

Gawain still hadn’t caught on to Arthur’s bluff. The Crown Prince quickly responded:
“Y-yeah! That sounds perfect, and I’m going to be amazing at all of those things! Of course I am!”

Gawain nodded in approval. Then he took a look at the sun, which was slowly beginning its descent towards the horizon.
“I have to go now, milord. But I’ll be back next week! Will you show me then?”
“Yes, I will. And it’ll be amazing. Now, go. You are excused. Go do… whatever it is you do when you’re not here.”
“Okay! See you next week, Arth- milord!”

And with that, Gawain was off. Arthur watched as the red-haired boy jogged towards the exit of the courtyard and turned the corner. Within moments, he was out of sight. 

Great. Now he had a promise to keep. To a commoner boy, of all people. Wonderful. Arthur’s mood plummeted, still annoyed about the conversation they’d just had.
“Stupid commoners,” he mumbled. ”Stupid gifts. Stupid handmade trinkets. I’ll show him. I can do all of those things.”

Of course he was going to be good at it. After all, Arthur was the Crown Prince. He was supposed to be the next King. That automatically meant that he was good at everything. Including commoner things.

The young Prince scoffed.

How hard could it be?

13 thoughts on “1.5 – Arthur, Part One

  1. Lmao!!! I love this! They are bonding despite everything! Arthur has the foresight to train Gawain to survive and its so accate that Gawain expected tournament-like fights because that’s all he’s seen at this point. That’s why knights look so cool too right? Honorable and skilled 😏

    Ahh Arthur’s pride is too high to the point that he is just as easily manippulated by Gawain! Morgana got him to give a lesson, now he has to do ‘servant jobs’ for making outlandish promises! I wonder what’s Morgana’s. She seems like the most well-rounded one now. Arthur is getting a gift to apologise and thank her right? Ngaw. Cute prideful boy! Perhaps hanging out with Gawain can teach him some humility? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it! It was fun to write, too, hehe. If he and Gawain get along, they’d definitely be good to each other, yeah.
      “I wonder what’s Morgana’s.” As in, what her flaw is? =)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wouldn’t call it flaw but the general idea is that! She’s got prideful Author, noble Gawain and she’s… lady Morgana, for a lady never reveals her weaknesses and puts a lovely foot forward all the time! 😏<3

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  2. Amazing chapter. I have to be honest and it pains me to say it… but I love Arthur. He’s my favourite character. I love how he’s acting all high and mighty. I think a beautiful friendship could be blossoming between the two. I do wonder why Arthur wants to give his sister a present though, if it’s not for her birthday. Also, Gawain is so naive! How did he not notice Arthur was bluffing? He did a great thing in making him promise to do all those things for him. 😂 Would love to see it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you liked it! Gawain is too gullible and pure for this world XD
      I think you’re the first one on team Arthur. So far, most people have been varying degrees of annoyed/pissed off at him, haha. I’ll let him know he has a fan!

      Arthur: “Of course I do. I’m the Crown Prince. They’re supposed to be lining up for me. I’m not flattered- shut up, Watcher.”
      I didn’t say anything, Arthur.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved the banter between Gawain and Arthur, and the insults cracked me up. I really like how you portray these two, they both have strengths and weaknesses. Gawain has a heart of gold, but he’s also naïve (which could get him into trouble if he meets an unscrupulous person). And I like how Arthur is giving Gawain a little tough love. In the end, this will make Gawain good at fighting. In a real battle, his opponent wouldn’t care about fighting rules and etiquette, they’d just care about winning. Arthur knows this, and I think he does care about Gawain, and that’s why he’s imparting his knowledge to him. I like the exchange of knowledge that is happening, Arthur is teaching Gawain to fight and Gawain will hopefully teach Arthur that he isn’t good at everything, and hopefully, give Arthur a glimpse into the life of a commoner.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is such a great little chapter. Again, I wanted to dislike Arthur so much in the earlier chapters, but you’ve really developed his character into a likable, albeit snooty, little Prince. It’s so interesting to see the dynamic between he and Gawain. Gawain is so unaware of Arthur’s shortcomings, so I’m curious to see if Arthur actually succeeds in doing these “commoner” things he’s so disdainful about. It’s delightful to see these two interact so closely since they’re so different to each other!

    I loved seeing Arthur show some vulnerability when he not-so subtly brought up Morgana. And Gawain is always the best, he’s such a great boy! I look forward to seeing these two continue to develop their unlikely friendship.

    Like

    1. Also, when Gawain was mentioning his friends, he said Angmar and I was like…. noooo, the Witch King of Angmar! I’ve been way into the Lord of the Rings recently, haha. Nothing to do with the story but yeah, I immediately thought of that 😛

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  5. aww this was so sweet! I think a more lighthearted chapter was in order!

    Arthur is really starting to grow on me I must admit. Looks like Gawain has blown his mind haha. Also, it’s a nice surprise that he doesn’t really care if Gawain swears at him. Seems like these two are bonding for sure.

    I’m enjoying the sibling dynamic of Morgana and Arthur. They have to act so grown up in court, yet at the same time, they have that sibling rivalry, yet at the same time, they care deeply and look out for each other ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the comment! I felt that it was time for a lighthearted bit, too ^^
      I love showing their sibling relationship. It’s going to get more complicated over time as they get older, as relationships tend to do. But at their core, they really love each other.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This was a cute interaction between the boys. Haha. That bluff was incredible. However will Arthur manage? Oooo… mention of Guinevere. Interesting. I was wondering when she would make an appearance. I’m glad Arthur kept his word to train Gawain. I wonder why Arthur wants to get Morgana a gift. Could it be he suspects she had something to do with saving his life. Btw, I enjoy the bit of worldbuilding in there… about nobles and gift giving. It’s fascinating how you are building this world and the characters.

    Like

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