1.7 – Morgana, Part One

Disclaimer: the following few chapters will have elements of death in it. Be warned. If you cannot handle that sort of thing, these chapters are not for you.

From the very beginning of Uther Pendragon’s reign, the Kingdom of Camelot had been ruled with an iron fist. Even more than his father, Uther became known for his complete unwillingness to compromise. For better or worse, it earned him the nickname “Iron King”.
The seat of his power, in every sense of the word, was the throne room. King Uther oversaw everything from that throne, sitting in judgment and deciding the fate of everyone. From the lowliest peasant to the richest noblewoman. Uther had the last word over every favour, every plea and every death.
In practice, many of the daily audiences could just as easily have been delegated to his royal advisor. But Uther never gave them away. He liked the power. He liked the feeling of absolute control that ruling from his throne gave him. The King reveled in it, only rarely relinquishing that power to someone else.

Today was one of the rare days where he did.

“Starting today, you are my servant,” the King’s daughter spoke, her childlike voice echoing through the stone chamber. Today’s events were a closed audience, and so – besides the man kneeling before her – Uther and Agravaine were the only other people present. Looking down on the spy, Morgana spoke with as much authority as she could.
“I want you to go to the Kingdom of Nemeth, infiltrate the royal household and learn everything you can about King Rodor’s oldest son, Prince Richard. I want to know what his hobbies are. Who he likes. Who likes him. What he’s afraid of. What he doesn’t want others to know about – I want you to find out everything you can.”

The spy bowed his head, placing his hand on his chest in the traditional oath of fealty.
“Yes, mistress.”

Mistress?
Morgana blinked, not used to hearing the word. Nobody had ever called her that
before. It was always “my lady”, or “your Highness”, or “Princess”.
But Mistress – now that sounded nice. Important. Powerful. Morgana immediately took a liking to the title, as well as the sense of importance that came from seeing the man kneel before her. The young girl smiled.
Mistress. I can get used to that.

On the throne, Uther straightened his back. A ruthless expression lay in his eyes. With a stone-cold voice, the King of Camelot addressed the man in front of him.
“You will follow any order Morgana gives you, as if it came directly from me. Betrayal of her trust will be seen as treason, and I will have you hanged for it. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes, your Majesty. I am hers to command.”

“What’s your name?” Morgana asked, curious about the man in front of her. He lifted his head in response. It was a rugged but handsome face, tanned from the sun and with very defined jawbones. Two dark eyes peered out at her from underneath a strong brow.

“My name is yours to choose, mistress.”
That was new, too. Morgana had never chosen a person’s name for them before. The young Princess pondered it for a while, after which a name from a storybook came to
mind. It was as good as any.
“I shall name you Helios,” Morgana decided. The spy lowered his head again, bowing to her and saluting as he rose to his feet.
“I will depart for Nemeth at once. Expect regular contact once I arrive. You have my word – I will not fail you.”

His dark leather boots made no sound as they moved across the marble floor of the throne room. Morgana watched him leave with a childlike fascination. How did he move so quietly? Whenever she tried to sneak, people always noticed her.
But it didn’t matter. She didn’t need to be quiet. She just needed to command someone who was. And Helios would do just fine.

The young Princess was taken out of her mutterings by the voice of her father, King Uther.
“Well?”
He was looking at her expectantly. With a large smile on her face, the young Princess nodded at him.
“He’s perfect. Thank you, father.”

Morgana had asked for a spy with a singular purpose in mind. She still vividly remembered her defeat at the noble ball a month ago. Richard had played her like a fiddle, knowing exactly what to say to make her lose her cool. It had been a complete and utter defeat… and Morgana hated losing. She could not let that happen again. She would not let that happen again. The young sorceress watched as Helios stepped out the door, a newfound determination reflecting in her green eyes.

When the autumn leaves fell, the royal family was scheduled to visit the kingdom of Nemeth.

And this time, Richard would meet his match.


The King of Camelot watched as his daughter exited the throne room, ascending the stairs until she was out of sight. Her request for a spy had surprised him. But Uther had given her what she wanted, curious to see what Morgana would use him for. And her plans did not end up disappointing the King.

She was maturing. Perhaps, in a few years, if she became a little more cunning, Uther could trust Morgana to perform… other tasks.

His head turned to the left. Agravaine, his royal advisor, stood by the statue in the corner. He had been uncharacteristically silent throughout the whole ordeal.

With a mild frown, Uther confronted his brother-in-law.
“You don’t approve.”

“No, I don’t,” the priest sighed. “I think your daughter is much too young to be in command of someone so dangerous. She is a child. A maidservant is one thing – but a spy? Have I not explained in my reports that this man is a dangerous, highly skilled assassin not unlike the one that tried to kidnap her a month ago?”
“You mentioned it, yes,” Uther responded. As the King looked at the entrance to his throne room, his grin returned.

“That’s exactly why I chose him.”


Weeks passed. The April showers finally ended, bringing a stop to the constant downpours. May arrived. And with it came the promise of warmth, sunlight and budding flowers. Spring was Morgana’s favourite season. She loved seeing the gradual change in the world around her, as well as the beautiful array of colours that nature could bring.

On one of those sun-lit days, Morgana found herself wandering around outside. The young Princess had reached a reluctant truce with her guards. She would stop trying to ditch them, and in return, they had promised to give her some space. Morgana persuaded them to lengthen that space from fifteen to twenty feet… As long as she did not go around corners. Or stood behind a tree. Or walked into a crowd. Or made any move whatsoever that placed her out of their line of sight for even a second.

She knew why. Morgana realized that she shouldn’t be taking risks. The guards never did catch her would-be kidnapper. But by now, enough time had passed that, to Morgana, the event was starting to feel like it hadn’t really happened. Like it had been some strange, distant dream.
Surely, he was long gone. If he was still here, someone would have spotted him by now. And the constant surveillance was starting to drive her insane… so Morgana was happy with every extra foot of space that she could get.

About halfway through her walk, the young Princess noticed someone sitting in the shadow of a large oak tree. A peasant, judging from the state of his clothes. He looked like he was working in the garden. The castle employed a lot of gardeners, so it was a fairly normal thing to see.

At least, it would have been – if it wasn’t for the three small tombstones that rested in front of the man. Morgana could see his shoulders going up and down in small jerks. Paired with the slumped posture and his hunched back…
She didn’t have to get closer to realize that he was crying.

Don’t get involved. Just keep walking.
Merlin had always scolded her for sticking her nose into other people’s business. She had a bad habit of poking it where it did not belong. Constantly. It had gotten the two of them into trouble more often than she could count. But Morgana couldn’t help herself.
Even if it was just a stranger… she couldn’t stand seeing someone so sad.

Carefully, Morgana approached the man in front of her.
“Did you lose someone?”

“Aye,” the man answered, not looking who stood behind him. His eyes were fixed on the gravestone.
“Ma’ granddaughter, Ada. We lost her on May Day, over a decade ago. Lost her mother to sickness the year afore, n’ her father to the war with the Saxons.”
“I’m… sorry to hear that,” Morgana muttered. It sounded like the poor man had outlived his entire family. Morgana couldn’t imagine how that had to feel. She wasn’t sure what she could say to make him feel better.
“How did she die?”

A confused frown spread on the man’s face. He looked away from the grave, turning his head towards her and saying:
“What do you-”

At that moment, he finally realized who it was that was talking to him. His confusion instantly turned to shock, mixed with embarrassment and, strangely… fear?

“M-milady!” the man gasped, quickly getting up and kneeling down in front of her. “Forgive an old man. I was just getting rid o’ some weeds, ‘ere. Dinnae mean to ruin milady’s mornin’.”
“No, that’s- that’s all right,” Morgana replied awkwardly. “I’m sorry for scaring you. You just… you looked so sad. I wanted to help.”

Morgana could feel herself searching for the right words. This was a lot harder than she thought it would be. The young girl fiddled with her hands, awkwardly looking down on the man in front of her.
“When… when I get sad, it sometimes helps to talk about it. To someone. Maybe it helps you too. You could talk to me.”

A small silence fell. Then, Morgana continued:
“How did Ada… how did she die?”

Morgana half expected the man to refuse her. After all, this was a sensitive, heavy subject, and she was approaching it with the grace and subtlety of a rhino. But at her age, a rhino was the best that she could do.
The man broke eye contact with her, his gaze lowering to the ground. She could see his shoulders tensing up.
“She… she dinnae die, milady. She was murdered.”

Morgana’s breath got stuck in her throat. The young princess placed a hand over her mouth, looking down on the man in shock. She had not expected that answer. In the back of her mind, she could hear Merlin’s voice, warning her once again.
Walk away, Mor-mor. Leave it alone.
“What… what happened?” Morgana asked.

“Ada was just a wee bairn,” the man said. She could see the pain reflected in his eyes.
“Barely a month old, she was. She had ‘er mother’s laugh. The sweetest wee lass. I can git over my daughter’s death. But every year, Ada comes back tae haunt me.”
“Did they catch who did it?” Morgana muttered. The man shook his head sadly.
“Na. He escaped justice.”

How could that be? Uther was a strict King, and he was ruthless against all things magic, but besides that, her father ruled Camelot pretty fairly. Whenever she walked into his chambers, he was always in the middle of passing judgment on criminals. Or writing letters to nobles. Or talking to Agravaine about the Watcher. Her father wouldn’t just let a bad person get away with something like murder. No, there had to be some kind of mistake, the young Princess concluded.
Speaking of which… didn’t King Uther keep a record of crimes in his archives?

Morgana could see the man begin to turn away from her. In a broken voice, he muttered:
“My apologies, milady. I shouldna be bothering ye with the sorrows of an old man.”
“It’s no bother,” Morgana said softly. “I want to help if I can. My father… the king… he has records in his archives about all big crimes in the kingdom. Maybe Arthur and I can take a look at it, and… see if there’s anything the guards missed. And father is really smart, too. He’s a fair king. If I ask him, I’m sure he’ll take a look at the case again for you.”

But the man shook his head sadly, looking down at the ground. He would not accept her help.

And yet… there was something about his expression that caught her attention. When the man made eye contact with Morgana, the young sorceress could see an unexpected emotion reflected in those eyes. It was a strange mix of regret, anger, grief… and compassion? The young girl couldn’t made heads or tails of it. But when the man spoke, his voice sounded strangely ominous.
“Trust me, milady. Some things ought tae remain locked in ta past… For a’body’s sake.”

Morgana suddenly felt a profound feeling of discomfort overcome her. A cold chill that had nothing to do with the weather slowly ran down her spine.
Something about this… wasn’t right.

“Thank you for talking to me,” the young Princess said softly. “I’m very sorry for your loss.”
“Aye, Princess. I appreciate that. Ken yer days be warm an’ sunny.”


“Watcher… please forgive me.”


Let it go?

Of course not.

Nervously, Morgana stood in front of the door to her father’s work chamber. He was in there a lot, busy with everything it took to run a Kingdom. Morgana knew very well that both her and Arthur were not supposed to barge in there without good reason. Just the other day, one of the servants had received a harsh scolding for disturbing him. Her father was pretty scary when he got angry. Morgana really didn’t want to see him get angry at her.

But the young Princess couldn’t get the conversation with the old man out of her mind. She wanted to see those records. And as soon as her father left that room, the door would lock, and it would become impossible for anyone to enter.
Well, except for maybe Helios. But Helios was in Nemeth. Morgana could not use him for this.
Maybe she needed a second spy?

Morgana sighed, bracing herself. She stepped up to the door and gave a short series of knocks on the dark wood. A moment of silence passed. Then, she could hear her father’s voice ring out from the other side.
“Who is it?”
“Morgana, fath… my lord,” she answered, quickly changing her speech to a formal tone. “May I enter?”
“…Come in.”

“Thank you, my lord,” she said, opening the door to his chambers. Morgana gave a small curtesy once she was inside. Uther’s work chambers always smelled of old books, dusty tomes and ink, paired with the occasional sweet fragrance of honey cake.
But not this time. Ever since Arthur got poisoned, the King of Camelot had not touched a single pastry.

“What do you want?” Uther asked from behind the desk, engrossed in a stack of papers. He didn’t even look up to greet her. But his voice was calm, and Morgana knew that she wasn’t being a bother to him… yet.

“My lord, I was hoping that you would let me look at the records of crimes in the Kingdom. For, umm… educational purposes. I want to study your past rulings.”
It wasn’t a total lie. Looking at the records really would be educational. But she wasn’t interested in all of them.
Morgana just wanted to know about one that had occurred around May Day, over a decade ago.

King Uther did not seem to mind her intrusion. With a short wave of his hand, he dismissed his daughter.
“Very well. Bottom row on the shelf behind you. Return it to a servant when you’re done.”
“Thank you, my lord.”


Locked away in the safety of her bedchambers, Morgana diligently began to work her way through the tomes. As it turned out, there were quite a few of them, even if they only described the bigger crimes of the Kingdom.
And the contents were not at all pleasant to read. Especially for a child. Morgana tried to stick to lightly skimming the pages, but she couldn’t help but notice the details.
The young sorceress learned a lot of new, very unpleasant terms that day.

As she read, Morgana began to notice subtle details within the tomes. Some of the contents were in her father’s handwriting, but most of it seemed to be written by Agravaine. His passages were dry, precise and very, very detailed. Morgana flipped further, finishing the first book and moving on the second. And the third. History flashed by as she read, and Morgana found herself gradually traveling back in time. Five years. Six years.
Eight.
Ten.  

Halfway through the third book, the young Princess found what she was looking for.
Or rather – she found the location where it should have been. Up until eleven years ago, every major crime in the Kingdom of Camelot had been meticulously recorded month-by-month. Every single one of them, From first-degree murder to kidnapping and premediated arson.
Up until May 1st, twelve years ago. There, the passages suddenly skipped a month. No records appeared between April and June. None. Not even the “lesser” crimes, or a passage stating that nothing had happened. Morgana flipped back to and forth between the pages, a confused frown on her face.
There was nothing.
The entire month of May was missing.
Morgana could see little bits of paper sticking out between the last day of April and the first day of June, almost as if something had been there in the past. Something that was not there anymore.
Something that had been ripped out… and erased from history.


A cold chill ran down her spine.

It took Morgana a moment for her head to realize what her gut had already noticed. These books described all of the major crimes in the Kingdom. All of them, from murder to treason and everything in between. Morgana did not want to look at the details, but… it was all in there.

Except… for that one passage in May. That was the only one missing. Not the records of the witch hunts. Not the premediated arson. Not the other murders. Not Uther’s traitorous brother, convicted of treason against the crown.
That was all there.

Only May was missing.
Whoever had taken that passage from the books… had left everything else, and had only seen that passage as significant enough to erase from history.
Morgana gulped. She had a bad feeling about this.

What had happened on May Day?

13 thoughts on “1.7 – Morgana, Part One

  1. Oh no, it starts with a death warning. Dread is seeping in.

    It feels weird to see tiny Morgana command an adult man. I didn’t know what I expected when she wanted a spy, actually. 😂 I also didn’t expect her to be so direct about her orders, in front of Uther and Agravaine. He couldn’t have just given her his name? It feels like he’s a blank slate with no past. But maybe that’s the point? Does becoming a spy mean giving up your entire life and identity? That’s not criticism towards you by the way, but to him as a character, haha. I like that Morgana is taking fate into her own hands so she won’t become lost in court politics next fall.

    I’m confused by Uther’s parenting tactics. He seemed like a good father before but now it looks like he wants to sculpt Morgana into this cunning, deceptive person. I admire Agravaine for speaking his mind and I agree with him once again.

    Morgana at least still has compassion for her people. I wonder what was up with the peasant’s story and why he didn’t want Morgana digging. Does it have something to do with Uther? The intrigue! I’m glad this was the extent of the death topic in this chapter.

    Ada is an actual ghost! I didn’t realise she was such a little girl. How sad. Who could murder a toddler? The words are ominous though. Forgive for what?

    I’m surprised Uther bought her story so easily. I’d be a little more curious especially considering Morgana is maturing and in need of spies nowadays.

    What has happened on May Day? You know how to make a person ask questions. I need more!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m afraid you may be seeing some more warnings as the story progresses into teen- and adulthood. The legend of Arthur is, among other things, a tragedy. I’m trying to change things to be more comfortable to read, but there are some things that are fundamental to the myth, and I can’t get rid of them without breaking the story later down the line.

      Part of being a good spy is adapting to any identity they are given. Therefore the “my name is whatever you choose”. He definitely had a life before this point though, spy or not!

      Uther is… complicated. He really does dote on his kids, and on Morgana in particular, but he’s also a ruthless king that needs to make use of assets. Agravaine definitely does not approve of his parenting tactics. Neither do I, for that matter XD

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, yay! I love a good mystery! I’m wondering why the pages were ripped out? Oh, so many questions. Maybe the child was a suspected spellcaster, but they wanted to cover it up because she was so young? Or maybe Uther had a child with a peasant and covered it up? Or maybe this has something to do with the masked man that tried to kidnap Morgana? There are a lot of ways this could go.
    I liked Morgana’s perspective. I think her father is trying to groom her for being a noblewoman, and he’s probably happy she’s taking an interest in court politics. I think she’s balancing on a fine edge as a character, she could either become a villain or not. Either way, I look forward to seeing what happens. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those are some interesting guesses! I wonder if you’ll figure out what happened before Morgana does. ^^

      Morgana’s moral duality is actually something that is very heavily portrayed through the legend of Arthur. In one version she’s the hero, in another she’s the villain. And even then, she’s never 100% one or the other, using deception and magic to help or hinder as she sees fit. The term “Fata Morgana” for mirages actually originated from her illusions and witchcraft in the legend. I thought that was neat, so I wanted to share it. XD

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That spy is rather handsome. Richard will not know what hit him. Morgana is growing up fast.

    Hmm, intrigue. Did the child die as a part of a big witch hunt, perhaps? Certainly whatever it was, the king may have had a part that Morgana would not like.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The mystery gets even bigger! Lots of things to think about with this chapter. I’m happy that Morgana got her spy, hopefully it goes well and she learns a lot about Richard of Nemeth because I don’t like him. Morgana is getting more and more clever as the story goes along, but I get the feeling that her compassion for the peasant man is going to get her in trouble. Her finding out that the crime ten years ago has been literally removed from the pages of history is not going to lead her down an easy path, I can feel it. If it was me in her spot, I’d drop it because it’s pretty obvious that Uther and Agravaine don’t take kindly to opposition, but Morgana has an iron will (much like her father’s “Iron King” nickname) and I can imagine she is going to investigate until she learns something she’d rather not know… this is exciting! I like the darker tone of this chapter, there was even a ghost! I’m rapidly growing more and more excited to see where this all leads, there’s so much happening.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, you have a bit of a bone to pick with Richard, don’t you? xD

      Oooh thank you so much for drawing that connection =D I was wondering if and when people would see that “iron will” similarity, but you picked up on it right away! Most kids would have stopped about two stages ago, yeah. There’s an end to childhood innocence coming in the future, in more ways than one.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, Richard is… Richard 😛 In this story, there’s a hierarchy of my favorite characters: at the top we have Sarah (did you expect anyone else? NO! Stan Sarah!), and at the bottom is… Richard. SO. I get the feeling he won’t be climbing up the rank anytime soon~~

        And yes! It was super interesting to see Morgana echo aspects of her father’s personality in this chapter. I’m very excited to see what event will truly end her childhood innocence. (Not that I want it to end 😦 but we can’t stop time!)

        Like

  5. I read this on my phone, but I refrained from commenting so I can reread it on a bigger screen ❤

    First. Morgana has very good taste. Helios is such a nice name! Love it. Though I hope he doesn’t use it in during his missions. It’s kinda eye-catching. Unless Greek names were common during medieval times. I wonder what he thought to be serving the princess directly. Would he like that he’s under the command of someone powerful? Or would he think her status isn’t good enough because, she’s a woman who will be married off one day so from a political standpoint he’s not in a very good position. (I still think there’s merits)

    OOOF!!!!! Morgana doesn’t like losing. I’m liking this double-edged sword bit about her. She’s a progressive woman at heart. Ngaw! Lol the king sees her as ‘maturing’. Where did Uther get his parenting skills. I mean, there are kings who absolutely spoil their children and these kids run the kingdom to the ground, but Morgana and Arthur are developing so nicely! I wonder why he gave Morgana such a competent spy? Is it to protect her? But spies don’t protect. O.o It’s nice to see him so generous about his human resources though.

    How’d you get the dirt on the peasant’s face? Is it a cc? WCIF it if it is? I have a terrible gut feeling that the murder of Ada had something to do with the royal family just from the curious way he responded to her.. Either Uther or Agravine since Agra takes care of the books. His name is too long lol. AAAAH… Omg wait what if it has something to do with Morgana!? Idk why I’m feeling this. Anyway I’m really amazed by your capturing the dialect of peasants at that time. The only time I was exposed to this is when I played Witcher (I guess I don’t read enough haha).

    That ghost child though!!!!!! I feel so sorry for Ada! Omg this looks too long..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, don’t worry, I like long comments just as much as you do. More tea?

      Fun fact – Uther’s father was called Constantine II, and his brother was named Aurelius. Made me do a double-take, too. Turns out that the legend is so old that it almost reaches the Roman rule of Britain. If you search above Uther’s generation, everyone ends up with Greek or Roman sounding names!

      Morgana and Uther both hate losing, yup. She inherited a lot from him. Time will tell what else she and Arthur might have picked up under guidance of daddy dearest.

      Nope! The dirt came with the Get Famous pack, I believe, as part of full face makeup. But I bet you can find something similar as a CC version online!

      AGRA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Don’t let him hear you call that. And it having to do with Morgana would be the most dramatic option, indeed… we’ll see how close your guess was to the truth in a couple chapters, hehe. I just realized that you may actually guess it ahead of time, seeing how similar we seem to think xD

      For me it was Outlander. Half the cast talk in the most endearing Scottish accent, and you pick up a few words here and there. I wouldn’t be able to talk like that in person, but I’m glad it looked like a decent dialect, hehe.

      Turns out that it is actually pretty difficult to get ghost toddlers. Ghosts making ghost babies? Nope! Ghost curse? Nope! Wishing well? Nuup! Actual toddler sim death? Also nope. I had to age one down from the adult stage with MCC, and the game seems to hate me for it, because poor Ada keeps randomly getting stuck in objects.

      Like

      1. What!? Those names lol. I guess people will think Helios’s parents were simply old fashioned then 😝 Thanks for the tip on dirt. I prefer in game cas than cc. Simply because I already have too much. I think you can tell from Yanzi’s letter.

        Yeah. I know for children the wishing well works, but toddlers.. thats scary. Sounds like some code is missing for ghost toddlers.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Interesting. Why is the month of May missing? Why does Morgana care? Watcher forgive me! I wonder what he meant.

    It’s interesting to watch Morgana command the grown man when she is just a child. So bold, especially before her father and Agravaine. I somewhat agree with Agravaine. She is too young to be caught up in politics. I’m surprised that her father lets her but I suppose that’s royal life. I really wish she could just be a kid but as a princess and sorceress she can’t be.

    Like

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