I covered myself with a silky nightgown, feeling both exhausted and unsatisfied. Arthur lay naked beside me, his chest heaving, beads of sweat glistening on his brow. Finally, his eyes met mine. Was he ready now to explain why he was sending me on such a perilous mission to the Killaraus territory?
"My King..." I pleaded, my voice quivering with a mix of anticipation and dread. "Why do you send me on this dangerous task?"
His lips curled into a sinister smile and his eyes gleamed with malice as he revealed his dark plan. "Guinevere, my dear wife, you are to steal a dragon egg from Queen Morgana's very bedchamber."
My heart dropped at his vile request. How could he ask such a thing of me? Stealing? I was a Queen, not a filthy thief! My hands clenched into fists beneath the folds of my nightgown. "You cannot be serious! Have you no honour left?" I snapped.
"Watch your tongue, woman!" Arthur snarled, his darker side emerging like a storm cloud as he clamped my face in an iron grip with fierce ferocity. His eyes were black pits of seething rage that threatened to swallow me in their depths. I felt the heat of his breath, tainted with wrath and animosity, smothering me in its fury. "It is not your place to question me. You will do as I command."
Tears welled in my eyes, but I refused to let them fall. I would not show weakness before him. Swallowing hard, I managed to choke out a response. "I'll do what I can."
"Good," he said, his voice cold and unforgiving. "See that you do."
Soon after King Arthur left the room. His footsteps echoed down the hallway and I lay on the bed, my mind racing with thoughts of the task he had set before me. I had no idea how to snatch a dragon egg from the formidable Morgana. It wouldn't be an easy feat, that was for sure. I let out a deep sigh and shifted my position on the bed. Sleep seemed like a distant dream, as elusive as the peace I longed for.
How could Arthur ask something so vile from me? I was married to a monster, one more wicked and cunning than I ever imagined. And a dragon egg? Surely it must have been dead for hundreds of years, what use would it be? Dragons, ancient, powerful creatures that once ruled the Earth, were extinct. They possessed wisdom and magic but ultimately died out when they could no longer breed. King Arthur was rumoured to come from a line of dragon killers, the Pendragons – his very name, Arthur Pendragon, an ominous reminder of that legacy. So why bother with a dragon egg?
Tired from my fruitless search for the answer as to why King Arthur wanted a dragon egg, and why he had entrusted me with its retrieval, I started thinking about Sir Lancelot. How could I embark on such a dangerous mission with him alone and not succumb to the fire that burned within me every time we were together? Would Lancelot be able to resist temptation as well? He had kept our passionate kiss a secret from his fellow knights, and knowing how loyal and honourable he was, it must have caused him great anguish to deceive King Arthur, his friend and liege.
I closed my eyes and pictured Sir Lancelot's face, his strong jawline and charming green eyes that seemed to strip away all my defences. My heart raced, and a familiar heat spread through my body. Unable to resist my desires any longer, my hand drifted beneath the sheets, seeking relief in the form of self-pleasure.
"It's the last time", I told myself as my fingers traced delicate patterns upon my sensitive flesh.
My breath hitched and I imagined Lancelot's touch, his strong hands caressing my body, his lips pressed against mine... The pleasure built within me, wave after wave, until I could no longer contain it. With a stifled moan, I climaxed, my body trembling with the intensity of my release. Exhausted and sated, I finally drifted off to sleep, thoughts of Sir Lancelot still lingering in my dreams.
Two days had passed since King Arthur announced our departure, and the time had finally come to begin our journey. I spent those days preparing gifts for Morgana - fine silk garments and intricately crafted jewellery in an attempt to win her favour. Until this moment, I had been making every effort to keep away from Sir Lancelot. But now, as I timidly walked toward Camelot Castle's grand patio, my heart raced with excitement.
The patio itself was a thing of beauty - elegant marble columns supporting a delicate lattice of ivy, intertwined with roses that spread their sweet fragrance through the air. The sun was high in the sky, casting warm rays upon the stone beneath my feet.
My gaze immediately fell upon Sir Lancelot, who stood amongst three beautiful pegasi, each more majestic than the last. He looked dashing, his broad shoulders clad in polished armour pads that glinted in the sunlight, his emerald eyes striking even from a distance. As I approached him, he greeted me politely but there was a coldness in his voice that made my stomach drop.
"My Queen," he said with a slight bow, "King Arthur has chosen this white pegasus for you. She is yours to name as you please."
"Thank you, Sir Lancelot," I replied, trying to mask my unease.
The white pegasus stood majestically before me, and my breath caught in my throat. Her coat shone like a diamond, and her feathers were so bright they almost seemed to sparkle in the sun. I stepped forward and placed my hand on the pegasus' neck. She whinnied softly in response. As I stroked the pegasus's silken mane, I decided to name her Luzmiel. Something about the name felt powerful and protective, and I could see the connection forming between us as she nuzzled my hand calmly. I could tell that she was as strong as she was gentle - a perfect partner.
Sir Lancelot turned away from me, busying himself with preparing his own steed, his demeanour distant and detached. My chest tightened with frustration at his apparent disinterest in me, especially after we had shared such a passionate moment together.
As I mounted Luzmiel, I attempted to strike up a conversation with Lancelot. "It's been quite some time since I've travelled by pegasi," I said, trying to sound casual.
"It is the most convenient way to reach Killaraus Mountains quickly and safely, my Queen," he replied coldly.
"Have you been there before?" I asked, searching for some semblance of warmth in his gaze.
He simply nodded, avoiding my eyes. Annoyance bubbled within me as I felt dismissed by his curt response. What changed between us? Surely there was no need to be so distant... Before I could voice my concerns, though, a third figure caught my attention.
"Who might that be?" I inquired, hoping to get more than a terse response out of Lancelot.
"Ah, that would be..." Lancelot began, but was cut off as the figure approached us.
"Sir Mordred," I said, trying to hide my disappointment at not being alone with Lancelot. "What brings you here? I was not aware you would be joining us on our journey," I greeted him with a warm smile, trying to mask my surprise.
"Did no one tell you, Your Majesty?" Mordred asked, raising an eyebrow as he effortlessly mounted his black pegasus.
"No, they did not," I replied, feeling a little flustered by the unexpected addition to our party.
"Well, I am," he said with a hint of irony. "I'm sure my mother will be glad to see me."
"Your mother lives near Killaraus Mountains?" I asked naively, genuinely curious about his family.
"What? No, Morgana is my mother, Your Majesty," Mordred clarified, his grey-blue eyes meeting mine. "Did you not know that either?"
My eyes widened in surprise. "I... I did not, Sir Mordred. I apologise for my ignorance."
He shrugged and blushed slightly. "No harm done, Your Majesty."
"Are we all ready to depart?" Lancelot asked atop his tan pegasus, his voice cold and distant.
"Yes," Mordred and I answered simultaneously. With that, we took to the skies on our magnificent pegasi.
As Luzmiel soared into the air, I couldn't help but feel exhilarated. The sensation of flying was like nothing else; it was as if I had been granted the gift of freedom. I missed it so much! Being a half-fae, I had the ability to manifest my fairy wings simply by thinking of something that brought me joy. However, it hadn't worked since my father passed away.
Luzmiel moved gracefully through the air, her white wings beating rhythmically as we climbed higher and higher. The weather was perfect, with a gentle breeze teasing my hair and the sun casting a golden glow over the landscape below.
Camelot Castle shrank beneath us, growing smaller and smaller until it was just a speck in the distance. I couldn't help but laugh out loud, pure euphoria bubbling up inside me. With a burst of excitement, I urged Luzmiel into a series of pirouettes, my hair streaming behind me like a golden banner.
Oh, how I wished I could fly away and never return to Camelot! The thought filled me with a mixture of sorrow and longing.
"My Queen," Lancelot's voice cut through my reverie, his tone sharp. "Please stop at once," he sternly commanded. "You could get hurt."
I sighed and obeyed, my heart sinking as I reined in Luzmiel. Though I understood his caution, I couldn't help but sulk about being told off. As the flight continued, I confirmed the change in Lancelot's behaviour; he seemed distant and avoided me, mirroring my own attempts to distance myself from him after our shared kiss.
However, his coldness annoyed me. Deep down, I had hoped that we would be alone on this mission, despite knowing it was not the smartest idea. Having Mordred accompany us was a disappointment, even though it was likely for the best. Glancing over at Mordred, I caught him looking at me before quickly averting his gaze, a blush spreading across his cheeks. What an enigmatic young man, I thought.
After a full day of flying, Lancelot announced that we needed to rest for the night. We began descending on our pegasi, eventually stopping in a forest clearing as the sun set. The ground was damp under my feet and some crickets chirped in the distance.
Lancelot bustled around the clearing, busying himself with tasks in order to avoid me. His movements were sharp and purposeful, as though he was trying to impede my attempts to make conversation. Meanwhile, Mordred and I ventured a short distance away from the site in search of kindling. We scoured the ground for dry twigs and sticks. When we had collected enough to start a decent fire, we returned to the camp, but Sir Lancelot was gone. He didn't even say goodbye!
"Maybe he's gone hunting," Mordred suggested, seeing the concern on my face. "But he'll be back soon. I'll take care of the fire."
I nodded and offered to help because I didn't want to sit around thinking about Lancelot's absence anymore. Fortunately, Mordred was right - after an hour or so, Lancelot returned with two dead rabbits swinging from his belt.
"For dinner, my Queen," he said gruffly, casting a glance in my direction.
I couldn't help but feel hurt by his lack of acknowledgement; he hadn't even apologised for leaving without a word. I huffed and crossed my arms, watching as Lancelot and Mordred skinned and prepared the rabbits for dinner.
My mood continued to sour as we ate our meal in silence, each bite tasting like ashes in my mouth. And then, soon after finishing his food, Sir Lancelot simply bowed to us before leaving again! Frustration built within me, and I wondered what was wrong with him.
"Is everything alright, Your Majesty?" Mordred asked, breaking the silence.
"Fine," I lied, trying to hide my annoyance.
"Perhaps Lancelot is tired," Mordred offered, trying to ease the tension.
"Surely," I muttered, faking a smile.
The fire crackled before us, casting flickering shadows across our faces as the night deepened.
Eager to take my mind off Lancelot's behaviour, I turned to Mordred, seeking solace in conversation as we sat by the fire. The flames danced, casting a warm glow on his face. For the first time since I had met him, I truly looked at Mordred and took in his features. In my mind's eye, he had always been pale, gloomy and a bit scrawny. But as I paid more attention, I could see he was tall, slender and had a handsome face, with full lips and a strong jawline. His grey-blue eyes were bright yet sad. He simply slouched too much and tended to cover his face with his mane of dark hair. The aura of solitude that surrounded him captivated me, yet made me feel uneasy in a strange way.
"Tell me more about your mother, Morgana," I asked, eager to learn about this enigmatic woman who was so entwined with my fate.
Mordred hesitated for a moment, then began to open up. "She's powerful and ruthless. She can be quite charming, but, as a mother... she is not one for warmth or affection," he admitted quietly.
I felt a sudden pang of guilt for asking such a personal question. "I'm so sorry," I said apologetically. "Maybe it was too personal."
Mordred shook his head, giving me a slight smile.
"It's alright," he said, to my surprise. "I'm just not used to people showing interest in me."
There was an awkward moment of silence before I mustered up the courage to ask the next question: "How long have you been living on Camelot as one of the Knights of the Round Table?"
Mordred looked taken aback, as though no one had ever asked him this before. He paused for a moment before replying.
"I've been part of the Knights of the Round Table since I became of age, as requested by my mother, and I've lived in Camelot since she struck a pact with King Arthur... soon after the defeat of Llyn".
My eyebrows shot up as I processed this information. "But wait," I said, my surprise evident in my voice. "That was... twelve years ago. How old were you?"
Mordred's eyes softened and his mouth curved into a sad smile. "I was seven," he replied softly.
I gasped in shock at his words, imagining what it must have been like for a half-fae child to find himself suddenly thrust into a world of human knights and nobles, surrounded by people who didn't understand him or accept him for who he was.
"I'm sorry. A child shouldn't go through that..." I murmured, reaching out to touch his arm gently.
A smile flickered across Mordred's face, and I could sense a silent affection sparking within him at my gesture.
Suddenly, the sound of someone approaching our camp shattered our moment of mutual understanding. I assumed it was Lancelot returning but was proven wrong when a fae armed with a bloodied sword emerged from the shadows.