Her Highness

Once, the Five Kingdoms of Albion had been at peace, but that peace had started to shatter when the Court of Camelot was broken by the treachery and evil of one Knight, Mordred, and his greed for power.
Now, it’s been almost ten years since Mordred slew Arthur Pendragon at Camlann, ten years since Ygraine and Duran fled Camelot in search of safety. It’s been six years since Mordred found and captured them.
But Ygraine Pendragon is bordering on twenty years old, and she is through with the whole of Albion thinking her and her brother are dead. She is the daughter of the great King Arthur, and she is done with allowing her cousin to sit on the Throne of Camelot, the throne which he usurped.
When bonds are broken, betrayal occurs, hard decisions are made, and lives are lost, who will lose and who will conquer? How will the Princess, a lost heir to Camelot, fair when this become more than just an effort to rid the Kingdoms of Mordred, and instead become a war between light and dark?

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“The King wishes to have an audience with you.”

    I turned around from facing the wall with the small and high and barred window, where my sore excuse for a bed was pushed up against, to face the open wooden door at the opposite side of my cell. “I do not wish to have an audience withHim.

    “You, little Pendragon girl, have no choice in the matter.”

    I stared at the burly figure of a guard blocking all space in the doorway, knowing all contemplation and attempt to escape would be futile. Yes, the guard had orders not to kill me should I attempt to escape—for the seventh time, if I tried once again—but orders could easily be forgotten. The man could snap my neck into two in half-a-second.

    “My sire grows impatient, Princess,” the man said in a growl, crossing his thick arms over his wide chest.

    “Allow Mordred to become impatient then,” I muttered, wishing in that instant that I had my dagger, that way I could apply yet another scar to this guard’s already scarred face. “I wasn’t aware I was still a Princess, since Mordred took the Throne of Camelot away from me and my brother by force. He did kill Arthur, my Father, after all—in cold blood, if I may add.”

    “Your Father had it coming to him,” the man said with a snicker.

    “Pray tell, dear cousin, how did my Father deserve death?” I asked, stepping forward. The hem of my dress fluttered against the hay-covered stone floor as I approached Agravain, a man whom I had been led to believe had died during Mordred’s rebellion against King Arthur at the Battle of Camlann.

    Agravain stared at me as if the meaning towards my Father’s untimely death was the most obvious thing in Albion. “He was just like his Father before him. Uther Pendragon, a selfish man who rarely cared for anything besides power.”

    Anger stirred awake inside of me, knotting my stomach. “Nonsense,” I spat. “My Father was nothing like that man in the slightest, you insolent fool.” I held out my hands towards him. “Now, take me to my cousin.”

    He smiled a most vicious smile in which his yellow teeth flashed. “Very well,” he murmured with the slur of one who had, until recently, been drinking away the time with tankards of mead. He reached around his belt to pull the rope that was used to bind my wrists together—a precaution in order to stop me from running, a restraint against picking something up to properly use it as a weapon.

    I still had the scars from the last time I had had an audience with Mordred, from which another guard had bound my wrists so tightly that the skin had burned and split and bled.

    “Dearest Agravain,” I spoke up some time later, as the both of us walked down the hallways of Camelot that were over familiar to me. I had grown up in this palace, had fond memories until Mordred’s army had stormed the place and forced the inhabitants—that were not killed—to flee and seek sanctuary elsewhere.

    My bound wrists arms were in front of me, and I could already feel the burn as the rope dug with each and every one of my movements.

    “Yes, cousin?” Agravain didn’t seemed the least bit interested, he simply carried on walking in front of me, one hand holding a longer piece of rope that was attached to the rope at my wrist like a dog’s leash, lest I try to run the opposite way.

    “Why do you stay with Mordred? Everything has been accomplished. Arthur is dead, Mordred is King, Duran and I—the only heirs to the Throne which rightly belongs to the Pendragon’s—have been captured and the people of Albion think us dead.”

    “He is my brother.”

    “So because he is your brother you stay loyal to him?” I asked, genuinely curious. “For you did not stay loyal to the rest of your brethren. If I remember correctly you slew both Gareth and Gaheris mercilessly at Slaughterbridge. Gawain is the only other brother who remains alive.”

    “Gawain poses no threat.”

    I scoffed. “Gawain is the King of Lothian, following the grief-caused death of your Father.”

    Now it was Agravain’s turn to scoff, and scoff he did. “My eldest brother would be a fool to raise an army against Mordred. Mordred is a Warlock, after all.”

     “That much is true,” I said in agreement. I had witnessed my cousin’s magic, his dark magic, when he had tortured and murdered my friends and had made me witness it all. “But Merlin is a far more powerful Warlock.”

    Agravain let out a laugh and tipped his head back. Then he stopped walking, and turned around to face me. “And where is your precious Merlin?”

    “I . . .” I lowered my eyes to the stone floor, the surface worn away to smoothness by years of footfalls. “I do not know.” For sure, Merlin had disappeared suddenly a fair few years ago, and no one knew where he was.

    “Your Merlin is nothing but a coward,” Agravain murmured. “A coward who ran. A coward who left his friends and the two children he was meant to protect with his life, to be captured and imprisoned the very moment danger became apparent.” He started moving once more, pulling on my reins in order to force me into movement also.

    I didn’t argue this, for there was nothing to argue with. For once in his stupid life, my cousin was correct. I decided to change the subject at hand back to the starting conversation. “You have not yet properly answered my question, Agravain. Why do you stay with Mordred?—you say it is because he is your brother, but yet during the rebellion you were a great leader of his army, and now . . . well, now you’re nothing more than a guard to the long forgotten Prince and Princess of a once-great Kingdom.”

    “I take what I get,” he said, though with the tone of voice I know I had planted a long-awaited seed of doubt in his mind, a seed of what intentions his brother had towards him. Alas, the doubt did not last long, for soon enough his scarred face became as impassive as ever. “I shall not betray him.”

    “Yet you betrayed your other brothers.”

    “There visions were wrong,” he said simply. “Besides, I have sworn fealty to Mordred.”

    I smiled a wicked smile. “Just because you have sworn featly does not mean you cannot betray,” I murmured in a soft voice. “You’ve done it once before.”

    He stayed silent for a long moment before abruptly shaking his head, presumably also shaking away all thoughts out of his thick skull. “That is enough from you, cousin,” he voiced with ice in his tone. “We are here”—he gestured to the double wooden doors to our left with the hand that held my leash, Mordred’s chambers—“I suggest that you don’t try to do anything stupid, like trying to kill the King.”

    “Would I ever?” I laughed as Agravain unwound the leash but kept my wrists bounded.

    “You are good, little Pendragon girl,” he said, moving towards the doors without taking his eyes off of me. “You would not taint your soul.”

    “Do not be so sure. Do you doubt that I am capable?”

    “Oh, I have no doubt of your ethereal power. Your Father trained you as a warrior; you know all the tricks and techniques.”

    I sighed. “I can assure you, I will not be killing anyone tonight.”

    He laughed and pushed the right-hand door open, gesturing for me to walk inside so that he could pull the door closed once more. “In you go, Pendragon. The King awaits you.”

    With a deep breath I shuffled forward, for my plain lilac cotton dress did not fan out much, and therefore did not truly allow for much movement and wide-step of the leg. Another precaution, one cannot run in a dress designed to restrain movement of the leg to a minimal.

    Did they honestly believe I could accomplish escaping from this castle? Yes I knew the corridors better than anyone else—save for my brother—but over the years they had probably found and shut off most, if not in actual fact all, hidden passages that had been built in case of a siege as a way of escaping without notice. There was no way I could escape from the place that had once been my home, but was now my prison. Without a weapon, I had no hope for freedom.

    

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