From what he heard . . . the executions had not yet taken place. Arthur was no fool. He knew this could also be a trap. But he refused to leave until he saw her. Until he made sure that she was safe. That she was not among those who would be killed. He kept a low profile during his search in the city, his cloak concealing him well enough as he kept the hood up. He did not draw any attention, and knew he could not ask anyone of where she may be. After a brief search, he went into hiding. She was a servant to the queen. She would most likely be in the castle, so Arthur would wait, until he saw her walk out. He waited in the shadows of what he established was a common path that most took to get into the depth of the city.
He waited behind one of the walls, watching. Hoping. Praying. And the moment he saw her, he felt waves of relief wash over him like he couldn't believe. She looked unharmed. And she was free to roam the city streets. Arthur wondered if he should just turn around and leave. If he should just let her be. Yet, the other part of him knew he could not come all this way and not at least speak to her. So the moment she was to cross paths with him, he slipped from behind the wall, and gently grabbed her arm to swing her into his hiding spot. "Are you alright?" He asked immediately, ensuring that she could see who he was and hoping he spoke quick enough so that she would not let out any sound of surprise to alert the guards. His question however, was the most important one. It was after all, the only reason he had come here. To make sure she was alright.
Guinevère felt a hand on her arm, and someone tugging her into the shadows! she opened her mouth to scream but nothing came out! It wasn't until she heard his voice that she--HIS VOICE! "Arthur!" She gasped his name in a whisper, PRAYING she didn't REALLY hear him here! Stepping closer she looked up at his face under the hood and wanted to REALLY scream then! WHY was he here?! He was going to get himself killed!!!
Looking around she grabbed his hand, and lead him down the back way to her house. Pushing him into the door she shut it, and then began shutting all the windows too. Once she knew no one would see in, she spun around to look at him. "Are you mad?!" She whispered yelled! "Do you know what the queen will do to you when she finds you?" WHY would he come here?! This city was the worst place to hide! Even if not everyone knew his face, there was the risk of SOMEONE knowing. He would be killed! "I thought you were going to disappear?" Now that her surprise was fading, she began to be glad to see him.
Was here too . . . . Did he come back to change things??
Arthur said nothing as she lead him to where he could only assume was her home. Once instead she hastily closed the door and covered the window, as Arthur proceeded to lower his hood so that he could see her better. She then started telling him off. He should have expected as much. Though, he also knew that he would not have been able to rest, not having seen for himself that she was here. That she was safe. And he would need to leave before he jeapordized that.
She asked him questions that he knew he owed answers to, and tried to think of how to explain it. He would just have to be honest. "I was . . . I mean, I did." Disappear. Or well start to. "I heard word that the Queen imprisoned those who she believed to have aided me." Her brother. The potential king. But the words were unsettling enough to think of. He couldn't bring himself to say it. "And I . . . " Yes. Honesty. "Feared that you were among them." And he never would have been able to forgive himself had she been among those set to be executed.
Guinevère watched him, waiting for his answer as he begin to explain, an reexplain. She was here because . . . because of her? He said he was worried about her, and it caused Guinevère to stand there staring at him for a moment. Surprised at this words, and that he was here because he honestly worried about her. "You came here," to the city that was the most dangerous in the world for him, "for me?"
Guinevère tried not to like that, but she did. To like him now would be pointless, as he was leaving--and if he wasn't then he was a king. Either way, it was not one that ended with them together. "She has, but she isn't sure who helped you. She has many locked away and is even now looking for more." Guinevère explained, so he would understand what was happening. "When she was young, she would fight for the ones who were too weak to fight for themselves. Over the years she became bitter. Bitter turned to hate, and the need for power turned her mean. She will not stop looking for you." Because she feared Arthur's power. The power he didn't want. The power to be king.
"Thank you, for thinking of me." Guinevère felt like it needed to be said now, before she had to send him away. "Stay here for the night, and rest tomorrow. Then when night falls you need to get out of the city. You don't want to be here when she grows tired of looking." When she begin the killing.
She was surprised that he had come here for her . . . that he had made this risk for her. Yet she had done the same thing for him. And while this wasn't about reciprocity, for he genuinely worried for her, he also hoped it had nothing to do with the sudden title that some seemed to think he deserved. "I was worried about you." He had thought she was in danger, and would risk it again in a heartbeat regardless of whatever consequences awaited. He then listened to her explain that she had locked away to many people and was still looking. He wondered if she would ever stop -- and Guinevère answered his question. How many would die in order to get to him? Yet if he stood and fought, then people would still die as a result. Was death so inevitable in this situation?
Should they not try to reunite as long lost brother and sister? Did she think him so hungry for power and control? She told him to stay for the night, and then afterwards . . . he needed to get out of here. That he would not want to be here when the killing started. Arthur was silent for a few very long moments. Trying to think of what to do. Not about taking the throne but about those that fell into her path of searching for him. "Is . . . there any way to get them out?" He asked Guinevère, thinking of those who were imprisoned. Those who would be killed whether they had anything to do with him or not. He knew very well this could be a trap to lure him out. But Arthur couldn't just let it happen without at least trying to do something. Or thinking of it.
"I was worried about you." He had been worried about her. She felt like she was back in that market, and he was a simple blacksmith, and she a servant. She had liked him then, and felt this light enjoyment of just being a girl, around a boy and . . . and not having this weight of a kingdom around them both. A dream that was never meant to be. "Thank you," she she softly, meaning it. There was not many who worried for her any more. That would come to check on her.
Yet, his next words turned her from the dreaming to reality. "Is . . . there any way to get them out?" "A king's pardon." She told him, her tone clear that she wasn't trying to pressure him but remind him that he had the power. "Arthur, this isn't your fight." Guinevère wished it was, for he seemed like the king that she would want to serve, but if he was leaving he needed to do it before he got caught. "I've not told anyone I found you." Not even Leon, the knights only knew he was out there somewhere, not that Guinevère had spoken with him and that he wanted nothing to do with this. They needed hope. "You said you couldn't be apart of this, and if you still feel that way then you need to leave. Once you begin, once people learn your face, there will be no going back. You will never be able to just be a blacksmith again."
A king's pardon. "I have done nothing to earn such title." He wasn't daft. He knew that royalty was a birthright. That you were born into it. But so many seemed to have this . . . faith in Arthur. It would be misplaced if he just assumed the role. Surely, he had to do something to prove to the people that he deserved it. Not that he was even thinking of becoming king. He just wanted it known that he had no plans of assuming the title . . . just because he had royal blood flowing in his veins. She told him this wasn't his fight, reminding him of his own words that said he couldn't be a part of this. That it would reveal his face and there would be no going back. Arthur just remained silent. He knew that she was right, but it was also too late to go back.
"She won't stop," he both acknowledged and questioned at the same time. According to Guinevère's words, the queen would not stop. "I can not let innocent people die because of my . . . " He just shook his head a little, trying to keep his emotions composed though it was difficult as the pain of someone dying for him was evident on his face. Cowardice. Yes. That was the word. He was a coward. "I fear, it was naive to think I could go back to being a blacksmith." For the queen had started this brutal search. The life that he had known ended the day she found out about her brother. "I don't know what I will be." He still felt uncomfortable over the idea of being king. "But I do know that I can not leave and let these people die. I have to at least try to help them." He paused for a moment, before continuing. "It's the right thing to do." Words they had said to each other before, and ones he stood by now.
"I have done nothing to earn such title." "No king ever does, Arthur," She told him softly, still touching his arm. "Morgana didn't. It's what you do with it that matters. Some, like the queen, choose to rule with only her power in mind. Others, the good ones, do it to help people. That is how I know you'd be a good king. You came here . . . for me. The boy in the market. The man who wanted to kill you. Wanting to free men you've never seen before. As king, you could do that with a spoken word. You could make sure that this kingdom, didn't live and die in fear. You could bring hope, by just being who you already are."
"She won't stop," Guinevère agree, and her hand fell away as she turned to move closer to her table. While she agreed that betraying Morgana was the best, it was still hard to think of. Morgana's wrath would not bring a swift end. Not for her. As Morgana's friend, Morgana would make it last. "It's the right thing to do."
Turing back to Arthur, Guinevère nodded. "Yes," it was. "There is a knight, Sir Leon. I trust him. If I tell him there is a plan to get the men out, he will be able to get the key for us. He is the one I spoke of when we met. The others looking for you. He wants to find you and make you king. His loyalty is to the good of the kingdom, and has protected many from Morgana's wrath--sometimes at personal cost."
"There is also many servant corridors that nobles don't know. We can use them." Yet this wasn't a plan. They'd need more to break men out. Then once they were moving, they'd need horses, food, water, and things to let them keep moving until they were away. Weapons to fight.
He still didn't understand how someone could have so much faith in him. And it seemed that she wasn't the only one. He just took in her words, still unable to accept the idea of being king. It was far too much! He had no knowledge of politics compared to men who were raised among them. And . . . well, Arthur could list reason after reason as to why he was not suited to be king. "There's a huge difference, between helping individuals and determining the wellfare of an entire kingdom." The pressures that would cause for someone so unprepared . . . well, Arthur already didn't like to be the centre of attention.
It would only be worse if he was put in such a position and screwed everything up. But he also knew that time was very limited right now and while he appreciated her words, he still could not believe them. That he could bring hope, just by being true to his heart. She then spoke of a knight named Sir Leon, who was apparently one of the people that held faith in Arthur. "He doesn't know me," Arthur stated, surprised that he wanted him on the throne. Nervous about the idea of trusting him. But . . . Arthur trusted Guinevère. And that was enough to make him have that second hand trust.
"The less people involved in this, the better," he told her. "I can not ask you to risk so much. Draw me a map, we will plan a route, but, if we are caught . . . " He paused for a moment, knowing that was a very likely possibility. "I can not bare the thought of harm coming to you because of it." For he had a feeling the Queen would be especially upset with the betrayal of a woman she called friend. He didn't want Guinevère going with him where the risk was so strong. Realizing his gaze was fixed on Guinevère for longer than it should be, he quickly broke it and focused back on the task at hand. "How many people are there?" So that they could develop a proper plan and route of escape.
"He doesn't know me," No he didn't, but that wouldn't stop him from looking. It wasn't as if Leon would ride up and bow. He would have made sure Arthur wasn't evil, and as long as he wasn't anything like his sister, then he would be a better king. "He knows Morgana," she pointed out, knowing Arthur would understand. He couldn't do worse then a queen who murdered her own people.
"The less people involved in this, the better," He didn't want Leon to help them? "I can not bare the thought of harm coming to you because of it." He didn't even want her help! Guinevère held his gaze until he lowered it, and then she felt herself smile as she too looked away. She couldn't like him! He was either leaving or going to be king! Either way, she wasn't going to be with him. "How many people are there?"
"37 as of tonight." She explained, "If we can get them weapons, then they can help fight their way out. Morgana has hired men in the castle, but they are not knights. They wont last long if the knights go in force." The knights were trained since birth to fight and die for the kingdom. They couldn't fight against Morgana, there was no one else to be their king / queen. Yet, if they knew Arthur was here . . . Helios' men wouldn't last long. "I am with you, Arthur. You will need my help."
While Arthur had heard horror stories of the queen, it certainly said something that people would rather take the risk of someone they didn't know . . . than serve a queen like her. He listened to her explain how many were inside, and that they could fight. "How many of them are knights?" He inquired, figuring that they would need to equip them with weapons as a priority. It would also allow him to better determine what their chances were with skilled warriors. "Perhaps I could disguise myself as a guard," he suggested. When hiding in the town waiting for Guinevère, he had seen them. They had helmets that covered most of their face.
"I can take them a drink. We could put something in it." Because he didn't want to kill them. The less commotion caused, the better. "How many guard the prisons? And what is the best route of escape from the dungeon?" He was strategizing now. All he need do was get them out. The knights could aid in protecting the citizens and Arthur could serve as a distraction if need be. He paused such thoughts when she said that she was with him. That he would need her help. "Yes. I will." He was not in denial of that. "But once we are inside, you need to remove yourself from what is happening. The queen can not know of your involvement." Meaning, he would need all her help in the planning and preparation. But when it came to executing the plan . . . he didn't want her near it.
"All of them," Guinevère explained, as Morgana hadn't sought out commoners or other nobles. They were too afriad of her right now; and had too much to loose. Once she made her way through the knights, she would begin looking to see which nobles would dare to stand up to her. Morgana didn't think about the other people willing to betray her. People like Guinevère. Morgana didn't think they would dare cross her. She was blind to Guinevère's true loyalties.
He didn't want her there, and she knew he worried for her. "I will be with you, until you get to the knights." She told him, refusing to back down. "I am Morgana's personal handmaiden--I have unlimited ability to move around the castle and no one dares question me of where I am going. Once you have help, I will return to my duty, and no one will be know i helped." Yet she wasn't leaving him to do this alone! "I've been doing this since I watched her kill her father. I know the risks, Arthur. Yet I cannot stand by and do nothing while the people I know die." She would do everything she could. "and IF I am caught, then I know I did the right thing while I could."
It did not seem that Arthur was going to be able to change her mind. Though he did feel some relief when she said that she would return to her duty. He would make sure she did, or at least lessen any suspicion that she was involved in this ploy. She spoke of Morgana killing her father. His father. He wondered what Uther was like. What he really was like. Not as a king, but as a man. He had of course heard stories like so many others . . . but, he suddenly felt this interest in knowing what he was like as a person. Knowledge that he would never have.
Curiosity that would never be satisfied. "Alright," he conceded. He had no place to tell her she could not do this. "But you will not be caught." Of this, he was sure. Of this, he promised. "We will need an abundance of weapons. And an escape route from the dungeons." Was there a tunnel? Would they have to take a main floor? They wouldn't make it far if that were the case, though Guinevère had said that Morgana's men were not all trained warriors. "I will get a guard's uniform." He could easily knock out one of them who was on patrol. And whatever they had to do . . . they would need to do fast.
He was adamant about her role in this. "Thank you for worrying about me," She told him softly, enjoying someone worrying about her. "It's been a long time since anyone has." And the fact that he was now doing it, with such strong feelings about it was nice. It made her feel special, and important. As if he didn't just care--but he CARED what what happened. To her as a person, more to as a stranger.
"I will get a guard's uniform." That would easy enough, "Just go to the laundry, and they will have many there. The workers will no t go until after the breakfast hour, as most have to take the morning meals to people in the castle; and the Landry will be empty until then." Most men thought about knocking men out to take clothes. They didn't think like a woman would--of where there was a lot of clothes everywhere. "As for swords, it would be easier if you let me ask Sir Leon. He could help make sure there was some near by."
His heart ached for her. To hear that no one had worried for her. Surely, she deserved the concern of others for all that she did for them. And at the same time . . . Arthur had not stopped to think or ask if there was another in her life. This seemed to answer it. Even though it was not what he should be focusing on right now. "You never need to thank me for that," he told her sincerely.
She suggested going to the laundry and he nodded, knowing he would still need to find a helmet which shouldn't be too difficult. But when it came to the swords, they would need the help of this knight. Arthur remained in pensive silence for a moment. "Alright." With Guinevère's involvement, he knew he had to better their chances of escape. "We will need someone helping from the outside." To get everything in position. "Will, Sir Leon go with them?" Or would he remain here? "I would not wish for him to be harmed upon taking this risk." But Arthur knew that the knight would most likely do it for his men, not Arthur, and that brought the former blacksmith some comfort. "What about the escape route?" Where would they exit out of?
She did need to thank him for that, for she wanted him to know how much it meant to her. "For so long, I've lived this half life." She explained, "When you found out who I was, you backed away. It is that way with everyone. Only Sir Leon knows of what I really do. That day in the market . . . before I knew your name . . . it's been a long time since--" she felt that way about anyone. "Since I could enjoy a conversion about nothing. I will always be thankful for that."
He was making plans, and she knew she needed to be better help. "Sir Leon and the knights know these woods better then I. They will know the best way. I will speak to Sir Leon int he morning, and he can met you here. If you two make a plan to escape, I can get you to the cells below." Which meant there was only one real thing left to ask him. "What name do I give him?" Arthur was a powerful name in these parts. "If I tell him your name is Arthur, it will mean something to him."
Before he could answer, she stepped closer, "You said yourself you could not go back to being a blacksmith. I know you did not ask for this, but none of us did. You could mean hope for so many who need it most."
It was true that he had stepped back, thought of their conversation, once she revealed who she really was. "It sounds, lonely," he told her truthfully. Feeling . . . sympathetic. For she deserved far better than that. "Yet you and the queen could not be more different," he continued. "She stirs fear and yet you stir . . . " Well, things he probably shouldn't actually admit to her. But he could explain it without coming off as a school boy with a crush. There was something deeper felt for her. He couldn't explain it. But he also knew that something about her surely drew so many others too. "Goodness," he finally said. The word seemed so much more simple than truly encompassing all that she stirred. "A great deal of goodness." His tone indicating the magnitude of the word, more than one single word doing it justice.
Then, came the difficult question. Of which name she should give him. Arthur didn't know. She stepped closer to him and told him that his name could give people hope. But, he felt the need to explain something. "I still hold no desire for the throne." He didn't know what he was or who he would become. Only that in doing this, was not an attempt for the crown. But to protect people who were wronged in his name. "I trust you Guinevère." Not something he so easily gave out. There were few he trusted with his life and they were all back in his home town. Well, except for her. "You know him better than I. If it would serve well to reveal my name . . . I trust you to do what is best." Meaning, he would accept either outcome. Softly smiling at her he realized he was moving closer to her too. "I do not know much of this world," he said, knowing that was no surprise. Also knowing that he basically knew nothing of this world at all. "But I know that I trust you," he repeated, wanting her to know that. Her actions more than earned it.
Guinevère did feel lonely sometimes, but she hadn't really known it until now. When she had met him and he'd made her feel things. Now she was well aware of how much she wanted someone by her side, so she wasn't alone. He told her that she didn't stir fear in others, that she stirred . . . and he seemed to pause over his words. She watched him, wondering what he would say. Apart of her want that answer to be something personal, telling her that she stirred something with in him.
Yet he did the wise thing and said it was goodness. Guinevère lowered her gaze to look at the floor, and then smiled up at him. "I still have hope for the kingdom I once loved." She told him, "even if it's not from you being king, I have to believe something will change. I have to help it if I can." She would think on which name to give Leon, and see what felt right. It might be best if she just called him a 'friend' and didn't explain a name. Leon would trust her--she hoped. "I will let you know in the morning, which name I will give him."
Until then, "Are you hungry?" She asked, "you've come so far, I have some bread and water here." But she didn't keep much food. Food was hard to come by in the kingdom, even in the capital. She ate int he castle, so there wasn't much need to buy it.
Hope. It was a dangerous four letter word to have. But, it seemed that it was all that kept many people going in this kingdom. "I hope that it does," he told her sincerely. He hoped that the kingdom did change for the good, even if he wouldn't be a part of that change. At least not drastically. She then offered food and water and he was grateful for the offer. "Thank you," he told her sincerely.
"But we should save it for the morning. Right now, it would be best we rest, as tomorrow will be a busy day." He paused and smile for a moment as the seemingly simplistic word. "To say the least." Busy. As if they would just go along with their tasks and they weren't going to be breaking over 30 knights out of prison. He knew that food was not easy to come by, and had gotten used to skipping a meal here and there when times were hard and business was slow. He then looked around her home, trying to find the best place on the floor to sleep. "Where would be a suitable place to rest?" He asked her, not wanting to be presumptuous.
Yes, tomorrow would be busy. She knew that was a simple word for high treason, but she would let it be a big word tonight. "Very." They were going to plan and commit an act of betraying the queen of Camelot--and if things really worked out, maybe even find a way to help Arthur see he would make a good king and begin turning him toward it. That was still what she wanted--more so each time they spoke. She wondered how his mother felt about this. If he had anyone else back home that he missed. She wanted to ask, but he spoke of needing rest and so Guinevère let it go. It was better if she didn't know. He could never be her's.
He needed rest! Yes! "I only have the one bed," she said with a small apology in her tone. "You should take it. Rest. It might be some time before you have a bed again." When he escaped, he would be looking at many days and weeks on the run. She knew Leon would tell him to go to the castle of the old kings. It would be the safest place to plan a rebellion, and it had long since been Leon's plan to regroup there if something should happen.
My name is Catherine by the way; Call me Kate. *Smiles* You're lucky to have your mother, I ... wish I had at least someone I can talk to, You know? At least i have Arthur. *sits by the window and looks out*
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