Character/s: Morgana, Morgause, the Cailleach, Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Morgause sacrifices herself for a spell. Morgana tears the veil. Arthur and Merlin try to outdo each other's selflessness.
Word Count: 430
Prompt: #463 Ring
Author's Notes: The Darkest Hour
Morgause heaved herself out of the cart. She shuffled along the two-plank pier.
Morgana gently helped her sister into the boat.
They floated across the lake. They took with them the one clear expanse within their foggy surroundings. It was as though the fog knew their purpose and wouldn't touch them.
Morgana helped Morgause shuffle across the dirty stones.
Morgause had told Morgana of the old order that had once filled this isle with activity, for which promising girls were brought from far and wide to learn. Now, there was no one here but them to carry on the women-led traditions of the Old Religion.
Morgause hefted herself onto a large dais. As she laid down and prepared to meet her end, she reassured Morgana that this one act would create a new world and clear the way for Morgana to achieve her longed-for throne.
Morgana began to incant. She trusted her sister's plan; Morgause wanted to be sure to wring the most destruction for Camelot out of her own death. Still, Morgana's voice trembled from her strong emotions over losing the one person she had left to love.
The incantation was completed with a downward plunge of a blade.
Morgana was thrown backward off her feet. She lost awareness.
While Morgana lay on the floor, the fabric of the world ripped. An enormous breach appeared not far from the dais. A frosty wind issued out from it and crept over the stones.
Morgause's body vanished.
Ravens flocked to the isle, brought by the promise of death. They searched for bodies to consume, but could not find them. The ravens landed in a ring around the isle; they knew that they should wait, but they did not know why.
Morgana came back to consciousness to the ghost of a finger on her cheek and a ringing in her ears.
The woman looked as old as death, though it was more likely she was not. The years were displayed like tree rings in the looping wrinkles of skin below her eyes. She looked immensely sad, but she spoke with a livelier voice than her appearance implied.
"You don't have to do this. I will take your place," Merlin offered.
"No, Merlin." Arthur put out his hand. "This Seal of Camelot ring on my finger means something. I cannot sit comfortably by while others sacrifice themselves for me. What kind of king can be respected if he is not willing to do that which he asks of his people? I must go and pay the price required to close the veil."