Title: A Lifetime of Scars
Pairing/s: Meh...not a pairing type story. But since this is about a queen then Arthur/Gwen. I suppose.
Summary: The Queen has scars too.
Word Count: 645
Author's Notes: Horrid title. But hope the rest of it is better.
A queen isn’t supposed to have scars. But she does. She has plenty of them.
There’s one on her upper arm from when her and Elyan were playing with a group of swords in their father’s forge. It was his idea and she went along with it, happy that he was talking again after their mother’s death. She learned that day that dull swords can still cut through skin. Yet the pain of the death still hurt more.
The one on her hip is from when Morgana tried to teach her how to ride a horse. She had been working for the newest member of the Pendragon household for two months when her lady decided, quite suddenly, that her maid needed to know how to ride a horse, if only to keep up with her. Lessons were far more difficult than either of them thought. But Morgana was patient, teaching her the right way to mount and dismount, what to do while riding, how to properly tie a horse to a tree. It was the first time she felt more like a friend than a handmaiden.
There are several on her fingers from when she’s filled in for other workers around the castle—handmaidens like her, and cooks and seamstresses and those who found employment working for the King. They were a group amongst themselves. They traveled to and from the castle in groups when it was far too late for a woman to be out at night by herself. They help make each other’s wedding dresses and watched each other’s children. And they looked out for one another. They had to. Because no one else would.
Her wrists display marks of when she’s been held captive. Three times now. All three times she feared for her life. All three times she somehow made it out alive. She’s become jaded to being taken.
Three scars are on her knees for each time she’s been thrown to the floor in front of a king. The first two on her left knee was because she was accused of sorcery; the third on her right for betrayal. The first king sentenced her to death both times. The second king banished her. She sometimes runs her fingers over her right knee subconsciously. They never talk about that time.
One is hardly visible but there on her elbow for when she made sure her head didn’t the tree she had been thrown into by her former friend. She knew her friend was powerful, but to feel that power was an entirely different experience. Sometimes she cries when she thinks about what happened—all that happened—for her to get that scar. She wishes everything had been different.
She tries to forget the one on her upper thigh that has a resemblance to the shape of an arrow. She remembers falling to the ground; being too weak to go on. And then waking up, the sun shining around her and Merlin being the first thing she sees. Sometimes she asks Merlin if he knew who helped her that day, just to see if he’ll finally tell her. He just smiles and gives her a look. She can’t help but smile back. But she knows. And she’ll wait for him to tell her.
Then there are the scars that aren’t visible, the ones that were left because of death that happened suddenly, or because someone left and never gave her the choice, or because of a broken heart. She hurt him; she knows that. She wonders if he realizes that he hurt her too. The broken heart should have healed by now, aided by them finally getting married after years of secrets, after near death experiences, after mistakes. But it’s there. And they both know it.
A queen isn’t supposed to have scars. But she does. She has a lifetime of them.