Character/s: (In this section) Morgana, Gwen, Leon, Uther, Agravaine, Owain
Summary: Uther had plans for Arthur. They didn't involve him choosing his own omega. They certain didn't involve him choosing a servant for that role.
Word Count: 1281
Prompt: 84 Interest
Author's Notes: Not betaed as I've had a busy weekend and barely made the deadline. This is the next part of 'His' and 'The Cold Light of Morning'
Morgana had never understood why people enjoyed watching a burning so much. Everything about it was repugnant to her - the killing, the suffering, the reason it usually happened...
This time it wouldn't be for the crime of sorcery, but that didn't make it any better. She felt responsible. If only she hadn't spoken so carelessly, if only she had considered Arthur's absence and the direction that the omega's scent had been coming from then things could have been different.
Arthur was annoying, there was no getting away from it, but she wouldn't wish something like this on him. If she was honest, she liked him. He wasn't like his father, he was kinder, more honest. One day she hoped he might prove to be more lenient in his outlook on sorcery.
Something like this could change him forever. She'd followed Uther down to Arthur's chambers and had seen the way he'd fought and screamed as they took his omega from him. That was bad enough, but since then she could hear a distant thud, steady and regular. She knew it was Arthur, trying desperately to free himself from the room where they'd imprisoned him, probably doing all kinds of harm to himself in the process.
Even if he escaped there would be a dozen guards outside the door ready to recapture him. Arthur was a great warrior, the best, but even he surely couldn't take on that many of them. The only contact Arthur was ever going to have with that omega was having the smell of his burning flesh wafting in on the breeze. It was a foul smell. A foul act.
Outside, down in the courtyard she could see the pyre being built. There were people starting to gather, hurrying for the best seats. Their sick fascination with the burning was incomprehensible.
She hadn't even heard Gwen enter the room, too caught up in her own thoughts.
"What is it?"
"The king, my lady. He's asking for you."
They were building the pyre quickly. Doubtless Uther wanted to tell her that she would be accompanying him. With Arthur indisposed, she would be the person who had to stand beside the king, showing her support and approval.
Approval. One day, if he ever found out her secret, it might be her out there. Her position was unlikely to grant her much in the way of mercy. Uther Pendragon didn't do mercy, he was proving it in his actions that day. If anything her punishment would be harder, crueller because he would feel betrayed over the fact that he had a sorceress under his own roof.
Gwen knew about the dreams she had, the visions that made her wake screaming in the night. Her maid never judged, but Morgana knew the king would not be so kind. One day that pyre would be for her. Gwen was taking Morgana's hands in her own now, reassuring and supportive. It was confirmation, as if she needed it, of Uther's intentions. Worse, her vision the night before had been of a sorcerer standing in front of the throne of Camelot, eyes blazing a fiery gold. It had been the eyes that mesmerised her, but she thought now that he looked a little like the servant boy, the omega.
So much for the golden eyed sorcerer. Her vision must have been a warning of the omega's death and the gold was the fire that would kill him. She hadn't heeded that warning. But then she had been convinced the vision had showed her a sorcerer. Obviously it hadn't, if the omega had such power then he would have already escaped.
There was a loud crash from the direction of the room where they'd imprisoned Arthur. She wondered if he'd finally managed to break down the door. The shouting that she could hear implied that he might have done. She winced at the sound of someone crying out in pain.
"Gwen... This is my fault. I never thought it could be Arthur."
"We both thought it was one of Uther's guests," Gwen reassured her. "We laughed at it, remember? Lord Arwen definitely sneaked his omega in the other night, George was complaining about having to clean up the next day. It was logical to think it might have happened again."
Dear, sweet Gwen. Morgana couldn't confess to her that she'd done it out of malice, not liking the advances of Lord Arwen or the other nobles that had accompanied his visit to Camelot. She had wanted to make them pay for the way they behaved towards her. Instead it was Arthur who was paying, along with an innocent servant. So she just nodded grimly, nursing her guilt, and went in search of the king.
Uther, as expected, was not receptive to Leon's plea. He barely let the man finish before brushing him aside, not interested in hearing what he had to say. It hadn't helped that Agravaine had heard what was going on and arrived in Camelot to offer his support to his brother-in-law.
Leon didn't entirely trust Agravaine. There seemed something a little too convenient about his sudden appearance. There was something slightly cruel about the way he had given a little smirk as Leon had hesitantly broached the subject of the fact Arthur was clearly bonded to the omega and killing him now might prove harmful to the prince. Then, after Uther's abrupt dismissal of the idea, Agravaine had not let the subject lie. From anyone else, perhaps it would have been seen as helpful, but somehow Leon didn't think that was Agravaine's intention.
"I'm interested in how you think this will help," Agravaine commented. "Surely if we spare the omega the bond will deepen and things will worsen? Would a clean break not be easier on the prince in the long run?"
"I just feel that if the omega is killed and we regret it later then there's no way back." He glanced at Morgana, who nodded encouragingly and he took heart from that. "If the omega was sent far away then at least he could be retrieved if the prince found his loss unbearable."
"Retrieved?" Uther, it seemed, was still listening after all. "There will never be a time when a servant could be considered as a match for my son!"
"But if Arthur can't bear to lose him..." Morgana began.
"Enough!" Uther roared, silencing her. "You!" He pointed at Leon. "Get out!"
Leon knew there was nothing further he could accomplish, and he wasn't suicidal enough to try. He headed for the door, hearing Uther complaining about unmated alphas who had no idea what they were talking about, and walked faster.
"This must be so very trying for you, Uther," Leon heard Agravaine murmur sympathetically as the door closed behind him.
Leon headed back to the dungeons where he'd left Gwaine guarding the omega. Although the serving boy was in no state to attempt an escape there was always the risk that someone would decide that it didn't matter if a condemned omega in heat was bonded or not. Once, shamefully, it had been one of the knights, breaking every code of chivalry. There were, he hoped, none left in Camelot who would behave that way now.
He stopped, hearing Owain's call. Turning, he saw the younger knight was sporting a massive bruise on his face, his lip cut and bleeding.
"What happened?" he asked, already suspecting he knew the answer.
Owain wiped his mouth on his sleeve, wincing at the blood. "Arthur's escaped."
Which meant that the omega wasn't the only person in the dungeons who was in mortal peril.
Leon broke into a run.