Character/s: Morgause, Morgana, Others
Summary: The terror during Morgana's first brief reign of Camelot has profound consequences for one man and one woman in particular. (S3 canon inset scene)
Warnings: (Mild) canon-compliant cruelty and physical violence
Word Count: 900
Prompt: 110 Picture prompt (Strangers no more)
Author's Notes: Just in the nick of time, as usual. Eeek!
On Morgause's order the guards slapped the captive man's left hand palm-first against the wall, and held it firmly in place.
He had not come willingly. His face was bruised, and he was bleeding from a split lip.
The sorceress glided closer, ignoring the man's forceful kicks in her direction. She looked at his raised hand and muttered a spell. There was a crackling sound. He screamed.
Nodding briefly in satisfaction, she stepped back and turned to the guards waiting in line. “Bring me the woman.”
Queen Morgana had chosen the captives completely at random in the market square, but the two of them had proved equally belligerent. The young woman had fought the undead guards tooth and nail before she was overwhelmed. Now she was swaying slightly on her feet, dazed from a hard punch to her jaw.
She was marched forward to stand next to the man, facing him. The guards placed her right hand against the wall. Morgause repeated her spell. There was the same ominous sound, followed by the woman's loud and agonized scream.
Morgause turned to Morgana. “It's done, sister. And these will not be quick deaths. This time the knights will have ample time to contemplate their choices - and their loyalties.”
Morgana's cold smile did not reach her eyes. She raised her voice so that every word could be heard through the grille to the dungeons below them. “It's no use struggling to break free. You two will remain bound to this wall until the knights decide to kneel before me in supplication, or until you die from thirst, - whichever comes first.”
She smirked. “I suggest you start getting acquainted. You'll be seeing each other a lot, after all. Maybe this is the start of a beautiful and epic relationship?”
Pausing for dramatic effect, she pursed her lips in mock sadness. “Or maybe not. Your fate is entirely up to the knights of Camelot.”
“The knights are morons. Not to mention your guards,” the man spat. “They obviously take after their rulers!”
Morgana's eyes narrowed menacingly, but Morgause merely shrugged the man's insult off and beckoned the blank-faced guards closer. “Keep watch over the prisoners. No-one is to approach them, and no-one is allowed to help them in any way, unless I myself give the order. You needn't prevent them from moving or speaking. They cannot escape. The spell that binds them is imbued with the very power that makes you immortal and invincible. Blood magic wrought with the Cup of Life will not be undone.”
The two captives listened to her in horror. On cue they both started fighting the wall with all their might. They kicked and pulled and grunted, straining so violently that they risked damage to their arms and shoulders, but their hands remained affixed as if they were solid rock parts of the stone wall.
Morgause watched their frantic struggles impassively, her mind already on other matters. “Come, sister. There is much to do.” She slipped her arm under Morgana's. They turned to leave.
The man righted himself to his full height and used his free hand to mop sweat off his brow. “I'll live longer than both of you, sorceresses,” he called after them. “That is my solemn promise.”
“And I'll see to it that he fulfills that promise,” the woman added. Her voice carried across the courtyard despite her breathlessness.
The two prisoners leaned back against the wall, exhausted. They watched the castle gate close behind the queen and her sister before eventually turning to give each other a thorough once-over.
“You're a feisty lady,” he said at last. “Spirited. I like that in a woman. I think this really is the start of a passionate affair.”
“You wish!” she scoffed, tugging once more at her wall-bound hand, but to no avail. “At the tavern where I work, I hear such lines every day. Men are so predictable.”
“Tavern? With your fighting skills, you surely must be the bouncer?” He grinned, then grimaced at the pain in his bleeding lip.
“You waste your talents working at a tavern, girl.” He reached out with his free hand, taking her battered left hand in his. His eyes twinkled in rakish defiance of their precarious situation. “Come away with me. A smuggler's life is more profitable. And it is never dull.
She flicked her disheveled golden braid back over her shoulder with a toss of her head, and arched a coy eyebrow at him. “The enterprising kind in every way, I see. I do like that in a man. But I'm unfortunately rather tied up at the moment. Another time, perhaps.”
They stood a while in silence, fighting back fear.
“We'll escape,” he said quietly. “Somehow.”
“Yes, of course. There will be a way.”
“This isn't the end.”
“The knights may decide to obey Queen Morgana.”
“Or that Cup of Life thing the scary blond sorceress talked about may suddenly stop working its magic. You never know.”
They were still holding hands. Their eyes met, and he bowed to her with unexpected solemnity. “Well then, let's be strangers no more. I'm Tristan.”
She smiled, charmed despite herself. “Isolde.”
Legendary love affairs sometimes do have truly rocky beginnings.