Title: The Bacchanal (Part 1)
Pairing/s: Arthur/Gwen, Merlin/Morgana, Leon/Mithian, Elyan/Adara, Gwaine/Bess. Lord Brayley/Lady Brayley
Character/s: Braden, Alfred
Summary: The beginning of the masked ball to celebrate Samhaim (Halloween)
Warnings: Character death, miscarriage
Word Count: 2393
Author's Notes: First, I apologize for the word count. I wrote it on my phone and didn’t know it got this big. This is meant to be a 2 part (possibly 3 part) fic with it continuing on the next prompt.
The Golden Kingdom (Modern AU Series 3)
The Bacchanal (Part 1)
“I look like a pudding.” Gwen said as she smoothed down the white ball gown with the red and gold embroidery on the bodice and the hem of the very full skirt. She carefully placed her crown on her head.
She and Arthur were in her office getting ready for the masked ball that was being held in the ballroom of the Kingdom Building.
“Nonsense.” Arthur fiddled with the clasp on his cloak.
“You look wonderful. You look so handsome in your chain mail.” Gwen batted his hands away and fastened the clasp for him. She adjusted his crown. “I look like a pudding.”
“A very tasty one.” Arthur gave her a lusty look.
“There will be no tasting until after the ball.” Gwen said firmly.
“Hmph!” Arthur picked up his gloves. “Then we should head upstairs.”
“You forgot your sword. I will wait at the lift for you.” Gwen said as she picked up the white silk evening gloves from her desk and pulled them on.
They walked out of the office and nearly ran into Merlin and Morgana. Merlin was wearing a tuxedo with a gold sash. Morgana was wearing an emerald green ball gown covered in black beading and embroidery. She had on black evening cloves to complete her look.
Gwen looked at Morgana's dress and frowned.
“I know. It reminds you of something I wore when I was evil.” Morgana said. “Merlin already pointed that out.”
“You look lovely. I'll just get my sword and be right with you.” Arthur rushed down the hall to his office jangling all the way.
“At least you don't look like a pudding.” Gwen sighed as she looked down at her dress.
Merlin chuckled. “Arthur always loves a good pudding.”
Gwen rolled her eyes and Morgan hit Merlin on the arm with her gloved hand.
Arthur entered his office and went to the wall where Excalibur hung. He lifted it off the wall and turned around to leave.
Arthur came face to face with his father. Uther stood in front of him looking like he did when he was the King of Camelot.
“What do you want?” Arthur's grip tightened on the sword in his hand.
“I am here to see you. Arthur, you have a second chance to be a great King and you are squandering it. Where is your castle? Where are your armies that are feared by all? Why are those with magick allowed to exist in your Kingdom? You are weaker than you were when Camelot was your throne.” Uther stepped closer to his son.
Arthur stood straight and looked the apparition of his father in the eye. “I rule this kingdom with fairness and compassion. I rule with laws not fear. My army includes those with magick. They call my Kingdom the ‘Golden Kingdom’ because of the golden shield of magick those sorcerers used to protect this kingdom from the English to the north. I am a different kind of King.”
“Yes and you will fail.” Uther said menacingly.
“No! I won't. Be gone. I have better things to do than be haunted by you.” Arthur matched his father's tone.
Arthur waved Excalibur through the apparition. It dissipated like smoke. He rushed out to join the others.
Merlin was holding the lift door open when Arthur caught up to them. “Are you all right, Arthur?”
Arthur nodded. “Merlin, this is still a sacred time for the old religion, isn't it?”
“Yes even today. Druids and others celebrate Samhaim. Why?” Merlin asked.
“I think I was just haunted by an apparition of my father. I swear I didn't blow any magickal horn at a stone ring. He was just there.” Arthur said.
“The veil is thin and if some spirits choose to cross they can but only if their desire is strong. He could have been summoned.” Merlin said.
Arthur looked at Morgana questioningly.
“I didn't do it. Besides he would be the last person I would summon. Despite the dress I walk on the side of light these days.” Morgana said.
“So no Dorocha will show up to kill us then?” Arthur smirked.
“Arthur! That was mean.” Gwen admonished him. “Apologize to your sister.”
“I will not. She knows I am kidding.” Arthur straightened his cloak. “Right Morgana?”
Morgana just nodded. She did know he was kidding but it still hurt.
Morgana and Merlin put on their masks for the ball. Morgana's mask matched her dress emerald green with black beading and feathers. Merlin's was a plain white mask like most of the men were wearing.
The lift doors opened and the herald announced the King and Queen's arrival.
Arthur held Gwen's hand as they took the stairs to the dais where their new thrones were waiting. They sat down and the music started.
Several couples were already there. It was hard to tell who some of the guests were at first glance but some were easy to pick out.
“There is Leon and Mithian.” Arthur pointed out a pair near the punch bowl. “The ginger curls gave them away.”
“I feel better now. That dress looks more like a pudding than mine.” Gwen said.
Mithian's pink gown was adorned with silk rosebuds and embroidered butterflies. She wore pink evening gloves and a pink feathered mask.
“Bet Leon got to taste her pudding before they arrived.” Arthur gave Gwen a cheeky grin.
Gwen just glared at him.
“There is Elyan and Adara. That is Gwaine standing with them but who is he with?” Arthur pointed them out.
Elyan and Gwaine were in chain mail and red cloaks like Arthur. Adara was in a shimmering blue ball gown and white evening gloves. Her mask was blue with pearl beads. The other woman was in a dark mustard color with brown knot work looking embroidery. It made her blonde curls shine bright. She wore brown silk evening gloves and a brown mask with owl feathers.
“That's Bess. She is in training to be a Gold Knight. She was a serving girl at the Rising Sun.” Gwen said. “Pretty isn't she?”
“Wait, that is little Bess? I didn't know she had magick.” Arthur said. He thought for a moment. “We are letting women train as Knights? Did I sign off on that?”
“Yes you did.” Gwen laughed. “Here comes Lord and Lady Brayley. Don't get cheeky with her. He may be stupid enough to call you out.”
“Your Majesty. Sire. I would like to present my wife Sybil.” Lord Brayley bowed as he spoke.
“Welcome to Court, Lady Brayley.” Arthur said. “You look lovely.”
“Thank you Sire.” Lady Brayley blushed. “This is a beautiful ballroom. It’s so festive.”
"The Ladies of the Court did a wonderful job.” Gwen said. “It was quite an undertaking.”
“I bet it was after you had that dragon up here.” Lord Brayley said.
Arthur laughed. “Aithusa is going to have a new home at a sanctuary but Merlin can call her for you if you'd like to say hello.”
“I think not Sire but thank you for the offer. Come dearest.” Lord Brayley led his wife away.
Morgana looked on from where she was standing with Merlin. She started to feel a little queasy. She touched Merlin's sleeve.
“I need some air. I'll be right out there on the terrace. Why don't you get us some punch and bring it out there?” Morgana suggested.
“Do you want my jacket?” Merlin asked.
“No. We won't stay out long.” Morgana said as she started to walk off.
Morgana turned right into a small private area beside the door. She sat down and closed her eyes before she took a few breaths to steady herself.
Morgana opened her eyes and stared as she saw Morgause sitting beside here.
“Sister, are you unwell? Tell me what is ailing you and I will tell you which herbs to use.” Morgause said.
“I am fine. I'm pregnant.” Morgana sighed. “I thought Arthur was kidding. What are you doing here?”
“You are with child? By what man?” Morgause asked.
“My husband.” Morgana looked her visitor over. “Oh you're the old you. Merlin is the father.”
“You married Arthur's man servant? He tried to kill you!” Morgause said.
“He did kill me but. I forgave him. It’s a long story. You don't have enough time to hear it.” Morgana said. “What are you here to say to me?”
“You have abandoned the old ways, Morgana.” Morgause said. “I have come to remind you that you were trained as a High Priestess of the old religion. You must go back to the path you were on. You must fight against the enemies of our ways.”
“Those enemies are no longer our enemies. I promise that I will try to remember my training and pass it on to my children. You are right I have strayed too far off my path.” Morgana said. She closed her eyes and sighed heavily. “I have heard you now go.”
“I didn't say anything and I just got here.” Merlin said. He stood a few feet away holding a tray with two cups of punch and a small plate of canapés.
“I had a visit from Morgause. The one from the old days.” Morgana said. “She told me I had forgotten who I am. I have forgotten that I am a High Priestess.”
“Is that what has been bothering you?” Merlin sat down and put the tray between them.
“No Merlin. I'm pregnant again.” Morgana waited for a response.
“That is wonderful news. I'm happy if you are happy.” Merlin said hesitantly.
“I am but Gwen hasn't conceived again and I know they're trying.” Morgana said. She picked up a cup and took a sip. “Ugh! This is awful.”
“I can get you something else.” Merlin said as he rubbed her back.
“It’s fine but a bit too sweet.” Morgana said. She looked at the plate. “Maybe if I have one of these it will help.”
Merlin laughed then stopped. “What if this one has powers too?”
“Bloody hell. We are doomed.” Morgana said.
Gwen sat on the throne and shifted restlessly. She looked around but didn't see anyone in particular she wanted to talk to.
Out of the corner of her eye she saw a man walking along the edge of the ballroom. He disappeared into the hallway where the bathrooms were.
Gwen leaned over and tapped Arthur’s arm. Arthur leaned over towards her.
“I'm going to the loo.” Gwen whispered in his ear.
Arthur stood up and helped her down the stairs.
Gwen hurried down the hallway and saw something move in the sitting room at the end of the hall. She hurried inside and looked around.
“Gwen.” A familiar voice said from behind her.
“Dad?” Gwen turned around as she closed the door. “What are you doing here? You’re dead.”
Gwen looked at him. He was wearing the leather apron he wore at his forge. He was her father from the old days.
“Are you happy, Gwen? I just need to know.” Tom said.
“Yes I am. Arthur has made me happy twice over and I have twin daughters now too.” Gwen smiled.
“But no son.” Tom looked at her seriously. “You have no son to inherit your King's throne.”
“We are still young. There is time.” Gwen said.
“Your troubles have not continued. You haven't lost a child this time?” Tom asked.
Gwen looked uncomfortable. “I lost three children when I was Queen of Camelot. I have not lost a child this time. I will conceive again it just takes time. Even if I don't I will still be happy with the blessings I do have.”
“That is all I ever wanted for you, my girl.” Tom said as he faded away.
Gwen reached out as he disappeared. “I miss you.”
Gwen opened the door and walked back to where Arthur was still standing at the stairs of the dais.
Arthur smiled as he helped Gwen up the stairs then helped her sit.
Gwen looked over at Arthur and reached out to him.
Arthur took her hand and kissed it. He winked at her and held onto it as another Lord and Lady came to pay their respects.
Merlin stood just inside the terrace doors with Morgana. They were talking to Sir Braden and Sir Alfred, two of young Gold Knights. They were talking about the troubles that new recruits to the Gold Knight program were having with the regular Knight training.
Merlin glanced over onto the terrace and saw a dark curly haired young man in a green cloak standing at the edge. The young man looked back at him. It was Mordred.
“Excuse me.” Merlin said as he walked out to the terrace. Merlin walked to the corner out of sight from the doors.
Mordred followed him. “Merlin, I must ask you something.”
“That is why you are here, is it not?” Merlin asked. “Ask your question.”
“Why didn't you trust me?” Mordred asked.
“I knew what you would become. You would become the one that would kill Arthur.” Merlin said. “It was fear of losing someone I cared deeply for. You cannot hurt him in this life. For that I am grateful.”
“Was it because I reminded you of yourself? I was a child with magic when we met. You helped me but then you turned your back on me. If you didn't do that because I reminded you of yourself then why did you do it?” Mordred asked.
“You were nothing like me.” Merlin said.
“He will die young as he did before and you won't be able to stop it just like you couldn't stop it before.” Mordred said. “You will fail again.”
“Yes I may but I will try to save him just as I did then.” Merlin said. “All I can do is try.”
“Avalon is no more. He will not have a place to wait for his next crown.” Mordred said.
“I know. This is his last time as King. He will not be returning again.” Merlin said.
“Tell him. Let him live his last life to the fullest. Tell him before its too late.” Mordred disappeared in a burst of flame.
Merlin looked out over the city. He understood why the spirits were haunting them on Samhaim eve. It was their deepest regrets and darkest secrets.