Title: Disappearing Act
Summary: Pre-series. She was a specter in her own home.
Word Count: 450
Prompt: #200, amnesty prompt #2 (#107, song prompt: "Say Something")
She was a specter in her own home, invisible except for the effect she created in those who bustled around to tend her needs or professed to have only her best interests at heart. They saw not the woman but the queen, not the wife but the mother-to-be. The former she could tolerate. It was her job, after all, one she had accepted long ago when she chose Uther even if she’d never truly wanted it.
The latter might have been acceptable—had been acceptable in those first months, when she’d been so desperately happy to finally give Uther what he’d wanted most in this world—were it not for the company her husband kept these days. Nothing untoward was done or said in public, but Ygraine was banished to her quarters too often now, sent there on a whispered word from the woman she had once called her friend. Though Uther would always smile and his aspect would soften when he issued the suggestion, Ygraine saw only the knowing glint in Nimueh’s gaze for the split moment their eyes would meet.
She had never known hate before. She shuddered that she felt it now. It was a wasteful emotion, devoid of anything that could bring light and goodness to the world, but nothing else encapsulated her feelings toward Nimueh. The best Ygraine could do to combat its presence was to avoid her at all costs. Unfortunately, that separated her from Uther, too.
Talking to him did no good. He barely heard a word she said, and the moment she raised her voice to demand his attention, he announced she was putting too much stress on herself and walked away. Even Gaius turned on her, alerting her handmaidens to her so-called weakened state and instructing them to keep her dosed on his vile balms.
It was Nimueh’s fault. It had to be. Ingratiating herself to usurp Ygraine’s place within the citadel.
The worst part about it was…Ygraine knew she was succeeding.
All she could do was spend her hours at the window in the new nursery, sitting on the ledge as she gazed out at where the knights trained below, speaking to the child who would rescue her from this purgatory.
“Just you wait, little one. Once you’ve arrived, Uther will have no use for that woman. You and I will be the center of his world again, and Nimueh will be gone from our lives forever.”
A round of cheers echoed from outside, eliciting a small smile when the baby kicked. Ygraine curled her arms around her belly and leaned back against the wall.
Yes, everything would be better once the baby was born. She was sure of it.