Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Morgause’s Revenge

Morgause observed the man before her in the chamber. He was tall and handsome, but in a more childish way than most of the men she had seen. He was blonde with a strong jaw, a long face and deep brown eyes.  His handsome clothes and flowing scarlet robe framed his body perfectly and it was easy to tell by the way he walked that a strong athletic body hid under the concealment. But he was stumbling now. He moved awkwardly toward the bench across the room. Slowly, he lowered himself onto the seat. This man who was known for his power and his dominance was struggling to sit down. His strength was waning and for a moment, Morgause thought she saw weakness flash across his face. The young man raised his innocent, trusting eyes and Morgause could see his vision begin to cloud over. He suspected nothing and this naiveté was his only obvious flaw.
Morgause waited patiently as the potion she had given to Arthur began to take effect. His body slowly relaxed and he slumped increasingly with every passing moment. She looked for a resemblance to her mother in this man she had never met, but she could not discern any. Arthur did not look like anyone she knew. He had a wholesome glow about him that was difficult to explain. His fair good looks were nothing like the dark complexion of her and her mother. Morgause effortlessly ran her fingers through her long, silky black hair. She thought to herself how magnificent her hair was; she would not trade it for his blond locks, even if she could. She despised the golden figure before her, and as she thought about all the events that had led up to this moment, Morgause approached the slack body of the king.

As she crossed the room, Morgause considered her planned course of action. Most people would not understand what she had to do, but she assured herself that Arthur deserved whatever happened and she would have no regrets. Arthur had ruined her life. He tried to impose his ideals and his fantasy on everyone around him, but he never thought about the effect that his tyranny would have on other people’s lives. Morgause thought back to the event leading up to her act of seduction and deception…
Morgause sat alone in an old, dark tower by the sea, with the crashing of the waves on the shore filtering in through the large window. She rocked back and forth in a squeaky rocking chair as she daydreamed. She cradled a sleeping toddler in her arms and was just starting to show evidence of another pregnancy. Morgause daydreamed of her strong grown sons: fighting in tournaments, courting the most beautiful ladies, and serving as honored knights in a renowned court. Surely they would grow up to be warriors and would defend their family’s precious lands; she could picture it all so vividly. Her thoughts turned to her husband. Morgause’s sons each reminded her of their father in a different way. She remembered his rich auburn hair, his strong hands and his intelligent humor. She missed the way he used to wink at her. She loved the way his eyes sparkled when he looked at his children. King Lot was the most caring father she had ever encountered. He spent every moment he had to spare playing with his children and teaching them the arts of war and the code of chivalry. He thanked his wife for giving him 3 strong sons and hopefully, he would soon have a fourth.
Morgause missed Lot terribly. He was always away going on one tirade or another. He insisted on always being a part of the battle or the war. His bravery and enthusiasm were what first attracted Morgause to her husband, but now these attributes were a thorn in her side. She was raising three boys and it was harder with her husband coming and going at all times. That stress just added to the fact that she missed having the man that she loved close to her. The separation was unbearable. If only he would settle these disputes and come home to her. She did not even know where he was right now, he had been gone for 5 months and she had not heard from him or received any news of him. Usually a few men would straggle back and give her word that he was feeling well and fighting valiantly. Despite her worries, Lot had never been wounded and he returned to his wife with no discernable scars. Surely he would not disappoint her this time.   
Suddenly, her two older sons burst through the door. They came running up to their mother, chattering and quarreling. The two rambunctious boys had been romping in the forest and causing mischief wherever they could. Gawain complained that Agravaine had been taunting and abusing his puppy. Agravaine argued that Gawain had been mocking him and telling him he could not play with the dog. Morgause calmly chastised her two boys. She then asked them to go downstairs where they would not disturb their slumbering brother, Gaheris. The lads agreed to return to the outdoors and continue their play until dusk. As the two boys were leaving, Gawain remembered the reason that the two boys had ventured up into the tower. He turned abruptly and informed his mother that an officer was waiting in the courtyard to speak with her. The soldier had told the boys to fetch their mother or let her know that he wished to speak with her. Morgause sent Gawain with a message telling the soldier to visit her in the tower and the two could discuss his information. The two boys scurried off and hurried down the stairwell.
Morgause wondered what news this messenger would deliver. She feared that he would tell her of her husband’s demise, but she did not wish to dwell on those thoughts. Hopefully, he came to tell her that the campaign was going well and her husband would return shortly. King Lot was an able and ferocious warrior; he would not have been killed. Apprehensive thoughts raced through her mind. It seemed an eternity passed before the soldier reached the door and entered, but finally he stooped to walk through the short doorframe into the tower room.         
The man before her made Morgause more afraid than she had been since her husband left. The soldier looked young, barely twenty, and he had the appearance of a person who had seen the ravages of battle. His body contained evidence that he had been fighting as well. Spots of blood had soaked through his sleeve where his arm had been injured and as he crossed the threshold, Morgause noticed a limp when he walked. He was a tall individual, with red hair and broad shoulders. Is a strange way, he reminded her of Gawain, but his features were more rugged than her oldest son’s. The soldier bowed to his Queen to the best of his abilities and then he raised his eyes to meet her glance. He seemed to be struggling with how to say what he had come to say, while Morgause made her best attempt at a smile to reassure him. She asked him what news he had and if he knew her husband, King Lot. The soldier replied with a solemn nod. Then, he started telling her his story. The young soldier said his name was Arawn. His group took orders from King Lot and they all respected him more than any of the other leaders. He was there when her husband was slain. At this revelation, Morgause began to weep. Arawn attempted to comfort her and when she regained some composure, she asked how it had happened.
The youth said, “Lot was defending Orkney against the threat of domination by King Arthur. Arthur has been trying to take these lands for a good while now in order to impose his new rules and code of laws on the people of this territory. Only the efforts of your husband and a few other warriors have kept your dominion free of Arthur’s rule. King Lot led the charge on Arthur’s forces when we met on the battlefield. He killed at least a dozen men before he was brought down. It took four men fighting him at once to conquer your powerful husband. Our forces were outnumbered and Arthur has trained his knights well. We did not really have a chance. I have come here because I was one of the lucky men who made it out of the battle and before your husband died, I spoke with him. He told me that if he did not make it through this battle he wanted me to do something for him. He requested that I come here and tell you that he wishes he could still be here for you and for your sons. I’m sorry to be leaving, but I need to find a few other families and then return to my own home. Please accept my apologies.” Morgause acknowledged him and wished him well on his trip. With that, Arawn left Morgause alone.
From that moment on Morgause became very ill. She stayed in bed until her fourth son, and the final child of King Lot of Orkney, was born. She named him Gareth, which means gentle in Welsh. Gareth was the most kind and thoughtful of Morgause’s four sons and he was worthy of his name. Morgause waited until all of her sons were old enough to be left alone and she went looking for a way to punish Arthur for the injustice he had done to her family. Morgause did not tell her children where she was going and she had never told them how their father was killed, only that he left and never came home. The boys all but forgot about their father, the King of Orkney. The only remnants of him came from the happy stories that Morgause would tell them about how he would play games with them and teach them patiently about the world. When Morgause left on her search for vengeance, she left her four sons with a maidservant to care for them. Her children remained without a complete knowledge of their past.
Morgan le Fay was the first person that Morgause visited once she left her home. Morgan was Morgause’s younger sister and a sorceress. Morgause wanted to see her sister, but first and foremost, she hoped that Morgan could help her in her efforts to harm King Arthur. When she entered, she found the beautiful Morgan studying a book of spells. Morgan’s face was hidden from sight by her long curly black tresses. Without lifting her head, Morgan greeted Morgause and told her to sit down on the chair nearest to her. Morgause glanced around the dwelling as she took a seat. The room was a mess and she could see through the curtains across a doorway that Morgan’s bedroom was in no better shape, but she ignored the clutter. Eventually, Morgan came to sit near Morgause. Morgan asked her sister why she had come; the two women had not spoken in over five years. Morgause explained her intent to repay Arthur the pain that he had caused her family. Morgan had little time to talk, as she always felt that she was busy, so she did not bother to tell her sister that King Arthur was actually their half brother. Morgan was the only daughter of Igraine who knew the origin of Arthur. Instead, Morgan told Morgause that she had a solution for her problem. Morgan gave the Queen directions to the abode of a fellow sorceress named Brigit. She said Brigit would know how to harm Arthur better than anyone else for she could predict the final outcomes for different actions. Morgause thanked her sister and left her to her spells.
It was not far to the dwelling of Brigit and when Morgause got there, she found the door open. Morgause walked in and she was surprised by what she saw when she entered. Brigit was a voluptuous blond woman wearing an incredible gold and scarlet silk garment, but the woman was not alone. She had many children in the room, almost a dozen. They were all happily playing amongst themselves as Brigit half-watched the youngsters and stitched a blanket with the rest of her consciousness. Brigit smiled up at Morgause as she walked into the crowded room. The sorceress directed Morgause to an overstuffed chair near the stool that she occupied. When Brigit saw her guest well settled, she asked her why she had called. Morgause explained the situation and that she was the sister of Morgan le Fay. Brigit nodded and made a noise as if she was thinking intently.
Brigit began to speak, “Here is what you must do. You must call on King Arthur. Tell him you are the wife of his defeated enemy and you wish to make peace for your family and receive any aid available. The King will readily accept you into his home. I will give you a vial of potion to slip into his food or drink at your first chance. That night, once he feels the effects of the contents, you will able to seduce the king. The child that you will conceive by this night of passion will be the downfall of King Arthur and all those that he loves. Arthur’s own offspring will be the end of his kingdom. This is the best way to harm the king, but it may be difficult for you. Do you think you can do it?”
Morgause thought for a while. Could she make love to the man she had hated for the past few years? It would be an act of passion, but the passion that hatred brought to a soul. She wished so much for revenge that she trusted she could perform this horrible act. Brigit appeared very pleased by this and she happily entrusted Morgause with the vial. Morgause thanked her hostess and left for her home. The Queen had missed her children and she wanted to see them before she left for Caerleon, where the King held his court.
Morgause saw her sons playing with swords and shields in the courtyard as she approached. She stopped to observe them in their innocent play. When she came closer, the boys recognized their mother and ran up to meet her. The children could not quit chattering and Morgause could not help noticing that they mentioned knighthood even more than usual. She asked her eldest son what had prompted this new focus. Gawain told her how the Knights of the Round Table had traveled through a nearby village. All the townsfolk had been talking about it for weeks. Gawain informed his mother that he and all his brothers wanted to be just like those knights. In a few years they intended to leave for King Arthur’s court to be knighted. At the end of Gawain’s speech, Morgause became enraged. The thought of her sons serving under their father’s killer sickened her. She harshly ordered her sons into the fortress and told the maidservant to keep them there until she returned. Having seen to their safety, Morgause set out for Caerleon.
Now, here she was, ready to begin the downfall of King Arthur and his kingdom. She felt confident and redeemed as she entered her enemy’s bed.
Morgause’s seduction went off as planned and nine months later, Morgause gave birth to son whom they named Mordred. But with the birth of her last son, Morgause’s life ended. Her body could not take the strain of Mordred’s labor. After the death of their mother, the four sons of Lot achieved their dreams and went together to be knighted by King Arthur. Mordred was handed over to Morgause’s closest relative, Morgan le Fay. Morgan raised Mordred to hate his father and he lived to fulfill Brigit’s prophecy.

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