One might imagine that a warrior family like the Pendragons would be bursting with pride at the raw talent and ability displayed by their youngest member.

You would be mistaken.

The crowds certainly were, as one they rose to their feet, applauding and chanting young Prince Uther's name. The prince himself looked overwhelmed as if he couldn't quite believe the cheers were for him, once he realised that they were a huge smile broke across his face.

The Crown Prince looked just as stunned if not more so, he had lifted his cousin clear off his feet, but now set him down and stepped back a grin starting to form on his face.

The rest of the Royal Family in the Royal box were not smiling, they were not even applauding. When the crowd finally noticed this they retook their seats and there were looks of confusion passed between people as they wondered what exactly was the meaning of King Aurelius's thunderous look.

"It is hereby declared that Crown Prince Kentigern is the Champion of the Tournament." What was usually a joyous announcement was delivered in icy tones and hardly anyone in the crowd thought to applaud.

The Crown Prince came to stand before his father, Prince Uther trailing behind, and bowed.

"It is with great pride I accept the title, Sire and I commend my young opponent for his brilliant skill."

There was much applause at that, the crowd as ever charmed by their Crown Prince, the faces of those in the royal box remained impassive as ever and I was certain that there was trouble ahead.

I couldn't have been more correct.

~*~

I am not sure if the townspeople ever discovered what happened in the aftermath of the tournament, I doubt very much if even the chattiest guards dared to breathe a word of it.

It being...Prince Uther's imprisonment.

Yes, the barely teenaged prince was hauled down into the dungeons almost immediately after the tournament presentation and unceremoniously thrown into a cell.

His crime? Humilating the Crown Prince of Camelot.

The Crown Prince himself, however had no part in it, his words had been sincere and he was extremely proud of his cousin. No, it was the King and probably the Queen who were furious. Jealousy in the Pendragon family was that great...I could not believe they had chosen to view it in this way, rather than as a testament of the strength of the royal bloodline.

When I discovered where Prince Uther was, I brought up this ridiculousness with Gaius, who was pragmatic.

"For all the talk of having a secure inheritance royal families don't really have the sort of temperament that lends itself to large families. The King wants to be centre of attention and his son can be an extension of that, his nephew on the other hand is more of an outsider, particularly since he is the child of a hated sibling."

"But to arrest the lad, he's practically still a child!" That was really just too much as far as I was concerned.

Gaius shrugged. "The King is the rule of law in Camelot, if he want to imprison Prince Uther for a perceived slight that's his preogitive."

Well, I still found it cruel to the extreme.

Prince Uther at least did not remain in the cells for long, although I couldn't imagine being in that dank, distressing place for any length of time and I was eleven years the Prince's senior.

At any rate, two days after the tournament, Prince Uther came into the library, his face covered with an array of bruises, he also walked with a noticible limp. Both these things concerned me, while they could have been injuries sustained in the melee and it was possible some of them were I was also more than certain that more than a few of them occurred afterwards while the lad had been in the cells.

I was, as ever, in no position to give an opinion on this or even to inquire into the Prince's health. Not that I believed for a minute he would have confided in me, Prince Uther simply wasn't like that.

He took a seat at our usual table, face utterly stoic ready to begin the lesson and despite my awkwardness I had to pretend I didn't notice the bruises.

However, to my great astonishment I shortly discovered there was someone who wished to speak about the events.

Not only that but they chose to speak to me.

When Prince Uther left for the day, the lessons, such as they were over for the day who should walk into the library but Crown Prince Kentigern.

I figured he was here to ask something of Cedas so returned to the my shelving, at least until a shadow fell over me.

I turned to find the Crown Prince right behind me.

“Your Highness!” I almost dropped the book I was holding and quickly bowed.

The Crown Prince gave a brisk nod. “Geoffrey.”

I wasn’t sure what exactly to do next, should I put the book in my hand back? Or wait until the Crown Prince had said what he was going to say?

I decided that it was the latter and waited, wondering what he could want with me.

The Crown Prince ran a hand through his hair and after what seemed like hours finally spoke. “I take it Prince Uther was just here?”

I noded.

The Crown Prince shook his head. “My father is refusing to see reason and Uncle Ambrosius is worse than useless when it comes to anything concerning Uther.”

I didn’t comment on this, well aware that to do so would likely be endangering my own life.

“I have no idea what Father is planning, but he certainly hasn’t finished with Uther yet.”

That sounded particularly ominous, I would never have thought someone would be capable of hurting their own flesh and blood, but the Pendragon’s seemed capable of anything.

I must have had quite a look on my face, because the Crown Prince nodded and then pursed his lips in thought.

“I’m not going to let that happen, I’m going to convince him to place Uther elsewhere for his noviate.”

I have to admit with my complete lack of knowledge in knights and their training I wasn’t entirely aware what the Crown Prince was getting at here.

The Crown Prince frowned at me. “You know what I’m referring to, don’t you?”

I had to admit my ignorance.

The Crown Prince to his credit did not proclaim me a complete idiot but instead actually explained. “When squires are promoted to the first level of knighthood they are called novices.” Well, that made sense of course, although I was more used to the term noviate referring to monks.

The Crown Prince continued. “I, of course planned to put myself forward to be his sponser, but it’s clear that that won’t be happening. Someone else will have to be chosen and ideally, theat person would be the Duke of Cornwall, he’s a longest and most loyal ally, anyone else...well I can’t even be sure they would still be an ally in a year’s time.”

I nodded some more at all this, but I had to wonder, why exactly the Crown Prince had chosen to speak to me about these things. What exactly was I going to do? I had no sway with the King, I was pretty certain he still didn’t know who I was.

“An invitation needs to be extended to the Duke, however and there are certain...traditions and customs that need to be observed for such a thing.”

And it was at this time that I began to see exactly why the Crown Prince had approached me.

“A member of the novice’s household needs to be sent, someone of higher standing than a messenger or guard.” The Crown Prince started to spell it out for me in case I wasn’t getting the idea.

“Do you mean me?” I blurterd, more from shock than anything else. “I’m not of high standing...or a member of Prince Uther’s household.” Did Prince Uther even have a household?

“But you are,” the Crown Prince insisted. “You’re Prince Uther’s tutor, if anything you’re the highest.”

I blinked quite a lot at this revelation.

“You’re responsible for Prince Uther’s education and in many ways the first part of a knight’s training is an education, so...it makes quite a bit of sense for you to go.”

“To Cornwall?” I asked, which was probably a bit of a stupid thing to say, where else would the Duke of Cornwall be?

“Of course, I fear the Duke isn’t going to be visiting us here at Camelot any time soon, and even if he were that’s not how custom dictates it be done. You need an official seal, and documents, of course.” The Crown Prince began to speak more quickly as his ide took better and more distinct shape in his mind. I realised at that moment that it was not a request it was an order.

Time to prepare myself for a trip to Cornwall it seemed...
 
 
Current Mood: worried
 
 
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