27 December 2012 @ 11:33 pm
*NaNo Project* Part the Fourth - Section the Eighth - Camelot - 953AD  
Of course, that was hardly the end of it, oh no, that would have been too easy. I wasn’t sure what Cedas had heard about what happened, but he was certainly most amused, in his way later on that week. I can only assume he heard about it then and as he was wont to do he decided that the best thing to do was to make me do something like that again, except, of course, on a grand scale.

Not a month after my encounter with Prince Ambrosius I was given another scroll to deliver...

To the King himself!

The horror of been given such a task was enough to make me speak up. “Do you think I’m the best person to undertake this task, sir? I mean...the King...well, surely one of his own personal servants are needed?”

Cedas looked up in surprise that I had talked back, it was after all one of the things I wasn’t supposed to be doing. “Young man, do you realise how busy the King’s servants are? Far busier than you, you do nothing compared to them. And let me tell you something, if you plan to continue being my apprentice you will do the tasks I set you, without complaint, do I make myself clear?”

“Yes, sir, of course.” I spoke quickly, the last thing I wanted was for him to fire me, I had managed not to get myself into trouble since arriving and I hardly wanted to lose it all now.

Still, my heart was pounding at a ridiculous speed as I left to deliver the scroll. I really didn’t want to do this, it was...well, in the few months I had been here in Camelot I had heard more about the royal family.

It was a large family, especially for a royal one (they tend to be small I’ve found, with an heir and a spare if that), aside from Prince Ambrosius and the King, there were two more brothers, Princes Constans and Caius, who I had yet to meet - not that I was in anyway looking forward to such a meeting should it ever happen). Four brothers...for some reason I had a sense that this was a recipe for disaster, after all royalty weren’t exactly known for their ability to share. And there was one brother who was King, with everyone below him, including the brothers and if there was anything I’d learnt about brothers (not having any myself) it was that they could be ridiculously competitive.

And the Pendragons seemed to be a very competitive lot.

Still I hadn’t heard that many complaints about the family, not that I really had time to hear much in the way of gossip, but there was just a general sense...

Either way, I really didn’t want to have to meet the King...certainly not in a private setting. It was one thing to see him on Camelot’s grand balcony, or leading the knights out of the courtyard for a hunting expedition or war games, but to go into the Royal Study and hand him a scroll, well I feared that I would do something really stupid and possibly treasonous.

But I had my orders and Cedas had a point, if I was going to be an archivist one day I had to act like one, someone who was confident in their knowledge and collection and that what they had was worthy of delivering to others, even if these others were very, very important people indeed.

The Royal Study was on the ground level of the castle not too far from the Throne room. I had learned more about the layout of the castle in my time, so this time it didn’t take me long at all to arrive before the door.

This time I was quite sure that barging in was out the question, but knocking was even more intimidating than with Prince Ambrosius. Much more intimidating.

Finally I managed to give a very timid knock, one that certainly wasn’t heard…so I had to screw up my courage once more and knocked a bit louder.

“Enter.” A voice called.

I bit my lip and with a shaking had managed to turn the door knob and walk through.

I had seen the King from afar a few times, but this was the first time I had come within a few feet of him.

He was…rather shorter than I thought, and quite a bit…larger, in girth I mean, but he wasn’t wearing the long Pendragon cloak that I usually saw him in, it seemed that it hid a multitude of sins.

He was writing something when I entered and looked up, his face immediately turning to a scowl. “Who the devil are you?” He demanded, looking ready to call in the guards and throw me in the dungeons.

“I’m from…my name’s Geoffrey…of Monmouth,” I spluttered out, tripping over my words.

Unsurprisingly, this extremely poor introduction was not to the King’s liking at all. He rose to his feet. “And you think you can interrupt me?”

“No! I mean, Cedas sent me, I have your scroll.” This was going even worse then it had with Prince Ambrosius! I hardly believed it was possible.

The King’s eyes dropped to the scroll and continued glowering. “And you believed it was appropriate to come in here as if you something urgent? Are you a complete idiot? Did Cedas teach you nothing? You leave scrolls in the antechamber, I have important work to do and that work does not include humouring imbeciles.”

I swallowed hard, seeing myself clapped in chains, just what was the punishment was for wasting the King’s time.

I didn’t move, I couldn’t and finally the King snapped. “Well, put it down over there and get out.” He jabbed a finger at a small sideboard beside the door.

The sharpness in his tone galvanised me into action and dropping the scroll on the table I all but ran through the door and into the wall on the other side of the corridor.

“Close the door!” The King shouted as I tried to collect my wits, I almost stumbled back into the study as I moved back to do so, but fortunately I managed to keep my balance, although I do believe I managed to slam it.

Still, I wasn’t pursued by any guards as I hurried back towards the library, so I decided I was safe enough, upon my return I did go straight to Cedas.

“You didn’t tell me to deliver the scroll to the King’s antechamber!”

Cedas looked up in surprising, raising an eyebrow. “Excuse me, boy?”

“I said, you didn’t mention the King’s antechamber! I thought he was going to order my head to be chopped off!” It was the first time I had actually spoken back to the man since my arrival, and I even I was doing so, I couldn’t believe I was doing so, this man did hold my future in his hands and here I was shouting at him. I immediately closed my mouth, worried that I had gone too far.

Cedas was silent for a few long moments, then finally he gave a sniff. “Well, how dramatic. I thought you wished to be an academic, not an actor.”

“I…I was just…” I wasn’t entirely sure what I had meant to do actually.

To my shock, the corners of Cedas’s mouth quirked up and then, unbelievably the man laughed, actually laughed!

“Young man, I was beginning to think you were utterly spineless. Even the most timid servants haven’t managed to last a fortnight in my service. I thought that there was something wrong with you. I see now that you’re just exceptionally patient, which is something very handy for an inspiring archivist to have.” Cedas was actually looking at me with something akin to respect.

I think I must have been gaping at him because he gave a rather irritated gesture. “But you look like an idiot when you stand there all slack-jawed like a mule. Sit down.” He pointed to the chair across from him.

This was another first, he had never invited me to sit down before, my feet and legs had certainly toughened up since my arrival, nonetheless I eagerly took up the offer.

“This was all a test?” I asked.

“Not all of it, I don’t appreciate sass back,” Cedas gave me a sharp look. “But I do appreciate someone who actually speaks up. Which if you had I would have told you how to deal with King. He doesn’t have what you would call the common touch, he’s decidedly prickly in fact.”

“Yes, I noticed that,” I said dryly.

“But really, his anger is generally reserved for his brothers or knights who fail to meet his expectations. Although I suppose the odd servant has found themselves in the stocks for lesser infractions then you have.”

This didn’t make me feel any better…I wondered if the King was one who held a grudge, I certainly didn’t want to end up in the stocks later on for something stupid like not bowing quick enough.

“But you’ve learnt an important lesson here, Geoffrey,” I gave a slight start, this was the first time he had called me by name. “An academic needs to question, to research, to look into things. If you weren’t certain about the etiquette of delivering something to the King you should have asked.”

“I see…I’ll make sure to do that in the future.”

“Good,” Cedas looked satisfied. “But don’t go thinking that I’m going to go easier on you, you’ve proved that it wasn’t a mistake to take you on, but running an archive, particularly a royal one is not for the faint hearted.”

And before I even had a chance to comment, he ordered me to get back to work on the cataloguing.

All the same I had, at least, discovered Cedas was human.
 
 
Current Mood: surprised