28 December 2012 @ 10:01 pm
*NaNo Project* Part the Fourth - Section the Ninth - Camelot - 953AD  
A few days after my encounter with the King, I woke up to find the castle in an uproar.

Fortunately it wasn’t a ‘we’re being invaded’ sort of ruckus, but something else entirely different. Something celebratory.

When I got out of my tiny cupboard room (Cedas had not being kidding, he certainly didn’t plan on moving me to nicer accomodation) I found Cedas acting as normal, writing away at his desk.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

Cedas mumbled something that I couldn’t catch, he had an annoying tendency to do that when he was immersed in work.

“What was that?” I prompted.

Cedas gave a long suffering sigh as I was asking him to forgo his work for weeks instead of just a few moments. “The King’s son has returned.”

“The King’s son?” I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit I hadn’t paid all that much attention to the various members of the royal family, I wasn’t even sure what his name was! “Isn’t he just a boy, why would he have left the castle?”

Cedas looked at me in exasperation. “No, the King’s son is Prince Kentigern, he’s almost in his eighteenth year and he’s the leader of the knights. They’ve been campaigning on the Mercian border. Do you not pay attention?”

I almost objected, because really, it was not as if I spent my days lying around on a sofa, I was busy cataloguing the archives! But sometimes it was useless to argue with Cedas and I was quite certain that this was one of those times. So I held my tongue.

“There is a prince in the castle though, I’m sure I heard mention of him?”

Cedas had pushed his glasses back up and returned to his writing. “That’s Prince Ambrosius’s son. Very unimportant as far as royals go, the King certainly won’t pay this much attention to his comings and goings when the time comes.”

I shook my head, the royal family of Camelot seemed rather…shaky, if fighting between the brothers wasn’t enough it seemed there were intergenerational problems as well.

Still, it wasn’t as if the kingdom was falling apart, in fact it was going quite well, but that I think had more to do with the people rather than the Royal family, not that I would ever be foolish enough to say so, but it wouldn’t surprise me if others had the same opinion.
I wondered if I was going to be allowed to take part in these festivities at all, Cedas certainly didn’t appear to have any interest in such things, but then he had lived in Camelot all his life.

He hadn’t offered though, so it seemed the subject was closed, however, before I could head over to begin my work for the day I decided I might as well be bold.

“Will I be required all day? Or will I at least get a chance to see what happens exactly when a prince returns home?”

Cedas looked up with amusement. “I didn’t think you’d care about such frivolities. But if you can’t contain your curiosity –“ his tone made it clear that he couldn’t imagine anyone having trouble doing that – “you’ve earned a day off, go ahead.”

Actually, I was rather surprised by how interested I was in this event, perhaps I really had been working too hard and it was possible for me to tire of books. I didn’t think that would last for long, but for the time being I was going to enjoy getting out of the library without a scroll or book in hand to be delivered to somebody.

As I headed down the corridors towards the main courtyard I saw a familiar figure in front of me heading in the same direction.

It was Gaius.

I hadn’t spoken to him since arriving except for a few brief sentences here and there, I’d been ridiculously busy after all and he had his own duties to attend to. But this time I was able to able to catch up with him.

“Geoffrey!” He turned to me with a grin on his face. “Finally escaped the archives, did you? I thought they’d swallowed you whole.”

I made a face. “Well, it did...but Cedas gave me permission to attend this...festivity.”

Gaius raised his eyebrows in surprise. “Really? He must actually like you! Unbelievable.” He shook his head. “Your father is a bishop right? Maybe you’re a miracle worker.” He laughed.

“I don’t think so. But he hasn’t been that bad, lately, I think he at least respects my dedication to being an archivist.”

“Lucky for you.” Gaius gave a sigh. “Linus seems to be under the impression that all I’m good for is being a general dogsbody. I’ve learned more about cleaning out the scorpion tanks then I have about medicine.”

“Have you tried telling him off?” I ventured. “That seems to have changed Cedas’s mind about me.”

“Really?” Gaius looked intrigued and pursed his lips thoughtfully. I wondered if I was going to hear about the Physician’s Apprentice talking back to the Physician sometime soon.

“So, what is this Prince...Kentigern – is it? – like?”

“Well, I certainly don’t know him personally, but he takes his Princely duties seriously enough, which certainly has him on his father’s good side, which is why there’s all this fuss. You certainly won’t see all this when Prince Caius returns from the Continent.”

“Well, Prince Kentigern is his son,” I ventured.

“Oh it’s much more than that, surely you’ve heard about the royal brothers? It’s a damn mess, Linus tells me that the bad blood went back to when they were small children. Some brothers get along famously, but others...” Gaius shook his head. “Well, others are like the Pendragons. I recommend that you never get between the various camps when there’s a falling out.”

Well, that didn’t sound particularly good, the castle had run smoothly enough since my arrival here, and the idea of it all descending into a fracas was hardly something I would want to be in the middle of.

But there didn’t seem to be any danger of that today and Gaius and I headed along to the grand courtyard which by now was packed with people, many of whom were cheering and waving red pieces of cloth.

I looked up to see the King had appeared on the balcony, just in time to see his son enter the square, at least I have to assume that’s what happened, I couldn’t actually see anything, but there was a huge cheer from the crowds.

“Can you see anything?!” I shouted to Gaius over the din.

“No, but it won’t be too long!” He promised.

True enough to his word, the crowd started to part all the while continuing the cheer and I finally saw a hugely regal white stallion and a top of it was a young man dressed in chainmail and wearing the long flowing Pendragon cape. I saw the resemblance to the King immediately, although of course, Prince Kentigern was in the prime of his youth and looked ever inch a royal. He was somewhat above the peasantry, but not in a manner that could be considered offensive and every so often he would bestow a smile on the crowd and there would be even louder cheering. He was certainly popular!

“Welcome home, Prince Kentigern,” the King’s voice boomed out across the square, calling everyone’s attention to the balcony where the Queen had taken her place at her husband’s side. I hadn’t seen the Queen too often since my arrival, which wasn’t all that surprising since her duties hardly brought her into the archive, I was surprised by how young she looked. She must have been a very young bride, she looked just as proud as her husband.

“Once again you have done the people of Camelot proud, protecting our borders and preventing incursions by those who would wish us harm.” The King continued his welcome and whilst he was no longer physically fit, his ability at oration was second to none. His deep commanding voice arrested everyone’s attention and the crowd hung on his every word.

Prince Kentigern inclined his head and spoke, his voice was almost as commanding as his father’s. “I thank you, sire, for your words, it is ever my pleasure to keep Camelot safe for our people.”

Then the Queen stepped forward. “Welcome back, my son, it cheers all our hearts to have you back safe and sound.” Her voice was deep and melodious and now that she was in the sun I could see that her dress was covered in jewels that sparkled as they caught the rays. I wondered if that was all together a good choice of outfit, several times I was almost blinded!

The King then thanked the rest of the knights who had gone with his son to the borders and received their replies before addressing the crowd at large.

“In honour of Prince Kentigern’s return I declare this a day of festivity! All work is to be suspended and I invite all citizens to enjoy this day and be thankful for our continued safety.”

The cheer that greeted that particular announcement was almost deafening, it seemed the people of Camelot enjoyed a good celebration and since this was the first one I would be experiencing I was very much looking forward to it as well.

As the King and Queen withdrew from the balcony, I noticed that there were three other people on the balcony, who had stood in the shadows and being all but invisible. I recognised Prince Ambrosius and I could only assume the woman was his wife, but the other man I hadn’t seen before, he must have been the second eldest brother, Constans. I had never seen him before, he was rather a mystery and I didn’t really catch all that good a glimpse of him then.

It was at that point that I realised something, whilst I might proclaim that I didn’t want any part of a family feud, I had to admit the familial relationships or lack thereof of the Pendragon family made an intriguing study.

Although I had no idea at that moment just how close I would be able to study those relationships.
 
 
Current Mood: curious