The castle they entered was, considering the dust, cobwebs and general half derelict state, abandoned for at least two if not even three centuries; Anwen did not know for certain because her interest in history lessons was always partial at best when she was a child. There was some furniture and statues all covered in equal amount of dust and cobweb despite the sheets that were thrown over them.
“Anwen if you could at least get rid of the dust?” Arthur asked, making her shake her head a bit.
Her eyes closed for few moments before the spell rolled off her tongue.
“Clænside þeos rúmes.” the flash of gold in her eyes was followed by gust of wind that effectively lifted the cobwebs and dust in the air that was followed by their incineration.
Most of the group seemed surprised and cautious but some were not surprised and were pleased with the new chamber appearance.
“Sire?” Leon’s confused tone reached them.
“It’s alright Leon. I trust her and Kyna with my life.” Arthur assured his second in command.
‘I’m not the only one you should have that sort of trust in.’ Anwen thought bitterly, unaware she was broadcasting.
‘Patience old friend. Arthur will know one day.’ Merlin assured her.
‘I just wish it would be soon. I can’t protect him every moment of his life unlike you. I want him to see who you really are and how brave you are.’
‘I know.’ Merlin’s voice was distant and longing.
“Search the place, see what we can find.” Arthur ordered.
Whilst men were searching the castle, Kyna and Anwen did their best to make the castle’s chamber they were currently residing in cosier and warmer.
“Here! Come and join me.” Arthur called them all to the stone, round table etched with runes.
“Grab those two chairs.” Anwen instructed as two best friend sat down close to Merlin.
“This table belonged to the ancient kings of Camelot. A round table afforded no one man more importance than any other. They believe in equality of all things. So, it seems fitting that we revive this tradition now. Without each of you, we would not be here. My father has languished in prison for too long. Tomorrow, I bid make my bid to rescue him. Are there any around this table who will join me?” Arthur spoke so passionately that it was hard to resist his word.
Anwen only hoped he would remember them when the time came for Merlin to reveal his secret to him. Lancelot was first to rise from his seat.
“You taught me the values of being a knight, the code which man should live his life. To fight with honour for justice, freedom and all that’s good. I believe in the world that you will build.”
The look of gratitude and respect Arthur had for Lancelot was not missed by anyone, and Anwen wondered just how deep this knightly respect between two men went. She could tell that Arthur had same amount of trust and respect for every man sitting at the round table but these two were…different. Gwaine’s short statement snapped Anwen away from her inner musings.
“I think we have no chance. But I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” he said with confident but slightly wavering smirk on his face.
‘He’s handsome. Look at his face.’ Kyna telepathically remarked to Anwen who had to cover her sudden chuckle with small cough.
‘Kyna, you can think about flirting with him later.’
‘I can’t help myself. I wonder what he would look like without that shirt.’
‘Like you are not thinking the same about that handsome face that sits next to gentle giant.’
‘I keep them at bay, Kyna. There’s a time and a place for such thoughts.’
‘Who are you and what have you done with my sister?’
‘Oh just… pay attention.’ Anwen said snippily, not really having a come back from the last question.
“Anwen?” Arthur asked.
“I won’t do it for him. You know I can’t stand your father and that feeling is mutual to a point where he still denies my existence. I will do it for you though because I have faith in you. You will make a fine king one day.” Anwen smiled kindly at Arthur and he wondered if his mother had the same kind of smile when she was alive.
“You have out loyalties, Arthur Pendragon along with our magic and swords. Because this cannot be fought with swords alone.” Kyna spoke seriously, proving the true meaning of the name her parents gifted her with.
“I want to thank you all for staying loyal to me in Camelot’s hour of need. I’ll do something my father won’t approve off.” Arthur said with small smile.
“Kneel.” He instructed the four men that showed him loyalty.
‘You should be there with them.’ Anwen remarked.
‘One day I will be. Though I don’t really fancy this entire knight business.’ Merlin joked a bit, inwardly he was very happy and proud to see his friends, especially Lancelot earning something they should have been given sooner regardless what some piece of parchment said.
“Tomorrow, when you fight, you can stand proud knowing you are members of the most noble army the world has ever known.” Arthur stated.
She wasn’t quite certain for others but Anwen did not get much sleep. Her mind was reviewing spells she could use against the living dead that would actually affect and the whispering conversation Merlin shared with Lancelot did not slip past her honed sense of hearing. It was very risky idea to try and get to the Cup but she was well aware that if the blood wasn’t emptied, they would all be slaughtered eventually.
“You are worried.” Arthur remarked when he approached her next morning.
She was tending to her horse Eira, the air was quite cool and the dew was still present on the grass and trees, glistening on the rising sun that refracted through treetops, giving the surrounding forest mystical ambience. All was quiet aside from few early humming birds.
“Anyone with sense of preservation would be worried, gesweór.” Arthur shook his head, even after knowing Anwen for almost three years now, he was still getting used to her mixing the language.
“You do not believe this is going to work.”
“I will be honest with you. There are not many tricks in my magic book that can affect the living dead or immortal soldiers as you call them. This is going to be a bloody mess and it is realistic to expect that we could get killed.”
“How optimistic of you.”
“Arthur…” Anwen grabbed him by the shoulders, so she can look directly in his eyes. “I am optimistic. But I am also realistic. Kyna will help you reach the dungeons to free your father and possibly more knights. I shall try to locate the Cup of Life and empty it. It is our only chance if defeating the army.”
“You cannot go alone.”
“I’m a big girl Arthur. I sneaked in lot more castles since I was a child then you.” Anwen smiled kindly. ‘Not to mention I won’t be going alone’ she though to herself.
“Sire?” They were cut off from further discussion by Lancelot. “We are ready for final planning.”
“Of course.” Arthur nodded to the new knight and looked at his cousin again. “Are you sure you want to do this alone?”
“Yes…now come on. We should get back inside.” Anwen patted him with assuring smile and walked past him back inside the castle.