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 Another Unconventional Account of the Wedding of Arthur and Gwenhwyfar, (past) tags bob

Why does love always feel like a battlefield? Guess you better go and get your armor.

The Bard
Mar 29 2017, 05:24 PM Quote

you are my home

The palace was alive with activity. There was not a soul who was not hard at work getting the preparations for the royal wedding underway. After waiting over a decade for the king to find a suitable wife and another year for the couple to make it official, the Court and the People were restless for the future to be secured and for the Pendragon line to flourish. Perhaps there were members of the Court who did not approve of Gwenhwyfar or her humble roots, but she was still a Queen and a woman and there would still be a prince, and for some that was enough to quiet any further sound of dissent.

The people, for their part, were quite happy over the King and future Queen who had both begun their lives amongst the common folk. From what Gwen had heard, there were people arriving from all over Ga’leah. Inns were full, taverns were full, markets were bustling. A royal wedding was wonderful for the local economy, it seemed, and Gwen was glad for the boost it would provide the people of Caerleon. Even if the Court itself was not quite home yet, the city of Caerleon had quickly occupied a place in her heart. She loved how much larger it was than any place she had ever lived before. The market alone was likely bigger than her home town of Gwent. There were all manner of people in the capital from every kingdom in the land and Gwen never tired of talking to them, learning about their homes and their cultures. She especially enjoyed the foods. She had never known there was such a wide selection of food in the land of Ga’leah. While Dokrayth had the best pastries, by far, it seemed every kingdom had something to offer in the way of spice or innovation or recipe that delighted and excited the future queen. Caerleon itself was an adventure and although she’d lived there for a year, she knew that it would likely be several more years before she had fully explored everything the capital had to offer. No time for exploring now, though, not with the wedding looming.

For Gwen’s part, she was simply trying to remain calm. There were no butterflies in her stomach. It was not the gentle flutter of colorful wings but rather the furious beating of a dragon’s flight that battered her insides. It was not all nerves, no. A great deal of it was excitement. As much fun as she had been having with Arthur over the last year, she was more than ready to solidify their relationship into something long lasting. Of course, the prospect of being a queen was another matter. She was certain that Arthur would help her, that she would not be a complete failure to Ga’leah, but she did not blame anyone for doubting her ability to rule. She doubted herself. Not that doubt was any reason to postpone or call off the wedding. She had never been more certain of anything in her life than she was of Arthur and just how much she loved him. She could learn to be a decent queen. She could live with the title and the responsibilities, but she would not want to contemplate life without Arthur.

Gwen leaned out the window of her bedroom, peering at the courtyard some distance below and all of the bustling knights, nobles, servants, and merchants as they continued preparations for her wedding. She was not certain that any of them were going to sleep until the wedding and the subsequent coronation were over. She certainly wasn’t.

If this were her village in Calladahn, someone would have been abducting her for a bit of fun at the expense of the groom. It had always been one of her favorite local traditions, spiriting and hiding the bride away and forcing the groom to find and fight for her. As a little girl, Gwen had looked forward to it whenever there was a wedding in Gwent. Some part of her was a little sad that she would not get to experience the same kind of fun, but it was a strange custom and certainly not recognized in many places outside of Gwent, though she doubted they were the only ones to partake of such tomfoolery. Arthur couldn’t know. The High Court certainly couldn’t know. And everyone was far too busy with the actual wedding to account for such silly games. Besides, as much fun as it would be, Gwen wasn’t sure if she wanted to be abducted or fought for when she spent much of her life trying to do the actual fighting herself. It was selfish to even want anyone to postpone their work to fulfill some childish desire of their future Queen, and Gwen had not mentioned it to anyone for fear that they might do exactly that. Her first queenly act. It was not much, to be sure, but at least it was a step in the right direction.

Where was Arthur? Probably hard at work over preparations himself. She was amused with just how seriously he was taking this wedding. It was going to be quite the show. People were going to be discussing it long after the two of them were dead and buried, she had no doubt. Surely if the High Court had questioned Arthur’s choice in bride before, they would see from the wedding alone that it was best to keep such questions to themselves.

Gwen moved to sit on her bed, Knight’s Fell in her lap, a cleaning cloth and a leather strap on the bed beside her. She should have been busy herself, but Gwen didn’t know the first thing about weddings or courtly preparations and sometimes she felt as if she was simply underfoot when she was trying to help. She’d venture out soon enough and find some way to aid in all of the work ahead, but for now she was simply going to sharpen and polish her sword and spend a few final moments of silence before the madness of the countdown to her wedding descended upon her. The next few days were going to be a flurry of activity and she was not likely to get time alone or rest again until well after she had adopted Arthur’s house name and they’d placed a crown upon her head.

A new terrifying thought occurred to her and the cloth stilled on the sword. What if she sneezed during the coronation and the crown flew off? It could fall off as well. Or simply not fit. Had she been sized for a crown? Was one sized for a crown? She couldn’t recall, and one of the dragons in her stomach belched a little flame that made her heart race and anxiety climb slightly.

Was it too late to elope?

Never try to break a well tested heart.

Mar 30 2017, 02:03 AM Quote

That’s it, I’m going to elope.

He didn’t know how much more of this he could take. For the last few weeks, it had been nothing but questions. “Sire, how about this? But sure, what about these? Sire, would you like...” He wouldn’t have minded so much if it were actual suggestions, but it was the same question being asked by twelve different people. At one point, he’d grown so frustrated that he’d announced loudly to the room that whenever his soldiers messed up this badly on communication he forced them to spend an entire day walking around announcing everything they planned to do to everyone, and if they didn’t do it then Arthur would make them show up to the next training session naked. It had been rather amusing to see the looks on their faces as everyone suddenly imagined themselves naked – because nobody ever actually imagined walking through their day announcing to everyone what they were doing and where they were going. Of course, he’d never actually done that before, at least, not to such an extreme extent but he had noticed a sudden uptick in productivity for that day.

Even so, the threat had worn off, and now, the day before his own wedding Arthur was so busy he wanted to scream. He was ready to call the entire thing off and just run away with his bride to be, despite the months of preparation, and just how amazing it was shaping up to be. However, at this point he was just going to have to have faith in Lancelot, Merlin, and Tristran to keep things in line, because Arthur had taken his leave for the rest of the day, and he would no longer be participating in the preparations. As he walked back towards his room, the irritation began to fade away, and be replaced by something else. His heart jumped slightly as he thought about where he would be at this time tomorrow. It wasn’t like he hadn’t been aware that it was his own wedding he was preparing for, but his heart and nerves hadn’t come to that conclusion until just now. Now, the anticipation and the excitement began to sink in.

Opening the door to his room, his eyes fell on the bed, and once again he felt a lurch of adrenaline as he realized that this would be his last night sleeping alone in that bed. He paused in the doorway for a moment, then made up his mind. Slipping in and closing the door behind him, he quickly pulled off his official robes, tossing them on the bed and changing into something more comfortable. Then, he slipped out through the back door of their room. It was a secret, supposed to be known only by the residents, but Arthur had made sure that some of his knights and a few of the court members also knew it in case of an emergency. In this case, it was just a quicker way of getting to where he wanted to go. As per tradition, Gwen’s room was quite a ways from his, so taking his little short cut eased his journey through the brisk morning air.

It wasn’t long before he arrived outside of Gwen’s room, and he paused for just a moment. It was an old Caerleon superstition that the number of hours spent apart before the actual wedding translated directly to the number of years the marriage would last. Mostly, it was to discourage couples who couldn’t resist each other the night before, but there had been a couple of odd cases Arthur had heard about in his youth. However, it was silly, because people got married all the time and remained so for more than forty years and he knew for a fact that many of them did not spend days apart before the wedding night. It was a silly superstition…and he’d barely seen Gwen at all, especially in the last week due to the preparations. So he knocked gently on the door, before opening it and poking his head around the corner. He spied her sitting on the bed, polishing Knight’s Fell and when he caught her eye he grinned boyishly. “Hello there!”

So what if he’d just turned thirty years of age? Didn’t mean he couldn’t beam like an impish five-year-old. He walked over to the bed, flopping down on the other side, staring up at the ceiling and heaving a dramatic sigh. “I’ve made a decision.” He announced to the ceiling more than to her, but it didn’t matter. He had a feeling she would be in his field of vision soon enough. “We’re going to elope. It’s going to be an epic scandal, and we’ll go to Xehacora and sail out across the sea till we reach the Sanctuary. Then we’ll hunt for all manner of creatures, spar by the moonlight and make love on the beaches.” He sighed. What a fantasy. Chuckling a bit, he sighed again, though this time it was a far more contented sound as he propped himself up on a couple of pillow and stared at his fiancé. “Joking aside, I wish I’d had more time to think. I want this to be a grand ceremony, I have no regrets there but I do wish that my staff were a bit more self-sufficient. I did lose my patience with them a few times…but no matter. Now, I have turned in my crown so to speak, because the rest of this day is dedicated to you, my love. It’s your last day of being a free citizen of Ga’leah. What would you like to do?”

The last bit was teasing, but there was a bit of grim truth to it as well. Technically the High King and Queen could do as they pleased, but there was so much expectation, customs, and mannerisms that were expected of them. Guards or court members always dogged them, and they were seldom allowed to be completely alone together except at night and other rare occasions. So in a way, this was her last night of being a normal citizen of the kingdoms.

Why does love always feel like a battlefield? Guess you better go and get your armor.

The Bard
Apr 21 2017, 01:32 AM Quote

you are my home

Gwenhwyfar could scarcely believe her luck. Glancing up from her work she saw Arthur in the doorway and the sword and cloth tumbled from her hand with an embarrassing clatter. Still, she didn’t care. She was just so happy to see him. And in her room. Unchaperoned. The scandal of it all! She couldn’t help but giggle to herself. She’d genuinely thought they would have to spend the entire day apart and what a dreary excuse for a day that would have been. Not to see Arthur even for a single instant. Although she had come to accept Caerleon as her home, Arthur was still the only thing about the heart of the kingdoms that made it feel like home. Even on the days when he was busy and she saw him only at breakfast and before bed, it was enough to sate her appetite. Not seeing him at all made her feel antsy and a little more alienated than she cared to admit.

“Arthur!” His name was more of a squeal than she had intended and she felt her face grow warm with even more embarrassment. Ah, well, there would be no privacy between them soon enough. If he had not already realized that she was a hopeless imbecile in the year since their whirlwind romance in Carmelide than he was clearly more of an imbecile than she was.

She watched him cross the room and throw himself down beside her. One eyebrow raised, gnawing on her bottom lip between her teeth, she waited for whatever he was going to say fearing that somehow it might not be good news. Perhaps there was some manner of archaic law that those nasty advisers had pulled out at the last possible moment in a last ditch effort to halt the wedding. She certainly wouldn’t put it past them. Leodegrance could be attempting to cause trouble again. He should have learned his lesson a year ago, but her grandfather was a greedy man and where money or power were concerned he often lacked common sense. Clearly, judging by what had transpired the night of the gala. She relaxed with Arthur’s declaration, her gaze shifting to her wardrobe as she momentarily considered if there was any sort of bag she could stuff a few garments into before they made their great escape. Oh if only it was a genuine plan! Nothing sounded better to her in that moment than running away with Arthur to share a much more intimate exchange of vows and the kind of honeymoon she knew they would both choose for themselves if only they could. Alas, that was not to be the case, and maybe that was her first lesson in being a queen. Sometimes she was going to be expected to provide a spectacle for her people. Oh well. Elopement was a pretty thought.

“Oh, I know all about how demanding you’ve been of the staff.” She declared with a laugh, “From what I hear there was talking of nudity at Court, and if I must be honest and I think it best given that I’m to be your wife….I would be lying to you if I did not admit that some part of me wanted to put your pronouncement to the test and attempt to embark on an adventure of such ill conceived communication that you were forced to carry through with your threat and make me attend court entirely without clothing. Unfortunately, what little humility I seem to possess is primarily of the nudity variety and I simply could not bring myself to go through it. Pity, too, because I imagine it would have been a great bit of fun.” She ended on an impish little smirk, leaning across the bed to give him a quick but fiery kiss.

“Now, the day is mine, you say? Anything at all I’d like to do? Well…in Gwent we have a wedding tradition of our own. The villagers kidnap the bride on the day of the wedding and force the husband to find her, to fight for her, sometimes even to recognize her through a very clever disguise. There are a great many things I like about this tradition. I like the idea of fighting. Disguises. Not so much the kidnapping bit. I don’t relish being the victim as you well know. I’d much rather be an accomplice or a rescuer. So I propose we make this tradition our own as we tend to do with everything. In this case, my future husband shall kidnap me. We shall don some kind of smart disguise that no one in the castle will ever see through for the sheer brilliance of it, and sneak out of the castle. Leave your knights a note of some kind. Let us dare them to find us rather than daring you. Maybe we could even let them think we truly have eloped.” She snickered. “If they find us, they can fight us…and regardless of who wins, so long as we feel as if the day has been a smashing success, than we shall come home and be married properly as a king and queen should be. It may not be exactly what you were hoping for when you asked me what I wanted to do today. But, really, Arthur, you shouldn’t have expected anything less.”

Never try to break a well tested heart.

Jun 19 2017, 01:09 AM Quote

Arthur wondered how much longer he would be able to surprise Gwen with his presence. It was quite darling, seeing the sword clatter to the ground as she squealed his name like a startled, but excited child. “I hope you don’t startle so easily on the battlefield,” he teased. Her cheeks burned rosy red, but this he chose to ignore as he collapsed on the bed. Technically, he wasn’t supposed to be here. It was tradition in Calladahn, or at least in the Pendragon family that the groom not see the bride the day before the union. But he had already upset Pendragon why not a bit more? He was feeling rebellious.

He couldn’t help the grin on his face. Despite the troubles with arrangements, he couldn’t help but be happy. He was happier than he could have ever imagined, and just yesterday he’d thought the same thing. However, he was distracted from his thoughts by Gwen speaking up, and laughed at her response. So the news of the nudity threat /had/ spread. Good. As she continued, Arthur wondered if she was really thinking through her words. She was teasing, but to suggest taking off all her cloths so tantalizingly close to their wedding day. As the elaborate scheme continued, a wicked smirk began to grow on his face.

“Careful my dear,” he said softly. “Or I may have to take pre-emptive action to spare the court such a sight.” He sat upright, looking at her, the same wicked smirk still plastered on his face. This was their wedding, and they were in a private room. Nobody needed to know what happened in here….and for all intents and purposes, nothing would have. Yet Arthur was bound, not by the rules of marriage so much as his own. Besides, as easily overwhelmed as Gwen seemed to be at time, she wasn’t stupid; it was a bit risky, and they certainly did not want their marriage to begin with a scandal seeing as they were already breaking the rules pf a royal marriage.

Mercifully, Gwen changed subject to the activities of the day, and as she began he frowned slightly. Kidnapping the bride? Well that didn’t seem much like Gwen. However, a moment later he laughed. Of course, he should have known. Gwen always put her own spin on traditions, or really anything. Whatever they were doing, Gwen would make it her own in some way and that was one of the many wonderful things about her. “Well that sounds perfectly marvelous. I wonder if my staff would be more self sufficient if they knew they could ask me for nothing for the rest of the day.”

He grinned, then leaned over and gave her a light kiss. “By the gods I’m so glad I decided to marry you.” Hopping off the bed, he looked briefly around the room before turning to Gwen. “I don’t really know where you keep your things, but I have some things that should disguise me in my room. It will be easier for me to kidnap you without being noticed if you were to find yourself by the north entrance on the first floor next to the hideous statue of my father. Nobody goes there, you will find yourself easy pickings for a thief. 20 minutes.”

Beaming, Arthur blew her a farewell kiss and forced himself to walk out the door. There were a couple of guards patrolling, but they were facing away. Arthur fixed himself with a stern gaze and marched past them. They bowed as he walked by, and Arthur merely offered them a curt nod. As he passed them, he wanted to run but his route was crowded with staff and the occasional advisor. It took him nearly half the allotted time just to get back to his room, and once he had arrived he had to channel all of his creative energy as quickly as possible. He settled for a servant’s costume. Finding disguises was more difficult than it had once been because Arthur was, unfortunately, no longer the size of a fourteen year old. He was not scrawny or even short anymore, which annoyed him; gone were the days when he could slip seamlessly into a crowd and not be noticed for hours on end. Now, he actually looked the part of a king. What an inconvenience.

As he slipped out of the room in his disguise, he put the last thing that could still serve him to use - his knowldege. He hunched over slightly, tipping his servant hat down to obscure his face a little, cleared his throat and walked quickly with shorter strides. This utterly diminished him, so as he walked past one of his advisors, they didn’t spare him a second glance. He made it like this quite a ways until something rather unexpected happened.

“You there!”

Arthur looked around to see one of the senior staff marching towards him.

“Yes sir?” He called, the commoner’s drawl jumping to his lips as easily as if he was right back doing Kay’s laundry again.

“I need you to get the flowers, Peter’s gone home feeling ill. Pink roses only, do you hear?”

Arthur felt his blood pressure rise. His eye twitched slightly. He was already late, and one of his senior staff couldn’t remember that it was red and white that he’d requested in honor of his mother’s favorite colors. It was the one piece of information he'd managed to get from Mags about his mother; evidently the woman had once been Ygraine's handmaiden before she'd married into the Pendragon name. “I heard it was red and white,” he muttered.

“Don’t question me! We’re behind schedule as is and the King is nowhere to be found!”

“Well then you’d better get going with the fucking red and white roses then, shouldn’t you Theodore?” Arthur growled, dropping the accent and leveling his boiling gaze upon his staff member. The man looked like he was about to emplode. His cheeks turned bright red, and he gasped.

“Red and white sire!” He squeaked.

“If you forget again I swear on the Destroyer I will hang you upside down by your toes in the dungeon! Now get out of my sight and tell nobody of this encounter!” He snarled.

Arthur lived for the little things in life. Like watching his staff get so flustered and frightened that he crashed into the doorway in his hurry to get away, bouncing backwards and then scrambling haphazardly to his feet and disappearing. Shaking his head, Arthur resumed his march to the other side of the castle. It was empty as he expected, and soon enough, he saw the gaudy, distasteful statue of his late father. Arthur wanted it removed but it wa part of a large, weight bearing arch, thus could not be damaged. Arthur had knocked the nose off of it when he was seventeen though. It had been glued back on but was at an awkward angle,’thus making the statue look even more ridiculous.

However, it was not the statue that had his attention when he arrived, it was a far more pressing matter; Gwen was not there. He looked both ways on the corridor but she was nowhere to be seen. Where was she?

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