ed_84 (ed_84) wrote in merlin_flashfic,

Sin Alone, by ed_84

Title: Sin Alone
Author: ed_84
Rating: NC-17 like whoa.
Pairing: Arthur/Morgana
Warning(s): Magic made them do it, sex, language
Summary: AU. They aren’t meant to meet, but it’s a chance encounter a full night before the fertility rights of the Beltane feasts, and Morgana and Arthur’s lives are about to change.
Disclaimer: Merlin does not belong to me.
A/N: 6.4k worth of fic written for the merlin_flashfic’s “The Make Them Do It” challenge. This fic has been in my head ever since watching The Mists of Avalon mini-series with irony_rocks. This is AU, where Arthur and Morgana don't initially know each other due to a change of fate when Morgana's father and Arthur's mother live. No incest, promise!
A/N #2: Beta’d by calleigh_j; thanks!

They aren’t meant to know each other before the ritual.

It’s a chance encounter a full night before the fertility rights of the Beltane feasts, and Morgana is seated by the riverfront. The others have left her alone out of respect; as the Virgin Huntress, she is given certain freedoms that no others in the forest can claim. She uses the liberty to seclude herself, anxious and bothered by the silent attention others give her whenever she treads past.

Noises draw Morgana’s attention behind her, the heavy crunch of fallen leaves crumbling under the weight of heavy footsteps. She lifts her head, annoyed and disgruntled by the intrusion.

“Who is it?” Morgana calls. “I asked to be left alone with my thoughts.”

The voice that answers her from the shadows is far more arrogant than she expects. “I didn’t know a woman needed isolation to think. I suppose that explains why I’ve never seen any of them think at all.”

Annoyed, Morgana glares at the thicket of trees. “Emerge. Show yourself now!”

The trees rustle, and a man her age emerges from the pathway to her left. He is taller than Morgana, though not by much; he has muscular arms, a broad chest, and golden hair. There is an egotistical smirk on his lips, and when he stops before her, he examines Morgana more blatantly than she examines him and that annoys her for some reason.

“Leave,” she tells him. “This is my corner of the river.”

He lifts an eyebrow. “Funny, I see no name written anywhere.”

There is something about this man that instantly sets her nerves on edge. Morgana isn’t used to men talking back to her; she may be a woman, but she is the Duke’s child and a growing sorceress. Not many dare to speak out against anything she says.

“Who are you?”

The man glares. “Who are you?” he demands, just as hotly. “Do you have any idea who you’re speaking to?”

Morgana almost responds with a stinging retort that will correct this man on any delusions he may suffer about his own worth, but then she takes a breath and releases it in a tense exhale. She doesn’t even have the patience to deal with this. Her thoughts are weighty, and there are plenty of other areas in the forest to be alone. She picks up her fallen slippers, and moves past the man with bare feet, climbing the large boulder before she jumps down, her feet hitting dirt and fallen leaves.

“The river is all yours,” she says crossly, tossing out the words over her shoulder.

She expects never to see the man again, but soon after, he finds her again.

At first, she doesn’t notice his presence. The night is late and Morgana is starkly cold, used to listless sleep at this hour, but there is little chance of rest tonight. Morgana does not find these woods conducive to sleep. She is on the cusp of her nineteenth birthday, hardly a child, but this is the first time she has ever ventured outside the walls of her birth land of Cornwall.

She looks to the faint mist that hovers over the river water. Morgana raises her hand, draws breath and says a spell, watching the mist rise and curl with her bidding, the deep magic of controlling weather one she learned well as a child.

Magic – it is widespread throughout the kingdom of Camelot, though years ago it was not so. It is only through the weighty influence of Queen Igrain that the Druids have managed to come out of hiding and seek their lives in pure light. Morgana’s father has known the King and Queen for nearly three decades now, long before Morgana was ever born. Such old friendships have had lasting effects, especially on Morgana’s life.

Her thoughts churn over the idle curiosity of what life would be like, without being the esteemed daughter of the Duke of Cornwell. Golores, her father, has always been such a loving presence in her life, but there are duties tied to his title. He has never left Morgana wanting for anything, but there are the King’s and Queen’s wishes that he always answers to, first.

King Uther, Queen Igrain and their son, Prince Arthur. For as long as Morgana can remember, these names have been familiar to her; Morgana wonders if it is possible to resent people she has never met before.

Morgana looks up with a start when, without seeking permission yet again, the man from earlier settles down on the boulder opposite her. “What now?” she asks, crossly. “Is it a typical behavior for you to stalk strangers?”

“Strangers are all that are here,” the man drawls, easily, reclining against another large rock lazily. “If there was a friend nearby, trust me, I’d rather enjoy his company than yours. But I am dying of boredom, and you’re the only one that’s dared look me in the eye since I’ve arrived at this place.”

She thinks he whines a bit too much, but despite herself, she softens slightly in sympathy. Her father left her two nights ago at the edge of the eastern woods. She has been in the company of strangers ever since, so she knows exactly what he is talking about. The Druids are respectful people, but distant.

Despite his claims of boredom, he seems content to let many minutes pass by in silence. That is, until Morgana shivers and the man lifts an eyebrow. “You’re cold,” he mutters, and there is a hint of both concern and exasperation there. He rises. “Unsurprising, considering the wisp of a dress you wear. Are you looking to catch your cold of death?”

Morgana glares. “Has anyone ever told you that your charm can be overwhelming?

He snorts a laugh, disappearing behind a thicket of trees for a moment. His voice carries through the night air, loud and grating. “Many woman have remarked so, yes. Though not with the hint of sarcasm I detect in your voice.”

“A hint? And here I thought I was being subtle.”

He emerges with some spare tree branches, and finds a place to start a fire. Morgana watches him as he gets the flames going, then reluctantly Morgana moves to its side because she is cold, and she is not wearing clothing suitable for the weather. She watches him poke the fire with a stick and the embers fly into the air.

“So, are you Druid?” he asks.

“No, but I am familiar with the old religion.”

He doesn’t roll his eyes, but she can tell he wants to. “The old religion. I do love when they call it that.”

“You’re a bit of a prat, aren’t you?” Morgana replies, shaking her head. “What problem have you with religion?”

“None, with the religion,” he answers. “My problem is with the politics that comes with it. My mother is a supporter of the Druids, and my father supports them only because he loves her. But the politics with these people, it is a headache and nothing more.”

“Religion is more than just politics,” Morgana counters. “There is faith and spirituality, a unity—”

“Unity?” he cuts in, snidely. “Like the ritual of the Great Marriage?”

Morgana goes silent for a beat. The Great Marriage is a ritual as old as some of the most ancient spells of the world, a union and mating between a Virgin Huntress and a warrior that often results in a child of great importance.

“Yes,” she recovers, though her voice does not carry any passion, “what happens tomorrow is entirely about spirituality and faith.”

“It is about an alliance,” the man counters, jabbing a stick harshly against the fire. “An alliance between two groups. You think this Huntress of the ritual wants her virginity taken by an unknown man? You think the Hunter cares to bed a woman he has never laid eyes on? No. They do it because their people want it, because there are benefits to an alliance. That is politics, not spirituality.”

Her throat closes off, because Morgana is having enough time dealing with the idea of tomorrow without adding complications to it. If she goes through with the allotted duty of the Virgin Huntress, then Morgana needs her reasons. If she does it for religion, then maybe it isn’t such a horrible thought to bed an unknown man.

But in a certain light, it is as if her body is being sold for bureaucratic ends. That is something that makes her stomach turn.

He looks to her, noticing the paleness of her face. “I’m sorry,” he mumbles unexpectedly. “I don’t really mean to insult your religion. This is just… it is a sore topic with me.”

Morgana bites her tongue; it is a touchy subject with her as well. “There is more to it than politics,” she insists, stubbornly, wondering who she’s trying to convince more – him or herself. “The Great Marriage has always been a cornerstone of the religion. The children born of it have been instrumental in the flow of fate.”

Rumor had it that even the Prince of Camelot was born under the Great Marriage, when Uther and Igrain first lay together before the official Christian ceremony was held. Many in the kingdom found it odd that Igrain gave birth to a child before nine months were completed in their marriage, but it became clear over the years that Igrain’s family practiced the old religion. Their son had been born because of the ancient magic of the Great Marriage.

The man grows silent for a long pause, and when he speaks again, his voice is somber, “I think it would be horrible for that child to know he was born not out of love, but as a means to an end.”

“There can still be love,” Morgana finds herself saying. “There can always be love.”

He looks up. “You think love can exists between two people that don’t know each other? Only a foolish woman with romantic ideology would think that.”

She lifts an eyebrow. “Need I remind you that moments ago, you were going on about conceiving a child through love? That is a romantic notion as well.”

He scoffs again, but does not respond and Morgana knows she’s won a point against him. Her thoughts drift over in idle curiosity over her new acquaintance. A Duke’s son, at the very least. He is too arrogant to be otherwise. Out of some unspoken rule, they have not asked for each other’s names yet; anonymity is a luxury in Morgana’s case. She does not want to expose herself as the Virgin Huntress because it creates a mark of distinction she prefers to avoid, especially with this man.

She lets her eyes drift back to the flames, thinking of how most men his age have always made the same mindless remarks on Morgana’s beauty within moments of an introduction; this one is different. He provokes her instead of plying her with compliments.

It is strangely refreshing, even in an odd sort of way… appealing.

They sit by the firelight for a long while as the moon waxes and wanes above them. The witching hour is upon them; the time when creatures such as witches, demons and ghosts are thought to be at their most powerful, and black magic at its’ most effective. She idly remarks upon this, and it launches an hour-long debate on the subject of witchcraft.

Her companion, it seems, is not a fan. “Duplicitous,” he calls it. “Nothing is ever as it seems with magic. A beautiful creature can be deadly, a monster can ensnare a man by wearing a disguise, a potion can kill another, and then there are all those bloody spells. Spells for everything a man could want, and a few that no man in his right mind should ever want. Lies, everything about magic is about lies.”

Morgana stares at him, incredulous. “Magic is about balance. Light and dark, good and evil, and at the heart of it all is always, always truth. You must know very little indeed about magic to think so little of it.”

“I know enough.”

Morgana mutters under her breath, “You seem to know enough about everything, it seems.”

His eyes narrowed. “Are you insinuating I’m arrogant?”

“There is no insinuation about it. I am stating it plainly, though clearly for you, I may need to use smaller words.”

He barks a laugh. “Like you’re one to talk? I have never met such an obstinate, opinionated woman in my life. I am disturbed to learn there is such a breed.”

He comes from the court life, she realizes. That is the only reason he could have such little respect for the fairer sex. Women of the court are renowned for their petty lives; Morgana only escaped such gossip and idleness because she was trained from childhood in the ways of the old religion, and that required a certain discipline never expected of a woman usually in her stature.

He comes from wealth and privilege; that is for certain. He drops his gaze to the fire, but Morgana watches him covertly for a beat. In the firelight, Morgana silently admits to himself that for all his obvious faults, the lack of beauty is not one of them. He is handsome, and that is not an observation she makes of many men, but with this one it is hardly a surprising remark. The women of the court must chase after and swoon over him so. She doesn’t particularly like the idea of that, then catches herself.

What does it matter to her, in any case?

“What is your name?” he asks, abruptly. “I feel as if I should know you, or your family.”

After a beat, she replies, “My name is Morgana, daughter of—”

“What are you doing?” another voice says, startling them from behind. A Druid woman emerges, short and stout, and Morgana seems to recall her name beginning with an R, but she can’t quite remember. “You are not supposed to be speaking with each other! It is forbidden before the ceremony for you to even see each other’s face! Go, go! Prince, leave!”

Morgana bolts up, her eyes flying up to connect with him, widening in recognition as she abruptly realizes this is Prince Arthur. What is he…? Her thoughts connect all the various dots in a blind instant, caught off-guard as another revelation unfolds itself. Him. It is he, the man she will bed tomorrow in the Great Marriage. The certainty of it is undeniable, coming to her as swiftly as any magic can, and Morgana and Arthur stare at each for a few stunned seconds of silence before the elderly woman prods him away.

It is a long while before Morgana can breathe again.

She is forced back to her small cabin room after that, at the far edge of the forest. Morgana changes into her sleeping gown, preoccupied and overwhelmed with the knowledge that she has just met the man that will take her virginity; the Prince of Camelot. She realizes then why the identities were kept guarded for so long. Her father and the King and Queen have always been close, but this… this is astounding.

Disjointed internal dialogue runs through her head, and somehow the knowledge of Arthur’s identity has changed things. Her thoughts swim and flood her, and as she rests her head upon the pillow, she expects sleep to be the furthest thing from possibility. But at some point she must fall asleep, because her dreams are filled visions of the future: of Arthur, their bodies meeting in union, of faint moans and heady kisses and the steady thrusting of his hips into the cradle of hers; it causes Morgana to awake abruptly, covered in sweat.

The rules have altered now, but she can’t quite grasp how.

The ritual is almost a complete mystery to Morgana as evening falls to dusk. The Druid women clothe her in a simple white dress – more of a slip really – and she is left nude underneath it. She dons on a mask; useless now that identities are known, but custom is custom and the Druid’s are a traditional people.

“Here,” one woman offers, “Drink this.”

Morgana cautiously takes the small goblet in her hands, eyeing the clear liquid inside. A fertility drink, she knows, one that is enchanted by magic and herbs for an aphrodisiac affect. She hesitates as the women look on expectedly, but it is the memory and image of Arthur that prods her into taking a drink.

She feels nothing at first.

They throw a dark wool blanket over her shoulders to fend off the chill, and escort Morgana out of the cabin into the woods. As Morgana walks down the forest pathway, she clutches the blanket tightly closed across her chest. On either side of her, there are rows of Druid men and woman watching her as she is marched along for the presentation of the Virgin Huntress.

In the distance, there are two men pounding away at large wooden drums, thick hides stretched over the tops, and a blazing bonfire lights the night. The rhythmic beat resonates deeply through the woods, something primal and fierce, and she feels the power of that music as if it as potent as magic.

Her gaze gets drawn up to the side, and she stops short suddenly, breathless to find Arthur standing at the edge of some nearby precipice. Half his face is covered with a mask larger than her own, but she can recognize him just the same and she has no idea what such easy recognition means. His gaze is directed solely at Morgana, so intense her breath lodges in her throat. He wears hide skin clothing, as primal-looking as her own, and there is a long spear in one hand that he rests at his side. There are other men behind him, his entourage, but Morgana has eyes only for him.

She doesn’t know if it is the potion; she doesn’t know if it is her own desires stemming from her dreams; she doesn’t know if it is simply the image of Arthur standing there, tall and glorious, seductive like only a powerful man can be, but a deep hunger goes through Morgana, a burst of raw heat blooming between her thighs. Her body grows warm with the knowledge that this man will be her lover.

Another man tosses something into the bonfire behind her, causing a small burst of flames to shoot up in the air, and Morgana watches as Arthur takes off, racing past the men in his company and through the dense forestry. Morgana knows why: first, to prove his manhood, Arthur must kill a wild deer. The women next to her prod Morgana gently into moving again, and she resumes the long walk. Behind her, there are cheers shouted and a chorus of loud primal chants is taken up among the large gathering.

When they arrive at the last cabin, there are candles lit everywhere and the thrum of the drums sounds far away. The women peel away her blanket, and for a moment Morgana stands in her scant garbs and stares at the foot of the bed, decorated with a bearskin rug. Everything about this night stems from primal rituals: the hunter, the virgin, the kill, and then the mating.

The potion is starting to work; Morgana can feel it in her veins, her head beginning to spin, and there is heat pooling low in her belly. Anticipation has her heart racing, and as the women lay her down upon the bed, there are whispers chanted in the background. Magic stirring in the air, and then there is a sudden call of victory that signals Arthur has killed his prey.

When she met him yesterday, she thought Arthur stubborn and a bit of a brute but there had been the early twinges of an attraction. She had no part in picking him as her lover, but as she lays there with heat coiling tension in her body, she thinks back to all the men she’s known in her life, all the men she could have easily bedded with one whispered tease.

Morgana realizes she cannot think of a single man that she’s found more intriguing than the man she met yesterday in the woods. Morgana almost balks at the brazen want. How can such desire stem from a single meeting that lasted only a few hours? But she can picture Arthur’s handsome face, his sturdy build – she can vividly picture him taking her, thrust after thrust.

She closes her eyes, aware her breathing is heavy and thick, and waits for Arthur to claim his prize.

By the time he arrives, sweat is beginning to break out across Morgana’s overheated, over-sensitized skin.

Arthur appears in the doorway, and when he turns to shut the door, Morgana draws her legs closed and sits up. He turns back to her, his face almost fully covered by an ornate wooden mask, but his eyes are visible, proving piercing and focused.

“Morgana,” he says in the dim light, and his voice is made all the more seductive because he is not supposed to know her name. “Are you all right?”

It is such an unexpected question, Morgana doesn’t answer at first. He walks closer, and her eyes are drawn on their own to the controlled movement of his muscles, most of them on display because of the scarcity of cloth covering him up. It has the intended affect. When Arthur expels a sigh, scrubbing a hand across the back of his neck in frustration, Morgana's eyes follow the movement of his arms, gaze traveling across his sweat-soaked bicep and then sweeping down his chest.

It takes her a moment to notice that Arthur is studying her just as intently, his eyes alight with the same fire. Her hair is sprawled against the pillows behind her, and the small dress she wears comes only to knee length. The lucid part of her knows he’s taken the potion, just as she has. But there is another part of her, the same one that spoke to him so candidly last night, that hopes some of that desire in his eyes is genuine.

“I don’t want to force you into anything,” Arthur says, but Morgana almost misses it entirely because she is so focused on sight of him. “I won’t.”

Morgana glances away, trying to calm the erratic beating of her heart. She closes her eyes, recalling his words from the other night. Even with the drink in him, he is still the same stubborn and strangely honorable man.

That just makes her want him even more.

She runs an unsteady hand through her hair, and then slowly slides off the mattress. She walks toward him, aware that he’s watching her body with such stark desire, but he’s still holding still. That has to cost him much; such restraint for a man that is probably used to getting everything he wants with a snap of his fingers.

When she reaches for his mask, he flinches, catching her hand in his. The contact does nothing to alleviate the desperate want, and Arthur doesn’t quite manage to choke back a groan when something sparks between their touch. Magic.

“I have no control left, Morgana,” he warns in a heavy whisper. “It is taking all my willpower not to throw you on the ground and fuck you like some animal.”

She pries her hand loose, then reaches up to remove his mask. They are supposed to keep the masks on, but they serve no purpose now. She wants to see Arthur clearly by the candlelight; his hairs are sharp blades and there is a sheen of sweat that coats his face. She removes her own mask, aware that Arthur’s breathing is labored and heavy in the air. She had no choice in choosing him as her lover, but she thinks a better decision she could not have made.

“You need no control with me,” Morgana tells him, granting him permission to do to her what he wants. She wants that, too. “No control.”

“Are you sure?” he breathes, so close that the warm air washes over her lips.

“Yes,” she says firmly, and lifts her hand to his face. “Yes.”

Strong fingers wrap around her jaw and nape before demanding lips crash down on hers with striking intensity. She feels the impatience and desperation in him let loose, as he captures her mouth in a greedy kiss that sets their pace. Arthur groans against her when she slips her tongue past his lips, and the kiss becomes a duel with their tongues and breathing tangling together.

He all but throws her against the nearest wall, and what little restraint there was in Arthur is clearly shattered. There is no hesitation, no uncertainty, no permission sought before he begins gathering the folds of her dress, drawing it higher up her thigh. When his fingers greet nothing underneath it but naked flesh, he lets out a sound against her lips that is disturbingly dark and entirely possessive.

Colored lights float, her vision blurring with a lack of oxygen from his relentless kisses, and the press of his cock against her belly is sinfully right. She doesn't know how long they stay like that; pressed up against the wall, but their lower bodies start rocking in an almost lazy way. Their mouths make up for that ease with a frantic duel beyond what she thought herself capable of.

Her legs nearly buckle against the spike of sensation, but Arthur holds her firmly in place, pinned between his body and the wall. Her fingers dig into Arthur's shoulders when his palm begins kneading against her groin in rhythmic strokes. His thumb finds some tiny hidden bud and then there is just pure pleasure and pure torment.

She cries out the Goddess’s name, and Arthur nuzzles her neck. “Say my name instead.” He slips past her folds and pushes into her, and then callused fingers penetrate and crook inside her, sending spots of colors dancing across her vision. “I want to hear you moan my name,” he pleas.

She cannot deny him. “Arthur,” she breathes, again and again. “Arthur.”

His fingers work persistently, torturously, until something inside of her flies apart. A deep, dark burst of pleasure rips through Morgana, so hard her knees gave way entirely and she slumps heavily against the sturdy frame of Arthur.

Impossibly, the scent of him fills her nostrils and makes her head swim even more, and when he mumbles her name, half of it broken, the heat inside is instantly rekindled. Arthur trails kisses back up along her neck, to her face, and then he lifts her dress up and pulls it over her head, and Morgana is suddenly standing nude before him.

His eyes travel the length of her, greedily soaking in her body, and Morgana feels a spike of satisfaction run through her at the blatant heat in his eyes. His breathing is deliciously ragged and warm, washing over her face, her neck, as his hand moves up to palm one breast. Her nipples harden under his touch, and Arthur groans or she does, but it need not matter.

She realizes in that instant that she has power over him, the type she has never wielded before. Even when he seizes her lips in another brutal and insistent kiss, all desire and no control, she realizes that she can ask anything of him right now and he would do it blindly, desperately.

She pulls his tunic off as they make their way toward the bed, leaving him clad only in breeches, and she runs her hands over his body, mapping his chest before digging in with building desperation. His skin is slick and warm, and muscles jump under her palm as she explores. He is so strong. She moves to straddle him, and Arthur holds her hips, steadying Morgana on his lap. He sucks at her neck, all pressure and wetness, and she whimpers low in her throat.

“Shh,” he breathes cockily, and never has she realized before that a man’s voice could be so enticing and arrogant at the same time. “We have all night for me to learn what pleases you.”

Her movements are equally as confident, strangely assured despite the novelty of everything. The heat within her guides Morgana as naturally as any magic she has ever known, or perhaps this is magic – the power of the Great Marriage. She presses his body close to hers, letting his hardness rub against her belly. He curses softly under his breath, and emboldened, she brings her knees up and rubs her body against his again, making him arch up with a rough groan.

Something dark courses through her. Something fierce and possessive. The intensity of it is nothing like she has ever felt before in her life, but Morgana seizes hold of that feeling, clinging to it in this dangerous new territory. She thinks silently that one night will be too little for them to learn everything they want to know about each other.

“Now,” she tells him. “I want you inside me now.”

She instinctively knows Arthur would not deny her any demand, but especially this one. He rolls them so they tumble across the expanse of the large bed, and Arthur’s weight lands on top of her. His body is heavier than hers. She's known this, but it's only in that moment that she truly knows it.

“Arthur,” she chokes out, breathless.

She spreads her legs, desperate and wanting, and her fingers trail low across his hips to remove his breeches while Arthur positions himself. In the distance, the drums are still beating away, and there is a primal cry of a Druid man as he prays to the Goddess. Arthur stares down at her with lust alone in his eyes, before he bends his head low and captures her lips in a kiss that takes shameless control of her.

Want tightens his voice, crisping his lazy drawl into something fierce, “So good. You feel so good.”

She can’t think of anything but the anticipation of him inside her already. He’s toying with her. She rakes her hands through his hair, and pulls him down to whisper a command against his lips, “Now, Arthur. Please.

She has never begged for anything in her life, but in that moment if Arthur still delays, Morgana doesn’t know what she’ll do.

But that plea is all Arthur needs, because he groans and that deep, rough sound merges with hers as he sinks into her. Bittersweet pain flares low in her belly as her flesh gives way to his, and Arthur is thick and hard, straining to join them hip-to-hip. Morgana gasps, mouth falling open, and they lay still for a moment as she adjusts.

“Am I…” Arthur breathes heavily, voice rasping and thick, “Does it hurt?”

She shakes her head in denial, half a lie. The sting soon lessens into discomfort, and she says a prayer to the Goddess that the Druids taught her for this night. And it hits her like a wave crashing into her, over and over again – he wants her, feels her, wants to bury himself inside her body, never leave, never leave, wants to feel like this with his skin on fire forever. Her muscles ease, and she opens her eyes to find Arthur watching her intently, hunger stark and breathtaking. Morgana wraps her legs around his waist, clenching, and the resulting deep thrust is all it takes to force Arthur into a movement.

The staccato sound of their breathing and the steady rhythm of their fucking ripples through her, tightening her body, and pleasure starts to mount again as she loses herself to the sensation of Arthur's cock buried deep inside of her. It continues for a mindless time until one of his hands grips her hips and tilts her pelvis aside, a different angle, and the shift in position shatters her control completely. It forces her release to rip through her like something possessed.

She cries out his name, and Arthur’s thrusts grow frantic and erratic, cursing her name back as he desperately seeks his own release – and then he’s coming, with his eyes closed, grunting and panting until he’s spent, fatigued, boneless over her body. His chest rises and falls above her, crushing her breasts while his frantic breaths bath her neck.

Her legs are sticky, her thighs sore, and when he withdraws, Morgana’s blood stains him. At the back of her mind something nags at her, but Morgana pushes it away. They quickly drift into a slumber, and all the while, the deep drums in the woods beat away.

The drums are finally silent when Morgana wakes next, but it is still night and Arthur is lying next to her, naked, unconscious, slumbering, and though his body is still warm and real and there, she feels horribly bereft at the loss of contact. She reaches for him, then stops, rethinking her strategy for a brief pause. She quietly slips free, using the moment of respite to clean herself up.

Out back, there is a basin for washing, and she uses it quietly, quickly, her body still on fire. But privacy is not to be had in these woods, and eventually a Druid woman wearing a striking red dress emerges from a dark pathway, only to hand Morgana a towel. Morgana is positive she has never seen this woman before, for she would remember this elegant face. She looks Morgana’s age, with fair skin and rick dark hair woven in elaborate locks.

“How are you?” she asks, kindly. There is something about this woman that Morgana instantly recognizes, but it takes a beat before she places a name to it: the strength of magic that flows through her is a twin to Morgana’s own power. “Was there pain?”

Morgana looks away, cursing the blush crawling up her neck. “Not much.”

The other woman offers a gentle smile. “Do you know who your lover is?”

Morgana lets the silence speak for her; everybody already knows about Arthur and Morgana’s illicit meeting the night before. Illicit, when they did nothing but talk. Most people in the kingdom would consider the events of this night to be far more scandalous, but the Druids do not adhere to most standards of the kingdom.

Morgana silently reaches for a simple white robe that was specially woven for her to wear. The Druid woman moves to help fasten the clasps, and Morgana lets her, too preoccupied with her thoughts to protest.

“Did you know Arthur was asking after you this morning?” the woman says, trying to goad Morgana into speaking. “He seemed quite enamored of you, even before this ritual. Some say there is even infatuation in his eyes, like lightning striking. Tell me, what did you speak of last night?”

Morgana turns to her, lifting a brow. “Is there something you want?”

She shakes her head, saying, “I’m simply trying to comfort you, sister. Do not be heartbroken, for you may not be parted from your lover after all. If you are pregnant, Queen Igrain will insist on a wedding.”

Morgana abruptly recalls the story of Igrain again, who secured her crown by conceiving a child during the Great Marriage.

Is she… is the same expected of Morgana?

“Your father and his father long ago agreed upon this,” the woman explains, “but it was the Queen that arranged for you to meet in the Great Marriage. Considering that Arthur seems so enamored of you, I highly doubt that he will object to the prospect of you sharing his bed on a nightly basis.”

Morgana opens her mouth, but the revelation seems too much. In one night, she has lost her virginity, perhaps conceived a child, and now there are talks of marriage and a kingdom. It is all too much for her to comprehend.

“Shh,” the woman soothes. “I should not have burdened you with such thoughts tonight. Go, the moon is still out. Go back to your lover.”

Morgana eyes the woman, something in her heart warning her against the kind smile on this Druid’s face. “What is your name?”

The woman inclines her head. “Nimueh, sister. I am Nimueh. Go, for the sun will rise soon and the Great Marriage will be complete.”

Morgana pauses, before she turns and heads back into the cabin. Before she escapes, she gives one last fleeting look toward the woman in red, then flees back into the cabin. Arthur is awake, looking for her, and when he catches sight of her he lets a breath dislodge from his throat, as if he had been afraid she had gone forever.

“Where were you?” he gripes, then catches the look on Morgana’s face. “You look pale.”

Morgana shakes her head, climbing back into bed and toward Arthur’s outstretched hand. He pulls her into his arms, and it isn’t until that moment that Morgana realizes that she is shaking like a leaf.

“You’re shivering.”

“Just cold,” she lies.

Her worries soon are swept away when Arthur smirks, wolfishly, and his breath tickles her ear, growing heavy. “Well, then, I guess I shall have to do something to warm you up, my lady.”

Morgana almost wants to roll her eyes, but the touch of humor is overwhelmed by the hunger in his voice. “Such chivalry.”

“I do try,” Arthur insists.

His smirk is lost as he pulls her into a heady kiss. Logic and fear seeps back as the soft glow of the moonlight reclaims control of them. He yanks Morgana under him with one hard tug, and his palms slowly blaze a pathway up her calves, her thighs, pushing her legs further apart until she’s spread before him.

Maybe Nimueh is right; maybe she isn’t. Whether Morgana becomes queen or not is not something she wants to think about right now. Morgana just knows this: if this indeed is their last night together, she wants to make the most of it.

Hopefully, though, it won’t be.

Tags: make them do it challenge


    the purple prose challenge is now closed. check out stories for this challenge in the tags or the memories. a new challenge will be up shortly.

  • Admin: the Purple Prose Challenge

    As suggested by maryavatar, we want to see all your most OTT, cliched, overblown imagery. If you've been hankering to describe Merlin's…


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    the purple prose challenge is now closed. check out stories for this challenge in the tags or the memories. a new challenge will be up shortly.

  • Admin: the Purple Prose Challenge

    As suggested by maryavatar, we want to see all your most OTT, cliched, overblown imagery. If you've been hankering to describe Merlin's…


    it's time to put those masks away and stop frightening people! i'm getting a bit terrified and need to calm down. the the samhain challenge is…