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27 May 2009 @ 04:40 pm
Prelude  
Title: Prelude
Pairing: Gwen/Morgana
Rating: PG-13 - nudity, but all rather innocent.
Length: ~850 words.
Summary: At first Gwen didn't think she would like working for Morgana.
Note: This scene was partly inspired by one in The Devil's Whore, so once again, my apologies for stealing from that lovely bit of work.


When Gwen first became Lady Morgana’s maid, she was glad of the money but sad to leave her father’s forge. She had enjoyed helping him with the metal, learning to handle his tools and his products, no matter that girls weren’t meant to know about swords. Now, she anticipated dull days of cleaning and mending and chasing off insects for some delicate noble creature with weak hands.

Morgana was beautiful and refined and wore elaborate, expensive garments, and didn’t say much around Gwen, just dismissed her politely when her work was finished.

And then, on Gwen’s second day in the lady’s service, Morgana said,

“Can I trust your discretion, Gwen?”

“Of course, my lady,” Gwen said, expecting Morgana to sneak off to some unsanctioned tryst. She was young and lovely; surely she had many suitors, not all of them approved by the king.

Morgana nodded. She handed Gwen a bag (packed with lunch and a drying cloth, and a knife that was perhaps a bit larger than strictly necessary for cutting the food) and led the way outside of the city, some distance into the woods, to a large green pond dotted with lilies. Morgana kept quiet on the way. A few people offered her greetings in the town, which she returned with charm, but none challenged them.

There was no lover at the pond, no one at all in fact apart from the two women. Gwen might have worried a little if not for the knife; it wasn’t a sword, certainly, but she felt sure she could do a passing job of defending them with it if the need arose. The sight of a woman handling a weapon should be enough to unsettle the average bandit, and these woods were held to be quite safe anyway, especially during daylight. Still, she was mystified as the purpose of the visit, since Morgana did not seem to be expecting anyone and Gwen couldn’t imagine why else a noblewoman would sneak out here like this. She was distracted from her wondering when Morgana presented her back and said,

“A little help with the laces, if you would? This dress is dreadfully impractical, but I find people ask fewer questions if I don’t look as though I could possibly do anything interesting.”

Gwen complied though she still didn’t understand what was happening here, why Morgana was undoing her filmy gown, shedding her jewelry, tying her hair tightly back – and then Morgana stripped off her shift and stepped into the pond.

“Uther would never approve, you see,” Morgana said, moving deeper. “So you must promise not to speak of this in the castle. If anyone asks, we were in the market, looking at lace or something equally useless.” And then she dunked herself in the pond and swam out towards the center with powerful, practiced strokes, unconcerned by her own nudity or Gwen’s surprise.

It was at that point that Gwen realized working for Lady Morgana would not be quite so tedious as she had first feared.

The second time they came here Morgana asked Gwen if she knew how to swim, and beckoned her in when she admitted that she could a little, and after that Gwen spent these excursions alongside her lady in the water. (And maybe they brushed against each other a little more than could be attributed to accident, maybe Morgana’s hands – not so weak after all – roamed a bit when she picked lake weeds from Gwen’s hair, maybe Gwen’s original supposition that this was a trek to meet a lover eventually proved true, with no change in the company involved.) But that first day Gwen just sat on a log watching, and the imagery remained vivid in her mind ever after:

Morgana floated among the lilies, stretched out, drawing a long pale line through the dark water, pointed toes to reaching fingertips. She was slightly submerged but not enough so to obscure any part of her body – Gwen could see everything that was ordinarily hidden, the elegant length of her legs, slender hips with sharply jutting bones, black hair at her groin, smooth flat sweep of her belly, the soft mounds of her breasts with the hint of a quiver in the flesh whenever she moved, peaked nipples poking above the surface. Gwen knew she shouldn’t look, it wasn’t appropriate, but then neither was the whole venture and Morgana was so beautiful like this, bold and unashamed, open to the sky and Gwen’s hungry gaze.

Morgana rolled after a moment, dove down, came up splashing and smiling and dove down again. Once she emerged right underneath a lily pad, taking the plant with her as she rose so it sat on her head like a hat. Gwen couldn’t help the laugh that bubbled up and Morgana grinned at her.

“What do you think? Shall I start a new fashion?”

“You’ll be the envy of every woman at court, my lady,” Gwen said.

“I think shall like you, Gwen,” Morgana said then, and Gwen found she was entirely sincere when she replied,

“I’m glad, my lady.”
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(Deleted comment)
Eliot Prufrock: Arthursrin on May 28th, 2009 06:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

The Devil's Whore is actually a 4-part series about the English Civil War that aired on channel 4 last year. So absolutely nothing to do with Merlin, but it's a gorgeous piece of work, incredibly well done. Here's a screencap of the scene I had in mind. The circumstances are quite different there, but I just loved the image. :D
(Deleted comment)
Eliot Prufrock: Arthursrin on May 29th, 2009 05:58 am (UTC)
Yeah, there are definitely *cough* sources. Let me know if you have a hard time finding it, I can point you in the right direction.
insideminds | irise | fromtoday: Guinevere/Morganainsideminds on May 28th, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC)
Gorgeous! You've really got the characters voice's in this, lovely. ♥
Eliot Prufrock: Arthursrin on May 28th, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm thrilled the voices worked. :D
archaeologist_d: Merlinarchaeologist_d on May 28th, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC)
That was very lovely. Loved the idea of Morgana sneaking out of the castle to relax and go swimming.
Eliot Prufrock: Arthursrin on May 29th, 2009 05:58 am (UTC)
Thank you!
(Deleted comment)
Eliot Prufrock: Arthursrin on June 9th, 2009 07:20 pm (UTC)
That image of Morgana in the water was what inspired the whole thing, so I'm thrilled that you enjoyed that bit. :D

Thank you for reading!
Know when to walk away: gwenbriar_pipe on June 11th, 2009 03:06 am (UTC)
❤❤❤

You made me so happy with this I'm glowing on the inside. Oh, girls. *snuggles them*
Eliot Prufrock: Arthursrin on June 11th, 2009 08:31 am (UTC)
:D Yay! Thank you.
humanoidmegg: battlehumanoidmegg on July 2nd, 2009 06:50 am (UTC)
i really enjoyed this little glimpse into the early gwen/morgana dynamic! i've mostly only read of them in merlin/arthur fic where you don't get to read about just the two of them very much. you've inspired me to go find some more :)
Eliot Prufrock: Arthursrin on July 2nd, 2009 07:17 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! And eee, I'm so glad to hear that you're inspired to seek out more Gwen/Morgana! They're absolutely lovely. :D