and carry you down into sleep

"Ah!" Tristan said, nodding sagely, "I keep trying that one, but it hasn't worked yet." Arthur fixed him with another look.
"You get yourself into enough trouble from what I hear," the king said with a half-smile, "so I'd keep quiet on that score if I were you." Tristan grinned.
"My lips are sealed!" he replied, tipping Gaiane a wink as he wandered back towards the dining table in the centre of the room and struck up conversation with the girl engaged in setting it. Arthur rolled his eyes and offered their guest a weary apologetic shrug.

"Where's Ana got to?" Nimueh asked curiously, looking to Arthur and then standing on tiptoes to peer out the window as she she'd be able to spot her.
"She was running some training sessions this afternoon," Mordred piped-up, "I saw her packing up. She's probably gone to get changed."
"Dred tells us he's been training you, Gaiane," Arthur smiled over Nimueh's nods, "how are you getting along?" Dred gave her shoulder an encouraging squeeze.
"I keep telling her she should join in with one of Ana's sessions," he explained to the group, "your styles would probably be more in sync."
"This one's incredibly lanky," Arthur agreed, nodding at his brother, "makes him trickier to train with."

The dinner bell sounded.
"Excellent!" Tristan declared from the other side of the room, throwing himself enthusiastically into his chair, "I'm starving."
"I'm pretty sure he lives starving," Nimueh laughed, leaning in to Gaiane again, "that's growing boys for you. Arthur ate me out of house and home." Mordred stepped round in front of them and offered Gaiane his hand. He escorted her to the table and pulled out the chair to the right of his. The king took the chair at the head of the table, Nimueh the foot, and Tristan lounged on his father's right hand side, the place set for his aunt beside him.
"We're going to be needing a bigger table!" Nimueh enthused, sounding delighted, "if Ana ever wants to bring Mace along."

The soup had been served by the time Morgana arrived. She wore a dress of midnight blue which revealed lighter shades when it caught the candlelight. The corset-style top revealed a slim waist before giving way to a flowing skirt. Her raven-black hair fell loose about her shoulders.
"Sorry eveyone," she said as she strode in through the door, "someone really needs to teach your guards how to tidy up, Arthur."
"I'm sure they do," the king replied without looking up, helping himself to another spoonful of soup. Morgana smirked and sat down next to Tristan, filling her bowl from the tureen in the centre of the table.
"Gaiane," Mordred said with a small smile, "this is Morgana. Morgana, Gaiane."

the darkness will rise from the deep

photo by jannis at flickr.com


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