Court by Sunset_Endings
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Story Notes:
I needed some angst. :P
Author's Chapter Notes:
Arthur discovers what's been going on in Camelot in his absence.
Title: Court
Author: Sunset_Endings/XxXCrookshanksXxXP3
Spoiler Warning: Arthur/Gwen/Lancelot ending
Genre: Angst, Romance,
Rating: PG-13
Chapter: 1/1
Summary: Arthur returns home from his search for the Grail to meet devastation at Camelot. The end of his reign is about to begin.
Authors Notes: I’m no Arwen fan. Dislike Arthur/Gwen so if I ever write about them it’ll be angst. This is a Gwen/Lancelot fic mostly. Inspiration from the BBC Merlin 1998 movie with Sam Neill.
Disclaimer: ALL characters and recognisable locations belong to the BBC/Shine Productions. I claim no ownership of any of this mentioned. Nor am I receiving any money for it.

He’d returned from another unsuccessful quest for the Grail. Arthur, King Arthur then aged thirty-five, ruler of Albion and the leader of the greatest court England had ever known. Camelot at the heart of everything was looked to by the eyes of Brittany. Arthur had long since thought himself invincible; he had Merlin at his side: A power Sorcerer, a Warlock like no other. They were the undefeated duo, their lives so tightly wound together that it was near impossible to see the pair separated. At every battle, Merlin would sit above the chaos casting magic from the hill tops. He kept Camelot safe just as Arthur kept the realm running.

However, one battle would never be won by them. Upon returning to Camelot, expecting to find Lancelot guiding the Knight’s and Guinevere, his ever dutiful and loving wife, waiting for him and perhaps Merlin ready with a witty comment or two: “I told you so.” At the forefront. It was the only time that Merlin had not joined him or the few Knights that he had taken with him. Merlin had claimed the quest a pointless trip: “It’ll never be found...” he commented often but had joined them for the first two times. However, they were greeted at the gates but solemn looking guards. They bowed and murmured in greeting, it lacked the enthusiasm he had come to expect.

“Is all well?” He enquired of one; his first thoughts went to Guinevere, was she well? His heart skipped a few beats, already summing the worst scenario. If something had happened to her, to his heart, then what would be the point of the accomplishments he had achieved? How would he survive something like that?

“No, Sire. It-”


Arthur looked up at the second voice. Across the courtyard, dressed in a fine purple, hooded robe; The High Magician Merlin walked: His voice so full of command that even the King shuddered.

“Merlin.” The King greeted and moved toward him slowly. “What is going on.”

His friend inhaled sharply, took one look at the guards and the Knight’s behind them before smiling, softly. It was the smile he reserved for bad news, the look of sympathy that Arthur so hated.
“Is it Gwen? What happened... Is she alright?” He tried to run toward the steps, he needed to get to her.

“Yes. But-“ Merlin grabbed him by the arm. “It won’t be what you think it is. She is perfectly well, Arthur. But there is something you should know...”
That was how he found out. His ‘darling wife’, his ‘loyal friend and Knight’ had abused his trust. He had known their history of course, had known how much Guinevere had cared for Lancelot and he in return. But Lance had returned to them with a wife and son in toe. Lady Elaine was a pretty woman, kind and caring toward all and the child... Galahad, he had seemed the apple of his father’s eye. Arthur had taken one look at the family of three and had thought it safe. He had believed that Lancelot had moved on, that he loved Elaine in a way he had never had the chance to love Gwen. Yet, two hearts would be broken for some illicit affair.

When he had entered the Throne Room, Guinevere was sat on her usual throne, the silk dress and veil making her look even more beautiful than she had ever been. Arthur swallowed as he took her in; he hadn’t believed Merlin’s allegations, not until he had looked at Gwen’s guilty face. Then he had accepted, taken a deep breath and controlled himself. Lancelot was stood beside her, his head down cast. It seemed the entire court had gathered. Every Lord, Lady and Knight had gathered to witness what would soon occur. He paused in the centre of the room, the crowd parted so that the door was sealed behind him but so that a path led to the throne and a wide circle around the King. Only Merlin breeched the space, he stood a foot away from his Sovereign.

He withdrew his sword and Gwen stifled a sob, fearing the worst. He was pleased to note the glimmer of fear in his right-hand man’s eyes. “It seems, Lancelot.” He pointed the sharp and dirtied weapon as the Knight. “I have discovered why you declined my offer to search for the Grail...” He cast it aside; it slid across the floor and glinted in the sunlight. He took his gloves of next, his eyes not leaving his dark-headed ‘friend’.

“Shall I send them away?” Merlin asked, the crowd rustled and both Gwen and Lancelot looked up. He could hear Elaine sobbing somewhere to his right and felt pity toward her, she deserved this no more than he.

Arthur’s attentions did not stir from the betrayers though; he didn’t blink or turn away as he spoke. “No.” Gwen looked away, ashamed and horrified but he wondered what for. That she had been caught out in the affair or that it would be aired out before her people. “Let them learn as I do why I am married-” He paused, hating the word on his tongue but finally spitting it out: “to an Adulteress.”

Guinevere gasped; he could see tears rolling down her cheek. What had she to cry about? Had her heart been ripped out by the words: ‘She’s been sleeping with Lancelot’?
“Arthur...” She choked and stood up. Lancelot looked sideways at her, then at Arthur.

“Well? Should I ask ‘when’ or ‘for how long’ first?”

“We’re in love.” Lancelot attempted.

“Love? And when did you fall in love with MY wife, Lancelot?” He spat the name like it was poison.

“We have always been in love... The first time I met her, I loved. I saw her for what she was, a beautiful, noble, brilliant woman. She was a Lady to me before you made her one.”

Arthur was seething, he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to stab the man to death, or leave him hanging over the castle gates... Or feed him to something vicious and deadly. When he didn’t answer, Lancelot took it for leave to continue.

“What did you see, Arthur? When you first met her... A serving girl? Did you even notice her, too busy staring at your sister to even notice-” Lancelot went flying, swearing and yelling as he did so.
Arthur turned, Merlin’s eyes faded back to blue. “Merlin...”

“What? It was either I do that or you punch him; and you’re too noble to go around hitting Knight’s.” Arthur looked away, ordinarily he would have smiled but today he could find no amusement in it.

Lancelot staggered to his feet, gave Merlin an astonished look and it wasn’t for a few seconds did Arthur finally catch on. Lancelot had been Merlin’s friend too; a very good one and it must have shocked him to be on the receiving end of those spells. It was quite touching that Merlin would pick him.

“Please, stop fighting, it won’t get us anywhere.” Gwen’s declaration was only met with hisses; she had lost the respect of her fellow courtiers.

“Sire, if I may?” The room turned to look at the new keeper of books. “Whilst I understand the delicacy of the subject... There are protocols...”

Guinevere frowned and stepped down from the small stage that the thrones were placed on. Lancelot looked up too.

“Continue.” Merlin supplied when Arthur failed to find his voice.

“Her Ladyship wavers, her right to the throne; adultery of this kind is even treason. Whether you like it or not, My Liege; Sir Lancelot must be banished from court and Queen Guinevere- Well, she must burn like all Adulteresses.”

“Surely not!” Arthur choked, already stepping toward the man and his book. He knew it too be true though, he knew men burned their wives for cheating. Gwen was crying again, it seemed she had been about to faint because Lancelot had suddenly grabbed her.

“By God, Arthur, if you kill her I’ll come after you myself!”

“Merlin?” The King tried desperately, no matter what he felt for her at the moment, he did not want his Queen dead.

“What can I do about it?” The sorcerer shrugged, he sent a panicked look toward his old friend, who was clutching at Lancelot’s arms.

Arthur turned slowly to face them again. “Please, Arthur... Please, don’t.” She breathed.

“She should burn; there can’t be one rule for her and another for the rest of them.” Someone shouted, he didn’t know who, nor care. It was true though, he hated it but it was true.

“Sir Lancelot Du Lac, you are furthermore stripped of your title as a Knight of Camelot. You must leave the court and never return. Your land and belongings will be taken from you and only because he is innocent in all this... You lose your right to your son. Your wife and child will be given residence in the castle and you may not contact either, with penalty of death if you do.”

Arthur’s voice was stilted as he spoke, everyone could see he didn’t want to be doing this. When he turned his attention to his wife, he let out a sob and choked on it, tears rolling down his face as he said it.

“Guinevere” he laughed at the irony “Pendragon.” He didn’t seem to be able to say the words and Merlin stepped up beside him, placed his hand over his arm and squeezed it gently. “You are sentenced to death by burning, your crime adultery and treason against your King.”

She cried out, as did Lancelot. But Arthur did not stay to listen; he turned on his heel and stormed out. Merlin behind him.
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