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Morgan of Cornwall
‘’Please stay,’’ I begged him, on the day he was to leave, with the Lady Egraine, my mother. I couldn’t bear to be parted from him. ‘’ If this visit with Uther must be, then come back soon.’’
‘’Oh, Morgan, of course I will. I could never leave you. Not forever.’’
‘’ Here. Take this. For love,’’ I said, handing him some trinket I had made.
‘’ I promise to return myself faithfully to the owner of this fine thing.’’ A smile played around his sunny face. They made preparations to leave.
‘’ Goodbye!’’ I said. I waved, and watched as they vanished from my view, moving further, and further away from the castle.
I went on with my daily life, suspecting nothing, knowing nothing. Then my mother came back, without my father. I rose to greet her, then stepped back, faltered. ‘’ Mother! But where is . . . ‘’ I stopped, seeing the look on her face. ‘’ What is it? What is wrong?’’
‘’ You must stay here, Morgan. You must not venture outside your chambers. There’s a battle being waged for Tintagel, over me. That is why . . .why your father is not here.’’
‘’ Is there nothing we can do?’’
‘’ Nothing but hope.’’
‘’ A weak answer. Is there no power we might use, no place for us in a battle that concerns a man we both love?’’
‘’There is nothing to be done, but wait it out. Please, for your own safety do not do anything rash.’’ I cast a glance at her, then locked myself away. I thought of no one but my father and was full of stressful, ignorant, fear. I wanted this ordeal to be over, I wanted to see him emerge victorious, I wanted him to keep his promise to me, yet feared he would not be able.
Days later, I saw a man who looked exactly like my father enter our halls in the evening. I wanted to hug him, but stood frozen, unable to believe that it was him. ‘’ You kept your promise,’’ I said breathlessly. But he didn’t seem happy to meet me. He seemed puzzled.
‘’ Yes. Right. I did keep a promise. Where’s your mother?’’
‘’ Where she always is, ‘’ I replied. That seemed strange to me. Since when he not know the rooms of his own house?
But she came rushing towards him, unable to see the signs of strangeness that I saw.
‘’ I heard your voice, and I could believe that it was really you, that it was you. That it was really over. It is you, you’re not a ghost, a dream?’’ she asked, her eyes aglow.
‘’ Of course it’s me. Let us go to our bed.’’
‘’ That isn’t him.’’ Somehow I knew.
She looked amused. ‘’ Morgan, who else could it be? It’s impossible for any man to be so perfectly identical to your father.’’
Before I had really thought, intuitively, I said it. ‘’ Sorcery.’’
‘’ Silly, Uther doesn’t know sorcery.’’ And laughing it off, she went with the man who was not my father.
Later a messenger came to our doors. ‘’ The Duke of Cornwall is dead, Milady,’’ he said. ‘’ He fell before last evening. Uther asks that you come to his place of residence to discuss matters.’’ I never understood how he could speak so calmly, how he could deliver with such detachment a message that meant the end of my world. ‘’ You are given the span of a day to prepare yourselves and take whatever is necessary for the trip.’’ The messenger left.
Her face was drained, pale. It seemed that she was hardly able to speak, yet she said, ‘’ It was Uther who came to our doors that night, in your father’s form. I do know how, only that it is so. Perhaps, it is as you said, sorcery. We must go to Uther.’’
‘’ You cannot think of going him, your husband’s murderer! We must leave, escape from here, so that he can never find us, never take you as his wife.’’
‘’Morgan, you do not understand, propriety demands that I go to him. I have lain with him and may be carrying his child.’’
‘’ You can’t know that. Do you have no loyalty to your husband now that he’s gone and dead?’’
‘’ We are going, Morgan.’’ Her face was saddened, helpless, resigned. I knew from that day that I never wanted to be that woman, never wanted to be her. I will find another way, I told myself.
The days went by, and I watched as Uther gloated like he had won a splendid prize, and in a way he had. He had won her, and she had let herself be won.
They were married.
In the months that followed, I found that she was indeed pregnant with Uther’s child. It did more that disgust me that she was carrying the child of her former husband’s murderer. It killed me, a little each day, and I came to understand that I could never go back to the person that I had been, but I could be strong, even in the wake of my father’s death.
I planned a thousand small revenges, determined that he should not break me the way he had broken my mother. I did not give him the respect he was accustomed to.
Then one day I was summoned. It seemed Uther had had enough of me.
One glance into Uther’s eyes, cold as stone, eyes I had come to know, and hate so well told me all I needed to know about the man. ‘’You’re no different than any other king,’’ I said. ‘’Ruthless, unyielding. . .’’
He looked with distain on me, on me, when he was the one who had as good as murdered my father. For a moment I remembered how my father’s golden laugh, and how his blue eyes had sparkled.
I brought my gaze to the hard man that stood before me, and shuddered in rage.
‘’ You are too spirited, Morgan. It’s time you learned some proper piety,’’ he said. Was he insane? ‘’ You have been quite . . . disruptive.’’
I snorted. ‘’ What kind of piety am I supposed to learn from a lusting murderer?’’
‘’ That’s enough, Morgan.’’ He slapped me. I wanted to flinch, but I didn’t. I would never give him that satisfaction. ‘’ I am your father, and your king. By God, you will show me some respect.’’
‘’ You’re wrong. You can never be my father, and though you are the king, I will never allow you to be my king.’’
‘’ I have had enough. You are to be sent to a nunnery. There, perhaps you will repent of your sins.’’ The gall!
I stood tall as a young noblewoman should and stared straight at him. ‘’ You think that you have won, that a few restraints are all it takes to break me. You’re wrong. You don’t know me. Today, I take a new name for myself. I am no longer Morgan of Cornwall, but Morgan Le Fay.’’
I strode out the door.
‘’ It will be fifteen years!’’ he called after me. So be it, I thought. I had no less resolve than before.
I swore an oath that Uther, and those of his line would see justice done. I had plenty of time for that.