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[July 30] [Arthurian] The Fair Unknown

Title: The Fair Unknown
Day/Theme: July 30, small, breathing harshly
Series: Arthurian
Character/Pairing: Mordred, Guinglain
Rating: PG

Guinglain is born blue and cold and in the darkest days of winter. The birth is hard, and Ragnelle fevers shortly thereafter. Morgause clears the room of all, even Mordred, thrusting the babe in his arms as she pushes him out. “See to the child, my son,” she says, “And I’ll tend to her.”

Mordred is no stranger to children, or even babes, but Guinglain is too still and too quiet. And so Mordred finds himself mouthing prayers to a god he does not believe in, as he dips clean cloth into goat’s milk and tries to get the child to suck. He’s been assured that a girl from the village will be available by sunrise, but the night stretches.

Gawain is next to useless, alternating between looking in on Florence and Lovell and continuously pacing the hall.

“I told her we didn’t need another,” he says at one point. “I was happy with our two boys. Mordred, I was happy, wasn’t I? I didn’t give any indication that I wasn’t?” And it scares Mordred to see his stalwart brother so unsure.

But in the morning, the child still breathes and his color is better. By prime, the girl from the village is brought in, and after time at her breast, his color is better still. Morgause emerges from the bedchamber and says that Gawain may see his lady for five minutes and no more, at least not until the morrow, and Gawain aways with such rapidity that Mordred would swear that the hounds had been set upon him.

“She’ll live,” Mordred says because Morgause would ne’er allow Gawain the hope of the morrow if she did not know for certain.

“Aye,” Morgause confirms. “Though this will be her last child.” She looks at the babe, now back in Mordred’s arms. “He will live too.”