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Rendezvous in the dark. Border of Sleeping Woods/Camlann. Open to Guinevere.
Under the cover of darkness, Titania slipped out of her bower. She was well-clothed, which was unusual for her, but the farther she stepped from her bower, the colder the woods grew and the less comfortable she felt. She kept her eyes open; unseelie creatures often favored the night, and though most wouldn't dare play their tricks on the seelie queen - even at a low in her power she was stronger than most of the lower fey - it did not make her at all safe. Snow dusted the ground, covering grass in soft layers of white. It deepened as she drew closer to Camlann, and a frown took place on her mouth. Snow in the woods had been unheard of until Mabb had appeared. Oberon may have been unseelie, but it was Mabb who loved the ice and cold and let it bend to her whim.

Titania wrapped her cloak tightly about her, brushing past a small clump of leaves. She paused, stopping to look into them, eyebrows lightly furrowing. A face, in the leaves. She hadn't seen them in months, had thought them gone, but there one was again, a leafy green face made from the very leaves themselves. Watching. Eyes narrowed, she stepped back and continued along her way. Only a but further and she was on the edge of Camlann, waiting for Queen Guinevere to make her appearance.

Tags: guinevere, titania

From: [info]ladyguinevere Date: 12/13/2007 16:55:39  

Guinevere's escape from Camlann Castle was far less foolproof than her previous one. A light layer of frost covered the ground around the castle, making it difficult to move at a more hasty pace. Her limbs were frozen from the cold, and the queen's hands shook uncontrollably as she prepared Arthur's horse. At last, however, she managed another unnoticed flight from the castle grounds and was soon headed towards the Sleeping Woods. She had been so careless in her haste to meet with the Queen of the Seelie that Guinevere had forgotten to bring along gloves, and her hands were nearly frostbitten by the time she drew close to the woods. But this was a mission of great importance; comfort could wait.

Slowing down, Guinevere realized as she approached the Sleeping Woods that snow, powdery and white but sharp as if solid ice, was falling. She had never been informed that it snowed in the faerie-inhabited woods - Guinevere assumed it an impossibility - but it was, indeed, snowing. Pulling her cloak closer about her body, Guinevere urged the black horse forward onto the path into the woods, looking for any sign of another.

It was only a few strides into the woods when Guinevere saw a shimmering figure in the darkness and knew that it must be none other than Queen Titania herself. Halting the horse, Guinevere dismounted, keeping her hood about her head, just for security until she had spoken with the queen, and tied the horse to a tree limb. Taking a tentative step, she spoke clearly, "Is it you, Queen Titania?"
From: [info]no_common_fae Date: 12/13/2007 17:01:52  

Titania looked up at the sound of approaching hoof-beats. Her own hood was up, not so much for hiding from sight as for keeping as warm as possible. She stepped forward as Guinevere dismounted. "Yes, it is I. You are quite punctual, Queen Guinevere, though I expected no less."

"Beautiful creature." She gazed at the horse before turning her eyes back to Guinevere. "I expect you don't have much time to be out tonight, and it is very cold. Let us get right to the point. Tell me of this enchanted sleep."
From: [info]ladyguinevere Date: 12/13/2007 17:16:04  

Guinevere could not help but sigh with relief, though she never once let herself appear anything but strong. She had no reason to be weak, not here with the Faerie Queen nor anywhere else. It was quite cold, so Guinevere did not remove her hood, merely pushed it back just a bit to reveal her face. "I try to be as prompt as I am able, especially when it comes to matters of high importance."

She swallowed when Titania complimented the horse. "Aye, he is quite elegant, to be sure. And Arthur chose only the most loyal," Guinevere mused sadly, touching the large animal's warm nose. Turning back to Titania, she nodded. "Ah yes, little time indeed. I fear too long an absence would cause even more strain than is already present between myself and Morgana." Guinevere was not sure if Titania knew much of Morgan le Fay, but she felt more comfortable with a simple recognition of the enchantress's identity before moving on. She needn't talk about her at length.

"The enchanted sleep," Guinevere explained, intensely but softly, "came over Mordred some months ago. It has been just over a year since our arrival in Camlann, and a relatively short while later he would just...not wake. But he is most certainly not deceased. He is seemingly frozen in time where he was when he slept that night, and no attempts have roused him." Guinevere took a deep breath. "My lady, I am sure you will think me positively fanatical for saying this, but I cannot help but believe that this slumber of Mordred's is nothing but a punishment. It was he that killed Arthur, slew him as I looked on. Surely that is punishable by God, and I cannot think of any further explanation for the occurrence. But the fact remains, I must know how long such a state will last, for when he wakes, Morgana intends for us to be married, and I have no say in the matter. It is a marriage by force, and I cannot resist her, not with what may be very little time and extremely limited resources."
From: [info]no_common_fae Date: 12/13/2007 17:48:39  

Titania listened to Guinevere's tale as she spoke. Titania knew little of Morgan le Fay; she knew her name and that the woman had some measure of magic. She ignored the divine wrath claims Guinevere made, rather suspecting magic done by mortal hands was more likely to have caused this effect. Frowning to herself, she waited until Guinevere stopped speaking to ask her own questions.

"Had Mordred seemed ill before his sleep? Anything at all unusual? Behaving strangely? You say he seems frozen in time. Ageless? Have his beard or hair or fingernails grown at all?" She pinned Guinevere with a look. "How long have you know of your imminent betrothal to him? And what do you know of Mordred's plans, contacts, war plans perhaps?" She threw questions out at her, some for her own benefit, some to try to gauge the nature of Mordred's illness.
From: [info]ladyguinevere Date: 12/13/2007 17:58:56  

Guinevere caught her breath at last, not quite realizing that she'd been barely breathing as she told her tale to Titania. Before responding, she quickly explained, "Forgive this sounding infinitely selfish of me, but I'm afraid that I care very little for Mordred's wellbeing, other than how it pertains to me, personally. But I will try and be as...neutral as I possibly can be."

Taking a deep breath, Guinevere began to reply to the faerie's questions. "I noticed no extraordinary behavioral differences in Mordred before the slumber, lest he was provoked, but that was always his way. I do admit that I scarcely look at him in his sleep unless it is necessary for me to visit his wing of the castle. I'd rather not think of him, let alone look upon him, but the few times I've seen him he is just as he was; frozen. Nothing at all has changed, save for the gathering of dust when Morgana does not visit him."

Guinevere paused momentarily before sighing tremendously. "I've known of the betrothal since our arrival here from Camelot. I suppose that it was Morgana's plan all along to have me and Mordred wed, so she might be aunt to a king who would grant her leave to use her enchantments, unlike Arthur, who kept a watchful eye on her activities. With him out of the way..." Guinevere trailed off, suddenly unable to speak clearly. Thinking of Arthur at hurt. It pained her. It made her insides twist and wretch with an unknown illness.

"I-I-I apologize," Guinevere sputtered at last, regaining her composure, "but it is so difficult for me to discuss." She swallowed, before trying to continue, "In any case, the marriage was planned but never acted upon, for he was in the sleep before Morgana could arrange a suitable time and place for us to be wed, for she of course wished that it be a lavish, grand ceremony. Mordred himself never spoke to me much, least of all of contacts or plans of any sort, lest he give me any ideas. He did not trust me in the slightest, being the wife of Arthur, and his only words to me were ones full of anger, greed...even triumph, if he was feeling more wicked than usual." Guinevere looked up at Titania, hoping that the queen would not too much judge her on her harsh words about Morgana and Mordred. She could not help it.
From: [info]no_common_fae Date: 12/13/2007 18:16:39  

Titania had no qualms about selfish behavior. She was a fairy, and fey were known for selfishness, seelie and unseelie alike. Whenever she did something, it was at least partially for her own benefit, even now. She may have been offering Guinevere aid, but it would come at a price, if only a meager one.

"Shh," Titania soothed, gently patting Guinevere's hand with her own warmer one. Guinevere must have really cared for Arthur, Titania noted with some measure of distraction. She pursed her lips in thought, speaking gently. "Who else besides you and Morgana know of his slumber? And with whom else does he normally keep council?"

There had to be a connection she was unaware of. If this were indeed a magical slumber, then it had been caused by something, likely something from these very woods. But with little information to go on, there wasn't much advice or suggestion she could offer.
From: [info]ladyguinevere Date: 12/13/2007 18:54:24  

Guinevere was a bit surprised at Titania's warmth towards her, not expecting the queen to be at all as sisterly, even motherly, as she was acting, even if she was still prying for answers that might help her in solving the mystery of Mordred's slumber.

"I do believe that most of Camlann is aware, though I'm not sure if the story they were told then, and are told now, is at all the truth. I imagine there is quite a bit of rumor flying about, and I'm certain that a good few of them have to do with me." Guinevere paused, blinking away the cloudiness in her eyes from tears and snow. "And as for a council," Guinevere began again, "he had few ministers here in Camlann, and those who he did have were immediately dismissed by Morgana when he first entered the slumber. She insisted that she could handle things well enough on her own, and I'm not sure if she holds her own private meetings or not. She's quite mysterious, and usually alone, so I can't imagine she'd have many confidantes besides herself."
From: [info]no_common_fae Date: 12/13/2007 19:53:57  

Titania tapped her finger against her lips. "Interesting, but sadly, that does not help very much. Who do you think, besides yourself, would most benefit from Mordred being out of commission but yet not dead?" The reasoning and the intention was one thing she needed to know, and then she would try to determine the exact cause. "Tell me of his enemies, besides the two I already know."

Titania moved, pacing slightly as she thought. "And why does Morgana wish you to marry Mordred? Is it simply because you were married to his father the king, or some other reason?" She grimaced slightly. The thought of arranged marriages for someone else's benefit struck to near a chord for her; her own dissolved marriage to Oberon was still fresh.
From: [info]ladyguinevere Date: 12/13/2007 20:06:55  

Guinevere pondered Titania's words for a long moment, her mind racing. "He has no enemies here that I know of. There were a good few in Camelot, but none who would have had the thought to come here after him." She stopped, thinking again. "One could say that the one who benefits the most from his absence is, indeed, Morgana. She essentially rules as a regent while he is indisposed, as she is his next-of-kin, his only blood relative here. And she has desired power for so long. For many years she tried to gain more influence over Arthur, over me, so she might have a say in the rule of Camelot."

She abruptly halted her words. Though she knew that it was likely, though never proven, that Mordred was indeed the illegitimate son of Arthur, it stung to hear it said. It reminded her of her own betrayal of Arthur, with lancelot. Which reminded her of Morgana's. "I..." Guinevere started, carefully, "I cannot say for sure why Morgana would wish me married to Mordred, but since my marriage to Arthur she has tried to dethrone me in whatever way possible. I admit, with regret, that I did betray my husband, and she has loved many of his knights. I am not saying that this is a jealousy about past lovers, but perhaps a punishment? It would be in character for her to wish me miserable and unable to call myself Arthur's queen any longer, for I would be Mordred's." The very thought of it chilled her to the bone.
From: [info]no_common_fae Date: 12/15/2007 13:04:25  

Titania paused in her pacing. "Does she now? And she is an enchantress, is she not? How versed is she in magical craft? Tell me more of her, of her art, how she practices, when, where, if she still does." Morgana sounded like a likely candidate to have afflicted the king. Especially if she was not fond of Guinevere. It wasn't quite adding up however, until Guinevere spoke of betrayal. "Betray him? What did you do to betray him, and why would she see fit to punish you for it?"
From: [info]ladyguinevere Date: 12/22/2007 16:33:57  

Guinevere sighed. "I know little to nothing of Morgana's practices. The wretch has not let me anywhere near her when she works or studies, for I am her enemy. Her witchcraft is her own and not for my eyes." She paused, thinking for a moment. "I've learnt to be quite careful, though, for I had heard when we were still in Camelot that the lady has used potions, and I can never be sure if she will try to do something to me."

She swallowed, shivering in the cold and out of embarrassment. "I betrayed him in every way it is possible for a wife to betray her husband, save for forsake him to his enemies." Guinevere took a deep breath and murmured softly, "In his absences, I went to bed with one of his knights. His most trusted, his greatest friend, like to his brother." She looked away. "I am ashamed of it, as well I should be."
From: [info]no_common_fae Date: 12/22/2007 16:44:11  

Titania glossed over Guinevere's explanation of Morgana's magic and instead responded to her explanation of her betrayal. "If you think that is every way one can betray another they have claimed to love, then you should consider yourself fortunate. I've seen a betrayal that cut far deeper and spanned centuries," she replied thinking of Mabb. She shrugged then, shaking her head. She and Oberon were married for a thousand years, and each had their indiscretions, and neither felt a whit of guilt about it. But the hand he had dealt Mabb was far worse than any Titania could imagine. "Though I suppose the bonds of marriage mean more to some than to others."

The last comment was said almost flippantly as if giving a weak attempt at sympathy she could not feign at the moment. Instead, she frowned. "I will not have an answer for you tonight, Queen Guinevere. I must learn more of what may have caused his sleep, but I do not think he will be waking of his own volition, not any time soon." She wrapped her cloak around her, the chill of the night begging to settle on her. "I must ruminate on this. I will send word to you as soon as I know something."
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