Title: Destiny Begun
Sequel to: Mark of the Dragon
Universe: Lost Princess Series
Pairings/Characters: Chloe/Arthur, Chloe/Lancelot, Lois, Lana
Disclaimer: Don't own
Summary: How is Chloe to find a way back home if Camelot keeps executing her best chances of doing so? On top of this she has to put up with Arthur, who has to be the biggest ass ever. Between being kidnapped, meeting Lancelot, and finding druids...destiny begins.
Written for my Paranormal25 150 Prompt Table. Prompt used #85
: Lake Monster.
It'd taken days to finally track down the decomposing body of the beast that'd risen from the lake and kidnapped Chloe, and they'd been days of hell for Arthur as he replayed her screaming his name as the monster took her away. The young prince had called himself a million foul names during the whole time, pushing himself and his knights harder than their bodies were supposed to go, and yet the knights had never voiced a complaint, as if knowing that their leader was in turmoil. And he was. Because he was utterly useless. Once again he'd been unable to do anything as something magical took her from him. And maybe this time had been for real. Maybe the witch's final vengeance before the fire consumed her had destroyed Chloe. And it was all his fault. He shouldn't have let her out of his sight. He'd known that she had a bad history with witches. Why had he left her side that morning? Why?
He prayed to the gods, swearing to them that if they let him find Chloe alive that he would never let her out of his sight again, and that no matter what he'd make her his Queen and take proper care of her. He'd even try not to antagonize her as much, even if it was glorious to see that angry flush darken her skin...or the way her eyes changed color slightly when she was furious at him, her whole body trembling slightly with the obvious desire to punch him. As prince Arthur had always been able to treat anyone the way he wanted and they would never react to him, but Chloe reacted. She didn't know that she was really royalty herself, that she was his fiance, and thus he would allow her to get away with things others would be put in the stocks. No. She didn't know. So every time she verbally battled him, every time she was cheeky and insolent, it was with her believing she could end up being punished for it.
And yet she spoke her mind before him.
He knew that there wasn't a facade when it came to her.
Chloe was very truthful.
Even if that truth was blunt.
He knew she detested it in Camelot, knew that without the memories hidden deep within her psyche that this wasn't her intended home, but her prison. It tortured him to pass her room every night and know that inside she was trying to find a way to escape him. He'd doubled the guards, told them to be alert and to always keep an eye on her. She wasn't to be allowed to escape. She was to remain in Camelot. Whether she liked it or not.
But he was going to make sure that she did like it.
He'd been trying to work on her, to show her how superior he was to those around. Whenever she was around he showed her how, as prince, he had dominion over others and thus subtly imply that by his side, she could have this power as well. Whenever she walked passed the training area he savagely showed her how easily he could best the greatest of his knights, proving that he would be the only protector she'd need, and for her to know that she was safe with him. And whenever he came back from hunts he made it a point to show her the game he personally caught, letting her know that even if he weren't a prince he could easily provide food for her table.
Any other maiden would have swooned at his feet by now, but not Chloe.
No. Not her.
If anything, he suspected she wasn't very impressed, and he couldn't understand why.
Morgana seemed hellishly amused every single time Arthur walked away from a meeting with Chloe with the distinct feeling that she just wasn't getting it, so he believed that Morgana might know more than he did about what exactly was going wrong in his courtship. It only proved to annoy him further.
But when he got Chloe back, he'd double his efforts...because maybe he just wasn't being obvious enough.
He'd have to display more dominion over the masses, more savage proficiency in training, and hunt bigger, tougher game.
This should work.
But first he needed to find his lost princess and take her back to the kingdom that would become theirs once he got through to that thick skull and made her remember all that she'd forgotten thanks to that accursed witch.
He and his knights had travelled days and nights, all throughout Camelot's boarder, in the direction the monster had taken, and then they realized that it could have very well crossed the boarder into King Cenred's kingdom. Arthur knew that the prince and knights entering King Cenred's kingdom could very well be mistaken as an invasion, so they'd had to hide their armor and emblems, breaking off into smaller groups and riding long and hard, each group having a messenger bird to deliver messages should one party discover the whereabouts of the creature and of Chloe. When one of the parties sent word that they'd found the foul beast, Arthur and the others had raced to the location specified, taking two days to do so, and when they did they found the decaying body of the monster that'd spirited Chloe away from within the castle walls itself.
It'd obviously been attacked and killed, though with the level of decomposition they couldn't tell what exactly had killed the beast. And they also couldn't find any trace of Chloe. But what they did find were tracks, made by a man, which were a couple of days old. It led away from the beast, and the way the tracks were sunken into the ground betrayed the fact that whoever had made them had been carrying something heavy enough to be a young woman.
Arthur had silently thanked the gods for this little morsel of hope that Chloe was alive, and they followed the tracks to a well-hidden cave. They could tell that two people had stayed in this cave, and then had left. One of the footprints were of male boots, and the other were softer tracks, made by female feet bound in some sort of material, denoting a lack of shoes. And considering that Chloe had been kidnapped in her undergarments, once again the facts were aligning...as was the discovery of the very undergarment itself, discarded. She must have put on some of her rescuer's clothes.
"These tracks," one of his knights mumbled. "They are not heading towards Camelot."
Arthur knew that, a muscle in his cheek jumping as he realized what Chloe was doing.
She'd been given the opportunity she'd been looking for. She was away from Camelot, and she would look for someone who could help send her back to that dimension she erroneously believed her home.
He wasn't going to allow her to foolishly send herself back to that realm for prisoners the witch hadn't felt the desire to kill.
Arthur turned to his men. "We ride hard. They have a couple of days start."
"A good day, strangers."
Jumping, Chloe turned the same time Lancelot did, unsheathing his sword to find that they were surrounded by druids. The people had blended in with the woodland, only making their presence known when they had finished assessing the newcomers.
"What brings you to these parts of the woods?" The man asked once more, stepping forwards, obviously the leader of the druids surrounding them.
Chloe cleared her throat, stepping forwards. "I am Chloe Sullivan, and this is my champion, Lancelot Du Lac." She watched Lancelot slowly put away his sword, before she continued. "I have come seeking the guidance of your Elders."
Curiosity burned obvious on their faces.
"In what aspect can we help you, child?" The man wanted to know, tilting his head to the side.
Chloe cleared her throat, sending Lancelot a quick look, a little nervous since she hadn't told him any of this as yet. "I am from another world, and my friend's ancestor's grimoire accidentally sent me here."
There were whispers from the men as they suddenly looked at each other.
Lancelot's eyes widened. "Another...world?"
Sending him an apologetic look over her shoulder, Chloe turned back to the druid. "Not only was I sent here, but when I awoke I had a symbol tattooed on my back that I'd never had there before." She looked around her as the whispers grew louder, harsher. "Lancelot told me that druids have similar tattoos, and I wanted to seek your knowledge."
The man frowned, eyes on her intently. "This marking on your back. What animal does it depict?"
How had he known it was an animal?
The blonde narrowed her eyes. "A...dragon."
Suddenly one of the druids turned and ran, disappearing into the endless trees.
The others had suddenly gone silent, eyes wide and on her.
Chloe gulped, taking a step towards Lancelot, who was resting his hand on the hilt of his sword, ready to draw it should he be provoked.
Finally, the silence was broken by the druid once more as he pulled the hood from off of his head. "He has gone to inform the elders that you have arrived." He motioned for them to follow the others as the druids began to move away. "Come, we shall take you to our settlement."
Feeling warmth of a protective hand at the small of her back, Chloe looked up at Lancelot and gave him a thankful smile, feeling safer with him there.
"Please forgive us for the less than hospital greeting, but although we live in Escetia we have met with those...prejudiced...against our kind who would wish us ill." He announced with a sigh. "We are a peaceful people, who only wish to commune with nature, but King Uther's views have corrupted even those outside of his kingdom." His gaze went to her. "And I am sure that you already know how...compelling...he can be."
"Sir...how did you know that I came from Camelot?" Chloe asked, confused.
Lancelot sent them a sideways glance, curious as well.
"Please, call me Cerdan." He replied with a small smile. "And as for your question, we druids have many prophecies passed down from us. One of them foretold the arrival of the maiden who bears the Mark of the Dragon on her skin, the blood of the fae in her veins, and the hope of Albion in her hands."
"What?" Chloe hissed, coming to a complete stop. "The hope of-? That can't be right! I-you have the wrong person!"
"Blood of the fae?" Lancelot muttered softly, running his hand through his gorgeous locks. "It would explain why the fae saved you from the beast, milady."
"But-!" Chloe sputtered. "Where I come from there aren't any fairies! There is no way that I could have their blood in my veins!"
Yet the rest of the argument died on her lips when she stumbled into the small yet busy village, the druids having been warned of her arrival and all out of their huts, watching her in wide-eyed awe. She gulped, nervous, fingering a lock of hair as she found herself the center of everyone's attention. She was wearing some of Lancelot's clothes, which were obviously too huge for her, and he'd wrapped animal skins around her feet in a makeshift sort of moccasins. Her hair hadn't been properly combed since she'd been rescued, and she was sure she smelt. It'd been embarrassing to be like this with only Lancelot...and now there was a whole village with their eyes on her.
"Father?" A soft voice asked. "Is this really her?"
Chloe turned towards that voice, eyes widening as they rested upon an adorable looking boy with dark hair and intense blue eyes.
Those blue eyes stared up into hers intently.
"This is my son, Mordred." Cerdan surprised the hell out of her by announcing, placing his hands proudly on the boy's shoulder.
Chloe's eyes widened ever further as she stared down at the boy she'd always known as being Arthur's son by his half-sister Anna Morgause. She had to admit, this was probably one of the changes from the original legend that she was most pleased about. The whole 'Arthur sleeps with his sister and has his son/nephew living in court with him, and that son later seduces (or tries to seduce, the versions vary) his father's wife, marries Guinevere, and crowns himself king while Arthur is out fighting in Europe...well...that had been a bit disturbing for Chloe. At least in this version Mordred was not Arthur's son, and not only that, but he was a druid, who believed in living in peace. There was no way that this kid would grow up to become the man who'd fight Arthur in Camlann, and end up killing each other. Or seducing Guinevere.
Chloe made a face.
Now that she thought it, for a woman in the medieval times, Guinevere sure had had a racy sex life. She'd had Arthur, Lancelot, Mordred, and she'd been ravished numerous times by the MANY men who'd kidnapped her. Seriously, Guinevere being kidnapped and ravished (or having some affair or the other) was a prominent theme in the Arthurian legends. The woman sure hadn't had a boring moment.
Chloe's gaze sidled towards Lancelot.
She kinda thought...well...if she'd been Guinevere, Chloe really couldn't see the need for any other lover other than Lancelot. She really couldn't blame the Queen for having an affair with the future knight because while she was sure Guinevere must have loved Arthur greatly...there was just something about Lancelot that not even Chloe could defend her female senses against.
Despite all the different stories with Guinevere and her indiscretions, Lancelot was always prominent as a great love of hers. Some versions implied Arthur was Guinevere's one true love and Lancelot the one she couldn't let go, and others had had Guinevere being married off to Arthur due to his obsessive love for her, while she truly loved Lancelot. In others, she loved them both greatly and just couldn't choose between the two. Only two things stayed true in all the versions. One was that Arthur had been warned by Merlin before the wedding that Guinevere would love Lancelot (and Lancelot would love her) and Arthur hadn't cared...hadn't been able to give up on her, marrying her despite this knowledge. The other consistency in the tales were of Lancelot's nobility, righteousness, trustworthiness and loyalty...his admiration and brotherly love and respect for his king...and how none of that had been able to keep him from seeking his queen out and loving her as a man should his wife. His great love for Guinevere had corrupted him in the end, in which he'd more than once injured himself forcing her windows open so that he could sneak into her room and sate himself with her.
In fact, in Guinevere's abduction by Meliagrance in Le Morte d'Arthur, it stated that: 'Sir Lancelot went unto bed with the queen, and he took no force of his hurt hand, but took his pleasance and his liking until it was in the dawning of the day ... and when he saw his time that he might tarry no longer he took his leave and departed at the window, and put it together as well as he might again.'
It'd also been noted how while Lancelot would die for his king, that he was more of the Queen's Knight than Arthur's, and that he had saved her on numerous occasions.I kinda hate her.
Biting her bottom lip, Chloe looked away, telling herself off for being so resentful and jealous of someone she didn't even know.
Thankfully, the Elders greeted them, drawing her out of her revere, and with Lancelot's hand warm and protective on the small of her back, she followed the men into the large hut in the middle of the village.
"I'm dying." Lois whimpered, eyes bloodshot, half-lying on top of the table. She was no where near completing her half of the book, and was about to drop unconscious from lack of sleep.
Next to her, Lana snored, drooling daintily onto the piece of paper beneath her.
"Must...stay...awake..." Lois fought with her own body, which was beginning to shut down with its need for rest. "Must...keep...searching..."
Her eyelids finally closed, and her soft snores joined Lana's.
Chloe felt numb.
She looked from one elder to the other, wanting to tell them that they were mistaken, and yet the prophecy read about her was so precise. It'd spoken of a young maiden who'd come from another world, who would work alongside someone named Emrys to help heal Camelot, and through it, the whole of Albion. This 'fair one' was necessary in healing the darkness and hurt that'd crippled Camelot, and would be instrumental in bringing magic back to the lands, and peace to its people. The woman prophesied, the one whose fae blood freed her from the other world, was said to bare the Mark of the Dragon upon her back as a token for the druids, and other magical beings, to know her by.
Chloe hung her head, wanting to rant and scream and tell them that this wasn't fair. She wasn't supposed to be in this world. This wasn't her fight.
And yet...and yet Chloe knew a thing or two about destinies, and knew that if this truly was hers, then she wasn't going to be able to hide from it or outrun it.
She sighed, knowing her expression was bleak. "I'll have to return to Camelot then."
"Yes." The Elder nodded. "Your presence is needed if there is to be healing."
Chloe looked at her hands and closed her eyes tightly.
She didn't want to go back to Camelot.
She wanted to go home.
She wanted to see her family and friends, to hug them tight and tell them she loved them.
But according to the druids they couldn't send her back, and even if they could they wouldn't, not when she could bring the healing their world had been pleading for for so long.
Chloe's head hung.
A single tear made its way silently down her cheek.