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The Odd Couple: The Adventures of Sir Leon and Sir Gwaine

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Maeglin

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Welcome to the thread for The Odd Couple: The Adventures of Sir Leon and Sir Gwaine.

This thread is limited to posts from Maeglin and beeayy, except by invitation.

"It is exceptional and difficult to find in one man all the qualities necessary for a great general. That which is most desirable and instantly sets a man apart, is that his intelligence or talent be balanced by his character or courage. If his courage is the greater, a general heedlessly undertakes things beyond his ability. If on the contrary his character or courage is less than his intelligence, he does not dare carry out his plans."
Napoleon Bonaparte.



Last edited by Maeglin on Mon 06 Feb 2012, 5:20 pm; edited 9 times in total

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2 Leon on Sat 29 Oct 2011, 5:48 pm

“The King will see you now, my lord.”

Sir Leon had to work hard to keep his grin of excitement off his face as he nodded to the squire and entered King Arthur’s study. Though he knew it was silly, he felt like he had been waiting his whole life for this moment. He could feel butterflies twittering in his stomach as he bowed before Arthur, and flashed a very brief smile to Gwen at his side. They made a handsome couple, now even more so, still dressed in the formal wear of the wedding that morning and their cheeks still glowing with excitement. The King and Queen beamed at him.

“Ah! Sir Leon!” Arthur said amiably. “Sorry for calling on you at such short notice.”

“Not at all, sire.”

“Good old Leon! How did all the knights like the wedding feast? Spectacular, eh? I hope you tried the venison, Gwen says it was marvelous! And I’ve no idea how Merlin got those fireworks to go off in the hall!” He gave a boisterous laugh, obviously quite drunk with more things than bridegroom pleasure on his wedding night.

“It was very fine, sire.”

“And as for the company! I don’t believe I’ve ever seen so much dancing in Camelot in my life! Though I hear the night was better for some than others!” He slapped Leon on the shoulder, who colored instantly: he had not thought that the king actually noticed him introducing himself to Elaine, Lord Bernard’s daughter. He himself had been quite drunk at the time, or he would have never spoken to her—he had worshipped the girl for several years in silence.

He certainly did not want to talk about his love life in front of a man six years his junior, King or no. He tried to think of a good excuse. “Well, my lord—”

“I’m sure Sir Leon does not need to restate the night’s festivities,” Gwen said, catching Leon’s eye with sympathy.

“Of course!” Arthur said, winking nonetheless. “Never mind, never mind. I’ll leave you to it! I am leaving you to it, in fact! You know, of course, as Captain of the Round Table Knights, you will act as a steward for me while we’re on honeymoon.”

Leon’s heart caught in his throat. He hadn’t expected it to be so suddenly presented to him! But there was no time for embarrassed surprise. He’d never get another chance like this—in every way he had to be the best steward Camelot had ever known. “I—I thank you, sire, for the privilege—I swear to look after Camelot with all the wisdom and discernment I possess, and—“

“Yes, yes, yes,” Arthur said, interrupting him in the middle of his oath. “I know you’ll do fine. Now, I’ve told Gwaine to meet you here tomorrow morning, and you can start getting the kingdom ready for my reign when I return. How long do you think we’ll be, Gwen? A fortnight…?”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Yes, I suppose a fortnight is far too short a time. Make it a month. On second thought, leave our arrival date unfixed.”

“No, I mean—“ Leon stammered, “E—But, Sir Gwaine, my lord? Should I not seek the council of all the Knights of the Round Table in my decisions?”

“Oh, yes, yes, of course, Leon!” Arthur said. “But since Gwaine is to be steward as well, I think you ought to work together fairly closely.”

Leon blinked. “Gwaine? A steward?”

“Yes, I want you both to work together.”

“Together?” he said weakly.

“Yes! It was Merlin’s idea.”

“Merlin’s?”

“Really Leon, you sound like a bloody parrot!”

“But—“ Leon didn’t know whether to feel disgusted or terrified. “Why?”

“I didn’t really want to get into this,” Arthur said irritably, “But the truth is, Leon, you do act like the castle whetnurse sometimes.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Leon exclaimed, and just barely remembered to add, “Sire.”

“You’re too cautious, Leon. Loyal and brave to be sure, but you’ve got to learn to work in difficult situations. You’ve been looking after me like a nanny since I was twelve, but ruling a kingdom requires the iron glove and quick mind. Tradition’s all well and good, but Gwaine’s seen more of the world than you, and he knows a thing or two about making decisions quickly from the gut, without having to take the time to think them through.”

“My lord, with all due respect, Gwaine is far too reckless, and he’s somewhat of a vagabond!”

“I’m sure he’d take that as a compliment.”

Leon started feeling as if he was losing ground. “But—I thought—this was meant to be a test—“

“It is! For both of you, really. You know, if you can get through three months or so without killing one another I did plan to give you some of the South woods each.”

“The South woods?”

“There you go parroting again! I know how fond you are of those woods.” He grinned and slapped Leon on the shoulder again. “Don’t worry, Leon! We all have complete faith in you. Oh, remember to get someone to lock the gates on our way out.”

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3 Gwaine on Sat 29 Oct 2011, 8:09 pm

Maeglin

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Gwaine woke from the blurry oppression of sleep whose haze he knew only too well. She was a fine mistress, certainly, though an exacting one: but good or ill, drink had been his mistress this night.

And oh, what a night.

Gwaine judged the successes of last night upon waking entangled in five or so bodies, attired, as he was, as poor hermits with not a scrap of cloth to their name. What a holy night it must have been, then, ha ha! He was certain he remembered taking the Lord’s name quite often.

Blinking sluggishly, Gwaine surveyed his companions: four were attractive, the last passable and—ooh, okay, not actually a woman. Oops.

Gwaine shrugged, too hungover just now to care about anything other than acquiring a tankard of water. He carefully extricated himself from the still-sleeping pile, found his clothes (or what he guessed were his clothes) and dressed sloppily. It was a holiday, right? Drinks on the house during holidays, he was sure that was a rule. But, you know, best to shin down the drain to avoid an encounter with the innkeeper just to be on the safe side. The last time his pocketbook could keep pace with him, he hadn’t been tall enough to reach the bar.

Which, okay, all short jokes aside, had been quite some time ago. It was really sad how rarely he got truly rip-roaring-mad-drunk anymore, simply because he couldn’t afford it. Princess—oh, sorry, Prince—rather, King Arthur’s wedding to the lovely Gwen was the perfect excuse.

Still, he couldn’t shake the feeling he was forgetting something. Probably important. It usually was, when he couldn’t remember.

Oh, well. First things first.

“God, Owen, you’re up early!” Gwaine exclaimed as he staggered over to his favorite baker’s cart.

“Gwaine, lad! Early? Half the town may be abed, but they day’s still gone on. It’s nearing midday.”

“Is it?” Gwaine squinted up for the first time, a bad idea, as the clearly noonday sun blinded him. “Oh. So it is! And what a beautiful day!”

“So what’ll it be? The usual?”

“Oh, Owen,” Gwaine moaned, holding his belly dramatically, “take pity on a man who had far too much of a good thing last night! I’ll have two pies, a jam butty, and a, em, sausage roll.”

“Aye, I’ll have it right up.”

“And for the love of our Dear Lord in Heaven and the name of King Arthur, Baker, could I beg you for a cup of water?”

Owen Baker shook his head and grinned. “For you, Sir Gwaine, anything.”

“Ah-ah, and I told you about the ‘Sir’ thing. Unofficial business here.”

“Right. Undercover, is that it?”

“Yeah, that’s right. Undercover, that’s me.” Under covers, more like! Gwaine giggled and accepted the greasy paper-wrapped food, but took the cup of water greedily, and drank it down first. “Oh, thank you, you’re a life saver. What’s the damage?”

“Three pence.”

“Here’s four,” Gwaine offered, still feeling guilty about the bar tab, but taking comfort in the knowledge that despite his successful escape the bill would eventually be sent to Arthur or, well, probably in the meantime, Leon, who—

Sir Leon.

“Bugger!”



Last edited by Maeglin on Sat 29 Oct 2011, 10:26 pm; edited 1 time in total

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4 Leon on Sat 29 Oct 2011, 8:14 pm

Leon sat quietly in King Arthur’s study, forcing himself not to look at the door or out the window. It was a bitter struggle, and to pass the time he pulled out a journal and started to write.

Steward’s Log, Day 1.

Awaiting the arrival of my…
Here he paused for a moment before he forced himself to write, fellow knight Sir Gwaine, who will be working with me to rule Camelot while Arthur is away on honeymoon. First order of business shall be to discuss our action plan.

He nodded at this, particularly proud of “action plan”—It sounded very “iron glove”. He continued.

Second, shall be informing the knights and dividing duties, to more effectively see to Camelot’s needs. Third, shall be execution of those duties: recruit training, establishing the new budget, accommodating the wedding guests, and executing Gwaine for being late to his own meeting—

He scratched that out quickly until it was illegible, and sat back with a sigh. Gwaine was all right, of course. Arthur and Merlin liked him very much, and so Leon had always tried to be polite and respectful to the man. But despite his strong personality of friendliness Gwaine always seemed to treat him a little warily. Which was ridiculous—why should he distrust a knight of Camelot—the Captain of the Round Table, of all people? Perhaps it was because he didn’t exactly trust Gwaine, either. After all, what did he know about the Code of Chivalry?

Leon glanced out the window, again measuring the height of the sun in the sky with his hands. Gwaine certainly did not know how to arrive on time for a meeting.

He was being rude and foolish. Perhaps Gwaine had gotten himself into some sort of trouble? What if an accident occurred during last night’s meeting? What if he was injured somewhere?

Suddenly restless, Leon stood up and went to the window, scanning the courtyard below for any sign that someone may have gotten hurt last night. But there were no worried maids running across the courtyard, no sign of Gaius hobbling urgently to his apothecary. He just saw the knights training like they usually did.

Though—that was very strange—they did not usually go to training without him…

Just then he saw a chestnut-haired figure jump out from behind a tower shield, and order the knights into formation.

It was Gwaine!

“What the—?” Leon spluttered. Then he sighed, and, careful to grab his journal, ran off toward the stairs.



Last edited by beeayy on Sat 21 Jan 2012, 3:38 pm; edited 1 time in total

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5 Gwaine on Sat 29 Oct 2011, 10:28 pm

Maeglin

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Gwaine had almost run past the training grounds—stuffing his mouth with the last pie and waving animatedly at Elyan, hurrying in order to meet with Sir Leon as Arthur had requested—when an idea struck him.

It was ridiculous to show up to a rendezvous three hours late, especially if that rendezvous was with Sir Leon. The only thing he could do about it now was try and make it up to him: putting the knights through their paces was just such a way. Gwaine rarely displayed such initiative, and began to feel more than a little proud of himself for thinking of it. Leon might even forgive him for the missed meeting. They’d just have to have their meeting some other time, maybe over drinks.

“Well, now, Percy,” he greeted, taking two swords from the rack and greeting the towering knight, “tell me, how was your evening? Have we got a giant-sized hangover to go with that barrel of ale I saw you after last night?”

Sir Percival perhaps looked a shade paler than usual, but he smirked at Gwaine’s jab. He wasn’t one of the most talkative knights, so Gwaine was surprised to get an answer. “Would you like to test me, Sir Gwaine?”

“I would love nothing better. Nothing like the taste of cold steel in the morning, ‘eh?” He tried not to be astounded at the sheer size of the sword that Percival drew from behind his back—but he didn’t try very hard. “Now where the bloody hell’d you get that thing?”

“Do you like it?”

“Like it? That thing’s longer than I am tall! If you want to joust, mate, you’ll have to wait while I get my horse.” But he was grinning, and stood poised with both swords at the ready.

Gwaine quickly lost himself in the thrill of combat. He’d never had anyone to train with like this, growing up. No, it was always a new opponent, and always death waiting on the other side of a slip-up. So it was fun to get knocked about by and knock around men he called friends. He even let them win a few bouts.

He was sparring with Elyan now, although that wasn’t strictly true, of course, because at this point they had both ditched their weapons in favor of rolling about in the dirt, and the other knights stood around them cheering and laughing as the sparring match turned into a beautiful brawl. Gwaine was just getting the upper hand again (after getting his hair pulled unmercifully) when suddenly the cheering around them grew quieter and then died out completely.

Gwaine looked up, the grin fading from his face.

“Ahh, Sir Leon! Was wondering when you’d turn up!”

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6 Leon on Sun 30 Oct 2011, 12:11 am

Leon blinked at Gwaine grinning in the dirt. People (usually Arthur) criticized him for making what he called “a face like a puppy” when bewildered, but he felt himself making it now. “What are you doing?”

Gwaine forced a laugh and jumped up, flipping his hair back out of his eyes. “Er—alright, everyone! Dogpile Lancelot!” When the knights laughed and ran off to tackle the hapless Lancelot he pulled Leon aside. “Look, since I was a little late to our meeting—”

“You missed it by three hours,” Leon said, still in the bewildered stage of repeating the facts he had trouble accepting.

“Yes, yes!” Gwaine said, looking a trifle hurt that he brought it up, “But I thought I’d make it up to you by starting the men with some training! What do you think?”

Leon glanced at the knights—his knights—now laughing in a pile in the dirt. “I think we have a different idea of what constitutes training.”

“What? Don’t you knights learn how to brawl? Strange, it comes in handy all the time for me!”

Leon shook his head. “Anyway, that’s not the point. King Arthur left very clear orders that we were to meet before seeing the men.”

“What difference does it make?”

“I’m the captain of the knights. You’re going to give them the wrong idea….”

“What wrong idea?”

Gwaine’s face was the picture of innocence. Leon and Gwaine turned as Elyan extricated himself from the pile, and before Leon could dismiss him, the others followed suit, gathering around them.

Gwaine didn’t seem to mind at all. “Well, no time like the present to set them straight, eh Leon?” He turned to the men and threw a companionable arm over Leon’s shoulders—or at least as far as he could reach. “Arthur left Sir Leon and I in charge during his honeymoon.”

Percy raised his eyebrows. “Why you?”

“Why not me?” Gwaine said, beginning to look uncomfortable.

“You’re just like the rest of us,” Lancelot said. “I mean—Sir Leon’s alright, he’s been Arthur’s second and all that. But what makes you the best of all of us?”

Gwaine glared at Leon, who threw up his hands.

“They said it, not me,” he said quickly, though he hoped he didn’t look as pleased as he felt. At least he wasn’t the only one who thought putting Gwaine in charge was a bad idea.

“I’m sure Arthur had his reasons…” Gwaine began.

“It’s because I’m the blacksmith, isn’t it?” Elyan said. “It’s never the blacksmith…”

“I’m sure that’s not it,” Leon said. He had high hopes for where this conversation would drift. Lancelot, being rather egalitarian himself, might propose that the knights rule by committee, which Gwaine would no doubt readily agree with—and, as Lancelot said, being Arthur’s second would naturally give Leon more sway and he could get on with looking after Camelot without having to deal with these power issues. It would be best for everyone.

So when Gwaine abruptly said, “Fine, how about you fight me for it?” Leon felt his heart sink.

“I beg your pardon?”

“Yeah, it’s a good idea, right? Any of you knights that think you’d do a better job than me at being a steward can fight me for the privilege. Anyone who can beat me gets the job. I’m sure he chose me because I’m the strongest.”

“Ah—er—“ Leon said, trying to control the situation, “I don’t think that’s such a good idea—“

“What, scared, Leon?” Percy laughed, slapping him hard on the back.

“Oh, you’re exempt, of course!” Gwaine said, flashing him a smile. “After all, by the time you got your armor on I’ll have beaten these lads and gone for lunch!”

And with that Leon had to duck as Percy dove for Gwaine, and nothing he could say made the knights stop from joining in.

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7 Gwaine on Sun 30 Oct 2011, 1:51 am

Maeglin

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Gwaine had to admit he was taking an awful risk. You didn’t tell a man who caused rockslides that you were stronger than him. You didn’t tell a blacksmith you packed more of a punch than he did. You didn’t try to tell a commoner who had earned himself a knighthood that you were fitter than he to lead men.

Well, you didn’t if you were smart, anyway.

Gwaine sidestepped the charge from the giant, and used the man’s momentum to bring him down. But Percival wasn’t so easily dissuaded, and was halfway up again before Gwaine was on him. He had no weapon or armor to even out the playing field here, so it was just strength against strength.

Which, okay, was a bad idea when you were fighting a strapping six-footer from the lower towns.

Still, he had a few tricks up his sleeve yet. Gwaine was also heavily banking on being, one, the most sober man in the melee, and certainly, two, the most accustomed to functioning with a hangover.

So despite being half Percy’s size, even in straight strength they were almost matched—and as for combative skill, well, Gwaine lived and breathed the stuff. He fought not for glory, honor, or riches, not for the love of a woman, nor (until very recently) for king and country: Gwaine fought simply because he liked fighting.

Percival was a farm-boy: strong, but not primarily a fighter. He was down for the count after being held in a headlock until he saw stars.

Elyan was a blacksmith: same again. Though he had opted for a sword-and-shield approach, Gwaine used his signature steal-the-sword attack, which encouraged Elyan to give it up.

Lancelot was his match, well-trained and highly experienced, but Lancelot had lofty pretentions to chivalry and he never ever fought dirty. Which, you know, if you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying, right? So when Gwaine pulled Lance’s hair and tweaked his nose, it got a laugh out of the knights and the nobler man didn’t see it coming, so was easily jerked around until he had been relieved of his weapon and ended up flat on his back.

“Well,” Gwaine said, grinning and puffing as he looked around at his audience. His shoulder hurt where Percival had punched him and then Lancelot had yanked on him, but he wasn’t about to rub it in front of them. “Anyone else like to have a go at questioning the King’s judgment?”

The men looked chagrined, and no one else stepped forward.

“Sir! Gwaine!”

The shout was startling only because it came from Sir Leon, who hardly ever shouted. If you weren’t listening closely, it might have been simply his drill-master tone, which he used to get men to form up and present arms and all that. But Gwaine, who was in the doghouse already and was sensitive to the possibility of hostility there, heard something else in the voice. The smoldering blue eyes (since when could Leon “smolder”?) said it, too.

We need to talk.

“I need to speak with you in the King’s throne room. Carry on with your exercises, men. We will return shortly.”

‘We need to talk’?! Gwaine was startled first as how or why he knew this Look, until of course he realized he’d seen it on the faces of his countless paramours (usually when they found out about each others’ existences). ‘We need to talk’ meant nothing good.

The rest of the knights gathered around him, whispering, as Leon turned and stalked off, expecting to be followed. Percival patted him on the (bad) shoulder sympathetically. “What’s got into him?” Elyan wondered.

“Is he mad at you, too?” Lancelot teased, friendly enough, though he was still glowering and rubbing his offended nose.

Gwaine squinted. “I think he’s breaking up with me.”



Last edited by Maeglin on Sun 30 Oct 2011, 1:55 am; edited 1 time in total

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8 Leon on Sun 30 Oct 2011, 1:53 am

Leon entered the throne room, somewhat agitated but trying to see this unpleasant situation from Gwaine’s…alternate point of view. After all, poor Gwaine knew practically nothing about Camelot, when you came down to it.

“Look,” he said as Gwaine entered behind him. “I understand this all must be very new to you. But that isn’t how we do things here.”

“What, the show of force?” Gwaine replied, still clearly riding high off his victories, though at least he had the decency to attempt a penitent look. “You know I really am sorry about that, but sometimes they just need to be shown who’s top dog, am I right?” Still, Gwaine clapped Leon firmly on the shoulder, grinning.

“Not like that, I hope.” He sighed. “I’m sorry I shouted at you. But I am responsible for the knights, and Camelot follows a strict code of conduct at all times--you can't just...go off on an idea like that!”

Gwaine’s grin widened, if that was possible. (It was, unfortunately, always possible). "But it worked, didn't it?" He wiggled his eyebrows playfully, but Leon wasn’t in a playful mood, and he quickly changed the subject. “All right, well, might as well have that ‘meeting’ now, yeah? What’s our action plan?” He hopped up on the table and crossed his legs: presumably his down-to-business stance, which looked, to Leon, not at all down-to-business.

“Right,” Leon said, somewhat surprised at Gwaine’s behavior, but he took advantage of the opportunity nonetheless, and pulled out his notebook. "Well, first we will need to divide up our duties. Those include training the new recruits, seeing to the guests, managing the budget…"

“Bored now.” Gwaine leaped off the table. “Here's an idea. You take care of all the boring bureaucratic nonsense, and I’ll make sure the men get trained. There’s an idea, now! You just tick the little things off your list and you tell me what you want me to do, and I’ll do it! That’ll be smashing. Brilliant, well, I’m glad we’ve got that worked out...” Gwaine made ready to leave.

“H-hold on!” Leon said, bewildered. “There’s more to it than that! Arthur said—”

“Yeah, but Arthur's not here.” Gwaine winked. “So long as Camelot’s in one piece when he gets back, I think he’ll survive, and be none the wiser. So. I'll go teach the boys a hangover cure, and you let me know when I need to start booting the nobs and nobility out the front gates. We have got a catapult, haven’t we? Only joking.”

“That's not---!” But Gwaine was already skipping down the hallway, and Leon had to admit under his breath, “Alright, that’s a bit funny.” But he felt bad for thinking it.

Well, his list wouldn’t finish itself. He had his meeting with Gwaine, of sorts, and Gwaine “discussed” chain of command with the knights. He glanced over the list, ticking those tasks off. Next: seeing to the needs of the wedding guests. That meant, of course, subtly hinting at them to leave.

‘Bureaucratic nonsense’ indeed—he’d be more surprised if he survived the day than if Gwaine did training the knights. At least they didn’t already know how to kill you….

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9 Gwaine on Sun 30 Oct 2011, 1:56 am

Maeglin

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“All right, boys!” Gwaine slapped his hands together as he trotted down the stairs to meet the men.

“Is Mum mad at you, Da?” Elyan joked.

“You sleeping out in the cold again?” Percival teased.

“Don’t talk about your mother like that, Percy. It’s no wonder she had me over for dinner last night without you!”

A chorus of juvenile “Ohh!”s erupted from the knights, followed by laughter as Percival’s face colored. Gwaine clapped him on the arm and smiled widely at the group.

“So! King Arthur wants me to see to it that he has the best knights in Albion upon his return. Since he already has the best knights in all of Albion, that is to say he doesn’t want you lot getting fat and soft while he’s gone!”

The knights laughed again. Which was good.

“All right, then, ladies, gear up! I want everyone in full plate and back here within the hour. And I know we’re all hurting so I’ll see what I can do about rustling up a hangover cure before you get back. So don’t be late or it’ll all be gone!”

Gwaine was, rightly, famous for his hangover cure. The recipe was secret, though the ingredients were common, but since he was in desperate need of it himself it wasn’t much more difficult to make a cauldron full of it and dole it out. The knights returned with lunches: bread and cheese and various leftovers pinched from the palace kitchens. They had a regular feast, right there on the grass, and it ended up taking them much more than one hour before all of them were ready, fed, hangover-cured, and dressed in full plate mail on the training ground.

“Everyone happy?”

A resounding affirmative.

“Good!” he exclaimed. “Then I won’t keep you. I just have one training exercise planned for you today—”

He could hear Lancelot whispering to another knight “Right, his seat’s getting cold at the Rising Sun, let’s see how long this lasts.”

Gwaine smiled broadly at him, and Lancelot shut his mouth, unsure if he had been overheard.

“Everyone see the flag behind me?” Gwaine pointed vaguely behind him.

“Yeah,” came a few responses.

“Get it down.”

“What?” Percival laughed. “You’re joking, right?”

Gwaine turned to survey the object again.

“Oh!” he laughed. “Not that flag.”

The smile was gone from Percival’s face.

“I meant that flag!” Gwaine beamed, pointing straight up—and up and up—to the topmost tower in all of Camelot. “And I’m not talking stairs, ladies. We’re climbing the castle walls. You got a girl you want to impress? This is how you do it. You’ve got a castle to besiege, again, this is how you do it. This is a highly useful skill that translates directly into the field. And the only way to learn it is to do it.” Gwaine hefted a large bundle of rope over his shoulder.

Lancelot stepped forward. “You’re serious, Gwaine? The entire castle? In full plate mail? This is insane!”

Gwaine smirked at Sir I’d-Rather-Be-Writing-Sad-Poetry-A-Lot, who looked like he felt he was being made fun of. “Oh, did I mention? First one to the flag gets drinks on me!”

It was like releasing a flood. Rope was pulled out in every which way. Grappling hooks were launched. Ladders were called for (which Gwaine allowed since the tallest of them didn’t reach more than a third up the side of the tower). Men climbed and men fell. It probably wasn’t safe, actually, but Gwaine felt it would work out in the end.

“Aren’t you coming, Gwaine?” Lancelot asked, insisting he was still being teased until, presumably, he saw Gwaine making the attempt himself.

“Of course, darling, just wanted to let you get a head start is all!”



Last edited by Maeglin on Sat 18 Feb 2012, 5:49 am; edited 1 time in total

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10 Leon on Sun 30 Oct 2011, 1:59 am

Leon didn’t often go in for hyperbole, and generally reckoned himself to be somewhat on the literal side. So when he thought that Gwaine would have a better time dealing with fresh recruits than he would chatting it up with the most distinguished wedding guests, his assessment wasn’t far wrong.

That afternoon Leon played the host, offering his services to the most important guests staying in the castle, and subtly hinting that they ought to start thinking of packing their bags. It was expensive to keep guests at Camelot, and Arthur expressed a wish that they leave as soon as possible after the wedding. Guests of high nobility often came to Camelot, and so Leon was used to performing this kind of duty. To stay in Camelot generally cost the guests a lot of money, too. Of course, the problem with the really prestigious guests was that they felt they didn’t have to pay, either.

There was a running joke around Camelot that Leon, being the prince’s second in command and thus apparently subject to every nobleman’s order, was the castle dogsbody. But he didn’t mind so much. A life in Camelot was what his parents always hoped for him, and that alone was enough for Leon to pledge his life to the kingdom and its people. And a job does not make a knight, a knight makes a job. He performed this job so well that sometimes he could convince a newer knight to do it for him. That only worked once or twice—getting guests to hoof it could really be that bad. But it always surprised him how far “please,” “thank you,” and “my lord” could go to making the task easier.

Lord Bernard’s servant didn’t treat him with any respect as he waited to see the nobleman, but foreign servants usually didn’t. The servant probably hadn’t even attended the wedding, and as Leon waited in the front room of the spacious guest chambers he went back to his task of polishing boots. Eventually the lord called from the next room, and Leon entered and bowed.

“Ah, it’s Sir Leon, isn’t it? Come in!” Lord Bernard beamed, closing the door behind Leon. He was a thick-set man with wild dark hair and a large black beard to match. He had apparently been playing a game of chess with his daughter Elaine, who was sitting by the window looking very pretty in a green dress with her dark hair cascading over one shoulder. She caught him staring and he blushed, and tried to get down to business.

“I was just checking to see if you required anything, my lord,” he said.

“Oh, no, my lad—thank you, though! I’m sure Marvin can take care of anything we might need.”

“Marvin, my lord?”

“The dark chap! Always trotting about after the King.”

“Oh, perhaps you mean Merlin, my lord? He left last night to accompany the King and Queen on their honeymoon. If you need any assistance, my lord, you need only to send for me. Your horses can be made ready within the hour you request them.”

“Within the hour? Your King certainly knows how to run a kingdom! Well—what’s your name again, lad?”

“Leon, my lord,” Leon said, careful to pronounce it clearly. Despite his best efforts he glanced at Elaine again. Was she frowning?—Or just trying very hard not to smile?

“Well, Leon, we thank you for your generosity, but don’t you worry about us calling the horses and getting your stable boys in a fluster. We certainly won’t be leaving for a good while yet, not until Elaine here has had her fill of shopping in the town!”

Leon’s heart caught in his throat. Should he? Dare he? “Well, my lord, if your daughter requires a companion for such a venture, I could—“

“—I’m sure you could find me a lad well enough, but as fine a bunch as your knights are I wouldn’t trust them within ten yards of my daughter! Besides, I could do with some of this fresh Camelot air.”

Suddenly Elaine spoke up. “You shouldn’t want to catch a cold, father,” she said. “You do get cold so very easily.”

“True, true,” Lord Bernard said. “There’s something you could do—nip down and get me a nice walking cloak. Nothing too fancy, though I can’t abide wool. It’ll have to be something softer, but not too light.”

Leon’s heart sank, but he said, “Of course, my lord,” with usual sincerity, and bowed himself out. Buying a cloak for a man who could perfectly well get one himself no matter what his daughter said wasn’t as bad as some of the jobs he’d been given.

As he left Lord Bernard’s chamber, his vision was suddenly obscured by a pile of clothes.

“Oh, and just take the laundry on your way out,” the servant said as the clothes fell in disarray at his feet. "There's a good lad."

Leon blinked, and looked down to be sure he was wearing his livery. The servant sneering at him had no livery at all. For a moment he felt like kicking the clothes back at him, and informing the servant of his noble blood and that he could do his own bloody laundry. But even as he thought it a pang of guilt went through him. He scooped up the clothes and left, feeling that “Camelot’s dogsbody” was a fairly accurate description. With the kinds of jobs he took, he was certainly some kind of dog…



Last edited by beeayy on Sat 24 Dec 2011, 9:59 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Changing Leon's family background: Let's say he's got a nosy family that practically decided his future from from an early age.)

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11 Gwaine on Tue 01 Nov 2011, 4:37 pm

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As much as Gwaine would have longed to just observe the knights climbing, like tiny ants, up the Camelot walls from his favorite window-seat at The Rising Sun, ticking them off with a merry "he passes!" as they reached the top, he knew it would be infinitely more satisfying to actually beat them to the top.

Not to mention the godawful whining he'd have to endure if he didn't participate!

Actually Sir Ector was clipping along at a steady pace, having monopolized a lucky crack in the stonework where handholds were easier. Elyan wasn't far behind him, and Percival close behind both. And Lancelot, for all his whinging, was keeping pretty good pace with Gwaine, tied for fourth place.

But Gwaine was pretty certain he could beat him out when they reached the second line of windows. That was, of course, providing there were no distractions.

Like, say, an attractive noblewoman in a state of undress, perfectly observable through one of these windows. Woman!--Girl, rather! She could hardly be legal! Dark hair cascaded down her bare back as she shook it out, the longest curl turning up just at the dimples on her hips--and what hips! And such a lovely little waist! Didn't Camelot have laws limiting an individual's attractiveness? He was sure that was why he'd been banished the first time. No matter.

Ooh! Bath time!

"You coming, Gwaine? Ector's almost at the top!" Lancelot puffed, passing him at another window.

Gwaine, forgetting himself, barked out a laugh as if to say "You've got to be joking!" Then many things happened more or less at once, but in a specific order:

First, Elyan had pressed on past Ector and reached the flag, so a chorus of cheers went up from the onlooking knights. Next, by luck or perhaps from the force of the shouts, the visor on his helmet, which had been giving him trouble for some time, became unhinged and slipped down over his face. Just in time, because that was when the attractive young lady turned and saw him in this admittedly compromising position.

Then she screamed.

And Gwaine didn't so much fall as let go, knowing how much more preferable it was to deal with cold hard unforgiving earth than it was to deal with nursemaids and fathers protecting a young girl's honor.

And he could blame it on instinct that he craned his neck to get one last peek.

He might have reconsidered if he'd bothered to look behind him, as on his descent he clipped not just one but two ledges and broke through at least three awnings. It was probably convenient that they were there--he was higher up than he thought--but when he finally landed, flat on his back, he was bruised, battered, winded, and not at all sorry.

Knights were repelling, sliding, climbing down the castle walls en masse now, and although Lancelot's controlled decent landed him somewhere very near Gwaine's head, he couldn't summon the energy to care just yet.

Over his groan, he heard a voice.

"Oi!" Lancelot said to him, "How'd you get down here so fast?"



Last edited by Maeglin on Thu 03 Nov 2011, 3:05 am; edited 1 time in total

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12 Leon on Thu 03 Nov 2011, 2:24 am

“What do you think?”

Leon held up an classic-style gray cloak in front of him, and watched Gaius’s face closely. Gwen might have helped him out in this situation, but since she was gone he found himself at Gaius’s apothecary for advice.

Gaius raised an eyebrow. “You aren’t that old, Leon.”

“It’s for Lord Bernard.”

“Oh! Then, yes--very nice. Wouldn’t mind having one myself.”

“You’ll be hard-pressed to find one like this.” He held it out for Gaius to feel. “It’s rabbit fur.”

“So it is! It’s not many a man who could make such a distinction—you’re going to make a fine catch for a lady someday!”

Leon chuckled and started folding up the cloak. Gaius went back to his potions--or so it appeared.

“…Lord Bernard’s daughter, for instance. She’s very pretty, isn’t she? Not so flashy as Morgana was, but she has real noble bearing.”

“Er--yes, she does.”

“Now, she’d make a fine catch. I hear she’s very charming, should you get to know her…”

Leon looked up. “What are you suggesting?”

Gaius rolled his eyes. “Now, Leon, I know you’re old enough to understand that. You ought to be settling down, you know. I think Lady Elaine could make you very happy—“

“I’ll consider it,” he said, more as something to end that line of conversation.

Gaius only shrugged. “How are you and Gwaine getting on?”

“Like a house on fire.” Leon glanced out the window, where he saw Gwaine and the knights fooling about in the courtyard. “I’m in charge of the castle, though—so if you need anything, just let me know.”

“Of course, Sir Leon,” Gaius said, with somewhat feigned submission. “Though I wouldn’t say that too loudly.”

“Why not?”

“It’s a big responsibility, watching out for a kingdom. You and Gwaine should work together.”

“Arthur would not have appointed me if he did not think I was up to the task.”

“Hmm. Lord Bernard’s looking for you, by the way.”

“Oh, I’d better get this cloak to him, then. Thanks, Gaius.”

Gaius nodded vaguely as he left the apothecary. Lord Bernard, in fact, was coming down the hall toward him.

“Sir Leon! Just the man I wanted to see!” Lord Bernard boomed. Leon shied a little but pulled the cloak out quickly.

“Here is your cloak, my lord,” he said, smiling hopefully. “See—it’s not wool, its rabbit fur, and—“

“Enough of cloaks!”

Leon lowered the cloak. “Yes, my lord.”

“Cloaks is not what I wish to speak to you about!”

Leon could feel his grin fading. “No, my lord?”

“No!” Lord Bernard suddenly wheeled around. “I will see you in the throne room, if I may! It is somewhat delicate in nature!”

“Ah. Right.”

And Leon led the way, his mind racing.

Who did I leave I charge while I was gone? No one. I didn’t think anyone needed to be in charge for one bloody afternoon!

Wait. Gwaine was in charge.

Damn.

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"And that, boys, is how it's done!" Gwaine beamed.

"What, the falling?" Lancelot smirked.

"That," Gwaine corrected, "is how you mix business with pleasure!"

"And that," said Sir Bors, the only knight with any physician experience in the order, "is how you mend a dislocated shoulder," he said, having the last laugh as he patted Gwaine heartily on the tender area.

"There we are, see?" Gwaine smiled through gritted teeth. "That's what, four lessons in one? What would you boys do without me?"

"Not get into half so much trouble?" Elyan said.

"I know, didja see the huff Lord Bernard was in?" Percival asked, with boyish glee.

Okay, I'll bite, Gwaine said to himself, and against his better judgement, asked: "Who the bloody hell is Lord Bernard?"

"Only the fiercely protective father of the girl you caught in the bath!" Lancelot supplied indignantly (probably on behalf of his fellow female species).

"You mean those lovely bubbies have got a name?" Gwaine grinned.

"Yes, they do," Lancelot continued to scold, which was already annoying ten minutes ago. "Elaine of Ascolat."

"And Leon fancies her," Elyan concluded, as if this was the last nail in the crucifixion.

"You boys aren't going to turn me in now, are you?" Gwaine asked, feigning concern.

"No, but we should," Lancelot frowned.

"Well, with a vote of confidence like that, who doesn't want to go see old Leo's chain mail chafe when Bernard lays into him, 'eh?" Gwaine said, leaping excitedly to his feet and running off toward the main hall with the knights following along, keen on a show.

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14 Leon on Mon 07 Nov 2011, 4:16 am

Leon watched Lord Bernard closely, attempting to figure out why he should be so angry. Despite the apparent delicacy of the situation, surely he could make the problem clear in a civilized fashion, man to man?

Leon sat down behind Arthur’s desk, just to be safe. “Won’t you sit down, my lord?”

“I can’t sit at a time like this!”

“Then perhaps you could tell me what the trouble is…?” Leon said hopefully.

“I’ll tell you what’s the trouble!” But Lord Bernard did not seem to be very willing to divulge details. He mumbled something, shouting “disgraceful!” and “I mean to say” intermittently. As Leon waited for the man to collect his thoughts, he saw Gwaine peek his head around the door, followed by the heads of Percy, Elyan and Lancelot. They all looked surprised, but thoroughly pleased. He was about to acknowledge them when Lord Bernard suddenly spat, “One of your knights played Peeping Tom with my daughter!”

Leon’s mouth dropped open, and he cleared his throat. “Er—“ his eyes darted back to Gwaine, who quickly put a finger to his lips. He was laughing.

Lord Bernard, taking Leon’s eye-shifting for mere embarrassment, continued. “Apparently he was climbing the castle walls—though why he should be climbing the walls I’d like to know! She was in the bloody nuddy!”

“No, really—“ Leon interjected, trying to ignore the knights’ silent mirth. He threw a warning glance at Gwaine, who only made the outline of Elaine’s voluptuous figure with his hands. The knights thought this was hilarious.

“Yes! Taking a bath, she was! I shouldn’t be surprised if the lecher saw her from head to—”

“Enough, sir, please!” Leon said before Lord Bernard could continue. “I’m sure this can all be explained by—“

And he would have shouted “Sir Gwaine!” but Lord Bernard was a nobleman and thus very much in the habit of interrupting people. “I want you to find this blackguard and strip him of knighthood!”

Leon gulped his words. “Stripped of title?”

“Or put in the stocks,” Lord Bernard conceded. “I’m not unreasonable. But I want this cur made an example of! My daughter will not be the butt—I mean, she will not be subject to such mockery!”

“Of course.” Leon saw that Gwaine’s grin had faded, but he was straightening his tunic, and looked as if about to speak up. Leon took the opportunity.

“Well, it’s my responsibility, my lord,” he said, standing. “On behalf of the knights I apologize, and will do whatever if necessary to restore the honor of Lady Elaine.’’

Now it was Gwaine’s turn to gape. Lord Bernard looked equally surprised. “What, even the stocks?”

Leon glanced at Gwaine, whose look of surprise became his signature squint of puzzlement. “Even the stocks.”

Lord Bernard scratched his neck. “Well, if you’re going to be that way about it,” he complained. “I can’t very well send you to the stocks. Your father and I go way back, you know.”

“You may rest assured I will not allow such a thing to happen again,” Leon said, careful not to breathe too loud a sigh of relief.

“Well—I think an apology to Elaine would be in order, then.”

“As you wish, my lord. I’ll—see her right away.”

“See that you do, Leon—and look after your knights!”

“Yes, my lord.”

Leon bowed very low and Lord Bernard turned just as Gwaine entered the room. Gwaine and he exchanged glances as they passed, both full of distrust, before Lord Bernard stomped out.

“Well, now! That wasn’t so bad!” Gwaine said, grinning until he saw Leon’s face. The other knights, who had never seen Leon quite so angry, decided they had other engagements and fled. A moment later Leon had slammed Gwaine up against a wall, his feet dangling.

“It was you, wasn’t it?” Leon snarled.

“Ouch!” Gwaine shouted, his face the picture of pain. Leon blushed, suddenly remembering himself.

“Sorry,” he said, gently setting Gwaine down. “Are you alright?”

“Oh, yeah,” Gwaine grunted, rubbing his shoulder. “It’s just from when I fell from the window and—“ he caught Leon’s glare. “—never mind.”

“What the blazes were you doing up there?”

“Training, what else? I didn’t mean to. Look, if you caught her naked, you couldn’t resist, eh? Thanks, anyway, though. Nice move to do it in front of the other knights. Very manly of you.”

“You can thank me by spending tonight’s banquet meeting the other nobles.”

“Another banquet? I haven’t anything to wear! Can’t we just have a plain old feast?”

“If you can’t find something, you can wear something of mine,” Leon said.

“I’ll look like a dwarf!”

“You are a dwarf!”

Gwaine was about to object until he realized that in front of Leon, it was perfectly true. His frown, if possible, deepened. “Alright, I'll go!”

“Fine!”

"Fine!"



Last edited by beeayy on Wed 16 Nov 2011, 12:25 am; edited 1 time in total

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This was ridiculous.

Gwaine had never before seen more pompous belligerence, more arse-kissing, more drunk noblemen and their fat wives wearing outrageous hats than he was seeing right now.

And he wished he could be struck blind.

That he knew all the other knights were at the pub with Leon made it even worse. Some punishment! He’d almost prefer the stocks! No, he certainly would prefer the stocks to this! At least then he could join his friends at the… Well, join the boys at the pub, anyway.

The only highlight of the evening had to be Lord Bernard’s daughter, who was almost as attractive fully clothed as she was in the nude. Not to discount her tailor or anything, of course, but he did have a pulse after all.

In fact—

“Lady Elaine,” he said, sidling up to her table and refilling her goblet, “I hope you are enjoying yourself this evening?”

“Oh. Of course!” she said.

He detected automatic civility, but perhaps also a hint of interest behind those walls of ice? Nothing that wouldn’t come crashing down when he gallantly admitted his own depravity, nobly placed himself at her mercy, and confessed to the vile deed of being the Peeping Tom who could not help himself when faced with her perfect beauty. If he were to be damned, he would conclude, then let him be damned for not having the moral fiber to draw his eyes from Helen, from Aphrodite herself!

Unfortunately, he had not begun his speech before she spoke again.

“Actually, I’m surprised to see you here, Sir Gwaine. I thought surely Sir Leon would be in attendance.”

Gwaine could not, in all honesty, ignore the bright blush that flooded her cheeks at the mention of the blonde-haired-bastard he was going to personally beat to a blood pulp for sticking him at this ludicrous banquet! In fact, it was so plainly obvious that she clearly fancied the fuzzy bugger that it gave Gwaine another idea.

An even better idea!

“Ah. Yes. Leon. Of course, Leon, he—erm—”

“Is there something you wish to say, Sir Gwaine?”

“Er. Wish to say? No, no. Hardly that, no. Only I—I feel I have a duty to say…. That is, don’t you know, Leon’s who I came to talk to you about!”

She smiled. “Pardon?”

“It’s a terrible business,” Gwaine said, putting an elbow down on the table beside her and lowering his voice conspiratorially. “He’s an absolute pussy-cat when you get right down to it, but if he knew I was telling you this, he would go absolutely mental, and if you have not seen a six-foot pussy-cat on a rampage, believe me, it is one of the most terrifying things in the world.”

Her blush had deepened as he spoke of Leon, only confirming his suspicions, until they erupted into a giggle. Her father looked over sharply, and Gwaine changed his stance to a less condemning one before continuing.

“But I feel it’s only fair to tell you—well—first of all, the knight who so caught you unawares this afternoon, as it were—”

“Sir Gwaine!” she squeaked.

“Don’t worry, I’m the only one who knows, though I think your father was a little overzealous in sharing the outrage. What I came to do is apologize for Sir Leon—”

“Sir Leon?” The squeak was at an inhuman pitch at this point.

“Don’t tell him I told you, and please don’t put him in the stocks. He is, after all, a man, and you, my lady, make Aphrodite look like she’s having a bad hair day. It wasn’t as if he did it intentionally, don’t you know. Scaling a wall in full plate mail is a good way to keep in fighting trim, and we all know how obsessed Leon is with duty and honor and keeping in fighting trim! It was an accident, of course, and I’m sure you caught him in the most compromising situation just as he managed to look away. You know he would rather pluck his own eyes out than use them to willingly defile a lady!”

“It was—Sir Leon?”

“I’m afraid so. But please, I’m only telling you this because, well, I know he’d be too embarrassed to say it himself, of course, he was appalled at his moral lapse—that was why he couldn’t even show his face this evening!”

At this point, Gwaine couldn’t actually tell himself why he was doing this. It was probably equal parts malice and equal parts misguided helpfulness, because if he could tell her Leon fancied her, well, the battle was half-won for old Leo, wasn’t it? Not that the pussy-cat would ever make a move if Gwaine didn’t nudge him. And nudge him. And nudge him.

“And it wasn’t just any lady he caught sight of, either!” he continued. “Everyone knows he fancies you!” Then, with a theatrical gasp, he raised his eyebrows and clapped a hand over his mouth dramatically. “Oh! But then I wasn’t meant to tell you that!” His hands resettled over his eyes and he bowed his head at her mercy. “There I go, putting my foot in it again! The knights know I can’t keep a secret! Honest Gwaine, they call me, can’t tell a lie even if he wanted to. D’you know they don’t even tell me battle plans in case I get captured by the enemy?...”

It seemed to do the trick. And a blind man could have seen the sickeningly sweet sparkle of hope that flashed in her eyes at the mention of Leon fancying her. Oh, God. He wasn’t sure he could handle another wedding so soon. He’d have to exercise more, certainly, with all the cake and ale and—

“It’s quite alright, Sir Gwaine,” she said, trying to feign indifference. “I thank you for telling me.”

Gwaine smiled toothily. What are friends for?

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Leon knew that when most people imagined him in a pub, he was sitting by himself with a pint of bitter and the Camelot account book. Sometimes it was an accurate description—he didn’t like doing Camelot’s bills, but someone had to—but sometimes he found himself at the pub when the knights had a hard day. Someone would mention a pint, and the lads would relax at the Rising Sun playing dice. He did it for the morale of the men, but before the Knights of the Round Table were knighted he didn’t try to get too close to the other knights. Uther Pendragon did not think knights were very valuable, and making friends was too hard. So, indeed, much of the time he was sitting at the bar doing paperwork.
 
But there was something different about the Knights of the Round Table. He couldn’t help thinking of them as brothers from the start. Paperwork, he decided, had to wait.

Especially since they started a band.

They called it the Friday Knights, after he and Lancelot had a few impromptu sessions during their free hours at the Rising Sun.

At the moment, Leon was singing, "Hide Your Love Away." The Traveling Beetles played it at Arthur's wedding, which some found absolutely hilarious and others found sadly beautiful. Either way it had become such a sensation that they pulled it together very quickly. Leon's light baritone tended toward these more plaintive songs, and he took the vocals as he strummed softly on the saz.

"How could she say to me love will find a way, gather round all you clowns, let me hear you say…Hey! You've got to hide your love away…"

The chords were not difficult to manage, and Lancelot's recorder solo was the only bit that took a bit of time to perfect. Elyan played a few low, somber notes on the bass viola da gamba as Lancelot played the final notes, and the Rising Sun burst into applause. A few of the older gents were crying into their ales, and Leon had to keep himself from tearing up.

"You know, I'm starting to like this thing," Elyan shouted over the applause, swinging the bass viol into his arms like a guitar. "Gwaine may have to play the psaltery from now on!" He leapt up, and, still holding the bass against his chest, shouted, "Alright, I got it! Leon, start me up!"

Leon switched quickly from the saz to a more manageable lute, and played a few chords in a swinging style, and Percy, grabbing a tabor to play with his tamborine, added an upbeat tempo, and soon Elyan was belting out "Start Me Up" and even getting the criers in the audience to clap along. Leon and Percy shouted out back-up vocals to cover the missing lute that Gwaine usually played, and Leon attempted the difficult solo with some degree of success. Everyone was too preoccupied by Elyan's singing to notice.

"Whoh!" Elyan shouted when they had finished with a loud crash from Percy, "It's a good job your Lady of Shallott isn't here, Leon! I'm afraid I've smoked your performance!"

"I said we weren't going to talk about that," Leon said defensively. "Anyway, it's Percy's song, and--"

"Right!" Percy jumped up. "We'll see who's smoked who, eh? There iiiis a house in Camelot, they caaaallll the Riiiiising Suuuun!...."

Leon would have said more, but he had to start the triplets on the lute, and soon the pub was lulled into the magic spell of Percy's commanding farmboy singing. The rhythm didn't take much effort, and once Leon got into the rhythm of it, he gazed out the window at the darkening evening and the lights coming from the banquet hall in the castle. He hoped Gwaine wasn't too upset about going to the banquet without them. At least it would give him some experience dealing with the nobility.

He couldn't help noticing a couple of shadows move across the castle walls, but when he looked closer, they were gone.

Probably a trick of the light.

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Gwaine sat despondently at the banquet table as the night drew on. After Elaine's da had huffed and puffed and sent his daughter off to bed, the night really grew dismal.

Next time, he would choose the stocks!

The tiny bump against his knee wasn't enough to startle him, but the second and third certainly were. Lord Wallace had gotten up from his seat across from him, so no one was really around to kick him in the shin. Which was odd.

"Oi!" he said, leaning down and peering beneath the tablecloth--

Into the startled faces of a gang of children.

He must have looked as startled as they. Neither party moved or spoke for a long moment. Gwaine was about to ask them, probably, what on earth they were doing down there, or where their parents were at least, when one of them, a small blonde boy, placed a finger against his lips.

Gwaine considered his options. And those options were either to tell this group of five tiny miscreants to stop having fun and sit still and be as miserable at this thing as he was, or to not to.

So he grinned widely. "What're you up to, then?"

"Sorry to trouble you, Sir Gwaine!" said the golden-haired boy in an obnoxiously high-pitched voice.

"We're goblin-hunting!" piped up a ginger-haired girl.

"Is that so?"

"Yeth!" said a taller, thinner boy. "Can we borrow your thword?"

"Em," Gwaine bit his lip. "I think not."

The five faces fell, defeated, and Gwaine felt like he had kicked a puppy after stealing its chew-toy.

"However," he added. "You could hire me on as your swordsman!"

The tiny girl who hadn't spoken gasped. The rest of them looked just as defeated as before, except for the blonde-haired boy, who seemed to be the ringleader. "Damn the cost!" he insisted to his companions. "Name your price, mercenary!"

Gwaine thought carefully. "I'll need you to steal the cherry off the top of the Great Cake without the Cook noticing!"

That ought to keep them occupied for a bit, Gwaine thought smugly. And might even provide some decent entertainment in the meantime.

Gwaine was completely taken aback when, before he had finished his mug of ale, the small girl tugged on his tunic and offered him a large black cherry, slightly crushed and staining her hand red.

"Now you owe us your allegiance, swordsman!" the small blonde boy declared triumphantly.

"So I do!" Gwaine said, sliding down in his seat until he was crouching on the floor with his conspirators. He ate the cherry with no small degree of relish--which the children found hilarious--and then his eyes lit up. "Right. Where do we find these goblins then, 'eh?"



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Leon knocked carefully on Lady Elaine's door, and stood back, careful not to sway too much. He always had too much to drink on Fridays. A good thing, too--he probably would have chickened out if he didn’t have a few pints in him.

He waited about one second before he thought, well, I suppose she's already gone to bed. No sense in waiting around, I'll talk to her tomorrow--

The door opened just as he convinced himself to leave. Lady Elaine was standing there in a long robe of lovely green, her hair taken down for the night. Leon gulped.

"Lady Elaine," he said hoarsely, and bowed.

"Oh--good evening, Sir Leon!" she said. "Won't you come in?"

"I didn't want to intrude--"

"You're not intruding. Come in!"

Leon's mother taught him to never disobey a lady, and the second command he nodded again and stepped inside. A lovely loom of rose oak had been set up by the window, with an image of a knight's suit of armor half-completed in the shimmering fabric.

"I was just working on this for King Arthur," she said. "To thank him for his hospitality."

"It's lovely," Leon said. Suddenly he felt a surge of pride at being such a knight. He stood up a little straighter.

"You were missed at the banquet tonight," she said.

"Yes, I was down at the--I mean, I had a prior engagement," Leon said, quite flustered. He didn't particularly think it appropriate to relate his pub musicianship at a time like this. He cleared his throat. "Er, but I--I wanted to apologize for the--incident which occurred today."

"Oh, that," she said. Her demeanor became much warmer, and--as if she couldn't get any more beautiful--she smiled at him. Leon felt his spine melt. "Thank you. It's very gallant of you to apologize."

"You deserve better than an apology, my lady," Leon said, his confidence growing under her beautiful, encouraging smile. "I--I shall not forgive the man who did it."

She giggled, a musical little laugh that reminded Leon of rabbits and ducklings and kittens and other soft, wonderful things that Leon had no business thinking about. "Sir Leon, you're blushing!"

"As I should. It was perfectly unacceptable."

She bit her lips, and paused for a moment, looking right into his eyes. "Yes, I suppose it was. But accidents happen. I shouldn't be too harsh of a judge. I'm sure it was just an honest accident."

"That's no excuse." He looked her straight in the eye. "It was behavior unfit for a knight."

"You mustn't judge your knights so harshly." She grinned and, looking him up and down, added, "After all, if I had walked in on you naked I certainly would feel compelled to…"

She paused. Leon stared at her. She gulped.

"…Look away. Of course. My lord."

Leon coughed to fill the very awkward silence. Lord, he should have known that girls thought
like that…just, not about him…

Elaine forced a laugh. "I should probably…"

"Yes, I should just…"

He walked out quickly, and was just about to flee before he remembered himself and bowed again. "My apologies again, my lady."

"Er--you wouldn't--happen to know…which of the knights it was?" she said. Her manner was very peculiar, and she was looking at him oddly. Did she somehow know?

"No. My lady." As if the pregnant pause wasn't enough to let her know he was lying, he looked down, too.

"I see." She seemed satisfied, and gave a more relieved laugh. "Well, it's alright, Sir Leon--I forgive you."

Leon blinked. "Forgive me?"

The brightest blush Leon had ever seen sprang up on Elaine's cheeks, and her hand flew up to her mouth as she shouted. "Oh hell!" A moment later, the door was slammed in his face.

Leon stood there, blinking, for a few moments, staring at the door.

She thought it was him? But, how? Surely Lord Bernard wouldn't tell her--he was the type that probably never told his daughter anything. Who then? Who would have made up that he was the one who saw her, and why would they? Anyway, the only people who knew were Gaius, who had no reason to tell her, and the knights, who physically couldn't--after all, they were all at the pub the whole time, none of them could have talked to her during the banquet…

Oh, no.

No, no, no.

In fact, hell no.

This ends tonight.


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This was actually...fun!

Not only because these children's parents were so soul-crushingly dull, but, well, Gwaine liked children. They had their priorities straight--food, warmth, companionship, and good old-fashioned fun--without being bogged down yet by cares of state, politics, work, loyalty. Why did they spend so much time pretending to be grown-ups? he wanted to asked them: why did they waste their precious years longing for real goblin-hunts?

At any rate, it got him out of that dull poetry recital.

"All right, Lord Eustace," Gwaine asked--for so the small ringleader's name turned out to be-- "Where is this fierce goblin?"

"Oh, there's loads of them, swordsman!" Eustace replied clearly, as if the boy expected him to be a bit slow in the head.

"Right," Gwaine corrected himself, deciding to go with it, lest they sack him and send him back to that dreadful banquet. "Where are they then? My sword longs for the taste of goblin-blood!" He was of course playing it up for the amusement of the children. Or perhaps it was rather the case that he always toned it down when with adults. Either way.

"Through there!" the young boy pointed at one of the guest rooms, and stopped. Actually, all of the children stopped.

Gwaine frowned. "You're not going in, then? In our moment of victory?"

The children shook their heads.

Hmm, Gwaine thought as he continued on alone. That certainly didn't bode well! If it had been a game, surely they would have wanted to come along.

But goblins in Camelot? Honestly!

He was sure everyone was at the Banquet--he knew, he'd counted before he left--so no one should be in this room. So even if he apprehended anyone it would be a lost servant or something, and he could claim it as a Knight's Arrest rather than awkwardly stammer that the children had hired him to hunt goblins.

But there was definitely someone--or something, if he entertained the thought--in that room.

Gwaine winked at the children, but drew his sword just in case, before he went in.

"Show yourself, in the name of the King!" Gwaine bellowed into the room, shutting the door behind him as much to protect the children from the sight of him bringing the smackdown as to prevent whatever was in here from getting out.

There was first silence, and then some shuffling behind the wardrobe. Gwaine approached it slowly. But he wasn't afraid--no, certainly not! Even if it was a goblin--which was laughable--it wasn't anything he couldn't handle. Gwaine rounded the wardrobe.

Only to face a goblin.

He frowned at it. It glared at him. It was small, child-sized, and mean-looking. It had pointed ears, a long nose, and crippled joints. Definitely a goblin. The green skin was a good tip-off.

Gwaine struggled for words. What did you say to a goblin? Did these creatures even speak? Were they sentient? Could you threaten them with imprisonment? Death? Was it illegal to be a goblin in Camelot (loads of things were illegal in Camelot that Gwaine didn't exactly hold with), or was it just illegal to be...rifling through...a guests things...wearing their jewelry...

"Hey!" Gwaine managed finally.

"Ooh, I'm dealing with a real mind, here," the goblin snarked. "Now turn around and forget you saw me like a good little tin-can and I'll forget I saw you, see?"

Gwaine was taken aback. No more surprised, but now additionally insulted.

"Look, put those stolen items down and I might not cut you down where you stand, you miserable little creature!" Here, that sounded like the right way to talk to a goblin.

"Ha!" it laughed. It launched itself, then, directly at Gwaine's face, but he drew his sword-arm up to parry and stepped back out of its reach.

Which gave it just enough space to flip-bounce-hop away through the room, scattering gold and jewelry everywhere, and before Gwaine could rally, it was perched on the windowsill. Perhaps showing off, it took one of the earrings it was wearing, licked it, blew a kiss to Gwaine, and jumped out of the window.

"Damn!" Gwaine said, running out.

--and almost stumbling over the children who waited in the hall.

"Did you get him, Sir Gwaine?" they asked.

"Ay, that I did," Gwaine lied easily. "All of 'em, so don't you fret, and go back to your puddings, 'eh?"

As they scampered off happily, glad to have rid the world of the goblin menace (you'd have thought they had gone in alone with naked blades to hear them tell it!) Gwaine straightened and bit his lip.

I have to tell Leon about this, he thought, and took off at a sprint.



Last edited by Maeglin on Mon 20 Feb 2012, 4:46 am; edited 1 time in total

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Leon turned to leap up the stairs two at a time, but ran into Gwaine coming down, knocking him back a few steps. "Gwaine!"

"Leon, thank God I found you!" Gwaine seemed relieved. "I'm afraid we've got a problem--"

"Have we got a problem!" If Leon wasn't already several steps below Gwaine, he would have thrown him up against a wall again. But seeing as how this would not be very effective, he settled for advancing up the stairs. "What the blazes did you tell Lady Elaine? She thinks it was me who saw her this afternoon!"

Gwaine backed up the stairs as Leon stalked towards him, looking surprised that Leon should be mentioning such a thing at a time like this, and Leon had to work hard to keep from getting angry.

"Look, you bloody great oaf, that's not what I've come to tell you! There's gob--" Gwaine realized he was shouting, so he lowered his voice. "There's goblins in Camelot!"

Leon blinked. Okay, definitely angry, now. "What are you talking about?"

"It's a bloody infestation, Leo! Why just now I saw one in Lord Archibald's room..."

Leon sighed. "I should have known you would get drunk at the banquet." Oh, he could yell at Gwaine now, but would he even remember what he'd done? He turned and headed down the hall, muttering, "It's like talking to a child..."


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Gwaine bridled at that. Here he was trying to be helpful and Leon had to go and get downright nasty!

Sure he'd had something to drink, but only enough, really, to stay sane. He blinked a few times. Leon was walking away. He was walking away! Leon was actually walking away from him on this!

Like hell he was!

"HEY!" Gwaine insisted, grabbing Leon's collar and, surprising even himself with his strength, turning him around and shoving the bigger--ha! bigger! Taller, maybe, like a beanpole!--man into the wall. "Don't you walk away from me like that when I'm talking to you, bye," he snarled, his accent coming across stronger than he'd hoped in his anger. "I assure ye, if I was drunk, I'd hardly have the stomach to spend it trying to talk to your ugly bake!"

"What?" Leon said, hiding his surprise at Gwaine's strength as he shoved him off. "I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt! Go to bed--that's an order!"

Now Gwaine was mad. "You can't order me around!" He reached out his hand toward Leon's face, stopping just short of punching him in the jaw or throttling the bugger, and he ground his teeth together. "You...God, I can't believe you! You better stop this act, son, this high and mighty bull, where you think you're the great big boss of this flying umbrella! So drop the act, all right, and let me tell you something!"

Leon would have laughed. He wanted to laugh, because he wanted to believe that this was just Gwaine being drunk. But he couldn't. His jaw tightened. "I've been at this 'knight business' a lot longer than you have, Gwaine. You need to stop playing and start learning discipline, before you embarrass the kingdom with your games."

"Games?" Gwaine laughed, but his eyes didn't soften. "You think this is a game? I'll show you a game, in Lord Archie's quarters, right after I kick my boot so far up your backside it might find the stick that's lodged up there!"

"Oh? I didn't think peasants owned boots."

The hell? Gwaine felt like he was talking to a brick wall. Suddenly, the goblins mattered a whole lot less than Leon's enormous attitude. "You just watch yourself, son," he said, a low growl. "I'll ignore that on account of I'm used to what a prat you're accustomed to being. Well I've got a messenger to see you, and he says you're not the big man in charge anymore. The King left me in charge with ye whether you like it or not, you've got to listen to me, and I say we're going for a walk, you and I, and we're going to investigate the very real problem we've got, aside from your insufferable...." Gwaine struggled for the word, finally petering out with an "Arrgh!" and another motion that belied his desire to strangle the blonde Englishman.

Leon blinked. Suddenly it wasn't about putting Gwaine in his place and getting him to apologize about Elaine. This was much more real. "Insufferable? Better go look that one up, lad," he said, and, because he was able to control his anger from many years of military training, walked off.

Gwaine, who'd had no such training, and didn't bloody well care ever to get it, wasn't going to let him walk away. "Oi! Hold up, there!" he shouted, but Leon kept going.

So Gwaine did what he did best, which was stopping thinking, and starting brawling.

Leon didn't know what hit him. Probably because it hit him in the back of the noggin and brought him to the ground.

Gwaine helped turn Leon over and slammed him into the floor. He might have been persuaded to talk this over, then, if Leon had come to his senses, but apparently his skull was thicker than Gwaine had banked on, because Leon's fist flew back just far enough to score a solid but undodgeable punch to his jaw. This unsettled him just enough that Leon was able to shove him off, but Gwaine rolled with it and brought Leon around again. They clattered into the rows of candelabras with a resounding crash as Gwaine pulled Leon's hair and Leon bit his wrist.

Their grunts and cries, and the sickening sound of fists hitting flesh, soon roused this wing of the palace. Gwaine didn't care, though, because he was clearly winning.

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Leon, a man never quite sure where to put all six-foot-four-inches of his body, knew he was probably going to get thrashed by Gwaine in a fist fight, which probably contributed to his desire to avoid physical confrontation. Of course, this did not make him feel any better, and he fought Gwaine more fiercely than he probably ever had fought anyone in a fist-fight. The little weasel attacked him from behind! Behind! Like some common thief! He knew Gwaine fought dirty, but did the man have any sense of honor?

He was trying to keep Gwaine from choking him when suddenly his vision went red, and it wasn't from the rage. A red cloak slapped him in the face as Percival hauled Gwaine off him. Leon laughed and was about to get in a good punch before Lancelot grabbed him.

"What are you--?"

"You call yourself a knight, you coward?!" Leon shouted over Lancelot at Gwaine, "You aren't fit to live in a pigsty!"

Gwaine, held in a full nelson by Percy, was nearly running off the ground trying to get at him. "Let me at him! I'm gonna kill him, I am!"

"That's enough!" Lancelot's voice was unsurprisingly loud. "Bloody hell, this is a castle, not a nursery! Leon, Gwaine! Get a hold of yourselves, if you please!"

Leon stopped struggling, and Lancelot let him go. It took Gwaine a little bit longer to calm down, but eventually Percy let him go.

"Now," Lancelot said, a little more calmly, "I suppose that you both are tired and just--"

Before he could finish, Gwaine stormed off down the hall.

"Leave him be, Leon!" Lancelot said, holding Leon back again as he started to follow. "Are you alright?"

"I'm fine," Leon snapped, wiping some blood from his nose. "I was going to bed anyway. Training is at five in the morning."

"Leon--"

"Go see to the night watch! That's an order!"

And with that Leon stomped off to his room. There he got washed up and took some pain reliever he only used after a hard day's training. Then he tried, unsuccessfully but stubbornly, to go to sleep.


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As much as he wanted to, trying to escape from Percival's grip was only going to succeed in making Gwaine look ridiculous.

Well, more ridiculous than having just attacked the guy who was in charge of all of Camelot.

Co- in charge of Camelot.

Gwaine couldn't believe the nerve of that man! His stubbornness! His chauvanism! His bloody elitism! How he thought he was better, was smarter, how he felt he could bully everyone else around him and claim it was his divine right. Inbred blue-blood.

Bastard.

Gwaine was seeing red, and he had traversed to the complete other end of the castle before he remembered himself and realized where he was.

He'd show that lisping sack of compensating ego what was what.

He'd just need some proof.

Proof that goblins were about. They didn't exactly leave tracks climbing along castle walls, so he'd have to find witnesses...

The children!

Oh, sure, like Sir Head-up-his-arse will believe a child when he won't believe a fellow knight.

Gwaine only realized he was angry when his teeth began to hurt and he realized he had been grinding them. He only cared that he was angry when he realized his clenched fists were bending the railing on the stairs.

He needed a drink.

What he wanted was revenge. He'd find a goblin, all right, and not sleep a wink until it was done, and show that pattern-balding-good-for-nothing who was right...and who was a coward!



Last edited by Maeglin on Sat 10 Dec 2011, 11:14 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Leon, after a few hours of trying ineffectually to sleep, got up and worked on the Camelot paperwork. Dawn approached, and he was just sorting out the costs of all the guests when he remembered that he hadn't actually ever given Lord Bernard the charcoal walking cloak.

Inexplicably, it was nowhere to be found.

"Good morning, Sir Leon! Something wrong?"

"I'm looking for that robe I was going to give Lord Bernard," said, looking up from where he had been searching under the council room table. "You wouldn't happen to know…"

He looked up, and blinked at Gaius, looking very smug in a long, gray walking cloak. "Hey…!"

"Do you like it?" Gaius said, grinning. "I just found it in the council chambers. Someone must have left it behind. Though I can't imagine who--it's such a lovely cloak I'm sure I'd never be so careless as to misplace it. Anyway, finder's keepers!"

Leon's eyes narrowed. "Is this about that jar of yours I broke when the Witch-hunter was...?"

"That? Oh, no! How could it possibly be about that?"

"I said I was sorry!"

"I think I'll take a walk," Gaius said, ignoring him. "Normally I detest the early morning fog, but I think this should keep the damp out, don't you?"

And with a wink and a spring in his step, Gaius shuffled off down the hall. Leon glared at him, and swept away with a "well, this days getting off to a great start…"

A kid, one of the noble's children, was running down the hall toward him. Leon veered out of the way, but the kid wasn't watching where he was going and ran hard into him. The kid gawped and bowed.

"Sorry, sir!"

"At ease," Leon said uncertainly. He liked children between the ages of two and six, but after that he was always unsure of how to act around them.

"Have you seen Sir Gwaine, please, sir?" the child asked.

"No, I haven't," Leon said, in what he hoped was an appropriate manner for a ten-year-old.

"Only I think the goblin's back, and it won't do let him run loose, would it?"

"I beg your pardon?"

"Oh yes. Gwaine helped us deal with it last night."

"Er. You needn't worry. There's no goblins in Camelot," he said, trying not to be patronizing.

"You didn't see what I saw, sir. Er--no offense, sir," he added.

Did Gwaine tell the children too? It wasn't that unlikely--a drunk Gwaine would tell anything to anyone willing to listen. He tried to see if he could tell whether the kid was just trying to play around with him, but given his lack of experience this proved to be somewhat difficult. What would that matter, anyway, since there were *definitely* no goblins in Camelot?

"Where did you see this goblin?" he said, thoroughly hating himself for asking.

"Oh--it was up in the bell tower. We were--er--looking for our ball," he said, when he saw Leon's face."It sort of--bounced up the stairs, don't you know. As balls do."

Telling ghost stories until you fell asleep, I imagine, he thought, but only said, "Well, I'll be sure to let him know."

"Thank you, sir!" the boy said, and, realizing that he was going to get in trouble if he stuck around any longer, fled.

Leon glanced across the courtyard, where the seldom-used belltower rose from the west wall. Everyone except the elderly, children who had been playing where they should not, and he were awake. Gwaine was probably passed out at the Rising Sun.

It couldn't hurt to look, could it? Very likely a cat or something got stuck up there. It would be better to get it down before it frightened the bellringers, who were a bit dodgy on the heart at the best of times.

He climbed the stairs quickly, but arrived near the top chamber without breaking a sweat--he had not yet donned his armor. His tread was that of the soft-soled shoes he wore during his off-hours, suggested to him by Merlin, who seemed particularly adept in sneaking about in similar shoes. He was glad for his silence, because as he reached the top of the stairs he could hear something grunting in the bell chamber.

A pig, then. He thought pigs couldn't walk up stairs.

He took a few steps up, and observed a little green man pulling in vain at the gold lettering on the bell.

Without missing a step, Leon turned round and walked back down the stairs, not stopping until he was out of sight, and flattened himself against the wall. When he got his heart rate near enough to normal he risked a glance. The little green man had produced a small pick and was prying at the gold lettering. There was a *plink* as one of the letters popped free. The green man giggled and stuffed it into his trousers. Leon slowly resumed his position against the wall. And, as was his custom when faced with bizarre circumstances, accessed the favorable and unfavorable conditions of the situation.

Unfavorable: There is a goblin in Camelot.

Unfavorable: Gwaine was right. I was wrong.

Favorable: He doesn't have to know that.

Unfavorable: Gwaine probably attempted to get rid of the goblin, but whatever he tried obviously failed.

Favorable: I can come up with a better plan to get rid of this thing.

Favorable: Gaius is already up and I can ask him how to get rid of the goblin safely and quietly.



And Leon, feeling much better about the whole thing, quietly descended the stairs, thanking his good fortune that he had come across this goblin the second time, and not Gwaine.


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"Garackaghhhaaaaoooo!" Gwaine said.

What he had meant to say was actually "Gerroff me, you stupid toad!" but that was rather harder to articulate, it turned out, when you were being choked to death by a three-foot tall garden variety goblinoid!

But he had found the goblin, that was the main thing, and initiated a grapple with it, and was more or less winning, and at least was hell-bent on bringing it before Leon as proof to rub in his pretty brown nose.

Dead or alive.

They rolled and kicked and punched and bit and fought for a few more long minutes. This was a deserted corridor, or else the guards were slacking, as no one had yet heard the commotion and come running.

"Right, I've had enough of this!" Gwaine yelled, drew his boot-knife, and ran the goblin through.

He hardly had time to congratulate himself on a clean kill before the thing disintegrated into a pile of unrecognizable goo.

All of Camelot heard the resulting cry of rage:

"DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMN!"

Gwaine punched the pile of goo. He punched the floor. He stood up, and kicked over a barrel. As the guards rushed in, shouting "Sir Gwaine! What is going on?" he shoved past them with a Do Not Disturb growl.

As if his night couldn't get any worse, it was half past three in the morning already, and and the Rising Sun was shut until noon.

But Gwaine was at a slow burn stage, and this helped him think both clearly and ruthlessly.

There had been a bloody lot of booze at that bloody banquet.

When he arrived at the banquet hall, it was dark. He lit a few torches that gave off a gloomy light, still dim, but enough for him to find barrels of ale and wine. Which, admittedly, he could probably locate without any trouble in the dark at twenty paces with only one nostril.

Gwaine picked up a goblet that looked clean and poured himself an obscene amount of port, gulped it down, and moved on to an ale. After four or five of these in quick succession, mixing his liquors to keep them from sticking in his throat, Gwaine rolled a barrel over to the tables where a few half-gnawed turkey legs and cold pies awaited him.

It wasn't until he was nearly halfway through this cask that the anger and the rage fizzled out to confusion, and, though he wouldn't admit it, sadness. He wondered why his face hurt. He was confused why the boys hadn't wanted him along for Friday Knights. He was out of ideas as to how to kill Leon slowly and painfully, and had even forgotten why he wanted him dead in the first place. He wondered why his bed was so hard, and full of dirty dishes and leftover food.

Gwaine wondered why he was drinking alone.

And he also wondered why that was making him cry.



Last edited by Maeglin on Tue 03 Jan 2012, 6:44 pm; edited 1 time in total

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