Here, we’re introduced to Queen Morgaus, the fierce she-bear of a mother when it comes to Gawain, Gaheris, and Agravain. Ever since Morgan ran away with the brothers, Castle Tintagel has been on pins and needles, fearing the wrath of Morgaus and praying for the day everyone returns safely. That day comes.
The clouds give way to sunshine and all of Tintagel rejoices. But still…in the triumph of Gawain’s return and their subsequent capture of Princess Isolde…no one thanks Morgan. No one even acknowledges her presence or gives her any credit. It’s just like when they were kids. Gawain is the light, favored by all. While she is the darkness, ignored and forgotten.
artwork from WLOP and his “Ghostblade” series
Chapter 10: The Eldest Daughter
By Rock Kitaro
In the weeks following the disappearance of Morgan, Gaharis, and Agravain, the mood at Tintagel had soured immensely. King Mark, in particular, felt an enormous sense of responsibility since no one had reported their absence for days after the Council of Gold Clovers left to return to their respective domains.
Sir Cador, the Lord Chamberlain, dispatched his own son to lead the search party, but Constantine’s failure to produce results in the first few weeks cast dread over the city. Making matters worse was the fact that Tristan had also disappeared. King Mark was convinced that Tristan was with Morgan and the princes, but his personal assurance wasn’t enough to satisfy an unforgiving mother.
For nearly four weeks, the maids, masons, stewards, and guards walked with stiffness in their shoulders. Everyone performed his or her duties to the utmost perfection for fear of maximum reprisal. Even the elderly Sir Ekner was on edge as he presided over the training halls in the Western Ward. Tintagel’s devoted knights practiced with due diligence as prognostications of pending battles were on the tips of everyone’s tongue.
The castle’s labyrinth of corridors were devoid of laughter or glee. Melancholy and foreboding anxiety spread like a contagious disease. Even the sun itself stayed hidden behind a blanketed overcast of dark clouds, sending only an easterly wind to howl through the alleys.
There was no talk of sport or recreation. All hunts and banquets were cancelled. The musicians kept to the abbeys, and on the king’s orders, all choirs were forbidden from raising their heavenly voices. Taverns closed early. Ale was outlawed. Duels were suspended and no one could ride horses faster than a trot.
Most citizens thought King Mark’s decrees were unfounded, unreasonable, and unjust. However, the royal court knew and understood the king’s logic. It was more so a precaution than a sign of despair. That’s because Tintagel had guests. If there’s one thing King Mark feared more than an invasion from King Vortigern…it was the combined wrath of the Duchess Igraine and her eldest daughter, Queen Morgaus.
Morgaus was the eldest daughter of Igraine and the late Duke Gorlois. She was married to King Lot of Lothian and more importantly, she was the adoptive mother of Gawain, Gaheris, and Agravain.
The twenty-nine-year-old Morgaus was much like her youngest sister Morgana in appearance, blessed with bold eyes and rich brown hair. Morgaus was strong, ready and able to perform manual labor if she needed to. She loved dressing in purple fabrics. Her favorite ensemble consisted of a purple dress with a black leather bodice strapped around her ribcage. Her shoulders would be draped by warm fur. Even her gold crown donned an exquisite arrangement of smooth sapphire stones.
Growing up in Tintagel, Morgaus was popular due to her warm personal affection to both the rich and the poor, the guests and the staff. She was praised for her beauty, but Morgaus beat back vanity and conquered her own conceit. She was humble at every turn, often volunteering in the neighboring villages to oversee building projects such as schools and nurseries.
Like Elaine, Morgaus was always smiling, always optimistic despite the constant flow of tumultuous news that poured in from the violent world around them. She rarely complained or overstepped her bounds. Even when she felt she was being mistreated, she’d simply remember the less fortunate and take it with a grain of salt.
However…this was also what made her so scary. Everyone in Tintagel knew it.
Morgaus had lines that should never be crossed. All of those lines related to the safety and security of her boys.
Years ago, Gaheris and Agravain were kidnapped during their first mission to the Roman Emperor Lucius. Queen Morgaus suspected the guards had betrayed them. Without any evidence, she had them arrested. They were tortured and forced to swallow hot boiling lead until one of them spoke up. The problem was, she was right. The guards had indeed taken a bribe to give up their route. Since then, Morgaus’s every intuition was treated as a matter of fact. This made her a very scary individual.
In her relentless pursuit to get her boys back, Morgaus coaxed King Lot into making a pact with a famous sorcerer named Kaidan. Fire and brimstone literally rained down on Emperor Lucius’s northern armies. When Kaidan brought the boys back and demanded payment, Morgaus reminded him that he was her subject and threatened to cut off his hand if he ever held it out again expecting compensation so brazenly. It was the first time Kaidan ever cancelled a debt and news of the incident spread.
“Morgaus is fearsome…”
Yes, when it came to her sons, the fable of a ferocious she-bear protecting her cubs was made true by her existence. There was nothing King Lot could do about it. He resigned to the role of a supporting husband and did his best to placate her. And now… Gaheris and Agravain had gone missing, yet again. The berating Duke Tiburne got was beyond excessive.