Adventure LGBTQ+

The Secrets of Camelot - Chapter one

April 23, 2019
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The sun rose over Camelot as the lower towns began their morning hustle, wives fetching water for their houses, traders coming in to set up shop, and travelers coming to find some breakfast and an inn. One traveler stood out in particular, his eyes shone like gold, but his hair was dark as ebony. His skin as dark as bark. As well as the two cats peeking out of his bag. He wasn’t like the usual visitors to Camelot, he was special. He was Merlin.

Born to an impoverished widow, Merlin didn’t grow up with much, but it was enough to survive on. His mother always knew something was different about him, however, different got you killed. So she tried her best to hide his irregularities and to make him seem normal in the eyes of their village, but his eyes made it difficult. So in a desperate attempt to keep her child safe, Dindrane wrote to her old friend in Camelot, asking her to take in Merlin. So Merlin left, with only what he could carry on his back as well as his twin cats, Gareth and Igerna. So basically his entire life.


Merlin knocked on the creaky wooden door, reading Apothecary. It slid open as a young woman looked up from her books and potions,

“Yes?” she said in a rather annoyed tone.

“My name’s Merlin. I’m Dindrane’s son. Are you Enide?”

“Oh, Merlin. You’re early. I wasn’t expecting you till Friday. Please come in, make yourself comfortable.” Enide stood up, dusting off her pants and ushering Merlin in.

“Milady, are you wearing pants?” Merlin looked away blushing.

“What you’ve don’t have women scientists in your village? What has Din been teaching you?” she rolled her eyes but began to clean a spot on the table off for him.

Enide brought out a bowl of soup and Merlin devoured it. He asked for seconds and thirds until there was none left. She picked up the bowl, but he stopped her,

“Please allow me. I have to earn my keep somehow”

“Oh trust me, you will be” she winked and cleaned up the bowl.


Merlin settled into his new home, Enide had given him the empty room opposite to hers. The walls were lined with books on medicines, herbs, animals, and the human body. Nothing of true interest to Merlin, but he flipped through them nonetheless. Gareth and Igerna settled in as well, taking it upon themselves to hunt the mice near their quarters while Merlin slept. Merlin began to help Enide with her duties, delivering tinctures to her particularly sexist patients as well as those that needed home deliveries. One day though, when Enide was making her normal round of tinctures and Merlin was reading, a message arrived from the king.

“Merlin,” Enide called from her desk, “We’ve been invited to a banquet tonight. I believe it’s time for you to meet the king and his son” a grunt came from Merlin’s room.


That night, Enide put on her fanciest dress, it was dark blue with gems that shown like the stars themselves. It was the first time Merlin had ever seen the apothecary in a dress. Merlin put on his fanciest outfit as well, though his was not as nice. It was a simple oversized shirt tucked into his oversized pants with only a belt keeping the outfit on. His shoes were dirty and his hair was ragged, but he was as handsome as he’d ever been. They walked from their tiny rooms to the banquet hall.

Merlin’s eyes widened at the sight of the expansive rooms. A banquet table was pushed off to one side with two larger gold encrusted thrones. The other side had the nobles mingling, women gossiping and the men boasting about their latest conquests. Enide snorted and approached a man dressed in the finest silks with a golden crown resting on his balding head. She bowed and began a conversation, leaving Merlin alone and feeling out of place. Although he had caught the eye of a young man in the corner, his hair as golden as Merlin’s eyes. He approached Merlin as though approaching a wild animal, his red silk cape flowing behind him.

“Who let the servants attend” he smirked and the few nobles around him laughed. Merlin’s eyes searched for Enide, but she was mingling with the guests.

“I’m not a servant. I’m Enide’s ward. She invited me” Merlin straightened his back and raised his head, proud of who he was, but the man just snorted and turned to the small crowd that had gathered.

“Did you hear that? The woman apothecary invited him” there was bitterness on his tongue when he spoke of Enide. The crown that sat lazily on his head bobbed as he talked, but Merlin couldn’t take his eyes away from the man's blue eyes. Thankfully, a young lady came to his rescue. Her baby blue dress swirled around her, like the Lake of Avalon was surrounding them. She looped her arm with the man.

“Arthur, leave the poor boy alone. Look at him, he must be starving. Come eat, don’t be scared” She ushered Merlin into the room, towards the table where servants were lining the table with food and the nobles began crowding. Merlin sat with Enide, near the golden thrones reserved for Arthur and his father, the man Enide had been walking with. Merlin looked out of place with all the gold and silks, but the nobles respected him nonetheless, simply for his connection to Enide.


The night dragged on, with dancing and food, but Merlin took no part in it. He stood in the corner, watching the extravagant affair. Watching the man with the golden hair and brilliant blue eyes. Watching Arthur. “Arthur” Merlin whispered, letting the word drip off his tongue. It felt perfect saying his name like he was always meant to.

“Watching the prince, I see” Merlin jumped at the new voice, it came from a young woman standing next to him with a pitcher of wine. Her dress wasn’t fancy like the nobles but wasn’t as ragged as Merlins.

“Apologies milady, I didn’t see you there” Merlin glanced at her, before returning his gaze to Arthur.

“Oh please, I’m no lady. I’m just a servant,” Her eyes followed a different beauty. A woman in a black dress with red accents, accentuating her long blonde hair, “I’m Guinevere by the way. Though most people call me Gwen” Merlin snorted.

“Apologies Gwen, but that’s a very European name for someone of your descendance”

“I could say the same to you. Merlin.” She winked at him, before leaving to refill a nobles wine glass. Merlin rolled his eyes as Gareth and Igerna snuck into the room, sweeping between nobles legs trying to get to Merlin.

When they reached him, Merlin was entranced by Arthur and paid no attention to them. No matter how much they clawed and brushed at his legs, Merlin was entranced with the golden prince. Merlin watched as Arthur swept the beautiful princess across the floor, wishing it was he in the princes’ arms.


Arthur twirled with Vivian in hand, holding her close and whispering into her ear,

“Do you know who he is? I’ve never seen him before” Arthur’s eyes swept Merlin up and down, catching the cats.

“He’s Enide’s ward, though he’s a bit odd don’t you think?”

“Odd doesn’t exactly describe it.” Arthur let go of Vivan as the song ended, “if you’ll excuse me” he bowed and disappeared into the crowd, towards Merin’s direction.

Arthur picked up Gareth, petting his head,

“Who’s this little guy?” Arthur asked as Gareth jumped out of his hands and hissed at him, “he doesn’t like to be picked up does he?” Merlin laughed and Gareth jumped into his arms.

“He apparently doesn’t like you, my lord” Merlin bowed and winked at Arthur who blushed and looked away.

“I have no idea what you mean. Servant” Arthur stormed away to get more wine as Merlin laughed and put Gareth down and pet Igerna before slipping out of the dance.

The hall was silent except for a few servants working. Merlin slid down the wall, taking a deep breath and running his fingers through his messy hair. Igerna and Gareth brushed against him and Merlin laughed,

“Arthur is an odd one, isn’t he? Oddly pretty that is. Course he is a prince, they’re supposed to be pretty”

“I believe you mean handsome” A voice startled Merlin and the cats. The voice belonged to a woman, dressed in a black dress, her blonde hair falling around her shoulders. Merlin scrambled to his feet.

“Apologise milady, I didn’t see you there” Merlin dusted off his pants and bowed.

“What’s your name stranger?” She asked, leaning against the wall next to Merlin and sliding down onto the floor.

“Merlin. Merlin Emrys. I’m the ward of Enide, and you”

“Morgana la Fey. Ward of King Uther” Merlin bounced up from the floor, bowing once more to her,

“Apologise milady, I had no idea you were royalty” a loud slam from the main hall saved Merlin from his embracement. The servants, Merlin, and Morgana rushed into the room to find an old hag standing in the middle of the room, a wolf, the size of a man, at her arm. The guards stood at the doors, their swords ready, but Uther stopped them from attacking.

“My name is Blanchefleur, you killed my son, Lohengrin  and you will pay” she cried confusing many of the nobles

“Your son broke the laws of Camelot and he was punished accordingly” Uther stood from his chair, sliding it across the floor, “and I will not have my methods of governing questioned, especially not by sorceress” the nobles began to whisper amongst themselves as Arthur crept behind the woman, a dagger in hand. She turned and grabbed Arthur, turning the dagger on himself. Pressing the dagger against Arthur’s neck she turned back to Uther,

“You stole my son from me and now I will steal yours from you” the guards inched forward, but she taunted them, sliding the knife up and down, in front of Arthur’s neck. Merlin’s golden eyes darkened to a pitch black as time slowed. Merlin ran towards the woman and Arthur, slamming Arthur to the ground as time sped to normal. The woman blinked, looking around for Arthur. Uther signaled to the guards, who charged the woman, arresting her and dragging her out of the hall.


Uther stood next to Arthur, his arm around him and Merlin standing before them,

“Merlin Emrys, you saved my son's life and for that, you will be rewarded” He slapped Arthur’s back and smiled, “you will be appointed a station in the royal household as Arthur’s personal servant” Merlin’s jaw dropped and Arthur looked to his father in astonishment.

“Surely you can’t mean that. Father, he’s a bumbling idiot. Look at him” Uther ignored his son and continued on with the celebrations.

In the hall, Gareth and Ignera rolled their eyes and headed back to Merlin’s room, only to be bumped into by a woman, hiding her face under a red hood sneaking through the halls of Camelot.


The mysterious woman slid into the celebration, hiding in the shadows as everyone began to spread out and mingle again. The woman found Morgana, hiding in the back corner watching Uther and Arthur laugh,

“Milady, please follow me, I have something to show you” Morgana followed the woman into the servant hall, where surprisingly, no servants were to be found. The woman lowered her hood, revealing her fire red hair and ocean blue eyes.

“Excuse the interruption of your celebrations Lady Morgana, but I have these papers to show you,” the woman pulled a rolled-up stack of papers out of her pocket, tied together with a thin red ribbon, “what do you know of your mother and father?” Morgana stiffened and grabbed the papers.

“My mother died when I was young, and I never knew my father. What is it to you?” Morgana unrolled the papers to reveal three birth certificates and a death certificate.

“You are the daughter of Igraine and Sir Gorlois. You are my sister. When you were just a babe, Uther came and fell in love with our mother, a widow at the time. And he married her. Stealing her away from her two daughters and only allowing her to take one of three daughters. She chose you” Morgana flipped through the papers, the birth certificates were for three girls, Morgana, Morgause, and Elaine all with the same parents. The death certificate was for the father of the three girls, Sir Gorlois, who died in service of the crown. Morgana threw the papers to the ground,

“You lie. I am the ward of King Uther, not his wife’s bastard.”

“That's just it sister. You’re not a bastard. You are the legitimate daughter of a  knight and his wife. The wife, Uther stole” Morgana turned towards the door leading to the celebrations,

“You’re wrong” she hissed before heading back to the celebrations.


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Tough Genre to Fill
mythgrrl rated this work:

April 28, 2019, 8:18 a.m.

Like having big shoes to fill, when choosing re-characterize one of the greatest myths/legends of all time, you need to be able to carry some of that legend on the shoulders of your writing. The characterizations are interesting and are showing the early signs of development. The pacing is appropriate and is moved along well by the dialogue. Natural discourse is not easy to capture, and this piece shows the writer is definitely practiced in this, though it could be tightened up in some exchanges (try having humans actually read this like a play and see how comfortable the exchanges are). There are some unique descriptions ("His skin as dark as bark."), but then areas where detail is glossed over ("delivering tinctures to her particularly sexist patients" - what?). I'm not sure how this gets and LGBTQ+ label - ? If that's meant to be a theme, it needs to be more clearly developed. Punctuation problems (especially with dialogue) and numerous sentence-level errors made me want to stop reading pretty early on, but I was interested in where the story was going. There's no adventure as yet, other than its characters are assumed from an adventure genre, so I'm guessing this will be carried out as the story proceeds. Of course, this ends on a chapter-book cliffhanger so as to keep the reader reading, so that aspect of the conflict works well.

Pacing Conflict Cliches Dialogue Grammar Sentence Structure

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Rose_Platter:

Thank you for your review. Dialogue has always been a problem of mine as well as pacing. So I'm glad I've fixed it with this story. Yes the adventure and the LGBT romance does come up in later chapters, with many of the main characters being LGBT. This was just a first draft, but I wanted to get some feedback on it, so thank you for pointing out what needs to be fixed in later drafts.

New Take on the Arthurian Legend
amandat rated this work:

April 29, 2019, 11:35 p.m.

So, I assume that this is a first chapter which ends on a cliffhanger? It was an intriguing way to end because it makes the reader want to read on to the next plot point.

The beginning of the story plunged us right into Merlin and his characterization which was enjoyable. It was good story telling, the way that you introduced us to everyone and to Camelot. I always enjoy a good Arthurian retelling, so the setting was wonderful. You described it well. Although, there was no explicit LGBT actions, I feel that Merlin felt quite an attraction to the males of the story, especially Arthur; there was a sexual undertone to his gaze which you wrote quite nicely.

During the scene where the old hag shows up and interrupts Merlin and Arthur and the other royals, more description is needed to show who the hag is and why she poses such a threat. There were also a few punctuation errors, like some commas instead of periods. Also, when there's an interruption in dialogue, you should use an em dash -- and then start the next dialogue/narration on the next line. In fact, the whole story would be read more clearly if the dialogue is presented in every new line, instead of attached to another narrative paragraph.

Overall, I felt that I knew the characters well, although that may be because I am familiar with the Arthurian legend. I wonder what Merlin and Arthur will get up to after this and what Morgana will do after the story's stunning end revelation. Great job!

Plot Setting Character Motivation Grammar Sentence Structure

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Rose_Platter:

Thank you for your review. Dialogue has always been a problem for me, so thank you for giving me tips on how yo improve it. This is only chapter one, as I mentioned in the title, so I'm glad the cliff hanger got your attention. Again thank you for your review.

Rose_Platter:

Thank you for your review. Dialogue has always been a problem for me, so thank you for giving me tips on how yo improve it. This is only chapter one, as I mentioned in the title, so I'm glad the cliff hanger got your attention. Again thank you for your review.

Flesh out the scenes and characters
naricorn rated this work:

May 20, 2019, 12:11 a.m.

Hey, thanks for sharing! I don't know how much knowledge you're presupposing the reader to have about Camelot, but going into this piece, I was confused as to where the story was going. I think that what's missing here is a clear sense of direction and character/plot development. I've copied some notes I took as I read:

*Why exactly is Merlin attracted to Arthur? It's very sudden and there wasn't much of a foundation (physical or otherwise) for his thoughts to be understandable to be. Especially since Arthur looked down on him initially. And then what does Arthur suddenly see in Merlin after his first impression? He hasn't even been rescued but his outlook's changed?

*I felt detached when reading the story because I think you address everything too shallowly. We don't spend much time with each character, and even Merlin is a stranger to me (his personality, I mean.)

*The scenes aren't as developed as they could be. You jump between plot points almost sequentially and I have difficulty sometimes grasping their flow (how they lead into each other and how they're relevant.)

*I didn't feel the importance of the conflict, especially the danger. There wasn't much urgency. Someone came in and tried to kill Arthur and then everything was resolved incredibly quickly. I didn't feel scared or invested.

*The last scenes switching away from closely following Merlin was unnatural to me.

The world is an interesting one, but you could make this piece so much better with revisions! I'd love to see what you do with it.

Plot Conflict Character Motivation

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Rose_Platter:

Thank you for your suggestions. Pacing has always been a problem for me so I'll be fixing that when I go into edits. I'm also trying to fix that for the chapters I'm writing right now. I am writing all of these suggestions down so I don't forget them and can look back on them when editing.

A different perspective on Merlin's character (but focus on grammar before anything else)
van rated this work:

May 23, 2019, 6:04 p.m.

I really like this idea. I'm such a fan of anything Arthurian. This has so much potential for world-building and character dynamics, so I am excited to see what you write. That being said, I hope you don't mind some suggestions...
Right off the bat, I'd say split the first sentence into two. It will come off as more polished. In general, look over your sentences and make sure you're using stronger action verbs, not using unnecessary adverbs, that kind of thing. Using "as" to link phrases can already make senteces sound a little clunky, and combining that with "-ing" verbs makes this whole first sentence sound more like a run-on. Look over the other sentences in this piece to see if they also need polishing!
Along with sentence structure, I'd say check your comma usage; you have many places where you use a comma instead of a period or semicolon. Grammar in general needs a significant look-through. And work on that first-- ignore literally every other part of my comment until you've finished with grammar. It's so important and good grammar will make this intriguing story that much more fun to read!

Moving on to the less technical (but no less important, obvs) suggestions:
The very beginning feels a little too soon to begin with Merlin's background. Start with some action first! Let us (the reader) get really invested in Merlin's character, make us wonder why he's special and visiting Camelot. In short: show, don't tell.
Another note on the beginning- I think you could begin later, if that makes sense. Start as close to the end as possible. You could work in the backstory later. I didn't really think the story was truly beginning until Merlin entered the ball-- so you could start right there, for example!
When Merlin said "Apologies Gwen, but that's a very European name for someone of your descendance", what do you mean? Has there been any info prior to make it seem as if Guinevere isn't European?
-And Merlin brings his cats to balls? This is something that if you maybe added one or two sentences about could be a super cute and quirky character trait; he can't stand to be without his cats!
Overall, I think you could pace the story more slowly. Focus more on the little scenes and the characters you introduce (for example, I felt Merlin's encounter with Enide, Guinevere, and Morgana to be too short. Character interactions should further the plot more than just introducing a character, right?).
ALSO have you watched BBC's Merlin? Please tell me you have. If you haven't, you should check it out. I think you'd like it.

Pacing Show Don't Tell Diction Grammar Sentence Structure

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Rose_Platter:

Thank you for your suggestions (that I welcome and are the main reason I put the two chapters up ;)
Other people have mentioned the grammar and commas, so that's a top priority. Pacing is also up there so I thank you for the suggestion to slow down the story with details in the scenes. I've tried slowing down the pace, but I can never figure out the best way to do it.
Also yes I have seen BBC's Merlin and even though it ended years ago, I'm still upset about the ending. It's been a major and obvious influence on the book.
Again thank you for your suggestions.

Rose_Platter:

Thank you for your suggestions (that I welcome and are the main reason I put the two chapters up ;)
Other people have mentioned the grammar and commas, so that's a top priority. Pacing is also up there so I thank you for the suggestion to slow down the story with details in the scenes. I've tried slowing down the pace, but I can never figure out the best way to do it.
Also yes I have seen BBC's Merlin and even though it ended years ago, I'm still upset about the ending. It's been a major and obvious influence on the book.
Again thank you for your suggestions.

Rose_Platter:

Thank you for your suggestions (that I welcome and are the main reason I put the two chapters up ;)
Other people have mentioned the grammar and commas, so that's a top priority. Pacing is also up there so I thank you for the suggestion to slow down the story with details in the scenes. I've tried slowing down the pace, but I can never figure out the best way to do it.
Also yes I have seen BBC's Merlin and even though it ended years ago, I'm still upset about the ending. It's been a major and obvious influence on the book.
Again thank you for your suggestions.