For today’s post I have decided to share a short story that I have written. It is a re-imagining of the Arthurian legends centering on Guinevere and Morgan Le Fay! I hope that you enjoy reading this work of short fiction. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Daughters of Avalon
by Maranda Wabik
Breathing deeply of the smoke from the burning herbs the young women began to have the visions the Lady had told them would occur. Here on Avalon the young women were raised as witches and priestesses of the Goddess. They are brought to the magical Isle in order to train when it is realized that they have been borne with the gifts of magic, thanks to their faerie blood!
The two young women who are leaning over the smoke now are Morgana and Guinevere. Each has been on the Isle of Avalon since they were but babes. Guinevere was brought there by her faerie mother after leaving her father, who was a human prince. Morgana was borne on Avalon, a daughter of Igraine and her first husband, Gorlois Duke of Cornwall. Igraine took shelter within Avalon during her pregnancy at the advice of her sister Nimue, who is currently Lady of the Lake! When it was realized Morgana had inherited her aunt’s gifts of magic she was kept in Avalon.
When Guinevere had been brought to Avalon she was only three years old, and the young princess felt an immediate kinship with the small Morgana, the only daughter of Avalon her own age. The two became inseparable friends as they grew in both magic and beauty. Morgana with fair skin and raven hair, and Guinevere with equally fair skin and red hair. Today they are eighteen years old, and beginning the final course of their studies of the great mysteries of the Goddess.
The two young women each have a different vision when inhaling the smoke. Guinevere sees herself being crowned Queen in a rich and regal ceremony in the human land. Morgana sees herself becoming a teacher to the younger women on Avalon. However, Morgana’s vision is interrupted by a new vision this one of her practicing dark magic. She sees herself planning to destroy Guinevere and her husband! The vision ends with her stabbing Guinevere in the heart!
Both women come out of the vision with a gasp. Guinevere relates to Nimue what she has foreseen for herself. “I know this to be your future, my bright one.” Replied the Lady.
When it is Morgana’s turn to relate her vision, she chooses to only tell her aunt the first part. “Yes dear niece this may be your future, but it is not set in stone, as of yet.” Is the enigmatic reply of the Lady this time.
Both of the young witches are sent back to their shared chamber in the magical dormitory. Guinevere is both elated, and scared of her vision. She shares her misgivings with her best friend Morgana. “I do not know how I will take being a Queen. Is Lancelot my King? You know how much we love one another. Goddess knows we have been courting since we were but small children! The day he came here to be fostered by the Lady was one of the best days of my life. What if I have to leave him to marry a human prince, and not be able to have true love!” Guinevere says in a rush.
“Maybe he is the human prince you will marry! His father was King Lot, and maybe Lancelot will take over the kingdom of Orkney. However, if it was not Lancelot you marry, you can still be with him. He just needs to follow you where you go. This would not be the first time that a Queen subjected to an arranged marriage would take a lover!” Is Morgana’s reply.
Guinevere gets a look of conflicted resolution upon her face. She has always been a hopeless romantic, and Morgana’s possible solution seems to be the perfect idea! Another thought occurs to Guinevere, Morgana has looked troubled since the ceremony. “I think that is the perfect solution, my beloved sister! I must now ask, how are you doing? You have seemed burdened since the ceremony concluded.” Guinevere asks in concern.
Morgana does not know how to tell Guinevere of the disturbing vision she has received. She wants nothing more than to confess the truth to the person she loves most in the world, however she fears losing her best friend. Morgana bites her lip in contemplation before stating “I had a troubling vision; it was in two parts. The first I shared with the Lady, my aunt. The second I could not voice out of fear, and I do not know if I can voice it now either!” Is her impassioned statement.
Guinevere hugs her best friend and says “Morgana you can always share anything with me! We have been sisters since we were babes, and there is nothing that can keep my love from you.”
“That is just it dear love, my vision troubles me so because it is you I hurt! The second part of my vision was of me plotting and killing you, and your future husband! I do not know why or how this may come to be, or who you husband will be, as I only saw you and I locked in magical battle.” Morgana lets all of her anxiety out in a rush of emotion.
Guinevere is shocked and she does not know what to say. How is it that her beautiful raven haired sister could one day be her undoing? For now all she can do is hug Morgana again and lay her head on her shoulder, her red locks mixing with Morgana’s black ones to create a waterfall of flame and ink. The two young women stay like this for the longest time as both cry at the realization that they may not always be the closest of friends and the truest of sisters. The next morning Morgana will go to speak with her aunt about the rest of her vision.
“My Lady aunt, I know I should have shared all of that with you last night, but I was overtaken by fear. How is it possible that I will one day kill the person I love most in the world? Do you know anything that would explain this? You stated yesternight that what I said was only one possible future for me. Did you know that this dark path was the other option already?” Morgana asks.
“I do know that you may walk a path of darkness and yes, you may become the destruction of both Guinevere and her future husband. I have known this with a heavy heart these last five years. I could not bring myself to tell either of you with how important you are to one another! However, now it has come to light and it must be taken into account.” Replied the great Lady Nimue.
Nimue brought both young women into the company of the other Sisters of Avalon. She explained the visions and the futures awaiting both of these young and powerful witches. The other eight sisters began whispering amongst themselves about how this can be thwarted. Nimue raises her hand to quell the voices. Once they are silenced she says “I do not know that these visions can, or should be thwarted.”
All eyes turn to the great Lady is shock. She continues “We do not know what will come to pass for certainty, but we do know that these two young witches will be two of the most powerful enchantresses we have seen for generations. They will each have a great destiny and a divine legacy that will be remembered for all time. Of this I have been certain ever since I met each woman. If we try to alter destiny then the change that they are meant to bring about in time and space may never come to pass. That is why I must say we cannot alter their paths. Guinevere will marry in a mere six weeks, as I have just learned this evening via a message from the Goddess.”
Guinevere looks elated at the prospect of marrying Lancelot. Her face falls when Nimue continues speaking. “She will be given in marriage as a representative of the Goddess to the new King of Camelot, Arthur Pendragon! My foster son, Lancelot, will take her to Camelot tomorrow morn, and he will remain there as a new Knight of the Round Table. That is what King Arthur calls his men.” She finishes speaking with an elated smile.
The next morning Guinevere and Morgana say their bittersweet goodbyes. Each making a promise to keep love for the other in their hearts. Both of them are still hopeful that they can circumvent the inevitable possibility of being the downfall of each other! Morgana whispers a final statement in Guinevere’s ear “Do not forget you can still be in love and bed Lancelot, marriage need not stop true love.” At this the redhead gives her friend a wicked smile.
At this point we must see the time elapse to fifteen years hence. At this point each of the witches are 33 years old. Morgana has become a mother to a son, Owain, after herself being forced into an unwanted marriage. Guinevere is still childless in her unhappy marriage to Arthur, but her love for Lancelot continues still, as does their adulterous affair!
Morgana has also found out that Arthur Pendragon is, in fact, her half-brother. He is the son of her mother and Uther Pendragon, the man that murdered her father to bed her mother! This knowledge was received amiably by Arthur who wanted a sister to love, and so much the better that she was the best friend of his beloved wife. To Morgana this news ignited a fierce rage in her soul! Everything that Arthur and Guinevere have is borne from her tragedy of a family. It was Morgana that never got to have a real family after her mother abandoned her to her aunt. Her own mother then married a man who had killed her father, and it is that man that rules Camelot!
Morgana feels her heart and soul blacken with rage against the woman she once loved above all other beings. Guinevere has true love, for Lancelot stayed and kept being her lover as an open secret. Arthur still adores Guinevere even with her inability to give him a son, and that rankles at Morgana unlike anything else. Where does that redheaded harlot get off finding all of the happiness after she left her best friend behind to become a Queen!
Guinevere knows that her best friend hates her now, and also knows through her own gift of prophecy that Morgana plots her demise. She cannot bring herself to tell Arthur, who will kill his own sister to prevent her from enacting vengeance. Instead she goes to speak with Morgana while Arthur is fighting a battle at Camlann.
“Hello my dear sister! It seems that now is the time that Nimue warned us of all those years ago on Avalon. I know that you plot to end my life, and to gain revenge against the wrongs you feel have been done to you. In the same breath I know that you still love me, and we can find forgiveness in one another! You only need to ask the guidance of the Goddess to bring you from the darkness and back into your true path!” Guinevere states hoping to get through to her old friend.
“Ah, you see I do not want to go back into the light! I like it here in the darkness, and I know that this is the only way for me to have my true destiny. It is just as my dear auntie said all those years ago, we are to be legends based on my destruction of you! I do love you still, and I always will, but this is what I must do.” Morgana stated as she took out an athame which she plunged into Guinevere’s heart!
As Guinevere lay dying Morgana held her in her arms and cried. She cried for the loss of sisterhood, and for all the pain she had herself suffered these long years alone! She cried for the pain of childbirth, only to have her husband take her son, Owain, away from her because of her magic. She cried for the lost potential of both of them!
At the same moment that Guinevere drew her last breath Arthur was run through with the sword of Mordred at Camlann! Morgana brought Guinevere’s body on the barge as she rode out to collect Arthur. She would inter both of them on the Holy Isle of Avalon until time came that Arthur would rise again! Lancelot was so heartbroken that he went mad and lived half-feral in the woods, and Morgana herself overcame her darker desires to become Queen of Avalon!
Morgana worked her magic to teach the new witches their trade, and went back to following the teachings of the Goddess. However, she will never forget what evil she had to wrought in order to move history forward, and claim her destiny! Morgana has learned, in the hardest way, that we are all both shadow and light. As this story ends we must remember that everything comes with a price, and some must pay it in order for the rest of us to be saved!