“Rion, I need you to wait outside for your sister, Gwaine, and Gaius. And when your sister arrives, you, as the big brother, must be strong and take care of her out here. All right?”
Fresh tears spilled down Rion’s pale cheeks. “But Mum…”
“Let me tend to her. You can come in when I’m done.”
By the grace of the merciful gods, at that very moment, Gwaine rode his horse down the lane (with Dee sitting in the front of the saddle), and Gaius trailed behind on his dun-colored mare. That was when Percival suddenly recalled Merlin’s magical abilities. Surely Merlin could cure Idele, as he had cured Gwaine. Yet since Percival and Gwaine were the only ones who knew about Merlin’s powers, as far as Percival knew, he would need to speak carefully.
“Where’s Merlin?” asked Percival, helping Gaius dismount. “I’m sure you could use his help, Gaius.”
“Traveling home from Caerleon with the king,” said Gaius, “He’s due back after nightfall.”
Percival’s heart sank. Was there any hope for Idele at all?
Gaius, his jaw set, brushed right past Percival and into the home.
“Go on with him,” Gwaine told Percival. “I’ll stay out here with the young ones.”
Percival gave a solemn nod and entered the home. Idele lay face first on the floor, her arms at her sides, as if she had not had the strength to brace her fall. Gaius sat on the ground beside her and turned her over. He leaned in to listen for breath sounds, then placed his ear against her chest. Hi...
... middle of paper ...
...s well as it once was.” She glanced at Rion for an instant. “He’s a boy. Someone will take him in, but Dee has no chance, so I’ll take her.”
Percival drew back. This was the most repulsive woman he had ever met. She spoke with such aloofness. How could she be so blind to these children’s needs?
“No, I’ll take them both,” Percival found himself saying. How he would care for two children when he was not equipped to take on even one was a mystery, one he would have to figure it out.
Tafi scoffed and stomped forward. “Have you a wife?”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“If you have no wife, you cannot raise a girl alone. What will Dee do? Share your bedchamber? Your bed? That is wholly inappropriate.”
Percival’s jaw dropped. Was this woman really implying what he thought she was? That Percival would somehow use Dee in an awful way? The notion nauseated him.
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