lucre_noin: (12)
[personal profile] lucre_noin
Title: Things that go meow in the knight
Arthurian legends
Pairing: Galahad/Mordred
Rating: PG13
Warnings: slash, cliché, magic and grammatical mistakes
NO BETA READER. I am so sorry for all the mistakes you'll find.
Mordred gets turned into a kitten. Galahad is kind. Morgana has a lot of fun.
You can also find this story on tumblr + ILLUSTRATION.

Mordred tried to suppress sneeze, but ended up just being able to swallow mouthfuls of his own mucus and an embarrassed sob.

Morgan looked at him, dissatisfied, with impossibly thinned pale and disapproving lips.

“I nearly chocked on my own saliva,” smiled Mordred.
Denying the evidence was the biggest  of its merits and there was nothing wrong, shivering with fever, with the face that looked like a crystal ball (but very red), for the young son of Arthur to keep smiling and admitting that he had never ever felt better in his entire life. Not to mention the fact that it was difficult to worsen his  appearance and probably nobody would have noticed the changes.

“Sure,” Morgan muttered.

Morgan and Morgause had little in common.
Where one had a litter of gleeful children, the other had just given life to a young and shy gentleman named Ywain. Where the first woman was extremely beautiful and seductive, the second was had the sex appeal of a lizard. But there was something they had in common (except of course the one they called “the awful parentage”, nominally “King Arthur”) and that was the absolute intolerance for diseases.

From where came the memory of Mordred, Morgause had always been categorical in avoiding to approach her own children in case of illness. Once she even left the court to get away from the Lothian where Gaheris had caught a dose of vicious and terrible cold.

Mordred had no doubt that the patience of Morgan sailed rather low and, moreover, the witch was also completely absorbed by stress.
Morgause had kindly asked her to look after the young Mordred in Camelot and make him a wise statesman.

“It looks like a little shy minotaur, and there will be those who call him the son of the devil or devil himself!” Morgause had exclaimed to the younger sister. She had had a point for the inhabitants of Camelot seemed quite willing to call him ‘demon’ even though each ones had their own reasons (many did so because he was born of incest, other because Mordred had actually tried to steal from them or turn them into frogs with childish magic, and most of them used the term simply for his appearance).

“What I- we - need is that his intelligence of wise statesman shines so much that it will be able to overshadow everything else,” they were the last words of greeting before Morgause had left her son in Camelot.

Mordred unfortunately was not a wise statesman. He was not even a statesman. So Morgan was clearly stressed by her inability to reach their goal. Unhealthy stressed.

On the fifth sneeze (which Mordred was unable to swallow) Morgan rose from the table, hastily grabbing their books and trying to shelter them from a disgusting mucus-rain.

“Excuse me, Aunt Morgan,” Mordred muttered, wiping his face on his sleeve.
His eyes had also started to cry and the light was giving him quite a headache. He tried to sit in the chair more comfortable, but all his bones ached. In fact the situation had pleasant side because for once he did not have to worry about the annoying pain of his back leaning against the back of the chair.

“I can not tolerate such a thing, go to your room and come back when you will no longer resemble a melting candle.”

“No, Aunt Morgan! I have to finish to learn the names of Irish families by tomorrow. It ‘s the program-”

“-Your mother wrote you, I know. But at this rate you’re going to dissolve my books.”

“Aunt Morgan” sneeze “I assure I’ll be well in” sneeze “-minutes.”

The witch rolled  her eyes suspiciously and whispered a few words like ‘stubborn’ and ‘class’ and ‘time’. Hopeful, Mordred thought that the whole sentence was something like ‘That stubborn, wants to continue the lesson. Luckily there’s still time ’ andwith an innocent confidence he took the dark cup his aunt gave him a few minutes later.

“Will it-” sneeze “-make this problem vanish?” asked the knight, drinking. It tasted sweet and unknown, but not entirely unpleasant.

“Sure. Just wait, honey.”
Mordred had no idea that the phrase that Morgan had been muttering before was: “What a stubborn, it’s time to teach him a lesson. And to scrape together a little spare time for me.”


The first thing Mordred noticed when he woke up was the absence of the annoying and dull pain that always happened when he slept for too long in one position. And then he realized that his back was perfectly normal. He could lift his head, he could straighten out the tail- tail?

It was with horror that Mordred looked down at his feet and noticed that they were completely different (and he also felt a strange nostalgia for his crooked right foot). There were legs. Black legs streaked with gray, with small retractable claws.

He looked around, feeling slightly panicked. Everything was much bigger (or maybe he was much smaller?), Everything was much less colorful and all- all the new smells, such as vortices! And the sounds were so loud.

When Mordred managed to put on their new and terrible fours legs, he allowed himself a deep sigh and he was not even too afraid when the air came out of his throat with a muffled meow.

“Well,” he thought, nervously. “I am a cat, but there is nothing to worry about.”

Looking around he realized he was still in the anteroom of Morgan’s room.
The soft tapestry decorated with beheaded fairies was unmistakable.

And if he remember correctly, just after the table for the embroidery, there was a luxury and rich wall mirror courtesy of King Urien.

Mordred came, swinging at first but becoming more confident in their fleshy new bearings. The mirror was there, tall and imposing, and instead of reflecting a young hunchback, with the crooked nose covered with freckles, it was giving him a picture of a cat. A very small cat, but with  the back and legs perfectly straight.

It was completely black with some gray brush that seemed to have been forgotten on his hind legs and tail.
And huge green  eyes.

The disgusting thing was that for a second, Mordred wished to remain that way forever tangled in the animal form that could easily look at itself in the mirror and admire without having to feel disgust or shame for its own look.

The excitement did not last long because something more urgent succeeded: hunger. He had a sudden and terrible famine.

He had to find food. And a warm place to sleep. And kill Morgan. No, maybe that thought had to be deleted, after all Mordred knew how much Morgause depended on Morgan to get back a bit of the power she lost with the ascent to the throne of King Arthur.
Hunger. Hunger.

Mordred surprised himself meowing.
And then he purred louder and louder.

Wandering around the room aimlessly, he jumped over the table and he was delightful distracted for a few minutes by shiny needles and lovely wool.

Hunger, reminded him his stomach. From the table he could see all the hall with the horrifying tapestry, the empty fireplace and an opening to the outside that allowed a glimpse of some dark sky and stars. So it was night or evening, and Morgan was sleeping or she was in the banquet room where no one would notice the absence of the king’s bastard son.


And he was still hungry.

Jumping off the table, Mordred reached the door to the night room of his aunt and scratched the old wood door, trying to pry, but to no avail.

Dejected he tried the door that would lead him in the main hallway and out of the small territory of Morgana.

Fortunately this was only ajar, and, even if with difficulty, the cattish rknight managed to stick a paw in the gap and pull the heavy door toward him, opening it.
He had to admit that thanks to the effort his hunger had tripled.
“Now I’m in the hallway,” he meowed to himself. “I just have to get to the kitchen and steal something to eat before one of those wild servants decide to eat me.”

Finding the way to the kitchen and the banquet room was easier than he expected. Mordred not only knew the castle as his secret passages, but it was enough just to follow the smell of food and the sound of faint music in the distance.

He walked the entire corridor smoothly (apart from a lady in waiting too hasty that threatened to behead him with her skirt), and found himself in front of a flight of stairs that would lead to the outdoor courtyard, past the stables, to the room, a little just before the banquet.

The stairs had always been difficult for Mordred who could walk them only with particularly ridiculous attempts. Now that he was agile and perfect cat they could not be so difficult, right?

He boldly rested his theory, putting his right front leg on a step and then the left. But was when he raised back to a leap forward that Mordred noticed how those floors were slippery and the nails did nothing to keep him from falling.

He rolled for at least seven or eight steps before running into a soft wall. A soft wall and unconsciously smelling strangely familiar.

There was a massive sneeze and Mordred looked up to investigate who or what had stopped his dangerous fall. The thing was a pair of people and, in spite of how terrible and giant they seemed, Mordred knew them.

“This a cat of the devil,” announced Sir Bors, sneezing again. “See the effect that it has on me?”

Mordred was about to pull out the nails and get on with plenty of scratching, but just then a pair of hands lifted him easily and he found himself face to face with Sir Galahad.
The beautiful Sir Galahad with a pointed nose and cheeks always red.
So closely, Mordred could easily see even the green specks in the huge blue eyes. And the tiny scar on his right blond eyebrow.

“It’s just a cat,” announced Galahad. “It’s not even completely black.”

“Put me down, you idiot,” meowed the king’s son, and then he also managed to hiss, like a real cat.
The surprise in the eyes of the other man was of great satisfaction.

“Do not be afraid. Bors will not burn you at any stake,” whispered the Galahad to the pet leaning him against his chest, holding it tightly to himself in the crook of his left arm.

Oh, thought Mordred. It ‘s all hot. And soft.

No, he was a prince, the prince of the Great King, the nephew of the Witch, the brother of one of the best knights of the Round Table and the son of the most feared woman in the kingdom, he would not surrender to his own weakened mind.
Okay, so it was nice to be touched (and definitely new because aside from the hugs of his brothers no one ever dared to touch him) and be particularly liked to be touched by the strange Sir Galahad.
Knight-Best-of-tournament-Galahad, Face-of-a-child-Galahad, Oh-I-wish-I-could-have-him-as-a-son-instead-of-Mordred-Galahad (or this was what Agravain had told him a day, after a meeting with Arthur), I-had-a-wet-dream-about-him-Galahad (and this was better to forget).

He was thinking so hard that he felt even a whisker vibrating.

And then Galahad’s other hand began to do things absolutely indecent, things that Arthur would certainly have to ban because it seemed to make the brilliant (though not too much) prince’s mind to a shapeless mist.
He started to leave short touch on the head of Mordred, until he reached the tail with his fingers and then with the whole hand he went to scratch under the chin and rub his cheeks and his whiskers with his thumb.

Mordred sighed nd realized she had just started to produce a bizarre, repetitive thud. It was stronger than him, it was just like to navigate under the sun and let sleep surround you by warmth and reassuring smells of summer.

(In the confusion that his mind had become, Mordred knew absolutely that he had to produce a brilliant plan to kidnap and force Galahad to cuddle forever.)

“He’s purring,” said Galahad, with a note of triumph that Mordred ignored, it was not the time to think too much about dignity, he only had to stay there and let everything else disappear. He could gladly leave to Morgause the power, to Morgan the politics and to Gawain the Orkneys.  For him it was enoughto bathe in that moment while purring at the vibrations of Galahad’s chest while the knight was talking to Bors.

Maybe they were talking about important secrets or about Lancelot and terrible tricks to take the throne of King Arthur? Mordred could not care less at that time. It was just a phrase that caught his attention: “Sir Bors, we should take food from the kitchen.”

“Yes, yes, good Galahad, I am sure that that smart mind is all from you mother’s side,”  purred Mordred rhythmically digging his nails into the other one’s shirt.

What Bors said was not important, the important thing was that Mordred was able to lay his head on the shoulder of Galahad and close his eyes for a moment. Just a second, to rest from the trauma of waking as cat. He would sleep in that heat (so warm and soft) for only a minute.

He woke up numb and with fish’s smell in the nose.

“Welcome back, Agamemnon,” said the cheerful voice of Galahad.

He was no longer in the corridor or up the stairs, but in a room that Mordred did not recognize and that surely must have belonged to the Frenchman. But he had no time to examine it because right there in front of him, on the ground, there was a huge pot of food. And he needed it now.

With a feline leap, literally, Mordred extricated from Galahad’s hands and dashed into the food. He had never eaten anything so good.
After eating half the pot he could indulge in a sigh and felt his eyes were closing again. The hard life of the cat, he thought.

“Give me back my heat, slave,” mewed pathetically, Galahad, but seemed to understand at least the sense of what he wanted because the shots back in her arms and, after lying on his bed, if put back on the chest.

“Are you sleepy, Agamemnon?”

“I can not believe you called me Agamemnon. It is’a horrid name! You’re ugly!”
However, he lacked energy in the new outrage because Galahad was not horrible. Not at all.

With the paw, the son of the king rouched Galahad’s chin and nose. It was all perfectly symmetrical- Galahad’s hands on his fur began to distract him and also was difficult to think with all the noise of its own purr.

He decided that the best thing for everyone would be sleeping.

In the sleep of the cat, Mordred discovered two things.
The first was that Galahad snored slightly, but had benefited from having the best smell in the world. The second thing was that the cats dreamed and their dreams were epic. He dreamed of flying metal birds and stones, high, high enough to surpass the tallest tree he had ever seen and they all lived in a place called New York.

There was no light coming through the windows and at night the fire extinguished. Mordred was probably waked from the cold, just before dawn. He was in a strange room and completely curled around one of the best knights of Camelot. Without clothes. Obviously he had the misfortune to return a human being while he was in a stranger room. Obviously. (This reminded him of a dream that he had some days before and it didn’t involve clothes but it sure did involve Galahad-).

With a gasp, Mordred immediately sat down.

All right.
There was no need to panic, at least not before he  managed to get out of there.

Delicately he extricated hmself from Galahad’s arms (the last thing he wanted was for the knight to die in a holy terror at the sight of a not very pleasant naked Mordred in his bed) and get off the bed. He grabbed one of the blankets and put it around himself.
He did not have all the misfortunes because the door was not chained and it did not even creaked when got out. The floor was cold under his bare feet but not completely comfortable, but it was either that or spend more time in the room of Galahad to steal clothing.
No, the best idea was the speed and hope that the few servants who had already raised to turn the fires would not notice him or , at least, not recognizing him.
He ran up to his own rooms that he occupied alone since Agravaine had  married the beautiful (and libertine) Laurel.

“You’re late,” exclaimed the voice of Morgana.
Mordred jumped up and closed the door behind him.

Hi aunt was standing quietly sitting on his bed, completely at ease in the bedroom of his nephew. She had lit a warm fire and was now reading a book in Greek that he did not recognize.

“You poisoned me!”

“But you’re cured.”

Surprised, Mordred needed a few seconds to check his  physical health.
Indeed, no more sneezing and he had no more fever. In spite of himself he had to nod.

“But actually I did it because you were an adorable kitten. Did you have find a nice family?”

“I would like to get dressed,” snapped Mordred, but Morgan did not understand - or would not understand - because she merely shrugged and continue to watch him.
“Would you leave me alone?”

“Oh, what a boring guys who raised my sister. Okay, I’m leaving. Do what you have to do and we’ll see in the afternoon for our lesson.”


The goshawk settled back on his glove. He was a very small male hawk who had recently lost the brown plumage on his neck.

Raising high his hand, Mordred get off from his horse andgot off the bird’s hood, liberating his golden eyes. With a flick of the wrist, he let the hawk, whose name was Theophrastus, fly without needing nothing but the strength of his own wings to start the flight.

The first flight was empty and Mordred had to go back on his horse and run to take Theophrastus, ithat was perched lazy on a low branch.

On the second flight the bird was able to grab a little hare and brought it quickly to his master, with a loud cry.

“My little war machine,” Mordred greeted him affectionately, catching the hare.
He could be said that he was usually satisfied because Theophrastus had always been too small to take animals larger than a crow.
“I’m no expert, but I enjoy a good hunt. In France it is not necessary the art of falconry to be knights.”

The sudden entry of Galahad was a surprise in the silence of the dawn and Theophrastus noted the agitation of his trainer and jumped away from his hand.
Cursing, Mordred ran back to his own horse and getting on it he started to follow his hawk. The wind against his face was very helpful in diminishing the redness that had spread. The embarrassment was not only due to the fact that he had let his goshawk fly away like a rookie, but especially for the fact that this was the first time he saw him after the whole experience of being transformed into a cat, two days before .

Theophrastus decided to rest on a low branch near the creek and Mordred stopped his horse. Getting off he was able to retrieve the hawk easily and quickly he put the little leather cap, tying quickly the laces.

“I’m sorry I scared him.”

Galahad was back behind him and Mordred had no excuses this time to continue to avoid him.

“Remember this the next time,” he snapped.

“What’s his name?” Galahad asked, recovering from the lack of courtesy from the other knight.

Galahad’s ridiculously blue eyes seemed to widen even more.
“As the botanist? The botanical greek, right?” he exclaimed, with an exaggerated enthusiasm.

“He also studied the rocks, but yes, mostly plants.”

“Is that what you study with your aunt?”

“No,” admitted Mordred.
Morgan, as well as Morgause, had never approved the afternoons he spent picking flowers and caterpillars. “How do you know that I study with my aunt?”
“I noticed you one afternoon among the books of Sir Kay.”

The idea that Sir Galahad would sit down at a table and watch him was suddenly uncomfortable.
“Do you have hawks?” asked Mordred to change the subject.

“No. But I had a cat.”

From bad to worse.

“Cats are annoying.”

“Not this one,” smiled Galahad, “although it was not my own. But it seemed as if he was fine in my room.”

“We can not trust cats.”

“Maybe one day he’ll return.”

Mordred yanked the reins of his horse, with irritation. It didn’t happen often that
someone stopped to talk to him (although it was statistically more likely that Galahad decided to chat with him rather than some other anonymous knight or lady) even less happened unless someone was talking about him.

“I will bring Theophrastus with the others.” Mordred mounted his horse and rode back to Camelot.


What am I doing?
Inwardly he had the answer. He was reading an old parchment that had miraculously saved from the punishment of Morgan’s cleaning.

And he was watching Galahad.

From the window of Morgan’s room, Mordred could see the small courtyard in which the knights were training.
Morgan le Fay had explicitly asked that room for herself because, and these were her exact words, “There was nothing better than to spy on some sweaty knight after a hard day’s work.” Mordred still had no idea what was the unofficial, or official work of his aunt.
So, yes, he was spying Galahad while he trained and laughed with Bors and Perceval. They must be related in some way, perhaps cousins, but to take into account all the relatives of Lancelot was almost more difficult than counting Arthur’s.
Perceval threw his sword on the ground and jumped on his cousin Galahad.
“I have defeated the great Galahad!” Percival laughed while the “defeated”, just as amused, was trying to shake it off.

They behaved like kids. And Mordred also noticed that Sir Bors just shook his head and went to help them get up.

And Galahad embraced him.

They were embracing.
Sir Galahad was always kind with everyone. He shook hands with their cousins, he kissed ladies’ hands, hugging comrades in arms, he put arms around shoulders, he touched everyone- everyone but him.

When Galahad met Mordred he always kept at a respectful and polite distance.

“I hate it.”

“Who are we talking about?” asked the voice of Morgan that certainly among her skills included the ability to constantly get behind people without being noticed.

“Sir Galahad.”

“Why do hate him? He was the one who fed you when you were a cat. And I thought you actually liked him.”

“You should not talk about such things as if they were normal!”

“Oh, dear, it is normal that you feel attracted to him, after all, he is a handsome man, and-”

“No!” Mordred sputtered, blushing. “I meant that you should not talk about being turned into animals as if it was something normal. And I’m not attracted to him.”

The perfect black eyebrows of Morgan jumped up at least of two inches each.

“And even though, and I stress if, this was the case- Well, you have seen me.”

“Oh no, please, call me when you’re done with the nursery rhyme Oh, am I ugly, oh, I cannot look at my reflection, oh, my hump and, oh, my eyes are too big!” with a sigh and a dramatic fake fainting, Morgan dropped into one of the richest chairs that adorned the room.

Sometimes Mordred hated her fiercely. “My eyes are not too big right?”

“And if they are? You are the son of the king. A bastard, of course, but anyone would sleep with the king’s son. Just avoid the candles and torches, and poof, you’re like everyone else in the dark.”

That was just what he needed for his own self-esteem.
No, Morgan did not understand.

“I just want Galahad to treat me like everyone else.” And not to see him avoid me as if I had the plague. “Aunt Morgana, you have to transform me.”

“What are you saying?” she asked, laughing.

“Not again in a cat- but I do not know, for something better.”

“If I had to turn you into something better I would be forced to turn into a lemon tart. Or a woman.” He had a flash of joy lit. “Or a dolphin!”

Mordred had not really thought about what he was asking, but he just wanted Galahad to touch him and see him not like the deformed creature that he was now, but as something beautiful and desirable. Not that he was attracted by Galahad. No. Absolutely not.

Although, transformed into a woman, he would have more chances to win him because all knights (apart from Sir Bors, it seemed) liked women.
Not that he really wanted to seduce him.

Morgan had a secret laboratory.
If Mordred had not been so excited he would have probably laughed.

He had not the faintest idea how to enter into the laboratory, because Morgan had forced him to wear a blindfold, but at least he knew that it existed and that Morgan had a real chance to fulfill his one wish.
The laboratory had no openings on the outside and all the light was coming from smoky torches and a small fireplace. To stone walls there were elegant wooden shelves where there was a huge amount of bottles, dried herbs and things.

There was also what looked like a human eye, but Mordred chose not to investigate.

“Here,” exclaimed his aunt, taking a wooden box and opening it. Inside there were thin strips of dark materials that, at least to the eye, looked like dried meat.

“Chew it all,” Morgan instructed him, taking one of the strips and giving it to him “Within an hour you will be the most beautiful lady of Camelot.”

Mordred put it in his mouth, wrinkling his nose at the sour taste of lemon that almost made him spit. But he resisted.
Because it was what he wanted, right?
Yes, it was.

Mordred did not sense when the transformation happened.
It happened suddenly and with total absence of smoke or colored smogs, a serious lack of imagination, at least according to him, in a spell.

Just one minute before he felt the back of the chair digging on his hump and after a few seconds he could easily curl up on the furniture without having to worry about discomfort or pain.

Having your back completely straight (and not be a cat) was a new experience and he decided that it needed to be explored in solitude for a few seconds. He got to his feet and stood before the large mirror of Morgan in the hall while his aunt was busy with a scared young lady who had sent her some disgusting sandwiches.

The knight’s attire was too big on his shoulders like a large blanket. He touched his chest and felt surprised by the fact that he had small breasts which were soft, but painless. He placed his hands on his hips that now were more soft than ever.
Yes, he felt uncomfortable, he felt strange and he was not sure that the breast satisfied him fully, but at least he could look at himself in the mirror.

He had a different face that Morgan had taken care to give him to prevent someone from recognizing him.
The lips were now full and red and his nose was right again.
Now he had really big eyes too.

“Satisfied?” Morgan asked, appearing out of nowhere as usual (or she just entered very quietly).

“I think so.” And he jumped when he heard his new high voice.

“Well, Morrigan, my young apprentice on a visit to Camelot, I’d say it’s time for you to go try out your new body. Take my clothes, young lady.”

He was not all too pleased when Morgan wasted an hour of his transformation to find the best outfit that could match his new hair reddish.


Mordred sighed. He inhaled and exhaled again.

He had already met Sir Kay and Sir Bors and neither of them had recognized him. As planned, he presented himself as Morrigan, young lady who had come to spend a few days along with Morgan and then having to go back to Avalon.

He had also crossed Sir Agravaine who had flirted with him, much to the horror of Mordred.

He inhaled and exhaled.

Galahad was watching the hawks. As befitted a ruler such as King Arthur, Camelot had two distinct falconry, one for peregrine falcons and goshawks of the king and queen, and a slightly larger one that had also Theophrastus.

Mordred used to spent a lot of time with Theophrastus and the other hawks, so that there was even a peregrine falcon that had come to know and Mordred secretly called Aristotle (the real name that was given was too trivial: it was simply called Hawk).

“Sir Galahad?”

Galahad turned to him and Mordred did not notice signs of recognition in his eyes.

“Milady?” the knight asked, frowning slightly, with almost invisible blond eyebrows. “Have we met?”

“No, absolutely not,”
Mordred answered that question quickly because that question more truthful than a simple formula of courtesy. “But maybe you’ve noticed me in the castle. I am an apprentice of Avalon, of Morgan, my name is Morrigan.”

“It’s pleasure to meet you.” Galahad took his hand and kissed it.

That - that was what Mordred had always wanted, he realized. Be like other people, being touched as Galahad touched other people, to have Galahad smile him that same smile he reserved to others and had never done with him.

He felt himself turning red, but did not care. He was sure that most of the ladies blushed when Galahad kissed their hands.

“Do you know about falcons and hawks?”
asked Mordred.

“Not I,” replied the other without any additional explanations and the son of Arthur felt angry and mocked. It was not like that that should have gone. He remembered, however, that he was a lady and he decided to do what the ladies did all day.

“Could you accompany me back to the castle?”

Although reluctantly, masked by a brilliant smile, Galahad nodded and handed his arm to the lady. The touch of the arm of the French was warm and pleasant and Mordred wondered if his brother Gaheris was not right, if he was not really hungry for human contact.

What a stupid thing.

Galahad talked of the time, the nobility of Sir Bors and the beauty of sunsets.
It was not the most exciting conversation he had with him, Galahad, but at least the rider was not taken into more remote and it was what he wanted, he got what he wanted.

“I am afraid that now my father needs my presence. I’ll see you at the banquet tomorrow night?”

Mordred felt his face light up.
Galahad had never asked anything like this and he had never thought before that he wanted him to.
With enthusiasm, he nodded.

Maybe his aunt Morgana had a point.


“I need more potion.”

Morgan did not seem particularly impressed by the request of his nephew and she just muttered a curt “no.”

“Why not? I need it. I promised that Morrigan would see Galahad tonight.”

“Then tell everyone that Morrigan has been eaten by one of the crocodiles in the castle.”

“What are crocobiles?”

Morgan snorted (poor woman, living in such a world of ignorance).
“Oh, they are dragons. Very ugly dragons who loves knitting in their spare time and eating bridesmaids. And I will feed you to them if you will not let me enjoy my strawberries in peace.”

But his nephew had a mission, a purpose, and had much more patience and stubborness than anyone else in his family (except maybe for Gareth, who really spent a year in incognito wroking in a kitchen). With difficulty, he bowed in front of his aunt.

“It will be the last time.”

“The last time? And when Galahad will ask Morrigan to spend a day doing who-knows-what what will you do? When you pass in front of a mirrorl and your will see your bump what will you do?”

“I promise you, aunt, the last time,” tried Mordred, knowing that the witch was right. It was nice to live as someone else. Not just because for once he could have a perfect body, but also because he was not Mordred. He had not been forced from his  deformed soul to respond rudely to each question, did not have to keep his eyes fixed straight ahead as he walked into the yard to avoid seeing the other ones fixed upon him.

“Okay, but in exchange you stop complaining.”

With extreme, but satisfied, fatigue, Mordred stood up and wiped his clothes shortly.

“It will be the last, I mean it. I’ll destroy the other potions, if necessary,” Morgan snapped and ordered him to close his eyes. As a precaution, she blindfolded him and then pushed him out of her room. In the anteroom there was a bridesmaid, Mordred heard her sigh of surprise, but the girl said nothing, clearly accustomed to the strange ways of his lady.
A few minutes later Morgan came back to pick him up and handed him one of those magical and stringy strips.

“Take it before the party, seduce your knight, and, my goodness, take him to bed now so that you can leave me in peace.”

-Mordred would not agree, maybe he wanted all that and perhaps like the Morrigan  he could. He even had the blessing of his aunt so he had no more problems ahead. Except for the fact that the the court was always speaking of how Galahad was pure and chaste as Lady Lyonesse and that he would give himself only to a very special lady.
It seemed almost a challenge.
Mordred stole a beautiful red dress from his aunt’s closet, hiding it in a bag, and ran to his goshawk. He had too much neglected him these days, he pondered, going at the kitchen to get some chicken also for the other hawks.

At the falconry, because of luck or maybe bad luck was on his side, he met Galahad.

“Mordred,” said the Frenchmen and almost ran toward him. Mordred had to lower his eyes and check that he was not a cat or a girl because it had never happened before that someone greeted with such enthusiasm. (Okay, he should have understood that when Galahad had actually called by name, but he was too shocked to do so). “Yesterday you were gone.”

The innocence in the face of Galahad made him almost burst out laughing.  “I had some things to do. Other things. Manly things.”
“I’m glad that you have not left Theophrastus to the pages. I do not think they would feed him well.”
“Of course not,” Mordred found himself smiling. “He is spoiled.”

Galahad was easier to talk to that day. The French knight was still at a respectful distance, but at least Mordred had been beside him for a few hours and would have again the same that evening. What mattered to him that Galahad did not want him with that body?

Perhaps in the future if he again pleaded Morgan he could have the other potion.

Galahad’s voice interrupted his thoughts again and what he said was so weird that Mordred, for a moment, he let fall the chicken necks which Theophrastus was eating. The hawk did not give peace until he was able to retrieve them and swallow them, ignoring his master.

“Sir Bors claims that flies are born from rotten flesh. This is true because I’ve noticed that happens, yet it is as if something is missing. I saw birds come from eggs of other birds, trees from seeds of other trees and other dogs from dogs but never a dog born from something that was not another dog. ” The face of Galahad was completely flushed and breathing heavily as the knight was after a race, as if he suddenly exploded with that ton of words and then repent of his audacity.

“Surely you are right,” admitted Mordred, linking back Theophrastus and retrieving the bag of meat. “Dogs are born from female dogs, birds from female birds and I will guess female trees give other trees. Have you ever noticed that the flower that becomes the fruit is always the one with that little stretched and swollen hand that there is never in the flowers that not become fruit? This does not necessarily mean that that part characterizes a female flower because I also saw it in flowers that have not become fruit, but never the other way around. Never saw it missing in a flower that became fruit. ”

Galahad’s eyes shone so much that the bastard prince forgot his heritage, his purpose and his appearance. All he wanted was what he had and he was getting. “We should close the meat in a box and check that the flies - and I imagine they are female flies, - cannot reach it.”

“-So as to show that the flies do not come from meat, but the flies are born only by other flies,” Galahad finished, nodding. “And you think we could try to see if we can mix the items as proposed by Aristotle?”

“Do you read Aristotle?”

Galahad smiled, embarrassed and perhaps with a hint of hope. “Yes, someone told me many years ago about Aristotle.”

“The first thing my mother gave me was a treatise of Aristotle on animals,” said Mordred and suddenly stopped and the smile vanished from his lips.
What was he doing? That was not how things should go. Because he was talking to Galahad (Galahad who was polite and friendly, but still miles away) when he could be Morrigan and be next to Galahad, on his arm? Of course, Galahad had not spoken with Morrigan of Aristotle or Theophrastus, but only because he did not know exactly how passionate the lady was about them, just like Mordred.
Then Morrigan was ready to show Galahad that if he wanted, he could have anything anyone could want from him: a beautiful body and a mind akin to talk to.

When the Bretone opened his mouth, Mordred hastened to apologize and run towards the castle.

He had a potion to take and a dress to wear.

Guinevere’s birthday was a special occasion worthy of celebration and, as the special sovereign that he was, Arthur had given her the best of Camelot to make a memorable feast. He even summoned to court the lady Nimue who immediately began to juggle with bright, crackling fires. (At least until Morgana, jealous of the attention to the lady magician of the lake, had not sabotaged them and thrown them to the dogs).

Mordred was amused. Playing as Morrigan he laughed loudly and leaned on the arms of unknown knights sometimes finding herself beside Galahad. He drank a lot and laughed a lot. The ladies chatted with him finally sincere (or maybe not?) and even gossiped about their lovers and husbands.
The knights danced with him.
But the most important thing was that Galahad bowed before him and danced with him for hours, ignoring the other ladies.

“There’s something familiar about you,” he said to Mordred in the middle of a dance, looking serene, but slightly distracted. Mordred felt euphoric (or perhaps he had simply drunk too much).

He wanted to embrace King Arthur and tell him that he could have a beautiful daughter to marry to a beautiful Lord and no one would be sorry about anything anymore.
Then he wanted to force his father to name Galahad a Lord so he could marry him and no one would be looking with pity at him anymore.
He wanted to laugh and when Galahad joined him with a cup of delicious fruit Mordred leaned over him and sucked the grapes directly from his hands, delighted to see the other’s cheeks redden quickly.

“Let’s dance again, Sir Galahad.”

“I would not monopolize you, Lady Morrigan. I know for certain that Sir Percival would kill for a dance with you.”
The kinght had the same distracted eyes he had a little earlier, he also seemed a bit upset.

“Do not be difficult.”

“I have to find a friend,” said Galahad, extricating from the dunkish Mordred’s embrace.

“A friend? Your friends are all here.”

Galahad had the decency to pretend to look around before responding: “Sir Mordred is not present.”

The sentence was like a slap and with it Mordred felt just a little less drunk and warm. “Mordred is not your friend. He’s always rude.”

“And he is rude just because others are rude to him.”

“What a fool you are, he is always rude to you even when you’re nice like the queen.”

Galahad’s face darkened.
Mordred would have liked to enjoy that moment of his own in which, finally, his true self was able to capture a violent reaction from Galahad, but could not. He felt guilty, cold. And sick (but that was definitely the alcool).
“I think I better accompany in your room, Lady Morrigan.”

“I can go- alone.”

Ignoring the other knight, Mordred walked to their rooms. He was too drunk to realize that, somehow, he would have to invent an excuse because he could not lead Galahad to his real room because that was known as Mordred’s room.

Galahad of course noticed it becaue he gently took Morrigan’s thin wrist.

“Your are staying in Mordred’s rooms?” he asked. The immensely large and immensely blue eyes were particularly bright.

It was strange because Galahad had not been drinking alcohol that evening.

“You are his mistress?”
he suddenly asked, blushing.

It was not the alcohol that made Mordred laugh this time, but was the surprise with how desperate that question had said. “Who would want to take Mordred as a lover? Who? Certainly not me. In fact, if I could I would never see him again.” Oh, alcohol. Mordred would have to  remember for the future times than being a woman involved having less resistance to the power of mead.
He felt dizzy and wanted to vomit. Possibly of Galahad. Oh, that would be perfect.

“Why do you hate him so much?”

“You would not understand,” exclaimed the prince, trying to open the door to no avail.

Galahad’s hands leaned near his and helped him, but when the door was wide open he did not let go.

“You’re trembling. I mean really, Lady Morrigan, you are shaking.”

And it was true. But not in a damsel in distress way, he was shaking more in a the-enchantment-is-over way.
And Mordred  recognize the feeling at that moment, clouded by foreign beverage, more than ever. He felt his legs grow longer, and the breast vanishing- but it was not possible! He should still have a whole hour as beautiful Morrigan, why  it was all happening now? Perhaps Morgan did something with the potion or maybe the potion mixed with the alcohol had shortened its duration?

“You must leave, Galahad, now!”

“I cannot leave when-” the words were lost in the silence and Mordred knew that the transformation had occurred.
And what was most ridiculous than having his own deformed body wrapped in a woman dress?

He would kill himself. But only after he had killed Morgan.

The voice that broke of the unnaturally silence interrupted his well-deserved moment of self pity. “Sir Mordred, let me help you change you before someone sees us out here.”
Reasonable and polite as always, the Galahad helped him enter the room without tripping over the long red dress. He said nothing about the fact that the dress had broken on the shoulder or that Mordred’s hands now covered his face (the shame would be too much for anyone).

Galahad closed the door and sat down next to him.

“So Morrigan has never existed. Was she always you?”

Mordred nodded.

“May I ask why?”

Mordred had no answers or maybe they had too many.
He could simply indicate his body and say that he was tired of hating the mirror, he could indicate Galahad and add that he had dreamed about him and that he had wished he had been kind to him in any form, as Mordred, as a cat or as Morrigan.
He could not say anything about all this and he just dropped his arms in a gesture of surrender.

“You ir fot this?” Galahad said and he touch his hand, gently, before reatching for Mordrted’s back. The latter jumped out of bed and almost fell on his dress for the heat to rise.

“Do you think that I do not see? Do you think the clothes are sufficient to cover your look. That’s not how it is, Mordred. I see it and it’s part of you and, really, I do not understand what your problem is.”
“Go away.” The voice were not as cold as Mordred would have liked, but he would have been satisfied. “We don’t even know each other. I was a fool, chasing an idea.”

Galahad stood up, but not to leave, he walked to the door, then returned to the bed and sat nervously in a chair by the fireplace that was already off.

“Oh, Mordred. I was in love with you since I was six years, how can you say that I do not know you?”

Mordred knew he had not a good memory when it was about his childhhod. At most he could say that he have a vague selective memory that eliminated repeatedly Roman tactics and Celtic tribes names to memorize useless lists of names of insects and plants. He had always had difficulty with names and faces because there was a time when his brothers had shown that his body was different from that of others and deformed and he had stopped watching the faces of people too, fearing that they could reproach him.

For this reason it was difficult for him to return to the age in which Galahad must have had six years. They must have been about fifteen years ago.  He frowned in an effort to dig fifteen years of life and return to when he was only nine.

When he was nine years he traveled with his mother.


Morgause had never really resigned to having a child that was different from the perfect son of a king who he was menat to be. For this reason it often happened that Mordred was carried on long journeys to Britain in search of witches, sorcerers or priests who might have a solution for his problem.

That year, they reached a young priest who used to said he could heal any hurt. Mordred and Morgause, with the whole retinue of women and some of his servants, had traveled for two weeks before reaching the monastery of Gwyndi.

The place had been lovely, surrounded by fields and woods tended by the monks who had been allowed by the king, to hunt in them. Having a well-known healer, had allowed the monastery to get rich despite the healer himself never asked payments from his patients.

Morgause had left Mordred in the garden to go and talk personally with this famous holy man.

The garden had been beautiful, like everything else. There had been bushes of red roses and white lilies and a small weeping willow tree that was growing over a dry marble fountain in which some birds had built their nest.
On the edge of the fountain, sitting uncomfortably, there had been a child. He had been the youngest child that Mordred had ever seen (apart from his brother Gareth who was still a baby) and for a moment he had mistaken him for a girl.

He had been destroying some grass with his hands and occasionally taking off his tiny face his long blond hair.

And he had been crying.

If he had not heard him crying Mordred probably would never have dared to come near him.

“Aristotle says that the grass is made of earth, but according to his theory, I think it has a little of air otherwise it would not fly when you throw it.”
The child had noticed his presence and had jumped, dropping the battered green wires.
“Is him a friend of yours?”

“Who? Aristotle?”
The child had nodded timidly and Mordred had laughed. “No. He is a philosopher. He has written some things about how the world works.”

“He wrote what happens to mothers when they are brought here?”

Mordred had not had the faintest idea of what happened to mothers who were brought to the monastery, but maybe they were like him.

“If your mom is like me, maybe it’s better for her to be here.”

“How are you?”

Mordred had shrugged and had let the strange boy examine the unknown.
The girly child had finally saw his foot and the hobbled curvature of his back.

“No, my mother was coughing,” he had said, finally.

And because  Mordred had seen a fishman that had started to cough and had not stopped till death, he had sitten down near the little boy and taken his hand.
He did not know what he would do if his mother should have started coughing but he might have cried too, even though it was hard to imagine Morgause with any disease.

And so Mordred had told him what happened to mothers who were coughing and what could not happen. He had also told him what he had read in the only gift he had ever received from Morgause, the importance of the right questions and to always know what there was to know also if it was never enough. He had explained that people sometimes were lying and that it was better to count on his own mind because it was the only thing someone could trust.

He had spent the afternoon with a child too pale and worried and finally he had met the famous healer only at night. And there had been no results since, in the eyes of Morgause he had only seen disappointment.

So he forgot everything.


“My mother was very sick and nobody wanted to tell me the truth. You were sitting there with me and you tolde me about life and death. You have told me the truth and for a few hours I forgot what was happening in my life. You talked to me about Aristotle. ”

There was an affectionate smile on Galahad’s face and Mordred was so deeply upset that he forced himself to sit on his bed before his knees gave out.
“I didn’t recognize. I could not remember.”

“I thought so.”

“You said-” Mordred swallowed.
Years of cold iron back into the surface. All the voices inside him made him think that someone like him not only did not deserve the love of anyone, but he was not even worth to feel something similar for someone. All love stories of knights had as protagonists beautiful and pure men and he could not claim the right to imagine to feel what they did.
“I said that I was in love with you all this time. I had this picture of a perfect and wonderful you that led me to seek the truth of everything even when there is not an only truth or a truth at all. And then I came to Camelot. I did not know you’d been there too you, then I did not know you were the son of Arthur. At first I didn’t recognize because my picture of you had become a fantasy, but when I heard you talk I knew it was you. But also you were so different from the man I imagined you would be. Do you want to know what I thought? ”

No, Mordred did not want to know.

“I thought I preferred the real you.”

That was too much.
“You cannot say these things! You mock me, knight.”
“Who forbids it?” Galahad asked, raising his chin. At that moment his face recalled greatly the arrogance of his not perfect father.

“If this is really what you think, if it is not a penalty or a lie, why you do not touch me?”
“You-” at this point Galahad’s cheeks went of an unnatural red. “-You never seemed particularly happy with my presence. I was afraid that I would bother or that you would find out everything about me with a simple touch.”

“I know nothing of you,” whispered Mordred, feeling defeated. It had been so self-absorbed that he realized it was true, he did not know enough about Galahad. He had idolized him, as everyone else, as Galahad had done with Mordred years before.

The other kinght seemed to understand perfectly his thoughts because he rose from his chair and sat down beside him, deliberately leaving their hips touching. The soft and elegant blue tunic of Galahad against the ridiculous red dress as a woman.

“You cannot love someone unless you love yourself. Or if you love yourself too much. My mother used to say that it was the biggest flaw of my father.”

“Maybe I’ve better change-”

“If you know nothing about me and-and, well, if you want to know something about me we can try to combine the four elements together. In the words of Aristotle.”

“I think it’s the most indecent proposal I have ever received.”

Galahad allowed himself a small smile before getting up.
“Now I can help you change.”

“There is no need. I can do it alone.”
He was not ready to be seen by Galahad without any clothes on. Although now Galahad had become the child of the monastery, he did not feel ready yet.

The other one nodded, and, after having promised to return with water to drink, left the room.

Mordred quickly tore off his clothes, balling them and throwing them aside. He did not have mirrors in his room and thanked heaven for this because the last thing he wanted was to see himself now that hope was vaguely beginning to bloom.
He felt tired, and numb as in a fog. Probably he would have vomited all that alcohol before going to sleep, meditated, wearing breeches and a shirt and fighting with the laces. The room was spinning too fast.

“If you want to know me and you will allow me, I will help you to love yourself,” said Galahad’s voice behind him.
(Evidently Galahad had taken lessons from Morgan about how to enter secretly in others rooms).

“I’m not sober enough to talk about it,” muttered Mordred, leaving, with some reluctance, the other one to tie the laces of his shirt for him.

“You are right. You should sleep. We’ll talk tomorrow.”

Once the shirt was completely closed, Mordred flopped down on his bed.
He would have liked to ask Galahad to stay with him, but his mouth seemed to no longer work very well so he grabbed his wrist and dragged him to his side. He knew he had to say-to say something, something sour about Galahad not really wanting to be there with him or making excuses, letting Galahad get way because who’d want to sleep with him- but what came out was: “I am Agamemnon.”

Galahad, who was comfortably stretched jumped in surprise. “The cat?”

“Yes, it was me.”

“Oh. This is why I have not seen him anymore. I was afraid I had been so terrible in taking care of him that he escaped.”

I came back, however.

“Can I ask how you did?” asked the Bretone, lying on its side, facing Mordred.

“My aunt.’s secret lab has the most famous cliche-potions in the world.”

“Do you think we could turn ourselves into flies to solve the dilemma of rotting flesh?”

Mordred admitted that this was an excellent idea and that if he had not been so blinded by himself probably he would have thought he (and before). Getting on his side, toward Galahad, he answered, with a little of regret: “I’m afraid she will not turn me into anything more. And you’re too boring for her.”

There was almost a hint of a pout on Galahad’s lips before he decided to put aside the matter.

Slowly, he lad one hand on the back of the other.
“May I?”

No, no, no, no- “Of course, if you do not dislike who am I to complain?”
Mordred said, his heart beating at a thousand.

“That’s fine.” The hand rested, and with gentle pressure, the prince found himself with his forehead against Galahad’s and a thin arm around his waist.

“I smell of alcohol,” Mordred mused because for sure so close Galahad could even smell the tastes of wines he had drunk.

Galahad half-smiled and then bend down and give him a quick kiss on the lips. “And that’s the only reason I am not giving you more than that.

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