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Three Things Worth Holding

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“Three things worth holding, if you can find them,” said Celidon, the Merlin. “The devotion of a sister, the trust of a friend, the respect of a rival.”


“'Most women' can and do endure far more than he will ever guess,” Ygern said, slamming the door to our barracks room.

“Bedivere?” I asked. He's a good lad, the young man that my lady and the high king call “brother,” but not well known for his comprehension of the fairer sex.

She nodded, wiping tears from her eyes. “And he fancies himself in love with me, if you can imagine! He doesn't understand at all.”

“Most men don't.” I wrapped my arms around the girl, and she clung to me, head resting comfortably on my bosom.

“I wish I'd had a sister growing up,” she sniffled, as I petted her hair. “Someone like you.”

“A sister?” I was unable to keep the amusement from my voice. “Is that what this is?”

She lifted her head to study me. Then we both began to laugh, and did not stop until we had collapsed onto the bed.

“Well, what do I know of brothers and sisters?” she asked, when we had caught our breath. “Bedivere thinks he's in love with me, I'm half in love with Arthur (in spite of myself), and they call themselves my brothers. And you and I...”

“My lady,” I said solemnly. Then I kissed her until she'd forgotten everything else.

It was only later, as night was beginning to fall and Ygern dozed in the crook of my arm, the blanket pulled over us both, that her words came home to me. Not 'what would I do without you,' but 'what will I do?'

My hand rested on her belly, and I shuddered, wondering what changes her child would bring to both our lives. It's a bad business, falling in love with a woman who can see the future.