Uther

According to the legends of King Arthur, Merlin changed Uther Pendragon into a double for Duke Gorlois, so he could spend the night with Ygraine, the Duke’s wife. Ygraine and Gorlois had three daughters: Elaine, Morgause, and Morgan le Faye.

During their time together, Ygraine became pregnant with the child who was to become King Arthur. Uther’s men killed Gorlois that same night.

This is my TG version of what happened. No, the characters DON'T speak standard English. They are living in the sixth or seventh century, speaking Germanic dialects that were distant ancestors of what we know as English.

Uther
By Ellie Dauber (c) 2006

“Merlin!” Uther Pendragon howled. He was High King of the Britons, seated in court in his throne room, and he was impatient. “Where are you, you fraud of a Welshman?”

An older man, dressed in brown robes like a mendicant friar, stepped out from the shadows and into the royal court. “I am here, my liege, as always.” In the candlelight, his robes could be seen to be made of silk, not a friar’s coarse wool.

“Have you an answer to the problem I set?” Uther drummed his fingers on the arm of his throne.

“Several, my liege.” the man many feared as a wizard glanced about the room. Some men turned to avoid his gaze. A few others made the sign of the Cross. “But is not this a matter to be spoken of in a more private place? Can you be at my chambers in an hour’s time?”

Uther slammed his fist. “I can be there now, by the Blessed Saints. To my mind, there is no matter more pressing.” He looked quickly at his chamberlain. “Or am I wrong?”

“N-no, my lord,” the chamberlain, an old man in a dark green robes stammered. “Other business can wait, if you so wish it.”

Merlin stroked his long, reddish brown beard. “To _my_ mind, an hour would be better. Attend to your court, while I go to make ready.” Without waiting for an answer, he turned and started for the doorway.

A burly young guard, dressed in the dark green tunic and brown britches that passed for the uniform of Uther’s army, stepped into the wizard’s path. “The High King has not dismissed you, wizard.”

“Are you that eager to be a frog, my foolish youngling?” Merlin asked the guard.

Uther laughed. “He may leave at his own will. He always does.” He watched the man move aside, then added. “An hour, Merlin; no more.”

“No more.” Merlin did not look back at his king. “And might I borrow this brave lad for a while?”

“The moat has more than enough frogs already,” Uther replied.

Now Merlin laughed. “He shall remain in human form, Uther.” He held up his hand as if taking an oath. “I do so swear.”

“Then take him.” He made a dismissive gesture at the guard. “Go with Merlin, boy, and do not fear.”

Merlin took the young guard’s arm. “I wouldn’t go _that_ far, Uther.” The guard tried to pull free but could not. Merlin made a small gesture and led the suddenly submissive man from the room.

* * * * *

There was a sudden pounding on the thick oaken door. “Come in, Uther,” Merlin called out, lifting his eyes from the scroll he was reading. “But leave those guards of yours in the hall.” He rolled up the scroll and put it on the worktable with several others.

“How did you know that I brought guards?” Uther asked as he stepped through the doorway.

“You are a king in time of war -- a needless war, most certainly -- but still a war. It takes no great magic.”

Uther frowned. “Needless? How say you that? This man, Gorlois, is a traitor to his king. He has refused my will and taken up arms against me.”

“Gorlois is rightful Duke of Cornwall and a man to whom respect is due. He was your friend, your sword-brother, once. What he has refused, _my_ _liege_, is to give up to you his own beloved wife, and the army that he raised was to keep you from taking her.”

Uther turned a bright red. “If any other man spoke to me like that, Merlin, I would feed his liver to the crows while he was still alive to watch them eat it.”

“If any other man could do what I have done for you in the past and will do for you and yours in the future, you would have done that to me long ago.” Merlin paused a moment to watch the king gnash his teeth. “Since I still live -- and in great comfort, I might add -- you have found no other such man. And I need not fear your threats this day.”

“As I well know, Merlin.” Uther answered, a bit of regret in his voice. “Now that we understand each other, have you found a way to get me Ygraine, Gorlois’ lady wife?”

Merlin gave him an odd smile. “What if I were to say that she was here... as I speak?”

“What?” Uther’s eyes raced across the room.

“Come forth, Ygraine,” Merlin called.

The door to a side chamber slid open. A slight figure entered. Man or woman, Uther could not say. The figure wore the uniform of his army, but it was the uniform of a much larger man. Sleeves ran down to cover the fingers of hands that struggled to hold up a pair of oversized britches that pooled on the ground and made walking slow. A hood, the sort normally worn under a battle helm covered the face, indeed the entire head.

“Show me your face,” Uther commanded.

The figure hesitated. “Do it,” Merlin added firmly.

Hands shot to the hood. As they did, the britches fell to the carpeted, stone floor. The tunic hung down almost to the knees. Below that, one could see an invitingly curved and very female pair of legs.

The hood was now pulled back to reveal a pale, moon-shaped face framed by a tangle of ink black curls. The woman’s gray eyes were large, with thick lashes above, her nose was aquiline, her lips full and inviting.

“Ygraine,” Uther whispered, stunned at the vision before him.

She shook her head. “No, m’lord, I ain’t.” Her voice was a soft contralto.

“What!” Uther bellowed.

“I be Wilf, me liege,” the woman explained, “a man of your guard. Ye said I should go with Merlin. I done that, and look what he done t’me.”

Merlin laughed and nodded. “This is the eager young guard who tried to stop me, Uther. I thought he could use a touch of humility.”

“You said you would not use magic on him,” Uther said.

Merlin shook his head. “I promised that he would stay in human form. She is most assuredly human.” He gestured at the transformed guard. “Take off your clothes and show your king just how human you are.”

The guard’s face looked as though she -- for she was female, indeed -- was straining against a great weight. Yet as she did, she stepped out of her boots to reveal a pair of small, female feet. She grasped the tunic and, as if without a thought, pulled it up and off over her head.

She was gloriously naked beneath. Curls black as night fell down to her round, firm breasts, a pair of peaches and cream colored pillows perfect for any man’s head. A fat nipple in a dark disk the size of a bezant, a Byzantine gold piece, peaked out at them through a curl, begging to be sucked. Her waist was narrow; Uther thought that he might enclose it with his two hands. Her hips were wide, made to bear an army of children. And in the center, there between her legs, lay a her cunny, covered with those same black curls. The sight of it drew Uther’s shaft erect and pulled him towards it like the North Star draws an iron compass.

“Ygraine,” Uther said again, “as I have too often dreamed her.”

“No, me lord, I be Wilf.” The naked maiden raised her arms as if in prayer. “Please, Merlin, gimme back me own shape. And gimme back me willie, too.”

Merlin shook his head and gestured. “Be as you would seem to be.”

“Yes, my lord.” Wilf’s manner changed. She smiled invitingly and began to step towards Uther. Her arms were still raised, and her hips swayed in feminine invitation. When she reached Uther, her arms wrapped around his neck and she kissed him most passionately.

Until Uther pushed her away.

“No,” the High King said. “It is Ygraine whose love... and whose body I seek. Not some magicked up imitation.” He took one last look at the maiden, who stood ready to kiss him again. “Change this one back to my guard.”

“On the morrow, he shall be back as he was,” Merlin replied.

“Why not now?” The woman, still bespelled, reached for Uther’s hand. He quickly moved it away from her and motioned for her to step back. She did, but she smiled seductively and began to slowly run a finger across her left breast.

Merlin took a small, brass disk from a pocket of his robe. “Because the magic that caused him to assume Ygraine’s form lies within in this medallion, my liege. It is a most powerful relic made I know not how many centuries ago on the African continent. Its magic will not work on him again for half of a day.”

“An odd magic.” Uther considered what he had heard. “Give her back her mind now, and let her be unmolested by anyone until she can regain her original form.”

“As you wish, my liege.” Merlin made another gesture.

The woman jumped away from Uther. “Th-thank ye, me lord,” she said as she hurriedly threw the tunic over her body.

“You may sleep in the chamber you were in before,” Merlin said dismissively. Then, in a wry voice, he added. “It locks from the inside.” The transformed guard bowed once. She grabbed for her other clothing and ran for the chamber. The door slammed, and both men heard the lock click into place.

Merlin winked. “She doesn’t know that I can open the lock from this side, though.” He sighed, then. “Alas, I am no longer one for such sport. She will be safe until I can use the medallion.”

“A very funny trick,” Uther said impatiently. “And I am no closer to Ygraine than I was before.”

“Not quite, my liege.” Merlin studied the other man. “If you will not settle for bedding a false Ygraine, would you accept the true Ygraine bedding a false Gorlois?”

“What mean you, wizard?”

“As it changed young Wilf into Ygraine, so the medallion could change you into Gorlois. Can a wife refuse her husband?”

Uther grinned. “She is a pious woman who would not refuse any carnal desire of a man she thought was her lawful, Christian husband.” He braced himself. “Can you do this, Merlin? Do it now, even as we speak.”

“I can, my liege.” He put the medallion back in his pocket. “The magic requires a piece of clothing from the person you wish to be transformed into. The Duchess Ygraine somehow left her glove when they visited you at Castle Pendragon in Westmoreland during the Christmas Peace. At the same time, the Duke seems to have misplaced a stocking.”

Uther laughed heartily. “How careless of them... and how useful. Very well, fetch that stocking and let me become Gorlois.”

“Towards what end, Uther?” Merlin asked. “Is Ygraine here -- or anywhere close to us? Of course not; you know as well as I that she is in Cornwall, some 5 days ride away.”

“Let me be Gorlois, then, and ride as him to Cornwall.”

“No, Uther, this I will not do.”

“What! You refuse me, your king.”

“Think, Uther. You are at war with Gorlois. Change now, and you will most surely find yourself captured, tortured, perhaps even killed by your own men. And they would only be obeying the orders that you, yourself, gave them.”

Uther slammed his fist down on the table. “Blast you, Merlin, must you be so infernally right all the time?”

“Yes, I must.” Merlin chuckled. “People seem to expect it of me.”

* * * * *

Uther reined his horse and pointed ahead. “Do you see that fortress there on that hill, Merlin?” They were on a ridge with the entire valley spread out before them. The fortress was on a steep hill that commanded the entire valley, as well as the section of the King’s Highway that passed through it.

“I see it, Uther, and I know what it is.” Merlin rode beside his king. There were soldiers with them, but none were close enough to hear the two men speak. “Gorlois’ castle; we are no more than 5 miles away.”

Uther nodded. “While Count Gorlois and his men face my army some forty miles to the south.” He held up his right arm and made a circle. “We will camp here this night on the side of the ridge those in the castle cannot see.”

The soldiers dismounted and began to set up the camp. “No fires and post sentries,” Uther cautioned them, still on horseback. “The enemy may be close at hand.”

Merlin climbed down. He stood in silence, watching the soldiers for a moment. Then he began pacing the edge of the small glade that Uther had chosen for the camp. As he walked, he wove an aversion charm that would protect those within from notice. Anyone or anything coming close to the glade would not wish to look in that direction. At the same time, those within would not wish to leave.

Uther waited until Merlin had almost finished. He dismounted and walked over to the mage. “Is the spell set?” he asked. Merlin gave a sight nod. Without stopping, he made a circular gesture towards the king with one hand.

“Almost finished, Uther,” he answered in a low voice. Uther was now “wrapped” within the spell. He could leave or return to the camp at will.

He could also invoke the aversion spell on his own person, so that people would look away from him as he stood near or he walked by. None of the men would notice his leaving the camp.

* * * * *

The sun was hanging low over the western horizon by the time Uther neared Gorlois’ castle/fortress. He guided his horse behind a stand of oak some 200 yards from the outer wall. These trees were the closest cover. Anything nearer that could hide a man -- be it rock, tree, or even tall grass -- had been removed to give the men on the castle wall a clear view in all directions.

Uther dismounted, wrapping his reins around a branch. He reached carefully into his saddlebag. The medallion was still there, rolled up inside the sleeve of a blue linen under-tunic. He’d worn the under-tunic to Merlin’s quarters just two days before and cut the sleeve off at Merlin’s direction. He’d concealed the medallion within the sleeve himself -- just to be certain.

He drew the medallion out of its hiding place and put the chain around his neck. The sleeve went back into the saddlebag. He did all this carefully being careful not to bring it anywhere near the medallion.

From the same saddlebag, he pulled out Gorlois’ lost stocking. He took a breath to steady his hand. “Courage, man,” he whispered to himself. “There is a risk, aye, but think of the prize and lay on.” He took another breath and wound the dark brown stocking about the medallion.

Nothing happened for a moment. Then he felt an odd sensation in the hand that still touched the stocking. Needles and pins, it was, the feeling a man felt when his arm “fell asleep.” The feeling ran up his arm, then flowed like a floodwater through his body.

Uther had no mirror. He looked down at his hands. He was a tall man with the ruddy skin and straight dark brown hair of his Celtic ancestors. Gorlois was shorter and a bit stocky. His fair skin and blond hair marked him as a Saxon.

As Uther watched, his skin grew lighter as did the thick, dark hair on his arms. His long fingers seemed to be shorter and a bit thicker now, and his tunic sleeves slid down to partly cover his wrists.

He seemed to shrink a few inches, and his belt was tighter at his waist. His jaw began to itch, and when he put a hand to it, he found a beard that had not been there before.

An old scar formed on the palm of his left hand. Gorlois had first shown it to him years before, when they were still friends. The whetstone had slipped while he was sharpening an ax blade. “It wasn’t a deep wound,” Gorlois had told him, “but me Mum fussed over it as if t’were a fatal blow.”

“The wound be mine now.” He was talking like Gorlois, another gift of the medallion. “His body be mine. And soon... soon Ygraine’ll be mine.”

Merlin had warned him not to allow the medallion out of his sight. “It has a bad habit of disappearing,” the old man warned. Uther lifted the chain from his shoulders. He put Gorlois’ stocking in his saddlebag, taking out his own blue sleeve.

He could touch the medallion now that he had changed. He wrapped the sleeve around it and hid the small bundle in a pouch looped onto his belt. A moment to adjust that belt for the differences between his own build and Gorlois’, and he was ready.

He mounted his horse and spurred it towards the castle. “The gate,” he yelled as he came close. “Open the gate. Uther’s men be right b’hind me.”

It was dusk, but there was enough light to see Uther’s -- Gorlois’ -- face. One soldier yelled a challenge. “Later,” Uther answered. “Just open thut damned gate a’fore I get an arrow in me back.”

The voice, the face, they were those of Count Gorlois. The soldiers hurried to unbar the gate, spreading the doors wide as he rode through, then closing and barring them behind him. Uther kept riding up the hill to the inner gate. Word passed down the row of men on the barricade wall to his right. The inner gate opened as he approached. He rode through it, not stopping until he was at the steps to the keep, the main building of Gorlois’ castle.

A servant took the reins, as Uther dismounted. “M’lord,” the man said in a confused voice. “We dint ‘spect... we heard you be miles from here warring with th’king.”

“Do it look like I’m miles from here?” Uther answered angrily. The less he talked to the servants, the less the chance that he could make a mistake and betray himself. “Where be m’wife?”

“In her rooms, I ‘spect, with your daughters. You wants I should get them?”

Uther shook his head. “Stay at your place, m’man. I’ll see to ‘em meself.” He turned and hurried up the stairway into the keep. He’d been to this castle many times, and he knew it well enough to find the way to the private chambers on the second floor.

* * * * *

Uther raised a hand but stopped. ‘What man knocks on the door of his own bedchamber?’ he thought. Instead, he raised the latch and walked in.

“How dare...” Ygraine had heard the door open and turned to scold was coming in unannounced. “Gorlois!” she shouted. She stood and ran to him. Her arms wrapped around his neck, pulling his head down, and their lips met in a kiss.

Uther delighted in her passion as they kissed. Her mouth opened freely, and her tongue teased with his. Her body pressed tightly against him, as she ground herself against his member. He felt as big and as hard as one of those great rock slabs that Merlin had put up at Stonehenge.

His hands explored her body, reaching down finally to grasp at her teardrop buttocks, kneading them like loaves of bread until she moaned and pressed herself even closer.

“Poppa! Poppa!” A small voice broke the mood. A small hand tugged at his tunic. Uther looked down to see Elaine, Gorlois’ older daughter. She was... five, he remembered, a pudgy miniature of her mother, but with her father’s blond hair worn long in twin braids.

He wanted to strangle her for interrupting.

Instead, he chuckled and picked her up. “Hello, little one.” He kissed her cheek, then looked around. “And where is your sister?”

“Morgause is asleep in her crib.” Elaine pointed to a wooden crib in an alcove a few feet away. There was a child-sized bed next to it that had to be her own.

“As ye aught t’be m’darling,” Ygraine told the girl, going from temptress to mother.

Elaine pouted and hugged the man she thought was her father. “I wants t’stay up and talk w’Poppa.”

“He’ll be here in the morn,” Ygraine answered. “W-won’t ye, Gorlois?” There was a sadness in her voice.

For just a moment, Uther felt a pang of guilt. “P’haps.” He smiled at Ygraine. “For now, little one, why don’t it be I that’s putting ye t’bed?”

“Oh, yes, Poppa.” Elaine hugged him again.

Ygraine leaned in close and whispered in Uther’s other ear. “And when ye finish w’her, ye can put me t’bed.”

The temptress was back, but only for a moment. She leaned around Uther and kissed her daughter’s cheek. “Sweet dreams, then, Elaine, and don’t ye be staying up t’talk with your Poppa.”

“Yes’m,” the girl replied. She twisted in Uther’s arms to kiss her mother good night.

Uther used his free hand to stroke the woman’s cheek. “I’ll be back soon’s I be tending t’this ‘un.”

Ygraine put her hand over his. “I’ll be waiting.”

Uther walked over to Elaine’s bed. The blanket was pulled back, and he simply set her down.

“G’night, Poppa,” she said, kissing his cheek. She sat down and put her feet under the blanket. Then she crossed herself and mumbled a short child’s prayer in memorized Latin. She squirmed down under the blanket.

Uther leaned down, pulled the blanket almost to her neck, and kissed her cheek gently. “And g’night t’ye, Elaine, m’darling.” If he took Ygraine from Gorlois, Elaine and her sister would come with her. This moment, that prospect seemed far from unpleasant.

He straightened up and looked briefly in the crib. The younger girl, Morgause, was about three, with her mother’s dark curls. She was sleeping peacefully, undisturbed by the noise and conversation that had followed his arrival.

“Now, if they both sleep peacefully through the night,” he whispered, thinking of the noise he and Ygraine might be making and rubbing his hands together in anticipation.

A curtain hung on one side of the front of the alcove. He pulled it across, separating the children’s sleep area from the rest of the chamber. Then he turned and faced... a vision.

Ygraine had been wearing a long undertunic of Lincoln green when he first saw her. It was gone now. She stood before him in a short, white linen chemise that hung down just past her hips. The ribbon at the neck was undone, and the neckline pulled wide, so that he could see the tops of her breasts. Her twin nipples were dark targets, almost visible beneath the thin material.

“I be ready for bed, too,” she said softly. Her smile was not the shy smile of an innocent maid, but the eager smile of a sexually experienced woman, one who relished the touch of a man’s hand on her body and feel of his prick in her cunny.

Uther’s grin matched hers. “So y’are, m’luv. So y’are.”

* * * * *

Count Gorlois dismounted at the edge of the woods. He took the reins and walked slowly out onto the “no-man’s-land” that surrounded his castle.

It was just dawn. The sun was a hint of brightness at the eastern horizon. The sky had moved from starry blackness to a medium gray with a smear of blue in the east.

Gorlois was almost halfway across when he was seen by the men on the wall. He heard a shout and saw an arrow fall about five feet in front of him. “Very good,” he said with some satisfaction. He raised his hands up over his head and began moving forward again _very_ slowly.

It took the count several minutes to reach the gate. He continued walking slowly, and he kept watching the men on the gate for any sign of trouble. At the same time, he was waiting for the call of welcome when his face was finally recognized.

The call came when he was about forty feet away. “M’Lord Gorlois?” came a curious voice.

“Aye,” he answered. “‘Tis me.”

“What are ye doing... how did ye get back outside the wall, m’lord?”

“Are y’daft? I’ve not been inside th’walls for a fortnight.”

A familiar voice answered back. “M-m’lord, ye rode in last e’ening like all the demons o’Hell was after ye.”

Gorlois raised an eyebrow. “Like all the demons o’Hell?” The voice belonged to Corwin, a man he’d known since they were both boys barely old enough to practice battling with wooden swords. A man he knew to be a reliable guard and fierce defender of his Duke’s estates.

“Aye, m’lord,” Corwin told him. “Ye rode past us and up t’the keep. We hadn’t seen ye since. How’d ye get back outside there?”

Best not to raise an alarm. Yet. “Corwin, there be things about m’castle thut even a good friend like ye din’t learn grown up in it.” He mounted his horse. “Now open th’gates. I needs t’be getting back inside.”

* * * * *

The sound of the latch wakened Uther.

He was naked in a bed -- Ygraine’s bed; he smiled at that -- with his sword and dagger some feet away.

‘No, not totally unarmed,’ he thought. He whispered the phrase Merlin had taught him and invoked the aversion spell. Even asleep, Ygraine was affected and shifted herself away from him in the bed.

There were curtains built into the bed frame for warmth as well as privacy. They were drawn now. Uther crawled out from beneath the covers and down to the foot of the bed without disturbing them. He slid out on the far side from the door and out of sight of whomever had entered. Stealth mattered; no aversion spell could counter the curtains drawn back in plain view of another.

“Gorlois” he whispered recognizing the man at once in the dim morning light. He stepped out from behind the bed. The spell worked. Uther was on Gorlois’ right, and the man turned almost at once to the left.

That would end if he picked up a weapon and attacked. He could reach his sword with no trouble, but the thought of fighting a man of Gorlois’ skill while naked was not one that he relished. ‘Better use stealth,’ he told himself.

Gorlois had moved into the room. He was standing by the table Ygraine had been sitting at when Uther had entered, a table with a large pewter candlestick on it.

Uther padded over to the table, even as the spell conveniently made Gorlois turn his back to it. Uther raised the candlestick and struck Gorlois on the back of the head. The Duke moaned softly and crumbled to the floor.

Uther looked over to his weapons, there in a jumble on the floor with his clothes. Murder -- no, execution; he had named this man traitor -- would be easy. “But then what,” he whispered to himself. “Shall Ygraine wake to find her husband dead? Shall little Elaine?” He shivered and shook his head.

A better idea came to him. There were trunks of clothing stored against the south wall. He opened one and began to go through it.

He found what he was looking for in the second trunk, an infant’s gown. It was a pale green and embroidered with white flowers, suitable for a child -- a _girl_ child -- no more than six month’s old. He put it on the floor beside his unconscious foe.

Next he pulled the sleeve with the medallion from his pouch. He held one end a few inches above the table. It unrolled and the medallion fell out. He used his dagger to pick it up by the chain. Being _very_ careful not to touch the medallion itself, he draped the chain around Gorlois’ neck.

The medallion rested on Gorlois’ chest. Uther laid the gown down on it. Without waiting to watch the transformation, he stood up and began to dress.

By the time he was finished, Gorlois had dwindled down to the form of a maiden of no more than fourteen. Her face was moonshaped and pretty, much like his wife -- _her_ mother, now. Uther could see small breasts under her tunic.

Uther sat down and watched. Gorlois shrank away, becoming smaller and smaller, younger and younger, until a baby girl lay on the floor, all but lost in the garb of a burly man. She had slipped from unconsciousness to sleep. He could hear gentle snoring.

He used his dagger to separate the tunic and the medallion. Then he removed the chain from around the child’s throat by hand, being as careful as before. He laid it on the sleeve from his tunic and used the dagger to wrap it. Only when there was no sign beyond a lump in the material did he pick up the sleeve and place it back in his pouch.

The baby Gorlois had become was still asleep. He lifted her gently and dressed her in the gown. “Farewell, old friend,” he said softly as he set her down in the crib next to Morgause and kissed her on the forehead. Surprised at his actions, he did the same to Elaine in her bed.

He sighed as he walked over to Ygraine’s bed. There could be no repeat of last night. ‘Best t’be gone when Ygraine finds her new ‘un,’ he thought.

His resolve faltered when he saw Ygraine, displayed in her full nude glory on the bed. He sighed again and kissed her full on the lips. She smiled, moaned softly as if in invitation, but she did not wake.

Uther closed the curtain and left her.

Less than half an hour later, he was back atop the ridge. He stopped and drew the medallion from his pouch. He put the chain around his neck and tied the sleeve around it. The tingling began as he tucked them under his tunic and spurred his horse onward. He was himself long before he reached his own camp.

* * * * *

Merlin was waiting. “It went well, my liege, your... umm, scouting mission.”

“More than well,” Uther answered, glad to have lost Gorlois’ Cornish accent. As before, there was no one but Merlin close enough to hear. “The night itself... Ygraine... the women is as... enthusiastic as she is beautiful.” He smiled. “Now that Gorlois is disposed of, I shall give her a respectable time to mourn and then... take her as wife.”

Merlin cocked an eyebrow. “Gorlois is gone, Uther? Even now your men seek him many miles away from here.”

“They lost him many miles from here,” Uther said, grinning. “He got away and returned home, probably with the same goal that I had, his wife’s bed.”

“What happened?”

“I surprised him -- your aversion spell is a wonderous weapon -- and knocked him out with a candlestick.”

“And killed a helpless man?”

Uther laughed heartily. “I have learned subtlety from you. Merlin. I used the medallion on him. The noble Duke now wears the form of an infant -- a girl infant -- no more than six months old.”

“Interesting.” Merlin stroked his beard. “An infant’s mind can hold far less knowledge than a grown man’s. I wonder if any of Gorlois’ memories remain in that tiny form.” He shrugged. “In any case, he -- she -- is not likely to be a problem to you or yours for many years, if ever.”

* * * * *

Ygraine rolled over, still half asleep. She reached out for her husband, only to find herself alone in her bed. She looked out from behind the curtain. “Gorlois,” she said, more a question than a statement.

There was no answer. With a sigh, she drew the curtain back and rose from her bed, wrapping a robe about her. The only hint that Gorlois had been there was a pile of some of his clothes on the floor.

She held back tears. She was a warrior’s wife. She would be grateful for the night before. Besides, some small voice in her mind, perhaps only a hope, told her that he had left more than memories, that she was carrying his child. She smiled at the thought and touched her flat belly for a moment.

“Best t’tend to the little ‘uns ye already have.” She told herself as she drew back the curtain and entered her daughter’s sleep alcove.

Elaine was still asleep. She was smiling, perhaps remembering her time with her father the night before. ‘Let her keep those happy memories of him,’ Ygraine told herself.

She looked at Morgause, who was also asleep. But there was -- Ygraine gasped and crossed herself -- there was second child, an infant twin of Morgause, asleep in the crib with her.

She lifted the baby and took it back to her own bed. The infant roused and began to make sucking noises. Without a thought, she put it to her own breast. It was tender from her play with Gorlois the night before, but the baby’s nursing was somehow soothing.

Morgause had been weaned for over a year. Ygraine’s breasts held no milk. Still, the child was satisfied for the time. She pulled a cord to summon one of her ladies in waiting, Nyuen. “She’d know who’d make a good wet-nurse,” she told herself.

The baby was naked beneath the tunic. Ygraine found a soft cloth that would serve as a diaper. “Ye be needing a name,” she said as she fixed it on her... her new daughter, there could be no other fate for the foundling. “You’re a fairy gift, no doubt, and me Morgause’s double. Mor... Morgan, aye, Morgan of the Fairies.” She used a copper broach to hold the cloth in place.

The baby smiled back at her. She picked it up and kissed it gently on the forehead. “Hullo t’ye, me new darling. Hullo t’Morgan le Faye.”

* * * * *

OR DID THE STORY HAPPEN LIKE THIS?

Uther awakened to the feeling of cold steel at his throat.

“Don’t ye move,” a voice hissed.

Uther recognized the voice at once. “Gorlois.” He looked up and saw the Duke glaring at him in the early morning light.

“Aye, Gorlois, and who be ye -- man or devil?”

Uther whispered the phrase Merlin had taught him to invoke the aversion spell. Gorlois began to react, turning his head away. But his hand -- and the dagger it held -- didn’t move. “Stop yur magic, devil. I don’t have t’see ye, to slit yur throat.”

Uther sighed and cancelled the spell.

The two men talking woke Ygraine. She looked over and saw her husband holding a dagger to the throat of... her husband. “What be this,” she asked, crossing herself hurriedly. “W-who be ye?”

“I be yur husband,” Uther answered quickly. A little confusion could only help his situation.

“Liar,” Gorlois spat. “_I_ be yur husband, Ygraine, the man... the man whut bringed ye a red rose at Tintigal Castle so’s it could see whut real beauty be like.”

Ygraine sat up, a smile on her face. “Husband,” she said softly. Then she remembered Uther. “But who be this ‘un?”

“A devil, thinks I.” Gorlois glared at Uther. “And ‘un thut needs t’die for whut it done t’ye.”

“No,” Uther spoke quickly. “I-I be Uther, yuir king.”

Gorlois grinned. “Even more reason t’kill ye.” His dagger moved downward from Uther’s throat. “Or t’geld ye like the troublesome old bull ye are.” He paused a moment. “If ye really be Uther.”

“I be Uther,” Uther stammered. “Uther. The proof... the proof be in me pouch.” He pointed franticly to the pile of clothing on the floor a few feet away.

“Fetch it, Ygraine,” the Duke ordered.

The woman nodded and climbed out of bed, pausing just long enough to wrap a robe about her. She loosened the pouch from the belt and handed it unopened to her husband.

Gorlois dumped the contents of the pouch onto the bed. “A cloth w’ something inside. This is your proof?” He fumbled with the material until the chain fell out. He put it around his wrist. “So’s it won’t fall,” he explained. “Magic breaks easy.” He gave a hearty laugh.

A moment later, his hand touched the medallion inside the cloth. “‘Od’s blood,” he yelled in surprise as an odd jolt ram through him. “What in our Lord’s name be that?”

Uther gave a weary sigh. “_That_ be the magic.” He pointed to the medallion now hanging from Gorlois’ wrist. The blue sleeve was still tangled around it. “It be tuning ye into me spit ‘n’ image... into Uther.”

“And pigs’ll be flying ‘round me, no doubt.” Gorlois laughed. “Now what do it really --” He looked down at his arm. His skin was darkening to Uther’s ruddier tones, even as his hair coarsened and turned from blond to black.

Uther watched the changes, proof that he hadn’t lied. “Now ye believe, don’t ye?”

“P’haps,” the Duke answered, “but I’ll not just let ye be a-sitting there waiting for the chance t’get free.” He turned to Ygraine. “Fetch over me stockings, the long winter ones.”

She went to a wooden trunk, opened it, and returned with several pairs of thick, long woolen stockings.

“Lay down on thut bed spread-eagle, ye devil,” Gorlois ordered holding his dagger just a few inches from Uther’s groin. When Uther obeyed, Gorlois had his wife tie Uther’s wrists to the two bedposts. He tested the knots. “More ‘n strong enough, m’darling. Now do his legs, m’darling.” Ygraine smiled and tied a stocking to each ankle, then tied the other end to the bottommost bedposts.

Uther glared at his captor. “Now what? Do ye mean t’kill me while I be trussed up like a chicken?”

“Nay, Uther.” Gorlois’ voice was almost exactly what Uther’s had been. “I don’t, even if be what ye deserve.” He looked down at the king and smiled, the smile of a cat playing with a captured mouse. “I do mean to be free of ye... of you, though.” He was losing his Cornish accent. “Ygraine, fetch a tunic for our naked guest.” He paused for effect. “One of Morgause’s tunics, from when she was a baby.”

“No!” Uther screamed and tried to pull his arm free. The knots held despite his struggles.

Gorlois nodded. “Yes... _daughter_.” He stroked his chin. His blond beard was gone, only his mustache remained, and it was now a dark brown, as his hair. He was a bit thinner, as well, and he took a moment to tighten his belt.

Ygraine walked over to him. “This be the first I’ve had t’welcome ye, husband.” She put her arms around his neck and kissed him eagerly on the mouth. Gorlois responded just as eagerly. They Ignored Uther and spent a time enjoying their shard passion, their hands exploring each other’s body’s. She was naked beneath the robe, and her husband’s hands soon had her moaning softly and pressing her body against him. “Take me, husband,” Ygraine begged, her voice heavy with desire.

“Of course.” Gorlois was Uther’s twin now. He looked over at his prisoner. “The bed’s in use right now, but I think we can manage.”

He posed Ygraine at the foot of the bed, facing Uther, her arms braced on the bed frame. Gorlois stood behind her, kissing her neck and shoulder. His hands were on her breasts. The robe was open wide, and Uther could see everything.

“Enjoy the show,” Gorlois taunted Uther. Without another word, he moved his hips forward and took Ygraine from behind.

Uther strained at his bonds as he watched what seemed to be his own prick slide into the cunny of the woman he had lusted after for so long. He grew rock hard as he watched, and he feared that he would foul himself there on the bed. “Damn ye, Gorlois,” he spat the name as a curse.

The Duke ignored him. He was grunting, thrusting in and out of Ygraine, and her hips were matching him move for move. Her mouth was open, and she made a soft sort of moan with each stroke.

“Uhhhn!” Gorlois suddenly stopped, his eyes going wide, as his spurted into Ygraine. That set her off, and she howled in delight. Uther was disgusted and fascinated at the same time. The woman seemed to be taking more pleasure than she had with him the night before.

They stood, unmoving for a short time. “Thank you, my love,” Gorlois said, as his prick slid out of Ygraine. He kissed her gently on the side of the neck and began to gently caress her body.

“And thanks t’ye.” Ygraine murmured, her voice a sated purr. When Gorlois’ hand reached her stomach she put her own on top of it. “I don’t know how I know, but I be thinking that we just made a wee one t’gether.”

Gorlois’ laughed. “For once, I don’t hope that it looks like the father.” He looked sharply at Uther. “And speaking of fathers and their children, would you get that tunic I asked for, please?”

“Aye, husband.” Ygraine turned and kissed Gorlois on the cheek. She walked over to a set of trunks in a corner of the room, closing her robe as she did. She opened one trunk and took out a square of white cloth and an infant’s gown. It was pale green and embroidered with white flowers, suitable for a child -- a _girl_ child -- no more than six month’s old.

She used the cloth to wipe at her cunny, then tossed it onto the table and took a second, clean one from the trunk.

At the same time, Gorlois untangled the medallion from the stocking and put it around Uther’s neck. That took a while, for Uther turned and squirmed, but he couldn’t escape. “Damn ye, Gorlois,” he cursed. “Damn ye and yurs f’ever.”

“Now is that any way for a girl to talk to her father?” Gorlois couldn’t resist the taunt. He took the tunic from Ygraine and wrapped it twice around the chain before draping it over the medallion.

Uther felt that tingle run through him as the magic began to work. He cursed and pulled at the stockings even as he began to grow smaller, younger, and more feminine. He looked down and saw his skin grow lighter and his body hair disappear. His prick shrank, disappearing into a thatch of what was now blond hair. In time, it sank down into the cunny that formed around it.

Uther was small enough now, that the stockings no longer held him... her. She pulled first one hand free, then the other. She tried to scramble off the bed, but Gorlois was ready. He laughed and grabbed her by the ankle, he forced her back down and held her there.

“Give up, Uther,” Gorlois ordered. “You’re a child now, a naked girl of six or so. Where can you go?”

Uther shook her head. She was getting dizzy, confused. “Can’t... think... I...” The three-year old on the bed looked up at two familiar faces. “M’ mind... m...” She began to cry as her memories fell away.

Ygraine waited until the little one stopped changing. She quickly fastened the cloth in place as a diaper, using a small copper broach to hold it. She raised the infant’s arms and slid the tunic down over her.

The baby had forgotten why it was crying. It reached for Ygraine and began to make sucking motions with its lips. “She be hungry, I thinks,” Ygraine said. She picked up the child, who moved its head and began to suckle... its mother.

“Me breasts be dry now,” Ygraine said, enjoying the feeling. “But me lady in waiting, Nyuen, she’d know who’d make a good wet-nurse.”

Gorlois watched his wife and -- he laughed to himself -- his new daughter. “What are you going to call her?”

“She be a gift of magic,” Ygraine answered, “and me Morgause’s double. Mor... Morgan, aye, Morgan of the Fairies.” She shifted the baby to her other breast. “Hullo t’ye, me new darling. Hullo t’Morgan le Faye.”

The new mother looked at her husband. “And how’re ye explain being here as Uther? Ye can’t be changing back for half a day.”

“But I am Uther.” The man chuckled. “No, my love, my brain’s not addled. Uther named Duke Gorlois an outlaw and traitor, and only Uther can undo that.” He looked at the baby. She had given up on trying to nurse and seemed to have fallen asleep. “But Uther -- the real Uther -- isn’t going to do that; she can’t. How much better it would be to settle it by _my_ being Uther? And...” he looked at his wife. “...by taking the Duchess Ygraine to wife as my rightful spoils of war.” He leaned over and kissed Ygraine in the cheek.

Ygraine thought about his words for a short time. “How much better, indeed. Uther wanted me to be his wife; he wanted to give me children.” She looked down at the sleeping infant, her head resting on her new mother’s breast. “And so ye have, Uther -- Morgan -- but not hardly the way ye planned.”

She walked over to the crib and gently laid Morgan down next to her new sister. She hurriedly dressed herself and pulled a cord hanging from a nearby wall.

A few moments later, there was a knock on the door. “Come in,” she called.

A young man stepped in. He wore a tabard, a sort of cloak marking him as Gorlois’ servant. “Yes, my lady.”

“This man comes t’me under a flag of truce.” She made a gesture, and Gorlois stepped out from behind a pillar.

The servant took a step back in horror. “My lady, this be --”

“I _know_ who he be. He is here under a flag of truce. Ye’ll take him to his horse and see that he rides free from here unharmed.” She looked at the young man sternly. “Totally unharmed; do y’hear me?”

The servant bowed. “I hear.” He reached out a hand. “Come w’me, m’lord.”

“Thank you, boy,” Gorlois said, being careful not to name a servant he’d know for most of the young man’s life. He turned and bowed low to his wife. “I thank you, my lady, and I look forward to meeting you again in happier times.”

Ygraine winked at her disguised husband, turning her head so the other couldn’t see. “As do I, my lord.”

* * * * *

Gorlois stopped at the edge of the woods. “Uther used a spell that made me look away. Merlin gave him that spell, no doubt.” He turned slowly in the saddle. For some reason, he skipped over one small arc. “That way,” he said, spurring his horse towards it.

It took an effort, but he advanced as far into the woods as he could. The urge to turn the horse, to change direction grew stronger and stronger. When he could barely resist, he climbed down from the horse. He tied the reins to a tree so the horse wouldn’t bolt.

“Merlin,” he called. “Come to me, please, as I cannot come to you?”

The urge to run faded as the old wizard seemed to walk out of thin air. “There’s nothing wrong with my spell, Uther, why can’t you -- wait, you are not Uther.”

A wand appeared in Merlin’s hand, a wand that was pointed at Gorlois. “Who are you, and where is the king?”

“I am Uther,” Gorlois said. “At least, I am now. I _was_ Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall, and the one who _was_ Uther, has been changed into my... into Gorlois’ infant daughter by the same magic that gave me his form.”

“Interesting.” Merlin stroked his beard. “An infant’s mind can hold far less knowledge than a grown man’s. I wonder if any of Uther’s memories remain in that tiny form.” He shrugged. “In any case, I can do nothing about it without that medallion.” He raised a hand, asking for the return of the magic item.

Gorlois, now Uther, laughed aloud. “Then you’ll do nothing. I tossed it off a cliff on the way back here. I’ve no idea where it is by now.”

“And it has a magic that keeps it from being found.” He lowered the wand and knelt. “In that case, welcome home, my liege.”

Gorlois/Uther raised an eyebrow. “You give in too easily, Merlin.”

“I accept the jest that fate and that medallion have played upon me -- no, upon all of Britain. You are a good man, Gor... Uther, and, with _my_ guidance, you will likely reign as well as that other Uther.”

“Then, I, _Uther_, High King of the Britons, do accept your pledge of fealty, Merlin, as I will gladly accept your wisdom.” He bowed his head towards Merlin.

“And what of Duke Gorlois, my liege.”

Uther made a sad face. “Uther’s... my men were looking for him last night. Let it be known that they found the Duke, and that they exe -- no, that he died fighting bravely against overwhelming odds.”

“It shall be done, my liege, and those men shall be rewarded for what they did, as I shall instruct them to remember their deeds.” Merlin chuckled. “Silver coins do wonders at helping men to remember what we want them to.”

* * * * *

Uther married Ygraine some time later. They had no other children, save the one conceived that night, the boy they named Arthur.

Morgan le Faye grew up to be a sorceress. She hated Arthur and worked to destroy him and his works. Some versions of the story say that Arthur seduced her, conceiving Mordred, the man who ultimately killed him.

Whether the Morgan of THIS story hated the adult Arthur for seducing and abandoning her or because of vague memories of her former life is left to the reader.



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