From the drawbridge over the moat of the foreboding castle, Queen Guinevere watched her husband King Arthur gallop away on his black destrier, his contingent of soldiers in following fast, heading toward war. His nephew, Mordred, the owner of the keep, stood behind her; she could feel his cold gaze piercing the back of her head. She had never liked Mordred; had felt his indifference and hatred toward her since her marriage to Arthur a year ago. He often remained here at his home, even during court events, so Guinevere rarely had to be in his reticent company. But now, with Arthur outside of Britannia for an unknown period of time, he felt she would be safer under the guard of his stony nephew. Guinevere disagreed as, turning, she saw Mordred's sly grin and it sent shivers down her spine. I'd be safer at Camelot alone than here with this villain and his men, she thought.
Mordred stepped back and allowed her to enter the frigid castle ahead of him. She pulled her fur wrap tighter around her thin shoulders and was about to ascend the staircase to her warm, fire-lit rooms when Mordred's gravelly voice stopped her.
"Your Grace, if I may have a word."
Guinevere turned back to him, and he bowed low in respect, whisking off his feathered hat. She nodded, looking down her nose at him.
"I would like to assure Your Grace that you will have all the amenities possible during your stay with me here at Cador Castle. Any requests or quandaries please do not hesitate to notify me. I am honored to have in my protection such a lovely charge."
The shiver traversed Guinevere's spine again, and she nodded politely. "My husband and I thank you for your hospitality, Sir Mordred, and the use of your guards while he is away. I am tired now, and will retire to my rooms for the evening. Have a good night."
"Thank you Your Grace."
As she climbed the stone stairs, her hand trailing the wooden banister, she could almost hear him rubbing his hands together. She had a strange premonition that he was planning something while the King was gone, though the few times she had seen him at Camelot he had sworn his loyalty a thousand times over. She dreaded her time here, and prayed Arthur would return as swiftly as possible. In the meantime, she would do what she could to prevent Mordred's sinister plots.