Gwen was sitting on a rickety wooden bench holding a small loaf of bread. It was freshly baked, compliments of a compassionate neighbour, and was like a piece of gold to the curious girl lounging beside her. Christy, now calmed down and somewhat at ease with her situation, was enthralled by the bun. She had never seen such a crispy, oddly-shaped piece of bread before. 'At home, they're all square and white and fluffy,' Christy had told her. Gwen thought the world these people came from, the future world (for that's what she knew it was), sounded like a nightmarish utopia. They could travel from A to B in no time at all, but they didn't get the joy of travelling on horses through cool, misty forests. Their food was available at any hour of the day, and they didn't even have to cook it. But the preparation of dinner, the satisfaction of knowing she'd created it, was what Gwen loved so much.
Everyone in the village was so content now. Well, mostly, everyone. There were still foreigners being held prisoner in the square, still fights breaking out. But despite Uther's orders to keep them restrained, the future people had dispersed amongst the village. They blended with the Camelot-locals like two colours of ink in one drawing; obviously different but co-exisiting peacefully. Gwen thought it was funny what odd explanations the human mind could conjure to explain crazy situations. That's what had happened in the last day; everyone had come up with reasons to make the events less chaotic. An illness wiping everyone of their memories, a mass dillusion, something called a 'nuclear fallout', and all other excuses Gwen couldn't make sense of. But if they kept the peace, she was happy.
Gwen broke the bread in half and placed a piece in Christy's outstretched palm. She watched the girl take a tiny little bite, as if she was a mouse on rations. Her nose screwed up like a rodent, just for a second, then she eased into a more steady routine of bites and chomps.
“It's salty,” she presented her verdit, “but I think I like it more than sandwich bread.”
Gwen was about to say that she'd like to taste this sandwich bread, but a small commotion by the stable caught her eye. Two old women were trying to get a hold of their skirts, which were flying around above their heads. But there's no wind, she thought. They gave up their desperate attempts, resorting to flee with their undergarments showing, as a misty cloud formed around them. The cloud grew bigger and bigger, and Gwen felt a sense of deja-vu as her ears sensed the faintest trace of a whirring sound. A crowd of interested people formed by the stable as the cloud got bigger and the whirring magnified into a crescendo. Then the cloud became a veil of white, and Gwen stood up from the bench; she knew what came next.
In a second the noise disappeared, the veil of mist disperesed, and all that was left was the same blue box. Slightly larger than a cupboard, its wood exterior was painted dark blue and a flashing light was on top. The writing was still there too, even though Gwen couldn't understand what it meant. This was the same box she and Merlin had been knocked over by, and the same giraffe-like, bow tie man stepped out of it.
“Don't worry!” He held up his hands in submission to the shocked crowd. “This is just my horse-cart, top quality! Go back to whatever you were doing!” He gave them a wide, cheesy grin, and Gwen noticed that everyone did as he'd said. Gwen herself felt a need to sit back down and chew on her bread, but she didn't.
“You're the Witch Hunter, aren't you?” She said once the two were face to face. She spoke softly, almost in a whisper, and pulled her shawl snug around her shoulders. A seamstress talking to a stranger would hardly arouse suspicion with everything else going on, but Guinevere felt as if she'd become involved in something best kept secret.
“I am.” Eleven bowed like a true gentleman and took her hand. “Call me The Doctor. At your service, your majesty.” He winked, and Gwen's cheeks flushed red. A brave but big-headed man named Gwaine had once made a similar proclamation, and she'd laughed it off. Things with Arthur were now more... was 'serious' the word? Things were something more, and the thought of being queen had crossed her mind more than once on sleepless nights.
“I'm Gwen,” she withdrew her hand and turned her head in emphasis as she said, “just Gwen. I was in the stable before, when you first appeared in your cart.”
“Of course!” He clapped his hands together. “How could I forget. You're familiar with that Merlin boy, then?” The Doctor seemed impatient, something else was on his mind.
“Yes. In fact, I'm a servant to the Lady Morgana. And I need to tell you some information I think may help...” She got straight to the point before his mind could wander; or his feet, the man couldn't stand still. He smelt odd too, awfully sweet, like a bunch of jasmine flowers.
“Really?” That got his attention. “Walk with me, Gwen. I've got some information of my own to share.”
He listened intently as she recounted that evening in Morgana's chambers. The spell-casting, her ill intentions, none of that came as a surprise to the Doctor. He just nodded as his ears took in her wordsa, almost as if he'd known what she was going to say before she'd said it. Though her past experience with witch hunters had been all too unpleasant, Gwen felt at ease beside the bow-tie man. So at ease that she didn't notice where he was leading her until they turned a corner into the guest chambers.
“I shouldn't be here without any reason,” she said, halting in the middle of the hall.
“You're a member of the household.” He was reluctant to use the word servant, just like everyone else from the other time. Gwen didn't understand why, she wasn't ashamed to be a servant and she certainly didn't mind other people acknowledging it. “And I'm a guest here, so if anyone asks... you're following my orders.”
“But why bring me here?”
“Oh come on, Gwen.” As she'd asked the question, he had reached into his pocket. The Doctor now held a long cylindrical device in his hand, and he watched it as if it was alive. “You've done a good deal of plotting and problem solving in this castle. You're part of this, why wouldn't I bring you along?”
He pointed the device at one of the doors- no, at the metal latch on one of the doors- and it clicked open, the door creaking on its hinges. She could hear voices inside, one of them was familiar; Merlin. So he had become involved in this too. Not that that surprised her at all, Merlin got involved in everything, and only got half the credit he deserved. The other voices, they would be the Doctor's companions.
“Now it's my turn to share some information,” He said, and pushed the door open completely, gesturing for her to enter the room.
“Gwen!” Merlin beamed at her from the centre of the room. The other two witchfinders, Sherlock and John, were looking at her similar awe.
“Excellent,” the scarfed one said, shaking her hand. She noticed that his welcoming gesture was delivered with slight reluctance. Physical contact musn't have been his forte, but she appreciated the attempt to settle her into the discussion. “You'll be perfect for spying on Morgana.” Oh. So that's why he wanted to get on her good side.
John was slightly less to-the-point. “I'm John.” He had no problem shaking hands, and she gripped his warmly. “Merlin's told us what you witnessed Morgana doing... her magic.”
“Yes,” Guinevere nodded, “it was magic.”
The Doctor seated himself on the end of the bed, rocking back and forth on his backbone. Upon clasping his hands together, he ended their introductions and exclaimed, “I've got plenty of news to share! Shall I begin?”
“Oh.” Merlin's eyes flicked to the door, then to Gwen and back to the Doctor. “Shouldn't we have Arthur here? I mean, we'll need him.” The future queen could certainly understand why having Arthur on their side would be useful, but there was no way he would believe Morgana was involved; she was like a sister to him. She raised her eyebrow, and her expression said it all.
“We need solid proof before we go to Arthur.”
“Agreed.” Sherlock said. “Without it, he's likely to try and halt our whole investigation.”
“Arthur will be on our side,” Merlin argued. “He'll do whatever he has to to save Camelot.” Gwen appreciated the faith Arthur's servant had in him.
“We know, Merlin,” she answered tenderly. “But when it comes to Morgana, you know as well as I do he's blinded like Uther. We'd best focus on getting proof first.”
“Alright then,” Eleven coughed, bringing the attention back to him. “Shall I begin my little tale of what happened in the future?”
John chuckled and settled himself back down in the chair. “Go ahead, I love a good story.”
Gwen listened intently the entire time The Doctor recounted his little adventure. She was once again left speechless by the amazing descriptions of the modern world; a whole building dedicated to one type of food! And she was frightened by the idea of having a city of clones turn on you all at once. Even the very topic of clones; she'd seen similar magical creatures before, even more dangerous ones. But clones were especially unsettling. Someone close to you, a sibling, friend, child (as poor Mrs Dawson had experienced) could be a completely different entity and you'd have no idea until they were threatening your life.
“Just how powerful is Morgana, Merlin?” The Doctor asked upon rounding up his tale. He'd just explained about the deal the species had made with Morgana. Gwen wasn't at all surprised about that. Morgana loved to be the centre of attention. Power-hungry, magical urges aside, the kind-hearted but curious Morgana she'd once known wouldn't have missed the chance to communicate with a being from another world. And if there was something in it for her...
“Very powerful,” Merlin said with certainty. “More powerful than she knows, I think.” Gwen wasn't sure how he could know that. What had Merlin seen or heard that he was keeping a secret? She glanced at Sherlock and doubted that anything was a secret to him; he watched them all as if none of this surprised him.
“She could have done it then, easily.” The Doctor nodded to himself, thinking hard. His neat hair glimmered in the sunlight. “The earth's population is so small at this time. With her power, she could definitely speak as the majority.”
“And make the deal on behalf of the human race.” John stated, his eyes wide. Gwen shared his amazement. If Morgana really was so powerful... what did that mean for Camelot? She was Uther's ward; there wasn't anywhere she couldn't go, noone she couldn't bribe. They were all in danger. But right now, Gwen decided, she had to focus specifically on the problem at hand; the foreigners.
Merlin seemed to have a similar brainwave. “But the question is, how do we send your people back and stop whatever she's planning?”
“It's obvious, isn't it?” Sherlock folded his arms, staring intently ahead of him. “She has to break the deal.”