[[Preplayed with zee lovely glacial_witch]]
Because Arthur seemed utterly terrified to have Karla in the keep, this meant Merlin and her were stuck doing random and unnecessary chores outside the castle walls.
"At least this is better than hunting with Arthur," Merlin said, a bundle of wood in his arms.
Karla didn't understand Arthur's problem. Hadn't she promised to be on her best behavior? She'd barely sassed anyone! And not even in front of Uther!
"I don't think I'd get to go on one of those trips," Karla pointed out, looking for more kindling. "Otherwise, people are going to start asking why the prince keeps vanishing into the woods with a random serving maid."
But Merlin would be there! And... everyone assumed Arthur always went hunting with Merlin.
"I could always say you're supposed to be cooking the kill?" Oh god in heaven, that would end in food poisoning.
There was a slight difference there! At least, so far as everyone assumed.
"But then they might decide that the prince's favorite cook should stay in the castel! Careful they don't just keep me in the kitchens then," she teased.
It really was a tease and not a threat! Honest!
"Oh, they've only recently let Francine in there and she's been visited a few times now," Merlin replied seriously. "The cooks secretly rule the castle."
And give him food for being too skinny.
He paused where they were, dropping the wood and flopping down on the ground for a well deserved rest after carrying something for ten whole minutes.
Oooh! Maybe they would feed her, too. Karla was still pretty waifish.
And also flopping down beside him, because all those twigs were heavy. And she wasn't even allowed to use Craft to make it easier. "I totally should have held out for being a visiting noblewoman," she accused, because Arthur would ever give her a chance to meet his father. "I could be having Francine bring me a snack right now in the bathtub or something."
She just needed to make Bambi eyes at them. Merlin had a method, you see.
"Uther would make you do needlework and sit around with Morgana the whole time," Merlin replied, watching as the smoke from a distant fire drifted up into the sky. "Or tried to marry you to Arthur. Since you are a witch..."
"Is that the new litmus test?" Karla asked with a laugh. "If you nearly marry Arthur, you're a witch? Darkness, I'll have to watch myself while I'm here, to make sure I don't somehow...trip into a wedding ceremony with him or something."
It was, Karla reflected, really wonderful to be here in Camelot this weekend. Away from Fandom, away from Warren, away from her mistakes... Really, Merlin's invitation couldn't have come at a more opportune time. A vacation away from everyone and everything was pretty much exactly what she needed right now.
"Though I'm not sure if I'm happier to be avoiding that or the needlepoint. My embroidery is dreadful. Even if it does mean being out here picking up sticks."
"And after this we're supposed to pick herbs for Gaius," Merlin said with faked enthusiasm. "It's the best visit to Camelot you could make."
Well, herb picking could be fun, especially if they were herbs Karla didn't know! And herb picking would almost certainly lead to flower picking which would lead to flowers chains and probably all the gossip ever while they flung flower petals in each other's hair.
Yeah. They were pretty girly.
"We should have at least brought out a picnic basket and had lunch," Karla decided, getting a jump on the flower petal thing by tossing some grass at Merlin. "I'm hungry."
In other news, water wet, snow cold, and to your right, ursine mammals defecating in the woods.
"Next time I'll remember that," he assured her, sighing as he relaxed a bit more. "Then people will talk about the Prince's servant wooing the new girl."
He idly wiggled his fingers at the smoke, twisting it just to see if he could.
"That'll stop all the maids form flinging their unmarried daughter at your head," Karla pointed out. "When I'm gone you can pine away for me. Won't that be fun? You can wander around listless and pale--" paler "and do your best to look tragic."
She watched the smoke curl and dance around Merlin's fingers. "New spell?" she asked.
"Something I've been toying with for Arthur," Merlin replied sheepishly. The smoke slowly started to change into a real shape, rearing up like a horse in the sky.
"Oooh, that's lovely!" Karla said, looking up at the smoke horse in delight. "Did you come up with that yourself?"
"The shape," Merlin replied enthusiastically. "The spell was for tricking people into believing you're elsewhere."
BETTER THAN PUKING FROGS.
"So, you make it look like a figure and send it ghosting around corners and whatnot to draw pursuit?" Karla asked. "Or can you actually make it look like you, right down to detail?"
"The first one!"
And somewhere... down by the castle, some peasant was shrieking in horror as the horse dissipated back into normal smoke. And ominous music played.
[[Preplayed with zee lovely glacial_witch]]