Arthur sighed as he wandered through the corridors of Dobria castle. His father had sent him to negotiate an alliance with Lord Laurence, meaning that he had spent his entire day in the council room debating over terms. The day had felt unusually long without Merlin there to pick on, and Arthur just wanted to find a quiet place to clear his thoughts. 

His search eventually found him drifting into the library, his steps muffled by the rows of leather bound tomes. As he came around the corner of a shelf, he noticed a young woman standing by the window, seemingly preoccupied with something in her hands. Arthur cleared his throat to alert her of his presence, in case she hadn’t noticed. “Excuse me?”

Summer flicked the fan open and shut, open and shut, staring out of the window. Betwyr was working out with Edward, down in the practise field, and she’d been watching them for a while, until her attention drifted. The fan snapped shut in her hands when someone cleared their throat behind her, and she whirled around, hair and skirts swirling.

It turned out to be the blond young lord — prince, she thought she recalled — who had ridden in the day before to make an alliance with them against Odin, looming to the north. He seemed even younger up close, off his horse — much closer to her own age than she expected. She offered a quick curtesy. “Yes, my lord?”

“Um… well.” Arthur mentally cursed himself. He hadn’t actually had anything to say, he had just wanted to avoid lurking silently in the library. “I don’t think I’ve met you… Might I ask your name?” he recovered, asking politely. His eyes then fell on the unfamiliar object clasped in the young woman’s hands. “And…what exactly is that?” he asked, nodding at the object in question. 

“Oh, I … ” Summer glanced down at her fan, then back up. “My name is Summer. You’ve come here to treat with my father, yes?” She spread the fan, holding it up for him to see. “It’s a weapon, from a place very far away from here.” She pointed to the edges, showing him how the ends of the sticks holding the fabric were sharp. “A woman’s weapon. Very dangerous.” She snapped it closed again. 

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