There was a cold wind blowing in off the sea and far below the surf rocked against the cliff sending a spray of salty mist up and into the cave where Mordred hid from Lancelot. This was also a splendid vantage point to watch Serikon. He had witnessed the dragon battle and this time Serikon emerged to stand on the cliff as if he were lost deep in thought. Mordred would have laughed if he were not so frightened that he would be heard.
So, he congratulated himself on his excellent sanctuary where he thought to put up provisions and weapons a few weeks ago. He continued to hide and watched what he could see of events. He smiled as he thought about Serikon. Why, that dragon was actually on his side. He wanted some of the same things Mordred wanted. If he were not such a coward, he might consider approaching Serikon and make an attempt to align himself with that old renegade.
Mordred knew Lancelot was going to kill him. It was only a matter of time. He did not realize that Lance was off with Gwaine on a mission for Arthur and should have been no immediate threat to him. He did not even dare to emerge from his hiding place to go to Mother. He sighed as he thought of Morgawse now. She was still beautiful and she loved him but he doubted she could save him from the likes of Lancelot. That man was a bear in his anger. He would not stop until Mordred was dead.
It was only a moment after Mordred had these thoughts that he heard the sound of approaching horses. He ventured a quick look out in the direction of the spot where he witnessed Serikon in his musing. The old dragon in one of his human forms was gone. The sound of horses on the rocks below caused a chill to run through Mordred. He could not resist another look out in that direction.
He began to tremble when he saw it was Lancelot, Gwaine and some of Arthur’s Knights. How could this be? How did they know where he was? In his self-absorbed way of thinking, he could only believe events were directed at him. He had no idea they were in fact searching for Margo. He saw Lancelot stop, turn in the saddle and look up directly to the entrance of Mordred’s cave. He scrambled back into the dark and stumbled toward his cache of weapons and supplies. He grabbed a torch and gathered up what he could and then headed back into the depths of the cave. Unknown to Mordred, it was one of Serikon’s hiding places for treasures that were spilling out in many directions in his underground labyrinth.
Further and further, he went panic stricken and shivering from the damp cold. He passed through a huge cavern. Mordred briefly stared in wonder at stacks of chests. Some were open revealing their contents. Gold and gems of many colors caught the light from his flickering torch. There was no time for that now. He needed to get to a place where he would not be discovered.
Several tunnels led off in various directions. Mordred jumped into the nearest one and in his haste began to drop some of the woven sacks of food he carried. He did not take time to stop and collect them, he just continued to run as fast as the dim light would allow. Then, another light appeared as he rounded a corner in the tunnel. Eagerly he followed its beckoning and was astonished to see another open cavern. The overhead dome was made of glass set in frames of copper that was weathered to verdigris green. The beveled glass was exquisitely worked and it reflected back the light from his torch. He lifted his head to gaze at the wonder of it. Walking slowly forward, driven to stay in motion, his next footstep took him off balance when it found nothing to step on but air. Over the edge he tumbled, sliding down the wall of the cavern, which seemed to be carved out at an angle downward to the floor.
When he finally came to rest, he looked around and realized the light source was not from his torch that he had dropped. There was an amazing glow to the walls surrounding the place where he stood. The luster was like a giant seashell or mother of pearl. It was the most beautiful room Mordred had ever seen. There were no furnishings, only some statues stood in the niches that were on every wall. Mordred began to realize that Serikon was obviously very wealthy. For a moment, he forgot he was pursued and was lost in the splendor of this place where he found himself.
He then heard the sound of water splashing, as in a waterfall. He followed the sound and as it became more pronounced, he also heard laughter. It was a musical, lilting sound of a female laughing. Going carefully so as not to blunder into any other situation that might prove to be quite dangerous, he saw ahead yet another cavern and the floor was one large pool. A waterfall spilled down over a ledge into the deep blue pool, which shimmered as if it were a large crystal. There in the pool, under the waterfall was Margo. She was apparently alone and was bathing with her arms raised above her head and eyes closed as the falls gently cascaded down over her form.
A sneer of a smile crossed Mordred’s face as he contemplated what she might be doing there. There was no doubt in his mind she was up to no good. That was the way he evaluated things by using his own point of view as absolute. His gaze wandered around the pool and he spied Margo’s robe and her personal things. A vial of oil sat on the ledge and some slippers that were like two shimmering crystals.
He grinned and decided it was time for him to have some fun. He carried his bow over his shoulder and the quiver of arrows that he had the forethought to bring with him. His training with the Knights at Pendragon Castle had given him the opportunity to develop a bit of skill at archery. He slipped an arrow out of the quiver and nocked it expertly. Then drawing the bow, he aimed slowly around touching different targets with his eye until he rested on Margo’s comb that held her hair. For a moment, he actually considered himself to be so good as to be able to take that comb from her hair with his arrow.
Then thinking better of it, for he did not really want to kill her but wanted to have the fun of frightening her. So he aimed for the vial of oil next to her slippers and let the arrow fly. The glass exploded with the contents showering in every direction. It had been the sound of the arrow cleaving the air that had drawn Margo’s attention and then the sight of it buried in the soft silk of her robe that was stained with the green oil she used on her skin.
Margo turned in anger and stared at Mordred who had moved out of the dark tunnel into the light so she could see who possessed the wonderful skill with his bow to make such a shot. He laughed at the look on her face and was sorry he had not tried for the comb in her hair. He bet himself that he could have successfully taken it out without harming even one of her curls.
“Mordred,” she screamed. “You fool you have just made a fatal mistake. You have no idea what you have just done. I cannot wait for Serikon to return and find you here.”
Mordred laughed his hysterical laugh that only he could produce and then set out toward Margo. She jumped from the water, grabbed her robe and started to scream as she ran away from him down to the tunnel toward the rooms she shared with Serikon. If only she could get to the entrance perhaps he would still be near so he could hear her. She screamed until her throat was dry and raw. Glancing back she could see that Mordred was gaining on her and this only made her scream louder.
Lancelot did not go to the entrance where Mordred saw him. Rather he searched along the cliffs higher and found the main entrance to Serikon’s Lair. At that point, he told Gwaine to return to Arthur and let him know he located the place where Margo could be found. The thin sound of her screams could now be heard from the entrance where Lancelot stood talking with Gwaine.
“It would seem we have indeed found her. Please make haste Gwaine and be sure to tell Merlyn too.”
Lancelot took off at a run in the direction of Margo’s screams. His heavy boots making a sound like drums as he ran. He drew his sword and kept on just as Margo rounded a corner and instantly recognized him. She was breathless and unable to speak and all she could do was point in the direction from where she came. Her heart was pounding and tears streamed from her eyes. Lance caught her in his arms and tried to make sense of what she was trying to say when Mordred came around the same corner and stopped dead at the sight of Lancelot holding Margo.
Not even a heartbeat later, Serikon appeared from the entrance and saw Margo in Lance’s arms.
“What is this? What are you doing with my mate? Take your hands off her. Do it now.”
Mordred heard this and rushed to Serikon and standing beside him turned to face Lancelot.
“Yes Lance. What are you doing with her indeed? “
Then he turned to Serikon and spoke in that whining way he had.
“I came here to talk about aligning with you in your struggle against the Dragon Ansgaard. As long as he remains near Arthur, the land will be under his protection. I know of your aspirations in that direction and I wish only to be of service to you.”
By this time, Margo had regained her ability to speak.
“Liar,” she screamed at him. “You lie and you know very well you fired an arrow at me while I was bathing at the waterfall. Serikon, I can show you where it landed and shattered my crystal vial.
“This fool chased me and I was so frightened. I screamed and Lancelot heard me and came to save me from this sniveling idiot. Only the gods know what Mordred would have done had he caught me.”
Serikon turned and with a swift movement no one really saw, he took Mordred by the throat and raised him off the ground holding him up dangling like some lifeless puppet in the air. His face turned red and his eyes bugged out as he struggled and made obscene choking sounds.
“I could crush you in the blink of an eye you insignificant spawn of the devil. But I think I will leave you to Lancelot to take care of that for me. I have distaste for you that would give me no pleasure in killing you so quick.”
Then Serikon placed his arm around Margo and wrapped her in his cloak drawing her to him in the protective way she loved. He smiled at her and then turned to Lancelot.
“I am grateful to you Lancelot. I will not forget this deed you have done. This woman is more precious to me than all the gold and treasure or land in the world. I thank you from my heart.”
Lancelot smiled at this revelation. It was certainly not what he expected to find.
“My Lady, Margo, you are here of your own wishes then?”
Margo just smiled and looked up at Serikon.
“I think that is perfectly obvious, Lance. I thank you too for being here when I was in danger. That seems to have passed now. You may take the news back to Pendragon Castle. I am staying here for good.”
Mordred seeing his chance crawled from the place where he lay on the floor and edged along the wall. Fear haunted his eyes as he headed toward the entrance to the Lair. Slowly he kept going while they were talking and as soon as he could get to his feet, he started to run. He ran, stumbled, and ran some more until he reached the opening that yawned out before him. He ran through the entrance into the night air that led out off the cliff, where he plunged down to be shattered and torn on the rocks below.