he warmth of Arthur's embrace could not ease Gwen's trembling nor calm the torrent of emotions thundering through her head and heart. She felt the weight of betrayal by all she'd held dear, had forgiven them during her exile, her guilt absolving them for the choices they had made. She was a stuttering mess in his arms and Arthur placed a white handkerchief into her palm, the linen favor she had given him so many years ago once again coming to her aid. She took it gratefully, perhaps not even realizing what it was she held nor its significance to the king. He cherished it as much as her.
"I put too much trust in him," Gwen cried. "Merlin was the only one that saw me off when you—banished me." That stabbed at both their hearts, but she could not stop the flow of words so long not uttered by her. "I will never forgive Morgana for this. Never! But that doesn't change the actions of my friends; those I thought had cared for me. Not even my brother had shown any faith. Everyone had abandoned me. I was alone."
Gwen couldn't find any more words. Her head hurt. Her heart hurt,…show more content… "I beg you to give me another chance, Guinevere. It was wrong of me, all of it. Please, don't go." He held little hope of her agreeing but he had to try. The humility ringing through his voice didn't seem to be making any dent in the shield she had now erected around her heart, a shield borne of anger and humiliation and disillusionment. The same shield he had erected when she could not explain her actions with Lancelot. He had not given her a chance then when she'd begged him not to banish her, not to leave her nor cast her out. What chance did they have now after all the pain he had caused with his blindness and complete lack of trust? After all the hurtful things he'd slung at her? How could they build a lasting marriage upon such a shattered foundation? "Can we not work through