THE STORY SO FAR:
Part I: The Darkest Hour
One woman and two men. This is where our story starts.
1-3 - 4-6 - 7-9 - 10-12 - 13-15 - 16-18 - 19-21 - 22-24 - 25-27 - 28-31 - 32-35 - 36-40 - 41-44 - 45-47 - 48-50 - 51-53 - 54-57 - 58-60 - 61-64 - 65-66 - 67-69 - 70-73 - 74-75 - 76-81 - 82-84 - 85-87 - 88-90 - 91-92 - 93-97 - 98-101 - 102-103 - 104-108 - 109-111 - 112-114 - 115-119
Interlude: The Sword of Kings
Brothers and Sisters
Blood runs thicker than you would think.
1-3 - 4-6 - 7-9 - 10-12 - 13-15 - 16-18 - 19-21 - 22-24 - 25-27 -28-30 - 31-33 - 34-36 - 37-39 - 40-42 - 43-45 - 46-48 - 49-51 - 52-54 - 55-57 - 58-60 - 61-63 - 64-66 - 67-69 - 70-72 - 73-75 - 76-78- 79-81
What went before:
Gorlois, lord of Cornwall, has married Ygraine, a fae from the Land Beyond the Mists. The marriage is an absurdly happy one and produces two daughters, Morgause and Morgana. But dark clouds gather over the family when Uther Pendragon, High King of Britain, falls in love with Ygraine. Uther stops at nothing to possess the woman on whom he has set his mind and declares war on Gorlois. With the help of the sinister sorcerer Merlin, he infiltrates Castle Tintagel and rapes Ygraine, while his army kills her husband at Castle Terrabil.
Widowed, her lands at the mercy of Uther's troops, Ygraine has no choice but to marry Uther. She bears him a child, only for it to be taken away by Merlin, who claims it as his price for having delivered Ygraine to Uther. The (nameless) child is never seen again.
Morgause and Morgana show signs of faery magic: wherever Morgause walks, flowers spring up. Morgana's power seems less beneficial - her touch makes things die. Her stepfather fears the girl and puts her away in a convent.
Soon enough, Uther marries Morgause and Morgana to kings whose alliance he needs to buy. Morgause is given to King Lot of Lothian, an Irish prince stranded in Britain, while Morgana is given to old King Urien of Gorre. Bitter and lonely, Ygraine calls on Klingsor, a sorcerer who hates men and loves to thwart them. Klingsor whisks the Queen away to the Land Beyond the Mists.
Uther Pendragon goes half-mad when he discovers Ygraine's disappearance. He starts a desperate search for his lost Queen. Merlin demands that he relinquish his claim to the High King's throne if he wishes to follow Ygraine to the Land Beyond the Mists. The Sword of Kings, symbol of the High King's power, is planted in a stone so that it may appoint a new king.
Years later, King Lot of Lothian and his Queen Morgause have four sons: Gawain, Agravain, Gaheris and Gareth.
Lot takes his eldest son to the Valley of No Return. Gawain will be educated by his aunt Morgana, who heads a convent of nine nuns in the mysterious valley. The nuns will teach the boy to read and write, to study brehon law and to play music. Lot hopes that knowledge will give his favourite son an advantage, because Gawain is a small child and not particularly strong. He has a hard time competing with his younger brother Agravain, who is a bully.
We also learn that Morgana has a son, Owain, whom she left behind when she fled her husband in order to take religious vows and establish her own convent. Like his mother, Owain is magically gifted and can talk to ravens.
While his own sons vie for his affection, King Lot quarrels with the other kings of Britain about who should rightly have the High King's throne. Nobody has been able to pull the Sword of Kings out of the stone, and the island of Britain lies practically undefended while Saxon invaders settle the land. Taliesin, a strange singer, predicts the coming of a new King.
In this climate, Lot is worried by the fact that Gawain is a poor fighter. Morgana asks the advice of Conchobarre, now a nun but once a warrior woman. Conchobarre refuses to help Lot because he got rid of his first-born child, Gawain's older sister.
Well, this is where we are now :).