Chapter 2 - Iseldir
Percival cut Gwaine's body from the ropes that held him and laid him gently on the ground. He looked up and saw several druids standing around the clearing. He stood drawing his sword. One of them walked forward carrying a cup filled with water.
"We mean you no harm, we only wish to help but we must be quick or your friend will be lost," he said holding out the cup.
"He's dead, how can you help?" Percival asked but he sheathed his sword and stepped back.
"We shall see," said the druid as he knelt beside Gwaine and lifted his head. He placed the cup to his lips and slowly poured the water into his mouth. All the druids chanted strange words, Percival watched as the colour returned to Gwaine's face and his injuries started to heal, Gwaine groaned.
"He's alive?" Percival asked, as he knelt down next to Gwaine. The druid stood and nodded passing the cup to one of his companions.
"We managed to bring him back but his mind has been tortured and those wounds will take time to heal. We will look after him for you as you must follow the witch's trail to Avalon."
"Thank you," Percival said standing and holding out his hand to the druid. The druid looked at him then held out his own hand and clasped Percival's arm.
"My name is Percival, knight of Camelot and I owe you a debt," he said putting his other hand on the man's shoulder.
"I am Iseldir and the debt you owe is not just to me. We received word that a knight of Camelot would need our help and where to find him," he replied smiling at him.
"Who sent you word?" Percival asked as he let go of Iseldir's arm.
"That I do not know, the message came in a vision and not all was clear."
"Well I am grateful that you heeded the message," Percival said looking down at Gwaine. The other druids were gathered around him chanting. One of them knelt and placed his hands on Gwaine's head.
"There was more to the message, if you would hear it," Iseldir said taking Percival's arm and leading him away from the others.
"Was there news of the king?" he asked, he was anxious to get away but he would listen to Iseldir's message, he felt the druid had something important to say that should be heard.
"King Arthur's fate is hidden from us, we cannot see him and fear he has left this world." Iseldir watched Percival, the knight was strong but there were tears in his eyes. He pulled himself together, concern for his friend and the grief he felt for his king was replaced by determination.
"Still I must go and see if I can find news of him," Percival sighed. Iseldir decided he could trust this knight, mighty though he was, he had a good heart and would honour his debt.
"We were shown a shadow spreading across the lands, sickness and death to all that it touches. Your friend's strength will be needed to fight this evil so we were sent to save him."
"Is this the work of Morgana?" Percival asked wishing he had killed her.
"We do not know, just that you will need our help again and we will need yours."
"I'll do whatever I can and Camelot will reward you for saving our friend," he said watching as the druids lifted Gwaine on to his horse.
"All we ask is that we are granted safe passage to Camelot and an audience with your Queen," Iseldir said walking back towards his companions as they prepared to depart.
"If I return to Camelot, I will speak with her and pass on your message."
"That is all we ask," Iseldir said taking the reins of the horse that carried Gwaine. Percival walked over to Gwaine and gently squeezed his shoulder but Gwaine was still unconscious and didn't stir.
"We'll take good care of him," Iseldir said as Percival returned to his own horse.
"Thank you, I will not forget your kindness," he said as he mounted his horse. Iseldir bowed his head as Percival turned his horse and rode for Avalon.