Aidan’s coarse hand rested on his chin thoughtfully, his brow furrowed deeply as he scanned the pages of the parchments in front of him. It was that time of year again. The Spring seemed to be the time when every man alive wanted to join Camelot’s army – after the relative silence of the winter, where people kept themselves to themselves and hid away in their country estates where the fires were kept burning all day, the Spring was the re-awakening of the glorified noble. Aidan had enough recruits (should he accept them all), to solidly house a small mountain. But as always, there would be those of them that proved weak on paper and would be sorted into the chaff. Of course, there were also those that appeared strong on paper and pathetic in the flesh, but that was for the later rounds to distinguish.
In front of him, crests of countless houses waited to be inspected by the scribes – though, knowing Monmouth, he would probably check them all himself again anyway. Ever since the Lancelot incident the Castle had constricted itself against faked crests and posing nobility. A sigh ripped from his throat and he lent back in the chair he occupied. The breath he took in after tasted stale and dusty, but he had been in here for several hours and had grown accustomed to the hall’s distinctive pallet. He was sitting by the only window in the hall. It was clean, but still managed to look like it was stifling the light from outside. Still, it was preferable to candlelight at this time of day when natural light was still available.
Arthur would join him soon – and Uther too, if he could find a gap in his morning councils. They needed to plan the next intake of recruits but no doubt the conversation would filter around to the haunting as it always had a havit of doing these days. His eyes narrowed and then relaxed, a hand coming up to rub once over his face. Somewhere at the far end of the hall of records, the door juddered open. Aidan watched quietly, waiting for a figure to appear from the stacked shelves that surrounded him.
Aidan lent forward, drawing his hands forward absently to link on the table and let his chin rest on them. Arthur’s distinctive flop of blonde hair soon began visible in between the shelves and reached his chosen table. He waited patiently, his eyes calm. “We’ll make it as quick as we can.” He agreed carefully, his head retracting from his hands too look up at the Prince. “There is much to be discussed.” He reminded him, though really what he meant was there was much to be approved. The leg work had been done already.
His eyes smiled. “Sire.” He returned the greeting easily, his lips curling up slightly. The Prince had changed a lot in recent years. His manner, his way of speaking. Everything was being refined into the King he would one day become. Aidan had been so convinced of his personality, he was glad to see he had been quite wrong a few years ago. The Prince had matured immensely and he had gained a significant amount of his respect because of it. “He will join us when he can but he has had councils this morning and lord knows how much they will have over run. You know what Gorwic is like.” He raised his brows, the ghost of a smile remaining on his aging face. The head of ceremonies had a habit of allowing things to overrun.
Aidan swung up from his chair, walking briskly to the window to crack open the diamond glass, letting a blissfully calm breeze into the hall. Monmouth would have a heart attack if he knew Aidan had opened it, but the worst the wind would do today is flutter a few pages and these books and records could do with a good dusting anyway. “Today is really about both of you approving the recruits I’ve chosen. There are more than ever, you’ll be pleased to note. The reputation of your Knights are attracting some impressive potentials.” He turned, his lower back leaning against the wall near the window. “It means we either choose to expand or deny a larger proportion. I can’t decide which, but both options have their disadvantages.”