Author's Note: This is a What if? kind of story, so if you don't like considering anything that isn't printed in a history book, hit the back button now and save me the flames.

Purity, Chapter One

Emma and Chelsea were twins, they looked exactly the same, but their lives were different. When they came of marrying age, their mother died, leaving their father to raise the two girls he'd never wanted. Though he came to love and respect them, for the time being, they simply observed his medical practices and learned from his methods. When Emma and Chelsea reached the ages of twenty-one, they were cast into Camelot, the city where the son of Uther Pendragon was to rule. Igraine, his mother was to meet them in Avalon and take them there. Father had died in a horrifying accident, Emma had watched him burn.

Emma was quiet and intelligent, always scheming in mischief and considering all things from all angles. Chelsea was loud and clever, but held very little patience for those she considered below her. They were both troublemakers and by divine intervention, were set to change the history of this world as we know it. It was the first day of their new life in Camelot, after meeting with Igraine, they saw Arthur for the first time. He was a handsome young man of twenty-eight or so, trained to be the perfect warrior. As the young king-to-be passed them by, Chelsea grew worried.

"Emma, we're not allowed to own our own home, what do we do?" she fretted. Emma glanced rather quickly to the knights and squires passing into the castle at a frantic pace.

"We build our own home just outside the castle walls, there is no tax there." Emma said reasonably. Chelsea sighed and looked around frantically once more. Quick to fret and worry, Chelsea nit-picked every detail.

"What do we build with?" she asked, her brow knitting together. Emma sighed and lifted her heavy pack to her back.

"What materials the Mother gives us, wood, mud, grass if we must! If father taught us nothing, he must have taught us how to labor over wood." Emma preened her hair nervously as they exited the castle walls. She didn't have the heart to tell Chelsea that bandits often patrolled the exterior of castles such as Camelot to rob travelers.

"Well, let's get to work before the sun sets." Chelsea said and clapped her hands together. Soon they had a satisfactory house being built, the frame of heavy oak not giving to any bend other than the jointed supports. With many worried glances, the women hastened to fasten weather-beaten leather to the exterior to guard against the rain and weather. They laid bricks of mud in the ground just before the knee high layer of bark and wood planks, the top half of mud and grass mixed together. A leather cover thrown over this all ensured they would stay dry and safe from the day's heat. With an unsure lock fixed on the door, Emma latched it and looked back to Chelsea. She sat on the floor, her man's armour set delicately across her feet. She polished the armour with her handcloth lightly and looked up from her favored treasure. Emma smiled and pulled her own armour from her pack and looked at it's beaten shape.

"We must enter more competitions if we are to eat." she commented. Chelsea's eyes lit up at this statement.

"Archery and swordplay on ground and horse?" she asked, as if making sure. Emma clutched the armour to her chest and looked to her sword, laying in all it's glory on the ground, covered with a rough woolen blanket, Chelsea's next to it.

"Of course. We are no more than simple men, are we not?" she asked with a smile. Both girls lifted their hands and held their long, red hair into small buns to look more manly.

"Pray tell, Edward, what shall we do when our armour doesn't fit us around anymore?" Chelsea asked in her roughest voice. Emma snickered and clutched her breasts protectively.

"We shall do nothing unless someone does something first, Charles." Emma retorted. Both giggles insanely at their boy's names, given to them by their father when they were first entered in a tournament. He had trained them himself and had full confidence in both of their swordplay on ground and horse. Emma may have excelled in both archery and swordplay, but armour-work was all Chelsea's as she had full attention to detail. Their first try, both took medals home in honor, both forced to hide their identities to the world until weeks after the tournament had left. They sold the medals for money, them being made of precious metals. A leather quiver was left on their doorstep the day after the tournament, and though their father assured them no one knew, they all knew someone had discovered their secret.

Emma still had this quiver, she never could let it go. Many of Chelsea's chisels and other tools had been given to them by their father, both had only guessed where he got them. Then he had burned, burned to ashes before their eyes. A jealous trick of a man who knew little more than to hold a sword. He set fire to their humble home and locked Robert Marsh inside. He had looked from the burning wall into Emma's eyes and whispered words of an unseen angel, words that Emma never forgot, and sought the meaning of.

"Purity is only as deep as the water is blue." Emma whispered. Chelsea looked up from her armour, once more a fretting emotiong plain on her face.

"What does it mean?" Chelsea asked vehemently. Emma shrugged and pulled her sword from the sheath, thanking the Mother that they had managed to build a respectable home in such short hours.

"As the old man said, pure is clean and moral. What it may mean is that no one can be pure." Emma thought as she polished her sword with her handcloth gently, not wanting to cut the cloth in half.

"How do you reckon?" Chelsea asked. Emma looked up and saw a white light erupt from behind their oak door, a narrow slab of wood sheared from a dying tree. Emma watched in wonder as the light faded as a small knock was banged onto the door. Chelsea sat up and hid their weapons under the woolen blanket with some mild surprise.

"Who can this be?" she wondered aloud. Emma flipped her hair off her head, irritated. Chelsea shakingly opened the door and glanced at the small, muddy doorstep. A long, mohagony bow lay on the mud, slowly sinking into it as they watched. Emma gasped and picked up the mohagany weapon, turning it in awe in her hands. Their nimble quickness checked for mistakes and imperfections and found none.

"Who knows of our plans?" she whispered into the darkness, being well past sunset she didn't see much.

"The Mother takes care of us." Chelsea whispered. Both girls bowed their head in unison and prayed. The Mother wanted them to live and triumph over something. So help them, they would.

"Indeed, sister. We must pray that the heathens understand our ways as well." Emma looked up to Camelot's wall furiously.

Guenevere was not unfamiliar with this area, it seemed though, that she had been here recently and there had not been this scroungy little hut outside the wall. She was there for her wedding to King Arthur, new found leader of all Britain. He had pulled the sword from the stone, signifying he was to lead England to greatness. A stir of change echoed in the air as Guenevere approached the small hut. It was wider than it was high, making Guenevere assume it was either a very short person's home or a very small child's home. Looking back to her party warily, Guenevere knocked on the door. An harried looking woman yanked the door open with a look of mild surprise. Igraine let out a startled cry from her seat upon the horse. The woman inside the door giggled and walked around Guenevere impatiently. An exact replica of the first woman stepped to the door and also giggled.

"What be ye women doing outside the city's walls?" Igraine flustered about with the first woman's hair. The young woman looked furvitively toward the knights on horseback escorting Guenevere to Arthur's court.

"We have no money yet, Igraine! We must live free of taxes until we can find a tou-some housework in the castle." the more somber of the two said, catching her mistake as the knights' ears tuned in on their conversation. Guenevere watched Sir Lancelot dismount from his horse and look at the younger girl's face.

"Lady Chelsea, you have grown." he remarked, cupping Chelsea's face and looking at the scar running from her neck to her shoulder.

"I wish I could say the same." Chelsea retorted stiffly, yanking her face from his callused hands. The other girl snickered.

"Though I wish not to agree, Sir Lancelot, Chelsea is right. You grow taller and more liked by the ladies, but your maturity remains that of the sixteen year old we met years ago." Emma spat. Lancelot gripped his chest in mock agony.

"My Lady! Your words scald me!" he cried. Emma raised her fist threateningly and looked at the quiet men on horseback.

"Good day to you sir, for I believe it was the Lady who called on my attention." Chelsesa pointed out stiffly. Lancelot bowed and remounted his horse. Guenevere bowed slightly and looked into Emma's shrewd eyes with wonder. ~She is a witch, the eyes are different colors, both of them!~ Guenevere's mind screamed, forcing her to stumble on her words.

"I-I am sorry to disturb you, but where is the nearest entrance to the castle?" Guenevere asked. Emma smiled slightly and looked at Lancelot's hungry eyes.

"Lebeth nomanyar." she commented dryly to her sister. Chelsea gasped and looked at Lancelot with an angry glare.

"Ayunamar!" she cried and pointed a finger. Lancelot frowned and tried to comprehend their language. Igraine stifled a smile and looked at Lancelot's nervous expression.

"Emma, can you root him out?" Igraine challenged. Emma tilted her face towards the knights assembled and sniffed slowly. Guenevere watched wearily as Emma walked around the small group. Chelsea let out a small cry and looked from the crowd.

"Good evening." a pleasant voice said soberly, looking wearily to the small crowd. Emma stopped her sniffing and looked at Lancelot with a wry grin. Lancelot's cheeks reddened slightly as Chelsea's high voice echoed to the walls.

"It is him!" she cried. Emma nodded stiffly and looked at the handsome knight, his hair was that of any unkempt knight's, long and poorly combed, not that she was taking better care of her own. Her thick braid held the brambles out of her face, washing and combing was luxury to Emma. The knight frowned slightly and looked to Lancelot, Lancelot raised his hand to silence the confused knight.

"Galahad, let us not provoke the children of Rounak." he said mournfully. Galahad's head whipped towards the two young women.

"Rounak? Near the Sacred Aisle?" he questioned. Emma let out an exasperated sigh.

"Nothing is near the Sacred Aisle, it simply exists, Rounak is the island on the lake to the west of it where the women train the men in arts of battle." Chelsea informed Galahad. He nodded and looked towards Lancelot once more.

"Why is this provoking?" he asked, voice low. Emma's slightly pointed ears twitched, his low voice trapped.

"Their mother was a priestess of Rounak, children out of wedlock they are. I beli-" Lancelot sought to continue but Emma's rapier was unsheathed and laid at his throat before more could be said. Lancelot swallowed carefully, feeling his own blood slip down the blade.

"Wish to continue?" Emma's voice shook. Lancelot jerked his head from the blade and looked into Emma's eyes, not surprised by this behavior.

"No Lady Emma, I do not." he said, rubbing his neck of the blood. Chelsea glared at him with malice as he cleaned the wound with water from a flask.

"Pardon, but what were you saying in that language before?" Guenevere asked, rather suddenly to the still fuming twins. Chelsea scoffed and turned to the hut, pulling her sword, Dragonbane, from the small sheath inside.

"He is no simple knight!" Chelsea accused, pointing her sword threateningly at Lancelot's throat. This time Lancelot shivered and began to slide from his saddle.

"Naramie!" Emma said sharply. Chelsea lowered her blade and refocused her eyes. Lancelot shook his head and glared at Chelsea.

"Listen to your sister." he advised, pulling his own blade. Emma's eyes narrowed as she laid hand on her rapier's hilt. Galahad stepped from his horse between the feuding friends and looked amazed.

"What is the matter?" Galahad cried, feeling like a war had been declared. Chelsea resheathed her sword and looked upon the hilt, the ancient runes glowing in stardust.

"Ayunamar, or have you forgotten our language, dear, dear Lancelot?" Chelsea asked, reaching up and touching the side of Lancelot's face. He opened his mouth slightly to speak, looking down to the young woman and remembering Rounak as he first saw it.

"Bastard father." he muttered. Galahad felt the words sting upon his skin like a whip. He looked to his father, but Lancelot was looking in shame to the feet of Chelsea.

"Do you remember what you said?" her ruthless question making Lancelot wince. He nodded and Chelsea raised her eyebrows.

"I said I loved you and you were my sun and moon." he said monotonously. Galahad looked in awe to his father, in a trance. Guenevere gasped as Chelsea continued still.

"And what do I find? A son resulting in a lost love? You are a fool and a betrayer!" she let his face go with a gentle push. Lancelot tottered and looked to his old love with a look of apology.

"I was tricked!" he tried to reason. Chelsea's tears stopped him cold. She raised her dress sleeve with a sob and showed him the scar of her promised virginity. A small blade was tattooed upon her skin, spilling a single drop of blood. The mark was not faded from the day she had received it, a mark of her promise to the Mother.

"I am still faithful! I am pure!" she cast her dress sleeve to the ground in an angry pull. Emma watched Chelsea slouch into their home and slam the feeble door.

"Lady Guenevere, follow me please." Emma said, searching for the young maiden's name. Guenevere shivered and followed the young woman into the town softly tracing her dainty footsteps, her guards and escorts raising a commotion in the town.

"I believe you will find a job for yourself here, if Guenevere is not troubled." Igraine said softly, pointing out Guenevere's obvious fear of the servant of Rounak. Guenevere found her trust of the woman very high, but her ability to look into those strange eyes unnerving.

"I plan to mention you to my lord, Arthur." Guenevere curtsied gently and was escorted inside. Emma pulled her rapier under her thin cloak and followed Igraine inside quietly. A large man with a somber smile greeted them all, looking Guenevere over roughly as he pulled Igraine into his arms.

"Mother! It has been long!" he hugged her impatiently. Igraine shrugged and pushed herself out of the young man's embrace. Galahad could not tear his eyes from Emma, she was standing, not calling attention to herself but screaming his very name. He looked at the near perfectly concealed rapier at her side and felt a pang of jealousy. Emma looked up suddenly and turned to look into Galahad's eyes. Both blinked and looked away, knowing they should be paying attention.

"This is Emma, a dear friend of mine." Igraine pulled Emma forward.

"She is skilled, my lord, she would be an asset to your court." Guenevere noted. Emma curtsied slightly and looked about the vast entrace hall. Arthur looked at the woman, so curious of her surroundings.

"Skilled, at what pray tell?" he asked, observing her steady stance, a fighter's stance.

"Swordplay, and archery my lord." Lancelot commented. Arthur let a booming laugh echo throughout his castle as Emma flinched under the sudden sound.

"Is she now? Well then, Lancelot, shall you square off?" he asked. Lancelot looked up from his broadsword reluctantly.

"She was trained in Rounak, my lord. I dare not face her in anything but broadsword. It is my skill." Lancelot muttered. Arthur did not look impressed.

"Well, I will square at rapier, need be you borrow one?" the king took a rapier from a page that had brought two of the weapons. Emma shook her head and pulled her rapier from her side, casting her cloak aside. With raised eyebrows, Arthur watched Emma prepare, leaving her entire front body open. She raised the thin sword above her head, bent elbow and narrowed her eyes. Arthur lunged and found her blade had pushed his aside and pressed forth towards his face, with a duck he brought his blade up to meet her's in an amazing climax. With a silent battle cry, Emma lunged for Arthur's throat and brought the blade down to rest of his chest, point pressing into his tunic lightly.

"Yanach ooau." she commented. Lancelot stifled laughter and looked into the king's amazed eyes.

"What did she say?" he demanded. Igraine took the rapier from Arthur's hand and looked him in the eye.

"Renounce your honor." she translated. Aruthur caught his breath, completely baffled with her simple request. What did she mean by that? He rounded on the calm woman, tossing her dirty hair out of her face.

"What does that mean?" he asked, exasperated. Emma cleared her throat importantly.

"By ways of Rounak, to renounce your honor is to accept and comply a favor from your victor." she said intelligibly. Arthur gaped again, looking back at the stunned knights. Even Lancelot wore a look of admiration.

"What be this favor, wench?" Arthur demanded, losing his patience. Emma flinched and looked to Igraine who was glaring at her son.

"Give my sister and I a home to live in." she said simply. Arthur bowed stiffly.

"So be it, Lady Emma. You may stay here in the castle as the lady Guenevere's maids. She seems to trust you." Arthur curled his lip. Emma felt her rebellious side sidle up to her face.

"If you imply that you do not trust me, I would be glad to point out a few faults in my lord's technique." she spat. Arthur turned to her, openpalmed and let loose his fury. A loud boom echoed into the cavernous hall as Arthur's hand collided with Emma's calm face. Her head ripped from his hand, she did not cry out, simply allowed the blood to flow from her mouth as her lip was cut on a tooth. Her nose crushed to her cheek but was not broken. With a small whimper, Emma collected her cloak and turned to press it to her face in semi-private.

"Be warned, wench, insolence is not taken lightly in my court." he said calmly. Galahad growled deep in his throat and stepped forward. All faces turned towards the young knight in amazement.

"Pardon, my lord, but this woman has done no wrong!" he defended, helping the unscathed woman wipe blood from her nose and mouth. Arthur guffawed loudly and looked to his favorite knight, Lancelot.

"Lancelot! Even you must know of her wrongdoing!" he looked worried. Lancelot shook his head slowly and took the lady's rapier from her shaking hand.

"You challenge her to a duel and grudgingly pay your dues. She is charged with insolence when she scarcely knows the rules of this court!" Galahad cradled the woman's head as Emma fought for conciousness. Though Emma still fumed for her revenge, she held her bleeding tongue, not wishing for a black eye to match.

"She must learn to keep her tongue." Igraine said amiably. She took the weary woman from Galahad's frenzied embrace. "Come now, Galahad, we must take her sister from that wretched place outside the walls." Galahad straightened his hunched shoulders and bowed deeply, setting off to find Emma's sister. He walked around the corner of the castle cautiously, wondering if Emma's sister was as good at these arts as she was. He saw an exact replica of Emma sitting at a crudely built wooden table, resculpting worn armour laborously. She brushed her hair from her face and continued her work uninterrupted. Galahad felt another pang of jealousy as the woman drew her blade and placed it beside the armour gingerly. As she turned for the bow on the table for polishing she caught sight of the curious knight. Her foot gently caught the hilt of her sword and soon it was in her hands, arched above her head threateningly.

"What be your reason to stand before me like a spy?" Chelsea asked, her dress's sleeveless arm fraying in the gentle wind. Galahad bowed lightly and looked nervously at her pose.

"The king wishes you to be his lady's maid, you and your sister. You are to live in the castle." Galahad explained hastily, trying to tear his eyes from the deadly blade. Chelsea's eyes floated momentarily to his face where she could see Lancelot in all his fury etched in his features. She had been but just born when Lancelot had come upon the twins. He had come back when they were four, a twenty year old, capable of his own decisions, but not uncapable of making such mistakes. Chelsea looked curiously to the young man's face as he offered his arm to her.

"Did she bribe him?" Chelsea asked hopefully as she gathered their meager possesions and kicked the failing support of their humble abode. It fell into itself and looked up from the ground pathetically.

"No, Lady, she squared off and won a small wager, that is all." he once again offered his arm. Chelsea knocked it away impatiently and looked up into his eyes once more.

"Damn that Emma, she is such a goody two shoes! If she doesn't have fun soon, she's going to go mad." Chelsea was talking to hear her own voice now, not caring who heard of their problems. Galahad's face split into a grin as Emma walked around the corner and wrapped her twin upside the head.

"Reuniat! Hermeas no lebeth!" Emma cried softly and took her sword and bow from Chelsea with a pernicious yank. Chelsea clutched her head and looked into her sister's eyes.

"Quet me hernama's caberna?" she asked and touched Emma's swollen lip with concern.

"I had a quarell." Emma said, brushing the hand away. Galahad watched in awe as they slipped easily into second languages. With more wonder he realized he felt no attraction at all for this Chelsea, but more than he cared for this Emma woman. He felt his cheeks redden as Emma raised her overaware head to look into his eyes. He looked to the west, willing his blush away hastily.

"Galahad, son of Lancelot, am I wrong?" Emma questioned. Galahad nodded and looked up from his feet shyly. "Honorable as he is, Chelsea will tear his head off." Emma smiled and looked at Chelsea who grunted in approval. Emma laughed lightly and stopped walking down the hill as they neared a wooden cart, abandoned on the field. With a wicked grin, Emma launched herself into the cart and went sailing down the hill faster than she expected. With a cry of joy she neared the near perpindicular drop into the valley which led to the main gate of Camelot. She almost feared she would sail right over the ditch and into the river when she heard a loud BANG. Whirling around she saw Galahad latched onto the back of the cart, pulling and grunting while they slowed. With a laugh, Emma yanked the lanky knight into the cart and let them sail into the luke-warm water.

"WHOO!" she cried exuberantly as she surfaced. Galahad's head emerged to the left of her's with a splash. He laughed and treaded water, looking at this adventurous young woman who had lured him into the water. With an impatient tug, Emma pulled Galahad to the bank of the river to climb out. She pulled him out after scrambling up the enbankment herself. Galahad only laughed as the knights surrounded them, asking if the woman was a trouble and should be beaten. He waved them off impersonally and looked at Emma with humor lining his wet face.

"My lady, we could have been killed!" he cried, watching the young woman wring her hair of the water into the moat. She cast her odd eyes on his face and grinned.

"That was the point, was it not? The thrill is the best part of the ride." she commented and with a gasp looked at the river with malice. "Mortedia me sordenia!" she cried and dove into the water, fighting back anger for her idiocy. Galahad nearly dove in after the girl when she didn't return for almost five minutes. Finally the woman resurfaced clutching her bow and quiver, sword and scabbard with a frown. The leather on both quiver and scabbard should've been ruined from the water, instead it wasn't even wet as Emma laid her weapons on the ground gently.

"Foolish of you now." Galahad commented dryly as Emma wiped the muck from her sword. She pulled the light silver blade from the leather scabbard and swung it in a wide arc. The blade whistled meticulously as the air ran about the runes on her ancient blade.

"Never foolish. I am simply the toad who didn't look before it leapt." Emma said, distracted.

"Toad indeed!" Chelsea cried, out of breath in her haste to discipline her sister. Emma didn't flinch as Chelsea punched her shoulder roughly and said harshly, "You could've died! Then what, Em? You shall not endanger yourself, you promised. The Goddess has many things in store for you."

"She will not let me die if she has things in store for me." Emma said, still occupied with her blade. Her wet hair hung in her face as she worked on her ancient sword. Chelsea's hand touched Emma's upper arm gingerly.

"Does the mark still lie there?" she asked urgently. Emma shrugged and hugged the blade to her chest as if one of her own babes.

"I know not, Moonstone fares well." Emma allowed Chelsea to unlace her dress sleeve and examine the mark. The sword with a single drop of blood frozen in time on her shoulder lay untouched, Emma touching her favored sword, Moonstone with care.

"It is still here, my sister." Chelsea assured her sister. Emma snorted and resheathed her sword.

"You scorn me for not having any fun, am I to be scorned for having fun now? I care not of the mark, priestesses of Avalon bear the mark of the Mother, it may fade but the promise is still there!" Emma waved her hands in the air contemptuously. "My heart lies in battle, if not cast into this world with scorn from Rounak's crooked priestess, I would still be there. Or in battle." she looked to the distance longingly. "Moonstone and Dragonbane long for blood." she told Chelsea quietly. Galahad approached the sisters silently as they gathered their possesions in a frenzy.

"Ladies," he began. "I wish to know of Rounak, I have never been there on wishes of my foster parents." he explained. Emma smiled wanly at the knight and set aside her thirst for blood.

"It is the sacred aisle of weaponry. Women trained and birthed in Rounak are the best in swordplay by nature, trained by the best before them. Rounak is a haven for any wounded soldier, or anyone who has shown courage in the face of danger. The Mother would not look upon men as badly as the Christian God looks upon women, that is why Rounak is one of it's own." Emma preached of her home.

"What of this promise?" Galahad asked sheepishly. Chelsea snickered and looked to Emma.

"I'll let you explain, you're doing fine!" she made the hasty excuse. Emma sighed and looked to Galahad with a weary blink.

"You have been to Avalon?" she asked. He nodded and motioned for her to continue. "In Avalon they raise priestesses to tell other's of the Mother's intentions for her loyal subjects. To enhance this ability, every young girl promises her virginity to the Mother in hopes of being chosen to help the Goddess change the world." she looked into Galahad's eyes with skepticism. "The Holy Scriptures promise us a voice to tell us of our destiny, many of our priestesses never breed because of their ignorance though. We continue to breed when the Mother tells us to do so, but Rounak's men have all but abandoned us. As I believe one man said to me; 'Tempt us no longer! All this talk of scriptures and promises, I would rather be tormented in Hell before enduring another day among all the fair women, promised to the Goddess! May she explain it to you so that ye may spread the word!'" she laughed quietly. Galahad smiled and looked Emma's hair, plastered to her neck and face in red tendrils.

"You talk very little of the men of Rounak." Galahad noted. Emma smiled and looked at her scabbard.

"They are brave souls too. Most venture off at their coming of age and never return, running off with women of Avalon or some begger on the street." Emma shook her head. "It is a pain to be so loyal sometimes, I beg of myself to just abide the rules in hopes of the eternal happiness to be wrought." Emma bent her head and looked at her half-drawn blade. The runes were etched lightly onto the metal as if by the hand of God himself. The light letters were painted with chisel, carved with such skill that Galahad couldn't be sure if the blade had been formed with the runes in place. Emma fell to her knees beside Galahad just outside the entrance hall's door. She moaned and looked up into the wood of the door.

"What do you need of me?" she asked quietly, hearing the Goddess whispering. A picture roared into her head, a strong, noble man stood before her. All at once Emma realized this was a vision of her son and with a gasp she opened her eyes. They focused upon Galahad's worried face, brow knit in concern.

"My lady! Are you faint?" he asked. Emma shook her head vigorously and tried to stand. As if someone had pushed her, though Chelsea was nowhere near her, Emma flailed helplessly and collapsed heavily into Galahad's strong arms. Emma saw no more until the next day.