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Well my fellow Merlinians, this is the first one-shot I wrote though maybe, just maybe I turn it into multichapter if I find time and after I finish my first fanfic for which I am sorely missing inspiration at the moment. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy this one.


SummaryEdit

"So what should we do? Accept magic? Or let Mordred die?"

Arthur rarely saw tears in Merlin's eyes. In fact, he could say with certainty that he cried more than his manservant. It was obvious that his plea for advice on this issued was casuing some sort of inner conflict or his friend. But the question was why?


Turn LeftEdit

Chapter 1Edit

Fire represented many things to Merlin. It was a source of heat that was used for cooking food and to keep certain room or place warm during the day and night, especially during winter time. But fire was also dangerous. It had the capability to take away everything a person owned in matter in seconds, including person's life.

Ever since Merlin met now king prat, the fire or to be more specific, camp fire, served as sort of mediator between master and servant; two friends that shared probably most private of thoughts over camp fire.

“My heart says do anything I can to save Mordred. But I have seen what misery unfettered sorcery brings. Before my father outlawed magic, Camelot was almost destroyed by sorcery.”

Merlin had to restrain himself from snorting at that remark. Camelot was just fine before Uther turned on Nimueh and started avenging his wife’s death by killing thousands of innocents so he would ease his guilt in a way. Sure…According to Gaius, before magic was outlawed some people used magic for wrong end. Some. Not everyone.

“In my time, Morgana has used it for nothing but evil. What would you do? In my place?” Arthur cast his friend that pleading look again that was desperate for advice and meant that Arthur was truly conflicted at what to do.

But Merlin found himself just as conflicted this time. Last few times when they had conversations like this one, he already had half-baked answers for his friend and king. Now…he was not so sure.

“Me?” Merlin gave Arthur a slightly teasing look “I’m just a lackey. Maker of the beds.”

“Lackeys can be wise.”

Arthur eyed his friend carefully; there was something off about him for few days now, ever since Osgar gave him the runemark.

“It is not like you to be silent.”

“Kingdom’s future is at stake.”

“And a man’s life.”

“You must protect Camelot. You must protect the world you spent your life building…a just and fair kingdom for all.”

“You would have me sacrifice a friend?”

The images of frightened boy pleading Merlin to save him from the guards flooded the warlock’s mind and he had to blink few times to chase them away.

“I would have you become king you are destined to be.”

“If I do save Mordred, all my father’s work will be for nothing. Sorcery will reign once more in Camelot. Is that what you’d want?”

If Arthur only knew what conflict was wracking up his friend’s mind and soul as he tried to untangle some sort of an answer for his king?

“Perhaps my father was wrong, perhaps the old ways aren’t as evil as we thought. So what should we do? Accept magic? Or let Mordred die?”

Arthur rarely saw tears in Merlin’s eyes. In fact, he could say with certainty that he cried more than his manservant. It was obvious that his plea for advice on this issue was causing some sort of inner conflict for his friend. But the question was why?

Merlin cast his eyes downwards, his mind spinning options around fast as lightning. The second option was oh so tempting. To let Mordred die would solve his problem number one. He never had anything against the boy that now turned man served Arthur with honour and respect. But the idea that all his hard work of protecting Arthur would fade as a flower because of one mistake was pained one.

Kilgharrah told him to take the opportunity if one presented itself to him. However, Merlin learnt by now that Kilgharrah’s advice were just the same as trust. Double edged sword. Sometimes he was right and sometimes he was dead wrong. Morgana was the obvious failure on both their parts. Oh, how that failure still burnt in his heart.

Though he could remember vividly in every detail the vision Lochru showed him, he could also vividly remember the Crystal Cave and whole series of events he caused by trying to change the future. In his opinion, this sealed Morgana’s future actions that have a reach to this day.

“What happened to the boy that came into my chambers just a few years ago?”

“He grew up. And he learned the meaning of duty.”

Did he though? Did he truly believe that duty, compassion and hope do not fit into same sentence? Has he honestly become so encompassed in his destiny that he had no ability to give people second chances? Mordred has done nothing wrong. And ever since he arrived in Camelot, he has not used his magic once; trusting Merlin to keep them all safe. Could he truly condemn him now? Maybe, just maybe if he tried hard, two of them could work together to restore magic peacefully to the kingdom and show Arthur it was not evil.

One, lonesome tear slid down his face as he drew in a deep, calming breath as Merlin made a decision and looked up at his friend that was watching him with certain degree of worry, curiosity and plea for answer.

“I have magic.”

Chapter 2


Splash.

Water droplet that fell from a leaf lost its cohesion as it kissed the earth below.

Crack.

Small, thin branch snapped up on a nearby tree under the force of the gentle wind that played tunes with tree tops around the pair that sat staring at one other with fire happily crackling away, complete unaware of its role in their lives.

If it was any other day or night and any other place, Arthur would have dismissed Merlin’s statement as lame attempt at joke. It would not be the first time Merlin claimed that he had magic. The king could still remember how Merlin barged in when afanc spread the sickness through the water supply, claiming he was the sorcerer that healed Gwen’s father.

For a split second Arthur did not know what to feel or think, little less do. But as he kept his gaze on the man that has stood by his side for almost ten years of their lives; going through thick and thin, risking his life beyond the line of duty that befell him as his manservant, Arthur could not help but to wonder if Merlin felt the same way he did now when he was watching his friend’s anxious face with tears clouding his eyes and obvious pain that wracked his mind as he summoned the courage to utter those three so simple yet so life changing words.

He should be angry; he should feel betrayed at being lied to by someone he came to consider as his younger, pesky brother. Arthur was fairly certain that is how his father would feel and would probably kill Merlin on the spot. But not Arthur. He had deep urge to hug Merlin, snap him out of that utterly miserable look on his face.

Merlin did not look afraid for his life. He looked…almost exactly like that old sorcerer when he told him that all he wants was to be accepted and treated as equal…normal. Normal. Oh gods, why did Merlin keep this to himself for so long? The small voice in Arthur’s head told him that he already knew the answer. There were so much questions Arthur wanted answers to, even though now…when he was given the final piece of the puzzle that was Merlin, many things had much more sense. But Arthur needed to know something concerning today’s issues at hand; others will have to wait.

“Yet you are willing to let Mordred die. Why? You have been behaving oddly ever since he came to Camelot. What wrong has he done to you for you to feel it necessary to just let him die?”

“Nothing…he did nothing. Yet.”

“Well, that does not really explain anything Merlin.”

“Why are you not angry with me?”

“I will be if you do not give a straight answer about Mordred.”

“Because I always kind of expected you holding sword to my throat or something…”

“Damn it Merlin! Answer the bloody question!” Arthur finally snapped.

“Because…”

“Because what Merlin? Don’t tell me you have suddenly lost ability to speak. Because you and I will be doing lot of talking after this is over. So what is it? Has he offended you or done something to you…?”
”He is destined to kill you!”

Merlin exploded, jumping to his feet and subconsciously allowed his magic to lash out; making the calmly sizzling camp fire to suddenly flare up which in return made Arthur to jump away from it.

“Kill me? Mordred is destined to kill me?”

Merlin nodded mutely, sat back down and hugged his knees to his chest.

“And you know this how?”

“A friend told me so and I have seen it happen in a vision couple of months ago when we stopped in that druid village on our way to Ismere.”

Something lit up in Arthur’s mind.

“That’s why you were so rattled for the next few days and got angry when I didn’t kill him with the crossbow.”

“Yes.”

“Although I am truly grateful that you care so much about my life Merlin, you cannot hope to protect me from everything. It’s impossible, whether you do or do not have magic. And you cannot make all these decisions without me.”

“What?”

“Mordred has showed nothing but kindness, compassion, honour and respect ever since I knighted him. He is a good, honest young man.”

“So was Morgana.” Merlin ascertained bitterly, there was a great story to it Arthur suspected but decided not to push for now and restrained himself from flinching at mention of his half-sister’s name.

“If you truly believe that he is destined to kill me then surely this is opportunity for you to try and change that.”

“I’m not sure that I can.”

“You don’t know…until you tried.”

Both men smiled as Arthur repeated the same thing Merlin told him five years ago when Morgana took Camelot for the first time.

“Since when are you wise?”

“I do tend to have my moments Merlin.”

“Well, you are still a clot pole for the rest of the time.” Merlin smiled before short but heavy silence fell upon them.

“So what do we do Merlin?”

“I think it is obvious what I wish for. It is something I have been yearning for ever since I came to Camelot and learnt of my destiny. But I also learnt to be very patient. Dealing with you requires lot of patience anyway.”

“Every sorcerer and sorceress I ever came across practiced evil magic. That’s all I have ever known.”

“Magic isn’t evil Arthur. People that wield it are. But that is a discussion for later times. You have more pressing thing at hand.”

“If I embrace the old ways, all my father’s work will be for nothing.”

“Very lousy work if you ask me. With all respect to your father but he has done nothing but start vicious cycles of seemingly never-ending bloodshed. And now you have opportunity to break it. But…”

“But what Merlin?” Arthur asked when Merlin trailed off suddenly.

“I don’t want you to just accept the Old Religion because it is the only way to save Mordred. It is act of blackmail on part of the Disir and selfish, fearful act on your part. What I wish and hope is for you to accept the old ways because you believe we could actually bridge the gap between our people and live peacefully with magic being part of our daily lives once again. If you do it strictly to save Mordred’s life, I will still accept that decision but I will not like it. Because it will tell me you did it for your benefit and did not consider how your decision will impact others. You have been king for three years now. Although it pains me to say it, you cannot just think for the safety of one man or woman. Majority comes before minority.”

There it was again. That moment of wisdom that made Merlin sound like he was completely different person. But now it made lot more sense. Arthur could not even begin how many difficult decisions Merlin was forced to make in secret and on his own; and he alone bore and paid the consequences of his actions.

“Get some sleep.”

That was all that Arthur had to say because his mind was so muddled he could not tell where one thought ended and another one began. Though he told Merlin to get some sleep, he knew Merlin won’t be able to sleep just like he wasn’t able to do so either.

When the dawn came, announced by quite loud birdsong and sun beams that lazily spilt through the tree tops, Arthur was ready to announce his decision to the Disir. Glancing over to where his manservant was supposedly sleeping, Arthur found him wide awake with yet again anxious look in his eyes thought Arthur could understand this time why.

“Come on. Time to talk to the Disir.” Arthur stated, making his toward the cave again.

“You mean, time for you to talk to the Disir? I am just going to stand in the back and listen.” Merlin stated teasingly.

“You’re still an idiot.” Arthur muttered good naturedly as he set the sword on the mossy stone at the entrance of the cave and made his way in slowly.

“You have returned.”

“Is your decision made?”

He would never admit it out loud and judging by the way Merlin observed the three women, Arthur was fairly certain he too find it a bit disturbing that these three women finished each other’s sentences as if they were one entity. But then again, what the hell did he know about Old Religion? Nothing aside from the fact that it is evil. Or at least that is one single thought that his father drilled in his mind since he was old enough to understand what was said to him.

“It is.” Arthur replied, drawing in a deep breath.

“I can and will do as you ask. I shall accept the Old Religion and restore it to Camelot. But on my own terms and time. I cannot just return to my city and declare that Old Religion is once again welcomed to this land. I will surely be viewed as crazy and most certainly will be considered to be under some sort of enchantment. But you have my word as King of Camelot that I will do everything in my power to restore Old Religion to its rightful place in out lives. Though I will need help in doing so.”

Arthur spoke last sentence with a short glance to his manservant that gave him a nod with small, acknowledging smile in return.

“You have made your decision wisely Arthur Pendragon.”

“Emrys has advised you well.”

Arthur looked at Merlin questioningly but his friend only mouthed ‘later’.

“The two of you are destined to achieve great things.”

“Do not forget your duty to the Old Religion Emrys.”

“We do not envy you on the burden that has been given to you.”

Arthur felt himself shiver as the three women spoke. Obviously they spoke directly to Merlin and judging by the serious, slightly pained expression of his face, Arthur could assumed with fair certainty that Merlin has tasted quite a lot of this destiny and duty to Old Religion the Disir spoke off.

“Lean on your brother to help you as he has been leaning on you for the past decade of your lives.”

“You have sealed your fate. May the Triple Goddess protect you and shine your way to your destiny.”

“Farewell Arthur Pendragon.”

And with that the cave fell into darkness and three hooded women disappeared from two men’s views.

“Well, honestly, that’s a rather dramatic overkill.” Arthur mumbled slightly irritated at being dismissed like that, making Merlin snort.

“How about we just leave before you find another way to insult them?” He suggested sarcastically before making his way out, forcing Arthur to follow.

“I hope I just was not too late with my decision to save Mordred.” Arthur remarked.

“Mordred will be fine.” Merlin replied assuring though he was pretty certain that certain someone will be shouting at him soon.

“If you say so.” Arthur said and narrowed his eyes a bit. “So tell me Merlin…When exactly did you start practicing magic?”

Merlin rolled his eyes whilst suppressing yet another snort. This is going to be a long journey home.

Meanwhile, back in the Grove of Brineved, the three soothsayers made their way to another entrance where a young man in his twenties awaited them to be given an assignment.

“Farrell.”

“Yes my ladies?”

“We have a task for you.”

“As the Goddess commands my ladies.”

“You are to travel north to the honoured lady of Sevelan. Inform her that she will be needed by Emrys and the Once and Future King very soon.”

“At once my ladies.” Farrell bowed deeply before turning to mount his horse and depart to fulfil the task he has been given.

After all, many things were about to change.

Chapter 3


“How could have I been so stupid?”


“Well, that is a question I have been wondering for these past nine years. It certainly is one of your many traits.” Merlin smiled with a small wince, seeing as his slightly busted lip only started to heal.

He supposed half busted lip that was already starting to heal was actually the best outcome of Arthur’s exploding and subsequent rant when Merlin told him about releasing Kilgharrah from the cave.

“You set it free?! That beast killed dozens of people and almost destroyed Camelot! What were you thinking?!” Arthur shouted angrily with tears in his eyes.

“I was thinking that Camelot would be destroyed by Morgause and the Knights of Medhir if he didn’t give me the answer I needed!” Merlin shouted with equal ferocity. “And he would not have been seeking vengeance in the first place if Uther didn’t slaughter his kin! Not to mention I think I paid more than fair price for making him go away.”

“What are you babbling about?”

“Balinor!”

“The dragonlord that died? What about him?” Arthur asked casually, frowning when he saw Merlin’s eyes darkened at Arthur’s tone.

“The Dragonlord’s powers and abilities are passed down from father to son.” Merlin mumbled so quietly that Arthur almost didn’t hear him.

“I fail to…Oh…” Arthur’s face was canvas of different emotions that flitted in matter of seconds before he looked at his friend sympathetically. “I am so…so sorry Merlin.”

“Doesn’t really matter now.” Merlin shrugged albeit Arthur knew that the truth was the exact opposite but decided not to push on it for now.

“Merlin?”

“Yes Arthur?”

“Shut up.”

“Yes, my lord.” Merlin replied with his usual tone, making Arthur smile.

Only Merlin could make the titles sound like they are the worst and lowest thing in the world. As the companionable silence reined between them once again and profile of Camelot came into view, Arthur’s only focal thought was Mordred. Did the Disir keep their part of the blackmail as Merlin called it and restored Mordred’s health? He honestly cared for the young man and believed he could be a great knight.

And he did not forget where he came from, despite what Merlin thought. It was not an event Arthur could forget so easily. It was after all, his first true rebellious act against his father’s judgement when magic was involved. The memory of helping young Mordred escape brought out a small smile on his lips that quickly faded as image of kind, passionately caring Morgana entered his mind. Although Merlin told him many things in the past day on their travel back to Camelot, it seemed that Morgana’s betrayal was a sore spot for the warlock even though Arthur could not understand why.

Arthur could see relief on the faces of the guards and knights they passed as they made their way to the citadel but it also frustrated the young king because it told him nothing about Mordred. Two knights approached to take their horses away and Arthur shared a concerned look with Merlin before making his way to the entrance staircase. But he stopped at the very bottom as grateful smiling Mordred appeared on the door and rushed down the stairs. Snapping out of his stupefied state, Arthur gave Mordred slightly incredulous look as they clasped their hands together at their forearms.

“Thank you sire. For whatever you did.” Mordred thanked his king.

“It was not all me. You can thank Merlin as well.” Arthur spared a glance at Merlin who still seemed slightly wary of Mordred but he understood now that Merlin couldn’t exactly help himself.

“Really?”

“Yes.” Arthur nodded. “We need some rest but I expect two of you tomorrow afternoon in my chambers. There is a great deal of things I need to talk to you about.”

With that, Arthur nodded and hurried upstairs to see his wife who was undoubtedly waiting for him anxiously.

“What was that about Merlin?” Mordred asked the warlock curiously.

“Arthur knows.” Merlin simply stated with small shrug and started to walk to Gaius’ chambers; leaving stunned Mordred behind.

~O~

“Can I ask you something?” Merlin slightly jumped where he sat on the edge of his bed, reading his spell book when Mordred appeared all off the sudden.

After explaining what happened to Gaius, Merlin shut himself in his small room and did not get out for the rest of the day. The way Merlin shrugged, he concluded it was permission to ask away.

“You said I am destined to kill Arthur.” Mordred saw Merlin stiffen as the words left his mouth. “How do you know that?”

“I was told so by the Great Dragon and was shown a vision by a druid seer where you deal Arthur mortal blow.” Merlin replied stiffly making Mordred flinch.

“I have no reason to harm him.”

“Now.”

“Future is not set in stone.”

Merlin chuckled, causing Mordred to frown.

“What?”

“I told the Great Dragon the same thing when he told me of your destiny.”

“Perhaps you should listen to yourself Emrys.” Mordred offered him that rare smile of his.

Merlin suddenly got very serious and stood up to face Mordred; and they stared at each other for few moments in tense silence.

“You are right. Perhaps I have taken the interpretation of my destiny into extreme.” Merlin stated, studying the former druid apprentice intently.

“Maybe if we work together, we can show Arthur that magic can be used for good. And I am willing to teach you things that you probably never dreamed off. I might have been forced to hide for almost ten years but despite the danger, I learnt a lot. I know what I did to you eight years ago was unforgivable and I know you probably will never forgive me but I want to try to start over.” Merlin held out his hand for handshake. “Do you accept?”

He waited with baited breath for Mordred’s answer before young man graced him with yet another smile that appeared on his lips.

“I accept. It would be an honour to learn from you Emrys. And you are right about what you tried to do. Twice. I guess we should start building our trust between each other from the beginning.” Mordred stated, gave his future teacher a respectful nod and withdrew from his small room, leaving Merlin alone with his thoughts and small smile on his face.

Yes. Perhaps Arthur’s idea about having an opportunity to change Mordred’s destiny was not so ridiculous. He had to be careful but hope filled his being. Maybe, just maybe that babbling lizard was wrong about Mordred and Merlin was determined to prove him wrong.

Chapter 4Edit

Farrell never had any egotistical problem admitting that his magic was weak. At least it was weak compared to his mistresses, Emrys or that chaos wrecking witch Morgana Pendragon. As far as his magic went, he used it for growing healing herbs and for self-defence against those blithering idiots that called themselves righteous, chivalrous knights of Camelot. More like rabble of blindly faithful fools if Farrell was asked.

Although Sevelan castle was rather small compared to how pompously large some castles were, Farrell had considered it as one of the most beautiful and awe inspiring buildings his eyes ever saw. It stood upon hill in the middle of the forest that lay on the south east border of Strathclyde kingdom with sea lying barely five miles to the west of the castle.

Its pale ivory walls were covered in intricately shaped vines and white roses could be seen as well. The entire place breathed, pulsated and smelled like magic, defying time. It represented everything good and for those who waited patiently for Emrys, it represented hope. Even at the very height of the Old Religion, no one ever dared to attack this castle and claim it as its own.

The current lady of the castle that kept it and surrounding forest villages safe was fairly young woman, in fact, she was as old as the Once and Future King; or so was Farrell told. He did not know much about her except that she was a descendant of the long line of lords and ladies that resided within the castle and that she was respected as very wise and kind.

As he approached the castle entrance, he was promptly stopped by two young guards, bearing the crest of Sevelan castle and Amcar family on their purple capes, just on the top of their right shoulders.

“Identify yourself.”

“I am Farrell and the messenger of the Court of Disir. I have a message for your lady.”

“Very well.” The older of two guards waved a passing servant close. “Lorsel, inform lady Amcar that messenger of the Disir wishes private audience with her.”

The young boy nodded and sped off to the north-east tower where his mistress currently was. It was the highest of three towers of the castle and it is where lady Amcar’s chambers and study was.

“What has gotten you in such a rush Lorsel?” Elderly looking woman asked the boy as he rushed past her.

“Lady Amcar has an important visitor that has sought private audience with her and I was told to inform her at once.”

“In that case I shall inform her because the lady is in the middle of her bath. Who is it that wishes to see her?”

“Messenger of the Disir.”

“Oh dear…There hasn’t been a messenger of the Disir here since before late lord Condan ruled Sevelan castle. I will see to it at once.”

“Thank you Lillian.”

Lillian politely knocked on her lady’s chamber doors twice before entering and found her right where she left her twenty minutes earlier. In the warm bath relaxing.

“Yes Lillian?”

“A messenger of the Disir has arrived my lady and requested a private audience with you.”

“The Disir? Now that is name that I have not heard since…ever. Show him to my study and offer him refreshments. I will join him shortly.”

“Yes my lady.”

Lillian nodded and left the lady alone once again after which she exited the tub and with flash of gold in her eyes her skin and hair were dry; allowing her to dress quickly. She considered herself to be quite insightful despite having no gift of foresight and she had an inkling feeling this visit had something to do with Emrys. Well…she was going to find out very soon anyway.

~O~

Merlin was working around Arthur’s chambers with that wide, happy grin on his face that always made Arthur wonder if his no-good, slacking manservant was up to something. This time however Arthur knew why Merlin was smiling and for once he did not complain. Although he did tell him to wipe that idiot grin off his face twice now because Arthur found that much joy in one person quite unnerving.

While Merlin was humming something under his breath whilst polishing Arthur’s sword, Arthur was sat at his desk and studied copies of the laws concerning magic, current and those that existed before his father banned magic. They had a lot of work to do. He was pleased to hear that Mordred accepted Merlin’s offer of being taught magic once again so they agreed that Mordred will split his time between training and studying.

Three men agreed that they would keep the magic secret for now and entrust the secret to couple of people they had utmost trust with, starting with Guinevere. Arthur was still bit antsy about that, considering everything his wife has been through because of magic even thought Merlin assured him it would be fine.

“Merlin, come here for a moment.” Arthur suddenly called out to his friend.

Puzzled and intrigued, Merlin out the sword on the table and walked over to Arthur’s desk to see what the problem was.

“What do you think of this?”

“Me?”

“Yes…Do you see any other useless manservant that is according to a prophecy supposed to be the most powerful warlock to ever live? Nah, I didn’t think so.” Arthur deadpanned sarcastically, making Merlin roll his eyes.

“Prat…What is this anyway?” Merlin asked, his eyes skimming over the given parchment.

“I had Geoffrey find laws concerning magic before my father banned it. What do you think about this part that refers to druids?” Arthur explained and eyed Merlin’s standing form; he never liked the fact that Merlin, as lanky as he was, was taller than him by inch “And sit down Merlin.”

“You don’t like me towering you.” Merlin smirked smugly but obliged Arthur’s demand to sit down.

There was a blanket of comfortable silence between them for few minutes as Merlin read what was written on the parchment before leaning closer to Arthur and pointed his finger at one part of the text.

“Here is what I think you should do. This line says…” Merlin began and Arthur found himself smiling as he carefully listened to his friend explaining what he should change in the law.

Even though he could not lift the ban of magic just yet, nothing stopped him from working on the change that was inevitably coming their way. He just hoped that when he finally does lift ban of magic, people won’t look at him as if he has gone mad or something and that people with magic won’t fear him anymore. He was not his father and it was time for him to prove that.


Chapter 5Edit

“MERLIN!”

Both Merlin and Mordred suppressed the urge to roll their eyes along with a snort as Arthur yelled his manservant’s name down the corridor that led to Gaius’ chambers. Ever since Gwen left with the knights to pay respects on her father’s grave, the young king was irritable and annoying.

Because the magic was still banned, the teacher and the student decided it would be best to have their lessons in Merlin’s small room for the time being. Merlin was trying to teach Mordred the spell he used to save Arthur and others in the tomb of King Lothar. Even though the spell was rather simple to Merlin, he kept reminding himself that it is not the same for Mordred, despite his raw talent that was yet to take shape. But with Arthur continually pestering Merlin, their lessons were proving to be more challenging than they should be.

“Merlin!”

Doors slammed open with Arthur’s timely yell, forcing Merlin to abandon his spot on the bed and come out of the room.

“Yes sire?” he asked as derogatively as possible, making Arthur glare at him.

“Where the hell have you been? I have a council session in an hour.”

“Since when?” Merlin might still give the appearance of the clumsy, sometimes dim-witted servant but Arthur and others knew better for some time now.

“Since ten minutes ago.”

“Can’t you choose your own outfit for it?” Merlin asked annoyed.

“What do you think I pay you for?”

“To keep you from getting fat?”

“Merlin…”

“Alright…You know, I have to tell Gwen to take you instead of the knights next time she leaves the castle. You are unbelievably annoying when she is not around.”

“I am not.” Arthur stated indignantly.

“Yes, you are. How am I ever supposed to teach Mordred anything if you keep interrupting us?” Merlin scoffed a bit and Arthur finally looked up to see equally annoyed young knight leaned on the doorway of the small room.

“I apologize. Just get me the damn outfit and I will make sure you are not disturbed for the rest of the afternoon.” Arthur at least tried to look sheepish and stormed out of the physician’s chambers with Merlin right after him.

~O~

“MERLIN!”

Although this shout was different from the one earlier in the afternoon, it still grated on Merlin’s nerves and this time he did roll his eyes as he got up whilst muttering something under his breath.

“Honestly, how did you put up with this for nine years?” Mordred asked, getting up himself.

“That is a good question. I ask myself that every morning when I wake up.”

The door slammed open again but this time it was Gaius who came in first with Arthur, Gwaine and Elyan following as several guards brought Leon and Percival on the stretchers.

“What happened?” Merlin asked worried as both he and Mordred hurried over.

“Nest of snakes.”

“Where is Guinevere?” Arthur asked, cutting in.

“I told her to run.” Elyan replied hesitantly and worried.

“Arthur.”

The young king looked at his manservant who was looking at the guards, indicating he wanted them out.

“You may go.” Arthur dismissed the guards and waited for an explanation once the guards were gone.

“Look at the bite marks.” Merlin pointed to Percival’s arm.

“What the…?” Gwaine’s eyes widened as he noted the wounds.

“This is no ordinary snake bite, sire. This has dark magic written in it. They should be dead.” Gaius remarked.

“But they are not. Can you help them?” Arthur looked at his friend that looked downright disgusted at the sight of the wounds though he remarked that Mordred had the same look.

“I can but I need to examine the wounds first. If I use the wrong spell I might kill them.” Merlin replied, disappearing shortly in his room before returning again.

Even though he shouldn’t be, Arthur was still slightly jumpy every time Merlin’s eyes would turn gold.

“How about this one?” Mordred pointed some text on the page in his spell book, not that Arthur knew what it was, considering it was written in language he did not know.

“I know that one already. It is fairly simple and powerful but I have no idea how it will react to the dark magic that is bound to the poison.”

“You are supposed to be mighty Emrys. It should not pose much trouble for your power.”

“I swear you and Arthur…” Merlin trailed off with shake of a head before leaning over Percival’s arm, putting his hand right over the ugly looking hole.

“Ic pe purhæle pinu licsar.”

Unlike most of the time, Merlin’s eyes flashed deep molten gold for almost a minute and they could all see small vapour coming out of the swiftly sealing would.

“Impressive.” Gwaine muttered respectfully.

“Thank you.” Merlin said slightly out of breath.

“Merlin?” Gaius set his hand on his ward’s shoulder, looking at him with concern.

“I can feel her. Almost as if she signed herself into the snakes.” Merlin mumbled as he moved around to get to Leon’s side.

“Who?” Arthur asked confused.

“Morgana.” Mordred replied darkly instead of Merlin, drawing attention to himself. “It is rather obvious. The queen is missing and snakes were enchanted.” The young knight shrugged.

“They will both recover fast now that I got rid off the poison.” Merlin stated.

“We ride at dawn.” Arthur stated firmly, turned on his heel and marched out.

The others exchanged series of looks before Merlin steadied himself on his feet and followed after his friend with intention of calming him down a bit. After all, he was not the only one who was worried about Gwen.



Sbalethia

The Witch-queen of Essetir The Throne of Light The Moonlit Hour Turn Left</p>

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