A young woman was limping through the forest of Ascetir. She had to reach Camelot before nightfall. The arrow in her leg was causing her a great pain. Her name was Nymphadora. She had green eyes and light golden brown hair. She wore a lilac cloak, and underneath a yellow tunic and black trousers.
She was heading towards Camelot to meet her childhood friend and ask him for help. She knew the danger of heading to Camelot as she knew the king of Camelot didn't welcome those with magic. But she needed her friend's help. She hadn't seen him for many years and yet she knew he would understand.
She reached the edge of the forest but now came the tricky bit which was getting into Camelot itself. She looked down at her lucky charm, which was round her right wrist. It was a small chain charm with a large dragon and a blue dragon egg. It had been a gift from her mother, before she had been executed in the time of the Great Purge.
Merlin was just blowing out the last of the candles in the main room. He was just about to head back to his bedroom, when the door opened. The girl limped in. Merlin dashed to her side as she swayed and her feet buckled from underneath her. He caught her just before she hit the floor.
He removed her hood and he noticed who she was. "Nymphadora?" he cried in surprise. She looked up at him and smiled. "Merlin." she whispered just before she drifted into unconsciousness. He scooped her up in his arms and laid her on his bed. He then got to work on removing the arrow from her leg. "Ic the thurhhaele thinu licsar." Merlin said, holding his hand above the wound. He then wrapped a bandage around it, to keep the dirt out. Knowing Nympadora like he did, she most probably wouldn't keep it on but while she was unconscious she couldn't argue.
Gaius came back from the council, and the first thing he noticed was that Merlin wasn't in bed and yet someone else was in Merlin's bed. "Who's that?" Gaius asked as he spotted Merlin sitting on one of the benches.
"Nymphadora." Merlin replied. "A friend from Ealdor. I had to help her she's my friend." Gaius nodded. Nymph moaned in her sleep and Merlin turned back to look at her. "She can stay can't she Gaius?" Merlin asked.
"Well. She's a patient and I would never turn my back on a patient when they are in need of a physician." Gaius replied.
"Thank you." Merlin said. Merlin stayed awake for half the night. Loads of thoughts spun round and round in his head. 'How did she know where to find me? What happened to her? Where has she been?' he thought. Eventually he fell asleep in the early hours of the morning.
Nymphadora woke Merlin up. She always woke him the same way. She clasped her hands together leaving a small gap between two of her fingers. She blew through the gap and her favourite bird call echoed through her clasped hands. She had woken him exactly the same way when they lived in Ealdor. She watched as his eyelids fluttered and then opened. "Nymphadora. How are you feeling?" Merlin asked sitting up.
"Never better." she replied grinning. "It's been ages." she hugged him.
"I know." he replied grinning. That smile!! It always dazzled her. She was sure he saved it specially for her. Merlin stared at her. "So tell me. Where have you been? What happened to you?" Nymphadora smiled a small sad smile and stared hard at the floorboards. "Nymph. Tell me." Merlin said. He lead her over to a bench and sat her down.
Nymphadora started her story. "Well first things first. I have missed you every day since I left Ealdor. To return home after you helped save my little brother."
"And I you. Now stop evading my questions." Merlin replied jokingly.
"After we returned home my brother began to believe he could see our mother's ghost I thought he was making it up. You remember what Edward is like." Merlin nodded. Nymphadora continued. "Well Edward began talking to her..... well so he said. I feared for him. The day before mother died in the Great Purge he told us that she would be leaving us forever. Her love saved us of course. But Edward became a shell. He refused to eat and refused to drink. He said it was what mother wanted. But that winter, there was a harsh snow storm. Edward became ill and because he refused to eat or drink he died." Nymphadora sobbed. Merlin pulled her into his arms.
Just then the door burst open and there stood Arthur. Merlin and Nymphadora leapt apart. Merlin's face turned bright red. Arthur made a expression which was meant to look like it was saying: I never saw anything. But it just made him look like he was in pain. "Merlin. I need you now." Arthur said sharply. He glanced at Nymphadora. She had ducked her head down so that her hair fell in front of her face, hiding her from view. "But I'm talking to....." Merlin started.
"I don't care if you are talking to your imaginary friend, as you don't have any. You're my servant and Iexpect you to do as I ask!" Arthur retorted. Under her veil of golden hair, Nymphadora's eyes flashed and Arthur's trousers fell down. Merlin smirked. Arthur bent down to pull them back up, the tips of his ears red. Arthur stormed out of the room. "Finish talking to your friend and then meet me in my chambers in half an hour!" he yelled, slamming the door behind him. Merlin burst out laughing.
"So that was what you were going to tell me." Merlin laughed, "You have magic."
"I didn't do anything." Nymphadora muttered.
"Nymph. You have magic. You are like me." Merlin said.
"Don't tell anyone please." Nymphadora whispered fear deep in her eyes.
"Nymph, I wouldn't dream of telling anyone. But it's dangerous for you here."
"I thought you would understand. You have magic too."
"I do understand. I just don't want to see you hurt." Merlin replied, he clasped her hands in his. Nymphadora gasped, she stared into Merlin's blue eyes. Merlin made to let go of her hands but she clasped them tighter. "I wish I could stay. But Arthur will need me. I'll be back later I promise. Why don't I ask Gwen if she will look after you. She's the queen but she's nice. I'm sure she'll look after you, unless you'd rather stay here and wait for me."
"I'll wait for you." Nymphadora said, she let go of Merlin's hands and smiled as he left the room.
Merlin walked into Arthur's chambers. He knew Arthur was going to be annoyed at him. So he kept his eyes fixed on the floor and his head down. The memory of what happened earlier still made him smirk so he was determined not to look at Arthur. "Ahh. So you've finally decided to show up then Merlin?" Arthur said, looking up from the maps he was studying.
"Huh? Oh yeah right." Merlin muttered, he was still concerned about Nymph. The last time he had seen her, she didn't have magic but magic does sometimes show up at different stages in people's lives. Arthur looked at Merlin, he was still staring at the floor.
"Well come on. Get to work." Arthur ordered.
"Right.... Okay." Merlin went around cleaning Arthur's room all the while not bringing up what had happened in Gaius' room just a couple of minutes ago. Arthur was surprised, the minute Merlin had entered the room. Arthur had expected Merlin to start bragging the minute he set foot in the room. But Merlin hadn't even cracked a smile. He had just got on with his job.
"So. What's her name?" Arthur asked casually.
"Nymphadora." Merlin replied shortly. He didn't want to get in this conversation with Arthur. He knew Arthur was most likely to make fun of him. Implying that Nymph was his girlfriend. When she was just a friend.... who happened to be a girl.
"So are you...... Erm....." Arthur gestured with his hands rather than finishing his sentence. But Merlin knew what he was getting at.
"Oh no. Just good friends." he hurriedly replied.
Arthur nodded. "Not that has anything to do with me..... Just....... Well your my servant and it might explain why you are always so late."
"No. She only got here last night. She was hurt and her mother and brother are both dead, so she had no one left to turn to for help." Merlin said. He looked back at Arthur's armour, he had been polishing the same part for the last five minutes. He knocked a jug full with water with his elbow. He was about to stop it in the air using magic but then remembered that Arthur was stood in front of him. So he let it drop to the floor. He tutted, "Sorry." he muttered.
"You're a bit distracted today Merlin. Is anything up?" Gwen asked, she had just entered the room.
"He's worried about his girlfriend." Arthur said with a smirk. Gwen looked at Merlin in surprise.
"She's not my girlfriend!" Merlin muttered angrily, glaring at Arthur. He grabbed the jug from the floor and stormed out of the room. Arthur went over to Gwen, he hugged her.
"So what've you been doing?" he asked.
"Getting you these." Guinevere said, handing Arthur a bunch of flowers. "Seeing as you've forgotten our anniversary."
"I did not forget. In fact..... I was...... preparing something special for tonight." Arthur hastily said. Gwen smiled. 'Okay. Now I really do have to plan something to make it seem like I never forgot.' Arthur thought, panicked.
"It's okay. I knew you'd forget." Gwen said kindly, "You've had so much to worry about these past few days." Arthur sighed, so she knew he had forgotten. "You read me like a book." he said, leaning in for a kiss.
Merlin had gone down to the armoury to try and get some peace and quiet. He didn't want to have to see anyone at that point. No doubt Arthur would have told Gwen by now about Nymph and then gone on to tell the knights. He knew Gwen wouldn't say anything about it. But Arthur? Gwaine? Not a chance, the whole kingdom would probably know about it by the afternoon. Gwaine would tell everyone in the tavern and Merlin would just be wasting his breath trying to argue that Nymph wasn't his girlfriend.
He was polishing Arthur's armour, the jug he was supposed to fill up and replace was ignored by his side. He was too angry at Arthur to go back there right now. Someone silently entered the room, but Merlin didn't notice until they came right up behind him. He then felt their presence looming behind him. He grabbed the hilt of Arthur's sword. He turned round quickly, raising the sword to defend himself. Only just a few moments before he was about to slice the person down did he realise who it was.
"Oh look guys, a deadly servant!" Gwaine joked. Percival and Mordred laughed.
"Gwaine!! I could have killed you!!" Merlin exclaimed. He placed Arthur's sword down on the table.
"And yet I'm still standing." Gwaine laughed.
"Yeah. But if that blow had landed you wouldn't have been, little man." Percival said.
"Don't call me that!" Gwaine said in a mock pout. Mordred smirked.
"What's up with you anyway?" Mordred asked Merlin.
"Nothing." Merlin said. He was about to add like you don't know anyway. But he stopped himself just in time.
"Arthur?" Gwaine said.
"Yeah. He's just being his usual royal pain in the backside self." Merlin said with a small grin.
"Maybe if he came to the tavern with us once in a while, he wouldn't be such a grumpy boots." Gwaine joked.
"You try telling him that! See how well he takes it!" Merlin said, laughing.
"Yeah well. I can imagine it would be difficult. So what did he start about today?" Mordred said.
"He only started because my friend from Ealdor came to visit and she was upset so I was comforting her and then Arthur's trousers fell down which made him embarrassed, angry and feel like taking the mick out of me and my friend." Merlin said.
"Ouch!! Being embarrassed in front of your servant is one thing. But in front of your servant's girlfriend." Gwaine said.
"She's not my girlfriend!!" Merlin retorted, this was the last thing he needed again right now.
"Merlin? Don't you know when someone is messing with you?" Gwaine replied grinning. Merlin sighed and then smiled. Typical Gwaine always making jokes out of things. He was just one of those people who would make a joke even if they were injured. "Tell you what how about you and your friend come to the tavern with us?"
"Err.... I don't know Gwaine. She's kinda shy. She's never been to Camelot before." Merlin hurriedly added. He noticed Mordred staring at him out of the corner of his eye.
"Okay well if you and her feel up to it later." Gwaine said, leading Mordred out of the room and towards the tavern. Merlin sighed. He had better get back to Nymph she'll probably be wondering where he was.
'Where is he? I hope something bad hasn't happened to him.' Nymphadora thought. She knew Merlin could look after himself but she couldn't help but worry about him. He was like a brother to her. She knew he could never replace Edward but she loved him as much as she had loved her brother maybe even more so. She wanted to tell Merlin how she felt. But she just couldn't get the right words out of her mouth to tell him. And besides she didn't want to make him feel awkward. Not to mention how embarrassed she'd be if she told him and then found out he didn't feel the same way for her. 'I'll go look for him.' she thought. She was about to get up and leave the room when Merlincame charging into the room. Nyph almost screamed in fright.
"What the hell?!!!!!" She yelled. "Are you trying to scare me to death?!!!!!!!"
"Sorry. One, this is because I am late to take you around Camelot, and knowing you, you probably thought I was in danger." Merlin replied slighly breathlessly. Nymph turnd slightly pink, that was exactly what she had thought. "Two, I needed to get away from Gwaine, he kept trying to drag me down to the tavern. He also offered if you would like to come but believe me, on your first day here in Camelot, the tavern is one sight you don't need to see just yet. So where do you want to go first?"
"Erm..... I don't mind." Nymph mummered. "Anywhere you want to show me. What if people see me?"
"I don't care what people think and neither should you." Merlin replied.
"You know what I mean!" Nymph replied, anger hinted in her tone of voice. Merlin smirked. "You did that to wind me up!!!" she accused.
"And I'm very good at it too." Merlin grinned. Nymph smiled and shook her head. "Look." Merlin said. He took her hands again. "Just act normal. Well as normal as we can be." he joked. "You'll be fine. I'll look after you." He led her out of the room. Merlin took Nymph through the vast number of corridors in the citadel first, showing her every single thing. He then took her through the lower town and market. "Well? What do you think?" Merlin asked her. Nyph looked around gazing in wonder at the sights and smells.
"It's fantastic!!" she said, slightly speachlessly. Merlin smiled at her. Then he hugged her. "What's that for?" she said as he let go.
"I don't know. I just missed you." he said. Nyph smiled at Merlin. She stared deep into his bright blue eyes, they were so close to each other. So close she could feel his breath on her face. If she could lean forward just a little more and then she could....... 'No what am I thinking!!!!!!' she thought, she moved backwards slightly. Merlin smiled at her and she wondered if he had heard her thoughts. "Come on." he said, taking her hand again. She followed him, heat filling her face as people stared as they walked. Nymph decided to take an example from Merlin as he was walking past without taking any notice of anyone.