No mortal has ever survived their touch.
And that was true.
Until last night.
And then, in Arthur’s opinion, Merlin had to be an idiot and jump in front of the Dorocha instead of him. In those few seconds as Merlin hung suspended in the air and then flung into the wall behind him, Arthur honestly thought that was it. That the conversation they had just few moments before Merlin jumped to protect him was the last one he had ever had with Merlin. And yet here they were. Morning after and Merlin was alive. But both Anwen and Kyna stated that he was dying and needed to be taken back to Gaius.
Ever since he met his manservant, Arthur knew there was something different about him. The happy-go-lucky attitude always puzzled him. As he started get to know his cousin better, Arthur became more astute in observation when it came to magic and its signs. But for a long time he could not bring himself to believe that Merlin actually practiced magic.
How could he anyway? That man must be one of the clumsiest people he ever met. But then again, playing a clumsy, ignorant servant was by far best disguise Arthur could imagine. Magic was evil. That is what his father has been drilling into his head ever since he was old enough to understand what is being said to him. Time and again his father was proven right throughout Arthur’s young life.
And then Merlin came bumbling into his life with his sometimes dry humour and sarcasm, not afraid to speak his mind and insulted him through friendly banter on daily basis. But for all his apparent misgivings, Arthur also got used to Merlin’s occasional outpours of unbelievable wisdom that most certainly did not match Merlin’s usual behaviour.
Now, Arthur finally had the final piece of the puzzle that was Merlin although if he were honest with himself, he knew it for quite some time. Evil and Merlin did not fit in the same sentence, after all they were talking about a man who hates hunting because animals are killed. He should feel betrayed and angry but he couldn’t. All he felt was extreme guilt and pain by sparing one look at his friend, so pale and obviously traumatised with Kyna and Anwen fussing over him like two lionesses, guarding their injured young.
“We have to get him back to Gaius.” Arthur spoke, forcing himself to look away and focused on Leon instead.
“And abandon the quest?”
“He saved my life, I won’t let him die.”
“Sire, if we don’t get to the Isle of the Blessed hundreds more will perish.”
“Let me take him.” Lancelot cut in.
“Carrying wounded man, alone it will take you two or three days to reach Camelot.”
“Not if I go through the Valley of the Fallen Kings. You cannot give up on the quest.”
“Sire, he is right.”
“And I will go as well.” Kyna interrupted the men. “Anwen will continue on with you and I will go with Merlin and Lancelot.”
“Why?” Arthur had a feeling there was more than just magical escort she was offering.
“The Valley of the Fallen Kings is like a magic well. Those who have natural gift of magic can tap into its unlimited power and amplify their own considerably…under condition they know how. I might be able to harness the power I need to heal him.” Kyna elaborated.
“Very well. But be careful.” Arthur consented, having a gut feeling that the healer also counted on Merlin’s magic to aid hers.
Percival once again picked Merlin up and carried him to his horse as Kyna and Lancelot mounted their respective mounts after bidding short farewell to Gwaine and Anwen who were continuing with Arthur.
“This is my fault and I’m sorry.” Arthur spoke as he made sure that Merlin was well strapped to his horse so he doesn’t fall off.
“Take me with you please.”
Unbelievable…here he was dying and still insisting on coming along.
“You’ll die Merlin.”
“But you don’t understand. Please, Artur.”
“Do you ever do as you’re told?”
“I have to come with you.”
“We have to leave.” Lancelot interrupted their conversation.
Anwen briefly took Arthur’s place, kissed Merlin’s brow before murmuring something in different tongue and stepped away with giving Lancelot a cryptic glance he returned with small assuring smile. No matter how long he knew about it, the idea of Anwen speaking in his head was still unnerving to him. They watched as three riders disappeared on the road they already travelled, the rest of the group packed and continued their journey toward the Isle of the Blessed.
“He has magic…Doesn’t he?” Arthur murmured so quietly yet it sounded so loud in the ruined castle they were taking shelter in.
He remained quiet for two whole days since it happened, his mind preoccupied with rewinding everything that has happened since Merlin came in his life. Looking at it now, some things were so obvious. Arthur did always wonder how every time they were ambushed, the forest suddenly worked in the favour of the knights.
Anwen’s whole figure went stiff and she looked at every single one of her companions with narrowed gaze, as if to judge how much she should say.
“Yes.” She replied with heavy sigh after few moment of silence.
“It makes sense when you think about it.” Gwaine piped in. “Never before have I seen so many branches falling directly onto bandits or bandits tripping over roots. Until I met Merlin that is.”
“He is more than just extremely lucky.” Leon added.
“What is he?” Arthur cut in seriously, keeping a levelled gaze on his gaze.
“A warlock Arthur. And I have already told you the difference between those who have to study magic and those who have natural aptitude for it.”
“You mean to say he was born with it?”
“Of all places, why Camelot?”
“That Arthur, is something only Merlin can answer. I will not tell you all his secrets and reasons behind them. You want to know, you ask him. When this entire mess is over.” Anwen absent minded started to toy with a strand of her blonde hair.
“He is Emrys. That is all I will tell you.” Anwen said with air of finality.
“Emrys?” Percival suddenly spoke, drawing attention to himself. “I thought that was just a story.”
Anwen chuckled a bit.
“It is not just a story Percival. It is real and you are in it.”
“Does that make Arthur...?”
Percival trailed off with his eyes widening slightly upon seeing Anwen nodding her head affirmatively.
“What are you two rabbiting on about?” Arthur asked snappily, unnerved by this half finished sentences.
He was about to say something when they all heard sound of the doors opening and closing. Swords at ready, their eyes focused on two approaching shadows that quickly revealed themselves as Lancelot and Kyna.
“Lancelot? How’s Merlin?”
“Bad news.” Lancelot said but slight ghost of a smile tipped him off. “He’s still alive.” the knight moved to the side to reveal completely healthy, with ear-to-ear grin Merlin.
After short round of welcomes, Merlin found himself sat between Kyna and Anwen as Lancelot took his respective seat next to Arthur at the other side of the fire pit.
“Although I think it would be fun for me to watch your face change expressions as Merlin would list all the times he used magic to save you, we have something more important to discuss. It concerns healing of the Veil.” Anwen quickly jumped to the point before anyone could start questioning Merlin and took out a long ceremonial dagger in blood red, ornamented sheath.
She placed it in her lap and withdrew it from its sheath; showing them all beautifully crafted dagger that had oval ruby embedded in the handle and runes engraved in the blade.