A/N: Hey! And welcome to the second story, Flames, of my Merlin Series the Draconian Prophecies :) I would recommend any new readers take a look at the first story Sparks, to understand the relationship my OC, Marayna, has with Merlin and Arthur ;) I've written some other stories for Doctor Who, Supernatural, Sherlock, Star Trek, and Thor for anyone who might be interested ;) This story will follow the episodes but will also have an original chapter between most of them (except 2-parters) :)
This story should be about 23 chapters long and updated daily. This will also be an Arthur/OC (Merlin/Morgana, Gwen/Lancelot) story ;)
A short physical description of the OC, Marayna is a tall, slightly gangly woman, with a bit of curly black hair. Her eyes are blue, like Merlin's, with the same cheekbones, smile and other features as her brother ;) She seems to think her mouth is a bit small (despite how big she can open it to complain and sass people lol) and her eyes are a tiny bit unlevel with each other. She tends to wear a red dress, more like a white long-sleeved dress with a red frock over it, but wishes she could wear her favored tunic and leggings as she trips quite a bit on her dress due to family clumsiness. For a reference, to help in visualization, I picture the OC to look something like Natalie Dormer :)
I hope you enjoy :)
~8~ is a scene break.
"italics" are spells.
'italics' is telepathic talk between magic users.
Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin...or magic would have been returned MUCH sooner than it was :)
The Curse of Cornelius Sigan
Merlin looked over at his sister as he laid on the cot set up in the antechamber of Arthur's rooms, she was pacing, rubbing her temples at the thudding of the workers down below pounding away at stone and trying to break down the walls somewhere, trying to rebuild from some attack a few weeks ago. It was hard for anyone in the castle to get any sort of sleep with such noise…even the king had requested Gaius prepare a sleeping draught to help him slumber.
"Merlin!" they heard Arthur call, apparently even the great prince who could endure any hardship was unable to push past the noise, "Mara!"
Marayna hung her head and groaned, "Here we go again."
Merlin chuckled and got up, "Prince Prat calls," he joked, taking her hand as they headed into Arthur's chambers.
This was not the first time he'd called them in throughout the course of the night. He'd requested they stay in the antechamber while the construction went on as it was rather near the physician's chambers. He claimed it was because, if there were some sort of collapse, he'd be out two servants…but they knew it was because his chambers were on the other side of the castle and it might allow them some rest to not be right near the banging.
"Yes, Sire?" Merlin asked.
"Are you deaf?" Arthur looked at them.
"We heard you calling, didn't we?" Marayna remarked.
He rolled his eyes, "I want you to go down there and tell them to stop."
Merlin winced as the thud sounded again, "But they're working under the king's orders."
"Yeah. And you're working under mine."
"And half the time we end up in the stocks because of that," Marayna muttered as she and Merlin turned to head out of the room, Arthur feigning a deafness of his own at that remark.
Merlin lit a torch, holding it out as he led his sister down the pathways under the castle, there had been a sort of tunnel collapse during the attack, which was why Arthur was 'concerned' about a collapse taking them down with it. They all knew that the portion of the tunnel being worked on was NOT under the physician's chambers though, but neither said a word about it. They sighed, looking up and down the tunnel for the workers…only to hear it suddenly go silent.
"Hello?" he called, frowning as they moved closer to where the construction was happening.
"Merlin!" Marayna gasped, rushing over to kneel by a man lying in the corridor, dead.
"Aya," Merlin breathed, staring past her. There was a large hole in the wall with a sort of burial tomb beyond, one that was filled with an assortment of treasures, gold, jewels, artifacts, just…a trove to behold…with two of the other workers dead inside.
Merlin and Marayna stood beside Gaius at the entrance to the tomb, the older man staring at the markings etched on the walls, "How do you think he died?" Merlin wondered, thinking of the fallen workers, but Gaius was silent, "Gaius?"
"Hmm?" he looked at them.
Marayna frowned, she'd seen that reaction when the Black Knight, Tristan, had attacked and he'd recognized the crest, that sort of vague look where he was trying to recall where he'd seen something or knew what it was but was unsure what to say about it, "Do you know whose tomb it is?"
"Not sure," he sighed, taking a step in, Marayna after him.
Merlin hesitated, following his uncle and sister, "Do you think it might be cursed?"
As though to answer Merlin's question, Gaius stepped on a stone that sunk into the floor, an arrow shooting out of the wall, right at him…
Till Merlin's eyes glowed in reaction and a plate flew up to block the attack, falling to the floor with an arrow imbedded in it. Marayna quickly focused, squinting as her eyes flashed gold as well, the plate melting and the arrow burning so that no one would realize magic had been done.
Gaius let out a breath and turned to Merlin, "You just saved my life. Thank you."
Merlin smiled as Marayna put an arm around his waist and hugged him, knowing how much a simple 'thank you' meant to him, that his abilities were acknowledged and acknowledged as something GOOD.
"...guarded at all times," they heard Uther saying in the tunnel, before he appeared in the opening to the room, "Idiot."
"Were you born clumsy or do you work at it?" Arthur asked Merlin about how he'd stumbled upon this site, knowing better than to ask Marayna that…last time he'd remarked on her own clumsy nature in relation to her dress and how she kept tripping on it when they'd been in the stables after a hunting trip…she'd merely stuck out her foot and tripped him into a pile of manure that hadn't been mucked out yet…an event they did NOT speak of.
"It's just one of my many gifts," Merlin smirked.
"Well this is quite a find," Uther admitted, "You see, Gaius, I was right. There is treasure to be found under Camelot. Which of my predecessors do I have to thank for all this?" he smiled at Gaius who hadn't answered, making him frown, "Gaius?"
"Uh, I'd have to look into it, Sire," Gaius muttered.
Marayna frowned, that was his lying tone.
"How did he die?" he eyed the fallen workers, none of whom had been moved till Gaius could examine them.
"He seems to have unwittingly triggered a trap here."
"To deter grave robbers?" Arthur guessed.
"Well there's plenty in here people would want to steal," Uther remarked, eyeing the various jewels and treasures and gold, "Have them secure the tomb. Guarding it is your responsibility, Arthur."
"Yes, father," Arthur nodded.
Arthur stood in the courtyard, Marayna securing the reins to his horse while Merlin secured the saddle. He rolled his eyes at how long Merlin was taking, "Hurry up, Merlin."
"Sorry," Merlin stepped back and moved to get down on his hands and knees for Arthur to use him to get on the horse.
"Oi!" Marayna came storming around the horse at the sight, "No," she pointed at Arthur, "There's a thing called a stepping stool, you step on IT, NOT my brother! Honestly," she reached down and hauled Merlin up, seeming to have been about to grab his ear as though a child having done something wrong, before she settled for his neckerchief instead, "How would you feel if someone stood on you just to get on a horse."
"I'm the prince," Arthur declared, "Anyone who steps on me would end up in the dungeon."
Marayna scoffed, "Right. A prince who's so incompetent he can't even get on a horse without his servant's help?"
"That's hardly the case," he narrowed his eyes at her.
"Then prove it," she gestured at the horse, making Arthur roll his eyes, but get on with ease. She smirked, obviously pleased, "Good, then you'll never have need for my brother to be a stool again then?"
He blinked and looked at her, "How do you DO that?" he demanded at how she'd caught him like that.
In making him prove himself he'd made it all too clear that he'd only been using Merlin like that for sport and that was not needed any longer, her challenge making it so that, to try and use Merlin in that manner again would make him seem incompetent. She'd been his servant nearly two years now and each and every time she just kept getting the best of him, making him admit his shortcomings and do things himself.
"Wouldn't you like to know," she smiled, reaching up to pat the horse.
Arthur sighed and shook his head, motioning the horse onto a trot…only to slide off the side as the saddle came undone.
"Sire!" a man walking past cried, rushing to help him up.
"Merlin!" Arthur glared.
Merlin frowned, shaking his head at how that happened, "I don't understand…"
"Well, there's a surprise."
"I did that girth up myself."
"Well, I think that might have been the problem!"
"It wasn't my fault," Merlin insisted.
"Would you like me to fit the girth properly for you, sire," the passing man offered.
Marayna eyed the man, something about him just feeling off, and glared, "No," she cut in, "Thanks, but Merlin can handle it."
"No," Arthur shook his head, motioning the man on, "Thank you."
"It's an honor to be of service to the prince," the man smiled.
Merlin and Marayna exchanged a look at how much of a bootlicker the man was.
"An honor," Arthur smirked, glancing at his servants, "Do you hear that Merlin? Mara? An honor."
"Well, far be it from us to take that honor from him," Marayna rolled her eyes, stepping back, "That's less work for us to do."
The man smiled, "Allow me the honor of brushing your clothes down," he moved to pat the dust off Arthur's clothes.
Arthur smirked at that, "The honor," he hissed at his servants as they rolled their eyes.
"Anything else I can do for you, sire?"
"Well, you can give Merlin here a kick up the backside."
The man chuckled, "I wouldn't wish to deprive you of the pleasure, sire."
Marayna smiled in a not-pleased, and almost slightly threatening, way, "Either of you so much as try to and I'll break your legs."
Arthur rolled his eyes this time, used to how protective the siblings were of each other and taking Marayna's words as a jest…though the way Merlin was smirking gave him pause for just a moment that she might actually be serious…she HAD punched him for merely firing her brother when she'd first arrived…so it was probably a good idea not to risk a kick to his bumbling manservant.
"What's your name?" Arthur turned to the man.
"Cedric," he smiled, "I've come to Camelot in search of work."
"Good. You can be a beater on the hunt. We're short of a man or two."
"You're too kind, sire."
"Here," Merlin sighed, "You'll need a beater," he moved to grab one for him, turning to hand it over but ended up whacking Arthur lightly with it in the process, "Oh, sorry."
"Don't be," Marayna muttered, before smirking, "In fact…hand me one Merlin?" she held out her hand for one.
Arthur's eyes widened as he quickly made his way onto his horse and headed out, just able to guess what she wanted a beater for.
Of course, as always happened whenever Arthur decided he wanted to hunt something far larger and more deadly than himself, the animals never seemed to react very well to it. And, as usual, they tended to retaliate and fight back…basically charging right for Arthur as he and the knights foolishly tried to fight it.
'Merlin!' Marayna called to her brother silently as they peeked around trees, trying to keep out of the way but still keep an eye on things, 'The spear!'
He looked over, spotting one lying on the ground and whispered, "Flíe 'fǽgð," his eyes flashing gold as it flew through the air and impaled the beast in the neck.
"Who threw that?" Arthur looked around, not one quite sure whether he was angry that the glory of the hunt had been taken from him or pleased the beast was taken down.
Merlin and Marayna looked at each other, Marayna nodded at him encouragingly to finally step up and get credit for what he'd done to save the prince, even if it was to lie and say he 'threw' it…
When Cedric stepped forward, clearing his throat.
"Was it you?" Arthur turned to him, before smiling, "You just saved my life!"
"Honestly, sire, it was nothing," Cedric replied bashfully.
Merlin and Marayna gaped at that, "Does he not realize Cedric is still holding his spear?" Marayna hissed quietly to Merlin, looking at the stick that WAS still in the man's hand.
Merlin sighed, "Nope…"
"I shall be forever indebted to you," Arthur clapped the man on the shoulder, "You must be rewarded."
"No, I couldn't possibly," Cedric tried to wave it off.
"Come on. What do you wish for?"
"I desire only one thing, sire."
"A position in the royal household."
The siblings stared at each other. Of all the things in the world to ask for…this man wanted to be a servant? What was wrong with him?!
"Good," Arthur laughed, "Consider it done. Ha ha!"
"You're joking, aren't you?" Marayna had to exclaim, contrary to her silent brother.
"I'm sorry?" Cedric looked at her.
"You want to be his servant?" she gaped, "Really? Why would you willingly want to wash his dirty socks? They're rancid!"
"Oi!" Arthur called, "Mara, leave off him."
Cedric smiled at the prince in thanks before turning to Merlin, "You can have that back," he half-shoved the beater to Merlin's chest.
"Oof," Merlin stumbled back.
Cedric smirked, "Oh, sorry."
Marayna's eyes narrowed, taking the beater from Merlin and tossing it at the man as he turned to walk away, catching him in the back, "Oh," she pouted mockingly, "Sorry," before glaring, "Carry your own items," she told him, "We are not YOUR servants," before she grabbed her spear.
"Aya…" Merlin began quietly, "What's wrong?" she wasn't normally this nasty to new people, not even the ones that were insulting and rude to them.
She glanced over at Cedric, "I just…don't like him…" she paused, before turning to her brother, "Like Sophia."
He nodded slowly, understanding, knowing her instincts were telling her something was wrong with this man, that he did not have good intentions. He'd noticed, since she had taken down Nimueh and, according to Gaius, claimed her rightful title of High Priestess of the Old Religion, that her magic seemed more…tuned, not quite as powerful as his, but more focused than he'd ever seen hers. She was almost like Morgana with her visions of the future, her visions were becoming less nightmares and more clear-cut images while she practiced, she could see the future, but Marayna could sense the present it seemed.
Gaius frowned as he watched his young wards sitting in his chambers later that day after they'd returned from the hunt, both of them far too silent for it to be normal, "What's wrong?"
Marayna reached out and rubbed her brother's back, "He saved Arthur's life, someone else got the credit."
Merlin sighed, "Just the usual," before he glanced up at Gaius, the man searching through a book, "What are you doing?"
"I found this inscription on the scepter," Gaius showed them a scribble on a paper.
"What sort of language is that?" Marayna frowned, trying to make it out but it just looked like squiggles to her.
"I don't know. Sigan would have known many languages."
"Sigan?" Merlin shook his head, confused, as was Marayna.
"It's his tomb."
"Merlin, he was the most powerful sorcerer to have lived."
"No…" Marayna smirked, nudging her brother, "That's Merlin."
Merlin smiled, "Thanks Aya."
"Merlin is the most powerful warlock I have ever seen," Gaius nodded, smiling proudly at his nephew, "But Sigan…he was a sorcerer, learned the craft, didn't possess it."
"And who IS Sigan?" Marayna looked back a Gaius.
"A figure of nightmare."
"Why?" Merlin frowned, tensing.
"Sigan's powers…he could change day into night, turn the tides, and, legend has it, his spells helped build Camelot itself."
"So what happened to him?"
"Power corrupts," Marayna murmured.
Gaius nodded, "In the end he grew too powerful and the king at that time ordered his execution."
"If he's dead, why are you so worried?" Merlin frowned.
"Sigan couldn't bear the thought that his wealth and power would die with him, so he became obsessed with finding a way to defeat death itself."
"And you think he might have succeeded," Marayna nodded.
Gaius sighed, "Let's hope not, for all our sakes."
Marayna smiled, seeing Merlin shifting and looking at the door, "Go," she whispered, reaching out to squeeze his hand, "Go see that she's alright."
Merlin smiled, turning to kiss his sister's forehead in thanks, before he dashed out of the room to check on Morgana. She smiled after him, she'd noticed, whenever a new threat arose for Camelot, Merlin's first instinct was to check on Morgana.
It sadden her just a bit that this had become his first reaction, they'd spent much of their lives protecting and keeping each other safe, they had often been each other's first check. But not any longer. But she understood, for she had changed as well. Ever since the Questing Beast, she'd noticed her reaction was to check on Arthur much like his was to check on Morgana. She didn't see it as losing a brother to another woman but more…gaining a sister, because if Merlin didn't keep her safe, then they'd lose her, and Morgana was a dear friend.
Morgana was sitting at her vanity, her hands resting flat on the wood on either side of a large marble bowl. She had gotten Uther to commission it, claiming she needed a new bowl to wash her hair in, and he'd had it made for her in a heartbeat. She smirked as she stared at the clear waters, thinking of how he'd react if he ever learned his gift was being used for magical purposes.
She'd been practicing her scrying abilities, using the waters to look into the future. Merlin and Marayna had explained to her that her visions had come to her in her sleep, because that was the first and most natural time for a Seer to have a vision of the future. Their abilities progressed like the elements, the first being air, being relaxation, breathing, calm. She'd practiced for the last year with meditation, with allowing visions to come to her while awake instead of plaguing her dreams as she slept.
The more she practiced, the easier she saw, the more her magic was controlled, the better she slept…it was nice to slowly wake in Merlin's arms than to jolt awake from a nightmare. She still did get the odd nightmare here and there, usually when it was a very powerful vision that was too sudden for her to have let happen earlier that day.
She'd been thrilled when she'd spoken with the Dragon, he was almost like a sort of tutor to her, the one she checked in with on her progress, him being the only one in the castle that knew of Seers and had the sight himself. The Dragon had told her she would be ready for water-based scrying, the next step in her seeing abilities. Water was like air, but more solid, acting like a mirror in how fluid and calm it was. Visions were meant to appeared in its surface, but it didn't offer her much control over what she saw, and often only showed images of what would be coming within a day or two.
She was a bit disappointed she was still on water, it was so much like air she'd hoped to have mastered it quickly, but she was still working on it. Merlin and Marayna had stressed for her not to push herself too much, to see too far ahead could tax her, could drive her mad if she wasn't ready for it. And she didn't want to lose herself to madness so she was content for the most part to let her abilities develop naturally with practice, slowly growing in strength. It was hard at times for someone as impatient as her, but Merlin had a remarkably calming affect, could relax her in ways she couldn't explain.
She smiled, feeling someone rest their hands on her shoulders, and could see Merlin's reflection over her shoulder in the waters, "Just relax Gana," he murmured, dropping a kiss to the top of her hair as Gwen, who was making up the bed, smiled, watching them.
She nodded, closing her eyes a moment and taking a breath, before looking at the water once more…only to frown, seeing a raven, a large raven, flying upon Camelot at night, attacking.
She gasped, pulling her hands away to rest them on Merlin's as he squeezed her shoulders again, as with his calming effect, he could also soothe her darker visions and make them less frightful and simply…just alarming, because she knew he was there and he wouldn't let the visions hurt her.
Marayna entered Arthur's room to hear him asking, "Is that lunch?"
She rolled her eyes and didn't answer, knowing he wasn't talking to her as she had no food on her, no he was speaking to someone else in the room.
"This is lovely, Cedric."
And there it was.
"Ah, Mara!" Arthur called, catching sight of her as she stepped in, able to see Cedric standing beside a now-filled table of food.
"I just wanted to ask what the duties were for today," she began.
"I can't think of any," he smiled, thinking he might just be able to spend a nice day with…with her, "I think Cedric's got it all covered."
"Brilliant," she beamed, "I'll be with uncle then…"
"Oh, I regret, sire," Cedric cut in, frowning as he spotted the disappointed look Arthur was sending her, "There is one thing I failed to do. Uh, muck out your horses."
"Ah," Arthur nodded, "Mara…if you would?"
Marayna rolled her eyes but walked out of the room, if that was all the chores left, she'd make quick work of it, dragging Merlin along, and they could enjoy the rest of their days.
Gaius sat across from Morgana as she recounted the vision she'd seen, Merlin behind her, squeezing her shoulders. While he hadn't been thrilled that his wards had told the Lady about their magic and her own abilities, nor that they had begun lessons with her, knowing the danger it would put her in, he had to admit…he was relieved to see her looking healthier, getting more sleep, less frantic, and her vision had turned out to be quite the asset in the past, as they were now.
"What was this vision about?" Gaius frowned, listening intently.
Morgana took a breath, "A bird."
"What kind of bird?"
"A raven?" Gaius looked at Merlin, who nodded, seeing the man grow alarmed.
"It was terrifying, Gaius. What do you think it means?"
"I think we both know," he sighed.
Morgana nodded, putting a hand on Merlin's, "It's happening again, isn't it?"
Gaius nodded, "Sigan will return."
Merlin squeezed her shoulders once more, "And Aya and I will be ready for him," he leaned down to kiss Morgana's cheek, resting his head to her temple, "Don't worry Gana, I'll keep you safe."
She reached out and touched his cheek, "But who will keep you safe?"
"I think I've done a fair job so far," Marayna called from where she was leaning in the doorway, smiling at their moment, "Better watch out, I could have been Arthur. Imagine if HE'D seen that little kiss."
Morgana laughed, "He'd have no means of lecturing me, especially not about impropriety given how he fancies you."
Marayna's smile faded a bit, "I truly wouldn't know," she admitted.
She'd told Arthur she loved him, granted he'd been on death's doorstep and unconscious at the time…but he'd heard her, he'd heard her and confronted her and she hadn't taken it back. But he hadn't said it back to her. It was understandable, she supposed, he was the Crown Prince, he couldn't just go declaring his love for a servant, and he was a man so he probably wasn't used to saying something like that…but…it had been months since then and he hadn't openly said it to her at all. She wasn't sure what that meant, if he just hadn't realized he hadn't said it, or if he didn't feel ready to, or…if he just…didn't feel that way for her and didn't want to hurt her.
"Was there something you needed Aya?" Merlin asked, changing the topic.
She nodded, "Arthur assigned us only one chore, mucking out the stables."
Merlin smiled, actually pleased, "Well let's finish that and be done with it!"
She laughed as he kissed Morgana once more and they dashed off, they just needed that one chore done and they could do what they wanted for the rest of the day. It was almost like having a day off.
Merlin and Marayna were quickly mucking out the stables, faster than they ever had before, their eagerness to be done with it and have time to actually dedicate to magic and studying it obvious to all. They were actually smiling as they wroked…when they heard someone shouting behind them, "What are you doing?!"
They spun around to see Arthur standing there, "Mucking out the stables?" Marayna shook her head, gesturing at the shovel in her hands.
"Really?" Arthur crossed his arms, "And you didn't notice something odd about the stables?"
They looked at each other, "Like what?" Merlin gave him a look.
"I don't know, the horses being missing!"
"What?!" they gaped, rushing past him to see the horses in the stalls behind them were truly gone.
How had that happened!? They hadn't heard them escaping…though…now that they thought about it…they hadn't heard anything really…nothing except each other and their shovels really, not the brushing of the trees in the wind or the birds singing…not even the creaking of the stable door. It was like…they'd been defeaned.
'You don't think…' Merlin began, looking at Marayna.
She subtly cast a glance at Cedric to see him smirking as he stood behind Arthur, 'Yes,' she nodded, 'I do. I think Cedric has magic.'
Merlin frowned, it was odd…they could usually sense when others had magic, when they used it…but then again they only really sensed powerful magic, which did mean something good for them. Cedric might not be too much of a threat if his magic was so weak they hadn't felt themselves being affected by it, 'You don't think he wants to kill Arthur do you?'
She shook her head, 'No, he had ample time all day, but Arthur's still here.'
"One mistake I can understand," Arthur continued, unaware of their silent conversation, "Everyone has a bad day now and then, but this is one thing after another!"
"We have no excuse," Marayna sighed, running a hand through her hair, just knowing this was not going to turn out well for them.
"Sire," Cedric stepped up, "Please, sire, don't be too hard on them. I'm sure they're good servants, perhaps they're just...tired."
"We are not," Merlin defended.
"Maybe...maybe if they had the evening off..."
"We don't want the ev…"
"Merlin, let the man talk," Marayna cut in.
'Giving us time to snoop.'
Merlin blinked and nodded slowly.
"A good night's rest," Cedric continued, "I'm more than willing to take over their duties tonight."
"Perhaps you're right," Arthur agreed.
The siblings were silent, they wanted nothing more than to argue, to try and get him to realize what Cedric was doing, getting rid of them for some purpose or another, but the man was too much a bootlicker for their complaints to be heard.
"Well then," Marayna remarked, "Well see you in the morning Artie."
Merlin smirked, "Don't be a clotpole to the new servant."
"A what?" Arthur called as the turned to walk off, he'd heard Marayna call him that once or twice before and…he was loath to admit…he wasn't quite sure what it was.
"Clotpole," Marayna called, not bothering to stop, "That's what you typically are."
"Merlin, Mara," Arthur sighed, "When you go home, think about whether you want to be my servants or not."
Marayna scoffed, walking backwards, "Of all the names I call you on a daily basis, you're offended by HIM," she jerked a thumb at Merlin, "Calling you a clotpole?" she laughed and spun around, linking her arm with her brother's as they waked off.
"What names?" Arthur shouted, before rushing after her, "Mara what names?!"
Merlin sat silently in Morgana's chambers, staring out the window, as Morgana brushed her hair at her vanity, watching him in the mirror, "What's wrong, love?" she asked him, turning around, hoping she might get a smile on his face to call him that, she didn't often use such sweet names for him, she loved how Merlin sounded, but there were times when he was so sad or depressed that she would call him something sweet just to see him smile.
"I'm not an idiot, Gana," he said softly.
She frowned, getting up to go kneel before him, taking his hands in hers as he looked at her, "I know that. Why would you ever…"
He sighed, "Do you ever think Arthur will truly trust me, trust Aya? See us for who we really are?"
"One day," she nodded, "I'm sure he will."
"Can you see when?" he smiled lightly, "Everything Aya does is for him and he just thinks we're bumbling servants."
"Everything Rayna does?" she shook her head, quite certain that he did things for Arthur too.
He reached out and brushed a lock of hair behind her ear, "I'm finding some of what I do is for you. Quite a lot of it actually."
She blushed, reaching up to press his hand to her cheek before kissing his palm, "Not everyone thinks you're idiots," she told him, squeezing his hand, "Now is not the time to be questioning these things, Merlin. I believe that you and Arthur and Rayna are destined for greatness, and that your calling is to serve and protect the people of Camelot, to protect him, and to protect…"
"You," he cut in, "You are also destined for greatness."
"But will it be a terrible greatness?" she murmured, genuinely concerned with the Dragon's hesitation around her. She saw it sometimes, how he looked at her, like he was gauging what she was doing and what sort of…threat she might be. It didn't take a genius to work out he thought she might one day come to use her magic for a foul purpose, and she did her best to try and prove him wrong, "Many terrible things can be seen as great."
"Good," he smiled "Because you're wonderful."
She smiled, "I know, right now it's hard, but Camelot will soon be in grave peril."
He frowned, "Why?"
"Gaius translated the inscription while you and Rayna were in the stables, it said 'He who breaks my heart completes my work.'"
"What does it mean?" he frowned.
"He said there was a stone in the tomb, a glowing one?"
He nodded, thinking back to a heart-shaped stone that had been lying on the grave of Sigan, "Yeah. I've never seen a jewel like it."
"He doesn't think it's a jewel, but the soul of Cornelius Sigan."
"Gaius thinks he's alive?!"
She nodded, "His soul is. But in order to truly live…a soul needs a body."
"So, if the stone is removed from its setting, then the heart is broken and the soul released?"
She nodded again, "He and Rayna are going to head down and enchant it to remain unbroken, I just hope they are in time."
He nodded, getting up, "I should go help them."
Morgana stood as well, "Be careful," she gave him a peck.
Merlin made it to the opening of Sigan's burial place, just in time to see Arthur and Marayna running up to Gaius, who was staring into the tomb in silence.
Arthur gaped, seeing the jewels inside stolen, "Sound the warning bell!" he shouted to the guards who had come with him, running off with them.
"Merlin," Marayna gasped, seeing him rush up.
"Whoever did this got more than they bargained for," Gaius mused quietly.
"How did they get in?" Merlin frowned, "The gate's not even damaged."
"And Cedric wouldn't risk using his magic here," Marayna remarked.
"Cedric?" Gaius looked at her, alarmed.
"Think about it," Marayna shook her head, "The gate's unbroken, so a key was used and Arthur's got the only key. The only person who has access to where it's kept are his servants and we've been suspended."
"We need to warn him," Merlin took her hand and pulled her off.
"Cedric is possessed by an evil spirit!" Merlin shouted as they burst into Arthur's chambers.
"What?" Arthur laughed.
"He tried to steal the jewel, but it wasn't a jewel, it was a soul of an ancient sorcerer, Sigan."
"Merlin, have you been on the cider?"
"Oh would you just listen to us," Marayna cried, taking her brother's side, "Camelot is in great danger. Sigan cast a spell so that anyone who steals that stone would become possessed! Sigan is using Cedric!"
"This nonsense isn't helping you keep your jobs," Arthur remarked.
"To hell with the jobs!" Marayna nearly stomped her foot, "You are not listening to us!"
"You're going to shout too?" Arthur frowned, not about to put up with that while a thief was on the loose, "Cedric!" he called as Cedric entered, smirking at them, "Will you escort them from the palace?"
"It would be my…pleasure, sire," Cedric grinned.
Merlin, seeing the man's smirk-wearing gaze flicker to his sister appreciatively, launched himself at him, bashing him across the face with his fist.
"Ah!" Cedric cried, reeling back from the force of the hit.
"Merlin!" Arthur gasped, before grabbing his servant and pulling him back, shoving him to the side, "You've gone too far this time, Merlin! You can spend a few days cooling off in the cells! Guards!"
"You're arresting him!?" Marayna glared.
"He's going to destroy Camelot!" Merlin shouted, but the guards entered and dragged him out.
"Cedric I apologize," Arthur moved to help the man up…when he felt himself kicked in the backside, falling down beside him. He turned over to stare at Marayna, stunned that she had just done that to him, that she had literally kicked him in the backside as he'd threatened to do to Merlin earlier, "Marayna!"
"You are such an ass!" she glared at him, "And when you realize that we've told you yet again of a danger to Camelot and you've ignored us and we are attacked…you'll realize you DESEVE that kick and then some!" she let out a frustrated shout and stormed out of the room, slamming the door shut behind her as both Arthur and Cedric stared at it.
"I apologize Cedric," Arthur murmured, "I've no idea what's got into them."
"No need to apologize sire," Cedric smirked at the door, intrigued, "No need at all."
Marayna had just reached the cells…when the warning bells went off, signaling an attack on the towns. She ran the rest of the way to the cell that Merlin was being held in, "Merlin!" she shouted, seeing him looking through the back bars at the night's sky where the gargoyles of Camelot had apparently come to life and were attacking the people, destroying the castle.
"Regroup!" they could hear Arthur among those fighting outside.
"Get back Aya," Merlin turned to her, holding out a hand, "Tóspringe!" he cried, blasting the doors off.
"Could have just unlocked them," she muttered, taking his hand and pulling him off.
"Morgana might be out there," he muttered, his emotions high at the thought she could be caught in the attack, he didn't have time to think of an unlocking spell when his first thought was to just break the doors of the cell down and get out fast.
"Then let's find out," she pulled him faster.
"Arthur's out there," Merlin pointed out to her.
"Yeah, well…I hope a Gargoyle sits on his enormous head," was all she muttered as she dragged him up the stairs.
They ran into one of the larger halls to see Gaius and Gwen and Morgana tending to the peasants who had been harmed in the attacks.
"Morgana!" Merlin gasped, rushing over to her, pulling her in to his arms, not caring who might see, just overwhelmed with relief that she was alright.
"Merlin!" she clutched him back, "I heard you had been arrested and I was coming to see you when the attacks happened."
"We need more bandages…" Gaius cut in.
"I'll get them," Marayna nodded, about to rush off.
"No," Gwen tried to pull her back, "I can…"
"Gwen," she smiled, "I'm gonna have to cross the courtyard, I'll be safer," she winked, her eyes flashing gold just for Gwen to see.
"Right, be careful," Gwen nodded as she ran off.
"You shouldn't be doing this," Gaius remarked to Morgana, this was no place for her, as a noble woman, to be in and Uther would have a fit if he saw her tending to the wounded and bloodied, tending and fussing over the peasants instead of safe with the nobles.
"It's exactly what I should be doing," she shook her head, glancing at him, "I'm a Healer s well Gaius," she added quietly, "I may not be able to use my…talents, right now, but I can still help."
Gaius looked at her a long while, "When this is over, Morgana," he began, "Perhaps I can show you some healing techniques," he offered.
Morgana glanced at him, seeing a meaningful look in his eye, and nodded, "I'd like that," she smiled, realizing he wasn't just talking about tending to the wounded as a physician, but HEALING them as well.
"Speaking of where we should be," Merlin sighed, "I should be watching over Aya," he turned, kissing Morgana's cheek, "I'll be back," before he too rushed after his sister, not feeling right for her to be outside while he wasn't there to help her.
"Merlin," Gaius called after him, making him pause, "There's something you need to know about Sigan first…"
"Mara?!" Arthur gasped, turning around from ducking an attack from a gargoyle to see her running across the square with rolls of cloth in her arms.
"Artie," she greeted, passing.
"I told you to stop…" he quickly grabbed her arm and pulled her down as a creature dove at them, "That thing could've killed you!"
"Looks like it wants another go!" she tackled him to the ground, out of the way from another attack, landing on top of him. She smirked, "We always seem to end up in this position, don't we?"
"Not the time," he murmured.
"But it is your pleasure," she winked, getting up and pulling him up with her, leading him towards the makeshift infirmary. She sat him down, seeing a cut above his head, "Hold still so I can try to stop the bleeding."
"Mara…" he paused, taking her hand to stop her, "I wanted to say...just, uh...you were right. I should have listened. And I'm sorry."
"Look at that," she smiled softly, "Prince Prat admitting he was wrong."
"Aya!" Merlin ran over to her side, taking her hand, "I need your help…um…over there," he pointed, pulling her away.
"What is it?" she asked.
"I spoke to Gaius, he thinks Sigan's power is beyond ours. He thinks the only one who can help is the Dragon."
She nodded, "I know you swore not to take help from him again Merlin…but this is for Camelot, for Arthur, for…" she took a breath, "For me. Please?"
He nodded, "Anything for you Aya."
She smiled, kissing his cheek, "Thank you."
He nodded, "Come on," and pulled her out of the room.
Making their way to the Dragon's cave was surprisingly easy as everyone was distracted by the attack. But they had little time to rejoice in that as they reached the cave to see it empty, "Hello?!" Merlin called, "Hello?!"
"Please," Marayna added, "We need your help!"
The Dragon swooped in and landed on his rock, "You told me I would not see you again," he looked at Merlin cautiously.
"I'm not here for myself, I'm here for Arthur," Merlin stated.
"Arthur's path lies with yours. You have made it clear that you do not walk in step with me."
"You cannot want Cornelius Sigan to win."
"You're a lot of things," Marayna nodded, "Vain, greedy, manipulative, cryptic…"
"Aya," Merlin shot her a look.
"But you're by no means evil," she finished.
"At least Sigan knows where his loyalties lie," the Dragon remarked, "You have shown that you do not."
"So you will let Camelot fall?" Merlin frowned.
"I did not say that."
"Then you will help us?"
"To defeat Sigan, you will need a spell more powerful than anything either of you know."
Marayna frowned, "Please, we have to try."
The Dragon sighed, "Very well. But you must give me something in return young warlock."
"What?" Merlin hesitated.
"That one day you will free me."
Merlin shifted at that, "If I release you, what will you do?"
"That is not your concern."
"I don't trust you!"
"Nor do I you," the Dragon countered easily, "Unlike your sister."
"You trust me?" Marayna blinked, a little shocked to hear the overgrown lizard admit something like that.
"It matters not," the Dragon brushed it off in his true fashion, "You must promise, Merlin, or Camelot will fall."
Merlin sighed, "I promise. Now, please, give me the spell."
"Close your eyes and open your mind. Few men have ever been gifted such knowledge. Use it wisely."
Merlin closed his eyes, Marayna squeezing his hand before stepping back so as not to confuse or interfere with the spell, "I will."
"You made a promise, young warlock, and one day I shall keep you to it," the Dragon reminded him before breathing the magic into him much like he had when he'd gifted Marayna with the knowledge of how to safely summon the firefiend that had destroyed Nimueh.
The courtyard was in chaos as the knights retreated…until only Arthur was left with his dead comrades, willing to face the beasts alone…that is…till he was knocked back by Cedric who he now realized truly was possessed by the sorcerer, falling back, knocked out.
"Astrice!" Marayna shouted, blasting Sigan back and away from dealing Arthur a deadly blow, moving quickly to Arthur's side to defend him.
Sigan looked over, standing up as he saw Merlin step up to face him. He laughed, "Who would've believed it? You, sorcerers, and powerful ones," he eyed them, able to feel the magic pouring out of them.
"I won't let you hurt him," Marayna threatened, glaring at the man.
"And you're going to stop me?"
"No," Merlin straightened to his full height, facing the man down, "I will."
"He does not deserve the loyalty either of you show him," Sigan remarked, "He treats you like slaves."
"That's not true."
"He'd cast you aside without a moment's thought."
Marayna swallowed hard, "And if he does? So what? Servants aren't meant to matter."
Merlin looked over, hearing a catch in her words, her voice breaking, and took her hand. He knew how torn she was about the entire 'future Queen' prophecy hanging over her head. On one hand…she had truly come to love Arthur, she wanted to be there for him and protect him, help him become a better man. And yes, she was starting to think that, if there were ever a possibility of them wedding, that she wouldn't be entirely opposed to the thought of being his wife. But on the other hand…there was so much standing in the way of marrying Arthur, so many things beyond her control and that particular future seemed nearly impossible.
He knew that his sister's mentality was to try and enjoy the time she had with Arthur, to not turn her back on or stick her nose up at love when it appeared, but to be fully prepared for an 'inevitable' rejection later, when he would be forced to wed someone else or would realize just how ridiculous it was to court a servant. It was why he knew Arthur's refusal to say 'I love you' or even his own awareness that he hadn't said it bothered her so much. In a way she wanted him to say it, in another for him to say it and then have to refuse her later would hurt. She wanted Arthur to love her, but she was trying to keep in mind that he…really shouldn't.
"But it must hurt so much to be so put upon," Sigan continued, "So overlooked, when all the while you have such power."
"That's the way it has to be," Merlin decided.
"Does it? You're young, Merlin, Mara," Marayna flinched, hearing anyone but Arthur call her that felt wrong, "Look inside yourselves. You have yet to discover your true power. I can help you. Think. To have the world appreciate your greatness, to have Arthur know you for what you are."
"That can't happen," Marayna murmured, "Not right now."
"It can, if you join me. Together we can rule over this land. Arthur will tremble at your voice, he will kneel at your feet."
"We don't want that," Merlin glared.
"You'd rather be servants?" he scoffed.
"To a good man yes," Marayna nodded, "We'd rather that than to ever unite ourselves with an evil one."
"So be it," Sigan remarked, "If you will not join me…I will become you and your power will be harnessed to my will!"
Merlin tensed as the man breathed out a light blue smoke, his soul, the same light that had filled the stone. He felt Marayna press that very stone into his hands and chanted, "Ic þín sáwol hér beléac, abide þæt ic þé álíese!"
He tensed as the smoke reached him, travelled up him, seeped into him as his sister watched on in trepidation…
Gaius wandered through the courtyard, hearing the attack cease, proclaiming to Uther that he would check, see if Arthur was wounded, needing space and time to help if need be. He paused as the fog that had settled over Camelot cleared to see Merlin and Marayna standing there.
"Merlin?" he asked hesitantly, eyeing the boy as he stood stoic…before he smiled, Marayna holding up the glowing blue heart for him to see, "Well done, my boy," he moved over and hugged them both.
"You know, you won't get any thanks," Gaius remarked to them as they sat in the physician's chambers later.
"I'm not a complete idiot," Merlin remarked.
"You're not an idiot at all," Marayna nudged him.
"There you go," Gaius put two meals before them, "It's not much, but you deserve something."
"Thank you uncle," Marayna smiled.
There was a knock on the door and they looked over to see Arthur in the doorway, "I've come to see Merlin and Mara," he stepped in, coming before them as they looked at him expectantly, "I've not forgotten about your lazy, insolent ways, or the fact that you called me a clotpole amongst other things apparently, but I do have to admit that there was some truth in your accusations against Cedric."
Marayna rolled her eyes at that, yes, if 'some truth' meant they were entirely right the entire time.
"Does this mean you're admitting that, in this occasion, I was actually right?" Merlin smirked, knowing Arthur had already admitted that to Marayna.
"Not exactly, no. It means that I have a knighthood to bestow first thing tomorrow and no one to clean my armor."
"Yep," Arthur smirked and turned to leave.
"Clotpole?" Gaius laughed at them as they smirked and shrugged.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed the chapter :) I mentioned at the end of my last story, Sparks, that there would be something very important about what Marayna and Arthur said/didn't say about her declaration of love to him ;) We've yet to see Arthur openly say it! -sigh- The clotpole right? Lol :)
I'm very excited for this story :) And the poll for pairing names is up on my profile ;)
I won't be doing any 'notes on reviews' just for this chapter, incase any more are added to Sparks, so we'll have 2 chapters worth of notes tomorrow :)