Part of me can't believe that I got here ... but here's the epilogue, everyone. I hope you like it.
Disclaimer: I don't own Merlin.
The Path Of Light
"To these memories I will hold,
With you blessing I will go,
To turn at last to paths that lead home."
- Billy Boyd, The Last Goodbye.
"This may sound strange, Merlin, but I have dreamt of you."
Everyone turned to look at Morgana, who had spoken up and broken the silence that had formed amongst their group.
She, Merlin, Elaine, Gwaine and Lancelot were on their way to Camelot, riding their horses at a leisurely pace. Aithusa flew above them as their Dracawine protector for the journey. They also planned on stopping at Mordred's camp and picking up the druid boy before continuing on to Camelot.
They all had an air of excitement about them at the prospect of seeing their friends after months of being separated. There was an undercurrent of tension amongst them, as Camelot had yet to change their laws on magic and those who used it or sympathised with magic-users. But Arthur had sworn that no harm would come to them. Ever since Arthur had stepped up and became Prince Regent, Camelot had had a large decline in sorcerers or sorceresses being caught and executed. There were rarely any magic users who were caught in the first place and those who were mysteriously escaped from the dungeons and no one was sent to try and retrieve them.
Arthur had said in one of his letters that the Council was up in arms about Arthur's sudden sympathies to those with magic, but Arthur wouldn't budge in the matter and most of Camelot's knights were the same. After the Battle of Dracona, many were open and accepting of those with magic, even if they were a little tense around them to begin with.
Magic was by no means free in Camelot, as Uther was still King, but it was Arthur who ruled in everything but name. His Father merely stayed in his chambers, silent and apathetic to whatever was going on around him, and no amount of pleading on Arthur's part would change that.
Arthur had also claimed that Merlin and his party would have immunity when coming to Camelot, as he was the royal representative of the House of Ambrosius and no one would dare harm him or anyone with him for fear of staring hostilities between Camelot and Dracona; of staring another war after they'd all just gotten over the last one and seen just how powerful the Kingdom of Dracona really was.
There were a number of risks involved in coming to Camelot, with all of them revolving around the magic issue, but all of them were determined to do so. They were all determined to attend the event that they'd all been invited to:
Prince Arthur and Lady Guinevere's engagement feast.
Everyone had been delighted to hear about Arthur and Gwen's engagement (except for, perhaps, Lancelot. But the knight had kept his true feelings silent and resolved to be happy for his friends). Upon receiving the invitation, Merlin and Morgana had been determined to take off to Camelot then and there, but Merlin's parents had cautioned them against it. Even with Arthur as Regent, it wasn't a good idea to just turn up to Camelot. At least give Arthur some time to get people used to the idea of a party arriving from a magic-embracing kingdom, the King and Queen had said.
Balinor and Hunith had respectfully declined the invitation, citing that Dracona still needed them. Their kingdom was still getting over the damage that Blackwood and Morgause had wrought when they had been in power and Balinor and Hunith didn't want to leave until Dracona was completely back to normal. The royal family had also moved out of the Dragon Caves and back into their castle, but the palace was under repairs.
So the King and Queen had sent Merlin and Morgana in their stead, along with Elaine, Gwaine, Lancelot and Aithusa. They told the group to have a nice time with their friends and to tell Gwen and Arthur that they were sorry for missing the engagement feast, but a band of rampaging dragons couldn't keep them away from the wedding.
And now, as they were riding along, their party all turned to look at Morgana, whose sudden statement had broken the comfortable silence that had formed between them.
"No," Gwaine said, "what's strange is that you think it's strange that you would dream about Merlin. You two are practically married anyway."
"Gwaine," Merlin and Morgana chorused reprovingly; blushes of embarrassment burnt their cheeks.
"Leave them alone," Elaine admonished.
Gwaine smiled beatifically at them all. "What? I'm just speaking the truth."
"No, you're just teasing them," Elaine said.
Merlin looked at the pair of them and laughed. Despite him thinking that Elaine and Gwaine were sure to start courting one another, they never did. Despite their clear affection for each other, Elaine and Gwaine continued to tip-toe around one another. Their feelings for each other were clear to everyone but themselves and it seemed that neither of them was going to confess them. It left the rest of the kingdom waiting with bated breath to see when the head of the kingsguard and her unofficial second in command were going to get together.
The knights also had a betting pool going on about it. Not that they would ever let Elaine and Gwaine know about that. Gwaine would probably find it amusing, but Elaine's retribution would be brutal and swift and no one was willing to risk her finding out about it.
However, there was truth in what Gwaine had said. Merlin and Morgana were practically married. They did everything together and although they weren't engaged, the people of Dracona treated Morgana like a princess. They simply adored the High Priestess who had captured their Prince's heart so fully. Morgana was kind, generous, was quickly becoming a talented and powerful sorceress and was beloved by all.
The knights didn't find it prudent to mention to their Prince that there was also a betting pool going on about when Merlin would pop the question to the Lady Morgana.
"What were your dreams about, my Lady?" Lancelot asked, getting the conversation back to Morgana's original point.
Morgana had a wide smile on her face. "I see such wonderful things! I see Arthur as King and Gwen his Queen. I see Albion getting united all under one banner: Emrys and the Once and Future King fulfilling their destinies. I see magic free and everyone is happy. Everyone is so, so happy."
Merlin beamed at her. There were some people who would say that there was no chance that that could happen. That magic was so hated that there was no way it could be free. That Albion would never rise to be a symbol of peace and acceptance throughout the world. That there was no chance that the happiness Morgana had seen could ever be theirs. Be he, Merlin, Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Dracona, knew better.
Morgana's dreams were true.
... So here it is. My last author's note.
I hope you liked this little epilogue. The plan was to always have it short and mirror the prologue, but to leave things open for if and when I decide to write a sequel.
I want to give a huge thank you to everyone who has read, reviewed, followed and favourited this story. Especially to my constant reviewers - you guys are absolutely beautiful! I got so much support and positive feedback from this story ... it's just amazing. I can't even deal with it. I can't even comprehend that I'm writing the author's note on the epilogue. I've been working on this story for so long now. To have finished it ... I can't even deal with it, you guys. I can't even deal.
But seriously, thank you all so much for you support and I really hope you guys all enjoyed reading 'The Path of Light.'
So to quote Billy Boyd and the song I used at the start of this chapter: "I big you all a very fond farewell."