Hello all! I know. You probably all hate me. And damn well you should. I'm so sorry I haven't posted in a long time, but three AP classes, temporarily being homeless while our house was being built and parents getting divorced can distract you a bit. So can having three people expelled in the course of a week (the week of finals too no less) and your boyfriend on a list of suspicion for expulsion. Oh, and two gun threats. It's been a hectic several months guys. I hope y'all can forgive me and enjoy this chapter!
P.S. Also, just as a further warning, this story is probably going to be really long. I might decide to skip a few episodes here and there, but honestly it's very time consuming to type out the episodes like this. Either that, or I might just split this into three stories, one for each season. We'll see! The content from the episodes will be put in bold so they can be easily distinguished from everyone else's conversations and thoughts. I'm also going to be adding a few things of my own to her time in Camelot, just to tie some loose ends from what I'll be changing because Merlin's a girl.
P.P.S. Another thing real quick, for all of you that have lost faith in me: This story shall not be abandoned. I repeat, THIS STORY WILL NOT BE ABANDONNED. While I may be away for a while, I am never gone, dear readers, so have faith that I will always return.
Thanks guys love y'all!
I do not own Merlin or any of its characters. The changes I make to the episodes are my own, and for the benefit of this story. I have no money please God don't sue.
Uther watched with narrowed eyes as the serving girl began her trek into Camelot. She walked slowly, as if expecting an attack at any time, and Uther was surprised to find that he did not find that as gleeful as he once would have. Before, the king would have been snarling with rage at the mere thought of a magic user entering his kingdom, much less the main city. However, he found that while it still made his hackles rise at the sight of this witch daring to set foot in Camelot -where she would stay right under his nose the entire time!- he found that he actually, marginally, completely within reason, admired the girl's bravery. To knowingly enter a kingdom notorious for their hatred of magic, with apparently completely impulsive and uncontrollable magic no less, took no small amount of courage.
If the king really thought about it, (which he sincerely did not wish to, but his mind had already wandered down this path) he could very nearly admit that he already held a small amount of admiration for the servant before all of this. She had already saved his son twice that he had seen; the amount of love she so obviously held for her uncle was practically palpable (not to mention the fact that she had threatened him with bodily harm should anything like the situation with Aredian happen again). That alone was enough for her to earn his respect.
Now, however, that respect was very nearly torn to shreds, because now he knew the truth.
Merlin had magic. Magic was illegal in Camelot, and punishable by death. As the King, Uther was expected to uphold the law. How would it look to the people, he reasoned, or to the council, if he let this witch walk free? There would be uprisings, and anarchy, and Uther simply could not have that.
When all of this was over, and they arrived back in Camelot, Uther would hold her execution.
(He skillfully ignored the nagging voice in the back of his head that demanded he do no such thing. Years of practice made what sounded suspiciously like Ygraine's threats easy to push aside.)
As Merlin slowly stepped into the city, her eyes widened dramatically. She gazed at the masses of people walking past her and turned in a circle, smiling widely at everything she saw.
Gwaine snorted and shook his head fondly. "Country girl. I'll bet this is the first time she'd ever seen a place that big."
Gaius chuckled in agreement. "She had never left the boundaries of Ealdor before she came to Camelot, from what she told me."
Soon, Merlin was walking into the main courtyard, just as the guards blew their horns. She jumped, startled, and noticed the mass of people congregated near the front of the courtyard, so she made her way towards them. When the sound of drums hit her ears, however, her steps slowed. As she pushed her way near the front of the crowd, Merlin saw a man being led onto a platform stationed just before the crowd by two guards.
Morgana felt her breath hitch slightly. This was the first thing Merlin had seen in Camelot? The execution of a sorcerer? And yet she decided to stay? The Lady found herself thinking, "This girl is truly mad," before Uther's voice brought her attention back to the memory before her.
"Let this serve as a lesson to all." Merlin tore her eyes away from the prisoner to look up at Uther, who was standing above everyone else. "This man, Thomas James Collins, is adjudged guilty of conspiring to use enchantments and magic." Merlin froze completely, her face paling considerably as she worked out what was happening. She swallowed harshly as Uther continued.
"And pursuant to the laws of Camelot, I, Uther Pendragon, have decreed that such practices are banned on penalty of death." Merlin's face twisted into a grimace at his declaration. "I pride myself as a fair and just king-"
There was a harsh scoff from the two sorcerers from the back of the group, and many of the knights winced slightly, not wanting to openly defy their king but not agreeing with that statement either. Morgana levelled a glare at the king that he was seemingly unaware of, as his attentions were focused on himself in Merlin's memory.
"-but for the crime of sorcery, there is but one sentence I can pass." The view shifted then from Uther to a wall of windows, where Morgana was seen peering out and watching the proceedings.
Morgana frowned slightly, confused as to why she was shown, since Merlin obviously did not know she was at the window that day.
Uther nodded to the guards, and they forced Thomas onto his knees with his head on the executioner's block. A closer view of Morgana was provided, and she watched on with a heartbroken expression. Merlin watched as Uther raised his hand, waited a moment, and then dropped it. Everyone gasped as Thomas was beheaded, and Merlin could only stare in horror at the platform before her. Morgana was seen again, turning her face away from the sight of the dead man below her.
Uther continued to speak. "When I came to this land, this kingdom was mired in chaos."
"That's a bloody lie and you know it Pendragon," Matai spat, glaring at the king. "Camelot, under your rule, welcomed magic with open arms." When Uther returned his glare with equal measure and stayed silent, Matai sighed harshly. "What happened, hm?" he asked. "What made you turn on us?"
Leon cleared his throat uncomfortably. "I believe that this shall give us some insight," he said lowly, eyeing the sorcerer warily, in case he decided to act against the king. Matai glanced at him, before nodding reluctantly and turning his face towards the images before them.
"With the people's help, magic was driven from the realm. So I declare a festival, to celebrate twenty years since the Great Dragon was captured, and Camelot freed from the evil of sorcery." Uther raised his arms and looked down upon his people with a haughty expression. "Let the celebrations begin." With that, he turned towards the castle, dismissing the crowd.
Deidre felt anger course through her veins. "Ah yes," she said tonelessly. "Nothing says celebration like a good execution." She noticed the tense of the king's shoulders, and the prince's, and was satisfied with their responses. She was brought out of her musings when a sudden wail sounded from in front of them.
An old woman stood before the platform, staring up at Uther. The crowd had parted for her as she came forward. "There is only one evil in this land, and it is not magic," she proclaimed. "It is you!" The courtyard was now silent. "With your hatred, and your ignorance." Merlin looked on with a deeply sympathetic expression, tears shining in her eyes at the grief coloring the woman's words.
Arthur shook his head in wonder; he hadn't been present for the execution, so he hadn't heard the things Mary Collins had said to his father, and the prince couldn't help but be somewhat fascinated with the scene playing out before him, even if his heart had clenched at the sight of Thomas's beheading.
"You took my son!" Mary choked out, pointing to Thomas's body still on the platform. Uther stared down at her with a slightly curious face, as if wondering what this woman would do. "And I promise you," she hissed, "before these celebrations are over you will share my tears. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a son for a son." Uther's face became slightly alarmed at the threat against Arthur, and he pointed towards her.
"Seize her!" he bellowed. Mary clutched the pendant around her neck and whispered a spell, then vanished before them. Merlin watched in alarm as she disappeared in a gust of wind, and glanced around at everyone as they dispersed as if nothing had happened. Uther stalked away from the balcony, and Morgana ducked back into the castle, closing the window she had been peering from.
Arthur watched in amazement as Mary Collins disappeared, replaying her words in his head. "A son for a son." When it happened, the prince couldn't understand why this woman wanted him dead so badly, but chalked it up to her simply being after the crown, as most magic users tended to be. But seeing it from this perspective, her actions made sense, even if they were wrong. She was a mother grieving for the loss of her son. It made sense that she would wish to hurt the man that took her son from her.
Merlin slowly began her trek through the courtyard once more, coming face to face with a handful of guards. "Do you know where I can find Gaius, the Court Physician?" she asked politely. When one man simply grunted and pointed in the direction of Gaius's chambers, Merlin smiled brilliantly in thanks and was on her way. She went through a doorway at the end of the hallway and, upon seeing the "Court Physician" sign, made her way up a flight of stairs. The door to his chambers were open, yet Merlin knocked anyways and peeked her head in.
Lancelot noticed Arthur's astonishment and glanced at the others, wondering if he had missed something. But the other knights were looking at the prince with the same befuddled expression he undoubtedly wore, so Lancelot cleared his throat softly. "Arthur?" he asked hesitantly. It seemed to snap the prince out of his trance, and he turned to face Gaius.
"Why does she knock for you and not me?" Gwaine guffawed at Arthur's question, and it seemed to lessen the tension amongst the group. Lancelot grinned and clapped the prince on his shoulder, turning back to the memory before them.
"Gaius?" When she didn't receive a response, Merlin stepped into the room and closed the door behind her. "Hello?" she asked again, taking in the different vials and beakers lining the tables and the herbs hanging on the walls. Finally spotting the older man on a landing above her, she cleared her throat loudly. Gaius turned around, only to have the railing behind him completely give away.
Many shouted in warning as they watched Gaius begin to fall, even if the man in question was standing right next to them, completely unharmed. Gaius merely shook his head in slight exasperation, remembering the conversation that came after this.
Suddenly, Merlin's eyes flashed gold, and Gaius' decent slowed significantly. Merlin looked around the room, and she focused on the bed she found by the fireplace. Once more her eyes changed colors as the bed moved into position, and Gaius fell- right onto the bed.
As the physician caught his breath, Merlin let out a relieved breath, smiling slightly from where she stood.
Deidre stared at the image of the young girl before her. "She slowed time," she muttered somewhat shakily. "Again."
"And all without uttering a single word," Matai added, still staring at Merlin's smiling form in awe.
Gwaine glanced at the two sorcerers. "Okay," he said, "so I'm assuming that's fairly powerful magic?"
Deidre giggled somewhat hysterically. "Fairly powerful indeed, especially for one as untrained in magic as Merlin is."
"But Merlin is Emrys, is she not?" Everyone turned their attentions to Percival, who hadn't taken his eyes from Merlin. "That's what you call her. If she is indeed so powerful, it shouldn't be surprising that she can do something like this." The two sorcerers contemplated Percival's statement as the memory continued.
"What-" Gaius huffed as he sat up. "What did you just do?" Merlin startled.
"Tell me!" Gaius demanded.
Merlin shook her head, breathing uneasily. "Um, I-I don't know what happened," she stuttered, looking at Gaius fearfully.
Gaius looked around the room before turning back to her. "If anyone had seen that-"
"No, no that-that had nothing to do with-with me." Merlin said quickly, pointing wildly at the bed. "That was-"
"I know what it was," Gaius interrupted. "I just want to know where you learned how to do it!"
"Poor Merlin, she's terrified!" Gwen said, not liking the look of distress on her friend's face.
"I would be too if I was in her position," Elyan said, nudging his sister with his elbow slightly. Arthur snorted in response, glanced at the both of them.
"Personally, I wouldn't have stepped foot in Camelot in the first place." And wasn't that a shock, hearing that sentence uttered from Camelot's very prince.
Merlin shook her head quickly. "Nowhere," she replied.
"So how is it that you know magic?" Gaius asked skeptically.
"Where did you study?" When Merlin didn't answer, Gaius barked, "Tell me!"
"I-I didn't study anywhere, I've never been taught-"
The physician took a step towards Merlin. "Are you lying to me, boy?"
Merlin sighed. "What do you want me to say?" she asked softly.
"I was born like this!" Merlin said helplessly. Gaius immediately shot her statement down, however, and glanced at his bed once more.
He suddenly turned and looked at Merlin. "Who are you?" he demanded. Merlin startled slightly at his tone and took off her pack.
"Oh, sorry, I have this letter," she mumbled, handing him the folded letter from her bag. Gaius looked at it, then back at Merlin.
"I don't have my glasses." The witch hesitated for a moment, simply looking at the man before her, before she answered.
Gaius raised an eyebrow.
"Oh no," Gwaine muttered. Deidre shot him a confused look, and the knight leaned closer towards her. "It's 'The Eyebrow of Doom', Gaius' signature look. Capable of reducing even the heartiest of men into quivering puddles of fear and insecurity." The knight smiled when the pretty sorceress giggled. "Every single person here, bar you and Matai of course, have been subject to The Eyebrow at the very least once. Although," he continued, a bit louder than before, "I'm sure Princess and Merlin have been on the receiving end of The Eyebrow more than any of us combined."
Arthur scowled when he heard Deidre's failed attempts to muffle her laughter, though he couldn't deny his claims. Gaius truly seemed to use The Eyebrow on him more than seemed acceptable, though he was sure his maidservant got it worse.
"Hunith's Merlin?" Gaius asked. Merlin smiled, relieved, and nodded enthusiastically. Gaius' brow just rose further. "Really? Because the last I saw my niece, she was most certainly a she." He shot a pointed look at the trousers and hair cover Merlin wore.
"Oh, no no no, I am her," Merlin said quickly, dropping her pack and reaching behind her head to release the cover. She pulled the red fabric off hastily, letting long locks of raven ebony hair tumble over her shoulders and down past her shoulder blades. "I assure you, I am very much female, Uncle Gaius."
Gaius smiled in delight at his niece. "Merlin! But you're not meant to be here until Wednesday!"
Merlin hesitated again, shifting slightly on her feet. "It is Wednesday," she said haltingly, not wanting to anger her guardian.
Gaius blushed slightly under the amused looks he was receiving and glared at the snickering knights. "Wait until you are my age, and see how well your memory is," he said scathingly.
Gaius nodded slowly. "Ah," he said. "Right then. Well you'd better put your bag in there." He pointed to the door behind him. Merlin picked up her bag and walked to the door, only to stop and turn back to Gaius.
"You won't say anything, about the…" she trailed off and waved her hand in the general direction of the broken railing.
The physician shook his head. "No." Merlin nodded once more and began to move towards her room again. "Although Merlin," Gaius called. "I should say thank you." Merlin smiled and nodded, leaving her guardian to stare at her in wonder.
The scene shifted, and suddenly they saw Merlin in her nightdress preparing for bed. She sat on her bed and sighed, glancing around her new room, before spotting the window behind her. She rose, stepped lightly onto the trunk placed under it, and quickly undid the latches keeping the shutter closed. When she looked out, Merlin smiled widely.
Arthur smiled at Merlin's awed expression. Camelot shone under the moonlight, and from the few fires that lit the dark streets and the homes of the Inner City and Lower Town. It truly looked beautiful, and the prince couldn't stop the pride from filling his heart as he looked upon his kingdom from Merlin's view. What made the breath catch in his throat, however, was the sight of Merlin's serene smile as she leaned out her window, the breeze catching a few strands of hair and her porcelain skin practically glowing under the light of the moon. Her azure eyes sparkled with excitement, and Arthur thought that she had never looked more beautiful.
The smoke around them began to move again, but this time there were noticeable slivers of gold blending with the gray. Everyone glanced at the two sorcerers, confused, only to see them both frowning.
"What is it?" Arthur asked, looking between the two and trying not to panic. Matai spared him a glance, before staring intently at Deidre, who nodded slowly, still staring at the golden strands of color weaving their way into her gray smoke. Arthur huffed and repeated his question, not liking the way both sorcerers seemed to be ignoring him.
"This is not my magic working here," Deidre confessed. Before she could say any more, the smoke began to take form of another memory.
Hunith's voice suddenly was heard, and the image of the woman writing formed before them. "My dear Gaius," she said. "I turn to you for I feel lost, and alone, and I don't know who to trust." The scene shifted once more to Gaius, who sat at his table and read the letter Hunith had sent. "It is every mother's fate to believe her child is special, and yet I would give my life that Merlin were not so."
Leon looked upon the picture of Hunith that showed in sympathy. No person should have to raise their child in fear, knowing that with even one slip up, they both could be killed.
"Ours is a small village, and she is so clearly at odds with the people here that, if she were to remain, I fear what would become of her."
The scene changed to show Merlin, asleep, using her pack as a pillow.
"I am sure you remember Deagan, Balinor's young nephew. He came to stay with us, and began to teach Merlin how to control her magic, as it was, and still is, impulsive. The two became rather close in his time here. However, not a month ago, Deagan and Merlin's dire wolf Caryn were brutally murdered, and displayed for Merlin to see. The loss of both her uncle and wolf nearly shattered her. She became sick with grief, and though she may seem it, Merlin is anything but healed.
"She needs a hand to hold, a voice that guides, someone that might help her find a purpose for her gifts. I beg you, if you understand a mother's love for her daughter, keep her safe. And may God save you both."
Gaius slowly folded the letter and stared at the closed door of Merlin's room, before the scene shifted once more to the sight of the executioners' block.
"Time out!" Gwaine shouted, causing the memory to pause. "How did we just see that?" he demanded. "Obviously Merlin wasn't there to experience it, so why did we see it?"
Deidre sighed, rubbing a hand over her freckled face. "I believe that Magic is intervening here, and showing us more of this story than just what Merlin is seeing and experiencing."
"You speak of magic as if it has a mind of its own." Everyone froze at the sound of Uther's cold voice, but he simply stared at the sorceress in front of him. Deidre glared, but eventually nodded.
"In a way it does. Magic is older than man, older than Time itself. It is infused in the very earth we walk upon. Long after men are gone, and long after people cease to believe in its existence, Magic will still be here, among us."
"There are many things that the Old Religion teaches," Gaius interrupted. "And one of them is that we do not know the true extent of Magic. The Triple Goddess is said to control Magic, but some do not believe as such."
"I don't know," Deidre interrupted Gwaine. "But I do know that it will probably help all of us, to better understand the happenings of Merlin's experience in Camelot." The others nodded reluctantly, some still confused as to how exactly magic could be thought of as a being of its own, but the overall consensus seemed to be that they would simply ignore it for now, and just watch what was shown to them.
The executioners' block was once again shown, and at the chime of a clock the scene shifted to show Morgana staring sadly down at the courtyard. Uther swept towards her, his cloak billowing behind him as he walked.
"Morgana," he called, gaining her attention.
"What is this?" he asked. "Why are you not joining us at the feast?"
Morgana faced Uther. "I just don't think chopping someone's head off is cause for celebration," she said, ignoring Uther's sigh. "That poor mother."
"It was justice for what he had done-"
"To whom?" Morgana asked incredulously. "He practiced magic, he didn't hurt anyone!"
"You weren't around twenty years ago," Uther insisted. "You have no idea what it was like."
Morgana scoffed. "How long are you going to keep punishing people for what happened then?"
"Until they realize that there is no room for magic in my kingdom," Uther replied. "You will be with me when I greet Lady Helen." His statement was more of an order than anything else, and Morgana shook her head.
"I told you I want no part in these celebrations-"
Uther strode back to her. "I am your guardian! I expect you to do as I ask." When Morgana did nothing but glare at him, he said, "If you have no respect for me, at least show some for our finest singer." With that, the king walked away.
As he left, Morgana shouted after him, "You know the more brutal you are, the more enemies you'll create!" No response was offered up, and the Lady turned once more to gaze on the courtyard below her.
Uther shook his head at the scene before him, desperately trying not to listen to the nagging voice in the back of his head that Morgana was right. It was getting harder and harder to ignore as the years went on, but the king forcibly shoved the voice into a little box in the back of his mind and focused on what was happening now.
The scene shifted to a clearing in the forest. Knights were milling about, and horses were tied and beginning to sleep on the outskirts of the camp. Three knights were standing guard outside of a large tent. The scene jumped once more to the inside of the tent, where they could see the Lady Helen sitting at her vanity, braiding her hair and humming under her breath. The sound of twigs snapping made her pause, and when the leaves rustled behind her tent she jumped, startled.
"Hello?" A silhouette began walking towards the tent flaps and the Lady tensed. "Gregory?"
The knight appeared in the tent. "My Lady," he said softly. Lady Helen sighed in relief.
"Is all well?" she asked.
Gregory nodded. "Yes ma'am," he replied. "With luck, we should reach Camelot late tomorrow."
"Something's going to happen, isn't it?" Gwaine asked. He could see the tense set of many of his companion's shoulders, mainly the ones that have lived in Camelot all their lives. He, Elyan, Lancelot and Percival glanced at each other, confused, though Lancelot looked pensive. Before he could say anything else, however, he was shushed by Gwen and Deidre, the two women giving him identical looks that clearly said, 'Why don't you watch and see?'
Gwaine didn't think he liked those two being friends. They would only bring him trouble, and attempt to force upon him –dare he say it– responsibilities. The knight shuddered at the thought. This could not be allowed to happen.
Lady Helen smiled. "That's good." Gregory returned her smile and nodded his head.
"I'll be outside if you need me." With that, the knight exited her tent and returned to his post outside. However, he heard what sounded like a growl in the forest near them. As he moved towards the sound, he pulled out his sword. "Who's there?" he asked, looking around the dark forest.
Suddenly inside the Lady Helen's tent once more, the sound of the horses whining reached her.
"Called it," Gwaine said, only to be smacked on the shoulder by the sorceress standing next to him.
"Shut it," she hissed, narrowing her brown eyes at him. Gwaine, wisely, remained silent.
Branches snapped, and the Lady turned to see the shadow of a woman outside her tent. The silhouette began humming, and walked through the tent. It was the mother from the courtyard earlier that day.
As the Lady Helen stood slowly, Mary Collins began to hiss a spell under her breath, pulling out a dagger and a poppet from her cloak. She stabbed the dagger into the poppet's chest, causing Lady Helen to gasp and double over in pain. Twice more Mary stabbed the poppet, and after the third, Lady Helen collapsed onto her cot, eyes open and staring sightlessly at the ceiling of her tent. She was dead.
Morgana felt an eyebrow arch, somewhat impressed with the witch she was seeing. While using poppets was a fairly simple way to channel magic, it was still powerful in its own right, though not nearly as powerful as Morgana's was. Still, the old crone had some spark of magic left still, and Morgana could not find any reason to criticize her usage.
Mary sat at Lady Helen's vanity, whispering another spell into the necklace in her hands. Slowly, her features took on those of the dead woman. However, when she picked up a hand mirror, her reflection showed her old and withered form.
The scene changed to Merlin lying in bed. There was a deep rumbling sound, then a voice whispered, "Merlin."
Arthur grew tense at the sound of the voice. "What the hell was that?" The prince looked at the two magic users present, hoping they had an answer, but both looked as baffled as he felt. Only Gaius showed any reaction other than surprise, as he sighed deeply and shook his head. "Gaius?" Arthur asked. The physician only shook his head once more and motioned to the images.
The voice whispered her name once more, and Merlin's eyes snapped open. She glanced around her room before sitting up, seeming to take it all in. With a sigh, she swung her legs over the side of her bed and stood to get ready.
The scene shifted to Merlin walking down the stairs into the main chamber, tying her hair behind her head and under the same red cover from the day before. She smiled in greeting to Gaius, who only stared strangely at her. "What?" she asked.
"You're wearing trousers," he said.
Merlin glanced down at her covered legs and shrugged. "Yes, and?"
"I don't believe that's quite appropriate, do you?" Merlin raised a brow in what seemed to be a challenge.
"Well, I like them. They're far easier to work in, not to mention move. Also, these are all I have at the moment, so it's either this or walk around Camelot starkers, and I don't think anyone wants that."
Gwaine barked out a laugh, admiring his friend's bluntness. Lancelot and Elyan stifled chuckles of their own, happy to see some typical Merlin behavior in the midst of all the craziness. It was good to know that some things didn't change.
Gaius huffed and pointed to a bucket of water on the edge of the table. "I got you some water. You didn't wash last night." Merlin mumbled and apology and sat down, eyeing the bowl of food that was set down in front of her. "Help yourself to breakfast," Gaius said. Merlin nodded absently as she picked up the spoon, watching the food plop back into the bowl before shrugging and taking a bite.
Gaius eyed the girl sitting beside him, and purposefully knocked over the bucket of water. Instantly, Merlin looked over and her eyes flashed, making the water freeze in midair. At the sound of Gaius' gasp however, she let the water and bucket fall to the floor.
"Gaius you sly old man," Gwaine muttered, preening when he heard Deidre snicker beside him.
"What did you do?" the physician asked. "Did you…incant a spell in your head?"
Merlin shook her head rapidly. "No-I don't know any spells," she insisted.
"Well then what did you do? There must be something!"
Merlin sighed. "It just happens," she told him despondently. She grabbed the mop from a corner in the room and began cleaning up the mess.
Gaius shook his head. "Well, we'd better keep you out of trouble," he mumbled. "You can help me until I find you some paid work for you. Here," he handed Merlin a leather pouch. "Hollyhock and feverfew for Lady Percival, and this," he handed her a small vial next, "is for Sir Olwen. He's blind as a weevil so warn him not to take it all at once." With her mumbled assurance, Gaius held out a sandwich plate to her. Merlin smiled warmly at the man before shoving it in her mouth and rushing to the door.
"And Merlin!" She stopped and turned at the sound of her name. "I need hardly tell you that the practice of any form of enchantments will get you killed," Gaius said gravely. The girl nodded once more and finally turned out of the room.
Merlin glanced around the city once more as she walked towards her delivery sites, all the while munching on her sandwich. When she found the room she was looking for, she hastily swallowed and knocked on the door. An old, shriveled looking man opened it.
Merlin smiled kindly. "Hi. I've brought you your medicine." Sir Olwen held out his hand and Merlin clasped it in his fingers. She turned to leave, but stopped and faced him again. "Oh, Gaius said not to drink it…all…" She trailed off as she watched him gulp down the entire potion in one go. As he was smacking his lips, Merlin simply shook her head helplessly. "I-I'm sure it's fine."
A loud groan from Gaius caused many in the group to erupt into snickers. The old man really shouldn't be surprised at this point.
Merlin was seen walking through the courtyard again, leading into town, but she started to slow at the sound of a drolling voice. "Where is the target?"
Arthur sucked in a breath, feeling everyone's eyes on him as the undoubtedly recognized his voice. Gaius groaned as well, muttering about "foolish, insolent girls."
Lancelot chuckled. 'I've heard this story from Merlin before, and Guinevere. I wonder if it's any more entertaining to watch that it was to hear it,' he thought.
Merlin came to a halt as she watched the scene play out before her. Arthur was standing with a group of knights across from her, and a servant stood in front of her. "There, sir?" the servant answered.
Arthur shook his head. "It's aimed at the sun." The servant glanced at the sky and shook his head.
"It's not that bright," he said.
"Oh, a bit like you then," Arthur snarked. The servant sighed as the knights laughed.
"I'll put the target on the other end." He picked up the large wooden target and started to move across the small area.
Arthur turned to face the knights and said, "This'll teach him." Merlin raised a brow and put crossed her arms over her chest, waiting to see what he would do.
Percival turned to Leon, who stood beside him. "This isn't going to end well, is it?" he asked. Elyan, who heard the question, chortled and shook his head. Leon's sigh of deep suffering didn't raise Percival's hope either.
Suddenly, Arthur threw a knife, hitting the target's center. Merlin let both brows climb on her forehead, not believing what she just saw.
The servant looked at the knife and back at Arthur. "Hey, hang on!" he exclaimed. Arthur simply laughed and picked up another knife.
"Well don't stop," he said. Merlin's eyes narrowed as she watched him continue to throw knives at the running servant. The scene shifted briefly to see Guinevere shaking a cloak out from a window, though she too was watching the courtyard and frowning in anger.
Matai whistled. "You know Prince Arthur, from what I'm seeing, it's hard to understand why she has so much faith in you," he sneered, causing Arthur to tense once more. However, Gwen turned a sharp look onto the sorcerer.
"I will be the last to deny that Arthur was a rude and arrogant man before Merlin came along. But he has become a great man, and he will be a great king. You said you wanted her memories to understand why she was loyal to him, is that correct?" At Matai's reluctant nod, Gwen pushed on. "Then how can you pass judgement simply on what you've seen now? I suggest you wait until the end of this, and then tell us what kind of man you believe Arthur to be."
Arthur's heart swelled at Gwen's support, and he gave her a smile of appreciation. The sorcerer simply cleared his throat and nodded on consent, not meeting the prince's eye as they turned back to watch.
The servant suddenly tripped, and he ducked behind the target to ensure that he wasn't hit by stray daggers. The target rolled and came to a stop under Merlin's boot. She smiled down at the boy and held out a hand to help him off the ground, which he gratefully took. Her friendly smile became slightly strained as she turned to face Arthur and his men.
"Hey," she said. "Come on, that's enough."
Arthur looked appalled at her. "What?" he demanded.
"You've had your fun my friend," Merlin said.
Arthur began walking towards her, making a thoughtful face. "Do I know you?" he asked. Merlin shook her head and held out her hand.
"No, I'm Merlin-"
"So I don't know you," Arthur interrupted, completely disregarding the hand. Merlin's smile fell flat.
"Yet you called me…'friend'."
Arthur winced at the sight of his appalling behavior. 'Gods, I really was a prat.'
Merlin glared at the man across from her. "That was my mistake," she snipped.
"Yes, I think so," Arthur said, smiling condescendingly at her.
'This pompous arsehole.'
When Merlin's thought sounded around the group, Gwaine doubled over in laughter, especially after seeing Arthur and Uther's flabbergasted expressions.
"Yeah," Merlin said. "I'd never have a friend who could be such an ass."
"What the hell was that crash?" Elyan asked.
"That, Sir Elyan, was Sir Gwaine collapsing," Gaius deadpanned, not even moving to help the hysterical knight back up. Deidre and Gwen were stifling their giggles at the sight of the knight between them, who was gasping for breath, while Morgana tried to smother a smile of her own at Merlin's responses. She really was a firecracker, and, before she tried to kill her, Morgana had appreciated the way Merlin hardly seemed to care what she said in front of nobles. It was refreshing to see.
Merlin turned and began to walk away, but the sound of Arthur's laugh had her halting. "Nor I one who could be so stupid," he said. Merlin rolled her eyes and turned to face the advancing prince. "Tell me Merlin, do you know how to walk on your knees?" he asked.
"No," came Merlin's terse response.
Arthur took a step closer, and Merlin's entire body tensed. "Would you like me to help you?"
"I wouldn't if I were you." Arthur paused momentarily at the tone of her voice, which was practically dripping with warning, but he ignored it as he took yet another step closer.
"Why?" he demanded arrogantly. "What are you going to do to me?"
Merlin met his gaze steadily, her once warm eyes now steely. "You have no idea," she said lowly, looking prepared to attack Arthur if need be.
Lancelot glanced at Arthur. "She looks like she's going to hurt you," he said, obviously wanting to know why his friend didn't heed her warnings. Arthur nodded in agreement, not taking his eyes off the now paused image in front of him.
"I remember being wary of her at first, and then simply pushing it aside. At the time, all I saw was a peasant who had to nerve to stand up to me. Obviously I didn't know she had magic," he stuttered slightly on the word, and hoped that Lancelot didn't notice. "Hell, I didn't even know she was a she then." Arthur shook his head slowly. "Merlin definitely surprised me those first days, that's for sure."
Lancelot did notice the slip, but he chose not to acknowledge it. He understood that Arthur was still struggling to come to terms with the fact that the woman he thought of as his best friend, the woman he loved, was hiding something this monumental from him for nearly five years now. However, the knight was pleased to know that while he was not entirely comfortable with the knowledge, he at least didn't seem angry anymore, and Lancelot counted that as progress.
Arthur scoffed and grinned mockingly at her. "Be my guest!" He spread his arms and took a small step back, giving Merlin an opening to his torso. When Merlin just eyed him warily, Arthur began goading her. "Come on! Come on!" Merlin sighed softly and, slowly, swung her right arm in a lazy punch aimed for his face. When Arthur easily blocked, suddenly Merlin brought her left arm up and drove it into his stomach, causing Arthur to double over. She twisted out of his now slack hold and turned once more to leave, but he swiftly regained his breath and grabbed her once more, twisting her arm harshly behind her back.
"Atta girl," Gwaine muttered, glaring at the back of Arthur's head at the sight of Merlin's pain-twisted features before him.
He ignored her grunts of pain as he leaned closer to her ear. "I can throw you in jail for that," he muttered angrily.
Merlin growled, "And who do you think you are, the king?"
"No, I'm his son." Merlin's eyes widened in shock as she stilled completely. "Arthur." The witch let her eyes shut and her head hang as she realized the gravity of her situation.
"Ah, dammit," she muttered, before she was shoved into the waiting hands of the guards that the prince had summoned.
The images slowly began disappearing in a swirl of black and gold tendrils of smoke, and everyone stood, waiting for the new ones to begin.
Alrighty guys, that's it for this chapter! Hopefully I'll be better with the next update, but I honestly don't know how my schedule will play out. Until next time!