The Dragon and the Snow
By Auburn Red
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters. All characters from The 10th Kingdom belong to Hallmark Productions and of course the fairy tales from which they came. All characters from Merlin also belong to Hallmark Productions and the stories and legends of King Arthur. Everything is borrowed without permission and no profit is intended.

Note: Before mass confusion arrives, I will give you an advance warning that I am using for the most part The 10th Kingdom and Merlin versions of the legends and fairy tales. I know that there are other versions that are just as good, Malary's, Grimm's, Anderson's, Perrault's, TH White, Mists of Avalon, Disney's and they are all good in their own ways.
I will refer and use the occasional concept from other versions, but these two are the main ones.

Chapter One: The Underworld
And it feels and it feels like
Heaven is so far way
And it stings and it stings now
The world has grown cold
Now that you've gone away!
~ From "Gone Away" by Offspring
Some people believe that when magical creatures, such as fairies, elves, dragons, and witches are forgotten that they truly cease to exist, but the truth is nothing is ever really forgotten. They are just receded in the back of our minds as we move on into the future. Those things become nothing more than a story before bedtime, a childish fear, or a frightening thing in the closet. But these things still exist and just lie in wait hidden from the world around them waiting to come out.
Queen Mab of the Sidhe opened her eyes and looked around her dark cave. Her eyes wandered through the dark recesses of her hidden chamber. She smiled an icy evil smile as she sat up her dark hair flowing down to her ankles. She glanced to her castle as it glowed once again waiting for its mistress' return. She laughed a throaty guttural laugh as she floated to her castle.
"Once what was, will be again," she said in her low whispering voice. "But not here, yet."
Mab floated to her Observing Ball and looked through. What she saw made her smile with delight. Through her glass she could see the Nine Kingdoms, magical kingdoms. Her eyes twisted in rapturous delight as the glass showed her images of happy people going about their lives. Soon that will all change, she thought, if I can get a hold of an old friend. Finally, the Observing Ball stopped at a swamp. The picture grew until she saw an image of a grave with a decomposing corpse. Mab laughed, well that vain bitch certainly got what she deserved by slipping up. But, she was always a helpful ally and someone she could trust. Mab then focused her hand on the Ball, then disappeared into a speck of light and fell from one dimension to the next. She smiled soon her plan would succeed. Of course she may have to run into Merlin and King Arthur, but if it works, they will all fail in the end.

The Lady in the Lake floated through the water into the dark hole. As she floated she through the water, she felt the stench of sulphur overpower her. Her eyes wandered to the souls wandering and floating near her. Their eyes were vacant and hopeless as they wandered aimlessly and just moaned for a life that they couldn't even remember, and now knew no one can hear or even care about them. If she could feel anything, she would feel compassion and sympathy but instead moved towards the man she had to see.
The Lady wandered into another level of Hell, this time to where the spirits were still being tortured. The dead screamed as they were being beaten, stabbed with pokers of fire, and tortured in unique ways such as tied to the ground while a drop of water took its time to fall to them or being forced to roll a big rock over by the hill.
The Lady cleared her throat, she knew that she wasn't permitted to be in here for the most part. But, the King of the Underworld can be a reasonable fellow if he had a sacrifice or two. She came upon her target, a young man. His dark hair hung in unkempt tangles around his shoulders, and his pale face was bent in expressions of anger and rage. He was chained by heavy iron on his wrists and ankles. He snarled at his captors as though he were barely human himself. Two demons had just completed torturing him as they turned to try it again.
"Now, do you like our deal?" one of the demons hissed at him.
The young man smiled sarcastically. "How about I strike a deal with you instead? I give you the two-fingered salute," The Lady watched in wry amusement as he gave his captors the gesture that was considered vulgar by many Britons. "And you give me my water?"
The demons were about to attack him again, when they saw the Lady behind them. They dropped their weapons and bowed, and then walked away.
The young man looked in curiosity at his rescuer and turned in anger, his dark eyes almost red with rage.
"Defiant to the last," The Lady observed in her bell-like voice. "I can see the centuries haven't changed you at all."
The man still didn't speak as she tried again, this time addressing him by name. "Do you know who I am, Mordred?"
King Arthur's illegitimate son faced the Lady squarely, but still refused to speak to her. "I am the Lady-"
"-I know who you are," Mordred answered. "Auntie Mab's sister!" He spat at the name Mab. The Lady could see that he still carried plenty of hatred for those he used to know- Mab, Frick, Nimue, Merlin, Lancelot, Guenivere, his mother, Morgan Le Fey, and especially his father, Arthur.
"You are filled with hatred," The Lady observed.
Mordred sniffed contemptuously. "It's the only thing that has kept me sane in this damned place!" He moved his head around the Underworld. The Lady knew what he was talking about. A soul in the Underworld could only retain his or her memories for very long, before they become like the spirits she saw when she entered a mindless wandering vegetable. It wasn't easy to retain those memories, it took a very strong will she noted with a slight sense of pride. But it also did a lot of damage to the soul, because he became filled with hatred at the reasons he was down there, especially when his heart was full of hatred already.
"Yes, and it is time for you to take your place once again in destiny," The Lady answered.
"Wonderful since we saw what a smashing job that was the first time," Mordred snidely answered. Another torture in the Underworld was you were condemned to hear your name from the outside and the results weren't often pretty. Fallen heroes discovered that in a few centuries people spoke of them as villains. Suicides heard of themselves, as cowards. And for people like Mordred, well there were no limits to what people have said about him.
"I am here to tell you that my sister has risen and regained her strength," The Lady answered.
Mordred looked squarely at her. "And I should care about this because...?"
"She will ally with the Dark Forces from other kingdoms and they will be unstoppable," the Lady responded.
"And they're welcome to it, unless of course I am supposed to help them," Mordred answered. "Maybe I could conquer Camelot, though according to that offal Malary I already did. Funny, I wasn't there when it happened, but I'm sure it was splendid."
The Lady continued as if uninterrupted. "You must go to the Fourth Kingdom and ally yourself with its heroes, soon the heroes from both your kingdom and theirs must be united to defeat this evil."
Mordred scoffed. "Me? I'd rather stay here and be tortured. Why don't you get Arthur to do it, I'm sure you can bring him back as well."
"That is part of the plan," The Lady answered. "You know that it has long been prophesized that your father would return when his people need him, well that time will be soon."
"WHATT??" Mordred practically yelled. "I am supposed to not only ally myself with some do-gooders, but allow them to resurrect my father? Lest you forget, he is the reason that I am down here in the first place."
"And lest you forget that you are the reason that he is awaiting his return," The Lady reminded him. "The choice is yours, for once."
Mordred's eyes widened and he knew what she was referring to as he considered his option. On the one hand, he wasn't a hero like his Father/Uncle, and worst of all it would mean bringing him back to life and even worse of all he would no doubt face Arthur's pet wizard, Merlin. But on the other hand, he could take charge of his own life and not be a tool for anyone else. Or could he, in the final analysis it was still the same damn prophecy thing. When was he ever going to stop being brought up only to fulfill someone else's plan or prophecy? He looked around the Underworld and knew the answer, if he stayed here never. Besides, he wasn't a coward if he did see Arthur or Merlin he could always kill them.
He looked at the Lady not wanting her to see him cave. "And if I refuse?" he asked.
"Then those kingdoms will die from the dark forces," The Lady answered. "And you will remain here nothing more than a proven tool for my sister's prophecy."
Mordred's mouth dropped open. The Lady of the Lake stole the words from his mind. He stood up as she magically undid his shackles. She knew what his answer would be.
"Very well, I'll do it," he said.
The Lady smiled. "Remember once done it cannot be undone," she said. Then she started chanting in Gaelic, the more she chanted a light swirled around them until it became gold surrounding them completely. Mordred looked around in confusion as the circle got dimmer and dimmer and the Lady's voice became fuzzier and fuzzier. He suddenly felt a sharp pain on his legs like someone was pulling him. He struggled to fight it, to stop it but it only made his body hurt more. He tried to avoid crying out, but finally he gave in and screamed as he fell into darkness.