Hey everyone!

As promised, The first chapter of A Blackened Core is here!

I have spent a month planning and writing this story, I really hope you guys enjoy it(:

It's my birthday today :D and I couldn't think of a better day to post it than my sixteenth! lol

Based on "A Remedy to Cure All Ills"

Pairings: Merlin/Arthur, Merlin/Gwen, Morgana/Arthur, like in the show, it's easy to see chemistry between everyone (:

I just want to remind you all, that this story is set back at the beginning of the series, so Merlin and Arthur aren't all buddy-buddy yet...but they will be :D haha

Enjoy guys,

Let the magic begin....

Disclaimer: I do not own BBC Merlin.

Please Note: This is my interpretation, so some of the things in here are different :D if you don't understand and want me to explain anything just give me a shout!


A - B l a c k e n e d - C o r e

Analyst Produtions 2008

A Merlin Fanfic

All it takes to ruin the future, is for the destined one...

To become destined for nothing at all...


In a land of myth and a time of magic, the destiny of a great kingdom rests on the shoulders of a young boy. His name; Merlin.

C1

Gwen tried to pretend she wasn't bothered, but she generally was awful at masking her feelings. Her thoughts shone through her deep brown eyes when they caught radiant beams of sunlight far too generously. Some believed that donating thoughts so carelessly was a mistake, for it would land one into great trouble, and problems. Not only did her thoughts emanate from her eyes, they seemed to pour out effortlessly from her mouth. She usually didn't have time to think about her words, because they would literally jump off her tongue.

It was about to happen now for instance. The town village was overcrowded, people brushing past her with their everyday lives their priority. Many of them cast their eyes up at the miraculous castle behind her, some even scowled at the luxurious paradise; so close in reach, but so inaccessible. The sun trickled down through the clouds, pushing her into the limelight of attention, along with the figure beside her.

A tremor of worry ignited throughout her body, her eyes sealed onto the sight of the old man beside the beautiful horse. He stood silent. His defined features revealed wisdom and great knowledge. The years had been kind to him. White hair fell to tips of his cheeks, irritating his skin when the gentle breeze whispered its solemn goodbye in his ears. Despite the wrinkles and the tarnishing of his complexion, his eyes remained young. It was clear this was what made him so respected.

The dark cloud in the distance symbolised Gwen's brewing fears that were growing closer toward her. Like rain, it would drench her skin, and swallow her. Like the wind, it would howl, and screech, it would toil inside her mind. Then it would stop. But it would return. Unlike Gaius, he was not returning. He was leaving. Leaving. Reaching out a desperate hand towards the man, she swallowed-hard.

"Please." She paused, inhaling deeply.

"Don't go Gaius. We need you. I need you. I don't trust Edwin, he did something to Morgana I saw him."

Gaius lifted his head, narrowing his eyes suspiciously. His wise eyes caught hers, exposing her further doubt. Scanning the area cautiously, he beckoned her closer. A new sense of secrecy had smothered his face. Gwen obediently leant closer, tucking a strand of wavy black hair from her face.

"You ought to be careful who you say that too Gwen. That's a big accusation." He admitted slowly, brushing his blue robes down.

There was obvious concern, for Gaius' tone sounded protective, as if he seemed to think the same, yet something was holding him back from agreeing. In fact, it was almost like he was being held to a strange kind of ransom. It was as if he wanted to do something, yet he could not. She had noticed this earlier today; she had not confronted him about him. She had put it to the back of her mind, unlike the thoughts she had for Merlin. They were always centre focus. Gwen shook that thought off quickly and drew her eyebrows together.

"But it's true." She protested in her innocent tone, gazing up at the sky.

The dark grey cloud was looming closer. The sun's spotlight upon them had faded, moving on to a much more calming scene of two lovers at the market buying fruit. The woman was favouring the ripe crimson tomatoes, whereas the male was clearly uninterested, nodding and saying whatever he could to please her so they could leave.

"You can not delay my departure any longer Gwen, it's getting late." Gaius softly said, lowering his head slightly to catch her eyes directly level.

Sighing, Gwen held a hand to his arm comfortingly and spoke.

"You don't have to go," her words sounded like a friend pleading rather than accepting Gaius' decision.

Gwen knew what his reply would be, but she still waited to hear the words, in case some magic twist of fate changed his mind.

"I don't have a choice." He replied sternly, adjusting the straps on the horse's back. It was evident he was nervous about keeping eye contact with her for much longer, she looked on the verge of tears.

Shaking her head, Gwen watched the man turn his back to her. He was going to opt out. He was going to just leave, because he believed he had no choice? He was going to cower away because he believed it was all he could do? She felt her mind flood with counter thoughts, and instantly, her mouth worked words.

"You always have a choice; sometimes it's easier to think you don't."

Silence.

Gaius patted the brown stallion gently before pivoting round to face the woman. Her face radiated hope, hope that she had convinced him to stay. He gazed down at the ground sheepishly. She was correct. He did not have to go, but he knew if he didn't, Edwin would make things harder for himself and even worse, for Merlin. He was leaving for Merlin's sake, not for his own. This was the only way to protect Merlin from Edwin's vindictive streak, he had to. Glancing up at Gwen for a few seconds he spoke slowly.

"Then I chose to leave."

Shock. That was what Gwen felt. She was right. She couldn't convince him otherwise. He was leaving, and that was that. Wiping her eyes, she choked on her words. Attempting to speak, she failed and hugged the old man with sympathy. Gaius returned the hug and frowned.

"I'll miss you." She admitted solemnly.

Grabbing the reigns of the horse, Gaius turned and began to walk down the gravelled pathway in a gait contrasting to usual stance. It seemed he was sad to leave, and wanted to cherish the memories made here for one final time. He took one last glance behind him and kept a mental picture of what he saw: the villagers, merry and oblivious to the trouble of Edwin, the beautiful castle, standing majestically, a beacon of hope and a tower of prosperity. He saw Arthur standing at the top of the castle, gazing out at the kingdom, more particularly, at Gaius. He saw the reams of royal red flags dangling from the entrance of Camelot castle. He smiled.

Camelot was one place he would never forget. It was a land of loyalty, legend. Everyone valued each other, people worked together. He would always find refuge here in the casket of his empty mind. What reassured him the most was that he knew Merlin was destined for great things. With Merlin's help, Arthur would grow into a great king. As he turned away from the sight of the town behind him, he could have sworn he saw Merlin appear beside Arthur, staring out at Gaius. Eyes watering, Gwen cupped her hands together over her canary yellow dress, and gazed at the leaving figure remorsefully.

"Goodbye; Gaius." She whispered.

Within a bear two minutes, which went incredibly slowly, Gaius was out of sight, embarking into the deep forests, his presences shrouded by verdant trees. Throughout those one-hundred and twenty seconds, Merlin had stood very still, composed in his own world. The breeze raked through his black hair, ensuring him that things were going to be ok. The dark cloud told him otherwise, it seemed to highlight Gaius' goodbye even more than he wanted it to.

He was sure that this was a vivid nightmare, in which he would wake from. He would tell Gaius about this dream, and he would ridicule him for thinking such foolish things would come to pass. The only thing that seemed real enough to convince him he was awake was the voice of Arthur. He pulled him back out of his pensive world, and Merlin shivered slightly at the rippling sound of his voice, indulging his senses.

"Gaius was a good physician Merlin, he'll find his way." Arthur said.

If any other being had said that, Merlin would have snapped back angrily and told them they were wrong. He would have told them to stop trying to act smart and wake-up. But Arthur's authority gave him an unknown sense respect. Even if Merlin didn't agree with Arthur, his words were absorbed completely and acknowledged as acceptable. Merlin guessed that was one of the advantages of being a man of nobility. He could think of many other advantages, but was not in the right state of mind to be listing things so pointless when his valued friend had just left Camelot-

"Merlin?"

Arthur looked over at Merlin, expecting some form of verbal response. The servant beside him didn't shift his vision from the horizon. He was completely transfixed, lost in thought. Clasping the stone wall of the castle tightly, Merlin stared infinitely into the distance. He could have sworn Arthur had said his name; he wasn't really listening. He was too entranced by the sight he saw. With his sorcery, he was not only able to see things quicker, he could see things further, far further than any human eye could ever see. It was the far distance that had gripped him. There was so much land, so much earth ahead that was probably left at peace with the human race.

There were mountains, beautiful mountains carved raggedly with rigged caps sprinkled in ashen snow. They stood out magnificently against the blue sky. The dark cloud had passed this horizon; the trees were showered with beads of water that sparkled when the light touched. There were lakes; the most crystal blue lakes. There were gradients of flowers, flourishing in azure, magenta and vivid yellow. There were fields of lush green grass, acres of tall woodland basking in the shadows, stretches of dry land, where the water did not wish to go. There was so much beyond the horizon, so much behind the forest of Camelot, it fascinated him. It also made him wonder...

Where would Gaius go? What dangers would Gaius face on his journeys? He was old, and although he had sharp reactions, like Merlin he was no good with a blade. What if he was attacked? Or what if he was mugged? What if someone tried to hurt him? What if the nocturnal creatures surrounded him? What if he got lost? What if he fell? What if he-

-Merlin jolted out of his thoughts and fiercely turned on his heel, beginning to walk. He was stopped. Arthur latched his hand around Merlin's arm, hauling him back with force. It was not hard to predict when Merlin was going to something drastic. His main giveaway was the frantic walk, and the inferno that smouldered behind his captivating eyes. Merlin released his arm from Arthur's iron grip, and stood motionless, face skewed up with hurt and irritation.

Arthur raised his eyebrows and folded his arms across his chest. Nothing needed to be said. It was obvious Merlin had some kind of plan in his head, and he was not going to stop until he achieved his goal, which was most likely impossible.

"I will go and bring him back, he will be safe and-"

"-Merlin there's nothing you can do." Arthur cut in and rolled his eyes. Merlin was always so determined, always full of fire. He watched his frustrated servant pace up and down the castle floor.

"I have to do something I can't just stand here and go on without him." He muttered, more to himself than to Arthur.

Clumsily, he crashed into the young prince when Arthur deliberately stepped in front of him, stopping him from madly pacing. Lifting his vision to the handsome prince, Merlin frowned, his eyes sparkling with sadness. Arthur put a hand to Merlin's shoulder and rubbed it gently.

"Gaius has chosen to leave. I'm sure you of all people would know that respecting his wishes would be all he would ask of us."

Perfect words.

Merlin was suddenly calm, pacified. He gazed out at the forest, throat still tense. He swallowed painfully, and gazed into Arthur's blue eyes. He felt at ease instantly. However much his rage had died, his thoughts were still restless.

"It's wrong." Merlin murmured, bowing his head to the floor.

Arthur brushed his blonde hair off his eyes and studied the forest of Camelot, where Gaius would now be ploughing through. He sighed and spoke, not taking his eyes off the forest.

"It is my father's decision to assign a new court Physician; I can not speak against his terms."

Merlin weakly smiled at the prince before he turned to leave. When Arthur averted his attention back to Merlin, he found he was no longer there.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0

The new Court Physician should have spent his free time celebrating his success. Any ordinary man would have, they would have been out conversing with friends, or doing something productive. They would not be standing in the middle of a hollow stone cave deep underground the castle in solitude. It had already been established that Edwin was no ordinary man. Not only was he like Merlin in terms of power, he was mysterious, cryptic and secretive. Upon his face were the haunting memories of his past, left in visible singes, imprinting the skin in a way that looked highly unnatural. Though at this moment of time, his deformed face was not in sight; the black hood of his cloak shaded his face.

He was standing over a bowl of water, hand hypnotically creating new layers, new fascinating curvatures in the water. If any other human had been doing this, it would not have been so foreboding. Edwin, however, had a certain kind of rhythm in his fingers that many did not possess. They glided over the water daintily, alluring sharp twists of the index finger, and gentle caressing of the water with his flat thumb. His fingers had a certain pressure on the water that disrupted the balance of its stillness so faintly, it was mesmerising to watch. It was all in sync to the music of the growing twilight, building up an aura of enchantment.

His voice echoed around the hollow area, resonating in plumes of archaic words.

"Aqua fateor,"

The air began to stir, the water trembling under his hands. His eyes cast down to the bowl where the water began to spiral, like an endless vortex. He grinned, adding his final command. His voice was deep and rich in an intriguing pronunciation.

"Nimueh."

With one last spiral, the water did wonderful things, things it should not do. The face of a woman appeared in the water, her piercing blue eyes striking against her sallow skin. Her hair was pinned back, a single strand falling on her face. She was, unlike Edwin, captivating and beautiful. She gazed up into Edwin's eyes, as if she was in the same room as him.

"Gaius has left Merlin defenceless in Camelot. It is all to plan." He said simply, his voice was augmented with the decoration of malevolence.

The woman grinned darkly, revealing sharp, but perfect teeth. Her whole image seemed to be unconditionally wonderful, but that was just the thing; it was unconditional and false. Edwin continued quickly, leaning towards the water.

"Tonight the bells of Camelot shall ring, and the King shall fall, just like my parents fell so many years ago."

Nimueh's eyes widened, pupils thinning sharply. She spoke, her voice echoing through the hollow creating the sense she was there.

"NO." She screamed, causing Edwin to flinch slightly.

Her tone instantly softened, to one of seductive deception.

"Not tonight, we must wait. It is not only the King we need to dispose of. The boy, he's too strong, he is a danger to us. Build up his trust, we will need him." She explained enigmatically.

Edwin nodded slowly with understanding, bowing his head obediently. Her eyes flickered with rage once more.

"If you mess this up I will pulverise you like a beetle under a mortal's foot." Nimueh hissed threateningly.

Wincing at the irony, Edwin wondered whether she had intentionally used the word "beetle" or whether she was oblivious to it.

"I have waited for this a long time; I will not make any mistakes." Edwin stated, the passion of the task fully radiating from his eyes.

Nimueh's eyes brightened, her lips lifted.

"Good."

0o0o0o0o0o0o0

It was dawning the evening and Merlin was growing increasingly annoyed by the fact there was no longer a man sitting opposite him, the room was empty. By leaving, Gaius hadn't only taken his possessions and himself, he had taken the spirit of the room. The ambience Merlin loved had gone; it had swelled, erupted and then dissipated into nothingness. It saddened him. He reluctantly pushed his food around the plate. He took one last pathetic mouthful and screwed his face up in displeasure- yuck.

'I can turn a statue into a living thing, I can move objects, I can freeze things but I can't cook...'

It was then he came to the conclusion that without Gaius he was useless. Not only that, but without Gaius here, it was lonely and the room was just a room, it wasn't a home. He pushed the plate away in the same mannerism of a sulky child, and rested his head on the table. He stared at the bench on the other side of the room, where Gaius' medicine used to be stacked. It was just a bench now, a block of carved wood. He shifted his eyes across to the vacant seat on the other side of the table.

He imagined Gaius in the woodland on the verge of nightfall and that panic came over him once more. The night was dangerous and in the forest anything could happen. Although he knew Gaius could take care on himself, Merlin still wanted the reassurance he was ok. Arthur's voice resonated through his head, calming him. He remembered what Arthur had said and silently mumbled in agreement. He was right. Gaius had made up his mind, it couldn't be changed now.

Standing up sluggishly, deprived from enthusiasm, the male sighed. It was like someone had died. The room was empty, and that distasteful element that could reduce you to tears hung in the air. Merlin brushed a hand down his svelte face, a frown swathed his thin lips. Gaius hadn't left much for Merlin to remember him by. The ghost of him was constantly there, but it lingered in the shadows, refusing to comfort the boy. The shelves were coughing out dust that they had swallowed through the years.

Tracing over the rough wood, Merlin smiled to himself, picturing some of the large books that had once sat on this shelf. Gaius had left the top shelf of books, for Edwin and mainly Merlin. His eyes cast over to the red quilt. He pulled off the quilt and looked at the book underneath. The magic book. Gaius had made Merlin promise he would keep it safe, and use it to help protect Camelot and Arthur. There was something about the book that emitted hope and excitement. With each page, a new spell was revealed, with each word, a whole new level of magic had been engraved in Merlin's mind.

He reached for the cover of the book. Suddenly, the door slammed open. Merlin tugged the quilt over the book instantly. Then he leapt back in shock and fell backwards clumsily. It was clear he was startled by the noise that had shattered his silence. His eyes met the woman at the door, frantic, and eyes wide with fear. He stood up, walking towards the figure.

"Morgana-?"

She bit her lip and spoke tensely.

"Merlin."

It was easy to detect the worry in her voice, the fear. Merlin quickly darted to her side, examining her horrified expression.

"What's wrong? Are you alright? Is somebody hurt?" He asked suddenly, becoming as tense as she was.

"-Merlin I had a nightmare and…and-" The restless female spoke through sharp, defined breaths. Merlin waited a few seconds, gesturing her to continue, a curious anxiety plastered over his face, twinkling brightly behind his mesmerising eyes.

"-It was about you and Edwin."

Before she could continue, Merlin placed a hand on her trembling shoulder, narrowing his eyes with speculation. He was now curious, what had been so bad about this dream?

"Me? Edwin?"

Morgana nodded, and swallowed-hard. There was a silence where the two of them dwelled on her words. Merlin absorbed her horror; confusion was not mistakable upon his face. It was clear this nightmare had been vivid and relentless. After a moments silence, Morgana formed words on her lips.

"He had this deep black stone. But it didn't look like a stone, it looked like something more. Like a compressed space of something. He held it out toward you and you looked horrified. You said something but I couldn't hear you." She added, averting her eyes to the floor swiftly.

Merlin released his grip on her shoulder, and tried to hide his soft smile revealing sympathy rather than belief. However, the orange glow emanating from the candlelight accentuated every single feature. Gazing up at him, Morgana sighed, noticing his hidden doubt. She opened her mouth to speak. Then she shut it again. Merlin watched her, unsure what to say on the topic. She tried forming words again, this time she was successful.

"It seemed so real."

Merlin narrowed his eyes, and his thoughts trailed back to a previous conversation with Gaius. He could have sworn Gaius had mentioned Morgana's dreams before. He was so overwhelmed he could not access this memory, which annoyed him.

"Did Gaius ever give you anything for these dreams?" He asked taking one of the books from the shelf. He threw it onto the table and began skimming through pages. Headaches, chest pains, unconsciousness, tiredness…

"They don't work, it's just as bad."

He beckoned her towards the table where he leant over the book.

Abdominal cramps, nausea, swelling, paleness, inflammation…page turn.

"How often do you have these dreams?" Merlin asked curiously, feeling slightly more like a Physician by the second.

Paralysis, influenza, vomiting, warts, coughing, irritable skin…

Morgana's voice sounded through Merlin's head.

"It depends," she began.

Page turn…Blue lips, tenderness, strain, rash, brain disturbance, scolds, cataracts, facial pain, anxiety…

"It depends on how-" she cut herself off mid sentence, her words drenched in concern.

Noticing her shift of behaviour, Merlin lifted his eyes from the book and turned to face her. Her skin looked incredibly pallid, her hands trembling. Merlin leant across the table towards her in interest. She was going to say something then, but she decided not to. Whatever it was, it had shaken her. Their eyes caught, in which Merlin expressed his curiosity. Morgana averted her eyes quickly, swallowing-hard.

"Depends on what?"

There was a silence, in which Morgana fiddled agitatedly with her fingers. Merlin narrowed his eyes, catching onto how awkward she had become. She was hiding something, he could tell. Closing the book, he focused all his attention on her, awaiting a reply.

"It depends on…how tired I am." She said, her voice quiet enough to be mistaken for a trick of the mind.

Shaking off his suspicions, Merlin did not identify her continued sense of discomfort. He smiled weakly and put the book back on the shelf. Clasping his hands together he caught her eyes and rested a hand on the wooden table.

"Then I'd suggest more sleep. But then, I'm not Gaius…"

He hit a nerve in both of them. The air around became tight. Merlin adjusted his crimson scarf and studied the floor. Morgana frowned, lifting her head to address Merlin.

"Do you miss him?" She pried, eyes twinkling with sadness.

Gazing up at the King's beautiful ward, Merlin nodded slowly, tapping his fingers on the wooden desk. It was clear he wasn't keen on elaborating on the subject. Yet when he saw how Morgana's eyes were close to tears, he realised she needed assurance more than ever. Casting aside his own pain, Merlin replied.

"More than ever. He was like a father to me, he still is. I don't know what I shall do without him."

Pushing her hair off her face, Morgana watched Merlin become suddenly interested in the wooden table. Though she knew he was merely trying to divert his thoughts away from Gaius.

"Gaius has treated me since I was a little girl, many times I have come to him in need and he has been there for me."

"He's a wonderful man, and a good physician." Merlin added. He hit another nerve.

Blood rushed to Morgana's face, her jaw tightened.

"How could Uther do this to him? He treated me the best he could." She spoke in a tone revealing disgust and stubbornness.

Merlin suppressed his chuckle. She really was the only person he knew that wasn't afraid of Uther. She stood up to him, she answered him back. She disobeyed him; she was full of passion for what she believed in. It was an admirable trait.

"As strongly as we feel on this subject, it's too late. There is nothing we may do." Merlin sadly stated, in a tone lacking life.

"We have each other Merlin; Gaius would have wanted us to look out for one another." The woman replied, smiling at Merlin softly.

Merlin returned the smile and nodded silently, rather touched by her words. Walking towards the door, Morgana embellished the silence with her grace.

"Thank you for listening to me Merlin." She quickly added.

"Anytime." He kindly responded, opening the door for her.

Stepping out of the door, Morgana revealed an attempt at a smile and it was then Merlin saw something was still troubling her. Leaning against the wooden door, Merlin waited for an explanation.

"Please, watch yourself around Edwin." She spoke warningly with anticipation.

Hesitantly, Merlin nodded still confused as to why her suspicions had favoured Edwin. It was understandable, Edwin taking Gaius' place, there was bound to be a hint of dislike. But she didn't know Edwin. Edwin wasn't deceptive. He was kind and trusting. Morgana didn't know Edwin's secret; Merlin did. Edwin was a sorcerer like himself, and he was great company, for they could practise magic together in peace.

"If it eases your worries."


Next time:

"You are to pack your belongings."

Confusion pelted Merlin in the face. The prince's words woke him up fully. Why was he to pack his stuff? Where was he going? Why couldn't he stay here?

"Why?"

---

"I am NOT wearing that ridiculous hat again-"

Arthur chuckled, clamping a hand down on Merlin's shoulder, wrestling him from side to side playfully.

"Oh don't worry Merlin," he winked mischievously.

"I've got something better."

----

"You don't have to hide your feelings for Gwen Merlin. Its ok-"

Merlin staggered backwards in shock- what?!

"But I don't-"

----

Only one thought lingered in Merlin's mind. He expressed it bitterly aloud.

"I think I preferred the hat."

Hope you liked the first chapter :D

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please review if you can even if it's just a "love it" or "hate it" so I know what you're thinking!
Updating soon,

thanks for reading guys,

Until next time,

Izzy