Author's Note - Okay, so I know there have been a few of these but I have decided mine's going to be the best *cough* *cough*. In essence, this is set after the series that has just finished and A & M go to the future. Hopefully won't be to cheesy. I gurantee it will be interesting. :)
Btw, its not like the AU ones where the whole cast is put in a high school community or whatever. Its actually them going forwards in time and then thinking 'What the f*** is going on....'
The cavern was dark and smelt ancient; a thousand or two's inhabitants having left their distinctive scents behind. It was difficult to see anything past a few inches in front of your nose. That was if you looked straight into the depths of the cave, if you looked back behind you then you could see the entrance and the rushing water that concealed it. Not only could you see the water but you could hear it gushing over the rocks and pummelling the ground below; the sound reverberated around the cave – a constant companion.
A few remaining small creatures scuttled about in the shadows.
Advancing further into the quickly blackening space, the noise of the waterfall grew quieter, more muffled but the darkness grew. It was hard to know where the cavern ended; for all you knew it could be several hundred feet back or just one step away. You had to make a judgement call on whether to progress – use senses other than sight in order to perceive your surroundings. Touch was the most useful. As you reached out with your hands you felt momentarily hopeless, a blind man falling through space, and then you touched the cave wall and all was well again.
The wall was damp to the fingertips and coated with slime, no doubt caused by the cascading water outside. There was no way of deciphering what exactly the substance was because of the lack of light. For now it would be left unnamed.
However, the slime slowly disappeared as you moved along the wall and the rock became drier and rougher as it bent. The turning was almost imperceptible and would probably have been missed without careful inspection. It was a passageway into another chamber of the cavern. A secret cranny just waiting to be explored.
"Ow!" a voice yelped with surprise and pain.
A sigh. "What happened?"
"I smashed my bloody nose on a bloody rock."
"Well that wasn't very intelligent."
"Excuse me, but it was hardly my fault. If someone had remembered to bring a torch then it wouldn't have happened." The reply managed to be both indignant and accusing at the same time.
"Oh, why didn't you say so?" A mock-surprised tone laced with amusement. "I did bring a torch."
"Then why didn't you light the damn thing. Sometimes, Merlin, you can be a complete idiot."
"I wasn't the one who walked into a wall." The retort was smart and no doubt irritating but before any attempt at a reply could be made, just at that moment, the fire burst into life and the, once dark, space was now completely illuminated.
Two young men stood in the sudden brightness and squinted, trying to adjust to the change in environment. Once they had recovered, they both stared at one another; one with a glare and the other with a smile twitching at his lips. However, his smile faded when he saw the state that his friend was in.
Arthur's nose was grotesque in the shimmering flames, swollen and bleeding. Merlin was astonished as to how much damage he could do to himself by literally just walking into a wall. He must have head-butted the rock to do that much harm; he looked as if he'd just taken an extremely hard punch to the nose or perhaps been kicked in the face by a horse. Either one and he wouldn't have faired much worse. Padding slowly over to the injured man, the manservant tentatively raised a hand to prod the fast inflating nose.
"Oi, don't do that." Arthur shoved him away, still glowering though this time Merlin wasn't sure whether he was mad at him or the pain.
"Sorry…about the torch thing," Merlin mumbled.
"It's fine. Now can we go and then maybe I can get this sorted out back at the castle."
Merlin was torn, on the one hand he knew that Arthur needed medical treatment for that wound was undoubtedly painful, but on the other he desperately wanted to explore that passageway. It had some kind of power over him, enticing him in like a charmer to a snake. It wasn't a want, it was a physical need.
"Um…" he said, "You go on outside and maybe splash some cold water on that to reduce the swelling. I'll be out in a minute."
As soon as he'd spoken, Merlin felt bad because he saw Arthur's face fall. He was hurt that his manservant wasn't helping him. The young man almost changed his mind but then the urge was there again – he had to explore that passage.
Needing to clarify why he was staying behind and deserting his friend, Merlin said, "I dropped my…clasp from my cloak. It must have fallen off." Satisfied with the excuse, the prince nodded and, still tipping his head forward in an effort to ease the flow of blood, he left.
Excited, the young warlock entered the secret chamber.
This chamber was smaller and perfectly circular in shape. But that wasn't what caught the warlock's attention as he walked in. No. What had his attention was the fact the whole space was sparkling – like millions of the stars in the night sky had been trapped in this little place. He had to blink several times to understand what was going on and even then he found it hard to believe his eyes. The cave was full of crystals. Crystals that were illuminated by the flickering flames of his torch and threw hundreds of light rays off in different directions creating the illusion of stars.
Merlin's eyes widened with complete amazement.
Stepping cautiously into the centre of the circular space, he spun on the spot taking in all the beautiful crystals that were bejewelling the rocky walls. Leaning over to one side, he carefully felt one of the glittering stones and found they were strangely warm to the touch. Overcome with curiosity, the young man gripped the crystal harder and tugged, gently at first but then with more force. The stone cracked and came away from the wall in a piece about the size of a plum. It wasn't completely spherical in shape but relatively close. The warlock stared in awe at the rare stone in his palm.
It was then that something else caught his eye. There was an engraving on the wall. His interest piqued once more, Merlin hurried over to read the words written there, the crystal still clasped tightly in his hand. His heart quickened with excitement when he realised what it was: a spell.
Without thinking, Merlin began to read.
Arthur had waited a couple of minutes for his friend, bathing his hot, painful nose in the cool, clear water. It was a nice sensation and the searing sensation subsided to a less acute but still painful throb. He could now think clearly once again. As he did think, he realised that his manservant didn't even have a clasp on his cloak. So what was he still doing inside the cave then?
Confused and more than a little annoyed, the prince rose to his feet from his crouched position on the bank and walked, purposefully, through the gap behind the waterfall that led to the cave. He was quiet with his footfalls so he could catch Merlin at whatever he was doing before he could hide it.
At first, he couldn't see the boy anywhere but then he noticed a strange, shimmering light issuing from a small crevice in the wall to his left. Now quite perturbed as to what had happened to his servant, the man walked towards to ethereal light and gave up all pretences of trying to be sneaky.
"Merlin?!" he called, loudly. "Merlin?" There was an edge of anxiety to his usually assured voice. "Merlin, where are you? If you don't get here within the next minute you're fired."
Arthur slipped through the gap.
And then the world dissolved in a blinding, white flash.
Face down - that was how he landed, with his cheek resting on familiarly soft grass. He inhaled slowly, the scent of freshly cut grass assaulting his nostrils. It was as he breathed in, however, that the pain returned and his nose burned. Opening his eyes and sitting up, Arthur winced, trying to ignore the building agony. It felt as if his head was about to explode. He must have landed on it funny when he fell, he deduced.
Hang on…when did he fall? And since when did a cave have a grass floor? Bewildered, Arthur looked around him and saw that he was surrounded by some trees and some flowers, a fence or two. To his right was what looked like a small lake with a couple of ducks quacking merrily on the surface. He decided he must be somewhere near the village for he could hear people's voices but how did he get here? Maybe he fainted and Merlin carried him here. Now that would be embarrassing. But then where was his manservant?
Merlin was no where to be seen. Arthur half hoped that he would pop out from behind one of the trees and laugh because he had tricked his master into fretting. Somehow though, the prince knew that that wasn't going to happen, no matter how much he hoped.
Instead of Merlin, he saw a small child wander down a path, which seemed to have strangely been put in the middle of the field, and reach out towards the ducks. She squealed in delight when they quacked at her and swam closer. Considering how far she was leaning over the lake, Arthur was worried that she was going to lose her balance and topple in. Fortunately, just at that moment, a woman came over to her and caught the back of her shirt. She was chuckling and smiling whilst the girl reached up to her wanting to be lifted. The woman was quite pretty, Arthur registered, with very shiny hair the colour of mahogany and…wait a minute….why on earth was she wearing trousers?
Just before Arthur could think anything more of it, he felt a tap on his shoulder. He whipped round to come face to face with a tall man with a short crop of brown hair. The man was dressed all in white.
"Oi, mate, d'you mind moving off the pitch? We have a cricket match and you're in the way." The stranger had an odd accent and the way he said things was bizarre but Arthur understood him. Well, apart from a couple of words: like cricket?
"Aw damn, look at his face, he's been in the wars." Another fellow had joined them, his expression sympathetic.
"Hey, mate, I think you need to go to hospital," the first man said, offering him a hand up. Arthur didn't take it.
Hospital? What on earth?
"I don't think he understands you, Ned. Maybe he's got concussion or something. Should we call an ambulance?"
"Um…that might be a good idea."
Quite a crowd had formed by now and poor Arthur was sat in the middle of it, in pain and completely and utterly befuddled. People were asking him questions but he couldn't reply, his brain just wasn't cooperating and it wasn't like they were easy to understand in the first place. Though he did understand one thing and that was that they had mentioned a doctor and he thought that was a good idea. They'd also mentioned he'd been in a fight, he wouldn't correct them, it was better than walking into a wall any day.
A weird, high pitched noise reached the prince's ears and he winced. What in god's name…?
"Ah, the ambulance is here. It's all right, mate, they'll fix you up. By the way, what's your name?" Ned asked.
"Arthur," Arthur replied, dazed as two people dressed in green rushed up to him, "Arthur Pendragon."
I hope you think I have them in character. Please, review!