Reign Down On Me
Disclaimer: Merlin is not mine, though that is circumstantial to what I'm going to do with him, and, ah, other characters.
Note; this came up when I took a peek at a LJ community; kinkme_merlin, I happened to look through the archives and find a few requests – the result, well, was this, obviously. For those unfamiliar with BBC's new series, Merlin, well, its sort of my new obsession and I already have four stories in the making – now that I have a handful of days off (as this month has been nuts) I thought to work on them, and see how they were received.
Summary: As a boy, Merlin was taken in by the Druids, now with vivid Morderd at his side, and the visionary Morgana within the dyeing heart of Camelot, they aim to take down High King Uther – and release the Great Dragon with a show of magic that will quake the very foundations. In the aftermath, Merlin faces that which not even he could deny, the man-boy Prince that is his souls other half.
"Hunith, you are sure, that this… is, will be, a wise choosing for the child?" With a hushed voice, Gaius spoke as if he feared even the very wind might snatch away his words and carry them to unfriendly ears. Sorcerer in his own right, though it had been a dozen years upon the night he had foresworn magic, stood besides her now as brother.
Younger though she was, Hunith was no fickle child to change her mind at another's urging. Her fingers threading through the silky black hair of her only child, guileless blue eyes looked up at her, restless, as if the child knew what was to happen this night. As if he, her little Merlin, understood their conversation. He very well might.
"What choices have I, Gaius, truly? Merlin is a child of the Old World, for the moment the Old Religion is not looked upon as evil within Ealdor. What assurance have I that Ealdor might be taken by the likes of King Uther, in the time it will take for Merlin to grow and understand that his secret must be kept, even from peer and king alike? It is too heavy a burden to even hope that something untold will not happen in a handful of years." Wary hazel eyes glanced once again upon the open door, beyond it, the forest and fields stretched beyond sight.
It seemed unending, unchanging, yet Hunith knew it was not. It was within night that the Old Religion became something more then fleeting heathen ways and whys. By daybreak, it all seemed a passing fancy, yet there was a bitter sharpness to the truth in the moonlight. Thiers was an uncertain world, yet beyond the kept lands of kings and the tended fields, the Old Religion still held sway within the hearts of beast and man alike.
"Hunith, they are…not like us." Gaius kept his eyes adverted from the door, he knew as well as she what laid beyond the tended and tamed lands. He had turned his back upon his own magic, perhaps he feared to face those who would know his secret as soon as looking upon him.
"I know Gaius, but they well keep my Merlin safe, they will teach him their ways, and those ways are perhaps kinder then our own to the nature of how things truly are." Gaius kept his silence, though he sighed heavily. Hunith shared a smile with Merlin, who still looked up upon her. She wondered what Merlin saw when he looked upon them, her hair was healthy and lush, her skin unmarred by grit, while Gaius, only a handful of years older, held his head high though his body swooped and his hair hung lank and pale even in the kindness of firelight. Did he guess that Gaius denied his own nature and suffered for it? Or did he merely accept them without second guesses?
Out in the grove, she saw a flicker of movement – a shadow moving where there should be no shadow. She had thought they would appear like this, rather then as roaming travelers with torches to give away their presence. Still, they had right to be wary of betrayal. Gone were the days when children such as her Merlin were given to the Druids freely, in those days it was an honor. These days, the child was more likely murdered or abandoned before given up to the Druids for teachings. They had learnt their caution well. At her feet, Merlin stirred.
"Do not be frightened, my child." Hunith murmured to Merlin, stilling by will alone her quaking hands, glancing to Gaius who still stood at her side. His hand had tightened, white knuckled, about his staff. Merlin with tilted head and frowning lips watched the grove, having lost sight of the figures that moved freely within the dark.
"I am not frightened, who are they, Mother?" Merlin asked his voice wobbly and curious. He was not frightened, he had no reason to fear, she had protected him well- perhaps too well. Even though the three of them were watching, it did not seem to matter, a pair cloaked in earthen green slipped from the shadows with an ease that stung her heart. So different, so stood apart from the ordinary – would this be what her Merlin would become?
It seemed a cold fate, cruel – even though the other hand would be harsher dealt, in rotted death and seeping lies. Kinder did not make right. It was a hard choice to be made, but Hunith did not want her Merlin to grow, thinking his place in this world was something wrong or tainted. The tallest of the pair moved forward, long fingers tugged away the hood that hid a stranger's face. It was as if, upon hearing Merlin (for he surely had), he could not help in answering such questions in his own way. He would be a good teacher.
"I am Blaise. We," there was a bowed tilt to his head as he accepted the added company of the silent second, "are of the Old World, as are you. Among us, you will be accepted, befriended, we will teach you all you may learn from us, and if it suits you, you may stay among our people, or come back to your mother with knowledge to keep your magic under your will and sway." Kind eyes, though they were a dangerous flint black with the glittering marring of gold – magic's touch, not to be hidden or denied in these eyes – skittered from child to Hunith then Gaius. There was a wary tilt to his lips as he took the sight of them in, accepting; though he could hardly like that the world had changed as much as it had.
There was understanding in this stranger, and Hunith felt relief bubble up within her chest, she sighed with the ease. They would not have spoken, had they not intended to take Merlin among their own. He would be raised among them, accepted without question or reservation, taught their ways, he might even learn in time to forgive Hunith.
"Mother…?" There was no Old World maturity within Merlin's blue eyes as he turned to her, the betrayal a heavy blow. Hunith pressed her lips together, daring not to say anything. What could she say to ease this blow? Merlin thought she would be able to protect him as she always had – he did not understand that there were beasts and beings, even kings, which Hunith could do nothing against. He might even think she hated him, or this was being done against her will.
"Why…?" Merlin gasped the word, as if forcing it out no matter that it pained him. Her heart ached for him. Hunith could not look at him, fearing her heart would shatter; instead her eyes lingered on the stones that made up the hearth. Soot had gathered there, mocking in its fine grittiness. Her eyes blurred, and she blinked as her vision blurred not having the heart to wipe her tears away.
Beside her, Gaius stood firmly, watching it till the end. He would not be swayed – no matter if she blessed or cursed him – she had made her choice and even if she were not strong enough to see it though, Gaius respected and honored her by seeing her will be done.
"I love you, my Merlin." Her voice was choked, faint, and her gut churned as if she were in a storm. She had always loathed the lightning and thunder. It was a cruel irony that on this night, facing the great turmoil within her heart, it was under clear skies.
"I…I don't understand." Hunith flinched to the very marrow of her bones. Even so, she dared not look up to see Merlin. If she did, she feared in faltering what she might do. It was better this way that she may never know if Merlin hated her, or was bewildered in his betrayal.
"Someday, you will." It was Blaise who spoke, though Hunith could not help but take comfort in the surety of his words.
"Where are we going?" Resigned to his fate as the child seemed, there was a petulant curiosity about what were to be his surroundings. Blaise looked down at the child, bemused by the scowl that glared up at him. One day, this child would learn the truth, and know what had been sacrificed for him.
It was not Blaise that answered.
"We are bound to the Isle of the Blessed." With a quickly indrawn breath, the boy proved truly that he knew of such a place – if only by village mutterings. Footsteps quickening to catch up, the child pulled at the green cloak, made of finer stuff then most nobles held (though the boy would know it not), it was a firm tug, and proved to halt the stride though it had been at a determined pace.
"Will's said it's cursed." Blaise sealed his lips against a chuckle that threatened to sound aloud. It would only give the child a wounded bit of pride – that would not be such a high price, if they were not trying to gain the boys trust. As it was, he let the shadows hide his grin, aware that it was seen – not by the child, but by his companion. He would get no thanks for his humor.
"It is of the Old Religion, you are a child of the Old World – as are we – there is nothing on that Isle that would lay harm upon you." Speaking to the child from standing was a position of authority; it was why now the other knelt beside the boy, making a marked similarity in their heights.
"Why must we go there?" There was something like fright in the boy's voice, though he had hid it well. With a sigh, two pale hands brought down the hood that had hidden his companion's features. Black screw curls and ringlets fell loose and unbound about her shoulders, high cheeked and pale noble features, Nimueh always made an impression.
"We go to the Isle of the Blessed to seek the council of the Goddess, little one." Nimueh had gentled her tone and features to cater to a child's need for security and safety. She had more patience then most, coupled with her wide range of magical power, and Blaise well knew that this made her deadly.
"Wouldn't she prefer to be left alone?" It was a within a child's wisdom, this question. Nimueh shook her head gently, smiling but faintly even so not to seem to mock the child whose magical nature might someday sweep to overpower her own. She reached out a finger to point within the boy's chest.
"No. She is within us all, we of the Old World, she has gifted us with the favor of magic, to ignore her calling to the Isle of the Blessed would be to slight her. Else while, how else would we learn your name?" There was a teasing tone to her words, though they were spoken with no lack of truth. This time the boy frowned, now confused.
"My name is Merlin." It was not a wholly sure fact, as the waver in the boys words were noticed, even to the child.
"Is it now?" Nimueh gave another of her gentle knowing smiles and stood, this time when she walked onward, the child did not pull her back to speak – instead, he followed, wordlessly. His mind was not so silent, and it would have been easy to pull a thought from his mind, if they wished to invade his privacy. He did not yet know he was rude, for all that among them, this was a fact he did not know and they did not tell him as it was ruder still to address one of their own in manners while lacking a name – he would learn it soon enough.
Note; the challenges taken to be tied into "Reign Down On Me."
Anon. Request #1
http : // community . livejournal . com / kinkme_merlin / 1108 . html ? thread = 302420 # t302420
Arthur/Merlin, Merlin is raised by the druids and has never met Arthur. He becomes their leader because he's so powerful. When Arthur is captured by the druids, they want to kill him but Merlin decides he'd rather keep him as a pet. Powerful!Merlin and Consort!Arthur. Bonus points if Merlin is vindictive and sends Uther images of just what he's doing to his son :D
Anon. Request #2
http : // community . livejournal . com / kinkme_merlin / 1108 . html ? thread = 250196 # t250196
Arthur/Merlin, emotional trauma. Arthur finds out the truth about his birth. He's utterly devastated. He blames himself not only for his mother's death but also for starting the purges. He knows about Merlin's magic and he thinks Merlin must hate him now he knows the truth (that it's his fault magical people are persecuted). Merlin has to convince him otherwise :D