Title: An Uncertain Path

Disclaimer: Sorry to disappoint, it is entirely unfair not to call this fabulous series not my own creation. If I did, I wouldn't be sitting in this chair and typing up this story.

Summery: Twenty-years have passed, since the passing of Igraine, and the disappearance of Uther and Igraine's infant son. Arthur has grown up not knowing about his true inheritance. All he knows is how to hunt and to fight for survival, until he comes across a clumsy young man. AU, set before the Dragon's Call and in-between.

A/N: Yes, I know another one. Who cares. Not doing the others until I know whether or not it is worth continuing them. So don't expect an update any time soon. Mean, I know. Not usually mean and cold hearted, blame the heat for the meanness with in my good heart.

Pairings: Arthur/Merlin (Just as really good friends and nothing more than that sorry), Arwen (just love that shipment above all others), little Merlin and Morgana maybe not sure yet. Depends.

Rated-PG

Author: Tivalilly

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Chapter 1:

The Hunter & Warlock Meet

. . . . . . .

Twenty-years ago;

The bells chimes were letting all in both Palace and town. It was the sound for a cause for a celebration. Celebrating the birth of the future king has been born to the world.

They weren't the happy chimes for all to celebrate new life.

Instead it was the warning chimes. A warning for what, no one would know until dawn.

Uther Pendragon and his beautiful Queen, the Lady Igraine were smiling at the little baby boy. Tufts of blond locks glistened at its crown, big blue eyes had no traces of a babes tears. There were no words to help express either proud parent, pure joy of finally giving birth to a healthy young boy.

Yet to give their infant son a name. No words need to be told that their child is indeed a miracle to behold and to be seen with wide and cautious eyes.

"Igraine?" Uther whispers her name in fear, when Igraine's eyes begin to droop. Either out of tiredness or something much worse, which is causing Uther to fear for the life of his son's mother.

"Gaius!" Uther yells out the physicians name, traces of fear linger in his normally well guarded voice.

Something wasn't right with Igraine. Her beautiful clear blue eyes were sealed shut, except for a tear dripping from the corner of her eyes. The tear splashes onto the head of their baby son, not yet had a name to be called by. This wasn't a time for giving names, this is a time for mourning a great loss. Uther didn't need Gaius to tell him that Igraine is indeed truly gone.

Carefully taking his baby son from the firm, but caring hold of his mothers and handing him over to the wet-nurse. Telling expressively to the young woman to take care of the young prince.

That was the last time anyone had seen or heard from the wet-nurse, whose arms had held a mere babe. The son of Uther and Igraine, also was taken on that sad day.

What ever had happened to the prince, no one knows or where the woman or the prince has gone to. Uther was too distraught to send out riders to search for the child, so distraught of both losing a son and the mother in the same night. Nor was there a name for the young prince, to remembering by.

Twenty years later;

A young man of the age of twenty years old. Watching silently at his prey, a young doe. The young man has learnt how to hunt long ago and has a knack for survival. Grown up, not knowing his true birth-right or who his family is. The only thing the young man is aware of is his name, given to him by a kind old lady. Gertrude says she found him near drown in river close by, by sheer luck it was that Gertrude came by and saved the young man from a worse fate.

Arthur. The name given to him by Gertrude and there-on it stayed that way, some reason Arthur likes his name. Bears his name with pride. Gertrude also, was the one who had taught Arthur how to hunt and more importantly, to survive in a harsh and cruel world.

Death had soon taken Gertrude in its evil clutches and had taken Gertrude's kindness from this god forsaken land. Learning what it means to grieve a great loss, for a lovely lady and her kindness towards Arthur.

Now time is once more at a stand still, as Arthur carefully takes aim. Time to let, his pigeon feathered arrow lose. To kill a dear for his evening meal. Never got the chance to take the doe's life from her form.

Instead the arrow got wedged into a near by tree, and a young man staring with wide eyes at Arthur, either in awe or shock. Arthur wasn't entirely sure.

"Well done, you have just cost me dinner for tonight," growling in disdain. "You could have been killed if my arrow hadn't wedged itself in that tree."

What a goofy grin, this man has. Arthur thought to himself.

"Sorry for you losing your deer," dark hair, was the colour of this man's. "If I had known it was your dinner tonight, I surely would have waited for a moment longer."

"You're enjoying this are you not, my dear fellow," Arthur frowns in annoyance. "What are you doing here in this forest?"

"I'm on my way to Camelot," the young man sheepishly smiles at Arthur. "I'm Merlin, by the way."

"Arthur, welcome to my home," Arthur sweeps the hand that isn't holding his bow, made of ash.

"This is your home?" Merlin clearly seems upset by this news. "Where is your house? If you do not mind me asking?"

"Burnt down, taking my mother down with the flames," Arthur was truly telling the honest truth. "That was three years ago, and than I found myself in this god forsaken forest, which I now call home."

"Why don't you come with me to Camelot?" Merlin's deep and mystical blue eyes sparkled with his intuition. "They could use an arm of yours-,"

"Why?" it has been almost three years since he was last in a civilised world. "I have everything I need right here in this forest."

"Just a suggestion," shrugging his shoulder's Merlin hoisted the straps of his pack. "It was good to meet you Arthur and good luck with your hunt for that doe."

"Suppose it wouldn't hurt to visit this grand and mythical city, they call Camelot," Arthur doesn't really want to live the forest forever nor does he really want to go to Camelot. "What do you seek in Camelot, Merlin?"

"To see an old friend of my mother's. She wants Gaius to take me under his wing," Merlin smiles foolishly with unconcealed triumph of convincing Arthur. "You could do with a decent meal."

"I eat," Arthur wasn't going to concern his new found friend, about him not being able to eat for three days. "Only when I am able to catch it in the end."

"Sure you do," Merlin rolled his eyes in disbelief. "Coming Arthur?"

"Just need to get Hasta first, as well as my belongings," Arthur starts to walk in the direction, which he came from.

"Whose Hasta?" Merlin follows Arthur to his current camp.

"My horse," was all Arthur says, clearly stating that no more questions are going to be answered today. Hasta was a well bred, young stallion. The last present Gertrude has given Arthur as a birthday present, even though neither knew when Arthur's birthday is.

"Nice horse," Merlin was admiring the young stallion. Worth more Arthur's pay that's for sure.

"Stubborn more like it," Arthur starts to pack his belongings, well what he owns into a very well worn out saddlebag.

. . . . . .

And so the two began their way to Camelot. Despite Arthur's feeling warming his belly with a warning or the feeling that something is bound to happen in the most expected way. Perhaps it was fate, showing Arthur the path for Camelot. Wasn't a mere coincidence for Arthur and Merlin's chance meeting in the forest.

Something about Arthur, which made Merlin feel either worried or proud to call the blond man a friend. Disaster can be smelled in the air, its smell coming from Arthur himself and therefore Merlin has made it his duty to protect his friend from any foe. Merlin knew it was just Destiny playing a game. A game to have this chance meeting with a young man, who has the smell of great fortune and misfortune all together. An aura of power, and there is something else that makes Arthur seem more than he appears. Perhaps it is Arthur's Destiny for greatness, and its Merlin's Destiny to protect Arthur at all costs.

. . . . .

"So this is Camelot?" Arthur was struck by the sheer beauty that was Camelot and it was clean. "Impressive."

"Better than that forest you call home," Merlin couldn't help but make fun of Arthur.

"I'm hungry, how 'bout you Merlin," Arthur asks in that smug tone of his. "After all I haven't eaten in three days certainly doesn't help."

"Why didn't you say anything?" Merlin snaps at the stubbornness within Arthur. "I could have shouted you some of my bread-,"

"It doesn't matter now Merlin, lets go and find this friend of your mothers and see if he has anything decent to consume," walking further up the streets of Camelot. "Where does Gaius live exactly?"

"In the palace, according to mother, he is the court physician," Merlin didn't know he whispered his answer to Arthur, just didn't trust the way some of the people were watching them. "Why do I get the feeling that we are being watched?"

"Because we are being watched Merlin, must be your goofy face," Arthur snorts with friendly laughter.

With Hasta leading behind them, with most of there belongings tied to the back of his saddle. Arthur was slightly nervous for some strange reason, may be it was the fact they were being scrutinised. Almost as if they were vermin and extremely hard to scrub away.

"Best find a stable or someplace for Hasta, if I have the money to afford one," Arthur didn't trust Hasta being tied somewhere, where eyes or the hands of horse thieves could steal Hasta.

Even though Hasta has a nasty habit of not trusting most of the two-legged kind, he'll only trust Arthur or Merlin now to look after him. The tall bay stallion can turn real nasty in a blink of an eye. May appear to be a big softy, not until one comes forth and then danger strikes.

. . . . .

Gaius was found in his chambers within the palaces, after Arthur had found a spare stable here in the royal stables to stay and to rest. Also after the spectacular act of seeing a man being is headed, being suspect for using enchantments and practicing them within Camelot itself. When Merlin realises that all isn't as grand in Camelot, especially to the ones who wield magic and use for their own personal ends.

"What did you just do?" the elder man with shoulder length hair, any colour of what his hair could have been in his younger days have all but, evaporated to a shocking white.

"That had nothing to do with me," trying hard not to glance back at Arthur to see what his reaction was after Merlin had used his power to save an old man from a worse fate.

"It surely wasn't your friend's doing. I know it was you, just want to know where you've learnt how to use it?" Gaius accusingly asks in a shaky voice, but with a stern undertone to it.

"I never learnt or been taught how to use magic, it just happens," how must Arthur or Gaius might be feeling towards this shocking establishment that was Merlin's doing. "I was born like this."

There he said it, not caring about the consequences of using magic to save a life. Surely isn't that terrible if it is only used to protect and not to take a life.

"Why didn't you tell me this?" Arthur's voice croaked with what was left of his shock.

"Why hadn't you told me of you not eating for three days?" Merlin swivels to face Arthur to gain back their new found friendship, if it were indeed lost just now. "We all have something to hide Arthur, I hide my gifts and you hide your hunger-,"

"Who are you two anyway?" Gaius has only just now found his voice to ask this one question.

"I have this letter," Merlin whips out a letter from his rucksack and hands it over to the kind old man.

"Do you see me with my glasses, boy?" Gaius raises his fading eyebrows in question.

"I'm Merlin," Merlin answers with no traces of hesitancy.

"Hunith's son?" Gaius was now smiling with familiarity with the name that Merlin has. "Who is your friend? Is he-,"

"He has nothing to with my mother's letter. Found him hunting a deer in a forest this morning and now we've come to Camelot together," Merlin shoots a smug look in Arthur's direction.

"I nearly had that deer on my diner plate, if you hadn't disturbed my hunt," Arthur didn't offer a smile in return, instead he introduces himself to Gaius. "I'm Arthur. Here for a proper meal and then I am off again."

"Where abouts are you from Arthur?" Gaius asks in a kind voice.

"Not sure to be exactly. Here and there in a forest not far from here," Arthur isn't sure how he can tell about his past. "My family are long dead and now here I am-" Arthur sweeps one of his arms dramatically around Gaius' chambers.

"You are more then welcome to stay here for as long as you are comfortable, the same applies to Merlin here," Gaius isn't sure, but he swears he has seen similar eyes before (Arthur's eyes).

. . . . . .

With his stomach now full to the top. Arthur wasn't sure if moving up and about would be a wise choice to make. Merlin has taken up the bed, while Arthur gets to sleep on the floor in the same room. Not that Arthur is complained, slept in worse conditions than this.

Learning about Merlin's gifts was difficult to explain with plain or elegant words. Arthur had just thought that Merlin was a clumsy fool, with a goofy grin and an even bigger idiot.

May have just met a few hours earlier, but that didn't require Arthur to grow an unnatural trust towards a mere stranger. Trust a sorcerer with his life, now that is something completely out of the old record books. Merlin has made Arthur look a complete and utter fool in front of Gaius. Have to give the other man some credit, did save an old man his life. That has to be worth some credit in the end.

Merlin's little secret isn't the only reason to cause Arthur to have another restless night's sleep. Its almost as if he was meant to live in Camelot, it feels like the home he has always dreamt of living in. Gertrude has said to Arthur multiple times, that Arthur was born with an unnatural skill with not only the bow, but with the sword. Knew how to wield a sword without being taught, just Merlin saying he hasn't been taught how to use magic.

Camelot.

Perhaps this where his journey had started, twenty years ago. After being left to drown, if Gertrude hadn't come by.

He'll stay. Arthur has decided, it may be well worth it in the end. Could find his true family and where in this land is his true purpose lies.

Born for great achievements, which is also another mantra implanted in his mind. By mumblings of an aging woman.

. . . . . .

Chapter 2: will be posted shortly. Enjoy it while it lasts, me dears. Let me know if you wish me to continue with this one, if not then it will be history. Shame really. Hannah.