This is my first Merlin story; I've absolutely fallen in love with the show so I've decided to write for it. This will be a time travel story, which is my favorite kind to write. Pairings will be canon (sorry slash fans), please enjoy!
Three young people darted through the thick underbrush of Camelot's great forest, their way illuminated only by the scarce amount of moonlight that managed to pierce its way through the ancient tangle of trees. All three were exhausted, their faces coated in sweat, their pants the only sound in the otherwise silent wood.
At the head of the pack jogged a bright eyed girl. She wore a cloak of the deepest blue, a leather bag hung from her shoulder, and her dark black hair was pulled into a single long braid. Her mode of was dress was greatly contrasted by that of her companions, who were dressed in full combat armor, with steel plates that covered an under layer of chainmail. One was male, the other female.
The armored girls face was stony and determined. Her hair was a bright blonde, and whipped behind her as she ran. The boy, her brother, wore a much lighter face, though with the same determination. With a puff of breath he blew a curled strand of his owns much darker hair from his eyes.
Many hours passed as the trio journeyed through the woods, the already setting sun finished its descent into the horizon, and the moon took its place, full and gleaming. The edge of the forest came into sight, and they briefly left the shelter of the trees. Far in the distance the castle of Camelot glittered like a jewel, the tiny lights of city around it adding to its luster.
They stared at it for a moment, and then retreated into the trees. Coming together in a small clearing, the three of them settled down for a long needed the rest, lying back against the rough trunks of the trees. The armored boy quickly gathered a small pile of loose twigs and sticks. He pulled a flint from his belt and a dusty stone from the ground. Kneeling beside the pile he began to strike them together, gazing up at the robed girl as he did so.
"Couldn't you just do this, Rowena?" he asked hopefully. She had the means to do it much faster. Rowena shook her head absently, staring out into the distance, lost in thought.
"I can't, any magic I use may give our presence away. No one can know we're here. Not yet."
"It's been a while since you've done it manually eh, Tom?" his armored sister teased quietly, a playful smile gracing her lips despite the seriousness of the situation at hand.
"Well of course it has 'graine," Tom replied, calling her by her most hated nickname. He looked down at his work, glaring at the sparks that refused to take. "I've never really need to considering I hang around with a girl who can literally think flames into existence."
After several minutes of trying, Tom finally managed to ignite the tinder, and a tiny blaze burst into life, bringing light and warmth to the tired travelers. The siblings stripped off their armor, which had long ago grown cumbersome. Alongside the armor they laid their weapons, beautifully crafted swords that were now covered in nicks and dings from their most recent uses.
For what seemed like hours they sat in silence, contemplating their next course of action. Had they landed in the right place? Time was a fickle thing, and if it turned out that they'd arrived in the wrong period, they had no way of trying again. No second chances. No room for mistakes.
"What do we do now?" Ygraine asked the question they'd all been thinking. "Can you tell if we're in the right time period, Ro'?"
"Yes," Rowena replied confidently, taking gulp of the cool night air. "I can feel it, we're where we need to be." There was a pregnant pause. "I'm going to see Kilgharrah," she said standing up, placing her bag on the ground. Both her friends' heads turned to her in an instant.
"Why?" they demanded in unison.
"Because," she answered. "He knows things, he's near omniscient. His intentions maybe selfish, but he can still offer guidance if he's persuaded properly."
"We're coming with you,' Tom told her, clambering to his feet, pulling the final armor piece from his shoulder, leaving him in a simple tunic and breeches. Ygraine nodded in agreement, moving to rise as well.
"No," Rowena told them sternly. "We can't all sneak into the castle at once, we'll be found. And besides, you both need rest, you're exhausted." Her eyes flashed towards Ygraine. "I know for a fact you haven't slept in at least two days."
"I'm fine," the blonde girl insisted irritably. The old girl gave her a pointed look. Ygraine groaned.
"Fine," she said, lying back in the moist grass. "But you'd better wake me when me when you get back, I don't want to be left out of the loop." Rowena nodded. Tom sank back to the ground, and laid beside his sister, letting his weariness take him. Taking a long, deep breath, Rowena stepped out of the forest, and lifted the hood of her robe to conceal her face.
Wind whistled across the plain as she walked, stinging her dark blue eyes. The elevation slowly rose as she went, and before long she walking up a hill, at the top of which stood the great gates of Camelot. Rowena felt herself take a sharp breath as she stepped onto the cobblestone road that led into the city. She couldn't be seen, not by anyone. It could ruin everything.
The streets of the town were unusually busy for this time of night. Servants moved in groups carrying out various errands, and others escorted elegant horses in expensive saddles towards the stables. A banquet was going on, and its exalted guests could be nothing less than royalty. Under normal circumstances her curiosity would have gotten the better of her, and she would rush to discover who the visitors were, but now was not the time.
Rowena lowered her head and kept her eyes on the ground, pushing towards her destination. Miraculously she wasn't stopped by anyone, and within ten minutes of travel she stood at the top of a huge set of spiral stairs, leading down into a dark cavern. She took the blazing torch from the wall, and her hands shook nervously. Never before had she met with someone like the dragon, who was just as mysterious as he was powerful. The stairs ended, and she entered the monstrous cavern. Before her was an empty stone platform.
"Kilgharrah!" she called, her voice reverberating around the cave. At first nothing happened, but then with a loud swoosh the great dragon soared down from the upper tiers of the cavern, his chain of bondage rattling as he flew. He briefly unfurled his massive black wings, and then turned his attention to the young girl, his gold eyes scanning her.
"Why have you come to me, young Witch," he hissed quietly. "I do not enjoy being awoken from my slumber."
"Please, ancient one," she pleaded with him. "I've come to request your help." The dragon gave her an odd look.
"Why would I give my aid, young one? Who are you to me?"
"I… I don't know," she stuttered, trying to think of a response. "I suppose you'll have to tell me." She lowered her hood, revealing her face to the dragon for the first time. His eyes met hers and Rowena felt as though she was being searched, body, mind and soul, she couldn't help but shudder. And then the dragon gave what was unmistakably a smirk.
"Ah, a time traveler," he mused. "And quite a powerful one at that. I never once thought that Merlin would have a daughter, especially by the deceased Druid girl." Rowena gaped slightly.
"How do you know I'm his daughter?"
"Your magic is akin to his, and the auras you each give off are nearly identical. Now tell me, girl, what have you come to prevent? What future disaster is so great that your father was forced to bend time to stop?" Rowena hesitated. Could she trust him, would he lead her astray? Her father had told her many stories of the dragons' wise council, but she'd also been told of his self serving motives, motives that would ultimately lead him to terrorizing the people of Camelot in retribution for the crimes of their king.
"To prevent the turning of the Lady Morgana to evil," she finally said. To her surprise the dragon laughed.
"So, he failed to stop the alliance. I can't say that I'm surprised. My words of wisdom are something he's always found hard to take seriously, and as a result, the destiny foretold by the ancient prophecies will come to pass. And now you have come to avert what he could not."
"Perhaps this is destiny," Rowena reasoned, her confidence rising. "Yes, the alliance of Morgana, Mordred and Morgause will be formed, and it will be the end of Camelot, I've seen it myself, but could it be that my presence here is not to avert destiny, but to fulfill it?"
The dragon stared at her, pondering her words and their meaning.
"You truly are your fathers' child," he told her. "He too has always sought to protect the lives of those around him, whether they deserved to live or not." He chuckled lightly. "It is for that reason that his foes are able to rise to power, he refuses to pass judgment." Rowena felt a twinge of anger, but she pulled it back.
"It isn't his right, nor is it mine to pass judgment. Please, I do not come to argue with you about the nature of destiny. I simply came to ask, will you help me?" Kilgharrah gave a long sigh, smoke billowing from his mouth and nostrils.
"I can offer only this one piece of advice to you, young witch, and that is to only change what must be changed, only when it must be changed. The ancient prophecies are vague, and nowhere do they speak of you, but perhaps what you say has some truth to it, and perhaps destiny can be forged anew."
"Thank you," she curtsied in respect. "My father always told me your guidance was vague and cryptic, but I think I understand. Thank you again, Kilgharrah." She lifted the torch once again, and turned to leave; but as she did so, he called to her once more, leaving her with a question to consider.
"Have you told your friends that they can never return to their time, that the world they once knew is gone, folded into the void of reality?"
She stopped at his words, but she did not look back. She hadn't said anything to them. She couldn't, not now while her mission was incomplete. Grieving would have to come later, forward was the only path now.
Morgana's eyes shot open. She laid in a barren field, surrounded by the decaying remains of what was once a prosperous harvest. Her eyes darted in all directions, her mind filling to the brim with fear and confusion. The world around her was devoid of color, from the swirling sky above her to her very skin, which was now a pale dusty shade. She looked up, and in the distance stood Camelot Castle, ablaze with grey smoky flames.
Suddenly sound erupted around her, and she leapt to her feet in surprise. The shouts of men and screams of women and children pierced her eardrums. People appeared as if from nowhere, running past her unaware of her presence, desperately running for safety. She screamed as the world literally fell apart around her, fading into nothingness before instantly reforming before her. Now she stood in the castle courtyard, where upturned carts burned and the bodies of soldiers lay splayed across the ground.
"Over here!" a familiar voice called. She turned on her heel to see Arthur accompanied by four knights dash towards her. Arthur's cheek was cut and bleeding and each of his fellow warriors bore battle wounds. Cries for their attention escaped her lips, but now sound reached them.
The prince approached the body of a fallen soldier and gestured to the knights. Together they dragged to the stone columns that lined the courtyard, paying respect to their fallen comrades. A loud bang ripped through the somber silence as a crackling ball of energy came into the contact with the ground at the knight's feet, launching two of the four into the air.
Arthur and Morgana turned to see three figures garbed in black cloaks, hoods covering their faces. The leader had a hand raised, light twirling around long feminine looking fingers. The being to the left was significantly shorter, coming only to the leader's waist. A small hand emerged from the fold of the cloak, and with a flick of the wrist the entire courtyard became engulfed in white hot flames.
"Retreat!" Arthur bellowed, pulling a knight as the group launched themselves towards the oaken double doors that led into the castle.
The scene shifted once more, and Morgana let loose another scream as she appeared in the center of the throne room. The doors slammed open, Arthur and company entering the room in a wild frenzy. Then she saw him, Uther, standing beside his throne with something in his eyes Morgana had long to see for ages, fear. Injured people both noble and peasants alike lay along the walls, Gaius tending to them as best he could aided by Guinevere and the other servant girls.
"Bar the door!" Arthur called, raising his sword, preparing for battle. The knights along with several soldiers and servants who had been taking refuge in the room pressed themselves against the double doors, using all their strength. The king drew his own sword and came to his son's side. The two shared a glance, and in Arthur's eyes there was sadness, shame, and hate.
"Where are the others?" he questioned his son. "Sir Leon?"
"Dead," Arthur spat bitterly. "We're all that's left."
Then, as they could have all predicted, the doors ruptured open. Those who held it shut were flung in all directions, the splintered remains of the doors piercing their bodies. The three cloaked beings strode into the room, an evil sort of arrogance defining their stature. The middle figure stepped towards the two waiting Pendragons while the others stepped to the sides, raising their arms.
Morgana watched in horror as those in the hall were thrown to the side, held in place by invisible hands. Arthur lunged at the cloaked figure before him, but his sword stopped inches from its target. With a great wrenching noise the sword crumpled into a ball of unrecognizable steel. Red light arched from the her hand, and Arthur collapsed to the ground, trace amounts of blood pooling around him, Gwen's scream of anguish piercing Morgana like a blade.
Uther charged forward, roaring like an animal in a vain attempt to avenge his son. His sword crumbled into dust, and he rose from the ground as if someone were lifting him by the throat. His hands clawed at his neck, but there was nothing to grasp, nothing physical to break free from. The cloaked being flicked their fingers once more, and Uther was hurled into his throne, where his arms were bound to the arms rests.
"Ibn al Xu'ffasch" a soft womanly voice spoke, revealing herself to be female. A blade of light formed in her hand, and with a single step she placed the blade at the Kings throat. Morgana stepped beside the throne and watched, eyes bulging.
"Do your worst, Sorcerer…" Uther said through gritted teeth, both fear and pride evident in his steely eyes. A soft chuckle escaped the cloaked woman's lips.
"Oh don't worry your majesty I intend to. But don't you at least wish to see the face of your assailant?" Morgana's heart ruptured in her chest as the hood was thrown back, and her own devilish face was behind it.
She let off a final blood curdling howl, and in an instant she was sitting up in bed, drenched to the bone in a cold sweat.