First story here! Woot! Hopefully this ends alright! Not sure how good it's gonna turn out. Let's see if I can figure out Fanfictions way of doing things or I'll screw this up epically. blah. Yes, I am aware that Arthur belongs with Gwen. Do I care? No. Also, though this one follows one of the episodes not all will. Add disclaimer here stating I don't own Merlin that I only own Artemis.
"How has my most frequent patient been feeling?" The young woman asked opening the eye of the little boy in front of her to check inside of it. She was a pretty girl with fair skin, dark brown (nearly black hair), and bright lively, but sharp blue eyes.
"Better," he replied.
"It looks like the pink eye is gone. No more irritation?" she asked. The boy shook his head. It was just a normal day for the woman. She was the only physician in the small village of Ealdor. To the people of Ealdor she was a strange girl, but a respected one. The people of Ealdor had never seen her in a dress nor seen her have any sort of feminine qualities. She usually wore black or brown breeches with black or brown boots and a more feminine tunic. It was usually flowing at the sleeves and ended at her elbows. There was a black belt around her waist. The tunic was usual brown, blue, green, or black.
For the most part, she was hardheaded, strong, fierce, and temperamental, but that was only toward those who did not know her. She was occasionally seen with a weapon of some sort, but the people of Ealdor saw her as a saint. She hunted for them and helped their sick. She prepared funerals for them. She helped with the crop. She livened the village with grand stories of adventure and songs of love, regret, battles, and lose. She was a blessing to them. She was sweet and kind to them in a way that most people would find it impossible to do.
The young woman finished checking the boy before she helped the boy off the counter.
"What do you say?" his mother asked.
"Thank you Lady Artemis," he replied looking at the woman. She smiled and set a hand on his head before ruffling his hair.
"No problem Jacob," she said. "Just don't get sick again kiddo. You'll wear me down if you continue with this sick spree." Sudden screaming filled the house. Artemis looked toward were it was coming from. "Stay here," she told Jacob and his mother. Artemis exited through the door and to the living section of the house instead of the patients' rooms. She looked out the window. She saw many men on house back.
"What is it Artemis?" Jacob's mother asked.
"Kanan," she replied bitterly. She continued to watch out the window. Kanan drew back his hand before he hit Artemis's mother. Blood boiling Artemis ran outside to her mother, Hunith. She knelt down and looked at the wound.
"Are you alright?" she asked. She nodded. She looked up with cold eyes at Kanan on his horse.
"I will give you a week," he said. "Don't you dare disappoint me."
"If you dare come back in a week, you will regret it," Artemis said. "I will see you dead." Her mother gripped arm to warn her to stop. He laughed. Artemis sat there bitterly.
"I'll see you later sweetheart," he replied simply before him and his band left.
"Let me take a look at that," Artemis said helping Hunith up. They walked together back to their home. Artemis lightly dabbed it with alcohol before sighing. "Can't really do anything for the bruising."
"I'm going to Camelot," she said. "To try and get add from King Uther." Artemis sighed.
"I figured as much. I should go though instead of you. I am younger and can most likely get there faster. Not that your old...," she said with a laughed.
"You are needed here. If Kanan comes back, you are probably the only one who will be able to hold him back."
"No, I will go." Artemis thought about it just for a second before she nodded.
"I will wait for your return." Hunith set off as soon as possible carrying as little as possible.
It was a week later and Artemis was in the back with a patient when the ruckus started again.
"Okay how does it feel?" she asked.
"Yucky," the little girl in front of her said. Her name was Sarah. Artemis laughed.
"I bet. It seems you may have strep."
"Is that bad?"
"If untreated yes, but lucky I am here. Yes?" she said with a smile. Screaming rang through the room.
"Stay here," she told Sarah. Artemis went through the door to the main house. She looked out her window. Kanan and his men were back. As long as they didn't find the food they kept hidden they would be fine. Kanan would be on his way and nothing more than that. She watched from the window. She saw his men digging by were the food was.
"Wat's goin' on?" Sarah asked coming from the back room. Artemis looked at her.
"Nothing dear," she replied with a smile before walking to her. "Come on." She brought Sarah back to the back room and set her down on the counter. "Here. Take this and keep quiet." She gave Sarah a piece of bread. It was a treat to villagers who couldn't get a lot of things. "Stay here. I mean it this time." Artemis went back to her window to see a fight commencing. She grabbed her sword off the table and rushed outside to help. A man of Kanan's nearly took out a blonde haired man that was fighting on her village's side. Artemis easily took his life without a second thought before another nearly took her head off. She landed a kick on him square in the chest sending him flying a few feet. She looked at the boy. He was good looking, about her age with blond hair and cloudy bluish-gray eyes. "Don't know who you are, but I just saved your life," she laughed. "Glad to have someone fighting with me."
"You'll pay for this with your lives! All of you!" Kanan yelled getting on his horse. He rode away.
"Come back you coward!" Artemis yelled as he was leaving.
"Artemis!" a woman ran toward Artemis. "Where's Sarah?"
"Sarah? Oh! Sarah!" She yelled smacking her head. "She's inside. I'll finish with her in a mo. I just want to make sure everyone's okay. Can you go keep her company?" she woman nodded. Artemis sheathed her sword before running off leaving the young man to stare at her in confusion. Artemis helped return the goods to the cellars before checking on anyone who was injured. None had gotten seriously injured just a little beat up, scared, and bruised.
They were soon all gathered together to listen to the blonde speak. He had arrived with three others: a girl with dark hair, eyes, and slightly dark skin; a very beautiful woman with a fair complexion and dark brown hair; and a slightly goofy looking boy with nearly black hair and blue eyes. She knew the last to be Merlin, her dear brother.
"I know Kanan's kind," the blond said. "He'll be back and when he is... you must be ready for him. First of all we have to prepare-"
"Am I the only one wondering who the hell this is?" a villager near her asked. She knew him as Will. He was a good friend, but a pain sometimes. She wasn't above abusing him. There was silence. Artemis spoke.
"He's Prince Arthur of Camelot," she said. "The woman with fair skin next to him is King Uther's ward the Lady Morgana. The other woman I assume is a maid for Lady Morgana, but most likely knows how to fight. If I had to guess she's a blacksmith's daughter. "
"Uh, yeah, and I'm Prince William of Ealdor," Will replied. A loud smack was heard as Artemis hit him hard upside the head.
"Do not patronize me. He is here to help."
"He's made this worse," he argued with her. "Kanan will be back and when he is he'll want revenge. You've just signed our death warrant."
"He saved Mathew's life," Artemis's mother objected.
"It's alright Hunith," the prince said. "This is his village. What would you have us do?"
"We can't fight against Kanan. He has too many men."
"So what's the alternative?"
"We give him what he wants." The villagers grumbled in disagreement.
"Then what? Those of you who don't starve to death will face him again next harvest and the harvest after that."
"We'll manage. We'll survive," Will said.
"How?" some of the villagers yelled back.
"The only way he can be stopped," the prince continued, "is if you stand up to him."
"No," Will objected. "You just want to honor and glory of battle. That's what drives men like you. If you want to fight, go home and risk the lives of your own people not ours."
"Will," Merlin objected as he left.
"I will follow you," Hunith said. "If I am to die, I want to go out fighting."
"That goes for me too," the man named Mathew said. There was silence among the villagers. They all looked toward Artemis. They saw her as the answer to everything.
"Artemis? What say you?" a villager asked.
"I say...," she replied looking up at the sky carefully thinking over her options. "I call dibs on Kanan." Suddenly all the villagers were joining in saying they would fight. Artemis turned around and left back to the house. Sarah was still in there. Her mother soon joined. Artemis unlocked a cabinet and pulled out a medicine bottle. "Have her take a teaspoon of this when she wakes up and again when she goes to bed. Once the bottle is down she should be better."
"Wat happen?" the girl asked.
"Nothing sweetheart. Just a bunch of men grumbling over nonsense," Artemis said. "Now, I don't want to see you again until the winter, you understand girlie?"
"Yes. Thank you Lady Artemis."
"You're welcome." Artemis turned to the mother.
"Thank you so much. You truly are a life saver. I don't know what the village would do without you."
"Well I am a saint," she laughed.
"Here," she said taking out a few copper pieces.
"No, I can't take that," Artemis said pushing it away.
"I insist." Artemis put the copper in her pocket. Together they walked into the living space. The visitors and her brother and mother were all sitting in the house. They stared at they passed, but Artemis didn't seem to notice.
"If Sarah gets a fever let me know. I may need to give her something stronger than what I gave you. It doesn't seem like she's had it long, so it should be fine, but the human body is odd like that."
"Thank you." The woman left with her daughter.
"You bringing a curse into town Merlin?" she asked staring at the door in front of her instead of her brother on her left.
"Jacob had pink eye a week ago. Emma had a fever the day after. Michael had a nasty cough yesterday. Sarah has strep today and it's the summer. I'm used to this during winter, but not during the summer. Has a sorcerer cursed you?" She finally turned to him. They stared at each other seriously before she broke into a smile. Merlin laughed before he took a step and embraced her into a hug.
"It's great to see you, and hear your awful sense of humor." She laughed.
"What are you talking about? I have a great sense of humor." They pulled away. "How are you?"
"Have you been telling Will I've been skivvying for some Prince?"
"What? Me? No. Of course not. I would never use such language. I am a proper lady," Artemis said before curtsying rather dramatically. Merlin laughed.
"You're an even worse liar than me. Proper lady? Really? I'll believe that when I see you in a dress."
"Shut it, you ungrateful... pollywacker."
"Did you just call me a pollywacker?"
"Yeah, I did. Got a problem with that?"
"I miss your nonsense insults."
"Well who left in the first place and without even so much as a goodbye?"
"You were busy."
"To busy even for a goodbye."
"Jacob had scarlet fever. Yes, you were to busy." A little annoyed Artemis pushed Merlin causing him to stumble backward and trip of furniture before ultimately falling on his face. Artemis walked away to the back room. "I miss you too!" Merlin called from the floor. Artemis slammed the back door shaking the house.
"Who was that?" Morgana asked.
"That's my twin sister Artemis. She has a bit of a temper."
"You never mentioned a sister," Arthur said.
"Yeah, well, she doesn't like me talking about her."
"You should apologize," Hunith said.
"I didn't do anything."
"You know she doesn't think that way. You did something to upset her, and her solution will be to snap at you and lash out until you apologize."
"Yeah, okay," Merlin stood and headed for the back door. He walked in before shutting it behind him. Artemis was inside washing a few utensils and putting them back in their proper drawers. "Sorry for leaving."
"Don't be. I left too in case you forgot. My leave was even more abrupt," Artemis said. "I guess I've just missed you."
"You have a funny way of showing it." They both looked at each other before laughing.
"Alright you're going to have to tell me everything," she laughed. "All the stories, all the magic. What's Camelot like? What's the King like? What about dear Prince charming out there?" she said jabbing a thumb toward the door.
"Everything, but first a proper introduction. Let's go," Merlin stood. Artemis followed. Merlin sat near Hunith while Artemis sat next to the Lady Morgana.
"I suppose I've been rude," Artemis laughed. "I am Artemis, Merlin's sister."
"How did you know who we were?" Lady Morgana asked. Artemis smiled.
"I know nobility when I see it," she replied.
"Do you know many nobles?"
"Yes," she replied. "I met many nobles while I traveled in my younger years. Many of them are not to my liking, but if you are here against the King's orders then your okay in my book so far."
"How do you know we are here against the King's orders?"
"One: if you weren't, there would be more of you, and two: I know how Uther rules. He does not want war and will be willing to sacrifice people to prevent it. I cannot say he is wrong for I understand it is best to save the lives of hundreds rather than one small village. It is a hard decision to make. I know that. I respect him for doing what he believes to be right."
"Are you sure you're related to Merlin?" Arthur asked. Artemis laughed.
"100%," she replied taking a sip from the goblet in front of her. "How have you been Merlin?" she asked.
"Good, Great really. Camelot's a lot more exciting. I mean I haven't been there that long and I've already been poisoned; had to stop an enchanted shield; had to deal with a magical illness and save Gwen here from certain death; had to deal with a Griffin attacking me; save Arthur from eloping; and save a druid boy."
"Druid boy?" she asked after taking a sip from her goblet in front of.
"What did he look like?" she asked.
"You know dark brown hair, blue eyes. Doesn't talk out loud much. I think he's telepathic."
"Mordred," she said sipping her goblet before setting it down again.
"What?" Lady Morgana said.
"His name is Mordred."
"How do you know that?" Morgana asked. Artemis was silent for a minute.
"I have met him before. Mordred is a sweet child. Unfortunately, he is also a child destined for great evil. There is much written about Mordred, prophecies."
"How come I've never heard of these?"
"You wouldn't. After Uther's fit of rage during the Great Purge he destroyed everything connecting Camelot with magic. I know from the Great Dragon's of the east."
"There are dragons left?" Morgana said surprised. Artemis smiled.
"Uther's reach only goes so far. Very, very, very, very far east there are many practitioners of magic and many magic creatures including in the east. There was a time once when Camelot was the same before Igraine died."
"You know a lot," Gwen noted. Artemis smiled and sighed.
"I have seen a lot. I have lived more than a person should live in a thousand years, but I fear my destiny is not complete. Something is still missing."
"I don't know. I will know soon I think." She sipped from her goblet again. "I believe a great king will rise soon. A king that will bring great peace and prosperity. I have seen him in the Dragon's of the east's eyes. It was like a dream of a dream, and my destiny is to help him… somehow."
"How far have you traveled?" Arthur asked changing the subject away from magic.
"Farther than you ever had," she replied. "Trust me on that. I had very fast means of traveling. It's amazing how big the world truly is. I didn't even finish my travels before I came back."
"Why come back then?" Arthur asked.
"I missed home," she said. "I was gone for about seven years. It was time to come back."
"Why leave in the first place?" Artemis was silent for a moment. She seemed to start to speak before she shook her head.
"It's hard for me to talk about." A knock on the front door made Hunith stand. She went to the door. Artemis walked to a small table in the corner. On it was a smallish chest. She opened it before throwing the coppers in and shutting it. Several children entered the home and went to Artemis. Artemis looked at them.
"Can you tell us a story before we have to sleep?"
"Pleeeeease?" Artemis laughed.
"Sure, let us go out, and I will tell of a magnificent adventure, yes?" She stood. "You should join. All of you," she said with a smile. "The whole village usually gathers for stories." Artemis stood and sat at the head of a half circle. A fire separated her and the villagers. The village was all there. Their guests came soon too. "What kind of story shall I tell?" she asked the village. They all started yelling at her. She laughed. "Okay! Okay! Shut it!" She laughed. "As you know," she said. "I don't talk about were I traveled or what had happened to me while I was gone. However, today, we need a story to up bring some spirit, so I am going to tell a true story of something that happened to me far from here. It started off in a small village. The village was filled with people whom the ruler of the Kingdom deemed as savages. They were people who lived and breathed to land," she slowly circled the fire her eyes never leaving the villagers. "They were simply people who didn't fight who lived in a way most people could not, but the King of their land was a man who was selfish. He wanted to annihilate these people for their land. He sent a group of knights to kill them, but they fought long and hard and I by their side fought with them. They fought for their homes, for the right to live, for their very right to breath. They believed with all their might that they had a right to live and they would not go down. They fought all men their King sent. Soon growing impatient, the King sent his army. They fought hard, and his son saw these people fight for their lives, he saw their strength... he saw our strength, and against his father's will he stopped the army from killing us. The village was spared. The people saved themselves. If one village of what civilization calls savages can save themselves why can't we?" That was the end to the story. There was discussion around the fire, but Artemis was silent.
"That was a lovely story," Gwen said sitting next to Artemis who looked a bit lonely.
"Thank you. You're very kind."
"I'm Gwen, and yes I am Morgana's maid and a blacksmith's daughter." Artemis smiled.
"It's nice to meet you."
"You seem distracted if you don't mind me saying."
"Just thinking about the story I just told."
"Did that really happen?"
"Yeah, but I just cut out the ending."
"Ending?" Artemis sighed.
"It's not a happy ending exactly. In the end, the King was going to march the army out anyway to kill them, so the Prince killed his father and took the throne." Gwen stared.
"You're right that isn't happy."
"Hm, hopefully this story is a little happier."
"Yeah." Gwen and Artemis continued to talk. Morgana joined them. They talked about Camelot and about the village. They asked her about her traveling, but she was vague with her answers never really saying a straight answer. If they asked where she went she said 'that way' and pointed to the east. When they asked what saw, she would respond with 'people, places, things.' Her vague answers were somewhat annoying. It got late in the night and they all turned in. Arthur and Merlin shared a bed. Morgana and Gwen did and Hunith and Artemis. Artemis didn't sleep much not because of her thoughts, but simply because she didn't sleep much. She was close enough to Arthur and Merlin to hear them talk.
"Have you always slept on the floor?" Arthur asked.
"Yeah," Merlin replied. "The bed in Camelot is luxury by comparison."
"Must have been hard."
"Hm, it's like rock."
"I didn't mean the ground. I meant for you it must have been difficult."
"Em not really. I didn't know any different. Life's simpler here. You eat what you grow and everyone pitches in together. As long as you've got food on the table and a roof over your head you're happy."
"You hate it."
"No, I don't. Why'd you leave?"
"Things just changed."
"How?" There was silence. "Come on stop pretending to be interesting and tell me."
"I just didn't fit in anymore. I wanted to find somewhere where I did."
"Had any luck?"
"I'm not sure yet." There was a brief silence.
"Your sister left before you?"
"Yeah, when she was really young. When she was 10."
"She wouldn't tell me why. Do you know?" There was silence again.
"You would never know it now, but when Artemis was young she was extremely sick."
"We don't know. That was the only time I ever saw Gaius when I was little. He came to look at her, but there was nothing he could do. She didn't speak to anyone; she rarely ate; she didn't sleep; she never left her bed. She would just lay there curled in a ball staring at the wall. Some days she would rock back and forth other days she would start screaming or crying and wouldn't stop. On the best days she would draw in a journal and that's it. I hated her at that time. My mother worried a lot about her, and we had to take care of her. I thought for a long time she was mental. Then she started screaming in the middle of the night. My mother tried to calm her down, but she wouldn't. It was different from the other times. Her face held sheer terror like she saw something horrible. She only stopped after she lost her voice a few hours later. We finally went back to sleep, and she was gone the next morning with nothing, but a note saying she'll be back."
"Where did she go?"
"I don't know. She never says. She just says far. She doesn't talk about her travels, but when she came back... she came back with a sword, a trunk that I don't even know what it is, a bag of medicine, and a horse. She came with two others. They were both of nobility, but Artemis never really said where they were from. Kael was her fiancée and his sister, Ava, was like a daughter to Artemis. I was shocked at first. After all, she comes back completely different and engaged, but I found it to be to my liking. She spoke to me, and we laughed and for the first time I knew what it was to have a sister. She was better. She ate normally and I still think that she doesn't sleep much, but more than she did. She talked to people. She was happy. My mother was so thankful she never scolded her for leaving. She welcomed her home to Ava and to Kael. Mother was so happy that Artemis was getting married."
"Where are they now? Kael and Ava?"
"Ava's still around here somewhere. I'm sure Artemis sent her on a ridiculous spiritual trip, but Kael died. He wasn't here long. In fact, he was very concerned with going to Camelot. Artemis never said why, but he fell ill as soon as he got here. It was just a cough at first, but then he started coughing up blood. Artemis did everything she could, but in the end she had to watch him die. I'd never seen her so broken up. I thought for a while she was going to revert back into the person she was before. But then she felt the sudden need to take care of Ava. She had no one else by that time, so that's what Artemis did. She took her on as her apprentice. Artemis still… lost something the day Kael died."
"I can't exactly say. There was just always this spark when she was with him, but when he was gone… it was gone. Her laughter was never quite the same. Life became routine for her again… and she lost this passion for life that she had. I doubt she realizes how much it affected her. She probably doesn't realize it. Getting to fight again probably pleases her more than you can know."
"She learned how to fight from her travels?"
"I think so. You should see her practice without a weapon. It's something else."
"Merlin?" Artemis said. There was silence. "If you don't shut the hell up you'll be something else when I'm done with you."
"Sorry Artemis," he replied with a grin in his voice.
"Idiot," she muttered before turning over and slowly falling asleep.