A/N: So I'm going to try and continue with season two and I am going to try something a bit different. I have no idea if I can pull it off (I thought gender-swapping the characters was hard enough so I must be a glutton for punishment).
I've also changed the order of some of the episode's around to try and keep the series flowing a bit better, but this series is a bit darker than I usually write.
I do have a plan for the season but you know what they say about plans…
I want to say a huge thank you to all of you who are still following this story. It is because of your support I am still trying to find the time and urge to continue. It really means a lot.
As always Merlin belongs to the BBC. I own nothing. All mistakes and errors are my own.
The Curse of Cornelius Sigan.
It had been a long and harsh Winter, a beast which was valiantly fighting off the approaching Spring. Rare spells of fresh sun light were punished by cold, sleety winds the following day. The days still short, the nights depressingly long, but even so, the brutal season was slowly losing the battle against the turn of the seasons.
Underneath Camelot, there were those who weren't feeling the chill. In the catacombs, deep below the mighty Citadel, a handful of teams worked to explore the ancient collapsed tunnels beneath. It was a laborious and somewhat uneasy job, digging into the stone debris and finding the tombs of long ago Kings and Lords.
The Knights stood guard at the entrance of the tunnel, ready to fleece the workers to ensure that none of the Kings riches went awry, when they were jerked awake by the terrorised screams and stampede of feet toward them as grown men ran from the tunnels, pushing each other out of the way.
"What on earth? Oi! You there! Balin!"
"Something killed him, young Felix. His face… its unnatural…"
The two Knights looked solemnly at each other before heading into the darkness. The Knights of Camelot where a rare breed, trained to ignore the fear of the unknown. Sir Kay took a breath and entered the exposed room, bidding the younger Knight, Sir Galehant to watch his back. When he came out, he looked pale and solemn.
"Guard the door. No one enters. I have to alert the Prince."
Sir Galehant stood guard as the Prince arrived, closely followed by his Manservant and the King. The King waited impatiently as Sirs Leon, Kay and Prince Arthur entered the room once again before it was deemed safe for the Monarch to enter. As the King disappeared into the depths of the tomb, Gaius and his niece appeared, looking exhausted having been dragged from their beds. The Prince stayed to greet them, taking note of their heavy eyes and pale faces.
"Sorry to get you out of bed at this hour, Gaius."
"Not at all my lord," the physician reassured him before he attempted to climb in the ragged entrance. Both he and the niece moved to help but the Prince got there first. Sir Kay watched impressed as the Crowned Prince assisted the older man though the hole in the wall.
Sir Galehant had not known his own father Prince David of Clyden, to show as much consideration to any of his men. Prince Arthur was indeed unlike any other Royal he had ever known. Seeing Gaius over, the Prince turned to the maidservant and held out his hand.
He watched as the young woman hesitated slightly before taking the Princes hand, a faint blush on her cheeks as she ducked her head and quickly hopped though the gap. He turned his head slightly to see if the Prince shared his amusement at her awkwardness, but was instead to see the Princes own discomfort as he watched the young woman though the gap until she had her balance.
"Thank you, Sire." She murmured so quietly he barely heard. The Prince nodded, straightening up so he was out of view before letting out a breath and flexing his hand. Remembering he had a witness he turned to watch the Knight at guard who had quickly diverted his attention. Sir Galehant felt the Princes eyes bore into the side of his head for a moment more, before he himself climbed back into the tomb.
Well thought Sir Galehant. That was interesting.
Arthur couldn't look at the dead man. Instead he chose to look at Merlyn as she studied the disturbing expression on the corpses features with a mix of pity and curiosity on her face. She carefully pulled a blanket out of the small bag she'd brought and lay it over the man's face.
"He must have triggered some sort of trap." Gaius deduced, but something in his tone of voice must have sounded off to Merlyn as she tore her attention from the dead man to shoot a look of concern at her Uncle.
Because he had been looking, Arthur caught the look on her face and took note of the physician's discomfort. It continued to pray on him though out the morning. Perhaps that, coupled with the disturbed night sleep made his already short temper rather frayed. This was not helped by the fact that his servant's level of incompetence had reached a new low.
Glyndwr had been very short with his Master recently. Arthur knew why. His suspicions about Merlyn and Gaius coupled with the conflict of his duty had made the Prince rather difficult to manage. The King had also been dropping heavy hints about Arthurs future and the need to further the Pendragon linage, adding to the pressure on the heir presumptive. As the only person Arthur has trusted with his suspicions, Glen was in the difficult position of spying on one of his closest friends. And every day that passed with little to no evidence made his guilt heavier.
At least the new servant, Cedric, seemed to be on the ball. Glyndwr had been the Princes trusted confidant and manservant for so long, he would not see him replaced, (although Arthur would walk through hot coals before he admitted it), but perhaps another set of hands would be welcome.
Merlyn let out a sigh of relief as she entered the safety of her chambers. The early start after a rather short, disturbed night had started to take its toll after a long tedious day. She almost would have preferred to go out as a beater on the hunt, although judging by her friend Glen's miserable looking demeanour as he'd trudged through the courtyard, she may have been better off for having to manage a bored Lady Morgana.
Seeing her Uncle buried in his books she moved over to slump gratefully in one of the free seats. Seeing her interest, Gaius showed her the paper he was studying.
"I found these writings on the sceptre in the tomb. I don't know the language but Sigan would have known many."
"Sigan? Is that the name of the man's tomb? Who was he?"
Gaius blinked for a moment before chuckling. "I forgot for a moment that you didn't grow up in Camelot. For those of us who did, Cornelius Sigan was the most powerful sorcerer to have ever lived and a figure of nightmare. He could turn day into night, turn the tides. Legend has it that his spells helped build Camelot itself."
"What happened?" Merlyn asked quietly although having an inkling of the answer.
"In the end, he grew too powerful. The King at the time ordered his execution. Sigan could not bear the idea that his power and wealth would die with him so he became obsessed with finding a way to defeat death itself."
"You believe he may have succeeded?"
"Let's hope not for all our sakes." Gaius sighed, rubbing his eyes tiredly.
Merlyn shifted uncomfortably on her seat. She was desperate to talk to him, but it was obvious her Uncle was very preoccupied and tired. He rose and kissed her head before leaving, explaining that he had to share his findings with the King, leaving her to her thoughts.
Every story of powerful Sorcerers, Witches, Warlocks and Priestesses ended the same way. They grew too powerful and became feared for or corrupted by that same Magic. Having held the power of Life and Death in her hands so recently, Merlyn knew the delicate balance of the world and the consequences of meddling with such forces.
Ever since the events on the Isle something had changed within her. Merlyn felt more attuned to the world around her and the power within. Never had she been so aware of her own abilities. It was now easier to call forth her magic, so much so that sometimes she had to hold back and restrain herself. It was being to scare her.
It was a tired Prince Arthur that made his way to his Fathers dining hall ready to make his excuses for dinner. However, the sight of Gaius entering the room as he turned the corner brought back all the rather worrying thoughts that had haunted him all day. He hesitated only a moment before entering the hall.
"I rather enjoy the tale of the arrogant sorcerer who came to an untimely end."
"Per the story, Sigan cursed Camelot. He said he would return and raze the city to the ground." Gaius's voice was grave. That would explain the old physician's mood, thought Arthur. For Gaius was one of the wisest men he knew, and one of the most superstitious.
"Sigan, that's who's tomb we've found." He interrupted, announcing his presence to the pair. "I remember you telling me the stories when I was a boy."
And he did. He remembered the old physician who had stayed by his side as he recovered from a nasty fever that had nearly killed him as a child. Gaius had spent much time with the very bored young Prince who had barely reached his hip, telling him grand stories of Knights and battles. And old fairy tales.
The King predictably waved off the old man's warnings. Forbidding him to speak of it. Arthur watched as Gaius was dismissed, taking more heed of his words than his father. He himself had always believed Sigan to be a myth, but even his own father seemed to believe that the man had once existed. He decided to double the guard of the tomb. It would not hurt to be more cautious.
Merlyn was almost done for the night as she put the last of the linen away. She could not wait for the return of Lady Guinevere and Eira from her father's home. Attending a restless Lady Morgana was no small task.
She was about to leave the room when the temperature dropped, the sudden change almost felling her. She stumbled. Grabbing for the table she'd just been passing. Despite the stillness in the air the remaining candles flickered. She heard whimpers from the bed chambers and ignoring the awful feeling of something twisting and tearing within, as if all her senses where being scrapped raw she made her way to Morgana.
"Merlyn! Merlyn!" The Lady screamed as she bolted upright in her bed, clutching at the covers and looking around wildly.
"I'm here." Merlyn climbed onto the bed, surprised when the Lady threw herself into her arms clutching her arms and clothes as if she were trying to crawl into her for safety. Feeling as shaken as the other woman, Merlyn rocked them both, instincts screaming at her to investigate but unable to leave her charge.
Suddenly the image of a jet-black raven squawking and swooping down toward her, claws spread wide slammed into the girl with shocking force. It took her breath away. As well as the realisation that the image had come from the Lady Morgana.
The bells rang out in the castle and knowing she could no longer sleep, the Lady Morgana bade her to dress her and then report to Gaius. The young woman then decided to join her maid rather than being left alone in her chambers. But as they approached they were met by Gaius hurrying down the dark corridor, torch in hand.
"Someone's broken into the tomb."
"I don't understand how they got in." They heard Glen as she approached the tomb with Gaius, Lady Morgana having decided to join the King who had already been alerted. "The gates not been forced."
"They stole the key." Arthur answered coming up fast behind them."
"But you have the only key, Sire." Glyndwr pointed out.
"Where do you keep it?" Gaius swung round, questioning.
"On my belt or in my chambers." Arthur answered. "The only others with access are Glen and…"
"Cedric." Glyndwr finished glaring at the Prince.
"The key was still in the draw." Prince Arthur argued, "They could have got in another way.."
"That is not what is important now." Gaius interrupted harshly "Camelot is in grave peril. I've translated the inscription. "He who breaks my heart completes my work."
"What does it mean?"
Gaius had turned to Merlyn and Arthur earnestly "Do you remember the stone in the tomb, how it glowed?"
"I've never seen a jewel like it." Arthur confessed.
"That's because it's not a jewel, it's the soul of Cornelius Sigan."
The absolute certainty in Gaius's voice shook Arthur. But Merlyn barely seemed off-stride. He watched as the two talked, in tune with each other.
"He found it then. A way to cheat death. That can't be good."
"In order to truly live, a soul needs a body. Magic of that nature has a high price."
"A life for a life." Muttered Merlyn under her breath. "So, if the stone is removed from its setting, then the heart is broken and the soul released?"
"That's what I fear."
"Then we are in very serious trouble."
The trio swung around to see Glen pick up something from the floor. A clear crystal heart, which had once been blue."
"It's too late." Gaius murmured quietly.
As if taking its que, the world around them began to shake.
Merlyn gasped at a sudden swell of energy rolled over her, nauseating her as her body rebelled against whatever had washed over her. Her reaction was missed by the two young men, but not by her Uncle.
As the ground, beneath them continued to shake, the group made their way out of the tombs, fearful of the ceiling collapsing and burying them under the rubble. Another tremor sent her flying, her collision with the passage wall avoid by the quick reflexes of the Prince who, without breaking step pulled her along to the exit. Behind her she heard her Uncle and Glen stumble over the loose rubble that had been dislodged.
What meet them out in the courtyard was far worse. A deep echoing voice that seemed to be amplified by the earth and stone resounded over the citadel.
"Ic cume eft to Camelot. swá þæt ic mæg min fæhþ awrecan! Nu 'ic lybbe ece and ic mæg rædan min burh!"
Arthur heard both Gaius and Merlyn inhale sharply at the words as he spun around looking for his traitorous manservant. Up on the balcony stood Cedric. But this was not the same man who had bid him good evening a few hours before.
Merlyn followed his gaze up and found the sorcerer. It was the first time she had laid eyes on him but just one glance was enough. Even in the poor light given off by the torches Merlyn could see the expression in his face and feel the heavy cloak of power emanating from him. She had no doubt she was facing Cornelius Sigan, the most powerful sorcerer who had ever lived.
He was recognised.
As was she.
The figure tilted his head and met her gaze, a sinister smile creeping across his lips as he took her in. Merlyn imagined herself hidden, pulled in all her magic as if she could obscure herself from his gaze. It was a new technique from the magic book she was trying, but had not truly practiced. It obviously disconcerted the Sorcerer who's smile dropped momentarily.
There was no time to ponder that as the few people on the streets at that early hour screamed. Stone gargoyles, monstrosities Merlyn had always hated, came to life with bone creaking cracks as stone wings unfolded. They swooped down from every direction. Everyone ran for the safety of the castle.
A stone gargoyle dropped into the pack, separating Merlyn from the men. The Prince turned to go back but she waved him off, already running to another shelter, sweeping an arm down and dragging a woman who had been knocked down to her feet as she went.
Once in the Keep, the Prince wasted no time gathering his men. His people were defenceless, most having risen from their beds when the castle bells rang, others when a stone beast ripped into their homes.
He soon realised how hopelessly they were out armed, as one lone winged beast decimated his band of Knights, sending them flying. He attempted to strike again but felt the beast land a blow, falling dazed onto the ground. Seeing stars for a moment, he froze until his sight cleared, only to see another dive toward him, talons outstretched, he started to move, lifting himself up. But he wouldn't make it.
Except he did. At the last possible moment, a strong tug helped pull him out of the way, the talons whistling past him, clashing with the stone floor he had moments ago, been laying on. The Creature squawked in frustration, taking off again.
He spun as he hurried to his feet, to face his rescuer, to see a battered Merlyn.
"Merlyn! You could have been Killed." He scolded automatically.
"Still might." Merlyn eyes went wide as she lunged at him, pushing him back to the ground, following him down and landing heavily on his chest. Air rushed out of his lungs, but she was too slight to truly wind him. "Sorry, Sire!" She apologised as she scrambled off his body, again pulling him to his feet.
How strong she was for someone so small.
"No, My pleasure." He said dazed, rubbing the back of his head, blushing as she shot him a bemused look. Again, flirting in the middle of a dangerous situation. This was becoming a habit.
"I'm blaming that on the blow to the head, Sire" She said shaking her head before ducking under his arm to help him move faster toward the Keep.
"Arthur." He shot back. Half joking as always.
"Yes, Sire." She responded instinctively.
They sobered as they reached the hall, the Prince straightening and relieving her of most of his weight. He looked down the rows of injured men and woman. And the wrapped bodies on the floor. He was jerked from his task as Merlyn pushed him down on an empty bed, stepping unthinkingly between his legs to look at the broken chain-mail and the blood shining on the free links.
"I need to get something to stem the bleeding. Wait here." She ordered him. "Don't move."
"You're so bossy." He complained. Pulling himself further onto the bed. She only gave him a look, quickly returning with what she needed.
"Arthur!" A second later the Lady Morgana appeared by his side. Relieved she was safe he gave her a smile, which turned into a grimace as Merlyn cleaned a nasty cut. Much to his surprise the Lady uncharacteristically took Merlyns lead, following her handmaiden's instructions as his wound was tended to. They had almost finished as his father entered the room at a hurried clip, recent memories of his son lying on what was believed to be his death bed too fresh in his mind.
Despite the pain, Arthur managed to give the dire report. His gut clenched at his father's plan to seal the Citadel and leave the people in the lower towns to save themselves. That was his job. His Knights job. Not to hole up in here. Maybe he could not him. But there were still men trapped by the draw bridge.
"I forbid it!" His father argued. "It's suicide!"
"It's my duty to Camelot and to myself." Arthur returned determined, taking one last look at his horrified Father and Morgana. He turned to head out, a handful of loyal Knights following. For a moment, his eyes met Merlyn's. She looked worried but ready to follow him out. He shook his head at her, before running to his men and leaving the safety of the Keep without looking back.
Merlyn watched with a heavy heart as Arthur left with his Knights. The King was right, it was almost certain death. She sort out her Uncle amid the chaos of the makeshift infirmary but he could offer no reassurance.
"Sigan's power is far beyond yours." He told her. "You can't risk it," Sigan is immortal and you are not. If you face him, he will destroy you."
"There must be a way."
"There is only one alive who is old enough to give us the answers we need."
"Yes?" Merlyn asked uneasy at the long meaningful look Gaius gave her. He couldn't mean…
"The Great Dragon."
"You knew...that I used to visit him."
"Of course, I knew. You're a creature of magic, just as he is. I had hoped that he could help you.
"He helps only himself."
"Nonetheless, for Camelot's sake, for Arthur's sake you must go to him now."
And out of options she did what she swore she would never do and returned to the Dragons cave.
Merlyn emerged from the tunnels and walked into hell. She arrived barely in time to save the unconscious Prince from a swooping creature. The ease at which she was able to dispatch the creature was somewhat unsettling. She'd simply raised her hand at the descending threat, but the following words felt almost superfluous.
Nonetheless the beast exploded, showering the Prince with debris. She ran to him, but even before she reached his side she saw the rise and fall of his chest. There was no time for relief as the sound of slow clapping broke the air.
"Who would believe it. A young servant a sorceress…and a powerful one." Sigan emerged from the shadows, the eerie mist swirling sinisterly in his wake. The courtyard was dark, cold as quiet as the grave. He looked around, taking in the chaos and destruction around him with a satisfied smirk before fixing his gaze on the young woman before him.
"I won't let you hurt him."
The child dared to break the stillness, getting to her feet and standing between him and the fallen Prince.
"And you are going to stop me how?" He asked amused at her gall, but Merlyn refused to let it intimidate her.
"I'll stop you."
"I'll stop you." Odd, the girl seemed resolute if not unafraid.
"He does not deserve your loyalty. He treats servants, like you, like slaves."
"That's not true." Who was this girl who spoke so to him? The power she welded so untapped, so raw.
"He will cast you aside without a moment's thought." What he could do with such power. The girl herself was intriguing, but the feeling of her magic was invigorating after his long drought.
"Doesn't matter." Merlyn answered. Refusing to let the man bait her, refusing to see any truth which may have lingered.
"But it must hurt so much. To be so put upon, so overlooked while all the while you have such power."
"That's is the way it has to be." Merlyns calmness was starting to gnaw at the confident villain. Nonetheless he continued, determined to coax this talented young girl to his way of thinking.
"Does it? You are so young, Child. Look inside yourself, you have yet to discover your true power and I can help you. Imagine, to have the world appreciate your greatness. For Arthur to know you for what you truly are.
Her fondest wish and biggest fear.
"That can never be." She refuted, acceptance heavy in her voice and in her heart.
But Sigan was not finished his temptation. "It can. If you join me. Together we can rule over this land, Arthur will tremble at your voice. He will kneel at your feet!"
No. She had no desire for that. And the honesty in her response finally seemed to stall the increasingly bad tempered sorcerer.
"You would rather be a servant?" He scoffed in disbelief.
"Better to serve a good man that rule with an evil one." She made her stand clear.
Disappointment only knocked Sigan back a moment. He really would have preferred her working with him, but the little child had made their choice.
"Such a shame." He told her, eyes raking over her lithe form appreciatively. "We would have made a formidable team. But so be it. If you will not join me, I will become you and your power with be harnessed to my will."
Before her eyes, the man in front of her started to glow the strange iridescent glow that had once been contained within the glass hiding in Merlyns robes. The shining blue light that was Sigan's soul, radiated out, stretching towards its new victim who just stood to face it, head on.
Merlyn stood firm obeying her instinct to remain rooted. She watched as a tendril reached her and crept up her leg, reaching her shirts and winding up to her waist. She squeezed her eyes shut tightly tilting her head to the stars, as she formed the words, casting them into space. She chanted the words the Dragon had gifted her.
"Ic þín sáwol hér beléac, abide þæt ic þé álíese!"
Her voice shook but not entirely from fear. As she uttered the words, a power as ancient and sacred as any she had ever felt, erupted from within her. It felt like a comforting blanket, enveloping her, keeping her from harm. She felt her body seize as the essence that was Sigan attacked, held the enraged squawk of the Raven…
Gaius could bear it no longer. He left the relative safety of the hall and left the citadel, carefully picking his way into the courtyard. Though the morning mist that had swept through the courtyard, he could see only one figure standing. A small familiar figure.
"Merlyn?" He called, fearful. She stepped forward out of the mist, tears ran down her cheeks, but they were the clear brilliant blue they had always been. Not the sinister glow which was now safely encapsulated in the glass heart clasped in her hands. She smiled brilliantly as he rushed toward her and enclosed her in his arms, relief making him giddy. She had done it. His girl had done it. He pressed his lips against her forehead.
"Well done, my girl." He whispered proudly.
Arthur woke to the most beautiful pair of blue eyes he had ever seen. They were tearful but light, full of relief.
"You're going to be fine, Arthur." She told him "Sigan's gone."
"You used my name." he mumbled, the hit to his head still leaving him dazed.
"My mistake, Sire." Was that a giggle from the handmaiden?
"No, No!" he muttered but it was too late.
"Can you stand, Sire?" Gaius voice made him jump, the voice clearing his aching head. He did not want the physician thinking he was flirting with his niece. Unfortunately, the attempt to stand sent his word dark…
The next time he saw Gaius was in a meeting with his father. The King had already relayed his intentions to him. In this meeting, he wanted to focus on Gaius's reaction. Gaius had a face of stone but Arthur saw the deep sadness and wealth of fear in eyes he knew so well. But what was Gaius afraid of? Or who was he afraid for?
Merlyn had been unofficially credited for saving the day. She had apparently gotten the empty heart close enough to Sigan that the sorcerers soul was sucked back into its prison. The King hadn't questioned how she had known how to do that, with Gaius managing to sound so confident and plausible. But he wondered.
He made up with a rather unhappy and sore Glyndwr, who had not let him off so easily.
"I over-reacted Glen. And I'm sorry. Everything that's going on…it got on top of me."
"It's not easy for me either, Sire. You have me spying on my best friend. And every day that's there is nothing to report makes it feel that much worse."
"I know. I'm sorry."
"She's either working…with Morgana or Gaius or she's foraging in the woods, or delivering Gaius's remedies. She's liked by everyone. She works herself to the bone, I don't know how she does it. And she does it with a smile. I feel like dirt!"
"I'm sorry." Arthur repeated glumly, seeing what his orders had done to his manservant. No wonder he had been short and irritable. On top of the whole thief usurping his job thing. Which would have never happened Arthur had assured him.
"I know she is an amazing woman. But I know there is something going on. But giving my father's new orders…I think we should stop following them." Arthur rubbed his face in tired frustration.
"Sire?" Glen questioned, not being privy to the last meeting which had changed everything.
"The events of the past few days have ignited by father's hatred of magic. He has ordered more extensive observation and investigation. He is actively hunting for any sorcerers and sympathizers. I don't want any extra attention on Merlyn or Gaius."
Glyndwr was quiet for a long moment. He had not lived through the large purge, but its effects had left powerful shockwaves that were still felt amongst the people. A return to those dark times was something to be greatly feared. He had heard of mass burnings, townspeople accusing each other, of atrocities such as the drowning of children.
Disturbed by what he had learnt he heard what the Prince had said. If the Prince where to follow his father's orders. He had enough suspicions to have both Gaius and Merlyn accused, investigated and found guilty. Not that many of the accused were found innocent.
"Sire." He stated quietly. Meaningfully without saying a word.
Arthur turned to look his manservant in the eye.
"I do not believe Gaius or Merlyn are enemies of Camelot." He stated.
"I don't either." Glen was quick to agree.
"My father's determination makes him blind. I have known Gaius all my life and I owe Merlyn my life. I have to be certain before I decide a course of action. But we need to be vigilant, Glen. If we are wrong, they are in the perfect position to harm Camelot. I know what it is costing you Glen, But I need your help."
"I understand, Sire. You have it."
Gaius sat at the table, seemingly staring into nothing, but the old man's mind was at work. One the desk was an old tome. A magic book that Uther allowed him to keep for the sole purpose of protecting Camelot. The language was old, and Gaius was one of only two in Camelot who could read it. As far as Uther was aware.
His mind was on his niece. His ward. His sisters only child.
Little had he known when he had taken the child in last year how much his life would change. He would never forgive himself for his actions during the purge. For every person he had saved he had condemned another. Uther had spared his life because he had sworn allegiance to the King. And Gaius had seen the way the magic of the land was being corrupted. The High Priestess's had gotten greedy, the druids had retreated too far from everyday life. The Magic that had been so abundant when he was a child was slowly being poisoned.
And then came Merlyn.
It hadn't been until the Isle of the Blessed that he had realized. There had been hints. The wordless magic, the ease of which she wielded the words of old. She had touched a Unicorn. Had seen Avalon and lived.
She had the purest form of magic surging though her.
When he had stood before Nimeah ready to die he had known what he was offering his life for.
"Merlyn is the one who can bring magic back to this land. At Arthur's side, she can help forge a new kingdom. A world of peace and beauty that we can only dream of. "
He knew of a prophesy, The Once and Future King and wondered if he was witnessing its birth. From the ashes of the purge, would the new world rise?
He was startled from his thoughts by his niece stumbling through the doors. He had seen her beyond exhausted and was expecting her to be drained from the events of the day. Instead she appeared troubled, full of nervous energy.
"Are you alright, my dear? You look worried."
She hung up her clock and bag slowly, as if buying herself time before joining her Uncle, taking a seat opposite him. She carefully folded her hands together on her lap, staring at them before taking a breath and meeting his eye.
"Something has…changed." She confided.
"I feel different. I have since the Isle of the Blessed. My magic is different."
"In what way? Does it feel wrong."
"Not at all." Merlyn made a decision in that moment. Knowing it was the only one she could. She couldn't do this alone anymore.
"It was as if the moment I stepped foot on that Island, the first time I felt the ground beneath me, I felt at home. As if I belonged. I could feel everything. The very heartbeat of the Magic there. I felt it rebelling against the Priestess."
"Against Nimeah?" Gaius asked surprised.
"It was as if her magic was poison. And she was beyond noticing."
"She had changed very much from the woman I used to know." Gaius told her, sadness in his voice. "She was a different person before the purge. We all were."
"Gaius, my magic changed the moment I set foot there. It was if something inside me was unlocked. Something that had always been there was unleashed and I think it's too strong for me." She let a little bit of the panic she felt out in her voice. Her Uncle stretched a worn hand out at once, covering her hands as she nervously fiddled with her fingers.
"The Dragons magic is the same. It speaks to something in me. Something I never knew was there…what if it's too much. What if what happened to Sigan happens to me. You said yourself he grew too powerful…"
"Sigan was different. He sort out power, craved it. From what you told me, your magic comes from within. It was power you were always meant to have."
"I don't want it." She said petulantly, making him smile.
"Probably why its safest with you."
"Uncle…I'm afraid I can't control it. Magic was always second nature to me. As easy as breathing. Now…"
"I will help you, child. We will learn to control it. I believe that everything happens for a reason and you would not be given such a gift as this if you had no hope of managing it."
Merlyn smiled a small hopeful smile. Her mind still troubled. But not only by the strength of the forces within her, or the Kings new decrees.
Her mind was back in the cave with its prisoner.
The Great Dragon had been as she remembered, cold, arrogant and self-serving, with a gleam of madness caused by a long, unjust imprisonment and a terrifying thirst for vengeance.
Merlyn had found it hard to find any sympathy for her kin. The wounds he had inflicted on their last encounter too fresh and raw. This creature had tricked her and so very nearly robbed her of her Mother, then her Uncle.
Fortunately for Camelot, even he would not see Camelot fall. Unfortunately, the promise he had forced from her, she felt, with a sick certainty would cost her dearly.
"One day. You will free me. You must promise me or Camelot will fall!"
I can't promise regular updates. I know this is frustrating and I'm sorry. Real life has been very demanding the past few years, and although I am now going to be starting a new and hopefully less full on job (yea!), I have no idea when I will be updating.