Note: this story contains elements of series three, although I haven't seen it. I live in America, and the episodes haven't aired here yet. However I do know that Morgana is now a villain, and that she's aligned herself with Morgause. However far this may stray from canon, ultimately this story will focus on Merlin's secret being revealed, and the story of the show slowly beginning to follow Arthurian legend. This roughly takes place during series three after Morgana's been returned to Camelot, and is secretly plotting Uther's downfall.
Bloodcurdling screams filled the capitol city of Camelot. Fire rained from the sky like falling stars, shattering the city's outer walls and setting the thatched rooms of homes ablaze. Women desperately called for their children. Children called for their mothers, and men scrambled to defend their families against the coming slaughter. Skeletal warriors shuffled menacingly through the streets, swinging swords and battleaxes in wide arc's, herding the citizens into the center of town in great mobs.
They'd appeared out of nowhere. The night patrol had returned to the city with dire news and death hot on their heels. Without sufficient time to seal off the city, the outer walls perimeter had been broken through. At once Arthur had ordered soldiers to defend the people and began to coordinate his defense.
Ancient traces of dirt and rust coated the undead soldier's armor and exposed bones, showing just how long they'd been interred beneath the earth. The soldiers did all they could to thin the undead numbers, but to no avail. Arrows fired from the walls simply bounced down the skeletons ribcages, and when a sword cut through their bodies, they simply got back up again. These enemies felt no pain, and possessed an unquenchable desire to kill and devour. Hell had arrived, and had stained the night sky red.
Unseen to the living a lone woman strode through a dark alleyway between burning shops. She was dressed in the finest armor and clothing and in her hand she held a meticulously crafted staff that hummed quietly as she walked. A wicked smile crossed her lips as the carnage unfolded before her. Morgause pulled up her hood to cover her face and drew her sword. The time had come for Camelot to fall, for the age of Uther's tyranny to end, and the age of magic to begin at last.
"Knights to me!" Arthur bellowed as he sprinted from the castle gates, sword in hand. Sir Leon followed close behind him. Terror was clear on both their faces, and even the determination of seasoned knights did little to lift their spirits. Red caped knights exited the fray of battle and went at once to their commander's side. Wounds were visible on their arms and chests, trickles of blood flowing from their mouths.
"Shields at the ready!" the crown prince said to them, raising his own royal crest bearing shield. They obeyed at once, and together formed a wall of steel on the road to the castle.
The invaders had yet to breach the castle walls, and the knights would make sure they never did, at any cost. The king and his ward were safely inside, and they had to be protected. Arthur gave the signal, and the shield wall moved forward. The knights inserted their weapons between the shields in preparation to skewer their foes. At first this tactic worked and Camelot's finest warriors held the skeletons at bay. But soon the plan began to backfire. The enemies they'd seemingly destroyed began to pull themselves back up, and along with the oncoming hordes began to surround Arthur's battalion.
Spinning around the knights switched from a wall to a circle. Skeletons viciously beat at the shields with the butts of their weapons. The thin metal started to crumple and cave in, and within minutes the knights were left exposed and their ranks began to fall. Streams of blood spurted from the necks of the fallen as the fanged teeth of the undead gnawed at their necks.
"Retreat!" Arthur roared. "Retreat!" Immediately the surrounding knights shoved and flailed their arms desperately. Arthur successfully cut the legs off the skeletons nearest to him and made his escape. With a swing of his sword Arthur created an exit point, sending a skeleton with only its face, chest, and a single arm remaining. The force of the blow was so great that the remaining bones were sent flying back, shattering on impact with the ground. He and the surviving knights leapt over bodies and scattered masonry and made their way to the castle gates.
Fortunately for them, skeletons were slow, and they had ample time to open the gates and take refuge inside. Slumping against the wooden gate, Arthur gritted his teeth and pulled and removed his battered shoulder guard. A bloody gash lay beneath. It pained him to move his left side, but he had to go on. A momentary silence fell, broken only by horrible screams and the clang of metal.
Outside the enemy had reached the gates and had begun to beat on them like war drums.
"To the throne room," Arthur said climbing to his feet. "Rally at the throne room, the king must be protected." He led the way across the courtyard and ordered his knights to gather whatever they could to build a barricade. As a result a flimsy structure formed from old furniture and wine barrels was placed before the castle's inner doors. Hastily they ran through the castle and came to the throne room, whose doors were in the process of being barred tight.
Inside the room was already filled to bursting with servants and the civilians who'd managed to escape there. Gaius could be seen moving a long the walls tending the injuries of solders assisted by Gwen. And in the back of the room King Uther Pendragon was preparing for battle. The knights broke away from their leader and spread around the room to help in anyway they could.
"Arthur!" he said spotting his son. He hurried to his heir's side, and pulled him into a brief embrace. "Thank God you're alive," he said in relief. However relief quickly left him. "They've broken through haven't they?" Arthur nodded.
"Yes Father. We did all we could, but the enemy seems to be nearly unkillable. Each time we destroy them, they simply rise again. All pieces of their bodies must be smashed for them to stay down. The gates have been barred, but they'll break through soon. Our last stand must be made here." Uther nodded. He summoned a nearby soldier who stumbled forward on an injured leg which was wrapped in bloody bandages.
"Go to Lady Morgana's chambers and bring her here at once. All ways into this chamber must be sealed, which I will not allow to happen without her inside." The soldier gave a halfhearted bow, leaning on his spear for support.
"Yes, sire," he turned and hobbled out of the room through the small door behind the throne.
"Prepare all able bodied men for battle," Uther said to Arthur, who nodded obediently. The king looked around the room, shook his head, and moved to finish donning his own battle dress. Arthur turned in the opposite direction and moved towards the wall, and kneeled beside Gwen who was dabbing at a soldier's forehead with a damp cloth. When she saw him the tiniest of smiles twitched at her lips. He returned the gesture, though his stony expression soon returned.
"How are they?" he asked. He glanced at the masses of wounded that crowded that side of the chamber. Gwen grimaced.
"Not well. No matter what we do we just can't stop the bleeding. I doubt many will live through the night, and those who do will never be able to lift a sword again." Solemnly he nodded. His hand went to her shoulder.
"How are you, Guinevere?" The maidservant turned away from her work to face him fully. His baby blue eyes were full of emotions that royalty was taught to suppress on the surface. Pink blush appeared on her cheeks. Only she ever saw him vulnerable and open. To the rest of the world his feelings were sealed away, but to her his truest self was always clear.
"I'm fine I suppose," she whispered. Her eyes fell upon his open wound. "Oh, let me get that for you." She turned to get the roll of cloth gauze at her side, but he squeezed her shoulder firmly and pulled her back. Their eyes locked, and the prince pushed forward, pressing his lips to hers.
As much as she enjoyed the kiss, panic filled her. All around them were on lookers, who could clearly see that the Prince was kissing a maid. But it seemed that those who noticed took no heed for the moment. They were too distracted by the situation at hand. And Uther was conversing with Sir Leon, his back turned. Arthur pulled away.
"It's now or never," he said with a loving smile. "If I'm about to die, I may as well kiss the one I love first." For a time they just looked at each other. It didn't last long. "Have you seen Merlin?" he asked breaking the romantic trance. He looked around for his manservant. "Last I saw him he was mucking out the stables for me. Did he get inside?"
"I-I don't know," said Gwen. If it was possible she looked even more worried than before. "I didn't see him. What if he's still out there-"
"Don't worry," Arthur said. "Merlin may not be able to fight or do anything useful, but knowing him he'll slip out of danger somehow. He always does." He stood up and with one last squeeze of Gwen's shoulder and kiss on her cheek, he left her. With all his heart he hoped for his friend's safety, but it was impossible. His comforting words had been to convince himself more than Gwen. Merlin was probably dead. Using a piece of his breeches he covered his bloodied shoulder. It would have to do for the time being. Morgana entered the hall dressed in her night clothes, helping to support the limping soldier's weight. She set him down against a nearby pillar.
"What's happening?" she said approaching her foster brother.
"We've been invaded. Undead soldiers, it has to be a necromancer, and a powerful one." Whatever else he had to say was lost amid an enormous boom that shook the castle. People screamed all eyes turned to the doors. They'd broken through. "Get back!" he dragged Morgana to the back of the room beside the throne and called the men to arms. The servants helped to drag the wounded back, and the remaining soldiers and knights lined up shoulder to shoulder with the King and Prince.
"Be ready," said Uther. He was now garbed in the same chainmail as the knights. The sword felt heavy and unfamiliar in his hands. Years of inactivity had taken their toll on the once great warrior's fighting abilities. Stepping forward, he addressed them. "We must stop them here and now. It is probable that we will die here, and I must know. Do I have your loyalty; will you fight and die beside your king?"
"Yes sire!" they said as one, flourishing their weapons. The sounds of footsteps grew louder and louder. The entire room took a sharp breath. Suddenly the doors blew open. Flying off their hinges the doors ploughed their way through the soldier's flanks and flattened them against the walls. A group of a dozen skeletons hobbled into the room. The human warriors raised their weapons but no attack came. Instead the skeletons filed into the room and made way for a lone figure that entered silently, and with an aristocratic aura about her. She lowered her hood and Arthur's eyes widened at the sight of her face.
"Morgause…" The sorceress smirked. Arthur charged with the intent to kill. Morgause clicked her staff on the ground and her attacker froze mid motion.
"Courageous Prince Arthur, oh how the mighty fall in the face of magic. This is Camelot's end, and there's naught you can do to stop it, Uther. " Her gaze locked venomously with the kings. With a wave of her hand she sent her next spell flying. A loud snap crackled in the soldiers faces, and they all fell limply to the ground, leaving the king alone.
"You will not win, sorcerer!" he spat. The blonde haired women smirked, tilting her head to the side amusedly.
"I already have. Ibn X'ufishis!" her eyes flashed gold and together father and son were lifted into the air. Arthur was flung aside, and Uther soared across the room where Morgause pinned him telekinetically to his throne.
"Arthur" a horrified shout filled the room. Biting back ragged gasps of pain, Arthur looked up to see a simply dressed man jog into the room. It was Merlin. Morgause turned away from the helpless king who sat rigid in his throne. All eyes watched as her face was filled with…confusion? He ran to his master's side and checked his wounds.
"You again?" she blinked. "Why does a servant boy such you seem to believe he can do anything to stop me? I saw you on the way in, swinging at my skeletons with a broken walking stick." Merlin let out a cocky laugh, his face smug.
"What are you doing?" Arthur choked from the ground. Did the idiot have a wish to die? It seemed so as Merlin got up and faced the sorceress eye to eye, ignoring Arthur's question. "Merlin, she'll kill you! Run away!" Genuine fear filled the prince. Though he would never admit it aloud, Merlin was the cloest thing he had to a friend.
"It doesnt matter." His posture tensed and his voice grew dark. "Leave this place, Morgause. End the enchantment. I'm warning you, I don't want to hurt you, but I will not let you destroy Camelot, nor will I let you hurt Arthur. Leave now and I'll spare your life." Arthur gaped up at his servant and tried to get up, sending waves of pain down his abdomen. It seemed that his bumbling service had lost what few brains he possessed and had gone completely insane. Morgause seemed to be thinking the same thing, as she nearly fell over with laugher.
"You'll let me live?" she cackled. "A worthless servant is going to stop me? I grow tired of this, boy, it's time to die! Hithun aglias!" Energy crackled from the tip of her staff, heading straight for Merlin. Arthur closed his eyes, he didn't want to watch.
"Glathin!" an orb of translucent white light formed around the manservant, his eyes ablaze. Morgause looked shocked, and then she looked entertained.
"So, it seems for all this time you've been employing a sorcerer as you son's servant, Uther," she sneered at the king. Arthur stared his jaw on the ground.
"End the enchantment, Morgause," Merlin repeated, this time with far more conviction
"So you have magic, no matter. More than a few household magic tricks are needed to stop me." Another energy ball streaked towards Merlin and bounced harmlessly off his shield. He clapped his hands and the shield dispersed.
"Do you know whom I am?" Merlin grinned, his confidence growing. "My name is Merlin, but the druids have another name for me. Emrys." An eerie silence followed, and Morgause blinked, then blinked again. Regaining her composure she let out a snort.
"Emrys? Emrys is said to be the greatest and most powerful sorcerer that will ever live. You're no Emrys, you're just a servant with a few petty illusions." Merlin sighed.
"I don't want to hurt you, but I will if I must." Gold filled his eyes, which grew feral. He took a step forward, thrusting his hands forward. Clusters of light burst from his fingertips. These Morgause deflected with a twirl of her staff. Momentarily gold left Merlin's eyes, leaving him rocking on the balls of his feat in a fighting stance.
"Simple bolts of energy, the simplest of all attack magic. I was casting such magic whilst still in the cradle. Emrys is a demigod among sorcerers, boy. You are not him."
"I am Morgause, make no mistake."
Gold filled his eyes once more. Merlin craned his neck backward and let out a roar that no human being could possibly make. Fire escaped his lips and began to swirl around the room. The tongues of flame took the shape of a dragon large enough to take up the entire chamber. Morgause watched in awe as the wrath of a dragon lord was unleashed. The air around her seemed to tremble.
"LEAVE!" Merlin screamed, his voice shaking the room and knocking Morgause to her feet. The dragon snapped at her. She raised her staff as she ran, chanting a string of low and incomprehensible incantations. The staff slammed into the ground, and with a crack Morgause disappeared and the skeletons fell to the ground into harmless piles of dusty bones. The dragon faded, and Merlin fell to his knees in exhaustion.
"Seize him!" bellowed the released Uther. A pair of soldiers descended on the manservant and on the kings orders dragged him away. Arthur watched silently. Merlin was a sorcerer. Merlin had saved them all. And Merlin was about to be put to death. Never in his entire life had the prince felt more lost and conflicted.