This chapter's a bit strange but it leads onto something important so I kept it in, hope everyone likes it! I love getting all your reviews it means so much :D

OMG just saw the season four trailer for Merlin! We're in for a treat- roll on Autumn!

6. Hope

Packing up my few belongs in Camelot was twice as hard as it had been to pack up in my Mother's home and that wasn't just because of where I was going. While I loved my Mother and Will, here in Camelot I had two incredibly close friends, my brother, Gaius and of course Arthur. I was taking my time to pack to pack everything away, folding all my clothes with impeccable precision and repacking all my books several times all the while hoping someone would run through the door and tell me I was safe. No one came and the guards who were stood watching me began getting irritable by my stalling; one even threatened to slap me if I didn't get a move on. I wondered if they'd even let me say goodbye to Merlin? With a final glance back at the segregated room I reluctantly gave the nod that I was ready to go. I felt numb to all that was happening; I couldn't even feel fear at what was going to happen when Markus finally got me alone although I knew it would come as soon as I saw his face.

"Are you ready, angel?" My skin crawled as Markus' gloating voice carried up the hallway. Suddenly fear burst inside me and a final spark of fight was ignited inside me, I was not going to leave Camelot with that man, I would rather die. Sadly Uther would probably arrange that all too gladly.

"No!" I yelled angrily at him before pushing the guards off and fleeing in the direction of the court. I had no idea what I was going to do, all I knew was I refused to give Markus the satisfaction of killing me. The two guards were hot on my tail and despite the fact I was a relatively good runner the men easily caught up with me, pushing me to the floor and stamping on my hand. I let out a scream before desperately trying to crawl away from them but the ruthless guard who had stamped on my hand simply grabbed my waist and threw me over his shoulder like I was nothing more than a sack of potatoes. I was crying, begging, screaming at them to let me go but nothing I said moved them, in fact it felt like they would have been happy to carry me like for miles but for Markus telling them to leave me with him. The guard whose shoulder I was occupying ungraciously threw me down onto the stone floor, knocking the wind out of me and scraping my wrist on the rough wall. The guard who hadn't been carrying me leaned down to hiss a warning in my ear but I was too terrified to concentrate on the words with Markus towering over me. The two guards gave me one last, vile look before turning and retreating down the passage.

"You are very difficult, my darling." He spoke the words slowly, as if drawing strength from each poisonous word. Despite the pain in my wrist I refused to cry, I wouldn't let him see any more fear, he would not beat me. I wanted Merlin's powers desperately, I visualised blowing the smug git off his feet and into the far wall. Instead all I could do was give him my worst withering stare and pray he'd back off. Sadly it didn't work and he took two steps forward until he was looming over me. "Don't you want to come home with me?"

"I'm home right now, and I'm not leaving it." I told him defiantly, he gave a chuckle before lunging towards me and grabbing a fist of my hair before using it as leverage to pull me to my feet. I let out a shriek as pain shot through my scalp from my betrothed's brutal handling of me.

"You're really not understanding this are you? You ARE mine; you do what I want, when I want you to do it!" He screamed angrily in my face before throwing me against the wall I'd envisaged hurling him against not so long ago. My head smacked back against the stone and I let out a groan as stars swam across my vision.

"Leave me alone." I whimpered all thoughts of staying strong and not showing fear gone as I struggled to remain upright.

"You." He snarled as he grabbed my shoulders and slammed me into the wall. "Will." Slam. "Do." Slam. "What." Slam. "I." Slam. "Tell." Slam. "You." Slam. "Do!" With a final slam against the wall he allowed me to fall onto the floor where I tried desperately to compose myself. "Got it?"

"Don't worry, I got the message that you're a vile bully loud and clear." I hissed as I rubbed my ears to try and stem the ringing in them. Markus looked like he was about to start again but he was pushed away from me.

"Leave her alone." My knight in shinning armour hissed as he pulled out his sword and brandished it in front of Markus.

"What did you say?"

"I said you've had enough of your fun now leave her alone." Arthur growled, reminiscent of the first time I'd spoken to him, although the way he said the words was a lot more menacing than I had and he left off the 'please' but the words had the desired affect; Markus took a step back, although only to compose himself.

"I'm sure you're Father would love to know the amount of effort you're putting into keeping a serving girl."

"I'm the one with the sword now shut up and leave her alone." Arthur had placed himself firmly between us, feet apart in his fighter stance. Suddenly he pulled off his vambrace and flung it at Markus' feet. "Fight me."

"Think very carefully about what you're doing, my lord." Markus sneered. "Think about what the King will do to you. If he finds out you care about her, then she's as good as dead."

"Pick it up." Arthur growled.

"Wait." I groaned as I used the wall to pull myself upright. "He's right. We need to play this a different way."

"If you go with him, he'll kill you!" Arthur screamed in exasperation, he had a mad glint in his eye and I was worried that he was about a second through loosing it and killing Markus.

"I know, but if you kill him here then I'll get the blame. Think, Arthur! We need to be clever about this. We need to show the world what he's like." I whispered quietly although I knew Markus was listening intently with his smug smile. God I hated him with every fibre of my being. Arthur nodded his agreement but didn't lower his sword.

"Good luck." Markus sneered. "There's no one left who will agree with you. You're serving girl has disappeared and trust me she's not coming back."

"You're evil!" I screamed furiously before launching towards him but at the last minute arms pulled me backwards.

"Don't Talliah! It's what he wants." Arthur kept a strong hold on my waist with his sword sticking awkwardly out in front of us. It reminded me for a brief moment of our first encounter; it was funny how in a few weeks he could go from being the most hated man imaginable to protecting me from the most hated man imaginable. I nodded before turning in his embrace and breathing in his warm scent.

"I hate to ruin this beautiful moment but that's my wife in your arms." Markus sneered, Arthur's arms stiffened around me and I knew he was fighting the burning desire to kill Markus where he stood. "Now if you wouldn't mind letting her come with..."

But he never got to finish whatever bile he was going to spew as his eyes widened and he fell forwards onto the floor. It took Arthur and me a second to get over the shock and work out what happened but as we looked up from the unconscious body there was my brother stood there holding a cracked vase in his hands. I don't think I'd ever been or would be as grateful to my brother as I was in that moment. All three of us stared down at the body for a few more minutes before I eventually pulled out of Arthur's arms and looked along the corridor to check no one was around.

"We need a plan." I stated although that was easier said then done. What could we do? The King had spoken; there was no way to make him change his mine unless of course we had proof. Sadly the only proof we had had was buried somewhere in an unmarked grave where no one would ever go to grieve. That poor, poor girl.

"We could..." Merlin started but broke off before looking hopefully at Arthur.

"Well firstly we need to move out of the corridor." Arthur started, taking up leadership like the King he was born to be. "Then we get hold of the others and think of something."

"Ok, Merlin, you go find Gwen, Morgana and Will while we deal with him." Merlin nodded before running off down the corridor. Arthur ran up the other end of the corridor to check that no one was coming before motioning that I help him move Markus back to my chambers. He was a heavy lump but we (well to be honest it was mostly Arthur) managed to get him into the physician's chambers. We sat in silence both watching Markus for any signs that he might stir while trying to think up any kind of plan. Nothing was coming into my mind but maybe the others would have more luck. Merlin came back with the others who seemed to approve of our handiwork but they too had no idea what we could do, so much for my brilliant escape route.

"Well no one else knows she's dead maybe we could find someone to..."

"Uther won't believe it." Morgana cut Gwen off in mid sentence before sighing, we really were running out of options and very soon people would begin missing Markus.

"We could always provoke him." Merlin offered while the rest of us regarded him as if he had lost it, I mean really he was angry enough already!

"Merlin, the rest of us actually like your sister and want to keep her safe, not provoke him into killing her." Arthur snarled ominously at Merlin, once again he seemed to be holding on by a thread that was fraying rapidly.

"Just hear me out." He started, taking a small step backwards but not wiping the grin off his face. "If he gets furious then he'll go for Talli, if we can get him to reveal his nasty side in front of the court then maybe Uther will realise what a mistake he's made."

"I don't know whether Uther will change his mind because Markus gets a bit ratty, he's not exactly as nice man." Morgana rolled her eyes at her guardian's stubbornness.

"But if Markus has lied to the King then that might..." Will fell silent as he realised it wasn't going to work.

"What if Markus was caught doing magic?" I whispered in Merlin's ear as the others began arguing about the likelihood of Merlin's idea working; the idea had popped into my head like an epiphany, it was a long shot but it could work.

"He'd be executed but there's no way we can prove it?" Despite what he had said, there was a hopeful glint in his eye.

"What if we planted something on him?"

"Like what?"

"Go talk to the dragon and see if he has any ideas." Merlin nodded before heading out the door while I tried to figure out how we would explain the sudden revelation to Markus was a wizard to the others.

"Where's he going?" Gwen asked as she came to give me a hug.

"To check up on some rumour he remembered from the village." I shrugged trying to act nonchalant while my heart was beating ten to the dozen at what we were about to try and pull off. We spent the next few minutes quietly talking with half baked ideas including making it look like he suicide or blackmailing him. Yeah, what could possibly go wrong? In the second before I completely lost my head with the lot of them and their ridiculous plans that was making Will and Merlin's marriage idea look plausible, Merlin walked back in with a huge grin on his face.

It was on.