Title: Walking with Ghosts

Author: sophielou21

Rating: PG

Word count: 1,233

Character/Pairings: Arthur, OC (Linnet), mentions Gwen, Elyan and Uther

Spoilers/Warnings: References to 3x07 and very light speculation for the rest of S3.

Disclaimer: If Merlin belonged to me, Camelot would be a very different place.

Summary: Arthur takes his daughter on a walk in the woods.

A/N: Set in the same verse as In Her Father's Image. I was inspired by Arthur talking to Gwen about the woods in 3x07.

The sound of a bird taking flight caused Linnet's head to snap to look in the direction of the noise. Her wavy dark blonde locks jumped up with her before settling down immediately as her entire body stopped still. Through wide brown eyes the white cloud-light that was visible through the tree branches reflected white sparkles in her eyes.

Yet the seven-year-old would never admit to her father that the sound she heard had momentarily frightened her. She wouldn't even admit it had startled her.

Arthur looked in the direction his daughter was staring. Up in the branches where the bird had flown from there was a nest in clear vision. It was almost time for the birds to have their yearly brood and they were building their safe-house.

Linnet sighed with relief but jumped again when her father gently reached down to touch her shoulder and brush her hair away from her face.

"The noises in this forest can be quite startling," he told the little girl, kneeling down before her."But it's good that you take note of every sound."

The child pouted proudly and raised her chin, "I wasn't startled."

Her words were so firm that it reminded Arthur of him when he was younger. He never wanted to admit that he was nervous or scared of anything, even when the threats he faces were truly dangerous. Linnet was no different. She would do anything rather than admit to him that one bird had scared her and he knew why; she felt ashamed that such a tiny thing scared her.

Arthur sighed and stood straight again.

"Have you had enough of walking?" he asked her diplomatically. She made no other reply than a tiny shrug of her shoulders. It made him smile. "Shall we go back to camp? You mother is still waiting on this firewood."

He raised his armful of wood slightly and nodded towards the eleven sticks resting across Linnet's small arms.

Linnet shrugged more clearly this time, "If you want. I'd happily walk here for the rest of the day... maybe even the night."

Another snap as a bird landed on a branch. The little princess refused to look this time although she still jumped slightly and clutched her twigs to her.

She looked back to her father.

"Come on," she said walking past him. "We don't want to keep Mama waiting."

"Of course not," Arthur said amusedly.

He followed on, quickly catching up to Linnet's pace. After a while Linnet was making small bounds and leaps to keep up with his pace. It was a little game they sometimes played in which they both tried to 'outpace' the other. Arthur knew Linnet was at a disadvantage due to her short legs but she always managed to keep up with him.

Eventually Arthur slowed down again.

"I'll carry those sticks," he said, taking them from her arms.

Linnet pushed them up onto the pile he was already carrying up said nothing. Instead she used her free arms to fold them across her chest defensively. A few more odd coos from the birds, snaps beneath her feet and winds hitting the leaves unnerved her.

Arthur wanted to say something to set her mind at rest.

"You know I used to come to these woods often when I was your age?" he began.

Linnet looked up to him, raising an eyebrow.

"Why?"

"My father would bring me here," he explained softly, trying to remember those days. "He would witter on about the Knight's Code and the duty of a king to his people... and all I could think about was whether that sound was a bandit or a gust of wind, or whether another sound was a bird or a monster..."

"Why did he bring you here?" Linnet pouted, looking around at the unremarkable and sinister forest. She asked another question, "Why have you brought me here?"

"It's just something from my childhood I wanted to share with you," Arthur replied with a smile.

Both of Linnet's eyebrows went up this time.

"And you chose something scary?" she said in a tone which reminded Arthur so much of Gwen when she was not amused. "Couldn't you have chosen something... less creepy?"

Arthur burst out laughing.

"Unfortunately there is very little from my childhood that wasn't a little scary," he told Linnet. "My father thought it would do me good to expose me to the more frightening aspects of life. I don't agree with his view but..."

"Good job I'm not scared then," Linnet interrupted.

A snake jumped out at them at that moment. The little girl screamed and immediately clutched her father's side.

There were only two things in the world that truly terrified Linnet: mice and snakes. When the royal apartments were invested with a mice population, Arthur had got down on his hands and knees to drive one of the tiny creatures out from under Linnet's bed. It had crawled over foot as she fished around for her slippers that morning and it left her with an irrational fear of them ever since. Her fear of snakes was more basic – she just found them scary.

The sight of the creature didn't bother Arthur in the slightest and he relished sometimes in being his little girl's hero by his ability to just take a stick and gently move it away.

Arthur looked down to her afterwards and smiled.

"That's the scariest thing in these woods," he told her. "And it's not even venomous."

Linnet sheepishly looked down at her feet where Arthur had laid down the rest of the firewood. She was embarrassed by the fuss she had made.

He picked up the firewood again, tucked it under his arm and used his free hand to hold Linnet's. She took it quite happily. He squeezed it affectionately and went on as before:

"This forest isn't significant to me because of my father, though."

"No?"

"No," he repeated, and he looked down at Linnet until she looked up at him. He then looked away, tilted his head and went on with a smile. "I came to this forest a few times with you mother. We rode through here when we went to rescue your Uncle Elyan from King Cenred... and for a short while we actually lived out here."

Linnet pulled an unappealing face and looked around the forest again.

Arthur grinned at her reaction, "That was how your mother felt. She doesn't like forests, particularly this one."

"Then why did we come here?"

"She feels safer when I'm with her," he boasted jokily.

Arthur chuckled to himself until he felt Linnet tighten her grasp on his hand. He looked down into Linnet's deep-coloured eyes as she said, "I feel safer too."

It was moments like this when Linnet demonstrated an absolute and unshakeable faith in him that Arthur felt proud to be a father. He had once had unshakeable faith in his father too, a faith that was slowly shattered by his actions. Arthur was determined never to do anything that would budge Linnet's confidence in him.

If Linnet (and her mother) stopped having faith in him, he would shrivel up and die.

He swung his arm with Linnet's softly and led her on through the forest.

"Not far from camp now," he declared. "And once we're back there, your mother can show you how to light a fire."

Title: Stranger than I Dreamt It

Author: sophielou21

Rating: PG

Word count: 657

Character/Pairings: Mordred, OC (Linnet), mentions Morgana, Gwen and Arthur

Spoilers/Warnings: References to as scenes written in Cradle and In Her Father's Image, written from Mordred's POV.

Disclaimer: If Merlin belonged to me, Camelot would be a very different place.

Summary: Mordred makes a decision about Linnet.

A/N: Set in the same verse as In Her Father's Image. This is based on a prompt by wikked_angel_78 who wanted a drabble based around the prophecy that Mordred will fall in love with Linnet. I ended up writing two – this is the first one.

Mordred had gone back and forth between the secret camp where he resided with Morgana and her son Mabon and Camelot all his life. Often he would go without telling anyone where it was he was headed because he knew they would never understand his reasons for going in the first place. It was his secret obsession.

That was his curiosity over Eiliwedd, the Lady Royal of Camelot and daughter of the man he was apparently destined to kill one day. Little Linnet, the 'Idol of the Isles' as the people knew her as a child. He had watched her since she was a babe lying in her cradle, and secretly watched her grow up from afar.

One day when she was thirteen, Linnet dropped her family pendant – the mark of the Pendragon – while walking in the street. That was the first day that Mordred had ever spoken to Linnet. He knew he shouldn't have but curiosity over what it would be like to... touch her shoulder just once compelled him to reach out and grab her attention to return the lost treasure.

He remembered how she had turned and smiled. Everyone said that she was edgy and tricky to deal with like her father had been at her age... but he saw nothing but nobility and kindness in her expression.

"You dropped this, your highness."

He had held out the pendant for her and she gasped at the sight of it, immediately reaching out to take it.

"Oh my God! Thank you."

Her hand had brushed against his as she took back the pendant. She had barely stayed more than a few seconds after that, smiling gratefully at him and blinking her beautifully framed brown-eyes as she turned to leave. He had even caught the scent of her fine blonde hair flicked back as she ran to catch up with her younger companion.

He knew that his curiosity was poisonous.

That said his interest in Linnet hadn't been perverted, at least he didn't think so. At thirteen he did not find her remotely attractive as a woman. She was still thin and undeveloped but for tiny signs that puberty had kicked in just the previous year. Her tomboyish style added more to her lack of femininity even when she was forced to wear a dress.

Her longish blonde locks hung in fine, wavy masses which knotted together. As he walked away Mordred imagined Queen Guinevere pulling a brush through her teenage daughter's hair and scolding her for not brushing it properly.

Yes, he had thought her beautiful – in the same way a work of art was beautiful or a unicorn was beautiful. Eiliwedd Pendragon was at that point just a pretty thing but she was not attractive. Even pretty things could be struck down if need be... although Mordred admitted that his perception of her might change when she came of age, when she reached the age of objectification.

So he made a vow.

He would not return to Camelot until the day she came of age. Even as he walked away Mordred wondered how he would fight off the curiosity to watch her as he had since she was tiny. Yet he had crossed the line in speaking to her today. He had made a move towards existing in her world, something which he had vowed never to do the first day he ever saw her as a baby.

I will never let the daughter of a man I hate control me!

Mordred realised now that he was so determined to see the prophecy didn't come true, that by obsessing over Linnet and watching her he was making it come true. So, he decided to cut all ties from this day until the day she was no longer a child.

It was not a child, after all, who would 'bewitch the mind of the cold and cruel Mordred' to the point of obsession, he thought.

Title: The Idol of the Isles

Author: sophielou21

Rating: PG

Word count: 759

Character/Pairings: Mordred, Linnet, mentions Gwen and Arthur

Spoilers/Warnings: None.

Disclaimer: If Merlin belonged to me, Camelot would be a very different place.

Summary: Mordred makes a decision about Linnet.

A/N: Set in the same verse as In Her Father's Image. This is based on a prompt by wikked_angel_78 who wanted a drabble based around the prophecy that Mordred will fall in love with Linnet. I ended up writing two – this is the second one.

Mordred knew he was doomed the moment he saw her.

Sneaking into Camelot had always been a gift of his and it was made easier this time that Morgana wanted him to spy on the celebrations of the princess's sixteenth year and her coming out celebrations. That was, her 'coming of marital age' party.

Every damned prince, baron and lord in the land would fall over themselves to try and win the attentions of the famed Linnet. They were hungry for the power that marriage with her would give to them. They'd have all fought over her if she had been ugly. The fact that she was beautiful and supposedly a lively personality made her all the more desirable.

Morgana had joked cynically that Linnet had inherited her mother's 'je ne sais quoi' when it came to her ability to attract men, inflame their desire and drive them to a madness where they would do anything to win ten seconds of her approval.

It was an approval that Linnet was not forthcoming with. She was known to tease and joke with the boys that fumbled over her, giving her flowers and kissing her hand. She would never be cruel but she'd tell them they were being silly. She didn't take matters of the heart seriously yet, as if she was waiting for that one special person to spark her off and make her care.

Mordred clasped his drink and looked around. No one recognised him.

The entire room went silent as the court announcer called the princess forth so that she might present herself to the king and queen, her parents, and so that they might in turn present her to the minor kings and nobility of the whole of Albion.

All eyes turned to the door as it opened.

'Her Royal Highness Eiliwedd, daughter of Arthur; the Lady Royal of Camelot and High-Princess of the Isles of Albion.'

Linnet appeared behind the announcer, clearly amused by the mouthful he had just said. She saw no reason why everyone needed to be reminded of who she was. But it was tradition and there was nothing Camelot liked better than good old tradition.

The High-King Arthur and his wife Queen Guinevere both stood from their throws and beckoned their daughter forward.

Linnet smiled mildly and walked into the hall as elegantly as she could manage. She had never been comfortable in prissy and fancy expensive dresses but due to the grandeur of the occasion, Linnet had been forced to endure standing still for at least an hour each day for ten weeks while the royal dressers fitted the dress and stitched on the ornate decoration.

The result was breathtaking. Everyone including Mordred stared in disbelief at the beauty of the girl before them.

Yet it wasn't just her beauty that moved Mordred. There was something more innate and primal now.

He found himself wanting to walk through the crowds, reach out and touch one of the carefully twirled tendrils twisted either side of her head. He wanted to look her in the eyes and read her soul. He wanted to think her thoughts. He wanted to hear what was going through her mind. He wanted to be as close to her as possible. The magic within him demanded it so.

He could feel every movement she made.

Mordred wondered, Is this destiny taking hold?

Linnet curtsied to both her parents and spoke the words she had been practising for weeks. Just for that one moment so much work had gone into preparing for it. When she had finished the king stepped forward, took her hand and she turned to face the rest of the hall, curtsying to them gracefully.

She wouldn't have noticed Mordred in the sea of faces. There was no reason why she would. Yet Mordred found himself hoping she would look in his direction. She didn't.

I will make her notice me, he vowed to himself.

He would not avoid the prophecy any longer. He would use it and bend it to his own will. They said that Linnet would tame Mordred, when Mordred would tame Eiliwedd. He would make her want him as much as he wanted her and more if possible.

Mordred would make Linnet his. He would steal her and make her his by any means or force needed. Her parents the 'great' Arthur and Guinevere won't be able to stop him. If they tried, he would kill them.

Whoever takes Linnet, takes the whole of Albion.

Mordred was determined that would be him.