A/N Thank you to everyone who reviewed my first poems and short stories and/or added them to their favourites. I love writing but never believed in my wildest dreams anyone else would actually enjoy them! So, here we go with my first multi-parter! Here's the prologue - a little taster/teaser to get us started.

The Ice Palace


"You want me to polish all of that?" Merlin asked, staring in disbelief at the huge pile of armour on the table in front of him.

"Your point being?" Arthur replied calmly, rubbing his hands to warm them against the winter chill.

"But ... it can't all belong to you." There had to be enough here for at least five knights. Merlin turned back to Arthur with a frown, convinced he had be joking.

"It's just my usual set," the Prince replied looking slightly confused. Merlin turned back to find the pile had grown even bigger and gave Arthur a suspicious glare, but the blond wasn't paying him much attention; bouncing up and down on the spot with his arms were wrapped around him, rubbing his upper arms hard.

"Merlin, it's freezing in here, light the fire would you?"

It did seem to be getting cold very quickly. Merlin had only just noticed and the prince's teeth were now chattering. "Of course, Sire." He moved to the wood pile and started to place some logs on the hearth.

"Thanks, Merlin. I don't know what I would do without you. You're an excellent servant and a good friend."

"What?" He turned back to Arthur shocked. These were words he never thought he'd hear his master uttering. "You can't have been drinking this early in the morning," he countered.

"What are you going on about?"

The prince had turned a little blue and Merlin was sure he could see flakes of white forming on his hair and clothes. "Are you sure you're alright?" It also seemed as if the walls were starting to glisten with sparkling frost.

"I'm just very, very cold," Arthur replied. "Hurry up and light that fire would you?" The cold was beginning to bite and it felt strangely unnatural and intrusive. Merlin felt it soak into his skin, slide through his blood and bite into his bones. Instinctively he pushed the sensation away from him whilst he concentrated on lighting the fire with a flint but the logs were sprinkled with ice and the kindling refused to ignite. A thought was trying to get his attention; a nagging feeling that he was missing something very important.

"Oh, just light it with magic why don't you?" said Arthur exasperated. Merlin looked up shocked at the comment to see that the prince was lightly coated with snow and ice from head to toe; a small icicle now forming on the tip of his nose.

"M-magic. How ...?" This was all very wrong.

"Well, that glowing shield you just created around you was a bit of a give away," the prince explained calmly.

"No ... hang on. This can't be right …" he insisted.

"Oh, for heavens sake, Merlin. Will you just wake up and fix this?


Merlin opened his eyes abruptly and sighed in relief. No wonder he'd dreamed about it being cold, he could feel the chill here too, although it wasn't as severe as that strange sensation he'd just been dreaming about. A glance towards the window showed that it was still dark but, even though it was probably a few hours away from dawn, the silence was unusual and very worrying. He sat up suddenly, lit the candle by his bedside with magic and looked around his room in disbelief.

The walls were sparkling with ice. A small layer of snow coated the floor, icicles hung from the ceiling and the bed sheets were stiff and cold to the touch. As he raised an arm, he saw the unmistakable glow of a magical shield dancing around his skinny wrist. Somehow he'd created it instinctively whilst he was sleeping.

So, how much of that dream had also been the truth?


A/N. Please R&R and feel free to give constructive criticism, suggestions - thoughts and speculations.

E/N (editor's note): Originally written at the end of Series 3 and set after that time, which now makes it a little AU.

This is still one of my favourite stories but, as I was new to writing at the time, there are a number of errors which have been annoying me so I've started an edit. This will mostly correct my horrible lack of conversational commas and other bad habits I used to have, but the overall plot and direction of the story will not change.

Published 19/12/10

Edited 19/5/12