Author's Note: Second part of La Mort de Guinevere, the third episodic story of my version of the fourth series of Merlin. Please read the previous chapter if you haven't done so already.
fDisclaimer: I do not own Merlin. I do not own its characters.
La Mort de Guinevere (continued) – by AudiRox
It has been several weeks since Arthur picked up a sword and trained with his men. Several weeks of nothing but sitting, listening and signing. But this morning was different. Uther had resumed his role as King of Camelot and Arthur was back to being prince. He was glad for it. Especially since he strongly felt that his father's time on the throne was not yet over. It wasn't yet time for Arthur to take control. He had a lot more to learn. Of course, though his father seems to have recovered fully, Arthur would keep a keen eye on matters to make sure Uther was indeed steady enough to govern Camelot. But Arthur was happy at that very moment. With his father back on the throne, it gave him a chance to train with his new knights. At least half of them.
"When I'm king, I'll make time for training," he thinks to himself as he goes back and forth with his sword on Sir Leon. With sweat dripping on his brow, Arthur can't help but be impressed by Leon's defenses. "Someone has been training!" Arthur shouts as he takes another blow to Leon's armor.
"And someone has not!" shouts Leon with a smirk.
The rest of the knights, particularly, Gwaine and Elyan laugh from their position.
But twenty-some years of intense training can't be beaten, so Arthur pushes forward with blow after blow to Leon's shield. Leon realizes that he may have just challenged Arthur's abilities. "How is that for no training!" shouts Arthur with a grin.
Leon jumps back, holds up his armor and gives in, "Alright! Alright!" He chuckles and admits, "Not bad, sire. Not bad at all."
"Indeed!" shouts a familiar voice from the other end of the training grounds. Arthur, Leon and the other knights look in the direction of the voice and find Percival of all people, walking their way.
"Sir Percival!" shouts Leon.
A smile appears on each of the knights' faces, including Arthur's.
The prince walks a couple of steps to meet him. "Percival" he nods and grabs hold of his strong arm. "So good to see you again."
"I have just arrived, sire," says the shy, yet strong man.
"Welcome back, Percy," says Gwaine as he grabs the man's arm and pulls him into a manly hug.
Elyan and Leon pat him on the shoulders.
Arthur looks behind him, "Where's Lancelot?"
"Lancelot is still on the mission, sire. To find Morgana and her accomplices," he looks around at the knights and nods, "he asked me to return to Camelot and I agreed as you may find more use for me here."
Arthur nods, "Well, then. I'm glad you've returned. You must be tired, so take rest today and you shall resume your duties tomorrow. Maybe then, you can show us your skills in training."
Percival smiles, "Sire, I'm not tired at all." He looks around, "I have no weapon on me, but I'm ready to train, if you'll let me."
Gwaine smirks and throws his sword at Percival, who quickly grabs it by the handle.
Arthur rolls his eyes at Gwaine's manners as Elyan hands Percival a shield.
Percival tilts his head at the prince, waiting for his approval to start.
"Why not?" says Arthur and takes position.
The first strike to Arthur's armor makes him realize that Percival may be the strongest man in Camelot. Blow after blow is blocked by the prince, but he also realizes that maybe he shouldn't have allowed Percival to train with him so soon, especially since he hadn't trained much himself in the past few weeks.
"Not bad!" shouts Arthur blocking yet another blow.
The knights on the sidelines start to wince at every strike. Some, particularly Gwaine, can be heard cheering. "Thataboy, Percy!"
"Ouch!" says Elyan.
"They should've worn full armor for this," says Leon, looking concerned.
Gwaine pats Leon on the shoulder, "Don't worry, my friend. I'm sure Arthur will be fine." Arthur takes another blow to his shield, "Or not."
Arthur has had enough of defending himself and decides that it's time to start attacking his opponent. He spins around while Percival is at a disadvantage and starts taking swipes at his shield. Long, hard swipes that Percival isn't ready for. The third blow makes him lose control of the shield and it falls to the ground. The next strike is barely blocked by Percival by raising his sword.
Just when the prince is about to make his last move to disarm Percival, he hears, "ARTHUR!"
The mood, the music, the cheering all come to a halt as Arthur sighs and looks behind him. The other knights do the same.
It is Merlin running towards the training grounds. Arthur rolls his eyes at how bad his servant is with timing. "What is it Merlin?" he shouts.
Merlin tries to catch his breath as he inches closer, but he can't stop… he has to say it out loud, "It's Gwen! She has collapsed and is unconscious!"
Arthur's eyes widen. He drops his shield and sword and begins to run past Merlin. Elyan runs after Arthur. Merlin catches his breath and runs after him as well. Gwaine and Leon follow.
Percival, though newer to the group, understands the importance of the name, "Gwen" but decides to stay behind with the rest of the knights.
"Where is she?" shouts Arthur as he enters Gaius' quarters. Gaius steps aside to show Gwen on a simple bed just outside Merlin's room. "Guinevere!" Arthur shouts again, hurries to her side and scans her body before he kneels down beside her. "Gwen? Wake up," he says as he lightly touches her face.
Elyan and Merlin arrive shortly. Elyan walks closer to his sister and looks down at her still body, while Merlin watches as he stands by the doorway. Gwaine and Leon can be seen behind him.
Leon pushes himself through and walks over to Gaius, "What has happened, Gaius?"
Gaius holds up two pieces of fruit in a small plate, "I believe Gwen has been poisoned. I need to do some more research, but it's a highly effective poison that cannot be detected unless it's consumed."
Merlin's face quickly turns to Gaius holding the plate. Instantly, he turns and runs out, leaving Gwaine to wonder why his young friend just bolted out of the quarters.
Out in the market, Merlin is seen frantically looking for someone. He looks to his right, and then his left. "Where are you?" he says to himself. He then descends to the lower part of the market and sees a familiar figure walking just a few steps ahead. "You!" he shouts and starts to run after her.
Just as he inches closer to the old woman, he pushes on her shoulder to force her to turn and face him.
"You!" he shouts again. "You poisoned my friend!"
The old woman is terrified. She drops her walking stick and basketful of apples. "Please do not harm me!" she cries.
"Why would you do that?" Merlin asks in anger.
"It wasn't me. You have to believe me…. It wasn't me!" the woman cries again.
"Then who?" Merlin asks sternly.
"A witch. She threatened me. She said she would take away my granddaughter if I did not help her. My granddaughter is all I have. Please, it wasn't me!"
Merlin is confused. "Who would go out of their way to do such a thing to Gwen?" he thinks to himself. He looks back down at the old woman, "Do you know her name?" But the woman shakes her head. "What did she look like?"
"Of pale skin. White as snow."
Suddenly it hits him, but he can't accept it. "No. It can't be."
"Please dear boy, do not harm me," mutters the old woman.
Merlin sighs and picks up her walking stick as he had done before and hands it to her. "Go," he says.
Meanwhile, back in Gaius' quarters, he pours a few drops of a potion into Gwen's mouth as Arthur tilts her head.
"This should help her regain consciousness, but I fear the poison is eating her inside."
Arthur shakes his head, "No, I will not accept it." He takes a deep breath and closes his eyes, "You have to help her, Gaius. Do whatever you can. Please."
Gaius is well aware of Arthur's affections for the young woman, but he cannot guarantee the prince that his true love will be saved. "I will try my best, Arthur, but…"
Arthur cuts him off, "No! No, don't say it… please, just-just do whatever to cure her."
"Gaius," he hears someone say softly from the doorway. Merlin gestures for Gaius to come closer as Arthur turns his attentions to Gwen.
Gaius guides Merlin out the door and into the hallway. "Merlin, I need you to get me a certain type of herb. It only grows along a tiny stream of water just north within the borders. It's a star-shaped herb."
Merlin asks, "Will it cure her?"
Gaius isn't sure it will, "One can hope."
"You must hurry." Gaius says as he pats his protégé on the shoulder.
Back in Gaius' quarters, Arthur stays still with his head resting on Gwen's arm when he hears a whimper.
"Arthur," she says under her breath.
The prince quickly looks up to find a conscious Gwen. "Guinevere."
"Shhh. Don't strain yourself to talk." He lightly touches her face.
Arthur can't bear the thought of her, his Guinevere, in such pain. "You were poisoned."
"I… feel weak," she says as she struggles to breathe.
Arthur takes her hand in his, "You will get through this. I'll be here with you."
"You have things to do, Arthur," she says faintly.
He shakes his head, "There's nowhere else I'd rather be than by your side."
"Is this what it feels like?"
"Feels like to… to slowly… lose your soul?"
Arthur closes his eyes for a moment and holds her hand tightly. "No, don't say such things."
"Promise me…" she says as Arthur continues to shake his head, "Promise me that whatever happens to me, that you'll fulfill your destiny… and…"
"No, Guinevere, do not speak so."
"And you will make Camelot…" tears start flowing down her cheek, "you will make Camelot great. The envy of all of Albion."
Arthur's eyes water, "No, I will not promise such a thing. You will be by my side."
"Nothing is certain… Arthur."
Arthur continues to shake his head. "No."
Merlin finds the small stream which Gaius had mentioned. Right along it, he sees the star-shaped herb. "I hope this does it," thinks Merlin as he picks a few and places them in his bag. Just as he grabs another handful, he notices an unusual glistening on the water. He takes a closer look and to his shock, a familiar face appears.
"Morgana!" he shouts as he jumps back a bit.
Morgana laughs. "Well well, isn't it Camelot's finest. Long time, Merlin."
Merlin frowns. "What do you want?" he demands.
"Nothing now." She smirks. "I mean, the poison was meant for you."
"Of course," Merlin thinks as he realizes.
"It seems my plan has worked out even better than I had imagined. Thanks for sharing your apple with Gwen. You really did help me out quite a bit, Merlin."
"Stop it!" he shouts.
"Rumor has it that Camelot's favorite maid is no longer among the living. Good. Arthur can finally feel what it's like to lose a loved one."
"What? No!" Merlin shouts, "She is going to live."
"Assuming, she isn't dead already?" Morgana smirks again.
Merlin starts to panic as he takes a couple of steps backwards. "She is not."
Morgana pouts, "Run along, Merlin. You do not want to miss out on the last moments of your dear friend's life, do you?"
In anger, he shouts, "If any harm comes to Gwen, I will come after you."
"I would like to see you try." She laughs.
Merlin quickly turns around and starts running towards the castle.
Meanwhile, in the council room, Uther is consulting his advisers. Gwaine and Leon are seen in the corner of the room.
One of his advisers is giving Uther an account of what's going on in Camelot. "There's a very small group of bandits just within the borders that are breaking into homes and forcefully taking possessions of very little value, but it's scaring a lot of the citizens."
Uther nods, "I'm sure a few of our men can deal with that. Arthur can pull together a couple of the knights and ride over there in the morning." He looks around the room, "Where on god's name is Arthur?"
Leon and Gwaine look at each other.
Uther notices, "Sir Leon?"
Leon steps forward, "Yes, my lord?"
"Where's the prince?"
Leon looks back at Gwaine trying to come up with a good excuse as to why the prince of Camelot is absent.
Uther gets up from his chair and walks over. He looks at both Leon and Gwaine, "I realize you are very loyal to my son, but if he is in any sort of danger, I demand that you speak."
"Sire," Leon continues, "Sir Elyan's sister, Gwen… she was poisoned and has fallen ill."
Gwaine steps forward and continues frankly, "Prince Arthur is by her side."
Leon shoots Gwaine a sharp look.
Uther is curious. "Fallen ill?"
"Gravely, sire," nods Leon.
Uther turns to leave the room, "Where is she?"
Both Gwaine and Leon look at each other again surprised at what they think the king is about to do.
"She is being cared for in the court physician's quarters, sire." Leon explains.
Sir Leon and Sir Gwaine follow the king out of the council room.
The king quietly opens the door to the physician's quarters and finds his son by Gwen's side. Arthur, with his back to the king, is resting his head on the edge of the small bed, so he does not see his father. Gaius, however, catches sight of the king and walks over.
"Sire," he whispers. Clearly concerned for the sight which the king is witnessing, Gaius tries to come up with an excuse, "Arthur has been concerned…"
Uther holds up his hand, "I already know," he whispers.
Gaius is surprised.
"I've known for quite some time, Gaius. You need not lie," he whispers again.
Hearing voices, Arthur looks back to find his father.
Father and son lock eyes, but having no energy to explain himself, Arthur turns back to Gwen.
Uther looks at Gaius, "Can she be moved?" Gaius nods and so Uther looks back at Gwaine and Leon, standing just outside the door. "Make arrangements to move her into one of the chambers."
"Yes, sire," nods Leon.
Just moments later, Merlin comes rushing into the physician's quarters to find it empty with no Gaius, Arthur or Gwen. He starts to panic and rushes outside to the hallway. "No, no, no!" he shouts. "This is not happening!"
"What on earth are you going on about?" a voice can be heard from the back.
Merlin turns around to see Gaius returning to his quarters, "Where is she?"
"Oh, Uther asked that Gwen be moved into one of the chambers, so she will be more comfortable."
Merlin is confused, "Uther?"
Gaius shakes his head, "Let's talk about that later, Merlin. She is in Morgana's old chambers."
A look of disgust appears on Merlin's face. "Morgana."
Gaius looks down at Merlin's bag. "Did you find the herb?"
Merlin removes the bag from over his head and hands it to Gaius as they both walk into their quarters. "Is it Morgana's doing."
"What do you mean?" Gaius asks as he takes a few of the herbs out of the bad.
"She appeared to me by the stream."
Gaius looks up in surprised, "What?"
Merlin nods and continues, "The poison was meant for me." His eyes start to water as he shakes his head, and Gaius sees how worried the young warlock looks, "It was meant for me, Gaius. If Gwen dies…"
Gaius shakes his head, "She isn't going to."
Merlin looks down.
"You have to let Arthur know that it was Morgana that poisoned Gwen."
"He will be furious if he finds out that it was meant for me and that I shared the apple with Gwen."
"He does not need to know that. None of that matters anymore. Morgana's magic is growing stronger, and Arthur needs to be aware. If magic caused this to happen; only magic will save Gwen now." He adds, "Very strong magic."
"Where is Arthur?"
"He's with Gwen. Go tell him now."
Merlin nods and rushes out of the room.
He finds Arthur leaning against the footboard of the bed. He is intensely watching Gwen.
Without looking in his direction, Arthur is aware that Merlin had just entered the room, "She isn't waking up again."
Merlin slowly walks up to the bed and observes his dear friend.
"Am I going to lose her, Merlin?"
Merlin shakes his head, "No… of course not."
Merlin walks closer to his prince, "Arthur, you need to know something."
"What is it?"
"It was Morgana that poisoned the apple."
Arthur slowly looks up at his servant, "What?"
"She poisoned Gwen. Her magic is maturing, Arthur, and I'm afraid that only magic can save Gwen."
It is all too much for Arthur to comprehend. "Morgana did this?"
"Magic, you say?"
"Uther would never allow it."
Arthur takes a moment to think. He walks up to the window, looks outside, then turns to face his trusted servant. "He needn't know."
Merlin sighs and nods. "I will talk to Gaius."
Just as Merlin leaves the room, Arthur takes a deep breath hoping that he just made the right decision.
The next morning Geoffrey of Monmouth keeps a keen eye on Merlin as he looks through a peculiar book in the library. As Geoffrey inches closer to the young warlock, Merlin quickly closes the book and gets up from his seat. "This is it!"
"And may I ask why that particular book?" Geoffrey becomes curious.
Merlin shrugs, "Haven't a clue. Gaius' orders."
"I see," Geoffrey continues, "Young man, I hope you know that you're playing with fire if you think me a fool."
Merlin chuckles like an idiot, "A fool? No, really… Gaius wanted me to bring this book to him. I promise."
Merlin smiles and exits the library leaving Geoffrey suspecting the young man of foul play.
Moments later, Uther storms into Gaius' quarters demanding to know what's going on. "What's the meaning of this?" he shouts at Gaius.
Surprised at the violent entrance, Gaius steps back a bit. Merlin who is sitting across from Gaius looks up with eyes wide open.
Uther looks at the young man, "Leave us!" he demands.
Merlin nods, "Yes, sire." He quickly exits the room leaving Gaius and Uther by themselves.
Uther starts to pace. "Geoffrey just informed me that you ordered your boy to fetch a book of spells from the library."
Gaius rolls his eyes, "Geoffrey is an old fool, my lord."
"Is it true, Gaius?" the king demands.
Gaius sighs, "Yes, it is. It is the only book with spells that is allowed in the library because it also has medicinal remedies."
"Am I to assume that you will be using magic to save this girl's life?"
Gaius admits, "Yes, sire."
"It is NOT allowed!" shouts the king.
"But sire, it may be Gwen's only hope," explains Gaius.
"You know the rules Gaius. I forbid you to use magic."
Gaius takes a deep breath. Clearly unhappy with Uther, he steps forward, "Uther, it is your daughter, Morgana that poisoned Gwen."
Uther is surprised at the mention of her name. "Morgana? Why would she..?"
Gaius explains, "She knows of Arthur's feelings for Gwen. This is not the first time Morgana has tried to harm her."
Uther is troubled.
"And may I remind you, not too long ago, you asked me to do whatever it took to cure Morgana, and that is what I'm going to do for Gwen. If my actions are found unlawful, I'm prepared to face the consequences as Guinevere is worth saving."
Uther is surprised at Gaius' frankness. Unable to argue with his logic, he looks down at his hands, takes a deep breath and walks towards the exit. He pauses at the door and turns around, "Whatever you choose to do, I do not want to hear of it."
Satisfied with how he dealt with his sovereign, Gaius nods and goes back to work.
Later that afternoon, Arthur enters the council room looking for a meeting with his father. The prince is now aware of his father's knowledge about his feelings for Guinevere. He cannot escape it, nor delay it. Arthur feels compelled to clear the air.
"Father," he says as he enters the room.
The king is happy to see his son, "Arthur."
Arthur subtly looks around at the advisers, guards and knights around them, and turns to the king, "I would like to speak with you about…" he takes a moment, "about Guinevere."
"Leave us," commands the king to the rest of the men in the room.
Father and son stay silent as the men quickly exit the premises.
To Arthur's surprised, the king asks, "How is she? Any progress?"
Without revealing too much, Arthur replies, "None yet, but Gaius is trying his best."
Uther nods. "Of course."
Arthur struggles to speak, "Father, you must now be aware of my feelings for her."
Uther becomes uncomfortable.
"I'm sorry I've kept it from you, but…"
The king cuts him off, "Let us not speak of the matter."
The king commands, "Arthur, I would like us not to speak of the matter."
Arthur is confused. "Does he approve or does he not?" he thinks to himself as he looks around the council room.
"I need to get back to the council."
Looking a bit lost, Arthur nods at his king and walks towards the exit.
Uther sighs deeply.
Later that night, Gaius, Merlin and Prince Arthur are standing around Gwen's bed. Seated near her bed, Gaius stirs contents into a goblet.
Arthur keenly watches the physician as he hadn't known Gaius' abilities, especially abilities relating to magic.
"Enahl ne trahk gurroh ne trahk ne treisha hu trahk," utters Gaius as he closes his eyes and holds up the goblet.
Arthur continues to observe the old man, his mind clearly working overtime trying to make sense of what Gaius is doing.
Merlin keenly watches Arthur.
Gaius lifts Gwen's head slightly and pours the contents of the goblet into her mouth. He carefully returns her head to the pillow.
The three men keenly watch the young woman on the bed.
Almost in unison, Gaius and Merlin sigh.
"What?" commands Arthur. "What is it?" he panics.
Merlin sadly shakes his head.
"It didn't work?"
"Arthur," Merlin softly says, "it didn't."
"Well, try it again."
Gaius feels Gwen's forehead, "Her fever is rising again."
"Try the spell again, Gaius!" commands Arthur.
Gaius shakes his head, "It doesn't work that way, Arthur. We will try again tomorrow."
Arthur frantically asks, "What else can we do? Is there anyone else you know that can help?"
Gaius looks back at Merlin and sighs. He turns back to the prince, "You haven't eaten or slept, Arthur. You need to rest."
"Rest? No, how can I rest when…"
Gaius cuts him off, "Starving and depriving yourself of sleep is not going to help Gwen."
"Please, get some sleep. We will try again in the morning."
Next morning, Arthur in his armor is walking towards the training grounds with Merlin following closely behind.
"You really want to train today?" Merlin asks.
"I need to keep myself busy, Merlin. Besides, Elyan is with his sister."
"But you haven't eaten a thing for two days, and have barely slept. Arthur, you are in no state to train."
Stubbornly, Arthur dismisses him, "Let it go, Merlin."
Gwaine, Percival and Leon see Arthur heading towards them. They all seem surprised.
"Sire?" says Leon. "We weren't expecting you."
Arthur takes his sword and prepares himself, "Well, I'm here. Let's go," he says.
Gwaine steps forward, "My lord, are you sure? We understand if you need to be elsewhere."
Arthur looks directly at the knight. "Let's go Sir Gwaine. Show me what you got."
Not one to force the issue, Gwaine nods and moves forward to challenge his prince.
Arthur takes the first strike as a concerned Merlin watches on.
No cheering or laughter is heard as before; just concerned faces watching Arthur as he pushes himself harder to fight Gwaine. The knight notices Arthur's strain as he blocks each of the prince's strikes with ease.
"Sire," Gwaine says softly as he continues to fight. "You're in no state to train."
Arthur is determined, "Shut up Gwaine and fight!"
Gwaine shakes it off and continues to defend himself with ease. Leon and Percival look at each other with concern as Gwaine takes a quick glance at Merlin, who shakes his head.
"Why aren't you fighting back?" shouts Arthur as he strikes Gwaine's shield.
Gwaine blocks the strike by holding up the shield and pushing Arthur's sword away, and then he drops both shield and sword and steps back. "I would fight, sire, if I knew that my opponent was up to the task!"
Arthur realizes that he had taken an aggressive move in order to deal with the possible loss of his one true love, and so he drops his shield and sword on the ground.
Out of respect, the other knights look down or away from the prince.
Gwaine steps closer and continues softly, "I'm sorry."
Arthur takes a deep breath and looks around the training grounds. He then walks past Merlin and away from his knights.
Leon looks at the young warlock, "I have never seen him this way."
Merlin nods and looks back at Arthur as he walks away. "I know." He can't help but be heartbroken for his master.
Later that night, Merlin decides to go out to the field just outside the border of Camelot. He looks up at the starry sky and closes his eyes to feel the light breeze on his face. "Please help," he says out loud to no one in particular. "Please help me find a way."
Just then, the sound of Kilgharrah's wings flapping through the wind can be heard. Merlin looks to the northern sky in surprise. "Kilgharrah?" he whispers.
The great dragon lands just in front of Merlin.
"Young warlock," says the old dragon.
"I did not call for you," says Merlin looking confused.
The dragon starts to chuckle, "Well, it is nice to see you, too!"
Merlin faintly smiles.
"What troubles you, young warlock?" The dragon asks in a concerned tone.
"It is Gwen, she ate a poisoned apple that was meant for me. And no magic can save her."
"Gwen?" asks the dragon.
Merlin nods, "Guinevere."
"Ah, the future queen."
Merlin looks up in surprise. "Then she will live?"
"Only if you save her, Merlin."
"But how? Gaius has tried every potion and spell… it is of no use." Merlin says with despair.
"But does the old physician have the key ingredient?"
"Which is?" shouts Merlin.
The dragon wisely continues, "A drop of tear from an unlikely source."
Merlin is confused, "But who is the source?"
The dragon starts to flap his wings, "If I knew, I'd tell you, young warlock."
Just as the dragon moves vertically away from the earth, he shouts, "You must save the future queen, Merlin. You haven't time!"
Merlin looks down at the ground and scratches his head, "An unlikely source," he repeats to himself and sighs.
Moments later, he walks into the chambers to find Gaius had fallen asleep in the chair next to Gwen's bed. He walks up to the old physician and pats him on the shoulder.
"Gaius," he says and the old man wakes up to find Merlin. "I'll stay with her. You should go rest."
Gaius nods and leaves the room.
Merlin takes a seat and looks at Gwen sleeping so peacefully. The fever had broken, but for how long? And then what? When will she completely recover? Will she completely recover? These thoughts have lingered in Merlin's mind on and off. "I cannot lose my friend," he thinks to himself as he observes Gwen.
He leans forward and looks down at the floor. "You have to fight this, Gwen," he says. "You just have to. Camelot will never be the same if you don't." Tears fill his eyes as he says this and so he quickly wipes them clean with the sleeve of his brown jacket. To ease the pain, he chuckles, "Besides, if you aren't around, Arthur will be a bigger pain than he already is."
The next morning, Merlin walks into Arthur's chambers carrying a tray of the prince's morning meal. He finds Arthur sitting on his bed with his back facing the door, his elbows resting on his knees and hanging his head low. The young servant notices that the bed has not been slept on. "Arthur?" he says.
Arthur doesn't respond.
"You haven't slept," Merlin says as he sets the morning meal on the table across the room.
Arthur doesn't move, but responds, "How can I?"
Merlin walks closer to the prince, "You can't go on like this. You have to sleep. You have to eat."
"Why?" Arthur asks. "Why do all that if I'm not going to have her beside me?"
"Don't say that," says Merlin. "She isn't gone. She is NOT dead!"
"Yet, she does not live."
"You cannot give up on her, Arthur."
"Do I have a choice?"
Merlin takes a deep breath, "If the tables were turned, she would not give up on you."
Arthur realizes that Merlin speaks the truth. But, instead of lifting his head, he lowers it even further and starts to sob into his palms. "That is because she is stronger."
Merlin feels for his master but can't do a thing to make things right.
"I need her beside me, Merlin. Guinevere can't die."
Just then, Merlin notices someone by the doorway. He had forgotten to close the door behind him and it is Uther that leans against the door, watching his son break down. Though Arthur isn't aware of his father's presence, out of respect, Merlin decides to leave the two alone. He inches closer to Uther to leave the premises when he notices something. Tears. Tears of Uther Pendragon. Tears flowing down his cheek.
It suddenly hits him, and so Merlin suddenly cocks his head up and utters a spell, "Ahm seasamh fósh, îţi ordohn!"
Suddenly everything and everyone around him freezes. Even a drop of tear just a couple of inches below Uther's jawline.
Merlin quickly looks around for a container. He finds a goblet by Arthur's bedside. He grabs it, looks inside it to make sure it's empty and holds it just under Uther's face, only an inch below the teardrop.
"Am ghnóthúrr, îţi ordohn!" says Merlin and the drop of liquid quickly falls into the goblet and Merlin quickly jumps to the side and exits the room.
Just as time recovers, Uther notices Merlin's odd behavior, but he doesn't let it distract him from thoughts of his son.
Moments later, Merlin is seen in Morgana's old chambers stirring some contents in the goblet. Next to him, Gaius observes the young man carefully tilt another goblet to add the one teardrop into the contents.
"Are you sure this is going to work, Merlin?" asks Gaius.
Merlin sighs and shakes his head, "No, but this may be our last hope." He offers the goblet to Gaius but Gaius shakes his head and gestures Merlin to sit by Gwen.
The young warlock holds the goblet carefully, stares at the contents inside and utters a spell, "Enahl ne trahk gurroh ne trahk ne treisha hu trahk!" His eyes glow and so does the goblet.
Lifting Gwen's head very lightly, Merlin pours some of the liquid into her mouth and carefully returns her head to her pillow. "Please work," whispers Merlin.
The physician and young warlock sit in silence for a couple of moments.
Silence. Nothing, but silence.
Merlin sighs with his eyes closed. "Please," he whispers again.
"Merlin?" a familiar voice speaks.
Merlin's eyelids quickly open to find Gwen coming into consciousness.
"Gwen!" Merlin shouts as he moves from the chair to the edge of the bed.
A smile appears on Gaius' face. Instead of sticking around, he quickly exits the chambers leaving Merlin alone with his dear friend.
"Merlin," she says again and tries to sit up.
He helps her. "How are you feeling?"
"As if I've been asleep for years."
Merlin grins and looks at his friend admiringly.
"What is it, Merlin?"
"We thought we lost you, Gwen." He shakes his head, "Arthur is a mess."
"Shut up, Merlin!" shouts Arthur as he rushes into the chambers. "Guinevere!"
"Arthur," she says with more energy.
Merlin steps away as Arthur rushes to Gwen's side. He takes her in his arms, "Thank god!" He kisses her forehead, closes his eyes and strokes her hair and softly repeats, "Thank god."
Merlin watches from the corner of the chambers relieved that his dear friend is out of danger at last. Gaius returns and stands next to him and pats him on his shoulder. "Well done," he whispers proudly.
As Arthur opens his eyes, he sees his father outside the chambers in the corridor looking in. The faintest of smiles appear on his face, but not wanting to linger, he turns around and continues walking up the corridor.
Elsewhere, Morgana, having learnt of Guinevere's recovery, looks out of her window and stares into a distance. "I have failed you, sister," she says. "Camelot thrives yet again. But I promise I will not rest until I find a cure and we shall both see to the destruction of Arthur's beloved kingdom."
With these words, Morgana turns to reveal Morgause sitting in a chair. Her body is still with no movement in her limbs.
"Do not worry, sister," she says, "I will join you soon enough."
Morgana is curious, "How is it that Camelot overcomes every obstacle we've thrown their way?"
Morgause smirks, "They have a secret weapon, sister. A weapon even they're unaware of."
Morgana is curious, she steps closer, "What is it? Who is it?"
Morgause smiles, "Patience, sister. I will reveal it to you when the time is right."
Scene fades on Morgause smiling at the thought of her newfound knowledge.
End Notes: Just another episodic story of ideas. Hope you enjoyed it. Thank you so much for your reviews. I really appreciate them. Let me know what you think of this one.
While I have a few more ideas for two more episodes, I have yet to envision how they'll play out. Once I figure out the outline, I'll try to get the dialogue going as soon as I can.
Thank you so much for reading. Happy 2011!