Disclaimer: I (we) do not own Merlin. BBC does. If we did ( this is kinda a tag team thing) the show probably would have been shut down a LONG time ago from sheer weirdness!
Authors Note: Hello Everyone! Thank you so much for reading this story... well, I suppose since technically you haven't read it yet I shouldn't get my hopes up... :D So thank you for the thought at least entering your mind to maybe... not likely, but maybe waste who knows how many days of your life when you could be doing something useful like being a noble citizen and saving creepy puppies from trees... wait, err I mean kittens. Anyways I know that saying "We" may get a bit awkward but… I have a helpful accomplice who is much smarter and spells a whole lot better then I do , so I guess we will have to work around it. This story takes place close to the end of season three, and will probably have around 15 chapters. That's only a safe estimate though, there will more then likely be way more…I have a history of planning something reasonably short then falling in love with it and making it unreasonably large. But seriously thanks for reading!
Arthur marched down the corridor looking for his idiotic, clumsy, useless excuse for a manservant. He stormed down the hall and banged on Gaius' door. The physician calmly opened the door as if expecting who was outside.
"Gaius," Arthur said almost calmly, "have you seen Merlin?" Gaius hid a smile and nodded towards Merlin's room.
"In his room like he always is at this hour of the morning. Why? Do you need him for something?" Wordlessly Arthur strode across the room and without knocking, -Merlin never does so why should he?- opened the door. He practically fell over the mess that he encountered upon his hasty entry. He walked over to the bed, and stepped on a floorboard that felt a bit loose. On the bed asleep lied his ungainly manservant.
"Merlin! You idiot wake up! I'm going to be late because of you!" Arthur threw Merlin's jacket, which had been lying in a heap on the floor at his manservant's face. Merlin blinked his eyes owlishly, before rapidly jumping out of bed.
"Ehh? What? Err I'm awake!"
Apparently getting up so fast had been a mistake because Merlin accidentally banged his knee against his nightstand, causing a rather embarrassing scene.
"Merlin," Arthur said slowly, "Stop bumbling about and look at me." Merlin looked up and gave him a bright, goofy smile.
"Good morning, Sire." Merlin looked at the sky. "What's all the fuss? I'm not late, and I finished all of those disgusting chores you so generously offered me." Merlin stopped his mouth hanging open. He gave Arthur a confused look, "What are you doing up? And dressed for that matter!"
Arthur laughed then said sarcastically, "Perhaps it's because my father has summoned me to the court… You have to come as well, because that's what smart, competent servants are supposed to do." Arthur waited, then threw up his arms. "Well get up! Get Dressed! I don't have all day!" Merlin quickly grabbed his clothes, and threw a fresh shirt over his head.
"So why are you being summoned?" Merlin asked. The half smile left Arthur's face.
"Didn't say exactly, but he hinted about going on a trip."
Merlin shook his head with distaste.
"Please don't tell me it's a hunting trip, I hate hunting trips!" Arthur looked at him with disbelief.
"Merlin, why would my father wake the court, rouse the nobles, and honestly wake the entire castle, if I am just to go on a hunting trip?" Merlin combed a hand through his unruly black hair.
"I dunno, maybe because he's trying to punish me for covering for you, like with Sophia and all those other times, and has finally realized that hunting trips are much more effective then all those useless trips to the stocks." Arthur snorted and thwacked Merlin over the top of his head as they walked out the door.
"Oh, and Merlin, You really should think about nailing this floor down properly. You're the servant to the prince, it's embarrassing!"
Merlin's head was spinning as he and Arthur strode down the corridor. Something was about to happen, something big. It wasn't just this unexpected meeting in the throne room that aroused his suspicions either. Tension was building in the air, something was building and growing and pretty soon Merlin new it would crack. Merlin was so caught up in his thoughts that as they stepped around a corner his foot caught getting tangled with his other one and he slipped. He would have hit the ground face first, but Arthur's hand shot out and grabbed his arm, saving him from a rather embarrassing accident. Arthur glanced down at him perplexed.
"You really don't have any natural talent do you Merlin?" Merlin was about to shoot him a retort when Arthur freed his arm and walked on. Merlin sheepishly followed. Upon seeing Arthur, the Guards at the throne room door stepped back and opened the doors for their prince who strode through, Merlin on his heels. King Uther was sitting on his throne, reading a report. In the morning light his face looked hard, sharp, and regal, everything a King should be- and everything a father shouldn't. Arthur straightened his shoulders and took a deep breath.
"Father," Arthur said loudly, "you summoned me?" The King looked up from the report he was reading.
"Arthur, you are late." The King looked disapprovingly at his son's manservant. Merlin fidgeted uncomfortably. Arthur cleared his throat.
"I am sorry father, I had business to attend to." Merlin was quite proud of Arthur for he didn't even glance his way. The King shook his head disbelievingly, but let the subject drop.
"There have been reports of Mercenaries once again gathering in Cenred's Kingdom, though scouting parties have yet to give me a clear number as to how many." Behind him Merlin heard a creak as the great, double doors opened. Morgana gracefully glided into the room, smiling and pleasant. Wordless she took her place by Uthers side, slipping her hand in his.
"Do you believe Cenred is planning another attack on Camelot?" Arthur asked. The King nodded slowly.
"Indeed, I do." Arthurs reply was immediate "Then we must prepare. Gather the army to defend Camelot. We must attack him while he is unaware, for that is the only way to lessen the bloodshed on both sides." Uther shook his head.
"I said, I believe. I am not yet sure. And I don't want to start a war unless it's absolutely necessary, especially when he could be attacking any of our other enemies."
"Or Allies." Arthur pointed out. "Or Allies." Uther conceded.
"So what is it that you ask of me?" Arthur asked. "Just say the word father and my Knights and I are at your disposal."
Uther smiled. "I'm afraid what I ask of you son, Is much more difficult then swordplay. I wish for you to travel to Cenred's Kingdom and find out what he is up to. You can send one of your knights in to ask the questions but I don't trust anyone else to lead them." Arthur nodded feeling slightly flattered.
"So you wish me to become a spy?" Arthur clarified.
Uther nodded, "I think this will be an excellent learning experience for you son. When you are king, Arthur, there will be no end to the intrigue and lies, far more then you experience now. As king, people will look you in the eye, and say they are your friend, that they will be with you until their last breath, but in truth they are just seeking information or just favor in your eyes. You need to learn how to spot these
people, to know who they are and their ways, and what better way then to become one of them." Merlin looked at the ground, a lump forming in his chest. He knew he was not one of those people, but he feared Arthur may not see it that way on that dreaded day. Morgana was watching them shrewdly, her hand stroking Uthers.
"My Lord," Morgana said smoothly, "I would like to write letters to our allies and tell them to prepare for war. Would you be so kind as to lend me your seal ring, so the warning will come directly from you?" Uther turned his head to look at Morgana endearingly.
"My dear, you need not trouble yourself with such matters. I will send the letters personally." Morgana's face took on that reasonable but determined expression that she had always used whenever she wanted Uther to do something. It was so familiar, so much like the old Morgana, his friend, that Merlin's stomach clenched.
"My Lord I wish to help," Morgana said, "I cannot just sit by and do nothing while our kingdom is on the verge of war, and if writing letters is all I can do, I wish to do it." Uther chuckled and said quietly to himself.
"Of course you do. You have too much of your Father in you to not want to." Uther then sighed and said, "I need to oversee to the letters myself, but I will find something for you to do, I promise." Merlin saw Morgana's eyes flash in annoyance, but he knew he only caught it because he was looking for it.
Morgana smiled, then said demurely, "Of course. Thank you My Lord." Uther smiled, then turned back to Arthur.
"You will leave this morning, I have preparations already being made." Arthur nodded his head in respect. "Yes Father, I will not fail you." Uther smiled, "I know you will make me proud, son."
Arthur sat down heavily and sighed. He was in his chambers, alone besides Merlin, who did not count. They had a lot to do and very little time to do it. Well, at least Merlin did. He was bustling from one side of the room to the other, packing clothes, weapons and anything else they might need for their little vacation. Arthur leaned back, his hands behind his head and closed his eyes. He had already picked the knights he would like to accompany him, Sir Allen and Sir Kay, both honorable, and kindhearted men. They would do well. Arthur practically jumped out of his skin as he heard a crash. His eyes flew open, and he sat up with a jolt, his hand flying instinctively toward his sword, which wasn't there. Merlin lay sprawled on the ground, wrapped in the red curtains that were supposed to be hanging around his bed, a bag of Gaius' potions lying beside him, surprisingly unharmed. Arthur shook his head in disbelief. Only Merlin…
"Merlin," Arthur said irritably. Merlin sat up and grinned sheepishly at Arthur.
"Sire?" Arthur rolled his eyes. "Clean it up."
He said with a sigh. Merlin nodded and set hastily to work. Arthur stood up and started to pace,
"Oh, when you're done with that I need you to pack some peasant clothes for me, but don't get that horrible scratchy material you got last time… Ugh." Arthur wrinkled his nose in distaste.
Merlin gave him a puzzled look, "Why not?" Merlin asked innocently. Arthur rolled his eyes. "Because Merrrrlin, it itches."
Merlin shook his head and laughed. "That's what the rest of us wee mortals wear, your extremely royal prattiness." Arthur turned, leaning against the bedpost in mock annoyance.
"What would you have me do?" he asked, gesturing widely with his arms, "Buy a wardrobe worthy of a prince for every single citizen of Camelot?" Merlin shook his head with complete conviction,
"Of course not." Merlin said, throwing the last of his prince's clothes into the bag. Arthur nodded, happy that Merlin had finally given a sensible answer. "Just for me."
Morgana stood in her chambers, peering out her bedroom window at the courtyard below. Arthur and his knights were sitting astride their horses, waiting patiently, or in Arthurs case restlessly, for Merlin.
Merlin… how she hated that name! A name that she used to trust with her entire heart… but whatever relationship they used to have, whatever friendship or connection… was shattered beyond repair.
Much was shattered beyond repair in her life. The only thing that she had left, was Morgause, and her hatred for her father, Uther. She shifted uncomfortably to her other foot. Tonight she would be able to please Morgause and strike at Uther in one move.
All she had to do was wait.
And she waited, as below her Merlin came running back apologizing profusely, she waited as Arthur good naturedly thwacked him over the head. She waited, as the small party rode through the gates of Camelot, and still she waited as they disappeared from sight.
Tonight she would put their plans into motion. All she had to do was wait.
The sun set in a beautiful display of red and orange, as the citizens of Camelot closed up their shops, and happily headed home after a hard days work.
Nobody noticed a dark figure gliding through the dimly lit, shadowy hallways. The cloaked figure turned a corner, heading straight for the Kings chambers. Her pace did not slow as she walked towards the guards, who had not yet noticed her presence.
Too late did they turn, for her eyes flashed gold beneath the cloak, and they fell into an eternal sleep. She smirked as she stepped over them and quietly opened the door.
Inside Uther lay asleep, ignorant to all around him. Morgana glared at him hatefully, wanting nothing more then to kill him where he lay. She shook her head. Morgause had other plans for him first.
She slowly walked towards him. His signet ring was slipped firmly over his ring finger, and his ring finger was resting even more firmly under his head. She stood over him, listening to his slow, rhythmic breathing.
Her eyes flashed gold and the ring slithered off his finger into her outstretched hand. Uther's breathing broke, and he shifted uncomfortably. Morgana held her breath.
Uther grunted, turned over, and went back to sleep.
The Kings ward smiled and turned around, walking out of his chambers, past the sleeping guards, who would never again see the light of day.
Merlin ducked. Arthurs hand went flying teasingly over his head. They were sitting at the campfire, exhausted but cheerful after a long days ride.
"Only you Merlin could fall off your horse not once, no, but twice!" Arthur laughed. "Only you could be such a pompous dopplehead, to think it is funny when an innocent subject like myself, falls from their noble horse!" Merlin said in mock offence. Sir Allen choked back a laugh, slowly turning a rabbit on a spit. The savory aroma filled the air. Merlin's stomach growled.
"Is it done yet?" he moaned, "I'm starving." Sir Allen smiled at him.
"Not quite yet lad, not quite yet." Merlin nodded. He was actually enjoying himself. Sir Allen and Sir Kay were good men and treated him not as much as a servant as some of the other knights. He had spent the day laughing with, and insulting Arthur, who being away from the castle had relaxed tremendously, and politely exchanging pleasantries with the Knights. It was a three days ride to Cendred's kingdom, and Merlin was going to enjoy every minute of it.
The trees thinned and Merlin saw Cendred's castle swarm into view. He looked nervously at Arthur, who had already changed into the peasant clothes Merlin had packed for him. Arthur caught his look and smiled encouragingly. "Don't look like such a girl MERlin. We're here."