Phew! This is the last part to my Forever Yours series, and it's going to be one heck of a ride! There'll be ups and downs, loop-de-loops and plenty of nail biting moments!
As always, a HUGE thank you to Cori, my absolutely fabulous beta who has been one heck of a lady! A HUGE thank you as always to you guys and girls who read and review! It's really rewarding to know what you think!
WARNING: There will be moments of violence and rare intimate M/M implied moments in this story. So please, if this isn't for you, then turn away now! Otherwise, read on and review!
Merlin was kissing Arthur as though his life depended on it, heated and desperate. Magical power unlike anything he had ever experienced swelled within Merlin's body, and the air around them began to crackle with energy. With his heightened senses, he caught the acrid smell of fire and sensed a blistering heat on his skin, and he reacted instantly . Shoving Arthur back forcefully, Merlin jumped in the opposite direction as the flaming missile slammed into the ground where they had just been. Large fragments of jagged rock shot out everywhere; yet even as Merlin rolled to the side, a magical shield was already weaving around himself and Arthur. The fragments instantly disintegrated into a fine dust when they hit the shield and coming to a stop, Merlin looked over at Arthur, who was getting to his feet, a little unsteadily.
Are you hurt, Arthur? Merlin asked hurriedly, trying to see if his lover had suffered any injury.
I'm fine, Merlin, Arthur growled before softening his tone. What about you?
Same, Merlin answered simply, and he looked up into the dark sky.
Merlin needed to be high up on the battlements. Without the use of his magic to protect the archers and trebuchets, the enemy would gain the front gates. But that would mean leaving Arthur on his own, and knowing Arthur, the young king would go to the front of the fight where Merlin couldn't protect him.
I need to be up top with the archers, Arthur, Merlin told him and took a step towards the king. I have to help them...
Go, Merlin, Arthur interrupted and patted the scabbard attached to his hip. I have Excalibur, remember, and I guarantee that they won't kill me. I promise it. Now go, go!
Before Merlin could voice any more concerns, Arthur pulled his helmet over his head and ran off towards the lower part of Camelot. Cursing under his breath and promising that he was going to make Arthur regret running off, Merlin turned and ran down the steps. Turning sharply to the right, he raced down the sheltered pathway that lead to the ladder leading directly up to the battlements. A large explosion suddenly erupted, and Merlin stumbled into the edge of one of the stone pillars, his upper arm throbbing in pain. Cursing and grabbing his arm, Merlin ran on towards the ladder . Another explosion rocked the ground and this time, Merlin heard screams of pain and terror before hearing the muffled thuds of bodies dropping to the floor. Faster. Must run faster.
Just as Merlin got to the ladder, heaving and gasping for breath, a charred and headless body fell to the floor right in front of him. Fighting back the urge to gag, Merlin stared past the body and looked upwards. As many as six flaming missiles were tiny specks in the sky, all aimed at the archers and the stone guardians that were protecting Camelot. Swallowing hard, Merlin began to climb the ladder and with every rung that he stepped upon, the tiny specks grew dangerously closer. Heaving himself onto the narrow ledge skirting the wall, Merlin scrambled to stand up and dashed towards the front of the castle, where he knew Arthur would be fighting.
Merlin desperately wanted to look at what was going on around him, but he kept his attention ahead of him as his legs carried him to his goal. He jumped over wounded men, over crumbling holes in the walkway, and over men who would never get up. Don't think, Merlin told himself. Thinking is for later. With a wave of relief, Merlin saw that the tower above the gates was still intact, although it was devoid of the men that should have been there letting their arrows fly. Not waiting for his mind to begin filling in reasons behind their absence, Merlin placed a foot on the bottom rung of the ladder and pulled himself upwards.
Scrambling up onto the tower, Merlin looked up and saw the missiles getting ever nearer. Time slowed as Merlin looked at everything around him. To the left, two archers were nocking their arrows, the tips blazing brightly against the blackened sky. As his eyes swept across the view, Merlin could see the stone guardians moving at a snail's pace, stone swords slicing away rows upon rows of snake demons and dead animals. Further to the right, almost directly in front of him, Merlin could make out three people at the very back of the army, sitting atop black horses. Continuing his glance to the right, he saw two archers struck by black lightning, their bodies convulsing in tortuously slow shakes that sickened Merlin's stomach. And then time sped up and the battle roared around him again.
Planting his feet firmly on the tower floor, Merlin took a deep breath and looked up into the black sky. The missiles were closer and a crawling heat prickled at Merlin's skin. Let's just see how powerful I am...
"Ser'otha chi, prefor'sk a nor," Merlin intoned and the air chilled dramatically as he regarded the ever closer missiles. "K'fallahr doras reai!"
Throwing his hands upwards, a single bolt of what could only be described as lightning shot from Merlin's fingers, up into the sky above him. As the lightning bolt soared to meet the missiles, it suddenly split into smaller bolts and spread out across the night sky. Fine filaments of magic rippled from one bolt to another, connecting each of the bolts to form a large fishing net spread over the sky. Just in time — a second later, the first missile slammed into the net. A loud boom erupted and for a moment, everything stopped as all the men stared up at the sky. The second, third and fourth missiles slammed into the protective shield, exploding into a million tiny pieces that floated down on the wind.
Not needing to continue watching to see if the fifth and sixth missiles would suffer the same fate, Merlin lowered his head and moved to look over the edge to see how best he could help with the fight. Before he could take more than three steps, Merlin felt a sharp pain in his chest that caused him to stumble backwards. With a deep frown on his face, Merlin looked down and all colour drained from his face. An arrow was sticking out of his chest, and as he stepped once more backwards, Merlin lost his footing and plummeted backwards, off of the tower.
As Merlin hurtled towards the ground, he heard Arthur scream out his name.
Staring out at Camelot, with the silent stone giants staring blankly into space, the siblings heard Arthur's speech as though the young king had been standing there right in front of them. Edward felt something akin to pride swell within his body as Arthur rallied his men, and after glancing at Alexander, he knew that his brother felt the same. Those men will die good deaths, Edward thought, and he took that as a small consolation for the pain that was about to befall the men in a few hours. Yet that plan suddenly appeared to be lost because the sky turned black as pitch, which could only mean one thing.
"What do you think you're doing?" Edward asked as he turned to face Elizabeth. "We have at least two hours left to plan..."
"What is there left to plan, dear brother?" Elizabeth answered, almost spitting out the last two words. "They think they're ready, so why waste any more time? It's time they died. Alexander?"
Edward turned and saw that his older brother was putting on his leather riding gloves. Surely Alexander would see reason...
"Alexander, Arthur is just rallying his people for what lies ahead. Don't let Elizabeth's fragile ego and hate fu..."
Without warning, Elizabeth's open palm slammed against Edward's face, the force causing blood to fill his mouth. The twins glared at each other with open hatred, and Edward turned to face Alexander, waiting for his brother to take his side. Yet Edward couldn't contain his surprise when Alexander stood beside Elizabeth before the older man spoke a few hushed words, words that marked the beginning of the end.
Edward looked desperately towards the stone walls of Camelot as a large, flaming missile arched across the sky and an icy wind blew. His eyes followed the blazing trail of the missile and anger bubbled up within him. Anger towards Elizabeth, as they had reached this day because of her own hatred and vengeful heart. Anger towards Alexander, because he had stupidly allowed Elizabeth's own motives fuel his actions. Anger towards himself, because Edward knew that there wasn't anything he could do to stop the attack.
Elizabeth stepped forward and screamed for her army to attack, just as the first volley of arrows from Camelot rained down on them. Edward watched with a morbid fascination as the grotesque creatures surged forward as one, hissing and howling noises rising from the moving mass. It was as though they had created the illusion of water, their movements extremely fluid and their skins shining like black oil. Before the army could reach the stone giants that blocked the way into Camelot, the first lines disappeared down into the tar filled pits that Edward had seen Merlin create earlier.
Edward saw the stone giants suddenly grind their way into movement as the demons struggled to get out of the tar pits. Small fragments of rock crumbled to the ground as the giants took a step forward, stone swords sweeping across them in wide arcs. As the first lines of the army met the swords, Edward saw vividly bright red streaks bathe the giants as the stone guardians cut down the demons. Unnatural screams of pain echoed through the air, while archers loosed their arrows and Alexander sent more missiles hurtling at the walls. Loud, thunderous noises of smashing missiles colliding with the tops of the stone walls boomed in the air and screams of terror, mingled with shouts of command, rippled through the chaos. From the corner of his eye, Edward saw Alexander suddenly surge forward, panic in the older man's face as he pointed silently at Camelot. For there, atop the front tower, stood Merlin, six flaming missiles racing down towards him.
Curiosity moved Edward forward as Alexander struggled with himself, debating between wanting to stop the missiles and wishing that Merlin would die a quick death. Elizabeth quickly joined Edward's side, and she had a small smile tugging at her lips.
"There is no way that he can stop those missiles," Elizabeth said, and Edward shook his head, continuing to watch as Merlin turned left on the tower. Elizabeth's smile turned into a sneer. "You think he can match the power of Alexander's black magic, little brother?"
Edward turned around and walked to his black horse, mounting it quickly as Elizabeth and Alexander did the same.
"I think you've foolishly underestimated him," Edward stated and wheeled his gelding around, noticing that Merlin was now looking directly at them for a second. "The stone guardians should be some indication of his strength..."
"I don't think so," Elizabeth interrupted and with a laughter that sounded a little too crazed, sent out a black lightning bolt that struck the archers to the right of Merlin. "He is but a child, Edward. Some naïve little child, who thinks he can win with magic that is no match to ours..."
Elizabeth's words grew suddenly quiet and Edward felt the smallest of smiles tug at his lips He could see Merlin standing straight and looking up into the sky. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning shot upwards and quickly branched off into smaller bolts. Even from this distance, Edward could see the complex and ancient weaves of magic that Merlin was using, evidence of the power his adversary now had. Yet even as the bolts became attached to each other, Edward could hear Elizabeth's outrage and Alexander's awe at the display.
"How is this possible?" Elizabeth growled and kicked her horse forward. "I'll put an end to him."
Elizabeth raised her hand as though to send out a bolt of magic. In a moment of conscious clarity, Edward decided that Merlin wasn't going to die at his sister's hands, not at this moment in time nor any other moment. Swiftly taking his long bow from the saddle bag, Edward expertly noosed and aimed the arrow. Edward had a talent for using the bow and arrow, so much so, that ever since he had turned ten years of age, he had never missed his target. He knew he was taking a risk, even at this distance, but he needed to get Merlin out of harm's way before Elizabeth killed him. Taking a breath and letting it out slowly, he released the arrow and watched it soar.
"What are you doing?" Elizabeth hissed and grabbed Edward by the shoulder, unbalancing him slightly. Edward refused to look at her as he placed his bow across the saddle's pommel. "You're a decent marksman, Edward, but..."
Elizabeth never had a chance to finish her sentence, as she and the men watched Edward's arrow strike home. Edward glanced to his right and saw pain contort Alexander's face, while a glance to the left saw a smile tug at Elizabeth's lips. Edward returned his gaze to the front in time to see Merlin stumble backwards before disappearing from sight.
"It's not just Merlin you underestimate, Elizabeth," Edward stated, expecting his sister to say something in return.
Instead, Elizabeth kicked her horse into a gallop and led the way down to Camelot.
Please read and review!
x o x o