A/N: Hello!

I've had this story in my head for more than six months now and thought that it was time to get it into writing. The plot bunnies will be pleased. :)

I hope you enjoy this :) Please review!

Chapter One: The Attack

"Ugh! How many times do you have to fall over, Merlin?" shouted the Crown Prince of Camelot. His manservant had just tripped over a root and onto his master, again.

The two had been hunting in the warm forest for a long time now. The men would have been back by now if it weren't for Merlin scaring the animals away, every time they got close to killing one.

"It's not me! It's my feet!" whined the warlock in protest. He stared into his master's sapphire eyes.

"Merlin, what have we said about you trying to be funny?" asked the prince. He narrowed his eyes while leaning forward slightly. Arthur wore a Pendragon red tunic with black pants. His hair was slick with sweat from the hot day.

"I shouldn't." said Merlin. He gave a minor grimace.

Arthur gave a slight nod to his right whilst staring at Merlin. His expression held the words of, "Exactly".

"So, next time I am about to kill an animal, Merlin. I want to stay at least three metres away from me," said Arthur. He began to reset his crossbow whilst having a vague thought about shooting his servant with it. He then hated himself for the thought.

"Get it?" asked Arthur. He walked into the middle of a small clearing as he tried to forget about his earlier thoughts.

"Got it." replied Merlin. He trailed behind Arthur.


"So, three metres, right? Isn't that a bit much, though… I mean, when we see an animal, I'll end up making more noise 'cause I've got to move that far away from you –"

He just said he 'got' what I was talking about! But then he just goes and questions me... the prince shook his head in disbelief.

"– come on, Arthur. Three metres! Why so exact, just say 'stay back' or something. Ooh, ooh… I've got it!" Merlin snapped his fingers as a thought washed over him. "Why don't I stay two metres behind you, it's so much easier to measure or maybe even two and half if you're really fussy –"

As Merlin babbled, Arthur heard rustling noises in the bushes. He froze solid. "Merlin, shh." he whispered but it seemed that Arthur had no control over his manservant because the boy just kept on rambling...

"Yeah…, two and a half metres…. That seems good –"

"Merlin. Shut. Up. NOW." Arthur spoke in a loud and firm voice. He paused significantly after each word.

It seemed the warlock had finally received the message because he obeyed his master immediately. Merlin didn't know why he had to be quiet but he just knew that he should. He recognised that face of Arthur's well enough to realise that something bad had, or was going to happen.

The prince held his already-set crossbow up and waited for the thing in the bush to move again. If it were a bandit he would have some protection and if it were an animal he could shoot it quickly. Then, they could finally obtain their first catch for the day.

The bushes moved again. Merlin had now grasped why Arthur wanted him quiet.

I certainly hope it's not another bandit. thought Merlin fearfully. He'd had enough bandit attacks to know that they never ended well.

For the third time, the shrubs rustled – but much louder than before. Arthur readjusted his grip on the crossbow and focused his eyes on the consistent movement coming from the bush.

All of a sudden, an arrow came from behind. It whizzed inches past Merlin's right cheek, wedging itself into a nearby tree. Merlin yelped in fright and Arthur cursed under his breath. That arrow was far to close to Merlin for his liking.

Seconds later, a loud roar sounded and bandits came swarming into view. They circled Arthur and Merlin from almost every angle.

All the bandits wore black robes tied with a dark, long sash tied at the front. The girdle hung loosely around their hips. Some had weapons whilst others didn't. It looked like they were apart of some secret alliance.

Arthur instinctively went into what you'd call a "defence mode". He dropped his crossbow and swiftly unsheathed his sword from his scabbard. His other weapon would do no good now. There were one to many bandits for the use of that weapon. For these kinds of situations, a sword was the best option.

Arthur didn't wait for the bandits to make the first move. He pulled Merlin behind himself with a free arm and started swinging his sword threateningly at their assailants.

He then ran straight toward a rather large bandit and swung his sword straight at them. Just before the metal was about to strike, the large man put on a malicious grin. His eyes flashed from dark brown to molten gold.

Arthur's sword got no closer than eleven inches to the man before it suddenly stopped. It seemed that an invisible force field had been put around the sword because it was frozen in midair. The abrupt halt ricocheted back up through Arthur's arms violently. He tried to move the sword but it was stuck tight in the air. It was just the same as trying to lift a heavy boulder.

Something like this was not mundane. This man was a definitely a sorcerer and this bandit probably wasn't the only one who had magic. There was a good chance that the others had magic too. How do we always get ourselves into these situations? he thought incredulously.

"Arthur!" shouted Merlin. He came rushing forward, placing himself in front of his master and before the bandit. "Save yourself! Run!"

Damn it, why does Merlin always have to be so overly-loyal? thought Arthur irritably. I hardly do anything for him, but yet, here he is sacrificing his life for mine.

"No. You leave, Merlin." Arthur dropped his arms to his sides. "You wouldn't stand a minute if I left you."

If only you knew, Arthur... But Merlin decided that this was certainly no time to be thinking about things like that. "I'm not going anywhere –"

"Enough!" shouted a deep voice. It had emanated loudly from the large bandit whom had frozen Arthur's sword. The man's middle-aged face was round and dark stubble covered his chin. A mop of black, untamed hair covered his scalp and dark smudges were shown beneath his coffee coloured eyes – they were tired eyes that held much wisdom. The tall man's body wasn't exactly on the slim side; this could be told from his dark-hooded robe and sash that covered his large belly. They were the same robes worn by all of the other six thin bandits encircling the men now.

"Neither of you are going anywhere," the bandit had lowered his voice into a normal tone. "Ryrren, Edmund. Please do the honours." he waved a hand and two bandits stepped forward.

Both men were probably in their early twenties. They were around the same tall height (around the stature of Arthur and Merlin) and had the same skinny figure. Their faces were long, sustaining high, prominent cheekbones and small, elegant noses. Thin lips were held in tight lines as cold, emerald eyes flicked sceptically over Merlin and Arthur. One set of eyes, much softer-looking than the other's. The men were almost identical except for one aspect. One had thin blond hair while he other had limp, brunette curls.

This can't be good. Merlin gulped. If he were on his own, he would use magic right now but with Arthur around that wasn't going to happen. He would only use it as a last resort.

"Hang on," said Arthur. He flung his hands in front of himself; the large bandit threw a hand in the air to signal the other two bandits to stop whatever they were going to do. "Who are you and what do you think you're doing?" asked Arthur putting his "official" voice on. "I am the Crown Prince of Camelot."

"Oh, I'm well aware of whom you are, young prince; for I, I am Althadrel. The leader of the high and mighty Areltorians," said Althadrel sounding very formal. "And what I'm doing, you'll find out soon enough."

So they are apart of some secret alliance… thought Arthur.

"Althadrel? The Areltorians? I've never heard of you." said Merlin flat out. He was hoping to offend the leader.

"That you shouldn't. No one knows of us because no one ever lives long enough to tell the tale." an evil grin slowly crept on Althadrel's face.

Merlin gave another worried gulp.

Althadrel sighed, "Ryrren, Edmund. Please continue." he signalled for them to move again. The two bandits slowly began walking toward Merlin and Arthur.

"Stop now and we'll leave you alone. We won't ever speak of you. You will stay secret." said Arthur. Sure he had lied, but it was certainly worth a try.

"I know you're lying, young prince and we don't act without reason, so why would we let you go now?" said the leader.

"Then you leave me no choice." said Arthur. He raised his hand and was about to punch the leader square in the jaw, before Althadrel quickly lifted his own hand and swooshed it downward. Arthur soon realised it as another signal.

At the speed of light, Ryrren, Edmund each threw a hand out in sync. "Liga homines." They said in time with one another. They're eyes flashed from bright green to molten gold and strong ropes appeared from no where and began tying themselves around Merlin's arms, wrists and ankles. At the same time, Arthur's arm was forced down and his arms, ankles and wrists were too, bound together.

Are these people for real? They tell us that they're a secret, magical alliance and they do everything they do is in time with one another. I wouldn't doubt it if they had been practicing routines for this event they're whole lives… thought Merlin.

By the look on Arthur's face, he was probably thinking the same thing as his servant.

Suddenly, another member of the Areltorians came rushing out from behind a tree in the forest. "Althadrel!" he yelled. The young, thin man whispered into the leader's ear as soon as he reached him. After he'd finished speaking, the man used the back of his hand to wipe sweat off of his clammy forehead. The Areltorian must have been running for a while and those dark robes didn't look all too helpful, either.

"If you excuse me, I am needed back at our camp with several other members of our alliance here," said Althadrel loudly to Arthur and Merlin. "You four—," the man pointed to certain men, who were dressed in the usual black garments, "—come with me. Edmund, Ryrren. You stay here and guard our prisoners."

Soon enough, Althadrel and the others had disappeared from sight and into the canopy of the forest. Only Edmund and Ryrren were left guarding Merlin and Arthur.

A light-hearted voice spoke, "As you would already know, we are Edmund and Ryrren. I, Edmund—," he gestured to himself, "—and my non-identical twin brother, Ryrren." he then motioned to his blond sibling.

"Oh, do stop with the formalities, brother. Here we are, alone, with the prisoners. There is no need for us to apply ourselves to such rules." said Ryrren arrogantly. The blond's voice was angry and deep.

"I was only being kind. These two will probably end up going through a lot soon. It's the least I can do." said the raven-haired boy gently.

"You do not need to do anything for these imbeciles, brother." said Ryrren rudely.

"Hey, we're right here, you know." said Merlin audaciously.

"Do not speak to your superiors like that, boy." said Ryrren angrily. He walked gracefully (but with anger flowing through him, all the same) over to Merlin and slapped him hard across the left cheek. Merlin hissed with pain as he fell backward, knocking his head hard on the ground. He was unable to stop his fall because of the tight binds restraining him.

"You leave my manservant alone!" shouted Arthur heatedly.

"You're manservant, is he? I was wondering who he was... Why do you care so much about an idiotic thing like him?" Ryrren walked towards Arthur and gripped his chin firmly in his hand. "You willing to tell me, hmm?"

"Because... he's my f-friend." Arthur tried to look down but couldn't because of the hand gripping his chin. All he could do was stare into those cold, green eyes.

After several long seconds, Ryrren let go of Arthur's face. His serious expression had changed into an amused one. Ryrren raised his eyebrows. "Your servant? A friend? That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of!" he began laughing. "A friend," he repeated, "tell me you're joking. This is all a joke, isn't it?"

"No, Merlin's – Merlin's my friend." said Arthur. He grimaced.

"You astound me, prince. How could anyone be friends such a worthless piece of cr–"

"Shut it!" said Arthur loudly. His eyes were wide and threatening.

"I have let you speak your mind too freely it seems…," Ryrren pondered for a moment and then shot a look at his brother. "Edmund, gag him."

Edmund walked over to Arthur with a piece of cloth and was about to tie it when Arthur suddenly jumped forward and pushed the man to the ground by falling on top of him. The prince wasn't one to be gagged without a fight.

"How dare you touch my younger brother!" shouted the blond man angrily.

"It's fine, Ry." said Edmund. He rolled Arthur off his body, stood up and dusted himself off.

"No, it isn't." came the reply of Edmund's twin bother.

Arthur was watching all this on his back trying to figure out ways to aggravate Ryrren further. Then it came to him. Ryrren's weak spot is Edmund and getting angry far too easily…. A smile etched itself onto his face.

Ryrren noticed this and then spoke loudly. "What are you thinking?" he asked. He walked closer to Arthur and stared down at him.

"Wouldn't you like to know?" said Arthur still continuing his taunting smile as he lay on the dirty ground.

"I demand you to tell me now!" shouted Ryrren; he stomped his foot as he said the word "now". The man walked right over to Arthur and lifted him up into a standing position by grabbing tufts of his hair.

The prince ignored the pain and began speaking. "Did I ever mention how weak you look by protecting your brother like that?" said Arthur smirking.

"Don't you even think of bringing Edmund into this. Edmund," Ryrren paused to turn to his brother but it seemed he wasn't there so he looked back to Arthur. "Edmund, is a good person and –" Edmund isn't there!

Horror filled Ryrren immediately. He quickly let go of Arthur. "Edmund!" he shouted as he spun around surveying the forest. He quickly swivelled back to look into Arthur's blue eyes when he saw no one there. "Where is he? What have you done to him?" asked Ryrren angrily.

"I haven't done anything! I've been here with you the whole time bound up in ropes! How could I do anything? Unless…" Merlin, did something… Arthur trailed off into thoughts, but how could he? He is bound up right behind me and hasn't moved the entire time... Or has he?

Arthur jumped to turn his body around and saw nobody. "Merlin? MERLIN?" shouted Arthur listening hard for any sign of his servant.

He then turned back to Ryrren. "What have you done with him?" he asked irately.

"Nothing. It's you who has done something to my brother." said the blond man furiously.

"Ryrren! Help me!" Edmund's scared voice echoed through the forest. As soon as Ryrren heard his brother's voice, he was off. The man quickly disappeared into the wilderness.

"Well, that certainly worked well, didn't it?" said a voice from behind the prince. As soon as Arthur had heard that, hope and happiness filled him. Arthur knew that voice anywhere. That was the voice of his servant, his friend. That was the voice of Merlin.

He swivelled around to see his manservant standing free of restraints and smiling that signature smile of his.


"As you would already know, we are Edmund and Ryrren. I, Edmund—," he gestured to himself, "—and my non-identical twin brother, Ryrren." he then motioned to his blond his sibling.

"Oh, do stop with the formalities, brother. Here we are, alone, with the prisoners. There is no need for us to apply ourselves to such rules." said Ryrren arrogantly.

"I was only being kind. These two will probably end up going through a lot soon. It's the least I can do." said the raven-haired boy gently.

That doesn't sound promising… thought Merlin.

"You do not need to do anything for these imbeciles, brother." said Ryrren rudely.

"Hey, we're right here, you know." Merlin spoke audaciously.

"Do not speak to your superiors like that, boy." said Ryrren angrily and he walked elegantly over to Merlin. He slapped him hard across the face. Merlin hissed with pain and fell backward, knocking his head hard. He was not able to stop his fall because of the binds restraining him.

Oww! Slap harder why don't you? thought Merlin irritably. He could feel a red, stinging hand mark beginning to reveal itself on his left cheek.

"You leave my manservant alone!" shouted Arthur heatedly.

Why thank you, Arthur. thought Merlin happily.

"You're manservant, is he? I was wondering who he was... Why do you care so much about an idiotic thing like him?" Ryrren walked towards Arthur and gripped his chin firmly in his hand. "You willing to tell me, hmm?"

Idiotic thing like me? Why does everyone have to think of me as an idiot? thought Merlin angrily.

"Because... He's my f-friend." Arthur tried to look down but couldn't because of the hand gripping his chin. All he could do was stare into those cold, green eyes.

Is it really so hard to admit? Anyway, better get moving onto a plan... I usually am the one to get us out of situations like these…. thought Merlin.

After watching Arthur and Ryrren speak – more like shout at each other – an idea had washed over Merlin. Since the prince and the blond twin were so involved in their argument, he would be able to use magic without them noticing.

If he could firstly unbind himself… Merlin's eyes flashed gold and the rough ropes loosened around him. They fell into a heap around his body.

Now if he could just get to Edmund... Merlin quietly stood up and walked softly from the ropes. His eyes then flashed molten gold once again and time began to slow down significantly.

Merlin sprinted around Ryrren and Arthur and all the way to Edmund. Fortunately, no one had noticed. This was probably because he was moving too fast to be seen. Merlin wrapped his hand around the raven-haired boy's mouth to silence him and speedily dragged him out of the clearing and into the undergrowth.

Time once again resumed itself and Edmund's eyes were open wide with shock. He tried to scream but couldn't create any sound because of the hand covering his mouth.

Merlin spun Edmund around so he could see his face. He then shoved him roughly against a large oak tree while removing his hand from the boy's mouth. The warlock kept his tight grip around the man's arm so he wouldn't have the strong urge to move. "Try contacting anyone and I'll kill you." threatened Merlin trying to sound menacing. Even if the boy did try, he probably wouldn't kill him but the man didn't need to know that.

Thankfully, Edmund didn't try shouting and just nodded in reply to Merlin's threat. "I want you to let me and Arthur go, okay?" said Merlin still trying to sound intimidating.

The raven-haired twin shook his head. "Well then, I guess you and your brother will have to die." Merlin stared daggers. He felt absolutely horrible and so out-of-character doing this. Edmund probably wouldn't even be involved in this secret society if it weren't for his sibling. It looked like Ryrren was very influential on Edmund. But even if Merlin did feel awful doing this, he had no choice. The warlock couldn't think of another way and Arthur always came first.

"No." said raven-haired twin meekly.

"I need cooperation here, Edmund," Merlin let out a sigh. "I don't want to do this but I must. If you listen to me, no one gets hurt. Fail to listen; anyone who gets in the way will be harmed. Namely, yourself and Ryrren."

"You wouldn't try anything." said Edmund. He desperately tried to sound stronger than he was.

"You willing to take that chance?" asked Merlin.

No, Edmund didn't want to take that chance. His brother was almost apart of him; if he lost his brother than he would lose a part of himself. It probably had something to do with being twins – even if they were non-identical. Edmund already had an idea of what Merlin could do, and the scary thing was that something told him that what he'd just visualized, wasn't all the man was capable of.

Edmund didn't want to speak so he just stared into Merlin's eyes as a response.

"No, I didn't think so," said the servant reading the boy's expression. "So are you willing to listen now?" he asked.

The raven-haired brother didn't say a word and only nodded.

"I'm glad we have an understanding now. I need you to call your brother for help and run the opposite direction from here. You got that?" asked Merlin.

Edmund nodded.

"Fail to do so; you and your brother will be harmed," threatened Merlin. "Go." he said but Edmund just froze still as a statue.

"Edmund!" a loud shout from Ryrren sounded.

The blond brother had noticed they were missing. Merlin's plan couldn't fail; it could be the last chance they had to escape. "Now!" Merlin whispered harshly. "Or I'll hurt you and your brother!"

"Merlin? MERLIN?" came from the shouts of Arthur's voice.

"C'mon!" Merlin raised his whisper a little louder.

Edmund decided it was best if he listened to the warlock so he began to act.

"Ryrren! Help me!" shouted Edmund loudly. His voice rang through the forest.

Merlin pushed Edmund's shoulder with his hand as if to tell him to get running. Edmund received the message and bolted.

The servant then slowed time down so he could quickly get out of Ryrren's way. He was certain the blond brother would respond to Edmund's calls for help immediately. They were pretty closely bonded. Even A blind man could see it.

Merlin sprinted right around the edge of the glade. He made sure that his body couldn't be seen from the clearing and was covered by the trees. He speedily ran out from the protection of undergrowth and took a few quick strides toward the prince's turned back.

"Well, that certainly worked well, didn't it?" said Merlin cheerfully. He was amazed at what he'd just did. He couldn't wait to tell Gaius.

Soon enough, Arthur swivelled around to see his manservant standing free of restraints and smiling like a lunatic.

"What the hell did you just do, Merlin?" asked Arthur incredulously.

"There's just no pleasing you sometimes is there, sire?" said Merlin exasperatedly.

"Merlin, what did you do?" asked Arthur with astonishment.

"I'll tell you later. Right now we need to get out of here." said Merlin. It was too hard to explain. He would have to think of something later and they really did need to get out of here fast. Edmund would be sure to tell Ryrren what he'd done if he hadn't already.

Merlin quickly ran to Arthur's sword, which was still hovering midair. He wrapped a firm hand around the handle, muttered a spell to release it from its frozen state up and turned back to his master. He quickly cut through all of the ropes restricting Arthur's movement.

"How did you get the sword?" asked Arthur curiously.

"Not sure," Merlin lied, "Maybe the spell holding it up there is broken when it's touched by another person…" The warlock noticed Arthur's suspicious expression so he swiftly changed topics. "We better get moving. They'll be back any minute now." he said quickly.

"Right." said Arthur falling for the change in subject. He hastily took the sword off Merlin.

Servant and master both sprinted out of the clearing and into the forest as fast as they could. They had no idea where they were going. All they knew was that they had to get away. Arthur lead the way as usual whilst Merlin followed behind; occasionally tripping over camouflaged roots.

After several minutes of flat out running, Arthur suddenly halted and Merlin almost smashed into him.

"Why did you stop running –" Merlin cut his own sentence off. "Oh." he said. The boys' were on the very edge of a high cliff, which lead right to a raging river full of jagged rocks and white water. It was at least 50 feet high.

Suddenly, there was a loud noise of footsteps sounding behind the men. They had being followed. Luckily, the Areltorians didn't know exactly where they were because of the all trees and bushes. There was still time to hide somewhere.

"Quickly, Merlin. Come this way." Arthur got down onto the ground and quickly lowered himself over the cliff and onto a feeble outcrop of rock that emerged from the high rock face.

Merlin followed suit but much more slowly. Once down, the men pressed their backs against the rock face hoping they wouldn't be seen and that the small, rocky platform wouldn't give way.

Thankfully, after about five minutes the footsteps died out.

"That was close." said Merlin as he let out a breath he didn't realise he'd been holding.

"Yeah, too close," Arthur sighed in relief. Who knew what the Areltorians were going to do to them if they found the men again. "Well, come on. Let's climb back up. I don't want to see how long this rock will hold."

Arthur jumped up and grabbed the edge of the cliff. He then hauled himself up and over so he was on his knees and facing where he'd come from. He knew the boy wasn't as good at physical things as he was so Arthur decided to make sure that he was there to offer extra support just in case.

The prince took in a deep breath. "Okay, Merlin. Jump up and grasp the top of the rock face. What I did just before." he instructed.

Merlin didn't reply but did what the prince told him to do. He leaped up and took hold of the hard edge. The warlock was about to pull himself over when something dreadful happened. Merlin and Arthur heard a crack in the rock.

"Faster, Merlin." said the prince. He was beginning to panic but still trying to remain calm. Nothing good ever came from panicking.

"I'm trying!" said Merlin quickly. The poor boy was terrified.

Suddenly, some of the cliff edges where Merlin's hands were turned to rubble and the man fell back down onto the outcrop of rock that the men were standing on moments before. It shook lightly when the warlock landed.

"Okay, Merlin. Grab my hands. I'll try lifting you up." said Arthur trying to keep his voice confident. He moved his hands down to Merlin and the boy latched onto them tightly. It was like his fingers were a cat's claw in fabric.


The rocky platform supporting Merlin gave way and fell down into the raging water below. Water spurted up a couple of metres from the large splash. Merlin's feet dangled dangerously in the air. The force from the warlock's slight fall must have caused the rock to break.

"Merlin! Hang on! I've got you!" shouted Arthur. All confidence had now left him.


"Well, I don't really have much of a choice but to hang, do I?" said Merlin fearfully – although, his face still held a slight smile.

The part of the cliff that Arthur was kneeling on was slowly beginning to give way too.

Merlin shook his head. "No, Arthur." he paused, "I do have a choice. Forget about me! Let go! The cliff cannot support the both of us!" he said loudly. It was either himself or him and the prince.

"Stop being obstinate, Merlin. Let me help you –"


"I'm letting go now, Arthur." all of Merlin's fear had now left him, "Thank you for being a good friend and I know one day you're going to be a great king. People will remember you for centuries to come. Good bye Arthur –"

"Stop being stupid, Merlin. I won't let you fall." said Arthur exasperatedly.


"Thank you, Arthur. You are the best friend anyone could ever have." Merlin tried to smile but failed miserably. And then just like that, he ripped his hands from Arthur's firm grip.

"MERLIN!" shouted Arthur at the top of his lungs. He stood up and looked down mournfully to see the rag doll-like body of Merlin just miss the jagged rocks and fall in the white, foaming water.

Now, that is what I call a cliffhanger. I'm so funny :)

Inner voice: No, CoolCarrot. You're not.

This isn't a one shot story so that means it isn't the end of Merlin or is it? You can probably work it out from the summary... :D

I hope you enjoyed this. I have loads of homework right now. It's test time you see and that means that updates will be delayed.

Spells are in Latin. Here are the translations:

Liga hominess. = Bind up the men.

Please review. I really want to know what you thought!