I'm finally back with a new story! This is going to be slash so if you don't like it please don't read. Anyway I've been reading a lot of Merlin/Arthur fics based on fairy tales so I thought I'd give it a go. This is and AU based on Rapunzel, well actually it's based on the Disney film Tangled which is based on Rapunzel but it's the same difference. Anyway it's going to have a very Camelot twist to it so by the time I've finished may not have much of a resemblance to the fairytale anymore but we'll see where it takes us. Any of you who have read my fics before will know that I suck at updating regularly however I have made sure that I already have quite a few chapters done before I started posting so I shouldn't leave you hanging. I'm planning on updating once a week but we'll see how things goes.
Anyway I'll stop with the waffle now and let you get on with reading it. I hope you enjoy it and I would love to know what people think.
Arthur wondered aimlessly through the castle, lost in his thoughts. He found his feet following the route he had taken so many times in the past. Pushing the door open he found himself in the portrait room. He stood at one end of the long thin room and stared at the vast array of paintings on the wall. His whole family history was mapped out in here. At the end where he was stood were portraits of the first kings and queens of Camelot. As he moved down the room the portraits became more recent. He stared up at the familiar pictures, spotting the family resemblances.
Reaching the far end of the room he stopped in front of the portrait of his family. His mother and father stood side by side, Arthur cradled in his mother's arms. He smiled up at his mother's familiar face. Although he had only been a few months old when she died he had been visiting this room for as long as he could remember and her beautiful face framed by the blonde hair the exact same shade as his was imprinted in his brain. He glanced at the much younger version of his father and sighed at the happy, carefree expression he wore in the picture. It had been a long time since Arthur had seen him look like that.
The prince turned his attention to the smaller family portrait that was next to his. This painting, along with his mothers, was the reason he had spent so much time in here over the years. He smiled sadly as he took in the familiar faces of Hunith and Balinor. They were seated close together on a small couch that he recognised from their rooms. Balinor had one arm draped around Hunith's shoulders and the other ruffled the hair of the child on her lap. Arthur stared at the tiny almost one year old. His messy raven hair stuck up in all directions and his vibrant blue eyes stared at Arthur from the picture.
Arthur sighed. The boy had been taken from the castle on the day of his first birthday, soon after the portrait had been finished, and this was the only memory he had of the boy. Arthur himself had been almost three when the boy was taken but he didn't remember anything of the blue eyed boy. He had grown up seeing Balinor and Hunith morning the loss of their son, praying that one day he would return to them. Every year on his birthday sorcerers from all over the land would journey to Camelot and, on the stroke of midnight, they would each send a ball of light into the air and pray that one day he would see them and come home.
Although Arthur knew of the torment Hunith and Balinor went through every day of their life that wasn't the reason he came to this room to stare at the picture. He had heard the prophecies that had been made since his birth his whole life. Heard the stories of the sorcerer Emrys who would stand by his side and help him make Camelot into the greatest kingdom in the whole land. The prophecies had predicted the day that the famed Emrys would be born and, on that day, Hunith had given birth to a healthy baby boy. A baby boy who was moving objects with magic when he was barely six months old.
Though Hunith had refused to call her son Emrys, not wanting to risk the prophecy being wrong, the whole kingdom had been convinced that Arthur and Emrys would grow to be the greatest duo the kingdom had ever seen. Instead the boy had been given another name. A name that hadn't been mentioned within the castle walls since his disappearance eighteen years ago. Arthur understood that any mention of the boys name upset Hunith greatly; he didn't understand why no one called him by his real name when they weren't in his presence. In fact Arthur wasn't even sure he could remember the name it had been so long since someone had spoken it; he was sure it began with M though.
But then on that fateful day everything had changed. The boy had been taken from the castle, right under all their noses. No one had seen anything or knew who had taken him or where they had gone. Ever since that day his father, Hunith and Balinor had been searching everywhere for some sign of him but there had been no word.
Arthur turned to see his father behind him. He had been so lost in his thoughts that he hadn't heard him enter the room. Arthur was surprised to see the king there; he knew how much it pained him to see the picture of his lost wife.
"I thought I would find you here." Uther said with a fond smile.
He turned his gaze upon the two paintings that Arthur had been looking at and sighed. He knew the amount of time his son spent in here and it worried him. It wasn't that it was affecting his duties or responsibilities, it was that he was worried about the unhealthy amount of time that Arthur spend dwelling on Emrys.
"I want to go find him." Arthur announced.
Uther sighed, over the years they had had this conversation may times and his answer still wasn't going to change.
"You can't Arthur, the risk is too great." Uther repeated the words he had told his son so many times over the years.
"Yet you send the knights out to find him all the time. You know that I am a better fighter than any of them. I can look after myself." Arthur reasoned.
"Arthur you are the crown prince of Camelot, your life is worth more than theirs." Uther replied wearily.
"Father you know the prophecies as well as I do. He has to be found otherwise what is the point of me becoming king?"
"Arthur you will be king whether Emrys returns to us or not. You have to focus on that rather than the lost boy. The knight's will find him, you'll see."
"And what if they don't?" Arthur asked morosely, "What if I can't be a good king without him?"
Uther sighed as he realised he had found the real root of Arthur's obsession. It pained him that his son had grown up with everyone having such great expectations of him. What made it worse was that he had been told that he couldn't do these things without Emrys.
"Whether Emrys is found or not will make no difference." Uther said truthfully, "Arthur you will be a great king. No matter what happens to anyone else or what anyone says it is your decisions and actions as that will dictate what kind of king you will be. I know that you will make me proud."
Arthur stared at his father shocked. It was not often that he heard praise or approval from his father and to hear it now made him swell with pride. He smiled as Uther clasped him on the shoulder and exited the room. Turning back to the portrait of Emrys Arthur thought over his father's words. He was right; it was Arthur's actions that would decide how his future would turn out. So he was going to take action now; he was going to find Emrys and bring him home.
Merlin sighed and flopped down onto his bed. He was bored...again. Well that was unfair, he thought, he wasn't often bored. Normally he had lots to do. He had to clean, and that in itself often took up most of the day, and continue his studies and make sure that dinner was ready for when his mother returned. And then it wasn't like he didn't have other things to do once his chores were done. But, well once he'd read all his mother's books they weren't quite the same the second time round. And there were only so many times he could practice the spells his mother was teaching him.
But today he had cheated. He had used his magic to help him clean the tower. He had just wanted to see if he could. His mother only taught him a certain amount of spells and he had learnt over the years that he was quite capable of making up his own. After a few false starts and mishaps he had discovered it was much easier than he thought and he had had everything clean in no time. Though he never told his mother about his spell inventions, she had been so mad when he tried to show her that he could make a ball of light like the ones he had seen in the sky.
Merlin shot bolt upright as he remembered the lights in the sky. He got up and moved over to the window. Throwing it open he stared out across the trees towards the castle he could see in distance. For as long as he could remember he had been staring out of this window at the castle. And every year on his birthday, as it turned midnight, blue lights had been rising from the castle. He didn't understand what they were. He had originally thought they were some sort of star, he had seen meteor showers and shootings stars, but they had always been coming down to earth not rising into the sky like the lights did.
Moving back into his room Merlin pushed back the cloth that covered the marks he had made on the wall. Counting them he realised that it was only three days until his birthday and he could see the lights again. But this year he didn't just want to watch them from the window in the tower, he wanted to see them up close. He wanted to go to the castle and find the source of the strange lights and watch them rise up into the sky.
Back in the main room Merlin slumped into a chair, planning how best to present his request. He had had this discussion with his mother before and it had never ended well. However he had a feeling this year would be different, if only he could work up the courage to ask his mother.
Merlin felt something brush against his legs and bent down to pick up the tiny black cat. Settling her down on his lap he began to stroke her gently. When he had first found her he had thought that she was only a kitten because of her size. But that had been five years ago and she hadn't grown any bigger since. Though that did make it useful when she had to hide from his mother. It wasn't that Merlin thought she wouldn't like his new friend but he was afraid that she might send the little cat away and then he would be stuck all alone in the tower again.
"This is the year Freya." He whispered to her softly, "This is the year when I'm finally going to see the lights, I can feel it."
Freya mewed in agreement as she curled up on his lap. Glancing out the window and the slowly falling sun Merlin knew that his mother would be home soon. He just prayed he'd have enough strength to ask her. She must realise that he was going to be nineteen, he wasn't a little kid anymore, he would be able to take care of himself. Merlin understood full well why his mother kept him safe up in the tower away from everyone. He knew she was just protecting him from the dangers that were out there waiting to hurt him. She had told him often enough of the things that people had tried to make him do when he was younger, the things that they would do to get their hands on his precious gifts. He sighed, maybe he should show her all the things he had learnt to do with them; maybe that would help persuade her.
"Merlin darling! Help your mother up!"
Merlin jumped up from the chair in excitement, dislodging Freya in the process. She mewed at him disgruntled and he bent down to stroke her soothingly.
"Sorry." He whispered to her, "You'd better go hide now before she gets up here."
Freya mewed at him, questioningly.
"I will ask her, don't worry." Merlin said with a goofy smile.
"Merlin!" Came his mother's shout again.
"Coming mother." He called to her.
Hurrying over to the window he had been staring out of earlier he glanced down to see the beautiful raven haired women below him. He looked up, focusing on the pulley that was attached to the wall above the large window. Concentrating he focused his magic on it.
"Ríce ætíewan béting."
Merlin's eyes flashed gold as he spoke the words and a rope appeared from the pulley. Glancing down he saw that it fell all the way to the ground. His mother grabbed hold of one end of it and Merlin grabbed the other. Wrapping the rope around his hand a couple of times Merlin spoke again.
He felt the weight or the other end of the rope disappear as he made his mother weightless enough for him to pull up. After a couple of minutes of pulling, aided by his magic, his mother stepped through the window and into the tower.
"Thank you my dear." Nimueh said with a smile, "I don't know how you manage to pull me up like that every day. My magic is always too tired to do it myself by the end of the day."
"It's nothing." Merlin said, smiling warmly back at her, "It's not like I have much use for it up here."
"When then maybe you're not practicing your spells enough." She replied, patting him on the cheek.
Merlin frowned slightly at the comment but quickly shook his head, brushing past it. A quick flash of his eyes had the rope behind him disappearing again and he moved over to where his mother had just taken the chair he had vacated.
"Mother there was something really important I wanted to talk to you about." Merlin began.
"Not now dear, I'm feeling awfully tired. Why don't you cast the spell for me now?"
Merlin sighed and sank to his knees by the chair. He knew that there would be no chance of them having the conversation until he had helped his mother. Glancing at her Merlin could see the grey streaks in her normally jet black hair and the small wrinkles that had appeared on her face.
He took her hand with one of his and pulled the chain around his neck lose with the other. On the end of the gold chain hung a glass star. Merlin wrapped his free hand around the star and closed his eyes.
"Ágíeman sesceþne. Edhwierft se æfterield."
Merlin felt the power flowing through him into the glass and then into his mother. Nimueh sighed and Merlin opened his eyes, which were blazing gold, to see the grey streaks return to their original black and her wrinkles smooth away. Once the spell was done Merlin realised his mother and slumped slightly, weariness spreading through his bones. The spell had always taken a lot out of him but it seemed like every time he cast the spell it took a little bit more magic to complete it.
He looked up and saw his mother's pleased smile and he knew that he would continue to cast the spell every day, no matter how much it took out of him. For he loved his mother and would do anything to make sure she was happy and healthy.
Tucking the necklace back under his shirt to keep the charm safe Merlin pulled himself to his feet and stood in front of his mother. She looked up at him expectantly, waiting for him to speak. Merlin hesitated, unsure of how to broach the subject of the lights. He caught a glimpse of Freya out of the corner of his eye and she gave him confidence.
"Mother you know it is my birthday soon." He began.
"Of course. And you have grown up so fast my boy." She stood up and cupped his cheeks with her hands, "Don't you worry I haven't forgotten, I've been planning something very special."
Seemingly satisfied that this was all Merlin was worried about Nimueh dropped a kiss onto the top of his head and moved off towards the kitchen.
"That's not just it." Merlin said as he hurried after, "I know you have something planned but I thought of something I really want for my birthday."
Nimueh glanced up at this.
"But dear if you tell me what to get you for your birthday it won't be a surprise." She said with a patronising smile.
"I know." Merlin said quietly, "But I was hoping that...well maybe this year...I really wanted to..."
"Spit it out Merlin." Nimueh sighed.
"I really want to go see the flying lights." Merlin blurted out quickly.
Nimueh froze at his words. She stared at him as he shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot, waiting for her response. Eventually she recovered from the shock and spoke.
"You want to see what?" She asked slowly.
"The flying lights." Merlin repeated eagerly.
The fact that she hadn't said no straight away boosted his confidence and he hurried over to the fireplace. Crouching down in front of the flames he whispered a quick spell. It was a simple one that his mother had taught him when he was younger and it came easily to him now. The moment his eyes flashed gold a picture started to form in the flames. The castle appeared except it was night in his picture and blue lights were floating from the castle and up into the sky.
He turned to face Nimueh who was watching him warily, ignoring his picture. She took in the hopeful look on his face and rolled her eyes. With a wave of her hand and a flash of her eyes the picture in the fire disappeared. She turned away from Merlin.
"I've told you before their just stars or meteors." She replied dismissively, "They look exactly the same here as they do in the castle. It just looks like that's where they're coming from because we're so far away."
"But they're not stars." Merlin tried to explain, "I've studied the stars and these lights are nothing like them. They only appear once a year on my birthday and they go up not down. I'm sure they're coming from the castle and I was just hoping that maybe this year you would take me to see them.
"Merlin we've had this discussion before." Nimueh said as she turned back to him, "It's too dangerous for you to leave to tower. You know that there are people out there who would do anything to use your healing powers including hurting you and making you use it so much that you make yourself sick."
"I know. But if you went with me then I know we would be safe." Merlin pleaded, "Please I just want to see them once and then we could come straight back."
"No Merlin." Nimueh snapped.
Merlin recoiled at the tone of her voice and his eyes widened fearfully. Nimueh sighed and moved over to envelope him in a hug.
"You know I only have your best interests at heart and I want you to stay safe. You don't remember the terrible things that people did to you when you were young. I just want to keep that from happening again." She sighed, "Promise me that you'll drop this and just wait to see the surprise I have for you."
Merlin felt all the fight drain out of him as she spoke. He knew that she was just trying to protect him and keep him safe but it didn't stop the longing that he felt every time he thought of the flying lights.
"Merlin?" Nimueh prompted.
"I promise." He said with a sighed.
"Good boy." Nimueh said, pulling back with a sigh, "Now go wash up for dinner."
Merlin nodded and turned away. Although his mother had said no Merlin wasn't going to give up. He had a feeling that this year he was going to see the lights up close and he was going to make sure that happened, no matter what it took.