This is an idea which has been banging around in my head for awhile. And I haven't really seen another story like it in this genre, so I thought that I would give it a try and see how people react. First, let me say that I love the Sorcerer's Apprentice. I thought that it was an amazing movie and that all of the actors were awesome. I also loved the fact that almost the entire reason that Balthazar looks so long for the Prime Merlinean just so he has the chance to free Veronica is a great story. Waiting 1300 years for one woman who if the love of his life appealed to my hopeless romantic side. But then, again, 1300 years is also a long time to be alone. My whole inspiration for this story kind of stemmed from one question: What if Balthazar hadn't had to wait all that time? What if he hadn't been alone on his journey, but always had someone there to help him along the way? I think part of the great thing about fan fiction is that it gives fans a chance to explore those what-if questions. So, this is my humble offering to the "what-if" tradition of fan fiction and Sorcerer's Apprentice in particular. I hope that you like it.

Disclaimer: I do not own the Sorcerer's Apprentice, be it the movie, the orchestral piece or the poem which started it all. The movie belongs to Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney. I am making this for my own entertainment and am making absolutely no money or profit whatsoever.

Story is rated T for scenes of fantasy violence, some language, and for some scenes of a romantic nature.

Prologue:

Britain-740 AD

The war between sorcerers was fought in the shadows of history, and for centuries, the greatest of them was the just and powerful Merlin. It was with him that the fate of mankind would rest, for he stood between them and the forces of evil.

Merlin had three apprentices to whom he trusted all of his secrets. They were called Balthazar, Veronica and Horvath. It would have been better if he had trusted only two. For Hrovath, driven jealousy and anger by his frustrated love for Veronica turned against all he had ever known, and joined forces with Morgana le Fey, Merlin's most deadly enemy.

It was thanks to Hrovath's betrayal that Morgana was able to deliver a fatal stroke to Merlin and managed to gain one of sorcery's most dangerous spells, known as The Rising, which would give Morgana the power to raise an army of the dead and enslave mankind.

However, there were those who still remained loyal to Merlin's teachings. That night, riding through the darkness towards Merlin's stronghold, Balthazar and Veronica raced against time to warn their master of Hrovath's betrayal, and they hoped, to prevent disaster.

As they approached the great castle, their hearts sank when they saw the angry orange glow and the black smoke rising from the place which had been the only home they could remember clearly. As they rode into the courtyard, the light from their torches revealed the aftermath of sorcery beyond evil. The bodies of Merlin's men had been stabbed through with sharp ice, or had been splayed open while they were still alive, their faces twisted in horrible masks of agony. With the carnage all around them and the heat of the fire on their skin, they felt that they were looking at a reflection of hell.

"This is Morgana's work." Said Veronica, once they had found their voices, "The shield into the castle was broken."

"Horvath," growled Balthazar, his blue eyes burning with anger, "Only one of Merlin's apprentices would know how to break through the defensive shields which surround the castle."

Veronica's eyes flashed momentarily with sorrow. She was still struggling with the fact that Hrovath, the one who she had loved as a brother had betrayed them because she had loved Balthazar first. But, that did not diminish the worry that she felt for their other allies, the only allies that they now had left. "What about Rowena? When will she and her followers arrive?"

"She said she would try to hurry them, but you know they may not be able to do much. Fire is the greatest danger to their kind, and not even beings as powerful as they are could hope to survive an encounter with Morgana. We're on our own."

They cleared their minds of everything else, trying to block out the destruction that they were seeing. They knew what had to be done. They needed to stop Hrovath and help Merlin. Defeat was not an option. As they passed through the corridors of the castle, they passed more evidence of Morgana's work: walls scorched black with fire and smoke, more mutilated bodies, and the oppressive feeling of Morgana's dark magic that seemed to permeate every corner of the castle.

They knew where Merlin would be, the main training hall, the great circular room at the center of the castle. It was where they had trained as apprentices so long ago, and where the Merlin Circle was. Some considered it to be the strongest point of Merlin's power. Their last hope of being able to prevent the tragedy was destroyed when they came to doors which led to the training hall, only to find them thrown to one side and the magic protecting it broken. They now knew that they could only expect the worst.

Entering into the chamber when they had once trained together, they now saw only destruction. They caught a fleeting glimpse of Hrovath disappearing through a window, but they had no time to worry about him. For their attention was immediately drawn to Morgana le Fey. Forebodingly magnificent, frightening and hypnotic, Morgana was the sinister mirror of Merlin. As potent in the dark arts as he was in the light, Morgana captured the eye of every person that she came across. She had power to awe and terrify all in the same instant. The sheer evil in her soul was enough to make even Veronica and Balthazar blanch away from her.

Morgana snapped around when she heard the door to the room being blasted away. An evil smile spread across her face and her black eyes were dancing wickedly. "Ah, Balthazar, Veronica, Merlin's last two champions." She said, with evident delight, "I was wondering when you would show up, I was hoping to take all of you on together. But I shall simply have to settle with the two of you. Though you will be far easier than your Master. I will kill you, as easily as I killed him."

Though they had almost been expecting it, this admission from someone no less than Morgana was a blow. Balthazar felt his control break for a single second. Enraged, he charged Morgana. But the sorceress anticipated him. She had conjured a plasma bolt in her hand and threw it at him before he could even think to react. It knocked him half way across the room, and he smashed into the hard stone floor. He was completely dazed, defenseless against Morgana's onslaught.

Morgana would have killed Balthazar in that moment, had it not been for the bravery of Veronica. Knowing that it was the only way to defeat Morgana and save the life of the man that she loved, she attempted a spell known as Fusion, an act of drawing the soul of one person into the body of another.

It was a very difficult spell, and very dangerous. Veronica was very powerful, and she almost succeeded. But not even she could have foreseen how truly powerful Morgana was. She could not have anticipated the soul searing agony which spread through her body as Morgana's soul struggled to escape. Veronica tried to fight back, but in the end, Morgana was too strong to be contained by her. With a deafening shriek, Morgana broke free from the confines of Veronica's body. Morgana's eyes were blazing with dark fury. Now, she had lost all trace of mocking humor. All she wanted ws revenge.

Veronica's strength had been drained by the fight with Morgana, and she had no way of defending herself. Morgana began to turn the blood within Veronica's veins into fire, killing her slowly from the inside out, her face twisted into an enjoyment which was almost beyond that of human nature. "You pitiful Merlinian," she taunted, "It must feel terrible to have come so close, only to find that you have no power to stop the inevitable. You will die, in pain, with the knowledge that you have failed and that you are alone."

"She's not alone." Balthazar's voice suddenly came from behind Morgana. She had quite forgotten about him in her struggle with Veronica, both inside and out. It turned out that while Veronica had not succeeded in containing Morgana within herself, she had managed to buy Balthazar enough time to recover and to give him the chance to see what needed to be done. No sooner had he spoken then Veronica felt the heat in her veins begin to subside. She forced her eyes to open, and saw that Balthazar was drawing Morgana into the Grimhold.

It was only the work of a few seconds to eliminate the threat of Morgana. The Grimhold was an inescapable prison, and could only be opened from the outside. Morgana, for the moment, was defeated.

Once Morgana had disappeared into the Grimhold, Balthazar rushed over to Veronica, who was trying to raise herself to her knees. "Veronica." He said, desperately, taking her gently by the shoulders and supporting her, "Veronica, Firefly, what were you doing? I almost lost you."

Veronica pulled herself closer to Balthazar. "I was only trying to protect you, Balthazar."

Balthazar took her face in his hands, and kissed her softly, as if needing to assure himself that she was actually there. "The next time you think about saving me." He admonished her gently, "Please check with me before you do anything that extreme."

Veronica was too exhausted to make her usual quip of a reply. Instead she merely smiled. "You should know by now, Balthazar, that very rarely do I feel I need to check with you about anything." Then her eyes filled with concern. "Are you all right? Morgana almost killed you as well."

"Yes, I think I should be all right. And you?"

"I don't think there was any permanent damage."

They were both trying to put a brave face on their injuries, but for the time being, any notion of rest would have to wait. Right now, they had to find Merlin. Morgana had said that she had killed him. But they had to see for themselves, and say one final farewell.

They did find him, lying in the center of his great Circle. He had only a little life in his and what there was would soon be gone. The two apprentices knelt on either side of him. Veronica was weeping, and Balthazar felt an emptiness and pain inside which he had never experienced. Merlin had been the closest thing that either of them had ever had to a true father. Morgana's murder of him hurt worse than any magic she could have inflicted.

Merlin, however, was serene in the face of death. He had lied a very long time, but he had always known that he was mortal and would one day die. However, he still had some very important information to pass onto his two apprentices. Though Morgana may have been inside the Grimhold, as he told the two of them, that didn't mean that the threat of her was destroyed permanently. Morgana would always have followers who would seek to release her, and if they did so, mankind was doomed if she preformed The Rising.

As he lay dying, Merlin would pass his dragon ring onto Veronica and Balthazar, saying that it would lead them to the child who would one day become his successor, the Prime Merlinian, the only one who would be able to kill Morgana.

"As long as Morgana exists, there will always be a danger to mankind." He told his two apprentices, "A single accident could undo everything that we have striven for in these centuries." He looked at them both, and his next words were almost as full of apology as they were pleading. "Forgive me for asking this last task upon you. It was not the end I think that any of us were wanting. But, you must promise me that you will find the Prime Merlinean, the fate of the world could very well rest on it."

Veronica and Balthazar both looked at each other. They both knew what giving that promise meant. It meant very well the end of any hope for a normal life for themselves beyond magic. For Veronica especially, it was a hard choice to make. She had always wanted a family; a family with Balthazar, something that she could say had been created outside of magic. Veronica had never been able to come to terms with the idea of having a child while Morgana was still alive. Now, that day seemed farther off than ever.

However, for Veronica and Balthazar, there really could be no other answer. They could not simply step aside; they could not retreat to safety while there was yet a battle to be fought. Merlin had taught them never to back down or give up. And so, Veronica said, "I promise you, Merlin. We will find him, and we won't stop looking until we do."

"And we'll protect the Grimhold from any who might try to release Morgana." Said Balthazar.

It seemed as if a great weight slipped off of Merlin's shoulders when he heard these words. He did not say much, for Merlin had never been one to use flowery language. Instead, he took one hand to each apprentice and said, "The last piece of advice I can give you, and the one you must heed above everything else I have taught you: no matter what happens, no matter what you encounter on your journey, you are not alone. You must rely upon each other. You are each other's strength, and neither of you are as strong as when you are together. I have often seen the bond between you, and it is one of the strongest I have ever seen between two sorcerers. That will be your great strength against any threat, for Morganians have no weapon powerful enough to ever break what you have with each other. Of all power, love is the strongest. So enjoy what you have discovered with each other, for none of us know how much time we will have with the people who are truly important."

They were Merlin's last words, but they would stay with his apprentices for centuries. And never had any of Merlin's words been more true. For Veronica and Balthazar would search across the world for the Prime Merlinean. Along the way, they came to do battle with several Morganians, who always sought to free Morgana from the Grimhold. Those that they defeated, they did. But for those who were especially dangerous, they locked them away in the Grimhold, trapping them in lair upon lair of the doll. Eventually, they would capture Hrovath as well.

It was by no means an easy or safe road upon which they traveled. But with each other, just as Merlin had said, they were able to achieve more than they would have alone. And never will Balthazar or Veronica falter in their quest, for mankind will never be free until mankind in destroyed by the Prime Merlinean.


So, there you have it. I am hope that this take of Veronica actually surviving the fight with Morgana captures peoples' interest. Please drop me a review, because I love to hear what people think. I don't mind constructive criticism. But, please, no flaming for my ideas or opinions. They will be deleted from memory.

I look forward to hearing what people think. Hopefully, the next chapter should be up soon.