Disclaimer: I don't own Merlin, I'm just playing with the characters created by Shine and the BBC.

If you don't want any spoilers for S4, leave now - I'm working with what little is known of where Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy intend to take S4.


Prologue

The valley was filled with mist, thick greyish white tendrils obscuring all sight of the surface of the lake and almost completely hiding the island at the centre. Only the tips of the highest of the ruined stone walls were visible, dawn light glittering off the dew that clung to the stones. Within those walls, at the centre of this most Blessed Isle, a rowan tree stood. The spot it marked was the well spring of the Old Religion, its roots growing deep into the heart of the ancient magic, sap pulling the power to the surface and leaves releasing it to the world. Once it had been the centre of daily ceremonies as those initiated into the mysteries gave thanks to the earth for the gifts it had blessed them with, but for the last year no-one had set foot in the sacred courtyard.

Now it echoed with movement again.

At the roots of the tree an unconscious woman was laid, wrapped in a silver grey cloak. A bruise spread down one side of her head and neck, dark purple and green under blonde hair and across pale skin. Her breathing was shallow, weak and rasping, each inhalation seeming to rob her of a little more of her remaining strength. The woman who had brought her there knelt beside her, porcelain skin marred by the stream of tears that had only just ceased to flow from glowing gold eyes. Her red lips now twisted into a grimace of grief rather than the smirk she had worn almost constantly for months. Her once beautiful dress, rich red silk and velvet, was now nothing more than tattered rags and her black curls were twisted and tangled like the gnarled roots she rested on.

She could feel the magic of the Isle around her, filling her heart and her mind with a clarity she had never experienced before. Images of rituals long since past filled her sight, spells long since forgotten echoed in her mind and the source of power, untapped for too long, poured into her like a river in flood. The still dawn light crackled, the taste of tin heavy on the air as she lifted her hands to the tree in a gesture of supplication, took a deep breath and then began to chant:

'Æworuld rice gelácnian hie bánsele. Hælu ond eftgian mín déore sweostor.'

She repeated the words over and over; her crooning voice - woven with the promise of succour and care - threaded though the ruined walls, tying the magic to her. With each repetition the glow in her eyes intensified until they appeared like coals in the heart of a fire. Lowering her hands she grasped a jagged rock in her right, swiftly slicing it across her left palm and allowing several drops of her own blood to drip onto the other woman's lips. Raising her hands again, she repeated the words one last time before giving voice to a final shout.

'Hælu!'

The power needed to complete the spell pulsed through her and she sagged to one side, exhausted. As her vision began to darken she saw the woman's head turn toward her, eyes open and tongue licking the blood from chapped lips. As she lost consciousness one word reached her ears,

'Sister!'

The wave of magic that was unleashed could not be contained by the Isle and it continued to spread; rippling out from the valley through all of Camelot and into the lands beyond.

Kilgharrah, snoozing in his mountain fastness, felt it and awoke with a start. He winced at the taste of the witch's magic in his mind before roaring his displeasure at the deed it had done and the trials such an act would bring for his Lord.

The Druids, performing the dawn ritual in their cave in Ascetir, felt it and their chanting momentarily faltered. Only Iseldir, their leader, had any idea of what it was they had felt, the hair on the back of his neck lifting at its touch.

Mordred, despite the many leagues between him and the Isle, felt it and smiled. He was reassured by the light brush of fading magic that the one person he still loved in this world was alive and had unlocked the power he had sensed within her.

And Merlin?

Well he should have felt it too, would have understood what it was and what it meant for him and for Arthur. And he would have done if he hadn't, at the exact instant the wave reached him, been performing potent magic of his own; fulfilling a promise and sealing the sword into the stone.

To be continued?


Kizzia:

So this is possibly the start of a 'Season 4' story, charting where I hope the powers that be take the story arc, based on the spoilers I've read up to this point and an attempt to weave in some real parts of the Arthurian legend – very loosely as there isn't much they haven't changed in some way!

I'd love to know what you think, whether you want me to continue and any suggestions you may have about where you would like me to take this story, so please press the button at the bottom and review!

I'm currently trying to finish mapping out the whole story (check my profile page for more details on this) and getting all my ideas coherantly linked together may take some time, so I doubt I'll be in a position to update for at least a couple of weeks. But I can promise that once I start posting chapters you will get at least one a week as I'm not going to post anything more until I've got a complete plan and written the bulk of each chapter!

Oh and this is strictly cannon pairing story, no slash and other than Agravaine (who doesn't count because he will be in the show) there won't be any OC's with major roles. Well none are planned - I hold no responsibility for the characters once I let them loose in the story.

Again – please review! Virtual cookies to all reviewers and a virtual date with Merlin/Arthur/Knight/other cast member of your choice to the best one!