A/N: It was brought to my attention some time ago by Shere'Lifsil (thank you again for your wonderful review by the way!) that almost all of my stories except one have spoilers in them...most of them season 3 spoilers. This got me thinking of writing a story with no spoilers whatsoever! Like my other story "Revenge Gone Awry" this story will have zero spoilers...all you really need to know is that Merlin is Arthur's secret guardian sorcerer servant and the power that Merlin has...yeah...lol.
A GIGANTIC thank you goes out to my best friend for editing the story! Love you m'dear! Anyways, that's all I wanted to say so...enjoy!
Dedication: I'm dedicating this to Shere'Lifsil! I hope you enjoy this m'dear.
Disclaimer: The show "Merlin", its characters, and its plot are not mine.
A Different Person
Merlin and Arthur stood on the shores of a frozen lake. The warlock had his arms folded across his chest, shivering and cursing Arthur in his mind.
The Prince was standing staring at the lake in consternation.
Merlin said, a little grumpily, "Why are we here? It's cold and there is nothing here!"
Arthur turned around and said a little exasperatedly, "Merlin, it's the middle of summer...don't you find it rather odd that the lake is frozen over? Don't you find it strange that it is colder than it should be around this area?"
Merlin whined, "So let's go back to the castle and tell your father! Why are we standing here? We could come back better prepared!"
Arthur rolled his eyes and said, "Merlin stop complaining! I'm trying to gather more information and I can't do that with you nattering on!"
Now Merlin rolled his eyes saying, "There isn't much information to gather! The lake is frozen solid in the middle of summer...Arthur, what are you doing?"
Merlin noticed in alarm that the Prince had stepped on to the ice and was tapping his foot around experimentally.
"Arthur you prat! Get back here! You don't know how thick that ice is!"
The Prince turned around and looked at his servant saying, "Merlin if you're that afraid just stay where you are. I'm just going to see if there's anything lurking underneath the ice that could have caused this unnatural phenomenon."
Merlin sighed and muttered to himself, "Great! Now I'll have to follow him. Bloody idiot Prince!"
The warlock gingerly stepped on to the ice. He knew very well that the reason the lake had frozen over was because of magic. What he couldn't figure out was if it was a sorcerer's doing or if a magical beast had taken residence in the lake.
He was leaning more towards the magical beast idea though; there really wasn't any valid reason for a sorcerer to freeze a lake over. On the other hand, if a beast decided to use the lake for its home then the ice could be some sort of shelter...or something...
Merlin sighed heavily once more and walked closer to the Prince who, unfortunately for the warlock, was standing right in the middle of the lake.
'Really...of all the stupid ideas!'
"Arthur we should head back. This is dangerous. You don't even know if the ice will hold for long!"
The Prince snapped irritably, "Merlin shut up!"
The warlock fell silent, a little moodily. In all fairness, Merlin was saying it for the Prince's own good.
'Why did the stupid clotpole have to be so idiotically brave all the time? Brave but idiotic...that sounded remarkably familiar.'
As Merlin was lost in his memories some form of magical presence jarred him back to the situation at hand. He looked around warily to pinpoint the source only to see the Prince testing the ice to see if it could be broken.
Arthur kept tapping his sword tip against the ice, slowly whittling away at it. Merlin was about to caution the Prince against such a move when the warlock noticed a dark form circle the waters underneath their feet.
"Arthur did you see that?"
The Prince turned to face Merlin and asked a little confused, "See what?"
Before Merlin could respond to the question the ice under their feet cracked and they both looked down to see the silhouette of a large serpent-like creature's body pushing on the ice as it slithered away in the water.
Merlin was alarmed…there were two of them. He looked up at Arthur and then to the crack on the ice. He reached forward and grasped Arthur's wrist then tugged the Prince towards the shoreline. They tried to make a run for it but the weakened ice cracked some more.
"Merlin, get out of here! The ice will hold your weight longer…"
Arthur didn't get a chance to complete his statement as the ice cracked under them and Merlin didn't think. He used his innate magic to thrust Arthur towards the shoreline and fell through the crack himself.
Arthur felt a sudden invisible force push him backwards towards the shoreline. He was looking directly at Merlin and had seen the gold flash across blue irises before he was thrust away. As he felt himself moving in the air he kept his surprised eyes on his servant who he saw fall into the water.
Arthur crashed onto the shore with the wind knocked out of him and sword falling from his hand. He shot up to his feet ignoring the discomfort of his body and tried to look for Merlin.
He couldn't see him….he called out knowing it was fruitless and foolish but he couldn't help himself.
'The stupid idiot saved me without care for himself!'
His shout seemed to have alerted the two serpent-like creatures to his whereabouts and he was startled out of his misery by the creatures rearing their long necks out of the water.
They were a shimmering green in colour, scales covering the length of their snake-like body. They were huge…no more long than huge and they towered over the Prince looking down at him with fierce red eyes. Their faces looked remarkably like a dragons' and their mouths opened wide revealing rows of sharp teeth as they gave a thunderous roar.
The ice from the lake cracked entirely. Arthur only just had time to find his sword and grasp it in his hand before one of the creatures rushed at him.
However, before the sea-serpent—that's the name Arthur gave it—could reach the Prince, a small translucent bubble shot out of the water and hovered in the air between them.
Arthur could make out a lean, wiry figure inside the bubble…Merlin. The Prince blinked in surprise and then sighed in relief.
'The idiot was alive! Wait…why was he happy to have a sorcerer alive?...Merlin was a sorcerer!'
That thought hadn't registered in his head until now. Before Arthur could contemplate anymore, the two serpents let loose another roar that shook the very earth. The Prince could feel the air tense with the power rolling off of them in waves.
Arthur watched on as Merlin floated in the air in his bubble-like barrier, the Prince's only line of defence. Merlin looked tiny in front of the creatures. He was so small, even with magic it felt like the serpents would break the servant in half. His stomach churned at the thought. He was surprised to note that he feared for the man's life...even though Merlin was a sorcerer.
The image of a weak Merlin shattered, however, as soon as one of the serpents moved in for the kill. Merlin made a flicking gesture with his hand and an invisible force threw the attacking serpent back into the water. Arthur blinked.
'Not weak...powerful, very powerful.'
Merlin hadn't uttered a word; a mere flick from his hand had been enough to send the serpent flying. Serpent two, enraged by this act rushed at Merlin as well and the servant once again flicked his wrist, sending the approaching serpent crashing into the water.
The first serpent re-emerged from the lake and towered over Merlin's back and the second one joined the first, towering over Merlin's front. The serpents' necks curled around the air surrounding the bubble. It made for a striking image: a powerful sorcerer floating in the air surrounded by vicious, roaring sea serpents with the water from the lake creating waves around the trio. The image wouldn't leave Arthur's mind for days to come.
Both serpents then simultaneously opened their maws and let loose some form of an attack. The Prince couldn't tell what it was except that it was icy white in colour and had shining crystals in it.
Then it hit him. Ice. The attack was similar to a Dragon's fire-breath except it was ice not fire and there were shards of ice crystals that could probably impale a person through, shining within them. The attack headed straight for Merlin and for a fleeting instant Arthur feared the servant wouldn't survive that one.
However, his fear was misguided. The attack covered the warlock and the lake whole for a couple of intense minutes. Then the mist cleared to reveal Merlin standing unharmed on top of the once again frozen lake. The bubble that had covered his servant however, was gone. He wondered for a second if Merlin could fly, but his question was answered when he saw an irritated expression on the warlock's features as the serpents looked down at him.
Clearly the height difference was bothering Merlin, but Arthur couldn't think of why. The servant was powerful enough that the Prince didn't think a difference in height would really stop Merlin.
And he was right. As one of the serpents shot forward with incredible speed towards Merlin, a shimmering blue barrier stopped the beast's maw from snapping around the servant. However, the problem started when the second serpent got smarter and disappeared into the water cracking the ice over the lake as it went in.
As soon as the first serpent hit the barrier the second one surged up from the lake right underneath Merlin. Arthur had barely just caught the silhouette of the second serpent coming out of the water, when the servant had already directed his other hand, that wasn't keeping the barrier in place, downwards and a tremendous force caused giant waves to form in the lake. The silhouette of the serpent disappeared from the surface of the lake and the other serpent, which had been kept at bay by the barrier, was pushed back by the force of the waves.
It seemed like Merlin had used the same attack he had used in the very beginning but instead of flicking his wrist to push the serpents away, he had used more force.
Merlin raised his hand, palm facing forwards, towards the serpent that was still above the surface of the water and Arthur saw the servant's lips move. Then a crackling fireball formed in front of Merlin's palm and before the serpent could move underwater to safety, the fireball left Merlin's palm, slamming home onto the serpent's body.
The serpent was lifted clear from the lake and thrown onto the shores just a few kilometres away from Arthur. The Prince stared in shock and wondered at the power of the fireball. Then he tensed as the incapacitated serpent's fierce red eyes landed on him. He glanced quickly towards Merlin to see that the servant was busy with the second serpent. The beast had emerged from the waters and was now in the midst of blasting the ice attack at Merlin.
Arthur clutched his sword and turned to the beast that to his surprise had gotten up and now towered over the Prince. Not one to back away in fright Arthur fell into a defensive position and waited for the attack. He knew the serpent's greatest strength was also its fatal weakness: the beast was too long. And now that it was on land they were on fairly equal footing. The only question was would he be able to kill it with a regular sword?
The question entered his mind as the beast shot towards Arthur and the Prince dodged just in time to raise his sword, plunging it through the serpent's side as it passed by the Prince with its long body. Arthur kept a steady grip on his sword (which he noticed was glowing in blue fire) and planted his feet firmly on the ground as the beast, unable to stop its flight forwards, was pierced through the length of its side.
Once the pained roars died away and the body fell to the side, Arthur glanced at his sword again to see that it was back to normal. His side however, the one that was facing the serpent, was covered in blood. He grimaced slightly and turned to look at Merlin to see one of the servant's hands out-stretched towards Arthur, eyes shining a brilliant gold.
The Prince was once again struck by the image of a powerful sorcerer and then his attention was captured by the deafening roar of the other serpent which had been trapped by vines that were winding their way around the beast's body. Arthur followed the vines all the way into the woods surrounding the lake.
'Merlin could not only control fire but the trees and forests as well. How powerful was he?'
Before Arthur could contemplate further Merlin had commanded the vines in a movement of lips to drag the serpent out of the water. The serpent crashed onto the shore, this time on the opposite end to Arthur. However, the serpent had managed to break through the vines. They clearly weren't strong enough to hold the beast.
Then the serpent opened its maw to unleash the same ice attack at Merlin but the servant disappeared and reappeared in front of Arthur. The Prince blinked for a moment before he saw Merlin stretch out both hands, palms facing forwards, and mutter something which caused a wall of water to rise up from the lake as a barrier against the attack. That was when Arthur realized that the servant was protecting him. If Merlin hadn't stood in front of Arthur the ice would have hit the Prince as well.
The attack had caused the water to freeze over, forming a wall separating both shores of the lake. But with a push of Merlin's hand the wall cracked and chunks of ice crashed onto the surface of the lake creating huge splashes and giant ripples. Arthur was once again taken by surprise at Merlin's power: the servant hadn't physically touched the ice to crack it or muttered any spells.
Without the wall separating them, Arthur caught sight of the serpent being pushed backwards towards the shore once more. It seems it was using the cover of the wall to launch a surprise attack. Merlin must have known.
Arthur found it highly disconcerting that someone he had considered an absolute idiot had the capabilities to sense an attack of that sort...and also to fight two very strong sea-serpents.
His train of thought was cut off however, as he watched Merlin crouch down and place both his hands on the muddy shore. With a few whispered words from the servant the very earth itself surged forward on the opposite shore to wrap around the struggling serpent. Then Arthur saw something he would never forget for the rest of his life. Something that not only exhilarated him but also terrified him on some level.
Merlin straightened up from his crouched position and Arthur, even with only the view of his servant's back, was struck by the powerful image Merlin made. His back was tense and straight. One hand raised to the sky as though commanding the very heavens itself, and maybe he was, because in the next instant the skies darkened with rain clouds. The rumbling sound of thunder and flashes of lightning filled the previously sunny sky. The wind had also picked up, swirling around the area in its devastating frenzy.
Then Merlin directed one lightning bolt from the sky towards the struggling serpent with his hand and Arthur had only a moment's shock before the lightning hit the serpent. The beast exploded into bits with a stomach-curdling shriek.
Arthur stared at the charred bit of ground on the opposite side of the lake for a few seconds before he turned his eyes to his servant's back. Merlin turned his head slightly to stare at the Prince. And again, Arthur was struck by the powerful image: Merlin's eyes were still glowing gold, his features stoic, the wind whipping around him, the lake crashing forcefully onto the shore creating huge waves, the thunder rolling and the lightning flashing.
Then all of a sudden the image was destroyed by blue eyes widening in fear, Merlin turning to face Arthur and then slowly backing away, trembling like a leaf. The skies had turned sunny once again and the winds had died down, the lake settling with it. Arthur wondered whether there were in fact two people in his servant's body, when suddenly he was struck by the ridiculousness of a sorcerer as powerful as Merlin backing away in fear of Arthur.
This was the very same person that could not only control fire and the forest around them but wind, water, earth, and the very weather itself. All Arthur really had were his sword-fighting skills and his honour, which was wrapped around him like a cloak. He may have been the Crown Prince of Camelot with thousands of men under him, but Merlin had the elements at his beck and call.
Arthur laughed at the pale looking sorcerer in front of him.
'What was Merlin waiting for really? What was he supposed to do? Throw the idiot in the dungeons? Execute him? What a ridiculous notion!'
Neither his father nor his Knights...nor Arthur for that matter, could do anything to Merlin. They couldn't touch him. And here the servant feared Arthur's anger.
At the confused look from Merlin, Arthur explained the reason for his slightly maniac laughter, "I can't believe you're afraid of me!"
Merlin blanched and backed away some more before saying, "You...I'm sorry...I didn't mean to not say anything...I just..."
That's when it dawned on Arthur, if Merlin was a sorcerer then the servant had been lying to Arthur since day one. He was committing treason and Arthur was honour-bound to turn him in.
Arthur's features then contorted to one of anger as he spit out, "You've been lying to me since the moment we first met!"
Merlin's eyes widened as he stuttered out, "I...I didn't have a choice! You would have executed me!"
Arthur said through gritted teeth, "Of course I would have! The practice of sorcery is evil! It is wrong and against the law!"
The Prince saw a flash of anger in Merlin's eyes as the servant yelled back, "I am not evil! I've been protecting you since the day we first met! Besides I don't practice sorcery, I was born with this power! I had no choice in the matter!"
Arthur blinked and asked softly, "Born with it?"
The Prince heard Merlin sigh in resignation and say, "Yes, I was born with it. I have been moving things with my mind even before I learned how to walk or talk...at least that's what my mother told me. I didn't want to lie to you...but if I had told you...I couldn't be sure of what you would have done..."
And just like that Arthur's anger died. He knew Merlin had lied but it was obviously done for a good reason. His father's hatred for magic users was legendary and Arthur, the son who fought for his father's approval, had always held a firm stance against magic.
Arthur sighed and sat on his haunches, emotionally drained, "You have a lot of explaining to do!"
He stared hard at Merlin as the servant nodded his head vigorously, then Arthur grimaced as a slight bit of the serpent's blood made its way through an opening in his armour and soaked the padded cloth on the inside. He looked down at his bloodied side and then looked up at Merlin's clean clothes with narrowed eyes.
He was about to make a joking comment about how someone as clumsy as Merlin managed to stay clean but the fearful look on the servant's face stopped him.
"Merlin, I know why you lied. I'll tell you the truth, at first I might have been angry and distrustful of you but through this fight I've realized one thing...you have a lot of power...you had plenty of opportunity to destroy Camelot and kill me. Heck you could have probably killed my father too. But you didn't do it. After all this time with all of that power, you did nothing. In fact you lived life as a servant when you were clearly on a higher level than all of us combined."
Merlin blinked and slowly the fear started to recede from his eyes. He stepped forward and asked softly, "Do you want me to get rid of some of that blood? It can't be comfortable..."
The question was innocent enough but it was loaded with uncertainty and Merlin's posture was tense. Arthur realized what the question meant. The act may have only been Merlin removing the blood, but Arthur's acquiescence meant that the Prince trusted the servant enough to allow the performance of magic on his person. Trusted Merlin enough not to use the opportunity to hurt the Prince or put any sort of spell on him. Then there was also the fact that if Arthur accepted then it would mean that he acknowledges Merlin for who the servant was and won't stop him from doing magic in the future.
He replayed the conversation about how Merlin had acquired his powers. In spite of everything Arthur had said, the amount of power his servant held had scared him slightly, though he was loathe to admit to it. However, Merlin's words about being born with the power reassured Arthur that if the power was going to control the servant it would have happened already. In fact, Merlin seemed to have full control over them...but it brought another question to the Prince's mind:
'Were there others like Merlin who didn't have a choice in the powers given to them?'
Then again he had plenty of time to ask Merlin all the questions in the world, but for now, "Merlin, clean this blood off of me! It's disgusting! I can't believe it took you so long to realize! You're supposed to be my servant! You should anticipate my needs before I have them! My God! The worst manservant I've ever had!"
Arthur was rewarded by a tremulous smile by Merlin, which turned into a full out laugh as the warlock muttered some words and the blood was cleaned off the armour.
Then Merlin said the one word which made Arthur realize that everything would be perfectly alright, "Prat!"
A/N: I know I use that lightning attack a lot, but I love that attack! Merlin was soooo badass in that one episode when he used it! Anyways, hope you all enjoyed this story! Please review and tell me how it was!