The Coming of Arthur Part Two
In a land of Myth and a time of magic,
The destiny of a great kingdom rests on the shoulders of two young people,
Merlin and Mira-Liana
The situation in Camelot steadily declined as Agravain worked his reign of terror.
Arthur and the others had been forced to go into hiding. Merlin was worried sick about Gwen, just as Arthur was worried for his father and Frik and Mordred were worried sick about Morgana. But without any kind of plan or anything like that, they'd been forced to leave the castle until they could figure out what to do.
Cenred's immortal was everywhere, people were living in a constant state of fear, and those who feared for their lives or no longer held loyalty to the Pendragons quickly sided with Morgause and her son. Very few who were truly loyal to the true ruler of Camelot remained loyal and refused to stand by Morgause and Agravaine.
Sir Leon and his knights were some of those truly loyal people. Sir Leon firmly stated, "My loyalty is to the King, and Prince Arthur and Princess Mira-Liana. There is nothing you can do to change that."
But unfortunately, their undying loyalty had a price as on the day when they yet again refused to pledge their allegiance to Agravain, instead of killing the knights, the guards fired upon innocent people with their crossbows and they could do nothing but watch, just like Uther did from his cell.
Uther was a wreck. He was deeply shaken by the betrayals of recent days and seemed to be on the verge of crying almost every day.
Agravain paid him a visit in the cells and was accompanied by Morgana who just stood silently beside him.
Agravain was smirking. "Old friend," he said. "Or since your daughter's my aunt, should I call you Grandfather?"
"Why're you doing this?" asked Uther.
"Come, come, surely you of all people would understand?" said Agravain. "Sometimes such measures are necessary."
"Those people are innocent!" said Uther.
Agravain just looked at him coolly and scoffed. "As were so many of the others that you put to death!"
He smirked at the look on Uther's face. It stung because it was the truth and Uther could not deny it.
"If you must kill someone, then kill me," said Uther.
Agravain grinned. "You'll get your wish." His grin faded. "But not yet. First I want you to suffer as I and my people suffered, to know what it's like to be alone and afraid, to be disgusted by who and what you are." He smirked at the look of tears pooling in Uther's eyes. "I'll let you have a little chat with your daughter for a moment. I have work to do. A King's job is never done."
He turned to leave.
"Do you really hate me so much?" asked Uther.
Agravain stopped at the cell door and looked at him. "You cannot begin to know how much I hate you."
And then he left Uther alone with Morgana.
Uther just turned away when Morgana looked at him.
"Uther," she began, but she was cut off.
"Leave me be," he said. "You've made your loyalties clear. LEAVE ME!"
"Shush!" said Morgana, holding a finger to her lips before holding a hand over his mouth. "We need to talk quietly or they'll hear. You need to listen to me. Will you, please?"
Uther paused for a moment as if in consideration, and then nodded. Then she removed her hand.
"I'm not with Morgause," she whispered. "Yes, I've known for a long time that she's my half-sister and Agravain's my nephew and you're my father, but it matters not. Those two aren't family to me anymore than you're my father." She ignored the hurt look on his face. "Did you really think so little of us to believe that we would actually side with them? Frik and Gwen and I are only going along with them because Morgause and Agravain threatened to kill the others if we didn't cooperate."
Uther could not find fault in this. They were only protecting their loved ones. Who could blame them? But he was still angry that Morgana had withheld information from him.
"How long have you known of Agravain's connection to Morgause?" demanded Uther. "How did you even know in the first place?"
"It doesn't matter how I know, but I've known a few days after he first arrived in Camelot," she admitted. She scowled at him. "Don't you give me that look, Uther Pendragon! How were any of us supposed to tell you? Agravain's your most trusted friend and we had no proof he and his family were up to anything! You never would've believed us because that's the kind of man you are! You're so blinded by your fears and hatreds that you can't even see the truth in front of you!"
Uther didn't reply. Her words were harsh, yet they were true. He had brought all of this upon himself when he'd begun his war on magic with the Great Purge. He'd allowed his fear of magic to turn to hate and now it was finally turning upon him.
"You brought this upon yourself," hissed Morgana, looking angry. But her angry look faded. "But regardless, I won't abandon you to their mercies nor will I forsake this kingdom. When we can, I will send Frik and Gwen away with Sir Leon to get help. Arthur and the others are still out there somewhere and they'll save Camelot, I know it."
"How can you be so sure?" he asked.
Morgana gave him a long, hard look. "Because I have faith in my family," she told him, before she left the cells.
Meanwhile, Arthur and the others were trying to come up with some kind of a plan as they took their refuge in a cave far from Camelot's walls. Provisions were low, but that was only to be expected with an immortal army swarming the place like hornets defending their nest.
Merlin and Mira-Liana were talking with Gaius and Arthur.
"We need to act before Morgause and Agravain get any stronger," said Merlin.
"Have you sent word to Lancelot?" asked Gaius.
Lancelot had been away visiting some old friends and now his presence was needed in Camelot.
"We sent a letter to Haldor days ago, but there's been no reply," said Mira-Liana.
"Give it time," said Gaius. "Lancelot's never let us down yet."
"We know that, but we don't have time," said Merlin. "We need to act now!"
"I know, Merlin, but how?" asked Gaius.
There was a moment's silence before Arthur broke it.
"There has to be a way to stop this," he said. "There was an immortal army like this before. How was it defeated last time?"
"The Cup of Life had to be emptied of the blood it contained," said Gaius. "Once that had happened, the enchantment no longer held."
"Then that's what we'll have to do," said Merlin.
"That's suicide," said Arthur. "How would we even get to the Cup?"
"They're immortal, Merlin," said Gaius. "The two of you may be powerful, but you don't have the power to kill a single soldier, never mind an entire army."
"There has to be something we can do," said Mira-Liana. "There has to be."
But what could they do?
"Wait," said Mira-Liana, as an idea came to her. "Merlin, our bag."
Merlin's face lit up as they quickly rummaged through their bag.
"Merlin, Mira, what're you doing?" asked Gaius.
"Looking for something," said Merlin. He then pulled out the Water from the Fisher King. "We're looking for this. When we met the Fisher King, he gave us this."
"He told us in Camelot's darkest hour, when all seemed lost, it would show us the way," said Mira-Liana.
"Yes," said Arthur, in agreement. "But how?"
"That's what we're going to have to find out," said Merlin.
Merlin and Mira-Liana found themselves staying up quite late that night, trying to figure out what the Water was supposed to do while Arthur watched them. They tried numerous spells, but nothing appeared to work. Nothing happened whatsoever.
Until the container slipped from Merlin's grasp and broke. The Water spilled onto the cave floor.
"Oh, no," murmured Arthur.
But, much to their shock, the Water shimmered and shined before pooling into a small circle. The Waters darkened and then they saw someone they had not fully expected to see again, despite knowing she was the Lady of the Lake.
"Freya?" said Merlin.
Freya smiled. "I've missed you both," she said.
Arthur smiled. So, this was the precious Druid girl who had taken a place in the twins' hearts and for whom his daughter was named. Freya seemed to be so lovely and gentle.
"And we've missed you," said Mira-Liana, smiling as she shed happy tears.
"I know," said Freya. She glanced at Arthur. "And it's an honor to finally meet you, Arthur Pendragon."
Arthur nodded. "And I you, milady. Ana told me all about you. We named our daughter for you. Her name's Amora Freya Pendragon."
Freya nodded. "I know. Thank you." Her smile faded. "I'm afraid we don't have long."
"Is it really you?" asked Merlin.
She nodded again. "I swore that one day, I would repay you both for all the kindness and love, you so freely gave to me. Now is that moment."
"We don't understand," said Mira-Liana.
"There is but one weapon that can slay something that is already dead," said Freya.
The twins gasped in realization.
"A blade forged in the dragon's breath," said Merlin.
"That weapon lies at the bottom of the Lake of Avalon," said Freya. "Where you two hid it long ago."
"But Morgause and Agravain's army are not dead, they're very much alive," said Arthur, confused.
"Anyone who toys with the Cup pays a terrible price," said Freya. "The moment they entered their pact with Morgause and her son, they became the living dead. You must come to the Lake."
"And you will give us the sword?" said Mira-Liana.
"In your hands it has the power to save Albion," said Freya.
"Thank you," said Arthur.
Freya smiled. "It's given me the chance to see my loved ones again. I look forward to meeting you at the Lake."
"We'll be there soon, we promise," said Merlin.
Freya nodded and then she disappeared.
"You two must go," said Arthur. "Get the sword as quickly as you can. Call that blasted dragon if you need to."
"You don't want to come with us?" asked Mira-Liana.
"I want to, but in this case I think it'd be better if I didn't go. If I let you see Freya alone. I know she was very dear to you and you knew her better than I did," said Arthur.
The twins smiled.
"Thanks, Arthur," said Merlin.
"And for heaven's sake, be careful," said Arthur. "I don't want to lose you."
Mira-Liana kissed him. "Nothing could keep me away from you for too long. You won't lose either of us."
Arthur returned her kiss.
The twins fled into the night as quickly as they could.
It was more dangerous than all the other times they'd snuck out before as they had an immortal army constantly on guard and they had to be careful. Before long, they summoned Kilgarrah.
Kilgarrah arrived swiftly and immediately bowed his head in respect upon his arrival.
"We have to cross twenty leagues of hostile territory, we need you to take us," said Merlin.
"I am not a horse, you two!" he said, indignantly.
"We know that!" said Mira-Liana, irritated. "But if you don't, then Morgause and Agravain will have won unless that's what you want!"
Kilgarrah glared. "My allegiance has never been with those two!"
The twins nodded.
"We know," said Merlin. "But is it with us?"
"Yes, young Dragonlord and Dragonlady," said Kilgarrah. "It is with the two of you."
They smiled as Kilgarrah allowed them to ride upon him once more and then he took them to the Lake of Avalon where they got off.
"Thank you," said Mira-Liana.
"I believe my father once warned you before that in the wrong hands, the sword you seek can do great evil," said Kilgarrah. "You must promise me, Merlin, Mira-Liana, that once its task is done, you will place it where none can wield it until Arthur is King. My father would've wanted that."
"We know," said Merlin, thinking of their old friend who had helped them so many times before finally being released into the stars upon his death. "And we do promise you, that when this is over, it'll be placed somewhere safe until Arthur's King."
Kilgarrah looked pleased by this.
The twins found a small boat on the water, which they magically summoned and then used to cross the lake's waters where Freya emerged with the sword which she gave to them. She looked far better than she had when they'd last seen her.
"Freya, there is so much we want to say, but we fear we do not have the time," said Mira-Liana. "But answer us this, are you happy?"
Freya nodded. "I am very happy, thanks to the two of you. As the Lady of the Lake, I am able to see my family again. I'm no longer cursed and I am free at last."
The twins smiled.
"We're glad of it," said Merlin. He squeezed her hand. "We will see you again, we promise."
"I know you will," said Freya, smiling. "I will always be with you. I love you both."
"We love you too," said Mira-Liana.
They shared a brief, yet tight hug before Freya returned to the Lake's waters.
Meanwhile, Morgana was true to her word and had Gwen speak with Sir Leon in the cells. Gwen talked to Sir Leon and revealed that they were not truly loyal to Morgause and Agravain and were only pretending. Now Gwen was to get Sir Leon out of there and then the two of them and Frik would find Arthur and the others. Morgana was firm in her decision to stay behind to maintain the illusion of her loyalty to Morgause and Agravain and perhaps try and make things a little easier for the people of Camelot.
Gwen, being a blacksmith's daughter, knew exactly what to do. She made an imprint of the key in Sir Leon's jail cell and then set to work making a duplicate. When she'd finished making the key, she slipped it to Sir Leon, who used it to escape from the cells that night and flee to Gwen's home where Morgan, Gwen and Frik were waiting.
"We have no time to waste," said Gwen, shoving him a dress.
Sir Leon stared. "You can't be serious."
"Just hurry!" said Morgana. "Every guard in Camelot will be looking for you and possibly Frik as well! They won't be looking for three women courtiers."
"Just do it," said Frik. He was already in a gown and looked quite unhappy about it. "It's the only way we're getting out of here."
Sir Leon groaned and then quickly dressed behind the screen.
"Are you sure you can't come with us?" asked Frik, to Morgana while they waited.
"I can't," said Morgana. But she looked as if she wanted to leave more than anything. "I have to pretend I'm still loyal to those two. Technically, I'm family. They'll believe me if I tell them you did not share my views. Besides, I have to at least try to buy you all some time and make things easier for the people of Camelot."
Frik looked as if he wanted to argue, but he did not. He just cupped Morgana's face. "I am so proud of you, my love. Remember, no matter what happens, I have and always will love no one but you."
Morgana kissed him soundly. "I love you too. Take care of our son when you find him."
"I will," he promised.
Sir Leon finally emerged from behind the screen, dressed in a gown.
"You must hurry," said Morgana. "All of you, go."
Gwen quickly hugged her. "We'll be back for you, we promise."
"I know you will," said Morgana. "Now go. Quickly!"
They then fled as Morgana went back up to the castle.
No one knew that Morgause and Agravain had suspected the betrayal and had sent Mors to follow the escaping trio while she and her son watched in glee as soon they would find Arthur and the others.
When morning came and they were a safe distance from Camelot, Frik and Sir Leon got out of their women's clothes and into men's garbs. They had a good idea of where Arthur and the others were hiding and headed to a cave in the Darkling Woods.
Merlin and Mira-Liana had returned from their trip the Lake and were undoing the wrappings on the sword when Arthur came up from behind them.
"You're back, thank heavens," he said. "Did everything go all right?"
"It was fine," said Mira-Liana. "We got the sword and Freya's happy."
Arthur smiled. "I'm glad to hear it. May I see the sword?"
"Of course," said Merlin.
They undid the sword's wrappings and then Arthur saw the sword that had been forged with the dragon's breath. It was a powerful weapon and the only relic they possessed that contained memories of their old friend.
"It's beautiful," gasped Arthur. He held the blade in his hands and swung it a bit. "It fits perfectly. I can feel its power. No wonder this thing's supposed to be hidden. I've never seen or held a finer sword in my life."
"It was meant for you and you alone," said Mira-Liana, smiling. "What will you call it?"
Arthur paused for a moment. "Excalibur."
"Nice," said Merlin.
Arthur held the sword for a few more moments before handing it back to them. "Keep it safe and use it for what you need to before you put it somewhere safe until I am King of Camelot. It is not yet time for me to use this magnificent blade."
"As you wish," said Mira-Liana.
They'd just put the sword back when Gwaine and Mordred's yells diverted their attention.
Cautiously, the three of them joined Gwaine and Mordred, who were on watch, and leapt out as if to attack, only to see who it was.
"Guinevere!" said Merlin, both relieved and shocked.
"Merlin!" she cried.
Husband and wife tightly embraced one another before kissing each other soundly.
"Father!" said Mordred, as he ran into Frik's open arms. "Father, you're all right!"
"Oh, my dear boy," said Frik, on the verge of tears. "I'm so glad you're safe."
"Sir Leon!" said Mira-Liana, embracing the knight.
"It's good to see you, old friend," said Arthur."
Sir Leon bowed. "My Princess." He bowed again. "My Prince."
Just then, Elyan came running in. "We've been found! They're almost upon us!"
Arthur turned to the twins. "Get Hunith, Gaius and the children. We need to get out of here."
Quickly, the others fled while Merlin got Hunith and Gaius to safety before he gathered their things and then Mira-Liana used a spell that allowed her to carry the four little children as Merlin wielded Excalibur.
They fled from the cave and ran into one of the immortal men, but one touch of Excalibur against the immortal man's skin made him explode. They continued their flight and joined Arthur and the others in a crevice just as they were nearly trapped by the immortal men.
"Look out!" cried a voice.
Suddenly, enormous boulders fell and blocked off the immortal men.
"Who did that?" asked Arthur.
"I don't know, but I'm liking them already," said Gwaine.
Two men appeared, one was familiar and the other wasn't.
"Lancelot!" said Arthur.
Lancelot nodded. "We need to hurry! Come on!"
They went on with their run until they came to a clearing where they'd be safe for a few moments.
"I take it that rockfall wasn't an accident," said Arthur.
Lancelot shook his head as he patted his friend's shoulder. "This is Percival, the friend I was visiting. It was his strength that brought them down."
Percival nodded and bowed. "Your Highness."
Arthur shook his head and held out his hand. "Call me Arthur."
Percival smiled as he shook Arthur's hand. "Arthur, it is."
"It's good to see you, Lancelot," said Merlin. "We were worried when we didn't receive a reply to our letter."
"I know and I'm sorry, but I thought it best if we just left quickly. We had to help you," said Lancelot. "You're family and my best friends."
"Well, we're grateful. We owe you our lives," said Mira-Liana. "Thank you."
Lancelot and Percival smiled and nodded.
"Come, we must continue onward," said Arthur. "It's not safe here."
They continued their journey onward until they came to an abandoned castle. It was quite dusty and cobwebby and seemed to be older than Kilgarrah's father. There were a great many relics in that castle as well.
"Are you sure we'll be safe in here?" asked Hunith.
"This castle belonged to the Ancient Kings," said Arthur. "It'll do for a while."
"Can't be worse than that cave," said Elyan.
Arthur didn't comment on that. "Search the place, see what you can find."
A few hours later, there was light as the torches were lit, an area for the children to rest had been set up, those who needed rest took it, and Gwaine dumped a pile of weapons he found onto a table and then everyone took their pick of the blades.
Arthur yanked a large cloth off a very large round table that was inscribed with ancient runes.
"Here," he said. "Come and join me."
Everyone did as he asked and took their seats at the Round Table.
"This table belonged to the Ancient Kings of Camelot," said Arthur. "A Round Table afforded no one man more importance than any other. They believed in equality in all things. So it seems fitting that we revive this tradition now. Without each of you, we would not be here. My father has languished in prison far too long. Tomorrow, I make my bid to rescue him and the Lady Morgana. Are there any around this table who would join me?"
Lancelot rose first. "You taught me the values of being a knight. The Code by which a man should live his life. To fight with honor, for justice, for freedom and for all that's good. It is also partly because of you, that I became a knight. I believe in the world that you will build. I will stand by you forever."
Elyan rose up next. "Even though I was a commoner, a nobody, you were willing to lay down your life for me, Arthur. It is time I repay you."
Sir Leon rose up. "I have fought alongside you many times. There is no man I would rather die for."
Gwaine rose up. "I think we've no chance." He smiled. "But I wouldn't miss it for the world."
Percival rose up. "Your enemies are my enemies."
Hunith, Frik and Mordred rose up.
"I think I speak for all of us when I say, our loyalty is to you," said Hunith.
"Always has been, always will be," said Mordred.
"If you need the three of us, we shall join you," said Frik. "If not, we'll take care of the children and guard them with our lives."
Arthur nodded. "Thank you. Please, do that."
Gaius rose up. "If you need an old man."
Arthur nodded and sniffled, as though on the verge of tears.
Gwen rose up. "You know the answer."
Merlin and Mira-Liana rose up.
"Our place is by your side, where it always has been," said Merlin.
"And it always will be," said Mira-Liana.
Arthur smiled. "There is one more matter I wish to discuss. Leon and Percival are the only ones who do not know of our secret. I feel it is only fair that they're told as long as they swear to never reveal this information to anyone without my permission," said Arthur. He glanced at the twins, Frik and Mordred. "But only if you feel comfortable with telling them."
"We do," said Mira-Liana, after sharing a silent conversation with Merlin.
Frik and Mordred nodded.
Sir Leon and Percival looked curious and then nodded after swearing themselves to secrecy.
Merlin and Mira-Liana joined hands and then raised their free hands and recited a spell. Their spell made the room glow brightly with light as Frik revealed his appearance and Mordred made a blackened sword become like new again without so much as a word.
"You four have magic?" said Percival, looking shocked.
"As does my wife," said Frik. "I am not even human, but a gnome."
"And I am a Druid," said Mordred.
"But my Princess, how long have you and your brother been practicing magic?" asked Sir Leon, aghast.
"We were born with magic and our knowledge of the craft has only increased over time," said Mira-Liana. "We've only ever used our powers to protect Camelot and our loved ones, the same can be said for Frik, Morgana and Mordred. They're good people."
Sir Leon nodded. "I would never have thought otherwise. But my Prince," he said, turning to Arthur. "How long have you known about this?"
"Ever since the Questing Beast incident," said Arthur. "Think about, Leon. How many times have there been impossible disasters that we miraculously escape from, while these two have been there? They have been Camelot's unsung heroes for so long now. Camelot and myself owes them so much. Without them, Camelot would've fallen a long time ago. They are the son and daughter of Balinor the Dragonlord, and they are nothing but good, honest and loyal people. The finest I have ever known."
"Our coming was foretold long ago. Arthur and Camelot needed us," said Merlin. "But even if we hadn't known about our destinies, we still would've stood by Arthur's side, for he is the greatest of all men and one day, he'll become Camelot's finest King."
"Your secret is safe with us," said Percival, as Sir Leon nodded.
"Uther will never find out about this," said Sir Leon.
Arthur looked deeply touched and grateful as he held Mira-Liana's hand. "I want to thank you all for staying loyal to me in Camelot's hour of need." He smiled. "I'm going to do something my father probably won't approve of."
He made Gwaine, Percival and Elyan knights. Frik and Merlin declined the offer of knighthood Arthur offered to them, as they were happy in their current places as a Lord and Chief Advisor. It was truly a momentous occasion and Gwen was so proud of her brother.
"Tomorrow when you fight," said Arthur, after the knighting. "You can stand proud knowing you are members of the most noble army has ever known."
That night, before going to bed, Merlin and Mira-Liana talked with Lancelot.
"So," said Merlin, smiling. "You're part of the noblest army Camelot's ever known. How does it feel?"
Lancelot smiled back. "It feels great to be part of something like this, I just wish the circumstances were better. What about you two? You're being recognized at last for the magical good you've done."
"It's overwhelming," confessed Mira-Liana. "We're so used to hiding…though I suppose it'll feel this way when Arthur's King and the entire kingdom knows of our secrets."
"Perhaps," said Lancelot. He sat up. "What're you two planning? And don't even think about lying, I know you both too well. You've got some idea of what to do, haven't you?"
"Arthur's not going to like it, but we intend to go after the Cup of Life," said Merlin. "Morgause and Agravain have it. If we can find it and empty it of the blood within, the army will be destroyed and they'll both be powerless."
Lancelot nodded. "But aren't you two forgetting something? It's guarded by an immortal army."
"Aren't you forgetting something?" said Mira-Liana, with a smile on her lips. "We have magic."
Lancelot shook his head. "Doesn't mean you're immortal, though."
"No, but it means we're prepared," said Merlin. "We have a sword forged in dragon's breath. It can kill anything, even the immortal army. One touch and any immortal who touches it will be destroyed. One day, when Arthur is King, he alone will wield that sword."
Lancelot looked impressed. "You know, Merlin, Mira-Liana, you two are the ones Arthur should knight. You're the bravest of us all."
The twins smiled.
"Nah, we're fine where we are," said Mira-Liana. "Besides, he knows and that's enough. Now, we just need to persuade him to let us go after the Cup. You know how protective he is."
Lancelot paused for a moment. "Do you think he'd be persuaded if you were accompanied? I could go with you, do what I can."
"It might just work," said Merlin.
Lancelot nodded before going to sleep.
Merlin went to bed and curled up with his beloved Gwen, and Mira-Liana curled up with Arthur as he held her close.
Morning came quickly.
Preparations were underway. Gwen, Hunith, Gaius, Frik and Mordred were to stay and guard the children until it was safe for them to return to Camelot. Mordred had wanted to go rescue Morgana, but he was persuaded to stay behind when he realized just how much he and the others were being trusted with.
Arthur had grudgingly agreed to let the twins go with Lancelot after the Cup after a bit of persuasion. Everyone armed themselves with swords or whatever they could find. Merlin had Excalibur and Mira-Liana had Sophia's staff. Arthur then went over their plans.
"There is a tunnel under the northern ramparts that brings us only a few paces into the dungeons," he said. "It will be well-guarded. So, if we're going to break everyone out, we must remain unobserved and we cannot let them raise the alarm. Merlin, Ana and Lancelot are going after the Cup as once the blood in it is spilled, the army will be destroyed. The rest of us will get to the prisoners and try to buy them some time."
"Won't that be dangerous?" asked Sir Leon. "Even for them?"
"We have no choice," said Arthur, before the twins could speak. "It'll only be when the army's destroyed that Morgause and Agravain will be powerless."
Sir Leon nodded and didn't argue further.
Then came the time to say good-bye to the others.
Merlin had a moment with Thomas and Dawn Lily.
"You two be good for your mother while I'm gone," said Merlin, as he held them close. It was hurting him to leave, but there was no choice. "Will you do that for me?"
"Yes, Papa," said Dawn.
"Thomas, look after Dawn and your mother for me," said Merlin.
"Okay," he said.
He smiled as he kissed their heads. "I love you both so much. Don't ever forget that." He rose up as Gwen placed a hand on his shoulder. "Gwen, stay here with Gaius and the others. Gather firewood and make bandages. There're going to be casualties."
Gwen nodded. "I know."
He sighed. "Dear, if I don't come back—"
"You will come back," she interrupted. "I know you will." She pulled out his spare red neckerchief from her pocket. He gave it to her long ago when the griffin had attacked and it had been a promise to her of his return.
Merlin smiled. "You still have that?"
Gwen nodded as she tied it around her wrist and then cupped his face. "You're the bravest, strongest man I've ever known and I have faith in you. You'll be back, I know it."
They then shared a passionate kiss as they held each other tight.
"I love you so much, Gwen," he whispered, in her ear.
"I love you too, Merlin," she said.
Across the room, Mira-Liana was having trouble restraining her tears as she and Arthur hugged and kissed their precious children for possibly the last time. She didn't want to leave them, but there was no choice.
"We'll be back as soon as we can, we promise," said Mira-Liana, putting on a smile for her children's sake. "We love you both so much."
"You be good for your grandparents, aunt and uncle and Mordred, okay?" said Arthur.
"Yes, Dada," said Dawn as Merrick nodded.
Mira-Liana and Arthur rose up.
"We'll take care of them," said Frik. "They'll be kept safe, I promise."
"Thank you," said Mira-Liana.
She turned around as she had a little moment with Arthur. Once they got to the castle, they would be separated and this could possibly be their last moment together.
"Ana," he said. "I want you to know that I love you so much and if I don't see you again—"
"Hush," she interrupted. "You will. You will see me again. What's the one thing you've always told me whenever we think we'll be lost to each other?"
Arthur smiled. "Nothing could keep me away from you for too long."
Mira-Liana nodded and then she cupped his face. "I watched you last night. You gave us hope, something to believe in. I saw the King you'll become." She smiled. "I love you so much and I'm so proud of you, Arthur."
Arthur said nothing as he kissed her and they shared a passionate kiss for a few moments before they broke it off.
Just before they left, Hunith and Gaius cornered Merlin and Mira-Liana.
"You two must be careful," said Hunith.
"We will be, we promise," said Merlin.
"You had better be," said Gaius. "Even though what's happened, you must be careful about your magic and not let anyone who shouldn't know about it, see you. And if Morgause catches you, she'll kill you both."
"We know," said Mira-Liana. "Which is why we'll be extra careful. But she has no idea of who's she dealing with."
"True enough, but please, watch yourselves," said Hunith.
"We will," said Merlin. "But really, we have no choice. Camelot is where we belong and we have to protect it."
Hunith and Gaius smiled.
"I remember the bumbling idiots who came charging into my chambers all those years ago," said Gaius.
"When you first went to Camelot, you were just children," said Hunith. "Now you're the man and woman I'd always hoped you would be. We're so proud of you."
The four of them shared a brief group hug before Merlin and Mira-Liana left with the others, not quite knowing what lay ahead of them.
The group headed to Camelot and were concealed by a spell courtesy of Merlin and Mira-Liana. The spell would only last a short while, so they hurried into the castle as quickly as they could the moment they had the chance so they wouldn't get spotted by the guards watching the castle's balconies.
Once they were inside, Arthur and the other knights went down to the cells while Lancelot, Merlin and Mira-Liana went in search of the Cup.
Mir? said Merlin, as they snuck down the halls and narrowly avoided getting caught.
Yes, what is it? she asked.
In case I never to get to say this again, just know that you're the best sister I could've asked for and I'm glad you're here with me. I love you.
I love you too, Merlin. You're the best brother anyone could ever hope for. Thank you for everything you've ever done for me.
Merlin smiled as he held her free hand. Sneaking in, defending Camelot, just like old times, eh?
She smiled back as she tightly intertwined her fingers with his. Indeed.
The twins and Lancelot slowly crept down the halls, only to stop when the twins felt the Cup's power. It shook them a little as they'd never felt anything like that before.
"What's wrong?" whispered Lancelot.
"We can sense the Cup's power," said Merlin.
"This way," said Mira-Liana.
They hadn't even put one foot forward when one of the immortal me found them. He briefly fought with Lancelot before Mira-Liana blasted the immortal into the wall with the staff and then Merlin blew him up by striking him with Excalibur.
"Is that the sword you told me of last night?" said Lancelot, looking amazed at the gold and silver blade.
The twins smiled.
"It is indeed," said Merlin.
"It's Excalibur," said Mira-Liana. "Come on."
They continued onwards, the twins knew where to go from the feel of the Cup's power and then they came upon a door that was guarded by four of the immortal men.
"What do we do now?" whispered Lancelot.
"We may just have to wing it," said Merlin.
Lancelot nodded as they then launched into battle.
Lancelot fought the four men with his sword as Mira-Liana blasted them with the staff and Merlin destroyed what he could with the sword before Lancelot knocked the door they'd been guarding down.
They managed to lock the other immortal men out and catch their breaths for the briefest of moments before they saw that there were six more immortal men in the room guarding the Cup.
The three of them shared a brief look before leaping into battle.
Meanwhile, Arthur and the others were getting into the cells.
Gwaine managed to lure two of the immortal men straight into a trap where they were locked up in cell before they burst into the hall where the cells containing Uther and the other knights were. They fought off the men as Arthur used his sword to toss the keys to one of the knights in the cell.
The moment the other knights were freed, they joined in the fight.
Arthur eventually found his father laying in his cell, in a state of shock.
"Father, we have to hurry," said Arthur, as he undid the shackles.
Uther just looked up at him. There was joy in his eyes as he was relieved to see Arthur, but he also looked very regretful.
"I'm sorry, Arthur," he said.
"I know you are, but now isn't the time," said Arthur. He put Uther's arm around his shoulder and just about carried him out of the cells and into the hall.
Uther just lay there in the hall, with his eyes closed as Arthur and the knights fought one another.
Lancelot, Merlin and Mira-Liana were making their way through the immortal men and to the Cup of Life. Lancelot was fighting them with his sword, Mira-Liana was blasting any she could reach with the staff and Merlin was destroying the others with Excalibur.
Lancelot was eventually wounded in the shoulder and forced to lie down. He was nearly killed by the last of the six immortals before Mira-Liana blasted the immortal and then Merlin destroyed the immortal with Excalibur.
Merlin and Mira-Liana then made their way to the Cup, only to be yanked away and flung into the wall as they dropped their weapons. This was caused by Morgause who came barging in.
Merlin and Mira-Liana were now slightly injured and in pain as they tried to stand up.
Morgause looked smug. "I have a feeling I won't be seeing either of you again," she said, as she prepared to kill them both.
"No," said a voice. "You won't."
Morgana appeared in the doorway and she looked as dangerous as a storm.
"You'll never see them again because I will never allow you to come near any of my loved ones ever again." She raised her hand. "Oafledon!"
Her eyes glowed gold as Morgause was flung to the ground. Morgause rose up, only to be flung into the wall extremely hard by another spell of Morgana's. She fell onto the ground either unconscious or dead.
"That was for my family!" snarled Morgana. She turned to the twins, who were shakily standing up. "Merlin, Mira, the Cup!"
Merlin and Mira-Liana forced themselves to rise up as they grabbed Excalibur in their joined hands and then knocked over the Cup of Life.
The blood spilled out and the immortal army was destroyed.
Just then, Agravain came in looking frantic and afraid—emotions not normally seen on his face.
"NO!" he yelled, as he ran to Morgause's side. He cradled her in his arms. "No! Mother! Mother!" Tears came to Agravain's eyes.
"It's over Agravain," said Mira-Liana.
"You've lost," said Merlin.
Agravain glared at them with angry red eyes. "I may have lost this battle, but the war is far from over," he growled. "And this is not over, this has just begun!"
His eyes glowed gold as he began screaming in grief. The power he used caused the windows to shatter and the room was on the verge of collapsing.
The twins and Morgana helped Lancelot get out of the room as they slammed the door behind them, not knowing of their enemies' fates.
The battle was over and Camelot was reclaimed.
Repairs were made to the city, the people were safe now, the Cup of Life was taken somewhere safe, Hunith and the others came back to Camelot and Morgana had a joyful reunion with her husband and son. There had been no trace of Morgause or Agravain in the rubble of the room that Agravain had collapsed. If they were still out there, they'd be back, but they'd be dealt with another time.
For the moment all was quiet and peaceful as Merlin and Arthur sat on the castle steps, just talking.
"So, how's your father?" asked Merlin.
Arthur sighed. "I don't know," he admitted. "He's shaken, that's for sure. All this, Agravaine…it's hit him hard. He's in a state of shock. He's nearly broken."
"I'm sorry," said Merlin. "Maybe he'll come round."
"Maybe," said Arthur.
"Perhaps we're headed for a new time," said Merlin. "You may need to take charge, become King. And Mir will be your Queen."
The two best friends shared a look.
"You may be right. But who knows what the future will bring?" said Arthur.
Mira-Liana then came riding into the courtyard on her horse with the Knights of the Round Table riding on their horses behind her. The Knights were dressed in fine armor and chainmail and red cloaks with the Pendragon symbol on them. Mira-Liana was in a fine beautiful blue silk gown fit for a Queen.
She and Arthur were smiling as he helped her down from her horse and then they shared a kiss.
That night, Merlin and Mira-Liana went into the forest, fully intending to keep their promise to Kilgarrah. They were going to place the sword somewhere safe until Arthur was King and then him and him alone would wield Excalibur.
They came upon a clearing in the forest, far from Camelot's walls and in the center of the clearing was a large stone. They held the blade in their joined hands and said a spell as they plunged the sword in stone where it would remain for the time being.
"One day when the time is right, Arthur will be King and all we've ever hoped for, all we've worked towards will finally occur," said Mira-Liana.
"And when that happens, we'll be there by Arthur's side," said Merlin, as he took her hand. He smiled when she held it tightly. "Together, like always."
Mira-Liana nodded as they headed back to Camelot.
One thing was certain: much was changing in Camelot and more would change still, but one thing was never going to change. Merlin and Mira-Liana would face the future together side-by-side, brother and sister, just as they always had done and always would, for all eternity.