Disclaimer: I don't own Merlin.

Author's Note: Alrighty, here's my first fanfic. (An)other chapter(s) will be up within the next few days. A few things: 1) New baddy. I knew I couldn't write Morgana right, so here we are. Hopefully he doesn't crash and burn. :D I made up his name (it sounded ominous and cool at the time) as well as the creature he turns into (don't ask me to pronounce it :P) so if he or his name resembles anything/anyone, it is completely coincidental. 2) Beware, this is a Reveal fic, and some of this has been inspired by S4 spoilers. (Set after S3) 3) Rated T for darkness, possible swearing, and violence/implied violence. 4) Any spells were found on Merlin Wiki

Most of this chapter is a flashback, so hopefully it comes across right. :)

Prologue: A Monster

Muluk, his eyes crusted with sleep, shivered and slowly sat up, cursing the cold, cursing the ache in his back from sleeping on the ground, cursing the lingering burn of his wounds, and above all cursing them. He pushed his dark, matted hair from his face and cursed once again.

"Baerne," he barked hoarsely to the dying embers of his fire.

The fire spluttered and caught on the remains of the wood, and he warmed his filthy hands on the flames. He winced at the sight of his fingernails, which were either extremely long, coated with dirt, or cracked, ragged to the nub.

Rage festered deep in his heart, and his mind hovered on the brink of insanity. He wanted blood, and not just the blood of nobodies. He wanted the blood of Arthur Pendragon. He hungered for it.

All his life, Muluk had lived on the streets of a small farming village on the extreme border of Camelot. He had no family that he knew of, and no one would ever willingly take him in. As a youth, he prided himself in being the trouble-maker of the town, and the townspeople dealt with his pranks and his thievery, scolding him and even beating him. Their abuse shaped him in the same way a whittler shapes wood. They broke him and began to mold the evil into him.

As he grew older, his mentality changed. He thought his purpose, his deception and trickery, was petty, and he craved for more. His misdeeds mounted in horrendous cruelty. Whether it be the mangling of a beloved pet or the slaughter and poisoning of a family's prized cow, he felt an indescribable joy and an even deeper lust for more.

He never thought anything of his crimes: they made him happy, and they made him laugh. To him, that was all that mattered. The townspeople, on the other hand, saw his growth to a monster and feared him. They locked him up in prison, but he was a sorcerer—albeit a self-taught, weak sorcerer. He always escaped and sought new ways to satisfy his demonic hunger.

It was a game for him. He became a hunter, a stalker; he became as stealthy and lithe as a cat and as cunning and deadly as a viper. His mistakes rewarded him a home in the town's makeshift cell. However, ironically enough, the very people trying to leash him were the ones helping him along in his evil quest. He found a fondness for developing new ways to escape. And escape he did. Over and over again.

Then he went one step too far.

He had watched her before and heard about her. She was the gem of the village. Her creamy, pale, glowing skin and wide hazel eyes were her gifts of beauty. Men also said she had a beautiful smile. Muluk never saw the beauty of her smile. He didn't care to see the innocence and purity in the girl, or perhaps it was just that that made him hate her and at the same made him desperately want her—in more ways than one. He didn't feel sorry for what he did to her—he never felt sorry for anything he did. The feeling of her blood running down his hands, the sight of it, the taste of it made him shudder with an intense perverted happiness. He had loved watching her squirm, and he loved hearing her scream even more so.

The townspeople thought he was a demon of hell, and they lived in constant terror of him. That fear inevitably led to the manhunts.

After a few weeks of constant searching, exhausting fear, and several more deaths, they finally realized that they could not deal with him themselves. They called for the knights of Camelot to punish the criminal accordingly for his crimes.

This, in it of itself, was a good idea. The villagers could hardly manage to keep a grasp on him without him slipping through their fingers like a bar of soap. They were farmers, and it isn't hard to believe that farmers do not make good guards or good executors.

They didn't expect much. Who were they, a tiny farming town with no value to the King, to be bothering him with this? Fortunately for them, Uther was still unfit to rule, so it had been the Prince, acting as Regent, who decided to send a few knights off to the village.

By this time, Muluk had become cocky: he felt that the village was his to control and would bow to his demands. He did not expect to be challenged by the knights of Camelot.

When they arrived, they were obviously poorly informed of his skill and ruthlessness. Muluk could only snicker at the foolish Prince, who only sent three knights and five back-up soldiers. Muluk struck like a snake, and he disarmed and disabled the whole party with his bare hands before escaping with only one wound across his forehead and forearm.

He had been wandering the woods for a month now, wild and lost. He was thrown into rages of insanity and madness that portrayed the monster inside, clawing to be fully released. Without even acknowledging that he was doing so, he began to eat his meat raw like a rabid wolf. He ached to kill, and killing for food was not satisfying him. His tortured soul howled in harmony with his blood-stained lips in pain for the need to satisfy his corrupted nature.

At the moment at his sad little campfire, he was in a more human state of mind—his rage was kept at a low burn, constant, always present. As he sat there in front of the fire, unthinking and mindless to everything but the dark flame of anger, he did not notice the snake approach him.

This snake was no ordinary snake. It was the last of its kind, forced to forever search and search. The snake's crest was the color of smoky, dark shadows and rusted blood and the rest of its body pure black. Its eyes glared red, and its fangs dripped with black venom.

And it had finally found what it was searching for.

It hissed softly, seductively, and went to Muluk, nuzzling and entwining itself around his leg. The monster instinctually put his hand down and allowed the snake to slither up. He stroked it like a lover, and the snake purred.

It nipped him, staining his veins black. Muluk felt an intense rush of thrill from the pain of the bite, and he moaned with pleasure. It spoke to him in his mind, whispering its support, its dedication to his plans. Muluk felt a passionate glee arise in him as the snake added its suggestions and its allegiance. Once Muluk accepted its power, the snake slipped down his open throat, and he collapsed to the ground, unconscious.

When he awoke, the snake and he were one, bonded for eternity. He was a Gvarath.

AN: Yes, the rest of the gang will be there next chapter, I promise. :)