Warnings: Contains torture

Merlin hurt.

That was his first conscious thought. His head especially, the pain centred just to the left side of his forehead but it radiated all over his cranium so it was hard to tell. His wrists felt sore and they were burning dully, Merlin stopped trying to figure out what hurt the most after that, the fact was everything did.

Instead he tried to distract himself from the pain by listening; wherever he was it was almost silent, almost. He could just hear the sound of dripping water somewhere and the scattering sound of tiny feet no doubt belonging to the rats that often inhabited damp places.

Must be a cell… Merlin thought dully, trying to open his eyes. He found his left eye was stuck together with something, most likely blood from the wound he could feel above it. After much forcing he managed to crack his eyes open.

Darkness was all that met him at first, but after a few agonising seconds his eyes adjusted to the dull setting, the only light was coming from a window above him and judging by the bars that stroked through the light on the wall beside him, it was barred heavily. He blinked dully, glancing around the small box of a room with his eyes, he found he didn't have the strength to move his head.

The room was bare, made of stone, the door was a thick wooden one with a tiny barred opening, he must be in some terrible form of dungeon. These were not Camelot's cells, where was he? How did he get here? A sudden jolt of panic hit him when he realised he couldn't remember how he got here. Where was Arthur? Was he alright? That prince had such a habit of getting into trouble without his silent guardian in the shadows. Merlin was forced out of his thoughts when a face appeared in the tiny window of his door.

"Gave us some trouble this one did" Said a gruff voice that reminded Merlin of Jarl the slave trader, "Took down a few men before we managed to get those dammed cuffs on 'im"

Merlin forced his head down, the pain intensifying as he did to find his wrists in chains, that explained the soreness. They were strange, a very shiny metal for simple cuffs. That's when he noticed the thin lines carved into them, runes of the old religion. As he became more aware he realised he could feel his magic under his skin, burning and itching to be released.

"Tóspringe" Merlin muttered, his voice cracking as he noticed how dry his throat was. However the moment he finished the spell instead of the cuffs unlocking he felt as if a thousand tiny needles were being poked into his skin. He gave a small gasp in pain and the voice behind his door gave a chuckle.

"Wouldn't try that again matey" He sneered "Like we were going to let you walk round without some insurance against those party tricks of yours"

Merlin tried his best to glare but he found his vision didn't take well to it as it swirled sickeningly. He groaned quietly, the strike of magic had reminded him of what pain he was in. The man laughed again and left Merlin alone in the dark once more. Desperately Merlin tried to get past the pain in his head and think of what had happened. The man knew he had magic so he must have been a desperate situation when he was taken to where ever he was now. His head pounded with the effort to locate his last memory before this place. He remembered taking Arthur his dinner last night, was it last night? For all he knew it could have been days ago. Merlin decided it was the last night he could remember, things got sketchy from there.

He had been in a forest at one point he was sure, that made sense he doubted he got taken from the palace, there were too many guards. Merlin had gotten past them on a number of occasions with the help of his magic but somehow he doubted slave traders, if that's what they were, would risk entering the city, let alone the castle. He kept coming back to the same question, where was Arthur?

Had he been taken when collecting herbs for Gaius? Or was he hunting with Arthur, perhaps they were on patrol with the rest of the Knights of the Round Table. It frustrated Merlin to no end not being able to get his thoughts together. Every now and then he thought he was getting close to putting the pieces together a peculiarly bad wave of pain would hit him, or his thoughts would be jumbled and he would have to start all over again.

Instead of trying again Merlin feebly tried to inspect the damage to his body, his neck and head screaming in protest with every movement. His shoulder hurt quiet badly but he could not see why, he saw no blood on his clothes, in fact he was pretty sure he could feel gauze over the pains centre. Perhaps the happened before he got here? He doubted that they would take the time to bandage one wound above the others. His stomach and chest felt tight and sore, had he the strength to lift his hands he was sure if he removed the shirt he would find a decoration of bruises, his legs felt much the same.

He wondered if anybody else was around, they could be in a cell just like his, right next door and he would have no idea. Then another dark thought hit him, these men knew he had magic, what if Arthur had seen when he was taken, if he was with Arthur at all. Would the prince come and save him? He and Arthur were friends there was no denying it, he would come and save him wouldn't he?

Merlin suddenly found he was very frightened; he had already been shivering from the cove, now there was fear as well. He cursed himself for being such a coward. The knights wouldn't shake if they were here in his situation.

He felt weak, he still couldn't bring himself to move, he closed his eyes again, feeling a tiny measure of relief when the pain dulled ever so slightly. He knew he should be trying to escape, find some way to remove those dammed chains and manacles to use his magic again but right now he didn't care, he was just too tired. Slumping back against the cold stone of the walls he felt his head drop onto his chest, he was also vaguely aware the sound of footsteps coming closer to his cell, he prayed who ever it was would leave him in peace.

Please help me Arthur, Don't give up on me….please… Merlin thought desperatly, hoping that someone somewhere was looking for him. Hopefully it was his friend, he could feel his hold on consciousness loosening by the second.

The warlock was quickly lost in a sea of darkness.

Ooo Drama :P I'm back once more with a new story. I hope you all like it, I like to wait and see how people react before I upload the next chapter so the more people review, the faster I write and the faster YOU get to read.