Author's Note: As I mentioned in the previous chapter, I'm confused as to where some of the scenes fit (if in fact, some of them fit in this particular episode). So I'm writing my own version of how this episode should play out. I hope you enjoy the final segment.
Queen of Camelot (continued) – by AudiRox
Merlin rushes out the door after Arthur. "Arthur!" he shouts after him.
Arthur is determined to get answers. His heart is heavy and his mind is clouded by images he had wished he never saw.
Merlin manages to overtake the king and stand in front of him. Any other servant in Camelot would not be so bold, but their friendship is such that he was comfortable to stop the king or attempt to without any bad repercussions. "You can't!" he says louder than he had intended.
Arthur walks around his servant and keeps pushing forward with his head held low.
"Arthur!" Merlin whispers loudly and follows his master yet again. "Please listen to me. You can't go down there."
"And why not?" asks the king as he stops.
"You just can't," continues the servant lowering his voice considerably so that the couple of guards in the hallway cannot hear. "You cannot let anyone see you go down there. I will bring Gwen to you."
Arthur realizes that he would not have the privacy in the cell to speak to her. Now that he is king, he cannot make such rash decisions. And so he subtly nods and turns around.
Merlin sighs with relief as he briefly watches his king walk back up the hallway.
The young warlock inches closer to the cell in which Gwen silently sits. She looks down at the floor as she holds her knees close to her chest.
"Gwen?" says Merlin as he opens the cell with his newly acquired set of keys.
Though comforted by the sound of her dear friend's voice, she doesn't look up. Instead she continues to look at the floor of the rugged cell. "I have been in here too many times, Merlin." She slowly looks around at the dark and unpleasant cell.
Merlin sighs, and though he is to escort Gwen to Arthur, he finds it necessary to sit next to her on the mattress. "I agree."
"Camelot has brought me a lot of grief," says the woman. She looks at to her right, at Merlin. "My mother didn't live to see me grow up to be a woman; my father was accused of sorcery and then killed. I was accused of it myself, more than I'd like to recall. Why am I still here, Merlin? This kingdom has brought me so much pain."
The young man sees his friend's puffy eyes and can't help but feel a sense of sadness for her. "It has also brought you a lot of happiness," he reminds her.
"Yet, this is how it ends?"
Merlin turns to her, "Everything will be fine, Gwen, I promise. Once we let Arthur know that you were enchanted…"
Gwen cuts in as she shakes her head, "It's not going to work, Merlin. I have no proof that I was under a spell."
"I have the bracelet," says Merlin as he points at his pocket.
"And what are we going to say to Arthur that will erase the imagery from his mind of me and Lancelot? That the bracelet he got me as a gift was the reason for my actions? Or that his dear uncle Agravaine is not to be trusted?" She sighs and looks away, "It's not going to work, Merlin. I'm afraid my destiny is to keep visiting down here." She looks back at Merlin and smiles sweetly through her teary eyes.
"I will think of something, Gwen. I promise."
Silence as Gwen returns her attention to the floor.
Merlin isn't fond of what he is about to say next, but he is commanded and so he continues, "Arthur wants to see you."
Moments later, Gwen enters the dark throne room to find Arthur sitting on his throne, resting his forehead on his fisted hand. She slowly walks along the aisle that had been halfway prepared for what would've been a wedding.
The sound of delicate footsteps makes Arthur raise his head slightly, but he cannot make himself look directly at her.
"Merlin said you wanted to see me, Ar…" she corrects herself, "sire." Nervously, she stands by the side wall and looks at a calmer king. Calmer than he had been earlier that day.
Gwen leans against the wall and looks down at her hands. She uses as much energy as she has to stay where she is and not run to him.
"Do you want to be with him?" he asks softly.
This surprises her and so she looks up quickly, "Sire?"
"Tell me. Is it Lancelot that you wish to be with?"
"No," she shakes her head. "It is not Lancelot I want, it is…" she stops herself for what she wants does not matter.
"I know of your past, your past with him. His disappearance may have caused you to settle… for me."
Gwen shakes her head rapidly and steps forward, "My past with him is a result of being lonely and helpless, especially after being told by you that we had no future!"
Arthur looks at her for the first time since earlier that day.
Gwen takes another step forward, "I beg you, Arthur. What happened earlier was not real."
"Yet the image I have in my head continues to torture me."
Silence as Gwen realizes what she is up against. She cannot win. Arthur may never get passed it.
The king gets up from his throne and walks to the other side of the room, "I cannot handle any of this anymore. After all we've been through this past year, the last thing I wanted was for my heart to be so brutally wounded by the one person I… loved… the most."
Gwen can't help but hang on the one word, "Loved?" she whispers to herself. Tears start to fill her eyes but Arthur surprises her even further…
"You're free to go and do as you wish."
With these words, Arthur leaves Guinevere alone in the dark and empty throne room.
Later that evening, Merlin walks into Gaius' (and his) quarters to find the old physician looking through pages of a book.
Gaius looks up, "How is she?"
"Elyan took her home," says Merlin as he sits in front of Gaius.
Merlin shrugs, "He hasn't said a word."
Gaius sighs, "What a confusing ordeal."
Merlin nods but looks at the book. "What are you looking for?"
"I'm trying to figure out how Lancelot seems to have cheated death."
"If it is in fact, Lancelot."
Gaius sighs, "We know for certain Agravaine is involved, which means Morgana is involved. She must have found a way to bring him back."
"We have no proof that," he pulls out the bracelet from his pocket, "until we find the jeweler."
"We have to clear Gwen's name and reveal Agravaine's true nature."
"You have to talk to Arthur, Gaius," says the young man.
"Me? Why me?" asks Gaius.
"He trusts you. Especially after all that has happened the past few weeks, he will trust you if you were to tell him that all of this is a result of magic."
Gaius shakes his head.
"Please, Gaius. For Gwen."
Of course the old physician cannot say no to that. "Alright, I will go to him first thing in the morning."
Merlin smiles but cautiously hands Gaius the bracelet. "You may need this."
The next morning, Gaius enters the council room with Merlin behind him to find Agravaine standing next to Arthur.
Both Arthur and Agravaine look at the old man.
"Yes, Gaius?" asks Arthur.
"I was wondering if I may have a word with you, my lord."
"Of course," nods the king.
Agravaine moves to the back of the room and starts to observe keenly as Gaius watches his words.
"It's a matter concerning Guinevere, sire."
Arthur tries to hold onto his composure and so takes a moment to reply. "What about her?"
Agravaine now starts to pace in the back but what Gaius reveals next makes him pause.
The old physician holds up a bracelet. "Have you seen this before, sire?"
Arthur stares at the piece of jewelry for a moment, "Yes, I have. It was a gift for… " He becomes uneasy, "I don't see how this is relevant, Gaius."
"I believe this, sire," the old man holds up the piece, "is the reason for yesterday."
"What do you mean?" asks the king.
"I have reason to believe that this bracelet is enchanted, sire."
Agravaine steps forward in protest, "What! Of course not!"
Arthur is surprised. "Enchanted? That can't be."
"I'm almost certain, sire. This is the reason for the actions of Guinevere. The enchantment only works when it is worn by the person that it's intended for."
Arthur curiously looks at Merlin. He seems to remember Merlin say something similar… that Gwen was not herself. And so he looks at Agravaine.
"I promise you, sire. You purchased that from a trusted jeweler. One from this very kingdom!"
"Then you have no problem with him being question?" asks Gaius with all is wisdom.
Agravaine stammers a bit, "O-of… of course not. I will bring him to you, myself."
Arthur's curiosity makes him walk closer Gaius and take the bracelet in his hand. "Thank you, Gaius. We will revisit this once the jeweler is brought in."
Gaius nods, "Yes, sire."
As soon as Gaius and Merlin take their leave, Agravaine steps closer to Arthur. "Surely you believe me, sire? Whatever enchantment the old physician claims, I had no part in it. You can trust me with your life."
Arthur is still trying to piece the events of yesterday together but he looks away from the bracelet, "Yes, uncle. But I would like to see the jeweler today."
"Of course, sire." Agravaine takes a moment to look at Arthur and then he leaves.
Later, around noon, Merlin walks into Arthur chambers with a tray of food and beverage. He finds Arthur staring out the window. Merlin's appearance doesn't interrupt his gaze. As Merlin sets the table, he wonders if Arthur is looking out his window in hopes to find Gwen in the courtyard.
"You know, she's arranging to leave Camelot," reveals Merlin.
His servant's words affect him and so the king turns his head to face him. "What do you mean?"
I saw her earlier. "She's packing up her things. Whatever she can carry with her."
A concerned expression blankets his face. "She plans on leaving today?"
"I-I don't believe she will leave today, but soon," nods Merlin.
"Where will she go? She doesn't have any family outside of Camelot."
Merlin shakes his head as he continues to set the table with Arthur's afternoon meal.
Arthur looks away again and takes a seat. "I now see how I may have acted irrationally."
Merlin is almost pleased to hear Arthur admit it.
"Especially if sorcery was involved. If it is true, that she was enchanted…"
Merlin cuts in earnestly, "Isn't Gwen's word enough?"
An expression of guilt takes over Arthur's face and he nods, "It is. I let a moment's image cloud my mind and my heart."
A subtle smile appears on Merlin's face. "You should go to her."
Arthur realizes the same. "You're right." He gets on his feet but a loud knock on his door interrupts him. "Come!"
Sir Leon enters in haste, "Sire, Lord Agravaine waits for you downstairs."
Arthur nods and walks out the door.
Merlin takes a moment to wonder what Agravaine has cooked up this time. But he wastes no more time, and rushes out behind his master.
The old jeweler is restrained by two guards.
"My king, I beg you. I have no part in magic!"
"But you admit that this bracelet is the work of sorcery?" asks a stern Arthur with Merlin and Gaius behind him.
The old man whimpers, "She told me she would kill me, sire! She threatened my family. I have children and grandchildren." The man starts to cry.
"She?" asks Arthur. "Who threatened you?"
Agravaine observes quietly, hoping that all goes well.
"Lady Morgana, sire" cries the old man. "I tried to resist, but she is ruthless, my lord."
"Morgana?" says Arthur. He briefly looks at Merlin and the court physician and sighs.
Agravaine feels it appropriate to chime in, "Of course, my lord. All makes sense now!"
Merlin subtly looks at Gaius, who seems to be rolling his eyes.
"Morgana may have caught wind of the news of your impending marriage to Guinevere," Agravaine continues.
"And what of Lancelot?" asks the king.
"I had no part in that, sire!" says the old man.
"Gaius?" turns the king to his trusted physician.
"I'm not certain, sire, but whatever Morgana did to… resurrect Lancelot, she enlisted the help of someone powerful, someone who practices the dark arts. What we saw was just the shell of Lancelot as we knew him, sire."
Agravaine stands quietly.
"My king?" whimpers the old man. "Please forgive me."
Arthur nods subtly. "Next time you or your family is threatened, I encourage you to come to us directly."
The old man nods rapidly, "Yes, sire!"
Arthur looks at the guards. "He is free to go."
Merlin and Gaius aren't buying the old man's story but they have no say in his fate, and so they just sigh.
Agravaine steps closer, "I feel I have to apologize, sire. I am to blame for this mess."
Arthur takes a good look at his uncle, "Were you aware of the sorcery?"
"No, my lord. Of course not!"
"Then you have nothing to apologize for."
Agravaine can't help but feel as if Arthur's trust in him is wearing off, but he takes a step back as Arthur turns to Merlin and subtly nods.
"You know what to do," Arthur nods at his loyal servant.
"Gwen!" shouts Merlin as he forces himself into her house.
"Merlin?" Gwen looks up. "What is it?"
Merlin slows down as he sees all the things Gwen had started to pack. "Arthur wants to see you."
Merlin smiles and looks at his friend, he takes her hands in his and sits next to her on the bench. "Everything is alright now. It is all as it should be!"
"What do you mean?"
"Arthur knows you were enchanted and Lancelot was something Morgana conjured up to break the two of you apart. He knows the truth, Gwen!"
Gwen smiles tentatively and looks down at her hand and realizes she hadn't taken off the ring he had placed on her index finger just a few days ago.
Moments later, Arthur paces in his chambers. When he hears a knock on the massive doors, he stops pacing and responds, "Come!"
Gwen enters and stays by the door. "You asked to see me, sire."
Arthur can't help but smile at her appearance. Excitedly, he takes a couple of steps closer to her, but restrains himself and compromises by standing just a few feet away from her. "Thank you for coming."
Gwen can't seem to look directly at him, but she nods subtly.
"Guinevere… I…" starts Arthur. "I hope you forgive me for…"
Gwen shakes her head, "Please, sire. Do not apologize to me. It seems we were all fooled."
Arthur notices Gwen's formality. "But, I let this go as far it did. I should've trusted you."
"If I were in your place, sire, I may have reacted the same," Gwen tries to comfort Arthur.
Arthur sighs. "Always being reasonable." He takes a couple of steps towards her, but her reaction makes him freeze in place.
Gwen takes a couple of steps back – with her back to the door. "Sire…" she shakes her head.
"Gwen?" asks the king nervously.
Tears start to fill her eyes. She has cried too many times in the past couple of days than she would like to admit. "I can't, Arthur."
"I can't imagine what rumors are circling around this kingdom. But I know they can't be good for you or for Camelot."
"I don't care for rumors."
"You should. It's your kingdom."
"What are you saying?"
"Marrying the daughter of a blacksmith is already not appropriate and other kingdoms will look down on it. But what has happened the past few days…" she shakes her head, "I can't imagine how much that will hurt your alliances if I were to continue on as if nothing happened."
"Don't say that." says Arthur.
She wipes her tears, hoping that will be the last of them. She takes off the ring and hands it to Arthur, "I cannot marry you, sire."
Arthur is speechless.
Gwen takes a deep breath and continues, "I'm leaving Camelot." She tries to stay strong by continues with much emotion, "I will always think of you fondly. And I will miss you immensely."
With these words, she turns to exit his chambers, but Arthur gently grabs her arm. "Guinevere, don't…"
Tears start flooding her eyes as she shakes her head and releases her arm, "It shouldn't be this hard to be with the one you love. Goodbye, Arthur."
Arthur is frozen in place by her words. He helplessly stands by the door as Guinevere rushes out and down the hallway.
Moments later, Agravaine hurries on horseback deep into the woods. He pulls the reigns and stops for a man wearing a hooded cloak… standing by his own horse. A few feet from him, a woman in black stands along the bank of the lake.
"You have served me well," says Agravaine. He throws a pouch of coins to the hooded man.
The man catches the pouch and pulls down his hood to reveal that it is in fact the old jeweler. "Of course, my lord!" The old man looks over at the woman near the lake.
Agravaine takes another look at the jeweler and gestures, "Off with you!"
The old man gets on his horse and rides away.
Agravaine dismounts his horse and walks over to the woman, who is staring at the lake. "Where is Lancelot?"
"I have returned him," says Morgana still looking deep into the water.
"Could we not have made use of him?" asks the man as he looks over the surface.
"What good is a dead man? Besides, I'm not interested in his fate. You have failed me yet again, Agravaine," says Morgana without turning around. "It seems Gwen's innocence has been proven."
"Ahh, but all is not lost yet, my lady."
Morgana slowly turns to face her accomplice. "What do you mean?"
"Guinevere is leaving Camelot."
Morgana is confused, "Leaving Camelot?"
"And Arthur is not following her. Seems there will be no wedding in Camelot anytime soon."
A hint of a smile appears on Morgana's face. "I see."
Later that night, Merlin enters the physician's quarters to find Gaius preparing their evening meal.
"Ah, Merlin. There you are."
Merlin takes off his jacket and hangs it by the door. "What a day!" he takes a seat at the table.
"How is she?"
"Gwen?" asks Merlin. "I don't think she will change her mind. I will try to talk to her again in the morning. Talk her out of leaving Camelot."
"You should let it be, Merlin," says the old man as he serves Merlin some chicken.
"But Arthur and Gwen belong together, Gaius. I know it!"
Gaius smiles and takes a seat with his own plate of food, "You know that there's something far greater than any magic, don't you?"
Merlin looks at Gaius.
"Love, Merlin. And true love will always be victorious."
"Hmm," says the young warlock.
"What?" asks the old physician.
"I remember the great dragon saying something very similar to me a few years ago."
"It was when Arthur was under a spell and pursuing Lady Vivian," he remembers. "True love broke the spell."
"Ah," says Gaius. He sighs and continues, "No amount of magic, good or bad, will keep those two apart, Merlin."
Merlin keenly listens.
"It may not be today, tomorrow, or many moons from now. But I'm certain Guinevere will find her way back to Arthur."
Merlin looks at his mentor in hopes that he is in fact correct. "I hope so."
So that's my episode. So many possibilities for how and when A/G get back together, but I do believe they do not get back together by the end of the 4.09.
First of all, I want you to know that I deliberately left out the scene of Arthur shaking Guinevere as I just cannot imagine what that's about. If it were to go anywhere in my story, it would probably be in the scene in the throne room where Arthur releases Gwen.
Secondly but most importantly, I would like to thank you for your support. I absolutely love hearing from you and hope that in the future, I may have enough time to write again.
Please do let me know what you thought of my episode and any feedback you'd like to offer in regards to my fanfiction and/or your opinion on Merlin, in general.
Once again, I cannot thank you enough. Hope you enjoy the "real" 4.09 this week!