Disclaimer: I do not own BBC Merlin. I still haven't watched the finale- that's tomorrow. Just thought I'd put that out there.
Warnings: Just T-rated violence and some adult themes. Nothing graphic though! Just suggestive as per the rating guidelines. If enough people think I should move it to M, I will, but I don't think it'll be a problem.
This story takes place after the season 3 finale and after the events of The King's Legacy. The time line for this whole verse is in my profile.
No major Season 4 spoilers (see bottom of fic)
Longer A/N is at the bottom. Now after months of waiting- here is Fear of the Dark!
Merry Christmas :D
A bleak sigh escaped normally smiling lips. The knight's grey eyes mimicked the stormy sky above- the evening was cold and damp and the wind was bitter. Much like his current attitude. Camelot might as well have been in shambles, it was so torn up after Morgana's reign. It was the people that bore the scars more so than the buildings. But they were healing- and he knew that. Which was why he was absolutely fine until ten minutes ago.
Gerrick remained staring at the spot where Merlin turned the corner and out of his vision. All of them were busy with helping to get Camelot back on its feet, so time with all of them together was rare. Arthur was the busiest of them all and Merlin always followed him, Aldwin and Leon were spending their time training the newest knights, Eadric had gotten himself injured at the hands of Morgana's men and was recuperating, and he himself was helping Cadmon manage the rest of the knights. And all of them were helping with tasks to rebuild their city and prepare for the coming winter.
Merlin had run into him in the halls near the courtyard and they elected to tell their latest jokes to each other. But then a bloody cloud had to go and ruin their fun. Sunlight was feebly fighting for life inside the halls, giving them enough light to see. But then the clouds lingering overhead got thicker and darkness bled through the light. A permeating darkness which always accompanied bad storms. The light had stuttered out and so had Merlin's laughter. The servant immediately got tense and excused himself with the fakest grin Gerrick had ever seen.
The knight jumped as his own fist slammed into the wall making a loud smack. He had thought Merlin had recovered. The normally cheerful knight wished death upon Morgause, wherever they had run her to after the immortal army was defeated. The grey eyed knight thought that Merlin may have had something to do with it- but he didn't know what. But everyone was taking Arthur's queue of silence and had not said anything.
But that was beside the point. Gerrick could use hundreds of words to describe Merlin- innocent had always been one of them. Merlin used to be a servant that they would protect, but slowly he had become their brother in arms. The moment when he went with them to face the dragon solidified that. And now he had seen the horrors of war, something which he himself had not fully experienced and definitely not to the extent Merlin had.
Even though Merlin was still the same in many ways, he was no longer the wide eyed youth he had been when he first met them. And Gerrick knew that everyone had to grow up, but did Merlin have to do it in such a horrifying way?
Gerrick did not know why or when Merlin became synonymous with hope. If Merlin was alright, there was something good in the world because the dragonlord could always see the good in everything. He would never have known that seeing a hurt Merlin could be such a kick in the gut, salt in the wounds, slap to the fa-
He tensed, realizing that someone was behind him. Gerrick whirled around and had his sword out in one fluid motion and barely stopped himself from striking a fellow knight.
"Percy! Hasn't anyone ever told you not to sneak up on a guy with a sword?" He put up a fake grin which was much more believable than Merlin's had been.
"You look troubled," Sir Percival spoke quietly.
"Well, I'm entitled to have a bad day once in a while aren't I?" Gerrick laughed. "And sweet Sarah, for such a big guy, you certainly can move quietly."
"Cadmon says you never are in a bad mood." The tall knight did not buy his delayed grin.
"It will pass. Now what say you to a quick drink? We have to keep the tavern in business after all."
"Oh, it's alright," Percival put his hand out. "We have to go on patrol early tomorrow."
"Yes tomorrow, no sense on wasting away tonight." Gerrick grabbed Percival's wide arm and began to drag him toward the tavern. "Besides we have to make sure Gwaine behaves himself."
Percival merely sighed and resigned himself to a most likely short night of keeping Gwaine and Gerrick out of trouble. After only a few weeks, he expected it would become a routine when things settled down. He only hoped someone joined him to help.
Wind howled faintly through the frail walls of the disused castle. The hall ways were cold and dark, and the barren grounds outside were washed with grey. Twisted dead and blackened trees of the Maercwern forest were the only evidence that life had once presided here; there was no trace of insect, bird or animal and all was quiet save for the thunder of the approaching storm. The looming silence was broken when a hiss of wind spun before the gates, and a shadowed figure of a man stepped forward. Without breaking pace he made long strides toward the open doors of the fractured castle, the moon was glimmering faintly off of his light corn silk hair that was thrashing in the wind. He made his way through dank hallways and up winding staircases, finally stopping before great wooden doors. The man politely knocked and entered when a clear voice bid him to enter.
Warmth washed over him- torches were dancing in their brackets and many candles were flickering on the dusty surfaces of the room. The fire cast soft shadows off his heavy black coat; the end touching the middle of his polished leather boots and left open at the front to reveal fine silk garments- he had liberated the clothes from a noble who had looked at him oddly.
Unlike the desolate surroundings outside, this spacious room was warm and richly decorated. Among the candles and torches, there were fur rugs and rosy wooden furniture. Intricate tapestries hung on the walls and there were various magical artefacts scattered about, along with an assortment of fruits on the vast ornate table.
The man only had interest for the figures in the room however and his stormy violet eyes flicked to the feminine figure laying still beneath the green blankets on the plush bed, before resting on the woman rising to her feet.
An appreciative smile graced his face upon seeing the Lady Morgana- her long dark hair was down and she wore a blood red dress that he instantly became fond of. "Morgana," he greeted and knelt in front of her, kissing her proffered hand and letting his lips linger on her soft skin before rising. He met her assessing light jade eyes and smiled charmingly. Her pink lips remained frowning though. If Morgana had chosen to look deeper past his striking face- she might have seen a sickly repulsiveness that lay behind it. But she possessed the same miasma behind her own eyes.
"You are Lorcan?" She asked.
"I am. I heard you asked for me." He answered with a hard voice.
"Yes. I have heard of your talents and I wish to employ your skills," she said elegantly.
"Well, I can hardly refuse such an enchanting lady," he looked her over.
"Flattery will get you nowhere," Morgana narrowed her eyes.
"I suppose not," he shrugged and his eyes drifted to the blonde woman who was sleeping on the bed. "How is dear Morgause?" He asked her and watched as Morgana's eyes flickered with pain.
"It is too early to say," she pursed her lips, "I am doing everything I can."
"Then I am sure she will make a full recovery my lady." He laid a hand on her shoulder for a moment before turning to walk around the room. "Sadly my talent does not lie in healing spells."
"You are a druid," she spoke imploringly.
"Was a druid," he corrected.
"You cannot do anything for her?" Morgana's eyes flashed.
"Healing is a very complex branch of magic, which I never had the patience for." Lorcan cast his eyes around the room, feigning interest. "But come now, my reputation is not for the lighter side of magic," he smirked and appraised her lightly.
"Morgause once said that you know many things. About black magic."
"I know much more than black magic my lady," Lorcan said in a clipped tone.
Morgana tilted her head as if brushing away a reprimand. "I want to know how to control someone. And I want you to kill another," she stared into Lorcan's odd coloured eyes.
"Ah, right to the chase. I like that in a woman." He gave a charming grin which suited the gentle planes of his face. "But those are some pretty tall orders my lady."
"Can you do it?"
"Of course I can," Lorcan said and began to walk around the room slowly. "There are many ways to control someone, it merely depends on the level of contr-"
"I want complete control. I want his mind to be empty except for me," she said hatefully.
"Who is this man who has been cursed with your hate?" Lorcan's lips were smiling faintly.
"He is hardly a man. I need to know if you will do it."
"That depends on who he is. And why you want him." He brushed the curtain aside and peered out into the violent night.
"That is none of your business," Morgana said haughtily.
"Oh but it is my lady. You see, I don't do anything without knowing the facts. Keeps things from getting sticky, you understand. Also, I would like to survey him and see if I want to do it at all."
"If I cannot have fun Morgana, what is the point?" He shot her another charismatic grin.
"I will reward you nicely," Morgana frowned.
Lorcan paused from observing a broken scrying dish. "Well that always helps. The human mind is powerful but you are talking purging him of his soul- his essence. Not exactly an easy feat."
"But you can accomplish it?"
"Again, I will have to see him. To assess his strength. Souls are tricky things."
"You have done this before then?" Morgana asked hopefully.
"No. I have heard of it done and have read much about it."
"Then how can you help me?" Her voice rose in annoyance.
"You would not have called me if you were not willing to take the chance my lady," Lorcan drawled. "Alright then, what of the other request? I always enjoy a good kill. Who will it be?"
"Arthur Pendragon," she spat and Lorcan's eye brows rose.
"Arthur Pendragon?" He threw his head back and laughed, "I do like a challenge, but I do not have a death wish."
"The one I want you to control is with him. You can kill Arthur and then bring Merlin to me." She spat the name Merlin as if it pained her to say it.
"Merlin? Is that his name?"
"Yes, he is Arthur's servant."
"I will investigate this Merlin. But if he is Arthur's servant then he will have the same protection as the prince does," Lorcan said contemplatively.
"But not always. Driscoll was able to kidnap him after all."
Lorcan blinked. "Driscoll? Well I suppose if that idiot could do it, it should be no trouble."
"You have heard of him?"
"He was a guardian to me. Of a sort," Lorcan said dismissively. "Haven't seen him for a few years."
"He is dead," Morgana said without compassion. Lorcan grimaced in a frown. "It was Arthur that killed him."
"Shame," he said quietly. "How?"
"Arthur went after Merlin when Driscoll captured him," Morgana explained. She did not need to say more.
"After a servant? But why did Driscoll capture this Merlin. For Cenred I assume?"
"You shall get your answers after you have reported back to me," Morgana crossed her arms over her chest. "You should gain revenge on Arthur for killing Driscoll."
"Revenge is sweet," Lorcan mused. "I will report back to you once I have surveyed them. And then you will tell my why the boy was so important to Cenred."
Morgana frowned at his accuracy. "Of course."
"Well then," Lorcan knelt in front of Morgana once more and took her hand. "I shall return with haste my lady." He kissed her hand once more and stood up, letting his eyes remain on hers for a moment before turning on his heel on leaving the room. As soon as the door closed behind him he whispered an incantation and disappeared in a strong gust of air.
Miles away in Camelot, a fox hunting for food scurried away at being startled by a tempest of wind. An ageless looking man stepped out of it- his aged malevolent eyes were inset on a mature youthful face. His long pale hair rippled down his back as he strode leisurely to the castle gleaming over the tree tops. Lorcan of Andor looked to be a simple noble yet one only had to look into his eyes to recognize a wolf in sheep's clothing.
He could not believe it. To think that Merlin would be late at a time like this. They were all scrambling to rebuild the city since three weeks ago. Morgana and Morgause had shown no mercy. The thought caused an angry shadow to pass over his face and it did not make Merlin's future brighter. When he got a hold of the tardy dragonlord he would make him regret sleeping in.
Arthur was travelling down to the physician's chambers himself to get his good for nothing servant out of bed. His boots made resounding stomps off the hard floors and many a servant fled his path. If Merlin had slept in at any point before last month he would not have been so angry. But this was just tactless. Everyone was trying their absolute hardest to help with getting Camelot back on its feet. The immortal army had not been kind; many citizens were dead, crops destroyed, buildings ransacked, livelihoods ruined. Arthur's sapphire eyes darkened in anger. And Merlin had the nerve to sleep in.
He slammed open the physician's chambers and looked around, not really expecting for Merlin to be in the main room. Gaius was not here. Because he, unlike his ward was actually pulling his weight. The prince then strode to Merlin's room, throwing the door open causing it to crash into the wall and very nearly hit Arthur as he passed the threshold.
He had to still himself and watch Merlin's sleeping form for a moment to stop himself from doing something rash- like drawing the sword at his hip. The bloody dragonlord thought he could just sleep the day away could he?
"Merlin!" He barked and marched toward the bed. When he got closer Merlin's face turned to him and Arthur felt his anger desert him.
The servant's face was pale and his brow furrowed. A moan escaped his lips and he twisted his body on his bed. Arthur just noticed that Merlin's blankets were wound around him, preventing him from moving freely. His eyes were rolling under their lids which were trying to open. Arthur's stride toward Merlin halted abruptly, and he stared into his eyes. The prince blinked when he swore they flashed a pale gold; in that moment the shutters rattled and Arthur passed it off as the wind. He gave a cursory glance toward them before walking up to Merlin's bed.
"Merlin?" Arthur called and shook his shoulder.
"No," Merlin groaned, "too dark, can't breathe. Please- hurts."
"Damn," Arthur cursed and hurried to open the shutters. Wane sunlight filtered in the room but the prince paid it no heed as he strode back to Merlin and wrestled him out of the confining blanket.
Merlin cried out and flinched away. "Come on Merlin, not this again," Arthur said and was not aware of the desperation that seeped into his tone. He shook his friend's shoulders, "Merlin!"
Merlin tried to writhe away and fight Arthur off. "I won't, I won't, I won't, I- " he cut off abruptly as his eyes flew open. Arthur immediately backed away to give him some space. Merlin lay gasping for a few moments before sitting up and blinking at the window. The prince stood there, watching his pale and sweating servant regain his bearings.
"I thought they were over," Arthur said not unkindly when Merlin's breathing had evened out.
"So did I," Merlin said quietly and did not look at Arthur. The prince took note of the faint pink tinge growing on Merlin's ears so he strode to the door.
"We need to patrol the north quarter of the forest. Hurry up." He jabbed his finger at Merlin threateningly and then disappeared out the door. He did not need to see Merlin's grateful smile to know it was there. As he made his way to the courtyard, a worried frown wormed its way onto his face- he had thought Merlin's nightmares were over. He soon turned his worry into anger, as it was much easier to deal with. He was angry at Morgause, Cenred, that monster Driscoll, and at Morgana; he wondered if she had known about Merlin's capture three months ago and he gritted his teeth. What had Merlin ever done to her? Merlin hadn't done anything to deserve what he had gone through. And Merlin still wasn't the same- and Arthur despaired late at night when no one was looking because he was scared that those days had scarred Merlin irreparably.
Sure, the idiot had no problem going into the forest alone- Arthur didn't know how, but Merlin would lose the knights that the prince sent after him every time. But the dragonlord could not abide the dark like he used to- he always made sure there was a fire if there was no starlight, and if he tread somewhere the light did not reach, the dungeons for example, he would visibly tense. And if he hated the dark, he liked being confined even less; with Cadmon's help he had managed to be in crowds again but Merlin always faced a window or door as if to reassure himself it was there.
Merlin did not know that Arthur picked up on these things and there was absolutely no way on earth the prince would enlighten him. As Arthur stepped into the sun and tread down the steps he donned a mask of calmness. It was a very thin mask. Merlin was not trained to resist torture and torment. He was not a knight, he wasn't even from Camelot. But he was Arthur's friend. And Arthur let his friend be taken. It was his guilt to bear.
He watched them. His lips pulled down into a grimace and his dark violet eyes were cold as stone, they peered down past the window into the courtyard below. The day was a calm grey and it was a quiet afternoon- many people were keeping themselves indoors as soon as they felt a sticky dampness in the air. There were two men in the courtyard below, one the prince of Camelot. The other was his servant.
The lady Morgana wanted him to spy on the one named Merlin. He rolled his eyes- the witch had no idea of who she was dealing with. He scoffed. To think that the boy was Emrys. The most powerful being the world would ever see. Morgana's little mind control scheme would not work on one such as he. It would need a more complex touch. He smiled as an idea formed in his head. He had played a prank once on a village- if he merely readjusted it... Yes, he would only need the strength to carry it out. Morgana could help him with that.
She did not need to know that the boy was Emrys though. And he would not tell her. No, Lorcan wanted to possess that power for himself. When he was done with it he might pass it off to the enchanting witch. But maybe not.
She also wanted him to kill the prince. Told him to gain revenge. Not that he really cared, not in the sense that the lady thought he did. Driscoll was an uncivilized pig. Not only was he completely useless in magic but he was abhorrent to look at. His manners were atrocious as well- if fancy took him he would have also killed Driscoll. In fact he had it planned once Dricoll proved himself to be no longer of use; it was such fun orchestrating the elaborate scheme. And then Morgana told him that Driscoll was dead and all his planning was for naught.
He only gave half his attention to the story Morgana told him; he only needed to know that it was the prince that took his fun, not what Driscoll was doing with Emrys.
His gaze was brought back to the servant and he smirked. Lorcan could not really fault his mentor for playing with such a fine looking toy. It sounded like fun. He had to wonder if he would really give the boy to Morgana. Probably not.
It would take time. Much time. But he would have Emrys' power or he would die trying.
"You there!" A strong voice suddenly called out. Lorcan turned from the window to see a young knight striding toward him. He quickly donned an unassuming face. "What are you doing here?"
"I am merely looking at the grisly sky sir knight."
Dark brown eyes narrowed suspiciously upon noticing who exactly was in the courtyard. Lorcan looked back out the window upon hearing a laugh. The servant was laughing at the grinning prince. "The sky?"
"Yes, I was simply bemoaning the awful weather," he flourished his hand absently. "The sun certainly has not-"
"I have never seen you before," the knight cut him off. Lorcan tensed his jaw- he was not in the mood to deal with an overly observant knight. The young man moved his hand to cover the hilt of his sword upon noticing the change.
"Well, excuse me if you had too many hits to the head to recognize me," Lorcan said stuffily. "I don't know who you think you are Sir, but clearly you should know the bloodlines that walk these castle halls." The blonde haired man wanted to smirk at the knight's near eye roll.
"You can go look at the sky somewhere else then. Like say, outside. Get moving," the knight stood straighter. "Nobles do not need to be in this part of the castle."
Lorcan turned on his heel and pointed his nose in the air. This was really too much fun. "Of course Sir Knight. I can certainly find better company away from here."
"Watch your tongue," the knight said sharply as he followed Lorcan out. Luckily he did not have the knight breathing down his neck for long.
"Aldwin, there you are," a voice called and Lorcan turned to glimpse a tall knight with wavy blonde hair fall in step with the younger one.
"The prince wants to speak to us regarding our patrols this morning." He spoke to the young knight but his suspicious eyes were focused on Lorcan.
The sorcerer felt the young knight's eyes bore into his back as he headed for the exit at the end of the hall. He did not hear the man's reply. It was a good thing that he had gotten all the information he needed before the knight interrupted him.
This was going to be harder than he had first thought. The boy was human yes, but he was also something else entirely. Magic. Power. Life. He wasn't a sorcerer, but a warlock. And there was something else. Something ancient running through his veins that Lorcan could not identify. Something great and terrifying that almost made him have second thoughts. But Emrys was a challenge he could not turn down. His lips twisted into an evil smile- he had a plan.
Well there you have it! My Christmas gift to you guys :) The story isn't completely done yet, but I'm on the 18th chapter and you guys have been waiting long enough. I should be done soon anyway.
I wrote 80% of this fic before I watched the fourth season, so any spoilers are completely incidental because I haven't changed anything major. In regards to Playing With Fire- you didn't have to read it for this chapter but you will probably be wondering about a few things later if you haven't read that first.
I hope everyone liked the first chapter but if not, feel free to tell me in a review.
Oh and Maercwern forest is just a name I made up. And remember that Hadwyn (Aldwin's brother) is a knight instead of a guard like he was in The King's Legacy
Please tell me what you thought! I've been hoarding this story to myself for so long, I'm really anxious to see what people think.I'm so EXCITED!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and stuff :)