Summary: "Cultural Exchange? Oh, is that what we're calling it now?" "Shut-up, Faith."
Prompt: Merlin/Buffy, chivalry vs feminism. (Or chauvinism vs. Scooby women.)
Pairings: Off screen Buffy/Merlin, Faith/all of Arthur's knights
For yllyana, Merry Christmas
The first time Merlin saw Lady Anne, she was reaching to open the gate doors early in the morning. Merlin had heard them un-bar the door, so theoretically they would open- if two men were attempting it. Uther was serious about keeping his siege doors strong and immoveable during the night.
"Here, let me help with that," Merlin offered.
"Thanks," she said, "but I've got it." And then she Iopened the door/I. Merlin and the guard on the other side of the door stared at her –she was just a tiny little wisp. Gwen –a blacksmith's daughter- wouldn't have even attempted that. Merlin could practically see the word 'witch' over the guard's head as she walked away. Merlin used a little magic himself to keep the door open so it wouldn't look suspicious.
"Maybe the door got dry rot?" he suggested to the guard.
The guard looked at Merlin holding the door and conceded that it was a possibility. Merlin had deflected outside attention and danger from the woman, but that didn't mean that he wouldn't investigate himself. Just about every witch in Camelot went after Arthur and Uther, so Merlin used that as a litmus test. Lady Anne and her companion –who was grudgingly allowed to be acknowledged as a lady knight- stayed far from the Pendragons, father or son. Lady Anne's knight, a dark-haired beauty by the name of Faith, was rather… promiscuous. Faith had a roll in the hay with nearly every one of Arthur's knights. They all agreed that she was talented with a sword. Merlin had rolled his eyes the first time he had heard it and then while spying on her he realized that the knights meant a real steel sword. Faith loved sparring with the men and the men didn't mind it as long as it happened in private where no one would know that a woman could be just as good as a man.
Lady Anne was harder to keep track of. She wandered the villages. She seemed to disappear in plain sight. Merlin followed her as well as his chores permitted. He narrowed down her goal to a girl, somewhere between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. Lady Anne had a purse filled with gold coin. Merlin was surprised that someone hadn't relieved her of it yet.
Then there was a report near town of a foot tall man causing problems around stables. It didn't take long for Gaius to identify it as a homunculus. A created being that looked like a human, only much smaller, also, they tend to eat manure. Chances were even good that Arthur wouldn't need magic to kill it. He would just have to find it first.
Before Arthur could track down all of the rumors, a horse stable caught fire. The reports indicated that a woman had chased the homunculus into the stable and that they both were killed in the fire. No one asked for Merlin's opinion of the story. If for instance, a sooty and blood and ash covered Lady Anne had yanked Merlin into an abandoned room for a roll in the hay, well… a gentleman never kisses and tells.
And then rumors began to spread of a nest of vampires. Three people from the village were killed one night and then five the next night. The lone survivor claimed that vampires had done the deed. The problem was that the missing could be turned into the supernatural if vampires were the source. Uther's solution was to take a census in broad daylight. All of Gaius' research agreed that vampires could not tolerate sunlight. From there, Uther had a list of people who could –maybe- be vampires.
Arthur was going door to door, trying to find where the vampires were nesting. Merlin was never far away from the prince. He was not about to let Arthur get turned into a vampire. That would play havoc with his destiny. Lady Anne and Faith were never suspected of being vampires. Both had been seen in daylight. In Faith's case, bare naked.
But both women were increasingly rumored to be out and about at night. It was simply too dangerous for unprotected women to be wandering after dark. Some even claimed that they killed vampires with wooden stakes. And the idea that they could defeat a supernatural creature as strong and smart as a vampire? Ridiculous. Then Arthur got the bright idea that he would never find the vampires during the day because their hiding spot was too good, so the prince decided to hunt after the sun set. Nothing Merlin could say would sway the prat.
Merlin never saw Lady Anne and her knight. He was watching for them. Alright, hoping to see them in action. May haps, Lady Anne could defeat a vampire.
Merlin had only been distracted for a moment and then Arthur yelled for his men and Merlin saw the first (and hopefully last) group of vampires of his life. The vampires attacked Arthur and his men. Two of the men were knocked out and Arthur swung for one of the vampire's neck. The vampire died and turned to dust in that instant. Then the vampires disarmed the knights and Merlin readied his magic. He would expose himself rather than let them all die or be turned into supernatural predators.
A woman's scream distracted both the vampires and the humans. A girl –maybe fifteen- ran between the nest of vampires and the knights. She was being chased by yet another vampire. The girl kept trying to escape. The vampire would let her think she was escaping but was herding her towards the other vampires. She tripped. She fell. In her scrambling, her hands fell on a stick. It was too blunt to be a weapon and too thin to be sturdy enough to whack a vampire with it.
Defiant, the girl stabbed one of the vampires in the chest. Surprise covered his face as he disintegrated into dust. Another vampire screamed and all turned to look as she disintegrated into dust. As the dust cleared, Lady Anne and her knight stood there, each holding a wooden stake.
"Hey, girl," Faith yelled. "Catch." Faith tossed her stake to the girl and she caught it without fumbling. The girl discarded her stick and used her stake on the nearest vampire. That one died. Arthur –never one to be outdone by a female- raced forward to behead as many vampires as he could. His knights followed suit. The vampires had all faced the women. Merlin wasn't sure if that was because they thought the women were more of a threat or if they thought that escape was that way.
In any case, the vampires died. Either by the women's stakes or by the men's swords, they died.
With the last vampire dust, the men faced the women. Lady Anne gently drew the girl back and used her own body to protect her. She kept stepping back into the shadows of the night.
Faith waved. "It was nice meeting all of you," she said. "Too bad this visit is over." She too disappeared into the shadows.
"Are we going to chase them, sire," one of the knights asked softly.
Arthur looked surprised. "Whatever for?"
"For being witches?" another knight answered.
"Did you see any spells?" Arthur asked.
All the knights shook their heads.
"Neither did I," Arthur told them. "Thus, not witches and since we don't want it to get out that we had help vanquishing the vampires, we killed them all. Agreed?"
The knights nodded.
"Good. I have to report to the king, now."
Merlin was peering in the darkness for one last glimpse of the women.
"Merlin," Arthur yelled.
"Coming," he answered.
He haunted the dark alcoves of the castle that night but met no one. Merlin never saw Lady Anne or her lady-in-waiting again.