Twelve Parcels in silk
Present the Eighth: An Accidental Surprise
Merlin was used to Arthur giving him gifts at random moments. The king always gave his lover something for every celebration in Camelot but he sometimes also liked to give Merlin surprises. On this particular sunny day, Merlin was busy in his workrooms trying to make a potion to cure the plague that had come to Camelot.
The whole castle now knew of his relationship with their king so he no longer had his own bedchambers, he shared the royal bedchamber with Arthur and he was happy. However Arthur had given him a workroom of his own after that time when he had been trying to practise a spell to conjure chopped up wood and ended up cutting their bed in half.
The new plague that had formed was disastrous and so far incurable. It had yet to reach the castle but it had already started to spread through the lower town. Arthur had received a report five days ago that an entire village in the south had been wiped out because of the plague. Merlin had not thought it to be possible and had started to think that the plague was magic induced but the druids had informed him that it was not. So far, none of the druid clans had a cure either.
Most diseases were curable by magic, although some require too much magic for one sorcerer to cure. However this plague didn't seem curable even if all the magic users in the kingdom came together to try and heal someone. The only thing that magic could do was to help prevent someone from getting the plague. Merlin had found that almost no magic users had been infected and some who fell ill became better faster if they had magic.
However it seemed to depend on how much magic you have. Some people have the potential to be a great sorcerer or sorceress but have never practised magic are still protected from the plague. Others who have practised magic for years but only have so much power didn't get as much protection as others with more power, even if they didn't know it.
It was handy that Merlin could sense someone's magic or potential for magic but it seemed that magic can only protect its holder. Merlin had tried to protect the people in the lower town who were not already infected with a spell, but it didn't work. He didn't know if it was the spell's problem or if the magic could only its user or holder. He was fairly sure it was the latter but now that he had tried every spell possible, he had turned to potions.
While some people without magic could make some simple potions, as Emrys Merlin was able to make strong potions that no one has ever made before. Unlike how he had first predicted it to be, making new potions was harder than making new spells. With spells he just had to say things in the old tongue but to make potions, he needed ingredients too. Gaius was helping him by working in the lower town and trying to find herbs that help with the recovery but it seemed that something that worked on one person won't work on the next four.
Merlin was on the edge of madness when Arthur burst into his workroom. He was about to tell his lover of his failure when he spotted a young girl around the age of five behind Arthur. He looked at her for a second before becoming enraged and he started to shout at Arthur in a tone that he had never used on Arthur before.
"Arthur Pendragon! You cannot gift a person you complete idiot! Take the girl back to her home immediately and you can go sleep in the guest chambers for a month for being so selfish! Just because you are king does not mean that you can kidnap little girls and give them to people! You-"
"I DIDN'T KIDNAP HER!"
"YOU STILL CAN'T GIVE PEOPLE AS GIFTS!"
Merlin was red in the face when he was done and he smiled at the little girl when he looked at her. She smiled back and said in a pretty voice, "Arthur didn't steal me, he saved me."
That startled Merlin and he asked slowly, "So you aren't here against your free will?"
The girl stared at him and said tentatively, "Yes?"
"You didn't understand what I just said did you?"
"Yeah I thought so."
Merlin cleared his throat and asked in a tone that was not screaming and screeching, "It she isn't a surprise gift for me why is she dressed in red silk?"
Arthur looked at him and then snorted.
"Its cotton you idiot. Lady Heather was kind enough to give Evie here her daughter's dress that she no longer wore."
Merlin ignored him and instead kneeled to face the little girl, "So your name is Evie?"
She smiled and two little dimples formed on her cheeks.
Merlin grinned and said, "I'm called Merlin, how old are you?"
Her voice was sweet and she was a little small for a seven year old but Merlin just kept grinning and asked kindly, "What are you doing with Arthur?"
"Arthur said he would take me to my new home because momma and papa have gone away."
Merlin's grin faltered and he looked up at Arthur. Arthur gave him a look that said 'they're dead, she needs a home'. Merlin figured that Arthur brought her here because he wanted Merlin to become her 'new home'.
He could see the magic that glowed from within her and he asked softly, "Evie, did you know that you can do magic?"
She looked at him in confusion and Merlin took that as a no.
Arthur was also staring at him in shock and Merlin just grinned cheekily back at his king and lover. Then he reached out and took Evie's hand, leading her to a chair and desk that was only half covered in magical books and scrolls. He asked her quietly if she was hungry or thirsty and she answered both with a no. To give her something to do, he searched around for the most basic magic book, he had been sorting all the magic books in the castle before the plague came and now his room was covered with them.
When he handed the book to Evie, she shook her head and told him in a small voice that she could not read. He blushed and then looked around for something else for her to do, he found none and then looked at her apologising.
"Sorry Evie, I don't have anything for you to do."
He gave her a sad smile but before he could go off and talk with Arthur, she asked in a small voice, "Is there anything that you need sown? Momma taught me to sew and she says I am good at it."
Merlin doubted that she could be that good when she's only seven years old but he knew a mother's love and a mother would praise their child even if they are not anywhere near good. He did want Evie to feel comfortable though so he searched around in his room again for his jacket which he had ripped the other day while rushing to get to the council meeting.
He then teleported the sewing kit in his room to his workroom with a flash of gold and handed Evie the objects. She didn't react too much to the show of magic and Merlin relaxed with her. He headed in Arthur's direction and they stepped out of the room, closing the door softly behind them.
"So she can do magic?"
"She has the ability to learn magic."
Merlin corrected Arthur and the king made an un-kingly gesture as if to say 'whatever'. Not that the king acted very kingly with Merlin.
"Will you teach her then?"
That threw Merlin off course and he considered the idea. He had not thought of it before but it would make sense for him to teach her, what with being the most powerful warlock alive and everything. However he was terrified of being responsible for her education, what if he was the worst teacher ever?
"Stop that, you'll be great."
Arthur gave him an encouraging smile and Merlin smiled back, happy that his lover believed in him.
"Did her parents die because of the plague?"
Arthur heaved a sigh and said tiredly, "Yes, she's from the village in Blackthorn, her mother got it first but her father refused to leave her so he got it too. She didn't get it and I thought it was luck but obviously it's because she has magic."
He gave another sigh and rubbed his eyes. Merlin knew that Arthur was running around the kingdom trying to save every possible person but he was only one person and could only do so much. He had already spread the word to his people that travelling is not advised since there is yet to be a cure and some people get better themselves after an amount of time.
Arthur was not the type of king to lie to his people but at first he hadn't released the news of there being no cure but when sick people went off to bigger towns to find physicians and spreading the plague around in the process, he had release the information in hope that the uninfected areas would stay that way.
Merlin watched Arthur try to keep his eyes open and keep from yawning, and decided that his questions about Evie could wait until later. He told Arthur to go and rest and when his king refused, he ordered him and with a sigh, Arthur headed off for their chambers. Merlin might not be the king of Camelot, but he was an equal in their relationship and Arthur often listened to Merlin when it came to things regarding themselves.
When Merlin headed back into the room, he found Evie sitting obediently on the chair at the desk, but she was not sewing and he thought that perhaps she had gotten bored but was scared to explore in a sorcerer's rooms. By the time he reached her side, he was able to see that what he thought was not true. The jacket was back in one piece and had no holes; the sewing excellent and way better than what Merlin would have managed. There was also a cup of water on the desk that had not been there before and he near jumped when Evie whispered, "Sorry, I did not know whether I could move or not but I was thirsty after sewing."
She looked afraid and Merlin bent to reach her eye level.
"It's alright Evie, you can move in this room and you don't need to ask me if you want to get something."
He smiled gently and took her hand.
"Come on, let's find you a bedchamber and then I'll introduce you to Merthur and Arlin."
"Are they your children?"
Merlin grinned and replied cheerfully, "No, they're my rabbits."
(That was the day Princess Evie met her two fathers for the first time and fell in love with rabbits)
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