After death there is a lot of debate about what happens to you; what your soul does, or whether you even have a soul to begin with. Heaven may exist somewhere, at some time, transcended at the centre of the universe. This paradise may well be generic, or tailored to one's imagination, feelings and true desires.
One thing that can be known though, is it certainly didn't exist where Merlin was.
He was floating, his mind succumbed to nothing but darkness and obscurity. Merlin wasn't really Merlin anymore; he wasn't anything. Then, from within the depths of his lifeless mind, he saw a light. It began so small, almost as if it wasn't truly there. It began to grow, slowly to begin with, then faster and faster. It consumed the darkness in Merlin's head, ate away at the empty spaces and filled his mind with a sudden blur of life...
The warlock found that a vision was beginning to fill her eyes; his mind – once an empty space – now had something to focus on, something for Merlin to ground himself with.
Arthur was being shackled, his arms drawn tightly behind his back. The bright optimistic eyes that Merlin had gotten to know so much were dull now. His mouth hung open slightly, a sense of defeat smothering his features as a trickle of blood made its way down the side of his face and dripped rhythmically to the floor.
"Brother, brother, brother..." a voice tutted, making Arthur flinch back into the men restraining him.
"Morgana y-you have won. The kingdom is yours. Please stop hurting innocent people…" The lowly king muttered, another small trickle of blood beginning to trail down his chin from the corner of his mouth.
Morgana laughed from the throne she was sat on, her body tense but her eyes flashing with glee. "Oh but Arthur, I had won before I had started. Ever since Merlin died and you no longer had magic to protect you, there was nothing you could do to stop me." She laughed at the end of her sentence.
"Merlin died trying to stop you Morgana, trying to stop all of this!"
"Yes I know and look what an utterly horrendous job he has done my dear, dear king."
"I will never give in. I will never stop fighting you, Morgana." Arthur spat, his eyes watching her as she slowly stood from her seat to stare at him.
"Until your dying breath?"
"Until my dying-"
Arthur's neck snapped.
Merlin tried to yell, thrash, do anything, but it was too late. The darkness was back, far more overwhelming than it seemed before. The only difference was, this time Merlin was aware of it, of himself. He felt so heavy, like he was being dragged down, further and further into the unknown.
Merlin gritted his teeth together, focusing on his eyes, forcing them open, or so he thought.
A woman's face appeared above him in the darkness, her hair as black as midnight, flowing as if she was immersed within a large mass of water.
"Freya?" Merlin managed to speak for the first time, although whether he was actually speaking or just thinking he was speaking wasn't clear.
Freya giggled, her eyes child-like in their innocence as they stared down upon Merlin. "Merlin. My dear, dear Merlin…"
"Yes," Merlin chocked out, the feeling of sadness closing around his throat like a tight unforgiving hand.
"A long time ago I promised you I would repay you for how you helped save my life. Now is that time. All I can do is use the little magic I still have to send you back. I know it's not much but you need to live Merlin, for all our sakes, you must live."
"No Freya, I want to stay with you, here. I did all I could. I want to be with you. I want to be happy."
"Good luck Merlin, my friend, my hope, my love. You are still not done." Freya smiled, "once I've used this magic I can finally pass through to Avalon. Wish me luck dear Emrys and when the time is right, you will come and find me once more."
The image faded away slowly, her eyes glistening with gold magic and a proud smile set firmly on her face.
Merlin was left in darkness once again, but this time it was different. This time he could feel his body as it began to re-appear around him. He felt his heart thump and stammer back into life. His arms and legs started to thrash, and finally his mouth flew open, filling instantly with cold dirty water.
Merlin tried to cough up the water he'd just inhaled and breath in air instead, yet all he did was draw in more water. His limbs were heavy as he began lashing out against the body of water surrounding him, propelling him towards the surface of the lake.
With his last reserves of energy, Merlin kicked his legs again, breaking the surface of a lake.