Merlin sat alone, in Arthur's chambers polishing Arthur's boots.
"There," he said lifting them up to see the shine, "you were right, that is a better way to do it. Don't worry, I sent the letter to your wife, she'll know everything you wanted to tell her, I promise." A wind passed through the room and ruffled Merlin's hair; he faced into the draft and smiled. When he opened his eyes Arthur was stood in the doorway.
"Arthur, I thought you were down in the training field with your knights," his face fell a little, "you didn't make poor George join you did you, he's really not that kind of a guy, did you hurt him?" Merlin asked concerned.
"George is fine, I think he's doing laundry," said Arthur, "Who were you talking to Merlin?"
"I was just talking to you didn't you hear?" said Merlin.
"No, who were you talking to just now before I came in?" he asked with a frown, as Merlin just looked down and started on his other boot.
"Oh, well I was just getting some tips on polishing your boots to a higher shine," he pointed at the other boot next to him, "see how well that one turned out."
"Who was giving you these tips?" asked Arthur.
"Another servant, named Martin," said Merlin concentrating on the boot.
"I didn't see him leave," said Arthur.
"You wouldn't Martin died ten years ago, during the purge," said Merlin.
"You saw the ghost of a sorcerer?" asked Arthur a little startled.
"No, I saw the ghost of servant who was killed because he got his master's boots too shiny," said Merlin a little irritated.
"What?" Arthur asked a little taken back.
"Look," said Merlin holding out the boot he'd finished, "It's a mixture of oils and wax; it forms a layer on the leather making it shiny. It's also waterproof and it protects the leather from scuffs."
Arthur took the boots they looked amazing.
"How can anyone think this is sorcery, who would bother to risk magic just to do some chores?" asked Arthur handing the boot back.
"One of the other servants took a shine to Martin's position, he was manservant to the king after all. This other servant informed the King his servant was using magic and pointed to the boots as proof. The King had Martin executed the next day," Merlin went back to polishing the second boot.
"You mentioned something about a letter," said Arthur quietly.
"Yeah, Martin's been wandering around lost, because when he died all he really wanted to do was tell his wife how much he loved her and where their emergency money was hidden. I went and dug up his stash and wrote a letter with everything he had to say, and Gwaine promised he'd drop it off when the patrol goes by the village she moved to in a few days."
"Does Gwaine know he's dropping off a message from a dead-man?" asked Arthur.
"No, I told him the letter was found with the money and I looked up where she was living now," said Merlin.
"So this ghost told you where to find a pile of money and trusted you enough to make sure it got to his wife?" asked Arthur.
"Number one," said Merlin holding up a finger, "I would never steal that's a terrible thing to imply, and number two even if I was that sort of person I couldn't because Martin would know if I didn't fulfill his last request and he'd be back and probably be pissed."
"So what happened to Martin?" asked Arthur.
"He's gone, moved on beyond the veil, now he's done what he felt he needed to do," said Merlin, smiled a little happy at this thought.
"Do you do this a lot?" asked Arthur, sitting down on the hearth with Merlin.
"It feels like I'm always polishing something," said Merlin giving the boot another wipe.
"No, I mean with the spirits," said Arthur, uncomfortable.
"A few a month," said Merlin.
"Do you still see them all the time?" asked Arthur.
"No, just flashes when someone's emotions are strong I can see the spirits that follow them. The ones that want to move on they start to follow me around until I get the hint. But like I said those ones are only a couple a month," Merlin shrugged as he finished the boot and stood it next to the other one. They sat in silence for a moment each thinking about their own side this story.
"You're very brave, Merlin," said Arthur, "to deal with this stuff and not…" he paused.
"Not end up a gibbering wreck?" asked Merlin with a small smile.
"Exactly, I'm not sure I could do it, and still be so chipper about it."
"Well I choose to see it as helping people, I help the dead move on and give the living some closure. Also, if you hadn't allowed the Kalix to heal me, and the veil I'd probably be dead. So it all works out on balance," he shrugged.
Arthur smiled and stood up, "I'm glad you're okay, Merlin, now don't forget to polish my armor and make my bed…." Merlin just grinned at Arthur and tuned him out.
Morgana groaned in frustration her potion was wearing off and she could see veil energy everywhere. She hadn't anticipated the traces left by the Doroca to be so strong, she would have to wait until it dissipated before continuing her search for Emrys.
She stepped out into the courtyard, as dark clouds gathered over her head, she would find Emrys, and destroy him, and Camelot both. She would have her revenge there was no doubt in her mind. She looked at her hands as she felt the power of the island pulse around her, and her own power with it. Her hands dripped with her own blood red power and she laughed; she laughed and the thunder rumbled above her.
Thank you everyone so much for your support in this story! I've had so much fun. I have another story I'm posting today feel free to check it out too.
Many many thanks, and cookies for everyone!