The Hopes and Dreams
Mornings are supposed to bring hope. A new day, new opportunities and new beginnings. But when Arthur awoke on the morning of the third day all he could feel was dread. Dread at what this day had been prophesised to bring. Dread at what he might find. It had all begun three days ago. Just three days to destroy everything…
Three days earlier…
They knew they had him surrounded now. The sorcerer. There was no way he could escape this time, not when they had him cornered. Arthur and his knights stood in a semi-circle, swords drawn, all pointing at the man who was crouching, animal-like against the rock wall behind him, eyes flicking to and fro, desperately trying to find a way out. Arthur advanced on him, sword pointed directly over his heart.
"I'll give you one last chance. You can either come quietly, or I can run you through where you stand."
The man's face twisted into a mockery of a smile. "Do what you wish Arthur Pendragon. Don't fool yourself that you are giving me a choice. I can die here or die in your great city." The last words were spat out with contempt. "To what harm did I ever do you? What crime did I commit that allows you to hunt me like an animal, to never rest until I am dead."
"You're a sorcerer." Arthur spat. "You practice magic, the most evil thing there is. That is your crime. You openly defy the law in an attempt to trick people into believing magic can be a force for good. I have been taken in by those words before. I will not let anyone else suffer at the hands of magic, like I have."
All of the knights gazes were fixed on the man before them. So they did not notice the flicker of pain that passed over Merlin's eyes. But the man did.
"You just like your father Arthur Pendragon. Just as bitter, just as full of hate. Do you really not believe that magic can be a force for good?"
"It is pure evil."
The man smiled but this time it was not mocking, or hate filled. It was just one small, sad smile. And them he was gone. Vanished. Startled the knights looked desperately around, trying to find where their captive had gone. Then a voice rang out from the top of the cliff above them.
"I'm sorry Arthur Pendragon. I truly am. But in your last words you have proved beyond doubt that the Pendrgons will never change. You have proved you will never be a friend of magic. I'm sorry Arthur Pendragon, but you have failed destiny. And now you must pay the price."
The man was standing atop the cliff, but he was no longer haggard and scared. He was standing tall and proud, glowing with power and magic. This was not the weak, feeble sorcerer they had been hunting. This was a creature of true magic.
"You have proved that your destiny can never be fulfilled. And the price you pay will be a heavy one. When the sun rises on the third day, and destiny crumbles to dust, you will lose the one thing that has kept it alive. The one person who holds all of yours, and Camelot's, hopes and dreams in their hands. Without them the Pendragons will never again rule over Camelot and the age of Albion will never come to pass. Without them there is no hope. Fear that day Arthur Pendragon. Fear it and know that when it comes, it was all your doing. Fear that day and despair.
With that there was a blinding, piercing flash of light and then he was gone. It was as if he had never been there at all. There was silence for a moment. Then.
"Quickly. We need to get back to Camelot. Now!"
Arthur's voice was frantic, terror ruling his every word.
"Arthur," Leon began. "Arthur do you know who he was talking about? Who is it? Who's going to die?"
"Can't you see!" Arthur was regaining some of his composure but his eyes still gave him away, dark with terror. "The person who hold my hopes and dreams. The person who Camelot cannot survive without. He means Gwen!"
"Arthur slow down." Gwaine interrupted. "How do you know? How do you know it's Gwen."
"Because without her, I will have no heir. If I die Camelot will be plunged into a war for power. It could be taken by another kingdom if there is no king to rule it. Without and heir the Pendragon line will never continue. It must be Gwen. Now let's go!"
The knights, grasping the seriousness of the situation, quickly followed Arthur, mounting their horses and riding full pelt towards the city of Camelot. And in their haste no-one noticed the look of despair that haunted Merlin's eyes.
The night before…
He had tried. Oh god he had tried. Every Knight of Camelot had been sent on the hunt. Searching for the sorcerer who had predicted this day of doom. But none had succeeded. The man had vanished into thin air, with no trace, no trail, no clues.
But Arthur hadn't given up. He had hunted through the five kingdoms, put out rewards. Gwen had twenty four hour guards, but Arthur knew it wouldn't be enough. Not against magic. Magic had taken his father, his mother, and now it would take his wife. There was nothing more he could do. He had promised Gwen that he would stand watch over her all night if he had to, but he knew it would make no difference. She wasn't scared, but he was. He had seen what magic could do.
So that was why he was with her in their chambers with an order not to be disturbed. Not talking. Just sitting. Cherishing their last moments.
Gwen didn't believe it was true. She trusted that Arthur or the knights would find a solution and, even if that failed, that there was no way she would come to any harm. But Arthur knew differently. He took her hand in his, holding it, trying to memorise how it felt, the rough skin of the many years of work, the small rounded nails, the loving touch.
The door creaked open and Arthur whipped his head round expecting an attack. But none came. A single figure was revealed by the light of the candles, standing by the door as if he wanted to come in, but didn't dare.
"Merlin." Arthur breathed a sigh of relief which soon changed to one of annoyance. "I told you we were not to be disturbed."
"I know Arthur. But I need to tell you something…"
"Merlin, get out!" Arthur was getting angrier by the second, knowing every minute Merlin was here was a minute lost with his love.
"NOW!" Arthur roared. He couldn't stop himself. He needed these last moments. Needed them like he needed air to breath. And his stupid, clumsy servant was ruining that.
"OK Arthur. I'll leave. But just remember one thing. I'll always be your friend. And it wasn't your fault." Merlin turned and slipped quietly out of the room, disappearing into the night.
"Arthur," Gwen whispered quietly. "You didn't need to shout. "He was only trying to help."
"Well he didn't. It is my fault. And if I lose you…"
"You won't. I promise. She smiled and Arthur smiled with her. But his heart was still filled with dread at what the morning would bring…
So that was why, when the first light of dawn crept through his window the next day. All he could feel was dread. He turned to his wife, lying peacefully in the bed beside him, expecting the worst. But the worst did not come. She was alive. Actually alive, her breath gently swaying the strand of hair lying across her face. Arthur felt his heart lighten with joy and he swept her into his arms, like her never wanted to let go.
"Arthur?" Gwen's voice was bleary and confused with sleep.
"You're alive Gwen. It's alright. Everything's alright. You're alive. The sorcerer was wrong." He laughed a joy-filled relieved sound that echoed around the room. And then she laughed too, and hugged him back and everything was alright again.
"I need to go and tell the knights. They were so worried, especially Elyan. They'll be so relieved!" Arthur was out of the bed now, hurriedly dressing himself to go and spread the good news.
"OK Arthur, calm down." Gwen smiled. "Why don't you tell Merlin and Gaius first? I think they were the most concerned. And you need to apologise to Merlin. For last night."
"Of course." Arthur was drunk on happiness, relief filling his every being. He grabbed his shirt and raced out of the door, determined to spread the news that the queen lived, that Camelot was safe again.
He sprinted through the corridors and burst into the door of the physician's chambers yelling…
"Gaius, Merlin, she's alive! Gwen's alive! The curse didn't work. She's alive. Everything's alright. She's alive!
And that was when he noticed the figure, lying silent and motionless, on the cold stone floor.
So how was it? This is a new style of writing for me so it would be great to know what you think of it. I can continue this if anyone wants me to, with Merlin's point of view and what happens after. So drop me a review and tell me if you want it to carry on and what you thought. Thanks for reading!