The Heart Breaks Harder the Second Time
"You are summoned to the court of Camelot on counts of Sorcery," Arthur's voice was as cold as the winter outside, "Do you confirm or deny these accusations?"
"Confirm," Merlin replied in a small voice. Fear met him.
"Can you please speak up?" Arthur's voice was still a monotone, "Do you confirm or deny these accusations?"
"Confirm," Merlin's voice went up an octave.
The court was still silent. On the King's left, Gwen was sat, tears foaming in her eyes. Her best friend…a wizard. How could this be? Not far down, Gaius felt mortified. The boy he had taken in was facing a certain and most painful death. Meanwhile, the Knights' minds were buzzing. Elyan could have sworn he had heard a spell in the woods the other day, but until then, had dismissed it.
"How long have you been aware of these powers?" Arthur asked.
"About 4 or 5 years, but I was told by many that they saw a difference in the air surrounding me."
"How many people are/were aware of my powers and who are/were they?"
"Agravaine, moments before his death and Morgana knows, I believe. Lancelot knew, as did my friend William. Morgause, also and Nimueh. And…"
Gaius gave a sharp intake of breath.
"No-one else," Merlin finished. He wasn't planning to betray Gaius or Hunith, even though he wasn't 100% sure she knew."
"I would like to call upon the witness," Arthur looked around until his eyes finally rested on Molly, the young farm girl of about 20 who had witnessed the incident in question.
"What exactly did you see?"
"W...w...well," Molly was most obviously nervous, "You see, I was walking along the path when I heard a voice speaking in a foreign tongue. I hid behind a tree stumped and I saw the sorcerer making flames."
"Then what did you do?" Arthur asked in an impatient tone.
"I ran," Molly was now a quivering wreck, "I ran to a guard on the street and I told him of what I saw. He immediately arrested the sorcerer."
"That is fine," the King needed to hear no more, "Guards, please escort Molly out of the castle and see to it she has a drink beforehand. Thank you for your co-operation, miss."
"Anytime, sire," Molly bobbed a courtesy as the oak doors swung open. She tottered out of the room, her face colourless.
"Under normal circumstances," Arthur looked at Merlin, "You would be executed at dawn for treason, but as you have not used your magic for evil, you can be exempt by the new law. You will be banished from Camelot. You shall leave before noon tomorrow."
This did not come from Merlin or even Gaius. Not even the knights.
Everyone turned to look at Queen Guinevere Pendragon. Today she looked fine in deep purple.
"Excuse me, my lady?" Arthur looked confused, "What is it you wish to say?"
"I do not believe Merlin should be punished."
"Look, I know he is your friend…"
"No," Gwen shook her head and stood up, ready to address the court, "When I was banished, it was hard. Merlin will have no-where to go and has not much work experience apart from in the Castle. Your life has been save many a time, sire and who do you think by? Do you believe they were all coincidences or just plain luck? I do not think so."
"I am sorry, my lady," Arthur was seemingly apologetic, "But laws are laws. One person cannot be an exception. You lost your father to magic; do you not think it is bad?"
"He was lost to bad magic. What Merlin does is good- I do not believe him to be evil. Do you have proof of illegal activity?"
"Sorcery is illegal!"
Gwen was losing her patience, "If he leaves, I am going with him."
There was a collective gasp, and the court began to gossip. No-one would ever believe the mild-mannered queen would do something so…extreme!
"No," Arthur croaked.
"Yes," Gwen was finally standing up for herself, "Arthur, I love you and you are my husband, but Merlin is my friend and I cannot bear to see him go. You have a choice."
"Guinevere," the pair began to speak in first-names, "You cannot do this."
"Yes, I can," Gwen was defiant, "I was exiled because of a misunderstanding. I will not let this happen to anyone, especially my best friend."
"If he leaves, so do I," another voice spoke up. Gaius. Merlin beamed at him.
"As will I," the usually quiet Percival spoke up.
"And me," Gwaine stepped forward.
"I can't leave him on his own," Leon grinned, "He won't be able to cope."
"I won't let my sister or one of my best friends go un-defended, even if one has magic," Elyan decided.
Ever so slowly, everyone in court chimed in their opinion, right down to the last guard.
"Fine," Arthur avoided Gwen's gaze, "Merlin, I relinquish your exile request and on behalf of Camelot, I apologise to you. Guards, untie his hands."
The guards rushed forward and helped the now free boy (well, man).
"Merlin," Gwen called to him, "You may have the day off, I am sure my husband will find someone to fill the slot."
"Thank you, my lady," he bowed, "You have proved yourself to be an intelligent, gracious and merciful queen. Thank you to everyone else."
He then turned on his heel, waltzing out. Everyone slowly trickled out, leaving Arthur and Gwen alone. The oak doors slammed shut as Gwen's maid Anna left.
"Guinevere," Arthur walked to her, interlocking his fingers with hers, "I am sorry for doubting you. You have, as Merlin said, proven to be a great queen. I love you."
"I love you too," Gwen smiled, "But I would not say I am a 'great' queen, as you put it."
"Oh, but you are," her husband wrapped his arms around her and elapsed them in a passionate kiss.
Please review! I am very, very proud of this fic. It had been a while since I've written a Merlin fic, so I am a little rusty!
Please check out 'The Argument' by dnalwor. She's one of my very best friends who sometimes gives me ideas for fic. She's relatively new and a little unsure, but is a brilliant author. Her story is great!
Peace be with you xxx