Why do I keep saying I'm going to stop writing new fics? We all know that's not going to happen. So… YAY! :D I'll just write and write and write until my fingers bleed. Sigh. *dies* and I haven't died yet. So be happy. Be very happy. And click the little button that says 'review.' If you do not I will disappear off the face of the earth and never post another chapter… o.O
I've seen so many amazing reveal fics with this sort of idea, and I really wanted to write one! Soo… here you have it… this takes place after season 4. They said in season 5 they might reveal merlin's magic, and I nearly exploded! *explodes* or I guess now I did… so this is what I think should happen. Tada.
To watch this episode: go to youtube .com (remove space) and copy and paste this onto the end - /watch?v=5S8bW_ZOZqc&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PL4788060FF6A512AE
It will not work if you're on your ipod, iphone, ipad, or other apple device. They just don't play this kind of video. :P o\/o I've tried. Sorry. Blame apple and their stubbornness.
"Merlin… Merlin…" Merlin woke groggily to hear the Great Dragon's voice whispering in his mind. Groaning, the warlock staggered out of bed and blearily pulled his leather coat and neckerchief on. Then he set off, sneaking past the guards easily by distracting them with a hovering rock, and made his way to what he'd come to dub the Dragon Meadow. He waited for about fifteen minutes when a shrill, happy cry came out of nowhere and a little white dragon came hurtling out of the sky and hit Merlin square in the chest. With an 'oof' he tumbled backwards, the little hatchling clinging on and gurgling joyfully.
"Aithusa!" the raven-haired boy groaned. "You're getting too big to be doing that… ouch! Kilgarrah, uh… first, get him off of me! And second, why did you wake me up in the middle of the night again? Aithusa, I said ouch!"
The larger, bronze dragon shook his head. "Merlin, you can get him off yourself. And the reason I called you out here is to warn you… it is time."
This sobered Merlin up fast. He ordered Aithusa off his chest with a few guttural growls in a strange language, then stood up and brushed himself off, stroking the white dragon's head with one hand as he frowned at Kilgarrah. The hatchling had grown to a little bigger than a large dog, and was making a kind of purring, contented sound as his Dragonlord scratched his scales. "Are you sure?" he mused. "I guess… it's been four years. Arthur deserves to know." A flicker of sadness passed over his face. "I just don't know if I can… if I can trust him. I mean, no, I trust him with my life… just not if he knows. He lost both of his parents to magic – he'll think I've been betraying him all along." The young warlock gazed pleadingly at his large, scaly kin. "I don't know what to do."
"You must do what is right, Merlin. And you must remember your destiny," Kilgarrah intoned gravely. Then he snorted to Aithusa and flapped off majestically, followed by the smaller white dragon. Merlin watched until he could see them no more, then plodded back towards Camelot with heavy feet and a heavier heart.
"Well, Merlin, what is it?" Arthur asked, exasperated. "You've been moping around all morning. You'd think somebody died."
That made the manservant flinch, but he said nothing, just continued folding Arthur's shirts without a glance towards his king. That prat could be so infuriatingly insensitive sometimes. Merlin didn't know for the life of him where to start. 'Hey, guess what, I have magic! Well, am magic, so I'd appreciate it if you didn't execute me so I could continue saving your sorry butt…' Definitely not. He opened his mouth. "Uh… Arthur… I kinda wanted to talk…" he began awkwardly. This was, unfortunately, the wrong thing to say.
"Oh do you want to talk? Let's discuss our feelings, eh? Honestly, you can be such a girl, Merlin." The king rolled his eyes, but inside he was more serious. Something was bothering his manservant – no, his friend – and he was going to find out what it was. If talking about it helped… well, it'd be a bother, but anything to get rid of Mopey Merlin. Talking. Yeah, right. The king of Camelot didn't talk about other people's feelings. Arthur was a man of action, discussions with a depressed servant weren't his style.
It seemed Merlin was serious too. "No, Arthur. I need to tell you something. I've been… keeping a secret from you. And before I tell, please don't think any different of me. Just… remember happy memories. Although I fully understand if you'd want this." The young warlock pulled out Excalibur and seemed to cradle it for a moment, looking at it regretfully, then handed it over. This made Arthur frown. What could be so terrible he'd want to hurt Merlin? Maybe talking wasn't a good idea after all…
Three words. Merlin went over them again and again. Three words. Just three. I have magic. Or is it, I am magic? Either way. I am magic sounds better. More powerful. More… realistic, though. This is such a bother. I knew that overgrown lizard was going to be the death of me.
"Arthur… I am magic."
And what does the prat say? He seemed to be frozen for a moment, opening and closing his mouth, taking deep breaths and flexing his grip on Excalibur's handle. Then he started to speak.
Merlin rolled his eyes. "I said, I am magic. Run me through if you want. I won't stop you. I might even… welcome it. Possibly. Not likely. But possibly." Now it was Arthur's turn to roll his eyes, and add a small snort.
"You… clumsy… idiot! Why didn't you tell me?"
"Your father would have me killed! Your laws still dictate I should be killed!"
"My father was… blind in some things, but magic is evil! It corrupts you! Look what happened to Morgana!"
"That was not her fault, it was mine! I should have guided her better…"
Arthur started and glared. "What? Explain! Explain everything!"
This seemed to actually brighten Merlin, who grinned. "No, I have a better idea. Let's have an emergency Round Table meeting!" Arthur narrowed his eyes but nodded and stuck his head out the door warily, calling a servant and telling him to gather Leon, Percival, Gwen, Gwaine, and Elyan. As an afterthought he was about to add Gaius, but Merlin shook his head, his expression obvious. He knows. Then the king leveled his blade towards the manservant and they waited, a whole half hour until finally all five Round Table members entered – most rather hurriedly, one staggering around like he was drunk. He probably was. Gwaine hiccupped and started to grin, then he noticed his king pointing a sword at his best friend's chest. That definitely helped sober him up.
"What's going on, sire?" Elyan asked worriedly, glancing from Arthur to Merlin. Gwen started to run towards Merlin, but her husband shook his head and waved her back. Not that she listened. Shoving herself between Merlin and Excalibur, the Queen planted her feet, crossed her arms, and gave a murderous look to Arthur. This seemed to amuse only Merlin, who covered his mouth to keep from snorting.
"I've asked Merlin to… explain something," Arthur said haltingly, lowering his sword. "Right, Merlin?"
The manservant chewed his lip, looking rather carefree. "You know, it would be easier if I showed you." He clapped his hands. "I have an idea! We'll all go the Crystal Cave! We can have a nice merry adventure!" This earned him a dagger glare from Arthur, confused glances from Elyan, Leon, and Percival, and a cheer and a clapping on the back from Gwaine.
"Now you're talking!" the still-half-drunk knight said enthusiastically. "Let's bring some ale!"
A chorus of "No!" echoed throughout Arthur's chambers, in unison. Pouting, Gwaine sulked next to Merlin, then asked the obvious question – "Are we leaving now?"
Merlin closed his eyes. "No… now." When he opened them, they were the color of molten gold. The others jumped back when a whirling wind around them picked the group off their feet and whisked them away. After the dust cleared, Merlin was the only one standing – still humming cheerfully with a cheeky grin – as he watched his friends heave themselves to their feet, grumbling and complaining. Arthur helped Gwen up then glanced around. "Welcome to the Crystal Cave!" Merlin announced. "Arthur wanted me to explain, but I don't really feel like all that talking, so I guess I'll show you." His eyes flashed gold again.
The thousands of clear white crystals that lined the cave, glittering, seemed to come to life, giving off a faint breath of steam. The crystals formed one big picture, colors vibrant and alive. Of a certain, familiar face…
Merlin walked along the cobblestone path, gazing around in awe. The mighty stone walls of Camelot reared around him. The sound of chattering people surrounded him as the young warlock navigated his way carefully through the market. The distant sound of trumpets seemed caught his attention and he made his way through the gates to find a crowd of people gathering, talking excitedly – and some not so excitedly.
"What the- where are we?" Arthur muttered, gazing around him. The pictures on the crystals had suddenly expanded and surrounded all of them. The king stepped in front of the young Merlin and waved a hand in front of his face, but got no reaction.
"Arthur, I can't see you," the present Merlin reprimanded, exasperated. "This is like a memory. It's showing the past."
"Ah…" Gwaine sighed. "So… er… majestic. The kingdom, I mean. Although your hair is definitely an improvement from when you were younger, mate." Merlin glared at him.
The sound of drumbeats silenced the throng, and a man was led out, held tightly on either side by chainmail-toting guards. They dragged him up onto the platform, then looked expectantly up towards the balcony. Merlin followed their gaze and watched apprehensively as a balding gray-haired man clothed in fine robes watched over the courtyard impassively. Then he spoke, announcing the occasion in a firm and unyielding voice.
"Let this serve as a lesson to all. This man, Thomas James Collins, is guilty of conspiring to use enchantments and magic. And pursuing to the laws of Camelot, I, Uther Pendragon, have decreed that are banned on penalty of death."
"Nice welcoming," Gwaine murmured. Arthur shot him a look.
"And I pride myself as a fair and just king, but for the crime of sorcery there is but one sentence I can pass." Then he nodded down to the platform. Everyone, Merlin included – with a rather horrified expression lurking in his eyes – turned to look. The guard forced Thomas' head down on a rather scarred-looking wooden block. Up in a window, a woman in an expensive silk dress, with long dark hair, turned away slightly. A hooded man lugging a large axe took his place next to the block, raising the weapon. Uther's hand rose with him and the drums beat a little faster.
Then the hand came down, along with the blade, and the woman in the window flinched as the crowd gasped and looked away. Merlin simply stared ahead, a blank look of barely disguised terror on his face.
"When I came to this land, this kingdom was mired in chaos. But with the people's help magic was driven from the realm, so I declare a festival to celebrate twenty years since the Great Dragon was captured and Camelot freed from the evil of sorcery. Let the celebrations begin!" Uther raised his arms, a smile on his face, then walked away.
Gwen snorted. "Celebrations? Gwaine's right, that was a terrible welcome to Camelot. I'm so sorry, Merlin." The warlock just shrugged.
A shrill, keening cry could be heard from the slowly dispersing group of people. Everyone stopped and turned. An old, wizened woman in threadbare clothes was gripping the rough fabric tightly and gazing with tears in her eyes to the startled king on the balcony.
"There is only one evil in this land and it is not magic, it is you! With your hatred, and your ignorance!" she started to sob a little, and pointed back towards the platform, where the slightly bloody wooden block stood. "You took my son!" With this, her voice lowered to a more dangerous, rasping tone. "And I promise you before these celebrations are over, you will share my tears. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a son for a son!"
"Seize her!" Uther ordered, but the woman was too fast. Grabbing a small amber amulet around her neck, she hissed a few words and was gone in a swirling wind and a flash of light. Angrily, the king swept his cloak around him and strode from the balcony. The woman in the window shut her window and disappeared from view.
The Round Table members from the present were whisked along with the younger Merlin, without moving a muscle.
Merlin wandered into a hallway and asked a guard, "Where would I find Gaius, the Court Physician?" With a grunt, the guard pointed to the doorway beside him and the young warlock entered, looking up and down the stone stairs, following a sign that had an arrow and the words 'Court Physician.' Trotting down the corridor, he finally came to a wooden door and entered cautiously, knocking and saying "Hello?" tentatively. Walking in, Merlin gazed around at the many bottles of potions and herbs, the rather cluttered mess. "Hello?" Then he spotted an old man up on a second story that held a bookshelf, rearranging something. "Gaius?"
Clearing his throat, Merlin finally caught the attention of the physician, who turned and fell back, breaking through the wooden railing and falling to the stone floor. Instinctively, Merlin's eyes flashed gold and time slowed down for the old man, giving the warlock a moment to find Gaius' bed and move it over with another flash of his eyes. No words were spoken, but time unfroze and Gaius fell onto his bed with a crash and a clatter of the falling wooden pieces. He struggled up and off his bed, gazing incredulously at the young boy who had saved him.
"Nice catch," Gwaine whistled.
"Wh- what did you just do? Tell me!"
Merlin tried to cover up, stammering, "Uh, I, uh, have no idea what happened-"
The physician staggered over, one eyebrow seeming to be stuck in a permanently high position. "If anyone had seen that-"
"Uh, no! That, that was nothing, had nothing to do with me-"
"I know what it was, I just wanted to know where you learned how to do it!"
"No way, uh-"
"How is it you know magic?" the physician demanded.
"Where did you study? Answer me!"
"N-no, I haven't- never have studied magic, o-or been taught-"
"Are you lying to me, boy?" Gaius seemed a little too desperate for answers. Poor Merlin was stammering, trying to explain, but not really getting through to the old physician.
"Does Gaius really have that much of a temper?" Elyan asked, alarmed.
"What do you want me to say?" Merlin asked, trying to calm down.
Gaius frowned and lowered his voice only a little bit. "The truth!"
"I was born like this!"
The memory stopped for a moment. The younger versions of Gaius and Merlin froze, mouths still open, glaring at each other. Arthur seemed to stop breathing, himself. All eyes – present eyes – turned to the real Merlin, who was just gazing mournfully at them. "You were… born with magic?" Gwen struggled to ask. Merlin nodded and with another golden flash of his eyes, the world around them unfroze.
"That's impossible!" Gaius protested. He turned, looked around for a moment, then said abruptly, "Who are you?"
This startled Merlin, but he slid his pack off his shoulders and fumbled around in the pockets for a moment. "Oh, uh…" He knitted his eyebrows together as he dug around. "I have this letter…" Pulling out a slip of paper, he handed it to Gaius. The physician studied the boy in front of him carefully.
"Well, I don't have my glasses!" the silvery-haired man pointed out.
"I'm Merlin," the boy explained.
This seemed a pleasant surprise, and Gaius asked happily, "Hunith's son?"
"Yes!" Merlin was relieved that the old physician finally understood something.
"But you're not meant to be here until Wednesday!" Gaius said.
Merlin paused and gave him a strange look. "It is Wednesday."
The present Round Table roared with laughter, Gwaine at the head. The knight was doubled over, and they were so loud the real Merlin rolled his eyes and stopped the memory for a moment. Even Gwen let out a little giggle, and Arthur cracked the first smile since he'd found out the secret.
"It is… Wednesday…" Gwaine wheezed, tears in the corners of his eyes from laughing. "Gaius… really… that bad… short term memory…" Merlin gave a snort and joined in for a moment, then resumed the scene around them.
"Ah…" Gaius said, at a loss. "Right then. Well, you can put your bag in there," he gestured to the back room.
Merlin nodded and started towards the steps, then spun and waved his hand at the bed and the broken railing. "You won't say anything about the, uh, this?"
"No," the physician assured him. Merlin nodded continued on to his room. "Although Merlin, I should say thank you," he added. The raven-haired boy smiled slightly, then went up the few steps to his room. There was a sudden change of scene, showing a candle burning on a desk, then moving to inside the room where Merlin was arranging books in a pile, then sitting down on his bed. Judging by how dark it was outside, several hours had gone by. He looked around, then stood on a small chest by the window and looked out at the tiny pinpricks of light all over Camelot. It was quite beautiful. With a joyous smile, the warlock headed off to bed.
The Round Table listened as Hunith's voice read the letter that Gaius was reading in the scene before them.
"My dear Gaius, I turn to you for I feel lost and alone. I don't know who to trust. It is every mother's fate to think her child is special, and yet I would give my life that Merlin were not so. Ours is a small village, and he is so close with people here that if he were to remain, I fear what would become of him. He needs a hand to hold, a voice to guide, someone that might help him find a purpose for his gifts. I beg you, if you understand a mother's love for her son, keep him safe." Gaius removed his small spectacles and glanced towards the closed door of Merlin's room, where the boy had fallen asleep. Then he folded the letter and the scene changed.
This time it showed a view from inside, looking out a window at the small wooden platform below with the chopping block that had killed Thomas Collins earlier that day. A guard stood by and the axe was still imbedded in the wood. The sound of an opening door didn't startle the dark-haired woman from before, who was again watching from the window. She took a deep breath, eyes troubled.
"Morgana." Uther came striding from the direction of the celebration. "What is this? Why are you not joining us at the feast?"
"I just don't think chopping someone's head off is cause for celebration," she replied defiantly, turning to face him. Uther sighed. "That poor mother," Morgana continued, more softly.
Uther narrowed his eyes. "It was simple justice for what he'd done."
"To whom?" Morgana protested. "For practicing magic? He didn't hurt anyone."
The king's voice lowered dangerously. "You weren't around twenty years ago, you don't know what it was like-"
"Oh, and you're going to keep punishing people for what happened then," she said scathingly.
"Until they realize there is no room for magic in my kingdom!" Uther growled. "You will be with me when I greet Lady Helen."
"I told you, I want no part in these cele-"
"I am your guardian," Uther interrupted, angry now. "I expect you to do as I ask. If you show me no respect, at least respect our finest singer." And with that he strode off, leaving Morgana glaring at his retreating back.
"You know the more brutal you are, the more enemies you'll create!" she called after him. The king didn't turn around and the sound of a door opening and closing, along with the faint noise of music and talking, faded as the scene changed again.
"How long does this last?" Percival asked, glancing around. "It keeps changing."
Merlin didn't look up from the next location – a large tent, with two white horses stationed outside. Guards patrolled around them. "Until the memory is over. I do warn you, there are 52 memories."
The Round Table groaned.
A rather beautiful woman was sitting at a table inside the tent, combing the knots out of her hair with her fingers. A noise outside made her turn suddenly. Another noise from the opposite side provoked a gasp and a turn to the other wall of the tent. "Hello?" she called nervously. A shadow moved across the fabric, moving slightly in the light from the fire outside. "Gregory?"
A guard poked his head inside. "Lady Helen."
"Is all well?" she asked anxiously.
Gregory nodded. "Yes, my lady. We should reach Camelot late tomorrow."
"That's good," Lady Helen said, relieved. He nodded and left. Left alone again, she let out a breath. The guards outside the tent were suddenly distracted by a strange noise and the sound of someone stepping on a branch. Gregory stepped carefully towards the noise, drawing his sword. "Who's there?" No reply, just the distant hooting of an owl. "Who's there?"
Inside the tent, Lady Helen was carefully drying her chin with a towel while gazing into an ornate hand mirror. Another noise from outside made her spin, and this time the shadow that moved against the cloth looked nothing like a guard. With a rather terrified expression, she looked around frantically. The old woman, Mary Collins, gazed into the tent. Helen jumped and her eyes widened. Drawing out a small puppet made of straw, Mary hissed a spell.
"Acwele seo mægþ! Acwele seo mægþ!" she said quietly, eyes fixed on the woman before her. "Acwele seo mægþ!" She stabbed the puppet every time she repeated the spell, until with a small release of air, Lady Helen collapsed, dead.
Then Mary sat at the dressing table and pulled out the amber amulet. Muttering more strange words, her skin, face, and entire body slowly changed to match that of Lady Helen's exactly. Feeling her smooth cheeks, Mary smiled, then picked up the mirror and looked into it. The old woman that was her true form stared back.
Once again, the scene changed, this time to a sleeping Merlin, eyes closed. "Merlin… Merlin…" a voice whispered. The warlock's blue eyes snapped open and he sat up. Sunlight was streaming in weakly from his window, lighting up his small room. Flashing to a view from the main chambers, it showed Merlin coming down the stairs pulling his leather jacket on, clad in his usual brown trousers, boots, blue shirt and red neckerchief.
"I got you water," Gaius announced, scooping some strange-looking porridge into a bowl. "You didn't wash last night."
"Sorry," Merlin muttered, sitting down at the table.
Gaius put the bowl in front of him. "Help yourself to breakfast." Merlin messed around with his spoon for a minute, while the physician sidled up next to him and suddenly knocked the bucket of water off the tabletop. With a golden flash of his eyes, Merlin froze the bucket and the water, then seeing the expression on Gaius' face let it splash all over the floor.
"How did you do that?" the old man demanded. "Did you incant a spell in your mind?" Merlin shook his head quickly.
"I don't know any spells," he said defensively.
Gaius pressed on. "Then what did you do? There must be something!"
Merlin shrugged his shoulders. "It just happens." He grabbed a mop and began wiping at the water on the floor. "I'll clean this up."
"Well, we'd better keep you out of trouble," Gaius said wryly. "You can help me until I find some paying work for you. Here," he got three small bottles with different potions in them and put them on the table, "Hollyhock and feverfew for Lady Percival, and this is for Sir Olwen. He's blind as a weevil so warn him not to take it all at once." Then he smiled and grabbed a plate with a sandwich on it. "And here." Merlin grinned at him, and grabbed the sandwich and the bottles. "Off you go," the old physician said affectionately. Nodding, the boy headed towards the door, when Gaius called after him. "And Merlin! I need hardly remind you that the practice of magic or any form of enchantment will get you killed." Merlin nodded again and went out the door and down the hallway.
First he wandered around the courtyard to another hallway, then knocked on the door. A wizened old man with scrunched-up eyes answered and Merlin handed him the potion. "I brought you your medicine." The man nodded and took it after some feeling around in midair. Merlin was about to leave when he turned back to see Sir Olwin uncorking the bottle and downing it. "Oh and Gaius said not to drink it all at- er…" He finished it with some smacking. Merlin was slightly alarmed but put on his oookay-leaving-now smile. "I'm sure it's fine." He left.
Gwaine burst out laughing again. "Oh, Merlin… first Gaius and now this old coot for a knight…"
"Gwaine!" Arthur reprimanded. "You know that'll be you one day. Sir Olwin was a great knight, served Camelot for many years until he went blind."
"And lost all his brains!" the long-haired knight quipped, still snorting.
[A/N: oh. my. god. this is crazy! Look, I'm only 13 minutes and 48 seconds into the episode and this is 9 pages on Microsoft word and 4,446 words! I think I'm gonna skip a little… *dies*]
Now they were suddenly looking at a large training field. Merlin strode around the outskirts, looking around at the sunny weather. Then he heard a voice.
"Where's the target?"
"Oh great," the present Arthur muttered.
A young blonde man with a red tunic and bright silver armor was standing, holding several swords and addressing a servant snarkily. The servant looked more than a little scared, but he replied, "There, sir?" lifting the shield he held slightly.
"It's into the sun," the blonde continued. This just confused the servant more.
"But it's… not that bright," he mumbled.
The blonde grinned, "A bit like you, then!"
Guinevere frowned at her husband, who turned away with an innocent look.
"I'll put the target at the other end, shall I, sire," the servant muttered, clearly angry at this man's jibe but unwilling to counter it. The knights around the blonde armored one snickered and gave sneering comments under their breath. Heaving a sigh, the servant picked up the shield and began to move it across the field. The blonde whispered something to his knights with an annoying cocky grin. "This'll teach him."
As the shield moved, the blonde drew a sword and hurled it with the easy look of having practiced many times. The sword thudded into the wood and the servant gave it a horrified look. "Hey, hang on a minute!" he protested. Up in a window, a dark-skinned maid was hanging out a silk dress to dry and glared at the blonde from where she watched. "Don't stop!" the blonde laughed, and continued throwing more swords. More jeers and shouts of "Keep running!" were hurled at the servant until he fell over and the shield rolled across the ground. A certain leather boot stopped it and Merlin looked down at the servant with sympathy.
"Hey," Merlin called. The blonde turned around to face him. "Come on, that's enough."
Clearly the blonde wasn't used to being talked to like that. "What?"
"You've had your fun, my friend," the neckerchief-toting boy continued with a small smile. The blonde started towards him, narrowing his eyes with a slightly disbelieving expression.
"Do I know you?"
Merlin held out his hand. "I'm Merlin."
"So I don't know you." The blonde didn't shake it.
The raven-haired boy shook his head slightly. "Ah, no."
"Yet you called me friend."
"That was my mistake."
"Yes, I think so." The blonde didn't seem much impressed by this newcomer.
"Yeah, I'd never have a friend who could be such an ass," Merlin said with a raised eyebrow and a tiny smirk.
"Way to go, Merlin!" Gwaine cheered. Arthur glared at him.
The blonde laughed a little. "Or I one who could be so stupid. Tell me, Merlin – do you know how to walk on your knees?"
"Would you like me to help you?"
Merlin gave a slight laugh. "I wouldn't if I were you."
"Why? What are you going to do to me?" the blonde matched his laugh.
"You have no idea."
"Merlin!" the present Arthur exclaimed, narrowing his eyes at his manservant. "That's what you meant? I should have strung you up long ago."
"But you didn't!" the boy said cheekily. "Watch the memory, prat."
"Be my guest!" the blonde snorted, stepping back and holding out his arms. "Come on! Come on! Come on…" he taunted. Merlin sighed and threw a punch, which was easily blocked and twisted back, until the blonde man had the smaller boy in an armlock. "I could throw you in jail for that," the blonde said.
Merlin panted slightly. "Who do you think you are, the king?"
"No. I'm his son, Arthur."
Next it switched to a view of Merlin being marched down some stairs by two guards and thrown into a cell. He sat up, spitting out hay, with a sigh and a glare.
"Arthur!" Gwen snapped, with a murderous glint in her eye. The king flinched and tried to smile, but all this was mowed down by her fury. "Even I saw what was going on all those years ago, but I didn't know you actually threw him in jail!"
He scratched the back of his head. "Well…"
Merlin intervened, thankfully. "I'm going to skip ahead a little." The world swirled around them, rather disorienting, until it came to a stop.
"There's something about you, Merlin," Arthur said with a puzzled look. The young warlock was once again being held by two armed guards. "I can't quite put my finger on it."
"Wasn't this where we chased each other through the lower town with maces?" Arthur mused. Gwaine snorted, Merlin grinned, and Gwen looked horrified.
"I still have the scars," the warlock complained. "Now shut up and watch."
Arthur held up one hand. "Wait! When we were fighting, I kept tripping up. I suppose that was you, wasn't it, Merlin?" Once again Merlin grinned.
"I said shut up and watch. Prat."
"I decide when either of us should shut up. Clumsy idiot."
Gwen gave Arthur a pointed look. He shut up. The knights – and Merlin – laughed.
The scene skipped to show Merlin walking into Gaius' chambers, wincing at the pain in his shoulders. "How could you be so foolish?" the physician yelled.
"He needed to be taught a lesson!" the warlock protested.
"Magic must be studied, mastered, and used for good, not for idiotic pranks!"
"What is there to master? I could move objects like that before I could talk!" Merlin yelled back, breathing heavily.
The Round Table was silent. All of them watched Merlin carefully. The warlock said nothing, and erased the emotions off his face.
Gaius was still livid. "Then by now you should know how to control yourself!"
"I don't want to! If I can't use magic, what have I got? I'm just a nobody, and I always will be. If I can't use magic, I might as well die." With that, the warlock stormed back to his room, leaving a rather stricken-looking Gaius behind. Later, the physician pushed his way into the room to find Merlin lying face-down on the mattress.
"Merlin," he said gently. "Sit up. Take your shirt off." He set down a small medicine bag on his ward's bedside table. With a sigh, Merlin sat up and pulled his red, roughspun shirt off. There were long scratches across his shoulders from the mace. Gaius pulled something out of his bag and started dabbing at the wounds.
Gwen cleared her throat at Arthur, who looked a little regretful, as he hadn't realized that the boy had been that badly hurt. Well, it wasn't much, but it was still a lot more than he thought had happened. Plus… what he'd said. About being a nobody. Was that really how his manservant felt?
"You don't know why I was born like this, do you?" he asked, in a slightly broken tone. Gaius said nothing at first, just swabbed the scratches with a small cloth.
"I'm not a monster, am I?"
"Merlin!" Gwen gasped. He said nothing, just stared at his past self, pausing the memory as he sensed that a flurry of questions and exclamations of pity were going to come flying at him. "You're not a monster!"
"Well, I didn't know that," he whispered. Again, silence.
Then Gwaine decided things were too serious – his best friend was looking too solemn for his own health. He could use some ale. Well, that probably wasn't a good idea… he went for a joke instead. "I've never seen you with a shirt off, mate."
Merlin flushed bright red while the other knights snorted, but shot a brief, grateful glance at Gwaine.
"Don't ever think that," Gaius said slowly.
"Then why am I like this?" Merlin was desperate for answers. "Please, I need to know. Why?"
The physician chose his words carefully. "Maybe there's… someone, with more knowledge than me."
"If you can't tell me, no one can."
Then the memory swirled around them again and came to a stop with Merlin trotting down a long flight of stairs in his nightclothes, a torch in hand. "Merlin…" a deep voice whispered.
"Creepy," Percival muttered.
"Merlin… Merlin… MERLIN!" The warlock emerged onto a rocky ledge. Below and around him were vast expanses of dark cavernous caves. A large outcropping in front of him lay empty, and a thick silver chain bobbed slightly in the small breeze blowing through the cave. "Hello?" he called nervously.
With a rush of air and a loud beating of wings, a large bronze dragon came swooping from above and landed on the rocky spur. Merlin leaped back, startled.
"How small you are, for such a great destiny," the dragon remarked.
"Why? What do you mean? What destiny?"
"Your gift, Merlin, was given to you for a reason."
Those words seemed to make Merlin more relieved than anything he'd known before. "So there is a reason?"
The dragon laughed slightly. "Arthur is the Once and Future King who will unite the land of Albion."
"I'm what now?" Arthur asked, confused. Merlin shushed him.
"Right," Merlin drawled.
"But he faces many threats, from friend and foe alike."
Merlin frowned. "I don't see what this has to do with me."
"Everything. Without you, Arthur will never succeed. Without you, there will be no Albion."
"Oh great," Arthur muttered.
"No." The warlock shook his head. "No, you've got this wrong."
"There is no right or wrong, only what is and what isn't."
"I'm serious! If anyone wants to go and kill him, they can go ahead. In fact, I'll give them a hand."
That was it. "Merlin!" Arthur yelled. The warlock grinned.
"You were even more of a prat back then. It was understandable that I didn't like your high and mighty, hoity-toity pompous, arrogant, patronizing ways when you're constantly annoying everyone you're around, head-butting with those thick knights and-"
"We get it!" the king roared.
Gwaine looked affronted. "Thick?"
"Not you. But anyways…"
The dragon chuckled. "None of us can choose our destiny, Merlin. And none of us can escape it."
"No. No, there must be some other Arthur, because this one's an idiot."
"Perhaps it's your destiny to change that." The dragon flapped his wings and flew away, leaving a bewildered Merlin.
"Wait! No, wait! Wait, stop, I need to know more!" But the dragon was gone.
Arthur raised an eyebrow. "An idiot, huh?"
The scene swirled to show a large, extravagant dining hall. Trumpets were playing in the distance while finely clothed nobles milled around, talking and sampling the food. Arthur was seen punching his friends on the shoulder, talking in loud noises. Merlin glared at his back from where he stood next to Gaius.
My destiny, huh, he thought.
To the surprise of those watching, Merlin's thoughts echoed in their heads. They stared at the real one, who shrugged.
Just then, Morgana entered, wearing a very expensive-looking red velvet dress collecting around the waist with a golden belt attached with fake gold leaves, as well as a halter fastening and a small band around her forehead. "God have mercy," Arthur murmured. From nearby, Merlin stared as well.
Gwaine burst out laughing, and both Merlin and Arthur blushed furiously. "Look, I didn't know she was my sister!" the king said in his defense. Gwen shot him a look. Merlin snorted slightly.
"She looks great, doesn't she?" Gwen said excitedly, appearing at Merlin's side after Gaius wandered off. The warlock grunted assent. "Some people are just born to be queen," the handmaiden continued, refilling a goblet with her pitcher.
"No," Merlin blurted out, turning to her.
Gwen nodded. "I hope so, one day. Ah, not that I'd want to be her. Who would want to marry Arthur?"
All the knights started laughing. "Eating your words now, huh?" Elyan grinned at his sister.
"Oh, come on Gwen, I thought you liked those rough tough types of men."
"No," she protested. "I like much more ordinary men like you."
A chorus of 'oohs,' led by Gwaine, emitted from the watching knights. Merlin pretended to whistle innocently, while Gwen blushed and Arthur's face twitched slightly.
Merlin snorted. "Oh, Gwen, believe me, I'm not ordinary."
"No, I didn't mean you!" she covered up hastily. "Obviously, not you, but just… you know, I like much more ordinary men. Like you."
Merlin raised an eyebrow. "Thanks."
She nodded, looking disconcerted. The trumpets began to play again, and everyone took their seats, Gwen and Merlin retreating to the sidelines. Uther came striding down the middle of the two tables, and took his place at the head.
"We have enjoyed twenty years of peace and prosperity. It has brought the kingdom and myself many pleasures. But few can compare with the honor of introducing Lady Helen, of Mora." Much clapping ensued, and Uther took his seat. Lady Helen – or Mary, for that was her true identity – was standing at the far end of the hall.
An eerie melody filled the halls, in a strange language. Slowly everyone in the hall began to nod off to sleep. Merlin realized what was happening and covered his ears. Spiderwebs began to form on everyone's sleeping bodies, and the candles went out. Mary made her way down the hall, the tempo of her song picking up pace until she stopped about twenty feet from the head table where Uther, Arthur, and Morgana lay sleeping. Pulling out a dagger, she prepared to throw it at Arthur, her shrill voice repeating again and again. As she was about to throw, Merlin's eyes flashed gold and the chandelier fell on her. The enchantment was lifted, and everyone began to stir. Uther stood up suddenly and gazed down at who he thought was Lady Helen, but as she raised her head her face and body had reverted to that of an old woman. Not to be defeated, she dragged her hand which still clasped the dagger and threw. Arthur seemed frozen, but once again with a flash Merlin's eyes shifted from blue to molten gold and the knife slowed, allowing the warlock time to grab the Prince's shoulder and drag him down. The dagger struck the back of Arthur's wooden chair and Mary collapsed, dead.
Both prince and warlock stared at the dagger, when they stood up and brushed themselves off. Uther came up and grasped his son's shoulder. "You saved my boy's life," he said, incredulously. "A debt must be repaid."
"Don't be so modest. You shall be rewarded."
Merlin looked a little overwhelmed. "No, honestly, you don't have to-"
"No, absolutely! This merits something quite special. You shall be awarded a position in the royal household. You shall be Prince Arthur's manservant." The king looked rather proud of himself as he walked off to the crowd's applause.
"Father!" Arthur yelped, looking just as disgusted as Merlin. They glanced at each other then turned away. Gwen and Gaius both smiled from the tables, clapping earnestly.
Then the memory faded to black.
The Round Table found themselves back in the Crystal Cave. Everyone stared at Merlin and Arthur. They glanced at each other and then away, almost exactly as they had in the memory.
"Everyone in Camelot will be worried," Leon remarked.
Merlin shook his head. "No, while we are in here time is suspended. I've got food though." With a now rather familiar flash of golden eyes, a small feast appeared before them on a flat rock. It moved slowly to the center of the cave, and six smaller rocks levitated and formed seats. Merlin sat down happily and gestured for them to do the same.
"Now, after we're done, we can keep watching," he said cheerfully. "One down, fifty-one to go!"
The others groaned, then helped themselves.
may I just say… O. M. F. G. sixteen pages on Microsoft word, in 11 font (and Times New Roman), and 7,122 words. GAH. And that was with me skipping a third of the episode! Maybe I'll shorten it for Valiant… yeah, I'll probably do that… sigh.