Disclaimer: Nope, still don't own Merlin.
Warnings: Contains actual methods of exorcism, possession and sacrifice. (I looked into it, it's actually quite terrifying)
Summary: A Royal Merlin Fiction. May feature some of the shows episodes, but it will be mainly centred on Merlin.
Authors Note: Sorry, this should have been up yesterday, but for the technical problem, that meant I was unable to update… Sad times…
Well, here we go, chapter two.
The plan is for the next few chapter to be sort of introducing everyone; Arthur, Morgana, Uther etc.
I'm not completely happy with this chapter; due to its 'filler' nature it was quite hard to write…
Anyway, read on and I will chat more at the bottom.
Chapter One – Five years down the line
Camelot had changed since he had brought his adopted son Merlin here; Camelot was now at peace with all of its neighbours, tentative peace, but peace none the less.
He was proud to be able to call himself king of Camelot, he was proud that in five short years he had brought about so much.
He had purged all magic from his kingdom, saving his people.
He had driven Nimueh into hiding.
He had saved the land from the evil of the Dragon Lords, and while one remained, he would be little more than a boy, a boy who would never be trained.
He had an heir, and not only that but an heir he could be proud of, and heir he could be sure that would make him proud.
He was everything he had wished for, the perfect prince.
Arthur had begun training with the knights, some years ago and had already mastered the sword, and was well on the way to controlling the crossbow.
He was proud to be the father of the boy.
The boy who knew his place in this world, and was not afraid to show it.
The boy who wanted to make his father proud.
Merlin on the other hand… Was a worry.
The boy himself was intelligent and would no doubt, in time, make a fine adviser to Arthur
If he lived that long.
His health had always been fragile, but recently it was taking increasing amounts of potion to subdue the beast that shared his soul.
He knew Gaius was not being honest with him when he assured him it would all be fine.
Merlin was not fine.
He was getting worse.
Most days he wasn't up to leaving his chambers.
Gaius was spending increasing ever increasing amounts of time with him.
He would be a liar if he said he wasn't terrified for his adopted son. He didn't want to lose him, not so young, not so soon after his wife; he didn't think his heart would be able to bear it.
He spent as much time as he could with Merlin, which was not as much as he would have liked, but he did had a kingdom to run and another son.
He was heading to Merlin's chambers now; they were on the other side of the castle, not far from Gaius's.
He opened the door, to see Gaius handing Merlin some bottle of potion, not the one to supress the magic, but another.
Gaius looked up, and upon seeing who it was pulled an expression which clearly said, we need to talk.
He felt fear burn through his heart.
He saw the prone figure in the bed twitch slightly.
The boy was covered in sweat, his small face pinched with pain, his eyes shut tight.
Perhaps it would have been kinder to the boy to have listened to Gorlois, to have killed him, it was too late now. He had made his choice, and he did not regret it.
Perhaps it was selfish of him, but on the rapidly depleting days in which Merlin was well he was a delight to be around.
On those days he made sure to make a fuss of Merlin, to take him out of the Castle, down to the nearby lake. How long had it been since Merlin had been well enough? A month? Maybe longer.
He sat down on the edge of the bed, watching as Gaius packed up his supplies, and leaving, no doubt to go on his rounds, he would be back later, he knew Gaius's routine, he would check on Merlin, then the Castle's other inhabitants, and then those in the city, before coming back to check on Merlin again.
Merlin opened his eyes, those normally bright, blue eyes now dull and listless.
"Father" He wheezed
He simply smiled grimly in response. Watching as Merlin's eyes drifted shut again.
He liked to sit with Merlin, simply to give his youngest son company, for all he knew Merlin could never see another sunrise, he savoured the moments he spent with the boy.
He knew Merlin didn't enjoy being the centre of attention, but felt he had to show him that as Arthur's adopted brother he didn't really have a choice, he would be noticed.
He did it more for himself than for Merlin; it was his little way of telling himself that Merlin would out live him. As if he thought that if enough people saw Merlin and knew he existed, then he wouldn't die, as though the population of Camelot would sustain him.
He stood, The boy was asleep. He had to go and see to the council, he didn't want too, but he didn't have a choice. Maybe he would eat with Merlin this evening?
No, he had to see Arthur, he would insist Arthur ate with him, he didn't see enough of him; he was always of with his friends. Afterwards he would find out what Gaius wanted to talk to him about.
He left the room, not noticing the shadow waiting in the corner of the room.
Uther had just left, the boy was asleep. It was the perfect time to be sure, to make sure this was the right one.
She moved across the room, soundlessly. The last thing she wanted was to be discovered, and all it would take was one nosy servant.
She leant over the boy, breathing in his scent. Casting her magic into his body, searching, she had to focus, to force her magic through the vale that was created by the potion the boy was forced to drink.
It was him; she could feel it, the Daemon shifting sleepily within the boy.
She had found him.
She hadn't thought Uther would make good of his promise to look after the boy, she had thought he would have hidden him away in some distant part of the kingdom, not keep a creature of magic in Camelot, let alone make it part of his family.
There was no doubt this boy was the one, the one who had the power to restore magic to its previous glory.
It was time to put her plan into process.
The boy was weakening, he would not survive without her magic and he was no use to her dead, she could not consume his magic, his essence, without also consuming the Daemon, and there was no way she wanted that in her.
She would have to wait until the right time to cast the daemon from the boy.
She cast a of healing spell, in her head.
There was golden glow, outlining the boy's body.
His eyes snapped open, deep amber in colour, forcing her magic back, she had not foreseen this, the Daemon had the strength to fight her spell, the hour must have been later than she had thought, if she had waited much longer the boy would have died.
The boy's body had been giving up the fight.
She breathed a sigh of relief as the eyes dimed, slowly turning back to blue, those beautiful blue eyes.
The boy blinked sleepily, she needed to leave, but she didn't want to.
"Mother?" the boy questioned
This was going better than she could have hoped, if she could get the boy trust her…
Smiling she nodded
"Go back to sleep" She whispered
The boy smiled back at her, slowly sinking back into the healing trance.
That had gone better than she had dared to hope.
She smirked at the sleeping boy, who held the power she would one day take for her own, and then stepped away from the bed, back towards the shadows in the corner of the room.
She had allowed his magic to strengthen, to break through some of the barrier the potion would create, giving him the power to fight the Daemon.
This was not without risks, but ironically she would have to rely on her enemy to look after the boy, until she was ready.
She allowed herself to fade from the room.
She, Nimueh, would have her revenge on Uther.
He had the strangest dream; he had met his mother, a beautiful dark haired woman. It was a ridiculous idea, his mother was dead, his father had told him that. She had been dead for years.
He pushed it from his mind, it was nothing more than a dream of a woman he didn't remember.
He opened his eyes, the room was empty. He stretched out in the bed, marvelling at how well he felt. He couldn't remember when he had last felt like this, gone was the aching at the back of his skull.
It was true that he didn't feel completely better, there was still the slight fussiness at the edge of his vision, which according to Gaius shouldn't be there, not that he could remember a time when it hadn't been.
He still felt like there was something missing, something important, like a word on the tip of his tongue, that he couldn't quite remember.
But he felt better, much better; It was no longer a fight to keep his eyes open.
He didn't want to sit here in his bed, he climbed slowly out of his bed, he didn't want to risk making everything worse, it seemed to good to be true.
His bare feet touched the cold stone of his chambers; he padded over to large window on the other side of the room, subconsciously avoiding the shadowy corner of his room.
The window was shut, he could see the last of the sun light fading over the trees, he could see the people in the streets below winding their way home.
He opened the window, allowing the outside world into his chamber. The late evening air filled the room, bringing with it the smell of the nearby woods. He lost track of the time he spent sitting at the window, staring out over the world he wasn't really a part of.
He only realised it was growing dark when the door opened, he heard someone enter.
"Merlin?" Gaius called
He turned away from the window, turning to see an astonished Gaius staring at him like he had grown a third arm.
His rounds had been peaceful, it was that time of year in which there was little illness around, his main concern, as usual, was Merlin.
The boy was getting worse, not better, and nothing he was doing was having any effect. The boy's body seemed to giving up; it could fight the Daemon much longer.
Merlin was dying, he wasn't sure how Uther was going to take the news; Uther was very attached to his little family and had been ever since Ygraine passed. It had only grown stronger with the addition of Merlin to the Royals.
He approached the boy's chamber.
He was concerned with what he might find within, while it was not likely the boy had died within the past few hours, it was deep within the realms of the possible. He had meant to get the boys servant, Thomas Collins, to sit with him.
But then Uther had arrived, and he had forgotten.
He pushed open the door, shutting it behind him.
The bed was empty, only the creases showed that the boy had lain there. He looked around, confused and slightly worried.
"Merlin?" He called.
He saw him, sitting by the window, outlined by the fading sunlight.
He could see the face, his heart rate increased, had the Daemon taken over? Was Merlin trapped within his own body?
The boy in question stepped out of the light, his blue eyes bright, happy.
He heaved a sigh of relief.
His mind then moved to new questions, how was Merlin so much better? He had been exhausted earlier, what had happened? While it was possible one of the numerous potions he had given the boy had worked, it was not probable, it was too soon, and there had been no sign earlier.
There was only one possible-.
Merlin shook him from his thoughts
"Gaius, what are you looking at?"
He would have the think about this later; right now he had to make sure Merlin was healthy.
He couldn't remember the last time he had felt so good, he felt nearly well, if it wasn't for the slight headache, and the blurring at the edges of his vision if he turned his head too fast he would be feeling fine, or what he amassed feeling fine to being.
It couldn't have happened at a better time either; he knew that there would be some important guests coming in the next few weeks, Lord Gorlios and his daughter Morgana.
He wasn't in any hurry to meet either of them, he didn't like being the centre of attention, which fortunately he didn't' have to worry about, seeing as Arthur seemed to relish it. With any luck he could attend the arrival, then flee to his safest refuge; the Library.
He loved 'his' library as he called it, but only too himself.
He was pretty much the only person to go there, excluding the Historian Geoffrey, who never seemed to leave, and the sporadic visits of Gaius.
Arthur was never there, which was why he liked it so much. He didn't really understand it, but he and Arthur just didn't really get along, they were too different.
Not that he minded particularly, Arthur was a bully, something everyone but Uther seemed to know.
He had worked out that so long as he didn't see Arthur, Arthur and his 'friends' would leave him alone. That wasn't usually a problem, seeing as most days Merlin was confined to his chambers, under strict orders from either Gaius of his father.
Orders that were rigorously enforced by his, sometimes friendly but most of the time surly, manservant Thomas.
He didn't really seem to understand that either, the man seemed to have something against his father, he didn't worry about it too much, but he sometimes though he could see Thomas looking at him in a way he wasn't really comfortable with; as though he was a particularly valuable object.
He looked out of the window of his chambers, of the streets of the city. It was raining today; he thought he must have been the only person in Camelot who didn't mind the rain, he had never been allowed outside when it was raining, yet another one of Gaius's 'good ideas'.
Rain was the reason he was in here now, his father seemed to have decided that as he had only just gotten over whatever illness it had been this time, and it was raining outside, Merlin should not be allowed to overexert himself, which Thomas had taken to mean
'Don't let him out of his chambers'
While it was nice to know people cared, he thought in his case people took it too far, not that it had done him any good when he had told Uther that, his father had looked him up and down critically, then smiled patted him on the head and left the room.
He was so very bored, there was nothing to do in his chambers, nothing to read, nobody to talk to, he had no idea where Thomas spent all his time, he seemed to show up whenever Merlin needed him, which wasn't often, then vanish again.
Almost like magic, except it couldn't be because as his father had told him;
"All magic is evil, it corrupts everything and everyone. If you give it the chance it would destroy not only you but all those you hold dear"
He had that speech drilled into him, ever since he had been old enough to understand.
He shook his legs back and forth under the chair, his chambers where so dull; there was absolutely nothing to do.
He couldn't even go the library, the door to his chamber was locked and even if he did get it open there was a guard on the other side, waiting to make sure he didn't leave.
He wished he could fetch himself something to read, but ever since his sudden recovery, his father had been even more careful about what he read, having Geoffrey check them through before letting him have them, not that it took long.
He wouldn't be surprised it the historian knew every book from cover to cover, he would only flicked through the book, then handed it back to Merlin.
There was genuinely nothing to do in here, nothing at all.
He supposed he could draw, something, anything. It had to be better than sitting doing nothing, at all.
It took him several minutes of searching for an unblemished sheet of paper, he hadn't realised just how much he doodled when he read, and he spent a lot of time reading.
He liked to be doing something with his hands, it settled him, whether it was building something, drawing something or simple fiddling with an object.
It was something Gaius had told him to do, to keep his mind busy, of the pain or the sickness.
It worked; it had distracted him, calming and soothing him.
He found a stick of charcoal, he felt drawn to the charcoal, as though some primal part of him wanted this, he reached out to grasp the charcoal, slightly surprised when he over shot, grasping at nothing.
He managed it the second time, though he grasped it harder than he had expected, snapping it in half.
Maybe he wasn't completely better, his coordination was going, that had happened before.
He chided himself; worrying over whether he was ill or not would only make him ill, or so Gaius told him.
He set the charcoal on the page, feeling something shift in his mind.
Like a door opening.
His headache worsened, his vision blurred slightly.
Then as soon as it had come, it was gone.
He shook his head gently, to test if it was coming back; it was a simple method; if it hurt when he shook his head then there was something brewing.
Still he wasn't going to complain.
He thought about what he could draw, nothing seemed to inspire him, he had doodled dragons, towers, knights before.
His eyes seemed to move to the window of their own volition, but he doubted that was what happened.
It must have been the bird that flew passed that had caught his eye, and involuntary motion.
bodies didn't move themselves.
He looked out of the window. He could draw the courtyard.
He would draw the courtyard.
For some reason that made him oddly happy.
He put the tip of the charcoal to the paper, occasionally glancing at the window, to make sure he was getting it right, not that he really needed to, he had spent so much time staring out over the years he knew the view by now.
He felt more like an observer than creator as his hands seemed to glide across the page, flying.
He had turned to look at the window, when something in the corner of his room, in the dark corner, the corner by his bed, where light never seemed to fall, the corner that nobody ever entered, caught his eye.
For a moment he could have sworn he had seen a pair of glowing eyes. But it must have been his imagination.
He looked out of the window, before noticing his hands where still moving.
He looked down, confused.
The picture was oddly detailed; it included the window he was looking out of. The square wasn't quite the same; there was something in the middle, aside from the people walking through the courtyard, and the guards.
The more he looked, the more it felt like it was looking back. But that was ridiculous.
His hands were still drawing away, he was starting to panic, he couldn't make them stop they were drawing something, over the top of the picture, a rune.
He didn't like this, he wanted it to stop, he tried to stand, but he couldn't his eyes were drawn back to the centre of the square.
It was empty.
That couldn't be possible, things in pictures didn't move. They couldn't.
His hands were slowing.
Again he thought he could see something out of the corner of his eye, in the dark corner.
He tried to look, his neck seemed to fight him but he turned to look.
The shadow was growing.
He felt his eyes widen.
There was something in the shadow.
He could see a figure, twisted and mutated in shape.
It disengaged itself from the shadow, a mutated hand out stretched.
A whimper escaped his mouth.
Another flicker of motion.
Over by the window, he wanted to look, to see, but he couldn't take his eyes of the… Thing in the corner, he risked a glimpse, relieved that his body seemed to be listening again.
There were two in the room with him.
They advanced on, he backed up.
There was a rushing in his ears,
They moved towards him, others following, lightning flashed through the window.
He screamed, terrified.
He could hear banning on the door.
They were coming for him.
The shadows moved quickly towards him.
He fell backwards, felt something mouldy touch his shoulder.
Something grasped his arm; he fought the touch with all his strength.
The they were on him.
He felt something break deep inside him, his vision blurred, his eyes seemed to burn, the room seemed to fill with golden light.
The shadows fell back,
He could feel the heat of the light, driving them away.
The thing on his arm released him.
He screamed as the light burned him, he saw the door burst open, something or someone burst into the room. A final tortured scream forced it way from his mouth, then the world seemed to turn dark, but not before he saw two red streaked gold eyes meet his, and a voice whispered almost lovingly, seemingly into his very mind.
He couldn't believe it, these passed days Merlin had been better than he had ever seen him, it was astonishing. The only potion he was having to consume on a daily basis was the suppressor, as he called it.
Of course he knew the potion Gaius wasn't helping, if anything it seemed to make things worse, not that he would even allow himself to consider the alternative.
He had of course ensured that Gaius was spending as much time with Merlin as possible, he wanted to make sure the boy was most definitely better this time, before the next bout of illness set in.
Gaius had been at a loss to explain the recovery, claiming that when he had left him that morning there had seemed to be little enough hope for the boy.
Gaius had said it was as though the boy's body had been giving up, not so apparently. It seemed that Merlin still had some fight left in him, which was good; he would need it, if he was going to survive.
Gaius had told him that the worst was yet to come; that in his teenage years the Daemon would become even more active, it was around that time, Gaius had informed him, that magic would appear for the first time in people, he had never known that.
Merlin was indeed special, to have had magic since birth.
It was even more essential that he protected him from it.
He would need to be strong, if he was going to survive, but it was this or allow his child to become tainted by the evil that is magic, something he would rather die than see.
He had to focus, as happy as these thoughts where he needed to focus on the council, on the messenger from Mercia, it simply would not do for the king of Camelot to be seen to be day dreaming in his own court.
"-So as you can see My Lord, the rightful king of Mercia, Lord Bayard, has requested that you cancel the current trade with The false King Aneirin."
"On what grounds does he make this request? What will we gain from humouring your leader, all claims to the throne aside?"
That was Geoffrey, always to the point, an astute councillor, and often a thorn in his side.
"That upon his appointment as rightful King of Mercia, he would be able to reconsider the current agreement"
That said nothing.
"And if we do not?"
"Then My Lord Bayard will be most… Disappointed"
He could hear his councillors grumbling to themselves, making the young messenger nervous, that was one of the bonuses, that when it wasn't him trying to swing these grumpy old men one way of the other, he could enjoy watching others struggle.
He could tell from the looks being shot at him, they like him, did not like what they heard.
They would be giving up what was in effect a wealthy trade route, for nothing, or that was the danger.
"Enough!" He commanded.
The grumbling subsided
"I have reached a decision"
He paused, more for effect, enjoying watching the young man sweat.
The deal was too uncertain; Lord Bayard would have to offer better.
"I am unsatisfied with the conditions of this arrangement"
He could hear the sounds of approval coming from the council.
It wasn't a bad deal, it would have involved some major redistributing of land as well as a strong military alliance with Mercia, but it all depended on the civil war that was currently rampaging through their lands.
"There is more work to be done on the final version of the treaty, before any agreements will be reached."
The messenger seemed placated.
"Even as you say, your Majesty."
The man had opened his mouth to speak again when the doors burst open, a guard hurrying into the room;
"Speak" he commanded.
There had better be a good reason for the Guard bursting in like that.
"It's Prince Merlin, sire"
He stiffen in his seat, he didn't hear the rest of the guards sentence, the blood thundering through his ears.
He swept from the chamber, the guard trailing behind him.
Merlin was the foremost thing in his mind, what had happened?
His heart froze when he stepped out into the courtyard; there was smoke rising from Merlin's window, the glass from which was littered on courtyard.
Someone had tried to kill Merlin; perhaps they had, perhaps Merlin was-
No he would not let himself think it, lest it came true.
He was virtually running now, towards the tower.
He burst onto the scene, the guard having been sent off to fetch Arthur.
He could see Merlin's slight, trembling form clinging to Gaius, the pale cream of bandages wrapped around much of his face and lower body.
Gaius looked up at him.
Merlin had his face buried in Gaius shoulder, his breath coming in hitching gasps.
Gaius looked away, down at a bottle in his hand
"Drink this Merlin, it will help" in a gentle tone, a tone he didn't think he had ever heard before
The boy didn't resist, gulping the liquid down, before slumping in Gaius arms.
Gaius scooped him up, carrying him out of the ruined door way that had led to Merlin's room, towards his own chamber.
"If you would follow me Sire" Gaius sounded stressed.
He had never been so afraid for someone else in his life, as when he had arrived at Merlin's door, to see the smoke billowing from within the room.
He had seen the guard come out, clutching a heavily burned, unconscious, Merlin to his chest.
He hadn't thought as he bandaged the boy.
He had just been thankful the boy was unconscious, so he hadn't needed a pain relief potion.
The boy had woken soon after, it was fortunate Gaius had just been coming back from his rounds, so still had had his medicine bag on him, otherwise he would have had to have moved the boy more than was necessary.
The boy had been mumbling, more to himself than anyone else, something about the shadows, and a drawing.
He hadn't seemed aware that Gaius had been there until he had attempted to make merlin drink the potion, for pain relief.
Then boy had thrown himself at Gaius, tears streaming down his young face, seeping into the bandages.
That was when the king had arrived looking half crazed, out of his mind with worry, like Gaius had been.
He had made Merlin drink the potion, watching as he had subsided into unconsciousness.
Now he just had to explain that to the king, who was at the minute talking to the guards, about signs of an intruder. Of which there had been none.
The burn marks on the stone floor originated where the guard claimed to have found Merlin curled up in the flames. Unconscious.
They had no reason to doubt the man's story.
Only merlin could tell them what happened, but he was in no fit state to do so now, the poor boy was clearly terrified out of his mind.
There had been no mistaking the fear in Merlin's eyes, for all he sometimes acted and spoke as though he was older than his age; just then he had appeared nothing more than the frightened child he was.
He was at his wits end, he had Gorlois and Morgana coming in just over a week, he was in the middle of negotiations with to factions of Mercia, which if he chose the wrong side could enter Camelot into yet another war. And to top it all off, his youngest child had just been dragged from a burning building, half dead.
What made even less sense was that there was no sign of any sorcerer; Gaius had confirmed that only the fire had been cause by magic. In fact there was no sign of any intruder; the only person in the room seemed to have been Merlin.
And his magic couldn't have surfaced so quickly, and not without warning; he would have seen something when he had been with him that morning.
"Not now Gaius"
"I said not now Gaius"
He heard Gaius sigh; he hoped that was the end of it. He needed to think.
"My Lord, you need to see this"
"What?" he snapped
Gaius handed a piece of parchment to him
"So? It's a draw…"
He trailed off when he saw what was drawn.
It showed a figure, hunched, mutated, twisted.
Golden eyes streaked with red, in startling contrast to the black and white of the remainder to the picture.
But what froze his blood was the scrawled writing underneath.
"Where…" He coughed and started again "Where did you find this?"
"In Merlin's room, Sire, along with this."
Another picture, more rugged, as though it had been drawn in a hurry.
It showed the courtyard, the view from Merlin's window he realised.
In the middle of the courtyard was a figure, its finger pointing to the window behind it.
"SAVE ME" was written beneath
He looked to the window; there hidden in the shadows, was a figure. Twisted. Glaring.
Authors Note: So what did we think? Not as good as the last chapter, I am only too aware, hopefully it didn't put you off, in a couple of chapter's time we should get into the story proper.
Anyway, please review, what did you like? What could I do better?