I don't own Merlin. My first Merlin story, with a few cookies to my Squire's Tales readers.

FULL SUMMARY because this just became a project.

It's not just Merlin. It's never been just Merlin. Camelot is rife with secrets and lies, and none have more to hide than the very members of Arthur's inner circle. In fact, Arthur's the only completely honest one of the bunch. In particular, there are six major secrets, or six clusters of secrets. Six life-changing, earth-shattering, exile-risking, execution-worthy secrets floating around Arthur's Round Table in one way or another. Now, with the king mad and Morgana evil and Agrivaine at Arthur's side, those secrets are being exposed one…by…one. It began with Gwaine. Where will it end?

Through these secrets, Arthur will learn more about himself, his friends and subjects, and what it means to be king. Friendships will strengthen or break, philosophies of life and magic will be revolutionized, Albion will be united (mostly by accident), and what's more: destinies—NOT just Arthur's and Merlin's—will be fulfilled. Five secrets will blow up in Arthur's face, and one secret Arthur will blow open himself. Five secrets will tear Camelot to pieces and one will change the entire world.

This story will reconcile (read: restore, settle, make congruous, FIX) the plots and characters of the show with the plots and characters of the original legends. Each secret (yes this did turn into a five-and-one, as insane as it sounds) will be revealed in a series of nine to twelve bite sized chapters with one final last secret chapter at the end. The last chapter of each secret will be an explanation of what was changed to fit the show and legend together.

The secret-holders: Gwaine, Percival, Freya, Guinevere, Lancelot, Merlin. The secrets? If you know absolutely anything at all, even the bare minimum, about Arthurian cycles, you can get a pretty good idea of what those secrets are. Except for Merlin's. His is kind of obvious. Still a mostly comedic story, despite the dramatic summary. Expect Percival's up as soon as I get the chance to rewatch "The Eye of the Phoenix."

No one knew how it happened. Camelot didn't hear of it until a good six weeks after the fact and even then there were some doubts as to the truth of the event. The source of information was reliable, but secretive. No one knew where it came from or where it started, but it was common knowledge before the week was out. The dangerous sort of common knowledge, the stuff that can make people panic and get good men killed.

King Lot ap Gwyar was in possession of the Cup of Life, but he didn't know what it was. Yet.

Lot had been a relatively minor king until recent days. He ruled the highlands of Albion, a wild and craggy country known for strong and dour fighters and political traditions that made even less sense than usual. No one had really understood how he became king, but he kept to himself and ruled his kingdom as he saw fit. Which was with a firm military hand, considering all the uprisings among his own people and the threat of war from the barbarian kingdoms on all sides. He stayed well away from southern politics and even farther away from Camelot, which had suited Uther quite well.

Rumor had it that those civil and border wars had tapered off in the last decade or so, however, and Lot was able to actually rouse his military into expansion. Camelot had not paid much attention to his goings-on and he was allowed to grow in power and land. He still did not have the political influence needed to be successful in the south, however, and that was what he longed for.

Camelot was forced to pay attention to the uncivilized Northern warlord-king, however, when his kingdom grew stable enough to enable him to take over the late King Cenred's lands with relative ease, no fuss, and minimum bloodshed. He moved his capitol into Cenred's old castle and tried to set himself up as an old Southern king come home at last. His practices remained unchanged from his Northern traditions and the surrounding kingdoms considered him little better than the barbarians he used to face.

Arthur, therefore, had only ever heard of Lot and his sons Garis, G'reth, Gravain, and daughter Elaine. He knew nothing about them beyond their names and didn't care to know much more. He had bigger things to worry about, what with his father's refusal to do anything but sit and stare out a window since Morgana's betrayal and the arrival of his uncle and brand new advisor and the establishment of the secret Order of the Round Table.

Then came the rumors about the Cup.

Then the rumors were proven true.

A newer member of Lot's court was a rotten apple with a much abused conscience who saw the Cup and recognized it from when he was a servant at Camelot fighting for his life not two months before. As little as he cared for politics or getting involved in anything over his head, he knew the Cup for what it was immediately. He had no desire to see another immortal army in his life time, so he sold the information to an equally conscientious rat in Camelot who brought the matter before the Regent. The Northern newcomer could no longer be ignored. He had the power of life and death in the palm of his hands and didn't even know it.

It was probably best that the situation was amended. Soon.