Summery: Sequel to What Happened To Me. (Definitely should ready that first!) While on a hunting trip with Arthur and the Knights, Merlin stumbles across something hidden while looking for firewood and he starts to remember. Meanwhile Arthur has an old friend visiting, will she help?
All spelling and grammar errors are mine and I'm sorry!
Merlin was late again. Merlin cursed to himself as he ran through the corridors, swiftly passed the other servants and out of the castle. He made his way quickly past the people in the yard and to the stables where the horses we already set to go. Merlin swiftly made his way between the horses and the Knights, to get to his horse.
Gwaine opened his mouth to greet Merlin but Merlin quickly put his finger in front of his mouth to tell Gwaine to be quiet. He was so close and he didn't want to get caught now. Merlin couldn't help but feel like a little kid again, trying to sneak back into the house before his mother found out he had snuck out. Gwaine pressed his lips together in a tight smirk and nodded.
Merlin turned around, trying to be sneaky. Maybe he could try to convince Arthur that he was here the whole time, the King just hadn't noticed him. Merlin knew that Gwaine would be willing to give a word in that he'd been there just not noticed and probably the other Knights would help out. Merlin was friends with all of them and they were always willing to help the boy out. But he didn't have time to think of a good excuse or try to convince the King when he walked right into Arthur's hard armor.
"I was wondering when you were going to show up," Arthur muttered crossing his arms over his chest as Merlin looked at him. "I thought I told you early this morning! Now that we've been waiting for your lazy behind, we're behind schedule." Arthur stated, shaking his head and mounting his horse. He flicked the reigns and started heading for the main gate.
The other Knights followed, mounting their own horse and falling in step behind the King, except Gwaine. Gwaine turned to Merlin with a smirk on his face.
"Looks like the Princess is in a bit of a mood." Gwaine stated in a friendly fasion. Merlin couldn't help but smirk tying his bags to the saddle. When he was done he patted the horses nose gently. It gave a soft nudge to his hand enjoying the feeling. "We should catch up." Gwaine said watching the Knight and King disappear before them.
Merlin nodded and mounted his horse. Gwaine and Merlin quickly caught up with the King and the rest of the Knights falling in step with them as they headed out into the thick woods.
Merlin didn't ask what the hunting trip was for. He wasn't the biggest fan of them, even trying to get out of it last night. Merlin told Arthur his shoulder was a bit sore, that maybe he should stay at the castle. That if he rode on the horse too long it wouldn't be good for his shoulder but Arthur knew Merlin too well. It didn't help that Merlin wasn't the best liar, when it came to certain things.
It wasn't a hot day, which Merlin was thankful for. The heat made the trips miserable, but the cool day was refreshing and at least the horse ride would be a nice one. He hadn't been allowed far from the castle after being kidnapped, injured and possessed by an evil sorcerer. Arthur would have a fit if he found out that Merlin wondered anywhere without a Knight.
Gwaine was never too far from Merlin, though. Merlin respected Gwaine, he was a strong and brave Knight. Though he had noble blood, the King didn't know that and still he Knighted the deserving man. He also new Gwaine was one of his best friends but the Knight had become very protective since Merlin was abducted and injured.
It took a while but Merlin was healed, even his eyes were perfect now. Besides the sore shoulder and slight marks on his wrist, he was fine and in perfect health. He still didn't remember much from what happened. He still hears some of the voices of his friends in his dreams echoing in his head but they were always hushed and quiet, never keeping him from sleep.
Merlin looked up to see Arthur looking over his shoulder at him. It was just a quick glance, then the King turned his head forward again and focused on the trail. Arthur did that a lot lately. Just little glances. Every now and then. Merlin was always surprised that the King always seemed to know where he was or when he was by himself.
Arthur still believed that the sorcerer was out there and that he was still a threat to his friend. Arthur wasn't willing to let the sorcerer have another go at Merlin. Even when Gaius sent Merlin out to pick some herbs for some remedies, just outside the city, Arthur sent three Knights to tag along. Hell, he'd even go himself with his sword drawn and ready at all times.
Merlin sometimes felt a bit suffocated, there were too many people around him at times and he felt like he couldn't breath. Gaius always kept a close eye on Merlin. Most mornings Gaius would check the boy thoroughly before letting him leave his chambers. Merlin could feel the old physicians eyes on him whenever he was around, inspecting him like a patient throughout the day. Asking if he was in pain or if he needed anything.
Gwen always tried to help Merlin with the chores Arthur gave him. Whether it be polishing the armor or laundry or cleaning his room. Gwen would try to help. Most of the time Merlin wouldn't let her, instead he'd talk with Gwen and get her into a conversation while he finished up. Merlin couldn't help but think that one day Gwen was going to make an amazingly brilliant mother and that child was going to be very protected.
And the Knights were the worst, Merlin thought sometimes. Gwaine was never far from Merlin's side when he had to be. Leon and Elyan always had their eyes on Merlin when he was around. And though Percival was quite, he never went a day without checking up on Merlin. For example, Merlin just went to get some water when some kids ran past the corner surprising him and Merlin dropped the bucket he was carrying. The Knights were there in an instant with the swords drawn.
Everyone was trying to protect him and Merlin understood why they would think they have too but if they only knew how well he could take care of himself without a sword or shield. If only they knew just who he was and what he was really meant to do, the power he held.
But Merlin really did understood. This was his family and family worries about each other, they look out for each other and take care of each other. Merlin never took offence to any of their action. He knew they didn't think he wasn't capable of doing what he was use to they just didn't want him to get hurt again.
It took most of the day before Arthur found the spot he wanted to make camp. They dismounted and tied up the horses. They started setting up camp and Gwaine and Merlin made sure the horse had water and were taken care of. Merlin looked around the wooded area. Something struck his as familiar here, like he'd been there before but he was sure he'd never been there at least not stayed there. Maybe Arthur and himself passed through there at some point? Merlin questioned himself.
"What are you hunting?" Merlin asked Gwaine as he filled his bucket with water shaking the other thought out of his head for now.
"I don't know," Gwaine said shrugging his shoulder as he put his bucket in the water as well. "Arthur tends to ramble and gets a bit boring. Someone's suppose to visit, it sounded important." Gwaine answered absently. Merlin laughed getting up and the two headed back bantering between eachother.
"Hurry up, you two!" Arthur barked sternly. "We have limited sun light!" Arthur shouted impatiently taping his foot in the dirt as he watched the two take their time to rejoin them.
"Isn't yelling going to scare away your prey?" Merlin asked with a hint of amusement in his voice and Gwaine smirked.
"I wouldn't have to yell if you'd hurry up, Merlin." Arthur teased with a smirk.
"Then go," Merlin encouraged not want to sound pushy. "I'll take care of the horses and start a fire and when you return I can get dinner started for you. If you catch anything that we could use, that is."
"Nonsense," Arthur said in a chiding tone. "You're coming along."
"I'd just make too much noise," Merlin answered. "And I'm not going to be your excuse for not getting anything again!"
"I'll stay with him." Gwaine offered but Merlin shook his head.
"No," Merlin said." It's easier to get things done with no one around." Arthur and Gwaine looked hesitant. Leon placed his hand on Arthur's shoulder.
"Merlin's right," He said trying to help Merlin out. Leon knew how much Merlin hated being dragged into hunts. "He is quite noisy and Gwaine does always seem to get in the way when he's not needed." He teased them both.
"Hey!" Gwaine said with a sigh of irritation, giving Leon a hard look.
"Fine," Arthur gave in. "But don't go far, if you need anything we won't be too far." Merlin nodded and watching the King and his Knights disappear into the thick forest.
Merlin finished with the horses quickly. They didn't give him any trouble, even Arthur's sometimes unruly horse seemed to be in a good mood this time letting Merlin take care of it and not giving any trouble. Merlin slipped them each a treat before checking to make sure they had enough water for now. When Merlin was sure they were done he moved on to the next chore.
Merlin got the pot out, along with a few other things he would be needing to cook tonight. He wasn't sure if Arthur and the Knights were going to be able to catch anything, Merlin asked the kitchen cook to get a bag ready for the trip just in case. The last few time they've gone out hunt they've come back empty handed and with a few funny stories.
One of the stories that he heard was of Gwaine accidentally tripping and ending up rolling down a hill on one trip. The King and the other Knights found great amusement in that while Percival help Gwaine back up the hill. Somehow, on the last trip Arthur landed face first in a huge mud puddle while Elyan and Leon somehow managed falling into a small lake while Gwaine laughed at them and Percival watched from the side with a smirk.
Merlin was sure that Gwaine got his revenge on that one. Thinking about it brought a smile to Merlin's lips. Gwaine was never one to let things go that easily, not when he knew he had to redeem himself. But the King never went into too much detail about it. Merlin made a note to ask Gwaine about it sometime.
Merlin went out and started searching for firewood nearby. He was sure the others would be back soon, hopefully with something that they caught. The night air was bringing a chill and even with the King and Knights in their chain mail and armor they would need to be warmed by the fire after spending their time wondering around the night air and Merlin himself was getting cold.
Merlin wondered who was coming to Camelot when he thought about what Gwaine had said. If it was a visiting King the whole kingdom would be preparing for it, so it wasn't something that big but big enough for Arthur to go hunting to greet the visitor with a feast of some sort. Merlin just pushed it to the back of his mind for now, it wasn't of import and he needed to focus on what he had at hand.
Merlin started looking for wood for the fire. As he was searching something caught his attention from the corner of his eye. At first he thought his eyes were playing a trick on him, maybe they weren't as healed as he first thought but he looked again and it was still there. His curiosity got the best of him and he stepped forward to inspect it. It looked like a hole, but it didn't seem to fit there it was too out of place, more like it was put there, like it was dug but someone was trying to hide it. Merlin left the wood he gathered in a pile and made his way slowly to the hole.
Once he got closer he realized something wasn't right about it, it felt wrong but familiar. It only looked about a feet deep and it was filled with leaves that had fallen form the trees around it. Merlin reached down and started removing the leaves to revile a small hatched door, big enough for maybe two people to go down at a time. The leaves had been there for a long time unmoved. There was already a layer of dead and decaying leaves on the door.
Merlin reached for the handle, a shiver running down his spin as he pulled the door up and opened. He looked around the forest. Arthur and the Knight's went in the opposite direction. He thought about waiting and bring them there but something was telling him to go without them. That he had to do this himself.
So he did. Merlin jumped down, he could smell the dust that he made when he jumped down and it made him cough. He whispered a spell and small flames appeared in his opened palm. He looked around the dark tunnel seeing an old torch laying on the ground by a ladder that lead to the door above him. He grabbed the torch and lit it to give him better light. It made things easier to see what was around him in the dark enclosure.
It wasn't big and he could tell no one's been there for a long time but he could feel magic within the walls. This place was built of magic, he thought to himself. There were cobwebs from the ceiling to the floor that Merlin cleared away. He walked through the archway and was faced with a scene he didn't expect. There were chains on the ground. Merlin kneeled down to inspect them, picking them up with one hand.
"You will tell me what I want to know." A deep voice said with a snarl. Then he heard a sinister laugh follow. "Come now, you're the Kings servant and are known for not keeping your mouth shut. I know you know, who is the sorcerer helping Arthur!"
Merlin quickly dropped the chains to the ground with a loud clatter and jumped back breathless. He was remembering. Merlin didn't want to remember. But these chains, he was held here. The sorcerer held him here and questioned him. His voice was hauntingly echoing in his head now. Merlin's shaking hands dropped the torch in the dirt and he ran out of the tunnel, slamming the door shut hard behind him.
Merlin looked back at the door with a shaky breath. His hands tugging on his hair, his body shaking all over and not from the cold. He struggled to take a normal breath, when he was finally able too he closed his eyes tightly.
"I don't want to remember." Merlin said out loud to himself. "Just let it stay a dead memory." Merlin begging to no one. Turning around Merlin quickly made his way back to the camp. He just had to get away.
"There you are!" Arthur shouted when Merlin ran into camp. "I see you didn't get the fire started yet." Arthur said looking around, missing the panic on Merlin's face.
"I… I um…" Merlin stuttered. Merlin was still willing the panic to go away. Nothing was there anymore, everything was over but his mind still held that deep voice in it and that laugh. He felt like he may pass out but he fought it, he didn't want to give Arthur another reason to call him a girl.
"Well, looks like you were wrong!" Arthur said triumphantly pointing at the two boars he had killed. "I did catch something! Enough for tonight and to bring back!" Arthur smiled but it faded quickly from the look on Merlin's face. "Merlin what's the matter?" He asked concerned.
"I'm… not feeling well." Merlin said making his way to the horses. Arthur stood for a minute confused, maybe Merlin saw something in the woods, maybe the sorcerer! Arthur's confusion turned to concern that quickly deepened and he turned to followed his friend and make sure he was okay.
Alarm flooded through Arthur when he saw Merlin mount his horse and start a fast gallop back down the path that they followed to get there. Arthur tried to call out, even grab at the horse to stop him from leaving but it was no use. Merlin was gone with just a dust trail behind him.
Arthur quickly rushed to his horse and untied the reigns. It was late. If Merlin made it to Camelot it would probably be early morning if he didn't get lost first or caught by bandits. But what made Merlin react this way? Merlin never ran off, even when he was mad at Arthur. The King wanted to search the woods, maybe the sorcerer was there but instead Arthur mounted his horse.
"You can head back in the morning." He said. "Get rest and be careful."
"No, Sire." Leon said as the other Knights backed him. "We'll pack up and leave immediately. Catch up to Merlin." Arthur nodded and flicked the reigns following his friend. Hoping to the gods he could catch Merlin.
AN: So I hope you like the start! There's eight parts and they're all done. I'll post one a day. It's my Birthday today and before I drink all the wine and watch Third Star and Parked (My pathetic birthday with Jamie and Billy =P) I figure I'd post this as a present for you! If you read 'What Happened to Me' This is for you!
So here a quick glimpse of what's ahead. Merlin remembers what happened from the last story and it's not very pleasant. It's mostly Arthur and Merlin friendship, Gwaine and Gwen are in it as well but they're not very big parts, sorry if that disappoints but they are there. The dragon is there too! I did create a character for this one and they help out a lot towards the end. Hope you don't mind! Enjoy! Lots of love guys!