Disclaimers: The Adventures of Merlin belongs to the BBC and no infringements are intended. They don't own the character Aderyn, but they are welcome to her and so are you. ;)
A/N: Timeline is set after season 4 with flashbacks to the past. Alba is the old word for Scotland and Dal Riata is a historical fact. So are the repeated battles between the Irish settlers and the Picts in the area. Aderyn is an old Gaelic name and it means bird.
Summary: A seer, who fled 27 years ago from Uther's persecutions, is returning and her arrival jumpstarts a series of events that encompass a truth seeking king, fighting dragons, a hell-bent witch and a certain warlock. Reveal fic in more ways than one.
BIRDS OF A FEATHER
When was it? The first time she saw a fleeting glance of what was to be. She could scarcely remember any more. The first time she felt unhinged emotions rip through her body and mind like an unstoppable tide? The first time living images forced their way through her soul, insisting to be sensed, felt and seen? The Sight. Stupid people envied her. Wise people pitied her. She herself bore her fate with grim determination, jaw set and eyes like steel.
She did remember the first time she realised that what she had seen would change her and Balinor's lives forever. Closing her eyes and concentrating, her mind rushed back to that special and pivotal moment in which precious and unique became terrifying. Glimpses of rusty red; her dress. Glimpses of dark forest green; Balinor's coat. The sound of laughter.
Laughter. Pearly and hearty.
Aderyn winced as the memory cut through her like diamond in glass.
"Balinor! Stop teasing!"
"Haha … my little bird. I shall not. You make it so easy and enjoyable."
A callused hand grabbing for her long black tresses. An offended squeal.
"That is not fair. You are much stronger than me, you oaf."
"But you know what is coming."
"So what. All you have to do is call for your big brute of a dragon, and you know my Sight will mean nothing."
The dragonlord's laughter deepened. "He is rather invincible, is our Kilgharrah."
A vicious golden gleam in her deep dark eyes and her foot shot out to fell the tall man, who dropped to the ground unceremoniously. Delirious with the feeling of triumph, Aderyn threw herself on top of the fallen man and thrust both her small fists into the dirt, each of them clutching a handful of black hair. Two sets of dark brown eyes met.
She hadn't meant to. In fact, she had done her best to avoid it. But this moment in Time and Destiny was stronger than she was. And so she saw it. A world of flames, an incarcerated golden dragon, their kin and friends hanging on a row in the gallows, even more burnt to a crisp on the pyre … and her beloved Balinor fleeing, soldiers hot on his heels.
She left him there; his face contorted with concern and his eyes full of questions. Balinor had magic, and his abilities as a dragonlord were legendary, but he did not have her Sight. And she ran like she had never run before, fleeing, hiding, escaping, her chest filling with a soul wrenching feeling of dread. But no one can outrun Destiny. She will find you eventually. In this case, it was Balinor, already knowing all her hiding places, who sniffed her up, wrapped her in his arms and teased the truth out of her. To her surprise, he didn't appear shocked.
"It's all right, little bird. We knew all along that this period of grace and bliss would not last. Uther has been far too aggressive lately for him to show promise of tolerance and leniency towards people of magic."
The big man kissed the shivering girl's wet cheek. "And this is why you must leave … no, don't argue with me. I am your elder after all. You will leave this place and seek refuge up north – as far as you can go. When once again this land is safe, I will send for you."
"I will not," she spat, appalled by the very thought of leaving him. "You will," he said firmly, indicating that this was not up for debate. "You are but 15, little bird. Your Sight is clear, but you do not control it and your magic powers are only beginning to show. You are no match for Uther and his horde of murderers."
"Who will have your back?" she sobbed.
She felt him smile against her cheek.
"Have you forgotten about Kilgharrah?"
She shook her head, but did not feel reassured. There was something. Something she had seen …
Balinor sent Aderyn on her way the next morning. And 20 miles later, she turned and came back after having a vision in which she saw the great dragon on a chain. Balinor sent her away again, laughing that he would like to see the man who could chain Kilgharrah. And she returned yet again after having seen Uther calling upon him, requesting him to mediate a truce with the same dragon. Obviously Aderyn didn't trust Uther's intentions. Finally Balinor sent her away for the last time, promising her that he would never let himself be caught or restrained by Uther or his men.
Her voyage was painful in more sense than one. The further away from Camelot and Balinor she went, the more she felt the link between them stretched and thinned. In the end, as she came closer and closer to the land called Alba, the link disappeared altogether and the Sight left her in peace.
Peace. In a new settlement called Dal Riata where Irish immigrants had made a life for themselves, Aderyn found some comfort despite random attacks from the indigenous people of the area. In many ways, the dulled state of her Sight was a great relief. In others, it presented a new anxiety. Now, she was truly in the dark as to what was happening to Balinor and their friends.
Until this very moment.
For 27 years she had heard absolutely nothing of Balinor. Now and then had she attempted to go south to see if she could catch a glimpse, yet every time had she been thwarted by ongoing wars between the various kingdoms. She did succeed in receiving some impressions, but they were always vague at best. At some point she had got a very happy impression of Balinor and a beautiful woman and her heart rejoiced. Had he found happiness at last? Then why did he not send for her? Then on another trip, she caught a feeling of rage and loneliness. … And something else she could not define.
She always returned to Dal Riata eventually, and the only good thing that these short trips achieved was a certain connection she established with the Picts, who – as a consequence of their growing friendship – eased up on their attacks on the settlers. Yet every time she went away, she found that they renewed their attacks and so she hesitated to go again. Eventually, in the fear of what her absence from the settlement cost the settlers, she stayed where she was.
Until this very moment.
This very moment when a clear vision of Balinor suddenly rammed into her even over this distance. Of course, the Sight had never left her; only now she received visions about people in the village, which enabled her to go to the Picts and negotiate before disaster struck. Gradually, she became more and more proficient and her powers of magic increased as well and enough to impress the Picts and make them respect her. The premonition proficiency made it possible for her to close her eyes, concentrate and focus on the person she needed a vision of. She was, in other words, able to control it.
Until this very moment.
Aderyn started packing.
The next day she left Alba without a second thought. And the strife between the Picts and the Irish settlers of Dal Riata exploded behind her.
Cenred's former kingdom, 14 months later.
A high pitched whistle tore through the cool morning air, making even early birds rustle their feathers in shock. None of them attempted to answer in their tongue. They knew well enough, this call was not meant for them.
Not far from there, glinting, white scales and a long reptilian neck moved susceptibly like an agile snake. Large fiery orange eyes blinked and soft nostrils flared as the creature recognised its master's call. An empty feeling. Once there was a dragonlord that called its name and owned its heart. No more. Dark magic and ancient religion had emptied its mind and made it a tool.
The sharp whistle cut its way through the chilly wind again. Majestically, the large form turned slowly and spread its leathery wings, the skin absorbing the warmth of the rising sun. It need not fly. She was quite close.
"Bane ..." the slim, austere figure in front of him said. The white dragon might have remembered another name had he been allowed, but that was a time long gone. Now, however, Bane thrust forward his long scaly muzzle and blew hot air onto the face of Morgana Pendragon.
"Hello, my precious gem," she smiled and laid a long, elegant hand on his nose ridge. A few strokes of affection and then the lady's beautiful water blue eyes glowed with molten lava.
"Today we will meet up with an old acquaintance of yours …
… you are ready!"
So did you like this short teaser? Are you intrigued? Who the heck is Aderyn and what is happening with Aithusa? Should I go on? Drop me a line and tell me good or bad.