A/N: I am back!
I must say it took me long enough. I honestly have little to no excuse for my unexplained dissappearance. College and my studies have completely taken over a majority of my time. But now, during this less busy semester I have been trying to write more and more for this story so it can soon be completed.
But you should know, faithful reader, that I never leave a story unfinished! If it seems like I have disappeared off the face of the earth and neglected to update it is not true that I will not finish the story. Not even kidnapping aliens, magical beasts, and/or vengeful super villains will keep me from finishing a story!
At this point in time, I do not believe that I can continue with my weekly Monday updates. It is just happenstance that I am posting on a Monday. I will be, however, updating as often as my crazy schedule will allow. I hope all my readers remain faithful and will stick with me no matter what wild behaviour I display.
***Please note I have made some corrections and updates to the last chapter (Chapter 12). I slightly changed the outcome of the trial and added a few details that I left out in some of the descriptions. I would ask you to reread the updated chapter to some points later to come in the story aren't confusing with the older text.
Thank you for understanding, and enjoy!
*This story is set during season 4. Arthur is king but Gwen is banished and Lancelot is dead.
Disclaimer: If Merlin were mine I would have ended Season 5 differently.
Chapter 13 (Call Me Gwen)
Upon entering his chambers Gaius called out to his young ward. "Merlin?"
The shuffle of feet could be heard before the door on the far wall cracked open. "Are you alone?" a timid voice called.
"Yes, my boy. You may come out."
As a response a completely hale and hearty, raven-haired manservant stepped out from his appointed room and approached Gaius. All signs of injury and past ailment had disappeared from Merlin's body. The previous night, when Gaius had been treating Merlin after his second collaspse, the young warlock's magic reacted to the continous strain of its master's mortal being. While Gwaine had been looking away Merlin had gasped and his usual pale blue iris' had shone of molten gold. Gaius had reacted quickly and shooed Gwaine from the room before returning to watch the entirity of his ward's body glow; from every cut and laceration, from every pore and aperture flowed a stream of magic. It trickled from the openings, as slow as syrup, coating Merlin's form with a swirling, golden aura. And, as the magic began to diminish from sight, all injury faded. The sorcerer's magic had healed himself, leaving nothing but one raised, white scar that circled the now healthy boy's neck; the only reminder of all the horrid events that had occurred over the past week. This powerful, supernatural healing still baffled Gaius.
But the older man's memories of the other night were swept aside when Merlin asked, "What happened?"
"He was found guilty for your attempted murder," the old physician told his ward happily.
"And the other accusations?" Merlin questioned further.
"Innocent," Guais told him regretfully. "In both the abuse and murder of his own servent and the abuse of you."
Merlin paled and, due to emotional exhaustion rather than physical injury, limply sank down onto the stool behind him. Salty tears pricked at his eyes, threatening to spill down his high cheekbones. And, in a voice muffled by his hands, Merlin crooned, "Terrance, I am sorry I could not keep my promise. I am so sorry…"
Lovingly, Gaius went up to the young warlock and patted him tenderly on the back while saying, "Merlin, it is not your fault. You did eveything you could. He would not blame you. You did after all bring some justice to the poor lad. You made him known, you made him more than the faceless body he was until you discovered him. You brought him recognition."
Merlin wept, "B-but I could not b-bring him p-peace."
"Every goal, every action, every thought, every feeling you experienced for that boy, whether it be consciously or unconsciously known, brought him peace!" Gaius asserted. "Trust me."
After a few more mintues, Merlin wiped the last tears from his eyes and turned toward his mentor. "Thank you," he said. "Thank you."
"Think nothing of it, my boy. It was something you needed to hear."
Sir Gwaine launched a table at the wall. Wood thudded against stone, splintering the weaker of the two. But, dispite the fact he had broken one of his last remaining pieces of funature, the commoner knight's wrath did not abide. Then, in another bout of rage, Gwaine kicked the remains of the damaged table and cursed the man who, not two hours before, had escaped trial with nothing more than a slap on the wrist and a disgraced title.
Gwaine was murderous. He was homicidal, vindictive, and, most of all, bloodthristy. Oh, how he wished to see the ex-Lord Harris dead. Executed for the crimes he commited against Merlin.
The commoner knight itched to have drink. To drown his feelings in ale, wine, and other numerous amounts of alcoholic beverages to suppress his anger and sorrow for his dearest friend. But Gwaine pushed those feelings a side. He had to be sharp, he had to think. For tonight, Gwaine vowed, he would plot and plan the death of Harris by his own hand for the greater-good of Camelot.
Sir Leon found King Arthur down in the armory polishing his sword. At first, the blonde-haired knight did not make his presence known, he simply watched his king go about the routine cleaning. The task seemed to be relaxing the tense young king, calming him. After several minutes Sir Leon cleared his throat to announce his attendance in the armory.
Slightly startled, Arthur turned toward the knight and greeted him, saying, "Sir Leon, what brings you here?"
"I have come in search of you, Sire. The Lady Gwendolynn has arrived not ten minutes ago and requests an audience with you."
"Really? She has arrived so soon," King Arthur commented. But as he said this he glanced out the window at the darkening sky. It was then that he realized the trial had ended hours ago and it was now near sundown. Slowly, Arthur looked down at the sword in his hands, it shone with such a brilliance that he assumed must have resulted from him mindlessly polishing it for little over an hour.
Sighing, the young man stood and placed his weapon on the rack with his other armor. "Well, Leon, I suppose you should take me to Lady Gwendolynn. I should not keep her waiting and I am sure she is anxious to hear about the fate of her husband."
"Sire," Sir Leon acknowledged, bowing rigidly at the waist.
The walk to the throne room was a quick and silent one. Leon followed his king and, as of course any loyal knight would, helped him straighten his clothing and crown before entering the Great Hall. As Arthur was settling himself in his ornate chair, Sir Leon went to the huge double doors at the end of the hall and admitted Harris' wife.
"Your Excelency," Lady Gwendolynn crooned. She curtseyed respectfully. As she rose from her deep bow Arthur got his first real glimpse at the female before him. He remembered meeting Gwendolynn a number of years ago when he was still but a prince, even then she had been a gem among granite. And now, she had aged as gracefully as a one of his prized bottles of wine that resided in the royal cellars. Her hair was a chesnut brown, falling long past her shoulders in a most stately manner. Two braids of her hair encircled the crown of her head before meeting in the back and trailing down among the straight locks beneath it. Gwendolynn's face was homely, her lips full, and her eyes a emerald green. Slender limbs rested peacefully on a narrow waist. Her lavender dress, with its silver lineings, evenly displayed her hour glass figure all while covering her modestly, as a lady should be.
"My lady, please," King Arthur called, "this is an informal meeting, the court is out, there is no need for such extravagance. Call me Arthur. For now, more than ever, we should talk as friends while I regretfully tell you the fortune of your husband."
"Very well, Arthur," the lady responded. "Then you should call me Gwen, for friends we shall be for this next hour."
Upon the utterance of her shortened name, Arthur felt a chill run down his back. Oh, how she reminded him of his lost Gwenevere. His heart still stung at her betrayal. His soul still ached at her unfaithfulness. Standing, Arthur forced a smile and extended his arm for the noblewoman to take. "Come, let us go someplace less public. For much has happened today and you must be tired from your long journy."
"You are too kind, Arthur," she replied as she greatfully accepted his arm, placing her hand in the crook of his elbow.
The young king then truned to his knight. "Sir Leon, send word for a room to be prepared for the lady and have some servents prepare a meal to be delivered to my chambers for my guest and I. There after, please joins us so we may have a civil conversation."
Leon bowed. "Sire," he affrimed before rushing out to fullfil the king's requests.
Arthur guided Gwendolynn through the winding corridors of the castle before finally arriving at his own personal chambers. He settled Gwendolynn in a comfortable seat in front of the fire before addressing her again. "Gwen," his voice caught slightly at the name, "I am sure you have many questions to ask of me."
"Yes, Arthur, I do. First and formost, I wish to know of the fate of my husband."
The blonde-haired monarch lowered his head deferentially. "Out of four charges that were brought against him, Harris has been found guilty of one."
"Four?" Gwendolynn inquired, shocked at the large number. "What were these charges?"
Meeting his guest's eyes, he proclaimed, "The first set included the phsyical abuse and murder of his manservent, Terrance." Gwendolynn gasped, dainty hands flying to cover her opened mouth. Arthur continued, "Of these he was found innocent. Similarly, with the charge of abuse against the servent who was sent as a replacement to serve under your husband. However, Harris was found guilty of the attempted murder of said servent."
"How ghastly!?" stated Gwendolynn. "Did you know the servent that was sent to replace Terrance?"
"Yes," the king spoke. He tore his eyes away from the glassy green ones before him, settling on the dancing flames in the hearth. "His name is Merlin. He is my personal manservent," he said, then adding as an afterthought, "and friend."
A small dainty hand then found its way to Arthur's forearm. And, giving him a reassuring squeeze, the noblewoman articulated, "Please, tell me more."
A/N: Oh no! The plots thicken. You are probably wondering were I am going with all these new subplots, but I assure all will come together in the end.
Firstly, Merlin's magical healing of all his wounds is for a simple plot device to speed the story along. I don't want Merln laid up in bed for the rest of the story just to recover from his injuries at the hand of ex-Lord Harris. At this point I do not believe I will have any of the knights, especially Arthur, notice how quickly he has healed. I plan for Merlin and Gaius to decieve everyone into believeing Merlin is still gravely hurt.
Secondly, I have taken Gwaine's earlier vow of loyalty and friendship to Merlin, which he expressed in Chapter 10 to a whole new level. A big question to ask yourself is, "What will Merlin think when he finds out about Gwaine's murderous plans?"
Thirdly, the Lady Gwendolynn's similarities to Gwenevere. Hence, the common nickname of Gwen. I plan to use this similarity later in the story. Where? You will just have to wait and see.
I'm glad to back! So why don't you make me feel welcome with some amazing reviews…? Thanks!