A Show of Loyalty
Merlin woke before dawn and called for the designs to meet him in the usual location. Kilgharrah and Aithusa arrived together. It had been a while since Merlin had seen her and she was now at least half the size of Kilgharrah and looked stronger and more beautiful than ever.
Kilgharrah spoke first, asking Merlin why he had called them from their slumber to come to Camelot on this perfectly fine morning for sleeping. Like many questions the Great Dragon asked, he gave a sense of already knowing the answer.
"I need to prove that magic is not evil and that I have saved Camelot."
"And you wish to use ma as your proof" It wasn't a question.
"Would you oblige?"
"Yes, but I think we should send Aithusa away before you bring anybody to see me."
Aithusa gave Kilgharrah a questioning look as Merlin voiced the question there were both thinking "Why?"
"For protection. You and Arthur I trust with her secret, though you could have left her story out, I understand why you didn't. Showing Arthur is one thing, since you have kept so much from him and you'll need a new confidant once Gaius has gone. Telling more people before laws are firmly in place and people are used to the idea of magic in their everyday lives again. I do not want to risk it." Kilgharrah moved his left wing around Aithusa protectively. Aithusa nuzzled at the side of his belly. Seeing this, Merlin knew Kilgharrah wouldn't change his mind unless forced and Merlin understood. They agreed Aithusa should go to a safe place not too far away. She went reluctantly.
Gwen woke Arthur and although he was happy to see her, acknowledging it with a kiss, his first words were, "Where is Merlin?"
Gwen smiled warmly at him. She knew the King had a special relationship with his manservant she could never dream of replacing. "He told me to tell you he is preparing to prove himself to those who doubt his ability and loyalty. He said he would be back after breakfast."
"Oh..." Arthur was a bit shocked at Merlin's proactivity. Gwen kissed Arthur's open mouth. Arthur pulled her on to the bed with him and decided to enjoy the unexpected privacy with his Queen.
Merlin didn't lie. He was present in Arthur's chambers as soon as he has put the last piece of his breakfast into his mouth.
"Good morning Arthur," he chirped.
When Arthur had swallowed his food, he replied. "Where did you go this morning?"
"You'll find out."
"Gwen said something about you proving yourself to the doubters. How?"
"If you bring them down to the stables before lunch, you will see."
Arthur raised an eyebrow which was very Gaius like. Merlin ignored it and started making the bed.
"You really don't have to do that."
"Really? Are you going to?" Merlin said sarcastically.
"No, but one of the servants will."
"I'm still your manservant, Sire." Merlin sounded defensive.
"No, you're my Magic Advisor."
"That's not official yet."
He had a point.
"I could fire you then."
Arthur furrowed his brow in annoyance, but let it go. He wasn't sure he wanted Merlin to not be his manservant anymore but he did need to make Merlin's new role 'official' to the rest of Camelot.
Arthur met Merlin down at the stables as suggested, with Gwaine, Leon, Percival and Elyan. He had contemplated just bringing Sir Leon but he did not really want to single him out nor have the others miss the opportunity to see Merlin's magic in action.
They all rode out to the clearing where Arthur and his knights, in which only Sir Leon had been a part of at the time, had faced the Great Dragon. Thanks to Merlin's memories, Arthur knew the dragon had not been killed that night and he wondered if Merlin planned to reveal that fact.
Merlin stopped just out from the edge of the clearing. He got down from his horse and strode towards the centre. Arthur and the knights followed behind.
"What's going on, Merlin?" It was Gwaine who broke the silence that had stretched from the stables until then.
Merlin turned to face them. "I know Arthur has told you all that I am a warlock and that some of you doubt where my loyalties lie. I thought I might show you."
"Firstly, I should tell you that I am not just a warlock, but a Dragonlord, like my father was before me."
"Yes, Arthur did mention that," said Percival.
"Why does that matter?" Leon piped up. "I thought Arthur killed the last dragon in this very spot. I came out the face it with him that night. There are no more dragons to be Lord over."
"I was there too, Leon. By Arthur's side, just as you were. But you went down before the end and so did Arthur."
Merlin stopped the rest of his sentence by starting to speak, but it wasn't a language the others understood. He asked Kilgharrah to take to the sky.
The Great Dragon was only a short fly away and Merlin heard him take off. It was only a few seconds before the knights caught sight of him and watched stunned as it came nearer.
When he landed, Kilgharrah acknowledged Arthur and the knights with small bow of his head.
"Everyone assumed that Arthur had killed the dragon because he was the last knight to be seen standing. Nobody noticed or believed that I could have done anything because I was just a servant." Merlin's voice was calm and matter-of-fact. "I was happy to let everyone make that assumption but the truth is that I was the one who saved Camelot from Kilgharrah's wrath. I ordered my own kin to leave Camelot. Would I have done so if my intent was evil?"
Merlin could see Leon thinking, but he stayed silence.
"So… who's up for lunch?" Gwaine had brought food.