Merlin is once again in the Crystal Cave, and Taliesin gives him an ultimatum: Go into the past and help a certain someone down the path of good instead of evil, or watch Camelot fall to the powers of Mordred and Morgana. Merlin is faced with a tough decision: Does he go back into the past and erase the current history where Arthur and Gwen are King and Queen, simply to ensure Morgana turns to the side of good? Or does he ignore this once in a lifetime opportunity and allow Morgana to continue down the path of evil? With the fate of Albion in his hands, Merlin must make a decision...and make sure it is the right one.
A/N: A clear winner here was a Mergana pairing so that's what it's going to be! Also, someone asked how Merlin would know to tell Morgana this time around if he can't remember anything of his past future, and I was going to do something different, but now after reading back over my plans I realized it would just confuse people if I did it that way, so I've gone over the first chapter again and made a view differences! Don't own Merlin! BBC DOES! Also, this is a Merlin/Morgana PAIRING, after I got a whole bunch of reviews asking for a Merlin/Morgana pairing, haha! Please R&R! Enjoy! Buyeee!
C H A P T E R
O N E
The sound of his back cracking, and the pain that surged through his spine caused Merlin to grit his teeth.
He stood straight once more, clutching the herbs in his left hand and almost crushing them.
Well, Gaius will be pleased. He thought sarcastically.
Gaius loved inflicting pain on Merlin when he cracked the joins in Merlin's limbs, which were often sore and stiff from all the work Arthur made him do.
Except now, he was doing something for Gaius, not Arthur.
Merlin could've sworn there were people in Camelot who were actually hired to pick up medicinal herbs for Gaius in the woods, but apparently, they were all conveniently 'sick' today.
Merlin seemed to catch on the minute he thought of this.
Oh no! They're planning something for my birthday, aren't they? He thought ecstatically.
It never crossed his mind that it could happen. But the behavior was suspicious! Arthur giving him the day off, Gwaine and Gwen chuckling in the corner, Gaius ordering him to get herbs in the middle of the forest.
Merlin quivered with excitement.
Well, it was about time he was appreciated.
He was so preoccupied with his thoughts, he barely noticed where he was.
But when he looked up, his breath caught in his throat.
He was at the Crystal Cave. The place where he had seen Morgana murder Uther. The place where he had seen many horrors.
He wanted to leave. To never see this place again. But he was drawn to it.
It was almost like a magnetic pull. He was walking inside without really realizing what he was doing. The cave was empty, the crystals within glowing ever so lightly.
It was almost as if the magic had been sucked right out of the place.
"Hello? Taliesin?" Merlin called.
He shivered as a cold wind swept through the cave. He looked around, expecting to see someone.
And when he faced forward again, he was met with the toothy grin of Taliesin. Merlin jumped and stepped back and Taliesin chuckled.
"I've been wondering when I would see you again, Merlin." He said, winking. Merlin sighed.
"I just...I just came past it and-"
"No, you did not. I brought you here."
Merlin looked at the old man, confused.
"You did?" Taliesin nodded.
"Uh...may I ask why?"
Taliesin grew grave as he looked at Merlin seriously.
"A great evil is emerging, Merlin. And it threatens the balance of everything."
Merlin's heart started racing.
"Morgana?" He whispered. Taliesin nodded.
"Morgana will overthrow Camelot once more, only this time, Mordred will be by her side. And Merlin, if you thought Morgana was powerful on her own, it will be nothing compared to her powers combined with Mordred's. Together, they will destroy King Arthur and Queen Guinevere, and ultimately gain control over Camelot."
Merlin shook his head, refusing to believe it.
"No. You're lying."
"Look into the crystal, Merlin. See that I am not."
Merlin continued shaking his head. He didn't want to believe it at all.
Morgana was long gone. She hadn't attacked in years.
Everything was fine.
It couldn't be ruined. Not now that it was going too great.
Taliesin presented him with the Crystal just like before and once again, Merlin couldn't stop himself.
He looked into the Crystal, his heart already hammering and blood pounding in his ears.
A tall man with bright, bright blue eyes thrust his hand forward, his eyes flashing gold. Arthur fell to the floor, his cape folding beneath him.
The man grinned and struck his sword forward, striking Arthur in the heart.
Gwen watched as her husband, the King of Camelot, looked at the tall man who struck him, the life fading from his eyes.
Gwen shrieked in anguish, before her eyes, too, became vacant, blood pouring from her mouth as the woman above her sneered and removed the sword from her back.
Morgana looked at Mordred from across the room, grinning.
"And now...Camelot is ours for the taking."
Merlin pulled himself away, falling to the floor as sweat dripped from his skin.
"No!" He bellowed. Taliesin looked at him gravely.
"I'm afraid...there is nothing you can do to stop it, Merlin."
"No, I must!" Merlin hopped to his feet, ignoring his nausea and about to take off toward Camelot.
But Taliesin stopped him.
"There is another way to stop this from happening, Merlin. Truly, it is the only way."
Merlin glared at the old man. He wanted to warn Arthur, but Taliesin had been right about his predictions, so he could be right about this one.
Warning Arthur would do nothing.
Camelot was destined to fall to Morgana and Mordred.
Merlin collapsed to his knees.
"All that hard work...all that sacrifice, for nothing." He whispered.
"There is another way." Taliesin whispered, clutching Merlin's shoulder. Merlin looked at him in grief, tears in his eyes.
"What?" he whispered. The old man looked at him, his eyes twinkling.
"Is there anything you have ever regretted, more than anything in this entire world?" He asked. Merlin sighed.
"I don't have time for games-"
"Answer the question, Merlin." Taliesin said patiently. Merlin looked at the old man, then sighed and nodded, closing his eyes and thinking.
"Well...the one thing I've always regretted...although I don't after seeing what she did, or will do...I've always regretted poisoning Morgana. I feel that if I never did it, she might've still had a chance of using her magic for good." Merlin whispered sadly. Guilt reared in his chest.
He would never forgive himself for poisoning her, no matter what she did.
He ultimately drove her away from everyone.
"And why is it, you poisoned her, Merlin?" Taliesin asked.
"She was the source of a curse placed on Camelot by Morgause, although she did not know it." Merlin said, his mind reeling. He didn't understand what any of this had to do with saving Camelot, but Taliesin kept a firm grip on Merlin's shoulder and Merlin knew not to test him.
"And why didn't she know this, Merlin?" He asked. Merlin felt as if Taliesin was trying to hint at something but he came up blank.
"Because...well, I mean, Morgana didn't really know much about magic at that time, so she had no idea that Morgause..."
He trailed off, his eyes becoming vacant.
Of course...of course he regretted this most of all.
"I regret not telling her about magic earlier." Merlin whispered. Taliesin chuckled.
"There you go. That's the one regret...that could've changed everything. If you were to have told Morgana about your magic earlier, Merlin, Camelot would be a very different place right now." Taliesin said.
"Why are you telling me this? There's nothing I can do about it now..." Merlin said, sighing. Taliesin sighed with him, then let go of Merlin. Merlin got up and looked at the old man, who stared just as intently back at him. He reached into his cloak and pulled out a small pouch.
"Merlin...what I am giving to you right now is both very rare and very, very powerful. It is something you must use with extreme caution, and something that should not be messed around with. This pouch...is filled with the magic that can take you back to the day Morgana SHOULD have been told about magic. If you choose to do this, I must warn you. You must be careful. And you must also be aware: you will be returning to a Camelot where Arthur and Gwen are not married...where Gwen is still the simple serving girl, Arthur is still the Prince, Uther is still King and Morgana is still the King's beloved ward. Morgana will also know nothing about magic whatsoever...and it will be your job to guide her down the path of good. It is the only way to prevent Camelot from falling to evil."
Merlin looked at Taliesin in complete shock.
This was impossible.
No one could time travel.
"It can't be...no one can do that."
"I have my ways. I believe that Morgana Pendragon can be a good person, Merlin. She was simply lead astray by bad decisions."
"You do realize I'm also returned to a time where Morgana has no idea she IS a Pendragon. Anything that happens: her finding out Morgause is her sister...her finding out she's a Pendragon...ANY of those things could turn her evil." Merlin said.
"If she has you by her side, guiding her, she will NOT. The only reason Morgana ever became how she is now is because she was alone, Merlin. Alone and scared. If she had you to talk to, she would never have sought Morgause for guidance. And she would have a friend to turn to who understands her."
"I cannot understand her hatred for Uther." Merlin said, shaking his head.
"It need not matter: you will be returning to a time where Morgana's hatred for Uther has not yet grown into an uncontainable flame. You will be returning to a time where her hatred for him is merely a spark in the back of her mind, masked by the fear of what is growing inside her: her magic."
It was too much.
He couldn't do it.
"If you do not do this, Merlin...Camelot will fall."
"Well then I don't have much of a choice, do I?" Merlin snapped, running his hands through his hair in frustration. Taliesin merely looked at him. After minutes of silence, Merlin looked at him.
"Arthur NEEDS to be King. He needs to be King in order for peace in Albion to be restored! But...but at the same time...before all this happened...Morgana was my friend. And I...I don't want her to be the enemy. And if I have a chance to stop that from happening..."
"You can't have both things at once, Merlin." Taliesin said softly. Merlin sighed, shaking his head.
"Magic will never be accepted in Camelot if Uther reigns as King! And if I go back to a different time where Morgana never betrayed him, then he would never have become the weak, fragile man he was before he was killed. He will...he will live on. He will continue to reign."
"You must also realize, Merlin...that if Morgana continues to betray Arthur...if she continues to show that magic cannot be used for anything but evil...Arthur will never accept magic in Camelot, either."
Merlin glared at him.
This was one of the hardest choices he had ever been faced with.
Return to the past and help Morgana use her powers for good, or watch Camelot fall because of her evil ways in the present day?
Merlin thought back to the day that Morgana was almost killed because of him. When she was sent spiraling down the stairs and her brain had been damaged.
Arthur had been heartbroken.
And when he learned of Morgana's betrayal? He put on a mask for the sake of Camelot, but Merlin saw how it broke him down. It still broke him down 'till this day: the only thing that kept him going was Gwen.
And it wasn't as if Gwen hadn't suffered either. She still shed tears for her lost best friend till this day.
And he had seen the way Morgana had looked at Arthur during their last encounter. She was pained. Her face a mask, but the pain in her eyes shining bright for everyone to see.
She had no idea, what turning evil had done. Not only to herself, but everyone around her.
But if he had a chance...if he had a chance to ensure that Arthur, Uther and Morgana never suffered that heartbreak...that they could...possibly...be a happily family...
"I'll do it. I'll go back in time and I'll tell Morgana everything. That I have magic...that I can help her. I'll make sure Morgause never corrupts her mind. I'll make sure Morgana uses her powers for good."
"And as for King Arthur...or should I say, 'Prince' Arthur?"
"I'll...I'll find a way to make him King...without hurting Uther or Morgana, or anyone!"
"Remember, young warlock...no one will know of this time or it's events but you...and you mustn't share it with anyone. You cannot tell anyone, not the Great Dragon, not Gaius that you are from a different future. You must remain focused on the task before you."
"I understand. I just...I want Morgana to be good. Not evil. I...I want my friend back. Not just for myself, but for Arthur...and Gwen...and everyone."
"Well then...I wish you luck, young warlock. I hope you succeed."
Taliesin simply looked at him and Merlin looked around.
"So, uh...how exactly do I-"
He heard a shout and looked in time to see Taliesin throw the pouch of dust at his feet, then he was shrouded by a black cloud, his body grew cold and pain zapped throughout his entire body and he knew no more.