Love for a Lionheart

(formerly known as "Come Morning Light")

Chapter 1: Skyelynn Fell

Author's Note: **This story was once titled "Come Morning Light" the title has changed, but the story is the same!

Well, here's my first Merlin fanfic! This takes place a bit after season 2, but somewhere before season 3. I've only seen two seasons, and I plan to continue watching the the rest! This is a Merlin/OC (aka Skye) story essentially, but there will be Arthur/Gwen rest assured! I do hope you enjoy, and reviews/comments are always much appreciated! #TeamMerlin

***No copyright intended. The characters of Arthur, Merlin, Gwen, Gaius, Uther, etc belong to the show "Merlin" respectively. Everyone else belongs to me.


"Merlin…"

"Look, all I'm saying is that it wouldn't kill you to thank me every now and then."

"It was a lucky shot—"

"Alright, Arthur, you keep telling yourself that."

"Merlin!"

Merlin smiled at Arthur's glare, holding a hand up in mock defeat as his other hand held steadily to the reins of his horse. It was one of the rare occurrences in which Arthur was able to sneak away from the castle and hunt on his own.

However on this occasion the crown-prince and his manservant found themselves an unwanted guest in a large mountain lion on the attack. Stumbling back on the uproot of a tall tree, Arthur's sword had fallen far from his grasp. As the lion prepared to pounce on Arthur, an arrow flew through the trees, lodging itself in the creature's throat, killing it instantly. At end of the arrow's trail was Merlin, holding a bow as a smirk played on his lips. His aim had gotten better in the past few months, but there was no doubt that magic had helped him this time.

Shaking his head Arthur rolled his blue eyes and shook his head, exasperated. Reaching for the back of his neck he rubbed at the tight knots that had formed. "When we get back, I expect a hot bath to be drawn and my boots to be polished. After that my armor—"

"Yes, yes," Merlin groaned. "Your armor needs polishing too, and the stables need mucking out."

"Well, I wasn't going to mention the stables, but now that you mention it, why not add that to your list!"

About to make a quick retort, the wind through the forest had shifted, blowing toward the two young men, and with it, the odor of fire, cutting Merlin off. Frowning, Merlin looked to the distance, squinting slightly. From the west he saw the haze of smoke that was too dense to be a normal campfire.

"Arthur, do you see that? That smoke?"

Following Merlin's gaze, Arthur nodded after a moment. "Let's have a look." Digging his heels into his steed, Arthur galloped in the direction of the smoke with Merlin quickly on his heels.

***/***

"Skyelynn!"

Rodric panted heavily as he desperately tried to find a way back into the cottage that had been his home for the past 21 years. The once peaceful cottage that he had built so long ago was up in flames with his precious daughter lying unconscious on the floor and at the mercy of the fire that threatened to collapse the roof.

" SKYE!"

There was just no access into the house. Rodric fell to his knees and coughed up blood. Touching a hand to his side he pulled it away to see his fingers and palm drenched to in crimson. His vision has blurred, both from tears and fatigue as his life continued to seep from his body.

"Skye," he cried again, this time in a weaker voice. "My daughter…I'm sorry, Amelia, I couldn't protect her…"

"Sir!"

Rodric looked up to see two figures riding up on horses. One was dressed in armor, his hair as golden as the sun, the other dressed in the clothes of a servant with hair as dark as night. The one with golden hair jumped off his horse and ran to Rodric's side.

"Sir, can you tell me your name," inquired the young man as he lifted Rodric from the grass, causing the man to wince. Arthur knew the man hadn't much time and all information he would share was crucial. "Who did this to you?"

The man was middle-aged with dark hair and a beard peppered with white. He had lines around his deep brown eyes that told a story of a man who laughed often. Instead of laughter, pain and worry creased the man's brow.

Merlin had reached the man's side, and looked on with compassion, unsure of what to do. Looking into the eyes of the young man who held him, he knew he was staring at the crown-prince of Camelot.

"My daughter," he uttered with urgency, wincing as he spoke. "She's in there still…by the table!"

Before Arthur could react, Merlin was running toward the cottage. Rodric watched as the boy with dark hair ran off. Something about the boy's blue eyes reminded him of his wife. The boy was a warlock. What was he doing in Camelot? Did he not know what would happen if he was discovered? Rodric closed his eyes for a moment. It didn't matter. If the boy could help his daughter, that was all that mattered.

Searching Arthur's eyes, the man took a deep shuttering breath. "I am Rodric of Fell," he said. "My daughter is Skyelynn, get her out alive at all costs. Take her to safety." Grim-faced, Arthur nodded, cursing in his mind. Merlin should be here, instead of him. He should be going into that cottage; he'd be faster than his manservant!

Pulling the red scarf around his neck over his nose, Merlin tried the door with both hands, pulling back quickly as his hands were burned. Holding out a hand, he muttered a phrase. Briefly his blue eyes flashed golden and the door flew open. Rushing in, Merlin coughed as the smoke assaulted his lungs.

Almost everything was up in flames, as Merlin ran to the table in the kitchen area. Just as Rodric had said, there was a young woman, lying on the ground wrapped in a light purple cloak with silver embroidery. When Rodric had said daughter, Merlin expected a child, not a young woman around his age. Quickly surveying the scene, Merlin noted there was a heavy log by the girl's head, and underneath her dark matted hair was dried blood trailing down her cheek.

Picking her up, Merlin stumbled back slightly as he pulled her against his chest. The sound of wood cracking under the fire was enough to give Merlin a burst of energy to get out of the cottage before it collapsed. Carrying the girl to Rodric and Arthur, Merlin sunk to his knees beside the man who was still alive, but barely so.

"Does she live," asked Rodric.

Pulling the scarf from his face, Merlin turned the head of the girl toward his chest and pushed her long, lightly curled hair away from her neck. Carefully he placed two fingers against her neck, checking for a pulse just as Gaius had taught him. He breathed a sigh of relief.

"She lives."

Rodric nodded, as peace settled into his bones. Looking up one last time, he looked at Arthur. "I owe you…Arthur Pendragon." Turning to face Merlin and his daughter, his eyes met the ones of the boy who held his precious girl. "Take care of her…"

Rodric longed to know the boy's name, but there was no time to ask before his eyes slipped to his daughter's serene face and he breathed no more.

"Who are they," he asked Arthur after a moment's silence for Rodric's passing.

"Rodric of Fell," Arthur answered. "That is his daughter. Skyelynn."

"Does she have a mother?"

"It was only them."

A thousand questions ran through Merlin's mind, but he asked none. Instead he stared down at the girl in his arms. He noticed her chest rose lightly under her cloak. At the base of her neck was a curious pendant. It was a small pink flower with a pearl in the middle of it. Beneath it was a golden locket engraved with circular designs. The pendant seemed to glow with a golden light. Tearing his eyes away and looking at her face, Merlin touched her forehead gingerly. The wound had stopped bleeding, but still looked tender. Searching her face, Merlin thought she could be lovely under the ashes that blackened her exotically tanned skin, but he wouldn't dwell on the thought at the given time.

Above, a thunderous clap came from the heavens as rain began to poor heavily down. Merlin quickly pulled the girl's hood over her head and stood with Arthur.

"Let's take her to Gaius," Arthur said. "The rain will take care of the flames." Looking at Rodric's fallen body, Arthur hoisted the man into his arms. "We'll take him to see if Gaius can identify him."

"And how will we carry him," asked Merlin.

"On your horse," decided Arthur. "I'll carry the girl."

Merlin made a face, but he knew there was no arguing. Arthur paused for a moment and clapped Merlin's shoulder. "Good work, Merlin," he said before walking toward the horses.

Merlin smiled slightly as he looked down at Skyelynn once more with more questions than answers.