Disclaimer: I don't own Merlin.
Merlin couldn't breathe.
He gasped. His hand rose to his throat and he tugged at his handkerchief.
His head was pounding. Sharp needles of pain lanced through his skull. He could feel a lump already forming from the blow to the head he'd sustained at the beginning of the battle. His vision was swimming and he was completely disoriented. Opening his eyes, Merlin found himself staring at the trees. The leaves filtered out the early twilight's light. He could hear others moaning. Glancing to his left, he saw a man whose side was bound in scraps of a red cloak.
Sitting up a little, Merlin saw Gwen muttering in low whispers with Elyan as she helped wrap a wound on his shoulder. He was supported by another soldier as his sister worked. Standing, Merlin looked around. Men littered the ground in ever direction. The ambush had been a slaughter. Merlin took a deep breath and walked over to Gwen and Elyan. His steps steadied as he approached.
"Merlin!" Gwen gasped in relief. She threw her arms around his neck, embracing him fiercely.
Merlin returned the hug gratefully. "Where's Arthur?" he asked when they pulled apart, even though he already knew the answer. His king would have been in the thick of things.
Gwen cast a worried glance at Elyan. Her hands clenched at her skirts, smearing blood on the fine material. "I won't stop you," she said. "I don't know what you can do against, Morgana, but Arthur needs you."
The queen stepped away from Merlin and turned back to the injured. "Elyan will guide you."
Merlin's eyes hardened at the sight before him. Morgana stood in the midst of battle, laughing and laughing as the knights continued to fight before her. Behind her, a village burned. And Arthur…Arthur was bound and gagged at her feet, made to kneel. Excalibur was buried point first in ground the before him. Morgana was surrounded by sorcerers and mercenaries. All wore her dark crest.
"Come!" Her voice echoed across the clearing, resounding with her madness and her glee. "Rescue your precious king!"
Morgana was toying with them, using their loyalty against them. A monster of rage rose in Merlin's mind. His magic whispered to him. It called to him from deep within the well of power that he had always been able to draw form but had never quite grasp.
More knights fell around him, bathing the field in crimson puddles. Some were pin-cushioned by arrows. Others looked like broken dolls, their bodies bent, broken and lacking random limbs. The fires grew higher in the night, great tongues of golden red lashing out at the stars, as the village fed the flames.
Merlin had had enough.
"Morgana!" His voice was harsh. Her name descended into a Dragonlord's roar. His cry resounded in the until every being in the clearing turned to face him..
Morgana stalked toward him. "You still need to learn manners, Merlin. And some common sense, it seems. What can you do? You're a mere servant." Her eyes darkened and she waved her hand carelessly. A blast of magic hurtled toward him.
A cold glint hardened his eyes, as he let her magic rolled past him. It didn't even touch him. Mogana gaped. "I can do more than you can imagine," his hissed, gently tapping into his power. His eyes blazed with gold. A wave of magic washed past him, freezing motion and voice. Only the eyes moved. Calmly, he walked towards Morgana, and, with a motion of his eyes Arthur was unbound. The king, frozen in shock, did not move.
Morgana's eyes widened and grew frantic as she watched Merlin move closer..
"Do you yield?"
"This is impossible!" she whispered. Her voice quivered with a touch of fear. Then, her face hardened. She would not fall before a mere serving boy. Focusing on her magic, she lashed out. Her magic was once more batted aside as if it was nothing. Her voice rose with desperation. "Who are you?" She looked into Merlin's eyes, blazing gold, reflecting the fires around them.
A roar shook the skies and the Great Dragon appeared through the clouds. The sight gave Morgana hope that the Old Magic was on her side. Dragons were rare nearly extinct and they were no friend to the Pendragons. She was horrified when the Great Dragon banked over her head and instead landed gently behind Merlin. Her horror increased when the beast crouched protectively over the servant..
Power coursed through Merlin's veins with ever increasing strength,. He was tired of hiding, tired of fearing, tired of lying. His magic was tired and it would be contained no longer.
"I am the son of Balinor. I am the last of the Dragonlords. I am the protector of Camelot. I have defeated The High Priestess Nimeuh and the sorcerer Cornelius Sigan. I am the one promised by the whisper of legends to come, the one who the Druids have prophesized."
He paused. Everyone, all of the knights, Arthur, Morgana's soldiers, even the villagers who'd been fleeing the flames, were staring at Merlin in mingles, horror, alarm, and, for some, rising hope.
Merlin took one more step forward. "I am Emrys." With that he let his magic free. Great whirl winds of power circled him, spreading, and then lashing out around him. Lighting danced at the edges height of the wind. Kilgharrah rode the wave of roar magic, roaring the triumph to the sky. Merlin's eyes were more brilliant the before. Raw gold. Raw power.
"And I hence forth stripe you, Morgana le Fay, of your magic. For your crimes, for the betrayal of Camelot, of your kith, of your kin, I cast you out. The Old Religion rejects you. You are no different than your father." With that, he closed the distance between them. Morgana tried to back away, but the earth itself reached up and held her fast. Merlin placed a hand on her brow. His magic flowed into her and, finding the great coil of power, ripped it from her. The pain was immediate and immense, Morgana screamed as she fell to her knees. It felt as if her heart was being torn from her chest as her magic was returned to nature. A great emptiness consumed her. Tears tore from her eyes, bitter and broken. She had never felt a loss so keenly before.
Merlin's golden eyes moved to his best friend as Kilgharrah whispered a message to Merlin only, You've done well, young warlock.
He smiled faintly at the praise before turning to Arthur. The king was still crouched on the ground, staring at Merlin in unveiled astonishment. Merlin offered the king his hand. "Rise, Arthur Pendragon," he said. There was authority in his words that had never been there before. "Rise, Arthur," Merlin repeated, softer. "Rise, the Once and Future King of Albion." Numbly, Arthur took Merln's hand and allowed the warlock to pull him to his feet. Arthur stood before Merlin and gazed at him in slowly diminishing shock.
Merlin kneeled. His head bent, his power wrapping back around him, like wind ruffling around him and his eyes had a bluer sheen. Then he picked up Excalibar, and offered the hilt to Arthur.
"Now you must pass judgment." Because Merlin couldn't. Despite all his knowledge, there was only one weapon that could truly kill him, and he was offering it to his King. "I am the embodiment of magic. Excalibur is the only weapon that can truly slay me. This sword forged in dragon's breath. Will you kill me?" Merlin held Arthur's eyes for a moment. He would not ask again, would not stand down again. He would hide no longer. "Or…"
"Will you allow Magic into Camelot?"
Thanks to luminare91 who beta read this for me.
And merlinandfreyaFTW who corrected some of the errors.