This is what happens when Merlin is lost. This is why destinies are never simple.
A reveal fic. Set after Series 4. Canon pairings
Warning: Angst galore
Disclaimer: I do not, under any circumstances, own Merlin!
The castle's courtyard had never before accommodated such a large number of people. There must have been hundreds of citizens gathered there, men and women of all ages, a few children amongst them. Most of them were peasants, though some stood out, dressed in rich garments, a clear sign of a noble. They had began gathering hours ago, in the early morning, and they'd kept coming and coming, each one of them determined not to be held back by the chilling cold . The constant rain and the howling wind were natural weather for late Autumn. But the people of Camelot were too stubborn to be hindered by the elements. Not even the army of angry soldiers glaring dangerously at the gathering masses could do anything to stop them from coming.
They were standing there with one purpose. To pay their respects.
In the end, they were all there for him.
High above the ground, the thunderstorm continued raging, relentless and unyielding as if it were a creature with a mind of its own and a thirst for vengeance, its loud booming covering almost all remaining sound.
All eyes were turned towards the center of the yard, to the platform that had been raised there last night. Its wood was dark, soaked with water, but it would still serve its purpose. The executioner's block was placed on top, the axe resting on its side. In front of it lay a simple straw basket. It was a plain but unnerving sight, one that though most have already seen a great number of times, none could ever get used to.
The people stirred as they saw her emerge from the shadows to stand on the balcony. Wearing a simple black gown, without any of her jewelry on, their Queen looked properly dressed for mourning. But it was her eyes, her expression, that constituted her being the gravest sight anyone could ever behold. Her eyes held an equal mix of desperation, regret and pure agony. Pain radiated from every pore of Guinevere Pendragon's existence, leaving her quivering on her legs, a shell of her former self.
The only reason that Guinevere was still standing was the woman by her side, who was holding her arms gently, while whispering soothing nonsense to her ear. The young woman's ethereal frame betrayed her royal linage, if the circlet resting on her brow wasn't enough of a sign already. Trying to be strong for the both of them, Princess Mithian avoided any eye contact with the executioner's block, concentrating solely on Gwen.
Then, the main doors to the courtyard opened to allow a group of armed soldiers and knights, all of them in formation around a single tall figure, to barge in. All eyes were drawn to the sight with trepidation.
Within moments, the gathered crowd, almost completely still before, reacted to the scene. Voices rose in desperation. Angry shouts and curses boomed all over, causing the immediate retaliation of the guards charged with handling the now angry mob. Only after they had raised their swords, making it plain to everyone that there would be consequences if they were to keep it up, did the people of Camelot back down.
Slowly, the procession advanced through the parting masses, knights shoving hard anyone stupid enough to step in the way of the prisoner. There was a hood covering his face, rendering him unable to see where he was going. The chain linked to his bound hands and being harshly pulled by one of his captors was the only thing guiding him forwards. Still, he held his figure straight.
When they had reached the wooden dais, two guards grasped the shackled man, each from one shoulder, and dragged him forcibly to the center of the stage. Once they were there, they pushed him roughly on his knees, head inches from the chopping block's rough surface. The next to come forward was the executioner himself, a huge man with an ugly scar covering almost the entire left side of his face, and arms large enough to break a tree trunk in half. He stepped to the kneeling man and grabbed the hood around his head, removing it so that the prisoner's identity would be there for all the world to see.
Such was the focus of the people on him, that the condemning words, when they came, were almost unexpected. No one had even noticed when the person who would be ordering the death sentence joined the two crying women on the balcony. But the voice speaking the punishment managed to climb above all the rumble of the storm and the murmur of the crowd, its tone cruel and oh so unforgiving, a clear warning to all.
You should all know better than to defy me.
"People of Camelot. You are all here today to bear witness to a true act of justice and to learn a valuable lesson. This man before you is by all means guilty of the most heinous of crimes. Multiple murder and high treason. Let it serve as an example of how people like him must, and will from now on, be dealt with. For his crimes against magic, and the crimes of his tyrannical predecessor, which he still upholds and won'tever denounce, I, Morgana Pendragon, Rightful Queen of Camelot, sentence this man, Arthur Pendragon to death by beheading."
Her eyes were filled with gleeful excitement as she stretched her hand and then turned her wrist slowly, forming the clear signal with her thump pointing down. The following whimper of her brother's false Queen beside her was clearly welcomed as music to her ears.
When the axe's glint shone above the defeated King's neck, even the storm clouds up above seemed to hold their breath, waiting to hear the unmistakable sound of the falling blade cutting through flesh and bone.
A/N: Tell me, would you like me to continue?