I shouldn't, I really shouldn't, but I can't help it. For all of you who have been waiting for this, here you go, chapter one. Not exactly what I was planning to give you, but should be fun regardless.
For all of you Merlin fans who wandered in off the street, read this story. Don't get scared by the description or the random doubles. Then go read The Squire's Tales by Gerald Morris. Trust me. If you like Merlin, you'll love The Squire's Tales. Terence is a dream. And don't worry about spoilers across the border. This takes place early Season 4, probably shortly after Uther's death, and the only spoilers for Squire's Tales will be stuff you can guess already.
Not marked as crossover because I want people to actually be able to find it and read it, thanks. Stuck under Merlin because it takes place in the Merlin universe.
Disclaimer: I don't own a bit of it. If I did, I'd be too busy trying to find a way to bring Gawain, Merlin, Arthur, and Terence to life to write stuff like this.
"Oh, wow. Oh, oh, that's bizarre! I mean, just…wow!"
"Merlin, if you've really gotten that stupid drunk by just sitting next to Gwaine, you need to work on both your alcohol tolerance and your under-your-breath mumbling."
The comment went unheard. The warlock, who previously had been sitting facing the door of the tavern, turned back to his tablemates. Sir Gwaine sat on his left, ordering his fourth tankard of ale. King Arthur sat on his right, nursing his second glass of wine—couldn't have ruler of the land getting rip-roaring drunk and embarrassing himself and starting the day off with a hangover the next morning, after all. There was an untouched, watered-down tankard in front of his own chair, but Merlin seemed more interested in studying his master's face. Then he turned back to the door again.
"No, it's true! That's insane! Who on earth…it's got to be a relative…"
Arthur leaned forward and slapped the back of his servant's head. "Either knock it off or tell us what you're mumbling about," he said. Catching the commotion out of the corner of his eye, Gwaine turned back to his friends with a curious expression.
Merlin jerked his head toward the door. "Look, Arthur. The man who just walked in here? If I didn't know what Uther looked like, I'd have sworn that man is your father."
That got both of their attention. Gwaine and Arthur stretched their backs and craned their necks around the table and Merlin to see what man he was talking about. Standing in the doorframe with a posture that said he was very out of his element was a man of average height and muscled build with shoulder-length gold hair and a greying beard. His face looked very much like Arthur's, indeed, but older, with wrinkles and an abundance of laugh lines. He carried himself a lot like Arthur did, as well, and even though he looked awkward walking into the tavern, he exuded the same nobility and self-confidence Arthur did.
"…Huh," Gwaine said, taking another swig from his ale. "Merlin's right, Queenie."
"Shut up. He looks nothing like me." But Arthur seemed to be trying to convince himself more than anything else. He pursed his lips, unnerved by the stranger.
The stranger turned and seemed to talk to someone behind him before taking another nervous step into the tavern and sweeping over the place with his eyes. His gaze locked on Arthur and both eyebrows shot up.
"Look, look, look," Merlin said, leaning toward the other two. "I think he thinks you look like him, too." Arthur punched him in the shoulder, but it didn't wipe the grin from the servant's face.
Still staring at Arthur, the stranger stepped aside to allow someone else into the tavern. This was a young man, tall and lithe, with strong arms and a strange rigid-but-relaxed posture. He had short, light brown hair and moved with an almost unnatural grace that Merlin would have killed to have. The man who looked like Arthur tapped the younger man's wrist and pointed towards the table where the three friends sat. The younger man looked their way and paled considerably.
He then moved toward the stranger and another man stepped inside. Arthur sucked in a sharp breath and Merlin whistled in disbelief. Gwaine's eyes popped. This man had Gwaine's face, but it was topped with medium-length red hair and a thick, short red beard. He was much larger than Gwaine, built a little more like a bear than a man, but the similarities between this newcomer and the knight to Merlin's left were undeniable.
The tall, young man muttered something to the Gwaine-look-a-like. The redhead scanned the room, saw the three friends, and visibly started. He shook his head as if to clear it and looked at them again. Then he turned to the younger man. His sharp, scolding "Terence!" could be heard throughout the tavern.
Merlin grunted. "I wonder what that was about."