Title: A Convenient Death
Warnings: Spoilers for 4x11, minor violence.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: Spoilers for 4x11. Written for the prompt: Agravaine now knows Merlin suspects his betrayal, so he is going to silence him. Meanwhile, Arthur starts realizing something smells fishy about his uncle.
The boy was becoming a problem.
Merlin had been a thorn in Agravaine's side for months, annoying but easily dismissed. He was just a servant, Agravaine was a lord. But now this? Accusing him of treason? Agravaine couldn't say what bothered him more, that Merlin was aware of his treason or that Arthur trusted his word enough to check the maps himself. It was clear that Merlin had too much sway over the King for a mere servant. His nephew may try to hide it but he knew him well enough to see the friendship beneath the surface. It was inappropriate and Agravaine had spoken more than once to Arthur about it.
Before this, he would have been a fool to harm the King's trusted manservant. The risk had not been worth it, but now... now with so much at stake he could not afford to fail Morgana.
He would not forgive himself.
His plan needed to be careful and ensure he was beyond reproach. He had hurried before when he had dealt with Eoghan and while dancing on the edge of being discovered had sent a thrill through him, he did not want to chance it again.
He knew Merlin was not from Camelot originally. Maybe he could be persuaded to return home for a visit? A forged letter from a sick mother perhaps? But Agravaine cared little about the personal lives of servants and couldn't even remember the name of the village nor could he ensure that Arthur wouldn't accompany Merlin.
Exile then. Arthur had already banished his beloved, it should be easier to find sufficient evidence to exile his manservant and he had already heard Arthur threaten to send him into exile over the maps. But the evidence would have to be irrefutable, Arthur would accept nothing less and it was only thanks to Morgana's magic that Gwen had been exiled. There wasn't time for that right now. Agravaine sighed; there was only one choice left and it would be difficult to carry it out without garnering suspicion.
Killing him outright wasn't an option, it was not easy to carry out and it would raise suspicion.
Finding assassins who wouldn't betray you took time.
An accident was difficult to stage.
Difficult, but not impossible.
It was hours later when the candle on his desk fluttered and died out but he made no move to light another.
He had his plan.
Merlin would not see the end of the week.
Agravaine waited in an alcove until he saw Merlin leave Arthur's room carrying his dinner plates.
"Ah! Merlin, I'm glad I caught you."
Merlin stopped, his eyes wide as he looked around the empty corridor and Agravaine imagined he was trying to judge whether to stay or flee.
"Sire." He acknowledged cautiously.
"How is Arthur tonight? I know these last few days have been... difficult."
"He is fine, considering. It is not easy to heal from heartache."
"No, it is not." Agravaine agreed, trying his best to appear sympathetic. "I thought I would join him tonight, share some wine, and perhaps take his mind off recent events. I'm sure he could do with an evening that doesn't involve a feast and entertaining guests."
"I agree, sire."
"Would you go to the cellar for me? I have some excellent wine that I've been saving for a special occasion. Could you bring a flagon to Arthur's room?"
"Of course, sire."
With a stiff nod, Merlin continued on his way to the kitchens. Agravaine waited until he was out of sight before moving quickly down another corridor that would lead directly to the cellar.
The main cellar was stocked well, being so close to winter anything that could be preserved had been and was now neatly stacked and labelled upon shelves that reached to the ceiling. Agravaine cupped his hands and blew onto them, glad he was wearing his gloves as the chill tried to seep through.
He heard quick footsteps, hurrying down the stairs. No one wanted to spend much time down here at this time of year. Peering around the shelf he stood behind, he got a glimpse of red and blue fabric. Merlin slowed down as he scanned the shelves, looking for the wine marked with Agravaine's sigil. He didn't notice Agravaine step out from the shadows and he never saw the blow coming.
Merlin hit the ground hard.
His cry was cut short as the breath was knocked from his lungs. The torch he carried landed a few inches away from his outstretched hand but remained half lit.
Merlin groaned, and started to sluggishly roll over onto his back. Agravaine had stunned him but not knocked him out. As Merlin opened his eyes to see his attacker, Agravaine drew his dagger and used the hilt to strike. Merlin went limp and blood welled up from the wound on his forehead. Quickly, Agravaine went back to the shelves and nudged a sack over so it just spilled out onto the floor. Far enough that it would be obvious that it had tripped up a distracted and clumsy person.
He made sure Merlin was laid sprawled out, as if he had fallen, arranging his limbs fully in contact with the cold floor. Merlin had already started shivering, his breaths visible as short bursts of mist. He pulled off Merlin's jacket and scarf; they would only prolong the inevitable.
Agravaine stood over Merlin and surveyed his work.
His head was still bleeding, a small puddle pooling on the stone and seeping into the crevices. Head wounds always bled a lot and Agravaine wondered if it would be the blood loss or cold that would get to him first. Either way he was satisfied, at best Merlin would succumb to the cold or his injury and at the very least if he survived he'd be incapacitated for several days and certainly not up to disrupting any plans.
He stamped out the remaining flame of Merlin's torch, and left.
Agravaine smiled as he returned to his room, his plan had been executed faultlessly. No one had seen him and Merlin would not be discovered until morning. As he turned at the top of the steps to the cellar he heard a door shut down the corridor. He paused and waited a moment to check that no one was coming his way before continuing to his room. Agravaine imagined the rumours that would fly around the castle tomorrow.
'Did you hear? The clumsy manservant died getting a flagon of wine.'
'Such a tragic accident.'
'That poor boy. But then he was always rather foolish.'
Time would pass, and it would become a cautionary tale to tell the children. Nothing suspicious, merely tragic.
Feedback is adored along with constructive criticism. I plan to update regularly and there will be four or five chapters in total.