The Dragon's Call.
Merlin awoke early that Monday morning. She dressed in her normal style leathers, (A tank top that covered everything and breeches) tied her black hair up in a bun then slipped on the black leather and wrist cuffs that covered two thirds of her forearm just like any normal day but today worry and dread twisted her insides. Today was the day she set off from Ealdor to Camelot, normally on a trip like this it would just be a week or two while she hunted and then sold it but she'd never sold to Camelot before, only Mercia and her own kingdom ruled by Cenred.
You see Merlin wasn't normal, ever since she was a child she could do things that others couldn't and it scared her, she was a hunter who could keep clam when be charged at by a wild boar but this was so different, she couldn't understand it.
As she ate her mother was silently looking threw her bags but really she was trying to avoid her daughter leaving.
"Mum!" Hunith turned around at the sigh as the younger female expertly repacked the bag and then put on her normal red neckerchief. The seventeen year old sighed and grabbed her mother in a large hug.
"I'm going to miss you but it's for the best." She told her the same thing she'd been hearing for the past few months.
"I know Merlin." She laughed and let her daughter collect her things, the large back pack and quiver along with two solid, slightly worn daggers which slotted perfectly into her boots.
Hunith hugged the life out of her daughter before letting her start the walk away from the village.
As Merlin reached the forest there was someone waiting for her, he had dishevelled brown hair and an impish grin..
"What do you want Will? Because you better not be here to try and tell me not to go." She told him and kept on walking only for him to fall into step with her.
"I just wanted to talk and say goodbye." He shrugged.
Suddenly Merlin felt lips pressed against her's and she stumbled back in surprise.
"Will what the hell?" She was starring at him in shock and he just smirked and tried to kiss her again but landed on his ass when she pushed him away and started down the forest path at a run and she kept that up for the next hour, her journey to Camelot well under way but boy, did she have no idea what she was getting her self in for.
When she reached the beautiful city it was Wednesday, she weaved through the streets and people, heading for the grand castle in side the city walls. As she neared it she saw a large group of people gathered around something and looking up onto the balcony above she spotted, King Uther, the most hated man to her kind. Pushing her way to the front she could see someone, an average looking man kneeling, ready to be beheaded before all these people and with a fury and horror, took in the King's words.
"Let this serve as a lesson to all, this man , Thomas James Collins is judged guilty of conspiring to use enchantments and magic." The Vampiric side of her flared in anger and her fangs descended behind sealed lips. "I, Uther Pendragon, have decreed that such practices are banned on penalty of death." He paused, taking in the crowed for a mere second. "I pride myself as a fair and just king, but for the crime of sorcery, there is but one sentence I can pass." He signalled and she watched with enthralled horror as blood poured down from the severed neck and the head rolled across the stone. Heads had turned away but her fangs throbbed lightly at the smell, iron and salt but part of her craved it which was the reason Merlin couldn't look away.
Soon the king's voice filled the air again.
"When I came too this land, this kingdom was mired in chaos, but with the people's help magic was driven form the realm." She so wanted to snort at that moment. "So I declare a festival to celebrate twenty years since the Great Dragon was captured and Camelot freed form the evil of sorcery. Let the celebrations begin."
At that moment a stricken, grief filled cry sounded in the crowd and it parted to reveal a women. This women was the definition of a hag with thin grey air and wrinkled skin and she cried in emotional pain.
"There is only one evil in this land, and it is not magic! It is you! With your hatred and your ignorance! You killed my son!" She wailed and her heart went out to her at this point but she also knew that a scorned mother was deadly under normal circumstances.
"But I promise you, before these celebrations are over, you will share my tears. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a son for a son." She cried in anger and despair.
"Seize her!" The King roared in anger but it was pointless.
A whirlwind of shadows wrapped around the women and she was gone
Merlin left quickly before the smell of the blood could get to her and set about finding Giaus.
A little further away she asked a guard and he just grunted and pointed and, of course by the ancient law of sod, the sign was inside.
Walking inside the quarters it was a mass between potions, lotions and books but still managed to look homey. She knocked carefully and walked in. "Gaius?" Her voice was confident and curious as she stepped forward. She noticed him stood on a platform, raised above everything else so she cleared her throat, as he turned around though he leant against the railing and it gave out.
Merlin didn't think as she slowed time and then with the slightest movement of her eyes directed the bed so it was underneath the physician.
After a few moments of being winded Gaius got his bearings and walked over to the girl, she was strange just on sight in what was partly men's clothing, partly women's, she had long black hair tied back and shining blue eyes and a neckercheif of bright red around her throat.
"What did you just do?" He exclaimed in anger and disbelief.
"Well I, um, you can take a guess yourself." Became her answer and he moved closer.
"Yes and that would be sorcery." He spat walking closer. "Where did you learn?" He asked wanting to know the answer himself.
"I didn't." She replied instantly.
"Don't lie to me." He threatened lightly and she placed her hands on his shoulders.
"Uncle Gaius." She stressed the 'Uncle' part and a flame flickered on somewhere.
"Merlin? Hunith's daughter?" The girl nodded. "But your not suppose to come until Wednesday." He was slightly bemused.
"Uncle Gaius it is Wednesday." She stated plainly.
"Well in that case Merlin thank you, you can place your things up there." He gestured towards a door behind him with a smile.
"Thanks Uncle Gaius and I'll put that back later." She nodded to the bed and went up before remembering.
"Uncle Gaius." She handed him a letter. "From my mother." And with that she retreated into the bedroom.
It was plain, one bed, cupboard, and a bedside tabled with a large chest in front of the bed and it was perfect, better than what she normally had at least.
After putting her things in the trunk she changed into breeches and a tunic for the night and removed the neckerchief revealing the two clean, circular scars from when she was bitten.
Merlin, The voice was ancient and powerful as it echoed around the young Witch's head.
Merlin, this time she awoke but then the voice was gone. She quickly changed and brushed her hair, leaving it to hang just past her shoulders before checking her knifes were in the right places.
She jumped the four steps in one to see Gaius setting out breakfast.
"I got water, you didn't wash last night." He gestured to a bucket and she gave him a grim smile. She sat down happily eating the porridge there.
Suddenly Giaus' hand hit the bucket of water, as if on purpose. She didn't even think, reacting on pure instinct the bucket and water that was coming out froze. Merlin stood up and swapped a look with Gaius before the bucket dropped to the floor.
"How did you do that?" Gaius was shocked to say the least. "Did you incant a spell in your head?"
"No I don't know any spells." With that she started mopping up the spilt water.
"But how is that possible? Magic requires..." Gaius was cut off.
"I don't know, no one does I've just always been able to, even O'cara doesn't know and he's an eight hundred year old vampire." The girl seemed slightly flustered which was rare normally.
"Very well, take these to Lady Percival and Sir Olwin, he's as blind as a weevil so make sure he doesn't drink it all at once." Merlin nodded and started for the door. "Oh and Merlin, be careful, we don't want any trouble." Merlin nodded but knew she most likely would get in trouble.
Walking threw Camelot she got a lot of help fro the guards, all she needed to do was mention Gaius and it was a one way ticket. Finally after dropping off the two potions she decided to walk threw the training grounds, after all as a half-vampire, fighting was in her system, which was why she normally got into trouble.
"Where's the target?" A mocking voice sounded from a group of knights. The young man was gorgeous with lush blond hair and baby blue eyes but there was an arrogant smirk on his face.
"There, sire." The servant shifted nervously as he gestured to the target.
"It's in the sun." The blond sneered.
"It's not that bright." The dark haired boy replied meekly.
"A bit like you." The knights started roaring in laughter.
"I'll move it to the other end then shall I sire?" He hefted the large wooden target that was bigger than himself and started walking.
"This'll teach him." The blond smirked and something a kin to rage filled the young Witch observing. The blond took hold of one of the several gleaming daggers and threw it at the target, hitting it dead centre. The servant paused and looked down over the top of the target.
"Hey, wait." The blond sighed.
"Keep moving, we want moving target practice." The boy kept running and the knight threw more daggers.
Merlin lifted her leg quickly, flicking the knife out and catching it. Her throw landed it in the perfect centre and everyone stopped, even the servant. The leather clad girl walked forward and dislodged her dagger.
"What's your name?" She looked at the scrawny boy who was mostly hidden by the big circle of wood.
"Morris, thanks for giving me a brake." He said in relief, already his muscles were aching.
"I'm Merlin and it's no problem." She smiled and walked over to the blond, her usual swing in her hips as she dropped the dagger into her right boot, the brown leather making her look like a warrior as it was partly intended to.
"Do I know you?" The blond asked in disbelief.
"Nope, I'm Merlin" She popped the 'p' and kept coming foreword before standing up to the blond. She was only about two inches shorter and it only took ever so slightly tilting of her head back to meet his eyes. "Just wanted to give you some friendly advice, you know one person to another." She leaned in slightly so he wouldn't miss. "Don't be such an ass because then I'll kick yours."
With that she turned to the right and walked.
"Tell me, Merlin, can you walk on your knee?" He sounded irked.
"Can you?" She turned around to see him stiffen, perfect.
"If your really so tough, take your best shot." He hissed it, who did this commoner think she was talking to him like this.
Merlin made to kick him in the head but at the last minute dropped it and went to the floor using her left to sweep his feet out from under him and used the momentum to turn all the way around and kept walking, ignoring the surprised gasps and looks she could see and hear. Smirking at the sight over her shoulder as the blond picked himself up from the floor.
Once again that deep powerful voice sound and woke her from her sleep but she paid no mind to it, today she had plans so after running a few errands for Gaius she took the bow out of her quiver so that only the still to be tipped arrows were left. She took a large amount of silver and gold from her money chest then tied the money bag to her belt.
As she walked threw the streets a girl came up to her. The girl was probably her age, maybe a little older with dark skin, more than just tanned, maybe from outside of Albion and she had a kind face.
"Hi I'm Gwen, Lady Morgana's maid, I just wanted to say that I thought you were really brave yesterday." She held out a hand and the young witch shook it.
"I'm Merlin, Gaius' niece. Who was that guy?" Gwen nodded then answered.
"Prince Athur, we all think he's a bully but of course we won't say anything." Melrin nodded her head.
"Hey, do you know a good blacksmith?" The grin on Gwen's face looked so happy it should be illegal.
"My father, why?" That explained it.
"I have a set of twenty arrows that needed tipping and two new daggers making, I'm a hunter." She added at the other girls perplexed look.
"Oh, well come on." Gwen tugged the other girl along and then voice what was in her head. "Why did you chose to be a hunter? Most girls wouldn't."
"I'm a half vampire, most vampires are full and it's blood that keeps them alive and stronger, faster and more powerful than humans. A half-vampire is someone with pure-blood, something all children have, your body refuses to change fully because of it." Gwen nodded along.
"You were changed as a child." She stated and got a nod of agreement.
"A half-vampire can chose to have their powers and be immortal, if they drink human blood or stay close to their sire, person who changed them, then they keep them or they can live a mostly human life though we keep the fangs and some of the killer instincts." Merlin finished and started talking to Gwen more about how things went around Camelot.
When they reached the blacksmiths attached to the side of Gwen's house a kind face, happy man with skin the same as Gwen's was working out side.
"Hi Dad, this is Merlin, she wanted to talk to you." Her father held out a hand which Merlin happily shook.
"I'm Tom, what can I do for you?" He smiled though he looked slightly tired. The pale skinned girl flicked her leg up and caught the dagger.
"I need a new set of daggers like these." She handed the dagger over then rested the quiver in front of her. "And I need these tipping." Tom pulled out an arrow and inspected it and nodded.
"These are well made, did you make them yourself?" After receiving a nod he went back to talking. "The daggers have been well taken care of but defiantly need replacing soon or they'll snap, a new one would be five sliver or one gold for the pair and it's one bronze per arrow so for twenty that's two sliver though as a friend I'll make it one." Merlin grinned and handed over the one gold and one silver before taking the knife back.
"How long until they're ready?"
"No more than two days." Tom smiled and the girl nodded before walking away with Gwen, waving at Tom before walking threw the town to see what there was.
"How's your knee walking coming along?" The moment Arthur saw the girl he couldn't help himself, she'd humiliated him and not been punished.
"It doesn't need to, though I hope yours has got better, you might be needing it soon." The prince bristled as the girl stood a few feet away from him, the crowd stopping to watch as Gwen moved away slightly. "A royal prat you may be but it's a part none the less." She smiled and then grabbed something that was thrown to her by a knight, a mace and Arthur had a matching one.
"I warn you I was trained to kill from birth." He smirked, spinning the weapon it was suppose to be an intimidating fashion.
"How long have you been training to be a prat because it must have taken longer? milord." She mockingly bowed at the end.
She quickly dodged as the mace was swung at her head before spinning around so she was behind him, she grabbed the chain and pulled him back, hard. The prince fell back and she grabbed his arm before he hit the floor, then let go.
"Oof!" Arthur couldn't believe it and neither could the knights, the crowd was cheering around them but then the grin slid off the girls face.
"Merlin!" Gaius walked over. "Are you okay sire?" His voice was considerable softer as the prince stood and a few of the knights twisted his niece's arms behind her back.
"I'm fine thank you, let her go." They looked slightly stunned but did as they were ordered. "Where did you learn to fight like that?"
"I didn't, I'm a half-vampire, all it took was instinct." She replied smoothly.
"Your a mystery Merlin." He stated before walking off and the knights followed him like the boot lickers they were.
"And move your half-vampiric behind home." Gaius ordered and she didn't dare disobey.
After a thorough tongue lashing about being careful and not getting on a royal's bad side she was sent off with a preparation for lady Helen because 'she needs it for her voice'.
She stormed down the corridors, wanting to throttle someone but instead she walked straight into them. As she looked up from her place on the floor she growled internally at the sight of Arthur who was dressed in plain but expensive trousers and shirt with a red leather jacket over the top rather than the armour he'd been wearing during there other encounters.
"Let me help you up." He smiled though she could see the smirk in it.
"What? So you can drop me again? No thanks." She flipped up and dusted her self off. "Now if you'll excuse me I have a delivery to make." And she strolled past without another word.
As she expected the Lady Helen's quarters were grand as she stepped in with the intention of only placing the bottle down before leaving but then two items on the vanity table caught her eye. One was a doll made purely of straw while the other was a book, it was poorly made but the arcane symbols looked like magic.
As footsteps sounded she turned around, placed the bottle on the desk and started to walk out and met the Lady Helen in the door way.
"What are you doing in here?" Her voice was cold and curious.
"Sorry for the intrusion milady, the court physician sent me to drop of a preparation for your voice so I thought I'd leave it on the vanity." She let it roll smoothly of her tongue, sticking to the truth.
"Well thank you, you may go." Lady Helen smiled and watched as the young witch left.
It was the middle of the night when she was woken by that voice and they better have a bloody good reason for this as she slipped on boots and 'followed' the voice. Stopping to use her magic to make the sheets cover her Uncle properly. The voice lead her down to the dungeons where two guards who she had chasing their dice and struggled not to laugh. Walking threw the entrance and down the steps taking a lit torch with me. The steep steps lead down into a large underground cave with glistening stalagmites and stalactites. A constant fire seemed to burn somewhere as the entire cave was illuminated.
"Who's there?" At that moment a great golden shape flew at her and landed in front of the young witch make her stummble in surprise.
"Why, one so small for such great things and yet of vampire blood." The great dragon laughed.
"One what's your name? She breathed heavily.
"Kilgharrah young one."
"Two, why did you wake me up?" The dragon laughed, this one was very amusing.
"I wished to met you after all you have such a great destiny." He seemed to smirk.
"Which brings me to my last point, what great things?" She huffed as the dragon laughed.
"Your a bold little one, your destiny is to protect the once and future king and help him bring magic to all of Albion." The dragon smiled as the small jaw dropped open.
"Way to scare a girl." Were the first words to come out of her mouth.
"Yes protecting Arthur..."
"Wow, as Arthur Pendragon, the complete prat, no way can he be king and sure as hell not a good one." The girl talked to him as if he were an equal, not above or bellow.
"Well, my kin, maybe it is for you to change that, you are a creature of the old religion and a powerful one." With that Kilgharrah flew away as far as the chain would let him.
After a half decent nights sleep she was sent to drop off a sleeping draft to the Lady Morgana and when she walked in the Lady was walking behind the changing screen and she paused for a second before continuing in as the Lady started talking.
"You know Gwen I've been thinking about Arthur." Merlin almost added, why would you want to?
"I wouldn't touch him with a lance pole, pass me that dress will you Gwen?" She said pleasantly.
"I think you've confused me with someone Lady Morgana." Merlin spoke up and the kings wards stuck her heads around the screen. "I'm Merlin." And the Lady grinned.
"The girl who beat Arthur, Gwen told me about you, did Gaius send you with my sleeping draft?" Merlin nodded and set it on the table before handing the dress over.
"Thank you, and please call me Morgana." She said over the screen. "Could you help me with some fastenings?" She asked though it wasn't a command.
"Sure." Merlin walked around the screen and started to work nimbly at the ribbons. "Gwen mentioned you as well, it's nice to know that someone cares, so far Arthur has been less than impressive." Merlin tried to make conversation and Morgana laughed.
"You know, I never thought a vampire would be so nice." Morgana muttered.
"We get a bad reputation because of the blood drinking but we aren't any worse than a human, also in Camelot we're not like because we are creatures of the old religion giving us elemental powers and then some." The younger girl explained.
"You know I was wondering if I should tease Arthur and the other men tonight, what do you think?" Morgana was very curious about such a bold and free girl, she wished she could act like that.
"I think you should be yourself, what think you should wear, not what people expect." The vampiric one answered and Morgana grinned. "I think something that's strong and feminine at the same time, you know we're the same size, I'll be back in a moment." And with that she ran off having finished with the dress and true to her word she was back in about a minute with something under a black sheet which she removed.
"Just on lone but I won't get a chance to wear it for a long time if at all." Merlin shrugged and Morgana hugged her and agreed to wear it. Merlin was interesting to talk to and Morgana thought she'd just got a second best friend. When Gwen found out they were friends she was over joyed, Merlin and Morgana were very similar, same pallor skin, bright blue eyes though Merlin's were darker and they both had silk smooth raven hair then when it came to personality they were strong and independent.
Walking in behind Gaius Merlin was wearing her usual in pure red with a piece of material wrapped around her waist and held together with a clasp to make an almost skirt that looked elegant but she could get rid of later though the top was slightly lower cut and the young witch noticed the interested looks she was getting from most men in the room including the prince who she decided to give a curt nod to and he returned it.
"God have mercy." She heard a knight mutter to Arthur and looked over to see Morgana. She was in love with the dress Merlin had lent her. It was a deep red, the same as the colour of Camelot, it was corset like and hugged her chest with elegant black lace at the top. The skirt went straight down at the front but flared out behind her with more black lace attached solely to the waist so it trailed behind her, combined with the red jewels she wore it was incredible, she couldn't thank Merlin enough.
"Some people are just born to be Queen." Gwen appeared next to her new friend. "And my Dad says your things are ready." She added.
"True but then you'd have marry Arthur, good looks aren't everything." Merlin pointed out. "And thank you I'll pick them up at the next chance."
Morgana walked over to Arthur and decided to start up a conversation as she noticed him starring at Merlin.
"Say what you like but she is beautiful." Morgana said off handedly, it was true, with her hair draped over her left shoulder she looked very beautiful indeed.
"I hate to agree but I do." Arthur muttered. "That's a nice dress." He commented as he looked her over quickly, the kings ward had curled her hair and pinned it back.
"Thank you, it's Merlin's she lent it to me, and I bet your thinking about what she'd look like in it." She teased.
"Shut up Morgana." Arthur hissed out.
"Well she is very attractive it would seem or maybe it's because can challenge you, the vampiric dark side seems sexy or you just want to know what being bitten feels like?" Morgana laughed at the end.
"What's so amusing?" Uther stood next to his ward, glad to see Morgana enjoying her self.
"Nothing father." Arthur kept his tone neutral.
"No, we were just discussing my friend Merlin." She delicately gestured to where the girl stood talking to Gwen and Uther took in her appearance then remembered the gossip he'd been hearing about the girl.
"The one Arthur fought and is also a vampire?" Suddenly the king had a mounting dislike for the girl.
"Half and yes, she lent me this dress for the night to, she's been acting as a dogsbody for Gaius." Morgana explained but then it was time for the feast to begin.
"We have enjoyed twenty years of peace and prosperity. It has brought the kingdon and myself many pleasures, but few of them can compare with the honour of introducing Lady Helen of Mora," The king introduced. Merlin was stood to the side and had deposited the skirt on a near by stair case that led to a balcony.
The great lady herself started singing and it had a great eerie beauty but the court started to fall asleep, Merlin covered her ears without a thought and from her place next to the head table she could see cobwebs covering everyone like some giant spider was draping them across the room and court and the three royals fell asleep.
She watched in panic as the women walked forward and then it came to her, she made the chandelier just before the witch could throw the dagger she had retrieved.
The women had changed from the form of Lady Helen to the old hag from Merlin's first day. Everyone woke, pulling cobwebs off themselves and standing, taking the scene in with a look of shock.
Merlin watched in horror as the witch raised her self and no one noticed, she aimed the dagger. Merlin didn't even think, she ran forward and pulled Arthur out the way just in time as the dagger went threw his chair were his heart would have been as they feel to the floor and the last of the strength faded from the hag.
Merlin and Arthur pulled them selves up as the king stared and walked over to Arthur, looking him over quickly before turning to the girl.
"You saved my boys life." He seemed shocked but grateful all the same.
"It was nothing sire." She couldn't think of anything else to say and she really didn't need their idea of reward.
"Don't be so modest this be rewarded." He continued and Merlin tried one more.
"Really sire, there's no need." But of course he shook it off.
"You'll be Arthur's maidservant." And with that the hall burst into applause, in the noise Merlin sunk into her corner and let everyone else drift by.
Merlin sat in her room, slumped on the bed, it looked like destiny was coming into play. Someone walked threw the door.
"Hey Uncle Gaius." She mumbled as she rubbed the scars on her exposed neck.
"Well it looks like your a hero." Gaius smiled "And that requires a true reward." He sat down and handed her something wrapped in a cloth and Gaius watched in secret enjoyment as his niece's eyes widened.
"Uncle Gaius." She couldn't keep the grin off her face but then she smartly placed it under a floor board beneath the bed. "Thank you." She hugged him and couldn't keep the smile of the face but jsut then they heard someone calling for her she walked over and saw Morris.
"Hey." She smiled slightly.
"Hi, the prince wants you." Merlin groaned in answer and started walking.
"Wish me luck."
"Good luck." The boy patted her shoulder in sympathy as she walked away her fingers moving over the scar tissue on the right side of her neck.