On Merlins day off she was sent off with Athena into the forest to collect some mushrooms by Gaius, she had her bow on her back and the brown of her leather almost sunk into the trees.
It was peaceful and calm in a way that reminded her of Ealdor, she could almost hear the voices and distant sounds of people.
Once she'd collected the mushrooms and placed them in her back pack she stood, just stood there, opening up her senses and reaching them wide, the immediate area was dead to her as she moved further forward, past animal, plants and leaves and she could hear, feel and see it.
Her mother was stood just outside their home, smiling as she talked to somebody else in the village, a basket of something hitched on her hip and she was happy, that made Merlin beam, focusing purely on that and to her surprise her mother turned towards 'her' and smiled just a little brighter.
Her senses rippled back, rushing through to her and just as they reached her she heard the shout.
She only just moved in time, the beast slicing through the air where she had been and she snarled at it, growling low in her throat as it hissed darkly, she saw the human, the one who had shouted attack it with a sword only to be deflected and the chance came.
Jumping high her feet it it's head with the force a falling tree and flipping back the creature screeched and flew off.
She turned to look at the human to see tanned skin and black hair, he had a strong resemblance to Ewan.
"What's your name?"
"Lancelot." And he went into a dead faint, crimson spilled over his grey tunic and she caught him, throwing him over her shoulder and whistling for the still growling Athena before running at an easy pace for her and top speed for the Rottweiler.
Lancelot's dark skin was pale as they stood over him, a blanket covering him and his grey tunic removed.
Merlin leaned back looking at him, there was something so familiar, she needed to talk to Ewan but he was with Arthur to train the new recruits and while she'd happily piss off Arthur, she'd rather leave Ewan to it.
She listened to his strong, steady heartbeat and knew he'd be fine which left her to wonder what the hell had attacked them earlier.
"Wow Merlin, a tall dark stranger saved your life, hmm?" Morgana smirked as she walked into Arthurs chamber and said person was right behind her.
"Oh go play the romantic somewhere else, vampires and humans don't work." Merlin grouched, "Besides you also just described both of my brothers and sire so, give it a rest." Her eyes flashed red and her fangs snapped down and retreated so fast Morgana thought she had imagined it.
"What do you know about him?" Arthur asked.
"Nothing and don't be so hard on your new knights, just show me fighting you later, it'll knock their pride to smithereens." Merlin smirked and left.
"That girl." The prince muttered while Morgana smirked at him and his eyebrows creased, trying to understand it.
Merlin sat besides the now conscious man and handed him a fresh shirt.
"Well Lancelot, I should thank you and my name is Merlin."
"Your more than welcome milady." He blushed after pulling on the knew shirt.
"Merlin, my name is Merlin and welcome to Camelot, this is the physicians quarters and my Uncle Gaius is the court physician." The Dampire rose with ease and went to the door, opening it just as Ewan reached it and walked through, about to speak when he saw the person sat on the small cot.
"Ewan." The knight moved over and pulled the other man up so they could hug, the resemblance between them more evident then ever. After pulling back Ewan turned to the girl that had quietly looking away in respect.
"This is why you asked me up here, to see my cousin?"
"Sort of, I had my suspicions but I also need to look at your shoulder so you can sit." Athena barked her agreement and Ewan did as he was told and removed his shirt with a little help because his shoulder was still stiff.
Merlin kneeled beside him from where he'd sat on the low table and was perched above him, her fingers moving deftly to examine the muscle around the two small puncture marks that remained.
They weren't quiet healed yet and she leaned down to almost kiss the wounds letting her venom leach into them and smirking as the shiver ran through the knight, after which she started massaging the tense muscle, all but forcing it to relax and working away the stiffness that would ease away over the next few months.
"So Lance, why were you coming this way?" Ewan asked, letting the Dampire do what ever it was she was doing, his shoulder felt better though.
"I came to Camelot to fulfil my life's ambition, to be a knight." Lancelot smiled and Ewan chuckled and then winced when Merlin's fingers dug into the wrong place.
"Idiot, stay still. So we'll have two people fighting for the Du Lac family then." Merlin voice went from harsh to musing in seconds.
"So it would seem, I'm a knight, that is how my shoulder got like this, someone used a magic shield to attack me with snakes, if it weren't for Merlin I'd be dead." Ewan mused and Merlin just smiled at him before walking to grab a salve off the shelf.
"Lance, how...How did you survive?" Ewan asked and sad brown eyes met as Lancelot explained with a pained voice how his village was burnt and the knights had stopped the ransackers but not before most had died and he'd started to run.
"Okay, we'll talk to Arthur once Merlin's finished with my shoulder." And the Dampire just continued to rub in the light pink paste. "Ready to humiliate the new recruits?" Merlin chuckled and nodded leaving Lancelot bemused and wondering as Ewan pulled his shirt back on and Merlin wiped away the salve on her hands.
They were stood on the side of the field and Merlin leaned against a tree shaking her head as Arthur talked.
"Alright you jumped up Dung Beetles this is your final test. If you pass then you become a knight of Camelot. If you fail your journey ends here. This will not be easy. You must face the ultimate weapon, the ultimate killing machine. Me."
"It's true boys the only thing bigger than his fighting ability is his ego." She knew they'd heard her and Arthur glared in full force without restraint and vampiric red met his with a vindictive smirk. Lance stared at the girl there was something so dark and yet so light about her.
He wondered though why the prince let her get away with the insults.
They'd ended up not being able to talk to Arthur as he was in a foul mood and Merlin followed him back to his room and that was when armour started to fly.
"How the hell am I suppose to defend the kingdom when all I get are spoiled brats!" Merlin just dogged a piece hitting her head so she moved with unnatural speed and forced Arthur to sit, literally, her hands gripped in just the right places so he sat on the edge of the bed.
"Arthur, enough, I can't say I am any happier than you are but you can defend the kingdom already with the knights you have but more importantly when you become king, you can chose whoever you want to be a knight, you could even have me." She smiled and Arthur chuckled slightly and his shoulders relaxed, he didn't even notice as Merlin removed the last few pieces of his armour and place them on the pile on the table.
"Besides I may be able to help you, I was attacked some creature in the forest and saved by someone called Lancelot. Who also wants to be a knight, and is Ewan's cousin." Merlin said it completely casual but Arthur looked up at her with a little hope. "You'll have to wait a few days he was pretty badly injured when that thing attacked him and vampire venom only does so much to such a large wound."
The servant was surprised when she was suddenly pulled into a hug and she chuckled into his ear. "Your more than welcome, after all, what are friends for." She took the novelty of his hug know Arthur wasn't normally one for physical contact thanks to his fathers lack of affection.
Someone cleared their throat and Arthur pulled away while Merlin looked over her shoulder at the king who didn't seem pleased at all.
She just smiled and lightly ruffled the blonds hair before collecting his armour, and waited to see if his majesty would blow his top.
Merlin walked into the physicians quarter and nodded happily to Ewan and Lancelot who both grinned.
"In a few days though."
"Why?" Lancelot looked a little put out and Gaius shot him down.
"You are injured and unless you'll let Merlin bite you and put you though an excruciating amount of pain you will rest and be thankful vampire venom is a natural healing agent." The elderly man was not be argued with on this and Lancelot grimaced at the thought of the possible pain.
Merlin shrugged with a smirk.
"Oh and Merlin there is that Latin copy of vampire history you sent for." Gaius handed it over. "Though I have no idea why you want it."
"Arthur, I know he liked reading about our lore, thought he'd like this as well." She shrugged and went to polish the armour she was carrying.
"Come in." Morgana looked to the door and saw Arthur standing there and was slightly surprised.
"Arthur, what a surprise."
"I know, but I guess Merlin's staring to open my eyes to some things."
"Like..." Morgana looked at him dubiously and he chuckled, unsurprised because, really when had he ever listened to people but then again, before now he'd never had someone who was really a friend, they'd always seen at least part of him as the prince and Merlin never did.
"Like the fact that women aren't suppose to just sit around in a castle all day especially if they are good with a sword, I wanted to know if you'd like to train with me and Merlin?" The kings ward stared at him before hugging him tightly out of the blue.
"I'll take that as a yes." He was happy, this way at least his sister (that's what he thought of her as) would be able to take care of herself.
"Arthur." She said pulling away. "I heard you and Uther had an argument." The prince pulled a face and sat in a chair sighing.
"I gave Merlin a hug, in thanks for finding Lancelot and father came in."
"And hugging a servant is not befitting of a prince."
"Nor is letting a servant insult you and not sending them to the stocks." Arthur added and ran a hand through his hair.
"You know I've never know you to be a tactile person." Morgana muttered to herself, not expecting the prince to hear it.
"Because I was taught it was a weakness but then again I was taught anything magic was evil and the one true friend I have is Merlin, a creature pulled straight from the old religion. Knowing her and what she is, it made me re-think a lot of things, keeping my distance from people is one of those thing."
Morgana looked at him with a sparkle in her eye, she couldn't believe how much he'd thought about this and how he did think and care about what went on around him and she smiled an almost watery smiled and stood to give him another hug, conveying just what she thought to it herself.
The next day found Merlin teaching Morgana about how to hold and flip daggers and more importantly throw them.
Ewan was fighting Arthur who hit a hard blow to his shoulder that made him wince and drop the staff to the floor, gripping his shoulder and Arthur placed his own staff down and guided the other knight away, over to Merlin who hit the bullseye with her dagger while Morgana hit the outer ring and frowned slightly though she was determined.
Another knife flew through the air and hit the target in dead centre and Morgana compared Merlin's technique to her own and realised she wasn't using her shoulders enough, correcting it she tried again and got the third ring this time and Merlin clapped impressed, she was doing great for only a couple of hours training. She then turned away and looked at Ewan's shoulder.
Arthur started to throw to and was hitting the middle and second ring repeatedly, It was good to watch as over the hours as Morgana's throws got closer to Arthur's but it was obvious that she was focusing a lot harder than he was and none of them saw the kings disapproving frown from just outside of anyones view.
Later that day Merlin walked with the well rested Lancelot and Ewan to Gwen's and stole a hug from Tom before going inside.
"Hey Gwen. Lancelot meet Gwen, Gwen meet Lancelot." Merlin smiled and Gwen got to work measuring the soon to be knight for his new clothes.
"This is very kind of you milady."
"I'm no lady." She smiled and Merlin resisted face palming.
"How are you getting the material for this?" Ewan asked curiously.
"Merlin's getting it apparently." Lancelot looked at her in surprise.
"More money than I'll ever need, being such a good hunter does that." She shrugged and they all understood that was the end of the conversation.
Ewan and Merlin smirked at one another and held back their laughter as the two talked sheepishly and nearly cracked, dragging each other outside to have a good guffaw.
"I hope that the reason your laughing is one I'll like." The turned to Tom and just about had their breath back.
"They're besotted with each other but are to nervous and shy to function properly." Merlin giggled and Ewan bit the inside of his cheek.
"As long as nothing happens to my Gwen." Tom sighed and they nodded laughing and managed to get it together just as the two walked out of the house.
"That's all, it was a pleasure meeting you Lancelot."
"The pleasure was all mine." Lancelot bowed his head and they had to stop the bubbling laughter yet again.
"Ewan, can you tell me more about Lancelot." Arthur walked beside his knight who nodded.
"When I was younger my mother use to take us to visit her sister, she'd married beneath herself but my grandfather, rather than disowning had revoked her rights as a family member, but only hers and given her a small allowance each year. We always had fun and even at such a young age he was noble, then not long after I turned eleven we had news that their village had been attacked and there were no survivors." His eyes darkened and moistened at the same time.
"I was so shocked when I saw him, I knew it was him, older and more worn but it was him. I can also tell he's the same person at heart and Merlin thinks he'll do well so." Ewan shrugged and Arthur nodded his head, to be honest that was all he needed to hear.
They stood back while Lancelot looking as handsome as ever in his new clothes, own chain mail and Du Lac crest, handed over his family seal to Arthur who barely scanned it.
"You think your ready to be a knight."
"Yes sire I do." Lancelot's voice was just the right amount of confident and as soft as normal.
"Very well, for your first test meet me on the training field to fight your first opponent."
"Of course sire." And they had to wonder what he was doing.
Lancelot stood on the field and waited only for a whistling to catch his attention, it was slow, childish, and was sending a shiver down his spine and the air around him seemed colder, there were multiple people out watching including the king and Lady Morgana and evidently, he wasn't the only one scared.
Out of no where three wolves jumped at him as if they'd risen from the earth and he slashed at each one. People gasped as they saw there was nothing left behind, they'd just gone.
A snarl spread through the air and it ripped through him and everyone else. He barely dodged the arrows that whirled through the air and like the wolves, faded to nothing.
A dark, deep, chilling laugh filled everything, even in the bright sun it felt as if a shadow was hanging over everything.
He sensed rather than saw it. He slashed through the air and it laughed again, unaffected by the blade. He kept trying but he was just getting tired. He stopped and thought before stabbing behind him where he knew it was and was surprised to be thrown back skidding in the dirt and hear Arthur laugh.
Looking up he watched Merlin pull a sword out of her bare side, her clothing like she was missing the mid section of her usual clothing and the neckerchief and he couldn't be embarrassed because she looked far to much like a killer with the glowing red eyes and the blood seeping of the cut.
Then he saw Arthur stand over him with a grin and offer a hand which he used to pull himself up.
"Well done Lancelot, you passed the first test, tomorrow you face the final one. You okay Merlin?"
"I'm good, It'll be healed by the end of the week, I hope." She chuckled and hissed lightly. "Don't look so guilty Lance, I'm a Dampire, this is what I do besides, I think I scared you all enough to deserve it." She laughed, dark and chilling and dragged the darkness over anything to prove her point.
The next day was chaos, people were flooding in from the outer towns, all f which were said to have been attacked by some winged creature and they realised all to fast that it was circling in, trying to get towards Camelot and it was more importantly, magical.
"Lancelot." He looked up to see the prince "Later today, you have your final test. We need all the people we can get." He sighed and Lancelot nodded it was getting harder and harder to keep the towns people calm and they still had no idea what they were fighting.
"Lancelot, are you ready?" Arthur asked.
"As I'll ever be sire." He got into a stance, ready to fight as the 'hour'glass was turned over.
Each blow came hard and fast and he could barely keep up, he had one shot and one chance to beat someone as skilled as Arthur.
Suddenly the price caught him with a hard hit to the head the new recruit was seemingly unconscious.
Arthur sighed, he was disappointed, he'd hoped Lancelot would make it, as he walked forward he stopped just beside the fallen one and yelled when his ankle was pulled out from under him and he fell back.
Arthur felt a boot on his chest and a sword at his throat and grinned, it would seem he had a new knight.
The knights cheered and drunk, the women all standing around them except for Merlin who was drinking them all under the table, once again being a Dampire had advantages that she would use to their full.
Even the King had joined half way through and was the only one even remotely sober enough to give her competition, Ewan had an arm around her waist, hugging her to his side and Arthur was leaning on her shoulder, not caring weather she could handle the hundred and eighty pound of muscle plus forty of chain mail.
Soon she decided the two had had enough and thanked the King had the forethought to give each of the knights their own room in the castle for nights like these as she pushed Ewan into his after he got a good night kiss from her and then lead Arthur to his rooms.
The prince stumbled every step of the way to his bed even with most of his weight on the other and he collapsed onto the bed and moved to curle in the middle, Merlin was just about to leave when the prince tugged her over, pulling her close and burrowing his head into her shoulder. She just tucked a pillow under her head and let herself enjoy the comfort of the luxurious bed and the warmth beside her.
The next night all chaos was spreading, the creature was facing the knights and they had no way of blocking it as each attempt was just barrelled by.
Arthur was thrown back as it advanced on him, screeching and ready to kill when a roar of fury echoed over them all. The creature turned, facing the source of the threat and none of the knights had ever been more scared to see her.
The Dampire and the beast facing each other, both snarling and ready to tear one another apart.
Merlin grinned and pulled up, clicking her fingers with a laugh and fire sprung around it, sending the creature into a frenzy of panic and spiralling into the sky and away from Camelot. The knights turned to Merlin in time to see her eyes roll into the back of her head and hear the crack of her skull against stone.
Arthur felt this was getting far to familiar to be sat here, reading as his servant was unconscious from another death stunt.
Gaius was looking over her and Ewan was sunk into a corner before pacing, before going to the corner but Arthur couldn't be grudge him, that was the same thing his mind was doing.
They were surprised when the king stormed in.
"Arthur! You should be helping defend the kingdom not watching some servant!" The king boomed. He was seething and Ewan sunk further into the corner.
"I'm watching over a friend who saved my life." The prince hissed. He stood against his father who looked down on him when a hiss drew their attention. Merlin was on her side, clutching her throat in pain and a sheen of sweat cover her skin.
Gaius reached for her then pulled away, knowing she'd crush his hand in a second from the pain convulsions.
"Gaius what's wrong?"
"She's craving blood, it's causing pain because she over used her powers." Gaius fussed thinking of how to get her some when there was a shout outside that made both Gaius and the king follow and Ewan followed.
Arthur bit his lip and held his wrist to her lips, feeling his heart jump, and waited for the moment sharp fangs pierced his flesh.
His shoulders hunched as a rush of something went through him. It was like he could see the whole of time and history but was to small to comprehend it, and the feeling was so good and so frustrating, almost addictive in it's very nature.
What was more addictive was the clarity of life when the fangs pulled away and Merlin sat up, movements more than human, and more than any predator.
The shouts of prince and king were heard through half of the castle as Gaius walked through the door, Athena and Merlin right behind him, the Dampire looking pale and her eyes shined red as did her lips.
The prince gulped as he looked at his servant, she looked more like a vampire than he was use to, deadly and beautiful rolled into one.
"Gaius, do you know what this is?" Uther glared past his physician and Merlin had to fight not to laugh.
"I believe it is a Gryphon sire. A creature of magic."
"I have no time for this." The king snapped and Merlin did burst into laughter and could barely stay up.
"Merlin?" Arthur just gave her a bemused look.
"Sorry, I've just never met such a blatant idiot." She smirked and the king rose with his fist clenched. "I wouldn't if I were you or do you need a reminder of our history."
At that point Ewan, Leon and Lancelot entered and looked intrigued.
"History means nothing." Uther sneered and she laughed.
"Oh so the war of the dragons means nothing." She could feel to sets of blue eyes burning into her, one in anger, the other in curiosity.
"The war of the Dragons took place a hundred years ago between the houses of Pendragon and Draca. The king of Camelot sent several of his knights, including his son to Draca to talk with the Royals of Draca. King O'Caras son (Alex but she won't tell them that) took a shine to the prince and 'seduced' him into sleeping with him and letting him feed off him, doing both meant the Prince was now the property of the vampire and he didn't want to leave Draca, he did but it infuriated the king of Camelot and he raged war against the capital."
"The king of Camelot didn't realise what he was doing and Vampires flooded Camelot, it was a massacre, over half the knights and a large fraction of the army were torn apart in a single wave leading straight to the castle and the king would have been killed if the prince hadn't begged O'Caras son into stopping, The king realising he had no other choices called off the war and the vampires left without a word, but the prince went with them and still resides in Draca as a vampire."
"The moral of the story, never stand against a vampire, never mind the entire city, to attack or kill me would bring the wrath of Draca back which is why he doesn't dare do it." Merlin explained and smirked.
"Your an idiot if you think you can avoid magic." Merlin spat. "And your sending your son to his death, what would Ygraine think?" The king reared up.
"You dare talk of my wife."
"You dare insult her memory, you risk the very thing she gave her life for." Merlin snarled, the magic of the old religion flaring through her blood and snarling with the vampire.
Merlin turned and left without a thought to what the others would say or think, she was going to find a spell to rip this Gryphon apart.
When the three knights and Gaius reached the physicians quarters, Merlin was vampire speed reading, looking through books of magic.
"Merlin you can't be serious?" Ewan shook his head.
"Well what is anyone going to do about it, screw Uther, I'm sick of that thick headed idiot, he's only alive because I know it'll hurt Arthur." Merlin growled.
"You'll need more blood soon if you keep going?" Gaius warned.
"Then Camelot will see what a hungry Vampire is capable of." Was the rebuff before the Physician gripped her wrist and she stopped, her pulse racing bellow his hand.
"You three should go get ready, I'll stay and help Merlin." Gaius informed and the knights respected him enough to listen.
Gaius finally found the spell and placed it in front of his niece.
She looked over it and gulped.
"Merlin, are you okay?"
"I'm fine, it's just this is the hardest spell I've ever seen." She reached down into her boot and pulled out the dagger and started reciting the spell, willing her magic to work, praying to every deity she knew.
"You can do it Merlin." Gwen was stood their with tears in her eyes but she looked at Merlin with conviction, like she really believed she could do it.
"You always pull through, you did against Valiant and the Afanc, you'll do it again because you won't let anything hurt your friends." Gwen coached and Merlin nodded, a fire of red burning in her eyes as she again recited the spell, blue sparks coming off the weapon.
The knights had already gone and she was running faster than human, faster then most vampires and she could here the creature screeching.
When she reached the knights she could here all their heartbeats as they lay on the floor, only one beating strongly and that was Lancelot. He checked on Arthur and then stood, taking one of the horses and a jousting poll.
He faced the snarling, wing creature and charged the Dampire taking the opportunity for it's fullest. The spell rolled off her lips and her eyes glowed, but in the form of gold, not red and the blue flame ignited as the weapon collided with the Gryphon and it tore through the skin, into it's heart as Lancelot was knocked backwards off his horse but Merlin could still hear his heart under it all, the great beast tottering and falling on it's side, dead and never to wreak havoc on Camelot again.
When they returned to Camelot all the knights were feasting except Lance who pulled Merlin aside.
"You have magic?" She could sense the shock but their was no fear or hate and she sighed in relief.
"Yeah, I was born with it, Gwen and Gaius know and Arthur sort of does but he thinks it's all part of being a Dampire. Take the credit Lance, you deserve it, without you that thing would still be here besides, I have my own feast to attend away from the these humans." She grinned her eyes red and fangs on show before she faded into the shadows where she stood, first the black leather of her clothing then her entire form.
Merlin breathed in the dark air and jumped, feet smashing into the roof in which he could here the yells of a women and child, the father drunk and no one willing to stop him. She growled as he ran out and the two females shrunk into the corner of the room.
The man smelled good though in a savoury and bitter way, it was strange but blood was blood.
She barely shifted her weight to be in front of the human, shatter his knee cap with one kick so he was on the floor and she grinned before grabbing the back of his head, yanking it painfully so she could dig into the exposed flesh, seeding the vital artery with ease and getting a gurgled cry from her victim, her duty done for the night.
She walked back to the castle and remember exactly where she had come from, she knew that most likely the reason the women stayed was because it was the only way she'd have enough to live on so Merlin would make sure she was taken care of, she would not save her from one dark fate for her to be handed to another.