Arthur grinned as Gwaine got knocked down by Percival. He had been acting even more irritating than usual lately, and it felt good to see some humility knocked into him. Percival helped Gwaine to his feet and Arthur could see the pouting expression from across the sparring field. Gwaine stalked off and Bedivere, grinning, stepped into the square opposite Percival. The knights ad been spending most of their spare time competing with each other, and, so far, Percival and Bedivere were on the same level. They had just raised their swords when a blast of blue light flew between them.
It continued in a straight line and collided with a tree, causing it to bend backwards as it absorbed the magic. As one, the entire field turned and stared as Merlin backed into the field, dodging bolts of light. Arthur stared, incredulous, at the suits of armour, firing off rounds of blue light.
"Merlin!" he called, earning a quick look from the young man.
"What?" he called back. Gwaine butted in.
"The walking suits of armour! Explain?"
"Arch thought it would be funny to…" he blasted two of them to bits, leaving three to deal with.
"… animate things. He missed the stone pigeon and well…" he blasted another one, sending it into the other two and causing them to fall into pieces. "… Yeah. Armour." He dusted off is hands and his jacket before turning and heading towards Arthur. The men in the field turned back to what they were doing, either smiling, sighing or shaking their heads, amused.
Merlin reached Arthur and slumped down onto the grass, leaning against the tent. Arthur leant against the pole, next to him.
"Armour…? Last week he lit all of the torches in the castle and they wouldn't go out for three days. The week before, he made Gwaine's room completely uninhabitable, what with that grey mist. The week before that, he made cook lose all of her hair… Don't laugh."
Merlin wiped the grin from his face and sighed. "Yeah… I know." Arthur sat down next to him.
Merlin sighed. Ever since Archie had turned up, having been sent by Hunith, the eleven, now twelve year old, had been nothing but trouble. Seeming to enjoy playing tricks on people with magic, he had delighted in tormenting anybody, most commonly Gwaine and the cook. Merlin exhaled again.
"I promised my mother that I would try and help. But it been nearly a year and he is showing even less control than when he arrived. "
"Well… you could always follow Gaius' advice and take him to the druids…? I'm sorry Merlin, but he's started to cause even more trouble lately, and it's only a matter of time before people get hurt…"
"I know…" Merlin jumped as the sound of crashing rocks echoed from the courtyard. "Damn it… I swear if that is Archie's fault… "
"Well, we'd better go find out then, hadn't we?"
Arthur got up and started jogging towards the sound of the commotion. Merlin couldn't help but smile. So much had changed in the last two years. Steps were in place for a treaty that would bind all of the kingdoms together. Camelot had been rebuilt. There had been no magical attacks on the kingdom since Morgana vanished… But most of all, Arthur had lifted the ban on sorcery. Things were still slightly tense, but Sorcerers were no longer executed just for having magic. Several people in Camelot had proven to be sorcerers themselves, and after a slightly strained talk, they had begun to use their powers to help in Camelot, mainly as healers, but two of the men had also become guards. It took a few months but, eventually, everything settled down, and now it seemed as though things had always been this way. Even if he had become the unofficial ringleader of Camelot's magical population.
"Merlin! Move it!" Merlin blinked and he lost his train of thought as Arthur called him again.
"I'm not dealing with him alone!"
Merlin got to his feet and ran after Arthur, marvelling that Arthur had actually let Archie stay, considering that he had problems controlling his magic. He caught up to Arthur just as he entered the courtyard and they both stopped cold. Archie was stood in the middle of the yard, blasting magic at anybody around him. His eyes fell on Merlin and they widened, fear evident in them.
"Merlin! I can't stop! It won't let me!" His panic was evident and Arthur shoved Merlin over, landing on top of him, and shouting.
"What does he mean 'it won't let him'?!" he yelled, rolling to his feet, and immediately ducking to avoid another burst of light.
"Must be a curse… or a possession…" Merlin threw a shield in front of Arthur just in time to absorb the next blast that came at him. "…Or something! Gaius!" This was to the physician as he came running down the steps.
"Merlin! It's a curse!" He dodged a bolt of light, showing extreme agility for someone his age and ducked behind the stone steps. Archie called out again, his fear evident in his voice,
Merlin left the shield in front of Arthur and ran, ducking and weaving, towards Archie. As soon as he reached him, he grabbed his hands and shouted a spell, sighing in relief as Archie fell, limp, into his arms. Dropping the shield from around Arthur, he got a better grip on the young boy and called to Gaius.
"And how do you explain this one?"
Arthur ran over.
"Damn it Merlin. What was that?" Merlin shook his head,
"I don't know… Some sort of curse according to Gaius…"
"Great. Anything else?"
"No. Nothing." Merlin looked at him, questioningly, "What's the matter?"
"I just thought that we had seen the last of this kind of thing when we saw the last of Morgana."
The knights ran into the courtyard and Arthur groaned. "See if you can find out what's wrong… I'll deal with everything out here…" Merlin sighed.
"Go Merlin. Find a way to help him."
Merlin got a more secure grip on the small boy in his arms and turned to Gaius.
"Well… Maybe the druids weren't such a bad idea after all…"