It was eve in the city of Camelot.
Hunith walked into Camelot, fondly thinking of her beloved son, Merlin. Her boy was so very extraordinary, so precocious. She herself knew precious little of magic, but she did know that what magic her son did was quite unique. It was hard for her to let go of her little boy, that too into Camelot of all places. She knew that living in the shadows, without the approval or acknowledgement from those whom he saved from death regularly was taking a toll on his happiness.
After all, it wasn't exactly easy to live a lie in the present for some utopia in the distant future. Mother and son had given up much for the sake of Albion.
"Enough reminiscing" Hunith thought to herself. Melancholia was not for her. She always looked at the light, come whatever darkness. Her son had at least inherited that from her.
She remembered the army that had swept out from Essetir a few days ago. There was something wrong with that army. Something magical. She always had an intuition about these things, an intuition she picked up from her time with Balinor. Ealdor was sacked and the villagers had fled. The villagers had fled towards Camelot remembering its aid during Kanen's attack. So she too had fled with them.
Here she was now in Camelot's courtyard, which was filled with people. And in Camelot that was never a good thing.
The courtyard, which used to be so vibrant and alive, was now under a pall of gloom and the mood was apprehensive. Hunith couldn't supress her scared heart's urgings, telling her to make sure that her son was alright. She pushed her way to the head of the crowd to do just that….and she was confused.
Morgana Pendragon stood tall in the balcony, the crown adorning her. On her right stood a golden haired woman in armour, a hand upon her .Facing her stood Sir Leon in the courtyard, his back straight and proud, a look of fierce defiance on him. Behind him were all the knights of Camelot.
Hunith had no idea what was going on here. She only wanted to find her son. Her eyes roamed the crowds for Merlin, but could not find him. Instead she met Gwen's eyes, which widened.
Morgana addressed Leon, "Tell me, Sir Leon, how have you enjoyed the first week of my reign? Speak up. Are you and your fellow knights ready to honour and serve me?"
"I would rather die", Leon declared.
"That can be arranged", Morgause smirked.
"My loyalty is to the King and Prince Arthur. There is nothing you can do to change that".
"We shall see. I shall ask one final time, will you swear to me?"
"Long live the King!" Leon reaffirmed in a loud voice. "Long live the king!" declared the knights of Camelot in Leon's support. Morgana's face went cold with rage.
"Perhaps this will help you change your mind".
Morgana looked at the crowds and gestured to her archers. Gwen yelled out in horror, as did Leon. Hunith watched dumbly. She was shocked by Morgana's change. But those would be her last ponderings, as a volley of arrows from the crossbows of Morgana's army struck Hunith and those around her, making her collapse. She stared at the arrow protruding through her chest, aware of Gwen's loud screaming as she hurried through the crowd towards her. The knights, who noticed Gwen's tortured screams, looked on with foreboding.
Gwen hurried to Hunith's side and held her head up whispering denials. The last word she heard from merlin's mother was her son's name. "No!" she screamed, this could not be happening. Merlin, her best friend, was orphaned. Tears streamed down her eyes. For the very first time, Gwen felt hatred fill her soul against Morgana. She knew Merlin would be broken forever, and would not be fixed after this.
Leon came to Gwen and Morgana came too.
"Who is that? She seems familiar", Leon asked softly, pointing at Hunith. Gwen ceased her tears slowly, and looked at Leon.
"She is….was Merlin's mother", Morgana said. She looked impassive, her face betraying nothing. Gwen just stared at her, lost.
"You will pay for this, Morgana" Leon said with a vengeance. Morgana only looked at him with disdain and left for her quarters, But not before ordering his incarceration.
"Serves him right", Morgause said before following her sister into the throne room. "We need to get out of here" Gwen thought, as she took Merlin's mother's corpse out of the street.
…..THE NEXT DAY…
Morgana sat in her chambers, in deep thought. She had never counted on Hunith being in Camelot yesterday. Gwen's screams tortured her, as did Hunith's blank eyes. To stave off the uncertainty she was feeling she threw herself deeper into how to use Gwen's departure from Camelot the previous night to her advantage. Oh, she knew all too well of her traitorous maid smuggling Leon and Hunith's corpse, and there was absolutely no doubt where she was going. To Arthur and Merlin. Morgause's tracking spell made sure that she could be tracked easily.
Gwen and Leon were almost to Arthur's hideout. Suddenly Gwen saw Arthur behind the trees a few yards ahead, and ran up into his arms kissing him with force, wanting badly for some of the emptiness to go away. Leon walked sombrely behind her, Hunith's body in his arms.
"Leon!" Arthur exclaimed as he ran up to his faithful knight, but stopped dead seeing the body in his arms. He shook his head dumbly in denial.
"It was Morgana, Arthur. She shot at the townspeople to cow us. She killed Hunith", Leon said hoping to bring Arthur out of his trancelike state. An arrow suddenly embedded itself next to Arthur's head on a tree, spurring Arthur into action. He shouted for them to follow him, and ran through the forest.
After many twists and turns, and warding off a few soldiers, they were in the hideout. They could hear the soldiers prowling outside, but they were unlikely to be discovered.
"Oh no….Merlin!" Arthur said to Gwen and Leon, panting.
Meanwhile, Merlin considered just how he was to use the gift given to him by the fisher king. He sat disconsolately, leaning against the wall of their cave.
The lake of Avalon held for him such tragic memories. He remembered Freya, her gentleness, their hope to make for themselves a happy life. Alas, it was not to be. Why did destiny always exact such a harsh price from him? The father he never knew, Balinor. His one and only love, Freya…and one loss he regretted above all others, one he truly could have prevented, Morgana.
He should have told her about his magic. He should have helped her in her hour of need
Really, destiny had it out for him.
"Merlin!" came Arthur's voice. Wearily Merlin got to his feet to attend to his clotpole of a master. The prat must really have something going on to yell like a girl. Last he checked Arthur certainly was moping around like one.
He walked to the cave entrance and saw his friends, Gaius, Arthur and Gwen all gathered in a circle around something. He rushed up all too delightedly, enveloping Gwen in a hug, "You're all right!" he exclaimed. He was disturbed when no one met his eyes.
"What happened?" he asked quietly.
Reluctantly, they parted their circle to reveal…
"Mother? Is she unconscious. Gaius, you have to help her. Please, you have to." He clung to her, like he did when he was little. Hoping she would comfort him like back then.
"I'm S...Sorry, Merlin" Gaius said, tears gathering in his eyes. Merlin was in his own hell. His mother, gone. He felt numb. Then, he saw the hole in her chest. Undoubtedly it was of a crossbow bolt.
"Who did this?" Merlin asked blankly.
"Morgana. I defied her, and she ordered her archers to shoot at the citizens. Hunith…Hunith was hit in all the confusion. Merlin…I am truly sorry. More than I can say", Leon said sadly.
Emotion suddenly raged through Merlin. How could this happen? How dare that miserable excuse of a woman take from him his mother? He was orphaned because of her, his poor mother lying dead on the floor. Rage burned through his mind like a volcano. He would make her pay. He would spare none of his regret for her. He would deal her the same pain that was dealt him.
"I will bury her. I do not require your presence" Merlin said to his friends. Arthur was truly disturbed by the look of malice in his servant's eyes. His friend did not deserve to be alone.
" I could come with..". "No.", Merlin cut in. "I will take care of it alone". Slowly he gathered up his mother, and mounted his horse. He knew how his mother would be sent to the afterlife. Tears falling from his face, he rode towards the lake of Avalon.