Isabella laughed lightly, a look of awe on her face as Camelot came into view, the mightly citadel towering high above the populace.
She grinned before looking down at her self, her innocent azure orbs assessing her dirty black clothes: tight leather trousers, worn leather boots, a loose fitted shirt which travelled to her thighs, and a hooded cloak which drowned her small frame.
She sighed ripping a piece of the soft material, before pulling her waist length, curly ebony hair into a ponytail.
It would have to do. She only hoped her brother would remember her, but it had been so long, when she had run off from the village with her friend Ysmay.
She started forward, wincing as jolts of pain shot up her leg from where an arrow had been lodged, she was no physician but even she knew she couldnt have left the wood to fester within the wound, so she had pulled it out and tied a piece of her cloak around her thigh, changing it every now and then, tearing the soft fabric.
About an hour later, she stood within the walls of Camelot she looked around in awe of the majestic city, before wandering towards to palace, her brother would surely be there, their mother did send him to Gaius afterall.
"Miss" Isabella heard from behind her and she turned, staring wide eyed into the faces of three knights, the first stood tall and silent to the left of the one who had spoken, the other smaller but to the right, with auburn hair falling in soft curls around his face.
"Miss?" The knight asked again, his voice had a delicate brogue, Irish I think, he had dark hair and ruggedly handsome features.
"I, er I-" I stuttered unable to do anything else, until I heard a familiar voice behind me shout:
"Belle" I turned quickly and saw my brother Merlin staring at me in shock.
"Merlin" I gasped out "Merlin" I repeated almost shouting his name as I ran at him, forgetting the pain shooting down my leg, it didnt matter now "Oh Merlin, thank God" I whispered into his neck as I buried my face there and locked my arms tightly around him, unwilling to release him now the comforting warmth of his body was soothing the pains of my own.
"Belle" he whispered "We thought you dead" I heard the disappointment in his tone, and I didnt miss the underlying anger it held.
"Forgive me brother" I pleaded softly "My leg it hurts" I whimpered as I pulled away, his eyes were immidiately drawn to my thigh, where the material of my cloak covered the torn leather.
My eyes were drawn to the blonde man beside him, as well as the presence of the three knights that had confronted me, behind me "This is my sister Isabella" Merlin introduced me quickly "Belle this is King Arthur, Sir's Percival, Gwaine and Leon" I nodded softly.
"A pleasure" I replied before a darkness overcame me.
When I awoke I no longer felt the agonising pain in my leg, I sat up as I heard Merlin call my name "Belle! Thank God you're awake" I raised an eyebrow "You've been out for a little over a week, Gaius didnt know if you'd pull through, you lost a lot of blood and then had a fever on top of that... how long did you have that wound untreated?" he asked softly.
"A few days; Ysmay's village was attacked, her and her family were slaughtered before my eyes, I ran; into the forest, along with others" I paused "I thought of going home, to Ealdor, but I wanted to see you again, I want to stay with you Merlin, I do-"
He cut me off "I'm glad you want to stay, I think Arthur will let you and Gaius wont have any complaints"
"Thank you Merlin" I whispered.
"Come on Belle, I want to introduce you properly to my friends" he grinned goofily.
I smirked "Very well big brother... just get me clothes first"
He nodded and brought my small bag over, he left the room while I changed into tight black pants, an oversized black shirt, I pulled on my comfy worn leather boots and left the small room.
I saw Merlin waiting for me, so I grabbed the black leather bracelet adorning my wrist and used it to tie my hair into a pony tail, I was ready to leave when he held something in front of me, I looked at him confused "I remember everything about you Belle" he whispered softly.
I took what he had and saw it was a long black cloak, similar to my own before it was torn and ruined, I put it and and pulled up the hood, covering my entire face with its shadow, before wrapping my arms around my brother "Thank you brother, I love it, thank you"
He grinned at me before dragging me out of the door, although wary of my still healing leg.
He pulled me outside where I saw the knights were training I recognised Arthur, and the three knights I had met but apart from that I was clue less.
The knights noticed me and tensed looking to Arthur on what to do about the hooded stranger in their midst.
"Arthur" Merlin said gently "My sister Isabella"
I pulled down my hood, my features were pale and unblemished, no longer caked in the dirt and blood that had gathered from days of travel, my blue eyes, I knew made me look innocent and naive.
I brushed a hand through my hair, undoing the bracelet and letting my black hair fall in soft curls down to my waist, a harsh contrast to the paleness of my skin.
The majority of the knights went back to training save for the three I had met and one other, but my attention was drawn by the tall King before I could observe them further.
"You are Merlin's sister" he stated.
"And you are the King" I replied dryly, causing him to glare at me.
"He never mentioned you" the King clarified.
I nodded "I didnt imagine he had... he thought me dead, I ran off when I was younger with a friend, Ysmay to her family's village, and stayed there until we were attacked a-"
"And you fled" he finished softly.
"Yes" I sighed "Ysmay and her family were the first to die, I was in the forest already, collecting herbs for the village physician"
"It must be hard for you" he said, his voice filled with compassion and sympathy.
"Yes, she was a good friend, but I imagine knights go through much worse than what I have, you face more challenges in a week than I have in my entire life"
"Each person has their own challenges to overcome, all of which come in varying forms"
He chuckled "You are not like Merlin"
I laughed "No, I am almost the complete opposite, aside from our features"
"You are welcome to stay in Camelot Isabella, for as long as you need"
"Thank you Your-"
"Call me Arthur, please"
"Thank you Arthur, and you can call me Belle if you wish, Merlin does"
He grinned before letting his eyes rest on the knights gathered with Merlin "Leon, Elyon, Percival, Gwaine, Merlin" he greeted before allowing Merlin to step forward.
"This is my sister Isabella, as most of you already know" he introduced again, and pointed out each knight to me.
"Hello" I said softly, smiling slightly at the knights gathered before me.
"Lady Is-" Sir Leon started before I cut him off.
"Please call me Belle"
"Belle" he started again, smiling gently at me "It is a pleasure to meet you, but Merlin had not yet mentioned he had such a beautiful sister"
Gwaine then cut in "It is difficult to believe that such a delicate creature is related to him" this caused the knights to chuckle lightly.
I smirked at Merlin but then spoke up "Merlin is the best brother I could wish for" I looked at him, his gaze questioning "I truly am sorry brother, forgive me"
I walked away, back to the castle when someone approached, I looked up and saw it was Gwaine "Sir Gw-"
He cut me off "If I am to call you Belle, you must call me Gwaine, no formalities"
I nodded, chuckling slightly "So Gwaine what can I do for you?"
"I didnt intend to upset you, with what I said"
"You didnt, but what I did to my family, what I said before I left it was -" I sighed "Merlin took me back with out question, I doubt I would have done so had he done what I did to him, I am not worth him"
Gwaine sighed "Merlin never mentioned you, not to the others. But he did once, to me when I was helping him out, he told me of his beautiful little sister Isabella. You never left his mind" Gwaine rested his hand on my arm, pulling me to a stop "When you collapsed, the day you arrived, I had never seen him so upset, even Arthur gave him a day off, he loves you"
I looked at Gwaine, he looked taken aback when he saw tears running down my face, I pulled him into a hug "Thank you, thank you Gwaine, thank you" I repeated until I heard Merlin coming over.
I pulled away and smiled softly before pulling my hood up and allowing Merlin to show me around.