Chapter 43: The End of an Era
Morgana cried tearfully as she watched Merlin fly away off to reengage Roku, alone, in combat. She cursed angrily as angry tears burned down her face as she tried, with no success to destroy the barrier surrounding her.
That idiot! Morgana thought to herself angrily. That stupid, inconsiderate, chivalristic idiot! As one after another of Morgana's spells had no effect on the barrier before her Morgana fell to her knees as she began to cry. It was going to end this way: her left alone in a barrier meant to protect her when the only other human who may have had any idea how she felt was flying off to what could possibly be his own funeral. As she continued to cry she heard the sudden flapping of wings; she looked up expectantly only to see Aithusa flying down to meet with her.
"What happened?" Aithusa asked as she landed down besides the barrier.
"Merlin trapped me in this barrier before going off to fight Roku," Morgana said angrily, tears still going down her face. Aithusa went to approach Morgana when she noticed the book of Demonology on the ground. Approaching it she read the page Morgana had shown Merlin for several seconds before hissing painfully.
"What's wrong?" Morgana asked.
"Father's planning to sacrifice himself!"
"WHAT?!" Aithusa nudged the book so Morgana could look at the unreadable print.
"I remember Kilgharrah telling me about a time a Warlock by the name of Cornelius Sigan had been entrapped in a gem, being too powerful to be trapped in an average prison."
"What does he have to do with anything?" Morgana asked.
"There's a different variation of the spell here, that if a spirit tries to possess someone both beings are destroyed."
"You don't think Merlin's going to sacrifice himself to kill Roku do you?" Morgana asked in a panic.
"Wouldn't you?" Angry at herself Morgana began slamming at the barrier with the staff and Sword hoping to break through it the mundane way. Suddenly after a few minutes of this a voice came from behind Morgana.
"That is enough High Priestess." Morgana turned around rapidly to meet face to face with the Druid leader Drygor and four other robed druids. They seemed exhausted and were covered in black blood as they looked at Morgana with a wary respect.
"Drygor, what are you doing here?" Morgana asked.
"Due to the Greater Demon's release tears in the veil have been formed, the Druid clans have done our best to keep the beasts beyond the veil as we slowly reseal the tears.
"So you know what's going on then?" Morgana asked in surprise. Drygor nodded solemnly.
"It has been foretold that one day the being known as Emrys would save us from the destruction of Albion. It would seem that that time is now, and from what we heard from the young Dragonelle Emrys intends to sacrifice himself to save the world."
"But there has to be another way," Morgana begged. "We can't let Merlin die to save everyone."
"It has been foretold that Emrys would save us but there is nothing specific claiming he will live or die; interfering with his actions might kill us all."
"But it could also save us all!" Morgana retorted angrily.
"Be calm High Priestess," Drygor warned Morgana. "Do not take my insight for cruelty. I do not wish for Emrys to die, my people even revived and repaired a creature from the castles destroyed dungeons to aid him, but that and sealing all of the tears in the veils is all we are capable of."
"A creature from the dungeons? Was it a Golem?" Morgana asked hopefully. Drygor nodded showing no surprise on his face.
"Yes, though even with all of our power we were only barely able to return it to life, it was still in a very damaged condition." As Morgana brushed against the necklace Gorat had made for her a pained roar could be heard from miles away most likely from the center of what was once Camelot.
"Merlin," Morgana said fearfully. She turned back to Drygor and said in a pleading voice, "You have to get me out of here."
"I am unsure if we can," Drygor admitted.
"Please you have to try!" Morgana begged. "Whether Merlin is meant to die or not doesn't matter but I need to be there, please!" Drygor looked hesitantly at the barrier surrounding Morgana before finally nodding as he instructed his men to surround the barrier. The four of them chanted a spell in unison as the barrier seemed to flicker slightly. Realizing they needed help Morgana chanted the spell in unison with the Druids pouring all of her spare energy into the spell to help fuel the spell. Morgana's power was enough to overcome the barrier as it suddenly dissipated from around her; ignoring the sudden exhaustion overtaking her she rushed onto Aithusa's back after grabbing the ancient book from the ground and mounting the Dragonelle. Without waiting for a command Aithusa flew into the air with a roar as she flew off towards Camelot. As the two flew they saw a sight that caused both of them to go cold: Merlin was on the ground penetrated by several of Roku's claws with Gorat standing directly in front of him also with claws in his body. Roku's form was dissipating into a black mist as his claws disappeared from Merlin and Gorat as the missed forced itself towards Merlin as it entered his form through his mouth, nose, eyes and ears.
"MERLIN NO!" Morgana called out desperately as she and Aithusa flew towards him. As the last of Roku's essence seemed to enter Merlin's body a shockwave of phenomenal power seemed to emanate from Merlin's body that not only forced Aithusa out of the sky but even caused Gorat to fly several yards. When the shockwave finally decided to dissolve Morgana looked up to see Merlin's body seeming to convulse in midair, as if he was fighting with something within him. Unable to stand due to the impact of the shockwave she crawled haggardly towards Merlin's contorting body when it suddenly fell to the ground as the remains of Roku's mist around his body seemed to disappear.
"No…" Morgana whispered desperately as she crawled towards Merlin resting her hands on his cold face. "Please don't leave me," she cried. She put her hands on the vital points of his body but everywhere she placed them they were cold; no pulse and no heat coming from his body. Morgana began to shiver at the dark realization that he could be dead.
"Please… you can't…." the tears were flowing freely down Morgana's face; she cried more than she thought possible as Aithusa slowly slumped towards them. Seeing the condition of her Father and lord Aithusa released an ear splitting screech that embodied the sadness within her. Morgana continued to cry as she buried her head into Merlin's unmoving chest. She heard a giant thump from behind her, and assumed it must be Gorat as she continued to cry into the chest without moving. She realized after a while that Aithusa had moved her head by Merlin's arm and worked her neck under it to simulate an embrace. She hummed sadly as she nuzzled close into his side hoping that the warmth in his side would awaken him. Morgana didn't know how long she had been lying there and she didn't care, she was silently wishing for death to take her and save her from an immortal life without Merlin. As she continued to cry a sudden feeling caused her to jump in surprise and fear.
Morgana jumped at the feeling and looked down at Merlin's chest. Fearing that she had been imagining things she put her ear to Merlin's chest in a desperate hope that she wasn't imagining things.
"He's still alive!" Morgana said erratically as Aithusa shot up from her position.
"Are you sure?" she asked hopefully.
"I heard a heartbeat he has to be!"
"But is it Father or someone else?" Aithusa asked wearily. Morgana looked down hesitantly at Merlin's body and realized that Aithusa was right. They had no idea if Merlin had succeeded in destroying Roku or if the Greater Demon was just resting into his new body. Before Morgana had any time to plan anything Merlin's eyes shot open as he inhaled an extremely deep breath before entering a fit of coughing. Morgana tried to read whether it was Merlin or Roku struggling for breath and was wondering if she would even be able to strike at him if Roku had prevailed; fortunately she didn't have to attack him because as his eyes opened she nearly fainted from relief to see that his eyes were a deep shade of blue.
"MERLIN!" She cried with tears of joy, wrapping her arms around Merlin in a deadlock grip. "I swear to the gods if you ever do something so stupid like that again I swear I will run you through with Mordred's sword.
"M-morgana," Merlin rasped hazardly.
"What's wrong?" Morgana asked in a panic.
"I can't breathe," he managed with difficulty. Realizing she was on top of Merlin and squeezing his neck Morgana apologetically unwrapped her arms around him as he inhaled a relieved breath. Aithusa, knowing that an embrace from her may kill Merlin, breathed into him a magical breath that at the very least alleviated him of some of the pain he was in.
"Thank you," Merlin said with a cough as Morgana helped him to sit up.
"What did you do to Roku?" Morgana asked. Reaching at his chest Merlin pulled at the Dragon Scale necklace of Kilgharrah he wore around his neck as he held it up to Morgana.
"When I read the book about that suicide spell it reminded me of when I had to reseal Cornelius Sigan into a jewel. I remember Alice telling me that most Greater Demons used to be demons of Pride, so by wounding Roku's he wasn't able to resist trying to possess me."
"So you trapped him in Kilgharrah's scale?" Aithusa asked in surprise. Merlin nodded haggardly.
"Dragon scales are similar in make to jewels, so I took a chance and prayed it would work as one for the spell."
"But what if it hadn't?" Morgana asked worriedly. Merlin looked to her with a serious expression in his face and she knew what would have happened without him telling her. "So will the scale hold him?" Morgana asked looking at the bronze scale around his neck.
"I think so," Merlin said. "His body beneath the Yggdrasill should be destroyed since his spirit is technically no longer in contact with it and he'll be seriously weakened for a few centuries before he can attempt to escape. By then I'll have put him in a more suitable prison." Merlin sighed exhaustedly as he looked to Morgana with an apologetic smile. "I don't suppose you have any water?" Slap! Surprising both Aithusa and Merlin they looked at Morgana with both shock and surprise.
"Now you listen to me Merlin," Morgana interrupted in an angry cracking voice. "You left me in a barrier of magic while you went off to sacrifice yourself against a Greater Demon and then you have the nerve to ask me for some water?"
"I did that to keep you safe-"
"I DON'T CARE WHY YOU DID IT!" Morgana shouted causing even Gorat several yards away to flinch from the ice in her tone. "We were supposed to fight him together, not separately. The next time you ever do something like that to me again I swear I will feed you to the Fomorroh do you understand me?"
"Perfectly," Merlin said weakly. He suddenly found himself in a desperate and passionate kiss with Morgana as she pulled away and rested her forehead onto his.
"I thought I had lost you Merlin," she said in a trembling voice. Merlin struggled to raise his hand and put it to her cheek as he said in an apologetic tone,
"It's not something I ever plan to do again." It was then that he realized that Gorat hadn't moved from its seated position on the ground yards away from him. With Aithusa's help the three walked over to the Golem as it sat there, turning its head only to look at them as they approached. Much of the Onyx used to forge it had been damaged beyond repair and purple tendrils of magic seemed to lash out at random intervals to make it seem unstable.
"Gorat," Merlin said as he approached. The Golem looked to Merlin solemnly and looked away.
"I'm sorry," it said sadly.
"For what?" Merlin asked confused.
"Back in the dungeons, I couldn't protect you. You could have died."
"But I didn't," Merlin argued.
"No thanks to me," Gorat countered. "Friend and Just Jane nearly died, and I couldn't do anything for most of it." Morgana approached Gorat and showed her the necklace of her frozen tears it had made for her what seemed an eternity ago.
"We're glad you're ok Gorat," she said in a soft voice.
"I'm sorry," Gorat said again, sounding as if it'd cry if it could.
"I'm sorry," Morgana said putting a gentle hand on Gorat's scared face. "I wasn't strong enough to protect you or Merlin. It's also my fault that Roku nearly destroyed the world."
"I'm sorry," Gorat said again trembling.
"We forgive you," Merlin said causing Gorat's head to turn towards him suddenly as if in shock.
"Really?" it asked.
"Absolutely," Merlin insisted. "And besides, the four of us are going to be together for a long time, and it'll be weird if you're always sulking around us," Merlin teased with a smile. Gorat smiled in return as he stood up from his seat-
only to have his left arm fall off completely. Morgana put her hands to her mouth in shock as Merlin couldn't help but laugh at Gorat's clueless expression.
"Although it'd be smart to return to Azbek first and have Mornack make some repairs I see," Merlin said with a chuckle. Gorat picked up his left arm with his right and threw it over his shoulder as the four unlikely group members walked away from the ruins of the once great city. When they walked away from the city limits and stood on a cliff overlooking the remains Merlin froze and looked down at the ruins of Camelot.
"What's wrong?" Morgana asked worriedly as she slipped her arm around Merlin's.
"Kilgharrah once told me that he didn't believe this problem would be Albion's darkest hour that Arthur would arise and together we'd vanquish the real threat. If this threat nearly destroyed the world what is the darkest hour?"
"I don't know," Morgana replied honestly. She looked at Merlin and he looked back to her, a worried look obvious on his face. "But I can tell you that when it comes, we'll deal with it together." Merlin nodded at Morgana with a small smile as they limped after Aithusa, hoping to be ready for whatever the future might bring them to.
Manchester England, December 24th 2012
Merlin, finally an old man in image, was walking down the street against the cold wind as he stopped after a speeding car passed him as he looked to what was still known to him as the Lake of Avalon. He sighed inwardly to himself, not even bothering to look at the lone island in its center, as he continued his trek home. For centuries he had waited for Arthur to return, for centuries Merlin had fought whatever threat had arose in the world, hoping that this would be the time his dear friend would arise, and for centuries he remained depressed as he aimlessly waited for his friend to return to him. The constant fear that he had failed him constantly gnawing at the back of his mind. The one thing though that Merlin was forever grateful though was that he was no longer alone in his quest. For the centuries that had passed he had traveled the world with Morgana and the others fighting and growing as they defeated the threats that arose not only in the former land of Albion but wherever it may be.
Aithusa, who was now over nine hundred, was far too old and large to travel with them anymore a fact that saddened Merlin and Morgana greatly. She was forced to remain in a heavily mountainous area far from anywhere people could live in the cold. They still visited her when they could but they feared the once young Dragonelle didn't have much longer to live. Kilgharrah had lived to over a thousand and that was with a spirit fused into his being, he had no clue how much longer Aithusa had. They still spoke with her everyday though even if just for a few minutes, and that was enough for the time being. As Merlin entered the city he looked around and couldn't help but smile at the sight of all the Christmas decorations. Many things had changed the past nine hundred years or so but his love of the holidays was not one of them. While he knew he had to adapt with the constantly changing times there were a few things that would never change about the old man. For one thing he hated riding in cars; he had always either walked or ridden horses for centuries and he had never bothered to get lessons on how to drive. He also preferred reading books to watching television, particularly after Disney's interpretation of himself in 'The Sword in the Stone'. Morgana found the show humorous and entertaining while it upset Merlin considerably at how much they had gotten wrong. He had even gone so far as to call Disney to complain but was hung up on immediately. He didn't want to listen to most music that people enjoyed, although he was a fan of Classical music and the Singer Frank Sinatra. Morgana was much more modern and up to date with the times and Merlin was astounded with how she was able to keep up with all the trends and happenings in the world.
As Merlin walked toward his home and place of business, a tavern called The Heart of Albion, he sighed in relief at getting out of the cold and into the warm, merry atmosphere of the tavern. It was a full house tonight, over fifty or sixty people were in the bar drinking and having a good time. It was known that The Heart of Albion was one of the best bars in England and many from all over wanted to visit at least once. As he walked past the guests, saying hi to a few he knew personally, he walked up to the bar keep who was smiling cheerily.
"Aye boss, enjoy yer walk?" the man teased good humoredly.
"I did in fact Thomas, how's business?" Merlin asked in a pleasant tone.
"Oh none too bad tonight, I think we're running a tad low on that whiskey from Loch Lomond though."
"See to that we get more than," Merlin instructed, patting the man's back. Thomas seemed to purr at the act and closed his eyes in enjoyment. As he opened them his pupils had become silted and were sideways as he smiled to Merlin.
"Will do boss," he said as Merlin headed to the stairs. He walked up the steps to his apartment, unlocked the door and went in as he called out for Morgana.
"Morgan? Are you in here?" Merlin knew she was by the smell of the food cooking in the air but just wanted to see her walk out to him. Hearing her high heels clink down the hallway he smiled when he saw her, not looking a day older than when he met her, wearing a white button up blouse and a blue skirt with tights along with an apron on, in her hands was a bowl of salad she must have been working on just now.
"Any luck on that lead?" she asked hopefully.
"None, I'm starting to think that I need to get a new informant or start fishing beyond the veil again," Merlin said disappointed as he flopped onto the couch with a sigh. The apartment he shared with Morgana was very ornate and very well decorated (Morgana's doing) while everything matched everything flawlessly. Morgana put the bowl down on the counter as she took a seat on the chair across from Merlin.
"For god's sake Merlin it's less than twenty degrees outside, why don't you make yourself younger?" Morgana asked quizzically.
"I've been doing that for too long Morgana; it's nice to look my age every now and then, not that you would know," he teased gently.
"Yes well that's because the minute I look my age I have to hear you complain about sagging and how 'it's not the same anymore'," Morgana reminded him with a smile.
"Well as the most powerful sorceress in the known world you could age a little more gracefully." The smile never leaving her face Morgana's eyes flashed as a small fire was lit on the tip of Merlin's beard. Not noticing it for several seconds Merlin started swatting at his beard only after the fire had started to singe his jean jacket. "Oh fine you win," Merlin grumbled. With a flash of his eyes he changed from an old man in jean clothing to a man in his mid-thirties wearing black jeans and a black turtleneck with matching loafers.
"Is that better your majesty?" Merlin asked with a mock bow. Morgana laughed as she raised herself from the chair and took a seat on Merlin's lap, ruffling his hair slightly to make it uneven.
"There, now your perfect," Morgana said with a smile.
"What I'm not pretty when I pretend to be my crazy father?" Merlin teased.
"No and you're stared at awkwardly when you leave the pub," Morgana commented as she rose off of Merlin's lap and into the kitchen. "Now come on dinner's waiting." Merlin followed Morgana into the kitchen where he saw the table set for three, the third only being a courtesy for Gorat even though he didn't eat.
"Where is he at anyways?" Merlin asked.
"I sent him off to buy some wine, it is a special occasion after all," Morgana said with a smile.
"Oh right," Merlin said with mock excitement. "Christmas Eve!" he added the last part with a dramatic wave of his hand causing Morgana to laugh at him.
"Oh stop I know you love the holidays," Morgana reminded him. Now hurry and get your gift for Gorat, you know how he gets when he thinks you forget him."
"How a Golem can mope I'll never know," Merlin chuckled as he went to the room he shared with Morgana to get the gifts. He hummed merrily as he opened a magical locker that only he could open as he pulled out a rectangular box for Morgana and a large box for Gorat. As he walked back into the dining room he was surprised to see Morgana standing there with a bird cage in her hands, a Screech Owl perched in side of it looking around anxiously.
"You got me a familiar?" Merlin said in surprise.
"Well you got me Thomas for my birthday and he's perfect for working around the house and working downstairs."
"Ahh yes, best 300 pounds I ever spent," Merlin said as he put Gorat's gift on the table and kissed Morgana on the lips gratefully. As he handed his gift to her he opened the cage as the Screech Owl gently flew out of its cage and onto Merlin's left forearm.
"So what's your name then? If you say it's Archimedes you'll be part of supper though," Merlin said simply.
"Quinton sir at your service," the owl said with a bow. "And I'd warn you against eating owl sir the feathers are terrible for the digestion."
"Heh a smart one, I like that." As Quinton flew off of his arm Morgana was gasping at the diamond bracelet in the box.
"Oh Merlin it's beautiful," she said before looking sternly at him. "It's hard for us to look middle class if you keep buying me jewelry you know."
"What is the teacher Morgan Ambrosius afraid to look pretty for her class?" Merlin taunted.
"You're lucky everyone thinks your father is rich, otherwise we'd have to move again."
"Oh stop," Merlin chided. "We're set to live here for at least another century before we have to leave again." Merlin sighed suddenly as he looked to Morgana sadly. "Do you think it'll ever happen?"
"Oh Merlin," Morgana said disapprovingly.
"I'm serious Morgana, for almost a thousand years we've been waiting for Arthur to arise. What if it's never to happen? What if we're to just, wander the world for the rest of our lives?"
"Is that really a bad thing?" Morgana asked.
"No but…" Merlin sighed as he put his hands into Morgana's. "I miss him, and every day that passes where he doesn't return I fear he never will."
"He will return," Morgana assured him as she released his hands and wrapped her arms around his back. "And when he does the three of us will defeat whatever evil threatens Albion and the world." Merlin looked lovingly into Morgana's green eyes as he kissed her passionately in their warm home together. No matter how down he ever felt she was always able to make him feel better; and as they stood there embraced in one another's arms he couldn't help but inwardly smile. For even if he had to wait another thousand years for Arthur to return, he was glad that at least his family would be there with him.
AN: Well everyone it's been an amazing ride but I'm sad to say that this is the end. I started this story almost a year ago; I remember wanting to write a fanfiction for Merlin for the longest time but I had to wait until the series ended so I'd be able to write my own history in the story without messing anything up. While I'm happy to finally have it finished I'm also sad at the same time, like the first ten minutes your child moves out of the house but then you realize "Oh s*it the little buggers out now I can turn his room into a game room!" But I digress. Now I'm sure most of you want to ask "Will I think about making a sequel story in line with this one?" Honestly I already have thought about it but I don't have enough of the details ironed out to even consider writing one. So as of right now do not expect a sequel anytime soon, but in the future? It's a possibility. I want to thank all of my readers who continued to read and review my stories; I want you guys to know that it was from you guys I got the drive to continue, your reviews made me realize there were people waiting for me to give them entertainment. I hope I didn't let anyone down. So for the final time for this story I ask that you please review my story and that you tell your friends to read this one to, because I'm sure once I stop updating the traffic for this story will go down. So I say good bye my friends I thank you for the amazing ride we shared together.
"Remember me and smile, for it's better to forget than to remember me and cry,"