It was tradition for a monarch of Camelot to have an elaborate burial site and funeral- their body encrypted in a marble tomb, songs, prayers and tears from the people as their body was carried through the town. Unfortunately, there was no corpse to do this with, so a huge flag with a Camelot crest was paraded throughout the town. Percival and Leon were bestowed the honour of holding it, with Gwen walking gracefully behind it, as was tradition.
The rest of the family were supposed to stand behind the spouse, but Arthur had not been blessed with any of those after his passing. Instead, Gwen had requested that Gaius, Baron Hadrian and Lord Afield (both childhood friends of her husband) trailed behind her. Gaius had always been a grandfather figure to Arthur (more like a father after the death of his biological parents) and when the king had not been with the knights or Merlin, he would be seen with those two.
The people had sobbed and screamed, some on their hands and knees as they watched the representation of their male monarch pass. Flowers, leaves and pieces of fabric were thrown in front of the memorial. Eventually, when the hysteria had subsided, there were shouts of 'Long live the queen.' Managing to smile through her tears, Gwen attempted to give her people a sense of hope.
When they reached the citadel, they laid the crest on a pillar and with a long torch; Gwen had set fire to it to symbolise the passing. It was a tradition that only those who resided in the castle, as well as close friends were to watch it and considering Arthur did not really know anybody in the town, Gwen had adhered to it.
She had retired early, not in the mood to talk to anyone. She'd dismissed her maid (quite snappishly, she would have to apologise the next day) and snuggled underneath the covers, not even bothering to take of her black garment.
The tears had finally fallen down her face, cascading like a human waterfall. By the time dawn had broken, her pillow was so wet it looked as though it had been thrown into a river.
She wasn't crying now.
Crashing back to present-day, Gwen stared at the simple memorial. She loved him as a man, not a king. She wanted a grave for the regular man as a second for her husband, knowing that he would want to be remembered as a husband and lover of the people, not as a king.
Placing a bouquet in front of the stones, she sighed.
"I do not really know what to say, Arthur," she bit her lip, looking a little lost, "It's been a month since you've gone and there is so much to tell you. It is just hard to put it into words..."
"How about hello?"
Gwen jumped out of her skin as she whirled around to see a familiar figure staring at her.
"Arthur," she breathed, looking as though she wanted to run into his arms and never leave his embrace. Unfortunately, that was not possibly.
His hair was lighter, like a ghost's, still in the same style. His body beamed radiance, his eyes misted over with a warm smile. He had discarded his chainmail and cloak in favour of bedclothes, though they looked to be of finer quality. His face was lit up, full of joy and compassion- he looked younger, happier and more care-free. In spirit form, he was even more handsome- stunning in a sense, majestic in a way of speaking.
The silence was audible.
"It feels like an era has passed by," Arthur commented lightly.
"It does indeed," Gwen agreed, "Just one question- why are you here?"
"What do you mean?"
"Here, in front of me," she indicated towards the ground with her hand, "Just there. You are to rise again when Camelot is in need of it. Our greatest threat has been vanquished, but at a price. I am considering legalising magic (good magic of course) and even though the whole of the kingdom is mourning the cost of its late beloved ruler, the people are recuperating. It is not exactly a Golden Age, but I would not say that we are doing badly."
"Not even death can tear two lovers apart, if they are true," Arthur replied as the light radiated the quiet corner, "There are rules about this in the spirit world, you know. This does not count as me rising again, but as me giving guidance to the woman I care about. For example, if my father were still alive, my mother would be able to appear to him if he were truly in need."
Gwen could not find the right words to convey what she was feeling.
"You may seem fine, Guinevere, but you are in fact at a crossroads. You can rule this kingdom to be the greatest in Albion or you can mourn. The spirits can read your mind- you will not try to get over the loss of your loved ones for a long time if you continue like this, which will have a negative effect on Camelot."
"Oh," was all she had to say.
"I have come to tell you that you are free to mourn, but you cannot let it cloud your judgment. You are a fine woman and a wondrous queen who is more than capable of looking after your people. You have their best interests at heart. From what I see, all you want is to be locked in your chambers, to not be disturbed by the outside world. You need to move on from that hurt to a place of hope and comfort."
"It is hard Arthur," she whispered, a tear trickling down her eye.
"I know, my love, but you must persevere. You have it in you."
"I miss you."
"And I you."
"I will never be able to get over the pain of losing you. I lost my mother to injury, my father to brutality and my brother to evil. I lost you to all three in a sense- your injury was caused by unnecessary evil and slaughter."
Arthur gave her a sad smile.
"They are proud of you," he whispered, "Of what you have become, who you are. Your mother laughs at your feistiness, after spending time with you as a shy little girl. Your father marvels at your skills at a blacksmith and as a warrior. Your brother is proud of the fact you were strong enough to break Morgana's wicked curse."
Gwen beamed with pleasure.
"I am proud of you too," she told her late husband, "You fought for your life and even though you lost that battle, you still won the war."
"I wish I could hug you one more time. Kiss your beautiful lips..."
"Just seeing you was enough for me," she replied.
"Thank you for the flowers."
"You are more than welcome."
Another shimmer of life glittered in the afternoon sun.
"The spirit world is calling me back- it is not healthy if I am in this world for too long," he looked over his shoulder, peering into a distant, albeit invisible portal.
"Will you ever be back?"
"I will return what Camelot needs me most," he told her shortly, not sounding at all impatient or rude. He understood that she needed time.
Gwen sniffed, hiding the tears brimming in her lids.
"You have been strong for the people- you hide your hurt in public, you are a great leader," he tried to leave her with words of wisdom as a parting gift, "I have never been more proud of anybody in my life- even my knights come under you. You will die an old woman in your bed, mourned by a nation and loved by all. You have Gaius as your adviser and he will show you the right way, even though you will see it clearly enough. I will be watching over you, making sure that you are safe and happy."
"Thank you, Arthur."
"That's what you do when you love someone."
She looked up sharply at those words, a true smile appearing.
He started to fade away, his hand up in an immobile wave.
"I love you, Guinevere. Take care my love."
"I love you too, Arthur. I will, I will take care."
Within the blink of an eye, all that was left of the late man was grey mist which circled in the air, eventually disappearing from view.
As she watched her husband disappear, Gwen realised something.
She was finally at peace.
Wait, no. They were finally at peace.
Heya! Last Merlin Series 5 fic (sad face)! I've truly enjoyed writing these. I know this kinds of defeats the object of Arthur returning when he was supposed to, but I really wanted to do the fic.
THANK YOU to all readers, reviewers and alerters! You are all amazing people.
Okay, opinion time:
Wow. Wow. Wow. I was literally on the edge of my seat for the whole of the episode- it was just...wow. Wow, I am not very good at describing my feelings.
I thought I was going to cry loads, but I didn't even shed a tear- I was surprised. My mum was watching me throughout the whole thing, waiting for me to crack.
Okay. They killed off Arthur. Yes, it was part of the legend and yes, I was expecting it but I was really upset! He was my favourite character. It was kind of sweet how he died, with his best friend at his side. I would have liked it if he had said 'tell Guinevere I love her,' but that is just the Arwen talking.
GWAINE! Hell to the no! I love him- he is the character who has a place in everyone's heart. It was nice that he had Percival (WHO SURVIVED-YES) with him at the time. Percival, hats off for escaping like you did. That was cool.
Mordred DIED YES! I was slowly warming up to him, and then I immediately disliked him when he betrayed Camelot.
Morgana's death- I had mixed feelings about that. I used to like her, but she went down in my likeability factor this series. I was expecting an EPIC battle between her and Merlin, but he just kind of killed her simply. I was a tad disappointed.
The reveal- I wasn't too keen on that. It was kind of anti-climatic. I've been waiting for a year (I only started watching the show in 2011) and then it happens like that. Granted Arthur was dying, but I would have liked a bit more...I don't know what I would have liked.
I felt sorry for Gwen. I liked her more this series. I bet she was a top queen.
The ending was kind of weird, but nice in a sense. When the truck went past, I was like 'what?' Then I saw the immortal Emrys still waiting for Arthur's return. This means that Gwen did a good job.
That's the end of it then. I will do more Merlin fics (I might start on an idea I have tomorrow- Arwen, of course) but NCIS will take priority, considering I haven't done any fics for them in a while and miss the fandom. I have plenty of ideas for that too.
Thanks again people. Enjoy the rest of the holidays and have a nice rest of the year.
Semper Fi xxx