Arthur, and the other knights for that matter, noticed that Merlin was acting strange as they rode back toward Camelot. Eventually, Gwaine and Bedivere seemed to have had enough and rode towards the back of the group to join him.
A couple of stories from Gwaine, and comments from Bedivere had him smiling again, but as he shot Arthur his trademark grin, Arthur could see that Merlin was feeling something that he had hardly ever seen from him before. Merlin was afraid of something… And if Merlin was afraid of something, then Arthur was worried.
As they made camp, Harmony, Galen and Osric making them-selves as useful as they could, much to the amusement of Taren, who was left with hardly any work to do, Arthur noticed that Merlin was trying to keep from using Magic. As their eyes met, Merlin smiled, but knew that I wasn't fooling the king.
As soon as they were settled, Merlin excused himself and head off into the forest. Arthur held a hand up to Gwaine and Peredur, who were about to head after him, and they stopped.
"I know something's wrong. But I think we need to give him some space. After a he's been through the last few days…"
"Sire? He didn't look hurt…" Gwaine snorted at Owain's statement.
"He never does… He's a genius at hiding any pain he's in. Arthur? What happened? I caught a glimpse of him before he was healed with his magic… It looked bad…"
"It was bad…"
Arthur told them about what had happened, and it took both him and Bedivere to restrain Gwaine from attacking Lucas, who was unconscious and trussed up. In the end, it was the sound of a roar filling the forest that calmed him down.
Arthur looked up, and saw the Great Dragon land not too far from them. A smaller, white dragon, followed suit, and Arthur cursed.
"You guys stay here… I'm gonna go see what trouble he's got himself into…"
Arthur ran off and the knights exchanged glances. Gwaine snorted.
"Like hell we're staying here…" Him and Bedivere started running at the same time, shortly followed by Peredur.
Arthur ran into a clearing, and froze at the sight of Merlin, shouting at the huge dragon.
"…do you men stronger? How could I be getting stronger? There are times I can barely control the power I have now!"
"But it is true young warlock. It seems that the magic of this world does not want a repeat of these recent events… It tore at the very heart of the fabric of nature… all creatures of magic felt it…"
"But I don't know if I can control this kind of power!"
Arthur turned as Gwaine, Bedivere and Peredur joined him. They took in the scene, and Arthur realised that they had heard Merlin last words.
"Holy crap…" Gwaine said, and Arthur nodded. That pretty much summed it up.
They looked up at the voice of the smaller dragon.
"Merlin… The very fabric of magic itself was born within you… It would never give you more than you can handle… This is a gift…"
"No it isn't! How can I call it a gif when I have no idea if I will be able to use this much magic… I've never come across anyone even faintly this powerful!"
"And that is the burden you must bear Merlin. There will never be one like you. We know how it feels to be alone… But it is the price you must pay for having a destiny such as yours…"
"… I know… I accepted that. But this… It's just… so much…"
Kilgarrah spoke again,
"Merlin… You are stronger than you know. This new power… It is yours… and you can control it. It may take time, but you will manage it. The old religion would not bestow such a gift if that were not the case…"
The four of the watched as Merlin sank down against a tree, head in his hands. Arthur couldn't remember him ever acting like this before. The white dragon, Aithusa, Arthur recalled, went up to him and put its head in his lap. Merlin rested a hand on the dragon head and something seemed to pass between them, causing Merlin to smile. He spoke up, loud enough for the four of them to hear.
"Yeah… They tend to follow people a lot…"
Arthur immediately felt guilty.
"Yeah… sorry about that… Anyway, you're one to talk. Stalking me god knows where over the last few years…"
Merlin grinned, getting to his feet, then looked to the knights.
"Guys, meet Kilgarrah. Oh, and Aithusa."
The three knights seemed speechless for a moment, then Gwaine spoke up.
"So… About that Dragonlord thing? Just how powerful are you for God's sake?" Then he remembered the content of the conversation before and had to refrain from head-butting a tree. Talk about tactless… Luckily, Bedivere stepped in, giving him an exasperated look.
"Yeah… Who'd have thought such a scrawny guy could be able to kick ass so easily…"
Merlin grinned, shaking his head, and turned back to Kilgarrah. His next words were too quiet for the knights to hear, but they were too busy trying to dodge the eager younger dragon who was jumping around them to notice anyway.
"Kilgarrah… You really think I can control this…?"
"I do. And in time, you will realise it too. Until then, young Warlock, I feel that you need to be heading back to Camelot. You have suffered greatly these past few days and need to rest. Allow your body to adjust to these changes."
"No problem…" Arthur said, making Merlin jump as he appeared behind him. "I'm sure George can fill in for a few days…" He grimaced at the thought of the perfect, faultless, boring as a hilt servant. "On second thoughts… I can always make do…"
"Really? You mean you've finally learned how to dress yourself?"
Merlin ducked the half-hearted swipe at his head and grinned. The Great Dragon chuckled and nodded to Merlin.
"Until next time, Young Warlock."
"Until next time… And thankyou."
Kilgarrah took off, and Merlin turned just in time to get knocked to the floor by a white ball of dragon.
"Aithusa! Get off me!" Merlin said, laughing as the young dragon stilled enough for him to clamber out from beneath her. He stroked her head and smiled,
"Go on… Get a move on…"
The young Dragon nodded its head, then took off after her mentor.
As they head back to the camp, the knights still discussing the attributes of the dragons, Arthur noticed that Merlin's spirits were higher than before. Everyone else seemed to notice it too, and the entire camp seemed to cheer up, even if they had to put up with Gwaine's eager voice explaining about the dragons again.
The following morning, Merlin tentatively used his magic, and, from the huge smile that spread across his face, Arthur grasped that he was having no difficulty with it. He also realised that part of the joy must be at being able to use his magic again.
Within moments, everything was folded and packed thanks to Merlin's eagerness, and the others were laughing at the huge grin on Merlin's face.
As they travelled, Arthur couldn't find the heart to tell Merlin to stop turning Gwaine's cloak from red to blue, then back again before he noticed it. He was too relieved at seeing Merlin smiling properly again.
As they reached Camelot on the third day, Merlin was accosted by virtually every sorcerer in Camelot, and Arthur decided to leave them to it.
Merlin glared at Arthur for leaving him in this mess, but was dragged off to the Tavern before he could say anything. He then spent the next couple of hours explaining what had happened to an ever growing group of spectators. He had been touched by the obvious respect that these people felt for him, and their sorrow at what he had been through.
As he exited, Gwaine was just going in.
"Merlin! About time. Gaius has been getting more and more impatient."
"I'll head up there now… You're not drinking this early in the day are you?"
""Ah… No. Guess not. I'm actually just heading out on patrol. Just around the outskirts of the city. We wanted to do something useful before we took the rest of the day off…"
Gwaine pulled him into a bear hug before he head off towards the gates.
"Keep yourself out of trouble, eh mate?"
"Me? You're a fine one to talk..."
Merlin couldn't stop grinning as he head up to the castle. It took him less than ten minutes to reach Gaius, but it took him over two hours to escape. After telling him everything, and having Gaius check everything from his temperature to the, now healed, ribs, he head out to find Arthur. On a hunch, he head up to his chambers, and, sure enough, he was here, trying, in vain, to put his armour back on.
"Apparently you don't know how to dress yourself sire…"
Arthur glared at him, his arms stuck in the chainmail, and cursed.
"Well? Are you gonna help me out of this or stand and laugh?"
"Can I stand and laugh, then help you out of…?"
Half an hour later, and Arthur was finally presentable. As they head down to the council rooms, Arthur explained everything that had happened. Lucas was being held in one of the magic restricting cells, and was awaiting interrogation. Harmony, Gale and Osric were with Taren who was finding out what they knew about the Brotherhood, whilst sorting out rooms for them until they could return to the druids. And, speaking of the druids, a group of several of them had arrived in Camelot a few hours before they arrived back. They wanted o now both about recent events, and also when Merlin was planning on speaking to the about moving into Camelot. For the few remaining hours in the day, Arthur was retelling everything to the members of the court, and Merlin as discussing things with the druids. It was arranged that the druids would return, an Merlin would be contacted two days hence, so that they could create a shade.
As Merlin fell down onto his bed, having related everything to Arthur and having received orders to take the next couple of days off, he realised that he was more tired than he had thought, and, realising that he could actually lie in the following morning, he felt his eyes close. He never heard Gaius, calling him for supper, and the old man decided to leave him sleep. The recent changes to the magic in his body would take some time to get used to, and the more he slept the better.
Meanwhile, Gwen realised, as she lay next to Arthur, that something was bothering him.
"Arthur? What is it?"
"Merlin… He's been through so much, and he asks for nothing… But I don't know how to thank him... Heck, I can't even begin to thank him…"
Gwen thought this over, then a smile appeared on her face.
"Arthur… there is a certain position in court that hasn't been filled for nearly thirty years…"
Arthur thought it through and, as he caught on, a grin spread across his face.
"Of course… Do you think he would accept?"
"I see no reason why not…"
"Then I'll start making the necessary arrangements tomorrow…"
"After you have let him sleep in of course…?"
"… Of course."
Gwen sighed, rolling over. Before long, Arthur was asleep, but she stayed awake for some time longer. It was about time Merlin was rewarded for all he had done…
'Merlin Emrys, Court Sorcerer'. Had a nice ring to it…
Sorry if it seemed rushed, but the next fafic will have much more detail in each chapter. Im also gonna throw some other POV's in. Its gonna be more of a Day to day life in Camelot kinda thing. Coz Yeah.
The next installment in the How Things Change Series will be called 'I Wouldn't Call It A Promotion...'
It will have a few fights, brawling, fun, tavern visits, gambling, training, and you know... the usual :D
Thanks to my regular readers, and hope you continue with the series!
Reviews are always appreciated! Let me know what you guys Think :D