Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin or anything related to it or Arthurian Legend and am making no profit from torturing Morgana.
A.N. So, the years between Seasons Four and Five for Morgana and Aithusa were pretty much summed up in under five minutes in the show and that's not quite enough for me so this is my new 'baby', so to speak. I have a feeling that this is going to become a monster-length fanfic and anyone who knows me is well aware that I'm horrific at updating. So my New Years' Resolution is to update this fic once a week. It'll be a nice break from my dissertation, I figure. I hope you all enjoy!
Black and White
They escaped in the same manner as they were captured- in a rush of pure adrenaline and blind panic. There was no well thought out plan, no heroic rescue. No fortuitous vision had been provided to guide the way. There was only a moment where fate, circumstance and luck combined their powers, and woe betide the person who missed such a moment.
Morgana did not miss that moment. She couldn't afford to. It had been the first of its kind in over two years and she could not wait for another to occur, if it ever did. Neither could Aithusa. Using her magic freely and without caution for the first time in so long, she sent guards running towards a set disturbances that she had caused, only to allow her to proceed back to the pit unhindered. She prayed that no one found the Sarrum until Aithusa, at least, was free.
And so she ran, moving as swiftly as her frail body would allow her. She knew the route to the pit well- the first time she had been brought before the Sarrum she had been blindfolded, not that it was needed. The light that she hadn't seen in months had left her eyes watering and she was unable to do much more than squint though it. But she had given the guards no trouble and it was many moons ago that they finally believed her to be a broken women, beyond attempting to escape.
Perhaps she was broken, but she had more to live for than they could possibly imagine and she could not live, not truly live, inside this particular dimension of Hell.
Left, right, left, left, straight ahead, right, down the steps-
Morgana froze as she heard the clattering of mail and armour along with muted conversation beneath her. Guards. Here, more than anywhere, was where the escape could go wrong. Here, she could not give herself away.
What could she do? What could she do? She was wasting time!
Quietly, she shuffled down the staircase, hiding herself behind stone pillars that lined it. Three guards, as expected, she observed. One talking, one nodding along politely and one obviously not paying attention whatsoever. She'd start with him.
"Ádumbian," she breathed, and she felt the hot flood of magic flow though her although there was no noticeable effect. She performed the incantation a second and third time on the other guards. The final time there was a noticeable effect- the guard who had been rambling on to his colleagues falling silent even thought his mouth still moved.
Silenced, all of them. Perfect. Morgana stood, unafraid to reveal herself when these men couldn't alert anyone else to her presence. Three men, three different reactions. One man stood, staring at her with an expression of terror on his face. That pleased Morgana- she had lived in terror for two years because of these men. They deserved to suffer even a little of that same fear. Another man drew his sword, but he was too slow. The third sprinted towards her, ready to tackle her to the ground, using his own body as a weapon. It would have worked, too, if Morgana hadn't been prepared.
"Swefe nu!" Morgana thrust her hand out towards him, the action helping her direct her magic. The guard staggered, then fell back down the steps into his fellow guard with the sword, asleep. She quickly cast the enchantment again, before the other guard could untangle himself from his sleeping companion. Her third and final opponent was backing away from her, sweat beading on his brow, his chain mail clinking as he trembled before her.
She approached him, backing him into a wall, but didn't get too close. She was well aware of the dangers of concealed weapons. "Please! Please don't hurt me," he whimpered and Morgana snarled in disgust. This was the sort of coward that had been jailing her? Pathetic.
"Oh I have no intention of hurting you or your friends," she flicked her eyes towards the fallen guards. "I just told them to go for a little nap." The poor soul almost looked relieved, so she continued. "The Sarrum's punishment for allowing me to escape will be far worse than anything I can do to you, believe me! Swefe nu!"
His sleep would not be peaceful.
And so, she continued. Reaching the lip of the pit, she blasted the heavy covering into pieces. Below her, Aithusa was in a pitiful state. The noble creature didn't have the same freedom she had been afforded these past few months, if it could be called that, and Morgana wasn't sure if the dragon would be able to walk out of the fortress, let alone fly. But Aithusa squawked up at her, sounding happy for the first time in so long.
Morgana barely glanced at the mechanism for dragging prisoners up to the top of the pit by their chains, before rejecting the idea of using it to help Aithusa up. "Inbringe cume mec," she gestured with her fingers, determined not to hurt her dearest friend in her haste to rise her out of the cell.
Together again, Morgana unlocked and disposed of the chain around Aithusa's leg with a gesture, then wrapped her arms around the crippled creature. They hadn't escaped yet and she knew they might not get out with their lives, so she wouldn't miss this one opportunity to tell Aithusa how much she cared for her, should she never get another chance. The dragon's steps were awkward and faltering, but she could move under her own power, which relieved Morgana to no end. But sneaking out of a fortress with a dragon was impossible.
Desperation fuelled her power, as it had done in the past. Clutching Aithusa, she whispered the spell into her neck. "Áberan ús forƥweg!" Take us away, she though. Please, just take us away!
A wind surrounded them and Morgana threw everything she had into the spell. She had to get them out of this nightmarish place- she had to get them to safety. All the energy was sucked out of her and she could feel herself slipping into unconsciousness- into oblivion- as they travelled but she tightened her grip on Aithusa and clung on, even as she lost her hold on consciousness.
Daylight was fading when Morgana awoke, sprawled out on a bed of dying leaves under a tree. Under many trees, she noticed. She wasn't sure where they were, but she didn't remember any forests near the Sarrum's fortress in Amata. Surely they were safe, if only for the night?
Morgana rolled towards the source of heat at her side and raised a hand to Aithusa's face, running it over the battered dragon lovingly. One sad eye opened and both creatures of magic stared at each other, unable to believe that they might really be free. Aithusa snuffled, nuzzling her head against the kind hand.
"Sleep," Morgana heard a voice flit through her head. "Now it is my turn to protect you."
A.N. And that's the prologue. For the main story, we'll go back to after Morgana escapes Camelot and Aithusa saves her at the end of Season Four. Spells are taken from Merlin or made up using an Old English translator! Please let me know what you think so far!