Disclaimer: I don't Merlin and have never pretended to.
The funny thing about history is that the story always changes. Granted, in earlier days, most stories were passed by word of mouth and it is natural to assume that everyone tells the same story a little differently. As the stories are passed down and those who experienced the actual event die, the truth is forgotten. Such is the case with the story of King Arthur and Camelot. No two stories of the great king are the same. Some stories depict him a legitimate son, more often he's a bastard conceived with magical aid. There are the conflicting stories of his acquisition of Excalibur, pulling it from the stone, receiving it from the lady of the lake, changes with each story. Also is his upbringing matter of debate, to some he was raised by noble blooded strangers, other by the wizard, knowing nothing of his life ahead, and other times raised by his own parents. Then there is Guinevere, her nobility and aid for Camelot's build is reduced to her flitting between the great king and his most loyal knight. Sometimes she is the queen, other times she is Lancelot's bride. No matter the circumstance, she is never loyal in the stories, not entirely, unfair to her.
But the figure who is most constant is the exploits of Arthur is the spell-caster Merlin. Merlin has been most change and yet most necessary to the story of King Arthur. Merlin has had even more of an unfair bought. For the stories are wrong. The stories depict Merlin as a man of great wisdom, older than Arthur and more often than not, a constant figure in the Prince's upbringing. It is not true. Merlin was indeed a guide, but actually younger than Arthur. Merlin's birth as well is constantly debated, depicting the spell-caster as the child of a princess or noble woman, and an incubus, nymphs, even the devil. But those accounts are incorrect as well.
Merlin was not elder, or sagely man who saw to Arthur's conception. If anything, it was Arthur that brought about Merlin's. Merlin is not man at all in fact. Merlin was a girl, a woman in the time of Arthur's kingship, younger than he. She was a striking young woman of great power and magic. Not nearly as manipulative as stories would have us believe. Nor was Merlin the child of any princess or woman of noble birth, but instead born to a bard's daughter and physician's sister. Her father was no devil, incubus or nymph, but a sorcerer with dragon blood in his veins. Merlin was born in no palace with maids attending her mother's every need, she was born in the dirt, her mother laboring alone.
The truth is always lost with time and reasons are not always clear.
Merlin, the sorceress that served King Arthur of Camelot, is no exception.
The story started in a happy kingdom. Camelot was pulled by a fey and kind king with his gentle and compassionate queen. The kingdom flourished in wealth and well-being. The court was friendly with one another and good friends with their king. Among them were the physician sorcerers Gaius and Alice. Along with them was Gaius' younger sister, also training in the art, Hunith. Then there was the court sorceress Nimueh, a changeling of an age no one could determine. They called Nimueh a sorceress because most of the spell-caster's time was spent in a female form wearing a red dress, but she was also known to parade about as a handsome man, a cat, a falcon and a viper. No one knew Nimueh's true form. Then there was Balinor, Uther's oldest friend, a dragon-lord.
The kingdom flourished in every way. The marriage of its rulers was passionate and healthy, yet there was no child. Years upon years passed, grey starting to streak Uther's hair and there had not been so much as a hope of pregnancy. So desperate for an heir, Uther went to Nimueh and begged for her aid in conceiving one. Nimueh agreed and cast the necessary spells, warning of the price each day the Queen carried Camelot's heir. But the king waved off the warnings, rubbing his wife's belly, even when she looked doubtful in those moments. But in the birth of their son, the queen died.
The King was outraged and blamed all born to magic. Balinor and Nimueh fled, fearing his rage. Gaius remained and tried to calm the king, to no avail. Uther was too far gone. Everyone who used magic had the options to renounce or die. Gaius did the former. His lover, Alice would not, so with Gaius' aid, she escaped from Camelot. Bodies piled up in mass graves, even the dragons were getting slain. It wasn't until there was one left that Uther changed his tune. The last of the dragons was full of rage and was too old and too clever to be captured or killed. So Uther called on his former friend Balinor and implored him to draw the dragon to the cavern under Camelot claiming to have wishes to make peace. Balinor, eager for peace agreed.
The beast was commanded into the cavern and that's when everything went to hell. The beast was subdued and shackled, and Balinor was arrested. Gaius could not stand by this time. He did not speak against Uther who now cared for his son of almost two years. Gaius told his sister to be ready to run, for now that Uther was back to hunting, even Gaius' love for her and her own renouncement of the art would not be enough to save her from Uther's hate. So Gaius released Balinor and he escaped with Gaius's beloved younger sister with only a small bag of possessions between them. They escaped the borders and into the next kingdom over.
The pair settled in a small village called Ealdor, too far from any kingdom to be claimed or noticed by the kings of the area. For a time, things were peaceful. The pair fell deeply in love, spending their days helping the village with the harvest and enjoying their time together. But the age of space for them was short lived. Uther, though he had long forgotten about the minor threat of Hunith, had not forgotten about Balinor, the last Dragon-Lord. News of Uther's hunt drove Balinor from Ealdor with only a tearful farewell to his beloved. It wasn't until two months had passed that Hunith realized herself to be with child. For the months that followed she mourned her solitary life and the scathing looks of the other villagers. She had lost everything, her only brother, her friends and even her paramour. They were all gone and she was left alone with a lump in her belly. But it was during the sixth month that she felt child move and kick.
Hunith had marveled at the feeling of her baby's kick and her depression seemed to dissolve and in its place was unconditional love. The final months were filled with joyful expectation. This child would stay with her, this child would need her and love her, hopefully never leave for good as she had been forced to. It was at times like this she wondered about Gaius and everyone else. Was Gaius even alive? The only confirmation was the rare letter to assure her. She thought of her friends and wondered how many had died by now. Then she thought of her Balinor, she wondered if he lived, if he had settled and even more so, if he had found someone else. The thought more than she would have liked to admit, and then she baby would kick as if to reassure her that she was loved.
Hunith gave birth in the early morning on the first day of the New Year, to a healthy baby girl. She had labored without the aid of a midwife, since there was none in the village and her labor had come too quickly for there to be time to send for one. Hunith cradled the babe, admiring her baby. Once she had recovered her strength and her baby stared making bizarre little baby noises, she decided it was time for her child to have a name. She picked up her book of medicinal herbs that was a gift from her brother, leafing through it in hope of inspiration. As a physician's younger sister, it seemed suitable. As Hunith began to leaf through the pages, a feather fell out.
The feather had belonged to her childhood pet and companion, Sonny, a merlin. It had been the last gift her late father had given her when she was but a girl. She was always running around the lower town with Sonny clutching to her shoulder or flying by her. There was many a story of Sonny striking the boys that teased her. There were so many fond memories about her long gone pet. Then it seemed to click. Hunith knew what she would name her baby. She looked at her daughter and whispered her name like a secret, Merlin.
No two days after the birth of her daughter, a druid conclave appeared outside the village. They demanded to see Hunith and her babe. Hunith came as asked, Merlin swaddled in layers upon layers of wool. The druid bowed to them of all people and Hunith stared in utter disbelief. After respects were paid, they asked her to hand the child over. Naturally, she refused. Again and again, the druids implored her. The child had magic, she needed to be among her own kind, a great destiny awaited her, the arguments did not cease, but still Hunith refused to be separated from her child. Merlin may have all those needs and destinies, but Hunith would be damned before she allowed her baby, the only one left to be taken from her.
At last, at last the leader approached her and offered for her t come along. The conclave would provide protection of a life for her and her daughter. The druids would teach her and raise her to be able to face her destiny. Hunith thought it over and agreed. By twilight Hunith sat in the back of a cart dressed in the finest clothes that a druid woman would have. Merlin was swaddled in bear pelts, the both of them gifted again and again. Hunith could barely believe how quickly her life had changed. So her life had changed, but she would never change from Hunith. She would raise Merlin well in the memory of her love of Balinor.
"What can we do about the boy?" The Elder sighed after the soothsayer had revealed the infant's fate.
"I don't know, he will impede and ultimately destroy Albion. He is a threat to Emrys, and we worked hard to obtain her." Another elder spoke gravely.
"You will not kill my son!" Both elders turned to the babe's father.
"Sir, you must know what he is." They whispered.
"He is but a babe!" Cerdan protested.
"A babe who will kill the Once and Future King, if we dawdle."
"Please…" The druid was crying now, crying for all he had left now that his wife was departed.
"Cerdan, calm yourself!"
"He's all I have…."
"Is that the baby?!" All heads turned to see Emrys herself standing with a bright look on her face. Her dark curls swirled wildly in the wind and her bright blue eyes focused on the child.
"Lady Emrys…" The druids all bowed to her which the six year old proceeded to ignore. She walked right up to Cerdan and peered at the baby he was holding.
"Yes My Lady, this is the child, a boy."
"What's his name?!" She chirped eagerly.
"I, I haven't decided."
"How 'bout Mordred! It means brave, Mother told me so, and cause he's not crying like other babies." The child suggested. A few of her curls drifted into the infant's grip which he latched onto with fascination. When the baby tugged, the druids expected Emrys to cry like other little girls but she just laughed. Not good, the girl, their savoir, was attached to her eventual nemisis.
"Lady Emrys, we're discussing something important right now, go back to your mother."
"I don't wanna! I wanna stay with Mordred!" She stomped her little foot and glared at them with all the defiance a girl her age could muster.
"Lady Emrys…." The Second Elder pulled her away from the baby, the minute she was removed, the child began to cry. Both elders froze and stared upon each other as an idea began to formulate in their minds. Once the grip was loosened, the girl of prophecy broke away and ran back to Cerdan and the baby boy. Once she was back in the child's view, the tears ceased. Cerdan smiled at the girl, as if she were his only hope for the child, which she very well might have been.
"Lady Emrys…." The First Elder started, the girl swung her head to look at him, perpetually annoyed.
"My name is Merlin!"
"I know, tell me child, do you like the baby?"
"Lots and lots, I've been waiting a awhile for him to hurry up and come out to meet me!"
"I dreamed about him! He's gonna get prettier and prettier and he'll be my friend forever!" The Elder looked at each other once more before turning their gaze on the frantic father.
"Your boy will live, stop your fretting, but only on one condition."
"In order to avoid his destiny, he must be bound to one who will raise the Once and Future King to his rightful standing. He must marry Lady Emrys." Cerdan nearly wept in relief.
"But to do that you must have her mother's permission to initiate a betrothal ceremony and permission from Emrys herself." Cerdan looked at Merlin, standing before him with all the dignity a six year old could muster.
"Emrys, do you care for my son?"
"Uh-huh, we're gonna be together forever!"
"Would you marry him to make sure that happens?"
"Yeah! We can get married!"
"Merlin, there you are! I'm sorry elders; she's tricky to keep an eye on." The Elder bowed their respect and Cerdan got to his feet, cradling his newly saved son. A woman ran up to the group, a woman with dark curls and blue eyes, dressed in druid garb. She snatched up her daughter's hand, pulling her away from the people she believed the child to be badgering.
"Heavens, don't call me that, I'm nothing so great."
"Uh yes, we need to talk." With that Cerdan, left with Hunith and their own children.
Princess: So begins a new saga. I know many people have done rewriting of the series but I tried to change a lot with this one, keeping the same characters but changing events quite a bit. This merlin never grew up in Ealdor but with druids, her closest friend was not Will but her betrothed, Mordred, he who is to be her worst enemy. There will be roughly two prologue chapters, this is the first. The update will be every other week. I hope this goes well and everyone likes it. Just a warning, this will contain pining!Arthur and one-sided merthur. No Arwen, don't worry she'll do alright, sorry folks. Oh, and that servant from the first episode will play a large role.