Ghost of a Rose

Summary: Songfic inspired by Blackmore's Night 'Ghost of a Rose'. (I suggest looking it up on Youtube and having a listen)

After Camlann Merlin goes home and finds out Hunith isn't his real mother and the pain of who really is runs deep. Post series finale (minor spoiler), a small AU from the dialogue of The Last Dragonlord.

Disclaimer: The usual. I don't own Merlin, the characters, or the song.

This song has been in my head for a while crying out for a Merlin fic and I was trying to fit it with something for Freya. But this afternoon - this idea just came out of the blue. I'd appreciate any reviews on it.

"Balinor, I love you desperately, but you must not stay here! Uther will pursue you to no end. He has already killed so many of our friends. It is too dangerous for us both. Go to my sister Hunith, she is in Ealdor, ask her for assistance."

The valley green was so serene
In the middle ran a stream so blue...
A maiden fair, in despair, once had met her true love there and she told him...

Months later she found herself very pregnant and on the run, her own home raised by the forces of Camelot. Finally making her way to Ealdor just before her child was born. She hoped that her love would be there, but Hunith informed her that not a week had passed before the knights of Camelot came putting Balinor on the lam once again.

She would say...
"Promise me , when you see, a white rose you'll think of me
I love you so,
Never let go,
I will be your ghost of a rose..."

Her son was born in the quiet village with no one but Hunith and herself in the small house. She looked down upon him while he slept in her arms. "Someday Emyrs, you will restore all that has been destroyed. I have seen it, and the future you will help to create is beautiful." Her red lips kissed the boy's cheek tenderly.

Her eyes believed in mysteries
She would lay amongst the leaves of amber
Her spirit wild, heart of a child, yet gentle still and quiet and mild and he loved her...
When she would say...

Unfortunately the peace was not a lasting one. Once again she had to run. She left the boy for her sister to raise, as a life on the road trailed by a blood thirsty king was no place for a child. Hunith promised to raise him as her own, swearing he would never know his true origins and she called him Merlin.

"Promise me , when you see, a white rose you'll think of me
I love you so,
Never let go,
I will be your ghost of a rose..."

It wasn't long after King Arthur died from his wound suffered at the battle of Camlann. Merlin came home seeking solace in the village with his mother. He was restless and paced around until Hunith thought she was going to go mad. She decided to go for a walk, leaving him alone with his grief. In a small loss of control the cupboards and armoire doors flew open, scattering their contents about the room.

Merlin sighed, knowing he would have to clean up before his mother came home. He was almost done cleaning and reached for a small carved wooden box that had spilled out in his fit. On the lid was a relief of a dragon entwined with a rose. He smiled and sat down at the table, the box in front of him. He recognized the design as Balinor's and he couldn't help his curiosity, knowing that the contents were private for his mother didn't stop him from wanting to take a peak. If anything, just to take his mind off the constant ache of grief, he wanted to know more about the love Balinor and Hunith once shared.

He slid the top off, tucked inside was a white rose, magically kept to look as it must have on the day it was cut. Underneath that was a faded and folded parchment. He wasn't prepared for what he read. The note was from Balinor to a wife he loved dearly yet was torn from during the years of the Great Purge, but her name was not Hunith. The letter did refer to Hunith as the addressee's sister.

The warlock sat back in the seat and swallowed back his tears at this revelation. Soon Hunith came back from her walk and saw the man she called son sitting with the letter in his hand, the rose and the box she had kept hidden for nearly three decades on the table in front of him.

"Is it true?" He asked, his voice barely a whisper. "Were you and Balinor never… Is…" he couldn't bring himself to say the name. He held up the note, "Is she my real mother?"

Hunith sat down next to him, her nod was barely perceptible. "She was my older sister. I promised her I would keep you safe and that included never telling anyone who your mother was."

Merlin was no stranger to secrets, especially when it was done for the protection of another. He trembled with sobs as the tears fell freely. Hunith didn't understand though how deep his grief with this one revelation truly went. Nor could she ever comprehend the guilt he felt from a decision he made almost ten years before.

When all was done, she turned to run
Dancing to the setting sun as he watched her
And ever more he thought he saw
A glimpse of her upon the moors forever
He'd hear her say...

A few weeks later the warlock, preferring now to be called by the name his mother had given him, stepped onto the Isle of the Blessed. He made his way to one of the altars. Not the one where Morgana had ripped the veil, but to a smaller one, surrounded by green grass and beauty in a dilapidated, roofless temple overgrown with moss and ivy. It felt so alive. He wondered if it had been so the last time he was here at this very platform.

He held the Horn of Cathbhahd to his lips and stepped through the veil. The woman on the other side smiled. She wore a dress as red as her lips, hair as black as a raven's wing tumbled over her shoulders, and her eyes sparkled with an unnatural blue. Tears clouded those eyes as she held her arms open to accept her son. "Emyrs, my handsome boy. You can't imagine the sorrow I hold at not knowing my sister changed your name."

Emrys nodded, reluctant at first, but soon found himself folded in her embrace. He cried on her shoulder and she soothed him as a mother should. "I failed," he whispered.

"Never, it is I who failed you. I should have kept you with me and trained you in the ways of our people. I should have recognized you when I came to you in Camelot, but I was too blinded by my own lust for revenge to see what was right in front of me until it was too late."

They held each other tightly. Then his mother pulled back, "It is time for you to go my son. You must return to Camelot, although Arthur is gone, the kingdom still needs your guidance if you are to honor all the sacrifices we made. The pendulum of fate continues to swing. I understand more than anyone the balance that must be maintained, and it is your destiny to see that it comes to pass. Remember not to look back. I will always be with you my child, but I do not wish to upset things by haunting you every day."

Emrys pulled back and took the white rose out of his pocket. She smiled, tears of joy streaming down her face as she took it from him. He turned and left the world of shadows.

"Promise me , when you see, a white rose you'll think of me"

He returned to Camelot after that and found that the Queen had given birth to a son.

"I love you so,"

True to his mother's word he helped to bring about a balance in Camelot, and under the rule of Guinevere many alliances were formed to unite the lands of Albion.

"Never let go,"

Each year after, he returned to the Isle of the Blessed and in honor of his mother and father, laid a single white rose on the altar next to the place he had years before killed Nimue, his own mother, to save a friend.

"I will be your ghost of a rose..."