Reforged and Sublimated
I posted Reforged & then Sublimation without knowing anything about fanfic. I had never written anything before and when the muse bit me I didn't know what to do with the finished product. So I posted them here. I didn't know anything about formatting or chapters so I'm afraid I didn't post them right. But rather than alter those finished products, here is the combined story broken into chapters with a few minor grammar and formatting corrections because I don't have a beta and can't help myself lol.
I don't own it. If I did I wouldn't have ended it the way they did.
Story diverges from canon after S5E2. Enjoy!
Hatred feels as if it burns hotly. That's the great lie of all evil. All darkness. Hatred is cold. So terribly cold that it burns everything it touches. Hatred feels as if it burns hotly. But what it really does is numb its victims so that they can't tell they're freezing. Hatred feels as if it burns hotly. But if it consumes you. If you turn completely to ice, you'll shatter.
She awoke with a gasp, unsure of where she was. Fire radiating from the knife wound in her back. She slowly sat up with a hiss of pain. What had happened? Looking around, it slowly came back to her. Remembering, she groaned and let her head fall back. She had been so close! She had finally had her moment. Her triumph had been at hand. Arthur. He had been in her grasp. Why had she not just killed him right away when she'd had her chance to do so? How did that man continue to survive? Nothing she did would grant her the victory she so richly deserved. Arthur always won, in the end. It made no sense! Time and again her carefully laid plans crashed down around her. Morgana. Last Priestess of the Triple Goddess. How did Arthur continue to best her? Her! With all of the power at her command she could never seem to defeat her dear brother.
At least this time she knew exactly how he had escaped.
Mordred. She had been betrayed again. It should have surprised her; being nearly killed by the young man she considered a son of sorts. Their reunion had been such a wonderful surprise. She had felt almost warm for the first time in years. But now she felt only numb. Of course he had betrayed her. Everyone she loved betrayed her. She was completely alone, as she had always been. As she would always be.
Hearing the sound of movement further down the tunnel, Morgana tensed and prepared to defend herself. Holding a hand in front of her, she idly noted that it was shaking. How strange. Focused on the dark tunnel ahead, she ran through all of the ways she could defend herself. Played out a myriad of scenarios in her quick mind so that she would be prepared for whatever was coming. Finally, she could just make out a shape in the shadows. Big. What could possibly be that big? The shadow grew larger, and larger, until Morgana could finally see who was coming.
With a sob of relief she dropped her hand. "Aithusa! Oh my darling! You're alive! Come here, sweet! Yes come to me, my wonderful Aithusa." Nuzzling the small dragon's head against her chest, Morgana felt her conviction return. They had to go. She needed to find out what had happened. Using the bedraggled dragon to help her stand, the two slowly exited the tunnel and entered the caves where her slaves were searching for the key. But instead of her slaves and their Saxon overseers, she saw only chaos. Shrinking into the shadows and casting a hurried cloaking illusion over both herself and the dragon, Morgana watched the scene in front of her with dread.
The slaves were revolting. They were swarming over the Saxons and slaughtering them as they tried to run. Cowards. She could hear the sounds of men dying throughout the caves and knew that once again, her plans were completely ruined. Arthur. Somehow this was his fault. Arthur and those damned knights of his must have freed the slaves and given them weapons. He would pay for this as well, Morgana vowed. She would see to that, personally. But first, she needed to get Aithusa to safety.
Maintaining the cloaking illusion through strength of will alone, Morgana and her dragon furtively crept through the caves, giving wide berth to the battles that were taking place. Ignoring the death rattles of men that lay scattered throughout the caves, their throats hacked open. They were of no use to her now. Following the sounds of battle at a safe distance, she made her way to the mouth of the cave. Staying in the protection of the shadows, she patiently waited until the last of the slaves had escaped. Their dirty figures racing across the snowy expanse of the frozen land. She would need to remain hidden until they were far enough away to no longer see her behind them. And oh it hurt to even think that. She was too weak to fight. Too weak to best even these pathetic excuses for men. But she couldn't be reckless now. Aithusa needed her. Morgana would do whatever it took to protect her precious dragon.
Looking down at the poor, weak dragon Morgana felt a fresh sting of guilt. They had both suffered so much. Morgana considered trying yet again to make the dragon leave her. To be free. She had tried so many times before. But nothing could make Aithusa go away. Threats, begging, anger, nothing worked. For some reason the dragon stayed by her side. And it had brought the miraculous creature nothing but pain and misery. Why was it that the one being in her life that had the best reasons to run away from Morgana was the only one that never did?
Determining that it wouldn't be safe to venture into the frozen land until morning, Morgana and Aithusa made camp at the mouth of the cave. Hunger made Morgana's stomach claw at her backbone, but fear kept her from trying to reenter the keep. There may be escaped slaves there and she was loath to encounter them in her weakened state. And poor Aithusa. The dragon's ribs were clearly visible through her white hide. Skin that had formerly glowed from the magic within her was dull now. As she cuddled up against the dragon and fell into a troubled sleep, she prayed to the Triple Goddess for guidance. For some sign of what she could do to protect her precious Aithusa.
The vision came to Morgana in her dreams, as they so often did. Aithusa lay by a fireplace in a humble cottage, taking up most of the small room. Her stomach distended from eating a large meal and her ribs no longer threatening to tear through her snow colored hide. A woman in a simple peasant's dress walked over to the dragon and knelt beside her, gently stroking her head with obvious affection. The woman stayed there for a long while, petting the dragon and showering her with love and praise. In time the contented Aithusa drifted off to a peaceful sleep. Even after the dragon was gently snoring, the woman continued to pet her gently and whisper kind, encouraging words. Eventually, the woman stood and her face was revealed. Morgana knew this face. She had met this woman before. Her name was Hunith. And she was the mother of one of the people Morgana loathed most in this world. Arthur's devoted lackey, Merlin.
The next morning, Morgana awoke and knew what she needed to do. Knew where she needed to go. And absolutely did not want to take even one step in that direction. Ealdor was so terribly far away, and she would have to travel through Camelot to get there. The very thought froze her breath in her lungs with fear. She was in no shape to fight Camelot's might. But as Aithusa woke up beside her and nuzzled her head into Morgana's chest, she drooped in defeat. This vision was a gift from the Triple Goddess. A reminder that Morgana couldn't think only of herself. She had to ensure the safety and survival of Aithusa. Sighing in defeat, Morgana roused the dragon and the two ventured out into the frozen wasteland. She told herself often that she would do anything for Aithusa. It was time to prove it.
The icy wind mercilessly drove the freezing rain through her heavy clothes, stinging like nettles. Each step was agony, but she kept moving. They had been traveling for days, through the endless expanse of ice. It had seemed that it would never end, but now they were nearing the end. With the change, the snow had turned to freezing rain and Morgana was colder now than she had been in days. She could no longer feel her toes. That should have bothered her. For that matter she couldn't feel her fingers either. She was a gifted healer and knew what that meant. But Morgana had long since stopped caring about her own health. The knife wound in her back would tear open often, releasing a fresh trickle of blood to freeze her cloak and dress to her skin. She wasn't going to last much longer and she knew it. There was only one reason she didn't drop to her knees right there and welcome the sweet endless sleep of death. She looked over her shoulder to Aithusa.
"We can make it, darling. It's not going to be easy, but we'll make it. You're going to like her. She is the kindest person I've ever known. Well, the second kindest, but the first is out of the question. Don't worry, my sweet, I know she'll take good care of you."
Each step was a step closer to salvation. Once she was assured of her sweet Aithusa's care, she could finally leave this cruel world behind.
That night they found meager shelter in the straggling pine trees that braved the edge of the frozen north. Too weak to hunt, Aithusa lay down and listlessly watched Morgana struggle to collect wood with hands that would no longer work. The sorceress was barely was able to whisper the incantation to start the fire. Their first in many days. She had caught a small, stringy rabbit that was foolish enough to cross their path. Giving most of it to the dragon who needed it far more than she, Morgana ate only a few small bites. Eating even that small amount brought her hunger roaring back and reminded her how weak she had gotten. It was still so cold. The icy wind threatened to extinguish their small fire and the meager warmth it offered.
"Aithusa you're all I have left." Morgana brokenly told the dragon. " If it weren't for you I'd be completely alone." Tears froze as they fall from her eyes, but Morgana couldn't feel them anymore. Couldn't feel anything anymore.
At times like these, Aithusa wished more than anything that she could talk to the sorceress. Tell her that everything was going to be okay. That they were going to survive this. But she couldn't. And so she made do with non-verbal communication as if she were a dumb beast. Snuggling against Morgana's frighteningly thin form, the dragon offered what heat she had. Morgana wasn't going to live much longer if something drastic didn't happen.
When the sorceress finally fell asleep, Aithusa reached deep into the magical center of her being, finding the last of her power. Morgana had a great destiny, but she would never survive without Aithusa's help right now. With the last of her magical reserves, Aithusa breathed healing fire over the sleeping form of the sorceress. She didn't have enough power to heal the festering wound in her back, to her dismay, but she had just enough to cure the frostbite on Morgana's hands and feet. Exhausted from the effort, Aithusa fell asleep, and dreamed of the first time she had met Morgana.
Finally free from the egg that had held her within it for a thousand years, Aithusa had reveled in her freedom, so full of magic and power that nothing seemed impossible. Racing through the woods she had come across the sorceress lying on the forest floor, near death. Aithusa had seen the silver threads of her life and her great destiny fading. Snarled in the cold black hatred and evil which had invaded her soul. Rushing to her aid, Aithusa had healed the damage to Morgana's physical body. But once healed, she could still see the miasma of hatred eating away at the bright spirit of the sorceress. She had decided right there that she would be the guardian of that bright destiny. The keeper of the small flame of goodness which still remained deep within Morgana's heart. If she could prevent the hatred and evil from extinguishing that flame, there was still hope for Morgana to regain her true self and play her part in the future of this land.
That task had proven nearly impossible. Hate begat hate. And the path on which the sorceress walked was one of hatred and betrayal. Humans, for all their power, life, and tenacity, never learned that hatred was the manifestation of evil, and that by giving into it they became the agent of evil here in this plane.
And so Aithusa stayed with Morgana. Never leaving her side for three years. And she had grown to love this woman. She was brilliant and powerful and deep inside, such a brightly shining good soul that Aithusa marveled that the darkness could have ever taken hold within her. But the price had been terrible. Without the life and magic of her kind, Aithusa was trapped in her juvenile form. Unable to mature to adulthood. Unable to talk. Unable to replenish her magic. She was slowly dying. She had maybe a year left. Less if she starved, which seemed like a distinct possibility. But it was far too late to leave now. She was too weak. And the flame of goodness in Morgana's heart was so terribly small and fragile. Aithusa knew that her presence was the only thing preventing the sorceress from turning completely to ice.
The next morning, Morgana awoke and could feel her hands and feet. Flexing them in awe, she turned to tell Aithusa the good news, wincing at the pain of her back wound reopening, but she didn't spare a thought for herself. Because when she looked at the dragon she could immediately tell how she had been healed. Aithusa was so weak she couldn't stand.
Alternating between tears and anger, Morgana berated the dragon for wasting her precious strength on someone so undeserving as herself. Raged against her for staying with her for so long. Eventually spent, Morgana went into the woods and found a large stag, straying past the line of spring which was claiming the southern lands. Killing the majestic creature without remorse, Morgana dragged it back to Aithusa and fed her precious dragon the entire animal. Small bite by small bite. "Stay with me, darling. Please don't leave me alone. I couldn't bear the thought of being alone. That's right dear. Every bite. We'll get you strong and healthy again. That's why we're going south. There's someone who can help you."