Chapter 18

Merlin saw Arthur running at the man. Saw what the man had done, the power he wielded. Knew that this was their enemy. Knew that this man would not harm Arthur or anyone else. With his eyes flashing gold, Merlin ran between Arthur and the druid. With a wordless scream, Merlin held his hand out at his enemy. Cerdain saw the warlock arrive too late. Emrys! He wasn't supposed to be here! But his fate was sealed. Merlin's fury burrowed deep into the former druid and with a gurgle of surprise, Cerdain exploded into a vast fountain of blood.

Seeing this, the invading forces began to retreat, no longer having anything that kept them in the battle. The army of Camelot chasing down stragglers and cheering the great victory.

Panting, Merlin turned towards Arthur.

Arthur faced Merlin, his sword still drawn.

Gwen, covered in the blood of her enemies, finally made it to her husband's side just as Morgana reached Merlin's. The two women stared intently at one another, at the ready in case the other made a move. Ready to defend the men they loved. Time stretched as Morgana and Gwen faced off. Neither wanting to attack but neither trusting the other.

Merlin and Arthur could only see each other. Their blue eyes locked. Neither one acting first. Time stretched out. How long had they been standing there? Blinking, Arthur sheathed Excalibur. Looking at his dearest friend, he could think of only one thing to say.

"What have you done with yourself, Merlin? Look at you! You look like some sort of wild Druid King! Did they not shave wherever it is that you went off to?"

The tension broken, Merlin and Arthur embraced, grinning and slapping each other on the back. Both apologizing to the other and talking over one another. Mutually forgiven, they couldn't stop smiling at each other.

Gwen looked at Morgana. Was this real? Could this really be what it seemed? She didn't trust her former friend.

Morgana didn't stop staring at Gwen. Ready to act if the reunion between Arthur and Merlin was a ploy. Ready to act, even if she hated the very thought of hurting her former friend. She was interrupted by the arrival of Leon and the Knights. Smiling and hugging her, they crowded around, congratulating her on her amazing defense of Camelot. Morgana couldn't stop the amazed smile from shining from her face. They had done it! They had saved Camelot.

Gwen took a small step forward.

Leaving the Knights, Morgana looked at Gwen. Hesitant, she walked over to the Queen, careful to keep clear of her bloody blade. How could she even begin to say this? There was so much. "Gwen. I'm. Merlin has shown me the truth. I was. I was not myself. But, because of him, I am back in my right mind. He has healed me. There are no real words that could make any apology I give adequate. But will you please let me try?"

Gwen looked around. Saw Arthur and Merlin, hugging and talking and completely oblivious to anyone else. Saw dragons, dragons!, flying over Camelot and not attacking. Saw Gaius talking to two women who looked like they had to be sorcerers of some sort. Saw the knights reuniting with their missing companions. Saw the people of Camelot beginning to come out of their homes now that it seemed the danger was really over. Something amazing had happened in Camelot. Something magical. Looking back at Morgana, Gwen dropped her sword and pulled her into a fierce embrace. "Welcome home."

"...and so, people of Camelot! Not only because of our great victory here today, but because it is the right and honorable thing to do. From this moment forward until the end of days, Camelot welcomes and cherishes all of her people, whether they have magic or not. The ban on sorcery is officially lifted! Forever!"

The crowd gathered in the courtyard went wild. Which didn't surprise anyone one bit. Holding his hands up for silence, Arthur continued. "With the ban over, it is my great pleasure to announce the appointment of two new advisers to the crown. Lady Morgana Pendragon has graciously accepted the post of Court Seer. Without her gifts, we would not have had warning about the invading army and our allies, the Atzinganoi and the Dragons, would not have made it to Camelot in time to help repel the attack! Morgana, Aithusa, Vadoma, and Purah curtsied to the crowd which was roaring its approval. When they were again silent, Arthur concluded. "The final appointment is one I should have made years ago. Merlin has accepted the post of Court Warlock. In this role he will continue to watch over and guard Camelot against any enemies foolish enough to challenge us!

The celebration lasted long into the night.

"Are you nervous?" Gwen asked Morgana, helping the sorceress with her hair. Just like those long ago days when she had been Morgana's servant, rather than her Queen. Regardless of her station, Gwen was an absolute sorceress with hair.

"I thought I would be. But I'm just so happy. It feels like at any minute I'm going to wake up and find this was all just a lovely dream. But it's real. I'm home. And today I'm marrying the most wonderful man in the world."

"Second most wonderful," Gwen corrected pertly. The two women shared a smile in the mirror. "I'm so glad you're home. So glad you're back. I missed you desperately." Tears were welling up in her kind brown eyes.

Crying, the two women embraced. "You know, Morgana. I regret that we were estranged during my wedding to Arthur. We so often said that we should have been born sisters. I wish you had been here for the day we finally were."

"I've realized something in the past few months, Gwen. Love makes a family, not blood. We didn't need any marriages to make us sisters. We always have been. Now, we must stop this crying!" She said, dashing the tears from her green eyes. "I'll not have Merlin think I'm anything but gloriously happy to become his wife!"

"Are you nervous?" Arthur asked Merlin, helping the Warlock into his formal overcoat.

"No of course not. I'm a good deal smarter than you. I know when I have a good thi-Ow! You can't do that anymore, Arthur! I'm not your servant anymore, remember? You can't hi-Ow!"

"I can and always will be able to do that. It says so right there in the rules of being King. I'd show you but I know you're too dull to underst-Ow! Did you just hit me?"

Laughing, the two men embraced. "You know, Merlin. Once this is done we're going to be related. Are you certain you can handle that?"

"It's like I told Morgana when I proposed. I know that there will be parts of marriage that are anything but romantic. But she is completely worth it. Arthur, I don't have a single doubt in my mind that marrying Morgana will be the smartest thing I will ever do."

"You could at least shave off that...thing on your face. You still look like a wild man."

"You know I think I'll keep it. Morgana says it suits me."

"There's a term for men like you, Merlin."

"Yeah, I know," Merlin said with a huge grin, "but she's worth it."

Gaius took Morgana's arm and they entered the long throne room. It seemed that the entire kingdom was here. Morgana could see Hunith sitting by the knights. She was crying and they were awkwardly trying to comfort her. Gwen and Arthur stood at the end of the aisle, serving as witnesses and smiling back at her. Geoffrey of Monmouth stood, prepared to perform the ceremony. And there, looking at her with love and the promise of forever shining in his blue eyes, was Merlin. He was so tall and proud. So handsome. He wore his power openly, proudly, like armor, and he shined with it. Morgana nearly floated down the aisle to him. Today they began their forever.

It was a week after Merlin and Morgana's wedding. They had returned from their trip to The Isle of the Blessed and now it was time for their first council meeting. The round table. It was finally complete. His family was finally back together. Camelot was again whole. Arthur smiled as he looked around the table at his family. "I think it's time to stop pretending this land is five kingdoms. It's time for Albion to be reunited, reforged. Who's with me?"

The End


I hope you liked this story. If you did and want more, I wrote a sequel, called Reawakening. Check it out!