A/N- Wrote this shortly after watching 'The Disir'. I knew that Merlin winds up trapped in the Crystal Cave… so this was my theory on how the finale might go. Also, I never thought of Mordred as strictly 'evil'- still don't, though he broke my heart by killing Arthur. (I'm so glad we have a REAL reveal now! I think we can all agree that the writers handled that really well… a lot better than they did the very end.)
"I know it looks hopeless," Arthur said to his knights as they prepared to face the griffins once more. "But I've seen them killed in the past. We'll regroup in the square at my command."
The king stood looking out one of the front doors of the castle, waiting for an opening in the four griffins' flight.
"We have to talk, Emrys. Now."
Merlin saw Mordred breaking off from the group to come towards him. He allowed the druid to lead him by the arm around the corridor into the empty council chambers. Arthur called after the knight, but Mordred didn't stop until he'd shut the door behind them.
"Griffins are creatures of magic; Arthur won't defeat them."
"I know," Merlin replied. "But he'll not call off the attack- I once enchanted a weapon that killed a griffin but Arthur didn't know it was magic."
"Do you think he'd let you use magic to save Camelot?" Mordred asked abruptly.
Merlin took a deep breath. If this were to be that moment… "We have to think of something else," he said.
"There is nothing else," Mordred pressed. "Arthur and the others could all die if they go out there another time. We lost eight men in our first attack."
And those were eight lives that would weigh on Merlin's conscience. "I do care what happens to them, Mordred," he assured. "But if Arthur finds out… I fear he would push me away from him, and then I couldn't protect him from… all these things that threaten him."
"Your caution will be for nothing if he dies today, Emrys," Mordred said in a raised voice, before stepping closer to him. "This could be a chance for both of us," he continued more calmly. "He can't be angry at us for saving the kingdom."
Merlin frowned. "You could do this by yourself, couldn't you? Yet you ask me."
Mordred's face was as honest as Merlin had seen it. "I want you on my side," he said, revealing that his confidence in Arthur wasn't so great as he claimed. "It will be better, and safer, if it's the both of us," he admitted.
Merlin's instinct was to object to anything Mordred suggested.
But the support as well as the seemingly ideal situation was what he'd been waiting for a very long time.
"Merlin, what- What are you doing? Mordred! Get back here now!"
Merlin ignored Arthur's shouts, running out into the square, followed closely by Mordred. He would never have pictured the two of them working together, yet here they were.
He couldn't help but wonder if Arthur would notice as he enchanted the sword that he carried, Mordred doing the same. One of the griffins swooped down at them from behind, scratching Mordred's shoulder as Merlin managed to cut its wing, bringing it down a few yards away.
It was on its feet in a moment, screeching at Merlin before the warlock swiped at its neck, just missing.
"Watch out!" Mordred cried, knocking Merlin over as another griffin flew over, dangerously close.
The wounded beast approached to attack while they were vulnerable, but Mordred sent his sword into it before it reached them, pulling it back to himself with the same magic.
Merlin stabbed the next one to come close to them, and noticed at about that point that Arthur had come down and was standing not far behind him.
"Arthur!" Merlin shouted as the third griffin flew in the king's direction. Arthur had his sword at the ready, but still didn't seem to realize that the weapon would be useless.
Merlin had no other choice. Using magic, he threw Arthur back a few feet, taking the animal from the side when it came down.
As it fell, Merlin looked around. The last living griffin was hovering above Mordred, who swung at it in vain. The warlock sent his own sword into it, to be left there, for he had no further use of it.
One hand over his bleeding shoulder, Mordred nodded to Merlin before looking behind him with a blank expression.
Merlin didn't want to, but he turned around and saw Arthur coming to his feet. It pained him to see his friend so disturbed. Why hadn't he thought that this was how Arthur would react?
Mordred came up beside Merlin, but no farther. "Arthur," he said.
"Come inside," Arthur told them, heading for the castle door.
Merlin noticed the equally startled knights standing above the stairs, but his attention was upon his master. "Arthur, I-"
"Now!" The king's voice wasn't angry, exactly. It wasn't merely shaken. It was different from anything Merlin had ever heard him say, but he knew he was afraid not to obey.
Arthur ordered Mordred to see Gaius about his injury, and then turned to Merlin.
"Are you hurt?" he asked, no concern in his eyes.
"No," Merlin answered.
"Then follow me." Arthur led him into the council chambers, ironically the same place that Mordred had convinced Merlin that this was a good idea.
After all this time, how had he allowed himself to be talked into acting so rashly?
Arthur stood with his arms folded, frowning upon him with disappointment that Merlin had never wanted him to feel. It seemed that the king could bear it no longer, and he shook his head at the floor. "How long, Merlin?"
"All my life," Merlin replied.
A deep sigh. "And Mordred?"
"Why didn't either of you ever say anything?"
"Magic's outlawed; what could I say?" Merlin was aware how little of an excuse that was.
So was Arthur. "I almost allowed magic into this kingdom once," he exclaimed. "Why did you not speak then?"
How could Merlin explain that his reasons had been to allow Mordred's death? "I don't know," he answered, thinking of all the times he'd come close to telling Arthur the truth.
Arthur paced to the end of the room, arms hanging down at his sides, completing the image of a man with a heavy decision. "Are you sure you don't?"
Merlin didn't like the challenge in his voice. "No. You're right," he said. "I never said anything because I was afraid. Afraid of what you would think of me… or do."
Arthur turned to him, apparently saddened by Merlin's words. "And what do you think I should do? I've seen sorcerers killed in my reign, Merlin."
"The only ones you executed deserved to die for crimes they'd committed."
"Oh, have you forgotten that magic is a crime?" Arthur approached him. "You could have let it be, Merlin," he said. "Why hide it all this time until now?"
"Because Lancelot didn't kill the griffin, Arthur. I did- using magic. You couldn't have killed those today because you needed something you didn't know to look for."
"…You saved the kingdom then, you and Mordred."
Merlin was glad he could look at it that way. "There was nothing else we could do," he said.
"But you broke the law doing it."
He was angry. He had a right to be; Merlin could understand. "I'm sorry," he told Arthur. "But I'd do it again, to save your life."
Arthur could only look away, frowning in thought. "Go down to Gaius'. When he releases Mordred, I want both of you to meet me here." He paced back to the window.
Merlin knew that the king meant to pass judgement on the both of them then. "He shouldn't be long," he replied, and left.
"What did he say to you?" Mordred asked the moment Merlin walked in.
"He wants to see us both when you're ready," Merlin answered, suppressing a rising anger toward the younger man. He could tell that the druid was worried too.
As well he should be.
Gaius tied off the bandage he'd bound around Mordred's shoulder and looked up at his ward. Merlin read more than concern upon his face, but disappointment. Yet another thing he'd never intended.
The warlock and the druid entered the council chamber shortly afterwards. When the door had been shut, Arthur rose from his throne, coming toward them.
There was an uncomfortable silence before the king spoke. "Sorcery has been outlawed in Camelot. You're both guilty of breaking that law- but you did save the lives of my men, and for that I am grateful."
"I swore an oath, Arthur," Mordred said, "to defend Camelot in any way I could."
Arthur nodded agreement. "And you did. I can't condemn you for that." He looked closely at them both in turn, reluctantly hopeful. "I want you each swear to me that you'd only use magic in such a situation as happened today."
Merlin was silent. He felt Mordred's eyes upon him, as if waiting for the warlock to answer first. "Not all magic is intended for evil, Arthur," he said at last. "I know you've seen the worst and the darkest of what it can do, but don't think that all sorcerers are intent on killing you or anyone else."
"That isn't the point, Merlin," Arthur said harshly. "I've had people killed for magic and I can't just let you both off because you're my friends. If you'll not abandon the practice of sorcery, I don't have a choice but to banish you both."
"It doesn't have to be that way," Mordred said hopefully. "You're the king, Arthur, you can change the laws."
"For two people who've lied to me since I've known them?" Arthur cried. Merlin had seen him this angry on occasion before. Sometimes it took him days to cool off, but he would eventually come around.
"I'm giving you a chance," he continued, his voice close to breaking. "You can stop practicing magic, or you can go."
Merlin held his eyes for a long, painful moment. "I can't promise that."
"Neither can I," Mordred agreed.
Blinking rapidly, Arthur shook his head. "Then I banish you both from Camelot," he forced out in a hurry. "To return is under pain of death."
Stepping up to Mordred, he fumbled with the buckle of his red cloak, letting it fall to the ground. "You'll no longer wear our colors," he stated, and turning away, he paced toward the farther end of the room. "You have until tomorrow's sunrise to leave."
Merlin didn't know why he was still clinging to the hope that Arthur would change his mind about this- now or later-, but he saw Mordred's expression, and it was one of betrayal.
And weren't they the ones to have been betrayed?
Merlin didn't see Arthur again before he left that morning, but he found out through the knights that the king had given him a horse. He tried to be encouraged by this, for Arthur wouldn't have done it if he'd not cared at all.
Leaving Camelot was surreal to the wizard, as if his subconscious still believed that he'd be coming back.
Not this time.
A few hours after his departure, he spotted a person up ahead on the road. When he'd come close enough, he recognized Mordred, dressed now in the grey and brown clothes he'd worn before his knighthood. Merlin was surprised to see him on foot, for surely Arthur would have given him a horse as well.
As he drew closer, he considered taking a different route, or passing Mordred up with as few words as possible, but he needed to know what path the druid would take next, and, if possible, to guide him.
"Where are you headed?" Merlin called as he approached. Mordred turned briefly to him.
"I'm not sure yet," he replied.
"Neither am I," Merlin said, pulling his horse to a slow walk beside him.
They weren't silent for long before Mordred seemed to feel obligated to apologize. "This is my fault, Emrys. I shouldn't have pushed you into this."
Merlin shrugged. He felt exactly the same, but he wouldn't tell Mordred that. "There was no other choice," he allowed. "It might be thanks to your pushing that Arthur's still alive."
Mordred made no reply.
"…If you don't know where you're going and neither do I, why don't we stick together?" Merlin asked. It was only after he'd spoken that he admitted the truth to himself. He still worried about the vision, and so thought he should keep an eye on the boy.
Mordred looked up at him, considering. "Are you sure?" he asked.
"Yes." Are my intentions obvious? Merlin wondered. "What do you say?"
"I'd like that," Mordred answered with the first trace of a smile that Merlin had seen on his face in days.
It would take him a bit longer to manage one. "I've got room up here, if you want to ride."
Mordred began to say no, but perhaps his feet made him change his mind. To be where he was, he must have been walking since long before dawn. "Sure," he said. Merlin offered him a hand and a stirrup to help the druid mount behind him. "Thank you," Mordred told him.
I suppose it's only because we're traveling together and I need you to want my company that I'm being civil, Merlin thought. He said nothing.
"I've never traveled much farther on this road," Mordred remarked. "Where does it lead?"
Ealdor, Merlin thought, then realized he couldn't take Mordred to his hometown. "Lot's kingdom," he answered. "But I don't think it makes any difference which kingdom we go under. We could change course at the crossroad."
"Hmm." Mordred also seemed to think it of little importance.
"…Why didn't you take a horse?" Merlin asked.
"It would have been another debt to Arthur that I didn't want to have to repay," Mordred replied.
Though he'd done differently, Merlin could understand. "And now?"
"For the last few hours, I've been wishing I'd accepted the debt," Mordred replied, a grin in his voice.
"Do you know of any druid camps in Annis' kingdom?" Merlin asked abruptly as they sat by a fire that night.
"I knew of two when I lived there," Mordred answered.
Merlin shrugged. "If you think they'll allow us, maybe we could join one of them. If you can find them."
"I know how to find them," Mordred confirmed, looking hard at Merlin. "It would be strange for you, Emrys."
Merlin smiled wryly. "Strange is living in a city where you're an outlaw, whether anyone knows it or not." He nodded to Mordred. "It would be nice. Living in a place where more than a few people know who I really am."
Mordred smiled in sympathy.
"Do you think they'd let me in?" Merlin asked. He was already getting carried away with the idea, and wanted to know that it all wasn't in his head.
"I'm sure they would," Mordred answered. "To Douthbark it is, then." At Merlin's frown, he elaborated. "There's a man there who trades with us. He'll know where a druid camp can be found."
Merlin sat staring into the fire, thinking over all that had happened these past two days. Could he really go to live in a druid camp? He could certainly keep an eye on Mordred from there, but the boy wasn't the only danger facing Arthur. How could he protect the king from all of Morgana's threats from a druid camp, or anywhere but Camelot for that matter?
On the other side of the fire, Mordred sat up, long after Merlin had thought he'd gone to sleep.
"Are you angry, Emrys?" he asked.
It was all Merlin could do to try to blink the fire's glare from his vision and wonder what Mordred meant. "About what?"
"We offered our lives to Arthur's service," Mordred replied. "And he betrayed us."
Merlin wanted to agree with him; almost did agree with him- but he knew Arthur well enough to understand the king's reason for acting as he had. "Magic has scarred him rather badly in the past," he told the druid. "He does have reason to fear it. I know… it seems mostly unfair to us, but we did lie to him, and Arthur feels that strongly. He shouldn't have acted so suddenly. I think he would have come around."
Mordred looked down. "Then you aren't angry," he pointed out.
Merlin sighed. "I suppose not. But don't think I'm not upset. Camelot was my home for almost ten years. It hurts to leave behind almost everyone I care about. It was my destiny to protect Arthur." He stopped himself, realizing how much he'd told Mordred.
The druid was just shaking his head. "You still feel you need to protect him."
Merlin wasn't sure how that remark was meant. "I'm not sure how I feel about it anymore," he answered, reluctant to say anything further.
There was a moment's silence. "Goodnight, Emrys," Mordred said, rolling onto his side, away from his companion.
Merlin was pleased to find that Mordred had prepared a stew for their breakfast when he woke that morning. He couldn't remember the last time he hadn't done all the cooking while traveling, though he usually did prefer his own.
He paused however, before eating it. He'd tampered with things like this himself in the past. It would be simple for Mordred to lace the soup with- for example- poison.
But he felt that he knew better. The druid had refused to take a horse for the debt he would owe to Arthur. For whatever Merlin thought of him, poisoning in so discreet a manner didn't seem in his character.
"It's good," he told Mordred, for- tainted or not- it was.
He noted happily that by evening, he still felt no ill effects.
They'd spoken to the tradesman Mordred had mentioned, who recognized the druid and directed them south.
"Do you have any idea how much farther?" Merlin asked when it began to grow dark.
Mordred stood next to Merlin's horse, unmoving, almost as if he were listening for something.
Then he whistled- a long, low sound.
His call was answered by an identical note, and smiling, Mordred looked up at Merlin.
"We're close," he said, going forward.
They'd gone a bit deeper into the forest when a few people in cloaks appeared some way ahead of them. Merlin recognized only one of them.
"Iseldir," Mordred said, going ahead to greet his old mentor.
Merlin kept a small distance away before Mordred gestured him to come forward. "You know him," Mordred remarked to Iseldir.
The older druid nodded greeting to Merlin. "We welcome you, Emrys."
In spite of his words, Iseldir seemed less than happy about their arrival. Merlin couldn't have put his finger on it- he'd only met Iseldir twice in the past, and couldn't claim to know his thoughts. But there was something in his manner that was decidedly disapproving of their presence.
It only worried Merlin until they made it to the camp.
He'd seen druid camps before, under less cheerful circumstances. This was different, to an extent he'd not imagined possible. He could feel it as he walked in; many of the druids were sorcerers, after all, and he could sense the magic surrounding him. It was more than that, though. The people- adults and children alike- seemed to welcome them without saying a word. They would smile if Merlin looked at them. They prepared a tent for him and Mordred, eager to make their guests feel at home.
Most of all, he was glad to finally be among his own people. He'd not forgotten those he missed in Camelot, but being here did make it easier to bear.
Not finding Mordred in the tent when he woke the next morning, all such peace left him.
He wandered about for a while before meeting Iseldir on the edge of the camp.
No words had passed between them before the older druid said, "He isn't here."
Merlin frowned, but had no doubt that they were discussing the same person. "Where is he then?" he asked.
"I don't know, but I fear what he'll do, Emrys. Mordred told me how you were banished from Camelot. It isn't like him to seek revenge, but he's not the person he once was."
Merlin couldn't be sure what to make of his warning. "You think he poses a threat to Arthur?"
"I can't be sure, but if you value Camelot, you would do well not to let him out of your sight."
Merlin meant to question him further, but he heard footsteps from some way off behind him, and turned to see Mordred coming over a rise.
"Finding your way around?" the druid asked.
"Well enough," Merlin said, managing not to appear as uneasy as he felt. Looking back, he found that Iseldir had gone.
"Have you had breakfast yet?" Mordred asked.
"Where were you?" Merlin realized this was blunt, but Mordred ignored the distrust in his question well enough.
"I was just out walking," he answered.
"Haven't you had enough travel in the last two days?" Merlin asked, smiling casually.
"You can never walk too much in these woods," Mordred replied. "It's been a long time since I've lived in the forest."
Under the circumstances, Merlin couldn't tell whether he was changing the subject for his convenience, or merely expanding upon it as any innocent person might.
Days passed with no further reasons for Merlin to worry. A few of the druids came from trading in the towns and cities, yet they'd no news of Camelot. Merlin wasn't sure what news he wanted or expected, but the fact that there was nothing to report should have encouraged him.
A day came when Mordred volunteered to join the tradesmen on their next journey. Remembering Iseldir's words magnified the fears Merlin had already had, and he promptly offered to come along. His company was welcomed by the other tradesmen, but Mordred studied him with what Merlin imagined was suspicion. He said nothing, however, as to indicate any mistrust of the warlock.
On the second night of their journey, Merlin was unable to sleep. When a couple of hours of this had passed, he heard someone get up. He lay still until their footsteps were no more to be heard, and then looked around to confirm what he'd guessed. It was Mordred who'd left.
Careful to make little sound, Merlin hurried after him. Finally he caught sight of the boy through the trees, a dark, cloaked figure approaching him.
Merlin knew it was Morgana, but he did wonder why she would be cooperating with Mordred after he'd tried to kill her. Obviously a common cause could unite enemies, but if he knew anything about the witch, she still harbored bitterness toward the druid. Merlin came as close as he dared, listening.
"The Saxons will do as I command," Morgana was saying. "I don't suppose you've recruited any of your people yet?"
"The few that I've chosen to ask," Mordred replied. "But I can't form an open alliance."
"Why not?" Morgana's words were sharp.
"…There are a few among the camp who would try to bring about our downfall. There's at least one who I know would try to warn Arthur."
"And what's stopping you from doing away with those few?"
"This war isn't about killing our own, Morgana," Mordred answered. "They may not approve of what we're doing, but they'll have just as much right to enjoy the freedom it results in."
"There's no right to something you're not willing to fight for," Morgana objected. "Fine. If you cannot kill them, find another way of dealing with them."
"Do not forget that I'm helping you, Morgana," Mordred told her. "I'm not asking a position under your reign, only the opportunity to see our kind live in peace."
"And peace you'll have," Morgana replied, "when you do your part. My armies are almost ready. Send a message when you've gathered all you can, but don't be too long."
The druid took a step away before Morgana stopped him. "And don't fail me, Mordred," he snapped.
Merlin hurried back to the camp, but couldn't be sure that Mordred hadn't seen him. In his haste, he'd made far more noise he should have gotten away with, but when Mordred too returned, he passed by without stopping to check that he was asleep.
Merlin had too much on his mind to sleep much the rest of the night.
They returned to the druid camp in the morning, the other tradesmen greeting their families while Merlin noticed Mordred wander off alone.
The warlock reluctantly followed. He found the druid standing by a stream that flowed near the camp, and forced himself to speak.
"I know what you're planning," he said.
Mordred turned slowly, his face an unreadable mask.
"…And I want to help you do it," Merlin finished, sighing as if in surrender. Make him believe it.
"We'll be going to war against Camelot," Mordred clarified, "against Arthur."
"I know," Merlin replied. "I don't want him or anyone else hurt, but… I can't live like this anymore. Being here, with my own kind, it's been- I can't explain how much I wish all of Camelot could be like this."
"And the price, Emrys?" In spite of his hesitance, hope had begun to dawn in Mordred's eyes, giving Merlin hope in turn.
"The price is heavy; I know that. But it's worse to go on being oppressed by Camelot's laws."
"Morgana will take over- she'll reign as queen in Guinevere's place, and as sovereign in Arthur's. You wouldn't mind that?"
Merlin frowned, actually considering it. The very thought was awful, but- "I don't care," he replied. "I don't care anymore."
Mordred studied him a moment longer, then a smile broke upon his face and he laid a hand on Merlin's shoulder. "I'm glad you're on our side, Emrys."
Merlin couldn't bring himself to smile back, but didn't think himself suspicious for it. This was a huge step he was pretending to take, and the faking of it was difficult.
Yet it was also well worth it to keep his eye upon Mordred, ready for the moment he would need to intervene.
Merlin didn't have a plan. Maybe he ought to have- Arthur's life was at stake, after all- but this just wasn't so simple as that.
Mordred had discovered where the other druid camp was to be found, and they now journeyed to the west. The closer they got to Arthur's kingdom, the more uncomfortable Merlin grew, but he took care not to let it show. He even spoke to his companion in a more open manner than he'd managed before. Mordred seemed to appreciate it, though he was still as quiet as ever himself.
"What will you do after this is settled?" The druid ventured to ask one evening.
Adding wood into the campfire, Merlin sighed. "Don't know. Might go on being a servant."
"To Morgana?" Mordred said with raised eyebrows.
Merlin shook his head. "Let's just say there's… bad blood between her and I. I won't be living in the castle."
"You would make a good physician," Mordred pointed out.
Merlin smiled, actually fantasizing about that. "Perhaps," he said. "Healing people will be a lot easier with magic."
Mordred lay back in his bedroll, staring at the night sky intently. "…Do you ever think of it, Emrys? Really think of it? Finally being free- not having to hide our gifts." He looked across at Merlin, who hesitated.
"Of course I have," he replied at length. "I just never consciously… let myself. I guess because that's always made the way things are more difficult. And now I'm just afraid that something will break this illusion that magic can still be returned to Camelot."
"It can," Mordred said. "And it will."
Merlin couldn't reply to that. If he had anything to say about it, Mordred and Morgana would fail.
When had preserving magic ceased to be a priority?
Fearing that Mordred might read through his silence, Merlin opened a different subject. "What will you do- if we're successful?"
Mordred gazed up at the stars. "I still want to be a knight," he said.
"You are a knight," Merlin told him before he could think better of it.
"…Not anymore," Mordred replied. He spoke softly, but there was something deep and resentful in his tone.
"Is that why you started this?" Merlin had to ask. "Because Arthur took that knighthood from you?"
"Morgana started this," Mordred replied, "but I'll pay whatever price is necessary to restore magic."
Whatever price, Merlin thought. I wonder if he's yet to realize that that price is Arthur's life.
When Merlin stumbled as they traveled the next morning, he thought nothing of it. But the second time he faltered, his entire leg seemed to give out beneath him and he wondered what was wrong.
He remained crouched on the forest floor, blinking his suddenly unfocused eyes before looking back at Mordred, who had stopped behind him.
"What have you done?" he asked with a voice that was failing him as quickly as everything else was. It wasn't magic that Mordred had used; he would have known if it had been. Poison then, or a sedative?
He had no chance to ask, and Mordred's face told nothing. The last thing he saw was the druid approach before morphing into the rest of the forest and finally going dark as Merlin surrendered his weight entirely to the ground.
When he came to himself, he had no idea where he was. He supposed he should be grateful that he was waking up at all, but soon remembered the attack that Morgana had planned, and there was only room for doubt and fear in his mind.
That fear motivated him to open his eyes that he might banish his doubts, but what he saw confused him further. He was in the crystal cave, alone as far as he could tell.
Slowly his confusion went away. The place where magic began, he remembered- the perfect prison. Mordred didn't want him fighting on Arthur's side during the battle.
But there was light coming from the entrance. He wasn't sealed in. He couldn't move either.
Merlin heard someone approaching from outside and glanced over as best he could by only tilting his head. Mordred entered the cave wearing the armor of a Saxon, and set down a sack of what looked to be provisions near Merlin.
Noticing him awake, Mordred crouched down beside Merlin and spoke to his mind rather than his ears. "It's not my wish to see you dead, Emrys. But I can't allow you to continue to defend a king unworthy of your efforts when I have the chance to free our people. I only hope that when our work is done, you'll see that we were right to go to war."
Merlin responded in like manner, mostly because speaking aloud would have taken too great an effort. "You can't really think that you're justified for causing so much death when there are other ways- and there are other ways."
The druid nodded, looking down. "Perhaps. But this is the surest."
Merlin shook his head. "Mordred, if you make Morgana ruler over this kingdom, you'll be condemning Camelot to tyranny."
"Exile has made many of us bitter, Emrys. Morgana has acted wickedly in the past, but she'll treat our kind fairly. It's more than Arthur has done."
Merlin didn't know what to say, but he was too weak even to use magic to stop Mordred. His only chance was in talking the druid out of this, though it already seemed too late. "Do you think there will ever be peace if we betray our friends to obtain freedom?" he asked.
"Your loyalty is misplaced in Arthur, Emrys. I might have believed that you had decided to stand with us, but I knew this." Mordred stood up, backing away. "Arthur is the traitor, Emrys."
"Arthur wouldn't kill someone who he ever cared about!" Merlin shouted in his mind. "Don't do this, Mordred."
"The sedative will wear away before long," Mordred told him aloud, ignoring Merlin's plea as if he'd not heard it at all. "You'll be alright in here for a few days. I won't forget you."
"Mordred, please; you can still stop this!" Merlin struggled to make a real sound as the druid left the cave. "Mordred," he whispered hoarsely. "Mordred!"
All light from the entrance disappeared as he was closed in, leaving only the crystals' glow to see by.
Merlin tried not to give up hope. He might find a way to get out- whatever Mordred had done to seal the cave, surely he could undo it. When he could stumble to his feet, he went to entrance of the cave.
The strongest spells he knew were ineffective. He repeated them until he had to sit down to rest.
Maybe he wasn't yet strong enough, he told himself. But one of the spells would work; it had to.
…Was there any way that he could warn Arthur? He leant back against the rock that stood between him the outside, trying not to look around him. The cave would actually have been quite beautiful, but every time he focused on a stone, he began to show a bit of the future. The only image he'd seen was of Morgana on horseback against a red sky.
Merlin recognized the plain surrounding her- it was the place he'd seen Arthur die.
Once more he attempted to clear the entrance, but with no success. When he stopped this time, he turned to see that every crystal was moving with an image of the future, all of them different. One that seemed to continue his first vision of this battle captured his attention, and in spite of himself, Merlin focused upon it.
Arthur had dropped to his knees before Mordred, and was looking up at him with dreary eyes. "I'm sorry," he told the druid before falling to his side, still bleakly staring.
Merlin ground his teeth, fighting the tears in his eyes as he tried again to open the entrance of the cave. He had to find a way out. He would save Arthur somehow.
It was his destiny.
A/N- …Okay, so it doesn't actually have an ending, but we all know how it (really) ends! Review if it so pleases you. It certainly pleases me!