AN: Well, I'm taking another shot at the 'what if Merlin was a girl' thing. I know it's been done a lot, but I can't get the story out of my head. I hope you like my version of Merlin, but know that the character is different from the one on the show. There will still be similarities, obviously, but I wanted her to be more…well just more. I hope you like this and please review to let me know what you think. I pictured my character to look like Kahlan Amnell, portrayed by Bridget Regan, in the Legend of the Seeker.

Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin or the characters. Also, any script from the show you see is, obviously, not mine and I'm only borrowing it for the story. I do not make any money from this work.

Chapter 1: Welcome to Camelot

Emerlyn spun away from the gruesome sight of the man's execution. She couldn't even fathom the callousness that one's heart must hold to condemn a man to death simply for using magic. Something she herself had had since birth. Why would her mother send her to such a place?

Not able to come up with a likely answer, Emerlyn started towards some guards, wanting to find her destination quickly so that she didn't have to see the lifeless, and headless, body of a fellow magic user.

After being pointed in the right direction, Emerlyn quickly made her way into the castle and up the designated staircase. She came to a wooden door, and after not receiving a reply to her knock, she slowly pushed the door open.

"Hello? Gaius?" Her eyes caught movement from the loft, and she only got a quick glance of an old man before he was suddenly falling. Thinking quickly, Emerlyn sent one of the cots sliding towards the man. Thankfully, the mattress was able to take the sudden pressure without breaking.

"Are you alright?" Emerlyn asked and stepped towards him, not sure how soft his landing had been. She was afraid he might have broken something, which was definitely not a good first impression to have on your new guardian. Gaius scrambled up off the bed and stared at her, scarcely believing what had just happened.

"What did you just do?" Gaius demanded, although he already knew what the boy had done. Emerlyn's eyes widened as she remembered the execution she'd just left.

"I-I didn't do anything." Please, please believe me. I don't want to die! Gaius gave her a look that clearly said he didn't believe her.

"I know what you did! But how? Where did you study?" Gaius watched as the boy's face clouded over in confusion.

"I never studied. I don't know any spells." Emerlyn held up her hands, as if to show she was harmless.

"Don't be ridiculous! You had to have studied somewhere!"

"No I swear! I've never studied; I've never had anything to study. I-I was born like this." Gaius scoffed at her response, indicating he still didn't believe her.

"That's impossible, no one's just born able to do magic." Emerlyn just shrugged at him, not sure what more he wanted from her. She just hoped he wouldn't betray her secret to the king.

"Who are you anyways?" Gaius asked, since the boy clearly wasn't going to give him a straight answer.

"Are you Gaius?" Emerlyn sighed in relief when he nodded, only now remembering her reason for being there. If her mother thought this man could help her, then surly he would keep her secret safe.

"I am." Emerlyn gave a small smile as she pulled out a folded letter from her pack.

"I have this letter for you."

"I don't have my reading glasses." Emerlyn paused as she handed him the parchment, sensing he still didn't trust her.

"I'm Emerlyn."

"Emerlyn? Hunith's daughter?" She nodded, not really sure why he had such a look of disbelief on his face.

"I find that hard to believe as you're a boy." Gaius shot out, edging his way towards the door so that he could call upon the guards. Clearly this person was deranged.

"Oh! Sorry. I forgot." Emerlyn muttered before closing her eyes, slowly releasing the illusion from her body. Before Gaius's eyes, the lanky boy turned into a slender girl, complete with the distinguishable curves of a female. Giving herself a little shake, Emerlyn smiled at the gob-smacked expression on her guardian's face.

"But…you've had to have studied! Illusions are not tricks easily learned!"

"I-I learned to do this when I was younger. I-it was easier to be a boy when strangers came into the village." She mumbled, giving another shrug. There was a reduced risk of her grabbing one of the man's attention by mascaraing as a boy, which her mother was thankful for.

"Oh…well put your pack up there." Gaius pointed to a door at the top of a few stairs. He wasn't really sure what to think anymore, as this young girl had just showed a level of magic that one so young should not possess.

"You won't…tell anyone about…." Emerlyn trailed off, gesturing to the bed and fallen banister.

"No, I will keep your secret. Although I should say thanks Emerlyn, you saved my life." She gave him an embarrassed shrug before turning towards her room. The old man watched as she opened the door and entered the small room before he made his way over to a table. Picking up his reading glasses, Gaius unfolded Hunith's letter.

Emerlyn made her way into the dark room, softly closing the door behind her so that Gaius wouldn't see her do anymore magic. She could tell that he was already at his wits end trying to understand her, so she didn't want to push him anymore. Magic was such a part of her, that she couldn't even fathom not using it, so she hoped he'd get used to it. As long as she was careful, Emerlyn didn't see a reason for her having to worry.

Scanning around the dark room, Emerlyn spotted what she thought was a bundle of candles. Making her way over to them, she gave a flick of her finger and they suddenly lit, casting the room in a soft, muted glow. Able to see at last, she made her way around the room, lighting all the candles until the room was properly lit.

Sitting down heavily on the bed, Emerlyn shrugged off her pack and closed her eyes, needing a minute to compose herself. It had been a long trek from Ealdor to Camelot, and she was starting to feel that strain, as she had had to walk the entire way.

Not to mention, she desperately missed her mother and Will; she missed her entire village really. She had never been away for so long, and Emerlyn was shocked at just how much she longed to return home.

Stop it Em! You had to go before someone grew too fearful and turned you in. You've gotten a lot more powerful and they could all see it. This is for the best.

Getting her emotions under control, Emerlyn turned to her pack, slowly pulling out her belongings. She only had a few knick knacks, some spare clothes, and her toiletries, but she felt more at home when she began to place them around the room. She might be poor, but Emerlyn thought she had enough to keep her happy.

She placed her folded clothes in the cupboard, separating them into 'male' and female'. She owned another pair of trousers and tunic, and also two simple dresses, along with a variety of neckerchiefs. She didn't wear the dresses often, as she felt more comfortable in pants and didn't actually like a lot of 'girl' appropriate activities.

The only such activities that she was even competent at was sowing and soap making, as she made all her own clothes and soaps. Such skills were a necessity in Ealdor, where one didn't have ready access to markets.

Turning back to her pack, she pulled out the figurines her father had carved for her over the years. Some were of dragons, others were of her family; she even had one of a unicorn.

Tracing the lines of his face, she felt her heart clench with longing before she placed the knick knacks down on her side table (really an upturned crate), making sure they were secure. She didn't get to visit her father that often, so she didn't want to risk one of them falling and getting chipped or even breaking.

The last thing in her pack was her soaps, which she carefully extracted. Thankfully, the large jug of hair soap hadn't spilled, as it had taken her forever to come up with the proper ingredient levels for the soap to actually clean and not be just good-smelling water.

Once she had gotten the balance correct, her entire village had come to her for their own soap, as she was able to make it from plants that grew nearby, meaning it didn't cost anything to make. The same was true for her hard soap, which was also infused with jasmine and lavender, for their perfume and also their soothing properties.

Thankful she wouldn't have to make a new batch, Emerlyn carefully placed the jug and bars of soap on another upturned crate. She glanced around the room, hoping that it would start to feel more like home soon. After stashing her bag and bedroll into the cupboard, Emerlyn made her way over to the window, which she had to stand on a box to be able to reach. Pulling the wood back, she gasped at her first real sight of Camelot.

She was surprised the sun had already set and night had set in, but the view was so beautiful that Emerlyn didn't really care. The entire city was stretched out before her, for what seemed like miles, lit up by the flickering light of torches and candles. She had never been to a place so vast. Sure, the city of Camelot was not the only city within the kingdom, but she was sure it was the most breathtaking.

Emerlyn might hate being away from home, but she knew it had to be done. She knew Will would have never betrayed her, but there was never knowing with the other village folk. And after she had accidentally turned a sheep's wool coat yellow, her mother had sent her packing out of fear for Emerlyn's life.

So she would just have to make this new city her home and get over her homesickness. Feeling drained, Emerlyn stepped down from the box and moved away from the window, not wanting to see her new 'home' anymore.

/*/

After having dinner with Gaius, Emerlyn made her way back to her room. The exhaustion from her trip had settled into her muscles, and all she could do was sigh in relief when she turned in for the night.

Only her peaceful sleep was interrupted by a whispering voice in her head, calling her name as if whoever it was wanted her to come to them. Not knowing who it could be, or if it was merely her imagination, she decided to ignore the call. In a kingdom where magic was forbidden on pain of death, Emerlyn didn't want to be caught responding to a voice in her head.

/*/

The next morning, Emerlyn groaned as she rolled out of bed, her muscles aching from her long walk. Stretching, she frowned as she become aware of the fact that she smelled. She had completely forgotten to bathe the night before, and she didn't even want to attempt to take her hair out of its long braid for fear of the oily knots. She pulled on her breeches from the day before and made her way out of the room.

"I got you water. You didn't wash last night." Gaius said when he heard her walking down the stairs.

"Oh thank you Gaius! I'd hoped to be able to this morning."

"Well, help yourself to some breakfast." Emerlyn nodded, although she tried not to grimace at the clumpy porridge. It's not like she hadn't eaten the same thing her whole life; she'd just hoped that living in a city meant one would have more access to a variety of food.

Gaius glanced at her before ever so 'accidently' knocking the water bucket off the table. Before he could even lift a hand to try and stop it, Emerlyn's eyes blazed gold and the bucket and water stopped in midair as she sprang to her feet. Instead of allowing the water to go to waste, since he'd already seen her do magic, Emerlyn forced the water back into the bucket and plucked it out of the air.

"How did you do that? Did you…incant a spell in your head?" Gaius demanded. Emerlyn shook her head.

"I told you I don't know any spells Gaius, it's just…reflex. I can't help it, sometimes it just happens. But most of the time it's on purpose." She gave a shrug, not sure what else she could say to convince him that she had not studied magic.

"Wh-what do you mean 'on purpose'?" Gaius asked.

Emerlyn glanced around before looking down at the bucket in her hands. Her mind made up, she made her way over to some clear floor before setting the bucket down. Gaius watched, confused as to what she had in store, as Emerlyn kneeled on the floor before placing her hands on the wood. Before his eyes, she literally seemed to stretch the wood out until the bucket was the size of an overly large bathtub, extra water included.

Emerlyn glanced up at him when she heard his gasp of shock. Her gift must really be something he'd never seen before, if his reaction was anything to go by. So what does that make you Em? Why do you have these powers? Are you a monster? Her inner thoughts were cut off when Gaius tapped her shoulder, wanting to draw her diverted attention back to him.

"That is…very impressive, Emerlyn. I've never seen anything like it, to be honest. We'll have to keep you out of trouble." The last sentence was said with an arched brow, which made her roll her eyes.

She didn't always s get into trouble! More often than not, trouble just seemed to find her. The two moved back over to their breakfasts, not speaking of the new tub Gaius had apparently acquired.

"You can help me until I find some paid work for you." Gaius said as he stood and handed her some potions with instructions for their patients.

"Sure Gaius, no problem. Only…do you think I could get that bath first?" Emerlyn asked quietly, not wanting to set him off again on her magic use. She still didn't really know Gaius, so she wasn't sure how he would react if she kept doing magic in front of him.

"How did you manage that?" Gaius asked, pointing to the tub, which only earned another shrug.

"I-I lived in a village, Gaius, so my magic has really helped me whenever I needed it; like when I wanted to bathe instead of just using a bowl. It's just natural now to use it to help me when I need it. I've been able to do that specific thing since I was twelve." Emerlyn mumbled. Gaius just shook his head at her, still flabbergasted at her abilities.

"Just…just be careful Emerlyn. If anyone else were to see you using magic, you'd be headed to the block. You can't get away with using it at every turn here, like you did in Ealdor." Emerlyn nodded, feeling like a small child again under his gaze.

"I'll head out for my rounds. Don't forget to take those potions when you leave." Gaius grabbed his medicine bag and strode out of the chamber.

Emerlyn sighed as the door closed, thankful he was gone. She was overwhelmed with gratitude for him taking her in and keeping her secret, but Gaius was definitely going to try and suppress her magic, something that she thought was a fruitless endeavor.

Going back to her room, Emerlyn grabbed her soaps before stripping out of her dirty clothes and heading back into the main chamber. The air was cool on her naked skin, causing her to give a slight shiver as she made her way over to the tub. Placing her soaps down next to the tub, she dipped her finger in the water and waited until it warmed against her digit.

Satisfied with the temperature, Emerlyn glanced around until she saw a washcloth and a comb. She grabbed both before she undid her braid, slowly working the comb through the messy knots until finally, her hair was untangled and ready to be washed. Stepping into the warm water, she gave out a contented sigh as she sunk up until her chin, letting the warm water soother her aching muscles.

Moving a little forward, she dunked her head into the water so that all her hair was wet. Leaning over the rim, she grabbed her jug and poured a medium amount on her palm, knowing she was going to have to scrub at her scalp to get it completely clean. It had, after all, been days since she'd last bathed.

The girl was so preoccupied with messaging the soap into her scalp that she didn't hear the chamber door open.

/*/

Arthur strode through the door arrogantly, planning to tell Gaius his father needed him. But the words died in his throat when he saw a woman bathing in the middle of the chamber, her hands working through her hair.

He gulped when she dunked her head back to rinse the suds out of the black locks, her head rising back out of the water like a phantom from a dream.

He knew he should not be here, as it was entirely inappropriate to spy on a woman bathing, but Arthur couldn't seem to break his gaze. Especially when the woman lifted her hair off her back and shoulders, spinning it around her head until it was locked into a bun, leaving the entire expense of her shoulders bare to his eyes.

Her skin was a silky milk white that glistened from the water, and Arthur had the strongest urge to run his hand down her neck to feel if the skin was as soft as it looked.

When she reached over the rim to grab a bar of soap, Arthur was finally able to break the trance. Not really sure what to do, as he did not want to alert her to his presence, as a prince should never be caught doing something so inappropriate. Figuring Gaius would eventually see his father, Arthur quickly made his way out of the chamber, making sure to close the door as quietly as possible.

/*/

Emerlyn shook her head as she made her way out of the castle, Sir Olwen's actions being very amusing. She didn't have any money currently, but she wanted to get familiar with her new home. She had just made her way out of the citadel courtyard when her attention was caught by loud voices.

"Where's the target? It shouldn't be in the sun." A boy Emerlyn guess was some type of noble arrogantly called to the servant that was holding a large wooden circle, which she guessed was the 'target'. Emerlyn scowled at the smugness that just oozed out of his every pore, not believing anyone would talk down to someone else just because they could.

"It's not that bright." The servant responded, which just made the other boy respond with a condescending smirk.

"A bit like you then." The blonde's response earned him chuckles from his buddies. Emerlyn couldn't hear what else he said, but suddenly he started throwing knives at the unprepared servant.

"Hey, hang on!" The servant cried, clearly not ready for the onslaught.

"Don't stop." Emerlyn felt her temper rising as the prat continued to torture the servant, even demanding he run back and forth for a 'moving target'. When he dropped the target and it rolled to her feel, Emerlyn couldn't stop herself from stepping on the wood.

"Hey, c'mon that's enough." She said, glaring at the blonde, who turned to look at her in disbelief.

"What?" He demanded, clearly irritated that anyone would dare stop his fun.

"You've clearly had your fun my friend. Don't you think it's time to stop trying to humiliate a servant and actually do something important with your time?" Emerlyn tried to stop herself, but the words just kept pouring out of her mouth, with no regard to her wishes.

"Do I know you?" The boy asked as he made his way over. She tried not to be intimidated as his armor clad form got closer. He was a prat and it served him right, but he was bigger than her.

"No, I don't believe we've had the unfortunate luck as of to have met until this moment. I'm Emerlyn."

"So I don't know you, and yet, you called me friend." Emerlyn rolled her eyes at him, clearly not impressed with his attempt at intimidation.

"That was my mistake. A simple slip of the tongue. I'd never have a friend that could be such an ass." Emerlyn replied before turning and walking away.

"Or I one that could be so stupid." The boy's voice rang out, causing her to look back at him.

"Tell me, Emerlyn, do you know how to walk on your knees?"

"No, and to do such I fear would be highly unsuitable. Do you not agree, Sir?" Emerlyn asked, arching an eye brow at him and twirled the end of her long braid around her fingers, as if to highlight the fact that she was female, even though she was wearing men's clothing.

The blonde looked surprised at her response, clearly not expecting it. Taking the pause as her escape, Emerlyn made her way further into the lower town, confident he wouldn't actually try and follow her.

/*/

"I heard you got into quite the situation today." Gaius said when Emerlyn came through the door. She paused, surprised he knew already, before she continued into the chamber.

"It was nothing. Just this bully of a boy being nasty to a servant." Emerlyn gave a shrug as she sat down in front of him and grabbed a bowl of stew.

"That…bully is Prince Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon." Gaius statement was met with a spray of stew to his face and a shocked ward.

"Oh, I'm so sorry Gaius! I had no idea the jerk was a prince…although that does account for his arrogant disregard to everyone else and his love of torment."

"Emerlyn, you must be more careful! You could have wound up in the stocks, or worse!" Emerlyn gave a noncommittal sound, clearly not too bothered by it. Gaius just hoped that the head strong young woman didn't land herself in trouble.

/*/

Emerlyn made her way back into town the next day, wanting to buy some ribbon for her hair. She might not like wearing dresses often, as they restricted her movements; but she did like lacing ribbons through her hair.

It allowed her to feel like a girl, without being 'girly'. Thankfully, she had been able to finagle a few silver pieces from Gaius for her 'help', so she quickly made her way back into town, thankful she didn't run into the prat prince again.

"Hello, I'm Guinevere. Most people call me Gwen." A voice sounded from her side, pulling Emerlyn out of her contemplation on whether to buy the blue ribbon or the white one.

"I'm Emerlyn, pleased to meet you." She said, shaking the dark-skinned girl's hand with a smile.

"What you did yesterday was very brave! Standing up to Arthur like that. Not many people have the courage to do such a thing." Gwen gushed, obviously awed by the other girl's boldness.

"I didn't know who he was, actually. But he was being a prat and needed to be told so." Emerlyn replied with a shrug. She chose the white ribbon and gave a coin to the vendor.

"Well everyone thinks you were a real hero. Arthur was being a bully and you stood up to him." Emerlyn's cheeks flushed as the other girl continued to praise her, not used to such fawning.

"It was really nothing." She said as the two turned away from the vendor.

"Well, it meant a lot to us. So you're new right? I've never seen you before."

"Ah yes, I got in a few days ago. I'm living with Gaius, the court physician."

"Oh! I'm Lady Morgana's maid, so I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot of each other." Emerlyn smiled at Gwen as they headed towards the citadel.

"That'd be nice, as I don't know anyone here besides Gaius."

The thought of actually making a friend in her new home thrilled the young witch. Especially having one that would obviously know about all the rules and regulations for one living in Camelot and so close to the King.

The two said their goodbyes in the main courtyard, with Gwen heading back to her mistress and Emerlyn going home for lunch.

/*/

Emerlyn glanced back at Lady Helen's closed door, the sense of foreboding filling her being. If Gaius said Uther had band all forms of magic 20 years ago, then why did the Lady have items that looked magical? Surely she would get into trouble, even if she was of noble birth, if such items were discovered?

Not really knowing what to do with such knowledge, she made her way back out of the castle, heading to town. She was getting tired of running Gaius's errands and she was hoping she would be able to find some paid work. Maybe as a seamstress or soap maker. She also wanted to start meeting the citizens of Camelot, since she liked knowing everyone around he, something that came from living in a small village.

Spying the dressmaker's stall, Emerlyn headed over. She wasn't exactly sure how one went about inquiring about work, so she hoped she didn't make a fool of herself.

"See anythin' you like dearie?" The older woman asked when Emerlyn stopped in front of her wares. She wasn't sure if she would actually have anything the girl would want, as she as wearing breeches and a tunic, and she only sold gowns; but she was always hoping to make a sell.

"Actually, I was hoping to inquire if you needed an extra pair of hands?"

"Aw, I'm sorry dearie, but my niece is comin' in a few days to help me out. I don' know for sure, but Abigail might need some help."

"Thank you for the suggestion." Emerlyn said with a smile, turning to make her way further into town. But before she got far, a deep blue material caught her eye, causing her to stop and walk back to the stall.

The material was actually a pretty blue gown of silk and velvet, the material slipping smoothly through her fingertips. It wasn't anything outrageous, as there were no jewels or gems to adorn it, but Emerlyn thought she'd never seen a prettier dress. And this was coming from someone who didn't actually like dresses.

"How's your knee walking coming along?" Emerlyn sighed in defeat before turning away from the gown, sending the prince a glare. Why couldn't she just be left alone? Why did this egotistical prince have to keep irritating her?

"Look, I've told you you're an ass. I just didn't realize you were a royal one. So why do you keep bothering me?" Emerlyn asked, hand going to her hip to show her annoyance. Arthur gave her a half amused/half vexed look.

"You cannot address me like that!" Emerlyn rolled her eyes at him, clearly showing him how little she actually cared about what he thought.

"Why's that? Are you going to throw me in the dungeons because I don't fawn on you, my lord?"

Arthur could not believe the cheekiness of this mere peasant. No one had ever spoken to him in such a dismissive and disrespectful manner, and Arthur couldn't figure out if he admired her for it or not.

"Because I am of noble, royal, birth and that demands respect."

"I only respect those that earn it, sire. All I've seen you do is pick on a servant for the amusement of yourself and your friends. Nothing in that behavior is respectful, so I refuse to show something you have not earned." Emerlyn said, tilting her head up slightly to show she did not regret her words.

"You're very brave, even if you're an idiot." Arthur's statement earned another eye roll, something he was thinking was almost a twitch with the girl, she did it so often.

"It is not bravery when one simply speaks the truth."

"There's something about you Emerlyn. I can't quite put my finger on it." Arthur gave her a slightly perplexed look.

"Well, I'm sure you'll inform me when you figure that out. Excuse me." Emerlyn said, giving a slight curtsey (although it pained her) and walked away, leaving the prince staring after her.

/*/

Emerlyn had spent hours just walking around the lower town, meeting as many people as she could to try and get to know everyone. She also spent her time getting familiar with the city, knowing it was going to take her several tries before she was able to memorize the large city.

But thankfully for her, Camelot seemed to be on a grid system, so she was usually able to make her way back to the main road, which went from the front gates all the way up through the city to the citadel courtyard.

Unfortunately, she hadn't been able to find work, as Abigail had not needed another hand and she hadn't been able to find anyone else who did. She hoped Gaius would have better luck finding her work, as her attempt was a failure. But he lived here, knew the people, so she was sure he would be able to find her something.

Emerlyn slowly made her way back to Gaius's when it started getting dark, not wanting him to begin to worry. She knew that keeping her secret would be hard on him, especially living so closely to the King, so Emerlyn didn't want to add any more stress to the poor man's shoulders. When she got home, Gaius was pouring dinner into their bowls.

"Hello Gaius." Emerlyn greeted her guardian with a bright smile, giving the old man a slight hug.

Gaius was startled at the contact, but lightly patted her shoulder, figuring it was because she was a 'girl'. For her part, Emerlyn was also surprised at the hug, but she was finding herself beginning to actually like the physician, even if he was too cautions for her liking.

"Ah Emerlyn, just in time for dinner. So, how was your day? Do anything interesting?" She gave him a confused look, hearing the underlying current in his questions, as if he knew something she didn't.

"It was okay I guess, kinda boring. No one needs any help, so I still haven't found work. I just wandered around the city, trying to get to know it better. Nothing very exciting." Emerlyn responded before taking a sip of the stew. She wasn't sure how many nights a week he planned on feeding her soup, but she hoped to have a change soon.

"Hmm, so you didn't have another run in with the prince?"

"Uh-well yes, but I didn't do anything, I promise! He prattled, I replied. That was it, no blows were exchanged, promise."

"It must have been a very interesting conversation then."

"Why do you say that?"

"Because he left a gift for you. It's in your room." Gaius said nonchalantly, holding in a snicker when she chocked on a piece of beef before she hurried up to her room.

Emerlyn approached her bed, and the wrapped bundle, cautiously. Prince Arthur surely wouldn't give her anything dangerous, like poisonous snakes, right? She hadn't wounded his pride that bad, or at least she hoped she hadn't. When there was no movement or sound from the package, she gingerly extracted the folded parchment from the tied string.

Emerlyn,

You are truly unlike anyone I have ever known. You might find this difficult to believe, but your words have truly unsettled me. If the people only see me as a spoiled bully, then they do not respect me and I must work to change that. To thank you for being brutally honest, I purchased this for you, as I saw the longing on your face.

AP

She read and reread the note, not really sure what to think. Arthur had been nothing but conceited so far, so she wasn't really prepared to see a softer side to him.

Laying the note aside, she gingerly picked up the bundle and started unwrapping it. When the blue material spilled into her hands, Emerlyn couldn't contain her gasp of shock. Prat Prince Arthur had bought her the dress she'd longed for!

Why in the world would he give me such a fine gift? I hope he doesn't think he'll be getting anything but a thank you for it. It's even more beautiful off the rack!

"The prince bought you a gown? Why in the heavens would he do that?" Emerlyn turned at the flabbergasted voice, giving Gaius a shrug. She couldn't stop herself from lightly spinning around the room, loving the way the skirt flared out while she twirled.

"I guess our conversation was a lot more meaningful than I thought it was." Gaius shook his head in disbelief; never even thinking such a thing would occur. Emerlyn was more of a handful than he had ever thought possible.

"Do you have a mannequin? I need to drape this over something so I can fit it." Emerlyn asked, not even paying attention to her guardian as she continued to twirl around the room. She might not act like a girl most of the time, but she found herself unable to resist.

"I'm sure I can find something." Gaius said before exiting the room, in search for something of use. Emerlyn just swayed around the room, humming to herself, as if in the middle of a dance.

/*/

Emerlyn.

Shooting awake, Emerlyn groaned as the voice once more sounded in her head. Why couldn't whoever this was leave her alone? She just wanted to get a decent night's sleep!

Emerlyn.

Sighing in resignation, she stood from her bed and pulled her clothes back on. The voice, whoever it was, most likely would not stop pestering her until she investigated.

Making her way as quietly as possible out of the chamber, she almost had a stroke when Gaius suddenly turned over. Thankfully, he was still snoring, so she figured she was in the clear.

Emerlyn.

Following the sound of the voice, Emerlyn really hopped she didn't get caught. She wasn't sure if she could come up with a plausible excuse as to why she was wandering around the castle this late at night.

As the voice continued to sound through her head, she was led to the dungeons, where she had to distract two guards before safely making her way even farther below the castle.

Emerlyn.

Rolling her eyes at the persistent voice, she tried to quicken her pace, making her way through underground tunnels and staircases. Who would be down here this late at night? She wondered, but when she saw heaps of rubble, she had to wonder why anyone would actually come down here at all. Wait…Gaius said Uther had a dragon locked up underneath the castle. Maybe that's who's calling me! A Dragon! How amazing would that be?

Finally reaching her destination, which she figured since she was now on a rock outcrop that overlooked a giant cave. Definitely the dragon then.

"Where are you?" She yelled out, not sure if the beast would hear her or not.

She raised her torch to try and see further into the cavern, but everything was in shadows from the flame and the moonlight that peeked in through some openings. There was a gust of wind and the sound of giant wings flapping before a golden dragon zoomed out of the shadows, coming to land on the middle rock formation in front of her.

"I am here." Emerlyn really shouldn't have been surprised that it could talk, as it had clearly spoken to her in her mind. But even so, she found herself shocked that he could in fact speak in a human tongue. The dragon moved its head this way and that, as if trying to see all of her.

"How small you are for such a great destiny." Well that peaked her interest.

"What do you mean? What destiny? I've never heard of anything to do with my destiny."

"Your gift Emerlyn, was given to you for a reason."

"So there is a reason." Emerlyn almost mumbled to herself, but the dragon seemed to hear her as it gave a slight nod.

"Arthur is the once and future king who will unite the land of Albion."

"That's great and all, but I don't see what that has to do with me. I don't care what Arthur's meant to do, just as long as he leaves me alone. He is such a prat!" Emerlyn said, although she felt herself begin to doubt her own words when she remembered the pretty blue dress in her room.

"His destiny has everything to do with you, Emerlyn! He will face many threats from friend and foe alike, and it is your destiny to protect him." The dragon's voice boomed out.

"Um, I think you have your facts wrong. I don't think I'll be protecting him from anything! If someone wants to kill him, than by all means, I won't stop them. I might even help him. And, anyways, how do I know anything you say is true? I don't even know you!"

"There is no right or wrong. Only what is." Emerlyn rolled her eyes at his cryptic words.

"That doesn't answer as to why I should actually believe you." Emerlyn said as she took a step back towards the archway, not sure if he would try to fry her.

"I am a creature of magic, just as you are Emerlyn. I have seen what is to come to pass, and the words I speak ring true. None of us can choose our destiny, Emerlyn. And none of us can escape it." The dragon boomed before taking flight once more, leaving a confused witch in his wake.

"Wait! Wait! Stop! I need to know more!" It was useless, as the dragon just kept flying up and up until settling on some rock, his giant chain hanging down beneath him.

Sighing in frustration at the hard headed lizard, Emerlyn made her way back to her rooms, not really sure what to believe or do with this new information.

/*/

"C'mon it's time to get out of bed!" Emerlyn was jerked out of her sleep by Gaius, who had thrown her trousers at her. She was so tired! It felt like she'd only just closed her eyes when he woke her.

Trying to stifle a yawn, Emerlyn set up in bed and turned to stare at her guardian in irritation. Gaius ignored the glare he received.

"I need you to get me some herbs. Henbane, wormwood, and sorrel. And deliver this to Morgana. The poor girl's suffering from nightmares." Gaius said, handing her a flask of tonic.

"Don't I even get to eat or bathe?" Emerlyn asked, her voice betraying her irritation and tiredness.

"Maybe next time you won't sleep so late." Was her only response as Gaius strode back out of her room. Sometimes, she really wished she could just go back to Ealdor, where everything was so much simpler.

/*/

Finally reaching the Lady Morgana's chambers, after getting lost several times, Emerlyn was about to knock when she noticed the door was already open. Stepping into the room, she only got a glimpse of silky black hair and a blue gown before the lady walked behind her changing screen.

"You know I've been thinking about Arthur. I wouldn't touch him with a lance pole. Pass me that dress, will you, Gwen?" The pretty voice sounded from behind the screen.

"Ah, my lady, I'm not Gwen." Emerlyn said, not wanting to be caught and get into trouble for Morgana not knowing she was there. The woman's head popped out from behind the screen, her green eyes widening before she stepped back out.

"Who are you? What are you doing in my chambers?" Emerlyn held up the tonic.

"I'm Emerlyn, Gaius's ward. He wanted me to give this to you for your nightmares. The door was open, my lady." Morgana made her way over to her, taking the flask.

"Emerlyn is it? You're that girl that stood up to Arthur, right?" Emerlyn felt herself blush again, especially at the satisfied gleam in the lady's eyes.

"Um…yes my lady, that was I."

"I wished I could have seen his face! He's not stopped complaining about it for days!" Morgana giggled, delighted to actually meet the 'infuriating' girl herself. Emerlyn just shrugged, not really sure what was appropriate behavior for such an incident.

"Well, thank you for delivering this. I hope it works better than the last one."

"I'm sure it will, my lady. And between you and me, I wouldn't touch him with a lance pole either. Have a nice day." Emerlyn gave her a bright smile before curtsying and leaving.

So that was the girl Arthur can't stop talking about. She's very pretty, I'll give her that. And she's got a backbone, that's for sure. Well, no bother, no one will be able to look away from me tonight. Morgana smiled to herself as she thought about the burgundy dress she would wear, sure it would keep the prince's attention firmly planted on her.

/*/

Emerlyn gasped in shock as the air was forced out of her body by the heavy prince, who had landed on top of her when she pulled him from the seat. He stared down at her, surprised beyond words, not really believing what had just happened. The mouthy girl he'd given a dress to had saved his life!

"S-sire, I cannot breathe." Emerlyn wheezed out, lightly pushing at his shoulders.

Arthur's eyes widened before he quickly got to his feet, offering a hand to help her up. The hall was stunned silent by the almost death of their prince, so the encounter went unnoticed by the distracted audience.

"You saved my boy's life." Uther said, coming over to the pair with a look of disbelief and gratitude on his face. Emerlyn fidgeted under his gaze, acutely aware that she had just used magic in front of the king.

"Well…"

"Don't be so modest. You shall be rewarded."

"Honestly, you don't have to, Your Highness. It was nothing."

"No, absolutely. This merits something quite special. And I know just what to give you." Emerlyn almost stepped back at the feral grin that appeared on his face.

"You shall be given a position in the Royal Household. Since Arthur cannot seem to keep a manservant, you will become his maid. I'm sure you will be able to outlast the last servant." Feeling her heart sink at such a 'reward', Emerlyn shared a look of horror with Arthur as the king walked away and the hall started clapping.

"Father!" Arthur said in outrage, not believing his own father would subject him to actually having to be around the girl that had torn him down. And by the crestfallen look on her face, Emerlyn did not want the position any more than he did.

/*/

I cannot believe that I save the prat's life and I now get to be his servant! Now I have to wait on him hand and foot! This is ridiculous! Emerlyn was pulled from her thoughts when Gaius entered her room, carrying something wrapped in a red cloth.

"Seems you're a hero."

"Hard to believe, isn't it?" Emerlyn gave a small smile.

"No. I knew it from the moment I met you. You saved my life, remember."

"But that was magic." Emerlyn said, standing from her chair to lean against the table.

"And now it seems we've finally found a use for it." Gaius said, smiling kindly at her.

"What do you mean?"

"I saw how you saved Arthur's life." Emerlyn winced.

"Perhaps that's its purpose." At Gaius's statement, Emerlyn was flashed back to the dragon and his speech.

"My destiny."

"Indeed. This book was given to me when I was your age, but I've a feeling it will be of more use to you than it was to me." Gaius said, handing her the red package.

Emerlyn looked up at him in surprise before she pulled the cloth away, showing a leather bound book. Opening it, she was shocked to see spells and writings in the ancient tongue.

"But this is a book of magic?"

"Which is why you must keep it hidden." Gaius said, stressing the importance of keeping the book safe and from prying eyes.

"I will study every word." Gaius grinned at the reverence in her tone. The two were interrupted by a knock at the door.

"Merlin! Prince Arthur wants you right away!" A guard yelled through the door.

"You destiny's calling. You'd better find out what he wants." Emerlyn sighed before nodding, setting the book down on the table before making her way out of the chambers. And her duties as the prat prince's maid have begun. I really hate the Pendragons sometimes!

Okay, so what do you guys think? Please review and let me know!