Disclaimer: I don't own the Merlin series.

Chapter 9 The Lady of the Lake

Merlin and Gaius are returning to their chambers after their last house visit.

"Gaius…" Merlin begins to say.

Gaius turns to see what Merlin is looking at. A girl not much older than Merlin was chained up in a cage.

"Poor girl has fallen victim to a bounty hunter," Gaius says.

"A bounty hunter? Someone's going to buy her?" Merlin asks.

"Uther pays people well for delivering those with magic," Gaius says.

Merlin shakes his head and walks away. Gaius walks up to the cage.

"I'm so sorry my dear," he says. He looks closer into her eyes. "Do I know you?" The girl shakes her head.

However, there was something familiar about her.

xxx

Arthur pulled Merlin away when Merlin did not seem excited to see him the next morning.

"You don't seem yourself," he tells Merlin.

"Sorry," Merlin apologizes, "it's just last night I saw a girl a bounty hunter is going to sell to your father."

"Do you know her?" Arthur asks.

"No," Merlin answers.

"Then don't let it get to you," Arthur says.

Merlin smiles and nods.

"You're right. I'll get to my work," he says.

Arthur laughs as Merlin walks out.

"My overemotional idiot," he says.

xxx

Gaius watched as Merlin hardly ate his meal.

"Merlin, there's something I have to tell you," he says. Merlin just looks at him. "The girl we saw last night. Her name is Freya."

"How do you know?" Merlin asks.

"Because… she's your sister," Gaius says.

Merlin stands up in anger.

"Why didn't you tell me?" he asks.

"I wasn't sure at first. Freya was born before your father and mother were together. Your father left not long after Freya was born," Gaius says.

"So he abandoned her like he did me," Merlin replies.

Gaius puts a hand on Merlin's shoulder.

"I'm so sorry you had to find out like this," he apologizes.

Merlin gets back up and leaves. Not only did he have a half-sister, but she had magic as well. Or so he thought. He finds himself in the dungeons.

"Merlin?" a familiar voice asks.

He turns and sees it is Arthur.

"Please, let me see her," Merlin begs.

"You know I can't," Arthur says.

"Arthur, I found out she is my sister," Merlin says.

Arthur looks down and sighs.

"Five minutes," he says.

Merlin smiles and walks up to Freya.

"Hi," he says.

"Who are you?" Freya asks.

"I'm Merlin. This might be hard for you to believe, but I'm your brother," Merlin says.

"I'm Freya," she replies.

"I'm so sorry for what has happened," Merlin says.

"Merlin," Arthur yells. They go back to Arthur's chambers. "Would you draw a bath? And make sure it's hot."

Merlin tests the water and decides to use magic to make it hotter.

"It's ready," he says.

Arthur walks out in nothing but a towel. He puts a foot in the water, but quickly takes it out.

"You bumpkin! It's boiling," he yells. "You are half-asleep today."

"I'm so sorry, sire," Merlin apologizes.

"I know you're thinking about your sister, but…"

Arthur gets the pitcher of water and throws it on Merlin.

What the bloody hell was that for?" Merlin asks.

"Maybe it woke you up," Arthur says.

Merlin just shakes his head.

xxx

Merlin sneaks into the dungeons the next morning to see Freya.

"You shouldn't be here," Freya says.

"I wanted to see how you were doing," Merlin replies. He then sees something on her forearm. "Is that a druid symbol?" She nods. "Were you born a druid?"

"Does anyone know about you?" Freya decides to ask instead.

"Just you and Gaius," Merlin answers.

"I'm cursed," Freya says.

"Don't say that," Merlin replies.

She gasps when a shadow covers them.

"Merlin, I thought you'd be here," Arthur says.

"Sire," he gasps.

"It's all right. Just don't make it a habit," Arthur says.

Merlin and Freya give each other a small smile.

xxx

Merlin walks up to Gaius in the corridors.

"I don't think Freya has magic," he says.

"No, I don't believe she does either," Gaius agrees.

"We have to get her out," Merlin says.

"They says she's cursed," Gaius replies.

Merlin looks down, remembering what Freya had told him.

"Yeah, she said that as well," he says.

"Promise me you won't do anything stupid," Gaius replies when Merlin turns back around towards the dungeons.

"I'm just going to tell her goodbye," Merlin says.

Merlin is able to get to Freya without getting caught.

"Merlin, you keep coming. I scare most people away," Freya says with a sad smile.

"I'm not most people," Merlin replies.

"So, Merlin. Where did you come from?" Freya asks.

"Ealdor," he answers. "It's a small village."

"My home was next to a lake, surrounded by the tallest mountains," Freya says.

"I'm going to get you out of here," Merlin replies, taking hold of her hands.

"I thought we had an unspoken agreement," Freya tells him.

"What?" Merlin asks.

Freya looks down and sighs.

"Merlin, we don't know each other well enough for you to risk your life," she says. Merlin gets up and leaves, not accepting her words. "Goodbye, Merlin."

xxx

Merlin is awoken by the alarm bell. Gaius comes in.

Freya's gone," he says.

"What?" Merlin asks.

Merlin looks everywhere, but couldn't find her. And then he spots it. It was a giant cat with wings. It was wounded. Merlin follows it into a cave. In the creature's place was Freya.

"You must hate me," she says, stumbling into his arms.

"I could never hate you," Merlin replies, tears starting to form in his arms.

"A sorceress cursed me after she found out I had killed her son," Freya says. It was becoming harder and harder for her to breathe. "It was an accident. I thought he was going to kill me." Merlin picks her up and brings her to the lake where she grew up. "You remembered."

"Of course," Merlin replies, trying his best to smile.

"Thank you. I will repay you," Freya says.

She closes her eyes, but they won't open again.