"No, NO you can't do this, YOU CAN'T - MERLIN!"

Strangled shrieks erupted violently from Freya's mouth, struggling against the strong arms of dark things she couldn't see, even though the day was as bright and the sky as blue as could be. Throbbing and twisting shapes made from dust and dark clouds grabbed at her constantly to keep her away.

Merlin had come running, no doubt as soon as he had heard her screams from the edge of the wood. These things had simply jumped from the shadows and taken both of her arms captive in harsh grasps. A hand had appeared in order to cover her mouth, but she had been flailing enough to let out a few shrill cries for help. Unbeknownst to him, it was a trap - something she saw coming as soon as his narrow frame appeared at the top of the nearby hill. A sword that seemed to glow with a sickly blue light was produced, and just as she cried for help she yelled for him to turn around.

But now, he couldn't be stopped.

"No, don't please! They're going to - NO!"

Like lightning in its quickness they grabbed him, clearly human hands encased in tight, black leather gloves along with heavy masks. These phantoms of darkness who dared to venture into the light had one task in mind: to kill Merlin. Still fighting, Freya tried and tried to break away from the iron vices to no avail. Pain was of no object to her in the face of what could be the death of her heart. Yet they would not let go.

Running straight into the fray like he always did, immediately surrounded, unfeelingly grabbed, sword flashing - and then came the scream.

It shattered the air. She swore it did. The noise that sent splinters into her ears and chilled the raging blood to a standstill.

Too deep - it had gone too deep. Get away -no let go, they ran - gone just as abrubptly as they came. Like shadows indeed, they melted into the dark corners of the wood, leaving their dastardly deed behind. Dark red drops peppered a trail behind them, ending suddenly several yards into the dark.

First falling, sobbing, and then scrabbling to rush to Merlin's side. Soft but oh so pained groans were escaping his mouth, eyes squeezed shut in pain. The wound in his side was bleeding profusely, wetting the ground under her knees as though she was kneeling in a very wet part of the forest. His face was white as the bleached linen curtain covering the window of their little home. With a shock of numb and ice, she realized that the place he had been struck was nearly the same as her own had been. The one delivered by a knight of Camelot himself. But was it their turn to trade places. How different she might have expected this to be: his life pouring out of him rather than hers. How quickly she would trade places with him.

"Merlin….Merlin please, can you hear me?" She begged, pleaded him to answer her. Strange drops had begun to appear on his face, and she turned her face up to see if any trees were shedding water, only to find empty sky above them. The mystery drops were coming from her. Freya's tears were now covering his blank face. Lips moved in an attempt to speak, and she bent down to try and listen better. The most she could catch was a fragment of her name.

"F….-re - Frey…" the broken fragments tumbled from his mouth, and his eyes cracked open. Frantically she leaned over him, trying to protect him from everything, anything, death itself. Was that a…..smile? Why was he smiling? No, that wasn't right.

"Fr-reya. I…took your place this time." More tears coursed unhindered down her face as she tried to listen through the pounding in her ears.

"I don't want you to take my place, I…I want you to stay!" More pleading was the only thing that made fragile sense now, and she employed it for all its worth. "Please don't leave me, you promised you wouldn't, please you promised me Merlin." They were of no use, but still she repeated the worded tugs, hoping to grab him back from the pale cusp of death. And he still slipped away. Somewhere in between "please" and "would." The last remnant of light in his eyes was blown out permanently. Her last hope of something good in life, something that wouldn't turn and leave went with it. But everything left her in the end, didn't it?

Every last fiber of concentration and fiery, angry energy was poured into a grating, strangled, yet powerful scream. The edge of the water - a home, a different kind of home, but home all the same - vibrated with the sound of its guardian's anguished outcries. Again and again Freya screamed until there was no more voice to be had.

"You promised you'd stay. You'd look after - " but there were no words left. That was all, and the few she'd spent were futile and fell flat. Bending like a reed in a gale, hovering over the lifeless figure, she shed the last of her tears until his torn and bloodied shirt was even more soaked. The last sobs ripped from her chest, and after came a paralyzing sort of peace. It flooded her strained muscles until she fell back onto the ground behind her.

After staring a little blindly and aimlessly for who knows how long, minutes, hours even, Freya gathered what remained of her presence of mind. Picking him up was too much, even as skinny as he was - she tried. Dragging him terribly unceremoniously to shore, she pulled out the small coracle kept under a clutter of rushes. Sliding him in was difficult after a weary time of mourning, but with any shred of strength she could find she managed to lay him within. The last thing she wanted to see was him floating away from her, the last thing she loved, but she couldn't keep his body in the above world anymore.

No, it belonged down where magic thrummed in the currents of the water. Where she could watch over him and the others he'd sent into the water as well. Her place was in the water again, and she waded step by step, sinking in the silt as the boat drifted farther and farther away. One final stinging tear slipped out as she lit the fire. She'd be with him, but a different kind. A lonely kind, but peaceful.

Quiet. Dark like the tunnels. The end.