Hello! I'm blown away with the response I have received from the first chapter. A big thanks goes to all my reviewers and favourites and followers. As you can tell I'm not a fast updater and yet I do keep updating eventually, when I have finished with the next part. I hope you stick with me. Lucy
P.s if you have and ideas or see any mistakes that bug you please tell me and try to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Disclaimer: I don't own Merlin the BBC does even it I think the should be aloud to after the ending they gave us. Just saying.
Two Days Later.
"Do you even know where you're going?" Arthur was becoming unbearable. He shifted in his saddle trying to ease some of pain and ache, caused by their harsh journey. They had been travelling east for nearly three days now and Gwaine hadn't said anything about where they were heading.
Arthur wanted to head west to his uncle, but he always knew that the man that was supposed to be family hated him and his father for taking away his sister. So he followed Gwaine through the forests and passed rivers hoping that he actually knew where he was going.
"Of course I do, quit your complaining, were nearly there." Gwaine huffed, quite unlike the normally cheerful man he usually was. He just hoped that help would be still there.
The sun was nearly setting when the pair came over the hill and out of the forest. The view from the top overlooked a valley and nestled in the centre was a small farming village. The houses were built out of basic materials like stone and thick straw roofs, Arthur couldn't help but think it looked so cosy and wondered what life would be like to live and work here with these people.
"I don't know this village," knowing that he had visited all the outer villages in Camelot. "When did we cross the border?"
"An hour before we stopped last night Princess." Gwaine rolled his eyes. "It's called Ealdor, it's one of the furthest outlying villages in Esstair, no one really knows about it because it's hidden in the valley, so it's a good place to hide, especially when I get into a tight spot in a tavern." Gwaine chuckled
Arthur wished he had such knowledge of the lands, but being sheltered in Camelot made that difficult. Making their way down the valleys side, the pair were spotted by workers in the surrounding fields some huddle together obviously frightened by the new comers yet some just take one look and continue on with their work typically the men. "Their afraid?" Arthur questioned.
"Wouldn't you be if two cloaked men came into your home?" They continued into the village, Gwaine seemed to know where he was going. Once they arrived at the main cluster of houses, which were very small compared to Arthur's chambers let alone the whole castle he grew up in, they dismounted. Walking towards the centre, the people started to converge with them. It made Arthur jittery because they were surrounded by men who looked very strong probably due to years of hard labour Arthur thought.
"I'm looking for Hunith?" Gwaine asked speaking loud to the crowd around them. Nobody answered. "I can assure you we mean no harm to her or anyone in the village. We need her help and looking for shelter."
"There's no one here by that name! Leave now! We want no trouble from outsiders." A faceless voice said from the middle of the crowd of people.
"Yeah leave!" another shouted they could tell that the two voices came from the same area.
"Now I know she's here this is her home, she told me to come here if I ever need a safe place to go," Gwaine's eyes darting around looking among the faces.
Arthur could tell the crowd was getting to rowdy and it could end badly for them. His hand moved to the hilt of his sword. However the people took this a threat and all moved closer to the pair. Their horses could sense the anger of the crowd and pulled on their reins, this diverted Gwaine and Arthur's attention to the horses to try and stop them from running away and possibly hurting people under their hooves.
A tall muscular man approached Arthur now that his back was turned. In his hands he held a pitchfork. His face you could see the anger and his intentions were clear. He was just about to stick the prince when a woman's voice ran out across the village. "STOP! Stop this at once!" Arthur looked towards the voice but couldn't yet see anyone. "Move out of my way!" a small raven haired woman broke through the crowd. Arthur could tell she was older lady by the wrinkles around her eyes. She was carrying a satchel with what looked like herbs sticking out of the open top. The woman was breathing heavily and looked angry she charged up to the man with the pitch fork and with a small hand pushed him back. "That's enough Jeremy; they are here to see me! How dear you threaten them."
The man didn't look impressed that the woman, who Arthur assumed was Hunith, was telling him what to do. They exchanged a few more words but he didn't hear them.
By now the other villagers were returning to their work. "If they course any trouble then it's on you Hunith!" the man sulked away.
"Hunith?" Gwaine approached the woman, she just smiled and chuckled for a few seconds.
"Gwaine, it's never a dull moment with you around is it? It's been a long time. I wasn't sure I would see you again after you left." Hunith pulled Gwaine into a hug, once she released him out her hands on both of his checks looking him over as if just checking if he was ok. "What have you gotten yourself into this time?"
"I want you to meet someone," he turned around to see Arthur waiting patiently or as patiently as a prince can ever be, behind him. "This is my friend Arthur, Arthur Pendragon." He said the last part anxiously.
"Pendragon? Uther's son?" Hunith looked back and forth the two men. The shock clearly showed on her face, "what are you doing here?"
"We need help. Camelot's been taken from me and father murder we had nowhere to go." Arthur spoke quietly to the kind looking woman.
"Camelot's been taken! How?" she said her voice now had a serious tone to it.
"We will explain everything Hunith don't worry. Is there a place we could go to speak more privately?" Gwaine looked around seeing some people still hanging around.
"Yes of course, how silly of me you must be tired from your journey. Come, I live on the other side of the village, near the woods, that's why it took me a long time to get to this part of the village. When I heard two cloaked people had come to the village I knew it could be Mer... Umm, Important." She gave a quick glance to Gwaine how noticed her slip up but didn't say anything.
The cottage they arrived at wasn't like all the others it was partly hidden in the woods and slightly bigger. There was a small herb garden to the side of the house and lots of flowers everywhere. Arthur thought it looked like a house that had come straight out of one of his books as a child.
As they were just about to walk into the house it started to rain. They hurried and lead their horses around the back of the house to where they was a place for horses, Hunith had mentioned on their walk over. It was nothing like the proper stables in Camelot yet Arthur wasn't expecting the wooden structure that was built into the trees. It was secured to four trees and made a strong waterproof roof in a triangle shape Arthur watched as the rain ran off the thatch that covered it, not getting the ground below wet at all. Once Arthur and Gwaine left the horses to eat the surrounding shrubbery they made their way inside.
They explained the events that had happened that had coursed them to be here, starting from the cruel punishments to Harold's betrayal. Hunith didn't know what to say she was sad and couldn't truly believe all that had happened to the young men in front of her.
"What did you plan to do?" she said setting two bowls of broth onto the table in front of the men. She motioned them to eat. "Of course you are always welcome to stay as long as you need to; I have a spare room you can use." she motioned to the side of the house where a door was.
"Thank you, we appreciate all that you have done Hunith. I want to take my lands back but Harold has an army and I don't, all is lost" a frown appeared on Hunith's face.
"You shouldn't give up hope Arthur! You are the rightful heir to the throne. Camelot it yours by right."
"But Harold made my father sign all my rights away, and made him heir." Hunith reached across the table and rested her hand on Arthur's.
"Listen to me now, you can't let a silly piece of parchment stop you, the blood of the Pendragon's runs through your veins that's what make you the heir not him." She smiles, she knew the stories of the Pendragon family and knew that Arthur didn't grow up with a mother so her hand was making him slightly uncomfortable but she didn't let go. "Just trust yourself Arthur and believe that things will be alright."
She turned to Gwaine who was quickly eating away at his food. "You'll need Merlin's help if you want to take the city back." Gwaine cloaked on his food at the sudden mention of Merlin. "I mean you are going to try to take the city back aren't you and you said it yourself that you don't have an army at your disposal. She could help you!"
"You know the laws in Camelot Hunith," it shocked Arthur to hear the seriousness of Gwaine's voice. "He won't understand we can't risk her life like that."
"Then why did you come? Surely not to see me Gwaine." She walked into the other room.
Arthur was confused. Who was this Merlin person and why did they need her? But if she could help, then why was Gwaine hesitant to go find this person and how did the laws in Camelot come into this?
"What's going on Gwaine who is this person?" Arthur said to Gwaine who was now stood and pacing in the room. Back and forth, back and forth for a whole two minutes Gwaine didn't answer just walked. Arthur was going to pressure him into answering but he had never seen Gwaine this distressed and agitated. So he waited.
"Merlin is... umm... well she's..." Gwaine rubbed his face with both of his hands. "She's a very special woman Arthur, she could help us, but you have to be open minded. Very open minded."
"I can do that if this person, woman, can help us then I'm willing to be open minded." Arthur nodded enthusiastically. How bad can it be? Arthur thought.
Gwaine chuckled and grinned as if he could hear Arthur's thoughts and was mocking him. "Well ok then."
Just as the pair were waiting for Hunith to come back, a figure burst through the door. "Hunith! Where are you? Something's happened..." Immediately Arthur had drawn his sword and had it pointed at the intruder. The man soaked through thanks to the rain lowered his hood. He had a grin plastered onto his face. "Arthur! Gwaine!" a now happy voice shouted.
"Gaius?" Arthur lowered his sword and moved forward to embrace the man.
The man that Arthur looked up to the most in his life had found them, Arthur smiled and laughed. Gaius turned and did the same to Gwaine. "I didn't know where you two were I was so worried. "He grinned "I thought that Harold got to you."
It was then that Hunith rushed out of the side room, arms full of scrolls, "oh it's you! You scared me to death with your barging in like that! "She walked across the room and dropped the papers onto the table.
To Arthur's surprise she just ignored Gaius and carried on sorting out the papers. "No hello for your brother then!"
Hunith looked up and answered "oh... Err hello." She carried on.
Gaius laughed and hugged his sister and kissed her forehead. "It's nice to see you sister."
"She's your sister?" Arthur asked. Gaius gave a nod and smiled "I didn't know you had a sister." Arthur just realized that he didn't really know the man in front of him at all.
"It was you wasn't it. The person who helped our escape in the court yard." Gwaine asked interrupting Arthur's inner monologue. Arthur's eyebrows rose as he looked at the older man.
He nodded and began to explain. "I had just left your father Arthur. When I saw Harold going into his chambers. I overheard what they were discussing what they intended to do," he looked sad all of a sudden, "so I knew that you were going to be in trouble and I wanted to warn you but you had already left on your own mission. So I went back to my chambers and got ready to leave. I was crossing the top of the battlement when I saw the confrontation that you were in and throw in a few of my blackout potions, to aid your escape. I didn't see you get out, thanks to the smoke, so I wasn't sure that you did." He took a beat "I'm just sorry I couldn't do anything for the king, your father, Arthur." He looked sadly towards his fidgeting hands.
"There was nothing you could have done Gaius. It was just a matter of time before Harold made his move." Arthur said quietly. He took a deep breath and the others knew that he didn't want to discuss his father anymore. "So, is anyone going to explain to me who this Merlin is?"
"What? You're going to Merlin? Are you mad?" Arthur was surprised by Gaius's outburst. Just who was this woman?
Thanks for reading. Just so you know I made Gaius younger in this so he's in about his 50's. Please Review I love to hear what you think. Lucy