Disclaimer: I don't own Merlin, only this storyline.
The Lady of Camlann
Merlin ran like a madman through the dark forest. The shadows of the trees, and their dark branches, grabbed at him, ripping his long gray cloak, but he could not stop. He had to keep going. Time was not on his side.
He burst from the forest shortly after in a clumsy manner that was unmistakable. His raven hair was matted with sweat and he was panting hard as if he had run a very long way. But the servant that Arthur had come to know in a brighter time before the world had been engulfed in darkness looked very different now. He didn't sport his usual attire. Instead he wore a long grey cloak and there was a long sword strapped to his belt. In his right hand he held a tall staff with a gem of sorts twisted into the wood at the top, and his brown jacket had been replaced with dull chainmail.
Merlin walked to the edge of the cliff and stared down at the great plane bellow, fear obvious in his eyes.
"Camlann." He breathed the name. He looked over the great plane in which a large battle was taking place. One side wore the red of Camelot and the other looked like a group put together with people from all over the place. Their ranks were made of farmers and blacksmiths.
The two groups clashed and Merlin could already see a horrifying number of fallen, and the number was increasing rapidly. The knights of Camelot cut down the people they had once pledged to protect, but the people were not so easily defeated. They would surround a knight completely, taking him down in a group. Those fighting against Camelot may have looked disorganized but they were not completely without strategy. They outnumbered the knights, giving them the advantage of size. They may not have been as skilled but they fought with great purpose.
Merlin looked furious and terrified at the same time. He searched for someone amongst the battle. Then he saw her and leaned a little further over the cliff.
"Morgana!" He called to a woman with long flowing black hair dressed in dented and scratched silver armour. She swung her sword with great skill as she fought a knight of Camelot, finishing the fight quickly. When the knight fell she looked up to see the Warlock calling down to her. She waved her sword in the air. Merlin was relieved.
"I'm not too late." He sighed.
"Oh, but you are too late." A voice said menacingly behind him. His eyes widened and he turned just as this new enemy thrust forward with his sword. He lunged with such force that Merlin's chainmail did nothing against the attack. Merlin gasped and doubled over as the sword went right through him. It had all happened so quickly. One moment Merlin had been standing there strong and relieved and now his face showed such sorrow and pain.
"Arthur," Merlin chocked.
"Goodbye, old friend." Arthur withdrew his sword with a sneer. Merlin fell forward onto the grass, gasping.
"No!" Morgana screamed. She withdrew her sword from her opponent with a cry and pushed through the crowd to the cliff where she had seen her friend fall.
"We meet again Morgana, my sister." Arthur smiled as he turned to see Morgana approach him. His armour was black, contrasting with hers.
"You are no brother of mine." She spat at him, her eyes darting between him and Merlin who was still gasping on the ground, clutching his wound. His staff had rolled away from him.
"Your rebellion will be squashed quickly." Arthur laughed.
"You underestimate us." Morgana tried to sound confident.
"You fight with nothing but villagers who you've taught how to fight in only a few months," he mocked. "They cannot stand against my army of well trained men."
"We have more cause then you. You tyrant!" Morgana yelled.
"Oh, no need to shout, Morgana," Arthur shushed her. "They will hear the cries as their leader falls soon enough." He readjusted the sword in his hand, blood still dripping off the end.
"I will strike you down!" Morgana cried as she charged her estranged brother. Her black hair whipping around in the wind as their swords met.
Morgana beat down with her sword on Arthur's. There were tears in her eyes. She had come too far and lost too much to lose this fight. Her revolution would succeed. She was going to save the realm like she had promised. Like she had promised Merlin.
This wasn't how the future was meant to be. Somewhere destiny had gone dreadfully wrong, or maybe it had always been wrong. The prophecies had been warped along the way. According to the ones Merlin had been told, Morgana was meant to be the one lusting for power and Arthur was supposed to be fighting to stop her, but the reality had played out very differently. Here, in this strange place, the roles seemed to be reversed as Morgana fought for the people and Arthur was the tyrant.
There was the sound of metal clashing against metal as Morgana dodged and deflected Arthur's attacks. This darker version of him smiled as he jabbed at his half-sister. This fight was to the death and they both knew it. They fought harder and for a moment it looked like Arthur was getting the upper hand, but then Morgana twisted her sword hard to the right. Arthur's arm was wrenched sideways and his bloody sword flew from his hand.
There was no time to retrieve it as Morgana pointed the tip of her sword at her half-brother's chest. He raised his hands, but there was no fear for his life written on his face. Instead he smirked. His smirk unnerved Morgana, frightening her. This Arthur had always seemed to scare her, but soon this nightmare would be over.
"You can't do it." His words were silky and sly. "You never had the guts. You were always weak. I don't know how you could have ever become their leader. You can't save anyone. You couldn't even save Merlin."
"Shut up!" Morgana yelled. "You're wrong about me. You never knew me."
"I know you better then you know yourself." He took a step towards the point of her sword. "I know that you can't kill me. We're family."
"Not anymore." Her eyes hardened. "I have a new family now."
"Yes, and its bleeding out all over the grass." He grinned. "That family of yours is dying."
"At least I have a family," she shot at him. "You have no one, least of all a sister. I had once been happy to call you my brother. What happened to you, Arthur? I thought we were friends."
"As did I." The smile disappeared from Arthur's face and he almost looked like the bright smiling Arthur that they'd all loved, but that Arthur soon disappeared, replaced by the dark monster now standing before her. "But alas we were both wrong."
"We could've saved Camelot together!" Morgana cried. "The four of us, together, the way it was supposed to be. How could you have listened to father's lies? He poisoned you against us. He made you into this monster. Is this really what you wanted to become?"
"Don't speak about father that way." Arthur growled. "He was right about magic from the beginning, and he was right about you. Now he's dead because of it. I am carrying on his legacy, the legacy you are trying to destroy."
"Imprisoning the people of Camelot is not Uther's legacy." Morgana's eyes darkened. "He deserved to die for all the lives he stole, all the lives he ruined. He ruined our lives, Arthur. Yours. Mine. Merlin's. Gwen's."
"Don't you dare speak her name." He seethed.
"I'm so sorry. I wanted to save you, Arthur." All hatred for her half-brother disappeared from her eyes. "I wanted to walk into a better tomorrow with you by my side. It should've been the four of us, together, in the end. I'm so sorry I couldn't save you."
He didn't think she'd really do it. She caught him by surprise when she suddenly stepped forward, imbedding her sword in his chest. He coughed as blood slipped past his lips.
"Goodbye, brother." Morgana's voice was sad as she retrieved her sword and he fell to the ground. Her sword had pierced his heart, and he was gone in seconds. Sure that he was truly dead, Morgana walked to the edge of the cliff overlooking the battle.
"The Black King is dead!" She yelled, thrusting her sword into the air.
The information spread quickly and the rebellion roared with triumph. Those loyal to Arthur began to retreat. The battle was won. Her work was done, but there was no smile on her dirt-covered face.
"Merlin!" She ran over to where her friend had fallen. "Merlin?"
Merlin's eyes flickered open, finding Morgana's. "Morgana." His voice was so soft and weak.
"Yes, it's me." Morgana's smile was forced.
"I'm sorry," Merlin tried to say. "I didn't get here faster."
"No. I'm sorry that I wasn't here to watch your back." Tears slipped from her eyes. "We did it Merlin. The Black King is dead. Camelot is free."
"I'm glad," he managed to cough out. His eyes flickered.
"Don't go Merlin," she cried. "You fought so hard for this. You have to be here to see it."
"I have seen it," he reassured her, taking her hand. "I have seen it in you."
"I can't do this without you." They had won the battle but Morgana still felt defeated.
"You have always been strong Morgana, and you have the strength to lead us out of the dark." Merlin squeezed her hand. "I'm sorry I can't be at your side."
"Please, Merlin." Morgana tried to hold onto him for as long as possible. "You're the closest thing I have to family. I already lost Gwen. I can't lose you too."
"We'll always be here for you. We aren't really gone." Merlin tried to comfort her in his last moments. "I will miss you, my friend."
"And I you." She could not control her tears now as she leaned forward and placed a soft kiss on his brow.
"Be brave." Merlin's body relaxed, going limp and his eyes slid shut.
"No!" Morgana screamed to the high heavens. The sound was piercing. The last piece of her old life was gone, and she was left all alone, cursed with a hero's fate. A hero's ending was never a happy one. She'd sacrificed everything for Camelot.
The world would go on, rebuilding itself, but Morgana would never heal. She'd always be stuck in the dark times. There was no brighter tomorrow for her.
No one ever saw her again after that day. They'd tell stories of the great enchantress who had lead them to victory in battle. Over time the stories would become more elaborate, saying she wasn't really human. They claimed she was some kind of angel who had come down from the heavens to save them. They told the story of how she fought the demon king. The stories wouldn't remember the life she'd had before the war, when she'd simply been the king's ward, before her magic had awoken inside her. They didn't mention Gwen or Merlin, or any of the other brave souls lost on the battlefield. Not one of the stories knew that the Black King had been her brother. They became nameless.
Time passed and those who had fought in the battle passed away, leaving their stories behind.
There was one other story the people told around the campfire. They spoke of a ghost that wandered the fields of Camlann and the forest surrounding it. The ones who'd seen the ghost claimed it was a woman dressed in mourning black. Others said she was dressed all in white. Some said they'd even see the wings folded on her back as she mourned the fallen.
She had many names, but most referred to her as the Lady of Camlann.