Authors' note: I know rewriting Merlin as a female has been done before, but I said I would do this for my Genderbent!Merlin RP on Tumblr. Anyway, I have twerked the series at various points to fit with how I planned this series.
Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin and its associated characters in anyway, shape, and/or form
No young mortal, no matter how great, can know their destiny. They cannot glimpse at their part in the great story that is about to unfold. Like everyone, they must live and learn. And so it will be for the young witch arriving at the gates of Camelot. A girl that will, in time, mother the legend. Her name: Merylin.
A young girl appeared over a hill on a brown horse. She smoothed down her black hair before continuing her journey. Passing through a forest, she nodded to another traveler before Camelot came into her sight. Kicking into a gallop, she made her way through the gate. She passed by a blacksmiths shop and left a small box with a man named Tom. Leaving her horse with one of the stable boys, the girl made her way to the square where a crowd was assemble. A man stood on a platform, surrounded by guards and an executioner.
"Let this serve as a lesson to all," said a voice from the palace balcony, "This man, Thomas James Collins, is judged guilty of conspiring to use enchantments and magic. And, pursuant to the laws of Camelot, I, Uther Pendragon, have decreed that such practices are banned on penalty of death. I pride myself as a fair and just king, but for the crime of sorcery there is but one sentence I can pass."
Uther dropped his hand, and Thomas's head was cut cleanly and separated from his body.
"When I came to this land, this kingdom was mired in chaos, but with the people's help magic was driven from the realm. So I declare a festival to celebrate twenty years since the Great Dragon was captured and Camelot freed from the evil of sorcery. Let the celebrations begin."
How can someone celebrate a death? Probably the death of an innocent man. The girl started to walk away, but stopped when a screech-like cry rose from the crowd. A woman was clothed in black, her grey hair in knots, and wrinkles lining her face.
"There is only one evil in this land, and it is not magic! It is you! With your hatred and your ignorance! You killed my son! But I promise you, before these celebrations are over, you will share my tears. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a son for a son."
"Seize her!" Uther exclaimed.
The woman chanted something and disappeared in a pillar of smoke and wind. The girl merely walked away from the scene and approached one of the guards.
"Where would I find Gaius, the- the court physician?" she asked.
The guard simply pointed behind him. She smiled to the man, and passed him. It took a couple wrong turns, but she finally made it.
"Hello?" she asked, opening the door a bit, "Gaius?"
A noise came from a second story landing, there was Gaius searching throught the books. She cleared her throat, shocking the man. He stumbled and crashed through the wooden railing. As a reflex, the girl's eyes turned gold and slowed the man's descent. A bed from across the room and placed itself underneath the man. He shot up and walked over to her almost immediately after he landed.
"What did you just do?!" he asked to which she repiled with a stutter, "Tell me!"
"I—I- I have no idea what happened," the girl lied.
"If anyone had seen that..."
"Er, no! That-that was- that was nothing to do with me. That-that was..."
"I know what it was! I just want to know where you learned how to do it!"
"So how is it you know magic?"
"I don't. "
"Where did you study? Answer me!"
"I-I've never studied magic or, or been taught."
"Are you lying to me, girl?"
"What do you want me to say?" she asked, quickly growing tired of this.
"I was born like this!"
"That's impossible! Who are you?"
"I have this letter," she said rummaging in her bag, "From my mother...I'm Merylin."
"Oh, so your Hunith's daughter. Well, go ahead and put your bag in that room back there. You'll be staying there. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone about that."
"Thank you," Merylin smiled.
As Merylin settled herself into her new room, Gaius open the letter...
My dear Gaius, I turn to you for I feel lost and alone and don't know who to trust. It is every mother's fate to think her child is special, and yet I would give my life that Merylin were not so. Ours is a small village and she is so clearly at odds with people here that, if she were to remain, I fear what would become of her. She needs a hand to hold, a voice to guide, someone that might help her find a purpose for her gifts. I beg you, if you understand a mother's love for her child, keep her safe, and may God save you both.
Merylin woke up the next morning to a deep voice calling her name. She climbed out of bed, dressed in her trousers and tunic, and made her way to the main chambers.
"Good morning, my girl. I left you some water," Gaius said, gesturing to a bucket on the table, "you never washed before bed."
"Thank you," she replied, sitting at the table and staring at a watery dish, "This breakfast?"
"Yes...Eat up, I have some errands for you to run."
As Gaius came around her, he knocked the bucket from its perch. Merylin shot up from her seat as it froze mid-air. With a glance at Gaius, she dropped the bucket and grabbed a mop.
"How did you do that? Did you incant a spell in your mind?" She shook her head no. "Well, how do you explain that then?"
"It just happens," Merylin explained, "What were those chores you had for me?"
"Lady Percival requires hollyhock and feverfew," he handed her two bottles, "This one goes to Sir Oswin. Now, he's as blind as a bat. Make sure he doesn't ake it all at once."
The girl nodded before grabbing her jacket and heading out, but was stopped by Gaius. He gave here his sandwich before nudging her on. Though it took her a while, she made her way to Lady Percival's and then Sir Oswin's. After knocking on his door, an old man answered.
"Hi, Gauis sent me to give you this." He started drink as soon as she handed it over. "He said not to-I'm sure you'll be fine."
She tied her long, yet unruly, hair into a low braided bun as she made her way to the village. Just outside the gate, a group of men were decked in bits of armor, laughing amongst themselves.
"Where's the target?" the blonde one said. The servant by the rack gestured to the shield by the wall. "Why's it there? Move it to the stand."
The blonde's friend whispered something as the other moved the shield. A knife soon embeded itself in the shield. The boy jumped. The thrower urged the boy to continue moving, launching blades at random. The servant soon tripped and lost hold of the target. Merylin stopped it with her foot.
"Are you alright?" she asked stooping to his level. He nodded.
"I think you've had enough fun, sir," she directed at the blonde.
"Do I know you?" he asked.
"I'm Merylin," she replied, putting out her hand.
"Merlin? Did your parents hate you or something?"
"Messing with someone is one thing, but me and my family is another story."
She swung her fist at him, he blocked it. Twisting it behind her back, he saw her bun. This had him chuckling.
"So, you're a girl. No wonder your voice was all high and squeaky," he laughed.
"Who do you think you are? The king?"
"No, better...I'm his son, Arthur."
Gaius is going to kill me...
Merylin found herself sleeping in the dungeons that night, and woke once more to the deep voice calling her name. She raised herself from the floor and pressed her ear against the ground.
The gate creaked opened, and Gaius stood there with a disappointed look.
"I'm in trouble, aren't I?"
So he does have sense of humor...Merylin thought as another tomato burst against her hair. The stocks, he could've done better than the stocks. It soon stopped as the children's buckets ran empty.
"Five minutes?" she questioned as they ran away with a smile. Merylin loved kids. So if her torture was their happiness, she was alright with it.
Another woman smiled as the children went by and approached Merylin.
"Hello," she said, "I'm Guinevere, but most people call me Gwen. I'm the Lady Morgana's maid."
"I'm Merylin. I would shake your hand, but I'm a bit tied up."
"I saw what did yesterday, it was very brave. Arthur's a bully, and everyone thought you were a real hero."
"I think it was very stupid," she looked up as the children returned, "Gwen, you may want to go. My friends are here."
Gwen started running as the the food went flying.
The guards released her near the end of the day. One saw she had trouble standing and escorted her to the physician's chambers. Gaius smiled at her as she made her way in.
"There's a bath waiting for you in your room. Go clean up, I'll keep your dinner warm," he said.
About twenty minutes later, Merylin emerged from her room in her binding, jacket and trousers. Her hair was still wet, so it hung straight down to mid-thigh. Gaius handed her a bowl and a small vial.
"When you're done, take that vial to Lady Helen. She needs it for her voice."
After delivering the vial to Lady Helen's chamber, she thought about what she saw. A straw doll and a spell book, two object often used in sorcerery.
The next day, Gaius sent Merylin to the village to explore. She dressed in a casual blue dress with a brown jacket, a red neckerchief, and her hair tied at the nape of her neck. Dropping by the blacksmiths, she picked up her package from two days ago. Placing it in her bag hanging from her shoulder, she offered to pay the man but he wouldn't take it.
"My daughter told me about what you did, that is payment enough," he said.
She smiled at the man, and said thank you before walking off.
Continuing through the village, she passed Arthur again, wear scatterd armor pieces.
"So, have you sworn off vegetables for life?" he asked as she passed and said nothing, "Don't run away..."
"From you?" she quipped.
"Thank God. I thought you were deaf as well as dumb," he sighed.
"Look, I've told you you're an ass. I just didn't realise you were a royal one. Oh, what are you going to do? Get your daddy's men to protect you?"
"I could take you apart with one blow."
"Want to put that to the test?" she asked, pulling her bag closer to herself.
As Arthur turned to his little group, Merylin reached into her bag and removed a small dagger from inside. He threw a mace at her feet as she set her bag at one of the stalls.
"Come on, then. I warn you, I've been trained to kill since birth."
"Well, and how long have you been training to be a prat?"
"You can't address me like that."
"Sorry...How long have you been training to be a prat, my Lord?"
That got him angry...Arthur swung his mace toward Merylin but she dogded out of the way just in time. She started running down the market with Arthur and his group right behind her. Making her way up a tilted platform wagon, she jumped off and grabbed a cloth hanging from the rafters to swing further away. Looking back, Arthur had not stopped, and saw a stack of barrels. Using her magic, one barrel fell into his ensemble, a sign hit arthur in the face (slowing him down a bit), and caused his mace to get stuck. Sadly, because she was distracted, Merylin fell over in to a pile of hay and was cornered by Arthur. The guards came and picked her up by the arms, ready to take her away.
"Wait. Let her go. She may be an idiot, but she's a brave one. There's something about you, Merylin. I can't quite put my finger on it," he said as Merylin spotted Gaius walking away from the scene.
Arthur entered Gaius's chamber, devoid of any sort of metal. He found the physician bending over a book.
"Gaius," The man looked up. "do you have anything for pain and maybe something for bruises? That girl in the market caused a lot of damage that ended up hurting me."
"Yes sire, I do. Unfortunately, the bruise medication comes in a paste and the girl you persued today is using it at the moment."
"What bruise could she have?"
"The ones she possess are from when she was in the stocks. Someone though it was a good idea to use potatoes and pelt her back."
Arthur chuckled, but stopped when the back room opened. It was Merylin, clad in trousers and something around her chest, her hair hanging freely down near mid-back in thick curls.
"Gaius, thanks for the paste. Though you're going to need to help me with my back..." she trailed off, "Your Majesty, what brings you here?"
Arthur didn't answer, he just stared at the bruises lining her arms. Feeling like he was staring at something else, Merylin moved parts of her hair in front of her body. He shook his head. Gaius could sense Arthur wouldn't say anything, so he took the container from Merylin and gave it to him.
"Just come back when you are done with it," he said as Arthur walked out, "Did you really have to come out wearing that?"
"I didn't know he was here."
After yesterday's embarrassing run in with the prince, Merylin made sure to check before opening the door to the main chambers.
"He's not here," Gaius announced when he saw her head peak out.
She made her way down, grabbed a few slices of bread, and proceeded to pick up her bag from the stall in the marketplace.
About halfway to the courtyard, she ran into Arthur. He tried to talk to her, but she just kept walking.
"Wait, Merlin," he still can't get her name right, "Hang on..." The two of them stopped in the middle of the hallway. "I just wanted to apologize for yesterday. I didn't mean to stare, but I wasn't staring at what you thought. Its just shocking you have so many bruises, but I know who planned the potato pelting and have delt with them. Even though you are a pain, no one should treat you like that."
Merylin watched he walked away, all while whispering, "Yeah, that's going to come back to haunt you one day."
"Hi, Rebecca," she said to a little girl at the stall, "Is my bag here?" The little girl nodded yes, and ran off to grab it.
"Hey, girly," said a deep voice. Turning, she saw it was one of Arthur's goons. "Because of you, I have to spend the next week as a stable boy."
"And that's my problem how?"
"Its not, I just something to take my anger out on, and I chose you."
The man's fist came flying at her face, but Merylin caught his fist.
"Here's your bag, Mery," Rebecca said.
"Thanks sweetie, do me a favor and open it."
As soon as it was open, Merylin reached inside and pulled out the other dager hidden inside. Shifting the hand that held the fist to grasp his sleeve, she turned and stabbed the sleeve against the table. The man was stuck...
Leaning in close to his ear, she whispered, "You can either walk away now and never speak to me again, or I can get the guards and tell them you were threatening an innocent woman. That won't look good since you are a knight-in-training."
Removing the knife from the table, she watched as the goon bolted from her sight. rabbing her bag, she waved goodbye to Rebecca while saying, "Who says I'm a damsel in distress?"
Merylin laid awake that night. Her bindings doing little help to relieve her brusing pains. Then, she heard it. The same deep voice that had been calling her for the past two days. Rising to her feet, she grabbed her jacket, threw it on, and sneaked past a sleeping Gaius. She followed the voice across the courtyard to a staircase the descended below the palace. There was one problem, it was guarded. With a simple flick of her eyes and a bit of magic, the guards pair of dice made their way out the door. The two followed and were soon locked out.
As she grabbed a torch and went down, the voice got louder and louder until she reached a cave.
"Merlin," the voice said with a slight chuckle.
"Who's there? Show yourself!" she demanded.
A large, golden figure dropped down in front of her. A dragon, probably as tall as twenty feet, had been calling her.
"I am here," it said observing her, "My, you are quite small for one with such a large destiny."
"You were given your powers for a reason, Merylin. You will lead Arthur to become the Once and Future King that will unite all of Albion." He recieved a scoff from the girl. "But he faces many threats from friend and foe."
"What does this have to do with me?"
"Everything. Without you, Arthur will not succeed and there will be no Albion. Do not tell me that this is wrong because there is no right or wrong, only what is and what isn't."
"But I'm serious! If anyone wants to go and kill him, they can go ahead. In fact, I'll give them a hand."
"We cannot chose our destiny, Merylin, nor can we escape it," he responded with a slight chuckle.
"Well then, there must be another Arthur because this one's an idiot and an ass."
"Maybe it is your destiny to change that," the dragon said as he flew off.
"Wait! Wait! Wait, stop! No, I, I need to know more!"
Gaius walked into Merylin's room to find clothes strewn about the room.
"Hoy!" he yelled, throwing a dress a her and causing her to wake up, "Have you seen the state of this room?"
"It just happens..." she replied.
"By magic?" She nodded. "Well, maybe you can clean it without magic. And then I want you to get me some herbs: henbane, wormwood, and sorrel. And deliver this to Morgana. Poor girl's suffering from nightmares."
"I know the feeling..."
As Merylin entered Lady Morgana's chamber, she saw the girl step behind a 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?" she asked.
"I'm not Gwen, but here's the dress," Meryli replied, tossing the dress over the screen, "I'm Merylin."
"So, you're the girl Arthur's been complaining about," you could hear the smile in Morgana's voice, "I have to say you very brave standing up to him. He's a bit of a whiner when he doesn't get what he wants."
The two of them were laughing when Gwen walked into the room.
"Merylin, what are you doing here?" she asked.
"Just came to drop of a potion for Morgana's nightmares. I hope it works."
"Me too," she said stepping out in a blue long sleeved gown, "So, it's whether I wear this little tease..." she held up a maroon gown, "or give them a night they'll really remember."
"I'd say go with the maroon, it makes your eyes stand out," Merylin said.
"She's right," Gwen smiled, "Merylin, what are going to wear?"
"I have a few dresses, I'm sure I can fix myself up."
Merylin showed up at Morgana's door in a red dress fitted with a loose corset around the waist. She had been able to do a crown braid, starting from the back of her neck, wrapping around her crown and securing with a ribbon, causing the rest of her hair to fall in thick curls at shoulder length.
Gwen opened the door almost as soon as she knocked and pulled her in.
"You look great," she said, "Nice dress."
"Thank you. My mum made it before I left," Merylin explained.
"Morgana, Merylin's here."
Morgana had taken the advice and worn the maroon dress. It secured at the neck with a gold band and cinched with another band below her bust. With her make up done, she added a small gem teardrop beneath her right eye.
"You look beautiful Morgana," Merylin said.
"You do as well. I wish I could do my hair like that, but I feel like you're missing something."
Morgana went into her jewelry box. She dug around for a bit before pulling out a circlet and silver chain necklace. The circlet was silver, wires intertwined and hold a blue gem where the forehead would rest.
"Morgana, I can't except this..."
"Merylin, you need to make an impression. Yes, you are going to be working, but I'd like to fool Arthur a bit into think you were someone royal. Plus, I don't even where this anymore."
As she slid the circlet through the braid, Merylin saw Gwen smile and give her a thumbs up. The necklace felt a bit heavy around her neck, but she would get used to it.
"Thank you, Morgana, this means a lot."
"Well, come on," Gwen interrupted, "We don't want to be later than we already are."
As the three of them entered the room, Merylin could've sworn she saw Arthur say, "Lord have mercy."
"Where have you been, and what's that on your head?" Giaus asked as she approached her.
"I told you Morgana told me to come by before the feast, and she gave me this. I told her she didn't have to, but she wouldn't take no for an answer," she replied.
Trumpets were soon blown to announce King Uther's arrival. Everyone made their way to a table, but Merylin decided to stand in the stairway like other servants around her.
"We have enjoyed twenty years of peace and prosperity. It has brought the kingdom and myself many pleasures, but few can compare with the honour of introducing Lady Helen of Mora."
A loud applause sound as Lady Helen stepped onto stage. As she sang, everyone in the room started nodding off. Merylin saw this and covered her ears with her hands. Cobwebs formed on the sleepers as the singer walked forward, eyes set on Arthur. From her sleeve she pulls a dagger, MErylin sees this and uses her magic to have chandelier fall on the woman. The whole room started waking up and pulling the cobwebs of themselves. Looking back to the woman, it was no longer Lady Helen but Mary Collins. With the last of her energy, she launched the dagger toward Arthur. Thinking quick, Merylin grabbed Arthur by the shoulders and pulled him to the floor. The two landed on top of one another. Arthur laid face down with Merylin holding his shoulders behind him.
"Who are you?" Uther asked approaching the two.
"I'm Merylin," she replied.
"Tell me, are you royalty?" she shook her head no. "Then, why do you where a circlet only bestowed to the females of a royal line?"
"It was mine, Uther," Morgana interjected, "I was never a fan of that one anyway."
"Well, you saved my boy's life. A debt must be repaid." Merylin blushed and tried to decline. "Don't be so modest. You shall be rewarded. You shall be rewarded a position in the royal household. From now on, you shall be Prince Arthur's chambermaid. Since he can never keep a manservant for more than a day."
The crowd let out a round of applause as the Prince and the Witch looked at each other with disgust all over their faces.
"Merylin!" someone called from behind her. It was Gwen. "I just want to say I'm sorry for your new job. I know how much you dislike Arthur, but give him a chance. He'll really grow on you."
"Yes, and maybe a dragon will fly out of my bum. Trust me, Gwen, once a jerk always a jerk."
Gaius knocked and entered Merylin's room to find her removing the circlet from her head and let loose her braid, making her hair wavier than usual.
"Seems you're a hero..."
"Yeah," she scratched her head, "Hard to believe, isn't it?"
"No. I knew it from the moment I met you. When you saved my life, remember? Yes, it was magic but now we have found it's purpose. I saw you use it to save Arthur..."
"So, its my destiny?"
"I suppose so," he sighed and handed her a book, wrapped in maroon cloth, "This book was given to me when I was your age, but I have a feeling it will be of more use to you than it was to me."
She opened the latch and flipped through the pages, "But this is a book of magic."
"Which is why you must keep it hidden," Gaius warned.
"I will study every word," Merylin smiled as someone knocked on the main chamber's doors.
"Merlin, Prince Arthur wants you right away."
"Your destiny's calling. You'd better find out what he wants."
The young witch placed the book back in Gaius hands, and left for Arthur's chambers.