A/N: An extension to my fanfiction 'Points of View' as requested. You probably don't need to read the original story first but it will put this in a better context if you do. Probably just two chapters - before and after the original. Starts shortly after the end of Series 3. 'Points of View' happens just before Series 4.
'The Prince had acquired a new, young colt. He was a beautiful creature, there was no doubt about that, but the grooms were saying that Arthur had made a mistake with this one, that it was far too wild, and that there was no way it could ever be tamed. Merlin, of course, had taken to the animal instantly. He said that the horse was a kitten really, and had then got a fit of giggles when he realised what he'd said.' - From Chapter 4 of 'Points of View.
Merlin, of course, had taken to the animal instantly. He said that the horse was a kitten really, and had then got a fit of giggles when he realised what he'd said.' - From Chapter 4 of 'Points of View.
A Horse Named Kitten
The people of Riverford looked up in awe as ten knights of Camelot cantered downhill towards the town, red capes billowing out behind them. There were also two in the party more plainly dressed; a young, slim man with dark hair who was riding alongside the lead knight and, at the back, a man with untidy grey hair, who was only just managing to keep up.
As the group moved closer the gathering villagers cheered, and the cry became even louder when those in the front recognised the lead knight: Prince Arthur himself come to rid their town of the nightly menace. It had once been usual practice for the young man to undertake such missions, but news of his father's ill health had quickly reached all corners of the kingdom and so they had not expected such an honoured visitor to come riding in today.
"You highness, Prince Arthur, such an unexpected pleasure. We thank you for coming to help us when you must have so much pressing business nowadays." John had been thrust into the role of town spokesman following the death of old Richard by the vile monster just two days ago and he was still settling into the role – not at all confident about the faith his peers had placed upon him.
"There is no business more pressing than the safety of Camelot's citizens," the prince replied. "Especially when there is evil at work. Who has seen this monster?"
"Who has not seen it, your Highness. It visits us almost every night and takes away a sheep, cow, pig or horse – killing any that try to prevent it. We have been a blessed town, prosperous in our own way but now, when our lives depend on our livestock? I'm afraid that we cannot survive here much longer without assistance."
"Well, there's no need to worry on that account. We have brought some basic supplies to tide you over and also have Camelot's physician here to give aid to any wounded you may have."
John looked up at the old man, suddenly understanding his presence there. "Ah, good sir, what a welcome sight you are. We have a number who are slightly injured but our farrier is especially badly hurt and his son, our only physician, is away at the moment. Not only does Daniel look after our horses, but he also ensures the health of all our animals and we now have no-one to take care of the people – never mind attempt to help the beasts."
"Then that is our first port of call," Arthur decided. "Once Gaius has seen your farrier I would like him to talk with any who could give a good account of the attack as he is also our expert on all magical creatures too. Your messenger seemed to believe that this was no natural beast?"
"None that even our eldest or most travelled citizens have seen, Sire," John confirmed before leading them to one of the houses on the edge of the village.
Once at the farrier's cottage, the old man took charge and the one young man who was not dressed as a knight exchanged only a brief word or two with the prince before moving over to the physician's side instead. The old man instantly started to call out a list of herbs and other ingredient and the boy moved quickly, first rummaging in the round, brown bag the physician had brought along and then running off to the nearby meadow to fetch some herb or other.
Almost as soon as he'd returned from that job Arthur called out to him and he sprinted back over, listening attentively to what the prince had to say before nodding and running off to attend to their own, fine horses. After giving his personal observations to one of the other knights about the attacking creature, John turned to see the young man now back with Gaius, helping Daniel who had no regained consciousness, trying to reassure him.
"No, no, never mind me. The horses ... you have to check on the horses," the farrier was insisting. "The large black mare … she is with foal – due any day. What with that last attack ..."
"Easy now," Gaius said. "You just need to worry about getting yourself better."
"No, please! You must see to the horses."
"I'll go and check if you like?" the young man suggested.
"Merlin, as important as animals are to a community such as this, we really do have to prioritise here."
"Yes, but Lancelot knows lots about horses – he told me. We could take a look together – we needn't be long."
"Please … if the young men could just check on her. Even if it's hopeless ..." The farrier begged.
Reluctantly, Gaius nodded. Obviously keeping his patient calm was the most important thing at the moment and so Merlin sprinted back over to one of the knights and the pair made their way over to the field where they found the mare, quite obviously in distress, three other horses hovered nearby, their tails swishing nervously. John then checked that Gaius had everything he needed before making his way back over to talk to the prince.
As soon as they reached the mare, Lancelot quickly ran his hands over the horse's swollen stomach and she whinnied – obviously in distress. Merlin moved to her head, talking to her soothingly. "She's in a lot of pain," he noted.
"Yes," Lancelot agreed. "I dealt with horses at home but I'm no marshal, I admit. Animals tend to have an easier time than women do and don't generally require assistance but... " He shook his head. "It could be that the foal's turned to wrong way."
Merlin frowned moving slowly along the mare's side and placing hands gently on her stomach. He pushed all his senses towards the horse and tried to work out what his magical senses were telling him.
"Yes, I think so, although it's difficult to tell." He concentrated some more. "Yes, I think the head is here." He traced his hands up higher, towards the Mare's front legs.
"It is the wrong way then." Lancelot looked over his shoulder nervously. "Do you think you could turn it?"
The knight lowered his voice even further. "I mean... could you use your magic? As I said, I have some knowledge but not enough to turn a foal in the usual way."
"I-I suppose I could try."
"Lancelot! Merlin! What are you two doing over there?" Arthur's voice sounded clearly across the paddock.
"Looking for clues," Merlin shot back without a pause. "The farrier said a horse was taken from here during the latest attack."
"You're getting far too good at that," Lancelot complained with a smile.
"Making up random excuses." He started to move away. "I'll go and distract Arthur then, and you see what you can do to help the horse."
Merlin put his hands on the mare's stomach and concentrated, willing the foal to turn. He thought perhaps he had succeeded but, at that point was called back by Gaius asking for his assistance with Daniel again.
"How is she? Did you see her?" the farrier asked.
"Yes, I'm not certain, but I think the foal's on its way."
"You're a medical man," Daniel said, turning to Gaius. "You can check can't you?"
"If it will put your mind at ease," the old man replied. "But only if you take this medicine and promise to follow all my instructions."
"A deal then," Daniel said, quickly taking the bottle and swigging it back in one go. He gagged. "Ye gods, what is in this?"
"I think he does it deliberately," Merlin whispered to the man as he left. "It makes you want to get better quickly."
"Well, you think this horse is all right then?" Gaius asked as the two moved out to the paddock.
"I think I turned the foal enough for it to be born, yes."
Gaius stopped abruptly to give his ward a long, hard look. "And how exactly did you turn it?"
Merlin ignored the question, turning his attention to the field instead. "Oh look! I think she's had it."
The two quickly went to the mare's side. She appeared to be fine but the foal was another matter, just lying there on the ground, unmoving.
"It seems you were too late," Gaius said, sadly. "Or perhaps it was already dead."
"No!" Merlin cried, moving quickly to kneel next to the small, dark body, searching for a heart beat. "Perhaps I can save him."
"Merlin! You know you're not that good at healing and we're right in view of everyone here. Anyway, the foal was born dead so there's no way you can bring him back now."
"I have to try." He put his hands on the little body, searching out with his magic for something, although he had no idea what.
"Where are you even going to start, Merlin?" Gaius asked, but he hadn't got to the end of the sentence when the the foal suddenly gave a little jolt and then lifted its head slightly, eyes blinking. The mare, who had moved back a little, now came quickly forward, nuzzling at her baby, encouraging it to stand.
"He's alive. I did it!"
"How did you do it?" Gaius pushed. "And what did you do exactly?"
Merlin frowned. "I'm not really sure I just... well …" He shrugged. "Something?" He gave Gaius a goofy grin.
"Very helpful," the physician replied sarcastically as the foal struggled to stand. Merlin moved forward to help a little and it wasn't long before he had the little creature up on all four of its wobbly legs and was pushing it towards its mother.
"Now you just need to drink, little one," he said before turning to Gaius with another big smile.
The old man sighed. "Well, at least Daniel will be pleased that he has both horses alive. Now we just need Arthur to go after this beast so that they can stay that way."
"Oh yes, I suppose I'd better go and help him now." Merlin was just about to move away when he felt a sudden push from behind. He turned to see the little black foal right by his elbow, looking up at him with large, brown, adoring eyes. As Merlin made to leave, the little horse immediately started to follow him.
"Well, that's no good. You can't come with me," he told it. "You need to stay with your mother. Go on then, off you go. I'll be back to see you before we leave, I promise."
Then, with another big grin at Gaius, Merlin strode happily out of the paddock and over to where Arthur was gathering his knights ready to attack the mysterious, magical creature that had been threatening the village.
A/N: I seem to be suddenly influenced by 'The Belgariad' in my writing lately. Not sure why. Perhaps I should read it all again at some point! :D Anyway, this is just a little, light something before I get serious with my next BIG project (See PP for more details). I hope you like it.