A/N: Hello! And welcome to the first story, Sparks, of my Merlin Series the Draconian Prophecies :) This is my first attempt at a Merlin story and I'm very excited to try and incorporate my OC into the series :) I've written some other stories for Doctor Who, Supernatural, Sherlock, Star Trek, and Thor for anyone who might be interested ;) This story will follow the episodes but will also have an original chapter between most of them (except 2-parters) :)
This story should be about 23 chapters long and updated daily. This will also be an Arthur/OC (Merlin/Morgana, Gwen/Lancelot) story ;)
For a reference, I picture the OC, Marayna, to look something like Natalie Dormer :)
I hope you enjoy :)
~8~ is a scene break.
"italics" are spells.
'italics' is telepathic talk between magic users.
Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin...or I'd have probably tried the impossible, to buy the Château de Pierrefonds :)
Morgana was sleeping, finally sleeping and it felt wonderful. Lately, the past couple months (well, years really, but they were getting worse now) she had been having terrible dreams, nightmares to be honest. She always awoke with the horrible feeling that it was an omen of things to come. The past few weeks they had become more frequent as well as more frightening, various flashes of Arthur dying had flown across her mind, each worse than the last. She had almost been afraid to sleep a few nights. But this time...she smiled as she slept, the relief of having peaceful dreams was a welcome change.
Unfortunately it could never last.
She sprang up in bed with a gasp, her hair flying past her shoulders from the force of her movement. Her eyes scanned the bed, unseeing, as she recalled the dream. Her breathing was fast, her heart racing as one hand clutched at her chest, yet, unlike previous nights…a smile crept its way onto her face and she bit her lip in expectant joy.
Finally, something truly GOOD was going to happen.
The next morning would find Prince Arthur and his new manservant, Merlin, standing in a field before the castle, preparing for that day's tournament with a little light sparring…well, Arthur was sparing while Merlin tried his very best to not get beaten to a bloody pulp as the future king attacked him relentlessly.
It didn't seem to be working though.
"Ready?" Arthur asked as Merlin gasped for the last few breaths of air before he would have to put his helmet back on once again.
"Would it make any difference if I said no?" Merlin replied, trying to say something, anything, that would give him a bit more time.
"Not really," Arthur shook his head, picking up his sword once more in preparation, before running at the unprepared young man. Merlin quickly put his helmet back on and was just barely able to lift his shield before Arthur slammed into it. The prince kept calling out movements for Merlin to follow, though he was having a hard time connecting the moves he heard with the moves he was currently using to protect himself, "Come on Merlin! You're not even trying," he struck at Merlin a few more times until the poor lad fell to the ground, his helmet rolling off as the wind was knocked out of him. Arthur strode over and peered down at him, "You're braver than you look," he mused, "Most servants collapse after the first blow."
Merlin tried to laugh at that, but the stars floating before his eyes made it hard to think, "Is it over?"
Arthur smirked, "That was just the warm up," he said, before lowering a mace he held in his other hand, "How's your mace work coming along?"
Merlin groaned before picking himself up off the ground. He crouched over, breathing heavily, the armor he was wearing really wasn't helping him either. It was heavy and hot and hard to move in, he was surprised he hadn't collapsed as soon as it was put on him! He looked over and saw Arthur about to raise his mace and quickly tried to utter something to stop him…when another voice cut in.
Both he and Arthur turned at the sound.
And then Arthur blinked.
A moment ago there was a girl standing not ten feet from them and now his manservant was once again on the ground...but with the girl on top of him this time. He rolled his eyes at the couple, didn't that girl know he was the Prince of Camelot? And here she was interrupting his practice and preparation for the tournament!
Well, that just wouldn't do.
"Merlin, this is not the time nor the place for that," he spoke condescendingly, smirking as the two on the ground had the decency to quickly try to stand. Or at least Merlin tried to stand, he was currently being helped up by the girl, "If you must, take your woman to your chambers or something."
Both Merlin and the young woman blanched at what he had said before the girl stepped up and Arthur finally got to see what she looked like. She was fair to look at he supposed, with slightly tanned skin that seemed more the result of travel than a natural complexion and dark hair, a bit gangly and thin. Her blue eyes resembled what he had seen of the ocean as a small boy and sparkled with fire. Her hair was held back behind her so he didn't know how long it was, though from the front he knew it probably fell in waves. He glanced away from her face to take in her clothing only to have his eyes widen in shock at what he saw.
She wasn't wearing a dress!
He would have expected something at least resembling a dress, as was proper for a woman, surely not a well made one, but still something! Instead she was wearing a long, dark lavender tunic made of some material resembling linen that fell to her thighs. Where she should have been wearing a skirt, she only wore a pair of black leggings complimented by old brown boots that wrapped and laced up to her mid-shin. Over her shoulder he could see she was carrying some sort of old, brown traveling sack.
If he was quite honest with himself, he couldn't, for the life of him, imagine how Merlin had managed to catch this one.
"I'm not certain what the laws on incest are here at Camelot," she spoke, startling Arthur out of his thoughts. The way she spoke, it definitely wasn't as gentle and light as a lady of the court, not that he expected as much, she most certainly was a commoner, "But in Ealdor, it's quite frowned upon."
And that was when her words sunk in, "Wha…"
Merlin laughed, stepping up beside the girl and draping an arm around her, "Arthur, this is my sister, Marayna."
"Sister?!" he asked, as though he had never heard the word before. He kept looking back and forth between the two, finally starting to see some family resemblance. Their hair, their eyes, the way they were both smiling, their cheekbones, it was the same, they were even similar in height though Marayna was just an inch shorter than Merlin it appeared.
Marayna nodded before she held up a finger, a look of remembrance came to her, "Speaking of that," she turned and deftly punched Merlin in the arm not covered in armor.
"Ow!" Merlin shouted, rubbing his arm as he glared at her, "What was that for?"
She gave him a look as though the answer should be quite obvious, Arthur couldn't help but wonder if all women knew that look, Morgana certainly gave it to him enough times for him to recognize it, "You were supposed to wait for me to get back from Aunt Elaine's before you went to see Uncle Gaius!"
"Sorry," Merlin mumbled sheepishly, still rubbing his arm in a combination of pain and embarrassment. It was one thing to forget to bring an item like a piece of clothing with you on a journey, it was quite another to forget a person, especially if said person was your younger sister, "Things…happened, and mother wanted me to head out earlier."
She eyed him, knowing there was more to the story than he was saying out loud, 'What 'happened?'' he heard in his mind. It was a talent they had had for as long as they could remember, they had always been able to speak to each other in their minds, ever since they were children.
He glanced at Arthur, 'I'll tell you later.'
She nodded after a moment and was about to speak when she was cut off, "Your sister?" Arthur blinked, still in shock over the whole turn of events. The girl just laughed at his expression, though she had to admit, he was quite cute while doing an impersonation of a fish.
Merlin shook his head, "With your permission, I'd like to get my sister situated?"
When Arthur didn't make a noise in protest, Merlin took that as a 'yes' and led Marayna back towards the castle.
Marayna ended up half-carrying her brother the rest of the way to the castle, he was in far too much pain from the thrashing Arthur had just given him to walk any less stiffly than he was. Marayna found herself becoming quite angry about that. What had Merlin done to deserve such treatment? She still didn't know why he had even allowed it to happen, both of them were more than capable of defending themselves...though using magic in Camelot was probably NOT the wisest thing to do. If it hadn't been for their uncle being there and having experience in magic, she doubted their mother would have even allowed them to come within a mile of the kingdom.
She held the door to Gaius's chambers, the physician's chambers, open for Merlin to enter, setting the helmet she'd carried for him on the table and helping to lead Merlin to a chair only moments before Gaius entered the room and looked up at the new face.
"Marayna?" he breathed, stopping in his ministrations, grinding up some herb or another for a new medicine, to stare at her.
"Hello uncle," she smiled, walking over to him as Merlin began taking off his armor and gave him a hug.
"No," he shook his head, pulling away slightly, "You can't be little Rayna, you were seven last I saw you!"
Marayna stared at him for a moment, "That was thirteen years ago uncle."
"Ah," he nodded in realization, yes that made sense, "What brings you to Camelot?"
"You mean Merlin didn't tell you?" she frowned, glancing over at her brother, who had just gotten the last of his armor off. He was much too sore for her to hit him again, so she just sighed and shook her head, turning back to her uncle, "I was supposed to come with him to visit you, but I arrived late and Sir Impatient couldn't find it in himself to wait a day or two. I'm still very miffed about that by the way Merlin."
"I could tell," Merlin muttered, rubbing his arm where she had punched him.
Gaius just laughed and made his way over to Merlin, "How was your first day as Arthur's servant?"
"Do you hear clanging?" he asked, rubbing his ear.
Marayna took a seat next to him on the table, "Arthur's servant? You're a servant?"
Merlin nodded grimly, "To the Prince, unfortunately."
"What did you do to deserve that?" she gaped, reaching out to help her uncle in checking Merlin for serious injuries.
"Saved his life."
"How is that fair?" she asked, moving his shoulder slightly.
He winced in pain and Gaius immediately went to work on it himself, "I'm not sure fairness comes into it," Gaius sighed, "You never know, it might be fun."
Both Merlin and Marayna snorted at the thought, "You think mucking out Arthur's horses is going to be fun?" Merlin scoffed, "You should hear my list of duties."
"We all have our duties," Gaius remarked wisely, "Even Arthur."
"It must be so tough for him," Merlin muttered, somewhat bitterly, "With all the girls and the glory…"
"Well, he is the future King. People expect so much from him. He's under a lot of pressure."
"That makes two of us," Merlin strained to get out as Gaius hit a particularly painful area, "I've still got to learn all about etiquette and tournaments by the morning," he glanced around until his gaze landed on a book at the other end of the table, "Onhríne achtung bregdan," he whispered and the book slid down the table, opening before him all on its own.
Merlin grinned as he saw the wide smile appear on his sister's face at his use of magic, though it was short-lived because a moment later there appeared a slight sting on the back of his head from where Gaius had hit him.
"What have I told you about using magic like this?" Gaius chastised.
"Well if I could actually feel my arms I'd pick up the book myself," Merlin quipped back, Marayna stifling a giggle.
"Never mind your arms! What do I do if you get caught?" Gaius asked, sobering them both quickly.
"What would you do?" Marayna eyed her uncle.
He sighed, "Just…make sure that doesn't happen, both of you, for all our sakes."
As Gaius walked away, back to his remedy, Merlin couldn't help but notice the concerned look on his sister's face and quickly took her hand in his. She smiled at him, hopping off the table to move behind him, rubbing his shoulders to help, occasionally leaning over his arm to turn the page for him. He smiled in reply and they both got to work memorizing as much about armor as they could. Marayna knew he would need as much help as possible and, though she didn't know all the names for armor nor was it her responsibility to learn them, he was her brother and she would always do whatever it was she could to help him.
He, their mother, and their uncle and aunt were all the family she had.
Luckily for Merlin, Gwen was more than happy to help the boy from the stocks learn about armor. Though, she seemed a bit more excited at the prospect of teaching another female about it than Merlin himself. Marayna was there, of course, offering support for Merlin and conversation for Gwen as she tried to teach the boy all he needed to know. It didn't look like it was quite working as Merlin paced the room, muttering about the different names for the armor he was currently wearing, Gwen attempting a more hands-on approach of dressing him in the armor and explaining what each piece was. With one last wish of good luck, Merlin and Marayna were out the door and headed to the tournament to prepare Arthur…well, Merlin was preparing Arthur, Marayna had perched herself out of the way to watch and try to give subtle clues to Merlin about the items she remembered, which wasn't much. Together, and with hours to spare, they probably could have gotten Arthur all sorted out and ready, but they didn't have the time and Marayna wasn't technically allowed to help the manservant and master.
Arthur didn't seem too pleased with Merlin's clumsy manner of preparing him for the upcoming event either. Merlin was currently trying to lock in the strap around Arthur's wrist and was having a difficult time of it, "You do know the tournament starts today?!" Arthur snapped.
"Yes sire," Merlin replied tensely, righting the strap and moving to pick up the red cloak on the table behind him. He glanced up at his sister, sitting on the table like she always did (she had a rather weird habit of doing that, sitting on top of things not meant to be sat on, tables, barrels, chests, instead of chairs) and gave her a sly smirk and a wink before turning and draping the cloak around Arthur, "Are you nervous?" he asked casually as Marayna smirked, seeing what her brother was doing.
"I don't get nervous," Arthur answered and Marayna snorted, making him turn his attention to her, his eyes narrowing, "What's so funny?"
"Nothing," she glanced at him, "But doesn't everyone get nervous now and again?"
"Will you shut up!?" he half-shouted before he mentally smacked himself for yelling at a woman. Though, she didn't seem too taken aback by it, she merely looked away, smiling, knowing she had struck a nerve.
Well that's what he got for beating on her brother.
Arthur's gaze lingered on her for a moment longer than necessary as he took her in. She had changed out of her traveling clothes and was now wearing a white linen peasant's shirt with a thick black belt wrapped just under her bust, not that his gaze lingered there for a moment longer than was proper. The shirt was just as long as her other, allowing for her black leggings and boots. Her hair was out of the bun he had seen it locked in when she and Merlin had moved past him to get to the castle, and now fell over her shoulder in waves of thin curls from where it was tied at the side of the base of her neck.
His thoughts were disturbed by Merlin backing away from him, "I think you're all set."
Arthur rolled his eyes, "Aren't you forgetting something?" he shook his head when he noticed both Merlin and Marayna looking at him in confusion, "My sword?" he stressed as though spelling it out for them. It would be rather difficult to compete without a weapon.
"Oh yeah!" Merlin shouted, turning to pick up the piece of metal and handing it to Arthur, "You'll be needing that…"
But Arthur had already walked away, grabbing it in the process, "That went well," a voice remarked behind him.
He turned to see his sister smirking at him, "Shut up."
She simply laughed, hopping off the table as she took his arm and walked with him out to the tournament corner to watch the proceedings.
Morgana couldn't help but notice, as the tournament began, the appearance of a second head near the corner of the arena. She was always best at noticing things, especially if those things were out of place. She fully expected Merlin to be standing there, but to see another person as well threw her, especially considering that other person was clearly a woman. Her eyes narrowed just a fraction as she tried to get a better look at the girl in question.
"Gwen," she turned, leaning a little towards her maidservant and friend as she stood beside her, "Who's that over there, by Merlin?"
Gwen squinted, seeing Merlin first and then the girl beside him, and smiled, "That's Marayna, my Lady, Merlin's sister."
"Merlin's sister?" she repeated, a slightly relieved tone in her voice that did not go undetected by Gwen.
"Yes, my Lady."
Morgana nodded, smiling ever so slightly, "I should hope to see her at the reception. I'd like very much to meet her."
Gwen smiled, though she doubted the girl would be present that night. Personal servants of the royals were one thing, siblings of such servants were another. Though, she couldn't help but wonder why her Lady seemed so keen on meeting Merlin's sister.
Merlin couldn't help but smile as he watched the fight, but it wasn't the smile of seeing his master beating the competition, it was the smile of a brother glad that his sister was enjoying herself. He knew Marayna had a fancy for fighting. When they were younger and played the 'Knight and Damsel in Distress,' she always called the knight and he always had to be the damsel. Not that he would ever tell anyone about that, Arthur would mock him incessantly if he ever found out. But regardless of that, he was always the knight in shining armor that came to her rescue when the village boys used to tease her.
He liked to joke she was just violent, but she would always counter back that he was a lover and she was a fighter. Their mother, in very rare moments where she spoke of their father, would always comment that Merlin had his magic and her nature while Marayna had her spirit and his skill to fight. She wasn't exceptional, hardly, the most they'd ever seen of weapons was when a small group of knights had once been stationed near Ealdor on a patrol of sorts. But apparently their father was a trained soldier, in a way, they never really got much out of their mother about him. But...it was nice to know they shared some qualities with the man they'd never met.
Watching his sister, he realized she was probably more excited for Arthur's victories than he was. It was an amusing thought. All too soon though, the beginnings of the tournament came to an end and the knights began retiring from the arena, leaving Merlin and Marayna to follow diligently behind Arthur.
"What did you think Aya?" Merlin whispered. It was his nickname for her. When they were children, he couldn't seem to pronounce the 'n' in Rayna and had ended up calling her Mar-aya for a year or two, soon to be shortened down to just Aya. It was his special name for her and god help the poor soul who tried to call her that besides him.
"It was fantastic!" she whispered back, "I can't wait to see what tomorrow's like."
Merlin laughed at her enthusiasm and went over to a rather impatient-looking Arthur to help him remove his armor. Valiant, one of the other knights, was making his way toward the entrance to the castle when he noticed Arthur and them standing just a ways away. He changed direction, thinking it best to address the prince, especially now they had made eye contact.
"May I offer you my congratulations on your victories today," he nodded to Arthur.
Arthur nodded in return, "Likewise."
His gaze drifted over towards Marayna, who was holding Arthur's helmet and cloak for Merlin, "And I hope to see you at the reception this evening," he smiled and bowed before walking away.
"Creep," she muttered, as did Merlin.
'There's something…off…about him,' she whispered to Merlin in his mind.
'He's just an arrogant man who thinks he can have whatever he wants,' came Merlin's bitter reply. She glanced up at Merlin to see him glaring daggers at the knight's back and very nearly burst out laughing at her brother's protectiveness. He always did that whenever a man showed interest in her, which didn't happen often, at least not with the boys in their village. Not only did they think her odd already, they thought both of them odd, but...she just wasn't 'wife' material to any of them. It was mostly others entered the village on their travels that he would get that look. She loved it, knowing her brother was watching out for her, not that he had to, she just...hadn't met a man that she was interested in yet. She'd met interesting men, yes, but just...not the one for her yet.
Arthur looked over at the two after realizing he too was glaring at the knight. He looked back and forth between them as Merlin had ceased in his job, "For tomorrow," he spoke loudly, getting Merlin's attention, "You need to repair my shield, wash my tunic, clean my boots, sharpen my sword, and polish my chainmail," he listed before walking off towards the castle.
Merlin's shoulders slumped, "Prat," he heard mumbled from next to him. He couldn't help but smirk and laugh at his sister's words, apparently she felt the exact same way about Arthur as he did, "Come on," she sighed after a moment, "I'll help you. I'll wash the tunic and clean the boots if you sharpen the sword and repair the shield. Then we can polish the chainmail together."
Merlin's smirk widened, "I have a better idea…"
Later that night would find Merlin sitting on his bed as Marayna watched all of Arthur's items wash and repair themselves, all of them floating about the room as the different brushes and cloths cleaned them, "That is truly amazing," she murmured, plopping herself down next to her brother on his small cot, the first of two in the small room, he'd cleaned off the second one for her to use as her own bed, "It must save loads of time."
"I wouldn't know," he answered truthfully, "Gaius is pretty strict about using magic around here."
"I assumed so," she replied, leaning on his shoulder, resting her head on it, to look at the book in his hands, "Is this your spell book?"
He nodded, he had told her all about it last night as they took a break from researching armor and had even gotten to explain why he'd left the village without her. Apparently someone had discovered Merlin's secret and their mother feared a great deal what would happen if it got out while Merlin was still there. She understood completely now…but he still deserved that punch.
He held the book out a bit so she could look on at the spells listed and described within the ancient tome, tilting his own head to rest against hers in comfort as they read. They had gotten a few pages in...when suddenly the door was opened and all the items previously floating in the air fell to the floor, Gaius standing in the doorway.
"Are you using magic again?!" he half-shouted.
"Noooo," they both answered at once, shaking their heads in innocence.
"What's all this then?" he looked at them for a few moments, waiting for an answer, but when he received nothing except blinking he shook his head with a weary sigh, "I just came to tell you that supper's ready."
And with that, he stalked out the door, muttering something about stocks and lazy servants. Merlin and Marayna glanced at each other for a moment before bursting out with laughter.
Meanwhile, in another part of the castle, scores of men were lined up, waiting their turn to greet the king and his young, and very beautiful, ward. Morgana kept glancing around surreptitiously, trying to spy someone she knew wouldn't be at the reception, but she couldn't help but hope. She was anticipating meeting Merlin's sister in a way that was unbefitting a lady of her status, however, she was anxious to see if the girl in question bore any resemblance to the girl she had seen in her dreams just the other night. She so hoped so. Her thoughts were distracted by a knight in bright yellow stepping up to the King.
"Knight Valiant of the Western Isles, my Lord," Valiant stated as he stood before the king.
"I saw you fighting today," Uther mentioned, "You have a very aggressive style."
Valiant nodded, "As my Lord said, 'to lose is to be disgraced.'"
"I couldn't agree more," Uther replied, impressed, as he reached out to turn the knight to face the young woman standing next to him, "Knight Valiant, may I present the Lady Morgana, my ward."
Valiant stepped up, bending down and taking the lady's hand in his own, bestowing a kiss to it, "My Lady."
She smiled, "I saw you competing today."
"I saw you watching," he smirked, "I understand the tournament champion has the honor of escorting my Lady to the feast?"
"That is correct," she answered.
"Then I will give everything to win the tournament," he nodded, "My Lady."
He stepped away, and she couldn't help but watch him go. He was very dashing, even if he wasn't for her, she didn't prefer those sorts having grown up around them her entire life. The next knight stepped up and it took everything she had not to roll her eyes.
"Arthur," Uther acknowledged.
"Father," Arthur copied, moving to face Morgana.
"They all seem rather impressed with Knight Valiant," she commented, if just to irritate him.
"They're not playing anyone else," he replied, just as casually.
"You're not jealous, are you?" she remarked.
"I don't see there's anything to be jealous of," he stuck back, smirking as the smile began to fall from her face.
Morgana subtly turned to Gwen as Arthur too walked off, "Could Arthur be any more annoying? I so hope Knight Valiant wins the tournament."
"You don't really mean that," Gwen replied knowingly.
"Yes, I do," Morgana answered seriously. She honestly did wish Valiant, or any other knight besides Arthur won. She did not wish to be his escort, or rather, she might possibly know another woman who would be much better suited for his arm.
Marayna was still giggling about Gaius catching them as she journeyed with Merlin to the armory to collect the rest of Arthur's armor. Her eyes lit up as she saw the various weapons lying about before moving to examine a small table of daggers and such as Merlin headed over to the table to make sure all of Arthur's items were present. She was running a hand over expertly crafted sais when a soft hissing noise reached her. She turned around just as Merlin did.
'Do you hear that?' she asked.
He nodded, stepping away from the table and following the hissing, Marayna following close behind. Soon enough they came upon a beautiful shield with three green snakes painted on the front, Valiant's shield they recognized.
They knelt down to get a closer look at the intricate artwork, 'Something's not right,' she thought to Merlin before they both jumped at the sight. A snake, one of the painted snakes, had winked at them! Before they could react past that a sword was firmly pressed to Marayna's throat, making her stiffen and grab Merlin's hand.
"Can I help you with something?" a cold voice demanded behind her.
Merlin took a step back, pulling Marayna back with him and away from the tip of Valiant's sword, "No, we're good," Merlin answered, "I was, um…"
"Gathering his master's armor," Marayna saved.
'Thanks,' he spoke.
'You're welcome,' she replied before fixing her attention back on Valiant as the man eyed them suspiciously.
"You best be on your way," he said, lowering his sword just a bit. Merlin jumped at the chance and immediately began grabbing up armfuls of armor along with Marayna and rushing out of the room.
"You did all this on your own?" Arthur asked, vaguely impressed as he inspected the armor laid out before him.
Merlin smirked, winking at Marayna while Arthur's back was turned, "Marayna helped."
"I thought as much," he murmured before turning to Merlin, "Now let's see if you can get me into it without forgetting anything."
Marayna rolled her eyes as Merlin stepped forward to begin dressing Arthur. There were one or two times where Merlin almost put something on out of order, but a quick mental note from Marayna saved him from another snide remark from Arthur. Finally the helmet and sword were all that remained.
"That was much better," Arthur commented, smiling a bit as he watched the girl smile proudly up at her brother, feeling a soft ping in his heart at the sight, the closest thing he had to a sister was Morgana and she hardly ever appeared that proud of him, "Not that it could've got any worse."
"Oh you don't know Merlin," Marayna teased, nudging her brother as she moved to stand beside him, linking their arms together, but smiling up at him so he'd know she was just joking.
Merlin shook his head, ignoring her, "I'm a fast learner."
"I hope for your sake that's true," Arthur replied, beginning to head out the door.
"Good luck," he heard Marayna call, he turned to see her offer him a smile which he returned with a nod before heading out the door.
Merlin looked down at his sister, then at the door, and back to his sister, seeing...something...in her eyes he'd never seen when she looked at other men before, "Am I going to be glaring at the prince now?"
She just laughed, shaking her head and walking out the door with him following after.
Arthur walked into the arena, only to be greeted by the vast cheers of the people of Camelot as he began his latest duel. Merlin and Marayna couldn't help but smile at that.
'At least the people seem to like him,' she muttered to him.
'Wait till they find out how much of a prat he is,' Merlin quipped back.
"Is it my imagination," a voice cut in beside them, "Or are you beginning to enjoy yourself?"
Merlin smiled at Gaius, "Well…it isn't totally horrible all the time," he admitted, Marayna just smiled at the admission. She could tell that Merlin already thought of Arthur as something of a friend. Now if Arthur could just get over himself enough to see the same in Merlin…
"Yes!" Merlin shouted beside her, drawing her back to earth in time to see Arthur gain the upper hand in his fight.
Knight Valiant just after Arthur, though neither she nor Merlin were too keen to cheer for him, choosing instead to root for his opponent, Knight Ewan. Frowns marred their faces though when Ewan suddenly collapsed from under Valiant's shield, leaving Valiant to claim the victory.
Merlin rushed off to help Arthur after the tournament wound down while Marayna went to find Gaius and see about Ewan's well-being, "How is he?" she asked, entering his chambers to see the knight was laid out on an examination bench in the middle of the room, Gaius hovering over him.
"Not good," Gaius replied, straightforward, "Look at this, these two small wounds. It's a snake bite."
"A snake bite?" she frowned, peering closer at the two small puncture marks on the man's neck.
"How can he have been bitten by a snake?" Merlin inquired as he entered the room, having heard his sister's question, "He was injured in the sword fight."
"The symptoms are consistent with a poisoning," Gaius explained, "Slow pulse, fever, paralysis..."
"Can you heal him?" Marayna looked at her uncle.
"Well, if it is a snake bite I'll have to extract venom from the snake that bit him to make an antidote."
"What happens if he doesn't get the antidote?" asked Merlin.
"Then I'm afraid there's nothing more I can do for him," Gaius sighed, "He's going to die."
"He was fighting Knight Valiant..." Merlin mumbled.
"What's that?" Gaius muttered, not looking up.
Merlin opened his mouth to speak when Marayna quickly slapped a hand over it, "Nothing," she replied quickly before dragging Merlin out of the room, not removing her hand till the door to the chamber had shut behind them.
'We need proof,' she thought so that Gaius wouldn't hear them.
'Well then,' Merlin replied, holding out his hand with a smirk, 'Let's find Valiant shall we?'
She grinned widely and took his hand, the two of them racing down the halls.
It didn't take long to track down the knight in question, being a servant did have its perks. Merlin knew the ins and outs of the castle, like who was staying in the castle and where. They quietly crept to Valiant's room and pushed the thankfully-unlocked door open just enough that they could see him. He was standing before his shield, holding something in his hands.
'What on earth is he doing?' Marayna thought.
Their questions were answered only a moment later when the snakes on the shield came alive and began snipping at the object in the knight's hand, a mouse. Now it was Merlin's turn to hold his hand over his sister's mouth as Marayna gasped and nearly screamed at the sight. She was terribly afraid of mice, deathly afraid of them actually, it was one reason she didn't like sitting on objects where her feet could touch the floor. She couldn't see her feet when there was a table blocking the view of them, who knew if a mouse or a rat were to scamper across her feet?! Fortunately for her, though unfortunately for the mouse, Valiant tossed the mouse to one of the snakes which promptly swallowed it whole.
'He's using magic!' she thought, outraged, 'The cheater!'
'We've got to tell Gaius,' Merlin replied, 'And warn Arthur.'
At once, both Merlin and Marayna backed away from the door and began running down the hall, thankfully not making a sound to alert the knight to their presence.
They ran into Gaius's chambers, barely having enough breath to get their words out as they both began speaking at once, their words overlapping so badly they could hardly understand themselves as they spoke.
"Hold on, hold on!" he half-shouted, "Calm down, I can't understand you when you do that. Now...what happened?"
Merlin took a breath, "We just saw one of the snakes on Valiant's shield come alive!"
Marayna nodded, "He's using magic!"
"Are you sure?" Gaius asked seriously.
"The snake ate an entire mouse in just one swallow, gobbled it right down," Marayna replied, shivering slightly at the memory.
"Knight Ewan was fighting Valiant when he collapsed," Merlin added.
"It must've been one of the snakes on the shield," Marayna finished.
There was a moment's pause, "I have to tell Arthur," Merlin said as he turned to rush out of the room.
"Is there any chance you might be mistaken?" Gaius interrupted, halting the boy mid-step.
"I know magic when I see it!" he insisted.
"Perhaps, but have you any proof?" Gaius shook his head.
"Don't you believe us?" Marayna spoke, a note of hurt in her voice.
"I fear you'll land yourselves in trouble," he admitted, "How will you explain why you were in Valiant's chambers?"
"Does that matter?" Marayna shook her head, why was he delaying them? If Valiant continued to fight then his next opponent would be at risk as well! And it was up to them to stop him, "He's using magic to cheat in the tournament!"
"You can't go accusing a knight of using magic without proof," Gaius explained, "The king would never accept the word of a servant over the word of a knight."
'And he definitely wouldn't accept a woman's word,' Merlin thought to her...she glared at him, 'Sorry.'
"So what I say doesn't count for anything?" Merlin asked miserably.
"I'm afraid it counts very little as far as the king is concerned," Gaius sighed, "That's just the way it is."
The next day Merlin and Marayna couldn't help but stare at Arthur's next opponent before the tournament began. The brute was huge! Truly, he was as thick as a tree probably!
"And you're saying you have to fight that?" Marayna couldn't help but ask as she gaped at the sheer size of the man.
"Yes," Arthur smirked at her looking at his opponent, almost a bit...pleased...that she was seeing the size and near-impossibility of the man he had to beat, it would make it all the more impressive when he DID beat him, "He's strong as a bear, but he's slow."
"And you're fast," Merlin stated, realizing Arthur's logic.
"Exactly," Arthur nodded as he headed towards the arena just after his opponent.
Marayna looked around quickly, 'I don't see Valiant.'
'Don't worry,' Merlin replied, looking as well, 'We'll get proof.'
"How are you getting on?" Gaius asked, appearing out of nowhere and startling them, as he always seemed to do, even when they were younger and he'd visit occasionally he'd just...appear, like magic almost.
"Fine," Merlin said quickly, walking towards the corner of the arena where he usually watched from with Marayna following, both of them observing Arthur fighting, "I'm just doing my job. Minding my own business."
Never had either of them been so disappointed to see Arthur win a match...because now...now Arthur had to fight Valiant the next day.
"Arthur and Valiant are going to fight in the final," Marayna observed.
Merlin sighed, "He'll use the shield to kill him."
'Unless we stop him,' Marayna added silently.
'So let's stop him.'
Merlin and Marayna were seated at Ewan's bedside, both trying to think of what they should do when Gaius entered, "Merlin, about what I said yesterday…Uther wouldn't really listen to you, or me, but you're right, we can't let Valiant get away with this."
Marayna smiled at that, Gaius's support meant a lot to Merlin, but there was still one thing, "We don't have any proof though."
Gaius nodded, "Well if we could cure Ewan he could tell the king that Valiant was using magic. The king would believe another knight. But how we get the antidote, well that's another matter."
Merlin and Marayna looked at each other.
'Are you thinking what I am?' she asked, a grin growing on her face.
'Let's go!' Merlin shouted before jumping up, taking her hand and rushing out of the room.
They crept though the castle, pausing in the dining hall to make sure Valiant was occupied before heading out to his chambers. They silently walked to the door and Merlin pushed against it but it was locked. He raised his hand, about to rest it against the door when Marayna grabbed it.
'Can I Merlin, please?' she asked, biting her bottom lip as she looked at him with wide eyes.
He laughed silently, she always thought that look won him over, but really it just looked ridiculous to see her beg him to do anything, lord knew she'd do it anyway with or without his permission, such was the curse of the younger sister, 'Be my guest,' he gestured at the door, knowing she was dying to try a spell, to do some magic again, real actual magic that had an incantation to it.
She smiled before focusing on the door, "Allinan."
And the door creaked open.
She looked at him, nearly squealing with excitement as she smiled at him. He could only return the grin and give her a proud nod. He was so glad that he hadn't been the only one in his family blessed with magic. His sister having it meant he would always have someone to talk to about his magic and she was the only one who understood what sort of trouble it could get them into, she was really the only one who understood what it had been like to grow up in their village being as different as they were. And it went both ways, they never had any secrets from the other because the other was the only one who wouldn't judge and was there as support.
They entered the room, examining the shield for a few moments before they realized that they hadn't the slightest idea how to get the snakes to come alive short of finding a mouse and Marayna was not about to go there.
Marayna wandered to a chair where Valiant's sword was resting, picking it up and weighing it, it was far heavier than it appeared. She glanced over to see Merlin looking at other weapons the knight had brought with him when she heard it, the hissing. She turned, seeing the snakes coming alive.
'Merlin!' she shouted, 'Catch!' she tossed the sword to him, just in time for him to swing and decapitate one of the snakes.
Unfortunately it just made them all the more angry.
Quickly she reached down, picked up the snake head and ran with Merlin, barely escaping before the snakes snapped at them. They ran all the way back to Gaius's chambers, not even noticing Valiant exit the hall and head back to his room to find the door open and unlocked...
"I'll get started preparing the antidote," Gaius said as he drained some snake venom into a glass vial.
"I'm going to tell Arthur," Merlin replied, heading for the door.
"I'll come too," Marayna joined him.
"You'll need this," Gaius tossed them the head, "And Merlin," he turned, "What you did was very brave."
He smiled, looking down at his sister who was grinning proudly at him, before taking her hand and rushing to Arthur's chambers.
Arthur stared at the two in utter disbelief at what they were telling him, "You?" he looked at Merlin, "You chopped its head off?"
Merlin nodded as Marayna spoke, "When Ewan was fighting Valiant, he made the snakes on the shield come alive and bite him so he could win the match."
"You can talk to Gaius," Merlin added, "You can see the puncture wounds on Ewan's neck where the snake bit him. Ewan was beating him, he had to cheat!"
"Valiant wouldn't dare use magic in Camelot," Arthur stated with finality, standing from his desk. It was an utterly ridiculous notion, a knight using magic to win, not to mention in Camelot! Camelot of all places.
"You were watching, you saw that Ewan was pinned under Valiant's shield," Marayna insisted, "From that angle no one would be able to see one of those snakes bite him."
"I don't like the guy," he conceded, "But that doesn't mean he's cheating."
Merlin sighed, it was times like these when he wished Arthur wasn't so dense, "Gaius is preparing an antidote to the snake venom. When Ewan's conscious, he'll tell you what happened," he paused, hoping that his words had gotten through, but it didn't appear so, "If you fight Valiant in the final he'll use the shield. It's the only way he can beat you."
Marayna picked up the snake with her bare hands, Arthur observing how she barely even flinched at it, "Take a look at it," she tossed it to him, "And you tell me...are there any snakes like that in Camelot?"
After a moment, Merlin spoke, "I know I'm just a servant, and my word doesn't count for anything, but I wouldn't lie to you."
"Neither would I," Marayna added, taking Merlin's hand, it was a pledge...well, they wouldn't lie about anything that wouldn't get them killed to reveal, like, oh say...having been born with magic...
Arthur looked between the two, "I want you to swear to me, what you're telling me is true."
"I swear it's true," Merlin promised as his sister nodded.
"Then...I believe you," he sighed.
Marayna looked around as Merlin and Arthur examined the snake's head, feeling the hairs rise on the back of her neck, 'Someone's here,' she whispered to Merlin who looked around the room as well, trying to spot it, 'They're watching us.'
She didn't know how close to the truth she was a one of Valiant's snake slithered on the beam above them, observing them.
Marayna was rushing through the forest towards Camelot, Gaius had sent her to collect an herb for Sir Ewan who had finally woken up from his sleep. The antidote worked and now Ewan would tell Arthur and the king that she and Merlin were telling the truth! She would give the flower to Gaius, he would brew the potion to help speed up Ewan's recovery, and all would be well.
But she knew it wasn't to be as soon as she reached Gaius's chambers to see him kneeling next to the still form of the knight, "Uncle?"
He looked up, a sad look in his eyes, "He's dead," he informed, "We must tell Arthur before he calls the court."
She nodded and rushed with him towards the Great Hall. She completely forgot that, as a woman, and a low-born, not even a servant or a citizen of Camelot, she wasn't to be there. However there were much more pressing matters to attend to.
They entered just as the King began examining Valiant's shield, "Merlin," Gaius hissed, getting the attention of not just Merlin, but Arthur as well. She could see Arthur whisper something to Merlin before he walked over to them.
"Where's Sir Ewan?" Merlin whispered.
"Merlin, something's happened," Gaius tried to say delicately.
"What? Is he better? Is he coming?" he looked at them so expectantly, so optimistically that Marayna had to frown. That was one of the main differences between her brother and her, he was ever the optimist, and while she too tried to look on the bright side of things, she could always, and usually did, expect the worst.
"Merlin," she began softly, something in her tone must have given her away as Merlin's face fell in dread, "He's dead."
"What?!" Merlin's eyes widened, "But I just saw him moments ago and he was still alive! Did the antidote not work?"
"It worked," Gaius assured, "But he was bitten again and he was already too weak to fight the venom off again."
"What do we do now?" he asked.
Before either of them could answer a new voice spoke, "Where's Ewan?" Arthur pressed.
Merlin looked at him, back to Gaius, and back, "He's dead," he said finally.
"I'm waiting," Uther spoke.
Arthur looked up, around the room before his gaze landed on Uther, "I'm afraid the witness is dead."
"So you have no proof to support these allegations?" Uther demanded, "Have you seen Valiant using magic?"
"No," Arthur spoke quickly, "But my servant and his…"
"Your servant?" Uther fumed, "You made these outrageous accusations against a knight on the word of your servant?"
"Father, I believe they are telling the truth."
"They? Who is they?"
Arthur looked back at Merlin, a hint of fear in his eyes. There was no way he could protect her if Marayna was brought into it. She wasn't his servant nor a noble's or the castle's. She wasn't even a native of Camelot.
"And who?!" Uther demanded, his patience wearing thin.
"Me, my Lord," Marayna spoke quietly.
"Who are you?" he glared at her, he could obviously tell she didn't belong.
"My sister, sire," Merlin answered, taking a step closer to her as though to protect her.
"The sister of a servant!" Uther flipped, spinning to his son, "Arthur!"
"And...um...my assistant," Gaius stepped up, hoping it would be enough to protect her, "She's been helping me care for Ewan."
"My Lord, am I really to be judged on some hear-say of a boy, a servant, and a woman?" Valiant demanded.
"Sire, I've seen those snakes come alive!" Merlin strode forward, escaping just before Marayna could reach out for him to hold him back.
"How dare you interrupt?" Uther spat, "Guards!"
"My Lord," Valiant spoke.
Arthur turned to Gaius, "Get her out of here," he hissed, before turning back to face his father. Gaius quickly rushed Marayna out of the room, hoping her lack of presence would be enough for the King to forget her part in everything.
"That was far too close," Gaius muttered as they reached the hall.
"I'm going to meet Arthur and Merlin in Arthur's chambers," she replied, "I need to know how things went."
Gaius sighed as she rushed off down the hall, he didn't like this, but there was no way he could keep her away. And he needed to work on making more of the antidote in the likely event that Arthur would have to face Valiant.
Arthur was fuming when he stalked into his room moments later, slamming the door behind him, Merlin and Marayna already there, though Merlin had only just gotten there a moment or two before him.
'Uther didn't believe you, did he?' she asked Merlin.
'Not a word of it,' Merlin sighed, 'Arthur looked like a fool in front of everyone.'
Marayna flinched. This would not be good. And her thoughts proved true as Arthur rounded on them, "I believed you!" he shouted, absolute rage in his voice, "I trusted you and you made me look a complete fool!"
"Well, I know it didn't go exactly to plan…" Merlin started.
"'Didn't go to plan?'" Arthur spat incredulously, "My father and the entire Royal Court think I'm a coward! You humiliated me!"
"We can still show them the truth about Valiant," Marayna added calmly, hoping it would calm the prince down.
"I no longer require your services," he said to Merlin, completely ignoring Marayna.
"You're sacking him?" she asked in disbelief.
"You're sacking me?" Merlin repeated, though with a hint of hurt to his voice.
"I need a servant I can trust," Arthur said viciously.
"You can trust me," Merlin stressed, grabbing Marayna's hand as he felt her anger rise at how Arthur was treating him and what the man was doing. He and Marayna...it had always been them, the two of them against the world since before they could remember. She had always had a bit of a temper to her, mostly it came out when she felt an injustice was being done, and this...anything that upset him, upset her too...no, not just upset her, infuriated her.
He had learned from experience, an angry Aya was a scary Aya.
"And look where it got me this time, get out of my sight!" Arthur snapped, turning his back on them.
Merlin bowed his head and headed toward the door, tugging slightly at his sister's hand to get her to move. She held her ground though, letting her hand slip from his, 'Go on,' she whispered, 'I'll be right there.'
'Aya...don't,' he begged.
'I won't do anything bad,' she promised.
He sighed, but nodded and left the room, when she was angry (which he knew she was) there was really no arguing against her or talking her out of something. It really was best to let her anger run its course if he couldn't get her out of there in time. And to be honest...he really didn't want to be there to witness it, that way he couldn't get blamed for what she might do...and he wouldn't accidently get in the way of her anger either.
Marayna spun to face Arthur, positively furious at what he had just done, "How dare you!?"
Arthur turned quickly, obviously he hadn't been expecting her to still be there after he'd ordered them away, "What are you doing here? I excused you."
"You forget my Lord," she said the word with such venom that Arthur nearly flinched at it, "But I am not your servant, nor am I your subject so forgive me if I don't dote on your beck and call."
"What do you want?" he asked, his anger was slowly leaving him, to be replaced with a mixture of dread, fear, and shame at how he had treated Merlin, especially with the man's enraged sister standing before him because...he could see the vaguest hints of tears in her eyes for how he'd dealt with her brother.
"How could you do that to Merlin!?" she shouted, throwing her arms up in the air, "He's done nothing but try to serve you and you…you just cast him out like he didn't mean anything! Like he was nothing! He saved your life and this is how you treat him?!"
"I wouldn't expect you to understand what he has done, what you both have done. You betrayed my trust in you. You lied to me. You let me make a fool of myself in front of everyone!" he faced her, nearly daring her to make another move against him.
Of all the things he was expecting her to do, yell, throw something at him, storm out...receiving a rather strong right hook to the jaw was not one of them.
"We have done no such thing," she fumed before letting out a frustrated growl, "God! You're such a…a…a clotpole!"
And then, she stormed out of the room, shaking out her hand and leaving a fairly stunned prince with a rather red and bruising cheek in her wake.
Merlin quickly journeyed to the belly of the castle, his torch clutched firmly in his hand.
"Where are you?" he called as he entered the Dragon's prison, the ancient Dragon that had called out to him his first few nights in Camelot, "I just came to tell you whatever you think my destiny is, whatever it is you think I'm supposed to do, you've got the wrong person," he waited a moment for the Dragon to appear, "That's it, goodbye," he was just about to leave when the noise of the Dragon approaching startled him.
"If only it were so easy to escape one's destiny," the Dragon flew up and perched on a rock in the middle of the cavern.
"How can it be my destiny to protect someone who hates me?" Merlin demanded.
The Dragon smirked, "A half can never truly hate that which makes it whole. Very soon, you shall learn that."
"Great, just what I needed, another riddle," Merlin rolled his eyes, just about at the end of his rope with all this.
"That yours and Arthur's path lies together is but the truth," the Dragon replied calmly.
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"You know, young warlock, this is not the end," he smiled, looking past Merlin, over his shoulder, "It is the beginning."
"Just give us a straight answer!" Merlin shouted.
"Merlin?" a voice called, quickly coming closer down the steps, "Who are you taking to?"
"Ah, the young witch has finally arrived," the Dragon laughed, his grin widening as Marayna entered the cavern and caught sight of the Dragon.
"Merlin?" she asked, her voice quivering slightly as she stared, wide eyed, up at the rather large beast. Merlin immediately took her hand and held it tight, knowing the sight could be rather...intimidating, "What…"
Merlin sighed, "Meet the last of the Dragons. This is…"
"Marayna of Ealdor, sister of Merlin," his smile became almost gleeful, "Witch, and...future Queen of Camelot."
Marayna nearly lost her footing at that, "What?!" she blanched.
"What are you talking about?" Merlin demanded. He knew his destiny lied with Arthur, it was a fate worse than death as far as he was concerned, he didn't want his sister to be trapped on the same path.
The Dragon merely eyed them, "Arthur is the Once and Future King, who will…"
"Unite the lands of Albion," Merlin finished, "I know. And Arthur and I are 'two sides of the same coin.' Fine. But what does that have to do with Aya?"
The Dragon laughed, "You are two sides of the same coin, but Aya, as you call her, is the intricate carving that appears on both sides. She will impact both your destinies. Arthur will never succeed without the support of his Archmage and he cannot rule well without the love of his Queen."
"What?!" Marayna repeated, shaking her head.
"All hail the Witch Queen!" the Dragon shouted before flying off, leaving the siblings utterly confused and frustrated as anything.
Merlin and Marayna sat on the front steps of the castle, Marayna wrapped in Merlin's arms, slightly trembling from the cryptic words of the Dragon. How in the world was she supposed to become Queen of Camelot…and married to Arthur?! That was truly the worst sort of fate she could imagine befalling a woman.
"Is it true what you said about Valiant using magic?" they looked up to see Gwen strolling over to sit by them and could only nod, "What're you going to do?"
"Why does everyone seem to think it's down to us to do something about it?" Merlin questioned exasperatedly.
"Because it is, isn't it?" she countered, "You have to show everyone that you were right and they were wrong."
Marayna sighed, "How?"
"I don't know," she admitted.
They were silent for a moment when a statue of a dog caught Marayna's attention and she grinned, working out just the way to do it, 'Merlin!' she shouted.
'Ow!' he replied, flinching, she was a bit loud, 'What was that for?'
'Look at that!' she directed his gaze to the dog statue, 'If Valiant can do it…'
'Then so can we!' he grinned, 'Brilliant!'
"That's it!" Merlin cheered, jumping off the step with Marayna in tow.
"Where are you going?" Gwen asked, quite confused by their behavior, not that she had really known them long enough to know what their usual behavior was like, but still...it was quite odd.
"Do you have a wheelbarrow?" was all Marayna replied with, grinning what seemed to be the family grin.
Somehow they managed to get the dog statue into the wheelbarrow and get it to their room with no questions, which was a miracle in itself.
"What are you doing with that?" Gaius eyed them oddly as he came to investigate what the squeaking could be.
"We've got to let everyone see the snakes for themselves," Merlin answered as Marayna shut the door to what had become their room, "Who should do it?" he looked at his sister as they set the statue on the floor.
Marayna bit her lip, "I think you should, your magic is much stronger than mine."
It was partly true, or it might be. They weren't really sure how their magic worked. Merlin's always appeared stronger, but she had always seemed to have more control over hers, doing less...reactive magic. Merlin's was more raw where as hers was more focused, so they could never really be sure whose was stronger, or if they were both equal. They never saw much of her magic due to her control, but the magic they saw off Merlin was more like bursts and they didn't know how to really test each other like that.
He nodded, looking down at the book he'd pulled from beneath his pillow and began the spell, "Berbay odothay arisan quickem."
They looked at each other, just knowing this was going to be a long night…
Arthur was standing by the fire with his back towards the door of his room, when Marayna went to see him that night while Merlin continued to work on the spell.
"I thought I told you to get out of my sight," he muttered, still not looking up, fully expecting it to be Merlin that had come to see him. So he was in for a bit of a shock when it wasn't Merlin's voice that spoke but his sister's.
"And I thought I told you, I wasn't your servant?"
He looked up, slightly stunned by the sight of her, with the moonlight streaming into the room, her skin was illuminated and seemed to glow, her hair was out of its ties and hanging loosely around her face. He nearly gasped at the sight of her, she looked just as she did all day, but for some reason, he couldn't take his eyes off her. He shook his head before smirking arrogantly at her, "Come to apologize?"
She mirrored his smirk, "Not a chance," he looked away, revealing a small dark spot on the corner of his jaw, she hadn't thought she'd hit him that hard! It was already starting to bruise. She sighed, "I've come to ask you...not to face Valiant in the final tomorrow, because he'll use the shield against you."
"I know," was the quiet reply
She looked up sharply, "Then quit or withdraw or whatever it is you do in a tournament!"
"Don't you understand?" he turned to face her again, "I can't withdraw. The people expect their prince to fight. How can I lead men into battle if they think I'm a coward?"
"How can you lead men into battle if your dead?" she was blunt if anything, "And you WILL be dead because Valiant will kill you. You fight, you die."
"Then I die," Arthur stated with a shrug.
Marayna let out a frustrated noise, running a hand through her hair as she shook her head, "How do you do that? Stand there and agree to go out there and fight, knowing that?"
"Because I have to," he said simply, "It's my duty."
"There's more to life than duty," she countered before she turned to leave. She knew she could say nothing more to persuade him. She didn't know the prince from another arrogant prat on the streets, Merlin should have come to talk to him, but he wanted to focus on the spell, and had sent her instead.
A lot of help that did.
The next morning Arthur stood at the window as another manservant dressed him in armor. He had to admit, this one was much more competent than Merlin, but there was something about Merlin's bumbling that made him feel like he wasn't just...doing a duty to a prince but more...helping a friend. It had been nice, for a moment, having a friend, someone who didn't see him as just the next king but...a person, given Merlin's comments, he was sure neither he nor the man's sister saw him as just a king.
He supposed he should be obsessing over the upcoming fight and picking out the clothes and armor he wished to be buried in, but for some reason, he just kept thinking of Marayna's words, there's more to life than duty? What was that supposed to mean? He had been born and raise a prince, duty was all he knew. Duty to his people, to his kingdom, and to his knights. That was it. No other duty existed. And if duty meant dying for his people, then he would gladly do so.
He rubbed his jaw, wincing as he felt the bruise that was there. What did that girl think she was doing? How dare she hit him? Him! The prince of Camelot! She had no respect whatsoever and he should have had her thrown in the dungeon for that, put in the stocks. Something! But the more he thought about it...the more he realized he did deserve the punch, not that he would EVER admit that out loud. But...it had literally knocked some sense into him. He had treated Merlin unfairly and she had made him aware of that. No one else would dare lay a hand on him if he was mistaken, but she...had…she was…different.
"Let me," a woman's voice cut into his thoughts. He looked over to see Morgana checking the straps on his armor, sending the manservant off, "I used to help my father with his armor," she commented before picking up his helmet and handing it to him.
"Thanks," he muttered, walking towards the door, pausing momentarily to stare at the spot Marayna had stood just that night, her words echoing back to him.
"Arthur," Morgana called and he looked back at her, "Be careful."
"See you at the feast," he tried to smile, but it just...didn't seem to come.
She nodded anyway and watched him leave the room. She sighed and glanced out the window, at the arena, hoping Arthur would survive. He had to survive this match, even though she knew it was foolish to hope but...she hoped that one day her dream would come true in some way. So few of them were ever good, she clung to the ones that offered her hope and she vowed she would do everything in her power to make this one as close to a reality as she could make it.
Merlin and Marayna were knelt before each other in their room, sitting back on their legs, their hands grasped firmly together. When she had returned to the room last night, Merlin had suggested they both try the spell together. So far it hadn't worked for him by himself so maybe he needed just a little extra help. He always thought they were stronger together, but Marayna thought her powers, being slightly less than his, would hold his back. Either way, he had finally managed to convince her and they mumbled the spell over and over until finally a barking sound resounded throughout the room. They jumped apart, now wide awake, to see a dog seated right before them where the statue had been.
"We did it!" Merlin cheered.
"Yes!" Marayna jumped, hugging him, before she noticed the light outside, "It's already dawn!"
They ran out of the room and straight into Gaius as he worked away to make more of the antidote, "Arthur is fighting Valiant!" he warned them.
"We know, we're on our way," Merlin replied, taking off.
"Oh, Uncle, promise not to go in there, we'll find it a proper home when we get back!" Marayna added, rushing after her brother, following him through the halls and out to the courtyards till they reached the arena, creeping to their corner to watch the match.
Marayna flinched as Arthur fell to the ground, but let out a breath of relief as he quickly got back up and continued his fight against Valiant, though this time...without his sword.
Merlin reached out and grabbed her hand, raising his own as they focused on the spell, "Berbay odothay arisan quicken!"
They were not disappointed as Valiant's snakes appeared out of the shield and began attacking Arthur as he jumped back, exposing them for all to see.
"What're you doing?" the knight hissed at his shield, shaking it, startled, "I didn't summon you!"
"He is using magic!" Uther cried, his eyes narrowing at the so-called knight.
"Now, they see you for what you really are!" Arthur shouted smugly, making sure everyone in the arena could hear him.
For all he was worth, Valiant didn't look troubled at all as he yelled back, "Kill him!"
The two remaining snakes immediately slithered out of his shield and over to Arthur who was circling the arena till he was just in front of Merlin and Marayna.
Thinking quickly, Marayna grabbed a sword from a rack next to her "Arthur!" she called, tossing him the sword. And just like with Merlin, he grabbed it just in time to behead both snakes and kill Valiant to the cheers of the people. They had done it! Arthur was safe and the people saw the truth about Valiant, and Arthur saw that they hadn't been lying.
Arthur walked out of the arena, followed slowly by Merlin and Marayna. The two non-servants stood off to the side as they watched Uther and Morgana embrace Arthur in congratulations and smiled when Gwen ran up to them, hugging them both, knowing that, somehow, they had had a hand in Valiant's demise. Morgana, never too far from her maid, looked up to see Merlin and a girl standing by her servant and made her way over.
She stopped in her tracks a few feet away as Gwen pulled away from her hug with the girl and Morgana was able to see her up close, "It is you!" she nearly shouted, only loud enough to gain Merlin, Gwen, and Marayna's attention.
"My Lady?" Gwen asked, slightly confused by Morgana's reaction.
"You're Merlin's sister, aren't you?" Morgana asked as Marayna nodded slightly, "I have been waiting quite a while to meet you."
"Me? My Lady?" she blinked, shocked at that revelation.
"Yes, of course," she walked up to Marayna and took her arm in hers, "Why don't you come with me and Gwen to prepare for the feast?"
Marayna looked over at Merlin, who shrugged, 'Maybe she needs extra help preparing?' he thought, his sister just shrugged and followed the two girls away, it couldn't be any worse than helping Arthur prepare for things, and Morgana seemed FAR more pleasant to be around than Arthur.
The feast that night was amazing, especially as Uther was in very high spirits, not only that his son was the champion again, but also that he had defeated sorcery once more, "My honorable guests," he called, getting attention from the crowd, "I give you...Prince Arthur, your champion."
The crowd that had gathered in the dining hall erupted into cheers as Arthur made his entrance, taking Morgana's arm at the end of an aisle that led to the main table, "My Lady."
"My champion," she replied as they walked towards Uther, "Has your father apologized yet, for not believing you?" she asked quietly.
"He'll never apologize," Arthur muttered, before steering the conversation away from his father, "I hope you're not disappointed it's not Valiant escorting you."
She shrugged, "Turns out he wasn't really champion material."
"That was some tournament final," Arthur remarked as they reached the end of the aisle and turned to face each other.
"Tell me about it," she smirked, "It's not every day I get to see a girl save a prince."
"Well, I wouldn't say I needed exactly saving," Arthur muttered, though Morgana could swear his ears were turning a bit pink, "I'm sure I would've thought of something."
"See, you're too proud to admit you were saved by a girl," Morgana jabbed.
"Because I wasn't," he insisted.
"You know what?" she put her hands on her hips, "I wish Valiant was escorting me."
"Me too," said Arthur, "Then I wouldn't have to..." his words were cut off as two very lovely girls entered the room…
"See," Merlin muttered to Gaius from the side as he watched Arthur escort Morgana up the aisle, "I told you he gets all the girls and the glory."
"And he owes it all to you," Gaius replied before looking around, "Now where is that sister of yours?"
Merlin looked around again, "I've no idea, maybe…"
But before he could complete the sentence, two girls entered the room, arm-in-arm. He recognized one instantly as Gwen, though she looked quite different. She was wearing a beautiful lavender dress and her hair was pulled back in an intricate braid, with flowers strung throughout it. The other girl he had never seen before though, or at least he didn't think he had.
"Who…" he started to ask...only to realize exactly who it was that had entered beside Gwen, "Is she wearing a dress!?"
There was his sister, his Aya, walking as gracefully down the aisle with Gwen as she could given their family's natural clumsiness. She was dressed in a beautiful light blue dress that brought out the beauty of her eyes. It was a simple dress really, long-sleeved, nearly off the shoulder, a small rope belt wrapped around her waist and hanging a bit in front of her. Her hair was only held back by two small twists on the sides of her head that connected in the back.
She looked beautiful.
And, Merlin was very displeased to note, many other young men seemed to notice that fact as well, though he doubted they thought so in the sibling-like sense that he did...and so he took to scowling at them all.
Gwen led Marayna down the aisle and right up to Morgana and Arthur who, Marayna noticed, was again doing his impression of a fish, "My Lady," Gwen curtsied slightly, Marayna trying to do the same but stumbling a bit.
Morgana nodded, "Oh Arthur, have you met Marayna?" she asked, knowing full well he had.
"Uh…I…yes," he managed to choke out, still not quite sure how he managed to do even that. The sight of Marayna took his breath away, especially seeing her in a dress after having seen her in nothing but her travelling clothes the entire time. It was...quite the shocking change, really, though he made a note that she looked particularly lovely in that shade of blue.
Morgana smirked, "Oh Rayna!" she turned to the girl, using what seemed to be the most nickname for her, "Arthur had something he wanted to ask you."
Marayna turned expectantly to Arthur, "Yes?"
Arthur just blinked, "Uh…dance?"
She tried ever so hard to keep her smile from turning into a smirk at how foolish he sounded. Honestly, it was just a dress! There was nothing spectacular about it or the person wearing it. But she wasn't sure if she fully succeeded in keeping her smile un-smirked. She nodded slightly and reached out to take Arthur's arm, letting him lead her out onto the small area that had been set aside for dancing.
"I should warn you," she began, "Dancing is NOT my forte."
"Surprising," he remarked, "It's not mine either," he added, so she would know he wasn't insulting her, before he led her into a small dance.
Marayna tried her best not to look down at her feet, not that she'd be able to see them in her gown, but still...she'd never quite mastered or enjoyed dancing while she'd been with her Aunt Elaine, so she was more than comfortable with the silence that followed as it meant Arthur wasn't commenting on her looking down either. However...it DID get a bit too much for her, but only because there was something she NEEDED to bring up to him and she doubted she'd get another chance what with him being the 'champion' and all, "You know, you really hurt Merlin by not believing in him."
Arthur looked away, "I know," he murmured, "And, though I shall deny it to the grave, I feel…bad…about what I did. It is disgraceful for a king to lose his temper like that."
Marayna was quite for a moment, "I know a way for you to make it up to him."
"And how would that be?" he asked, actually paying attention to this bit of information.
She smirked, "Buy him a drink."
"I can't really be seen buying drinks for my servants," Arthur replied.
"Your servants?" she raised an eyebrow at the plural, "As I recall, you only sacked Merlin and I don't work for you."
"Well I'm considering rehiring Merlin," Arthur smirked, "And I suppose, if you are going to be around your brother, I might as well hire you too."
She tilted her head away and nodded a bit, "Be sure you know what you are getting yourself into," she warned before walking away as the song ended, leaving a very confused Arthur. She seemed to do that a lot in the short time he'd known her, leave him guessing and confused and a bit put off and yet somehow...smiling.
He shook his head and made his way over to Merlin as the boy remained standing to the side, Gaius having walked off a short while before, "Can you believe Morgana?" he began to his former servant, "She says Marayna saved me. Like I needed any help," Merlin was silent, "Look, I wanted to say…I made a mistake. It was unfair to sack you."
Merlin smiled, "Don't worry about it. Buy me a drink, we'll call it even."
He laughed, Marayna certainly knew her brother, "Alright, I'll buy you one drink, don't need you getting too used to the gin. After all, I'm going to need you and your sister tomorrow…"
"Marayna?" Merlin looked at him, startled, "What's she have to do with this?"
"Well, since you're so incompetent, I figured you should have a bit of help in your chores, so I hired your sister," he laughed as Merlin nearly choked on air, "And it's a good thing too. My chambers are a complete mess, my clothes need washing, my armor needs repairing, my boots need cleaning, my dogs need exercising, my fireplace needs sweeping, my bed needs changing, and someone needs to muck out my stables…"
A/N: I hope you like Marayna so far. I can say there are going to be some fears and obstacles in the way of her being with Arthur beyond just Uther and her own magic }:) I didn't want to give away too much of her in this chapter, we'll slowly learn more about her as the story goes on :) So as for the cover, even though it's Arthur/OC, since they're not technically together yet, Marayna IS Merlin's sister, so I put them together just for this one ;)
I'll be doing a series of 'episode covers' on my tumblr, basically trying to work an image of Marayna into a scene from the episodes starting tomorrow with Valiant's and adding one only on the days that an actual episode is posted. I've done some covers for original chapters before in other stories and I'm not certain I'd be able to do that for Merlin, so we'll be getting one nearly every other day ;) There's a link to my tumblr on my profile ;)
Most of the spells from the episode, spelling wise, were from the Merlin Wikia page to get the proper spelling or as close as possible ;)
I'll also be doing a 'notes on reviews' section after this chapter if there are ever questions or reviews that I feel I should comment on at the very end of a chapter ;)