Part 10: link
“Bors!” Elyan shouts, fighting his way through the fray. A guard descends on him, and Elyan manages to drop him with a well-placed punch.
He had just caught a glimpse of Sir Bors, locked in a struggle with a guard nearly as large as Percival, and he thought he saw a flash of a blade just before Bors fell.
Elyan reaches him, and turns him on his back only to find his chainmail tattered and a large gash in his abdomen.
“Oh, no,” Elyan says, and drags him back into an alcove, away from the fighting. He shakes his shoulder lightly. “Bors… Bors!”
Bors groans slightly, weakly. He looks waxy and pale, as if all the color has left his face.
“Hang on, Bors, we’ll get wewe to Gaius. He’ll fix wewe up and you’ll be fine,” Elyan says, but he knows it is a lie.
“No,” Bors gasps, then coughs. A drop of blood appears at the corner of his mouth. That’s not good,
“I’m done, Elyan. It’s all right. I’m proud to have died fighting for Camelot. For what is right… for Arthur…” his voice is fading now. “For…” he trails off, and his breath leaves him in a soft wheeze. He goes limp in Elyan’s arms.
“For us,” Elyan finishes Bors’ final words, closing his fallen comrade’s eyes. He lays him down in the alcove, out of the way of the fighting, and covers him with his own cape, promising to come back for him when this is over.
“Elyan!” Gwaine calls to him when Elyan emerges. “Where have wewe been?” he asks, punching a guard with the butt of his sword.
“Bors,” Elyan says, his face grim. “He’s…” He glances over his shoulder.
“Oh,” Gwaine says sadly, looking over at the limp hand he sees sticking out from beneath a red cape.
Elyan lunges, punching out a guard just about to attack Gwaine. At the same time, Gwaine, reaches mbele and strikes another guard behind Elyan.
“Thanks,” they both say, then make their way quickly through the cells, looking for Percival. They see him a few yards ahead, a guard in each hand. He brings the two guards’ heads together, knocking them out with each other’s skulls.
“We need to get in there,” Merlin says. “Arthur,” he prompts, seeing Arthur looking behind him, clearly worried about his father.
“Hmm?” Arthur turns and looks back.
“Arthur,” Lancelot says, placing his hand on his elbow. “Go after him. We’ve got this.”
“No, I’ll stay. wewe need my sword,” Arthur answers, but he is clearly conflicted.
“No, we don’t. We’ve got Merlin,” Leon answers, surprising everyone. “Go. Help the king.”
“Um…” Arthur still hesitates.
Arthur. We’ll be fine. Uther needs zaidi help than we do.”
Arthur claps Merlin on the shoulder, then Lancelot. He clasps Leon’s forearm briefly, then takes off, running fearlessly down the corridor, Excalibur flashing as he goes. Surrounded kwa a constant kuoga of golden sparks, he looks almost supernatural, unworldly.
“Wow,” Leon says. “I wish I had a sword like that.”
“Yes, Leon, we know,” Merlin teases.
“So what’s the plan?” Lancelot asks.
“Take out the outer guards, get inside, spill the cup,” Merlin shrugs.
“Child’s play,” Lancelot rolls his eyes.
“Morgause may have some tricks up her sleeve, so we’ll have to be wary,” Merlin adds, glancing at the four guards. “But we won’t know until we dive in.”
Merlin turns towards the door, emerging from their hiding place. The guards see him approaching, but they are not fast enough. Merlin thrusts both hands mbele and the front two guards are forced backward, into the two behind them. The two in back drop, but the front two are still conscious. And mad.
They charge Merlin. Just as Leon and Lancelot come mbele to aid, Merlin lifts his chin and flicks a hand at the guards, and they drop on the spot.
“What did wewe do?” Leon asks.
“Same thing I’ve been doing all along,” Merlin shrugs. “I should have been keeping count of how many people I’ve put to sleep,” he adds, muttering under his breath.
“Door’s locked,” Lancelot declares.
“Of course it is,” Merlin says. He extends his hand to the lock and says a word. Nothing. “Tricky bitch,” he mumbles, and tries a different spell. Still nothing.
“Where’s Percival when we need him, eh?” Leon chuckles nervously, keeping an eye out for other guards.
“I’ve got one more,” Merlin says. “Stand back.”
They do. I wish I had my staff,
Merlin thinks, knowing it is still stashed under the floorboards of his room in Gaius’ quarters. He couldn’t bring it along when they fled; it is too big and would have drawn too much attention.
He lifts his hands and closes his eyes. When he opens them, they are flame-gold and, with a word, he blasts the doors completely from their hinges.
“Well, that will probably attract some attention,” Lancelot maoni dryly once the dust settles.
“Nothing for it, mate,” Merlin says, shrugging as he strides fearlessly into the room, finding twelve zaidi guards who are suddenly very alert.
Twelve zaidi guards and Morgause.
“You!” she spits. “You are no servant!”
“That’s where you’re wrong, Morgause,” Merlin says. “I am a servant. I serve Arthur. And Camelot. It is my destiny to see that they are kept safe.”
“Does that include protecting Uther as well?” she arches her eyebrow at him.
“My duty is to Arthur,” Merlin majibu carefully, stepping closer. He spies the cup on a pedestal at the back of the room and he almost laughs.
“What is funny, servant?” Morgause tilts her head at him, perplexed kwa his slightly amused expression.
“You are, Morgause,” Merlin says. “Your arrogance is amusing.”
“Let’s see how amusing
wewe find this, then,” she says, raising her hands and chanting.
Merlin is prepared and deflects the curse with a word of his own, knocking one of the guards into the wall.
The other guards step forward, hands at hilts, but Morgause holds her hand up, stilling them. Merlin realizes that Lancelot and Leon are flanking him, at either side, slightly behind.
Morgause tries again, but Merlin is faster this time, knocking her backwards before she can summon any magic to loose on him.
“Go,” she hisses at the guards, and the remaining eleven guards charge.
Merlin immediately drops four of them. Leon takes out another with his fist. Lancelot crashes the skull of another against a nearby pillar.
Merlin moves steadily forward, shoving one guard into another, sending both into another pillar, his eyes on Morgause as she scrambles to her feet. Don’t let her leave this room.
Lancelot’s eyes fly wide and he looks at Leon. The look on the other knight’s face tells him that he heard it, too. Merlin’s voice. Inside their heads.
“Merlin,” Lancelot calls, his voice a question.
“I don’t exactly know how I just did that,” Merlin calls back.
“Got it,” Lancelot answers. Then he makes a decision. He takes out another guard, but earns a cut on his forearm for his efforts. He makes his way around the room, his eyes trained on Morgause, watching her. Learning.
“Servant,” Morgause spits, “You are no match for my powers.” However, her eyes aren’t sure. She really has no idea about what kind of power this young man possesses.
Merlin knows this, and keeps quiet. Then a thought occurs to him, and he stops walking. It is a ridiculously simple thought, almost laughable. How stupid am I?
he thinks, realizing that Arthur may be right occasionally. Let’s not overthink this, Merlin.
He shifts his gaze from Morgause to the cup. “Ágéotan
,” he mutters, and his eyes flash.
“No!” Morgause shrieks, but it is too late. She whirls around to see the cup on its side, the viscous red blood dripping down the pedestal, thick and sticky. The cup rolls and topples to the floor with a metallic clatter.
The guards explode in the now-familiar kuoga of golden sparks.
Uther fights his way to the kiti cha enzi room, determined to find Morgana, to try to bring her back to him. He is surprisingly mwepesi, teleka and cunning, slipping through the throng, making his progress. He takes a few minor blows, but nothing severe enough to stop him.
He limps into the kiti cha enzi room, sword drawn.
” Morgana’s cold voice greets him, spitting his name like a curse.
“Morgana,” Uther says, his voice shaky with exertion and emotion. “Please…”
“Begging for your life already? Excellent, this should be over quickly, then,” she goads him.
“Please come back to us, Morgana,” he says, setting his sword on the floor now, walking slowly forward. “I lay down my sword. I only wish to talk with you.”
“Oh, well, I[
wish to stay on this throne, and for that to happen, you
need to be dead.”
“What happened, Morgana? Why do wewe do this? I raised wewe as my own daughter. wewe are
my own daughter. Why do wewe hate me so? Did I not give wewe everything wewe desired?”
“It is not what wewe did to me, but what wewe have done to my kind,” she snaps.
“Your kind? I do not understand.”
“Always so blind,” she huffs, standing finally. “Surely wewe know that I have magic.”
“That is what they are saying, but I couldn’t believe…”
“Couldn’t au wouldn’t? wewe always only ever believed what wewe wanted, Uther. I have magic. Daughter au no, kwa the laws of Camelot, I should be executed. Would wewe execute your own daughter?” she asks, angling her head at him.
“It can’t be…” he gasps, eyes wide. “How…?”
“Answer my question, old man. Would wewe execute your own daughter? au would wewe merely banish me from the kingdom and execute anyone who uttered my name?”
“So all this… this is just because of the ban on magic?” he asks.
“No. It is because wewe exterminated people like they were vermin. People who were special, not evil.”
“Magic was being abused,” he says defensively.
“Well, now those of us with magic are going to be doing the abusing. Retribution is at hand,” she says coolly.
“I couldn’t let the chaos continue… I had to do something…” he stammers quietly.
“You did not have to kill everyone just because of your own guilt!” she yells, cutting him to the quick. “Oh, yes, I know all
about what wewe did to get your precious
Arthur. Your beloved son who turned his back on wewe anyway.” She laughs now. “What a fantastic father wewe turned out to be. One child a witch and the other runs off with a whore servant.”
Uther blinks, not only hurt and angry, but also surprised to find that he feels a little anger at Morgana’s referring to Gwen as a whore.
“Please, Morgana, I’m… I’m so sorry. I don’t care that wewe have magic. I will change the law, make magic legal again. Heavily regulated, but legal. Just… come back to me. I cannot kubeba this,” Uther begs.
“You will change the law?” Morgana asks, softening. “You would do that… for me?” she walks toward him now, tears in her eyes.
“Yes, Morgana, please,” Uther says, holding his arms out tentatively to her. “Please,” he repeats.
“Oh, Father,” she sighs, falling into his arms, leaning her head on his shoulder as he wraps his arms around her.
It was then that Uther felt the sharp sting of her dagger as it sank into his side.
“Too little, too late, I’m afraid,” she whispers into his ear, pulling back, out of his arms, as he slumps to the floor.
Morgana straightens her back imperiously, smirking down at Uther’s fallen body, just as Arthur reaches the kiti cha enzi room.
“Father!” he yells, running in, sword raised. Morgana holds out her hand and chants, pushing him back, into the wall.
She flees the room through a back exit before Arthur can regain his breath and his feet.
Arthur rushes to his father’s side, lifting his body, turning him over, taking his head in his lap.
“Father,” he says, his voice shaky. “Please, please.”
“Arthur,” Uther says, blinking his eyes open, only just.
“You’re going to be fine, Father, I’ll… I’ll take wewe to Gaius and Guinevere, they’ll fix wewe right up,” Arthur says, but he knows he is lying, both to himself and to his father.
“No, Arthur… It’s my time,” Uther gasps, his breathing shallow, leaving him.
“No, Father…” Arthur says, tears falling freely now.
“Tell your wife… tell Guinevere I am sorry.”
“I will, Father… thank you.” He sniffles, clutching his father’s hand.
“You will be… a great king, my son.”
“I’m not ready, Father. I still need you.”
“No, wewe don’t. wewe have been… ready… for some time now. Just don’t… don’t repeat my mistakes… as a king… and as a… father…”
Arthur drops his head, resting his forehead against his father’s. It is like ice.
“I was always… proud of… you… and… I upendo you…”
The sounds of fighting outside cease suddenly. The silence is deafening, but Arthur does not hear it.
“…The hell?” Gwaine staggers, his ngumi, punch connecting suddenly with the air, and he almost falls against another knight.
“He did it!” Elyan exclaims. “Merlin! He did it!”
“Merlin?” the knight that Gwaine almost toppled into asks. “What can he do? He’s just a servant.”
“Oh, no, mate, he is so much zaidi than that,” Elyan says. “But come. Let’s start getting the wounded back to camp to Gaius and Gwen.”
“Right. I wonder if Morgause and Morgana are still lurking about?” Gwaine asks.
“I don’t know. But without their army, they are vulnerable. Magic au no,” Percival says, hoisting an injured knight to his feet.
“Whoa, and I thought I was big,” the knight mutters. “Are wewe a knight?”
“Yep,” Percival says proudly. “Sir Percival. That’s Sir Gwaine, and I believe wewe know Sir Elyan.”
Elyan? The blacksmith, a knight?”
“Is that a problem?” Percival asks, suddenly not supporting the knight as steadily.
“No! No, no.”
“Arthur knighted the three of us and one other,” Gwaine explains as they start to move, collecting other wounded as they go.
“But the blacksmith is a commoner. No offense intended, Elyan, wewe know I think your work is excellent.”
“I’m a commoner,” Percival adds. “So is Gwaine and Sir Lancelot, who is working elsewhere to liberate Camelot from Morgause and Morgana’s reign of terror,” he adds pointedly.
“Oh,” the knight says dumbly.
“And Arthur married my sister,” Elyan adds, just to stir the pot further.
“What? So the rumors really are true? Prince Arthur ran off and eloped with Lady Morgana’s maid?”
“Yes. And Sir Leon has already sworn to protect her with his life, so if wewe value yours, wewe will follow suit,” Gwaine adds.
“Sir Leon? He’s back? And he’s sworn loyalty to Gwen?”
“Prince Arthur will thank wewe to address her as Lady Guinevere,” Elyan corrects him.
“Yes,” Gwaine explains. He looks around and realizes that all the knights are listening intently. He stops, and holds his hand up, stopping everyone. “Look, lads. Arthur is back. wewe know this; wewe saw him. He married Gwen, yes. Lady Guinevere. He’s knighted four commoners. These are all good things. And also things King Uther would never do, am I correct?”
There is a general rumbling of agreement.
“These are the actions of a man with vision. Portents of things to come under Arthur’s rule,” Gwaine continues. “Now, me, I hate nobles. Yet here I stand, fighting for a prince
as a Knight of bloody Camelot.”
“I remember you! wewe saved Prince Arthur’s life and Uther still banished you!” a voice pipes up.
“Indeed. And again: here I stand, among you. One of you.”
“You were amazing with a sword!”
“Thank you. Now, are wewe all sufficiently over your shock and ready to bring this kingdom to glory? Well, either that au go get patched up kwa Gaius and your future queen?”
Cheering ensues, the sound echoing through the dungeon.
“All right, then. Let’s go.”
“I have to admit, Gwaine,” Percival grins, “you definitely have a way with words.”
“You should hear me with the ladies.”
Morgause shrieks, furious, wheeling on Merlin. “How? You…”
Merlin nods, his outer calm unnerving her. Lancelot and Leon mduara, duara slowly, still on high alert. They know she is a witch and Leon has seen her in action with a sword. Despite Merlin’s considerable skills, they are taking no chances.
Quick as a flash, she draws a sword from a sheath hidden in her skirts and holds the tip against Merlin’s throat.
“No matter what wewe do, I will still have time to thrust this into your throat,” Morgause threatens.
“So be it,” Merlin says, not moving, still calm. “You’ll still be dead regardless.”
“Oh, so selfless,” she says sweetly. “Your master must be so
proud of you, Servant,” she spits.
“My master has only a fraction of an idea about what I can do,” Merlin says, “and it is still zaidi than wewe know about my skills, Morgause.”
Her grip on her sword wavers for just a moment, and she blinks. “No,” she gasps, “you couldn’t be him.”
“Oh?” Him who?
Lancelot wonders, creeping silently up behind Morgause now.
“It has been foretold that a great wizard will rise and restore magic to Camelot,” Morgause says, her sword dropping lower still as she struggles with her realization.
“Indeed,” Merlin says levelly.
Leon lunges suddenly, seeing an opening. Morgause sends him against the wall, hardly looking at him, and he slumps, unconscious.
“Fool,” Morgause snaps. “You cannot be this wizard,” she decides finally. “You cannot be Emrys.”
“As wewe wish, my lady,” Merlin nods. Then his eyes flash and her sword is dashed from her hand. She gasps in surprise, and prepares another curse to fling his way.
Merlin deflects it again, blasting a hole in the ukuta this time.
“You are not him!” she screams. “You are a servant, a nobody! wewe cannot be the greatest wizard in the land!”
“If wewe insist,” Merlin answers, stepping mbele now. He sees Lancelot songesha now, coming up behind Morgause. She senses him just before he grabs her shoulders, and spins on him, pulling out a hidden dagger.
Lancelot is faster, slicing her belly with his sword. She gasps, but before she falls, she buries the dagger into his chest.
“Ah!” Lancelot hisses, grabbing at the dagger’s handle as it slips from her grasp when she slides to the floor.
The dagger is buried in the left side of his chest, but her aim was wide, piecing a relatively harmless area near his shoulder.
He is just about to pull it free when an ear-piercing scream invades their ears.
“Elyan!” Gwen exclaims when her brother, Gwaine, Percival and a collection of wounded knights return to camp.
Elyan runs to her, but he is stopped kwa a large grey dog that has placed himself between Gwen and her brother.
“Smith,” Gwen says softly, “it’s all right, boy. This is my brother.” Smith stops growling and moves beside Gwen, wagging his tail and gazing expectantly up at her.
“A dog, Gwen?” Elyan asks. “We’re in the middle of a war and wewe find a dog?
“Yes. And he’s still a puppy, actually,” she says, scratching the dog behind his ears.
“He’s going to get bigger?”
“Yes, and apparently he is taking his job very seriously. Aren’t you, boy?” She coos this last bit at Smith, whose tail wags even harder now, whacking Gwen on the leg with it.
“You’re all right?” she asks, going to hug her brother now.
“Yes, I’m a little bruised, but I’ll live,” he says. “Bors… Bors is gone.”
“Oh no!” Gwen gasps now, her hands to her face.
“We’ll have to go back and get him. And a few others…”
“Gwen, I need your help here, please,” Gaius calls.
“Yes, of course, sorry,” she calls, squeezing her brother’s arm before hurrying back to Gaius.
“Any word on Arthur?” Gwen asks Gwaine as she cleans a wound on his arm.
“Well, the cup has been spilled, we know that much,” he says. “Morgause’s army all disappeared – poof – in a kuoga of sparks.”
“It took us all quite kwa surprise,” Percival says, sitting heavily beside them, unscathed.
“But we don’t know anything else from Arthur’s party,” Gwaine finishes.
“Elyan and I will go back and check it out,” Percival volunteers, standing again. “We’re both okay. Elyan, come on.”
“What? We’re going back?”
“Yeah, we need to find out about the others for Lady Guinevere. She is worried about her husband,” Percival says, winking at Gwen.
“Thank you,” she says quietly, turning to the large man that Percival had been dragging with him.
“My lady,” the knight carefully says as she bends over his injured leg, assessing the damage.
“Sir Bedivere,” she says. Knights are worse than a group of washerwomen for gossip,
she thinks, noting that the other knights are all glancing at her with a curiosity that they never displayed before, muttering to each other, and, if caught, nodding respectfully in her direction.
“Cat out of the bag, Gwaine?” she asks, peering at him.
“One cat, Princess,” Gwaine majibu with a grin. So they know we’re married, but not about the baby,
she decides, nodding at him.
“There are zaidi cats?” Bedivere asks, but then Gwen prods his wound a little less than delicately and he grunts.
“Oh, I am sorry, my lord,” she says, effectively stopping any further curiosity for now.
Part 12: link