Previously on “Merlin, the adventures continues…”
Morgana had been given an ancient spell to kill Merlin: he was giving a dream in which he saw Arthur getting killed over and over again and little by little Merlin would die too, but he was stronger and finally woke up, but not in very good health.
In the meantime, Mordred has fled Camelot.
Uploader Comment: Oh this is getting really exciting!!!!! (Francesca)
What shall I do? say what? what shall I do?
He felt angry and frustrated, sad and confused. Mordred had been riding aimlessly for days on end now. Blinded by grief and anger, all he wanted to do was to vent his anger on anything or anyone crossing his path. He could barely contain his druidic powers, barely contain the urge to unleash every ounce of magic he had in him. Arthur had killed Kara, his beloved Kara. Hanged her like a common criminal and for what… But deep in his heart he knew the reason: she had tried to kill Arthur, tried to kill the King of Camelot. Fighting back hot tears he thought: “no, he could have saved her, he could have shown some clemency. She was only a girl, nothing more.” His horse slowed, the track was getting more and more impassable.
“Mordred…,” he heard, “Mordred…” The sound was like a whisper on the wind, a faint rustling of leaves. He looked around, but saw no one. “Show yourself,” he demanded. Nothing.
“Come Mordred, come to me…,” the ethereal voice whispered, ”Come…”
Mordred rode on, ignoring the voice. For a moment he had thought it was Kara calling him, he did see her in his mind, but it could not be, it did not sound like her voice. “I’m imagining things,” he said to himself, irritated. Then suddenly he found himself on a clear track and there in the distance loomed a dark and forbidding castle. “Come to me, come to me Mordred…”
He followed the road to the castle and was greeted by the outer gatehouse by two unsmiling guards who ushered him through the gate and into the outer court. He crossed the drawbridge and entered an almost empty courtyard.
“Follow me,” another guard said. Leaving his horse in the courtyard, he followed the guard into the Great Hall of the castle. Torches were burning and fires were blazing in the braziers, but they gave off no heat, the cold seemed to suck all the warmth from his body. A few guards in black and unyielding armour lined the walls, at the far end of the hall loomed a throne. “Hello Mordred, I knew you would come to me.” On the throne sat Morgana.
“Do you like it?” she said and her hand glided over the supple black leather trousers and the dull black armour. It was beautiful, he had to admit that, a finely crafted mail shirt of small black rings riveted intricately together, a padded black tunic, a heavy black cloak with a silver clasp. “It really brings out the colour of your eyes,” she said, her voice dripping with honey. “Come, join me and together we can defeat Arthur and claim Camelot as rightfully ours. Just remember what Arthur has done to you. He murdered your friend, didn’t he? Cold and heartless, that’s Arthur for you. And does he recognise your powers? No, he would kill you where you stand just for being what you are, killing you for your abilities. He is no better than Uther and his relentless persecution of druids and witches and warlocks.” Morgana’s voice was dripping with venom now, yet mesmerizing at the same time, luring Mordred deeper and deeper into her web. “You are forced to live your life in hiding, hiding your powers, hiding your true self, always living in fear of being discovered. And you know Arthur will kill you, kill all druids and all those who practice magic. Is that what you want? No, Mordred, join me and you can have all the power you want and more.” She was whispering now, whispering very seductively. Her eyes were cold, yet burning with hatred.
Mordred just sat there, gazing longingly at the beautiful armour, stroking it, wanting to shed his red cloak with its golden dragon, his bright mail shirt. His mind was in turmoil, torn between love and hate, between loyalty and treachery.
“I am a Knight of Camelot,” he thought, “Arthur trusts me. The knights trust me. Arthur killed Kara. Arthur loathes magic, it is said Uther his father died of magic gone wrong, of evil magic. Magic is evil. I practice magic. Merlin uses magic. Magic is good. Arthur will kill me if he knew my true self, but Arthur can change. Perhaps one day magic will be allowed, will be embraced even and can I come out of the closet and live my life, could Merlin live his live and need we no longer live in fear and hiding.”
“Well my dear Mordred, have you made a decision?” Honey again, her voice, honey and wormwood.
“No,” he said, his voice a hoarse whisper, “No, I will not join forces with you. I will not become like you. I know Arthur killed Kara and I know he will kill me, but I must have faith that he can change, that Camelot can change. I am a Knight of Camelot, I must uphold my honour, so I must respectfully decline your offer.”
With these rather formal words he turned on his heels and walked away, expecting with every step to be hit by one of Morgana’s spells, killing him or worse.
“Fool,” she yelled at his retreating back, “Fool, this means war. I will destroy Arthur and there is nothing you can do to stop me!” With a mere flicker of her eyes she angrily cast a spell and her two guards dropped dead at her feet, their necks broken. Mordred jumped on his horse and rode away, back to Camelot, but his heart was still in turmoil, divided between love and hate for Arthur and everything he stands for.
* * *
“Enjoy your dinner,” Gaius said and placed a wooden bowl in front of Merlin, who looked at it with sleepy, half-closed eyes, picked up his spoon and stirred listlessly in the steaming pottage. Vacantly he stared at the table, seeing nothing.
“How did work go today,” Gaius asked. No response. “I’m sure Arthur didn’t give you a hard time.” Still no response, Merlin continued stirring his cooling pottage and staring at nothing.
“Did you know Arthur practices magic?” Gaius said, “He tried to light a torch, but ended up setting his hair on fire instead.”
“That’s nice,” Merlin answered, not bothering to look up.
Gaius placed his hand on Merlin’s and said sternly: “Merlin! Look at me!”
“I am sleepy Gaius, I am so sleepy. There is magic working within me, evil magic, I can barely fight it, I can barely do my duties. I can’t keep this up for much longer, Gaius.”
“Yes,” Gaius answered, “I know. I also know that Gwaine and Perceval and Leon are helping out, polishing Arthur’s armour, mucking the horses.”
“Arthur, and Arthur, does he know?”
“Who are we to know what the king knows?” Gaius answered vaguely, avoiding the question.
“There must be a cure, there must be!” he said yawning and promptly fell asleep, his head all but missing the now cold pottage.
“Merlin, MERLIN!” thundered Arthur’s voice through the corridors of Camelot, “Merlin!!!”
The door of Gaius’ rooms flew open and Arthur came striding in. “Gaius, do you know where Merlin is? He was supposed to… He’s in the village isn’t he? In the tavern no doubt.”
“No Sire, in fact he is… he is not well as you can see.”
“No, how can I… Oh, I see.”
“That sleeping spell was a very powerful one, Sire, it did drain most of his energy away.”
“Well, that can’t have taken long then, the draining.”
With an enormous yawn Merlin woke up.
“Well Merlin, now that you’ve had your beauty sleep, and with all that sleeping you must be as beautiful as… as…”
“Yes, exactly, as me.”
“In that case, I think I’ll stay awake. Looking like you is not a very pleasurable prospect.” And with these words he crashed to the ground. Both Gaius and Arthur rushed to him, lifted him gently and laid him on his bed.
“He is not feeling well Sire,” Gaius said gravely and a bit unnecessary.
“I know, and still no cure found I gather.”
“Alas Sire, nothing. The magic was strong. Old and strong. We are lucky Merlin is such a healthy and strong young man, otherwise he would not have survived.”
“And using… using… sorcery?” It took Arthur a great deal of effort just to propose the use of magic.
“There are no sorcerers left who might know a cure,” Gaius replied with sadness in his voice, “your father’s purge did make sure of that.”
“You can’t let him die, do whatever is necessary. I won’t stand in your way. Use whatever recourses you need, but don’t let him die.” He stood close to Gaius now, their faces almost touching. “I’ve lost my father by evil magic, don’t let me lose Merlin too.”
Merlin groaned, opened his eyes and said: “What time is it?”
“Time to do some work,” Arthur said, holding a pair of dull and dirty vambraces in his hand and smiling broadly. “This is dirty armour. And do you know what to do with dirty armour? Yes Merlin, you clean it. You polish it.”
“You could decide not to wear those,” Merlin said slyly.
“Merlin…” Arthur said with a predatory smile, “If there was nothing to polish, you would be out of a job and without a job no wages and without wages no visits to the tavern.”
“And where would you find another servant who can actually put up with you.”
Arthur put the vambraces on the table and started to leave. His eyes bore into Gaius’: “Don’t let him die!”
“It is not a magic I am familiar with,” Gaius said gravely, making sure Arthur had left before talking of magic, “It is old, very old.”
Both fell silent for a while, thinking. Suddenly Gaius said: “Of course! The ancient archives, there are books there long forgotten, writings older than Camelot itself, writings from before the Old Religion, writings that should not exist.”
“I must go there,” Merlin said and tried to stand up, “If there’s a cure, I’ll find it.”
“These books may not be so easy to find and master Geoffrey will certainly not tell you,” Gaius said, “but with your magic you might just find them. First let me make you something for your sleepiness.” With these words he took a handful of beans and tossed them into the fire. Almost immediately a delicious aroma wafted through the room. Gaius took the now dark beans out of the fire and pounded them to a fine powder. He poured hot water on it and after a few minutes gave Merlin the cup. “Drink it, but the liquid only, not the powder on the bottom.”
Merlin drank and with a contorted face exclaimed: “Gaius, this is so bitter, it tastes horribly!”
“Yes,” Gaius said with a hint of a smile on his lips, “I forgot to tell you, it is quite bitter, but it will keep you awake for some time. O, and Merlin…” said Gaius as Merlin walked to the door, ”try not to set free a goblin or two if you please…”
Merlin smiled and rushed off to master Geoffrey of Monmouth.
“Oh, there you are again,” said master Geoffrey in his soft and slightly wheezing voice.
“It has been three months since the last time master Geoffrey,” Merlin answered and smiled.
“Yes, yes,” Geoffrey said, “and here you are again. Carefully he dipped his quill in the inkwell.
“What is it you are writing, master Geoffrey?” Merlin asked, trying to soften up the old man and thus gain access to every nook and cranny of the vast archives.
“Oh, nothing much, nothing you young people would be interested in,” his eye misting over, his voice warming up to his most favourite subject, “it is the history of this Fair Isle from the earliest of times when it was called Albion, hundreds of centuries ago and no one lived here save a few giants and then from far away Brutus came and there are so many stories I could tell. Did you know—“ but
Merlin cut him short.
“You must tell me this wonderful story another time, master Geoffrey,” Merlin said, “but now I must get some books for Gaius. He really needs them and you know how impatient he can get.”
“So true, so true,” Geoffrey sighed. Slowly he stood up, took an iron key from his desk and unlocked a heavy door. “Be careful now,” he warned, ”take care not to upset the books and don’t touch anything you’re not supposed to touch.”
“Yes master Geoffrey, and thank you.”
Merlin entered the library and Geoffrey returned to his desk. He resumed his writing and quickly lost all track of time.
Merlin wandered through the corridors, trying to detect anything magical, but all he smelled was dust and mildew from ancient books, parchments and other things Merlin did rather not want to know. Deeper and deeper into the labyrinth he went, illuminated only by a magical flame flickering in the palm of his hand. The he felt it: magic. At the end of a damp and low corridor he saw a door, hidden behind a veil of thick cobwebs and lichen. As he neared the door, the magic was getting stronger. “Tospringe,” he whispered and the lock flew open. He entered a small room. “Forbearnan,” thus lighting a torch. There were only a few crude shelves on the bare stone walls and on them no more than fifty scrolls or so, but the magic was overwhelming. Hesitantly he touched a scroll, but nothing happened. Taking the scroll from the shelf, he unrolled it and started to read, hoping with all his heart to find a cure.
Next time on “Merlin, the adventures continue…”: will Merlin find a cure or simply fall asleep again?
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