elfflame

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Finding King Arthur - Part 8

Title: Finding King Arthur (temporary until I find something better)
Author: [info]elfflame
Fandom: Merlin (BBC)
Rating: PG for mention of death (for now)
Summary: Things have gone bad in Camelot.  Arthur has been missing for a year, and Uther and Gaius have been poisoned.  Merlin and the knights of Camelot set out to find their Prince before the kingdom can be claimed by Morgana.
Warnings: Death (not Merlin or Arthur), minor spoilers for season 3.
A/N: One long bit here. Enjoy!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7


Eleven
In Camelot

Things had badly deteriorated in Camelot when they arrived. He could tell because Morgana seemed to be completely in charge of those who were arriving even before they appeared, greeting all of them as they dismounted as though she were already queen. The ministers were nowhere to be seen.

Morgana was thoroughly displeased to see them when they rode into the courtyard, though she put on a welcoming face. "Merlin. Everyone thought you had run off, never to be seen again. And who are these?" She glanced over the men behind him, her eyes purposefully skipping over Arthur, though Merlin was certain she'd had a good long look at him as they were riding up.

"Friends from Glamorgan," he told her. "I wanted to escort them myself."

"Friends. How quaint. Well, welcome to Camelot…I do hope you enjoy your stay. I think the inn has some room still, if you hurry…"

Merlin scowled, but nodded to Gwaine to help them find a place at the inn, then grabbed Arthur's wrist to lead him inside. She could keep the rest out, but if she intended to pretend Arthur wasn't there, then he could certainly push to see how far she could take things in that pretence.

As soon as they stepped toward the doors, she moved to block them. "And where do you think you're taking him?" Morgana asked, her eyes narrowed.

"Upstairs…" Before she could say more, he'd dragged Arthur around her and into the castle, where servants stared at them as they hurried past. He was sure at any moment he would hear the shouted orders to arrest them, but continued lead him quickly up the stairs to Arthur's old rooms. If he was to remember anything, it would be there, right?

The rooms had been untouched, surprisingly, and when Merlin glanced at his room, he could see why. It looked slept-in. And he could smell Gwen's scent. He smiled, grateful she'd been able to keep her former mistress from destroying anything that might help Arthur to remember.

Arthur stood in the middle of the room, looking around. "Are…these your chambers?" he asked softly, a bit wide-eyed.

"No. Just that one. He pointed to the room off the antechamber. "Just that one. These are your rooms."

Arthur looked at him, wide-eyed. "Mine?" He shook his head. "I…can't…"
"You were the Crown Prince. These were your rooms from the first day I met you."

"But…it's not…familiar. Shouldn't it be…familiar?"

Merlin frowned. He'd hoped there would be some flash of familiarity, at the very least. "I don't know. If I knew what was wrong…"

At that moment, Gwen burst in. "Merlin?" She stopped stock-still at the sight of Arthur. "You…you're back," she breathed, and then she was rushing to Arthur's side, and threw her arms around him.

He stiffened at the contact, and looked at Merlin, horrified, as if to ask 'What do I do?'

Merlin tugged her gently away. "Gwen…he…doesn't remember."

"He…not…how…what happened?" she asked, looking between them.

"We don't know," Merlin told her. "He doesn't remember ever living anywhere other than Glamorgan."

"Actually," Arthur said, avoiding both their gazes. "I…wasn't entirely honest. The…earliest I remember is…" He sighed. "About a year and a half ago. They…said I was sick. And that the memories would return in time."

"And you didn't tell me? Arthur… I could have helped!"

"Yeah, well…I wasn't sure if I should believe you…It wasn't something that I was comfortable talking about, even if I was the guy you were looking for. And if I am..." He looked around the room, definitely uncomfortable. "Then…I am in far deeper over my head than I had even guessed."

"Well…you have us," Gwen told him.

He looked at her. "And you are…?"

Gwen frowned. "Guenivere. I used to be Morgana's servant. But…"

He frowned. "Let me guess…you're my friend too?" He looked at Merlin. "Do I have any friends that aren't servants?"

Merlin almost laughed, the words sounding so much like the Arthur he knew. "Yes. Gwaine. And Lancelot. And the knights will be thrilled to see you…"

"Lancelot?"

"Yeah…he's been helping us look for you, too. He's a fighter, like Gwaine."

"Not another warlock, then?"

Gwen widened her eyes, then shot a glower at Merlin. "You told him? Are you mad?"

Merlin scowled. "It was an accident."

"It wasn't his fault," Arthur told her. "A wolf attacked us. It was either that or both of us would likely have died, given my skill with a sword…"

"What? But…you're amazing with a sword," she said.

Arthur looked at Gwen as though her head had spun around on her shoulders and she was speaking in tongues. "Are you sure you know me?" he asked.

"Of course I know you. I've known you since we were both children. Before we understood…" Her face fell and she looked away. "Our places," she finished softly.

The pause made Arthur frown, and he glance at Merlin, who was feeling a bit uncomfortable himself. "We were…friends as kids?"

She shook her head. "No…not really." She met his eyes. "But we've known each other for ages, Arthur. I know you better than I even know my brother."

Merlin really didn't want to hear this, but at the same time, he couldn't just leave them here alone. What if guards came in and tried to arrest Arthur? Instead, he looked away, trying to think of what might trigger a memory for Arthur. It had to be something special. Something important. Something he wouldn't be able to forget, the memory lodged bone-deep.

The question was, what could that be? Clothes weren't important enough. Not even his favorite pair of boots… Merlin scanned the room, frowning, trying desperately to ignore the quiet conversation Gwen and Arthur were having behind him. The problem was, there was nothing he could think of. No matter how hard he tried. Maybe they should try Uther's rooms? But how likely would it be that he could even get Arthur in there, knowing that Morgana now had to be on her guard against them?

"Merlin…" He realized that Arthur had been repeating his name at least a few times.

"Yes, Arthur?"

Arthur shook his head. "I was telling Gwen…you have to have it wrong. I can't be this Arthur guy…I mean…you both think I'm so great with a sword… But I'm not. Really, I'm not."

Gwen sighed. "Maybe if we let him test out his old sword?" she asked Merlin.

It was a shock of revelation. Magic. Swords. But the sword the Dragon had imbued was gone. Deep in the lake. He could never retrieve it…could he? "Yeah…maybe if we went down to the armory…" But his thoughts were still on the lake, trying to figure out how to get that sword back.

"I don't know if that's a good idea," Arthur said, looking pained. "Maybe a test sword?"

Merlin rolled his eyes. "I've seen what Kay called training. He made sure to make you look your worst. But I saw your skill hidden under it all. I know it's there, Arthur. All you have to do is relax and let yourself move the way your body knows how."

Arthur looked as though he wasn't sure he believed Merlin, but didn't want to say so.

"Come on. Let's go down there, and you'll see." At least, Merlin hoped so. And that Morgana wouldn't appear with guards to have them thrown in the dungeons. But maybe if they had help…? "Gwen…is Lancelot here?"

She nodded. "He came back after the two of you left, and he's been waiting to see if you'd bring Arthur home."

"Maybe you could have him meet us down there?" And that way, Arthur would have someone trustworthy to spar with.

She smiled wide. "Of course. I'll go get him now."

Merlin smiled back. "We'll meet you down there, then."

She hurried from the room, and Merlin turned to Arthur. Who looked as though he was going to be ill. "I don't know, Merlin…Maybe this isn't a good idea?"

"Nah. You just need to remember, that's all. It'll be just fine."


Next Part

Comments

Nov. 7th, 2010 08:30 pm (UTC)
Poor Arthur. I'm really feeling sorry for him.
Nov. 8th, 2010 12:17 am (UTC)
*pets him* He's fine. He's got Merlin on his side. :)
Nov. 26th, 2010 08:36 pm (UTC)
Somehow, even though you haven't said much about her, the fact that Morgana is in charge and they're INSIDE the castle she controls... really makes me feel chilled at the story. Unsettling!

And I echo the "poor Arthur". *hugs him*
Nov. 26th, 2010 08:41 pm (UTC)
Definitely something I need to clarify more, but I'm kind of glad it does. It's pretty scary that she's that close to controlling everything.

*snuggles Arthur too*