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Finding King Arthur - Part 13

Title: Finding King Arthur (temporary until I find something better)
Author: [info]elfflame
Fandom: Merlin (BBC)
Rating: R-ish (leaning towards NC-17) 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: Three bits today.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12


It took far too long to find a guard who would come back with him, and by the time they got back to where Arthur was, the two had revived. Luckily, Arthur had done nothing more than tie them up back to back and hold his sword in a threatening way.

"What the bloody hell took you so long, Merlin?"

"There weren't any guards anywhere in this wing…"

Arthur frowned at that, but didn't say anything more about it, turning to the guard who'd joined them. "These two attacked us."

The guard looked at the two men on the floor, then up at Arthur. "They look pretty harmless to me… Where are their weapons?"

Merlin raised an eyebrow. Didn't the man have a clue who Arthur was? "Look, we were just walking down the hall…"

"If you wanted to cause a brawl, you'd say that, wouldn't you. Just release them, and we'll call it even," the guard told them.

"What? Are you mad? They tried to kill us!" Arthur shouted. "I want them in the dungeons!"

"All I see is two gentlemen on the floor, and you with a sword. Sir. So I'm afraid I can't help you."

Merlin grabbed Arthur's arm before he could attack the guard. "Come on, Arthur. Another time." But he'd obviously have to be more careful from now on. Obviously, Morgana hadn't given up yet.

He tugged Arthur down the hall, ignoring his muttering until they got to Arthur's rooms. "Damn…she's obviously got the guards convinced there's something in letting her become Queen…or that you're some sort of danger…"

"Me? That's…insane! I'm the Crown Prince! What kind of a danger am I?"

"You're going to take the kingdom she wants. Now calm down, Arthur. I'll…have to find a spell to protect you…"

"I can protect myself just fine, Merlin."

"But she doesn't know that, Arthur. And you can't watch your back. I'd feel better if I knew no one could sneak up on you unawares. Okay?"

"Fine. What would you suggest? Because I'm not going to stay here in my rooms until you feel safe enough to let me out…"

"Not necessary. Just make sure that one of us is with you to help you if they try for you again. At least until I can come up with something better. Not so hard, is it?"

Arthur scowled, but nodded. "Fine." He sighed. "I hate this. Feeling like an outsider in my own kingdom! It's insane, Merlin!"

"But we all know you'll win. And when you do…well, anyone who doesn't believe who you are won't be able to stand against those who do."

"And if the people don't believe it, despite my winning?"

Something Merlin had considered late at night when he couldn't sleep. Definitely not something he liked considering. "I…don't know. But we'll think of something. You are the next king. And we'll make sure that it happens. All right?"

"All right."

Even as the two prepared for bed, Merlin searched for what he could do to protect Arthur. There had to be something, didn't there?


Nineteen
A Miracle Alone

The idea came to him when Arthur was discussing the sword with Lancelot and Gwaine a few days later. They'd been talking about what a well-crafted blade it was, and the conversation had come round to how they'd retrieved it.

"Merlin showed you where it was?" Gwaine asked. "But how did you know, Merlin?"

He supposed this was as good a time as any to come clean about it. "Because…I threw it there." He met Arthur's eyes, thinking about all the things he hadn't yet told him, and wondering how he would take news that Merlin was the one who had released the dragon. Maybe it was best to keep that bit to himself.

"You…what?" Gwaine asked. "Why the bloody hell did you do that?"

"Yes. I mean…I know you enjoy doing ridiculous things, Merlin, but that…well, it seems a bit more ridiculous than usual," Arthur agreed.

Merlin sighed. "Because the dragon told me to put it there."

"The…dragon." Arthur made the words sound like he couldn't understand their meaning. "Which dragon was this?"

He sighed. "The…one that used to be chained up under Camelot," he said cautiously.

There was dead silence in the room for several minutes.

"There was…a dragon under your castle, Arthur?" Gwaine asked.

Arthur looked at least as shocked. "Not that I'd been aware…"

"The one that…attacked…after Morgana left."

"Was abducted," Gwen broke in.

Merlin closed his eyes and shook his head. "Look, there was a dragon. And…it…used to help me." He met Arthur's eyes. "When Gaius wasn't able to. For…whatever reason."

Arthur nodded slowly. "Okay…and…what…the sword was going to kill someone?"

Merlin bit his lip, then nodded. "Sort of." He took a deep breath. "When that…shade challenged you?" He could see the memory reflected in Arthur's eyes.

"It was…the knight's sword?"

Merlin shook his head. "No. He glanced at Gwen, then back to Arthur. "I…had it made. So that you could beat him."

There was another long silence in the room as Arthur met Merlin's eyes for a moment, then down at the sword he'd been holding in his lap. "I see," he said finally, his voice soft.

"No one could have won against that thing. You…needed help."

"So…you made me a magic sword?" Arthur asked, meeting his eyes again.

"Yeah. Gwen's…father made it."

Arthur frowned. "But…Gwen's dad didn't have magic…did he? Or…"

"No." Merlin cut him off. "He was…innocent of anything, aside from being bribed by a bad man. The sword was…one of his best, though…"

Gwen looked sad, but nodded. "And I know he would have been proud, Arthur. To have you use his sword," she said softly.

Arthur looked at for a moment before he smiled, but the moment he did, she smiled back. "I think he'd be very pleased to know he could help you gain your throne this way."

"I'm sure he would," Arthur said softly, then turned back to Merlin. "So it's not magic, then?"

"No…it is." He took a deep breath. "The…dragon imbued it with power. That's…why it wanted me to throw it in the lake. It didn't want it to be misused."

"Misused…but…I didn't even get to use it…"

"No…but…your father did. Against the shade."

Arthur's eyes widened for a second, then he looked down at the sword, his fingers stroking over the hilt. "I didn't know."

"Yeah…and…the dragon wasn't happy. When I asked him to help, he made me promise not to let anyone else use it. When he found out…he was furious. Made me promise to get rid of it."

"But…" Arthur glanced toward the window, as though to check that the dragon hadn't appeared while they'd been talking.

"It's all right. I…asked him if we could retrieve it. In hopes that it would help you."

"You…asked him…"

"Yes, all right? I talk to him when I need help. And…he comes."

Arthur's eyes narrowed, and Merlin was certain he'd ask, but he didn't. "So…you asked…and?"

"And…he said…if you were worthy…it was yours."

"Worthy…? But…I'm Crown Prince."

"Yes, but that doesn't mean you deserved it. But…you proved you did."

"Because it came to me?" Arthur asked. Merlin nodded. "Well…" His voice trailed off, as though he wasn't sure what to say to that.

"Seems to me a sword with that kind of story deserves a name," Lancelot said, his voice startling them all after being so quiet during most of the conversation.

"A name?" Merlin hadn't considered it.

Arthur was staring at the sword, nodding. "Yeah…it does. It's too special not to have one." He looked up at Merlin. "What do you think?"

"I suppose…I'd never considered it."

Gwaine snorted. "Seems a bit much to me, but then, I've never had a magical weapon myself… What'll you call it, then, Arthur?"

He frowned, shaking his head. "I don't know. I've never had to name anything before."

"How does one normally name a weapon?" Merlin asked.

"If they have them at all, they tend to come with them," Gwaine said. "Maybe something like, 'the tournament winner?'" he asked Arthur.

"That just sounds stupid. And dull. It needs to be…something special." Arthur looked up at Merlin.

"Dragon's fire?"

"That sounds good," Gwen said. "Goes with Pendragon…"

Arthur shook his head. "No…not quite… It…needs to be…deceptively simple."

"Reever," Gwaine suggested, causing Arthur to roll his eyes.

"No, I really don't think that fits." He sighed. "I just don't know…"

"Calibur…?" Lancelot suggested, interrupting him. "It means strong steel…"

"Maybe…" Arthur looked up, thoughtful now, not really looking at any of them. "Maybe…Excalibur…?"

"Oh…I like that," Merlin said. "It…has a ring to it."

Arthur met his eyes. "Does it? It doesn't seem to…"

"No."

"Not at all," Gwen agreed. "I think it's a wonderful name."

Arthur grinned. "Then Excalibur it is…"

"Seems boring to me," Gwaine said.

"Yeah, well…you're outvoted," Arthur told him with a satisfied grin. He gave the blade a last swipe with a polishing cloth, then slid it into the scabbard they'd found for it, and Merlin found himself thinking it was too bad they didn't have a better one for it. And that was when the idea came to him.

"Gwen…?" he moved to her side, pulling her away from the others. "Do you know anything about making scabbards?" he asked her softly.

She frowned. "Well…not on my own…but I did help father make a few over the years. Perhaps Elyan could help you?"

Merlin hadn't had much contact with Gwen's brother since he'd come to Camelot. "Do you think he would?"

"I could go with you to ask, if you liked…?" she said, smiling.

Merlin shook his head. "No…that's all right. I'll see if he's willing. Thanks, Gwen."


Twenty
Fit for a King (or his sword)

Elyan was more than willing to help. "After all, he helped me…the least I can do is make a scabbard fit for his sword… I'll need the measurements, though."

"I can get that for you. Thank you, Elyan."

"As I said, my pleasure." Even as Merlin left, he could see Elyan was already planning what he would do.

Getting the measurements was simple, and Merlin sent them down with a page, pleased to receive a note the next afternoon that it was done already.

"Wow…that was fast," he said when he came to retrieve it.

"I wanted to make sure he had it for the tournament tomorrow. And…I was inspired." He held out the scabbard, and Merlin stared at it for a moment, almost afraid to touch it.

"It's beautiful," he said softly as he took it in his hands.

The dark leather had been coated with something that made it gleam when it shifted in the light, and the end had been bound with a highly polished bit of copper that wrapped up and around the body of the scabbard and curled around the top, which dipped in where Arthur would grip the haft to pull it from the scabbard. The metal added a glitter of its own to the scabbard as it shifted in the light. Even without gold and gems, it was the richest looking scabbard Merlin had ever seen.

He looked up to meet Elyan's eyes. "Thank you. He'll be very pleased."

"Let him know we're rooting for him," Elyan said with a smile.

"I will." Merlin wrapped the scabbard in a cloth, then hurried back to the castle.

It wasn't ready yet. He had spells he needed to cast on it, and who knew how long that might take? At least he had them all picked out already. The rest of his day was spent casting spells over the scabbard, and by the time the others came up to the room for a late supper, it was done.


Next Part


21741 / 50000 words. 43% done!

Comments

Nov. 13th, 2010 03:27 am (UTC)
Nice word count. *shakes pom-poms* whoo hoo!

I find myself liking Gawaine. Is he related to Arthur in this?
Nov. 13th, 2010 04:56 am (UTC)
:D Thank you.

He's fun to write. Very Sirius-esque.
As far as we're aware, there's no relation. But then, the writers have been cagy about all sorts of things. :P
Nov. 26th, 2010 09:32 pm (UTC)
So he finally came almost clean about the dragon :-) Good for him!

And I'm overly geeky happy about the scabbard!
Nov. 26th, 2010 09:35 pm (UTC)
Yes. I think he'll likely always hold onto that one tidbit in this universe... It's a bit too personal.

I couldn't resist. It fit too well. :D