elfflame

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Finding King Arthur - Part 14

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 more 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 | Part 13


Gwen was carrying the tray as Arthur opened the door, and Merlin looked up from where he was bent over the table, then grabbed up the scabbard and hid it behind his back. "I…hadn't realized it was so late."

"What have you been up to?" Arthur asked, frowning. He moved to try to see what Merlin was hiding behind his back, and Merlin shifted. "And what are you hiding, Merlin…?"

Merlin shifted to hide it further, but he hadn't noticed Gwaine sneak behind him until the scabbard was snatched from his hands. "Hey! Give that back!"

"What? This old…" Gwaine's teasing words faded as he looked at the scabbard. "Wow…where'd you get this?"

Gwen saw it and smiled. "So he finished it?"

A little embarrassed, Merlin nodded. "He did a wonderful job of it. And…I'm done with it, too." He glanced at Arthur. "I thought…Excalibur deserved a better scabbard."

Arthur looked surprised, and the sudden smile was enough to make all the extra effort worth it, even if Gwaine had spoiled the surprise a little. "You made Excalibur a scabbard?" he asked.

"Well, actually…Gwen's brother made it. I just…asked him to. And…added a few things?"

Arthur grinned, pulling the scabbard from Gwaine's hands. "Like?"

"A number of protection spells. It should keep any wound you might get from being mortal. At least while you wear the scabbard."

Everyone in the room turned to stare at Merlin. It was Arthur who finally spoke. "Someday…you and I are definitely going to have to have a very long discussion about just how much you can do with your magic, Merlin…"

Merlin squirmed uncomfortably at the attention. "Yeah…I guess. It's not that big a deal…just…spells…"

"Yeah…that will likely keep me alive in the next few days." He gave Merlin a pat on the shoulder. "Thank you." He moved to the table and took off his sword, then pulled Excalibur from the old scabbard and slipped it into the new one, then held it up. "It fits perfectly." He glanced at Gwen. "Your brother does excellent work… I might need to make him my personal smith after my coronation."

Gwen grinned. "I'm sure he'll be thrilled. Unless he runs away. With Elyan, you never can tell." She set out the meal, then sat down in what had become her accustomed spot over the last week. "Well?" she asked, looking around at them all. "Dig in."

The men settled in at the table, and talked turned to the tournament that would begin the next day. Gwaine and Lancelot had decided to participate in the tourney as well, both as a way of protecting Arthur, and to prove they were worthy of knighthood, though it had taken some convincing to get Gwaine to agree to that bit.

Merlin personally expected him to disappear at the drop of a hat, even if he did become a knight. Still, it was worth keeping him here as much as they could. He was too good a fighter not to become part of Arthur's court.

There had yet to be a second attack on Arthur, which made Merlin nervous. Granted, he and the others had made certain that Arthur was never alone, and Morgana wasn't stupid enough to use the same ploy twice, but he knew she couldn't afford to let Arthur win the tournament. Too many would be there to see it. Too many would recognize him for who he was. She couldn't allow that. Which meant that if she was going to try again, it would be tonight, or tomorrow before the tournament.

Still, with all of them there, surely they'd be able to stop anything she tried? At least, Merlin had to hope so. They were as prepared as they possibly could be for whatever happened. They had to be.


Twenty-One
Contrary Plans

It was a mess. How Merlin had found Arthur, Morgana didn't know. She was furious that he'd managed it at all. And then, not only had that blundering fool Hector allowed him to bring him back here to Camelot, but somehow, Merlin and Arthur had managed to foil the men she'd sent to capture them until after everything had been settled and Arthur could no longer challenge her claim to the throne..

There had been days since their return, when she'd regretted her decision to simply send Arthur away. At the time, she had considered killing Arthur outright. But she'd known that would look far worse for her, so she'd hoped getting Arthur out of the way until she could take the throne would be enough. It had obviously been a bad choice.

Whatever luck guided her half-brother, it was driving Morgana mad. Which meant going to the only person any longer who could calm her.

Morgause.

The servant she sent to retrieve her was well-trained. No whisper of rumour would be heard about this meeting. But then, it was hard to speak without a tongue.

As soon as Morgause arrived in Morgana's rooms, everything felt as though it would be all right again.

"Sister…what is it?"

"He's back."

"What do you mean, back? Surely we paid enough…"

"Regardless, he's here with Hector and that fool brat of his. His memory is still gone, but…" She sighed. "I don't know what to do. What if he remembers, Morgause?"

"Then we shall have to make sure he doesn't. Won't we?" Morgause smirked. "We'll send one of his knights to welcome him home…and then…" Her eyes glittered. "The tournament won't be a problem."

"But what if…" Morgana couldn't stop the worries from overwhelming her, and only relaxed slightly when Morgause took her hands.

"Shh…Sister…trust me. He will do just as we expect him to. He has so far."

Morgana frowned. One thing had gone wrong rather spectacularly. "Until this. How Merlin found him…" She pulled her ands away and moved to the window, scowling down at the yard where the fight would be held.

Morgause's eyes narrowed. "Yes…Merlin…leave him to me. I've had my suspicions about him for some time… I should have dealt with him long ago. But…it's never too late… Just make your appearance tomorrow, and send our friend off to deal with Arthur. I'll deal with his little serving boy."

Morgana turned to her. "And Hector?"

Morgause frowned. "We left purposefully vague instructions. I made certain he would not be able to say who had given them to him. Once you are on the throne, we will banish him back to his crumbling ruin, and send his boy out to the borders where he's most likely to die in some sort of border skirmish…and that will be that. I'd say it's more than enough punishment for anyone."

"And if we fail?" After Arthur's return, it was growing harder for Morgana to believe that they would succeed in getting her on the throne of Camelot.

"We can't. And we won't. And Arthur Pendragon will be nothing but a memory that will fade from the people's memory with time." Her eyes glittered as she stroked Morgana's arm. "And you will be the most beloved ruler ever to sit the throne of this kingdom, my dear sister."

The words gave Morgana hope, and she smiled. "Yes. I will."

And once she was queen, no one would remember that things had ever been as wretched and close-minded as they were now.

Everything would be perfect.


Twenty-Two
Tournament Dawning

The day of the tournament dawned bright, only wisps of clouds in the sky, birds chirping gaily in their nests, loud enough to wake the dead.

Arthur was up at dawn with them, pacing nervously around the room and stretching while he waited for Gwen to arrive with breakfast.

Merlin was about ready to kill him.

"Shouldn't she be here by now?"

Merlin peeked out from under the pillow he'd put over his head to try and drown out the din. "Arthur, it's only half past the crack of oh dear lord what time is it? God forbid we should already be up. Come back to bed and relax."

"I can't relax. So much could go wrong today…"

"But it won't. You'll have Lancelot and Gwaine to back you up, and you've got Excalibur… You can't fail."

"You can't know that…"

"Arthur Pendragon, if you don't come back to bed right now, I will turn you into a toad so I can get the rest of my sleep. Now come here."

Arthur looked startled at Merlin's tone, but did as he was told, settling onto the edge of the bed. "I just…"

"Shhh." Merlin tugged him down to kiss him, pulling him, still clothed, back under the covers. "Now sleep."

Arthur tried. Merlin would give him that. He was still for all of about five seconds before he shifted onto his side. Then to his back. Then tugged Merlin closer, then shifted again.

Finally, Merlin gave up. "You're just out to drive me mad today, aren't you?" he asked, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. "What am I going to do with you?"

Arthur'd sat up as well, and now he moved closer, grinning. "You could distract me…"

"Right. And have them walk in on us?"

Arthur paled. "Oh. Right."

"Yeah…I didn't think so." He got out of bed. "Well…at least I can get dressed…"

Arthur made a disappointed noise.

"It's your own fault, you know," Merlin told him as he pulled on his trousers and changed into a new shirt. "You should have taken advantage of me when you woke up, instead of pacing the room first. Then we wouldn't have to worry about whether or not they'd catch us…"

"Well, I wasn't exactly thinking clearly, now, was I?" Arthur asked, moving behind him and sliding a hand under his shirt from behind to stroke his chest. He nuzzled at Merlin's neck, and it was incredibly hard not to just give in and let Arthur do what he liked. It all felt so good.

"Stop that. Gwen'll be here shortly. Do you really want her seeing that?"

Arthur released him with a huff. "Fine. Like you don't enjoy it…"


Next Part


23429 / 50000 words. 47% done!

Comments

Nov. 14th, 2010 06:45 pm (UTC)
The men settled in at the table, and talked turned to the tournament

I think you meant "talk turned to"

three days of no writing, I've turned into my evil twin bitchy this morning.
Nov. 14th, 2010 06:52 pm (UTC)
thanks. hate it when I do that...


Ugh. No fun. Maybe try to find something different to work on for a bit? Different scene, different story...something?
Nov. 14th, 2010 06:56 pm (UTC)
I need to lock the damned family up and shut off the phones so I can work. It's unreal how much they will talk to me in the month of November (or when I have a deadline for a fest). I swear they like to see my head spin around and fire come out my nose. (metaphorically speaking here. lmao)

Meanwhile, I've got a main charrie who is wanting laid right naow and a secondary charrie who really would like to service her. bother brother has a date this evening. maybe I can get some writing in after he leaves.
Nov. 14th, 2010 06:57 pm (UTC)
Good luck, hon.
Nov. 26th, 2010 09:42 pm (UTC)
Love the flash of the other side - and that Morgana has good reasons to do this! Even good intentions.

And oh, boys... tsk :-)
Nov. 26th, 2010 09:56 pm (UTC)
Well, she thinks they're good. She might have forgotten that that doesn't excuse just anything though, of course... :P

:D I had fun with the teasing.