Merlin saw with disbelief in his eyes as Modred plunged a sword into Arthur’s abdomen. He thrust it with such a force that even from far Merlin could easily see that the armor had failed to protect it’s wearer. Merlin, for a moment thought that time had stopped. He hadn’t realized that the bolt of lightning that had just struck Modred dead was his magic’s doing. He had tears in his eyes that blinded his vision. He moved blindly from where he was standing towards his king, his friend, his brother. Within seconds he was kneeling next to his destiny. The destiny he had failed. NO, he thought. He won’t let Arthur die, he CAN’T die. He shook Arthur’s face who smiled at him.
“So it looks like my time has come, huh? You’ll get to live more than me! I’ll miss you polishing my shoes and armor in the next world, but I’ll tell you what I won’t miss- your cooking”
Merlin found a smile creeping on his tear soaked face despite the fact that he was withering inside, “ Shut up you prat. You are not dying here. I won’t let that happen.”
Merlin stood up and called used his birth dragon lord power of speech to summon The Great Dragon. Arthur looked dumbfounded “Merlin…what…what are you doing? What…what…are you?”
Merlin sat down next to his friend, afraid to look him in the eye and explained in a voice barely audible to even Arthur, “I am a sorcerer and the last of dragon lords, Arthur. I use magic to protect you. It’s your destiny to be a great king and rule Albion while my destiny is to protect you.”
Arthur, growing paler every second opened his mouth to say something, instead an involuntary groan escaped his mouth. Merlin , however glanced at the eyes of Arthur- sadly, they were unreadable but what was the worst of all was they had lost all their warmth.
“You need to lie still. The Great dragon will take care of you.”
Within minutes, Arthur was on the back of the dragon and was soaring in the sky when a ball of flames came flying at Merlin square in chest. Merlin knew he was too late. He was going to die. He didn’t want to die just yet, without knowing whether Arthur made it or…But he knew he had no choice. Arthur was wrong, MERLIN’s time had come before Arthur. All of a sudden he found a translucent shield around him, protecting him from the inevitable death he would've suffered if the fireball had made contact. Bewildered, he looked around for his savior. All he saw was a woman wearing a black robe turning away from him and sprinting with the speed of light into the dark forest. He at once recognized her. Even in the unexpected and disturbing turn of events he couldn't help but admire the silhouette of the woman. The perfect curves of the tight robe around her body. The curls of her hair. The way they were blowing away from her face as she was walking. The gracefulness in her trait. He mentally shook himself and tried to focus at the impossibility - Morgana Pendragon, his mortal enemy had just saved his life. Merlin knew he would require time to think about it...make a decision whether his mind was playing tricks on him or...no, there was so other possibility. Morgana would never save him.
There was no point in living in the shadows anymore, Arthur knew about his magic now. Morgana had fled. All the bloodshed happening around him was of no use. His friends were dying for no purpose now. But he wasn't sure he was emotionally ready to confront his real identity to the rest of his friends yet. He quickly disguised himself in the body of the old sorcerer who's powers everyone feared. Merlin channeled all his rage and helplessness of failing Arthur and used his magic to command the earth to swallow the enemy troops. Camelot's army looked surprised at the turn of events and found the old man's eyes glowing golden. Leon broke the trance and took a step towards the elder man but to his surprise he was too fast for his age and was gone from sight within moments.
Merlin quickly changed his avatar and ran to someplace where he would be free of prying eyes. Once he was sure he was alone- he once again called the great dragon and commanded to be taken to Arthur.
The great dragon had brought Merlin to Avalon and he immediately understood. This was the only place where he could have been saved- saved through magic. But then again, Arthur had been saved countless times by Merlin's magic. Merlin moved towards Arthur's limp form. He was so absorbed in his thoughts that he had failed to notice the witch standing by Arthur, the healer. And so when she spoke up Merlin got startled.
'He will need time to heal Emyrs. The blade of the sword had penetrated deep in his stomach and he even has some pieces of it stuck inside'.
Merlin didn't need the details but still kept listening to her attentively. After she was done, he asked her the only question that was circulating in his mind-
"A day? 10 days? 15 days? A month? A year...there's no fixed date Emyrs. I am sorry", she said in a small voice.
Merlin, couldn't help the horrific gasp that escaped him. "Is there anything at all that can help him. Heal him quick? He is the king, his kingdom needs him. His people need him. His queen needs him...I n-need him".
Merlin's vision had blurred by the moisture in his eyes.
" There is but one way to heal him completely and in minimum time..."
"What do I have to do?"
"You need the blood of a person related by blood to King Arthur for his recovery."
Merlin's hope evaporated as quick as it had formed. The only person who shared Arthur's blood was Morgana. His half sister who wanted him dead. But then the impossibility replayed in his mind and he just got confused. Nonetheless, Merlin knew he had to try. It was his destiny to keep Arthur safe and this was his only chance . And he would take it no matter what the cost…
Merlin turned to leave but stopped when he heard the witch say, “Merlin, one more thing; you will need the blood willingly.”
Morgana entered her hovel shaken up. What had happened? Arthur was going to die as she had planned. Maybe was already dead but she wasn't joyous as she had thought she'd be. She couldn't feel any relief or satisfaction. And why did she save that Merlin? As the fireball was moving towards Merlin to wipe off his life line Morgana had travelled into the past where Merlin was her only solid ground, someone whom she could trust, pour her heart out without being judged. Her most caring and loving friend . In that moment, she had forgotten that he was also the one who had betrayed her, crushed her , kept her in the shadows, never trusted her. She concluded that it was just a moment’s weakness and she would not let it happen again. He was Emyrs- her doom according to the prophecies. Morgana wouldn't let that prophecy come true. She racked her brain how to somehow gain an upper hand with Emyrs and she realised that by saving Merlin’s life she had squared anything nice that he had ever done in the past to her. Now she could hate him freely. No more shortcomings. She went back to the day when Modred had told her of Merlin's real identity. She was shocked head to toe and had found it impossible to believe - that sweet innocent, annoying, clingy of a servant was to be her doom? The greatest sorcerer? She wouldn't have tried to believe it if it weren't modred telling her that...Modred!
"Oh Modred!", wailed Morgana and burst into tears. The boy whom she had saved, loved like family who had died because of her. He had killed Arthur for her and had died in the process. The whole scene of Merlin throwing a spell towards Modred and Modred turning into ashes played before her eyes so vividly that she felt she needed to shield her eyes from the it. Merlin- he had murdered Modred! She couldn't believe she let Merlin slip away from the clutches of death despite everything he had done . What had gotten into her when she saw Merlin dying? She mentally decided then- the Merlin she cared about was dead and the Sorcerer Emyrs is who that boy is. And he will die at her hands. That was final.
Merlin knew where to find Morgana but he wasn't sure what to do once he found her. Then the other problem was that how would he be able to survive with Morgana trying to kill her at the very moment she lays eyes on him. Merlin was feeling frustrated. Did it really have to be Morgana? How does one ask their enemy to save them? Despite having no hope or plan Merlin kept moving towards the hovel. The witch had given him only a month to bring Arthur’s sister's blood for saving him. He had to at least try. Suddenly an idea sprung into his mind and he for the first time since a long time saw a little flicker of hope that he might succeed with Morgana. He knew what a dangerous and reckless plan it was but he had no choice...
Morgana thought she'd need time to plan and then will act accordingly. Her brain was in no state of scheming these days but it did keep shouting for revenge. Morgana was smart and knew if she planned anything in this state of mind- it would do her no good. So she figured that keeping a low profile was what she needed right now. She made herself dinner with the rabbit she had caught and killed with literally the blink of her eye and was about to sleep when someone knocked on her door. That did not happen often. Morgana opened the old black door with curiosity in her eyes to find herself face to face with a boy about her age having deep, beautiful enchanting blue eyes. There was nothing extraordinary about his face though.
"I was going through the forest to find a deer or any animal worth something when I got lost. I would continue to try finding my path but it's too dark and I have got my leg injured rather badly when I was trying to climb down a tree. So madam, could you kindly help me tonight? I promise, I'll try to find my bearings the first thing in the morning." The boy looked nervous and this made him look cute.
"Where were you going?"
"A town near to Camelot- Repub."
"What kind of help do you need, hunter?"
"Anything to treat my leg?" He asked politely.
Morgana wasn't the one to help strangers but after talking to this boy, realised how lonely she had been. She actually enjoyed the human presence. Maybe it had something to do with his beautiful eyes.
"I have a few herbs. I will try to treat your wound with it. Come inside. It's getting cold."
"Morgana's my name."
"Oh. I am Henry, Milady". He picked up Morgana's tiny hand and brought it to his lips.
As soon as his lips made contact with her hand, Morgana felt what she had never felt before. A wholeness. The feeling of satisfaction was alien to her but for that tiny moment, she felt it. Felt it so strongly that she couldn't control the audible gasp that escaped from her lips.
Henry looked at her questioningly but quickly came up to a conclusion of his own, "I am sorry. My lips must be very cold. I am very sorry, please forgive me..."
She raises a hand dismissively. "No. It's perfectly alright. I do have to ask you something though- why did you call me milady?"
"Umm...a lady as beautiful as you deserves nothing to be called less than that."
Morgana blushed. She was thankful to the darkness now. She wasn't one of the pathetic girls who would be soaring in the skies because of some flattery remark by some charming, blue-eyed stranger.
She moved from the door, without giving any reaction to his flirty comment to him, to allow him in the cottage.
Merlin couldn't believe his plan was working. Morgana didn't suspect a thing, it seemed. He knew that she was terrified by his 'old man' avatar and wasn't much warm to his real face either so this was all very new to him...or no. This reminded him of the Morgana before she had gone to the evil side. He hated to admit it but he missed that Morgana dearly. If she hadn’t been a noble and he a servant, he would’ve most likely dared to peruse their friendship to something more. But as that hadn’t been the case, he had tried to stay away from Morgana but he had always been enchanted by her beauty like every man in Camelot. However, he only didn’t admire her beauty or her manners. He admired that Morgana’s heart. If only her heart wouldn’t have changed. Darkened.That Morgana, his friend, wouldn't dare hurt anyone. She helped and cared for each and everyone. She would've died for the people she loved. She wouldn't care of the repercussions if it meant standing for the right. She was so warm, selfless and caring. She was so very beautiful. The only thing that hadn't changed at all.
"Henry, please sit on the stool and I'll give you the herbs."
Merlin obeyed without removing his eyes from her even for a second because yes, it was very hard to take his eyes off such a pretty lady but he also knew if somehow she got to know about who he really was- he was dead meat.
Morgana didn’t know much about herbs but knew the one used for treatments after it was subjected to her magic. She had her back to Merlin and chanted the spell in whisper over the green leaves. Then she pivoted around and moved towards the boy staring at her in…awe? She wasn’t sure what to do once she reached him. Does SHE apply it? She wanted to touch his skin but at the same time didn’t…thankfully she didn’t need to make the decision as Merlin quickly took the paste from her with a gracious thank you.
Morgan saw Merlin (Henry to her) lift his trousers till ankle level- a deep wound was visible. Morgana wondered that from what height Henry must’ve fallen to attain such a deep cut. Morgana saw that Henry was shy and wanted her to turn away so she quickly accepted his unspoken request. She pretended to move the herbs from one corner of the wooden table in the centre of the cottage to the other and after a few minutes heard a weak voice – “Umm...Morgana could you please h-help me with this...”
Morgana swiftly got to him and understood the matter within seconds. He needed to apply the remedy on the lower side of his leg and couldn’t reach it while sitting on the stool plus it must’ve hurt him to bend. Morgana couldn’t believe that she really wanted to help this boy. Usually she enjoyed other people’s misery and suffering but not this man’s.
Maybe it was because he didn’t know her or her wickedness and actually thought her to be kind and helpful. His blue eyes looked so earnest and warm. But at the same time there seemed a hint of …suspicion? No, that can’t be. If he had known who she really was, her past, her destructive capabilities; he would’ve run long ago. Morgana applied the past on his leg and heard him sigh as the pain reduced. Morgana felt proud of her healing abilities. “This feels so much better Morgana.Mmm.” Morgana looked up to see his face and saw his eyes closed and a small smile on his face. She felt blood flowing towards her cheeks and knew she had to move. She couldn’t apply it on anymore nor could she let him wither in pain.Mentally slapping herself, she tried to focus. She took the advantage of Henry not looking at her and chanted something. Henry moaned in approval but when Morgana looked up again she found him looking utterly shocked. He had seen her eyes turn golden like the orbs of the sun. Before Henry could say anything, Morgana got up and moved towards the table and pulling a seat sat with her back towards Henry.
Merlin was shocked because he couldn’t believe that Morgana- this Morgana – could be so helpful to someone. He was utterly shocked when she used her magic to heal him- a complete stranger, who no way could be any use to Morgana. Hope spluttered in Merlin's chest like fire. Morgana wasn’t totally gone. She might be convinced to help save Arthur’s life. Maybe deep down she still loved her brother. In his excitement, Merlin forgot that his leg wasn’t completely healed and moved it resulting in pain but he didn’t scream as it was bearable thanks to that spell. He cursed his clumsiness mentally. The story he had told Morgana was true, though he obviously didn’t tell her the whole truth- he had indeed climbed the tree…but very high with the help of his magic so he could locate the direction he needed to head in to reach here. Then the next thing he knew he was falling. He had prevented any serious injury by casting a spell just in time but his leg wasn’t very lucky and had suffered greatly.
“Thank you. My leg is much better now.”
Morgana turned around, found a spot at his shoulder to stare at, and nodded. “You are welcome.”
“So you have magic?”
Morgana didn’t answer as Henry already knew the answer to it and kept staring at his shoulder not meeting his eyes. She feared that he would discover her identity and run away from here in which case she will have no choice but to kill him. Morgana never really wanted to kill anyone for fun; it’s just that she didn’t like having lose ends. She knew her success was only guaranteed as long as she did what needed to be done and looked at the bigger picture. That’s what she’d been doing all along and that’s probably the reason she was still alive.
“Ah. So…you can heal people through magic?”
“You already know the answer to that.” Morgana snapped. She was getting irritated with Henry's questions as he already knew the answer to them.
“Yes. But it’s just fascinating. How good your healing skills are that is. I mean I have a friend who has magic…”
That caught Morgana’s interest. So he wasn't a foreigner to magic. “What’s the name of the friend? I might know him.”
“Nah, I don’t think you would. He is from a far town, his name is Stefan.” Merlin quickly came up with this lie. He wanted Morgana to know that he was wasn’t afraid of magic and at the same time wanted her to know that he knew about what magic was capable of.
“Stefan? Never heard of him.”
“Yeah well, he is quite good at it but he isn’t very good with healing and all and so I was surprised how quickly your magic healed my leg for which I thank you again.”
Morgana found Henry likeable. He was very polite and very easy to talk to. “So Henry, tell me about yourself. You don’t have magic and you are in a forest so that must mean that you are good with a sword, no?”
Henry couldn’t help but smile. His years of practice with Arthur had made his sword fighting skills quite good. (but obviously he still lost with Arthur). “I can handle a sword, ma’am. I have a big brother who loves sword fighting and is a big time show-off. I am his punching bag but I’ve learnt a few tricks from him now.”
Morgana could see that he loved this brother very much, it was very evident on his face. “ Nice. So I suppose that you’ll have no problem having a friendly spar with me then?”
Merlin knew Morgana with a sword was like a cat hunting a mouse. Fast, agile and lethal but HE had never experienced a ‘friendly’ spar with her and was tempted. Yet, he thought it was not right to fight a girl. A normal girl- that's what Merlin thought of her at the moment.
“I am not sure, Morgana. I mean you are a...”
“A girl? Yeah, I’ve heard that from my brother countless times and I’ve beaten him countless times too."
“Ohhh… so you are a good fighter?”
“Or so you think.”
“You clearly don’t believe me. Fight me then!”
Merlin started, “But Morgana..”
“You are chickening out? Tut. Tut”
“I am not! If you really want to be defeated then okay, don’t blame me when you lose.”
“Right! We will see Merlin, we will. Now, it's late and you require rest. There's a stack of hay on..."
Merlin was shocked to core when he heard Morgana say his real name. Did she know? Or the better question was HOW did she know? " I am Henry, milady, not Merlin."
Morgana stopped in her tracks like someone had slapped her when she realised what she had just said. " 'Course. I'm sorry. You just reminded me of him."
"Who was he?" Merlin was very curious to hear her answer the question.
Morgana had her hair down her side covering her face from Merlin's view when she said,"Oh just someone from my past. Nevermind. So I was saying that you'll need to sleep on the hay as there's only one bed. I hope that's not a problem."
"Not like I have a choice", Merlin thought to himself.
Merlin watched Morgana retreat to her bed which was on a higher plane than his...hay-bed. This meant that Morgana could see Merlin easily but not vise versa. The thought made Merlin uneasy. What if Morgana actually knew who he was and was just playing a game with him? She would have the perfect opportunity to kill him while he was sleeping. But Merlin had to option but to take his chances. Lying down he said, "Good night, Morgana."
Morgana couldn't sleep despite trying. Talking to Henry reminded her so strongly of Merlin that she couldn't help but go into the past. She was reminded of Merlin- of the Merlin who was her best friend. She remembered how alone she used feel in the castle until she had become friends with Merlin. Merlin was patient and listened to her without the slightest indication of being bored. He was Morgana's brother, Arthur's servant but there was something very different about him. He treated Arthur not like a master but as his equal. This is what brought her close to Merlin at first; their ability to annoy Arthur. Arthur- the brother she once cared about. But Uther had ruined it. Ruined everything. She didn't hate anyone as much as Uther she thought but a name popped up.
Merlin. She hated this Merlin. Despised him. Loathed him. MERLIN had ruined everything. He had betrayed her trust. Broken her down. He had known about Morgana's magic all along but didn't bother to offer any explanation when he himself was a warlock. She recalled all the times she had crumbled before him and he was there to rebuild her with his lies. Later these lies were what destroyed her. The only one question that she would've loved to ask Merlin was why? She had loved him, protected him and always pictured him by her side and Merlin was planning to kill her all the time? Why? She still got nightmares about the day Merlin poisoned her. How foolish she was to think what a sincere friend Merlin was. She remembered that it was the first time that she couldn't help but picture a future with him. He was like no man she had ever met. He was kind, caring, selfless and had been there for Morgana through think and thin. He had become even closer than Gwen, who was her friend since childhood. Oh how wrong she was, Morgana thought. Merlin had offered her water and while she was drinking it she was silently thanking God for bringing such a caring person in her life and then suddenly she felt an agony she had never experienced before. Her throat was on fire. Her windpipe was closing. She couldn't breathe. There were flames making way from her mouth to her abdomen. Flames everywhere. And then finally her mind came to believe the impossibility. Merlin, her Merlin, she recalled thinking, had poisoned her. The burning in her throat was nothing compared to the pain she felt when her heart shattered. She was in Merlin's arms dying. She could feel Merlin's tears on her forehead and it confused her even more. She wanted to jolt him, ask him, "why?" But she couldn't speak. She moved her lips but no sound came out.
Morgana turned restlessly to the other side and saw Henry sleeping peacefully. He looked so young. So innocent and so charming though not as charming as Merlin did when she had once found him sleeping. She mentally shook herself and reminded herself again that he was the one who had destroyed her whole life, nearly killed her, frozen her heart from any feelings it was capable of harbouring. This helped. She went to sleep feeling the satisfaction she imagined she would feel when she drove a sword through Merlin's heart.
Merlin woke up with screams echoing in his ears. He at once recognised the voice. Morgana. He instinctively got up and moved towards her bed but momentarily stopped when he reached her bedside. Her face which usually held a smirk and challenge was full of terror. Her forehead had drops of sweat covering it and she was muttering uncontrollably. Merlin tried to listen to what she was saying. "Merlin. No! Why? No! Emrys!"
Merlin couldn't take it anymore. She looked in so much pain. Merlin shook her. "Wake up Morgana. Wake up!"
After being shook more than thrice,Morgana finally opened her eyes but it still looked like she was in her nightmare.
"It wasn't real. You were just dreaming. It wasn't real."
"No Henry, you don't get it. Emrys. He was going to kill me. I had trusted me once and oh..."
"Look at me, Morgana. I'm real. Not Emrys." Merlin guiltily said it.
Morgana finally looked up at Henry in the eye and after a few moments composed herself. "Henry. Oh, I am so sorry. I didn't mean to wake you up".
Henry put up his hand to stop her "You have nothing to apologize for. Go to sleep. No one is going to hurt you. Please sleep. "
Morgana had pulled her mask on by now and spoke in a steady tone. "Yes, thank you. Good night Henry."
Merlin retired to his sleeping area feeling lost. He didn't know what to feel . He had never seen Morgana in such a vulnerable state. She looked so small. Not the powerful sorceress. Not at all. He always knew that she was afraid of him (Emrys) but never had he thought that he haunted her dreams too. But that really wasn't bothering him a lot. She deserved it. She was the murderer of hundreds of innocents. What he couldn't get out of his head was her saying, "MERLIN? No". He had an idea of what she must've been dreaming about and it made him feel sick when he was reminded about the night. He had his reasons. Arthur would always...Arthur! Merlin suddenly had the whole scene of Arthur being stabbed by Mordred play in his head. He felt moisture forming in his eyes . He had to save him. He had to make Morgana come back to them. He had to fix Morgana, after all he blamed himself for what Morgana had become. He also knew he only had 2 months to save Arthur. He had to win Morgana's heart not as Henry but as Merlin...Merlin wanted to stay up and plan something but his eyelids were too heavy for keeping them open and hence they shut.
Morgana woke up when the sunrays hit her eyes. She had long given up on her appearance and didn't bother brushing her hair. She went out to the lake near her cottage and washed her face. The cool water fleshing her up. She turned around to walk back and saw Henry standing before her.
"Were you following me?" Morgana snarled.
"Wha? No. No. I just woke up and didn't find you there so I just walked outside and saw the water body an..."
"Okay, stop. I'm sorry. I'm just being paranoid. "
Merlin smiled. "I understand. Living here mustn't be easy." Saying that he moved towards the water to wash his face.
Morgana couldn't help but notice how his blue eyes shined in the sunshine.
"I'll go have the breakfast ready."
Morgana came in her hovel and within minutes conjured up delicious breakfast out of thin air. After a few minutes Merlin appeared, giving her a smile. Eyes. Oh his eyes. Morgana gave herself another mental slap.
"Wow. How did you make all of this so quic...oh. You cheated. "
Morgana smirked. "How can you say that? What if I say I made it all?"
"Then I'd say you are lying."
"Yes. How could you have made these loafs of bread in this...umm...little kitchen?"
"Smart mouth. But let's not forget your mouth won't help you as much it is now with a sword. "
Merlin had totally forgotten about the spar. He had thought that Morgana would want to discuss her dream with him but apparently that wasn't the case. He, however, couldn't help but ask, "How are you feeling Morgana?"
"Oh. I'm fine, thank you." And she continued chewing her breakfast and pretended like she had no idea what Merlin was REALLY asking. The truth was that she would've loved to share her burden with someone else but she had long stopped trusting anyone. No matter how friendly they were.
"How's your leg?"
"It's quite well. I think it will take another day and then it will be as good as new."
Morgana nodded in approval.
"But don't worry Morgana, this little injury won't stop me from defeating you. "
"Hmm, sure. Whatever you say. Now that you've also finished your breakfast, grab two swords hanging behind the door and lets be off."
"Off to where?"
"Outside obviously. You can't imagine us fighting here, can you?"
"Right." Merlin grabbed the two swords . And was surprised to see how well polished they were.
Merlin came outside to find Morgana with two sticks of wood. "Wow. You really want to fight with swords? Need some more injuries? Not VERY clever, are you ?" Morgana teased.
Morgana wanted to make him feel foolish but Merlin was as sharp as the blades in his hand when it came to retorts,"Very funny. I thought after all your bragging you might have shields and armours required to practice. Maybe you don't REALLY practice and were just trying to show off?"
Morgana smirked and replied , "Lets see who practices, master of words."
With that she threw a stick towards Merlin and attacked with her own. Merlin wasn't ready but he managed to dodge the blow just in time. Morgana grinned, "Running already, Henry?"
"You wish", with that Merlin made contact with Morgana's stick and on the began. One attacked, the other dodged. They circled each other like ferocious animals. Neither of them ready to give it up. Once Morgana succeeded in making contact with Merlin's right shoulder while pretending to attack from the left. "Ha! A point!" The next moment Merlin evened it by hitting HER left shoulder. The game continued forever until Merlin finally found out her weakness. She was slow defending her legs. Merlin aimed for her head which, as he expected, she blocked. She was recovering from the blow when he struck her legs and she fell on the ground . Merlin pointed his stick to her chest and grinned. Then he bent down offered his hand and whispered, "Remind again who is the best at sword fighting, Morgana?"
The next thing Merlin knew was that he was on the ground without his stick and Morgana standing over him victorious. She had taken advantage of Merlin's speech and thrown sand on his face before knocking him on the ground with a kick. In this process Merlin had lost grip on his stick and when he tried to regain hold of it, he found it pressed under her foot. He had lost.
Morgana smirked her trademark smirk, bent down and offered her hand to Merlin mimicking him and whispered , "I think I just reminded you who is the best."
Merlin took Morgana's hand to get up.Her face was so close that Merlin could see the dark circles that Morgana had tried to conceal through her magic. He could count her eyelashes. Her heart-shaped face had drops of sweat on it and her hair was all messy(messier than usual messy) which made her look like a beautiful but fierce and deadly Greek goddess. He was so close to her that he could see how beautiful her eyes were. Green. He was so close that he could see how perfectly shaped her nose was. Finally Merlin's eyes made way to those sinful plump lips. The urge to kiss her was so overwhelming. Just then the smirk vanished from Morgana's face as she realised their proximity. Apparently Merlin also came back to his senses at the same time and quickly took a few steps back. He smiled and to remove the awkwardness said,
"I'm impressed, Morgana but at the same time I'm curious. "
"Yes." Merlin said nervously. He really was curious to know Morgana’s side of story. He had never considered it important but spending time with a Morgana, who was not adamant to kill him the first chance she got, had made him want to know her side too.
"You want to ask me something?" Morgana observed.
"Well...it's just how are you so good at it? You said you learnt it from your brother but I see no brother here." He was here for Arthur so why not start with discussing him?
Morgana had closed her eyes and Merlin for a moment thought she wouldn't answer. Maybe he had asked it too quick.
"It's a very long story, Henry. I will tell you some other time . Besides, I am the one who won the duel so you have to pay the price not vise versa. "
"What do you want Morgana?"
Morgana suddenly moved towards Merlin's face and brought her lips very close to his. Merlin gulped and Morgana smirked. "What do you think Henry?"
Merlin suddenly found it hard to speak but he managed to say, "How would I know?"
“What is Morgana doing?” Merlin helplessly thought to himself.Just when Merlin thought the impossible might happen, Morgana diverted her lips to his ear and whispered,
"You will know soon enough. For now let’s wash ourselves."
With that she was gone leaving a dumfounded Merlin. What had just happened ? After a few minutes he managed to drag his feet after Morgana. She had reached the lake and stopped. She took off her black robe and Merlin found her wearing a white sleeve-less blouse that exposed her creamy skin, with tight trousers that covered the skin of her long slender legs. He was afraid that she might take something else off and so he turned away.
"I was wondering why you would like to stay all dirty? You don’t like the dirt by any chance, do you?" Morgana teased.
Merlin turned around. He almost forgot to make a retort because he’s heart was beating uncontrollably fast and he was trying incredibly hard to cool his face down but the blood kept rushing back up to his cheeks warming them up. He cleared his throat before he countered, “I have manners, milady. You can take a bath here and I will go to the other side of the lake.”
“You know the forest?” Morgana asked rather suspiciously. All attempts at whatever she was trying to do forgotten.
“Shouldn’t that be obvious? I am a hunter.” Merlin was proud for playing his part so well.
“Oh, okay. Sure, gentleman.”
Merlin followed the lake until it turned into a u-turn and after hanging his clothes at a tree brunch dived into the water. He shivered involuntarily as the water made contact with his skin. It was cold but after a few minutes when he’s body temperature adjusted with the water’s temperature , he began to enjoy it. He was a good swimmer and took a few strokes. Then he dressed up and sat at a rock . He needed to think. Morgana might be open and friendly towards Henry but Merlin wasn't sure it was the same for Merlin. Actually he was sure. She hated him.
He didn't like her much either. She thought bloodshed was the way to success, even if it were the blood of her brother. She was too power-hungry. Merlin needed to go back and check on Arthur so he knew he had to leave but as he hadn't achieved his goal here, he'll need to come up with something to come back here without getting Morgana suspicious of him. He knew that Morgana was a clever and cunning lady.
When Merlin made his way back to the hovel, he found Morgana sitting by the fire warming her hands. She had changed into a black dress. He wondered if there was any other colour that she wore now. But it was a nice change go see her in a dress and not that foreboding robe. The dress was very simple having very little embroidery at the backside. The dress also looked very comfortable. She had her back to Merlin and so he was able to admire her perfection without getting embarrassed.
"Oh, you are finally back. May I ask what took you so long?", Morgana turned around to face him.
"I was just going through the trees here. You see, my family also sells wood. And I must say that I found a jackpot here! "
"Ah. I see...well, as my price of winning the spar I would like you to tell me more about yourself. "
Merlin had not expected this and couldn't help but ask," Why would you want me to know about me?"
Morgana got up from the log/seat she why sitting and moving like a cat, invaded his personal space and whispered rather seductively , "Why do you think?"
Any other guy would've fallen for Morgana in such a situation but Merlin knew her well. He had seen her flirt with numerous men and use them. He knew her reasons were different from what she was trying to make Merlin think.
Merlin subtly moved to the fire and sat down at the place which had previously been occupied by Morgana, " It's a nice fire you got going here. Just what's needed after that cool bath ."
Morgana looked at him curiously without making any comments. She was shocked how Henry had not at all been affected by her charms. It was like he knew her. Her games. Her methods.
Finally she spoke up," I want to know about you because...I have stopped trusting people and Henry I feel like I want to trust you. But how can I trust you when I know nothing about you. "
Merlin no longer cared about playing Henry's character. He needed to ask her this, though he knew the answer would not be pleasing.
"I will tell you about me if you tell me why you've stopped trusting people? Morgana, I just don't understand why a lady as beautiful and as kind as you would be staying here alone. "
Morgana smiled and said, "Today is my turn to question. I'm the winner. Besides, my life is full of darkness. My past is nothing but gloomy. The things and the people that I cherished were the ones that caused me pain. It's not something I enjoy reminiscing. Anyhow, tell me about yourself. Your family?"
Merlin took a few minutes to compose his self before he started to answer Morgana.
"I have a brother. He is annoying, a prat and could be a bully at times but he is a great man. We didn't use to get along well for sometime but then we kind of got into a situation where we had to stay together for quite some years. It brought us closer and I found out that though he is a prat, he is a prat with a good heart. Then my mother is the kindest woman I've ever known and I'm not only saying this because she's my mother, because she is, but I've seen her take care of children and elders like her own. She has supported me and encouraged me all my life. You know, if it wasn't for her I wouldn't be what I am now. "
"And what are you?" Morgana inquired.
"A good man? A person who knows how to use the powers he has been granted for good. "
At this Morgana frowned, "Powers?"
"Yes. I believe every individual has certain kinds of powers. It doesn't necessarily mean magical; it can be intellectual, spiritual, physical, or even linguistic. I believe the use of it depends on us and I'm proud that my mother has taught me to use these powers for welfare than destruction."
"But maybe destruction is the first step at welfare in some cases?" Morgana said in a small voice.
Merlin had been looking at his hands the whole time but at this he looked up straight into the jade eyes and spoke, " Destruction isn't the answer when you have other better answers. "
"Really, Henry? And if there is no choice? No other way? Then what, sit idly and watch the injustice prevail?" Morgana said heatedly and stood up still glaring at Merlin.
Merlin knew better than to lose his temper. He needed to know Morgana's version of the story before taking any action or forming a plan.
"There is ALWAYS a choice. ALWAYS another way. It might be harder and vague at first sight but there always is another way." Merlin spoke calmy.
Morgana snorted, "If only you knew what you were talking about. "
It was all he could do to not shout back and tell her that he knew exactly what he was talking about but he knew it was one of his few lucky chances that Morgana was opening up to him. He had to say something before she would shut him off. Something. Anything.
"You seem to have a pessimistic approach towards life. I wonder why?"
Mistake. He should've been subtle. He could see Morgana had worn back her mask after hearing these words escape his mouth. He mentally coursed his tactlessness and waited for her answer.
"Long story but I'll tell you something Henry - life isn't always sunshine and rainbows. It's dark ugly, and gloomy too."
Merlin tried to interrupt but she didn't show him.
"You seem to have a lovely family though I think you were about to tell about your father before I interrupted."
"He's dead." Merlin croaked.
Morgana had not expected this. After all, the impression she had gotten from this man was one that made her think that he lived in paradise with happiness all around. Maybe he wasn't close to his father, Morgana thought but immediately corrected herself thinking of the obvious sorrow in Henry's voice.
"As am I."
There was a silence after this exchange. Merlin was lost in memories but Morgana didn't really know what to say as she knew nothing would make him feel fine. No words. Morgana still missed her foster father- whom she always thought as the real father .
"So...there must be some girl in your life then?" She thought distraction night be a good idea.
Merlin couldn't help but smile. "Not really. "
"Oh. And why so? I mean you look like a fine fellow. "
"Thanks, I guess. "
"So... Why not?" Morgana prompted.
"Well, I don't know. I mean, there are girls but they just want a.. Umm one night relationship or a temporary one. I don't think I want that. "
Morgana was beyond curious now. Henry was a young man. She could' ve never imagined hearing this from the lips of a male his age.
"So there's never been any girl in your life, Henry?"
"I never said that."
"There was one...Freya was her name " Merlin's eyes had become dark and his voice thick with emotions.
"You loved her?" Morgana spoke softly.
"Yes." Moisture had started to build up in his eyes.
"What happened? She broke your heart?" Truthfully Morgana couldn't believe some girl could break Henry's heart. He seemed really caring and considerate to her.
Merlin snorted. "I wish it was as simple as that. But no...she died."
Morgana gasped in horror. How much pain had this man suffered? It seemed almost equal to hers.
"I am so sorry to hear that. I know what it feels like to lose someone. You lose a part of yourself when you lose them. And that part is lost forever. But that's life. Always unfair. "
Merlin looked up at her now. Sapphire eyes met the emerald ones. Merlin could see the pain in Morgana's eyes. It was so deep. Like a bottomless sea.
"Yes. You are right but I do know that the ones we lost would've wanted us to be happy and make others happy. "
"Happiness. Do you think a heart that has been shattered into pieces, that has been frozen, that is void of any feelings can feel that?"
"Nothing can be remain frozen forever. Glaciers melt over time. All they need is sunlight just like all the frozen hearts."
There was a small silence after this in which Morgana also moved towards the fire. Staring at it like Merlin.
"I am going to leave now. Thank you so much for your hospitality. "
Morgana looked up and Merlin read the sadness in her eyes. This made him want to stay but he knew that he needed to go ...and why should he care what she feels? She was the cause of all the destruction. He just needed her help with saving Arthur.
"Okay. " Merlin knew that Morgana wasn't the one to depend on others. She obviously thought that she didn't need him. Oh how he knew her brain functioned.
Merlin got up and said, "I'll see you soon. I promise. I think I could benefit from your friendship."
"I wonder what benefit you are talking about. " Morgana said moving closer and running a finger down Merlin's shirt.
Merlin resisted an eye roll at this. Typical Morgana. She used to flirt endlessly with the knights at Camelot too. Old habits die hard he thought.
"Well...you are a great person to talk to. Plus, I want to know more about you. There's something about you Morgana that's different. Different from all the other girls. And I'll figure it out." At this he winked.
"I'll hold you up on that. "
NOTE: THE CHAPTER HAS NOT ENDED. THIS SITE DIDNT ALLOW ME TO POST THE WHOLE THING OR I DON'T KNOW THE METHOD. ANYWAY, IF INTERESTED IN THE STORY, READ THE LAST 2 LINES.
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