Forget, wedding, Amy

dianaprallon


we're all stories in the end

so I'll write you a good one


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The Time Meddler (5/?)
Forget, wedding, Amy
dianaprallon
Title: The Time Meddler
Spoilers: Up to "The Sword in the Stone", eventually, beginning with "The Nightmare Begins".
Warnings: Character death, violence, possibly incest?
Pairings: Arthur/Merlin; Arthur/Gwen; Arthur/Morgana; Merlin/Morgana; Merlin/Gwen; Morgana/Gwen; Gwen/Lancelot; Morgana/Gwaine - although it's not focused in the romance at all, they all might be mentioned, so you are warned.
Rating: R
Chapter Word Count: 2,885
Summary: They said no man can change his history, but Merlin doesn't believe it. Time is his to bend and his destiny is his to shape. Again.



Chapter 5


It was mid-morning when Hengist showed up – out of nowhere – in Gwen’s cell.

“My men saw six Camelot knights with something on a carting wheel. It seems that Uther Pendragon does love his ward as much as the stories say.” He smiled at her, and in all unpleasant things Gwen had seen in her life, this was one of the worst. “And I can surely see why. One wonders if his bed is still empty after all those years because he hopes to turn his ward into his wife soon.”

“You are filthy, Hengist!” said the girl, truly disgusted. She didn’t like Uther much, but it was clear that he saw Morgana as his own child.

“And since we’re talking about filth” he went on, still smiling. “I’m moving you upstairs. You must be made ready to the visitors.”

“I’m sure they’ll take me anyway” she answered, worried that she might be moved and Lancelot wouldn’t find her. “So it doesn’t really matter.”

Hengist smile got even wider.

“Oh, but they are not taking you, milady” he said, full of pleasure. “Soon Uther will learn that this was but his first payment. And if he decides you’re not worth double of what I asked, well, I am sure we can put you to some use here” said the man, spreading his arms.

There was no need for Gwen to fake her feeling of utter horror at these remarks, but he took little notice of that.

“Take her up” he said, and the guards were upon her, forcing her to walk.

“Let me go” she said, annoyed. “I will go with you, there’s no need to drag me.”

“Very well” said Hengist. “I’m sure you’ll find it all to be to your disposition. You’ll see your knights during dinner, tonight.”




Arthur was almost a whole day behind the knights with the gold – it was safer that way, he didn’t want to be seen. They were all serious and no one talked to him, for they all feared his temper. He missed Merlin the most during these long hours, for his servant, annoying as he was, always managed to lighten things up.

But, of course, he had to be picking up flowers somewhere else. He was really good for nothing else, surely no good when it came to trouble or when it came to doing his chores. Still, he could talk all day long, and he wasn’t used to being silent for so long anymore.

It made him think too much about the perils Morgana and Gwen had faced – were facing now – and worrying about things he knew he wouldn’t know for sure until the battle was upon him. Arthur knew he could trust every knight that was around during the battle, but none of them could even imagine how he felt about Gwen, while Merlin would share his concern.

(Not even to himself he could admit that even if Morgana wasn’t there, he’d face a siege to have Guinevere safe again; he couldn’t, for those thoughts wouldn’t take him anywhere. It couldn’t be, and it wouldn’t be, and he better face it).




It was Mordred that woke them up. Silent and serious, the child led Morgana towards three older druids, who were supposed to help her with her seeing skills, before she could break her fast. Merlin, on the other hand, was to join Aglain in his tent.

He worried about what the druid could want as he walked towards elder. He seemed to know a lot more than he had first expected, and Merlin feared he’d make something to guarantee that Merlin didn’t sell them out. Mordred clearly was still suspicious of him, although the boy had no reason to, not anymore. All he had ever done to the boy was helping him scape Camelot against Kilgarrah’s wishes. And it had coasted him, all of them, dearly, that he hadn’t allowed the child to be killed. Now he wouldn’t regret it – he’d make sure that Mordred was cared for and loved, and the first step towards it was keeping Aglain safe.

The man smiled as he walked inside, two mugs set on the small wooden table that he kept near his pallet. There were also two chairs made of wool and wood, that could be used to sit or sleep, depending on the moment. He gestured Merlin to one of them and took the other.

“We are glad that you brought her, Emrys” was the druid’s first sentence. “And glad that you told her about your powers.”

“Well… What else would I do?” he asked, smiling and pretending to be innocent. Aglain frowned.

“Not tell her until it was too late. Send her alone, the knights of Camelot behind her. You could have ruined this camp…” he said, and Merlin held his breath, ready to answer that he would never do such thing. “Again.”

The word shook him to the core; he couldn’t believe that Aglain knew about what he had done. But the man’s eyes were hard and sure as he faced the warlock.

“I would never…”

“And yet, you did” said the black druid, taking a deep breath. “I suppose that you came back to right your wrongs, to make everything… happy. You should know that it’s not that simple. You took too great a risk in turning back time, against its usual stream.”

“How…?”

“It goes hard on the seers”

Merlin shook his head, he remembered the dragon saying something like that before.

“I want… I should have told her all along” he said, shaking his head. “She needed to know she was not alone. She didn’t have to…”
Aglain smiled lightly.

“Morgana is a good girl, and a powerful magician. She had her share of guilt in all that happened. You shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. She made her choices, and she chose to turn away from you. I don’t think it will be so easy to avoid it, Merlin. She still might turn against Uther.”

“Morgause” he said, his voice barely above a whisper. “How can I…?”

“Morgause” agreed Aglain, shaking his bald head. “But there’s nothing you can do to save her, she lived her whole life in hatred and desiring vengeance on Uther. She’s too hurt, Merlin. You should remember that.”

“And Mordred? Can you take care of Mordred? Make sure he doesn’t end up… In the wrong hands? And Alvarr…”

The man took another deep breath.

“You bought me some time, but I’m not sure I’ll survive much longer. One can’t avoid death as easily as that. It may be that I’ll live for years, it may be that I’ll die soon, hit my head on a rock in a fall that shouldn’t usually hurt. I can’t take care of the boy.”

“So I’ll take him” said Merlin, impulsively. “Between me and Morgana we should be able to…”

“No” said Aglain, brusquely. “You are still children. That would hurt more than help. But we can make… arrangements. What Mordred needs is a parent, a grown up that will stand by him and teach him both about his powers, and right and wrong. I’ll send the boy away as soon as you two leave the camp. I’ll take him myself to make sure that Alvarr never learns about the boy.”

“And where will you take him? How could it be safe for him to live as… Who would…?”

“Alice.”

It all came back to Merlin, Alice and Gaius, the Manticore and the fear, what had almost happened.

“But she has turned… The Manticore and…”

“Mordred will give her something to worry about and avoid her meddling with such creatures. They are both lonely and in a great need of a family, of love. It will work, I hope. They will be in Cornwall until the next spring, I think.”

“Next spring? Why…” the druid rose, interrupting him.

“Remember one thing, Merlin: when you change what you did, it changes everything around it. People that were saved end up dying, some are never born, some are born when they wouldn’t have been, some people that were supposed to live die. You’ll have to be careful, otherwise you’ll unbalance nature, and it might be your life the one that’s claimed too soon.”

The druid left, and Merlin felt a knot in his belly. He hoped he would be able to do keep the flux of time and the balance of life and death as naturally as possible.




Gwen was greeted by a maid who was already setting her a bath. It seemed surreal to have someone serving her, but she knew her whole life depended upon it. Hengist had sent a beautiful red dress for her to change into, but she paid little attention to it – the girl amazed her, chatting away.

Gwen couldn’t really pay much attention to what she was saying as she helped her out of her clothes and entered the blissfully hot bath. Before she could fully adjust to it, the girl had her hands on Gwen’s curls, massaging her scalp. The brunet gasped, and the girl stopped.

“Am I hurting you, milady? I’m sorry…”

“No” said Gwen, touched. “I wasn’t expecting it. You can leave me to bathe…”

“I can’t leave” said the girl, biting her lip in a way that reminded Gwen of herself. “Hengist ordered me to…”

“Right, then, but you don’t have to wash my hair….?”

“Rowan.”

“Rowan. You don’t have to wash my hair, I can do it myself. You don’t need to….”

“It is an honor!” said the girl, squeaking. “I’d love too, but if milady doesn’t think I’m good enough…”

Gwen immediately pitted the girl. She was a pretty thing, red haired with a freckled face and a bright smile that disappeared as she withdrew.

“It’s not that” she said, softly. “You were marvelous, Rowan, really, and it felt fantastic, I just don’t want you to feel like you have to wash me, I can do it myself.”

“It is a pleasure, not a problem” said the serving girl, smiling again. “May I?”

“Yes” said Gwen, reclining again in the bath tub and allowing the younger girl to massage her scalp.

“People always say that I’m good at washing hairs” babbled the girl. “That was why Hengist sent me to you instead of another girl, even though they say I’m useless to everything else…”

“I can see why” said the other, giggling. “Your fingers are magical.”

“Maybe you could bring me back to Camelot with you” said the girl, clearly nervous. “Not that you have to, of course, I just mean…”

“Rowan” interrupted Gwen, holding the girls hand. “If I ever manage to come back, I’ll take you with me.”

The girl smiled and Guinevere felt good about herself for the first time since Morgana had disappeared.




The woman in front of her must be near Uther’s age, but she was so graceful that it was hard to actually notice the small signs that gave away how old she was. She had an understanding smile on her face as Mordred delivered Morgana to her company.

“I’m glad that we’ve met again, Morgana” she said, sweetly. “I always hoped you’d show your mother’s blood in you.”

“Did you know her?” asked the girl, curiously. She could hardly remember her mother, although she had lost her own father almost a whole year before her mother was gone. Maybe it was because she always knew, since she was very small, that every time she saw her father riding out might be the last and had worked hard to keep every detail about him on her mind. She’d never imagined she’d lose her mother, who had always been there.

“We were girls together” she said, smiling. “We trained together to control our visions, and now I’m training her daughter. How proud she would have been to see you here.”

“How sad she would have been if she saw how Uther deals with her kind.”

The druid clicked her lips, before delivering a sad smile.

“I think she’d be far more likely to forgive him than you seem to be, child. Vivienne was ever understanding towards other people.”

Morgana felt like a child being told off, but the druid woman didn’t press on. She merely set a silver basin on the log that was in front of them. It was a carved log, full of symbols and that went right to Morgana’s chest, allowing her to look into the basin comfortably.

“Now, it might take a while before you can do this easily, but you should practice at least a bit every night. If you learn how to conjure your visions, they will no longer torment you in your sleep.”

“What exactly am I to do?”

“The basin will work like a mirror, like a window into your inner vision. All sorts of things can be used that way, as mirrors, fire, even the sky or your own closed eyes; but since you’re beginning, the basin will give you something to focus on more easily. As you grow used to it, you’ll be able to call it at your will, without any sort of help.”

Morgana nodded, wondering how she would find the time to practice alone. There were always people around her and she couldn’t trust Gwen with this, she couldn’t risk her friend that much.

“Now, look inside it, child” said the druid, softly. “Tell me what you see.”

“Myself” she replied, easily. The basin was filled with water that reflected her face.

“Take a deep breath and look inside your eyes. Look inside yourself, Morgana, and allow you magic to flow.”

“How will I….?”

Yet, before she could continue her question, she felt it – something inside her stirred and seemed to be drawn to the water. She couldn’t look away, and she felt as if some part of her touched the water.

“That’s good” said the woman, “Now allow it to flow down, into the earth, into the very core of nature, to keep a hold of you.”
It was harder to explain than to do, and Morgana felt as the light flow of power touched something strong and stable into the earth. She felt as if she was swinging between the two power lines she had drawn, but her body was perfectly still.

“Look inside your eyes, Morgana. Look into yourself.”

As soon as the voice reached her hears, some part of her was obeying. She saw herself, proud and high, planning to kill Uther. She saw a child running away from the flames, crying. She saw herself walk, and talk, laugh and dance, in a million of different moments past. She saw herself older, trembling in dark woods, and heard her own hard voice as she ordered the death of common people, sitting on Camelot’s throne, a power so dark that shook her right back into the present, as she looked around, bewildered.

“What…?”

“This is you, Morgana. Who you are, and what you might become. Every seer must know their own heart before they can glimpse on what may lie in other’s hearts. Every seer must be aware of their own faults and their own power before they can look into the future and past, and know what sort of monster they might become if they tries to follow or avoid their visions to their own ends.”

She had thought this woman was nice and sweet, but she was not so sure now. She felt a shiver of fear as she remembered all the things she had ever heard Uther say. Was he right? Did the magic always corrupt one’s heart? Was she a monster, a killer? She would have stopped right away, but Mordred was still around and touched her as lightly as a butterfly, encouraging.

She wasn’t going to become that.

“Let’s try again” said the druid woman, calmly. “Look into the basin. Try and find things that already happened. Allow it to flow back to the past.”

It was all glimpses that made little sense. Her father and Uther arguing, Arthur put frogs in her bed, Gwen crying as her mother died, as her father died. Merlin talking to Arthur, his eyes shining. Arthur and Gwen kissing on her house. She was riding away from her father’s tomb, coming to meet her kind.

It felt like opening her eyes again, but she hadn’t really closed them. She was back, and her mother’s friend was smiling.

“Yes, that was excellent. You are a fast learner, Morgana…”

“I don’t know how I’m doing it” she confessed, confused. “It just sort of… happens.”

The woman nodded, as she gestured for her to position herself once again.

“Now, Morgana… See what’s happening right now.”

And it was there: Uther’s concern in his throne room, Arthur and his army walking though the forest, Gwen in prison, mistaken for her, the knights that would have guarded her murdered. She could hear their voices, their thoughts, and she knew they’d all fail without Merlin, without her.

She came back with a gasp, and turned around at once, facing a just out of his tent Merlin.

“We have to go now.”

And the quiet nod he gave her told her he already knew what was happening.

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