I am holding my paddle…

I feel like I am up *#&% creek without a good grip on that paddle. I still have it, though. Only thing is that I live in the farm country against a river that rushes through. I do not live near a gentle creek.

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I know most people just drive across town or maybe to the next town over for a good doctor. I have a two hour drive up to the cities and then another two to come back. That is if I am lucky to avoid city traffic.

With a five year old along for the ride, things can get a bit interesting. It is his doctors that are so specialized we cannot just take the 50 minute drive to the town to see them. My other kids just ride for the 50 minutes, but my five year old son is different. They are still calling around to find a new audiologist for the poor kid in our state.

Some days I wonder why I ever left the city. I wrote well enough while I lived in Las Vegas as a teenager; then I saw the world. Doctors can stay in the cities, but I cannot deal with that chaos anymore.

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I need the scene of the growing crops and the puffy clouds.

But, the kid’s need their doctors. I also love my job (which I couldn’t go to now for two days because of my son being so sick). In the end, my peaceful home is more important than moving.

My schooling is also getting more difficult to keep up with as appointments overlap with already tight work schedules. My kids are also having to do one activity according to their therapists to keep up their socialization learning. At least their school is out for the summer.

I just feel like my boat is drifting more and more toward the cities now. My paddle is shuddering under the current and I am wondering which is going to break first. I just hope it isn’t my stories, because they are my only sanity in my life filled with doctors, work, and college busy work.

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The Storm Chapter Six

Disclaimer: I don’t own Merlin BBC nor do I own Disney’s Frozen.

Chapter Six

Arthur stretched as his best clothes were settled over his arms and shoulders by a servant. “I do not think, my lord, that we should expect Merlin to be at this ceremony. He is just a peasant and…” his uncle never got the chance to finish as Arthur turned to give him half of a smile.

“Uncle, I know you are concerned for how the people will take to me, but Merlin isn’t just a peasant. He is my best friend. I hope to give him a good job in the castle if he would let me. I just need to get him to see that he can be released from his rooms now that I am king,” Arthur said as he pulled his belt and sword around his waist. His uncle bowed his dark haired head to his new sire and left the room in a flourish of expensive clothing and cloak. As Arthur looked himself over in the mirror on the other side of his dressing screen he once again wondered why his father had locked away the other boy and why had Gaius not protested more against it. Why hadn’t either man wanted him to have a friend growing up in the cruel atmosphere of the cold castle?

Just a hallway down from the future king was Merlin standing in front of his own mirror. Another servant had helped even out his hair and he had been given new sets of clothing. They were nothing like the prince’s, but they were new. He hadn’t had any new clothes since Gaius had left and it brought up another pang of loneliness in his heart. His eyes flashed gold and a crack appeared in the corner of the glass mirror. He breathed in, shut his eyes and calmed his emotions. He pushed the magic as far down into his body as he could. He was glad that he was alone in the room now waiting for another servant to get him to watch Arthur become king.

He was excited for Arthur, but he knew that nothing would change, either. Magic would still be outlawed, because Arthur didn’t remember living with magic around him. Merlin remembered, though. He remembered making butterflies, and lighting the hearth before they would tell stories at night. His memories never left him and they made him sad now instead of happy.

“What do I do, Gaius?” he asked the mirror. He knew that no matter what he did his magic wouldn’t be able to bring his mentor and guardian back from the dead. He had to just now live in the moment and hope that Gaius wouldn’t be scolding him when he joined him in death. His magic rolled underneath his shields and he figured that he would probably be executed by the morning.

As the servant showed up to bring him to the large throne room where Arthur would receive his crown, Merlin pushed his magic further down and locked his emotions better. He had gotten better at controlling it through the years, but his best time had only been from sunrise to sunset with his magic confined. He became very ill with it not rolling through his body and as he threw up what he had eaten that evening for supper his magic had been released at such a torrent he was sure the guards thought he had blown up the tower. He couldn’t risk that happening again. He would need to get away from everyone for a while and use his magic quietly. His body shuddered as they walked through the large doors with the rest of the peasants and staff.

Arthur stood next to a proud man with cold eyes. He was speaking quietly to the man who was nodding and smiling slightly at what was being said. In the front row was the knights Merlin would watch training with Arthur and on the other side was a beautiful black haired woman in an ornate dress. Merlin’s brain filled in the gaps from his previous conversations with Arthur through his door (if you call just listening to the prince whine about his life as a conversation) and what Gaius would tell him during his imprisonment. The man next to the prince was his Uncle Agravaine and the woman had to be Morgana. It didn’t take long before the ceremony to make Arthur king started and Merlin’s mind drifted as he looked around the room.

The last time he had seen this room was when he was holding onto Gaius’ robes to keep from being a fidgeting toddler. It hadn’t changed in all of those years and Merlin felt like maybe everything would be fine in his life finally.

The crown was placed onto the blond head and as Arthur stood up for the first time as King everyone in the crowd shouted out at once, “Long live the king!” Merlin’s voice rose with everyone else’s and he smiled brightly with the feel of everyone around him. He felt joy fill him for the first time in years and he forgot for a moment that he wasn’t like everyone around him.

He was swept off to the side by the servant who brought him as the peasants were cleared from the room and everyone from the castle started to enjoy the party that came after the coronation. Merlin still felt the thrill around him as he pushed himself back against the wall and watched everyone. The nobles, lords and ladies, and the staff all did a beautiful dance of duties as he watched.

Arthur was laughing at something Morgana had said, but it didn’t seem she was enjoying the joke as much. She huffed something else quietly to the new king who stopped laughing and said something else with a smirk on his face. He turned away from the woman and found Merlin trying to hide against the tapestries. Setting himself into making the introvert actually mingle was now a new mission for the monarch. He came to stand in front of the lake blue eyes as they finished their path of watching everyone around him. “Merlin, it’s a party. Come out of hiding and do something. Learn something. I don’t care what it is. If you feel the need to dance, then go and dance, but get away from the wall,” he said as he went to pull on Merlin’s arm.

“Arthur, I can’t,” Merlin said as he pushed down the magic now swirling inside of him. Fear gripped him and he knew he needed to leave the room quickly.

The dark haired court lady came up behind the monarch, “Oh Arthur, leave the boy alone. He has been locked away all of this time. He wouldn’t know how to deal with these crowds.”

“I didn’t ask you, Morgana,” Arthur said sternly as he pulled again on Merlin’s arm. Morgana rolled her eyes, smiled kindly to Merlin’s fearful face, and walked away from them. Merlin watched her walk through the large doors and out of the party all together.

“Arthur, really, I’m fine right here. Please let me go,” Merlin said as he tried to tug his sleeve back. “I think you should apologize to Morgana.” He needed to run now. He needed to release the energy and soon or it would be a catastrophe. Arthur laughed, but the smaller boy was finally able to get free from the king. “I have to go,” he said as he quickly turned to follow Morgana out the doors. The blond friend called out and went to catch him. He couldn’t hold it any longer as he felt the power rise inside from the fear clutching his heart. He stumbled, fell to the floor and his eyes flashed. The stained glass windows shattered and a wind ripped through the party emenating from Merlin himself. He caught his breath, reigned in his magic and only saw the shock on the king’s face as he ran through the doors.

Outside the now broken windows the sky above pulled dark massive clouds. As the sky began to cry, Merlin ran from the castle. A bolt of lightning flashed above them all and Arthur stood still waiting for his reality to wake him from his sudden nightmare. Merlin was a sorcerer?

Father’s Day to me

Today is two holidays for me: father’s day and the Summer Solstice. Both of them are important for two very different reasons. Yet, I always still feel drained every year following these holidays.

Father’s day hasn’t been a big celebration for me for years. I call my grandpa and my dad every year to say the words. My grandpa is an awesome man, though not much of a phone talker due to his hearing loss. My dad and I have always been distant. We don’t share the same views in politics or religion; both of those things are very important to him. What we do share is a love for a good book and adventure. He is one of the three people who have read The Keeper’s Kinn now before print. I don’t value his input on who to vote, but without him reading my book while I was writing it, well, I would have stopped halfway.

Since our relationship is strained, I find myself wondering sometimes if he is a “dad”. I never really saw him much as one. I think he tried to be there for me as a child, but my memories of him aren’t that nice. Most things I can think of somehow turn nasty when he was around. This makes me hurt inside more. So, now I do the motions of the holiday with a phone call, but I don’t even spend the energy or money for a card.

Yet, today was also the Summer Solstice. It is the longest day of the year and an honoring of the sun making the upper hemisphere warm again! Some things are starting to be harvested from gardens now (farmer’s market opens this Thursday in my town). Most common pagan groups around the world see the sun as a god (male form). They also can sometimes see him as a father to the harvest.

This year the Solstice falling on father’s day made me cry. I felt the tears well up while our church held services dedicated to men and the sun god for everyone. Suddenly, I did have a thought to a father who is there. The sun is above me constantly, a burning mass of fire, that warms me and gives me nourishment.

Today we celebrated the sun’s longest day and the two men in my life who have been there for me. I have never felt such emotion for a holiday before. It was as if this year I finally knew it was time for me to break out. As the day progresses, I felt more of a push than ever to write. I needed to fulfill the dreams for the god and the men who are there for me in their own ways.

Warmth, comfort and someone to critique my work are all standing and waiting for me. Now, this year, is when I will prove to them I can be what they know I am. This father’s day and Solstice, I am dedicated to publishing my work and finding my voice. May the world hear me as my dad, grandpa and the sun watch on proudly.

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It doesn’t pay the bills

I work a full time job at a retail store. When people I know find out I write they ask me why I am not just staying home and publishing things? I write online. My audience has always been instant with feed back.

While I was writing Keeper’s Kinn I realized that I craved the instant response. I kept asking myself, “Is this a good story?” I couldn’t answer myself because I rely on the feedback of my fans. I struggled through half way since I knew this was going to be my published work. This was the one that will be out there as a professional author and not just updated one chapter at a time.

So, while I work I talk to my coworkers about our second jobs. We all have something, because we all have dreams. Writing, though, doesn’t pay the bills. My kids would starve and we would be living in a tent if I relied on my writing to live. I know people are reading my stories when they go onto the web, but my biggest fear is they won’t read them when they are published. I tell my coworkers about my latest story and some have even been reading them online.

I hurt when I finally get home and most of the time I would rather drift into one of my stories just through imagination than turn on my computer. Writing takes energy, but shutting my eyes and daydreaming is relaxing.

Telling my stories aloud also doesn’t take much work. Little synopsis here and there or just a quick tale reminds me of my childhood. I always would give stories to my little sister while we did our chores. I remember she would beg me to write them down, too. I just never felt the urge to sit and remember back. I love thinking forward.

Even now I am sitting on my break and thinking about the ending to Casey. I am not thinking about the next chapter anymore, but the completion of the entire story. I won’t write it yet, because I always write in order, but I know the whole story. I know the ending of The Storm as well, though we are many chapters away from that. I have them both running in my mind and I will until they are down. When will I get the motivation to write them, though? I don’t know.

All I know is that my motivation right now is going back onto the floor of the store and stocking more stuff. I will be replaying their whole stories again in my head, too. That is my pay for the good story.

The Storm Chapter Five

Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin BBC. I don’t own Frozen, either.

Chapter Five

Merlin sat with his hands in front of a candle as he leaned against the door to his small bed chamber. He would wave to the left and a flame would spring to life, and he would wave to the right and it would disappear in a puff of smoke. Trumpets and bells rang outside of his window, but he didn’t flinch nor acknowledged the sound. A single tear fell down from his face as he continued to play with the wick in front of him.

The sound of the outer door opening alerted him to someone entering the larger chamber beyond, but he knew he was safely locked inside of the room. The large pounding on the wood stairs gave away who it was that was visiting as the door shook a bit on its hinges as the person leaned against it.

“Merlin…” the voice called out softly. It didn’t hitch like it had when the boy on the other side had visited his mother’s funeral. “We sent Gaius and my father off today… People… People knew Gaius had you in here…” this time the prince had to clear his throat before continuing, “I told you yesterday you were allowed to come. I was surprised to see you didn’t. Can’t you come out of there?”

Merlin didn’t answer and he continued on with his task of keeping control over the flame in front of him. Magic flowing freely through his palms made him not feel the deep grief inside of him.

“Well, alright then… I have made it clear that these are now your chambers. The new physician has agreed to just keep working from his own chambers in the castle,” Arthur said through the door. “We really only have each other, you know? Morgana has also locked herself away, and I don’t think I’d be able to really talk with her anyway.” The blond sighed, “Can you please clean up this larger chamber and set out what the new physician will need? I’ll have some servants come by in the morning to pick it up and bring you some food, too.” The door shuttered as the pressure against it released itself and the clomping sound signaled the prince was leaving the room again. Before the outer door shut, though, he called out, “Right now my uncle is in charge of the kingdom, but in two years I’m going to be king, Merlin. I want you there to see it, and I will not allow you to sit in here any longer.”

As the door slammed on the other side Merlin stopped his hand from creating the magic. In two years would he have control enough of everything to not show his magic in a kingdom that killed those like him? He balled his fists and felt his magic release suddenly. The candles in the room ignited and then exploded in a flying mess of melted wax.

Why did Gaius have to leave him? He wasn’t ready yet to do anything on his own.

~*~Ma~*~

Arthur didn’t visit again after that day. At first it was a relief to Merlin to know that he could really exit his bed chamber at any moment during the day and not run into the monarch, but he still was weary to avoid being seen by the servants. He practiced constantly to control every amount of magic inside of him, but some day’s things just couldn’t help but be broken. He was sure the guards and servants who came into the tower were reporting his “fits” to Arthur, but the prince never came to tell him off. Through the windows of the chambers he could hear Arthur in the court yard below practicing with the knights and he would watch as dignitaries from other kingdoms came and went as the years followed outside.

Merlin was very shocked, though, one summer day when the outside chamber door burst open suddenly. He had been in his bed chamber folding his now dry washing behind his closed and locked door. “Merlin!” the voice boomed out. “Merlin, come out! My coronation is this evening. I warned you about it two years ago, now come out.” He heard the boots stomping against the flagstone, but they didn’t ascend the stairs like they had all the years previous.

Merlin stood stock still. He didn’t know what to do. Gaius had warned him to never leave the room and he still knew that his magic was volatile on the best of days. He still held deep in his heart anger for the executions of magic users and the depression of losing his mentor. Right now he breathed in calming breaths as panic started to seep deep into his chest.

“Merlin, you have to the count of five before I just start to torch this tower,” Arthur threatened. The black haired boy’s blue eyes widened at the threat. He really hated fire and never wanted to be burned alive. “One…!”

Merlin ran for his door, hit the latch and ran down the steps to look at Arthur for the first time almost fourteen years. There in front of him was hardened blue eyes, now a touch of brown colored the once pure blond of his best friend’s hair, and the guy was covered in chain mail, the family crest, and a sword hung at his hip with ease. He looked like a knight of the highest regard and Merlin almost didn’t recognize him.

Arthur as well was surprised at what his friend looked like. Deep dark circles fell underneath his other worldly blue eyes, his black hair was cut in a horribly self shorn and sticking in many directions almost untamed. His clothing was simple, ragged, and he was looking desperately skinny underneath it all. As Arthur had filled out during the years, it looked like Merlin had been starved. He knew, of course, that Merlin’s meals would come back to kitchen at times uneaten during the years between the death of Gaius and this day.

“You wouldn’t really burn this room down, right?” Merlin asked uncertain.

“Of course not, but you have emerged finally from your room. If I had known all I had to do was threaten you with a torch, I would have done it ages ago,” Arthur smirked cockily. Merlin scowled.

“That was very cruel,” he grumbled. He crossed his arms and went to turn back to enter his room again.

“Wait, Merlin,” Arthur clomped to head off Merlin’s retreat. He stood between the smaller boy and the stairs. “You can’t go back in there.”

“I am going back to my room, Arthur,” he said as he lowered his arms to his side and glared at the prince.

“I am not letting you,” Arthur said as he crossed his arms to show himself larger than his friend.

“You can’t stop me,” Merlin said confidently. Inside, though, he knew he wouldn’t ever be able to fight Arthur. He couldn’t let his friend, the prince of this kingdom, know he had magic. The soon king would certainly burn him no matter what he had just said.

“You’re scrawny. I’m a knight. I’m the prince. I can do whatever I want and you have to obey me,” Arthur said as he leaned forward, turned Merlin around with force and pushed him out the chamber’s main doors. “And I am telling you, that you’re going to get cleaned up, in some new clothes, and be ready in one candle mark’s time for my coronation,” he used his right hand to continue to shove the smaller boy down the stairs of the tower as his left patted his friend’s shoulder.

Merlin willed his magic down as hard as he could as he was dragged to what he knew would be his death by the end of the day.

The angst

I’m not going to lie: my life is constant drama and action. When I get time to relax, I feel the angst.

I think it is almost a requirement for artists and writers to have angst. Most famous authors have a drama and angst filled back ground before they became famous. Most people in general have some level of chaos in their family, as well.

With one of my sister’s wedding this Saturday, my family is gathering in mass into the town I work in and she lives in. They are coming from all corners of the country. Even with everyone coming up here, to the far north of the Continental States, I feel even more depressed than before. The level of uncomfortableness is increasing every hour.

They are coming into my sanctuary, my salvation. My heart is clenching like they are bandits about to plunder my small village. We are being invaded!

Outside the grey skies are crying for me, but I am smiling with greetings rolling sweetly from my tongue. They are my sister’s guests. I will be polite. I will cringe inside as I once again hug someone I had left behind.

This angst is good to write with, since my stories are dramas, but the feeling is smothering my muse. This only makes me want to add to my book that has been lost to time, “Fantasy Life”.

Do not despair, I cry to my dreams. I will not die here today! We are and forever will survive! This angst will not drown me again!

The Storm Chapter Four

Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin BBC. I don’t own Frozen, either.

Chapter Four

The vials burst against the wall as Merlin panted and collapsed to the floor. His ten year old frame shook and he started to sob against the stones. “I can’t do it!” he screamed and books flew from the shelves to scatter around Gaius and the boy.

“You held it in for three days,” Gaius said grimly, “That is getting better.”

“It hurts!” Merlin sobbed as more things fell from around the room. Candles lit suddenly and then extinguished themselves. Finally the magical onslaught finished and the boy was left panting curled in a ball. “I can’t hold it in, Gaius; it hurts like I’m being burned from the inside. I’d rather be burned at the stake than hold it in. I’d rather die like the others!”

“Never say that,” the man leaned down and brought the sobbing boy back to his knees. “I will not let that happen.”

“Please,” Merlin begged, “Just let him have me. I can’t control it.”

“You just need to let it loose in little ways, then. Small ways away from other people and away from being seen… you will learn to control this,” Gaius promised the child.

“They scream, the others, and I just want to break everything around me when they die. I can feel it inside of me. I’m a monster and I deserve to be with the rest of the monsters,” the child stood up suddenly and ran for his room. The door opened without prompting and slammed shut without a hand as the boy threw himself onto the slated bed.

Gaius felt inside him break as he heard the sobs on the other side. Merlin’s magic was getting strong with each day and the boy was correct in that he could not hold it inside like they had hoped. He sighed, gathered his bag and went to make his evening rounds. He would clean up the mess of their practice later.

He walked across the court yard and didn’t see the blond boy who ran up the steps of the physician’s tower to the chamber at the top. He slid into the door and paused at the chaos thrown around the room. He could hear his friend sobbing on the other side of his now locked door and went to sit at the top of the steps. “Had a rough day?” he asked. He didn’t get an answer, except that the crying had stopped and soon he heard his friend slide down to sit on the other side of the wood. He never received a verbal answer from Merlin, but it didn’t stop him from coming anyway. “Must have been one horrible tantrum, Merlin, you even ripped some of the books before throwing them!” he laughed.

“I tried begging my father for your release again, today,” he said a bit more quietly. “He won’t have any of it and he won’t tell me why you are locked away like this. Can’t you tell me?” He turned a bit to face the door. “I promise I just want to know why they would lock you away from me. Did we do something wrong?” he put his hand against the door and sighed.

It was silent as ever from the small room. He sighed again and stood up, “Well, I have to go and train with Leon. He’s teaching me to be a knight. Father says that I’ll have to lead them one day, so I guess I’d better get good at it.” He walked down the steps and turned around, “Merlin, when you do want to talk, you know I’ll be here for you.”

His sixteen year old eyes watched as his mentor packed the large bag full of vials and things he needed. “What am I supposed to do while you’re gone?” he asked.

Gaius smiled and sighed. He turned to the boy and put his hands on his shoulders. “Keep practicing. You’re still letting your emotions take control. I’m sure you’ll be fine without me for a few days,” he smiled and put more things he would need into the satchel.

“Can’t I come with you?” he asked as he handed a tunic over from the table.

“No, the king doesn’t want you out of here just yet. You cannot completely control yourself and we don’t need an accident. Don’t let Arthur pull you from here, understand?” he smiled at the down trodden face. He hugged the child, “The king and I will return in a few days. It’s just a small diplomatic thing.”

“Then why are you going?” Merlin asked. He pulled back and felt tears sting his eyes.

“Because the king has an infection and I need to be there to make sure he takes his medicine on time. Merlin, you’ll be fine. You’re a big boy now,” he patted the black haired boy’s shoulder and turned to leave the chambers. “Remember, stay in your bed chamber unless you know this door is locked. I know you know how to do that. Do not let anyone see you. Physician Thomas will take care of things from his own chambers and won’t be in here.” Merlin nodded but felt dread pull down into his stomach as he watched the large doors shut behind the white haired man. Something was going to happen and he just knew it wasn’t going to be pleasant.

~*~Ma~*~

The sun was just coming over the side of the castle gates when the sound of the galloping horse broke through his thoughts. He climbed onto his chair to look down into the court yard and see Prince Arthur and the girl, Morgana, greet a messenger from the land that his mentor and the king had visited. As Arthur opened up the note and the young lady beside him both read the missive, she let out a horrible wail and the letter fell to the stone steps as Arthur stood staring into space. Merlin felt his heart stop at the sudden grief the both showed below.

Something horrible had happened, just as he had been warned by his feeling just days ago. Once again the vials on the table behind him shattered as a tear fell down his face. It was the only sign that he knew he was alone now.

All in a day

Today I worked a nice long shift at my day job. I sold a lot of electronics stuff and helped a lot of customers find their things they need for summer. I love doing what I do, except I also hate it. I find myself daydreaming and staring off into la-la land a lot. My mind is racing with The Storm’s next chapter and Casey’s entire story. I keep replaying over and over again what I need to write next for both.

This is great if I could just rush home after work and get to writing, but I can’t. I first have to go and pick up my four little gremlins from their school, and then on Thursday we have taekwondo.

By the time I get everyone home, it’s time for supper and chores. After that is time for bed for everyone, but me, and I find myself wearing thin. The juices aren’t flowing like they were at 6:30 AM. My brain is starting to grind its gears. After everyone is in bed, but certainly not asleep, I sit down to try and concentrate on my own school work.

My school work is hard to concentrate on when I want to open a word document and write out 2,000 words for The Storm or the next installment of Casey.

Before the sun went down, and before I could distract myself with school work, I went outside to see that we have to weed the garden before Monday. I sighed and came back inside to hear my boys fighting about something. I made my way up the stairs to see that someone had poked a fork into my 24 pack of soda. The cola was going everywhere. I decided to ignore it for now and see what was going on inside the bedrooms.

Bean was pouring a whole can of cola onto the side of his little sister’s bed. Princess was giggling and they were having a grand time. I put a towel into his hands and made him start to clean the mess. I wiped up a bit of the bed, thanks to mattress protectors, and then went on into the other bedroom. Inside there was another whole circus of events. Monkey and Lump, my two “older” boys, were trying to see if they could convince one of the cats to sleep with them. They had Emrys under the blankets and he was doing his best to escape. I let the cat go and went to check on Bean, again. He was doing alright but not going very fast. I resigned myself to cleaning up the mess and sent him on into bed.

It is now 9:30pm and I haven’t done any school work and I have no energy to write The Storm or Casey. I am sitting here instead of cleaning the mess in the kitchen left by the initial attack of Bean. I wonder if Princess will ever go to sleep tonight and if I will lose my will to continue my stories. I certainly have the exhaustion that will set in again tomorrow. I also will probably be staring off into space again during the morning truck off load at work and I wonder if this time I will end up falling asleep while driving home.

Life is so exhausting. I just keep reminding myself that one day I will have a published best seller and one day I will have kids older than toddlers. One day I will know what sleep is again. Today is just not that day.

The Storm Chapter Three

The Storm

France Gamble

Disclaimer: I don’t own BBC Merlin.

Chapter Three

Merlin had never heard something so terrible as the screams the woman gave while she burned outside in the court yard. Gaius held him as their ears and minds rang from her voice outside and her magical voice inside. When the horrible sound finally stopped and their ears could only pick up the crackling of the fire outside, along with the smell to their noses of the burning flesh, the young boy brought tear filled eyes to look up at the man holding him.

“Am I going to burn too?” he asked quietly. Gaius shook his head and held the young boy closer.

“No, my child, you’ll be safe as long as you stay hidden from now on. We will teach you to control your gifts and no one will know any longer,” the man answered gruffly. He held down the sobs of fear and anger as his arms pulled tighter together.

“Gaius, am I a monster?” The guardian answered that he wasn’t as they both held each other in comfort.

~*~Ma~*~

Later that night the little blond boy couldn’t be kept in his chambers by his nurse maid any longer. He ran out with her screams following him as he giggled through the halls toward his best friend’s rooms. He didn’t even knock as he burst into the physician’s chambers and ran passed a shocked Gauis. “Merlin! Merlin come and chase butterflies with me!” he called through the door as he went up the short stairs. The lock clicked into the slot and Arthur stopped short. “Merlin?” he called out.

Gauis had been in shock to see his prince run in. “My prince, please come here.” He sat the boy down at the table that they usually ate their meals in. Arthur fit better in the small stool than Merlin’s more slight body did. “Merlin cannot play today. He cannot play for a long time. You need to go and stay with your nurse maid. Please, my lord, do this for me?” Arthur looked over at the door confused but nodded.

As he walked to the big door to the chambers he stopped, turned and smiled at Gauis, “I’ll see him again, though, right? He’s going to get better?” Gaius nodded and the bright smile widened before he rushed back out into the castle once again.

Behind the locked door Merlin sat with his back against the wall next to his bed. He formed a bright blue ball in his hands and swished it around his fingers as tears fell from his face. If he was sick, than he never wanted to be cured, he thought. He extinguished the ball and looked up as the door unlocked and the latch moved to have Gauis enter. “I’m not sick,” he said as he crossed his arms and pouted, “I want to go and play.” The table next to the boy rattled a bit against the stone flooring.

“Let’s work on controlling your emotions first,” Gauis said as he sat down on the bed next to the child. Merlin brought his face up and let the tears fall down his cheeks. “Having emotions is fine, but you need to learn to control them so you can control your power. I’m sorry Merlin, but this is to keep you safe.”

~*~Ma~*~

The physician wasn’t anywhere to be seen when he walked into the chambers that evening. Across from the room was the closed and locked door of his best friend. He knocked on it, “Merlin?” He heard shuffling on the other side, but the door didn’t open. “They sent mother to the other side today,” he said just loud enough to be heard through the door. Sitting down on the top step he leaned back against the door. “Merlin, I’m sad. I really wish you’d come out of there and talk to me. Father says I can’t cry until the candles are snuffed and I’m alone in my chambers. Princes and Kings need to be strong and I really just want to cry right now,” he sniffled and wiped his eyes and nose on his tunic sleeve.

Behind the door Merlin’s eyes watered. He stood up suddenly and walked to the door. Hesitating with his hand out to unlock it the tears fell from his eyes again and he lowered his hand. He could not go against the king or Gauis. Sighing, he slid against the door down to the floor to listen to his best friend sob on the other side.

He would learn to not be a monster and he would learn to control his magic so he would be able to play with his friend again. He didn’t want to be locked in his chambers for the rest of his life. He didn’t want his friend to forever not know who he was and not know him as a friend ever again.

~*~Ma~*~

It had become a regular habit for him to skip his lessons and hide in the physician’s chambers outside of the door where Merlin was a prisoner. Gauis had caught him a few times, but he just said he wanted to keep his sick friend company. Knowing the physician’s schedule helped to stay away from being scolded, though, and today was no different.

“It’s been almost a year,” Arthur said as he leaned against the door again. He heard his friend, ever quiet on the other side, slide to sit against the door with him. They were back to back as Arthur talked. “I still miss her, you know?” he sighed as he reigned in his want to cry and continued on with something.

“Merlin, father brought this awful girl here, too. You should really meet her. I think maybe you’d get along with her, but she is just horrible to me. She calls me these names and says I’m spoiled. I don’t know where she got that idea from, either, but she won’t stop. Her name is Morgana. She’s a daughter of a lord in the North, I think, and I just want her to go away. Father says she is staying, though, and he has promised her father to care for her. Oh, Merlin, when the snows come I hope you can come out so we can throw snow balls at her together,” he rambled on and on about the happenings of the castle and kept his friend up to date with everything he could. After he would run out of things to say he would promise to come back and always leave before the bell toned that Gauis would be returning.

In evenings Gauis would lock the main door to the chambers and Merlin would come out to spend time in the common area. He did lessons to learn to control his magic, create herbal tinctures and help the physician make his potions. Tonight the little boy asked, “Can’t I go play tomorrow? I promise I won’t use my magic.”

The man sighed and shook his head, “Merlin, you’re not ready. You’re still too uncontrolled and too emotional. You need to learn to bring everything inside and keep the magic contained.” The candles flickered and the fire in the hearth rose a bit as Merlin balled his fists.

“I can’t help it! It happens automatically and I am trying!” Merlin yelled. He stomped his foot and the vials sitting on the table shattered. At the destruction around him, he knew he had lost his case to play outside. “I’ll help you clean up,” he muttered in defeat as he went to get the bucket of water and a rag.

Gauis joined him as they carefully cleaned up the glass and debris from where their work station is. “One day, Merlin, you will be able to control this. One day you’ll be able to leave from here free again,” he put a hand on the young boy’s shoulder.

“Can’t you remove this curse?” Merlin asked as he looked up from where he was kneeling to get the shards from the floor. This time no tears came to his eyes, and Gauis feared that before the training was done he would break Merlin’s kind spirit. He shook his head and the black haired boy sighed and went back to cleaning.

~*~Tsuzuku~*~