The Storm Chapter Fifteen

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

Chapter Fifteen

Arthur Pendragon felt the chill of the night as he tried to shiver off the cold wet rain coming down hard onto his chain mail. It seeped through to the tunic below and he was sure now that they would never be dry again. He felt despair running through him suddenly. The wishing for a fire wasn’t working and sleep was eluding the king of Camelot. His companions still were all awake as well drowning in their own soggy clothing and thoughts.

The sky started to creep into a light pattern that suggested a day breaking beyond the clouds above them all. It had been a long night without any comfort or rest for the weary travelers. Standing up onto sore feet they all moved at once and started on their way in silence through the dense woods. They had no food left, no supplies but what they had had on their bodies, and they could feel that their spirit for their mission had also fallen into the ravine. Guinevere climbed onto the mare’s back and Elyan took what was left of the bridle to guide the horse. Leon sighed against his own depression and they all started off toward the rumored place that Merlin was.

They had been walking for most of the day when they came to the top of a large hill and looked down into a valley. The sight did nothing to help their melancholy. The woman on the horse gasped as she brought her hands to her lips to stop from bursting into tears. Down below the houses were submerged to their roofs in rushing water as the rain had created a small lake where people had once lived.

“We’ll get no help here,” Arthur said sadly as he turned and they walked further into the trees. The rest of them took one last look with little hope that the people had escaped before the flood happened, and they followed the monarch onto the next village.

~*~ Ma ~*~

The next village was faring better than the sunken one they had seen the day before. Leon led them onto the muddy street and onward to the first building with signs of life. The sky above them crashed with bright white light and a large rumble shook the wood planks of the walls around them. Elyan helped his sister down from the horse and she nodded to them as the men went into the tavern where noise was gathered.

As soon as they opened the door silence greeted them with stares of men all around. A tavern woman nodded to them kindly as they found a small table in the corner beside a game of dice. Noise started up again as mugs drained down throats and men yelled with slurred tongues. A maiden took their orders for mead and left to gather them all their own pints.

“How do we do this, Arthur?” Leon asked. “We can’t just out right ask these people if they’ve seen him.” He smiled brightly to the serving woman as she gave them their drink and left quickly with her pay the blond knight had put onto the wood before her.

“It’s probably guaranteed that they’ve heard of the clearing, though,” Elyan supplied before taking a small sip of his alcohol. They didn’t want to get drunk, but it would have been suspicious if they hadn’t ordered.

A man with long brown and wavy hair suddenly leaned back in his chair from the table next to them. The back hit their table hard shaking their pints to spill in front of them. Arthur went to yell at him before he saw that the man hadn’t even realized he had done anything to their area.

“I do not cheat! You are just not as good as I!” he yelled at his companions as he gathered coins into his purse hanging around his belt. The other men all stood from the table and the travelers realized this rude rogue was certainly smaller than his gambling companions. He was picking a fight with men he couldn’t possibly win against.

Arthur couldn’t really allow someone else to be harmed so he stood as well and tried to defuse the situation, “Men, I’m sure you will get your chance to win against him later this evening.” They only glanced at the blond before a large meaty fist came against the wavy haired man.

The brawl was messy. That was the only way to describe what happened in the five minute span it took for the three gamblers to be out done and the rest of the tavern to be demolished by almost thirty drunks. The three travelers had fought hard against the gamblers with the rogue smashing just as many chairs and tankards alongside them. A man who hadn’t even been part of the gambling fiasco went to smash a piece of wood into Arthur’s back when a large table was tossed onto the poor man by a guy who was three times larger than any knight Arthur had fought with in his ranks. Brought out of his shock as another man joined the giant in helping their fight was when the entire tavern had got into the mass quarrel.

By the end of it the tavern keep was in tears as he saw the damage and the women were in shock. The travelers and the three who had fought alongside them, including the one who had started the fight, all ran out into the storm to escape from the anger of the owner. Leon gave a shrill whistle as they ran quickly from the town and the sound of the hooves from their horse came behind them as Guinevere rode out to meet them. “We need to leave quickly,” Arthur said as they rushed to the cover of the forests under brush.

Panting as night started to encroach on them all they stopped in a small clearing. The man with the long wavy hair laughed suddenly into the sound of the pouring rain. “That was the best fight I have ever been in,” he announced jovially.

“This happens often?” the man with like hair, but shorter cut, asked incredulously to the rogue. The giant started to laugh as he collapsed to the ground. Soon everyone was laughing except for a very confused Guinevere.

The trouble maker nodded his head after finally being able to catch his breath as he introduced himself to everyone, “The name is Gwaine. Thank you for helping me back there.”

The man who had saved Arthur spoke, “I am Percival. This is Lancelot.”

Lancelot nodded his head and finally caught the gaze of the woman in their group before turning suddenly to the gambler, “You are very welcome.”

Arthur took lead of the travelers as he introduced everyone. After the lady’s introduction Lancelot took her hand and gave it a light kiss, “Pleasure is mine, my lady.”

Gwaine laughed and nudged the noble man, “Ah, she seems the type to want men who have style.” He took her hand from Lancelot and kissed the back the same, “and I am one who has style.”

Guinevere blushed as she saw her brother, and surprisingly Arthur, both bristle to how the men were unashamedly flirting with her. She took her hand back as Gwaine smirked and Lancelot frowned at the man who had moved him.

~*~Tsuzuku~*~

The Storm Chapter Fourteen

Disclaimer: I don’t own BBC Merlin or Disney’s Frozen

Chapter Fourteen

They decided to take turns in the wagon’s chair during their adventure. Leon was walking in front of the chestnut mare trying to keep her walking and pulling through the treacherous mud. Elyan was behind the wagon to push her a bit at points to keep her going over rocks and deep holes. Arthur had the reigns as Guinevere relaxed next to him.

“Do you know the sorcerer who started this?” Guinevere asked the man beside her. Leon and Arthur had kept with them just being knights and didn’t think it would be wise to let them know Arthur was royalty.

“Yes, I did know him,” the blond said over the patter of rain drops.

The woman shifted a bit so that her hood wouldn’t hide the profile of the monarch. “Do you know why he did this curse?” she asked slowly. She really didn’t know whether she should be prying or not, but her curiosity was peaked. “I mean, not that I think you had anything to do with it…” she said hurryingly to reassure the man that she didn’t mean to place blame.

“I am to blame,” he muttered just loud enough for her to hear. The wagon jerked a bit over a rock that hadn’t been sunk into the soil yet. “I… I didn’t know he was a sorcerer,” he continued, “We used to be very close as friends, but I didn’t know he could do magic. He was locked away when King Uther started his purge against magic, so I probably should have guessed something at the time. I was just a kid, though.”

He was rambling a bit, she knew, but she let him continue. She could tell these thoughts had probably been beating into his head for the past week or longer. He cleared his throat, “I dragged him out for… for the king’s coronation. I thought maybe he needed to not be locked away anymore.”

“How long was he locked away for?” Guinevere asked as she tried to do the math into her own head. “Oh God… that is a long time! Did he not have any company during his imprisonment?”

He couldn’t look at her as he studied his boots against the board. She gasped and he elaborated whatever she had been thinking, “I visited him, but I never saw him out of his bed chambers. His uncle was part of the court, but he wouldn’t let me in farther than the main room. That was if he even let me in at all, really. Merlin, that is the sorcerer’s name, only saw his uncle during all of those years.”

Silence fell on them all as the panting of Leon, Elyan and the horse rang through the chilled air. The hoofs beat down in a steady pattern against the chiming of the drops of rain into puddles. There hadn’t been any lightning or thunder for almost the whole day now, but that wasn’t very promising for what kind of night lay ahead.

The woman brought a hand to stroke back a stray black ringlette of hair, “You brought a hermit into a party full of people who would kill him for him being a sorcerer?” She was astounded and shocked.

“I didn’t know he was a sorcerer. I thought he was sick while growing up and then maybe just shy now,” Arthur defended himself. Guinevere looked over at him with incredulous eyes. He sighed, “I know it sounds stupid now, but it’s the truth. I didn’t know.”

“I agree you didn’t know about him being a sorcerer, but why would you drag a hermit into a party filled with knights, nobles, and royalty?” With her saying it that way he held his breath as he thought back to the incident. She was right, really; just as Morgana had been right at the party to tell him to leave the younger boy alone. “What set him off?” she asked.

He breathed in deeply and shook his head. He knew what had done it, of course, “I did. I tried to get him to participate in the fun. I didn’t know he would…” he gestured to the area around them with one large sweep of his arm.

They sat in uncomfortable silence as they both digested their conversation. He really felt stupid and guilty as she tried to figure out the story. Both of their minds swirled in the information.

In front of them the horse gave a soft neigh and her ears started to swivel around frantically. Her flank twitched. Her rear end seemed to want to go faster than her front legs. Arthur gripped the reigns tighter through his soaked gloves as Leon looked up into the whites of the eyes of the beast. Something was wrong and the horse was giving her warning.

Elyan jumped onto the back of the wagon flap and locked his legs around the hinges. Leon grabbed onto the front of the horse’s bit as their eyes all scanned the forest around them to find the sudden danger. The horse bucked a bit, but Leon slowed her to a pace that allowed them to hear better through the dripping.

They soon wished they hadn’t even slowed down. Coming fast behind them was a swarm of creatures larger than the horse in front of their carriage. They ran on six spindly legs and had large crab like claws as their eighth appendage. They seemed to scurry with their body close to the ground, but their tail came up curled behind them. On the end of the tail was a large bulb and a sharp point.

The four travelers didn’t need to see more to know these were dangerous creatures. Quickly Arthur slapped the reigns as Leon jumped onto the back of the horse. They took off in a flash down the decrepit road. Elyan yelled something as he grabbed a sword from his stash and the metal clang against a stinger from one of the creatures.

“Arthur!” Leon yelled out as he pointed the best he could to in front of them. A drop was seen and Arthur knew that their wagon wouldn’t be able to turn fast enough at their break neck speed. There was another side to the sudden gully and there was only one thing left to do.

“Leon, come here!” Arthur commanded. Leon scrambled to the wagon as Arthur picked up Guinevere who had been struggling to fight against her own monster with a sword from the black smith wagon. With all of his strength, the king tossed the woman onto the back of the horse. With a large swoop of his right arm her unsheathed his own sword and through the ropes that bound the horse to the transport. The men felt the wagon lurch without its guide and Guinevere called out to her brother as the horse jumped into the air. The men rushed to the front of the wagon and all leapt as it fell from beneath their feet into a rushing river below. Grabbing onto vines and roots they held fast against the side of the muddy ravine. Using every bit of muscle they had in their arms they shimmied up to the lip and heaved themselves to safety.

Panting with the rain starting to rush down they watched as the eight legged creatures fell to their own doom below. Arthur was glad that the beasts couldn’t jump. He really didn’t know what they would have done if they had been able to make the leap like the horse had.

He fell his head back against the soggy soil and shut his eyes. He would have nightmares for weeks after this, he was sure.

“All of my hard work,” Elyan moaned as he peered down over the side to look at the pieces of wood rushing down the swollen river. His sister jumped down from the back of their horse to lay a comforting hand against his shoulder. “Now how am I to make a living?”

“I’ll replace it,” Arthur said with his eyes still closed. The siblings looked over at the knight and then each other in despair. Even a knight wouldn’t be able to afford a wagon filled with all of the merchandise they had just lost. The weeks of work the two had put into each weapon, cook ware, and metal trinket was now making its way into free hands.

Leon nodded to them that the other knight would be good on his promise. They decided without speaking that they would rest for a while right where they all were.

~*~Tsuzuku~*~

The Storm Chapter Thirteen

Disclaimer: I don’t own BBC Merlin or Disney’s Frozen

A/N: my computer is out of commission for a bit. I am trying to fix it, but it has me grinding my teeth. This was written on my phone. Any mistakes are mine or autocorrect.

Chapter Thirteen

They trudged through the muck of what was once a road toward where the rumors of dry land had been reported. No one was able to get into the clearing that they had seen from another ridge had sun shining. Every person had tried to get through the maze the vines and trees and underbrush had given, but each attempt had just left people confused. They would find themselves on the other side of the clearing or just completely back where they had started from. Arthur was sure that Merlin had created the area just for him. He wondered why the sorcerer continued to plague the lands with the rain, though?

They came over a short hill to see just at the valley before the climb of another hill was a wagon. The horse pulling it was nervous and exhausted. The occupants were out and trying to get the wheels to turn to make it up the other side. One of the two wagon owners slipped on the mud as he pushed against the rear of the cart. A string of cuss words left the mouth of the young man as the knights approached.

The man stood up again and went back to his straining. Arthur took charge knowing that the two wouldn’t get the large wheels out of the thick mud alone, “Get that horse calmed and ready to pull on my mark.” He pointed to the person who was covered in a peasants cloak and hood at the front of the wheels. The person nodded and went to the mare to sooth her.

The rain fell steady but light. The king just hoped it didn’t open up on them yet. “Ready!” he called out as he took up next to the back wheel along with Leon. “Go!”

The soaked people strained against the flooded wood and they felt it starts to give. Slowly with every grunt the wagon moved on and finally up the hill to the crest. The person guiding the horse forced her to pull it to the top as the men leaned down to the heave against their knees.

The three gathered their breath and made to the now still wagon. Arthur looked it over to see what it’s cargo was. The metal inside clanked against each other as the mare shifted in her harness.

“Thank you friend,” the man who had pushed from behind said as he pulled his hood back and offered his hand to the king. Arthur grasped it and nodded. The man was of a dark complexion and strength burned in his brown eyes. “My name is Elyan. I am a blacksmith. This wagon, unfortunately, is a tad heavy for these mud trails,” he shook his head and then turned to the other person, “This is my sister, Guinevere.” The other person lowered her hood. Her hair was pulled back but dark ringlettes fell around and out of the tie. The rain clung to her like the rest of them and Arthur realized she was wearing trousers and not a dress.

He turned back to the brother, “Are you trying to flee the storm?” The man nodded looking grim.

“I can’t keep a fire going since the wet has creeped into every wood we had set to dry last year. There isn’t a place around that can keep a fire going, let alone a fire hot enough to work metal,” the man shook his head and sighed.

“You are going the wrong way to reach Camelot,” Leon pointed back toward where they had come from.

The woman, Guinevere, spoke, “We know the castles are crowded and there is not a way for everyone to survive like that. If sickness hasn’t hit yet than everyone bunched together will surely spread something.” Arthur nodded. He had been hoping to find Merlin before that happened.

“I am Arthur and this is Leon. We are on our way to stop this rain,” the king said.

“Are you knights?” Guinevere asked. They nodded. She continued, “…and you know what started this plague?”

“Yes. A sorcerer has set this on us. We are going to go and get him to stop this,” Leon said.

“How about we join together. There is strength in numbers,” Arthur suggested.

The man and woman looked at each other before Elyan nodded and they continued down the road toward the next town.

~*~Tsuzuku~*~

The Storm Chapter Twelve

Disclaimer: I do not own BBC Merlin or Disney’s Frozen.

Chapter Twelve

He was cold, wet and just miserable. He didn’t mention it, though, since he knew Leon wouldn’t want to hear his king complain. He also had too much pride and too much of being a man shoved down his throat for the words to come to the surface. He knew the knight was also thinking the same things, though, as they huddled into their cloaks on top of their horses. The rain had once again become a fine mist that they breathed in through their mouths. The temperature around their kingdom had dropped to almost freezing as the cold rain continued to pour down from the black clouds above. Without the sun to heat up the ground and bring about the much needed warmth, the area was turning into a constant almost freezing way. They were soaked and had spent the night sitting on a sopping wet log with no fire. There wasn’t any dry wood available any longer in all of Albion. The damp had leaked into every nook and cranny and even into the barns where farmers usually stored their wood to dry.

Arthur sighed against the buckle on his cloak and gripped his reigns harder to keep hold from the frozen feeling in his fingers. Leon came up next to him and asked, “Do you think we’ll find him?”

“I’m sure he is somewhere warm, sunny, and probably has a nice fire going. He’s probably dry,” Arthur groaned. He hadn’t meant for it to come out as a whine, but he couldn’t help it.

“Will killing him stop this storm?” Leon ignored the complaint and continued.

“Killing him?” Arthur turned in his seat to look at his knight, “I’m not going to kill him Leon. I’m going to…”

He didn’t get to finish as a large crack of lightning sounded right above them. It smashed into the top of a tree. Both horses reared up, tossed their riders and took off in a frenzy race into the trees. The young men looked up at the burning top of the tree as the rain decided to become a torrent once again. The fire was put out quickly by nature herself and the men both looked at each other as they stood up to now walk their journey.

“I’ll kill him,” Arthur grumbled as their boots sank into the muddy road. Leon snorted and shook his head.

~*~Ma~*~

They came into the village right before nightfall, which had been happening earlier due to the cloud cover than was normal for their time of year. Ealdor wasn’t a part of Camelot’s kingdom, but it was the birthplace for Arthur’s best friend. He had hoped that his friend would have retreated back to it when he ran from the castle. As he looked around at the dripping roofs and cold buildings, though, he knew his assumption had been wrong. The doors to every one of the houses were left open and he could hear the people coughing inside their dwellings. The rain sickness was very obvious as they made their way down the only road through the center of the village. All of the houses were built simply with wood, none had any glass windows and the storm shutters were swinging loose on some of them, and the dirt floors he could see were a flooded mess.

Arthur continued through with Leon right behind him as they came to the last house on the path. A sandy haired man was shaking out a blanket in front of his door, and Arthur decided he would probably be best to answer questions. “You there,” he called out. The boy, because he was obviously younger than Arthur by a few years, stopped his cleaning and looked up suspiciously at the knights. The king continued as he came in front of the peasant, “Have you seen a boy, about your age, come through here with dark hair and bright blue eyes? He would have come through in the last five days or so?”

The boy turned to his front door and hung his blanket over the back of a chair, “Nope. No one is coming through here. We’re on the outskirts of the kingdom, and everyone is going to the castle to escape the weather.”

Arthur continued with another question, “Is Hunith or Balinor still in this village?” He hoped maybe Merlin’s parents could help him figure out where the sorcerer had fled.

The boy looked confused for a second, “Well, from what I know, they were killed during the purge when our king made an alliance with the king of Camelot over ten years ago. I don’t know which one, but I think they had magic or at least one of them did.” The boy shrugged and went back into his home. The door shut on both of the knights’ faces.

Arthur felt like collapsing into the puddles he was standing in, but his brain was rushing again. His father had killed Merlin’s parents? Did Merlin know? Did Merlin hate him for what his father had done?

Leon grabbed onto his shoulder and they both started to go back through the town again. They needed to wander back into Camelot’s lands and follow the border to where the rumors of nice weather had been sent. Their journey wasn’t over yet, it would seem, and now Arthur wondered what he would actually say to Merlin when he saw him again. How could he ever apologize for the horrible things his father did? Could Arthur trust his friend enough to even allow him to return with magic? His thoughts became even more conflicted.

His father had tortured and harmed his friend, but was it because his friend deserved it for being a sorcerer? Did he really believe that magic was bad? Could Merlin be bad? He knew his friend’s journal inside and out, but now the question really was going to need to be answered: Was he going to follow the law set and kill his friend when he saw him?

~*~Tsuzuku~*~