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