Arthur saw Guinevere yawning next to her brother as they struggled further into the now dense brush. Lancelot stumbled into the back of Gwaine for the fifth time since they had entered the forest. Gwaine mumbled something, but they all knew it would be hazardous if any of them went further apart. It was hard enough on them trying to walk through the ferns and stay in each other’s sights. The king sighed as they once again stumbled past a large tree. They came out the other side and he looked up to search for the bright sun again. In front of him were dark clouds and over to the left of his vision was the bright golden light they sought. “Gwaine!” he called out.
The rogue stopped and everyone turned to where Arthur pointed. Looking back down at the monarch from his outstretched hand the rogue said, “Trust?”
Leon looked over to the light beams that his king pointed to and then over to the darkened sky the drunk was leading them toward, “Arthur, we promised.” The golden-haired man nodded and waved his hand in a gesture for them to continue.
Gwaine grumbled again and they marched on. Far in the distance the sky grumbled along with them. They were sure the clouds would open again and down pour onto them all. They shivered with the thought.
As the sky gave a large burst of light and the resounding crack, they burst through the foliage. Behind them they heard the sound of the large droplets falling, but where they stood was dry. It was like they had walked through the curtain at a waterfall. It caused a few to stumble.
There standing in front of them was a few deer, a unicorn, and a bear all drinking from a stream caused by the rain falling on one side of the clearing to the other. They all stared for a second before Guinevere giggled at the feeling of finally being dry. The men all smiled as well and congradulated Gwaine for getting them in. They all felt elation at their freedom from the storm.
Arthus broke away from the small celebration and looked farther into the clear. He noticed a large tree, or rather three trees twined together almost unnaturally, to create a structure. It looked like a house almost. The others followed as he stumbled slowly toward the abode. hearing their feet crunch against the dry green grass made him realize he had company. His body turned quickly and blue eyes gazed at the crowd. “Uh,” he started and gathered his thoughts quickly, “I don’t think you all should be with me when I confront him.”
“Why not?” Gwaine demanded to know while he folded his arms. “I got you here!”
“And I sent him here with his fear by throwing him into a crowd in the first place,” Arthur admitted. He looked at Guinevere who nodded. She turned to everyone and with her own scowl everyone else nodded too. They didn’t know the story like Elyan, Leon and she did, but they could see that Arthur really did need to go in on his own.
“We will only wait for a bit, Arthur. If you don’t return soon we will come for you. Remember, he is a sorcerer. He is dangerous,” Leon said as he clasped a comforting hand onto the monarch’s shoulder. Arthur gave a quick nod of his golden head and turned back to the tree.
He passed by the animals and watched as they closely eyed him, but they never moved to flee. They felt very safe in this haven from the storm. His body gave tingles as he approached the house of his friend. The magic was thick in the air. He reached the vines covering the entrance to the small tower. he reached forward and parted them to enter inside. “Merlin?” he called into the dim lighten main area.
A gasp was heard and he looked up the spiral wooden stairs that followed the path of the spiral walls. A landing was about ten feet above where the king stood and there stood the sorcerer. Merlin’s eyes were wide in shock and a bit of fear. “What are you doing here?” the dark haired man asked.
“Idiot. I am here to rescue a maiden it seems. Nice tower you made for yourself,” Arthur said as he crossed his arms on his chest.
Merlin scowled as he rushed down the steps to the main floor, “Really Arthur, how did you find me?”
Arthur rolled his eyes, “The bright sun. You have the only clearing in all of Albion! It doesn’t take a genius to find you.”
“Good thing you’re not one, then,” Merlin muttered. Arthur glared a bit at him as he continued, “How did you get in here? I portected this space.” Both men stood threatening to each other and Arthur realized this wasn’t how he had meant this meeting to go.
“Merin, I need you to return with me,” he told the other man without answering his question.
The warlock shook his head and pushed passed the royal toward the vine covered door. He pushed through while talking, “I’m not going to return to just be put on a pyre! I refuse to be executed. Here… here I am finally free. I don’t want to live in solitude within the confines of walls anymore. This is beautiful, free, and I don’t want to return to my imprisonment!” Arthur followed out fast behind him.
“You have to come back! The storm is killing people,” he grabbed onto the younger man’s peasant shirt and forced him to stop. He didn’t want him to leave the place until he could tell him about his companions, but he realized too late that they had left the home.
Merlin’s eyes widened as he spotted the men and woman waiting on the other side of the clearing. From the distance he couldn’t be certain, but he still rounded onto his old friend, “You brought your knights with you to kill me?!”
“No…” Arthur started, but Merlin continued.
“I can’t stop the storm! I don’t even know how I started it! I have never done magic like that before! What you see here is the only deliberate magic I have done in years! I cannot help you! Are you going to kill me now?” he screamed.
Arthur went to stop the magic user from returning to the house. “You need to stop it!” he yelled.
“I can’t! I won’t!” Merlin yelled back. Arthur didn’t know what to do, so he did the only thing he could think at that moment – he pushed Merlin to the ground, straight onto his backside. It was a childish thing, he knew, but he was angry that his friend didn’t care about the people dying across the land.
He was wrong. Merlin did care, but he really didn’t know how to stop something that he didn’t even know how he started. His rear end shot pain through up his back, but his pride hurt more. His chest ached suddenly from feeling betrayed by the only voice he had heard for years. Arthus yelled at him some more, “I don’t care if I have to kill you! Stop this storm! Stop being a sorcerer!” Both of their eyes widened as the king had said something he couldn’t take back. He didn’t mean it, but Merlin was certain he did deep inside.
Both sets of blue eyes were shocked at such harsh words. Quickly Arthur went to apologize as he heard his companions come running to them throuigh the clearing. Merlin’s eyes, though, went dark. “Get out,” he grounded out. Slowly he stood from the ground and didn’t take his eyes away from his enemy. “Get out, Arthur!” he yelled.
“Merlin…” the king started.
The warlock felt another stirring deep inside of him. Feeling trapped as he feared the knights would reach them soon and arrest him, he shouted into the bright sky above, “O drakon, e maia soi ftengometh tes’hup anankes!”