“What are they doing in there?” Morgana growled. She was pacing in the driveway. Mordred watched her, while Morgause sat on the hood of Arthur’s car and checked her nails. Behind them, the army shifted and creaked. “And why the undead, sister?” Morgana made a face.
“They are easier to control. The fools inside are probably planning a way to fight back, but they can’t,” Morgause cackled.
“Why?” Mordred questioned the older woman. He knew that she had sent Edwin to blow up the Center, he had overheard her confessing to Freya while Morgana had been distracted by another vision and he was sure she was planning on getting rid of him once this was over.
“How can they possibly win? Two Sentinels and two guides against all of this,” Morgause waved her hand around, indicating the three of them and the army behind them.
“They do have Emyrs,” Mordred reminded.
“As I said before, that crackpot wizard needs to recharge. Healing magic is not his forte and it took a lot out of him to heal Freya. His shield was so weak, even you could break it.”
Mordred glared at her, but didn’t reply. He had wondered why they hadn’t attacked if his shield was so weak, but he had a feeling Morgause wanted to draw this fight out. He turned his attention back to Morgana, who had stopped pacing and was staring at the manor.
“They aren’t alone,” she said dazedly.
“What?” Morgause frowned at her sister.
“The cavalry has arrived.”
“Are you sure this will work?” Gwaine asked as he and Percy pushed a bookcase in front of the manor door.
“No,” Arthur admitted, “but I can’t think of anything else.”
“Are you sure you passed your military strategy class at University?” Elyan questioned jokingly as he and Lance lifted a couch and pushed it against a window.
Gwen and Merlin snickered as they shut the remaining shutters in the library. “That’s all of them,” Gwen stated as she dusted her hands off.
“Good. Mother and Father should have taken care of the ones upstairs,” Arthur glanced around. “I can’t think of anything else.”
“Percy and I will double check upstairs,” Elyan said. He slapped Percy on the shoulder and they jogged upstairs, avoiding Uther and Ygraine coming down.
“Arthur,” Ygraine began.
“Not now, Mother. I need you and Father to go the cellar. You two are the first people Morgana might go after since you caused her the most pain.” Arthur waved aside his mother.
“Arthur,” Merlin chided. He took Ygraine’s hand and said, “I know you did what you felt you had too, and I’m grateful for it. I love Arthur, but right now we have to fix what you did to that poor girl.”
Uther had growled when Merlin touched his wife, but a quick glance from golden eyes silenced him. “And you, Uther Pendragon. Well, it’s a good thing your Guide survived. I’d hate to see the havoc you would have wrecked had she died.”
“Everything is locked up tight up there,” Percy yelled as he and Elyan ran back downstairs.
“Now what?” Lance asked Arthur.
“Gwen and Lance, take my parents to the cellar and lock them up in the wine room, then hurry back here as soon as you can. Gwaine, Elyan, and Percy, man the windows. Let me know the moment anyone approaches the front door.” Arthur pointed at Merlin and then grabbed him by the shirtfront. “You and I, my Guide, are going to see a dragon. And maybe get a sword.”
“I’m sick of waiting,” Morgana whined. She stamped her feet petulantly. “I want my revenge now!”
“Soon sister.” Morgause soothed her sister and hopped off of Arthur’s car. “Even with back up, they can’t hope to beat us.” She walked towards Mordred and looked down at him. “Would you like a toy, little boy?”
“Sure,” he said suspiciously.
The blond grinned at him and conjured a sword from the air and handed it to the boy. He reached out, but paused as Morgana made a pained noise.
“Morgause, no!” Morgana cried as she moved towards Mordred. “He’s just a boy.”
“He’s your Sentinel,” Morgause corrected. “He should protect you. Like a knight. Right?”
“Right,” he replied. He finished reaching out and took the sword from Morgause. It was heavy at first, but he used some magic to compensate.
Morgana bit her lip and stroked Mordred’s hair. Suddenly this plan didn’t seem to be so brilliant. She didn’t think she could take losing another Sentinel.
Merlin and Arthur stumbled their way through the forest, looking for the dragon cave. They had been looking for at least ten minutes, but couldn’t waste anymore time.
“Are you sure there’s a dragon cave around here?” Arthur panted as he pushed aside another branch. He was tempted to let it go and have it smack Merlin in the stomach, but fooling around could happen on another day.
“Yes,” Merlin grunted. “I can feel him. Just wait.”
Arthur paused and turned to watch Merlin. His Guide closed his eyes and stretched his arms out side. Arthur glanced around in confusion.
“What are you doing, exactly?”
“Fine,” Arthur huffed with a roll of his eyes.
Finally, Merlin opened his eyes and smiled widely. “This way,” he pointed west.
“Did you talk to the dragon without me?”
“Just to find out where he is, you baby.”
Arthur made a face at his lovers back, but followed Merlin. Soon, they reached a large cave. Arthur grabbed Merlin’s hand. Merlin gave him a look.
“For safety,” Arthur commented. He wanted to protect his Guide, should anything jump out at them.
Merlin hummed, but didn’t say anything.
Arthur huffed again and led the way inside the cave. “Wipe that smirk off your face or I will.”
“Give us some light, Merlin. I don’t have night vision.”
“John Watson is a freak of nature.”
“Don’t let Sherlock hear you say that.”
“Just give me some damn light you dollophead.”
Merlin chuckled and muttered a spell. A globe of light bobbed ahead of the duo and lead right into an open cavern. They paused before stepping into the area.
“I’m guessing the dragon is in there,” Arthur stated.
“Probably.” Merlin sniffed and took a step forward. “It won’t be too bad, as long as he doesn’t want to talk to long. They could attack the house at any time.”
“And I still need that damn sword Freya mentioned.”
“Ah, the great sword Excalibur,” a deep voice rumbled.
The men jumped and looked up as a great, bronze dragon drifted down from a ledge and landed on a rock in front of them.
“That’s a silly name for a sword,” Arthur muttered as he pushed Merlin behind him.
“Well, I didn’t come up with it,” the dragon rumbled some more.
“Look,” Merlin spoke up from behind Arthur. “We need help. Morgause is attacking the manor with an undead army.”
“Hmm,” the dragon lay down and thought about it. “Steel usually sends the undead back to their rest.”
“Steel? As in swords.”
“This isn’t the 15th century!” Arthur cried. “It’s 2012!”
“So, no swords?” the dragon asked.
“I have some in the manor, but they are for decoration.”
“Are you sure, Young Prince?”
“Why do people keep calling me that?”
Merlin held up a hand before the dragon could talk. “Later. Undead army now. Anything else besides steel?” Merlin pushed his way past Arthur and got closer to the dragon.
“Fire,” the dragon smiled, showing all its sharp teeth.
Merlin swallowed, but didn’t back away. “Right. Steel and fire. I can manage the fire. Can everyone else handle the steel?”
“We did have to fence at school,” Arthur admitted. “But I doubt it’s the same thing.”
The dragon huffed and smoke exited its nostrils. Arthur took a step back, reaching out to pull Merlin back as well.
“Come forward, Young Prince,” the dragon commanded.
Arthur did as he was bid, but reluctantly and with great caution. As soon as he was close enough, the dragon lifted a claw up and brushed it against the Sentinel’s forehead. It muttered in a strange language. Arthur stumbled a bit, but regained his balance quickly. He shook his head and asked, “What just happened?”
“Now you know how to use a blade. Do the same to your companions Emyrs and they shall have the same knowledge. You know the words?”
Merlin nodded. “Yes, thank you. We shall be back once this is over.”
“You had better. It gets lonely in between your visits.” With that, the dragon flew off, leaving the two men behind.
“I have no idea what just happened,” Merlin admitted.
“Yeah,” Arthur agreed. He was still a little woozy from the magic cast on him. He shook his head again and said, “Let’s go.”
“We can’t wait anymore,” Morgana told her sister. She motioned to the army. “They are getting restless.”
Morgause looked around and sighed. “All right. Let’s storm the castle.” She raised her arm and the lowered it, pointing to the manor. “Attack!”
The army swept passed the trio and made its way towards the manor. Undead began to lay siege to the manor. They broke windows, banged on the doors, and even climbed the walls to attack from upstairs.
Morgause smirked as her army broke the front doors down. “Come, let’s see the army in action.” She marched towards the manor, with Morgana and Mordred trailing after her.
Arthur and Merlin barely made it back to the manor before the undead army began attacking.
“Your parents are safe,” Lance called out as they raced back inside.
“Good. All of you line up and hold still. I’ll go get the swords.” Arthur kissed Merlin and rushed off to the room he had termed the armory. The walls of the armory were lined with all kinds of weapons, most of them swords.
“Swords?” Gwaine asked.
“Just shut up,” Merlin ordered.
Gwaine’s mouth snapped shut as Merlin placed a finger on his forehead and muttered the same incantation as the dragon had. Merlin did the same to the others, even Gwen, and watched as they all staggered a little. Arthur came back, ladened with weapons and quickly tossed them out. Everyone seemed surprised when they caught the weapons and didn’t injure themselves.
“Magic,” Merlin grinned. He frowned as he remembered something. “We forgot to get the sword!”
“Damn,” Arthur cursed. “We’ll have to fight with out it.”
“When this is over,” Elyan said carefully. “You will both explain this.”
“Yes,” Merlin agreed. “We should fight the undead now.”
“Agreed,” Gwaine grinned and twirled his sword in his hands.
Everyone rolled their eyes at his antics, but prepared themselves for the coming fight. Gwen flinched as she heard glass breaking and Lance moved closer to her for comfort. She smiled up and him. The first few undead broke through the door. The group gripped their weapons tighter, while Merlin closed his eyes. The others were in a loose circle around him. They needed to give him enough time to not only recharge, but also find out where the army was coming from.
“If I’m right about this,” Merlin said as they waited, “Morgause could just keep calling more to fight us.”
“We need to stop the source,” Percy replied.
“Exactly. Just keep them busy while I find it.”
“If I say it’s this Morgause woman, would that be too obvious,” Gwaine said.
They waited in tense silence until one of the undead broke through. Gwaine charged forward and shoved his sword into its gut. It exploded into dust and another took its place. The others took that as their cue and surged forward, hacking at the undead, cutting off anything in reach. Arthur stayed with Merlin, watching his friends fight. However, he would occasionally dart forward and stab an undead that broke through.
“This steel works wonders,” Elyan said above the clanging of swords and the moans of the undead.
“Yeah, who knew?” Percy replied.
“What do we do once Merlin is recharge or whatever?” Lance asked as he took out two undead at the same time.
“Move back and draw them outside,” Arthur replied. “I don’t want the house to burn down after all.”
“Burn do–oh,” Gwen realized as she swung her sword high, chopping off a head of her attacker. “This is going to give me nightmares later, I just know it.”
“Agreed,” her brother said to her. “But it is so much fun right now!”
Gwaine’s laughter echoed Elyan’s. “Indeed. I believe I’ve figured out our past lives!”
“I’m ready!” Merlin yelled. He turned and ran for the back door, hoping to make it outside before the army reached the back of the house.
“Move back, now!” Arthur commanded as he followed his Guide.
The others nodded and ran after Merlin and Arthur. The army sensed their prey was on the move and made its way after them. Any undead members that got close to the retreating group were quickly dispatched.
“Behind me!” Merlin bellowed. Everyone quickly ran behind the Warlock and waited.
“Any time, Merlin,” Arthur pushed at his lover.
“They have to be far enough away from the house!” Merlin cried.
“Yes, but they are advancing towards us!”
After what seemed like an eternity, Merlin raised both hands and said under his breath, “Forbearnan.”
A wall of flame erupted in front of the group. The undead approaching them were set ablaze. The army halted its advance as the wall of fire did not come down.
“That should keep them out for now,” Merlin said as he turned back to his friends. He noticed their eyes were wide with shock and turned back to the fire he had created.
“But it won’t keep us out, Emyrs,” Morgause purred as she, Morgana, and Mordred made their way through the fire.
Merlin narrowed his eyes. “Morgause, how are you controlling them? Magic and you never got along.”
Morgause chuckled. “You think you know me, Emyrs. Well, you don’t. Things have changed in the past millennia or so.” She nodded to Morgana who waved her hands. “Look what we found in your cellar. Such large rats.”
Morgana produced Uther and Ygraine with a smirk. She pushed them to their knees. Uther looked livid, while Ygraine looked terrified. Arthur tried to run to his parents, but Lance and Elyan held him back.
“Don’t worry brother, I won’t hurt them. Much.”
“Morgana,” Arthur pleaded. “Please don’t do this. It won’t make you feel better.”
“Oh, but it will brother dear. I’ve suffered so many years at their hands and so did my mother.”
“Our mother,” corrected Morgause.
“Yes, our mother. You remember her, don’t you Ygraine,” Morgana hummed as she circled Arthur’s mother. “You chased her out of your house, but didn’t let her take me and instead of treating me as your own, I was treated like a pariah.”
“Not by me,” Arthur stated.
Morgana scoffed. “You were a child. What did you know?”
“I know I love you. I always have. I don’t care about your magic or your visions. I don’t care that we don’t share the same mother. You were always my best friend as a child and I was devastated when Father put you into that asylum instead of helping you. I want to help you, Morgana.” Arthur inched forward with each word he said. Morgana looked more and more stricken as Arthur confessed.
“Morgana, no,” Morgause entreated her sister. “He’s lying to you.”
“I’m not,” insisted Arthur. “Ask your Sentinel.” He reached his sister and parents and stood facing his sister. He reached out to touch her, but put his hand back down when she flinched. “Well, Mordred?”
Mordred cocked his head. “He’s not lying.”
“You never came to see me,” Morgana cried.
“I didn’t know where you were. Father wouldn’t tell me. Let me help you. Please.”
“No!” Morgause yelled. She shoved Arthur back. “Stay away from my sister. I alone love her and no one else. Kill them!” she yelled. Morgause pulled Morgana and Mordred back through the wall of flame and towards the lake.
“The sword!” Arthur barked.
His friends ran forward, surrounding his parents. “We can keep the army at bay as long as the wall holds up,” Gwaine said.
Merlin brushed his fingers over Uther’s and Ygraine’s foreheads as he had with the others earlier. “Give them our swords.”
“Won’t you need them?” asked Gwen.
“No. I’m going to fight Morgause with magic and Arthur, well Arthur is going to get a better sword.”
Before Merlin and Arthur could run off after the trio, Uther grabbed Arthur and hugged him. “Get your sister back for us,” the older man said clearly.
Ygraine’s mouth tightened, but she nodded and swept Arthur’s hair back to kiss his forehead. “Be safe my son. And you,” she turned to Merlin, “keep him safe.”
“I will,” Merlin grinned. He tugged on Arthur’s arm. “Let’s go.”
Morgause ran through the woods, with her sister and Mordred following her. “We need to make it to the lake before they do! That’s where the sword is and that damnable tree!” she called out.
“They are closing in on us!” Mordred announced.
“Ugh,” Morgause said disgustedly as she stopped running. “I’ll take care of Merlin, you two go on ahead.”
Morgana and Mordred nodded as they continued onward. Morgause smiled wickedly. I have a few tricks up my sleeve for you Emyrs.
“They have split up,” Arthur stated as he and Merlin slowed down.
“Morgause is probably ahead.”
“That means Mordred and Morgana are off to the lake.”
“Then that’s where you must go.”
Arthur looked torn for a second. He pulled Merlin close and kissed him fiercely. “When this is over, we are going on a honeymoon.”
“We aren’t even married yet,” Merlin protested.
Arthur raised an eyebrow at him.
“Okay, fine, we are, but mum will want a ceremony!”
“Fine, when this over we’ll have a ceremony and then a honeymoon!”
“Good.” Merlin nodded. He kissed Arthur once more before taking off after Morgause. Arthur watched him go then turned his attention towards the lake. He hoped Freya would keep Mordred and Morgana at bay for as long as possible.
The group left behind watched as the army of undead tried to unsuccessfully break through Merlin’s wall of fire. They stood in uneasy silence until Gwaine spoke up. “Well, what shall we do now? Have a roast?”
“Gwaine,” Lance warned. “Now isn’t the time.”
“Oh I think it’s the perfect time! We are protected by a wall of fire. Merlin is a wizard who made the wall of fire. Arthur has a crazy sister, who is also a witch. And his crazy sister has a crazy sister who controls an army of the undead!”
“Well, when you put it like that,” Percy joked.
“We have to stop this army,” Ygraine said seriously.
“How?” Gwen asked. “Merlin said Morgause controls it, but he also said she can’t use magic,”
“It must be unstable then.” Ygraine looked at her husband, who watched the flames in front of him. The only indication he was listening was the clenching of his jaw. “I used to practice magic. If you aren’t born with it, it’s always unstable.”
“What did Merlin say?” Elyan muttered to himself. “We need to find the source!” he crowed. “Once we find the source of these…things, they should go away and Morgause shouldn’t be able to control them anymore.”
“Where did they come from?” asked Lance.
“The driveway,” Uther replied. He paused as he thought. “Arthur’s car was the only thing in the drive.”
“She must have somehow used that as the source.”
“Arthur is going to be so mad at us if we have to destroy his car,” Gwaine laughed.
“Now we just have to get around this fire and pass all the undead blocking our way,” Percy said.
“Oh, is that all?”
“Gwaine, stop bitching and start thinking! We need all hands on deck for this one!” Lance ordered. “I know this is stressful and strange and down right unusual, but Merlin and Arthur need us. We won’t let them down!”
“That’s right,” Gwen said calmly. She turned to Ygraine with a critical eye. “And I think I know how to get around them.”
Arthur raced down the path to the lake as fast as he could. He had to stop Morgana from whatever it was she was doing. He turned a corner and skidded to a halt to watch as Morgana and Mordred wadded into the lake.
“Morgana!” Arthur yelled. He ran towards them and waded into the lake after them.
“Stay back, Arthur!” Morgana shouted.
She sent some magic his way, but he dove underwater to avoid it. Suddenly, he was being pushed out of the water and back onto dry land.
“What?” Arthur spluttered. He shook his head to clear it, but before he could right himself properly, he heard Morgana utter another spell. It blasted him right in the face. Arthur let out a yell of pain and dropped to the ground.
Arthur was blinded by the magic that Morgana threw at him. He fell to the ground, groping for his sword. However, he had dropped it when he began wading into the lake after his sister and her Sentinel. Once his sight was gone, his other senses overcompensated and Arthur groaned and fell to the ground.
“Ah, look at the big man now,” Morgana laughed. She kicked him in the stomach. “Now how will you stop us?”
“What do you even want?” Arthur moaned.
“Power, of course. What everyone wants.”
“No, Morgana.” Arthur pushed himself up, but Mordred pushed him back down. “Don’t do this.” He grabbed the boy’s leg, gave a tug, and heard him fall backwards. Arthur took a deep breath and tried to focus on Merlin’s heartbeat, even though the Guide was far away. He gained a little control over his senses and managed to stand up. He swayed as he got used to not being able to see, and stretched out his hearing, listening to the movements of Morgana and Mordred.
“I will, do this,” Morgana hissed. “I can take my revenge on your family.”
“It’s your family too. I love you. You’re my sister, why wouldn’t I love you?” Arthur asked. He wanted to swing around to face his sister, but he held himself still. He tilted his head, guessing that Mordred was off to the side. At the moment all he could smell was lake water.
There was a snapping sound and then suddenly a pain in his leg. He heard Mordred giggle, but didn’t waver. He had to stay upright and give his senses more time to adjust to one being gone.
“Stop. Morgana, we never have to see Father and my mother again. You and Mordred can come live with Merlin and me. I just. I don’t want you to be hurt,” Arthur choked out. “I never wanted you to be hurt.”
“Ha!” Morgana scoffed. “Uther told me you never cared for me.”
“He lied. I always loved you and wanted to see you once you left.”
Morgana paused. “Mordred.”
Mordred stopped moving around and said, “He’s telling the truth. His heart beat is steady.”
“Perhaps my sister lied?” Morgana questioned. Her voice was filled with confusion. Arthur knew that his words earlier had made a dent in Morgana’s anger, and he knew he could get through to her if only he a little more time.
“No!” yelled Mordred. “Why would she? She loves you and brought me to you.”
“We would have found you a Sentinel, Morgana. The Center can do that.” Arthur took a breath and smelled his sister’s perfume. She was closer than before. He reached a hand out and felt her grab his hand.
“You would have?”
“Yes. Whatever you want. Whoever you need. Just stop this and come home with me. We can–” Arthur gagged and lifted a hand to drag down his chest. When his hand hit metal and stopped, Arthur knew that a sword was sticking out of him.
Merlin burst out of the woods and into a clearing. He paused to catch his breath and looked around. It was eerily quiet.
“You never were good at hiding, Morgause,” Merlin said. “You always made it too obvious.”
Morgause laughed, but it echoed around the clearing. “I’ve learned many things since you left.”
“Perhaps, but Morgana is the true magic holder in your family. That’s why you need her.”
“Maybe. Maybe not. Shall we find out,” Morgause smirked and fired at spell at Merlin.
He dodged the spell and a group of trees behind him, caught on fire. “You have learned some things,” Merlin snarked. “But not enough.” He watched with satisfaction as a tree limb knocked Morgause to the ground.
“Arthur!” Morgana cried. “What did you do?” she hissed at Mordred.
“He was going to take you from me!” the boy sobbed. “I couldn’t stop myself.” He pulled the sword out of Arthur and dropped it to the ground. “I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!”
“The lake,” Arthur gasped out as he collapsed. “Freya.” He still couldn’t see, but he knew his sister was in a state of panic. He felt Mordred grab one of his hands.
“Come on Morgana, I can’t do it all myself,” he groused.
Morgana huffed and grabbed Arthur’s other hand. Together they were able to drag him to the lake.
Once out in the lake, Morgana shouted in frustration. “Nothing’s happening! Arthur you can’t die!”
“Freya!” Arthur called out weakly. “I need help.”
“Freya please!” Morgana shouted. “I’m sorry we used you. My brother needs help.”
Arthur blinked and saw white. Either my vision is coming back or I’m dying.
Next to him, he heard Mordred sobbing and muttering sorry over and over. He placed a hand on the boy’s head.
“Don’t worry,” Arthur choked out. “I know the feeling of your Guide being taken away from you.”
“Arthur…” Morgana trailed off with another sob.
“If I learned one thing in my time out of the lake, it’s that Sentinels and Guides are important to each other,” Freya’s voice echoed across the lake. “Let him go.”
Mordred and Morgana let go of Arthur and let him float out into the lake. They watched as he was dragged underwater. Morgana gasped and made an abortive movement to go to her brother, but it was too late. Arthur was completely underwater.
Morgause stood with a growl and shook her head. “Enough, Emrys, you won’t get a chance to surprise me again!” She yelled out a spell and Merlin found himself being bound tightly. He struggled against the magic, but to no avail.
Morgause laughed as she watched Merlin struggle. Then she began to strut around the clearing. “Do you know where we are?”
Merlin just glared at her.
“Of course you do, you know everything,” Morgause simpered. “One word and the tree rises from the ground. Then I place you in it, take the sword, and rule the world.”
Merlin grit out, “It doesn’t work like that.”
“How do you know?” she scoffed. “It’s been ages since you were here.”
Merlin was about to reply when he felt a sharp pain in his chest. “Arthur,” he gasped.
“Okay,” panted Gwaine. “Now that we are past the undead, what do we do?”
The group had just run past the undead army and managed to avoid them. They had to fight a few, but the rest were focused on that wall of fire. Currently, they were hiding behind Arthur’s car.
“Hope that Ygraine and Uther keep them distracted long enough so we can find the source of Morgause’s magic,” Gwen stated. She had a hard time convincing Uther, but Ygraine agreed to do magic one more time to help save her son. “So look!”
They all looked around the car for a key or a tin can or something, anything to indicate how Morgause was controlling the undead.
Finally, Lance said, “It’s time to look in the car.” He dove under the car and began searching for a bug or anything else that didn’t belong there. Elyan and Gwen searched inside the car, discarding anything useless and keeping anything they didn’t recognize. Gwaine and Percy searched the trunk and engine respectively, but couldn’t find anything. Gwen brought all the stuff she and Elyan had deemed possible magic artifacts and the group went through them.
“What do we do if we find it?” Elyan asked. “Better yet, how do we know what it is?”
“Break it?” Lance suggested. “That usually works.”
Gwaine held up an old fashioned key. “Anyone know what this is for?”
Everyone shook their heads.
“All right then.” Gwaine snapped the key in half. There was a moment of silence before Gwen peeked around the car.
“Still there,” she said. “That leaves one option.”
They all looked at Arthur’s car and grimaced.
“Arthur is going to kill us slowly,” Percy said grimly.
“Ah, your precious Sentinel,” Morgause chuckled. “Yes he should have been taken care of by now. My sister is so sweet and she listens so well.”
Merlin couldn’t respond, as the pain was overwhelming. He thought he was going to pass out, but managed to stay conscious. He heard Morgause chanting the spell to raise the tree. The same tree Nimueh had tried to put his ancestor in all those centuries ago. The same tree that his ancestor had trapped Nimueh into. It was obvious that Morgause knew how to raise the tree, she had to have learned it to bring Nimueh back, but she had no clue how trap someone in there.
Unfortunately for Morgause, Merlin knew exactly what to do.
While she was busy chanting, Merlin took the time to work on loosening the magic binding him. It wasn’t hard, since Morgause’s magic lost its potency as time went on. Once he was loose enough, Merlin began chanting his own spell, only this one was said in his head.
He cast a small spell to interrupt Morgause’s chant. She stopped, with the tree only having been raised three-fourths of the way and looked towards Merlin’s distraction, seeing nothing, she went back to chanting, not paying Merlin one glance. However, Merlin took the opportunity her slip in concentration afforded him and he slithered from his bonds and hid behind the tree. He let Morgause raise he tree fully before stepping out from behind it and standing right in front of her.
“How?” she snarled.
“Magic,” Merlin smirked.
Morgause howled in outrage and tried to force Merlin back towards the tree. However, Merlin could not be moved.
“I told you,” he intoned. “That’s not how it works.”
He moved to the side of the tree and finished reciting the entrapment spell in his head. Then, before Morgause could follow him, the tree trunk opened up and white light spilled from inside it. Morgause was suddenly ensnared in the light. She began to struggle but it was no use. The light pulled her slowly towards the tree.
Merlin watched passively. He felt a little bad for depriving Morgana of her sister, but Morgause was insane and would never stop and Merlin was the only one capable of stopping her.
Finally, Morgause was pulled inside the tree. She let out a wail as the trunk closed around her, effectively locking her inside. Merlin patted the tree and said, “Go back to sleep my old friend.”
He made sure that the tree began sinking back into the ground before leaving the clearing behind and racing towards the lake.
“All right,” Elyan said. “How do we break Arthur’s car?”
“Obviously we slash the tires, break the windows, and pull the engine out,” Gwaine suggested lightly.
“Burn it,” Percy grunted. He scowled when they all turned to look at him. “Any one else have any other idea on how to completely destroy a car?”
“That will take to long!” Gwen said in frustration. She glanced towards the wall of fire. “I don’t think Ygraine can keep it up much longer.”
Lance frowned as he circled the car. “There’s got to be–” He cut himself off when he saw the canister of gas that Gwaine had pulled from the trunk. He picked it up and shook it. “There’s a lot in here. Who has a lighter?”
Elyan grabbed a lighter out from the debris he and Gwen had pulled out of Arthur’s car. “Here.”
“Wait!” Gwen said. She rummaged through the car once more and pulled out a few things. She stuck her head back out. “Well? Arthur’s going to be mad enough we’re blowing up his car, we don’t need him angry at us for blowing up all his possessions in the car.”
“Agreed,” Percy replied. He took some things from Gwen and set them a safe distance away. “And now we know where to run once we light the car up.”
Once Gwen was satisfied that enough of Arthur’s possessions had been saved, she nodded to Lance. Lance nodded and began pouring gasoline all over Arthur’s car, making sure to get enough on the engine block, before taking the lighter from Elyan.
“Get back,” he said as he flicked the lighter open. The others ran to the spot Percy had marked and watched as Lance tossed the lighter onto the engine. Lance dashed towards his friends and grabbed Gwen. He shielded her body from the heat of the explosion and the glass that flew towards them.
Percy had used his body to knock Elyan and Gwaine to the ground, protecting them from anything flying towards them. He made sure they were all right, before looking at Lance and Gwen. Lance looked panicked.
“Is Gwen okay?” Percy asked.
“Yes, but the undead…” Lance trailed off and the group looked towards the undead army.
“If we blew up Arthur’s car for nothing, I will be furious,” Gwaine groaned. “I don’t want to die for nothing.”
Before anyone could reply, there was a loud popping sound and then another, and another. The group watched as the undead army popped out of existence one at a time. Once the army was completely gone, the wall of fire disappeared as well. The group cheered and hugged each other before running back towards Uther and Ygraine.
“You did it, Ygraine!” Gwen cheered. She hugged the woman tightly, ignoring Uther’s glare.
“Yes,” the other woman said breathlessly. “However it has taken a lot out of me. I must sit.”
She almost collapsed to the ground, but Lance and Percy were faster. The held her arms and laid her gently on the grass. Uther knelt next to her, put her head in his lap, and stroked her hair.
“You did well, my love,” he murmured.
She smiled up at her husband and reached up to pat his cheek. “Thank you. I know how much you dislike me using magic.”
Elyan interrupted the moment by clearing his throat. “Anyway to get in contact with Merlin or Arthur?”
Gwaine sat on the grass and pulled Percy down with him. “We should just wait. They’ll come to us. After all they are the big damn heroes.”
Merlin was panting by the time he made it to the lake. He saw Mordred and Morgana sitting by the edge of the lake and slid down next to them. He grabbed Morgana’s arm and turned her to face him.
“Where’s Arthur?” he shouted.
Morgana just sobbed and pointed at the lake. Mordred moved closer to his Guide and huddled close to her. Morgana used her free arm to hold Mordred close to her.
“I’m sorry Emyrs,” the boy sobbed. “I’m so sorry.”
“What happened?” Merlin’s eyes flashed gold as he tightly gripped Morgana’s arm.
“I stabbed him,” Mordred said flatly. “I thought he was taking away my Guide. I can’t live without her.”
Merlin closed his eyes and let out a shaky breath. That was one of the perils of being an untrained Sentinel or Guide. They didn’t know how to control themselves when their other half was being threatened.
“And then we took him out to the lake, to Freya, but,” Morgana swallowed back tears. “He just went under. I looked for him, but I couldn’t find him.”
Merlin let go of Morgana and sat back in shock. He could feel Arthur faintly, but it was growing weaker.
“Where’s Morgause?” Morgana asked warily.
“Locked in a tree,” Merlin replied numbly.
Morgana trembled, but just held onto Mordred tighter. The three of them sat at the lake edge for what seemed like years, unmoving and watching the water, hoping for Arthur to appear.
Merlin moved to get up, when a hand emerged from the water. It was clutching a sword firmly.
“Excalibur,” Mordred breathed in wonder.
“Arthur!” Merlin cried in relief, as his Sentinel became visible.
Arthur took the sword from the extended hand and made his way towards them. He was soaking wet, his shirt had a huge, bloody hole in the middle of it, but Merlin thought Arthur had never looked better.
“Crying for me already?” Arthur joked as he came closer. “I’m not dead yet.” Merlin laughed and flung himself at Arthur, who caught him cautiously. “Be careful, you dolt. I have a very sharp sword here. Which I can assume I don’t need anymore?”
“You will need it Arthur,” Morgana said, her eyes distant and unfocused. “Someday soon.” She came back to herself, with a small smile. Arthur let go of Merlin to hug his sister tightly. “Thank you,” she whispered. They stepped apart and Arthur immediately grabbed Merlin again.
“We’ll go on ahead,” said Morgana quietly. She tugged Mordred behind her and left the two men alone.
“Arthur…” Merlin trailed off. He had come so close to losing his other half and he had no words to expressive his satisfaction that everything was okay.
Merlin leaned in and kissed Arthur hotly. “I still want a ceremony, but we can have two honeymoons right?”
Arthur laughed loudly and kissed Merlin’s temple. “Anything you want, dear.”
Lance’s head snapped up as heard Arthur, Merlin, Mordred, and Morgana approaching. “Here they come!” he said excitedly. He stood up and gripped his sword and glared at Morgana and Mordred.
“It’s okay, Lance!” Arthur cried out. “Merlin and I fixed everything.”
Gwen stood as well and ran towards Morgana. She swept her old friend up in a big hug, and then kissed the top of Mordred’s head. Arthur looked over his friends, before seeing his mother lying down.
“Mother?” he asked as he made his way over to her. “Are you all right?” He sank down next to her and held her free hand.
“I’m fine, dear. I just used some magic. I’m not used to it anymore and I used it for far too long. Some rest and I shall be right as rain once more,” Ygraine said softly.
“Magic?” Arthur shot a look to his father, but Uther just looked away.
“It was my idea,” said Gwen as she dragged Morgana over. “Your mother kept the undead army occupied while we figured out how to stop them.”
Arthur nodded, kissed his mother’s hand, and then stood. He took Morgana’s hand and said, “Morgana and Mordred shall be living with Merlin and I.” He glanced at Merlin, to make sure that was okay. His Guide nodded, so Arthur continued, “You will start being polite to Morgana and she won’t stop using magic. If you care for her and me at all, I suggest getting your heads out of your asses. I, of course, shall come for visits, but not long ones. Not until you accept my sister.”
Uther nodded, before helping Ygraine up. Ygraine stared at her son sometime, before smiling and kissing his cheek. “My darling boy. It shall be as you wish.” Then the older couple made their way back inside.
“Should we help them clean up?” Gwaine asked. He was still lying on the grass in between Percy and Elyan, with a hand clasped onto both.
“Probably. They’ll get a hotel tonight though; maybe even get out of England for a while. We can clean up while they are gone,” Arthur suggested. He took Merlin’s hand in his and dragged his Guide away from the group. “Now that is over, I’m taking my Guide and going home to sleep for a week.”
Merlin frowned as he was pulled along. “How did you stop the undead?” he asked as he and Arthur got closer to the driveway.
“Uh, well, about that…” Lance started. He was cut off by Merlin’s laugh of surprise.
“What happened to my car?” Arthur yelled.
Months later, Merlin was sitting in a room at the Center with Morgana and Mordred. It was tucked away and no one used it anymore, so Merlin thought it would be the perfect spot to train them in the practice of magic.
“We won’t ever be like you, Merlin,” Morgana said. “My magic is mostly fire and visions.”
“I know,” Merlin replied. “But it’s always useful to know how to control it, especially if you have a vision in public. We can’t even blame that on Sentinel senses.”
“Speaking of which,” Arthur said from the doorway. He had managed to open the door without anyone hearing him. “It’s time for Mordred and I to go train.” He motioned for the boy to come with him. Mordred kissed Morgana’s cheek and then followed Arthur out of the room.
Morgana sighed as she watched them leave. She turned to see Merlin watching her. “What?” she asked.
“Why does Arthur still need Excalibur?” he asked quietly, as the door was still wide open.
“I just feel that he has to keep it. You never know when another crisis will pop up.”
Merlin exhaled, “Don’t remind me.”
Morgana giggled and poked Merlin in the arm. “I demand Guide lessons now.”
“You are so much like Arthur, it’s terrifying,” Merlin groaned. “All right, then. Impress me.”
Morgana threw her head back and laughed. Merlin grinned at the sight. He knew things wouldn’t be easy, but he knew they would get better.
Morgause grunted as she walked around the empty space. Nimueh was sitting down with her eyes closed, meditating.
“How can you just sit there?” Morgause growled.
“I’ve been here before. We can get out again and avoid Emyrs if at all possible.”
“I want my sister back!”
Nimueh opened her eyes and smiled widely. “Then you better start planning.”
The Great Dragon shifted in his sleep. Things were afoot, but with Emyrs and the Young Prince together once more, things shouldn’t get too out of hand. Although, he thought. One never knew. He opened his eyes slightly and looked towards the exit of his cave.
Perhaps it was time to make a reappearance.