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Merlin fell onto his bed. The warlock had decided to think, and he knew that he had to really try this time because things were starting to get out of hand. His destiny seemed to be more and more unattainable everyday what with every magical being and beast out to kill ‘The Once and Future King’ most prominent of which being his own sister which was not helpful. Although that was his fault.

“Mer-”

“Shh.”

“I beg you par-”

“Shh Gaius, I’m thinking.” Merlin quipped. He had to concentrate on this because if he didn’t act now then his and Arthur’s destiny may never come into fruition.

“I didn’t know you were capable of such things.” Gaius joked and Merlin’s lips twitched ever so slightly. “May I enquire into what it is you are thinking?” The old physician said.

Merlin sighed. “It’s been eight years since I came to Camelot.”

“And I think Camelot is better for it, don’t you think so?” Gaius smiled patting the young apprentice’s shoulder.

“Perhaps. In these eight years since Kilgharrah told me of my destiny all I have managed to do is to thaw the hatred of magic from Arthur’s heart only to harden it once more repeatedly. I have allowed Morgana to walk the wrong path and I have allowed my kind to carry on suffering when I am here. Something has to change, and it has to happen now.” Merlin blurted out.

“I see. I understand that perhaps you’re attempts to make Arthur see the good in magic have not been so fruitful given the time you’ve had.” Merlin looked at his mentor downhearted. “However, you have done well in terms of your duty to protect Arthur and Camelot though Morgana was an unfortunate loss she was also a prophesised one.” Gaius spoke many levels of wisdom though Merlin could not find it in himself to see the point of his good deeds if they did not help him reach his goal in some significant way.

“I must make him see magic is good.” The young sorcerer concluded.

“You’re 25 Merlin, you are a man and with that comes experience which you have buckets of. I’m sure if anyone can think of a way to make our King see that magic is not evil then it is you, my boy.” Merlin got up from the bench and wrapped his mentor in a tight hug.

“I would never have become the man I am today without you Gaius. Thank you, you are like the father I never had and for that I am eternally grateful.” Merlin pulled back from the hug and fixed Gaius with a caring look which was returned.

“And I the old man I am now. You are the son I never had and that is a gift when you are my age.” He patted the man’s shoulder and began to potter around with his medicines and herbs while Merlin left to seek advice on how he was to make Arthur see what magic really was.

 

O drakon, e male so ftengometta tesd’hup’anakes!

Merlin knew that Kilgharrah would probably want to hear his idea and he could even help him with the formulating of such a plan. He had been telling Merlin that it was his destiny to help Arthur unite Albion and bring magic back to the land for years so hopefully his incessant complaining would be minimal.

Soon the bronze dragon came into view and its large wings blew a gale where Merlin stood.

“You called, young Warlock.” Kilgharrah bowed his head in respect to his Dragonlord and Merlin did the same.

“I did. I have reflected long and hard Kilgharrah and-”

“You’re going to kill the witch?” The dragon said with a hopeful tone.

“No, not quite, my friend.” Merlin smiled. “I want to speed things up a little bit. It has been eight years since I came to Camelot-”

“And I think Camelot is better for it, don’t you think so?” Kilgharrah replied.

“Gaius said the same thing huh…You haven’t been spending time with Gaius, have you? Not having a secret oldies club without me?” Merlin joked.

“Jealous, Dragonlord?” Kilgharrah chuckled.

“Wait you have?” Merlin looked surprised.

“No, young warlock I haven’t. But we think much the same, the old man and I.” Merlin knew that Gaius was once like him and the Great Dragon had contacted him too when Gaius was younger – about a bazillion years ago – Merlin laughed at his own joke. “Is something funny?” Kilgharrah asked.

“No Kilgharrah, sorry. Anyway, I want to make Arthur see that magic isn’t inherently evil and clearly what I’ve been doing so far hasn’t been working so I need a different plan. Any ideas?” Merlin watched the dragon closely as he seemed to concentrate hard on this new information.

“No.” Kilgharrah looked down at Merlin blankly.

“What?” Merlin narrowed his eyes at the dragon.

“I don’t know what you should do. Whatever you do there will be consequences and things you will have to do no matter what you choose.” The overgrown lizard said cryptically.

“So you can’t help me?” The Dragonlord deadpanned.

“Why not just tell him that you have magic and show him all the things you’ve done to protect him and Camelot?” The two exchanged a long glance before Merlin just shook his head.

“He’s not ready to know.” Merlin said solemnly.

“He or you, young warlock?” Before Merlin could formulate a reply Kilgharrah took off into the night.

“I hate dragons.” Merlin muttered as he stormed back into the forest to sleep on some more ideas he had.

 

It was the next morning and Merlin knew what he had to do. He couldn’t ignore what the dragon had said for he was – as always – right. Merlin was scared, terrified even but as Merlin had lay awake he realised that the same situation and his fear of his friend caused Morgana to strive down the wrong path… He would not let his fear stop Arthur from fulfilling his destiny as well.

“MERLIN!” Merlin was thrown from his thoughts as two guards burst into his room with Arthur just behind them.

“Arthur what-”

“Don’t talk Merlin. I can’t bear to listen.” Arthur said solemnly. Merlin noted this dark, underlying anger behind Arthur’s outwardly sombre one and thought it best to keep quiet.

They took him from the chamber and Arthur quietened Gaius’s protests and queries with just a look and proceeded to hold that look against the likes of Gwaine, Leon, Elyan and Percival as well as Merlin’s friends whom were servants.

Nevertheless, the knights followed them in silence not allowing Arthur to rain down on Merlin for whatever crime he had committed. They knew the boyish looking manservant and whatever he had done there was no way it was with ill intent.

The guards opened the throne room and Arthur walked in as did the knights behind Merlin who was dragged in and through unceremoniously onto the floor. Gwaine went to help him up but Arthur turned and raised his hand making Gwaine bow his head and slowly retreat with a guilty look on his face.

Suddenly Gwen rushed through the doors a look of fury on her face.

“Arthur Pendragon! How dare-”

“SILENCE!” He shouted at his wife without mercy that even made her falter. What had Merlin done to elicit this kind of reaction?

Gwen instead opted to sit on the floor with Merlin and her own look of fury told Arthur that she would not be swayed to do otherwise.

“Sire, why has Merlin been taken from his bed like this?” Gaius voiced from the doors of the throne room. Arthur motioned for the guards to close the door behind him.

“Merlin is not the man we think he is.” Arthur finally stated. “The Merlin you all know as loyal, kind and friendly is not real, he is but a mirage.” Even a blind man could see this was not easy to say.

“What proof do you have of such a thing?” Gwen snapped sitting next to Merlin.

“I watched him call and consort with the Great Dragon.” Arthur said quietly, though his words carried through the room and an audible gasp came from Merlin whose eyes widened dramatically. “I heard him distinctly say that he wanted to ‘speed things up a little bit’ and-”

“Wait.” Merlin interrupted. “Is that all you heard?”

“It was enough! Do you deny it?” Arthur bellowed looking more and more like his father the angrier he got.

“No but-”

“So he has been consorting with a dragon which is treason by the laws on magic. Guards! Take him to the dungeons!” Arthur ordered and as the guards came closer Merlin had just had about enough of this.

Astrice!” Merlin shouted as the guards flew back into the door. “Listen to me Arthur Pendragon!” He shouted with a roar that no one had ever heard come from Merlin. The knights drew their swords but with a swift hand movement they all flew out of their hands and imbedded themselves into the chair around Arthur’s head. “If I wanted you dead,” the knights tried to run at him but Merlin used the same spell as before to bat them away. “Then you would be. I have had eight years and limitless magic, I could have killed you the day I walked in here but I didn’t.” Gwen ran to her husband and put her between them but Merlin put her to sleep with a wave of his hand and gently let her fall using magic.

“Who are you?” Arthur whispered. His eyes were frightened but Merlin knew if he was going to know the truth he was going to have to listen.

“I am Emrys, the most powerful warlock to ever walk the earth. I am the man who has stood at your side for eight years and protected you against the likes of Nimueh, Morgause, Morgana and any other enemies that wish to harm you. I am a Dragonlord, son of Balinor who controls and safeguards the last two dragons in existence.” Merlin’s eyes which blazed gold slowly faded as he smiled down at the King. The smile was neither sardonic nor cruel. It could only be described as Merlin’s smile. In a gentle voice he said “But above all Arthur, I am your friend.”

Merlin knelt beside his King and wrapped him in an embrace despite his protests.

“But the guards, the knights, oh my…what have you done to Gwen?” Arthur started to get angrier and more worrisome before Merlin chuckled.

“They are fine, though the guards and knights might have some bruises Gwen is simply asleep. Watch Arthur.” Merlin waved his hand and Guinevere’s eyes fluttered open and the two monarchs quickly grabbed each other and held tight.

“Merlin.” The king said. “If all you said was true and somehow I know it is then I owe you a formal apology. You may leave us.” Arthur smiled while Gwen still looked sceptical and confused however Arthur simply said he would explain later.

“And have the rest of the day off?” Merlin questioned.

“Yes, fine Merlin. I will see you tomorrow where we will have important matters to discuss.” At Merlin’s perplexed face Arthur had his own chuckle.

“The lifting of the ban on magic of course.” He had never seen Merlin happier and that was enough for Arthur.

 

Six months later, the ban was officially lifted. New laws were made to safeguard the kingdom against those with evil magic such as Morgana and her followers although her group thinned as word crossed all seven realms that Camelot had repealed the ban on magic. The kingdoms began to follow by example starting with Nemeth, then Caerleon, Gawant, Mercia, Essitir, Daobeth and Meredor.

Soon enough Albion was united. Magic was restored throughout the seven kingdoms and peace and prosperity was achieved as Morgana ran out of allies and was caught trying to poison the King’s chalice in one last ditch attempt to claim the throne. She was kept in the dungeon for the rest of her days only visited by Merlin, her enemy and yet the only person who could look her in the eyes anymore.

“It’s been five years Morgana. The world accepts our people; the Isle of the Blessed is a fruitful place of magic where the young are trained in all kinds of magic. It is everything we had wished for, everything we worked for and finally we are free.” Merlin did understand that he was and she wasn’t but at least it wasn’t her magic she was put in the dungeon for.

“Do you love me Merlin?” She suddenly said out of nowhere.

“What? Morgana-”

“It’s been five years Merlin. Not one day have you ever not come to see me even when I made it clear I didn’t want to be seen. You came and spoke to me, told me everything about your life, everything from your childhood till your time in Camelot. You explained your choices about me, about magic and about Arthur and when you ran out of things to talk about you started talking about your days in the castle, your worries, your fears and every tiny detail about you. I don’t know anyone like I know you and yet we are enemies, or at least I thought we were.” Silence hung in the air like a noose as it began to constrict around Merlin’s neck.

“Well I wouldn’t have to speak so much if you would engage in the conversation.” He joked and chuckled a little even Morgana cracked a smile.

“Well I didn’t feel like talking to the person who had ruined my life.” Morgana raised her hand before he could speak. “I know why you did it and you know I have forgiven you. Just answer my question, whatever your answer it doesn’t change my sentence. I am here for life, but if I know you love me, life might not be so bad…”

“Morgana I…”