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King of Emlet

Chapter Text

Merlin did something stupid. He used magic in front of Arthur. Merlin couldn't bring himself to look into Arthur's face, he knew what he would find. Anger, hurt, betrayal, and a million other emotions all expressed in his eyes.

"A-Arthur..." Merlin stuttered his way through the king’s name.

"No Merlin, you don't get to call me that. Get out of my sight, if I ever see you again I will kill you!" Arthur roared. Merlin didn't know what to do. He stared at his king and his friends before turning and running as fast and as far away from Arthur as he could, tears streaming down his face. Gwaine turned to Arthur furious.

"What the hell princess? Merlin saved our lives and you go and banish him!" Gwaine all but shouted, feeling betrayed on Merlin’s behalf.

"He used magic Gwaine, he knew the law and he learned it anyway!" Arthur snapped at the roguish knight. Gwaine glares in turn.

"Who cares if it was magic, he saved our lives!" Gwaine growled. Before Arthur could counter, Leon spoke up, ever the mediator.

"Gwaine, Arthur is still your king. Arthur, you need to calm down; yelling won't help the situation. In the morning we will head out for Camelot, we can finish this talk later." begrudgingly Arthur and Gwaine agreed.

 

Merlin ran all night, his feet carrying him without conscious thought. As he ran he tried to process what had just happened. When he could run no more he sank down onto the nearest tree, crying his heart out till he was numb. The snap of a twig brought Merlin out of his daze. Taliesin stood in front of him. Merlin leaped up to his feet. He didn’t know he had run to the Valley of the Fallen Kings, he wondered bitterly if destiny had a hand to play.

"Emrys, I wish we could meet in better circumstances, truly I do. But, your destiny is not yet over." Hope sparked in Merlin’s heart at Taliesin’s words, but he squashed it down and shook his head.

 "Hello Taliesin, I'm glad to see you, but I failed my destiny, Arthur hates me," Merlin whispered, fresh tears welling in his eyes.

"You have not failed yet, there is another part of the prophecy you have not heard. In Albion's most hopeless hour, Emrys is to claim his birthright and rule a kingdom of magic, free from persecution."

"Rule a kingdom, I can barely get one prophecy done and now another one!" Merlin grumbled at his luck.

“You are so much more, I can show you. The crystals call to you, "Taliesin’s voice comforting like that of a small child; Merlin hated that tone.

"No, no they bring nothing but misery!" Merlin desperately tried to find a way out of the situation he has found himself in.

Taliesin remained unaffected by Merlin’s shouting, "If you do not, magic users will forever be caged," Merlin thought a moment, could he really condemn a whole community because he was unwilling to look into a rock? No, no he couldn’t.

"Alright, fine" sighing as Taliesin just smiled before leading the way into the cave. 

The crystals seemed to come alive, shining brightly as Merlin came deeper into the cave. They both stopped in the middle where Taliesin gestured to one of the many crystals. Reluctantly, Merlin reached out for a crystal.

Merlin felt his reality shift into the future of a magnificent city that towered over the trees. The vision shifted to children watching a puppet show supported by magic instead of strings, it swirled and Merlin saw magical creatures he didn’t even know existed. Again and again, the vision shifted and twisted forming images almost too fast for him to see before it stopped to show himself kneeling before a dais as a glittering gold crown with intricate details, sapphires, and diamonds is placed upon his head. The images stop and Merlin pulls back to reality once more.

Merlin stumbles back before regaining his balance. He took a moment more to organize his thoughts.

"You are more than a peasant, your father was a noble descended from the fisher king, making you the only living heir." Taliesin stared at Merlin, eyes seemingly gazing into his soul as he spoke.

"Wouldn't I have an illegitimate claim though, my parents never wed?" curious about his father's heritage.

"Your parents unknowingly performed a ritual wherein the kingdom of Emlet is considered wed. You were born in wedlock, therefore have a legitimate claim to the throne. The land will answer to no one but an Ambrosius." Merlin stood gawking, he didn't know how many more surprises he could take.

"Rest and in the morning your guide should be here." with Taliesin’s final words he faded as if he were never there.

Chapter Text

Merlin woke up to Taliesin standing over him, smiling once he saw Merlin was awake. Merlin’s still half asleep mind could smell food. Slightly confused, Merlin got up to notice someone watching in the shadows of the dimly lit cavern. The man stepped out of the shadows to reveal Alator of the Catha. Alator bowed.

"I figured you would be hungry Emrys. It will be an honor to be your guide." respect practically dripping from his words. Merlin didn't know what to say and just settled with a quick thank you. Alator joined merlin for breakfast idling conversing before cleaning up and saying goodbye to Taliesin to starting on their journey to the Perilous Lands.

The walk would have been longer had Alator not brought horses. They rode in companionable silence, neither wanting to break the natural silence of the world. Merlin wondered how nature can fix itself, he was having a hard time trying to get rid of the last thing Arthur said to him. Merlin guessed just like nature, time would heal the hurt. 

After a few hours they reached the border, Alator said it was a journey he would have to undergo himself to truly accept that he was king of Emlet.

Merlin decided to use a “travelers spell” to increase the distance traveled with each step since he had to go to the very center of the land. Merlin had been discovered by some wyvern, easily sending them away in dragon tongue. The sun started to set by the time he arrived at his destination.

 Merlin summoned his Sidhe staff and with a twisted pop was in his hand. Merlin knew he had to accept that he would rule a kingdom, have people who would rely on him, and has royal blood flowing through him. Merlin Emrys Ambrosius King of Emlet. Merlin closed his eyes before banging the staff hard on the ground willing the land to work with him and through him. For a second nothing happened prompting him to wonder if it worked before droplets of rain began to fall from the clouds.

A few minutes was all it took before the earth began to respond. All sorts of flora began to grow and the animals started to return. Merlin could feel the slight tug from his gut to the north which he followed. An hour after the sunset he could see the silhouette of the citadel begin to rebuild itself. By the time he arrived, it was restored to its former glory and Merlin had to say it was glorious. He had never seen a castle as beautiful; Camelot didn't hold a candle to Emlet.

 

Merlin wandered around till he reached the entrance. He then decided to take inspiration from the architecture and have the crest of the kingdom be the angel holding a shield and sword, with blue and silver. The further in Merlin got, the more he fell in love with it. To Merlin's surprise, Grettir was waiting at the doors.

"Ah, magic, finally came to restore the land. I came to pledge my loyalty to you Emrys," came Grettir’s voice, mostly serious with an underline of teasing.

"Yes, well I didn't know I was supposed to till yesterday, so I hope you can forgive me. I welcome all the help I can get and I hope to prove myself worthy of your loyalty," Merlin felt a bit out of his depth as he answered as truthfully as possible.

"Spoken like a true king. Now you need to call everyone with your magic, creatures included or you won't have any subjects to rule over," playful smirk in place.

"Oh right..., how do I do that?" Merlin sheepishly shuffled his feet.

Grettir sighed, "We will have to start you up on lessons. Just focus on your magic to connect with everyone, you will know if it works."

Merlin concentrated on the magical creatures, the people, the spirits, his mother, Kilgharrah, and Gwaine. When he felt everyone, he broadcasted a general message to all; and sent personal ones to the few that remained of his family. Merlin asked if they could go inside, connecting with thousands of people used a lot of magic; he was ready for a nice long nap.

 

Chapter Text

 

The king's party made it back in record time. Gwen and Gaius were waiting on the steps when they both noticed Merlin nowhere in sight; Gaius was the first to ask.

"Sire, where is Merlin?" Gaius was hesitant as the king slightly glared at him. 

"We should talk inside Gaius," voice breaking no room for argument.

"Of course, sire," bowing his head before following after his king. Everyone walked in silence until they made it to Arthur's chambers. Once the door was bolted, Arthur turned to Gaius.

"Did you know Gaius?" voice clipped in an effort to restrain himself.

"Did I know what sire, what does this have to do with Merlin?" worried for his ward could have done.

" Did you know that Merlin had Magic, Gaius?" Gaius froze, bowing his head in defeat, sitting slowly down in one of the seats in the room.

"Yes, I did know. I'm assuming I won't see Merlin again." Gaius’ voice threatening to break as it was said as a statement, not a question.

"You would be correct Gaius, I hope I don't have to exile you as well." Gaius meekly nodded his head, mind preoccupied about losing as close to a son as he will ever have. 

Gwaine was silent during the exchange, trying to rein back his anger at Arthur. Once Arthur dismissed everyone, he headed to the training field to attack some dummies. By the time the sun began to set there wasn't a dummy that wasn't in splinters. Gwaine was walking back to the knight's wing when something pulled on the back of his mind. Pulling it to the front, he waited and listened.

"Hello, Gwaine." a familiar voice called out in his mind, Gwaine could practically picture Merlin smirking.

" Merlin! How the hell are you doing this?" he thought, excited about getting to speak to his first true friend again.

"Magic. I could use your help. Can you meet me at the border of the Perilous lands?" Merlin sounded worried and that was all Gwaine needed before readily agreeing.

"Of course Merlin, I'm not so close-minded as the princess." Merlin laughed in Gwaine's head. He had never been so happy to hear his friend’s laugh.

"Great, if you leave in the morning you should reach it around mid-day overmorrow," his voice more confident knowing Gwaine was coming.

"Tomorrow it is." Smiling before Merlin cut the connection leaving his mind once more empty.

 

Gwaine left at dawn, leaving a note saying he was going to find Merlin for Gaius. For hours Gwaine contemplated how Merlin was doing and why he would go to the Perilous lands of all places. Gwaine’s thoughts drifted to Arthur, he didn't feel like coming back to serve Arthur, especially since the only reason he really became a knight of Camelot was for Merlin. By the time Gwaine reached the bridge the sun was high in the sky. The dwarf was standing there like last time.

"Strength has arrived for Magic. He is expecting you. Better not be late." Disappearing before finishing his last word. Gwaine walked to the other side of the bridge where the scenery had changed from desert to a lush green forest. Gwaine wondered if it was Merlin. It would be a very “Merlin” thing to do; restoring a whole kingdom. Gwaine was pulled from his musings when he felt a pull to the north. He decided it was most likely Merlin, sp he followed the invisible path.

When he could start to see a magnificent castle, Gwaine knew Merlin had to of done it. Gwaine had never seen a kingdom look so magical. Gwaine thought it was an interesting choice of living for Merlin. Gwaine reached the castle where he saw Merlin rushing down the stairs before locking him into a bone-crushing hug.

"If I knew you missed me this much I would have come sooner." Chuckling at his friend's antics.

"Sorry, but it's been kind of lonely here, no one else has arrived yet. I've been stuck with Grettir." slightly breathless from running from the other side of the castle.

"I heard that Emrys!" Grettir yelled without appearing. Merlin and Gwaine laughed finally pulling apart.

"I see what you mean, but why come here?" finding Merlin's choice of stay intriguing.

"Oh, that's a bit of a story," mumbled Merlin not sure how to start.

"We have time." reassuring his friend he wasn’t going anywhere.

So Merlin recounted his tale of running to the Valley of Fallen Kings, meeting Taliesin, looking into the future from the crystal cave, and finding out about his ancestry. He told him of his journey and how he truly accepted he was to be the King of Magic according to Grettir. By the end, Gwaine didn't know what to say to his friend and settled for whistling and asking for a drink.

 

Chapter Text

After yesterday Merlin's schedule was jam-packed, whether it was magic lessons, training with Gwaine, King duties with Gettir, or planning ahead for his people to start arriving. The magic lessons were fun for the most part, excluding healing magic. Training with Gwaine was much better than being beaten like a sack of potatoes by Arthur, he was getting better now that he actually had time. Those were going great, the problem was learning how to run a kingdom, and talking politically, he's never had to be so careful with his words, say the wrong thing and it could lead to war. That said Gettir was a good teacher, he makes the lessons bearable with his sarcastic comments, occasionally letting Merlin join in.

While Merlin's schedule remained chaotic for the foreseeable future Gwaine's left him bored. Most of the time he would follow Merlin, seeing as how there was no one else to talk to at the moment. When he wasn't doing that he was training or trying to annoy Gettir( it usually ends with him having pink hair or turning his sword into daisies for a few hours). So, safe to say Gwaine was bored.

By noon of the third day since Gwaine's arrival Gettir messaged Merlin about visitors at the bridge. Merlin and Gwaine practically leaped out of their seats, both ready for something different. Gwaine was hoping for something calming having noticed how stressed Merlin was, not that he would admit it but he cared about him. Merlin, however, was oblivious to Gwaine's train of thought, thinking, no, hoping it would be some kind of magical creature, he didn't care if it was a griffin as long as it wasn't people. He didn't know if he could handle the stress or possible looks of disappointment if he failed them. By the time they reached the bridge both were so lost in thought neither noticed that Gettir had placed a magical barrier in front of them. The result of which landed them walking start into it, both groaning in pain at the impact. Merlin shot him a glare that let him show his annoyance, while Gwaine looked ready to run him through. Grettir smiles cheekily.

" Now do I have your attention?" Sounding way too amused about them running into a wall. Merlin mutely nodded.

" Now, most are magical creatures for now." pointing towards the forest where many different species were coming out of hiding. From Pegasus to Unicorns, Griffins to Hippogriffs, and House-elves to almost any other creature you can imagine. Merlin having read some of the books on magical creatures available in the library bowed to the Hippogriffs and Griffins, who bowed in return, Gwaine followed suit. He met with the Elder of each the Pegasus' and Unicorns respectfully and introduced himself to the house-elves who returned the favor.

Finally, after Merlin noticed the sun begin to set ushered the creatures to follow. Along the way, the large group began to disperse accordingly. The griffins headed towards the mountains with the hippogriffs, unicorns mainly stayed together out in the forest. This went on till the house elves and the pegasus were left. Merlin and the Elder spoke telepathically, stating that Merlin could use them for transportation when needed, if only to call. The house-elves made their home in the castle, happy to serve. By the time Merlin got into bed, he was out.

Chapter Text

 

The day after the magical creatures were settled in Merlin and Gwaine met Grettir at the border again. Merlin could see the silhouette of a woman, a very familiar one he has looked at for eighteen years before he left for Camelot. 

"Mother!" Slightly breathless for having not seen her in two years. Hunith turned and was welcomed in a gentle yet fierce hug from her son.

"My dear boy, I missed you too. I'm sorry about Camelot, but why have you come here?" Questioning eyes met sheepish ones.

"Well, apparently my father was a descendant of the fisher king, and you unknowingly wed each other according to Emlet laws. I have a legitimate claim to the throne." Hunith had tears in her eyes as she hugged her son again.

"I'm so proud of you, never forget that." Hunith dried her eyes." Now, how about you introduce me to your friend." Merlin blushed having forgotten Gwaine when he ran towards his mother.

"Mother, this is Gwaine, former knight of Camelot, current knight of Emlet, and the best friend I could ever ask for." Smiling proudly as Gwaine took Hunith's hand to kiss.

" Pleasure to meet the one who gave the world Merlin." Devilishly handsome smile playing on his face. Merlin rolled his eyes.

" Let's get inside before it gets dark." Merlin whistles and two beautiful pegasus and an alicorn land, each a different color. Merlin climbs atop the jet black alicorn female named Eclipse. Gwaine joined the sandy-colored horse named Noble. Hunith is helped up by magic steps, to sit on a pure white pegasus named Odessa.

 

Merlin's Alicorn Eclipse Odessa Noble

Once up in the air Merlin couldn't think of anything better than flying, the whole world feels quiet and at peace. Being able to touch the clouds and feel the wind on your face and through your clothes is exhilarating. Looking back Gwaine has a painfully bright smile on his face and his mother has a soft smile, but nervous eyes. An hour later the Citadel comes into view and Hunith releases a gasp at the beauty. Descending into the courtyard finds Merlin's and Gwaine's self-appointed house elves, Torry and Roody respectfully and Minsy. Climbing down and thanking the pegasus they greet the house elves and introduce them to Merlin's mother.

"Pleasure to meet you, Lady Hunith" Torry bows first followed by Torry and Minsy.

"Oh no, I'm no lady," looking uncertainly at Merlin who gives a smile.

"Of course you are, you King Emrys’ mother, makes you Queen-Mother," Hunith looks over to her son looking faint. Merlin steps forward.

"Right, I suppose Minsy has asked to look after my mother," eyes drifting from Torry to Minsy. Minsy nods and starts to show Hunith around the castle. Gwaine turns to Merlin.

"Well, fancy a pint now that your mother's here, only means people are going to start showing up soon," Merlin huffs a sigh.

"Why not, I won't have time to myself anytime soon" shaking his head, yet shows a small smile tug at his friend's antics.

"That's the spirit!" Clapping Merlin on the shoulder before leading him inside while telling his exaggerated tavern stories.

 

Chapter Text

 

Merlin bolts up from another nightmare, his brain replaying the night he left. The bright light from the morning sun pools into the bed, not helping his headache. He vaguely remembers making the cutlery sing and dance as per Gwaine's request, now he remembers why he doesn't drink, he's a lightweight. Torry appears with a pop that sounds like the warning bells in Camelot to his ears.

"Torry apologies King Emrys, but the Queen mother would like you and Sir Gwaine to breakfast with you both this morning." Merlin hums and walks behind the screen as Torry passes him his clothes. When he's finished he as quietly as possible opens his door and tiptoes down the hall as Torry leads him to a quaint dining room.

 

The Dining room

Merlin greets his mother with a quick hug and thanks, Torry, as Gwaine comes in looking way to chipper for drinking more than Merlin did last night.

"Morning Merlin, Hunith, "Gwaine greets in a sing-song voice. Merlin grunts while Hunith sends a soft smile, passing both men a jar. Merlin smells it before knocking it back with a grimace, Gwaine follows suit with a questioning glance.

"Why'd you smell it, Merlin?" washing to taste down with the mulled wine.

"I wanted to see what it was, it's Gaius' hangover cure. I'm surprised you didn't recognize it with how often you drink." Gwaine sends a mock glare before sitting, Merlin following. Hunith shakes her head fondly as the food pops in. The three make small talk about plans for the kingdom.

"Mother, would you mind looking after the finances, and the household, seeing as you've done it in Ealdor, I wouldn't trust anyone else to do it." Hunith stuttered before asking if he was sure. Merlin was. Grettir appears three-fourths of the way through breakfast.

"Sorry to interrupt, but the druids are here." Merlin stiffens, takes a deep breath while trying to relax his posture. He stands, kisses his mother on the cheek, and motions for Gwaine to join him.

 Once they make it to the balcony he whistles twice and Eclipse and Noble join the two, who promptly swing themselves onto their respective rides. The hour journey from flying horseback goes by far too quickly for Merlin's liking, while Gwaine tries to distract him up with corny jokes.

They land on their side of the bridge and walk the rest of the way towards the druids. Merlin's hands shake the closer they get, he tries to stop them by holding his hands behind his back, but gives up as it does nothing to help his growing nerves. The resorts to using magic to will his hands to stop shaking. Gwaine gives him sidelong glances as they walk. 

The druids sense the powerful magic that is Merlin and come out of the trees to the open space before the bridge. They bow while Merlin nods. 

"We did not know when this day would come, but we are happy to have the chance to live in peace." Iseldir, the tribe leader spoke.

"You will always be welcome. I hope we can build a better future together."

"And we shall under your leadership." Merlin nodded and led the way for everyone to follow.

"About that, I was wondering if you and the other leaders would be on my council," Merlin inquired.

"It would be an honor Emrys," The journey on foot took about an hour and a half, but with more people, it took about two. Along the way, Merlin, Iseldir, and a few of the other tribe leaders were in a group discussion about the council and would start to make preparations for settling and getting jobs to those who wanted and needed them. Once they did make it though everyone was speechless as Merlin made their way past the citadel to show the druids where they would be staying.

 

 

 

 

Everyone was rendered unable to speak again at the sight of the druid’s new home, even Gwaine who had yet to see what Merlin had done with the help of magic lessons from Grettir.

"Merlin mate, I knew you could do magic, but I didn't know you could do something like this!" Letting an appreciative whistle at the sight. Merlin gave a Sheepish shrug.

"The druids have really helped me over the years, I thought to repay them was the least I could do,” giving a grin toward Isledir who returned it with a nod.

Iseldir bows, "This is more than enough. On behalf of our people, thank you."

"You're very welcome. Come to the castle if you ever need anything and the council shall convene in a week's time so that everyone will be there."

"Of course," leading his people to help settle.

Merlin and Gwaine left so the druids could get settled in peace, they split ways so Merlin could meet Grettir for more lessons and Gwaine to find a pint.

Everyone was speechless, even Gwaine who had yet to see what Merlin had done with the help of magic lessons from Grettir.

"Merlin mate, I knew you could do magic, but I didn't know you could do something like this." Letting an appreciative whistle at the sight. Merlin gives a Sheepish shrug.

"The druids have really helped me over the years, I thought repaying them was the least I could do, like make their home special and magical like the rest of the kingdom."

Iseldir bows, "This is more than enough. On behalf of our people, thank you."

"You're very welcome. Come to the castle if you ever need anything and the council shall convene in a week's time so that everyone will be there."

"Of course."

Merlin and Gwaine left so the druids could get settled in peace, they split ways so Merlin could meet Grettir for more lessons and Gwaine to find a pint.

 

Chapter Text

Gwaine was bored as Merlin was busy with whatever it was that soon to be kings did, seeing as his coronation isn't supposed to happen until everyone arrives. Gwaine decided to familiarize himself with the castle as Merlin had made him the first knight. He started in the throne room.

Gwaine hoped Merlin knew he believed in him and of the kingdom he can create as he made his way around the room.

Gwaine tried to imagine Merlin in council in these chambers. He wondered why there wasn't a roof, maybe for a dragon. He thought Merlin mentioned knowing one, but he couldn't be sure, so let his fantasy be. By the time he finished looking around his stomach growled and tried to find his way to the kitchen. he got turned around and stumbled into a few extra rooms, but eventually found his way.

The kitchen as easily bigger than Camelot's, also more interesting and efficient looking. House-elves were busily running about, either cleaning or cooking for the feast for the arrival of the druids. Gwaine swiped a few meat pies, but as he put it in his mouth it disappeared before it could get close. One of the house-elves huffed before handing Gwaine a sandwich, she also told him if he tried to pilfer he wouldn't be allowed in the kitchen again. Gwaine thanked the house-elf and hastily retreated.

Gwaine assumed this was the dragon stables Merlin had talked about one day, apparently Ambrosius' were dragonlords and with the dragon's permission could ride them.

Gwaine found his way to a tunnel from the dragon stables that led to the horse stables. What surprised him was that not only were there horses of rare and unique colors, but some of the pegasus were their as well( namely Noble, Odessa, and Eclipse). Gwaine marveled at his favorites.

Gwaine never thought animals like this could exist. When he recognized his favorites as the elders of each herd, horse, unicorn, and pegasus. (Ignore the horn of the 3rd.)

Gwaine only peeked into the library not wanting to get lost, he knew if he brought Merlin with he wouldn't see him for days after researching everything he could.

 Gwaine got lost again and ended up finding Merlin with his head stuck in a book in his study. Merlin hadn't even looked up when he went in or back out.

Gwaine called for Noble to take him to see the griffins, as they lived in caves, he hoped to spot one or two.

Sadly Gwaine only saw a mother and her baby, but it was better than nothing. Gwaine decided to see if he could find any hidden places before heading to the market square.

Gwaine found two areas but he didn't know which he liked better, the first was more awe-worthy while the second felt more relaxing.

If Gwaine bought an apple that's his business.

Gwaine flew over what Merlin had finished yesterday, which was a magic school for anyone to learn.

Merlin had even built a place of the fairies and fae to stay. The second to last place was where the Catha would stay.

Gwaine did a flyover of the city, Merlin had really outdone himself.

By the time Gwaine got back to the castle, it was time for the feast, after about four hours both Merlin and Gwaine retired for the night.

Gwaine's room matched his ruggish personality. It seemed either the castle or the house elves knew what he liked, he was too tired and drunk to care.

Chapter Text

 

The feast for the druids lasted well into the night, celebrating the kingdom that would help usher in a new era of peace. Merlin left them early to prepare for the Cath’s arrival the following day, along with Kilgharrah, bringing life-changing news apparently. He left with Gwaine steering him towards his room before heading to his.

Merlin was awoken by the beating of wings and he quickly dressed and headed to the dragon stables to meet Kilgharrah. Kilgharrah landed as Merlin rounded the corner.

“Young warlock,” tone fond as he gave a slight bow of his head.

“Kilgharrah old friend, where have you been?“ worry showed on his pale features.

“I apologize, Merlin, I have heard rumors about a possible dragon egg, I had to find out what I could about the last of my kin. I am old Merlin I will not live forever, I do not want to be the last kind when I die.” eyes softening at the worry his dragonlord showed.

“I promise I’ll do everything within my power to find it.” Merlin’s posture radiated determination at the old dragon’s explanation.

“I would expect nothing less from you, not only as my dragonlord but as one I have come to think of as family.” earnest eyes tracking the warlock’s sudden pacing.

“And I you. I’ll have to go tomorrow though; the Catha priests are to arrive today,” looking regretful for not being able to go sooner.

“It is fine Merlin, I know if you could go you would have been gone already.” Giving a slight chuckle.

The rest of the evening flew by as Merlin finished the last of their new home and of Kilgharrah telling him all he knew about the location of the dragon egg. Gwaine had joined Merlin sometime ago trying to decipher the maps that Kilgharrah had managed to find, while Merlin switched from working on his notes for the council meeting and helping Gwaine find a location.

“I think I found something!” Gwaine shouted. Merlin got up from the ground and in his hast almost bumped into Gwaine in his to look at the map.” Here,” Pointing to a section of the map that had sparse detailing.” In my travels, I’ve heard rumors about an egg in some kind of tomb lost to the ages. Everyone pointing in the same direction, no one was willing to check the area as  dragons were said to have had built nests there before the Great Purge.” Kilgharrah looked up in interest.

“Ah, I should have known. Tomb of Ashkanar would be my guess, He was a dragonlord who grew greedy and lost his gift because of it.” growling as he remembered what that man did to his kin.

“What happened?” Merlin spoke wanting to know all he could about his heritage.

“At first, he was kind, had kept the dragons safe, helped build nests for us, but the more dragons came looking for safety the more he had. No one would trifle with him and he began to think of concurring the kingdoms. He asked an ancestor of yours, Merlin, to help him, but he refused and a war between both sides broke out. In the end, your ancestor won and buried his friend befitting his dragonlord status, putting all knowledge the dragonlord had with him making sure no one but a dragonlord of pure heart could find it and use the knowledge they found for the betterment of dragons and their lords. I never thought he would put an egg with him.” Gwaine and Merlin were in awe and didn’t notice that Torry had appeared.

“KING EMRYS!” Merlin started, Torry had never shouted.

“Sorry, Torry.” Giving the elf a gesture to continue.

“Thank you, the Catha have arrived at the border.”

“Right, thank you Kilgharrah,” Merlin gave a nod of his head and began walking with Gwaine and Torry following dutifully. “Oh, Torry would you be able to gather supplies for tomorrow.”

“Of course, how long will you be gone,” eyes wide with curiosity.

“Not too long hopefully, everyone has yet to arrive and the council is to take place in less than a week. No later than five days I suppose.” putting a finger under his chin as he answered.

“Alright, if you’re not back by then I’ll have search parties sent out,” pointing a finger in warning, ”Where will you be?”

“I would expect nothing less, but make sure it is only a few, we have limited guards at the moment and we need them here,” he waited for Torry to nod before continuing, “We will be going to the Tomb of Ashkanar, discretion is our best bet here.” Torry gave a bow before popping out of range and gathering the needed supplies.

Eclipse and Noble joined the King and his first knight shortly after and made it to the outskirts of the kingdom in good time. Alator was the first to be greeted followed by a nod in the direction of everyone else.

“Emrys, an honor to see you again.”

“Alator always a pleasure. I was wondering if you would be your people’s representation in the council meetings.” Merlin petitioned the Catha leader.

“They are your people now and you honor me greatly.” deference coating his tone.

“Thank you, we have a meeting in a little less than a week. I plan to be gone for a few days, but should you need anything my mother should have no trouble helping with any problems.”

“I thank you for your generosity,” Merlin could tell he was curious about where he was going, but Merlin thanked him for his silence. The rest of the walk Merlin talked the most, hoping the Catha liked where they would be staying, any others are welcome to stay somewhere else. Alator assured him it would be fine. 

The reaction of the Catha was a more muted response with their neutral expressions, but their eyes held wonder at the site, some of the children openly gaped, having Merlin and Gwaine sharing an amused smile. They left them after the sunset to get settled while Merlin had a chat with his Mother before helping Gwaine and Kilgharrah chose the safest route to the tomb.

Merlin knocked on his mother’s door, entering swiftly once deemed safe. Hunith’s room was an airy blue that lightened up the space and his mother’s complexion. She wore a similarly colored dress to her room.

 

 

“Mother.” Pecking her cheek.

“Merlin dear, what’s on your mind?” Hunith spoke after examining her son’s body language.

“Kilgharrah thinks he found another dragon egg and we plan on leaving in the morning to retrieve it.” not wanting to leave his mother in the dark.

“That’s wonderful. Your father used to take very fondly of Kilgharrah, he blamed himself for his imprisonment. Of course, I didn’t know he was a dragon.” Both chuckled briefly before Merlin spoke again.

“Mother, I want you to look after the kingdom in my absence. As Queen Mother, it would fall to you, till I find someone.” hesitant at her response.

“Oh, Merlin,” crossing the room to wrap her son in a hug. Merlin had told her of Freya the day she came, spending all day in each other’s company.” Only if you're sure, I wouldn’t know the first thing, but I will try.” Merlin reluctantly stepped out of his mother’s embrace, giving her an encouraging smile.

“Right now, it should be easy seeing as how not everyone is here yet and everything pressing with take place then and anything you don’t know I’m sure Grettir would be happy to help.” glad at his mother’s acceptance.

“Then I shall be fine. Be careful Merlin, I will always love you.” reaching on her tippytoes to place a kiss on Merlin’s forehead.

“I love you too.” Pulling his mother into another hug before leaving to find Gwaine. It was dark when he left his mother’s chambers, finding Gwaine and Kilgharrah still in the stables when Merlin rounded the corner.

“Finally, though I would have to have a search party to find you.” teasing smirk on his face. 

“Very funny Gwaine, I left my mother in charge,  now, did you find the best route to take?” mock glaring at Gwaine.

“We believe so, Kilgharrah mentioned a mountain pass we can go around w

ith the Pegasus’.”

“Excellent, I suppose we should get some rest, Goodnight Kilgharrah, Gwaine.” nodding in their general direction and turning to head to his own chambers.

“Goodnight Young warlock, safe journeys, and you Sir Gwaine.” Gwaine simply nodded running to catch up and kept pace beside Merlin. Each thinking about what the morning would bring.

 

Chapter Text

The dawn saw Merlin and Gwaine packing for their trip. They had said their farewells to Kilgharrah and Merlin’s mother the night before in order to leave quickly. They were just about to leave when Iseldir approached Merlin.

“Emrys, The Great Dragon alerted me of your plans. You will need this piece of the key in the future.” Iseldir handed it to Merlin.

“What is it?” turning it over in his hand to inspect it.

“It is a part of the triskelion, there are three pieces. The druids were given a piece to safeguard, be wary Emrys the triskelion is not only a key… but a trap.” ominous warning taking Merlin off-guard. He didn’t know why with everything he saved Arthur from in the past,  he should be used to them.

“Thank you for your help, I’ll keep in mind your warning.” Iseldir bowed and left as Gwaine took his place.

“Well, now what? We have to find the other two pieces before we can get there.” pouting at the turn of events. Merlin rolled his eyes at Gwaine’s dramatics.

“I could try a tracking spell Grettir showed me a few days ago. Now that we have a part of it, I know what signs to look for.” mentally bringing the spell to the front of his mind.

“Alright what do you need?”

“Our map.” Gwaine stepped towards the pouches resting of the horses before pulling out the map of the five kingdoms. Merlin placed the triskelion on top of the map before chanting in the old religion. When finished he removed the piece and looked as three silver dots are shown on the map. The first showed the one they had, while the second was on the move, apparently, someone had already found it and the third was in Camelot. Dread filled Merlin at the thought of going back. Gwaine looked up from the map to see Merlin looking green.

“Merlin mate, if we split up, I could go to Camelot and you can get the other,” Merlin didn’t answer for several seconds before relief showed in his eyes.

“Thanks, Gwaine it might be best. The sooner we find them the sooner we get back,” Merlin didn’t know how to show his gratitude towards Gwaine, but the look Gwaine gave Merlin told him he knew. “We'll meet in the forest off the entrance to the tomb. And don’t get caught.”

“You know me, Merlin.” In mock offense.

“Yes, Gwaine I do know you, please be careful, we don’t know what Arthur would do if he saw you.” Gwaine’s face turned serious to show Merlin he would be cautious.

“Alright Merlin, let’s go.” Merlin nodded before wishing Gwaine luck, building up momentum as he took to the sky, Gwaine following behind. The two split off in opposite directions Merlin going slightly north as Gwaine went south.

Merlin envied Gwaine a little, Gwaine wasn’t banished, yet he still chose to forsake his vows as a knight of Camelot for him. He always was his best friend after Lancelot of course. Arthur was his friend, best friend even though neither would admit it. Merlin didn’t regret saving Arthur’s life only a fortnight ago, but he would always regret not telling him himself. Merlin’s thoughts continued through most of the day, not all about Arthur, but mixed in with the occasional prayer for Gwaine. His thoughts halted as a town little bigger than a village appeared in the distance. Eclipse landed just shy of the ridgeline as Merlin hid her from view and walked the rest of the way.

As he walked, he held the map out as it pointed towards a pub. Merlin shook his head, of all places for a mystical ancient artifact to be it had to be a pub. Merlin entered and was accosted by the smell of mead and body sweat, he was just glad Gwaine wasn’t here to get distracted. He sat and ordered a drink as to not look suspicious as he observed the room. Most were drunk out of their minds not caring how loud they were, which admittedly was a great tactic so as not to be overheard. He should know he’s done it once or twice with lance. His heart ached at the reminder but shook the thoughts of as his line of sight caught two figures hunched over in the corner. He ducked his head and whispered a spell to hear what was said.

“.... Druids disappeared, your information was wrong.” snarled the stranger with his back turned from Merlin.

“It wasn’t wrong.” offense prominent in his voice.

“Then how could you explain that I didn’t find it.” snapping at the burlier man.

“I don’t know why you're so obsessed with a trinket.” The other man’s face twisted in anger.

“Why, because I have searched for years just to find this one piece I have! You said you had information on the second, I’m starting to think you lied to get my money.” whisper- shouting to where a young couple turned their heads in his direction before turning back.

“Again, I didn’t lie, they probably moved. I’ve had me contacts out searching for the third.” keeping his voice low as to not attract any more unwanted attention.

“Well, where is it?” impatience reaching his tone.

“I ain’t saying nothing till I get me money.” huffing at the cloak covered man.

“You get half now, you get the other when your sources prove true.” Begrudgingly the burlier man nodded. The wiry man slid the coin pouch for the other man to take. He took it as he spoke.

“Your piece is in Camelot, the royal Vaults to be exact.”

“How…” Whatever was said next Merlin didn’t hear as he cut off the spell if he had any doubt about him being the one to hold the next triskelion piece it died when he spoke of the third location in Camelot. Now he just had to make his move. As the sun was setting the man would most likely retire to the rented tavern room. He would just have to wait.

Meanwhile with Gwaine…

On Gwaine’s journey back to Camelot his thoughts were of Merlin. Merlin was always the one who was the most fearless of the group, to see him shaken at just the prospect of returning to Camelot make his friend sick at the thought, broke Gwaine a little. He shook his head, Merlin could take care of himself, he needed to focus on where the fragment could be, Camelot was a big place.

The rest of the time was figuring out his plan as the flags above the citadel came into view. It clicked, Gaius would know. Gwaine landed Noble and made the trek into the castle, avoiding the guards till he reached Gaius’ quarters. The room was cold feeling like the rest of the castle, more emotionally than physically. Merlin’s presence always lit up a room, whether anyone realized it or not. Now that he was gone it felt lifeless and looking at Gaius’ sleeping face, he looked like he aged ten years. Gwaine gently shook Gaius awake. He blinked slowly before realizing who stood above him.

“Gwaine, what are you doing here? Is Merlin with you?” Hope in his eyes, Gwaine felt a stab of guilt at extinguishing it.

“No, Gaius he didn’t come with. We do need your help.” Gaius’ face sagged. “We need to find a portion of a key. Metal, Spiral, very old.” Gaius looked thoughtful before warily relaying his response.

“Your best bet would be the Vaults, why would you need such a thing?” curiosity getting the better of him.

“Kilgharrah came with news that he heard a rumor about there being another dragon egg.” Gaius; eyebrows shot up.” Merlin and I promised to find any leads we could, and we found something, but we need the pieces to the key.” Gaius merely nodded.

“Do you mind coming back after you retrieve the key? I want to write a letter to Merlin.” Gwaine’s eyes softened.

“Of course, Gaius, we are in a bit of a time crunch, but that I can do.” Gaius smiled which Gwaine returned before heading in the direction of the vaults. Only to come face to face with Percival. Gwaine cursed his luck.

“Percy, wonderful to see you.” fake enthusiasm colored his tone as he raged in his head. 

“Gwaine.” A bit of apprehension in the gentle giant’s voice.

“Yeah, Perce.” resignation reaching out. It could have been worse, he told himself, it could have been Arthur.

“What are you doing here? You left without any explanation, Gaius said you left a note, but wouldn’t tell us what it said.” Hurt in his eyes.

“Sorry, Perce, I had to find Merlin, I did and now I need to help him. “Percival’s eyes held relief at the mention of Merlin.

“Arthur’s been in a mood since Merlin’s left, no one has the courage to confront him.” Gwaine thought Percival’s voice held regret, maybe for not helping defend Merlin. Gwaine didn’t know how to respond so he took to joking.

“No one but Merlin I’m sure.” 

Percy chuckled slightly before his features sobered, “What kind of help?”

“We're trying to find a key, but I need to get in the vaults.” Percy furrowed his brows before nodding.

“What’s the plan?” jaw set looking ready for a fight.

 Gwaine’s eyes widened a fraction, “You’ll help, you won’t run to Arthur and tell him I know where Merlin is?”

“Of course not, Arthur doesn’t need to know everything. Especially something he will regret later.” Gwaine nodded as they reached doors where two guards stood watch. Both knights nodded to each other each grabbing a guard holding them till they passed out. Entering the vaults Percy spoke again.

“So, what has Merlin been doing?” Gwaine chuckled.

“Running a kingdom.” Percy snorts.” I’m serious Perce. He’s King of a magical kingdom, restored the perilous lands and everything. I mean technically he still has to have his coronation, but he is their king. He’s doing a great job too, Arthur would be proud.” Gwaine sighed if only Arthur wasn’t so stubborn about his father’s belief that magic is evil. Percival looked thoughtful, but Gwaine started searching so he didn’t bother to ask about his look. Percival stood guard watching Gwaine look through the rows of items scattered with no real order around the room. Gwaine finally found what he was looking for in an ornate box it wasn’t locked thankfully so he didn’t have to use to trinket Merlin gave him to unlock any door he needed to open, just in case. They made their way back to the door. Once there they parted ways, Percy would deal with the aftermath of knocking the guards out as Gwaine headed back to the Physician’s room to get Merlin’s letter.

Gwaine opened the door to find Gaius finishing up whatever he was writing not looking up till he was finished.

“Safe travels Gwaine, look after my boy.”

“Of course, Gaius. You didn’t need to ask.” Reaching out as Gaius handed him the letter. Gwaine retreated and took the same route back out of the city towards where Noble was staying. He had a long journey ahead of him.

Back with Merlin…

Merlin was bored, it has been hours since he overheard the men, he was sure Gwaine already had the second piece as he looked at the map over an hour ago. It was headed towards the meeting place and Merlin was no closer to getting his fragment. Now that he thought about it, he didn’t know why he was waiting, he wasn’t with Arthur, he could just stop time and take it then. It eliminated the chance of getting caught, Grettir had showed him how to stop time on purpose, but he could only hold it for minutes at a time yet, as he grew into his powers, he could hold it for longer, hypothetically of course.

Merlin ducked his head again and time stopped, this being the first time he has had time to look around it was eerie, with everything frozen it felt lonely, he shook himself off he had minutes to do this, he quickly skirted around the patrons and met the face of the now very drunk thief as he searched his bag for the offending item. It wasn’t there. He would have to search the rooms. He returned to his seat to replay time, already feeling winded for holding it so long. He crept up the stairs searching to find which rooms were empty, which were more than he was hoping for. Three out of the ten rooms were occupied. He would have to search for the other seven, the first five were empty apart from the traveler's possessions. He was about to check the second to last room when the thief decided to retire now of all times. At least he was drunk.

Merlin waited ten minutes before braving to enter the room hoping to find him asleep, he was, thank the goddess for small mercies. Merlin slipped into the room digging through the man’s things finally finding it in a saddlebag under the bed. He carefully extracted the fragment of metal, slowly making his way out the door and down the stairs. He paid for his drink he nursed the whole night and escaping the tavern and town as fast as possible without causing suspicion. He headed in the same direction as Gwaine.

Chapter Text

The morning light that peeked through the curtains woke Gwen, blinking rapidly to get the sleep out of her eyes. She sighed as she made to sit up only to be stopped by Arthur’s arm around her waist, she huffed but stilled. Their relationship strained ever since Merlin left, she couldn’t help but wonder if her husband had responded differently if Merlin would still be here if the law on magic would be changed. She shook herself from her thoughts when she noticed she let a tear leave her eyes, she never cried about it in front of Arthur only in the privacy of the queen’s chambers. She would go practically every night for peace and quiet to mourn over one of her oldest friends. At first she hated Arthur and his stubborn father for the things he had projected onto his son, she still hated the former king, but she could never stay away from Arthur no matter what he did, she hated that she loved him so much that she would carry on her life while Merlin was god knows where banished and thinking Arthur hated him. 

She knew Arthur didn’t, but he felt betrayed, and angry, and hurt, that Merlin couldn’t tell him, but all he did was prove Merlin right in not telling, sometimes ignorance really is bliss. She could see Arthur retreating into himself, Merlin made him feel like he could tell his friends anything, now he kept his doubts and worries from everyone, he seemed to be growing colder with each passing day. Gwen knew everyone in the citadel could tell, they were back to being scared like during Uther’s reign. Arthur finally started to stir as he flipped onto his other side letting Gwen get up from the bed to get ready for the day.

After her maid came in and got her ready she joined the now awake Arthur for breakfast. They didn’t speak besides a good morning the whole time. After the tense breakfast Gwen left for the gardens for some fresh air, she’s been to the gardens a lot more lately, sometimes Merlin and her would find a place and have lunch together when they where both servants, they still did after she became queen, just less so, she wished they had done it more often now that he was gone. She didn’t want to go inside, the castle was lifeless and cold shrouded in shadows, Gwen could tell it was because Merlin was gone, she couldn’t remember a time without him in her life now.

Merlin brought almost all of the original round table knights, Gwen didn’t think Arthur noticed, but she did and she could tell no one liked Arthur’s decision to banish Merlin. It was better than the alternative though…, Gwaine was the only one brave enough to go after Merlin, he was more loyal to him than Arthur, Gwen though it pushed Arthur further away from everyone. She couldn’t begrudge Gwaine’s choice though.

Her thoughts snapped to reality when she noticed Percival hovering to the side. Gwen nodded for the silent cue to speak.

“Gwen, last night Gwaine came back.” gentle as he revealed the new information.

“What, where is he?” Percival shook his head.

“He already left, but he was looking for something, he got it and left.”

“Oh...Do you know what he took?”

“No, some kind of box, said Merlin needed it for something.” Gwen’s eyes grew wide at the mention of Merlin.

“Merlin…” she spoke breathlessly,” Did he say how Merlin was?” Percy hesitated before answering.

“Yes, said he was now king of magic, I would've asked more but he was already in the vaults looking for his box.” regret showing at the furrowing of his brow.

“Really?” Chucking slightly.

“Really,” Percival repeated.

“Did you help him break into the vaults?” Percival’s brows furrowed nodding his head slowly. Gwen didn’t speak for a while.

“Good.” Percival muscle twitches, showing that her words surprised him. They walked in silence for a while, before Gwen spoke.

“I think we need to convince Arthur that not all magic is evil.” Gwen thought her husband did know this but his pride stopped him from admitting it.

“How?”

“I don’t know, but this can’t go on forever, Our marriage is falling apart, he’s cold to everyone, it’s hurting not only him but the kingdom as well.” Percival only nodded, knowing nothing more needed to be said on the queen’s words.

 

Meanwhile with Merlin & Gwaine

 

Merlin met Gwaine around midday, he arrived after him. Both had their pieces of the triskelion, showing the other theirs with wide grins.

“Now we just need to enter the cave near here and we should be almost there.” Gwaine followed after Merlin who had the map. An hour of trudging through the forest had them breaking for lunch. Gwaine went to collect firewood while Merlin made camp and fed and watered the horses. Once it was set up and he had the rabbit warming over the fire he vented to Gwaine as they both sat on the timber that had fallen to the forest floor.

“I don’t understand it should be here!” frustration coloring Merlin’s shout. The rabbit had finished cooking and Merlin handed half to Gwaine before taking the rest.

“Maybe it has fancy wards for anyone who isn’t a dragonlord?” speaking with the meat in his mouth as he dug in. Merlin put his finger to his chin, jumping off the log he was sitting on and snapped his fingers.

“I got it, I need you to stay here I'm going to try something,” Gwaine just continued eating used to Merlin’s epiphanies by now. 

Merlin headed in a random direction away from Gwaine before casting a “see me” spell. His eyes glowed pure honey gold staying as he tried to spot a faint magic signature. He walked for a while when he picked up the trail of a powerful and very old ward. When the signature was concentrated at a rock wall, he figured this could be it, so he left a marker and headed back to Gwaine.

Gwaine hadn’t moved when Merlin got back.

“Alright, let’s go.” Gwaine didn’t hesitate in following Merlin’s orders, stamping out the fire as he finished off the last of his meal. Gwaine and Merlin finished packing everything on the horses and made their way towards his marker. Gwaine couldn’t see anything as he asked Merlin if he was sure this is the right place, Merlin merely gave Gwaine a hard stare. Gwaine put his hands up in surrender. Merlin stalked towards Gwaine before grabbing his hand and pushing him further towards the wall.

“Merlin, I didn’t know you could be so handsy.” Gwaine’s smirk firmly in place, eyes teasing. Merlin glared before pushing Gwaine through the barrier with Merlin following after. Gwaine stumbled and fell into the water that layered the floor of the cave which had Merlin snickering as the horses followed after. Gwaine retaliated by splashing Merlin, leading to Merlin full out laughing. Gwaine got up chasing after him till they reached the end of the cave. Merlin had dried them both without Gwaine’s notice.

The sight that greeted them felt saturated in ancient magic that make Merlin shiver. The dark tomb towered above the trees, casting its shadow. They decided to ride the rest of the way, so by the time they reached the entrance the sun was an hour away from setting. They each took out their pieces holding them together as the key fused itself with magic. Merlin had Gwaine stay back, which he did so begrudgingly, as he held the key to the slot. Merlin heard the click of a trap activated and quickly encased himself, Gwaine, and the horses in a shield as milky white gas came down from above the door.

“MERLIN!” Gwaine panicked voice carried as he saw the mist.

“Calm down Gwaine.” Merlin rolled his eyes but secretly appreciated his concern.

“Right, well let’s get going then, find this bloody egg.” Gwaine earned a slap against his head for his comment. Merlin entered first looking through all the rooms, finding many books about dragons, he would have to come back for those. Gwaine followed after before splitting up to look for the egg.

“Here!” Merlin sprinted over to Gwaine from one of the first rooms he entered, his eyes grew wide as not only was there one egg, but five, all on pedestals. Gwaine was about to pick it up before Merlin stopped him.

“There could be more traps.” Gwaine retracted his hand as Merlin started pacing.

“I could make something to equal the weight of the egg and switch them when I stop time, in case their weight sensitive.” muttering out loud as he also made and discarded ideas in his head.

“Ok, say that works how are you going to hold the egg and the weight until they are switched?” Gwaine inquired. Merlin grinned, Gwaine hated when Merlin made the I- have-an-idea-but-your-not-going-to-like-it grin. Ok, so maybe that's how Gwaine read it, but still, that's what it meant.

“I’ve never tried before but I could try having you with me when I stop time.” Merlin stopped his pacing to face Gwaine, he knew he wouldn’t like his plan.

“Are you sure Merlin, you can barely hold it for more than five minutes, it will take at least double that time, and you want to do it with another person.” Gwaine worried about his friend’s health asked. Merlin sighed.

“I have to try Gwaine, not only for Kilgharrah but to prove to myself that I can do this.” tiny sliver of desperation slipping out of his words.

“Alright, Merlin.” knowing when he was defeated. Merlin began measuring the eggs to get their weight and after twenty minutes had five different magical weights. Merlin put a hand on Gwaine’s shoulder gathering enough energy to keep two people from limbo.

“Ready?” Gwaine nodded and the world stilled. Gwaine grabbed the eggs as Merlin laid the objects on the pedestal. Merlin barely made it to put the last weight in place before time restarted and Merlin fell to his knees shaking.

“You alright Merlin.” distress seeping out of him in waves.

“...Yeah… just give… me a minute…” Gwaine nodded but not before sending a final worried glance to his downed friend, and went to grab the eggs to put in the horse's satchels. By the time he got all five in, Merlin was making his way towards him. The sun had well set after they got out and decided to make camp for the night and head out in the morning.

Chapter Text

Merlin awoke to the sound of a snapped twig and ruffled clothes. Sitting up quickly he was meet with the stranger from the tavern holding a throwing dagger at Gwaine’s throat. Merlin cursed himself for not setting up a magical perimeter for anyone near their camp.

“Give me the egg, I know you have it. I followed you!” So, he didn’t know there was more than one egg. Merlin raised his hands to distract the thief from his glowing eyes as he stopped time. He walked towards the pair before grabbing the dagger and pulling Gwaine out of the way and punching the now unarmed man before stepping back to where he started, letting time resume. As Gwaine stumbled, unbalanced from Merlin’s earlier pull the thief reeled back as he felt the right hook he laid out. The stranger faced Merlin holding his jaw,

“Who are you?” unease making its way into the criminal's question. Merlin didn’t answer walking up to the crook as the cloaked figure stepped back with wide eyes.

“Who am I?... I am Emrys,” pulling his fist back, knocking the man out. Gwaine whistled, impressed.

“Oi, Merlin I didn’t know you had that in you.” Merlin shook out his hand and put the dagger in his satchel to spinning in the direction of Gwaine.

“Thanks, your training is paying off,” Gwaine beamed at him, turning to hoist the unconscious criminal onto Noble. Merlin waved a hand lazily, packing up the camp as they both mounted their horses.

The ride back to Emlet was mostly Gwaine telling his tavern stories while Merlin was deep in thought nod and giving the minimum effort to join in the conversation.

“You alright, Merlin?” not bothering to hide his ever-present worry.

“Hmm?” Turning to face Gwaine.” Oh, I suppose. It’s just how could he have followed me, I was riding Eclipse. A flying horse Gwaine!”Merlin cried into the open-air. Gwaine was silent as he thought about how.

“I mean he wasn’t right behind you, right? Maybe, he saw the general direction you flew in and waited till we got the egg or I guess eggs now.” Merlin hummed turning back to face the front. Gwaine turned the conversation to the eggs and what they would look like.

“I’ll bet you three silvers one is red.” cheeky smile resting on his face.

“That would be a stupid bet Gwaine, I mean one of the eggs is red.” rolling his eyes as Gwaine pouted leading to Merlin laughing as he acted as a child. Gwaine grinned glad to have cheered up his friend. Merlin was thankful for Gwaine for providing a distraction no matter how short.

“What will I do with him?” Gwaine pursed his lips not needed to know who he was talking about.

“You will have to hold a fair trial, you're first after the council meeting tomorrow. For now, he’ll stay in the dungeons.” Merlin meekly nodded, biting his lip.

“Do you really think I can do this?” Gwaine huffed, chuckling.

“Merlin, you were born for this. If anyone can give this thief a trial objectively it’s you. It takes a lot to get you angry Merlin. I’ve known you for six years and I've only seen you angry, truly angry once.” Merlin blushed slightly looking away before whispering a thank you.

“What was that Merlin, I couldn't hear you! The winds too loud!” Yelling in his direction causing the thief to stir and almost fall before Merlin caught him with his magic. Merlin glared and huffed at Gwaine but couldn’t keep his mouth from twitching upwards.

“I said thank you Gwaine!” yelling back, Gwaine grinned.

“Your welcome Merlin, don’t expect it too often.” badgered Gwaine. Merlin shook his head. 

The day past in much the same fashion until they had to give the horses a break and stop for lunch. The stranger had conveniently woken up from the jostling of the horses touching down. Merlin set up camp as Gwaine fed and watered the horses after tying the thief to a tree.

“You're a sorcerer.” sneered the interloper.

“Warlock actually.” was Merlin’s smooth reply, continuing to direct the cookware to start on lunch.

“It makes no difference it’s still magic!” Merlin’s eyes glowed silencing the bellowing man. He sighed.

“Much better.” Gwaine startled Merlin with his voice not having heard him till now. Gwaine laughed smirking at his friend.

“Are you telling me you could have done that to Arthur for years and you're just now using it on our uninvited guest?” pestered Gwaine giving a frown but his eyes told Merlin he was jesting.

“Yes, well Gwaine for your information I have used it on Arthur.” smug smile making his way onto his face as Gwaine’s mouth fell open.

“What! When?” raved the dismayed knight from not getting to see it.

“When he had donkey ears. His braying was grating on my nerves, besides everyone thought it had to do with whatever was affecting the castle at the time.” Smirking at Gwaine’s gobsmack face.” you’ll catch flies like that Sir Gwaine.” Gwaine shut his mouth with a click of his teeth.

“How come I miss out on all the fun. At least tell me the story!” whining as he plopped down next to Merlin’s already sitting form. Merlin sighed half focused on cooking and beginning to tell the story about how he accidentally(Yes Gwaine it was!) let a goblin loose in the castle. By the end, both had tears in their eyes and were holding their stomachs from laughter. 

“I can’t believe it made Uther bald!” A new wave of laughter sounding from the Emlet knight. The end of the story had them with empty bowls ready to pack up to reach the city by midnight. Gwaine gave the scapes to the thief while they finished packing camp and saddling the horses. Once done Merlin recalled the spell to knock the captive unconscious and levitated him on the back of Gwaine’s horse.

“Are you kidding me!” Merlin whipped around to face Gwaine.

“What?” confused at Gwaine’s sudden shouting.

“You couldn’t have done that the first time around!” Merlin’s confusion turned to realization.

“Oh, sorry. I forgot I could do that till now.” Gwaine hopped on his horse muttering about useless sorcerers making him do more than he had too.

“Warlock!” Merlin debuted.

“Stupid warlock, sorry!” Smirking at Merlin's pout. Merlin followed after Gwaine, letting Eclipse trot till she was airborne.

The returning journey flew by as Merlin and Gwaine joked and schemed the rest of the day and half the night.

Chapter Text

Merlin and Gwaine arrived at the courtyard at twilight. Merlin having messaged one of the Catha to take the thief to the dungeons while Gwaine and Merlin made their way to Kilgharah.

“Young warlock, I feel the presence of my kin,” Kilgharah's voice held wonder. Merlin's eyes widened now that he knew what the feeling around his heart was. 

“I feel more than one,” surprise reaching the Great dragons tone.

Merlin beamed talking fast and excitedly, “There was not only one egg but five, Kilgharah. They're amazing,” Merlin gestured to Gwaine to grab the saddlebags, “ one of them is a dark crimson, another is a silver, I’ll just show you,” bouncing on the balls of his feet till Gwaine returned, showing the dragon whose eyes widened at the sight of so many.

 

This was the first time Merlin and Gwaine got a good look at the eggs, they didn’t expect them to be so beautiful, yet have a strong sense of graceful power that seemed to come off of them in waves.

“You have done well Merlin, I thank you on behalf of my kin. We should hatch them in the morning,” taking off before either could protest. The two share a look before gathering the eggs and taking them to Merlin’s room. Gwaine not having gone in before looked around in wonder at the marble and intricate golden swirls that surrounded the room. He let out a whistle as he set the eggs on his sofa near the hearth. Merlin smiled doing the same.

“It took a while to get used to the luxury but now it feels so normal." happiness radiating from the dragonlord.

 “Well, I'm glad you settled into royal life. I'll see you in the morning, Merlin," yawing as he headed for the door.

 “Wait Gwaine, don’t forget the council is to convene early tomorrow.”

Gwaine nodded as he turned back around, “You know me, Merlin, I might show up drunk or hungover, but I'll always be there,” Merlin snorted saying a final goodnight before pushing Gwaine out of the room where he changed and conjured a bath where he sank in and drifted off for a moment.

When he next woke up he was dressed and in his bed. Torry appeared fully waking Merlin up.

“Did you put me in bed last night Torry?” Torry nodded snapping his fingers as Merlin’s black with gold embroidered shirt and black trousers levitated towards the divider. Merlin stood to walk behind in, putting the clothes on.

“Well, thank you, Torry. I would be a prune for the meeting. By the way, what time is it?” Merlin questioned, pulling the shirt over his head.

“It is nine Emrys, the meeting starts in an hour. Plenty of time for breakfast.” Merlin nodded coming out of the dressing divider at sit where Torry had placed breakfast of some blackberry jam and a biscuit and an apple.

After breaking his fast he let Torry put on his black cloak with gold. 

 

Once ready he headed out the door saying a quick thank you to Torry and was off to the council chambers. Gwaine met Merlin outside the chamber saying a quick good morning. Merlin stepped in a minute after Gwaine to see everyone already present. The table made a circle with the middle empty the council's coat of arms and banners behind their seats on the wall. Merlin shook himself when he noticed the previously seated members getting up to greet him. The first to greet him was his Mother.

 

Merlin gaped, “You look stunning mother.” Hunith blushed.

 

“Thank you,” squeezing her son’s hand before returning to her seat. One by one the council who arrived after Merlin left to find the eggs introduced themselves one by one. First came the fae leader,

“Aine, my lord” giving a quick curtsy, returning to her seat.

Next came the elves previous leader,

 

“Cheryth, your majesty,” a bow following and reclaiming his seat. Lastly was the druid dwarf.

“Onan, my liege,” smirking slightly with his bow. Merlin nodded greeting the ones he had already met. Gwaine, Iseldir, Alator, Kilgharah, Alice, Torry and the other tribe leaders of the druids. Merlin sat down the rest following as Merlin starting.

“I welcome you all to the first official council session. First order of business is that my soon to be first knight and I were away on the request of Kilgharah to go to the Tomb of Ashkanar where we retrieved five dragon eggs,” excited whispers followed, Merlin cleared his throat waiting for them to stop before continuing,” next would be my coronation.” Merlin gave the council the floor.

“What about tomorrow, then he can knight his men after as his first official duty as king. Merlin hid his look of surprise that Onan suggested something, he got the feeling Onan didn’t like him much, he guessed he was wrong. Everyone looked at the other nodding in agreement before turning to Merlin for the final decision. Merlin nodded,

“Torry, if you could get the house elves started on the planning for tomorrow.”

“Course Emrys,” writing on a scroll quickly before snapping his fingers and sending it to the steward elf. Merlin continued,

“Hunith,” Merlin felt weird calling his mother by her name, but knew it was the right call when his mother smiled gratefully, “ will see to the treasury and is the Lady of the house to oversee social matters,” no one seemed to have a problem with it, letting Merlin internally sigh in relief, “ Alator and Onan if you would oversee the army. Making you just under the first knight, which brings me to Sir Gwaine who will lead the future knights.” Merlin paused waiting for Gwaine to nod, once he did, he went forward. “ next, Iseldir, Alice, and anyone else who would like to teach is welcome too.” Aine spoke with a question,

“Emrys, what would this school entail?”

“Well, I was hoping to better teach those with magic and anyone who wanted to learn. There would be different types of magic one could focus on. But I don’t want just magic, I want people to be able to read and write, to learn new things, history and culture.” Gwaine and Hunith looked proud at the way their son/friend’s eyes lit up with passion about being able to help the individual and not just the kingdom as a whole. The council smiled to each other having similar thoughts, he will make one of the best kings in history.

“I’m sure we all agree we wouldn’t mind helping some of the time, teaching others about our ways and culture.” Cheryth agrees.

“Yes, I can think of a few of my kind who would be excited to teach their findings to others.” Aine nodded.

“I would like to learn about all of your customs and culture, so I hope they won’t mind me popping in.” Merlin smiled grateful for the willing and kind council before him. He remembers Arthur having to fight with his council for every decision he made at the beginning. “Lastly, Alice if you could continue to be our court physician that would be wonderful.”

“The honor is mine, Merlin.” Merlin grateful for her saying his birth name smiled before addressing the last thing for the meeting.

“ I was wondering if I should wait until after my coronation to hatch the dragons or if I could do them now?” No one spoke for a moment thinking over when would be best. Iseldir broke the silence,” I would suggest waiting until after, that way you can devote more of your time to them after their hatching.” Merlin nodded, slightly disappointed, but could see the logic in his advice.

“Thank you, anyone else have any concerns to bring to the council?” Everyone shook their heads and Merlin dismissed them. Once everyone but Hunith and Gwaine left he slumped in his seat and released a shaky exhale. Hunith came around to his chair massaging his shoulders.

“You did wonderful darling.” pride coloring her words of praise.

“You think so?” shakily breathing in and out to calm his frayed nerves.

“I know so, I’m very proud of you, never forget that Merlin.” Merlin stood to hug his mother. They stood there for a while till Gwaine cleared his throat, ruining the moment.

“If you don’t mind, does no one else realize Kilgharah is still here.” Merlin and Hunith look up towards the open ceiling to see Kilgharah with an amused grin. Merlin glared, huffed and shook his head as he smiled at the dragon.

“I hope you don’t mind waiting a few days to hatch them.”

“It is fine Merlin, dragon eggs can survive for more than a thousand years, a few days won;t do any harm.” Merlin looked in awe at how long a dragon could live in such a tiny space. Merlin left dumbstruck nodded while Hunith put her hand over her mouth to hide her smile. Kilgharah left after that, leaving the three alone.

“Well, it looks like I have plans for the rest of the day preparing as my son made me the lady of the house.” teasing tone that Merlin didn’t seem to notice.

“Sorry, I should have asked you, I can take it back if you want.” Hunith laughed at her son.

“I was only joking Merlin; I don’t mind. It will give me something to do.” With her departing words, she left the council chambers making her way to the kitchens. 

“Want to grab a pint?” Merlin glared at the future first knight.

“I’m starting to think I need to find someone else to be first knight, Gwaine.”

“Wait, Merlin, your not serious are you…” Merlin just walked away towards the doors leaving Gwaine to yell if he was serious.

 

Chapter Text

Merlin woke to the bells chiming, causing Merlin to stumble out of bed in a rush to find out where the threat was. Still, in his nightclothes, he rushed to his mother’s room to make sure she was alright first. He didn’t bother knocking as he opened the door. He was greeted with the sight of his mother already dressed( thank the goddess) looking startled at the abrupt entrance of her barely clothed son looked panicked. Once he spotted her his eyes lost the panic and he slumped in relief. 

Hunith wade her way towards her son, pulling him into a hug. 

 

“Is everything alright?” Hunith waited for Merlin to process the words and answer her question. Merlin’s eyes darted around before he breathed out,

 

“The bells rang, I thought there was a threat.” Hunith’s eyes softened at her son’s anxiety, she couldn’t imagine what it must have been like living in Camelot always worried that the bells would ring and mean trouble. Hunith knew why they rung, but her son still looked half-asleep even though his eyes wouldn’t stay still.

“Merlin, darling. They rung the bells to celebrate your coronation.” Hunith watched at realization dawned in her son’s eyes, his eyes fell to the floor and his cheeks became dusked in pink.

“There is nothing to worry about. We need to get you dressed it starts just before noon,” starting to think about all she still had to do. Torry must have let Merlin sleep in a little based on his clothing and muddled brain. Hunith herded her son back to his chambers where Torry was standing in looking lost as to where her son could have gone. She cleared her throat, startling the poor house-elf who then turned and was met with a still half asleep Merlin. It’s a wonder he woke up at all. Torry quickly bowed, where Hunith waved him off,

“I’ll leave my son in your hands,” amusement clear in her voice.

“Lady Hunith,” allowing her to make her exit. Smiling as she left to finish directing the house-elves on where to put the last of the decorations.

With Hunith now out of the room, Torry made quick work of bathing and dressing the soon to be king. Merlin had woken up once the water touched his skin, letting himself sigh in relief as the stress melted away from the incident this morning.

Torry admired his handiwork as Merlin stepped out from behind the divider and a silk sky blue and white trousers and boots. Torry helped Merlin put on his ceremonial cloak in the same sky blue as his shirt with Emlet’s coat of arms for the royal family ( the angel bearing a sword and shield). Lastly, Torry put on Merlin’s silver circlet that he would then trade-in for the king’s crown. Once happy Torry left Merlin to help with the decorations.

Merlin paced his chambers not wanting to face the world quite yet. Now that he was left alone to his own thoughts he started to doubt himself. He let his thoughts spiral until there was a knock on the door. Gwaine let himself in and threw a worried glance Merlin’s way like he knew where his thoughts were going. He didn’t say anything, just handed him a letter a little worse for wear and left as soon as he came.

He glanced at the penmanship, noticing it as Gaius’ scrawly writing, his eyes teared up, but he refused to let them fall. With shaky hands, he unfolded the letter and began to read.

 

Dear Merlin,

 

I know not how you are or where, but Gwaine said you are in need of something here in Camelot. I hope that you have found whatever it is and that you are safe. Camelot has not been the same without you, my boy. Arthur has grown cold and retreated into himself, it has strained Gwen’s relationship with him. I’m afraid Camelot has become a much colder place. No one knows why any of this has happened, they just know that you are gone and attribute their king's behavior to your loss. Where ever you are Merlin, I believe in the world you can still create. You never needed Arthur to change the world, we only needed you, with your boundless optimism, and your kind heart, and radical ideas. Most of all Merlin you will always make me proud, no matter what you do. You are the son I never thought I would have.

 

With all my love, 

Gaius

 

Merlin was crying, splotching the paper as the tears rolled down his cheeks. This wouldn’t feel right without Gaius. He sprinted from his room dodging the last minute decorations being put up and found Gwaine talking with Kilgharrah. He swept him in a hug before rushing off again to find a secluded spot. Merlin was about to cast his spell before Gwaine called out to ask what he was doing.

“I can’t do this without Gaius, it wouldn’t be right not to have him here.” Gwaine looked like he understood, nodded and gave one last hug before turning and returning to Kilgharrah. If Gwaine also saw his bloodshot eyes he didn’t say anything.

After Gwaine was a bit of a distance away he let his eyes glow honey and disappeared finding himself in his old room. Once he reoriented himself he was able to hear voices coming from the main room. One was definitely Gauis and the others he recognized as Gwen, Percival, and Elyan. He stepped backward, making the floorboard creak and the voices still.

Merlin stayed as he hear cautious steps coming up the steps to his old room. The door opened to reveal a very shocked Gwen who upon coming out of her shock squealed and launched herself at the warlock. The sudden noise had everyone in the room running to Gwen. The sight that greeted them was a shocked Merlin in silks with Gwen attached to him like a leech. When Gwen finally let go Gauis was the first to hug Merlin till Percival and Elyan were able to get their turn.

“How did you get here? If Arthur catches you…” Gwen left the sentence unsaid, she didn’t really know what her husband would do but she couldn’t take the risk.

“Mate, what are you wearing?” Elyan looked wide-eyed at the clothing as if it personally offended him. Merlin blushed while his friends laughed.

“Bit of a long story, Elyan.” Merlin chuckled once he got his blush under control.

“Does this have to do with being King of Magic?” the room stilled once they registered what Percival said. Merlin looked more amused than anything.

“Gwaine told I'm sure.” not bothering to hide his fondness for his first knight(not that they knew he was, mind you). Percival shook his head yes.

“Why are you here though?” Gwen repeating her question. Merlin looked down at Gwen before meeting Gaius’ eye,

“I got your letter,” everyone looked confused, either looking between Gaius or Merlin. Merlin made the first move to once again hug the old man, whispering a thank you in his ear. They let go and noticed the others had once more moved into the bigger chamber to give them privacy, Merlin followed Gaius out of the small room to his friends.

“You never did answer my question fully Merlin.” huffing at her forgetful warlock friend.

“Well, I was going to invite Gaius to my coronation. But seeing as how your here to… would you want… to come?” Merlin’s voice losing his confidence towards the end. The room was silent before the door burst open and Arthur Pendragon walked in looking regal.

“Merlin.”

Chapter Text

Arthur didn’t think he would be waking up without Merlin coming in late to wake him up. He guessed life never turns out how you thought it would. Arthur felt the left side of the bed to find the area cold when it hit him. Guinevere didn’t come to bed last night after they had fought about Merlin.

Flashback

The knights and Gaius had just left leaving the king and queen alone in the room. As soon as the door shut Gwen rounded on Arthur.

“Arthur, so what if Merlin had Magic! He’s our friend!” Gwen yelled.

“He lied to us, to our faces, Guinevere!” Arthur retorted.

“Yes, Arthur he did! Wouldn’t you if you had magic in a kingdom where magic was illegal,” Gwen sounded, eventually her yelling reduced to whispering. Arthur sighed.

“He knew the law, yet he practiced magic anyway, Guinevere!” Arthur continued yelling.

“Yes, Arthur a law, not divine law, but men. King’s law or no, you had a choice to let one of your oldest friends explain himself and you didn’t. I know you Arthur, you don’t truly care about the magic, it may be part of it, but your upset that he felt he couldn’t trust you,” Gwen finished, voicing Arthur’s thoughts, but he wouldn’t let he be right.

“Leave me,” Arthur commanded, turning to face the window.

“Just know Arthur, not everything is as black and white as your father seemed to think,” Gwen said before she left with a sweep of her dress. Arthur’s shoulders hunched in on himself as the door closed with a click for the second time in ten minutes.

Arthur stayed lying in bed till George came in thinking if Guinevere would ever forgive him. He hoped she would, she was right, but he was a stubborn man. So, he heaved the covers off to face the day and let George dress him and place an abnormally high breakfast on the table. Arthur simply stared at it thinking, yes this is how a king should eat, yet he missed the small portion Merlin would bring him. Just enough to get through the day and not be stuffed to where he would be sick through training with the knights. Arthur sighed and nibbled at breakfast waiting for Guinevere. Only to not have her come.

“George?”

“Sire?”

“Where is my wife?” Arthur asked pointedly. George seemed to hesitate.

“Her majesty has already eaten in her chambers this morning, my lord,” Arthur grunted but asked nothing else of poor George.

Training had continued similarly. The only difference was the cold shoulder from the knights who had been there at Merlin’s banishment and a missing Gwaine. Once practice was almost over Arthur had enough.

“Does anyone know where Sir Gwaine is?!” Arthur bellowed to get the other knight’s attention. The knights shook their heads and Arthur finally dismissed them. The only thing left for the day was council meetings and Arthur was already drained and exhausted but followed through on his obligations. Arthur walked into the council chambers with Guinevere already seated followed by a nod as the only acknowledgment from his queen. The other seated lords had shifted uneasily in their seats at the aloof queens greeting. Arthur nodded back not letting the hurt show and begun the meeting for the day. By the end, Arthur had a headache and made his way to the court physician’s chambers ignoring the lords vying for his attention even after the council had been dismissed for the evening.

Arthur opened the doors to the ordered chaos of herbs and potions and books to find it Gaius-less. Arthur continued walking in and looking around as he waited for Gaius even though he could simply ask another servant to fetch the physician he wanted the alone time. He made his way to Merlin’s room and found it just as messy and uncleaned as before they had left and Arthur turned so he didn’t have to think how his… whatever he was to him now only had the clothes on his back where ever he was now. Arthur shook his head to clear out the intrusive thoughts as he came back down the step to the larger chambers. He sat down and drummed his fingers against the wood when a sheet of paper caught his eye in Gwaine’s messy and thick writing. Arthur switched sides of the table and peaked at whatever message Gwaine had felt Gaius needed to know.

Dear Gaius,

I write to you ask you are the only one as of now I can trust in Camelot. I thought I could follow Arthur because he was different than any other noble, but I was wrong. He’s just like all the rest! Merlin managed to contact me, and I plan to follow him and renounce my oath to protect Camelot because Merlin is more important to me, always has been. I hope I’ll see you again.

Merlin’s faithful friend,

Gwaine

Arthur slowly let the letter drop back onto the table and got out of his seat, headache forgotten as he fast-walked to Gwaine’s rooms. Throwing the door open Arthur was greeted with a red cape neatly folded on the bed with armor and chainmail on the table nearby and a letter.

Dear Princess,

I do not think will ever be able to forgive you for forsaking Merlin as you have. I cannot remain here in good conscious without Merlin by our side. So, I, formerly Sir Gwaine, Knight of Camelot, renounce my knighthood as witness to my servant Ash. I do not wish you luck or good fortune, but neither will I curse you if only because Merlin would be furious if I did so.

Former Knight,

Gwaine

Arthur sank down on the bed somewhere in between his renouncing of his title and asked himself what he had done. He hadn’t moved till George had found him for dinner and gathered what little will he had to down some of it and silently got undressed and in nightclothes for a restless sleep.

The days blurred by for Arthur as his marriage fell apart and was badly sewn up and ripped again. The knights weren’t much better, any attempts at conversations were stilted and monotone one-word answers, even Leon looked at Arthur in disappointment when he thought Arthur couldn’t see. Things finally came to a head a fortnight after Gwaine’s departure.

Gwen and Percival had walked in around noon as Arthur was finishing paperwork.

“Guinevere, Percival, what can I do for you?” Arthur asked out of politeness.

“Please Arthur, you can’t keep going like this, the kingdom can’t. Your distant and cold and everyone is afraid of upsetting you.” Gwen begged.

“Really, because I seem to remember getting the cold shoulder from the knights and you, Guinevere!” Arthur seethed. Gwen sighed.

“Yes, we could have handled it better, but we were upset, Arthur. What did you expect us to do, be like you and act as if Merlin was still here that he didn’t have magic, yet didn’t exist at the same time? Arthur, you must make up your mind. Do you want Merlin to come back or not?” Gwen implored him to make a choice.

“I…I don’t know! Okay, I don’t know. Every time I see something Merlin would have liked or found funny I turn to tell him and find George, but I also remember that he lied to me, for years,” Arthur sighed as he leaned back against the back of the chair. Gwen stepped behind him and put a hand on his shoulder,

“Then start there, find it in yourself to forgive him,” Arthur turned to protest, but Gwen carried on, “you don’t have to forgive him completely but at least enough to hear his side of the story, Arthur,” Gwen advised. Arthur slowly nodded and Percival turned to leave as Gwen stayed behind and called her servant to help her undress for the night and slipped in on the left side of the bed as Arthur watched the whole time before following.

That had been two weeks ago, and Arthur had forgiven Merlin a while ago and had been looking for him since, to find hide nor hair of his friend. Arthur felt another frequently reappearing headache coming on as he finished the last of the reports and headed to Gaius’ for the remedy when he rounded the corner and heard voices. Pressing his ear to the door in a very unkinglike state as he listened.

“You never did answer my question fully Merlin.” Gwen’s voice sounded from the room followed by a voice he longed the hear yet dreaded.

“Well, I was going to invite Gaius to my coronation. But seeing as how your here to… would you want… to come?” Merlin, his voice sounded like a breath of fresh air and he released a breath he didn’t realize he was holding. The only thing Arthur thought he misheard was Merlin saying he was going to be coronated. So, Arthur did the only logical thing in his mind, steeled himself and slammed the door open.

“Merlin,” Arthur hated the way Merlin seemed to shrink in on himself and flinch, but Arthur pushed it aside as everyone in the room tensed and the air became almost suffocating as they waited to see what Merlin would do.

“Sire,” Merlin replied, trying to keep the strain out of his voice and shaking out of his hands, but Arthur still caught it. Now it was everyone else’s turn to look his way for his response.

“I’m sorry,” was the first thing out of his mouth that surprised himself a little, but he didn’t take it back because he was sorry. Merlin’s head snapped up from the half-bowed position to stare wide-eyed at his hopeful friend to see how truly sorry he was and that he had missed him. Guinevere was beaming at him from the corner of his eye.

“What’s this about a coronation now?” Arthur asked, but it seemed to be the wrong thing to say as Merlin flinched back and stared at the floor. Arthur was rubbish at this.

“Sorry, look can we talk Merlin, in private,” Once it looked like no one was leaving till Gaius ushered everyone out and Gwen had time to sneak him a kiss and a good luck and smile for Merlin. Finally, alone Arthur gestured for Merlin to sit, which he did without complaint and traced the wood grain with his finger as he waited. Arthur cleared his throat and Merlin’s finger stilled but remained fixed on the table, but it showed Arthur he was listening, so he went ahead.

“I just want to hear your side of the story, Merlin. I’ve had a month to think about this and Guinevere was right, it wasn’t all about the magic. Did you think you couldn’t trust me?” Arthur’s voice cracked as he finished but forced the tears back as Merlin’s head snapped up with wide eyes.

“No, of course I trust you with my life, but it’s hard to trust anyone when your whole life you have been told to hide who you are. At first, I hid it because Uther was king, and we hardly knew each other and I was afraid then it became about not wanting you to have to choose between me and your father…” Merlin drifted off as if to collect his thoughts.

“And after my father died?” Arthur questioned.

“Then… then it came down to not wanting to lose your friendship,” Merlin sighed and wrung his fingers together, “I’m sorry I never told you,”

“Why did you start practicing magic, Merlin,” Arthur inquired, truly curious.

“I didn’t,” Arthur scoffed but waited for Merlin to finish, “I didn’t, I was born with it, doing it,” Merlin explained.

“That’s not possible!” Arthur argued but his attempt was half-hearted as he thought about it.

“It is. I was born with magic, it is who I am and who I will always be, the druids believe that I am magic incarnate,” Merlin continued, “but I don’t want to be,”

“Why?”

“The druids call me Emrys and I was looking in some books and found Emrys means immortal, I don’t want to live forever Arthur,” Merlin’s voice getting quiet and desperate at the end. Arthur put his hand on Merlin, but Merlin needed comfort and hugged Arthur. He felt wetness form on his shirt but didn’t do anything and let Merlin break-in front of him. His heart hurt for his friend and he hated not being able to help him.

Once Merlin had finally pulled himself together, he pried himself off Arthur.

“So… what about that coronation?” Arthur asked again. Merlin jumped, looking out the window as he cursed.

“My crowning as King Merlin Emrys Ambrosius King of Emlet and Magic,” merlin answered as Arthur’s jaw dropped. Merlin snickered,

“Careful Arthur wouldn’t want to catch flies!” Merlin shouted as he ran out the door only to run into Elyan knocking them both down.

Arthur snorted, “Still clumsy I see,”

“Still a prat then,” Merlin mumbled, rolling his eyes as Percival helped him and Elyan off the floor, “hold on, what were you doing outside the door?” Merlin asked, “wait, you were spying on us!”

“Well, we just wanted to make sure Arthur wouldn’t kill you,” Elyan answered sheepishly.

“Hang on! You thought I would kill Merlin?” Arthur asked indignantly at his knight’s lack of faith.

“It was just a precaution Arthur,” Gwen calmly explained, “Now I think we have a coronation to get ready for,” Gwen beamed and hurriedly left to get ready. The others left after as Merlin followed Arthur to the king’s quarters. Once dressed Merlin asked them each to grab one another’s hand and whispered the transport spell and a moment later they were gone.

Chapter Text

One moment Arthur was in Gaius’ chambers and the next a lush clearing where Arthur could make out the turrets of a castle. Merlin walked on prompting the others to follow after him. The citadel came into view shortly after and Arthur was speechless at not only the castle but the city surrounding it. The buildings worked seamlessly with nature mixing both worlds together. Merlin walked backward and spread out his hands,

“Welcome to Emlet!” Merlin grinned turning back to walk forward. As they continued people stopped and waved, smiling and cheering. It dimmed slightly as they caught sight of him and his knights, but not enough to squash the joy of a coronation. The thought made Arthur smile as he looked around at the thriving people who had only been together for a little over a month.

Making their way to the castle they walk into the marketplace where merchants were selling garlands, flowers, and food for the celebrations. One stall was selling little crowns and tiaras which many were wearing, adult and children alike waving banners and flags of Emlet as Merlin walked by. He greeted each with a nod and a smile. They finally made it to the courtyard where a fountain mermaid winked in his direction, startling him and his cheeks growing red as he caught sight of Merlin snickering.

“Merlin, where did you run off too, it is going to start soon!” Hunith shouted as she came around the corner still not noticing the people trailing behind him.

“Mother, I went and got a few friends,” turning to smile and gesture to the Camelotian group.

“Oh, your majesties,” nodding in their direction and giving them a hug before hugging Gaius and turn to the knights and greeting them, “Wonderful to see you all again,”

“You as well,” Arthur responded. Hunith smiled and began fussing over her son who took it with a roll of his eyes.

“Just because I can’t see you rolling your eyes, doesn’t mean I don’t know you are, Merlin,” his mother scolded, making Merlin apologize. Arthur snickered, to which Merlin glared.

Before anything else could be said the bells chimed one and Torry appeared making the visitors jump at the sound and look at the funny looking creature.

“Torry, here to get seats for guests,” Merlin simply nodded gesturing for Arthur, Gwen, Gaius, and the remaining knights to follow the creature. Arthur left Merlin with his mother as they made their way to the Great Hall where the ceremony would be. The hall was decorated with an enchanted sky, angels on either side and garlands of cream and blue around the room. On the top of the stairs was a lean man in blue wool robes, he seemed to be waiting.

They were led to the front to sit on the left side where Gwaine was sitting, grinning up at them.

“Gwaine!” Arthur whisper yelled as he didn’t think people would appreciate yelling.

“Princess,” Gwaine greeted, he didn’t sound happy nor upset, more so carefully neutral.

“So, you have been in Emlet this whole time?” Arthur asked curious.

“Yes, I couldn’t leave Merlin to fend for himself, he would end up not eating if I wasn’t here,” Gwaine grinning.

“Look, Gwaine I apologize for how I handled finding out about Merlin’s magic,” Arthur really did feel guilty and it must have shown on his face as Gwaine’s eyes softened some.

“I get it, Arthur, I suppose I can forgive you,” his eyes twinkling.

“You little, you just wanted me to apologize!” Arthur shouted causing multiple sets of eyes to turn in his direction, “Sorry,” waiting till the eyes were off of them to continue their conversation, or they would have but Hunith joined the group meaning Merlin was about to come through.

Gwaine gave Arthur a look, which he interpreted as we will talk more later, he nodded as horns sounded and the doors opened. Arthur had to admit Merlin looked regal in blue as he watched him walk down the aisle. The people bowed as he made his way to the front, Arthur was the only one who nodded earning an elbow from Gwen. He simply shrugged but Gwen wasn’t paying attention as Merlin had gotten on his knees, head bowed.

“Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the peoples of Emlet according to their respective laws and customs?” the robed man bellowed for everyone to hear.

“I solemnly swear so to do,” merlin vowed.

“Will you to your power cause law and justice, in mercy, to be executed in all your judgments?” Smiling proudly down.

“I will”

The man places an intricate gold crown with white and blue sapphires.

Once Merlin feels the weight on his head he stands and turns to look at his people letting his eyes find Arthur’s who gives a smile. Arthur starts the chant,

“Long live the King!”

Prompting the others to follow,

“Long live the King! Long live the King! Long live the King!”

The man who crowned Merlin moved to grab an ornate sword, dull-grey blade with a black and gold hilt about three feet in length, who gave it to Merlin. Gwaine stood up making his way to the steps, that Arthur now noticed he was in armor with a blue cloak, he then kneeled. Merlin then tapped the sword on either side of Gwaine’s shoulders.

Arise, Sir Gwaine, Knight of Emlet,” Merlin’s voice rang out slightly echoing.

Gwaine grinned as he stood and bowed to Merlin, letting the applause wash over him. Arthur was a little sad to see Gwaine go, but he knew he would be of better service to Merlin than to him after everything that happened and joining in the clapping.

Merlin released everyone to the courtyard where food and dancing was starting up as more and more people joined in the celebrations.

“Merlin,” Iseldir called.

“Hello, Iseldir,” Merlin stopped for the elder man to catch up.

“I think now would be the time to bring new life to the world,” leaning in closer to not had eavesdroppers overhear. Merlin nodded and made his way back inside the castle without be noticed and quickly located the way to the balcony. Outside the door held the five eggs with a servant standing to the side waiting. Merlin nodded and the servant opened the door and Merlin lifted the eggs with his magic and stepped out.

No one had noticed him enter and he amplified his voice, letting the eggs sit on the railing.

“People of Emlet!” catching their attention, “While a momentous occasion such as the crowning of a new king in centuries is something to celebrate… the giving of life is more so…” Whispers filled the yard each waiting for him to continue.

“Gwaine and I ventured to find the Tomb of Ashkanar where there were rumors of a dragon egg. We succeeded and found not only one but five eggs to continue the race of the Great Dragon’s,” Merlin finished letting the cheering die down before he closed his eyes, feeling the power of the dragonlords wash over him.

“Keerthi,” Merlin spoke as all watched as the red egg began to crack as the little dragon broke its way out. Merlin wanted to coo but he had four more gets to give names.

“Cosmina,” the emerald-colored egg shook as the mossy textured dragon released itself.

“Erembour,” was the middle egg that swirled black and white that produced a tiny dragon that looked to be made of shadows.

“Aithusa,” Merlin felt was the right fit for the white dragon that felt its egg.

“Aibek,” was the last the be given a name as the sun began to set and the moon was made brighter as well as Aibek’s scales.

Cheers broke out as the baby dragons puffed their chests out, trying to seem bigger and loving the attention. Merlin grinned as held his hands out for them to perch. Aithusa and Aibek sat on his shoulders, Erembour and Keerthi fought over who could sit on his head till the latter won. Leading to Erembour and Cosmina to be held up by Merlin’s hands. He was surprised to feel Erembour was solid under his shadow, he would have to study that later.

Merlin went back to the party allowing the dragonette's to explore when Arthur found him in a corner.

“Merlin! Dragon eggs, were you ever going to tell me or just had them one day venturing into Camelot?” Arthur didn’t growl but it was a near thing.

“Relax, Arthur. They would never get close to Camelot,” Merlin said.

“And how could you possibly make sure they don’t?” Arthur asked, now growling.

“Because it’s dangerous, anywhere where their existence it illegal is,” Merlin calmly stated. The answer threw Arthur for a loop,

“It’s not dangerous, it’s plenty safe,” indignant.

“Yes, Arthur it is safe, for people without magic, for non-magical creatures,” Merlin reasoned. Arthur paused; mouth left open slightly.

“I…” not knowing what to say.

“It’s alright Arthur, we don’t have to see eye to eye on everything magic. I’ve accepted that magic has no place in Camelot, but it does in Emlet,” Merlin sighed.

“No, that’s… that’s not it, Merlin. I think I do want magic in Camelot. Everything I’ve seen so far of Emlet, I want me people to do more than survive, I want them to thrive,” Arthur responded. Merlin looked startled slightly.

“Would you help me, Merlin?” voice softer, putting a hand on Merlin’s shoulder. Swallowing Merlin nodded.

The night gave way to dawn as the party grew smaller till it was just Merlin, Gwaine and the group from Camelot sitting in the courtyard steps.

“So, I guess its time for you to go,” Merlin whispered as the watched the sunrise.

“Yes, I will see you soon, though,” Arthur responded.

“What? Why?” confused, Merlin tilted his head slightly.

“Because, you great idiot, you promised to help me repeal the ban on magic,” playfully rolling his eyes and pushing his body against Merlin almost causing him to fall over from his seated position.

“Oh,” blinking owlishly.

“Yes, oh,”

“Alright, but I have to deal with a few things here first,” Merlin told the group.

“Like what?”

“Like what I’m going to do about Julius Borden,” sighing leaning his head on Gwaine’s shoulders.

“Who?”

“The thief who tried to take the dragon eggs,” Merlin answered.

“Oh,” Arthur parroted Merlin’s earlier word.

“That’s my word,” Merlin giggled slightly, perhaps a little drunk still. Arthur rolled his eyes, enjoying the presence of his friend, he didn’t realize he had missed him so much.

Chapter Text

Merlin had taken the Camelot King, Queen, knights, and physician back that evening. He had been given a hangover cure with a tincture of magic from Alice, who embraced Gaius and promised to meet up again soon. Gwen had been pulled into a hug making him promise the same. Pats on the back from the knights and Arthur.

Sighing, Merlin pushed those thoughts aside to dealing with Borden. He sat in his study, idling flipping through a book, when he remembered he still needed to go back to the tomb to get the ones he saw on taking care and identifying the different dragons. Standing having decided, more like putting it off, but Merlin would never admit it, he made his way to find Gwaine.

He asked a couple of the nearby house-elves cleaning up after the party to find out Gwaine was testing people who could be good fits for knighthood. He made his way to the training grounds to watch as his newly made first knight caused a young ginger to fall face forward in a pile of mud. Chuckling slightly, he made his presence known with a clearing of his throat. Everyone on the field turned wide-eyed at the sight of their king and the ginger hastily stood, cheeks flushed in embarrassment at his state. They bowed but Merlin waved them off and gestured for Gwaine to join him, leading to the knight telling the group to continue training.

“Come to scare off my future knights, Merlin?” Gwaine asked in jest. Merlin rolled his eyes playfully not admitting anything, but his eyes twinkled. Gwaine looked affronted, recognizing the look.

“What did you have in mind?” Gwaine asked, resigned.

Merlin grinned, “Would you come back with me to the tomb to get those books and things,” Gwaine looked apprehensive, before searching for something.

“Alright, but when are you going to hold judgment over Borden?”

Merlin ran a hand through his hair, “I don’t know, I’ll have to tomorrow. I don’t know what to do about him. I do not want the start of my reign to be marked by bloodshed,” Gwaine nodded but didn’t offer up any advice. Merlin didn’t know where to be thankful or not that he didn’t.

“Where are the terrible fivesome?” Noticing the lack of dragonette’s surrounding their lord.

“I sent them to annoy Kilgharrah for the day,” Merlin grinned and Gwaine couldn’t help but laugh. Merlin opted to just teleport instead of taking the Pegasus’ and Gwaine agreed wanting to get back to weeding out potential candidates.

With a few words, Gwaine and his king were back in the musty, dark tomb. A flash of gold and two-colored lights floated into the air, one blue and the other a soft yellow. Gwaine reached up to touch it in awe as the sphere was cool to the touch before moving back surprised when the yellow one followed.

“It will follow you so you can see,” Merlin explained, demonstrating by stepping to the left then the right as the blue light responded with a second delay. Gwaine nodded,

“One question how are we going to bring all this back with us, there are only two of us,” Merlin just smiled and Gwaine wished he didn’t ask but was surprised when Merlin pulled out a small pouch.

“Merlin, mate, I don’t mean to doubt you, but that isn’t going to help,” concerned for his friend’s logic, for Merlin’s part he just rolled his eyes and opened the bag.

“It’s enchanted, I was bored and Grettir was showing me a spell for tiny pocket dimensions. I repurposed it for storage,” and Gwaine simply nodded dumbly, not sure why he was surprised by anything Merlin did anymore. Taking that as a conversation over, Merlin walked off in one direction putting thinks of interest is his pocket dimension pouch. Shaking his head to clear his thoughts he went in the opposite direction to get done faster.

Gwaine entered a moderately sized chamber that was illuminated by the ball of light, casting shadows on the walls. At closer inspection, he could tell painted figures of a story with dragons and a crude sounding language littering the wall in ordered chaos. Gwaine walked around the room noticing the painting told of a battle with two people on each side of a hill with dragons, teeth bared, and eyes narrowed. This must be the story Kilgharrah told them. He made his way around the room moving things of interest in the middle of the room for Merlin to sort through. He grabbed all the books in the chamber, which were in perfect condition after all this time, he put it down to magic. A few heirlooms and a chest of gold were in the room but what caught Gwaine’s eye was the pedestal that held a rather large book. Course leather and pages came together as names in blood-red ink were scrawled on the pages. The book was at the last page with something written on it and Gwaine glanced at the end of the list to read:

Merlin Emrys Ambrosius

Status: Living

Gwaine’s brows rose as he read it, why did a book have Merlin’s name in it? Was it magic? Why’s ran through his head and he gripped the wood beneath the book to ground himself, shaking off his spiraling thoughts and added it to the stack of other things in the center. By the time Gwaine had sifted through the one-room Merlin’s head popped through the side of the door.

“Find anything?” Merlin asked stepping fully into the room, eyes roaming the walls. Gwaine nodded, gesturing to the pile next to him.

“Yeah, figured you would want to look through everything,” Merlin nodded and began putting most of the things he had found in his pouch.

“Did you finish looking in your room?” Gwaine asked.

“Hmm? Oh, yes, finished looking through all the rooms. Found out that all dragonlords used to be buried here before my ancestor sealed it off,” Gwaine’s eyebrows rose to his hairline.

“Wait, you finished looking through all the rooms while I only just finished my one!” pouting slightly, Merlin laughed and shaking his head slightly.

“There were only four rooms, Gwaine. Nothing really interesting in the…” Merlin’s voice trailed off and Gwaine glanced and saw he had the book with his name on it in his hands, “What’s this?”

“I found it, had your name in it, figured you wouldn’t want it in the wrong hands,” Gwaine spoke, waiting for Merlin to say something, he didn’t, just gave a jerky nod and shaky breath. Finally, Merlin put it in his bag and continued sifting through the rapidly diminishing pile. They didn’t speak again and when Merlin finished, he simply dusted himself of the dust from the floor and getting up, grabbed Gwaine’s arm and without warning his eyes glowed gold and they were back in Merlin’s study.

Gwaine swayed from having no forewarning, holding onto the desk and giving Merlin a quick glare.

“Sorry,” Merlin muttered, rubbing the back of his neck. Gwaine nodded in acceptance of the apology.

“My father’s name was in the book,” Merlin blurted out, and Gwaine almost tripped over his feet even if he was standing still. Gwaine’s eyes widened slightly and gave his king a pat on the back, knowing he wouldn’t want pity. Gwaine knew he did the right thing when Merlin’s eyes showed his gratitude.

“Sorry, you can go train my new knights,” Merlin dismissed. Gwaine gasped,

“What do you mean your knights, I’m the one training them,” Gwaine said in mock offense. Merlin rolled his eyes laughing under his breath and pushed Gwaine towards the door.

“My feelings are hurt, Merlin!” Gwaine yelled as he exited the room as he dodged a decorative pillow that he knew hadn’t been there.

                                                             ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Merlin had finished putting the things from the tomb in his study and had read a few of the dragon classes looking for the ones he had hatched. The first he found a moon dragon,

The Moon Dragon is blessed by the Moon goddess, Cerridwen. The Moon dragons are said to always be born females as they are Yin to the Sun Dragon’s Yang. This usually makes them have a quiet and calm nature but can differ for every dragon. Moon dragons tend to be more powerful at night including the innate skill to turn invisible to the eye whether magical or not.

The Sun Dragon is blessed by the Sun goddess, Étaín. Usually born male with an extremely rare case of one being female. Sun dragons are always the Yang to the Moon dragon’s Yin. The Sun dragon’s traits tend to the more tempered side to balance out the Yin of the Moon Dragon. As blessed by the Sun god, the Sun dragons have the hottest flame to rival that of even the oldest living dragons.

The Earth Dragon is blessed by the goddess of healing, Airmed. Usually, make great healers of flora and fauna alike. Nothing much else is recorded of the Earth dragons.

The shadow or storm dragon is blessed by the god of thunder, Taranis. These dragons range from pure shadows to lightning coming off its body, a truly rare sight is both. Storm dragons tend to be able to control the weather.

The fire dragon is blessed by the goddess of fate, Mórrígan. These dragons tend to light their selves on fire and have the occasional vision. As the goddess of fate is mysterious these dragons have few known secrets.

Merlin smiled, finally, he was getting somewhere. He flipped through a few more books, one about the eating habits of the different dragon species, one about the development plan for newborn dragons, and the last he was in the middle of reading one of his great, great, grandfathers journal when Gwaine knocked and entered the room without waiting for his response. Merlin rolled his eyes but didn’t stop the knight from sitting in the chair opposite his.

“Gwaine,”

“Merlin, find anything of interest?” Gwaine asked. Merlin nodded but didn’t elaborate.

“Need something, Gwaine?” Merlin questioned, “I thought you were still training the new knights?”

“Merlin looks out the window,” Gwaine answered, humor twinkling in his eyes. Merlin did as told, his eyes widening as the moon was high in the sky. The elves must have lit the candles without his notice. Merlin shrugged.

“As for the new knights, not yet, you still have to officially knight them,” Gwaine continued. Merlin groaned, he had only been king for a couple days and he still had a month’s worth of work to do. Gwaine reached over to pat him on the back to which he swatted away.

“Any ideas about what to do about Borden?” Merlin asked, needing another opinion. Gwaine didn’t answer at first, leaving Merlin in his head.

“You could banish him? Or let him rot in the cells. Maybe, have him work in the fields?” Gwaine gave a few suggestions, but Merlin didn’t particularly like any of them. Merlin shook his head. Banishing him wouldn’t stop him from committing a crime in another kingdom and keeping him in the cells would not help his conscious. The last he wouldn’t force other hard-working people to suffer with his presence. He needed another option.

“I need to speak with Arthur,” Merlin announced, already standing to perform the transporting spell. Gwaine simply nodded, he knew Merlin needed time to grow into his own as king, but he needed a friend who could understand what sentencing a man could do and right know Arthur was the only person to help. By the time Gwaine finished his train of thought, Merlin was gone. Wishing his friend, the best of luck, Gwaine left the room, closing the doors behind him.

Chapter Text

Arthur startled at the loud pop that resonated through the air, upsetting the ink well he had just dipped his quill into, spilling onto the paperwork. Sighing, Arthur saved what he could before standing and looking at the cause. Merlin.

Arthur looked at his friend, who in the short time of his arrival had made his hair into a rat’s nest and seemed determined to wear the floor out with his pacing.

“Merlin!” he yelled, making the warlock jump and spin to face him, “What are you doing here?”

“I needed some advice,” Merlin answered, cheeks slightly red, whether from embarrassment was still to be debated. Arthur sobered, nodding for Merlin to take the seat opposite his own. Arthur waited for Merlin to sit before retaking his own. He watched as Merlin opened and closed his mouth a few times, obviously not knowing where to start.

“Try the beginning, Merlin,” Arthur prompted, he wanted to help his friend, but he would like to finish the paperwork before the end of the week.

“Remember the dragon egg thief, Borden?” Arthur nodded, “I don’t know what to do with him,” Merlin sighed, running his hand through his tangled hair again.

“Do with him, as in…”

“As in, how am I supposed to judge the man’s fate?” Merlin raised his voice slightly, leading to Arthur raising an eyebrow and Merlin mumbling a quick apology.

“Okay, what were you thinking?” Arthur prompted, wanting Merlin to find his own answer.

“Banishment was Gwaine’s idea, but I cannot do that and have the other kingdoms be a target for the man,”

“You could always brand them,” Arthur suggested.

“I guess, but that would only matter if he was caught,” Merlin countered. Arthur sighed; this would take a while.

“Merlin, not every solution is going to be perfect, everything has drawbacks,”

“I know,” Merlin whispered eyes downcast to his lap. Arthur reached over to grab Merlin’s chin, forcing him to look at Arthur.

“We will find a way together,” Arthur vowed. Merlin nodded and the evening was spent on a compromise.

 

Merlin had called the court, mostly consisting of the councilors, high ranking Catha priests and druids.

“Bring forth the accused,” Merlin announced, voice loud and clear. Gwaine along with a Catha warrior opened the chamber doors to allow the fellow guards to drag the thief forward, forcing him to kneel at his feet.

“Julius Borden, you are accused of attempted theft of five dragon eggs, how do you plead?” Merlin asks.

Borden says nothing. Merlin motions for Gwaine to step forward.

“I call to witness, Sir Gwaine,” Gwaine bows to Merlin before turning to address the court.

“What do you have to say?” Merlin prompted.

“Borden is guilty of the crime of theft as he had me held be by dagger to get Merlin, sorry, King Merlin, to hand over the eggs in exchange for my life,” stepping back after saying his peace.

“It was only one! I didn’ know they had more!” Borden shouts the court murmuring to each other at the outburst.

“Silence!” Merlin commands, waiting till the last of the voices have petered out, “Julius Borden you are hereby sentenced to branding in the form of a T for theft on your skin and Banishment from Emlet,” Merlin steps down from the throne and calmly walks out of the room as Borden screams insults behind him. Gwaine follows him out.

Once in the privacy of his study Merlin groans and sinks into his chair gratefully.

“That went well,” Gwaine chatters in the background as Merlin stares into space, not really thinking about anything.

“Merlin,” Gwaine gets his attention back by flicking his ear.

“What, Gwaine?”

“How was your visit with Arthur?”

“Oh,” Merlin rubs his hand over his face, “not bad, we didn’t really do anything but think of ways to punish Borden,” getting a letter from a red box in the corner of his desk and starting to read. It was the druid's petition for one of their elders to teach at the school. He quickly wrote back a time and date for a guest lecturer and signed off with his name, melting wax and stamping his signet ring on it. Lastly, he flicked his wrist with the paper in hand and watched as it disappeared.

“When did you learn to do that?” Gwaine asked with a whistle. Merlin shrugged, not feeling up to telling him he did it for the first time without really thinking about it.

Gwaine must have understood that Merlin wanted to be alone at the moment because the next minute the doors were closing and Merlin let his head fall on the table, exhausted. He ended up falling asleep there at his desk.

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Merlin woke feeling sore, but in his bed. He groaned and covered his eyes with his arm, remembering falling asleep at his desk. He let his mind wander till something heavy jumped on his stomach, making him groan and roll to get it off. At the same time, he opened his eyes to be greeted with Aithusa next to his face and four other dragonets watching from the nearby table.

He laughed, despite himself, running his fingers along her spine.

“UP, UP,” Aithusa shouted, just learning to speak in the short amount of time she’s been alive. Merlin grinned, pulling himself up and off the bed. The dragons watched his every move as he worked to get ready for the day.

Once he was done, he gave a sharp whistle, waiting for the little dragons to follow one by one. Merlin walked out of his room with five dragons hot on his heels, heads held high imitating him. He grinned, making his way to break his fast with his mother. His mother laughed as he walked in the room, eyes following the “children” as they took a seat around the table.

“Morning Mother,” Merlin grinned, as each dragon gave their best greeting.

“Merlin,” His mother answered, a smile still prominent on her face. Gwaine joined a few moments later with an offhanded comment about being Merlin’s own children, instead of dragons.

“Speaking of children, are you going to give me any grandbabies while I’m alive?” Merlin’s cheeks pinked at his mother’s comment with Gwaine’s roaring laughter.

Clearing his throat, he gave his best answer, “Your still quite young, mother,”

“Yes, Merlin. But I will not be forever,” Hunith countered. Merlin didn’t have a response as his mind went to the word forever. Yes, she might not live forever, now Gwaine, or Arthur, or Gwen, or anyone. But he will. And it hurt to know everyone he loves will die.

“Maybe someday,” he replies, much more subdued. Hunith sends a questioning glance, but Gwaine shakes his head and Hunith changes the conversation.

Chapter Text

“MERLIN!” Echoes off the stone walls and Merlin rounded the corner grinning as he ran away from the sound. He raced to the stairs leading to the parapets. He slowed slightly as he skipped every other step, managing to let Arthur catch up to him. 

Arthur kept Merlin in his line of sight all the way up the winding stairs, just out of the older man’s reach. He arrived at the top of the castle just as Merlin fell over the edge. Arthur shouted his name as he scrambled to lean over the stone wall to watch helplessly as his best friend fell. 

He heard gasps and saw pointing peasants, courtiers, and lords alike as they looked up to see the warlock fall. Everything seemed to go in slow motion until a distant roar came from the sky. Instinctively, Arthur looked up to be greeted by Erembour flying towards Merlin. Now, he wasn’t so much afraid his friend would kill himself but more annoyed he managed to get out of the meeting by attempting to do so. He grinned dispute himself as he watched Erem catch the crazed man who let out a whoop of joy. He couldn’t blame Merlin for wanting out of the meeting, as the council had been trying to marry their daughters off to him. They had successfully lifted the ban on magic a year ago and most of the distrust had vanished but for one stubborn noble who lost his place on the council as one of Uther’s older councilors. Time for a new change. 

Arthur simply watched as Merlin flew around, he was aware that Merlin had gathered quite a crowd as his laughter echoed through the city. The knights had stopped their training, with whistles from a visiting Gwaine and gleeful faces from the others. Gwen joined him a moment later, resting her head on his shoulder and resting her hand in her stomach. He kissed her forehead as more gasps rang out. He snapped his head to Merlin who has now fallen off and was spinning fast towards to ground from high above. Erem flew under Merlin a moment later and Arthur could just make out both of their grins as suddenly Merlin kicked off of Erembour’s stomach, twisting and spinning till at the last second before he hit the ground he grabbed hold of Erem and they glided over the still growing crowd, both laughing loudly as they changed course to grab Gwaine. 

The man saluted and the trio soared in the direction of the setting sun. Arthur stayed out until he could no longer see them and the sun had long set. Signing, he turned his back to the stars and headed inside to message Merlin for his idiocy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Merlin grinned as he stepped off the parapets and sent a mental message for Erembour to catch. He heard Arthur’s shout of distress and would endlessly tease him for it later. He heard gasps and saw pointing people of all classes watching him, not in distress, but anticipation. 

A roar had all eyes turn to the sky and he slowed down time to enjoy the moment before Erem caught his prey. 

His body jerked at the sudden lack of pushing gravity as he caught himself on the dragon’s back. His fingers search through the smoke to find the loose necklace of the Emlet crest, wrapping around it and gesturing to the sky as he laughed. Erem made a pleasant purr and Merlin felt powerful thrusts push them further towards the sun. He breathed deeply, feeling more alive right now than he had in weeks with updated negotiations having taken place in that time. 

They flew in lazy circles a few times before climbing higher and higher until Merlin could hardly breath. He let his fingers unfurl from the leather strap and let himself feel weightless as wind rushed around him. He closed his eyes, grinning, aware of Erembour falling below him, just in case. 

He let the dragon for a few more seconds before kicking off Erem’s stomach to which he was growled at but he didn’t care in this moment as he did tricks in the air. He wished he could do this forever but the ground was calling his name and he gave a sharp whistle and Erembour was by his side in an instant ready to assist in keeping him alive. He laughs and grabs back onto the leather and glides low over the crowd to the knights who stopped training. He watched as Gwaine says goodbye in his own way and holds his hand out, ready for Merlin to grab it and pull him up onto Erembour. Getting closer Merlin grabs Gwaine’s hand and has Erem spin to let Gwaine onto his back. They lift up in one quick stroke and are setting in the direction of Emlet. Merlin and Gwaine grin at each other as they enjoy the slowly setting sun on the journey home. Because Emlet has always been his home, before he knew it existed and Camelot is his home away from home. 

Forever.

Chapter Text

Sequel is up. Called KING EMRYS