The poisonous Crow shall arrive to a land in the sun retire,
where leaves and herbs grow fresh and green.
The Crow and the Lady will bring the fire down from the skies,
Cast shadows and despair and darkness to the hearts of men.
The sky-candle's aglow and flickering,
it is in the darkness since the opposite was born and free.
The King of the bitterest hearts rots in the mind of his own,
The King of the purest of souls opens the heart of his hearts,
The King of the darkest minds corrupts the weakest and the strongest of souls.
The Loyalty, The Strength, The Honor, The Silence, The Kindness.
The rightful savior of the kings' falls, dies, disappears, is no more,
In the brightness of the Sun and Hope and the Viper fades as the Falcon soars.
The land shakes, the storm grows,
The Crow creaks and the Raven crows when the Fire falls.
Until the world finds the way,
The Father of Fire and Sky meets his kin,
so the Dark and Light come one once more.
The letter had been laid on the dark wooden desk months ago, though not forgotten even for a day, since the mysterious messenger had rode to the city, calling out for the prince of the kingdom, the friends and family of the fallen warrior. He had been exhausted and bleeding from a deep wound on his left side, almost falling off of his weary horse in the awaiting arms of the three knights running for his help. The strong, fast men in their shining armors and red capes flying behind them had carried him to the royal physician, but he only managed to prolong the man's life long enough for the future leader to storm in through the door after hearing the words fallen warrior.
"It is not mine to tell you what you need to know, I-I am but a messenger of the great Taliesin and his p-prophecies," the dying man had coughed out with the last of his strength, holding out his trembling hand where the stained, wrinkled letter was, "but it is his wish and mine that the King of our brighter future has this, e-even at the cost of a small existence like mine to perish... as long as the way is found…"
The physician, one of the wisest in the kingdom, told that Taliesin had been a powerful Seer hundreds of years ago but his prophecies always came through and they were being held in the safekeeping of the chosen families to be delivered when the times was right, but he could not say anything about the letter the prince had been given. It was still kept a secret from anyone but them and the closest knights defending the realm - no one else was to be trusted. But they did not understand it.
Most of the people of Camelot had no idea about the conflict their leader was having with his own mind or about the missing link in the defenders of the realm. They did not know about the prince and the princess having arguments daily, they did not know the real reason of the king's illness and why the son was acting as a regent. They did not know about the heartbreak of the said son, or the empty, colorless life the people of the castle had lived for the past eight months. But the kingdom had been safe despite everything, with nothing to defend the city from, no threats, no conflict with other kingdoms… nothing.
But it was all just the calm before the storm that was brewing in the horizon, in the old blackened castle miles and miles away from the white stoned city of Camelot. The old palace did not draw attention if you went past it - it was centuries old and most of it was cracked, grey stone or wood trying to hold it up. The walls and entrances were covered with hanging vines, the abandoned courtyard had weeds up to you knees. But the reason that made the castle the birthplace of the storm?
It was not loud if you stood outside, one could not even hear it if the wind blew too hard but it was still there and had been for months almost every day. There were three powerful, low voices chanting the same spell and trying to get it work. But what they had not known was that the fourth person in the room, chained to the roof by her hands and screaming as the spell tried to take hold, had a stronger mind than they thought.
"How long has it been, oh great Priestess?" A hollow, dry voice had grumbled five months since everything started when the mentioned Priestess had been left alone with their prisoner. Soulless dark eyes tried to bore holes in the blue ones sunken in their holes, though still shining brightly with the fire of the prisoner's spirit. Despite losing most of her weight, despite the way her skin had tighten around her crackling bones and turned ashen, despite the endless bruises and cuts - no one could remove the fire from a warrior.
"That is none of your concern, Emrys."
The answers had almost drowned under the loud, crackling laughter of the prisoner that did not stop even when the Priestess' fist landed a hard blow to her abdomen. "So it has been far too long," she managed to cackle between the laughter, letting their head fall backwards momentarily just to close her eyes, hiding the small flicker of relief from her capturer. "It seems you did not think I'd be a match for you like this, now did you Morgause?"
She had never received an answer, just an enraged growl and several painful hits on her body. The prisoner's almost manic laughter had done nothing to stop the blows, but only silencing when the last one hit her right on the lips. Her head snapped to the side, blood pooling on her tongue but her eyes never lost their mirth when they slowly turned back to her assailant, spitting the blood at the Priestess' feet. "How long do you think these pathetic excuses for cuffs will hold me?" Her chin tilted up to inspect the engraved cuffs slowly bruising the skin on her wrists for the hundredth time since the start of her captivity. "How long do you think-" the blazing blue eyes snapped back down to the bottomless dark ones, the blue momentarily flickering to molten gold before morphing back, "-you can run from me when I get out?"
It was supposed to be impossible for anyone to get in touch of their powers, especially while being held with cuffs enchanted by a High Priestess - but it would not be the first time the prisoner had defied odds. It was especially worth it when the empty brown eyes showed their first emotion besides rage; fear.
As much as the warrior tried not to, she could relate to that - she was afraid. She could hold the façade with these people, she could spout nonsense and intimidate them, but she was getting weaker. The mind could only be strong for so long when being kept away from those she loved. She could feel her walls crack and grumble, her tightly constructed ideals and thoughts ever-so slowly shift and morph into something completely horrific and wrong.
And every day when the last try of the spell ended and the prisoner slumped down, head hanging between her chained arms, she would think of only one thing.
I'm scared, my love. I don't think I can hold on any longer. Don't be mad at me. I tried.
I love you, Arthur.
Every day she would think of that and hope that somehow he would hear her. Or at least know that she thought of him every day. That she would think of the good moments, as rare as they were. She would imagine what would've happened if she wouldn't have overreacted after losing the Cup… she would imagine him coming to rescue, though she doubted it would happen - no one knew where she was.
No one cared.
Every night the thoughts would take a darker turn. 'I miss you' would turn into a 'I hope you still remember me'. 'I wish you haven't given up' would morph into 'why would you even care anymore?', and 'I'm so tired, I can't go on' would change into 'I'm giving up, please don't hate me''. And lastly - 'I will come back to you' would turn into 'I hope you can find my body'. But every time she would know, that she was still Merlyn.
Until today, eight months of captivity later.
"Gúðcyst modjjryau, feorhbona sáwol, hwa héo sy sylfum heord .
Modjjryau hetole breguríce Camelot, sáwol unandgytful sylfum lādaþ, heord fylde eac frige hine, éstfulu ond unmildheortu.
Gemyndelicnes andwendan betigean, hwilc héo soþe mynteþ ond ġefēleþ neowol .
Ābirst ðæt clústor ofdune, ácrimman acon, eácnigende hwa héo sy soþe.
Gúðcyst modjjryau, feorhbona sáwol, hwa héo sy sylfum heord ."
The spell had been heard for several hundred times for the past months, but never had it made this effect on her. On the other times, every word chanted over her screams caused horrendous pain all over her body, every cell and muscle felt like they were ripping apart, every bone in her body felt like they were breaking over and over again. Her eyes would burn because of the tears that had already dried off and cuts would eventually appear where the lines had melted in her, her life-force oozing out of her skin, forcing the people to stop and heal her only to do it all over again the next day.
But now, every word made the screeches and whispers echoing in her ears fade one by one, bringing a feeling of almost peace to her mind. The scars of the last attempts were starting to fade away, the blue of her eyes darkening and muscled relaxing so much that her head fell slowly forward the same time her eyes slid shut. The chanting turned louder, sounding almost triumphant as the three pairs of golden eyes widened in excitement as the previously strong woman gave up. But to her it felt… good. She did not feel like she had just given up, she was not really even sure what had happened. All she felt was… calm. She knew she was hanging from her numb arms from the roof, she knew she had been in pain for months, she knew who had hurt her, but even when the room and the world went quiet, even when there was something exhilarating growing in the back of her mind and flaring up in her gut… she felt calm.
But that too, was only the calm before the storm.
An distorted echo rang in her ears, distantly sounding like her own voice as her eyes slowly fluttered open and moved up to one of the three pairs of eyes staring down at her. The blue was dull, dark like the midnight sky without the stars thought still filled with a light - a light that promised destruction. Pain. Misery and blood and fire. A manic glint matching the eyes closest to her own, fading from gold to ice blue.
"Welcome home, love."
The echo rang once more.
I'm sorry, Arthur.
But she still smiled, though it had no warmth nor affection while her head tilted to the side, brushing away the echo of a feeling foreign to her that the sentence brought, focusing on the eyes crowding her line of sight.
"Glad to be back."
The mind of a warrior, the soul of a killer, the heart of who she is.
The mind once hating Camelot, the soul once incapable of guilt, the heart once filled with love for him, devoted and ruthless.
Memories of her change to what she needs to know, what she feels and thinks deep down.
Bring the barrier down, crumble the sin she has become, bring forth the one she really is.
The mind of a warrior, the soul of a killer, the heart of who she is.