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A Word for Forgotten Songs (17/20)

Title: A Word for Forgotten Songs
Fandom: Merlin
Characters: Merlin, Arthur, Uther, Gaius, Gwen, Morgana, Leon, OMC
Rated: PG-13
Word Count: 1,390 (this chapter)
Summary: A strange warrior arrives in time to save Arthur and Merlin from bandits. He is wounded and falls ill. As Gaius cares for the wound, he knows the blade was dipped in a potion that only affects those with magic. After he heals, Merlin talks with him of magic and Arthur spars with him. They then learn that the bandit attack was not random.
Author's Note: This has been sitting on my computer for over 3 years! It's still not done but I couldn't put off the posting any longer. The original character is from one of my series and I kinda place him in lots of fandoms. His original series starts here. The story is set in series 2, somewhat early on. It's unbeta'd so all mistakes are my own.

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Alan woke the next morning and crept over to the window where he watched the sun rise. Soon after, he heard the echoing of horses’ hooves as a group of riders entered the courtyard. By the fancy clothes of one of the men and the livery of the others, this had to be the first arrival for the funeral. He wondered who it was.

He heard the rustle of cloth and a morning moan. He turned around to see Merlin rubbing his eyes. “What are you doing up? I thought you said we needed a good night’s rest.”

“I never said ‘we’. Besides, I only got up a few minutes ago.”

Merlin came over to the window. “What’s going on?”

“The first representative’s arrived. How much time does that give us?”

“Nothing will happen until they’re all here and even then, only when Uther’s ready. Until then, they will be shown to their apartments to wait and prepare.”

“Which means it’s time to prepare and wait.”

“Hooray, more waiting.”

Alan slapped Merlin on the shoulder. “Let’s go bring a prince back to life.”

After changing into fresh clothes, Alan and Merlin tip-toed down into the main room so as not to wake Gaius. They stopped when they heard the bed creak and waited a few moments to make sure he wouldn’t wake.

“I was wondering when you two were going to get up,” the older man said.

“How long have you been awake?” asked Merlin.

“Not long.” Gaius sat up. “Uther’s vigil will be ending soon and we will need to set things in motion.”

“But we thought--” Alan started.

“Merlin can’t be seen by anyone as he is suffering from exhaustion so the two of you need to ‘pop’ down to the chapel.”

“Right. Teleport us to the chapel right in front of Uther so he can execute me.”

“There is an ante-chamber that few people use,” put in Merlin. “It has a separate entrance to the hall so Uther won’t wonder how we got there.”

“Perfect. Let’s get going.”

“I think some tea first.” Gaius stood and walked over to the small fireplace.

After a quick breakfast of tea and toast, Gaius left first under the guise of checking Uther after the vigil. Alan gave him enough time before taking Merlin to the ante-chamber.

He tapped softly on the door and Arthur opened it. “You’re cutting it close.”

“Usually you’re cranky when you don’t have enough sleep, but now it’s when you get too much as well?” Merlin quipped as he entered the chapel. “I’m going to have to keep a close eye on your sleeping habits.”

“Good morning, sire, m’lord.” Alan bowed in Uther’s direction. “Our apologies for the delay. Gaius informed us that nothing would happen unless you allowed it.”

“Quite true.”

“He’s outside now waiting to check on you after your vigil,” said Merlin as he set the dummy down in Arthur’s place.

“Is that supposed to be me? There is no way anyone will think that’s me. There isn’t a face or even hands!” Arthur lifted one of the arms.

“That’s why you wore gloves,” said Alan softly to keep Arthur from getting any louder. “And, as for the face, we made a mask while you were ‘sleeping’.”

Merlin pulled the mask from his satchel, looking more like Arthur now than when it went in. Unless someone was looking at it up close, it could pass for the real thing. Of course, when the time came, the boy would probably put a spell on it to make it even more “life-like”.

“Okay, that’s more like it,” commented Arthur. “Lower the visor and no one will notice,”

“Hey, we put a lot of work into that,” said Merlin. “Well, Gaius did.”

There was a knock on the door. “Sire, is everything all right?” called Gaius. “Representatives have started to arrive.”

Uther glared at Alan and Merlin, wondering why they had neglected to tell him such important news. “A few moments more, Gaius!” he replied.

The four of them arranged the dummy until everyone was satisfied. Done, Merlin collected the bag and cleared away any remnants of their presence. Alan hurried Arthur from the room. When Merlin joined them, he bid Arthur close his eyes.

“What? We don’t have time for stupid games. We need to get out before the halls get busy.”

“Close your eyes. Trust me.”

The prince rolled his eyes before closing them. Alan smiled at Merlin and took them to Gaius’ apartments.

*************************************

Merlin steadied Arthur as he staggered slightly. “You can open your eyes.”

Arthur did so and Merlin smiled at his reaction. “Did you actually just use magic on me?” he demanded.

“Did you see me do anything?”

Merlin smiled as he recalled what Arthur had said when coming to terms with the knowledge of Alan’s magic. Since he hadn’t seen anything himself, he wouldn’t turn the older man over to his father.

“No, but I can see the effects of it. How else could I have gotten here in such a short span of time?”

“But did you hear a spell? Did you see anything resembling the act of magic? I mean you can always say something is down to magic but if you don’t witness it, who’s to say it happened?”

Arthur looked to Merlin who just shrugged. He was not going to get in the middle of a philosophical discussion of this sort. Alan’s comments did make him think on the moral and philosophical aspects of magic and its use. He knew he would have questions for Gaius.

“So, what’s the next step in this great plan of yours?”

“Plan of ours,” Alan corrected. “We get you and Merlin out of the castle and into the town. Do you know of a safe place you can stay without being seen?”

Arthur shook his head. He had no real detailed knowledge of the lower town.

“Gwen’s,” Merlin stated. “She’ll be with Morgana all day. There will be no one there.”

“Okay. You have to remember to stay hidden until the funeral starts. We’ll meet up at the tavern and wait for our friend to join us.”

“And you’re sure he will?”

“He can’t leave any loose ends.”

Merlin wasn’t sure what Alan meant by that and it must have shown on his face.

“He has to kill us since we know about him wanting me dead,” Arthur explained. He turned to Alan. “With everyone at the funeral, how will we get anyone to witness it?”

“You can be forgiven for not remembering,” Alan grinned. “You were out of your head for quite a while there.”

“Out of concern, Gaius will go to check on me, find me missing and start a search. He knows to head to the tavern.”

“Why would you go to the tavern during my funeral?” Arthur was indignant.

“To drown my sorrows? I’m out of my mind with grief? Why does it matter? You’re not dead.”

“Arthur, close your eyes,” Alan interrupted.

“Again?”

“You don’t expect to sneak out of the castle and through the town unseen, do you?”

Arthur sighed and closed his eyes.

Merlin was starting to get used to this mode of travel. If he could do that, it would save so much time and would make sneaking out of the castle easier.

Alan reminded them to stay quiet and then left.

Arthur sat at the table and rested his head on his hands. “So, what do we do now?”

“You could always take a rest,” Merlin answered as he began straightening up Gwen’s home.

“I’ve spent the majority of the last 24 hours asleep, Merlin, I don’t need any more.” He looked up. “Are you cleaning? Voluntarily? Are you running a fever?”

“Just trying to keep busy. It’s the least I can do.” He dusted a bit with the edge of his shirt.

“Yes, it is.” Arthur smirked.

Merlin turned his back and sighed. It was going to be a long wait.

“You missed a spot.”

A very long wait.


18

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