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A Word for Forgotten Songs (19/20)

Title: A Word for Forgotten Songs
Fandom: Merlin
Characters: Merlin, Arthur, Uther, Gaius, Gwen, Morgana, Leon, OMC
Rated: PG-13
Word Count: 1,650 (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 slowly, feeling like he’d been hit by a Mack truck and a herd of elephants. He opened his eyes and blinked a few times to clear his vision. All he saw was a stone ceiling. Moving his eyes did nothing so he actually had to turn his head. He must have let out a groan because he was immediately surrounded by faces staring down at him. It was overwhelming and he closed his eyes. Too many. Too many. He heard muffled voices and soon felt a gentle hand on his arm. He opened his eyes and, thankfully, saw only Gaius.

“Take it slowly, my boy. You took quite a wallop from Ayburn’s magic.” He held a cup of water to Alan’s lips. “Small sips.”

Alan let the water trickle down his parched throat, enabling speech. “Ev’rybody ‘kay?” he asked hoarsely.

“No one else in the tavern was hurt and Arthur is back amongst the living.”

“Not for long once Morgana and Gwen find him,” Merlin commented.

A resounding smack let Alan know that Arthur was there as well. He propped himself up on his elbows. “And our erstwhile employer?”

“His attack was witnessed by the delegate from Nemeth. He was furious to see Ayburn use his magic against commoners.”

Alan looked at the younger men hoping for a little clarification.

Arthur obliged him. “Lord Dunstan demanded to know what was going on. Ayburn told him we were going to spread ‘malicious lies’.” Arthur warmed up to his tale. “Dunstan then asked him why he used magic in a land where it was punishable by death just to stop some lies. He then had Leon and some of his own knights escort Ayburn back to the castle to await an audience with my father. That was a nice backup plan, by the way.”

“Though we might need something in case the timing didn’t mesh. I arranged it with Gaius earlier this morning. So, what happened to Ayburn?”

“He’s still in the cells. Father wanted you to be there.”

“That was kind of him.” Alan sat up properly. “We shouldn’t make him wait.” He stood slowly with the help of Gaius.

“Are you sure you’re ready?” questioned Merlin.

Alan did feel a little weak still but he didn’t want to lie around. “I’m not bleeding so that’s a good sign.”

By the time they reached the audience chamber, Alan was walking a lot better than when they started. Gaius and Merlin stood on either side of him as Arthur walked ahead of them towards the throne and Uther.

“Master Kelly, I am again in your debt for my son’s life.” He motioned for Alan to come forward.

Alan walked up to the throne and instinctively knelt before the king. “Thank you, sire, but I wasn’t alone.” He looked towards Merlin.

Uther noticed. “Arthur’s servant has already been acknowledged. You aren’t one of my subjects yet you risked your life. As you are not nobly born, I cannot knight you. However, I can bestow something even more rare.” He turned to Arthur who was holding a small silk pillow. He lifted a golden medallion that put Alan in mind of an Olympic medal.

He saw Arthur nod his head and, after a slight delay, realized that he was meant to bow his head so Uther could put the medal around his neck.

Uther took stepped down and stood in front of Alan. “This is a copy of the seal of Camelot and will identify you as under my protection.”

Alan reached up and touched the medal where it rested just over his heart. “I will do my best to be worthy of the honor, sire.”

“You have already proved your worth in the short time you have been with us.” He motioned for Alan to rise. “That position must be uncomfortable. Gaius.”

Gaius and Merlin stepped forward and helped Alan stand. They walked over to the side of the room next to one of the many columns so Alan could lean against it. Arthur stood a bit behind them.

“Bring in the prisoner.”

The chamber doors opened once more and two guards brought in Ayburn whose arms were bound behind his back. He looked at the court and the delegates who had remained. He almost seemed pleased at the attention. The knights forced him to kneel before Uther.

“Lord Ayburn, you were witnessed using magic within the boundaries of Camelot, a crime punishable by death. Just moments before, you were overheard admitting you paid three men to have my son murdered.” The king was bristling with controlled anger. “What have you to say for yourself?”

“Such accusations are ridiculous. I was searching for Prince Arthur’s servant. I heard these men bragging over what they had done. My anger got the better of me and I used my magic.”

“An interesting tale, but it does not match with what the witnesses have said.”

“And where are these witnesses?” He looked around.

Uther called for Lord Dunstan who testified that he witnessed Ayburn use his magic but not what happened before. Leon and the other knights then told of the conversation they had heard.

Ayburn was too confident despite his position. “An overheard conversation? It was crowded in the tavern and the topic could easily be misconstrued.”

“Do you deny that they were asking you for money?”

“It is only the word of peasants.”

“Are the three men here?” Uther made a show of asking the gathered court. “If they are here, let them step forward to plead their case.”

Arthur nudged them and Merlin stumbled forward followed by Alan with Arthur last. The expression on Ayburn’s face was priceless when he caught sight of the prince. “W-w-what is this?” he stuttered. “You tricked me!”

“You hired us, complete strangers. What did you think we’d do when you told us you wanted Prince Arthur dead?” Alan questioned.

“When I was told another kingdom was trying to have Camelot’s crown prince killed, the plan was set in motion,” Uther stated. “Due to your status, we need to debate on a fitting punishment. Take him to the cells.”

As the two guards lifted him from the floor, Ayburn panicked. “You can’t do this to me! I am a representative of Essetir and demand to be treated as such!”

“That is why I have not yet decreed you be burned at the stake as a sorcerer.”

The knights began to pull Ayburn away toward the doors. He was desperate and Alan knew what was coming next.

“One of them has magic!” he declared over his shoulder. “There was someone else at that table with magic! I could feel it!”

“Wait!” Uther ordered.

The knights forcibly turned Ayburn around.

“Are you accusing my son of associating with magic users?”

Of course he would never consider his blood having magic, Alan thought. Wait until they find out about Morgana.

Ayburn realized he was on even thinner ice than before. “Not knowingly, but--”

Uther scoffed. “Arthur’s servant, though loyal, is not the best. Why would he not use magic to secure his position? Master Kelly has saved Arthur’s life twice in the short time he’s been here – without the use of magic. This is merely a ploy to discredit your accusers.” He waved his hand in a gesture of dismissal and the two guards pulled Ayburn away as he continued to protest.

Alan felt his legs give out and he staggered. Merlin was there to keep him from falling. All the adrenaline that had kept him upright to face Ayburn had left him and he felt like a rag doll.

“He needs rest, sire,” stated Gaius. “I beg permission to leave.”

“Certainly, Gaius. You and the boy can take him to your rooms. He needs to be well rested for his celebration feast.”

“We will make sure of it, sire.”

Alan let Merlin and Gaius guide him back to the physician’s chambers. Did Uther just say he’s throwing a feast for me? I couldn’t have heard that right.

He wasn’t aware when they arrived or when he was placed on his pallet. He had no recollection of sleeping through visits from Arthur, Gwen and Morgana. He had no idea that he was the hot topic of conversation throughout the castle and the town.


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