Chapter 14 In Recognition
A twelve year old boy ran through the streets of Camelot. "King Arthur is alive!" he cried. "The king has returned!" Those who heard him stopped what they were doing. A man who was a blacksmith heard the boys rant. "Hear now lad. What's all this nonsense you're yelling about?" he asked stopping him. "It's not nonsense sir honest. King Arthur is alive! I've seen him myself!" People started murmuring to each other. "Listen to me young chap. No one can comeback from the dead. No matter how royal."
"Look!" someone shouted pointing upwards. Everyone snapped their heads towards the direction of the point. On the terrace, stood Queen Gwenevere with what indeed appeared to be King Arthur. "People of Camelot," Arthur's voice rang out among the crowd that has gathered. "Last night I have returned, there is to be a re coronation today at noon. ALL, of Camelot's citizens are invited." With that the two royals turned from the balcony. A girl around eight started to cry, she was a druid. The blacksmith knelt down, trying to comfort her. "There, there lassie. King Arthur is not at all like his father. I'm sure he'll allow the treaty to continue once he sees how well we've all coordinated with each other."
"But what if he doesn't?" the girl asked in sobs. "Then I will personally make him change his mind" The blacksmith hugged her protectively until she calmed down. People gave nervous glances at each other. Would things go back to the way they were? They hoped not.
Everyone came into the throne room as the city bell rang noon. All of the servants were preparing for the coronation. Merlin had to reassure them that it was the real Arthur, and not a Shade like Lancelot was. When the time came, there wasn't an empty seat. The druids that lived in the city were there, but they were uneasy about it. Knights lined up beside the throne preparing to resubmit their loyalty to the King. Merlin stood by Gaius at the front row as he did at Gwen and Arthur's crowning. Trumpets sounded as the king and queen walked down the aisle hand in hand. At the alter, Gwen gave Arthur back the royal seal. The Abbot crowned Arthur; "Long Live the King! Long Live the King!" a strong chant arose, echoing off the walls.
One by one, each of the knights took their pledge to Arthur and to the Queen. When that was finished, Arthur made a speech. "People of Camelot," everyone grew quiet. "During my absence, I know Queen Gwenevere has made a peace treaty with the druids, and those with magic." There was dead silence. King Arthur began rolling out a piece of paper, it sounded abnormally loud with the silence in the room.
"I, Arthur Pendragon, King of Camelot, son of Uther Pendragon, will here by decree." You could hear a pin drop as the citizens held their breath for what he would say next. "That the ban of magic will be lifted; from this day forth, magic is now free once again." Cheers rang out and some were crying with happiness and relief. Arthur raised his hands, the crowed settled down. "My father was wrong when he made magic illegal. Many of us have personally suffered at the hands of it after that. Myself induced. My father thought magic was evil, and corrupted those that had it. Now I know that is not true. It is not magic that is evil, only in the hearts of men. I am truly sorry for the mistake my father has made, and for my mistake when I was young and arrogant. Today marks a new age for Camelot, let us make it a better one."
Cheers rang out again. Arthur allowed them to have their celebration, then held up his hands once more for quiet. "With that being said. Step fourth, Merlin son of Balinor, son of Ealdor." Merlin was in shock, stealing a glance at Gaius next to him, who only smiled and gave him a slight push. Merlin walked forward, feeling his movements automatic. He stopped in front of Arthur. Excalibur was pulled from its sheath, the sound rang loudly in Merlin's ears. "Kneel, Merlin, faithful servant of the King." His mind feeling aloof as he did what he was told. For once.
Merlin felt a slight pressure as Arthur place Excalibur on his shoulders. First his left, then his right. "Rise, Lord Merlin, Court Sorcerer, first adviser and Brother all but in blood; to the King of Camelot." Merlin was rooted to the spot. Cheers erupted through the crowd again. He saw Gwaine giving him a thumbs up; Gwen was smiling with pride for her friend.
After the ceremony, the throne room was empty except for Arthur, Gwen, Leon, Percival, and Gwaine; along with Merlin. Gwaine was stuck to Merlin's side like glue as he congratulated him. "Why didn't you tell me?" Merlin accused Arthur, "I would at least have been more prepared." Arthur just shrugged, "You never would have accepted it. Besides, the look on your face was worth it."
"Arthur!" Gwen scolded as Arthur was laughing. Merlin huffed. Gwaine unattached himself from Merlin to give him a mock bow "Lord Merlin." Laughter broke out as Merlin's eyes grew wide at the bow. Percival joined Gwaine as they were alternating bowing between the two of them. "Gwen!" Merlin called out, hoping she would get them under control. However she was trying to contain her laughter as well. "I'm afraid you're going to have to get used to it Merlin. I had to."
"She's right," Arthur said who was in no way attempting to control himself. "You might as well get used to it." With that Arthur went right along Gwaine and Percival who were still bowing. Merlin through his hands up and headed towards the doors. "Wait, Lord Merlin!" Arthur called after him. "What?" Merlin asked annoyed. "Where are you going?"
"To Gaius's for some normality," he said as he started walking again. "You don't live there anymore" Arthur told him. "What?" this time it was an honest question. There was a certain gleam in everyone's eyes. Clearly they knew something else he didn't. "Come with me," Arthur said wrapping an arm around his oldest friend leading him out of the room. Gwen and the knights followed them.
"Please Arthur no more surprises, I've had a life time of them and don't need anymore."
"Just wait," was Arthur's reply. "Gwaine?" Merlin asked hoping he would say. "Sorry Merlin, my lips are sealed." Merlin huffed again. "Some friend you are." That only made them laugh more. The band walked down the halls, as Merlin wondered what else Arthur had up his sleeves. They came to Arthur's chambers. "What, do you want me to wash your socks? That's hardly a surprise" Arthur only rolled his eyes. "No Merlin, just be patient will you? Your not going to be washing laundry anymore." They continued walking and went in the chambers next to Arthur. "Welcome to your new room. Lord Merlin."
"What?! No, Arthur, this is too much. I can't accept this!" Arthur placed his hands on his hips stubbornly. "Yes you will."
"But," Merlin began. "No acceptations" Arthur said in his kingly voice. Merlin sighed but nodded "Thank you Arthur."
"Let me show you around!" Gwen squealed excitedly. Merlin let her pull him along. Only half paying attention though as he was thinking how long it would take to get used to his new life.