Chapter 24 Ambushed
Gwaine leapt over to Merlin. He was still awake, but his eyes were dropping fast. Gwaine shook his shoulder, hoping to rouse him a bit "Merlin!" Merlin blinked owlishly, turning his head towards the sound of the voice. That told Gwaine he heard him. "He's still coherent, that's good, but he won't be for long." He could tell the drug was already taking effect. Gwaine could feel panic start to rise, panic was never good, he knew that. Panic wasted time when you needed to use those precious moments to figure a way out of the situation. Years of knight's training helped him to push it away and focused on what to do. They needed to leave. Who ever had drugged Merlin most likely had followed them out of Camelot. Quickly scanning the area, he couldn't see or hear anyone. Of course that didn't mean anything. They could be using magic to keep themselves hidden. Gwaine still wasn't quite sure how magic worked, but he definitely didn't want to be out here in the open, exposed with just his sword to defend himself and an unconscious warlock. Merlin had gotten a lot better about eating food during his position of Court Sorcerer. He was less skinny and was a lot healthier looking, which had pleased both Arthur and the knights. Gwaine hoped he could pick him up by himself then onto the horse. They were still within Camelot, it would be better to go back rather than make the rest of the way to Ealdor. "Sorry Merlin" he muttered to his friend making the decision. Merlin didn't hear him. He was already out cold. Gwaine bent over, hoisting him up. Merlin's full weight was slumped against him as Gwaine draped Merlin's right arm around his shoulder. More dragging then walking, Gwaine was in the process of figuring out how to put him on the horse. Within arm's reach from the animals, both horses started to get restless and were whinnying. Prancing nervously against their ties. Gwaine hesitantly proped Merlin up against a tree trunk, he needed to calm them down. "Whoa, whoa, easy, easy" he said to them grabbing hold of their reins. Gwaine was confused as to what spooked the animals. He continued saying soothing words to them, but his heart wasn't in it. They didn't have time for this! He needed to get Merlin back to Camelot. As Gwaine was thinking this, a tiny voice in the back of his head said even Camelot might not be safe for the his unconscious friend. Only he wasn't sure where else to go, they couldn't stay out in the open like this and venerable. He knew Merlin wouldn't go to Ealdor now, placing the people there in danger. Not when they had no clue of what was happening, or why.
Gwaine suddenly felt hairs on the back of his neck stand on edge. Spinning around, he reached for his sword on instinct. Before his hand grasped the hilt, Gwaine felt something heavy strike the back of his head. Spots danced across his vision before crumbling to the ground. He knew know more.
Arthur was once again at the round table. With him were Leon, Percival, Gwen, Iseldir and Gaius. Arthur had just relayed the new prophesy to them. Iseldir was the first one to speak. "This prophesy, seems very straight forward. That normally never happens. Usually they are a riddle, and often have double meaning."
"I have noticed that as well" Gaius said.
"How is it straight forward?" Arthur asked frustrated. He thought it was anything but.
"It tells us many things," Iseldir said patiently. "It has often been said that you and Merlin are the sides of the same coin. It is obvious that you and Merlin are the brothers it mentions."
The room grew quiet.
"Gwen must be the barren Queen then," Leon spoke up dragging everyone out of their thoughts.
"Yes, I believe so" Gaius replied. Gwen was devastated, she had just got back her husband. It felt like fate kept trying to separate them. Of course she didn't want to lose Merlin either; and fate has never been kind to him before. Why couldn't they just be left alone to live in peace?
Gwen shook her head as all eyes turned to her. "There's nothing I could possibly want, except to bare Arthur a child."
Arthur went over to comfort his wife. "Gwenevere, I love you no matter what. Child, or no child, I still love you." Gwen let her husband wrap her arms around her. Determined not to cry.
"Perhaps that is the gift," Iseldir says.
"What about that last line?" Arthur asks for either Gaius or Iseldir to answer. It was Gaius. "The prophesy of Camlann, Arthur, said there you will meet your end. As you all know, Merlin had tried very hard to divert it. Despite Merlin's previous knowledge of that prophesy, you had died by Mordred's blade by the lake of Avalon. Yet here you are, alive and well." Arthur's thoughts brought him back to when he was with Freya upon his awakening. She had told him he was to return when Albion's need was greatest. Now Arthur knew this was what he was sent back for.
"We will never know until the events unfold." Iseldir was the one who spoke. "There are many paths for the future, there is no one way."
At that moment, the doors were quickly pushed open. A knight came running in, "I am sorry to disturb you Sire, but there's something you should know." He said a little out of breath.
"What is it?" Arthur asked him.
"It's Lord Merlin and Sir Gwaine, their horses have just returned. Except without their riders."
Arthur felt his stomach drop. His earlier fears had been realized, now Merlin and Gwaine were in danger. He couldn't help the next thought, "especially Merlin."