Chapter 25 We'll Be Alright Won't We?
Gwaine woke up with a throb in the back of his head. He didn't think it was bad enough for a concussion. Thankfully. He's woke up enough times with those to tell by now. Blinking a few times for his vision to clear, Gwaine took in his surroundings. He was in a cell, cuffed against a stone wall. Without a chain. The cell seemed to be about the same size as the cell's in Camelot. It was cold and musty. The floor was hard with no straw, only the cold stone. His eyes were still scanning, trying to figure a way out, when he realized he wasn't alone. Merlin! Thank the gods! He wasn't cuffed to the wall like he was, which seemed strange. Merlin was lying on the ground, fully clothed with his cloak underneath him. Merlin was still unconscious, but he was breathing. Merlin could get them out of here no problem. He just needed to wake him up. "Merlin?" Gwaine tried, not too loudly in case there were guards nearby. Merlin didn't respond. If he stretched his foot, maybe he reach him and tap him gently. Rousing him that way. "Merlin?" Gwaine called again, able to touch his right leg. Merlin groaned. At least he's waking up. "Merlin can you hear me?" Merlin's head was turned towards the bars, so Gwaine didn't see him blink his eyes open. Letting out another groan, Merlin turned his head.
"Gwaine? What happened?"
"We got captured, you need to get us out of here."
Merlin lifted his head to look around. "Okay, give me a second."
Gwaine watched as Merlin put his head back down instead of trying to sit up. Merlin closed his eyes and his brow creased. Like he was concentrating. Merlin stayed silent for a few minutes. It felt longer for Gwaine. Wanting to tell Merlin to hurry up, but he stayed silent, knowing that it would break his concentration. Merlin's eyes suddenly snapped open. "I don't… I can't… It's not working." Merlin started to panic, his breathing increased and was looking around frantically.
"Merlin, calm down, talk to me. What's not working?"
Merlin laid his eyes on Gwaine again. They were wild, like a trapped animal. "My magic, I can't reach it."
"What do you mean? Why can't you reach it?"
"Something's blocking my magic. I don't know why…" Merlin suddenly lifted his arm, his sleeve fell down to reveal a cuff on his wrist. "Oh," Merlin said as if understanding.
"What Merlin? What is it?" Gwaine asked confused.
"Cold… Iron." Merlin rasped out before falling unconscious again.
"Merlin? Merlin what's Cold Iron?"
Merlin didn't answer him. The drug from earlier must still be in his system. Merlin's chest rose and fell with his steady breathing. 'Well so much for that plan' Gwaine thought. He was relying on Merlin to get them out. Clearly that wasn't going to work. Gwaine tugged on his own cuff, half hoping he could wiggle out of it. No such luck.
Gwaine felt frustrated; he didn't know how much time has passed. He didn't know where they were, how far away Camelot was, or who was holding them. All he could do was wait.
Sometime later, The sound of a door swung loudly on its hinges. Gwaine was jerked awake. When did he fall asleep? Footsteps echoed loudly against the stone floor. Gwaine sat up as straight as he could, placing a hard mask on his face. Three men came into view, one stood in front, two behind the first.
"Hello Sir Knight. Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Darwin. Are you enjoying our hospitality?"
Gwaine only scowled. "What did you do to Merlin?"
"No pleasantries I see, straight to business then. Well if you must know, the warlock is." He paused as if searching for the right word. "Incapable at the moment."
Gwaine's eyes grew cold, cold and hard. "What do you want with us?"
The first man chuckled, the others behind him did the same. "It is not what we want with you. Our business is with Emrys." After he said the word Emrys, Darwin opened the cell which swung inward loudly. The two men behind Darwin went in, ignoring Gwaine completely. Picking up Merlin's arms between them, they dragged Merlin who was still unconscious. Gwaine was yelling, forgetting completely about his mask. Yelling and pulling on his restraints, which wasn't helping or changing the situation. Gwaine even tried kicking, even though they stayed clear of the rampage Knight. Merlin disappeared from view and Gwaine was left alone with Darwin who stood quietly watching Gwaine the whole time. "This really is touching. A knight of Camelot, with love for a warlock. Tell me, how did it feel when you found out his secret? Did it hurt that he didn't trust you?"
"Merlin is my brother. He told me his reasons why he didn't tell me. I don't think of him any differently than before. I'll protect him with my life."
"Camelot really has changed hasn't it?" Darwin said more to himself.
"Arthur is not Uther, he never was" Gwaine defended his king.
"That may be, but many with magic has still suffered greatly by the Pendragons."
"The past cannot be changed" Gwaine said remembering Merlin's words earlier. "Only the path ahead."
"That is very true. And the future will be a very different place. Without Emrys."
Gwaine sucked in a breath, letting his mask slip again. "What are you going to do?"
"That is a very long, and complicated process. Let's just say, my employer wishes for Emrys' downfall."
"Who is your employer?" Gwaine asked not sure if he wanted to know the answer to that question.
"Who was, my employer actually" Darwin said a hint of sadness in his voice. "Morgana Pendragon."
Gwaine's eyes grew wide in surprise. He wasn't expecting that answer. "Morgana is dead."
Darwin nodded, "Yes I know. Her departure was, an unfortunate loss. However, I've spent far too long on this little project to let it go to waste. I'm very curious to see if it will succeed. Since this is Emrys we're talking about."
"Merlin is not very easy to kill. Despite his looks, he can surprise you." Gwaine said trying not to let his fear show.
"I know, I've heard the druid prophesy about Emrys and the Once and Future King. That's why I will not be underestimating him. Something Morgana always failed, where I will succeed. Fret not, neither you nor Emrys will be here for very long. Your horses should have reached Camelot by now and your king will know both of you are missing. I only wish to complete my task and be on my way."
"If you harm one hair on his head, I vow to never rest until you are dead at my feet."
Darwin didn't seem impressed with Gwaine's threat. "Farewell Sir Knight, this will be the first, and last time we will meet."
With that, Darwin stepped out of the cell and closed the door behind him. Leaving the Knight alone to be with his thoughts.