Albion's Coin

Chapter 8 The New Camelot

They didn't stop. Even when Gwaine was complaining for a break. "You'll get a break when we get there Gwaine." Arthur said starting to get annoyed. It was almost dusk when Camelot's walls came into view. Arthur took a small moment as he marveled at Camelot. It was amazing how men can die suddenly, but their legacy can be remembered. Camelot was Arthur's legacy.

Arthur and Gwaine walked through the gates into the city. Nothing could have prepared them for what they saw. Druids were walking freely in Camelot. They were in the market square buying and selling things. The people of Camelot treating them fairly and without fear. Arthur was so proud. Proud of his people, and proud of his Queen. He wondered what she had done to convince them magic wasn't as evil as it seemed. No doubt with the help of Merlin.

"Merlin!" Someone in the crowed squealed with delight. Arthur and Gwaine snapped their heads in the direction of the voice. A little girl ran towards the man with the familiar raven hair. There he was. Merlin smiled as the girl ran up to him. Bending down, Merlin picked her up. Four other kids ran up to him as well. Some were obviously druids, others were from Camelot. "Do magic for us Merlin!" one of the boys shouted. "Please?" The girl he was holding pleaded, she was doing puppy eyes at him. Merlin agreed and the other children were delighted. Arthur noticed the adults were watching Merlin as well. "That girl's mother should really teach her that she can't always get what she wants." Arthur heard one of the men in the crowd mutter. "Oh stop," A woman next to the man said. "I think it's sweet that they love Merlin so much. It must have been really hard for him when Arthur died. I'm glad Merlin gets to be who he really is. I wonder what the king would think if he knew his servant had magic."

"Probably throw him in the stocks." Another man said.

"Not behead him?" The first man asked.

The second one snorted. "Are you kidding? I've never seen a servant put up with Arthur as much as Merlin has. If he killed him, Arthur wouldn't have lasted very long without him." The three openly laughed at that, then turned back to the show.

Arthur was baffled at his people. Gwiane chuckle, obviously overhearing the conversation. Camelot's citizens have been exposed to the evils of magic. Nimueh, Morgana, Morgause, but they were able to look past that and see the goodness of it as well. Arthur felt pride swelling up inside him. Proud to be their king. In the middle of his thoughts, Arthur watched Merlin preform. Merlin had a stuffed horse come up from it spot on a blanket next to other things a peddler was selling, and gallop around the cobblestones. Merlin placed the girl he was holding down so he could have full concentration on the show. The horse continued galloping the children's feet for a few minutes, then Merlin made the horse leap from the ground, appearing to be flying. Golden dust trailed behind the toy and dusted the top of the children's heads. Merlin made the horse stop at the little girls face and it touched her nose, as if giving her a kiss. The girl giggled with happiness and patted its head. Merlin put the toy back in its spot. The children awed, wanting him to continue. Giving in, Merlin made small blue butterflies appear from his hand. Fluttering around the youngsters before separating into the crowd. The children cheered again. Looking at Merlin expectantly for the next part. "That's it for today, now run along back to you mothers. You don't want to miss diner." The children awed again and pleaded for more. Merlin stood his ground, they only went off when Merlin promised more tomorrow.

Everyone went back to their last sales before they closed up for the day. Arthur kept his eyes on Merlin. He was smiling when he was preforming; but Arthur could see he had a hint of sadness during it all. Suddenly, Merlin's eyes grew wide in surprise, because he was looking directly at him. Arthur stood stock still. Of all the reactions of seeing Merlin again, Arthur didn't think this would be one of them. Arthur stared back at him intently. Merlin's eyes grew sad again, shaking his head.

Gwaine and Arthur kept their distance and watched Merlin walk over to the seller's station. "Hello Merlin, what would you like?" the peddler asked. "I'd like to buy a ribbon for Gwen. She's been feeling disheartened at times, I thought a new ribbon might cheer her up." Arthur smiled. Gwen was being taken care of, he knew she was strong, but he was glad she had Merlin. Arthur watched as he purchased a purple ribbon and thanked the man. "So how are we going to get in without being spotted?" Gwaine asked him.

"I have a plan."

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