Chapter 9 Back Home
After Morgana killed him with the Nathair, Gwaine found himself inside a tent. When his vision focused, Gwain saw a tall man and a woman standing over him. The man had long silver hair while the woman had a light blond. "Welcome, Sir Gwaine to Avalon" The man said. "My name is Thondiair, this is my wife, Asiniell." Thondiair offered him a hand and Gwaine took it. "Thank you," Gwaine said. Thondiair nodded. The head movement made his hair slide forward, even though it was quick, Gwaine noticed. "You're Elves!" Gwaine exclaimed surprised. "Yes," Thondiair said calmly unafraid of him. "Our kind fled here during the Great Purge. Here we are safe from persecution. However, there are not many of our kind left" Thondiair said sadly. "Come, you must be hungry" Asinell said to him. Gwaine's stomach answered that.
Thondiair wore a long pale gray robe, while Asiniell was wearing a plain white dress. Walking out of the tent, elves had a camp much like the druids. Tents were pitched, separate camp fires stood where meals were being cooked. Children chased each other between the trees, but stayed close to the camp. Gwaine smelt a stew brewing and they sat around a pot closest to the tent. Asiniell dished out two serving before giving herself some. Gwaine ate gratefully. "Thank you," he said. "I had no idea you needed to eat when you're dead." Asiniell and Thondiair laughed. Gwaine just looked at them in confusion. "Did I say something funny?" Thondiair had to smother his laughter before he spoke. "No Sir Gwaine, we mean no disrespect. We laugh because you are not dead; and neither are we."
"Morgana" Gwaine began.
"She did kill you, yes, but you are not dead" Gwaine was even more confused.
"I think you should start from the beginning" Asiniell suggested. Thondiair nodded, placing his bowl down before he began."You are not dead. Morgana killed you with the Nathair, yes, but you have not crossed over into the spirit world." Gwaine was still not understanding. Thondiair tried again. "This is the vail between the land of the living, and the dead. We have been able to keep you from crossing over."
"Why?" Gwaine asked curious of the reason.
"Because your story is not yet finished."
"What do you mean?" He asked. Thondiair was patient with him and Gwaine was thankful for that. "Albion is not yet born. Emrys will need your strength in the coming time."
"Emrys?" Gwaine asked. Thondiair nodded, "You may know him by another name. Merlin." Gwaine was shocked. "Merlin?" he asked just to make sure he heard right. "Yes," this time it was Asiniell who spoke. "Merlin, along with the help of Arthur Pendragon, will make Albion. A time of peace for all who have magic. As it once was before the Great Purge." Thondiair and Asiniell both had a faraway look in their eyes.
"Arthur will never accept magic. He might not be as cruel as Uther, but he has had many bad experiences with it. All of us have." Gwaine said.
"Arthur has already taken a small step in accepting magic Sir Gwaine" Thondiair said. "He has accepted Merlin for who he truly is."
Gwaine was appalled. "Merlin? Merlin doesn't have magic!"
"Yes," said Asiniell, "Yes he does. Merlin has saved your life and Arthur's many times. He has always had to stay in the shadows, for fear of execution." Gwaine was about to deny this when he paused to think. Merlin has magic, it was an alien idea to him, but now it started to make sense. Merlin always went out on hunting trips with Arthur and the rest of them, something would almost always go wrong. Or whenever they were attacked by bandits, which was more times than he would have liked. Merlin never had armor and he always came out without a scratch. The more Gwaine thought about it, actually answered a lot of questions. "Alright, so Merlin has magic" he said, "What does that have to do with me?"
"Merlin is broken. His courage and his strength is missing. You are his strength, while Arthur is Merlin's courage. Without either of you, Albion's Coin will not be whole" Asiniell replied. Gwaine didn't really know what that meant. Although tried to comprehend all this new information over his meal in silence.
The days moved quickly for Gwaine. Thondiair said that was because time moved differently here then the living world. Upon Gwaine's request, Thondiair told him about his race. Gwaine had heard about Elves on his travels; but he didn't believe the tales. Mostly because they were tavern stories. The elves had built cities for themselves years ago, which they concealed when they fled for Avalon. Thondiair hoped to return when magic would be accepted again. Gwaine learnt that the elves had taught magic to men, sharing their knowledge with them. Elves only used it for the good of others; while men would use it for their own gain. Gwaine also learnt about Emrys, and how he would side with the Once and Future King to bring about Albion.
The time came to return to the world of the living. Gwaine hadn't seen Arthur at all since he came to Avalon. Thondiair said it was because only those with pure magic were allowed between the vail. Gwaine was needed for Merlin, that is how he could be here, but unable to pass the tree line into the meadow.
Now they were in Camelot. "So how are we going to get in without being spotted?" He asked Arthur after they watched Merlin's display. Gwaine saw the sadness in Merlin's eyes as well, and it was shocking. Merlin always had a smile on him; granted he had a smile for the children, but if you knew him, you could tell it was fake. Gwaine was happy that the people of Camelot were accepting of magic and Merlin was being treated fairly. He had that at least.
"I have a plan."
Granted Gwaine thought it was a terrible plan; but he didn't have any other ideas, so he kept his mouth shut. They both waited for Merlin to make his way back up the steps and disappear inside the castle. Not wanting to risk getting spotted by him again, at least not yet. Gwaine and Arthur went in through a side door. Both of them took off their cloaks and placed them in a basket of dirty laundry they each carried, as to look like servants. Keeping their heads down, they made their way to where Leon's room was. Arthur wanted Gwenevere to be the first person to know he was still alive; but he had a better plan for that than the surprise they were going to spring on the first knight.
Getting to his door, Arthur knocked; receiving no answer, Arthur pushed it open. Gwaine and Arthur put down their baskets and sat at the small table. "How are we supposed to convince Leon it's really us?" Gwaine asked.
I'm hoping Excalibur would prove it's us, if not, then we'll have to convince him another way" Arthur supplied.
"Well it's not like I've done this before Gwaine" Arthur replied in a huff. They didn't continue the conversation for long, because the door opened.