Love and Lakes

Dark Encounters

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: This world is slightly AU - Season 4 where Morgana knows Merlin is Emrys and Agravaine isn't a problem anymore.

Although Merlin was most certainly not himself, and nor did he think he ever would be again, he was pretending to have been healing from the whole Freya scenario so as to put Arthur off his trail. And Arthur was believing his joking banter, the perky smiles, his words that sounded joyful. Sometimes Merlin was really feeling joyful, but that was a rare occasion, and he felt fake and depressed the rest of the time.

Arthur had no clue; his facade was too good. Merlin was starting to regret putting up the act, and he wish his best friend was still there to confide in. But it was too late, and Merlin had to carry on his whole life missing Freya and feeling alone.

Merlin was feeling bad for himself again when he heard the warning bells, a loud, big sound that gave him a scared feeling. He jumped up, forgetting about Freya for a moment, and ran down to the main halls where he saw Arthur. Running quickly to catch up with him, Merlin worriedly asked Arthur: “What’s wrong, what’s happening?”

Arthur, still staring straight ahead with many guards trooping behind him, answered quickly. “It’s Morgana,” he stated. “She’s doing something in Camelot. We don’t know what, but we caught one of her associates and are questioning him as we speak.”

Merlin, who was still recovering from Morgana’s curse, drew in a sharp and ragged breath. Arthur appeared to be concerned that Merlin was not totally healed, but he said nothing.

Merlin, pretending nothing had happened, quickly replied. “Well, what can I do to help?”

Arthur said, “We’re going into the woods to try and find Morgana. You’re coming with me and the knights.” His armor was already on and ready; apparently, there was no time to waste with Merlin readying him.

Once they reached the woods, Arthur and his knights set off in a run. Arthur made a few signals to Leon, who was standing next to him, and Leon informed the rest of the group silently to break up into groups of two.

Arthur and Merlin stayed together as they trekked through the woods, jumping at the smallest snap and bracing themselves when they saw a shadow run by, but it was always one of the other groups of knights and guards.

Finally, when the sun was going down and it was almost impossible to see, Merlin and Arthur started to become suspicious. There were no animals around - the forest was as silent as could be. There was a chill in the air, and it simply felt different.

They slowed down and stayed hidden and stealthy. And, when I say stealthy, on Merlin’s terms that means tripping over yourself a little bit less than usual.

Soon, they saw a figure walking out from behind trees. A dark familiar figure; Morgana.

As she came into the moonlight, they could see her familiar smirk, her dark, messy, raven-black hair, and her tight black laced dress. She was the very picture of darkness.

Arthur, who had previously been frustrated, was now looking saddened and disappointed. He wasted no time in peppering her with questions. “What happened, Morgana? Why are you like this? We loved you and cared for you. We did not try to hurt you. You were so caring and compassionate as a child. Why? Why have you changed?”

Morgana looked bored, but she gave a smirk once again. “Do not play games with me, Arthur. You are not worth my time.” She was pleased with the results: Arthur looked a bit deflated and upset.

He thinned his lips and hardened his eyes. “Then I have no choice.” He drew his sword and charged at Morgana, but she showed no fear.

“Please, Arthur. It’s not as if you could hurt me.” With a gleam of her eyes, she knocked him off his feet. Instantly, he scrambled to his feet, but this time she knocked him down before he even moved two feet. This time, he landed face down and was winded. She picked up the sword with her magic and held it up against his back.

“How easy it is to have you at my mercy,” Morgana remarked haughtily, and she arched her eyebrow amusedly at Arthur’s attempts to get up.

Meanwhile, Merlin was hiding behind a tree. Well, not really hiding, just waiting. He was waiting for the perfect time to use his magic against Morgana without her knowing.

As she spoke to Arthur, taunting and teasing him, using her magic to pain him and make him regret ever looking for her. Merlin clenched his hands and had to physically keep himself from going out to help Arthur. You can't go after her right now because Arthur doesn't know you have magic... You can't go after her right now because Arthur doesn't know you have magic...

Eventually, it was too much for him, and he passed out. It was a relief to Merlin to hear that Arthur had collapsed, because at least it meant that he was temporarily put out of his misery.

Just then, Merlin leapt out from behind a tree. Morgana, unsuspecting, turned back, and was greeted with a force knocking her backwards into the side of a bank of dirt.

Soon enough, she recovered and bowed her head down threateningly. “You will pay for this, Emrys.” She put her hands out in front of her, and a small ball of fire was formed in the space between her hands. She smiled evilly, and pushed forward the ball of fire heading straight for Merlin.

As it got closer to him, it became larger and larger until it was much bigger than Merlin. Just then, he created a ball of wind that enveloped him as the fire came around him as well, shielding him but making the air around him almost unbearably hot. Morgana, who he could see dimly through the ball of fire, was slowly walking closer to him and making the ball of fire hotter and hotter, her smirk getting bigger and bigger.

Drops of sweat were falling down around Merlin, and he could feel his skin burning. He knew that even though he was a much more powerful sorcerer than Morgana, he was weaker right now and would not be able to outlast her magic.

His muscles were rigid, shaking with exhaustion as he held them up, trying to maintain the force field of wind surrounding him and pushing away the ball of fire. It was closing in on him, making him bend down and curl in on himself to keep himself in the safe area.

Then he remembered something worth living for. Something that he needed to overpower Morgana’s magic for. Something that he needed dearly. Freya. This wasn't the way he would die, not without seeing her again.

He pushed outward with the magic, using all his strength and all his power to force back the flames, sweat dripping, muscles shaking, eyes watering, until suddenly the wind forced out the flames and extinguished them in one final earth-shaking blow.

Morgana was pushed back from the pulse of energy from the flames being extinguished, and she fell over again. She stared back up at Merlin with a newfound fear of his power and magic.

He came up close and leaned into her shocked face. “I am Emrys, the most powerful warlock to ever live. Do not test my power.”

He was about to deliver the final blow to her when she suddenly smiled again, that aggravating, beautiful, yet dark and evil smile that always meant trouble. In a flash of darkness and shadows, she whisked herself away and into the night.

Merlin stared up at the sky, angry, when he remembered that Arthur was still unconscious. He ran over to where Arthur lay, cold and clammy. He shook him, yelled in his ear, and slapped him multiple times before he woke up.

Arthur’s eyes were dazed and he looked tired, but not in terrible health. “What happened? Is she gone?” he asked Merlin. Merlin smiled, and said, “She’s gone. Don’t ask how.”

Arthur smiled, and gripped Merlin’s forearm as he pulled him off. He didn't quite notice the Merlin's grimace. The two, Arthur leaning on Merlin’s shoulder, limped to a secluded area where they would make camp for the night.
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