Arthur was in his room staring out his window at the training grounds where Merlin was training with his knights and actually showing Sir Leon a few things that would help him in the fight. Arthur smiled at the sight of Merlin teaching Leon how to do a few moves that no one here in Camelot would know that he could use in the fight tonight.
Then Arthur's smile faltered a bit because he knew the reason he was not down there right now was he was trying to figure out his own emotions when it came to his warlock friend and Arthur was never good with emotions not even his own. Arthur had to think about it all day until he saw Merlin excuse himself from his knights Arthur figured that Merlin wanted some time to collect himself before the fight that was going to happen in just a few hours now. Arthur thought to himself "Merlin was the first true friend I had but now it much more then that I mean these feelings are not romantic or anything I would know about that. But these feelings I never had before but seen them but I can't understand why I feel them or what they are." then the realization hit him with the force of an avalanche "I think of Merlin as a, oh my god so this is what it feels like. If we die tonight he going to know before that happens and I will die happily knowing he knows how I feel about him even if it is difficult for me to express emotion I'll do it for him. For some reason I always knew we would die together I've known for a while it would either be in battle or as old men with us still teasing and insulting each other. I would be glad to die beside him I think if I chose to die anywhere it would be with him at my side." Arthur knew he would tell Merlin as they headed out tonight how he really felt about him and he would wait until then.
(Meanwhile in Anelya)
Balinor was pacing in his room his wife Hunith had only come home a week ago after he had taken back the city for his nephew and had held it for more than a month. She had come back right after he has sent out his sons knights to Camelot and was sitting on the bed looking at him worry clearing showing in her eyes but also compassion and understanding. Balinor was scared for his son he knew that his nephew was going after him to kill him and that confrontation would happen tonight but he had sent the five knights who were most loyal to his son a head of his nephew knowing they would get there are least a day before him.
"I wish I could be there what if Uther recognized my name and has Merlin killed and if he did not than tonight my nephew is going to be there and going to try and kill our son. I can do nothing but wait and it's driving me insane. We have not heard anything from Ailya or any of his knights to tell us if he is even alright. I know I sent his old sword and armor with them which I had adjusted so that it would work for him now but I don't even know if he is alive. I feel like- ugh" Balinor was so out of his mind with worry for his son that he could not even tell his own wife how he felt and his pacing stopped all he did was stand there his hands balled into fists and he was shaking with anger at his nephew and fear for his son.
Hunith saw how much this distressed her husband was and she knew she felt the same but had to be the strong one for both of them. Hunith stood up and walked over to her husband putting a hand on his arm and her other cupping his cheek so that he would have to look her in the eyes "Balinor I know you are afraid for him I am as well. When we left here and settled in Ealdor all that was left in him was rage and a want for revenge. After about two years his rage and revenge died out but so did so did his hope and sense of purpose. By then I did not even recognize him from who he was to who he had become. He had no hope and no will keep going but he still kept training out of habit but he was numb a shadow of who had been that fire that burned inside him had burned out Balinor. Then his magic got so strong it was hard for him to control, people in Ealdor started getting suspicious of him so I sent him to Gaius knowing he could help him. The next time I saw him was two years after that he had taken a guise as a man servant to the prince but there was something that changed in that time. He had found a bit of purpose again he had grown so much stronger with his magic he and the crown prince had become friends as odd as it sounds. Arthur came to Ealdor to help the villagers there not out of duty and Ealdor is not even within Camelot's borders but he still came for Merlin because he knew how much it meant to Merlin to protect Ealdor and me. The way they act together, the banter they throw at each other, the only person I have ever seen Merlin act that way with was his little sitter Iya. Arthur does not know of his magic that I know of and if he does he has not turned him into Uther and I don't think even if he did know he would never hurt him he would fight for him. Merlin will not be alone when he faces his cousin and Merlin has grown very resourceful when it comes to fighting and hiding. Our daughter is a seer maybe she will see something tonight and if she does not I am sure that we will see a Merlin Falcon tomorrow not a raven because Ailya said if the won she would send we would see a Merlin falcon tomorrow but if they did not we would see a raven I am sure we will see a falcon tomorrow. But for tonight you need to rest you have not slept in two days there is nothing we can do but wait and we have to be strong until we know for sure. Call it a mothers intuition but I am sure he will be alright. That flame was starting to rekindle maybe this is what it will take to make the flame burn again." Balinor smiled at Hunith knowing she was right all they could do was wait
"Your right. Let's get some sleep all we can do now is hope." Balinor kissed Hunith on the forehead and pulled her into his embrace which she snuggled into. After a few minutes they went to their bed and fell asleep in each other's arms.
(In Camelot an hour before sunset)
Merlin was standing in an abandoned guard room that no one ever came to anymore, his sword resting on his right shoulder, as he was looking at the floor. He had finally figured out all his feeling about Arthur and his feelings and fears of tonight and what would come of it. Now he was just waiting taking in the calm before the storm knowing Ailya would come and get him when the time was ready. which would be anytime.
Merlin looked over his shoulder as he heard footsteps he saw Ailya standing there she looked at him and said "Merlin, It's time." Merlin looked back at the floor for a second and said out loud "Now it begins and ends tonight." He then sheathed his sword and followed Ailya to her room where she said she and his other knights had something that his father wanted them to give him but had to wait until then to do it.
Once they were in Ailya's room Merlin saw a chest sitting on the end of her bed and his knights where standing on the sides of the room. Merlin fingered the latch as Ailya said "Your father thought that if we bring this it might bring you a sense of security and he tweaked it so that it would work for you now, all of us added a spell or two of our own to give you a bit more security." Merlin lifted the lid of the chest and what he saw inside made him gasp. He brushed his hand against the breast plate inside until his fingers rested on the crest on the chest it was his family crest two rearing dragons with a flaming sword, with the tip down, in between them. It was his armor, he smiled and put it on.
Once it was fully on and he buckled his sword belt again he closed his eyes savoring the feel of the familiar metal against him. He felt that flame inside him that had only been starting to smolder again since coming to Camelot burst into the raging inferno that it had once been.
Merlin opened his eyes and turned to his knights and said something that they had not heard since the day he had left and had always said before they left on a mission. "If we die tonight, then we die fighting, but not before we give them hell." He paused his friends beaming at the familiar words then he said "Let go give my cousin hell and make him rue the day he crossed us." then they headed to the gate where they were meeting Arthur and Leon. It was time for Merlin to face his past and now he was ready.