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The Beginning of a Better Future

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They were all standing in the throne room. 

 

Morgana was at Mordred's side, holding him close to her with one arm around his shoulder in a protective way. Arthur was by her right, his face was wearing the usual 'prince' mask. 

And Uther was sitting on his throne, his demeanor not hiding the anger for having the two members of his family against him, and on the side of magic! And just in that day… 

 

"I demand you, Morgana, to let Sir Leon seize the druid boy!" he repeated himself, with an exasperated sigh. 

 

Leon was at the king's side, hand on his sword, ready to obey whatever order he was given. But he was also – only in his mind – questioning what he was about to do. He had done it before, but this time it felt different. 

He was loyal to the kingdom, but his main loyalty was to his prince – who was now aligned with the king's ward and the magic boy. 

He decided to wait for what Arthur would do. 

 

Merlin and Gaius were aside with one of the columns, waiting for the king's sentence. 

A few guards were spread in the room, covering all the exits. 

 

Morgana didn't move, and kept her hand on the boy. To everyone in the room who didn't know her, she was just a naïve fragile Lady, pity of a kid and not considering the danger his mere presence held. For them she was thinking with her woman's heart. 

She was, thinking with her heart. But she was no naïve fragile Lady. She was the furthest away from that that could be, in fact. She was a powerful warlock, yet to become the high priestess of the Old Religion, a creature of magic even more powerful than the little boy shivering below her. 

Of course Uther didn't know of all that. If he ever come to know, Morgana couldn't imagine what would happen to him. 

 

Right now, her mind was full of spells. From shielding, to attack, she was ready for whatever situation. She was not afraid of showing her magic, if this meant to save the life of the boy. 

 

"I ordered you to stay away from him" the king didn't raise his tone, but he was starting to become impatient. 

 

Before she could answer something that would anger the king even more, Arthur stepped ahead. 

 

"Father, may I have a say?" he asked politely, using his prince tone. 

 

Uther rubbed his forehead, predicting a discussion. He waved a hand, permitting, and stared at his son. 

 

"The boy represents no harm to Camelot or its citizens" he stated "He's just a child, and I hardly believ-" 

 

"It is a child with magic, and magic corrupts everything it comes near" he replied "Even now! My family stands against me to align with... this!

 

Arthur looked at Morgana. She wasn't going to back down – and he figured he himself wasn't going to do it – but she seemed lost in thoughts, staring at the wall behind Uther for a second, in the next one, she surprised even Arthur. 

 

Her demeanor changed completely in a blink of an eye. Her tense shoulders dropped to her normal posture, she easened the grip on the boy's shoulder and an easy smile appeared on her lips.

Uther's own posture changed, subconsciously, to reflect hers. He waited for her response, and when she spoke again, her voice was soft and calm. 

 

"My king," she bowed her head in a respectful way "we do not intend to stand against you. We merely wish to spare an innocent life" the king was about to say something, but she didn't gave him the chance "The boy cannot be accused of practicing magic, because he doesn't have it on him" 

 

The guards started whispering, causing a commotion. Arthur looked at Morgana, the question evident in his eyes. Mordred had magic, they had seen it glowing gold in his eyes when he attempted to escape in the streets. There was no doubt, so what was she up to? 

 

She merely glanced at him, before looking back at the king. 

Arthur saw something behind her eyes, a determination and something else... amusement? 

 

Oh, no.  

 

Morgana started speaking again, and the crowd became quiet to listen. 

 

"I am sure that, if proved the boy doesn't have magic, he represents no threat to the kingdom" she said smoothly. 

 

There it was.  

 

Uther just glared at her, his face blank. He clearly didn't like the situation Morgana had put him in – The boy was a druid, but the law wasn't specifically against his people, it was against magic. 

The king was also partially admired on how Arthur had aligned with her. Everyone knew how the two teased and discussed between themselves. But there he was, acting with such diplomacy that made the king proud. 

And it was Morgana asking. Uther trusted her judgment, if she was standing for this boy it meant she saw something in him. 

 

If it was any other day – any ordinary day – Uther would never accept what she was asking. But this day wasn't an ordinary day, at least not for him. 

 

So the king, very kingly, groaned in defeat. 

 

"How can we prove it, then?" he asked in a tired voice. 

 

Morgana smiled again, she knew she was winning. 

She turned and gestured to Gaius, who stepped from Merlin's side like he was just waiting for his cue. 

 

"I am sure Gaius still remembers some words from the Old Religion" she said "He can testify the absence of the corruption of magic on the boy" 

 

"How?" 

 

"There are certain words of the Old Religion that evoked the nature to act" Gaius said "If the boy says that word, and nothing happens, then he doesn't have magic to summon it" 

 

The physician bowed and waited for the king's approval. 

 

Uther regretted getting out of bed that day. 

 

"Then do it" he answered in a low tone, ignoring how his ward had convinced him to order the use of magic on his own land. 

 

Gaius said a word and explained how it was a simple spell, used to conjure fire. 

Then they all turned to Mordred. Morgana squeezed his shoulder before stepping away from him just enough for everyone to have a clear sight of him. 

 

The boy hesitantly raised his right hand, glancing back at Morgana and then at the physician's direction. 

Arthur could've been wrong, but it seemed like he wasn't looking at Gaius. Instead, he was glancing directly through him, to the man behind him. 

 

Merlin. 

 

Arthur's servant had a determination in his eyes that matched Morgana's. He motioned to Mordred, a small nod almost imperceptible, and the boy looked back at the king. 

 

He looked straight into the king's eyes and said the spell, very clearly and loud enough for everyone to hear. 

" Forbearnan " he said, in a trembling voice. 

 

For a second everyone was holding their breaths. The silence that filled the room allowed them to hear even the servants working and chatting on the courtyard below. It felt like everything was so still even the air wasn't running anymore. 

 

Arthur felt something in his heart, as if it was having trouble to beat. He composed himself, taking a deep breath, but the heavy sensation didn't leave him. He took it by worry for the boy, but it didn't felt like it was related. 

Once it was clear nothing magic had happened, the tension in the room seemed to easen a bit, and the knot in Arthur's heart disappeared. 

 

Morgana smiled brightly and moved to hug the kid like before. Arthur saw yet again Mordred glance at his manservant, who was trying to hide a proud smile. 

He turned when Morgana resumed her speech. 

 

"The boy has no magic, and therefore there's no charge against him" she adopted a careful tone "If your highness permits, I would like to take the boy under my ward. He'd be raised under the kingdom's laws, becoming an example for all the people" she finished her speech with a bow, as if already thanking the king for his approval. 

 

Uther was silent for a moment. He remembered what happened that same day, more than two decades ago, of his beautiful wife bursting in the middle of a meeting, walking towards him with the brightest smile he'd ever seen… and told him the best news of his life. 

 

He stood, looking around at his knights. 

 

"You! Servant boy" Uther pointed to someone at Gaius side, to… Merlin! 

 

Merlin stumbled forward, stopping once he was outside the crowd, staring at the king with wide eyes, like an animal spotted by a hunt party. 






Merlin tried his very best not to let show on his face all the panic rushing inside of him. But his mind was racing frantically. 

 

Just a few moments before, he had called Morgana by the mind and explained the plan he had thought of. 

He said that if Mordred couldn't do magic, then there was a chance of living. He explained he would take all the magic present in the room and shut it temporarily, for just the moment of the spell. He quickly filled Gaius on the plan and asked his help. The physician didn't like it, but agreed anyway. 

 

So when Mordred raised his hand and looked back at him, uncertainty all over his face, he answered with a sharp nod. 

 

‘Look straight in Uther's eyes, if he sees no gold, then you have no magic’ his voice sounded on the boy's mind. ‘Go ahead, I've got it’ 

 

And so Mordred did. 

 

Merlin heard the spell, but he was too focused on sensing the magic in the room to actually listen. He expanded his senses and reached out with his magic; feeling the energy inside Morgana - the strongest except for his own - and also from a few other people there; he focused on Mordred's, still a small sparkle, but promising. 

He reached and held all the magic present. He struggled to maintain it like that for a few moments. It was almost like trying to stop the course of a river, magic was freedom, and it didn't like to be contained. 

 

But he was Emrys, he was magic. 

And so he knew exactly when it stopped fighting back and obeyed. 

 

He was so distracted, so immersed in his task, that he was surprised to hear voices sounding around him. 

He let go of the magic and it felt so good, like nature itself could finally breathe again, that he almost smiled, controlling his features right in time to hear Morgana talk again. 

 

And it led to the present situation. 



Merlin almost jumped out of his skin when the king addressed him directly. 

Why did Uther called him? Did he see his golden eyes when he stopped the magic from flowing in the room? Was he going to execute him straight ahead, or would he let him at least say goodbye to Gaius? What about Arthur? He couldn't let his destiny end like this, he would have to flee? But how could he protect Arthur if he wasn't by his side? How could- 

 

"You are a loyal servant to my son," the king's soft tone brought him back from the midst of panic in his mind, startling him "even with your disabilities." this gained an raise of eyebrow of almost everyone in the room except for Merlin himself "So I'm placing you in charge, temporarily, of taking care of the dru-, of the boy" 

 

Murmurs erupted from the guards, mostly questioning the king's choice of the boy for such an important task. 

Merlin would be the first one to question it, if he wasn't busy thanking all the gods for this. He heard Morgana's voice in his head, thinking about so many different things at the same moment that it made him dizzy. 

 

‘-so that's perfect! We can arrange magic training sessions, maybe we can schedule a trip outside and practice in the woods! No, no, too many trips would raise suspicions for many different reasons. Or maybe- Are there any isolation spells? If we find an empty room we can make it our training room! Yes! And then we'd have...’  

 

He shut her voice when her thoughts were so confusing he wasn't understanding anymore. How could she think like this?!  

 

Morgana smirked imperceptibly. 

‘Poor mind of yours’ her comment sounded on his mind, apparently she had heard him. 

 

With a raise of his hand, the king got all attention on him again. 

 

"You will take care of his settling in the castle, you will explain the court rules and follow him everywhere. The boy won't go wherever you're not, and if you see any sign of magic doings, you'll report immediately to me. And I'll handle him" he finished his speech and dismissed the crowd. 

 

There was a tense silence while the place emptied. 

Morgana only bowed to her king, making Mordred do likewise, and they left with Arthur and Merlin on their toes. 

 

Merlin was feeling something different in the air. He wasn't sure if it was connected with his magic or not, it felt so natural it could be… Merlin almost stopped his tracks when he realized. It was destiny. 

Destiny had changed. 

He couldn't hide the joyfulness that flooded him, Morgana and Mordred glanced back, probably feeling something coming from him. He was just so happy he couldn't even form words. 

 

He had felt it before, when he trusted Morgana with his secret, but it wasn't as strong as this time. Maybe it was the definitive change, the choice that made the future settle. 

Merlin breathed deeply, feeling the change and seeing how everything was different. 

 

This was the beginning of a better future.