The things I do for you...
Merlin was once naive, that soon ended after his village suffered being subjected to the constant raids by bandits, and the scrutiny of King Merrill and after that King Cenred who coveted any magic user, adding them to their army regardless of their age. There were legends of what they did to those who the black army took, squeezing them of their power to the last drop.
Camelot was not any better, death awaited after any corner or any slip, in the court of King Uther even the walls had ears. But with Arthur hope arose, hope for any magic user to live free and not suffer prosecution.
After becoming Arthur's servant he had been witness to the worst of him but that's wasn't even close to the current Hell magic users were experiencing. Arthur was his hope, and he wouldn't let anyone come between Arthur and his destiny.
Then Mordred came, an innocent child whose destiny was to be the end of Arthur. His feelings were conflicted, would it be reasonable to punish someone for a crime they hadn't yet committed? Could he hurt a blameless child for an obscure prophecy he didn't know he could believe?
He helped him escape, helped Morgana hide the child, and took him to the forest to meet the druids. It was then the opportunity presented itself. The choice was there.
If Merlin had grown up softer and naive he would have let the child go, would have taken him to his guardian and hoped the prophecy never came to pass.
But Merlin wasn't, and he found out a child's neck was surprisingly easy to break. He took the corpse to a big drop and let him fall. The druids would not feel the magic nor would they suspect anything more than an accident, that way he could go back and reassure Morgana he had taken the child near the druid encampment without issue.
After murdering a child for Arthur, Nimueh wasn't such a big deal. His magic felt somewhat dirtier and darker to use, but sacrifices must be made when you dealt with such an ancient power.
Morgana was the next.
She was a more complex issue to resolve, but an obstacle is Merlin's goal nonetheless. What was worse, the apparition of Morgause caused even more trouble, but also opportunity.
He had hoped the witch finder would go after her, yet the man was a farce, and he was after coin, so that avenue was closed.
Then the sleeping curse came, and Kilgharrah gave him a solution he was eager to take. But yet again Morgana survived, thanks to her sisters help she was purged from the poison that would surely kill her.
Morgana was gone for a year, a year she spent learning magic and a year Merlin spent planning her demise.
When she came back she didn't hesitate in threatening him. Naive girl, she could not even phantom what Merlin had done for Arthur or what he was determined to do. He let her do as she wished, undoing her schemes and following her into the forest, always observing. As much as he shared her hatred for Uther, Arthur was simply not ready yet. He needed a bit more time to learn and some peace to establish himself as the rightful king. That didn't mean Uther would be spared of suffering, suffering Merlin would be glad to deliver.
When the day finally came Merlin could barely contain his anticipation, he was almost giddy, with cold sweat soaking his undershirt, as he sneaked into the night in search for the wayward daughter of Camelot. It was easy to surprise her halfway to the meeting with the high priestess. It was even easier to kill her with magic. Although Merlin must confess, he gave himself a second to savour the look on her eyes when she finally realized he was Emrys and what was about to take place.
Some knights found her the next morning, the rain Merlin invoked had all but wiped any possible clue as to the perpetrator, knowing Uther it was not difficult to but in and suggest Morgause had done it. A beautiful lie he had crafted that Gwen inadvertently helped confirm. The bracelet she wore, she started wearing it just after Morgause's duel with Arthur, and perhaps it was not as innocent as it was believed to be, just like the fake Lady Catrina had controlled Uther, Morgause could have used it as a preventive measure. After holding her captive for a year she could have used it as a fail-safe after learning of Morgana's rescue, she could have enchanted the King's ward to walk into the forest where Morgause could kill her without being seen.
Merlin had made Morgana a martyr. She would have hated it.
Uther was destroyed by grief.
Arthur wasn't ready to be king yet, but now that his father was mostly out of the picture he could practice, and ask the man for wisdom as well as show the people he could be a good regent.
The next problem was Gwenivere. She was a
Kind woman and a dear friend, but Arthur liked her too much, enough to reject a union that would give Camelot defences and prosperity. With Cenred having fiver for each men Uther had, that was not something sustainable if Camelot was to be the paradise Merlin envisioned. Gwen, as much wisdom and love she could give Arthur, simply didn't have the man power Merlin needed for the war that would soon come. Moreover, he would rather not be forced to manipulate or bend Gwen's mind if she became queen, and that was a strong possibility.
Uther solved that problem for him, the King had already lost a daughter, and he would not lose his precious son, his legacy. Uther had become paranoid, jumping at shadows, unreasonable. A perfect situation to showcase to Arthur on how magic was not the enemy his father thought it was.
She would be fine after she was exiled, she would be loved and cared for. Merlin gave her directions to where Lancelot said he was headed. Hopefully they would meet and revive that love they had for each other.
Camelot was debilitated, but so was Essedir. Morgause was crazy with grief and her spy in Camelot was dead, King Cenred was unhappy for her disregard of the deal and according to the rumours a fight ensued. Steel had never been a match for magic, not one as strong magic as a high priestess of the old religion anyway. Thing is, when Morgause usurped the throne she did not take into account the rebellions that would ensue.
That gave Merlin time to plan her demise. Even if Uther had already called for her head, Merlin could not disregard such a big threat.
Of course Merlin could not catch a break, not yet.
Agravaine decided to come out of his Wilddeoren infested hiding spot to inflict his presence upon the court. His aspirations for the crown were not appreciated, and he was only tolerated because he apparently wished to take revenge on his sister by murdering Uther. Merlin would not stop him, not when he could kill two birds with one stone.
(At least there was no queen to marry and no poisoned sword Arthur would duel against)
In the meantime, while Arthur figured there was a traitor and Morgause sought to unleash an immortal army against them, Merlin took the time to warm Arthur up to the neutrality of magic.
By the time Morgause had managed to find the cup of life, Agravaine was found guilty of murdering the King and was hanged like a ham in the market.
Morgause did take over the city with his immortal army a few days later, not that her reign over Camelot would last too long. Old friends had been summoned and together they had trumped her plans, and given her a painful death.
Arthurs crowning was tear inducing, finally the golden age of Camelot was here.
Arthur had a circle of loyal knights, trusted advisors and grateful citizens.
The only thing he was missing was an heir.
Now it was for Arthur to sort through all the unmarried ladies to find a suitable match. Sadly for Arthur, Gwen had not been twiddling her thumbs while she was away, and was quite married and pregnant to the honourable Sir Lancelot, regenting a forge between the two of them in the coast, where sun glew gold and the wind was calm.
With her out of the picture the blonde was leaning towards a princess with the name of Mithian.
Before that, there was something Merlin decided to confess, and a favour he wished to ask the newly crowned king.
After a heartbreaking confession of his gift and a plead for Arthur to let people like himself live unburdened Merlin left him alone.
The decision was in Arthur's hands, may the fates decide in his favour or may he have a flaming death betrayed by the man he had been ready to give everything for.