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12 July 2011 @ 01:48 pm
If You Ever Have Need: Wyvern (1/?)  

Title: If You Ever Have Need

Fandom: Merlin

Rating: T

Warnings: Slight violence and mild language. No beta. All mistakes are my own

Pairings: Mostly Merlin/Arthur friendship. Some mentions of Arthur/Gwen romance. No Slash

Spoilers: Through the end of season 2

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or the world of Camelot. They belong to BBC.

Summary: When yet another creature attacks Camelot, Merlin is forced to reveal his powers. Unable to kill his closest friend, Arthur sends him away. What does that mean for their destiny?

Author's Note: So this if my first foray into the Merlin fandom. I've been a fan of the show since I stumbled across an episode when it was still airing on NBC, but fell of the bandwagon when I went to college. I only recently got caught up through season 2 (which is all that's on Netflix) and this little story has been tickling the back of my mind ever since. I know the whole "reveal" think has been done...a lot...but I wanted to try my hand.

Also, it was late when I wrote this, there are probably lots of typos...I suck at catching them, even when I'm actually awake.

*Edit 9 March 2012: As I was working on Chapter 11, I realized that there are some problems with plot continuity. That's what happens when you go weeks and weeks between writing chapters. Nothing has changed too drastically, I'm just outlining the background a bit better. This should be the only chapter that is really effected.

Chapter 1: Wyvern

The past few months had been relatively peaceful. At least, for anyone that wasn't Merlin, it had been peaceful. After Morgause had enchanted a hapless guard to be the keystone for a powerful sleeping spell that effected the entire city, Merlin had been feverishly studying his magic book. He had confronted the witch in the throne room, where he, Arthur, and the guard had dragged the king for protection. Merlin had thanked the gods that Arthur was out trying to distract the knights and find a wagon so that they could carry the king to safety.

Dumb luck had saved them that time. The guard had leapt at the knight that had accompanied Morgause and been struck down before the witch could stop it. As he lay dying, the spell began to lift. That wouldn't have been enough to stop her, but Morgana had come running into the room. Morgause had seemed unsurprised that she was awake. In a change of heart that had stunned Merlin, who knew how angry Morgana was with Uther, she had thrown herself in front of the king and refused to move. Faced with a sister she did not want to kill and a wakening city, Morgause as forced to retreat.

That night, Merlin had gone down to the dragon. In exchange for his freedom, he had given Merlin the knowledge necessary to destroy the knights forever. Once the spell was cast, Merlin held up his end of the bargain, only for the dragon to attack the city.

The destruction had been immense. Merlin had tried everything to stop the dragon, but his magic, still growing and maturing, had been no threat to the ancient magical beast. Eventually, they sought out the last of the dragonlords, who Merlin discovered was his father. When Balinor died to save his life, Merlin inherited his gift and was able to stop Kilgharrah. Unable to kill the dragon, Merlin had let him go.

Blaming his lack of knowledge concerning the finer points of magic for the disaster, Merlin hadn't stopped studying his book since. But for the rest of Camelot, things had been peaceful.

Merlin blinked and discretely shook his head, trying to wake himself up. One of the worst things about being Arthur's manservant - besides dealing with the prat himself - was being forced to attend boring council meetings and pretentious banquets. Arthur always claimed that it was procedure, that Merlin was there to do his duty, but the warlock knew better. He was there because if Arthur had to suffer then so did he.

At least when it was a banquet, there were other servants to talk to and jobs to be done. He and Gwen were always having little conversations, joking about the nobles. Council meetings were another matter. Attendance was restricted to nobles and military commanders, plus Morgana and Gaius. They were filled with pointless arguing that never went anywhere because Uther had already made up his mind and wasn't particularly asking for advice. On occasion, things got interesting when Morgana or Arthur stood against the king. This particular meeting had been going on for hours and nothing of interest had happened. Both Arthur and Morgana had remained mostly silent as they listened to the noble's reports on the status of the kingdom. It was taking every ounce of will power Merlin had - and perhaps a bit of magic - to stay awake.

Across the room, Gwen, who was standing behind Morgana and looking just a bored as he was, caught Merlin's eye and offered him a small, sympathetic smile. He returned it weakly and caught himself wishing that there was some way he could use magic to disrupt the council without being caught and killed.

He'd stopped really listening to what was going on ages ago, but that wasn't to say that he wasn't still paying some attention. Camelot was constantly being threatened by magic. Sometimes it was actually real danger, but often it was Uther's paranoid ravings causing trouble where there hadn't been any before. Merlin needed to know if there was something that only he could take care of so that he could stop Arthur from getting himself killed. He also needed to know if the king was going on another anti-magic rampage so that he could attempt to keep his head down. Ironically, it always seemed that his magic was needed to save the day when it was most likely to get him killed.

The noble who'd been speaking finished and one of the knights stood to begin his report on the city. Merlin knew better than most what was going on in the lower town since he spent plenty of time down there running errands for Gaius, so he allowed his attention to wander. He thought about all of the times he'd saved Arthur and how many close calls he'd had. No wonder Gaius was always so worried about him when it came to using magic. It was a miracle he still had his head.

The warning bells suddenly rang out through the castle, breaking through Merlin's thoughts and causing him to start in surprise. Luckily, Arthur didn't notice. If he'd realized that Merlin had been daydreaming instead of paying attention, it would have meant a week of mucking out the stables.

A knight burst into the chamber.

"What's going on?" the king demanded.

The man struggled to catch his breath, gesturing wildly over his shoulder as he did. "A creature is attacking the city," he managed to pant.

A murmur ran through the room and Merlin was instantly on alert. This could not be good.

"What kind of creature is it?" Arthur demanded impatiently. Merlin could see that he was anxious to get out there and stop it.

"I don't know, sire," the knight gasped, still struggling for breath. "It looks almost like the dragon that attacked four months ago. But it is smaller. It has wings, two legs, and a barbed tail. I have never seen anything like it."

Uther turned expectantly to Gaius, the resident expert in magical creatures. "Was it breathing fire?" the physician asked after a slight pause.

The knight shook his head. "No. But it seems to posses some kind of poison that burns the flesh. Several of the villagers have been injured."

Gaius nodded slowly, his brows furrowed in thought. A cold shiver ran down Merlin's spine. He hated it when Gaius got that look on his face. It always meant trouble for him.

"Do you know what it is?" Uther asked gravely. He too recognized the expression on the old physicians face.

Gaius nodded. "If I am not mistaken, it is a wyvern, a cousin to the dragon. It's smaller and less powerful, but according to the records, it is still a formidable opponent. Few of the knights that faced it have ever returned. They used to be sighted in the forest along the mountains. It was believed that they had died out years ago when the inhabitants no longer found evidence of them."

"Apparently they are still very much in existence," the king growled. "How do you kill one?"

"I would have to consult my records."

The king nodded curtly. "Then go. Arthur, take the knights and try to contain this creature before it does too much damage to the city." Arthur nodded and started out of the room, Merlin trailing behind him. A single word from the king stopped them. "The boy can assist Gaius." He gestured at Merlin, who scurried over to his guardian without complaint. As much as he wanted to be out there protecting Arthur, he knew that he had to figure out how to stop the wyvern before he could help. Otherwise, he'd just get himself killed. Arthur nodded and left the room to gather the knights.

Merlin followed Gaius through the halls of the castle. The shouts from the villagers were just audible. Neither of them spoke a word until they were safely in the physician's chambers.

"Arthur and the knights aren't going to be able to stop this, are they?" Merlin asked softly.

Gaius looked at his young ward grimly for a moment before turning to his bookshelf and searching through the many tomes for the one he needed. "I doubt it," he admitted. "The wyvern is a creature of magic. It will not be easy to kill."

Nodding, Merlin moved to one of the other bookshelves. Gaius cast a discrete glance at the young man beside him. In the two years since the young warlock had arrived in Camelot, he and Arthur had forged an unlikely friendship. Neither of them would actually admit it if you asked them, but they were practically brothers. Gaius knew that Merlin was not risking his life out of sense of duty or simply because Camelot was in danger. No, he was going to go out there and use his magic, despite the potential consequences, because Arthur and his other friends were in danger. Of course, it didn't hurt that Merlin was naturally the kind of person who couldn't stand by and do nothing when people were in danger. It had nearly gotten him killed when Nimueh set the afanc on Camelot. Gaius could think of no one better to possess the kind of power that Merlin did than Merlin.

Just as the thought crossed Gaius' mind, the warlock in question stepped away from the bookshelf.

"We don't have time for this," he muttered.

"Merlin-" Gaius began. But before he could get any further, Merlin's eyes flashed gold.

"Fionnaim tú leabhar laghairt," he murmured.

Instantly, several books flew off the shelves, landing on the table. Gaius shot Merlin a disapproving look, despite agreeing that they didn't have time to go through the books until he'd found the right one.

Gaius flipped quickly through the nearest book until he found the page of wyverns. As fortune had it, he'd chosen the tome that contained the information they needed. He scanned the page, silently cursing the way old age had dimmed his eyesight. Merlin watched impatiently, bouncing up and down on his heels.

"It seems that killing a wyvern is relatively straight forward," Gaius said at length. "It must be pierced through the heart with a blade that is covered in it's own poison."

Moving before the words had completely passed the old man's lips, Merlin hurried to the door, calling over his shoulder as he did, "I'll tell Arthur!"

"Be careful!" Gaius shouted after him. He shook his head at the disappearing form of the boy that had become like a son to him, knowing that the warning had fallen on deaf ears, if it had reached him at all. Merlin did have a knack for getting himself into trouble, whether he was looking for it or not.

oOoOoOoOo

The wyvern whipped it's tail around, catching Arthur squarely in the chest. A grunt escaped his throat as the air was forced from his lungs and he was thrown back against a wall.

Containing the monster was proving to be more difficult than anyone had assumed. It was as tall as a house, quick, and brutal. They were lucky that it did not possess the intelligence or power of a real dragon. If it had, they most certainly would have been doomed.

Most of the knights that had set out to face it were wounded or unconscious, but as far as he could tell, none were dead. Sir Leon was doing what he could to drag them to safety while the prince distracted the creature. So far, it was not going well.

Seemingly satisfied that its opponent had been dealt with, the wyvern turned it's attention from Arthur to Leon, who was searching the rubble for any more injured knights. Gritting his teeth, Arthur hauled himself to his feet. His ribs protested violently and he cursed under his breath. Seizing a rock, he hurled it a the reptile, hitting it square in the head. Hissing in anger, the wyvern spun, it's wings flapping, and spat a stream of acid green venom at the prince. He threw up his arm to protect his face.

A body collided with his own, pushing him out of the way just in the nick of time. Arthur let out a cry of pain as the impact jolted his already injured ribs.

Startled, Merlin rolled off his friend and gazed at him worriedly. "Are you all right?"

Arthur glared at him. "What the hell are you doing out here, you idiot? You're going to get yourself killed."

Merlin bit back the sarcastic retort his mind immediately supplied. Now wasn't the time for their banter. "Gaius figured out how to kill it. You need to stab it in the heart with a blade covered in it's own poison."

"Why does it always have to be so complicated to kill these things?" Arthur groaned. "How the hell am I supposed to get some of it's venom without being killed?"

And he calls me an idiot, Merlin sighed. He pointed to his right, toward the place where Arthur had been standing when he'd knocked him over. The prince followed his finger and saw that there was a puddle of green goo right where his feet had been.

"Ah," he said. "That was easier than I thought."

Merlin rolled his eyes. Removing his nerckerchief, he dabbed cautiously at the venom, careful not to get any of it on his skin. Arthur held out his sword, for once realizing that this was not a task that either of them could do alone. The venom smoked as it touched the metal, turning it black. Their eyes widened as they realized that it was eating away at the metal.

"You're going to have one shot," Merlin said softly.

Arthur met his eyes. "Then I better not miss."

Without another word, the prince stood and charged toward the wyvern. The beast had been distracted by Leon, who was standing over Sir Percival, and did not seem to sense Arthur's approach. He was surprisingly quiet, despite the weight of his armor.

A faint warmth of hope blossomed in Merlin's chest. Maybe Arthur could slay the beast.

Then, time slowed, as it so often did for the warlock when things were about to go terribly wrong.

The wyvern tensed, one leathery ear flicking back ever so slightly. It spat out a stream of poison, causing Leon to jump aside. The knight landed on a loose rock and his foot slid out from under him. He fell to the ground with a crash, dazed and barely conscious. Merlin watched in horror as it lashed out with one wing, quick as lightning, and knocked Arthur off his feet once more. The sword fell from his grasp and went flying. Knowing that the already fragile blade could not withstand the force of landing on the rocks, Merlin reacted instinctively. No word was needed for his magic to reach out and catch the blackened blade. Without so much as a clear thought, he flicked his wrist and propelled the sword toward the wyvern. It moved almost too quick to see and smote the beast in the heart.

The wyvern let out a piteous moan, reared back on it's legs, wings stroking the air in agony. Then it fell with a thud that shook the ground beneath their feet and moved no more.

Slowly, Merlin lowered his hand, pulling the magic back into his body. Silence echoed over the battleground. Less than a hundred feet away, Arthur was staring at him, his face a mixture of denial, confusion, hatred, anger, and worst of all, betrayal.

"I can explain," Merlin said weakly.

For a long moment, they just stared at each other. With each passing second, Merlin grew more anxious. If only Arthur would say something! Then, Merlin would know what to say, then he would know how to fix this.

Arthur found his voice.

"What is there to explain?" he snapped. "You're a sorcerer."

"Actually, I'm a warlock," Merlin whispered without thinking. He'd only learned the distinction recently.

The prince's glared darkened further. "There's no difference."

Merlin didn't have the heart to argue. Instead, he simple bowed his head. "I was only trying to protect Camelot."

Arthur's hands balled into fists. He would not let Merlin's words phase him. As much as he wanted to believe that his manservant truly meant no harm, that he had only meant to save the city, he had been raised to believe that magic was evil. Merlin himself had confirmed that after the disastrous visit to Morgause. Even if his opinion of magic could be swayed, Arthur was the crown prince. It was his duty to uphold the law and the law said that magic was punishable by death.

Still, he could not bring himself to call out to the guards or to Leon. He couldn't find the strength to throw his closest friend into the dungeon for saving his life. Magic may be evil, but what Merlin had done was not. He could not let the crime go unpunished, but death just seemed like too much.

He made his decision.

"I believe that you meant Camelot no harm," Arthur announced. Merlin looked up in surprise, not quite daring to hope. "Had it been anything other than magic, I would say that you were even brave to break the law in order to save lives. But magic, of all things, cannot be tolerated in the city. You know what the penalty is."

He faltered slightly when he saw the blood drain from Merlin's face, leaving him paler than before. Rallying his nerve, Arthur plowed on. Who knew it could be so difficult to condemn a friend?

"I do not believe that you deserve death," he went on softly. "But you cannot stay here. Leave Camelot. I will tell my father that after the wyvern's attack, you felt that you needed to return to Ealdor. Given everything that has happened over the past months, that will be a believable explanation."

It took Merlin a moment to process what Arthur was saying. He was being banished. Ealdor was in Cenred's kingdom, not Camelot. It was better than death, but his job was to protect Arthur. That would be hard to do from so far away.

Knowing that it was the best he was going to get, he nodded. "I'll go. But..." he hesitated slightly. "Can you tell Gaius the truth? He'll suspect something if you don't."

Arthur wasn't surprised that the old physician knew about Merlin's gifts. He always had seemed to know an awful lot about the old religion.

"I will," he promised.

Merlin visibly relaxed just a little more. With another nod, he turned to go. He stopped before he even went ten paces and looked back to Arthur. "All I've ever done is try to protect people," he said. "And I always meant to tell you, someday. I'll go to Ealdor, but I will never stop keeping an eye on you." A familiar twinkle appeared in his eyes. "You have no idea how much trouble you get in and you're destined to be a great king, so someone has to help you get there. If you ever have need of me, I'm sure I'll turn up. Just do me a favor. Don't get a bootlicker for a servant?" he added, echoing his words from the night so long ago when he'd gone to the Isle of the Blest, intending never to return.

Baffled, Arthur could only watch as Merlin muttered under his breath. His eyes flashed gold and he was gone in a gust of wind.

"Sire?" Leon asked softly.

Arthur turned to see the knight standing not far away. He didn't know how much he'd seen, but he didn't care.

"Tell no one," he ordered. "He may be a sorcerer, but he saved the city. He does not deserve to die for that."

oOoOoOoOo

Author's Note: This was originally going to be a oneshot, but it got away from me. I don't know when the next chapter will be up. This makes the third fic I'm working on, and the other's have slight precedence since they're further along and I know that people are waiting on them. However, I seem to be having a severe case of writer's block on those, so I may get more work done on this than I think. Anyway, please review and let me know what you think. Like I said, this if my first Merlin fic, and I'm anxious to know if I'm doing it justice. Also, more reviews equal more posts!

Chapter 2

 
 
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: Wake Up, Get Up: Run Kid Run
 
 
 
fbc1983 on July 12th, 2011 06:13 pm (UTC)
This was great! :)
Can't wait for the next chapter!
Clareluminare91 on August 11th, 2011 07:38 pm (UTC)
Re: This was great! :)
thank you!
archaeologist_d: Merlin Arthur frowningarchaeologist_d on July 18th, 2011 02:41 pm (UTC)
I liked how Arthur didn't kill Merlin for it but banishing him was almost as bad to Merlin. Well done.
Clareluminare91 on August 11th, 2011 07:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I wanted to leave some hope for Merlin while still making Arthur's reaction believable.