Dragonlords. Let me tell you something about this magnificent race. Like the name says they are lords of the dragons. They have great power. They do not only control dragons but they can borrow their strength as well as turn into them! Oh imagine how amazing it is! I wish I could do that. Be able to change into something else. Be able to fly… to feel free. Oh Arthur it must be an astounding feeling. The most amazing thing among them is that when they fall in love it’s for a lifetime! When they bond, there is no going back. They cannot betray one another. Isn’t that wonderful?
It is sad that there are not many dragons and their lords left. I heard that decades ago there was war between them. And because Ambrosious line won they become something like royalty among dragonlords. And I met him! The last of the Ambrosius line came to visit, to sign a treaty. His name is Balinor. He is something else. He has this strength in his strides and yet he can be so caring. I saw him pick up a little girl that tripped. He does not act like lords around here. He is not so full of himself. I can not stop listening to the stories he says. Of wonders and dangers he faced. And this eyes. They are so blue, just like the sky above my head. The way he looks at me makes my very blood boil in my vines.
Again there is this feeling of forbidding at the back of my head. Like I will be a cause to his end. Oh Arthur, if Uther will ever find out… the things he would do. The price our people would have to pay. I fear to even think about it. So we tried to squish this feelings before they became too much. How we tried, my boy. If only we were stronger. It is so unfair my boy, that my husband can go and bed anyone he wants. Be it a maid, a wife of his knight or just a visiting lady. And yet I cannot leave him. Have to be by his side, have to pretend that I know nothing. I am just his possession… nothing more. Do not be fooled Arthur. He does not love me. He never did. Now I know what love is. If only I and Balinor met sooner.
Arthur was miserable. Merlin spoke to him, only when he needed to. What did I do wrong, this time? Why can’t this idiot understand that I want him to be safe?! Arthur went to the window, shut his eyes and put his head on the glass. A pained groan escaped him. What should I do? How do I apologise, when I don’t even know what I did wrong? Slowly he opened his eyes and looked outside. He smiled when he saw Merlin.
There he stands. He looks so happy, so free. Just like a fairy from out of this world. This astonishing man is even more beautiful inside than outside and I can’t believe it’s possible. It is amazing, how just a sight of this silly man can brighten my day. Then, Gwaine appeared and Arthur’s great mood changed. And how is that, when this annoying knight appears near my manservant I’m becoming furious.
Arthur watched their interaction. How easily Merlin could laugh with one of his best knights. How his , he will be damned if anyone will say otherwise, boy can act so free around Gwaine. Then Arthur saw something which made his blood boil. Merlin blushed. His Merlin blushed, and it was not towards him. How dare he?! How dare Gwaine make his Merlin blush?! And why would Gwaine give Merlin a flower?! Arthur was angry at Gwaine, at Merlin, but mostly at himself. After all it was his fault, he is still not sure what he did wrong, that Merlin was upset with him. So right now he not only had work to do, but find a way to brighten Merlin up around himself. First he had to meet with Mathew. He heard he’s the best in this art. With a sigh he put on the cape and left.
Merlin was furious. How dare he?! I’ll show him! I’ll show all of them what I’m capable of! Just you wait, you clotpole! In his head he could hear Arthur voice screaming, it’s not a world, Mer lin . It’s so, is! Though the other servants, guards didn’t fear him, today they decided to leave him alone. Something in the air around him was making them stay away from him. There were no silly
remarks of how he didn’t look like a king's servant. Or that he shouldn’t do this, or that, because it’s not proper. No one was trying to trip him and no one was calling him names. The brunet frowned when he realised that. He looked around with suspicion, but nothing was amiss, so he continued his journey to the armory in hope of finding Lancelot, or at least Gwaine there.
Unfortunately his two favorite knights weren’t in the armory. To his bad luck Paul the big nose and Mark the small eyes were present. They were newly knighted nobles from some big families, he didn’t really care to remember from which though. It’s not like it was important anyway.
“Oh, if it isn’t the king's servant? What are you doing here alone, servant?” Merlin barely contained himself from rolling his eyes at Mark the small eyes. Do they really need to remind me all the time that I am just a servant here? As if I wouldn’t know that I am just a servant! But not for long. Just wait for a tournament!
“I’m looking for Lancelot and Gwaine, have you, by any chance, seen them?” He tried to be nice, but of all the knights he had to bump into the meanest ones.
Paul the big nose wrinkled his nose with disgust. “You do not speak like that to the betters. Has no one learned you manners, idiot?” He hated it when others spoke to him like that. He didn’t mind much when it was Arthur though.
“I’ll show you respect, when you’ll earn it.” Merlin was so fed up with all this nobles and their ways. With servants who thought they knew better, because they were raised into this positions. He raised his chin at the knights.
He didn’t flinch when he saw Paul raising his hand to hit him. He did sigh though, with relief when he heard the door open. When he saw it was Leon he couldn’t help but smile, while the knights tried to look innocent.
“What is going on here?” The head knight asked. He turned concerned eyes at Merlin. He knew that the younger boy had some trouble with the stuff and some of the noble knights and he couldn't help but worry about him. He saw how the brunet changed the prince, now the king, into a better person. How thanks to this boy the king was able to move with his life after so many betrayals. Therefore he decided a long time ago to protect the slim boy however he could.
“Leon! Good to see you.” Merlin smiled, creating a dimple in his cheeks. “Nothing is going on.” He put on an innocent mask. “Just looking for Lancelot or Gwaine. Have you seen them?” The knights looked with shock at the interaction between a servant and a head knight.
“I saw Gwaine heading to the gardens. I didn’t see Lancelot, though.” He smiled at the boy. He could see how the boy was tired. Arthur probably spoke with him already. I hope Merlin took it in a good way. “Merlin - .” He looked at the two new knights and almost groaned. He couldn’t talk with Merlin in front of them. It was too dangerous a topic to have here.
“Is there something you need Leon?” Merlin looked at Leon with his big, round eyes.
“Can you come to my chambers when you’ll be done with your work?” We can discuss the ban and his reaction there. I should invite others too. Leon felt really good with this plan. Merlin's eyes widened and a small blush appeared on his cheeks.
“Umm… sure. I’ll try to finish my work as fast as possible to join you there.” He left with a small wave to Leon, not even looking at the new knights.
Two nobles were shocked at what they saw and what they heard. They couldn’t understand what just happened. Did sir Leon, the head knight, just invite this useless servant over to his place? They straightened when the piercing and angry eyes turned at them.
“If I see you raise your hand or insult Merlin again, you will have to go against me first, and then the King. Do you understand?” His anger was palpable.
“But… Sir..” The big nose tried to reason.
“There is no but, sir Brotlik. Do you understand?” He looked at this ignorant men and couldn't help his disgust at the thought that a lot of nobles are like them. “Sir Gotleck?” He will not let them hurt Merlin.
The knights looked at eachother. “Yes, Sir. We understand.” They answered. Leon was satisfied for now. When he left, he didn’t see the look the knights give themselves. Is this boy that good? The only thought that runs in their head.
Merlin ran to the gardens to catch Gwaine. He loved the gardens. All this different types of flowers. It was really refreshing to just walk around them. He couldn’t help but laugh looking at daysies and the bees that were flying around them. It seemed like out of nowhere Gwaine appeared behind Merlin. He put a flower he picked up behind Merlin’s ear. In return he got a scared yelp and a blush from him.
“Gwaine!” The younger boy couldn’t help but gasp with a giggle. “What was that for?”
“Why Merlin! Just happy to see you.” He wiggled his eyebrows. “Wanted to scare you a bit. And you looked so good laughing I couldn’t help myself.” Merlin blushed even harder at that.
“You can’t say things like that!” Gwaine frowned. Displeasure evident on his face.
“Why? You’re my friend Merlin, therefore it’s fine to do it.” Merlin couldn’t help but smile at him.
“Thanks. It’s nice to hear it from time to time.” He scratched his head with embarrassment.
“Oh then, I will tell you this as often as I can!” The knight put his hand around Merlin’s shoulder. Merlin sobered a bit.
“Actually… There is something I should tell you before.. umm.. you decide..” He stammered. Why is it so hard to say it?!
“Merlin, my friend, there is nothing you can tell me, that will make me change my mind about our friendship.” He looked down at the nervous boy.
“You’re sure?” He looked up at Gwaine with so much hope, that it almost broke the knight's heart.
“Of course! Though I don’t think this is a good place to discuss secrets.” They looked around and saw a few ladies and lords walking around the gardens.
“You’re right. How about we meet later in Leons chambers?” He hoped that the head knight wouldn’t mind it. But it was something he needed to tell all his friends, not only few. He needed all of them on his side if he wanted to win Arthur over with this tournament.
“Sure thing!” He looked up at the sun and pouted. “I think my time is up. I need to go to the training ground.” Merlin chuckled at that. “Okay, I’ll inform others, okay?” He looked straight into Merlin’s eyes, looking for any wrong reaction from the boy. When he nodded, it seemed like he guessed correctly that Merlin would want to say it to all of his friends. They parted with a wave and a promise to meet later.
Arthur stood in front of a shoddy cote, somewhere in the forest not too far from the citadel. He was radieting with anticipation but you could detect slight fear as well. He took a big inhale and knocked on the door. He heard rushed footsteps and before he could decide against it the door opened angry, middle aged men.
“If you’ll come here…” His eyes widened when he realised who stood in front of his house. “My lord!” He hurriedly and awkwardly bowed. “How may I help you?” He looked uncomfortable and Arthur couldn’t blame him. How often do you meet a king in front of your door?
“I would like to use your talents, if you wouldn’t mind.” The men’s eyes widened and a big smile appeared at his face. After so long he was finally noticed. “Can we talk inside?” He didn’t want to be overheard.
“Of course, My lord! Please come inside.” He let Arthur inside his small place.
“Thank you.” He looked around and saw how little this man had. Do all of my people in a lower town live like that? He thought of Merlin and his mother and winced. This men had much more than they did. He came back to the present when he heard the grunt behind him.
“So how may I be of use, my Lord?”
“I would like to hire you for a district job. I heard that you’re one of the best in town in sculpting in a stone. Am I well informed?” He tried to sense the men. He heard a bit of him, but he needed to be sure he would not say a word to anyone about it.
“You flatter me, sir. I don’t know if I am the best, but I’m very good in this art.” He puffed his chest with pride.
“Good. Very good. You will be paid handsomely if you’ll be discreet and the sculpt will be to my liking.” Arthur saw the frown appear at Mathews face.
“I’ll do my best, my lord.” The men bowed.
Arthur explained what he wanted him to do. How big it had to be. The king had a feeling that this men would do a perfect job. He wanted it done at the end of the tournament. It was supposed to be a gift to all magic people for what he did in his ignorance, and his father in his hate, done to them. He just hoped it would be enough to start righting the wrongs.