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The Tapestry

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26 Re: The Tapestry on Tue 30 Oct 2012, 3:36 am

Leon washed his hands as soon as he left the council chambers. He had been wearing gloves the whole time, but he was fairly certain as he scoured his hands that his eyes were what really needed a deep clean. Or his brain. Something. He knew he wouldn't be happy until he just pretended that it never happened, so he took a few moments to repress everything about that little incident before he took a deep breath and jogged off to lead the men in the search of the Lower Town. He had the option, of course, of being leading one of the castle regiments instead, but he needed to get out of the castle, for more reason than just Gwaine (wait stop that thought right there you repressed it remember?) He...didn't want to run into Elaine. Not after what he said. He felt like such an idiot--why on earth did he even open his mouth? They both knew she did all the talking. Was this how you ruined a perfectly good relationship? He wouldn't know. He would have to ask Gwaine (no no no you aren't thinking about that remember?)

When he arrived at the stables he found that all the servants were busy helping other knights, so he started saddling up his own horse.

"Come on, Leon, stop lolly-gagging!" Elyan said from his horse. "Arthur wanted us in the Lower Town yesterday!"

Leon hurried up as best he could, until a servant, who was being hurried onward by a rushed Gwaine (who was still working on getting his cloak on WAIT WE AREN'T THINKING ABOUT THAT), dropped an entire armful of barding. Leon decided to end the cycle and stopped to help him pick it all up.

Gwaine stopped and remarked, tetchily, "Shouldn't you be exploiting the workers or something?"

"I don't see you helping," Leon said simply.

"True." He bent to help too, but found that the cloak and chainmail tuggedat his neck too much when he did so, and thought better of it. Instead he whacked the servant on the arm. "Did you hear that, though? He's hanging on to an outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society."

"Eh?" the servant asked, looking panicky at the use of such large words.

"What have you been reading?" Leon asked wearily.

"Floree's been telling me about it!" And with that Gwaine put an arm around the bewildered servant's shoulders and, barding completely forgotten, led him away leaving terms like "supreme executive power" and "self-perpetuating autocracy" in their wake. Leon shook his head and picked up the rest of the barding.

"I'll help!"

Leon looked up to find Gareth helping him gather up the last few pieces of barding. "Thank you," he said, and when Gareth beamed he added, "Are you helping out with the horses, now?"

"I thought I'd try learning how the armor goes," Gareth said.

"You can help me with mine, if you'd like," Leon said, and was surprised to see Gareth's naturally somber expression turn to positive excitment. He helped Gareth learn where all the straps went and which pieces went where, before he mentioned, in an off-hand sort of way, "I need a squire, if you'd like to try out the job."

Gareth looked about ready to faint. "Me, Sir Leon??"

Leon shrugged. "It's the first step on the road to knighthood, but it is a bit of a commitment. For most squires its a few years before they get knighted, but you'll get a chance to learn in the field, and gain experience before you're tested."

Gareth seemed at a loss for words besides one. "Yes!" he shouted, his voice cracking a little as he nodded vigorously.

"Fine, fine," Leon said, trying hard to keep from laughing. "You can start by coming with us into the Lower Town."

The search of the Lower Town was uneventful--and since it was Leon and the knights who were in charge, it was a lot more organized than some searches had been in the past. More than one of the knights came away with gifts of vegetables or eggs (which of course made Gwaine very annoyed, even if he did take what he was given). Gareth proved to be of even more help than Leon anticipated, and as they rode back to Camelot he was pretty certain that Gareth would soon be the youngest knight in Camelot.

As they passed by the tower where Elaine's chambers were situated Leon glanced up at her window--but he only saw the hint of a shadow move, and nothing more.




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27 Re: The Tapestry on Fri 02 Nov 2012, 4:00 am

With the knights gone and Arthur still dealing with paperwork from the council meeting, Merlin had time to do some poking around. He wanted to know where Elaine was getting enchanted thread, since he was certain she wasn’t making it herself. She also didn’t buy it anywhere in the town. The thread used in the tapestries was finer than any thread used for clothing, and there was not a large enough supply of it to be found even if she’d been buying it from multiple spinners.

Merlin had his suspicions. But he wanted to be absolutely certain they were reasonable before he said anything- his best friend was courting- no, wait, apparently marrying this woman. The least that voicing unsubstantiated suspicions would do was irritate Gwaine, something he certainly didn’t go around trying to do, and at worst it would both hurt his feelings and really irritate him. And he’d rather not do that, either.

So, while everyone was gone and he couldn’t possibly be interrupted at his sneaking, he did some digging around. He asked the other servants if they had seen where Elaine got her thread for the tapestries, and for the most part heard nothing remotely helpful. They could verify that she wasn’t buying it herself, but no one seemed to have seen where the stuff did come from. And then he spoke to a young errand boy, who remembered seeing Floree carrying a basket of yarn to Elaine’s quarters one afternoon. As far as proof, it wasn’t very helpful, but it gave Merlin a reason to loiter around the easiest route to Elaine’s rooms and watch for anything suspicious.

That was where Gwaine found him when he returned from the lower town. Merlin was dusting a chest absent-mindedly when someone not-so-accidentally bumped his arm, and he looked up to meet Gwaine’s grin.

“What are you doing out here? Princess being insufferable?” he asked. Merlin frowned at him.

“It’d be your fault if he was,” he replied, still not quite ready to forgive Gwaine for earlier. He’d nearly had to clean that table, after all. But Gwaine only clapped him on the shoulder and laughed.

“Can’t a guy have a little fun?” he asked innocently.

“The Round Table, Gwaine,” Merlin responded, exasperated, as if this explained everything.

“Well, anyway, it all ended well. And you should have seen your faces!”

“It wasn’t funny! I think Leon nearly died of embarrassment!”

“Well, Leon can be a bit of a girl about these things…”

“Gwaine.”

“And your face was priceless!”

“GWAINE. What are you- I don’t- My face-“ Merlin spluttered, and his friend finally relented. Because if he didn’t, Merlin’s head was clearly going to explode.

“Alright, alright. No more desecrating the Round Table. But if the Princess isn’t being insufferable, why’re you out here?” Gwaine asked. Merlin was about to answer and then stopped, shuffling awkwardly.

“What, Merlin? Were you spying on Elaine?! I’m telling Le-!” Gwaine started, but Merlin turned bright red and looked a little frantic, so he broke off with a spluttered laugh. “Really, mate, what’s got you so jumpy? And don’t blame it on me, because you were fine at the meeting.”

Merlin looked around the hall, considered lying, remembered this was Gwaine he was dealing with, and sighed. Gwaine’s grin had evaporated, by which Merlin guessed he was probably making the kicked-puppy face.

“It’s Floree…” he started, and Gwaine frowned. “No, wait, just listen. It’s just… I can’t think of anywhere else for Elaine to get the thread than from Floree, and some of the servants have seen her bringing Elaine baskets of thread,” Merlin said, hurriedly, dropping his eyes when Gwaine started looking irritated.

“So you wouldn’t accuse Elaine because you trust Leon, but you’ll accuse Floree?” Gwaine asked, and Merlin flinched.

“No, it’s not that! Gwaine, please,” Merlin started, about to try and explain, but he was interrupted by several sets of armored boots. He and Gwaine both jumped and turned to see all of the knights standing there, for some inexplicable reason. Merlin was about to ask them what was wrong when Leon, who was standing in front, drew his sword and charged them both. All of the others were right on his heels- including… Gwaine?

Waaaaait. Even as he jumped out of the way with a surprised squeak, Merlin registered that there were now two Gwaines in the hall. And what was Gwen doing here? And… he scrambled to his feet and nearly fell all over his feet in surprise as he came face to face with himself. Himself with glowing gold eyes. And then a decorative sword shot off the wall and nearly impaled him.

“Gwaine? It’s the other tapestry!” he called to his friend, ducking and flinging the sword right back at his double.


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28 Re: The Tapestry on Sat 10 Nov 2012, 4:43 am

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“I kind of noticed!” Gwaine cried as he dodged a well-executed swing from—himself? Well, no, not quite, of course. Obviously. He was him. What were these, then? Now that he was up close he could see that the entire creature was convincingly woven of a multitude of colorful threads.

Only they were pretty decidedly trying to kill them.

“Merlin, down!” Gwaine took Merlin to the ground where they tumbled in a heap as tapestry!Lancelot charged them: lance, horse and all. But this Lancelot didn’t stop, and turned on a dime, so Gwaine hauled Merlin to his feet and pushed him down another corridor.

“Gwaine! Gwaine, we have to stop them!” Merlin squeaked as they ran. Tapestry!Leon appeared in front of them, cloak and longsword twirling dangerously.

And there was no way Gwaine was going to fight that.

“Yeah!” Gwaine agreed, pushing them apart as tapestry!Elyan’s axe landed between them. “And how do you expect to do that, exactly?” He slashed at tapestry!Percival who was attacking on his side, but though the construct staggered and stepped back at first, the threads almost immediately reformed and it came back at them.

“No, Gwaine!” Merlin insisted, clutching Gwaine’s arm as he used magic to try to push tapestry!Elyan to the far wall, but the force of Merlin’s blow barely fazed it. So clearly, neither magic nor weapons had any effect, which was a pretty massive problem. “I mean we have to stop him.” He pointed.

Gwaine sucked in a breath as tapestry!Merlin entered the room, because his eyes were shining with gold thread, the mark of Magic.

Gwaine looked back at his Merlin, then at the textile version. “What, it can do magic, too?”

Merlin nodded.

“Well, we can’t let anyone else see!”

Merlin nodded, looking pale this time.

Their backs were to a wall now, and tapestry!Percival, tapestry!Leon, and tapestry!Elyan were surrounding them. They opened the circle just enough for tapestry!Merlin to join them. But just as Gwaine was hubristically beginning to believe that their situation could not possibly get any worse—

Sir Leon walked through the door at the other end of the hall.

His eyes went wide, and he drew his sword, looking to Gwaine and Merlin for explanation.

“It’s the tapestry!” Merlin cried, and Leon nodded. His tapestry double smiled and advanced on him.

So Gwaine really only had one chance:

He grabbed the torch from the brazier above their heads and, with a reckless bellow, hurled himself bodily at the Tapestry!Merlin.

Upon impact it was yet to be seen if the fire would affect it, but the construct was certainly unready for a physical attack, and Gwaine crashed down on top of the fake Merlin, stunning it. Its eyes flared up immediately, perhaps preparing to sling a spell at him, but Gwaine thrust the flaming brand into its face.

It worked. Almost too well. For the thing caught fire instantly, and thrashed about, giving a scream that sounded enough like his Merlin to be unnerving. The threads of the tapestry!knights all around them began to unravel, and a cacophony of shrieking went up as the tapestry creations dissipated. In its death throes, the Merlin tapestry screamed in a language Gwaine couldn’t understand, and it fought him, struggling and spinning, writhing and wrapping, but eventually, finally, it stopped moving, the threads still burning.

Unfortunately, Gwaine ended up beneath it.

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29 Re: The Tapestry on Wed 21 Nov 2012, 5:05 am

Leon saw the tapestry!Merlin’s eyes glow gold before it caught flame. And when it did catch fire the other tapestry apparitions disappeared like unraveling thread. But none of that really registered.

“GWAINE!” Leon screamed. The blood had run cold in his veins, and suddenly he was back before the dragon, watching Galahad and the other knights burn to death before his eyes. Like them he ignored the mounting flames and ran toward the tapestry that had enveloped Gwaine, tearing it off him despite the flames licking his arms. With uncharacteristic strength he hauled Gwaine out of the last of the flames, expecting to see the same gory mess that he had seen when the dragon attacked—men screaming as they tried to tear burning metal from their bodies, fried skin and bleeding muscle—

Gwaine coughed heartily, gripping Leon’s arms to pull himself up. Leon’s mouth dropped open when he observed that while Gwaine’s cloak had been burnt beyond repair, he was relatively unharmed beyond a burn on his arm and neck. Gwaine looked at Leon in surprise at his recent display of strength.

“I didn’t know you had it in you!” Gwaine laughed. “I’m fine, though—just a bit of a—“

Leon cut him off with another display of physical strength, when he dragged him to his feet and slammed him up against the nearest wall. “What did you think you were doing?!” he shouted.

“Leon--” Gwaine managed, still laughing.

“You think this is funny? You nearly killed yourself!”

“It did the job didn’t it?” Gwaine shouted back, his temper rising as fast as Leon’s as he tried to shove Leon back. “What do you care anyway?”

Leon would not let himself be pushed, and he growled as he gave Gwaine a rough shake, barely able to keep from hitting him. “You stupid idiotic fool! You do NOT just try to pull something like that in a combat situation! You are not your own man and you sure as hell can’t presume that you can die when you please so you wait for your order, because you will NOT die on my watch, you understand?!”

“Leon!” someone shouted from behind him.

It was Merlin.

Leon realized he was practically holding Gwaine off the ground. He let go immediately and took a step back. The tapestry was gently smoking now, flames gone. “Are you alright?” he snapped, not able to look Gwaine in the eye.

“Yeah, sure,” Gwaine said slowly, almost apologetically. Even a half-apology from Gwaine made him calm down and start to feel guilty for how he had acted.

He still couldn’t shake the sight of those flames, though.


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30 Re: The Tapestry on Wed 28 Nov 2012, 4:36 am

Merlin stood and watched the two knights, in case Leon decided he wanted to shout at Gwaine some more or Gwaine decided he wanted to irritate Leon further by saying something smart. But they weren’t arguing again, yet… Gwaine was eyeing Sir Leon carefully, clearly torn between wanting to either react violently to the "you are not your own man" part of the altercation they’d been having or hug the blonde knight into submission because he was clearly dealing with things that were bigger than Gwaine and magic tapestry doubles of themselves.

Like, maybe, Kilgarrah and the fire that killed all of the knights except Sir Leon.

As it was, Gwaine let the issue go, allowing Leon a moment to compose himself. Instead, to Merlin's surprise, Gwaine rounded on him:

"So what exactly were you saying about Floree?" he seethed quietly.

Merlin gave Gwaine a momentary startled-deer look before blinking and realizing that Gwaine hadn't forgotten that they were talking about Floree. He wasn't sure he really wanted to start an argument with an already pissed off Gwaine, but he was also fairly sure this was important.

"Oh. I... um... I just thought maybe we should talk to her?" he said uncertainly.

"I'll talk to her," Gwaine snapped, his anger threatening to fade entirely if everyone kept giving him these pathetic kicked-puppy faces, but determined to maintain it if Merlin was determined to cling to his paranoia. "Unless you don't trust me, of course."

"I never said I didn't trust you," Merlin snapped right back, wondering fleetingly if Gwaine was selectively forgetting that Merlin actually trusted him to be quiet about his magic. "What if she's dangerous, Gwaine? There is no one else bringing Elaine those tapestry threads," Merlin asked. For that matter, what if the only reason Floree hadn't hurt anyone so far was because she thought she had them all fooled?

"And that's suddenly grounds for suspicion of magic? She gets a cursed shipment of embroidery floss and suddenly she's a wicked sorceress plotting our deaths? I thought we got rid of the last arsehole who tried to run his kingdom like--"

"You wouldn't happen to be talking about my father would you, Gwaine?" Arthur asked, approaching. Luckily, Arthur remembered how badly Gwaine had been treated at his father's hand and seemed willing to forgive a lot. Gwaine only pressed his lips together and glowered at Merlin, who glared right back (albeit a lot less effectively). Arthur looked between the two of them and then around at the remnants of the fight.

“Would someone care to explain what’s been going on here?” he asked, finally, when no one seemed inclined to break the awkward silence.

“Tapestries,” Merlin answered shortly, breaking the glaring contest between himself and Gwaine.

“And…?” Arthur prompted.

“And Gwaine decided to kill them with fire,” Leon growled.

“Well it worked, didn’t it?” Gwaine answered, and the two of them almost started the same argument all over again, but for Arthur stepping between them.

“What is wrong with the three of you?” he asked, looking between the two angry knights and his disgruntled manservant, none of whom answered him. “Alright. Well, if the tapestries are still doing this,” he gestured vaguely at the room, “We should speak with Elaine, and make sure she hasn’t made anything else with that yarn,” the King said.

“And Floree,” Merlin added, which only earned him another glare from Gwaine.

“Right, and Floree. Perhaps she can tell us where this yarn is coming from,” Arthur said, and turned to lead the way to Elaine’s rooms, Leon stalking after him looking grim and nervous, and Gwaine and Merlin following behind and trying not to acknowledge each others’ presence.


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31 Re: The Tapestry on Thu 06 Dec 2012, 10:47 pm

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Gwaine jogged up the circular staircase last of all, behind a very determined Arthur, a very distraught Sir Leon, and a frowning Merlin. Not that Gwaine gave two figs what Merlin thought right now, the little brat.

With self-sldkfn imperialism, Arthur pounded on the door to the Lady Elaine's rooms.

There was no reply.

"Lady Elaine, it is King Arthur!" Arthur supplied helpfully.

Still there was no response. Well, except that wasn't quite true, because they heard something inside--a steady rhythmic clacking that sounded suspiciously like Elaine's loom.

But there was a reason why Gwaine always had rearguard, because as everyone's attention was focused on the door before them, something leapt at them from the shadows. It seemed almost to be going for Merlin, and Gwaine interposed himself, but before he could draw his sword the assailant had gripped him around his middle and was crying into is--

"Floree?" Gwaine cried, wrapping his arms around her as everyone turned about to face them.

Floree was crying. Crying! Floree! Gwaine was aghast.

"Floree, baby, what--what on earth's the matter?" He pulled her away from his chest to get a look at her, but she only covered her face until he let her fall against his chest again. "Are you hurt?"

"No, no, it's just--" she sniffled, clinging to his cloak. "It's Elaine--she--"

"What's happened to her?" Leon said, his agitation increasing. He tried the handle, but the door was locked, and he growled in frustration.

Floree flinched, looking worriedly from Leon to the King before burying her face against Gwaine again. "She--she is not well..." she began.

Leon reached for her then, and took her by the arm to get her attention. "Where is she?" Leon demanded, louder and angrier.

"She's locked herself in her room! She--she threw me out!"

"Floree!" Gwaine said, taking his fiancee back from his fellow knight gently but firmly, with a quick glare at Leon. "You're hurt," he said, touching her brow where a bruise was forming.

She shook her head, pulling from his grasp. "It's all right, she didn't mean--"

"Elaine did this?" Arthur demanded.

Floree shook her head even more wildly. "No, sire! I mean, well, she didn't--she--em--I hit my head, when she threw me out--but she wasn't herself, sire! It's the weaving! I knew she'd been at it too long. It might be--oh!" But she couldn't bring herself to say it, not the 'M' word, not in Camelot, and she threw herself back into the safety of Gwaine's arms, crying again.

Gwaine glared pointedly at Merlin.

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32 Re: The Tapestry on Fri 07 Dec 2012, 10:21 pm

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Hearing the sudden stampede coming up the staircase behind him, Percival side stepped into an alcove and turned his back to shelter the bowl of stew he was carrying from the horde of people who ran past in a swirl of red cloaks and chain mail. He caught a glimpse of Arthur’s blonde hair in there and Leon’s unruly red mop. After a pause to make sure Camelot wasn’t under attack or somesuch, the large knight shrugged to himself and carried on up the stairs towards the next floor and his room. Camelot was weird sometimes…

With Arthur’s demands to be let in going unanswered and the door being locked Leon decided to go for a more proactive response and hurled himself shoulder first at the door, trying to break it down. He bounced of with a yelp of pain, cursing Albion oak.

“Elaine, open up! It’s, me Leon!” He yelled in desperation as he threw himself at the door again, and bounced off again. Thus wasn’t working! It was going to take an army to break in the damned door, or a giant, or….he screeched to a halt on his third run at the door. On the way up the stairs, hadn’t they just passed….”PERCIVAL!!!” He yelled at the top of his voice.

The others all looked at him as if he’d gone mad.

“PERCY!” He tried again, the hours of shouting at squires across the courtyard standing him in good stead. "PERCY I NEED YOU!!!!"

Nearly at the top of the stair case Percival sighed. He’d had a long, muddy day on patrol and all he really wanted to do right now was eat his pilfered stew while it was still warm and then have a nice hot bath. Stuffing the thick slice of bread between his teeth for safe keeping, he placed the bowl of stew on the nearest window ledge, trying not to think of the odds of it still being there when he got back. Sighing again he trotted back down the stairs, turning left into the corridor where everyone was gathered around Lady Elaine’s door and Leon was throwing himself at it. Woman trouble he thought, seeing the state of Leon and Gwaine trying to deal with a distraught Floree, definitely better not to ask.

Nodding at the others he calmly and gently manoeuvred Leon out of the way, before sizing the door up. Shouldn’t be a problem…Raising his hand, he hammered his fist into the door where he judged the lock to be on the other side. Yes, okay he’d admit, it was mostly brute strength, but he liked to think there was some technique to opening locked doors as well.

Smiling politely past the slice of bread in his mouth he gestured the others in, and needing no second invitation they all ran past him into the room. Again he paused for a second, on the off chance that maybe someone wanted to explain what was going on, but it seemed his work here was done. That was fine by him, and with a shrug and a smile he headed back for his dinner.

33 Re: The Tapestry on Wed 19 Dec 2012, 6:52 pm

Leon would have run inside as soon as Percival knocked down the door, but was blocked by a wall of flame.

He couldn’t move, couldn’t do anything, not with fire surrounding him and his men on three sides. The dragon seemed to be toying with them, letting a steady stream of fire burn their shields away slowly. The knight beside him began to scream and cower away from the flames—Leon had no choice, he had to hold the man in position, force him to hold steady though his arm was being burned, because if he didn’t the phalanx would collapse and they’d all die. But the man kept screaming, and Leon shoved him back, holding up his shield as well as his own. He still had a web of burn scars all the way down his shoulder, but he was lucky to be alive…

Leon froze up, but Gwaine pulled him back just in time to avoid the flames. Elaine’s room wasn’t on fire, though, and when the initial blast burned itself out they could see Elaine sitting with her back to them at the loom. She was weaving at an almost inhuman speed, but Leon could see her face from the reflection. It looked like some sort of shadow was veiling her eyes, but with the window situated where it was there was no possible source for the shadow—it was definitely by magic.

What he noticed secondarily was the dragon emerging from the tapestry on Elaine’s loom. Most of the dragon had not been woven yet, but enough of it had emerged to block entrance to the room with a long scaly tail and a wall of fire.

Leon trembled when he first saw the dragon--black and gold and red, with a huge maw of fangs that could tear a horse's guts out in one bite. He had never been so frightened, and thinking of the other knights and his role in protecting them gave him no comfort when he was watching them being destroyed around him.

The dragon didn’t seem to be harming Elaine, though—more protecting her. Not that that mattered to Leon, of course. He drew his sword and struck at the tail, Gwaine quickly following suit, but their swords bounced off like they were striking steel.

Leon was on his back, pinned to the earth by his now-dead horse, staring at the night sky. He could hear the dragon prowling beyond the reach of his vision, hear Arthur shouting. First Galahad and now Arthur—he couldn’t let them die, not while he lived. He struggled to get free, feeling consciousness slipping from him as he tried to shout, “Arthur!”

“Elaine!” he shouted, striking at the impenetrable scales again and meeting with another blast of flame. Arthur dragged him away just in time.

“We can’t get through,” Arthur said, “Not that way, anyway. We can try to flank it, come in through the window—“

“It’s got the whole room surrounded!” Leon shouted. He was almost sobbing.

“Calm yourself!” Arthur shouted right back, giving Leon a hard shake to make him ignore the flashbacks and bury them like he was supposed to. He still felt white as a sheet and his hands were trembling a little, so he put them on the hilt of his sword and held onto it for support. When he spoke he voiced what he hoped was a more universal concern:

“What are we going to do, sire?”


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34 Re: The Tapestry on Thu 20 Dec 2012, 8:23 pm

A dragon was not what Merlin had expected when Percy had finally broken down the door to Elaine’s room. He scrambled backwards, away from the wall of flame, and barely missed tripping over Arthur as the king jumped forward after Gwaine and Leon. While the three knights went after the dragon, Merlin edged along the wall where he wasn’t directly in their line of sight, wincing as the weapons clattered right off the dragon’s hide. Leon only appeared to be getting more frantic, and the dragon seemed increasingly intent on frying anyone who got within range. When Arthur grabbed the knight and proceeded to get in a very short shouting match, Merlin snuck forward, closer to the dragon.

“I command you to stop,” he hissed, and then coughed, because speaking dragon was hard enough when you were yelling. Speaking dragon when you had to keep quiet was nearly impossible.

To his complete surprise, the dragon looked right at him, and in the silence directly following Leon’s question, snaked its neck out and tried to bite Merlin, snarling wordlessly. Merlin yelped, tried to jump out of the way, and tripped over an uneven flooring tile. Arthur, with a curse, reached out and yanked him away from the dragon by his arm, and then proceeded to haul him to his feet and very nearly throw him out the door.

“What do you think you’re doing?” he shouted.

“I was… um… looking at the dragon?” Merlin stammered, because now Leon was watching him over Arthur’s shoulder, also looking angry.

“Are you fireproof? Wearing armor?” Arthur snapped, and Merlin shook his head.

“Then don’t be a clotpole! Stay away from the dragon!” Arthur practically shouted again.

“That’s-“

“I know that’s your word! Now do us all a favor and stay here while we sort this out,” Arthur said, and turned back to Leon.

“Um, Arthur…” Merlin said, and Arthur wheeled back around.

What, Merlin,” he said.

“You need a sword that can kill a dragon.”

“Oh, and I suppose you know where one is?” Arthur asked.

“There’s one out in the forest, yes,” Merlin answered, and when he realized he was getting skeptical looks from everyone, hurried to come up with an explanation as to why he should know about a magical sword that was out in the forest. “It’s half-buried in a rock. I read about it in one of Gaius’ books…” he said. Arthur seemed to accept this explanation, after thinking about it.

“Was there a map?” he asked, and Merlin shook his head.

“No, but I found a sword in a stone when I was out gathering herbs for Gaius, once. I can remember the way. It’s no more than a half-day’s ride,” he said. More like find the way. He was sure he could track the sword’s magic and lead them straight there.

“Alright. We leave as soon as we can. Go saddle the horses, and if you Lancelot or Galehaut on your way down, send them up here to guard Elaine’s chambers,” he said, and when Leon very nearly interrupted him, “For her safety, Leon, in case the dragon decides to leave or do anything else. Meet in the courtyard in no more than an hour.” With that, Arthur turned and left.


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35 Re: The Tapestry on Sat 29 Dec 2012, 5:11 am

“Are you sure you’re not lost?” Arthur asked, nudging his horse along behind Merlin’s.

“I’m not lost,” Merlin muttered, and looked intently into the forest. The path flowed away in front of him and he grinned.

“What are you going to do, glare it into appearing?” Arthur continued, apparently incapable of just sitting on his horse and being quiet.

“Something like that,” Merlin said to himself, and then turned around to look at the King. “It’s just over that hill.” Followed by Arthur, Leon, and Gwaine, he went over the hill and down into the little valley on the other side, smiling a little crookedly as he saw the old sword buried in the stone.

“Merlin,” Arthur said, and Merlin looked over at him. “That sword is in the stone.” Merlin stared at him.

“It’s a very powerful sword. It had to be put somewhere safe,” he said, and Arthur just frowned at him and swung off his horse. He stomped over to the stone and stood there, hands planted on his hips, staring at the sword with his head tipped slightly to the side in thought.

“Well, it is certainly safe. No one could possibly remove that sword from the stone,” he said, finally. Merlin shook his head.

“It’s… well, it’s… magic,” Merlin said, and Arthur whirled on him.

“Clearly it’s magic! It’s stuck in a bloody stone!” he said, very clearly frustrated. Merlin blinked, looked momentarily confused, and then looked back over at the sword.

“The sword can only be drawn from the stone by the one worthy to wield it. It was forged in a dragon’s breath, and is the only weapon capable of slaying such a beast,” he explained, and all three knights turned and stared at him.

“Merlin, honestly, where do you come up with this nonsense?” Arthur finally asked. Merlin looked from disbelieving king to still-ticked-off best friend to… skeptical senior knight. Uh oh.

“It was in the book!” he said, waving a hand dismissively. Leon didn’t look totally convinced, but Arthur rolled his eyes and Merlin glared at him.

“Well, if the Princess won’t try the sword…” Gwaine laughed, and went to tug on the sword, to no effect. “Ah, well, not me, then. Here, Leon, you give it a go,” he said, waving the tall knight over.

“Perhaps Arthur should try,” he said, looking between Arthur and Merlin, who appeared to be having a staring contest.

“This is ridiculous. I cannot pull a sword from a stone. I refuse to look ridiculous.”

“Arthur, I told you it was in a stone, and you came along anyway. Do you honestly think I’d bring you out here on a fool’s errand?” Merlin asked shortly. “If there is anyone, anyone on this earth worthy to pull the sword from that stone, it’s you.” Arthur raised his eyebrows at this outburst.

“I’m flattered, Merlin, but—“ Arthur started, but Merlin cut him off.

“No, Arthur. You have to try,” he said. Arthur glared at him, but when Merlin didn’t back down, he turned and went to the sword. He gave a half-hearted tug. When the sword didn’t spring out into his hands, he looked at the other three men.

“You must be joking,” he said, but he wasn’t laughing.

“You didn’t even try,” Merlin said, stubbornly, while Leon walked around the stone as if he might find some clever little contraption that would free the sword. Arthur snorted and turned back to the sword. He took a solid hold of the grip with both hands, and planted his feet. Then he pulled on the sword as if he thought it might actually come free of the stone. To his astonishment, it slipped free a full hand’s width. He looked over at his two knights and his manservant in shock, and stopped pulling the sword, which promptly stopped moving. Then he turned back to the stone and pulled again, this time not letting it startle him when the sword, with a screeching, obnoxious noise, pulled free from the stone. He stumbled back when it finally came free.

It was a simple sword, but the edge almost seemed to have its own glow, which he had to be imagining. It was perfectly balanced, made by a master’s hand, and as the grip warmed in his hands, he was surprised that it seemed as familiar as any sword he’d ever owned, for all he was sure he’d never held it before. Grinning, he was sure, like a fool (and not really bothering to hide it), he turned and held the sword out for the other three to see. Leon and Gwaine looked impressed. Merlin, on the other hand, was grinning cheekily, and appeared to have no idea that he was looking at a very fine sword, magic or no. Arthur forced down a laugh. That was Merlin, alright. Wouldn’t know the sharp end of a sword from the grip, much less a fine weapon from a bad one. As Merlin met his eyes, the cheeky grin very briefly faltered into something slightly more respectful, and he gave Arthur a nod. Merlin, the manservant who never bowed (not seriously, anyway, only in jest) had just done the closest thing to a bow Arthur had ever seen. He was slightly shocked, and blamed this shock for the nod he offered Merlin in return.

Then, of course, he had to ruin the moment. Holding the sword towards Merlin, he laughed and shook his head.

“You’re really hopeless, Merlin. Utterly hopeless,” he said, and clapped him on the shoulder as he walked past to take an extra scabbard from Leon.

“Does that mean we can go slay the dragon, now?” Merlin asked innocently, and ducked as Arthur whirled to chuck the sword belt he’d been wearing over to him.

“There is no ‘we’. You will be slaying no dragons,” Arthur said.

“But—“

“Shut up, Merlin,” Arthur said, and swung back onto his horse.

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36 Re: The Tapestry on Sun 30 Dec 2012, 5:53 am

They couldn’t make it back to Camelot by nightfall, even pushing the horses as fast as they were willing, but the horses needed a rest so they stopped for a short while.

“This sword will kill the dragon? You’re certain?” Arthur asked while they were sitting quietly, each thinking their own thoughts. Merlin looked up from the tips of his boots.

“That’s what the book said. It will cut anything magical in nature,” he answered, and pushed himself to his feet to refill their water. He was kneeling by the stream near their camp when someone knelt beside him, and he glanced over to see Gwaine.

“Are you going to see Freya?” he asked quietly, taking one of the empty waterskins and filling it so he looked busy. Merlin blinked and shrugged one shoulder.

“I won’t have time,” he answered. Plus, he wasn’t sure if she was still mad at him, and he was hesitant to find out when he wouldn’t have time to deal with it if she was. When he looked up again, Gwaine was staring at him.

“Mate, your girlfriend is stuck in a lake. Go see her. I’ll make sure nothing happens to the Princess or his shiny new sword,” he said, and Merlin looked over at Arthur, who was polishing said sword. “It can really cut through anything magical?” Gwaine asked, and Merlin nodded.

“Anything. Dragons, gryphons, tapestries, spells…” he said. Spells would be different, since the person wielding the sword would have to be aware of the spell and how it manifested to do any good. Since Arthur knew the tapestry monsters were bound to their tapestries by magical threads, he’d be able to cut them. Other bonds, though, were harder to see, or weren’t physically manifest at all, like Freya and the lake.

Freya and the lake? Merlin stopped thinking for a second. Was it possible? If the sword could cut through spells, it could cut through the spell binding Freya to the lake. It made perfect sense, really. How hadn’t he thought of this before?

“Actually, Gwaine?” Merlin asked, setting aside the waterskin and looking off in the direction of the lake. Gwaine looked over at him, both eyebrows raised in silent question. “I’m going to the lake. With the sword. Will you cover for me? Please?” Merlin asked, and Gwaine grinned.

When they returned to the horses, pushing and shoving and joking about something, Arthur just looked up and rolled his eyes at both of them, and Leon frowned. Merlin dropped the waterskins and went to snag the sword and polishing cloth from Arthur.

“Hey!” the king yelped indignantly as he found his hands suddenly empty, and glared up at Merlin.

“You were doing it wrong,” Merlin explained, although this was in no way true.

“I have been polishing swords since you were a grubby farm boy, Merlin, I was not doing it wrong,” Arthur answered. Merlin just grinned unrepentantly and danced out of the way as Arthur tried to grab his ankle and trip him so he could retrieve the sword.

“Arthur! Hey, Princess, I have a question about this dragon,” Gwaine said, and Arthur quit scrabbling after Merlin’s feet, and Merlin quit hopping about like a hyper-active rabbit.

“What about the dragon?” Arthur asked Gwaine, turning to him. Gwaine started asking questions—how the were going to sneak up on it, who was going to distract it, how they would keep Elaine safe, any question he could think of. When he glanced back over Arthur’s shoulder, he saw Merlin mouth a silent ‘thank you’ and disappear off into the trees, sword held by his side.

They had camped near the lake where Freya was trapped, so Merlin didn’t have far to travel. He stepped from the trees with the sword held behind his back and paused.

“Merlin, what are you doing?” Freya asked as she walked up to meet him, and he was beyond relieved that she was smiling. Not mad at him still, then. He grinned back at her.

“I have an idea,” he said, and her smile very quickly turned into something between a scowl and a frown. “No, a good idea this time!” he said hurriedly, bringing the sword out from behind his back. Freya stared at it and then held her hand out. Gently, Merlin handed her the sword, and she looked at it briefly before handing it back.

“That is a magic sword, Merlin,” she said. He wondered if this ‘stating the obvious’ was a catching thing. Then again, Arthur hadn’t been anywhere near Freya, so it was probably chance. Maybe it was something about the sword.

“Forged in a dragon’s flame,” Merlin answered, and Freya looked up at him.

“And you think…?” she asked, and he nodded. It would work. He knew it would work, he just had to figure out how. With careful hands, he slipped the sword from its scabbard. Freya watched him, and then laughed, because Merlin held the sword like he thought it might bite him. But she was still as Merlin walked a circle around her and then stopped, staring at the lake.

“Gecýðde dreócræft,” he said, and his eyes went bright gold, and then he jumped slightly. He could see the spell that stretched, strained, between Freya and the lake, a shimmering of gold on the air. He nudged at it with the sword’s point, and heard Freya turned behind him, her feet crunching in the gravel. He turned to look at her and saw that she was surrounded in a mist of the same gold.

“Are you okay?” he asked, and Freya shrugged.

“Yes?” she said, and waved him on. Merlin turned back to the gold shimmer, but when he tried to cut it, it only moved and shimmered around the sword, like water, causing Merlin to frown.

“Bend ábræc,” Merlin said and tried again. This time the sword caught at the golden shimmer and Merlin’s eyes glowed more furiously golden as he poured more power into the spell, stamping on a brief little flicker of excitement as the stream parted against the blade of the sword.

“Bend ábræc,” he repeated again, more loudly, and was rewarded by a slice that stopped halfway through the stream. He heard Freya gasp behind him, and unsure if it was out of surprise or some sort of pain, shouted his command a third time. “Séo bend ábrocen bið! Bend ábræc!” he said, and the sword sliced through the gold shimmer the rest of the way. There was a brief moment where the world seemed to tip a little crazily, and Merlin shook his head as everything settled and the gold went out of his vision. In front of him, the lake was a roiling, angry mess, whitecaps frothing all over its surface. Whirling, Merlin found Freya standing shakily, and stepped over to her, dropping the sword and catching her as her shaking knees gave way and dragged both of them to the ground. He crossed his legs and held her against his chest.

“Freya? Are you alright? Please say you’re alright,” he said frantically, and she opened her eyes and blinked at him. “Freya?”

“It’s alright, Merlin. I’m fine. It just… it surprised me. I’m alright,” she said, scrambling out of his grip and to her feet. Then she looked down at him, because he wasn’t yet standing.

“I…um… I may have overdone things… just a little,” he admitted, reaching over for the sword and returning it to the scabbard that Freya offered him. Then she hauled him to his feet. He still looked a little dazed and ready to fall over, staring into some middle distance. Rather than waving her hand in front of his face, Freya stood on her toes and kissed him. When she dropped back to her heels, Merlin was looking at her and grinning like an idiot.

“It worked,” he said, slightly stunned, as he leaned on Freya, and she nodded.

“It worked, and now you must go, before your friends come looking for you. No, don’t argue. I will go to the druids, I know where they are staying. Please, Merlin, don’t ruin this by getting caught. I can take care of myself, remember?” she asked, eyes going briefly gold as a small rock came off the ground and whirled softly before them.

“I’ll be back soon, I promise. If you need to come to Camelot, ask for Gaius, they’ll think you’re there for an illness,” he said, and wobbled a little unsteadily back towards the forest, before turning to watch Freya bound off, light as a deer, into the woods and to the druids.


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37 Re: The Tapestry on Mon 31 Dec 2012, 3:36 am

Leon was nervous. He had every right to be, with a dragon just lounging in his girlfriend’s room. He watched the horses, hoping that he could will the tiredness from their muscles.

Then Gwaine started asking Arthur a bunch of questions. Which was odd considering that Gwaine never talked to Arthur if he could help it. Arthur was too distracted by Gwaine to notice, but Leon clearly saw Merlin run off into the trees, the sword in the stone in tow.

There was no such thing as a magical sword in any book that Leon knew—it would have to se an extremely obscure tale and this place wasn’t so hard to find that it would escape Camelot’s notice so completely. Merlin was lying, and now he was running off with a very likely magical sword and…

Well, this wasn’t the first time that Leon caught someone working for sorcerers. He just didn’t expect—surely Merlin wouldn’t betray Arthur…

Leon glanced at Gwaine and Arthur (who were now arguing about personal space), unhooked his cloak and slipped into the trees after Merlin. Merlin kept quiet but his red bandana was easy to follow if you knew what you were looking for. Leon followed silently, finally hiding behind a large tree when Merlin emerged onto the shore of Avalon Lake (a geographic feature of Camelot’s lands that Leon was actually familiar with), and stood there looking around. This was ok. Maybe he was just looking for a good whetstone, maybe Leon was imagining things. Maybe he should go back now before he saw something he didn’t want to believe.

His heart sank into his stomach when a young girl emerged and met Merlin, her voice and manner ringing with familiarity as she greeted him. She was dressed as a druid, and Merlin moved close to her as they examined the magical sword.

Leon leaned against the tree, trying to make sense of what he was seeing. He knew Merlin—well, he thought he did, anyway. But Leon could recognize loyalty when he saw it. Merlin would never betray Arthur, now matter how much he bickered with the young king. Perhaps she cast some sort of spell on him? He turned his gaze to the woman to study her more closely. She looked familiar but Leon couldn’t remember where he saw her before.

Leon was just trying to figure out why she looked so familiar when the unthinkable happened.

Merlin extended his hand, words of the old religion spilling from his mouth. Even from this distance Leon saw Merlin’s eyes flash gold, and suddenly the woman was surrounded in golden mist. They appeared to be performing some magical rite and…

Leon flinched and turned away as Merlin roared the magical incantation, his back slamming against the tree. His eyes were surely deceiving him—Merlin was everyone’s friend, he was kind and good and compassionate—he played riddle games! Surely a man could not be so duplicitous—He surely didn’t know what he was dabbling in. But the complexity of the spell and Merlin’s confidence in the words spoke otherwise. Leon had heard that same confidence many times, from so many people that used magic to manipulate, steal, kill. In all of Leon’s life he had never heard of a magic spell being used for good, not even once. And Merlin was so young, so pure of heart, you could see it in his eyes.

He slid downward against the tree and pressed his hands together in front of his face, completely at a loss for what to do. A million options ran through his head, most of them ridiculous and fleeting but turning more rational as arenhaline kicked in: he should confront Merlin, he should protect him from the druid that no doubt led him astray, he should warn Arthur, he should hide so that Merlin would not suspect that anyone knew and wait until he had a better time to tell Arthur—

But Leon didn’t do any of those things, because Merlin suddenly emerged from the trees and nearly ran into him. Leon would be the first to admit that he wasn’t a good liar, and Merlin’s recognition of what Leon had witnessed left them both momentarily stunned. Only for a moment, though.


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38 Re: The Tapestry on Thu 03 Jan 2013, 6:21 am

The first thought Merlin had, upon nearly tripping over Leon, was that Leon could frighten a person to death, sneaking up on them like that, and he almost grinned.  Then he realized he was carrying a magical sword, and Leon didn’t look surprised at nearly being run into so much as he looked utterly horrified.  More slowly than it should have, everything clicked right into place.  Leon was here.  Leon had followed him.  Leon had just seen… seen everything.  Seen Freya, seen him do magic, seen him use the sword.  There was no way he was going to pass this off with another of his wild excuses.

“I… ah,” he said, thinking, bad, bad, very bad, must do something… something… oh no.  He jumped back from Leon, tripped, fell, and scrambled back another foot just to be safe, because he wasn’t sure if Leon would react by drawing his sword, and he’d really prefer to be out of reach if he did (even if he couldn’t quite bring himself to believe Leon would do such a thing).  He dropped the sword like it’d burned him so that he wouldn’t come across as armed—yeah, right, because he didn’t just see you do magic out there or anything—he thought to himself, and stopped scrambling back only when his back met a tree trunk, where he proceeded to hold perfectly still, like a hunted deer.

“Leon, I didn’t—please,” he stammered, realized he had no idea how he was finishing either of those sentences, and looked at his feet, not meeting Leon’s eyes.  “I—I’m sorry,” he said miserably, and almost too quiet to be heard.

Leon said nothing, for a moment stricken dumb by the fact that Merlin hadn't used some sort of magical spell to erase his memory or turn him into an animal. In truth he couldn't imagine Merlin doing anything horrible like that, but he was surprised that Merlin looked as terrified as Leon felt.

Was Leon really going to just sit there and let Merlin go crazy wondering if he was going to call Arthur or chase him off or whatever he was going to do?  Waiting for some sign of reaction from him, Merlin decided that was apparently exactly what Leon was going to do.  But he knew how handy Leon was with a sword, especially since Leon had been teaching him, and he was hesitant to take any action that might be perceived as a threat.  So he did no more than pull his sprawled-out knees up to his chest and hunch his shoulders.

“’M sorry, Leon,” he said again, because he just couldn’t think of anything else to say.

Sorry? You're saying sorry to me? Leon thought, realizing too many things at once about Merlin--one of them being that Merlin was sorry Leon found out more than anything, and that he must have been doing this for a long time. the implications of /that/ meant put Leon in a bit of a daze for a second, everything forgotten as he thought back and reanalyzed every encounter with magic that the castle had since merlin's arrival. His mind wildly drew conclusions and he kept quiet to keep them at bay, because he didn't know--he knew now how much he didn't know about the young man in front of him...

Leon was going to let him go crazy, so Merlin decided he should probably start explaining something.  Perhaps… perhaps he could find something to say that might convince the eldest knight, who’d seen numerous disasters of a magical nature, that he was one of the few magical things on the planet that didn’t seem to want Arthur dead and Camelot in ruins.  Right.  Merlin wasn’t sure he’d have believed himself, were he Leon.  But he had to try anyway.

“I’ve been doing magic since before I could walk,” he said, still hunched over his knees, and decided that actually, that part needn’t be discussed right this second, so he skipped ahead.  “I…um… I knew the sword was there.  It can kill the dragon and stop the tapestry spells, I’m certain of it.  I’ll—I’ll stay… here, somewhere, but please, please let Arthur take the sword.  It will keep…” he stopped suddenly, looking over at the sword before returning his gaze to his feet.  “It will keep him safe.”  He really wasn’t sure he had any intention of staying out here when Arthur might be in danger, but he’d cross that bridge if it came to it.

Leon didn't know what to make of any of that. Everything about Merlin was changing and he couldn't keep up. Merlin was a powerful sorceror with apparently a vast knowledge on various magical spells and enchantments...yet he was a servant. Leon ordered him around all the time. Leon had pushed him up against a wall once. Leon had him do his laundry once. "Merlin," he said, softly but it surprised him that he was finally able to speak at all.

Merlin finally managed to drag his eyes up from his toes, and he looked at Leon briefly when he heard his name.  He really, really needed to convince Leon to let him come back with them, to not tell Arthur.  Had to convince him that he used his magic for Arthur's safety, or for the good of Camelot, and that he was the furthest thing possible from a threat.  But how?  How was he supposed to do that?  And Leon looked scared of him, he'd seen that in that brief glance.  Perhaps that wasn't all that was there, but Merlin knew that look.  Leon was scared of him.  That was enough to make Merlin want to launch into a whole extra round of apologies, but he didn't.  Instead, after several very silent moments, he said, "Yes?  I promise, I promise you I meant no harm," every bit as softly as Leon had just spoken.

Leon stared at Merlin for a second before he managed, "I'm sorry," a little breathlessly. He couldn't begin to list everything that he was sorry for, of course. He'd probably slighted Merlin a dozen times without even realizing it and Merlin didn't kill him. Merlin was still a good man. Merlin didn't have to do anything rash to him or Gwaine or Arthur...

As if it couldn't get worse, now Leon was apologizing.  Merlin was the one who'd been lying this whole time and Leon was the one who was apologizing, despite not being even a little bit in the wrong.  And he sounded as frightened as Merlin had thought he looked.  Merlin wondered, briefly, if Leon's state of mind would have been improved if he could have heard Merlin's own rabbit-fast heartbeat.  "You shouldn't be apologizing to me," Merlin said, "You didn't do anything wrong."

"Merlin!  Leon!  Where are you?  We need to move!" Arthur shouted, and Merlin about jumped out of his skin, scrambling briefly as he tried to disappear into the tree before he realized Arthur was still with the horses and was only calling them back.  Merlin stood, retrieved the sword, and then looked at Leon.  He considered asking him not to tell Arthur, but he didn't want to put Leon in that position.  If the knight felt he had to tell Arthur, Merlin would just... he would just deal with it.

"Merlin, you will be cleaning boots for weeks if you do not get back here right now!" Arthur was shouting, and Merlin glanced to Leon.

"We should probably go back..." he said, still standing there with hunched shoulders and his head down.

Leon nodded dumbly, scrambling to his feet though his hands were shaking. "Yes," he said, looking anywhere but at Merlin, and all but ran back to Arthur and the horses. He said nothing, and Arthur was too busy throwing a glove at Merlin's head to notice Leon's confused expression. They rode out moments later, more important things to deal with at the moment.


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39 Re: The Tapestry on Fri 11 Jan 2013, 6:42 am

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King Arthur and Gwaine exchanged a pointed look as they rode back toward Camelot at a speed checked only by not wanting to kill the horses. It was rare that Gwaine found himself vaguely in the same book as Arthur, much less on the same page, so the moment of clarity and understanding was appreciated.

Arthur and he had both noticed that Leon and Merlin were moping. Honestly, they were both soft, sensitive souls, so it could have been anything, but a Quest was not the time to be mopey. So Arthur jerked his head at Leon and then himself nodded at Merlin. Gwaine nodded in reply and steered Pussy Willow over to join Leon's steed.

"All right?" Gwaine asked, once they'd ridden some distance in silence.

Leon shrugged.

"She'll be all right, Leon," Gwaine said, because the old coot worried about Elaine was as good a guess as any.

Then, oddly, Leon sort of started, as if he'd completely forgotten about Lady Elaine and her predicament (which wasn't likely), and where he had been pale and distracted before, now he looked positively green.

"We'll get her back," Gwaine reassured him. "Arthur's got the sword. She's as good as saved. And we'll find out who or what did this to her and I will personally take care of it myself."

Leon smiled, but it was clearly forced.

They rode some way in silence. Up ahead, Arthur had gotten a strangled chuckle out of Merlin. And beyond them, glowing faintly against the night sky, was Camelot. His heart still rose at returning to it, like it was the only home his wayward heart had ever known.

"Okay, well look," Gwaine said, turning on Leon. "You've at least got to focus. You're not going to do her a lot of good brooding about it. She needs you sharp, yeah? Now Arthur and me will cover you, but you'll need to get Elaine out of there. You think you can do that, mate?"

Leon nodded distantly, but his eyes were narrowed and his jaw was set. They rode through the gates as ready as they were ever going to be.

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40 Re: The Tapestry on Thu 24 Jan 2013, 5:10 am

Gwaine reminded Leon of what was important—at least right now. They had to save Camelot, save Elaine. He considered telling Arthur right away about Merlin’s magic, but Merlin was another problem for another day. They rode hard back to Camelot, Leon letting his instincts take over as they dismounted and ran into the castle.

“There’s unicorns rampaging through the south towers,” Leon reported to Arthur when he finished speaking to a guard. “But the dragon’s still in Elaine’s room.”

“We’ll head there first,” Arthur ordered. “Leon, you’re with me, we’ll go in first—Gwaine, see to the unicorns!”

Leon nodded, pushing his hair quickly out of his face as he and the King unsheathed their swords and approached the door. It was glowing at the edges.

“Steady, Leon,” Arthur said quietly, giving Leon a quick glance that helped steady Leon’s hand. He realized that falling in step with Arthur like this was his natural instinct. He trusted the young king with his life—and he realized as he glanced at Arthur again that he trusted Arthur to look out for his loved ones as well. How far could that care go, Leon wondered. What if he /did/ tell Arthur about Merlin’s magic?....

He and Arthur moved as one to shoulder the door open, and Leon suddenly found himself stumbling into flame. The dragon was just pulling itself free of the loom and rounded on them. Leon froze—

“Get Elaine!” Arthur said, shoving him out of the way as the dragon sent a jet of flame at them. Leon fell hard but jumped to his feet, the heat from his cheeks matching the heat of the flames around him. How could he have just frozen up like that?—

A scream brought him back to the present, and he saw Elaine jumping away from the loom as if she had just woken up from a nightmare. She whirled around, and Leon was about to run to her when the dragon’s tail slammed down between them, fire pouring from its tail spikes.

“Leon!” Elaine shouted, concern in her every feature that masked any trace of fear, though she still looked incredibly bewildered. “What’s going—“

She was cut off by a roar from the dragon—Arthur landed a wound in the dragon’s leg but the dragon seemed only angered by the injury, and was only kept from leaping on Arthur by the smallness of the room.

Leon forced himself to turn back to Elaine even as the dragon snapped at Arthur. This was his job—he couldn’t let anyone down. “Stay there!” he shouted, taking a step back.

“Are you crazy?” Elaine shouted, “Get out of here!”

“I’m not leaving you!” Leon shouted right back. The dragon shrieked. Elaine flinched as the dragon’s tail came up and started to bear down on her. Leon leapt through the flames and dragged her out of the way just in time, his cloak coming over them both—

He didn’t move for several moments, he and Elaine clutching each other against the stone wall under Leon’s cloak. When the roar of flames suddenly went silent Leon slowly lowered the cloak to see Arthur standing there with the sword gleaming in his hand, a pile of charred tapestry threads at his feet. He turned and gave Leon a look of grim purpose and he said,

“This is a jolly good sword!”

Leon laughed, drunk with relief and pleased at how Elaine was actually smiling vaguely and not letting go of him.

“Are you alright, Lady?” Arthur continued, looking more serious this time.

“I’m alright, sire,” Elaine said, frowning for a moment. “Just dazed.”

“Leon?”

“I’m uninjured, sire,” Leon said, standing tall to reassure the king.

“Good—because by the sound of those screams it seems like we haven’t quite fixed the problem yet.” Arthur leapt out into the hall. “Leon, to me!”

Leon glanced after his king then turned to Elaine as some guards came in to assist. “You’re going to be alright?” he checked with Elaine just to make sure.

Elaine nodded, blushing for the first time. “I think—did we have a fight?—Leon, I’m sorry—“

“It’s alright,” Leon said, and—what the hell—he leaned down and pulled her into a kiss.


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41 Re: The Tapestry on Sun 03 Feb 2013, 4:51 am

Maeglin

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Gwaine and Merlin ran after Arthur as the king went in the general direction of all the yelling and shouting. As they rounded the corner nearest the great hall, there was a shout behind them, and all three turned to see tapestry!Arthur. Arthur drew his sword and stepped in front of Arthur, but when he tried to step in front of Gwaine to attack his double, the other knight put an arm out.

"You go on, I'll stall him," he said, and left Arthur no choice as he jumped forward to meet tapestry!Arthur's attack. The real Arthur just shook his head and turned, heading for the great hall's door. Merlin waited a moment longer before he followed after Arthur.

Merlin, being a distance behind Arthur, wasn't sure quite what happened next, but he saw Arthur open the door to the Great Hall and go charging inside. A heartbeat later, he heard the clatter of armor and swords hitting the floor, and heard what sounded like Floree's voice, though he couldn't quite make out the words.

"Gwaine!" he shouted back at the knight, and ran for the Great Hall door. Floree was standing over an unconscious Arthur, holding Excalibur.

Gwaine was groaning against the strength of the Tapestry!Arthur, who, though it didn't have Excalibur, was twice as strong and twice as ruthless as the actual Princess. Hearing Merlin's call, though, gave Gwaine added strength, and he took a weak slash to the shoulder to get past its defenses to cut a threaded leg off.

"Merlin!" Gwaine called, running after the sound of the warlock's voice.

"I would apologize, but..." Floree said as Merlin raised his hand, ready to blast her off her feet, because she had Excalibur, and also because she'd just done something to Arthur. He heard Gwaine's call and his footfalls just as he shouted his spell.

What was supposed to toss Floree several feet only seemed to surprise her. She dropped the sword, but before she bent to retrieve it, she waved off-handedly at Merlin, who found himself suddenly stuck to his place, unable to move a muscle. He tried to speak, and no sound came out, so he settled for glaring, already working at undoing whatever spell the woman had just put on him. Floree picked up the sword and looked at Gwaine, holding it out to him with a disarming smile.

Gwaine bridled at the scene he encountered as he flung open the door to the throne room. Arthur was on the floor. Merlin wasn't moving. Floree was holding Excalibur.

In spite of himself, though at immediate glance there was nothing necessarily incriminating about it, Gwaine felt instinctively uncomfortable. He took the sword she proffered without thinking.

"Flor, what's going on, what happened to Arthur?"

She looked down at his body as if surprised, and as her hair moved, Gwaine saw that the line of her ear had lengthened into an elvish point. "I did not hurt him," she said, "he will be fine," and when she looked at him her eyes were yellow and slitted, like a cat's eyes.

Gwaine jerked back, physically, but she rushed to him, put a hand on his arm. "Gwaine," she said, and her voice was a thousand years old, "does my true form frighten you?" She was taller now, than she had seemed before, but it was still certainly, achingly her.

"Your true...what? Floree--" Gwaine stammered. Merlin still hadn't moved, and Gwaine glanced to him, now realizing that he was stuck fast with what could only be magic, and he turned a sharp look back on her: "What did you do to M--"

She touched his face gently. "I mean Camelot no harm. Morgana wanted me to--"

"MORGANA?!" Gwaine cried, trying to pull back, but her strength was insistent. "You work for her?"

Then Floree laughed, a fey laugh: "She thought I did," she shrugged. "Morgana's power is nothing compared to mine. But she had me convinced." Now Floree leaned in, brushing her fingers against Gwaine's face and kissing him gently. "Now you have me convinced."

Gwaine couldn't help himself, but he kissed her back. "Convinced? Me?" This was making him dizzy. "What did I..."

"Come away with me," she said, "to my land. I will make you a king, Gwaine, and leave this court, leave behind Morgana and her petty ambitions. Come with me, and I will love you til you die."

Merlin had thought that, at most, Floree was a powerful sorceress. He hadn't guessed that she wasn't even human until she so casually froze him to the spot. While Floree tried to convince Gwaine that she was mostly harmless, Merlin tried to break free of the spell. It wasn't working at all, save that when he snarled wordlessly in frustration, he actually made a sound. He returned his attention to Gwaine and Floree when he realized he could talk again, just in time to hear Floree telling Gwaine to come away with her. And, okay, he panicked maybe a little bit.

"Wait, Gwaine, you can't. I don't know what her game is, but the Sidhe won't ever let you leave their land," Merlin said, glaring at Floree, who just looked at him like she was somewhat bored.

"Okay, no," Gwaine snapped. This just, everything just needed to slow the hell down, right now, until he could make sense of this. Gwaine stepped back from everyone. "Sidhe? What even /is/ that? When were you going to tell me? After you were killing people and enchanting Arthur and trapping Merlin there? Let him go!"

Floree pouted, almost as if she didn't understand what was so wrong about what she did, but she could see Gwaine was upset, and with a wave of her hand released Merlin to his own power again. "I only stopped him from trying to come between us," she said, for the first time beginning to look unamused.

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42 Re: The Tapestry on Sun 03 Feb 2013, 4:56 am

Once free, Merlin stepped to put himself between the Sidhe woman and Arthur, but didn't make any move to attack her again. "I was trying to stop you from taking Excalibur," he snapped at Floree, and then turned to look at Gwaine. When Merlin had been trying to convince his friend that Floree was the one meddling the tapestries, he hadn't quite expected to be this right. A human working for Morgana made sense. A Sidhe? They didn't work for anyone, not without very good reason.

"The Sidhe are a magical race. They're also known as the Tuatha de Danann, and they were here long before the rest of us. They like meddling, but they usually meddle from within their hills," he said, and looked at Floree. "Why are you working for Morgana? Your kind don't just work for humans. It goes against your pride."

Floree appeared angry to have to explain herself, but at a quick glance at Gwaine she huffed, and spoke to him, ignoring Merlin: "She told me about Camelot's stance toward magic, and anyway it seemed like fun. I didn't expect to fall in love with a mortal: I thought I was over that phase." And when she looked at Gwaine her eyes were misty enough to make him feel uncomfortable. He swallowed thickly. He couldn't still love her. She'd killed people, bewitched Elaine—

And her magic was stronger than Merlin's. That was worrying.

"What if I refuse to come with you?" Gwaine said.

Floree's eyes flashed something about hell hath no fury: "Then you do not love me?" She seemed not to expect this turn of events.

Gwaine couldn't speak. 'No,' would be a lie, but so would 'Yes.' Either answer would hurt her, and would probably be bad for him and for all of Camelot. He wondered if he went with her, if she would truly leave Camelot in peace, and if that was a sacrifice he was willing to make. Some sacrifice! A king! Married to /her/! Gwaine liked things that were bad for him: marrying a sidhe murderess was probably bad for him, and he liked the idea. And he still /loved her/.

And yet, he'd leave behind Merlin. He'd leave behind Leon, and Percival, and the Queen, and even the King.

He'd be abandoning his little brother and sister. Again.

"I'm not coming with you," Gwaine said, his voice steady though his heart was not. "Please do not try to make me." He raised Excalibur and stepped next to Merlin to protect Arthur.
She flashed through denial, disappointment, despair, and rage like any woman Gwaine had ever had this delicate conversation with. The only difference was they didn't usually burst into a thousand pieces of woven tapestry nightmares and try to kill you afterward.

Merlin glanced at Gwaine as his friend came to stand next to him, but he wasn't sure quite what to say in the face of the decision Gwaine had just made. Instead, he put a hand on Gwaine's shoulder briefly, then dropped it as Floree seemed to turn into multiple of the tapestry beasts. Another unicorn-like creature condensed from some of the pieces of thread and glared death at Merlin before putting its head down and charging.

"Vorbaernen!" he shouted, taking a step back and tripping over one of Arthur's feet in the process. The unicorn's horn nicked his shoulder, but the beast was already burning, and before it could turn and try again, it was nothing more than charred threads on the floor. Merlin grabbed Arthur's arms and dragged him into a corner where he would be less likely to get trampled and turned just in time to dodge the attack of a very large, very angry tapestry lion.


_________________


Merlin: Merlin
Doctor Who: Sarasine (Sara) Tekri
Supernatural: Alexander (Alex) Colt
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43 Re: The Tapestry on Sun 03 Feb 2013, 5:57 am

Maeglin

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“Floree, don’t do this! I’m sorry!” Gwaine screamed at the creatures attacking him from all sides. “Floree, be reasonable!” He recognized this Speech as the one he’d said to plenty of women who’d thrown their fits when he was moving on to another town or another girl, or the slight variation he told their brothers and fathers when he was discovered, and the monotony of his own words made him feel ill:

But he actually meant these words now, and it hurt that all he could dredge up were the same old lies to speak for new and real emotions. He was sorry, and he did love her, crazy warped faerie brain and all, and not only (probably) because of the mind-blowing sex. He was scared now—scared of a lot of things, actually, like would Arthur wake up and see Merlin launching fireballs?, did Floree have the power to kill everyone in this castle with a thought?, might he or Merlin accidentally hurt her before she got her temper under control and stopped attacking them?—and swung his sword wildly as the tapestry monsters descended.

They fell before his blade like so much, well, thread, exploding into pieces and re-weaving themselves in a near-constant stream. “You betrayed me!” the voices that were all her voice shrieked. “I loved you! Now I will burn this castle to the ground until there is nothing left but a smoking crater!”

Gwaine had heard stories about the Fair Folk and their anger management issues, but the stories were nothing compared to the real thing. She was like a child throwing a temper tantrum of godlike proportions.

“Floree!” he shouted, and swung wildly at tapestry!Merlin, breaking it apart. “Can’t we talk about this?” This was part of the Speech, too, and he shook himself, trying again: “I can’t go with you forever, but maybe we could work something out. A timeshare, maybe? I don’t—Floree! Listen to me!”

“It is too late, Mortal!” her voice shrieked at him from all corners, as he squared off against the tapestry version of himself. “I love you not!” As tapestry!Gwaine launched at him, Gwaine thrust his sword out, his eyes flinching closed.

The first thing Gwaine noticed was that the sword did not slice as easily through this tapestry as it had through the others. It felt solid, like he’d stabbed a heavy curtain. Then he noticed that the cacophony of sound and movement around him had stopped. The tapestry monsters dissipated as if they had never been there.

Gwaine opened his eyes.

“Floree!”

There she was, spitted on the end of his sword, wrapped in a thousand multicolored threads that were all that remained of the tapestry body she had been wearing. Her mouth was parted in an O of surprise, her brow creased in slight confusion. The threads around her middle were stained with blood. Not human blood, for it was green, but still she bled.

“Floree, no!” Gwaine cried, cradling her as she collapsed, her mouth working noiselessly, her hands clutching at him. This wasn’t fair. This wasn’t right. She was a Sidhe, even Merlin’s magic couldn’t kill her! How on earth had he

Excalibur. She had given him Excalibur.

And he had killed her with it. Gwaine had seen enough death to recognize that. “Floree, no, oh, God, no.” He let go the sword where it stuck fast in her middle. She laid her own hand on the hilt, curious, but accepting. And when she looked up at him with her yellow eyes she—oh, God, she was beautiful—she was no longer angry, but now she was sad. Gwaine had never before seen Floree look sad. “I’m sorry,” he blurted out, “I didn’t know.”

She reached out to touch his cheek, her fingers longer and thinner than he remembered, but her touch no less intimate. “I am sorry, too,” she choked out, her face pinched with some concern, as though she almost didn’t know the meaning of the words she spoke. Her eyelids flickered, and she gasped.

“Floree, I love you!” Gwaine declared. “I’ll go with you!” he told her desperately. He was crying. “I love you.”

“I…l-love…”

Her hand fell from his face, and her eyes closed.

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44 Re: The Tapestry on Sun 17 Mar 2013, 5:09 pm

A few days passed. Everything, like always, went back to normal around Camelot.

Well, most things, Leon noticed. Gwaine had been more somber these last few days, and who could blame him? But everyone figured that Gwaine would be back to his old self after a while (though perhaps they only said that to reassure themselves).

It was Friday, and after singing Leon slid into the seat next to Elaine's at the Rising Sun. That was another thing that changed--he felt more comfortable around her now that he'd saved her life. Elaine smiled at him and gave him a kiss as Gwaine started to sing.

Having one girl who loves you
right or wrong
weak or strong...
Don't know if I will, but until I can find me,
A girl who'll stay and won't play games behind me
I'll be what I am
A solitary man...


"You still haven't said 'I told you so,'" she said.

"Do you want me to?" Leon replied, putting his hand on hers. She just laughed.

"Well, this time you were right."

"This time? What do you mean?"

"Well, Camelot has had more magical incidences than anyone could count, and I'm sure these things are bound to happen again. Everyone in this castle has been affected by magic somehow."

Leon nodded, not sure where she was going with this. He glanced across the tavern at Merlin, but they both immediately looked away. That was going to be harder to deal with than he thought.

"...So," she continued, "when something magical happens again, what are you going to do?"

"Look after you of course," Leon said, dutifully holding her hand.

"You can't look after me all the time," she said. "Me or anyone."

Leon laughed. "Sure I can," he said, though the prospect of not being able to filled him with dread.


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DW: The Bachelor
Sandbox: Elinor Dashwood
SG: Agent Double-Oh-Negative
Merlin: Sir Leon
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