fiction, Story Snippet Sharing

Weekend Story Snippet Sharing – Morgana Remembers

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Merlin returned to the barrow with a stack of dry wood, smiling as memories of other times so long ago danced in his mind. Winking at Gwen, he placed the wood down next to her and then let his eyes drift over to where Morgana was.

Where she should be.

His gut twisting slightly, he eyed Leon, who sat closest to where Morgana’s jacket lay. It was clear that Leon had been guarding Morgana, no matter what they all said about trust.

“Where’s Morgana?”

Leon stood up slowly, placing his hands on his hips. “She had a nightmare. Another one. Seemed bad, she said she needed to walk so off she went.”

“And you just let her, without following? Doesn’t seem like you to relax your guard, Leon.”

Leon’s face was stone and his eyes were dark. “She didn’t seem like she was in any state to make trouble. I’m not her babysitter to follow her to dry her tears. I’ll leave that to you, Merlin”

His jaw tightened and a fist curled around the first touches of magic that disappeared when Gwaine rushed into the clearing.

“Merlin, I think you need to go find Morgana.”

There was something in his friend’s voice that made his heart sink.

“Where is she?”

Gwaine pointed to the east. “She was running that way, headed to the river, looked mighty upset. I tried to call her back but she either didn’t hear or didn’t want to hear. I came to find you.”

His blood like ice spreading through his body, he ran. He had a terrible feeling about the river. The magic had been particularly strong in this forest. If Morgana’s nightmare had brought everything back he didn’t know what she’d do.

Tripping over a root on the path he cursed and his eyes flashed gold, lending speed to his steps.

He found her by the water hole. Her hand was over her mouth and her hair streamed behind her as she waded into the water. Her long woollen jumper dragged at the surface and even at this distance the tears streaking down her cheeks were plain to his eyes. He thought his heart might burst but he sped up, his legs moved faster than he ever remembered running. She was up to her torso now and he made the bank and plunged straight into the water, calling after her.

A hand flung out behind her back and she looked at him over her shoulder

“No Merlin! Stay back! It’s too late. It’s much too late now.”

“Morgana! No! I won’t let it be, not this time!”

He was so close now and when she fell into the water, eyes on his until the last, he took a deep breath and dived after her. She fought him but his eyes flashed gold and he drew strength from the earth. He pulled her from the water and didn’t let go until he’d dragged her onto the bank and she’d collapsed, all fight gone from her.

“Why?” he hadn’t meant to shout but he was suddenly deeply angry “Why, Morgana?”

She lay on her back, her eyes wide and staring at the sky, her mouth working as if to hold in a cry.

He dropped to his knees beside her and stretched out a trembling hand to brush the hair from her face.

His voice gentler now his terror was subsiding he asked her again. “Why would you go? Why would you leave me again Morgana?”

Her hand crept up to his. It was ice cold from the water but from something else too and he brought his other hand up to enclose it in his palms. Hoping to warm her with sheer will alone. Tears welled out of her eyes and her voice was a ragged whisper.

“I remembered it all. I can’t stop remembering. I remember the pain I caused. It makes my nightmares seem like daydreams. And my ordinary, inoffensive life now seems like the dream, as if it was never really real. I remember each day as if it was yesterday.” A shudder wracked her and her hand convulsed in his. “How can I look at Gwen when I remember how I laughed as I tortured her? The hatred I felt for Arthur was never really real and yet I wanted him dead so badly. And now I look at him and he is kind but I know he remembers also.”

He disentangled a hand from hers and slid his arm round her shoulders, lifting her from the cold ground into the warmth of his embrace. Her hair was soft against his chin and he murmured a charm to try and dry them both out. She shuddered and turned her face into his chest.

“How can I let you care for me when in my head I hear you scream as I set the Fomorroh on you to tear into your mind and force you to try and kill your closest friend. When I see your body as I kicked it over the ledge and left you to die. How can I ask you to forgive me when I can never forgive myself?” Her hold on his hand was painful but he didn’t want her to ever let go.

“Morgana, have you forgotten that you died by my hand? You aren’t the only one who seeks forgiveness.”

She shook her head, the silky tresses of her wet hair falling over his arm. “You were always true to your friends and to yourself Merlin. I not only betrayed my friends, I lost myself. I became what I always most hated in Uther. But I was worse, worse than him by far.”

Merlin sighed. “You were certainly scarier. Super scary”

She stilled and then he swore he felt her lips curve in a smile against him. “I doubt you were ever scared of me, Merlin. You were the bravest man in Camelot.”

“Not the bravest, just the most foolish”

“And more powerful than I ever was”

“Well, maybe. But like I said, you were super scary. But do you know what the hardest bit was?”

He waited for her murmured “what?” before he continued.

“Never actually wanting to hurt you.” His arm tightened around her as he felt her fingers clutch at his shirt. “I never wanted to use my magic to harm you so I always tried to avoid it. Killing you was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. If it hadn’t been to save Arthur I never could have done it” He looked down at her head and his heart felt it would burst from the emotions tangling inside him.

“I know you don’t realise, Morgana, but I’ve loved you for over a thousand years. You don’t need to seek my forgiveness because I already forgave you centuries ago.”

She stilled completely in his arms before she relaxed enough to embrace him gently but briefly. She pulled back and he let her go, his hand going to his mouth.

He hadn’t meant to say it. Knew it was too soon. But then it had been over a millennium so ‘too soon’ was a relative term.

Her mouth turned up in a little smile but he could see the tension in her shoulders. Though he sighed inwardly and his heart seemed to burn, he smiled brightly.

“Don’t worry, I don’t expect anything. I just guess I really wanted to say it. I’ve never been able to before. It doesn’t have to change anything.”

Her smile grew and touched her eyes. “But it’s changed everything, Merlin. I don’t deserve such love. But I hope that one day I might.” She pushed herself to her feet and he followed suit.

“Come on then, let’s get you back to a fire and warm. It’s cold out here”.

Her smile trembled. “You’re always trying to warm me up Merlin. I hope it works”

 

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From my Merlin fanfic written in 2016.  Needs some rewriting but I still like Morgana and Merlin moments.

fiction, Story Snippet Sharing

Snippet Sharing – Weight of Expectations – Merlin Comforts Gwen

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Merlin slipped away to find Gwen. She wasn’t in the kitchen but the door to the patio was open slightly. A sigh escaped, turning slightly foggy in the cold air. She was outside in the dark.

Gwen startled as he draped Arthur’s hoodie over her shoulders, but settled when she saw it was just him, snuggling into the warm fleece with a small smile.

“Thanks, Merlin. It’s certainly getting colder.”

“It’s a nice night though. Clear. You can see the stars.”

“Yes.”

He watched her for a moment.

“Of course, you’re only looking at your hands, not the heavens. But you know, they’re nice too.”

She smiled but didn’t look up. He reached out and took her hand. It was freezing and he tutted and set to work chafing it.

“What is it Gwen? You know you can tell me anything.”

She bit her lip and looked up at him under her lashes.

“Will you promise to not tell Arthur?”

His hands stopped their warming rub for a second before he continued more gently.

“I will never tell tales Gwen, but I will tell you that I think you should talk to him.”

She shook her head. “How can I tell him that I feel crushed by expectation? That although I remember loving him more than anything else in the world, I also remember a life without him, where I had a boyfriend and was..”.  She broke off and her eyes went to her hands again.

When she didn’t continue, he reached out and tilted up her chin. “Where you were what, Gwen?”

His heart constricted as she blinked away tears.

“Where I was happy. I was content, Merlin. I wasn’t confused about who I was, about who I am, finding out I’m actually married to a king in a legendary romance, friends with a warlock, and fighting against great evil.”

“Well, when you put it that way it does sound bad. Except being friends with the warlock, because surely that’s gotta be kinda cool.”

Her half laugh tugged at his heart. He wiped her tears away and put his arm around her.

“I do understand Gwen. I really do. Destiny is a bugger of a thing – it pushes you ahead of it and sometimes you feel you have to either go along with it or be crushed. I can only say that Arthur’s love for you is legendary because of its strength. He would have given up his kingdom for you, would have died a hundred deaths to protect you. He relied on you then and if he turns to you now it’s because in his heart there’s no-one he trusts more.”

“There’s you.”

“Yeah, there’s me, but it’s different.”

She scrunched her eyebrows up at him and he tried to explain.

“Arthur and me, we are two halves of a whole, two sides of the same coin. Arthur and you, it’s different. You are the one who completes his heart.”

Her face crumpled and her hand went to her cheek as if to keep in the feelings leaking out her eyes.

“But that’s what I’m afraid of, what if I can’t love him back in the same way in this life? I only remember loving him,” Her voice sank to a whisper “I don’t think I actually love him.”

“Yet.”

She pushed her hair off her face and sighed. “Yet?”

“Yeah, yet. You gotta give it a chance Gwen, and if it doesn’t work out, well, I’ll be very surprised. But don’t throw away your chance to have the other half of your heart back in your life”.

Her mouth was still twisted but she nodded slowly. Then, squeezing his hand, she asked, “Is that why you can’t let Morgana go?”

Merlin let her hands drop and stepped back, crossing his arms in front of him.

“Something like that. I thought we were talking about your problems?”

She smiled and this time he could see the old Gwen blending with the new.

“You know she can be a real cow? And I’m not talking about the Morgana you knew, I’m talking about the one I work with.”

He let himself smile back, “I can’t help myself Gwen, it’s a sickness. I’m drawn to her.”

Her smile shrank. “I know what you mean.”

The door snicked open and Merlin was thankful he was no longer holding Gwen’s hands as the scent of jasmine wafted out.

“Merlin? Gwen? What are you doing out here?”

Gwen’s eyebrows raised at him and she smiled.

“Morgana, we were just talking about you.”

“Really?”

Merlin shot a frowning glance at Gwen and shook his head roughly at her. Surely she could hear the ice in Morgana’s voice, but she only smiled more broadly.

“Yes, Merlin was telling me about how happy he is that you’re back.”

She drew Arthur’s hoodie closer round her and walked past Morgana into the house.

Merlin turned to face Morgana, hand in his hair. “Ha, that Gwen.”

“Are you?”

“Am I what?”

“Happy that I’m back?”

His mouth opened but nothing came out and he shrugged helplessly. Her arms were wrapped around her chest and there was a tiny line between her brows. She finally sighed and turned back to the door. “Arthur wants you, Merlin, you’d better come inside.”

He stood for a full minute after she’d gone inside, then, aiming a passing kick at the patio table, he followed her in.

 

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From The Return of Arthur – Merlin Fanfic.

fiction, Story Snippet Sharing

Sunday Snippet – Battle by St Paul’s, from Arthur’s Return

man in tunnel for merlinArthur rolled his shoulders – the bag with the swords in it slid awkwardly across his back. This was a strange time – people’s weapons were in their computers and in their wallets. He let out a sigh and looked round at his knights. They were all dressed in different versions of the same outfit – lightweight jacket, t-shirt and jeans. A smile lifted his lips. It was a far cry from the chain mail and cloaks they used to wear to battle, but there was something about these men; the connection between them was the same, the feeling of brotherhood was the same. They were knights, no matter what they wore.

And then there was Merlin. He snuck a glance at the man next to him. No sword for him; he didn’t need it. It was still mind boggling the amount of power his friend had and yet he carried himself with nothing more than a quiet dignity and self assurance. Something Gwaine had said, so long ago, flickered into his mind. “You know what I like about Merlin? He never expects any praise. All these things he does just for the good of doing them”. It had been true then and it was true now.

On impulse, he reached out and cuffed Merlin on the shoulder, smiling and raising his eyebrows as Merlin cast him a look.

“I’ve said before, my lord, you don’t need to hit me. You can just say “Excuse me” or “Hi” or even, “Well done Merlin.””

“Ah, but it isn’t as satisfying” Continue reading “Sunday Snippet – Battle by St Paul’s, from Arthur’s Return”

fiction, Story Snippet Sharing

Sunday Snippet – Ambushed on a Train: extract from Merlin and the Return of Arthur

this is from my Merlin fanfic, most of which has been uploaded here, with the remaining chapters being uploaded soon.

 

The train was crowded and they ended up split between carriages. Merlin shoved the tickets in his pocket. Leon hadn’t been happy that the knights had to leave Arthur with Morgana but he’d been quietly adamant that she was staying with them and Gwaine had cast him an uncomfortably knowing look before throwing his arm around Leon’s shoulder and practically pushing him through to the next carriage. Oddly it had been Lancelot who had been the most settled about Morgana joining them. He’d been quietly helping her with her bag and walking next to her into the station when the others still, consciously or otherwise, were leaving a big space between them. At least Arthur was speaking to her. He smiled wryly to himself. Looked like a fun journey ahead.

“Merlin”, Gwen’s voice pulled his attention back to the now. “Where did you go before, when we were on the platform?”

“Ah yes, I’d nearly forgotten with Leon’s strong and not so silent act.” He stood and pulled his bag back down from the overhead rack, digging his hand down the side pocket until he found it. “I was getting this”. He sat back down and passed it to Arthur. Continue reading “Sunday Snippet – Ambushed on a Train: extract from Merlin and the Return of Arthur”

Musings on Fiction and Tropes

Who wants to live forever?

child questioning immortality

My son has just started listening to Queen, and the other day I heard one of the songs they did for the soundtrack to Highlander: ‘Who wants to live forever’. Got me thinking. Would we really want to live forever? What would it do to us to live forever?

Okay for starters, there are quite a few people about whom I shudder at the thought of them living forever. I’m not just talking about the really evil people… .Does that make me a bad person? That does make me a bad person. Geoff from accounting is fine. Really.  But it’s a valid thought – If we lived forever, would we want to be around the same people forever? Would they start to really bore us? In fantasy fiction you often have elves or other immortals who have all lived for well over 1000 years and they all know each other. You’d surely get super tired of the same stories, again and again: Continue reading “Who wants to live forever?”