Opening the Box
I do not own BTVS or Merlin. All these wonderful characters belong to Joss Whedon and the BBC.Rating:
I'm going with FR13 for now but that may change as the story progresses.Pairings:
None at the momentSummary:
After Merlin reads an ancient incantation, things get a little crazy when a certain Slayer and her gang drop into Camelot.Spoilers:
After season 1 of Merlin and after season 7 of BuffyA/N:
This story has been bouncing round my head for a while so I thought I'd give it a shot. Let me know what you think and if you want to see it continued.He moves fast for an old man.
Merlin's thoughts were the only things keeping him company at the moment as Gaius was off, striding purposefully a few feet in front of him. When he's got something's on his mind he conveniently forgets the 'old aches and pains' he's so fond of reminding me of when he needs something fetching.
He thought a little bitterly but not with malice. As much as his old mentor drove him completely crazy he couldn't help but adore him. They walked quickly through the maze of corridors that made up the castle of Camelot, the torchlight making their shadows look like monsters chasing them. Well, Merlin had had his fair share of monsters so he kept his eyes on Gaius' back and pushed his scrawny legs faster, trying to hold onto the unsteady pile of books and papers he was cradling in his arms. When magic is allowed in Camelot, I hope, I'm gonna have a spell so I don't have to carry these bloody things around!
Eventually they reached their destination and Gaius slowed down enough for Merlin to catch up as he knocked on the large wooden doors. They nodded in silent greeting to the two guards posted either side of them.
“Enter!” A booming voice called out and the guards stepped forward to push open the doors. Gaius rushed in with Merlin trailing behind him. They both bowed to the person in front of them before he waved them forward.
For all the magic he possessed Merlin couldn't suppress a gulp of fear when he walked into the presence of Camelot's King, Uther Pendragon. He'd been in the service of Uther's son Arthur for nearly a year now but he still couldn't figure out how to stop the chill that crept up his spine whenever Uther turned those steely grey eyes on him. The glance never lasted long for Uther believed he was above servants and more than a glance at one was wasting time unless it served a higher purpose. Arthur, however, was different. He took the time to tend to the general running of Camelot and so spent a lot of time with servants, probably more than he wished but definitely a lot more than his father did.
Arthur himself sat on the right hand side of his father at the long wooden table, looking between Merlin and Gaius with a vaguely curious expression. Uther waved them both forward and they approached the end of the table where Merlin gratefully unloaded his burden. Unfortunately his gangly clumsiness meant that most of the the things ended up on the floor. He dove to retrieve them to hide the flaming blush across his cheekbones. Arthur simply rolled his eyes and went back to picking his chicken off the bone.
After making sure the pile was secure and casting an exasperated glance Merlin's way, Gaius waited for permission to speak from the king.
“Well old friend what urgent matter has you requesting my presence so late in the evening? Can this not wait until morning?” The king asked, his voice portraying a radiance of power even when speaking in the most conversational of ways. Gaius shook his head regretfully.
“I'm afraid not, Sire. It's about the letters you asked me to investigate.”
Uther's expression darkened instantly and he sat forward eagerly, pinning Gaius with a piercing stare.
“What did you uncover?” Merlin prayed to all the gods that it wasn't bad news. His mentor hadn't told him what he'd uncovered but he didn't hold out much hope for it being a good thing.
A week ago, the Prince had started receiving letters written in a strange language. Three were delivered everyday without fail to his room but no one could figure out how they were delivered. He'd ignored them and left them in a pile in his room until Merlin had persuaded him to take them to his father who'd then consulted Gaius. The strange writing had reminded the old man of ancient incantations which had struck a chord in Uther. He detested magic of any kind and being caught practicing magic within his lands was punishable by death. So the king had ordered Gaius to study them and figure out what they meant. Now he obviously had.
“I believe it does have something to do with magic. I mentioned before that I thought they were various incantations, but I was wrong. Or at least partly. You see I think it is one incantation, separated into various parts. You simply arrange the parts in the correct order, say the words and the box is opened.”
Arthur looked at Gaius with confusion in his bright blue eyes.
“What box are we talking about?”
Gaius allowed a small lifting of the corners of his lips to mean a smile before replying.
“It's merely an expression. I am actually unsure of what this incantation does. The dialect is beyond anything I have ever known recorded.” He looked up at Uther with a grim gaze. “This is ancient magic, beyond the likes of anything we have ever seen before.”
“So why was it sent to my son?” Uther growled dangerously. Gaius could only shake his head.
“I cannot say, until we know exactly what it does. But I believe I have managed to arrange the components in the correct order which should make translating them all the more easier.”
Uther nodded and settled back against his chair, lost in contemplation for a few moments. Merlin didn't dare move or even breathe.... though that was getting a little uncomfortable to be honest.
Uther eventually got to his feet and sighed.
“Figure it out Gaius. I'm counting on you to keep my son safe and if translating that incantation is the only way to do that then so be it. Keep my son safe. Now I need to see you for a moment in my chambers.” With a nod to his son and a dismissive glance Merlin's way he swept out of the room, leaving Gaius to follow behind.
Arthur rose from his seat too and crossed the room to where Merlin was standing staring down at the rearranged incantation on the table. Merlin's mind sped through a thousand thoughts at once as he fought to make sense of the gobbledygook on the scraps of paper in front of him. Magic was in his blood, it was his calling and it came naturally to him. So if this was magic, why wasn't it making sense to him? Because it didn't. That's it!
It didn't make sense. Gaius had arranged it wrong. His hands seemed to move of their own accord as they followed the commands of the magic in his blood rather than his brain as they moved the pieces round until suddenly it clicked. Grinning with self satisfaction he stared down in wonder at the now perfectly flowing incantation. He could almost see the magic dancing off the page in a...
“OW!” He cried as Arthur smacked him round the back of the head. Rubbing the now slightly throbbing spot Merlin frowned over at him. “What was that for?”
Arthur raised an eyebrow before holding up a closed fist in front of his face. Sticking out his thumb he said.
“One: You ignored me.” Sticking out his fore finger he continued. “Two: You were in some kind of trance and weren't listening to a thing I said.”
“I can see how that would be a problem for you.” Merlin muttered. Arthur just threw him a haughty glare and stuck up his middle finger.
“Three: You ignored me.” His next finger went up. “And four: What did you do to that?!” He dropped his hand and pointed to the incantation, wearing his 'I am the Prince and I demand you answer me' expression.
“I just.... fixed it. It's right now.”
“And how would you know?”
“Because.... uh.... well I work under Gaius. I'm bound to pick a few things up from him. But can't you see how the rhythm flows right in that section now..... and that bit there fits so much better....”
“Soooo you understand it?” The Prince asked hopefully.
“Nope, not a clue.” Merlin sighed and ran a hand through his dark hair before brushing it away from where it fell back over his eyes. “But I think I can read it.”
“Merlin, I don't think....”
But the young warlock was already lost, the words seeming to tumble from his mouth on their own with only the slightest little push from him. He didn't need to understand them, he could feel them. Before he knew it he was at the end of the letters...... and nothing happened. He looked around expectantly but all he saw was Arthur scowling at him with his arms folded.
“Merlin that was really stupid, even for you! You could have done anything!”
Merlin smiled sheepishly and gestured around the room.
“But I didn't. Nothing happened.”
Arthur's scowl remained for a few more moments before he relaxed slightly.
“I guess not. Maybe you did it wrong.” The blond prince suggested and it was Merlin's turn to scowl.
“I did not do it...” A blast of wind from behind knocked them in to the table, letting out echoed grunts as they dropped to their knees. Glancing over their shoulders, Merlin and Arthur could only stare open mouthed.
A swirling blue portal enveloped the doorway of the hall, the wind screaming round the room as the eerie humming grew louder. Before Arthur could react it spat out it's first victim. A man, followed by a young flame-haired woman, a younger man and another young woman came flying out of the portal before it suddenly closed with a final zip. Gasping for breath the four strangers lay in a heap on the floor as the prince and his servant stared in stunned silence. The blond woman was the first to recover. She hopped lightly onto her feet and her gaze shot round the room before settling on the two of them. She frowned and put her hands on her hips.
“What the hell was that?” She demanded.
Turning his head to glare at Merlin, Arthur yelled, “You had to open the bloody box!”
Merlin brow crinkled in confusion “What box?”