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Summary: ..the briefing room door opened, admitting an old man with pure white hair that fell half-way down his slightly-stooped back and a beard that came down to his waist and clutched a tall wooden walking stick...

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Stargate > Non-BtVS/AtS Stories
Television > Merlin
morenaFR72641,1821020855,9249 Sep 1212 Feb 13Yes

Chapter 24 - The King

Hm, okay, so I'd call these last three chapters an epilogue to the story, if not for the fact that I'm pretty sure I'm about to double the wordcount in just three chapters. There's a lot I could say about them as a preamble, but I think I'll just let them stand on their own. Keep in mind that these last three parts do stand together and chances are if something isn't clear in one part it might be made clear in another, however, if you're confused about anything, feel free to ask.

Thanks to everyone, who's read, reviewed and favourited this story! And a special thanks to theGlaistig for reading it over for me!

Disclaimer: I'm pretty sure there's some twisting that belongs to me alone (I don't think the studios want it anyway), but most of this belongs to MGM and the BBC.

The Scholar
Chapter 24

Wordcount: Numbers

The King

“When I was first introduced to the Stargate Program, I was horrified. I won't lie, I read report after report and saw nothing but evil, powerful aliens with technology and weapons we couldn't begin to understand let alone combat. It was a hornet's nest of danger and we were deliberately poking it. If it had been up to me, the program would've been shut down then and there.

I remember my first impressions of the Stargate were grim and dismal: 'So, this is the instrument of our destruction,' I thought. Like the rest of that day, that moment is seared into my memory. For it was later that day, at the reception held to celebrate the defeat of one of this galaxy's greatest enemies, that an old man came up to me and told me my wife was pregnant. To this day, we have no idea how he knew. Ygraine and I had tried for years to have a child and the doctors told her it was highly unlikely she would ever be capable of conceiving and carrying to term. But we'd kept trying.

My son, Arthur, was born in time to greet the most glorious sunrise I've ever seen. Although, that is the memory of new father, holding a son he thought he'd never have; everything seemed grand and glorious in that moment.

However, the beauty of that morning is also a little darkened in my mind. Due to complications after the birth, Ygraine nearly died. I could do nothing more than hold my newborn son as doctors struggled to save my wife's life. Later, they told me that had it happened even fifty years prior, she would not have survived.

As I held my son and watched my wife sleep after her surgery, I couldn't help but wonder if the means to save her had come through the Stargate. The next day, I looked through those Stargate reports with entirely different eyes. Instead of powerful aliens with weapons we couldn't fight against, I saw nanites that could be used to fix physical ailments, plants with the potential to strengthen our own crops so that they can be grown with minimal water or less mineral-rich soil, tretonin, which renders a person immune to all disease, though at a price. I saw planets with rich mineral deposits, lush arable land and a living history that would make any student of history salivate.

From that day on, I am proud to say, I have been able to count myself as one of the SGC's strongest supporters.”

There was a pause, during which Uther King looked out at his audience, both those in front of his podium and then those watching through television cameras. A light breeze ruffled his hair, throwing wisps of grey into eyes that shone with passion.

“I will never regret throwing my backing behind the Stargate Program. It is our past and it is our future. To deny that is to throw blinkers across our eyes. I regret the wars that have followed since its revelation to the rest of the world. Those of us involved had known such a revelation could not possibly go smoothly. We had not anticipated nearly 20 years of war born out of fear, anger and mistrust.

When the war took my wife, I thought all hope was lost. And then, two month's later, just after his sixteenth birthday, my son came to me with an air of maturity beyond his age and told me the reason we couldn't see our way out of the darkness was because we simply hadn't yet found the light. I don't know where those words came from, but there was a wisdom in them I couldn't deny. Since that day, Arthur has worked tirelessly by my side to end the wars, to find that light of his so that we may spread it to the world.

It is perhaps typical that all it took was a direct attack by the followers of the Ori to finally bring us closer to peace. I'm sure every historian in the world could've predicted that outcome.

Signing my name to the proposal to hide our planet in an alternate dimension where the Ori couldn't find us was, by far, the most difficult decision I have ever had to make. And, believe me, my son fought me every step of the way.

I suppose, in that sense, it is rather fitting that my retirement co-insides with the shut down of the Dimensional Field. And on that note, I would like to introduce my successor, the new President of the International Alliance, my son, Arthur King.”

Enthusiastic applause greeted the end of his speech and flashes went off as Uther King smiled widely at the audience and then shook hands with the young blond man, who'd walked up to him with an equally wide smile. They embraced briefly before standing side by side, hands still clasped as they waited for the media to be done.

The television screen switched to a car commercial.

“Well, that was a rather nice speech,” Daniel commented loudly.

“Humph, he didn't even mention us,” Jack grumbled. “There he is going on about the Stargate and he didn't even mention us.”

Daniel rolled his eyes.

Just then, the doorbell rang. Daniel sighed and began to struggle to his feet.

“Don't bother trying to get up,” Vala called out from the kitchen. “I've got it!”

“Thanks, Vala,” Daniel called back, sighing with relief as he settled back into the chair.

Then there were voices coming from the front hallway as the door opened and closed. The car commercial had been replaced by one for shatter-resistant window glass. Moments later, the living room door way was filled with a bulky silhouette carrying a large, cardboard box.

“Well, howdy folks!” said Cameron Mitchell loudly. “How y'all doin'?”

“Mitchell! When'd you get here?” Jack asked, frowning. “I didn't hear you.”

“That's because your hearing aide's trained at the T.V., Jack,” said Daniel.

“What?” Jack asked.

“Your hearing aide's trained on the – oh, you know what, nevermind.” Daniel turned to Cameron, ignoring Jack's narrow-eyed glare. “How are things at the base? All set up for the international dignitaries?”

Cameron shrugged.

“More or less. I'm sure someone official will want to change things at the last minute, but s'far as I'm concerned it's all done. Met Arthur King this morning. Can't believe how young the kid is, but he's got a good head on his shoulders. His aide's an interesting young man too, named Merlin of all things. Can you believe it?”

Daniel started. Then he frowned.

“What a strange coincidence.”

Cameron snorted. “I know, what are the odds, right?”

“Hey, Mitchell, what's in the box?” Jack interrupted them, waving his walking stick at Cameron's burden.

“Oh, I have no idea. It was sitting next to your front door. Tag's got your name on it.”

“Ooh, a present from a secret admirer!” Jack rested his walking stick back against the armrest of his lazy-boy and then rubbed his hands together with glee. “Give it here!”

“Hopefully, it's not one that wants you dead,” Vala commented dryly from where she was perched on the armrest of Daniel's chair, glass of wine held delicately in one hand.

Jack peeked at the tag. “Doesn't look like Apophis's handwriting, so it should be okie-dokie.”

The commercial break ended and a commentator's voice announced Arthur King. The young man cleared his throat and then looked out at the audience, smile lighting up his face. If he was at all nervous, there wasn't a trace of it in his bearing.

“Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,” he began. “As many of my generation, I barely remember peace. To me, the Stargate had always been the cause of all our despair. Only my father's conviction and my mother's gentleness kept me from outright hating it. My mother went to her grave believing that the future lay through the Stargate. And so I have dedicated my life to proving her right.”

He paused and looked over the audience.

“In just three days we celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Abydos Expedition and I hope many of you will join us for the festivities even if only over the television. I have it on good authority both former Brigadier General Jack O'Neill and Doctor Daniel Jackson will be present, both of whom, as you know, are veterans of that expedition.

As my father mentioned, I was against hiding ourselves away inside the safety of the Dimensional Field, although I understand why it was done. We could not continue fighting a war on two fronts. Before we could be of any help to our allies, we had to sort ourselves out first. A year ago, we finally did that. The International Peace Treaty might be relatively new, but I believe with all my heart that it is strong and will continue to be strong.

We, the people of Earth, cannot stay hidden forever. We cannot bury our heads in the sand like cowards. The Goa'uld were defeated with the help of only a fraction of our resources working in secret. This time, when the people of Earth enter the galaxy through the Stargate and with ships we've built, we all enter, united. Together.

We have abandoned our allies for far too long. The road ahead will be difficult, but we have all survived difficult times. It is now time to ensure that our children won't have to. We have no idea what will await us in the galaxy, whether the Ori have already been defeated or have managed to take over. But we will meet it with courage and the conviction that we are fighting for the most noble of all causes: the right to live in peace and by our own principles.

The Asgard called us the Fifth Race. It is now time for us to earn that name. We are the people of Earth: the Tauri!”

Wild applause erupted from the audience and Arthur King grinned proudly, his eyes shining, his posture determined. He looked like a man, who couldn't lose.

Jack banged his walking stick into the floor enthusiastically, shouting 'here, here' over the sound of the television

When the applause died down, Arthur King's smiled turned impish.

“Before I go, I have a confession to make. As much as I'd love to take credit for that statement I made when I was 16, I'm afraid it wasn't entirely mine. After my mother died, I entered into a depression fuelled by grief. All I saw was darkness with no way out. Then a friend of mine came to me and reminded me that darkness is simply the absence of light.

He came for me in the middle of the night and drove out of the city, past all signs of life until we came to a field. I was tired, but he dragged me out of the car and into the middle of that field. It was a cloudy night and, so far away from the city, I couldn't see any of its lights. The world around me was darker than I'd ever seen it. In this pitch dark world, my friend turned to me and told me to look up at the sky, to really look. I remember clearly the moment several of the clouds parted and I saw a few stars shining in the sky.

'You see,' he said. 'Even in the deepest darkness, there is always a light somewhere. Sometimes, you just have to look for it in order to find it.'

That happened on my sixteenth birthday. Three days later, I went to my father and, well, the rest is history.”

Arthur King then turned to his right and stretched a hand out with a fond smile.

“I would now like to introduce this friend of mine to you. My aide, adviser and closest friend, Merlin Emrys.”

There was some applause, although nothing as enthusiastic as it had been for King's introduction. A young man with short, dark hair and large ears stepped up to the podium with an embarrassed smile. Apparently, he hadn't expected to be called forward.

Daniel frowned. “Jack, does that young man look familiar to you?”

When Jack didn't answer, he glanced to the side and then rolled his eyes when he saw his friend ignoring the television in favour of unwrapping the mystery box that had been left on his doorstep.

“Um, hello,” Merlin Emrys began. “I, uh, wasn't exactly expecting to be up here, so I've hardly got anything prepared. Which you're all probably very happy to hear.”

Here was some laughter.

“So, yes, I've known Arthur pretty much all my life and, like him, I believe strongly that the Stargate is our future. Doctor Daniel Jackson, Jack O'Neill and the late Doctor Samantha Carter are only a few of those men and women, who helped pave the path towards that future and, well, now it's up to the rest of us, really, to make what we can of it. To make sure their sacrifices weren't completely useless.”

He looked thoughtful for a few moments.

“As for the light in the darkness... well...” He looked directly at the camera. “The light to lead the path through the darkness will shine when Kilgarrah once more flies. Years ago, a promise was given. Now it is time for it to be fulfilled.”

He bowed and stepped away from the microphone. Arthur King seemed a bit perplexed, but didn't hesitate to take over and announce the next speaker.

Suddenly, Jack make a surprised exclamation. Daniel looked over and froze, staring at the the object Jack held in his hand.

It was a hat. A giant purple and red velvet jester's hat with delicate, golden bells dangling off the end of each of its eight bent points,which were coming out of a golden crown. The front of the crown had the words 'King of Fools' engraved on it.

Author's Notes:

Timeline: To build this part of the story, I've used the Stargate timeline as set on the website: “Arduinna's Stargate: SG-1 Handbook” (which, if you haven't seen it yet, is an absolutely amazing resource for any Stargate: SG1 fanfic writer for anything up to season 9). Based on that, I give you the following timeline to make sure we're all on the same page:

late 1995 – Abydos Mission
somewhere 2008/9 – Stargate program goes public
2010 – war breaks out
somewhere around 2020/1 – Ori attack Earth
2022 – Dimensional Field activated
2030 – present day

Jack O'Neill: born 1957, currently 73 years old
Daniel Jackson: born 1964, currently 66 years old
Arthur King: born 2004/5, currently 25 years old
Merlin Emrys: born in a time of magic, currently A LOT of years old

Dimensional Field - In season 10 episode 13 “The Road Not Taken”, Carter manages to accidentally shift into an alternate dimension, where she develops a way to expand Merlin's (Ancient Merlin, not our Merlin) dimensional phase-shift cloak to encompass the entire planet in order to hide it from the Ori. As far as I'm concerned it would make perfect sense for her to suggest and then work on developing something similar for her own universe once she returned to it that could be used as a contingency plan if the worst should happen. Which, in this story's alternate timeline, it did.

Vala and Daniel – 'Cause I know at least one person is going to ask about this. I've purposefully not made it entirely clear what their relationship is. Close friends, married, 'shacked up'? I'll leave it entirely up to you guys how you want to read that. SG1's last episode clearly indicated that the potential for something romantic between these two is possible. However, they were also kind of stuck together in a way they wouldn't have been once things got reset, so that makes it a whole different playing field.

Well, this is the beginning of the end folks. Drop me a line and let me know what you think!
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