No matter how long Merlin had known of his destiny and had known of how close Arthur was to him, he has known that none could ever matter more to him than Arthur. How could they when Arthur was the other side of his coin, when Merlin was destined to be at Arthur's side helping him rule. Arthur was to be the greatest king Albion had ever had and Merlin was to be with him, helping him, guiding him. So how would Merlin ever have any time for anyone but Arthur. So over the years Merlin had turned away offers of anything more than friendship. From Morgana and Lancelot and Gwaine. They had all offered and he had loved them all each in their own way but Arthur had to be what mattered must to him. Only Freya had ever come close to get him to abandon his destiny but in the end he had to let her go to.
Sacrificed in the name of his Destiny.
His and Arthur's.
Merlin did not regret choosing Arthur over them but he did mourn what could have been. Each of them had a piece of him and always would, even Morgana who he had lost in a way he never would have dreamed. Lancelot and Gwaine still remained at his side, even if only as friends and while they still watched him with a sadness and longing in their eyes they never spoke of it. Neither did he. For Arthur was his other half, his destiny and while Arthur needed a Queen for Camelot, Arthur would not share him and Merlin could not risk being shared.
For what if he was distracted form Arthur and lost him in the process. So he stayed and he protected and he loved his King with everything in him. And when Lancelot was ripped from him, it left a gaping ache in Merlin that would never fully heal but not what it would have been if Merlin had ever allowed himself to fully be with his Knight. It showed Merlin that he had made the right chose, for while he mourned Lancelot he was not destroyed and thus not distracted from Arthur.
The years that followed did not change that resolve as he took his rightful place at Arthur's side as Court Sorcerer and Royal Adviser. The two of them ruled Camelot justly and rightfully and together was uniting Albion. Nothing distracted them from doing what was their destiny to do and with each other at their sides, they were truly unstoppable. Gwaine was Merlin's ever faithful friend and Knight while Gwen was Arthur's Queen but all they needed was each other as was their destiny.
Then everything changed when someone from their past entered their life someones actually.
Mordred entered their lives again rescuing them by giving them food and then by helping them escape from the Saxons.
Morgana entered in again by trying to kill Arthur after kidnapping Gwaine. Mordred saved Arthur by stabbing Morgana, which gave him Merlin's gratitude and his annoyance for stabbing Morgana, who still had Merlin's love even if he would one day have to kill her to protect Arthur.
Mordred was given a knighthood for saving Arthur and a place on the Round Table. Over time Merlin and Mordred grew close as they both worked to protect both Arthur and Camelot. Merlin was as always focused on Arthur and his destiny that he did not notice that Mordred was falling on love with him or the fact that Merlin himself was falling in love with Mordred.
No matter how much Arthur was his, Merlin was still magic and Mordred called to his magic and despite the fact that Kilgroah had told him that Mordred would kill Arthur one day, Merlin could not truly believe that. Not when Mordred seemed to love Arthur just as much as Merlin himself did, even if it was a different type and Mordred was a good man and seemingly in capable of hatred. He had even forgiven Merlin for almost sacrificing him to those knights years ago.
Merlin could not believe that Mordred was a threat to Arthur and thus Merlin would defend him as he would anyone else but he did not realize how deeply his feelings went. All Merlin saw was Arthur and his love for his King, he did not realize that with all the time he had spent with Mordred, he had gone beyond just friendship but had fallen in love with him. For Merlin did not even think of looking deeply into his own feelings. When for years his love had only belonged to Arthur.
The problem was that he was the only one that had not realized it. For Mordred had realized what was happening and was glad for he had loved Merlin since he was but a child, even after Merlin had tripped him that day in the camp. Mordred believed that Merlin, that Emrys was his destiny in a way that was different from Merlin's destiny with Arthur. Emrys was meant to bring about a Golden Age with his King but none of the prophecies ever spoke of Emrys and his King being lovers and Mordred felt the connection that had resonated between the two of them since he was but a child. The way their minds had connected without either of them even trying. Mordred believed that Merlin was meant to be his and he would do anything to achieve that.
Gwaine had watched as Merlin grew closer and closer to the new Knight, going as far as to spend less time with everyone but Arthur. Ironically everything but Arthur and Mordred and had seen that Merlin was falling in love even if the big idiot had not realized it. Gwaine saw it all and mourned that what was so freely and easily being given to the youngest of the Knights was not being given to him. For years he had stayed at Merlin's side, even as he realized that Merlin was unable to be with anyone but Arthur and yet here he was watching as Merlin gave what he would not to Gwaine to Mordred. And Gwaine watched as Arthur noticed to but did nothing. Merlin he would defend with his dying breath but Mordred...No.
Arthur did not notice for the longest time, for Merlin was always at his side as was normal and right but eventually he started to notice that Merlin was never with anyone else as he normally was. Soon he noticed that Merlin was only ever with one person when not with him and soon after that Arthur noticed how Merlin was around Mordred and how Mordred was around him. He noticed the way Mordred's eyes were always on Merlin and MOST importantly he noticed the way Merlin watched Mordred when Merlin was not watching him. Finally when he saw the way that Mordred was preparing to try to take what was his, Arthur reacted.
"You dare to watch what is mine...You dare to think that Merlin would ever want you when he has me...You dare to even think of touching him."
"I dare because he watches me to. You think I do not notice the way he is with me, even if he does not."
"It does not matter. Merlin is mine. Merlin is my destiny, my everything and no one will take him from me. Not even you.""
"Yours. He is not. Emrys will never yours, for you will never be worthy of him. The fact that you have touched him is filthy and wrong. Merlin was meant to help you rule and unite Albion as he brought magic back. Nothing ever said he was meant to be your lover. Our magic resonates together ans does our mind. We are One. You may have him at your side as King but he will be at my side as my mate and love."
Just like that they pulled out their swords and began to fight while the other Knights were helpless to do anything but look on. Even Gawain who wanted to see Mordred gone from Camelot did not like this.
Merlin was informed of what was happening by a worried Leon and he raced to the Throne Room and when he saw the ones he loved fighting he rushed in between them. The two of them were so lost in their fury and so focused on each other that they did not see him until it was by far to late. And Merlin was so worried about Arthur and Mordred fighting that he forget he was magic, forgot that he was Emrys and threw himself in the way of swords instead of simply willing them away and was thus stabbed by both of them.
Arthur screamed out when he saw that he had stabbed Merlin and grabbed at his love before he fell and lowered him to the ground while screaming for Gauis.
"Merlin.. don't leave...I need you...I love you...Merlin."
"Arthur...Love you...Don't...Hate each...other...Love you...both...Don't."
Merlin shuddered then breathed his last as Arthur sobbed into his hair.
Mordred looked down at the body of his love and god and let out of scream of pure magic and grief that it obliterated half of the Citadel. He then turned on Arthur in pure fury. " You will pay for this Arthur Pendragon. In the name of Emrys I will kill you." Then Mordred was gone.
Gwaine fell to his knees sobbing. He had saw but he had done nothing, just as he had seen but did nothing when watching Merlin and Mordred..He had seen and now he had lost.
Arthur was left...with nothing... He was empty and alone and destroyed..
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On a battlefield many months later the armies of Camelot and the armies of Morgana and Mordred met.
Mordred and Arthur faced off and began to try to kill each other in the name of the man who had loved them both and would have been destroyed to see this. To see them fighting in his name, attempting to kill each other in his name. Just as he would have been destroyed over the fact that Gwaine had left Camelot the very hour after his body was burned, taking nothing with him but one of Merlin's neckerchiefs and the wooden dragon that Balinor had given him. Arthur and Gwaine had words before Gwaine left as while Gwaine blamed himself for not stopping it before it got to the point of the fight, he equally blamed Arthur and Mordred for Merlin dying. They had both stabbed him after all, killed him and Gwaine would never forgive that.
Neither would any magic being, for all had sided with Morgana and Mordred after Merlin died, which they had all felt. As far as they were concerned, Arthur Pendragon had killed Emrys, their God, and he would pay for it. For Emrys was dead and they were left bereft of his presence. And for that they would make Arthur pay, who they now believed was worse then his Father.
Morgana was glad to have so many allies but devastated at the price of them. For Merlin was dead, the only person she had ever truly loved outside of her sister and while she had been angry at Merlin for Morgause being harmed, nothing would have ever caused her to see him dead. Or even to truly harm him. Morgana had hoped that once Arthur was dead, she could have him at her side once again after he mourned. For she was well aware that it was only his love for Arthur and his destiny that had kept him from accepting her love and her hand when it had been offered so long ago. Yet now instead of Arthur being dead and her being Queen with her Sorcerer King at her side, Merlin was dead and she was alone. Forever.
And they would all pay for that. Arthur and his people and then finally Mordred. For while she had loved the boy deeply, she would never forget that it was not just Arthur's blade that had pierced her love. It ha been Mordred's as well and once she was done using his fury and grief, she would kill him for it. For daring to have Merlin's blood on his hands.
After she did not know what she would do as Camelot no longer had any true interest to her. Not without Merlin at her side to rule with her. Nothing did in fact.
Arthur and Mordred were attacking each other with a fercoius fury that was consuming them. Their hatred was only equaled to that of their grief, which would never leave them as Merlin had been their everything and nothing would ever compare to what had been between them. Their fight was filled with a rage that was almost beautiful to behold and the others fighting actually stopped to watch it.
Neither of them cared though as the only thing that mattered to them was killing the other, making them pay for taking Merlin from them. For killing what had taken their souls, hearts and minds.
Finally Mordred managed to stab Arthur in the gut and he felt a moment of pleasure that he had avenged his beloved Merlin only to be stabbed in return by the fallen Arthur.
Both fell to the ground and began to bleed out. Morgana approached them as the armies moved away in fear of her, both sides well aware of her fury and power and with Merlin dead there was no equal to her any longer.
Morgana looked down at the two who had taken Merlin from her and should have felt satisfaction but as it had been since learning of Merlin's death, of felling Merlin dying even if she had not known it, she felt nothing. Just a never ending emptiness. As they gasped desperate breaths, she just watched.
"You can come out now, Gwaine. I will not harm you.""
Gwaine came out of the woods, having come to watch the battle and to see which one of them died so that he could finish the other off. For they had killed Merlin and he would see them pay for it even if that would not be what Merlin wanted. Gwaine had done all that Merlin wanted when he was alive and would continue to do so now that he was dead save for that one thing. Which was why he made no move to harm the woman who had kidnapped him and used him, for he knew that Merlin would not see her harmed save in defense of Arthur.
"You were there that day...You saw him die, didn't you?'
"Yes, Morgana...I saw it all."
"What did he say? What were his last words...Mordred would not tell me."
"He spoke of how much he loved the ones that killed him...His last words were of love...Of people far to unworthy of him."
Gwaine unsheathed his blade and moved to Arthur and Mordred who were both bleeding out.
"You killed him, you both who proclaimed to love him so much, above all others. I stayed at his side for years, giving all to him, protecting him, being his friend...I loved him and will to my dying day. I never harmed him yet you two dare to fight in his name, dare to claim to love him more that any other... You both are unworthy to even speak his name let alone have ever touched him.. Die and burn." With that Gwaine killed them both, truly avenging the one that had owned his heart from the first moment they had ever met. Gwaine knew that had Merlin lived what he had just done would destroy him but Merlin was dead and Gwaine needed to do it. If Merlin had lived, Gwaine would never have dreamed of doing thusly but with him dead, Gwaine was free to avenge him without fear of hurting Merlin.
Once Gwaine saw that they were both dead, he simply dropped his sword and walked away, not saying a single word to Morgana. He was done with Camelot and all that was connected to it. For all would simply be a reminder of what he had lost and since he knew that he would never stop either mourning or loving Merlin, he could do without being surrounded by people who had known him also. He couldn't bare it. Gwaine would leave Albion behind and he would never again pick up a sword. He had become a Knight for Merlin, to protect him and now that Merlin was dead. Nothing was worth protecting.
Morgana watched as Gwaine finished Arthur and Mordred off then just walked away and did nothing. Morgana had 'Seen' Merlin and Gwaine and knew how dear he had been to Merlin so she let him go. Putting a spell on him to ensure nothing could harm Gwaine as she knew Merlin would have wished then she turned to the bodies. Merlin was avenged but she was still not satisfied. For Merlin had died while defending Camelot, a Camelot who had done nothing for Merlin but treat him badly. So after she burned the bodies of her loves killer, Morgana went to Camelot.
And burned it until even the ashes were no more.
And a long distants away a dragon roared its fury over all that happened.
The Golden Era had ended.
A tale of love had been twisted and destroyed and now was ended as well.
It was all over and none would ever know the truth of all that had transpired.
None who still lived anyway.