The forest of the lost king stretched out into the horizon almost to a point it seemed never ending. The trees huddled together in clusters through out the forest and were like shrouds of old gentlemen coming together to address the news of the kingdom the way they swayed in the wind. No sunlight penetrated the way to the ground that much so the rider on top of his white stallion had to navigate on sheer will. The hooves of the horse bit into the root, rock infested ground as he breathed cold steam into the morning mist. The rider clutched his body tightly to the horse's flank and felt only a little jostle as it jumped over a fallen, grey king statue.
He pulled his ride to a stop and in a smooth motion jumped off the horse and landed in a murky puddle of stale water. He clutched his cloak to his nose and waded through it. He did not know if he was going the right way but he had a feeling he was. When he touched the fertile land, he broke into a run. His feet slipped on the roots much like his horse's feet and wild things seem to call out to him. A branch cut his check and blood tasted like metal on his lips.
Then up ahead he saw who he was looking for. The man was sitting against a tree with a book in his lap. He looked no different then he did a month ago. The man, King Arthur, stopped his run and looked on silently.
He and his band of knights had spent months through rain, storms, evil of the unnamable kind, to find Merlin. At last, here he was a few footfalls away. Arthur took a few steeps and soon was close enough that Merlin realized he wasn't alone any more. He looked up and the book fell out of his hands and onto the ground.
"My liege?" said Merlin. He could help but look Arthur over to ensure himself that it wasn't a dream, and that Arthur was here and not with a bloody thirsty sword in hand to strike him with.
"Merlin," said Arthur in pleasure. He smiled at the warlock.
Merlin had to fight off anger at the prince for taking so long and thinking he could just show up but also happiness because he did show up. It was enough to make his head spin around, therefore, he settled for a normal expression of a small smile but sharp eyes.
"You wouldn't believe how long it took me to find you; Merlin, I-and the knights- have searched half the kingdom. Have you been here all along?" Arthur finally asked upon looking around. He could spot a little shed like house in the distances.
" I have been here, yes. It's cozy-the house and the forest." Merlin shrugged at the king. He then said rapidly, "what are you doing here, Arthur ?"
Arthur took a breath and let it out slowly. He walked past Merlin and sat down with his back to the tree. He loved the grass as it moved around him. When he looked upwards and to the north, he was surprised to see Camelot's towers or more importantly his own chamber window looking back at him.
"When you left you left me with a choice: accept or don't accept what my father didn't. I think that I have always seen magic in the light of my father's eyes and not my own, but now I think that's changed. Merlin, would you come back to Camelot if not for me then for the rest of your family that's knitted itself together over time?"
Merlin looked at him and walked away. Arthur let his head fall back against the tree. Did I really think it this easy? He thought. He looked at the castle, which seemed miles away but was only a day's walk maybe less. He would have to back and with out his friend.
He was shocked out of his musings by something landing on his lap. It was a sword and not any sword but one he recalled from his earlier days when he fist met Merlin. He put a hand around the hilt and it glowered with gold power.
" I always said I would be by your side, Arthur and that won't change. I will come back but don't think that I won't forget that few moments when you were conflicted by me or my magic. This sword Arthur will be the new power you will wield and use. Like everything, you must except it as you have done with me. "
Arthur looked at Merlin as he got onto another horse that appeared from nowhere. Arthur stood and nodded at his friend. "Yes, Merlin. Thanks for everything."
Merlin smiled, "Can we go know I quite missed the food in Camelot, the beds, the knights, Gwen, Gauis, the castle itself"
Arthur felt a pang of grief when his friend didn't mentioned him but he didn't let it show as the horses started to make for home.
Merlin led his horse to Arthur and bumped shoulders with him, "I missed you to, Arthur, even your long list of chores."
Arthur smiled. Maybe magic wasn't all bad because Merlin wasn't.