Merlin Oneshot. Listen to Right Before My Eyes (Acoustic) by Cage the Elephant for the full effect. It's a bit different from my usual writing style for Merlin, so I hope you enjoy it.
It was all such a blur. Tree after tree after tree flew past me as my legs powered on in their pain, my memories all blurring into one as the adrenaline continued to flow through me. They would catch me soon enough, but at least they wouldn't get to Arthur.
I kept on running, small twigs and branches snapping at my legs. It hurt but I couldn't stop; they were right behind me. I felt so sick from the running and the surging pain whizzing around my body. I hadn't eaten since early this morning, but I still couldn't stop, not for anything.
I slowed down. Wait, I thought. Where am I? I didn't recognise the trees or the plants. Oh no, I can't be lost. No, no, no, no. My thoughts didn't magically reveal a way out though, and I doubted my magic would either. I hadn't learnt anything in that vicinity of my gift yet.
Suddenly, an arrow zoomed in front of me, delicately touching the fabric of my red neckerchief as it flew. I sped up. I was pretty sure my feet had acquired blisters in their run, and my legs were becoming more like jelly after every push from my feet. I breathed in and out over and over again so many times it was becoming a rhythm to a song. It wasn't a happy song.
The trees began to blur together. What would happen if I was caught? What if Arthur was already caught? Hadn't that been the purpose of running, to distract them from Arthur who was too busy fighting off his own bandits?
Had I even made a difference?
My legs gave up on me, and my knees buckled in on themselves. I wasn't hit, but if I stayed lying on the ground I would be soon. Groaning, I crawled over to large tree, and cowered underneath the foliage a low branch provided.
The chants grew louder, and the ground shook beneath my body. They were getting closer. My hand instinctively covered my mouth, and I lowered my breath. Whilst my breathing slowed, my other hand swiftly removed my red neckerchief: red would alert the enemy of danger, and they would shoot. Arthur taught the knights that early in their training, although they still rode out with their billowing red robes into battle. The knights could be a little bit thick at times.
One body after another ran past my hiding place, arrows flying out of their crossbows every second. I was surprised another one hadn't hit me before. The first wave only lasted a few seconds, but the second wave of men didn't cease for minutes. I thought I was going to suffocate from holding my breath for so long.
I wanted my mother. I wanted Gaius and Gwen. I wanted the knights to rescue me. I wanted Arthur to tell me it was over and to stop being such a coward. I wanted to be home, but it seemed so far away now.
No one had noticed me as I sat there underneath the rustling leaves, nervously waiting for the masses of bandits to pass. I doubted these were ordinary bandits.
Then, my fears were confirmed.
I could feel magic being used somewhere close, and the tree I was sat under suddenly caught fire. The leaves sparked and burned in their orange flames, and started to rain down below onto me, but the bandits were still running, avoiding the tree. They began cheering even louder than before as the smoke from the lower branches suffocated me. It forced me to lie out on the ground where the smoke couldn't reach.
Arthur, where are you? He wasn't coming for me, though. I doubted he knew I'd run. The magic flowed again, and the tree next to me caught alight. Dark magic was at work here, dark and powerful, and I was caught in the middle.
I had to run.
The smoke failed to help me as more trees caught fire. Branches burned and fell weakly onto the ground, setting grass and flowers alight. This forest's beauty was gone. I weaved in and out of the mazes of fire below me, and dodged falling sticks with my left arm covering my head. My legs continued to hurt. My other hand was still clutching my red neckerchief, and I threw it over my mouth and nose, desperate to rid my lungs of the fumes created in the dense forest. There was a soft cackle in the trees, and I knew who was behind the attack.
Morgana, she'd planned this, the bandits, the trees... everything.
Oh no, has she got Arthur? Does she have Gwaine and the others? Please, no, I begged.
The flames from the plants below me had caught up, and their tongues were licking my leather boots. My feet grew hotter and hotter, and then the tips caught my trousers. The heat stung my skin, and burned through the material of my trousers. The pain was searing, and hot and white. I tried to block it, but I was pathetic as smoke made its way past my useless neckerchief. I coughed and spluttered, and made the mistake of opening my mouth.
She laughed as my pain grew.
How does she get pleasure from the pain? I asked myself, pointlessly. I didn't have any answers, of course.
Fire grew all around me, the heat sweltering and blazing, the smoke becoming thicker and hazing my vision. The black fog was covering the inside of my lungs, and I could feel it clogging my chest as it became harder and harder to breath. My smoke helped grow something painful and sharp in my chest, which worsened my pace.
A branch then whooshed down from above me, cracks glowing orange inside it. I missed it by inches. The force threw me to the ground, which was just beginning to burn. More smoke crept up on me from the grass, which smoked instead of burned. She was getting closer, and my vision was getting worse. Black dots intoxicated my vision as I tried to push through the barricade of pain, but my mind wasn't strong enough.
I just couldn't take it anymore. No, I can't lose. I won't lose!
With that thought in my head, and my vision still spinning, I found the strength to push forward. My body was rebelling, screaming at me with pain to get me to lie down again in the smoke, but I ploughed on. My body was frail, but my mind was strong enough to continue. The world may have lost control before my confused eyes, but I still had control.
Natural, friendly light started to gleam before me in the ferocious flames, and I had to continue. Morgana obviously couldn't see me anymore.
I walked on, limping on both legs as the pain from the running and the smoke made every movement impossible. A small river trickled nearby, but I was still blind-like. A felt so sick, and my vision didn't cease to stop spinning. I guessed my nausea was from my sight. My hand gripped my neckerchief to keep my world from being a green mess, and my other free hand was held out against the cool trees and acted as my guide to everything solid in the world.
My feet then turned cold and wet, and the trickling sound of the river grew louder. I was there. My hand felt along the ground, and was instantly soaked in the lush water. It felt so good to be cold. It continued to search the area until dry land was found, and I rested. I couldn't see past my own eyes anymore, and I feared I was blind. I lay there, thinking about how everything fell to pieces in a matter of minutes: how the knights all became separated and the men swarmed over the hills; how I had to abandon everyone I was with to save them all; how they would never know; how Morgana had nearly burned down an entire forest. It was all too much to take in, but I had to, in the end. How would I survive otherwise?
I pressed my wet hand to my lips, and licked the water. I wasn't much, but my dry throat felt so much better for it. My hand tasted like dust and ash apart from the water, so I guessed my whole body looked a mess from the fire. What felt like my eyelids closed down, and I let myself go. I hoped I would wake up the next morning and be able to see.
I would never take anyone for granted ever again.
Five knights searched frantically through the broken forest, the trees now a charred black rather than the friendly brown they were supposed to be. They called out frantically, ignoring the bloody wounds they'd accumulated whilst fighting an army of men that had all failed in their purpose: to kill the knights.
"MERLIN!" They all shouted, running swiftly through the forest. They ran through every inch of the dead area before they came to the conclusion that they'd lost a member of their party.
"Arthur, we can't find him. I think we should head back," a short haired, well-built knight suggested.
The blonde knight, Arthur, who the strong had talked to, shook his head. "Merlin's smarter than we know. He'd have fled away from this place," Arthur said, more to convince himself than the rest of his group.
"I agree with Arthur," called out another knight, his hair long and brown. He had a bleeding lip, but it didn't stop him from smiling over to Arthur, who nodded his head gratefully.
"Then, we'll continue the search. Leon, Elyon, go with Percival and search the area left to me. Gwaine, come with me," he ordered. The well-built man, Percival, left the group with a long-haired blonde man, Leon, and a tall, dark skinned man, Elyon. The dispersed themselves evenly through the left side of the forest, near enough to hear each other. Arthur and Gwaine, the knight who'd agreed with him, took the right side of the forest, staying closer together than the other knights.
Their eyes search keenly through the greener area of the forest. A trickling of a river grew louder to their senses.
"Do you think Merlin is smart enough to head for water?" Gwaine asked.
"I reckon so. Let's go check," he said, picking up his pace in the hope that Merlin would be there.
He was, but not in the way Arthur would prefer it to be.
Merlin was covered head to toe in black soot and grey ash, his raven hair filled with the debris left from the fire. His face was dirty with the stuff, and his clothes had burned through in certain areas where fire had burnt nearby. The skin underneath was glowing red.
"Merlin!" The two knights shouted in unison. They fled through the forest to the body lying neatly next to the small river, being careful not to trip over him. Gwaine gently placed two fingers next to Merlin's neck, another area with the evil red glow of fire.
Arthur breathed a huge sigh of relief. "Go get the others, I'll take Merlin."
Gwaine looked down, then stood up and did what his friend told him to do. Arthur wrapped his hands below Merlin's legs and shoulders, and carefully picked him up. Merlin groaned at the movement, but didn't wake up. His face scrunched up in pain, and Arthur felt a pang of guilt as his friend squirmed in his arms.
"Don't worry, Merlin. We'll get you home and safely back to Gaius. He can take care of you then," Arthur assured Merlin. Again, he wasn't sure whether it was more for himself. The knights regrouped, and so their journey back to Camelot began.
Arthur would never take anyone for granted ever again.
Hope you all enjoyed that. Reviews are welcome :3