Author's Note: Alright, so I was trolling and came across this one story called AU Factory by It's a crazy-kept secret. I was reading through it and saw this story and fell in love. That very day, I asked the kind creator if I could adopt it and here is the result: Behold the magnificence of two minds working together!
Disclaimer: I don't own Merlin, and I only adopted the plot line.
Vivienne smiled gently at her daughter, Morgana. She brushed a shaking hand over her child's thin face, looking into deep emerald eyes that matched her own. Vivienne forced her hand to stop shaking, purposely making her smile brighter. Inside, she was breaking into ten thousand pieces. Outside, though, she was stronger than she had ever been. All for her daughter. All for Morgana.
Vivienne nodded to Ruth, her daughter's handmaiden. Ruth took Morgana into another room to finish her preparations for the funeral. Her father's funeral. At least, her father until a few days ago, when word reached them that Uther would be more than happy to take his estranged friend and his daughter in. Vivienne laughed out loud, a cold, harsh sound that startled the older woman who was her maid.
She thought back to that fateful day ten years prior when the King raped her in her own home, with Gorlois, her husband, only days from home. She had told her husband whose child it was, of course she had. She just hadn't told her daughter until the news came that Gorlois was dead. Vivienne was sure that Uther had planned his death in a suicide mission to some obscure place. She had even told her husband of her misgivings. He, however, blind in his faith for his king, even after everything the tyrant had done to the family, went on the mission.
Now, Vivienne would be forced to bury her love and move to Camelot with her innocent child. She would have to play a coy game of cat and mouse and integrate Morgana into the royal family. None of her mistakes can be pushed onto her darling girl. And maybe, just maybe, the day will come when Vivienne will learn to love Uther as he so clearly loved her. Maybe she would find happiness and peace in this world once again.
Her maid, Bessie, carefully placed Vivienne's ebony shawl under her black masses of curls and led the woman, cloaked in the black of mourning, into the main room. Morgana came to stand next to her mother, similarly clothed, her green eyes skipping over the crowd. Together, they turned and began the funeral procession to where their father figure and husband would be buried once and for all.
Uther stared down his son. As the boy grew older, he grew more stubborn and more vocal. Most of the time, Uther valued this in his son and was proud to watch him grow into the would be king, however, today Uther would not back down and neither would Arthur.
Uther sighed and intensified his glare, putting on a trick he learned from Gaius, raising a single eyebrow at his son. For a moment, Arthur withered, but then his back straightened again and he raised his chin. Uther heard Sir Leon smother a chuckle from behind him and struggled to do the same.
Eventually, Arthur spoke, "I am not letting some… arrogant… pompous… girl become a part of this family! I will not stand for this Morgana to barge in here and learn sword fighting with me and get schooling with me and take over this kingdom!"
Uther smiled at him, "Morgana will not take over the kingdom. She is a very kind, lovely young girl and she is your sister." His own back straightened and he looked down his nose at his son, saying in his kingly voice, "I am your King and your father. You will obey me. Within the week, Morgana and Vivienne will come and be our welcome guests for as long as they wish. Is that understood?"
Arthur glowered at him for a moment before schooling his features and nodding stiffly. Uther could practically hear him repeating the litany in his head: I must always sacrifice for the good of the kingdom. I must always sacrifice for the good of the kingdom. I must always sacrifice for the good of the kingdom.
Uther smiled to himself, making sure that it didn't show on his face, before ordering Sir Leon to take his son back to his room. He could hear Arthur talking to the knight excitedly about his most recent 'adventures' around the castle, watching as the knight laughed at the boy's antics.
The King dismissed the court, instructing the guards to close the doors to the throne room. He walked over to the window, his gaze obstructed by the gorgeous colors and fractures, deep in thought. He thought about seeing Vivienne again and seeing his daughter.
That was a strange thought. Although he knew that Vivienne had come by child because of him, he had never thought of Morgana as his before. He wondered what Vivienne would think of him.
Uther loved Ygraine with every bone in his body, with every fiber of his being, but Ygraine wasn't here anymore. She was dead, killed by sorcery. Uther's mind was filled with hate at the mere thought of the word. He shook it off. Hopefully, with time, Vivienne will learn to let go of Gorlois as he did Ygraine and she will be able to see that they belong together. Hopefully.
Balinor and Nimueh walked down the hallways of the underground hideaway. When Balinor had met Hunith all those years ago and they decided to lead a rebellion against the crown and a rebellion against the laws on magic, they had found this place.
It wasn't strictly underground; it was more in a mountain, but it counted. Balinor turned to say something to Nimueh, but was interrupted by the sound of an argument.
Nimueh, Balinor's second in command now that his beloved Hunith was dead, grinned at him in that evil shark grin. They knew this sound well. Balinor's son, Merlin and Nimueh's apprentice, Morgause got into arguments more than every other person in the compound combined. And that only included arguments between those two. The both of them were notorious for their stubborn views and their willingness to defend them with fists, words, or magic.
Balinor rolled his soft brown eyes as the skin around them crinkled into a smile. The two set off for the potions lab, where the two young people were set to be.
They stood just inside the doorway, observing, but not intruding. Merlin was carefully pouring a green, viscous liquid onto a clump of blue powder. Morgause was off to the side, scowling at him.
Merlin was ten years old, tall and already gangly. Morgause was twenty years old, with curly blonde hair and mean brown eyes. She could be caring when she liked someone, but it took some will power to like someone when you're forced to teach them and they are stubborn ten year olds.
The moment the liquid landed on the powder, a brown flame rose from it and ignited the liquid. For a brief, rare moment, true fear and concern played across Morgause's face and she took a half step forward to help the boy.
Merlin, however, was oblivious as the fire licked over his hand and covered the beaker. Balinor turned to see Nimueh smiling softly and shaking her head in exasperation. He turned his attention back to his son in time to see the powder start to change form.
Beads of sweat broke out on Merlin's forehead and Balinor noticed that his eyes were golden. Merlin, one of the few people in this world who are willing to admit when they need help, called out to Morgause, "Morgie-," that was his nickname for her, "-help, please. I can't hold the spell long enough."
Sure enough, the powder started to turn back into powder. Balinor leaned forward; he had no idea what the two were working on and he was anxious to see it work. Morgause and Merlin, their eyes flashing gold and their voices raising in harmony, chanted, "Eac þes wæt on þes sceppe geedcennan sum eorcanstānas!"
Balinor watched, shocked, as each grain of blue powder turned into a sapphire the size of a pinky nail. For a moment, Morgause and Merlin forgot their supposed hatred of each other and they hugged each other, jumping up and down and laughing. Then they turned and saw their leaders watching them with bemused expressions.
Morgause just turned and curled one half of her mouth up in a smirk, subtly moving her body to show the pile of gems. Merlin's cheeks and ears flushed with embarrassment and he put his head down, his eyes looking up through his eyelashes.
Nimueh sauntered over, whispering a spell over the precious jewels, shock coloring her deep blue eyes when she looked at Balinor, "They are real."
Balinor laughed, a sound that all were used to. He was a happy man even with the burden of a revolution on his shoulders. He said, "And how did this happen?"
Morgause, who would give credit where it was due and would back down from a fight when she was wrong, waved a hand in Merlin's direction. Balinor smiled at Merlin and he grinned back, "So, I was going through some of the old spells, organizing them because Assai was home helping her sick daughter. I read through every spell and wrote down the ones I thought were interesting. When it was time for me to come do potions with Morgie, I told her about this alchemist spell I found that would turn powder into a jewel of that same color. She said it wouldn't work and I said it would and we decided to test it. It worked! We can give out a set amount to all the people so they have money stores ready if this place falls!"
Balinor shook his head in amazement. Only his son would help organize old spells when the keeper couldn't. Only he would see a treasure trove ready with a few words and think of everyone but himself. He was loyal to their people and generous to a fault.
Hunith would be proud of her son. She would love this happy go-lucky, powerful, careful, smart, and dedicated young boy. Balinor pulled Merlin into a hug, watching out of the corner of his eye as Nimueh put a hand on Morgause's shoulder. Balinor's face split into a grin and he said, "Come here!" to the girls and pulled them into a hug. Together, the four of them represented something greater.
For all intents and purposes, Balinor was the king of this rag tag group of magic users. Nimueh was their regent, or maybe, with some time, their queen. Morgause was their ward and princess and Merlin was their crown prince. It was a family born of hardship, but a family nonetheless.
Tom looked up from the forge, squinting through the shimmering heat waves and black clouds of smoke. Lancelot's mother was standing there, waving her hand to get his attention. He smiled and put his hammer down. He untied his apron and wiped his hands on the back of it.
When he made his way out of the smithy, Lancelot's mother, Sarah, had been joined by Gwaine's father, Sir James. James was officially their leader, the noble who presided over this village, but in regards to the small group of rebels, Tom was the leader.
"What's wrong? Is it the children again?" Tom asked, putting up a large, chocolate colored arm to block the sunlight.
James laughed and shook his head, suddenly solemn, "No, this time it's a Diamond problem." Diamond of the Day was the name of the rebel group that hid in this city, protected by a knight of Caerleon. They bided their time and waited patiently for the opportunity to escape Caerleon's kingdom and go to Camelot where they could destroy the king and put one of their own in his place.
They were not evil and they didn't have bad intentions. It was only that they were trying to give Camelot a better king because they had all lost something at the hands of that tyrant.
Tom nodded his understanding and the trio walked over to James' mansion.
In the front yard, Tom could see all of the children. The next generation of Diamond of the Day. There were his own children, Gweneviere and Elyan. Then there were the others: James' kids named Gwaine, Mary, Elizabeth, Lucia, and Imogene; there was Sarah's child, Lancelot; lastly, there were Margaret's two sons, Percival and Perseus.
Tom walked onto the porch where the parents rested in the shade and talked quietly amongst themselves. "What's happened? Is everyone alright?"
It was Margaret who spoke, "We need to disband Diamond of the Day. James has gotten underhand threats that he needs to take us down. Luckily, they don't know he's involved, but the king knows most of the rest of us. We all need to leave."
James nodded solemnly, "I will provide you with the horses, supplies, and money you need to set up in a new place."
Sarah looked horrified, "No James! For one, we cannot accept your money; you have been unbelievably kind to us already. For another, what of your family? If someone finds out you are a part of Diamond, they will kill you. What will your family do then if you have spent all your money on us? Besides, if we do leave with fine things and gold, someone will know that you aided us. You cannot risk it. We can manage ourselves and we will continue to teach our children the way of the Diamond. Someday, they will find each other and it will be reformed, but until that day, we go our separate ways alone, unaided."
This was quite a speech for the young woman, who talked less than Percival, who talked little to none. Tom looked at the haggard faces of his friends and coconspirators, "We can do this and we will. Where is everyone going?"
Margaret answered that she would bring her sons and her husband to the corner of Cendred's kingdom closest to Camelot. She dared not go straight there. Sarah said that she would bring Lancelot and her husband to Mercia where she would train her son as a fighter. Tom told them that he would bring his children straight to Camelot and set up a forge there. James watched them all with a sad expression on his face. He would miss every single one of them.
They parted that day closer than they had ever been, yet soon to be spread across the five kingdoms. The parents made sure their children knew that they would leave that very night and they said goodbye to each other, possibly for eternity. Before the ten year olds (their younger siblings had already wandered off, uninterested) left, however, they were given an amulet by their parents. It had a single argyle, a diamond, engraved on a flat stone and held together by string. It marked them as the leaders of Diamond of the Day.
Then they parted, gone on the four winds, escaped to new lives and new perils.
Author's Note: And so begins their story. This is a prologue to give you some background on what is to come.
By the way, the phrase: Eac þes wæt on þes sceppe geedcennan sum eorcanstānas is supposed to mean: with this liquid on this grain, create some jewels. Not that dramatic, I know, but it looks cool in supposed Old English.