Chapter 1: A Shocking Disaster
The horses suddenly cried out as the shouting began. Padme looked around, terrified, not knowing whether she should stay with the knights or flee, until she heard a voice
"Your highness!" one of the knights cried, "Head for Camelot!" he insisted "We'll be right behind you!" he assured her. Padme, frightened even more, gripped the reins of her horse before she started to ride through the forest.
Then suddenly, she was pulled off the horse and knocked to the ground, unconscious just as a cloaked hooded figured approached her before everything went black
Morgana's eyes snapped open, "Padme!" she cried, attempting to catch her breath. She tried to understand what she had just seen-Padme was in danger! But since she become Queen, Morgana had not seen harm come to her friend, though she now wondered if that was about to change.
It was a beautiful, clear day, with a soft wind in the air. Queen Padme gently placed a beautiful bunch of flowers on the grave of her parents. They were killed tragically when she was only 10 years old. They never saw her become the Ambassador of Mercia or more recently Queen of Camelot. She was now kneeling by her parent's grave, in a long sleeved crimson coloured dress, with blue cloak over her shoulders.
She had been accompanied by her brother in law, Arthur and five knights of Camelot for her protection. Her husband loved her dearly and wanted to ensure she was well protected. Padme felt Arthur, place his hand on her shoulder. She then moved one of her hands over his.
"I still miss them dearly" she confesses. "They've missed so much of what has happened and will never meet my husband or his family" she sobbed as Arthur gently squeezed her shoulder.
"You never want to lose your parents" he confessed. "Though I never knew my mother" he pointed out ignoring the time he asked Morgause to summon her where she revealed what he later found out was a lie. "It was my father and Anakin, who raised me and I lost my father" he adds. Padme looked up at him, a small smile crossed her face
"I promise you, you will not lose your brother" she assures him. She turns back to her parent's grave, whispering. "I'll always love you" to them before getting to her feet. Arthur then led her back over towards the knights and their horses where they would prepare to head back home to Camelot.
The group were now on their horses and moving through the forest. Padme in the middle, Arthur beside her and the knights on either side. They continued to move through the forest as one of the knights spoke
"I think they would have been proud" he assured Padme, referring to her parents and how far Padme has come over the years. Padme looks over at him before he went on
"Not just of how you became a Ambassador and Queen, but of the strong beautiful woman you've become" he explained. Arthur nods in agreement
"Absolutely, my brother is smitten with you, always has been since he first met you" Arthur points out. Padme blushes as the knights chuckle in response,
"No other woman could be loved and respected by the King like he does for you" another knight, Leon pointed out before Arthur could cheekily add
"Except for Morgana. Anakin and I always had a strong friendship with Morgana, but yet, I felt like she respected and cared for Anakin more, like how a younger sister looks to a big brother" he explained.
Padme smiles, "Anakin is a sweetheart and I know my parents would have loved him and Morgana" she confessed looking over at Arthur, smirking, as she noticed he had gone quieter.
"And they would have loved you Arthur" she teases making the knights all laugh at Arthur who only rolls his eyes as they continue to move down the forest path. They could not see Morgause, hooded and cloaked, hiding behind a nearby tree looking down at them.
Morgause knew she had time to set her trap and after getting up on her horse, she rode through the forest to an open field. Ensuring no one was around, Morgause held out one hand over the field where she started to chant a magical spell. Her eyes flashed yellow as she watched a light yellowish mist appear over the field.
Morgause smirks to herself just as she hears the sound of horses coming towards her. They were coming closer, it was time. Morgause gently kicks at her horse to move away into the trees. Morgause descends her horse and peers through the branches seeing the Queen, the prince and the knights emerge from the forest. Two of the knights are in front of Arthur and Padme looking out over the field, however neither see a thin, greenish black snake slithering through the grass towards them.
Suddenly, one of the knight's horses begins to cry, startled by the snake who is now joined by another snake hissing at the group. Padme holds tightly onto the reins of her horse as it starts to pull back, crying out. Another horse is also spooked, frightened by the snakes, rears up on its back legs sending the knight to the ground, knocked out.
The remaining horses are crying out even more as one of the snakes slithers across the unconscious knight's body. Arthur, struggles to control his horse, looks across at Padme.
"Get to the Queen!" he cries out to her, "Get to the trees, go!" he calls out to her. Padme, still scared of what is going on, simply nods and grips the reins riding off back into the forest leaving Arthur and the knights to escape the snakes.
Arthur attempts to control his horse as one snake moves towards him, however his horse frightened, rears back on its back legs and sends Arthur to the ground. Now, lying on his back, Arthur, startled, looks behind him at the snake, who is now hissing back at him and before Arthur is able to move away, the snake lunges for him.
Unaware of what has happened to her brother in law or the knights, Padme continues to ride through the forest as fast as she can, she only hopes her friends are alright. She looks back behind her and is unable to see any of them following her. She wants to go back but knows they wouldn't want that.
She continues to ride before she lets out a frightened gasp, seeing the hooded figure of Morgause staring straight back at her. She never thought she would have to see this witch again. Morgause simply stares back at her, tilting her head to her however Padme isn't going to wait around
She pulls on her horse's reins to turn around and begins to ride back the way she came. Morgause watches her leave seeing her look back over her shoulder at her before she continues to ride further and further away.
Morgause then raises an arm up and using her powers, pulls Padme from her horse. She cries out before rolling down to the ground knocking her out. Morgause, pleased with her work, moves over towards the fallen queen. She kneels down before her
"Sleep m'lady" she smirks. "It will be some time before you do so again" she sneers as Padme continues to lie unconscious on the ground at the same time Morgause gets back up on her feet moving away.
That evening, the knights had managed to make their way back to Camelot, with a wounded Arthur and fellow knight. One led the way as another carried the knight Leon on a stretcher and the last two carried Arthur on his stretcher towards Gaius's chambers.
Once they were in Gaius's chambers, Gaius set to work just as Merlin, who had been awoken by the commotion, was placing two lit candles down on the table.
"Merlin" Gaius spoke up at him seeing him turn his head at him.
"Hollyhock" he simply tells him as Merlin nods, picking up two bottles
"One dram?" he asks him as Gaius answers him
"And dianthus, two drams" as he continues to monitor Arthur and the knight's conditions right as the door just Merlin starts remembering more remedies Gaius needed
"Lungwort!" he calls out as Gaius nodded,
"Three grains" he replied seeing Merlin rush across to the room to retrieve the ingredient right at the moment the chamber door opened revealing Anakin, in his chainmail and Morgana in her white long sleeved night dress rushing into the room.
"What happened?" he asks them as Morgana follows him. One of the knights, Nicholas looks over at them getting to his feet.
"We were riding, we came upon a nest of snakes" he explains as Anakin and Morgana step closer. Anakin's eyes widen as he sees his younger brother lying on one of the stretchers then realising there is one person missing.
"Where's Padme?" he asks, fear in his voice. Fear for his brother, hoping he'll make it and fear for where his wife is. Nicholas keeps silent looking over at Gaius who looks over at the third knight, all of them keeping silent, not wanting to answer him.
Anakin becomes worried even more "Where is she?" he asks once more. Nicholas finally answers him.
"She fled" he only replies. Morgana, looks up at Anakin, and could see him attempting to hold back tears. Padme, his wife, his Queen, was missing and his brother was lying unconscious in Gaius's chambers. Anakin shakes his head and without another word, immediately left the chambers with Morgana and Merlin hurrying after him.
Anakin hurried down the corridor, not seeing Morgana and Merlin hurrying to catch up with him, though he feels they are trying to comfort him
"Anakin!" Merlin calls out to him as he keeps moving, so Morgana tries calling out to him,
"Anakin!" she cries fear in her voice watching Anakin move further and further from them before he replies
"We ride out at dawn!" he only calls back to them quickly adding. "Morgana, you are to remain behind!" Merlin still silent, unable to think of another response sighs before looking back at Morgana who is looking back at him, her eyes frightened for her friends and unable to respond, yet Merlin senses she will not follow orders.
A short time later, Merlin returned to Gaius's chambers where he was inspecting Arthur and the knight's wounds. Gaius was inspecting the wound on Arthur's arm when he realised something.
"This was no accident" he tells him as Merlin then asks
"Sorcery?" hearing Gaius go on,
"There is dark magic coursing through their veins" he explains "By any right, they should be dead" he goes on. Merlin dabs at the knight's wound
"They were lucky" he replies as Gaius looks back at him.
"I fear there's more to it then luck" he admits. Merlin, confused, turns back to him. He didn't need to say anything, for Gaius was already thinking what he was thinking-Morgause was behind this.
An hour later, Merlin left the chambers to go find Anakin and slowly entered his friend's chambers. Anakin was standing beside his dresser, fiddling with something on the dresser. He looks over at the door at Merlin who quietly enters and proceeds over towards him.
"Learn to knock will you?" he simply tells him as Merlin casually replies
"Sorry sire" he stops a few meters before him seeing Anakin look back at him. Merlin then continues "I wanted you to know that Arthur and Leon are safe" he re assures him as Anakin stares back at him with a serious look. "They are well, on the road to recovery" he promises.
Anakin quietly nods, relief to know his brother will be safe, but it still didn't explain where his wife was. "That's good news" he only replies.
Merlin then speaks up once more, "Anakin" he starts going on "There is evidence of sorcery" he informs him. This worries Anakin, who turns his head at him. Merlin then adds "Gaius suspects that Morgause is involved"
Anakin twitches. Morgause. He had not heard of that name since he and Arthur were captured by Palpatine and Morgause and forced to turn against their father, Camelot and almost each other. He hoped never to hear her name again.
Anakin lowers his head. "You can go Merlin" he simply replies. Merlin nods and starts to turn around, stopping when he hears Anakin speak.
"I almost lost Padme once before " he breathes. He was referring back to the time shortly he first met Padme and she was framed for poisoning Arthur. His father sentenced her to death and she would have been executed if Arthur hadn't survived. Merlin turns back to his friend
"You're not going to lose her" he promises. He sees Anakin's face look back at him, a face full of sadness. Merlin moves back over to her. "You're not going to lose her. We will find her" he assures him. "I swear" he adds holding out his hand to him
Anakin looks at him for a minute then grabs hold of his arm. Merlin smiles "We'll bring her back" he tells him. Padme was his friend too and he wasn't about to let Morgause to succeed, he didn't before and he won't this time.
Morgana watched as Merlin left Anakin's chambers before she emerged from the shadows and towards her friend's chambers. She knew he had already told her that she would be remaining here and that was only protecting her but Morgana was having none of it. She would be with her friends.
She knocked gently on the door, but heard no answer and so she pushed opened the door, peering in. "Anakin?" she softly called out moving into the room. "Anakin?" she calls out once more before she spots him now sitting on the edge of his bed. Morgana silently approached him wrapping her arm around his shoulders.
Anakin turns his head towards her, wrapping an arm around her waist. "I'm going to find her Morgana" he assures her. Morgana gives him a small smile before she takes a deep breath.
"I want to come with you, Anakin" she tells him "You and Padme are two of my close best friends. I can't wait around here while you are all out in danger" she confesses going on "If you recall with what happened with you, Arthur and Palpatine and Morgause, I was one of the ones who rescued you both" she reminds him. Anakin saw tears forming in her eyes.
Anakin held her close, rubbing her back gently. "Morgana, I need someone watching over Camelot and with Padme missing, perhaps in danger, I can't watch out for you as well" he tells her as Morgana shook her head
"I have fought alongside you many times, Anakin. You need me on this journey" she tells him, her eyes staring directly at him. Anakin sighed as she squeezed her shoulders. Despite trying to argue with her, she was right and if he didn't allow her to come, she might just sneak out and follow them.
Anakin looked down at his friend before he spoke. "Alright, you can come. Be ready by dawn. I'll ask Obi Wan and Gaius to watch over the kingdom while we're gone" he tells her.
Morgana smiles throwing her arms around her friend, "We will find her Anakin. I promise you" she assured him seeing him laugh
"You sound like Merlin, he said the exact same thing" he replies. Morgana smirks. Over the years, she felt close with Merlin, enjoying his positively and will to protect Anakin, Arthur and now Padme like she did. Anakin and Morgana shared one last hug before she left his chambers.
As dawn broke the following morning, Anakin dressed in his chainmail and Camelot red cape rode out of Camelot leading Arthur, Morgana, Merlin and his small group of knights. Arthur still felt the guilt over letting Padme go missing despite thinking he was only saving her from the snakes. Anakin had re assured him that he had only done his duty but Arthur felt he should have followed her.
Now, he was accompanying his brother and his friends on a journey to find the woman he had come to love like a sister. He only hoped she wasn't in severe danger and had been captured. They rode into the forest, further away from the city. They knew they needed to make up for lost time but hopefully she hadn't gotten too far.
Whilst Anakin and his group searched for Padme. Morgause was sitting beside her new captive, watching her sleep, though she knew that it was time to get moving and for Padme to wake up. She reaches over with one hand and gently touches Padme's cheek.
Padme stirs before her eyes snap open. She realises she is still in the forest, her cloak is now gone. She quickly pulls herself up into a sitting position looking back over her shoulder seeing Morgause smirking at her.
"Morning m'lady" she sneers at her. Padme's eyes widen, panic is now mixed with fear upon seeing this witch. Padme is unable to respond as she realises her hands are tied together with rope. She tries to free herself before she then asks,
"What do you want with me?" worry in her voice as Morgause then replies
"I want to play a little game" she simply tells her as Padme looks back at her, knowing this woman had more to her agenda.
"A game?" she asks her confused as Morgause grits her teeth.
"Find out how much Anakin really loves you" she taunts. Padme's eyes widen. She was after her husband, she should have known! Padme quickly shakes her head.
"It's won't work" she tries telling her as Morgause only snaps back at her.
"You underestimate his feelings" she replies. Padme only stares back at her,
"He's not stupid" she tells her however Morgause sneers back at her
"Will see" she only snaps back as Padme is quick to point out
"He'll know you've taken me. He'll know it's a trap" she warns her but Morgause isn't afraid, instead she smiles,
"He will" she agrees. "But he'll still come" she adds. She had been watching Anakin and Padme for months, she knew Anakin would do anything for his wife, he wasn't about to leave her to die.
Morgause then silently gets to her feet and moves away, leaving Padme still sitting there, her thoughts turn to her husband and his family. She feared Morgause would not go easy on them and she didn't want to be cause of their deaths.
Meanwhile, continuing their journey through the forest, the knights led Anakin, Arthur, Morgana and Merlin through the forest. They started to slow down when they came across a lone white horse still with its saddle attached. They instantly recognised it as Padme's horse.
One of the knights descended off their own horse and moved over to it seeing it start to back away as the others caught up. Anakin looked over seeing the saddle's strap broken before hearing Arthur speak up.
"She must have been knocked off her mount by some force" he stated. Morgana and Merlin kept quiet but exchanged glances with each other. It was at that moment, another knight notices disturbance in the ground
"Here!" he calls out looking down at a patch of mud. "Tracks" he tells them going on "They were heading east!" he calls back to them. Anakin tightens his hold on his reins as he remains strong.
"Let's go!" he simply tells them before they rode off east down the forest's path, Anakin leading the way riding up a small hilltop before proceeding through the trees.
As they were on the move, so too was Morgause. She was sitting atop her horse, pulling on a long thick rope which was tied to the rope which was around Padme's wrists. She continued to pull her along as a weary hunched Padme struggled a few feet behind her.
Morgause didn't even bother looking behind her to see her captive struggling and continued on through the forest. She tugged on the rope making Padme speed up however, tired and thirsty, Padme soon collapses to her knees. This making Morgause turn her horse back towards her.
Padme now on her knees, slowly lifts her weary head watching Morgause descend her horse, stepping back to her, water canteen in hand. She holds it out to her
"Here" she simply tells her seeing Padme look up at her before looking away. She didn't know why Morgause was being so nice to her, she knew Morgause would kill her anyway, why was she stretching it out. Morgause scoffs down at her "It's too good for you now that you're Queen" she spat
Padme then turns back to her, staring straight up at her. "I don't want anything from you" she snaps back at her. Morgause shakes her head, starting to unscrew the lid off the canteen,
Morgause then hands her the canteen once more, "Drink it" she repeats. "You may need it" she hints. Padme looks up at her once more,
"Why?" she asks straight out seeing her smirk
"I wouldn't be in such a hurry to know" she cautions her. Morgause then holds the water canteen up in front of Padme and begins to pour the water out in front of her. Padme looks at the water falling down onto the ground in front of her, such a waste but what if Morgause was lying to her and had really poisoned it?
Morgause then put the lid back on the canteen, turning back to her horse. Once she was back on the horse, Padme felt her tug at the rope which automatically pulled her weakly to her feet and once more pulled along on their journey wondering just what exactly Morgause had in mind.
Anakin, Arthur, Morgana, Merlin and the knights continued to ride through the forest, their speed showing no signs of slowing down. They wanted to cover as much ground as they could by nightfall. They hadn't given up hope of finding Padme. Anakin was hoping that Morgause hadn't found her first.
The horses continued to race through the trees, one after another as the sun shone brightly in the sky.
However, Morgause, along with her captive Queen, had now exited the forest and onto what appeared to be a barren desert wasteland. The sun was burning brightly in the sky. Padme squinted to avoid looking directly at the sun as Morgause, sitting on top her horse and now with her hood over her head, pulled her along.
Padme saw in the distance, there was a lone tall black tower. That is where Morgause was taking her. Hold her captive in the tower in an attempt to lure Anakin to her. She felt sadden once more thinking of her beloved husband, wondering if she'll ever see him again. She stumbled slightly as she pulled once more by Morgause towards the tower underneath the hot sun.
Night fall had set in over the forest as Anakin, Morgana, Arthur, Merlin and the knights continued to move through the forest. Arthur had decided to get off his horse and walk up front, alongside his horse, trying to follow the trail. He then came to a slow stop,
"It's getting too dark!" he calls back to his brother and the group however Anakin was not willing to stop, knowing time was of the essence. He tightened the reins on his horse,
"We'll keep heading east!" he insists as Morgana looks back at Merlin, wanting him to try to convince Anakin to stop for the night.
"We've lost the trail!" Merlin tries to point out but Anakin wasn't listening, starting to turn his horse around,
"Then we'll re trace the tracks!" he suggests. He turns his horse back around as the knights, Merlin, Morgana, Arthur and the knights all remain still, simply watching Anakin gently ride past them back the way they came.
"Anakin!" Morgana calls out, her voice soft but full of concern seeing him not turn around as Merlin tries calling him back
"Anakin!" he exclaims but Anakin wasn't returning. Arthur looked around at the group, knowing what he had to do.
"We'll make camp here, I'll talk to him" he assures them getting back on his horse and riding after him leaving the others to begin making a make shift camp.
Arthur found his brother not too far away from where he left the group, still sitting on his horse, staring out across the forest. His thoughts were still on his beloved Padme, and he didn't even turn to look at his brother as he approached,
"Anakin" he spoke out as he then only replied
"She can't be far" he pointed out. Arthur nods in agreement,
"I know" he assures him, "But we have to work together" he reminds him as Anakin remains silent, looking out over the trees in the distance. Arthur speaks up once more, "We're making a camp and get a fire going, in the morning we'll pick up the trail again" he promises him starting to turn his horse back around. He starts to move back down the trail, "Come on" he calls back not hearing his brother following him.
Arthur sighs, it was hurting him to see his brother like this, but they will find her as Anakin remained in his spot, only thinking about Padme and he hoped she wasn't in danger, or in Morgause's clutches like Merlin feared.
Unfortunately, Padme was indeed still in Morgause's clutches. She had led her to the lone tower and now untied her hands forcing her up the stoned winding staircase. Morgause, flamed torch in hand, pushed her further up the stairs
Padme, wondering what was up the top, pauses to look back at the witch. Morgause only glares back at her,
"Keep moving" she only tells her as Padme, her voice shakily, asks
"Where are you taking me?" as Morgause then replies
"You'll find out" watching Padme then move further up the staircase before she followed her. Reaching the top, Morgause watched as Padme pushed over the wooden door at the end of the stairwell and slowly stepping into the dark, cold, quiet room. Padme remained silent, she felt the fear rushing through her,
"What is this place?" she asks her, her voice barely a whisper not seeing Morgause reach for the door knob,
"Sleep well" she smirks closing the door behind her. Padme panics
"Morgause!" she cries turning back to the door, however it was too late. She was now trapped in this room, wondering what Morgause had planned. Her eyes widen and scanned the room. She slowly stepped further into the room, fearing there was something else in the room. She slowly moves her hands up to ears. She spins around, cautiously of what may happened when she was then startled by a loud, frightened scream.
Fear was now rushing even faster through Padme as she begins to wonder she was in deeper trouble and only hoped Anakin would find her soon!
Meanwhile, back in the forest, Anakin, Morgana, Merlin and the knights were all resting by the fire, except for Arthur who had isolated himself from the group. He still blamed himself for Padme being kidnapped. Anakin turned his head to look over at his brother, quietly standing beside a nearby tree. He had assured him it wasn't his fault but knew Arthur still blamed himself and so decided to go talk to him. He slowly gets up and moves away from the group towards his brother.
"Arthur" he speaks up as he approaches his brother. Arthur, not bothering to turn around, simply replies,
"If I had stayed with her..." his voice trails off as Anakin moves around in front of him, resting against the front of the tree, looking back at him,
"You and Leon still survived" he reminds him "We've already lost father, I can't lose my brother" as Arthur sighs,
"But I didn't save my sister in law" he confesses. Anakin is quiet for a moment, his arms folded in front of him. He then tries re assuring Arthur to not blame himself,
"We can't all blame ourselves" he replies. Arthur shakes his head,
"Ever since we met her, she's been kind and looking out for us. She saved us from Palpatine and Morgause" he reminds him as Anakin remains silent as Arthur goes on, "When you became King and then married Padme, I made myself a promise, that I would protect you both, you're both one of the few family members I have" he tells him. He looks away, "I can't shake this feeling of guilt I have" he admits
Anakin places a hand on his shoulder, "Padme wouldn't want you to have this guilt, she wouldn't blame you for what happened. We will see her again" he promises him wrapping an arm around his shoulders, Anakin led Arthur back over towards the group.
Two hours later, the fire had been extinguished and everyone had decided to get some sleep. It was all quiet, until suddenly and unexpectedly they were all awoken by Leon screaming, appearing to have suffered a nightmare. Merlin sprung to his feet towards him,
"It's alright" Merlin told him, kneeling beside him as Leon speaks up
"The tower!" he cried as they all looked over towards him. Merlin knelt beside him, attempting to comfort him as he went on "Everything in its shadow was dead" he tells them gasping, "And the sound, it sounded like children screaming" he goes on as Arthur realises that he saw the same thing in his dream,
"And the rain came down like blood" he adds as they all look over towards him,
"I had the same dream" he admits, he continues, "I was lost in a forest and the trees had claws and when I finally escaped it, there was a plain" he pauses as Leon speaks back up
"Empty as far as the eye can see, except..." his voice trails as Arthur finishes the sentence
"Rising in the sky was a black tower" his face looked confused as Leon described it,
"A tower so dark it could swallow the sun" he finishes just as they all heard Anakin's voice speak up.
"The dark tower" he informs them. Merlin and Morgana both turn to look over at him as he explains it further
"It's a place where every young knight is taught to dread and rightly so" he pauses for a moment "It's where many have met their end" he tells them as Merlin shakes his head,
"Never heard of it" he confesses as Anakin nods,
"With good reason, it said that any mention of it could bring doom to those who hear it" he cautions them looking around at Arthur, Morgana, Leon and the knights, no one could say a word or ask anything more, fearing they've heard enough, but why exactly did Arthur and Leon both dream of this tower?
A few minutes later, Merlin had helped Arthur and Leon fall back asleep along with the other knights, except for Anakin and Morgana, who both wanted to ask Merlin about Arthur and Leon's dreams.
Merlin moved back over to his bag just as Anakin and Morgana were moving over towards him,
"Why would they both have that dream?" Anakin asks Merlin as Merlin looks over at him,
"The poison" he simply answers him, referring to the snake venom they had been bitten with, "It must still be conversing through their veins" he adds as Morgana speaks up,
"But the same dream?" she asks, keeping her voice low as Merlin looks between his two friends,
"Morgause conjured those snakes. Arthur and Leon would be dead if that's what she wanted" he points out as Morgana looks up at her friend, who sighs,
"So what are you saying?" Anakin asks as Merlin goes on
"She planted those visions in their minds" he replies seeing Anakin look away, "It's a trap" he goes on "She's luring you to your doom" he points out.
Morgana looks between both of them "At the tower" she tells them as Anakin realises where his beloved Padme is,
"That's where she's taken Padme" he concluded in a flat response sensing Morgana and Merlin nodding but fearful now of what could be happening to Padme in that tower, in Morgause's clutches.