Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin or any characters of the show.
Chapter : 1 The Birth of the Legends
Uther Pendragon, the King of Camelot paced in the throne room wondering how to give his wife and Queen what she had desperately wished for, a child. Another month had passed with only disappointment. He had summoned one of his trusted friends, Gaius, the apprentice court physician who also practiced magic. Uther could only hope that there was some kind of solution for him in the Old Religion.
Gaius hesitated a little when the King had asked him for a magical solution for begetting an heir. But when Uther pressed him, Gaius could only point him in the direction of the High Priestess, Nimueh who held the power over Life and Death. Lord Balinor, another of Uther's trusted advisors who was also a Dragonlord, cautioned Uther against the course of action he was set to take. Uther, in his desperation, refused to acknowledge Lord Balinor's warnings and the two of them fought bitterly with Lord Balinor leaving the castle, vowing to never return if the King proceeded with the chosen path. Uther disregarded Balinor's warnings and sent Gaius to Nimueh. When Gaius approached Nimueh with the King's request, the High Priestess who had been infatuated with Uther for a long time, agreed to the request in hope that he might come to see her favorably when she helped him.
And so, with the Cup of Life, Nimueh used her powers over Life and Death and helped the queen conceive a child. During the course of the Queen's pregnancy, Nimueh saw how the King doted on the Queen and the love he held for her. She soon grew jealous of Uther's attentions to the Queen. When the time for the birth of the Prince approached and Nimueh had to choose whose life was to be taken in exchange for that of the Prince, Nimueh decided on the life of Queen Ygraine, thinking that she could be Uther's support during his grief and slowly gain the king's love.
Unfortunately for Nimueh, all the practitioners of magic and believers of the Old Religion, Uther's grief soon turned to anger at the magic that had taken the life of his love, instead of the woman who was responsible. Uther had decreed all magic to be evil and passed a law that banned all types of sorcery. He soon started hunting all the sorcerers and magical creatures, including the Dragons and Dragonlords.
A year after the Great Purge was started, only the Great Dragon Kilgharrah and his Dragonlord, Balinor were left. Uther sent a missive to Lord Balinor expressing his regrets in not listening to his advice and requested them to come to the citadel in order to make amends. Lord Balinor, who believed his friend, travelled to Camelot with Kilgharrah only to be betrayed by said friend and was captured by the Knights of Camelot.
Gaius, who had practiced magic and was sworn to stop practicing magic, was made the Court Physician. Gaius, feeling guilty for pointing the King toward Nimueh and feeling responsible for the innocent deaths, helped a few of the captured people who meant no harm with their magic, escape and sometimes crossed out their names from the list of sorcerers even before they were arrested. It was also Gaius who helped Lord Balinor escape and pointed him in the direction of Ealdor, a village in Essetir, where his half-sister lived. Unfortunately, the Great Dragon had been chained underground with enchanted chains, preventing its escape.
Balinor slipped past the Camelot Guards and made his way to Ealdor. He met Hunith, Gaius's half-sister. Balinor stayed with Hunith and worked in the village fields in order to help her in thanks for giving him shelter. The pair slowly started falling in love over the next few months as they got to know each other. One evening, after both of them had finished their supper, Balinor fell on one knee making Hunith freeze in shock.
"Hunith, over the past few months, you have given me shelter and risked the wrath of Uther. You are one of the most selfless women in the world. You have a big heart and I have fallen in love with you. I know not reasons for you remaining unmarried until now, but I thank the Triple Goddess that you are unmarried. If not, I would have missed you in my life. I am a man on the run, with my lands in Camelot, although they cannot be confiscated by the crown, I will also be unable to take you there currently. I will try my best to give you all the riches I can. I do promise though that I will look after you and try to make you very happy. Will you marry me?" Balinor asked. Hunith, unable to voice her answer due to her throat being clogged up and eyes filled with tears, just nodded making Balinor beam at her. He took out a ring from the pocket of his robes and took Hunith's hand in his. It was then that a slight warmth travelled up their arms, startling Hunith. Balinor stared at Hunith open-mouthed before looking at his forearm. On his previously unmarred forearm, a new tattoo seemed to be forming. The tattoo was designed like a triskelion with the names Balinor and Hunith while a third name remained very blurred and they were unable to identify it.
"Wow! I never thought that this would ever happen to me!" Balinor whispered in awe.
"What is happening?" Hunith asked.
"There is a legend that every dragonlord has a soulmate, rarely two. Not every dragonlord is able to find their soulmate. But when they do, the first touch sparks a reaction with a tattoo indicating the soulmated pair on the Dragonlord's forearm. From this tattoo, it looks like we have another person who would complete our bond. The only consolation is that they are somewhere near us and that we may be able to find them. In a day or two, a tattoo will appear on your forearm as well. When either of us meet the third person, their name will appear on both our tattoos clearly." Balinor explained before sliding the ring onto Hunith's hand.
It was a few weeks later that Balinor got word that Camelot Knights had gotten a tip on his location and were coming for him.
"I love you Hunith. I do not want to put you in danger. I will head them off." Balinor said as he started packing up.
"I am coming with you. I love you too." Hunith replied.
"Hunith, Please. I cannot bear it if something happens to you. Uther will not care that you do not have magic. As long as you are associated with me, he will kill you too." Balinor said, pleading with her.
"It is better to die with you, than live without you. What happens if they find you and kill you? Will I even find out? Do you think I can live wondering whether you are alive or dead? I have no one else. I knew the risks when Gaius asked me if I could shelter you for a few days and I still said yes and I did not even know you then. You are the love of my life now, my soul mate. Do you think I will just let you go when things get tough? You cannot change my mind Balinor. I am coming with you." Hunith said resolutely, making Balinor sigh but nod in agreement with a lighter heart.
Hunith and Balinor left their little cottage in Ealdor during the night and travelled further into Essetir and into the woods. One day, when Balinor had gone to hunt something for dinner, King Cenred's hunting party found Hunith alone. Cenred decided that Hunith was to be his entertainment for that night. Hunith tried to run, but was caught by Cenred who lifted a frozen Hunith onto his horse. Hunith, who had been prepared to struggle, froze when she felt the same warmth as when Balinor and she had soul bonded. Hunith looked at her forearm and sure enough, Cenred's name became clear on the third wing of the triskelion tattoo.
Balinor rushed back to their camp when he felt his soul bond tattoo warm. He realised Hunith had met their third mate. When Balinor reached the camp, he was immediately taken prisoner by Cenred's men. Hunith, upon seeing Balinor, rushed to him before she could be stopped by the King.
"It's King Cenred." Hunith said to the unspoken question in Balinor's eyes. He nodded but closed his eyes in resignation. There was no way they would be able to remain undiscovered any further. But, Uther would be unable to pursue them without risking war between the two kingdoms. That is, if Cenred believed them, Balinor thought to himself. He knew they had to explain to the king without the other men interfering.
With a muttered "Forþ fleoge" Balinor knocked out the two men holding him. Without stopping he then knocked out the remaining men unconscious as well. Cenred drew his sword when he saw all his men knocked out.
"I am sorry for this, Your Majesty, but it looks like we need to talk and I could not have anyone else overhearing us." Balinor said, raising his hand in surrender.
"What do you want to talk about?" the King asked, still not loosening his grip on his sword.
"First, Let me introduce myself. I am Lord Balinor Ambrosius. I am a Dragonlord. This is Hunith, one of my soul bonded mates."
"One of your soul-bonded mates?" Cenred questioned bewildered.
"I am a Dragonlord, Sire. There is a legend that says every Dragonlord has a soulmate somewhere out there. Some dragonlords have 2 soulmates. When the Dragonlord meets their soulmate and if there was any skin to skin contact, we feel a warmth in our soul. We also get a tattoo on our forearm with our names. If the dragonlord's soulmates do not possess magic, their tattoo appears only after a day or two and not instantaneously." Balinor explained as both he and Hunith showed Cenred their arms with the tattoo.
"Why should I believe you? You could have already had these tattoos so that you can con me into your schemes. After all you've knocked out my men and I am guessing that you are on the run from Camelot." Cenred retorted.
"I understand your scepticism. I am indeed from Camelot. Uther was my friend before he went down a path I had warned him against the consequences. But he chose to ignore my warnings and now all the magical people are paying the price for his ignorance. Very well. I will swear an oath on my magic that I have not lied to you today and that I will not perform any magic on you for the next two days. If within that time you do not receive your soulmate tattoo matching ours, I place myself at your mercy. I only ask that you spare Hunith as she is completely innocent." Balinor said, swearing an oath on his magic when the young King nodded his assent.
"Ic ácwice þé. Ic þé bebíede þæt þú ne slæpest! Brimstréam" Balinor chanted, waking the Essetir Knights.
The couple were kept under guard throughout the next day. Cenred sought the pair later in the evening, when the soulmate tattoo appeared on his forearm. The triad talked late into the night getting to know each other.
Over the course of the next month, the triad fell into a routine of breaking their fast together, before Cenred went to the Council meetings and Petition meetings while Hunith was fitted for dresses for all occasions in high quality silk. Cenred saw to it that both Hunith and Balinor were going to be looking the part of Queen and King Consort before the first week was up. Since Hunith already knew how to read and write, Balinor took it upon himself to educate her in the history of the five kingdoms and geography as well as politics.
Cenred had introduced his cousin, Lord Lot's wife, a cheerful, affectionate, sweet tempered Lady to Hunith who then proceeded to command her afternoons educating her about the role of a Queen as well as the Lady of the Castle. As Hunith got to know Lady Aubrey, she relaxed and enjoyed her time with her. Lady Aubrey also helped Hunith identify the politics among the female courtiers and shared the court gossip with her. The two ladies had soon become close friends.
Balinor, on the other hand had started looking at the laws of Essetir and had started compiling a few suggestions for some of the laws that could be edited. He also observed and took notes on the training sessions of the Knights with Lord Lot who was the First Knight of Essetir and was incharge of the military of Essetir.
Both Lord Lot and Lady Aubrey joined the triad for dinner and the five of them recounted their day. Both Balinor and Hunith had a fresh perspective on some of the events or laws that the King and Lord Lot did not have. They debated among themselves and came to a conclusion that was best for the Kingdom and the people. Once Lot and Aubrey had departed, the three of them spent some time taking a walk in the Palace gardens getting to know each other.
The three of them learned that both Balinor and Cenred could be stubborn to the extremes and only Hunith could talk them around to a compromise. Balinor's sense of fairness balanced out Cenred's ruthlessness while Hunith's passionate affection bound them together when the two headstrong men clashed. That was not to say that Hunith was a pushover. After all she had both men listening to her with a few words and one stern disappointed look had both men ashamed of themselves.
Six months after Cenred had met Balinor and Hunith, they had decided to bond magically and marry legally as well. Invitations were sent out to all the neighbouring kingdoms for the Marriage Celebrations. The fact that the magical bonding was taking place was not mentioned as that was to be held in private before the guests arrived. Most of the Kingdoms accepted the invites but a few of them declined, most notable of those being Camelot and Gawant, but Balinor had expected that.
The magical bonding was a private affair with only Lord Lot and Lady Aubrey being present as witnesses. It was a beautiful ceremony officiated by Lord Alator of Catha and Lady Idonea, one of the High Priest and High Priestess of the Old Religion. The ceremony was held during sunset, in the Royal Garden, which had been decorated for the ceremony.
Cenred, Hunith and Balinor had been freshly bathed and dressed in a long robe. Cenred had been swathed in royal blue coloured robe while Balinor was in golden coloured robe and Hunith was dressed in a pure white colored silk robe. A triskelion similar to their tattoos was drawn on the floor and the three of them stood on each wing denoting their names.
The first part of the ceremony consisted of the three of them holding each other's hands which were then bound together. Lord Alator and Lady Idonea started with a prayer to the Triple Goddess and then proceeded to the initial blessings.
The second part of the ritual involved the triad's hands tied together at the center. All three of them spoke their vows together with Alator and Idonea chanting the binding spell in the background. When the five of them had finished, a pure white bright light flashed around their bound hands and similar bracelets appeared on their wrists after which the binding on their hands disappeared.
The marriage ceremony and the subsequent coronation of Hunith as the Queen and Balinor as the King Consort was impressive as well. The celebrations were then followed by a tournament held in honor of the wedding.
Nine months later, the Queen Hunith gave birth to a black haired, blue eyed baby girl whose eyes glowed a golden color as soon as she saw her fathers turning their hair blue making the family laugh after the long hours of the stress of labor.
"The Queen has given birth to a Princess. Both the mother and the Babe are fine. She will be named Merlynn. Princess Merlynn of Essetir." Cenred announced to the crowd of people standing below the balcony awaiting the new arrival, making them cheer out loud.
"Long Live the Princess Merlynn!"
A/N: So, I have three paths this story can go.
1:- Merlin is kidnapped at the age of 3 and then rescued and raised by the druids. She then makes her way to Camelot to fulfill her destiny not knowing of her heritage.
2:- Merlin is captured by Halig the bounty hunter and delivered to Uther at the age of 17. Gaius dissuades Uther from executing her to prevent a war with Essetir and instead they propose betrothal between Arthur and Merlin.
3:- Merlin is kidnapped at the age of 17 and then escapes and found by the druids. She then makes her way to Camelot to fulfill her destiny on her own free will.
Please review which option you would like the story to go.