“You’re not going to.” Arthur said firmly, eyes hard with resolve. “Morgause just has to believe that you did.” Merlin rummaged through his sack, and handed the prince the vial. He held it out to his sister. “Here’s what we’re going to do…”
It didn’t take long for the potion to work, and mere minutes after that for Morgause herself to appear.
“Morgana!” She cried upon seeing the girl lying motionless in Merlin’s arms. “What did you do to her?” Her eyes flew to the empty vial with the skill and crossbones on the label lying on the floor nearby. “You poisoned her! Why?”
“It was the only way to get your attention.” Merlin replied evenly. “Call off the knights, or Morgana’s sacrifice will be for nothing.”
“Sacrifice! You betrayed her!”
“No more than you did by using her as the unknowing vessel for your evil magic. Call off the knights.”
“You dare to threaten me!”
“I dare may things, sorceress. Call off the knights. End the spell. Now!”
He could see the need for revenge conflicting with the need to save Morgana in her eyes.
“Tell me what you used and I can save her!” She demanded, ignoring his order. Incensed, she shot a spell at him, trying to force him to do her bidding. The blood red beam split in two a yard in front of Merlin and Morgana, dissipating harmlessly away.
“What is this foreign magic!” She gasped. “It does not come from you—you are a just a serving boy! Where did you get such a protection?”
“Call off the knights and end your spell.” Merlin repeated, ignoring her question. Morgana lay deathly still in his arms and he gritted his teeth, mentally counting the minutes. Too much time had been lost arguing with the witch, who still stalled.
“I won’t tell you again!” He snapped. “I can still save her, but only if you stop your treachery.”
“I won’t forget this, Merlin,” she seethed, but did as she bid. The foreign words rolled off of tongue, strangely beautiful and haunting despite the intent and harm they caused. Merlin listened carefully. Out in the hall, the sounds of fighting had ceased.
Pulling another vial out of his pocket, he uncorked it and gently tipped the contents into the unconscious Princess’ mouth.
Her eyes fluttered, then opened, color returning to her cheeks. He shook his head slightly and she remained silent at his signal.
“You harmed no innocents, and for that I give you this one clemency. Go.” He snarled, eyes flashing as he glared up at the sorceress. “Be gone before Uther and his men find you. But be forewarned, Morgause. Camelot and all its people are protected by the warlock Emrys. Do not think you can cross him and win.”
“Emrys is just a legend,” she scoffed. “You’re nothing but a whipping boy to the prince. What do you know of legends and warlocks?”
The castle rumbled ominously. Merlin smiled. “Do not mistake subservience for weakness. Not all is as it appears. Threaten me or my brother again, and we will not be so merciful.”
The king, prince, and guards burst in just as she screeched another spell and disappeared in a swirl of dust and wind.
Morgana stirred in his arms, and he looked down at her with a smile.