Arthur lay awake in the darkness for a long time, staring up at the ceiling of his four -poster. Finally he cursed in frustration and threw the covers off. He dressed easily without a candle, a sardonic smile twisting his lips at the reaction his manservent would have had if he had been there to witness such a feat.
The smile quickly disappeared as he buckled on his swordbelt. He and Merlin were long overdue for a conversation about a few things–but first, he was going to go have a little chat with a dragon.
“So, young Pendragon,” the dragon rumbled as Arthur stopped just beyond the opening to the cave. “You have come at last.”
Arthur stepped out onto the ledge. He and the dragon regarded each other for a long moment, assessing. The dragon inclined his head slightly, an acknowledgement of royal to royal, and Arthur returned the gesture, sheathing his sword but letting his hand rest easily on the hilt.
“You are not surprised to see me.” He stated after a moment.
“The magic in your veins called out to me, just as the magic in mine and the young warlock’s calls to you. We do not yet have such a bond as you and Merlin do, so I could not sense your emotions as clearly as you sensed his, but then our fates are not so quite tightly entwined.”
“So it’s true then. Merlin–is a sorcerer,” Arthur said bitterly. “All this time, he’s lied to me–”
“Peace, young Pendragon. Be at ease. Merlin has never meant you ill will, and it is not in him to intentionally betray you. You know that as well as I,” the dragon said sternly. “It is not lack of trust or loyalty towards you that stayed his tongue, but rather the corrupt hand of power that reigns over the land and seeks to choke the life out of magic and anyone associated with it.”
“My father.” Arthur stated grimly.
“Uther Pendragon seeks to destroy magic to absolve him of his sins, but the first thing that he would have to destroy would be–”
“Me,” the prince breathed, his eyes widening as the true implications of what drove his father sank in. “But Morgause–” he half pleaded, half protested.
“–is a witch, yes, but she did not lie or mislead you.” The dragon did not soften the blow. “That was your mother you saw, and she spoke true. Uther knew of the consequences, knew what the Old Magic would demand to keep the Balance. A life for a life. In his arrogance, he believed that he was above the laws of the world. He is not.”