Title: The Missing Manservant
Character/s: Lancelot Leon, Elyan, Gwaine, Gaius, Merlin
Summary: Merlin is missing and Arthur and the knights go to look for him.
Warnings: torture mentioned
Word Count: 1422
Prompt:304 Art Prompt Saviour by ObsidianSerpent
Author's Notes: Onezie! I went way over on the word count. OOPS!
XThe Missing Manservant
Arthur walked into gaius’ chambers in a foul mood. “Where is Merlin? Is he still at the tavern?”
Gaius shifted on his feet. “I am afraid I don’t know where he is, Sire. He left two days ago and didn’t tell me where he was going. I’m starting to worry about him.”
“You said he was at the tavern.” Arthur stared hard at the older man. “Why did you lie to me?”
“I thought he would be back by now.” Gaius looked at the floor. “He has never been gone this long.”
“So when you tell me he’s in the tavern, he’s not really in the tavern?” Arthur took a breath to settle down. “What is her name?”
“There isn’t a woman as far as I know.” Gaius shifted on his feet again. “That he would have told me about.”
Arthur grinned. “I doubt that.”
“Sire, I was going to ask Lancelot to go look for him.”
“No need. I’m leading the patrol today. We will all look for him.” Arthur turned to leave then stopped. “Next time he does this secret disappearing act I want to be told.”
“Yes Sire.” Gaius bowed his head. “I will inform you myself.”
Arthur nodded. “See that you do.” Arthur walked out the door.
Gaius sat down and sighed. He wasn’t sure if he should have told Arthur at all. Merlin not coming home when he was expected was really bothering him.
Arthur walked into the courtyard and looked at the knights getting ready to go on patrol. “We have a slight problem.”
“Only a slight one? Where’s Merlin?” Gwaine looked toward the door that Arthur had just come through.
Arthur scowled. “Gaius says that merlin went off somewhere and Merlin hasn’t come back when he said he would. We are going to have to look for him while we are on patrol.”
“What’s her name?” Elyan chuckled.
“I bet it’s the kitchen maid with the really big…” Gwaine held his hands out to indicate breasts. He laughed and mounted his horse.
“No. Merlin is the kind of guy that looks at a wench’s ass.” Lancelot chuckled from the saddle of his horse. “You know he has a thing for the serving girl at the Rising Sun.”
“Which one? He drools after them all.” Elyan laughed and mounted his horse. “We better go find him before some woman talks him into marrying her.”
Leon cleared his throat trying to warn the others that someone was coming.
“And what is wrong with marriage?”
All the men turned to the voice. Gwen stood there glaring at them all. She was dressed for riding.
Getting no answer she pulled on her gloves. “Elyan, go get me a horse. I’m coming with you.”
“Guinevere you should stay here.” Arthur walked over and took her gloved hands in his. “We are looking for Merlin and we may have to stay out a little longer than usual.”
“I’m coming.” Gwen’s look dared him to say no. “You will need someone to cook and see to the horses. Please Arthur I’m worried about him as well.”
Arthur sighed. He knew there was no point to argue. “Elyan, get the Queen a horse.”
Elyan dismounted and gave Gwen a glare as he went to saddle her a horse.
After a short delay, they were on their way. At the head of the road out into the kingdom, Arthur split the group in half to cover more ground.
They searched the woods and tracks that Merlin would have taken when he left the castle. By midday, they had still not found a trace of him anywhere.
Arthur was waiting for the others with Elyan and Gwen at the agreed upon place. He was pacing and worried. He might have to send more patrols out to search for Merlin.
Leon, Lancelot, and Gwaine arrived with grim faces and dismounted.
“Anything?” Arthur asked.
Leon shook his head. “I can’t believe that he could have gone too far on foot.”
Lancelot scowled. “We haven’t searched the Valley of the Fallen Kings.”
“Merlin would never go in there on his own.” Arthur frowned. “Morgana could have captured him. If she found him out alone.”
“Morgana was last seen in Cenred’s kingdom. She hasn’t been near Camelot in a while.” Leon reminded them. “He may have just gotten lost.”
“We keep looking.” Gwen looked at Arthur. “We can’t leave him out here. He may be injured.”
“Let’s rest the horses and start out again in an hour.” Arthur took Gwen’s hand. “We will find him.”
Lancelot pulled Gwaine aside. “I know where he is, don’t you?”
“I have an idea. We should tell Arthur.” Gwaine looked over at Arthur starting the fire. “No. On second thought, I don’t think Merlin would like that.”
“It would get him killed and you know it.” Lancelot glanced over at Arthur. “I only say this to you because you also know Merlin’s secret “
Gwaine grinned. “Yeah. He can’t hold his drink. We have to leave the others here.”
“Agreed.” Lancelot quietly led his horse away from the others.
Gwaine took one more look around and led his horse in the same direction as Lancelot.
It only took the pair a half an hour to find Merlin in the Valley of the Fallen Kings. Merlin was cold and shivering. His body was bruised and bloody as if he had been beaten.
Lancelot patted Merlin’s cheek to rouse him. “Merlin! Wake up!”
Merlin groaned and opened his eyes. “Why are you here?”
“Gaius was worried.” Lancelot told him. “Arthur is leading a patrol to find you. What are you doing out here?”
“I was … it’s not important. Help me up.” Merlin struggled to sit up but just cried out in pain.
“We have to get him out of here.” Gwaine looked around. “This place gives me the creeps.”
Lancelot and Gwaine picked up Merlin and took him back to where they left the horses. Gwaine helped Lancelot put him on Lancelot’s horse and waited as Lancelot got on behind Merlin.
They took a direct line to where the others had stopped to rest. They moved as fast as they could without cause Merlin more pain.
Arthur stood up and went to the two riders as soon as they came through the woods. “Where did you find him?”
“In a ravine.” Lancelot glanced at Gwaine. “We should get him back to Camelot.”
“Put him on my horse.” Arthur told them. I’ll ride with Guinevere. He looks like he’s been beaten.”
Merlin groaned and looked at Arthur. “I fell. I was looking for herbs. That’s me. Clumsy!”
Arthur took a breath but didn’t say anything. It was obvious by the look on his face that he didn’t believe Merlin.
The group moved as fast as they could toward Camelot. The lookout in the tower must have sent for Gaius because he was waiting in the courtyard for the patrol.
Arthur got down and took Merlin off the horse and carried him to Gaius’ chambers. Gwen followed him. He took Merlin into his room and put him on the cot.
“Do whatever you can.” Arthur said to Gaius. “He says he fell but some of those bruises look like they were made with fists.”
Gaius nodded and went to look at Merlin’s injuries.
“We will leave you to it.” Arthur let Gwen lead him out of the room.
“He’ll be fine, Arthur.” Gwen led him away.
“What were you doing out there?” Gaius asked merlin. “You had everyone married.”
“I was taken by Morgana’s men while I was on the wave to the Crystal Cave. They beat me trying to get me to talk. I couldn’t use my magick with her right there.” Merlin sighed then winced. “Make sure there isn’t a thing in my neck like last time.”
Gaius nodded. “I plan to check every inch of you. Morgana could have done anything to you. You’re lucky that you’re not dead.”
“Better me than Arthur.” Merlin winced as he turned over for Gaius to check his back. “Arthur would have never survived her and her men. She wanted to know about Gwen too. She thinks Gwen is with child.”
“Did you tell her anything?” Gaius asked.
“I told her to go to hell.” Merlin smirked then winced again. “She will be even more determined to kill them both if Gwen is with child.”
Gaius stayed silent. He knew the next Pendragon heir was already on the way. He had confirmed it only the day before.