Title: The North Wind (Ch. 8)
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: The Valley of Lights was a mythical place, home to Gods and magic. Arthur Pendragon vowed he'd find the glacier of the North Wind, and bring proof of its existence back to his village.
Prompt: #306: Saudade
Author's Notes: Previous chapters.
Under the pale morning sun the snow glowed whiter than ever, almost washed out, terrifyingly blinding. Arthur shielded his eyes and looked up, the skies were blue, cloudless, vastly different from the mornings he'd spent alone roaming these lands. He had gotten used to grey, stormy skies, always threatening him with a tempest that never came.
Arthur rather liked this sunlight.
"Hey," he called out to Merlin a few paces ahead of him. He didn't seem to care to see if Arthur was following him or not, as if he was confident Arthur would mirror his steps. His fox was jumping next to him, Arthur tried not to feel betrayed.
"What?" Merlin answered, stopping just long enough to throw Arthur a cursory glance over his shoulder. "Don't tell me you're already tired, I thought your name was synonymous with intrepid. I seem to have misjudged your character after all."
Arthur caught up with him, their footsteps now a twin imprint on the snow. "I am not tired," he protested, narrowing his eyes. "I want to get home, the sooner the better."
He could feel Merlin's eyes on him, dark and inquisitive. "You really miss it, don't you?"
It was more of an affirmation than an actual question, he didn't bothered with an answer. Arthur let his mind wander instead, back to Ealdor, to its people and his own house. To his little family. The village bustling with life. And then he thought of a castle, gleaming with much like the snow beneath his feet. It was a distant memory, a far away land he could've made up in dreams.
"Ealdor wasn't always home," he said, surprising even himself. His voice sounded roughed and tiny, he hoped Merlin didn't hear him, but it was too much to ask.
"Go on." That was all Merlin uttered, it was enough. Suddenly Arthur couldn't keep silent.
"Morgana and I, we were born in Camelot," Arthur said, he felt his heart beating loudly and painfully against his ribs. That was his secret out in the open being carried by the wind.
"Camelot?" Merlin asked, his tone serious. Arthur nodded, Merlin took a deep breath before nodding to himself, giving Arthur the impression he'd just stored the information for later use. "I thought-- I don't know what I thought. Didn't Camelot fall?"
The question hurt, his memories were plagued by dark smoke and fire, by hundreds of voices crying out for help, hoping for divine intervention. Hoping to see another day.
"Yes. Our parents sent us away, we ran and ran and found a new place to belong." Morgana barely remembers make it through the goods, leaving their war-torn hometown behind and finding safety days later, hungry and cold. Arthur remember all, it hurts knowing he won't be back, he longs to see the sunsets over Camelot, casting an orange glow over the citadel, the skyline a mix of hues that in his childish innocence Arthur thought could reach with his fingertips if he were a giant.
His mother had smiled vehemently at him when he told her this.
"Arthur?" Merlin's fingers around his wrist bring him back to the present. He hates how blue Merlin's eyes are. Arthur can't lie to him.
Arthur puts on a smile, shrugs. Merlin still won't let go of him. "I think you said something about a shortcut earlier?"