Title: The Harbinger
Pairing/s: None at this stage
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Morgana
Summary: On a spooky night during the search for the missing Morgana, Merlin sees something frightening
Word Count: 450
Prompt: 327 'Random dialogue II'
Author's Notes: This is intended as a canon insert between seasons 2 and 3.
Merlin woke with a start.
It was the darkest hour of the night. The moon was down. Their campfire had dwindled to mere embers. Flakes of chilly mist had drifted in from the nearby lake and hovered above the ground, giving it a ghostlike sheen.
Uncertain what had woken him, he looked over to where Arthur slept, as always making sure that he was safe.
Merlin made an involuntary high-pitched noice.
Still as a statue, Morgana was standing over the sleeping prince. Her long cloak and tumbling hair seemed darker than the night, her face and bare hands were pale, transluscent as mist. She was holding a sword aloft and steady across Arthur, as if to deal a killing blow. The unwavering metal blade reflected the dying fire's last glow. No royal blood obscured its cruel gleam.
At the sound of Merlin's yelp she turned towards him, facing him across Arthur's prone body, a sneer on her face and fire in her eyes. Merlin heard no spoken word, but he could read her lips as they formed five distinct words: Not yet. Wait for it.
Before he could react, she had lowered the sword, turned around, and stepped into the night, the long cloak making her one with the darkness and the mist. She was gone.
It had all happened in an instant, and in complete silence.
Arthur stirred and sat up, instantly wide awake - a warrior's reflex. "Why did you scream like that?"
Merlin shook his head. "I don't— it must have been a bad dream," he muttered.
Arthur glanced around. The camp site was quiet, and the dark forests surrounding them were peaceful. Their horses stood near, slumbering on their feet, looking like ghosts in the mist.
"You're as easily spooked as any girl's petticoat," Arthur huffed. "Nightmares happen to everyone. Remember how haunted Morgana was by hers?"
"I'm sorry I woke you," Merlin said, a tremor in his voice.
"Go back to sleep," Arthur told him, lying back down with a groan. "We have a long day ahead. Searching for Morgana in the wilderness is no holiday."
Shivering slightly, Merlin pulled up his blanket and closed his eyes. Had Morgana really visited their camp? It wasn't likely. Still, she was out there somewhere, with Morgause, who surely had cured her of the poison.
It had probably just been the frightening sort of dream that sometimes happens on the cusp between sleep and waking. Yet his heart and his magic told him otherwise. Perhaps an apparition, then? A premonition, or an omen?
Morgana, if and when she finally chose to return to Camelot, would prove to be Arthur's enemy.
Merlin had been given fair warning.