Title: Mischief Part 17 – Change
Rating: R for language
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Morgana
Summary: A ceremony of power and mystery.
Word Count: 915
Camelot_drabble Prompt 483: Secret meeting
Author's Notes: unbetaed. I know nothing of the Druids or spells or anything. I'm making it up out of whole cloth.
Disclaimer: Merlin characters are the property of Shine and BBC. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
The sun was just setting when the women in Morgana’s coven began to arrange themselves in a semi-loose circle around Arthur. Merlin sat at his feet, looking around and then up at Arthur with those golden eyes of his. His little mischievous idiot, Lord Muckitymuck, King of all and sundry, gave an excited little cry as Morgana came forward, then shaking himself a bit, fluffed out his black fur, and appeared to be listening as she said, “Arthur, you are the vessel designate. We will each share in the transformation, giving of ourselves and our power to aid in Merlin’s time of need. Be still. Be calm and let the power flow through you.”
“What will happen?” Arthur tried to sound calm, but it seemed like he’d be a transformer, and don’t they blow up on occasion? “I won’t explode, right?”
“Don’t worry, little brother, had I wanted you to explode, I’d have told you about… but that’s for another time.” Morgana smirked a little, then turned solemn. “It will be more like joy made manifest. Just stand there and we will do the rest.”
Before he could ask anything else, she gestured for the old woman to come forward with her flask of whatever-it-was. Taking it from her, Morgana handed it to Arthur and said, “Drink. It will keep you centred when the ceremony begins.” Leaning forward, she whispered, smiling, “And I promise, no hangover after.”
Gathering strength, Arthur looked down at Merlin, trying to cement a memory of him before it was too late. Then as Merlin meowed, sounding excited and impatient, Arthur took a deep breath and drank.
It tasted terrible. But he gulped it down anyway. At least, when he was done, the aftertaste of roses and joy seemed to linger on his tongue. He didn’t feel any different, though.
There may have been a few dregs left. As Morgana took the near-empty flask from him, she knelt down and let Merlin lick the last few drops. Then rising, she gave it back to the old woman—Iselda?, and stepped away, leaving Arthur and Merlin alone in the centre. That must have been a signal then because one by one, the women began to move around, weaving around each other yet never breaking the circle, dipping their empty lanterns toward Morgana, and as they danced away, there was candlelight in the lamps, flickering softly in the growing darkness.
Things were increasingly odd, the women looking like bright fairies as they lifted their arms and began chanting. Behind them, in the distance, there was a low fog gathering and it seemed where they stood was no longer a grassy hill but a forest of sacred oaks, a near-circle of trees with an entrance open to the east. An embrace, almost as if they were being welcomed by the trees.
As Arthur watched and swayed, feeling both small and huge at the same time, the moon was rising fast. The songs grew louder, more urgent then, and one by one, the witches would gesture toward Arthur, and something brilliant, a flame or balls of light or glowing shapes, would hit him.
They weren’t quite painful, but his head seemed to expand, his heart pounding, and he felt like he was filling up with a power so strong that his body would fly into a million pieces if it lasted much longer.
When the moon was full over the horizon, the chanting seemed to grow and there were words out of Morgana’s mouth that didn’t make sense, old English or something so ancient that it filled the sky.
Arthur wanted to escape. He wasn’t sure he could take much more, but then Morgana shouted something like ‘for breg dan’ and Arthur’s body was no longer his own, was pouring out energy and light and power.
In one part of his mind, he was gibbering with fear, but he was also looking at the radiance swirling around Merlin and rejoicing in the ecstasy of it. More and more, it grew outside of Arthur’s skin, emptying out of him and sinking into Merlin’s fur.
That wasn’t fur.
As Arthur watched, his cat grew and grew, limbs no longer a kitten’s but a man’s, fur disappearing into skin, hair growing at groin and armpits and a thick thatch of it on his head. His ears were still a little large, but then his mischief-maker’s had been, too. And when he opened his eyes, they were still glowing in golden light, then softened to a blue as lovely as the sea.
The man was beautiful. Naked, long-limbed, with a face that Arthur ached to touch, a mouth made for kisses. And kneeling at Arthur’s feet, smiling up at him.
But it wasn’t Merlin. It wasn’t his cat. It was some stranger amongst a dozen other strangers. A stranger with Merlin’s name.
Stepping back, Arthur stared a moment at the blue eyes of the man, wanting to see golden eyes and black fur and hear a little ‘meep’ lingering in the air. Turning away, Arthur fled, down the hill, at first walking, then running toward his car.
Behind him, he could hear a man calling after and Morgana screeching at him, but it was all too much.
Arthur was just a fucking bore of an accountant. He wasn’t full of wonder and enchantments and fantastical transformations.
It was time to get back to reality and leave all that magic shit behind. And mourn the loss of his much-loved cat.