Title: Candle in the Dark
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Gwaine, Leon, Percival
Summary: When all other lights go out.
Word Count: 390
Arthur adjusts his grip on the silvery iron hilt of his sword. It's the only sign of uneasiness he will allow himself. He feels Leon at his right shoulder and Gwaine at his left, mail scraping against mail. At his back, Percival throws down the torches and unsheathes his greatsword.
The pale men circle at the edge of the darkness as though waiting for the light to die. They've been slaughtered a hundred times over, bleeding and breaking but never stopping. There is a foul light in their eyes that Arthur recognizes. He wonders if that is intentional, or if Morgana's frothing hatred simply spilled over into her spellwork so that her twisted, beautiful face stares out at him from all the wan faces of the dead.
The knights take their rest where they can get it, letting the creatures strike the first blows. There is little hope that they will survive to see the sky again, but they will hold out as long as they can. Arthur finds himself wishing crazily for Merlin. It's a selfish thought - what could the boy do except die beside him? - but he cannot banish it.
As if in contrary answer to his wish, a white-blue ball of light appears over their heads. For one heartbeat, Arthur is sure he is about to be consumed by raw sorcery. Then he recognizes it: the perfect spherical shape; the controlled burn of it, like a tiny steady sun; the white tendrils of magic sliding gracefully over its surface. The knights, unable to recoil, freeze at this new threat, but Arthur's mouth is opened in wonder.
The light...unfurls. It cascades from its own center like a circular waterfall, growing in volume as it expands. Percival ducks his broad shoulders, but the light was never going to touch him. It falls past the knights to land at their feet and then slams outward in a thunderous blast. When Arthur's vision clears, the light of the torches seems brighter, and there are ashy shadows on the walls where the pale men were standing.
"Forward!" Arthur shouts at his dazed knights. They move at his command and he tries to keep a relieved grin off his face. He thinks he must be succumbing to battle hysteria because he has a euphoric impression that Merlin never left his side.