Title: Black Cat of Camelot
Pairing/s: Arthur/Merlin implied
Summary: Camelot castle is crumbling. Merlin wants Albion to have something to remember it by.
Warnings: Light canon-based angst
Word Count: 400
Prompt: 165 - Writer's Choice: Magic spell
Author's Notes: The spells in the drabble both appeared on the show. The first means 'I command you to rise up and live', the second 'Live in eternity'.
Once he'd managed to make the stone dog and Valiant's snakes come alive, Merlin continued to use the life-giving spell now and then. It was a secret pleasure to see the castle's delightful animal sculptures and even a few fable creatures take off to enjoy actual lives in the real world.
But Camelot is no more, and its abandoned castle is falling into ruin. When Merlin finally makes himself return there, Arthur's golden reign is little more than a legend.
Memories flood Merlin's mind as he steps across the yard's moss-eaten cobblestones, studying the decay that the long years have brought. The knight's statue is gone. The great colonnade has collapsed into rubble.
With a heavy heart he steps through a yawning doorway and climbs the crumbling staircase within. The first floor is open to the elements, and he is surprised to find the majestic lion statue still in place, its bearing proud as ever although both its wings have broken off. Weather-worn and cracked, it continues to guard the remnant of the place that Arthur held most dear, and which will soon be gone forever.
"I want something to remain," Merlin says in loud defiance of the crumbled castle's silence. He speaks to himself, to the empty air, to the lingering ghosts that only he can see. "Something distinct that belongs to Camelot and to magic."
Acting on memory and instinct, he reaches out to the black and broken lion sculpture. His eyes glow.
"Bebod þé arisan cwicum," Merlin says, his voice strong. He hesitates for a heartbeat before adding to the spell. "Leofaaþ a on ecnesse!"
In front of him, a big black feline stretches its lean limbs and growls. It leaps across Merlin in one fluid motion, disappears down the stairs, and enters the world of the living.
During the many long centuries that follow, Merlin now and then hears tales of the big black cat of the moors, a mysterious panther-like being that haunts the land and amazes people with its massive size and glowing eyes. He never regrets giving the creature life. Out there somewhere, in Albion's vast empty spaces, is a living, breathing memorial to the glory and grandeur that was Arthur's Camelot. And just like Merlin himself, the castle's big cat will live on till the day when the once and future king returns at last.