Spark

Oct. 8th, 2013 09:56 pm
josephine_marrs: Merlin peeking around an ivy-covered something. (pic#6262690)
[personal profile] josephine_marrs
summary/preview:  Set in an alternate timeline where Aglain lives, and Morgana gets to spend a little more time among the Druids.
content notes: No standard notes apply.


      Everything was blurry. The more Morgana tried to focus, the worse her vision seemed to get; the effort to correct it was exhausting.
      “Relax, Morgana. You’re safe.”
      “Aglain?” she croaked, to the familiar voice.
      Just relax. Everything will come to you, in time. The voice sounded inside her head.
      Mordred. She mouthed the word, and slipped back into darkness.

      She had no idea how long it took, but for what seemed like an eternity, her existence consisted of fitful waking, and the feverish imbibing of soup. It was always soup. Some kind of vegetable broth, with a bit of earthy grit in it. Under normal circumstances, she would have hated it, but it was warm and liquid and, in any case, she was not in any sort of condition to refuse it.
      When, at last, she found that she could sit up without feeling as if she would pass out, and when she was offered some bread – good, decent, freshly-made solid food – she knew that she was, finally, feeling better. From a point far away, sunlight filtered downward, shining on the stone and earth around her. She was in a cave, it seemed.
      “It was touch and go there for a bit, but I think you’ll pull through,” said Aglain.
      “How did we ---“ The last thing she remembered was the searing pain as her poisoned leg had given out, and the arrows flying all around them. From Arthur’s men. From Arthur. And then there had been a horrible scream…
      “It was not without great cost,” Aglain replied. “The King’s men killed several of our brethren.” He noted how her brow furrowed, and softened his own gaze. “But you are safe, now, truly.”
      Tears rose in her eyes. “I’m sorry.”
      His hand settled around hers, strong and warm. He owed her no forgiveness, but it seeped through his touch anyway, trying to assuage her guilt. But still she shook her head, ashamed at the thought of having drawn death to Aglain and his people -- especially since, she had come to realize, they were her people, too. "None of this would have happened if I hadn't come to you. But, what was I to do? I couldn't stand being alone with this curse any longer..."
      “Morgana, remember what I told you. Magic is not evil, of itself. It is capable of great good. It is one of many means to an end – nothing more.” Kneeling by her side, he took her hands in his. “Show me some of your power, Morgana, and I will show you that you have nothing to fear.”
      “W-what do you want me to do?” she asked, trembling.
      Show him the fire.
      She jerked her head up to look across the cave, to where Mordred stood. He caught her gaze, and smiled.
      You have no idea what you’re asking, she thought.
      Yes, I do. Show him. Make fire.
      She shut her eyes, and trembled. Her blood pulsed hotly in her veins.
      You won’t hurt anyone. I promise. Morgana. The word in her head seemed to gently pry her lids open, and guide her gaze over to him. Trust us.
    
Aglain nodded, his own gaze boring into hers. "It will be all right." The corners of his eyes crinkled as he smiled.
      “F-fine.”
      She dragged her gaze away from him and stared, instead, just over his shoulder; looking outward, and yet retreating into herself. She could hear her heartbeat, and could feel her pulse throbbing, molten, in her veins. She thought of heat, of fire, and yet this time it was different…she could feel Aglain there within the maelstrom of her thoughts, guiding her and dampening the panic that made her feel cold and numb in spite of the power sweltering deep inside of her.
      And then Aglain’s hands burst into flame.
      Morgana screamed, and scrambled back, cowering against the cave wall.
      Aglain’s arms rose and curled, but it was not in the horrible rictus of the burned. His smile gleamed in the firelight as he spread his hands and let the flames dance between his fingers. “Just like fire is a tool, so is magic. When it is used properly, there is nothing to fear from it. Here – touch me, and know that you’re causing me no harm.”
      Biting her lip, she stretched a hand out. It seemed impossible – she could feel the heat of the fire glancing off of her palm, soaking into her skin. But she pressed onward, feeling a strange, buzzing sensation in her skull -- not the clarion that she had come to associate with Mordred's mind-speech, but rather a force, a will, quiet and strong, helping her tap into a depth of skill that she didn’t even know she possessed. The flame should have been unbearably hot, but it was merely soothing and warm. She ran her fingers over Aglain’s skin, and her touch met a strange coolness.
      “As I can protect myself against the fire, so you can protect yourself against fear. The first step is to embrace your gift.”
      This is just the beginning, Morgana! Mordred’s voice sounded jubilantly inside of her. Just wait until you see all he can teach you…and I'll help, too!
      And oh, how it tempted…
      “I can’t stay with you,” she sighed, as she sat back. She realized that some of the flame had transferred to her palm, and it danced there, harmlessly. She stared at it sadly, rolling the fire about in her cupped hand. “They will not stop until they find me. As long as I am with you, you are in danger.”
      “No, you can’t stay with us forever,” Aglain sighed, rubbing his hands together to dispel the fire. It rippled stubbornly over his forearms in licking, liquid flames, but eventually went out. “But there is still time for me to teach you a few things. When you return to Camelot, you will not be the same person you were when you left. You will be stronger.”
      Stronger, Mordred said, and better.
      She let the fire dance in her palm for as long as it wanted to stay there.
 
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