Ali-chan ^^ (ad_exia) wrote in merlin_flashfic,
Ali-chan ^^
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To Bring Her Back by Ali-chan

Title: To Bring Her Back
Author: Ali-chan ad_exia
Rated: PG
Summary: Magic had taken Igraine away from Uther. And so magic could bring her back.
Extremely vague spoilers for episode 9.



It came upon him like a rockslide, sudden and hard and crushing, taking away his ability to breathe. But when the world around him came to a crashing halt, his thoughts realigned to allow him to make sense of this sudden realization, and Uther knew that he had never been more sure of anything in his life.

Magic had taken Igraine away from him. And so magic could bring her back.

Nimueh was locked in a cell deep beneath the castle, chained and under constant guard. She would not help him, the wretched witch, unfeeling and uncaring. Uther could almost hear her cursing his name even now, the peal of her empty laughter echoing across his mind. Uther paced back and forth outside the nursery, half-listening to the sounds from within. He could hear the creak of a chair, the quiet murmuring of the wet nurse as she cooed to his baby son. Their baby son, and Igraine should be the one murmuring and cooing and holding him. Holding Arthur. Holding Uther.

He’d known then what he had to do.

“No, my lord, no,” Gaius said, when Uther stormed into the physician’s chambers, demanding to see any and all of the magic books he had. He knew Gaius had them, knew he’d dabbled in the arts before, and knew that if anyone might help him, it would be this dearest friend.

But he was met with dark eyes and a shaking of the head. “You cannot do what you think you can, my lord,” he said. “It is better not to try. You must let her go.”

Uther nearly knocked the man down in his rage, feeling as pent-up and caged as the murderess in the dungeons. “Who are you to tell me what I can and can’t do? I am the king!”

He couldn’t let her go. Never, not ever.

Gaius looked so sad, in that moment. Sad and frightened, the emotions drawing lines on his already aging face in the shadows. But his voice was steadfast as he replied, “There are some things even a king cannot do. You know this.”

But when Uther Pendragon was determined, nothing could stand in his way. Perhaps Gaius knew that, perhaps he was tempted to give Uther what he wanted. But he did not. And Uther knew what a stubborn man Gaius could be. But Uther was by far more stubborn than he.

He’d ridden out into the darkness, cape flashing behind him like a sharp-edged shadow as the sound of his stallion’s hooves broke the silence of the night. It hadn’t taken as long as he might have thought; after searching only three villages he found a hedge wizard, a twisted old thing of a man living in a cottage that looked to be more part of the surrounding woods than the village he belonged to. He’d tied up his horse and entered unbidden, throwing his cloak off as he stepped through the doorway, crown glinting on his head and sword gleaming in his hand. In the end the old man had given him what he’d wanted, and Uther had come back to the castle and locked himself in Igraine’s chambers straightaway.

They hadn’t been empty for more than a handful of days. He knew how long it had been down to the hour, down to the second, each instant carving out a little more of his heart. But no longer. He looked around and thought, This is good. She’ll want to come back here, to see this place first.

Then he would take her to the nursery, and he would dismiss the wet nurse, and all would be well again. He would be whole again, and their son would know his mother’s touch. Igraine would live again, would light the corridors of Camelot with her smile, and Nimueh would be made to suffer for her crime. Uther would want for nothing.

He placed the objects he’d been given just so, pricked his finger and drew the circle on the floor as the diagram on the parchment laid before him depicted. His blood sank into the stone, shining dark and wet in the waning shadows of the dusk.

Then he lit the candles, smoothed the parchment before him, and read. “O'n thriall thu bhuainn 's nach till thu tuille, 'nuair bhios mi gun chompanach,” he read. “'Nuair bhios an oidhche trom orm. Bi 'ghealach toirt nam chuimhne liuthad oidhch' a bha sinn còmhla.

The air sucked the words up like a sponge, and for a time all was still – even his breath seemed not to stir the air, his heart seemed not to beat. The words on the parchment seemed to grow until they encompassed the entire room, saturating his mind and his vision, filling his lungs. Then, for a single, overwhelming instant, the air grew heavy until he thought he could not bear it, until he thought the weight of it would crush him into the stone.

Then the weight was gone, and time resumed. In another instant the windows flew open, cold wind tearing through the room like the sobbing moan of a banshee. Still Uther did not look up; he kept his eyes on the parchment before him. There was a final phrase to be uttered.

He read it aloud, amidst the crying of the wind and the pounding of his heart. “Dhùrachdainn fuireach le cuideachd mo ghràidh.

There was a crack like thunder; the night sky beyond the window split with ferocious lightning, white-hot fingers arcing across the heavens as though God were trying to tear Himself apart.

And in the flashes a shadow appeared, forming on the floor: a willowy figure with long, flowing hair and gentle hands. In the madly dancing light, the black tip of her head touched his knees as he knelt. Uther looked up, and his heart leapt with joy. He had been right.

Magic had taken Igraine away from him. And so magic had brought her back.

But in an instant, he knew something was terribly wrong.

She was crying. Her long, flaxen hair stood about her face like a halo, and her eyes were red-rimmed, her cheeks tearstained. She began to shake her head violently, writhing before him as though to the beat of a silent, chaotic drum. “No!” she screamed, and she writhed, and her eyes darted about the room until they fell upon Uther. They were wide, so wide that he could see the whites all around, even in the flickering of the candlelight.

“No!” she sobbed, and her voice pierced his heart. “I don’t want this!”

Uther stood slowly, transfixed. His entire body went numb down to his fingertips, as the parchment fell away from his hand and fluttered to the floor.

Her eyes. Her eyes were pure torment, tortured and tortuous, and they cut through Uther right to his soul the way nothing had ever cut him before. Those eyes begged him and cursed him and he felt that if he looked into them much longer, they would eat him alive, suck out his soul until he fell to pieces on the floor.

“Igraine – ” He took one fumbling step, reached out to her with one shaking hand. If only she would understand, if only she would see how she’d left him only half a man, with a child to raise and a kingdom to rule and how could he ever do it without her?

“Don’t take him away from me!” Igraine cried, and her hands began tearing at her hair. “I’ve given so much – don’t take him away!”

Down the hall, Uther heard the baby scream. Then the noise cut off abruptly, leaving silence ringing loudly in its wake, too loud for Uther to bear. He looked to the door.

Then the wet nurse screamed.

“No!” Igraine’s voice was high-pitched now, crazed and desperate. “What have you done?”

There was too much noise in his head, too much screaming and Uther only wanted it to stop.

“Uther!”

His name called his gaze back to her. He felt lost in her eyes, in her pain, and to see her like this made Uther’s eyes burn, unshed tears welling although he would not let them fall.

“Uther,” she sobbed, and his heart caught in his throat as her eyes cleared, haunting but no longer crazed. Her fingers left her hair, came to rest upon his heart. Her hands were freezing, and the pain in her eyes would burn him alive. “Uther, please. I’ve paid my price, and gladly. You must pay yours.”

He would not ask forgiveness, could not bear to refuse her plea. Another moment with those eyes and he knew he would go mad. The only thing he could see in them now was the path that he must take.

He turned his back on her, reached to the floor. He picked up the parchment and a candle, burning brightly. He put flame to paper, watching the light dance over the letters, watching them blacken and vanish as the paper curled and burned to ash.

When he turned around, the room was empty. Nothing was left of her now, not even in the depths of his heart. Her eyes had taken that part of him with her, and he would never have it back as long as he lived.

Down the hall, Uther heard the baby cry. The wet nurse sobbed with relief. And somewhere, deep below his feet, he could hear Nimueh’s laughter.

Uther closed the windows and blew out the candles, crossed the room and locked the door with a key he intended to never again hold in his hand. He did not know what would become of him now, bound to this life with no love left in his heart.

He knew only one thing for certain. Magic had taken Igraine away from him. And so magic had broken his heart.

Uther would stand for no more magic in his kingdom. No more, not ever again.



--

Uh. Now that I’m done, I’m not sure how well this really fits the challenge, but I hope it's close enough? I suppose bringing people back from the dead counts as something bad... I apologize, I think the entire idea for this story came from too many Buffy episodes with Giles being awesome with the Black Magic.

A/N: For the spell, I actually picked a couple of lines from Gaelic songs at random from this webpage. Roughly translated, they are:

[1] Since you departed and will never return, I am without companion and the night bears heavily down on me. The moon brings back to me the nights we spent together.

[2] My wish is to stay with the kin of my heart.

Tags: bad magic challenge
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