Author: Laura H
Characters: Mordred, with mentions of Merlin, Morgana and Arthur
Pairing: Elements of Arthur/Morgana
Spoilers: 1x08 The Beginning of the End
Author's Note: A companion piece to This Earthly Fire (though can be read independently) looking at Mordred’s place in Arthurian legend and, as the episode title states, how this was the beginning of the end.
Title from the Upanishads
Mordred watches the starlings and reads portents in their patterns. His father says the wind is calling them, to the South and to Camelot. Mordred is a child, but he knows of the dangers that lie there for his kind. He is Seer, gifted with visions; the Goddess shows him What Will Be.
He does not question his father though, for Aldric is a man who has read the wind for four decades, and if it calls then they must heed the summons. To the South then, and the Keep of the Pendragon.
There is power here. It flows through the city streets and alleys, it washes over the soldiers and serfs and vendors plying their trade, though all remain ignorant of the glow in which they are bathed. Here, where the very word is anathema, and all who practice are hated and hunted, Magic radiates from every gleaming brick of Camelot’s regal towers.
Can you feel it, son?” Even through his caution, Aldric cannot conceal his anticipation. “He is here.”
Then madness reigns, his father falls and Mordred too joins the hunted. Salvation comes in the form of one of his own kind, but one far more powerful than he, one who does not yet understand that which he is destined to be.
Mordred cries out in his moment of anguish, and the Emrys answers.
There is a burning in his chest, more savage than the fever that scorches through his small body. He did not see the axe fall, nor see his father’s blood spill, but he felt the blow in his heart; a broken mirror is the least he will do. The Pendragon’s deeds have stained him red, but the blood has spattered further than his own hands, and the sins of the father shall be visited upon the son. For the first time in his ten years upon the Earth, Mordred knows what it is to hate.
Morgana has more courage than Mordred has ever known. She is defender to him, she is sister, she is Mother. Her blood runs with the power of the Goddess and she too sees What Will Be.
The Pendragon does not know the truth behind his ward’s dreams, does not understand what she will become, for if he did, he would know to fear her. Mordred does not need dreams to tell him of Morgana’s future.
He searches her mind and there he finds the visions of her young prince, of the fate that shall be visited upon him. She sees, but she does not yet understand, does not know that it will be Mordred who strikes down the boy King, and when he does, Morgana shall be at his right hand.
Arthur. What consequence that name carries, what weight. It is a name that strains toward legend. Yet the boy who would be, will be, King believes himself unworthy. Unworthy and undeserving of the Crown, of Camelot. Of Morgana.
They do battle with words, but their hearts shiver and sigh all the while. They circle each other, like hawks, drawing ever near only to fly apart again. It is well that they keep circling, for Mordred has been shown What Will Be and already knows how this ends.
Paths diverge and along one road, greatness beckons. Along the other lies the power to rain fire and lay waste to kingdoms. Only one man will ever have the power to walk both.
The Emrys, whom they call Merlin, presses a cloth to Mordred’s forehead and whispers that all will be well.
Arthur delivers Mordred to his people. A frantic flight, when What Will Be flickers and shifts, one future to the other, one future to the other, until the Emrys makes his choice and comes to his aid.
The boy who will be King asks him his name.
I am he who is named Vengeance, Mordred whispers, I am the one whose hand shall smite you and who shall salt the ground as you lay dying. His kin hear his unspoken words and he feels their horror.
This is not who we are, Mordred, says Ervan.
This is Who I Am, says Mordred, and this is What Will Be.
“Tell me your name,” says the Once and Future King.
“Mordred,” he replies. “I’m Mordred.” And you will know me again.