Hi, Jill! I came here to cheer you up. I'm very curious to know how you will put Fairy Tale, like a princess or something into this fic. I guess you prepare the episode later. Can't wait!
Merlin seems to have escaped from the hard mines work, thanks to Twyford. I'm very impressed by your method, how to set tasks for the main characters to face one after another. I have a question, may I ask? Do you prepare in advance before starting to write, such as the plot, what will happen next or the goal to make the readers enjoy? Or just Muse appears suddenly every weekend? If you don't mind, please enlighten me!
I really like how Arthur recognizes the scenery of Tharennor. I can visualize what a beautiful country it is from your wonderful descriptions. Expectation for the next scene gets high, wondering what a beautiful princess (or ugly one)will wait for Arthur. The king of Tharennor seems to be awful to the weak like Merlin. I hope not worse things will happen to him again. At least Arthur can see him this time. Friendship is hard to break. I'll send lots of cheers to your Merlin and Arthur!
No magic and no voice?? How could you do this to him? It does explain why he was so quiet last chapter. But, why!
Distantly, he wondered what could make his master so angry, and also sad. -- Um. Arthur is tied to a tree and blindfolded and also he thinks his BFF is dead. Even if Merlin doesn't suspect the last reason after his misunderstanding with Arthur, the first two are enough to make a person angry. Methinks that some of his brain power was taken along with the magic and the ability to speak. That, or the rusty manacles have given him tetanus and he's already having adverse effects... I mean, he has these open wounds, so it's a real worry. (For me as the reader, but not for him probably)
Random musing: I assume the glowing eyes when he does magic is something from the show and I'm really curious about it. Having not seen that, I kind of imagine him looking like a Goauld System Lord. And this mental image made me laugh so I wanted to share it with you. Now you know. :P
Ahh, though, that's so sad - that he reinforced the collar that is restraining him from using magic. How is he ever going to get it off? I honestly feel so bad for him and you do an incredible job of detailing just how horrific his situation is here, enslaved, in pain, and robbed of his ability to speak and do magic (with possible tetanus). And all alone and unable to communicate with Arthur. I hope things turn around for this dynamic duo soon! They deserve some peace after everything that's happened to them in the past few chapters.
I love that Arthur is naming the soldiers in his head because he has nothing else to do. And that he names them after dogs he doesn't like.
MERLIN IS ALIVE MERLIN IS ALIVE !!! I knew I could count on you ;) This scene was everything. The depth of their friendship here is amazing. Arthur can't see, Merlin can't speak, and they still have this conversation. That alone says so much about both of them. And I am so glad Arthur took that chance to (finally) apologize to Merlin. This makes me feel so much better. DID I MENTION HOW HAPPY I AM THAT MERLIN IS NOT DEAD
And the way you wrote Arthur's confused tangle of emotions throughout those few minutes is brilliant too. I just loved everything about this reunion.
Except they're still trapped in a camp and Arthur is tied to a tree and WHY IS MERLIN SILENT.
HOORAY LOOK IT'S NOT SPAM :P
Um, so I totally meant to review the first chapter but then I got sucked in. And then you just gave me a bunch of cliffhangers and thus here we find ourselves at chapter five and I'm only just now leaving my first review on this. Sorry. Anyway, I guess that should tell you how addicting this story is. Even for someone who's never seen the show. All I know about the show is what you told me and the two 3-minute clips from somewhere in the timeline. And this is still perfectly easy to follow along with, so props to you for that.
Your characterization of Arthur is wonderful. (I have assumed that it perfectly matches the show because you're good at that.) Despite him being kind of a blank slate apart from the general legends I know about him, he really comes across as so human in his flaws here, and you don't hesitate to show his flaws. But despite that there's all this misunderstanding between Arthur and Merlin, I love the way they jump to each other's aid without question despite it when the kidnappers come in. Ugh, stupid pride getting in the way of him apologizing to Merlin before then! (And now you're going to make me wait like 10 chapters for it.) Seriously, the kidnapper could not have come at a worse time. If only Arthur had thought to stall for time by telling the kidnappers GIVE US FIVE MINUTES OKAY CAN'T YOU SEE WE'RE IN THE MIDDLE OF SOMETHING. And then they could have talked and hugged it out and been okay.
But then we wouldn't have all this glorious angst and soul searching, as Arthur is left without sight or the ability to move, and all he can do is just reflect. He does some good reflecting, I admire the character growth he's achieved in only a few chapters, and how he's come to appreciate how important of a friend Merlin is, even though he's 'technically' his servant. All his emotions and his regrets here are so well written! I feel so bad for him being blindfolded and tied to a tree and then tied on a horse, with no idea where he is and not able to move, that honestly just sounds horrible. I'd go insane. I hope that he's able to find a way out of that situation soon, or that they at least take the blindfold off him!
Predictions: Merlin is totally still alive, because I know you better than that. You don't just kill off characters you love! ;) But, where is he then? Still to be determined. I will have to read on!
Great story so far! Congrats on your FROG nominations, by the way, and good luck! ♥
Oh, wow. This was intense. I wonder what the aggressors' plans are and what they want with Arthur...
Once again, I loved the bond of friendship between Arthur and Merlin and how they tried to protect each other. Also, I think you wrote the whole fighting sequence so well. Action scenes can be so tricky, but you pulled it so well, once again you have a really lovely writing style.
I'm curious to see what comes next, but I think I need to go now... I would love to come back to this story sometime, though, so feel free to remind me (I have a review thread on the forums. I currently put it on hold for FROGS, but once voting is over I would be happy if you stopped by with a request...)
Wonderful work so far!
Oh, no! This doesn't bode well! Did you have to close it in cliffhanger?
I loved both thought processes. Arthur's guilt and his reasoning about how he was so quick at believing Merlin guilty... Was it because in the end everyone always did? No one had ever become close to him without having some hidden agenda of personal gain? This actually made me feel so bad for him... And the way Merlin completely misinterpreted Arthur's hesitance, and his fear of what happen to him... poor boy... (btw, the fact that Arthur couldn't think of a way to sincerely apologize that didn't imply blaming Merlin somehow anyway was sort of funny, and so very in character)
So, now I really want to see what happens next, so I guess I'll read one chapter more. This story is just so enthralling!
Great job once again,
Hi, Jill! Here checking out FROGS nominees! Congrats, by the way! :)
And also, I think I've never read anything of yours, so I'm glad for this excuse to remedy... ;)
I really enjoyed this first chapter, I think you have a very nice style. The flow was great and you have some lovely description, really well done. :)
I'm not too familiar with the series, to be true, I've only seen a couple of episodes, I'm afraid... but from the little I remember of the characters I can totally imagine this situation happening. Poor Merlin... I love how they both felt betrayed by the other, not really because of the alleged theft in itself but more because of the lack of trust. They do care for each other, even if they probably would deny it right now... Arthur is so stubborn, though.
I guess I'll move on and read another chapter, I'm curious to see them meeting and how Arthur is going to apologize (is he going to? Because he totally should, but he's probably too proud to do so... and even if he did, I don't know if I would accept the apology... anyway...)
Great first chapter!
Lots of love,
Omg, this is the last chapter so far. Thank you for the wonderful journey through this story. <3
I used to be a huge fan of Rick Riordan, and I can't remember that quote at all, from any of his works. (Clearly, I'm a failure as a former fan, hahaha.) But anyway, it's a good quote, and matches the chapter well.
I'm glad that Arthur apologized right after he realized his mistake against Merlin. (His apology came easier this time than before, at the beginning of the story, I noticed. Though I suppose wrongfully punishing your friend for stealing is just on an entirely different level of embarrassment and guilt than refusing to let him talk to you.)
Merlin's plan sounds so intriguing! I wonder what exactly will be in store for them, and whether Arthur will go along with Merlin's plan. If he does, will he able to court the king's daughter for long enough that they can come up with an escape plan? Ahhh, I'm so excited to see!
I'm going to be trying to keep track of this story, so that I can see if a chapter updates, but please give me an insistent poke if I don't review once you post the next chapter. Because if I don't review, I probably won't have seen it.
I love this story so much, Jill, omg. This is just a stunning piece. <3
SOMETHING I FORGOT TO DISCUSS LAST CHAPTER (I think): Arthur's fear and distrust of magic has always struck me as somewhat strange. I understand that the king outlawed magic, and that there's this sort of stigma against it, but for Arthur to distrust so wholly something that he hasn't really properly witnessed before (though I'm speaking as someone who hasn't watched the majority of the show, so perhaps I'm totally wrong) is just so weird to me. But now I really understand Merlin's lack of desire to tell Arthur the truth about himself, especially since Arthur is so against magic.
The opening moments are so cute. Every interaction you write between them is filled with playfulness and happiness and genuine trust and camaraderie. Each time you write in a moment between the two of them, I just soak in all the goodness I can get, because I know there'll be worse things to come.
I just wanted to talk about Arthur (for once, lol, since I spend so much time on Merlin). I think his unwavering defense of Merlin throughout has really separated him as someone who is genuinely good. His horrified thoughts as he viewed the brand on Merlin's arm highlighted everything wrong with slavery, and condemned it. I would say that Arthur is actually a better person than even Twyford, because he's been sacrificing so much to keep Merlin from hurting even more than he already is.
This friendship gives me feelings. <3
Also, the comfort described by Merlin upon entering the magical room made me feel really comfortable and happy too. It's great seeing Merlin reunited with magic, even if it's just for a short while. And his analogy with the dragon and the tree, omggg. So, so sweet. So, so touching. <3
So many things just happened omg. My brain is still trying to catch up with the story; it's a lot to take in, especially emotionally. Even though Arthur's basically only sat in his room and then discussed things with the king over dinner, I feel like I've been hit over the head by a baseball bat.
Because finally the reason for this madness comes to light. I'd thought that the king wanted Arthur as his own son, but that wasn't exactly right; he needed a man to give him an heir. No wonder why Arthur was treated with so much respect on the way here. So many of my questions hav been answered, haha.
(I don't actually know the canon development of Arthur and Gwen's relationship. I know that it happens, I just don't know how it happens, so I'm going to carry on assuming that the two already love each other. I hope I'm right omg.)
So Arthur first thinks of Gwen when the king mentions him siring an heir, and I thought that it was cute, the way he described it as "Gwen's sweet face." But more importantly, Arthur's being forced into a marriage while he's still in love with Gwen. I am actually quite concerned about the condition of Arthur's hopefully-not-bride-to-be-but-currently-kind-of-a-bride-to-be, Bodil. Is her father treating her alright? Is she willing to go through with this? Is she just as mad as the king?
I'm really excited to meet her. I hope I do. She sounds interesting already.
I wonder if Sir Einar understood the possible danger he would be putting Merlin and Arthur in by telling the king about their closeness. Though I suppose anything's better than slavery. It's just, seeing the king use Merlin to threaten Arthur like this just makes this horrible feeling form in the pit of your stomach, you know?
I'M SO WORRIED ABOUT EVERYTHING GAH.
Phenomenal chapter, like always. <3
Even when Merlin is struggling through the toughest of times, he still manages to affectionately insult his prince in his head. Every so often, after he's been through possibly the worst ordeal ever (so I think, until the next one happens), he'll just suddenly have a small, small burst of indignant, wry humor. And if that's not inspiring, I don't know what is.
His thoughts on being branded were exactly mine. Right as the blacksmith moved to touch the hot iron to his skin, I felt so ill. Humans are not to be branded (as the blacksmith said, which I thought was a kindhearted thing for him to imply while defending Merlin), and to treat Merlin like he isn't human is just disgusting and immoral. I see that the usage of "it" to refer to him has once again come up; I get so furious at the speaker, whether it be the king or the Steward, whenever I see that word. Humans are humans, and they deserve to be treated like humans, period.
How tightly does the king rule his people? Everyone seems to be scared of him to some degree. Twyford feared for his wife and children if he disobeyed (though that could just be normal anxiety), and now there's the blacksmith going against his morals in order to appease the king. Granted, most kings in history have a record of imposing fear upon their people, but this king just seems...different. He doesn't seem to have a complete grasp of the reality around him, instead allowing hatred to blind him into being horrible. I could be imagining it, though.
The Steward is perhaps the worst person ever, in the world, and it makes me sad to think that there might actually exist people like him.
Merlin just went through so much in such a short period of time, and I don't see it getting better for him. I hope he'll stay strong and remain vigilant and motivated, though I know that's a lot to ask of him in his current state.
Branded, oh my god. That's just horrible.
Loved this chapter. <3
So I was thinking about this story while one of my teachers was lecturing today, and I thought about how easily I felt a sort of gratitude towards Twyford for taking good care of Merlin. And now that I've read this chapter, I really do think my gratitude had been given too easily before; previously, what he did was certainly kind, but there was no real risk involved for him. What he did for Merlin in this chapter, though, by "sleeping in" so that Merlin wouldn't have to go with the slaves, and taking lashings for it... That's genuine, selfless kindness. I was really touched while reading it. You've really written a wonderful, wonderful character.
Speaking of wonderful characters, Sir Einar is so complex. I find it hard to like him as much as I do Twyford, but he's definitely one of the only people in the camp who has a strict personal moral code. On the other hand, though, he has been leading the party taking Merlin and Arthur further and further away from home, so I'm still not entirely trusting of him. But his recent words to both Arthur and Merlin, to keep their chins up, to follow directions, to survive... It makes me wonder about his relationship with this king of his, and whether Sir Einar is planning something involving those two.
I'm more curious than ever about the purpose of Arthur's kidnapping now. You described the king as having a gaze so possessive that Merlin felt ill. (I'm not actually sure how old the king is, but I'm going to assume he's old enough to be Arthur's father.) Is this the king's way of obtaining an heir? By kidnapping a prince from a different kingdom?
This king, while I'm sure you will write him in such a fascinating way, will be horrible, I'm sure. Every time he called Merlin an "it," as though he were not a human being, I wanted to just slap him silly.
(If my guesses about the king are totally off, please just pretend I never said anything. :'D)
Okay, one last chapter before I go to bed. <3
I loved the gravity of this chapter, even with the short scenes where Arthur and Merlin finally have a little bit of fun together. It's just, everything sounds so final right now, and you wrote it in the perfect tone to make every emotional stab in the gut as painful as possible.
The parts that really got me are when Merlin knelt to clean Arthur's feet (and Arthur's complete shock didn't help my feelings, either, haha) and when Merlin bowed to Arthur at the end (right before he put on the circlet). I've always loved Merlin as a character, but this story has just amplified my love for him tenfold. You write him in such a lovable, awkward manner that it's impossible not to love him, and then when it comes to moments like this, when he's brave and calm and true to his allegiance, I love him even more.
Merlin is amazing. And so it broke my heart when he felt such a hopelessness that he was considering using the razor to end his life. But I can't blame him, after what he's been through, and based on what he will go through. He has suffered too much for a single life.
I'm also really sad that Merlin never quite told Arthur that the fate of a slave was waiting for him. Arthur never seemed to fully grasp that this was probably the last time he would get to talk to Merlin in a very long time (or possible, ever). I wish that Merlin had given a proper goodbye, so that my stressed-out, panicked heart can settle a little bit. But I can understand why he didn't.
YOUR CHARACTERS ARE SO GOOD UGH. <3
Things are happening at a faster pace now! And so we've arrived at the mountain. I thought it was really interesting the way you wrote the avalanche scenes, first from Arthur's masked point of view, and then from Merlin's point of view to fill in the blanks. I thought you did a really good job focusing on different aspects of the avalanche in the two different point of views.
Also, I would just like to say here that if I was writing a character who couldn't speak, and a different character who couldn't see, I definitely would have screwed up somewhere and accidentally given them speech and sight. But as I was reading this, I noticed that you're really good about remembering that Arthur can only use his four remaining senses, while Merlin can't actually say anything.
I thought the prospect of the avalanche was terrifying. Just imagine an entire mountain coming down next to you, all to cover a trail for a very, very long time. How powerful is Aram, omg. He's actually really scary. I bet he could do a lot of harm if he tried.
I'm excited to see where the next chapter takes us! I hope Merlin and Arthur will be okay... All of Merlin's fears about slavery seem to be based on fact, and I don't want him to be separated from Arthur. :(
TWYFORD IS SO, SO KIND, AND I JUST GOT TO READ A WHOLE CHAPTER OF HIS ACTS OF KINDNESS TOWARDS MERLIN. I WAS ACTUALLY SO DELIRIOUSLY HAPPY THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE THING, AND I JUST. COULD NOT STOP SMILING. I FELT SO MANY HAPPY, HAPPY FEELINGS FLUTTER AROUND IN MY STOMACH THAT OUR DARLING, EAGER MERLIN IS FINALLY GETTING (SOME SORT OF) FAIR TREATMENT. THANK THE HEAVENS FOR TWYFORD.
I was very tempted to continue with the whole review in all caps, just because I'm that happy and excited, but I figured it would probably scare you a bit to see a giant, screaming review, so I backed off a bit, haha.
Ever since Twyford was introduced, I knew I liked him. I'm thankful to him for treating Merlin with kindness, even with his wife and two daughters remaining at home for him to worry about. So at the start of this chapter, when Arthur successfully managed to convince Twyford to let Merlin be taken care of, I was so delighted that Twyford turned out to be as lovely as I thought he'd be.
(Merlin's spirit and gumption during his scenes with Aram were hilarious. I actually laughed out loud at this: "Merlin's glare would have withered flowers if there were any growing in the four inches of snow that now covered the ground." Why is Merlin so great?)
And when Twyford sat down with Merlin to help him warm up by the fire, I just got this mist of happy tears in my eyes. There's probably something wrong with me. (Am I being too emotional that Merlin is being treated decently? Haha.) Seeing Twyford actually ask for Merlin's name was so great too.
AND STUPIDLY-BASIL (omg Merlin's nicknames are the best) GOT KICKED OFF, YES. YES YES YES. *dances around happily*
So this chapter made me so emotional (clearly lol) but in a very good way, and my spirits feel so buoyed by this. I absolutely love it when stories have scenes that just show beautiful acts of pure, selfless kindness like this. It's just really uplifting and wonderful to read. I also think that you set this whole chapter up really well; I wouldn't have felt nearly as touched if you hadn't written Merlin's abuse so well before. Kudos. <3
I've noticed that some of the knights in this camp actually have a decent moral code. Sure, they kidnapped and enslaved a few people, but there's still a little bit of honor, somewhere. Mostly I think I'm just talking about Sir Einar and the redheaded guard that helped Merlin out. Gerard can go rot in a ditch. (Did Sir Einar cut his hands off? His promise to Arthur that Merlin wouldn't be beaten by Gerard again sounded weirdly ominous.)
I LOVED THIS LINE SO MUCH. "Merlin was flailing limbs and goofy smiles, corners taken too fast and laundry all over the floor, pacing and bouncing and shifting from foot to foot." IT'S THE MOST PERFECT DESCRIPTION OF MERLIN, AND IT'S ALSO INCREDIBLY TOUCHING GIVEN THE CIRCUMSTANCES. I FELT SO MANY FEELINGS WHILE READING THAT LINE. IT'S SO GOOD.
Thank goodness that Sir Einar allowed Arthur to take care of Merlin. His infection, his beating, every wound he's received in the past few days, they were all beginning to worry me. I don't think that Arthur cleaning Merlin's wounds with the dirty water provided to him will save Merlin, exactly, but I'm just so relieved that Merlin got a small comfort through all of this. (Though it must have been painful to endure the washing of his bruised and bloodied body.)
I just want Merlin to live a beautiful and wonderful life, with no worries. He deserves it so much.
Your descriptions of Merlin's wounds were so detailed, I could picture it easily in my head. I really appreciate that; you don't shy away from really making it hit home exactly how bad things are for Merlin. It gives a much greater impact, in my opinion, and you also manage to keep it from being an unnecessary grimdark sort of detail. So really, really great job. :D
Arthur sounded so defeated in the end. I also want to give him warm hugs and force everyone to treat him well. I hope he'll be okay.
I don't think I need to tell you anymore how much I absolutely love this, haha. It's just such a phenomenally written story. I'm so grateful that you posted in my review thread. <3
Well, that was just a shot straight through my heart. At the beginning of the chapter, I'd been feeling bolstered and fairly optimistic; Arthur had begun to annoy Sir Einar again, and even though it was shut down pretty quickly, he still seemed to have that rebellious mood going on. So I was feeling quite happy at that point.
But then we switched over to Merlin's point of view, and the poor, poor young man is suffering so much. I just sat here, feeling absolutely horrible for him. And that was just when he was trying hard to walk without falling over anything.
It got so much worse when I reached the last section of this chapter. Merlin woke up to being beaten by that one guard who had lost his brother. I think it feels particularly horrible because the guard knows he can't take out his drunken anger on Arthur, so he shifts the blame over to Merlin, which is awful. It's such a testament to Merlin's will that he's even able to attempt resisting being beaten up like this.
And the end. Omg the end. What's happening to Merlin? Will he be okay? Please don't let it be anything worse than what's already happened to him, or I might actually cry. I'm actually seriously panicked now because the last bit says, "he gave up," and that is a really, really bad sign. Because Merlin's spent the last ten chapters stubbornly not giving up, and now the fear and the beating has taken its toll.
I'M SO SAD.
(Great chapter by the way, haha. <3)
I had a physics lab due at midnight tonight, and so I decided to reward myself at the end of it with a chapter from this story, hehe. (Just to ease the absolute misery of physics a little bit.) And what a fantastic reward it was. I should reward myself with this story more often.
This chapter was just absolutely wonderful. (But then again, when are your chapters ever not wonderful?) Merlin and Arthur love each other and take care of each other so, so much omg. It's so heartwarming to see a friendship like theirs being featured so prominently in a story.
Every time Merlin felt relieved that he was able to see Arthur and check up on him, my heart swelled. Every time Merlin felt genuine happiness at seeing his prince being generally well taken care of, my heart swelled some more. And when Merlin made that grim promise to himself that, no matter what consequences it gave him, he would risk everything to get Arthur out, my heart was fit to burst. I am so, so proud of Merlin for being so strong in such horrible conditions.
You've written such a marvelous character, I'm in love.
At the end, too. I think seeing Merlin through Arthur's eyes really hit home exactly how inhumane Merlin's conditions are. It was so gut-wrenching to repeatedly see Merlin attempt to take care of Arthur while he himself was in such an unwell condition. Each time Arthur had to stop Merlin, I felt like crying. NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT MERLIN LOOKED SO HAPPY WHEN HE GAVE ARTHUR THE WARM ROCK AND BUNDLE. HOW CAN ANYONE BE SO PURE AND KINDHEARTED AND GENTLE AND SELFLESS?? GOSH.
I'm so sorry if this review wasn't coherent. I'm so tired that I can't even tell if I'm being understandable or not, haha.
But I lovd, love love this chapter. Omg. I love it. <3
This was such a great chapter, omg, I read it so eagerly, and now I have that satisfied feeling you get after a really amazing part of a story.
I just wanted to say, your Merlin is absolutely adorable and so, so genuine and lovable. All throughout the chapter, I just wanted to give him a huge hug, pat him on the back, and tell him that everything will be okay. (But I have no guarantee of that, so maybe I shouldn't lie to him.) Anyway, I really enjoy reading Merlin's thoughts, because it shows how incredibly honest he is.
I thought Merlin's fears of getting caught with magic were so saddening, especially the guilt he feels for continuing to hide it even after he and Arthur got attacked. I think people always somehow come up with ways to feel guilty about situations that they really couldn't have done much in. I wish that I could tell Merlin that, because he's just been through so much, and he shouldn't be piling more emotional burden on himself. :(
When he was naming his guards, though, I couldn't help but smile. Merlin's name for "Stupidly-Handsome" is just so freaking cute. The way he called him (with quiet sarcasm) his "favorite new friend" and the "overly kind and gentle chap" is such a Merlin thing to do, with this subtly indignant manner of thought. And every time Stupidly-Handsome's name showed up in the chapter after that, I just had to smile a bit at Merlin's name-picking.
So the majority of this chapter detailed the nauseatingly horrific treatment that Merlin is getting. I hate seeing Merlin suffer through so many horrible things, from being forced to serve the guards, to being kicked around until he's bloodied and bruised, to being distraught at the fact that he'll never see his family again... There are so many things I just want to protect him from, poor boy. But he's so strong. I was ready to leap out of my seat and cheer for him, when he made that promise to himself, Arthur, and his loved ones that he would continue fighting. GO MERLIN. YOU CAN DO IT. I HAVE SO MUCH FAITH IN YOU. <3
When his treatment got even worse, though, I started panicking a lot. How much maltreatment can someone endure before they start weakening to the irreparable point? Your descriptions were so detailed and well-selected that his pain came through so clearly. Every bruise he had, every beating he took, every icy numbing he forced himself to get through was just so well depicted. I really loved reading the way you wrote about it, even if the content matter itself was really sad.
It's really interesting seeing everything from Merlin's point of view, though. I really thought the ending scene was a great place to end the chapter, especially after all the gloomy events that just occurred. Merlin's once again hopeful, and his love for his best friend is keeping him happy and motivated, and his spirit seems to have been revitalized, as well. I'm just really happy for him.
I had so many questions at the end of the last chapter, and you answered them so logically and methodically in this one! I couldn't be happier. You covered all your bases regarding what Merlin is there for, and why he hasn't used his magic to help him escape, and how he's unable to speak. I'm so thankful that you answered all of that (some of which were questions I didn't even realize I had), since it really explains a lot.
I'm really concerned for both Merlin and Arthur (more so Merlin, because he seems more disposable than Arthur right now). Being rounded up as a slave, with his magic and voice binded, must be abolutely awful. It's also frightening how the collar (super brilliant explanation, by the way) absorbs the magic he uses and becomes stronger as a result.
When Merlin had that sudden bit of hope, that he was different from sorcerers and that perhaps he could possibly circumvent the rules explained to him, I was so excited. I was cheering him on, hoping for the best...but nope. No, instead my hopes for him were smashed to the ground. No wonder Merlin feels so hopeless right now. I'm feeling really hopeless for him, too. (I have used the word "hope" three times too many in the last few sentences.) I can't see any way he and Arthur are going to get out of this place in one piece. Pleaaase let the two of them be okay. They're too precious for this. :(
I really love this. <3
Before I even got to the actual chapter, I was already feeling so emotional just from your quote. Piglet and Pooh, though I never knew much about them as a kid (and I still don't know anything about them now, haha), immediately give off this sense of innocence and cuteness and everything that makes up adorable children. Placing that in context of this story just makes me feel lots of things. Why am I talking so much about your quote, I don't know, but I think you picked the perfect quote for this chapter.
NOW ONTO THE CHAPTER. I AM SO HAPPY. SO, SO HAPPY. AT FIRST WHEN ARTHUR FIRST BELIEVES THAT MERLIN'S DEAD, I WAS THINKING THAT THERE'S A CHANCE MERLIN'S ALIVE, BUT THEN BECAUSE ARTHUR WAS GRIEVING, THEN I STARTED GRIEVING. BUT MERLIN'S ALIVE! CAN YOU TELL I'M HAPPY. I'M SO HAPPY. :D
I've never been happier to discover a character is still alive. Oh my goodness, it's like a huge weight has been taken off my shoulders. And the gentle way that Merlin handled Arthur, too! And the details that Arthur noticed when Merlin straightened him up a bit! THEY ARE SUCH GOOD FRIENDS, IT MAKES MY HEART SING, I LOVE IT.
When Arthur apologized to Merlin, without any preamble or bluffing, just honesty, I felt really touched. It was a really touching scene to read, and I'm just. so happy. I love Arthur and Merlin's friendship in this story, and how Merlin so casually initiates contact with Arthur. (I think that's something that guy friendships should all be depicted as having.) The flailing hug that Merlin gives Arthur at the end was just so cute and so quintessentially Merlin that I had to smile. <3
Thank goodness I decided to review one more chapter before I went to bed, haha! Otherwise I would've gone to bed all sad and stuff, instead of super joyful like I am now.
But there's still a problem, clearly. Merlin's complete silence has me really, really worried. If he were merely gagged, then sound would still come through, even if muffled and unclear. Maybe he was threatened to keep his mouth shut? Maybe someone who knows magic cast something on him to silence him? But my mind keeps going to probably the worse case scenario, which is that they cut his tongue off. Please please please don't let that be the case.
I loved this chapter so much omg. What a great read to end my day on. <3
Every sentence of Arthur's sorrow was like a stab to the heart. I thought last chapter's furious grief was like a punch to the gut, but this chapter's quiet grief is like a punch to the soul. I'm so sad right now, after reading all of Arthur's reflections about himself and Merlin. Every time he thought of something that suddenly reminded him of Merlin, I felt like crying. :(
What I thought was particularly heartbreaking was Arthur's thoughts on how Merlin must have felt right before he died. He did feel a lot of that guilt that I talked about in my last review, and somehow, it felt worse actually seeing it happen in front of my eyes. Poor Arthur. He messed up when he falsely accused Merlin of thievery, but this isn't a justified punishment for it. He doesn't deserve to feel this level of guilt and shame and self-loathing.
When he wrapped his pride around himself like a shield, my heart broke. It sounds as though he's suddenly lost a lot of confidence and sense of self-worth, and that scares me.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME AND MY EMOTIONS AHHH.
NO, MERLIN CAN'T BE DEAD. WHO EVEN IS ARTHUR WITHOUT A MERLIN BESIDE HIM. I'm hoping that the Food Delivery Guy is lying as a sort of revenge for Arthur killing his brother (and also biting on his fingers), and that Merlin is safe and sound somewhere else in the camp. But I'm betting that the best-case scenario is that Merlin is pretty beat up somewhere, even if he's not dead. :(
Arthur kept on thinking about Merlin throughout this chapter, which made everything at the end feel so much worse. I can't even begin to imagine Arthur's emotions right now, especially since he never actually got the chance to apologize to Merlin. That sort of guilt is probably one of the worst kinds, especially on top of Food Delivery Guy's scathing statement that Merlin would probably still be alive if Arthur hadn't been so stubborn.
I hope that Arthur stays strong throughout this, and that his spirit isn't weakened at all. Fingers crossed for everyone involved. Please let Merlin be one hundred percent okay. :(
(I just wanted to comment that you wrote Arthur's rage and grief so believably. I was sitting here, becoming furious and then suddenly mourning, right along with him. I'm super impressed by your ability to write emotions, I love it!)
I LOVE JANE AUSTEN WITH ALL MY HEART. I love her so much that if you asked me to choose between her and, say, Harry Potter, it'll be a long and difficult inner battle. Anyway. The quote that you picked at the begin really resonated with me, haha. It also fit this particular chapter really well.
Once again (and I'm so sorry if you're tired of hearing this already), I must compliment your characterization abilities. For instance, how stubborn Arthur is. Even when he's panicking at the thought of losing his good friend, even when he's surrounded by fifteen well-trained men, even when there is so much to lose from resisting...he resists anyway. Arthur is a man that Death will have to drag kicking and screaming down to the Underworld, and I love that you managed to write that characteristic into this scene.
Merlin, too! He's played by one of the most adorable actors in the world. (Okay, I swear, in the middle of typing this sentence, I suddenly felt inspiration to search up videos of Colin Morgan and Bradley James and they are such freaking adorable friends I can't get over it.) And so sometimes I mistakenly think that Merlin is just a clumsy, awkward, bumbling servant who can do magic (sometimes he's like that, but not always), but he's really quite brave when he needs to be. And you captured that really well.
I just hope that both of them get out of this situation safely. I'm looking forward to the character growth so much though!
LOL. Glad I could give you great amounts of love with the quote then!
Never appologize for giving compliments! I love your reviews! Just know, I might run out of ways to respond to all the gushing other than....awwwwwww *melts into puddle of happy goo....*
I LOVE how you phrase that - Arthur is a man that Death will have to drag kicking and screaming... It's SO true! (And how I wish it could have stayed true always, but that's a cry fest for another day.) He's so stubborn again. That's one of the reasons we love him though, because if he gets it into his head he's gonna protect someone, there's not much that will stop him.
And yes, Merlin! (I totally understand the distraction - I won't tell you how many hours are added to my writing because I get distracted by pictures of Colin and Bradley on pinterest. It's...embarassing.) Merlin IS clumsly and awkward and bumbling, and that's also why we love him. But it makes me love him even more to know that he can also e brave and think fast and very, very loyal.
Thanks again! I so love it when your reviews pop up! And I'm so honored that you are still reading! Also, thanks for the nomination vote for the FROGS! I just...gah! Thanks!
I think I spent so much time last chapter flailing about how much I loved your characterization that I completely forgot to discuss everything else I loved. So, here goes. Your writing style is perfect for the world of Merlin; it sounds regal and formal, yet it's also imbued with the personality of the characters. There's always this perfect balance of irony and seriousness, and I really, really enjoy reading that type of writing.
To be able to hear the difference in voice between Merlin and Arthur (here I'm going on about characterization again, whoops) is honestly a phenomenal experience as a reader. It makes my job so easy when you write your characters so well, where I can tell who's thinking what without even needing to look at the names. Even the writing style shifts slightly between the characters. I'm not sure if you've noticed this, but Merlin's sections are generally filled with more concern, with shorter sentences and more common speech. Meanwhile, Arthur sounds like a prince, like an honest-to-goodness prince. (Seeing his inner attempts at apologizing was simultaneously amusing and somewhat pitiful.)
Okay, and that ending. That last line. I was completely not expecting that. I was expecting a bumbling apology from Arthur masked in a sort of embarrassed haughtiness. I was expecting Merlin to defend himself one last time before Arthur surprised him with a sudden one-eighty. I was definitely not expecting Merlin to be taken hostage. (Was it that suspicious messenger guy? I bet it was that suspicious messenger guy.)
This is so much fun to read omg. I love this so, so much. <3
I will never say no to your flailing. In fact, it makes me really happy. So flail away!
And gah, I'm so amazed by your gushing! Such lovely things you just said. I'm floating on happiness!
And I actually had to go back and look at these chapters again. I had no idea there were differences in my writing style between the two povs. In their thoughts and speech, yes, I was trying to put those in, but in just the general writing? Wow. It's cool that you see that! And I wish I could take concious credit for it!
Hehehehe. Glad you liked my little cliff hanger there. This story is a slow moving, exploriation of friendship and how two people help each other through some really awful times. I don't get many oportunities for those cliffies, so I had to make use of that one.
Thanks so much! Your reviews make me smile like a crazy person!