Hi, Jill! I'm here for the menagerie! :)
Let me first of all commend you for your incredible descriptive skills. Description is hard enough without completely cutting off the sense of sight, so I'm thoroughly impressed by what you did here. Arthur's inner thought was brilliant, the way he tried to determine his surroundings and situation based only on the sounds and smells is great. What an awful situation to wake up to, as well, tied up and blindfolded and with no clue who the enemy is and what are their intentions...
And Merlin, of course! The way you write the bond of friendship between Arthur and Merlin is absolutely wonderful! It's sort of sweet that Arthur is mostly concerned about Merlin's fate and that he puts so much effort in trying to get signs of his presence nearby. I'm wondering what happened to him, too, btw. I remember him attacking the soldiers with magic at the end of last chapter, but it's pretty vague, I've been away from this story for too long, apparently... I know for a fact that Arthur's captor is lying, though. Merlin can't be dead. You wouldn't have a story to tell otherwise, right? Right!
Once again, you capture Arthur's pride and sense of honour so well. I loved his protest about Merlin's murder being that he surrendered for his safety. Unfortunately, not everyone shares his same sense of honour... the retort was so good, too. We get to learn that the captor has now a personal reason to hate Arthur, which is... interesting. I wonder how things will develop from here.
Another wonderful chapter, my dear! Hopefully I'll remember to come back to this story sometime soon!
Lots of love,
I know Merlin can't possibly be dead, but Arthur's reaction nearly broke my heart. I love when we see evidence of how much he cares for Merlin, since he never shows it to Merlin's face. So where is Merlin??? I hope he's okay but I know he's going to have to go through a lot before this story is over! Awesome work, Jill. Can't wait to read more!
I think I'm more angry at the man who has Merlin for cutting off Arthur's apology, rather than the fact that he has a knife to Merlin's throat lol
Boo, I hate when Arthur's strengths are used against him. He's really been backed into a corner here! USE YOUR MAGIC MERLIN.
Oh, good, he did! And I actually let myself think they were maybe going to escape from this one, but nope. Wouldn't be a story if that happened, haha. Ahh! So what do they want with Arthur? Did that last man see Merlin use his magic? What will that mean? I'm excited to find out!
So reading Arthur’s thoughts was SO FUNNY, like even when he’s just thinking to himself he can’t bear to admit he’s wrong. It’s just not in him to do that. And poor Merlin! It makes me sad to think he’s actually worried about what Arthur might do with him. There’s little trust between them still and it just makes me want to shake the both of them into their senses. Gah! A cliffhanger! I can’t wait to find out what happens!
I saw that you updated and I had to come and read it!
After reading this, I have a suspicion that our lovely Princess Bodil is a magical being, and that the rooms in the castle that have hints of magic in them are from when she needed to practice. (I don’t even know why I’m guessing this; there’s honestly no evidence for it, and I’m not even sure if the magical rooms are important haha.)
Anyway, from the beginning! I’m always going to love Arthur standing up for Merlin (who has gone through so much, the poor boy). Literally every time that happens in one of your stories, my heart just warms so much, and ahhh I just love it. What I find particularly tragic is that Merlin has been rendered mute, so we get none of his sassy quips towards Arthur. Sometimes we get glimpses of them, but other than that, the poor boy has to be quiet. I hope for his sake (and also mine, because I really miss Merlin’s speech <3) that he gets to speak soon!
I JUST LOVE THESE TWO AND THE WAY YOU WRITE THEM SO MUCH. <3
Sometimes, I just really want the Steward to fall into the moat. (Is there a moat? Idk.) He’s a terrible person. And that’s that.
The feast was really interesting to read. My blood was boiling as the king lied to his people about how the road came to be blocked by the snow. And with every custom of these people that Arthur and Merlin didn’t know, I just got more and more furious with the king. Princess Bodil is so intriguing though. I really want Arthur to get to know her better, so that I can get to know her better hehe. Like, I want these two to become very good friends so that we can see what she’s like underneath that mask! I’m sure she hates what her father is doing to her. I hope so. I really hope she’s not secretly evil. AHHH WE SHALL SEE.
ALSO THAT ENDING LMAOOO. Arthur, you dork. After all of Merlin’s rule-breaking, and attempts to get him to do his job, that’s what he opens with?? I laughed so hard at the ending there.
Once again, a wonderful chapter. I really, really want to know what continues from here!
I've been in a real Merlin mood lately, but my DVDs are back at my parents', I can't find episodes online anywhere, and I've been listening o the soundtrack on Spotify... What's a girl to do?
Then I saw your post that you updated this story, and HOW COULD I FORGET ABOUT FANFICTION?! I've read Some Things Are Meant To Be, and I'm super excited about how many Merlin stories are on your author page, so if you don't mind, I'm going to get comfy right here.
Oh goody, it just wouldn't be a Merlin fanfiction without me going, 'Aww, Merlin' straight away :P But seriously, what little thing did he do to end up in the stocks this time?? SO typical of Arthur to not listen or trust Merlin, to blame him straight away when the missing pin was an accident that whole time. I love how you write these characters, you've done it so well. It's like watching a new episode in my head, my craving is satisfied :P
Bless Leon. Always.
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!
Hi Kenny! Thanks so much for coming back again, and for leaving this great review to cheer me up! You are so thoughtful and I really appreciate it!
This is not actually the story I was going to write for the Fairy Tale challenge. That was a totally different one, and then I ended up not doing it after I outlined it and saw how long it would be. I wasn't sure it would still work for the challenge. Still, I will write it someday because I still really like the idea.
Yes, Twyford helped Merlin not have to go to the mines, for which he is very grateful. I'm glad you enjoyed that twist.
As for writing, I used to just start writing when an idea hit me and go where the muse wanted, but I have since learned that is not an effective way to do things as I get stalled in the middle and never finish. So, on this story and a lot of my newer ones, I do outline before I start writing. Doesn't mean that I don't still have to take things apart and re-outline in the middle of the fic, because that's what I'm doing right now for this story, but it does help guide me and keep me from falling apart too much.
Yes, Arthur and Merlin are in a very precarious position here, aren't they. But friendship is VERY strong and will help them through it.
Thanks again for the review! They are always wonderful to receive.
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.