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You Can't Escape Destiny (Lars/Rhen +others, all the AV games)

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I said "I'd like to write a BBC Merlin AU with Lars as Arthur and Rhen as Merlin" and then both characters started arguing with me and it turned into something else. So. uh. This is a Merlin inspired AU. It completely ignores canon timelines in order to throw in characters from the other games. title stolen from a merlin tagline.

As usual the first post is reserved for a table of contents. I will be cross-posting to AO3 as well, eventually.

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Rhen stumbled out of dreams about angry...squirrels…? to discover that her feet were moving on their own. She'd been sleepwalking, apparently, but when she tried to put a stop to it her feet kept going, carrying her up staircases and through dark, empty hallways, past giant arched windows through which she got a glimpse of the moon, high in the sky.

Up and up she went, until she had arrived at the Oracle's tower, which at least made it perfectly clear who was responsible for dragging her out of her bed.

“I have had a vision of your future, Child,” The Oracle intoned. “You have a great destiny before you, although the path ahead is yet dark. Do not be afraid, follow your destiny for the sake of the world.”

It was the usual Oracular impenetrable and unhelpful “guidance”. Rhen yawned. “Can I go back to bed, now?” She said.

“Tell no one of this conversation,” The Oracle said, and Rhen stiffened, feeling the bolt of lightning through her spine of a geas being laid upon her. She opened her mouth to protest, furious, but nothing came out.

She dragged herself back down the stairs and to her room. By the time she arrived the sun had already risen and she knew it was hopeless to try to go back to sleep. Today was the start of the Midsummer Festival, and she'd be expected to take a leading part in the festivities, not stagger around half-drunk on exhaustion.

The traditional dress for the Midsummer festival was a simple cotton shapeless shift, tied with an elaborate silk sash. Rhen had fought to be allowed to wear her sword, but her mother had insisted.

“Just for one week,” Talia had said. “Just one week, can you please be... just... a princess.”

And not a warrior, she left unsaid, but it echoed after her words so loudly that she really didn't have to.

Rhen thought that when her mother looked at her, she mostly saw the blood on her hands. It hurt, but it was a dull ache, gone numb from all the times Rhen picked at it, a background steady bleeding of black ichor she was used to, these days.

She knew her people were afraid of her, the way they averted their gazes like they hadn't when she was a child. For them she could do it, one week of smiling, pretending they weren't at war.

So she went to the festival, groggy from lack of sleep but trying to make up for it, smiling at everyone, making jokes as she fake-haggled with the stall-owners, and everyone went along with it, playing the charade together, a collaborative effort. It had been half a decade since Rhen had killed the prince, maybe it was time to move on. Not Rhen, who still had nightmares, but her country, the kingdom.

Something colorful caught her eye, a butterfly the size of her hand, brilliant red with black markings. She followed it, intrigued, and it flitted this way and that, over the stalls, to the edge of the fairgrounds. Near a large cave it came to a rest, trembling gently, on a huge white flower with thousands of tiny petals.

Rhen hitched her skirt up, clambering over several large boulders. She crouched by the flower, and was barely breathing with the effort to keep herself still as she slowly, gently, extended a finger towards the insect.

It landed delicately, and she brought it closer to her face. Up close the brilliant red was irridescent, shining with deep blues and purples.

Then suddenly there was dark fabric being stuffed over her head, trapping her arms against her sides. Rhen cried out, and something hard hit her, a stinging pain and sudden wetness on her face.

She couldn't… breathe…


A strange sensation on her leg woke her up, to a dark world and a throbbing head. The itchy, clothlike sensation against her ear suggested someone had bandaged her head wound, but she was now blindfolded and gagged, so the main improvement over the sack was access to air.

 The sensation on her leg repeated, and she realized it was something crawling on her. She shook her leg violently and whatever it was fell off, but a few moments later it was back again. It didn't feel heavy or warm enough to be a rat, it felt like an enormous bug. She hoped it wasn't poisonous.

When she tried to access her magic, she suddenly noticed the cold weight against her wrists. She tried, again, to call the magic inside her, but nothing answered.
That was when she finally began to truly panic.

There was a constant swaying motion and muffled watery sounds, so she guessed she was on a ship. The coast was a full day's travel from the capital, which meant she'd been unconscious for at least a day, very possibly more.

She wished she'd spoken more than a few perfunctory words to her parents the morning of the festival, wished she'd said something nice, or hugged them. She didn't know who had taken her or what ransom they wanted.
She didn't know how long she lay awake, in pain, but eventually, for lack of anything else to do, she fell asleep again.


They walked her off the ship roughly, kicking her forward when she stumbled briefly at the joint between the ship and the ramp leading off it. She was led to some destination, and then a rope was wrapped around her hands and went taut.

Only then did they remove the blindfold. The sunlight burned her eyes, even with her lids closed, and it was several minutes before she opened her eyes, blinking.

She was at a slave fair.

The shock washed over her in a wave. Until that point she'd assumed she'd been kidnapped deliberately. But who would bring the Thaian Princess to a slave fair? She was ransom material, not... Labor.

The thought of what potential uses she could be put to almost made her faint. The entire ship ride she had refrained from crying and thought herself brave, but now she felt tears leaking out despite herself. She realized she'd been hoping all along, assuming her parents would save her. She was dizzy and weak - they hadn't fed her at all on the ship, however many days it had been, although she had been given to drink.

"I don't see an anti-magic tattoo," someone was saying, a tall man in a purple robe. Then they actually lifted up her hair to examine her neck.

"No need," the man standing by the stake she was tied to said, "this one's totally inert, we got her scanned at the port."

"It's still hardly proper..." he said.

"Look, you wanna pay the 50 gold for a tattoo, that's on your account," the man by the stake said impatiently. "My goods are sold as-is. This one ain't got even a spark, it's a waste of money."

"What are these bracelets she's wearing?" This was said by a middle-aged woman in dark green, with scowling lines etched in her face.

The man shrugged. "Dunno, she had em when we got her, guy who sold her said they was steel. Couldn't get em off though, when we tried."

The woman looked briefly disappointed.

Rhen, in the meantime, was slowly getting her bearings. The sun was hot on her face, and the air was dry. The tears she'd shed had dried on her cheeks, leaving slightly itchy salt residue.

She was trying to figure out in what context she'd heard of anti-magic tattoos before. She was desperate to know where she was.

At the edges of the square there were palm trees, their huge leaves swaying gently in the wind.

God, it was so hot... She thought.

And then, a second later, like a blow to the gut-


She struggled to calm herself, breathing in and breathing out. She was being ridiculous, paranoid.

And yet she herself had listened to the reports of raids by Veldaran slavers, the Empire's latest round of aggression against the Thaians. It wasn't so far fetched.

Her breath caught in her throat. She'd been thinking, maybe, that she could convince the person who eventually bought her to bring her home, convince them it would be worth their while.
But if she was in Veldarah it was imperative no one know who she was.

Because Rhen Pendragon, the Prince-Slayer, wouldn't survive a day on Veldaran soil.



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This is awesome!! I really love the twist you've put on the story, I'm so excited to see a new fanfic and especially a multi-chap one :D I can't wait to see where you take this!!

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NOTE: there was a change of plan, fairly major, regarding Stella's role in the story. The original version of this post has been updated for the new plan. (FUN FACT: Dameon's role has changed six times in my head thus far and not necessarily settled down yet.)

this post is still very much not done, but I'm busy with a lot right now and haven't had the chance to write the rest yet. It's coming, I promise, and there will probably be Lars




The sound of her name startled Rhen out of the miserable reverie into which she’d drifted.

“Rhen Darzon?”

She was suddenly being embraced, by a dark-skinned woman with light purple hair. She looked vaguely familiar, but it took Rhen a few befuddled moments to place her.

“S-Stella?” She said, tentatively.

When Rhen had been younger—much younger, before the full extent of her powers had become manifest and before her parents had given up on producing a male heir—her father had insisted that she be given an “ordinary childhood”, which had translated into being sent to a summer camp under a false name (but with six bodyguards posing as camp staff) while her parents gallivanted about the world like a honeymooning newlywed couple.

It had been a great experience, complete with mud races and rotations at the petting zoo feeding the chickens. It was one of the things Rhen had missed, after she spoke to the sword and everything changed.

Then winced, as Stella’s hug caused the rope on her wrists to bite into her skin painfully. Only then did Stella seem to notice Rhen’s situation. Her eyes widened, her dainty hand rising to cover her open mouth.

“What’s happened to you, Rhen?” She said, her voice soft with sympathy.

Rhen shrugged, uncomfortable. She was in enemy territory and she hadn’t decided yet on her cover story. She didn’t know how much she could trust Stella, who she’d only known for a few brief weeks over a decade ago.

“Bad luck,” she mumbled.

“We must get you out of here at once,” Stella declared, and marched over to the slave trader. The trader, clearly sensing blood in the water, gave a ludicrous asking price, and then looked like he regretted not aiming higher when Stella immediately agreed without bothering to haggle.

But the deal was done, and Rhen felt shaky with relief and weepy with gratitude as Stella furiously removed the rope from her wrists, shooting the trader dirty glances as she saw the raw red marks rubbed into Rhen’s skin.

“I’m here to buy salve ingredients,” Stella said, “I’ve run low on a few of the more exotic components and the ships bring better stock. But I’ve already gotten the most crucial supplies, so if you want to leave at once, we can.”

Rhen suspected Stella was overstating her readiness to leave, but she wasn’t prepared to attempt polite insistence on staying, not when she was fighting back tears for the second time that day, swaying on her feet, desperately aware she was surrounded by enemies. The ground seemed to be rocking under her feet, nauseatingly.

“I’d like to leave,” she said, managing to keep her voice away from actual sobs. And then she swayed, almost falling onto Stella.

She added, a bit embarrassed “…Also, I don’t know when I last ate.”


Stella brought her to a restaurant immediately located on the edge of the markteplace.

But then she ordered a plain vegetable broth. Even as Rhen was staring mournfully at the bowl, in which a few small lumps of vegetable floated in an almost clear broth, Stella was frowning at the small roll of bread that accompanied it--  

“Eat slowly,” she warned, “or you will make yourself very sick”.

It was hard, but Rhen managed it, interspersing small bites with drinks of water.

Only after Stella was satisfied that Rhen wasn’t going to throw up the bread/broth did she ask the waiter to bring a bowl of fruit salad, which had familiar pear and apples and also something light-blue and lumpy with a pleasantly mild flavor that Rhen had never had before.

It was incredible to Rhen how much better she felt with even a little bit of food inside her, like her entire body was coming back to life. The initial impulse to desperately gorge herself had passed, and she found that she was able to focus on something other than food.

“So what are you doing in Veldarah? You’re not from here originally, right?” She asked. She didn’t remember where Stella was from but she was sure she wasn’t originally from Veldarah—matters had been less dire between the empire and Thais before Rhen had killed their crown prince, but they’d always been tense enough she couldn’t imagine a Veldaran attending camp on Thaian soil.

"I'm... Well, I'm actually the Royal Healer," Stella said, blushing. 

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Rhen swallowed, unable to believe her bad luck.

"The R-Royal Healer?" She repeated, as if maybe she'd just misheard.

"I know, I'm way too young for it, but, I was apprenticing the old healer, and she up and left, and the royal family liked me, so.."

"Do you... see them often?" Rhen asked. It probabaly wasn't so bad, right, how often could they be getting sick and needing a healer anyway.

"I live on the palace grounds," Stella said.

Rhen had a dizzying sense of vertigo.

"Um," she said, mind momentarily blank with panic.

With great effort she composed herself.

"Stella?" She said. "Can I ask you for a small favor? Could you, uh, could you not call me Rhen? It's, uh, it's a very visibly Thaian name."

Stella's eyes widened in understanding. "Ok, what should I call you?"

"How about..." Rhen cast about desperately for a suitable generic name. "Peta? Peta Darzon."



A/n: I know, it's tiny, but I've realized I either post tiny snippets or I don't end up posting at all. Sorry. Also, the continuity error introduced in this snippet has been edited out of the previous snippet)

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