Arthur was woken by a bucket of water that was thrown over him by Tom.
“Gergh.” He groaned and shook his dripping head.
He appeared to be shirtless and tied to a pole by several ropes. They seemed to be in a cave that was lit by a few smoky torches on the walls. That was pretty much all he could see from his currant position.
“He knocked out two of our men?” A voice said somewhere behind him.
“Yeah. We think he’s a spy from the other side.”
“Finnie said he looked half drowned when you lot found him.”
“So why would a spy be half drowned when they have boats?”
“Don’t know, maybe to make it look believable? They’re a clever bunch over there.” Tom said, eyeing Arthur with a beady gaze.
“Whatever, Almaric wants his name. Make him talk.” The other voice said and walked away.
“Well? What’s your name then eh?” Tom said, digging a dagger into Arthur’s neck.
“Blerh.” Arthur groaned, his head pounding.
“Where am I? Where’s Merlin?” Arthur croaked, blinking dazedly.
“What did he say?” Someone suddenly said and Matt appeared from a shadow, his arms folded.
“He said something about some Merlin guy. Maybe an accomplice?” Tom said.
“Well?” Matt asked Arthur.
“Where am I?” Arthur croaked again.
“He defiantly said something about a Merlin.” Tom said.
“He’s half dead. Go put him in the cells. I’ll send out a search party for any accomplices.” Matt said, strolling away.
“You gonna come quietly?”
“Tell me where I am!” Arthur demanded.
“I’ll take that as a no.” Tom said nastily and clobbered Arthur over the head with the butt of his dagger.
When Arthur woke again he had his shirt and jacket back and appeared to be in a small gloomy cave that was probably a cell. There was a thick wooden door on one wall and a small grate with heavy metal bars on the ceiling for light.
The cell was empty except for himself and a good deal of half frozen puddles on the floor. It was extremely cold so Arthur backed up against a wall and hugged his knees to conserve what little heat he had left from when he had been dumped in the room.
His breath coming out as clouds of white he wondered where Merlin was if he was even still alive. Matt had said he would send out a search party to look for him. Arthur was glad that was happening because it was probably better for Merlin to be stuck in a cell than a river.
He took a deep breath. If Merlin had drowned what would he do? He owed him so much and yet he had barely even said thank you. Arthur decided that if Merlin was alive then the first thing he would do was tell him how much he appreciated all that he did for him (even the sarcastic comments.)
He thought that it wouldn’t take them long to find Merlin but no one could tell him just how wrong he was.
It took days.
Arthur was left in the freezing cave for about three days without food or water so he was reduced to drinking from the ice-cold puddles, which I can tell you did not taste nice. There was nothing to eat in the cave however so he slowly grew hungrier and hungrier and increasingly worried.
He tried to see if there was some way of moving the grate but it was far too strong to be broken off.
He spent most of his time trying to listen to anything that might give him clues about where he was and how the search for Merlin was going. But there was no talking or anything else of value worth hearing on the other side of the door.
He wondered why no one in authority was coming to see if this new captive in his dungeons was any threat for no one had been in the cell since he had been thrown there.
On the fourth morning there was a noise outside the door. Arthur leapt up, wondering what was going on.
The door’s many bolts were unlocked, the noise echoing around the cave loudly. Arthur’s heart began to race. The door opened and two men threw a poor excuse for a human into the room. They immediately shut the door again and their footsteps pounded away.
“Merlin?” Arthur crawled over to the drenched heap of clothes and turned it over. Arthur’s heart leap with relief and joy to see the familiar face of Merlin groaning up at him. His clothes were wet, indicating that he had probably still been unconscious and in the river when he had been found. There was still that long gash stretched across his chest and several smaller cuts speckled his face but he was alive, that was the main thing.
“Ung…am I alive?” Merlin groaned, trying to sit up but failing.
“Yeah. Yeah, you’re alive.” Arthur grinned, “Are you ok?” He asked, trying to keep in his relief. If Merlin knew he had worried he’d probably only laugh…
“I think I’ve got a broken rib.” Merlin hissed in pain as Arthur propped him up against the wall.
“Really?” Arthur frowned, concernedly.
“Yeah. I think it happened when the bear got me.”
“Lets get a look. If its broken then your gonna need a physician.”
Merlin obediently lifted the corner of his sodden shirt, wincing as he moved his side. He did indeed have a broken rib. It was quite clear as it was poking out slightly.
“You need a doctor.” Arthur swallowed. It looked pretty bad.
“Tell me what happened. I can’t remember anything after the bear hit me.”
“We fell off a cliff and into a river and I suppose it carried us to wherever we are now.” Arthur said, climbing to his feet and heading for the door.
“Where are you going?” Merlin asked, wringing out his shirt as best he could.
“I’m getting you a physician.” Arthur explained and banged his fist loudly on the door.
Merlin looked around the cave, mostly for a way of escape. He saw the grate but the bars that made it looked only too solid. Maybe if he used magic…
He glanced at Arthur who was still pounding the door with his fist to get some attention, far too busy to notice if Merlin cast a quick spell on the grate. Which spell to cast though?
Suddenly there was an angry voice on the other side of the door and a sliding window on the thick wood opened to reveal a face.
“What do you want?” It asked crossly.
“My friend has a broken rib. He needs a physician.”
“Broken? I’ll see what I can do.” The guard said begrudgingly and went away.
Arthur turned around satisfied and saw Merlin staring at the grate.
“If your wondering whether we can escape through there I’ve already tried. It’s impossible.” Arthur sat down heavily beside Merlin and lent against the wall, looking up at the roof of the cave.
Merlin nodded but continued to stare at it anyway.