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The Blood Plague by Venus

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Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin or any of the characters, it is owned by the creator of Merlin and BBC. I do however own Anne and Fanny.
Chapter 1: First Victim


Anna sat in her room looking out her window. She wore a light blue dress, and her long brown hair hung past her shoulders. She had a book sitting in her lap. It had been three years since her father had died, and she had been lucky that King Arthur allowed her to keep her father's lands.

Even though she wasn't allowed to know how her father had died, she wondered whether he was keeping it this secret to protect her. Her book was a handsome prince who saved a princess who had been locked away in a tower- quite similar to her current situation. Just then, she saw a black horse riding towards the house, but before she could move, her serving girl Gina entered the room.

"My lady, I am sorry to bother your leisure time, but you have a guest." Gina looked no older than fourteen, the daughter of her friend Millie, who was also a servant. Because of this, Anna did her best not to lose her temper when the girl made mistakes.

Anna was a bit surprised to hear that they had a guest since her father's death few people apart from her cousin visited her these days, so she was happy to see King Arthur was looking out for her. It was one of many things she loved about him. She closed her book, rose and dusted off her dress. "We'd better welcome him, Gina."

When they reached the visitor, however, they were shocked to see a man slumped over the horse with arrows sticking out of his back. He appeared to be unarmed. Anna was stunned. "What are you doing?"

She yelled. "Get this poor man down from his horse and into the house. Can't you see he is in need of help?"

Two servants helped the man off his horse and carried his body into the barn. Once inside, Gina and Anna grabbed a seat and started to tend to the man's wounds, with water and cloth for the arrows. They hoped that by pulling out the arrows, they could ease his pain, but when the arrows only shifted slightly she heard the man scream in pain.

My ..Lady...soldiers heading here from the west…" He said, before coughing up blood that started to spill slightly from the side of his mouth. "They wear Lot's colors."

Anna froze. "What Essetir soldiers?" Everyone stared at Anna for a moment, clearly wondering what to do. Then she said, "John, saddle Dark Wind and get the wagon ready; we are riding to Camelot! Send for our fastest rider.

I will send a letter to my cousin to let him know I am coming." Before anyone could move, the man started shaking and if the servants hadn't held him down, he might have fallen off the table. Gina looked down and saw his blood dripping onto the floor, forming a large puddle.

She glanced back at him and saw he wasn't moving, she watched as Gina placed some fingers on the man's neck for a pulse. "I'm sorry, my Lady- he is dead." Anna fetched a nearby blanket and covered the man.

"Charlie," she said to another servant, "take his body to his family, and tell them his son is a hero for his warning." The boy stared at the cloth. "I knew him- his name was Blaine. He was to be married in a couple of months. I will make sure he is returned to his family."

Anna returned to her chamber to write her letter, and then she changed into her traveling clothes. Once back in the barn, she handed the letter over to her trusted messenger, John. "Make sure the rider knows this is addressed to Arthur and no one else!"

John bowed. The last thing Anna saw before leaving the barn was her own rider disappearing at top speed, headed towards Camelot. An hour later, she had packed her things, summoned three of her servants and was ready to ride out herself.

~Camelot~

Out in the practice field, Merlin fell over again. "Come on, Merlin," Arthur said, "you'd better not be sleeping on the job!" Coughing, Merlin lifted his head.

"Arthur, I can't feel my arms!" Arthur looked at Merlin with a glare on his face before saying. "Stop being a coward- I've got more practice to do before the meeting."

Luckily Percival and Gawain saw what was going on and helped him up. But this only made Arthur smile and attack again with stronger swings. He would have knocked Merlin over once more, but Gaius walked up to them holding a letter, accompanied by another man.

Sire, I ran into this man whilst I was out collecting herbs. He claims to have a letter for you from your cousin Anna." Arthur frowned. "Do you know why your mistress has sent me this?"

He said, addressing the younger man. "No my king, I was told only to deliver it directly to your hands." Taking the letter, Arthur turned away and opened it. With a sigh, he then called a halt to practice.

"Anna is coming to Camelot to speak with me about something, so we will need to attend to her when she arrives." Turning back to the messenger, he said, "Thank you for delivering this. Please rest in Camelot for as long as you need." Gawain then spoke out by saying, "She has the nerve to come here after what her father did?"

Arthur frowned at Gawain. He hadn't told many people how Anna's father had died, and he wanted to protect her from the fact that he had betrayed Camelot by helping Morgana. "Anna has no idea what her father did, and I want to keep it that way for her sake. Merlin, come; I must change."

Whilst helping Arthur change, Merlin felt dizzy all of a sudden. He placed his hands on the closet, waiting for it to pass, hoping that Arthur hadn't seen. "Merlin, why is it taking you so long to hand me my clothes?"

He came back to his senses and hurried over to help Arthur dress, wondering whether he should tell Gaius about the problem. But then a horn sounded, announcing the arrival of Lady Anna. In the courtyard, Merlin was curious to see Anna's evident confusion when people glared at her, whispering behind their hands.

But the dizziness had returned once more, and so he could not see Arthur greeting his cousin. Then he felt something in his throat and began to cough loud enough for others to notice. Arthur initially turned round and glared, but when Merlin pulled his hand away, concern took over.

Before he could say anything, however, Merlin fell to the ground in a heap. Gaius was the first to reach him. "I need to get him to my chambers and find out what this is."

Arthur asked, "Do you think it's because I hit him too hard or could it be something else?" Gaius shook his head. "No, Sire, all I can tell you is this is neither a normal illness nor the result of being hit. He must have caught it not long ago because he was fine when I saw him earlier."

Arthur looked at his cousin then back at Gaius. "Is there any chance that this could have been caused by magic?" The healer looked at Anna then said, "Yes sire it's possible, but I won't know anything until I look in my books."

Arthur looked at his cousin then back at the healer. "Then let's get him back to your chambers," he said in a serious voice and before he could pick Merlin up. Percival stepped forward and lifted Merlin in his arms and started to walk towards Gaius's chambers with Arthur, Gaius and a few others walking behind him.
There we go the first chapter, please review your thoughts on the story are welcome and I love to hear what you think of it now I have edited it.
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