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Title: What Infinite Heart’s Ease
Fandom: Merlin
Author: [ profile] arcadianmaggie
Artist: [ profile] sallyna_smile
Pairings/characters: Arthur/Merlin (also Arthur/Guinevere, Lancelot/Guinevere)
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: ~66,000
Warnings: Character Death (not Merlin/Arthur), graphic violence, torture, explicit sexuality, references to incest, non-consensual sex with a minor (possible spoilers - highlight to read), blatant use of favourite fic tropes, angst.

Summary: Canon era AU. Betrayed by the people he loves best, Arthur finds comfort in the arms of his manservant, Merlin. In the wake of Uther's death, the unrest to the east intensifies and shocking secrets are revealed. As a young king struggling to find his place and control a kingdom on the verge of war, Arthur must decide whether to continue his father's crusade against magic users or place his faith in the one person he thought he'd never trust again.

Author's Notes: My eternal thanks to my friend and beta [ profile] otta_ff for her incomparable support from start to finish—from brainstorming, to cheerleading, to necessary prodding, all the way to final editing. I couldn’t have done it without you. You are the very bestest of the best. Huge thank yous also to [ profile] magnolia822 for pre-reading, to [ profile] 40_miles for the Brit pick, and to my wonderful artist [ profile] sallyna_smile for the gorgeous art accompanying this story. I’d also like to thank [ profile] sapphirescribe, [ profile] melooza, and [ profile] icmezzo for both stepping in as my informal cheerleaders and for the excellent company during WCs. Finally, thank you to [ profile] the_muppet for the amazing job running this challenge.

Title taken from Shakespeare’s Henry V, 4.1

What infinite heart's ease
Must kings neglect, that private men enjoy!
And what have kings that privates have not too,
Save ceremony, save general ceremony?

Art link: Art Masterpost
Disclaimer: Merlin is owned by the BBC and Shine. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit is being made.

PART 1 - Part 1a, Part 1b, Part 1c | PART 2 - Part 2a, Part 2b, Part 2c |
PART 3 - Part 3a, Part 3b, Part 3c | or on AO3

Date: 2012-08-27 04:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
When will the AO3 link be live? I want to read this on my Kindle! :-D

Date: 2012-08-27 04:25 pm (UTC)
(deleted comment)

Date: 2012-08-27 10:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you so much!! This is my first Merlin fic so I had to fill it with all my favorite tropes. Glad you liked it!!

Date: 2012-08-27 09:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I need to flail over this in one more place, for posterity's sake! What a beautiful and epic story - and as I said in my rec, it's everything I want from the show. I don't know what I can say that I haven't already, tbh, except that it was a pleasure to be a part of this from the get-go. Now that it's posted, I'm feeling equal parts proud and nostalgic. Congratulations, bb! xoxo

Date: 2012-08-27 10:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you, my darling. Just like at the end of IWN I feel like we've been through some incredible ordeal (probably not the right word lol. adventure? Maybe ordeal works afterall ;-) together. But we've come out the other side. I feel like I could just keep heaping endless love on you forever for all your support. <3


Date: 2012-08-28 03:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
YAY for posting!!! I'm so excited to read this, but also ~escared. But saving now. Prepare for flails later! <3

Date: 2012-09-01 10:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Fantastic! As I was reading, many times I looked to the heavens with tears saying, "Why is this not in the show?" Even if there was no romantic Merthur (god forbid), the storylines you have are so wonderful and sooooo much better than what we've been given so many times. Your story even opens up the betrayal by Morded as one of the Knights. This is brilliance!

Date: 2012-09-04 10:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you so much! I'm hoping for a nice dramatic and angsty magic reveal this season, tbh. I'm glad you liked the story! :)


Date: 2012-09-05 10:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm asking around to folks about the reveal. Do you think they'll give us one? I'm all about the angsty reveal myself. I'm a bit nervous that we aren't going to get one. I read some info on gealach_ros which, in my mind, doesn't bode well for a reveal. Your thoughts? Thanks!

Re: Reveal

Date: 2012-09-06 05:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have no idea. I actually haven't followed most of the spoiler stuff during the filming of the upcoming season, although I know enough from twitter and tumblr to have a general idea of what to expect. But if this is the last season and they don't give us a magic reveal, that would be complete bullshit, imo. :)
Edited Date: 2012-09-06 05:19 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-09-09 02:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Maggie, this was so beautiful. Arthur was perfectly flawed, so human and believable. My heart broke for him so many times, through so much betrayal, or perceived betrayal. And, God, the scene in the cabin where Merlin submits to him was just incredibly evocative and visceral, absolutely gorgeous.

Date: 2012-09-09 03:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you so much! And thank you again for stepping in to cheer and prod when Mar was out of town. You helped me! Especially with all the pics of crying Arthur. See what happens? You only have yourself to blame for some of that! lol. I'm so glad you liked it!! Now that I've got my angsty magic reveal out of the way I can go for a Modern AU rom com next. Or glove porn!


Date: 2012-09-10 12:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Trust me, I'm blaming myself for some of that angst. :P But it really was beautiful.

And glove porn! Yes! I will HAPPILY supply pictures for *that*!

Date: 2013-04-19 12:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]


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