arcadianmaggie: (Default)
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


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