When the crystals had shown Morgana visions of the future, she'd decided then and there to give them her blood. Just one slash to her palm, just one drop on the cold, polished quartz. That was the deal-maker, what the crystals called their 'contract'.
Morgana knew that the crystals themselves couldn't talk, no- this was an entity communicating to her. An ancient god. A new-born power. It existed within the crystal, inhabiting it like a shell; and thank the stars it had chosen her.
She'd first heard the whispers while hiking through the woods, on her way back to the castle after a meeting with Morgause. Their voices were there, tugging at the back of her mind, leading her towards them. But nothing made sense, it was just mumbles, uncollected words impossible to decipher. Only when she entered the crystal cave could she understand.
Watch. See what you can have. All we want is a home. Say you'll give it to us. Let us live on earth. You can have it all. Just give us a drop of your blood and make a contract. A drop of blood for all the power you could want. Watch.
Then the quartz crystals, shining in all their glory, projected images into her eyes. No longer was she in the cave, no longer was she surrounded by white gems. Now she was on a red plain; the field soaked with blood, bodies strewn around her. And her ears flooded into action all at once; loud bangs, crashes, blasts. She raised a hand to her ear but nothing quenched it. There were cries and screams. The corpses rose from the ground and stretched their arms before them, long hollow sticks held in their hands. They aimed the sticks at each other- BANG, and fire flew from the ends. People fell, corpses returned to the blood-soaked fields.
The scene changed. Morgana was in the throne room, standing before Uther. He was looking at her, but at the same time he looked through her. Morgana bowed her head but wasn't acknowledge; this was a vision, she realised, he couldn't really see her. He began speaking, giving reports of the month's harvest. She turned on her heels and saw the assembly behind her. Suddenly Morgana felt a weight in her hands; she was holding one of the sticks. She aimed it at Uther, mimicked the movements of the corpses, clenched her fist- BANG! Blood spurted from Uther's chest, a visible hole where his heart should have been. He collapsed on the ground, as dead as all the sorceror's he'd slaughtered. Morgana felt the adrenaline in her veins, she felt herself smiling, triumph and victory. Her crowning victory.
It can all be yours. Just a drop of blood is all we ask. Let us live on earth.
The stick, she wanted it. She wanted it so badly. So Morgana had slashed her palm and let a single drop of blood fall onto the crystals. That had been a few days ago, now she was in the market square, surrounded by the foreigners. And her prize was about to be claimed.
John was waltzing around Camelot with Sherlock, under the guise that they were investigating the foreigners' plight. Sherlock probably was attempting to find proof of Morgana's guilt, but in all honesty John was just enjoying the sights. It wasn't every day he found himself within the walls of a medieval kingdom, in its prime with knights patrolling the streets and the smell of strong ale drifting through the air. Not, he noted, that it was unlike London at midnight; there were police and alcohol back home. But this was Camelot, King Arthur's fairytale land. It was real and he was there. If only Mary could be sharing this moment with him.
Gods, what would Mary be thinking? She'd never left his mind in the last few days. He was worried, of course. But since she wasn't in Camelot, she was most likely still in London living life amongst the clones, completely ignorant to what was happening. Ignorance is bliss, so they said, and it would keep her safe. He felt ashamed too, that he hadn't demanded the Doctor take him back to check on her. He was also excited for the moment when he would see her again and recount his adventure. She'd tell him to write a blog post about it, or five... or ten. Mary was the reason his blog had gained so much popularity lately; she was the one who urged him to keep writing.
Mary was perfect, and he wanted her to be all his. But for now, he was just too damn happy to be in Camelot; he could feel the excitement in his veins. Maybe the alcohol drifitng up his nostrils was to blame.
Suddenly, Sherlock's pace quickened beside him and John felt his own instincts jump into play. His relaxed posture shifted into a running stance, his eyes narrowed on the danger ahead of him (even though his mind hadn't quite caught up to what the danger was), and he was shouting at the top of his lungs.
"Everyone get down!" John yelled and lunged forwards at the woman pointing the gun.
He fell against her with the force of a lion pouncing on its prey, the pair rolling in the dusty ground as villagers and foreigners alike gasped and gawked. John kept his arms wrapped tight around the Lady Morgana -yes, that's who it was- as she struggled to sit up.
The gun had fallen out of her hand and was laying on the ground beside them. In the chaos and confusion, John just maintained his position, holding the witch still. It was Sherlock who bent down and picked up the weapon, depositing it safely inside his coat. He waved away the crowd, attempting to shoo them from the scene.
"Nothing to see! Just a misunderstanding!" He declared, but the people didn't move. Their faces were full of shock, curiosity, even horror. The villagers were glancing over their shoulders as if they expected the king's guard to arrive at any moment. And, to his dismay, John realised that they probably would.
"Get off of me, you filthy man!" Morgana squeled. Her perfectly brushed hair was now sticking out in all directions, pieces of hay adjorning it. Her emerald green dress had fared even worse; it was speckled in saw dust and had an unflattering tear in its side. She flailed her arms around, trying to smack John, but her moves were ineffective.
John wondered, as he held her there, why she didn't just use her magic to zap him away. But then it dawned on him that this was all part of her plan, to act helpless, to make him the criminal. He loosened his grip on the king's ward and she jumped to her feet. A group of village women had surrounded her in a second, ushering the witch to the safety of a cottage, no doubt get cleaned up.
"John, get up." His friend's voice brought John's attention back to the world around him. He felt the dust and wood chips between his fingers, smelt the still-strong scent of ale, and heard the tap-tap of horses hooves and the clink of metal- armour, or swords? He wasn't sure, but the police (the equivalent of, at least) were coming.
He stood up, brushing dirt off his scuffed trouser knees, and watched the crowd of villagers part down the middle.
"Hold your hands above your heads!" Prince Arthur shouted, storming onto the scene. Merlin was beside him and John noted with unease the concerned look on the warlock's face. "You're under arrest!"
"This is ridiculous," John muttered to Sherlock, who was kneeling beside him in the throne room, King Uther seated before them. "She was going to shoot a man."
"You will be silent!" Uther bellowed, his voice echoing around the hall for all to hear. 'All' included an impressive assembly of knights in shining armour and some elderly men dressed in elaborate court robes. There was a handful of ladies too, the maids standing beside them, more as protective friends than servants. And, of course, John's confidants; a worried Merlin was standing beside the King with Prince Arthur, and to the right of the throne was Gwen, and the witchy-poo herself.
"You were welcomed in Camelot as a means to end this plague of sorcery..." The king addressed John and Sherlock, while at the same time he reached for Morgana's hand and held it tenderly in his gloved palm. "But instead you attack my ward!" Uther's face turned a fiery red as he struggled to control his temper. Morgana maintained a frightened gaze in John's direction; he thought she'd make a perfect actress in modern times.
Arthur stepped forwards, arms crossed against his brawny chest, and continued with the matter. "Have you anything to say in your defence?" John noticed the way the prince glanced at Merlin before speaking. So the 'wizard' must have spoken up for them beforehand; the army doctor appreciated that, and he knew Arthur took Merlin's word seriously. They were a team, just as John considered he and Sherlock to be.
The detective remained silent, his eyes fixed unnervingly on Morgana. If she noticed, it didn't bother her; she kept up the innocent act.
John spoke to he point, he didn't see what other option there was. "She was going to kill an innocent man!"
"Nonsense!" Uther released his ward's hand and slammed his own fist down onto the arm-rest. "How dare you make such an accusation!" Arthur seemed taken aback by his father's outburst, and was about to speak, but instead Morgana piped up.
"I was only comforting one of the poor, lost travellers. I would never dream of harming anyone."
Uther returned to his caring voice. "And we'd never suspect you of such a thing."
"My lord." An unfamiliar voice spoke from behind him, and John turned his head to see that a the Doctor had also been arrested. He was held by two guards in the doorway, but looked rather unconcerned, given the circumstances. "We found him in the stables, acting suspicious." Later, John would learn that the knight giving the address was called Sir Leon. "There have also been reports from multiple villagers that this man has made a blue box appear and disappear at will."
"Sorcery?" Uther's face turned a darker, more threatening shade of red.
"I assure you," Sherlock finally spoke up, "we are not the sorcerors here." John decided his friend must have had a plan, even if John was clueless. The detective was completely calm, just like the Time Lord.
"You were hired to find the sorceror responsible for the displacement of thousands," Arthur said, his mind working away to find a solution to the problem. "How do we know you're not responsible?" He directed the next words at his father. "This has happened before. The witch-finder turned out to be the witch."
John watched Merlin inhale deeply beside the Prince, his eyes widening. Had Merlin been in the future, John imagined he would have used the face-palm emoji at that moment. He felt a similar frustration; were the Pendragons really that blind? His frustration boiled as Uther considered his son's words, and finally John lost patience.
"Morgana is the witch! She was about to kill a man before I intervened, and she's attempted worse! We've got a witness!" He flicked his head to Gwen, "Guinevere saw her using magic!" John regretted it as soon as he saw the tidal wave of despair flooding into Gwen's eyes; he shouldn't have brought her into this. As all heads turned to the maid servant, John hoped Sherlock would say something clever and save her. But it wasn't Mr Holmes who came to the young woman's defence, it was Morgana.
"Gwen is my dearest friend." She radiated false shock around the hall. "If she thinks I used magic, then there's no doubt that they have bewitched her!"
"Arthur!" John knew that Uther didn't need to hear anything else. His beloved ward had given her verdict. "Escort these sorcerors to the dungeons. By the ancient laws of Camelot," he rose forebodingly from his throne, "I hereby sentence you to death."