|Date(s):||15 May 2009 - 24 September 2010|
|Length:||124,790 words / 12:42:34 hours|
|Genre:||slash fanfiction, Prison AU|
|External Links:||Arcane Asylum (AO3)|
Arcane Asylum (LiveJournal)
Arcane Asylum (Chinese translation)
Arcane Asylum (podficbigbang)
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Arcane Asylum is a Merlin/Arthur AU by new_kate (124,790 words). The author describes it as "This isn't really a prison story so much as it's the story of the world that has a prison for magic users in it."
Summary: Modern AU. For the last twenty two years Uther Pendragon has been waging war on magic. Now his son Arthur has been framed for a magical crime and sent to the prison for magic users. Arthur is instantly targeted by the inmates, but mysterious top dog Merlin takes him under his wing. They form a bond, and Merlin decides to help Arthur clear his name.
The story started out on kinkme_merlin for the prompt:
- "Arthur/Merlin, modern prison AU. Uther is the notorious warden of a prison for magic users. When Nimeuh frames Arthur for a magical crime, he's sent down for it. Being pretty, blonde and the hated warden's son makes him a prime target and everyone wants to make him their prison bitch. Luckily he catches the eye of mysterious topdog!Merlin who takes him under his wing... Bonus points for everyone being terrified of Merlin and Arthur being all indignant about needing "protection"."
The first part was posted anonymously May 15, 2009, and the story was completed two days later. With a length of only ~5,800 words, this version was much shorter than what later became a magical modern version of the canon characters and their epic story. Almost a year later, new_kate de-anoned and announced, "Okay, on the off-chance someone is tracking :D This story is now 90K+ and it would be torture to commentpost - I'm deanoning and taking it to my journal. It's still a WiP, sorry! But I'm so going to finish!" The last part was posted September 24, 2010.
Recs and Reviews
"Arcane Asylum is a truly brilliant Merlin modern-day AU. It starts out like a traditional prison AU (there's a prison for warlocks; Arthur is framed; he's immediately attacked and Merlin becomes his protector) but then it turns out to be so very much more."
"I can only rarely get into Modern AUs in Merlin, but this one has great worldbuilding. It still has magic and prophecy and all the fun stuff, and both characters and certain plot elements form the series were transplanted well into the present day, without it seeming forced or too contrived."
"This is Magical Modern AU with some pretty hefty warnings: non-con, dub-con, violence, deaths of minor characters. It's set in a prison and goes to some pretty dark places but I was never overwhelmed by the desolation of it all. Arthur is 'stuck' in a prison his father created, filled with magic users that his father put in there. They would all love a piece of Arthur's pretty arse but Merlin stands in their way. And oh… Merlin's such a BAMF. Still very much IC, but he's come into his power and everyone knows it. The real question is what should he do with it? What is for? All the moral questions that fit with the Merlin we know and love. This plot has many delicious villains and so many shades of grey for each of them. It's a wonderful journey for both Arthur and Merlin to find hope and life in the small world of the prison and in the society outside the prison walls that is full of fear and hate. A wonderfully done complex plot that the author manages to see through to a believable end."
- new_kate. Arcane Asylum Master Post, 09 August 2010. (Accessed 14 December 2010)
- Summary taken from AO3 version of the story. (Accessed 14 December 2010)
- Merlin: Arcane Asylum, 18 June 2012. (Accessed 24 June 2012)
- Anonymous. Modern prison AU prompt, 09 May 2009. (Accessed 14 December 2010)
- Anonymous. Arcane Asylum, part 1/idek, 15 May 2009. (Accessed 14 December 2010)
- new_kate. Arcane Asylum some moar, 09 August 2010. (Accessed 14 December 2010)
- giandujakiss. Blah blah another fic rec, 28 September 2010. (Accessed 14 December 2010)
- RatCreature. Through the Looking Glass: Alternate Universe Recs for Miscellaneous Fandoms. (Accessed 14 December 2010)
- marguerite_26. Modern AU Arthur/Merlin Recs, 22 October 2010. (Accessed 14 December 2010)