A Binding Contract

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Title: A Binding Contract
Author(s): eldee
Date(s): 10 August 2010 - 12 May 2011
Length: 99,282 words
Genre: slash, Modern AU
Fandom: Merlin
External Links: A Binding Contract (LiveJournal)
A Binding Contract (AO3)
THE EMRYS BLOG (character blog on Tumblr)
banner by gwyntastic

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A Binding Contract is a Merlin/Arthur AU by eldee. It was written and posted as a WIP on kinkme_merlin for the prompt:

"Arthur/Merlin, modern AU. Merlin's one of those kids who's 'slipped through the nets' - had a tough life, been homeless, etc. and is always being manipulated by people who don't care about his interests. Fantastically rich and powerful!Uther buys Merlin from whoever it is who happens to be manipulating him this time, and takes him home as a present for spoilt!Arthur, specifically to pleasure him sexually. Arthur's attitudes and actions are entirely up to the author."[1]

The first part was posted August 2010 and the last part (part 151) was posted May 2011.

Summary: "In a society where people with magic are considered to be dangerous, are labelled as freaks, and have their powers cut off from them, Merlin does whatever he can to survive the hard life he's faced with. When he’s in desperate need of money, Merlin's landlord Aredian arranges and offers a magically binding contract in which Merlin is to become a 'companion' to Uther Pendragon's son, Arthur. And when Merlin feels compelled to accept it, he never would have imagined that one man could change his life so completely."

gwyntastic made a number of graphics for the story.[2]

Recs and Reviews

The author does a great job of immersing the reader into this Modern AU, with the existence of magic acknowledged but not accepted. People with magic are 'clipped' and they become easy targets for those that would abuse them. Merlin, clipped since he was 8, gets caught in a web of manipulation and human trafficking. While Merlin's situation is heartbreaking it never overwhelmed me with angst. A wonderful, long, plotty read with some great sex (all consensual).[3]

Do you really need me to tell you to go read this? If it hasn't been on your radar for months, it should be now. Epic, epic modern, magical AU with an Arthur and a Merlin that will make you ache with their beauty.[4]

I adore Eldee's stuff, and this is no exception. The world-building here is fantastic, and your heart aches for magic users. Arthur is himself, noble, brittle at times, and good-hearted (and a prat at times). Merlin is brattish, seductive, and impulsive. Together they complement each other well. The way magic is used throughout the fic, the way Merlin interacts with it, is unusual and fully realised[5]

I’ve had this downloaded for a while and I finally opened it up to read it. The warnings told me it wouldn’t be my normal style, but I decided to give it a shot anyway. I’m so glad I did. It was remarkably written, carefully worded and very beautifully finished. The idea of the world in which the fic is based in is extremely well thought out and a great idea to base in. I loved the characters, the storyline and the amazing thought put into it. Give it a read, I’m certainly glad I did :) [6]


  1. ^ Anonymous. A Binding Contract, 1/?, 10 August 2010. (Accessed 01 November 2011)
  2. ^ gwyntastic. Graphics for A Binding Contract, 11 May 2011. (Accessed 01 November 2011)
  3. ^ marguerite_26. Modern AU Arthur/Merlin Recs [A-N], 23 July 2011. (Accessed 01 November 2011)
  4. ^ hermette. Recs: In the Dust and the Shadows // A Binding Contract, 15 May 2011. (Accessed 25 February 2012)
  5. ^ "Post by blue_eyed_1987 on epic_merlin, May 21, 2012". Archived from the original on 2022-06-22.
  6. ^ "June 5, 2013 Tumblr post". Archived from the original on 2022-06-22.