In Time Of Trial

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Fanfiction
Title: In Time Of Trial
Author(s): Shine
Date(s): 05 August 2009
Length: 36,807 words, 4:08:07 hours
Genre: slash fanfiction
Fandom: Merlin
External Links: In Time Of Trial (story)
In Time Of Trial (fanart)
In Time Of Trial (Ebook Library)
In Time Of Trial (audiobook)
cover by sandrainthesun

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In Time Of Trial is a Merlin/Arthur slash novel by Shine. It was part of the Merlin Big Bang Box of Magic in 2009. Word count: 36,807. The story was a runner-up at the Merlin Slash Awards in the M/A fanfic category Action/Adventure.

Summary: "Uther fears his son's power, and Merlin has helped Arthur flee to escape imprisonment. Now the two of them must fight to regain Arthur's rightful place in Camelot."

"In Time Of Trial" was a fan favorite that came out of the Big Bang.[1] It is one of the few Merlin/Arthur stories where Merlin and Arthur have to flee Camelot without the reason being Merlin's magic and Arthur standing by Merlin against his father. Here the source of conflict is the tension between father and son, politics, and a war between the two Pendragons that is forced upon Arthur if he doesn't want to lose his throne. The irony of the situation is that it's the accusation of treason that forces Arthur to commit treason and the premise allows to show Arthur as the great king he is going to be without turning this into futurefic while at the same time establishing Merlin as Arthur's most trusted ally and revealing his magic in a satisfying way.

Fanart, Trailer, Podfic

The Big Bang artwork for this story includes a fanfic cover, fic trailer and 4 wallpapers by sandrainthesun, a digital drawing by Neemeister, and 2 anime style comic excerpts by nachte.

Especially sandrainthesun's fic trailer matches the epic dimensions of the story by using external footage for the battle scenes.

FayJay made a podfic of In Time of Trial.[2] It's 4 1/2 hours long and is available at the Audiofic Archive as MP3, M4a and as audiobook.

Summary: "in which Uther is deceived by an old friend, and Arthur is declared a traitor."

Recs and Reviews

A wonderful plotty fic about Arthur's destiny. Very moving and heart warming in that way you feel when Arthur is the man you want him to be and Merlin stands proudly at his side. Excellent read. One of my favourites of this type of fic. [3]
Uther begins to fear Arthur's strength and power he holds over his knights and banishes him. Arthur must then begin to fight to become the king he is supposed to be. [4]
Merlin Slash Awards banner
A Merlin Big Bang fic! Full of plotty politics and intrigue and war and just. High levels of pure awesome. Also, Merlin's freak out at the end? AMAZING. I'm just saying. Merlin as Destroyer-of-Worlds is one of my favorite types. [5]

Uther loses his mind and tries to kill Arthur, which puts Merlin and Arthur on the run. Lots of dramatic stuff follows.

First, I should note that the writing in this fic is very good (definitely a cut above most Merlin fic), the ideas are interesting, and I really enjoyed the ending. I think most people would really like this fic, so if you're looking for a canon universe fic with Merlin kicking ass, this is a fic to try.

Unfortunately, at least for me, all of the good points of this fic just weren't quite good enough to overcome the lack of continuity and illogical behavior of the characters. A few examples:

-At one point in the story Merlin and Arthur are casually discussing retaking Camelot from Uther so, obviously, they've already discussed this (off-screen) and have made their peace. Except: five pages later, Lancelot brings up retaking Camelot from Uther and Arthur behaves like he's never considered the idea before and goes into a rage, nearly starting a fight between Arthur and his only knight.

-Merlin sets a (hugely important) meeting that is supposed to occur 'in a fortnight'. A month later, he and Arthur set out for this meeting (i.e., two weeks after the meeting should have occured).

-Arthur's final destination is supposedly five days from Camelot. Except that in all of the (endless) secret trips back to Camelot it takes no more than a day or two (which is probably for the best, as a ten day round trip would require the story to go on for a year with all of the trips they take back).

-Hugely, hugely significant clues (plus Merlin's magic book!) are left in Camelot during Merlin and Arthur's escape. Later Merlin goes back and retrieves them, at which point they're entirely dropped from the story until the second to last page, without Merlin or Arthur displaying the slightest hint of interest in what potential weapons may be found in the clues or the book (despite the fact that they anticiapte being vastly outnumbered and overwhelmed in the coming battle).

All of the above issues (and there are more in the story) result in uneven characters and are very distracting from the (otherwise very interesting) plot of the story, which is a shame because otherwise it probably would have been a guaranteed rec. It's especially frustrating, because I think the problems would have been pretty easily found and corrected by a careful read-through and the addition of two or three key scenes (Merlin looking through the magic book after retrieving it, for example, or a scene where Arthur, Merlin, and Lancelot sit down and hash out exactly what they intend to do about Uther). As it stands, I can't see myself re-reading this fic and thus I can't rec it. [6]
Arthur is displaced as heir to the throne of Camelot and he and Merlin are forced to flee from the castle. [...] An exquisitely interesting story about what happens when Arthur is forced to confront his father openly in rebellion. Loved this story. [7]

References

  1. List of Feedback Posts, July 2009. (Accessed 30 January 2010)
  2. pandarus. Podfic - 'In Time of Trial', 18 February 2010. (Accessed 18 February 2010)
  3. marguerite_26. Canon Era Arthur/Merlin Recs, 16 August 2010. (Accessed 19 September 2010)
  4. tosomeextent. Merlin/Arthur rec-list of DOOM. (Accessed 19 September 2010)
  5. mitsuhachi. Full List of Merlin Recs. (Accessed 19 September 2010)
  6. epic_rants. In Time of Trial by Shine; archive link, 27 August 2010. (Accessed 19 September 2010)
  7. Madrigal's Merlin Recommendations, 11 December 2010. (Accessed 27 August 2011)