On the Knob Training

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Title: On the Knob Training
Author(s): Morcalivan
Date(s): 05 August 2009
Length: 36,523 words
Genre: slash fanfiction
Fandom: Merlin
External Links: On the Knob Training (story)
On the Knob Training (fanart)
On the Knob Training (Ebook Library)
On the Knob Training (ePub Bud)

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On the Knob Training is a Merlin/Arthur slash novel by Morcalivan. It was part of Box of Magic, the Merlin Big Bang in 2009. Word count: 36,523.

Summary: "A promotion and a swanky new title, one might even think Merlin’s luck had changed. That is, if you didn’t look too closely to the fine print on Uther’s offer. There is companionship and then there is companionship."

Fanart: Book cover (with full image) by Yue KX (photoshop, digital painting). Mature self-service with an object involved aka a special edition featuring: oblivious!Merlin, Smirky!Uther, bondage & swordporn. Color illustration by unavee (digital drawing).

cover by Yue KX (2009)
art beta by xenakis

Uther offers Merlin the position of Arthur's Lord of the Bedchamber and Merlin, not knowing that it means he's supposed to provide sexual services for Arthur, proudly accepts. The story is told from Merlin's POV. Arthur avoids Merlin and Merlin remains oblivious while the reader can already see that Arthur is secretly pining for Merlin but doesn't want to take advantage. When Merlin finally figures out what his new job is actually about (after many not so subtle hints from basically everyone in the castle), he and Arthur pretend to be exactly what everyone thinks they are. The catch is that only after they start pretending to be lovers Merlin realizes that he would like it to be true yet he still doesn't know about Arthur's feelings.

The story has a memorable masturbation scenes with Merlin alone in his bed that features Merlin licking Arthur's sword (his real one!) while getting himself off. Yue KX captured that scene in her impressive book cover for the story and xenakis discussed the beta process for this illustration in a camelot_fleet workshop on fanart.[1] There were many important points but this none needs to be shared:

"Yue integrated some of my (truly incomprehensible) comments, but she also came back to me about one of them (And I really have to include this here, because THIS IS THE KIND OF THINGS WE DO FOR SCIENCE FANART): I molested my broom some more in front of the mirror, and that hand position seem to be the most evocative (title of the story is On the Knob Training, and so he's supposed to, erm, molest the sword handle as he does himself, meaning he most probably has to be rubbing his index over the head and stuff) and natural one. The lesson here: When in doubt, touch yourself, or something. Er."[1]

The story was originally inspired by a prompt by joymaro who explained that a Lord of the Bedchamber was a courtier in the Royal Household and often a male consort.[2] She said:

"Bunny: Uther named Merlin manservant, because he didn't want to assume. But, a year later, he does anyway. He announces with great pomp that Merlin is being named Arthur's Lord of the Bedchamber. Merlin is clueless but amazed to be named Lord of whatever. Gwen is slightly crushed (no more crush on Merlin) and Morgana is delighted. Arthur is ___. But the thing is, that Merlin hasn't actually "provided companionship". How will he react when he learns his full duties?"[2]

On the Knob Training is actually the second story to fill that prompt. The first one was (wires/fingers) crossed by robot_sky, originally posted as commentfic to the bunny post (25 Jan 2009) and later reposted to merlinxarthur (26 Jan 2009).


  1. 1.0 1.1 xenakis. Workshop: Merlin Fanarts (drawings!), 30 January 2010. (Accessed 21 February 2010)
  2. 2.0 2.1 joymaro. I has plot!bunnies!, 24 January 2009. (Accessed 21 February 2010)