Merlyn woke the next morning with the sun in her eyes. Its warm rays warm her face and dried the tears that fell during the night. The dreams of Boadicea didn’t last long and the thoughts of her father haunted her sleep and the memories of her mother could not comfort her but only make her cry.
The fire nearby had gone out, leaving only seeds of embers behind. Merlyn watched the gentle wind blow over the embers making them sparkle and flare. She spotted her patchwork bag. Resting herself up against a tree, she tried reaching to but without success. A hand appeared from nowhere, startling Merlyn, and handing the bag to her. The owner of the hand looked in to her face and a smile crossed his own. Battle scars winked and the smooth eyes danced with merriment, but if Merlyn was to look a little deeper she would see pain and sorrow in the deepest part of his heart …….all down to love.
“You look well” his eyes danced even more “I believe that you have meet Legolas, you have yet to meet Gimli” the smile on his face widened. Merlyn couldn’t help to smile back, but the pain she was carrying stop her short.
“You healed me didn’t you? Merlyn pressed her hand over her side and looked down at her neat scar. “Thank you, if it was left down to me, I would have messed it up” Merlyn gave a small smile.
“Your welcome, if I came any sooner you would be lost to us all” he placed her bag onto her lap ” I m Aragorn”
“I’m Merlyn, who is that man over there? By the oak tree”
“That’s Gimli” noting the look on Merlyn face, Aragorn continued, ” He is a dwarf”
Merlyn look in wonder at the dwarf, who was leaning against a tree smoking a long pipe. Gimli gave a wave and to which Merlyn waved back and turned her attention to her patchwork bag. Wrapping the blanket around her shoulders, she tipped the contents onto her lap. A list of objects fell out and some scattered around her leg. Aragorn watched with amazement, but Merlyn didn’t need telling what I was thinking.
Gimli saw a gleam of gold and wondered over for a look. There lying on the floor was bracelet. It was a ring of horses with different colored stones for their eyes; their manes and tales look silver but Gimli didn’t know that they were of white gold.
“You like it” Merlyn was watching Gimli, a smile crept across her face ” it was mothers before me” Merlyn lowered her head to the ground so that they couldn’t see her cry ” it a family heirloom, the manes and tales are made of white gold and their eyes are of emeralds, sapphires, quartz, topaz, tigers eyes…………”
“You mean they actually put a tiger’s eye in the gold!”
“No” laughed Merlyn “that’s what the stone is called as it look like the eyes of the tiger, orange with the tint of wildness”
“What else do you have there, if you don’t mind me interrupting?” a voice came from behind Merlyn, startling her.
“Well” began Merlyn, “there’s my books; The Tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and Celtic Myths and Legend, my multicolored iPod, spare batteries, extra trousers and t-shirt, you see where I was staying I wasn’t staying long, handful of colored bobbles, clean underwear (Gimli at this point blushed and was to say some thing but was stopped by Legolas) sun glasses, hair brush, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, mmmm let me see……… oh yeah and some money, about 15 pounds to be exact” Merlyn smiled at them all and chuckled, Gimli was eyeing up her money bag with awe, opened it and spilt the contents on the floor. Pound coins rolled into the grass and sparkled in the sun.
“What are these” required Gimli “I must admit that they are beyond my knowledge of how they are made”
“Not even I can tell you how they are made, I recon the makers press a pattern into the metal, but they are called pounds. One pound has a hundred pennies; a half of a pound is fifty pennies, do you get me?”
“I think so” replied Gimli scratching his head
“What’s this?” he asked picking up the iPod.
“That is an iPod, it is an amazing piece of modern technology, and without this I would have gone insane with my step mums screeching”
Aragorn picked up one of the books that were lying on the floor by his feet, picking it up and seating himself next to Merlyn; he began to read.
“Celtic Myths and Legends, it’s a great book, one of my favorites. The other book is The Tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, a book about a great king living in, strangely called, the Arthurian age. He had a right hand wizard and a let hand knight with a heart so courageous and a soul so pure that others thought he was heavenly” Merlyn stopped in a thought “he loved the king’s wife, Guenevere, and I believe that this tainted his heart.”
Aragorn was looking into her face. Her eyes were clouded over, misty not with tears but with the deepest thought.
“Carry on” he whispered
“His name was Lancelot De Lake; he was brought up from a baby by the Lady of the Lake. He was handsome the stories say; with black hair and a great skill in the field. He was the defender of the weak and protector of women, this most of all made people like him the more”
Aragorn turn to the book. There was a silence around them, Merlyn felt queer and strange. She has never spoken about he books so vividly to any one.
Legolas seated himself next to Gimli who was staring at Merlyn with awe.
“My lady” began Gimli “you tell the story as if it was right here with us. Please, tell us more of this great King and his fancy knight.
Merlyn smiled. The mist in her eyes has disappeared.
“Arthur was the son of the King Uther Pendragon and the Queen Igraine. Igraine was married to another but Uther was in despair because he loved her also, so Merlin………” Merlyn was interrupted by Gimli
“My lady, that is your name also, how is that possible?”
Legolas gave a short laugh “your mother liked the name, didn’t she?
“Yes, she did, she just changed the spelling”
Merlyn grew cold. She wrapped the blanket around her shoulders and continued.
“Merlin helped him, but in what way I do not know. The only person who can answer that question is Merlin himself. Merlin only asked of one favor in return; which was the first child they have together in their first year. There was a raid on Uther and his army, and the only man killed was Gorlois, who was Igraine’s husband. Many people were stunned at this news as he was well known for his skill and wisdom on the battle field.”
Merlyn stopped short and reached out for the book. Aragorn gave it willingly; he had a strange sense nearby that something wasn’t right.
Merlyn opened the book and flicked through the pages, not picking on in particular she carried on.
“After the death of Gorlois, Ingraine gave into the pursuit of Uther and had a child. Ingraine already had a child of her own, by the name of Morgan le Fay. She hated him, and with her own powers she tried to kill Arthur because he was the son of Uther, who killed he father over her mother”
Merlyn fell silent. Gimli handed her a leather pouch of water, from which she took only a mouthful of.
Merlyn fell silent for the lat time looked around her and gave Gimli a beaming smile.
“There’s is more to this story, but it will take some time to tell it all to you” she said.
The fire died and the ash was scattered by the wind. The forest seemed to have leaned further in around them. Merlyn repacked her bag. Legolas had noticed the trees and spoke of it to the others.
“The trees seem to be glad of the fire and Merlyn’s story” he said with a mysterious smile on his face.
Merlyn looked around her and laughed. It rang around them and echoed off through the leaves, into the woods. He belly growled, startling Gimli who had placed a hand on his axe and looking frantically around him.
“There is something in these woods” he told Aragorn quietly.
“Yes” agreed Legolas trying his best not to laugh “Merlyn’s stomach.”
There was uproar of laughter. Gimli blushed and joined in with the others.
“I believe that her stomach has made a very welcomed suggestion” said Aragorn between chuckles “let’s eat”
Legolas handed Merlyn a strange parcel wrapped in a large leaf.
“What’s this” she asked
“lamas bread” Legolas replied “made by the fair hands of the elves of Lorien”
Merlyn took a small bite. It was soft and incredibly delicious; the feeling of weariness left her, her muscles and bones felt refreshed in fact she felt stronger throughout.
“Wow” she whispered “It tastes great”
After eaten some lamas bread and fruit washed down with water from the spring, Merlyn felt full and content. Gimli, with a pipe in mouth, ask her if she could tell more of her story.
“Well I tell you the tale of him becoming King” began Merlyn “are you comfortable?”
There were nods of heads so Merlyn continued.
“As you know that Arthur grew up not knowing his mother or father, as he was taken away by Merlin. He placed him in the care of Sir Ector, who was one of Uther’s most loyal supporters. Ector was also a knight, you can tell by there title `Sir’. Arthur grew up in his home and called Ector true son, Sir Kay, brother.
“As he grew up, he was unaware of his father, Uther, illness. The King died leaving behind a wife and a well run kingdom. He was told by Merlin nothing could be done to help him.”
“Why did he let him die” interrupted Gimli “he had the power to save him, why didn’t he?”
Merlyn thought for a moment.
“I guess that Merlin believed that everything must come to an end, remember Merlin was a powerful and wise wizard. He was thought to be older then time itself.
“Continue, Merlyn” said Aragorn
“After the death of the king, barons and dukes fought for the crown. The country folk were in despair. Their land was poor and they couldn’t grow any crop and so they began to suffer. The Archbishop went to Merlin seeking advice………….”
“What is an Archbishop?” Gimli interrupted again. Legolas gave him a stern look.
Merlyn was quiet for a while, gathering facts.
“The Archbishop is a powerful man, well respected in society. He represents God, the creator of the Christian religion. Christians believe that He made the Heavens and Earth.
Aragorn passed a pouch towards her, but she refused to drink.
“Merlin offered the perfect solution, but kept it to himself. He told the Archbishop to organize a grand tournament that would be held around Christmas. Before you ask Gimli, Christmas is a holiday we celebrate.” Gimli gave Merlyn an apologetic look, but Merlyn smiled back brightly.
“Merlin set an anvil in the yard of the church, in the anvil there was a sword with only the hilt sticking out. Around the anvil, in gold, there were letters saying; Who ever can pull this sword out of this anvil is the true born king of all England”
Merlyn paused to think. Pulling herself against the tree she continued.
“Many came from far and wide to join in with the tournament and to pull the sword out of the stone.
The tournaments went on for three days and still there was no success in pulling out the sword. Sir Ector thought to take his sons to the tournaments to try them, but Sir Kay forgot his sword at the castle. Arthur knew how important it was not to be late, so he offered to get. When he got there the castle was empty and locked. He then remembered the sword he had seen in the church yard, so he went to fetch it. When he returned with the sword, Kay recognized it as the one out of the yard; the sword could make him king. He went to his father with the sword. Sir Ector wasn’t sure so he asked Kay to return it and pull it out again. When Kay was unable to pull it out again, he confessed it was Arthur who gave it to him. Arthur then was allowed to pull it out and did so with ease. As he looked at his father and brother, they were both kneeling on the floor paying respects.
Arthur then understood his real parentage, his father, King Uther and mother, Queen Ingraine. But he was still grateful of what Ector has done for him.”
Merlyn stopped and took a drink from the pouch offered by Gimli. She then continued.
“Arthur was advised to wait to later that evening to pull the sword out once more as the barons and dukes would think that trickery involved. So later that night when the tournaments had ended, people gathered to see the sword being pulled for the last time. Many tried but failed, until Arthur was allowed, many jeered and laughed as he was just a boy but Arthur stood proud and pulled the sword from out of the stone. The crowd fell to their knees. Merlin appeared at Arthur’s side and called to the crowd `Long live the King, Long live the King’. The cheer rang around and people cheered also. The country folk swore that the havens heard as life afterwards was peaceful.”
There was a chilled silence around them. Merlyn felt cold, wrapping her arms around herself, she started rubbing warmth into her body.
“Something tells me that that isn’t the end” said Legolas. He was placing wood on the fire.
“No, he has enemies as any king does but he tries to rule in a fair manner’ Merlyn stood to straighten her legs. Pins and needles were attacking her toes. The blood began to flow again “the Arthurian age is the last pure age in my opinion. But my views don’t count.”
“Thank you for your tale, my lady” said Gimli “you tell the tale as if we were there”
Aragorn nodded in agreement and Legolas kissed her on the forehead. Merlyn blushed
“Your welcome” she muttered.
That night Merlyn had trouble sleeping. Her dreams were of thousands on thousands of insects plaguing the land, attacking crops, leaving nothing for the land folk to eat.
She lay on the ground looking directly at the moon, singing a song under her breath. A song her mother taught her when she was afraid of the dark. Her mother had told her if she sang the song every night, the moon would look after her.
So it goes;
I see the moon,
The moon sees me.
Lady bless the moon `
And the lady bless me