After long council meetings on taxes, governing, domestic affairs, foreign affairs, and other kingly duties, the King finally retires to his chamber. The halls were dark, filled with the flickering torches placed along the corridors to light his way. His steps echoed through the emptiness as he walks to chambers. Even as he was all alone, he did not let his composition falter and his weariness show. There was hardly time for leisure and meal breaks.
Two guards are standing, as always, in front of his chamber doors. At seeing the King's arrival, the two guards starts stiffen their postures. "Your majesty." The King, with a stern face, spoke not a word. He waited for the guards to open his chamber doors. The two guards pushed the doors open for him and the king strode in. Just as the thick oak doors closed behind the King, someone had grabbed him from behind, covered his mouth, silencing him.
"Good evening, Sire," the man that held the King captive said.
Merlin. The King glared towards the right where Merlin was well hidden in the shadows behind him. Merlin didn't have to see to know the King would do anything to have his head as a decoration on his wall, if he had a wall for heads. Hell, Uther might just start one for Merlin.
"You lived well. Although, it is regretful for me to say that your existence is now a hinderance to my plans, Uther," he said quietly into the King's ear. Uther unsheathed his sword that was on his belt, but it was too late.
Merlin's long sharp nails penetrated through Uther's back like a knife and grasped onto Uther's heart. Uther loses grip of his sword. It clings loudly against the stone floor.
"My lord, is everything well?" One of the guards that stood outside said. Merlin made not a sound. He held onto the dying King. "My lord?" the guard continued calling. The body fell limp in Merlin's arms. Merlin let the dead King, Uther, slip from his grip and the body fell to the ground quietly, before Merlin disappeared as ghostly as he had appeared just as the guards opened King Uther Pendragon's chamber doors.
In the morning of that night, the cold foggy morning air with a hint of wet dew on youthful green grass and minty pine of Camelot fills young Aeres lungs as she freely rode on Llamrei's, a beautiful, brilliant white mare, back. Fourteen-year-old Aeres was dressed like a boy in brown tunic and trouser with her long blond hair neatly tied into a bun, keeping it out of her way as she explores the outskirts of Camelot. Everything was covered with white gray hue of early morning fog, from the thick green woods all the way to the mountain boarders far off in the distances. It wasn't until the sun had made its way up to the peak of the tallest point of the tallest mountain on the east side of the endless green woods did the white gray hue cleared, and the bright blue sky covered with thick white clouds and the green hued woods with a wide dirt path was visible. At the edge of the woods, Aeres could see the wide dirt path, once well-traveled, lead to the brilliant city, Camelot. Its white walls, gleaming from the rising sun, were coming into view for young Aeres as the sun rose higher into the sky. At the portcullis, eight guards stood by Camelot's large entrance. Each guard's tunic was emblazoned with the great dragon's head of Uther Pendragon.
"Aeres," a voice softly called after her. She turned to see a pale man in all black with thin, long, raven colored hair that traveled down to his waist and was tied back with a tattered light blue ribbon Aeres had unskillfully made when she was a child. Whenever she saw that tattered light blue ribbon holding up Merlin's hair, it made her feel unbearably embarrassed. Aeres mostly wishing he would just throw it away, but it also left her feeling warm inside.
"Merlin," she said in a happy tone.
"I was worried when I couldn't find you. Please tell me before you take off like that."
"Sorry, I didn't want to wake you. I was hoping to make it back before you noticed."
They had been living in a cottage tucked in between a wide fissure hidden deep in the woods for as long as Aeres could remember. She hadn't known Merlin had gone out that night, but with his door closed and not a sound could be heard so she had assumed he was asleep.
Merlin planned to keep it that way. He walked closer to Aeres and took the rein of her mare, patting the horse. "We should be on our way, there seems to be trouble in Camelot." She looked to the white walled city and noticed the bells were being tolled. Aeres was confused, had she simply not heard it until now? Merlin guided Llamrei into the woods.
"What do you think happened?" she asked Merlin, her eyes unable to leave Camelot.
"I'm not sure, but it doesn't sound good. It would probably be best to stay clear of Camelot for a while."
She focused on the gate and saw a cloud of dust leaving Camelot. "I think they are sending out the Knights."
Merlin stopped and hopped onto Llamrei behind Aeres with the rein still in hand. "We should make haste." The horse started to gallop.
Aeres never questioned the decisions Merlin made even though she doesn't like some of them. She will always wholeheartedly trust Merlin, even at this moment. If anything, Aeres was worried someone was attempting to hurt him. His firm expression left Aeres feeling slightly cold and empty inside as her back was against his warm chest, the man who had protected and raised her.
As she felt the rhythm of the galloping horse under her and the secure arms holding her in place and not allowing her to fall off, Aeres recalls times of her youth when she was afraid of the dark and Merlin would summon small flecks of light like fireflies to brighten the night when her and Merlin use to share a room. Aeres was too scared to be on her own and had always clung onto Merlin like a baby monkey.
Since she was born, Merlin had been the one to take care of her. He was the only family she had.
She could still remember one awfully cold winter that killed all that once lived out in the woods. The trees were bare and its roots had died. Young Aeres shivered as the cold seeped into her core. She had accidentally wandered too far and gotten lost, losing consciousness in the frozen snow. The next thing she knew when she woke, she was in Merlin's warms arms while wrapped in his winter coat in a cave closed off from the flesh eating winter winds, howling as it blew against the rock. There was a dark orange fire captured in a clear bubble that kept the entire cave warm.
How glad she was in the safety of Merlin's arm and how she regretted wandering off on her own. She swore to herself she would never do such a thing again she she fell back asleep.
Aeres was pulled back into reality when the horse whinnied loudly and stood on its hind legs. She tried to grab onto the reins, but it was too late. Aeres and Merlin falls off the horse and tumbles onto the ground as the horse ran away. As always, Merlin had protected her from the fall, securely wrapped in his arms and his cloak covering her.
"I wouldn't move if I were you," someone said to her right. Aeres was hidden underneath Merlin's cloak unable to move; she couldn't see a thing.
"You're completely surrounded," another voice said, this time coming from right in front of them.
She heard Merlin whisper. The cloak disappear. Aeres was sitting alone in the woods not completely sure where she was. He moved me! Where? Where!? She frantically looked around with no idea how far he had sent her. She looked up towards the sky. The lighting is darker. She looked around the woods. The ground is wetter. Higher altitude. EAST! She started sprinting towards the right, running around trees, jumping over roots. Why? Why do you always! Please don't leave me. If anything happened to Merlin, she would have no one. He was her mother, father, big brother, and best friend.
"Shut up!" Aeres stopped in her tracks. That voice wasn't far and it came from her left. She ran until the knight was finally in view at the top of the downhill slope. Aeres hid behind a tree and saw Merlin surrounded. Oh, no. "You are a god damn traitor, don't you dare lecture us!"
"Then go ahead and kill me if that's what you believe," Merlin retorted.
The knight looked really angry. He wielded the sword in front of him, ready to charge at any moment. None of the other knights was going to stop him. They all wield their sword prepared to respond.
Aeres was terrified. There stood the man that taught her everything she knew from reading and writing to remedies and fighting, who took care of her, protected her. Yet, there she stood completely hopeless, unable to do anything to save him.
Aeres shut her eyes tight, trying not to cry. I'll DO anything, GIVE anything, just please. Please don't let him die! As tears began to stroll down her face, Aeres noticed a light. She opened her eyes. Small flickers of light like fireflies that Merlin once conjured when she was a child surrounded her, illuminating a path in front of her. The path had lead her to a sword illuminating light being held firmly in the heart of a large boulder. Without hesitation, Aeres took hold of the sword and with all her strength and will, pulls the sword from the large rock.
The knights attempts to shield themselves from the bright light with their hands, slowly backing away. Merlin didn't move an inch.
"Aeres," he mumbled under his breath. When the light had settled, Aeres came into view with a golden glowing sword in her hand. The knights were in awe, and knew its name: the divine sword of kings, Excalibur.
"That's not possible," one of the Knights said."
"Boy, what is your name?" another asked.
Just as she opened her mouth to protest, Merlin cuts in, "His name is Arthur." She turns to Merlin, bewildered at what he had said," and from the sword he wields, it seems he is the next King."
"There is no way that is real! Prepare yourself boy!" one of by knights screamed as he charged towards Aeres.
Aeres held up the sword to block the coming attack. The swords clashed and she felt the weight of the Knight's sword pushing through. She put more strength to her stance and tried to push back. The sword glowed and the knight ended up on his back and his sword was sent flying. The knight took off his gloves and saw his hands red and bloody.
The other Knights was convince. It had to be Excalibur, the sword of Kings, and it had chosen this young boy to be its rightful master. The sheathed their swords and bent onto their knees. She looked around at the Knights as the bent down and lower their heads. She turned to Merlin and saw him do the same.
No, she thought to herself. This was not right. What has she done?