Chapter 2: The Oldest Merlin
“Ooo-ooo-ooo the heroes of Westmeath, The Phantom and the Wraith!” sang Merlin as they slowly walked towards the forest. “I’ve had that stuck in my head, this time, for over a millenia.”
“What is this about and why are you so old?” Oberon asked.
Laughing slightly as if the man had made a great joke, Merlin replied, “Don’t be hasty. I am very old, but we’ll get there in time.”
Titania looked like she was going to say something, but instead rolled her eyes.
“This is about magic isn’t it?” I asked.
“Astute observation, Robin,” Merlin replied. “Can you feel it?”
I shook my head. “You’re a wizard, so I assumed.”
We walked for a long time until the Fay realms started to thin. They were young and hadn’t solidified; they weren’t a planet like Everworld or Earth. They were just a giant plain of existence.
We came to the end where the Fay realms reverted into pure Aether and Merlin, with the ease of a school teacher, explained, “The Fay realms were built of pure inner power, magic from another universe completely. It’s not compatible with the magic from this universe. It’s too…” He paused and looked around.
When he didn’t say anything, I ventured, “Organized?”
“Yes,” he said and clapped his hands together. “Aether is partially sentient and always trying to convert order into chaos. The nascent universe over there—” he gestured back where we’d come from. “—It has a natural defence against Aether called a barrier. You do not have one.”
That’s when I saw that the ground in front of us was receding slowly.
Peaseblossom made a high pitched sound and said, “Fay is being eaten?”
Merlin only nodded as the rest of us stared at him, wide-eyed. It was Titania that finally said, “What do we do?”
“Nothing. It’ll slowly eat at Fay until a barrier is put up or it consumes everything,” Merlin said casually.
“Can you do anything?” Mav asked, somehow sounding bored and worried at the same time.
“Me, yes. Me now, no. I wasn’t expecting to be here yet, but since I was the only me here, I figured I’d warn you. Just don’t go into the Aether and you’ll be okay for a while. I’ll be back after I see a girl about a ring.” He fidgeted with a large crystal ring before turning back and slowly walking back towards the Deep realms.
The other others walked away from Merlin to do whatever it was they wanted to do. I stayed back to walk with him. After a long time of walking, I asked him something that had bothered me my whole life, or less than a few hours, I suppose. “Why us? Who made us? Why are we here? What’s the goal?”
Merlin seemed to think it over and finally answered, “Chaos thrives on imbalance. The Fay balance out the Humans just like New Albion will balance Everdome.” When I looked confused, he said, “Fay are important to creating a balanced universe that won’t collapse back into chaos.”
He went back to walking as if that had explained anything and just when I thought he’d forgotten what I’d asked he added, “You were magical crystals created when powerful creatures died. The Mulciber took those souls and experimented, creating superpowered crystals they could use as a powersource. A group of brave people fought them and took the crystals, redirecting a great gate into this universe and planned on building a better, less dangerous home. They succeeded in creating the universe, but not so much with the safer.”
“So I’m a rebirth of a bunch of magical souls?” I asked.
“Yes,” he replied with a smile. “You were always my favourite Robin.”
I watched Merlin walk towards the Deep realms forest as another version of him, somehow older, walked out. As they crossed each other, the younger said, “You dawdled.”
The elder replied, “Yes and you would have, will, do the same thing.”
They both burst into chuckles and then walked away from one another. The elder Merlin saw me and smiled like we’d not seen each other in a long time. “Robin, my old friend. If I had to choose who would be there when I die, you would have made the top one-hundred for sure.”
I ignored the bitterness in his voice and asked, “Die? Are you dying? What can I do to help you?”
He patted my shoulder and said, “You’re so young. I’ve lived a long time. Not as long as you will, but longer than most humans should.”
“Why are you here if you’re dying?”
“I am the Guardian of Reality. The universe has given me everything I have ever wanted and it’s time I pay it back for that.” He said it as if it answered my question, but I felt like I was missing parts.
“Are all wizards this cryptic?” I asked.
“Only the good ones and those that forget how much information they’re supposed to give.” We reached the fading parts of Fay again and I was alarmed to see how much had been lost. He nodded to me and said, “This is my stop. I’m going to become the barrier for Fay. The only advice I have for you is to take time to truly enjoy life. Sometimes we’re too busy living that we forget how much fun it is and take it too seriously.”
With that, and before I could ask any questions, he stepped back, and with a flash of white light, disappeared. When my vision cleared, the thinning was gone. I walked forward to where it had been and there was nothing but more of the realm.
Our realm was complete and the universe set into motion. I didn’t appreciate what that meant at the time, but I wasn’t even a day old.
While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:
- 2021 – Diamond Stars and the Galactic Heist (Sci-Fi, Heist, Romance)
- 2020 – Point Zero (Superhero, Sci-Fi)
- 2019 – Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station (Sci-Fi Adventure Mystery)
Read more about Merlin in his Holiday Stories