Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12
Chapter 1: The Voices of Time and Reality
The first thing I remember is the voice of a young man saying, “Where are we?”
A second voice answered him, this time a young woman, “It’s not where but when, big brother.”
“Fine, Morgan. When are we?”
“We are at the beginning of our universe. This is the Aether, but the question is, what are those?”
A gentle, dark brown hand picked me up and the young man asked, “Don’t you know?”
“No. You never told me. Spoilers and all that.”
I tried to speak, but with no mouth or body per-say, I couldn’t. “These look a lot like the Aetheria crystals. Its magic signature feels familiar.” The man finished what he was saying and I felt myself changing.
If you’ve never gone from crystal to humanoid, it sort of feels like the best stretch you’ve ever had.
The woman, who I saw was dark with beautiful blue eyes said, “Ah. Robin Goodfellow.”
That is my name. I was named by the Guardian of Time. I am Robin, or Puck. Yes, that one, but my old friend William used little but my name.
“If this is the beginning of our universe, where’s Everworld?” the boy asked. He had the scraggly beginnings of a beard and close-cut brown hair. His skin was as dark as his sister’s.
I pointed at a large stone gate that seemed to float in the nothingness that surrounded us.
There were people walking through, lots of people. They were obviously carrying everything they owned into a vast nothingness. I felt bad for them and I didn’t know why.
“Wow. The original settlers of Everworld.” The man sounded awed.
There were thousands walking through the gate and I started walking towards them, but the woman stopped me. “No, Robin. Those events are already decided and you aren’t part of them.”
I watched them walk away for what seemed like a very long time before seeing one man closing the gate with magic. He looked sad while he clung to two crystals. He turned to us; he and his crystals disappeared, replaced by a ball of golden light.
“I think we just watched the big bang,” Morgan said, her voice serene.
“What about all these other crystals?” I asked, proud to have finally found my voice. “Are they like me?”
There were five other crystals, one of which had been shattered into three pieces. Morgana said to her brother, “Pick them up, you’ll know their names.”
In order, he picked them up and named them, “Oberon, Titania, Mav, and Peaseblossom.” As he touched and named them they became real and flesh like me.
Oberon was of brown skin with a deep red beard, I knew him then as the king of all Fay, even if there were only five of us. His first sound was a deep rumble of laughter, it flowed from him and filled the Fay realms with water.
Titania was dark skinned and the queen of the day. Her eyes and smile became the sun.
Mav was as pale as the moonlight, queen of night and shadows. Her hair blanketed the night.
Peaseblossom wasn’t tall and statuesque like the other three, they were short and furtive looking like a rabbit caught in the open. From them came all the plants and wildlife. They were the monarch of nature.
They all looked at me expectantly. What was I compared to the kings and queens? I was all the rest, I was magic, hope, joy, luck, power, cunning, and everything in between. I wasn’t a king or queen, I was the first Fay lord. From me came the Fay themselves, in all their many forms and failures.
To the three pieces of the last crystal, Merlin whispered,” Charites, Horae, and Moirai, the Three Sisters. You belong in Everworld.” Their forms didn’t fill out, instead turning into balls of light that sped towards where Everworld had been.
“What are we?” I asked Merlin.
He looked pensive and answered, “You are souls made of magic from the old realms. You were brought here to kickstart a new universe where magic wasn’t based on the spiritual energy of its people, but was a fundamental element of the universe.”
Morgana cocked her head sideways and asked, “How did you figure it out? It took me millennia of studying the old texts.”
“My thesis supervisor told me. He lived through the Fay and Mulciber wars.” He looked at us and shrugged before adding, “Oops. Spoilers.”
Something about the word, Mulciber, made me shiver in disgust and fear. An image of a long line of metal, snaking around a mountain, popped into my mind.
“So what do we do now?” asked Oberon.
“Be Fay,” said Merlin. When we looked confused, he added, “You get to decide what that means and try to be kind.”
Oberon, Titania, and Mav scoffed at Merlin’s comment, but I’m not sure they understood it. Peaseblossom had wandered off part way through the conversation and was talking to a tree.
“Goodbye and good luck.” Merlin turned to Morgana and asked, “Is this where you…”
Giving him a dirty look, she replied, “No, it’s further in. Follow me.” They walked into the forest and they hugged each other. It was the kind of hug where they knew they’d never see each other again. As they hugged, the world melted around her and everything went a little distorted. Both of them disappeared.
That forest and it’s boundaries where Morgana died became the Deep realms of Fay, a place of wild magic and even wilder temporal effects.
An old man walked out of the forest and looked at us in surprise. He looked like Merlin, but much older. His brown scruff had become a white beard, his brown skin turned a little grey, but his eyes hadn’t changed; they were still filled with mischief and curiosity.
He smiled and said, “Oh my. I’ve gone a little too far back this time. Glad I stopped or I would have met myself. That would be awkward.”
Read Chapter 2
While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:
Read more about Merlin in his Holiday Stories