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Merlin's Picturesque Prison

by Yvonne Lovejoy about a year ago in literature
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Cave by the Sea

King Arthur’s story is known all over the world. It’s really remarkable how popular this ancient king is today. Guinevere and Lancelot are nearly as well known as Arthur. Apparently, infidelity and scandal will always be of interest to the population. It’s time to tell my story because I still survive, even after thousands of years. Have you guessed who I am? Let’s just say that rumors of my being turned into a tree have been greatly exaggerated.

Actually, there are many inconsistencies in my biography, but those are of little consequence for now. When the time is right, I can clear those up. What matters to me now is telling my story, so maybe I can finally escape this rock prison.

My imprisonment was caused by my actions and possibly deserved initially but enough is enough. How many centuries must I pay for my foolishness? It’s time to end this. I want my incredibly long life back.

It all started in the first century AD. I was a teacher to a young Arthur, future king. My job wasn’t just to teach, but essentially, he was entrusted to me until it was time for him to take his rightful place as ruler. He was a handsome child with a pleasant disposition but incredibly headstrong. Having the gift of foresight, and my alchemist training were very helpful in rearing the future king.

After Arthur pulled the sword from the stone and started his reign, my job was done. Knowing the path Arthur’s life would take, I remained to try to advise him. I did, however, have too much time on my hands. Never one to be idle, I took on an apprentice.

Sadly, foresight didn’t apply to my own life, or I wouldn’t be where I am now. Her name was Nimue. Her beauty was beyond compare, at least to my eyes. At first, she was a pest of a girl. She followed me about begging to learn my ways. Her youthful excitement about the old arts reignited my interests as well. Finally, I relented and took her own as an apprentice.

Nimue was an apt pupil. She paid close attention to every word, hand gesture, and each step to performing rituals. Without her inherent skills, she would have never succeeded as a sorceress. Over time, I became besotted with her and the teacher became the student.

Our time together became more about my following her around like a schoolboy while she asked how to make one potion or another. Which spell worked better to gain certain results? I gave her everything she asked for without a second thought. After all, we were in love, right?

One fateful day she told me, eyes so wide and innocent, that she found a cave by the sea. Her giddiness was apparent while she explained how much she wanted to spend time together in that cave. We could make it our own and no one would ever find us there.

She was half right, no one has found me here. I followed her, the breeze blowing just enough to make her gown appear ethereal. A soft scent of rosebuds trailed after her and led me to my ruin. Maybe my self-preservation was a little piqued when I let her enter the cave before me. It was dark at first and not at all what I expected.

With a wave of her hand, the cave became alive with light from candles placed on every ledge. I could see a large feather bed to the back of the chamber. A small pool of water was along the right wall. The left wall was lined with shelves of books and potions. Directly in front of me was a small dining table with two chairs. Nimue approached with a decanter of wine.

She motioned for me to sit and poured us each a glass. My eyes were still full of candlelight and my heart was swelling at how much she had done to create a magical place for us. I was about to say as much when she excused herself to see if there were fish in her net for dinner. Feeling weary after such a long walk, I took my wine and moved to the bed to relax. My eyelids were so heavy that after I finished my wine, I laid back against the pillows and fell asleep.

I can’t really say how long I slept but when I awoke the candles were out and the sun was streaming into the cave. A feeling of foreboding came over me as I looked around for Nimue. She was nowhere inside the cave. My brain divided into two lines of thought. Nimue had done this or Nimue was in danger. I learned the truth when I tried to leave the cave.

I could see the sand, the surf, and ships on the horizon, but I could not walk through the opening. There was a glittering in the air across the opening. A spell had been used to close the entrance. My legs started to give as the enormity of my situation came crashing down on me. I moved to the table and sat down. The wine decanter and her goblet sat where she left them. Untouched.

Nimue had left a note:

Dearest Merlin,

No doubt you’ve realized my deception by now. I can’t apologize for my treachery. It was necessary for my survival. Arthur will have fallen by the time you read this. Morgan le Fay has seen to it.

You are to remain here for all eternity. I’ve left you enough powers and potions to survive but not enough to ever escape. Your cave appears as a boulder to the rest of the world, but you may consider it home.

Forever your pupil,

Nimue

What a foolish old wizard I was. It’s been thousands of years since Nimue’s betrayal. My view of the ocean is the only way I know the world still exists and has moved on without me. Ships of all types have approached my location over the years. Starting as a small dot on the horizon, slowly growing larger until I could see a mast. Flags from all over the world have teased of my possible rescue.

The men who have landed on this shore have spoken in dialects and languages I had never heard in my time. I can see the men fighting with British troops and do nothing to help. Those same ships retreating into the horizon have brought relief that Britain has not fallen.

Now you know what happened to Merlin. One day, I know someone will find me. Someone with the ability to release me from this cell. As Arthur’s story has been passed down through the centuries, so has mine. Keeping my name alive, gives me hope that someday I will be found.

literature

About the author

Yvonne Lovejoy

Writing has always been a part of me. My dream could die with failure or would live on if I never tried. Time for that to change. Follow me https://linktr.ee/YvonneWriting and be sure to click like on any stories you enjoy.

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