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Chapter 2 : In Which Our Characters Realize The Challenges That Await Them
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“You’re from the future?”
Merlin was confused. A strange woman had just fallen from the sky and told him she was from the future. He watched her as she realized the words that had just came out of her mouth.
“Shit. I wasn’t supposed to say that…” she said.
“And why not?” Merlin asked.
“Because I’ve just altered the course of time!” she yelled, pacing back and forth, flapping her hands violently.
“I don’t understand…” Merlin asked. He found this woman who called herself Hermione very odd. He was intrigued by how she knew so much about the future of wizards, maybe that’s why he wasn’t running from her screaming. He found her interesting, and even a little bit exciting.
“How do you not get it? Is it really that hard?” Hermione shouted at him, furious. Merlin’s face fell, and she realized how rude she had just been. “I’m sorry…” she said awkwardly. “I’m just not used to these kinds of situations.” Merlin just nodded. Hermione took a deep breath and began to explain to him her situation.
“Where I come from, London, young wizards around your age have been tampering with old magic. Well, I guess it’s new magic to you. They’ve been opening portals to different time periods. I was walking on the street, and I slipped in the rain and fell through one of them.”
Merlin just looked at her. “So you’re saying…?”
“Merlin,” Hermione said, looking at him intensely. “I’m saying we were never supposed to meet. Some young wizard unable to control his common sense has altered the course of the universe forever.”
Merlin’s mouth fell open. This wasn’t supposed to happen. They were never supposed to meet, and he was never supposed to be so intrigued by this woman from the future. “So, how are you supposed to get back to the future?” he asked her.
Hermione looked at him sadly. “I have no clue. Which is bollocks, because I’m supposed to be the brightest witch of my time. But I don’t know the spell they used to open the portal, which means that I don’t know how to reverse it. I’m stuck.” She said the last sentence as though all the energy had left her body.
Then Merlin had a thought. “Wait,” he began slowly, “if you falling into that portal changes the course of the universe forever, then what’s going to happen to you?”
All the blood in Hermione’s face drained. “I have no idea,” she whispered.
Both young wizards were silent for a moment. Merlin was the first to speak. “Well, there’s really nothing you can do right now, is there?” he asked, his tone surprisingly happy. Hermione shook her head. “Okay, how about this? I’ll take you to see Gaius. He might know what to do, and he’ll let you stay with us until you can get things worked out. Or until you vanish into time.” Merlin joked as he said the last sentence.
“That’s not funny.” Hermione whispered. Merlin’s face fell. He knew it could be a possibility, as did she. But he hated seeing someone like her, so beautiful and strong, feeling so utterly lost. In truth, she reminded him of Morgana before she turned her back on Camelot.
Hermione was surprised when Merlin pulled her in for an unexpected hug. “Everything’s going to be okay, Hermione. I promise you that.” He whispered in her ear. There was something about the way he was holding her so protectively that was comforting to Hermione. She pulled away and smiled a huge smile at him.
“Well, I can’t go prancing into Camelot dressed like this!” She said with a mischievous grin on her face. She pulled out her wand and tapped her head once more with it, and she had transformed her clothes into a floor-length maroon dress styled in the dress of the time period she was in.
“Um, Hermione?” Merlin began. She looked at him expectantly. “It might be a good idea if you didn’t use your magic while you’re here. At least, in public anyway. Uther will have you executed if you’re caught.” He explained.
Hermione nodded. “I know.” She held out her arm, and Merlin grinned, taking it and together they strode into Camelot.
Merlin cautiously knocked on the door to the area where he and Gaius lived, hoping that none of the royal family or any of the knights where there. He heard Gaius grumble and then heard the slow footsteps of the old man walking to the door. Hermione’s grip on Merlin’s hand tightened, and he gave it a reassuring squeeze. Gaius opened the door, surprised that it was Merlin who knocked.
“Merlin, what’s wrong?” Gaius asked as Merlin poked his head in, checking if they were alone. Once he was reassured they were alone, he pulled Hermione through the door and shut it, then locked it. “Merlin, who is this?” Gaius asked, curious as to why Merlin, of all people, had brought a girl back.
“Gaius, we have a problem.” Merlin said. Gaius noticed that Merlin was still holding on to Hermione’s hand, and sighed.
“Did you fall in love with a lady of the court?” Gaius said, patronizing Merlin.
“What? No! She’s not- we’re not-“
“I’m from the future.” Hermione cut off Merlin, gently pulling her hand out of Merlin’s.
“Of course milady, and I’m really a goblin.” Gaius said sarcastically.
“She’s telling the truth!” Merlin said. “I saw it myself! She fell from the sky. She’s a sorceress.”
Gaius just snorted. “That’s impossible. There are no known sorceress’ near Camelot. Besides, if she was and you were supposed to meet her, The Great Dragon would have told you.”
Hermione stood up and pulled out her wand. Pointing it at Gaius’ fire burner, she said, “Incendio.” The flame shot up and began heating the empty phial on Gaius’ table.
“Impossible.” Gaius breathed.
“What?” asked Merlin.
Gaius looked at him very seriously. “She’s not lying. She is from the future. But she is important.”
“What are you talking about?” Hermione asked him. “I’m not important!”
“How is she important?” asked Merlin. He hadn’t heard of anyone like Hermione from either The Great Dragon or Gaius.
“There is a prophecy,” began Gaius, “which tells of a sorceress from the sky. This person has great magical power, and is told to bring peace to Camelot and be the downfall of Morgana.”
Merlin sat down on a sack of hay, thoughtful. “But she was never supposed to come here. It was all by accident.” Merlin said, confused.
“And how do you even know that person is supposed to be me? The evidence is scarce. There are no descriptions of the sorceress, are there?” Hermione asked, incredibly confused.
“No, there are none. But the prophecy states that she is to be aided by Emrys in the downfall of Morgana. Now, no one is sure who Emrys is, but unless you find him and defeat Morgana, you will be stuck here forever.” Gaius explained.
Merlin felt numb. He was Emrys. That was what the druid boy Mordred had called him when they saved him from the King’s men. But, this was impossible. The Great Dragon had only said that Merlin was supposed to be the downfall of Morgana. He hadn’t mentioned Hermione at all. He hadn’t mentioned anyone else helping him at all.
There was a knock at the door, and Merlin saw Hermione’s face become panic stricken. He walked over to her and laid his hand on her shoulder. He felt her calm at his touch, and this made him happy.
Gaius opened the door and Arthur strode in. “Merlin, I know I said you could have the day off but-” he stopped as he saw Hermione, dressed in her magic-made maroon dress. He walked over and knelt in front of her, taking her hand in his. “Milady,” he said, kissing her hand. Standing up he asked, “May I have the pleasure of knowing your name?”
Hermione gave Merlin a panicked look. “Her name is Lady Cecilia.” Merlin said confidently. He gave Hermione a small smile.
“Yes, my name is Cecilia.” Hermione told Arthur with a smile.
“That’s odd, Father’s never mentioned a Lady Cecilia before?” Arthur said, curiosity taking over.
Merlin thought up a quick lie. “Well, she’s not from around here. She’s actually from a really long way away, and her family has never even been to Camelot before.”
“Ah, I see,” said Arthur. “Well, you are always welcome here, Lady Cecilia. I will tell Guinevere to prepare you a room.” He promised, and then bowed and left the room.
“Guinevere? As in Queen Guinevere?” Hermione asked. Both Merlin and Gaius looked at her like she was crazy. “Oh… has that not happened yet?”
“No, it hasn’t…” replied Merlin. He then smiled and said, “but we all know it’s going to happen anyway. Arthur’s smitten with her!” Gaius chuckled, and went about cleaning up his work area.
“Oh, let me do that!” said Hermione cheerfully. She pulled out her wand again, waved it, and everything cleared up and was put away neatly. She turned to Gaius with a proud expression, only to find Merlin laughing at her and Gaius shaking his head. “What did I do?” she asked, confused.
“Hermione,” began Merlin, “we’re not exactly used to your magic quite yet. It might be best if you… lay off of it for a while.” He said, still laughing.
“Oh, right.” Hermione said quietly. Another knock came at the door, and Hermione hurried to open it. In walked Arthur and a woman Hermione assumed was Guinevere. “Hello again.” Hermione said cheerfully.
“Hello, Lady Cecilia. This is Guinevere.” Said Arthur. Guinevere bowed and gave Hermione a small smile. “She will be your maid servant during your stay. Anything you need, Guinevere will be happy to help in anyway she can.”
“Thank you both so much, it means a lot to me, especially since I’ve come such a long way.” She said, smiling kindly at them both.
“Let me escort you to your chambers, milady.” Guinevere said quietly. Hermione gave one last look of gratitude to Merlin before being led to her new chambers.
After the women had left, Arthur turned to Merlin. “I want you to take all of Lady Cecilia’s belongings to her chambers.” Merlin nodded, but Arthur wasn’t finished. “And as for my original intentions for coming to find you this morning, I need my armor polished. My father has asked for a surprise jousting match tomorrow, and I need my armor to look like brand new, not like you haven’t washed it in weeks.”
“And what of Lady Cecilia?” Merlin asked.
“What do you mean? Guinevere has everything under control. It’ll be like she’s not even here.” Arthur said, clapping his shoulder and leaving the room.
Merlin turned to Gaius. “How is it that Hermione was able to conjure magic? Her language was not the same as mine.”
Gaius looked thoughtful. “My best guess is that in her time, witches and wizards are able to conjure magic with whatever language they please. I imagine that in her time, there are multiple languages which can be used to conjure magic.”
Merlin nodded. It made sense, to him at least. The world was probably much more educated in the future. He thought about how Hermione had calmed at his touch, and how he felt an instinctive need to protect her. Maybe it was part of his destiny to help Hermione defeat Morgana. But if all of this was an accident, then was she the sorceress from the sky? Merlin knew there was only one person he could ask that would possibly know about this part of his destiny. Well, one creature, that is. It was time to visit The Great Dragon.
After Merlin was sure that the occupants of Camelot were asleep, he headed for the field just outside of the castle walls where he normally asked The Great Dragon to meet him. As he waited for the dragon to arrive, he pondered what the dragon would say to him. He had so many questions, and it was common for the dragon to only answer them in riddles.
He heard the flapping of wings, and a few minutes later The Great Dragon was standing in front of him. “And what can I do for you this time, young warlock?” the dragon asked.
“I met a girl today.” Merlin said.
The Great Dragon chuckled. “I am not interested in helping you with courting women, Merlin.”
“It’s not that! She came from the future.”
The Great Dragon looked at him surprised. “And what do you expect me to be able to help you with?”
“I need to know if she is the sorceress from the sky in the prophecy about defeating Morgana.”
“How do you know of this prophecy?” The Great Dragon asked him.
“Gaius told me once I brought her into Camelot. She seems to think that it’s not about her. But I’m starting to believe that it is. What can you tell me about this prophecy?” Merlin asked.
The dragon took a deep breath before replying. “The prophecy said that only the forces of Emrys and the Sorceress from the Sky can defeat Morgana. It did not state how you two met, or how you defeated her. But it did say one other thing.”
“And what is that?”
The Great Dragon was reluctant to say the next bit. “I imagine Gaius didn’t mention this because if you knew, you would be reluctant to finish fulfilling your destiny. The prophecy says that you two are to fall in love.”
Merlin just stared at the dragon. Love. He was supposed to fall in love with Hermione. “I wish you hadn’t told me that.” He whispered.
“I could not deny your question. You are a dragonlord, and therefore I must not disobey you. I’m sorry.” The dragon replied.
“But if Hermione isn’t the sorceress in the sky, then how does she get home? And if she doesn’t get home, then what happens to her?” Merlin asked.
“When someone gets lost in time, and has no way to return home, their entire existence is erased from the universe. If Hermione is really the Sorceress in the Sky, then you will have a choice to make. Let her be erased from the universe, or loose your destined love forever.”
Forever. His choices would either be to use his powers to let her return home, or let her stay, but have her be erased from the universe and forgotten forever. “My destiny is to protect Arthur, but also to help Hermione destroy Morgana. And my choices for Hermione are unfair either way.” Merlin said, more to himself than the dragon.
“I know the choices are hard, young warlock, but you must defeat Morgana. Or everything that you and Arthur have worked for will be destroyed.” The dragon said.
“Thank you, for sharing this information.” Merlin said, and dismissed the dragon. The dragon bowed, and took flight into the starry skies.
Merlin walked slowly back to the castle, contemplating the information he just received. The Great Dragon didn’t know if Hermione was the Sorceress in the Sky, but Merlin was sure of it. Things like this didn’t happen more than once. And falling in love with her was something he was afraid of. He didn’t want to loose her, but he didn’t want to make her suffer here with him either. There was no way either one could be happy.
Before heading to bed, Merlin decided to go visit Hermione. He was unsure about whether or not to share his information with her. He knocked on the door, and Gwen answered. “May I see her?” Merlin asked.
Gwen nodded. “She’s asleep, but I’ll let you in. She asked me to stay with her until she fell asleep.” Merlin smiled sadly at Gwen, and walked over to Hermione’s sleeping form. He knelt beside her bed, and just looked at her.
She was beautiful. Her skin was a creamy white, and her long brown hair was shiny and soft as he placed his hand on her head. Gwen stood behind him, watching. She could tell that he was already falling for her. Merlin could tell he was too, but he couldn’t allow himself to do that. There was too much pain for both of them if he allowed himself that indulgence.
Merlin placed his lips to her ear and whispered, “Everything’s going to be alright, Hermione. I promise. I swear on my life I will not let anything bad happen to you.” He placed a kiss on her forehead, and stood up to leave.
Gwen followed him out the door and began to head home. Before she did she asked to speak with Merlin. “I know she’s beautiful, but she’s a lady of Camelot. As someone who knows what you’re going though, please be careful.” She pleaded with Merlin.
“She’s not just a lady of Camelot, Gwen. She’s the most important person in the universe right now. Without her, well, without her things could get very very bad.” He said, and walked away. Gwen looked after him, puzzled, but then shrugged her shoulders and headed to bed.
Back in her bed, Hermione was wide awake, a small smile on her lips as she replayed Merlin’s words in her head over and over. “I swear on my life I will not let anything bad happen to you.” Feeling the comfort of the kiss he left on her forehead, she fell into a deep and comfortable sleep.
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