In a ‘wink of an eye of newt,’ our travelers found themselves standing in a grassy meadow surrounded by a dense forest of brown trunks and green leaves. It was a pleasant late spring day and Sun was high in the sky above. The Looking Glass clothes were gone and everyone was dressed in black robes typical of early Christian monks and nuns. Everyone except, Rav who was in chain mail and a white tunic emblazoned with a gold cross and unfolding red rose at the center of the arms. Chatelaine broke the silence asking, “Rav, where are we now?”
Based upon the current dress code and this forest setting, “I venture that we are about a league away from Arthur’s Camelot and not very far from Merlin’s crystal cave. In fact, if you look towards the hill to my right, you will catch the sunlight reflecting off of the entrance stone to Merlin’s cave. So gather up your skirts, off we go to visit the old wizard. It will be fun.”
The band of monks and nuns arrived at Merlin’s cave entrance after walking for thirty-three minutes. Everyone found themselves filled with enthusiasm and curiosity as Rav had not said even a single word to them during their invigorating constitutional. The travelers found themselves standing before a granite stone filled with golden-pink feldspar veins. Nothing seemed out of normal where they stood. Celeste noted what the travelers were thinking, “Rav, I don’t see anything particularly special about the ground we are standing upon. I do not see anything suggesting a crystal cave.”
“My dear, why would you expect that Merlin would advertise his presence to the world? It is well known that he had sent a few years teaching and training his Beloved Vivian in the fullness of his magick before he officially retired from active politics with the death of Arthur and the return of the sword Excalibur. If we want to gain entrance, all I need do is knock on the stone seven times with the hilt of my sword. So here goes.” Rav, tapping upon a dark spot present on the face of the stone seven times and lo and behold, the stone rolls to Rav’s left side displaying a well-lit entrance hall.
Along the sides of the hall stood stalactites and stalagmites which seemed to be the source of light. A voice was heard from the back of the cave, “Have some patience, have some patience. I am walking as fast as I can. I am not the young wizard I once was, you know.” Shortly, Merlin appeared in the entrance way.
The first thing noticed by the travelers was a soft shimmer of light within his eyes. A fluffy white-haired beard covered his chest and he was dressed in simple purple robe covered in constellations. His hands showed that he was someone who used hand tools, perhaps outside in a garden. He carried a wooden staff with all sorts of runes and mystical creatures carved upon its circumference.
As he neared the entrance, Merlin exclaimed, “Is that you? It is you. I thought you were lost for sure after you and that pesky dragon, Eater of Virgins, fell down into the pit to hell. If I remember correctly, the dragon slipped off the bridge and grabbed your shield arm. What ever happened, Sir Tristan?”
Rav bowed slightly to Merlin saying, “Well, my memory is a little sketchy as to details. What I remember is falling for a very long time with Eater of Virgins. Not much either of us could do except fall and talk. Eventually, Pilathorn, the dragon’s real name, and I started chatting about his life and the fact that his mother had abandoned him when very young, causing him to develop a desire to eat virgins so they will not make babies to abandon. By the time we reached the bottom, he had changed his mind about eating virgins and would open a nice farm next to a volcano so to raise abandoned dragons. After we hit the bottom, we found an exit back to the outside and parted company amicably. Proves the importance of a heartfelt chat.”
Merlin stroked his beard, “I see. A good resolution for all. So to what do I owe this visit, my son?”
Rav told Merlin of our travel tale to date and what we had learned. I think we arrived near Camelot so to answer a subject broached by Chatelaine as to the existence of Undines and other mythical creatures. Are they inhabitants of the physical world or simply figments of the dreamworld? Can living persons be possessed by creatures from the dreamtime?”
“Interesting question, my boy. Follow me to the library and all of us can sit down for a chat.” And with that Merlin turned around and headed further into the crystal cave. After a minute or two, the party found itself in a good sized room lined with bookshelves filled with old scrolls and clay tablets. “Everyone find a chair and I shall answer Chatelaine’s question. Which one is Chatelaine. Merlin glanced at her, “Jolly good, jolly good.”
“So allow me to officially introduce myself. I am the retired wizard of Camelot, Merlin Dinas Emrys. I am Roman by birth and cousin to Ambrosius Aurelianus of Wales who defeated the Saxon invaders. Let us share refreshments together.” He lifted his arms, said a short sentence in a language no one understood. And before each of Merlin’s guests appeared golden goblets full of honey mead and some very nice cold cuts and pickled vegetables.
“Chow down, my friends.” ‘Chow down.’ Everyone missed the temporally displaced language and Merlin and Rav just smiled at each other.