Prologue: A New Beginning
It had been quite some time since the old man had last walked this road. He remembered when it used to be nothing more than a dirt track in the woods. Now it was part of a small town.
On the other side of the road he could see the houses that had been build over the years. They used to be new and nice to look at, by now they were old and weathered.
'Just like myself.' He mused when he thought about his current appearance.
It would have been easy for him to turn himself back into his younger self, but he discovered long ago that people left him alone much more often if he looked like a homeless old tramp rather than a young tourist. And right now, he wanted no one to disturb him.
For a moment he looked down onto the lake that spread out in the slope on his other side, guarded by the remainders of the forest. Or offspring of what used to be the forest, he wasn't too sure about that. It might have been completely new trees as well, he didn't care. His eyes wandered to the ruin of a very old tower that throned above the lake on a green isle. He still remembered vividly when that tower was even taller and less battered. He remembered all the times that he had come here.
To hide himself from everyone and everything.
Yet he never managed to hide from himself.
His own memories tormented him more and more, the more years went by. He barely could grasp the good ones anymore, as the bad ones surfaced more often than not.
It was due to his long life that he had lost so much.
Lost more people dear to him than he dared to remember.
All these horrible memories of never dying, never aging, while everyone around him withered and passed away.
All these memories of failed destinies and misused chances.
He was tired.
So very tired.
Tired of living.
Living this immortal life of his.
Always waiting for the one person that mattered the most.
That was his destiny.
That didn't even had the decency to return in a normal amount of years.
Like fifty and not fifteen hundred and longer.
All his hopes that he really would return one day faded more and more with each passing decade.
It wasn't like he had given up hope completely, but he just didn't want to wait anymore.
He had made up his mind that what he was about to do was the right decision.
That he could take a little break after more than a millennium of waiting for the Once and Future King. He hadn't gotten his promised days off back when everything had changed, after all. So now he would be taking all of his remaining leave-days at once. He thought he deserved at least that much.
Grinning at the ridiculousness of his own thoughts he looked away from the collapsed tower and continued on his way with new resolve. Much still needed to be down until he could finally rest.
As if it had waited for him to finish his musing, one of those awfully loud lorries passed him but he didn't falter in his movement. Not after living with these things for nearly a century.
After a few more steps he stopped again, when the trees opened up to show a wider view of the lake. Resisting to look this time he bowed and shook his head in resignation before he moved on again.
With the centuries had come the changes and while he liked some of the comforts he now had, he certainly missed the quietness they had back in the day.
Back in the times of Camelot. The times of kings and queens. The times of Magic.
About thirty years later...
"It would be nice if you could actually cast a spell once in a while..." A female Dragoon warrior grumbled while attacking a ginormous beast that towered in front of her.
Sharp claws slashing at her, while she slashed at the monstrosity.
"I'm working on it..." The Mage standing behind it exclaimed.
"Stop bickering and concentrate on killing this thing!" Remarked the Knight that attacked the foe from the Mage's right side.
The beast was solemnly focused on the amour-clad warrior in front of him, giving the others the chance to attack it, without being targeted themselves.
"Geez start healing Warlock or I'll drop dead." She complained when the monster was attacking more and more vigorously the weaker it got.
She only could land a couple more hits before the beast rose up to its full height and slammed its hands down on the ground, releasing a shock wave that replenished her remaining energy and caused her allies to be harmed as well.
"Brilliant." She commented sarcastically when the warriors body hit the ground.
As soon as its original target was gone the beast focused on a new victim. This time the Knight, as he had stepped in, before it could attack the Mage.
"How about you hurry up and revive me, before that thing kills off Gwayne as well?" The warrior demanded.
"Stop rushing me!" The Mage complained.
"How hard can it be to push some friggin' buttons?!" She all but yelled at him, more than annoyed by how awfully bad this fight had turned out to be.
"Hurry..." The Knight whimpered as his health was dropping lower and lower by the second.
After several more dreadful moments of the monster attacking the Knight an energy blast emitted from the Mage and enclosed the Dragoon.
"Finally..." She commented, continuing with an attack that would lead the monster's attention back to her and away from the Knight.
"Now a group heal or you'll end up healing the Boss. Again." She ordered annoyed.
This time it took the Mage only a couple of seconds to do as he was told.
"If ALL of us now focus on attacking, we should be able to kill it." The Dragoon commented in a more calmer, but emphasized, tone.
Snorting the Mage threw an attack-spell at their opponent, while the Knight grunted as he launched another attack as well. Soon enough the beast fell to its knees and the battle was over.
"Now was that so bad?" The Knight commented as he went to pick up the treasures left behind by the beast.
"Yes" chorused the others.
"I can't see where the problem is. We managed to defeat the Boss with only getting you killed once. Better than last time." He continued with laughter in his voice.
"Yeah last time our dear Warlock managed to heal the opponent..."
"It's a Mage this time, they don't have a Warlock class here, remember?" The other teased before he added in a low voice: "And I told you I'm sorry for doing that..."
"One would think they would program this stuff to not make that possible..." Gwayne wondered.
"One would also think it isn't that hard to press the right buttons to cast a spell properly..."
Groaning the Mage countered: "Why are you always so annoyed when I screw up?"
"Because, your screw-ups usually get me killed..." She replied anger clearly in her voice.
"Ugh...cocoa as peace-offering?" He suggested with a sigh.
"You better add Marshmallows to that." She threaten playfully.
It wasn't like she was really that mad at him, but sometimes she just didn't know why she still allowed him into their team in Boss-fights. It was getting ridiculous how often he got them killed.
"I want cocoa with Marshmallows too!" The third one exclaimed.
"Then you shouldn't have moved out." The Mage joked and added "On my way to the kitchen" before a cackling noise could be heard.
He carefully placed his headset on his keyboard and stood up. Sometimes he wondered why he always picked the character class with magical abilities. He very well knew that he had a lot of trouble controlling them. Or rather controlling himself playing them. His lack of proper spell casting wasn't a problem of not hitting the right buttons, but rather of him trying to not enact a similar spell in real life.
With another sigh he made his way across his room.
He had a gift. He could make objects move without as much as a thought and even set things on fire with a bit more concentration. He kind of feared what might happen if he involuntarily cast a healing – or worse a revive – spell outside of the game. Even if he didn't know whether he was actually capable of that. But he wasn't going to risk it anyway. Therefore he needed a bit more time before actually activating spells in-game. He wouldn't use them until he was certain nothing would happen in the real world.
To get a little of the repressed energy – or magic as he liked to refer to it – out of his system he opened the door of his small room without touching it. His eyes changing from a bright blue to a shining gold for a second. When he walked onto the floor he hovered his hand above the handle, making it seem as if he was closing the door manually. He wasn't that content about sharing his little secret. It felt like something bad would happen if he ever told anyone. Not even his closest friends knew. But right now it was more important to get the promised cocoa done before he fell victim to another rant about incompetence. With a wide grin on his face he all but jumped down the stairs to the kitchen in the lower part of the house.
Author's note: Guess I have started a new multi-chapter story...just couldn't get this thoughts out of my head. I haven't really figured out how (chapter-wise) I want to write the stuff I already know I want to cover, but I wanted to get this part out of the way first.
Well, as you might have guessed the old man and the Mage are Merlin and the Knight is Gwaine – and yes the different spelling above is intentional. The Dragoon however is a new character that I thought would be appropriate to add as the other (female) characters wouldn't have fit the bill I have in mind for her – and this doesn't necessarily have anything to do with pairings! But I'll explore on that a bit later when she is properly introduced. Also a lot of stuff will be cleared up along the way. Especially the fact of what happened between the two scenes. ;)
And if it also isn't clear by now: They played some kind of online role play (MMORPG) and voice chatted alongside it.
It is quite likely that Van Canto's "Magic Taborea" becomes the main soundtrack for this story, just if you are interested in these kind of things.
Disclaimer (for this and all following chapters): I obviously don't own Merlin, I had just the idea for this. For the first half of this chapter also applies that it is taken from the finale of the series, I just added the thinking we couldn't see/hear.