The Madness of Merlin

March 10th, 1999

Into the Mystic

Kelpie sat at the laptop and adjusted the video camera.

"All right, Lex, Amp," she said. "Can you see me?"

"Yep!" Lex's voice said, coming from the speakers. "And…what about us?"

"Uh…No, I'm afraid not," Kelpie replied back. "Just a bunch of blurry pixels."

"Drat!" Lex replied.

"It's all right, Luv," Amp said over the speaker. "I'm sure we can get it working with a little smarts and a little elbow grease."

"Oh, that reminds me," Lex said. "I've been working on this Anti-virus program, and I was hoping that you and Amp might double check my work."

"Oh I'd love to," Kelpie replied.

"You've got Mail!" the computer pinged. Kelpie opened up the folder and began looking over the file code that Lex had sent her.

"Bless me bagpipes, Lexington," Kelpie breathed. "This is bloody brilliant."

"Told you," Amp said. "And Kelpie is a girl who knows her tech."

"I mean, I didn't make the original virus," Lex replied. "Just the Anti-viral derivative."

"And it's still bloody brilliant," Kelpie said. "Lex you've got to let me know when you've got this thing finished! I've said for years that Loch Ness's computer network weren't secure, but there's no been any money in th' budget ta do so!"

"Oh! Of course your clan can have it, Kelps!" Lex said the screen suddenly flickered and Lex and Amp's faces appeared.

"Hey! I can see you now!" Kelpie said.

"You're at Into the Mystic?" Amp said frowning.

"Aye," Kelpie said. "Una wanted me to help her with inventory for the website."

"Don't forget to wear a cloak, love," Amp said. "Clan rules. If you're in the shop and it isn't closed, even upstairs or in the back room, you wear a cloak."

"Aye, I've got one," Kelpie said, rolling her eyes. The cloak was draped over her chair. "I just dinnae see the point of the bloody thing. E'ryone already knows about 'the Soho Griffins'."

"Plausible deniability love," Amp said. "Please just make sure you're careful. I really don't want the Quarryahoos setting up a London Branch."

"Aye I suppose you have a point," Kelpie said, cloaking her wings, and then pulling the cloak over her shoulders. "Better?"

"Takes a load off of my mind, that's for sure," Amp replied. "So. Updating the website's inventory, 'eh? How do you like being th' new me?"

"You're pretty big hooves to fill, I won't lie," Kelpie admitted. "I dinnae realize when I moved here that I'd basically be taking over yuir old jobs."

"What can I say," Amp said grinning. "I am pretty awesome."

"Humble too," Kelpie said rolling her eyes.

"And you're the only other gargoyle awesome enough to keep up with me, obviously," Amp continued.

"Well when you put it that way." Kelpie said. She heard the sound of the bell ringing downstairs.

"Sounds like a late night customer," Kelpie said. "Gotta go."

"Thanks for being our sounding board, Kelps!" Lex said.

"Later ya goofs," Kelpie said, shutting off the camera and the Internet connection. The Scottish gargoyle turned and headed down the stairs.

To her relief, it was not a customer. She wasn't sure she wanted to work the register anyway—Leo and Una were out on late night patrol. They trusted her enough to run the shop, but she didn't like the idea of actually doing that. Still, she'd joined the London Clan, and that made Una her leader. She would show Una the same respect she had shown her old leader back at Loch Ness.

Griff and Arthur trudged into the shop, soaking wet.

"It's no raining out," Kelpie commented. "What happened to the two of you?"

` "I would rather not talk about it," Arthur said, sighing heavily.

"Finn MacCool threw us into the ocean," Griff said. Arthur sighed heavily again.

"I should very much like to take a long, and hot shower," Arthur said dejectedly.

The shop bell rang again as Macbeth stepped into the shop carrying a drink carrier with four Nightstone's Coffees in them.

"Pendragon?" he asked, frowning. "I thought I saw you down the street. What in the world happened to you?"

"Finn MacCool," Griff said.

"The Irish folk hero?" Macbeth wondered.

"The same," Arthur said. "He refuses to look beyond Ireland, and has fallen in with a rather violent young woman…"

"Irish nationalist," Griff explained further. "Arthur's hoping to try and get Finn to look at the larger stage that The Lady of the Lake spoke of."

"But Finn will have nothing of it," Macbeth said sympathetically. "I can sympathize. I brought you that hot chocolate that you like."

"I definitely could use it," Arthur said, smiling and accepting the beverage. Macbeth quietly offered two more to Griff and Kelpie, who eagerly accepted.

"We are still on for this weekend, right?" Macbeth asked, taking a sip of his own coffee.

"Of course Macbeth," Arthur said smiling. "I'm actually looking forward to a leisurely trip to my old castle. Between finding Merlin, and fighting Fion, I think a weekend of reminiscing is well earned."


Merlin starred blankly at the seemly random assortment of items that Una had placed upon the table in front of him.

"It appears to be a…glass bauble? A leather cord. Mandrake root? Powdered snake skin. Extract of Eel saliva?"

"I want you to make a Glamour Charm," Una said.

A troubled look passed over Merlin's face.

"No," Merlin snapped irritably.

"Merlin," Una said. "If you ever want to reclaim your magic, you must practice it! Magic is a skill like any other."

"If you want a Glamour Charm so much, you make one!" Merlin snapped.

"I can't," Una said through gritted teeth. "To cast a glamour is Third Race magic."

"Nonsense," Merlin responded. "There's a perfectly good Glamour Charm in the Grimorum Arcanorum."

"Oh really?" Una said, her voice dripping with sarcasm. "Would you happen to know where that Spell book is? Because I don't happen to have a copy!"

"It is my understanding that the Archmage consumed the book before laying siege to Avalon," Arthur said entering the loft of the shop.


"As much as we could gather from questioning the Weird Sisters, yes," Arthur replied.

"Regardless," Una said. "Even if I had a spell book that you could use to make a Glamour Charm—"

"Not making one," Merlin interjected.

"Mortal Sorcery wouldn't be useful to you anyway," Una continued, ignoring Merlin's protest.

Merlin stared daggers at the equine gargoyle.

"Una," Arthur said. "I would like to use the shower in the shop to cleanse myself after our abysmal failure of a quest."

"Of course, Arthur," Una said, nodding at the once and future king. "After which the guest room here at the shop is at your disposal."

"I thought that's where I was sleeping?" Merlin demanded.

"You are not sleeping," Una said. "You are making a Glamour Charm!"

"I can return to Sir Griff's quarters at Knight's Spur after my shower," Arthur said coolly. He turned and walked down the hall to the washroom, wisely attempting to avoid getting in between this clash of wills between the two sorcerers.

"Mortal Sorcery comes as a result of channeling magic from external sources through a conduit," Una said.

"Are you quoting magical theory to me?" Merlin demanded.

"While the Magic of the Third Race…The Magic that Nimue stole from you," Una said. "That comes from the well of magic deep within you. As a mortal sorceress, I am incapable of such magic. But as the Halfling-son of Oberon, it's just what you need to exercise and replenish your magical reserves."

"I don't do Glamour Charms," Merlin snapped angrily. "And don't patronize me by quoting Magical Theory. I invented Magical Theory! I wrote down Magical Theory in the Grimorum ten times a hundred years before your great-grandmother was a hatchling!"

"Glamour charms are about the simplest cheapest Third Race magic there is!" Una argued back. "It takes no effort and it's a perfect place for you to start! Give me one good reason why you shouldn't make a glamour charm and I'll leave it alone."

"The last time I made a Glamour Charm," Merlin hissed in a loud, angry whisper. "Uther Pendragon used it to trick another man's wife into his bed!"

Una's eyes widened. Merlin's eyes flickered blue and the wizard stormed down the stairs into the main floor of the shop, leaving Una standing in the upper loft in stunned silence.


March 12th, 1999

Into the Mystic

Griff and Kelpie stood outside of the shop in their cloaks. A double-decker bus pulled up next to the shop, the doors opening. The two gargoyles glanced up at the gradually lightening sky.

"Can't say I feel comfortable about the bus," Griff said quietly. "But we can't very well cram the group into the Clan's lorry now can we."

"Up awfully early, aren't we Mandy?" Kelpie said, addressing the copper-skinned woman who cheerfully bounced up to the pair of gargoyles.

"Or up late, if you never went to bed," she chirped. "I made vegetable samosas as a snack for your group."

"You didn't have to," Griff said, gratefully accepting the bag anyway.

"I know," Mandy said in a singsong voice.

"Ah good," Arthur said, stepping out of the shop. The Once and Future King wore a plain red sweater and khakis, and a blue trench coat. "Our transport has arrived."

Griff handed the paper bag of samosas to Arthur. "Given the time, I'd rather not loiter outside.

"Kelpie," Mandy said, turning towards the Loch Ness gargoyle. "I can take your cloak inside if you'd like?"

"Ach," Kelpie exclaimed. "I'll be inside presently. But you can take the cloak."

The two of them ducked inside the shop, Mandy quickly turning the sign to "Closed".

"The others aren't here yet?" Griff wondered.

"Aye," Arthur nodded. "They appear to be waylaid."

"It's almost dawn," Griff said.

"Then let us board," Arthur said. "We can await the others inside."

The pair of them approached the bus and the doors swung open.

"Nice mask," the American bus driver commented towards Griff. "What are you headed to a costume party?"

"Something like that," Griff said dryly. Griff made his way to the back of the bus and then climbed the stairs to the second level of the Double-Decker bus. He glanced out the window and saw Leo, Una, and Kelpie taking positions on the balcony of the shop. Kelpie grinned and waved at him. Griff rolled his eyes, and then took a crouching position. He dug his talons into the floor in order to provide a little more stability, knowing that the vehicle would be moving during the trip.

The dawn broke over the London skyline. Leo, Una, and Kelpie turned to stone on the shop balcony. Griff turned to stone on the upper level of the double-decker bus, his cloak remained untouched by the Humility Spell.

Down below Macbeth had arrived and joined Arthur on the first level. The two royals were calmly chatting away, when Merlin angrily stormed onto the bus.

"Merlin," Arthur said, standing up and turning towards his teacher. "Are you and Una still feuding?"

"I am not feuding," Merlin scowled, taking a seat opposite where Macbeth and Arthur had settled.

"Sorry we're late," Lydia Duane called from the front of the bus.

"Duane insisted upon bringing all of our equipment," Arthur Morwood-Smyth explained apologetically. To prove his point, he placed several large bags upon the seats of his bus.

Merlin frowned, sniffing the air.

"You..." Merlin said standing up and approaching the two startled archeologists. "You have been touched by my magic! I can feel its aura upon you!"

"Do you think that they have encountered Nimue?" Arthur Pendragon wondered looking at his teacher.

Merlin closed his eyes and held up his hands. A soft blue glow surrounded the archeologists.

"The seeker of knowledge need fear nothing here," Merlin said, "The destroyer, everything…"

"How did you know that phrase?" Arthur Morwood-Smyth wondered.

Merlin opened his eyes, which were glowing blue; they flickered slightly and then returned to normal. He sighed heavily.

"It was just the security spell I placed upon my chest," Merlin's face brightened slightly. "So…did you enjoy my scrolls?"

The Archeologists stopped breathing briefly, suddenly taking the wizard in.

"Lydia Duane and Arthur Morwood-Smyth," Arthur said. "It is my pleasure to introduce my friend and teacher; Merlin Ambrosius."

Macbeth chuckled as Morwood-Smyth swooned slightly and Lydia Duane caught him. Fleur boarded the bus, and smiled at the assembled travelers, as Arthur Pendragon made his way towards the front of the bus.

"That is all of us," Arthur said to the American driver. "You may depart."

The bus moved forward but then suddenly lurched to a violent stop.

"What just happened?" Duane asked. Pendragon and Fleur glanced out the front of the bus.

"We appear to have rear-ended a lorry in front of us," Pendragon commented dryly.


Griff awakened with a triumphant roar and shook shards of stone skin off of himself. He glanced around the bus. Someone, probably Fleur or Pendragon had removed his cloak during the day and folded it up neatly upon the bus seat beside him.

The gargoyle glanced out the window. The bus was parked next to the bed and breakfast that Arthur had stayed in on their previous trip. He could see the white sign nearby.

Lindwyrm, Wales

Pop, 16

An absolutely tiny Welsh village somewhere between Carmarthen and the Pembrokeshire Coast was the closest modern settlement to where Camelot had once stood. They'd gone out there once before during the Quest to find Merlin. Griff knew the way of course. What was once Camelot could be found about ten kilometers north of the village, in a rather thick forest.

Climbing out of an open bus window and onto the roof of the vehicle, Griff opened his wings and began mentally gauging the air currents. Fortunately, this close to sunset there were plenty of warm thermals rising up off of the roads and rooftops of the tiny village.

Thermals were the best friends of gargoyles in flight. The easiest way to gain altitude and coast upward was to ride a thermal.

Griff glanced into the windows of the bed and breakfast. He could see the bus driver sprawled out, sleeping on the bed in one room, and Pendragon's trench coat lain out on the bed of a second room, but Arthur, Macbeth, Fleur, Merlin, and the two Archeologists were nowhere to be seen.

This bothered Griff. Supposedly, they were supposed to visit the ruins of Camelot during the day, but be back by sunset. They were not supposed to linger.

Griff launched himself off the bus, taking a thermal up about 40 feet in the air and catching a wind-current. He glided out over the forest near the town, making excellent time. He landed at the edge of a small lake, spotting the castle ruins easily from the air, though they we impossible to spot from the ground due to the forest.

He landed at the base of what used to be a tower.

The castle itself didn't really exist anymore. It had been buried in a mudslide hundreds of years before. Long enough that trees were growing on top of the ruins. The only part of the castle that still stood was a tower that had caved in on one side. According to Arthur the last time that they visited, the tower was once the rookery for the Camelot Clan of gargoyles.

The rest of the castle was in fact a giant mound of earth, the broken tower stuck out of the earth like a chimney on a house.

On their previous trip here, he and Arthur had spent several nights digging their way into the mound were the castle gates had once stood. Their handiwork from last time had clearly been expanded upon, Griff presumed by the two Archeologists, who rather knew how to excavate earth better than he and Pendragon did.

There was now a ten-by-five foot hole in the mound, revealing an open tunnel into the ruins. Griff reached for his Lightning Gun, pulling it out of a belt-holster that Leonidas had recently given him.

"Macbeth!" Griff exclaimed in horror, running to the immortal Scotsman's side. He lay strewn against the partially crumbled wall, blood gushing from a wound in his head, or at least, a former wound in his head, as the magic keeping him alive had already patched him up.

"Mac, what happened here?" Griff asked, shaking the Scot, he groaned softly glancing up at Griff.

"Lad," he said. "Look out behind ye!"

Griff heard a massive snort, and leapt to his feet and spun around. A pure white boar with glowing red eyes about the size of a carthorse was staring him down. It pawed at the ground. Griff noticed with horror that its tusks were covered with fresh blood. He prayed it was only Macbeth's blood.

The boar let out a bone-chilling bellow and charged at him.

Griff fired his Lightning Gun at the beast who stopped short and shrieked in pain. A red glow surrounded the beast and suddenly, to Griff's horrified shock, Merlin stood in the creature's place, his eyes still glowing red.

He let out a terrifying cackle and transformed again. A massive black bear with glowing red eyes bore down on Griff. The gargoyle hesitated, but slowly raised his weapon again.

To Be Continued…