A/n: my brain is on overload. I want to do several things at once, but I can't do them all at once, of course. So… I write a little here, I draw a little there and HOPEFULLY my brain will quit being so crazy. This always happens when I get a bunch of ideas coming at me at once. Thankfully, I wrote down some ideas in an outline so that my head wouldn't cry anymore.
My tamagotchi looks like a party favor. .
And this idea? XD It came to me because of The Silver Glass Hound.
The King's Hound
The pain was great in all of his body. Cuchulainn, the great Irish hero, the greatest of all Ireland's heroes, was dying. He knew that. He didn't honestly care that he was dying, really. What got him the most was that that nasty queen Maeve got her revenge on him finally by having these men raised up in various arts to defeat him. They used his own vows against him and weakened his spirit with these broken vows of his, making him easy pickings for their blood lust.
He held his sword ready still as he backed away from the deformed creatures that were the men killing him slowly. He wasn't going to be able to stand up for long and then those bastards would have a chance to use his body or his head as humiliation against all who loved him. No, he would die standing ready for them!
As he backed up, his back hit a post from an old sign and glanced at it briefly before he pulled his belt off and lashed himself to it hurriedly. His numerous wounds poured more of his blood down his legs and into the ground as he raised his sword high. It was getting cold now as he stood against that wooden post. The deformed men moved closer to him and he shot them each a steely eyed glare with his red devil like eyes. "You'll not come any closer," he said with a low growl, "I will take the head or hand of anyone who does!"
The men looked to each other in confusion, as though they weren't certain what they should do now. He wanted to laugh at the whole thing, but found he was in too much pain to try. He was backed into a corner and forced to lash himself to a post to keep himself standing while a bunch of deformed men born of the wife of a man he had killed when he was seventeen stood before him with little going through their demonic looking heads. The irony was not lost on him.
Life continued to drain from him; little by little, his body grew slacker against the belt holding him there, though his sword still remained held high. He strained to keep at least the sword up, if he could not his body. He gritted his teeth and shuddered against his self made restraint, the cold closing in on him. He opened his eyes for a moment as he looked up, a calm coming over his fair features. He smiled ruefully and closed his eyes. "Onto… the next great adventure," he said softly.
And then, he went still.
The great deformed men moved toward him, looking to each other curiously. One, the oldest of the brothers, moved toward Cuchulainn and reached for Cuchulainn's head, sword read to cut it off. Cuchulainn's sword moved down in a swift move. The great monster didn't see it and his head went rolling toward the little stream that Cuchulainn's blood flowed into. Frightened, the others ran off, leaving both dead bodies where they were.
Arturia Pendragon looked at the book before her, her hair down around her shoulders. Merlin was working on researching something as he left her to roam the library in his home. This book she had found had interesting things in it, including a picture of a man strapped to what seemed to be a sign post, or what used to be one, dead but with a sword held high. She was only a little girl, but she wasn't supposed to tell anyone that. To everyone but Merlin, Arturia was a little boy that her dad had sent to study with Merlin while he took care of her sister Morgan.
She took the book over to Merlin and pulled her small frame up into the chair nearest to him, pulling the book up onto the table. "What is this?" she asked, big blue-green eyes alight with curiosity.
Merlin looked away from his book and his quill and eyed Arturia for a moment before looking to what she had picked out to look at. He raised his eyebrows and moved it closer to him, scratching his cheek as he did so. He did not look as old as he was, for his kind, the wizarding kind, did not age fast at all. He looked to be a man in his fourties, his hair graying from what used to be a dark golden color and left long about his shoulders. "This is the hero Cuchulainn of Ireland, Arthur," he said.
"Hero? Why is he strapped to a post?" she asked.
Merlin pointed to the words and nodded to them. "Read the passage to me aloud and tell me."
Arturia disliked reading a great deal. It wasn't that she couldn't do it, but that it was tiring and very tedious and she hated it when she mispronounced something to only get the correct pronunciation from her master sitting next to her. And reading all those words was incredibly tiring just from trying to comprehend what she was reading into words she already knew and a lot she did not know yet.
"Cuchulainn, greatest of all heroes in Ireland, was….. named th-… thusly because of an.. in..ki.. incident.. as a child," she read, slowly, to Merlin, who stayed patiently by her side and smiled faintly as he watched her try to read it aloud to him. "He had been… attacked by the black smith's guard dog and he killed it with his.. hurley stick in self defense. He.. felt gu… guilty for it.. and…vowed to take the dog's place until another dog could be raised. Thus he was named by everyone Chulainn's Dog, or Cu Chulainn."
Merlin smiled and took the book from Arturia, knowing she would continue to torment her mind if he did not. She would keep going with practice and do well with both writing and reading in the future. He simply did not feel it was right to burn her out quickly on it. "Was that all he was famous for, Master?" she asked, looking up at him in confusion.
"No, it says he did many great deeds here, however, you should get onto those sheets I made for you. I'll let you read it later if you finish them," he said.
Arturia had a very odd expression on her face, as though she was both loathing the thought of doing her paper work and liking it, or perhaps her curiosity had been piqued by the book with the hero Cuchulainn in it. Either way, he needed to finish his study of the stars and what they read out to him. He had always dreamed that one day, this young girl would become the greatest king in all of Britain's history, but he was uncertain of why she had been born a girl instead of a boy. That was a very puzzling thing indeed. However, he had told her mother and father that this was what was meant to be and by God or whoever roamed the heavens he was going to do as his dream bade him to. Her father had apparently known that she was to be a great person one day as well, trusting in Merlin a lot.
As he looked at the star chart before him, something cold went through his body. He looked at the chart and frowned even more. It would seem, he would get to take care of Arturia for much longer than she would ever want. Her father would either die that night or a little later, but one thing was for certain… he would die by the end of the week, leaving Arturia with her mother Igraine and her sister Morgan. Igraine would likely be very saddened by the death of her husband and would not be able to do the things she could before.
Merlin closed his eyes and rubbed his face. Arturia looked up at him and felt herself drawn to something else. A great sadness came over her that she could not explain as she gazed at the chart, though it made no sense to her why. Merlin was saddened and that meant something terrible was predicted in that chart that he did not like one bit.
Indeed, Arturia's father died within the week and her mother gave her to Merlin to raise, for she could not look at her without crying. Arturia was the spitting image of her father, the king of their land. As she was supposed to ascend to the throne by taking the kingsword from the rock he was placed in long ago when she was older, as the legends bade all kings of England do, she needed to be kept away from all who might take a chance to kill her. Merlin, thusly, was the only choice to keep her safe while she grew up to take that role. However, this did not stop the child from crying over this news.
When they once more reached the home of Merlin, deep in the woods, Arturia could only sit and stare out the window. Merlin hoped that if he continued to try to take her interest away from her father's death that she might be able to talk to him again when she was ready. It wasn't really supposed to make sense, but, rather, it was mostly him trying to come up with a way to cheer her up.
It was on one of these sad days that Arturia noticed someone odd nearby; outside and lounging against one of the old oaks. She hopped off her chair by the window and walked out while her mentor was busy trying to come up with a better form of consoling her, slipping past him and out the door into the forest. She ran over toward the tree she had seen with the odd man sitting against it and stopped. He was not solid that she could tell, but he seemed real enough. Was he an angel? His face was pretty enough, his hair blue and cropped oddly while a long ponytail trailed behind him against the tree. He seemed as though he were asleep.
Arturia moved closer and found herself beside him. She reached a small hand up and poked his shoulder. It was though she was trying to poke through a curtain. There was substance, a resistance to her finger, but it was as though nothing was really there.
When she thought he wasn't going to move or do anything, she sat down next to him and looked up at him. It was then that he spoke, his voice gentle to her, though he did speak like he was an old soldier. "Now for what purpose does a little girl come to sit by a spectre?"
"Are you a ghost?" she asked.
He finally opened his eyes and glanced down at her, smirking faintly. "Aye, that I am. I'm a right scary one that should be left alone and not with the company of such a pretty little girl."
"I'm not a girl, I'm a boy," she said. "I'm Arthur." That was what her father insisted on everyone call her except he himself and her mother. She had grown somewhat accustomed to the strangeness of it and thought nothing of it.
His eyes were like looking into the eyes of the devil himself, red with slits for pupils, though the irises were normal sized. She gasped and moved away from him in fright. He eyed her a moment and looked away. "Funny, I've never seen a boy so frightened by a devil eyed old ghost like myself," said the spirit.
"You're not… you only startled me," she said, composing herself and moving closer. She sat stiffly on her knees, frowning greatly at having been taunted.
He chuckled and looked to her again, a calm smile coming over his handsome features. "You're sad by something, boy," he said softly. "What is it that saddens such a lad?"
"Nothing," she said defensively.
The ghost eyed her again and put a hand on her head, ruffling her hair somehow. She blinked and looked up at him. "You're going to be a very pretty young man when you grow up," he said softly, "Get all the joy you can out of life, for one day you'll simply be food for worms such as I."
The spirit soon got up and dusted himself off before bowing down to Arturia in a most gallant fashion. "Until we meet again, boy," he said, winking at Arturia before walking off into the forest and disappearing into the air.
Arturia looked at the place he disappeared and then back to her mentor's home. Merlin was coming out of the house and walking toward her with his staff in hand. He helped her up and looked around carefully. "Be careful, Arthur. In the future, tell me when you want to explore, so that I might know where to look should trouble arise."
Arturia nodded and followed Merlin into the house, looking back to where that strange ghost left until she was inside. Why was it she felt as though she had seen that face someplace before?