Confessions of a Truth- Chapter One
I had told the same story for years. Since I'd lost Nimue I'd felt that if I told people the story the way that I wanted it to be heard I'd perhaps lose some of the blame for what I had done all those years ago. After all man's memory is short. But Frik's words 'That's not quite how I remember it Master Merlin' made me wonder. Made me wonder wether it is best to lock up our past so that we never have to face our inner demons. My story, the real story is one full of pain, betrayal and deception, not unlike the one I have been telling for the past 30 years, yet this story is different because it is real. Real with emotions to break me down into tears and choking grief because I was wrong. Wrong about Mab, wrong about Arthur, wrong about the strength of Nimue's love for me but most of all I was wrong about myself. Wrong about good and bad, right and wrong. Because life is never that simple, and nor are people. And my life was complicated from the start. A creature of air and darkness, I tried to run from who I was until I tripped and fell further into the night. Now, now it is time to tell the story in a new way, on these very pages, so that the past is not chained up and forgotten but remembered…
The purple, intricately patterned dyes of her gown subtly changed colour as she moved to some hidden music, some hidden rhythm. She was so unnatural, but unnatural in a way that seemed a part of himself. In his mind, though he pretended to tire of magic, tire of the Old Ways, he couldn't help but feel intrigued by its mysteries.
He remembered Mab's words on his first night in her abode. "This power that I have, that runs through my veins, is your power too, your birthright. It is yours if you are not too cowardly to grasp it," she has whispered in his ear, leaning towards him almost seductively, every movement meant only for him. But he also remembered the words of his Aunty Ambrosia, his kind and loving mother in everything but name only, "magic has no power over the human heart." Aunty A was right Merlin thought sadly. If he condemned the Old Ways, he condemned his mother, not the sickly human being Ambrosia had so easily replaced, but his true mother, she who circled him now scowling at his slow progress.
Merlin's mind whirled as he stared into the Queen of the Old Ways green eyes unflinchingly. "Oh Ambrosia," he thought, "It is not so easy to be part human. For you, content and safe wrapped in security with your God, see only the good in love. You see only beauty in emotion. But I am human just as you are and humanity is full of sadness and pain. You told me to follow my heart but I do not know where my heart truly lies. I love you and the girl Nimue whom I rescued all those years ago and you would say this was good and right. But a part of me, the half of me that is immortal, of the spirit world calls to my true nature. You would not understand dear Aunty, you are of the new faith but part of me loves my mother, an aching love that will always choke and bind me to her. It is a love stronger than my love for you, stronger even then my love for Nimue. Where Mab calls I will follow for I am chained to her by human ropes of affection, my human side, not that of the cold, harsh spirit world rendering my trap complete."
Merlin was pulled back to the present with the harsh rasping words of Mab. "You're not trying hard enough. You could be great but if you continue along this path you never will be." Her beautiful green eyes, usually warm when they glanced Merlin's way were cold and empty. Her proud pale face seemed somehow even more drained of colour than usual and her full lips were pursed in disgust. Those cold, deep eyes seemed to bore into his very soul, inspecting every hidden thought, every chasm of his being.
Mab stopped circling his chair and smiled, sitting next to him and stroking his long hair. "But you will try now won't you. Yes, you will try…" she murmured in his ear. She glanced scathingly at Frik who was endeavouring to look anywhere but at her. After brief seconds Mab snarled "Well you imbecile! What are you waiting for?"
Frik flinched. "Well Master Merlin," he muttered indicating at an unlit candle. Merlin put thoughts of long nights with Frik out of his mind, long nights where he did the same thing over and over, the amount of wax on the table mounting and melting in the hot evening air. When Merlin indicated with his hand the candle lit. He moved his hand again expecting the wax to splatter once more into Frik's waiting face. Instead the flame winked out steadily. "Very good Merlin," Mab crooned, her hand alternatively teasing and stroking his hair.
Merlin's feelings of seconds before rose again. This icy Snow Queen was his mother. Despite the way Mab treated Frik, despite what Ambrosia had said to Mab "You were once capable of love for your followers. Once but no longer," despite all this, Merlin understood Mab; her need for survival, her use of those weaker to reach that goal. He understood Mab, wanted to please her, because at heart they were of the same root; brother and sister, those of the spirit world blessed or was it doomed to be given mighty magicks at the price of compassion.
Merlin jolted from his musings as Mab's hand slipped down his shoulder, her touch soft yet somehow languid as she took his hand in hers. Her fey green eyes lit up with an unholy blaze as she whispered almost triumphantly "Now you know what you can achieve it is time for you to see your future and my plans for you." Merlin looked up in shock. "Yes Merlin," she said amusedly, "it is time for you to visit my crystal cave."