The Gift

Arthur Pendragon sat on his big chair and watched the crowd before him. The crown lied on his head with pride as if it had always belonged there.

The new king of Camelot sighed. He saw the deep red banner with the dragon on it flying through the hall and he knew what it meant. The fate of Camelot and its people lay in his hands now and the duty that came with this honour lay on his shoulders.

It was the first day he sat on this throne and the first day he took his duties official as crowned king. He had reigned Camelot before, helped his father since he became more helpless. In the end he was a broken man.

Arthur didn't know where this was leading him, but he was willing to learn.

And he had his friends. He saw Guinevere in the crowd. Her light turquoise dress touched the cold floor. Her long dark hair fell over her shoulders and was bound together with flowers. She talked to the people with a beautiful natural smile.

This was the one he loved. And the one Arthur intended to marry whatever might come.

Then there was Merlin.
Arthur's look moved from one corner of the hall to another and the expression on his face became thoughtful.
Merlin looked back at him with a smile. It was another smile than Guinevere's. The smile of someone who hid something... or who had something to tell.

A thought hit Arthur for a moment but he quickly threw it away. He would find out soon. Merlin already took the way to the crowd to the king's side.

"Sire," he said with this smile still on his face. As soon as he stood in front of the throne, he lifted his head, as slowly as he could and with as much pride as he could probably bear. Arthur rolled his eyes. Merlin seemed to enjoy this more than himself. Well, Arthur would let him his fun.

"What do you want, Merlin?" Arthur said and his voice almost sounded a little bit too disinteressed.

"Nothing", Merlin answered quickly but his smile only grew at the same moment.
"Okay, well this was a lie."

"Who would have guessed that?" Arthur sarcastically said and rolled his eyes again. Then he gave Merlin a very focused look.

"Then what it is Merlin?" He smiled politely. "You know a king has its duties."

"I have a gift for you, Sire." Merlin's voice suddenly changed. It became more serious.
This only supported Arthur's inner doubts. He had never expected something like this. What would his servant give to him?

Merlin didn't say another word and didn't changed his face expression. He stayed quiet and very still. From one moment to another he held something in his hands. A little package.

It seemed like the atmosphere was different now. Not relaxed anymore, not like anything Arthur felt before. It seemed heavier as if someone had thrown a stone into their midst that would change everything. Arthur put his forehead in wrinkles. Something was in the air and this wasn't a normal gift.

The gift was covered with something like a large beige pergament where nothing was written on.

"This is for you." Merlin explained as if it was necessary to explain. He looked at Arthur with a mixture of quiet awaitening and the feeling that something would ease his heart.

"I hope you understand."

What Arthur didn't understand was the look on Merlin's face. Something he had never seen before. But he took the package.

It didn't last long and Merlin was gone again. Lost somewhere in the crowd.

Time to see what you got me here, Merlin...

Arthur carefully unpacked the gift. He didn't know why he was so careful but this feeling was still in the air.

The pergament slowly opened the view to the thing that was inside. Time hesitated and stopped for moment. It was a book.

Arthur stared for a moment not able to think.

He knew it. In someway he knew.

His eyes tried to find Merlin somewhere between the many people that seemed to be too far away to reach. He wasn't there.

Arthur would find him

The book inside the package was a magic book.

He knew it. He had always known it. He just hadn't dared to think.

At this moment Arthur just couldn't do anything but smile.