Eight years.

I recently got a review that pointed out that it's been eight years since I last updated this fic. Until that moment, I hadn't realized just how long it had been. I knew, of course, that it had been years since I'd updated. First, I wrote myself into a corner. Then, attempts to edit and re-write didn't go well and I was overwhelmed. And then, life intervened. I moved, I got a job, I went back to school, I moved again, got a different job, and on it goes. There just never seemed to be enough time or energy or motivation. But even when writing was the last thing I wanted to do, this story was never far from my mind. There is probably a dozen aborted attempts at editing and updating saved on my computer.

I suppose that's why I didn't realize until that review that eight years had passed.

It's absolutely staggering to know that people have still been reading and reviewing this fic after eight years of negligence on my part. Those reviews have brightened my days, given me motivation to keep trying when I felt like I'd never get this story out of the rut I wrote myself into, and inspired me every time I read one. I have treasured every single review, like, following, favorite, and kudos. They have meant more to me than I can say, especially when the writing was difficult, when I didn't know what I wanted to say or where the story was going to go, or when I was just too tired to care.

Thank you to every single one of you.

At the risk of jinxing myself (knocks on wood laminate desk and hopes for the best), things have changed for the better and I have finally been able to make progress on this story once more.

Perhaps it's because eight years have passed or maybe it's just that I didn't quite know where I wanted this fic to ultimately go when I first started. Whatever the reason, the edited version of Return of Merlin is proving to be very different from the original. As such, I am marking this version as complete. So many of you have followed my original story for so long that it didn't seem right to delete it or over-write it. I will be updating the name and description to reflect that it is no longer being updated and that there is a new version. I plan to have the first chapter of the new version posted by the end of the month and I will add an alert to this fic when it is posted.

Thank you again for all of your love and support.