The Time Machine Strikes Again (Part 11)

31 05 2010

With apologies for the extended hiatus.

I woke up the next morning with a pounding headache. Richmond was in the middle of a whispered conversation with one of our burlier men at arms. He was a tall lad with dark brown hair and a relatively intelligent look on his face. The young man nodded several times and touched his forehead in deference.

“Richmond!” I rolled out of the bed and stood somewhat shakily. “What is going on?”

“Never you mind.” My friend seemed to have regained his strength overnight. He brushed past me and began banging on the door.

“Merlin! Merlin! Someone fetch Merlin!” His voice hurt my already painful head. Probably I’d had too much wine and not enough water. Not that I could have had water even if I’d asked for it.

Luckily I did not have to think about myself for very long. In a couple of minutes Merlin admitted himself.

I will say the man was bold. He had a festival air about him that was significantly aided by bold robes of yellow and blue. If he wasn’t such a terribly alien figure of a man I would have cast him as a clown. Read the rest of this entry »


The Time Machine Strikes Again (Part 10)

21 05 2010

Ten is a good number. I don’t know how I feel about 11, though, so an attempt will be made to end this thing. I probably will fail, or reach a point that is so clever and stop-at-able that I will truncate part 10 and force myself into a part 11. Sigh. Sorry folks.

Richmond spent most of the next twelve hours pacing our plush cell and muttering to himself. He asked me twice if I had any ideas, once if I had remember a pocket handkerchief and seven times to borrow my pocket watch and tie pin. Somehow I had managed to make it more than a few days in medieval England without losing my tie pin. Eventually I stopped accepting the aforementioned articles when Richmond would attempt to return them.

The men at arms ignored both Richmond and myself, talking to one another and eating when food was brought in. Richmond ate nothing and either the wine or my impending demise had turned my stomach. Read the rest of this entry »

The Time Machine Strikes Again (Part 9)

17 05 2010

The number nine is symbolic of both endings and tribulation. Well, sorry to disappoint but this is neither an ending nor will it cause any kind of tribulation….

The door had barely closed behind Merlin and I had had time for only eight of the more choice curses before a tremendous noise drew my attention to our men at arms. They had risen to their feet with a sound roughly akin to a dozen cast iron skillets brutally murdering some tea kettles. A snarling bark sounded over the cacophany as Arthur pushed them aside and came striding across the room. Behind him a tapestry swung back into place over what looked like a blank stone wall.

Arthur glared at us as our men at arms settled themselves.  He must have tripped right over them while making his entrance. I schooled my face into sobriety even as the mental image of the Great King tripping over a few half-baked men at arms made laughter threaten to burst out.

“Secret door?” Richmond’s voice was full of admiration.

“Connected to a few well-placed spy holes. Merlin doesn’t even know about them.” A half smile flashed briefly over Arthur’s face. “He’s been a bit high handed, wouldn’t you say?”

Richmond made no reply, probably fearing a trap. Instead, he bowed and poured wine for the king. Read the rest of this entry »

The Time Machine Strikes Again (Part 8)

11 05 2010

This will be my last free evening for a while. Work starts back up again tomorrow and I don’t want to leave the ninja on the edge of her seat. Her butt cheeks will go numb! (Can you refer to that portion of a ninja’s anatomy?)

We were not thrown in a dungeon, which I considered a good sign. If Arthur had not feared me he would have put us all in irons. Or on the rack, or in an iron maiden. Medieval methods of punishment were wonderfully varied.

Richmond and I found ourselves, along with our erstwhile vanguard, in a medium sized sleeping chamber. The furnishings were rich and there was a flagon of wine on the table. Richmond settled in and poured wine for himself and for me. He nodded a sort of “at ease” to the men and they sat noisily in the corner farthest from the door.

No-one spoke. It was very possible that we were even now under observation. We could not let it be known that Richmond and I were well able to communicate or Merlin might wonder at his bringing the “magician” to the palace to be dealt with. I felt as though I were walking a tight rope blindfolded.

In an effort to appear nonchalant and powerful I hummed snatches of music as I drank the wine.

Luckily, we didn’t have long to wait. Read the rest of this entry »

The Time Machine Strikes Again (Part 7)

8 05 2010

If we get to a part 8 (which we undoubtedly will) we’ll have to assign someone on this bus to watch out for black holes. If you head out that far into the void you are bound to fall in and never get free again.

The best thing about medieval kings is that they are forced by tradition and expectation to hold court. In the future monarchs grew wily and learned to hide behind terms like “security” and “proper behavior” and hence were exempt from actually meeting any of their subjects. The Dark Ages are gloriously primitive in that one can always find a king when a king is needed.

Our  group diminished the farther into the palace we advanced until only Richmond, myself, the flag bearer and four of what stood for men-at-arms remained. Richmond was nonplussed by this, I could tell. I told myself over and over again that the initial impression of our immense size and importance would already have reached Merlin’s ears. There was no avoiding the fact that the entire set-up made me immensely nervous.

In for a penny in for a pound as the British say. Read the rest of this entry »

The Time Machine Strikes Again (Part 6)

6 05 2010

Here we go kids! Let’s see where we end up. (Someone give the ninja some snacks before we lose her to malnutrition. Shout out to the Westads.)

I had not expected even Richmond to be able to prepare for the journey with anything like haste. The population of his lands seemed to be mostly lethargic servants and dour serfs. Surprise mounted upon suprise as I watched Richmond whip a castle’s worth of servants into a frothy whir of activity.  I mostly stayed out of the way, wandering halls and fields with wide eyes. At first I had wanted to return and check on the Machine but  Richmond had forbidden me. He was afraid one of Merlin’s spies would follow me and all would be lost.

The very morning after our discussion I found myself mounted on a heavy-hoofed horse surrounded by servants both afoot and mounted and following closely after my friend. The servant’s moods seemed to lift the farther we traveled from Richmond’s castle. I wondered at their changed demeanor until I realized that novelty was the only spice their lives afforded and novelty was unbelievably rare. Richmond had commanded quite a following. Almost half the castle accompanied us.

All part of the plan.

It took three days before we saw the hill upon which Arthur’s castle had been built. Modern readers know the place as Camelot, though the men I heard speak the word pronounced it as two words that sounded like “Kay mLote”. The awe from those around me was a testament to the magic that Camelot would cast upon England for centuries to come.

I had expected something dour and gray like illustrations of English castles I had seen in books. Camelot, though, was something entirely different. Beautiful with a beauty more exotic even than tropical flowers and twice as unexpected. The stone was white, the towers slender with aqueducts, paved roads and high walls.  The city that surrounded the castle was fashioned in kind and the whole effect was breathtaking.

The company grew almost jovial with excitement as we observed the airy fortress. All except Richmond, that is, who grew ever more dour and silent. Almost I could see his mind whirring, the thoughts meeting and powering forward more surely than wheels and cogs in a watch.

Sunset of the third day saw our company entering Camelot, unchallenged by the guard who obviously recognized the arms on Richmond’s banner and the trailing skirts of his warhorse.  I did notice a boy, lurking in the shadows of the gate, take off at a fast run upon our arrival. He was quickly lost in the crowd. Richmond’s eyes met mine and he nodded slightly.

Our arrival had been noted.

I wasn’t going to end Part six this quickly but it’s such a GOOD stopping point that I can’t help myself. More soon!

The Time Machine Strikes Again (Part Five)

4 05 2010

And we continue on in the hopes of someday reaching a climax in this story of my late-night brain….

It took Richmond the better portion of the morning to outline his plan to my satisfaction. My mind was ever of an argumentative bent and facing this scholarly friend over the board brought every academic impulse surging to the surface. I forced him to defend his plan from every angle and every weapon I could conceive.

The servants served the midday meal, the heaviest meal of the day, as we were wrapping up our discussion. Our talk had made me tired again, and not a little afraid. It was one thing to come back in time and interact with a people hopelessly inferior in technology, intellect and scope. It was another game entirely to contemplate direct conflict with a man so far advanced as to reduce my friend and myself to intellectual amoeba.

“There is still a matter that I cannot resolve.” I poured myself wine and propped my feet on an enormous iron grating before the fire. “Why, if Merlin is so advanced, does he linger yet in this slop-pit of an era?”

“Not having had rational converse with the man I cannot answer for him.” Richmond’s face was relaxed and a dim light seem to shine on his face. “But I might hazard the supposition that he is a lover of power. And power is readily at hand to a man of his peculiar circumstances who chooses to operate here. ” Read the rest of this entry »