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.

Arthur sat and took an enormous mouthful of the strong wine. “Your timing could not have been better. I have been looking for just such an opportunity.”

This was an unexpected development and Richmond did not attempt to pretend otherwise. “I do not understand.”

“Merlin. He’s become something of a nuisance.” The arrogance we had glimpsed earlier was back in full. “He is beginning to wear on me.”

I interjected with some more nonsense symbols. Not from any real reason other than not wanting them to forget who I was supposed to be.

My timing was perfect. Arthur swung around to face me, talking to Merlin over his shoulder. “Ah yes. Your friend here. You say that he is powerful.”

“Yes.” Richmond warned me with his eyes. We would need to tread carefully.

“Powerful enough to get rid of Merlin?”

“Your Majesty?”

“Don’t pretend to be stupid, Richmond. And do not make the mistake of thinking that I am. Though I may be no magician I am King.” His expression changed. “What is this fellows name?”

“Name, miLord? I have no idea. He speaks no tongue that I know.”

“We will call him Nim. I had a bitch named Nim once. She died charging a boar when the boar would have killed me. And I think that this one will be just as useful.” Arthur laughed very quietly and finished his wine. He then stood and crossed the room again, kicking one of our men absentmindedly.

“Tell Merlin nothing of what I have said. He will not know I was here. Understood?”

“Understood. But, my King, are you going to stay the execution, then?”

“Stay the…?” Arthur seemed puzzled by the question. “Of course not. He dies tomorrow.”

He pressed a stone in the wall and a thin panel slid back. “Or he kills Merlin and saves himself.”

Richmond made a faint choking noise as Arthur disappeared from view. As soon as the king was gone Richmond launched into the most spectacular string of expletives I have ever heard.

Grim to hopeless in five minutes. It must be some kind of record.




4 responses

17 05 2010

It certainly is some kind of record! Awesome.

18 05 2010

Thanks!! I must say that this has been good for me. It keeps me writing on a regular basis and it’s good practice in how to get oneself out of self-devised plot pickles.

18 05 2010

(Without using a deus ex machina)

18 05 2010

Ooh, fun.

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