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.

“What do you need Richmond? I am in fair humour today and inclined to grant you any small boon.”

Richmond was clever enough to be wary of such ebullience. “What is the cause of this joy my Lord?”

Merlin’s eyes slit and he stared slyly at my friend. The bland look of innocence adopted by each of us must have convinced him because he took a seat and leaned forward eagerly. “I will tell  you. There has been trouble at court recently. Arthur grows older and his cunning wife more wily. The knights are difficult to keep busy even a  great man can come up with only several dozen new quests per month. Your friend here has provided me with the perfect opportunity to remind them all who I am.”

“How do you mean?” Richmond was playing the innocent to the hilt.

Merlin laughed. “Through all the ages of man there has been no method of persuasion quite so effective as fear. I have set up quite the execution for our young friend.”

My only battle was not to pass out as I watched my life coming swiftly to a close.

Richmond, to my enduring horror, chuckled. “Brilliant! Not that I envy you the consequences if he survives.”

“Impossible!”

“Is it?” Richmond waved one hand dismissively.

“No-one has ever survived.”

“You’ve never tried to execute a time traveler before either.”

“Immaterial. He is a man and as such he is frail.” I could practically hear his teeth grinding.

“Of course. I assume that I will be invited to the spectacle?”

Merlin merely nodded, his attention swinging to our men at arms. The group of them had arranged themselves in formation and were advancing across the floor.

They were neither very fast nor particularly coordinated. Merlin had plenty of time to get to his feet and face them, his left hand twitching toward his thigh. He did nothing, though, until the lead men-at-arms bumped clumsily into him.

With a snarl Merlin bodily shoved them back. They collapsed with a crash and Merlin left the room in a swirl of robes.

“That wasn’t particularly subtle, Richmond.”

“Whatever do you mean?” His eyes twinkled and he bent to help the men sort themselves out.

“What was the point of that display?”

“You saw his hand move?”

“Yes, toward his left… Oh! You think he has a weapon?”

“I know he has. The stories of his fearsomeness are not merely due to his wretched taste in clothes. He must have some kind of advanced weaponry. Now we know where he keeps it.”

My brain whirled but a smile cracked my face and eased my headache. “Oh! So THAT’S the plan…”

I trailed off as our door once again opened and a full dozen knights came pounding in. They surrounded me and cut Richmond off, though he followed as we marched downstairs and onto the parade ground.

The sun is shining, I thought, I’m glad. It would be so unpleasant to die in the rain.

I said I understood the plan. I didn’t say I liked it.

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3 responses

18 06 2010
NinjaEditor

A plan and impending death on a sunny day. Perfect!

I got a bit behind with life craziness but just reread the last few installments. Hope you’ll continue soon if the muse so allows you.

23 06 2010
Alex

What’s going to happen??? I can’t wait so long 🙂

24 06 2010
Meghan

Sorry about the delay but life has not allowed time for writing. I’ll try and finish it up today at some point but if not today then tomorrow.

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