Greetings my lord and ladies!
Yet again, I find myself apologising for mine tardiness in the continuation of The Eventful Life of Morgan Le Fay!
I have included two parts instead of one, as a penance for mine lateness.
Oh, enough of that hogwash. Here’s a recap: Morgan and Merlin are chased by hags to the gates of Avalon. A great sea serpent rises from the Lake of Avalon, and breathes out an icy breath, over friend and foe alike. Who has survived?
A ringing silence surrounds the creek, the only sound being the gentle flow of water upon the rocks, and the decisive snap as the serpent finally closes his jaws.
The entire place is filled with mist, and shivering violently, I can barely see anything a foot in front of me. Nonetheless, I whip around to snarl at the serpent, letting out a startled gasp as I find his vertical pupils right in front of my face.
‘I didn’t kill your friend, you know.’ The serpent’s voice has lost its seriousness, and sounds lighter, almost playful. ‘You need not get quite so flustered.’
‘Flustered?’ I snap, finally finding my voice, and trying to forget the fact that his snout is inches from me. ‘You breathed a puff of your icy breath over Merlin!’
The serpent rears back, emitting a weird, coughing hiss, and I realise that he is laughing.
‘Oh, you’ll see, yes, you will,’ the serpent chuckles. ‘You are twice as funny as what I’ve heard about you.’
‘What have you heard about me?’ I frown.
A spluttering cough interrupts me, and I turn back to see the mist clearing, and a blood-spattered Merlin emerging from it, clutching his staff for support. He joins me in the creek, plopping into the water with a splash.
‘Merlin! You didn’t get frozen?’ I ask, weak with relief, or from my wounds, or perhaps, both.
‘Aye. Although I think my beard feels strangely stiff,’ Merlin grins, despite his injuries.
I glance at his short beard, and it is my turn to laugh, although it hurts the wound in my gut. His beard is encased in ice, falling in little chunks into the water.
‘You look better without a beard, anyway,’ I chuckle.
The serpent bares his teeth in a smile, but it lasts for a second before he reverts to a serious tone.
‘Make haste, Merlin and Morgan Le Fay. You have the last leg of your journey to make, and your wounds are taking a toll on you. You must see the Avalon healers immediately,’ the serpent says solemnly. ‘Ride with me.’
He turns and dips his snout into the water, revealing his back to us, where ivory ridges along his spine will provide a handhold for us. Merlin and I struggle to where the serpent is, leaving a trail of blood in the creek.
At last, we each grip on firmly to a spike, and Merlin taps the serpent on his scales to tell him we are ready. I take a deep breath, even as the serpent plunges into the water, dragging us down with him.
I have entered Avalon a few times such that I know not to be alarmed, even when my breath threatens to desert me. My previous entrances into Avalon were not quite so dramatic, as the gateway did not have guardians—it seems that the serpent’s presence is a recent development.
We are travelling into Avalon, which is inside the creek.
Silence envelopes us, the water current pulling my hair back from my face. Our murky surroundings grow brighter as we dive deeper down into the creek. My breath seems to be running out, until, suddenly, I can breathe again.
However, the baneberry is taking a toll on me, and I feel my grip loosening as the poison seeps through my veins. Merlin is only doing a little better—his face is grim, his fingers clenched tightly around the spike, till I can see the whites of his knuckles.
My grip loosens abruptly, and I snarl in frustration. Merlin immediately yanks on my hand, his iron grip keeping me from slipping away, back to the surface.
Finally, the golden spires of Avalon enter our view, the sun—for Avalon has its own sun—glittering brightly off every surface. We land on paved roads, the large castle of Avalon casting us in shadows.
Our feet touch the ground, and I immediately sink onto the stones. We are no longer drifting up towards the surface to the World of Men, as Avalon has its own spell that keeps us rooted to the ground.
Faeries are rushing over to us, hands that pull and grab Merlin and I. My vision dims as I hear a babble of voices, the serpent’s deep voice overriding all. I crack open my lids for a moment to see the serpent’s snout looming over me, and smile slightly.
‘You’ll be alright, Morgan,’ he says.
‘Thank you for bringing us to Avalon. What is your name?’ I murmur faintly.
‘I go by many names, my lady. But you may call me Shadowbreeze,’ the serpent replies.
I give one last smirk, before darkness envelops me.
This is not the end! 🙂 More to come! What do you think of the extra security measure Avalon has put up along its entrance? Do you think the hags will attack again? Share your thoughts! 🙂