The colours that were so bright and powerful that you had to squint your eyes before you fetched your camera from your pocket to take a picture.
It was all so depressingly same. For the last 1500 years, nothing has changed about the sky. Everything else though, was different. The people, the landscape, the tower on the hill in the middle of the lake, even the air he breathed.
No one would notice that of course. Life is too short, and no one can see what was before and what is after. All that you know is what happens while you’re alive and what you see in the television.
Technology. That was something new too.
But the old man with young face, sitting on the hill in front of the lake – he was the only one who could see almost everything – what was, what is and what will be. He was way too familiar with everything around him. He knew the sun, the wind, he knew the people and he saw how they changed.
They were born, they lived and then they died. Not him though. He was born a long time ago and he lived, but he never died. Not until his purpose on this world was fulfilled. His destiny. He was waiting for the only person who could ever make him feel better. Make him feel alive again.
And the person was still not coming back.
For over a thousand years since his death after the battle of Camlann, Arthur was still in Avalon. And Merlin was still down here, on Earth. Watching everything around him change.
He sighed and closed his eyes. The sunset was beautiful, but it was annoyingly familiar to the sunset the day before, the one a week before, and every day he’s watched the sun set over the hills. As he said before, the sun was one of the rare things that always stayed the same.
His eyes have seen too many things over the years and he didn’t want to spend the next hour looking at the sun again. The lake underneath it was much more interesting.
Although it has not changed over the last 1500 years either.
Merlin used to be impatient. When he was young and arrived at Camelot, when he became a manservant of the prince, when he couldn’t control his magic as well as he did now. But patience has become a new synonym to life for him. Because it was all about waiting, always.
He looked down at his palm and whispered a few words. A little dragon made of fire sparks appeared above his hand and he smiled. He had to learn how to smile again after Arthur died. If not for himself, then for his friends who slowly got over their king’s death. He wasn’t allowed to get over him, but he would never dare to. He didn’t want to.
“Destinies...” Merlin mumbled as he looked up at the clouds around the setting sun. The little dragon disappeared and he put his hand behind him on the soft grass to support him as he leaned back slightly.
Every day, in the morning and before he went to sleep, he visited the lake and spent a few minutes wishing that perhaps this time, something would change about the lake and the person he missed so much would come back to him.
He never did though. And so Merlin always went back to patience – to his life. It was a lonely life. He made a few friends over the years, some friends he considered a family. But everyone died in the end. He tried to age with them – you could say he’s mastered the skills of ageing spells – but the real him, he always stayed young. He didn’t know why. But it wasn’t like he could go and ask the destiny.
Destinies are troublesome things, of course. They always were and they always will be.
Merlin slowly stood up and groaned slightly as he stretched his arms over his head. He always stayed by the lake too long in the evening. But it was time to go back to his house – he’s built one himself, just close enough to the lake and to the nearest town, Glastonbury.
He lived there now. Not in the city, but he went there once a week to buy food and other things and to feel more connected to people. He never talked to them though, and he often got lonely.
The sun was almost behind the hill now, but it disappeared completely when he turned around and walked down the hill to the valley around the lake. That’s where his house was.
Merlin looked down and closed his eyes for a bit to allow himself to reminisce. He often did that. The memories were the only thing he had left. But some of them have faded away. He sighed and crossed the road to get to the valley.
And he did not see the car coming.