{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.
SheilaWolfe would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Without a Shadow

By SheilaWolfe

Adventure / Fantasy

Chapter 1

In a land of myth and a time of magic, the destiny of a great kingdom rests on the shoulders of a young man. His name…Merlin.
The forest was quiet in the early morning hour. A delicate layer of frost had frozen the world overnight, leaving a silver sheen across every fallen leaf and twig. The pale glow of the rising sun sparkled off each tiny ice crystal but they would all soon be melted away by the warming light.

From around the broad trunk of an ancient oak, Arthur Pendragon peered to see his prey. He could just make out the deer sipping peacefully from a stream, unaware of the hunter's presence. The King stepped quietly between the stiff branches and crept forward for a closer shot.

Drawing from his quiver, he nocked an arrow on his crossbow and drew the string back with both hands, stepping on the front until it locked into place. The click echoed loudly around the trees, causing Arthur to freeze when the deer looked up.

A tense moment passed before the timid creature relaxed and bent to drink again. With a silent sigh that puffed white in the frigid air, Arthur raised the weapon and took careful aim, his blue eyes locking the arrowhead just behind one shoulder. One shot to the heart and it would be over but it needed to be perfect. Not one mistake…

"Arthur! Where'd you go? Did you get it yet?" a voice called, shattering the tranquility. Startled, the King pulled the trigger with a crooked aim. The arrow flew through the air and embedded itself in the ground far from its target. Thoroughly spooked, the deer leaped across the water and disappeared into the forest.

Seconds later, a dark haired figure stumbled into the clearing and promptly tripped over a root, diving face first into the dirt. Arthur rolled his eyes irritably and stomped over to his manservant.

"You really are a bumbling idiot, you know that Merlin?" the King asked heatedly, nudging the other man's arm with his boot.

Merlin staggered back to his feet, brushing the leaves and frost from his clothes. "What? You didn't get it?" he asked, his cheeky grin the face of innocence.

"No thanks to you!" Arthur barked as he went to retrieve his grounded arrow. "I thought I told you to stay with the horses,"

"Well I couldn't let a prat like you go wandering around the forest on your own," he joked, returning the King's glower with a shrug.

"Why? Think I might actually catch something?" Merlin's answering frown made Arthur smile good-heartedly.

"Come on," he laughed, brushing a stray leaf of the servant's shoulder. "Let's head back to the castle before you scare all the animals off,"

The blond man led the way through the trees, his companion shadowing his every step as he chattered to the crisp morning air.

"I still don't see why you insist on hunting this early in the morning. I mean, I don't think half the animals are even awake yet."

"Merlin, with all the noise you make, I'd be surprise if there's anything still asleep in all of Camelot," he answered bluntly. "Besides, what's wrong with an early start on the day?"

"Nothing other than getting up before the sun," Merlin yawned. "You couldn't wait until this afternoon?"

"After my morning patrol, I have a training session with the knights and a council meeting to attend so this was the only free time I had, Merlin, but you seem dead set on ruining that for me as well. Which reminds me," Arthur stopped suddenly, turning to face his servant.

"You will need to have my nice shirt freshly washed and pressed, clean my armor and sharpen my sword." He smiled smugly as he turned around again, pausing only to add, "And because of your incompetence, you can also muck out the stables and polish my boots."

Merlin sighed and started to follow his master's shadow but hesitated when he noticed the sandy ground Arthur was walking on giving way.

"Arthur, wait!" Merlin called, but too late.

"What now?" the King demanded just as the dirt under his feet crumbled.

Instinctively, Merlin's magic kicked in. His dark blue eyes flashed a burning gold and everything around him seemed to move at half its speed. Diving forward, he managed to shove the still falling Arthur from above the sudden hole and into the safety of the solid grass.

Relief hit him seconds before gravity did. The spell shattered and time sped forward, dragging Merlin into the dark gap meant for his friend.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

Shweta Somwanshi: I just chose to read this out of nowhere and now I can't stop. Hats off to the author who made the reader swoon away with words so beautifully! I loved how I was able to imagine everything so explicitly because the writing was simple and easily comprehensive with a touch of complexity somewhere b...

Beau Bayot: I like the way the story is told and really engages the reader. In the daily life of a B17 Bomber Pilot that just happens to be a commander of an air-group, along with the hassles of keeping a bomber group running in peak performance during WW2. Banner should also consider himself lucky both at h...

CookieMonster911: The story overall was an adventure that is appealing to any age. The way the characters develop adds a more human characteristic to the novel. The writing style itself is amazing because you can learn every character's thoughts and emotions. The awkward love triangle and jerk moments adds to the ...

Marijana1: The melancholy present throughout this story has the power to influence and etch into the minds of the readers, to stay there and refuse to leave even after they have finished reading the story. This is a deep, powerful story, making the readers wonder about everything – about love, about their e...

Flik: Hi! ^.^ huge fan of yours on ff.net! When I saw the note about this contest on The Way We Smile, I couldn't help but rush over here, create an account, and vote! XD Seriously love this story and would recommend it to anyone! :D best FT fanfiction out there. Amazing story, amazing concept that wa...

spooky jedi: Love your story!I really hope more people read this story!Its amazing!! The plot is very unique and different, which is very good to have in a world full of stories. You have very complex and intellectual plot line, with your many loveable character and that hint of 'will they, won't they' is ju...

Bri Hoffer: I couldn't put it down!! The characters are all incredibly likable, and it's so descriptive you can see, smell, and feel thier surroundings. Great story, and very well written. I cannot wait for follow up stories. there were a few grammatical errors, but nothing that I could move right over.

rudyoxborough46: An action-packed, mystical adventure awaits anyone wishing to read this novel. I’m amazed at how well you’ve managed to flesh out the characters in this book, and I hope to read more of your work.I’ve read books about goblins and elves and all that mumbo-jumbo before, and most accounts of these c...

Lydia Walters: I really enjoyed this novel. It gives us a view of what could be if we really tried.Also that there's nothing wrong with loving our LORD and our fellow humans. couldn't wait to get to each new chapter (mission). Thanks, Joe!

More Recommendations

Giuliana Cassetta: My face is full of tears, I never cried like now with a book or even a movie. I loved every single chapter. I truly don't know what to say, I'm out of words and my eyes hurt from crying. Such an bittersweet story, it's so wonderful. One of my favorites for sure. Keep it up!

ynez2005: I LOVE THIS BOOK SOOOOO MUCH!!!!Though you really need to make another book,more Princesses!!! Whoooo!!!Girl Power!!!Mabey it could even be Devona's BFF???That would make it even better!!!Plus can you pleeease make Akki come back,together with Thea and Authur amd the whole family is back!Other th...

LeahWrites: I love your use of writer's craft and how you use figurative language to enhance your writing. It great how you didn't have any spelling or grammar issues.

Alani Foreigner: I absolutely loved how you created this story. It isn't like the other cliché stories I've ever read. I had just started reading it yesterday and just had to finish it. The main characters are grotesquely awesome and I fell in love with them. If you're into fantasy and stuff I can guarantee that ...

Hawkebat: Playing both Kotor I & II and Swtor I found the story line interesting and it held me until chapter 35 Very good story and plot flow until then, very few technical errors. I felt that the main character was a bit under and over powered, as it fought for balance. The last few chapters felt too f...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.