Chapter 4

Day 40

Merlin sat on his new porch, gazing out at Avalon.

Gwen had left one day ago. She had kept Merlin company as his new dwelling was being built. He had been very encouraging when he heard Gwen's well thought out plan about making new magic laws. She had considered Merlin's advice, creating an academy to train young people born with magic, and give them opportunities for places in court. It would take time, she had said with a smile, but she swore to Merlin that magic would be welcome in her lifetime. Merlin could not stop hugging Gwen after that.

She promised she would visit again soon, and send word to Merlin's mother. Still, she could do nothing for when the crashing waves of rememberance hit Merlin the moment she left. Merlin felt as if he had cried enough tears to last a average person a lifetime.

Two months ago, everything had been completely normal. Time seemed to go so slow, when all you were doing was wishing for it to turn back. Merlin felt the constant companion -sadness- in his chest stir once again. His heart ached for all it had lost. Merlin had known for years what was to come, but when it actually came knocking on his door, he was not prepared.

Who would be prepared to have everything they loved, ripped away from them?

The weather seemed to mirror Merlin's mood. Dense waves of fog were cascading over his lake, obscuring the tower beyond. Merlin hadn't slept for verging on a week. He spent his nights reliving memories of the golden years- what he had fondly dubbed the happy years spent as manservant to Arthur. Merlin had wondered sardonically if people who lay on their deathbeds spent their time wishing back all their wasted minutes. What about a wasted life.

Merlin found a raging battle inside of him. His joyful personality was being vanquished by the sullen attitude of loss. And frankly Merlin couldn't care less. More frequently Merlin found himself lashing out. The only solace he found, was when he was sitting at his desk writing out adventures from the Golden years.

A week -maybe more- after Gwen left, Merlin looked in the mirror, and reeled back in shock.

A man stood staring back at Merlin with red eyes, his hair growing long and unkempt, and an inch long beard sprouting on his face. A shaking hand rose up and touched the man's -Merlin's- face. A slightly hysterical laugh escaped Merlin's chest, scaring the poor warlock even more. What had he let himself turn into?

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