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Asha Swanwick: The Grimoire Maiden

By Kristy Flowers All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Romance

Chapter 1

Merlin was not a man of God.

Born to a human mother and demon father, he carried both human and demonic blood in his veins. Neither human nor demon, he was shunned by both sides and had no place where he belonged.

The demons saw him as a product of his father’s betrayal, and the people of Camelot saw his demonic blood as dangerous, as it gave him certain magic abilities only demons could have.

His mother was executed by the Church while he was still an infant and he was raised by his father. But before he could mature to become an adult, his father was killed by demons who saw his love for a human woman as high treason. With no one to rely on, Merlin fought for himself in this world.

The one man who could see beyond his fear and realize how Merlin could be useful was King Arthur. When Merlin was still a young boy, he was caught by the Church, but King Arthur ordered for him to be released. The King realized that if Merlin would become his loyal servant, then he could use the boy’s demonic blood to his advantage.

Merlin was young and naive, and the only thing he knew was that King Arthur was the only person who ever treated him with kindness besides his own dead parents. But as Merlin grew older and his magic grew stronger, it was difficult for King Arthur to keep him within Camelot. Merlin’s demonic blood grew more powerful as he matured and his eyes began to emit a purple glow. The purple glow in his eyes was identical to that of the demons who roamed in the depths of the forest of kingdom.

Merlin did not have a violent bone in his body, but even King Arthur began to fear him more with every passing day. He would be forced to stay inside a tiny room inside the royal castle, isolated from any contact with the city. The only door which lead to his room was surrounded by guards, but Merlin soon figured out that those guards weren’t there to keep him safe, but meant to keep him inside. He pleaded to King Arthur to give him more freedom, but the King could barely manage his terror when he saw Merlin’s glowing purple eyes.

However when King Arthur heard Merlin’s desire to go outside of the castle, an idea struck him. It was a rather risky idea, but he could use Merlin’s loyalty against him.

“Go into the forest and build a hut to live in,” King Arthur ordered. “Go as far into the forests as you can, the place where all the demons reside. Once you are there, cast a spell that will trap all of the demons in my kingdom.”

Eager to win the King’s favor, Merlin promptly agreed. Even though he knew his father was a demon and he himself carried demonic blood, he did not think twice about betraying the demons. After all, it was the demons who had killed his father and King Arthur had protected him from the Church – the people who had killed his mother.

And so with the few belongings he had, Merlin left Camelot in the middle of the night and wandered deep into the forests. Little did he know that King Arthur hoped that Merlin would never return. If the demons killed him, then it would save him the trouble of finding a way to kill him. If Merlin actually succeeded in trapping all the demons — something King Arthur thought was not possible — then it would benefit him all the same.

Merlin built himself a hut in a forest far away from Camelot and began to live like a hermit. But Merlin was no fool. He quickly realized King Arthur’s true intentions. Every month, several soldiers from Camelot would visit his hut so that they could report on Merlin’s wellbeing. But never once did they bring food, clothes or weapons which Merlin could use to protect himself with. King Arthur did not give him any kind of help. The guards only came to check if he was dead yet.

Living alone in the forest, Merlin grew desperately lonely. Even though he had demonic blood in his veins, he also had human blood, and as a man, he craved for companionship and the embrace of a woman. Yet not even a prostitute was willing to give him her time, for all women ran away when they saw the purple glow in his eyes.

“When King Arthur is pleased, he will bring me back to Camelot,” Merlin told himself every night. He was sure that if he did as he was told, then a miracle would happen and he would be accepted as a normal man among the people of Camelot.

Driven by this desire, Merlin spent many lonely years living in the forest, perfecting the spell he had designed to lure all the demons into one place. It was a simple spell, really. He infused his magic into an old tree and used it to grow golden apples. The demons from all over the kingdom would be lured in by the sweet scent of these fruits and the moment they touched one of the apples, their bodies would be sucked into the tree.

When all the demons had been absorbed by the tree, Merlin used his magic and turned the tree into a book.

It was a fine volume. With a thick leather cover, iron reinforced corners and an unbreakable lock made using his magic, it was a book that radiated importance. Merlin considered it his life’s work. In his first act of defiance, he used his magic to make a golden key that was capable of opening the lock despite not receiving orders to create such a key. He then hid the key inside his body.

The spell had depleted his magic so much that he slept for three days and three nights. And even after he woke, his body still exhausted.

Merlin felt proud of his creation and took the liberty of giving the book a name. He called it the Grimoire.

And when the next guard patrol came, he sent a message to King Arthur.

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