The air was chilly and the fog was thick. The mist seemed to be heavy and cold – almost as though the souls of the dead were trying to cling to life. There was no wind in this, the darkest hour of the night – even the banshees had stilled their sharp cries. Many beliefs were held about nights as eerie as this. Even more superstitions were held about this Great Stone Circle that was covered by moss and the heavy mist that hung in the air. Upon each pillar of the Great Stone Circle sat a proud raven – their black beady eyes gleaming in the moonlight that provided a blue tint to their feathers. The ravens lent a somewhat sinister feeling to the air.
A man and woman stood in the center of the Great Stone Circle that had stood for centuries untold. The stones under the moss seemed to glow with an ethereal light. None but the two of them were on the ground and neither of them looked happy. The deep scowls on their faces indicated that they were livid beyond the point of rage. Their frozen faces resembled the cold carvings that adorned the stones around them. The heated blood roaring in their veins giving color to their pale pallor.
The woman looked to be in her mid-twenties (which was quite a feat for this day and age). She had auburn curls and stood no more than five feet high. Her eyes were a hard brown – one might say they were cold. She had on a blue kirtle with a green and gold over-dress adorned with intricate stitching as a sign of her exalted station. Her complexion was pale and her sharp features were made ever more dramatic by the way she had her hair pulled back sharply from her face. The gold circlet upon her head gave weight to her proud stature. The thick gold chain (which was studded with emeralds and rubies) at her waist accented her tiny figure. Her petite figure stood erect in these age old surroundings.
The man that stood beside her was maybe five foot six with dark brown and silver streaked hair that was ramrod straight and hung to his shoulders. His sea blue eyes were turbulent and shone with stubborn and arrogant pride. His skin appeared to be rough from his lifestyle and the salt-water in the air. He wore black hose with a brown and red tunic. It was simply done with none of the intricate stitching that was in the woman’s gown, even though his rank was near her own exalted one – he had even forgone the heraldry that his station allowed. He had more sun on his face than the fair creature beside him who wore a sneer upon her dainty lips that were red from the cold. The mist in the air was so heavy that their feet could not be seen on the thick green grass.
Above them was a sight that no mortal had ever seen. It looked like a gathering of people all with features that could only be imagined by the mere mortal mind. They had aristocratic visages and a haughty (one might say all-knowing) look in their eyes. By their bearing one could tell that these beings thought themselves better than the two creatures below them.
All of them glowed with an unearthly light of the palest white. The occasional bolt of lightning blended the beings into the night sky making them invisible on occasion. The puzzlement in the eyes of the immortals gave the impression that they didn’t quite know what to do with the two mortals that stood awaiting them. In at least two of the omnipotent faces the looks of disappointment and shame could be seen as clear as day. It was as though the Gods above thought that more (or maybe better was the right choice) was expected of the two mortals that stood below them.
The two mortals stood impatiently on the ground in the middle of the Stone Circle, the night air around them was cool and it reflected the looks on those beings above them – although some looked downright hostile. Neither of the mortals spoke as they looked up at the ageless beings who were to declare their fate – though neither felt that anyone had the right to judge them. For that is what was going to happen on this frigid evening, this day would always be known as the End Day for the man and the Day of Judgment for the woman that stood beside him. But for the Gods above, it would be known as the Day of Reincarnation.
After several minutes of silence a woman from above with flowing blond hair and cool blue eyes looked upon the mortals and spoke, “The two of you have meddled in affairs of far greater import than you realize. You have caused time itself to be changed and for that your fate lay upon the Wheel of Stars that is always changing. As it changes so too will your fate. This we the gods have decreed. From this day forth until knowledge is gained your punishment is thus – the shores of the Isle of Apples is denied to you Morgaine, daughter of Le Fay.
“And as for thee, son of Aurelius, known henceforth as Merlin, guardian no more, but seek you shall for that which has the power to cure. This shall you do until you find the mortal Balance between old and new. Thus have the Gods decreed.” The words of Madb, the all-powerful Star Spinner were harsh and final. The disdain in her endless gaze imbuing finality in her words.
The woman’s voice was as frigid as the arctic and the effects of her words were like ice water upon the mortals before her. Madb’s words had been said with decisiveness. When the dreaded sentencing was uttered the man, now known as Merlin, slumped his shoulders. The weight of this judgment seemingly too much for him.
The woman on the other hand paled more than her skin already was and did the only thing that she knew of. She turned her hard brown eyes from the gods above onto her companion and in tones that would make a banshee quiver shrieked, “This is your fault! Even at the end of your so-called great age you still ruin everything around me! So help me I shall chase you to the ends of time to have my vengeance upon you! By the gods above me this I swear!”
During her high-pitched rant Morgaine never noticed that one goddess in particular looked upon her in sorrow and let a silent silvery tear fall from her immortal eye. This (the goddess knew) was not the daughter that she had charged Igraine with raising. For that child had been sweet and kind. This child was bitter and full of pain and hate, her innocence nowhere in sight. How things could go so wrong she didn’t know – but then whenever any mortal being was involved anything could happen. Even the unthinkable. Mortals were so unpredictable – it’s what made them so special to the gods.
On the final note of Morgaine’s rant that lone tear hit the ground letting out a lightning strike so fierce that even the immortal gods looking upon the bitter rivals felt the earth tremble. When the shaking stopped a formidable female voice uttered, “So shall it be.” Those words had even the gods and goddesses above quaking for all their worth. Of all the deities watching only one had heard that voice in recent (for a god anyway) memory and in response the goddess Le Fay replied, “As mother says, it is willed.” The glistening track of her tear still wet upon her face.
With that statement the immortals faded from view and left the two rivals alone in the Great Stone Circle. Both wondering what the future would hold, both dreading it and neither were willing to admit it. Neither was willing to bend their pride even the slightest bit thus beginning the curse that was placed upon them by the gods who held the fate of man and beast in their ethereal hands.