I met Mary Enck almost two years ago on Authonomy, a writers’ website run by HarperCollins Publishing. Since then, we’ve become friends, and have read portions of each other’s books. I asked her for an excerpt of her book to post here, and she provided her favorite chapter to share with you. Enjoy!
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Arthur, Prince of Wales and future King of England, must decide if he wants to return to his own time in 2100 A.D.”
Like his predecessor, the Legendary King Arthur, the passion of the young prince is to unite all of Great Britain in peace. His secret desire is to rebuild ancient Camelot. When he visits the original site, he encounters a prophetic gentleman who seems to know the future, or perhaps he speaks of the past.
Later, as Prince Arthur ponders the true identity of the man, a total solar eclipse occurs and propels him into the Fifth Century. It is only when the prince finally accepts the eclipse has directed the event, time begins to slip once more. It is then he discovers there is more to consider than space-time theories.
When the prince meets his namesake, they form a brotherly bond. Perhaps this meeting has been foretold and hidden in the promise made by King Arthur hundreds of years in the past to return when Britannia needs him once more.
CHAPTER 40 – A King in Time by Mary Enck
It was in those early hours just before dawn when the sky becomes suffused with the delicate colors that gradually fade into the awakening of a new day that Merlyn appeared on the uppermost tower of Castle Pendragon. Clouds above soon absorbed the colors while they were at their most brilliant. The entire landscape was awash with a magnificent sunrise. Merlyn stood looking off to the distance, his breath coming in short puffs from the chilled air. He had a new cloak and he reveled in the delicious way it kept him warm, and at the same time made him appear even more mysterious. There was a shimmering about the fabric that he had infused there himself. Pure magic it was for it even made him invisible if he spoke the special charm that he used for that. He chuckled now as he thought of the many ways he would put that one to use.
Merlyn’s full powers were returning as he kept practicing to renew his skill and even discovered things he forgot he knew how to do. There were a few mishaps, but he disregarded those as unimportant. When one of King Arthur’s favorite hounds was seen in the kennels to have a shiny coat of green fur, Merlyn merely raised his shaggy eyebrows in amazement along with everyone else. He wanted to give the beast a waterproof coat so he could hunt in the rain with Arthur without getting soaked to the skin. Merlyn loved animals and he was only trying to do something good.
It was then that Arthur suggested that perhaps Merlyn had too much time on his hands and that there were other things they might attend to that would be more productive. This set Merlyn to thinking and interrupted his sleep so he was awake early that morning and deep in thought as he stood viewing the breathtaking sunrise.
He was so immersed in his contemplation that he did not notice Prince Arthur standing close by. He came looking for Merlyn to ask him a favor and when he did not respond, he opened the door to his chambers and went inside. Noticing Merlyn left the door to his tower open; Arthur climbed the stairs and stopped once he found the wizard standing with his arms raised toward the sky.
Merlyn’s lips moved, paused and then moved again, over and over in a kind of cadence that could barely be heard. His hands turned first one direction and then another as he cast a spell and chanted into the ether. Then Arthur heard him say,
“Come to me. You are needed now. Come to me.”
Thinking that Merlyn was aware that he was standing behind him, he walked to stand by his side. There was no sign of recognition that Merlyn knew he was there. So he remained quiet, watched, and listened.
A faint breeze danced along the edge of the battlements and rippled through a dusting of powdery snow that had accumulated there the night before. Then it became a wind that grew stronger and soon Merlyn’s cloak was billowing out around him as he continued to chant his summoning spell. Arthur pulled his own cloak closer across his chest and remained silent to see what would come next. He was fascinated with the magical process that was taking place and he wanted to see it all.
Within an instant, the sky turned from a lush rosy hue to one of dark shadow. Arthur shaded his eyes and looked skyward to see what had blocked the light. What he beheld made him mistrust his sight for a moment while he was frozen in that time where a phenomenon takes a bit to register. That done, he quickly moved back against the wall to where he could watch the beast of mammoth size that came to light on the tower roof. Merlyn turned toward the beautiful burnished scarlet-skinned dragon and continued to hold his arms up, the palms of his hands open. He did not speak but remained in that position while the beast perched there, massive wings slowly fanning the air as if for balance. The eyes, oh the eyes were ever so incredible. Ice blue they were and in the early morning sunlight that was now appearing just over the rim of the surrounding hills, they gleamed like faceted jewels.
Arthur hardly realized he had spoken, but the dragon slowly turned to look at him and the full impact of the gaze from those eyes was mesmerizing. Somewhere in his mind, he could sense gratitude for what he had just expressed. His thought came before his words were spoken and so Arthur knew that communication with this wondrous creature was possible through pure thought.
Merlyn dropped his hands to his sides and turned with a scowl on his face.
“Oh look. Now you have gone and spoiled the moment. I was creating such a mood with Ansgaard here. See? You have distracted him with your praise of his appearance. That always causes him to become all puffed up and then it is ever so hard to get his attention once more. Well now that you are here, I suppose I may as well speak aloud so you can hear me. I was getting my thought projections going so well too.”
Merlyn sighed dramatically and turned back to the dragon.
“This should not take too much of your time, old fellow. I know that you have enough to do as it is, but you see we really must find this lady and return her here to us. I am not nearly as good at time sensing as you are and I know you can do it a great deal faster than I can so you can get back and attend to those other matters I mentioned earlier.”
Merlyn turned and winked at Arthur then back to Ansgaard and held up one hand high in the air as if in salute.
“Make haste, take caution and be safe. Off you go now.”
Ansgaard immediately pointed his wings toward the sky and with one downward sweep; they lifted him into the air. He sailed away in the blink of an eye and soon disappeared from sight into the clouds overhead.
Arthur was speechless and Merlyn chuckled as he turned back to him.
“Close your mouth young man before a bug flies inside.”
“But that was it! A real dragon! Incredible! I just do not know what to say. And he understood what I was thinking. He reads minds? That is astonishing!”
Merlyn just stood there grinning.
When Arthur had contained his enthusiasm over what he had just seen, he turned to Merlyn and smiled happily.
“That is the most wonderful sight I have ever seen. Thank you for allowing me to share in that moment. What were you saying to him? Is he helping us? What is going on? Please tell me I have to know. I can’t read minds myself and I always feel you just assume I know what is happening as you do, but I don’t.”
“Oh yes yes. Slow down there. I have sent him on a mission. He is very busy these days and he has a lot of work to do yet. But for now, well I wanted him to search around in the years a bit and see if he can find our Elizabeth. It might take him some time you know. He has to follow the patterns. Oh, confound it. He would be upset with me if he knew I told you that. Never mind then. Pretend I did not say that. But Elizabeth has been missing for a while now. I want you to know where she is so your mind is not troubled. We too have a lot of work to do on other matters. Perhaps, just perhaps we can bring her back to be with us. What do you say to that?”
Arthur was so overcome by the great kindness that Merlyn had thought of him and his mother in the midst of all the confusion that he turned and looked out over the snow-covered landscape and kept the tears that formed in his eyes private.
“Thank you Merlyn. I am very grateful. She has never left my thoughts and at times I cannot bear the pain of losing her.”
Merlyn spoke softly to him.
“I know my boy. I know.”