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Before He Was

Before He Was

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Published by Amy Robertson
A short story I wrote about Merlin (Emrys)
A short story I wrote about Merlin (Emrys)

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Published by: Amy Robertson on Jul 02, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Before He Was
 The harsh wind tears at his garments as he looks to the pile of rubble that had once been astately tower. His tower. When he and his men arrived here in the mountains of Heremus, hissages informed him that it was fate that led him here; that this was to be the place of his greatfortress. A fortress that would be the victory against his enemies. Staring at the pile of tumbledrock at his feet, he was overcome with despair and anger. Was this the great fortress that thesages foretold? It could not stand against anything they had tried thus far, how could it withstandthe attacks of his enemies? Would he even be alive to see the greatness that was to come fromthis fortress? Running a weathered hand through his bristly beard, he turns from his musings tolook at the men surrounding him. They were a motley crew to be certain, but thus far they hadserved him well. Perhaps there was only so much prophesying that a sage could do.
“Tell me, you
men of prophecy, how is one to build a great fortress if the ground will not
support the foundation?” his voice booms as his cloak i
s swept about him by the wind. The menaround him shiver and cower in their robes. Stepping towards one of the men, he grabs the fabricof his tunic and forces
the man’s eyes up to his.“You will tell me how this is to be fixed.”
“What… what if there is no… no solution Sire?”
the sage chokes out.
But you are men of prophecy! You are sages! You were the ones who commanded me to build this fortress. And yet you did not foresee this. You will tell me how to fix this. I command
he threatens and lets the sage go. The man stumbles back and falls.
“You cannot command us
” a smal
l man squeaks out.
“You forget
to whom you are speaking. I am King Vortigern, King of the Britons and you
will tell me what must be done!”
he bellowsAnother of the crowd around him speaks up,
“There might be a solution…”
“Go on
Vortigern says wearily, waving his hand.
“You will not like it sire…”“What I do not like is being misled,” h
e cries, pointing an accusing finger at the man that
had spoken. “Well? What is this solution you speak of?”
Silence greets these words as he turnshis eyes to every man standing with him.
“If you cannot offer a solution, then you are no longer of use to me. Guards!” h
e callsand five men come forward, swords drawn. They look sternly at the men surrounding the King.
With a wave of his wrist the guards grab the arms of the men and begin to escort them away.
“Wait! Please! A sacrifice! A sacrifice must be given! Ple
ase S
ire!” o
ne of the men callsout.
“Stop!” Vortigern calls t
o the guards and motions for them to bring the man forth.
“A sacrifice you say? What sort of sacrifice?”
“A… a fatherless boy S
That is what you must sacrifice,” the man says
A boy?
Vortigern asks and the man nods meekly. King Vortigern looks to the rest of the men being restrained by the guards.
“Is this the solution that you all agree upon?” he asks
, and they all bow their heads inagreement. King Vortigern blows out a breath and turns his back on the men.
“What must be done in order to complete the sacrifice?”
“The boy must be brought here. Once the sacrifice is complete, his blood must be
sprinkled on the ground where the tower is to be built,
” one of 
the men answers. King Vortigern pauses for a moment to consider this, and with a sharp nod of his head he agrees.
Then let it be done. Guards, release these men. Go out into the villages and find me a boy. A fatherless boy. Bring him here and t
he sacrifice will be completed.”
The guardsimmediately comply and the sages rush
to the King’s side.“Sire, this is what must be done. Once this is completed, you will have the most glorious
tower ever built! You will rule here in majesty for many years to come,
” t
he men croon inassurance. Vortigern waves them away wearily and goes to stand by the ruins of yet another failed attempt at building his fortress.*****
“Please Sire, you must believe us!” cries
one of the guards in a falsetto voice. They aresitting on a grassy ridge just outside a small village. They had been searching for the fatherless boy for days without a sign that such a boy existed.
“Do you think they know what they are doing this time?” a
nother guard asks, picking atthe grass beneath his feet.
“One cannot be certain. But King Vortigern seems to trust them
another pipes up.
“He may seem to trust them, but if he is truly the tyrant king that he is believed to be, we
can be certain that he only trusts th
em as long as they are useful to him.”
“Perhaps this will be the last straw then?”
“Perhaps. But if they are correct, I fear we may have to deal with them for 
some time. If they manage to help Vortigern build his fortress, they will long be in his favor.
” The guards nod
in solemn agreement as the sun begins to set. Two other guards come and join the circle and begin to make a fire. The crackle of the dry wood is the only sound in the twilight.
“How long do you think we must search?”
one of the guards newly joined asks.
“Until we find the boy,” replies
“What if there is none to be found?”
“There is,” a gravely voice replies out of the darkness
“But you do not want him.” The
guards jump up from the ground and draw their swords, their eyes darting back and forth in thegathering darkness.
“Who is that?” a
guard calls out. A small man with a hunched back and beady eyes stepsout from the trees not far from the campsite. He hobbles towards the guards and sits down by thefire, rubbing his hands together for warmth.
“What do you know about a
fatherless boy? Where can we find one
“You do not
wish to become involved with such a boy. A boy with no father is destinedfor evil.
“We have urgent business from King Vortigern, and if you know of such
a boy, you mustt
ell us. You will be rewarded…” O
ne of the guards walks up to the man holding a small leather sack. He shakes the bag and the jingle of coins can be heard. The small man looks up at theguards and shakes his head wearily, a sad smile on his face.
“That does not change anything. The kind of boy you seek is dangerous.”
“But we are guards of the King! Surely we are not to be afraid of a small boy?” the guard
“Tell me, what does King Vortigern plan for the boy?”
the man asks, stopping to gaze upat the darkening sky.
“If you tell us where to find him, we will tell you Vortigern’s plans.” T
he guards come tosit by the fire with the old man. The wind is blowing fiercely, casting sharp shadows on the
man’s face.“Vortigern is foolis
h to want a fatherless boy. He should know what a danger they can become. But perhaps that is why he wants the boy...
” t
he man muses thoughtfully. The guards

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