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Frustrated, Liam was on the brink of throwing the heavy book across the room. He just couldn’t keep the names of various different herbs straight, but it wasn’t just that that was bugging him.

That episode with Gwen being banished still disturbed him.

She had done nothing wrong, except fall under an enchantment… Yet still not a word against Arthur’s decision had been uttered by him as the king had sentenced her to exile, seeing that the only reason he was still allowed to be in a ten mile radius of Camelot was because Gaius had intervened, saying that he would need more help as Merlin more and more frequently was out. Arthur had, a bit reluctantly, agreed to this.

Unfortunately Gaius had meant it, and now Liam was stuck learning herbs and potions and medicines, and he hated it. It was no wonder Rethik hardly ever came by anymore as he had done while Liam his recovering.

A familiar cheery voice interrupted his seething thoughts.

“We’re going out hunting today, Gaius.”

The man whom Merlin had addressed had been up to now sitting quietly at the table, brewing some potion Liam couldn’t remember the name of. Now he looked up.

“Don’t do anything stupid.” He called after his ward as the young warlock disappeared out the door.

“I won’t!” came the faint reply.

After giving a sigh the old physician calmly turned his attention back to his work.

Liam was on the contrary ready to explode.

Merlin seemed to be having much more fun now that he was here to replace him, and this didn’t sit well with the Brightcrestian knight. He was a knight, after all, not some maidservant whiling her days away hiding in a castle! And Merlin had never ceased to surprise him in the few weeks they had known each other. What was a warlock doing pretending to be a servant to some prat of a king?

Fuming, he stared at the book in his lap.

When he had confronted the servant with this, the other had angrily denied any accusations Liam made about pretending to be a loyal servant. This had only made Liam’s belief firmer than ever that Merlin was up to something, and had inflamed Liam’s temper, making him snappy and hotheaded. Gaius was not at all pleased with this change, and regularly admonished him as a result, which didn’t help at all.

Finally, Liam couldn’t stand looking at the complicated formulas and weird herb names anymore, and slammed the book shut, sending up a cloud of dust. Sneezing heavily, and his eyes watering, he waved the dense grey cloud away.

Absorbed by his work, Gaius didn’t look up or say anything, much to Liam’s relief. Wordlessly, he strode out of the room. They were short on yarrow again anyway, so he might as well fetch some, seeing that Merlin was too busy to bother.

A walk in the fresh-aired forest would do him good, and clear his mind, too.

~O~

Just ahead, Liam could sense something powerful from where he stood in the densely packed trees.

Cautiously, he crept forward, when suddenly a vivid red piece of cloth caught his eye.

Then he realized it wasn’t alone.

Scattered around in the clearing ahead where numerous strings with brightly coloured flags attached, which Liam faintly recognized from somewhere, but the memory was too faint. All he knew was that here a powerful, but fragile magic existed on this spot, and that it was not safe to proceed.

Hopefully those voices he could hear up ahead did not belong to who he thought they did, but unfortunately his suspicions were proved right when the magic-user saw the chain-mail glinting in the sunlight.

He groaned. Surely they weren’t that stupid?

Apparently they were, Liam concluded as the knights descended into the hollow surrounded by colourful flags and started investigating it.

Stiffening, Liam noticed with a sigh of relief that whatever magic was here was still intact. For a fleeting moment he thought of warning them, but then thought better of it.

Firstly, the idiots would never believe him.

That was clearly visible as Merlin tried to reason with them, and secondly, nobody trusted him. This was fine by Liam, who didn’t exactly like them either, but he could not ignore the horrible feeling that something was about to happen that he did not want to hang around to watch as he gazed down into the hollow that was growing more and more familiar by the second.

Something had happened here…

...something he could remember being part of…

...being there…

...but what?

The only thing Liam came to was the word blood, sickening images of mangled corpses and the smell of death… He shuddered in relived horror without being able to recall the memory properly, which was the worst thing about it; he just couldn’t remember.

Suddenly, a raven flew up straight into his face, making him stumble backwards.

“There’s your spirit, Merlin.” He vaguely heard Sir Leon call when he had recovered from the shock, which was quickly followed by an unexpected wave of relief as Arthur’s words rang out “There’s nothing here for us. Move out.”

He was just about to turn away when he noticed out of the corner of his eye that one of the knights, a dark-skinned man, hadn’t moved, and was, instead of following his comrades, walking towards something with a strange expression on his face.

Curious what the knight was up to, Liam silently sneaked along the side of the hollow before realizing that the man was just drinking at an old-looking well. Disappointment washed over Liam. Nothing worth investigating, he thought.

Suddenly, he froze as a terrible feeling overcame him, but it vanished quickly.

To his greatest surprise the knight jumped up with a yell, stumbling back, while Liam could only stare at the water in horror.

It was the late druidess Ysabelle’s son, whose name he never got to know.

Now the memory was all too clear, and images swarmed like angry bees inside Liam’s brain; a group of warlocks, passing by the druid camp in a training ritual… then the attack, mounted by Arthur Pendragon himself.

Bad luck seemed to stalk the knights of Camelot like a lion stalking its prey… why didn’t they accept magic and be done with it? It wasn’t that hard, was it? He thought as he sprinted through the trees, back to the castle.

In the case of Camelot, probably yes.

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