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It was evening when the knights returned from their trip.

Liam had made it back just after them, having stopped to gather some herbs on the way as to have an excuse for being out. To be in trouble was the last thing he wanted.

He was sorting them into the stores when Merlin came in, looking slightly paler than usual. Liam could easily guess why as the other warlock told Gaius about what had happened on the trip.

“I am surprised that such a shrine exists so close to Camelot.” The physician commented when Merlin was finished.

Liam froze. So that’s what it had been. A shrine. All he had ever been told about these sacred places came crashing back to him.

“And it was cursed. I could feel it.” So could I. Liam bit back the retort. It should have been obvious. Cursed were all places were a meaningless massacre had taken place. Buried in his thoughts as he worked, Liam missed some of the exchange.

Did anyone touch anything?”

“Uh, no, I don't think so. Why? What is it?”

Why?? Why didn’t one go near a cursed place? Perhaps one doesn’t want to become doomed? How could one ask such a stupid question?! Liam thought angrily. Although unlike him, Merlin had never had any lessons concerning the use of magic, but still, it had to be common sense not to touch something that might as well have had a big sign stating Do not touch. The colourful ribbons should have been enough.

Instantly Liam felt guilty and somewhat ashamed. He hadn’t exactly heeded the signs either.

As he stared at the open cupboard, he wondered whether he should tell them about what he’d seen at the shrine. But as he watched Merlin get up and walk into his room, he decided against it. It was their problem, not his. It wasn’t him who disrespected the Old Religion. He needed to go soon anyway. Clearly he wouldn’t find the answers he needed here, even if he waited a hundred years.

~O~

It was morning when Liam started to prepare to leave.

“Where are you going?” he and Merlin said at the same time when the servant emerged from his room.

“You go first.” The words came simultaneously again.

Liam looked down at his things that he was packing in his satchel, while Merlin grinned.

“Where are you going?” Merlin tried again.

Looking up, the other replied shortly “Away. And you? Where are you going?”

“Out”

Liam sighed, knowing they weren’t going to get anywhere like this.

“I’m leaving, as I have an unfinished quest to complete.” Merlin raised an eyebrow at this. “To find my parents. If they’re even alive.” The last sentence was muttered incoherently, but the servant seemed to understand it anyway. Liam dropped his gaze, but could feel Merlin’s sympathising look burning into him.

“Where are you off to, then?” he didn’t look up, even as Merlin said “Oh, the usual.” He grinned at Liam, who cast his glance up, and, upon seeing Merlin’s boyish grin could not help but smile himself. He hoped he’d be alright, what with the tormented spirit that was bound to be loose. But it still wasn’t his problem, and here in Camelot was somewhere he most certainly wouldn’t be when that happened.

A spark of guilt ignited, but was quickly quenched again.

It was their fault, and anyway, it hadn’t been right to massacre all those innocent people, so they deserved what was surely coming.

Now that he was alone he could hear the soft, distant ringing of church bells, and homesickness gnawed at him. He wanted more than anything to be back in Brightcrest, knowing who his parents were or had been, and contently raiding food from the castle kitchens with Blayze, but at the same time he knew that that wasn’t possible. Not yet.

Shaking himself out of his thoughts, Liam quickly finished packing and strode out of the door, not wanting Gaius to see him leave, or anyone else for that matter. Questions were not welcome right now.

~O~

Something was wrong.

He could feel it like a cold, constant stream down his back.

In the past Liam had ignored these signs, but as he had grown older he had learned to take note of them, but this time he already knew what was wrong.

He flexed his shoulders in an effort to get rid of the uncomfortable feeling as he walked towards the forest the people around here called Darkling Woods, where he knew Rethik and Syth were, but it was no use. He’d have to stick it out, probably until he was far away enough from Camelot, Liam thought with a grimace.

Getting more insistent, the cold stream was turning even colder, turning his back numb as the iciness spread. Upon reaching the trees the sensation had grown so unbearable that the warlock finally lost it.

Forbaernan”

His usually green eyes glowed gold for a moment, but the spell sputtered out before it did anything. Liam spat on the ground, panting, and tried again. This time the magic worked, and a feeling of heat crept up his back, warming his numb skin.

Feeling better, he continued into the forest, which was despite the warm sun still chilly. Liam was glad for his heat spell as he trudged through the thick undergrowth that was tugging at the knees of his trousers, and he cursed as a strip of cloth came free, with a smudge of blood on it.

A freshly made cut gleamed red in the sunlight as Liam examined it. In that moment, a glint of something caught his eye. Even though it was gone before Liam could blink the colour in his face drained immediately. Stumbling backwards as he turned around, he came face to face with Rethik, who grabbed his shoulders.

“Steady. What is it?” He asked, worried at the rather dead look on Liam’s face.

Need… to go… back.” The warlock managed to croak before the icy feeling returned, and this time darkness closed in.

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