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Kevin G Hare

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Shadows of Avalon: Merlin

One word.  One mesmerizing word that will seize your attention and hold you captivated until you unlock its secret – mystery.  It is a word that sums the entirety of one man’s existence – Merlin.

Mystery is the excuse of his birth as the fatherless boy to a maiden.  It was said that she was seduced by a demon, which accounts for Merlin’s wondrous abilities.  His demon side was suppressed in him though when he was baptized under the Christian faith.  His abilities were soon to be sought after by Vortigern, a King who could not erect a tower on his chosen hilltop.  He was told by his advisors that spirits would forever tumble his castle unless he sprinkle the blood of a boy with no mortal father upon the very ground the tower stood.  The boy was Myrddin Emrys and he was found in Aelecti.  He was brought forth to the King Vortigern to be killed for his blood but the boy was wise beyond his years and he questioned the King about his advisors.  Then he spoke a prophecy of two dragons that fought in a pool under the hilltop.  The white dragon of the Saxons would soon be defeated by the British red dragon, showing the fall of Vortigern and the eventual rise of Arthur.

He used his gift of prophecy to foretell of events that brought great change to the history of Britain.  Throughout his life he had involved himself in such events both in Christian lore and Celtic.  He is credited with the design of the infamous Round Table and Camelot. He put into motion the quest for the Holy Grail and is said to have magically built the wondrous Stonehenge that still stands today.

These are the legends of Merlin most known to us - Merlin the prophet, Merlin the shape-shifter who cohorts with goddesses like Nimue, the beautiful Lady of the Lake.  In some legends it is she who is responsible for the mystery of his disappearance from this realm.  It is she who enchanted him and trapped him forever in a cave, binding him there by his own magic spells.

We know him as the quiet sage who guided those he served.  He chose not to seek power and riches with his abilities but instead to influence the world around him.  We see him as the magician in our fantasy stories and even yet pay him respect to his prowess and wisdom.  Through all, we are held captivated by his very name and the secrets that hide behind it.  We know him as Merlin – the mystery.


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