The two Hobbits stood there, shivering in the dark. Their hearts were chilled, and their memories kept escaping to the warm home that they had left behind. The high-backed chairs into which they could snuggle and lose themselves in the warmth and comfort; the fireplace, the food, the photographs on the mantelpiece. It all seemed so distant now; a safe-haven, gone so fast. They sighed with regret, as they awaited, what they felt, was their impending doom.
“We promised you a journey”, said Vivien, and there was a cold sneer in her voice. “We promised you a journey, and we are going to keep our promise. Yet, the journey that each of you must undertake will be a journey inward, and not outward. They shall be journeys into your souls, to those little hiding places where you seek escape from the madness around you. This will be a journey that each of you will undertake and, to make it fun, the others shall witness your journey”.
The three stood there, beads of sweat gathering on their brows. Fear gripped them, and turned them cold. The beads of sweat became ice, and their hearts were constricted. Blood flow seemed to have stopped, and they seemed frozen.
Then Merlin spoke, “We also promised you a little bit about ourselves, and we intend to keep that promise. Sit down and listen.”
Poison Ivy and the Hobbits sat down in a heap, and looked wide eyed at the two ancient, magical creatures that stood in front of them.
“We come from the depths of the universe, and the far reaches of time. Yet, we shall continue from where the world seems to know us – the time of The Round Table.”
“Those were dark days,” said Merlin. “The Knights were engaged in continuous strife. Gawain had gone on his Quest, and though much ado has been made of it, a Quest is as much of an inward journey as outward. This is something he did not understand for a long time. Yet, he was honest, one of the most honest of the Knights. Too soon, he was gone.”
“The Kingdom was in strife. Guinevere and Launcelot had betrayed the King. The Round Table, that symbol of chivalry, was becoming desolate, and the King was turning grey.”
“I have been on the face of this earth for hundreds of years, guiding its growth, tending to Nature, and keeping things in balance. I was becoming tired, and the Darkness was rising. The time comes for Wizards to retire and regroup themselves, and regain their strength. It is then that they retreat into carefully concealed homes. Some may even say that I needed a hiding place until I was strong again to fight The Darkness. The days of the Knights was ending, and it was necessary for me to withdraw.”
“Vivien and I decided that I was to be interred in a cave of my choosing, and my making. She locked me into an old oak tree, and became The Lady of The Lake. She bore away the King to a land where he could be healed, and where he would remain until the time for him to return, if at all.”
“Once he was borne away, and safely deposited on the shores of The Grey Havens, she returned to me. Together we have remained in the Oak Tree, building our strength, and slowly bringing back the balance that has been decreed by Nature.”
“The process is long, for though Man worships many Gods, Darkness reigns in his soul, and he destroys the Nature that he should preserve and cherish. It is the fate of Man to create a Hell in which to live, while he seeks and elusive Heaven in the Afterlife. Delusion seeks Delusion. This is how it is.”