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yuletide calendararthur & merlin


Part 2

Earlier, elsewhere

Ten trusty knights led by Arthur Pendragon, crouching behind a wall of iron shields, advanced upon the beast that had suddenly appeared—amidst lowering storm clouds—to terrorise the people of Camelot with its lethal claws and its breath of fire.

Merlin, scrambling from smouldering tree to blasted stump, stayed as close to the men as he dared, his eyes fixed upon the dragon’s smoking mouth.

Arthur shouted a curt command and, with Sir Bors on his left and Sir Ector on his right, he darted forward at the apex of a three-pronged attack, alternately thrusting his lance upwards and ducking beneath his shield, manoeuvring himself closer and closer to the beast’s vulnerable breast.

The dragon dodged its tormentors—As a man avoids a wasp, thought Merlin—rearing up on its hind legs and flapping its great, clawed wings.

The boy darted forward.

One of the knights—Sir Bors—caught by a beat of the leathery wings, was thrown on his back and, part-winded, had scarcely time to lift his shield before it was scorched by a blast of fire.

But Arthur was getting closer. Thrust, duck. Thrust...

His lance hit home—only to shatter on the dragon’s enchanted scales.

Merlin flexed his fingers and, raising his hand, pronounced the ancient words of power, his voice soft, but clear. He felt the magic well up inside him; felt it gather behind his eyes and leave him in a flash; saw it materialise as a blade of flame that pierced the sky with a sudden crack, carving a vast circle above the dragon.

Someone, meanwhile, had thrown Arthur a torch and, scooping it up, he rolled beneath the creature’s belly and crouched over Bors, using the flame to hold back the beast’s raking claws.

Merlin pushed his hand forward, uttering a spell that sucked the air from around the dragon’s body and sent it rushing—like a whirlwind—through the magical gateway.

The dragon vanished just as the blade of fire, completing its second circuit, sealed the rent, and flickered out.

But the knights had seen something that Merlin, in his relief, had missed.

“My Lord!” cried one.

Sire!” cried another.

“Arthur?” muttered Merlin, looking about him. “Oh, no. Where is Arthur?”


This story was written before it was revealed that Merlin was a Dragon Lord.