Merlin’s Song

Merlin’s Song by Samantha Winston

Book: Merlin’s Song by Samantha Winston Read Free Book Online
Authors: Samantha Winston
Chapter One
     
    The castle stood like a wedding cake with snow frosting its
turrets and roofs and ice glittering like spun sugar on the windows. The winter
solstice was approaching, but there were no decorations decking the halls, no
bright holly, no scent of spices or sound of singing, and instead of the usual
bustle there was only stillness echoing through the empty rooms. Fireplaces
stayed cold and empty. The only things festooning the rafters were cobwebs.
Winter had not loosened its tight grip and everything was dark, icy and silent.
    Except for a petulant cry coming from the kitchen.
    “I hate this war. It’s so boring here now. I can’t believe
there’ll be no ball for the solstice. It’s the most important party of the year
and it’s been canceled by that stupid war.” Kyla stomped her foot hard enough
to hurt it and uttered a frustrated shriek.
    “Hush. You’re not doing any good whining about it. Here,
finish stirring this.” Bonnie, the cook, handed Kyla a bowl and whisk.
    “Another fairy cake?” It was fairy cake for breakfast, lunch
and dinner now. No ships had arrived in the harbor for weeks and supplies were
dwindling. Luckily the only ones in the castle were two old ladies, the ancient
groom and Kyla. They didn’t need much to eat.
    “Sulking again?” Bonnie shook her head. She was old, even
for a fairy, and had grown quite stout. Her white hair was piled in a haphazard
bun that always looked like it was about to fall sideways and her blue eyes
were surrounded by masses of wrinkles. “What do you miss most?”
    That was an easy question. “I miss the balls, the pretty
dresses, flirting with the men, having three or more suitors fighting to dance
or talk to me during the evening. Did I mention pretty dresses? I haven’t worn
a ball gown in ages! Look at me! If a man came in now he’d think I was the
scullery maid!” Kyla held her flour-covered hands out in front of her.
Frustration and rage made her voice crack.
    “I could show you some fairy potions if you want. What one
would you like to learn?”
    “The ‘how to stop a war’ potion.”
    “Kyla! Be serious for once.” Bonnie shook her head. “Oh, I
haven’t forgotten what it was like to be young and flighty, but you have to
realize that you can’t change things by complaining. You have to learn to live
through the hard times as well as the good times. Now how about a love potion?
That way, when the war ends and the young men come back you’ll have them all
fighting again…for you!”
    Now there was an idea. Kyla imagined the scene. The young
men would all be falling down in a hurry to get to her side, and the other
girls would be gritting their teeth with jealousy. “Oh that sounds like fun. How
will it work? Is it magic? I don’t know any magic spells, but a love potion
would be handy to know.”
    “Fairy potions are just for fun, there’s no magic involved.
When I was a lass we used to make these potions for the young men we fancied. Why
don’t we make one like that? It’s guaranteed to make the man who drinks it fall
madly in love with you. Let’s see. I’ll need some spring water and a sprig of
wintergreen. Go fetch those and we’ll make the potion.”
    Kyla was glad to do something besides cook. Bonnie was the
only person in the castle who would take the time to entertain her a bit, and
this promised to be more fun than her aunt’s tasks of cleaning each and every
room in the castle now that it was empty.
    She got the spring water and wintergreen and Bonnie showed
her how to make an elixir. It was bright pink and smelled fresh, and tasted a
bit like spun sugar. Very odd. They chanted a little spell over it. “Nothing
really magic mind you,” Bonnie said. Fairies were adept in magic of illusion,
not serious magic like the elves’ art of healing or the mages’ powerful spells.
But Kyla was content to make her potion. It kept her from having to sweep,
shake out rugs and stuff new feathers into the mattresses and

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