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A Royally Common Evening
I don't like Paris. Never have, never will. Too many people, too much mud, too many close minded Romans. Ever since that Vercingetorix fellow a couple hundred years ago led a revolt against the Romans, this place has never known a moments peace. Barbarians, displaced Celts, and Roman citizens all living together, under Roman rule. I wouldn't be here myself if not for business.
I camped outside the city the night before, not wishing to pay exorbitant prices for a bed in the hay and greasy food overly seasoned and drowned in wine. Besides, I wished to get in and get out before the day was through. Being as tall as I am, I will stand out against the short and swarthy Romans. I pulled my cloak close against my body, as much for warmth as to hide my swords and knives, and walked into the city.
Early morning and there was a light drizzle of rain coming down, a cold wind blowing through the streets. The beggars and hookers were out already, trying to get early morning customers before the patrols began in earnest. I counted the side streets until I came to the 6th one, and took a right. Six buildings down and take left, cautious in my surroundings. Patrols rarely came into the back streets, and if I looked like I had one denari on me, my throat would be slit. Or, they would try. The building I was looking for was on the right, with a six etched into the door. I rapped my knuckles three times, then three more, then a pause and three more times. The door cracked open a bit, and a man of middle eastern descent opened the door.
"Mer.." he started to say before I held my hand up and interrupted him. "No Names please", I murmured. I slid into the open door and faced the man. He was short and dark, with a pointed beard, and a nervous habit of wiping his hands on his robes.
"Do you have it?" I asked.
"Indeed. And it was not easy to come by, artifacts such as this are strictly monitored, hidden and even destroyed." Pausing he looked up at me and whispered, "And the followers of the man the Romans killed would do much to have this destroyed."
I pondered his words briefly, reflecting on what I knew of the new religion that had sprung up around a man who had been slain by the Romans, and supposedly rose from the dead. I dismissed it from my mind quickly. Religions came and went with the passing of the sun. To one such as I, they were of no true interest.
"I asked if you wanted it," the dealer said, in a tone of voice that indicated he had asked the question several times.
"Of course, of course I said," my mind back on the task at hand. I slipped my hand into my clothes and withdrew a solid gold medallion, hand carved with spirals and loops, decorated with rubies and emeralds. I passed it to the man, and raised an eyebrow.
"Exquisite craftsmanship, perfect, flawless, just as described" he murmured. He slid a bag over to me, which I picked up and removed a manuscript from the inside. Unrolling it I glanced briefly over it, smiling. The exact formula, incantations and dimensions were given for a sword. A Babylonian sorcerer had received the information from some entity he called up. Unfortunately he was killed and his work confiscated. Something about lead to gold transmutations. I replaced the scroll in my bag, nodded to the black market dealer and walked out the door.
As I made my way back to the main street, I was stopped by a column of soldiers escorting a woman of breathtaking beauty.
"Stand aside barbarian." he snarled, roughly shoving me back to the side street. I pondered doing many things to the man, but withheld my impulses. I had important matters to attend to back in Albion. The lady turned her head and we locked eyes. Hers were dark and beautiful, generations of selective breeding among the Roman elite had produced this beauty of a woman. She moved towards me, her housemaids behind her in a slow sultry movement. My entire body responded to her in a way never experienced before. She touched the guardsman on the shoulder and gently pointed behind her. The guards formed a circle around the lady and myself, backs to us, her maids on the outside of the circle watching.
She laid her hand flat on my chest and looked up into my eyes. "There is something about you that speaks to me. I feel it in my heart, and know you do as well".
"Yes my lady," I whispered.
"Galalea is my name, I would love to hear it from your tongue," she whispered.
"Galalea" I whispered back to her. Shaking my head I noticed there was a low level of glamor magic being used on me. Probably on unconscious act on her part. I didn't sense a sorceress aura from her. "Do you have a name my tall friend?"
I looked at her in the eyes, and murmured back, "You may call me Mry...Taliesin."
"Taliesin, a fine name, even if it is not your own", she replied with a wicked grin. "However if that is the name you are using now, I will abide by your wishes."
"Most kind my lady" I replied. She inclined her head in an invitation to walk with her. I bowed slightly from the shoulders and fell into step beside her. She was a pleasure to listen to, to talk to, and was far more educated then most people in the city. And was years beyond most women. Not that women are not intelligent, they are not allowed to be. I have seen visions of a time to come when they will even rule, but not yet. There are so many pathways in the future. For some reason, I sense this lady is important to mine, even briefly.
The day passed happily and we arrived at her villa, where she was kind enough to invite me in, to refresh myself with water and a bath before I began my travels. I kindly took advantage of this hospitality, but was wary instantly. This was the villa of the town magistrate, which meant she was the wife or daughter of said magistrate. I had no desire to end up in a situation where they would attempt to kill me. Repeatedly probably when each attempt failed. Yes, its complicated. I am rather unique in that aspect.
I bathed and dressed in my spare clothes, checked the scroll and began to depart for home. As I left the room, she was waiting for me, candles burning low, fragrances from far away lands filling the air, fruit and wine on the table, and no clothes on the lady. I noticed that part.
And the lowering of my inhibitions. I blame it on the incense. In fact, the incense was making me relaxed. Was she trying to kill me? Rob me? Uhm, take advantage of me?
She walked towards me slowly, flickering in the candle light, one leg crossing over in front of the other. Otherwordly grace filled her form as she approached.
I came to my senses in the middle of the night, and in the middle of the street. I looked around, trying to remember what happened and how I arrived in my current location. I check for the scroll, my money bag and my weapons and found they were all where I left them. Puzzled I rose and began to leave the city. Regardless of my memory gap, I had to return home. I had a sword to forge, embers to stir, and to wait for a birth of a warrior who would be king, who would lead Albion in years of grace and fair rule. I knew this to be true, for I am the immortal prophet, the eternal bard. I am Myrddin the wise.
Nine months later, in a small village on the northern coast of Gaul, a Roman centurion with a beautiful wife welcome their daughter into the world. "Let her be known as Morgana" the wife says. Her eyes flashed red briefly, and the goddess Ninsun, interpreter of dreams, smiled.