The Summoning

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"The Old Religion is the magic of the Earth itself. It is the essence, which binds all things together. It will last long beyond the time of men."

— Kilgharrah

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It's a strange notion, and in some circles laughable. Of course, Merlin had first-hand experience in regard to the fickle whimsies of Fate. It had been his to guide and protect Arthur. It had been his to bring back magic to a land soaked with the blood of sorcerers. And it had been his to bring about the era of modern wizardry.

He had heard what those among the growing magical community called him. Emrys, The Prince of Enchanters, the greatest wizard who had ever lived.

But he felt like a boy.

Maybe that's why his blue eyes twinkled the way they did. And maybe that's why he had snorted with laughter when Arthur had almost dropped the most important document in the history of magic. The scene flashed before his eyes, lingering on when they'd had peace—before things had fallen so far out of hand.

"Merlin!" Arthur snapped. He'd dubbed that tone as 'Merlin's Tone' because he only ever used it when talking to him.

"Yes, Sire?" A cheeky smile.

But all he got was a glare. Merlin grinned back, his eyes flickering over to the group of four that stood before them—all of which looked about ready to burst into laughter. After being guests of the court for several months, Merlin suspected they had grown accustomed to the way things worked around here.

The man who had handed Arthur the document was large and burly, with wild ginger hair and a square jaw—prominent even from beneath his tangled beard. His name was Godric Gryffindor and Merlin was always forcefully reminded of Arthur whenever they talked—though he was certainly nicer to him than Arthur was. Next to him was a tall pale man with well-groomed black hair and brilliant green eyes that always seemed crinkled in mockery. Salazar Slytherin had become a close friend of his—even if Gaius disapproved of some of their shenanigans.

But turning all of the capes and banners green for a week had been hilarious.

Rowena Ravenclaw and Helga Hufflepuff he knew less well. Both were refined women, though the latter thoroughly enjoyed the tavern. And when Helga had a tankard of mead in her; well, she was certainly unrefined to say the least. It was a good thing he was already smiling, because the image of a woman with curly dirty-blonde hair dancing on a bar table certainly would've fixed that.

Rowena was slightly taller than Helga, with sharp elven features and a rather serious disposition. Proven when she looked up at him and raised an eyebrow, indicating that he should probably pay attention to the speech Arthur was giving. As if—he'd written the thing, and practically had it memorized himself.

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