Nicknamed Eltos and Betusl, the two suns spin around a strange and distant world called Merlin, as it was so named by the wizard who created it with his mind. Eltos appeared in the eastern horizon during the winter months; Betusl appeared in the western horizon during the spring, summer, and fall. Merlin began with a simple burst of magic, thousands of wars and thousands of years later, magic still reigned. The story begins on a planet called Earth, where Merlin was originally from.
Merlin is filled with a swirling mist of blues, greens, and browns, a beautiful planet some 789 billion light years from Earth. The galaxy it resides within is called Y’rln.
Merlin stared up at the towering castle, his mind on magic. A screaming sound came from deep within the castle walls. It was Prince Art, having one of his famous noonday tantrums. He sighed, wondering what it was about now. "Bloody hell," the wizard muttered, shaking his head. "Probably tore up the bed sheets again." He scowled. Merlin, as well as King Urther and his family, lived in Camelot, the greatest kingdom in the world; they had lords and ladies; dragons and sorcerers; a prince and a king. The prince’s mother, Igraine, was killed by a wild boar when he was a baby. Merlin suspected he was acting out of turn because she was taken so cruelly from him at such a young age. It wouldn’t be a surprise if this were the case. Prince Arthur had been irritating him lately; a young man going on fifteen, he carried the patience of a seven-year-old child. His father, King Urther, taught him better than that, but he rararely displayed it. King Urther paid more attention to the Knights of the Round Table than his teenage son, and Art, as everyone called him, did his best to let his father know he noticed it. One evening, Merlin and King Urther sat at the table in the great dining hall, eating a large dinner of chicken, mashed potatoes, biscuits, and beef. Merlin wasn’t sure he could eat anymore; he felt like he had swallowed an elephant, he was that full.
"Something must be done about that son of yours," Merlin said nervously, hoping he wouldn’t receive blacklash from him for speaking out of terms about his son. Prince Arthur wasn’t at the table. He had already eaten in the kitchen with the cook; he infuriated her by shattering a plate in a thousand tiny pieces all over the floor. King Urther sent him to the stables, and he was now out hunting with the other men, checking the traps for rabbit, deer, and fox.
"Art?" King Urther looked up from his cup, filled to the brim with beer. He blinked sleepily. "How’s that boy doing, anyway?"
Merlin groaned and slapped his forehead. The king didn’t even remember sending him out to the stables or that he had been kicked out and was now hunting!
"He’s a travesty!" a servant complained. "He jumped on seventeen beds on the first floor and left muddy footprints all over the sheets."
"He let a handful of toads in the kitchen!" someone else called.
"He tried to use my staff and it bit him in the rear-end," Merlin added darkly. He didn’t want to rat on the boy, but tattling was fun, and he hated it when someone else used his staff, especially someone who was less than worthy.
"We can buy you a new staff," King Urther said, scowling at the lot of them. "It’s not a problem. Really. You needn’t criticize him for that. He’s doing the best he can. Unlike some people who don’t know how to stop a war." He glared around the table, his gaze fixated on Merlin. Merlin ducked his head nervously. War wasn’t always his fault! The king should know that. Merlin shook his head. "That’s the only magic staff I have," he told him. "You can’t buy it at the market."
King Urther wasn’t about to give up. "We’ll call Brutus. Get him to find you one."
"I don’t think there are any staffs like that in the world!" Merlin said, annoyed the king didn’t understand that magic wasn’t an every day, average thing that anyone could have. "I made it myself. With my bare hands. The magic came from lightning." He was pleased with himself.
The king looked at him in surprise. "You made that ghastly thing?" He wrinkled his nose in disgust. "It’s ugly. You really ought to talk to Contessa; she has good fashion sense. Why, you haven’t used your magic here in ages. We haven’t had a war lately."
"Yes, I did make it," he explained impatiently. "It’s a magic staff. I showed you magic before."
King Urther hunched his shoulders in amusement. "I’m the king. Maybe I should have a magic staff." He pondered this, deep in thought.
Merlin took a sip of honeymead beer and put it on the table in front of him. It had the sour taste of being spoiled, and waved to a servant nearby to get him a new one. "I can make you a staff, but it won’t be made out of magic," he said. He was amused. Making a staff for the king. How quaint.
"Why not?" The king looked surprised, if not a little offended by Merlin’s rude remark. It wasn’t often that someone challenged the king.
"Because I said so," Merlin said. He was annoyed by the king’s childish demeanor; Merlin wanted to get back to work as quickly as possible. He didn’t want to have an actual conversation with him. "Are you finished drinking your beer or do I have to use my magic carelessly, as usual?"
The king nodded, waving his hand in a dismissive gesture. "You may take it away."
Merlin scowled and shook his head. "I’m not a servant. I’m a wizard."
"You are my wizard," the king said happily. "That’s enough for me."
Merlin rolled his eyes. "Don’t remind me." He rose to his feet and stretched. "I think I’m going to find that son of yours."
"If you see him, tell him I said hello." The king's head dropped into his bowl of soup and it wasn’t long before he was snoring heavily in a pile of his own drool.
Prince Art glared at the stable door and kicked it with his feet, irritated that his Uncle Brock sent him back to the stables, and was making him work with the stable boy. He didn’t do anything! Honest! It was true the cook had shrieked at him this morning because he got in the blueberry pie when she told him not to, and it was true he had scared one of the maids while she was cleaning one of the hall closets, and it was true Art put a stuffed animal in one of the traps and made it look like a real animal, but they were just jokes. Really. They ought to know the difference. Besides, he shouldn’t have to talk to common folk if he didn’t want to. They were just jealous of him.
"If you’re going to destroy my barn," a familiar voice said patiently, "at least be polite about it." And there stood Merlin in the doorway of the barn, wiping his hands on his pants.
"What are you doing here?" Prince Art said, looking at him in surprise. "I thought my father was making you come up with love potions again." He chuckled at the thought.
Art was old enough to think about girls in that way, but he didn’t know who to ask yet. There was Cherri, the cook’s daughter; Minerva, his neighbor; and there was the girl his father paid to befriend him. She was by far the cutest but he was embarrassed she had been paid to talk to him. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling. Nowadays his father gave him less pleasant feelings as time wore on, and he had to rely more and more upon himself.
Merlin shook his head. "I told him the potions wouldn’t work," he said in a patient tone. "Somehow, I didn’t think the information set in yet." He chuckled. "Now, I’m saving you from a lifetime of labor. Come inside, boy, I have something to tell you."
Intrigued, Prince Art followed him into the barn. It smelled lovely, manure with a mixture of hay and wood and just the hint of spice. Sunlight fell in the windows of the barn, the gold glimmering against the shadows around it. "What do you want to talk to me about?" he asked, wondering if the man was going to give him another lecture. Everyone gave him lectures; the cook; the servants; even his father, on occasion, when his mouth wasn’t around a drum stick.
"Magic," Merlin responded with a smile.
A smile lit the boy’s face. "Magic?" he said. "Really?"
Finally! Something fun! He knew he could count on Merlin, even if he was just a crazy old crackpot with too many magic tricks.
"Are you going to show me one of your tricks?" he asked eagerly.
Merlin uttered a short laugh. "It’s not a trick, boy," he said, shaking his head. "It’s real magic."
Art looked around. "Where’s your staff?"
"Hidden inside my robe." He pointed to a block of wood. "Sit on that, please." He pulled another block of wood next to him.
"Now," Merlin began. "I am sure you are already aware of magic. You perform magic yourself-each and every day." He smiled, pleased with himself.
Art scowled. "I knew there was a catch." He started to get up.
"Hold on! There’s a point to the story. A very good one, too."
Art groaned. "Let’s here it," he said, wishing he was anywhere but here, even inside, cleaning the sheets, like the servant wanted him to do earlier and his father saved him by sending him outside.
"The point of this story is," Merlin continued. He frowned. "I forgot the point of the story." His face brightened. "I know! I’ll make one up!"
Art scowled. "Why don’t you just make me clean the stables instead? It’s quicker."
Merlin nodded. "Atta boy. Get to it. Up! Up!"
Art rose to his feet, picked up a rag, and started washing the dirty windows.
"Art!" Merlin started to say.
Art looked over his shoulder but the man disappeared.
"Just great!" Art complained. "Now I have to clean the stable by myself. Some
advice," he grumbled, and started scrubbing the windows fiercely.