15th September 2015.

Jackson jogged up the narrow spiral staircase of the Bloody Tower, tripping every couple of steps. He didn’t do well in very tight spaces and it felt as if the walls were closing in on him, his breath was shortened with every step he took upwards. He used the cold stonewalls to push himself up, feeling the scratches and roughness of the one-thousand year old building.

Finally, Jackson reached a door and pushed it open leading into a large empty room with a small alter and went to sit in a large alcove almost collapsing. Panting hard Jackson took his pendant off from around his neck. Holding the necklace by its chain, looking directly into the dark sapphire. “Call Merlin,” Jackson puffed. The sapphire began to shine brightly and a shimmering hologram of a man with a withered face and white beard appeared.

“Jackson, have you located the intruders yet?”

“No, I’m sorry, Merlin. They’re too fast but I think they’re heading for Traitor’s Gate.” The image began to flicker.

“I’ll m-m…t-t you-ou there, Jack-Jackson!” Merlin’s speech became more and more muffled making it too difficult to understand him

“Merlin, I can’t hear you. Something’s blocking the connection.” Jackson sprung to his feet and stood in the middle of the room holding the crystal up higher to try pick up a signal. The image returned to normal and Merlin’s eyes were wide.

“Behind you, Jackson!”

A raven came swooping down and with great force pushed Jackson to the ground. The pendant slid to the other side of the chamber, the image gone. The raven glided downwards once more and clutched the chain in its sharp talons. With a loud caw the raven flew right through the door to the next chamber, dispersing into a puff of black smoke.

In agony, clutching his chest Jackson picked himself up and didn’t take much notice to the scratches on his chest and the ruby red blood staining his t-shirt and covering his hand. He sprinted into the next room, so much adrenaline pumping through his body the door shattered into millions of wooden splinters. The raven was flying right ahead of him, it’s left wing clearly damaged. It must have been stabbed by splinter, to which Jackson’s great surprise had reached all the way to the far side of the room. He had never used a large burst of magic like that before.

Jackson passed cases of weapons and suits of armor, rows upon rows, cases upon cases. The raven flew up onto the battlements, Jackson was closing in. He outstretched his hand and a small electrical spark began to grow. Jackson then released the electricity, but it only came out as a pulse, just powerful enough to cause the bird to cartwheel mid-air and it fell to the ground, dropping the pendant. Jackson reached down to pick it up and put it back around his neck. There was then a loud band.

Jackson looked down the battlements and could see Traitor’s Gate. By the looks of it, someone blew open the dark gate. A small rowing boat large enough for two people entered with a candle lit at its prow. Jackson then turned to make his way down and the raven was eye to eye with him. He then turned and standing before him was tall woman in long dark cloak, her black her in a very large bun above her hair the roots of which were grey. Her pale face meandered with wrinkles, and looked almost skeletal yet regal.

Jackson tried to move but he couldn’t, he was frozen, not able to shout out for help. The woman placed her cold skinny fingers on his chin. “So you’re the Warlock’s Apprentice. Well, Merlin only seems to be picking one disappointment after the other, tut-tut. What a handsome boy, too bad you couldn’t leave well enough alone.” Her thin stick-like lips twisted into a smile, “Goodbye, Mr. Hardacre.” The old bat took a step back and outstretched her hand and pushed it to the right sending Jackson flying over the edge of the battlements.

Still unable to move, Jackson screamed internally and continued to fall and an inch away from the ground Jackson tuned into a blue cloud of smoke. He reappeared by the Gate, finally able to move, Merlin standing next to him. A black cloud of smoke appeared before them on the row boat, unveiling the woman. The raven, now flying normally, glided down onto her shoulder.

“Merlin Ambrosius,” greeted the enchantress with mock-glee.

“Morgan LaFey!” Merlin’s eyes glared with more anger than Jackson had ever seen before.

“I’d love to catch up, old man, but I have better things to be getting on with.” Morgan LaFey had a Scottish, clearly noticeable although not too strong.

“What are you after, witch?” Merlin spat the word, filling it with as much spite as he could.

“Just that old fairy tale object known as the Dragon Heartstone.”

Merlin froze. The colour draining from his face. “Morgan…”

“Oh, so you do remember it! Well, that makes things much easier for me now, doesn’t it, you old pensioner!” She cackled whipping her head back.

She’s mad, thought Jackson.

“You tried once before and you shall not succeed.”

“Oh, you spoil sport. Why don’t you just get cancer and die already? We have been having this fight since the twelfth century, and let me remind you it was my boy who killed your king.”

In flickering blue flames, Merlin’s staff appeared in his hand and the sapphire on the top turned ruby red, and began to emit scorching red flames. The flames shot towards the boat. “And let me remind you, Morgan LaFey, who was the one who avenged Arthur Pendragon and personally executed Mordred LaFey!” Merlin was roaring so loudly, his eyes glowing with hot hell fire.Jackson backed away in fear.

The flames engulfed the witch but when they disappeared, she, the boat and the raven were left untouched. “Goodbye, Merlin. I shall have the Hearstone and I shall avenge the one true king of Albion – Mordred LaFey.” The boat then turned and shot through the gate and into the Thames it went.

Jackson looked up at Merlin whom he could see was weakened. “Let’s go, Merlin. You need rest.”

“I am the Warlock, Jackson. You get to bed, you will need your rest. I have a feeling Morgan LaFey is not done with us yet.”

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