Pan Post 36, revisits the time period pre-Space Camelot and shows Merlin the Elder with his three students, Lynne, Morganna le Fay and Nyneve the NeSferatu. Ultimately he chooses Nyneve, his lover, to succeed him as NeSorcerer and he teaches her the NeSpell. She betrays him, however, and her NeSferatu destroy Doughnutdelf and its inhabitants. She then casts a spell to lock Merlin in Doughnutdelf, forever entombed below Stonehenge. Some time later Taliesin summons a meeting to discuss the creation of a new school of magic. They decided upon Gaul as the new location and they proceed to found The Magium.
The treachery of Stonehenge
A.D. 501. The isles of Britain are finally at peace, the last battles of unification finally won, thanks to the king Arthur's illustrious rule - and no small amount of aid from powerful magic. The center of these magicks is at Stonehenge, or more correctly, beneath it. There, in a magnificent cavern, is the city of Doughnutdelf, home of the druids and school for hundreds of apprentice mages.
High on the cavern wall is a balcony, in front of the yawning entrance of a separate, far smaller cave. There is no way up here by conventional means; one must fly or teleport, both feats which require substantial magic. This keeps out most of the riffraff; because, after all, there are lots of riffraff and tourists who wish to see the famous Merlin the Enchanter, ally of King Arthur and NeSorcerer of the age.
Merlin's cave is an eclectic mishmash of primitive and advanced magicks. Astrolabes and graphs and books are cluttered on floors and furniture with primitive-looking runes and cave drawings. Beakers and cauldrons bubble with concoctions of many colors, and there is a rack full of nearly a dozen different mystical staffs.
Merlin: I have called you here today, my onetime pupils, to tell you that I have made my decision.
Merlin is the quintessential old wizard in appearance. He has long gray hair and a matching beard that flow to his mid-back and breastbone, respectively. A pointy hat with a jaunty crook at the top rests on his head, and he wears a flowing robe. Both robe and hat are dark blue and painted with glowing silver sigils.
Lynne the Wizardess: Master Merlin! You don't mean--?
Lynne is a studious, intelligent young mage, and would be pretty if she didn't shave her hair very close to her scalp. She wears a plain brown robe, not considering herself worthy of any greater accoutrements despite being one of the most powerful mages in Doughnutdelf.
Morganna the Sorceress: Shut up and let him talk, Lynne. I have an island queendom to get back to.
Morganna is a short woman, fairly brimming with power and presence, and quite unlike Lynne, she drips sensuality.
Nyneve the Vampire: This is about the mantle, is it not, my love?
Nyneve is centuries old, but retains her dark-haired beauty. Not quite as powerful as Morganna, nor quite as intelligent as Lynne, she nonetheless excels in both capacities. She also exudes sensuality, but hers is subtler than Morganna's, but no less beautiful.
Merlin: Yes, my dear. Today I pass on the mantle of NeSorcerer to the most worthy candidate.
Morganna: Is that all? I can tell you right now you better not give it to me, I don't give an owl's hoot about this myth you're trying to make real.
Lynne: You're deliberately oversimplifying, Morganna, the narrative structure of the cosmos is far more than--
Nyneve: She's baiting us, Lynne. Ignore it.
Lynne huffs but falls silent.
Merlin: Morganna, you are indeed powerful, mind-bogglingly so--
Lynne: Not as much as Master Merlin!
Lynne: But it's true!
Merlin: --but power alone does not define the NeSorcerer.
Lynne: In your face!
Morganna: Great. Can I leave now?
She perks up, standing tall and proud.
Lynne: I'm ready, Master Merlin, and I accept!
Merlin: --you are powerful as well, and keenly intelligent.
[b]Lynne glows with the praise from her mentor, the man she admires most.[/I]
Morganna: Wait for it...
Merlin: But it is Nyneve who most appreciates the intricacies of narrative magick and cosmology.
Lynne's face falls. Morganna barks a cruel laugh.
Morganna: Okay, now I'm glad I stayed.
Merlin: Therefore, Nyneve, my love, I shall pass on the mantle to you, the most deserving, of 3 very deserving candidates.
Morganna: Also, she shags you.
Lynne gasps in scandalized horror.
As an elderly man with 3 contentious and willful female pupils, Merlin long ago learned to ignore their infighting, always continuing as though it wasn't happening.
Merlin: Lynne, Morganna, I thank you. You are dismissed, for Nyneve and I shall commune.
Morganna: I didn't know 'commune' had become synonymous with 'shag'.
The two witches sail over the edge of the balcony, flying down to the city proper of Doughnutdelf. Nyneve remains with Merlin.
Nyneve: I am ready, my love. What must I do?
Merlin: You already possess all of the knowledge and skills you need. Now, all that is left is to pass to you the title... and the NeSpell.
Nyneve cocks her head curiously.
Nyneve: You've never mentioned the NeSpell before.
Merlin: It is a great secret, and the true power of the NeSorcerer's narrative watch. It is also wholly unique; it cannot exist in more than one place. No copies can be made. Not even two minds can hold it. Only one.
Nyneve nods in fascinated understanding.
Merlin: I shall recite the whole of the NeSpell. As I utter it, it shall leave my mind forever, and as you listen, it shall enter yours and yours alone.
Nyneve: How long is it?
Merlin: Just over 3,000 stanzas.
He begins, and Nyneve drinks in every word. She seems to grow in pure vitality as she takes it in, for a NeSferatu - a vampire who feeds on the essence of stories - is uniquely empowered by the NeSpell.
Merlin finally utters the last word, and slumps, exhausted. Nyneve is practically glowing with vigor, rather than the weariness that usually accompanies a new NeSorcerer learning the titular NeSpell.
Merlin: And now... my love... you are the... the NeSorcerer...
He's gasping out as he sits back heavily on his bed. He is still of course an incredibly powerful wizard, but exhausted by the transferal of the NeSpell.
Nyneve: Indeed I am. Oh, this is glorious! I can see the narrative threads all around us. Never before I have viscerally perceived the world as a story. This is magnificent!
She turns devious, malevolent eyes on Merlin.
Merlin barely has time to gasp out in shock before Nyneve chants several runic words, and he becomes encased in crystal, unable to move. Even his magic becomes sluggish, unwilling to answer his summons as the crystal entombs it.
Nyneve laughs triumphantly as she walks out, the crystal growth overtaking the entirety of Merlin's cave. She does her best to ignore the pleading look in her lover's eyes, the question writ large there: Why, Nyneve, why
Down below, hundreds of NeSferatu swarm through the streets, slaughtering all they find with no mercy. They are fast and deadly, taking down most of the magic-users before they can react. The few mages who do have time to counterattack fall shortly after, overwhelmed by the numbers of the incredibly strong narrative-vampires.
Taliesin, former NeSorcerer and sage among the druids, gazes in sorrow at the let blood, but knows this tide cannot be stopped, not with the power of the NeSferatu, and of Nyneve, and of the trope she has unleashed. He vanishes from his home of centuries, and escapes, his heart heavy with dread.
A.D. 502. It has been several months since the destruction of Doughnutdelf, which lies in ruins beneath the earth's surface. Nyneve and the NeSferatu have vanished to whatever cold warrens from which they came. Four mages meet in the center of Stonehenge beneath a full moon.
Morganna: Why are we meeting here again? People keep summoning for meetings I don't give a damn about.
Merlin the Younger: About which you don't give a damn.
Morganna: Shut up, Lynne.
Merlin the Younger: It's Merlin the Younger now, if you please.
Hermes Trismegistus: Though I do not share Morganna's temper, I too am curious to know what purpose you think this meeting shall serve, Old Sage.
Taliesin: We all lost friends here, below the earth. But the legacy of Doughnutdelf must continue. We must create a new center for magical learning and advancement.
Morganna: Me? Be a teacher of magic? BO - RING!
She perks up as a thought strikes her.
Morganna: Unless perhaps I can be put in charge of detention!
Merlin the Younger: You're vile, Morgan.
Morganna: Thank you!
Merlin the Younger: It wasn't a--! I don't know why I even bother.
Hermes Trismegistus: Doughnutdelf has been cursed by the blood that is spilled there, and Merlin is trapped by magic even I cannot break.
Taliesin: Because it is more than magic that contains him, but trope, invoked by the NeSpell. But I agree, a new location must be sought.
Merlin the Younger: Another ley nexus would be good, I think. But there are none in the British Isles as potent as Stonehenge.
Morganna: You are NOT building a bloody school on my island--
Merlin the Younger: More than a mere school, but a center of magical advancement and culture!
Morganna: --but there is a potent nexus in Gaul, where more than a dozen ley lines cross.
Taliesin: Then it is there that we shall establish a new magium for the world...