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Days of Futures Past

Whilst at Stonehenge, sacrificing a deer for some unknown reason, Merlin/Jabe is approached by a non-descript man, who asks why he should help Merlin. After a while it is established that the man is Loki, whom Marcus has been asking for help finding Arthur on Merlin's behalf. Merlin manages to convince Loki to 'help him find Arthur' but only for a price, a pint of Merlin's blood and all that it entails, payable only when Merlin has Arthur. Loki grins, and takes the pint of blood. Apparently Merlin already has Arthur...

Meanwhile, with the other members of the group...

Naomi is sat in her office working, it's dark and raining outside. She hears a sneeze coming from her store cupboard. After a few minutes of debating whether or not to let Loki out she goes and opens the door, only to be confronted by a view of sweeping plains under a moonlit sky. '"Come in to my parlour" said the spider to the fly.' Says an ethereal voice. Naomi hesitates. 'Merlin needs your help,' the voice adds. And Naomi walks inside.

Theo is doing something somewhere, when Loki talks to him and manages to somehow persuade him to go join the others.

Tom is in helping to save wales or somesuch. Loki appears to him and tells him that Merlin has already died once because he had 'the wrong sort of help', and sends Tom along to join the others.

Jake is out getting drunk. Very drunk. An 'old drunk guy' offers him a bottle of something called 'Meffs', which Jake accepts and takes a huge swig of, then falls through a hole in the world.

They all find themselves on Salisbury Plains near Stonehenge, Merlin is still in the centre of the stone circle performing his ritual. The others wander over to him, and after checking various mobile phones and GPA, etc, it soon becomes clear, that while they may still be in Kansas, it's definately not the present day anymore. Merlin leads them off in the direction he remembers Camelot to be, hoping to find a small hamlet close by that they can get transport from.

They find a hamlet, and then Merlin seeks shelter at an inn, hoping to do magic tricks for their board. Unfortunately it seems that in the twenty years that have passed since Merlin was last seen in this time period that people have developed a deep mistrust of magic users. The party decide to move on and make for Camelot, stealing a coach and horses in order to make their journey quicker.

The coach passes through a forest, and their way is blocked by a heavily armoured man on a malevolent looking horse. He tells them that they are trespassing in his forest and requires a boon of them if they wish to pass. Tom asks what boon he would require, and the man (by now it is apparent that he is a fae lord) says that if they give him the girl (Naomi) then they may continue on their way. Merlin politely informs him that Naomi is not theirs to give, and so the lord decides that Tom must joust in his duelling tournament that is currently taking place, and that Naomi accompany him in the royal box. Tom accepts his challenge, and Naomi reluctantly accepts his invitation and they head off to the fairy castle.

Once there, Naomi is taken to the royal box and grabs Theo to act as her chaperone, and Merlin helps strap Tom onto a horse, whilst Jake tries to find him some decent equipment. Once Tom is strapped in, Jake returns with what he considers to be the best equipment he could find and instructs Tom on using it, then adds a few little enchantments of his own. Tom is sent out onto the battlefield to face his opponent, a rather large troll. After a long and bloody fight Tom wins, and is carried off by Jake for some healing and preparation for the next round, the final - it seems the lord had entered Tom at the semi-final stages.

In the final Tom faces a man with a lance of lava, mounted on a rhino. They ride towards each other, clash, both go flying backwards through the air, and Tom finds himself flat on his back staring at the sky, feeling like every single bone in his body is broken. There is a deathly silence from the crowd. Tom realises he is unable to roll over, and listens for signs of is opponent. Nothing. After a moment he lifts his arm into the air to show the crowd that he is still alive, and cries 'Do you yield?!' The lord stands in his box and shouts to Tom that his opponent appears to have no choice but to yeild. The crowd cheers. Jake runs on to the field and stabs Tom in the chest. (I should point out that Jake's sword can heal, but it's more amusing not to.)

Once healed, Tom is shown to the royal box, and the lord tells the party that they now have safe passage through the rest of the forest. He also grants Tom a boon, Tom asks for an escort to Camelot, but the Lord says that he is too busy for that right now, but that they will meet again so Tom can collect another time. Then he turns to Naomi and tells her that he looks forward to seeing her again as well.

The party leave, and despite what should be a long journey, soon leave the forest and are in sight of Camelot. As they leave the forest a dove feather flutters down next to Tom, which he picks up and puts in his pocket.

They arrive at Camelot and are escorted to Sir Kay, now the regent of Camelot. He tells them of the failing health of the nation. It seems that since Arthur 'died', no new True King has arisen and the land is suffering, a war is brewing between the aggressive King Mark of Cornwall and Aelfred of Wessex. Merlin informs him that Arthur didn't actually died, instead was mortally wounded and is now in stasis awaiting a time when the world will need him again. Merlin tells Kay he will try and find a solution to the problem. Kay also tells them of the fate of Guinevere. Since Arthur died she had grown dispondent, and now lived in a nunnery, wasting away in loneliness and sadness. The party decide to go and visit Guinevere first, and Kay gives them rooms for the night and clothes more fitting for the period.

The next day they set out for Guinevere's convent. On meeting her she is obviously bitter and blames Merlin for a lot of what happened, and it seems that it is only her religious views that are keeping her from committing suicide. Merlin suggests she should go look for Lancelot, but she throws that back in his face, seeing it as a betrayal of Arthur. Naomi suggests she accompanies them to look for Arthur, but still she is hesitant and unwilling to accompany Merlin anyway. Tom talks to her and manages to persuade her into coming with them and she goes to pack her bags. Then they set off to find the Lady in the Lake.

On the journey they stop off at a small town so that Guinevere can visit the church. Naomi and Tom accompany her, but are accosted by beggars outside the church, leaving Guinevere to go in alone. An old blind beggar asks Naomi for alms, as she has no money she fishes round in her pockets for food. Whilst she is doing that, the old man stumbles and falls, and Naomi jumps to catch him. Preventing him from falling, she is then slightly taken aback when he leaps back in shock. He can see again. Tom asks her what happened, but all Naomi can manage is 'I didn't do anything' before the crowd start clammering to try and touch her and be healed herself. Merlin and Theo wander over to see what the commotion is about. Tom manages to calm the crowd down a little, and he and Merlin usher them into the church to 'give thanks for the miracle'. Merlin brings Naomi inside and tells her to try doing it again. After a little hesitation she does, and cures a man's club foot. She continues round the church until everyone is cured, with the exception of Tom who declined when she asked if he wanted healing, and Jake who never bothered to try and get her to cure him of herpes. Then she surreptitiously left the church and ran off to a barn on the outskirts of the town to try and figure out what was going on... only to find Merlin there waiting for her.

Naomi tells Merlin that she wants to be left alone for a while, and Merlin says that if she wants him to leave her alone then she'll have to answer his questions first. After a short discussion Merlin takes a small amount of her blood and performs a ritual on it that determines that she is the reincarnation of Arthur. He persuades her to accompany him back to the coach so that they may continue on their way to the Lady of the Lake and see if she can tell them anything about the situation.

When they reach the lake, Merlin talks with the Lady (who apparently Naomi does not exist for), and it is decided that Arthur's soul should be released to save the land. Guinevere is taken to Arthur's side, and her soul is also released so that they are together, and happy, once more.

After that, there is still the matter of a war brewing. They go to Wessex and meet with Aelfred. He seems like a nice chap, and has already proven himself on a small scale by uniting the clans of Wessex. Merlin worries that he lacks the ambition and strength of conviction that would be required to unite and hold the entire country, but Aelfred tells him that he has only been king for two years, and has achieved plenty in that time.

Then the party head to Cornwall to meet Mark, a man whom they've only heard bad things about so far: some say he has turned to the dark arts, others say the dead walk in Cornwall. The party are not so quick to condem him, fearing some outside influence instead. As soon as they cross into Cornwall they find a field full of inanimate zombies. They chop the zombie's legs off and set them on fire. Theo tracks the magic holding them to Tintagel Castle, Mark's seat of power.

They travel to Tintagel and seek an audience with Mark, who eventually deigns to see them. Upon meeting he is unpleasant, disdainful and generally derisory towards Merlin and the rest of the party, and tells them to leave his city. They find a room at a nearby inn, and attempt to contact Mark's son, Agravaine, who appears to dislike his father as much as everyone else. After one night they have no luck, so Theo tries tracing the zombie magic again, now that they are closer to its source. It tracks directly to the throne room, and shows up as being Mark. Shortly after this Agravaine turns up at their room, telling them he has been ordered to run them out of the city. They hatch a plan with him and agree that Merlin will challenge Mark to a Certamen duel, Mark will more than likely choose Agravaine as his squire, and in the fifth round once Mark is distracted fully, Agravaine will strike.

The challenge is issued, and Merlin meets Mark on the clifftops of tintagel at the appointed hour. Mark chooses the concept of Death as a defense for the duel, and so Merlin picks Life for attack, and the two mages begin their magical duel. It's an even fight, with both Mages taking reasonable amounts of damage from the other's attacks. At the start of the fifth round Agravaine body slams his father, throwing him towards the cliff edge. As Mark teeters on the cliff edge, Merlin conjures up a gust of wind to blow the evil necromancer over the edge, and he plunges to his doom.

Everything goes quite, except for the noise of a man clapping. It's Loki. He congratulates Merlin and tells him he hopes he got what he wanted, and then the group find themselves back at Tom's windmill after what appears to have been a wild party.

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