In last week’s blog, I wrote about Merlin’s time in the Roman Army where he learned military strategy. But what happened when he came home desperate to impress the father of the woman he had fallen in love with, Emily. He combined he engineering, and chemistry skills with magic.
On his homecoming, 5-years later, Merlin wanted to assess whether everything he learned during his time abroad impress the father of the woman he loved – Emily.
Merlin would be the man to renovate the forts of the Dragon Kings; Ambrosius Aurelianus and Uther Pendragon. Merlin made sure their toilets flushed, their central heating worked, and their pests were removed to feed for his beloved birds. One of his special feats would be his building of a bread oven in twenty-four hours ready to feed one thousand soldiers. Another was calling in his friends the Tinners, the tin miners from Cornwall, to build various tunnels and passages into and under the forts which would allow secret access and hidden escape if it was under siege from the invaders. Later he would rebuild the harbor at Chester while he kept an eye on his protégé, Arthur, who was being fostered by the local king.
Merlin also loved a show. Especially if it involved pyro-technics that used magnesium flares. He would collect the magnesium from deep in cave systems in South Wales and fashion it to blind the enemy. In ADMTWC Merlin combines his astute use of strategy with the shock and awe of magnesium.
“Everything was still. Minutes went by. I waited until the noises of the night had restarted their regular drone and buzz before I counted with my fingers held aloft for Doone to read them. Then suddenly the camp was rocked by our blood-curdling yells. The jackdaws mimicked each of our yells, calling out from the opposite direction. Startled, the barbarians snapped awake and grabbed their weapons, absolutely sure they were surrounded. When I plunged my short staff into the fire a white blinding light flashed through the camp, followed by a series of loud bangs.
The young lookout fell to the ground in shock. The Saxons ran around in terror, swinging their axes wildly, blinded in my white light.
Later Emily asked, “How did you do that flash of light?”
“It was magma – I scraped it from the bottom of a cave – I used it to light the fire with fire.”
“It must be magnesium.” And jerking her head in the direction of the dead men, she asked bitterly, “Do you do this every night? I can only think of one word to describe what happened tonight, and that is … gru …” She paused and added shakily “… awesome. …”
(A Darker Magic This Way Comes, p. 50.)
At least to Emily – “Merlin was awesome!”