The only question worth asking is, “Will it, can it, wake up?” muttered Merlin.
His car left several miles behind him, Merlin had hiked across the wild Welsh country to find this exact spot and now he stood staring out over a quiet welcoming ocean. “As good a day as I could ask for,” he said out loud even though there was no other person within miles to hear.
He took a minute to thank the gods for the quiet ocean and a random thought occurred to him that the gods never seemed to answer him.
It took him a half hour to pick his way step by step and rock by rock down the cliff. The old pathway had eroded over the ages from the wind and waves driving off the Celtic Sea.
At the bottom, he searched the shoreline as far as he could see. He extended his awareness out over a mile around himself in all directions. Satisfied that no person or electronic device was within range, he picked his way a hundred yards down the shoreline over and between rocks to stand in front of one house-sized boulder nestled against the cliff face.
“The moment of truth,” he said aloud. He spun but the sound he’d heard was only a gull’s wings beating against the wind as it tried to decide if Merlin was a food source or a danger.
Merlin put his right hand on the boulder. Closed his eyes and summoning his full strength and power, he broke the protective wards surrounding the stone. As the protective spells fell one by one, his smile emerged and as the last spell disappeared, his smile turned into a joyous laughter.
He put his shoulder to the rock. Leaned into it, said a few words to increase his strength and the immense boulder shifted. For the first time in a millennium, sunlight found its way into the cave.
Merlin bowed his head and offered a short prayer of gratitude to whichever god was listening. When he raised it again, his eyes were bright and there was a smile on his lips.
He knew the sun wouldn’t penetrate back to where he was going so he pulled a flashlight out of his pocket. A random thought – there were a few modern bits of technology worth preserving flashed across his mind but he forgot it immediately in the flash of returning light from deep within the cave.
Merlin picked his way across the cave floor towards this mirrored light and as he approached, he turned off his flashlight.
The light from within the cave continued to guide him forward and his smile grew broader with every step. This light could only mean his work had been successful and there was still hope for the future.
As he approached the light source, it became stronger and pulsed in time with his heart. The smile on Merlin’s face grew even bigger and a sense of satisfaction that something had worked the way he’d planned penetrated deep into his very being.
At the ten-foot mark, Merlin stopped. The light was so strong it illuminated the entire chamber and cast long shadows behind him. His eyes teared up trying to see the source and he could only keep his eyes open for a second. It was as if he was staring into the sun.
“Not yet. Not yet. But soon,” he said aloud.
The light dimmed leaving the source visible but not illuminating the entire chamber. Merlin smiled and stared.
Pulsing, the light brightened to reveal the sword Excalibur. Buried once again in a stone, the massive broadsword gleamed in the golden light. Hung around its hilt was what he was looking for. Shaped as a sleeping dragon with its tail curled under its chin, the golden circlet of King Arthur Pendragon pulsed its readiness.
Merlin smiled. “Soon,” he said.