1963-12-16 - The 12 Days: Fourth
Summary: On the fourth day of Christmas, my beloved gave to me… a shock conjured with Merlin, eee!
Related: The 12 Days: First to Twelfth
Theme Song: Mistletoe and Holly - Frank Sinatra
merlin strange wanda 

Teatime at the sanctum comes and goes to the denizens’ irregular schedules. Forget 3 PM every day. The pot is always stoked and ready, the Sorcerer Supreme’s beloved tea stand perhaps the most used element in the manor short of the front doors. Today it simmers away with a proper seasonal tea, something rigged with cinnamon almost far enough to be considered a chai, were it not for the unusual addition of a white tea as the backdrop. Opulent flavours and a heady zing provided by citrus and almond undertones banish the weight of a cold, snowy day. Winter is coming to New York with a ferocious howl and white flakes pile up in fine kern outside, blowing about and making pedestrians miserable.

Inside, wise witches and warlocks can be smug about their general meteorological superiority.

Wanda sits by herself on the ceiling, the admission gravity has no hold on her particularly amusing for a grave situation. She taps her fingers against her lips, frowning slightly, and holds a cup of that lovely aromatic tea close by. Pages are strewn about on the table, and she picks up a pen to strike through another option. Given her expression, it must be serious.

Given the most trusted soul in Britain is mere feet from her across the table, the recourse is swift. “I am not studied in these holidays.” Her mouth flattens; English language skills may be improving, but unfamiliar social customs take more time through exposure and practice. Time is short for little. “Tomorrow will be the first day of Christmas. What gift do I give to a Sorcerer Supreme? Not cookies, do not say cookies. I cannot make these things to save my own life.”

Her finger taps the paper, underscoring the point. “Twelve gifts to get. I have only ideas for three. Maybe the Chessboard of Gwenddolen? I know this knight, a Peredur, threw it into a lake when it beat him. I think this might be an interesting gift. Did you know Peredur? Is it true?” She gazes at Merlin with an open, if nervous expression. She probably expects him to judge her gift, and it’s a reasonable one, given she named one of the missing treasures of Britain. “Other ideas I had were to find the blade Carnwennan, which was lost to a shadow fae near Mona, or the blessed ruyi sceptre of Bzhin stolen from the Sacred Mountain in western Tibet. I learned the story when I was there. The monks were very sad about the loss. But any idea would be welcome.”


Teacup slowly raised to the old wizard’s lips, he takes a sip as he listens to the young witch discuss her options for gifts for the Sorcerer Supreme. “This holiday is quite old. In fact, the Yuletide has been celebrated for centuries. I remember when it belonged to a whole different set of people. But that’s a story for another day, certainly.” There’s a moment’s pause as he considers the question of Peredur. “Oh yes,” he says finally, “I certainly knew Peredur.” A sigh emits from Merlin, slow and drawn out as he shakes his head. “I was rather disappointed that he threw away that chessboard. I was rather fond of it.” There’s a cluck of his tongue and he takes another sip of his tea. “The chessboard itself would make a wonderful gift.”

The tea within warms Wanda’s cold, dark heart that might be only one size too small. Pesky wizards, giving her the benefit of emotions and the safe space to practice giving a damn for anything other than her own — and by dint, her twin brother’s — survival. Next, she’ll be rescuing her friends and saving kingdoms from collapse.

“I think this decides it then. The lake where Peredur flung that chess set. Perhaps only the board. Were the pieces with it?” These are practicalities legends never consider, issues they never stop to puzzle over. Someone else might want to go find a Romano-British hoard and bring up the very important treasure from the depths. Her gaze narrowed, Wanda goes back to one of the tattered books from the library, much mended by glue, linen, and gauze bandages. Not her work. She’d probably stitch leather atop the wound! “This says he had a fort at Carwinley. Near Carlisle.” She pronounces the latter completely wrong; not ‘car-lile’, but closer to ‘car-lees-le.’ “It also says here that you went mad for grief when the maker of that chessboard died, ran away into a forest, and lived like a druid for … a time. Pieces of crystal and silver, a board of gold. No, this should not be easy to find at all.”


“I…it…what?” Merlin sighs. “I didn’t quite go mad.” There’s a pause as he sips his tea and practically glares at the book. “I was saddened by grief at the deaths of some very good men. As well, I’d already followed the druidic ways for quite some time, though I’ve long abandoned them now. I was, at one time, one of the last of those following the practices of the druids.” He sighs and closes his eyes. “I did live in the forest. I spoke primarily with the animals who lived their. They became my only friends, for a time.”

He sighs softly. “There is knowledge I could impart on you, to help with the location. If this is truly the gift you wish to give. Although, I would not mind knowing the final resting place of the Carnwennan. It holds a dear place in my heart. I suppose the name of the shadow fae that it was lost to would be the first step to finding it.” He takes a deep breath in and lets it out slowly.

“Now that I think on it, the blessed ruyi sceptre would also be a fine gift. Then again,” a tiny smile inches across his face, “I think that any gift which Mister Doctor Strange receives from you will be a welcome gift. It just so happens that I’m most useful in finding the chessboard. Or perhaps the blade. I have a special relationship with the fae. Or I used to. Perhaps my name still holds sway.”

The young woman inclines her head. “I am witch. They call us many terrible things through the years. It is not right. History and story do not give us many gifts, do they?” The smoothed veil of her umber hair brushed off her shoulder leaves a fine line of golden skin and her claret jacket exposed, and she sips more of her tea. Too close to the bottom; the cup ends up on a saucer, and she offers to pour more for Merlin before going for herself. “It is a good place, the forest. Easy to hear your thoughts.”

It’s not like wild cats and boar yell all the time, or make an infernal clatter at midnight when they lumber home late from the pub. Having given this consideration, Wanda shuts the cover of the book and sets it aside with the rest. “Yes. I would like to give him the chessboard, I think. All the choices are good, but this calls to a winter’s night. It makes a suitable gift?”

Uncertainty flickers across her face. What sort of twenty year old doesn’t know what a good gift is?


“Yes, I have heard many terrible names for witches. As well as for wizards, warlocks, sorcerers, and sorceresses. Whatever a person may title themselves. Those with magic have oft been the brunt of ridicule by many. It is not right.” Merlin nods to the offer of more tea, twirling the end of his beard ever so slightly. “No. History has not been kind to those inclined to such ways. Of course, there are those who have used magic to cause harm. It is unfortunate that it is the ones who cause harm with magic that are often most remembered, thus causing us to be reviled by so many.”

There’s a small smile that crosses his face at the mention of forests being a good place to hear one’s thoughts. “Oh, yes. Yes indeed. Your thoughts are loud and clear when you’re in the forest.” He gazes around as he talks. “In a place like this…like the Sanctum, I can sense and feel and hear the wards. Of course, I know the reason for them. I had such things set up when I was in his position.” He chuckles softly. “And then, of course, there’s the whole metropolis outside the doors. Vehicles humming and honking, trains bumping over their tracks. Not to mention the crowds of people. It is a busy place. The forest is more calm, serene.”

“The chessboard it is. And I believe we shall be able to retrieve the pieces that belong to it, as well. It may take some magical finesse, but with you and I, it shall be a walk in the…in the forest.” There’s a good chance that he’s over simplifying how easy it’s going to be, but sometimes it’s nice to be optimistic. “I think I can even recall the feeling of energy the chessboard gave. It will be good to see it once more.”

Indeed, these two might be kindred spirits to a fault. Her agreement follows in the raising of a cup, saluting Merlin’s sentiments in teatime fanfare. A refreshing sip brings the warm liquid over her tongue and lips, banishing away the start of a roughness brought by exposure to increasing cold weather.

“The noise can be welcome. Not always, though, and I miss where the silence lives. A different kind of sound, when little noise reaches me.” Her reflection upon the benevolent impressions of a heavy woodland, where the rank and file trees smother any impression of a distant street or a noisy bird, carries her away. Wanda’s golden-brown eyes dim considerably, glistening under a film of inward thought to some place far away from New York. “A blessing to be Sorcerer Supreme, you can walk many paths to many forests.” She is no fool to the heavy cost and consequences demanded by the Vishanti.

Rocking her heel against the ground, she blinks herself back into the present rather than mooning about. “A walk in the woods? Yes, that does sound refreshing. I am ready as soon as we finish tea.” If the chessboard spent the last ten centuries at the bottom of a pond or in a tree, another 10 minutes won’t make a difference unless Mordo is eavesdropping and running off to find it.


As a sip is taken from his newly filled cup, Merlin ponders the words of the young witch. “The advent of the modern industrial age has brought forth a hodgepodge of new sounds to the metropolis of which the grand municipalities of yore could imagine in only their wildest, most farfetched of dreams. The horseless carriage, which hums along, horns a-blaring! Large birds made of metal that carry human passengers, soaring across the sky as they make a noise so furious!” He clucks his tongue softly. “There are many I have met through the ages who would be confused by the many sounds in our current age.”

He smiles softly. “There are times, when I hide myself away, keeping my own company, and only emerging to help in the most obscure of ways, so that none might know of my assistance. In these times, I spend much time in nature. I listen to a babbling brook, the buzzing of insects in a meadow, the warble of a songbird calling to another. It brings me peace in a wary world. It reminds me of the balance I yearn to protect in this realm.” His tone is soft, his gaze stares past the young witch, to some place faraway, in the imagination’s eye.

He clears his throat, returning to the present. “I am happy to guide you as soon as you’re prepared.” He informs her, sipping on his tea once more. “The chessboard shall, hopefully, soon be within your capable hands and ready as a gift for our present Sorcerer Supreme, and most gracious host, Mister Doctor Strange.”

How one spends their immortality holds a certain fascination for someone so terribly young. Her world can be encompassed in twenty years, Merlin’s in fifty times that. How must the decades slide by, rusty links pulled by a flywheel rotating to an interminably slow pace that never varies. Has it accelerated as technology advances, or plods along the same? There are questions Wanda cannot ask for propriety’s sake, questions that linger upon her tongue.

“Coming out of Berlin to America showed us very different things,” she says quietly, ruminating over the paths she can take that are not rude. “My brother and I adjust differently. He likes the energy. Sometimes I wonder where to find my own place. It is easier when we can retreat from the cold stone and concrete.” Words chosen carefully carry less of their usual dialect limitations, allowing her language skills to catch up with her mind. “Are there any creeks here? It must be like London. They have all gone under the ground. Not the big river, but the quiet ones where you can sit and listen.”

No wonder he found her in Tintagel. Her shoulders move lightly as she closes one of the books and takes her notes, rolling them into a tube of paper. “I can go once these are put away. It will take me not more than five minutes.” A pause follows. “Is that too soon?”

The marks of a refugee, an exile from civilisation, are easy to find. Look for the girl with the go bag.


“Your brother. From how you speak of him, he reminds me of another young man I once knew. Full of energy, a desire to prove himself. Basking in the glow of the multitudes.” Merlin speaks thoughtfully, his mind on the memory. “You, however, remind me of an otter. Full of curiosity, but still hardworking and not unwilling to swim great lengths to get what you need. You’re able to be in crowds, but you’d thrive in a place with the quietude of nature. At least, ‘tis sense I get from you.”

He smiles and chuckles softly. “Five minutes is perfectly fine. No need to rush, young one. We’ve got all the time in the world. The search for a present for one we care for should not be rushed, regardless. It should be thought out, and taken in careful stride.” He waves his hand back and forth in a slow motion. “One’s journey should flow with the tides of time, and not worry about speeding them up or slowing them down. So,” he concludes, “when you are ready, so shall I be. Just you let me know, and off we shall go.”

“Pietro is more a falcon than me. He can wing by fast and sees so far ahead. Without him to look, I do not know where we go.” He might like the reference of a peregrine, were her twin present, or he might scoff at her and the reference to an otter, and suggest she should be something far more humble like a dormouse. Maybe a hedgehog; she’s pretty prickly. Right?

The girl doesn’t seem to mind Merlin’s measure in the least. Otters do have very pointy teeth and ingenuity, which suits her. “I have been ready for a very long time. The current I am in only pushes to the now.” She pauses, holding her books in her arms. “And I would see any gift in its right time. Meet in the entry, then? You have not said what you would like for Christmas, I note.”

Wanda’s preparations truly take very little time, when she chooses to make them. A jaunt to the library at speed with the wards eagerly bounding along behind her to spy, possibly, requires a bit of easy diversion: piling books on the cart or the shelves in different corners to throw them off.

Merlin is left to decide when his stately self will descend for a bit of chessboard fishing.


“Quite astute of you, young Wanda. Indeed I’ve not informed you, nor anyone else, of what I might desire for a gift.” He smiles and shakes his head. “I do not desire anything but the good company of some good people. Such as yourself.” The old sorcerer tells her. “Unless, of course, you’d like to teach me your native tongue. I’ve very much got an interest in language, and learning yours would be the best gift I could receive from you.”

Merlin’s preparations for their journey are decidedly less than his travel companion’s. He descends immediately, retrieving his staff and his sword and its sheath from his room, hanging the sword in its sheath from his belt. Heading to the entry hall, he awaits the young witch, humming some long lost ditty that perhaps only he remembers.

Company can be a gift. Oh, the typical young person in modern society might argue this fact, but Wanda comes from a very old society with absolutely no modern sensibilities about Christmas. It is, after all, a Christian construct and her particularly odd upbringing means half her understanding for it derives from movies and pop culture anyways. He need only say he wishes to enjoy tea with people he likes, and Merlin can expect that to go down fine. Or her manners are so good she says nothing, which isn't always the case. "Which one? Romany or Transian? These I learned as a baby together. Maybe others. I do not really know," Wanda replies, her certainty drifting away. Nonetheless, it hardly causes her any sadness. The past is the past.

Even those quintuple her age have forgotten that lesson. Does it bode well, given what she is? Her companionable response as they set out marks a flicked look towards his sword, and then she nods approvingly. Her knives are hidden, a gun under her coat, the charms of her art hung around her waist. None of them present a real danger, not truly. "Wards!" She calls out, and then switches into a language more comfortable, something she trusts. Tibetan, of all bloody things. "«Merlin and I leave to find the Sorcerer Supreme something of interest. I am happy, determined, and certain. Tell him.»" A pause. "«Also to drink his awful powder.»" Because she knows when he doesn't.

Which way? That's up to Merlin; it is his island, after all.

"Both." The old man quickly responds. "Romany as well as Transian. I'd enjoy learning them, if you'd teach me." If there is one thing that Merlin has learned over the years, it's the humility to admit when he still has something to learn, and to allow others to teach him. "Although, I surprise myself that I had never considered to learn Transian, as I have travelled to Transia, though it was long ago."

Once he's sure that the young witch has said all she needs wishes to the wards, he holds out his free hand to her. "If you would. Take my hand, and on the count of three, step forward with me. Then…we shall be in an entirely different place and we shall begin our journey in earnest."

"Yes," Wanda agrees, and she steps forward to take his hand in her own. Youth betrays her in the smoothness of her skin, though her lifestyle wedding magic and violence leaves the sensation of calluses upon her fingertips in the whorls. Every note sung through that point of contact is something akin to a dynamic proof of life effervescent, such as her amaranthine aura sings to the melodious musica universalis. The celestial symphony radiates in humming vibrations and songs known only to stars and planets, the medieval philosophy manifested in a person who binds sky to endless earth.

Her smile hangs slightly in the balance. "When you are ready." One, two, and three.

When he counts, such she steps through into that mystery come alive.

There's a pause as Merlin takes in the sensations, the transference, that often comes with contact between two magical beings. He nods in recognition of the very essence of the person who stands beside him. "And onward we shall go, into that enigma we call life." He hums softly, a little smile once more upon his face.

"One, two, three." He counts softly, stepping forward with Wanda. As their feet land, the world around them changes. No longer are they surrounded by walls of a home in a thriving metropolis. Rather, they are at the edge of a forest, which looks upon the shore of a lake, the sun already low in the sky. "And here is where the enigma has taken us."

One. Magic builds in a charge.

Two. The gathered will to pierce the wards and space itself.

Three. The universe proves space is an illusion as humanity knows it, folding two discrete points overtop one another, bending them onto the exact same spot on a measuring tape and therefore colocated briefly.

Wanda steps through the gate, and the groundswell of dormant earth and sylvan time floods around her while the humming vibration of Jupiter and Eta Carinae form a muted rumble in her wake. At full strength to the Sight, her aura might be leaping six degrees in luminosity and set off a hum under someone's feet, indelibly marking the air by a hint of excitement.

She considers this change, and glances behind the portal as a matter of happenstance, ever the more distrustful of the world. Then again, she isn't immortal by dint of faerie blood or besting death: she is simply herself, an anomaly of a demon's making, invoked by prayers atop a sacred realm with the blood sacrifice on a scale unmatched in a century. But hey.

"This is Peredur's lake?"

"You certainly carry quite the weight about you. There is no doubt that you have been marked for greatness." Merlin speaks in a tone of curiosity as he gazes at Wanda, squinting lightly. "I don't need a spell to tell me that. My vision and my feet are all I need to know of your potential." He murmurs.

"I digress, however. For 'tis not the reason we're here." He nods at her question, gazing toward the lake. "Aye. 'Tis the lake indeed." He holds up his hand and waves it toward the lake. "Can you hear that? The buzzing? The light hum? The vibration that holds to a magical key?"

A shrug of her shoulders answers Merlin’s opinion on that. Do not argue with one’s elders unless prepared to make a thesis defense using the finest evidence, firsthand accounts, and better. In this Wanda is poorly matched, and she knows it, treading carefully over the mulch and trying to keep to a central path. “Is it not? A good walk in the forest gives fresh thoughts,” she muses, though her honey eyes flit betwixt the trees and ferns, half expecting an army to pop out at the first opportunity. Motes cast in brazen garnet spread in frosted rime around her pupils, collecting in filaments that spread like rising stars on an alien horizon.

Throwing the widest wavelengths of the Sight open for her is as much about sound as vision, the dizzying plunge into the subaqueous heart of the South-West counties sweeping away sense. Three blinks are needed to contest her independence of it, the ancient voices of the land perhaps still recounting when ice sheets shrouded their borders and Doggerland linked the lowlands of Schleswig and Bremen to Dover. Sifting out the white powder dreams of Alba demands more focus, fine-tuning control, accepting the riddle of blind deafness back to the sensate.
Partly because her damn aura, visible even to herself, starts a shift before she can even bring the sound to her lips of a greeting. The dye drops deepen fuchsia to love-lies-bleeding, empurpled eclipse overtaking the rest. “The white one?” Because the Blue One is right there, peering at them oddly on the banks of a given lake. Not the one Excalibur supposedly lives in, thankfully.

“Too true. A good walk, fresh air, nature. All make for ease of thought." Merlin agrees with the Wanda. He notes the slight suspicion and he chuckles, shaking his head. "There's no danger hidden there, I can assure you." His tone is rather confident. "It has been some time since bandits and those corrupted by darkness roamed these lands." There is a hint of regret in his voice, suggesting that 'those corrupted by darkness' might, in fact, but one person: Morgan le Fay, his old student.

"Very good. Very good indeed. Yes, the white one." He glances at her aura again for a moment before turning back to the other magic. "But that Blue One is a curious one too." She didn't mention it aloud, but it's there. "What are you, Blue One. You're not the Lady of the Lake come to check on us, are you? Hmm?" He wouldn't put it past the Tuatha de Danaan to be watching him.

The arrival of the present Sorcerer Supreme doesn't surprise him too much. "We're taking a walk." He replies simply, without turning his head toward the man. "And you can tell Agamotto to stop showing his annoyance in me through that Eye of his. I've not answered to him in quite some time, thank you very much!"

Finally looking toward Strange, Merlin offers him a sad smile. "You feel it, don't you? A feeling so similar to her. To the one who so much desires to control this realm?" He knows because he feels it too. It's like an aching in one's very being that never quite goes away. Especially in a region that she spent so much time in.

Strange's smile softens as he takes in the starry-eyed mien of his Consort, his own aura shifting very quickly to match hers in terms of eternally-reaching ultraviolet spectrum. It lessens a bit when he's addressed by Merlin and reminded, as always, of how astute the old Magician is. No keeping secrets from him, not in this place, where the Master of the Mystic Arts can feel how the localized magic, embedded root-deep, responds in a blink to the previous Sorcerer Supreme.

"Yes. Le Fay." In a rare of moment of equal clarity of vision, he pursues the topic no further and instead walks over to stand beside Wanda. "It's a perfect place to take a walk, I'll grant you that, but this one here," and his faintly-glowing gaze slides to Wanda accompanied by a little curl of a smirk, "tends to walk with intent rather than simply wandering. If you're not in any sort of trouble — or about to get into any — why send the wards?"

Anyone can answer him at this point; he assumes they were both present when she initially spoke to them.

Morgan le Fay might have quite the bone to pick and a hard choice to make. The mentor who thwarted her designs so long? The Sorcerer Supreme who sealed her hellhole? Or Chthon’s favourite, the newer, younger, prettier model? Be glad no such minion harbours any inkling of their presence or else she might throw handfuls of chalk and moss off the downs at the trio before trying to blow them up with an assortment of tasty spells.

Merlin may well be old, older than the nation that they dwell within, but it does not mean the conflict resides in his choice. “I ask him to show me where to find a gift. A treasure lost. I will find it before she does.” Lost gift, lost cats. Of course, a demon-hunter spends her living days worrying about that. She looks towards the water and takes several steps down to the shoreline, humming an intonation that sends the water ruffling back from her footsteps, exposing the mucky bed that sucks at her boots as soon as she leaves dryish land for wet. A small islet among the mirror to the sky, her head tips up slightly.

“There? It cannot be so easy.” All the same, she takes three more steps, displacing the water over her stride, and looks over her shoulder to them. “Peredur was not a simple knight. I see only one way to take the treasure.”

Her answer is simple enough, and not for nothing does Strange have those silvered temples. Or her son and brother have white hair, and soon enough her living father. She goes crane mincing another step and springs headfirst into the lake. Impulse, meet thy progeny.

"Morgan." Merlin murmurs with a sigh, nodding, agreeing and adding to the given name of le Fay. His own aura flashes a deep, dark blue, before fading into a light green. "The Wards are ever curious." He speaks simply about them, as he holds out his hand once again. A magical energy, in turn, reaches out for him, swirling around his fingers and then slowly encircling his arm as it makes its way up.

"'Tis good to see you once more, my friend. It has been quite some time since last I visited you. I'm glad you've not forgotten me. Though you've well protected this place." He speaks to it as a familiar, as a friend. It seems to even respond to him in kind, sending out small ripples of magic in every direction, as if speaking to him. "Yes, but 'tis time. And it shall be in a safe place even still." Some kind of wards, perhaps? Or just a magical spy? Merlin doesn't say, but they do respond to him well.

He watches as Wanda dives further into the lake. "I would've conjured us a boat…" He says, though he chuckles. He's more amused than dismayed.

The old Magician has his own wards! Fascinating! Strange is momentarily diverted (and very much tempted to slide-step over and attempt communication with them, but that seems akin to butting into a private conversation), but only until Wanda begins to start explaining just why they find themselves on the edge of a suspiciously-glassy lake in a place touched by Fae magic that answers to Merlin.

"A gift?" His murmur is quiet, not loud enough to pull her to continuing to expand on this treasure and who is 'she' is or to keep her attention from straying towards the enchanted shoreline.

And then that hellraiser dives into the lake. Into The Lake. The Sorcerer is shell-shocked, at first only able to stare at the dissipating ripples of her entry before he glances over at Merlin. He shares the old man's sentiments. "A boat would have been better, yes," and he lets out a low sigh before beginning to make his way down. His natural stance places his bootprints outside of hers, imprinted as they are into the wet silt, and he cranes his neck to attempt to sight her. His concern causes him to roll his lips and begin to clench his fists. "Merlin!" The call is over his shoulder, never breaking his search. "Is she in danger?"

The Witch might know precisely what chord this strikes in him; his aura hums with the plucked strings of a tenuous minor triad.

Why on earth would anyone worry for a child of the Witch Road in a lake? If one of the many waterways of Somerset or Gloucestershire take issue with Wanda's provenance, they can damn well hurl her out on to the downs, and let her roll through the marshy grasses until she rises up like an irate sheep and stamps a hoof. The cloud-mirror surface is likely to be distorted for a bit, but then the ripples smooth out.

No amused siren pops her head up through the water. Bubbles might show and the pale froth of a good kick or so are measurable from the shore, at least for a time, but the girl apparently can hold her breath for a while. A while that becomes a tremendously unusual while. Until that becomes an unnaturally long while, and someone might as well accept some kind of magic is at play, though not what meets the eye: peering deep might give way a minute, tempestuous spill of pure elementalism bound to a very, very old signature. Old at the time of the fall of the Minoans old.

Under the fairly shallow sea, the witch is off searching for the source of that missing treasure, that hum in white. They can take tea on the shore, being the gentlemen they are, and she'll navigate the sediment heavy water. It's around here somewhere. And if not, at least she proved something else worthwhile.

"Worry not, my dear lad." Merlin approaches the edge of the lake, standing near to Strange. "She'll be fine." Though he does look to his wards and say to them, in a language that is decidedly not English, "Mae rhai ohonoch yn mynd ymuno a hi a chadw ei chwmni. Cynorthwyo hi os bydd hi'n mynd ar goll." With that, part of the magical presence departs from his arm and rushes into the lake.

"In the meanwhile, tea?" A cup of hot tea appears, floating in front of Strange. "It's really rather good. 'Tis a unique tea I created myself, many years ago, from plant leaves in a forest not too far from here, in fact." Which is probably what made him think of it. A cup has appear in front of him as well, and he reaches forward and hooks a finger through the handle, bringing it to his mouth to sip.

In the lake, as she searches, Wanda will hear a distant choir of voices singing, "Anger in his mind made strategy lost in time. Those who search for me need only know their right to see. Nearby am I, find the Queen and you'll find the rest. You will know me by how I shine, but I shine only for the best."


Continued in The 12 Days: Fourth, Part II.

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