In the Old Forest, just beyond Camelot’s walls, there stood a mighty tree, alone.
“Do not approach it,” Gaius had long warned, and Merlin, assuming the tree was cursed with ancient magic, stayed away until a hunt with Arthur and a spirited fox chase led him to the tree’s clearing.
Merlin approached the tree with caution and curiosity. An ash, he decided. But how had it grown here, a hundred yards from any other foliage?
He sensed no curse, yet he felt something else.
Merlin pressed his hand to the bark, and an unfamiliar name echoed in his mind.