On the other side of the bed from where I sat the air shimmered with magic as a man materialized. Merlin stood opposite me, his features wrought with concern. Each time I saw him he looked exactly the same, whether it was as a vendor in a Belfast market twenty years ago, or a patron in the museum on my first day of work a month ago. White-blond hair neatly styled and sharp ice blue eyes softened by a few wrinkles in the corners. He looked sophisticated and worldly, but at that moment he also wore compassion and grief.
Our eyes held each other for a long pregnant moment, long enough to further thaw my ravaged emotions. I had thought I would have nothing to say to this man who had set the events in motion that led me to the absolute lowest point in my life. However, seeing him stand before me, I had questions that needed to be asked.
“Why have you done this? Why me?” My voice was no more than a whisper.
“I spent years in that market, watching and interacting, knowing I had to find just the right child. Someone who was receptive to the magic, someone who lived far away where Morgan would not find them. When you approached my booth and were drawn instantly to the necklace, I knew you were the one.”
“Did you know it would make me Fae?”
“I wasn’t entirely sure, but I had my suspicions.”
“Did you think about the other impacts on my life, the effect it would have on my loved ones?”
“Nothing I could say or do will ever ease the burden of what I have forced upon you. There are some of us who bear a disproportionate degree of hardship in life, whether owed to circumstances of our birth or a course of events during our lifetime. There is never a reason adequate enough to justify our struggles sufficient to ease the burden. The only balm that will help you is that which comes from the acceptance of your circumstances. Once you let go of how you got to your current situation and look toward how you can improve your future station, then you will be enlightened in a way that is truly empowering.”