Title: The Library of Legends
Summary: While waiting for Arthur's return, Merlin collects Arthurian lore
Word Count: 300
Prompt: 437 Library
Author's Notes: Back in the drabble writing game with a bit of wistfulness....
The Library of Legends
Merlin started his collection about a century after he'd seen Arthur off to sleep in Avalon. Their true history had already been garbled or even forgotten by then, and legends were emerging and multiplying in history's stead. Merlin was the only one who knew what had really happened.
There'd always been a kernel of truth at the new stories' core, but the tales about Arthur and his knights, Queen Guinevere, the sorceress Morgana, and Merlin himself were becoming ever more fantastic and imaginative with every passing decade. In some stories, they were fighting Saxons. In others, Arthur became emperor of Rome. Here, Merlin single-handedly built Stonehenge, and there, Mordred was Arthur's secret son. In later retellings, they all lived in a fairytale land where magical quests and damsels in distress were the order of the day.
Reality in medieval times was bleak, - wars, plague, and famine. No wonder that myths about a brighter, better past took hold so strongly.
The legends were written down and partly reimagined by monks, scholars, and even imprisoned knights, who left parchments and heavy tomes behind.
Merlin has collected them all. He's bought them when he could, and magicked them away for safekeeping when he couldn't. He's kept the manuscripts and ancient books safe, - his magic protecting them from dampness, decay, and vermin.
By now, he maintains a large library's worth of Arthurian lore and legends. One day, he thinks, he will show the collection to his beloved Arthur. They will marvel at how much they've inspired human imagination through the ages, and that they continue to do so.
With love and longing, Merlin keeps all the tales of the king that once was. But he lives for the day when he and his returned Arthur of the future can begin creating new stories - together.