Title: Conjured happiness, and real
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Merlin discovers an ancient cure for the pain of sorrow, but will the benefits outweigh the cost?
Word Count: 400
Prompt: 111 - Nepenthe
Author's Notes: None
Conjured happiness, and real
Rain had started falling from the cover of dull clouds outside.
There really wasn't enough daylight to read by anymore. Merlin looked up into the gloom for a moment and pinched the bridge of his nose, blinking tiredly.
Yesterday's burnt-down candles hadn't been replaced. He sighed and turned to the next page of the heavy tome of mystical lore.
Nepenthe, read the entry at the top of the page. The word was new to him, which gave cause for hope. He'd spent many long hours alone, searching the wisdom of the Old Religion to find healing and to re-discover cures lost to time.
He sat up, more intent now, studying the spidery writing on the yellowed page: 'Chases away sorrow, drug of forgetfulness'. Those were tempting visions.
Nepenthe. The enigmatic word itself sounded.... poetic. It seemed to indicate a dreamy state on the carefree side of reality, where densely billowing fog would obscure that which brings the heart pain.
Obscure, or erase?
He leaned back, closing his eyes. If this ancient remedy could cover up and remove suffering and sorrow, then surely that which – or the one who - had caused that grief would be erased from the mind. But wasn't that far too high a price to pay for conjured happiness?
“Quells all sorrows with forgetfulness” he quoted aloud, pondering the promise. Wouldn't it be better to endure the lasting pain of grief over a lost loved one, and still be able to cherish the memories?
Merlin was lost in thought.
Two strong hands gripped his shoulders and started massaging them. “You're far too tense, my lord sorcerer. And why are you sitting here glumly in darkness? I heard you speaking worrying words. What hidden grief weighs so heavily on you that you're contemplating remedies of forgetfulness?”
Merlin turned on his seat, all weariness gone in an instant. His eyes flashed golden with joy. Flames erupted in the fireplace. A bright smile lit up his face.
“I didn't hear you entering! I'm searching the lore for remedies to help the people, that's all, love.”
He stood up in a hurry and stepped into the waiting embrace, eagerly offering his lips for a kiss.
“There's no grief at all, Arthur,” he replied once they finally had to separate to draw breath. “I've not had a single day of sorrow since you returned to me.”