A Squire's Tale and a Wizard's Dreams

The Squire's Tale by Gerald Morris

Gawain of Orkney doesn't need a squire. He's yet to make it to King Arthur's court to be knighted, and if he does need a squire later, he has a few brothers in the hinterlands who will do. For his part, Terence was perfectly happy taking care of his foster father, the hermit Trevisant. He was a kind boy and an excellent cook, though granted a bit confused at present. Just recently the trees had started talking to him.

Trevisant, however, had other ideas. After a shared pot of excellent stewed rabbit, the hermit told the pair that they were destined to achieve great things together. Terence told Gawaine that it must be so, since Trevisant had the gift to see the future as if it were the past.

Gawain had to keep correcting the old man when he called him, Sir Gawain. "But I haven't been knighted yet!" he protested.
"Well, don't worry about it. When Arthur hears about Sir Hautubris, he'll knight you quick enough." "Sir Who?" Gawain asked.
"Yes yes. This is the one. Watch your head," the hermit said.

In a matter of moments, a very rude knight interrupted their dinner. When he found out there were no leftovers, he tried to kill them all. Gawain, unarmed and unarmored, managed to crash the mounted knight to the ground with an empty stewpot.

"If I have to kill everyone who smells your cooking, lad, we're in for a long road," Gawain said.

And a long road it is-- damsels, witchery, quests-- and at last the secret of Terence's birth! All to save the glorious kingdom of Camelot for Arthur Pendragon. The Squire's Tale is the first book of Terence and Gawain's adventures.

Merlin Dreams by Peter Dickinson

"Merlin..."

It was out in the open that she did it to him, on the moor, far away from the sight of everyone. The man was haggard, his mind ripped to pieces by the foul magics he had used to augment his power. Though not precisely old in body, the hollows of his cheeks betrayed an aging caused by the dark forces that struggled to control him.

The maiden Nimue, wise in the ways of spells taught to her by her master, began a long enchantment. He had chosen her when she was barely more than a child to be his apprentice, and now she performed a last service for him, as he wished it done:

"He rose like smoke, effortless, weightless. He was larger now and stood broad-shouldered. He stretched his arms wide. The air around him glowed and heat beamed from his body. He spoke in a ringing voice, each syllable solid as a pebble. His voice went into the rock. The rock spoke back. It groaned. It complained aloud.

But it rose slowly from its bed, heaving the turf aside, tilting upwards until a dark slit appeared between earth and stone. The man walked forward, going straight through the fire without displacing an ember. He bent, crooked his fingers below the rock, then straightened, raising his arms over his head, holding those thousands of tons above him. Without looking back or feeling for footholds he walked down into the darkness. Behind him the rock sank slowly into the wounded earth."

Merlin dreams beneath the earth and rock of the coast of Cornwall. He sleeps enchanted, and his dreams are the fresh legends of Celtic myth... of werewolves and unicorns, of sciopods and dragons. These are not the old legends of King Arthur, although they are blended throughout the narrative, which is beautifully illustrated by Alan Lee. Each story is remarkable for its subtle glory and its complete humanity. Open the pages of Merlin Dreams and come questing with a "Damsel" whose magic gift is her family's protection as well as its bane and meet the "Enchantress" whose unearthly loveliness is fed by the destruction of beautiful young children.