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The Idea

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Night was falling, a storm threatened, but the castle stood strong. Somewhere among the stony turrets and the toothed crenellations, the Idea, the personified idea, settled, made itself gloriously comfortable, gave a tiny sigh of content and waited for its prey.

They were walking proudly on the cloud-grey battlements surveying the deepening gloom of the surrounding emerald forest. Everything, even the fluffy rabbits in their holes and the somnolent owls on their gnarled branches, slept. It was that time trembling between dusk and true nightfall darkness when the veils between realities are thinned to the vaguest gossamer. They trod on unheeding, talking of fierce jousts and sumptuous feasts, of those they cared for and those they loved a little, or a lot, less.

The Idea pounced. It was a predator of an idea, a veritable leopard of an idea, and it captured its unsuspecting victims, turned them adroitly inside out and re-convened them.

"Merlin," said Arthur, "do you feel what I feel? Are you overcome all of a sudden with an absolute need?"

"Arthur," responded Merlin, eyes shining with sincerity and eagerness, "I am at one with the universe and I would fain be at one with you in particular."

"My thoughts, my very thoughts," said Arthur, casting off his armour (for they had just come from the practice grounds) and then his tunic.

"Oh, Arthur," said Merlin, "I see you here before me, the epitome of masculine beauty. Your looks overwhelm me, words fail me and my eyes are hurt by the radiance of your presence and your turgid princehood."

"Merlin," said Arthur, taking his friend in his manly arms, muscles rippling as he moved to clasp him to his bosom. "Merlin, lie with me on these stones and my life will be complete."

"Yes, oh yes, my lord, my love, my liege," said Merlin. "There is magic in the air tonight and our completion will benefit castle and countryside alike. Your kingdom will prosper as never before."

Arthur stripped Merlin of his chain mail and undergarments with a sure hand. They stood and then lay, naked to the indigo skies, entangled in each other's writhing limbs.

And the Idea, satisfied, left.

"What are we doing?" asked Arthur.

"I have not the faintest idea," replied Merlin. "But these stones are cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey and I suggest we repair to a more comfortable place before continuing this most enjoyable albeit strange conversation."

"Conversation, yes," said Arthur. "They do call it 'conversation', don't they? Sometimes I have wondered why, but I have to say it's a conversation I would wish to repeat - again and again until the stars fade."

"They won't fade," said Merlin. "Not while I have my magic to keep us from harm and to keep us fucking. And especially," he added, "to keep us warm."