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The Day Emrys Disappeared

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They say that when the Once and Future King died, Emrys made the sky fall.

There are tales that are told around the fire, of the legendary warlock and the king he was destined to serve and protect. They tell of the bond between them—two sides of the same coin, they'd say, so close the two of them were. Two halves of a whole.

When the battle of Camlaan came to pass, Emrys stood close to his king, deflecting arrows, casting away swords, warning his sovereign of the dangers around not only the two of them, but the incoming dangers to the field. They made a good team, and knew the way the other moved as well as they knew the way their own bodies moved—one and the same, they were.

And then the evil sorceress came.

She dealt a powerful blow to the warlock with a flippant gesture of the hand, and although Emrys was not quite quick enough to see her, the king did.

He cried out his warlock's name and moved to defend him. He took the blow in Emrys's stead.

They say that this is when it started.

A soul-shattering cry was ripped from Emrys as the king fell, dead before he hit the ground. His eyes shone a thunderous gold, and the bright blue skies turned black as the wind picked up.

The sorceress was struck by lightning on the spot, and as Emrys screamed, the rain started pouring down. He screamed the king's name, shouted until his voice became hoarse, and still he continued crying out in pain for the other half of his whole.

The storm that Emrys started did not discriminate between friend and foe—those who got too close were whisked away, to be thrown against the ground and killed, or whisked away, never to be seen again.

The elements came together, and Emrys raised walls of fire, burning the ground until it was as black as the sky. The storm surrounding the king and his warlock became so thick that even Emrys's gut-wrenching cries couldn't be heard after a time, lost in the wind, in the rain, and the roar of the fires that razed the ground.

They say that the storm lasted a day, and when it cleared, Emrys was still there, clutching the body of his king, sobbing his name.

For a moment, everything was still.

And then they were gone.

Yes, they whisper of the way the most powerful sorcerer to ever live brought the sky to the ground, and the Earth to the heavens. Yes, they speak of the way Emrys and his King of Legend seem to have disappeared off the face of the Earth. Yes, we all want to know where the embodiment of magic itself may be today, if he is indeed still alive.

But those aren't the reasons this tale continues to be passed on.

For all the terrifying details and mystifying questions that the tale bring to light, what they always remember to point out, and what they never forget, isn't the destruction—it's the broken look that was on Emrys's face. It was the way tears spilled from eyes that were fading from an angry gold to a dim blue. It was the way his lips and shoulders trembled as he drew a shaky breath. It was the way his hands gripped the body of his king, one arm hugging the body of the king close to his chest, knuckles white, the other resting almost gently on his king's face.

It was the calm after the storm that proved to be the most haunting, because it was the calm of a wreckage, of a tragedy that couldn't be dealt with. The silence that suffocated the field in that brief moment still rattles survivors to the bone.

They say that Emrys may still be alive in the world today, a walking legend as he waits for his king, and for the future that had been once told.

But the Druids that whisper around the fire, the ones that pass on tales of the legendary warlock and his king, the ones that believe that Emrys is still out there—well, they worry.

They worry because, as they say, the half cannot truly live without that which makes it whole.