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Nimue is an interesting character

In an effort to keep up with blogging (or at least try to) I thought rather than trying to force myself to write on a topic that I end up hating and tossing, I would talk about one of my unfinished projects that I’m hoping to get back into.


Because goodness knows, I have about a bajillion of those.


I’m still suffering from this weird writer’s block where I want to write, but every time I try, I can barely get a few paragraphs out. Then what I do manage to get out, I don’t like. I can’t seem to chapter plot on stories that I already have an overall plot for (those effin’ details, sheesh). It’s annoying and I think I’ve gotten maybe two or three chapters out in the last month or two, which I usually get out a chapter a day.


Because of this, I end up going back through a lot of my unfinished stuff and occasionally I get a bit of a spark and I’ll work on it. But like everything else, once I get into writing/plotting, it dries out super quick.


But this one, I think I might try focusing on a bit more. I may need to go back and do some research again since it’s been a long time since I started it. Or I might not. It’s based on the King Arthur mythology, which let’s be honest, there’s been so many reiterations of it that I don’t think it’s super necessary to do a lot of heavy research if you want to write a story based in that world. Just making sure that I’m not accidentally stealing ideas from any of the recent shows/stories on it. Though I do need to brush up on my Celtic mythology since that does play a rather big roll in the story. Like an idiot, I didn’t write down a lot of character notes like I usually do. So yea, need to rebuild that.


Anywho, I let my mind wander a bit as I was falling asleep last night while listening to music, and got some ideas on the Big Conflict for the story. Which was the main reason I stopped working on it. It’s basically a story based on Nimue and involving a love story with Merlin. At first I thought that would be the Big Conflict, but realized with the direction I wanted to take that in, well, the story would be too slow. I needed a reason for the two of them getting together again.


Anywho, the working title is “Nimue.” Knowing me, this will ultimately end up being the final title, even though it was originally meant to be a placeholder for my file. I kind of like it, but at the same time, I think I can do better.


It’s basically a sort-of retelling of the Nimue myth from her perspective. I always thought that Nimue was one of those misunderstood characters. That while she might not necessarily be a “good” character, she wasn’t necessarily evil.


The story opens up in the modern day with Nimue having spent centuries living in a sleepy village near the Lake of Avalon safeguarding Excalibur. She’s used her magic to bewitch the townspeople into not realizing that she’s been there so long and doesn’t age, but that’s the only way she really uses magic now despite being the most powerful sorcerer alive. (We learn later on that the other two - Morgana and Merlin - are both dead.) After ordering her to make sure the sword doesn’t fall into the wrong hands (again), the gods and goddesses have pretty much abandoned her.


She’s basically living a mundane life as a mortal. She runs a bookshop in the village, befriends a few for a time before she has to wipe everyone’s memories and start over again as a new person. (Don’t ask me how she does this - it’s a peripheral thing that I feel doesn’t need to be explained. It’s one of those, “because… magic” things.) Occasionally she goes for a swim in the lake. But she’s by and far alone with only her memories and heartache to keep her company. Until she wakes up one morning and feels a shift in the air. She mostly brushes this off since the last time she felt it, she got her hopes up and it turned out to be nothing.


Anywho, that’s about where I’m at now (I don’t want to go into too many details since it could be spoilers). I am planning to have reincarnation. There will be characters from the myths reborn in modern times, but I’m still working out the details for why and what they’re planning to do. Currently, I have the prologue, chapter one, and a later chapter finished, and then the beginning of chapter two. Before I write more, I want to work on finishing up more plotting and recreating the notes I’ve somehow misplaced about the Celtic gods and goddesses.


I also need to decide about POV before I write more. At the moment, I have the prologue written in first person and then everything else in third person. I’m more comfortable writing in third person. However, I kind of feel like since I started out first person, it might be better to continue on with it


I think I may make it into a novella. I seem to put undue pressure on myself to fill 30+ chapters, so I’m not going to do that this time. Honestly, with some of my stories, I feel like I end up putting in filler that isn’t as strong as other parts of the story just because I think I need to make the story longer. And I’m going to try and refrain from turning it into a series (as I’m sometimes prone to do) since I always lose steam after the first book, even if I have plotted out stuff for the following books.


Anywho, here is the prologue and chapter one from “Nimue.” I hope you enjoy and let me know what you think! (Seriously - I could use advice on to push me through my plotting block. If you have ideas or suggestions on the Big Conflict, let me know.)





Prologue


They say a great love will pass the test of time. That it is the thing that great stories are made of. And perhaps, part of that is true.


History is full of stories about love. Where the damsel in distress is always rescued by her prince charming and they ride off into the sunset to live their happily ever after. Two people overcome insurmountable odds to be together.


If only that were true.


No, those stories are typically all rubbish. A rose-tinted version of what actually happened.

Take Arthur and Guinevere.


Story-tellers like to say that it was love at first sight. That upon first gazing at each other they fell madly in love and knew there was no other. What they leave out is the fact that love had nothing to do with it. Arthur was a strategic and advantageous match for Guinevere. She had married him as her father told her to - like any other good noblewoman of her station.


Perhaps there had been affection. They did admire each other to an extent. But I do know that when Guinevere saw Lancelot, whatever affection that might have been for Arthur was all but gone and she was easily swayed to the knight’s side and bed. Granted, they even tell stories about Lancelot and Guinevere’s love, so who is to say that was or wasn’t real.


Love or lust? It’s anyone’s best guess.


But as I said, there are many stories about many great loves. Most of them are exaggerated or made up. And history then likes to ignore the others. The ones that had substance. Or perhaps it's because those stories didn’t end with “happily ever after.”


My story is one of those.


It’s a long one that spans hundreds of years. When you are a powerful sorceress like myself, time and age don’t work the same way as others. We are gifted by the gods and goddesses to have great power. But with it comes the responsibility that we use it well. We keep balance, but at the same time we must stay out of the way of mortals unless it’s called for.


There was a time when I thought everything was perfect. It was just me. And him. Two great beings of magic, living together happily. Content with nothing else.


But that all changed. And that’s when I knew happily ever after was a thing of fiction. There is no happily ever after - at least there wasn’t for me. And now I spend the rest of my long, likely immortal life attempting to make amends.


You see, I was once in love with a sorcerer. Perhaps one of the greatest to ever walk the earth. His name was Merlin. He was kind. Handsome. Passionate. But while that passion was admirable at times, it was that passion that was his undoing. Or rather, I suppose I was his undoing, when you think of it. I try not to.


My name is Nimue.


The stories like to say a lot about me. I am a witch. A sorceress. Sometimes for good, oftentimes for evil. But that’s not even the half of it. For the way I see it, I was neither.


But this... this is my story.


Chapter 1

A Change in the Air


The woman stretched in bed, rising before her alarm went off that morning. That in and of itself wasn’t unusual. In the many long years of her existence, rising early was actually rather common. But the sense of… something… in the air, was not. She couldn’t quite place her finger on it, but she could feel it in her bones.


Something significant was going to happen today.


While any other person would likely pass it off as a weird feeling and go about their day without worrying, she knew better.


Rising from her bed, the woman walked to the balcony of her room that looked out over the lake behind her house and stepped out on it, feeling the bite of the morning chill. Frowning, she stared out at the calm water of the lake, wondering what was causing this feeling.


“What do you want?” she whispered to the air, her green eyes glancing up to the sky.


She waited, but there was nothing. As usual. She wasn’t sure why this time would be any different. Every other time she had called out to the gods and goddesses before, they had ignored her. However, she couldn’t shake the feeling that something was happening. She had gotten this feeling once before, about 30 years ago, but yet, there had been nothing out of the ordinary in her day then.


Perhaps she was losing her touch. Over the years she had felt herself begin to weaken, so knew this was likely it.


Sighing, the woman walked back into her room and set about to getting ready for her day. It was always the same routine. Shower. Dress. Maybe some makeup. She’d dry her long, dark hair and pull it up in a bun. Coffee. Breakfast. Watch the news. Then she’d pack up her purse and pull on a jacket and lock up, though it wasn’t as though she needed it. No one ever came to her large house outside of the village. In fact, if pressed, no one in the village could ever really say where it was she lived.


In actuality, no one could really recall anything particularly detailed about her. They would say her name - Vivian. They knew she owned and ran a small bookshop in town that always remained open even if it always seemed empty of customers. But no one could really say how long she had been there or how old she was.


She had always just… been there. And no one found it odd in the slightest.


It was that way by design, of course. No one knew that her real name wasn’t Vivian. And if anyone had suggested that magic might be behind any of it, of course, they would be laughed at and called foolish. Because everyone knew that magic didn’t exist.


No one knew that, yes, it did in fact exist. And no one knew that the woman was really called Nimue. But they couldn’t, could they? Nimue was a woman of legend. The woman who trapped Merlin in a tower, if you read some stories. The Lady of the Lake, if you read others.


But no one knew the real story.


No one save Nimue and the gods and goddesses at this point, anyway. All the others who were there at the time were long dead.


Humming to herself, Nimue hopped on her bike and started down the country path to the village, looking around at the quiet morning around her. It was still there, the change in the air. Though she tried to tell herself that it was nothing. It was nothing before. It would be nothing this time.


But she couldn’t help as something set her on edge. Perhaps she would go for a swim after work to calm herself. The waters of the lake always had that effect on her.


Onward she continued, finally coming to the edge of the sleepy village. Already various people were starting about their days. They would shout out their hellos that she would nod politely in return. Finally, she came to her shop in the heart of the village and hopped off her bike.


“Viv!”


She stopped and turned, seeing a young woman with light brown hair jogging up to her, two coffees in hand and a bright smile on her face. Nimue smiled and stopped.


“Can always count on you to be on time,” the woman said, coming to a stop. She glanced around the village. “Granted it’s not like anything ever changes in this town.”


“Ah, yes. But isn’t that what you love about it, Tori?” Nimue asked with a smile.


Tori looked back at her and smiled, nodding. Nimue walked over to the door and unlocked it, pushing the door open as she dragged in her bike and Tori followed.


“Though sometimes I can’t help but wish we had just a bit of excitement, you know?” Tori replied. “Just something to change things up a bit.”


Nimue only chuckled in response, moving to store her bike in a back room before walking around and turning on all the lights and preparing for her day. Tori walked over and sat on one of the stools behind the counter. She worked at a nearby cafe that her husband owned and ran, but would always stop by the bookshop throughout the day for her breaks.


She was the closest friend Nimue had allowed herself to have, finding an eternity alone to be rather lonely. And Tori was entertaining. When she wasn’t talking about her husband or kids, she would manage to drag Nimue out to one of the local pubs on occasion. Tori provided a break in the monotony of Nimue’s life that she welcomed.


“Right, so Roger has agreed to take the kids tomorrow. You up for a bit of fun?” Tori asked. Nimue paused in opening the register, glancing over at her with arched eyebrows. “Don’t give me that look, Viv. It’s been forever.”


Nimue chuckled and shook her head as she continued with her work.


“Suppose I could come out for a bit,” she said, seeing Tori grin out of the corner of her eye. “Though, please no karaoke this time.”


Tori snorted and rolled her eyes, pushing one of the coffee cups towards Nimue as she hopped off the stool.


“You loved it, admit it,” Tori replied. Nimue just looked up at her. “I’ll bring over lunch later, yea?”


“Sounds good,” Nimue replied.


Tori then walked out of the bookshop and Nimue sighed, looking around. She still felt a bit on edge, but it wasn’t so bad now that she was here. Being surrounded by books always helped calm her. Not as good as water, but a close second.


“Best to get on with the day…”





Just before lunch, Nimue was cleaning the front window where a small table and chairs sat when the feeling suddenly spiked. Her hand froze as the air grew heavy and she struggled to breathe for a moment. She then shook her head and looked out the window, wondering just what was causing this.


She scanned the faces of the people walking down the street, but they were all the usual inhabitants of the village. The feeling grew as a large lorry passed by, followed by an SUV, but Nimue was still caught up in looking at the people. She couldn’t help as her heart sank slightly at not seeing anyone other than the people she had seen for years now.


Part of her had hoped that maybe someone would be coming to pay a visit. That perhaps, at long last, Danu would finally speak to her.


But it was not so, it seemed.


“What are you staring at?” Tori asked as she waltzed into the shop, two bags in her hands.


Nimue straightened up and turned, shrugging.


“Nothing… just people watching,” she said as she looked at the table, deeming it clean enough.


Tori walked over and sat the bags down, then took a seat herself, looking up at Nimue expectantly. Quickly, she took a seat as well and started pulling containers out of bags.


“Ah, appears we do have some excitement!” Tori exclaimed. Nimue paused slightly, looking up at her. “Remember the old Thatcher farm on the edge of the village?” Nimue nodded. “Seems someone’s finally moving in.”


“Really?” Nimue asked, surprised.


The farm had been abandoned for a few years after Old Man Thatcher had passed away. She vaguely remembered something about a grandson or great-nephew that the solicitors struggled to find, but hadn’t thought much about it since then.


“Yea, apparently they found Mr. Thatcher’s grandson,” Tori continued, thoroughly enjoying the gossip.


Nimue frowned slightly as she glanced out the window, remembering the truck and SUV she had seen drive by earlier. The feeling had intensified about then, but was now back to a dull throb. Perhaps it was related to that?


“Perhaps he’ll be young and single,” Tori mused. Nimue snorted.


“You’ve been married for 5 years,” she reminded her. Tori rolled her eyes.


“I know. I meant for you,” she stated. That garnered a louder laugh from Nimue.


“Honestly, you think I would care? If I haven’t found someone by now, I’m destined to be alone,” she joked, though she couldn’t help the twinge of pain in her heart.


Nimue quickly began eating her salad, keeping the amused look on her face though she felt anything but. She looked out the window again, her thoughts momentarily going back over the last thousands of years. But then she stopped herself.


It would do no one any good to go down that road again.


“Really, Viv. You’re still young! There’s no reason you can’t still find love,” Tori said emphatically. “At the very least, consider a sordid love affair so I can live vicariously through you.”


Nimue chuckled, looking up at Tori. She then shook her head.


“No, Tori. Unlike you, I enjoy living a quiet life. The only sordid affairs are in the books I read,” Nimue said.


“Really, sometimes you are no fun,” Tori complained, though there was a twinkle in her eyes.


“Then why do you still spend time with me?” Nimue countered. Tori grinned at her.


“Because there’s no one else in this village that is as much fun as you,” Tori replied.


“What about Marissa and Eileen?” Nimue asked. Tori rolled her eyes.


“They’re only good for gossip,” she said with a sigh. “At least I know there are no pretenses with you.”


Nimue just chuckled.


“Come on. You know you take too long and Roger will come after you,” she said, pointing her fork at Tori’s food.


“Relax. He won’t care…”





Nimue took her time getting back home that evening. She slowed down as she reached the Thatcher farm. Coming to a stop, she looked down the lane leading to the main house, seeing the lorry there and a few workers unloading things, but they were too far away for her to make out their faces.


The unsettledness that had come upon her earlier was still there, though faint. It was odd that this particular event would conjure the feeling. Granted, it wasn’t as though new people moved into the town often. She wasn’t sure how or why this would affect her.


Shaking her head, she pushed on, continuing home. Perhaps it was just wishful thinking that something exciting could be coming. Nothing exciting ever happened in the village or to Nimue. But she had long ago accepted this.


Her first few centuries of existence held enough excitement to last several lifetimes, at least that’s what she had told herself.


Nimue hurried home, going up to her room and quickly changing into a swimsuit. She then walked out to the backyard and through the garden to the long dock that ran from the shoreline out into the lake. Just being closer to the water already calmed her.


Sighing, she sat down on the edge of the dock, dipping her feet into the water as she stared out into the lake. No matter the weather, the water was always warm. And there was always a mist that hid the center of the lake from view. Tilting her head to the side, Nimue stared into the mist, in her mind conjuring the image of the island that she knew was there. She had not been allowed to see it since that day, though Nimue pushed it from her mind, the guilt welling up within her.


She then pushed off the dock and slipped into the lake, swimming out a bit before she turned around and floated on her back, her eyes drifting shut. Slowly, she breathed in and out, allowing the anxiety that had settled into her to slowly slip out.


As she floated, her mind drifted back…





“Nimue! You must focus!”


The young teenage girl jumped slightly, not realizing that she had drifted off during her lessons. She looked at the irate sorcerer currently glaring at her as her tablemate snickered softly. Shooting a glare at the teen boy, she then turned her attention back to the old man.


“Sorry, Archimedes,” she stated clearly.


The old man glared at her once more and then continued on lecturing about the basics of transformation. Nimue had long ago committed them to heart so wasn’t so sure just why he insisted on continuing to go over and over them. He prattered on for another 20 minutes or so, though it felt much longer, before placing two feathers on the table in front of his two students.


“Now… I want you to transform these feathers into sticks,” he said, stepping back.


Nimue couldn’t help but smile, eager to get to the more practical aspects of their lessons. Neither could her classmate, it seemed. Before she could do anything, Merlin had put his hand out and quickly recited an incantation. Nimue quickly jumped away, already knowing he was likely to blow it up. Merlin had always been far too impatient.


Sure enough, the feather exploded with a loud pop and quickly disintegrated in flames, leaving scorch marks on the old wooden table.


Merlin glared at the mark and then looked at his hands, as though that were the problem. Smiling smugly to herself, Nimue turned her focus back to her own feather, taking deep, slow breaths as she went over the incantation in her mind. She then parted her lips, reciting it in a measured, clear tone.


The feather lifted into the air, froze a moment and then smoothly transformed into a stick that clattered as it dropped back to the table.


“Well done, Nimue,” Archimedes said, a proud smile on his face. He then frowned at Merlin. “Again.”


About an hour later, the wizened sorcerer dismissed the two young teens to see to their chores before dinner. Merlin grumbled softly as they made their way to the large barn where a variety of animals were kept, all eager for their nightly meal.


“Perhaps if you stopped to consider what you were doing before you did it, you would not fail so much,” Nimue said, glancing over at him.


Merlin came to a stop, a scowl on his young face.


“Perhaps if you weren’t such an insufferable know-it-all, I could focus better,” he shot back. Nimue only shrugged and continued on, not bothered in the slightest by his words.


“Do not blame your shortcomings on me, Merlin,” she said, a bit of a haughty tone to her voice as she reached for a bucket hanging on the wall and then started over to where the various grains and foodstuffs were stored. “It is not my fault that you lack patience and discipline.”


“Must you always be so, so… so vexing!” Merlin shouted, causing Nimue to jump slightly, then turn to look at him.


He was still frowning at her, though it was not anger in his dark blue eyes, but rather frustration. Anger she could handle, but this was something completely different.


“I assure you, I do not intend to act as such,” she said, attempting to keep her voice smooth as she walked over to the barrel where they kept the chicken feed. “Nor is it my fault you feel that way.”


She heard Merlin make a noise of frustration before walking off to complete the chores that Archimedes expected of them every day. Hesitantly, she glanced over at him, finding his brow furrowed as he grabbed a rake and moved to begin mucking out the horses’ stalls. He stopped and looked over at her, causing her to return her eyes back to her task.


Disagreements between the two pupils were commonplace and had happened since the first day they both arrived at the isolated farmstead to train with Archimedes. It was rare for two such beings of magic to be born so closely in age to each other, but the elder sorcerer had been more than happy to take them in and rear them in the ways of their kind. To teach them not only to control the magic that coursed through their veins but to fulfill their destinies as emissaries in this world of the gods and goddesses. The keepers of balance between mortals and magic.


But something was shifting. Young Nimue could feel it in the air though she was yet unsure of what it meant. She was but 14 summers and still had quite a ways to go before she understood most of the things in this world, but even then, she could sense something different in Merlin’s eyes when he looked at her. In his voice when he spoke to her, even if he was complaining.


She just wished she knew what it was.





Frowning to herself, Nimue wondered just what she would think of that day. Of all the thousands and thousands of memories she had from her many centuries of existence, that one would come to mind.


True, she often thought of Merlin, though it was painful to do so, but she had not often thought of that day when she first began to consider his changing feelings for her. Granted at the time she did not recognize them for what they were. That realization would come years later.


Why, on a day when she had felt a shift in the world around her, would her thoughts turn to that memory? Even with all her wisdom and lived experience, Nimue didn’t have the answer. And she knew that the gods and goddesses were unlikely to give it to her themselves.


Sighing, Nimue continued staring up at the sky. Whatever it was, perhaps the answers would come in time.


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