Date: roughly August of the 6th century
Harriett shivered and gazed around at her surroundings, a mixture of terror and wonder overcoming her emotions.
"Can I help you?" A voice said from behind her.
Harriett jumped and spun round to face the speaker. He was a young man, at a guess he could be early twenties. His clothing was fairly decent, but had a few stains and rips marking the fabric. He was possibly a servant, but to someone wealthy enough to provide him with fairly good quality clothes. His coal-black hair flopped over his head, partially covering one of his blue eyes. He pushed his hair back and grinned at her shyly.
"Oh, sorry, um, where am I?" Harriett stuttered, suddenly overcome with nerves.
"Why, you're in Camelot. One of the greatest cities in this country. Where do you come from?" The man asked curiously.
"A small village in the mountains a long way away. I took some weeks to get here." She lied smoothly.
"Ah right." The man looked behind her. "Where is your horse?"
"I don't have one." Harriett said, also glancing over her own shoulder.
"You walked all this way?" He said, widening his eyes at her.
Harriett gulped nervously. "I mean, I don't have one now. I did have one, but he ran away in the night after I was approached by wild animals."
The man nodded, seeming to believe her story. "Well, okay then. What shall I call you anyway?"
"Harriett." She extended her hand and he shook it gently.
"Harriett, eh? Not met one of those before. You're a rarity!" He laughed heartily and Harriett returned it with a nervous laugh. "I'm Merlin. I am the personal servant of Prince Arthur."
"Prince Arthur?!" Harriett cried in shock. "Merlin?! You're not the Merlin are you?"
"Erm... Well, that depends on whether I am who you think I am..." Merlin said uncertainly.
"Do you... I mean, are you..."
"Am I what?" Merlin asked, uncertainty turning to curiosity.
Harriett gestured to his eyes vaguely. "Do you have magic?"
Merlin looked at her, shocked. "How did you know?" He gulped, fear clear in his expression. "I mean, what are you on about?"
"I've heard about you before. A friend told me about you and my aunt read a story to me once about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. My friend told me about you as well and how you talk to dragons, especially that one dragon... Kilgharrah or whatever his name is. I was just really interested. But don't worry, because I have magical abilities too, although I probably shouldn't tell you that, seeing as we've only just met." Harriett told Merlin before sitting herself down on a rock behind her.
Merlin stood watching her in a stunned silence for a moment.
"How do you also have magical abilities? Kilgharrah told me that I was the only one left."
Harriett shuffled uncomfortably. "Ah, well, you see, I'm not from around here. I-"
"Yeah, I know, you're from that village in the mountains." Merlin interrupted with impatience.
"No, I'm not." Harriett said. Merlin frowned at her, about to speak again. "Wait a moment and I'll explain." She paused, twisting a hair band in her fingers. "I come from the future. I was born on the thirteenth of September 1976. My friend has a machine that allows him to time travel and he brought me here, but his machine flew off without me so I'm stuck here now. My original intent of time travelling was to look for three missing objects: the Resurrection Stone, the Cloak of Invisibility and the Elder Wand. Collectively, they are known as the Deathly Hallows and I have to find them before I return home."
Merlin was silent for a moment, and Harriett treasures the silence, allowing the information to sink in.
"How old are you?" He asked, sitting on another rock a metre or so away from Harriett's.
Of all the questions? Harriett asks herself in wonder. "I'm fifteen. What month is it?"
"Fifteen... It is August." Merlin replies thoughtfully.
"Then I'll be sixteen on September thirteenth." She says plainly.
Merlin watches her in silence. "We shall discuss our magic in a more private place another time. For now though, you have to meet Prince Arthur and King Uther. Come, you also need to change. You look too suspicious like that."
Merlin leapt up and held his hand out to help her up. She gratefully accepted it, before looking down at herself to analyse her outfit. She was only wearing a simple dress, tights and a pair of leather boots. Nothing too suspicious, but she supposed that Merlin knew best about the dress sense of his own time.
"Okay, let's go." Harriett said before following Merlin into the centre of Camelot.
Merlin handed Harriett a bundle of clothes and gestured to a door that was just up a small flight of about six steps.
"Here you are. You can use my bedroom to get changed in."
Harriett took the clothes gratefully and went into his room. It was very plain with normal white walls, wooden floors, a plain bed and a chest of drawers. She thought back to her own bedroom back in 20th century London and was grateful that she was born in a much later time period.
"Do you not live with anyone else?" Harriett asked Merlin, coming out of his room, now dressed in proper Medieval clothing.
"Yes, I live with Gaius. My parents died when I was young so I live with my guardian Gaius instead. He is probably out collecting herbs." Merlin replied, analysing her appearance at the same time. "That outfit suits you."
Harriett looked down at herself shyly. "Thank you."
"Now, come on, I'll take you to meet Prince Arthur." Merlin turned to leave the small house, but stopped at the door.
"What?" Harriett said, almost running into him in his sudden stop.
"I think it might be best if you keep the 'coming from a mountainous village' story. Arthur and the King disagree with the use of magic."
"Magic failed to cure the Queen of a fatal illness and she died. Ever since then Uther has decided to ban magic and execute anyone with magical ability." Merlin held the door open and shut it after Harriett had left. "Hence why Kilgharrah is imprisoned in a cave below the castle."
"What about you?" Harriett asked curiously.
"I hide it well." Merlin said simply.
Harriett tried not to look many people too closely in the eye as she passed them and ran her hand subconsciously over her bag. Her small bag was concealed under the bunchy material of her dress and held all of her belongings, including her old outfit and her wand. She just hoped that it wouldn't be discovered.
"Can I meet Kilgharrah at some point?" She asked Merlin's back as he marched through the town's streets.
"Sure. Although I will say now that he has a very short temper."
Harriett nodded and jogged slightly to keep up with Merlin's fast pace. It wasn't so much that he was tall and had long strides, he was probably just used to running round so quickly to follow servant orders. He suddenly stopped in front of a set of large doors and Harriett ran into his back.
"Oh, sorry." Harriett mumbled, jumping back.
Merlin ignored her and knocked on the door. A man in shining armour opened the door and conversed briefly with Merlin before stepping back to admit them. Harriett smiled shyly at the doorman and jogged again to keep up with Merlin, who was already striding through the marble hallways.
Harriett barely had time to take anything in before she was again stopped in front of another set of doors.
"This is Prince Arthur's meeting room. The central room for all meetings with him and any visitors. Wait here and I will notify him of your presence." Merlin said, indicating the door. "Do not touch anything. Actually, just don't move at all."
Harriett nodded and folded her arms, trying to stay as still as possible. Merlin nodded and dashed off down the hall.
"Right, I have told Arthur that your name is Athena, as it suits this time period better. He is already in there, just knock and go in." Merlin said, returning to Harriett, who was stood in the exact position that he had left her in.
Harriett gulped and knocked on the door. It opened to reveal a large chamber with a round table at one end and a throne at the other. The table was nearest the door and Harriett knew immediately that it must be the famous Round Table. Prince Arthur was sat on one of the seats, analysing her appearance. The seat that he was on was very similar to all the rest, but Harriett noted that it had slightly more decoration around the top, with vines trailing around the arm rests. It was equal, but not completely equal.
Harriett curtsied to the Prince and waited for a moment.
"Please, sit down." Arthur told her, indicating one of the other chairs positioned round the table.
Harriett chose a chair two seats away from the Prince, but he looked disappointed so she moved to the next one. She was sat only one chair away from the famous Prince Arthur. She could hardly believe it.
"Introduce yourself and tell me how you got here." The Prince instructed.
Harriett glanced slightly towards the door and noticed Merlin was stood to the left of the double doors. He smiled encouragingly when Harriett caught his eye.
"My name is Athena. I come from a faraway village in the mountains. It has taken me weeks to get here, but I wished to visit as my aunt had told me so much about the glories of Camelot. I was originally riding a horse to get here, but my horse ran away when some wild animals approached us in the night. I didn't see what the animals were, but my horse ran away. I only walked for a day or two before I got here. Your servant, Merlin, saw me and brought me here to you." Harriett lied smoothly, keeping an innocent face on all while she was talking.
"Very well Athena. I wish that you have a good stay here in Camelot. Where will you be staying?"
"I have not had the chance to sort that out yet."
"For now, Merlin can find you a place to stay and we will see about the future. How long do you intend to stay?"
"I am uncertain at this moment. My family did not seem to want me back any time soon."
"As far as I'm aware, they don't know that I left."
"Will they not miss you?"
"No. Me and my family have never got along very well." Harriett was finding it difficult to speak in 6th century English. It was over-simple for her modernised tongue.
There was a moment of silence where Harriett was uncertain of what to say.
"I think I know enough about you. You are dismissed." Prince Arthur told her.
She stood up, curtsied and hurried back out the room to rejoin Merlin.
"You did very well." Merlin told her as soon as the door was shut. "Come, let's get you settled."