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Arthur sat down on a fallen log, exhaling slowly. Of all the bizarre things he’d heard since he’d been reborn in Shaman, this definitely made it into the top ten.

“So, this woman… Gwythr wanted her too?”

“It fits,” Mallos admitted, moodily taking his spot on the grass opposite. He didn’t really want to be here, Arthur knew, but there were a few matters which had to be cleared up. Strangely enough, the Spaniard was a lot more obedient and cooperative without his magic. “He may even have brought her to Shaman. Disguised as me, with my pendant and my DNA, she would have been able to approach him on Earth without her shapeshifting enchantment being set off and without her knowing who he really was. The spell would have kicked in the minute she entered Shaman, since it’s small and she was in close enough proximity to Aura. Gwythr may have lost her then.”

He yawned pointedly, but Arthur wasn’t through with him yet. “So where is she now? I haven’t seen her since the battle.”

“The spell would have done its work when Tsi and the others arrived. She’ll have shifted into a lamrion or a fairy and gone into hiding somewhere. I doubt you’ll find her without magic.”

Silence fell for a few minutes, in which Arthur surveyed his companion with his unreadable grey gaze. If Mallos noticed then he didn’t pay him any attention; he was too busy watching an approaching figure with an expression of dawning apprehension. Arthur resisted the urge to chuckle. It had been easy enough for the deity to stand up to Joel while he had wielded full divinity, but now he seemed to be starting to realise just how much trouble he could get into without it. The King dismissed him and stood up, turning to greet his old friend.

That’s when it happened. A crack like thunder tore through the air and there was a brilliant flash of white light directly in front of him, so bright that he was temporarily blinded. It took a few minutes of fierce blinking for his vision to return, by which time Joel had caught up with him. Alert, the two men stared suspiciously around them for a moment, trying to see what the magic – for surely it could have been nothing else – had conjured or destroyed, before Arthur realised that he was clutching a scroll in his left hand. Cautiously, he held it up to the light and unrolled it. The paper was thick and slightly yellowed, resembling an old-fashioned scroll of parchment, and its message was written in a beautiful calligraphic hand and black ink. The King’s eyes met the carpenter’s for a moment, before they both bent their heads to read the text.

“To King Arthur; Sovereign of ‘Shaman’, Classified World 207659; Acknowledged Representative.

This message is sent in confirmation of the Agreement between the Council of Originals and the People of Shaman. Please retain this message as it may be used to provide evidence in court.

The Council of Originals (henceforth referred to as ‘the Council’) made the decision to intervene on the behalf of the People of Shaman (henceforth referred to as ‘the People’) when it became clear that the People were endangered by the presence of three original fairies. The three fairies in question are: Mallos, Deity of Spain, International Ambassador of the Council of Originals; Gwythr, Deity of Italy, Chairman of the Council of Originals (suspended pending enquiry) and High Judge of the Star Chamber (suspended pending enquiry); and Aura, Deity of England. The People came under threat when Gwythr and Aura began a campaign against one another and drafted residents into their opposing causes.

The Council’s solution was to end the civil war and impose twenty years in relative time of peace. Gwythr and Aura were reduced to zygotes and destined to be reborn with no memory or knowledge of who they really were, raised by the People, for the People. When they reach the age of twenty, the People will be asked to decide which one they prefer to be installed as God of Shaman. Mallos was stripped of his magic and left on Shaman to ensure the balance was kept and to allow a form of contact between King Arthur, Sovereign of Shaman, and Tsi, Deity of China, Acting Chairman of the Council of Originals.

If Gwythr and Aura attempt to resume warfare before the twenty year period is up, the Council urges King Arthur to use Mallos to contact Tsi immediately.

Good luck.
Khasekhemwy, Deity of Palestine, Official Scribe of the Council of Originals.”

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