“You don’t understand, if you don’t free me we will all be doomed-”
“Are you threatening your king!” the man with the crown demanded.
The weather-worn woman before did not tremble from his anger, merely bowed her head in exhaustion and weary resignation.
The king did not wait to see what she would say before continuing, “You are guilty of the crime of sorcery!”
A smile flitted across her tear-stained face as she finally looked up, “That’s why I came to Camelot.”
The king was not surprised in the least, “To destroy us.”
For the first time, the woman frowned, “No, to be free. You slaughter all with magic.” she seemed to take courage from somewhere and stood straight for the first time since she’d been brought before the king, “Surely you can bring permanent death even to a phoenix.”
There was stunned silence in the court of law, even the king found himself speechless at this declaration.
“Death is a freedom I desperately need.” the woman, no, the phoenix trapped within human form, “Please, King Uther, you must execute me.”
I’ve been thinking about BBC’s Merlin lately and the fact that King Uther was very anti-magic. He killed anyone even hinted at using or being near magic, including magical creatures who were born with magic and, at the time, were believed to have no kind of agency for themselves.
(I extrapolate the last comment based on the fact that animals weren’t believed to have a soul at the time and only those with a soul would have a mind and be able to actually make choices and thus have agency to choose for themselves what they wanted to do.)
What if someone came to Camelot, not because they wanted to attack King Uther with their magic, but because they wanted King Uther to know they had magic and kill them?
Well, I thought about it and this little snippet wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote it. I was never certain just how it would end, but maybe now I can write on something else.