The smooth black obsidian stone showed Arthur a new, strange world he didn’t understand. What world was it, and why had Merlin given him the seeing stone that revealed it?

It’s a flat black stone, one side dull and bumpy, the other smooth and polished, and as Arthur holds it for the first time, he can see his reflection. Merlin tells him that it’s the most precious thing he would ever own, and that it would show him its power and its purpose.

Then one day, Arthur takes his stone from its hiding place, and as he holds it in his hands, it begins to glow, and he can see and hear a scene inside it. A king and a hooded man watch workers dig a pit, see it fill with water, then drain it, revealing two caves, from which emerge two dragons, one red and one white, who fight to the death. As the scene fades, Arthur hears the curiously familiar voice of the hooded man, saying, “The king who was, and who will be.”

And the stone is not the only mystery in Arthur’s life. Why won’t his father explain what his plans are for his son’s life? Why does he refuse to let him become a squire? Why does Serle seem to hate him so much, tormenting him every way he can, and getting him into trouble over and over? And is Merlin more than his father’s friend? He lives at the manor, but pays no rent. He always has food and clothing, and possessions, but never does anything to earn money. Who is he, and why did he give Arthur the black stone?