I detected a hint of embarrassment in our friend before he began the account of his latest adventure. That became clearer with the first words out of his mouth. In his hasty pursuit on the Low-way of those bearing the dragon egg, he ran afoul of one of our traps. It had to have been one of our fairy traps. For he fell into a deep state of forgetfulness.
And he wandered aimlessly until he fell into the company of a couple of dwarves – our old friends Fliget and Gnoston. That is how Merlin fell into the hands of the ever suspicious Artoxon.
Something about his surroundings brought him back to his senses. (I believe that the fact of all that gold in one spot would make a perfect nest for a dragon egg did the trick).
Once he remembered who he was, he thanked them, bid them goodbye, then disappeared from their sight. (He was none too keen to trust those dwarves based on their past history).
He was more than happy not to explain more when Noralei laid before him the mystery of the chalice and the red ash.
As the wizard conferred with her and Rumble, I went atop the tower from which it had been removed, and looked around.