30 November 2009
Has its freedom today
The unbearable lives made
Left to those who can say
Work for minimum wages
So they can try to stay
While they're working on pages
Like they do ever day
The corruption of power
Overlooking your life
Sitting high in a tower
Wait in fear with a knife
While it rains, do they cower
Overwhelming with strife
Heavens blood will soon shower
On the piper and fife
Lives a definite evil
One that won’t come around
Turn the ground in upheaval
Go to sleep underground
When the fighters go missing
Where you can’t make a sound
What the lawyers are hissing
When the law comes to town
A single dark cloud passed over the land, passing over on its way through the sky, taking with it the threat of rain, and the call of other clouds like it, haunting from the deep distances out at sea, taken by the humid wind. On Merlin’s passing out of town, a heavy child is terrorizing a smaller child with a club, bullishly. To test his new stones, Merlin throws one of the average bobbles in front of the running angry and violent child having fun tormenting the smaller one it chases. The young tyrant’s foot becomes stuck before the thrown stone, as he falls forward with the club still high enough over his head that when he does, he does so face first into the mud.
The malicious child had looked around and then whimsically began crying like a newborn, but no one person can tell if the child is in pain or if merely his emotions wounded because the little boy begins cleaning the mud from his clothes, eventually doing so frantically, worried about the clothes more than why they were ruined. Eventually the mud stained bastard pauses for a look around the area and in a moment of clarity, he runs in the direction of the shore in a great rush.
Merlin continues walking out of the town through the muddy and separated avenues of the stockyards and into even more mud in faded farm rows to where the sparse forest begins near the heavily trafficked lane, that which he and Troy had used to enter town from the east. As a narrowing path veered left, so did Merlin, following the vanished paces of passers past, along a well traveled narrow path forming between the forest edges that ended ever close and within view of the shore and the shore itself. Walking alongside the forest and sea, he went with the sounds of the land soothingly communicating a peaceful silence. The air is gracefully calming him with the sound of the ocean, the wind in the air that occasionally causes the trees to bow and wave, rushing through their leaves like a whisper. To one side are the mysterious ocean waves and the storming of the deep and dark horizon and on the other, as he walked north along the trail that rises above the coast the further he goes, a thickening forest.
Merlin took the densely packaged incense from his new pouch and ate it, belching out smoke the color and scent of the incense. Anyone in the entire world, including the creatures of the wood, could tell that Merlin was clean-shaven and not to be noticed as much older than Troy could have been afterward. He spit out the incense substance, showing it had been much to his disgust, picked a flower, and begins plucking the petals, eating them one by one, as he walks.
Miniature furry forest rodents follow him for brief distances at a time, past rosehips and blueberries upward along the uncovered trail, as the mysterious forest to his side begins to grow dark, the tall trees become even taller and noticeably more stoic. The covering of the woods is dense and intertwined, locking out all of the possible light from shining to the forest floor, concealing a hidden realm of darkness. The forest’s edge is open though, as it meets the path along the steadily climbing mountain ledge, giving the creatures of the dark forest an open theater to the magnificently flawless ocean at all times of the day or night, unless abridged by a fog or a similar climate. A small strip of grass lines the edge past the thick growth, between the trees and the path, providing a lane of viridescent and lush grass for any walker to rest, a beautiful path for a blinding morning rise of the sun.
An ever-nervous Merlin continues on his march up the path, which now was a path running up the mountain without diversion, straight and narrowing. A dirt path of light brown faded earth and grey pebbles, and as he notices he hears a growling from the deep of the dark foliage. Deep in the silent growth, the crickets heard are giving their sound less than before, but as of late less than before quite dramatically, as he notices two eyes of a giant bear behind the forest line with shiny teeth. Holding onto a tree to stand, poorly hiding behind it, nearly fomenting its own hunger as it stares at Merlin walking up the mountain pass.
Merlin, well wise of this creature’s tactics, had not wished having himself overthrown, over the edge of the bluff, which had become a distant cliff from the rocky and shallow shore now far below, or a spring meal so very far from the river free of large fish this time of year. So calmly, he took from his pocket a blue diamond with eight sides and with a stretch of his wrist, the nearly clear stone launches from his hand, to the trunk of the very tree where the bear stands, causing a loud explosion and alarming the bear. The bright blast had knocked down the towering tree, and by doing so, frightened the bear, causing it to retreat into the cavernous forest, dark as night and as always, as quiet as such. The nearby birds sounded as they fled, or as they stayed and watched, with arrogant disapproval.
The aged tree he had damaged falls outward onto the path, ripping a hole in the canopy's edge, bringing in a narrow lane of light, unfamiliar to the unabridged continuous edge, behind it as he moves forward to avoid it’s crash. The onerous tree falls directly outward over the edge of the road, its trunk lying completely in the lane, the leaves hanging past the cliff. The fall had caused a dislodging of the edge an arm's length, from the edge but not enough to eat into the heavily worn road.
Merlin stands in patient awe, waiting for a second altercation, and with a lengthily and unnecessary adieu, there is none. He turns and begins walking, again up the mountain road, where ahead the massive monolithic mountain begins to take dominance of the terrain and push against the tall forest. As he reaches the top of the basin, the forest abruptly ends and the mountain took over the path, and carved deep into the mountain was a winding path with walls that were uniformly distanced and smooth without markings that met the floor of the path with a sharply shaved edge. The rising edges of the walls stand jagged, worn with time from fire, ice or any combination thereof making any damage.
However, before the entrance was the wrecked wagon and the fallen sky-glider from The Vision Pool, lying as one crushed and combined pile of broken and woven woodwork with partially burnt pieces and canvas, gunpowder and broken bomb casings, and least of all, what was left of the hunters of the sky.
The storm has moved against the coast, and attempted to crawl partially up the climbing path. The mist from the ocean crashing into the cliffs had held warmth to it as well as the soaking of his clothes and he was glad to be out of it, but the winds at the top of the cliff near the entrance to the winding mountain path bring a concerning chill. He had desperately hoped to make it there much dryer in a day of comforting sunlight. Nevertheless, this had not been one of the lengthy days of multiple suns and the smaller of the two held a low sunset on the far side of the forest. He was entering warmer weather leaving coastal rains and low fog that in the day or night would from time to time roll out of the woods in a thick and slow blanket as he neared the carved mountain conduit. Even past the low-lying shoreline as was the case now and as it did is blown clear by the wind rolling over the treetops, pushing back the clouds above water, before they can condense on the scene. Out to the dark sea of unforboding and unforgiving cold waters and towering swells as a lighting storm pass over the water, creeping to the coast, the fog and smoke beginning to thoroughly roll out past the burnt wreckage.
Nearing the entrance to the mountain path and tired of walking, he takes a rest behind the lee of the remnants of the two conveyances and combs through the wreckage of things and pilfering the pockets of what was surely an unpleased pilot in his final moments. He finds a few coins mixed with useless stones and a wealthy array of small daggers and peasants’ knives, the dead pilot’s aircraft and the wagon were mostly empty though, minus the poacher who was slowly drawing out the wolves and Merlin could hear this, as he sat and stared into the woods at their gaining of his attention. No more than a dozen gathering at a distance from him they watched, pacing and some even sit in wait, cautious of him, far enough to barely be seen or get an accurate count.
Merlin - You have had worse days - says Merlin to the body remnant.
Feeling that he has dried enough and tired of walking, he grabs a board with a slight curvature to it, collects a very small amount of the fatal paint from the pilot of previous nature, and walks around the carnage into the path, with a clear sight of the tall entrance to the mountain opening. Merlin does not notice a man, walking out from the elevated pass, walking to him carrying a leather satchel on his short side, as he begins his dirt drawing and at this, he draws two circles on the ground, one slightly smaller, with 12 circles between the two rings trying to keep them an equal distance apart. He draws and writes the 12 numbers, one inside each circle by pouring the blood slowly to the ground, as he kneels wearily in the middle of his design.
Sage and standing, he begins to mumble a spell and grinding his teeth, shaky at best, somewhat switching stance from one foot to another teleports up the mountain a visible distance, leaving the lines he had drawn intensely burnt to ash in an invisible leap far behind him and scorching the road with the design, torched into the dirt. Quite some distance ahead and at the end of the open path, not far behind the walker he stood patiently steaming. Merlin dusted himself off and shook what he could from his hair and thoughts, and though nothing outwardly affected him, he puts his hand to the wall of the entrance, catching his balance. The distance between him and the pedestrian was not much, but the length of road from where he stood to the damaged wagon was considerably vast. Merlin’s face had aged some by sign of dry skin and a grey shadowy outcrop of hair on his head that held color just moments earlier.
“Don’t go” said the traveler.
“Who are you… to tell me?” Merlin asked while seeming to breathe the steam and be fighting to collect his thoughts. The stranger took time to poise himself in a proper stance,
“Nickolas,” he replied.
Merlin spoke with obvious sign that his mind still raced, “Don’t follow me Nickolas.”
“ Do you need this?” the man said, having reached into his pocket, now holding forth a little bottled potion. Merlin looks to Nickolas’ hand to see a small vial, the very same vial of diamond-storm he had hoped to buy from the miniature sailor within the city. Without a step or a moment’s pause Nick says, “I am going with you and there is no debate.” Merlin asked, “Why?”
“I have many questions to ask the great Merlin.” He said.
Merlin, “..............show me a spectacle of unique amazement.”
Nickolas turns around, pointing to the city far below, with a clearing for the pastures inland and the city attached to the shore nearly hidden by cloud cover. “The rain is heavy and covers the city.” He said pointing out to the city below, tossing his scarf over his shoulder, and in fact, the dark clouds that had earlier pushed forth the mist were now raining on the town, in a matter of moments, the city becomes blanketed in gloomy clouds and the distant storm rages in the waters just past the land, offshore.
He is surprised and impressed by the action the stranger, “You’re a journalist?”
He replied, “Mostly,” saying it while throwing his scarf around his neck as he noticed it fall again.
“I will need that vial,” Merlin said with a perplexed expression painted on his face.
“Of course” and with that he tosses it to Merlin with a closed grin.
Merlin, “If you steal from me, I will chain you, out for the crooked vultures.”
They walk through the pass and Merlin receives several comments and questions, each of simple nature about notions of how missing ingredients to potions cause calamity, and the writes of spells that any child with little knowledge of the magical art might know. To the affect that which at some point of their journey, Merlin pines to ask him to stop any further inquiries, but the curiously adamant young man, in appearance, seems in adoration, but with questions that seemingly held no relevance to each other.
The exotic path carved within the mountain divides, one path heading up the mountain to their right, the other downward and beyond into a dark corridor, furthering toward the boundary that connected the open lands to The Ice Kingdom of the Light Bringers.
The questions of the new intrigued guest persist as Merlin’s patience wears thin, interrupted by a stark pain in his chest and stomach. The teleportation spell had worn his strength and his hair grew grey, as his face grew tired and old, as it had when he and Troy had met, before Nickolas’ very eyes. The deep cringing pain happened three times over, each time causing Nickolas to check the scene for unwanted surveillance, and perpetrators of Merlin’s abrupt anguish. Each time showing more sign of shedding like a snake or crippled black phoenix. This of course was soon to end, and did so as Merlin took a seat on a boulder, fallen from the above edge of the stone hallway by cause of the elements, having done so seasons before.
Merlin asked, “Have you any drink for my stomach and me?” Nick, “I surely do,” he says as he passes a very small bottle from his bag to Merlin, allowing him to drink, while looking around the carved and etched passage, and up to the heavens, through the opening of the uncovered passage. Merlin takes a drink, and lets out a gasp, then taking in a breath of air, only to let out a sigh of relief.
The mountain passage loses its edges above and its walls lower ever dramatically as the two continue, until they are out of the stone walkway carved into the mountain. They arrive in the highlands where the rain was mostly falling year round and would snow in the winter as often. Their conversation was dole and scant, mostly due to Nickolas’ apprehensive concern for Merlin’s health. The area had looked alarmingly similar to the terrain Merlin had travailed on his way to the lowland castle from the gate Thor had proffered, and with somewhat visible signs of exhaustion, he rests just past the clearing of the hallway, as if to catch his breath again, but obvious to mostly distract his new guest.
Merlin had begun intentionally breathing hard as to seem exhausted, as much as fitting of the journey for any other that looks as he does. This causes Nickolas to come to Merlin’s aid, and afterward, as if born of phoenix’s ashes, our old looking man leapt toward the newly met Nickolas, knocking him to the stiff ground and putting both of his hands over his throat.
“If you know me, than you know I can burn you fair neck. Who are you? How do you know me?” Merlin shouted at Nickolas. “This is not my fault” he replied. Merlin, rewrapping down on the boy’s neck says, “What? Who sent you?” “I am trapped in this day every day, I know many things, but with no purpose” he said through Merlin’s crushing grasp.
“A statue would have said less at this point.” Merlin’s eyes have become dark, the light from his eyes showing in his hands, before they turn red as he begins to sear the clenched neck in his hands.
Nickolas cried, “Yes ... yes! Kill me and I will be gone it bothers me not, tomorrow is today again.” Confused, Merlin let go of his neck but kept him pinned to the ground beneath his knees. He stared at the man on the ground with clasping at his scarred red neck to check his own flesh and vitality.
Enthralled Merlin dared to ask, “Than why have we never met?”
“We have, at the court of the Angelicas” he replied with a curtly abrupt and renewed sense of urgency. “But that was….” Merlin stopped to think, staring at Nickolas he turned his head, as if to leer at him with a better eye. “What was I wearing?” he continued. “You have markings made of ink that you can choose to show at your liking.” Merlin defensively spouted, “I have no paper.” To which Nickolas replied, “Tattoos, art of the skin.”
Merlin leaned in and cut him on the arm to be sure, with a dagger from his sleeve as quick as quick as the thought had come to him, but Nickolas did not scream. He cut again in the same wound slowly tearing and scraping with the dagger’s point, but the stranger did not even wince, only looking to the damage and back again.
Nick, “I am sure you know that will not heal unless I die once over, and that hurts me emotionally.” Merlin let up, and took a seat again knowing only the tyrannical logic could only be the platitudes of someone of the likes of him.
“I thank you for not taking my head,” said Nickolas. Merlin thought of his time and delivered the question, “Why were you at Roseroth?”
Nick replied, “I was the weapons instructor for the prince, one day I wounded the little man and they sentenced me to stone. When judgment came, the court demanded my imprisonment for countless eras, and they placed me in the court itself for countless years. That is where I saw you turn a rose to glass shattering it at the king’s feet and put it together again.
Merlin stated, “And because you are immortal, they chose that punishment?” Nickolas sat up, still checking his neck saying, “Because they didn’t know they could take my head, yes.” The statement had interested Merlin once again, and he asked Nickolas while searching through his collection of enchanted artifacts, “How do you know I won’t?”
“You’re the great Merlin, of course.” Nickolas answered smiling confidently.
“Why were you released than?” Merlin said somewhat embarrassed as he poured the stones from his pouch into his hand, still looking to Nickolas.
“The southern clans near the Castle of Siena attacked; The Angelicas needed me to help them defend their city. Nevertheless, we lost.” He begins standing and brushing himself clean. “When the general found I hadn't died and couldn’t' he tried over and over to kill me until he could be sure, eventually he gave me a choice, live in a cell or tell the world that he would rule everywhere .......... where have you been?”
Merlin had already begun fingering through the stones in his hand, “And you neglected to parser to him the information of your sentimental attachment to your block on your torso?” he said as he paused to look to whom he was speaking.
Nickolas answered in a low and humble voice, “Pain is in the mind, even in the best of victims.” Merlin took the stones in hand, and poured them back into his bag, and as he stood, he placed the pouch in the folds of his clothes and said, “I was out of town.” Nickolas began looking around, “This is why I sought you out; maybe I will be able to stop some of the troubles myself” and with nothing to distract him, he looks back to Merlin. “You alone, arrow in a storm, with your questions of potions, is going to save us all?”
“The world needs peace, to play it,” said Nickolas who had now wrapped his scarf about his neck many times over. Merlin began again to walk up the less than oft traveled trial. “Time is precious,” he says passing Nickolas, tugging once on the hanging end of the scarf. Nickolas winced, his throat
Nick, “Let us shall we.” He bowed and with both hands gestured to usher Merlin up the path.
Merlin asks the friend behind him, “What will you do?” to which he replied, “His army will outgrow itself, so I must poison it.”
They steadily walk and talk of, outdated and the future, situations and little of the expounding past. A discussion of great wisdom ensued, where as Merlin, with much more respect for the situation since understanding Nickolas' dilemma, tells him less of herbs and fairy tales, and more of creatures and poison spells, and their combinations. Of how to use cauldrons as oppose to open flame, for powerful elixirs, that will aid his powers when in use, and of poisons that were more of a fatal nature when used with rancid things and spoiled goods.
The rainstorm was slow and constant in the highlands. As they walked into them, the thunder rang and echoed like breaking of branches through the air, as if something unearthly was deafeningly peeling back the heavens, looking down on their world. A rumbling thunder creaked through the watery air that surrounded them, as they began to climb.
Nickolas was having trouble keeping the pace of Merlin. “I have never been this far,” he shouted forward. “What were you doing up here?” the old boy shouted back, “I was exploring this world, like I had the last.” The question was another of intrigue, “The last?” he stopped to ask Nickolas, behind him. Nick answered a different and more pressing question, “I have to eat.” Moving forward again, no longer in recess, climbing as fast as he had been, again, he shouted to Nickolas behind him saying, “except that you don’t.” This disappointed Nickolas. Not the answer he had hoped, he replies, “It stops the hunger pains.”
The rain is heaviest as they walk out of the clouds by continuing on a rarely travelled sparse and overgrown path upward, into a quiet place of light, fog and mystery. A wall was all they could see, rising into another level of clouds above their heads, so close they could nearly almost touch them. A road stretches away from behind them, which leads them to a small canyon in the mountain's remaining peak, filled as well with the looming clouds closely overhead before them, leading to a set of very tall standing doors of blackened steel in a hallway of a clouded ominous ceiling. They walk from the remaining mist, walking straight out of them into a thin air that chills even the new guest of the great wizard.
Nickolas looks back at the roof of clouds and borders of the rain and its lighting running below the surface in spurts, like birds trailing white light speeding through the air.
“This is going to be great,” Nickolas, said ecstatically, eager to enter, noticing an echo of even a whisper at the outer entrance to the giant castle. Merlin agrees and smiles looking over to Nickolas with an intentional façade. “You will have to ask me tomorrow,” Merlin replied.
“Ask you what?” Nickolas whispered before suddenly becoming sullen and confounded, pausing with a look of disbelief, like a child in a candy store window. Merlin says, “Why I left you out with the guards in the cold over night at the top of the world.” Nick, “What?”
The guards standing at the door are nickel plated, their armor canvassing their natural armor. The lane lined with torches lights the entranceway, jutting from short-length walls that protrude from the main wall. The guard asks, "Is he with you?" as he leans a spear of platinum or true dragon’s eye at them. “Yes, but he waits here, what are you doing open the door you have an injured friend,” said Merlin, glancing over to the second guard, who is reading, and then back again, staring at the guard with great determination.
Merlin’s face shows his tattoos, the way the tide washes the shore on one side of his face and away again, washing across then out again. The guard having seen such before, now opens the door, with fear as well as respect, as the other guard sits down again to read its book. Shouting into the hall Nickolas asked, “What do I do out here?” In return, Merlin shouted, “Gather the clouds for a spell,” and walked inside, leaving Nickolas outside and in the cold with the closing doors.
As the giant door closes, Thomas loudly says to the guard, "does your mother still have that scar on her back?” and he can be seen beginning a fight as Merlin walks inside of the main hall.
In front of Merlin, the hall is bountiful with smoldering fires, small carts of priceless things, plush and lavish gardens, fountains, and smaller fires in each section with green embers and candles floating in pools with small waterfalls pouring into ornate marble basins. Groups of several children, young and old, rush to Merlin, each with reptilian traits and features but wingless asking of his purpose and if it was involving the being who had fallen from flight wounded and weakening at their door named Aedan. Each of the children tugged at his clothes and the older ones stood gathered in from of him, all asking if he was here to help. Other dragon children are peering from behind pillars. Though they spoke the language with a rare accent, they have not the wings he had thought he would have seen.
As he walked steadily away from the stolid doors, with people gathering and the hall diverting its attention to him, from the distance a large man in ornate clothes and features more pronounced that he shares with the little ones, calls to Merlin from a high white balcony above the room. Dressed the part, he is The Dragon King of the Chimera.
“There is no time for questions; you must show him to Aedan,” the towering king shouted to the subversives of the great hall in which Merlin now stands.
They begin pulling Merlin, informing him as he hurriedly rushes to the aid of the fallen adventurer, past the children standing about, and the elders who lay about in discomfort or ambivalence with dismay. Past them all into the first hallway, closest to where they have gathered around the fallen victim, followed by the children, into the closest room to the hall, the children lead him dragging him along the way.
Merlin notices as he enters that it is a nursery adorned with pictures of fairytale creatures, depictions of oddities even to their society. With candles in front of each fire lit portrait, an entire room of rounded edges, cribs and blankets, an array of candles on the far wall and to his right, and a crib illuminated by a skylight shining an immensely bright white light. However, the light does not illuminate over to the bed where Aedan lay now.
“Everyone Out, not you nurses, remove these blankets and bring me a washing bowl right now. Get the children out of here!” Merlin said, again shouting at everyone in the room.
“Vacate`,” the king shouted as he entered the doorway. “Everyone move out of here, not you Deacon, I need you to keep the other children away from here, and then go and bring back Alexis.”
“Get Alexis, why?” said Deacon. To which the king replied, “These are precious moments, now go or I will put you in a box,” He declared, flaring the physical signs of aggression associated to his species.
The Young Deacon rushed off out to the door and to the right, down the dark antechamber. The footsteps he placed in the hallway sounded almost ungulate, running down the hallway.
The mavens who had been watching Aedan, help remove the blood soaked rags and bandages that were almost certainly everywhere. They bring Merlin the bowl, stepping over the rags and the previous children’s bowls used to wash the wounds now filled with tainted rags soaked red by bloody water. Spilling them as he steps, Merlin finds that in all the commotion the bandages for the wounds are improperly used, the wounds covered with rags that drape across the boy in layers. The red rags across his chest were not more than a blood soaked piece of clothing, but actually, another bandage draped across the wound. This would not do for either Merlin or Aedan, so he threw it behind him, hitting the wall outside the door just Alexis approached to enter. This action causes her to scream in a terror lament, her face near completely covered in tears.
Merlin, who was already counting the vials he brought with him, pours them into the bowl as the nurse gives it to him, placing one hand over the bowl and praying. He took his hand away from above the bowl and reached behind Aedan, pulling him forward by his nape, ushering him to sit up and not lay, as his Alexis rushes to help support him and keep him upright. Merlin said to them, “Drink this now boy, before you go under, and we will get you into one piece.” Aedan was wounded and suffering, but managed to speak weakly. As he did, he looks to his amour and tells her, “Get hence Alexis. You shouldn’t be here,” as she took his hand. Merlin intervened, “If you do not drink, you will be the first to leave.”
The wounded boy, the dragon soldier near dying in the arms of his betrothed drinks down the concoction with more help of his love than of his own. Lying back clearing his throat, bringing out blood as he coughs, his consort spouse reaches to hold his hand and as she does, his voice fills with anguish as he cries out, because his wrist was cut with a painful lash, well hidden under the resting arm, kept lifeless of his own volition, in attempt to save his fleeting energy.
“What can I do?” asked Alexis, causing Merlin to begin to ponder the question, he resolves for her to, “Unlace that leather band about your arm and tie it tightly to his, and hurry.” Alexis asks, “What will this do?” Merlin rudely replied, “It will keep it clean,” as he continued wiping the debris from Aedan’s wounds. The severely wounded boy had stopped writhing for the time being, and Alexis finishes applying the wrist guard and begins comforting Aedan, keeping to herself her worries of her own honesty.
Alexis anxiously asks, “What are you going to do now?”
“ Now,” he seemed to ask, and answers to her, “Wash one of these very clean with hot water and bring it back to me with cold water... Very clean cold water,” he told, as he lifted one of the bowls from the floor. Alexis at a point of relief, “Right away.”
She sounded concerned and threatened by the lack of time with her loved one, so she rushed out of the room rushing back only moments later, but so nervously so that she spilled it over Merlin and Aedan. Although getting some of the water on Merlin, the most of it washed the blood from Merlin’s hands, the rest he took and drank from the edge of the bowl. As Merlin wiped his hands on his clothes says, “You must keep the wounds clean as he heals, what I gave him will keep his blood in him and help him heal, not completely but if he isn’t moved or rushed in his recovery, he will heal with only outside scars to show.”
Aedan, “You made me cold” he said posthumously. In addition to this great news, she rushed over to Aedan to apologize and tenderly attend to him. Merlin remembered what his regal yet impatient friend had asked of him and wiping his hands on a bloody rag says to Alexis, “I am not done with you yet. I need you to wrench the blood from these rags on the floor, into these two pouches and have my assistant bring them up to the king and me in his quarters.” Merlin walks across the room and takes a seat, on a small chair.
“My back is also open.” Says Aedan and so Merlin stands and returns bedside. “Let’s take care of you all at once,” he said. Merlin stood over the side of the bed, “I need him to roll,” he said to Alexis. Merlin and the young girl together carefully roll Aedan over slowly, as he groans in discomfort. Alexis, watching his chest wounds, notices the blood begin to leak. On his back, drawing Merlin’s attention are broken and missing scales, of which some are embedded like shrapnel, but not many. With Merlin signaling that he had pulled the few to cause damage by hand, they let him to his back slowly, together.
“He bleeds again.” She said, with a detrimental sound of urgency in her voice. Merlin, briefly stunned by the look in her eyes after she spoke, takes a square glass vial of lightly glowing blue water, from his bag and very slowly pours a few drops to a cup, and hands it to Alexis, poring over the events that led the flyer to his current situation and condition.
Merlin, “If he begins to bleed again put a drop or two on the wound, or mix it with equal part water and make him drink. However, be sparing, that is all I brought. Beware when you use it, the less you can move him. The potion I made him drink has that added to the elixir; it keeps his blood drawn in away from his wounds. when you add it to an open sore, it will draw the blood toward it, though the blood magic heals the wounds, the pressure not being pulled inward will cause him to bleed out again and you will be tempted to apply more, until your efforts become useless and you lose him. Try to save it for when he can move.”
“And my back?” he asked.
Merlin says, “Looks like a pub brawl for a modern man, with a few stitches you should be fine, but only if you stay bed ridden for a while.”
“For how long must he stay bedridden, my liege?” Alexis said.
He replied, “Until he thinks he can move, I will send in someone to help you fill those pouches.”
Aedan far from well recovered says, “So you can seek wealth from my loss.”
Merlin, “So that my friend Horus can travel, with something you have already lost.” King, who has sat through the entire surgery feels threatened by such a phrase and asks as much as tells, “So he can make money from his loss.” Merlin in defense and for his safety turns to the king and says, “No your highness, it is so that he can go to whence he came.” The unmoved and still unconvinced king sits stationary and motionless before saying, “I hope he intends not to spy on us.”
“On the southern army, or are you allies with them now?” Merlin said whipping around again, to the king at the latter half of the sentence, looking down his nose. “How, will he do it?” Aedan asked Merlin, who turns to him. “I am going to send him back,” he replied. The king intervenes with his own interests in mind, “Why does he want them under his surveillance?”
Merlin answered, “He feels a terrible storm by their agenda.”
“How do you mean terrible?” asked the king. “They are collecting from their posts, and are covering too many odd spots of their city to be worried about the rain. Have not you noticed?”
Alexis remembering a tale says, “This is what he me told he saw, before they attacked him, the other day.”
Merlin, “Who attacked him?”
Alexis, “They did, you think he did this to himself?”
Merlin, “Your king and I must talk; I will be back before I leave.”
“ Leave?” She asked as Merlin neared the door. The king following Merlin turned to her and in an attempt to console her says, “Alexis, stay with him but let him rest, let us know if he begins to slip.”
Merlin fully aware of things turns back, still wiping his hands, says, “I will not leave until he wakes up, if he begins a fever or fears in his dreams come and get us right away.”
The king and Merlin walk into the hall and through the cold old castle, to the kings private quarters and to the balcony where they stand, overlooking the clouds and the mountain that slopes down to meet the mist. Looking out over the entire horizon, they spoke.
“You need casks of his blood?”
“…I need some of his blood.”
“Why, has that demonstrable instability Horus come to treachery?”
“What treachery do you speak of my lord?”
“I mean his war in the past for the dying with the dead,” said the king adamantly, turning his back on the horizon and leaning on the banister.
“He has come to my aid in the ages past as he has yours,” said Merlin.
“The dark agents are winning with wicked hearts and dark minds.”
“The only unexplainable gift is why men go to war only to control in ways they approve not of.”
“The diminished excuse of a lame dragon has more tactile, strategy for cats than wizards on a frozen throne."
Merlin confidently issued the king an insulted rebuttal, “A strategy you need not of, Draco.”
“It is odd to have this peace, to myself so seemingly so.” He said with his hands on the banister, looking out over an endless pasture of white clouds. As he looked across the endless sky, he seems focused on something much closer, before his eyes. The sunsets behind them, and the clouds turn blue, barely letting Merlin see any part of the ground far below, before locking their vantage in the confines above and beyond the clouds into and under a full moonlit night.
“Speaking of blood, mine is without wine,” said Merlin falling over rotten with spoiling energy, looking as if he had had too much to drink already, and if it were not for the king it would have been just him and the sky until he could regenerate. The king in amusement says, “Walk with me timeless friend, and I will show you to your vice,” and helped Merlin back inside.
They walk inside into the king’s entertainment lounge, now empty of the delights that usually occurred and filled the room with spectacle, and they sit next to a cold and silent fireplace. The king sat Merlin down gently and stood next to a dark and cold fireplace, spoiled with the arid and cold wind pouring in from its flue.
King: Will you or should I?
Merlin: If you would, but the walk was hellacious and relentless, as you can tell.
Merlin began taking his bootstraps loose. The king grabbed a cord of wood and lit its end with fire from his tongue, his eyes set afire, and set it into the fireplace, and began to pour drinks for the two of them.
Merlin: Who were they? - He asked, barely sitting upright in the chair.
King: They are poachers. - The king sits in a chair opposite a table between Merlin’s chair, both facing the fireplace, setting the drink for him on the table between them.
King: Why are you helping him Merlin?
Merlin says between sips, “He believes his cause”… “He is not the first to fight in such a way”... “Be assured that he is stricken with a sense of duty as well.” He finished his drink and continued speaking as the color comes back into his face, “He needs that war, and always has. What harm could come from letting him cross our time again.”
King: “You are a slave to your fellow species.”
Merlin: “If memory serves me, you were once also,” he responded as he sat up straight, losing his slouch and half of his age. A guard bursts in, stammered and out of breath covered in dust.
Guard, “Things are not copasetic.”
“What!” the king jumped and said in concern. Looking to Merlin the guard stated, “You, your friend is outside acting like a child.” Turning to Merlin the king asks, “You have someone waiting?”
Merlin’s answer was, “Yes.” causing the king to pour another drink and sit once again.
“Bring him inside to meet us,” he said as he poured a new drink of a new color into a new glass.
Merlin, “Send him to Alexis first.”
King, “Oh, but keep him downstairs, she will send him our way.” The lightly armored guard rushes out of the room. The king says sitting, “Another of your children following you? You really should wear a mask town to town” smiling, admonishing his jest reaching forward and placing a cup on the table between them both.
Merlin, “He's a statue.”
King, “The same could be said about you in your youth, if only one could say that to be true.”
Merlin, “No he's...immortal.”
King, “Oh, you should have put his blood into my Aedan.”
Merlin, “Incompatible. I checked He’s as red blooded as I am.”
King, “At least you’ve been busy.”
Merlin, “He is, or was, that is to say, the sword master at The Court of the Angelicas.”
In amazement, the king asks him, “He was at Roseroth?”
“As he tells it,” he replied unsurely with a hint of inhibition to his voice.
King, “Well he’s come far. Did he tell that it’s gone?”
Merlin, “Yes, briefly.”
King, “Such beauty and then one day it was gone, as if someone had sent every last stone to another world.”
“He told me,” Merlin said obstinately.
Down below, Nickolas enters their domain as he boisterously announces himself, “Hello I am Nickolas, thank you for taking me” taking a wine goblet from a table in front of the patrons sitting at it, and begins to interrupt the people-sitting intent on enjoying themselves, who seem quite insulted though other seemed amused. The children certainly liked him and laughed at him or at his behavior as much, as he bowed a few steps within the doorway.
Nickolas speaks loudly to the room, “I am here with the powerful Merlin, he is awaiting my assistance and he no doubt is awaiting it. I am his ally.” Although quite rude he had been, someone informs him nonetheless, that Merlin is in with Aedan and Nickolas is ushered to Alexis. She comes swiftly walking from the recessed hallway at the edge of the hall, rushing up to Nickolas and says to him, “Hush your mouth.” In addition, she begins ushering him back to Aedan and the nursery. She had walked over to him and ushered him into the hallway, her sleeves rolled back, blood on her shirt and hands.
Nick, “You can just tell me where he is,” he said focused more on the tapestries, more than the distance in front of him as she led him.
Alexis, “He's gone with our king somewhere.”
“Where is he?” He said with a troubled look on his face.
Alexis, “Head down this hall and seek the kings quarters.”
“Wait,” she said walking into the room, returning with the bags, “Just ask to see the king, and if they ask why, tell them to escort you. Take these to lord Merlin.”
Nick, “Lord? This gets so very interesting” he said as she nodded and stared at him, confused as to wonder why he waited, as she had chosen to act offended by the need of her lover’s blood, though greatly in approval of Merlin’s healing of Aedan.
Alexis, “Those pouches are your excuse, now go on loudmouth” and he does, tasting one of them just outside the door as she reattached herself to Aedan, spitting it out of his mouth.
The first ascetic guard he passes, as is expected, stops him and escorts him after he explains his actions to the lone callous guard, to the king’s quarters. Looking behind himself, he sees the guard from the front gate turning away, walking into the shadow of the hall, having followed him the entirety of his journey, from start to finish.
Nick said aloud as he entered the room at his first sight of Merlin prideful, “Oh, so its lord now?”
Nickolas immediately begins to help himself to all the amenities around the room, drifting from one table to the next, taking a plate and gathering food upon it, making a mess of things, finally resting at a lavish sofa near the largest balcony of the room, which was no doubt the king’s most posh chair. The king sighs than he and Merlin laugh as Nickolas takes seat among the comfortable settings.
Thom was amidst slightly opening the door, paned with several smaller windows, to let in the fresh air. Merlin spoke, “Are those full?” he said speaking of the two sacks, of the blood from below, Nickolas had lain on a table next to him in the room.
Nick, “Yes why?”
Merlin, “Because if they're not, you’re going back down again, to fill them.”
Nick, “This is an awesome place you have your highness,” he said bowing and taking his place in the lavishly plush chair.”
King, “It was my father’s.” the quip causing Merlin to take amusement to the statement, slightly chuckling to himself. “He must have been a swell dude” Nickolas touted.
King, “Is he Terran?” he posed the question in obvious disbelief.
Merlin, “you’ve been?”
King, “Twice,” he uttered, “Once in its old days, another in its last with her majesty.”
Merlin, “I haven’t asked. Nickolas, where are you from?”
Nick replied, “I’m from there, well Earth that is, I was born there.”
“Where,” Merlin asked.
Nick, “Terra Firma, we call it Earth; it’s the same thing right, soil and earth?”
Merlin asked, “How?”
Nick, “I was born there by my parents.”
King, “Tell us of it.”
Merlin, “Yes what do you know?”
Nick, “I couldn't.”
Merlin and the king look to each other, and back to Nickolas.
King, “You could.”
Nick, “You wouldn't believe the things I remember, but I was there for hundreds of years.”
Merlin, “C” Merlin said, gesturing with his hand the shape of the letter C eventually looking back to Nickolas.
The cold night in the king’s lair, progressed into a vast conversation filled with questions and their answers of Nickolas' beginnings and travels, constantly crossing several questions of his own as well as observations of improvements for the world he currently resided, revealing his fondness and missing of the world in which he once lived.
Merlin and the king had sipped and pretended drinking, bringing Nickolas closer to them during the conversation, and had from time to time, tossed their drinks to the ground, letting Nickolas drink heftily, the fine wine, but as to not let him see their subterfuge. Sometimes Merlin would dip a piece of bread into the wine and soak up his entire cup, and eat the bread afterward. Ultimately the matter was resolved with the understanding that Thomas had utterly no understanding at all of how he had come to be on this world, but that he is extremely drunk and needed to sleep just as any man does, though they were not. Nickolas fell asleep staring into the fire as Merlin put a piece of wood in the calming red flames, as the sun also rises.
Merlin had fallen asleep, after he and King Draco spoke, reviewing together what they had learned. Later Nickolas woke when cold enough, and in the middle of the night when the king had brought back company for himself, he spoke with the king and his farers through the ardent knight, keeping the fire going so that Merlin's hefty cloak would dry, staying the room warm.
In the morning, when the sun peaked over the horizon of the cloud-covered planet, the sun shined into the room with glaring light and presence and separation. Waking, Merlin was cold to his side and stiff from choosing to sleep in his chair turned from the fireplace more than he should have. The king, in honored tradition, was in his bed covered in plush coverings and laying with two mistresses and had been most of the night.
The three of them huddled, keeping each other warm and keeping company with Nickolas who sat against the corner post of the king’s canopy bed at its foot, with an empty table of food pulled against the bed. The table stood closest to Nickolas who had proceeded to empty it during the night, while no less than his satchel and many vacant trays, plates, and bottles lay across the table. Nickolas, chipper and merry, had been talking the whole night mostly of what he could with the king, taking notes it seemed, as his notebook lay on the last plate of food in the room. Merlin arose to the telling of one interesting story, in the earliest of hours.
Nick, “What then happened to him?”
King, “He loved that book but Muriel had replaced it with a façade,”
Nick, “so here was it?”
Merlin walks over to the balcony doors and closes them, and walks to the fire and took up a drink in a seat and he pulled the chair closer to the flames, sitting again. The king notices Merlin rise in the moments before Thomas does and waits silently. The morning sun began to rise from the western horizon.
Merlin, “It was on my horse running uphill after a horses delight at full gallop.”
Thomas, “I dried your things.”
Merlin, “how nice,” he said looking at the cloak while turning away from the morning sun’s rise through the doors, “You dried the blood also.”
King, “Don’t turn away Merlin; the sunrise is the best part about this room” the king than practicing his affectations with his bedmates.
Merlin, “I hope you have not dried the pouches.”
Nick, “Right here, my lord showed me the purpose of the contents.”
“And Thomas made you breakfast” one of the girls said aloud. The bedded inhabitants all giggled together, while Nickolas began blushing.
“Ye had best hurry, he eats like a horse,” the scaled king said. Merlin, who was lacing his boots at the time, sat up again, immediately taking to the drink.
Nick, “It makes me feel human.”
The second girl asks the king, “Human?”
King, “That is what they call their race.”
The other girl says, “What an odd word,” and the two of them laugh.
Merlin, “Would this be all of us, or just him?” he said, standing over the end of the king’s bed, looking to Draco. He continued, “I will just have a drink.”
Nick, “But you said you wanted to save it.”
Merlin, “Not that, an average erroneous drink.”
Merlin took a bottle nearby, poured red wine into a glass cup, and placed the bottle down again. Tipping back, he drank the entire glass, not with a pause or a breath and pulled the empty glass to his chest, closing his eyes, as if praying. Opening his eyes, he sat the glass down and walked over to Nickolas, and took the piece of meat from his hand as Nickolas was about to take a taste, and began to eat it until it was gone, searching the table for what was left behind.
Merlin, “Greedy, selfish and rude you are.”
King, “He earned his meal.”
Merlin, “you are an earner; the simple poet may have use.”
Nick, “I gave them some of the grain I had with me from one of the eastern cities.”
Merlin, “Are we keeping it for a rare occasion?”
Nickolas asked, “Rare treasures are dangerous?”
King, “And he kept us entertained with good company the night through.”
Merlin, “We must go now.”
Nick tossed the plate aside and said, “all right, it was a pleasure meeting you all, your highness the pleasure was all mine” with a gracious smile. In addition, Thomas stands and bows from the end of the bed than jumps down to the floor. With that, the king begins to move to the edge of his bed and step out into his shoes.
King, “You will understand if I do not show you out, we need our rest.”
Merlin, “I do.”
King, “You will visit Aedan?”
Merlin, “I will, we don’t even know if he's healed.”
King, “I trust your powers and I heard nothing while I was about nor did Nick in the night.”
Merlin, “What else did he say?”
King, “He seems stoic; you must come back and visit more, before I get too old to let you in my kingdom” the scaly king said to him and after shaking arms with the other they gave each other an endearing grasp.
Merlin, “Bode well.”
“Bode well old friend,” the king replied.
Nickolas hastily grabs the rest of his things including the two pouches, while stuffing his mouth with scraps from the table, taking a piece of meat on a bone with him and clumsily waving farewell to the people, his bag still falling off of his shoulder. Gathering himself he slapped the king on the arm, nodded a minimal nod in conference and confidence, and left staggering out the doorway of the king’s lair.
Entering the room below where Aedan lie in recovery, they notice the active mood is lighter, the nursing area clean, with bright candles lit, and a small fire going covered by a few slightly reptilian children at play in the far end of the room. Aedan was sitting up and leaning partially to one side as aerial was attending to his back. He sat back to let Merlin inspect the wounds which were covered in clean bandages as were most of the other wounds of a critical nature, each having a miniscule amount of blood staining through the cloths.
Across his chest, were bandages of clean white cloth wrapped around him and across, his front was a red stripe from beneath the bandages, seeping through from under his heart to nearly around his right side. Looking at the wounds all could tell that the elixir had worked as planned.
Aedan, “I feel many times renewed lord Merlin.”
Merlin, “Merlin is fine, we are glad to hear from you.”
Alexis, “Thank You.”
Merlin, “I could do no more.”
Nurse, “Most of his wounds are now only of the flesh.”
Aedan, “The one on my front is below the skin.”
Merlin, “we'll have to take a look.”
Merlin takes an easy look into the bandages while Nickolas stood at the doorway.
Merlin, “The wounds are deep, but your organs are not showing.”
Alexis, “Which is much better than you were yesterday,” she said as the two mates, amorously connected.
Merlin muttered, “Indeed.”
Aedan broke conversation and said, “And my back?”
Merlin, “You’ll need to heal it the only way you know how, but not until your other wounds heal, you’ll be able to move him in a few days, but no sooner.”
Alexis spoke again, “Thank you sir, you are a king among men,” she said as she flung her arms around Merlin.
Merlin, “Is there any of the potion remaining?”
“Only this much” Alexis said venturing into her pocket, pulling out the vial of the blue-lit water.
Merlin, “Good, use it on his back but not until his chest is better, it draws the blood to it, so keep the wounds clean when you treat him with it, or you risk trapping in something inside the wound.” Merlin abruptly shouted, “Aedan.”
Aedan, “Yes sir.”
Merlin, “Try walking in a coat the next time.”
Aedan, “Yes sir.”
Through the antechamber outside of the room, Merlin and Nickolas both stop and together kneel down at the same time and begin tightening their boots.
Nickolas, “Lord, eh?”
Merlin, “What would you go with?”
Passing by the many people, telling them their thanks and wishing them Godspeed they show themselves out and they begin walking down the hill they began upward the previous day.
Merlin, “You weren’t lying about being from Earth were you?”
Nick, “I told you I am from earth right?”
Merlin, “From within, you divulged.”
Nick, “What was your first spell?”
Merlin, “Spell, hmmm, a lecherous maelstrom.”
“Meal….strum…leeches?” Nickolas asked as the two begin to descend into the rocky terrain.
Merlin, “it’s what I call storms one cannot be rid of.”
Nick, “All your time and that’s all you can tell me.”
Merlin, “The parts that I understood I can.”
Nick, “Though you cannot?”
Merlin, “Magic is not the trickery you learn at schools, it is more than complicated.”
Nick, “What is the king’s name?”
Merlin, “You should have asked him.”
Nick, “I did but I cannot remember with all the other strange words they used.”
Merlin, “all of your time and you were confused by their speech?”
“Some of it seemed awkwardly excessive and this world is not exactly a cultivated one,” says Nickolas.
“Perhaps you do not mean excessive.”
“More words than necessary. What are they…the people I mean?”
“They are his mistresses,” Merlin said with a pinch of embarrassment.
“No, what are all of them.”
“They are Mimic?”
“They are the mimic, they, in each generation slowly assimilate the features of the local inhabitants.”
“ Evolutionary chameleons” Nickolas said as if in revelation.
Merlin, “They are older than you or I. I hope you made a positive impression.”
They reach the mountain pass carved into the mountainside on a clear summer morning in the mountains. They began to occasionally slide through the pass, as so many have before them, to entertain themselves as well as to make it down quicker, when they heard a blast from behind, come from the ground itself. When they reached the exit to the pass, where the mountain opened below at the path along the forest they came to witness a new dilemma.
From the cliff near the ocean, where the wreckage of the air pontoon and the small wagon lay, they look north along the continental bay to see the city of light glowing brighter than Merlin had seen in many years. While having an increasing brightness, it pulsed slightly every few moments or so, each time with greater spaces between each glowing brightness, but each time overall brighter than the last, in the air the city sounded as if a great mill was turning.
Below to the south, Merlin and Thomas could see the city and how small it was, and how the merchant legion had gathered and approach the city walls, small enough to note its distance but visible as much to seem dangerous. Merlin takes special notice of how a fleet of ships had departed from its liveries and was heading up the coast toward Ana and her expecting friends. Nickolas looking down the path notices something and Merlin is somewhere between age and reason, wondering what Horus might have done.
Nickolas shouted to Merlin, “Look, there, along the path,” pointing to men running far below, towards them from a great distance.
“They're undoubtedly scouts.”
“If we head down inside the tree line they won’t see us.”
“Agreed; you've turned out to be an impressive guest.”
“First to take a wound buys the other a drink old man.”
Like a sporting creature, Nickolas darted into the tree line and down the hill, and immediately Merlin followed.
Down the forest's edge they went running in very short steps and jumping and swinging past tree trunks and through low branches and over fallen others, down the forest side, where midway between where they had begun racing downstream, and where they would meet their opposition down path, Nickolas is confronted with a bear.
The way that Nickolas meets with the bear, was abruptly disruptive to the creature, which lashed out, catching him by the arm, and begins to tear and feed into him. Merlin, who had followed close behind pounces into the bear, feet first, knocking the bear off kilter, and from nowhere he had a very narrow long dagger, it somewhat resembled a sword, which he drove into the beast. When he looks back, Nickolas is heavily wounded and laughing, bringing up more blood than open air from his lung, his neck had been bitten and his clothes torn, bloodily shredded.
“Spare me no fury of your maelstrom wizard, and I shall be reborn once more.” Nickolas said hardly gasping for air, as he cried.
“I don’t understand, you said you could last these things.”
Nickolas begins to choke and wail simultaneously. Merlin points the slender sword, no longer than his arm, with a golden handle toward Nickolas, burning away the felled beast’s blood, the energy of the air and wood seemed to gather at the swords sharp point, and then leaps in a straight line to Thomas, putting an end to their commiseration. Nickolas begins to recompose and with a coughing of dust sits up screaming, as if his lungs were on fire.
Merlin, “You look worse than the bear,” he said as Nickolas looks over to the bear in disgust.
“That should not count.”
“I see blood, why not?”
“Is it dead?”
“Sharp sword you have.”
“This old thing?” he said looking over the long fancy dagger.
Merlin then holds the dagger by the handle with the blade hanging below it and lets it fall. As the weapon hits the ground, if falls through the forest floor as if the ground were not there at all, the ground outlining the weapon with a bright light shining from beneath, swallows shut once the weapon falls through.
28 November 2009
The seven deaths of the devil
1. The first death of the devil
The morning star
Lucifer was the creator of the endless torch. He used it to burn things that need not burn so he could watch. For this God sent him to hell. Walking in a river of blood deep inside a mountain, carrying a torch as demonic children shoot lightning from their fingers from the shore, he returns them all their favors. Spears of ice, stones and bones and many skinless bloody gargoyles come to life attacking Lucifer in stages, each stage it returned their efforts and screamed its certainty of reaching the river's source. The riverbed begins to elevate, the blood flow begins to narrow and increase speed. Ahead of it standing on a stone in the stream as tall as he, stood an angel of great demeanor, golden shimmering hair, bright white eyes that held the fire of heaven, a gleaming and blinding halo above its head, holding a long wooden spear with a point of a precious metal. The All-father stabbed Lucifer in the heart, causing him to drop his torch. The blood is not love, it burns bright and hot, the mountain sets fire with the demon trapped inside. Lucifer descends to the next life.
Lucifer - Arrogance/Pride
2. The second death of the devil
Leviathan was a shape-shifting demon of the deepest ocean trench. It made itself the danger of the waters. It often attacked the largest ships by impersonating its captain and killing its crew, knowing not of wealth. Until one day on the river Styx, it attacks the ferryman of hell. when he could not defeat it, the ferry man offers to take him to land where it can pretend to be a king and slaughter armies, keeping the ferryman in good standings with hell, but the ferryman betrays leviathan and takes him to the marshes of hell where the oil of blood burns on its surface. When leviathan saw this, he tore out his own heart. Leviathan descends to the next life.
Leviathan - Envy
3. The third death of the devil
Set fire to the hive
Satan was a swordsman trained from the earliest of ages by the best of teachers, born of a vast land. They taught him the patterns used to win any fight, in strict and ordered regimen, meticulous matriculated patterns for following precisely by each intricate pattern to avoid radical results. In his ascendance of authority, he taught his disciples to treat innocence with terror. A great war broke and he journeys into the battlefield to fight, he had slain his compatriots, foe than ally. When all was said and done he was victorious his students followed him to the end of the earth killing all in sight at his command until only they were left and then murdered them. As they lay dying from fatal wounds he makes them watch him kill himself. Satan descends to the next life.
Satan - Wrath
4. The fourth death of the devil
Belphegor was the caretaker demon ordered to tend to a volcano, and to protect the capital of the planet. When he did neither he was sent to the mountains of hell. Not knowing where he was and so cold atop the peaks he was forced to make fire. He attempted to find his way down, for days on end; he was lost in the highlands of hell. The smoke burned just as fallen trees did and did not dissipate, for clean air he travelled downward, the growing ceiling of smoke made it easy to descend but always followed him. Never did it get warm; near the bottom, he could see the sufferers of hell. The burning bodies let the smoke drift into the air still a stone’s throw above his head, until the smoke overwhelms and he suffocates from smoke inhalation, trying to hold in his breath until his face is as blue as it had been at the mountain's peak. Belphegor descends to the next life.
Belphegor - Sloth
5. The fifth death of the devil
Severed from science
Mammon is a light bringer. When he does not give fire to humanity, for this Zeus sends him to a place where darkness rules over light. Still having the power to control light he uses it and discovers that his light is poison. People desire the poisonous light and he would trick people into trading their souls after a taste of light for promises of more light or better things. The light is addictive and fatal, each soul keeps mammon alive, each soul gives him the power to make the light brighter attracting larger masses of souls, eventually there is no one left to deceive and consume, and exhausted he dies alone. Mammon descends to the next life.
Mammon - Avarice/Greed
6. The sixth death of the devil
Beelzebub is less than human in appearance, a consuming insect worshiped by many of man. He finds that when he eats his worshipers and not their food stores he doubles into two separate creatures. When one of his doubles eats their first worshiper, the archangel sends him to hell. In hell he is overwhelmed with joy and begins to feast on the tortured souls, as he begins to choke to death on a prisoner of hell, he becomes the meal of a larger creation of himself. Beelzebub descends to the next life.
Beelzebub - Gluttony
7. The seventh death of the devil
Asmodeus is the prince of the world, of a united empire of smaller countries in a time of peace. He is a trained warrior of the land and an honored royalty engaged to the widowed queen of the gods. Envied by his fellows and of the fairer of the species, he is out gathering petals with the flower girls but for too long, and on that day while in paradise in the most acclimate of weather, at the most calmest of streams he began to admire his new found reflection on the day of his wedding. Without any warning to him, the wind came and blew him into the water. Asmodeus descends to the next life.
Asmodeus - Lust
25 November 2009
Merlin 7 - The Mountain
Out of the bakery he walked, letting his emotions gather, the cool ocean air and its mist run through the small seaside city as he thought of his early days. Children playing simple games of rampant war and unprepared retreat as the smaller setting sun fell beneath the rising other, trading places with the larger and warmer sun, which rose at the same time in its same position along the horizon, letting in the warmth from the sun to bake the ground. The quaint villagers seemed uncontrollably happy as they unanimously let out a short cheer as the larger sun began to rise, which brought comforting warmth into his severed thoughts. Several of the heavily leather clad keepers of the birds were dragging small hand drawn wooden carts to their cages, to clean the stalls and pens.
Each of which were constructed of wooden beams and polls, connected with metal joints fastened together with bolts and nails, and in extra precaution were bound with straps to secure the joint workings of each corner and post of every cage. With the mist burning back from the walls to the air and into the shadows, as well as from the murky street, the small bleak city comes alive with holy light and fastidious commotion and fills with the wholesome smell of fresh cut grains and newly baked goods.
As the enlightened Merlin walked into the guarded city center, the walls of stone grew in height and the brown and soaking down trodden roads narrowing between them, the people seeming less busy and more so happily content, most covered in dark drab clothing none of which were the same as the furs of the winter traders. As he passed along he kept a solemnly constant pace, and without fail as does happen every so often in larger towns, a young thief took a pouch from Merlin’s waistband, of anything valuable to the little bandit, at the newly risen opportunity. Nevertheless, as the young street thief did this, taking only a few running paces away, the small bag the thief had taken fell to the ground like a massive stone, taking with it a massive falling ‘thump’, keeping the child’s hand under his new bounty and ensnarement.
Now restlessly lying in the street was a small blond boy, his sandals wound around his feet and covered them to his ankles, and his trousers shorter than most with the looks that he had worn the fabric away and with a simple tunic, vested in the same leather as from the boy’s footwear. A clothing style he had known of that draped on his caste as a toga later in life.
Merlin approached the frantic boy and laughed as he noticed him kicking and screaming; as he drew near, he found the little one was gnawing at his hand like that of a troubled rat who thought Merlin to be a deathly venomous snake. He continued his approach, crouching near the apt young thief, and pausing in either disbelief or punishment in the painful moments before the culprit noticed him looming over him in the middle of the street.
Merlin spoke, “I put a vexful hex upon that little precious bag and everything within it, and together the simple weight of the things you thought you could take has multiplied. They must be 10 carts heavy. What do you think?”
The boy looked once back to his hand and again to Merlin with only the sharpest of painful expression. Twisting and turning the thieving boy said, “Let me go or ill stab you with my arm when I get loose.”
Merlin, “Apologize and I will let you go with your arm.”
The young thief replied, “Let me go!”
The boy’s father, family member or elder perhaps, walked over behind the boy laughing scantily as much if not more than Merlin had, stopping to stare at the youngling’s predicament, from in front of Merlin.
The thief said, “Let me go!” He cried again in a sharper and more drastic pitch.
Merlin, “perhaps I have gone deaf; did you say something about your hand?”
Thief, "I am so sorry, you have no idea!"
The tormented boy kicked and screamed indecipherable language. Looking up and over to the Elder standing a few paces down the street, the elder gave Merlin a nod of affirmation and Merlin with this decided to let the boy free.
Merlin placed his hand over the brown deerskin pouch and it fell up from the ground to his pale hand, as quickly as it had drastically fallen. The now menaced boy darted away from him, holding his limb, running unwittingly into the man who caught him abruptly by the collar and dragged him effortlessly over to a patient Merlin, as he kicked and screamed obscene profanities and fowl words. Defiant to the end the same as any child of an impious nature would in his situation, when declaring innocence assuredly to any unexpected law of the sacred land.
The Elder Man spoke apologetically, “Sorry Merlin, he doesn't know who you are yet. We told him it’s going to be rougher than the last equinox.”
Thief, “He doesn’t look like any warrior. Fight me and I’ll tell you what that bag is worth, fish head!”
The last of his pithy words he shouted at Merlin, turning a flushing red in the face trying to mimic the way his elders spoke and high in childish sarcasm. The slender boy, in brutish behavior, clasped in the clenches of the elder man from behind him, by his clothes, gets a strike by hand across his face, which instantly silenced him and caused him to fall, slacking limp in the grip of, and leans into the sage elder, more than twice the anxious boy’s height, holding him. The young one is staring at the ground as the two speak together, but yet deceitfully looking Merlin over, checking for jewelry and other valuable things to take once again, at a second audacious opportunity.
Elder, “Be proper and stand up straight you little brat.” He said to the frustrated and squirming boy.
The devilish boy stands up straight only to fall again, this time with his knees bent, fully intent on falling to the ground and making a full nuisance of himself. The man let the child fall to the ground pushing him forward as he fell and putting his foot on his back to which the boy resisted but to no avail.
Merlin says to them both, “Was this one especially long. I had hoped you would be trading with the northerners by now.”
Elder, “quite, but this should be the endless summer this year.”
A man on a tall plow horse was striding down the street, and Merlin pointed to the horse rider and then picked the boy up by his collar. The elder of the boy in reply, grabbed the boy by the collar from Merlin in a swift motion.
“Stand and behave.” He said to the boy. “And that'll be all for you run along brat.” and like that he let the boy free.
Before the boy spirited off, Merlin shouted, “Wait, I’ve something for your troubles.”
“ His troubles,” The elder questioned, blatantly confused by Merlin’s decision.
Merlin calmly reaches into his magical leather pouch and pulls out the first enchanted stone he finds, than spins it around the center of his callused hand, making sure the reflective surface caught the surmounting light. Merlin swings his lengthy arm under and seamlessly tosses the precious clear diamond, nearly the size of the opening of the small bag.
Still holding his hand, the boy does not grab it and jumps back, letting it fall to the ground, staring at its stunning glamour with amazement and interest. Intrigued he jumps happily to take the shimmering stone from the street, looking up to Merlin before hurriedly taking the near equilateral and transparent stone, from the blessed earthen thoroughfare, briefly to reassess Merlin’s character.
Merlin said to the boy with a condescending look on his face, “It’s all right, you can have that one,” at the boy.
Elder: “Go on, pick it up and foretell your mother.”
This caused the young boy to have a grin, a posture endowed with joy, and he shouted back to him, “Thank you sir.” as he ran off with the hefty diamond.
The brightly blond haired boy and the stone near the size of the palm of his hand, rushes off around a corner into a small alleyway next to a Silver wares shop. The two men had a brief hearted laugh, walked to each other, hugged, and then shook each other’s forearm. Each of the men shows great signs of contentment.
Merlin, “How are you old friend?”
Elder, “Dreadful, my bones are shrinking and by body growing.”
Merlin, “How dreadful were the rains?”
Elder, “No more than ever I suppose, but out there,” gesturing to the coast, “the southerners have been fishing by boat, largest ones we've seen thus, and we've told him tourists are open targets.”
Merlin, “How bad has it gotten? Couldn’t you have trained him somehow?”
Elder, “As long as we can watch him do it, I didn't recognize you at first; you're in different clothes than you were our visit last.”
Merlin, “There have been many fires from there to here.”
Elder, “Running into strange things will do that to wizards looking for fire.”
Merlin, “He might make a good scout to you yet. He was very quick about turning that corner.”
Elder, “He was. I will tell his mother that you are here.”
Merlin, “I say, tell her I will be by later today, I have business in the court.”
Elder, “Very good, but don’t think I won’t let her know you're here”
Merlin, “very good, sir.”
Merlin laughed and turned away; relieved that he had escaped too soon, for he had neither remembered the name of the city elder or his surely precious daughter’s. Through town, Merlin went passing the harems and restaurants that resided in the city as he was nearing the main hall entrance, finally reaching the inner wall, the boundary that separated the people from the royals, and other forms of entertainment that often were at work when at play.
Through posted guards all in placement in perfect and proper order and practiced position among the lofty hall, this seemed almost new. As new as the last time he had seen it, immaculate as ever with white marble pillars and floors of luxurious polished granite and black marble. The lavish room of pillows and pillars filled with endowed children and their mothers, wandering servants, guards taking time to talk with the young princesses, young servant girls taking their time to speak to the occasional guard or pretty boy.
Then there were the guard, mindful of impure intentions or luxurious goals at their present thoughts and the jester spies who danced the halls entertaining the children with hidden knives in their own backs. The kind dressed in painted face and calico and multicolored playful clothes, the type of spurious plays and the entertainment of the gallantries’, who were the ones employed outwardly as entertainment, but ultimately as surveillance, a way to secretly monitor what goes on in the inner walls he thought to himself and continued pace.
Merlin attained the adoration if applicable, of those in the room as he passed others, and seemed to belong fittingly well, as he was considered acceptable by not being in paupers clothes and as he walked he did attain the attention of several in the room, some better than others as he approached the main room. For some he would receive laughter as he passed, possibly for his draping hat that held his lengthy hair and fell behind him, but the whispering children who had not seen someone like Merlin ever in their time made mostly the most commotion.
For he had a shortened length of facial hair at the end of his face, that was more than 20 days long, in a city that was clean if not shaven, if even needed, from start to finish, that mostly found it against their way to hide their face.
Amongst the clamor he approached the center of it all, the main hall, the beginning of the city, the sacred throne.
A circle of short pillars surrounded what was now the center of the forgotten city. It was not vacant but adorned as the living quarters of the king. Done so by his own will and no king before him, for he did not fear anyone’s opinion of his living around his throne and had done so in their stead for many years now. The lack of privacy allowed anyone who made it past the guard simply to walk directly into the central living quarters of the city ruler from many directions and multiple corridors.
Beyond the furniture, on the wall behind the throne was a faint and fading painting of four people and a bird at a lake at fireside, with a large swimming swan, in front of Merlin. Blocking the walking path but still open to the outside of the pillars lay one sleeping bed, twice the length of a man, but only wide enough to roll out of in your deep sleeps, made for a hallway elsewhere in the castle. Behind the throne to the back wall was a terribly aged painting with stone curtains, carved out of the wall itself. Other pieces of furniture sat in the arena of light that surrounded a circle engraving of gold and silver on the ground surrounding the king’s throne and from it raised the ominous light that lit the city during the night, seen from a great distance into the land.
The light shines in an ominous circle upward, carrying a fine dust of gold and silver that drifted from the embedded metals in the floor, through a hole of the same shape cut into the ceiling. Within the opening is a center stone ring, connected in four places in the center of the hole to fill up most of the opening except for its center, which the light shined to the outside through a small dome room above the opening with yet another hole at its peak. It seemed the throne was a place of worship to Merlin, much more than it was a place for oppressive words by a tyrant king, the kind claiming to be gods. Because of careless upkeep, clothes and shoes, bottles and empty goblets plagued the scene, much to Merlin’s disapproval but not to his surprise.
The disorderly king, from a connected hallway in the distance, bounds over the long sofa and surprises Merlin. The swift king is a young man with the build of an ancient titan. He is dressed in hunter’s clothes, with full leather armor including boots and coat, with a quiver over his shoulder and without a leather helm. He said to Merlin, “Merlin, you dog you, what are you doing here?”
Merlin, “Try not to be humorous; it isn’t your strong suit.” He said as he looked up to the hole in the ceiling.
Horus, “I often go to the roof and bathe in the rain within the circle of light.”
Merlin, “Much to the people’s content I gather.”
Merlin, “It is good to see you so pleased.”
Horus, “It’s so lovely to see you so wickedly aged again. Let’s cut that awful thing off of you.” He said pulling a blade from a leather sheath on the belt of his quiver.
Merlin, “You know what happens. Put that away, and tell me what’s going on here.”
King Horus promptly puts away the simple knife and with his hands on his side he said, “It is the great Merlin at long last,” he said and walked towards Merlin with open arms.
Merlin and his old friend meet with amorous conjecture, a hug and a smile, as they look each other over, trying to seem impressed with the other.
Horus, “You do look well, we should have a drink.”
Merlin, “This sounds like an excellent idea.”
Merlin’s beard is shorter than it was just moments earlier, which causes some to stare and others to begin their gossip. The virile king calls for his imperial guards, but before the sentry forces can arrive, one of the court jesters personally assigned for protection of Horus the Aramaic Son, as the king moved, leapt into the situation and Merlin attacked the oddly dressed fellow, giving the jester a single barrage of unexpected forceful wind. The now embarrassed fool had leapt forward with a narrow candle in one hand and the incursion that had coincided near the throne caused an intensive fire to blast the clown back but just barely by some flamboyant cause of the ethereal air, drifting from the floor.
The colorful assassin stood on his feet, sliding to his side and at his ribs, far to the right of Merlin, now turning towards him. The witty comedian took a deep breath and waved his own hands across his own clothes, washing the burnt region with what seemed a cold mist. With an almost subtle flick of the wrists, the jester launched three small powder sacks together, meant to blast open with smoke and spikes, but Merlin stops them in transition of their rampant flight, and the smoke, ash and shrapnel fell to the ground. The palm of Merlin’s hand, held upright, begins to glow; drawing in the power of the glowing mist in the room, the orb of light and electricity held in Merlin’s hand began to glow as bright as the holy chair in the center of the room. The jester determined and chided looked to him with his head cocked to one side the way of a severely confused dog and attempts the same trick again. This time King Horus intervened in their impending confrontations.
With a deafening yell, King Horus declared, “Stop this at once,” and continued “...Merlin...we can behave here, just as quickly as you can murder him,” he said, purposefully looking to the young jester with a focused and angered glare of dissatisfaction. Merlin let down his arm and very slowly, as the room slightly shook, the light in his hand began to fade.
Merlin smiled to the jester, to cause intimidation, which worked. His outgrowth of facial hair had lost some of its color and had lengthened, and all had missed this during its happening. The trained assassin could not keep eye contact with him, rapidly bouncing back and forth, with his sight, between the king, Merlin, and objects in the room, nervous like a skittish wild kitten.
Horus, “Thank you but this is my friend, but pick your battles more carefully Thomas. Go and redress yourself and return post haste.”
Thomas, “Very well your highness. It is my deepest and sincerest apologies to you sir.” He said as he slightly bowed to the king and then again but less so with a stare of malcontent towards Merlin. In addition, he scuttled off, just in time to hear the guards who had come laugh jovially at what had happened.
The pleased king turned to see Merlin sitting on a well-padded lavish chair covered in old clothes, as the guards stopped their telling of secrets.
Horus yelled as if into the air, “Send in the prophet and his friends, tell them that my advisor is here, and send someone with drinks for us all…the best that we’ve been keeping for my old friend here.”
Random set of guards, “Yes sir.” They replied.
In addition, as quickly as the youthful sovereign had made mention his request, the guards he spoke to dispersed, two down one hall, and one down another separate hall, and the remaining soldiers returned to their positions, a few ushering their company with them to move out of sight with discretion, to preserve the appearance that they all had been on task.
Merlin, “Very kind of you, I could use better spirits.”
Horus, “It’s the least I can do, you look terrible. Have you been sleeping again?”
Merlin, “You pay them well.”
Horus, “I do but they want land so things like this happen you see, they are like us, look close into their eyes and you will see the truth.”
Merlin, “I meant the guards.”
Horus, “...oh yes, you did have a ball of fire in your hand...and I do not think they like the jesters as much as they show.”
Merlin, “I was about to give you this.”
Merlin reaches into his long overcoat nearly as long as a cloak, pulling out and old hand and the trusted gift and gives the king one of the phoenix feathers. The virile king looks at it quietly intrigued, and contemplates in a deep respite thought.
Horus, with great wonder in his eyes spoke. “Tell me it’s near, I could have those southern dodgers chase it for months, with bounty as the bait and switch,” he said with a sound of eagerness in his voice.
Merlin, “I think you have more to tell me old friend.”
Horus, “If only you had brought more,” he said while walking to the irradiant throne in the brightly painted, festive hall. Two young boys each have brought a large red glass pitcher of wine carried by both on a short table with wooden cups. At first, it seemed to be red wine but the pitcher on the silver box platter carried white wine in a red glass container.
Merlin, “What is so important to send for me and not to come and visit, are you and Ana..,”
Horus, “It is now a time of great peril, I am fortunate to have you here to assist.”
Merlin: “I am not a pawn,” he said taking his first drink of the wine, “This is delicious.”
As the young boy with the pitcher had finished pouring into the second cup and setting the tinted pitcher down, the other boy, who was identical and possibly a twin, had taken to the wall as Merlin finished his serving from his cup, he tossed the cup to the boy and took the one that was full from the tray. His fingers, beard, face and hand, all together, began to turn anew, turning young from old.
Horus, “In the north, the light givers are at commotion, they gather in their city from as far as Pantograph, and we are rarely to see them at sea. When we do, it is never one of their fishing vessels, but a messenger class envoy or courier, traveling to Vanir in the north, with great speed. Recently we have seen sections of the mountain, dark for centuries turn lit again. Earlier we saw a carrier come from the other shore.
Merlin, “That is important; could they be in civil war? It could be a courier taking them their precious stones.”
Horus, “Fearing everything, we’d like to be sure”
Merlin, “Perhaps they are planning to fly their city into space.”
Horus, “This is not the time for your kind of laughs Merlin.”
Merlin, “They might.” He said as he turned his cup upside-down so that the king could see a much younger Merlin and an empty wine pitcher.
Horus, “We are on the only world we can reach, and I have more bad news.”
Merlin, “You owe them money.”
Horus, “Fetch us another pitcher of white wine.” He said as he sat down lightly. “To the south, The Red Merchant Army is gathering its troops, the entire city is in unrest and to make matters worse, they have entire sections of their city near their harbor covered in avoidance of spies from overhead.”
Merlin, “A little bird told you this.”
Merlin shakes his head and laughs to himself, turning yet younger again, while looking into his empty goblet. The roaming court of the prophet and his assistant the king had invited comes in to the center of the room. With the king waving them over, a few of them take the cover off a large stone cauldron which is filled with mirror glass, the king reaches into the inner pocket where he had placed the feather, and holds it before him, taking a lasting final look at the orange feather.
Horus, “I can use this now, do you have anymore?” he turned to Merlin and said.
Merlin shortly pauses and before long nods his head in affirmation, the king holds out the feather from the pocket he had placed it and rests it on the surface of the solid mirror pool, and the content of the giant pot, turned into a liquid, that seemed like water, and like mercury at the same time. Merlin is intrigued and steps closer. The two men step to the large basin, across from each other, and put their hands to the side of the cauldron. As a third, man in a turban steps to the bowl chanting something in a language with words mostly from the bottom of his throat, and the surface of the water became a vision of the coastline as if from a high cloud. From above the coast of the very place Merlin was visiting, a cloud covered the water connected to the outward ocean. From their position, they could view a dark mass, flying north and to the coast, to the right and from the dense clouds a creature flew speedily out from the dark mist and a small ship soon followed as if both were fleeing the huge shadow.
Returned, the children with the wine to where they had moved, around the gigantic container.
Merlin, “This is a wonderful visage. What did you do without the feather?”
The king told him, “Nearly forty pieces, and every time.”
Merlin, “But how did it work before now?”
Horus, “Forty pieces, they made me drop it in.”
Merlin “Seems a bit steep.”
In the clouds full of mist, floating above the land was a flying creature, a dragon of sorts with wings and a slight tail, but almost man because of having two legs, trailing behind it, in its flight, and the incomplete tail that surely acted as a fin, aiding it during maneuvering in flight. Following it was a ship of the air, and more closely by a glider with a set of wings of its own, flapping below the kite wall that kept it a float. The smaller glider looks more like a tiny bird with two heads, but as for the prey, the winged man looked more like a bat, dropping and darting across and over again, in a failing attempt to dodge the fireballs loosed from the flaming destructive slingshot the glider pilots were using from their vessel.
The magnanimous air-ships comprised a hunting party, the prey beneath his intentions of escape, had led them close enough to the southernmost defenses of The City of Light, and the large ship took assault twice by large harpoon like cannonade, though it had attempted to veer out and away from the land-based bombardment.
The ship as it fell to the ground, slowly rolling like a log, launched a longboat from its belly, to land on the water, only narrowly avoiding the main vessel as it landed, the wave tipped the life raft into the water but it settled upright on the water's surface despite its turbulent commotion. The second ship, pursued the reptilian creature of the air, still carried by the wind was on a safer course and still following the creature south at an incredible speed, waving back and forth along the shoreline, pummeling it with smaller projectiles but still in rapport with their overall agenda.
The flying creature dropped a spear as it twisted in the air and swooped to it, immediately launching it towards the pontoon, following above and behind and closing the distance between them both. The large steel arrow it had thrown narrowly missed the gliding pontoon, as they turned to miss their impalement. Flying against an invisible gust of air, the dragon cut back drastically, swooping behind himself and landing feet first to the roof of the flying apparatus as it leaned to one side.
The young dragonish flier had caught the small glider off guard, clenched its canopy with the claws of its feet, and turned it upside down. In a twist unable to gain control, it and the pilots began to fall abruptly in a calamitous spin like a bird, from midflight attempting to correct its course with a broken wing in a perilous spiral. Either of the gunmen attempted to fire as they fell and set fire to their own ship. The pilots attempted to jump craft, but only one of the two made what might be a safe landing in the water, the second fell unfortunately close at the shore and perished with a massive blast before it had even made it to the ground. The small glider in the process crashed into a small Traveler’s Wagon that had remained motionless during the conflict before a mountain pass that headed inland away from the shore.
The longboat that had jettisoned from the larger air ship was long on its way, fleeing from the raised coastline, leaving the lone plummeted pilot with no sign of turning back, as light giver ships had begun to dispatch in an almost instant desire for scavenging the parts of the huge wrecked ship.
Horus among the entrance stretched out his long arm over the water of the vision pool. As he did, the water seemed to drift up toward his hand ever so slightly, causing the water to bevel and ripple at the edges and elevate at its surface toward his skin. He points to the spot where the creature was heading, a bastion at the peak of a mountain to the east that he had passed. The magicians at the side of the cauldron were now pale and white, slightly shaking and flushed, as if in a feverish chill, despite their heavy clothing.
Horus, “There,” he pointed across the water.
They opened their eyes slightly more than they had, looking up to the king, slowly turning their head. With solid white eyes, they followed the length of his arm and began focusing to where he pointed, keeping their eyes open to let everyone standing about notice that their eyes had become devoid of any color completely. They leaned in, squinting once more, as if the water held an intense light, and leaned toward the center of the watery vision, as it began to glow. They began to enlarge the image by using their fingers to walk across the water with their thumbs behind the edge of the huge pot, gathering the waters behind their fingers like a child afraid of the night before slumbering, pulling the water’s edge behind their fingers. They did so all while mumbling a song, which they both new, as the image began to focus on the flying creature of newfound salvation, losing blood and with unbalanced movement, in terrible plight falling toward the entrance of a mountain castle.
The water began glowing, than when the distance between them and the boy had lessened they silenced and the surface of the watery vision pool leveled, and the visionaries once again clenched the rim, as if unable to let go of the window in the water. All whom surrounded the vision, could see that the boy was wounded and losing precious blood, and with an unfortunate sudden collision, the winged thing fell into the ground and rolled into a large set of engraved and stolidly hung stone doors.
The audience that had gathered winced at the painfully plighted crash.
Horus, “That's enough.” The king said and the turbaned man began tapping the two on their shoulder.
Merlin, “You're not going to show me the southern city,” he asked with a disappointed inflection.
Horus, “No I've seen enough.”
Merlin is pouring a drink as Horus walks away, grabbing a small boy who had climbed on the throne to see what they had seen. Horus threw him from the throne and took seat, closing his eyes as placed his arms on the rests and bowed his head. Merlin stares vacantly, intrigued by the entire even, than takes the cup and catches up with Horus. The prophets three end the enchanted vision portal of magic, as the two stewards of its sides fall away from the bowl with exhaustion.
Horus was honest and curt, as he replied, “No need, I’ll go back and investigate myself,” opening his eyes.
Merlin, “Go back, I’m no messenger and I don’t know where I’ve been,” he said taking another drink and tossing the cup into the garden to the side of the stone path they walked, below a stone ceiling only a floor tall, help up by smaller pillars like the ones in the main hall.
Horus, “I need you to go to them, and heal their dying son, and bring me back a pail of his blood, the one that fell.” He said still walking with a determined pace.
Merlin, “To what end?”
Horus, “Several moons ago two of them were here telling us they were from the clan of Malek. I was confused as the legend told that they were,”
Merlin, “Giant dragons...”
Horus, “Yes, you sent them?”
Merlin, “I knew him.”
Horus, “You know us all.”
Merlin, “Forgotten more than you know, I remind you. You were saying.”
Horus, “They showed me magic with blood they spilled of themselves; the bronzed blood became the things they desired and made this dagger.
The king shows the dagger to Merlin, the exceptional quality on the blade of engraved and stained designs etched on the knife's sides with a golden handle also engraved to show thorn rose vines and intricately detailed symbols.
Horus, “They said that they needed food from our fishery, and that the red merchants had hunted out the forest close to their land, just as they have begun over fishing The Amarna Sea for my city.”
Merlin, “What was it you said?”
Horus, “I agreed “
Merlin, “For only a dagger?”
Horus, “When they offered to make any and all tools that we need or need more of that are laboring to make or difficult to find.”
Merlin amused asked, “What will you be making when I return.”
Horus, “I need to open a Cipher’s Gate.”
Merlin, “A gateway will be highly dangerous.”
Horus, “We already have one.”
Merlin, “but I’m sure you cannot tell me.”
Horus at this point stops and grabs Merlin by both arms, highly concerned, an action for all to see.
Horus, “I am not using it to open one, I am making one to go back and spy on the army, if I can go back and gather information in disguise and perhaps with a little espionage, while I am there, than even if they have spies, luck will be on my side. I can’t be in both places at once.”
Merlin, “Bring me a bottle, and I will be there by the morning.”
Horus, “I need you be there by sunset or the moons rising.”
Merlin pauses as he realizes that they had walked into a kitchen filled with fruits and foods in preparation for a meal by beautiful women in scant clothing.
Merlin, “All right but I will need a nice pair of shoes, before, I go.”
Horus, “Take any of those.” He said pointing to a muddy pile of boots by a door that led outside, tasting the fare.
“A bottle and a wine sack.” The king shouted loudly to the people of the place.
“A pouch,” Merlin asked digging through the dirty pile.
Horus, “Take the wine, but a bottle will not be enough; the pouch you will take holds thrice that much.”
Merlin tied the straps on the second walking boot and told the king, “Anything goes wrong and I am to be blaming you.”
After a long perusal around the room and a brief contemplation of the day’s events, and the quest at hand after already having sat down to choose a proper shoe, deciding on a fitting boot, rises again and approaches the king with a striking grin of mischievous nature and asks, “I need one of your jesters,” as a random favor.
Horus, “Those are nice.”
Merlin quickly replied, “For the journey.”
Horus, “I always knew you were odd.”
Merlin, “He will carry the bag back.”
Horus, “you there,” he touted to a passing boy, “run fetch me Thomas.”
As luck would have it Thomas, the jester that he had quarreled with earlier, returned. He was wearing normal garb but it was the same design as would a jester wear at a performance, oddly the fool appeared without vibrant rare colors painted on his face, his hair still stiff with wax and pointing up as if he were hanging by his feet, but no hat or paint in his hair.
Several servants of the court bring back a handful of bottles and two sacks for the journey. Merlin picks up the bottle of his choice, opens the white wine, and drinks, handing the rest of the bottle to the king and then looking to the jester boy who seemed misplaced and now confused.
“Take these bags, fill one of these casks now, and follow Merlin here, to the estate of The Chimera,” Horus said pushing the bags to him and placing the bottle on the counter, only for a chef to move it out of their way, as the young man began filling the flask. They gracefully move away from the busy counter towards Merlin wrapping his boots.
Thomas, “Do you mean the Dragon Castle?”
Merlin, “I will take one of the sacks and that cask.”
Merlin takes the bottle Thomas is pouring into the cask and takes another drink while observing the king and jester. When sated, he hands the bottle back, and lets Thomas fill the cask, finally taking it from him and sliding it up his sleeve, and dropping his hands to his side with no obvious sign of anything being up his sleeve at all.
Horus, “You are to do what he says and never leave his side, unless he's going to get you killed.”
Merlin, “You killed the mayor’s prize hog.”
Horus somberly responds, “He’s a good man my friend Merlin, and you can trust him.” Merlin having put on a dark pair of boots says, “A life waits for good health, let’s go,” as he stands.
They walk out of the castle as Thomas apologizes to Merlin for confronting him aggressively, and for not introducing himself with the ‘good king’ present. Merlin appreciating the honesty accepts the apology and points to the sign above a tent bearing a symbol of alchemy. When entering the tent shop, a young man passes him, brushing into him on his way out, outside before the entrance, with a satchel and a book, running a slow jaunting step.
Merlin and the two toned brown suited and sullen jester step into the tent and view a vast amount of discernable space inside the cluttered tent, much more than was seemed from outside, with a collection of helms, casks, bottles, daggers, glass jugs of water, or at least what seemed to be, and several spices and powders of every color. The wares cover shelves and tables within the expanse that seemed ever so smaller from the outside perception. In the center of the room is a large pillar plated with a few mirrors that grew like flowers from a collection of weaved pipes and ropes that bound the column like vines. Also being odd was the unused countertop around it with mirrors that faced up as flowers would.
Inside the tent of illusion, stood a very short man at a very short legged table that was very large in width and covered in papers, ink, pencils and maps, some unfinished and blank, in a mess that if gathered he could not carry all at once. Two straps ran over his shoulders to hold his trousers, and his thumbs wrapped behind them keeping him at a clean presumptuous stance.
Merlin, “I need to know if you have everything I need.”
Shopkeeper, “I can assure you that we have almost anything that almost no one would ever need.”
Merlin without missing a step begins revealing his list while looking over the room, “Excellent, I need ice root, blood root, sorrow stones, a pouch of solid candle smoke. Do you have any crushed if possible?”
Shopkeeper, “you sound like your making a teleport potion.”
Merlin, “Perhaps I should try another shop, one that’s fresh out of questions, perhaps?”
The shop keep notices the jester and spouts, “hello young fool; I’ll be there momentarily son.”
Merlin, “He is with me. Do you have any fire-ice or diamond storm?”
However, the shopkeeper informs him, “Yes, but that last one is going to be a pretty penny. Are you sure you can afford it, you have a lot already and I am out of diamond storm. I just sold the last of it to the old man you passed when you entered.”
Merlin, “Where is he and who is he?”
Shopkeeper, “He said he was a trader. He had seeds from the other side of the land.”
Merlin, “And where did he go?”
Shopkeeper, “He hadn’t said.”
Confused he pauses, trying to remember something about the passer by, but regrettably cannot. His composure regained, he gathers the rest of his needed supplies into a pile before him and the little man.
Merlin picks and points to the rest of the items he wants, including some small premixed unidentified combination potions that were likely colored waters, and more things like special candles of a small sort and pellets of incense from the counter next to where the supplies were collecting. “I’ll take any stones polished with fish oil if you have them.” The age regressing wizard asked, and the little man by ladder collected them from a shelf behind him.
“Yet another odd request, for a man with so few pockets.” As the wee man is stepping down his ladder, a kid comes rushing in and talks to the little man in a foreign clacking dialect. The journeyman boy brings him a bag of bones and receives a payment. The white haired boy, looks to Merlin and continues uttering the undecipherable dialect causing the little man to laugh profusely, the young child then rushes out of the tent.
Each bone was not so straight Merlin noticed as the world’s tiniest shopkeeper poured them out onto the table. The little dude begins hammering them with an ordinary sized metal mallet that seemed the size of an anvil hammer in his hands.
Merlin, “How much does this cost?” holding up a piece of jasper filled water.
Shopkeeper, “2 pounds gold,” told him.
Merlin, “Here is what I need you to carry.”
From the shelves near the door, turning toward Merlin and the shop keep, Thomas comes over to them.
“Which color should I pick?” He asked, pointing to three jars on the table, he had already chosen.
Confused the shop keep stayed silent and before he could ask, Merlin hit the jester on the back of the head, rendering him unconscious. He pulls two pieces of gold from his own pocket, and bending over to the now unconscious jester, the tall wizard begins to pull the jester’s pockets empty, collecting the various items that included more than a dozen silver coins, the bottle from the pack he carried, a pair of gloves from an inner pocket and after, raising the flask from his sleeve.
The shop owner takes the flask weighing it to assume its worth. The shopkeeper removes the cap to smell the contents, waving the flask below his nose he let out a sigh of content. He takes a drink and gives himself time to clear his thoughts, then closing the lid quickly and putting it to his side beneath his vest.
Shopkeeper, “Never liked him much anyways, sir.”
Merlin, “You would like him less when you find him stealing,” and Merlin took a handful of things out of the jester’s inner pocket and put them on the table.
Merlin, “Will that supplement the cost?”
Shopkeeper, “It surely will, but you'll have to take him out of here.”
Merlin replied, “Move your tent, traveling salesman.”
Shopkeeper, “I’m leaving today, if you're shopping this way again, look for this symbol.” The little man points to the symbol over the map that resembles the caduceus.
Merlin takes the jester’s pack from him as he lay in the soil inside the tent, and begins to pack the new items he has acquired.
Merlin with a smile said, “I saw no wagon outside; only that small cart will not carry everything here.”
Shopkeeper, “I have a ship at your dock.”
Merlin, “Are you going to port iron, perhaps?”
Shopkeeper, “I was thinking I might go to Golden cove, or maybe Miner’s Edge.”
Merlin, “Well you have a safe trip. Avoid the coastline en route.”
Shopkeeper, “You as well, my friend”
Merlin grabbed the boy by the lapel of his vest and dragged him outside on his back, shouting back into the tent, “God speed” as the tiny man waved his hand once. Merlin approached the wagon and dropped Thomas carelessly from his shoulder onto a passing hay cart, half-full, driven by a big man.
Merlin wipes the sweat from his brow and looks down to the ground holding the wagon to seem a bit tipsy himself and spouted, “He's had too much to drink, will you drop him in a haystack near Ana’s bakery near the corals?”
Big Man, “Sure, put him on,” and the man rode away as slow as he had rode previously.
“Thank you.” Merlin replied gratefully.
He turns away and notices the walls of the tent shaking, many noises like pots colliding within the tent wall as the main tent post begins collapsing as the little man exits his shop. Merlin dusts his hands together, and begins his walk to the city doors in silence.