Merlin 2 - 5 The Aviary
The hallway to the aviary tower has no door at its ground entrance, only two guards who part when they recognize David, but only after he states his intentions and directions, reluctantly. A cathartic silent passage, the warriors, the unique skills of each, the weapons, games, clothing, training, fealty of the better half as the wayward warrior David's priorities enter into flux with the addition of these new stewards, among their journey through the wide winding stairwell to the upper levels of which he had never been. The ceiling dark beyond shadow, the stones hugely stoic, the winding and rising passage perfect and nearly seamless by those that had appended the city to it several ages prior and had not left their name, perchance the figures etched in time.
The statues and the shape of the courtyard strike open the long aged memories of Nickolas, reminding him of being turned to stone, nearly itself an age ago as he vicariously reminisces with his memories in reverie, induced by a statue of a pontiff in long robe and deeply hooded standing above the spiraling floor.
David: "What king could carve these?"
Nickolas: "It was any artist with good aim."
Ana: "It gives a sense of solace and discretion."
Nickolas: "I wish to prove my diversity from statues always."
David: "Why do you conduct a rage for stone?"
Nickolas: "For I used to be one as penance decreed by my elders."
Nickolas flits from them up the corkscrew corridor in silence passed the high windows of the winding tower in chosen silence. He spoke ahead from the fining shadows in revelation, the echoes seething in revolution viding the tunnel that wraps upward the spire to clairvoyant heights.
Ana: "It was for his especial behavior."
Nickolas: "My lieges were the donors of malicious punishment."
David: "Where was this?"
Nickolas: "It was long ago."
The echo speaks for the shades and sculptures. Large wooden doors hang to the sides of the tower hall with ledge windows open and unattended, from within the aviary a well-girthed man in straps and bushy long beard comes to the window. A shorter old fellow whose arms rest level with the windowsill as he holds the edge with long leather gloves with a straight-line stitch across the side.
Warden: "Show me your patents."
They stand in wait inasmuch confused to the statement. David stands and watches, waiting for something to shake him from confusion, when there is none, he commands their progress.
David: "He'll need to see your pass."
Nickolas: "We don't have one; we've come to see our friend."
Warden: "Who would that be?”
The aviary warden eyes the party three awaiting an answer so short his mouth barely raises the ledge and speaks with a highly exaggerated cadence.
Ana: "We seek a boy who rides a red phoenix."
Warden: "Excellent, have ye any money?"
Nickolas: David: "Who are you?”
Warden: "I am he who tends the aviary, your friend had barely enough for wyrm eggs...and if ye haven't any fortune than he shan't be staying and ye won’t be coming in!"
Ana: "Very well troglodyte."
Ana lifts her dress meretriciously over her shin, draws out a pouch, and puts it to the worn ledge, the warden stares fascinated, Nickolas was at the side of the window before the keeper's attention breaks holding a knife and tapping the tip of the blade until the caretaker notices him. When the governor does, Nickolas directs his attention to the bag by pointing his knife to it.
Ana: "And now you have the proclivity."
The warden looks through the pouch of ceded furlough fortune, with an open mouth stunned he then stuffs it into his vestment.
Warden: "You'll have to help me pull on the door, I’m a bit unable."
They pull on the heavy oak timber door, it creaks and sways open to them, revealed is a porcelain corral, in this moment the aviary’s keeper beckons and sends errand two assistants. In the distance the open sky and drawbridge doors that are slid open, closer an ornate corral made of vespertine penitence, not the ingratiating contrite of dusty streets or muddy pasture, perhaps the stolen stone of Valhalla grafted to the chambers of aviary magnificent delight. Each stall has bars over the top and some are complete cages. The aged operate had let them open the doors themselves, and was moving the brooms and shovels his assistants were using and checking the locks on closed stables of the many unique creatures used in winged transport and original purveyance, some of which are neonate enduring rearing by their maternal counterparts.
Ana approaches the open skylight leading their trek as workers bring two shovels of food and pour it before the phoenix, the bird shakes the stale air from its down and walks with staunch lanky long legs to the pile pushing Troy aside when they notice him. Troy, the burgeoning rider of an unnamed as of yet phoenix, pushed from the stall walls, waving to them and bathed in heavy light. With humble nature he would rather the relationship stay platonic with the courtesan who herself is using the services of the aviary with a paddock across the way from he and his phoenix, though inclined to disappear into the rays of light and pillar shadows without his noticing, conceivably their discourse a planned fate to reconvene elsewhere.
Next to his stall without conveyor, a winged snake with a saddle born and scorn into its backside that lashes at them striking its cage door and causing a slight posh unrest with the phoenix.
Warden: "Is there anything else that I may offer ma'am?"
They stare at the serpent's cage in disgust and intrigue at the festering odoriferous refuse, dank and malodorous from friable serpentine exuviae of the winged snake with a lack of eyelids to cover obsidian eyes.
Ana steps to the terrace to look over the Midgard land, galliard consternation, anent the frayed ends of sanity to the north the great Jotun Mountains with the heart of winter heartily sleeping on the promontory mount Thule. High upon a pedestal steppe sits the capital city torn in two by the raging Slidr River and connected with an iron bridge, tiny like a child’s toy in the far distance. Below the North-Wall the thick green Niflheim Forest with the fog gathering above, against the mountain foothills, gathering over the treetops and raining on the cold forest of often dense fog with an eagle flying deep in the distance over the silent forest.
A beautiful serenity, frosted and vibrant growing with spring veins, the swell of hills like a green ocean of free legend, the essences of light and comfort surrounding the day of clear skies and open eyes bathed in glorious sunlight. Nickolas is quietly walking to Ana, watching her stand radiant in a coat of light given from the sky, from left to right and looks upon the realm likewise.
Nickolas: “You shouldn’t stare at the pines in the summer.”
Ana: “Isn’t it wonderful?”
Nickolas: “It is a lovely endless beauty.”
From behind, Nickolas wraps his arms around her and kisses her temple once.
Ana: “Why shouldn’t I stare?”
Nickolas: “Because you’ll miss the harvest.”
Their amorous love is avid and apparent, lucky to unfold in such the magnificent view of the convoluted city and the surrounding domain, to the rated reason it seems a perfect union of their vanities in copious beauty to the passing birds. Propitiatory love unconditional gleaned of common affinity so escorts them by this towerous spire to accompany the others in stand and pending altruist business at the high court.
Warden: "Sorry about that, its owner has been in the city for some time."
Nickolas introduces David to Troy and vice verso, including a tenderfoot phoenix that is curious yet by some common chance easily taking offense as David reaches his hand to the bird’s head as it bows to him. In private solace, Ana speaks to the keeper of the high tower in an aside, to reproof the shorted funds given to Troy and the proper instructions.
Ana: "This bird is new and so is its rider. He needs proper accoutrements and saddlery, nothing to heavy."
Warden: "Will this be for battle?"
With calm adjure Ana looks to her companions and speaks through most of her twee smile.
Ana: "No less than mages, I didn't spend a plenty...get away from there!"
In her absence, they have begun enticing the reptile, dancing and mocking the arcane predator snake. She walks to them to quiet their adolescence and blatantly readied puerile discourse. In the amassed muck and mire, the serpent had laid eggs, hidden them in the layers of sediment, and retted hay sequentially tossed over the seeping filth, one of such which has hatched crawls into the adjoining stall of the phoenix. The phoenix promptly notices the slithering hissing tail-foot and begins to peck and claw in attempt to strike the slithering hatchling until it dies and then its consumption.
Perilous motive the hope of ill fate strikes the young master Troy sinking fangs and immediately torn loose, Nickolas is a bladed savant complete in the fulsome knowledge of courtly competitiveness and he uses his skills to strike a dagger into the newborn black serpent of death with a single throw. The phoenix shrills of fret and concern and opens its wings slightly before jumping forward breaking the inadequate rope tied of itself and sets on Troy as if to hatch him as he uselessly protests.
When he finally gets free of being pinned, the phoenix will not rise, merely preening itself, it detests with avidly apparent objection to filth, to seem oblivious to what has occurred. Troy's wound is filled and glowing with orange gold dust that seemed to pumice the inchoate wound with dark light and his distemper.
Warden: "Get a Flamberge over here!"
The warden rings a rusting bay bell as the once flippant now look over the gash filled with the renowned glamour of warm energy and protensive lunar silver.
Troy: "What happened?"
Warden: "Your friend saved you."
Troy: "I meant this wound."
Warden: "So did I lad.”
Nickolas: “Needn’t you worry, snake venoms are often prey specific.”
Arden: "What is it sir?"
Warden: "Get flame swords and hunt out any eggs in that cell, we just had an incident."
Footsteps heard coming from the hall convene as another page arrives and begins to scratch his head while staring at the sparkling wound. The second boy is a twin of the other, slapped on the back of the head by the first as the warden waits ominously for the boys’ prudent affiliation to return on task.
Warden: "You can go get the dogs and put one on each side of that cage and one in front, and find the rider; I want this thing out of here."
Arden: "Is the damage done?"
Warden: "The sooner this peril ends the better."
Andrew: "What happened?"
Arden: "Ne’er-do-well spawns hatchlings."
A dull expression marks his face altering the appearance of confusion, but their attention swiftly vanishes out of the room behind them before they chase after it. The first rushes after the second as they race to retain their behest, as Troy and the others all staring at them wish the excursion to haste, which they view with a bit of odd confusion. They all had clearly seen one of them delivering the feed by shovel load to the phoenix with another but had not noticed them simultaneously, the explanation achieved in a quorum waiting in the wings.