Merlin - 18 Children of the Harvest Moon
Reluctantly pacing into a hill near the meadows, they begin their journey north again to visit where emissaries arrive, entering a land filled with the sign of surrounding tears, a small village in the climbs of the cragged highlands, quiet even for desolation. They sit at a fire immediately upon entering the community, joining elderly and drunkards, taking solace in respite and slumber in rest. The local tenants care not of those whom visit and sleep outdoors. Comfortable the locals are in the night as if common day, but not many between them of a coming age between very young and as much the old. Some of them, the smallest and young, run with dragon wolves covered with bleak black and grey needle scales.
The others asleep, Troy withstands no more sorrow in the minutes to midnight than their obvious composure. As the sun also rises, the sere shaded hillside is more granite than hummock, and the terrain has a rather woven architecture of rope and hanging bridge fusible to caves strew throughout the granite and heather mountain gorge. He sees nearby that they have taken a large circular prodigious platform and suspended it from several large ropes over the mountain stream, below in a nest of cord a wooden floor on a rope bridge.
A massive wooden coin with three holes held together by several pieces of large banded twine, no marked organized fashion, and the platform does not waver as they leap to it, sliding down with large hooks of poles that band to their wrists like handles of sleeves. Soon more have come to join others, one after the next they adorn their wear and run the length of rope to the dissension declension strand, sliding down to the poised floor. Above the strings bound low tones from the movement, as the structure holds.
One falls, but hangs craftily and still dry from the point where knots intersect with one of the hooks, one of his friends on the platform wearing only one hook and holding it with his other hand joins hooks and pulls him. Using this one hook, they latch into the fomenting river, pull the fish and throw the full hook across to the edge of the water ravine.
The day dimming, the travelers walk across a bridge and several gravel path of faulted rock layer until they come to notice several bridges and a small community in the mountainside and canyon as far as visible, into tunnels in the walls.
From the nearest cave, a boy of respectable age runs out as quick as thunder, his steps in fury, hauling no more than time as shortly after a large man with dagger, dressed in drab leather covered in dusky iron at full speed. In a rather surreal disaster, Nickolas brushes the pursuant, which throws him into the rapid waters, sweeping him swiftly downstream.
Merlin and the others laugh, though the people of cliffs do not, and they run down stream, but cannot catch him, his floating pace swifter than theirs, without the hook tool to catch the reserve drift ropes he floats to the bottom by the undertow.
“Are you not going to aid your man, he's just been washed?” speaks one boy with a leather mask of his eyes, with only small slits cut to pass a minimal light from the midday.
“No. He'll be fine, he possibly needed it,” said Merlin.
“But he will not survive the rage of the river!” cried the boy.
Merlin and his remaining allies rest in a circle where they are sitting and deliberating upon the weather, and the journal entry that Troy shall enter of Nickolas’ precarious misfortune, and jaunt formalities, which embarrass Ana.
Merlin: “He will return, you wait and see.”
In half a day, Nickolas returns, soaked and sullen, wrought and distraught. The children take astonished notice and rush to ask questions as Merlin argues with a jolly girthed man of impugned height among others of the tribe, as he notices Nickolas also. These hill folk are the Nyssa, and with their scaled leather masks and agile nature comes a trilled letter R and a heavy letter G in their pronunciation, easily noticed. This is so learnt, as Merlin argues with the surly aged strong old climber with hands like callous paws about the proper pronunciation of his name, which he learns is accustoms the many words, even that of those the same in both languages.
“I did not believe you,” said a child.
Merlin holds out his hand clenched, and opens it to reveal blue berries. The child's eyes flare as then becoming timid and suspicious, apprehensively taking one and eats it, overwhelmed with fascination.
Child: “Sour on the tongue!”
Merlin: “I’m sorry.”
Child: “I say bitter.”
Merlin: “I understand, I’m sorry, they're never ripened when I rush them.”
The child looks to him, confused; the few other children gather as do a few of their mothers. Many more than expected wearing the masks across their eyes.
Nickolas: “I've lost my sandals and I can never keep the soles on my feet.”
Nickolas drops to his knees and then carefully abruptly to his chest, first putting his hands to ground.
Villager: “Sir, lay on this.”
Troy: “How was it?”
Nickolas: “That was interesting.”
Ana: “Why is that?”
Nick "Another river joins this one. I almost trusted the signs.”
The blighted children sit around a fire with a pot hanging over it, eating grey apples and throwing pieces of scraps into the pot, a trite reply by one after the actions of another, they murmur and nest. One approaches by surprise, waking Merlin, most likely a possible queen and daughter, for direct consult with the traveler.
Queen: “Pillar of snow, we are in dire turmoil.”
Merlin: “Speak freely for me.”
Queen: “The lunatic does make us suffer, our family is bound taught.”
Merlin: “This is at the start of revenge?”
Princess “We seek new beginnings, it is time for change, from languished bonds.”
Nickolas: “Don't wait for answers,” whispered.
Queen: “It is the slaver…the man with the darkness heart.”
Merlin: “What man?”
Queen: “He lives in the mountain, he takes us in the night, and you can help us.”
Troy: “Come now bad dreams come true…”
Merlin: “Soon this will end.”
Princess: “Curb your tongue sage, we must beware, the counterspies show the cast of the skies like an ocean grave.” She whispers to a sullen clamor, and looks over the camp.
Merlin: “Fall asleep under the sunset, I shall reprieve the veils covered in blood.”
The fancy woman put her hands on one of Merlin’s as he lay in rest, and smiles with a tear, walking away with her arm around her daughter. The day is short, the bright and full moon shines down with a day’s half light, as the group sits convened in the shade of gentry.
Around them and laying inside the stew pot are pieces of rosy flower fish, a scaly fillet that resembles the common flower with its horns and many fins on different sides about its face and the tail that glows in certain luminous species when severed and hung from a line looks like a budding rose. Next to their camp in the distance is a solemn slalom, undoubtedly to their community a chute for ore or enjoyment in the winter months. Grey eyes on grey lives, sit beneath a gathering thunder and a falling cold wind.