Merlin 2 - 11 Clues and Yarns
It is the dawning day egression as the moons pull the tide of oceans and the soft rains bring the dour wind, shrouded by surfeit clouds insofar as each drop of water pulling the delusive fog closer to the ground. The fires of the battle have all stopped, the air is a dull excess of bleakness looming in oversight and slowly beginning to winnow the sacred forest, the suns are gone even midday giving any steward the call for torchlight in an endless genesis. A wagon sets arrested without rider and by uncovered cart, short planks across the sides keeping the strewn hay at bay, grief calms the voices from making the noises of relief a town once in terror is still in shock with mourning attitudes they keep silently their humble dealings. White leather from the fingertips beneath his gloves to under his sleeve, Troy with soft whitish skin by aid of Nickolas loads Merlin onto the large horse drawn cart, lifeless restless for he cannot wake from deepest sleep.
It is there a departure from the city. With them, their bounty includes a few cases of wine, the slumbered Merlin, and a muslin tarp to cover him from the soft rain still falling from a broken intolerant sky. Bottles so that are to shake as his body is loaded, so many that they clatter as the tarp covers him, a morose concealment for a someone in a coma. As they bid farewell mount the riders onto the wagon bench and begin their journey, first Ana taking seat, and then Nickolas after he checks his handy combat weapons places other larger weaponry in the wagon and pulls a bottle of the wine, only to slip it then beneath the covering blanket.
Ana: “Quite a development you’ve got.”
Troy: “Where do we destine ourselves?”
Nickolas: “Somewhere less than dangerous and the patrons are not fearful of your condition.”
Troy replies naught turning without haste, he mounts the phoenix in silence and in a defiant display, he jettisons into the air above everyone under a cloud. Nickolas joins his cloying consort and conducts the wagon away from the city.
Overhung the clouds are haunting in pattern, gone are the noises of the struggling societies and only now remain the just and simple luxuries of nature. Two separate suns encircle this world, both hiding behind the cloud cover beginning to hold the same space in the sky, remanding and rescinding the glooming weather. Wagon riding Nickolas conducts the makeshift dray within simple mien, Ana sits at his side snuggling and keeping them both warm in the air of a damp morning. They talk of things past and yet to come sharing loquacious tale a raconteur to his salacious betrothed as they tarry a mostly navigable road straightaway the greening leaves and the breeze. A muddy road with occasional puddles to sway the wagon slightly but avoided mostly by a slow but steadfast trek. The skies lighter than the day prior, but alas, a light fog that drifts beneath the heavens to reveal a pleasant day. The present day ongoing, to the growth of meadowsweet and mint imminent soft winds bring fresh airs of grove and forest. Aback the cart sleeps Merlin awakening to the sight of trees crosswise, he groans of anathema discoursed by resting in the roving rickety cart from beneath the tarp, atop it an empty glass carboy.
Merlin moans and stretches his arm to Nickolas from beneath the covering cloth. The comfortable drivers shift and open another bottle, after taking a drink they pass it to Merlin who in turn peels the blanket from him and empties the bottle into his stomach tossing at sudden the empty flagon over the side. He moans again, his hand raised over the back wall, this time Ana hands him an open cruse after a taste and rent from her hands, which he proceeds to drink and throw overboard. He stands at the back of the wagon ruminating and letting out his thoughts and earlier drinks. A how wrest from clouded perception the cart hits a bump in the road.
Merlin: “Careful, this is serious business.”
Nickolas: “Nice of you to join us, we were beginning to worry.”
Merlin: “It’s my pleasure.”
Ana: “Where are we going today, Merlin?”
Merlin reaches forward, takes an empty bottle and begins looking into the opening into the bottom of the glass. He then drinks from it the small drops hiding inside and looks into it again, like a portal a tunnel within the far end closer to him than the outside air.
Nickolas: “Give him another.”
Ana: “Oh, he’s on the move.”
Merlin: “Quiet, this takes concentration.”
In truth, Merlin is looking with optical magic, using the bottle as a mystical telescope with a charmed bottle lensing, looking for something supernatural to the ether.
Nickolas: “What is he doing?”
Ana: “He’s looking for something.”
Merlin: “Quiet, I’m trying to focus.”
Nickolas: “What are ye seeking?”
Merlin: “I knew a man who kept his house in the woods behind an invisible curtain…from above it was easily seen, but from the ground it was clear as the sky.
Nickolas: “You know we have more wine in this box?”
Merlin: “Good, give it to me.”
Merlin tosses aside the bottle, after taking another drink Nickolas hands it to Ana, she takes a drink and passes it to Merlin, he resumes his pleasure for the drink and when emptied he resumes his scouring for magic of the sacred woods.
Ana: “Michael was it?”
Merlin: “No it was a few of his fathers. How far are we yet?”
Nickolas: “20 leagues I’d say.”
Merlin: “How many elixirs are we ought?”
Ana: “Nearly the same amount remaining, some are only tonic.”
Ana and Nickolas are content waiting to confer lest Merlin expounds an alluding parlance, but Merlin looks through it and finds nothing quite inordinate with the flummoxing scene. A state of grace, slow allusion he find naught one elfish portal or even a sprightful fairy in the trees, but in survey he rends witness a flash twixt the boundary of the woods, a league from which they make quest. Striving to notice further that to focus the vision comes closer, only a flicker for both Ana and Nickolas, but Merlin lenses it to only pacing distance. A small nebbish goblin with a silver scepter wand, a recluse heathen not wit of which they hold in collusion of time lit by only gallant treasure in effulgent glow, far beyond the splendor by common import to foolish trolls. Platitudes roiling in which imagination propounds no less than distraction in his mind waxing intrigue, the gad goblin has something gilt for which Merlin longs.
The short creature doubles a knife with a conjuration, as one becomes two Merlin tosses aside the empty bottle and lunges for the reigns. With a short grip, he swings and whips them once and yells urging the horses be swift to move, then again several fold faster than the morning pace of subtle trace.
Merlin: “Keep these horses fast as can be.”
Ana: “What is it Merlin?”
Merlin: “Faster yet boy…I saw something better than shelter, hurry.”
Nickolas: “What in the world are you after?”
Merlin: “A goblin with a charm, and I’m going to take it.”
The thought of fortune comes to their minds, and in concurrence, they follow the request in kind manner.
Ana: “Shouldn’t we be more discrete?”
Merlin: “Oh no, I don’t think it’s seen us, they’re stupid like the lore, but when it does be sure it‘ll retreat straight into the woods, so be swift.”
Ana: “Where did you see it?”
Merlin: “It was at the forest edge, the sooner the better, post haste.”
The horses rush and race beneath bridal and brace, faster down the lane whilst the creature remains, soon their clamor brings their notice and new commotion of wrought discretions as the hob evacuates environs to safer clime.
Nickolas: “Where was it?”
Merlin: “It is hereabouts.”
Merlin leaps from the fleeting wagon with a slight tarried tumble and drifts into the woods with steps of great bounds swift into the cover of canopy shadows. Nickolas throws back his weight and applies the cart brake haphazardly. Instantly Nickolas leaping dismounts carriage and carries Ana by the waist quickly for no good reason, after taking his weapons they follow into the verdant forestry.
A place of common frequent with the grass in clearing only knee high, a sign of gathered horses feeding and a common roadside camp, simply guarding the forest is wild wheat than only a small amount of Vervain and Mint before eponymous evergreen trees and a small trail through heavy shadow. It was in the boundary of trees where the goblin was but no longer, as it scurries into the treelike realm, without trail to any avail can Merlin catch the pygmy demon. For a short boggart it flits faster than can Merlin and with apt knowledge, it leads Merlin through every trip and trap known beneath the overgrowth ceiling, evermore so angry branches bent on snapping in to place on unwitting faces, snares for hares offer nuisance to any that pass swiftly through the semidarkness.
Through the leaves leaping and hiding behind a pine, gathering thought Merlin turns around the tree and sees the tiny shaman. With a magic incantation, as for haste promptly exceeded ever too late, he lunges toward the tiny devil and receives two knives as fangs to each side of his lower mistakenly forborne leg, the miniature magician vanishes toward cynosure, a rapid starveling in caper, and Merlin bethought stands aptly vexed in appraisal and sighs in beleaguered disbelief.
As trysting travelers they oft endure eternal anathema for they are the regality of old, today they are arbiters bent on revenge wrought espy and put to the test, for each flanking alongside the creature a simpering ghastly thing to lead them through further folly, and for every advance an obstacle. A ground lying net for any lost pig or pet unwitting in the woods awaits Ana, which she must burn her way through and in doing so smolder her classical apparel, but it is she through the entire evasive lure who outwits the beast. This hunt is no more in tactical error, insomuch that Merlin lands smack into sturdy oak, tiring of letching truss from the plants below him his skin bears sudden tattoo that proves igneous lighting to the subtle floor as he begins float and glides, flying through the shadows after the exasperating bogey. He swiftly makes onerous stares opposite and affront before the small creature, the troll caught by dead reckoning, cornered, and allotting quartered, drawn by silent disdain now massively dynamic, but in decisive moments of dismay, Ana raps the creature on its head and discombobulates it with a half rotted stave, tosses it to the ground, and stands akimbo.
Magical blood and bones burning beneath Merlin’s skin soon calm and quiet, all is silent in the subtle night tingeing the grass and bleak autumn leaves, a shaded causeway, a distinguished surrealism in resplendent conspicuous phenomenon evenly balance in the light of dawn and a full moon to cover stray cornerstones and eke crows. Pass beyond pleasant pasture, full of peasant parcel vulgarity, and mossy dross of willows, the ruddy red flows of trickling crick, that carry the carrion leaves, bitter cold within the depth, evading shade and shadows.
Nigh the unconscious creature they sit and rest in the feigning dusk, while Merlin gives pride and adoration to the newly acquired magical artifact, the travelers make their camp deep within the forest, with a fire born and their dinner caught. When the goblin wakes, it picks its pride and runs into the bush, it is here and now Merlin shows the others what magic lies in store for them with powers hidden in the night. A pass of the wand and a silent song brings an emulate glow, soft ground and softer sounds as rare earths begin to surface and glow from the sacred earth, and shortly thereafter a duplicate of broken stones to show an astonishment interrupted by Merlin hearing his name whispered to him, in the eve wind.
It is late as razed the waking thoughts are, by the dreams of deep sleep. A comely maiden of magic spells for which command the embers to rise, asleep closely aside a wondrous warrior slumbering with any manner of malice beneath his pillow asunder the starry night, nearby the wayfarer Merlin troubled in thought beneath a quietus where worries dwindle. As with many mornings in journey as travelers in the rough another morn begins with primping themselves and hiding their camp as best can they, stretching and blithely recusing themselves from natural grounds as daylight dies.
Waves of ground swelling cold smashing with furious havoc around slumbering trees, remitting only when the north wind signals the arrival of a new storm with new silence, clouds fighting and falling over the mounts on the slopes, rivulets funneling frozen rain and rime like crystals in a river until below the mountain. The swelling spots of fog seethe to cover the murky forest floor, warm enough to let the water trickle, yet filling the forest with fog and adherent confusion. They break camp and pass through the ground cloud as they notice heretofore, qualm and enmity, wrought of an indefatigable chill. A winter further than cold travail waiting against the boundary of some unknown force of reckoning, frost perks the air as the travellers of forest darkness eventually approach the edge of the trees diametric from where they had entered, at the precipice of Shadow Lake. Water dark and unrevealing, so darkened that vision below the black surface is impenetrable by mortal eyes, even if the suns were to rest upon its baleful surface.
It is early dawn as poised solely is a white diamond torch shining an enkindling light near shore, below it a small ring laden of snow and ice. As a preclusive storm approaches and the hard rime freezes by the light falls collective in transition around the crystal, with gusts of wind the resulting snowfalls to wax and wane throughout each lull. The light a source of magical cold, the magic a source of a powerful witch, dressed in blue outfit with tethered white strips of cloth, ragged appendages fastened in avocation.
An empress of ice walks to the water’s edge, without grand conjuration she steps into the lake as it freezes beneath her feet a crystalline structure frozen white several lengths. At calmly sitting on the lake against her side in a long flowing dress, an ice bridge from the shore to her, where she sits with hand on the ice slowly melting at the shoreline, a myrmidon of the voided water folk rises from beneath the bleak waters and she leans forward and speaks to it in conspiracy and whispers. It is not long before it returns asunder empyrean repository.
Frozen in time, waiting snow bound in a despondently torpid and distant state crestfallen and melancholy as two of the water dwellers emerge from black waters, each of them pulling a chain over their shoulder pulling with them a trove. A treasure in an antiquated strongbox large and rust red, locked and waiting time to raze its existence, lost ago as misfortune in treachery or trapped in fate beneath a broken ice road and resurfaced by the sharp smiles of the mermen. Wits and notions while watching the ice queen regnant secretly.
Nickolas searches his pockets seeking things he might have left at camp, but clumsily he rustles the hedgerow and bushes. Merlin pushes Nickolas through the tenebrous shrubbery into the open air as he and Ana step deeper into the morning shadows.
The queen of coldness turns her listless head to notice him fall from the boundary and raise himself, at her side she reaches in the foreboding and frigid water pulling a short glacier spear. Her hand dry as Nickolas approaches her timidly; she stands then approaches him, another moment as the others watch him from within the forestation. Paranoia brings her with weapon drawn as Nickolas holds his arms outward and turns a circle, he hears her feet scuffle swift and bearing a reluctant smile on his face as she stabs him in his back, through and through. Though prepared he pains of the strike and groans lightly, the spear strikes his heart and lung taking the life and air of him. The others in fear nearly vanish as soon as the birds had taken to flight at the sound of Nickolas’ anguish, for divinely quick have her movements been with a blade that had not been before its wield. Merlin and his novice invisible spell with faded glory watches from the shade of the green shadows. Espy with disappointment she watches Nickolas and turns him on his back, awhile the mermen from within the water begin to despoil the lockbox. Without the journey in one moment, she is huddling over Nick, in the next she is near the creatures, telling them to reenter the water and pointing adamantly with her arm.
The chest awaits assay small and quaint, humble, and lofty, with water slowly falling from it, still draining the ice goddess approaches it, the water on and round the box freezes with a simple gesture by the woman. With barefoot she approaches the black iron chest rusting within its frost confinements, the key around her neck.
Halle: “It is excellence at its best.”
As the mermen leave, the snow melts beneath their feet as they return into the depths, before they submerge they notice Nick in egregious conflicted existence as the ice witch speaks to them.
Halle: “You may leave me now.”
They plunge into the disconsolate depths and she begins her approach toward Nick, the spear of ice still pierced into his still beating heart is slowly melting.
Halle: “You are alive?”
Pained of an ambiguous principle wound, Nick groans in his reply.
Nickolas: “Yes, no thanks to this.”
He picks and pulls ice painstakingly from his wound, his hands numb as he strives to displace the javelin of frozen water slowly melting.
Halle: “Let me help you.”
She speaks and reaches to the glossy ice in quiet mercy, once coming in contact it begins to freeze anew, with frost of the gathering humidity the cold slates immovable and grows into his wound and soon turns him slowly to ice. He screams and dies yet again, nevertheless as she departs he wakes afresh seemingly anew, she turns only to watch him struggling to break the ice from himself and brush clean, she returns to freeze him once more, her dirge overcome by an unyielding desire, mix of fascination and infatuation.
Halle: “You cannot die?”
Nick sits tall and looks at the blood on his clothes showing disappointment for the newly soiled garb he wears.
Nick: “I’m Nickolas, and you are?”
He stands and she pauses with admonishing desire, wondering the words, which she will use.
Halle: “I am the ghost of a demon, but you can call me Halle… come with me and reign at the Court of Seasons.”
Nick: “Why in hell would I go and do a thing like that; you just tried to kill me?”
She paces alluringly attentive and fixated, concerned retrospectively with the havoc and wiles yet upon him.
Halle: “It is exactly what I intend; do you wish to venture with me?”
Nick: “You’re not much for a demon.”
She stands before him and is instantly beside him close to whisper.
Halle: “I am the quiet cold of inner darkness.”
Her disappearance and apparition startle Nick, he reaches for a short blade at his grasping, but she has a ready dagger at his throat, and with magical proclivity distances herself.
Nick: “Perhaps I say no?”
Halle: “Then you tend your fate as such courtesan, it is an offer given only once.”
The snow of the damp air begins to fall to the ground afoot. She is instantly standing before him without losing an instance of time.
Halle: “For the kingdom with you the heir apparent…shall grasp the death of power.”
Ana watches from the distance and thinks the movements are tricks for her eyes. Nick looks to the trees in desperate recklessness for them to wreak him and sees Merlin’s cloud of camouflage, a disturbance of the surface of light that the sunlight graces in rays through the complexly woven canopy.
Nick: “I could perhaps, where is it?”
Halle: “An, excellent, courtesan would make thee.”
Ana decides to make herself known and near immediately, near opposite in appearance, her hair firebrand the color of ravens adorned by dark selvedge clothing cloak and corset much less modest than plait blonde hair and the pastel aegis of the frozen sovereign enchantress. A silence as a sign of torture, no sooner than her quick approach as fuming heat drifts through her long hair does Merlin unveil the spell of shrouded light as he exits the forest line with fire in his veins enkindle and bright. The witch begins with conjure and forms a reeking of vapor near her hand, from it a blade of ice fabricated of the moisture in the air, the collecting ice into a small shield across her forearm as well, the heat seeping from Ana’s skin in arid swarm and in Merlin the heaping light, precautions of required preparation to destroy.
Halle: “Wizard what do you seek?”
Merlin: “I’ll have another day without war, and I think they’ll need the same.”
Merlin raises his hands forward and pleads with a look absent of contention. As the ice clears, the gelid prioress guardedly ends her cold spell as the snow dissipates, while he moves before Ana with his arm to stop her procession of anger, Ana puts her hand to Merlin insistent to pass him. She sets his sleeve to flames, effects subsist of her aggravated contempt, her eyes full of ardor scowling at the other woman, but she is subsided.
The ice shield bangle on her forearm shatters and falls, the bindings of magic missing. Her blade remains in hand and pointed toward Merlin, staring with a look of pleased confusion, in the very same instant, the sword with frosted edge is gone and she stands before Ana.
Halle: “I was missing this, it’s quite valuable, and I took many lives to get it.”
She holds the very scepter Merlin had striven so hard to attain, staring him with eyes deadened and dull of color.
Merlin: “It is a fair trade.”
She pauses and contemplates only stricken by consequence as Nickolas judges the treasure chest surfaced from the waters deep.
Halle: “Your fates unabated, for you have lost, and did not wish it to be.”
Merlin’s hands fold into fists as he remembers all he has been told.
Merlin: “Again we rise.”
Ana sets her hands afire preparing for a duel of magic, but the algid woman of sorcery again jumps the gaps of time and appears a new distance facing them reticent for combat.
Halle: “There’s nothing for you to fight against, I’ll be on the plateau of the winter mountain, warlock.”
She appears then down the long road toward the hills, in leaps of space and time, after the first expanse travelled without measure she speaks effaced the distance and walking while they master fear.
Halle: “This battle tires me.”
In Merlin’s clenched right hand a curt freshly sharpened leather knife truncate lastly of many new edge in a novice hilt, even as they speak, the taciturn frost witch appears to jump between great distances. With each step taken, she seems to move hundreds of feet further, quickly one spot then the next until she is unseen. The case pulled from the water when opened is unlocked and empty, looted by the one that freezes time.