MJ Banks - Merlin 2: 13 “Secrets of the Dead”
The torrid end of all normal fears imbued by the forever unholy dead, not even two suns abide sufficient light to scorn the ground, they between the solemn mind of fear await terror. Wraths of suffer this division in the woods sanctify decay on display, infected with the phenomenon contagion they wander slower on the pass, listless meanderings becoming sicker by the moment, putting a hand to tree to hold steady as they breath their dying breaths, desperate to breath the magic that consumes them. Distraught in quickening madness of darkening eyes without the sun, a painful bliss shredding their better will a new mourning they save to dare their fight, they soon turn malicious and egregiously disgusting within pate. The wandering distinction at fill of poison heart lust of instinct while resting without sign of life in lean against trees, others to have simply succumbed lay upon the ground to join the earth only to wake in ferrous cavil against the wood creatures, the slightest breeze or bender-breaking twig stirs the madness deep in the presently rainy darkened woods. In place of the howling wind are the moans of bloodlust.
The brevity of cursed muses playing ruses in malefaction, the woods in the distant discords of secretive battle, they that travel dread the coming storm as the evil long for it to rain continuously by a morose downpour. Within monition and daunting demeaning hubris, they travel through the mighty shadows of fear with wise admonition and precaution. Anders walks at the front of the troop, weary and creeping with leery stare and double vision, new blades acquired at the first abandoned quaintest of small shanti village, his headshakes disparate in discourse through demure aggressions.
Anders: “It feels like I’ve been here before…this place is evil.”
Side by side, quarrelling with incorporable silence Ana and Nickolas walk alongside each to the other, Merlin is a length behind them, at times alas missing and other times seen whence the far distant forest lets sighs of anguish and cries of occasional fears. Merlin speaks to Nickolas as if next to him, but awhile a great distance, a favorite of facet parlor tricks of vanishing, away from him.
Merlin: “Let not your stare fade for the messenger.”
Nick: “Is there an answer to Troy for the telling?"
Merlin: “One worries at a time, let us not mention him to our guide as of yet.”
Nick: “As you wish…”
The road is open and empty, Anders hunches as he twists and walks, worried of close and hidden enemies on the open uphill road as if the evils may jump from thin air. He turns and looks to Nickolas, but a raised blade bids perforce, ahead of them he speaks of sorrow.
Anders: “I’ve heard ‘bury your dead’ not battle them, what could devise such an evil?”
Ana: “A darker evil such that haunts you, we were fine until you brought your terrible woe.”
Anders: “This world is so very vile.”
Merlin: “Tired they will lay in the leaves, gnawing at roots, desperate to consume all life.”
Anders watches the ground with new fear as he begins a slower pace indignantly with aversion, standing aside the edge of path he moves to the center of the road and continues into a new light.
Anders: “What is the task of these creatures elder?”
Merlin: “They seek perfidious war to create an endless shadow.”
Anders: “How is the best way to halt them?”
Merlin: “Render them incurious by a bash to the old block.”
Ana: “Set them aflame.”
Nick: “So a good decapitation is in order?”
Anders: “My command and I shortened the first I met; it struggled until we burned it. Is there no cursing relic to repel?”
Merlin: “The fortune you seek is deep in your heart, the journey to take begins at the start.”
Though Anders walks at vanguard his mind consumed by bellicose intents and apt exactions are all misbegotten, he begins his final aching moments of volition, a great struggle with the qualities of enmity as he lets go in his mind. He turns to them once more this time with stigmata and blackened eyes, his weapons drop, in immediacy he runs towards Ana. Only paces apart from a natural swordsman of primogeniture, a dance of only few steps with wieldy blades, Nickolas decapitates the dead Anders without hesitation.
Ana: “I bet you want me to be impressed.”
Nick: “Where do we turn now high wizard?”
Merlin: “We move to that sign.”
Onward they traverse with weapons drawn, the midday rains bring malaise of content with weary glooms of duskfall, and their fears heavy and broken coated in precaution. Seeking refuge befit slayers of end times they happen upon a town, full in size and raze, wrought of destruction, abandoned chaos and scattered fires. Desiccated corpses bound in sickness attacking each other, corrosive malice hurry their harrying toward them, bifurcated limbs and heads for the living dead brigands. Restless flayed and slayed creatures consume the black oil found only in the diseased as consistency, dozens of unconscionable vapid zombies stalk the town, and quickly they retreat into the nearest building.
Ana: “What are we going to do in here?”
Merlin: “We could lure them in here, and set the building on fire.”
Nick: “Then wait at the door and give them a trim.”
The callous resentful winds of the town have more than melancholy adrift, the undead in its streets wander around the turn of many a corner. From the window, Merlin sees townsfolk casting blows upon the horde and driving them into a trap just the same as their suggestion, aiding the battle against the feral black ash inheritance and other artifacts of the black rain. Alone are they not, ever Merlin bested by facilitated surprise as blade and bow are pointed to bust and brow. In the room are a man and woman hunters both, the woman with a sword narrow as a branch but sharp as a weathervane, her hair crimson and dark with sheen in proper knots twice, her eyes thinning and focused, the padded shoes on her feet wrap each foot by only cord and her garb is a robe of armor. Her counterpart a stout fellow is a brut, muscles stacked and furrow brow, sun bathed bark color hair, if he were not a prisoner in the past life he would surely be one the next, wracked scars temper his hands and his boots have brands of sought many lands, a warrior through and through.
Declan “Who are you?”
Declan holds a weighty broadsword pointed blade to Nickolas’ throat, despite an intimidating mace in the other, as they stare face to face at merciless affliction, though a long blade end is daringly eager to pierce his throat, Nickolas has in his many ages brought swordsmanship to craft, his hands empty freightless commencement. With his arm outreaching, he holds a short dagger-blade from apparent empty hand manifest across the throat of Declan.
Nick: “Better at this then you.”
Nerys: “Why are you here?”
Ana’s eyes quickly scan, looking for anything incendiary.
Merlin: “We are not the walking dead.”
Merlin appears behind her much to her surprise, she strikes to him but he is close and takes her wrists in his hand, she raises her knee to Merlin with full force, a lusted rage drives Declan to swing the mace at Merlin with a downward pummel. Merlin swiftly dodges the swatting and uses a magic wind to toss them both against the wall, and himself from his footing slightly sliding aback.
Merlin: “Resign or be kept restless.”
The sound of echoing fires tumult in his voice, a disparaging sign of anger for them both to reckon. Chaos clamors over the distractions and war winds without, the undead soldiers clash with the window, gangrenous blood on jagged broken glass of shattered windows slowly coating shards and severing edge as quickly the invasion of a hellish unholy massacre begin tearing through the forsaken barrier.
Merlin: “Nickolas, I need a decoy!”
Nick: “I need an exit first!”
Declan hammering the refused of lifeless by battering mace had dropped his sword to do so, filling the gateways with the corpulent dead. With a single slightly reluctant step, Declan kicks the door to open passage for them all.
Declan “Do not underestimate the nether realm.”
Nick: “Flippant noisome atrocities, I’ll take this.”
The dropped broadsword is clasped by Nickolas as he runs aloft, light-footed and daring he and begins lancing head and limb oft spinning, with some success the blade slices shoulder for heart or lung like a cumbersome axe, taking life from limb by limb.
Nerys: “We will deal with formalities later.”
Declan “Take to the wind wizard.”
With their hearts pounding with infamy, Declan and Nerys reconvene their wishes for eternal strife and begin battling the wretched demoniacal horde, vital to survival, Merlin and Ana resort to a defense of more suitable magical reproach. With censorious prejudice, Merlin contends with mortars made of reticulating stones, each pebble is a drought that brings demise with new disorder, drying the contacted surfaces that the zombies yet still tear skin and sinew to escape or pillage forth. Ana looks outside and sees small fires dwindling then begins an incantation to ignite her desires and light the fires, her hands aflame she begins scorching and torching the walls of the small home. The heat is an alarming distraction, as the mercenaries turn to survey the flames they notice Merlin in a chair and Ana with arms wide like wings standing in the fire.
Merlin takes a sip from a small vial, the evils incarnate attack their lesser own to attempt ravages meant for any inside the coffer home, the ampoule thrown explodes with rage blasting into the chaos and tearing Nerys and Declan from battle. As the smoke clears, Declan checks the opening, within a single moment he takes Nerys’ hand and pulls her to freedom. From outside Merlin sits in wait as he orchestrates the dying blue fire to rise and consume the ravenous undead, else sitting patient as a furnace explodes from within the townhouse as if a stoked flammable chimney had finally choked. The mercenaries were quick to rooftops where their traps have been set, Declan is heavy as he stomps across bowing boards of ragged rooftops distant his counterpart light with graceful lift, both running scared yet nervous prepared. A suspended bed of nails hangs above an alley dead-ended, consumption is all the insufferable monsters know as they charge toward him, all awhile Nickolas is toying with his opponents in the distance and taunting the rest as he stalks them like inevitable prey.
The creatures lament beneath Declan on high but the strained rope is out of his reach, the tiles shift beneath his hefty footing. Nerys skips along the peaks of rooftops, jumping from one to the next until she kneels to raise a bow from peak, her aim is accurate and infallible, and the flown arrow slices the suspension rope. The set of planks with nails in their ranks falls on several zombies, Declan heavy booted jumps on the boards from the roof with full force pressing the derisible monsters beneath him into a caterwaul. After the piercingly protuberant board falls Nerys flits across the rooftops to abscond with an earlier torch and take refuge at a strategically elusive rise, fiery arrows one by one she shoots into the zombie insurrection.
Ana walks with a torch that of her own disturbing the deadly deafening silence, dousing the soulless creatures and forcing a wielded fire with terminal force to repel with the burning wind. Merlin walks as if stalking his own shadow, an intrepidly slow gait he paces waiting conflict, without weighted souls the undead are easily wind washed into structures, his disregard makes benevolent raze of ruin.
In dual to deed, stoical as they encircle a standoff encompassing the deontic broadsword stabbed into the dirt at the crossings of the town center, Nickolas in excellent predation, battles both he and Declan against the monsters many. The large sword wavers and neglects combat until the hearty Declan draws it from the soil in substitution for the mace, The soil, blood and sweat sully his grip, in loosing grasp it lodges into a wall forged into resistance at burdens even to whom which wields. As he struggles with it the ravenous draw close, but at shoulder height when Nickolas abruptly collides with them, he shortly averts wrath of the undead aggression.
Merlin with a shillelagh strikes the polluted army blow by strike, swath by slight, which causes the points of contact to become heavy and laden of desiccation, then abruptly explode or rupture exposing salt and bones exacter. Focus shall not fail, as quickly the unholy enemies become none, he looks to the rooftop to see Nerys standing pensive and staring at him, from down the street the sound of Nicolas and Declan walking with their arms over the other’s shoulder, each of them carrying a bloody blade while in demit laughter and lauding the other. He looks to her again not speaking and begins walking toward the two warriors of rive and she begins to follow the path from atop the abodes. In battle calm, Ana waits against a wall between to alleys, ready to recognize reconvention with little trust of the silence. The two brave men in black and blood laugh aloud haughtily at the terminal battle demised.
Nickolas: “Defeated like clockwork.”
Declan “I nearly thought the one with no legs had you.”
Nickolas: “It couldn’t move and catch me at the same time…and then…”
Declan “Their demission!”
Nickolas: “And execution.”
The two explode into laughter once again jovially without trepidation, but soon they are to silence as a wandering pig drinking water from the road distracts Nickolas.
Nickolas: “Quiet, I’ve found a fitting breakfast.”
Declan “No you mustn’t…vile is the black water.”
Nickolas slinks behind a table in the plebian courtyard ignoring Declan, his sword held with both hands he waves behind himself and overhead, moments from throwing it like an axe, but Nerys steals the kill from a rooftop with a riving arrow accurately placed into the eye. The boar squeals and thrashes like a fish out of water until slamming itself into the ground. Merlin walks despondent and distinctly distant down the street with Ana nearby approaching Nickolas continuing to carry a torch in her hand.
Declan “Even the creatures can carry the death, spilled blood in the water or the meat in your stomach will only worsen the carrion plague.”
Declan drags a small and broken wooden barrow and rests it over the carrion, while connubial affection between Nickolas and Ana resumes Declan takes her torch and ignites the pile of aged wood. Petering daylight, abandoned markets fill of spoiling berries and vegetables, the sky clouded with a rain that lurks with a heavy watery falling, and it is terminally dark although midday, a dusky gloom goads the lively color from the earth with shadow the sole alternative. Hollow winds abandon the lifelessness of a faded and broken ruins of disrepair and disuse where nature resumes conquest even if of sacrilegious undead, immured by the cold intent of a daunting cemetery.
Nerys: “Your magic takes pleasure from battle.”
Merlin: “It’s better than battle taking my pleasure.”
From atop a structure aligned with many others, her thoughts contain snipes with a touch of condemnation but end with gratitude, in her dismissal she looks over the landscape for further troubles.
Merlin: “What brings you to these parts?”
Declan “Endless treasure in the land of the dead.”
Nerys squats at the ledge of a roof, with her hand upon the eve she hops to the ground merely a story below her.
Nerys: “We are pilgrims.”
Ana: “What does that mean pray tell?”
Declan “Hereabouts is now frontier to the surrounding lands, prime for stake.”
Nerys: “The dangers of the land are many and known…we were told if we can take the dead and the treasure, it is ours to keep.”
Merlin: “Where is the death camp?”
Declan “That way, only hours from here.”
Nerys: “I beg you not depart magician, they are many.”
Solemn brevity consumes the victorious candor and denaturing aura.
Merlin: “I must find the creator of the living dead and end this terror.”
Declan “Elimination is best from our traps; there are any number of outposts whence you could help.”
Merlin: “And be able to rest at night?”
Nickolas: “What of the other lands, are they so well bordered?”
Nerys: “We proudly join you wizards.”
Seeking the answers of time at end, preparing for the worst of yet from the arisen dead, to find the enemy of original deception, reality unbound by collective bargaining. Hatred and lies of evil empires vacant to abandon emptiness hidden within mortifying fears, ambivalence for instinct intrudes upon captivity. Intentions of apocalypse rebirths the light of day from a distant dismal darkness that holds pain to a disparate earth, faulty throes of power taunting certainty effortlessly from silence, haunting hush that denigrates serenity. A blood-let demon watches them leave the boundary of the town and shares its vision with the Zombie King. A grotesque battle to aid their renouncement of faith to the gods beholden they approach the battle surrounding the fortress of the black flag.
Allies and apostles casting upon the horde like shades of grey on humanity aiding the battle against the flood for a heathen slumber, through the dazed and alluring energies the fates intervene with reckless abandon, to wage within the waters to the lifeless sky by the will of the countless fallen reigns to wash the afflictions of affinity. Souls to seek the birthplace of the wind and mention the cold howling songs they wish to hear of heroes, challenging reflections, secret fears inevitable and original, where notions become motions and fierce fires burning in thought through the cloaking of the network of darkness. Esteem by the manifested atrocities sharing their vision with the king of the dead, deranged messages from afterlife, through the conduit of truth into the endless beginning of the gods and their majesty. Luminously holy by the fires in the halls of the vengeful overlords, blinding light to rapture and ruin, before the afterthought and after the journey just, a message to the first fires to let the flames begin, hiding to soon return as the sounds of magic. Absence of glory awaiting the first liaison to corruption and possession, immersion into the soil of life and death to capture the houses of deceit, wisdom of the signs of chaos as a vanguard soul incarnate, circumstance fortuitous ever after existent disciplines to cast a light on the stars and a shadow on scars. With absolute terror in mirrors and consciousness, even in dreams, embracing ghosts while seeking hosts in ethereal measures, trappings of lost memories given by visions and worthless songs of the dead the image of the invisible and the voice of reason, of the world of which remains clutches their courage and breath. Wielding the powers of others in a life of borrowed time until reincarnation destroy the future in disguise again the dead rise. Memories without affliction or affront to the senses of reason and illusion, or the sweltering wave will consume even the ice age rise of the winter witch, bringing wrath to all within the life of the worlds in spite of the shared minds in emigration. The cycle of life, the fires of hell, the pain of the skies, bloody tears of joy out in the madness beneath the missing moons of a stolen sky, endless light scion of the star.
The massive ravaging battle perceived as a violent struggle is too small and ineffective, the demonic resurrect are parasitic and corrupt, and the commoners know not how to see what has been called before them and failingly attempt to fight with superstitious traditions like holy water and last rites. It is in fact a siege by new blood on the army of dead soldiers, underestimated their deliverance of strength and volatility and toxic infection spreads with an echo, behind them all a static oppressive temple of the dead. Small figures stand in the distance before one of the many relic castles of the world now sinking into a swamp, differing types of the same undead generals and in the center a massive dead king Arawn at the gape gate. A fortified oppressive force as deadly as the battle before them, regrets for compromise will soon come for each whom pose as an equalizer to the rapacity of late. A few heroic men in this sieging holy war have circled to gain momentum and a moment for clarity, they rush Merlin’s party from behind him only to pass, the first of many throws a chopper to make one of the creatures damned by thrown axe, and it is so here the final battle begins where days are numbered.
Building revolution in revelation Nickolas begins his measure by severing the head of the axe felled foe and cutting-down the spines and legs holding them in stance of the enemy as he runs through the openings between battles. Seemingly eager to be in race Nerys begins her soiree slicing with two swords, narrow razors of hardened oriental steel, she is swift and successful as she carves each opponent with sharpened point if they do not break close to her. Next to her, is Declan harrying and tarrying with his ungainly axe-hammer that he lifts almost effortlessly to protect her as he can from all who endanger his sovereign counterpart, smashing them sometimes with a single damnation deathblow.
Merlin and Ana are fatefully prepared and precautious with perfect fear, haste and reckoning keeps them at the boundaries of battle, of fear at all precaution has them destroying the outer lines, keeping together the space and nothingness. A staff discarded as useless lays in the mud, Merlin takes it and wields a new powerful weapon to his advantage, with his eyes open but filled with magical imperial white stolen from the impending lightning, he conceals powers within his grasp and with his eyes soon free, again, he roams the killing fields. Where others have not slain he strikes, as before turning swollen bruise to battered salt rock and bone to rotten swamp stock, others to reach the vicinity of obscenity repelled by the searing fingers of the Warlock, roots of lightning grasping cowardice and liars tormenting others whom regroup until emulsion of electric funeral. Fields riddled with hazardous death slowly turn from necrotic funeral to fire as Ana lights the corpus profligate with black flame to burn the tarnished demoniacal opposition to dust. Creatures convulse and collapse in a boil from the soul-searing temperatures cast by the palm of her bewitching hand, for some their eyes melt into blood.
Nickolas displays himself spirituality attested in combat and without dismay. The ceremonious slaughter he creates makes a path for him toward Declan and Nerys through the ravages of war, ripping retching breaking binding torment, either they have made their way the same or the horde has surrounded them whole. In the distance, he can see Merlin tackled by several, only to blast his way from them with a blue-moon fire explosion and continue crossing his warpath. Nerys has a mastery of sword in a way the same as threshing swiftly without guessing gesture, Nickolas is skilled and shameless save thought for reckless abandon his defenses are intimidating lest reckoning. Wielding a sharpened resolve he is ne’er equally matched, but his protection is lacking and the lesser life forms attacking without relent prove their deadly worth as scathe zombies.
He bests his monstrous opponents but cannot surpass the plague apace, the grime and oil of sick blood courses into his arm as a waking vine, he reaches into his vest and pulls a small vial, one he had procured through the secrets of an ancient tome and drinks it. His harrowed discourse begins to shatter while paranoia gives way to chaotic thoughts as he slays a young man affected by the restless contagion hoping his power would reject the disease. The tiny bottle of poison brings him to his knees and fates of fortune gamble against him, his only hope to die into slavish reincarnation before his infection. With wicked black veins crawling beneath his skin as the pure roots of debauchery, he turns febrile to see his mortal mistress.
As ruin befalls the villains are charred where they stand and fall, each undone and then the next, when ruin transpires Nickolas a shelter of silence captures Ana and her sole devotion focus, the distance between her and he causes her grief by painful shallow, she takes her hands to Nickolas as he quickly stands about to faint.
Nickolas: “I’m fine.”
Ana only cries for him and his wounds, she begins to fume and eventually flame, the heat surmounting and the fires surrounding she burns with flames that pillar in arrogance in a vast living cemetery filled with secrets of the dead. Fulminate angers great and many she incinerates her fiancé, the fire rolls combusting and thrusting her and her consort from the ground, when he is near the dying ash and rash consortium of hellish atrocity and infernal ferocity. She lets go her grip and lets her final whispers slip as a tear pours from her eye, ever warm and ever white for the immortal heir apparent.
Nickolas glows like a beacon of the tiny wood nymphs for the evil to see in battle and at battlement, blessed be his name her powers disintegrate him, an abandoned spell ends and a torrential flame flows like water, drying the soil and frying the toil of wretched mutilated throng, soon a feckless and fickle resplendence.
He is now the very dust said to consist the stars, a synthetic tautomer the dauntless distillate of the unknown. Confluence begins the amber waves of gleaming inadvertence. With a fated reproach certain gods of guile grant Nickolas aesthetic posterity, not merely of which hardly a first by this hap his death into recreation, but as always such a new vessel stark spawns craven and nude standing in the dankly mud, screaming as if torn from bliss in Valhalla. His arms a stretch and contorting his chest protruded and bursting reinvigorated by first breath among fire and new ages of war, blinded temporarily the stunt enacted with sufficing distance behind a wagon, he is stark in blatancy and blight taking tarp from a wagon to fashion a kilt. The words he newly mutters are condemnation.
Merlin watches the upper-half of his nude ally, over the wagon, with some confusion at a paradox.
Merlin: “What are you doing?”
Nickolas does not answer, merely points behind Merlin, yet another attacker the tragic distraction that affords Nickolas new battle engagement, unscrupulously he throws elbow strikes to rib cages to the dead of ages and twisting loosened arms that hence cannot grasp, remaining prevalent until he acquires a suitable armament. He makes his way toward the castle with replenished desultory impetus.