Merlin 2:23 “A New Day Yesterday”
A wit of the ages gives import to the obvious clues, the way footsteps trace the hallway through the door, how clean the wall is there at closer examination, and it surely isn’t the first secret chamber ever found. Glancing the ceiling and the craftwork with the groove in the ground where it slid over the years the façade is quite flawless, the old timber portrays as built against old millwork and stone foundation so much that it does not sound hollow when knocked nor budge with hearty stock, a depth of deceit yet to know. Merlin checks the wall with patient concern and finds to turn an old rusted mounting point for torches that a latch releases the lock and with his feet against the wall the door’s base swings inward enough to be slid aside itself. There is a small set of stairs the height of a child into a root cellar, an impressive collection of liturgy on chess and art, manuals of war and tactics, candles on old barrels between spears and pouches and bottles of powders and herbs, and a decent bed kept clean but the blankets not tucked, half the room with a woman’s touch the other half her bridegroom.
Where the headboard is supposed to be a fixture of crossbows and blades hangs, the bedposts are loose and hide cleverly secret daggers and the loose boards of the stairs reveal clothes with sprigs of rosemary in cedar drawers to mask the wool from moths. Aside the bed a small table holds a journal written in a cypher of numbers and letters such that only days are not encrypted, atop a wonderful sketch of a wife perhaps the artist’s. As usual does Merlin begin reading through the pages of the journal as Ana smells the herbs and smells the cork lids of perfume vials, he looks to her and waits for she to notice him, when doing so he uses his hand to allude to the book he reads, she looks around the chamber then snaps her fingers and the candles in the room ignite.
From abound they hear a sound that garners their attention, alarmed Ana makes a fist and forces the fire die as fast she can. To come in from the cold and barring the defenselessness of night Nickolas asks them within the castle for their protections to which they humbly oblige whilst Troy and phoenix Alerion survey the forest at dusk. Timid and wary the suspicious strangers from outside enter behind Nickolas who is looking for his book to enter prosody of calumny and shock.
Merlin: (asking Nick): “What are you doing?”
Dyved: “It was…we were…”
Geneva: “…just leaving o great ones.”
Merlin: “There was a war, a phoenix, and an ogre awoken from at least two score years smashing invalids and you’re still here?”
Nickolas lowers his small book before perusing or writing and looks to them also glancing upward to notice the superb majesty of a phoenix flying over them.
Merlin: “This is obviously your hideaway.”
Ana: “We mean peace upon you.”
Nickolas: “I reserve a candid suspicion.”
Merlin: “We’ve seen your bunker and mean you well, we’re merely going to make camp for a night and be gone by morn.”
Dyved: “I am Dyved of Samsara and this is Geneva, we thank you for your battle against the evil.”
Merlin: “That’s the spirit, come, help us build a fire out of this old lumber and we’ll talk about how you’re likely the king by now.”
The ceiling of the keep is open from time of disrepair and fires that dry the lumber burned on the fuel of the old milling machinery, it had been broken and used as fuel recently and is covered in pieces of the roof, the boards of the grinding wheel are still connected and the groove from the second wheel is still mostly filled with old flour that has long since molded and rotted into a fine black silt that covers various areas of the lumber and floor. After collecting firewood a gracious entrance of Troy as the majestic phoenix lands with a gust, he slides from the familiar spryly off the back of it and dusts his coat as Alerion sits on the large wheel on ashlar with a peevish squawk and they begin a fire where they share epistemological autonomic discussion and intellectual education. Troy has a slab of venison nearly as long as his arm, he takes it to a plank then carries it to Nick.
Nick: “Is the rest outside?”
Troy: “No, I was going to leave it for the wolves not far off, but stubborn to leave it the bird decided to eat it, most actually.”
Dyved and Geneva are speechless by the sight of the phoenix, the meat, and the bird moreover again, dressed nicely they are starving and thin.
Merlin: “How long have you been here?”
Dyved: “More than 300 moons, it belonged to the duke Enoch who died in the raids in service of the kingdom. The raids ended living quietly and when the evil abroad came to assault we hid here.”
Merlin: “And the hidden room? It is so furnished.”
Geneva: “Enoch owned it in fealty.”
Dyved: “It has long been a secret meeting place destroyed only recently. Tell me wizard, what grants ye thine powers?”
Merlin: “You may call me Merlin young majesty, I reckon at most if not all we are cambions, half this or that. He is probably half Valkyrie for his bleeding but not dying.”
Nick: “How do you do.”
Dyved: “How do you do sir?”
Nick: “Hungry likely enough.”
Nickolas has finished cutting the meat into slices and is putting it on the ready fire, resting the pieces on the logs above and directly on coals, a sizzle sounds the air.
Merlin: “I am a bit of elven and Midgard and she is a mix of Muspel fire and Vanir.”
Dyved: “and him?”
Troy: “I am a man blessed with resurrection by the fires of darkness.”
Alerion touts a squawking and the travelers laugh as the refugees sit confuted, the phoenix in misapprehension is peckishly perturbed, in a fugue the bird quiets and the fire brightly rises whilst Nickolas jumps to his feet pulling a long dagger and stabs the steaks one by one from the flames. The bird returns to a dull sheen and sardonic dolor with eyes bluing. Still on his feet all the while Troy turns to look and approaches to comfort the phoenix as the band begin to eat.
Nick: “Tell that fowl I said go chase a sunset.”
Dyved: “Wherewithal by survivors are scourges of this land’s former strength, like wolves, to destroy through death, what is the name of our devil?”
Merlin: “Your faith in the almighty blessed be, the disorderly also trust to do what gods do and tremble, there is good in all of us and an evil in all of them, and for such we are their devils.”
Geneva: “We shan’t go to the temples to beseech the gods for fear of the heathens irreverent.”
Merlin: “Have you any wine tucked away?”
Dyved: “You’re in luck.”
Troy: “What was this place?”
Geneva: “A flour mill once upon a time.”
Dyved: “Four score and seven years.”
Dyved goes and fetches a bottle sliding the secret door closed behind him and throwing a handful of dirt over the path.
Ana: “Is it any good?”
He pulls out the cork with his teeth blowing the cork on the ground, takes a drink, and spits it at the fire that responds flashily. On this day turned night when these children of the gods come and reward themselves the blackguard shape-shifter demon has come near to speak with the witch of the mist, cautious of the darkness.
Mist: “Abandon your fears which would suffer unto thee, witness it thusly passing, and the wizard must put some of you to the underworld for trial, a transgression, of your liberal birth stay you the course and I won’t kill you.”
Dak-Clis: “I cannot fathom how thou art not yet spurned and disowned, you and your bright lord severed, as you have poison in the forest of the minds to the men of this realm.”
Mist: “If dissent were a wedge, we would corrupt ourselves, how now doth your kingdom stand?”
Dak-Clis: “The wizard Merlin has impugned my work; he has an earthly measure and has for the time bested me milady.”
Mist: “Thou art repulsive unto me, wherewith thy understanding my power divines thine memory seems an unbecoming impunity of these humans.”
Dak-Clis: “The devil that bested my soldiers, august of an insipid familiar, a phoenix, with his face of white leather kith to the wizard, I could not stand to taunt even wiles and whilst.”
Mist: “Bite your tongue, barring his faith delivers him, I am a much worse warden and I will not release you to the deep.”
Dak-Clis: “What will ye have me do milady?”
Mist: “I would have ye take these black diamonds to Pethuel, there is a school for war there where the Sherriff magistrate answers questions of wisdom and domestic qualms each morning. Wait in line with a question using these stones to lure him into privacy then supplant him. As before divide and conquer, and if you see the wizard, assume regency and kill him.”
One of the heathens of the melancholic horde seeks to be an opportunistic thief but his stomach is turned into a cursed knot followed by fatality as Mist vanishes in the cold of night by the fog on the ground in the bleak moonlight abandoning absolute darkness.
Merlin and the others rest around the fire still fading and the phoenix largely content sleeping with a mental serenade by their hale language. Merlin desires a better bastion to offer refuge but is not ashamed to be considered distinguished among men, knowing the things that most humans do not.
Dyved: “You had mentioned I should be king, from one of men to one of nothing, who will end this war?”
Merlin: “I am not lost in these dark times of all times, but the darkness hides from me.”
Troy: “For what way heretofore the darkness spills, they scatter and mire, we will bring order or justice.”
Ana: “The shadowy hearts, their black destructive souls, will kill you both without call.”
Merlin: “A forsaking we will make, in their heartless oblivion fearing our revelation, because their deeds were evil.”
Ana: “The fates would have us light the dark, is any whom has put a song inside our heart of hearts, and burn the fires of our souls without mercy in the face of the martyrs who would put you slaves of fear.”
The witch of the mist has listened and at once leaves into the night because the phoenix senses her. In unbelief of danger it drops its head back into sleep.
Merlin: “There is a snake in the grass, which is the foe and feral demon winnowing the sands of time.”