Merlin 2:39 “Seduction of Fire”
Troy sits on his phoenix staring at the tall and narrow canyon. In its depth light disappears into darkness, to its opening it is a gravel road yet also plateaus over more mountainside. There is a pool of sinew and blood thick as mud, red with shattered bones and bodily eschewed, from it Nickolas resides and reprises the immortal temple of his life, succor to being heathen he is not breathing for there is no air below the layers of fallen earth and shards of slate granite from which up he rises. His hand seems to reach through the claret, climbing into mortality, it appears his face without eyes painted in pooling sanguine repose lest rot and rue, defying the light that surmounts death, through the blood he is not arising, but born he is of blood, leaving no trace on the ground but himself.
Troy: “It’s like a bad dream, isn’t it?”
Nick: “What do you mean?”
Troy: “It is a death like yours.”
Nick: “There are too many words, I blame poetry, and the devil is in the details, the subtle, devastating, details.”
Troy: “Here, we’ll find you fabric later.”
Troy throws Nickolas a long leather coat to the small boulder beside him. Therein Nickolas begins to adorn the thing, testing the length of its sleeves, not noticing his pocketbook on the ground with a knife in it. The air is intemperate warm and the thunderous night unabated.
Nick: “Sorcerer with great monster before temptations of empires, do you not know that I am a man of the cloth?”
Troy: “There is a knife making mark in your book.”
Nick: “Fie, go you with thence beside thyself, fixedly, turn thy head from hence, your true words I do remember habitude like garb.”
Troy: “Have you learned something today we need to talk?”
Nick: (*spinning about) “Where is Ana?”
Troy: “Her sign is weak, but can be found.”
Nick: “Take me to her.”
Troy: “Do you think it wild I can always find the woman you love?”
Nick: “Do you know where she is?”
Troy: “I do.”
Nick: “…and I don’t.”
Alerion is cool to the quite without obvious emotions as the two ride the phoenix now nearly fully grown this autumn of humble indignities, after passing a band of minstrels celebrating Samhain prematurely drinking and drunken before arriving at the trade post’s autumnal festivities. Entrepreneurs, businesspersons, alchemists and artists who invent things that free from material want, freeing minds with strong central responsibility to wear helmets with horns and make mirth, and in the guise of celebration not a rank among them. In honor of mordant efforts of ancients to end evil spirits, they practice axinomancy, throwing axes to tell the future. In tradition, wives paint the faces of their men by smashing berries on his face, then holding his alecup for him to drink, only once, in jolly jest for times the best.
When they land Troy is not allowed to leave Alerion, but he is brought food and drink and told to stray from homes and crops of harvest. Nick begins thru the fort looking for his lover but she finds him soon and first, she staunchly walks to him and slaps his face, as the outdoorsmen groan in mockery he puts his arm around her bodice.
Ana: “Where have you been?”
Nick: “I was looking for you.”
Ana: “You could have leapt from the mountain.”
Troy: “He did!”
As the crowd laughs she waves to a wench carrying a straw-woven basket of berries and ale, she smashes his face with blue berry crush, pours drink down his throat, and then kisses him whilst wrapping herself around him inside his robe.
Ana: “Should we play here?”
Merlin: “No, get thee to a nunnery!”
As the crowd laughs, again the trysts depart. At dawn, Merlin wakes them after waking Troy, walking over the bodies drunken in the street, the remnants of casks and empty wooden smoking pipes ere and empty, their breath fog in the cold morn air as Merlin reveals to them what he hast learnt.
Merlin: “Good morrow, the mystery of our age is truth.”
Ana: “One man's trash is another man's treasure.”
Merlin: “It is indeed, they colloquy of a radical imperious environs in the caves named Colorinth, six leagues hard ride from here to the west, with weather so warm it has jungles even in the deep winter.”
Ana: “The kenning rose with the torch?”
Merlin: “The same, factional, obstinate, and incorrigible, it was with many tales of fright yesterevening.”
Troy: “Egregious environs pious, doubtlessly.”
Merlin: “They spoke of men with obsidian eyes; that is hence where we go.”
Nick: “Our lives have a charming luster.”
Merlin: (standing) “The tyrants decide, design and object, merely to condescend and apologize, without the wits of difference. Eat something so as we can depart.”
Merlin walks to the kettle, receives boiled eggs and a bird’s leg offered to him, then a tea of pennyroyal. Horses hooves clod slowly in the woods, and feet of men no more than twenty, approaching the trader village, the washed leather of the mountain mercenaries and their counterparts bearing the tattoo of the broken rose on their arm and matching inked thorns on their arms and faces. They take warrant to being unlawful posse as they search for a specific person, checking those who resemble wayfarers present, a man with a hat like Merlin’s, a woman whose hair is the colors Ana.
Ana: “Should I play the breeches part?”
Merlin: “We need to go, do you think you could fly, that way for a while, perchance bait them astray?”
Troy: “Bridges to nowhere always rot.”
Nick: “We’re going that way, try to make a grand exit, we’ll see you soon.”
Troy grasps his white hands on saddle horn, an oil paint residue smears from his fingertips, his stoic black boot bends the rung of the partial rope ladder hung beneath his rigging, the rust shakes from the bracing frame of Alerion, their heads raise to see the dawn and the traitors on the lawn. He looks down his nose and its wings stretch and close to open on the sunrise, appraising rest then lifting best to beat against the abjured winds of change. Over walls and stalls, a single spiral grows into a wingspan consuming the bounty hunters’ view of periphery, knocking some from steeds whilst stopping them from deeds, trackers apace to the lure and verity as Merlin eschews bon vivant.
Spoken to the consequence of nature as they travail is a warming climate, not for of smoke or of fire, but a lack thereof making the fertile verdant forest a spot of burgeoning growth, refuses to reject the daylight, at night the heavens gracefully wave like rivers of clouds between the stars and the increasingly flourishing vegetation, where even hanging lodestones are lost. In the eve, as is told, the sky fills with singing light and by morning the growth of vines and chutes of reed begin to daunt the location, soon in travels, the vines grow larger and hang from trees that do not grow where cold winds have summers.
Deep in the hidden jungle is the decay of a mountain, its peak whittled by castle architects, eroded by the rivers coursing from the heat below its icy summit melting and cutting stone, a river flows to a window behind a waterfall, candles, and some essential furniture and a bed of shade and rose petals. The floor granite and smooth and cornered at the walls and at the flat ceiling over a steaming bath cut into the floor near the cushion, the room is empty and silent, like the many halls abound the silence is tired and alone.
In the tropical nature Merlin dismounts his horse and checks his saddle as he parlays.
Merlin: “I had meant to tell you… I’ll be entering alone.”
Nick: “Why on Asgard would you do that?”
Merlin: “Wait outside.”
As a snake catches Nick’s attention, it crawls quickly to Ana. He immediately draws his dagger and throws it into the mouthtail. By now Merlin is gone without a footprint and another snake slithers passed them and the horses, soon many snakes are crawling thru the grasses and as most incline their passes it nonetheless scares the steeds beyond the reeds. As the equines bolt Nick tries to stop them but is bucked and thrown is he with a dulled torch to a tree, Ana spins the torch in her hand and sets it aflame then hands it to him.
Ana: “Kill anything that moves.”
Nick: “What’s happening?”
Ana: “Snakes are blind and hunt by smell and a vision of heat, something wicked this way comes.”
Ophiuchus: (to Ana) “Make right something here, I verily haven’t fie about you, ne’er I have, ne’er I will, but you sir, any day you live is yet time to kill.”
Nick: “If you only knew.”
Nick rushes to Ophiuchus with torch in hand, unbeknownst of the many snakes approaching Ana, the slithering soon establish waves that are utterly inimical to clerical rank and file, and this time they do not flee, hissing and attacking with eyes of glassy black oblivion to crack the sky with gleam. As swords clash her fire spreads as a violent rash against them and daisies, the clouded days of autumn trap humidity and humility into the jungle, the plants dry beneath her feet and soon small serpents make their retreat from the fire that scorns, greater than the thorns larger snakes crawl meticulously more perfidious and clever. The fire is modern signal for Troy and phoenix Alerion to make landing, Troy stops one of the larger snakes with an arrow from on high, but the largest of snakes approach. It curves and sleeks while fighters trade blows and strive to stay alive by twisting limbs and various throws, violent beyond repetition and dangerously beyond malady.
The massive snake crawls for Ana so long that when Nick trips backwards over it, he turns and hacks at what he believes is a reptile much smaller than it truly is, in fact his hack and sever does not even register in the mind of the massive serpent tail. Alerion, quick to feast a festal peckish beak, falls and fights for death to rights, the creature slithering in the ashes coiling and toiling with survival. Troy shuffles as best he can to stay hidden, but as Ophiuchus is breaking Nick’s leg while sitting on the ground, he spots Troy in the distance. He breaks Nick’s back with a boot between the shoulders. He claws into the earth to stop Ophiuchus, his legs not working, his vision fading to black. Troy lets loose an arrow from whitish fingertips and porcelain bow, which travels ever fast into Ophiuchus’ one good eye,
Ophiuchus begins to mock the white archer because he can still see very clearly the silhouettes of a body’s heat, a different color to him, one that tinges of mystery and reserved unrelenting temperatures.
Ophiuchus: “Oh, why, give me my eyes, rivers of blood for my eyes, alas the darkness!”
Ana delves into waves of radiant heat to push the large scaly fiends from herself, which at fury turns to forefront fire. She attempts to stay near Alerion’s power but it leads her erratically to and fro as it hunts serpents in the sand and ash without tethered knowledge that she follows it. Nickolas is awakened by the mere thought of loss and death as Ophiuchus continues to take a marching step between moments of pause in misdirection, luring Troy closer to his grasp.
Ophiuchus: “A realm for my eyes, you took my sight, and I cannot see, come close archer, seek these hands and I will show you wretch.”
As Troy looks upon his foe, he gets dangerously close and Ophiuchus leans and vaults to grasp him, the launch of an instinctual snake.
Nick: “He can see you!”
Nick dives in competition, gusting into Ophiuchus’ side and sacking him cleanly off his feet and to the ground, a heavy battle to Nick’s advantage resumes to ensue. Ophiuchus in desperation for escape grabs the body of a colossal snake in command by thought and is dragged to provisional safety from Nick as he searches the ground for his sword in the ground-fires of dusk. While Nick unsatisfied with losing looks he screams unable to find his nemesis before delivering a cut of fate, but Ophiuchus is near Troy again, ready to confront without aversion.
Ophiuchus: “Give me your heart to keep me alive.”
Alerion leaps between Ophiuchus and its master Troy, as Nick takes Troy from immediate danger the phoenix howls in Ophiuchus’ face, so close he can only sense a familiar face of intense fire. He dives beneath the phoenix between its legs as it curls its head beneath itself, then tries to sit on the serpent man but misses. Ophiuchus runs into Ana’s back in his escape, knocking her onto the ground to her dismay, the snakes are still in thought to attack her fire and in her passionate fears she reaches to the clouded stars. A fountain of liquid fire pours from her hands in all directions for only a moment, and then her hands slam at the ground to her sides, an angry ripple of fire turns everything in her magic’s path to the ashes of the wake.
Troy dashes the occasional surviving snake with his scimitar as Ana approaches him, they gaze their eyes over the mess, then look for Nick. He is in full pursuit of Ophiuchus, as he gets close a large snake bites his ankle causing him to trip and tumble but with a trusty blade quickly decapitates the snake and rolls to his feet in nearly fluid motion. Coming close to the mountain Ophiuchus charges with avid desire and dives into a dark cave, head first and out of sight. The phoenix side steps infrontof the cave blocking Nick from entering, refusing to part with him by letting him enter the darkness of the earth, explaining to him in the form of short belittling squawks. Nick loth returns to Troy and Ana after having a short discussion with the bird of resurrection, with his shirt nearly lost to tatters arriving to Ana standing between three trees on fire, he takes Ana in his arms as they share deep affection and fall to the ground for the other.
Merlin walks the dark caves, smooth to the touch, rough to the senses. He holds his hand into the air and to the tunnel afore him, from his skin a collection of ringed tattoos and scars on his bones glow a pale blue yonder into the darkness, when the wind blows it makes his incandescence gleam, to the air of warmth he follows. The tunnel floor has graphite dust and abandoned cobwebs, the darkness forms a bond with the silence of the deep, no surprises effect the mystery of exploration, pure sensation drifts in the air, the pique of love and the lust of affection, breathing are the battle wounds of memories and dreaming are the harlot tunes of mystery. For as Merlin approaches the antechamber with the waterfall wall Etain bathes in a pool of wonderful light as Lynn carries like smoke across her bath and unto the curtain of aqua.
Lynn: “You will destroy Merlin, shame him or kill him, can you do as such?”
Etain: “All men require not magic but merely desire to see things burn.”
In the reflection of shadows in blind darkness a light assumes a glow behind a door’s curtain from below it into tunneling darkness. Merlin ends his radiance to peer into the depth, the floor beneath his feet becomes smooth and level and closer still he hears the falling water. Etain rises salaciously from the water and enters her robe, to the couch she rests and pans the pages of a forgotten book when she hears the curtain make only the slightest move in the air because of his peeking fingertips.
Merlin makes his entrance steadfast, poignant to direct approach he breathes containing a racing heart, the room fills with fire as if she is the heart of a dragon, filling the room with flame until immersing Merlin to immolation. He pulls apart the air afore himself like opening a stage curtain as heavy fire momentously collapses to the walls, with steel thunder he divides the fire and continues walking, her hand reaches upward and summons a flaming rose with black stem, a flaming orchid, with it held high in the palm of her hand it begins to burn and cinder. He glides with winded pace like apparition in night and takes her to the roving floor of golden pedals, like kindling they ignite causing the room again to fill with fire pushing out the window of rain.
In divine heresy a pointless miracle of loving hearts and dark tranquility, blind shadows in their blood in a lost forest, but near dawn Merlin awakens and sees her sleeping, he kisses her brow and a thin layer of wind magic covers her skin, feeding incineration as she continues dreaming with her soul afire. He leaves her a note and drinks red wine that he finds is not wine at all, it is blood. For such he decides to leave a pedal resting on its red surface. Putting on his robe he walks thru the waterfall, his clothes soak and seeming blurry thru the water he disappears.