Merlin 3:3 “Eulogy of the Scorned”
A cullion man leans forward to haul a strong hemp rope, at its end Nikolas’s feet tied together, dragging him through the spring forest, unconscious and breathing with the birds singing and the trees budding, the warmth of day is clear and his body plows aside the soil thru the shadows of the season. The captor stops to breath and pause, temporarily abandoning fastness and looking at him then again resuming the task. At a tree deep within the forest there is a wooden cross, fashioned of a trunk and a stray strong stave branch lashed tightly to it, he binds Nikolas in preparation for a crucifixion, waiting for him to slake of slumber and awake in turmoil. His first discovery as he awakes is that his arms are extended and bound, secondly that he is not standing on the ground and tied beneath the arms and chest so that he may not rest by standing.
Nikolas: “Since we have not yet met I was wondering if you could tell me, your name.”
Kent: “I am Kent, of many things, that is your question?”
Nikolas: “No opposites have greater resentment.”
Kent: “Well then, I have a question for you, who pays your stipend?”
Nik: “I have none, else I could afford to be not here.”
Kent backhands him and begins to laugh, but Nikolas joins his contagious laughter until he does so alone, his captor does not, a statement of order or relation holding for certain phenomena that so far as is known is invariable under the given conditions.
Nik: “Come now, daren’t you take a jest?”
Kent: “You shall tell me your tenure or I’ll send pieces of you anon to the nearest village, in parcel, with your name on note, and repeatedly hence until there is no more of you to send.”
Nik: “You’ll have to get me to tell you first.”
Kent: “That shouldn’t be a problem; everyone speaks when vivisection supplants proper choice.”
Kent opens a sack on the soil of the forest earth, from it long iron nails and hammer, and he inspects the twine binding wrists and aims the point of a rusty nail at his palm and prepares the mallet.
Kent: “Well now, giving your name will get you an advantage, let’s have it.”
Nik: “Alas, no one knows. Thy angry fucker, I bet you are a charm with the ladies.”
Kent reaches-back with the hammer and drives the nail into Nick’s palm, pinning him to the stave, but he does not scream and at best assumptions does not cringe in the slightest.
Kent: “What kind of man does not wail for nine inch nails?”
Nik: “I had a headache once then I asked myself why my brow was full of pain and I realized that having pain was not, in my best interests.”
Nik’s head sways thru the revelation of pain, Kent drives further the nail into his left palm deeper than prior with an addled grace, the ropes and board’s timely squeak but Nick does not flinch, the captor halts to watch Nik’s eyes for a tear or his face for a fear and finds them not. He walks to his pile of nails and obtaining another he thrusts the right hand to the same effect, after each drive he looks to Nik who seems complacent, mindful of memories and dreaming while staring at the spring trees, repeatedly the hammer does what hammers do and the sound of anguish is vapid and vacant.
Nik: “I’m beginning to think we won’t be friends after this.”
Kent: “Surely you are valuable, and I have seen such focus with many drunkards. I may have to leave you as I do to those who cannot pay, but I will let you think on pain.”
Nik: “You’re not even going to buy me a drink first?”
Kent: “Amiable you can be, I have never returned captives to their loved ones, whole.”
Nik: “As I know to my cost.”
Kent: “Great minds think alike.”
A second stage of captive malady begins as Kent takes the hammer and smashes the side of Nik’s knee. After, Nik laughs at the kidnapper taunting him but showing the first signs of pain balanced with additional mockery, his knee receives another assault. Frustrated, the degenerate deviant drops the hammer and pulls his knife. Nick swallows his fear and rejects with ages of meditation the intense amount of pain delivered, his hands jostled over piercing nails, the arms poked and prodded, his face cut, and then unrequited the captor decides to exhaust resentment and pummel with fists. In time, Nik is black, blue, and battered to the extreme, having faded back and forth thereof consciousness several times, all the while not answering a single question but learning pertinent details about the tyrant, the symbol on his dagger, the cobbler’s mark on his boots, the buttons breadth upon his shirt to later measure his height. Kent’s fists are bruised and covered in blood from excessive attack, his sleeves rolled-up he wipes his hands on a wool cloth, in malfeasant embarrassment he takes his dagger and slices Nik’s neck up to down from jaw to collar.
Kent: “Tell me now and you might survive in hospice, if not I brain you, or perhaps just let you bloodless for the wolves.”
Merlin appears in the shadowy afternoon, hidden by an obfuscation spell and camouflage provided by the morrow light. In replacement of a wand, he carries a misericorde, a pointed but dull-edged dagger straight and narrow, which he uses to surprise Kent, pointing it shortly to his shoulder then immediately to his throat. As he tries to escape Merlin follows, he without relent the blade to Kent’s neck by drifting over the ground as a cloud attached.
Merlin: “You are a deranged fellow.”
Kent: “He was here when I got here.”
Nik: “That’s, absurdity, that clown…has serious issues.”
Merlin: “Are you dying old boy?”
Nik: “I’m…here, soon…yes.”
Merlin: “I’ll see you when you wake. Is it your turn?”
Kent: “Killing me will not find answers!”
Merlin: “No, but it shall make me joyous. Forbade I found you with an innocent, what over Midgard tasks you?”
Kent: “A man, patience above, a man pays me to kill who enter these woods; his feet like yours hate the ground!”
Merlin: “How say you, a man?”
Kent: “A man, by any seeds a mage, prithee let me live and I’ll show you him!”
Kent’s attention is subtly focused on his impersonal escape, while he cannot his eyes witness Nik’s wounds healing in the sunlight, the dried blood and the smell of death in the wind remains, but he is healing perfunctory and after the fact, the resurrection of pagan lore an immortal chore.
Kent: “A soldier of the shadows, by Surt’s rising, o mages sage leave me not to dying!”
Merlin swings his arm and hits Kent in the head with the handle of his dagger wand, immediately rendering him into unconsciousness. Nik stares at Kent and then to Merlin, sharing a silence before they begin laughing at tragedy itself.
Nik: “Merlin cut me loose.”
Merlin: “I should have to ask, is he the one we’re after?”
Nik: “Most indubitably he is, but now we’ve to find his fie benefice.”
Merlin: “We do indeed.”
Nik finds a clean rag and wipes away the dried blood from his vanished wounds, as Merlin looks thru Kent’s affects Nik ties his ankles and wrists together, he and Merlin stand over their prisoner waiting for him to awaken. Loth to waiting, Nik begins to slap Kent in the face but he does not wake.
Kent: “Hey, small misfortune gone, no harm is seen, you may release me.”
Nik: “Now is time for brevity, demons want their harlots back, and I’ll put you in the ground, tell me who finances your fiendish chore.”
Kent: “If I tell you I die?”
Merlin: “You die if you don’t.”
Kent: “Yonder ridge, maybe a day’s ride or walking three.”
Merlin: “Free his legs.”
With some reluctance and cue of eye Nik unties him, letting him stand only to push his back against a tree to retie his bonds. Heretofore walking the whiles and receptive to the stunning skies above them, hapless of the ruthless ken to barter for gold pieces ten, two horses above the fray. Erstwhile the day is long toward its even dusk as the tireless horses walk with Kent becoming weary and bewildered.
Merlin: “It is a wonderful day for a stroll, Kent.”
Nik: “Wonderful is an, excellent word.”
Kent: “I should stop walking.”
Nik: “Do you think he’s given us right directions, or planning his escape?”
Merlin: “Better to be on proper way then concern of him, but to that point, Kent, what put you on your class warfare or do you truly have a master?”
Kent: “You only call it class warfare, when we fight back.”
Merlin: “Were you going to work for your keep?”
Kent: “I shouldn’t have to…”
Merlin: “From the middle caste, making naïve youths and entitling doles, you can’t recognize enterprise to appreciate it, can you?”
Kent: “Let me rest and I’ll try to understand what you’re saying.”
Merlin: “I want to make the top while the sun is up, see the sunset over the valley, if weary lie and be dragged to the top, the horse and I’ll do all the work.”
Still they sally forth on the inclined road to the low hills and near peak their felonious prisoner stumbles and fumbles, falling twice, the second of such he lets the horse drag him only to be infuriated and bring himself to his feet after fighting to undertake the pace of the steeds. There has been a silence proffering resentment to the roles of captors reversed, but a new emotive bodes display, for at sunset they are at summit and pause for glory.
Nik: “If they knew what all had once known.”
Merlin: “Where would it have gone if we had not?”
Kent: “Sometimes memories are all we have.”
Nik: “Shut it, clodpoll.”
Merlin: “His words are free.”
Kent: “You’re not the only one who has read that book.”
Merlin: “What book?”
Kent: “Sino’s Ordbook, it’s from the first pages, ‘where it goes if had we not’; ‘sometimes memories are all we have?’; ‘a tale of survival of revenge doth entice and ensue?’ tell me you’ve read it over coincidence?”
Nik: “I’ll tell you a tale…look at the road you just traveled and imagine being dragged up here, now look down the other side and imagine being drug behind the horses, scaring them so they don’t stop until they reach the base.”
Kent: “Quite an agony scene as you tell it.”
Nik: “That’s what’ll happen if he or I don’t get a good night’s sleep.”
Merlin stares without the sounds of reality in his thoughts, the prisoner checks his feet as Nik gathers wood and kindling for fire, but the rustling does not register conference and acknowledgement, be known it to him as the sunset hides itself beneath a horizon of trees. In a tangent of malaise his eyes do not send their sight to his mind as shadow sweeps the valley so does sorrow dash his memories, confused they watch dewfall with the rising night sky behind them as they surmise what holds his quandary and sheds yet remorseful mercy still on his heart.