Merlin 2:26 “Three Tongues”
That which can be most dark is wrenching in the fettered blasphemous ruin of the night, on beastly bones in bested hunt to feed on flesh and spill the cursed blood, scales unto the hilt of talons, fire for the taste of acrimonious flesh pardon to the ire of ages. Horns worn aback by wind or war to serve placed upon the brow as teeth in defensive evasions, a zephyr escape to prove the winged creature gustily pervasive for it would not be crawling backwards as its hind legs are small and peripherally jut. Therewithal in the darkness approaches Etain mistress of the sulfur and fire, the primordial reptile feasts on the carcass of a bear forming a blood pool on a dark nest of multitudinous skeletal remains, the smaller bones such of hands and feet crushing and gnashing in the absence of light, the rigid armor of scales frills showing a subtle glow from beneath the skin of a fire within itself, close could so be seen in its mouth and nostrils. Again the scales flare as it turns quickly from meat to measure of instinct, listening for disturbance of dirge within depths. Strolling is Etain with hands faintly wandering for walls overt but overly intrigued, in the depths the air is sparse and bodies breathless by great fire of black magic and yet to her the spirit of the magus serpent is a vessel burning that she could and can see even if blind duly of the elemental gyves.
The creature familiar to nothingness balks at the idea of intruder or perhaps a warning to her in the hour of dusk. The sorceress’s eyes beget fires of immolation making the creature hesitate and squawk then strike to bite, but her raised hand set aflame subverts the fearsome adversary instantaneously.
Etain: “O, I thought you were a dragon.”
The wyvern lurks aside her flames with apprehension with its tongue protruding from a closed mouth, the tip of which is shovel headed with three points. She walks passed the ought fictive creature noticing the wretched death on the floor, her madness spills voiced thoughts into her head telling her to ‘cull the creature for sport’ that distract her so much she looks at the dank cave to listen to them as if fictive red demons climb the walls. The wyvern looks to her ford focus in confusion as she notices the rarer creature examining her situation.
She crouches to examine the blood-soaked fur of the slain bear causing the creature to snarl at her invasion, she follows the trailing blood away from the deceased animal allowing the dinosaur to resume eating, where the blood puddles her hands cup the sanguine and she pours it on her face then her clothes being sure to smear a mix of dirt with it. She stands and the bones at her feet begin to effulge then ash, she sits in a circle symbolizing grief repentance and humiliation, by spell of wroth a handful of blood is poured into the other hand as ash while she watches the mighty lizard feast.
Bolak, Sotheli, and Maia, wait outward on the rock of aegis in the hills of Morris Fell, just as they had for the hours until sunset when the riding colony soldiers come over the hill with trees upon the top. First Aki son of Kumayri, then Holmi son of Holmgauter, Spor son of Stakker Edel the endowed minstrel of the late King Hormuk, Bodvar son of Bolter the Grey, Surtur son of Jakob the Wise, Ozi son of Porir, Aesa daughter of Athisla and Leikar Tull, Leo son of Damien the Raven, Davey son of Sam Jackson, Vifill son of Oddkell the VIII, Inga daughter of King Atherill, Rakel daughter and sisterwife and widowmaker of Mikal the Black, Joana the gypsy Saracen, Tomas the barber or the butcher son of pirate turned privateer Guillermo Fiacre, Aled son of Sidrus, Adalbert son of Gustav Heimdall, and Sigsteinn son of Throstur.
The three healers waiting by the rock stand in clothing whiter than their allies arriving in hardened leather on their shoulders and shins, dark clothes and regalia of cavalry and conflict.
Aki: “Fie the rest, the best are here, what have you seen?”
Maia: “There was a naked man walk about and I couldn’t stop these two from staring at him.”
Aki: “Well there’s a cesspool of blood only a league over yon hill.”
Leo: “If it’s a naked man he shan’t be too hard to find, which way heads he?”
Tomas: “Better to say an ass in the woods.”
Inga: “You could tell us about that any day Tom!”
Sotheli: “It’s not the cross wanderer, a beast is in Morris cave.”
Bolak: “Heed to vigil! The beast is serpent and winged. The one I and others saw thru divination, a great honor but a danger as well.”
Maia: “We would not force you on this hunt.”
The horses grow impatient and the humor calms, a silence becomes a resolute position of determination, none of ought speak nor any turn for haven, they check their blades and arrowheads, chains and mail, ready to combat the blackened portal.
Sotheli: “Do you have an apothecary amongst you Aki?”
Aki: “Yes. Aled!”
Sotheli: “Good, you’ll need dexterity and agility potions not druthers homeward for a speedy recovery save a sip of elixir in these hills.”
Leo: “Have you seen it.”
Maia: “We hid here as it entered just before the signs of this dusk.”
Bolak: “It has a lengthy tail, if you’re spears can maim its wings in the cave, it won’t scoop you in the plains nor pick you at your exit.”
Aki: “It cannot see better than we, else it would have visited us first.”
Bodvar: “Or it is youngling.”
Aki: “Don’t count that as a blessing, ladies point your arrows at that entrance from high ground and shoot anything bigger than a horse.”
Aled distributes small vials of orange water, the riders pass and collect as the cavalry takes torch from tied leather pouches used to keep the oil soaking, each lights their torches and makes to the cave opening then inside the darkness. When the last rider enters the three enter on foot behind them without torches of their own each looking at the archers more than the entrance.
A darkness fury in pretentious silence, without the pomp and decadence of daylight the immorality of darkness disnatures the walls and the shadows on the stone, the dirt a rugged loam brown sediment on hearth floor. The depth is silence in façade and guided by the light, the torches in hand burn and omen for the creature which turns swiftly toward them and halts its glassy eyes in their direction, the flicker pouring the scene. It crawls into the deeper catacomb dragging its stunted feet. Etain watches this and chokes the combustion of their torches from the air, as the soldiers confuse the dying light for lack of effluent oxygen their horses begin to tremor. The sound of cloven stammering overwhelms the draconian beast with whims of predation, caught off their wits by the wyvern haste chaos welts at them in their constraint. Aki’s horse is ripped from him as he is thrown to the ground and dizzied by his head hitting to the dark stone basin, a terrible crux of fire brightens their shadow-ready eyes, and timid are those closest to the breathing fire that burns on roots and bones and a writhing steed as would an oil wick.
The disbelief of separation from battle for the second line of great soldiers aching for this conflict embellish the glory of their good name, three spears quickly launch at the scaled demonic pet, one to chip a scale, one blocked by obsidian wing, tother to miss an eye in profile. They dismount with a halberd quick to spread fear to the defiant, a mallet hatchet launches and spins, a hammered axe scathes the reptilian shoulder, three daggers violently hurl from a single hand with one blade sticking into the creature below the tongue under the jaw, each with a lizard squelch imbued of intimidation. A lance that bleeds and a blade embedded that heeds the actions of war emboldens them further, the fallen spears are lifted and carried speedily to the wings of the warbeast, three en route but only one placed as the mighty whipping tail brushes one soldier aside the rear, talons of crawling haunches pins the second, the third deftly places sharpened stave into the arch near the crest of a wing. In arrears underfoot conviction of a nearly mashed man escaping cannot flit as his legs are rolled and crushed, his legs will not shortly be well but his resolution motivates him to try and crawl atop the beast with daggers, the wyvern discards him by collision against the ceiling, the jump hurts them both unto their lives and egos, hellish fury and discomfiture at a dead set abject.
The sound of pain fills outward thru the tunnel and it is Aki who is at the mercy of haste chaos, the wyvern blocks the spear as it turns with a waving arm while the other scaled arm swings to push a talons thru him and the wall, but another of the many soldiers careens an axe severing a small portion of the cold blooded tail which is long enough to still whip the axe handler aside and slosh blood. Two spears rush to attempt thrusting deathblows, one into the creature’s chest but stopped by natural armor and another missing the elongated neck.
The soldiers are screaming with every strike to taunt and with the second spear still atop its neck the wyvern forces flight and begin a series of cries, as it flees the cave it kicks horses and hefts winds at the warriors while bashing debris, with large talons in dirt it makes gravel of stone and a trail of blood. They cannot pin it nor maim it without it turning back its head and tasting fire, at the opening it endures relief in a breath and another screeching howl, it begins to beat its wings and scratches at the surface rock to move toward the archers, with arrows falling at its face it grabs a horse with Joanna still in its saddle. Struggling in escape she frees her boot from stirrup only to fall on the slope of the rocks, Inga throws her lasso down the side just in time for Joanna not to fall the several feet to the bottom. The beleaguered captains from underground still running exit the cave opening to see the plight, they are gasping for breath and immensely joyed, laughing and reveling by their survival.
Leo: “Are you ok Joanna!?”
Joanna: “We’ll see in a moment.”
Aki: “We’ll need reinforcements to search this cave.”
Bodvar: “…and a net that isn’t torn or burnt”
Bolak: “My heart is burnt.”
Aki screams at the full moon and the rising dawn and the others join in kind as she is drawn by horse to the top.
Aki: “Fie! A net and daggers for the stitch knots… attached to heavy logs on both sides with swords lodged to catch and anchor it. Sotheli, heal the wounded, we may not be done fighting.”
Bodvar: “Inga, courier the news and bring a goddamn envoy. Tomas, Vifil get a horse and an axe and bring me two wooden pillars… I’m going back for the others, Maia grab a spear you’re coming with me.”
With fire burning holistically again, alone Davey walks in solicitude the once dank depths with a torch toward Etain as she pretends to cower on the floor. She portrays a shuddering lost maiden and peeks thru her disheveled hair.
Davey: “Come with me, we must evade the black hole.”
Etain: “It was, it was, a demon burning on the evils of hell, I am saved by true angels.”
Davey: “Can you walk?”
Etain: “I thought it was to kill me but it kept me, you are brave to be of knight’s errand.”
Davey: “We wouldn’t worry fire when blood is thicker than water. Come now should I carry you?”
Etain: “But you cannot hold a candle?”
Etain stands Vis a Vis and blows gently onto his face as he collapses with a migraine fugue unconscious on the ground. She takes his dagger and searches successfully for his coins. She walks deeper underground dragging her dagger with sparks momentarily on the wall then disappearing into the darkness.