Merlin 2:32 “Snake in the Grass”
Merlin stands looking down the street sloping toward the abbey, the rays of the sunfall are shining a sea of shadows beneath the distant waves, a river of glass from an ocean of blood, the city on fire with the people running water to the burning walls, not of severity but serenity by vocation and dignity.
Stranger: “By Jove blooming sod nigh taxed tickers.”
Merlin: “He said we almost bought the farm.
The stranger laughs as Merlin approaches him.
Merlin: “Dim dithered tad or tarry?”
Stranger: “Dim tramp dallied steaming rate, mint a glass ball his mitten, not for nicked he bets askew.”
Ana: “What’s he saying, Merlin?”
Merlin: “Mad with power our villain went ballistic.”
Merlin: “Art maven.”
Merlin: “A rogue, tale?”
Stranger: “Rate, bonce like a mole, anent raze boracic I lifted mooncalf’s pockets.”
Merlin: “Spying in destruction he something…”
Ophiuchus: “Peeking through the wrath he stole from the foolish dead.”
They stand coming apart with sighs of disdain and uncertainty.
Merlin: “A cutpurse, cheers, you can ask him if he saw anything with the elders.”
Ophiuchus: “Clock awry anent councilors?”
Stranger: “Erst minstrels pinched abbey coffers, else naught else, no, scrubbers bested stipend a scrap solstice fete sooner champs and broads.”
Ophiuchus: “Minstrels robbed the church, and then he reckons peasants won sponsor at tourney before the festival, instead of the winners.”
Merlin is pacing, Nickolas is looking, Ana is waiting and Ophiuchus is thinking.
Ophiuchus: “Ne facades?”
Stranger: “Ne, gaffer, whelps whilst anon.”
Ophiuchus: (to Merlin) “Anything else to ask?”
Ophiuchus: “Make thee hence.”
The thief walks when Ophiuchus’s eyes shine yellow momentarily as he holds his knife, sheathed once the stranger leaves.
Ophiuchus: “What will you do?”
Merlin: “I’ll be in bacchanals, tomorrow I might travel to the fete.”
Watching Nickolas visit Ana, Ophiuchus and Merlin stand over the withered body of the Draugur.
Ophiuchus: “I’m leaving at dawn, only to task tools and some of the damage, from the beach if you need a guide.”
Merlin: “If your things are in order, thy will be done.”
Ophiuchus shakes Merlin’s hand while watching Nickolas or staring at the corpse in the damaged city, making eye contact when parting, Troy watched the handshake very far from the battered belfry in the street. The preparation after rest and respite at inn makes quickly of getting horses in the morn and meandering to the vast lake. A discourse of introductions leads them to graces on a path from the water to the forest.
Merlin: “The boozers seemed rather upset about the picks.”
Ophiuchus: “As they should be…”
Ana: “Pay to play and the strong will go.”
Ophiuchus: “Better the needy disregard morality than demand equality.”
Nick: “A song of throngs on the eve of revolution?”
Ophiuchus: “Unless the thunder strikes, a man won't cross himself.”
Ana with her eyes squinting turns to Merlin whose face already has signs of concern and angst.
Ana: “The Alsatians often said that ‘truth is the voice of liberty’.”
Merlin moves to ride alongside Ophiuchus and interject his vocation.
Merlin: “What stands for anything,” drinks from wine bottle, passes it to Ophiuchus, “against those who control great wealth, is independence.”
Nick: (to Ophiuchus) “Are we of the same mind?”
Ophiuchus: “Enterprise is indoctrination, and hypocrisy.”
Merlin: “…Was the vote contested?”
Ophiuchus: “If the chosen do not go they insult the treaty, risking conflict, and besides the winners still go to the tourney as reservists.”
Merlin: “The plot sickens.”
Ophiuchus: “Socially necessary.”
Nick rides on his horse shortly ahead of Ana, his shoulder is alongside her horse’s shoulder, and they turn to each other sharing a look of distrust.
Nickolas: “Chaotic words mocking the use of political demand.”
Ophiuchus: “A battle hymn?”
Merlin: “…hordes of the confused, twisting lessons of time, turned on themselves.”
In the distance Troy is asleep against Alerion, in the moonlight the plumage looks nearly like dusty ivory, the evening convenes and Ana lights a torch with her hands and mind. When they approach the snake peaks, the phoenix notices the snake quickly hiding in Ophiuchus’s shirt, a balk of confusion. Troy is asked to scout behind them then ahead, they perceive the phoenix to be acting funny as it departs, and Ophiuchus watches the bird depart with curiosity showing the action of secret intent.
Ophiuchus: “It is a mighty thing to see, what debt keeps the rider in your employ?”
Merlin: “I helped him escape once of else I do not know...”
Nickolas: “What’s your plan for the tourney?”
Ophiuchus: “Infiltrate, destroy, rebuild.”
Ana: “They’ll be expecting that.”
Ophiuchus: “What wilt thou become?”
Nickolas: “A fine judge of character.”
Merlin: “Berserk reactionary message.”
Ana: “We should pose as servants disgruntled by burden.”
Ophiuchus: “How will that end the power?”
Merlin hides his emotion confused, as Ophiuchus looks on him he turns to the skies attempting to seem vacant and thinking, then again in quiet to disconcertion lest show aversion, would that it be his instinct or experience, he has spent wiles with entrepreneurs using boycott, not transgression, to end abuse of power, anxious fret consumes implication that he might not have such leverage with the stranger in this midst. A fog falls upon the countryside in the darkness of hallowed night, tethered farther silent set ethereal, as their dialogue resumes.
Nickolas: “Justice must prevail.”
Merlin: “Each for all and all for each.”
Ophiuchus: “When folk hunger, shall rags become riches.”
Ana: “One folk, one realm, one king.”
Nickolas: “Separatists will fight to the last conscript.”
Ophiuchus: “But taking wealth makes every man a king.”
Merlin: “All or nothing.”
Ophiuchus: “What I feel is mine.”
Again they share a brief awkward pause, the distant fog is thick and rolling, as they notice even the horses slow, Nickolas whistles.
Ana: “Into the night, not the fog.”
Nickolas: “Would it dampen your ire?”
Ophiuchus: “Look for a break.” (His horse restless)
Merlin: “In a new light, a phoenix doesn’t seem so odd, does it?”
Nickolas: “By supernatural siege.” (His horse neighs)
Merlin: “My god in Valhalla.”
Nickolas: “Your sign that we should be going?”
Ophiuchus: “Would you fight it, or brave it.”
Ana: “I agree with Nick.”
Merlin: “In a crush, yet without resentment…” (Turning his horse in place)
Ophiuchus: “We go ahead?”
Throwing his leg Merlin dismounts and walks ahead of his horse, the others following as the fog grows, Ana with her torch behind the others.
Ophiuchus: “Soldiers and farmers would wait. What does that make you?”
Merlin: “The sum of secrets.”
Ana’s torch burns bright enough to necessitate dimming as the bright light merely serves to radiate in the fog and without effective purpose, it dims and the moonlight subsists the light of confusion.
Nickolas: “This fog is close enough to fair the blind, Merlin.”
Merlin: “Never a sheep sleeps in the fog.”
Nickolas: “Is it wolves?”
Merlin: “Fair armor puts you on guard.”
Nickolas: “I don’t fret.”
Ana: “Merlin, what exists?”
In new labor Merlin looks into the fog for new danger, his eyes weakly glow, he sees not Lynn, witch of fog, walking toward them.
Merlin: “No danger, no vice.”
Merlin: “We can’t damn well withdraw at the moment.”
Nickolas: “Try to stay on the road.”
Merlin: “That’s the plan.”
Ophiuchus unsheathes his knife and cuffs it, every time Nick or Ana ride close to him he moves distant, his paranoia grows girded to attack, and Lynn directly ahead of them stands in the road that to her is clear as day, the great distance of clarity for her is masked by the fog.
At the distance of a stone’s throw from her, the fog is thick and damp between her and the riders, murky to the torch despite Ana’s magical affinity. Lynn puts her hand on the horse’s chest Ophiuchus rides and pets its face to stop and calm its fears. As the others continue slowly, talking to each other blind beyond their arms, she puts her hand on the wrist of Ophiuchus and he sighs and sheaths his blade. They grab each other’s wrist and pull her quickly to saddle behind him, over his shoulder she points, holding with her other arm wrapped tightly around his gut. He leans to urge the horse forward, after a few steps she slaps the horse charging it into a fast gait through the cover of a darkening world off road into the pasture.