Merlin 3:17 “Passive Aggression”
Magicians who love to love, have virtue and compassion, but after the industrious era are feared and dreaded, for while some are good in those beliefs, there are others who have malice aforethought to that effect on humans by way of the witchkrieg. There are places where men worship the gods utmost, with spiritual defense they deem witchery forbidden, and in time and conflicts adjourn each evening hating magicians who believe themselves divine above those gods. Obeontok is one of those towns Ana enters with Braden and others, comparatively ten and two times larger than the mining camp afore.
Far from her, Merlin follows silently and secretly behind Nick on the road to that mining camp, in paranoia Nick turns and throws a dagger at him, with an emanation of calm blue light it enters his hand without passing thru, with his other hand he tosses it to Nick’s feet, it is lifted exhaustively emote.
Merlin: “Ana is the other way.”
Nick: “Wait, do you two bloody know them?”
Merlin: “We do – not the best of company.”
Nick: “We need steeds.”
Merlin: “We do, are you hungry?”
Nick: “I could eat.”
Merlin and Nick travel heretofore, whilst they do Sino sits staring into a book of ancient words forgotten by much of the worlds, fires light the walls as the sound of breathing faintly resonates from a darkened tunnel. Thinking he has heard a noise, he stares at the dark, soon realizing the sound of pebbles comes from yet a different tunnel. Into the darkness he enters and emerges to the foremost sanctum bathed in outer light thru an opening in the mountain, of this door vagabonds of mercenaries make entrance
Sino: “I am overjoyed to have you in my employ, ready is the way for dedicated men, drink, those kegs are too full. Gareth, where is the other man?”
Garth: “It is our best to do and have done what was bade, tho these are times of the witchkrieg, the old war anew, and we must band against demise, but the road is harrowed, witches against us, or for us in the worst of ways, thus we have shortly fallen a man. The folk, they hunt for sorcerers and spies the like, searching for silver and giving trials of drowning and immolation, even for those bested by innocence, it is times like these that we cannot make into such hazard, it is our resolve to increase our recompense, lest you can bid our safety.”
Garth pensively looks around himself, his compatriots have gone from surprise to awed fear, Sino takes one step and places hand on his shoulder, being grabbed he realizes he’s alone in the coup.
Sino: “The problem with contemplating your existence is that it is dangerously close to melancholy, too bad you will only have enough time for pain and fear.”
Sino reaches into Garth and rips-out his heart, tossing it to the floor, the body drops as he licks blood sloppily, his eyes clouding with contentment of feast, clearing in consciousness he speaks to the others.
Sino: “Put him on the table, I want to show you where different stabs kill different witches.”
They do so nonchalantly, some without resting their mugs, as he consumes more blood, and soon defiles.
In this moment, meanwhile and elsewhere another abode of stone, this one the vampire House of Scarlet, from the mountain face a castle, from its front a narrow road carved of the rock with steep sides and archway road so very far below, the smooth grey bridge leads to the barbican castle doors. In front of the door-hall, sit two statues staring at the movable pieces of a chess game, around them three other statues watching and all sheltered from rain with the mark of dust. Two riders on horseback, the vampire Matteus, whom having escaped Nick’s wrath and by call of rank attained another guard, approaches in a light rain and a dark sky that follows them with torment, lighting, and thunder.
Dismount do the night warriors, approaching and spectating the game, they do not blink nor breathe nor adeptly of heartbeat as one of the onlookers turns to Matteus.
Rullianus: “What say you, Matteus?”
Matteus: “Always take the pawns first.”
He removes himself as this spectation of the tactic is differenced from that which concomitates. Not moving, not living, covered in dust, laying on furniture and floors, laying on tables and leaning on doors, as if their blood has dried and will expired, walking thru the rooms the floors are somewhat clean and each footstep sounds thru hundreds of lost souls with lackluster impetus, including the royals.
Of the throne room, fires burning on oil-filled saucers on pedestals, guards in full body armor appear as empty suits with visors closed, heralds and jester strewn over chairs and couches poised of disdain, tables of food long decayed to bones and dust, and even the king with eyes open looks to have immense malaise and dour. Yet of these things, his goblet made of gold is full with fresh human blood, and with approaching Matteus his eyes turn unto attention, all with slowness do the courtiers and courtesans slowly wake from solacing motionlessness to focus upon his arrival. The scribes however open inkwells and prepare to record every action and word. The king swirls the blood in chalice and with second hand tips his palm and fingers upwardly to encourage servants to raise the fires, looking to Matteus with cynicism and folly, as he drinks Matteus kneels to one knee.
Lord Scarlet: “Spare pride, it is an unbecoming rule, enrich us with becoming truth.”
Matteus: “The human abstract, the undying, I have found one, near the old mines of Ventuslamia, my guard lost his head to him …and I could not find our Lord Roan.”
Lord Scarlet: “What was he doing there?”
Matteus: “Unknown, but it has been a place of silver conflicts in the newest witchkrieg, my lord.”
The monarch contemplates with no timidity of fangs and complexion far less pale than those in the play of stillness do. From the standstill, a woman separates from the others, marked by the simple crown on her head.
Lady Scarlet: “Roan is not within the ether and the mages could not find him with the blood magic, we fear he is lost in mortality.”
She approaches the monarch and sits beside him, resting both of her hands on his arm then pulling his wrist toward her mouth, he hands her the goblet instead and stands.
Lord Scarlet: “Dark horses and hearses you will have, servant, take Matteus to the quartermaster and the stable magister, he is to leave in haste with armored caravan – Matteus, you have found a requiem for the falling night of the wind, but if you fail me, you will find reckless abandon.”
Matteus: “Yes lord, the shadow will be ours.”
The monarch lifts his hand from Matteus’ back and pushes him forward, the patrons in the adjacent room seem not to move yet posing as if had been listening.
In Obeontok, counted animals and travelers and else that resides, there are more than one thousand hearts in a small city with no walls, surrounded by farm and pasture, interred with public houses and patrons. Merlin rides in blue night light seeking the dawn, listening to the stars, he sees Nickolas asleep in the saddle adeptly, and he knows the night and then the day and then the shade are the cost of time until he and Nick find Ana and the others.