Merlin 3:27 “A Skyline's Severance”
Sino removes his hood from his shining black finger-length hair, over his shoulder a town built for mortal combat, around it two circular walls, within those confines a central square surrounded by two circles streets for its two circles of barracks. The first barrier wall is blood-soaked inflammable magic-bound timber that frames mortar and stones rising three men tall itself surrounded by moat. It has four entrances drawbridge thru the outer wall, and four interspersed opposite in the second wall built of clay and ash mixed with sap. Each room a small home, in concentric placement the outer ring with fifty and the inner ring with thirty-five domiciles, within each a space to celebrate comfortably with a dozen martial experts nearly brushing elbows inebriating. The inner ring of dwellings have their doors to the central square used for ceremony and instruction encircled by a narrow circlet sidewalk for fighters to walk between intervals of spars of magic and militia, never novices, a combat school filled with warriors, monks, and commoners, almost doubled in daily commercial total once counting the shepherds and nearby villages. The roofs protected with curved wooden tiles and the people striven formidable.
Surrounding the city’s walls are arable fields growing cereals and fruits and vegetation, irrigated by a series of canals and ditches. In the hills Arkaim, two monks walk toward Sino and show the palms of each one hand with fingers pointing to the zenith, a gesture of obeisance.
Sino: “Greetings, fellows, has your fine milady come to a decision?”
Regnessem: “We have a message from within, she has spoken to the mages, and they to those of the nearest colony at the bridges of Renoir, and their choice cannot be undone or abandoned.”
The second man lifts his hand from his robe holding a smallish crossbow, raising it toward Sino, only to shoot a passing hare. Sino’s grasp, filled with battle magic at the sight of Regnessem holding a blade dipped in gold and aglow with magic itself, reaching forth of nearest foe calms and subsides whiles learning of the rodent.
Yrassime: “We cannot have pests damaging our growth. You will enter the city at the winter gate.”
Regnessem: “We will meet you there and take you to them. Bring the rabbit to the gatekeeper, that also he may know it to be you.”
Turning to each other, they turn away-from Sino and downhill aside the irrigations and small bridges. Sino’s second hand behind his back emerges holding a blade of his own, and throws it into the animal. Into the evening as Merlin and Ana ride along a dark road toward the militant city, Sino approaches the prescribed gate where a guard whispers to another and escorts him thru the corridors to his meeting in the center of the city, the inner circle guarded by skilled fighters in the next ring outward, the wizards are to themselves.
Simon: “Before you can make a confessionary speech of your plans for power, the councilpersons will ask you questions, giving us specific answers, you may later close this session with infamous statements. Do you understand?”
Sino: “I welcome this ritual experience.”
Atlantes: “These are troubled times, even talks of devils, the war of the underworlds rages against the valkyrie at both ends of time that when our states do not fight the humans seek the blood of us all for the magic of any one. Why have you really called us here today?”
Sino: “To gather our hands and sow minds where men are weak. Petty morays or overlords will not curtail the worthy, where there is power we must take it. We will put every able body to work, and what becomes they can have for merely their utter allegiance, those who will not take their freedom, we will take it from them.”
Gwydion: “I thought you mentioned something besides Midgard at war with magic itself.”
Circe: “With the excess they will magnify counterproductively.”
Väinämöinen: “We will be paying people to be the very corruption, of which you speak.”
Simon: “Your song is counterproductive.”
Morríghan: “It is a tithe, and it will not work.”
Atlantes: “And when it does not work they will starve their own and the gods will laugh at us, more loudly than we can remember.”
Sino: “Your majesty, what is not to work of forcing order?”
Morríghan: “Putting all your eggs in one basket only helps one find broken eggs, and neither hath nor hatches success.”
Sino: “If there is time to waste, then there is work undone.”
Simon: “You forget, Sino, many of us have cleaned your messes from your gambling amblings, over the years you have done your best to rid yourself esteem on this council.”
Sino: “We all know this too well; too certain are you without regret that you see not the weakness, the utmost complacency.”
Circe: “And yet you still avoid our welcoming by doubting our very ages in place above you, spineless dog, to put us under your banner of bones to chew?”
Merlin has sneaked into the city, watching Sino prevaricate from a window, his energy does not alarm any of the witches and a drowsy guard is less apt as he is asleep unconscious from a magic tap on the neck. Sino senses Merlin’s aura in the back of his mind indistinguishable from many, and other questions continue beneath an hour in the moonlight, the laws of war and vendetta discussed in purpose, merely entertaining the council bluffs interest to Sino’s rejoinders, Merlin watching and waiting, listening and listing previous memories of their conflicted past. A wolf howls in the distance.
Sino: “Imagine it for a better place, changed of resentment to our provided respect. You could each clear the way for justice with your determination, and put your name on any kingdom you choose. Putting the witchkrieg at our disposal, we can fight hell above and vacant skies below.”
Gwydion: “Some already have our names on kingdoms. What you’re asking will not work.”
Merlin: “She’s correct, Sino, what you are attempting shall never come to term. You cannot dance with the devil in the pale moonlight.”
Sino: “We shall see.”
Morríghan: “Ah, Merlin, I would’ve invited you, but I despise you.”
Merlin: “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Morríghan: “Who have you come from hiding to kill?”
Merlin: “The only fork tongue traitor who trades on the death of others.”
Morríghan: “To all who object say nay to this duel…it is with their silence that I will be pleased if you both die.”
As they prepare to battle, a werewolf large and loudly howls into the sky from just outside the first circle, the sheer volume and depth of the clarion noise shakes almost into the air thru the inner buildings. With a blast near one of the gates, and over a great distance a small fireball flashes in the field, a large viscous werewolf leaps at a wizard and starts to kill, biting clawing mashing gashing, as Merlin and Sino hesitate.
Sino holds out a hand of brightly white burning sulfur that leaps to Merlin’s eyes and explodes afore his face a blinding efflorescence for his escape. A wolf leaps to him still blinded, like a silhouette in a sun storm; Merlin transfers the blindness to the wolf who howls and burns like a burning grenade that will not explode, falling over him as a sack of bones.
More howls and explosions fill the city, the dozen wizards begin leaving, some by turning into clouds of smoke and others thru walls, others invisible and several by foot, most as if slow and eager to fight the darkness and men made of wolves. Students of misfortune in martial and magical arts forced to become soldiers with explosions in their city and surroundings, wizards and witches becoming warlocks, some vanish only to banish enemy elsewhere. As their alchemy explodes so does the hatreds some of them have for each other, fire, earth, wind, water, and darkness, with more missing and others dead, feudal grudges face resolution.
Guards in the inner circle attack the next blood-thirsting werewolf from cautious distance, and the council turns to chaos, their allegiances chosen now, within moonlight and blood, betters to attack a city of warriors with werewolves, betters to siege a company of magic beneath the full moon. Fenrir as werewolf walks very slowly, somewhat larger than his pack, and calm eyes scouring for something to complete him. Six warriors approach him, holding poles with swords attached, he leaps to the inner wall and scurries from them certain to stalk something with more magical blood, truly sunset and light has abandoned this place to the moon-night. Magic of uncivil war puts a warlock against master alchemist whereby the uncouth and evil magician dueler dies of broken jar blast, thru a door the goodly victor flees from Fenrir. The massive wolf-man descends with vaunted leap to him, sniffing and smelling, thinking and telling as its body questions, of where resides or how could hide his object sought. It is a magic potion it tears from pocket and absconds with it quite quick the hound of hell and phial. Into the woods is where Fenrir swallows the concoction, the lupine grows of little taller, redder eyes from bloodshot stronger suspect brimming by viands and sundry suppliant of strength without remorse, a rare concoction of dragon tongue and rarer carnivorous flower used for distinctly hellish antivenins now consumed fait accompli.
Teams battle wolves, with lariat precludes a losing hound from reaching window, ankles bound and dragged across the floor, the cord tossed over a wall to hoist beast and stab and burn, the flames of a council wizard elder and a mere pledging devoted apprentice from the summer tents of the fields, punishing the beast that is sleepless beneath moon.
Practical or instinctual, humanity, the account of human experience, wantonly, thither a parson of abject neglect vigorous. Holy or evil equipoised ignorant to the weapons of survival, the hellhounds commonly the hunter and oftenest gruelingly redolent and uncommon threat, stage of development, an intimation unquestionably lower than the common orders of creation. Scullion ill affects traced to trouble and filth, poison smoke, sharp winds of shattered eviscerating winds, suggestive whispers of suicide and death, knives that make blood boil, and the always ancient magic that guides spirits to torturing darkness and bodies to inextinguishable fire – the effect of imagination experienced, respected poetic faculties as ancient spoken curses that do not preserve condition. If a duel were in order, it would have to subside to the ravenous threat.