Merlin 3:30 “Honorificabilitudinitatibus”
Dampness holds the air and layers the pastures unto the mountain oblivion cleped House Scarlet, the bleak and dark sky looming and occasionally thunderous, a general haze of cloud and soft dreich outside the altitude. The obfuscating shadows the veins of silence coursing over the jagged edges of grey mountainside, arteries of darkness to play illusion of the mind an imperial monastery for creatures of nightfall, where cliff and bluffs make rife an unforgiving clime a relentless treachery. The sign of existence daunting as a branch of lightning in the overcast stretches ever brightly and disappears, a thunder again over the countryside surrounding the mountain fortress.
Indoors almost forlorn, a scornful gaze of Lord Scarlet staring at the flames of candles on the long wall-side table draped in cloth, motionless in white beneath empty salvers and utensils of sup that never occurs, his elbow resting on the throne to hold a chalice of blood beside his eye. A modicum of dust drifts from the ceiling to his cup as a slowly pace subsidiary to the court patience, as he lifts to his lips drinks before it taints the blood chilled by the dank air and candlelight. All patrons silent and still like poised dead and ethereal, silent and stationary, even those not counting the dust that choose to walk handholding are in tantric pace with the slow speed of ages to each event. The sound of shared thought stationary, a heartbeat of the living would be in haste of the dead society.
Mortal, human, rider approaches the castle transporting ruggedly a wagon full of stolen jewelry plentiful in amount and pristine by the terms of its unlawful acquisition, and four box coffins, shoddy by assembly although strongly built enough for the imprisonment of live prisoners, whose wrists are bound and mouths wrapped. At the checkpoint hamlet, the driver attains permission and crosses the bridge to castle basin, the lightning clamoring and rain beginning to increase. Thru the interior tunnel and then the doors to one of the foyers, the human waits as herald announces him in vagueness.
Herald: “A trader…enters.”
The paucity of consortium begins, the denizens begin to move and speak more frequently, some blinking their eyelids the first of days, looking to others the first of weeks, whetting their voices the first of months, some asking where conversations had halted. Other small talk of reemerging sorts, lighting the lamps and feeding fires all in show as the doors open for the human, whom soon has audience with the bloodlust king.
Red Art: “I have brought the apothecary as you have asked.”
Lord Scarlet: “And you will be paid, this exchange will happen now and you will leave.”
Red Art: “I seek an alternative form of payment.”
Lady Scarlet: “What prey to tell, ulterior remuneration?”
Red Art: “I know what this place…is, what you are, and I wish to be, one with the night …immortal.”
Lord Scarlet: “Did you bring the alchemist?”
Red Art: “In many moons I traveled east to return with him west again, I have, Lord Scarlet.”
Lady Scarlet: “The transfusion requires many lives, many deaths that you are not afforded and are not worth. My lord, this is distasteful.”
Red Art: “No, I have brought to you four bodies, not one, and much treasures of gold and silver, even if but to only let me depart.”
Lord Scarlet: “Kill him and inspect the piecemeal.”
Red Art: “Dearly not oh wisest lord do please reconsider! I am a simple man, a simple man!”
Lord Scarlet: “There are many reasons you are not meant for this world.”
Red Art: “So be it, I will leave unabashed!”
Lord Scarlet: “This bores me ever so, Jester, sentence this worm fashionably.”
As guards catch the struggling trader by both arms as he tries to escape, where the wall meets the ceiling a red curtain hangs over no window, it waves aside to reveal a court jester smiling, who turns his back to all people of the room.
A jester’s dance begins as his hands reach upward and over his head to stretch back to the floor with his body arching. His knees rise and ankles drape and he soon puts his heels to the floor again still facing-away, he turns his body sideways and spins head over shoulder a slow cartwheel maneuver, again a second time paused to stand on only one hand, and looks cross at the trader upside-down. The acrobat puts his other hand down and falls like a hacked tree, his feet toward the trader he reaches into the air, his shoulders lift from the stone floor supernaturally, he does not stop standing upright as he leans forward and grasps the trader’s throat.
Holding and choking him and carrying him from the guard’s hold to the wall, dragging victim’s heels and knocking his skull on the wall, as the oxygen depletes a blue face of prey, the courtesan jester’s fangs begins to show.
Jester: “You have a grave ignorance, bleeder, breather, our existence is not immortality, we are all dead here. For crime of treason, bondage of betrayal, and greed of instinct, you have seen the face of death your final time.”
The jester lunges his jaws at the trader’s throat, every vampire within the walls of the nearby rooms stop talking and turns to face the kill, listening to death and taking deep scents of bliss and blood, the king and his courtesans begin clapping.
Lord Crimson: “Benevolent, simply benevolent, a fine jester indeed – search his carriage and bring me the bodies alive!”
Lady Crimson: “It is to laugh, buying his freedom.”
Her closest friends of the court laugh with her as she takes a drink from a chalice of gold and glass diamonds glittering, as a guard points to two under-ranking soldiers and they depart, returning with the humans, arriving shocked and awed, one of which almost collapses before forced to stand, weak and fearing bloody thorn-like smiles. The king stands and approaches, gesturing the guards to lift the weak one into stance.
Lord Crimson: “Take this one to the atelier. Which of you three whom wishes to be vampire will kneel in this moment, stand and you may leave this room.”
He gives them ample pause, strutting-away then toward and across pacing side, first and third kneels to both knees with lachrymose heads hung, and the intermediary remains standing.
Lord Crimson: “Drink and throw him into the ravine.”
Lord Crimson: “You two will be dead inside your hearts before you know it.”
Lord Crimson pushes him to hungry princesses who feed at every available place amongst themselves above his belt, struggling without avail and soon gasping silence. Crimson grabs the collars of the other two and drags them to the doors, where at the larger hall holds them for the many thirsty vampires resuming stillness and patience, in respect to their king tossing as he names them.
Lord Crimson: “Turn these two, this will be Tiberius, and this will be Cornelius, make music and rejoice!”
The many vampires rush and mirth to the frightened men, only to hoist and carry them on their shoulders into another room, drinks and dancing and violins.