Merlin 3:52 Master’s Apprentices (Deliverance)
Ana louds as wagon hits bump, she profanes as Merlin, Nick, and her wagoner wager on how many days until childbirth. Troy flies low, leaning aside passing over, pointing over woods to a quiet, half-empty city. As the inquisitive farmer asks, told to keep going, the wheels rudder thru damp soil and wagon creaks. Troy and his phoenix land near where Kylesa waits, he runs and jumps from buildings’ tops to her and fondly meets, thru curtained doorway the drapery falls.
Twice as far from twice as far behind Merlin, Varin the halfling scout has not slept, to keep an eye scanning on all horizons. Bella sleeps above piled hay, and wakes.
Bella: Are we anywhere near something yet?
Varin: We just passed a sign.
Bella: Well what did it say?
Varin: I do not know.
Bella: What did it say, or do I have to sleep it out of you again?
They bond with amiability, his body of strength against her nestling fondness.
Varin: A popular city ahead of our way, so there will be travelers for you to rob if by your need.
Bella: I wouldn’t rob them; I’d just cast aspersions instead of telling them how pretty they are.
Varin: Not have I made nothing, I fall for you from less …but if not thieves, why are ye indebted to Völund?
Bella: Like, some swan maiden ate a royal dwarf’s heart or something and the little superior claimed treason in the middle of a banquet, for traitors by the way, and so the blame to themselves and insults to each other, and I was there to watch my brother pretend to cozy with one of the warlords. That way a prince, that particular one anyway, would notice me while my brother could do our real task of saving a different swan maiden, all so that I could have the prince and his troop protect me while I watched over Jim, but that went to shit when they started killing each other at dinner.
Varin: I see.
Bella: And then I saw this woman in a red robe, but there was a white dress slipping from it, so I go to check her and see if the different swan maiden I sought to deliver and it is of course not. When the prince’s man finds me again, my brother with him, me covered in his blood from saving him, but it looks as if I am killing him, so we decided to sleep the other dude and use his knife for the mercy kill and leave it. Thereof, we go to grab the swan maiden, I see that girl again, and she was putting on the robe, with bloody hands and the swan maiden dying, so I throw a poison-tooth into her back. When the maiden started laughing, I knew I was standing in one too many bad holes in the ground.
Varin: It was the wrong girl.
Bella: The wrong girl, and a trail of bodies with blood on my hands, so everyone thinks I had been running around the castle randomly killing people, I do not do randomness. Worse, the thing got up and started eating the heart of the girl I did not save and jumps out the window, up, not down, up the outer wall, and now I owe Völund a golden egg or something.
Varin: Or something.
Bella: So we’re away, who’s your target?
Varin: Völund is of knowledge that she walked freely thru the city of vampires that nearly killed you. I worry little on the realm of possibility, but I know not how were ye plague witches, powered twofold as siblings, unable to poison human soldiers to their knees?
Bella: The arbitress. The soldiers bonded to her would taste no toxin, lest their portion stands as their pain passes to only a portion of her magic, potent and portentous. I drew on the wounded that were not already cold, my brother later will do the same.
Varin: Then who is the real arbitress, after all?
Bella: In truth, I consume the energy that poisons entropy; the hollows of the soul are a feast of scars like dawn and hoarfrost. What kind of name is Varin?
Varin: Do you really want to know?
Vampire spies enter City Drenthe of sickness to see why guards do not top posts along the walls. Thru a large gate, they see a single sleeping man, with ether and rag they assure his sunset slumber and part ways, one into alley, one into street, one onto the wall. Atop the barrier each post has abandoned weapons and in the streets only pissers of any night, the same by he in the street, the same by he in the alley. With faces and hands they communicate to reconvene together in shadows.
Ophiuchus meditates in a moonlit field listening to the air. He enters City Drenthe, and steals shadows to hide.
Afar, while Varin and Bella can see the city candles of windows of couples and the moonlight surface and secrets. Behind them are Völund’s scouts, quicker to message him than they are, and but behind them even farther are Lilith’s werewolves, the Berserkers rabid, crazier coy, leaping for them until taking them from their horses and holding them beneath teeth of anger.
Lilith: Spies outside their own wall are spies in deed.
Velar: What is our crime?
Lilith: Commonness has idealized the lighter elves, a merry lot who dance their ringlets on the grass, I know you sharpen your teeth at night.
Velar: In our original habitations, we are paint makers and farmers, but I know you are demoness.
Lilith: Your people are ash where I was born, so remember the hunger above you and tell me; why does that barrow now stand hovel and perish without trace?
Lilith: I smell a plague, as you would recognize the sun, theirs is fresh and full as if at the behest of the dead. What happened in your town?
Velar: I’ve never been to that town.
Lilith: Kill the other. Hold this one.
They drag his counterpart away screaming and feast in the road.
Velar: Do not feed me to the werewolves…
Lilith: They’re feeding you to me.
Velar screams at death, her eyes red, her teeth bright, her smile wide. At the sound, the vampires in the city rush atop the wall, seeing what the citizens would not have heard. Using a scope lens from the guard post, one watches the consumption, hurried Lilith looks deep into the lens and they vanish quickly from sight.
Merlin: Did you hear something?
Nick: Should I find the trouble without?
Merlin moves curtain aside in time to see one of the vampires leaping to the street from the wall. He notices Merlin in the window, his eyes electric and normal as the vampire runs into darkness.
Merlin: Be ready for strange.
Ana: You better not, hey, unless it’s fried eel. Can you find that in the morning?
Nick: I’d feel better if it wasn’t sooner.
Nick pours water into a cup, with magic it steams in her hands before laying again.
Varin and Bella ride thru the open gates passed sleeping guard and passes by Merlin and his family without knowing, stopping at the alehouse.
Kylesa sleeps with Troy to wake and put oil on his lips and leaves silently. She sees a silhouette recognizable, soon finding Sino in an alley and attacks him, he pins her against the wall and releases her.
Sino: You’ve been dosing him?
Kylesa: Of course, he’ll be angrier than a cat with a sore tail soon. Almost as angry as someone else.
Sino: Yes, who?
She points her dagger at his heart, first to his resistance, then to his relent, they enjoy each other in their privacy.