30 July 2009

Merlin 6 : Empire

Merlin 6: Empire

The dark and stormy, turbulent clouds purged massive falling ceilings of water, by a second peering sun, scantily peeking through the morose weather, to spy on the two travelers, but without success. The light did make it easier to see their way but could not burn through the sky. As the landscape began to illuminate, the sky oddly seemed to reverse its course, time seemingly began to turn aback, towards the morning, eventually lessening the rain to a humble mist, but not ending the persistent rain, or clearing the clouded sky completely.

To his right the distant hanging horizon lays a calm, uninterrupted land stretching into the storm clouds that were bright white at the shore, which seemed to collide with the monolithic mountain. Between him and the stoic mountains top, was a long serpentine trampled earth trail of grey clay, leading all the way to the height of the mountain. A large glowing city rest shining through the clouds like a fire in the heavens, surrealistically sitting like something from the paintings he had seen in the streets that the old vandals would draw in the summer months. Its picturesque poise of the glowing city like the sun above the towering clouds is a glowing light that resembled a burning match, overcast with smoke contaminating the fires outline.

The ground’s damp and black dark clay below their soaked feet is dry as the heart of a stone in an intricate archway over the lofty entrance to the guarded threshold. An intricate yet inconspicuous door, built inside of the arch, led to a room for guards to rest and keep possible sentry weapons. From a coy brief glance troy could see that it was a small armory holding an arsenal of perceivable sorts and several tall, armored men playing cards on a small waist high table near the door. As he turned his head while walking, one of the guards from behind the encompassing wall, peered out from behind the doorway causing Troy’s glance to be abruptly interrupted, and he continued into the city following Merlin, almost unwittingly.

Immediately entering the city walls, there are several barkers and vendors for every personal and private, useless and shoddily crafted wares and works of art, immensely lining the walls of the street. The city seemed to rise in its center, as if a hill were in its center, albeit carefully constructed at the shoreline. From its center, the luminous bright light still emanates buried beneath a plurality of homes and staggered walls of differing heights, from the center of the city as a narrow ray of light, drawing in the mist, and making the silent steam around it glow with a surreal and mesmerizing radiance.

Through the streets, the city is more fog than rain due to the light creating a warm mist as the water from the heavens would hit it and fall to the ground around the pillar of light.

As they walked, they were able to notice with closer detail that, each section was its own community, each with shops and other places of interest based by importance for each section. It is a modern city with shops constructed with great skill, designed to be part of the vastly condensed city structure, and not men selling trade goods outside in tents in the rain.

Looking up they can see that each business is the primary level of what is often three or more levels of homes or places of business, each having opening bay windows, and sometimes decks, that would let in the sun during the morning.

Merlin: “a bustling and charming web of commerce, my boy”

He had become oblivious among the splendorous scenery of the market.

Troy: "What? I do not know what they call it here.

Merlin: "and your thoughts?"

(Looking at the scene)

Troy: “it’s miraculous, who is the king? Is there any sweet shops? Or zoos and liveries?”

Merlin: “As oppose to an old man with a cane? The only city built in this way for many months distance, and you will see what you want when you want…after you see what you need. Keep your bird stuffed and keep up.”

Troy: “Why do they call it anathema, is it a pirate port?”

Merlin: “Anathema is who we have come to see. She owns a bakery well up the road…”

Troy: “would it be at the ocean?”

Merlin: “Well take in a meal, and get some supplies and literature on your bird”

Troy: “it’s dry at this sweets bakery, I surely hope it is, we could stand to sit and wrung ourselves”

Merlin: “undoubtedly it is a delightful place of shelter and vital information for the tired and hopelessly restless.”

Nearing the far side of the spanning city, our two drenched travelers can hear the tumultuous ocean, its cogent waves crashing against an endless blank sandy shoreline and the whistling wind blowing over the unloving sea into the cobblestone city. The air that passes is arid and chilled but no more than it had been in the fields, the mornings prior when they awoke to the morning sun or suns or even a dwindling campfire.

Troy’s hairs was unevenly trimmed and not long enough to rest in a channel behind his ears or tie above the back of his neck, and often fell into his sight much to his irritation, more so now that the precipitation had lightened. The upper lashing of his left boot had begun to fray, and by smell he could have been mistaken for a proper sow. ultimately, the two had a seemingly morose attitude towards the rainy weather, the length of their walk, and the lack of a comfortable sleeping situation.

Passing through the city streets quite far from the entrance, the path becomes vacant of citizen domiciles and the separate partitions become place for sectioned kennels and corrals of tagged, branded and harnessed livestock. Some were majestic versions of animals he could vaguely recognize and others, strangely magnificent creatures and combinations of that which he had never seen, bringing him much amazement. Packed into sections next to each other were similar animals, it seemed. Simple pack animals as he had seen in his home village. In other pens, there stood strangely tall, two legged lizards with intimidating fangs and the look of voracious appetites. Each with froglike faces and long necks as it stood as if it were a bird, as it began to talk with the other animals or could sense the pet he had in his burlap sack.

A young boy, covered in an armor of oceanic sea leaves woven to a suit of chainmail woven as one piece from head to foot, sat upon one as the animal would wrap its long neck around its rider, affectionately. When it unwraps the passenger, it proceeded to unveil and throw a large tacky tongue from its mouth to the ground, to pull up vegetation and rooted soil into a marring chew than purred as a cat would and moaned simultaneously, causing the rider to become irritated and dismount contemptibly.

As they pass through the path of the muddy animal stockyard, Troy looks on it to witness it eats soil, stone, large and small insects, with a mouth full of flat rear teeth and none in the front. The animal quaintly notices them pass by and looks up, only to look away again without a flicker of concern.

They passed a sliding door that opened as two doors, opening from the center of the gateway, which offered passage from the city to the sea. The opening briefly revealed a massive yet integral system of docks at the base of the livery, which seemed vacant and abandoned less a few small ferryboats and one longboat with an ornamented end post typical of a Viking ship. Eventually past the storm doorway, the shops begin again this time the buildings and shops were not sharing any walls with each other, with only one level each, connected wall to the exterior wall, with a slanted roof and gutters, which carried the water, back towards the outer wall. Fairly close to the kennels in the group of buildings was a shop with a sign over the door that reads, “Ana’s Bakery”. Merlin opens the door that strikes a bell hanging over the entrance and the two travelers walk inside of the bakery.

A woman’s voice calls out.

“Sit at the table by the fire and dry off. I won’t have you be the cause of my floor rotting out.”

Merlin: “I’ve found another one to feed the fire.”

The woman screams and comes rushing out to see Merlin with open arms. They connect and laugh/cry in approval.

Merlin: “Ana meet Troy, Troy this is my sister”

Ana: “is he one of yours?”

Merlin: “he is today. He’d like something to eat.”

Ana: “of course, you must be starving, warm yourselves”

They sit by the endearing fire, leaving collected pools of water in the form of their feet wherever they had stepped. Merlin begins to ring with a rapturous aggression of an unruly launderer, the water out from his stowaway hat. At that point, Ana comes back with warm soup in wooden hand carved bowls and thick steaming bread of many wild grains on a large evenly cut board, and placed it on the dry end of the worktable of crude planks they had chosen as a place to sit.

Merlin: “Have the fools been here to let me see the king?"

Ana: “and who might that have been?”

Merlin: “he sits upon the throne today, they will eventually be here.”

Ana: “why don’t you just go and see him?”

Merlin: “haste favors no one... and I’d rather I have the chance to run.”

She walks to the door and cautiously looks out; Troy shows some concern about the people to whom they refer.

Merlin: “he’s here to learn a few things from you if that is still allowed?”

Ana: “he’ll have to do it soon, they’re here Merlin. Go into the kitchen and make yourself busy boy”

Troy did as told, and went behind the counter and into the far end of the kitchen grabbing the first knife he could find. He began to make himself seem busy cutting some vegetables slowly. Occasionally he would toss pieces into the cold soup on the kitchen stove, which stood unlit.

Ana walked away from the door, only to stand behind the counter where she opened a drawer and retrieved out a small red vial. Merlin sat at the table begging to eat the meal his sister had prepared for the young Troy. The guards come in one at a time, three altogether, sounding the bell with the door as they entered. Merlin, sitting at the table, rests the spoon into the soup bowl and begins his coin trick. Over the table, he uses his right hand to wave over the palm-sized coin next to a candle on the table.

Ana looks back to Troy briefly enough for Troy to walk towards her, but she fronts the palm of her hand to him, gesturing him to stay where he is. The last guard entered to state to Merlin his requested presence.

Guard#3: “Your presence is requested by the king lord Merlin”

Merlin: “requested or ordered?”

#3: “I have been sent as envoy of this message, but actually it might be both, I cannot be certain. The king has another errand for you”

Merlin: “your king asks this of me here and now…..In the middle of my supper?”

#3: “urgently the king requests you; we are to be your escort”

The leader of the three, better armored, skittishly leaned his weapon forward towards Merlin. From the back of the room, Troy could see that it was the same as the guards had at the entrance to the city. Merlin could see the glow from within the staff caused the water from the guards’ helmet and the rain from outside, which had worsened, was steaming from the light that coursed his weapon and his armor. The other two guards acted in similar manner.

With successive waves of his hand, as Merlin remains silent, the coin appears, a symbol appears, the symbol sinks into the coin, and the seemingly engraved symbol fills with black oil and then lastly vanishes. His demeanor is undirected and solemnly curt as the nervous guards wait for him to make some form of cordial eye contact.

He begins to draw the air from the room towards the palm of his hand, in a mystical fashion. Visible to even Troy from the rear of the kitchen as the flames on the candles seem to draw towards the now parched Merlin. The air pulls a visible current of the smoke from the candle on the table as well as the mist and steam from the lead soldier’s weapon, to the core of his hand. Merlin, still sitting primly as the flame of the candle goes out and the vacuum slows but still enters his hand, he closes his hand, palm down, almost into a fist. The smoke, from the smoldering candle, and less from the steam, continues through his fingers into his hand than suddenly in a morose silence, there was no more smoke for him to consume unto his sleeve.

Ana with arms now crossed sounds a less than audible sigh of disappointment, the two soldiers, by the door, inevitably are rattling and nervous, standing so ever vigilant, at a defensive position, more than they already were. He raises his hand and it begins to glow like molten rock. A blast, of light, he gives the room. With a gust of wind, he had set the first guard afire and immensely singed all of his clothing, which was to show beyond the armor. On the entire of his front, sending him flying through the door between the other guards, and into the raining muddy street, as well as having covered the other two in soot and ash from the first guard, knocking them down in the process.

Merlin looks over to his sister, who is vaguely upset and standing next to Troy, who has hurriedly come to a counter from the back of the eatery to catch a better look...

Merlin: “stay here and help her clean this disarray. I will return here most likely after an errand for the king.”

Merlin walks away, a dozen paces, turns about, and walks back into the doorway of Ana’s shop.

Merlin: “he’s a phoenix in that bag; help him rear it while I’m away.”

Ana: “should I do anything else for you today?”

Merlin: “no”

Merlin walks out again, breaking glass beneath his boots.

Ana, shouting out to her Brother,

Ana: “behave this time”

The old wizard, already outside, gave a wave of the back of his hand and keeps his pace.

Ana: “are we feeling a bit lost today son?"

Troy: “like looking for knives, in muddy waters"

Ana: “you get your bird and well clean the rest following that. I’ll return in a moment”

She then walked into the kitchen and brought back a handful of coal. The bird, who Troy had thought to be sleeping, through the commotion, had clamored inside of the bag, all the while, began to stretch and yawn, calmly now that the peace had returned, as the soldiers began to rise to their feet. As they did, they groaned from the pain of their impact with the floor and of the street as young men do in the morning, or as old ones do at night if you will.

Troy reaches into the bag for the waking bird who greeted him amorously, scaling his arm and amorously leaning against his head. Ana arrives at his side, takes a piece of the coal, and ushers it into the fowl’s beak. Somewhat reluctantly, it swallows the dark coal, and retreats to the arms of its master, causing Troy to fuss with the bird. Meanwhile, Ana had put the rest of the coal on the table.

Ana: “the coal should keep the bird occupied"

Troy: “what is to become of the fallen guards?"

Ana walks cautiously to the guard.

Ana: “Next time you won’t provoke him, or he’ll put you asunder.” She said, to the guard, in the doorway, who picks glass, from his hair and checks for injuries. She continued, “You’d think they’d learn from the stories.” to the boy and his bird. “If you can stand I’ll make you a meal”

The guard closes the door, which was now only a frame with a missing window and stammers away. The door the room the windows and Troy look amiss.

Ana: “You’ll need to see that it eats more of that in the winter, but only when it gets older, that will be enough for now.”

With that, Troy put the rest of the coal into the fireplace on the wall to his left.

Ana: “you shouldn’t waste the coal; I’ve put that fire into a burn on sand, with a spell, so that I don’t waste the coal unless the sailors are in here too long.

Troy: “sorry”

Ana: “that’s alright, I won’t tell. Put that bird in the fire. Then pull the door off the hinges and bring it to the table.

Troy: “don’t you think that it is broken enough?”

Ana: “off the hinges, it will lift, right, up, if the door is completely open”

Confused he put his bag on the ground and his nameless bird by the fire. He walked to the door opening it to find that, when opened, the door lifted easily up. He carried it through the doorway, knocking the bell, just outside over the entrance, once catching the attention of the bird as well as Ana. She knocks the candle from the table, recklessly, and holds her hands out to help him rest the door on the table. The bird, on the ground, while playing games by the fire had stubbed one of its talons while showing a display of dominance with its tail in the air, and was now attempting to intimidate it by spreading its wings and howling at it with a strange screeching, almost inconsistent, is having dual tones.

Ana: “can you see your bird wreak havoc with stones?

Troy: “I think I’ll call it phoenix as they call it”

Ana: “a name will come to you or it will help you decide”

She takes a step towards his new pet, startling it too quick for it to flee, and slightly kicks it into the fire.”

Ana: “you need to know that your bird will never be burned. It will live longer if you do.

Troy: “thank you but you could warn me the next time you do something like that”

Ana: “alright but I’ve something else to show you”

Troy, looking confused watched her walk over to the fire and grab a coal shovel with a long arm and lift the phoenix out of the fire. As it cooled, from a red glow, to a cooler condition, Ana takes a hand knife and pares a feather from its tail. The bird snapped its mouth shut and quickly turned its head to her, to give her a scowl. She throws the bird back into the fire, much to its surprise, and it lets out a short squawks to her, but almost immediately loses interest as it realized where it is, and continues its play a new, in the fire.

Ana: “don’t wrench your mind over it. You'll need it open to work with me”

She walks into far end of her kitchen. Troy looks to the bird that seems livid in the fire and then back to Ana who waves him to join her

Ana: “come here and we’ll make a door.”

Troy walks back to join her in her search, not knowing what he’s looking for, but rifling through drawers cautiously none the less. Ana pulls a steel mortar from a box by the back door, and then grabs a stone mallet from above a table in the center of the kitchen. Still roaming, singing a song she grabs a longbow leaned against the wall, and then Troy by his shoulder and pulls him to the front of the shop. She lets go of Troy and places all of her items on the table. Taking the hammer, she pounds the feather into a dust.

A bucket filled with table scraps sat on the floor in front of the counter. She takes the bucket and pours it out, in front of the fire, to which the bird leaps out and begins feasting. She walks to the back of the kitchen and into a room he cannot see, and comes back shortly, with a bucket of sand.

Watching confused Troy takes a seat as Ana pours the sand into the space inside the frame of the door. With a rag, taken from the tie string of her apron, she stands the bow on end, and brushes the broken feathers dust from the rag onto the bowstring. After setting the rag back into her pocket, she walks over to the fire, and lights the bowstring on fire with a scrap of a torn piece of paper from the ground.

The bowstring ignites, burning a blue glow. She points the other end of the bow to Troy and, holding both ends, they slowly walk the bowstring across the sand. As it passes across the surface, it turned the sand to glass and scorching the wooden frame. Taking the bow with both hands, Ana walks to the front of the fire, scaring Troy’s pet back into the flames. Pointing the string away from her, she kneeled in front of the fire and the phoenix inside. The bird chirping in an undistinguished pattern slowly began to quiet and timidly come out again. It looked to the flaming string and to Ana and then back to the string, and after a small settling of the birds wings, the flame on the bow ceased to burn. As the bird jumps back into the fire and begins to frolic, she rises up and leans the bow on the wall.

Ana: “now all we have to do is melt some wax around the glass and its good as new. You can grab the broom and brush out the mess; we will hang the door after he comes back.

Troy is confused but does as told and brushes most into the fire after she tells him to.

Troy: "the pot I mixed while Merlin blasted the guards is smoking!"

Ana: “we'll have to throw this out, you almost killed someone”

Troy: “I was acting as if I belonged back here; it’s only my first time on your world”

Ana: “come here and I’ll tell you something about cooking. If you are not from a world, do not cook unless someone shows you how and stick to what your bird eats. You’ll be better off that way"

Ana at this point had collected all of the smoldering mess into a pail, and walked back through the door with an ease of passage as if it were not there at all.

At that moment, a man and his pregnant wife came in stepping over the broken glass in an intricate confusion. Stepping over the glass outside and in, the young woman called to Ana as the husband tipped over a chair to knock the glass off it and helped the woman of maternity to a sitting rest. The young woman was relieved.

Terra: “if I would have known I would have sent him to clean this up.

(While entering from outside)

Ana: Terra is that you, my word, I forgot you were coming, this mess is Merlin's havoc and this is his friend Troy.

Troy: "hello"

Ana: "I had made a nice ocean root for you and your baby, but we had a misfortune during the commotion and now it has become frost bread."

Terra: "that's not a problem; we just came through to see what the mess was

Vin: "and if you were alright"

Ana: "I’m fine fool; you let her come here so you must need your sleep more than you’re letting on."

Terra: "where's Merlin?"

Ana: "he's gone to speak with Mars"

Terra: "who?"

Ana: "the white shadow...?"

Terra: "I forgot that you and Merlin know the world by its name"

Troy's bird in playful attitude had begun to attack, quite rambunctiously, the strap of his tattering boot. together they notice Troy and the phoenix bird in a quarrel over his bootstrap.

Vin: "is he family to you"

Ana: "maybe" (together) Troy: "no"

Ana: "it’s a short life, maybe, has he told you otherwise?"

Troy: "no, but I guess ill be asking, if the time permits."

A silence fell over the group and the pregnant Terra looks into the kitchen

Ana: "Vin, take Troy out to the shore and introduce him to Neptune."

Vin was tall and handsome, standing proudly towering over Troy. he wore a vest under a leather coat and had long pale hair just as Troy and Merlin did. His boots looked identical to the guards of the city; Troy noticed a small sword on his left side and a wand with a clear marble on it on the right of his waist on his belt, as Vin walked toward him. Troy stood with the timid bird, once squawking annoyingly, cowering in Troy's arms as Vin stood by, towering over the boy and his bird.

Vin: "What is its name?

Troy: "it doesn't have one, I wait for a sign"

Vin: "perfect leave it inside."

Troy: "why should I do that?

Vin: "because it's raining" (together) Terra: "because it’s raining"

Terra: "and you don’t want the bird to get stuck in the door."

Terra giggled as she and her husband stared at each other confusingly and mysteriously.

Vin: "right, let’s be off can we?
Troy: "OK just let me...." he went to set the bird down as Ana took it from him.

{inside} the two walked out and through the back door this time leaving it clear to see the rain outside. Ana threw the bird this time hurriedly and with some force towards the fire again.

Terra: "He had a bird"

Ana: "He had a bird?"

Terra: "An ice hawk but he broke it"

Ana: "let’s get you something to eat" and Ana walks into the kitchen.


(from inside)Terra: "you left the door open"

Troy stepped outside and noticed the smoldering food pot sitting on the ground. He began to look out to the sea as far as the clouds would let him, the rain was light but the clouds covered the coast like an impenetrable sound barrier that was catching and carrying the far off strikes of lightning into the shore. to the left was a dark and gloomy rain soaked green coastline with a short stack of mountains behind it, to the right was the icy outstretching coast that led into the wintry cold winds that seemed to be the source of the lightning. Occasionally below the clouds, lightning would pour out onto the mountainside and crawl below the mist, eventually dissipating or retreating into the clouded sky. To the right of the illuminant fog was a path that led at its finish almost directly upward, and much further was the river, now barely visible, much farther down the mountains spine. He turned around to confront a breeze that took him by a chilling surprise, beyond him was clear and vacant water, but because of its turbulent surface, he could not see farther than a few lengths of his arm, out into the mirroring, shimmering surface. While looking past the shore he had already missed what Vin had begun to do.

While Troy was wondering about the fish in the sea, the size of the world and what anyone of the strangers reply might have been, Vin had loaded the smoking food onto the platform of a small handcrafted catapult. As soon as Troy realized that he was cranking tension into the machine, Vin hit the catch and let the smoky bowl take flight out into the ocean. Much to his surprise, the bowl was not smoldering but causing a fog from an intense cold that made his stomach cringe. As it hit the water it caused a splash in the water that froze instantly as the contents reached the water, the ice spread into a small iceberg large enough for a bear to stand upon and not quite topple over.

Troy: "who lives on the mountain?"
Vin: "Your kind does."
Troy: "my kind?"
Vin: "yours and mine, they choose not to coexist with us, they built that city on the mountain"

Troy: "and the road up the mountain?"

Vin: "the dragons of feign"
Troy: "why they are not closer patrons of your town, are they not allies of the fisherman?"
Vin: they choose not to mix because their records of history are vastly aged................................and are ashamed of their failure as a functioning government, several times over which they blame on their acceptance of outsiders, to which they resolved by moving to the mountain."

Troy: "was that pot for Neptune?"
Vin: "yes, wait and see, but keep an eye out at the water"
Troy: "how big is this world?"
Vin: "how big is any world, how big is your world, fast and wicked."
Troy was a bit confused

At that very moment he noticed something swimming in the water, swimming into the air, directly toward Vin. with a dodging step Vin took a collapse to the ground, twisting in a clasp with the Aquarian man, slamming to the ground, dragging them both, in the sand, back from the shore. With one vaulting movement, the aquamarine man had taken control of the battle, having Vin pinned with a short blade to Vin's chest. The swimmer had interestingly enough, hair much like everyone else. Vin, as much as Troy, was out of immediate breath.

Neptune: "you're getting better Nordic, perhaps another go?"
Vin: "no, I still need to raise my child."
Neptune: "your crawler"
Vin: "anything new?"
Troy: "I'm swimming...I mean, I’m Troy...and I’m impressed."
Neptune: "he is?"
Vin: "I assume he is Merlin’s?"
Neptune: "It will be good to have supper and a reunion...Merlin!"
Vin: "he's not here"
Troy: "he'll be back in a day."

Neptune reached into his shadow colored vest, which was dry in appearance, and took out a pouch, climbing off Vin, he helped the downed giant to his feet, with the reach of his arm, and threw the bag to Troy simultaneously.

Neptune: "take those inside."

Vin: "please"

Troy walked back inside, scratching his head with his free hand. he could hear them mumble indistinctly.


The room, once in duress, was now clean, if not cleaner, than it was when he had arrived.

Terra: "could’ve made it look nicer with a bit of color?"
Troy: "he said to give you these."
(Ana takes pouch.)
Ana: "the fish has brought us, weather stones."
Terra: "excellent, you can go outside and tell the big fish to catch a small fish for a meal."
Ana: "and call him fish face" (loudly, audible to them as they stood outside)

Troy walked back outside into the brisk air which not only had cooled but became more dreary than it had all day, as Ana emptied the pouch of stones behind him as he walked outside.

Neptune: "tell him nothing"
Vin: "this is Troy. Troy this is Neptune, another friend of our Merlin. "
Neptune: "hello Troy, I am a friend of Merlin, it is my pleasure to meet you, please do not tell anyone I am here if you can help it.
Troy: "they need a fish to cook"

The evening had set in to the extent that if either of the suns had shown, it would have been verily close to sunsets. the suns did set between a distant stormy horizon after first rising shortly and then back again into the cobalt ocean.

Neptune leapt eagerly back into the water, and in a matter of moments he was back on shore with a fish the length of his arm, his dagger run through the side of the silver fish with one dark blue stripe that ran its length.

Troy: "whom can we tell nothing of?"
Vin: "don’t tell your friend that fishy here owes Merlin the money on a wager"

Neptune looked to Vin briefly, than threw the fish into Vin's face, which then turned around and carried it into the kitchen laughing. a younger version of Neptune swam to shore, exhausted grasping for air, breathing as Neptune did but with gills upon his neck flaring intensely, a sure sign of intense exertion. he wore an outfit identical to Neptune’s, a mere vest and shortened trousers, made from material that at first glance seemed like silk-like glazed leather. though he had swum to shore, he had not climbed out of the water, but was catching his breath on his knees at the shore filled with now steadily increasing crashing whitecaps. Vin had stepped out among the commotion smoking a (cig/pipe). The smaller version of Neptune was immensely exhausted, and stammered to catch its heavy loss of breath in front of the three of them.

Vin: "evening Jon?"
Troy: "who's that?"
Neptune: "my son, who must've spawned too many catches."

Jon: "I told you its morning crawler, get a watch"

Still breathing fast and pale in the face, he had his hands on his knees.

Neptune: "they've had rain all day, what is it Jon?"

Jon: "the red army is coming up from the southern cost, and the Icelanders have mobilized their defense. They will be to the dry fort in no time at all.

Vin: "what is a dry fort?"

Neptune: "they're coming to get you in your dry fort."

From the distance, Troy could notice where the cloudland sat on the sea and between him a luminous fog drifting toward the shore from the distance to his right, like a mist of stardust, no taller than the bow of any average-fishing vessel.

Vin: "get your bird. Ana! get outside, we have a problem...!”

Neptune: "good luck up here Troy...I hope we get to have that meal."

Jon: "and soon"

Troy: "what's happening"
Ana: "I don’t know, get your bird boy"
Troy: "what about Merlin"
Terra: "We should be away from here before he chooses a side"
Vin: "that’s true boy, lets be away, before the Mages come out.

Neptune: "I hope we meet again, but I have my own city to protect."
Troy: "what will your people do?"
Neptune: "we'll scavenge parts and feed on the dead, what will yours do.?"

Troy: "thank you"

Neptune: "you can trust them, go now."

Neptune put his hand on his sons back and pulled an oddly curved pistol from his pocket, and Jon does the same. One after another, they fired their weapons into the atrocious sky. the projectiles landed in the clouds and caused a vein of light to shock through the clouds like the workings of a growing tree in the middle of winter, illuminated as a white vine system to spread to a point and gently fade away, directly away from the shore from where they stood. before it faded, Neptune and his son Jon had holstered their weapons. His son dove, swiftly into the increasingly tumultuous water, instantly vanishing out of sight and sound. Troy nervous, realizes a fog that resembled the mountains light had crept down the mountainside, and from the opposite direction, a red fog approached the dockyard. Vin grabs Troy by his collar and drags him into the kitchen.

Terra looks outside to see chaos; the red armored soldiers had already entered the city at the main gates. The jubilee of their firefight with the city guards had begun to jump above the walls of the city.

Terra: "well need to firelight"

Ana: "everyone outside we're leaving in a hurry"

His bird had again fallen asleep in his satchel, and upon noticing Troy grabbed it up and went outside. Vin grabbed a bottle of some concoction from above the fireplace, walked to the door and carried his wife from under her arm outside. Ana was last out the door. standing together Troy's attention drifted to the city wall once more. the lights streamed like meteors over the wall, crashing into the cities hold, the light from the center of the city began to rumble. The conflict had begun to shake the rain from the sky.

Vin: "watch Ana, and keep your eyes closed"

Confused Merlin watched as Ana placed her fingers into the air one palm forward and the other behind her in a twisting motion the ground began to burn in a circle. As she continued, her twisting motion she rotated her posture to swing her hands in the opposite direction, as she did the circle of fire began to rise in a wall of flame that surrounded them. His bird flailing and shrieking, the entire land became bright, a piercing white light that made him cover his eyes, and the phoenix's detestation to quell into a silence.

When he could see again, they were in a green forest next to a lake at the side of a road. The weather was wonderful, the road was dry and well traveled and they all were steaming. Vin and Terra, sat together in the grass growing between the road and the pond, as the husband opened the bottle and took a drink. Terra snatched the bottle from him and took a drink after him. Ana however was naked and swimming avidly in the lake. Troy was steaming as he noticed his sleeves had singed as well as his hair, enough for him to notice as he ran his fingers over his scalp in nervous habit. All of the commotion was too much for the young Troy and he immediately fainted from a complete upright stance.