07 February 2010

Merlin 12 – The Orphan Wraith

Merlin 12 – The Orphan Wraith

In the draughts of air, below the soothing blue sky Nickolas dusts himself of the debris and stands to notice her once more, bowing slightly in due respect pausing briefly before rising. Merlin quickly turns back to notice all of the events and laughs. He helps Nickolas to his feet as he says, “This is Nickolas, he will be accompanying me errantly, presently in our travels.”
“Hullo,he said in shock and awe as he stares at Ana. The clothes she wears strewn with arms bare, rings and trinket-covered bracelets, the fabric finely loomed of silk and the tossed cape of Vince on the ground as she quickly made to her feet, in an attempted subtle fashion.
“Fair morn, sir, Ana said.

Ana has an intrigue taken of Nickolas, as he stands resembling a fencing instructor or some other type of man-at-arms with his leather vestments wrapped tightly. Though subtly unfurnished with weapons, she steals a cautious stare as she notices the less than obvious knives, hidden along his leg within inconspicuous sheaths. “And fair morrow upon thine rest,” he replied to her, bowing slightly as he breaks eye contact.

Ana is now keen, blushing after the fact and perhaps eager to introduce them, Merlin notices their admiration of the other, and stands confused. A shout let Vince from in the distance, “Who is that Merlin?”

“This is Nickolas,” he shouted back to Vince and Troy.
“Welcome to the fold, Nick,” said Troy as he approaches he reaches out his hand. Nickolas shows a smile and looks him in the face. He does so with a slight subterfuge, paying particularly close attention to his youthful appearance.
“Yonder far and still to go?” asked Nickolas.
“Very far,” replied Troy.
“I’m Vincent, he said from the distance, lying next to Terra.
Troy, “I’m Troy.”

Nickolas takes Troy’s hand in a folding grip looking contrite as he stands in confusion. Troy’s young age differs drastically from the others, with the others clearly twice his heedless age, so remaining cautious he stands before him.
Merlin, “Over there is Terra, keeping those leaves from floating away.”
Terra says, “Hullo.” She waves.

Walking over to a patiently standing Troy, Merlin puts his hand to Troy's shoulder, but looks to the pregnant couple and says, “Well the child would be quite upset to be born out here, she and Troy will take you along this thicket road to the town along, and my friend Nickolas and I will go to Mont Blanc.” Troy stands with a look of disappointment and impatient bewilderment.

“To inform?” asked Vincent.
…to resupply as well. Ana will help you settle and Troy properly dressed,” replied Merlin.
Troy, “You cannot leave me behind another time.”
Ana, “He was not prepared for a Wyvern. That bird of his rescued him though.”
“This is good that you get this bow and supplies for such things,” said Merlin to Troy.

Troy is upset but also content, and takes the bow and the quiver and arrows from Merlin, respectfully withdrawing himself from the glare Ana and Nickolas now gave each other. His aspirations of a new quest to unveil new mysteries have temporarily subsided.

Nickolas, “What is a wyvern?
“I have no idea, but it lies over there,” Troy pointed down the lane as he spoke, to the scene of the surprise attack, where the carcass of the creature lays among the trampled and pressed plants and the drying road.

Nickolas looks to Merlin, and Merlin says, “Show it to him, please, I need a moment with family.” Nickolas turns back and the two youngest of the pride, walk to the stream of the incursion.

Ana watches them leave. She had stood, flirting with Nickolas when Merlin gave away the arrows, and has stayed at the paces of their first meeting, as she watches them walk away from her.

“Ana!” Merlin shouted.
“Yes,” calmly she said after walking over to Merlin, with her liberated attention.
“Take them to the town a stretch along that road. I am taking Nickolas out to summit's way.”
Ana is enamored at Nickolas’ mention and looks back to him, distracted by his graces as he slowly swaggers in delicate step. His staggered step and debonair approach triggers a delight to her fancy.

Merlin, “Sister of ages!”
Ana, “Yes, to the ice lake, though ye needn't be gone so long brother,” she said as she turned to him and began shortly dusting his clothes. 
Merlin, “, and get Troy there into a good leather armor. We will return by week's end.”
Ana, “You had better make strewth, I am not watching him forever.”
She looks again to the sound of Nickolasstep, who is talking with Troy about the phoenix, as Merlin says, “An oath I give if he is suited and intact. In addition, he will help you if anyone has a child on your way.”
She ambles away toward Nickolas and Troy, but Merlin stops her and says, “It is beholden upon you to look after Troy.”
“Why?” asked Ana.
“Yeah, why him?” said Vincent.
Merlin, “He is my kind, a child, from Midgard.”

Terra gasps sardonic as Troy changes from upset, embarrassed awhile his arrival, at hearing a silence of the four. Ana looks to Merlin, than again with solidarity to Troy before continuing away from them.
Vince, “Merlin the emissary.”
Merlin, “Vincent the fool.”
Terra, “Than I guess I’m not the only one with precious goods.”
Merlin, “Than it is settled, you will all go to Ilion as Nick and I make to the hall of the mountain king.”
Ana, Terra, Troy, & Vincent, “Agreed/Yes.”
“, and perhaps that child will be born in her sleep, than she will stop eating the farm,” said Merlin.
Terra, “If you could only carry me as far as your quips, Merlin.”

At this time, Troy and Nickolas availingly return, Nickolas with a handful of barbs and talons from the dead wyvern, and Troy empty handed.

Troy, “How will I make due,he said to Merlin.

Ana stood in wait chatting up against Nickolas’ replies, watching everyone, as Nickolas stands with his back to Merlin, distracted by lady Ana.

Merlin, “Take those, learn to use them, I assure you we will be back straightly, I must go to test that man's mettle.” He said to Troy. Nickolas smiles and makes no effort to sway from his conversation.
Troy, “Will the bird be safe in...?”
Looking at the phoenix Merlin says, “A quaint village without as many prying eyes as the port city, and has seen many bird prior.”

As they notice the bird beginning to lunge head first at a tree that holds a squirrel, than climbing up partly and returning to the ground with a leap, than snickering up at the grey rodent, snidely taunting the chirping birds among the thicket.
Merlin, “Find something more fitting for battle.”
Will you go unarmed?Ana asked Nickolas after hearing Merlin’s comments.
Nickolas, “I’ll be fine. I’ll get something there.”

Almost awkwardly, yet confidently they separate and they begin their travels, as the men helped Terra to her feet, for the first time in days.

“Be not of haste brother,” said Ana back to Merlin.
“Live forever,” Merlin replied.

Merlin hugs Ana as they all part ways. As the two walk away, Nickolas turns back and Ana looks to him, her eyes flashing bright and white once over, than calm again.

Merlin and Nickolas begin dutifully travelling north. On the empty road into the plain, toward the shining lights of the mountain that hides in a shrouded, looming, and dark ominous fortress within the grey clouds. They follow the trodden road, in the presence of the mountain smoothly halved as if by the gods, before it turns to rubble and a more natural of sorts mountain, yet after the forest ends, turning into the plains. An endless field of faded glory, light and short growing grass,  endlessly covering and awakening to a new day, a musician’s dreamscape with the horizon plummeting into the night on their right and the mountain holding fortified boundary, reaching the ground exactly where the sun also rises.

The trip is long, with no marks to recognize the path as they traverse, behind them a subtle haze in the air that lights up the sky of a wolf moon, before them an early morning.

Two suns rise from each side meeting in the center of the sky above and behind them. The two suns rise from the horizon, as the fiery emanations of light in the sky become elliptical. Two circles, one slightly laying on the other, revealing the white ridge of the mountains, more and more as the suns finish their path, lighting the ridge as they slowly begin to set together, still yet so slowly drifting apart to where the stoic mountain meets the other side of the light.

Until they approach, the thawed pond. As they near the ledge of the waterless pond it seems to be that it has drained away with the mountains behind it, though at further stare, a road is seen leading away from the far side of the sunken terrain affected in some way by a strange autumn effect. A small amount of water remains, not frozen but cold and sky blue. Below and near the water’s edge lay a boy's carcass, dried and tattered near the bottom, they stop at the edge to pay their respects and enter the hole in the earth, to take water and pay their respects. Irrelevantly in the sky, a hawk passes over and the hole has great similarities to a hoof print.

Merlin kneels, than sits on the grassy ledge. Eventually he slides down on the heels of his feet, only to walk down the path to where the corpse lies.

Nickolas, “What are you doing?”
Merlin, “I’m going to get what we need.”
Nickolas, “Stealing from the dead is usually something I frown upon, but there’s always an exception to the rule,” said Nickolas as he climbs down into the opening carved into the beach.
“I need you to stay away from it, and step not here for the time being,Merlin said as he waved his hand over the dirt once.

Merlin walks over to the water and takes drink. He then stands still and tall, putting his hands out, then bringing his hands together and by the time that the palms of his hands meet, an aura of light begins to glow with serious danger, not only light but fire leaps from within the shell of white fire, until he cannot be seen within its boundaries. In a moment’s time, the light leaves Merlin and cloaks the dead boy, soaking into his bones. 
Nick, “Animate the corpse?”
Merlin looks to him and replies, “Animate the corpse,in a confident rebuttal.

The child in rags awakes a shadow of his former self his lower jaw gone, his body emaciated his clothes ravaged and torn from scavengers and all is faded. Hair, skin, and clothes ravaged from a daily assault from the sun for what time is expected of mausoleums and monoliths, he is standing over a lifeless version of himself, the wraith boy that only he can see, where his form was not full, smoke resides, so without the wind at first glance the wraith would seem alive and mortal. As they look to him from uphill, at first sight the missing pieces filled with mist, that to them looks like smoke on the water, surreal and despondent.

Now that time has chosen to release him from the bonds of darkness, it cries wonder what happened to his clothes, warily pulling on his ruined clothes, eventually looking whence noticing Merlin and Nickolas.

“Have you seen my assailants?” said the wraith boy.
Merlin patiently responds, “No. Do you know my words?”

The emanation takes its first step in what may be ages. It does not die but becomes frantic and fervorous. 

“I must know…I must know if this is my only chance, you must help me, or I must leave now.
Merlin, “We will help you, if a favor you grant on us.”
Wraith, “I died in my faith to serve no master, today will not be a sunlight hour of alteration.”
Merlin, “Where is the trading post in these foothills?”

The wraith paused and looked up and out to the mountains without making a sound, but eventually answered while pointing, “Walk to the snow moon, there is a post directly to the mountain from our position, I will join you but I must drink, my thirst sedates me.” He opined from the water’s edge. Looking back, a white moon waits over the mountains, small and distant, brightly radiant over the whiteness of the peaks.

The wraith boy turns and walks away fighting the lurid treacheries of death and the rust in his bones. Time had fought him and won, but more so the elements begin to fight with his mind, as he slows in an already labored approach, almost as if wandering with no purpose he kneels before the water.

Nickolas steps to the side of Merlin and asks, “How is it that this is possible?”
“His soul is not dead,he answered with a meek tone.

The wraith’s reflection proves to him that he is identical to the dried corpse of the rocky, craggy ground next to the water with drifting smoke to fill the regions of absence. His hunger begins to overwhelm him, unknowing of why, he reaches his ravaged hand of mostly bone toward the water, then opens his undead hand and reaches into the water. He pulls from the surface somehow, a gorgeous apple. He bites the fruit but without pleasure, it is with form but without flavor so he throws it into the lake.

Disappointed he looks to himself to survey his own appearance, he turns to his now twin and walks forward, and he bends over at his deathly twin, the equal remnants of himself and takes a memento of solitude from his observations. The creature eventually begins to tear at his clothes to fashion a scarf of a rag for a scarf and hood, than rises again. The others look on with much confusion, without knowing what was in the water, or at the water’s edge. 

Wraith, “What have you done to me?”
Nickolas, “What have you done yourself?”
Merlin, “I ask of you from beyond the grave.”
Wraith, "I am lost to my thirst, please wait and I shall join you."

Nickolas tries to say something but Merlin stops him before he does. The ghost brings himself down to the water but can barely drink with crippled hands, and even as it does the water falls scattering unfulfilling before it, falling through leathered hands and open wounds.

The wraith child has played his part, as the essence of wraith begins to culminate and dominate the ghost, flashes of madness flicker in its mind as physical signs of vile and gruesome attributes begin to show, on the shoal of oblivion.

Merlin, “You must drink to fill your thirst.”
Wraith, “What is your excuse?”

The reincarnate apparition approaches them, stalking to them an orphan wraith, but a temperate wind brings the rain. The ghoul begins to lose its power. As the passing water falls, each drop slowly tears into the bindings of the rejuvenation, into the smoke and ash, each time draining away into the pond as the smoke washes out with the water through the porous undead young man, returning the corpse to lifelessness in a heap before the water’s edge.

They warily proceed over to the water as the smoke that filled in the lost visage is drawn away, in what seems an agonizing plight as it writhes until falling to the ground at their feet, near the water’s edge, as the smoke returns into the pool.

An eerie silence as deaf tones wash over the land, as the wraith begins its own change. On they go, walking in the cooling afternoon, toward the face of the mountains, as monuments of memory begin to build in their minds. A notion of approval now burns in Merlin’s mind, by way of Nickolas’ attempt to swat the undead boy, and a contemporary trust was to last for the moment. The mountain swallows perception, massive and towering. The ground tilts below their feet, as they near the camp afore mentioned by the death doll’s calling.