“The slaver takes countless souls by the day, more and more each greedy instance.”
“We're in this together.”
“Merlin is a veteran, you needn't worry, and besides he will pride this venture.”
“He detests slavery; he was banned from an entire kingdom for frost burning an entire countryside, to dance on ice with a, slave girl one midsummer.”
“What reckons to enslave this enclave?”
“Nothing good, on that sign by the opening they've written door of the dead.”
Wisps of black disparate clouds drifting below the grey mass collected beneath the firmament of the heavens. A storm behind the clouds, almost it carries the first of the cold rains, a sacrament ever panged and tormented a war with the silence of these old hills. A dark opening that swallows the light as entered, a door to the dead perhaps, leading away from the thorp, a chasm deep to consume the thematic darkness. Slavery was not often of Merlin's favorite doctrines, and so he wrestles arduously with the notions of better sanctity found with liberation and freedom. Though better off dead, he was too late for many, the entrance sheds a small amount of light on collected piles of fully decayed bones, each gnarled and mangled, twisted tangled by wild wolves and darker hearts of the entombing darkness.
“Color my eyes...!”
A cemetery city soon discovered of countless final resting places carved into the walls in some places, and others lying to the edges of the hall floor. The villagers here imprisoned miners, with well-water buckets to carry their quarry, suffering without alms. Clawing by hand, they pull down the dirt, keeping the large mercurial stones, eating the dust, for the hill dwellers were the original excavators of these caves, but they are dry and hungry, covered in the grey powder they excavate, knelt in the dust and hoarding the rust, aching for all of time to labor of their own volition. Along the uneven walls wider to the walk and the crippled cave maze of torment, the trickling water is foul and tastes like sultry mud, without minerals of every sort. Cold air passing through their bones, makes them shiver taught physiques, the mere sight makes him cringe dutifully as the small light in his palm pours shimmering over the powder, rubble, boulder and clay of the darkness.
Merlin: “Hello children that they remember, sit down with me in the dark, leave your fears and grind your measures, this will soon end.”
Only for the weak, squint in near pain at the minute glimmer from the thread of light by a short candle in his hand, he continues through the misery index, looking for anything dominating their forced subjectivity. He approaches three guards in the depths, one beside the next and one to a wall, they wear a band over their forehead, their eyes missing gouged long ago, he and his approaching light causes them to pull the visors down from their brows, they do not move among the exhumed decay. The guard in the center position within the cave path begins to partake in the same actions as Merlin, mocking him side to side by taking his own foolish steps in place, causing the other two to laugh, but realizes Merlin shall not be retreating from avid mockery. The derision continues, when Merlin steps to one side, the guard steps along to remain in the path. Merlin takes the candle in his hand and turns it into a volatile firestone, then shoves it into one of the guard's chest, the fire consuming the deathly guard, and the essence of the bystander becomes molten and deciduous ash.
Merlin: “You will show me to your leader.”
The soldiers both lead him through the tunnel, down the path the tunnel leads, passed the occasional torch the walls reveal the ages of metallurgy from eras of the past, to tough for any scavenging miner to file with bare fingers without opening their mouths. The depth true of lore, the miners of the main hall have diamonds on the ground, made by the mountain, found by their efforts. The farther he travels, the dirtier the slaves are, sitting in present squalor in a ghostly hallway, tunnels and tears, sad miners on bleeding knees and more intimidating guards.
The slave owner is full of fire, veins that course stove coals and eyes that reflect the moonless night, a light in the shadow and relentless silence over the pools latent of rough diamonds.
Merlin: “Who are you?”
Valence: “I am Valence, this is my shadow.”
His neck is as only small as the smallest hungered slave's waist, his voice as low as a steel cable on a bridge, as he waves his massive arm into the darkness, smiling mendacious unchaste. Surrounded by broken raw crystal and diamond that lay as opulent sparkling powder slovenly dissolute, his skin is noticeably thin, and nears the lucent symptoms of transparency, so possibly to the bone. The longing slaves pray in the curt darkness, oblivious to such a statute evidently wit.
Merlin: “Is it your heaven to steal the stars?”
Valence: “Yes...,” a laughter that would stir smoke, “…my hell away from hell.”
Valence sits upon a throne carved of the wall, now the remnant pillar in a cave of explicable internment, much larger than Merlin but of a fitting size for the behemoth ghoul. He slides his fingers over the handle of a sledge with a handle as tall as the arm's rest of the chair. Taking grip he raises in radiance the weapon that glows in tandem with the night man, coursing with the same fire, transferred from hand to weapon length.
Valence: “There is not can stop us now, alas, watch this world become a blighted plague.”
Merlin flies to the demon, his hands flush of his own blood and flowing with wrath and fire, with vigorous strain throwing the dark spirit into the wall, its essence begins to climb the wall with an echoing flame and sprawling fire that soon sunders, as rubble and gravel make. Merlin's hands scalded, he takes the pain and vents it as a fire to dash the wick demon, but it only amuses as it takes a proper stance set upon the endless courage while raising weapon. Merlin envoys his plight abound, with startled notion he flees, up and away to gather his senses in a battle of day and night, the hammer strikes first the wall with callous asperity, and Valence’s taunting begins with darkness in his eyes and mouth.
Valence: “Reveal my scars...” an imprecating laughter of insanity, “...you can’t run forever…”
Merlin: “You are beginning to anger me.” The fire in Merlin’s voice echoes in the void absence.
Valence: “I live, again…show yourself coward, so I may share this joy.”
The large steps audible in the dark, Merlin careens from behind a sharp turn in the cave with a torch and the narrow sword with golden handle grip, slashing to the neck, but the skin of the earthen monster with fiery roots for veins, is too far tough. Only flakes of charred embers fall like chips from a burning log, the beast has ash in his blood and a burning sigil deep within the astonishing tunnel within the glimpse into its eyes, an entrancing glow deep within its stare.
Valence: “Run defenseless coward!”
Merlin: “I'll see you in hell!”
Merlin lights as a candle covered in blast powder, throwing the dirt from his skin and every loosened turned stone in the cavern, the fire consumes all that remains of the air, disturbing the rock monster's footing. Merlin flees with a renewed darkened soul and silence into the caverns again, this time searching for a weapon.
Valence: “At last, an opponent worthy, of my skills.”
Merlin leans, his sight beyond him a vision around the next curve his enemy, moving like the wind with all of his weight edging forward, a knee bent and both hands on the hilt of his narrow sword next to his side prepared to lunge. Faster than the surreptitious air, taking a breath of patience, he strikes to lance the beast, forcing the speed of his slight.
Valence: “You can't run forever!”
Merlin's swift and errant guided force lands the sword’s end into the lower back of the superlative beast, they collide a stunting instant halt for both unexpected combatants, he grunts as the monster cries in hundreds of low voices selfsame. His try to land a stern strike grasped by the demon and thrown over shoulder to the wall, a lumbering monolithic stomp of each pace, as the monster turns about, resounding through the tunnels the sound shakes.
Valence: “You are mine...”
Merlin: “Forsake thee.”
Merlin tosses a flaring powder from the caves into the monster's face; the burning sulfur only seems to feed the fire in its eyes. The emotions of both in the form of steel, Merlin again retreats into the arduous intricate tunnels of the mount, with the spurning shattered chips of the tunnel sliding beneath hardened step. Valence drags his lumbering paces through the broken powder kegs choking the handle of the sledgehammer.
Valence: “Do not take it past your boundaries little firefly.”
Merlin leads him to the flight of boundary, waft through the weft, followed by troublesome stomps at high pace, where the dark and evil passage leads to the open air, the rain, the clouds, and the heavens undecided on winter or autumn, lightning striking through the static clouds, the song of conquest at serendipity. The tables turn as Merlin freezes like to the point of ice, the wind chills and carves the slumbering fire, so cold the tunnels that escape vent the heat and steam of the heated fire dungeon prison and mines of evil ardor. Merlin turns to the tunnel in the face of the wintry mountainside, turning his back to reflect the storm.
In flames, the creature steps out to the narrow mountain ledge with horrendous and dreadful disorder, unwitting as each drop hardens the grit until every movement fractures the protective armor. The history and ownership of the mines forever change, as the apt provenance of the abhorrent creature begins to appear as no more than aberrant, lanky, in languished robe, and tired overshoes that are oversize. The oversight germane, the rain forthwith begins to show the appended effects, it extinguishes his flamed stamina, an incidental precedence attached to the rain and passing in possession with it providence from he to Merlin, the wizard with his back to the sky.
Merlin holds his ground facing the cave in mastery of the storm. The lightning travels over and through the surface of the clouds, riding the falling sky to egress in sporadic manner, and so bleeds the sky a pat cold rain, until the slaveholder is at his knees before the eyes of an irreverent stare unyielding. As each drop, the measure of decay to the brim plait veins of venom fire and the pale dark stone armor.
“Super scion!” begs the withered slave lord, shaking and searching covered in corrupt filth for more diamonds to meal, as the icy deluge begins to cull the flames. Once an eternal flame, he is now the shivering mortal flesh of warrior sin, uncovered and vulnerable. The man wields armor not, as Merlin in valor slowly lowers his often sword as a sign of respect or submission, as the man dashes to Merlin with all of his evil left to the eyes, grey eyes for grey skies, a poorly culminated final effort to dispatch Merlin.
Fear born anew, eager haste, a push impelled forward with speed, impetuosity and violence, a recanting performance in a short time at high velocity, toward and against in attack, with lavish attention to the mountain floor with a dead man's eyes.
Merlin walks out of the cave returning to Ana who dons a most wistful smile, watching Nickolas tell the tale of an exuberant adventure only for to fathom with his excited portrayal of imaginary tales, with imperceptible weapons and invisible opponents, as he surmounts the nonce story to the young kith.
Merlin: “Run to your loved ones, they are now free.”
The princess rushes Merlin, hugging him, but only for an instant before rushing to a fire with a torch from the first she passes, as the others make haste to do the same.