Merlin 3:6 “Pathless Taken”
In constant rain and covering clouds the thunder clashes against itself and the rainfall, with the din of growing trees and crawling mountains as various in form as in power have forced Ana into a tavern. The panache of a multitudinous choir to her seems convivial, a point of familiarity as Troy enters the room alone and soaked by the stormy skies behind him. From the quality of his clothes he could be dry, from the quantity of rain he is not, there is no extraordinary excitement produced by his phlegmatic demeanor in the jovial minstrelsy, accustomed are the inhabitants to these effects of rainy wellspring days and comfortably in melody. Lightning defects from the downpour without, electrical skies as the door temporarily lies ajar while he removes his gloves from lustrous pale gray hands and shuts the door behind himself, his lax eyes of languid vigilance and ponderous apathy now enkindle with enthusiasm at the sight of proper sup. He stands tall and stoic, herein a strapping young dude now of many moons truculent more than half, and a scrivener of poesy to import affectations to courtesans and the like.
The rain subsides and the springtime resumes garnering safe passage into the yonder, on drying ground Troy leaves and finds the phoenix nearby foraging and feeding on the newest Adlai of the season, as he saddles and ascends Ana leaves precisely in time to see his departure to the sky. Her horse is a dark blond youthful mustang, compared to that palomino her long trench coat is darker still than her thick red dress to match her long lustrous sable hair as ilk strand of the steed. Of circumstance to proscribe warmth it is a new day full of radiance and verdant pastoral growth, which of time the sun overhead is passed thru noon sidle to shoulder, Troy on familiar Alerion soars seeking the warmth whereof the solar delivery so skyward that seems to her as small like sparrows red. At this time, such that is better than half of daylight hours, on the horizon approaches a caravan, atavistic in nomadic appearance as to have a cage wagon full of prisoner melancholic young adults, quite opprobrious and contradictory to her altruist solemnity. In forthright oncoming, she assesses a hap morass and remains silent but keen to spy, soon of quietude broken the riders tarry mounted before her as their horses dawdle in minor hesitation, of aspiration becomes conversation.
Tynan: “Should I be so lucky to help you on your way?”
Ana: “I’m sure you’re often wrong and never unsure.”
Tynan: “From a spiteful tongue for a heathen, perhaps you should bathe and rest in my comforts.”
Ana: “What is the name the people hath yclept you?”
Tynan: “I am Tynan of Faas, tired ruler of grateful many.”
Ana: “Tynan of Faas, I am sorry, but I cannot have men whose only strength between their legs is a horse.”
As his compatriots laugh and prisoners fret, Tynan circles his horse than rides quickly around hers, abandoning invitation and flirtation; angered he draws his sword and shouts at her with adverse aversion.
Tynan: “Up with your hands, dismount!”
Amused and besmirching she benignly raises her closer hand, it radiates heat and vapor illusion thru the air then eventually into fire, fear and dismay possesses the envying prisoners and the featly horses are not ambivalent. He steadies his steed of fear and bleak remorse then speaks to rebuff her threat.
Tynan: “You would not be the first witch I’ve killed today.”
Troy glides overhead eyes shut and listening for stark lightning with the wind in his hair and his mind in the clouds, Ana peers to the sky then stares at the captives as she ends the fiery enmity manipulation within her grasp.
Ana: “If you do, my bird will burn your eyes.”
They laugh at her and glance at each convivial other to share amusement, in distraction a captive secretly toils with the cage lock only to have their hands kicked after the fact. Their bemusement stems from the sight of phoenix flying so high seeming like a smallish finch, she waves her arm to and fro at Troy, he begins circling in a downward spiral, each revolution around them getting larger and closer, the slaves begin to lapse anxiously while a calm and quick one toils again with the lock during convenient distraction. The approach silent does not scare the horses, with a squawk the phoenix close upon landing decides to free-fall. Opening its wings and gusting strength to land it abruptly comes to earth, a final fluster of wings to fold them beneath and the phoenix squawks again, a chirp in consideration but so newly loud to scare the horses and the slaves into begging complicit escape.
Troy: “Who calls me to the Earth?”
As Alerion yowls, half of the bandits have fled, the others having noticed follow suit hauling the prisoners to mayhap a madrasa or dungeon, Tynan of which is last is fastest flit from confrontation that has surely scared his shit. Ana dismounts her horse, walks to the phoenix, and hugs its head, its beak nearly as long as her forearm she places one hand to its temple and with the other points to the slavers escaping post haste. Troy’s attention swiftly diverts to a jackrabbit, then his bow, then his arrow, and then his focus anent hitting the creature and veritably their lunch, Ana comforts the phoenix again and points to the ground, proscribing time for meat.
The life of history and legacy of blood flowing through the earth, rolling over counties and kingdoms, spreads the horizon from departure to destination for the excursionists. Unfamiliar terrain brings twists of fate and complicit felicity in such a way that the town Merlin fitly approaches is the penultimate encampment that Ana will cross germane before arriving where she and he have planned to reconvene. The haughty town built for mines hides in a dense forest uncut whose denizens have chosen to cut their timber from the mountain effacement to reveal schist broken by rootage and sown by ages of trickling subsurface water that courses through cracks and erodes them, making for malleable mine entrances they have dug as caves.
Tongue in cheek Merlin enters the mining outpost with Nik and Kent most stoically and most reservedly, in their sights are surly and tired kin of neighboring clans, dingy burrowers of men in itinerant moral malaise.
Merlin: “Speak of you the benefice to your godforsaken modulus and you will not need genesis, but expound of our arrangement and by morn you will have not.”
Kent: “Quartermaster in the finest keep, on there, steady by the stables.”
They ride slowly to the stables where he flips a gold coin for the tax to Kent who pockets the doubloon and pays a greyer coin when feeling unwatched, Nikolas sees the transaction but quiets saying nothing. They heartily dismount and Merlin grabs a nearby brush with white bristles to clean his steed, Nik begins walking Kent to the finest house in the smallish settlement, Kent turns to see if Merlin follows as Nik pulls his attention silent in sojourn. At the door of Kent’s unknown employer, there is a knock inquisitor for which follows unrequited, Nik calmly turns to Merlin who subtly points to the inn, inconspicuous he escorts the prisoner to the edifice.
On her horse with her long coat draped over saddle behind her back, Ana paces on horseback into the town. She holds her hand in the air to catch Merlin’s attention and he to her before walking to meet in the avenue. Impromptu, merely before they dialogue, rider and Alerion land heavily and alarmingly rumbling the street, there is dismay and alarm from the bystanders as Merlin embraces his sister in arms. Men and boys in curiosity approach the phoenix, pushing the young aback and ready to attack they reappraise foe into friend as Troy dismounts with eight hares lashed together, handing one to a timid man then laughing at him. Butchering rabbits with a hatchet begins as the waning sun descends and all magic of the oft is scene le fain.
Merlin: “Any luck at the fair?”
Ana: “All was well and good until a sect of plunderers fell into our pockets.”
Merlin: “What happened?”
Ana: “I’m fine if you must know.”
Merlin: “I’m sorry; I would feel awful if you couldn’t tell me.”
Ana: “At the end of our sport we were interrupted by Braden wanting to play.”
Merlin: “Braden Abrecan?”
Ana: “The same, he spoke of the old war.”
Merlin: “I hope you gave him a slap on the wrist.”
Ana: “I couldn’t, it wasn’t solely him, he had seven of us and faithful rustlers, looking for something only to not find it in the run, and guess who with him was.”
Ana: “Katyenka, from the Vaeringjar.”
Merlin: “This is their fatherland. Is she the one with the white filaments?”
Ana: “Don’t spiel coy, she had her hooks in your barbarism.”
Merlin: “I could use your silence.”
Ana: “It was just an observation.”
Merlin: “No, can you hear that?”
Merlin looks abound most vastly to his respite in anxious fill. The phoenix begins randomly squawking at Merlin, he looks at the road of which he arrived, to another road beside it smaller and into the forest, and turning himself doth make a glance to the third, a continuation of the first alongside the mountain and ancillary hillside. Ana closes her eyes and holds her hands in the air to feel for warmth of extreme distances, in moments she lowers them and looks to him while nodding to confirm trouble ensues.
The sound of trampling horse hooves nears the town and fills minds with unrelenting conception until the small cavalry breaks the darkness on the evening light cast. The riders are zealous and horses with zeal, Sino their leader stops amidst to point the one high road that runs afore the mineshafts, his horse jittery as he points to the lowland at opposite the phoenix. Pulled from immoderate hospice Merlin walks into the street with stoic purpose, pointing to the distant sky while looking to Troy, then looking to Sino as the boy leaps to saddle familiar and into the night sky, the auxiliaries of Sino look disparately confused as Merlin takes stasis at street center. The dark wizard holds his hand to the air and his followers urbane and visceral, a town of soldiers and servants occupying the silver mine suddenly with more noise from restless horses as these two wizards begin a reacquainting.
Sino: “And I suppose you want to keep your life.”
Merlin: “What I feel is mine.”
Sino: “I’m sorry I’m not a stunning conversationalist, I don’t get much time with my memories.”
Merlin: “All of which you chose for yourself.”
Sino: “You are a trespasser on this entire world.”
Merlin: “I’ve come for your bounty.”
Sino: “I’m sorry Merlin, but we mustn’t have time for that today.”
Sino’s veins fill with darkness as he ignites the entire village with the snap of his fingers only to escape as the fires hungrily consume the rooftops, burning and churning ceilings and walls to find the ashes of what remains, in the commotion Kent flees with his accomplices. With excitement in his motive, slipping through the immolate catastrophe as Sino and his mercenaries flee on horseback taking a coach filled with silver from the mine, as if theirs by purport despite the burning domiciles, Nik ties a rope to a heavy metal lantern and hitches a tow from the escaping wagon yanking him from his feet. Dragged the rope also burns toward him by mistake of lantern wonted dost, his bloody hands from force and fire pull him to the wagon rear, climbing the carapace he disjoins a bandit from the back bench but is kicked squarely in the chest, thrust to the road in tumble and tumult.
Nik: “Where are they going?”
Villain: “Down lay your head and I’ll send it to them.”
Nik: “Reroute to remain, you cannot have my head.”
He spends a moment to kill his foe paltrily pulled from the ferry, duly of provocation and dissimulation not before sinister anguish before mercy dealt with clear pleasure.
Thunder crawls most distantly, at the gathering night of clouds the rain falls pristinely verdant invigorating the young pasture beneath closing welkin.