08 November 2012

Merlin 2:36 “Inside the City of Glass”

Merlin 2:36 “Inside the City of Glass”

Two boys and a girl of kindred spirit and age of kith in youth run and play in an endless meadow, they play a game where the last one touched it the next to touch the next, nearby them is the forest and their home. A day in distance as the crow flies is a largess mountain and at its peak is a white castle small to their small eyes. They hold hands and dance encircling themselves with giddy rote, the weak grass bends beneath them as they release handheld games to fall on the golden glade. In their distance is a torch stuck firmly in the earth, a wooden staff split atop it beholding a frosty stone, radiant starlight shines from its quotidian center, and a steel cap over the magical stone bound by thin steel cables to avoid becoming diffident and minatory. Between the shadows of the branch the light cast reflects on the snow falling and gathering, the little children notice it and investigate. It snows in the sphere of eminence by the cold the light creates, colder becomes the air by each their steps of curiosity, the moisture of air crystalize and increase with the breeze as one of the boys pulls his hat from his pocket and closes his overcoat in the pleasant pasture. With deference and timidity he watches a snowflake touch his skin to melt, closer with much forbidding from his friends the boy kicks the cold lantern to the ground where the blades of grass shatter like glass, wherein he lifts the light by the utmost end and runs to his village with his vociferous allies in pursuit.

Within the base of the mountain, the caves amortize light, unlike the others Ana has perspicacity in the darkness, her night vision she follows her fellows up the tunnel and watches Merlin grab Nickolas and pull him alongside the front of the posse. He pulls a chain from his vestment that has a ring dangling from it, which glows ocean blue on the painted walls of the subterranean conduit, elegant paintings of extrajudicial executions entering the earth.

A light at the end of the tunnel, the sound of soldiers summons anxiety thru the aversion for combat, but it is only three drinking servants in a small cave cellar, which from it departs two adjacently upward tunnels. As they notice Merlin and Nickolas, they clamor to their knives in mean to intimidation and Ana enters the room by the grace of consternation.

Ana: “Stand well errant, I am loth to know, which is the way to the throne?”
Baker: “…but ma’am, are you Etain?”
Ana: “Of bloody course, else not would I’ve danced in the grave land!”
Baker: “This’n here is to the hall, and that’n to the court.”

Quinn and his men hide in the harrowing tunnel, hallowed apart by darkness and determination.

Ana: “…and what will you do if the commoners somehow have followed me?”
Baker: “"They won't escape until the blood is set free."

Ana turns on her feet, walks to the right of where she recently stood, and enters to the rising hallway duly right, Nickolas takes the chain from Merlin, and chokes the guard with it as Quinn’s men rush the small cave and silence the remaining. By his gesture, half of Quinn’s men move into the left tunnel, as Quinn and Merlin and the other wayfarers follow Ana.

Aghen leads the troop without Quinn, the upward ramp is short and near a cold mountain air where the bright light of morning shines on a courtyard encompassed by a lengthy rectangular hallway encased by a wall with several exits. Across from the cold stonewall are pillars few and far between, holding a second balcony, but by the magic of the wintry witch there are two more levels made entirely of ice above those built of stone, and amidst the courtyard there is a masonic pond filled and frozen solid. Across the pond hangs the hall doors, open and revealing their insurgence, it is here in an instant the battle for their lives begins.

Halle elsewhere stands in her chambers solemnly and resolute with the nightmare blade, it shines the light of torches and sharp glare, holding the handle she lifts her empty hand and waves the point of the dagger over her palm as she watches the distant children at the edge of the plain enter the forest with her stolen torch. As to scratch her skin with the tip the metal passes thru the skin of her fingertips, without blood or spoken blasphemy it passes painlessly intransitive with the threshold of the flesh emitting intemperate light. Scrolls clutter a table in her room where she pours a libation to misinfer assignation as she walks to a room of scribes and scriveners dutifully looking thru books and writing notes of sacred quotes, listing the places and the languages needed and translating the writ by thus decree of imperialism sends.

As Merlin and his allies quickly pass, thru hallways, Nickolas is last in line as they search for enemies and the ice witch, he diverts from the fellowship when a knight catches his attention, he jogs toward the soldier of small figure unbeknownst of the trap he hath triggered. For the antechamber of the court is stockade with healthy recruits now warned of Nickolas arriving. The foyer is a hall before the doors of the court, which has two hallways that wrap around the royal chamber, thus with the main door shut any number of warriors can angle their attack from two defilades. They stab and cleave Nickolas to yet another of his deaths then begin to unleash arrows at Quinn’s rebellion insurgency, they toss tables and furniture and retreat to the corners of exits to avoid projectile penetrations, Merlin behind a table stops arrows his way with the magic of wind as Quinn’s troop returns the favor. Behind them, the enemies who have fled from Quinn’s second group begin to attack behindhand.

The generals under self-imposed imperial pressure gathered in a regency council in the royal court as the ice sorceress mavens, is consigned to lordship with title no less than war, the table across the floor infrontof a seat of gold has no less than twenty soldiers of professional fortune armed to the teeth. On the throne presiding a menacing warlord of lesser abdication, behind him hangs the bloodstained banner of war upon it an embossed gold battleax. The tyrant king and his rooks take upon this battle an impressment by honor and duty, cherishing death in determination and bandying their bolt throwers, broadswords, and starflower maces, to take outright a strong fight.

Nickolas rises from the dead to upset the fortified advantage, he kills six before they merely think that he, in bloody ragged wares, is not dead and thereby decide to kill him again, two rooks pass him and then three, and then doth he stealth into their court. Nickolas kills three then runs across the court to the other door and kills two rooks and two others by assassination until slain and thrown into the court before the minister of war.

In the upper levels, stone recedes where ice walls and sculptured pillars of serpents with eyes of eternity adorn the manse macabre, where alarmists cause a spate of reinforcements by alarming the morning slumberous of quarters and barracks into capricious warfare.

Ophiuchus is the emir of the mercenary council and emissary of the insidious and didactic witch of ice magic, but he is both meticulous and unawares, tho ubiquitous in disposition. Silent in minutiae he toils with runes around a dead body on a sacrificial altar made of cloudy ice, across the table there is a wall of transparent ice that as Ophiuchus idylls a scaly black snake coils and foils thru the frigid water. The corpse on the dry ice is one of Halle’s mercenaries, imparted with black magic, venomous blood the one of death becomes a Draugur, whose skin becomes youthful, and eyes become shadowed. Ophiuchus opens a box containing three magical orbs and in doing so invites the ire of the aqualung viperine behind ice that swiftly swims then stops at the ice window to see oviparous illumines.

In the lands to one side of the mountains daylight dies, revealing the ashen clouds are in fact the smoke of the burning forest, now thru hamlets and towns, scorching at the foothills. Nickolas rises to fight the warlord in the throne room, he swings his fist to miss from behind his foe, he angrily swipes again, misses twice, then thrice, and blocked his third, then blocked are all his attacks at strikes counting seven times, then nine, then eleven. Fit they are both in combat that neither places deathly advantage to the other that Merlin and others watch them deflect contusion and toss each other around the room, in a good volley Quinn’s archers fill the sinister minister with arrows from toe to head. Nickolas unsatisfied slaps his hands to the ground and enters the doorway buried behind the disrupted thrones without words, sneaking for another fight he silently discovers Ophiuchus.

A shadowy room with lacquer work for opulent nickel and brass, lacuna lacustrine, laddish Nick hides, lack eventide and morrow as faint smoke from candles flows to the ceiling.

Ophiuchus: “I promised you would return.”
Draugur: “Gone I was, how long?”
Ophiuchus: “You have had three weeks staring in modicum. I have something for you, take this orb and let no one who sees it survive, or I will take it from you. Now tell me how you feel.”

Halle bursts into the altar room with determinate frustrations and indefinite anger, as she passes she extends her arm and circles her fingers, the chilly aquarium does not pour from window but the massive black snake exfiltrates the icy prison and onto the floor sleeking into the room.

Ophiuchus: “What are you doing?”
Halle: “If you haven’t fie noticed there’re hundreds of spies within my fortress, the mountainside is a furious blaze, and because the walls are ice, there is a man hiding from you in this room.”

Nickolas shouts in terror and leaps over an empty slab to avoid the snake, Ophiuchus approaches him as she takes the two remaining orbs and stands by the door.

Halle: “Have not here your dalliance, go destroy all.”

By the time the draugur and the termagant can acknowledge her, she is vanished.

Merlin walks the ice caves inside the city of glass underneath concave crystalline ceilings, remit to using wind in the cold halls on each random passing foe, he carries a spark that crawls on his fingertips as each wave along the other, his steps thereof slide along the saturnine floor adroit most adrift. Halle, however, throws aside a crimson fabric to reveal two large challises filled with blood and solidly frozen, she wipes the rid ice clean with her hand making them instantly melt to liquid form, and she rests each sphere separately. The orbs begin to spin and coat in sanguine blood that blackens as each levitates from the overflowing cups, the ground shifts and the castle rumbles, in of the fires nigh and anon all whom are wake are witness, she raises her arms in conductive ceremony and branches of black lightning arc twixt the spheres. Again, the castle trembles as she summons a dispiriting cold in the skies and the hearth of her winter bastion.

Halle spins round to stare with a primordial loathing as she begins a new courtesan recant, pacing death’s trail through desperate abattoir, the infiltrators set fires sating hateful desires, a sanctuary of cold becomes aglow within the night. The sycophants beholden to the white witch battle Quinn second to defending themselves from Merlin, he blinds knaves and thwarts the path of arrows in patience verily divine, culling malfeasance of rotten leaders beyond incarceration by the similarity of murder and the reclusion of contagion.  The flames of doors and the dead burn against ice and immolation, a scene of fallen scape, the fascicular papers flipping in the winds of chaos, festal gage against the wage troth by partisan vengeances. As the tidings of slow connotation bind the cold shadows of dawn over the mountains of darkness, Merlin enters the open doors of the altar room where Halle conducts the actions of sorcery unabashedly. Her hands are coursing with the blood of ages of frozen rage, the manna of her powers and invocation slowly disintegrates the banners behind her altar, and the castle lowly creaks again.

Merlin: “The cold does not keep the snow from falling.”
Halle: “You absolve me, you cannot trick me, unlike the devil, and you do not exist.”
Merlin: “Of where it was that comes and goes, if all your friends and foes that no one knows.”
Halle: “Clerisy halcyon gone, meiotic question, arcana set the make against what magnifies faith.”
Merlin: “Leave, could you, bereaved but unscathed.”
Halle: “Mystery me.”
Merlin: “More has been made clear these last few months, in realms I dared not examine, than ever before in this existence.”
Halle: “I know what you want now, I understand better who you are, and it is beautiful, you are the loveliest, and I see how we can be.”

From her scurrilous hand, she throws golden coins at Merlin, which are heavier than air and stronger than the winds to that he summons. Of what does bode in his judgment reprieve he clasps one with his fingers, but the tokens are ensorcelled in bellicose hex and by twines of lighting bridging between the chits bound is he by violet lightning on palatial ice.

Merlin 2: 35 “Soil’s Song”

Merlin 2: 35 “Soil’s Song”

The sun is bright in a clear sky and is busy enough looking for the moon that it drifts slightly slowly in the form of first autumn. The blue heaven is fain while clouds are faint and the edges of the leaves laced with wilt yellows and browns and horrible reds, venturous sights are wont to find weak growth. On the road Merlin and Nickolas walk untrusted and in handcuffs, by late of day a group of men approaches the band of captors. They have two horses and tow a wagon with almost a dozen walking aside it, nearly a dozen farmers in lite armor at the afternoon, at closer contact they are allies to the soldiers of the army with the silver arrow tattoo and unanimously decide to make an evening camp. The magical wayfarers are shackled to the wheels of the wagon, each of them with one arm raised and linked to the wagon steel as the soldiers use a portable thresher the size of a box to separate the wheat seeds and boil them in a kettle over fire for a bland mushy meal. Thereafter Nickolas pulls a pin from his boot and unlocks his shackle, following his example, Merlin slips his hand from the clasping metal band.

Nickolas: “How’d you do that?”
Merlin: “I pulled my hand, stretch your legs.”

The two freemen stand behind the wagon and watch the soldiers drift into sleep by the fire. With the guards in the distance, they rest their elbows on its edge and separate the wheat from chaff to eat the raw seeds by hand. An inviolate full moon reflects on the fire pit and all who surround in the ides of autumn where winter palls a shadow over life, the breadth of light fuels the sight of hunting owls and the two befriended travelers climb defiantly into the wagon and sit on the bench to watch the wrested warriors. From the trees, the scouts from their patrols come to speak to Merlin.

Meldún: “Shall there be a problem afore sunup?”
Merlin: “We are neither prisoners nor fugitive.”
Meldún: “…and what’s your objection?”
Nick: “I am neither friend nor foe.”
Meldún: “Then put vigil on the night and warn of an attack, if we are seized, and you say nothing, without your blessing I’ll kill you both.”

Morn, the severance to setting suns from the other side of darkness, the city behind the sun slides through ethereal warmth once more, even in the mooring of light. Meldún picks apples from a roadside tree and moves to the wagon and startles them, only to signal to the driver to begin rolling the caravan.

Meldún: “Awaken!”
Nickolas: “It’s easy to appease those who defy logic.”
Merlin: “It’s easy to defy those who appease logic.”
Meldún: “Thus it’s logical to avoid defiance and appeasement.”
Nickolas: “Another truth to be, connote let sleep, fathomless mortals.”
Meldún: “Truth prevents deprecations.”
Merlin: “Our motive by your word hast a votive ordered.”
Meldún: “Here, have apples; the reception should be midday.”

Nick rubs his eyes awakening restive and disappointed with daylight, only to take and eat an apple from a woolsack.

Nickolas: “Speak truthfully of Quinn.”
Merlin: “He had worked for the state, sabotaging tother, and after tortured on grounds of conspiracy. The state he had defended turned again so regularly against a useful soldier, because he was born of foreign lands, but his soldiers favored him and thus rescued him in bloody revolt. He later earned my allied allay when this perilous vicissitude looked like suicidal Saracens or the strabismus peasants attempting to appease them.”
Nickolas: “He seems quite the dragon of a man.”
Merlin: “He is most indubitably.”

Nickolas sits ever regretful and bound in thought, staring at the road behind him looking for Ana, under a brilliant sun in a cerulean sky the golden sea of autumn leaves undulates to a lover's song whispered by the wind. Hereby they enter a town, a homestead of farmers and ranchers of whom had built sturdy single-story buildings, but of each a porch deck at shoulder height, wrapping around buildings of mortared stone facings beneath overhanging rooftops. Only these strongly built edifices stand as less integral wooden buildings systematically dismantled and used to build wagons and farming equipment by nearly everyone as they approach the main plantation house. There are at most an army of engineers by least a dozen at half travelers, one of which is the strange man with the scar on his face, his hair unnatural black and long and pulled from his eyes with streaks of white. He glances at Merlin and Nickolas in the wagon as he pays for weapons with the black diamonds he had taken from the wrested city where Ophiuchus’ serpent minion had been smote.

Quinn looks out his window to notice his band of soldiers entering the wallless camp town, by leave recuse his weathered face and leathered boots knock their steps to the wooden porch and down the very wide veranda steps.

Quinn: “Blessed are the lost in ventures.”
Merlin: “Are there no roads to harrow?”

Merlin hopped from the wagon and met amiably the regal quartermaster. The elder dressed as a cavalryman is quick to wrap his arms around Merlin, followed by them grabbing the other’s forearm to shake limbs, only to enwrap Merlin again in joviality.

Quinn: “Besting Norns, this serving forest plateau good friend, I had thought your face would find the valleys no more.”
Merlin: “My watch for bedlam hunters has come again to evil empires, without your wandering troop I am cant a priori.”
Quinn: “Who’s the lark?”
Merlin: “A forester on impulse and man-at-arms ceding to life a hunt of which I share, in immortality by way of youth presenting.”
Quinn: “Bring him within, a drink ere wont to have.”

Merlin waves Nickolas to the deckhouse, but the wagon and wayfaring guards doth not see the gesture, and when he sees Nickolas dismount he points blade to his throat, his blade taken and hilt turned skyward with blade to rest and forced against the chest of the guard who takes his weapon and lets him pass. Inside the tables covered in maps and from the ceiling lanterns resting on beams crossed and hanging from the ceiling.

They drink from bottles holding whiskey water. It is potently acidic causing their faces slightly with cringes as they move to query Quinn.

Quinn: “Where is Ana?”
Nickolas: “She’s wayfaring safe passage, of peaceful way and amnesty.”
Quinn: “Happily whilst what may. I am Quinn. She can carry a torch, she’ll be alight.”
Merlin: “Why are your men farming and baiting travelers with wagons of wheat?”
Aghen (Quinn’s guard): “We’ve been harvesting alacritous the fields before the snow, stockpiling in the homes of the missing and dead with mint to repel rodents, marking on maps and symbolic markers where finished, then again in the town next.
Quinn: “A pall has cast on all these lands, the minds of men got sick and cannibal, if weren’t beat all they’re bested death comes of fire, so would that it were Ana becoming present.”
Nickolas: “We fought them at a diaspora near a sunken castle, here.” (Directs to map)
Quinn: “It is the, sunken castle, or the heart of the disease.”
Merlin: (pointing) “…and to here we fought a group of Saracens led by Etain, the college of war, a calamity with a wyvern here, and again by worse at an equinox fest, where among the dead were several thugs with your silver arrow hidden on their shoulders.”
Quinn: “Now there’s another woman with fire in the eyes.”
Merlin: “She wasn’t alone, Quinn. Tripled her powers were with foes of my rank, what do you know them to want?”
Quinn: “A theory of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state, but without intelligent design corrupt ranks feud to control the flow of commodity.”
Merlin: “Slavery, you would think that they might not call it property at that point.”
Quinn: “To that effect we’ve been hitting those points of weakness, but quickly their duty becomes absolute power as they are treated lavishly and act unfairly to the new vain serfs of bondage.”
Aghen: “A system of social organization in which all enterprise and wit is controlled by a tyrant, dominated by a single and propagating wave of monarchy disguised by titles of incorporation and mystifying symbols.”
Nickolas: “…but like beasts their muster is their strength, and thus becomes their fear, their shared sacrifice is not shared and is such their weakness, this is like any other war.”

Aghen is so impressed with Nick’s response he begins to pour and offer him another drink. Merlin and Quinn also take up mugs.

Merlin: “…and burning of the dead?”
Quinn: “Soon learned and sooner regret.”
Aghen: “Anything that foams at the mouth, with empty villages and fattened lonely cattle, this war is of wayfarer stories.”
Merlin: “It is a tale of two cities.”
Quinn: “Come, let me show you something.”

As Ana arrives, the clouds gather darkening the air of the moon sky as the sunlight shines near the sunset as it rains where the sun radiates the far ends of the horizon hidden by nature. The glow of autumn tinges the leaves in fading colors as she comes into town on a horse sidesaddle, with a second horse carrying a prisoner in bonds, tossed over packsaddle, and bound hands to legs under the steed’s belly. Quinn approaches her, offers his hand to help her dismount, and opens his arms at repletion of embrace of amiable memory.

Quinn: “I see you’re still capturing grooms.”
Ana: “He was setting fires to homes, and reportedly in differing towns when our fates crossed, hopefully there’s a bounty. Where’s Nicky?”
Merlin: “He’s somewhere.”
Quinn: “Ah, always on the move I see, Aghen, put him to work chopping some trees, kill him if he tries to escape.”
Aghen: “As you wish my liege.”

Quinn hugs her again then turns to walk with his arm around her shoulder to continue his walk before letting her go save the points of chivalrous flattery. Nickolas exits the outpost of an old diner and calls his beloved. She jogs over to him as he of her and hugs, kissing her cheek like lost family.

Quinn: “Merlin, you’ll want to see this.”

In a small roundish cabin of a single room is a cage holding a member of the undead with bloody stumps where limbs once hung.

Quinn: “We burned them, just as the books and elder scrolls had writ, aside casualties, tho few, I wished to know how long the bones of the dead could hunger.”
Merlin: “What did you glean?”
[Enter Aghen]
Quinn: “There were two, but this one eventually ate the other without a word between them, before digging its hands to carrion.”
Aghen: “The abomination must be burned your highness.”
Quinn: “As daylight dies this fire burns. We’ve been reaping the fields left by the creeping death, and filling every house and barn before winter, we’ll sell to cities and towns, a windfall and such to more with you here.”
Merlin: “I was wondering more about your warriors.”
Quinn: “Scales of the serpents, Aghen, burn this hovel.”
Ana: “Allow me.”

They exit the wood hut and embrace the evening air, Ana’s hands ignite as she enters the cabin as Aghen watches in amazement with Merlin and Quinn and Nickolas pulls him from the doorway.

Quinn: “We fought a strange creature as my fighters and I took its head, it had teeth and sickened our minds, without our dogs, one, took ten men before we felled it, deep hollow fangs and shedding skin.”
Merlin: “…and why not bring the dogs of war?”
Quinn: “We don’t bring the dogs to the undead; they’re salty as it is.”

In the center of town two spikes, one with a head, the other with its body.

Quinn: “Its blood is a deeply rooted poison, which we must vanquish, whereat the dead requites these.”
Merlin: “Behoove ought injuries of fear and hatred, this, is a termagant.”

They turn to see the small and isolated building once used for village silo, burning in the street of a much larger thoroughfare way of late choring and relieved guards. Ana walks from the fire through the doorway, as it is the last brace to become cinder and ash, holding in her palm the ashes of death.

Merlin: “I go to the den of the death; a purge would haste more swiftly take with force, or a lending armory in the least.”
Quinn: “Whence wheretofore doth thou stake this claim? A good foe needs good friends.”
Merlin: “Dost to me cold yonder, heretofore hell waits.”

Troy arrives very close to the fire, scaring the soldiers to defenses and alarm, the bale and thrush of flames spraying cinders and battering embers to brighten coals an illumine ardor the same as the phoenix, whose reflections of fire merely shine against its plume. The phoenix Alerion mocking and taunting the soldiers as Merlin runs to intervene, his hand swings into Troy’s for camaraderie, as the avian squawks Troy remits his handshake and slaps it in the face, by spires of flames it moves to nest amongst the combustion.

Merlin: “What word?”
Troy: “In mist she was standing, ere she was lost.”
Merlin: “You can fall down and eat. In the morning you find the fiery witch.”
Troy: “She’s right there.”
Ana: “Then I’m nowhere.”

Feigning silence Ana’s attention shifts from all the men, for in the distance the fire burns deafening silence, whereas the phoenix in her ear sounds of diamonds chiming, as does the fire of that it nests a riverbed to a cliff. The hearts of all men in pressure in percussion, torches fluttering like flags from the forest in great numbers whose bearers’ hearts beat as war drums. The fog drifting in the leaves of pallor is not mystifying by the flames, because it is the smoke of other fires, of other torches, of foreign soldiers in the night. Mercenaries of devotion and haughty cloy are now become conscript to the Saracen empress, Etain, whom has on a night very likened to this given promissory decree of peerage to the man, his troop, and his commander, whom is to triumphantly sacrifice Quinn with fire.

Of this task undertaken Etain’s mercenaries have followed Alerion the phoenix as a polestar, a cavalry racing after it in cover of darkness, in its distance the leaders of caravan by two races ahead, to keep sight and at far distance the following. By two to race forward to keep sight of the closest riders, riders two by two followed by even wagons with scores of men, led into sight by a hazy crystal that glows in proximity to the phoenix and insists their haste.

The thundering sound of hooves grows louder and closer, Ana points to the trees and Merlin looks to see at great distance in deep shadow assassins approaching by what everyone else sees as small candles, in truth they carry torches and daggers as soon they are to gather. Quinn’s army gathers their weapons and wits and prepare for battle, but Nickolas takes to horseback and charges into the woods. Soon the forest burns and the sky glows with anger, Ana walks thru the fire pit where the phoenix nests, petting its chest as she passes forward toward the battle. The first insurgents are reticent to attack patently she, and this opportunity allows her to set them afire with the flames they carry. Arrows begin to fly into the camp startling the phoenix that opens its wings with majestic breadth and forces the fire against her back. The newcomer intruders only see her walk carrying a tide of hellfire. By the second gusting of incendiary torrent, Troy runs and leaps to grab the saddle horn and be carried aloft, as Quinn throws a bottle of the drink, which shatters on the face of an interloper and erupts in the fire of torch in hand. Nickolas comes rushing in return to the camp, from the sound of tyranny to the sound of terror, screaming for Ana to take his hand he has an arrow in his saddle, in his back, and a wound in his neck.

Merlin’s anger is joy is disdain. He walks with his soul as his guide using confrontation in choice to hide not, with magic of light that looks like water thru wind he sends effulgent gusts of white and blue to his closest foes, his gathering enemies begin to stalk him. Standing aside walls of cabins that burn from the other side Merlin makes the fires of rooftops slide in blankets of liquid fire. His whispers of inveterate aged hexes warn the roots of trees to retract deep into the earth causing towering pillars of fire to topple on anything of the floor. The ashes of leaves do not lose their cinder and burn through skin unguarded by armor a sulphuric rain of detriment in some by anguish to be scratching at their eyes. The war party is beyond him and whom he has felled, the wagon of soldiers from arrear dead he takes a horse tethered in ill fate and rides post haste.

The ground grows harder in the cold of the base of the foothills of a mountain, the burning forest glows from the distance but the uninviting terrain holds many shadows, surprise attacks of both troops fills the night. The moon hidden and the torches extinguished aside the lives of many and none realizes the terrain has become level for a valley of graves before a cave entrance. Wells without water, skies lofted by tempest and storm, for them is bespoke the eternity ad infinitum, soon yet an astral mourning. It is a Saracen assassin that falls first into an open grave in the dusk of dawn, a star falls over the sound of the villain’s malady, and the view affronting them is the valley of pits each with a heavy metal post by each hole, on each a chain to a gruesomely groaning specter of the undead.

Quinn: “Wherefore this councils your sins, as can be said, ours?”
Merlin: “It is only a suggestion to not pass.”
Ana: “As to deter our framing? Sell me your luck, and I’ll borrow your memories.”
Nick: “You’ll tell me if you misstep.”
Merlin: “We cut our way to that cave, and it’s inroads to the breach.”
Quinn: “…and you just happen to know where you’re going?”
Merlin: “You could say that.”
Quinn: “Then what about the two big ones in the back that are not shackled and carrying halberds? I suppose we’ll just ask them to take each other, and they’ll politely withdraw to a romantic retreat.”
Ana: “Burn them within an inch of their lives, ghouls sleep on piles of treasure, if we live you can keep it.”

Quinn smiles livening determinately the discussion, then raises his sword overhead and swings heavily toward the ground above his feet decapitating the nearest of the ghastly undead, his men join the vanquishing of chained monsters aided by Ana’s fleeting fingertips fanning flames  and Merlin’s use of a sword is methodic and deadly. As the pits begin to light the floor, the fiends crawling quashed and those leaping cut into two, their grimy black blood sticking to blades unlike assaults to living flesh. The cave entrance waits with miserable darkness, and the two ghouls like those of the past maul the lesser lurid animated corpses to amass new conflict in hopes of victory. The skin of the ghouls is flaccid and slimy as Nickolas soon finds that it tears and liberally relents under bashing, he punches with furious anger into the beast’s chest and retrieves its heart. The creature swings an arm to grasp him, then both, but misses Nickolas who throws the heart against the wall, when it bruises and breaks so doth the will and livelihood of the cursed ghole.

Ana steps into the second grave robber and consummate devourer, as it hacks downwardly to the earthen hearth she reaches into its chest and burns its chthonic heart. The others have reached the foreboding tunnel darkly silent to watch her burn its heart until only ash remains, a curtain of fire fades into the air and ashes fall as she wills herself to burn the remaining slimy tar from the skin of her arm.