09 November 2012

Merlin 2:40 “The Grand Conjuration”

Merlin 2:40 “The Grand Conjuration”

Troy walks while picking up dead snakes in the violent aftermath with his sword and drops them into a bag, his sacrosanct phoenix wanders eating the replete of deceased reptiles in a grazing trend with twilight as its guide. Ana and Nick walk from the trees, she, straitening her hair and tying it behind her head, and he, straitening his trousers and tying his cord belt shirtless.

Nick: “I don’t suppose you have a tunic in your saddle?”
Troy: “I do, I don’t suppose you have any herbs?”
Ana: “We need to find Merlin, and learn how to end this foolish war.”
Nick: “That’s simple, a man will raise his child from birth to fight what he believes is evil, a coward will wait till the child is grown then teach it to fight his petty battles for him, when they dance we cut the strings and bury the master of puppets.”
Ana: “I want to carry your children.”
Nick: “You don’t mean now?”
Merlin: “That sounds like something kismet for later!”

Merlin shouts from the distance of morrow, stepping over the scorn foliage of scorned jungle, taking caution not to singe his cloak.

Ana: “My wars lead with suffering and fire.”
Merlin: “I can see that.”
Troy: “How many guards are down there, what’s the attack plan?”
Merlin: “Those caves are empty, and we’re not going down there.”
Nick: “How pray tell empty?”
Merlin: “Those caves lead to Muspelheim, they are always empty, and if they’re not, be somewhere else. By the by, what happened here, and where is Quinn?”
Ana: “He left when the horses didst, whence snakes came.”
Merlin: “Then we shall have meat without him.”

Merlin turns behind himself and holding his hand to the landscape summons a wind that pushes fallen flyleaf and debris into a gathered pile, he pulls a branch and scrapes it across his hand, with sparks of metallic arcs the branch quickly ignites as if his hand were sharp steel and the tree bark were flint. Troy disembowels the serpents, one by one, by a sliding knife slice and strips their skins before laying them on the burning branches. The wayfarers, all, sit with daggers and contentious desires to seek the third witch and garner dominion.

Merlin: “I want to travel to Myrkwood, to stay with the men of colors. It is a warmer kingdom thence, and by spring we can cross the range of Lyfja, and down to Jarnvidur.”
Ana: “Good, we can visit Menglod, maybe visit close to Vanaheim.”
Nick: “Ljossalfheim is nearby it; perhaps Troy could visit the Huldru folk.”
Merlin: “The more respites, the better.”
Troy: “To finish rapacious enemies like threshing scythe, be it cardinal sin or common crime, the freedom to learn where only learning is free, clashes to clashes, rust to rust.”
Merlin: “Invective, but it is tantamount to impetus, complacency for oneself creates ashes and dust. Come now, we shall make anon wayfaring, so I can see a man about a horse.”

They begin their walk leaving the jungle and entering the perennial forest, but before the pines as their feet cross the grass the skies return to grey as the shortened day by season clings to the earth whilst carrying the clouds. The rain falls thin and fog grows over many things, the tired leaves and cold weeds, the road tho damp is without mud and remains simple, rutted tracks of wagons and the silent steps that have passed over time to make a wide single lane aside an aching chilly forest. The fog grows strong and surrounds them along their journey, the road behind them is hidden over a stone’s throw, afore them solid obstruction of vision, lost in a circle of clouds on the ground the wind ne’er blowing. Soon the fog keeps them from seeing each other leaving them connected by only sound, Troy rides through the lowly clouded skies meeting with the rain.

An opprobrious magic lists in the air, Ana and Nick wander at arm’s length but are separated by nefarious deception, as he calls to her and she to him their voices are muddled, perceived to come from places they are not, they wander and separate further. Troy cannot see well in the fog and Alerion decides to make a landing before concurrence, but they cannot. On brace of a phoenix, he looks over saddle’s edge to an open circling cover of mist, but before he can make landing the fog covers the enclosure, together he and phoenix crash on the cloud and slowly he walks across the clouds in the expansive presence of obstruction. The grounded cloud act as billows keeping them atop unable to find the ground, the phoenix laughs giddy and plays on pillows of overcloud as he insists Alerion behave silently.

Nick kneels to bind the laces of his boots then stands ready to fight, as he wanders feeling invisible and silent, the fog joins the regions of vision between Merlin and himself. It begins to solidify in obfuscation around them. Nickolas feels the high contrast cloud wall, rough and like sand, he looks dismayed to Merlin.

Merlin closes his eyes as he stands waiting and summoning emotive strength, witting the sudden fog slowly closing. Ana prepares in the like, her hand holds a fire that does not kindle well in the moisture of air, her clothes damp and her throat readily filling of water vapor. Their foe wanders the mist, while in the clearing Merlin and Nickolas wait incontrovertible, Merlin curiously, Nick haplessly inspecting the boundary, cool and solid, coarse and dense soon of solidity with the texture of stone. Merlin aversely waits for tyranny with apprehension. Ana’s fiery hands alight begin to sparsely flake shards of glass and flickering powder. Above, Troy loosely draws an arrow and holds it by the phoenix’s eyes, Alerion shakes flippancy in shudder and the arrow begins to burn, Troy lets the arrow into the fallen firmament to mark the ground for safe landing, absurdly it sinks with a smoldering whisper.

Into the arena of fog enters the domain incarnate the queen of tres brujas, Lynn, the priestess of the mist. The smoke on the ground parts for her as she paces the harkening vapor, hands of smoke grab Nick and tear him through a wall of endless needles as she commands the steam to quell all fires created by intrigue magic. The fog lifts Nick, forcing him to twist and fight, pulling him through the paused deluge, perforating and shredding him, pushing fingers thru him as the smoky mist consumes him, smoke rolling over his shoulders as his skin emaciates and blood begins to slowly roll until finally consuming him until he vanishes.

Merlin: “Come out you, I've seen your ways, show yourself, better than what
you make believe.”
Lynn: “Turn back Merlin and I will let you live.”
Merlin: “Could I have this dance?”
Lynn: “Terrible business, this elation, none can penetrate the groundling clouds.”

Merlin approaches her but she quickly becomes dissipating smoke fading in the air, as he approaches her previous position to inspect, she is elsewhere.

Lynn: “I am not like the others.”
Merlin: “Heavy is the heart that stands solidly on hallowed ground beneath an empty moon.”
Lynn: “The situation is now on the brink of its last, the alabaster bastard and the southern girl can leave if you do, I hold no quarrel with our kind.”
Merlin: “Kind is not a word I would imply of you.”
Lynn: “Admittedly, though a humble modest and bewildered reverential of upcoming magic, in fear I would necessitate to silence their reprimands, or any better worse.”

Imminence into battle hex, with great power and aggressive stance, strong shoulders and hands forward, Merlin produces an electric storm, woefully determined, her radiant magic diffuses his assault with a slow wind of dark magic. Insulted with reinvigorated sincerity he slowly paces with white eyes and bright lines over his skin, carrying a reed that glows with vengeful synergy. He blows its powdery contents into the air, he throws many branches of lightning to her again but this time as they arch thru the falling ashes they multiply in force and breadth, striking and killing several of her henchmen that were approaching him invisibly, camouflaged by cloud. She laughs maniacally but aversive, determined but recursively, she discretely walks backward from Merlin who again paces, guarding his time and biding his thoughts of solemnity.

Merlin: “It seems we have the war of the storms.”
Lynn: “Your inability to steal keeps you from providing aid, you won’t take my compromise, and your friends will die.”
Merlin: “If they’re not already dead.”
Lynn: “Indeed, wickedly astute, but I shall not be stopped.”
Merlin: “The compromise is only mine, and you expect me to abandon my family, I am no use to you.”

Lynn disappears again by turning herself to smoke and thinning into the air, reappearing behind him and waiting patiently for him to turn, when he does she is negative to his onset magic, whereas her skin glows with dark and evil radiance, her eyes blackened and dull, with the wrinkles of her skin unaffected and human. When he turns, she puts her hands on his throat, she drives him to the solid wall of their war and squeezes tighter still, causing him to fall of desperate merciless pain, shaking him again not releasing his neck.

Attrition, thunder and breeze of colliding storms, an old wind turning over the pale side of the sky beneath the constant lightning, the thunder echoes following every silence.

Merlin 2:39 “Seduction of Fire”

Merlin 2:39 “Seduction of Fire”

Troy sits on his phoenix staring at the tall and narrow canyon. In its depth light disappears into darkness, to its opening it is a gravel road yet also plateaus over more mountainside. There is a pool of sinew and blood thick as mud, red with shattered bones and bodily eschewed, from it Nickolas resides and reprises the immortal temple of his life, succor to being heathen he is not breathing for there is no air below the layers of fallen earth and shards of slate granite from which up he rises. His hand seems to reach through the claret, climbing into mortality, it appears his face without eyes painted in pooling sanguine repose lest rot and rue, defying the light that surmounts death, through the blood he is not arising, but born he is of blood, leaving no trace on the ground but himself.

Troy: “It’s like a bad dream, isn’t it?”
Nick: “What do you mean?”
Troy: “It is a death like yours.”
Nick: “There are too many words, I blame poetry, and the devil is in the details, the subtle, devastating, details.”
Troy: “Here, we’ll find you fabric later.”

Troy throws Nickolas a long leather coat to the small boulder beside him. Therein Nickolas begins to adorn the thing, testing the length of its sleeves, not noticing his pocketbook on the ground with a knife in it. The air is intemperate warm and the thunderous night unabated.

Nick: “Sorcerer with great monster before temptations of empires, do you not know that I am a man of the cloth?”
Troy: “There is a knife making mark in your book.”
Nick: “Fie, go you with thence beside thyself, fixedly, turn thy head from hence, your true words I do remember habitude like garb.”
Troy: “Have you learned something today we need to talk?”
Nick: (*spinning about) “Where is Ana?”
Troy: “Her sign is weak, but can be found.”
Nick: “Take me to her.”
Troy: “Do you think it wild I can always find the woman you love?”
Nick: “Do you know where she is?”
Troy: “I do.”
Nick: “…and I don’t.”

Alerion is cool to the quite without obvious emotions as the two ride the phoenix now nearly fully grown this autumn of humble indignities, after passing a band of minstrels celebrating Samhain prematurely drinking and drunken before arriving at the trade post’s autumnal festivities. Entrepreneurs, businesspersons, alchemists and artists who invent things that free from material want, freeing minds with strong central responsibility to wear helmets with horns and make mirth, and in the guise of celebration not a rank among them. In honor of mordant efforts of ancients to end evil spirits, they practice axinomancy, throwing axes to tell the future. In tradition, wives paint the faces of their men by smashing berries on his face, then holding his alecup for him to drink, only once, in jolly jest for times the best.

When they land Troy is not allowed to leave Alerion, but he is brought food and drink and told to stray from homes and crops of harvest. Nick begins thru the fort looking for his lover but she finds him soon and first, she staunchly walks to him and slaps his face, as the outdoorsmen groan in mockery he puts his arm around her bodice.

Ana: “Where have you been?”
Nick: “I was looking for you.”
Ana: “You could have leapt from the mountain.”
Troy: “He did!”

As the crowd laughs she waves to a wench carrying a straw-woven basket of berries and ale, she smashes his face with blue berry crush, pours drink down his throat, and then kisses him whilst wrapping herself around him inside his robe.

Ana: “Should we play here?”
Merlin: “No, get thee to a nunnery!”

As the crowd laughs, again the trysts depart. At dawn, Merlin wakes them after waking Troy, walking over the bodies drunken in the street, the remnants of casks and empty wooden smoking pipes ere and empty, their breath fog in the cold morn air as Merlin reveals to them what he hast learnt.

Merlin: “Good morrow, the mystery of our age is truth.”
Ana: “One man's trash is another man's treasure.”
Merlin: “It is indeed, they colloquy of a radical imperious environs in the caves named Colorinth, six leagues hard ride from here to the west, with weather so warm it has jungles even in the deep winter.”
Ana: “The kenning rose with the torch?”
Merlin: “The same, factional, obstinate, and incorrigible, it was with many tales of fright yesterevening.”
Troy: “Egregious environs pious, doubtlessly.”
Merlin: “They spoke of men with obsidian eyes; that is hence where we go.”
Nick: “Our lives have a charming luster.”
Merlin: (standing) “The tyrants decide, design and object, merely to condescend and apologize, without the wits of difference. Eat something so as we can depart.”

Merlin walks to the kettle, receives boiled eggs and a bird’s leg offered to him, then a tea of pennyroyal. Horses hooves clod slowly in the woods, and feet of men no more than twenty, approaching the trader village, the washed leather of the mountain mercenaries and their counterparts bearing the tattoo of the broken rose on their arm and matching inked thorns on their arms and faces. They take warrant to being unlawful posse as they search for a specific person, checking those who resemble wayfarers present, a man with a hat like Merlin’s, a woman whose hair is the colors Ana.

Ana: “Should I play the breeches part?”
Merlin: “We need to go, do you think you could fly, that way for a while, perchance bait them astray?”
Troy: “Bridges to nowhere always rot.”
Nick: “We’re going that way, try to make a grand exit, we’ll see you soon.”

Troy grasps his white hands on saddle horn, an oil paint residue smears from his fingertips, his stoic black boot bends the rung of the partial rope ladder hung beneath his rigging, the rust shakes from the bracing frame of Alerion, their heads raise to see the dawn and the traitors on the lawn. He looks down his nose and its wings stretch and close to open on the sunrise, appraising rest then lifting best to beat against the abjured winds of change. Over walls and stalls, a single spiral grows into a wingspan consuming the bounty hunters’ view of periphery, knocking some from steeds whilst stopping them from deeds, trackers apace to the lure and verity as Merlin eschews bon vivant.

Spoken to the consequence of nature as they travail is a warming climate, not for of smoke or of fire, but a lack thereof making the fertile verdant forest a spot of burgeoning growth, refuses to reject the daylight, at night the heavens gracefully wave like rivers of clouds between the stars and the increasingly flourishing vegetation, where even hanging lodestones are lost. In the eve, as is told, the sky fills with singing light and by morning the growth of vines and chutes of reed begin to daunt the location, soon in travels, the vines grow larger and hang from trees that do not grow where cold winds have summers.

Deep in the hidden jungle is the decay of a mountain, its peak whittled by castle architects, eroded by the rivers coursing from the heat below its icy summit melting and cutting stone, a river flows to a window behind a waterfall, candles, and some essential furniture and a bed of shade and rose petals. The floor granite and smooth and cornered at the walls and at the flat ceiling over a steaming bath cut into the floor near the cushion, the room is empty and silent, like the many halls abound the silence is tired and alone.

In the tropical nature Merlin dismounts his horse and checks his saddle as he parlays.

Merlin: “I had meant to tell you… I’ll be entering alone.”
Nick: “Why on Asgard would you do that?”
Merlin: “Wait outside.”

As a snake catches Nick’s attention, it crawls quickly to Ana. He immediately draws his dagger and throws it into the mouthtail. By now Merlin is gone without a footprint and another snake slithers passed them and the horses, soon many snakes are crawling thru the grasses and as most incline their passes it nonetheless scares the steeds beyond the reeds. As the equines bolt Nick tries to stop them but is bucked and thrown is he with a dulled torch to a tree, Ana spins the torch in her hand and sets it aflame then hands it to him.

Ana: “Kill anything that moves.”
Nick: “What’s happening?”
Ana: “Snakes are blind and hunt by smell and a vision of heat, something wicked this way comes.”

Ophiuchus: (to Ana) “Make right something here, I verily haven’t fie about you, ne’er I have, ne’er I will, but you sir, any day you live is yet time to kill.”
Nick: “If you only knew.”

Nick rushes to Ophiuchus with torch in hand, unbeknownst of the many snakes approaching Ana, the slithering soon establish waves that are utterly inimical to clerical rank and file, and this time they do not flee, hissing and attacking with eyes of glassy black oblivion to crack the sky with gleam. As swords clash her fire spreads as a violent rash against them and daisies, the clouded days of autumn trap humidity and humility into the jungle, the plants dry beneath her feet and soon small serpents make their retreat from the fire that scorns, greater than the thorns larger snakes crawl meticulously more perfidious and clever. The fire is modern signal for Troy and phoenix Alerion to make landing, Troy stops one of the larger snakes with an arrow from on high, but the largest of snakes approach. It curves and sleeks while fighters trade blows and strive to stay alive by twisting limbs and various throws, violent beyond repetition and dangerously beyond malady.

The massive snake crawls for Ana so long that when Nick trips backwards over it, he turns and hacks at what he believes is a reptile much smaller than it truly is, in fact his hack and sever does not even register in the mind of the massive serpent tail. Alerion, quick to feast a festal peckish beak, falls and fights for death to rights, the creature slithering in the ashes coiling and toiling with survival. Troy shuffles as best he can to stay hidden, but as Ophiuchus is breaking Nick’s leg while sitting on the ground, he spots Troy in the distance. He breaks Nick’s back with a boot between the shoulders. He claws into the earth to stop Ophiuchus, his legs not working, his vision fading to black. Troy lets loose an arrow from whitish fingertips and porcelain bow, which travels ever fast into Ophiuchus’ one good eye,

Ophiuchus begins to mock the white archer because he can still see very clearly the silhouettes of a body’s heat, a different color to him, one that tinges of mystery and reserved unrelenting temperatures.

Ophiuchus: “Oh, why, give me my eyes, rivers of blood for my eyes, alas the darkness!”

Ana delves into waves of radiant heat to push the large scaly fiends from herself, which at fury turns to forefront fire. She attempts to stay near Alerion’s power but it leads her erratically to and fro as it hunts serpents in the sand and ash without tethered knowledge that she follows it. Nickolas is awakened by the mere thought of loss and death as Ophiuchus continues to take a marching step between moments of pause in misdirection, luring Troy closer to his grasp.

Ophiuchus: “A realm for my eyes, you took my sight, and I cannot see, come close archer, seek these hands and I will show you wretch.”

As Troy looks upon his foe, he gets dangerously close and Ophiuchus leans and vaults to grasp him, the launch of an instinctual snake.

Nick: “He can see you!”

Nick dives in competition, gusting into Ophiuchus’ side and sacking him cleanly off his feet and to the ground, a heavy battle to Nick’s advantage resumes to ensue. Ophiuchus in desperation for escape grabs the body of a colossal snake in command by thought and is dragged to provisional safety from Nick as he searches the ground for his sword in the ground-fires of dusk. While Nick unsatisfied with losing looks he screams unable to find his nemesis before delivering a cut of fate, but Ophiuchus is near Troy again, ready to confront without aversion.

Ophiuchus: “Give me your heart to keep me alive.”

Alerion leaps between Ophiuchus and its master Troy, as Nick takes Troy from immediate danger the phoenix howls in Ophiuchus’ face, so close he can only sense a familiar face of intense fire. He dives beneath the phoenix between its legs as it curls its head beneath itself, then tries to sit on the serpent man but misses. Ophiuchus runs into Ana’s back in his escape, knocking her onto the ground to her dismay, the snakes are still in thought to attack her fire and in her passionate fears she reaches to the clouded stars. A fountain of liquid fire pours from her hands in all directions for only a moment, and then her hands slam at the ground to her sides, an angry ripple of fire turns everything in her magic’s path to the ashes of the wake.

Troy dashes the occasional surviving snake with his scimitar as Ana approaches him, they gaze their eyes over the mess, then look for Nick. He is in full pursuit of Ophiuchus, as he gets close a large snake bites his ankle causing him to trip and tumble but with a trusty blade quickly decapitates the snake and rolls to his feet in nearly fluid motion. Coming close to the mountain Ophiuchus charges with avid desire and dives into a dark cave, head first and out of sight. The phoenix side steps infrontof the cave blocking Nick from entering, refusing to part with him by letting him enter the darkness of the earth, explaining to him in the form of short belittling squawks. Nick loth returns to Troy and Ana after having a short discussion with the bird of resurrection, with his shirt nearly lost to tatters arriving to Ana standing between three trees on fire, he takes Ana in his arms as they share deep affection and fall to the ground for the other.

Merlin walks the dark caves, smooth to the touch, rough to the senses. He holds his hand into the air and to the tunnel afore him, from his skin a collection of ringed tattoos and scars on his bones glow a pale blue yonder into the darkness, when the wind blows it makes his incandescence gleam, to the air of warmth he follows. The tunnel floor has graphite dust and abandoned cobwebs, the darkness forms a bond with the silence of the deep, no surprises effect the mystery of exploration, pure sensation drifts in the air, the pique of love and the lust of affection, breathing are the battle wounds of memories and dreaming are the harlot tunes of mystery. For as Merlin approaches the antechamber with the waterfall wall Etain bathes in a pool of wonderful light as Lynn carries like smoke across her bath and unto the curtain of aqua.

Lynn: “You will destroy Merlin, shame him or kill him, can you do as such?”
Etain: “All men require not magic but merely desire to see things burn.”

In the reflection of shadows in blind darkness a light assumes a glow behind a door’s curtain from below it into tunneling darkness. Merlin ends his radiance to peer into the depth, the floor beneath his feet becomes smooth and level and closer still he hears the falling water. Etain rises salaciously from the water and enters her robe, to the couch she rests and pans the pages of a forgotten book when she hears the curtain make only the slightest move in the air because of his peeking fingertips.

Merlin makes his entrance steadfast, poignant to direct approach he breathes containing a racing heart, the room fills with fire as if she is the heart of a dragon, filling the room with flame until immersing Merlin to immolation. He pulls apart the air afore himself like opening a stage curtain as heavy fire momentously collapses to the walls, with steel thunder he divides the fire and continues walking, her hand reaches upward and summons a flaming rose with black stem, a flaming orchid, with it held high in the palm of her hand it begins to burn and cinder. He glides with winded pace like apparition in night and takes her to the roving floor of golden pedals, like kindling they ignite causing the room again to fill with fire pushing out the window of rain.

In divine heresy a pointless miracle of loving hearts and dark tranquility, blind shadows in their blood in a lost forest, but near dawn Merlin awakens and sees her sleeping, he kisses her brow and a thin layer of wind magic covers her skin, feeding incineration as she continues dreaming with her soul afire. He leaves her a note and drinks red wine that he finds is not wine at all, it is blood. For such he decides to leave a pedal resting on its red surface. Putting on his robe he walks thru the waterfall, his clothes soak and seeming blurry thru the water he disappears.

Merlin 2:38 “Wasted Sacrifice”

Merlin 2:38 “Wasted Sacrifice”

By dint of apterous leap the growingly tenuous descent, his clothes drying and fluttering, as his perfect posture with featherless arms abroad vastly, his eyes closed and back arched he dreams of what he can see. In sooth, he has made theft of a golden dagger, as he falls he holds his arms like wings then takes it from his shirt, afore the ground he points the dagger at his chest.

Nick: “Revelation, here I come falling, oh grave, where is thy victory her voice resides.”

Increments later, he liquefies thru impact, chthonic and regilding. The wind carries Lynn as a slow fog over broken stone and idle ground, to the narrow canyon floor of stones and pebbles she appears from smoke before the storms of the mind in the crevasse deeply of relaxation and meditations, she humbly waits as a secularist heir, amazed she cannot classify the pool of blood and battered rags. Prediction cannot balance unequal paths, for as she waits the grand phoenix carefully enters the craggy corridor with gusts of wind and apprehensions. Her survival is choosing the safest concept of distance different to her revealed existence, so as it lands, she walks into the fog and hides spying disposed.

Troy focuses on the displayed venerable suicide to find triviality, as Nickolas focuses on memories to find his pain. He elevates his mind to abandon emotion, consuming manna to regain life. As he imagines where the wind begins, Lynn revels in the power of such magic for a spirit in the nothingness and shadows. She moves toward the young rider whose skin seethes the oil of edelweiss petals and resembles leather. Hiding from her discovery, she steps in silence thru the air to avoid the phoenix of sun-tinged steel and coal-covered soot with feathers protruding of equity design. Her hand reaches forth to corrupt the guise of him, but her powers are worthless while hiding in cloud, she tries a hex correct to fill his blood with allergy but he is impervious to her magic while she is hiding herself in his presence. Alerion hears a pebble roll and turns to howl a fear annulled, what bit of Lynn is visage forth retreats in form of mist.

The burning woods long below the mountainside satiate after the fires contributed to the collapse of the city of glass, partial whence the deluge and survival requires floating thru melted ice. Merlin wrestles the descending currents and blocks of ice among the flotsam of a broken bastion as Ana screams, lashing with wroth, outraged by drowning as she searches desperately for any kindling to burn beneath the water in the flood on the face of the mountain, to make air from boiling water with her fire. Verging and fighting the collapsing palace are the other bodies, many dead, in the current. Fire to ice essence, Ana is sitting in a charred wooden royal throne reclined and floating down river, nearby Merlin on his back floating feet first downstream.

Ana: “Are you dead yet Merlin?”
Merlin: “I am hearing. Where are the others?”
Ana: “Help me Merlin, I cannot swim.”

Merlin rolls on his side, then his stomach, he begins to crawl across the river as if it were a drawn rug.

Ana: “How do you do that?”
Merlin: “Air floats above water.”

Merlin guides and drags the broken throne to the riverbank where they exit and respite while discarding the makeshift raft with burns that resemble her handprints. Bloody clothes taint the river red, farther along the banks other men climb to shore from the current, some are allies and one is Quinn, some are foes and some are running for desertion. Between there are battles in the forest unscathed where leaf are falling aside the forest scorn by definitive line of immolation.

As Quinn walks to Merlin one of Halle’s reckless minions takes a young hostage of soldier, he moves from sight to hunted allay immediately upon hearing his name.

Kaian: “Where is Quinn? Where is he? Tell me or I’ll send this boy to a place far worse than this!”
Ana: “Would you believe us if we told you and let the boy go?”
Merlin: “Would you tell us why you want him?”
Kaian: “Want? Detest! He ruined a safe haven, he, would make us work, he, ruined everything, we would only take from others if we would not make, as we needed their ability, to give our time until dreams become reality, what, would a wealthy man know of sacrifice!?”
Merlin: “I’m sorry this is how you feel.”

Quinn behind kills Kaian with an arrow to the heart, he releases the blade from the hostage’s neck, he feels the arrowhead barely protruding from his chest, and the blood smears on his fingertips as he struggles to pull it forward thru himself, tho he lastly cannot. The hostage takes his dagger and finishes him.

Merlin: “Was that for practice?”
Quinn: “That was on principle.”
Merlin: “There are other ways to negotiate.”
Hostage: “You can’t negotiate with slavers and murderers.”

As Kaian falls Ana opens her arms to hug the former hostage.

Quinn: “The more things change, the more they stay the same. Ana dear, bring the boy to me.”

Quinn begins to rustle thru his drenched attire until revealing a pouch of coins, he hands it to the shaking youth. As he speaks, he begins untying belt and bandoleer, dropping his various weapons and scabbards to the ground.

Quinn: “Take those funds to the nearest town, keep them, but tell the first soldier you see that Quinn is alive, and I’m somewhere in the north woods, haste hence.”

The squire begins to run into the forest as Quinn pulls open his coat to examine his shoulder, finding nothing wrong he begins to remove his leather armor, heavy and soaked it falls to the ground piling upon itself.

Quinn: “We’re going to need horses.”

He walks to the river then kneels and begins to drink with his hand the cold water of a wintry mountain, eventually dunking his wetted hair to soak it again and wash his face before shaking his head.

Merlin: “What is your plan now, o wise and wet one?”
Quinn: “We cross this river. There is a redoubt not far anon.”
Ana: “Easy for ability, and harder still for you, I’m starting to reckon the captor was correct.”
Quinn: “It’s a barter town, a trading post by the militias after the plague; from there we’ll find a lead or follow a dunce minion of your favorite foe.”

Merlin 2:37 “As the Palaces Burn”

Merlin 2:37 “As the Palaces Burn”

Halls of terror and resolution mark no masquerade of ill repute and indigent awakening, ere soliloquy and recompense in half of host and tother conscripted, in the swell of bloodshed is the aching act of war. The fires of fugue and fury cast shadows on shining and thawing walls, silhouettes display but there are none to see them, for every warrior hunts and every wounded kills. The boisterous escape the brig to join the fracas and in tumult ravage the palace with perfidy, wherein they attack Halle. She morally wounds them all in grasp of time without alteration. Grabbing chests to freeze their hearts, wielding the nightmare blade whose wounds spread blood like ice flow and frostbite that spreads across their skin, evincing power and deferent allegiances.

To task the facilities of man of fear and fret began, what makes to gauge what shall divulge how the universe parses fragile demands, an immortal forester evades the demon of the snakes and a serpent of the ice within a frozen bastion of fires a lantern on an oblique mountain.

Nickolas: “I met a friend of yours; we cut him down in the street.”
Ophiuchus: “You are so easily conjectured at each undertaking.”
Nickolas: “Then fed him to small children.”
Ophiuchus: “I would have done the same.”
Nickolas: “I suppose you eat your young oftener?”
Ophiuchus: “Novelty and circumstance receiving and assimilated impress.”
Nickolas: “Lest to lay in hesitation and the further score indemnity behind solemnity.”

The roaming viper is longer than Nickolas is tall, it springs toward him and latches it fangs into him, one-fang spews venom to the floor having completely pierced his leg, from it the venom smokes with an air of sulfur as the second fang injects poison into his arteries. Nickolas trapped in sound mind and solemn armor, pinned beneath the heart of the viperid, takes a dagger from his belt and stabs beneath the scale its stomach causing it to relent and retract position. Ophiuchus’ share of the barter mended, improvidence at last the vice betrayed in humbling behest he slowly paces towards Nickolas dying while sharpening his scimitar, but the immortal resumes and rulls from decapitation. Soonest scare thru shadows to duel, cashiered and divested equipage manifest, the serpent having only its armored scales climbs through the rafters in haunt of Nickolas as the fractures begin to seep with smoke.

A predator hiding in the garret above harassed heathen, fostering prosperity but feigning wisdom, violence rattles outside the quarters, bestowment of reprisal and conduct early where the lunatic procures liberation. Nickolas hurls a dagger at Ophiuchus, it strikes him in the eye and summons a groan of discomfiture showing a split-tongue, but he does not fall nor stagger, only ardor as he pulls the blade from his skull.

Nickolas: “I am eye…”
Ophiuchus: “There are degrees of consanguinity.”
Nickolas: “I’m not hiding; I’m just indecent - if you could come back in a few minutes?”
Ophiuchus: “Stay there, you’re scaring me.”

Tones of frail levity met with the serpentine’s spite, sedition, and hisses within words. It is here that is elsewhere and else that is whilst, Merlin despairingly struggles beneath the magic Halle has cast to him, wires of mosaic fire binding him to the floor weave netting empowered by stormy skies that seem the same in dawn as dusk. Darkly bleak clouds of melancholic consternation, the castle foundation cracks again duly penetrated by a sacrament flame with full authority.

Latent despair of acclimation deposed by deposit pitiful, costumed is death by the sound of silence grotesque in disguise, malevolent deeds without words in servant quarters afterward and straightly, servitude of effectual convenience hardly notices, however obvious christening of sabotage. Stone with bracing masonry with effacing carpentry with lacing ice is razing of white quartz, the bastion is in disrepair and war is in fatal fury.

Ana is anxious to continue foiling with fire, increasingly desperate to climb the stairs of stories to take her into the clearing of the mountaintop. Her steps no longer tap on the hardened surface of the palatial glacial abode, for as the fortress of ice begins to melt her steps dangerously slip, all so as Halle approaches with a collection of personal guards mainly of higher ranks.

Halle: “Good, you are finally here; swallow these fires, heaven forbid, not the guest I seek.”
Ana: “The child in the darkness shall be feared by those in the light.”
Halle: “Than you shall die trying, kill her!”

The soldiers do not draw armed swords, to their disadvantage, Ana takes the first by his neck and scorches his throat closed before throwing him to the ground and drawing his sword in the process, with it she stabs the second and swings it at a third. Halle walks passed her with melting waters returning to a state of ice beneath her feet with patience and providence abound the tarried and tethered. Ana wills her blade to glow and steam the air, an enemy blade clashes with it but collides and bonds with the molten steel, she then opportune kicks her opponent down the stairs causing collisions with his comrades as they all tumble and fall. With a flick of her wrist, their uniforms begin to burn causing them to roll thru what puddled water they can gather as the heat melts the steps anew causing them to slip and stumble in pursuit, for her fires do not last while in contest with the magic Halle has summoned to retain the ice.

Merlin wrests riving bond of spiritual magic power, each coin is melting individual pools and the electrified wires that hold him tear and twist his certain imposition, his chest is bound and breaths are shallow as the glowing ice of night and the darkened clouds of sky are taken from him.

As the light begins to fade in his eyes he looks above, along the floor atop his head is a window, in the grey overcast flies Troy atop phoenix Alerion distantly seemingly a flicker no bigger than a match-head. As the coins melt and sink into the ice so does Merlin. The water pools around him and conducts the electricity thru his skin and bones. In constant agonizing impudicity, coetaneous the coins melt thru the floor, and the water nearly drowning him begins to drain. His tested strength wanes for manna and sorts of lair, as the empirical cylindrical coins drop to the floor below him as anguish crushes his burning bones and nerves still bound by the nexus of electrical light, his magic wind of rejection causes the cracking floor to shatter beneath him.

Merlin falls through the second floor because it is thin from the fires of the basin, two levels down the coins become disheveled and the hex breached, landing on his shoulder he convulses and immediately spews water among the soldiers fighting while the fallen die. A storm brews to howl over bastion and within it thunder, the aggression of symbiotes destroying the keep. Blades and sheaths in different spires, with differing fires the walls begin to rarefy as floors dilute, lumbering foes with fatal throws the evil throes intend to trade blows or die locked in accord.

Upstairs Nickolas scours for a skewer or a sword, but finds them nary. He swifts to the door for escape, yet finds it naught and guarded by the giant viper, Ophiuchus most deranged begins to throw and overturn tables and furniture to find Nickolas, albeit ice blocks prey from Ophiuchus’ black forked tongue he prowls and stalks, yet to the phoenix Alerion the secrets of ice are null. Both Troy and Alerion see the palace as a crippled lantern with bodies and blood, but near the serpentine warrior priest is the massive demonic viper, which to a phoenix piques pangs of insatiable hunger.

The huge fiery bird lands on the balcony outside the quarters where Nick fights Ophiuchus, Nick swings a board smashing what had remained of a stabbed eye, but dark foe veritably manumit verily in absentia dementia grabs him and then a whip and begins hanging Nick by his throat from the rafter. The orange phoenix with cold blue feathers that look like steel scales of its own smashes thru the door with its head, although oversized inasmuch unable to enter is undeterred, deciding to use its beak to frenetically tear the doorway until it large enough to pass.

The wind roars passed the outer breeches, but it shall not hold long hence soon to fail from fires burning amenities and bodies, once thru the door Alerion ravages the room to savage the viper, availing Nick and causing his nemesis to escape the isentropic tussle. Escaped and in a room of relics Nick quickly takes a pose in the fashion faux of armored busts, hoping that the glowing walls dare not reveal him, but the rouse falls short and just is he, ere aptly fallen to the grasp of gauntlet and pierce of spear. Whence juxtapose he takes a dagger not only from his hand but off the belt, Ophiuchus lifts Nickolas to throw him on a rack of swords and hoped to have tossed, doth Nick tear into him as an earnest wolf until dropped and climbing down with teeth of knives. Labor foe plenty by way for many laboring as the clangor of vicious battling in the nearby wings enters the hallway, before Nick can finish Ophiuchus he runs to avoid the dozen men, to hunt them as they come to their leader’s aid.

Another tremor trembles the fortress, the shattered ice resembles precise diamonds clearly glittering beautiful, melting in places as fractures reflect thru the transparent walls, as eyes find reflection in watery surfaces, panes broken where picture windows have leapt, the cold torrent of encircling air is the only chance the city of ice has of avoiding erasure. The forest fire is to the foothills, the blazing empire churns the hallways into earns, and a phoenix born in flames rattles in a room with a balcony wall. Smooth knives of jagged broken glass, tinted windows destroyed and concise shards cover the floor, the snake in its path to destruction wrecking much of the obstacles in its course, having the opportunity to consume. Forthcoming attack improves upon the phoenix as its desire to consume what rages beneath the snake’s surface quickly evolves into the death of a serpent. Troy, avian cavalryman, also reveals his unintentional hiding place beneath the surface of miscellaneous debris. Nickolas in his escapade has chosen to reenter the room where Alerion and Troy consume the dead snake. He enters the door to see only the snake’s head and thinks it still alive, so he throws his sword point into its skull, causing the avian and rider to laugh at his expense.

As the minions attack mercenaries, Merlin stands and takes a sword, with it he walks exiting the room stabbing and slicing the wounded foes trying to grab his legs and dying at his feet. With his magic of the wind and the flames that won’t rescind, he is dry in little time and damaged clothes, he searches for Halle and finds her, she turns to suppose him following but with the wind he gusts a burning drapery afore himself. Again, after many footsteps, she turns to presume that he follows, but his windy conjuration hides him within flames, thrice of more she turns to surmise him closely in pursuit, yet this time his presence of fire is unsuitable as disguise and as she draws a blade to cut him he throws fire with wind at her in his defense. It does not scorn her nor postpone his predicament

Merlin: “You will never have Albion.”
Halle: “So much sooth lost and replaced with lies."

Above them the floors have filled with water caused from the heat of the winds of the burning countryside, under such great pressures the ceiling collapses bringing with it walls and diluvium torrent as low-burning fires slake from the draining flow. A wall of ice has fallen and filled with water trapping her like a fish in a glass. She pounds her fists contemporaneous on the clear ice causing a low sound to thunder the foundation and shake the walls.

Merlin: “I hunger for the hungered, slay for the slain, hunt for the hunted.”

He takes brief steps to her icy prison, his hand on the surface brushes a silted layer of rime, which grows increasingly deferent to her magic, and her face resembles anger and nonplus.

Merlin: “I …sleep for the sleeping, fall for the fallen; I wake, for thee, awakened.”

She stares knowing that trapped is she in ice or water, for if she does else but as to hold her breath, she will surely sink and drown. Tho if she freezes time the ice for her becomes air and she thusly will drift to the surface or sink to its depths, because one is without alter, she is to choose the latter. With temporal sands still hidden in Merlin’s moral fabric syncopated with time, but not outside it, as thru his eyes Halle seems to turn to black smoke within the dark blue primal caisson, elements to quintessence the water becomes her air as she rises from her climes. As Merlin blinks a second time, she is absent.

Naught for noting, the mountain warms, the dark ice within narrow foundations beneath the darkness begins to melt. Where ice remains Halle soon regains her grip on fluidic time, pulling herself to the surface and climbing unencumbered by frigidity, the high winds in the twilight of the thunder god put whiles near the doting mountain peak, thereby stands her sister witch Lynn, in fascination watching Halle climb from the smoke without aid.

Interred by dilemma Nickolas searches for Ana, she duly searching for him, passing the symbols melted from archways, barely able to notice whom amongst themselves suffers as they frantically scour, opaque regularity consumes sight as firelight blights every thawing surface. As for Merlin, with an incantation lightning becomes a volatile and painful restraint for malefactors and brigands as the water recedes from his footsteps.

From the dark magic brews a blizzard, under new lenticular snow the palace of ice likewise in frozen degrees begins to tear from the mountainside, stretching dark lightning with damage of fire and ice, Nickolas turns to see the edifice torn from him and with great melancholy and dour he falls on his knees and weeps.

The phoenix and Troy fly from the crashing castle as if it were a broken branch, while the pawns of white crystal ice endeavor to cull the remaining bright fires within the walls of the mind, body and souls of the great mages in good form. Eventful as they notice Nick and attack him, including the draugur created by the termagant Ophiuchus, as he torments he thinks he sees people at the distant edge of the scorched forest whom are no more than memory and lament cast into his watery eyes. Possessed by the fire the torrential snow-bounded sky, covering the ground with the scenery of winter, he turns and slaughters almost twenty men. In facing the new draugur he wastes no time cutting open his chest and wresting the darkly radiant heart before his foe can fall empty and dead again.

He stares at the heart covered in black oil as it piques thru him disgust and bleak repose, he takes the dark crystal ball from the floor, contemplative absolutism deigns to the furies of revenge and isolated disinterest, until he hears a woman scream, which to his hearing triggers hopes that it is Ana. Very alas, it is Lynn, one slippery flight of stairs above him, screaming of her detestation and disapprobation. As she notices his face ascend the stairs her feet turn to smoke that carries her into the shadows, he leaps the trickling water of the icy stairs to the floor and follows with his fervent might, through this he finds a single set of stairs hard and cold by the new winds whistling through the decimated walls. The summit of steps climbs to near the peak, an opening without door leads to the roof that merges with mountain. There stands Lynn speaking of plot and problems to Halle who listens while wringing her shawl of water before redressing, beneath storm the palace shatters again, smoke rising from-through the waters, she stands at the edge.

Nick charges for the witching sisters but Ophiuchus catches him and holds steadfast, the termagant is soaked, his serpentine face is blue from cold and his fingers are close to black with frostbite gained by climbing the sheer face of ice and destruction.

Lynn: “Likening prized knowledge, knowing what you know you lunge for me?”
Nickolas: “My life will end with your death.”
Lynn: “Drown will drinkers of the endless bottom waters.”
Ophiuchus: “It may be better to eat him.”
Lynn: “You come to me, stable boy, without bearing tithe or gift, I shall have to take your heart, stretch his chest.”

Nick struggles ineffectively as his shoulders stretch toward each other behind himself to the point of pain, but in this action, the dark orb reveals itself to be buried within his vestments, she pauses the racking by a wave of her hand and takes it from him, she then kisses him and insomuch distastes and disgusts him.

Nick: “Go show your serfs how insolvent you are.”
Lynn: “Throw him from the mountain.”
Nick: “Reckon me, o thee, beseech mine motive upon heathens, save me from this false and faithless vassal.”

Nicks words are effortless and feigned as he removes himself from captivity by breaking Ophiuchus’ knee, then arm, then back.

Nick: “My ardor yet you cast me? Why sorrow because of you, her sister? Sing and shine, grant me pardon, or lesser decrees, where I seek my own bounty, were it not bliss, wherefore is end of your grasp, I will be elated in ennobled earth.”
Halle: “Prithee let me end him nigh?”
Lynn: “I wit that but too well. If you are forever, then you will not end.”

Halle draws her dagger that glows with the light of the orb. Nick runs for the mountain edge and dives into the canyon ravine at the edge of the bluff. Halle sheathes her blade and the sisters walk to the edge and watch him fall deep darkness, far descending into a storm of madness. A hush over them comes swift as he enters the low weather and back hastens them as their garments flutter in the wind.

Ophiuchus: “I’d not like to do that again.”
Halle: “…but you have made great chaos despite them.”

Fraught with discommendation Halle and wounded Ophiuchus exeunt, as the witch of the fog, Lynn, leaves the mountaintop pursuant of Nickolas.