Merlin 3:31 “Diminished to Be”
Outside as the rain becomes faint a rider charges to the checkpoint, trotting over the bridge wearing leather tarp over himself despite the subsiding weather, just in time to see the once dapper dude, drained of vital blood in torn clothes, tossed into the ravine that spans beneath it. In mode of joining the array of bones unseen in ages of rages, as creatures crawl beneath the bridge on ancient spun silk caves behind web-woven cages awaiting prey, watching the body fall, the approaching emissary comes to halt and speaks to a sentry.
Nuncios (rider): "What was the purpose of that?"
Floricus: (sentry): "Never have I seen our mad sisters shrike with such a lovely force, it is bothered by nothing and troubled by force, how nothing has its ways. An arbitrage of trader come traitor, unto a sin the king dare not forget."
Nuncios: "Ah, take me to our king, for I have cause that awaits not this storm to pass."
The sentry takes the horse’s reins and allows Nuncios to dismount and eventually handing the horse to another as they approach the door, near the tunnel entrance, a man soaked waits to dry with a sentry before escort to the doors and not a moment sooner. A common thing as vampires amicably part is now spoke.
Floricus: “Paint is black, my friend.”
Nuncios: “Paint it black, Floricus.”
Floricus opens the door saying nothing, which though allows Nuncios to enter the interior tunnel with permission. Passing the wagon the trader had brought, watching soldiers open and unload chests of precious metals, scoffing at their worth, to be taken and added to the dungeons filled with treasure unappreciated, Nuncios and armed escorts approach the king.
Lord Scarlet: "What news do you bring, old boy…?"
Nuncios: "It is a matter cursed, most delicate and secret. For your ear if I may, approach your lordship."
Lord Scarlet: "Approach me, Nuncios."
Nuncios: quietly, “There is confirmation at the loss and finding of Matteus, betrayal as warned, holed with the immortal and a gang now unlawfully doubling in the dozens, as you had supposed, master.”
Lord Scarlet: quietly, "Whence does my traitor turn new coven without license?”
Nuncios: "A drought and debauchery ensconcing hie twelve leagues from here. Then moved to a second of their locales, fiends of the lifeblood, easily forthwith confused not farther three leagues of thence that.”
Lord Scarlet: "Lie to me, and be purged.”
Nuncios: “Assuredly it is not.”
Lord Scarlet: “Then come with me directly…. The queen has the court!”
Directly the lord of Scarlet and Nuncios depart from the throne room, thru the ballroom to the foyer, thru a door in the antechamber, a narrowed stairwell to the lower catacombs and deeper recesses of the castle on hidden fortress. Deep into the dungeons, delving there as any commotion subsides with fear and respect, the guards stand at attention, the closest prisoners prostrate themselves with faces to the floor, farther it recedes where immortal deaths are kept until conceding defeat, the king overlords the dungeon scowling at the starving monsters of the deep, whose unlocked cages yet remain closed.
Lord Scarlet: “This moment, one of you, will be purposed at my will, your spirits in cages to be broken, which among, a blood warlock, will volunteer?”
A raggedy man, a tortured soul behind two closed metal doors hears the question, he strains and shouts to accept the deed, his cell sealed by cage and then again doors, eager to escape, most and more dangerous than most.
Malachi: “I accept this chore!”
Outside of the doors king and warden do stand.
Lord Scarlet: “What say you to his expertness in war?”
Warden: “Easily his kills are loyal to war, he revels in the waste of blood, indulgent in coven and covetousness, so in thus might ally betray.”
Lord Scarlet: “Taste your heated blood like water, and make him approach.”
The doors break thru creaking ages of dust and open to a golden cage, wherein the prisoner shackled to a leaden chair leaning forward and hung over a bed of knives, guards approach holding torches and whips, more with spears tautly grasped, the name Malachi etched to a small silver bar hangs around his neck.
Malachi: “Why do the lesser criminals not leave?”
Lord Scarlet: “Where would they wend? Where would they rather be? Being outcast, insanity allows our vestiges of humanity to rebirth them, tho it is different for you. You may have forgotten your felony, but your bonds in this world have not, and older than your guards your cage is older than this mountain itself. Release him.”
Once freed from shackles and chains he does not immediately kneel, so the guards buckle his knees with their boots. Scarlet cuts his own palm, it fills with blood, he makes Malachi drink, but soon pulls him by hair, to look Malachi in eyes and hold a knife to his white starved throat.
Lord Scarlet: “Where your scars become, I will know where. Now, as I shall breathe, the winds of the world gather for your arrest. If you are commanded on my mission, how will you behave?”
Malachi: “A great deal of attention, some salacious, much of it condemnatory, all of it destructive.”
Lord Scarlet: “And if you betray me I’ll find the birth of the next mountain and strangle you until buried under it, your personal enemy eternal, do you recognize this possibility?”
Malachi: “Yes, lord.”
Lord Scarlet: “...bring him.”
Lord Scarlet releases angrily and turns from him and walks, the guards grab Malachi's arms and then follow bringing him into the main hall as Scarlet waits for Malachi to choose. The condemned to madness cowering with the audible sounds of fears, each caged cell whose patron screams lone in protest chorus, they whom chosen are desperate to keep their cage securely closed and keep their precious little blood, the guards prying to open the gates of their hell for Malachi to regain strength insatiable by the taste of death.