02 July 2014

Merlin 3:41 “Night Marauders”

Merlin 3:41 “Night Marauders”

Merlin: The lands to the northeast, covered in blood or not, make it to the river and descend the mountain, should trouble arrive.
Ana: Will it come to that?
Merlin: I may have to hold the door shut, but yes, even so there may be other tunnels to the surface.
Ana: Tell me of your new foe.
Merlin: Young and lost or are old and marred by certainty.
Ana: Not your arrogance indeed, you must speak of your newest foe.
Merlin: You mean this Sino fellow; he wants to rule life as all young do.
Ana: Yes, but why yours, and why now?
Merlin: It is a long telling and not a pleasant story for a child.
Ana: We are in no hurry, expecting many things, even the stories that scare us will teach us.
Merlin: Sino was a boy when I met him, a young thief in a village distant from the busy world. His knees where scratched and hands were calloused, as many boys in the worlds, but his by being a thief small enough to crawl the thick and thin. When I met him, he stole from me, and when I caught him, he was stealing for the town’s syndicate of thieves. When debts were due to shady lenders, they would send the boy to steal their dues before they could be quit of debt, eliciting the extent brevity in crime. Thereof I sought to release the boy, if not from the ploy of entrapment to choose who would lose then to an alternative. It would be as simple as staking an interest in a local affair, pitch a tent, take a loan and wait for the boy, when he was to come and steal from me I would sack him, pay the usury costs with gold that would melt in a light rain, and abscond with my spoils. Something of a talent of embellishing truth to the point of overselling my lie, but that plan spent without ill cost, so the boy, an orphan literally in a bag, was mine and I was off. In a week, I fed him and he still stole by habit, so I clothed him to extend the range of reception to his plunder, picking his targets from the likes that he had known, situating him to do what he had done, I would act as the target and he would play the true targets. Time would pass and my near lack of aging would come to question, my unwise decisions left it unanswered, blind to a tension we righted many wrongs and he took a name, his new name, his present name, but too many faults came to our actions. Soon what I see as a grip of deceit in hindsight, it took over who he would choose as targets, the end began to justify the means, and he began poaching tribal estates, or seeing just taxes as his to take, and it was all to stop him.  
Ana: How does a cutpurse take to the dark arts?
Merlin: My fault came to disapprobation and I distracted him with alchemy and sorcery. Eager to learn in what seemed obeisance he followed suit and made with me his apprenticeship of the gentle magics. Healing a flower, wilting a weed, and it was all I could do to stop him from interests of amazement, so much that we eventually took to spectacle in fairs and fests like jesters with smoke and fire. Though for him, it was contingent to forging forward, as we would lay with many, I gave and he would steal, it was the foundations of a deeper desire to hunt. As he came of age, I felt the need to make him stronger in morality, he had seemed to me resistant and avoidant to the idea, ‘stopping tyrants is a thing of armies’ he told me as I had told him many times afore that. Shortly thereafter, he was convinced to be a peacemaker after rescuing a kidnapped maiden. After a night, he would fight. We would dually hunt bounty for criminals and attack bandits of the forests, and he would sidle to them and attack them in their sleep. My trust became my anchor and I docked with my beliefs that calms seas would await a departure with high tides. He soon began capturing girls to lure the gangs in the forest, with no regard for their lives, the greater good of madness to use them as bait, I protested, a fair woman died, and he would not end his tactic. Unable to see the forest for the trees, he meant to cut them all down to stop an absent fire.
Ana: How is he alive?
Merlin: After the first girl died, we disputed our place in the world, and I let him convince me it would happen no more. It became his mission to defy me, to aid another town in need we vetted the mayor’s claims, but he had taken another, when I stopped him we argued, distracted the bandits who were real shot her by arrow. We painted the trees red with their blood to anguish a song of screams, by my wrath a soliloquy fire of annihilation reduced to mere filth, wherein I thought he had died.

It had happened, there, in the forest where the trees were tall to climb, while nature had designed the pines to have few lower branches, Merlin had sat quickly up and walked thru morning commerce and faced unknowing sight painstaking, but certain with wretched instinct had undertook, the straight trail toward the band of thieves. To as much as find Sino as he had the girl, and had called to him, by her arm his grip she being more real than his wager. They argued as they had the week before and Merlin took her by her other arm, aside younger Sino remit her, obnoxious as lamentation, each opposed sentence only tragic moments from both learning intent and auspicial correction, travesty alas beckoned the drifting goons and then the heavier fiends. Merlin grabbed Sino by his better arm, had either of them had hers they could have pulled her from the shot that struck, blood and thunder, they could not reconcile for the fate of forgiveness is at lengths from thieves in any light. Blaming each other, the fight with the bandits secondary to their battle with each other, powers unseen unleashed, Merlin defending only himself, to thwart his attackers he did, but tried to tame Sino one last time, but the student furiously grew strong with magic Merlin had not taught to him. Smoke had filled the floor and the ashes the air, their ire purged silence that the ether had torn and the elements purged the dark of day and light of night.

Sino: Remorse is for the dead.

Into the existence, Merlin stares at the horizon over and beyond the towering mountain landscape of construct and cavalcade forms of structure beneath him, he covers an eye and all to behold in the distance comes closer, he unleashes both eyes to see in focus, and perceives his perception.

Merlin: There is a town in the foothill, a small caravan of traders, perhaps slavers approaching. As from my cartography knowledge, that is the bridge of the soulless. None crossing it who do not serve afterlife, their catacombs become a fortress of solitude…

Just beyond the bridge is the small guarded town that guards the ground of Crimson Mountain. The river is deep into the earth and the town on level ground in a cove of foothills, a small bridge to cross before the shadow of the mountain easily entraps any intruder. In a dark tunnel, beyond the doorway, Crimson speaks to a knight.

Crimson: Neither in nor out, wisely, but keeping close to that door, with a whisper of circumstance. If they enter, if they take to cross the wretched course, I am to know.

A servant brings Crimson a blond maiden, human of course, for partial exsanguination, but the guard that had ushered Ana in her chair up the spiral staircase, one of his eyes faintly aching twitching almost closed, his head tilted and his body askew, lunges for the blond girl and feeds in sign of dry thirst. Before the others pull him from their king’s tithing-girl, Crimson urges them to not.

Crimson: Stop, the guest is closely nascent, he has the human scent like hay fever, and it will pass. He will guard with you being newly sated, but you must drink, as well, the day is only half done, if she dies, take her to the altars of rebirth. Know where our guests are and seek promotion.

Merlin: Just another day in the rat race and now we have the maze to prove it. (She sleeps). It is better this way.
Ana: What do you think is the best way to kill them? (Eyes closed.)
Merlin: They have awoken in a second life, raised by the bloodline of hell, and created to defend invasion.
Ana: And that means?
Merlin: It is better to burn them, to ash, than to run them thru.

A dark hallway with vampires we rejoin.

Crimson: Let us harvest volumes of slow kingdoms to taste with our vanished tongues, to the promenade!

Thru slate and dark of consciousness kindred to the mind and silent halls to doors and time, Crimson shouts into the inner court. An evening on the plateau, the moon weak behind drifting mist, the floor smooth as ice and clear as obsidian, a throne of glimmering darkness etched from the wall places seat over the entire country of whichever era and tribe had claimed it to be named, which the mountain will also tower longer. They bring neither fires nor food, only drinks and dancing to music of bellicose strings and winds, and the entertainment of jesters who combat until bloody and smiling with the knights in combat training for crowds and sport. Crimson with patience of hesitance claims the powerful stone chair. A night of the horizon, a silence of the stars, a motion of the evening in the countenance of a pomp, as two begin to dance a choreographed charade, soon all are pairs and enacting the promenade.