Author Topic: Chapter 11  (Read 6957 times)

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Offline Daen

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Chapter 11
« on: November 21, 2022, 12:48:26 AM »
Tupper’s first instinct was to flee. He could Apparate out of that grip easily enough, but he couldn’t just leave Brinks behind! Brinks’ wand had fallen from his grip, which meant he couldn’t move at all, much less teleport. Arthur’s wand wasn’t drawn, so if Tupper could disrupt Merlin’s spell, just for a moment, they could both escape!

“You see, my King?” Merlin said triumphantly. “Spies and saboteurs after all. They came here to destroy the pendulum, just as I predicted. Was I not correct to distrust them?”

“You were right to return early, Ambrosius,” the King said darkly, peering at the both of them. “At least the magic source is undamaged. Without its constant fount of magic, we would be helpless against the Saxons. What has become of Tupper, though? I barely recognize him.”

Merlin examined the swinging mass above them, and nodded, satisfied. Then he turned to look at Tupper as well. “The servant spell must have taken effect, my King. He and all his progeny will look like that, forevermore. Still, I suppose we should have a name for his kin. The Saxons have a name for vicious, traitorous imps like him. I think the name ‘elf’ suits his stature, do you not?”

“As you see fit,” Arthur said, sadly. “And what of you, Lord Brinks? I thought we had developed a kinship, even a friendship, but all you did with that was betray me!” He shook his head. “What have you to say for yourselves?” He nodded over at Merlin, and Tupper felt the pressure on his jaw disappear.

“My King,” Brinks said, his voice remarkably calm considering the circumstances. “This pendulum is the source of a great many ills in my home, and in Tupper’s. Entire races of people, altered like he is, and turned into something other than they were! You are a true and just King, as you said. Can you allow this to happen, in good conscience?”

“How could you say such things?” Arthur asked, his tone if anything, even more hurt. “There will always be servants and lords, as there have always been, and as God intends! This pendulum merely ensures that those servants have the appearance, the powers, and the motivation they need to be effective at it.”

“Motivation?” Tupper bit out. “Do you know how it works, King Arthur? Do you know what we suffer if we’re not serving as ‘God intends’?? You call yourself a righteous King, and maybe you even believe it, but you don’t want to know the truth, do you? You’re content just letting the Archmage do as he pleases, so long as the power is yours when you need it!”

“Tupper,” Brinks called out warningly. He cleared his throat. “My King, this pendulum does much more than just create servants. It can merge people with their horses, making an entirely new race!”

“Indeed,” Arthur said, walking around their frozen forms. “That was my idea. Our scouts are much more effective now that they have become one with their mounts, and their aim with a bow is unhindered. They can react much faster to a Saxon attack now, and, as they’re much more comfortable in the wild these days, no longer need lodgings within the keep.”

Tupper exchanged an incredulous glance with Brinks. Arthur had done this intentionally? As a cost-cutting measure as well??

“We will need bankers and money-changers in this new world our King is building,” Merlin went on smoothly, pointing up at the bag-of-gold symbol. “Such creatures will be quite useful, as long as they care only for metalworking and gold storing. We’ll also need frightful creatures in the wild, to scare the population into our King’s waiting arms.”

“Well, you’ll certainly get them,” Tupper bit out angrily. “Batlike creatures called vampires, who feed on people’s blood. Men who turn into wolves at the full moon, and lose all control of themselves. They’ll tear through the countryside, killing and eating anyone they come across. But what you don’t know, is that they spread that curse with every survivor! Those bitten by a werewolf will become werewolves themselves.”

“Of course I knew,” Merlin said confidently, grabbing Tupper’s jaw, and then running his hand across his scalp and ears. Tupper tried to jerk his head back, but the spell held him in place. “Why do you think I chose the sick as the first to be transformed? With an army of such creatures threatening them, my King will be the only source of comfort and safety the people will have.”

“I must admit I was skeptical when Ambrosius suggested that alteration,” Arthur put in. “But it has worked out well so far. His early spells have transformed people beautifully, and we have the magic necessary to kill them with ease. They will terrorize the Saxon raiders, but be powerless against any cities under my protection. Besides, if skinned during the full moon, they make a wonderful trophy.”

For a horrible moment, Tupper thought of what he was suggesting. The skinning of a human being, just because they didn’t look human at the moment they died?? He shook his head and tried to focus. “What about those executioners you had killed, and then dumped their bodies in the swamp? They won’t stay dead, you know. That scythe symbol up there? That means them. They’ll become horrible creatures who drain life and happiness from everyone around them. And that kissing ritual they did? They keep doing that, to drain the souls from their victims!”

Arthur waved a hand dismissively. “Ambrosius has already divined a way to hold them at bay. He believes that someday they will be useful servants. Perhaps as a means of keeping prisoners.”

“How do you know so much about my life’s work anyway?” Merlin asked softly, still examining Tupper like he was some kind of prized horse. “Only my King and I know of it, and we’ve told no one.” He leaned forward, catching Tupper’s eye, and Tupper could feel his will being shaped by Legilimency. Now that he was back in his old body, he couldn’t rely on confusion and chaos to protect him anymore!

Merlin stepped back, his eyes widening. “Dominus Deus!” He whispered, and Arthur stepped over. “My King, he has memories… of things. Of places I have never dreamed of! The creatures we are creating now, but in full form, and in great numbers. How can this be? What are you?” He asked, amazed.

Tupper couldn’t wait anymore. Any longer and Merlin would discover everything, absolutely wrecking the course of history. He glanced over at Brinks, and then shifted his gaze down at the wand on the floor. Brinks blinked once, but then nodded as best he could, and Tupper gave him a wink.

“You have great power, Myrddin Embrys Ambrosius, but there are a few things you haven’t discovered yet,” he said softly, no longer afraid of anything, really. “Like this!” He Apparated right out of Merlin’s grip, up above the pendulum. “Up here, Archmage!” He added tauntingly.

They both gaped up at him, and Merlin shouted, “no,” just as Tupper slammed his hand onto the metal surface of the pendulum. Instantly, shockwaves of power burst out from it as Merlin’s trap went off. The pain was indescribable, but exultant at the same time! Dimly, Tupper was aware of a magic barrier Merlin had put up over himself and Arthur. Brinks fell to the floor, and grabbed for his wand. Then, the world went white.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2022, 01:03:52 AM by Daen »