Thursday, April 24, 2014

Merlin's Legacy, Chapter 7, part 2

The writing still going strong --- All three short stories are over 2,000 words, while the African Firestorm outline is close to 12,000 words. Talked to Rick Chesler, and OUTCAST OPS has it's own twitter feed at @OutcastOps. I'll keep you updated on the progress of the novel.

And now, some more of Merlin's Legacy, the rest of Chapter 7:


        The darkness lasted only a couple of seconds before I found myself in a large stone chamber larger than the library. The floor, walls and ceiling were all made from squared-off stone blocks. Several corridors lead out of the room, to where, I had no idea. “What is this place?”
        “It really has no official name,” Cachmawri said. “We called it the Sanctum.”
        I walked into the center of the room and did a slow circle. A quarter of the chamber was another library, with chairs, bookcases, and a large reading table. Another quarter was a lab of some sort, with a workbench, beakers and other equipment I didn't recognized. The third quarter looked to be a museum, with display cases holding objects. The other quarter looked like a storage area, a refrigerator, cabinets and set of drawers centered around another large table. The way we’d come had a dark doorway.
        “How?” I asked. “There is no way all this can be hidden behind the library wall!”
        “It isn't,” Lucian said, walking into the chamber. “We are standing inside a pocket dimension, first created by Merlin himself, and used by each succeeding generation. It is a warehouse, a training area, a laboratory and a refuge. Here, you can learn how to be a wizard.”
        “How big is this place?”
        “I really don’t know. I never fully explored this place.”
        Lucian shook his head. “Didn’t have the time.”
        The throbbing in my head got worse, and I started rubbing my temples again.
        “Head hurts?” he asked.
        “Yeah,” I replied.
        Lucian motioned toward a cabinet near the doorway in the storage area. "Top shelf, round bottle with white egg-shaped pills in it. Please get it.”
        The cabinet was unlocked and I found the bottle with no problem. I brought over to Lucian. “These?” I asked.
        “Yes. Take two of those. There’s bottled water in the refrigerator.”
        The refrigerator was well stocked with food and liquids, but I just grabbed a bottle of water and used it to wash down the two pills. Almost at once, the throbbing lessened. “Wow,” I said.
        “Feel better?” Cachmawri asked.
        “Good. I’ll show you some of the features of the Sanctum.”
        We spent an hour and a quarter going through the Sanctum. The corridors were built just like the main chamber, all stone, with iron-shod wooden doors leading to different rooms. I saw training halls, both for martial arts and Magus Artificium (Magical arts). There were storerooms, an Alchemy lab, a full kitchen, several bedrooms, an Olympic swimming pool (with changing rooms), and even a hot spring, One room had nothing but a large metal ring set into the chamber floor, surrounded by engravings of different symbols like the ones I saw on Lucian’s tomb.
        This place was huge, easily twice the size of the main house, which was large to begin with. There were stairs and other corridors leading to other parts of the structure we didn't explore.
By the time we returned to the main room, I was suitable impressed with the Sanctum. Lucian had stayed in the main hall, and was waiting for us when we came back. “Well?”
        “Just like the TARDIS,” I said.
        “Tardis?” Cachmawri asked.
        “It’s from a science fiction TV show,” Lucian said “A spaceship that is bigger on the inside than the outside.”
        “Ah. I need to check on a couple of things.” Cachmawri quick-stepped out the doorway leading to the library.
        “What do you think of this place?” Lucian asked me.
        “Very nice,” I said.
        Lucian motioned to a chair in the library quarter. “Please, sit.”
        I went over and sat down. Lucian stood behind another chair. “I know I’m dumping a lot on you all of a sudden,” he said. “And for that, I am sorry. Cachmawri wanted me to bring you up here after you graduated high school and make you my apprentice, but I vetoed the idea.”
        “Because I didn't want you to be subjugated to the same life I was. My father, Quinton Merlin started training me in the Magus Artificium when I was twelve years old. I trained twelve hours a day, six days a week. And if my father wasn't home, Cachmawri would trained me. I had no friends, no social life, nothing but the training and the family.”
        “Did Grandpa know?”
        Lucian shook his head. “Sam knew something was wrong, but didn't know about the training or anything about magic. In any case, he knew that he couldn't stand up to our father. Quinton Merlin was very set in his beliefs, and had a very black and white view of the world.”
        “He doesn't sound like a nice man.”
        “Actually, he was a very loving, but stern, man. He and my mother raised all four of us with love and a disciplined work ethic. The only area in which my father was hard on me was in my training as the next Merlin’s Heir, and in that, he as unforgiving.”
“You didn't want to train me in the same way.”
        In part,” he replied. “But I've also seen many things over the years I wish I hadn’t, the horrors outweighing the few things of wonder. I didn't think I had the right to expose anyone else to it.”
        “But you should had contacted me and asked!” I said, standing up. “I could have come up here during the summer and trained. If being Merlin’s Heir is as important as you say it is, then doesn't stand to reason that a half-trained replacement would have been better than an untrained one?”
        Lucian gave me a sad smile. “Would you have said yes?”
        I stopped for a moment. “Maybe,”I replied. “But you could have exposed me slower to the idea of magic. Instead, I being deluged with all this stuff in a short period of time and I’m feeling overwhelmed.”
        “I’m sorry, Roger,” Lucian said. “I guess I was alone too long. That’s another reason why I didn't pull you into this life earlier. Being the Heir can be so lonely, and it can destroy relationships. It also consumes you life on a scale that few other roles demand. I didn't want you to be condemned to an entire lifetime of that.”
        “What about the next generation?” I asked. “Assuming a child is born into the family with this Magus Sensus in the next several years, what then? Would you delay bring them into the fold and risk there being no Merlin’s Heir?”
        “Roger, I—”
        “Lucian, please,” I said sharply. I then took a deep breath and said, “I could yell and scream for the next two days, but that isn't going to change anything. Grandpa said more than once that screaming about what life dealt you is a waste of time and energy. Best to use that time and energy into getting out what life tossed you into.”
“Sam was always a bit blunt. Took after our mother in that way.”
        I took a deep breath. “The thugs at the tomb weren't the first time I was attacked. I was attacked last week, in my apartment, by the same guys. They wanted the letter Charlie Windiciott sent me, only I hadn't received it yet. It would be one hell of a coincident if your murder and the attacks on me weren't related. Charlie Windicott also told me that his files were broken into the night of your murder and his letter was delayed until his files were sorted out.”
        “A reasonable assumption.”
        “In that vein, they’re not going to stop just because I inherit. And if Merlin’s Heir is that scary to them, they might up the ante.”
        I nodded. “The hooded creep didn't pull that appearing and disappearing trick with smoke and mirrors. And if they start flinging around magic, people could get hurt. It stands to reason that the best way to fight magic is magic.”
        A gong started up, and a female voice said, “Attention. There are intruders on the estate’s grounds. There are intruders on the estate grounds.”


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