Hex 8 – Revelation

The sound of metals clanking and voices shouting brought Hex back to his senses. He looked to his right and saw the fast approaching lights from torches carried by the city guards.

“Looks like we’ve company,” Merlon said with a smile.

“The guards,” Hex said.

“I came to fight you. I’ve no time for them,” Merlon said, jerking a thumb towards the direction of the guards. “Now, how about we leave before they get here, yes?”

Hex tried standing up but his body refused to cooperate. This got a laugh out of Merlon.

“Ah, right,” Merlon said, “the poison.” Merlon looked at Hex thoughtfully.

“They’re getting closer,” Hex pointed out.

“Right, well, I can’t carry you alone.” Merlon reached into one of his pockets and pulled out a small vial containing a dark green liquid. “Here’s the antidote but it’ll take time for the poison to be completely neutralized.”

Merlon got on one knee, uncorked the bottle, and brought it to Hex’s lips. Hex drunk the bottle’s entire content.

Hex coughed and gagged. He could feel the burning sensation of the liquid sliding down his throat and into his belly.

“Tastes like a pig’s ass, I know, but try to keep it down,” Merlon instructed. Hex felt the warmth from the liquid spread all throughout his body. It coursed through his veins—down his legs, to the tips of his fingers. With each beat of his heart, he felt the liquid fire burn away the poison.

Hex looked up and saw the guards. There were ten of them, at least, all armed with swords or axes or spears.

He forced his body to move but the poison wasn’t fully expelled yet. He saw Merlon smiling.

“The guards are here,” Hex said.

Merlon gave a nod and said: “I know. I guess I’ve no choice but to fight, yes?” Merlon stood up and removed his cloak.

The guards cautiously approached the two. One of them, the one standing in the middle, directed his sword at Merlon.

“You two are under arrest for disrupting the peace in our beloved city of Wellshard.” He was the only one wearing an iron helm with a large spike on top. He took another step forward. “Stand down and drop your weapons.”

“Hex?” Merlon said, “How goes the recovery?”

Hex tried moving again—he was able to raise his hands and move his upper body but his legs were still numb. “A couple more minutes.” He replied.

“A couple more minutes it is,” Merlon said. Then to the guards he said: “I guess you’ll have to keep me entertained until my friend here completely recovers.”

“Didn’t you just hear what the captain said?” One of the guards shouted, this one held an axe, “you two are under arrest.”

Merlon gave a laugh. He raised both of his hands slowly. Hex saw the guards tensed. He couldn’t help but smile. There were ten of them and yet they sensed that maybe their number offered little help to this man standing before them with a smile.

The captain of the guards raised a gloved hand. The men behind him formed a line. The captain made a fist with his raised hand and immediately his men raised their weapons at chest level.

“One last warning,” the captain said in a determined voice. “Surrender and no harm will fall upon you two.”

Hex started to have some feeling returning back to his legs. But he still couldn’t stand up. “A couple more,” he said to Merlon.

Merlon gave a nod. “I’m afraid we can’t surrender.”

Anger flashed in the captain’s face. He lowered his hand swiftly and the guards made their moves.

Merlon lowered both of his hands and out of the sleeves of his shirt Hex saw daggers appear. They slid into both of his hands and Merlon struck fast and hard.

Hex watched in admiration as he watched Merlon swiftly erase the distance between him and the guards. Merlon held the daggers with the blades facing the ground and he smashed the hilts on the heads of two of the guards, quickly knocking them down. Without giving the others the benefit of recovery, he bent down low and swept the feet of another guard with his leg. And as he rose, he planted an uppercut to the chin of one more guard. Merlon leapt back to his initial position. Before him, the guards were in a disarray.

The captain looked around him in disbelief. Four of his men were down just like that. His eyes darted back to Merlon. Anger turned to fury. He charged with his sword raised high and a battle cry escaping from his lips.

Before Merlon was able to do anything, a fireball the size of a man’s fist flew from behind him and struck the captain square on the chest. It sent the captain flying back towards the arms of his men. Merlon looked back and saw Hex on his feet, albeit on shaky knees.

“Finally,” Merlon said.

“Let’s get out of here.” Hex said, with his thumb pointing towards the city gate.

“Agreed,” Merlon replied.

The two ran into the darkness of the night and the guards did nothing but watch.

***

Hex and Merlon stopped at a ruins of an old church. Hex sat down on the stairs with elaborate carvings etched on the steps. His eyes were on Merlon. What he saw wasn’t the young Merlon who he fought but the regular one, the old one.

“Looks like your little magic trick has ended,” Hex said.

Merlon smiled, the wrinkles on his face deepening, and said: “And it’ll take a lot of time before I’ll be able to do it again.”

“Now, you’ll explain to me where you’ve been and why you attacked me.”

“Yes, of course, you want answers,” Merlon sat down cross-legged on the ground. “I’ll start by explaining who you really are, Hex.”

“Who…I am?”

Merlon gave a nod. “You’re the greatest sorcerer that ever lived,” Merlon simply said.