To my honey bee ;), hopefully you read this during duty and look up to the moon and know that I live yet another day and even if I dangled over a cliff edge…I’ll still be there for you.
Chapter 15: The First 24 (Part 2)
"You mean to tell me he had it all this time?"
He stood, trident tightly in hand and glowing brightly, its 3-pronged edge dug into the ground. A glorified walking stick it had become as he leaned against it and watched the woman tell her story sitting on the floor and holding her knees up with her back against the door. She stared out with no particular thing to look at other than memories, recounting everything she could remember to him.
"He had it…"
Merius brandished his normal regalia, his weapons and his clothing…the typical hunter’s wear complete with leather sheath and boots to go along with it. Though something seemed different about him, a brimming confidence that wasn’t normal the last time Augustus had encountered him.
"Ahh…lets just say I’m…typing up loose ends."
He smirked as Augustus passed from consciousness, the blood rushing too quickly to his head leaving no space for processing what had just happened. Silas, on the other hand, well aware of the bad hand he had been dealt though it wasn’t going to be an easy task to get rid him…he was going to make sure of it.
"Brother…I knew you had this in store for me but I never knew you’d put it into practice…such a malicious character you’ve always been, it’s no wonder Father wanted nothing to do with you after…"
Merius cut him off.
"Ohhh!!…Ohhhhh look at who has just found his own set of teeth to flash in my direction, let me enlighten you, Silas…fool…whatever manner words you can come up with amount up to just a drop in the bucket, soon to be evaporated…that’s the value I have for what you say.
Honestly, right now…I think I’m going to relish the moment that I get to see you and the hanging liver behind you plunge to that eternal darkness…who knows if you’ll feel the slate of the rock 200 feet down…”, he looked over the edge and shook his head, “…it surely is a long way. I’m going to enjoy seeing you fall…so why wait? Lets get this started off in the right way shall we?”
His smile was unbearable. A disgusting thing that Silas detested with every inch of inner being he had…the honor he held for his family disintegrating faster as Merius marched proudly toward one of the Uruks who was holding something with a cloth draped over it. Merius stepped toward the monster and tossed the cloth which went floating down, using the currents of the air and waterfall not far behind to coast a new path toward the canyon’s bottom. It bobbed and waved, went up in a cresendo, stopped, and swayed the other way as slowly and surely it made a safe journey down toward the bottom.
It actually hadn’t reached the bottom yet when Merius turned around with his new equipment solely attached to his arms…it wasn’t even halfway yet.
"Thanks to our friends the miners…" Merius uttered to himself as he held up his arms and showed off quite a piece of shine. It glistened in the sun like the finest silver the world had ever known, layered and fitting like a welder’s glove…though instead of it being made entirely of leather…it was made entirely of silver. Like armor that covered his arms, these gloves started from his fingers and ended up to his elbows along with a ruby stone implanted on the tops of both his left and right hands.
"Those can’t be…" said Silas.
"They are…" said Merius.
"Wait wait…" Augustus interrupted the woman. She looked up at him with a slightly startled, fearful face, keeping an eye on the trident and making sure it wasn’t swinging the bad end too closely to her face, "You mean to tell me that he had the gloves of Achamus? The gloves that, when those rubies are attached to the slots on the hands, any mortal man can have the strength of a Titan? That’s such bullshit, those things were a myth made up by townsfolk for stories about what’d happen to kids if they were bad…"
His voice sounded almost dismissive as the woman felt offended.
"What little you know, young man…those gloves of which you so deride easily are no myth…you saw them with your own eyes…"
"I was hanging upside down!" His voice echoed clear, crisp, and loud throughout the hallway that they were stuck in. "They could’ve been anything! A hallucination…I don’t buy any of this at all, I don’t even know why I’m listening to you." He lifted his trident, confident to the end of this whole debacle as the 3 spears attached to the end thrusted forward toward their victim and she grew fearful, grabbing onto the spears themselves as they cut her hands sliding closer to her neck.
"I’m not lying, please!!"
Her weakness radiated from her body and her grip failed fast. She knew she was about to die and Augustus knew this too…he wasn’t one to expedite this so he decided to let her speak her final words. Putting down the trident down once more and allowing her yet another few breaths…she continued.
"But if you have them, that means that…", Augustus slowly came to as the blurry vision of him hanging upside down and watching the conversation between the brothers occur started to clear a little, "…that means that they’re dead. You killed them?"
"Enough with the accusations brother…it doesn’t fit you.", and with that Merius turned his attention toward the tree trunk that held the rope and fate of Augustus dangling in and out of consciousness, dangerously high to the heavens. He bent his head back a little as he was afforded quick glimpses of the canyon bottom while his weight made the rope swing slightly like a pendulum in a clock, back and forth. As Merius made his first steps through the brush and the Uruks followed along, disappearing from sight, Silas turned his attention back to his dangling prisoner/victim.
"You won’t know when I cut this rope Silas so I suggest if you are to save your bonny lass, you do it quickly…" Merius laughed as he disappeared behind the dark brush and made his way toward the trunk.
Silas, ever the thinker suddenly jumped from the stone plank he was standing on and grabbed hold of the rope that held Augustus by the leg. He gasped and laughed suddenly: “I never thought that would work…”, and as reality set in, he looked down and found that the only way he was keeping himself from a long flight to the floor was the grip he had on the rope; his feet crawling along Augustus’ face. He held on tightly as Augustus managed to utter the words, “…this was your plan?”
Silas thought quickly. The threads on the rope suddenly started peeling from the weight of two people, its frayed surface gave way faster than normal as within just a few seconds, they were surely on a one way track to the bottom.
Merius, meanwhile, finally found the tree trunk that had the frayed rope tied tightly to its radius. He looked at the Uruks who stood around and rubbed his hands together, the fine silver draped along both his arms clanged in response as he gave a slight clap, like an olympian preparing for an event in ancient Greece.
"Watch and learn men, watch and learn…this…is the power of the Gods"
Merius put his hands against the large trunk, giving a slight push but no nudge from his action. He looked around a little awkwardly and slide the gloves higher on his arms, tightening the grips around his hands. This time, putting true concentration into his push, he leaned fully against the trunk. The rubies began to glow brightly and the metal gripped onto his arms almost as if the God of strength had put his hands on the shoulders of this individual and assisted in the destruction of this trunk. Merius closed his eyes and put more effort into it, stiffening his back and pushing harder, he gripped the trunk with his very hands, his fingers digging in like stone knives into a soft surface causing the wood to splinter suddenly and give way to his hands. It seemed slow to the Uruks, his hands cracking the trunk but not doing much else…this seemed the strength of only a man who was as strong as Merius but no less stubborn that this magical power would work.
Unimpressed, they grunted their displeasure for obtaining these gloves came at great cost…Merius was to have none of it. He quickly changed his game plan and let go of the tree, stepping back a couple steps and gaining his breath again. He let out a primal yell and channeled all his strength into the gloves which magnified it 100 times, 1000 times…a million times over. Forming his hands into a clapping motion, he brought them around the trunk with such quickness and strength that as soon as the untarnished silver of the gloves touched the surface, the trunk itself exploded into millions of splinters, tossing them all around as if the blast had obliterated the enormous structure and whatever was holding the rope now lay in a small crater where a tree once stood.
Merius looked on in amazement, staring at the palms of his hands, the gloves and their silver shining and glowing brightly, giving off sound of a low hum of power with the rubies shining the brightest red man or beast had ever seen.
This was the strength of the gloves of Achamus.
However fortunate this appeared for Merius, Silas and Augustus had a worser run of it. Both falling suddenly without warning, Silas held on to Augustus’ leg since there was nothing more to hold on to and Augustus held on to the ankle of Silas…falling head first and turning in the air, the rope long enough to wrap around a saving grace.
And it did.
As they both fell to their apparent deaths, the speed at which they had both been reaching caused their own consciousness to lose itself; the grip on reality was becoming looser by the second while the distance between them and the stone river below was decreasing faster than what time could tell. Silas fell under first, his enormous body now such a huge weight bearing down on Augustus who was having the reverse effect. He was fully awake and fully aware of where this journey was headed. He felt Silas’ weight pressing agsinst his chest as the angle at which he was falling had the enormous man on top of him, adding more to the speed of their descent…nothing was going right, nevertheless.
As sudden as it all seemed, however, the long rope that was attached to the trunk at the top of the cliff was now tangling itself with the brush all along the face of this mountain. Wrapping around a branch and yanking on Augustus, bringing the speed of his descent to a sudden stop as he grabbed Silas by the ankle avoiding his nonstop trip to the slate floor. Every jerk, however, shifted his knee and broken bone closer to the edge of punching through the skin but he held on as best he could. By his count, they stopped 3 times on the way down the 200 foot fall which was just enough to land the both of them in the river at a gentle speed as opposed to the suicidal death drop presented as the only option earlier…ironic how the rope that was meant to hold his life in the balance…actually kept it in balance and allowed their survival from unsurmountable odds.
Yet another day lived.
Another 24 hours gone by as while they both fell in the river, the current carried them down slowly toward one of the banks and allowed Augustus to pull himself out with Silas attached to his arm…but breathing. He laid on the sun-baked rock and breathed heavily, taking in all the opportunities of air he had and closing his eyes after such an ordeal.
"How could all this happen to me in a matter of a day…oh man…"
He put his hand over his face and made sure Silas was still breathing…he was. Looking up, he saw the group of Uruks from the top of the cliff looking back down at him with Merius in the middle, his presence visible by the silver gloves he was sporting on his arms shining brightly in the distance. Augustus smirked and heard Merius yell something indistinct from the top of the cliff.
He responded properly: “Hey Merius…fuck you!!” He laughed loudly and kept his eyes closed, breathing in sharply from the pain that his body suddenly had become racked in…managing to hold up a middle finger into the air, hoping Merius would see it.
"Fool peasant…" Merius smirked himself, "…enjoy your last breath, you fool…this is only the beginning."
[To be continued ;)]