The next day when we met with Agaris, he was visibly disturbed. “What has Merrick done. He has destroyed the door. The magic, all of it is gone.”
I was puzzled, what door and magic was he talking about. I racked my brains, wait, does he mean the magic door we found in Ocllo? The one the treasure was suppose to be hiding? “Agaris, the door in Ocllo?” I asked. “Yes, all of it is gone; the door, the garden, the flowers and the magic. I asked Time Without Dreams to see if I was correct. He could find no trace of magic left.”
“Was there any thing left? Something that might help us know what Merrick is doing and where he is?”
Worried, Agaris began pacing. “A note buried in the dirt where the door was and drag marks of a heavy object. I have no doubt that it was Merrick who unsealed the door and took whatever was inside. Worse, we now know the door was just a magical wall to keep whatever was inside, in. Something that Merrick has taken out. The drag marks showed what ever it was had a wide base. Possible it was a statue, but there is no way to be sure.”
“Did the note tell what Merrick had taken and where he was going?” I asked.
“No, just a warning for us not to keep looking for him and to leave Tolivar alone. He will make him pay but won’t allow him to be captured by the Royal Guard or Blackthorn. The note also said that he had dragged Spencer Hollowel out of the other side to kill him. How can this be the Merrick I know? He took Drudun’s book and murdered the man in cold blood. I don’t get it… Merrick seems like the kind of man who would protect someone for anything, but just kill them? In cold blood?”
The room was silent, as we took in the information and what it meant. But we still hadn’t found Merrick. “Agaris, are we any closer to finding Merrick?”
“No, but you need to hurry to meet with Captain Corian before he leaves to meet Dahlia. He must know what Merrick has done. him what has happened.
You need to tell Corian about this, he needs to know what has just happened before he goes to meet Dahlia. She has set a trap to lure Tolivar out. Corian is going to join her shortly. I fear that they are walking into a trap. Hurry! He shouted opening a gate for us. We found ourselves on The docks south of West Britain Bank. Captain Corian wasn’t far off.
We ran to him. Everyone began telling him what we had learned at the same time. ” Agaris sent us. Merrick has opened the Ocllo door.” Lady Thalia said. Demoss added excitedly, ” Wait he took the door, no I mean the treasure.” Hemp Knight added, “All the magic is gone. Time Without Dreams checked and it is all gone.” Lady Thalia broke in “A Note was left stating he will deal with Tollivar.”
“ENOUGH!” Captain Corian shouted .”I do not have time for this Merrick. I cannot protect you anymore. Agaris, he should know I do not have time for this right now then. He has Spencer to use if we can reach him. Evidias was working on a spell.”
“No, Corian,” I said raising my voice to be heard. ” He has killed Spencer.”
Holding his head, Corian said in a resigned voice. “Of course he did. If what you are saying is true, I could use your help with capturing Tolivar. He may be the last piece of the puzzle we can get our hands on.” He opened a gate, “Dahlia lured him out, we had to falsify papers stating Elise the Golden was being held prisoner by the Royal Guard. It won’t be long before Tolivar finds out it was a sham.” He said as he stepped through the gate, not looking to see if we followed.
Stepping out of the gate, we found ourselves in a desert facing Tolivar and his juka guards. Eonir, one of the royal guards, was telling Tolivar to turn himself in. He added that if he did, Elise might be set free. Dahlia added that he had to tell everything he knew, but especially where to find Merrick.
Tolivar looked around at the assembly, he began laughing, “Turn myself in? Do you think you could build a prison to hold me?” Ignoring the rest, he turned to Dahlia. “Have you forgotten who trained the man who made you, Dahlia? You are a child, and I trained Merrick myself. You think I cannot get out of a prison that I buried so many inside of?”
“True, but have you forgotten we have Elise. You know what will happen to her if you do not surrender. There will be nothing to keep her from execution. Just tell us where Merrick is. Tell us what he is really after.” I could tell her anger was building. ” I don’t believe in this fairytale of a woman he has killed for. You know that is not what he is.”
Tolivar Fence answered calmly, ” I have no idea where he is. He is mad dog off his leash.” Then his manner hardened, ” But if I find him I will put him down, after what he did to me. So stay out of my way.” Tolivar shoved the guard aside as he moved toward Dahlia. Before he reached her, a gate opened.
Stepping through the gate, Tavian grabbed Dahlia and shoved her through the gate. “I am through Tolivar. You will not harm her.” Tavian snarled. Before stepping through the gate, he turned and shrugged. “Do what you will with him. It has nothing to do with me.
Tolivar began laughing. “Well played, Very well, it is better this way.”
Captain Corian demanded “Where did he send her?”
“What do I care?” scowling at Corian, he continued, ” Does she know you are conspiring with the Alchemist? I will not let that stand.”
“Are you insane Tolivar?” Puzzled Captain Corian asked.
“You still believe that the murders in Skara Brae are my doing? Then you are worse than a conspirator, you are a fool Corian.” Tolivar said in disgust. I know he turned in the evidence. You have read it. You cannot even see it then?” He shook his head, “Merrick killed the Skara Brae citizens. You have seen the old spy records. In the Skara Brae records, look up the name, Abrian Sadaris. He lived there years ago. That was who Merrick was looking for. I shivered when Tolivar smiled. You know what he is capable of. He murdered all of them looking for Abriam. He found him, finally.” Captain Corian stood silently, unable to answer Tolivar. Looking, at the silent Captain, he taunted, ” You have seen the name, I can see the look on your face. Maybe you should tell them what I am talking about? Tell them who their beloved Merrick really is.” Then signaling the juka guards, he order them to attack. As the others fought only Corian and I heard Toviar’s parting words. ” But you won’t get to ask him yourself. I will find him and kill him, he will not harm my grand daughter Elise.”
I didn’t have time to think, as a Juka Lord attacked me. Captain Corian’s blade saved me just in time. The battle was over quickly, with few deaths. Back at the hall, the Captain fell into the first chair he found too tired to stand. Sighing he finally spoke, ” Merrick is not coming back. He never planned on it. For gods sake, he murdered several Royal Guards in their sleep, when Tolivar was in charge… for that alone the King wants him killed on sight. Merrick’s list of crimes, makes Tavian look like a saint.”
“But what did Merrick hope to gain? I asked. “Where do we look for him now?
Corian shrugged, “I do not know. He said he was doing it for some girl trapped in a magical prison. I do not know where Merrick’s lies end and the truth begins, or if there is any truth to it. I feel as if we are caught in a battle between Merrick and Tolivar. Misdirection and false leads, with just enough information to aid Merrick.”
“He has always been driven by his need to protect his family.” I said, “They have always been more important to him than life.”
Captain Corian nodded in agreement. “This is even extreme for him willing to burn all of his bridges. Its like he has no regard for his life at all anymore, none. What could be so damned important? Because he won’t survive it.”
The discussion continued into the night. Merrick and Tolivar, are like two wily badgers at each others throats. And only both of them know what is actually going on. Family seemed to be the key. Merrick protecting Dahlia, his niece. Tolivar protecting his granddaughter Elise. A blood feud? Why? A question we couldn’t answer. It was clear though that Merrick had been planning this for a long time. Merrick had used us as his willing pawns. Still there was the feeling that we had missed an important piece of the puzzle. At last we tired and with aching heads, it was decided we needed sleep. As we left I remembered that for the first time Tolivar seemed genuinely afraid for once. Like he knew Merrick would kill his grand daughter if he didn’t stop running from him. Before Captain Corian left, he had said, ” I have a feeling that the events are coming to an ugly head soon.” I could only agree. A feeling of dread filled the night air.