Tony opened his eyes, it was almost dark and he was alone. He lay still for a few minutes trying to work out what had happened. He ached from head to toe, even his eyeballs ached. There was a smell, unusual and not altogether pleasant.
He reached out a hand and touched his arm, it was prickly and the smell stayed on his fingers. Then he knew what it was, burnt hair. The dragon he thought, the bloody dragon that was it.
He sat up, a candle in a saucer glowed beside him. There was a mug of water and what appeared to be a cheese sandwich. He was incredibly hungry and grateful to whoever had provided the feast.
With a little difficulty he got to his feet. He needed a pee and looked around for a suitable corner. He picked the large rock and went to relieve himself up it.
The rock spoke and almost gave him heart failure.
Oi it said, do I come and take a piss up your house!
He stopped and stared, peeing onto the ground in shock.
Thank you said the rock. If you need to go again there is a bucket round the corner, Trevor is very particular.
Tony shook his head, he had obviously banged it a lot harder than he thought.
No you’re not mad the rock continued, watch this it said.
Tony stared in amazement as a knarled finger appeared, the digit waggled about for a second and went back in.
The Pixie put his eye to the hole, there was a faint light coming from within the stone and an elderly man with beady black eyes waved back at him.
Hello there he said, you must be the one that Trevor dragged in. You were completely out of it, lucky for you because the dragon pretty much destroyed everything else out there.
Tony ran a chubby hand through his singed hair. I’m Tony he said, would you like to explain to me what the fuck is going on.
The rock sighed, it’s complicated. Where do you want me to start Tony.
A name would be good
Sure, to the human world I’m Merlin, he laughed.
Tony gasped in the presence of greatness, oh good grief he said. It’s an honor to meet you Sir.
Thanks, I think my reputation might have got just a little out of hand over the years.
I was born Mervyn Emrys but you can call me Merv. Funny how names stick isn’t it. Merlin was just a bit of baby talk, one of them couldn’t say Mervin and it came out Merlin. Can’t remember which kid it was now, don’t suppose it matters anyway. So Merlin I became, all potions and pointy hat.
I never really liked the hat, it makes me look like a prize tit, but Trev says it’s how the world thinks of me, so I’m stuck with it like Sherlock Holmes and his deerstalker!
Do you get a lot of visitors up here then Merv
No, just Trev, he’s been very good to me, Pixies are so loyal don’t you find.
Yeah we are as a rule
Are you a Pixie then
Yes, a very confused one at the moment.
Probably the bang on the head, Trev knew you needed help. He went to see someone I think it was a Gnome.
Tony’s nose wrinkled in disgust, well that’s me screwed then he thought.
Don’t worry, Trev is clever, help will come.
Right, anyway I guess I can go now, my friends will be worrying about me.
Merv coughed, they think you are dead Tony. Apparently there is a big one that does birds, he came for a look but he’d flown off by the time Trev got there. It was all a bit melty and hot, so he just assumed that you were toast I guess.
Instinctively Tony reached for the silver acorn, it was gone. Shit he said under his breath, imagining what they were all thinking, Jon would be going nuts.
Trev took your acorn ring off, he thought he might need it for ID. He guessed that you might have a family somewhere who might be worrying.
Yeah I have he said, now how do I get out of here.
Oh you can’t not yet. The dragon is circling, in here you are safe but out there it’s crunchy crouton time.
Tony sat down, ok he said. Why don’t you tell me why you are stuck in that rock Merv and I will try my very best not to go insane, thinking about how my loved ones must be suffering.
Yeah I can see that might be a difficult one. Large family have you, I know Pixies, you randy little sods, always producing.
Not really my thing to be honest, but I have a step son and two lovely grandchildren as well as a partner who will be overjoyed to know that I’m not dead.
Right, well Trev will be back soon. You’ll like Trev he’s great.
I’m sure he is, now how about you tell me how you got yourself into this mess.
I fell in love with the wrong woman, seriously big mistake. She put me here, no way out. It’s enchanted or least I thought so until about half an hour ago. There has never been a hole in the rock before, her power must be slipping. Perhaps controlling the dragon is taking all she has.
Wow, how long have you been in there?
Dunno, about a thousand years or so. Time doesn’t mean much when you are stuck inside a rock. Trev keeps me company, sometimes he goes off for a bit but he always comes back. We do word games, crosswords and stuff.
Lovely, now tell me about the dragon.
She summoned it, I guess she’s bored with giving me boils, and prickly heat, earache that was a favorite for a time. Then there was cramp, and fleas and chicken pox. Loads of irritating stuff but obviously I didn’t suffer quite enough.
She put a skunk in here once, just for fun. Jesus that was rank. The dragon is new, she’s trying to finish off poor old Trev, then I won’t have anyone to talk to.
That’s rotten, she sounds like a grade A cow.
Yeah she is, that’s why we need help.
Do you want a drink the old man said. I think there is a bottle of Pixie juice on the shelf over there, do you see it.
Yeah, but it’s not mine.
Oh Trev won’t mind, he’s not like that. Help yourself, you will have to drink out of the bottle but it’s Pixie clean.
It was and the Pixie juice was vintage home brew.
Much, now I need to get out of here Merv. I have people waiting for me
Can’t help you there old son, she’s been leaching every bit of power I have for years.
I don’t get the power bit, I thought that was all over long ago.
Merv sighed, yeah well once or twice in a millennia a couple of Elves turn out to have the golden ticket. We can do stuff that the old ones could do, like Gethenaar and his friends.
I am one of them, she’s another one. There haven’t been any others for years, and as far as I know we are the last. Call us Sorcerers if you like, Trev says it’s a bit of a wanky name, whatever that means. He does pick up some peculiar phrases from the human world.
Tony tried to hide a grin. I know all about Gethenaar he said taking a swig, the Shining One.
That’s right, well done.
I know his Grandson
Really, who’s that then, he had many.
Oh my goodness, how is the dear boy
Tony sighed, not so good at the moment, he thinks I’m dead, so he’s probably a bit stressed out right now.
Shonnin was always a sensible child, remarkably perceptive but sensitive. Fette was better at hiding it. He was a brave little soldier from the start, as long as the lights were on, you never saw a child so afraid of the dark.
Tony made a mental note to start calling Marc a brave little soldier just to see what happened. He thought that maybe on the phone would be wise the first time, he was getting way too old to run from a bear and he hadn’t forgotten that Marc could also fly, so hiding up a tree was out.
Was Fette the shifter that landed then.
Tony shrugged, probably, looking for me I expect.
Well at least you are safe and sound, just a bit singed, that’s how close you came to being toast!
I know, it makes me go cold Tony said, realising that he had drunk half the bottle.
Merv went quiet for a while
Good is it
Yeah, reminds me of another Pixie I briefly knew once, he said miserably.
It’s been over 1000 years since I had a drink the old man said wistfully
Tony brightened, he produced something from his jacket. I always carry one of these, you never know about cleanliness in some places. Put your mouth up to the hole and try this he said poking in a straw.
Bloody brilliant the old man said, ‘you sir are a true gentleman’
Go easy the Pixie said, we can share what’s left.
Within half an hour the bottle was showing empty and the pair of them were cracking filthy jokes in Pixie. Elvish jokes tended to be a little straight laced.
Ooh that’s better the old man said, fuck the old bitch, if she wants me she can have me, but there will be a battle royal first.
That’s the spirit Tony said leaning against the rock and trying to stop the chamber from spinning. Don’t worry Marc and Jon will get you out of this, It’s what they are good at.