Fiction logo

Magus Murus

The Guardian

By Holly DraperPublished 3 months ago 15 min read
Art by Sean. IG: @sl3v0y_art

If walls could talk within the perceivable human auditory range, history would not be doomed to repeat itself. I could have warned you, shown you the errors of your meat sack ways. I could have saved you from your premature mortal coil.

Instead, you lie beneath the bits of my crumbling mortar and aged bricks - your blood soaking into my thirsty clay.

How did you not see it, feel it? And I was just beginning to tolerate you… poor fleshy fool.

Your gooey interior sloshes onto the ground, puddling beneath what remains of your smoldering face, and slowly sinks into the cracks between the floorboards. Ashes cover us both in your shame.

It didn’t have to be like this.

As you struggle, gasping for air, I can’t help but to think of my past. If only I could have told you what it is I protect, perhaps you would have turned right around back through the archway and gone home. But here we are, in ruins, and I know it’ll happen again.

Well, you won’t be going anywhere in the near future. Perhaps if I tell you my story, somehow, someone will know my truth.

I can tell by your slack jaw and glazed over eyes that you can’t wait to hear this. Ugh. Humans.

It was hundreds of years ago, my wheezing, squishy swindler, when I was created from the red clay and fire of life. Carefully, meticulously, I was assembled into the most gorgeous brick wall the white-bearded man had ever seen (he told me so himself). With a flick of his wrist and a seemingly ordinary stick, sparks twinkled and flashed through the air as stones and mortar glided into formation. The effervescent epoxy perfectly compressed against my mosaic bricks, not a single one out of line. I had to be perfect, and the pressure to impress grew heavier with each layer of beautiful, charred clay. My assembly was swift, and some might even say, magical.

The old man donned with the long white beard titled me Magus Murus, but my close friends call me Murray. Well, they would if I had friends. It’s quite difficult to socialize with other walls when you’re eternally stuck in one location.

Now, I’m not your average wall, I will give you that. My creator made sure I knew how special I was compared to other structures. For not only am I a wall, but I’m the last defense against evil.

Oh you poor, stupid homosapien. You would have never made it through me to begin with. I could tell by the stench of your soul as you walked in that you are among the scum of the earth - a vile vermin preying on the weak. You are not worthy of the prize hidden behind me.

Alas, you were not the first to venture on this asinine quest. As I’m sure you could tell by the chorus of crunching bones under your feet as you stepped into my presence, many have fallen to my defenses. Thanks to Merlin, my creator, I am able to conjure just about any form of deterrence that I can possibly imagine. From converting all the oxygen in the air to carbon monoxide all the way to razor thin blades that thrust out when a single one of my bricks is touched, I have conquered all the unworthy who have entered.

Sure, you dodged the poison-tipped arrows in the archway. I’ll give you that one, goopy creature. But how did you miss the trip wire that catapulted the flaming stones onto you? That one wasn’t even my best trick, as I was hoping you would fight back a bit before meeting your demise. Even your death is disappointing to me.

As your life leaves your evil eyes, I want you to know that no one will mourn you. Your carcass will slowly decay while the rats and maggots consume your flesh. And I will still be here, protecting that of which you covet in vain - the Soul Fire of Morgan le Fay.

You see, even if I had found you worthy, you still wouldn’t have been able to enter through my secret doorway. I could tell by your overwhelming sense of self entitlement and stupidity, you had no idea that I require a password. You would simply waltz in here with a mallet and smash away until you found the flames. How did that turn out for you?

Of course, the one who is worthy will know exactly the right string of words to say before me, Igne natura renovatur integra. If you had any culture, you decaying disappointment, you would know that translates to: Through fire, nature is reborn whole. However, only the traditional Latin incantation will grant a worthy mortal access. Anything other than this phrase will cause flesh and bone to spontaneously combust, the fire always receives its toll.

I suppose it’s lucky for you that your skull was instead crushed by those burning bricks. You stink well enough on your own without being completely charred to a crisp. Ah, my creator must be so proud of the work -

“Hello? Is… someone in there?”

What? Can… Can you hear me? Who goes there? Step through the entrance, I am curious to see the one who can hear me.

“Of course I can hear you silly. You said your name is Murray! Or, that your friends call you Murray. Is it okay if I call you that? I could really use help from a friend.”

Why yes, you may call me Murray. Step through the archway now and let me take a look at you.

Oh there you are. Why, you’re not but a mere child! How the hell did you wind up here, little one?

“I… I came to save my brother. Murray, I hear you, but I can’t see you. Are you trapped in the wall or something?”

No, silly child, I AM the wall. See? Yes, over here. Now, you said save your brother? I hope he wasn’t this fellow laying here on the floor.

Come closer, child. Tread carefully, only step on the lighter wood planks. There you go, one small step at a time. Oh my Merlin, you… you are so innocent and pure. I haven’t felt a presence like yours in centuries. Tell me, tiny traveler, what do they call you?

“My name is Lillian. Uh, Lillian Pendragon, your magical-ness. But you can call me Lily. I’m sorry for interrupting your story, Murray. I hope you aren’t mad.”

Did you say Pendragon? Of course! You must be a descendant of Arthur himself! And I am anything but mad, dear girl. You can hear me! It’s been so long since anyone took the time to listen to an old wall like me. But forgive me, you can’t possibly be here for the Soul Fire, are you?

“Yes, I think that is what I need to save my brother. When he got sick, we thought the doctors could help him. But they said it was really bad, and they didn’t think he would get better…and…”

Oh, please don’t cry. I’m not really sure how to comfort a tiny human. Here, let me get you something comfortable to sit on, and I’ll fetch you a tissue. I’ll just conjure them here and - ah! There you are. Wow, it feels… strange conjuring to help instead of defend. Take a seat, and a deep breath. Better?

“Yes, thank you, Murray. I’m sorry for crying, it’s just been really hard. My brother is… was, my best friend and I just want him back.”

Did the sickness take him from you? Oh, I am truly sorry, little flesh- er, little person. But how did you wind up here?

“Grandpa likes to tell us stories about all the great things our ance-anso… old, dead family people did forever ago. And I remembered the one about the witch with the fire that brings people back to life. So I snuck into his secret library and found this map, see?”

There I am! My, look at how beautiful I am in this drawing. My mortar is practically glowing!

“You are a pretty wall! I’m happy you are nice. And I like the funny words you say.”

There you go, smiles are better than tears. Please, do go on with your story.

“Oh, yeah, okay. I snuck out in the middle of the night and rode my bike all the way here. I saw that mean man walk in here, and I hid until he came inside. But I knew he wouldn’t get the fire because only good people can do it, Grandpa told me that. So I waited for a little bit, and then when I heard the boom I walked in here. The map has pictures of all the booby trap places right up until this room, so I didn’t step on any of the bad stones.”

Ah, of course, Arthur must have kept records of all his feats, treasures, and hiding places for his bounty. But I must ask you, does the map say anything about the sacrifice?

“Sacrifice? What does that mean? Is that the weird words at the bottom?”

Well, something this magical and powerful always has a downside. A sacrifice is something you have to give up in order to gain another outcome. And no, little cub, that is the secret password to gain entry to the flames. Are you willing to lose something in order to bring your brother back?

“I would do anything to save Nicholas. I brought my allowance and everything. He can even have my room and all my toys if I can have him back.”

I’m afraid this sacrifice is something much more special than your money or your belongings, child.

“What do I need to give up then?”

Your vitality, I’m afraid.

“My… what? I don’t think I have one of those.”

Ah, my young adventurer, you do have vitality. You see, the flames can only be picked up by hand. But don’t worry, it won’t burn you because you are pure of heart and intention. It will, however, only keep burning by using your life source as fuel until you place it on your brother’s heart. The Soul Fire will then transfer the vitality it took from you to your brother, bringing him back to life. You see, vitality is basically your energy - your soul, as it were.

“It’s going to… k-kill me?”

No, thankfully. It’ll drain a few years from your life. You’ll grow older overnight, but you shall live. The longer you hold it, the quicker you will grow up, which will lead to you dying sooner than you naturally would if you didn’t hold the flames.

“Oh. But I’ll be able to save Nick? And I won’t die today?”

That is correct. It sounds like you might not understand the gravity of this sacrifice, I fear. Perhaps I shall explain it another way?

“No, no. That’s okay. I don’t need to live a long time as long as I can bring him back. I told you, I would do anything to have my brother come home.”

Courageous and selfless as well, you are worthy of this treasure. Alright, my fearless friend, all you need to do now is say the password, and I’ll show you the way.

“Well, before I do that, I am going to give you some of my allowance for being so nice to me. Mom always says good people deserve good things! I know you aren’t a person, but you are good. I can tell.”

Ha! Oh my, you are generous and kind as well. While I do appreciate the offe- by the beard of Merlin! Is that the Scabbard of Excalibur?!

“This sword purse? Oh uh yeah, I think there is usually a sword in here. But I took it out so I could bring my allowance. And that sword is really, really heavy. Please, take this! You can buy yourself a nice lamp. It’s kind of dark and spooky in here. ”

I… You… Wow. I never imagined a day where I lacked the words.

Lily, this, er, “sword purse” as you called it, is magical, just like me. It will protect you from all harm. I cannot be certain, but I think you will be protected from the curse of the Soul Fire.

“You mean… I’m not going to get old yet?”

I think it is very possible that you will be unaffected by it, yes. Or at the very least, it should drain your vitality slower.

You see, as Morgan le Fay was slain, she muttered a powerful spell to form the Soul Fire. It used the remainder of her essence to be created, and she made sure to imbed it with the curse to steal the vitality of another whenever it was touched; and, assumed it would bring her back to life.

However, the wise and mighty King Arthur decapita- oh, uh, removed her head from her shoulders, so she could never come back to life. Her bones have been scattered along the land and sea, and all that remains is her burning skull, engulfed in the flames of life and death itself.


So, small one, the magic of Excalibur and its Scabbard are stronger than that of Morgan le Fay’s dark magic, if wielded by someone worthy. And you are the most worthy human I’ve met in hundreds of years. In theory, as long as you hold the Scabbard, you should be able to carry the flames without being affected too harshly. If anything, it should lessen how much of your vitality is used by the fire. All you need to do now is speak the words.

“I can’t really speak Italian very well, but I will try.”



Hah, never you mind. Speak the words, Lily, and I shall lead you to the fires.

“Okay, here it goes. Ig…ne natura revon… Uh, renova…”


Oh, right. Renovatur… integra!

Say it one more time, little one, all together now. It only works if you get it exactly right.

Igne natura renovatur integra!

Beautifully spoken, Lily. Careful now, this doorway hasn’t been opened in many moons so it might be a little noisy and dusty. And… Here… We… Go!

Ahhh, yes! Watch as my bricks rotate and recede into themselves like a magnificently coordinated ballet - dancing and spinning until they reveal… Wait for it… Ah-ha!

“Whoa… A secret room! You are the most amazing wall I’ve ever met, Murray! Can I go in there now?”

Yes, you are free to enter. Just be sure to only touch the flames, and nothing else in the hideaway. Oh, you are fast for someone with such little legs. Be careful in there!

Remember, all you need is a little scoop to save your brother, and make sure not to let it leave your hand it until you rest it on his chest.

“Is it normal that the fire is purple-y blue? Oh, maybe it’s black. No wait, purple. And blue. Is this the right fire? I’ve never seen one like this before.”

That’s the one! Don’t be afraid to touch it: the flames will feel cool to the touch like dipping your hand into a babbling brook, or so I’m told.

“So… I can’t use this big cup in here to scoop it out?”

NO! Do not touch the Grail, only the fire. If anything other than flesh and bones touches the fire, the flames will cover you in mere seconds and steal your soul all at once.

“Okay, okay. I’m just making sure. Thank you, Murray!”

My goodness, child. I’m practically shaking in my very foundation. Do you have the flame? Oh! There you are! How do you feel?

“I feel…”

Are you okay? Are you losing your vitality?

“I feel like… I’m going to save him. I think this will bring him back! And no, I still feel like I’m nine. Can you feel it when you get older?”

Well, I’m not too sure how it feels for humans, but I know you would at least grow taller. It doesn’t appear you have grown, so that is a great sign! Hurrah!

“Oh, Murray… If the fire can’t drain very much of my vitality stuff, will it still bring Nick back?”

Well, the flame remains lit, so it looks like it should. Your brother’s body will only need a small portion of a flickering flame to reanimate him. Lily, you must get to your brother as quickly as possible. Oh, wait. Where is his corp- uh, body?

“He’s still in the hospital in the metal room. The uh… dead body room.”

When, if you don’t mind my asking, did he pass?

“This afternoon. I already had the map ready a few weeks ago in case the doctors really couldn’t help him. I knew I would have to be ready to save him. Grandpa always told me to be prepared for the journey ahead.”

Perfect. Get there as quickly as you can. And remember, you need to keep the uh, sword purse, on your person until you put the flame on him. And do not drop the fire, whatever you do.

“I can do this! I’ve been able to ride my bike one handed for a while now. Don’t worry, Murray. I got this.”

Of course you do, Miss Pendragon. Be swift and safe on your journey. I wish you all the best luck in your travels.

“Thank you for everything, Murray. I won’t forget you.”

Nor I you, my little explorer.

And in an instant, my small, worthy acquaintance has disappeared through the archway. Looks like it’s just you and me now, you decaying degenerate.

I do hope she completes her quest, and truth be told, I hope she comes back to visit me. You aren’t exactly a riveting conversationalist. Don’t roll your eye out of your socket at me, you know I’ve been dominating this colloquy.

Well, she knew, anyway, and that’s all I need.

Good luck, Lillian Pendragon! And thank you for giving me hope in humankind again.

Until we meet again; vale, mi amice. I shall retell your tale until the end of times.

Goodbye, my little friend.

Short Story

About the Creator

Holly Draper

I’ve always loved writing, and I’m excited to get some work out there! I tend to write more on the dark and spooky side. So if you’re into it, check it out! My art insta is @drapersdapperdoodles, and cosplay is @drape_soda

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments (2)

Sign in to comment
  • Jake Aldridge3 months ago

    This was awesome Holly! I loved it. What a cool story, I enjoyed Murray. The set up was so good - starts off real dark so Lily shines through the story.

  • Rohith Pailey 3 months ago

    Good one buddy

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.