Battle before the Gates of the All-Seeing Eye

The Never Ending Quest - episode 14962

A slight drizzle had begun to fall since before dawn and the entourage of Captain Flynt Locke was just about to set off down the Longspeer. The Duke and Duchess Halifax of the Duchy Hindsight had already made their farewells and so the gates of the Iris Estate were the scene of horses, carts, soldiers and guardsmen, a chanticleer and a merchant from the south, the Lady Rowena of Suffex, the man Denom who claimed to be Lord Frederigo of Suffex, and the Captain of the Guard D’Honaire. Then, even as this troupe began to pull away from the guarded walls of the duchy manor, there appeared six forms, and not all were human. 

Time seemed to contract as a multitude of actions and reactions occurred simultaneously. 

Fred, who had taken the alias Denom, stared in shock at the tall red-head next to the man; she appeared to be Astra of Aqualaria, fully healed from both death and the effects of the crystallic! "But you’re dead…" he whispered. 

The Guard Halifax raised their swords while the bowmen on the parapets cocked their arrows. 

Captain Locke drew his sword yelling, "Be gone you foul creatures!" while the remainder of the Guard D’Honaire likewise unsheathed their weapons. 

The man, three of the women and the fox-creature stared in disbelief as the sight about them. The nude woman who had materialized also, too grew large eyes and exclaimed, "Would somebody mind telling me where on—" she didn’t have a chance to finish her thought. 

Imagine, if you will, being presented with a most shocking sight. Imagine seeing the land about you empty one moment and then full of people the next. Imagine that the only time you had ever heard of such a thing was in the nursery where bedtime tales were full of such things, and also in basic training camp where captains and masters-at-arms told of the working of evil mages. Imagine seeing a woman fully nude and knowing that no proper woman would dally about so, and being just materialized from the wisps of the sky, the most prudent conclusion is that she was a she-thing, a demoness, a succubus. Imagine seeing a monster the size of a man but wearing the form of a she-fox. Imagine all these things and it is not difficult to understand what happened next.

Many of the horses reared, the merchant and the Lady Rowena screamed, the soldiers advanced with metal poised to kill, the archers let go a volley to those farthest from the guardsmen; the man raised his hands in an act of magic as did the she-fox, while the red-head pulled out a handy staff and the dark-skinned woman a battle-axe. 

Within fateful moments there exploded a smattering of blood and gut, of astral energy and raw power, of pain and fear and awe and surprise. And then it was over. The battle anyway. 

The gates of the Iris Estate were a smoldering shambles. Three guardsmen of the House Halifax were dead, joined by five from the House D’Honaire. The Chanticleer knelt on the ground pouring drink from mouth to mouth into the wounded soldiers. The merchant Pall sat in a corner within the walls murmuring unheard things. The Lady Rowena lay flat upon the ground, dead, trampled by horses. Lord Fred lay by her side weeping, and next to him lay the unconscious form of the woman who bore the image of Princess Astra of Aqualaria. Captain Ridge stood in the courtyard detailing the bizarre event to Duke Harold Halifax of Hindsight. 

Less than a league away, hidden within a copse, the man who moved magic sat weeping tears of blood. His name was Jarlath D’Honaire, but this world knew him not. This world saw him as an enemy and as such, worthy of death. He sat weeping for loss; the loss of a wife, the loss of a sister, the loss of an eye (for an arrow had pierced it before he could get his family out). His other wife, the woman Annafrid, held a bloodied cloth to his face. "Oh god, oh god, how could this have happened? Vincent never warned us about this." There was a growl behind them both, the she-fox called Andrea Two; "You got that right! I swear, when we get back home, I’ll rip his throat out! But first I wanna kill these bastard barbarians! If you hadn’t taken us out I would’ve continued to throw fire from the ether at them!" "And at what cost?" responded Jarlath. "Joan is dead, I saw her fall. And Astra was grabbed by that soldier in red armour. How he pentrated my magic I do not know, but something let him in." The three sat and wondered at this world in which they found themselves. They wondered and cried and howled their pain to the skies. 

And as for the nude woman whom no one had known, well, she too was deceased. The bolt of a crossbow had pierced her throat; at least her death was swift.

    ...while a mystery woman lies unconscious in the Iris Estate, our threesome begins to reconnoitre this brave new world in which they have found themsleves (Version 2.0) 




1/8/01 9:53:50 PM

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