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Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 09-29-01 13:27 ET (US)         
THE MIST OF TIME
An Adventure in Post-Roman Brittania


WRITTEN BY:
CIVIS ROMANUS, DUAN_XUAN, GILL BRITANNICA, JAYHAWK AND ZIGZAC.

CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS:
ARITHMIAL, CAESAR ALAN, CIAN MCGUIRE, CYBER PALADIN, DARTHBANE, JAGUAR AND THE PHOENIX



PERSONAL CHARACTERS (Author):

ANGUS: Tall, ruddy-haired, unshaven northern Scot. Carries a double-bit (twin-bladed) battle axe.(DarthBane)
ARITHMIAL: Tall, steely grey eyed stranger with short cropped hair. Rides Brandis, a white stallion. (Arithmial)
AURELIUS: Paladin who wears unusual armor. Has dark brown eyes; long, unbound, fine black hair. Elegant face and behaviour. (Cyber Paladin)
AURIGA: AKA-The Phoenix. Ancient but appears 20ish. Slender, slightly taller than avg. Black hair. Wears a black cloak. (The Phoenix)
BEVAN: Young Celt doing Ysbrand's bidding. Real name is Cedric. Actually a Brit not a Celt. (ZigZac)
CIAN OHEAGHRA: 28-year-old male of the OhEaghra Clan. Black hair, bright blue eyes. Carries a falchion. (Cian McGuire)
FEIMAR: Courageous boy (12 years). Orphan. Ebony brown eyes. Dark complexioned. Agile.(Duan Xuan)
JAYHAWK: Tall immortal with green eyes; disguised as a lute-playing wandering minstrel. Unseen ebony wings. (Jayhawk)
KYRIN: 20ish woman with very pale skin and red hair always worn down, hiding her ears. Short. Wears a glimmering green cloak with many pouches. Carries a quarterstaff and a sling. Launches unerring missles. (Jaguar)
LESTRA: 20 year old daughter of Angles Chief. Auburn hair, reddish highlights, grey eyes; intelligent, rebellious, resourceful, comely. (Gill Brittanica)
LIAM: 23 yr old Paladin of Glynden. Tall, broad-shoulders, brown hair, green eyes. Married w/children. Favored weapon is a dbl bladed long sword. (ZigZac)
NYLA: Sister of Lestra. 18 years old. Longish,dark red hair. blue/green/grey eyes. Milkwhite complexion. Exceedingly jealous of older sister. Temptress, prettier than Lestra; trained by Budra in mysticism and related spells. (Civis Romanus)
RUADAN: Of Leinster; 24 yr old priest who wears the Black Robes of Iona. Frail, bookish. Cousin of Cian OhEaghra. (Cian McGuire)
YSBRAND: Saxon warlock; broad shouldered, tall; has shoulder length brown hair; blue/grey eyes. Charismatic. Travels with menagerie. Carries a twisted wood staff and enchanted weapons. (ZigZac)

NON-PERSONAL CHARACTERS (Author):

BUDRA: Old woman who lives in hut in the forest that borders the Angles village. Secret teacher of mysticism and spells. (Civis Romanus)
GLYNDEN: The name of the village protected by "The Mist". (Civis Romanus)
HORSA: Saxon Chief w/Hengist (Jayhawk)
HENGIST: Saxon Chief w/ Horsa (Jayhawk)
GLYNT: Saxon dwarf who travels with Ysbrand; serves Ysbrand and cares for menagerie. Emissary for warlock. (Civis Romanus)
KLAX: Chief of Angles tribe. Grey'd elder of tribe. Beleagered father of Lestra and Nyla. (Civis Romanus)
TALISIEN: Celtic Elder and Mystic. Protector of the Cauldron. Some say he once was called Merlin. (Jayhawk)

LINKS TO RELATED THREADS:

DISCUSSION THREAD and CHARACTER DETAIL THREAD

ALL MEMBERS ARE WELCOME TO PARTICIPATE - PLEASE STATE YOUR INTEREST IN THE DISCUSSION THREAD.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 03-21-2002 @ 09:13 PM).]

AuthorReplies:
Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 10-24-01 09:01 ET (US)     51 / 109       
Arithmial woke to the smell of bacon and fresh bread. For a second he wondered where he was, then he remembered the night at the fireside table.

And the ale, a pounding in his head told him. The old man and the minstrel had been throwing back pint after pint of the dark, foamy brew like it was water. He'd tried to keep up and right now that seemed to have been a bad idea.

He stumbled out of bed, splashed some water in his face and pulled on his boots. Then he noticed a set of fresh clothes on the ctool next to the bed. He pulled off his boots once more and was surprised to find everything fit like it was made for him. After looking a while a the pile of dirty clothes, he decided to let them lie on the stool. He'd ask the merlin what to do with them.

As he walked back to the kitchen of the cottage he was almost bowled over by Kyrin's two dogs as they ran after the smell of the bacon. The petite lady herself followed closely and looked at him. Her eyes sparkling.
"Good morning, Arithmial.
You look a bit worse for wear?"

He grunted and walked on to the kitchen. The minstrel and the old mage seemed to have spend all night in the kitchen, as they were still seated where he'd left them the night before. Kyrin's dogs were chewing on their breakfast. Arithmial sat down heavily and looked at his food.
He swallowed hard.

Jayhawk looked at him and seemd to wince, then stood and offered him a mug of something that fizzled.
"No thanks, my head hurts enough as it is."
"Drink, " the minstrel said, folding the warrior's hands around the mug.

It seemed impossible to rebel against the look in those green eyes and Arithmial complied. As he finished the drink he blinked. His headache had gone completely.
"What..." he started to say, then stopped as he looked into the smiling eyes of the minstrel.


Angel Jayhawk
EyrieCaesar 4 HeavenChildren of the Nile HeavenStronghold HeavenCaesar 3 HeavenEmperor HeavenPharaoh HeavenZeus HeavenMy Deviations
Support your local HeavenMy RecommendationsEXCOHALO
I believe violence will only increase the cycle of violence. — The Dalai Lama
Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 10-27-01 09:38 ET (US)     52 / 109       
Ysbrand rode his stallion silently lost in thought. These two girls... The older one very pretty and seemingly rational; the younger one absolutely beautiful but impossible. No, he doesn't want to take them back to Kent bound, but what is he to do? They seem rebelious and are leaders among the Angles, an essential ally if the Saxon kingdom is going to survive. He made a decision, one that he hoped wouldn't be classified as fateful when the chroniclers of Kent record the history of these days.

The mystic raised his hand and brought them all to a halt.
Ysbrand wheeled his horse and guided him back to Klax. "Chieftan Klax, it is not right that we should bring the leader of our allies bound at the wrist into his land and the Kingdom of Kent. I offer to you my sincere apologies. You will be unbound. But I trust you will not take advantage of me and continue to accompany us back to Kent. There is much you must learn about the Saxons and why we are here."

Then Ysbrand added something extra to his persuasion. It was the look in his eyes. Klax could not resist staring at Ysbrand as the mystic persuasively offered to loosen the bonds on his wrist. Almost uncontrollably Klax heard himself agree and ask that his girls be unbound as well. Ysbrand appeared to consider then said that he would.

Ysbrand approached Lestra. Again the eyes. Lestra recalled how once before this man had influenced her. It was happening again. Things twisted and turned within her. Tinglings came and went. In the end, like her father, she agreed as well.

Nyla was a different matter. Surprisingly she agreed immediately without the need for influence. This puzzled Ysbrand. The girl gave back a stare as strongly as Ysbrand tried to do the same. But in the end, she too pledged to honor their agreement. The bonds holding the wrists of all three were removed by the Saxon soldiers.

Ysbrand returned to the front to lead them into the land of the Angles and into the Kingdom of Kent wondering about one thing: Was it his idea to take the chance, or was there someone else at work too? He looked over his shoulder specifically to glance at Nyla.

The red-headed beauty, who missed nothing it seemed, saw Ysbrand's glance. She returned his look, head elevated and smiling a self-assured look of satisfaction. This did nothing to reassure the mystic.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 10-27-2001 @ 09:55 AM).]

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 10-29-01 03:30 ET (US)     53 / 109       
After a grand breakfast, which included a strange steaming drink made of steeped leaves, Arithmial followed his companions and the Merlin outside.

A short walk later they stood once more within the small circle of bluestone sarcens. An immense oak stood just outside the circle, some of it's branches had drooped so low they had grown roots. The tree formed a strange many trunked entity. The warrior could see glimpses of gold rings half set inside it's branches.

From between it's roots water welled upwards and flowed into a small pond just off center, inside the stone circle. As he looked into the pond he could see the water was crystal clear. Objects were also visible, folded swords, vessels of gold and silver, small objects, shaped like animals. There seemed to be a fortune down there.

Arithmial looked up and saw the old man look at him. His eyes seemed to see more that Arithmial felt comfortable with and he quickly cast down his own eyes.
A strange group of people he'd ended up with.

Jayhawk sat down on the East side of the pond, his long limbs folded beneath him, the Merlin sat down on the North side and as Kyrin sank down gracefully on the South he was the only one left standing. The Merlin nodded to him and reluctantly he took up the Western point of the square they formed.

The minstrel had taken his instrument on his lap and was softly playing. The notes mingling seemelessly with the sound of the water gurgling between the trees' roots. A third sound joined in and it took Arithmial a moment to realise it was Kyrin's voice blending in.

He began to feel lost, caught way out of his depth. His companions were looking at him and he felt a blush rise to his cheeks, then the Merlin began to speak. His deep voice touched something inside the warrior, something that started to resonate deep within his bones.

Fog curled from the pond and shapes moved within it.

Faces, of men and women.

Some that he recognised, some that he didn't.

Some that made his heart bleed with sorrow, others that made it shiver with fear.

The shapes threatened to swamp him. Visions of a village, an island another stone circle and something hidden in it's spring. Something blazing with light, too bright to look at, too bright...too bright.

With an effort he tore himself free from the visions and found himself gasping for breath. Sweat was forming on his brow, dripping in his eyes, making things swim in the air before him.

Just before he lost conciousness he heard two voices.

"I think he'll do well"
"He'll have to he's the only one left"

One was the minstrel's.
The other belonged to the Merlin.


Angel Jayhawk
EyrieCaesar 4 HeavenChildren of the Nile HeavenStronghold HeavenCaesar 3 HeavenEmperor HeavenPharaoh HeavenZeus HeavenMy Deviations
Support your local HeavenMy RecommendationsEXCOHALO
I believe violence will only increase the cycle of violence. — The Dalai Lama
Arithmial
Pleb
posted 10-29-01 07:16 ET (US)     54 / 109       
Arithmial awoke to find himself alone in a cave. There was no discernable source of light but his eyesight in no way seemed impaired.
A feeling deep inside told him it was night, quite late in fact. Perhaps it was the dampness in the cave, or the chill that blew on his face, he couldn'tr tell.

Very strange, he thought, taking himself to his feet.

The feverish feelings he had felt before passing out were gone, yet he still felt a little unsteady.

"Hello?" He called, his voice echo-ing several times before dying off. "I'm underground too."

Checking himself quickly, he realised that his clothing had been removed and he was now instead dressed in a single woollen cloak. Even the amulet he wore around his neck was no longer there. Also his weapons had been removed.

"Bastards." he cursed his so-called friends.

They had ripped him off, as soon as they had had chance, yet it wasn't that that bothered him. A tear formed and passed from his eye, down his cheek. Sorrow soon replaced the anger.

Something suddenly ocurred to him. The fact that he was still alive said something. If they were just going to steal his things why didn't they just kill him when they first met him? Or was something else going on? And where was he now?

He looked around. The cavern he was in seemed roughly squarish, the roof extending some 3 of 4 times his own height and the walls stretching away, several tens of yards in all directions.

There was only one exit, roughly to his right, and as he made his way towards it, the sound of the straw underfoot crunching and a soft clang, caught his attention. He looked down, and it was then that he saw it.

A sword, very light and expertly made, lay on the floor half-covered by the straw. Carved on the hilt of the fine blade was a rune, or symbol, that meant nothing to Arithmial, yet it felt important. He traced the marking with his index finger, feeling how expertly it had been cut into the shaft.

Pain. Arithmial winced as he realised his finger was now bleeding. The symbol was carved so sharply that it caused his skin to break, and a tiny river of blood flowed from it. He put it two his lips and sucked the wound, yet the cut was so fine it bleed furiously.

Why would anyone do such a thing? Surely if he gripped the sword to tightly it would cause his palm to bleed, scarring his hand.

Arithmial favoured daggers and bows, or a trusty staff. Yet this sword felt different, like it wanted to be owned. And although not a swordsman, having never used or trained with a weapon as large as this, it felt right.


Losening his grip on the sword, so as not to cut himself, Arithmial made his way to the cavern's only exit to see what lay beyond.

[This message has been edited by Arithmial (edited 10-29-2001 @ 08:39 AM).]

Arithmial
Pleb
posted 10-29-01 08:01 ET (US)     55 / 109       
Kyrin hated vision quests.

The complete dis-orientation of being thrown into the chasms of your own mind, there to judge yourself was terrifying. And the few times she had had cause to engage in such a task had left her drained for many years. The physical and emotional cost was great, but the benefit was also enormous.

Fortunately, it was not her turn.

She sat beside a sweating Arithmial, who was huddled against the old gnarled tree. She mopped his brow, as his eyes flickered and turned to her. He was silently mumbling, and cursing. He stared straight through her, as if she was invisible.
She looked at the shivering man before her. He was truly handsome. She steadied him as he began to rock back and forth. She yearned to hold him closer, and to...

"How long now?" a voice said, interrupting her. It was Jayhawk.

"Ah, he's been under for some seven hours now."

"Seven hours? We should get him to a bed." Jayhawk replied, bending and picking Arithmial up as if he were as light as feather. "This may take longer than Merlin expected. You show a great devotion to him."

"But why Arithmial?" She smiled back.

Jayhawk knew her to well. She hated him for it, and loved him for it.

"Because he holds a secret yet to be revealed, and Merlin wishes him to see something."

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 10-29-01 09:24 ET (US)     56 / 109       
Jayhawk gently laid Arithmial in the same bed he'd slept in the night before. Dusk was slowly filling the glade, like wine filling up a glass.

He straightened Arithmial's limbs and pulled the boots of his feet. Kyrin had followed him and seated herself on the stool next to the bed.
She looked up as the minstrel stretched and spoke:
"I'll wait with him."

Jayhawk nodded and left the two of them.
An owl hooted nearby.



Arithmial heard the owl hoot as he exited from the cave, for all it's seeming nearness it had taken him hours to reach the opening.

He'd brought the sword with him, because it made him feel safer than without. Carefully, with only his fingers around the guard he carried it, that weapon that seemed as dangerous to himself as to his possible enemies.

The air had taken on a fimiliar smell, but one totally out of place. He smelled the salty air, he looked down and saw the prints his feet made in the wet sand. Suddenly he heard a voice cry out, a child's voice that made his spine quiver. He started running.

He saw shapes heading his way, half hidden by the tendrils of mist that appeared to waft from the sea. Three shapes, two smaller and one large.
He knew those shapes.

Out of the mist more figures appeared, at first he thought them creatures from the tales the Greek traders had told, the half-man, half-horse warriors, then he recognised them for Saxon reavers. Arrows flew and one of the smaller figures stumbled then fell.

"Nooooooo!" he screamed as another was cut down before he could leap into the fray. The cloak swirled round his shoulders as he felt his hands tighten on the sword hilt. The blade bit deep into the leg of a running horse, and send it and it's rider tumbling over the beach. He raised the blade to catch another on it's gleaming edge.

Sparks flew and he felt the hilt writhe in his hands.

As he fought the figures seemed to grow and soon he was fighting ogres, half giants, covered in rotting fur, wielding great swords as if they were the lightest practice blades, but their blades never touched him, as he wove a web of light and steel.

His enemies attacked him in silence, with an uncanny lack of emotion, their weapons pounding him and he felt his hands grow wet. Blood slicked his fingers as the hilt bit deeper in his hands, however, he would not give up. He clenched his teeth and managed to hamstring one of his enemies and gut another.

The third creature seemed unphazed by the demise of it's comrades and grinned a smile like rotten tombstones. Arithmial's arms felt like lead, his longs a furnace as his hands seemed to loose all feeling. He knew he could not keep this up for much longer. The tip of the sword faltered, slid down as the giant swung its sword in a wide sideways movement.

Suddenly Arithmial seemed to hear a voice, a voice of one more dear to him than life itself, calling in from inside him, heat poured over him, threatened to blind him then flowed forward as he lunged under the weapon's bright arc and thrust home. The sword in his hand tore upwards into the giant's inner thigh and blood spurted in his face as the monster fell backwards.

He dropped the sword and crawled towards the giants' victims. Sand and brine stung the wounds in his palms. Again he'd failed to protect them, but at least this time he'd exacted revenge.

Revenge?

A bitter taste flowed in his mouth. Revenge was supposed to be sweet, not bitter like this. They were as dead as they had been before.

Maybe he'd get a third chance?

His arms gave way as he collapsed, tears flowing from his eyes. He clutched the shape before him, weeping.

"There, there, " the shape murmered as it held him close. Through his tears he saw not the shade of hair he'd expected. He pushed himself away from the embrace, with pain lancing his hands.
Kyrin.

Kyrin was holding him, her face wet with his tears...and...could that be? Her own tears? Her large eyes seemed to fill his world:
"Are you alright?" she whispered.
"I..."

He looked at his hands and was amazed to find them unblooded, but even more amazed he was to find the twin runes from the sword carved in the flesh of this palms.


Angel Jayhawk
EyrieCaesar 4 HeavenChildren of the Nile HeavenStronghold HeavenCaesar 3 HeavenEmperor HeavenPharaoh HeavenZeus HeavenMy Deviations
Support your local HeavenMy RecommendationsEXCOHALO
I believe violence will only increase the cycle of violence. — The Dalai Lama
Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 10-29-01 16:19 ET (US)     57 / 109       
Klax noticed the appearance of many Saxons in what had been his solely Angles village. Some were walking to places unknown, others were accompanying what he knew were unmarried young Angles women.

Nyla saw the opposite. She saw new faces in the village: Saxon women around whom could be seen Angles men. Things seemed to be changing very quickly.

Lestra saw only one thing: Ysbrand. Impressed on her mind were those eyes, the very same eyes that haunted her from years ago when she was only slightly younger than Nyla is today. The nightmares of the past, those staring eyes on an unrecognizable face, had become real. They belonged to the mystic named Ysbrand. And he was no longer leagues away in a faraway place. He was here... and close by.

The walls of the Saxon stronghold now could be seen in the distance as Ysbrand led them in their direction.

____________________________________________________________

"Well, it wasn't that easy to steal, so quit complaining about what I brought you," protested Feimar. Cian grumbled some more but a glance from Ruadan served to quiet him down.

"You've done well, Feimar," said Ruadan. "Thank you. This will ease our hunger for the while, and that is all we should expect under the circumstances. Right, cousin?" Ruadan glanced towards Cian pointedly.

"Mmpfffmpf." Cian couldn't answer coherently as the roast boar he stuffed into his mouth made communication impossible for the moment.

Ruadan shook his head and returned to speaking with Feimar. "Cian says 'thank you' as well." Feimar looked at Cian with a smug smile on his face and only at the last minute controlled an impulse to stick his tongue out at the Irish Celt.

"Oh, one thing I forgot to tell you," said Feimar turning his attention to Ruadan once more. "We're not on an island. This seems to be a short peninsula. I overheard some men, I think they were Brits, talking about Celts and Saxons to the south of us. A new Kingdom called Kent. The Brits aren't too happy about it. It looks like they mean to make war on the Saxons.

This caught Cian's attention even as he swallowed the last of his meal and was considering his options with respect to the others' uneaten portions. No, control yourself, Cian. There will be more and this is enough to keep you going this day, he said to himself silently.

Cian put thoughts of his hunger to the side. "We join the Brits or go south. There is no other choice. We must eat and clothe ourselves. We have no coin, the robber crew on the ship saw to it. We do one of these two things or we won't be going anywhere for long.

Cian and Ruadan began to consider their options. Feimar worked on the roast fowl he brought back from the camp of the Brits.

Jaguar
Pleb
posted 10-29-01 19:01 ET (US)     58 / 109       
As Kyrin was holding and comforting Arithmial, she recalled her own ordeals in the past. She had the scars to prove it, both physical and emotional. Luckily Jayhawk and Talisien were both there and comforted her as she was now comforting Arithmial.

Her first ever test had come to see if she would support humankind as much as her own kind. It was her first time out in this world and luckily jayhawk had recognized her for what she was and taken her under his wings. If he hadn't done that, she feared she would not have made it back home.

Arithmial stirred and he awoke. Kyrin made sure she held him in this time of need. WHile telling him everything was ok,she realized that she didn't have just Arithmials tears on her face, but also some of her own. The hurt in other people could touch her so much, yet finding the actual source of the pain was not something she could do.

When Arithmial had calmed down a bit, Kyrin wiped the tears of her face, a little embarrased that she would cry in front of such a handsome man for no reason.

"How are you doing, Arithmial? I am sorry for putting you through this without explanation, but it is best that you don't know what is to happen the first time around. That way you will show your truest feelings to yourself, leading to better understanding."

"So none of this was real?"

"Well, to a certain extent. I bear the scars of my vision quests on my person, just like you do, but you never left our presence. I've watched over you for the last few hours, when we put you in the bed, but you have been gone for longer than that.

"I can't really explain what happened, as it is different for all of us."

"Kyrin, thank you for staying at my side."

"My pleasure, Arithmial." .. more than you can imagine, Kyrin thought to herself. "And that is what friends are for."

Gill Britannica
Inactive
posted 10-29-01 19:25 ET (US)     59 / 109       
At last they reached the Saxon stronghold. Ysbrand dismounted and told his ‘prisoners’ to do the same. He guided Klax towards the doorway of his newly built house and, just before he entered, turned and looked over his shoulder at the two girls. He fixed his stare on them before saying:
“I must talk business with your father. Remember your promise. You will be here when we have finished.”

“B-b-but I must come too” Lestra stuttered. “I come with my father to important meetings. I –“

“Silence!” interrupted Ysbrand. “This is man-talk about important matters. Far too important for a young girl.” This last was almost spat at Lestra. With this, he turned and marched into the house without bothering to check the reaction of his young prisoners.

Lestra turned to Nyla. “Look, Nyla. I know we are not always the best of friends, but I think we must work together. I don’t trust Ysbrand at all and am certain that he is going to betray our father and our people. It shouldn’t even be Ysbrand discussing this, but Hengist or Horsa. Is he more powerful than they are?”

“I don’t know.” Nyla looked up at her sister with troubled eyes. “I … I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about Budra and the powers that she was teaching me. She swore me to secrecy.”
Lestra was about to make a cutting comment when she saw the look in her sister’s eyes and knew that, for once, Nyla was telling the truth.

“That’s OK,” she replied. “But I can’t see the harm in it. I, and our father, would rather have known that you were doing something useful than flirting with every man in the village … and worse.”

“I know,” said Nyla. “But she was adamant that I shouldn’t tell. I think she knew her time would soon come to an end and wanted to teach me as much as she could. She thought if anyone knew what we were doing, we would be stopped.”

Lestra reached over and patted her sister’s arm. “Let’s just call a truce for now and see if your powers and my ..” She paused for a minute. She had been going to say ‘intelligence’ but didn’t want to alienate her sister again. “And see if we can make some sort of plan.”

“There’s always Bevan” Nyla said thoughtfully. “We know who he is, but I don’t think anyone else does. And they don’t know that he’s following us.” She looked dreamily into the distance.

“Stop dreaming” interrupted Lestra. “We have plans to make. Now just think for a few minutes and I will do the same. I’m sure we can come up with something.”

The Phoenix
Pleb
posted 10-29-01 23:31 ET (US)     60 / 109       
As the sun fell below the horizon, a solitary figure rode across a small field near a forest to the East of Kent. He was black-cloaked and rode a black horse.......

For when my outward action doth demonstrate/the native act and figure of my heart
In complement extern,
'tis not long after/But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at.
I am not what I am. (Iago.I.i.67-71)
Arithmial
Pleb
posted 10-30-01 03:30 ET (US)     61 / 109       
"Stay here and rest with Arithmial" Jayhawk commanded.

Kyrin nodded, sensing the urgency in his voice. He had been gone with Talisien for a few hours and they had come back rather hurried, talking quickly and packing things.

"What's happening...?" She asked.

"There is a dangerous presence nearby, and I... Merlin needs me."

"Dangerous?"

"Please care for Arithmial, Merlin feels that the vision quest may have awakened something within him."

She nodded as he left the room. A few minutes later she heard the sound of the two wise men charging their horses. She turned back to Arithmial who was now shaking violently, sweat pouring from his face.
He rolled from side to side, and Kyrin noticed what looked like a scar on his neck, a piercing mark, like an arrow had pierced the skin.

She mopped his brow gently, and covered him with a blanket. Reaching over she poured a mug of black tree root tea and brought it to Arithmial's lips, easing the sticky black liquid into his mouth.

His eyes flashed open.

He looked up to her and saw her smiling back to him.

Lightning flashed. Her face contorted and twisted into nothing. He was surrounded by people waiting for him. A shimmering crystal lake at his feet, with vague shapes flashing around his ankles. Jayhawk was there, battling with some men. Kyrin was... her body lay beside the pool, beneath the feet of a man whose face Arithmial didn't recognise. A wooden staff in his hand, the man brought it down hard against Kryin's body. Again the lightning flashed.

"Don't touch me," he screamed at her. "Just don't touch me."

Kyrin was shaken by the anger in his voice, but did as he bid her. Arithmial's voice shook. "My family... my children... my lover... they...they're dead, they killed them..."

Kyrin felt the sorrow in his voice and the anger they lay behind it. "It wasn't your fault." She reached forward her hand to his cheek, brushing it gently.

A brilliant white light. The man raising his staff again, bringing it down against Kyrin's skull.

"I said don't touch me." Arithmial yelled, pushing Kyrin from the bed. His voice calmed. "I don't want to see it anymore."

A shaken Kyrin, tears rolling from her eyes, looked at the man before her. "Arithmial, I'm just..."

"I don't want to see you... you die." He interrupted.

She looked at him. He had stopped sweating, and the colour was returning to his cheeks. He looked better. Stronger.

ZigZac
Pleb
posted 10-31-01 03:28 ET (US)     62 / 109       
"Daddy!? Daddy!?" A little boys voice yelled running around his house. "Daddy!? Daddy!?" He ran into the room where his mother was. "Mommy, do you know where daddy is?" He asked, his bright hazel eyes blinking with innocence.

"Your father is protecting the village from any bad people who want to come here and hurt us." She explained so he would understand. She understood her son's anxiousness because her husband was late. "Now Sean, go run along and play. I will call you when dinner is ready."

"Ok, mommy." Sean ran out of the room.

She stood and walked to the window. "Where is he?" She thought. "He hasn't been this late ever." She kept peering out the window, looking into the mist. The same mist that apeared there so long ago. When she was still a child. She can still remember that man, the one who brought it to the village. She had lived here all her life, as well as her husband. Her father was the Chief of Glynden. She was very well liked among the villagers. They looked up to her, and still do. Her husband is a wonderful man, he was the only one from the village chosen to protect it. His name is Liam. He is a very valient and courageous man. Her name is Caitlin. She is a wonder, loving, gentle woman. Liam and Caitlin grew up together. Liam's father is The Cheif's best friend and most trusted advisor. The have only one son, but intend on having more.

After a few minutes she got tired of standing and sat down. She picked up a seater she was knitting for her son and continued the task. A few minutes later she heard the sound of a horse approaching the house. She stood up and walked to the door. She opened the door to see Liam getting off his horse. He took off his helmet and walked toward Caitlin. He walked up to her and moved in to kiss her. She raised her finger and asked, "Where have you been?"

"Sorry I am late. There was a ship that had ran aground on the shore. We went to investigate. We saw one man and a boy. The man seemed to be an angry fellow. The boy on the other hand was very calm and collected. He looked very different. Different from the boys around these parts. He had dark hair and dark eyes. He was a very large boy, but from the way he acted, one could tell he had to be around the age of 13 or so. Aurelius told them to leave. The man was very rude and probably would have attacked Aurelius if it hadn't been for that boy. Surely the man would have died. They said that they were looking for some wood for their ship. The Mist gave it to them and they left." Liam descibed the whole story to Caitlin. Then he turned his head and added, "Something inside of me tells me that I will see them again. I don't know what it is, but I know." He trailed off, then got this look of blankness on his face.

After a few second Caitlin raised her hand and waved it past his face. He blinked, looked at Caitlin and smiled. He leaned forward and kissed her soft lips.

"Well...I guess I can forgive you this time." Caitlin said. "But you need to spend some time with our son. He really misses you."

"I am sorry. I know I have been working a lot lately. Talisien told us that we should be guarding the village a lot more now. I don't know why. He just said that someting was going to happen soon." He paused for a few seconds, then regained his thoughts. "Oh, what about dinner? I am starving."

"I'll get the table set. In the mean time you should go and get Sean." Caitlin said turning and walking into the house.

"Ok." He replied. He cupped his hands over his mouth and yelled out his son's name.

"Daddy! Daddy! You're home." Sean yelled runnig up to his father then leaping into his arms.

[This message has been edited by ZigZac (edited 10-31-2001 @ 04:05 AM).]

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 10-31-01 06:01 ET (US)     63 / 109       
The Merlin and Jayhawk manipulated the ley-lines and a few hours later topped a rise in the downs. Atop the next hill they could see a small campfire, beside it grazed a horse and a figure could be seen sitting near it roasting what looked like a rabbit or a partridge.

The Merlin frowned.
"There's something peculiar about that one, " he muttered.
"I know, " Jayhawk answered.
"For one he's older than he looks. For another there's power flowing through him. Quite a lot of it."

They rode their horses down and up, making enough noise not to sound threatening. The man had stood up, a hand near his weapon.
The Merlin dismounted and took a step closer to the fire.
"Welcome, stranger, " his deep voice spoke.
"My name is Talisien and this is my companion Jayhawk."

The stranger eyed the two man, and it seemed as if more than fire tinged his eyes red. They narrowed as he looked at the minstrel. He then sketched a bow and answered.
"I accept your welcome, old man. My name is Auriga."


Angel Jayhawk
EyrieCaesar 4 HeavenChildren of the Nile HeavenStronghold HeavenCaesar 3 HeavenEmperor HeavenPharaoh HeavenZeus HeavenMy Deviations
Support your local HeavenMy RecommendationsEXCOHALO
I believe violence will only increase the cycle of violence. — The Dalai Lama
Arithmial
Pleb
posted 10-31-01 09:16 ET (US)     64 / 109       
"What brings you to these parts, Auriga?" Jayhawk asked, sitting down by the fire, and without giving him chance to answer he continued. "Your voice and feature's look unfamiliar."

Jayhawk reached forward helping himself to some of the broth that bubbled on a small pot over the fire. A clearly aggressive move, carefully considered tomake the right sign to the stranger, Merlin thought.

"I am, how would you say, a traveller," came the reply. "Please help yourself."

Jayhawk nodded, and moved the cup to his lips. Yet he didn't drink. Auriga sat down, opposite Jayhawk, the fire roaring between them. Talisien looked on, as the two sat staring at each other as if measuring each other. The silence lasted several moments.

"Oh? A traveller?" he said to break the void.

"Yes." The man replied, his eye's not flinching from Jayhawk.

"A traveller," Jayhawk repeated, adding "Yes."

"Are you not going to try the broth," Auriga asked, noticing that Jayhawk had drunk yet.

"No. I think not," Jayhawk returned, standing and pouring the liquid back into the pot. "Forgive the offense, but I have not long eaten."

Talisien wasn't sure if Jayhawk was trying to deliberately agitate the stranger, but he knew to trust him. His intuition had been amazingly correct on several occasions.
Auriga stood himself, and as moved the fire lept upwards.

Merlin took a step forward but stopped as the fire roared higher, the heat was intensifying.

A pain shot through Talisien's head. There was some kind of magic at work here, he realised, yet the two men sat unflinching as the flames roared higher and hotter, and he could do nowt but watch.

[This message has been edited by Arithmial (edited 10-31-2001 @ 09:19 AM).]

The Phoenix
Pleb
posted 10-31-01 20:37 ET (US)     65 / 109       
Suddenly Auriga sat down again, and simultaneously the flames died down. He reached into the fire and picked up the pot, which had been sitting in the middle of the rising flames, with his bare hand.

"There now," he said regretfully. "I've gone and burned the broth."

He poured the contents of the pot onto the ground next to him, and then turned back to face Jayhawk, smiling.

"Now, where were we?" he asked.


For when my outward action doth demonstrate/the native act and figure of my heart
In complement extern,
'tis not long after/But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at.
I am not what I am. (Iago.I.i.67-71)
Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 11-01-01 22:13 ET (US)     66 / 109       
Bevan crawled to the top of the hill overlooking the fortress of the Saxons and the areas surrounding it. He was alone. He hadn't thought to enlist the help of the Irish Celts. Instead, he had one thought on his mind: protect... Lestra?

He frowned even as he surveyed the scene below. Why was his first thought of Lestra? Nyla of the fire red hair was the prettiest one, the one with the liveliest behaviour and brightest smile. Yet... There was something about Lestra. Oh, Nyla could distract him from time to time; but his mind inevitably returned to Lestra. This never happened before with any girl he'd known.

A noise suddenly disturbed him...

It was only the passage of a squirrel through the leaves littering the ground that had fallen from the trees growing on and near the hill. For the first time he noticed a small lizard that walked on a leaf an arm's length away. He noticed it only now because its color matched the color of the fallen leaf, a light green. It was not until the lizard walked that he saw it.

The creature continued to walk from leaf to leaf until unexpectedly it halted in the center of a leaf that was gold in color. Slowly the creature's skin color changed to match the leaf, until the lizard's skin was as gold as the leaf on which it rested. The lizard slowly moved its head so that one eye on the side of its head could watch for any danger coming from Bevan's direction. It was as if the eye of the lizard inspired a new thought in Bevan's mind... An idea... A way to gain Lestra (and Nyla too) their freedom.

____________________________________________________________

Bold as you please, Bevan guided his horse straight for the structure where he was told Ysbrand, Klax, Hengist and Horsa could be found. He stepped down from his horse and walked into the thatched roof building to find three of the four men engrossed in conversation, and Klax sitting sullenly and silent in a chair.

Ysbrand looked up as Bevan entered. "Arrest him, he's a traitor!" he bellowed so loudly Hengist and Horsa nearly jumped out of their furred Saxon boots in surprise. Bevan elevated both hands over his head to show he did not have any weapons. "Wait, Ysbrand. I have important news for you," Bevan protested as loudly as Ysbrand had bellowed when calling for his arrest.

Ysbrand eyed the purported Celt skeptically. "What news is it you have, Celt?"

"The ladies Lestra and Nyla, and myself too, uncovered a plot among the Irish Celts to ally themselves with the Brits and sack your fortress."

Ysbrand waved his hand at Bevan in dismissal of his news. "We defeated the Brits. There is no alliance and certainly no Brits coming here to lay siege."

"So sure are you, Ysbrand? Even now there is a stronger force of Brits on its way here; and the Irish Celts aren't too far away as well. The girls were on their way to Kent to tell Hengist when you intercepted them."

"Balderdash, Bevan! The girl's were attempting to free their father! I caught them before they could make the attempt."

"Treated them well, did you, Ysbrand? Did you bind them and order them about, the girls and their father?" Ysbrand's expression changed from protest to a wave of guilt. Bevan continued, knowing he had made his point by making a calculated guess. "Why should they confide information in you when you treat them like enemies or criminals. These are your allies, Ysbrand. Just like me..."

Ysbrand again tried to protest, but a different voice spoke out. "Enough!" thundered Hengist. "Bevan, is it true the Brits are planning another attack?"

"Yes, M'lord," said Bevan. He hoped the future would prove him right or his gamble would be lost. "Not immediately, but soon... weeks, I would say. They gather their strength even now. The Irish Celts are debating on whether to join or not. The Southern Celts are yet to be heard. The Scots and Picts are too weakened to take any further risks or battle casualties."

"How do you know these things, Bevan?"

"I have been among the Irish Celts, M'lord. They think me a friend. The lady Lestra and Nyla as well. I saw to their introduction as enemies of you Saxons. But when they heard of their father's plight, they left so suddenly not even I was aware of their departure. I had much to explain to the Irish Celts."

"But you fled with the women earlier?"

"M'Lord, I had to make it appear to Celtic spies and Saxons too, that I was fleeing with the women so as to give them credibility in the Celtic lands. Forgive me for the subterfuge."

"I think there is more subterfuge at work here in this room, King Hengist," commented Ysbrand. "Quiet, Ysbrand," countered the King. "His word's have the ring of truth, though of iron or tin I don't know yet." Hengist returned his attention to Bevan. "What do you propose any of us do next, Bevan."

"I suggest, M'Lord, you return Klax to leadership of his people, and let Lestra and Nyla return with me to the Irish Celts. When we learn more about the timing of the attack, we will find a way to warn you. Oh... One thing more... Klax." The Angles Chieftan looked at Bevan. "Chieftan Klax, you must publicly disavow your daughters. It is the only way to maintain the ruse. They will understand; and I will see to their safety." Klax looked at Bevan and then at Ysbrand and the two Saxon brothers. He nodded his head and looked down at the ground near his feet.

"Be on your way, Bevan, with Klax's daughters. Fare well... but do not fail. Is it understood?" Hengist added extra emphasis on his warning against failure.

"Yes, M'Lord." Bevan bowed and with a passing glance at a scowling Ysbrand, the young man grasped Klax by the arm to bring him along outside. Klax looked at Hengist for approval which the Saxon gave in passing, returning to his conversation with his brother.

Outside, Klax found his daughters waiting, they having seen Bevan ride up and enter the building. "Forgive me for what I must do and say, daughters. Leave now, with Bevan. He will look after you."

"I give my word on that, Chieftan Klax," said Bevan. The Chieftan noticed that Bevan spent the majority of the time looking at Lestra when he said those words. If Nyla noticed, she didn't let on. So much the better, Klax thought.

Bevan and the daughters of Klax rode towards the west once more. This time it was without haste or pursuit.

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 11-02-01 04:46 ET (US)     67 / 109       
Glynt watched the small group of riders disappear. His thoughts were wandering, should he tell Ysbrand what he had heard, or not? His big head, shook from side to side as he thought. Saxons passing him secretly made signs to ward of evil.
He knew but didn't care.
Yes, he would tell Ysbrand, for he was half sure the warlock could read his mind and he'd only get into more trouble with him if he kept his silence. His master was normaly kind to him, but he did have a cruel streak.
As fast as they could his short legs brought him to Ysbrand's hut.

The warlock saw his dwarf enter and fall on his face bowing, then looking up from where he lay on the floor.
"Mashter?" the dwarf lisped.
"Speak, Glynt and speak truly."
Glynt knew he'd made the right decision.
"Mashter, I heard the girlsh shpeak lasht night. They talked about the old one you had sheen to. She told the youngesht shomething about a magic kettle. They sheek to ushe it to eshcape your wishdom."

Ysbrand felt heat rise in his cheeks, then cold anger welled up in him. Again those brats had caused him to loose face. They had known about source of power and had escaped without him finding out where it was. He'd find them and that kettle, even if it was the last thing he did.
"Tell Hargilt to get his squad together. They're going to lead us to this kettle."



Earlier in the evening before.

Jayhawk smiled and Talisien wondered if there was something feral in that smile. His friend seemed strangely out of his normal doings.

"You have courage, Auriga, I grant you that."
He reached out a hand accross the fire and offered to shake. Auriga's eyes narrowed as the flames seemed to caress the minstrel's skin rather than scorch it. He offered his own hand and the Merlin saw them shake with fire curling round the clasped hands.

The Merlin knew who Jayhawk was, and knew how careful he normally maintained the glamour that he carried around him. He'd sensed power in this stranger, but it must be even more than he'd guessed for the angel to tell this young man so clearly how much power could be set to oppose him.
Where would this end.

Talisien looked to the West and shook his head.
"Jayhawk?"
The minstrel let go of the hand he held and looked round.
"Something's happening with Arithmial. I sense Kyrin is upset. We need to go back."


Angel Jayhawk
EyrieCaesar 4 HeavenChildren of the Nile HeavenStronghold HeavenCaesar 3 HeavenEmperor HeavenPharaoh HeavenZeus HeavenMy Deviations
Support your local HeavenMy RecommendationsEXCOHALO
I believe violence will only increase the cycle of violence. — The Dalai Lama
Gill Britannica
Inactive
posted 11-02-01 08:32 ET (US)     68 / 109       
“Hey, slow down a bit” Bevan shouted at Lestra and Nyla who were rapidly disappearing into the distance. They reined in their mounts and waited for him to catch up.

“It’s OK girls. We have Ysbrand’s permission to go back to the Irish Celts. He thinks that they have accepted us and we will be spying for him.”

“I’m not doing anything for him” muttered Nyla who was still a little sore that Ysbrand’s powers were stronger than hers.

“I don’t trust him” Lestra answered. “How can you be so sure he believed you?”

“Oh, he believed me” replied Bevan. “There’s no problem there.”

Lestra didn’t say anything, but wondered if Bevan was being rather naďve.

“Come on, then. We’re going back to the village of the Celts. I want to find out a little more about this cauldron thing.” Nyla looked at her sister. “Just think, if it’s as powerful as Buddra said, we may be able to use it against Ysbrand somehow. We could separate ourselves from the Saxons and be our own people again.”

“I suppose so” Lestra replied. She wasn’t as certain as Nyla. She knew some of Ysbrand’s powers and was sure that he had many more. How could an artecfact, however ancient and powerful, defeat that evil man?

She was also a little troubled about Bevan. What were his motives in helping them escape? Why did he seem so uninterested in the cauldron? Surely it would help his people too. She looked at him secretly and saw him staring at her again. The expression on his face made her draw in her breath sharply. Oh please, no. He couldn’t be in love with her, could he? She shook her head in disbelief. Not another complication. Things were confusing enough as they were.


Several miles behind them, a small group of men led by Ysbrand left the Saxon stronghold.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 11-02-01 21:41 ET (US)     69 / 109       
The forest exploded with Brits. Ysbrand reined in his horse as did the other Saxons in an attempt to escape the ambush. Brits on foot, arrows nocked in bows let loose flights of arrows. Saxon armor protected them from all but the most fiendishly aimed arrow.

"BACK!" Ysbrand cried out. "Back to the fortress!" The Saxons wheeled their horses and turned about galloping back the way they had come. Brit horsemen pursued them.

This time the forest errupted with Saxon horsemen, led by Horsa. His patrol saw the ambush from a distance and only now arrived on the scene. Brits scattered, fell or retreated under the assault of the Saxon horsemen. One foolhardy Brit archer climbed a tree hoping for a final shot.

He put arrow on bow, pulled back the string and let it fly.
THUNK! The sound of arrow hitting armor and penetrating flesh was heard by a Saxon nearby to Horsa. He turned in time to see Horsa's eyes close and the Saxon brother of Hengist lean, then fall from his horse, an arrow protruding from his chest.

The battle ended with the Brits being driven off. Saxons kneeled around Horsa as one of them worked with the arrow in his chest. There was no help for it... A strong tug and the arrow was pulled from his chest, bits of cloth, flesh and the red of Horsa's blood visible on its point.

Ysbrand found moss to make a poultice. He applied it and stood up to look at Hargilt with a meaningful expression that said Horsa was in grave danger. "Make a litter for Horsa," Ysbrand said to Hargilt. "Take him back to his brother. I will go on with some of these Saxon men. Give him care and medicines to prolong his life as much as possible. I shall seek the only medicine I know that can save him: The Cauldron of the Celts.

Ysbrand selected 10 of the best Saxons available and set out to find the Cauldron.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 11-07-01 21:33 ET (US)     70 / 109       
"Well, that was close," said Cian, as the last of the Saxons either headed southwest or headed back to the fortress of the Kingdom of Kent. "I thought we were goners when the rest of them showed up out of nowhere. Sorry you had to see this, cousin... and you too Feimar."

"Is sending so many men to their death necessary? Why must there be such slaughter. None of my lessons say this is desirable. So why do these things happen?"

Cian shrugged his shoulders. "You know me, cousin. I accept none of the teachings, that way I'm not confused by words that say who is right and who is wrong. I make those judgements on my own based upon who wishes me well and who doesn't."

"How can you tell?" asked Ruadan.

"By how they treat me. Shake my hand and defend my back, and I'll do the same in kind. Threaten me with a sword or steal my food or my horse and you will become an enemy instantly."

"I see... I think. What if you're called upon to define yourself as friend or enemy first instead of waiting for the other to do so? What then?"

"Hmmm. Never has happened so far. Can't say what I would do. Anyway, I've survived so far I guess."

"I suppose," said Ruadan. "We marched with the Brits down to this place, nearly get slaughtered by Saxons and we aren't better off now than we were before it seems."

"Not so," said Cian. "There below us are horses left behind by Saxons and Brits, and I'm betting there is food somewhere around here. It's up to us three to catch ourselves a mount and find the food. Then for sure we will be better off than now." Cian looked around for Feimar. "Ho lad! Go to it, now. Fetch yourself a fine mount, but go easy so as not to frighten the beasts. You too, Ruadan. There is a place I have in mind to return to as soon as I can find a way to cross the waters that separate us from it. Follow me!"

Cian led the three of them to where the horses aimlessly wandered about. Three were captured rather quickly as the beasts had no fear of humans. Soon the trio was riding westwards to a place Feimar suspected would be the island only he and Cian knew of.


[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 11-07-2001 @ 09:35 PM).]

ZigZac
Pleb
posted 11-20-01 02:44 ET (US)     71 / 109       
Aurelius peered into the mist from on top his majestic steed. Liam guided his horse to his side.

"What are you thinking about, Aurelius?" He asked
Aureluis let out a sigh and turned to Liam and said, "History...just history." He peered off into the mist again.

"Is is about your family?" He asked reluctently.

"Yes and no." Aurelius replied looking down towards the saddle of his horse.

"Do you miss them much?" Liam asked curiously. Liam wondered what it must be like living without his family. He couldn't stand the thought of leaving Caitlin or Sean.

"Yes, I miss them almost more than I can handle." He said turning to Liam and looking into his eyes.

Just then a sound cam from their right. They drew their weapons. Aurelius drew his strange sword. Liam drew his crossbow from his saddle and pointed it into the bushes.

"Who's there?" commanded Aurelius. "Show yourself!"

The bushes shook more and more. Out jumped a huge white stag. The stag pounced upto Liam and stopped. It stared at him for quit some time. To surprised to do anything, Aurelius and Liam just sat there staring back. The stag turned to the side the started walking away. It got a few leagues ahead, then turned back to Aurelius and Liam.

"Let's follow it." said Liam turning to Aruelius. They began to follow the strange stag. After some time the stag stopped at the top of a hill a looked back at them. They rode up to the top of the hill and looked down. They could see far into the ocean, they could even see Brittania. After a few minutes they looked around to see the stag. The stag was standing behind them. The stag looked at the strangely, then it started to almost seem to melt. It then started to take another form. Liam's and Aurelius' eyes widened. The stag had turned into a beautiful woman in a white dress.

"Who might you be, my lady?" Aurelius asked with a slight bow.

"My name is Moira." She said in soothing voice. "I know you miss your family Sir Aurelius. And I know that you, Sir Liam, are very honest and brave. You two Paladin of the Myst are the most valiant two. I wish to give each of you a great gift." She turned to Aurelius "This is will give you. It is a new sword. This sword is sure to strike any foe with foul intentions. But if you are the one with foul intentions, the sword will shatter." She handed him a bright sword. The blade seemed to emit its own light. On the hilt there were writings of a strange kind. "Bring this sword the Merlin and he will tell you what it means, for only he can read these ancient runes." She then turned to Liam. "Liam to you I give this. This sword will protect you and your decendents. Here, also, is a crossbow. This crossbow will never miss a target. Only when used in the name of good." She gave Liam the sword and crossbow. "A warning to you both. Soon the tide of evil will swep onto this land. You and your comrades are the only hope for this island. You know what you must do. Make sure that you do it not for yourself, but for good. Be valiant and be true." With that Moira turned a walked back into The Myst.

Aurelius and Liam sat on their horses in amazement at what had just happened. They looked at eachother and then at the strange gift they had received.

"That was odd." Liam said breaking the silence.

"Yes...it was." Aurelius spoke looking at his new sword. "This sword is beautiful beyond description."

"That it is. We better get back to the village. You heard what she said. Evil is coming and we need to be prepared for it." With that Liam and Aurelius stared one more time out towards Brittania, then turned and rode home to prepare for the coming of evil.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 11-20-01 21:24 ET (US)     72 / 109       
The Celt couldn't resist the eyes of Ysbrand. "The Cauldron... The Cauldron... I... know... of... no..." He couldn't help himself. "The Isle of the Mist... Cauldron... Taken by... The Mist... To the Isle..."

"Where is this Isle?" said Ysbrand, directing his words into the ear of the stupefied Celt.

"The... Western... No!... Cannot tell..."

"Where? Tell me where," persisted Ysbrand.

"Cannot... tell... Should not tell... Western... Sea... Sea of the Celts..."

"Where in this Sea of the Celts?"

"Do... not... know..."

"TELL ME! WHERE?!"

"Cannot... Not know..." The Celt's eyes began to roll up into the back of his sockets. He fell to the ground and writhed, foaming at the mouth, convulsing. Then he quieted down and moved no more.

A Saxon bent down to check the Celt. The man was without pulse or breath. "He is dead, Ysbrand. He failed to tell you its location."

"Because he didn't know, that's why. However, this was not without benefit; for we now know that the cauldron is on an isle in the Western Sea, the body of water also called the Celtic Sea by some. There are not many isles there if I recall correctly. Our search is considerably narrowed." Ysbrand considered what he would do next. "Camp here for the night. We ride due west tomorrow at first light."

____________________________________________________________

Cian, Ruadan and Feimar reined in their horses when they saw the light of the Saxon campfire up ahead in the waning light of the dusk. Wordlessly, Cian signaled the others to turn their horses north for a ways and give the Saxons wide berth. They rode as far as they could to get ahead of the Saxons and in the morning they rose even before the sun climbed into the sky. This they did to put even more kilometers between themselves and Ysbrand's Saxons. Cian had one purpose in mind: To claim his secret isle for himself and the other two, should they survive the journey.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 11-21-2001 @ 03:06 PM).]

Duan Xuan
Pleb
posted 11-21-01 02:26 ET (US)     73 / 109       
The Saxons started manoevering west at dawn. Ysbrand ordered them to search for any possible sign of people, and get hold of them to question for the whereabouts of the Cauldron.

Marching out of the forest, the Saxons spotted prints left in the soft ground, very likely by horses. One of the soldiers reported this finding to Ysbrand.

"Hm! This is very suspicious indeed. Where are the hoove prints pointing towards?" As he had hoped, it was away from the forest and westwards. The seer was sure that there was someone else, and he was determined to capture him.

The sun continued to rise slowly into the median. The march was still on. There was another discovery.

"Ysbrand, we have discovered something else! A pendant!"

Now, that was some discovery, Ysbrand thought. He snatched the pendant over from the soldier and studied it. The golden pendant appeared to be off Celtic origin. With more evidence that there was a Celt in front, he ordered his troops to move faster.

_____________________________

"Cian, are you heading for that mysterious isle?"

"Yes I am, boy. I was just wondering. With all those paladins around, how are we ever going to step even a foot there?"

"My lucky pendant will ensure us that!" Feimar half-joked.


D XUAN
Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 11-21-01 20:41 ET (US)     74 / 109       
Nyla listened closely to the what the old Celt told her. It didn't matter that Budra's "Loosened Tongue" spell was the reason the man readily dispensed information about the cauldron. It wasn't really that hard to convince him to talk at all, anyway. Just one flash of her brilliant smile and the man became willing to talk with her about anything. But when it came to the cauldron, the spell made that part a little easier then it otherwise would have been.

She learned that the Cauldron had great power to make the injured well. Armies, devastated by injury, could be healed overnight and returned to battle the next day. What army could withstand an opponent that could replenish its numbers from its own fallen in a matter of a single day? Hence the reason the Celts protect the artifact and why they hide it when the numbers opposing them become overwhelming. Tis better to bow to the conqueror for a short while and then, with the help of the cauldron and replenished numbers, cast them off Celtic land at a later time.

There remained the isle. It's location in the Celtic Sea was unknown. Once the strange cloud they call The Mist took the Cauldron the old Celt knew only that it returns to its home, a mysterious isle that appears now and again when the Mist is distracted or preoccupied. It has been seen from sea, but never from the western shore of the land of the Celts. Strangely, sailors who see the Isle can never remember its proper location, as if recollection of the isle is as fogged as the Mist itself. Sadly, those that stepped ashore and entered its heart never returned to their ships. This was the information Nyla shared with Lestra and Bevan after seeing that the old Celt was deep in sleep in his hut.

There was one thing more. It seemed they were not the only ones interested in the Cauldron and the Isle. There were travelers south and east who were also making their way in search of the Cauldron. One name among them was well known and greatly revered by the old man. It was the one he called - The Merlin.

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 11-27-01 03:53 ET (US)     75 / 109       
Arithmial felt aweful. When he'd touched Kyrin he'd felt her die. She died painfully and in agony and what was worse, he knew it was going to be soon and that he would not be able to keep it from happening.
Worse he was going to be there when it happened.

He'd bolted himself in his room and had steadily ignored Kyrin's knocking and worried questions as to whether he was alright. He thought he could here her cry.

Evening approached and Arithmial started to wonder. Could he save Kyrin if he left her? If he wasn't there, the vision could not be true.

Quietly he opened the window and climbed out. The tall warrior kept to the shadows as he made his way to the stables. He saddled his horse and suddenly heard dogs barking.
Kyrin's dogs! He'd completely forgotten about them.

He pulled the horse out of the stable, the two white hounds were outside barking and he could see Kyrin running towards them. He needed to get away. The dogs were there white, their eyes seeming to glow. Arithmial drew his sword.
He had to get away.

Suddenly he felt a hand on his shoulder.
"What do you think you're doing?"
Arithmial turned round and found himself looking at the minstrel whose eyes seemed, for a moment, to glow golden.
"I..."
His free hand moved up to push away the hand on his shoulder. It felt like he'd touched frozen iron. Images rushed on to him visions of strange creatures and even stranger men. Men in the armour of the Romans. Men in white kilts wearing golden jewelry. Women in scandalous dresses of sheer white linnen. Through all of the visions he say a raven-winged man, tall and unearthly.
He felt like drowning, gasping for air.
He tried to fight but the visions pummeled him relentlessly.
He fainted.


Angel Jayhawk
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I believe violence will only increase the cycle of violence. — The Dalai Lama
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