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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 10-09-01 04:19 ET (US)     26 / 109       
Jayhawk rode Aran hard.

He'd left the Isles of Avalon and was making his way westwards to have a look at the Saxons himself. His mind was far away as snatches of visions came over him, like waves rolling on to a beach.

Things were getting way out of hand. Vortigern had had the old king assassinated during a pictish raid, then insuniated himself into the council of his son Constans. The boy had died under suspicious circumstances and Vortigern had stolen the throne and then invited the Saxons to aid him in keeping the Britons under his thumb.
Marrying Rowena had cemeted their alliance and soon a boy was born to them.

At least the Briton rebels had managed to steal away both Ambrosius and Uther, brothers to Constans and had raised them safely. Ambrosius, now in his late teens was showing promise and Jayhawk knew Vortigern's dreams were disturbed by his fears of the boy. Uther, still a babe when his father had died, had grown into a strong warrior as well and Vortigern was justified in being frightened by the two of them.
He seriously needed his Saxons and he'd have to pay them royally.

Suddenly he caught sight of a figure beside the road. Her cloak almost blended her in with the green of the ferns. The minstrel reined in his horse and jumped down.

Wisps of red-gold hair escaped from the cloak's hood and framed a pale face, with high cheekbones and almost violet eyes. Eyebrows from high arches over the eyes and the woman's nose was straight.
She rose gracefully to her full 4'9"

"Kyrin!" Jayhawk exclaimed and lifted her off her feet into a friendly hug and kissed her soundly on the mouth.

The woman returned the kiss briefly then pur her hands upon his shoulders and said.
"Why don't you put me back down again, you great lout? My legs have served me nicely all these years and I'm sure they still do."

The minstrel grinned, but put her down, then dropped his lanky frame down to the log she'd been sitting on so as not to stare down on her.
"What brings you here?" he asked.
"The land tells me you are going to need help," she replied, "I'm coming with you."
"Will you ride with me?"
"I don't think I'll need to stoop to being carried around like a child."

Kyrin whistled softly and a pale grey palfrey stepped daintily out of the forest, where it had been grazing. The brown eyes looked remarkably intelligent as she stepped closer to her mistress and let her fondle her ears.

Jayhawk looked round.
"What? No dogs?"
Kyrin smiled,
"it seems you know me to well, minstrel"
She whistled once more and two sleek white hunting dogs, with red ears came running towards them.
"I think you know Fleet and Swift?"


Angel Jayhawk
Eyrie • Caesar 4 Heaven • Children of the Nile Heaven • Stronghold Heaven • Caesar 3 Heaven • Emperor Heaven • Pharaoh Heaven • Zeus Heaven • My Deviations
Support your local Heaven • My Recommendations • EXCO • HALO
I believe violence will only increase the cycle of violence. — The Dalai Lama
Jaguar
Pleb
posted 10-09-01 11:01 ET (US)     27 / 109       
"So how has this world been treating you since the last time we met, Jayhawk?" Kyrin petter Swift and Fleet for a minute before getting on her horse, Starlight.

The two rode along talking to eachother. They had a lot to catch up on. They talked about people and places long gone and forgotten, as the two had known eachother for what seemed to be forever. Kyrin told of the burroughs that she had been in, the many places she had seen and finally the topic of conversation shifted back to what had brought her back to the public life.

Kyran was very happy to see her friend at this time that the earth seemed to need her. She felt that something big was about to happen, although not entirely sure what, Jayhawk's apparent involvement explained that it was bigger than she had originally thought.

"what is happening this time, Jayhawk? I can not seem to get rid of this feeling that someone powerful is about to do something really wrong. I've heard tales of people disappearing and the dream of mists lifting seems to be very strong."

"That is a very appropriate piece of imagery, Kyrin. It appears that the mists of time have something to do with all this. The people involved are very powerful indeed and I am glad to see you heed the call."

"Well, if something were to happen to this place, I would not have anywhere to visit you now, would I."

And with this, the conversation turned back to more mundane things.

[This message has been edited by Jaguar (edited 10-09-2001 @ 11:03 AM).]

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 10-10-01 03:47 ET (US)     28 / 109       
The two made their way east, Jayhawk played his lute at various small towns and villages and Kyrin, who had the clear voice of her kind, sometimes accompanied him in some of the older lays.
After a while the picture became clearer. A new group of Saxons and Angles had landed in Kent. They had strengthened the hold Hengist had on the county and had helped him defeat several smaller lords and add their domains to his expanding influence.
The king, Vortigern, looked on and consolidated his power.

They met people fleeing from the Saxon raiders and retreating deeper in to the West County. The Saxons were definitely on the move.

...and that made post 11111

Arithmial
Pleb
posted 10-10-01 16:43 ET (US)     29 / 109       
As night began to fall, Jayhawk and Kyrin settled in a small wooded grove, a copse at the top of a hill; there to rest their horses, giving them chance to drink from the nearby stream, and to take a chance themselves to rest from a days' fierce riding.
Building a small fire, Kyrin settled into preparing the meal of freshly-caught rabbit, whilst Jayhawk gently strummed his lute.
The two dogs lay beside the fire, both tired, lulled by the sweet music that came from the instrument, only barking when Kyrin called them to start their meal.
Tossing a few scraps of meat on the ground, the dogs began to tear at the charred flesh, their hunger obvious.

"Jayhawk," Kyrin said, passing some meat to Jayhawk.

"No. I'm fasting now." The man replied, raising his hand, "You eat it. How long has it been?"

"A few days," Kyrin replied, tearing at the meat on her dagger. "You know -"

Her voiced trailed off as suddenly the dogs stopped eating, stood, their ears bent forwards, alert and listening. They began to growl, softly at first, but growing louder.

"Someone is near," Kyrin warned, standing and reaching for her staff.

After calming the dogs, she pointed to the edge of the clearing, where the tiny moonlit stream, trickled it's way down towards the lake below.
In the distance, a shadowy figure leading a horse silently made it's way eastwards, unaware of their presence just a few hundred yards away. Turning, Kyrin realised that Jayhawk had already extinguished the fire.

As they waited and watched the figure, two further shadows appeared, from behind the first, creeping closer; thieves no-doubt.

[This message has been edited by Arithmial (edited 10-10-2001 @ 04:49 PM).]

Jaguar
Pleb
posted 10-10-01 17:16 ET (US)     30 / 109       
Kyrin pointed to the followers, indicating that she would try to waylay them if Jayhawk would take care of the leading individual.

Since it was not readily obvious who was the wrongdoer, if anyone, both parties should be apprehended. Kyrin and her dogs circled the two sneaking followers and as the dogs jumped one of the men, taking him down, Kyrin tripped the other with her staff. The dogs kept the first man down while kyrin made short work of the second, she hit him on the back of the head. Not a killing blow, but certainly one that made him lose consciousness. THen she went over to the first man and disarmed him. With the dogs watching, she took him to Jayhawk who had taken care of the third person.

Jayhawk had appeared as if from thin air in front of the figure leading his horse. Startled, he reached for his daggers, but it appeared as if he was unable to move. Something was holding his arms in place, but there did not appear to be anyone. A thin net of very strong almost invisible material restricted his movement.

"Ok, what is going on here. Obviously neither of you wanted to be seen by anyone, yet you both were." Jayhawk started off.

"Who are you and what do you want with this man?" Kyrin asked of her captive and pointed to the man with the horse. "Nothing, we were just following the same path." he stammered. "Right, and which path would that be? I bet you were after his belongings, weren't you?" Kyrin's tone of voice altered slightly when asking the last question and theman found himself answering against his will. "Yes, we were."

"Well, as soon as your partner comes to, you two can be off. I'll give you a two minute headstart before I send the dogs after you and you better not return."

Kyrin's attention now returned to the strapping man leading the horse. Jayhawk was asking him a few questions, but for some reason he did not appear to be totally satisfied with the answers.

"And who are you?" Jayahwk started. "I am Arithmial" the man replied. "I am looking for a place to rest where I won't get accosted, but I don't believe there is such a place in this neighbourhood." "Where are you going, Arithmial?" "To find an adventure that needs my input." he replied.

"Well, I am not so sure that we can give you adventure, but we can give you a place to rest for the evening. You are welcome to join us this night." Jayhawk offered.

The second thief had awakened, and true to her word, Kyrin gave them a two minute head start before telling the dogs to bark loudly as if in pursuit.

There were no troubles the rest of the evening, but Kyrin did notice that the dogs acted rather friendly towards Arithmial. Trusting her dogs completely, she did not worry about the man that shared their camp for the night.


Gill Britannica
Inactive
posted 10-10-01 19:15 ET (US)     31 / 109       
Back at the Angles’ camp, the two sisters looked up, startled from their clawing at each other by the booming voice. It was their father, Klax, a man subservient when in the presence of the Saxon chiefs, but a martinet within his own family.

“And what was the argument this time?” he asked.

The two girls looked at each other. “Well, I’m waiting” he continued.

“I .. it ..” Lestra began, trying to remember exactly how it had started.

“I’m very sorry Sir” interrupted Bevan. “I think it was my fault. I was talking to one of your daughters and the other felt left out.”

This skirting round the truth seemed to satisfy Klax, as he looked at his two daughters, flaming red hair streaming down their backs as the fastenings had been torn out in their cat-fight, and ordered them to go and make themselves tidy; more fitting for the daughters of a chieftain.
They scurried towards their quarters, but not before Bevan managed to grab Lestra’s arm and hiss in her ear “Do not tell your sister the secrets I told you. They are not for her ears.”

Lestra rounded on him and answered in her haughtiest tone “I should not dream of betraying another’s secret, and particularly not to my sister who is, sadly, apt to repeat everything she hears to the most unsuitable people. I should be interested to know, though, why you told me your secrets, when you spent the rest of the night talking about Nyla?”

Bevan began to answer, but Lestra continued “Don’t worry, I already know the answer to that. I’m warning you though, that Nyla will not rest until she knows what you told me. She is very jealous of me and will not be able to bear the fact that we talked for so long, yet she knows nothing of our conversation. Be careful, or your life will be in danger.”

She hurried back to her room, made herself tidy and sat thinking about all Bevan had told her. What was the son of Vortigern doing visiting their camp? Why had he been talking to that devil-man Ysbrand? What would happen if, no, when, she corrected herself, Nyla found out who he really was? She lay back pondering these things and quickly fell asleep to make up for the sleep lost the night before.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 10-10-01 22:35 ET (US)     32 / 109       
"Ohhh! That sister of mine!" screeched Nyla when she was out of earshot of anyone in the village. "Some day she will regret the things she does to me!"

Nyla glanced down at her disheveled clothing and felt her head to determine the destruction wrought to her long red hair. She was a mess and she knew it. Instinctively she tested the air with her open hand. Ummmm, not too cold, even for this land. Dark enough. Yes, she'll risk it. She picked up her skirt a little and walked towards the nearby creek.

At the water's edge, she stopped, looked around and listened carefully. No sounds to alarm. No sights to disturb. She reached up and began to untie the knot in the strings that held her bodice in place. Then she loosened the strings, permitting the garment to be loosened and removed. A belt held her long layered skirt in place. This she unbuckled and placed on the nearest bush with her bodice. Her long skirt slipped to the ground and bunched at her ankles. Here Nyla paused once more to listen and to peer into the dark of the evening. Still darkly private and silent. Good.

In a swift, seamless move, Nyla slipped her remaining garment from her shoulders, let it fall to the ground and then stepped into the deep, pond-like area of the creek. The cold water shocked her body up to her waist, then numbed it sufficiently so that she no longer felt the cold or anything else. Her stay would be brief by intent and necessity. Just enough to wash away the dirt from her encounter with Lestra. She knelt down in the somewhat shallow water to allow more of herself to be bathed in its waters. Her hair was the last of her to be washed clean of soil and leafy debris.

All went well as she hurried through her oblations until a noise near the bank of the creek startled her into ceasing her bath. She dipped low in the water so that only her neck and head was above its surface. She did not cry out for fear of giving herself away. Leaves moved but there was no breeze to cause it. A twig cracked, but nothing could be seen that might have been the reason.

"WHO IS IT?!" yelled Nyla. "I'll scream so loud the whole village will be here in an instant!"

A voice other than Nyla's broke the silence. "Nyla... Nyla... For pity's sake, quiet down. It's only Budra." The voice was one that Nyla instantly recognized as belonging to the old woman who lived alone in the forest, her only friend among those of her same sex. Her frazzled nerves calmed down. The tension of the moment let the cold of the water finally take its toll. Nyla began to shiver and knew it was time to make her way to the shore. With Budra there, she felt safe in doing so.

"Budra, you nearly scared 10 years off my life," Nyla said through chattering teeth. "I didn't know who or what it was until you spoke."

"Most sorry, Nyla. I didn't want to disturb your bath. I heard what happened in the village. I thought I should look for you and guessed you would be in your favorite retreat. It looks like I guessed correctly."

"So... *chatter* it would *chatter chatter* seem," said Nyla, putting on articles of clothing as fast as she could.

Budra frowned. "Come girl, I have a fire under the kettle in my hut. You can warm yourself there. Honestly, why you would take a bath in the middle of the night I don't understand."

"Because if I took one during the day, I would have a gallery made up of every boy or man within walking distance of the creek."

"I imagine you would," agreed Budra. "Hehehe, I remember when I was your age. My goodness, the teasing I used to do... Hehehe." Nyla was too cold to laugh and so she listened as Budra led the way to her hut, a small structure far from the village and by itself in the nearby forest.

"Do they still think you rendesvous in the night with uhhh your 'choosings'? Hmm, do they?"

"Yes, Budra. They think I'm with the one I picked for the day or the week. They do not suspect I see you for training in mysticism most nights. My father disapproves of my 'friendships' but he would be furious if he knew I actually was learning the mystic arts from you instead of dallying with uhhh... others."

By now they had entered Budra's hut and just as the old woman said, there was a fire under a small kettle in the fireplace that served as a galley. Nyla stepped quickly to the fire and tried to absorb as much of its heat as she could without toasting hands, face or clothing. Her front side now warm, Nyla turned her back to the fire to warm that side as well, and to speak face to face with Budra. "Sometimes, Budra, I begin to tire of the charade and wish I could just be what it is I want to be."

In the light cast by the fire within the hut, Nyla could clearly see the figure and face of the old woman before her. Yes, Nyla conceded, bent back, white streaked hair and creased face may be the appearance presented today by this old woman, but Nyla could see where in her youth Budra could very well have been the teasing temptress she claims to have been. Maybe that's why they became friends so quickly, not just because of the prospect of Nyla's learning mysticism from Budra.

"Patience, child. Your lessons are nearly at an end. Soon you will know as much as I and can do the things I have taught you when it suits your fancy. For now, listen and practice during these evenings with me."

With that, a new lesson began. Nyla, warm and content, listened carefully to everything Budra said and watched and practiced everything Budra showed her to do.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 10-10-2001 @ 10:50 PM).]

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 10-11-01 03:41 ET (US)     33 / 109       
Jayhawk spinned some wards around their little camp, the notes from the lute settling solidly between the shrubs. Kyrin noted his work and winked, her violet eyes sparkling in the fire light.

Arithmial sat with his back to a tree, as far away from the fire as he thought he politely could. He'd closed his eyes partially and pretended to be asleep, wrapped in his cloak. He wasn't quite sure the minstrel had believed his story.

A strange man, this Jayhawk, a few inches taller than he, slender as a birch tree, unruly dark hair and sea-green eyes, yet in the darkness they had seemed to glitter with golden sparks. He played his instrument with thoughtless skill, music fit for kings, yet them man seemed no more than a traveller. Then again his horse looked fit for a knight or even a king.
He seemed to see a lot more than Arithmial liked.

His companion was as strange. The woman was short, slender, with golden red-hair, violet eyes and a sort of timeless beauty. Arithmial could not decide on her age. Her two dogs, though friendly, scared him a little. They two were fit for a king, but no king would presume to have dogs that looked like they belonged in Annwn, the Land of the Dead.

The music stopped, fading into the night. An owl hooted nearby. Tired out by the events of the past a days Arithmial slipped quietly into the Lands of Sleep.

"So what do you think of our new companion?" Jayhawk asked softly.
"Swift and Fleet seem to like him, yet there's something... "
Jayhawk smiled.
"I think we'll need him in the days to come."

The moon, rising above the trees well past midnight, caught the two travellers softly remeniscing besides the embers of the fire.


Angel Jayhawk
Eyrie • Caesar 4 Heaven • Children of the Nile Heaven • Stronghold Heaven • Caesar 3 Heaven • Emperor Heaven • Pharaoh Heaven • Zeus Heaven • My Deviations
Support your local Heaven • My Recommendations • EXCO • HALO
I believe violence will only increase the cycle of violence. — The Dalai Lama
Arithmial
Pleb
posted 10-11-01 04:00 ET (US)     34 / 109       
A loud noise woke Kyrin from her slumber. It was Jayhawk, who had obviously been awake for some time. He had prepared a small meal for her. Looking around she realised she must've slept heavily because she was the last to wake.

"Where's our guest?" Kyrin asked.

"I'm not quite sure," Jayhawk replied, "It may appear our company was not needed after all. He woke soon after you fell asleep and wandered into the forest."

"Strange," She replied, "He's left his horse."

The beautiful white stallion stood tethered beside her own horse and Jayhawk's, the three of them munching on the dewy grass at their feet.
Her dogs lay beside the smouldering fire, snuggled closely to each other for warmth.

Jayhawk reached over to her.

"Thank-you." She said, taking the food from Jayhawks out-stretched hand. She smiled at him, while he began to pack their things together. The rabbit was warm and quite tasty.

"You'll think we will need him?"

"Well, Im quite certain that the path we will take is the same as his, however I'm still unsure of his, errr, motivation."

Kyrin looked at Jayhawk, his green eyes flashed brilliantly. She had learned to trust the intuition of this man as much as that of her dogs, or even her own.

"Very well."

At that moment, a voice called out.

"Hello"

It was Arithmial. He approached them from the South - he'd been out foraging for food.

"I've brought some food and fresh water."

In the daylight he looked more handsome than he had the night before, Kyrin thought. His features were softer than most men's, however he seemed to shroud himself in the long black cloak he wore. There was something familiar about him, his mannerisms, but Kyrin could not quite place it.

"Shall we rest for a while before setting off?" Arithmial asked.

Kyrin looked to Jayhawk, who simply smiled back at Arithmial. Tucking into the wild berries, and the remainder of the rabbit, the three of them sat down and chatted.

Something was too familiar, Kyrin thought.

After finishing their meal, the three of them gathered their belongings, mounted their horses and set off together, westward towards the Saxons.

__________________________________

Nyla emerged from the forest, quite weary from the previous nights study. Budra was a fine teacher, yet sometimes Nyla questioned the degree of repetition in her study. Of course, she would never voice her concern - Budra wouldn't stand for it.
The camp was deserted at this early hour, and Nyla decided that she should have some fun with the Celt, Bevan.

She found his tent, and let herself in.

[This message has been edited by Arithmial (edited 10-11-2001 @ 08:55 AM).]

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 10-11-01 15:39 ET (US)     35 / 109       
Bevan lay on bedding of soft straw sound asleep. Nyla suppressed an urge to giggle in fear she might wake him prematurely. Concurrently an idea entered her head. Time to try one of her newly learned skills, she thought.

As silently as a mouse, she manuevered her way close to where Bevan lay. She knelt down near his head and shoulders and leaned over, making sure her red tresses didn't dangle into or touch Bevan's face. He snorted a little, stirred but settled back nonetheless into his original sleeping position as Nyla had found him.

Nyla closed her eyes and focussed her thoughts on Bevan and her voice on Bevan's exposed ear. She began to hum in the way Budra taught her. The old woman called it the Voice Spell of Revelation. Apply just the right volume, tonality and changes in note and a sleeper would reveal his or her dreams, yet never awaken during the song.

The young Angle woman was a quick study in mysticism and related arts. She expertly hummed the sequence of notes taught to her. Bevan began to talk in his sleep.

"ummm... the task... yes... what... successful... Bevan... no... not Bevan... I'm Cedric... Brit... not Celt... Brit."

Startled by the revelation, Nyla concluded her humming so as not to disturb him further. She carefully rose to her feet and exited the tent as quickly as she safely could. Lost in thought, Nyla didn't even acknowledge the presence of her father as she walked past him and to her own hut.

Klax watched his youngest daughter walk by. After she had passed he stood there shaking his head. 'So who was it last night, I wonder?' he thought to himself. 'Just what am I to do with her? I wish her mother were still alive. She would know what to do. She surely would.' Klax reentered his own tent disturbed and more than a little sad.

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 10-12-01 03:12 ET (US)     36 / 109       
The three of them rode steadily westwards. They crossed the downs, mainly keeping to the ridges, as to have a better view of what was going on. Trails of smoke appeared on the horizon and they began to spot signs of the Saxon incursions.

Burned farms, abandoned villages, the odd dead being feasted upon by the crows. They covered those dead they found with cairns of stone, or when no stone was available divits of grass.

Their mood becaome more subdued as they went along.

Several days later they saw a Saxon raiding party approach and rode back to warn the people in the outlying villages and farms. They watched from cover as the raging Saxons poured over the hills like spilled mead and, after having dragged of all they found of value, put the village to the torch.

"I think we've seen enough," the minstrel spoke as the last straglers had diappeared.
"Why didn't you let me kill some, " Arithmial fumed.
"I could have killed some..."
Kyrin looked at the man, who's face was torn with connflicting emotions.
"You could have killed some and then they'd have killed you. Where's the gain in that?"
"But we just hid...like cowards."
"Not like cowards, " Jayhawk replied, "A coward would have attacked and thrown away his life, a strong man would wait for a better chance and a way to stay alive.
People ar wrong when they say dying is hard.
Dying is easy, it's living that is hard"

Arithmial's grey eyes looked at the minstrel who spoke of death so casually, then thought, dying would have been easier...but it would have served noone, only the Saxons would have gained.
She bowed her head and nodded.

"It's time to go back to Avalon. I think I need to speak to Merlin"
"The Merlin?" Arithmial's head came up.
"Talisien?" Kyrin spoke at the same time.
His two companions looked at each other.
"The very same, " Jayhawk smiled.


Angel Jayhawk
Eyrie • Caesar 4 Heaven • Children of the Nile Heaven • Stronghold Heaven • Caesar 3 Heaven • Emperor Heaven • Pharaoh Heaven • Zeus Heaven • My Deviations
Support your local Heaven • My Recommendations • EXCO • HALO
I believe violence will only increase the cycle of violence. — The Dalai Lama
Arithmial
Pleb
posted 10-15-01 04:00 ET (US)     37 / 109       
A few days later….


It was early, and Nyla was mad. Very mad.

Lestra who had just been speaking with her friends, saw a resolute Nyla storm past like a great thunderous cloud, and followed her. Mud covered the younger girl, and she looked completely fatigued. Even her hair was caked with brown sludge. The other girls laughed at Nyla, usually it was her taunting them, and they relished the chance to return the favour.
But Nyla said nothing.

"Sister, what's wrong?" Lestra asked, chasing after her sister.
"Not now."

Lestra knew that her sister had a temper, but this was not normal for Nyla. Something about her determined and focused pace was wrong. She was not just angry, she was furious. In her left hand she clutched a piece of wood, mishapen, and twisted. "Sister wait," Lestra said, struggling to keep up.

The camp was deserted at this early hour, but the signs of morning had began to appear, the sun, still low had bathed the camp in a gentle light, and the freezing fog of the night before had begun to lift. Nyla marched on through the camp, heading straight for her father's tent. As she got closer, she saw Bevan, who was feeding a row of tethered horses. He turned and smiled at the sisters. "Another fight?" he called out.
Nyla whose focus had so far been unwavering, flinched at his comment, and hit him squarely on the jaw with the wood in her left hand. The surprise at her attack, knocked him from his feet. Immeadiately, Lestra ran to his aid, helping him back up and giving him a piece of cloth for his now bloody lip.
A surprised Bevan squealed, "What the…"

But unyielding in her aim, Nyla marched on. "I'm sorry," Lestra called, running to catch up with her sister. She glanced back to see him stumble to his feet.
"Prepare two horses," Nyla shouted back at the confused man. Bevan, who by now knew not to mess with this girl, did what she asked, albeit reluctantly.

Finally, Nyla reached her destination, her father's tent. Two men stood on guard outside, and a small group had formed behind the girl's eager to view the rage that was brewing in Nyla. Something big was happening, thought Lestra. "Out of my way." Nyla screamed to the guards. "Now!"

They stepped forward, to stop her, but a warning from inside the tent made them retreat. It was Ysbrand. Nyla waited for a few minutes.
"Father!" She screamed as loudly as she could. Her father emerged with the seer.

"Why?" Nyla screeched at her father.

Klax looked to Ysbrand, who smugly stood beside him. He raised a hand to his face, he could see his daughter's distress clearly. Yet he had to be firm with her. "I'm sorry."

"She had to die, she was distracting you." Ysbrand added.

Glaring at Ysbrand, Nyla ignored the urge to kill him and turned to her father. It was obvious from the look on his face that he had done something, yet maybe he had done it under advisement, Lestra thought.

"Budra did nothing to you, she was my friend," Nyla said, a tear falling down her cheek, "Why did you do it?"

"Yes, and she was also your teacher," Ysbrand declared. "Teaching you things that would ultimately destroy you."

Her father remained silent, and Nyla turned away from him. "Why won't you answer me?"

There was no reply.

"I spent three hours burying her this morn, it is not I who will be destroyed." The girl turned to the seer, her menacing face full of hatred. She raised a fist, threatening him . "I know what you're planning," Nyla spat, "She told me with her last breath! And I won't let you succeed!"

"My girl, you can't hope to stop me," Ysbrand retorted, a bemused look spreading across his face. He stepped forward raising his hand to her face, gently brushing her cheek.

"I can, and I will." She replied, pushing him backwards.

Klax caught the seer, who merely laughed at her.
And with that, Nyla turned from the man and left her fathers' tent, only stopping to call back to her sister. "Lestra, are you coming?"

Nyla returned to Bevan, who had a tiny rag clasped to his face. Two horses had been prepared as she asked. His own, and Lestra's.

"My horse is wounded," She said, "I need to borrow yours."

"No chance," he replied, "Where are you going?"

She ignored him and mounted his horse, he stopped the horse by taking the reign from her, jumping up behind her. "If you are taking my horse, I'm coming too."

He held tightly to the struggling girl, but his strength was greater than hers. Lestra, who still was confused, mounted her own horse. "But where are we to go?"

"Budra said we must find the Irish." Nyla said, before turning the horse and riding off.

____________________________________________________________

It had seemed liked several weeks before Jayhwak had said "We are here."
In reality it was only a few days, yet the land they had traversed had been some of the most unkind and battle-scarred that Kyrin had seen.
Here they were. Lost, it seemed, in the middle of a forest.

"Now what?" Arithmial asked.

ZigZac
Pleb
posted 10-15-01 06:12 ET (US)     38 / 109       
"That girl!" Ysbrand thought in anger as he stood in his tent, "She will should know better than to meddle in my afairs. I warned Budra never to get into my way once before, but she didn't listen. She paid dearly for that mistake. Nyla is doing just what I want her to. If she really thinks she can stop me, she is dead wrong. I won't let some up-start little girl interfere with my plans" He immediately left his tent to go and see Klax.

"Klax!" Ysbrand yelled.

"He is not here." One of the guards pointed out.

"Where did he go?" Ysbrand commanded with rage in his eyes. The guard was so scared that he could barely answer him.

"He...went...He went..." The guard studdered, trying to get his whits, "He went...after Nyla,...Lestra,...and...and Bevan."

"Which way did they go?' Ysbrand asked getting angrier and angrier.

"That way." The guard pointed toward the North.

"Just as I thought." Ysbrand mumbled to himself getting a little trace of a smile. He went back to his camp.

"Glynt!? Glynt!?" He yelled, "Why is he never around when I need him. He's always there when I want to be alone. Glynt!!!?" Soon after a small little figure could be seen running as fast as possible towards Ysbrand.

"Yes, Master?" Glynt said leaning over, trying to catch his breathe.

"Saddle my fastest horse, immediately." Ysbrand command then turned to leave, but stopped, "Oh, and get the griffin ready too." With that Ysbrand turned and walked back to his tent. He was going to catch up Nyla and teach her never to mess with him...

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 10-15-01 09:39 ET (US)     39 / 109       
griffin? wrong mythology, methinks

Jayhawk had led the three of them along the ley-lines speeding up their journey as he took them back West. They had left Kent and passed Sussex avoiding the Saxon incursions there and entered Wessex, moving swiftly South of Sarum and the Great Stones. Down they went once more, driving towards the Isles. He lifted the Veil and crossed the border and soon all traces of human habitation vanished.

Kyrin enjoyed the vast, green forests of her youth, but Arithmial seemed ill at ease. The young man startled at the sounds of birds and rode with his hands close to his weapons.

As the evening fell they came to a clearing in the forest a small group of sarsen stood around a well. Hidden among the trees was a small cottage, warm candle light shone from the small windows. A stable was located to one side.

The three travellers approached the house and the door opened. A tall man, though not as tall as the minstrel stepped forward. In the ruddy light Arithmial could see he was old, with hair that was almost white and a well-kept beard.

"Jayhawk!" the old man boomed and caught up his friend in a hug wide enough to smother a bear.
"Merlin, " the minstrel replied.
"May I introduce to you..."
Merlin turned to Kyrin and smiled then enveloped Kyrin in a similar hug.
"Fair lady Kyrin, it has been too long."
"So it has Talisien, but I wish you louts would stop picking me up."

To Arithmial's surprise the Merlin blushed and put down the young woman. Why would this old man allow himself to be scolded by such a young woman? Then he felt himself under the scrutiny of the Merlin.
"And who's this, Jayhawk"
"This is Arithmial, we picked him up along the way."
The minstrel smiled.
"He seems important to our quest."
Merlin nodded and Arithmial ws beginnin gto feel decidedly uncomfortable under that clear gaze. The Merlin's eyes saw way too deep.
"Come.
Food is ready."


Angel Jayhawk
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I believe violence will only increase the cycle of violence. — The Dalai Lama
Arithmial
Pleb
posted 10-15-01 10:43 ET (US)     40 / 109       
Ysbrand and the others were some 2 hours behind Nyla. The tracks in front of them were still fresh and were thus quite easy to follow.

Reaching a clearing, Ysbrand could make out the figure of Klax riding in the distance. "Onwards," Ysbrand shouted, riding harder.
They had to reach Klax before everything went wrong. He would be the key to reaching Ysbrand achieving his ultimate goal.

Klax had other plans.

He heard the approach of Ysbrand and the others, and slowed his horse, to allow them to join them.
Ysbrand pulled alongside Klax, glaring at him.

"Your daughter!" the seer said, before charging his horse forward. "Wait here, and guard him!"
Two of Ysbrand's men, one which Klax knew to be called Glynt, surrounded his own horse. Klax had no choice but to stop.

Secretly he hoped that Ysbrand wouldn't find Nyla yet, instead he hoped that a few days would pass thus giving Ysbrand time to calm down.
His daughter, what trouble she caused. Why couldn't she be more like Lestra?

Nyla, it seems, had for many months been a student of Budra. By day, she flirted with the men, teasing and using them, and by night she trained in the mystic arts under the old crow.
When not fighting with her sister, she must've practised her skills on her lovers, focusing and developing her powers - who knows, she may have become as powerful as Ysbrand.
But why did Ysbrand want Budra dead? Certainly, Klax may have found the old woman smelly, and a little offensive with her lewd comments, but that wasn't enough to kill someone was it?

Suddenly it dawned on Klax, he had ordered Budra's death. But why?

Ysbrand was powerful but could he have the power to control me, Klax thought...

[This message has been edited by Arithmial (edited 10-16-2001 @ 03:18 AM).]

Jaguar
Pleb
posted 10-15-01 17:58 ET (US)     41 / 109       
"Talisien, you always knew the way to a woman's stomach." Kyrin was looking decidedly happy and somewhat sleepy after the meal that Merlin had prepared. Even her dogs were full and asleep in front of the fire.

Arithmial noted that the dogs always seemed to portray what Kyrin was feeling or vice versa. He hadn't quite decided which way it was. Arithmial, too, enjoyed the meal and watched as Jayhawk, Merlin and Kyrin talked about people and places he had never seen, let alone heard of.

After supper, Jayhawk pulled out the lute and started playing. Kyrin sang along to most tunes and seemed to regain some energy. Arithmial did not join the singing, although he did tap to the beat when appropriate. The foursome enjoyed the music until far into the night.

"Well, gentlemen. It's time for me to join my dogs in some well deserved rest." Kyrin was the first to get up and obviously knowing her way around the cabin, moved off to a little room, taking her dogs with her.

"Arithmial, I have a room that you can use at the end of the hall there. You look like you could fall asleep standing up." Merlin also offered some blankets and Arithmial too was off to bed.

"Well, tomorrow is another day. I suppose you want to wait until the Lady is rested before broaching the subject of the cauldron, Merlin?"

Merlin nodded and said: "One night will not make much of a difference. You will not be leaving for a day I would imagine, so I'll explain everything tomorrow. Arithmial will stand up to the challenge you think?"

Jayhawk nodded and while putting his lute away said "Kyrin's dogs completely trust Arithmial and I have yet to question their instincts. I have looked a bit deeper as well and have found no evil lurking. Arithmial is just very troubled by some secrets that are being kept buried too far for his own good."

At that, Jayhawk and Merlin both retired for the evening.

[This message has been edited by Jaguar (edited 10-15-2001 @ 06:02 PM).]

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 10-15-01 21:36 ET (US)     42 / 109       
Meanwhile, near a Celtic corral:

"So what again is it you want me to do?" asked Bevan.

"Shhh! Just be quiet Bevan..." said Nyla, thoroughly annoyed. "Now remember this time... After I approach the guard and give you the signal, capture the horse I point out... and none other. Then we join Lestra where she is holding the other horses and make our departure. Understand?"

"Yes."

"Do you have the rope we took?"

"Yes." Bevan was somewhat concerned. "Are you sure you can ride without a side-saddle? I mean, you're not quite built to..."

"Bevan! Hush! I can ride a horse anyway I choose. Now get ready."

The Celt watching the horses was startled at first by the beautiful red-headed girl who suddenly appeared from bushes at the edge of the forest. Yet she so casually walked about, looking left, right and ahead with little interest in anything or with any concern, the Celt soon began to relax and his hand slipped from his dagger and moved to his chin where he began to scratch his beard in appreciation.

Now only a few paces away, Nyla turned her attention fully to the Celt, focussed her eyes onto the Celt with a cow-like liquid stare and curved her lips into one of her dazzling smiles. The Celt's heart seemed to climb its way into his throat. His hands shook and he struggled to think of something to say. Nyla spoke first, using her knowledge of the Celtish tongue.

"Hello, young man." Her words sounded as if played on a musical instrument. The Celt was too entranced to speak. He nodded in response. "You have beautiful horses," continued Nyla. "The chestnut mare with the white blaze is exceptional." Nyla motioned to the horse and the Celt watched in amazement as it promptly made its way through the other horses to where Nyla stood and pushed its muzzle over the fence to be touched and rubbed by Nyla's left hand.

"You have influence on this horse," the young Celt said.

"A passing thing," said Nyla. "My but it's warm. Don't you think its warm?" Nyla didn't wait for the answer but instead started to work the strings of her bodice, loosening them until the cloth began to part and her creamy white skin now exposed began to contrast with the dark of the cloth. Every manipulation of her long fingers seemed to make the white grow and the dark shrink.

The young Celt gulped and his knees became somewhat shaky. He tried hard to resist, but finally temptation and youthfulness claimed him and he lowered his eyes to see Nyla's deft fingers at work.

This was what Nyla was waiting for. She moved her left index finger quickly to the purple stoned ring she wore, the one she retrieved from Budra's hut the day she found the old woman murdered. Budra had shared with her the secret of its power in one of their last teachings together. Budra said the ring would belong to Nyla the day Budra walked the earth no longer. That day had come too soon so far as Nyla was concerned...

The young Celt could not help but notice the movement of Nyla's index finger. He followed its movement from her bodice to the ring on the fourth finger of her right hand. What he didn't expect when she touched the highest most peak of the over large, smoothly rounded stone, was to see the spinning light deep within. The three words she spoke he also didn't expect or even recognize. They were of a tongue he had never heard before. From deep within the stone, the flash of light immobilized his frame from head to toe and though he could see and hear all that followed, he could do nothing to prevent it from occurring.

Nyla smiled, pleased to see that she could use the ring as Budra had showed her. She waved to Bevan to hurry over and she pointed to the chestnut mare. The horse stood placidly almost as if waiting to have a rope slipped over its head and to be led away from the corral, so that is exactly what Bevan did.

Nyla, meanwhile, worked the laces of her bodice to return the garment to its proper arrangement. Then she took a step forward and whispered into the petrified Celt's ear. "I'm sorry, young man, to do this but I have no choice. You will be fine in a short time; but I'm afraid you'll have some explaining to do. By the way, I think you're cute." Then she leaned over his shoulder and placed a soft kiss on his cheek, just above where his beard ended. There was a slight response in the young man's eyes, as if they would blink. And his lips twitched as if trying to form a smile. But the spell held true and he made no other motion as Nyla led the chestnut mare quickly away.

Lestra was impressed with the horse her sister had selected and as astonished as Bevan when without further ado, Nyla leaped up onto the horses back, a leg down each of the horse's side, her skirt hitched up to expose her legs to the knee. Lestra saw the expression on Bevan's face and decided it would be another topic of discussion between herself and her sister at a later date.

Nyla slid up the horses back and close to its front haunches. She whispered something to the mare and the animal immediately perked up and began to trot towards the road that wandered to the west. Irish Celts were there and they were the ones she most needed to find.

ZigZac
Pleb
posted 10-15-01 22:05 ET (US)     43 / 109       
The wind combed through Ysbrand's hair while he rode his horse as fast as possible toward the North...toward the coast that led to Ireland. He had not been there for what seemed like ages. He could still see the house he lived in as a child. He could still hear the noises of the farm animals too. He loved it there, with his parents. Until the day when...when... He closed his eyes and a single tear ran down his face. "I am going to get revenge for what they did." he thought. His eyes filled with rage. He continued his journey.

He rode with one intent, to see what Nyla intended on doing. He new that Nyla wasn't as powerful as he, but she would still be a menace if she got in his way.

He stopped at a stream to let the horse rest and to get the griffin ready for its journey. The small agile creature had been in its cage the hole trip. Ysbrand might have appeared to be a harsh man, but he admired the griffin for its agility, courage, and odd beauty. He let it out. It did not fly anyway, but flew onto Ysbrand's outstreached arm. With a few words Ysbrand released the griffin. It jumped off of Ysbrand's arm and lept over logs, rocks, and the stream without haltering.

A few minutes after the griffin's departure, Ysbrand mounted his horse, Alden. The horse thundered off into the distance as he contintued his search for Nyla and the others.

___________________________________________________________

"We need to stop!" Yelled Lestra at Nyla, "Our horses are getting tired." The group of Irish Celts had agreed to take them to their village so Nyla and the others could get some food and sleep for the night.

Nyla slowed down and turned to her sister, "We will ride slow until we find a stream or river, then we will stop, but the stop will be brief. Ysbrand is following us."

"How do you know?" asked Bevan in unbelief. He had managed to be quiet for the hole trip.

"I just do. I can just feel it. There is something else, someone else following us." She closed her eyes to gain more concentration. She abroptly opened her eyes. "Its father! He is following us, but he is in trouble.

"We need to continue if we are to reach our village." One of the men explained.

"We have to turn around." Nyla turned the horse started to gallop away.

"Bevan, you go with these men to their village, then come find us. This journey should be quick." Lestra commanded. She left before Bevan had a chance to even breathe. She was worried for her father, but new that if the horses did not rest, they wouldn't make it through the night. "We need to let the horses rest soon or we'll never reach father." With that th two young women rode off to go and save their father.

[This message has been edited by ZigZac (edited 10-16-2001 @ 09:29 AM).]

Arithmial
Pleb
posted 10-16-01 03:39 ET (US)     44 / 109       
Lestra did her best to keep up with Nyla, however her own horse was already tired.

"Nyla, wait for me!" Lestra called. "My horse is having trouble keeping up."

Nyla pulled the reigns to stop her horse, circled, and returned to Lestra. "We must keep moving, and get to father before nightfall."

"Ysbrand wouldn't punish him, would he?"

Nyla didn't answer straight away. Instead she leant forward, and whispered softly to Lestra's horse. She gently ruffled it's mane, and the horse calmed. "I don't know, but these woods aren't safe, there could be all manner of robbers, wolves or seers here."

She spat the word Seer, meaning only one. Ysbrand.

"Robbers, and wolves, and seers? Oh my!"

And with that, Nyla set off with a surprised Lestra following. Her horse had seemingly rested.

ZigZac
Pleb
posted 10-16-01 09:58 ET (US)     45 / 109       
"Father! Father!" Nyla yelled when she saw her beloved father with his hands behind his back. She rode faster and faster. Lestra was in shock of why Ysbrand would do such a thing. "What are you doing!?" Nyla shouted at Ysbrand.

"Taking him back to the camp, to tried for treason against the Saxons." Ysbrand said, his eyes filling with rage.

"What!? What do you mean?" Lestra asked. She was so confused and worried for her father.

"I will be taking the both of you also. You were trying to inform the Irish of our whereabouts, and thus committing treason." Soon as Ysbrand finished his soilders rode forward to grabbed the two young women.

"NO!" Nyla belted. "You will not come any closer."

"Or else what?" Ysbrand was beginning to feel a little pleased with Nyla's behavior. It was working just the wya he wanted.

"Or else...or else you will pay dearly." She replied. Her eyes started to burn with anger against the warlock.

"Really?" Ysbrand raised his arms, in his right hand the staff he carried, vines bursted out of the ground grabbing Nyla's and Lestra's horses so they couldn't exscape. One vine rose up to Nyla's leg, rapped around it and pulldher off of her horse.

"Nyla!" Lestra shouted trying to get off her horse before a vine grabbed. She didn't even get a chance to think before the next vine had rapped her to the ground.

"Lestra!" Nyla started to chant the words of her paralyzing spell that Budra had taught.

"Silence, you pitifull excuse for a witch." Ysbrand yelled. His eyes seemed to have turned from grey to a red. Never before had Lestra nor Nyla yelled, not even the time when they were in front of their father's tent. His voice boomed and thundered through the forest. "You think that you could of even had the power that I have. You are sorely mistaken. Guards! Tie them up like their father. and place them with the animals. We are going still going to head North toward the coast." The soilders quickly did as they were told for fear that Ysbrand would punish them. They began to ride North again.

___________________________________________________________

Bevan and the Irish Celts had reached the village. After a quick dinner, Bevan mounted his horse, thanked the Irish Celts for their hospitality and rode off to find Nyla, Lestra, and Klax to return here.

He rode for about twenty minutes. He heard something running behind him, getting closer and closer. He turned to see what it was, but could see nothing. He continued to ride. A few minutes later a sharp pang ran up his back. The blow nocked him off his horse. He scrabbled to his feet, but again he could see nothing. Then out of the middle of the bushes jumped Ysbrand's griffin. It jumped right toward Bevan's head. He ducked and dodged the griffin. It turned around for a second leap. Bevan unscathed his sword. The griffin moved left to rigth, trying to confuse Bevan. It lept at him again. This time it managed to graze his left shoulder. Bevan let out yelled in pain. That's it. He thought. The griffin lept one last time for Bevan's throat. Bevan lifted his sword and thrusted it into the griffins left side. The griffin laid on the ground, dead. Bevan looked at the griffin.

"Where have I seen this before?" He said to himself. Then it appeared to him. "Ysbrand. Ysbrand had a griffin that looked just like this one." he quickly mounted his horse, fearing the worst had happened to Nyla and Lestra, and rode the fastest he could get his horse to go. "I hope that they are alright."

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 10-16-01 15:44 ET (US)     46 / 109       
Klax rode between his daughters, all three bound with rope at the wrist and surrounded by Ysbrand's soldiers. The Angles chieftan hardly understood the turn of events. First an ally of the Saxons and now a prisoner. Once a friend of Ysbrand and now his enemy. What happened?

And what is this new behaviour from his daughters. Lestra, the calm, clear thinking, reliable daughter who took charge now being led by Nyla? Young Nyla, the misfit, the irresponsible one. It was Nyla who challenged Ysbrand on my behalf; and both of these my daughters with whom I have argued and fought so often... Now they come to my rescue? Wife who resides with Wotan! Am I going insane? Klax lifted his eyes and turned his head to look at his eldest daughter.

Lestra saw the turmoil in Klax's eyes when he looked at her. She could not speak or the soldiers would hear and possibly gag them. Instead, she made a motion with her head trying to tell Klax to look at Nyla. At first the chieftan did not understand. Then a combination of Lestra's head movements and eye movements finally registered their message with Klax.

The chieftan turned his head to look at his youngest daughter who rode to his left. Nyla was waiting for him to turn to her. She raised her bound hands to her face and extended an index finger to indicate he should say nothing. Then she lowered her hands and looked at her father with an expression and a smile Klax had not seen since Nyla's girlhood. That was a time when the tempestuous young woman did not exist, and in her place was a very pretty little girl who adored her father, the Chieftan. In her eyes, he could do no wrong. She was to him a treasure and a joy, the very best... Yes, in these days of tempests and tantrums he had almost forgotten the fire red hair, the bright twinkling eyes, the pretty smile of the little girl who said to him almost every day, "I love you, Father" if not in words, then in the look in her eyes and in the smile on her face.

After such a long time, it seemed the little girl was back once more... And it gave him a simple comfort long unfelt. The voice accentuated the feeling. "He cannot hold us, Father," the voice said. Voice? But no one spoke. He looked quickly from side to side. There was a voice, but no one spoke. Nyla didn't speak. Lestra was looking the other way. Whose voice was it? Klax did not know. But the voice said "Father". He looked once more at Nyla. She was smiling at him just as before.

Klax readied himself for whatever might happen next.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 10-16-2001 @ 09:48 PM).]

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 10-18-01 21:08 ET (US)     47 / 109       
Cian and Feimar stood there, mouths open in surprise, at the appearance of the horseman. The two passengers on the beached ship were surveying the isle for good wood, heading into the interior, when suddenly they became engulfed in a fog that seemed to appear everywhere at once. They could not tell if the fog settled from the sky or rose from the ground or from where it originated.

Then, when it thinned and faded away, the horseman appeared. He rode a powerfully muscled, stocky horse with armor on its muzzle and intertwined metal links hanging down both rib cages. The man was encased in the same metal links from head to toe. His face was the only uncovered part of his body. Cian suspected that the metal bucket-like object in the horseman's left hand was intended for the horseman's head as a helmet. In the horseman's right hand, elevated skywards, the horseman carried a lance.

"Who are you?" queried the horseman.

"I am Cian and this is the boy, Feimar. Our ship is aground and we are seeking wood," answered Cian.

"What you seek will not be found here. Leave this place."

"And why should we do that," said Cian, his Celtic temper beginning to heat.

"Because you are not found to be worthy," stated the horseman matter-of-factly.

"I think we shall continue the search," countered Cian.

The horseman lowered his lance pointing it directly at Cian's chest. "And I think not." Feimar pulled on the edge of Cian's clothing. "I think it would be a good idea to do what he says."

"And why is that, frightened child?" hissed Cian.

"Because there are four more of them, two to each side of us." Cian quickly looked left and right. The boy was correct. The fading fog revealed the presence of four more horsemen, all dressed differently, but all mounted on fine steeds and armed to the teeth.

"All right, horseman, we shall leave. But first, tell me. Who are you and who is your master."

"We are the Paladins. We serve the master of this isle. There is no need for you to know more. Now leave. The wood you seek is already in the hands of your comrades. The Master, as you call it, has provided this."

Cian decided to not press his luck and knowing his mission was completed he motioned to Feimar to follow him and they both began the walk back to the beach. It was as the Paladin had said. Others had already found the cache of perfectly hewn, properly fitting wood and were collecting their comrades' congratulations. Cian and Feimar, walking back empty handed, were made the brunt of many a joke and snickered laugh.

Cian knew how to deal with this. He swore Feimar to secrecy and both told no one of their meeting with the Paladins. This secret they kept to themselves for a time when revealing the knowledge would be quite profitable for both of them. They would have the last laugh some day.

Aurelius elevated his lance as he watched the Celt and the youth walk back towards the beach. When they were out of sight and obviously committed to returning to the ship, Aurelius motioned to the others to join him. This they did as The Mist enveloped them again and returned them to their abodes in the village of Glynden.

Cian watched the shore of the isle shrink behind them as the Captain directed the ship out to sea. The Celt wondered if Fate would ever cause him to return to this isle. Something inside of him said that it would.

ZigZac
Pleb
posted 10-22-01 06:47 ET (US)     48 / 109       
Bevan rode on and on. Until his horse was tired. He stopped by a creek so his horse could get its much needed water. "Where could they be?" He thought. "If anything happens to them, I don't know how I would live with myself. I can't very well run my horse too long. He would not last very long." Beven waited for another ten minutes before mounting his horse again and riding off. After a while he came to a fork in the road. "I wonder if Ysbrand took them back to camp or if he led them farther North?" He debated weather or not to go back to the camp. Finally after a few minutes it dawned on him, "He didn't go to camp. Why would he take back Nyla, Lestra, and Klax? He wouldn't. He wouldn't because he wants Nyla under constant control." He turned to the left and started North.

__________________________________________________________

"Father, don't be afraid." Nyla tried to calm her dad's nerves. She was talking to him telepathically. "I know where he is taking us. He wants to take us to Ireland. Budra told me a lot about Ysbrand that no one knows."

"How did she know all these things then?" Her father asked.

"She grew up with Ysbrand. Her teacher was the wife of Ysbrand's teacher. I think his name was...Kander. Yes, that was his name. Kander was a good man. He only used his magic to help others. After many years with Kander, Ysbrand was gaining much strength. One day a group of Romans invaded the village. Kander and his wife made it out alive, as well as Budra and Ysbrand. But Ysbrand's parents were killed by the Romans, who invaded Ireland after conquering most of Britainnia. Seeking revenge he tried as hard as possible to get Kander to teach him all he knew. Kander saw the rage in Ysbrand's heart, and said no. Ysbrand left warning Kander, his wife and Budra never to get in his way. Budra found out many years later that a woman saw Ysbrand's strength and taught him all she new. The woman was known as Queen Mab. An evil woman. She had more power in her little finger than any of the other mystics in the world. Then came along a wonderous man, named Merlin. A man with just as much magical powers as Queen Mab. It is said that he roams around Ireland and the coasts of Britannia. That is why I wanted to go there. Now, we are still going North. We might be able to see this Merlin and ask him to help us. I fear that Ysbrand is taking us to Queen Mab. Merlin has yet to defeat her." A very tired Klax tried to take in all this information that Nyla had given him.

"What are we going to do next?" Klax asked his youngest daughter.

[This message has been edited by ZigZac (edited 10-22-2001 @ 08:30 PM).]

Duan Xuan
Pleb
posted 10-22-01 07:11 ET (US)     49 / 109       
"And what petty trick is it that you are planning now!" came the strident voice of Ysbrand from the front.

He stopped the chase and lept down his horse. Walking over to the captives, he swept his hand to slap Nyla. The girl dodged deftly and avoided Ysbrand's hand. Sticking out her tongue at him, she made the look saying, "Ha! What can you do to me?"

The seer clenched his fist and turned away angrily. "Move on!" he roared to his followers as he hoped back onto his stallion.

______________________________

The two sat down heavily at the corner of their cabin.

"What do you make out of all this, Cian?" whispered Feimar.

"Hush! I think there is some secret on the island unknowned to all."

"And what do you think it is?"

"I haven't the foggiest" joked Cian. They had both seen the fog. It was something creepy. Something they didn't really like.

"Why don't we capture this vessel and return to the island?" suggested Feimar.

"Mmmm..."

Suddenly, the two felt the vessel rock violently. Both of them left the cabin and onto the deck.

Storm! Huge waves swept the vessel here and there. Water came in by the gallons. The crew were fighting hard to keep the vessel intact.

"Alan! You take care of the sails! John, you help with the steering!" the captain was shouting orders.

Suddenly, everyone heard a rip as the vessel was rammed against the rocks. Water started leaking in. They could do nothing but pray.

The storm ended its terror. The vessel had a damaged stern. The crew set about working on it. The damage was skifully repaired, fortunately.

"It's all your fault! Both of you bring nothing but bad luck!" several men of the crew started pointing fingers at Cian and Feimar. Ruadan tried defending them, but to no avail.

"Ruadan sir, we have already lost half of our supplies! We're not going to survive! Who do we blame then?"

Several days on end, crew members approached the captain and asked him about food supplies. All of them were furious, obviously, but what could cool them down?

The Master knew that he had the responsibility of Cian, Ruadan and Feimar's safety. However, he did not want the crew to kick himself out of the vessel either. Stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea, he was almost angry with himself.

Finally, he came up with the decision.

Yes, he would cast off his passengers. His own safety must be top priority, that was sure.

So, the following day, he ordered his crew to get rid of Cian and Feimar. Not Ruadan, because he was well-liked by the crew.

Several strong men grabbed Cian and Feimar by their arms. The two were putting up useless resistance. Before they knew what was happening, both of them were thrown into the sea.

"Head for mailand, which is over there, sirs. I have no way of supporting you here. I am sorry." shouted the captain.

Feimar yelled curses at the crew and especially the captain. The two cast-aways swam towards mainland, which the captain had pointed out to them.

Back on the vessel, Ruadan, who heard about what had happened, ran to the captain and requested that he too, be thrown aboard. Of course, the crew didn't agree. Ruadan was angry.

He went to the deck where he attempted to jump off board. Two of the crew held him back. "This is not the way, sir. You're lucky to alive," they told him, despite Ruadan struggling.

"Let him go," ordered the captain unexpectedly, "let him get off the vessel, since he wants to."

The crew directed the vessel back towards mainland. Luckily for them, Cian and Feimar weren't there. Ruadan went off quickly in search of his cousin and Feimar.

Ruadan was clambering back onto dry land, trying to find back his 'land legs'. He felt very uncomfortable after so long on the vessel. Suddenly, he heard noises in the bushes nearby.

A head poked out of the bush. "Cian!" Ruadan cried.

"Ah! Cousin! I knew you wouldn't leave us here!" Cian went out and behind him followed Feimar.


D XUAN

[This message has been edited by Duan Xuan (edited 10-25-2001 @ 07:04 AM).]

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 10-22-01 21:58 ET (US)     50 / 109       
Cian, Ruadan and Feimar watched from the beach to which they swam as the ship prepared to sail. They were without their possessions, left on the vessel due to their rapid departure. And they were hungry, very hungry. Ruandan at first wondered if he had made his way to the wrong beach, but was reassured when Cian and Feimar emerged from nearby vegetation to help him gain his feet after his long swim.

Cian raised a defiant fist to the ship as it unfurled its single sail, caught the wind and departed as fast as the breeze could propel it. Feimar was paying no attention. He noticed something when the sea breeze shifted momentarily or failed to blow. There was an aroma in the air, a pleasant aroma... Something was being cooked. Rabbit or venison or something like that. It was very faint but noticeable.

"Ruadan, I think someone is cooking meat. Maybe there is a village nearby... or something. Smell it? Do you smell it?" Feimar was becoming increasingly eager the more convinced he was that food was to be had nearby.

Ruadan smelled the aroma of cooked meat, but his senses dictated they go cautiously while seeking its source. "Cian, none of your gesturing will bring them back," commented Ruadan. "And certainly not without murder in their eyes!" he added. "Listen to the boy. He smells food." The word 'food' is what finally gained Cian's attention.

"Where, Feimar? From what direction?"

"There, I think," said Feimar.

"Let him guide us there, Cian," suggested Ruadan. "He seems to have a nose for it."

Cian was too annoyed at the crew and Captain of the vessel disappearing into the distance and too hungry to care or see the humor in Ruadan's statement. He followed Feimar and Ruadan without protest, all the while thinking black thoughts and ill wishes towards the ship that deserted them.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 10-24-2001 @ 10:04 PM).]

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