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Chinaren



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 8762
Location: http://www.NeilHarlteyBooks.com

Posted: Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:51 am    Post subject: Three - Returned and revived and revisited and restarted  

Pls note! - This is an old Sgame, I started it many years ago (the dates are actually included!), and only just recently recovered it. I want to carry on with it, as it's a project I always felt could go a long way.

Hence I'm putting it (back) here. I'd like to revive it as a SGame, but the only issue is that there's been a lot of it written, so if you would like to get involved, you'll need to read a fair bit to catch up. I've had to myself! LOL.

There are even the results of votes that I included in the document, so you can see who voted before. Crickey. It's possible there could be a note to myself in amongst things too, just ignore if you see one (though let me know as well). Thanks.

I'll leave it up for a while, see if anyone's interested. There's an outstanding DP too, if anyone does, and feels the urge.

If no one's interested, I'll take it back down again, or move it to Chinaren Hall, once they've finished redecorating.

Thank you for your time...



The Third Power.



Prologue. Three - is the Magic Number.


A cold wind blew down the empty street. Old newspapers flapped along the gutter and around the few cars that were parked for the night, patiently awaiting return of their owners in the morning. Streetlights shone down onto the bleak scene, casting their illumination forth in a wasted effort, as no one was around to use it.

Warren Street, at two am on Tuesday morning, was deserted. Most people were tucked up in their beds, preparing for work the next day.

Someone wasn’t though.

Drunken singing filtered through the air, disrupting the calm of the night with an off key rendition of ‘Waltzing Matilda’. Giggling accompanied the singing, along with intermittent ‘shushing’.

“I’m a bloody good singer I am, aren’t I doll?”

The group staggering up the middle of the road consisted of four people. Three were young women, dressed in attire rather too flimsy for the temperature outside.

The first was a blond, medium height, thin, wearing a sleeveless dress that was only just keeping her impressive bust restrained.

The second was of Asian descent, her black hair drifted down the low cut back, nearly reaching the top of the almost indecently short mini-skirt. She was hobbling slightly behind the others, calling for them to ‘hold up’ as she struggled to walk in tiny stilettos.

The last woman was as black as the ace of spades, as the saying goes. She was extremely tall and slim, with a long thin nose of almost regal bearing. She had dyed her hair white, and had a large number of earrings dangling from both ears, as well as jewelry adorning every part of her body. She was wearing a top that was little more than a bikini, and short shorts Daisy Duke would have been proud of.

The final figure was male, so much was apparent, and yet details were strangely hard to come by. The eye seemed to want to slide off him, as if reluctant to take in the features. If you looked very hard, and concentrated, you might make out that he had dark hair. Or was it blond? Whatever he looked like, it was evident that he was very drunk.

“So me darlin’s. Who’s up for a nightcap and a bit o’ slap and tickle eh?”

The blond giggled, a high pitched sound. “Come on then! I’m up for it. Where do you live anyway?”

“Hold up you three, these shoes… Oh fuck it.” The second one abandoned the effort and took off the offending footwear.

“I shall suck you dry lover,” the tall woman said, slipping her hand into the man’s shirt.

“You can try me’ love, many have, none suchsee… sucks… sicksheed… done it so far. What street are we on anyway? Where’s me’ beer?”

“You drank it, remember?” The blond leaned on his shoulder.

“Fuck.” The man paused for a moment, but then rallied. “Never mind, I’ve got a fridge full at me’ apartment. Forward! Onwards to love and beer! I’m goin’ t’ shag your brains out me’ lovelies!” He broke out into song again.

Slowly, taking a winding, meandering course, the small group continued up the street and disappeared into the dark. Only the odd snatch of song drifting back gave evident of their passing, and even that soon faded.

>>>>>>

Prologue! Chapter one up soon!

Lord’s suggestion used here, (although the actual act is not actually shown, sorry Lordy!)

Lordy: Initial Spark: A guy manages to knock up three girls during one night of drinking.


<<<<<<



Warning! May contain adult situations and strong language.



Chapter 1. Vista.


“Don’t forget my smokes!”

Lily sighed in exasperation. “I’m not buying more cigarettes,” she said, letting her annoyance show. “We barely have enough money to eat as it is.”

She finished stuffing her things into her rucksack and swung it around onto her back.

“You need a fucking job you do girl. Get out onto the streets, that’ll earn us some decent money.”

“I’m not going to be a prostitute!” Lily shouted back. “Jesus mother, I can’t believe you’d tell your only daughter to walk the streets and get money for fucking perverts.”

“It was good enough for me.” Her mother pulled out a cigarette from somewhere and proceeded to light it, blowing smoke at Lily. “I’d still do it if it wasn’t for my poor health.”

“Your poor health is because you drink half a bottle of whisky and smoke forty a day,” Lily said, putting on her sensible black work shoes. “You bring it on yourself.”

“I’ve had a hard life, what with your pig of a father running off with that fat slag from down the road. Bitch.” Her mother took another drag and coughed. The woman was only fifty, but she looked twenty years older. Her hair was scraggly and ragged from too many years of peroxide abuse. Once smooth skin was wrinkled, and a youthful figure, which had been amazing from the photos Lily had seen, had spread out into a shapeless blob.

“Don’t start,” she said, leaning over, through the smoke, and kissing her mothers’ cheek. “I’m off, I’ll see you later.”

She skipped out, ignoring the grumbles that followed, and closed the door to the trailer behind her.

The sun was shining down, and the air was fresh. The few trees that hadn’t been mutilated by the local gangs were beginning to turn green after a long, miserable winter. Lily herself was in a good mood, despite her bad start.

She wasn’t quite the looker like her mother had been at her age, twenty five years, but she wasn’t ugly. ‘Plain’ she’d been called, but she liked to think she was a little better than that. Pausing for a moment, she examined herself in the reflection of the door window.

Taller than most, Lily’s frame couldn’t exactly be called svelte, but at least she was in proportion. More than in proportion around the chest actually, one thing she had inherited from her mother, and the one thing that had attracted the initial interest, no doubt, from a string of failed relationships. Her hair was brown, not blond like her mothers’ (had her real fathers’ hair been brown she wondered). It was currently tied back in a pigtail for work, a style she didn’t like. Loose, it hung halfway down her back. Brown eyes looked out of a face that wasn’t, admittedly, beautiful, maybe pretty, in a low light.

She sighed. Maybe plain wasn’t a bad description after all.

Enough of this! She unlocked her bike and climbed on, setting off down the uneven road that led to the way out.

Maxine’s trailer park had seen better days. Set up more than 20 years ago, it had been designed as a temporary overflow for the town of Vista in its boom days. Then the factory had closed down, and with it most of the supporting infrastructure. Jobs became scarce, and investment moved out.

When the highway had been built two years later, bypassing the place, the death knell had been sounded. Vista was now half deserted, with only those desperate, crazy or too poor to move out left behind. Of course, the new buildings to re-house the residents of the park had never been built, and so it had become a permanent settlement for those living there, all of whom knew each other.

“Morning Lilith!” Mr. Wax waved at her as she rode by. His large white handlebar mustache stuck out wildly from a ruddy red face.

“Morning Mr. Wax,” Lily waved back at the old man, who was sitting on his porch and reading a copy of Playboy. No doubt he would like to see her in it. Fat chance.

She pedaled on, enjoying the quiet of the morning, and rode out under the faded sign that proclaimed Maxine would be happy to see her again. Lily wondered who Maxine had been, if there ever had been anyone by that name. No one seemed to know.

The road into town was pretty deserted, though she did see another couple of people riding bikes, mainly kids on the way to school. One or two of the older lads stared as she went by, something she had become resigned to over time. One whistled and made a comment that was lost behind her.

She cycled on for another few minutes, and then turned off, down the small trail that ran directly by the woods. It was rougher than the road, and not even much shorter, but no one used it, and she enjoyed the feeling that she was alone in the wilds.

Peddling on, the bike bounced over ruts and caused parts of her to jiggle wildly. No doubt if the boys could see her now they would make some interesting comments.

Halfway, at her usual little glade, she stopped and put the bike on its stand. Then she stood there, eyes closed, reveling in the silence that was broken only by the rustling of leaves and the chirping of birds. Breathing deeply, she inhaled the smells of nature, blessedly free of the taint of human pollution.

There was a small sound, a discord, and she opened her eyes. At first she didn’t see anything, but then she caught a glimpse of color from within the undergrowth.

“Come out, I can see you!” She folded her arms and tried to look stern.

The leaves parted, and a boy emerged. She trembled a little inside. It was Simon. The youth was only fourteen, but he was bigger than most men, and he had a mean streak in him a mile wide. Best not to show any fear.

“What do you want Simon? What are you doing laying around in the woods?”

The lad grinned. His face was square, with a crop of black hair on the top, which made him look like a misshapen turnip. Small beady eyes peered at her, and thick lips twisted into a leer, showing uneven teeth.

“I was waiting for you. I know you always take this track.”

Lily shuddered when she heard this. There were rumors that Simon had raped several girls in the area, but nothing had been proven, and the girls had been too scared to talk about it. Simon’s family was large and well off, and his father was crazy, so she’d heard.

“Well, you can just turn around and walk the other way,” she said. “I’m not here for your enjoyment.”

“Oh, but I think you are.” He stepped closer and she moved back, panicking now.

“Let’s have a look at those great tits.” Simon lunged at her, ripping her blouse open, sending buttons flying.

“Get away from me!” Lily hit out at him, but even though she was large for a girl, she couldn’t match the overgrown kid. He merely laughed.

Lily tried kicking him where it would do the most good, but he twisted, and she ended up hitting his knee.

“Ouch!” He frowned, gathering her up in his large arms. “You’ll pay for that. Come on, how about a kiss? I’m pretty good for my age you know.” He pulled her close, rubbing himself against her leg.

Lily panicked. “Fuck….OFF!!”

She pushed.

Simon went flying, crashing upwards through the lower branches of the nearby trees until he slammed into the trunk of one. For a moment he hung there, then, slowly, he slid down, falling from branch to branch until he hit the floor with a dull thud.

Lily stood there, gasping, heart beating ten to the dozen. Had she done that? How had she done that? What the hell had just happened?

She stepped forward, and then stopped. What if he was dead? Should she report it? Maybe he was just stunned. He could wake up and attack her again.

After a few moments she pulled herself together a little. She had to see how he was.

Slowly, shaking with shock, she stepped into the trees and approached the inert body. It didn’t move.

Picking up a nearby stick, she poked him. Gently at first, and then a little harder. Still he didn’t move.

Bottom lip trembling, she knelt down, leaning over the boy, who was lying on his back. His eyes were closed, the clothes were torn and bloody gashes could be seen through the rents. One leg was twisted at an un-natural angle.

Yet… yes! He was breathing!

Unsure whether to be happy or not, Lily pulled at him, trying to get him into the recovery position, as she’d learnt to do at school once. The first aid classes had been a long time ago though, and if there was a knack to it, she’d lost it. It took several minutes of struggling before she managed to get him into what she hoped was the right arrangement.

Just as she finished she thought she heard a noise. Standing up, still wobbly with shock, she looked around. There was nothing there. Probably some animal. Looking down at the Simon, she considered her next move. There was nothing more she could do here, she’d have to go and get help.

Staggered back to her bike, she climbed on and pedaled like mad along the road, the shocks jouncing her body. Better forward than back. If only she’d been able to pay the charge for her phone, she could’ve called the ambulance. It wasn’t until she was finally at the road that it occurred to her that Simon would likely have had one on him she could have used.

Still pedaling hard, she turned right, down a small road and into the main street, where she screeched to a halt next to a public phone and dialed the emergency services.

~

“You’ll be alright.” The nurse smiled at her, stood up and nodded at the man standing to one side of the hospital room.

He took his cue and stepped forward. Lily knew who he was, everyone knew Inspector White, the local ranking officer of the small police station nearby.

“Are you alright?” he asked, looking down at her.

She nodded.

“Could you answer some questions? We need to know what happened.” White flipped open a notebook and looked at her.

Lily took a deep breath.



>>>>>>

It’s only a short chapter, and the DP isn’t the most exciting, but it’s a start.

So, what does Lily say happened?

<<<<<<

What does she say?
He attacked her, but she managed to fight him off. 20% [ 2 ]
She fell off her bike and found Simon hurt. 60% [ 6 ]
He tried it on, she blacked out and when she came to he was injured. 20% [ 2 ]

Total Votes : 10
Who Voted: Chinaren, Crunchyfrog, D-Lotus, Idea master, Lilith, sir wax, Smee, The White Blacksmith, Traveller, Zephyr


13.Apr.08 - 20.Apr.08


Warning! May contain adult situations and strong language.



Chapter 2. Hospital.


“Could you answer some questions? We need to know what happened.” White flipped open a notebook and looked at her.

Lily took a deep breath. There was no point in accusing Simon of attacking her, and if she did, she’d have to explain how he managed to get in the condition he was in, and she didn’t even know how that had happened! No, much as it galled her, she’d have to let the bastard off this time.

“There’s nothing to tell really Inspector. I was riding down by the woods on my bike…”

“On that small path?”

The interruption confused her for a moment, but then she nodded. “Yes, that one.”

“You shouldn’t ride down there alone Lily. Anyone could jump you there.” He looked at her meaningfully.

She nodded, averting her eyes.

“Go on. You were riding down the path. How did you come to be all ruffed up?” He indicated her blouse, which had parted in the middle again, the result of button loss.

She pulled it closed as best as she was able and carried on. “I was careless. I fell off my bike. Did this.” Lily indicated her scrapes.

“I see.” The policeman’s’ tone was one of mild reproach. “Are you sure that’s what happened Lily? No one would blame you if… something else happened.”

She paused, hating herself, but then nodded. “Yes. I’m sure.”

He sighed. “Go on then.”

“I was getting back up when I heard something.”

“What sort of something?”

“A… a kind of moan. It’s really quiet there, I’d have never heard it otherwise.”

“So you went to look and found Simon.”

“Yes. He was just lying there. I put him in the recovery position and ran for help.”

“Why didn’t you use your phone?”

“It’s out of credit, and I was panicking a bit. It’s not everyday you find a body in the woods.”

“Usually, no,” White said in a strange tone. He flipped his notebook closed. “Very well, you’re free to go, but don’t leave town, you understand?”

Lily nodded, and looked up, only then realizing he was smiling. “Oh. Yes.” She smiled back. “How is he?”

The man pursed his lips. “Pretty beaten up. Broken ribs, broken leg, fractures here and there. But he’s young and tough, he’ll be okay.”

“Oh.” She paused again. “Has he… has he said anything?”

“No. He’s been off limits to me so far. Should he have said anything?” He raised an eyebrow.

“No. No, nothing. Just curious.”

“Yes. So am I.” He looked about the room. “Very well then. There’s nothing more for me here. I’ll be off. If you remember anything though, call me. I mean it.”

Lily nodded and watched him go out of the room.

“He’s a good man you know. You can trust him.”

Lily jumped as the nurse moved forwards again. She’d forgotten the woman was there.

“Can I leave now?”

“Yes, we’re all done with you.”

Sighing with relief, Lily jumped off the low bed she’d been sitting on and put on her shoes, which they’d insisted she take off earlier.

That done, she said goodbye to the nurse and left the room, wandering down the sterile corridors and towards the elevator, which was full of orderlies pushing a woman on a bed. Lily shrugged and took the stairs instead, it was only three flights after all.

The bottom floor wasn’t very busy either, nearly deserted in fact. She walked along with her footsteps squeaking on the tiled floor. Turning a corner Lily started as she bumped into a tall thin man dressed in a long black coat.

“You!” The man stepped forward, and she gasped and retreated.

“Mr. Lord!”

Simon’s father snarled and jabbed a spindly finger at her. “I know you were somehow involved in my boys’ injuries. I don’t know what you did, but you’ll pay for it. I’ll tear those innocent little eyes right out of their sockets…”

Lily whimpered as she backed up to the wall, unable to retreat any further.

“It wasn’t my fault…”

The man loomed over her. His slick black hair was oiled enough that it reflected the fluorescent lighting, and his eyes were sunken in the sockets, glaring forth over a long, sharp and pointed nose. A cruel, thin lipped mouth curled into a sneer as he hissed at her.

“I know about…”

“Is everything alright here?” The law, in the shape of Inspector White, intruded. “Can I help you Mr. Lord?”

Simon’s father opened his mouth, as if he was going to dismiss the cop, but then closed it with a snap and took a deep breath. Finally he spoke again, in a more controlled fashion. “It’s okay. We are just having a friendly chat. Passing the time of day. It’s nothing, nothing at all.”

“Very well then.”

The Inspector stood there, looking at the other man until Mr. Lord realized he wasn’t going anywhere. With a last evil glare at Lily, Simon’s father whirled around and stalked away down the corridor, his coat flapping behind him like a giant bat.

“Nasty piece of work he is,” the cop said to Lily, watching him go. “You alright?”

Lily nodded. “Thanks.”

“You want a lift somewhere?”

“No, no thank you officer. I’ll be okay.”

“Very well. See you around Lily.” White dipped his head and strode off down the hallway, and Lily scuttled out of the exit, her heart racing.

Outside, she stood and took several deep breaths as people moved around her. After a few moments she realized she was simply standing, staring into space, and started walking absently, without really knowing where she was going.

The events of the morning raced through her head, jumbling themselves together. The ride, Simon’s attack and the strange way he’d been stopped. The hospital, the encounter with Simon’s father. It all flew around inside her skull until she felt dizzy and had to stop and sit down on a convenient bench by the side of the road.

After several minutes she began to feel better. Her head stopped spinning and she began to think clearly again. Looking up she realized it was nearly lunch time. Her work! She hadn’t called in or anything. She stood and then realized her bike was near the phone booth where she had called the ambulance from. She’d been driven to the hospital. At least she’d chained it up, with luck it should still be there.

Glancing about, she stepped into the road.

The deep, low wail of the horn filled her ears, the sound of rubber screeching off the asphalt a second later.

The world seemed to blur and slow, and Lily swung around, apparently taking an eternity to do so. Impossibly close, the horn still blaring like drawn out whale song, a large blue Lexus was bearing down on her. The lights came on, and for what seemed to be about five minutes she stood and stared at them, deer-like, waiting for the end.

Then something happened. A pressure built up inside her stomach and flowed like a sharp electrical shock up her backbone and into her head, where it exploded out of her eyes. An invisible eruption.

The car, which had edged closer to her whilst all this had been happening, jerked. Flickered. Jumped.

Time returned to normal.

There was a roar and the auto flew past her, so close it clipped her am and spun her round, so she twirled like a top until she landed on the ground, breathless and dizzy.

The car screeched to a stop. The door opened and a head stuck itself out, looked back at her for a split second, and then withdrew. The door slammed shut and the engine roared, pulling the auto off in another cloud of blue smoke.

The whole thing had lasted about five seconds.

“Jesus Christ! Are you alright love?” A tall man, dressed in jeans and a flannel shirt rushed up to her. “I don’t know what happened, I could have sworn you were a goner there. It looked like it was going to mow you down. You’re lucky.”

“Is she okay?” A fat woman joined the man. “I’m calling the cops. Did you get his number?”

“Better get her to the hospital. It’s only two minutes away.”

Other figures converged on Lily, and as the words washed over her, a tear slid down her cheek. She was too disorientated to resist when, only a couple of minutes later, a couple of medics from the hospital she’d just left arrived and, sans bag and one shoe, carted her back to the building on a stretcher.

There was a sharp pain in her arm, and the last thing she remembered before she slid into blackness was an indistinct figure, standing and watching her from the side of the road.

~

The shoe lay in the gutter, abandoned and forgotten as the world moved on, the excitement over. A shadow fell across it, and a large hand with spindly fingers picked it up and turned it over, examining it.

Glancing about, Mr. Lord brought the shoe to his nose and took a deep breath.

“Ahh!” he said, lowering it again. “A remarkable aroma from a remarkable person. It seems, little Lily, that there is more to you than meets the eye. I wonder. Could it possibly be?”

Shoving the shoe into one of his deep pockets, Alex Lord turned and stalked off down the street. They would need to know about this.

~

“We should get it over with now, no sense wasting any more time, they might take action.”

The words filtered into her, as if she was hearing them underwater. The speaker was male, with a strange accent. He spoke again as her eyes flickered behind closed lids.

“She could wake up any minute, we’ve got to do something, I saw one of them here earlier. If we don’t get her, they… Wait, I think she’s coming round. I’ve got to go.”

Lily moaned and raised a hand to her head. Her left arm hurt and she felt groggy, but other than that, she was actually quite comfortable. Opening her eyes, she found herself in a private hospital room, tucked up in the only bed there. It was a comfortable bed, much more so than her own. A clock showed eight o’clock, but she didn’t know if that was evening or morning.

Examining herself a little more thoroughly, she saw that she’d been hooked up to some kind of drip, and someone had dressed her in a hospital gown, the type that opens at the back to expose your arse.

The voice! She jerked upright. Had it been a dream? She had to find out. Slipping quickly out of bed, she located one of her shoes. The other was nowhere to be seen. Still, there was a pair of slippers under the bed, which she put on.

Wheeling the drip alongside with some difficulty, she opened the door and peered out into another long corridor. She just caught sight of a foot disappearing round the corner at one end. That could be her mysterious speaker.

Just as she was about to follow, voices reached her ears, coming from the other way. She recognized Inspector White’s voice.

“He’s woken up? What did he say? I need to know who attacked him, it could be connected with another case.”

Lily paused, undecided. The police officer could be talking about Simon, but her strange guest was getting away even as she hesitated.

Which way?

>>>>>>

Another one oozes out then. What does she do now?

Included this time:

Whitey: Item: The heroine's shoe.
Lilith: Bad guy: Mentally unstable psychiatrist with a foot fetish.

Don’t forget to add this to your favorites if you like it!

<<<<<<

Foot or fuzz?
Follow the foot! 57% [ 8 ]
Back to the room and question nurses. 7% [ 1 ]
Go down to the first floor and look at feet. 14% [ 2 ]
Eavesdrop on White 21% [ 3 ]

Total Votes : 14
Who Voted: Chinaren, Christalnightshade, Crunchyfrog, CunningFox, D-Lotus, DeadManWalking, Fats_Masterson, Lilith, lordofthenight, NeverNeverGirl, Smee, The White Blacksmith, Traveller, Warsor

9.May.08 - 12.May.08


Warning! May contain adult situations and strong language.



Chapter 3. Intruders.


Lily paused, undecided. The police officer could be talking about Simon, but her strange guest was getting away even as she hesitated.

“Damn it!” she swore to herself under her breath. White could wait, she needed to see who was talking about her, and what he actually meant.

Grabbing her wheelie drip thing, which like all such items insisted on trying to roll every way except the one she wanted, she set off after the mysterious foot.

It wasn’t easy, trying to control the damned stand and ensure her hospital gown didn’t expose more than it already was slowed her down. She was glad this area of the hospital seemed to be quiet. Had there been people about, she doubted she’d have had the nerve to give chase.

Lily rounded the corner just in time to see a door a little way further along close. She hobbled down the corridor as fast as she was able, cursing the tubing that was stuck into her skin, and wrenched the door open.

It was empty.

Well, not empty, but definitely lacking foot and attached body parts. There were metallic shelves stocked with various cleaning materials and other janitorial kinds of equipment, but no foot owner.

Frowning, Lily stepped back and checked up and down the corridor, but there was no one about. She looked back inside and wheeled her uncooperative drip further in, peering over boxes and behind stacked brooms, going so far as to push a trolley out of the way .

No one.

“What the hell?”

“I can see that girls butt!”

A child’s voice from behind jerked her back to the real world. She turned, her face glowing red, to see a middle aged man wearing a mustard colored sweater leading a young boy of about six. The man had a look on his face that suggested he’d like to see more, but he quickly altered his expression.

“I don’t think you should be in there,” he said, attempting to regain some composure.

“I… er, got lost,” Lily said.

The man nodded and, slightly reluctantly, walked off, pulling the boy , who discussed the recent sight at the top of his voice as he went with him, much to Lily’s renewed embarrassment.

With a last look around, she closed the door and wrestled her drip back to her room.

~

A bucket moved slightly, and a sparkling blue mist rose from a pack of detergent. It expanded and slowly coalesced into the shape of an elderly man in a rather creased grey suit. He had a beard which matched his clothes in color, and hair rather raggedly cut short. Shrewd blue eyes peered through round spectacles, which were perched on a bulbous nose.

He appeared to be about seventy years old, though in fact he’d passed that particular birthday several centuries previously. Now he rubbed his beard with one hand and looked thoughtful. Sighing, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a phone, dialed a three digit number and lifted it to his ear.

“It’s me again,” he said after a short pause. “She might be on to me.”

A muffled voice answered him.

“But what if we’re wrong? I know what I saw in the woods and the road, but it could be just a coincidence.”

Another answer, rather more heated this time.

“Yes, but she could just have a Talent, we can’t just…”

He was interrupted by another monologue, which went on for some time.

“Very well, but I hope we’re doing the right thing. I’ll start the arrangements.” The man disconnected the phone and put it back into his pocket before licking his finger and holding it up, as if testing the wind.

Scowling slightly, he scratched his ear and then said a Word.

There was a flash of blue light, and the closet was once again left to its own devices.

~

“Now, no more going for strolls okay? We’re still checking you out.” The nurse smiled at Lily and patted her arm.

Lily nodded. “Sure thing. I’m comfortable here anyway.”

“Good. The nurse checked the clipboard at the bottom of her bed, made a small mark on it, and then turned to leave.

“Oh, is, er, Simon alright?”

The nurse pursed her lips. “He’s awake and in some pain.” Was that a hint of satisfaction in her voice?

“Oh.” Lily wanted to ask more, but she chickened out, and the other woman left the room.

Sighing, she pulled the covers up around her and flicked through the channels of the TV that was set high on the wall opposite. There was nothing on. Typical.

It turned out that the eight o’clock was the evening eight o’clock. She’d been unconscious for half a day, something that frightened her more than Simons’ attack had. Still, it seemed she was okay, and they were just being cautious, keeping her in for the night. She’d phoned her mother, who’d spent twenty minutes complaining about a lack of cigarettes, but apart from that, she’d had limited exposure to the outside world.

Putting the TV remote to one side she sighed again, and twiddled her thumbs. She picked up an old computer magazine that was on the bedside table and flicked through it, not really understanding half of it, and not being interested in the other half.

She threw it back onto the table and looked at the clock on the wall.

Time passed.

The clock ticked.

More time passed.

The clock showed nine o’clock, and the second hand seemed to have slowed down. Lily’s eyes closed and she started to doze off.

A click. A very small click, which, had it not been so quiet, she wouldn’t have heard. Lily opened her eyes a fraction, and watched as someone entered the room, sliding in slowly.

Her heart sped up. The shape was dressed in black, complete with a full mask covering his face.

The intruder looked about and carefully closed the door behind him. The room was dark now, except for dim illumination from the small lamp on the table next to the bed, and it was hard to see clearly. Lily cast desperately about for something to defend herself with.

The drip stand! She dived for it as the sinister figure lunged forward. Something metallic glinted, and Lily screamed as the knife stabbed the bed where she had been just moments before.

There was a low curse and the man withdrew the blade, bringing feathers up with it. Grabbing the thin metallic stand with both hands, Lilith brought it down on the attackers head with a resounding crash, wincing slightly as the tube was torn from her arm.

The stand bent in half under the impact, and the would be assassin let out a muffled shout of pain. He grabbed the makeshift weapon with one hand and yanked it hard, pulling Lily off balance so she fell forward onto the bed. Her gown fell open, exposing her generous rear to the world.

The door burst open, letting in a low light from outside. Lily only got a glimpse of a blurred figure as it swung some kind of weapon of at the first intruder, striking him on the back with considerably more force than Lily had, preventing her imminent murder.

The first man shouted, louder this time, and swung about, thrusting with his knife at the new threat, which stepped back and dodged it with rather impressive efficiency.

Cursing, the first attacker dived forward, pushing the second person out of the way and escaping out into the corridor. Lily’s savior gave chase, and both disappeared from view, leaving the girl sobbing and bewildered on the bed.

The staff found her like that moments later, alerted by the commotion.

Of the two mysterious intruders, there was no sign.

~

“You can’t remember anything else?” Inspector White sat on a chair next to her bed, a different one in a different room. Lily had refused to stay in the one she’d nearly been knifed to death in.

“I told you Inspector, the first person was dressed like some kind of ninja. I barely got a glance of the second one. He was like a shadow, but it all happened so fast.”

The cop sighed and flipped closed his notebook. He shook his head. “Very well. We’ll have someone on guard outside your room until you leave. You sure you can’t think of anyone who’d want you dead?”

Lily looked at him.

“Apart from Alex Lord then.”

“No. I don’t have many friends, let alone enemies. It’s a mystery.”

“You should have told me about this other voice in the room before you know.”

“I know.” Lily sighed. “But I felt stupid enough already. You didn’t find anything in the closet?”

“Only cleaning gear.” The policeman rubbed the back of his neck. “I want you to tell me about anything strange that happens, okay?”

“Like what?” Lily frowned.

White shook his head. “Just… anything strange. Never mind. You just get some rest.” He patted her hand, stood up and walked to the door, turning back at the last minute. “Remember what I said,” he said. “And don’t worry about your mother, I’ll look in on her.”

“Thanks,” Lily forced a smile onto her face, and man left.

“Weird,” she said to herself, and lay back in the bed, trying to figure out what the hell was going on.

~

Alex Lord sat at his large desk in his large office and tapped his fingers together patiently.

The practice was closed for the night, and everyone else had gone home. Only he remained, sitting alone in his private study. The room was strangely bare. Cream colored walls were unadorned, and the carpet was a neutral grey. There were no decorations, flowers or even clocks to break the monotony.

Two plain black office chairs were placed carefully in front of the good sized mahogany desk, and a larger version was behind it, upon which Alex Lord now sat.

The desk was bare except for a female’s worn shoe sitting in the middle of it. Occasionally the man would pick it up and sniff it. Then he’d smile and replace it exactly in the same position and resume his tapping.

Tap tap tap. Sniff. Tap tap tap. Sniff.

The cycle was broken by the sound of ‘The sound of Music’ emanating from his pocket.

Alex pulled the phone out and, without looking at the display, hit ‘answer’ and brought it to his ear.

“Well?”

A low voice spoke.

“She’s still alive then.”

A short answer.

“I see.” Alex took a deep breath and smiled to himself. “Very well. Proceed to the next step, we cannot allow our… adversaries to get to her before we do. You know what to do.”

He didn’t wait for a reply, but hung up and replaced the phone.

A moment later the tapping resumed, but this time it was accompanied by Mr. Lord humming ‘The Sound of Music.’

~

Lily was awoken from a strange dream involving pineapples by the creaking of the door.

“Oh, no, not again!” she said, and screamed.

The man who entered the room winced slightly, but otherwise remained calm. He closed the door and leaned against it as Lily repeated the action, only to wind down as no one responded.

“Have you finished?” he asked after she fell silent. He was dressed in a slightly creased grey suit and was wearing a ludicrous floppy hat that didn’t match at all. His grey beard was neatly trimmed, and with his rather large nose and round glasses he looked a little like a slim version of an off-duty Santa Claus.

“Who the hell are you? How did you get in here? What are you doing? Have you been following me? If you come any closer I’ll bash you with my drip stand! I’ve done it before you know!” Lily reached out and grasped the item in question.

“I’m sure you’re an expert drip stand wielder,” the man replied calmly. “However, I’m not here to attack you. Quite the opposite in fact. I’m here to answer your questions.”

“What questions?” Lily asked.

“Well, you just asked four.”

“What have you done with the guard?”

“He’s… paused. Don’t worry, I’ve not harmed him. Just frozen him for a short time. A fact that means I have to make this quick. The spell will wear off soon.”

“What? Spell? What the hell is going on here?” Lily crossed her arms, annoyed.

The man sighed. “You’ve fallen into the middle of a war I’m afraid.”

“A war?”

“Please, don’t interrupt. Everything will become clear later on. Needless to say we think you may be an important… piece in the war. A part of a prophecy.”

“A prophecy?”

“I know, they’re tedious things, I personally try not to get involved, but this one is about three sisters, half sisters actually, who will tilt the balance.”

“Well, can’t be me then. I have no sisters.”

“Are you sure?”

Lily opened her mouth, but then closed it again. She wasn’t sure. Not at all. Her father was a total mystery to her.

“I can see not.” The man pulled an old fashioned watch out of his pocket and looked at it. “Damn, I really must be faster at these things.” He backed away and reached for the handle of the door. “Listen, if you want to know more, meet me at that spot on the path by the woods you like so much at nine o’clock in the morning.”

“What? How do you know…”

“Just meet me. I have to go.” The man slipped out, closing the door behind him gently.

“Damn it!” Lily slid out of bed, fumbled around to find her slippers, and plodded over after him, sticking her head out into the corridor, which was empty except for a policeman sitting on a chair against the wall opposite.

“Where did that man just go?” she asked.

“Man? What man?” The cop frowned. “No one’s been in or out all night miss.”

Lily shook her head. “Never mind,” she said, and retreated back to bed.

What the hell was going on?

>>>>>>

Not the most exciting of DPs then, but that’s what you get.

So, what is Lily’s action? Does she meet the man, ignore him? Something else? Suggestions please!

Don’t forget to add this to your favorites if you like it, and nominations for SGotM welcome! ;)

<<<<<<

5.June.08 - 7.Jun.08



Chapter 4. Other Sides.


“You did the right thing girl, telling me this.” Inspector White nodded to himself. “Don’t worry, I’ll come along with you, you’ll be safe.”

“Who says I’m going to go and meet him?” Lily slipped on a shoe and looked around for the other. She couldn’t see it.

“But you must… I mean, surely you must?” The policeman looked at her.

“Why don’t you go? Have you seen my other shoe?” Lily knelt down and peered under the bed.

White ignored the question. “But didn’t he say you had to go alone?”

“Nope, just said to meet him. Damn.”

“What damn? What is it? Something else happened?”

“I can’t find my shoe! How can I go traipsing about in the woods with only one shoe? I like this pair as well, they’re comfortable.”

“So you will go!”

“Only if you find me another shoe.”

“We don’t have time to go shoe shopping,” White declared. “It’s nearly eight o’clock now. You should have called me earlier.”

“Well pardon me for falling asleep,” Lily said, standing up slightly lop-sidedly, one foot still in the hospital slipper.

“Look, I’ll drive you near there, you won’t have to walk far, I’ll buy you the best pair of shoes in the shop afterwards, I promise.”

“That’s a done deal then, I know just the ones. Hope you’ve got a high credit limit on your card. Where’s my bag?”

“Over in the closet,” White indicated the cupboard. “They brought it in after you were hit.”

“Wish they’d brought my shoe in too,” Lily grumbled as she retrieved her bag and slung it over her shoulder. “Okay. Let’s go. You can buy me something to eat on the way too, I’m starving.”

“Come on then, quickly.”

The two slipped out, making their way through the still-quiet hospital and out into the still-quiet street. Lily glanced at the place the car had, somehow, missed her. There was no sign of the incident except for some faint black skid marks on the road. No shoe either.

They turned left and walked hurriedly up the street to the local burger bar, where White bought two breakfast sandwiches and a couple of cups of coffee. Lily ate hers as she waited for him to get his car. She was sipping on her drink as he pulled up in front of her in a plain brown Ford.

“Get in,” he said.

She complied and he pulled away, driving along the nearly deserted streets towards the outskirts of town, near the woods.

“Here,” he said as she finished her coffee. He passed her something. “Put this on.”

“What is it?” Lily examined the device. “A wire? You want me to wear a wire?”

“Sure, why not?” said White. “Just like the movies, it’ll be fun!”

“I’m not ten years old,” Lily said sternly. She inspected the device, holding it up to the light. It was a small round thing, a bit like a black pea, with a tiny antenna sticking out of it.

“There’s some tape in the glove compartment,” the policeman said.

Sighing, Lily opened the door and rooted around inside. The tape was there, sitting on top of a small pistol.

“Better take the gun too,” he said.

“What? I’m not taking that!”

“Remember what happened back in the hospital? Better safe than sorry. There’s some ammo in a box.”

Lily took a deep breath and considered the weapon.

“You do know how to fire one don’t you?”

Stung into action, she picked it up. It was the old fashioned type, like the cowboys used to use, with the spinny thing to put the bullets in. “Yes, I’ve used one before,” she said. “Mother made me practice when I was younger. Said a young woman with large… a young woman should be prepared to defend herself.”

“She’s right too. Well then. Load it up.”

Reluctantly Lily did as she was told, fumbling with the thing until she figured out how to open the ammo chamber. She inserted five bullets, leaving the chamber under the pin empty, as she’d been taught. White nodded approvingly as she put it in her bag, taking care to put the safety on first.

Next, guided by the Inspector, she taped the wire to her chest, a slightly awkward matter, as she had to turn away from him to complete the operation, which wasn’t very easy sitting in the car. Still, she managed in the end, just in time too, for the policeman slowed and stopped, pulling up on the side of the road.

“My bike! It’s still there!” Lily grinned as she saw her transport where she’d left it, a day and a thousand years ago, still chained to the pole near the telephone box.

“Excellent. You can use it to get to your rendezvous. Pedal slowly, I’ll be behind, but on foot. Don’t worry though, I’ll be listening in on the wire.” He produced another box and waved an earpiece about.

“I feel safer already.” Lily nodded at him and climbed out of the car, hobbling over to the bike. White watched her unchain it, climb aboard and pedal off. The car disappeared from sight as she turned into the small lane.

A slight shiver crawled over her. Simon and all the subsequent incidents had started up here. She’d been having a normal life up until that point.

Pedaling as slowly as possible, resisting the temptation to look behind to see if White was following, she mulled recent events over.

First there had been Simon’s attack, that pig! Something, (was it her?) had catapulted him into the trees. She couldn’t remember the incident clearly, it was all a blur. Then there was the car accident. She remembered the vehicle approaching. It had been head on, there had been no hope. And then something happened and it ‘shifted’. In a blink of the eye she’d been saved. But how?

Then, of course, there was the matter of her mysterious visitors, both elusive, hostile and, seemingly, friendly. Who were these people? What had she stumbled into?

She shook her head. Hopefully this meeting would answer some questions. The small clearing was ahead now, so she stopped the bike and climbed off, pushing it the rest of the way in an attempt to give White some time to get into position.

The clearing was empty. Lily put her bike up on its stand and looked around. Birds cheeped merrily in the trees. A slight breeze ruffled leaves. Nothing else moved. She looked at her watch. It was nine o’clock exactly.

“You’re punctual anyway.”

The voice came from behind her, and she spun around to see the same man who had visited her the previous night, standing in the middle of the lane with an amused expression on his face.

“Where did you come from?” she demanded. There was no way he could have sneaked up on her.

His expression changed to a more serious one and he stepped forward.

“That, my dear, is what I wanted to explain to you. It’s the reason for everything that has befallen you recently.”

“Okay.” Lily stepped back a pace. “Just stay where you are. I can hear you fine from there.”

“I’m not your enemy Lily. We think you’re one of us.”

“One of you? Who’s you? And what’s your name anyway?”

“I’m Marlin.”

“Isn’t that a kind of fish?”

He rolled his eyes. “Yes, go on. I’ve not heard that one before.”

“Sorry.”

“No matter.” He waved a hand in dismissal. “What’s important here is that we need you.”

“Need me? What would you need me for?” Lily crossed her arms and frowned at him. “Explain please.”

“Okay, but please, don’t interrupt until I’ve finished. This is going to sound unbelievable.”

Lily raised an eyebrow, but said nothing.

“I come from a different world.” Marlin held a hand up as she opened her mouth. “No! Stop. Let me finish before you protest.”

Taking a deep breath, Lily clamped her mouth shut. This was going to be good, she could tell.

“This world is in a parallel universe.” He looked at her warningly, and then carried on. “The world has been at war for many, many years. No corner has been left unscathed. Both sides are in it until the finish, which, unfortunately, could mean the end of both of us.”

“What sides?” Lily couldn’t restrain herself anymore.

“Well, there are the humans…”

“Your side I assume.”

“I thought we agreed you weren’t going to interrupt?” Marlin wagged a finger at her.

“Sorry. Go on.”

“The humans. Actually, no.”

“You aren’t human?” She goggled.

“I’m a godling. We’re… mostly human. A branch in the species if you will.”

“You look human.” Lily glanced sideways at him. “Do you have wings or gills or something?”

He smiled and shook his head. “The differences between the pures… the humans, and the godlings are not apparent, at least usually. Godlings are generally stronger and faster, to varying degrees, but the main difference is in here.” He tapped his head.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Godlings have certain… abilities. Powers they are born with. Powers beyond the ken of a mere human.” His lip curled slightly.

“Excuse me! Human present!”

“Ah. Well, that’s where you may be wrong.”

“You’re saying I’m not human!” Lily’s eyes widened in disbelief. “But of course I am! Look at me!”

“I already said… the differences are not external. How do you think you managed to fight off Simon? Why did he suddenly fly through the air?”

“I don’t… wait a minute! How did you know about that? Where you there? Were you watching?”

“You’ve been watched for a little while now Lily. You and several others of the same age. The prophecy…”

“Okay. You can stop right there. This is ludicrous! I’ve never heard such a load of shit in my life!” Lily stamped her foot and turned back to her bike.

Marlin said a word behind her, and suddenly she found herself gripped by an unseen force and hoisted into the air.

“Is this ludicrous?” Marlin looked up at her as she thrashed about in midair.

“Put… me down!” She screamed, panicking. And suddenly Marlin was thrown backwards, tossed away just like Simon had been.

Unlike Simon though, Marlin came to a halt mid flight, hanging upside down, about a mans’ height above the earth. His hat fell off and floated to the ground. At the same time whatever was holding Lily let go, and she plummeted down, landing painfully.

“What the hell is…” she started to say as Marlin slowly spun in the air, ending up the right way up, but still hovering.

“Leave her alone scum! She wants no part of your foulness!”

Lily staggered upright in time to see White storming up the path towards them. He looked different somehow. Larger and darker in some indefinable fashion.

“Wizard!” snarled Marlin.

“Freak!” White snapped back. He uttered a short sentence, and all at once his hand was engulfed in orange flame. He made a gesture and the ball of fire jumped from his palm towards Marlin, who made a movement with his own hand.

The fireball abruptly changed course, flying off to one side and narrowly missing Lily, who squeaked and ducked. It hit her bike, which exploded, sending shrapnel and a wall of force outwards, knocking her over.

Marlin screamed in rage and thrust both is arms forward. Flame of his own, blue in color, leaped outwards. White countered in similar fashion, chanting all the while in a strange tongue, and the two lines of fire met halfway with a blinding purple glare.

Lily coughed and tried to crawl away, but the two men moved around as they fought, intent only on each other, and kept blocking her exit.

“Stop this!” she croaked, staggering upright again and waving her hands about.

Marlin abruptly jinked to one side, stopping his blue fire and dodging the orange flames of his opponent. “You won’t have her human!” he said, and pointed a finger at Lily. Immediately a translucent silvery ball surrounded her. The world outside it began to fade from view.

“No!” she heard White cry, and saw the other man also point towards her. The ball turned a red color, then back to silver, and then a purple.

Then it all went black.

~

The phone rang. Mr. Lord raised a finger at his client, who was sitting on the other side of his desk looking uncomfortable as he explained his attraction for young girls’ panties.

“Excuse me one moment headmaster, I have to take this.” Alex Lord raised the phone to his ear. “I’m in with a client, this better be important.”

A voice spoke at some length.

“What do you mean ‘lost her?’ How can you lose her?”

More speaking, with a desperate quality to the tinny sound coming out of the handset.

“I’ll have you flayed alive for this!” Alex’s voice rose in volume. “Your living corpse will be suspended from a pole for all to see. What will She say when she hears you’ve lost her because some pathetic…” he stopped speaking suddenly and glanced at his client, who was sitting staring, mouth open.

Taking a deep breath he spoke again, in calmer tones. “Very well. Find her. I don’t care how you do it.”

With that, he slammed the receiver back down upon the stand and smiled across the table. “Lost a puppy,” he explained. “Pedigree one. Very expensive.”

The client nodded uncertainly.

“Right then headmaster, where were we?” Alex picked up a piece of paper and scanned it. “Ah yes, you were explaining your ideas on the link between naughty behavior and underwear color. Please proceed; some of your theories are quite fascinating…”


~


Lily opened her eyes.

A low, rough ceiling was above her. It appeared to have been made of mud. Moaning slightly, she sat up.

She was lying in an uncomfortable position on a pile of dusty sacks. Sunlight streamed in through a small window set high in a wall overhead. Specks of white dust drifted in the beam. The dust covered everything in a fine layer, including her. She brushed at it, raising a small cloud, and sniffed. Flour. It was flour.

Sliding off her landing area she stood up and looked around uncertainly. The room was small, barely big enough to stretch her arms out, with the walls were made of uneven grey stones cleverly interwoven. Apart from the sacks, which no doubt contained the flour, there were rough shelves all around, supporting a variety of glass jars, all containing foodstuff. Some appeared to hold preserve, whilst pickled vegetables floated within others.

An old fashioned wooden door appeared to be the only way in or out.

“What the…?” Lily did a compete circle, not believing her eyes. Her eyes fell on her bag, which was on the floor. She picked it up, dusted if off, raising more clouds of flour, and shouldered it before turning back to the door.

Just as she was about to open it, screams and shouts came from outside. Explosions quickly followed, as well as the sound of metal ringing on metal, and shouting.

“What the hell is going on here?” She stopped and looked back at the window. It was a bit high, but if she piled some sacks up…

Some minutes of dusty work later, she peered through the window, onto a scene of carnage.

A village was outside, but like no village she had ever seen beyond TV. It consisted of small, simple wooden and stone huts, mostly wooden, with thatched roofing, like something out of medieval times. Some were now on fire, sending clouds of black smoke billowing into the clear blue sky.

The reason for this was the fighting.

Men dressed in grey tunics and wearing what looked like chain mail vests were attacking from horseback, wielding long slim swords as they galloped back and forth, hewing down any screaming man, woman and child they managed to catch.

Some men, dressed in a black uniform, were fighting back with swords of their own, though they were clearly outnumbered and outmatched. Even as she watched the last of them went under a grey warriors’ horse, a large hoof shattering the skull with a dull sound. She looked away, feeling sick.

With the opposition overrun, the grey men started to group together and dismount. Lily could only see about a dozen of them, though her view was limited. It seemed her little house was on the edge of the village.

The soldiers started kicking down the doors to the huts that weren’t burning. Some came out with bags of loot. Some didn’t come out, but female screams did. It didn’t take much imagination to figure out what was going on there.

Her viewing was interrupted by a crash from behind her. Her hut had been entered.

“Check over there, I’ll look in here,” came a man’s voice.

“Yes Captain,” another replied.

Lily’s eyes widened as footsteps could be heard approaching.

Someone was coming!

>>>>>>

Yoiks! Now what?

<<<<<<



8.Jul.08 - .Jul.08


Chapter 5. Flour and Blood.


Panic seized Lily. She didn’t want to end up like those screams she’d heard from the other huts. Wherever she was, they certainly didn’t have any qualms about using women for pleasure. No doubt what happened after wasn’t enjoyable either.

Looking around, she took in her situation. The room had nowhere to hide. Except maybe…

~

Inspector White staggered up to his car and leaned on the hood, gasping for breath. Damn the freak agent! He’d been lucky to escape with his life, though he liked to think he’d given as good as he’d got. They’d both retreated after Lily had been sent through, neither one wanting to risk themselves further once the object of their attentions had gone.

Slamming his fist on the car in anger, White felt around in his jacket and pulled out his phone. The plastic had melted slightly, but it worked when he dialed the number and brought it to his ear. He waited as it rang, resting on the car and wincing as he felt at his wounds.

“Hello?” The voice was deep and raspy.

“They got her,” White said without preamble.

“That you White? Got who?”

“For gods sake, the girl of course! Who else have you been watching for the past few years?”

“Lily? She’s dead?”

“No.” White looked around as he spoke and decided he was better off speaking from inside his car. He fished around for his keys as he continued: “Some stinking Godling sent her Over. I think I managed to divert her from his intended location though.”

“So she’s on the Other side?”

“Yes, but I don’t know…” White stopped suddenly. “Hold on.” He picked up the dangling earpiece that he’d been listening to Lily’s wiretap through. It had fallen out during the fight, but now he replaced it. There was a noise coming from it!

“White? What’s going on?”

The policeman paused a second before answering. It was impossible!

“White? Speak to me!”

Shaking his head, he replied. “We need to meet. Something’s happened. I can hear her thought the wiretap she had on.”

“She can’t be on the Other side then,” the voice replied.

“Unless…” White answered.

There was a pause before the other person spoke again. “You think she’s…?”

“Get your stuff,” White said. “We’re going to have to move fast. I’ll meet you in the usual place.” He hung up the phone without waiting for an answer and climbed into his car as he tried to make out the noises coming from the earpiece. It was heavily distorted, but there was definitely a signal!

Turning the siren on, White gunned his car, tires screeching as he did a one eighty turn and burned off back towards town.

He had to hurry if Lily was going to survive.

~

“It’s locked.”

“Well, break it in then!”

Lily crouched in her hiding place, both trembling with fear and trying not to sneeze as the intruders clattered around in the space beyond her small larder door.

She flinched at a resounding crash as one of them assaulted the entrance.

“Haw haw! Is that the best you have?” she heard one voice laughing. “Good job we didn’t come up against any real soldiers if you can’t even kill a door.”

“I’ll shove my sword up your arse in a minute,” came the reply. There was a slight pause and then another, much louder, crash as the defenses of the larder succumbed to a renewed attack. “See? Aw, screw this. It’s just a pantry. Looks like flour mainly.”

“Any good stuff? I’m running low. The second voice came closer.

Lily clutched her bag tightly about her as the footsteps moved around, no doubt examining the stored goods on the shelves. Jars clinked as the contents were investigated.

“Here’s some pickled pig nose,” one said.

In her hiding place, Lily made a face. Pickled pig nose?

“Keep that then, I’ve got some sour sauce, goes nice on nose it does.”

“Some brown balls too, this one’s mine.”

A long, deep sounding blast from some kind of horn interrupted the culinary discussion.

“Damn! Re-assembly already? We’ve barely had time to get started.”

“Come on, maybe they’ve spotted some troops nearby or something. We’d better go.”

“Grab this then. And this, we’ll be hungry later.”

More glass clinking followed, and then sounds of the men moving out, much to Lily’s great relief. She wasn’t sure how much longer she could remain hidden in the middle of the bags. It was hard enough to breath even without the added effect of the flour dust.

She waited as long as she could, but finally had to get out. Struggling for a moment to stand, her legs had gone to sleep scrunched up as she’d been, a final burst of claustrophobia-led energy gave her the strength to burst forth, covered in white powder and looking like a spirit of the vengeful flour gods.

Coughing, Lily crawled over the sacks that had been her shelter and rolled onto the floor. For a moment all she could do was lay there and wheeze as her cramped limbs spasmed and lungs gasped for air. Fear of discovery drove her on though, and she forced herself to stand. Picking up her bag she only then remembered about the gun White had given her in the car, thirty minutes and an alien world away.

“What an idiot,” she mumbled to herself as she dug the firearm out and shouldered the bag.

Trying to do an impression of the cops on the TV shows, she sidled up to the now open door, gun held in both hands in front of her face, pointing upwards but ready to dart forth and fire.

The door was hanging off its hinges. Glancing around, Lily found herself looking into a medieval kitchen, complete with spit over a large fireplace set into the middle of stone floor.

“What the hell is this place?” she muttered. Keeping to the walls, she made her way as quietly as possible towards the entrance and very slowly peered outside.

Across the small dirt track another house was on fire. The roof collapsed in a shower of sparks even as she watched, making her jump. Several paces away a child, the girl couldn’t have been more than five, was laying in the dirt. Her guts were hanging out of her tiny body, as blood seeped into the earth around her. Wide brown eyes stared blankly up at the grey sky overhead.

“Oh my god.” Lily turned around and vomited on the kitchen floor.

“Fuck! Fuck this fucking shit! Fuck!” She gasped and wiped her mouth as she heaved for breath. Tears trickling down her cheeks added to the flow of liquid.

Despite the urge to get away, she forced herself to calm down before turning again towards the door, the taste of bile burning her mouth.

Glancing out once more, being careful not to look at the dead child, she examined her options. To the left the road led into the village. More bodies littered the ground, but she skipped over them, trying to only focus on the bigger picture. Of the attackers there was thankfully no sign.

The right way looked more promising. Only two more huts and a patch of clear ground stood between her and an inviting, dense woodland.

“Option two it is then.”

With one more quick check, she ran for it, using the crouching gait that people assume makes them less visible somehow.

Moving with a hobble, she still only had one shoe and the hospital slipper, her bag
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Chinaren



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 8762
Location: http://www.NeilHarlteyBooks.com

Posted: Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:53 am    Post subject:  

MMm, okay. Seems I've written too much and you can't post it all.

Well, I'll leave this one up for a short time, see if anyone wants me to post more...
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Lebrenth



Joined: 29 Dec 2005
Posts: 1479
Location: Utah

Posted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:33 pm    Post subject: 5 chapters so far  

I went down a long rabbit hole looking up the tune for "Waltzing Matilda". I even had to learn a little Australian, like jumbuck and billabong. Then I came back to the story and went down another rabbit hole of modern wizards at war. I guess one side calls itself "godlings" but it looks like they're just wizards too.

How many chapters are missing? It looks like Chapter 5 got cut off mid-sentence.

Interest wise... I'd like to see the reunion of the 3 sisters and trying to work out how to get them all fighting on the same team. I like the main character, but the fish out of water phase is a little frustrating. Also I'm with slim Santa about prophecies being kind of tedious. If we can disrupt some expectations about stories about the chosen one(s), I could be pulled in.
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Chinaren



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 8762
Location: http://www.NeilHarlteyBooks.com

Posted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:36 am    Post subject:  

Thanks for taking the time to read Lebs. Much appreciated.

Quote: How many chapters are missing? It looks like Chapter 5 got cut off mid-sentence.

I think it posted about 2/3rds of it. I'll post more if you like.

Quote: Interest wise... I'd like to see the reunion of the 3 sisters and trying to work out how to get them all fighting on the same team.

Oh, I have plans for the Three, yes indeed, though possibly not quite what you think.


Quote: I like the main character, but the fish out of water phase is a little frustrating.
Ah, excellent. This is the sort of feedback I like to see. Could you tell me what was frustrating? Or is it just dragging out a bit?

Strangely enough, I made a decision when I started this to go a bit more slowly, storywise, than I usually do. (Normally I just jump right in there and blam! Kapow! Zap! As you probably have seen. This time I thought I'd build up more sedately).

Quote: Also I'm with slim Santa about prophecies being kind of tedious. If we can disrupt some expectations about stories about the chosen one(s), I could be pulled in.

TBH I hadn't really thought much about the prophecy thing, I think it was sort of shoved in there as a mostly throw-away line, though with these things I do often come back and add to them.

I'm with you though.
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Lebrenth



Joined: 29 Dec 2005
Posts: 1479
Location: Utah

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:45 am    Post subject:  

Chinaren wrote: I think it posted about 2/3rds of it. I'll post more if you like. Do it.
Chinaren wrote: Quote: I like the main character, but the fish out of water phase is a little frustrating.
Ah, excellent. This is the sort of feedback I like to see. Could you tell me what was frustrating? Or is it just dragging out a bit?

Strangely enough, I made a decision when I started this to go a bit more slowly, storywise, than I usually do. (Normally I just jump right in there and blam! Kapow! Zap! As you probably have seen. This time I thought I'd build up more sedately).
I should mention I'm not actually much of a reader, odd as that is for a writer. What I really crave is interaction, which is why I end up on the game side of storygame a lot. So a slower paced story does tend to make me anxious, however that's not what I'm talking about. What I want is to be part of extraordinary experiences, such as suddenly unlocking a secret power that can blast a large opponent away and realizing I'm part of some secret war of wizards. That's pretty cool.

Unfortunately my vehicle, the character Lily, is oblivious and what's more she does not embrace the power and adventure. She has to be dragged into the story. While I understand it's reasonable and realistic for someone to resist any pull away from the life they've know, I can't help feeling like I'm looking at someone holding a cone of ice cream and rather then enjoying it or sharing it with me, they're letting it melt onto the ground.

Chinaren wrote: TBH I hadn't really thought much about the prophecy thing, I think it was sort of shoved in there as a mostly throw-away line [...] I'm with you though. I don't doubt your talent for turning tropes and cliches upside down. I'm actually not worried, you are a unique author, but I felt like mentioning it anyway. Give us the rest of the chapters so we can pick up where you left off!
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Chinaren



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
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Location: http://www.NeilHarlteyBooks.com

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:40 pm    Post subject:  

Moving with a hobble, she still only had one shoe and the hospital slipper, her bag bouncing on her back and the gun clutched tightly in one hand, Lily ran like she had never run before towards the protective canopy. All the while she expected a shout to come from behind her, quickly followed by a swift death by arrow.

It didn’t come, and she crashed blindly into the bushes with a low moan of relief, hitting a thin tree trunk and bouncing off it, spiraling to the ground where she landed with a thump.

Lying there, with several twigs sticking into her back, looking up at a sky that was tinged with purple through a canopy of unfamiliar trees, the whole absurdity of the situation struck her hard. She started to laugh hysterically to herself, unable to stop as she shook with shock at the last ten minutes.

“I have you now bitch!”

The man’s voice cut into her insanity, acting as an efficient substitute for the traditional slap around the face. They’d found her!

“Come out, let a man have his fun, it’ll be over soon enough.”

Raising her head, Lily looked about. She couldn’t see the speaker, but he was close.

“Got you!” There was a sudden splintering of wood and a high pitched scream, followed by sounds of a scuffle.

“Let me go! Keep away Godling filth!”

“You should be grateful for my attentions girl! Now remain still while I make your last minutes enjoyable.”

Rolling onto her stomach, Lily crawled forward and peered around a bush. On the other side, barely five meters away, a man in the grey uniform of the village attackers was sitting on a young woman, tearing away at her clothes.

The image of the dead child leaped into Lily’s mind, and a wave of red hatred swept through her. Face grim, she stood up and, bringing her gun up, stepped forward.

“Let her go scum!” she was vaguely surprised at the fury in her voice.

“Ho! What’s this then? Dessert?” The man looked at her. His face was covered in a straggly black beard, which grew below a bulbous red nose. Piggy eyes squinted from underneath a conical silver helmet.

Taking advantage of the distraction, the mans’ victim lashed out at his face, scoring a scratch down his cheek.

“Bitch!” The soldier punched her hard, and the girl lay still, knocked unconscious.

“I said leave her alone!” Lily hissed.

“Or what? What’s that you got there eh?” The soldier stood up and peered at the gun. He appeared to be short sighted.

“Take one more step closer and I’ll shoot!” The gun trembled in her hands, half fear, half fury.

“It’s a gun!” The man seemed to be ignoring her. “Yes it is! I saw a picture once! That’ll fetch a few gold back at the camp. Hand it over girl, you know it won’t work here.”

“Stay back! I’m warning you!” Lily gestured with the pistol as he stepped closer.

He laughed. “Go ahead, it’s from the Other side, no use here now is it?” He moved closer again.

Lily pulled the trigger.

Nothing happened.

“Hawhaw! Told you! Now let me…”

There was a loud retort, and eh stopped short, looked down with disbelief at the growing patch of red in his middle, then back up at Lily, who was standing in a cloud of blue smoke, equally stunned.

Opening his mouth, he tried to speak. The complaint was never uttered. Instead he collapsed in a heap on the floor.

Lily stood there, heart beating hard enough to punch its way out of her chest. She’d just shot a man! She’d just shot a man! She’d just…

“Pull yourself together girl! It was you or him!” Reassured by the sound of her own voice, she switched the safety back on the gun. She’d forgotten it at first. If she’d not remembered the second time, her position could be very different now.

There was a moan from the female on the floor, and she forgot about herself and rushed over, skirting the body.

“Are you alright?” she asked, peering down at the near-rape victim, who started in fright. “It’s alright! He’s… dead.”

“What…what happened?”

The girl was younger than she’d first thought, probably no more than fifteen or sixteen. Long black hair framed an attractive oval face. Her simple dress was half hanging off, torn open at the front, and she clutched at her exposed chest.

“Are you alright?” Lily repeated, looking around. “Can you stand? We’ve to get out of here. Someone’s bound to have heard the shot. They’ll be more of them here soon.”

That got a reaction. “My parents! The village…”

She stopped as Lily shook her head slowly. “I’m sorry…”

The reaction wasn’t what Lily had expected. The girls’ face grew hard. “Filthy mutants!” She staggered to her feet and looked around. “Come on, I know where to go.”

Leaving the body on the floor without a backward glance, she moved away, stopping only briefly to look at Lily. “Are you coming?”

Lily was.

~

Alex Lord sat in his chair and stroked the small white kitten on his lap as he waited for news. He didn’t have to wait long.

His phone lit up, and he’d got it to his ear even before it had even started to ring.

“Well?”

He listened intently to the voice on the other side, hands tightening on the kitten in fury as the report was delivered. Eventually the speaking stopped.

“Listen,” Alex said in a low, chilling tone. “If I have to report back to my superiors that the other side has got hold of one of the Three after we had her in our grasp, I’m going to damn well make sure my body isn’t the only one gracing the walls of the dungeon, do you hear me?”

The voice on the other end assured him it did.

“Very well, you better have good news for me before I have to report back in again tonight then.” He jammed the ‘disconnect’ button down.

“Useless!” he growled, standing up and stalking off. The body of the dead kitten, its spine broken, lay on the floor behind him.

~

“So where are we going again?”

Isabelle, the girls’ name was Isabelle, looked at her curiously. “You really don’t know where you are?”

“I told you,” Lily said. “I was taken captive. I managed to escape, but I don’t know where I am.”

Shrugging, Isabelle nodded forward. “Well, ahead is Fort Murden. Hopefully we can get shelter and help there. Maybe they’ll let us help hunt down the raiders.” There was a bloodthirsty tone to her voice that Lily found disturbing coming from one so young.

As they walked through the woods, Lily pondered her position. Somewhere ahead was a fort full of humans who, if she’d picked up the various clues correctly, were at war with the Godlings. Of which, apparently, she was one.

If she went with Isabelle would they know she wasn’t one of them? Perhaps she should try finding some of her ‘own’ kind?

As they grew closer to the fort, her doubts increased. What was the best way forward?


>>>>>>

Not, perhaps the best DP in the world, but still an important one. What does Lily do now?

<<<<<<

8.Jul.08 - 18.Aug.08


[size=15
Chapter 6. Fort.
[/size]

“I’m tired,” Isabelle said suddenly. “Let’s rest here awhile. I think we’re far enough away from the village now. They’ll probably not hang around too long anyway, this deep into human territory.”

“Oh, er yes. Of course.” Lily decided she’d better not appear too ignorant. “How far is this fort then?”

“It’ll take us a half a day at least I reckon.” The girl slumped to the ground, resting against a tree. “Still, we got away from that filth.”

“Well, unless we find something to eat soon, our freedom isn’t going to mean much,” Lily said. “I’m hungry already.”

“Just have some bread,”

“Sure,” Lily said, “I’ll just nip down to the shops and grab a bit of flour, you fire up the oven.”

“I mean some Neverhalt. You do have your loaf on you, don’t you?”

“Do I look like a bakery to you?” Lily scowled.

Isabelle rolled her eyes. “Maybe you aren’t from around here after all. I’ve never heard of anyone not carrying their bread with them.”

“I told you, I was taken captive.” Lily decided she’d better stick to her story.

“And they took your Neverhalt from you? By the Dark One, they’ve sunk to a new low. Why would they do that?”

“I don’t know,” replied Lily, confused. Then, for good measure, she added: “Bastards.”

Isabelle looked puzzled for a second, but then dug around in a pocket, pulling a fist sized ball wrapped in what looked like brown paper out.

“You can have some of mine,” she said, unwrapping the paper to reveal what looked like bread, albeit with a greenish tinge.

“Thanks,” Lily said dubiously, as the girl tore the food in half and handed her one piece. She examined it. It certainly looked like bread, and smelled like it too. She brought it up to her mouth to nibble on it when she was interrupted.

“Wait for it to grow a bit first!”

Looking over, she saw that Isabelle was frowning at her. Her own half of the bread was on her palm, which she had face up on her lap.

“Oh, of course.” Lily sat down against another tree and emulated her actions, trying to keep confusion off her face.

They sat there for a while in silence. She was still dazed with all that had happened in such a short time. Only a day or so ago she had a normal life. Now there were people who were after her, magic suddenly existed, and apparently she’d been catapulted into a totally separate world. Added to that, of course, she was supposedly not even human!

“Why do you have one white shoe?” Isabelle interrupted her reverie, gesturing at her hospital slipper, which was rather the worse for wear by now.

“It’s my religion,” Lily said wearily, unable to think of an excuse at such short notice. She was beginning to feel weary.

“Oh, I see.” The girl lapsed back into silence again for a while.

Lily started to doze off. It had been a hard few hours. She checked her watch, making sure Isabelle didn’t see the device. It said five thirty. What a day!

“I think that’s probably enough now.” Isabelle made her jump.

“What?”

“The bread.”

Lily had forgotten about the bread she’d been holding. Now she looked down and her mouth dropped open. The small ball had somehow expanded into something the size of half a loaf! She glanced at Isabelle, who was happily nibbling on hers, shrugged, and did the same.

The Neverhalt was tastier than she’d expected, with a slightly nutty flavor to it. It was fairly moist as well, which was an unexpected bonus, bearing in mind they had no water.

The food was filling, and she was soon feeling stuffed. Isabelle tore off some of her paper and leaned over, passing it to her. “Here, you can wrap it in this. I assume you don’t have your paper either?”

“No,” she replied. She watched as the girl wrapped her remaining chunk up, and followed her example. Isabelle appeared to be taking great pains to wrap the remains thoroughly. It suddenly occurred to Lily that perhaps the paper somehow stopped the bread ‘growing’. Of course! What would happen if it was left unattended? Would it grow and grow forever? Expanding to cover whatever planet they were on? No, that couldn’t be the case, people must have dropped dead with bread on them, or even dropped crumbs or something, there must be some kind of failsafe, or size limit. She wanted to ask, but didn’t dare, for fear of revealing her ignorance.

The food secured in her bag, she looked around. It was beginning to get dark.

“I guess we should stay here for the night,” Isabelle said.

“I suppose so.” Lily watched and copied as the other gathered leaves and moss into a kind of crude blanket, covering herself with the forest floor. The only exception was that Lily had her bag as a pillow. It was surprisingly comfortable, and she lay on her back watching strange constellations slowly come into being through leafy alien trees.

“How did you kill the filth?”

“What?”

Isabelle was looking at her. “I said, how did you kill the scum that was trying to rape me?”

“Lucky,” Lily replied, purposely vague. The outline of the gun seemed to press into her side, in her pocket.

“I see.”

Quiet fell again. Some kind of insect make a chirping sound, a little like a cricket. A though occurred to Lily.

“You don’t seem to upset about your family. Your village even.”

“They’re in the Hall of Heroes, what’s to be upset about? Just two more debts the Filth will have to pay.” Isabelle spat, and once again the hatred and sheer malice in her voice scared Lily. “What about yours? Were they killed too? Why did they take you? It’s not like them.”

“Um,” Lily thought fast. “They wanted me for food.”

“I knew it! The rumors are true then.”

“I… guess so.” Lily made a face to herself. This world was in worse shape than she realized.

“I wonder if we’ll have to eat our own, or Them, before this war is won?” Isabelle said.

“I sincerely hope not,” Lily replied, truthfully this time.

“How many have you killed?”

In the dark, Lily shook her head sadly. “More than I thought I would.” It was an accurate answer at least.

There was no reply from Isabelle other than a light snore. Taking a deep breath, Lily closed her eyes, and soon followed her example.

~

“There it is. Fort Murden.”

Lily looked out at a hill, actually more of a low mound that had sprouted an ugly growth on its peak. The fort, and she applied the word loosely, was made mostly out of wood, rather hastily tacked together from what she could see. The walls were high enough though, and she could make out the shapes of sentries on the ramparts. Around the stockade a sprawling shanty town had evolved, a grey and brown stain that was busy corrupting the countryside.

“Delightful,” she said.

Isabelle ignored the sarcasm. “Come on, if we get there in time we might get lunch. Our information is important.”

“Of course.” Lily attempted to drum up enthusiasm, not very successfully.

They walked down the slight rise towards the shanty town. Halfway down the smell hit her. Hundreds, probably thousands of people living in close proximity with no sanitation presented her with an aroma that was not something you’d forget in a hurry, even if you tried. Isabelle appeared not to even notice. She attempted, with limited success, to emulate her indifference.

The streets, if that’s what you could call mud lanes between rude huts, were lined with people who made the poorest nation on Earth look positively lucky. If they weren’t pale and starving, they had injuries or mutations. Without exception they were dressed in dirty rags or nothing at all.

She tramped through a broken people. Most barely looked up as the two passed. Of those that did, about half held out hands attached to shockingly thin bodies, pleading for food. One begged to be killed.

Ignoring them all as if they were invisible, Isabelle walked confidently forward, striding through the rabble as if she was a queen. Once she barged a boy out of the way. He fell backwards, to land in the dirt, unmoving.

Lily, who had faltered, made an effort to catch her up.

“Who are these people?” she asked in a hushed whisper. “What happened to their bread?”

A sneer on the teenagers’ face precluded the answer. “These? These are nearly as bad as the Godlings. They are the dregs that refuse to fight. Refuse to contribute to the war effort. They are the clingers-on, the whiners, the cowards. You can’t eat Neverhalt all the time, you need other food after a while, and these scum aren’t willing to do anything to earn it.” She spat into the face of one grey haired old woman who was barely more than a skeleton and pushed her over, stepping over the form without a backward glance. “They should sacrifice themselves for the good of us all.” She shook her head. “How will we ever win with these weaklings on our side?”

Her face a mask of stone, Lily fell back a little and looked around.

“Maybe we don’t deserve to,” she said, but in a whisper.

Leaving the inert figure of the woman behind, she took a deep breath and walked on.

~

“Who are you?” The guard looked down from the top of the wall, his helmeted head silhouetted against the pale blue of the sky.

“I’m Isabelle, from Savanna,” thereby providing Lily with the name of the village she’d landed in. “We’ve been raided.”

“Hold on.” The head disappeared. Moments later the crude wooden gate creaked open, and a man dressed in black leather armor with a full face helmet slipped out. The sword at his hip was curved, and the handle looked well worn.

“Speak,” he said, his voice echoing from within the headgear.

“I’m Isabelle, from Savanna,” Isabelle repeated. “My father is… was the headman there. We’ve been raided.”

“Shit.” The soldier removed his helmet, to reveal a weary face creased with wrinkles. His short hair was turning white. “That’s the second one in a week. That damned strike party is running rings around us.” He looked at Lily. “Who’s this?”

“She was a prisoner. She killed one of them that was attacking me.”

“Really?” The soldier looked Lily over. “Strange clothes. What’s with the one shoe?”

“It’s her religion,” Isabelle answered for her.

“Where you from girl?” The man spoke to Lily for the first time.

“The south,” she replied, mentally crossing her fingers. From the information she’d managed to glean from Isabelle’s rambling conversation during their morning trek, it seemed that little was known of that direction.

“Really?” The man looked at her, and then back at Isabelle. “She killed one?”

“Yes.”

“Very well.” He nodded and then held out his hand. “Once I’ve checked your bag you can come in. We’re about to eat, even got some meat today.”

Lily hesitated. She’d put her watch and phone in the bag, both of which weren’t of this world and would no doubt cause some awkward questions. She could say she’d found them of course, but she didn’t wish to lose them. The gun was firmly wedged in her belt.

“Go on, hand it over.” Isabelle nudged her.

Looking at her new friend, she hesitated.

>>>>>>

What should she do? Hand the bag over and hope for the best? What story should she give if so? OR something different?

Let’s hear your ideas!

<<<<<<<


14.Sep.08 - 28.Sep.08



Chapter 7. Movement.



“Hurry up then, I’m hungry.” The man frowned. “You’ll get it back.”

Fretting to herself, Lily handed the bag over. She didn’t really have any choice in the matter. If she didn’t they’d take it from here anyway, and probably subject her to some serious questions. These people didn’t seem like the type that would be shy about using any means they saw fit to get information.

The sentry frowned a little at the fastening, but quickly figured out how to open the zipper, muttering something under his breath about ‘southern design’.

He reached in and pulled out a small hand towel Lily carried about with her, and was about to delve further when a shout from the fort interrupted.

“Godlings! Approaching fast! All hands prepare for battle!”

The guard swore out loud, and started to turn back, but then realized he still had Lily’s bag and paused as he looked at her. “This will go in the store until later,” he said, and then ran off into the entrance before she could respond.

“Come on! Let’s get inside before the fighting starts!” Isabelle said, grabbing her arm.

Remembering the carnage at the village, Lily didn’t hesitate, but trotted after her new friend, through the gate and into a throng of shouting warriors. She pushed her way through them, being buffeted about by chain-mail armored men with grim expressions. Some of them wore surcoats of black with a white dagger emblem on the front. All of them looked like they knew their business, and she shivered slightly.

Isabelle grabbed her hand as she faltered, and she allowed herself to be pulled through the crowd into a cobblestoned courtyard. Lily tried to peer around as she was dragged along.

The walls were mainly wood, though certain key areas were dark stone. The ramparts along the top were swarming with activity as the defenders made ready with bows, swords and other implements she didn’t recognize. Behind them the gates were firmly closed and barricaded with sturdy looking beams.

“Where are we going?” Lily gasped.

“To the kitchens, I need some decent food,” Isabelle replied, skipping round a pile of crates.

“How can you eat now? We’re about to be attacked!”

“Best time, we’ll get to the front of the line whilst everyone’s busy.”

Lily opened her mouth to speak again, but was interrupted by a large explosion off to her right. An orange ball of flame erupted on top of the wall there, sending the nearby defenders through the air trailing smoke. The unfortunate men landed hard in the courtyard and lay still.

Shouts and flurry of activity followed, and several men in black robes clustered together behind a slightly higher section of the wall made of stone. They started chanting whilst the soldiers around them let loose with bows and crossbows.

“Damn, looks like the scum have a warlock with them.” Isabelle shook her head. “Come on, they won’t keep the kitchens open long if this is going to be a big fight.”

Another detonation sent tremors through the ground, and more men and splinters of wood were blown into the air as Isabelle moved off again, ducking into the entrance to a squat, solid looking building. Lily followed her with dispatch, flinching as a man landed a little way away from her. One of his arms had been blown off, and the left side of his body was charred black. She gagged and looked away, concentrating on following her friend.

Through the doorway she found a flight of stone steps leading down. The walls were illuminated by small lights hovering near the ceiling. No doubt powered by magic Velvet thought, as she staggered along, trying to catch up with Isabelle.

At the bottom was a short corridor leading to a fairly large set of wooden doors, which were open. Through those was a square hall filled with wooden tables and chairs. Off to one side was a counter staffed by this worlds’ equivalent of lunch ladies, a group of rather grubby women dressed in brown smocks.

Isabelle was already at the counter, filling a metal bowl with rice and some kind of green vegetable. Seeing this reminded Velvet she’d not eaten properly since Inspector White had bought her a burger, a thousand years and another universe away, and she hurried over to join the village girl. There may be a battle with strange half-men going on outside, but food was food.

“Hungry love?” one of the women asked. She was smoking a small brown cigar, which was wedged in the corner of her mouth.

“Starving,” Lily answered. “My, er, village was attacked by Godlings. We barely got away.”

The woman removed her cigar briefly so she could spit on the floor. “Filthy scum,” she said, returning her smoke and picking up a large bowl. “Here you go dear, you’d better fill up, never know where the next meal’s coming from these days.”

“Thank-you,” Lily replied, as the woman piled up an assortment of rice and vegetables into it, spilling a goodly portion as she did so.

“Better hurry,” the server replied, as a mighty explosion shook the room. “Things sound bad up there. Scum could be down on our heads before we know it.”

Nodding, Lily grabbed a wooden spoon from a nearby pile and scurried over to join Isabelle at one of the tables. Sitting down opposite, she shoveled the food into her mouth as the deadly battle raged overhead.

If she was going to die, she decided, it would damn well be on a full stomach.

~

Alex Lord paced up and down in his study. The clock on the wall ticked away the seconds and he scowled at it, as if it was to blame for his current predicament. No matter how he looked at things, he couldn’t see any way out of his current jam, unless he could convince Grey to go Across by himself, and that was about as likely as growing wings. Actually quite a bit less likely, as he could probably arrange for the wings.

A knock at the door interrupted his pacing.

“Enter!” he snapped.

It opened and Marlin Grey entered. Alex’s rant was stopped short by the appearance of the warlock, which was rather more disheveled than it usually was. There were several burn marks on his robe too.

“What happened to you?” he asked.

Grey snarled. “I told you, a filthy wizard attacked me.”

“You’re telling me a single human did that to you?” Alex raised an eyebrow. “I thought you said you were good.”

“I am, but so was he. Nothing I can’t handle of course, but he took me by surprise. I’ll be ready next time.”

“That’s assuming there is a next time. You know we have to report in, and if you say you’ve lost one of the Three then She won’t be happy.”

“What do you mean ‘you’?” Marlin snapped back. “I’m just a field warlock, you’re the local coordinator, you tell her.”

“But you’re the one who had her, and lost her too, I may add.”

“Listen, if you think I’m going to go up in front of Her and admit to losing one of the Three, you can just fuck off.”

Alex steepled his fingers and scowled. “Fine, we’ll both go then, but we’re going to have to talk fast if we want to save our heads. I don’t suppose you have any idea where she went?”

“I don’t actually,” Marlin answered, flopping wearily into a chair. “I was sending her over but that damned mage deflected her. She could be anywhere.”

“Isn’t there any way of tracking her? Come on man, think. It’s our asses on the line here.”

The warlock drummed his fingers on his knee for a moment. “Well, she’s new over. I suppose we could cast a search spell, try and detect any fresh Crossings, but there’s no guarantee of it working.”

“That’s good enough for a start,” Alex replied. “And we don’t have time to think of anything better. Clean yourself up quickly, and just hope that She’s in a good mood.”

“We should be so lucky,” muttered Grey, but he stood up anyway.

Alex, face grim, nodded.

~

Inspector White pulled up outside the mobile home in a cloud of dust. The rather corpulent form of Thaddeus Wax waved a hand in front of his face and coughed as he approached the car.

“Get in then,” White said as he stood outside the door.

Wax did as he was bade, huffing to himself as he settled his frame into the chair and resting a bag onto his lap.

“I don’t like this White, not at all. I’m not prepared to return, and it’s against my standing orders.”

“Screw your orders,” White answered, starting the car up and turning it around. “I need help, and you’re the only one nearby. I might have to move quickly, which means it could be a jaunt into enemy territory.”

“Great, just what I wanted,” Wax muttered. He stroked his large mustache as they drove out of the Vista Estate and onto the road.

“You can lose the disguise as well,” the policeman said.

“Not so easily I can’t,” Wax retorted. “I’ve barely changed out of this form in years, it’s stuck. I told you - I’m not ready.”

White rolled his eyes. “Great,” he said, but didn’t slow down.

“They drove on for a few minutes, and then turned off the road onto a dirt track, which necessitated slowing the car down to a crawl. Even then they were jounced around as the car negotiated the uneven surface.

“Good grief man! Where are we going?” Wax complained, holding onto his chair.

“It will be easier to cross from the same place she went over,” White replied, peering through the gloom of the early evening.

“Are you sure she’s one of them? I’ve been watching her for years, and she never showed any sign.”

“Fat lot of good you are then. Ah, here we go.” White stopped the car, not without some relief, and they both climbed out.

“Now what?” Wax said, looking around.

“Her wire tap was working, I heard someone say Fort Murden before it cut off. So we’re going there.”

“Murden? Where the hell’s that? I’ve never heard of it.”

“Somewhere out on the east coast, not exactly heavily populated. We still dominate the area, last I heard anyway.”

“And when did you get an update on the situation there?” Wax complained as they made their way over the forest floor.

“Not in a little while,” White replied. “Ah, here it is.” He pointed at a circular burn mark on the ground. “Are you ready?”

“No.”

“Too bad.” White raised his hands and began the spell.

~

Lily sat back and sighed. “That’s better,” she said, patting her stomach.

“You’re telling me,” Isabelle replied. “I’ve never seen anyone eat as much as you.”

“I was hungry, not eaten anything in quite some time,” Lily replied, rather embarrassed. No doubt the people here were used to rationing.

“The fighting seems to have died down too,” Isabelle said. “Shall we go and look?”

Lily nodded. It would be useful to know if she was going to last the night.

They stood up and returned outside, peering carefully into the courtyard first.

The scene there made Lily grimace. The fort had taken several bad hits, indeed, parts of the wooden barricade were still smoldering. Bodies lay everywhere too. Some were still - dead or unconscious. Many had missing limbs or other horrible injuries. One was moaning as he attempted to stop his insides falling out of a terrible gash in his stomach.

Other men moved about the injured. These wore no armor, but flowing black tunics. She saw one hold a hand above a soldier with a terrible gash down his side and utter an incantation. There was a dull orange glow and, right before her eyes, the wound closed up! The previously injured soldier clasped the wizards’ hand in thanks, and received a nod in acknowledgement before the healer moved on to the next casualty.

Isabelle looked on impassively, no doubt thinking of her parents, and how, maybe, they too could have been saved. Lily put her hand on the girls shoulder.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” she said. “I guess not everyone can be as lucky as these men.”

Isabelle looked around, a sneer on her face. “Of course not. Why would we heal farmers? The fighters are worthy, farmers are nothing next to them. Why waste magic on peasants? I don’t understand you. If you hadn’t killed that godling I’d think you were a… a… pacifist.” She spat the last word out like a curse, and then, shaking Lily’s hand off, stormed off.

“Well, I guess I need to keep my mouth shut,” Lily said to herself. She looked up. Evening was upon them. For some reason that reminded her about her bag. She had to get to it before someone opened it!

However, she had no idea where it was, and if she asked about it, people may get suspicious. Then again, there probably wasn’t much chance of her finding it on her own either.

“Great, now what do I do?”

>>>>>>

Finally another chapter then!!

Okay, so not the most exciting place to stop, but I thought I should get this chapter out.

So, what does she do about her bag? Should she do anything? Let’s here your suggestions!

<<<<



Leave Isabelle to moan and find your bag (Which has been destroyed during the battle)

She’d put her watch and phone in the bag, both of which weren’t of this world and would no doubt cause some awkward questions

19.Oct.08 - .Oct.08
8.Jul.09 - 12.Jul.09



Chapter 8. Pursuit.


Maybe the stores. If she asked about them she could say she was getting something for someone. She scratched her head and sighed.

Looking around she walked up at a guard who was resting on a long staff with a serrated blade attached to the end.

“Excuse me sir,” she said.

“What is it girly?” The man, who had a tanned face lined with wrinkles, looked at her in a not unkindly fashion. He sounded tired.

“Could you point me in the direction of the stores please? I need to fetch something.” She smiled in what she hoped was a winning fashion.

The man nodded and raised an arm, pointing. “That way.”

“Thank you.”

“Won’t do you any good though. The freaks took it out. Could have been what they were after even, trying to reduce our supplies.” He spat on the floor.

“Oh.” Lily looked at her feet, still clad in the uneven match of her single shoe and muddy hospital slipper. The slipper was beginning to tear under the strain of use it hadn’t been designed to cope with. “Well, thanks. I’ll go and look anyway.”

The man shrugged. “Suit yourself.”

Nodding at him one last time, Lily turned and headed off in the direction he’d indicated. She had to pass about a dozen dead soldiers on the way, and her full stomach gave a slight twinge at their injuries.

“Steady, now,” she muttered to herself. “You don’t want to throw up that meal, they’ll probably make you eat it again or something.”

When she rounded a corner she saw that the man hadn’t been exaggerating. Various people were stood around examining the large pile of rocks that had no doubt once been a building. A small group of men, clad not in the uniforms of the soldiers, but plain robes, had formed a chain, and were busy removing the fallen bricks one at a time.

She sidled up a little closer, but was stopped by a stern looking guard.

“Sorry girl, can’t come any closer.”

“I just wanted a look,” she protested, though without any real force in the complaint.

“Look from there then.” The man stood and glared down at her. He was young, probably not much older than she was, but tall and well built. There was some kind of insignia on his upper arm, probably his rank marking.

“Do you think they’ll recover anything?” she asked, peering around his bulk.

“Maybe some of the foodstuff, I don’t know.” He shrugged inside his armor. “Now move along please, there’s nothing to see here.”

Lily would have disagreed, but it was obvious she wasn’t going to get through and suddenly stumble across her bag.

Dejectedly she turned about and walked off the way she came.

~

“Damn.” Wax made a face and looked around at the carnage of the village. He wrinkled his large red nose at the smell. “Is this where you sent the girl? We’ll be lucky to find her alive.”

Inspector White, or Wizard White, now he was back Over, nodded gloomily. “I didn’t exactly have time to set her down gently. Just managed to push the Godling’s aim off a bit.”

“How much is a bit?” White stepped over the bloating corpse of a young woman and peered into a nearby hut. He jerked his head back quickly and spat on the ground. “Fuck.”

White didn’t want to know. He took a deep breath and felt for the Power. It was easier here, in the realm of magic, and it only took what seemed like a slight effort to conjure up the spell he wanted. Years of being on Earth had enhanced his ability it seemed, working in a magically sparse environment.

“What you doing?” Wax wandered back over.

“Tracer spell,” grunted White, concentrating on his divination.

“Are you mad? What if there are Godlings still about?” Wax looked left and right, as if expecting a horde to leap out from round a corner.

“Hush,” White replied. He frowned and closed his eyes, turning slowly on the spot. There! A trace! He pointed. “She went that way. Come on.”

“Very well, but which way did the Godling scum go?” Wax asked.

White ignored him, intent on the trail. He skipped over bodies as he went, nose in the air like a dog following scent. He could hear Wax panting as he stumbled after him.

The spell led them to a small hut on the outskirts of the village. White stopped. The signal was strong inside the hut, but there was a faint trail leading away too, into the woods.

“Is she in here?” Wax caught up and peered, cautiously, into the hut.

White’s spell faded and he shook his head. “I think this is where she landed. It looks like she was here for a while, then took off up towards the woods.” He nodded his head in the direction he meant.

“Still alive then,” Wax said, stroking his moustache.

“Why don’t you get rid of that ridiculous facial hair?” White scowled.

“I rather like it,” the other man said.

“Well at least lose some of that fat then, we might run into some Godlings, and a large belly won’t help in a fight.”

Wax looked down and nodded. “I suppose you’re right. I’ll shed it as we go.”

“Good. Come on then.” White set off towards the woods, cursing under his breath as he nearly tripped over the body of a young child.

~

There was a flash of light, and Alex Lord stepped forth onto the ground in front of a small hut. A sick squashing sound came from underfoot, and he looked down.

“Shit!” he said, jumping back and bumping into Marlin.

“Hey! Watch it!” the other Godling said.

“Sorry,” Alex replied, busy wiping his foot on a nearby tuft of grass. “Stepped in some child. Damn, these shoes are new too.”

“Can we concentrate on the matter at hand please?” Grey complained, looking around and making a face. “Good god, I’d forgotten how primitive these humans are. Look at this place, it’s a mess.”

“It looks like one of our strike groups visited here,” Alex said, examining the devastation. “Looks like they did a thorough job too, those boys are nothing if not efficient.”

Marlin sniffed. “A few less humans to bother us,” he said. “Wait! What about the girl? Do you think she was caught in this?”

“We’d be better off defecting if so,” Alex said. “Come on, cast a divination already.”

“I don’t see why I should be the one to do all the casting,” Grey complained. Still, he raised his staff and muttered a Word. With his eyes closed he held the staff out, turned a full circle and stopped. Frowning, he repeated the action and then turned back to Alex.

“She was here, somewhere in that direction. I can’t pick her up now, but there’s something else.”

“What?”

“Someone else has used magic nearby, human magic, and recently.”

“White!” snarled Alex. “Come on, let’s get moving, we don’t want the humans to get to her first.” Clenching his fists, he kicked the body of the dead child and stalked away.

Grey followed him at a more sedate pace.

~

“So what? It’s just a dead Godling,” Wax complained. “I wish the rest of them would join him.”

“Look how he died,” White said, nudging the corpse with his toe.

Rolling his eyes, Wax bent over the body. His own form had become noticeably thinner in the last ten minutes as he slowly reverted to his natural shape. The giant moustache remained though. White wasn’t certain if it was because he hadn’t got around to removing it yet, or if the man had left it just to annoy him.

“He was shot?” Wax looked puzzled. “It looks like he was shot, with a gun! How is that possible?”

“I told you, I could hear the girl through the wire. If she can enable technology here, then maybe she shot him. She had a gun on her when she came through.”

“Good god!” Wax stood straight with a startled expression. “If that’s really the case…”

“She really could be one of the Three,” White nodded. “Perhaps we should hide the…” He stopped mid sentence.

“What? What is it?” Wax asked.

“Did you feel that?” White looked around. “Someone’s just come Over!”

“Must be Lord and that damned Warlock pet of his.” Wax looked worried.

“Let’s get this body under cover and then get out of here,” White replied. “We don’t want them finding it.”

The other human agreed, and they bent to their grizzly task with a will. White clenched his teeth as he thought about the pursuing Godlings.

They must not get the girl!

~

“There you are!” Isabelle grabbed Lily’s hand. “I’ve been looking all over for you. Come on, Corman wants to see us.”

“Who’s Corman?” asked Lily, allowing herself to be dragged along. She’d spent the last several hours wandering aimlessly, trying to figure out how to get off this mad world and back to her own.

“He’s the head of Human Resources,” Isabelle answered.

“Human Resources? You have a HR department here?”

“Of course we do!” Isabelle shook her head at her friend’s naivety. “I suspect the freaks have a Godling Resources too. Come on, hurry! We can’t keep him waiting.”

Lily stumbled after her as she made her way to a complex of small structures in the middle of the fort. They entered one and climbed down a flight of uneven stone stairs that led into the bowels of the earth. A bunker, she realized.

At the bottom was a long corridor lit by the same floating lights she’d seen before. Several people in black uniforms strode between the many doors that lined the passage. Isabelle marched up to one on the left and knocked on the door.

“Enter!” came a gruff voice from beyond.

The girl obeyed, and Lily followed her in.

The other side turned out to be a surprisingly modern looking office, with desks and chairs and paperwork, though there were no computers of course. Workers, obviously clerks of some kind, and mainly women, were busy writing or moving documents about.

Isabelle ignored them and marched up to the large desk overlooking the others at the end. Behind it sat elder gentlemen of giant proportions. He had an enormous grey beard and a totally hairless head. Unlike the others in the room he wore chain mail armor, and there was a huge mace propped up next to his chair. Lily doubted she’d even be able to lift the thing.

“It’s for keeping the staff in line,” the man, obviously Corman, said, noting her gaze and winking at her. He voice was surprisingly quiet and gentle, totally at odds with his appearance.

“Oh,” she replied, startled.

Corman smiled to himself and then looked at them both with a frown.

“Now ladies,” he said. “We need to decide what to do with you. Isabelle, you have farming experience. We can relocate you to another…”

“I want to fight.” Isabelle interrupted. “I’ve always wanted to fight. My parents wouldn’t let me sign up.” She crossed her arms and glared at him.

Raising his eyebrows, he glanced at Lily before looking back at the other girl. “Well, very well. You seem to be old enough, and we need more fighters, by the Three. I’ll send you off with the next training contingent if you like.”

“I do.”

“Very well, that was easy. Now,” Corman turned to Lily. “What about you young lady? I understand you are far from your home. You must understand we cannot spare the resources to escort you back.”

“I understand,” said Lily. To head off to an imaginary home was the last thing she wanted.

“Do you wish to fight? I can arrange for training too, I heard you killed one of them out there. That’s good.”

“I’m… not sure, I’ve never been that good with weapons. ” she said. A thought struck her. “But…” she hesitated, not sure if what she was going to say was acceptable.

“Go on.” Corman leaned forward on his desk.

“How… how do you become a wizard?” The words tumbled out before she could stop them.

Corman’s head shot up, and his eyes widened. “A wizard? A wizard is it? Do you have Power then?”

Lily, recalling her discussion with the grey man in the woods, made an uncertain gesture. “Maybe,” she said.

“Is that how you killed that Godling?” asked Isabelle, looking at her with new respect.

Lily just shrugged again. “It’s just a thought,” she said.

Corman took a deep breath. “This is beyond my area of expertise. We have mages here of course, but they’re all battle magisters, the usual half insane lot, and I’d hesitate to let you into their clutches. Our wizard commander is visiting the city, I don’t expect him back for several days. You could stay here and wait for him, or I could send you to the capital with the next patrol if you like.”

Lily looked at the floor. “Umm,” she said.

>>>>>>

There you go then, finally another chapter!

So what’s Lily to do? Wait around, or go to the capital? Remembering she’s been told she’s a Godling, not a human, though whether this is true or not we don’t know. ;) She could always opt for training with Isabelle of course, or something else?

Let’s hear what you think!

<<<<<<


19.Oct.08 - .Oct.08
29.Nov.09 – 1.Dec.09




Chapter 9. Movements.


Peering through the brush, Alex Lord waved irritably at some sort of winged insect that buzzed around his ear.

“Can you see them?” asked Marlin Grey, peering over his shoulder.

Alex pushed backward, annoyed. “They probably heard you tramping through the woods from half a click back,” he said.

“I can’t help it! I’m not trained as a scout! If you just let me cast a tracking spell I’d have them in no time.”

Lord gritted his teeth. “For the final time, we can’t risk them detecting us here. Last I heard this was still human held territory, we’re outnumbered.”

“Then what the hell are we doing following the humans for? There’s obviously a strike force nearby,” he gestured back at the destroyed village. “Let’s go and find them and get them to help us. The girl, if she’s still alive, is no doubt heading off to the nearest stronghold. Our boys will know where to look.” The warlock glanced about nervously. “Besides, a heavily armed bunch of Battle Warlocks backing us up couldn’t hurt.”

Alex bit his lip. The caster had a point. Stumbling about in human held territory on their own was risky, and if the girl had gone to the local human stronghold then it would be tricky getting her out. Besides, if something went wrong a Strike force commander may be a handy person to blame.

“Very well,’ he said. “See if you can detect them.” He watched as Grey smiled in triumph. “But if we get caught by humans, you’re covering my escape!”

~

Lily smiled as Isabelle walked towards her. The other girl had acquired new clothes from somewhere, and now had a black tunic and some kind of dark leather armor over her top. Her legs were clad in long boots that covered the knees, and by her side swung a slim sword.

“How do I look?” she asked.

“Ready to kill,” Lily replied.

“Flattery will get you nothing,” Isabelle said, but with a twinkle in her eye and a wry smile on her face.

Once again Lily pondered the bloodthirsty nature of the girl who, in her world, would probably be gossiping with her friends and hanging about at the mall. She shook her head sadly.

“Hey, cheer up!” Isabelle slapped her shoulder, no doubt misunderstanding her look. “You’ll soon be meeting the chief wiz of this place and on your way to training! I wish I could cast magic, I’d be able to kill so many more Godlings.”

Forcing a smile on to her face, Lily changed the subject. “When are we going? I thought Corman said we’d be leaving early. She stretched. They’d put her up in a dormitory full of hard bunk beds, where she’d slept the sleep of the exhausted. An early breakfast of porridge before the sun was even up, and she was good to go, though she would have killed for a cup of coffee.

Isabelle shrugged and adjusted her sword belt. “We’re waiting for our escort. Corman said there were some papers he needs to send to the city. Oh, wait, here we go.”

Looking over, Lily saw a squad of three men approaching. Two were well built men in the familiar black leather, but one was dressed in long black robes. A hood, reminiscent of a Klu Klux Klan variety, covered his head.

Isabelle put her hand to her mouth. “A Warrior mage!” she said, stepping back a pace as the three men closed.

The leader, a gruff looking fellow of about forty, assessed his cargo with an even expression.

“You Lily?” he asked, pointing at Lily.

“That’s me sir,” she replied.

“Good. And you’re the new recruit, off for training.” He gave Isabelle a hard look up and down, and finally nodded. “Very well, we’ll see how long you last. You may call me Sir. This is Simon.” He pointed back to the other fighter. “If either of us tell you to do something, you do it, understood? I won’t tolerate slackness.”

“Yes sir,” the girls agreed. Lily noted the lack of reference to the mage. Both fighters ignored the man, who stood silently by, still as a statue. She could just about make out dark eyes observing her through the eye slits in his hood, and shuddered. An aura of cold seemed to emanate from him.

“You all ready?” asked the leader.

“Yes sir,” Isabelle replied.

“Then we’re off. Hope you can keep up, there are no horses available for us. Where are your boots girl? Why are you only wearing one decent shoe?”

Lily sighed. “It’s my religion sir,” she answered, wishing she’d been able to get more footwear. The hospital slipper was on its last legs, so to speak.

“Pretty stupid religion then. Don’t complain to me if you step on something sharp.” So saying he turned and nodded at his companion. “You bring up the rear. You girls follow me. Let’s go.”

With those terse instructions to mark their departure, the small group moved out.

~

“Crap!” Grey shouted as he dived behind a bush. The arrow that had prompted his movements hit a tree nearby with a dull thunk.

Alex Lord took a deep breath and merely stood where he was, hands held out by his side to show they were free of weapons.

“We’re looking for the leader of your team,” he shouted at the unseen archer.

“Who are you?” a voice called back. Alex couldn’t determine where it came from. The undergrowth in the area was dense, no doubt not an accident.

“We’re agents from the Other side. We need to speak to your leader urgently.” He crossed his arms and tapped his foot. “Failure to do so will result in unpleasant consequences.”

There was a pause, no doubt the sentry was evaluating the situation.

“Get up idiot,” Alex hissed whilst waiting.

The warlock looked sheepish, but stood up anyway. “I was just preparing a counter spell,” he said, straightening his hat.

Alex rolled his eyes.

“Wait where you are!” The sentries’ voice called out again. “You are being watched.”

“Yeah, right,” Alex scowled, but nodded anyway.

Whoever the guard was, he was better at stealth than decision making, Lord didn’t detect any movement.

“You did well finding them anyway,” he said to Grey.

“I’m good at what I do,” the other Godling said. He’d pulled a long staff out of the air and was leaning on it.

“Hmf,” was all Alex said in way of reply. The two stood there in silence, listening to the birds warble as they waited for the return of the strike force sentry. Grey fidgeted and scratched himself.

“How long is this going to take? I’m badly in need of a shower. Sleeping rough doesn’t agree with me.”

Alex sneered, but also nodded. They had spent last night in a ditch, using only a small amount of magic to ward them and create a bubble of warmth. He was hardly comfortable himself, but it showed weakness to complain about it.

“They won’t be long,” he answered.

He was right. Several minutes later a figure stepped out of the undergrowth. He was dressed in grey armor of some kind that Alex didn’t recognize. Two sword hilts stuck out over his shoulders and high boots protected his legs. His face was grizzled, and a long scar ran down the side of his cheek. Dark eyes took in the newcomers with efficient glances.

Here, thought Alex, was a man not to be trifled with.

“Who are you?” the Godling leader asked.

“We’re agents from the other side. We’re pursuing… a target of high value,” answered Alex. “We require your aid.”

“Authorization?”

Alex pulled out a small, slim black stick from its hiding place in his belt. He closed his eyes for a moment and conjured the activation code, and then handed it over to the leader.

The Strike force commander took the item, closed his own eyes and muttered something to himself, no doubt his own code. A second later he opened his eyes again, a look of surprise on his face.

“Agent Lord,” he said, in a voice with more respect this time. “I didn’t expect someone of your rank to be out here. Please, come back to our camp and tell me what you need.”

Alex retrieved his wand and smiled. The deserved deference improved his mood considerably.

“Lead on,” he replied.

~

“How much further is it?” Wax complained, wiping his brow. “And I’m hungry. I can’t believe neither of us forgot to bring our Neverhalt with us. Sleeping in the woods doesn’t agree with me either.”

“We’ve both become fat a lazy, living on the other side for so long,” White replied. He was also hungry, tired and badly in need of a shower. They’d trekked through the woods into the evening, and then had an uncomfortable night under the trees. The two men had been up again early, following the girl’s trail, which was thankfully still clear.

“At least we lost Lord and his crony,” Wax said, changing the subject and puffing hard as they strode up an incline. The man was lean and tall now, back to his natural shape, though he retained the giant mustache still.

“That worries me more, not less,” White replied. “There’s obviously Godling forces in the area, if I were them I’d go and get their help.”

“Shit, I didn’t think of that.” Wax stopped at the brown of the hill. “Hey, look! Is that a fort?”

White squinted into the morning sun. Sure enough, surrounded by a ramshackle collection of buildings, a mostly wooden fort squatted on the top of a low hill. He could see sentries moving about on the walls, and a Dark flag fluttered over the outpost.

“Still in our hands then,” he said. “Come on, let’s get some of our own people on our side. With any luck the girl’s in the fort and the hard part of our job will be over. If not, well, we can send an alert out.”

“Not to mention breakfast,” Wax added.

“I’m not going to argue with you there,” White replied.

The two men started off down the slope again, new vigor in their step. They passed quickly through the shanty town, ignoring the pathetic wretches dwelling there, and with no small measure of relief, approached the guard.

“Hold strangers,” the sentry said.

“I need to speak to your Commanding officer at once,” White barked.

“Do you now, and who would you be?” The soldier looked the pair up and down, sneering at their disheveled appearance.

A red mist descended upon White, and he shot out an arm and said a Word. A white ball of power smashed into the hapless sentry and sent him flying backwards, where he crashed into the large wooden door.

“Get me your commanding officer at once!” shouted White. “I’ve come Over on a matter of national security, and if you delay me any more I’ll turn you into a frog!” It was an empty threat, he was still recovering from his battle with the warlock, and he didn’t know any transformation spells anyway. Still, the guard didn’t know that.

“S…sorry sir! Wait here please!” The man hammered on the gate, which opened a crack, allowing him to escape through it.

“That was a bit harsh,” said Wax, fiddling with his mustache.

“Fuck off,” snapped White. “I’m tired and dirty, and we’ve lost enough time as it is.”

“Well, I…”

Wax’s reply was cut short as the gate opened again, and the guard reappeared, followed by a giant of a man with an enormous black beard. The newcomer wore a plate breastplate, and a black cloak swung behind him. In one hand he held an enormous axe.

“I’m the commander here,” he growled. “Who are you?”

“Agent White and field operative Wax,” White said. “We’ve come over from the other side on a matter of the highest importance. I need to speak to you in private.” He pulled out his identity document and handed it over to the commander.

The leader of the fort took the paper and made a pass over it, mumbling the standard verification spell. A moment later he handed it back.

“Very well, follow me.”

The group filed into the fort, White and Wax trotting behind the man like schoolchildren, heads twisting and turning to take in the scene.

“Seen some action recently?” asked White, noting hasty repairs to fresh looking damage.

“Damned Godling strike team is roaming the area,” the commander snarled back. “Strong one too, had a devil of a time fighting them off. Down here.” He led them into an entrance, which led to steps underground, which in turn led to a long hallway full of offices. He took the first right, brushing past a woman holding out a sheaf of papers, and strode into an adjoining office, which was a plain chamber with most of the floor space taken up by a wooden desk. The walls were covered with maps of the area.

Taking a seat behind the desk, the man gestured that the pair should sit.

White settled himself into one of the seats, Wax took the other.

“How can I help you gentlemen?”

“Commander…” White stopped.

“Rye, Commander Oliver Rye.”

“Commander Rye,” White continued. “We are in pursuit of someone we believe could be one of the Three. A girl. She probably arrived here less than a day ago. May have been wearing clothing from the Other side.”

Rye raised a bushy eyebrow. “Really? One of the Three? I find that hard to believe.”

“Nevertheless,” White said. “We need to know if she’s been here.”

“We were attacked yesterday, the girl could have been caught up in that,” Rye answered. “Wait a minute, I’ll ask Corman.” He bellowed a command, which was replied by another shout.

The silence that followed was uncomfortable, as Rye sat in his chair and eyed the two suspiciously. When another figure entered White was quite relieved.

The newcomer was even bigger than Rye, though obviously older. He too sported a beard, a grey one, but his pate was bald as a bowling ball. Not that they had bowling balls on this side.

“Corman,” Rye said. “These gentlemen are asking about a stranger, a girl, may have been around yesterday. Do you know anything of a newcomer?”

“Lily?” replied Corman.

“Yes! That’s her!” White leaped to his feet. “You know her? Is she here?”

“Yes, she was here, along with another girl. They set off at the crack of dawn with a couple of my men, heading off to the city.”

“She’s gone?” White put his hands to his head in dismay. “I need one of your scouts, we have to go after her, right away.”

“What’s going on?” Corman asked.

“I believe Lily is one of the Three,” White answered.

Corman raised his eyebrows, but then nodded. “That may explain it,” he replied. “She said she wanted to train as a mage. The reason I sent her out was to meet our head wizard.”

“Oh, that’s not good,” said Wax.

“Why?” Rye asked.

“You wizard may well mistake her for a Godling,” Wax said. “He’ll likely take her apart if he detects her power.”

“We need to set out after her at once,” said White. “I’ll need some horses.”

“I’ll…” Rye’s answer was cut short by shouts from outside. A bell could dimly be heard ringing.

“What’s that?” White asked.

“I’m afraid your journey is going to have to wait,” Rye said grimly, picking up his axe. “We’re under attack.”

~

“I think I’m going to die,” Lily gasped, though in a low voice.

“Keep going,” Isabelle replied in the same way. “They’re testing us. It’s nearly dark. We can’t go much further without resting.”

“I know I can’t,” Lily said. “Because I’m going to fall over.” So saying, she did. Collapsing on the lumpy ground they were travelling over.

“Hey girly, get up. We’re not done yet.” Simon poked her with his boot.

“Maybe you’re not, but I am,” Lily said, speaking to the grass below her face. “Go on without me, I’ll catch up tomorrow.”

“What’s going on here? Why are you lying on the ground?” The leader of their group said, Lily still didn’t know his name, even after a hard day of marching.

“She won’t move,” Simon replied.

“Get up girl, we’re two minutes away from the wizard.” Lily was poked again.

Moaning, she dragged her aching body upright. “Very well, but if it’s any more, you’re going to have to carry me. I’m not a warrior.”

“Neither is he,” said Simon, indicating the battle mage who was standing a little way away. “But you don’t hear him complaining.”

Not having an answer for that, Lily didn’t respond. Instead she merely dragged herself forward once more.

They were traversing an area of tufty, bouncy grass, which was soft but hard to walk on. The long blades covered potholes and bumps, and she was constantly stumbling. The low light didn’t make it easier.

Concentrating on the ground as she was, she didn’t see the party ahead until they were right in front of her.

“Sir Mage, I’m Reldon, from the fort,” said the guard leader, finally supplying Lily with his name. “I’m heading over to the city, but was instructed to bring this girl to you for checking, she wants to be a mage.”

“Does she indeed. Come closer lass.” The voice was deep and kindly, and Lily stepped forward, into the light of a campfire that had seemingly appeared from nowhere.

Sitting around the fire was a small group of armed warriors, dressed in similar style to the ones with her. Standing directly in front of her though, was a wizard straight out of Middle Earth. He wore a long red robe, a pointy hat, and was leaning on a staff. He looked old, grey hair dribbled down over his shoulders, matched by the full beard straight out of ZZ top.

As she stepped closer, the mage’s eyes widened, and his smiling expression changed to one of hate. He stepped back and raised his staff, pointing the end at her. It glowed with a dazzling white light.

“Foul beast! Foul Godling scum! How dare you sully the air around me with your presence! Prepare to die!”

>>>>>>

Phew, sorry that went on for so long, I couldn’t find a decent place to stop until here. Hopefully what’s there doesn’t come over as rushed.

Anyway, what’s Lily to do now? Any ideas?

<<<<<<

18.Mar.10 - 6.Apr.10



Chapter 9. Movements.


Lily screamed and held her hands up as the wizard said a Word. Immediately a ball of orange fire erupted from his staff and flew towards her, only to bounce off her arms and crash into a nearby tree where it exploded, blowing a chunk out of the trunk and sending shrapnel like splinters flying outwards

“A Godling Warlock!” The mage cried. He slammed his staff into the ground and uttered several other Words, which sent shudders through Lily even though she couldn’t understand them. She turned to run, only to collide with Reldon, who grabbed her and held on as she attempted to wiggle free from his hold. She screamed and started to seriously panic.

“Careful!” shouted the human mage. “She might…”

There was a blinding flash of light, and then everything went black.

~

“It’s Lord!”

“You think?” White ducked as another explosion erupted behind him. Several human warriors flew backwards off the parapet, landing with dull thuds in the courtyard below.

Wax winced and squatted down, pushing himself up to against the wall. Behind them, the human Battle Magisters chanted steadily, casting down war spells upon the massed Godling strike force outside.

“He’s looking for her!” Wax shouted above the sounds of fighting. A little way from their position an enemy squad managed to briefly surmount the defenses, and there was a short period of brutal and bloody hand to hand combat as the humans forced them back again. The last invader was finally thrown back over the wall screaming, minus one arm. His stump squirted droplets of blood that marked his fatal flight down.

“You have a wonderful grasp of the obvious Wax,” White replied, gritting his teeth as the Godling impacted. He lifted his gaze back up, through the smoke from various fires that dotted the battlefield, and tried to spot the enemy agent. He couldn’t see the man, no real surprise there, and so sagged back down behind the protection of the wall.

“At least the girl is away from here,” Wax said. “And I guess Lord doesn’t know that. If we weren’t trapped inside here, this would be a good thing. She’s getting further away from here as we speak.”

“Unless the local wizard has fried her already,” White said, feeling the pessimism.

“She’s one of the Three…” Wax started.

“Maybe.”

“…surely she could survive a simple wizard attack.”

Scratching his head, White though about this. If she was one of the Three she certainly had enough power, in theory at least, to ward off a magical attack. Of course, she’d had no training and was largely ignorant of her heritage.

“Well, even if she has survived, we’re not going to be m
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Chinaren



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 8762
Location: http://www.NeilHarlteyBooks.com

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:42 pm    Post subject: Three... most recent bit  

“Well, even if she has survived, we’re not going to be much help stuck here,” he said eventually.

“Don’t you have enough power to teleport us away?” asked Wax.

White considered the idea, but shook his head. “Possibly one of us, a very short distance, and there would be a fairly high chance of failure. I’m not really in such good magical shape myself. That damned duel with the bloody Godling back Over took a lot out of me, plus there’s so much magic being thrown around the spell would probably go wrong anyway.”

“Then we’re stuck here,” Wax said.

“At least we can help with the fight,” White replied. “If we thwart this attack Lord will be also delayed.”

“Go to it.” Wax gestured beyond the wall.

“Do I look like a Battle Magister to you?” he replied. “No, my help needs to be of a more subtle variety.” He pulled something out of his pocket and looked at it. “I wonder…”

Checking the wire ‘attached’ to Lily here, maybe he can do a spell to contact her.

~


“Lily! Lily, can you hear me?”

The voice seemed familiar, but it also seemed to be coming from a long way off. It was barely even audible, like listening to someone else’s earphones on the bus.

“Wuuh,” she replied, intelligently.

“Lily! Are you there? Damn, I don’t think this is working, her magic probably doesn’t extend to this transmitter.”

The voice seemed to be speaking to someone else now. If the other person replied, she remained ignorant of it. She waited, but the voice didn’t return.

“Uuuuh,” she moaned, and slid back into the darkness.

~

“The humans here fight hard.” Commander Rain stared out of his tent’s open side and scowled at the fortress.

“If my target’s inside, they have good reason to,” Alex Lord replied. He sipped wine from a pewter goblet and smacked his lips. Real Godling vintage! It had been too long.

“I’m losing a lot of men, too many,” Rain replied. He turned and sat on the small stool opposite Lord. It creaked under his weight. “If we can’t take it tomorrow I’m pulling out. I don’t care how precious your target it.”

“Are you defying my orders Commander?” Lord leaned forward.

“No, I’m following my orders, received from my superiors. It took a lot of magic and effort to get this force this far into enemy territory. We’ve been doing a lot of damage here, far more than out numbers would warrant. I’m not going to squander men on the chance there may be a valuable asset there.” He glared at Lord, who gritted his teeth in frustration.

“I’m an Otherside Agent! I carry the Authority of the First!” he spat back.

“And I’ve attacked this bloody fort on that authority, but I also have a responsibility to my troops. When I get direct orders from Her I’ll obey you! Until then, my decision stands. Morning we withdraw.”

Lord slammed his goblet down on the table and stood up.

“I’ll remember this Commander,” he said, and stormed out of the tent.

~

Lily moaned and sat up. Her head was throbbing like she’d been on an all night bender, and her body ached everywhere. It took advantage of her renewed consciousness to make her aware of how unhappy it was.

“What the fuck happened?” She opened her eyes and looked around, becoming aware of the uncomfortable surface she’d been lying on.

It turned out the reason for this was a large root, running from a twisted tree rising up behind her. Overhead was a canopy of green, highlighted by the sunlight filtering through. Her tree was one of many hundreds of similar ones, growing in a tangled protrusion as far as the eye could see. Thick vines were wrapped around branches, and outlandish plants of a variety of unusual colors and shapes coated the ground between. Strange birdsong, and what she assumed were the chirpings of unknown insects, washed over her.

“What the fuck?” she said again, only then becoming aware of how hot and humid it was. She was sweating, trickles of perspiration running down her body.

Looking down at herself, she was happy to see that she was in one piece. Her hospital slipper, battered and torn almost beyond recognition, was sitting next to her, as if a loyal dog waiting for its mistress to awaken.

She stood slowly up, recovering the errant footwear and managing to slip it on. Even damaged as it was, it was better than nothing.

“What the fuck!” she said once more. It bore repeating. The last thing she remembered was being attacked by an angry wizard. Then there had been a kind of… implosion… She frowned. Memories of a voice calling her name wandered through her mind, but that was probably just fevered dreaming.

“Well, I suppose it’s better than being fried by a fireball. Maybe the mage teleported me, like old Marlin did.” She sighed and did a complete three sixty. Nothing, the jungle stretched out in a uniform green blanket in all directions.

“Well then,” she said to herself. “I guess one direction is as good as another.”

Thus saying, she turned right on a sudden impulse and tramped off through the trees.

~

“They’re definitely pulling out! A full retreat, not just a slight withdrawal.” Wax trooped up to White, beaming widely under his mustache.

“Good,” White grunted, shoveling another spoonful of some kind of breakfast mush into his mouth.

“Christ, I would kill for a cup of coffee.” Wax sat down heavily on the wooden bench opposite his colleague. “I wish I’d thought to bring some over.”

“You’ll live.”

“I mean, I’ve not been Over this side in… god, how many years? I’ve forgotten.”

“You’ve become soft, forgotten what we’re fighting for.” White waved his spoon at the other man, before using it to scrape up the remains of his breakfast.

Wax nodded gloomily and sighed. “Yes. Can’t say I missed it much. I was never one for the blood and horror of this damned war.”

“Keep your voice lowered!” hissed White, glancing left and right in alarm. “These soldiers would string you up if they heard you talking like that.”

“Shit. You’re right. Anyway, come on. The Wizard just sent a message that he’s near.”

“Why didn’t you say so?” White stood up and hurriedly wove his way through the crowded tables, heading up and out of the dining hall and back into the morning air, just in time to see the main gate open slightly, allowing a small group to enter. He trotted over to the newcomers.

“I’m Agent White,” he said, directing attention at the Wizard in the party.

“Agent. I am Wizard Commander Barak. What can I do for you?” The man leaned on his long staff. He looked tired.

“I’m trying to hunt down a young woman, a girl called Lily, she was…”

“Her!” The wizard stood upright, suddenly attentive. “She’s a Godling Warlock! The bitch deflected one of my firebolts, and then teleported away before I could do anything else. She’s damned powerful too, I couldn’t even trace where she’d landed. It must have been some distance though, I’ll tell you that. I was up half the night trying to find her. No luck. Wherever she’s gone, it’s nowhere near here.”

White looked at Wax in dismay.

“You must have an idea, this is of highest importance. We have to get to her before the enemy does. The fort’s just fended off an attack by a strike group, they pulled out only moments ago. We think they were after her.”

“Well, if I can’t detect her, I doubt they would be able to, as far as I know I’m the most powerful mage anywhere near here.” The man spoke matter of factly, not boasting, but simply stating a fact.

“Damn.” White smacked his fist into his other palm.

“If you give me a few hours to rest I could get my Magisters and you together, try a group effort. We may have more luck like that.” Barak sagged back down again. “You’ll have to wait though; I’m all out of energy. Need to sleep.” So saying he staggered past the Agent and wandered off towards the command post.

“Damn it! So close.” White watched as the group disbanded.

“What now? Do we report in?” Wax twiddled his moustache.

“We couldn’t risk a transmission spell,” White replied. “It could get intercepted. We’d have to go back to headquarters and report it in person. That would take days.”

“But they have more resources,” Wax countered.

“Yes, but it would give Lord time to get reinforcements too.”

“Well, what else can we do?” Wax spread his hands.

Scratching his chin, White thought through his options.

>>>>>>

Okay, the SP is with White and Wax here. What do they do now? Do they return to base? Split up? Try tracking Lily manually? Wait and hope a group effort can locate her? Something else?

Let’s hear your ideas!

<<<<<<
29.Mar.12 - 11.Apr.12

Chapter 10. Jungle.

Lily stopped for breath and sucked on the Neverhalt that she’d somehow kept about her person throughout her travails. The moisture in the bread didn’t do much to relieve her thirst, which was becoming quite a serious problem. Maybe it would rain soon, she thought. An environment like this must have a lot of rain.

Looking up through the green canopy high above, she tried to see if there were clouds in the sky, but the foliage was so thick she couldn’t make anything out.

“Shit,” she said. Wiping her brow, she wrapped her Neverhalt up carefully again and secured it before carrying on. Her walk was becoming a tired stagger now. She decided to rest, just as soon as she crested the slight incline that she’d been walking up for the last... how long had it been? An hour? Two? She’d totally lost track of time since she’d woken up in this green hell.

At least it didn’t seem to be getting dark yet. That was something to be careful off. She’d have to find a tree or something to wedge herself into. It wouldn’t do to get eaten by a tiger or something whilst she slept. Of course, she’d been unconscious after the wizard attack for goodness knows how long without being consumed, but there was no point taking unnecessary risks.

The ground evened off, and she staggered up against a large tree, catching her breath before scraping round the trunk, using it for support.

Something moved ahead of her.

Stopping, Lily slid quickly back the way she’d come. Whatever it was, her experience of this world so far told her that the probability was it was hostile.

She dropped down to the ground and carefully poked her head around the tree again, moving slowly. For a moment there was nothing, and she was beginning to think that whatever it was had gone, but then she saw it, like one of those pictures of a vase that suddenly morphs into two faces looking at each other.

It was a man. He was dressed in brown and green, with leaves and sticks protruding from his clothes. Even his face had been painted to blend into the jungle. A longbow was held casually in one hand, it held an arrow nocked, ready to be fired.

Barely breathing, she remained where she was, not daring to move again, even to pull back into cover. Watching, waiting for the man to do something.

He did nothing, nothing at all, for a long time. Finally though, he moved, quickly and silently, slipping through the undergrowth so fast that Lily almost lost track of him. Waiting for a while more, until she was satisfied that he’d gone, she rolled over onto her back, and nearly had a heart attack when she saw a second man standing over her.

~

“I’m not a happy person Commander.”

Commander Rain nodded, acknowledging the statement, but continued studying the map that was spread out on the makeshift table in front of him. “Sorry to hear that Agent Lord,” he said, shifting a finger over one area of the map.

He didn’t sound sorry Alex thought. “I shall detail in full your refusal to follow through with the attack when I make my report to Her,” he added.

“You do that,” the officer said. He made a note on a small pad next to the map.

“If the target in question is inside…” Lord’s complaints were cut off by a panting messenger who entered the tent and passed a scroll to the commander, who took it, unrolled it, glanced at the contents and then nodded at his soldier, who left.

“I said, if the target in question is inside the fort…” Lord tried again.

“She isn’t.”

“What?”

Commander Rain tapped the recently delivered message. “A small party left the fort, your target was among them.”

“How do you know…”

“I have scouts scattered around the area, to keep an eye on the fort. Two girls entered it the other day. Yesterday, apparently, they both left, in the company of a small group of soldiers and a Battle wizard. No one else has entered or left the place in the last week except for some routine patrols. Hence your target must be one of the girls.”

“And you are only telling me this now?”

“You saw the messenger, he only just delivered it.”

“Why now? Why did this take a whole day, more, to get here?” Lord blustered, angry at the world in general and Rain in particular.

“We were busy,” Rain replied. “The information wasn’t deemed urgent, so was added to the general report, which is what you just saw handed to me.”

“You’re enjoying this commander,” Lord accused the man, scowling as he gathered his belongings.

“Why would I enjoy your failure?” Rain replied. His face was totally devoid of emotion.

Growling, Lord stamped towards the exit. “Remind me not to play poker with you!” he said, and flung himself outside to find Grey, leaving Commander Rain wondering what Poker was.

~

“It’s no good, I can’t get a better lock on her.” Barak broke the circle to slump backwards onto the seat behind him. “A drink!” He waved a finger at one of his apprentices. “Quickly, I’m dying of exhaustion here.”

White and Wax slumped back in a similar fashion. Neither of them was quite as drained as the wizard though, they had only been lending their power to his spell. Around the table several of Barak’s team stood up and dispersed, going to whatever duties they’d been pulled from.

“Well, it’s better than we had before,” Wax said, watching the wizard drink deeply from a goblet. “At least we know the rough area she’s in now.”

“But so far!” White replied. “To teleport that distance is all but impossible!”

“Maybe she had help?” Wax suggested.

“Only the strength of desperation,” Barak said, slamming the empty cup on the table and wiping his beard. “I felt the power of her magic, though I obviously underestimated her ability. It’s like she’s been saving energy for years!”

Wax and White glanced at each other.

“What aren’t you telling me?” Barak looked at them. “Come on, out with it!”

“We think she’s one of the Three,” White said.

The wizard’s eyebrows went up. “I see,” he said. “Wait! She’s just come Over hasn’t she? That would explain her energy levels.”

White nodded.

“Well,” the wizard said, standing up. “If you give me a short time to recover, I’ll gather my men together and teleport you as far as we can after her. We won’t be able to match her distance, but it should save you some time.”

“We appreciate it.” White nodded.

“For the Cause,” Barak said.

“For the Cause,” they replied.

~

“You’re a pretty one!” the man said, leering down at her.

“Don’t touch me!” screamed Lily. Without thinking, she thrust her hand out, and the man grunted and staggered backwards, as if struck.

“With power too!” he said, surging forwards again. “No wonder you could see Colin! But on whose side?”

Lily tried the hand trick again, but this time the man was ready, and barely flinched. Instead he leaned over and, with apparently no effort, bundled her up and threw her over his shoulder. Lily beat at his back, but he appeared not to notice, and she soon gave up, exhausted. “Let’s see what the commander has to say shall we? Colin! Where are you?”

From her uncomfortable, and upside down, vantage point Lily saw the man she’d been watching appear right in front of them. He grinned, white teeth glaringly visible against his strangely effective camouflage.

“Come on then, let’s get this spy back to camp,” the first man said.

“I’m not a spy! I’m just… lost,” Lily complained.

“Sure darling, lost, of course you are.”

Giving up, Lily relaxed. It seemed there was nothing she could do for now, and she was incredibly tired. As unlikely as it seemed, slung over a man’s shoulders traveling through a strange and hot jungle, she fell asleep.

~


“Wake up little girl!”

Lily came too with a violent start, to find herself sitting on a wooden chair in a stark room made of stone bricks.

Standing in front of her, dressed in a green robe, a stern looking man was looking down at her. He looked to be about fifty or so, and carried an air of authority with him. Dark hair, going grey at the sides, was shorn short. He carried a long dagger at his side, but no other weapons Lily could see.

“Welcome back,” the man said, seeing her awake. “Don’t try anything, those chains are warded, and strong enough to hold a Master Mage.”

Only then did Lily realize that cold bands encircled her wrists and ankles. Looking down, she was dismayed to see heavy shackles attached to chains that were bolted to a stone section of flooring.

“So,” the man said, not unpleasantly. “Why don’t you tell us who you really are, and where you’re from? Starting with… what side are you on?”

>>>>>>

So, this is where I'm actually up to!

The old DP was:

So, if anyone is still reading, what does Lily say? She doesn’t know if these are Godlings or Humans.

<<<<<<
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Lebrenth



Joined: 29 Dec 2005
Posts: 1479
Location: Utah

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:26 pm    Post subject: Silence is golden  

I'm liking this old world stuff: war raids, forts, battle mages, etc. I want to get into the tactics of it, really. I've decided which side I would want to fight on, but really we don't actually know what would be best. Anyway, I'm wanting to get involved. You make very convincing characters, by the way, with their competing interests and the fact they don't forget their animal needs. Rare talent. I kept thinking you would be an interesting person to play a classic tabletop RPG with.

Anyway, DP-wise, Lily needs to goad him into revealing which side he's on. The kind of enmity these races have for each other, even just saying "You look like a godling but talk like a human" should elicit a response that makes it clear which part of that was offensive to him. Say it slow. Assuming that works, claim to be the same side, regardless. Say the other side has kept her a prisoner and did horrible magical experiments on her to the point that she doesn't remember things.

If that doesn't work, maybe now that she's coming around to the idea that she has power, she should try to reach out to sense things with magical abilities. I'm presuming the chains prevent escape but don't completely nullify her magic.... But if they do, just keep quiet.

To sum it up, more or less, don't give away anything if she can help it until she knows who she is dealing with.
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Chinaren



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 8762
Location: http://www.NeilHarlteyBooks.com

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 5:36 am    Post subject: Re: Silence is golden  

Thanks Lebs! I've been stupid busy in RL lately :mad: but WITH LUCK there may be some stability in sight, perhaps in a week or two. Touch wood etc.

So I'll leave this up for any suggestions, just in case anyone else can plough through the read.

Thank you one again for reading it, and the suggestion. I shall put up a poll when I get chance.

Lebrenth wrote: I kept thinking you would be an interesting person to play a classic tabletop RPG with.


I spent many an hour when younger, including about half the time I was supposed to be doing classwork in college, DMing D&D. Heh. I think the D&D has been more useful in life, on balance.

:?
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