[Vfw-times] MK Winter assault part 9b
COkane8116 at aol.com
COkane8116 at aol.com
Sat Aug 11 21:47:28 CDT 2001
Here is Part 9b
"DEREK! The ceremonies are starting Right Now! Your parents aren't going to
let you come out anymore if you miss them!"
Derek keeps quiet, hunched underneath a barrel, making his two snowballs.
This has *always* been his favorite part of the game. Sure, any loser can be
King of the Snowfields here, but He's something special. Not only can he
throw and run and dodge, he can also hide. Derek is going to be a REAL
warrior when he grows up, he knows it.
This is just his practice session.
"DEREK!" The voice is Much louder now. Jono must be able to track down his
scent; he's going to be in contact soon.
"Here we go!" Derek thinks to himself... then he Leaps out from behind the
barrel, instantly spotting Jono and another Keeper right there as he lands.
He hurls both snowballs, catching both Keepers in the head. Glorious!
"Got you BOTH" Derek cries in joy. He's a real warrior!
Jo gets to the door, pulls at the handle. Locked, of course. Jono doesn't
want anything stolen by any of the passersby.
She reaches into her pocket, fumbles with the keys to try to find the right
one. She keeps one eye almost absentmindedly on the party down there...
there's something odd about them; they're moving quickly, but not going down
the hall then she sees one of them fall down. Tripped?
* * *
"Both?" Jono thinks. "I didn't ask Kevin to accompany me."
"Derek! C'mon, we need to hurry, or we're going to be Really late!" He then
turns towards the Keeper apparently behind him. "I'm quite sorry, sir, he's a
bit of a-"
* * *
"Finally!" Jo inserts the key, twists and unlocks the door. "Okay,
everyone inside!" Then she glances up at the party. "Why are they heading
towards us? Aren't the halls in the opposite dir-"
* * *
The exact same thought hits both Jono and Joanne at the exact same time.
"That's not a Keeper!"
And right then, as if in endorsement of the whole scenario, just to show
they're not hallucinating, the alarm bells start to ring.
12/24 - 8p.m.
"We honor you, O Lord of Creation!
We lift you up, O Father of All!
Maker of Man and Earth and the Heavens,
Oh, Most High God, now answer our call!"
The acolytes sang beautifully, sweetly, as they lifted up the song of praise
to the Iluvatar. Raven looked on with satisfaction at the choir's
performance, both those who sang and the musicians who accompanied them.
Letting her eyes drift to the audience, Raven saw that they, too, were moved
by the hymn, each person's gaze fixed on the singers behind the altar. There
was no question, she thought: Celine's idea to include music in tonight's
program had been simply brilliant. Music penetrated the heart, touching the
innermost parts of a person in a way few other things could. She would have
to thank Father Hough someday for giving them the idea.
If he survives. Raven frowned at the thought, another wave of something
entirely too much like fear washing over her. For all Kyia's power, even she
could not predict when Nasoj's army would attack. With the Prime Minister
warned, there was nothing left to do but wait to see how the lots fell.
Kyia, if any have left their arms within the alcove in the vestibule, please
see that they can reach them when the temple doors are closed. She thought
fervently as she bowed her head to the music, And the same for those in the
Chapel, she added as well. Despite their theological differences she counted
the young Paltidor and his flock as much her friends as those who crowded her
Raven hated that. This feeling of powerlessness, of knowing what was about to
happen and being unable to stop it, sickened her more than anything else she
could think of.
Forcing such thoughts from her mind, Raven stepped up to the altar again as
the acolytes finished their hymn. She applauded for them, the audience
following in kind, and Celine flashed her a smile as the singers returned to
their positions at the front and back of the temple. Raven waited for them to
be seated before speaking.
"I would like to close this ceremony tonight with a time of personal
worship," she said. "Since the All-Father, in his infinite wisdom, has chosen
not to reveal himself to the priesthood, it may be that the best way for us
to approach him is as individuals. Our musicians are going to continue
playing now, and I encourage all of you to spend this time in prayer and
meditation on the glorious mystery of the most high god."
She motioned to the players, and they began a new tune -- quiet, thoughtful,
and reverent, the music filled the hall as men, women and children bowed
their heads to pray.
Thirty-five seconds later, the alarum sounded.
12/24 - 8p.m.
"Omnes gentes plaudite,
Jucenes dum sumus,
Rickkter hung off Misha's shoulder, breaking the song and holding his side
with his free hand as he contorted in laughter. "No, no, no! You've got it
all wrong. You need to roll the r's." The raccoon had been trying to teach a
group of the Longs some of the old drinking songs he knew. Of course none of
them knew the languages Rick did, and the translations of the songs tended to
lack the same punch. "What you said instead was... well I don't think it
would be physically possible to do that to yourself!" The rest of the group
continued to laugh.
"Never underestimate people here, Rick," chided Kershaw. "After all, I've
seen some of the female felines here do some really amazing contortions." His
muzzle contorted in a smirk. "Though I won't tell you where." The rest of the
chorus roared, Finbar almost falling over when he went to take a drink of his
ale. That caused the rest to laugh harder and almost join him.
They did eventually laugh themselves out. "Okay, okay, one more time," said
Rickkter, wiping at his eyes. "And remember it's ingitur, with an rrrr. From
The chorus never had the chance to resume as a horrendous clatter of metal on
stone caused everyone in the Long Hall to turn to the door. Madog practically
flew in through the door, digging his claws into the flagstone to stop
himself. Every single pair of mobile ears in the room went flat against their
owners skulls, those that could not do so were covered by their owner's hands
from the horrible screech caused by the mechanical fox's aluminal claws
carving furrows in the floor. He stopped right before Misha, sitting down on
his haunches and thumping his tail on the ground in a very aggravated
"Argh, Madog!" growled Misha as he rubbed one of his ears. "What do you think
you're doing coming in here like that?!"
"Na Tol, Fala sha!" the automaton shouted as he jumped up on his hind legs,
turning himself around much like a real canine in an excited state would.
Misha moved from under Rick's arm and grabbed Madog by the snout, settling
the metal animal down. "Madog you need to speak a language that hasn't been
dead for five hundred years."
Madog jerked his head free and started yipping and dancing in circles once
"I think he's been sipping too much oil," someone commented and the group
"ATTACK PAPA! Lutins come now! HURRY PAPA, HURRY!" Madog said sitting down in
front of the fox.
All conversation in the hall dropped to silence, the eyes of all guests
fixing on the metal fox were it sat on the floor. Rickkter wiped the side of
his muzzle with the back of a paw and straightened up. "What?"
"Lutins attack!" repeated Madog. "Big army coming, will reach the walls soon
Rickkter placed one finger on his head, closing his eyes as if in deep
concentration. The rest of the room was humming with whispered conversation.
"That's not possible. I was out in that stuff this morning and it would be
suicide to march an army through it."
Misha chose to ignore the raccoon. "Are you sure?" he asked, leaning down
towards the automation. "How do you know this? Who told you?"
"Kyia told me," Madog replied, bobbing his head. "Told Salius and me to go
warn people. He go to chapel now."
Misha didn't move for a moment, seemingly lost in thought. Then he turned
back to Rickkter, causing the raccoon to wince. "Aw, hell no."
"EVERYBODY SUIT UP!" Misha yelled at the top of his lungs. "SEEMS WE'RE
GETTING UNINVITED GUESTS! I WANT BOTH TEAMS ASSEMBLED IN TEN MINUTES AND
READY TO GO." The entire hall erupted in chaos as Longs and their companions
broke ranks at once and scattered in every direction the fox shouted over the
din. "TRIPLE THE GUARDS. I WANT TEAM LEADERS IN MY OFFICE IN FIVE MINUTES!"
The hall was a mad house as keepers tried to follow the fox's orders. Through
the crush of it all, Rickkter and Kayla managed to find each other.
"What are you going to do?" she asked, her arms up against his chest and
clenching his doublet.
Rickkter ran his paw over his head, raking the fur as he looked out over the
chaos. "Great maker, I have no idea." He suddenly seemed to realize Kayla was
there. Rick took her by the shoulders and moved her over to a nearby wall.
His face bore an expression of subdued panic as he looked down on her.
"Kayla, listen: I want you to get someplace safe. Go to the Lightbringer
temple. I've seen the wards on that place, it will take a lot to break in. Go
"And what about you?"
Rick was looking off over the nearly dispersed crowd. "I'm going out there.
If this is true, they're going to need someone who can seek out the enemy in
all this snow." He rubbed her upper arm. "Just get yourself safe, okay love?"
He started to head off before she could answer.
The skunk jerked him back with a quick pull on his lapels. "Damn it, Rick,
I'm not going to run and hide! Last time Nasoj invaded I hid out from his
armies, and this is what happened to me. That time I lost everything dear to
me! I won't lose you this time."
Reaching up, Rickkter tenderly stroked her cheek fur. "And I don't want to
lose you, love. But I can't just sit by." He rubbed his paw through her fur a
little more. "I do know something you can do then; no one besides us knows of
what's coming. I want you to go around and warn anyone you come across. I
don't know if they'll believe you, but they have to know. Tell them to get to
the Temple or perhaps the Cathedral. Anyplace secure." He bent forward and
kissed her gently. "And if you see any Lutins, if they do get through, I want
you to run to one of those places as quickly as you can. I couldn't stand
losing you either."
Kayla cupped his paw in two of hers, pressing it to her face once more before
letting go. "Okay, love. You had better get back quickly though, you hear
He smiled. "I will." Slipping his paw from hers, he gave her a final wave and
went out the door at a quick jog. However, the smile was quick to fade. It
was replaced by a slight snarl at the very notion of what he was doing. An
assault in the middle of winter? Great Maker, Rick thought as he raced up a
flight of stairs, perhaps Nasoj was as insane as people said he was. No other
general would tolerate the loss of life any army would sustain in this kind
of weather. Abruptly the sounds of panicked preparation from the Long House
dropped away, and when he crested the top of the current flight of steps
Rickkter found himself just down the hall from his quarters.
"Thank you, Kyia." Rickkter wuffed as he opened his door. Well, at least one
thing was going right for him. Once in the room the raccoon turned around
several times, raking his paws through the fur on his head. The first thing
to do was take care of the clothing. His claws made quick work of the buttons
and laces that didn't want to come fast enough. Damn, that was going to cost
to get repaired, but at that moment all he cared about was getting into his
Phet, damn that smelled, he reflected as he pulled it over his head. But old
clothing was the least of his problems. Right not the biggest was the alcohol
he had consumed, causing him to fumble with the catches on his mail shirt.
Have another drink, you're not going anywhere for a while. Right, sure!
Stupid, stupid, thrice damned little green fucking monsters have to pick yule
EVE in the middle of the worst damned BLIZZARD the valley has seen in years
to stage an attack! Oh, he could see this whole incident, on both sides,
going right down the privy! Damn, damn, damn!
Eventually he managed to get himself into some semblance of battle readiness.
Sliding his katana into his scabbard, he headed out the door. He stopped and
turned back from the top of the stairs to go and strengthen the wards on his
quarters. Normally they would just repel intruders who got too nosey,
increasing severity until reaching lethal levels. Most people would become
discouraged long before they reached that point. Rickkter removed all of
that. If anyone tampered the spells on his with his room now they wouldn't
live long enough to realize how bad an idea that was. Then he moved on to the
End part 9b
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