[Vfw-times] MK Winter Assault part 10b

COkane8116 at aol.com COkane8116 at aol.com
Fri Aug 17 23:49:10 CDT 2001


Derek is running. Running as fast as he can possibly go. 

Two minutes ago - a small eternity to his young mind - he was playing outside 
with his big friend Uncle Jono (the panther immediately behind him), hiding 
while Jono was calling for him to come inside, ready and with a snowball to 
fling. Back then, he was a True warrior, talented and capable and ready to 
fight off anyone and anything. 

But the Lutin changed the rules of the game. The instant his blood became 
visible was when everything went so wrong. 

Now it's all for real. The bad guys are HERE NOW. And Derek is frightened 
badly. For all his prowess as a warrior, he's never been in an actual battle. 
He's never seen blood before, never held an actual weapon before. All he 
knows are snowballs, and as the Lutin demonstrated so very clearly, 
*snowballs don't help against the bad guys. 

And Derek is terrified; all he knows is snowballs. So he is running. 

Jono is right behind Derek, his eyes flickering back and forth, searching 
desperately for any remaining Lutins that might check up on their fellow, 
whom he left in a large steaming gutted heap in the snow but a minute 
previously. His claws are no longer dripping blood -  he wiped them off 
quickly in the snow, so as to make it just a bit harder to track them to that 
gate, even though it likely doesn't matter - but his mind still retains clear 
memory of the Lutin he just killed. If there's one there's going to be more, 
and if the alarm sounds then we're ALL in VERY serious trouble. 

He's not questioning the alarm; conceivably it could be a prank, but no prank 
like this is so elaborate as to include actual Lutins. Which means, of 
course, that as crazy as it would seem, they're being invaded. 

Add to that that Kevin's warming spell is starting to wear off, and the cold 
is starting to seriously get to him even through his thick clothing and fur, 
and it's clear that Jono considers this to be a very grave situation. 

So he runs also, and he is also scared, making him a little less unlike the 
young child whose life he just saved. 

"KIRRRRK!" Jono screams at the top of his lungs as the gate starts to come 
into view beyond the blizzard. "GET THE DOOR OPEN!" 

Kirk, thankfully, has already seen the two coming and is currently screaming 
at the gate guards. "There's two keepers out there! Open the doors! They need 
to get in!" Compliance takes only a few seconds, and then Kirk is there, 
hefting his massive battleaxe with four guards behind him, keeping a watch 
out for any Lutins as the child and cat race for the doors, and safety... 

They're about three quarters of the way - forty feet left to go to the gate - 
when the platoon of Lutins appears as if by magic, not twenty feet away. 


12/24 - 8:15pm 

Ryuo jolted awake, forcibly separated from the blissful calm of his 
meditation by the ringing of bells.  Calming himself from his initial 
startlement, Ryuo assumed that the bells must be tolling for the ceremonies, 
drawing the attention of the gods to the festivities. Smiling, he listened as 
they tolled out to the heavens, barely overcoming the voice of the angry 
winds outside.  As he sat and listened, another set of bells, like clanging 
iron bars, joined the first, and voices could be heard.  The smile 
disappeared from Ryuo's face as he recognized the sounds--they were the 
sounds of battle. 

Quickly Ryuo stood, looking towards the door.  Metal plates rattled as he 
rose; he had not doffed his armor upon returning home, except for his helmet 
and mask, which had been placed on a shelf, and his shoulder guards, which 
were awkward under the fur and straw clothing he had worn to stay warm during 
the storm.  When he had come home, he had simply seen no need to remove it, 
and so had gone straight to his studies.  It seemed as 
though such an action--or inaction as it may be--would soon prove fortuitous. 

Ryuo ran to the door and slid it open, but the gust of air that burst in 
reminded him of the arctic temperatures outside, and he closed the door 
quickly.  Looking to the closet, he quickly garbed himself in his winter 
clothing, realizing that every second he missed would be another second of 
advantage to whatever enemy he might be facing. 

Clothed against the fierce cold, Ryuo hurried out into the blizzard's icy 


Excerpt from the journals of Jacob T. Fox 

My head was... spinning. Or was it the room itself? No, it couldn't be the 
room. My rooms don't move. I live in town, in the small home of my parents, 
not in the Keep. Crazy place there anyway, always shifting and changing. Not 
like here at all. 

Ah, ow. I really should have taken better care to remove the edges on that 
table when I made it. Oh, well. It's served me well, much like the rest of my 
house. Sure, some may call it a shack but it was my home and my parent's home 
before that. Just one room, a bed, table and chairs I made myself. Few other 
things. But it's mine. All mine! Though unlike my parents I've been able to 
put what little extra money my writing has generated towards repairs. The 
roof no longer leaks on my head when it rains hard and there is only a small 
snowdrift in one corner of the house despite this blizzard that's going on 

Gods, that blizzard is crazy. I almost didn't make it back from Myra's house 
in the pitch black and the blowing snow. Why, oh why didn't I stay longer? 
Yes, it was crowded with her entire family there, but it was more a feeling 
of closeness than crowding. And it's been... gods, I can't remember when the 
last time I felt like that was. Certainly years before with my parents. 

Whoa, whoops. Yes, I think my home must have been relocated to the Keep for 
today. The furniture seems to be rearranging itself on me. I did *not* put 
that stool there, no. 

But at least my bed is where I left it. Ah, this mattress has never felt so 
nice. Good thing I managed to save enough for a new straw one this year. Ah, 
yes. Wonderful feeling to have something firm to sleep on. My old one was so 
worn and emptied I felt the wood struts of the bed digging into my tail every 
night. At least mom's quilts are as warm and thick as ever. Tucking them up 
around my chin I curl my bushy tail over my legs and settle down for the 

Ah, yes, this was a good Yule. Now if the darkness would only hold still long 
enough for me to drop off... 



The kids are all huddled in the corner, some whimpering quietly, when Jo 
remembers Jono. 

"Oh, gods, Jono and Derek are still out there!" She grabs her herbary bag, 
then quickly runs over to Jono's travel pack and unhooks his whip from the 
side, then runs for the door. "Dana, Perry, keep watch over the kids; I need 
to get to Jono." She quickly dashes through the door and shuts it behind her 
before anyone can argue. 

* * * 

Before Jono and Derek can react, Kirk is already charging, his war-axe in 
front of him and poised like he might his horns if he were to assume full 
bull form. 

Back in the olden days, Darren and Kirkland Russell were best known as the 
two rowdiest brothers in all of the Keep. Darren, the elder, was the big, 
hefty defender, and Kirkland, the younger, a small but clever troublemaker. 
They also enlisted early into the Metamor army, just in time for the Battle 
Of Three Gates. 

Kirkland became a gigantic bull morph, larger than Darren had ever been able 
to manage. Darren became Dana. 

Ironically, the curse managed to bring the ex-brothers (now simply brother 
and sister) even closer together, as Kirkland lectured Dana on the importance 
of speed and stealth, while Dana gave tips to her brother on how to fight 
with muscle and mass. Both learned their lessons quite well. 

So Kirk is quite prepared for the Lutin as he charges into it, axe first, 
flinging it by the top of the axe's head nearly twenty feet into the air with 
a mighty bellow. Then he turns, rotates the axe, and sends another leading 
Lutin flying into the sky, this time with the blade, showering droplets of 
Lutin over the platoon behind. 

The platoon, predictably, scatters. 

"MOVE!" the giant bull morph screams to the two keepers. In reply, Jono 
reaches down and scoops up Derek, then charges as fast as he can possibly go 
for the gate, archers standing by and watching them run, arrows at the ready. 
Kirk follows up right behind them, bellowing defiance at the Lutins to try 
and keep them spooked a little longer. But the Lutins are a little too swift 
for that to work forever; they're already regrouping and starting to move. 

Kirk does not have to bellow orders to his archers; he gave orders before he 
moved out. They hold their fire still, knowing that the wind is likely to 
throw off their aim a great deal and unwilling to endanger their commander 
and his two charges. But the Lutins are very, very close... 

Then Jono and Derek charge through the gates, and Kirk is close enough that 
they don't have to worry. Instantly four arrows fly into the small mass of 
Lutins, wounding at least two of them. This doesn't slow them down, but the 
next two volleys come off almost on top of each other, and this does scatter 
them long enough for Kirk and another guard to shove the doors closed and 
drop the bar to keep them shut. 

"Good work, everyone," says Kirk, watching as Jono and Derek fall to the 
ground, both gasping for air after the hard run. 

It's at about this time that they hear the explosion. 

* * * 

Jo also very clearly hears the explosion, given that it's right behind her. 
Naturally, she turns around. And there she sees the one Keeper who she saw 
fall just a few minutes earlier, half sitting up, hand extended, watching a 
fireball - obviously the result of said explosion - dissipate. 

So she starts running in that direction. "Hold on, I'm coming!" she yells, 
watching as a few charred-looking Lutins get back up, a little wobbly on 
their feet, and start towards the Keeper mage, reaching for her daggers as 
she does so... 

* * * 

Jono's ears prick as he hears something familiar. "Jo!" He hands Derek over 
to the bull morph. "Get him to my rooms; you know which ones they are. I'm 
going to get Jo." 

Kirk nods, picking up the still-exhausted Derek easily, and then heads in the 
same direction as the cat as he charges towards his companion. 

* * * 

 End part 10b 

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