[Vfw-times] MK Winter assault part 17

COkane8116 at aol.com COkane8116 at aol.com
Wed Aug 29 01:46:37 CDT 2001

12/24 - 10:30 

At first, Gil was worried that the opening door was more Lutins, coming to 
finish the job they had started earlier.  However, his fears were assuaged by 
the familiar, friendly voice of a well-known Talbot morph. "What ho! Gil," 
called Toby, hastily looking through the furniture and hoping that he and 
Ryuo had arrived on time.  As he approached, Toby saw the impaled Aeryl and 
quickly averted his gaze.  The sudden attack had caused too many deaths 
already this night, and there were only going to be more before the invaders 
were repelled. 

Turning to face the corner of the room, Toby saw Gil, his face breaking into 
a smile at seeing the old cat still alive and kicking--well, alive at least. 
He surveyed the broken leg, sandwiched between the black lacquered scabbards 
of Ryuo's swords, wrapped together with the fox's blood-stained sash.  The 
shiny gleam of the lacquer seemed out of place in this room of ruinous 
destruction.  "Hmm, you don't look so good."  Toby stated. 

"I thank you for the excellent diagnosis, doctor," Gil said with more than a 
hint of sarcasm laced into the pain,  "Seriously, 'tis not so terrific as all 
that.  My opponents did much worse, let me assure you." Gil hissed in pain as 
he shifted to a better position, accidentally jarring the leg. 

Toby looked around the room, peering carefully at the furniture and 
generating an idea.  Finally, he seemed to come to some inner conclusion.   
"Alright, Ro, I need that tapestry."  He pointed to the one on the wall.   
"Lay it out, here." he added, gesturing so that Ryuo would understand.  The 
ensanguined warrior acknowledged with a nod and went to work pulling down the 
expensive tapestry from the wall.  As he did so, Toby went to work on the 
furniture, using a fallen axe to cut into the wood and make two, hopefully 
sturdy, poles. 

Glancing at the tapestry, Toby grabbed one edge and folded it so that it was 
a little more than two meters long.  He then lay one of the poles lengthwise 
along the tapestry.  Folding the brocade over the pole, he then placed the 
other pole down as well.  Folding once more, he motioned to Ryuo again.   
"Let's get it next to Gil, and then we will try to move him onto here." 

Ryuo seemed to understand, and picked up two of the poles.  Moving the 
hastily made stretcher over to where Gil lay, the two gingerly picked the 
lion up and moved him onto the fabric bed.  Ryuo gave him his swords to hold 
onto, since he had no place to keep them himself. "Well, let's go, and hope 
we don't run into too many Lutins on the way."  Toby picked up his end at the 
back, allowing Ryuo to take the lead. "If you would do the honors..." he said 
with a nod towards the door.  Together, the trio moved out into the hallway. 
Toby looked up at the doorway as he left and whispered, "Kyia, we would 
really appreciate it if we didn't meet any Lutins this time through." 

Carrying their wounded companion between them, Ryuo and Toby could hardly 
believe their luck in the hallways of the Keep.  They had only seen one group 
of Lutins, and those had passed by without much of a glance down the dark 
corridor the trio stood in, stock still.  Together they watched twelve Lutins 
and several humans race through the Keep, although the trio had no idea where 
they might be headed.  Choosing discretion as the better part of valor--and 
not wishing to get into a fight while both hands were occupied--Toby and Ryuo 
wisely chose to go down a different passageway. 

Making it to the Cathedral, both warriors were relieved.  They knocked on the 
doors, and after a brief interrogation, they were let in.  Inside, they could 
see the many people huddled in the pews while warriors waited at the door.   
The Duke was here, as was Coe; the latter ran over as soon as someone 
informed him of the wounded lion.  Motioning to have him set down over by one 

"It's a broken leg, we think."  Toby said, "Ro found him in the Duke's 
chambers--he must have arrived after the Duke had left." 

"Yes, there's apparently been some assassins in the Keep as well as the 
regular soldiers."  Coe said, "What about you?  What news have you brought." 

"Nothing good." Toby said, even his usually energetic voice sounding heavy, 
"I know at least twelve men who are dead, and a good deal many others that 
are wounded.  Me and a few others were caught in one of the Keep's shifts and 
separated from the rest of our squad.  Fortunately, so were the Lutins we 
ended up with.  They didn't last long."  His face split into an evil grin for 
a second, and then changed along with his tone, "Speaking of which, have 
Jonathan Wright and the Mrs. Wilkes made it back here yet? 

Coe looked up.  "I don't know, but I haven't see them.  Are they in trouble?" 

"Hopefully not," Toby said, although the worry was evident in his voice, "I 
told them to hole up if they couldn't make it here, hopefully they're still 
somewhere in the Keep."  He didn't need to add, 'alive'. 

Coe nodded as he got to work on Gil's leg, "There's a lot of people 
unaccounted for.  Right now we are all trying to gather and hole up. 
Tomorrow, who knows."  Coe had finished unwrapping the leg, and handed the 
whole setup to Ryuo.  "I think you'll be needing these." 

"Toby!" a new voice called out from behind.  The talbot turned to look and 
found him at eye level with a huge chest.  Slowly, he looked up at the 
grinning face of a large moose morph.  Elcuared grinned.  "Glad to see you, 
ya mangy dog.  I'm glad you two arrived.  We're gathering what forces we can 
and I've been asked to get a group of men together, you want on?" 

Toby grinned, "As long as I get to kill a few Lutins I'll be happy."  They 
both smiled.  "By the way," Toby continued, "Let me introduce you to a friend 
of mine.  I think that you will definitely be glad he is with us when the 
fighting goes down."  Toby gestured towards Ryuo.  "Ro, Elcuared.  Elcuared, 
Ro.  He's not too hot with the language yet, but he definitely knows how to 
speak the language of steel."  Ryuo bowed as he was introduced. 

"Glad to meet you," Elcuared said, "Well, its been a sudden attack, but we're 
still here.  It's going to be a long, hard night, but we'll make our way 
through it.  No matter what happens, we won't go without a hard and bitter 

"Heck!"  Tony piped up, "We might even make it out alive!" 


It felt good to be out of the cold and biting wind for a change. The harsh 
winter weather had taken a hard toll on every creature. The pack was not 
happy. They had been forced from their nice warm dens out into the terrible 
storm and then the long trip south had almost killed them. There had been 
nothing to eat but frozen lutins and the occasional human. The cold and snow 
was the worst part, it was almost more then even a dire wolf could survive. 
Still, in spite of everything, all twenty of the pack had made it alive to 
this big, stone place. 

The gateway the pack was standing in was full of all sorts of interesting 
tidbits to eat even if the lutins had gotten all the good pieces. But all too 
soon Gershak stopped their eating. 

The lutins pointed down one of the numerous corridors "You want food? You 
hungry from long walk?" he taunted. "Down that hall is many keepers to eat. 
Any you catch, you can eat." 

That was all the giant wolves needed to hear. The male Crooked Jaw tilted his 
massive head back and let loose a deep, loud howl. 

Deep inside the castle Keepers everywhere stopped and listened to the 
powerful howls of the pack that seemed to echo from all directions. It sent a 
chill of fear down the spines of all who heard it. There was no doubting what 
that sound meant; there was a dire wolf pack on the hunt. 


"How does it feel?" asked Jesse as he put the finishing touches on Natalie's 

"Like I'm covered in mud and leaves." replied the dragon-girl. 

"This will never work." said Shamgar.  "She doesn't even look like a bird." 

"Hold on." said Oren as he plunged an arm into the icy river.  He pulled it 
back with a shell in his paw, which he stuck on the end of Natalie's nose. 

"I peel lig ad idiod." said Natalie. 

"We are ready." said Desuka, taking his place next to Blake. 

"WAIT!" cried the assassin.  "Are you sure you can reverse the spell?" 

"Oh sfure."  Said the dragon around her clamshell beak as she began to 
twiddle her fingers, causing sparks to form. 

"Good." Blake responded, and returned to fondling the hand. 

"I mean, there has to be a way, right?" 

Both Blake and Desuka gave a surprised "huh?" before rapidly assuming a 
height of one inch tall. 

"Oren!" cried Jesse.  "The storm is gaining strength again!  We need to get 
on with this!" 

The otter turned to his rhino friend.  "Go help the warriors down the 

Shamgar nodded and obeyed, making his way deep into the back of the cave, 
where the sounds of digging and scraping of frozen earth could be heard. 

"Jesse, you too.  They're going to need you in the front." 


Oren squinted through the blowing snow to try to make out the tower, which 
was visible only as a darker shadow against the inky darkness outside when he 
could see it at all through the howling snow of the blizzard.  "The armory is 
going to be two levels below the upper window." 

"And two levels above the lower one." said Natalie as she picked up the tiny 
forms of Desuka and Blake.  "We know.  We've lived in the tower as long as 
you have." 




Into the blinding torrent of ice and snow Natalie flew, covered in leaves 
and mud, already frozen nearly numb.  High into the air she forced herself, 
buffeted this way and that by the constant shifting of the powerful winds.   
Memory and natural instincts were all she really had to guide her through the 
icy gale toward their destination.  Gradually, the form of the lighthouse 
came into view.  Closer she came... closer... closer... SMACK! 

"What were that?" called a lutin from inside the tower. 

A hideous, green face popped out into the storm.  "It's just a stupid bird 
what flew into the tower in the storm.  Heh!  There it goes, sliding down the 
side!  Hoo, it broke it's beak so it did!  I think I might go out and see if 
I can find it.  It'll make good eatin', so it will!" 

"You'll stay here, you dimwit." said the first lutin.  "We gots our orders.   
No one leaves the building until we breaks into the weapons room." 


So intent was the lutin on the "bird" sliding down the outside wall that he 
did not see either of the two tiny figures which had climbed through the 
window right under his nose. 

"I'm gonna take a finger from that one." Blake whispered to herself as she 
skittered along the floor beside the panda.  "And an ear from that one... and 
a foot from that one... and from that one, I'll take his little..." 

"Blake, you sure you up for this!?" 

"I got my first kill ever, panda-man!  I'm ready for anything!" 

"Then shut up and get to hole in floor! 

Blake considered being offended, but the fact that Desuka's white fur was 
taking on an ominous orange tone made her reconsider.  She put her hand in 
her pocket and followed. 

* * 

The Hipocci youth were getting exhausted working so hard to extend the 
rear of the cave.  Several of them pleaded with Oren and Jesse to let them 
rest, stating that it would be no use to send tired warriors into battle. 

Oren responded by dismissing the two most fatigued diggers and taking their 
place, chopping away with his sharpened stick like a man possessed. Everyone 
stopped and stared at him. 

"What are you stopping for?" cried the otter in an uncharacteristically terse 
manner.  "We've got to get as close to the tower as we can!  DIG!" 

The others resumed, somewhat fearful at seeing their leader like this. 


"Okay..." said Blake as she poked her head down onto the next level.  "I 
can see a hole in the next floor down we can use, but how in the world do we 
get down there?" 

"Like this." Desuka replied.  He slipped down through the hole and plummeted 
straight down toward the floor.  The panda landed on his feet and beckoned 
his companion to follow.  This she did with her heart leaping up behind her 
eye sockets. 

"How in the name of Ramphon did we just survive that?" she asked in 

"Smaller creatures fall farther safely.  Fact of science.  You trust Desuka." 

The panda turned and scurried away, leaving Blake whispering "What a wild 


12/24 - 11:30 

 Laracin's rescuers had almost reached the Palace tower, coming around the 
last corner in the wall, when they ran into a small band of lutin warriors. 
Jace, leading the escort, shouted out in surprise and warning as they 
appeared suddenly out of the dark. The lutins seemed just as surprised to 
encounter the Keepers, and both side stood there, staring at each other for a 
few seconds. 
 Jace reacted first, swinging his spear down on to the unprotected head of 
the nearest lutin. That broke the stand still as both sides readying their 
weapons and joined the melee. 

 Dan raised his spear, facing off against the Lutin closest to him. It had 
been almost two years since he had been in a real fight with the minions of 
Nasoj. He had kept up in his training as required by his limited service, but 
had not had to put the training to use in that time. Even the infrequent 
patrols he had taken had been quiet. 
 Now he was plunged back into battle. As the fray began, the battle around 
him seemed to faded out, leaving only him and his opponent. The short green 
monster in front of him lunged at Dan with its blade. Leaping back, Dan 
dodged the blow causing the sword to miss and cut a jagged hole in his robes. 
This brought a sudden realization to Dan. Other then the natural toughness of 
his shell and the several layers of wool he had on, he was not wearing any 
significant armor, leaving him vulnerable to a stray blade. 
 Parrying the lutin's next thrust with the shaft of his spear, Dan countered 
and jabbed at his opponent. The spear tip glanced off of one of the few 
pieces of metal armor the lutin was wearing, deflecting off and doing no 
damage. Off to his side, Dan saw one of his companions go down under the blow 
of a club.  The lutin baring the club, satisfied that the solider wouldn't be 
getting up again, turned his attention to Dan. 
 Now facing the attention of two lutins, Dan fell back, putting his back to 
the wall. Making the mistake of trying to parry a blow from the one carrying 
the club, Dan grimaced as the shock traveled up his arms, almost wrenching 
them from their sockets. The wooden shaft of the spear fared worse, 
shattering under the impact and falling to the ground from his nerveless 

 Dan could not believe it, but his opponents were laughing, taking joy in 
his fear. Sensing an easy kill, they moved in quickly, pushing against each 
other, trying to be the  first to end his life. Drawing forth his belt knife, 
Dan stood ready to face them, a strange sense of calm settling over him. If 
he died on this night, he fully intended to do it with  lutin blood on his 
 The approaching duo saw the knife. They even pointed to it and laughed. The 
one with the sword pointed to the knife again, then held his hands apart at 
the approximate length of the Keeper's blade. He then pointed to his sword 
and indicated the length of its blade. Both of the attackers found this 
highly amusing. 
 There laughter was interrupted as the one holding the club found a spear 
jammed into his chest. The other lutin spun around, staring at his dying 
companion spitted on the end of Christoff's spear. Seeing an opening, Dan 
leapt at the other, embedding his knife in its throat before it could react. 
Dan grimaced as the sticky blood ran over his hand, soaking into the wool of 
his glove, its heat almost burning against his skin. The watched with 
morbid fascination as the life gurgled out of the lutin, spreading out in a 
crimson stain in the snow. 
 "Come on. We have to get out of here before more come." urged Christoff, 
pulling the insect morph to his feet. 

 Dan looked around the battlefield in a detached haze. Bodies littered the 
ground. Mostly, noticed Dan, lutins. He knew he should be relieved, but for 
some reason he was not. In fact, he did not feel much of anything. The world 
around him was in a haze. Suddenly a new feeling rushed over him. 
 "Cold." he gasped before collapsing unconscious into Christoff's arms. 


  End part 17 

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