[Vfw-times] MK Winter assault part 19

COkane8116 at aol.com COkane8116 at aol.com
Wed Aug 29 02:00:37 CDT 2001

"What did you do that for?" Zagrosek asked, his eyes wide with shock as the 
dresser was reduced to kindling. 

"If the Lutins think this room has already been sacked, they will ignore it 
then, won't they?" Charles replied, slashing his dresser a few more times 
before turning to his closet. "Sorry about this, old fellow," he said, and 
then hacked away at the wooden doors, crashing them inwards against his 
summer wardrobe. 

Jerome chuckled lightly. "Still talking to your furniture?" 

The rat grimaced slightly before turning to his bed, and piercing the quilts 
and cushions. "I'm going to regret this later I know, but I think I would 
rather I be the one to destroy my things than to have some green-skinned 
monster do it!" 

Garigan watched him for a moment and then looked back through his door.  "Do 
you want me to do the same to my room?" His voice quavered; obviously he was 
rather fond of his bed and assorted furnishings. 

"No," Matthias shook his head. "I doubt anybody will look past this room." 

"What if they go into the Shrine?" Zagrosek asked, jerking his thumb over to 
the other door at the far end of the room.  The closet had once been standing 
before it, but as it was now in splinters, the hidden exit was now visible to 

The rat shrugged, pulling on his buckler and slipping the sword home in its 
sheath. "Let them.  There's nothing in there for them to take, and they'll 
most likely kill themselves when they try to steal the angel." 

"Good point," Zagrosek chuckled, and then spun the Sondeshike in his palms, 
he shrunk it down to fit within his palm. "Is there anything else you need 
here?  It is already late.  We'll have an easier time moving through the 
woods while it is dark out, so we'd best get moving before the dawn arrives." 

Charles shook his head, scattering the stack of parchments on his desk.  He 
sighed as he peered at the mess littering his floor, wood splinters almost 
everywhere, mixed in with the papers.  He quickly took the one he'd penned 
for Misha and laid it on top of the torn mattress. "No, I think this will 
do." He picked up the ink bottle from the floor, and dashed it against the 
wall.  The dried ink scattered with the glass, littering the back of his 
room. "It was dry anyway," he murmured as he crossed over the mess towards 
his door. 

Jerome was the first to step out of the room, peering down both sides of the 
hall.  Seeing that nobody was about, he stepped out into the middle, and 
motioned for the other three to do the same.  Charles was the last to leave 
of course, gazing at the destruction he'd caused within his own chambers and 
sighing.  He hated having to do it, as so many thing that were in his room 
had a great deal of meaning for him.  There were trinkets of course that he'd 
left unmolested, and hopefully, the Lutins would as well. 

Suddenly though, he recalled one of the gifts that he'd received at the 
party, a cross necklace fashioned from some milk stone.  Murikeer Khannas had 
made it for him, and it had probably been one of the nicest things he'd 
received.  Coming from the skunk, it meant even more, since he knew that 
until the Patriarch's visit, that Muri had not looked favourably upon the 

"Just one moment," Charles said, before picking his way back in among the 
ruin to his desk.  Reaching inside the lid that had only partially been caved 
in, he retrieved the ornament, cradling it within the pink flesh of his paws 
and let a smile cross his muzzle.  Looking back to one corner of his room, he 
remembered the secret cache that he'd hidden his robe in for so many years.   
Pressing against the stone, he opened it wide, and set the cross within it.   
It would be safe there. 

However, a sudden premonition filled him, and his paws did not close it back 
up.  Instead, he reached in and withdrew the milky cross again, gazing at it, 
remembering what it meant, what that sign meant to all Followers of the Way. 
Upon that cross, his Yahshua had died.  Muttering, he closed his eyes, and 
traced that sign over his chest and forehead. "My Abba, I need you now in 
this more than ever.  Watch over my fellow Keepers in this time, and give us 
the victory we need.  And please let our friends at Glen Avery be all right. 
I pray this in the name of your son Yahshua.  A-men." 

Rising back to his paws, he slipped the cross over his neck, the rock cool 
against his fur.  He dropped the pendant down beneath his cloak and against 
his chest.  Strangely, it was warm on his fur, as if it breathed a life of 
its own.  Smiling once more, he closed the cache, and left his room once 
more, rejoining his companions.  He had a quiet feeling of unease as he did 
so, but it was very subtle, and he hardly noticed it. 

"Now are you ready?" Jerome asked impatiently, casting wary eyes down either 

"Yes, follow me, this shouldn't take more than a few minutes." Charles set 
off on a familiar path, for it had been his habit for many years to walk this 
way each morning.  The halls of the Keep were empty though, as most of the 
Keepers had been at either the Lothanasi or Patildor celebrations that 
evening.  It had probably been blind chance that they had found that small 
group of Keepers battling Nasoj's forces when they had.  He could almost 
imagine Misha's incredulity when he informed him of the Shrieker and of 
Wessex's demise while the fox was preparing for the assault! 

They reached the staircase into the cellars without incident, their eyes ever 
watching the shadows shift and turn about them.  Jerome and Garigan carried 
the two unlit lanterns in their off hands, weapons held ready in their other 
hands.  The halls in the cellar were of course lit much like the rest of the 
Keep, though much more subdued, the torches further apart.  Being a rat of 
course had its advantages, and one of which was that he could see rather well 
in the dark, as long as there was at least a little light.  So, walking down 
the cold passages beneath the rest of the Keep, the scent of mould just dimly 
apparent in the air, proved to be no difficulty for either Matthias or the 

However, just before they were about to turn the corner down the hall to the 
rats' rooms, there was the sound of splintering wood.  The four of them 
stiffened as they heard it come from around that corner.  Charles did not 
feel the warming of the carved stone hanging against his chest as he came to 
a swift halt, throwing up a hand to signal a halt though the others had 
already done so.  Sliding forward along the wall, Charles sniffed at the air, 
the scent of Lutins faint, but evident.  Grimacing, he hazarded a peek, 
before pulling back his snout to glance at the others who were drawn up close 
behind him, their bodies tense. 

Charles held up one paw, and raised four fingers, and then nodded at the 
corner.  Both Jerome and Zagrosek nodded in return, while Garigan narrowed 
his eyes, small daggers appearing in both of his paws from inside his cloak. 
The lanterns were set at their feet, silent as an undisturbed cave. 

Taking a quick breath, Charles plunged around the corner, catching the first 
of the four Lutins by surprise.  They had been smashing at Hector's door, 
obviously looting whatever they could find.  Nasoj had almost certainly 
promised them that they could keep whatever they found here, and so this 
quartet had been industrious enough to try and steal what they could while 
their brethren died killing the Keepers.  However, when the first of them 
collapsed, his back smacked in two by the force of the Sondeshike, they 
regretted their greed. 

Strangled cries issued from their throats as the other three reached for 
small swords at their sides, snarling in fury as their comrade fell face down 
upon the cold masonry.  Charles lashed out again with his Sondeshike, 
breaking the arm of the nearest Lutin.  However, the battle was over before 
the rat was able to swing again.  Zagrosek cracked one of the Lutin's skulls 
with his own Sondeshike.  Slipping sinuously past the rat, Garigan stabbed 
the Lutin with the shattered arm repeatedly with his daggers while Jerome 
forced the last Lutin to impale itself upon its own sword. 

Glancing at the bodies beneath their feet, Charles took a deep breath before 
peering into the gaping hole in Hector's door.  The room was empty, aside 
from the cluttered sculptures across his floor.  The light was too dim to 
make out any detail on the carvings, but it was sufficient to allow the 
others to see them as well. 


  Ferwig, much to his own surprise awoke. The last thing he had expected was 
to wake up. Most people usually don't bother to take people like him 
prisoner. With his head ringing he looked around and tried to figure out 
where he was. He realized that he was being dragged, bound and gagged, 
backwards down a hallway. 

  "The man is awake George," a voice said. 

  "All right, put him down," another voice said. "He can walk from now on." 

  His movement stopped and his feet were dropped to the floor with a jolt. A 
figure towered over him and he looked up into the snout of George, the patrol 

  "Stand up and walk," the jackal ordered flatly. 

  Ferwig was in no mood to comply and simply lay still and ignored his 
captor. George calmly kicked Ferwig in the groin, not as hard as the last 
time, but hard enough. The man screamed loudly through the cloth gag, 
clutching his groin. 

  "Get up and walk," George ordered again and this time the battered fighter 
obeyed. Ferwig rolled onto his stomach, then pulled himself up onto his knees 
and then slowly stood up. His whole body hurt, especially his testicles and 
his head. Fighting nausea he had to lean against a wall to keep from falling 

He felt a light touch on the shoulder and looked up to see one of his guards, 
a short, lynx woman staring at him. "Come on," the keeper said in a 
surprisingly gentle voice. "We don't have far to walk." Ferwig briefly 
considered grabbing the felines sword and fight his way to freedom. Then he 
saw the cats muzzle full of long, sharp teeth, and her razor sharp claws. She 
didn't need any weapons, the curse had given her a very formidable set of 
built in weapons. Briefly he wondered why she bothered to carry a sword at 
all. Perhaps out of habit? 

  The lynx, turned him around with a push of a claw equipped paw, and he 
found himself looking at Teria, who was glowering at him. The woman didn't 
look happy or healthy. The whole of her forehead was one massive bruise, and 
her right eye was almost swelled shut. Another guard, this one a woman, 
rudely turned the mage around and shoved her forward. Giving her captor a 
cold, steel hard gaze, Teria started moving in the ordered direction. 

  Ferwig could imagine the mood she was in. With a bruise like that she must 
have a huge headache and be incredibly angry. The humiliation of being 
knocked unconscious by dinner plate would make her even angrier. He was 
thankful that her mouth was gagged and she couldn't talk or curse. 

  The trip wasn't an easy one for the fighter. Every part of his body seemed 
bruised and battered. The worst was his privates were throbbing and he found 
himself walking in an odd bow legged manner to ease the pain. It didn't help 
much. Still his captors didn't make any comments or jibes, they moved in 
silence watching and listening in all directions, no panic, no unnecessary 
noise. Their home had been invaded by thousands of lutins and they were cut 
off and alone. And yet these seven soldiers were moving about as calmly as if 
they were on a training mission. That impressed the mercenary, these were 

  The group came upon two sword-wielding soldiers standing in front of an 
open doorway. He caught a glimpse of someone else aiming a crossbow using the 
corner of the doorway as cover. 

  Ferwig saw the jackal talking to the two guards. "Take some of the tables 
and make a barricade to block the corridor." 

  One of the new guards, a woman, dressed in armor made up of scales sewn to 
felt, nodded. "Yes Sir." 

  "Is Misha in?" 

  "No sir," the woman answered. "He went out with a team over an hour ago." 

  "Well," the canine said in a calm voice. "As senior officer, I'm in 
command now." With a nod of the head the jackal moved forward through the 
doorway and the small group followed. 

  In a moment Ferwig and Teria moved passed the guards who gave both 
mercenaries cold, hard stares.  They entered into a small hall, about fifty 
feet long, and wide. Forty feet above was a domed ceiling with small, glass 
windows interspersed along it's length. 

  Crossing the room they came to the far wall. Set in that wall was a small 
wooden door, in front of which stood four guards. Over the door was a 
balcony, that was about twenty feet from side to side. Ferwigs trained eye 
noticed that the entire length of the balcony was lined with battlements. A 
few soldiers standing up there could control the entire hall against all but 
a major assault. 

  The group went through the door and into a small room. The door closed 
behind them with an ominous thud. He noticed Teria looking up and followed 
her gaze. There in the ceiling he noticed small holes; murder holes. He could 
easily imagine the boiling oil or water that could be poured down through 
them. He quickly moved out of that little death room trying not to look too 

  The hall on the other side was larger then the previous one. The stained 
glass lining one wall threw a kaleidoscope of color onto the entire scene 
laid out before him. Long Hall was filled with people. They were everywhere, 
sleeping on to floors, the balcony, even the stairs in the corner held people 
on each step. He saw people of all sexes, ages and species. Some were 
sleeping, others eating, or tending to wounded. Ferwig smiled as a group of 
children raced around in a game of tag, shrieking and giggling. He realized 
that these weren't nobles hiding in some privileged hideaway. These ragged 
and fearful people were simple commoners, just trying to protect themselves. 

  He saw a what must be an elk-woman stare at him with hate filled eyes. The 
intensity of he gaze made Ferwig stop and look away from her but he could 
still feel her eyes drilling into his back. Then he was pushed and forced to 
move on. Unable to resist, he turned and looked back and found the woman 
still staring at him. 

  A woman guard slapped him on the face with the back of her gauntleted 
hand. "Eye's front," she ordered in a harsh tone. 

   George pointed to the two prisoners. "Take those two to a cell. I'll talk 
with them later." 

  "Sir," the lynx said. "What about their wounds?" 

"When one of the long Scout teams come back, have their healer look them 

  "Yes sir," the feline answered and with a shove guided the two prisoners 
away from the jackal. 

End part 19 
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.integral.org/archives/vfw-times/attachments/20010829/4d5e8f19/attachment.htm

More information about the VFW-Times mailing list