1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Greetings Guest!!

    In order to combat SPAM on the forums, all users are required to have a minimum of 2 posts before they can submit links in any post or thread.

    Dismiss Notice

Ill Winds at the Shattered Skull...

Discussion in 'UO Lake Austin' started by Eryn Darkthorn, Sep 7, 2004.

  1. *shakes head*

    I hope that you remembered to keep a cool head yourself when you found her. I know nothing tries my patience so much as family members getting themselves into trouble.. Please be careful on your journey and let us know how it all turns out!
     
  2. This be disturbing news indeed! Jack being a criminal already may haps raid that peasent villiage to be a rescuing a sister of the salt. These filthy magestrates needs be to pay the price fer there corruption! Jack be a pirate, but these magistrates be the real low-life scum o' sosaria. Har Har Jack be a real admirer of Bella Rose! Jack be assembling his crew and preparing for a raid! Jack set sail on the evening tide!
     
  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Upon entering the town I noticed many guards mulling about. There was certainly a criminal element in the town and more than i had ever seen before. I approached one of the guards and asked where the magistrates office was and was told he was presently hold up at the Town Hall on the north western side of town. Knowing this town like i do i realized it was not that far from the tavern itself where Bella had been arrested. Riding slowly and being ever so observant of the surroundings i headed to the stable to put my horse up from his long ride.
    The stable master told me he would take good care of my steed and for me to be sure to watch myself while in town. There were rumors that evil had come to the town the likes of which the people hadnt seen in a long time.
    Great!! I thought. Just what i needed to hear. I set out down the lane towards the town hall and as i was passing the Shattered Skull tavern i noticed alot of people milling around outside the tavern as well as inside. The doors to the tavern were wide open and from the sounds and smells i could only assume it was packed to the rafters . I had never seen this place so full. It was apparent that something was going on but i wasnt about to find out what. As i passed there were several comments yelled out to me. I just smiled and bowed my head to them and continued on. My goodness, and these are the rabble my sister associates with. She truly is a crazy one. Approaching the town hall i was very disturbed to see that several guards were place at various points around and in front of the building. Some where along the course of my sister's incarciration the word had gotten out she had been jailed. The magistrate has no intentions of her escape for sure. I continued on to the hall. I had to know exactly what was going on.
     
  4. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Upon approaching the town hall i was stopped at the door by a guard and questioned about my business. I told the guard i was there to talk to an architect about building a house and he let me enter the building. When i entered there were several people there moving about in a normal business fashion. I walked up to a table that held three books and in one book i read a passage that told of the arrest of my sister and about the need for information about Bella and her crew. Also it was said she would stay there until her trial.
    This did not set well with me at all. There had to be more to this arrest than i was told and i knew i had to find out. Looking about i found the office of the mayor Blythe and i knocked on the door. Presently the door opened and i was shown inside. The mayor sat at her desk which was piled high with parchments and papers. She was apparently very busy. I tried to make my visit as brief as possible.
    I introduced myself as Aletta Turlowe(and for all that is holy i hope dear Aletta wont mind me using her name) and the Mayor was kind enough to ask me to sit. I told her i had heard news of the arrest of the Pirate Bella Rose and explained that i had some news of this woman. Blythe was quite interested. I told her that i had seen this woman only a few days earlier and that she only had hinted to going to Skara to meet some friends and then was going to look for her sisters.
    Blythe asked me where i had seen Bella and i told her that i saw her at the Cat's Lair in Britain . She asked if i knew anything about the whereabouts of the ship and crew and i told her i had no idea. She thanked me and then i was shown the door. She didnt seem eager to disclose any information after that.
    Frustrated i headed to the inn just south of the town hall and took a room there. It was clear i was going to have to do some investigating on my own. And that i was going to have to do some disguising of myself in order to gain access to my sister.
     
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I wondered if that be Bella's Ship moored in pirate's cove. One of my crew spoted the ship whilst taking his turn aloft in the crows nest. I of course cursed him for lies, until I saw it myself. The scuttlebutt in the last port o' call said the local magistrate planned on hangin' the poor lass, to set example for the rest of us rabble. They be stirrin' up false charges, just to be washing her blood off thier hands, so hurry lass.

    A Pirate in the hands of the law, will crush ye faster than the depths of Davey Jones' locker.
     
  6. Guest

    Guest Guest

    As i left my room at the Falconer's Inn i went in search of someone to help me with my disguise. It didnt take too long to find a fellow that was of course that of the persuasion i was looking for. When i approached this man he started to sidestep his way into the shadows until i called out to him and he froze in his tracks. Apparently when you openly call out to a thief it terrifies the hell out of them. Yardley courteously introduced himself and was very cordial to me. But of course since i was holding a dagger to his heart as we spoke he was more than friendly. I expressed my need for a disguise and he told me he would help. I gave him my room number at the inn and told him to meet me there in one hour.
    Within five minutes to the hour Yardley knocked quietly on my door and i let him enter. With him he brought clothing and such to befit my disquise. After the completion of my costume i generously paid Yardley and as he was leaving he told me he would be at my disposal if i needed him. Tossing another few coins in his direction i asked him if he had heard anything about Bella Rose . He told me all he knew was that she was being falsely accused of a murder and that she was being held in the town hall. He did tell me that she was not being all that well guarded as the magistrate felt there was no way anyone would try and help her escape. I continued to ask him questions and found out that there may be a way to gain access to her room without the guards knowing but it could not be done alone. Yardley expressed great interest in trying to get more information for me and i agreed. He then bowed and set out to get started on his task.
    I myself quietly left my room and headed back to the Shattered Skull. With my costume in place i could easily put myself in the thick of the crowd and keep my ears to the conversations within. Here i should be able to get some more information on my sister's troubles.
     
  7. Guest

    Guest Guest

    As i entered the tavern i couldnt help but notice many of the people had already left but there were still a few around that looked measurably capable of leaking some information. I approached the barkeep and asked if i could play some music and he was more than happy to let me play. Seating myself on a stool near the bartop i began to play a jovial bit of music i learned from long ago. Singing pirate songs in a tavern full of the like made for an interesting time indeed. The folk around began dancing and singing along with me and many a coin were dropped in my hat i had sat on the stool next to me. After about an hour or so the drunken crowd began to calm down and i had also mellowed my music a abit to help fit the mood. Lumbering at the tables and falling asleep in dark corners the patrons were indeed winding down. On the other side of the room i saw Yardley standing in the edge of the shadows. He motioned to me that he needed to talk. I told the barkeep that i needed to take a break and he agreed. Soon he would be cleaning out the rabble and settling in for the night.
    I walked over to the table near Yardley and in the shadows he whispered to me that there was one person here i could get information from. Describing the fellow to me i looked about and saw who he was talking about. A raggedy looking man sitting alone near the bar. The gift of gold i left on the table for Yardley was quickly taken and he left the tavern without the hint of ever being there. I approached the table of the old man and graciously asked if i could sit. He welcomed me and expressed his gradtitude of the entertainment i provided. He told me he hadnt heard such music and singing in quite a long time. I offered to buy him some food and drink and he accepted without argument. As he ate and drank he told me of all the ill will that had taken place in the last few days. He expressed how many of the folk around were distressed about the magistrate's iron hand against many in the town. Many of the merchants and sea travelers are beginning to bypass Skara Brae due to the actions of the magistrate and the faction leaders holding the town. He even went as far to say that the mayor was bought and that is why things have changed so much. After a bit of listening to him i asked if he knew of what had happened to Bella Rose and why she was arrested. He said that from what he knew she was wrongfully accused and taken into custody. Seems there was an adventurer named Maxwell who was trying to book passage on Bella's ship to Vesper. He needed to transport some cargo there and wanted the best on the seas to take him there. Bella of course offered her services for a price and Maxwell did not refuse her. Of course not many would refuse Bella Rose. She has always been fair when it came to business. The old man named Tobias continued on that he was hired by Bella to help Maxwell load his cargo on board her ship. He even named the ship, The Black Rose. I knew he had to be telling the truth for that ship used to be mine. He said once they got the cargo on board that Maxwell headed back to the tavern and that was the last he was seen.
    After several more gulps of ale Tobias then told me that come morning when Bella was leaving the inn she was followed by the guards of the town and was arrested at the docks for the murder of Maxwell the adventurer. She tried to explain that there was no way she had murdered Maxwell as she had been in her room at the time he was killed but she could not prove any of this. Tobias said that she offered no resistance to the arrest and went willingly. He sighed long and shallow as if he was in depair.
    I asked why he was so upset over this woman's arrest and he told me that he would want no harm to come to Bella Rose as she was always kind to him and often bought him food and drink. She offered him jobs from time to time to help him out when he needed help. Although she is a pirateer she still had a kind soul to those less fortunate. That is why the people of Skara Brae are upset over this turn of events. A stranger comes to town and causes trouble for one of their favorites it tends to upset the citizens of the town. There has been talk as well that the citizens are thinking of hiring someone to get rid of the mayor and get their fair town back from the evils of the factions. After hearing all this news i decided that there had to be a way to get in to see Bella. I bid Tobias farewell and left a small pouch at his side and i made my way back to the inn.
    As i reached the back of the inn i felt the unnerving feeling that i was being followed. Increasing my pace i entered the inn and made way to my room. Lighting the candle on the table by the door i noticed i was not alone in my room.
     
  8. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I let my eyes adjust to the mixture of light and dark in the room as i scanned to see who was there. The smell of sweat and dirt were very strong and yet it seemed familiar. As my eyes glanced across the room there sitting in the chair was a ragged and tattered form of a woman. A glint of light flicked through the air as i saw she was sitting there balancing a dagger tip off the end of her finger most gingerly. When i approached i recognized this woman immediately.
    "What the hell are you doing here. I thought you were with the ship"
    She grinned brightly and then tossed the dagger in the air letting it fall point down onto the table next to her.
    " Aye Captain . I was on the ship but when Jordy returned with news of Bella i made way to shore on my own to check things out. Jordy didnt tell me he had sent word to you." Frowning she stretched her legs and groaned from obvious fatigue of her journey.
    "The little squib would run to you when there was trouble like this. But what in the world would you be able to do. You bein a noble lady now and all. You have no business getting involved with the likes of us anymore."
    I walked to the bed and sat on the edge tossing the remains of my disguise on the floor. Looking into her face i was reminded of all the things i had left behind and her comments angered me.
    "Aye, dear cousin i should leave it alone but she is my baby sister in fact and that alone gives me every right to stick my nose into this bloody mess."
    She stretched again and stood slowly. I could see that her journey here was a hard one. I motioned for her to make use of the water pitcher and bowl . She tossed her ragged hat on the bed and began to wash herself.
    "You know cousin if you hadnt left her alone to finish your cause she would never of gotten into this mess. I tried hard to make her wary of the dangers of trusting too much but she still had that damned innocence about her."
    She washed and splashed the water about trying to remove the grime from her face and neck. It would take more that a pitcher of water to clean this wench up I thought to myself.
    "Remember Katarina it wasnt me who told the stories of our adventures that made her want to join us. You and you alone were the one who filled her head with tales of the high seas and the plundering of ships and towns. You alone were the cause of her being led astray. I tried to convince her to not come along but what was i to do. I couldnt leave her alone. After our parents died i had no real choice."
    This conversation was not going to help any . All the blaming and accusations would not help me in getting Bella out of the gallows. After my comment to her she just tossed her wet hair about and walked over to the bed and lay down.
    "I am tired dear cousin. Let me rest and then we shall see what we can do to pluck sweet Bella from the hangman's noose. I am too weary to bicker with you right now."
    She lay down and after her words she drifted off to sleep. Approaching the bed slowly i reached for the blanket at the foot of the bed and covered her gently. The memories of two young girls following me through my world of chaos flooded my mind. Two little whipets with red pony tails flapping in the wind became humorous to me. But those two were better than any man i had on the ship and did more work than any five. How could i refuse them both anything. It was becoming apparent to me that no matter how hard and far you run you can never outrun your past.
    I sat down in the chair across the room and gazed out the window. The dawn was approaching and i had much work to do.
    Shortly before the sun rose there was a gentle tap on the door. I thought to myself who would be at my door at this hour. But then again i almost knew it would bring me ill news.
     
  9. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Upon entering my house i notice a piece of parchement attached to the message board at my house. Seems that my dear sister had gotten into a bit of trouble in Skara Brae. As usual she was hanging out at the Shattered Skull Tavern and after hours of drinking and gaming a fight broke out. The message was from one of her crewmen asking that i come and get her out of the jail of the local magistrate. He was unable to do so as he and the crew were told by her to set sail and moor the ship far off the coast as to keep the ship from being drydocked by the law. He rented a horse from the stables and brought the message to me in hopes that i would be able to help. So i sit here and try to decide whether it would be wise of me to put my reputation on the line to help my sister. I do not know the details of her arrest but i am almost certain it is fabrication. She has learned the hard way and would not endanger her crew and ship in such a manner.
    Gathering my thoughts and a few provisions i will set out upon my journey to Skara to see what the scoundrel maid has gotten herself into. Bella Rose will be the death of me yet.
     
  10. Guest

    Guest Guest

    When i opened the door there was no one there. Only a tray of food and drink with a note sitting on the tray by a vase. The vase had a single rose in it and was the most fragrant i had smelled in a long while. Picking up the tray i peeked into the hall to see if anyone was around and there was no one in sight. Pulling back inside the room I shut the door quietly and placed the tray on the table. With a sigh i sat down and took the note in my hand. I didnt recognize the writing on the front. All it said was Mistress Rose. Hell!! That could mean anyone. Was this to me or to Bella. Dismissing ethics i broke the seal of wax and prepared to read the note.
    My dearest Mistress Rose,
    I hope this message bears good tidings to you. I have heard of the distress your sister has caused and I offer my services to you. I have information that could be vital to help in the release of your sister but i am afraid that my coming forth with such would only endanger myself. It is true that on the night your sister was to have murdered someone she was with me at the Falconer's Inn. Indeed we shared the same room for which you are in now. Seems that room has a mark for harboring the lovely Rose sisters. And since your sister and I maintain that room for quite a long time I am most certain that if prompted the innkeeper would confide in you and help with testifying on your sister's behalf. Meyer the innkeeper has been a true and trusted friend of ours for a long time. He once sailed with me in the past and has seen fit to hang up his pirate garb and become respectable for which Bella and I both assisted him in doing.
    As i said i am unable to come forward and provide proof of your sister's innocence in this matter as that would put me close to the gallows myself . And part of the "Pirate Code" we try to abide by doesnt permit me to get myself hanged. Your dear sister knows this and wouldnt allow me to such anyways. Oh she is such a charmer but she can be ruthless if put to the task. You did well in teaching her the ways of our world. And you did well to let her hold a bit of measure in her own right towards humanity. She looks out for her own and they know well to appreciate it.
    Inside a small chest under the bed you will find some items of ours that may help in your quest to release your sister from the town idiots. They were very safe there as Meyer never lets this room out to anyone but us. Us meaning from Bella and my crew.
    I shall keep my ear to the wind if you need any assistance i might be able to give. When and if you see your sister give her my regards.
    Captain Bloody Jack.

    I almost couldnt believe my eyes when i read this. So she was with someone that night. Tobias was correct when he told me this. This had shed quite a bit of light on the situation but now i needed to decide what my next course of action was to be. I looked at the food on the table and decided it best i could think better on a full stomach. And i wanted Kat to get some more sleep as well.
     
  11. Guest

    Guest Guest

    The sun began to show through the curtained window and Katarina was beginning to stir. I, myself was very tired but knew i had work to do still this day. Sitting on the floor at the end of the bed i reached underneath and pulled out the small chest that Jack had mentioned. And of course it was locked. Pirates! Not very trustworthy indeed. Remembering my pack I went and got my picking kit and sat back down to get started on the lock. It had been quite a while since I did this but certainly it shouldnt take me too long. After breaking three picks it finally came unlocked. Wonder if they will be upset i broke it. Who cares. Opening the lid of the chest the scent of stale ale and sweat met my nose. As I looked up Katarina was leaning over the end of the bed watching intently at my progression of the chest. A slight grinned appeared on her face as she watched me.
    "Ah, I see you havent lost the touch have you cousin. Seems old tricks are hard to forget no matter how hard you try."
    "Shut up and go eat to scaverous dog. We have lots of work to do and I need you on your toes so to speak. Since you have come here it will be wise for you to do as you are told or you might end up on the gallows as well. "
    Giggling like a school girl she jumped off the bed and went to sit and eat what was left of the food but kept a watchful eye on my doings. Lifting the lid again I began to rummage through the items. There didnt seem to be too much here that would help me except a ship key , some old treasure maps and a book. Picking up the book felt like picking up a piece of my soul and after opening it my past jumped at me like a spector in the night. This was my old journal. Why would Bella keep my journal. Leafing through some of the pages brought back some exciting memories. Further to the back of the book there were pages written not of my hand. Bella. She had left numerous names and locations where they could be found. Seems that former crew members gave her locations of their whereabouts in case of emergencies. Emergencies!!! By hell this was one and for certain I could use all the help i could get. But first i needed to see Bella and get some information from her . Maybe between the two of us we could devise a plan to end this situation she was in.
    Grabbing the satchel that had my bard costume I fumbled around to find if there were any other disguises in it. Of course there was one. Tavern wench. Oh how charming. Well i had no recourse but to don the outfit and make my way to the town hall and see if I could gain access to my sister.
    "Kat. I need you to go to the tailor shop and buy a few items for me. Take this list and get exactly what i tell you to. On your way back stop downstairs and ask Meyer to fix up a tray of food and drink. I will need this as well."
    After handing Kat some coins I began to get myself dressed. As she went out the door i could hear her laughing out loud. She will pay for that i guarantee.
     
  12. Guest

    Guest Guest

    After about half and hour Kat returned with the clothing and food i asked her to get. When she entered the room she stood back in amazement when she saw me standing there. Setting down the bad and tray she blinked several times trying to decide if she knew who i was.
    "Is this good or bad. Do i look like a typical tavern wench." I smiled greatly and from the look on her face i was certain i had done well.
    "Pardon me my lady but have you seen my ugly cousin. She was in here earlier but alas i see she has left." Grinning from ear to ear we both let out a laugh and then realized we needed to be quiet.
    Sitting carefully i took a pen in hand and started writing out missives for Kat to deliver. Writing out over a dozen notes was tiring but it would have to be done. Giving her instructions to find Yardley and Tobias and also a pouch of gold I sent her off to deliver my messages. But before she left I threw the sack of clothing she had bought.
    "Please before you leave change your clothes and bath a bit. You are quite ripe for the picking cousin. I dont want my allies to drop dead from the stench."
    Smirking and turning with a twist of her hip she walked to the washstand and began her cleaning ritual.
    "I truly dont see why your kind spends so much time with cleanliness. You know i will only get dirty again. And besides its known that the dirtier you are the less likely you are to catch disease and sickness. " With that she tossed a hand full of water at me and continued.
    " Well dear I tend to like the smell of the fresh air as opposed to the brine of sweat and swoller. I have met pigs that arent as dirty as you. Meyer will be vexxed to have to change these sheets. He will probably burn them when you are through. Now hurry so you can get those delivered. I need it done quickly we only have a couple of days left."
    At those words she moved quickly to finish and I took up the tray and made for the door. This was going to take so serious acting on my part to pass as a tavern girl. And I hoped I was up to task. Wishing each other luck we both passed through the door and made our way out to do our deeds. By the grace of the gods I do hope we both succeed.
     
  13. Guest

    Guest Guest

    There seemed to be a light mist and fog in the town this morning. Hopefully this will help in my getting past those dratted guards at the town hall. Once the building was in view I searched my mind on how it would be for me to approach. Only one guard at the main door. How wonderful. This shouldnt be too hard. Balancing the tray and the small bag on my arms would be easy if I didnt have to sway my hips in such a vulgar fashion. Truly the lifestyle of serving wenches is greatly dramatized. This is one job I would hate to have. The guard stood looking ahead of himself and paid no attention to my approach until I was infront of him. Looking me up and down he gave a shifty grin and opened the door. Apparently he was used to such women coming to the hall. Entering the door there was only one guard inside as well. Funny, they dont have any concerns that there might be anyone out there to try and help Bella escape. This might not be so hard at all.
    The guard at her door stopped me and inspected the tray and the bag. Obviously looking for weapons. Ha! I'm not that stupid. What bafoons these guards are. He motioned for me to set the tray and bag down and then approached me with a slight grin on his face. Idiots! These were two men I truly wish i could dispatch quickly but that will have to wait.
    "I need to search your person before entering the room dearie. Dont want you to be sneakin in a knife or somethin to that wench inside." He started pawing me with clumsy hands and when he began to get a little too friendly I slapped his hands away.
    "Fool! Do you honestly think I would do such a thing. That wench inside costs me more business than anyone when she is in town. I truly cant wait to see her hang and then maybe things can get back to normal around here. MY business suffers because of her if you know what I mean." Winking at the man put my meaning across to him and he smiled devilishly at my comment. After that he helped me pick up the tray and bag and opened the door for me. As I entered he gave me a quick pat on the bottom and closed the door behind me. Yes, this one will have to go.
    Looking across the room I saw Bella lying on a small cot at the back of the room. Laying on her back with one foot resting a bent knee and her arms casually bent behind her head. Humm. Not a care in the world. For someone about to die she didnt seem too worried. Walking to the table I set the tray down and roughly threw the bag at her on the bed. When the bag hit her in the belly she jumped and sat up on the bed. Looking at me with disgust she threw the bag on the floor.
    "I have brought you some food and a change of clothing. Cloth is inside as well so you might wash if you feel the need." Turning slowly I stood towards her with my hands on my hips and smiled brightly. When she looked into my eyes I could see you knew who I was immediately. With a welcoming grin she jumped from the bed and ran to me with arms opened wide.
    "Well! It's about damn time you showed up. I was beginning to think you had forsaken me and left me here to hang. Dont you think you've spent enough time catting around town."
    "Catting around town. Are you crazy? No, wait dont answer that. I have been trying to find out just the hell's been going on here and trying to figure out a way to get you out of this mess you fool." The distress in my voice seemed to calm her down a bit as she went back to the bed and plopped down in disgust. That was when I saw for the first time that she was indeed worried about her situation.
    "I am truly sorry, Crimson. This was the last thing I wanted you to have to deal with. But honestly this has all been a big mistake. There was no way I could of murdered that man. I...I....was busy that night." Her faced seemed to turn a light shade of red. Embarrassed. That was the last thing I thought she would be feeling. Like I never knew about her promiscuous activities. Ha!
    "Don't bandy words with me Bella. I know you were with Jack that night. He sent word to me that he was with you. Also he sends his regards. But he cant come forward to attest your innocence and you know that. And I wouldn't expect him to either. The company you keep sometimes amazes me." With those words her eyes seemed to tear and a smiled crossed her face as if she were remembering that night.
    "Do not put on the tears for me, sister. I have seen them all before. You have by far gotten yourself into some deep troubles and for the life of me I am trying to figure a way out of it. Katarina is on her way now to enlist help but I need to find more information about this Maxwell person. "
    At that moment there was a knock at the door and we both just about jumped out of our skin. Hurriedly she sat at the table and I began setting the food out for her. When the door opened the guard entered and said it was time for me to leave. Giving a quick look around the room I noticed the window to the back. With my eyes I motioned to Bella my findings and she blinked her acknowledgment. Turning I flicked my dress towards her in disgust and followed the guard out the door.
    Before he could reach me I made for the other end of the building and went out the front. Smiling shyly at the outer guard I made my way back to the inn.
     
  14. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Making her way across the water to the mainland from Skara, Katarina headed down the coastline towards the south. At a moderate pace she made it to the ship that was moored just off shore. In the mist and fog it couldnt be seen but she knew where it was. The on the water's edge was the small dingy she used to come to shore with. Casting off the line she rowed her way back to the ship. Once on board she gathered a few of the crew and assigned them the duty of delivering the messages that Crimson had given her. Just inland there was a home of an old member who had a small farm there. This is where they would all find mounts to help in their tasks. Once they all loaded into the small craft they made way to shore again and headed to the farm.
    Outside the small cottage they saw their old friend outside chopping firewood. He had indeed aged a bit over the last few years. Never did they imagine he was that old. At the approach of the group he glanced intently as if trying to recognize anyone. Once he caught sight of Katarina he knew something was amiss.
    "By my whiskers on end if it isnt Miss Katarina. What in the world are you doing in these parts this time of year. I would of thought you to be on the eastern waters by now." Smiling brightly he grabbed Kat and hugged her anxiously. The rest of the group patted him on the back and made their hellos to the old man.
    "Dear old Jaccob. I have grave news for you. Mistress Bella is being held in Skara for murder and Mistress Crimson has sent me to collect a crew that might help in her freedom. The boys and I are in need of horses so we may be able to get our messages out quickly to the others. We are in a great hurry dear and need to be on our way. I was hoping you would be able to help us." Hanging her head a bit he could see the fatigue in her face.
    "Oh my little one. You can have all that is here to help in the quest. I am surprised i didnt here any news of this goings on. There were a few scabberous dogs about here not more than a day or so ago and none seemed to hint at any trouble in town." Scratching his head in confusion he paced back and forth.
    Pointing at one of the men he motioned for him to come closer. "You, boy. You go and make the horses ready. Miss Kat be needin them to complete her task." The boy did as he was told and the others entered the house to gather a few things they might need on their way.
    Entering the house Kat went to the fireplace to warm herself a bit. Then reaching into her pack she pulled out small pouches of gold and dispersed them to the men along with the messages they were to deliver. After giving them their instructions she sent them on their way. Herself was not to go on this mission for she had every intention of heading back to Skara as soon as possible.
    Jaccob pulled her to a chair and sat her down. Handing her a mug of warm cider and a plate of bread with cheese he insisted she eat and drink. He was always the one who would make sure the girls on the ship were taken care of. He asked Kat about how all the girls were doing now and wanted every detail of the fix that Bella had gotten into. After she explained what she knew she noticed there was a definite strangeness in Jaccob's face. Not wanting to ask him just yet she explained that Crimson had also hired a thief named Yardley to dispatch even more messages to others throughout the lands. He nodded his approval as he explained he knew Yardley and that he was to be trusted even though he was a thief. Laughing he told her not all thieves were bad as were not all pirates bad. They both sat and laughed at that comment.
    After a few minutes passed she couldnt help but find out what had disturbed Jaccob when she explained the troubles in Skara. Stretching abit in the chair next to her he lay his head back on the cushion behind his head and let out a sigh.
    "The news I have to tell you will not go well with Mistress Crimson, nor Bella. But I must tell you none the less."
     
  15. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Once reaching the inn Crimson headed straight to her room. Entering there was a sense of dread about it. Looking around the room nothing seemed to be disturbed or missing but she still had that odd sensation that things werent right. Changing out of her costume she walked to the washstand and began removing the grease paint and powder which was beginning to run from her sweat. Looking into the mirror she noticed a parchment tacked to the back of the door. By the gods she thought. What now. Cant these people contact me in the normal fashion. Cloak and daggar tactics were beginning to wear on her patience.
    Turning she moved to the door to take now the note. No daggar held the note in place. But it was a fashionable hat pin of gold encrusted with several brightly colored gems. Certainly she hadnt gotten wind of what was going on. This was indeed becoming quite a family affair. But last she had heard of her she was off somewhere dealing with the Shadow Lords. Why on earth would she get involved in this. It wasnt exactly safe for her to be venturing about towns held by other factions. Sisters, she thought. Why had she been blessed with sisters.
    Wiping the water from her neck and face she went to the chair, sat and began nibbling on bits of bread left from earlier that morning. Debating whether to read the note or not. Either by reading or not it still held no good news she was certain. With a deep breathe she opened up the note and began reading.

    Dearest Sister,
    Word has reached me here in Yew that our darling little Bella has gotten herself into trouble. From word of our spies in the city I have been told that this entire situation was set up by certain members of a secret organization. That of which I dont know much about. But it is someone's plans to rid the waterways of the pirate type and to take on a more formal form of piracy in order to make their fortunes. Funny to think that someon could actually believe they could take on such a venture. But with targeting Bella they have certainly put the pirate community on edge. She may not be blood thirsty as some but she has indeed been busy of late and someone isnt liking her new found fortune.
    As for myself I am unable to come to Skara to help you but if you are in need of assistance you have only to ask. I do have connections outside the ShadowLords that could come to your aid. All you need is to ask. I am sure you are aware to a point of our base location so it would be easy enough for you to send word to me. I have also heard that they have delayed Bella's execution pending some missive sent from Britain. Apparently they are sending a higher authority of Britania to oversee her trial. It is possible that they may be transporting her to either Trinsic or to the city of Britain itself. I will have my contact in Skara Brae keep you informed. This may be an advantageous time for you dear sister so take heed and keep your eyes and ears open.
    Good Luck and much love,
    Scarlet Rose
     
  16. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Making her way up the coastline Katarina thought back on what Jaccob had said to her. This information would make Crimson very angry indeed. Needing to think on how she would approach her cousin with this news made her cringe. The sounds of the forest and the water's edge didnt make her feel any more comfortable. There were indeed strange things going on around this area and there didnt seem to be any evidence to why. Indistinct sounds in the brush and the bubbling sounds from the water had made Kat alert of everything around her. Finally the lights of Skara Brae could be seen more clearly and when she came up on the edge of the docks she saw there was no way she would be able to cross to the town this way. Great, she thought.
    "Terrific. Absolutely fantastic! Not only am i tired, now i have to swim across to the other side. I am beginning to hate this town more and more everyday."
    Backtracking her steps a ways she found a good place to cross. From across the way she could see the inn. She could even see the window to Crimson's room from where she stood. Inching into the water she shivered from the cool water and started to make her way across.
    Once she reached the edge on the other side she slowly crept up the banks and made her way out and up to the brush nearby. Glancing up she could see Crimson sitting in the chair by the window. It looked as if she was distressed more than usual. Walking towards the front of the inn Katarina could see many people milling about the town. Seemed there was alot of activity this night in town. There must be something going on.
    Crimson sat in the chair and stared at the message she had read from Scarlett. Could anything else go wrong. This was by far more troubling to her than before. What if they did move Bella to Brtain or Trinsic. She prayed to herself that the messages she sent out would bare good returns. She would need all the help she could get from these friends. Hopefully they were all in the places she remembered.
    All at once the door to her room burst open and a wet figure jumped in and slammed the door closed. Dripping all over the floor the figure began stripping the wet clothes off and then stood there shivering. Crimson jumped to her feet and ran over with a blanket and covered the girl.
    "Katarina! What the hell are you doing? Why are you all wet?"
    With a tert look Kat just pushed past her and went to the chair to sit.
    "I just thought maybe a late night swim would help me think, cousin."
    They both smiled and then Crimson began to pick up the wet clothing and placed them in a pile near the door. Meyer will hate cleaning up this mess for certain. After Katarina stopped shivering Crimson handed her a glass of wine to help warm her up.
    "Crim. You look tired. Why dont you take some rest for a bit and then we can talk"
    Looking even more upset Crimson sat on the edge of the bed and slumped her shoulders as if she were too exhausted to hold them up anymore.
    "No. I cant rest right now. I have recieved word from Scarlett. There may be an attempt to move Bella from Skara Brae and i need to be ready to strike if the time proves well."
    Staring at Crimson with intent Katarina jumped up and began digging into a bag for some dry clothes. She was eager to get dressed so she could tell Crimson her news.
    "That is not good news, cousin. For the information I gained from Jaccob would put Bella in even more danger if they did take her from the city." Approaching Crimson and setting hands on her shoulder she looked deep into her cousin's eyes. There seemed to be much fear in her eyes as Crimson could feel the tension in them and in Katarina's grip on her shoulders. Easing next to Crimson on the end of the bed she took her hands in hers and took a deep breath.
    "Once I assembled a crew we took oar to the shore and headed for Jaccob's cabin just south of the main road from Skara. You know the place. When we reached there he helped gear up the men and i sent them off to deliver your messages. I explained to Jaccob what was going on and he was indeed suprised that he hadnt heard of anything. He did tell me that many old foes were around the area as some had passed his place only a few days ago. He then told me that indeed Bella was being set up for this so-called murder."
    Crimson looked at Kat like she had lost her mind. So-called murder. What was she thinking. Again Kat took in a deep breath and stared at the floor when she continued to tell her of what Jaccob had said.
    " Apparently this man that was murdered was in fact still alive. The man himself had been at Jaccob's the same night as the others that had come by. He even boasted about having finally gotten his revenge and that there was nothing anyone could do about it. But Jaccob had no idea he was talking about Bella. He said that it was inevitable that it would be over soon and he could take up where he had left off more than 10 years ago. Ten years Crimson. You know what that means?"
    Listening intently the realization of what was happening began to hit her. Bella was being accused of a murder that didnt even take place. Being hanged for something she didnt even do by a man she didnt even know. Maxwell. Who the hell was Maxwell. She knew no one by that name, but of course names can be changed. But just who could it be. She had to think. All she knew was that ten years earlier was when she left the Black Rose and turned everything over to Bella. Now someone from that past was back and trying to destroy her sister. But who? Who from that time would have any remorse towards Bella. Bella. She had to find out more about this man. Tobias. She had to find Tobias, he would know.
    Patting Katarina on the hands she pulled her to her feet. Leading her around the edge of the bed she pulled back the blankets and coaxed her into the bed.
    "Rest Kat. I need to find someone with some answers and I think I might know who can help. If I can get but a few bits of information from him it might shed some light on this news. You did get all the messages sent off didnt you? I just hope that Yardley was successful as well. You rest I need to do some more thinking. There are things at work here that just dont sound right."
    Kat sank back in the bed and pulled the covers up to her chin but she didnt sleep. She lay there watching Crimson. Pacing the floor like a caged animal and all the while she could almost here the wheels of thought turning in her head. Crimson was by far the most ingenious of all of them and she was sure Crimson would come up with plans to work it all out.
     
  17. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Running like the devil himself was chasing him Yardley made his way through the forest. After delivering his message and hoping the others had done their job as well he made way back to Skara Brae. Having been spotted by several guards in Vesper he was terrified that his message would be intercepted. But alas he had gotten away from them. Who would of thought those guards would be out that far from the city limits. He had even seen ships in the bay that seemed to have been placed in postion to guard the waterways. Something must be going on in those waters for certain. But he couldnt stay around long enough to find out what it was. He had heard of the invasion on Cove but surely the Royal guard wouldnt be out in the waters this far east. There were indeed strange things going on. Making his way towards the road he decided it best to try for Britain. Once there he could make his way across town and out to some measure of safety. Then heading on he could again make way to Skara. He had to get back to see if Mistress Crimson needed him further. Sending word through his thieves guild he knew she would soon be getting information about his whereabouts. She never was that trusting of thieves but he hoped she would trust him.
    The inn was in sight now and there he would be able to rest a bit and try to send word out to Crimson. As he entered the SaltyDog Tavern he noticed a few familiar faces. Smiling he made his way to the stairway that lead to the lower level of the inn. There was the entrance to the thieves guild and it was there he could send out his message. Once inside the meeting room he walked to the glowing crystal on the floor and spoke into it. After a few seconds there was a short coded reply and he felt better already. This was good. She would know he would be returning soon.
    Taking careful steps up to the main floor of the tavern he was greeted at the top by three hooded figures. Two grabbed him by the shoulders and the other followed behind. Dragging him from the inn they went towards the forest at the city edge. Once there he was tied to a tree and then darkness took him.
     
  18. Guest

    Guest Guest

    With the morning sun creeping into the room Crimson knew she hadnt slept at all. Tired and numb from the past few days were beginning to take a toll on her. When the knock at the door came it startled her so she thought her heart had stopped. Quickly she went to the door and there stood a boy with a deranged look on his face. He looked quite insane but she bade him to come into the room. He hesitated and then quickly handed her two notes and ran away. Damn these notes.
    Walking over to the bed she saw that Kat had sat up in the bed and was looking quite rested. Sitting down she opened the paper and read it aloud so that Kat could hear.
    To Mistress Rose,
    I regret to inform you that Yardley, my brother was found killed this morn by the city guards in Britain. It was not far from out meeting place. It is said that he was taken from the inn by three hooded figures and lead away. By the time news had reached us it was too late. I do know that he had sent word to you that he had achieved his mission for you but afterwards was taken away. I am not certain though if you had recieved this message or not. I am deeply wounded by this turn of events and apologize to you dear lady if his mission was not successful. Under the circumstances our thieves guild will be unable to help you further in your quest. We have gone into hiding for now and will no longer be of use to you. Hopefully your other messengers were successful and things will work out for you.
    Yours truly,
    Langley of the Unseen Servants Guild


    Hanging her head Crimson wiped a tear from her eye and she folded the mesage and handed it to Katarina. With shaking hands she opened the other message. Staring at the writing she could hardly believe it. It was indeed the message sent by Yardley. Oh how she wished she had read it first but how was she to know. Turning slightly she looked at Kat who was sitting very still and looking intently at her. She then turned back to the message and read it aloud.

    My Mistress Rose,
    I have successfully distributed your messages amongst my guildmates and they have taken route to deliver them for you. I myself have been successful on my delivery and have made my way back to Britain. There is much unrest in the City of Vesper but I atone that to the business of the invasion in Cove. A mysterious stranger has set loose the orcs on Cove so the entire area is brimming with Royal guards and such. Even the waterways are filled with Royal ships. Narrowly escaping sight of the guards in Vesper i did make my way back to Britain and after a meal and some rest i will be returning to Skara Brae. Anxiously awaiting my next task from you if you feel my services are needed.
    Yours gratefully,
    Yardley

    Dropping the note on the bed Crimson covered her eyes. She couldnt believe out of all this that Yardley would be the first victim of circumstance. He died by doing her bidding and this wasnt what she wanted. Who were these hooded figures that killed him. They had to have soemthing to do with this Maxwell character. Thrusting herself to her feet she went to her bag and took out a change of clothing. She was going to have to go out and find Tobias. This was the one thing she needed do today if nothing else. She needed to find out more.
    Katarina jumped from the bed and begain to dress as well. She was indeed going to do some searching herself. There had to be some news of this person and where he was hiding out at. She would head to the docks and talk to the local fisherman and see if they had any news as well. Soon. Soon she thought. The messages have been delivered she was most certain and help would be arriving . They needed to get a plan together.
     
  19. Guest

    Guest Guest

    The Shattered Skull seemed to be fairly busy for the early afternoon. Sitting in the back of the tavern eating a light meal Crimson looked around the room. No one in particular seemed to stand out to her. The usual patrons. And the staff seemed to be the usual ones working as well. Nothing out of the ordinary. After waving over a serving girl Crimson asked is she had seen any sign of Tobias around but the girl told her he hadnt been seen in a day or so. That seemed unusual to Crimson as Tobias was always around the tavern on any given day looking for handouts. Pushing back her plate she decided to walk about town and have a look around. In the days she had been here she hadnt really looked at the town. It had been years since she had been there last and there were a few changes. As she was walking to the door there was a scream heard from the back of the tavern. Everyone in the room seemed to jump and run out the door. Making her way to the back of the tavern where the crowd had gathered she pushed through and gasped at the sight she saw.
    There against a tree not but a few feet from the back of the tavern was a man tied to a tree. The rumpled figure was so brittle looking that a wind might cause him to fall into pieces. As the tavernkeeper started to untie the man a note fell from the man's clothing and fell to the ground. No one seemed to notice. When the man was laid down on the ground the features of his face could be seen. Crimson jumped back in astonishment. No horror. Tobias. She wanted to scream out but there was no sound left in her lungs. She moved closer to the edge of the crowd and heard muted whispers through the crowd.
    From the back of the mass she heard harsh voices as they approached. Guards.
    Bowing her head down she eased back into the people and stayed out of sight as much as she could. The guards pushed past her and the others and gathered up the old man's body and walked back towards the town hall. All the voices seemed to be saying the same thing. Murder. Another murder. The people began to break up into smaller groups or go off alone but they dispersed from the area quickly. The tavernkeeper and the girl who had found Tobias looked straight at Crimson and then came to her.
    The girl looked gravely at Crimson. "You...you were asking about Tobias werent you? Were you a friend of his? Who could of done this?"
    Looking squarely at the two of them Crimson steeled herself. She had to confide in someone in this town or she would go crazy. Pulling them closely she began to talk in a low voice.
    "Look. I did know Tobias and he was indeed a friend on my part. I dont know who did this but I have my suspicions. It seems that someone didnt want me to find out some information and they killed him to keep him from talking. I have found out that my sister, Bella Rose is innocent and since i have been here there have been some strange things happening. This is not the only death caused since Bella has been in jail. A young man who was helping me was also killed in Britain last night. I would appreciate if you would keep your eyes and ears open for me for anything out of the ordinary. There is someone in this town that wishes to see my sister dead and probably by now me as well. Be careful and dont trust the law here. They are in on all this. Whoever is behind this mess is paying off the officials and I must find out who it is. If you know anything please tell me."
    The two nodded their heads in understanding and made way back into the tavern. Once out of sight Crimson looked down and saw the note that had fell from Tobias' rumpled body. She bent to pick it up. As she stood up she saw in the distance behind some trees someone was watching her. She couldnt make it out but the figure stood there and didnt move. Backing up slowly Crimson made way around the building and headed back to the inn.
    The front door to the inn seemed heavier than usual. After pushing a bit harder it opened and she found Meyer standing next to it. He had an angry look on his face as she passed through the door. Grabbing her by the arm he slammed the door shut and bolted it.
    "Mistress. You must be careful. They were here looking for you but only a few minutes ago. You must be more watchful."
    "What are you talking about. They. Who was looking for me?"
    "There were three hooded figures here looking for you and Miss Katarina. They said that they needed to talk to you."
    "Three. Hooded. They must be the same hooded ones who killed Yardley last night. Meyer, you must keep this door locked. Only those who you know shall pass through here. Close off all the other rooms but this main hallway. Shutter and bolt the windows as well. It's no longer safe for us."
    Pacing about the room for a moment she turned to Meyer.
    "Tobias is dead. He was found behind the tavern. And there was someone watching me from a distance. Where is Kat? Has she come back yet?"
    "No, Mistress. She left when you did. She hasnt returned or sent word. I do hope she is well. That little moffit cant stay out of trouble too long. She is her own worst enemy."
    With that comment Crimson smiled. But the look of embarrassment on Meyer's face was even more comical. Patting him on the shoulder in assurance he relaxed and went on about his business of closing up the inn. Outside he was boarding up the windows and when asked he only exclaimed that he heard word a bad storm was coming and he was batting down the inn in case it got real bad. Crimson could never blame him for not being able to lie but this time he wasnt lying . There was a storm coming and it was going to be bad.
     
  20. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Indeed there was a light rain falling outside. Meyer had been right in predicting a storm coming. It wasn’t evident how bad it would get but one was brewing outside. The drops began to pelt on the roof more intently and the air inside the room was beginning to get thick. Smoke from the hearth and the sizzle of the rain in the flames made the room feel eery and uncomfortable. Usually this sort of setting was a comfort to Crimson but not this night. Reading the paper again she couldn’t help but think that the devil himself was dogging her trail. In the message it said that the recent deaths and the future ones were to be on her head from now til her judgement day. That the imprisonment of Bella was her fault as well and that anything from now on would be of her own doing. She would pay for her deception and lack of loyalty. There was no signature to this note and it confused her even more. Who. Who did she deceive? Who was she unloyal to?
    The pounding on the back door startled her and Meyer. Quickly they moved to the door and through a small peep hole next to the door way Meyer could see that it was Katarina. Unbolting the door she opened it and let her in.
    “Why in hell’s name is this place shut up so tightly? Don’t you think it will be a bit suspicious to have the only inn closed up like a damned drum?” Shaking off the rain from her cloak she stomped into the front room and sat by the fire to dry and warm herself.
    “I was being watched this afternoon after Tobias was found so we thought it best to take precautions.”
    Looking at Crimson like she had lost her mind she tossed her head from side to side slinging cold water about the room . “I am indeed getting tired of being wet all the time. By hell I don’t even get this wet aboard ship. And what the happened to Tobias?”
    With a shrug Crimson sat down in the chair next to the fire and explained that Tobias had been murdered. Handing Kat the message that was on his body she also explained that someone was in the trees watching her. Katarina read the note and looked down at Crimson.
    “This is bloody well getting irritating. I for one am getting tired of sculking around town and moving about in the shadows. I am not cut out for that sort of thing. That was your’s and Bella’s line of doing things….I need the open seas and my ship.”
    “Oh stop blubbering on so. Once we get Bella we can get back to our own lives again. This will end soon I hope. I don’t much like doing all this shifting about either. “
    Meyer stood back and smiled. Listening to them argue reminded him of days when they were all together on the Black Rose and how the girls were constantly arguing about one thing or another. But they always came to a conclusion that was mutual for all. Never did one reign over the other. This time it was different. The situation was strange to them. Never had they been in this trouble before.
     
  21. Guest

    Guest Guest

    The rain continued throughout the night and when dawn approached there was a fine mist lurking over the town. Crimson unbolted the door and stood there sipping a cup of tea and looking across the yard to the docks. There seemed to be several ships that had come in during the night. One looked vaguely familiar but she couldnt remember where she had seen it. The activity on the docks were normal. Fisherman scurrying about with nets and crates pulling in the previous days works to take to market. Scents of fish and salt filled the air and taking in a deep breath she felt a bit at ease. More so than she had been before this ever started.
    On the deck that same ship she saw an old man appear from the cabin. Small in stature and covered by fairly common clothing he moved towards the side of the ship. Turning quickly he went back to the door and held it open. There Crimson saw a woman come through the door. Tall and slender the woman stood erect with very much an aire of propriety. Dressed in royal blue the woman's raven hair shined dark as nightand it flowed freely over her shoulders. As the woman came to the rail of the ship she looked about like she was remembering something about the place. Looking in the direction of the inn she pointed to her baggage on the deck and two men began collecting her things. Crimson sipped her tea and kept her eye on the two as they began to make way to the inn.
    Looking as if she were floating on air, the woman continued on and the others fell in behind her. The closer she got to the front door the more familiar she looked to Crimson. That is when Kat came to the door and looked out. With a childlike shriek Kat burst through the door way and ran to the woman. Throwing her arms about the woman they embrassed and spun around with great enthusiasm. Sitting the girl back to the ground the woman looked ahead to Crimson and smiled so deeply that it brought a tear to Crimson's eye.
    "Well cousin, I see you havent changed much over the years. Still as skeptical as ever. And here I thought i would be of assistance to you . Not even a hug or hello. My, my how times have changed."
    With a slight grin Crimson then greeted her cousin with open arms and ushered her into the inn. The others followed and it was then that she recognized Jaccob. Frowning abit from confusion she went to him and gave him an embrace as well. Patting him on the back she led him inside and to a chair.
    "About time you noticed ole Jaccob. Thought i was gonna have to take a stick to ya if you didnt."
    With that they all chuckled and sat by the fire. The cool air creeped into the room once again and there was need of warming themselves again. Meyer hearing the commotion peeked into the room and saw that quests had arrived. Hurrying out he went to make some refreshments. From the looks of things it was gonna be a long afternoon.
    Sitting down The woman began to remove her gloves and adjusted her dress for comfort. She didnt look very happy with her attire. Finally making one last brush of her skirt she sat back to relax.
    "Well I am sure you are wondering why i am here." Looking at Crimson and Kat she knew that was being a bit understated. Their quizical looks went much deeper.
    "I was sailing north around Dragon Isle when i came upon Dimitri. He told me of the trouble with Bella and i felt i had to come and offer my assistance. That is if you need it. By the looks of you two I am here just in the nick of time."
    Crimson sat back and took a deep breath. She knew it would take a while to explain but she had to get it all out in one sitting. Some of the news she didnt want to have to repeat. As she began to explain the past few days she felt the weight of the world fall on her shoulders again. The news of Yardley and Tobias sent a chill down her spine but she finished telling all the news to her cousin.
    Meyer then entered the room with a tray of cheeses and breads and a pot of hot tea. After pouring the tea he then left the room again He didnt need to hear what was being said as he knew it all and it unsettled him as well to hear it repeated.
    Sipping her tea the woman sat back and seemed to fall into deep concentration. She had that same look on her face that Crimson always had when she was formulating a plan. Kat gave her a frowned look and then sighed as she knew what was happening. Looking at Crimson she noticed that she too was beginning to wander in her thoughts as well.
    After a few moments passed the woman shifted in her seat and then reached for her small bag on the floor. Pulling out a deck of cards she motioned for them to go to the table and take a seat.
    "Now that Polgara is here, we shall look and see what fates have in store for us. The cards just may very well tell us what we need to know."
    "Oh hell. Pol you know you cant read those cards right. Ever since mother gave them to you never once have you been right. Put those things away. We need to study the facts that we have not putter around with those supersticious toys of yours."
     
  22. Guest

    Guest Guest

    With the turn of her nose Polgara sniffed at the air in disgust. She knew how to use the cards but never had Kat believed in them. Katarina had no use of magic and the arts of foretelling. She knew how to use them but chose not to. Such a waste to have the ability and not put it to good. Pol proceeded to lay the cards out on the table and meditate over them. Crimson sat calmly watching the display her cousin put on. She also had the call of magic but never used them for parlor tricks and such. Apparently Polgara decided that this was a way of income to use her gifts in. Petty magic tricks and light shows. What a waste.
    Turning over the first card Pol seemed at ease with it but as she progressed with the turnings her mood changed. When the final card was turned her face was as white as a sheet. And that look caused the other two to stare in disbelief.
    "Pol, what is it? What does it say?"
    With a twitch in her eye she looked at the cards again. This cannot be. The signs had to be wrong. Picking up the cards and putting them away she glanced around the room and then leaned inward to speak.
    "This does not look good. The cards say that it is not Bella that is in trouble but ....but you Crimson . You are the one that will fall before this all ends. Your death is what i see in the cards."
    Crimson drew back with alarm. This cant be. She wasnt the one in jail. She wasnt the one accused of murder. This had to be a mistake. The cards were wrong.
    "Also those hooded figures you told me about. They are not human. They are from the netherworld. Someone from beyond the grave has cast their sights on you. You have death following you. My word girl. What have you done?"
    "Me? I have done nothing. Since i left the Black Rose I have done no wrong. I gave up my evil ways long ago. I have established myself quite well in the world. There has to be a mistake. Kat was right. You have no idea how to read those damn cards. I should of known you would be of no good to me. "
    With that she thrust herself out of her chair and walked off towards the front door. Opening the door there was a clap of thunder so loud it was almost deafening. Lightning struck the tree in the courtyard and flames bounced around the yard from fallen debris. All Crimson could do was stand and stare.
     
  23. Guest

    Guest Guest

    The others ran to the doorway to see what was going on. The tiny fires danced around the courtyard. People from around the docks came running with buckets to put out the flames but their efforts were futile. The flames could not be put out. As soon as they had arrived the people began to back off. From around the corner of the healer's building across the lane three hooded figures appeared. The townfolk scattered in all directions. They stood near the smoldering tree and faced the entrance to the inn. The center figured raised a hand in gesture and pointed at Crimson. Polgara seeing this grabbed Crimson and threw her inside to the floor. She somehow knew what the figure was doing and had to get Crimson out of harms way. Crimson looked up from the floor and saw that Polgara herself was raising her hands in the air and muttering something that Crimson couldnt understand. Counterspell. Pol was trying to counter the spell the hooded one was casting. All at once there was a loud crackling sound and Polgara began to glow in a shimmery blue color. When the sound had ceased Pol collapsed on the floor. Kat ran to her, gathering her in her arms she knew that Pol was exhausted from her magic. Meyer ran into the room and helped Kat get Pol up and out of the doorway. When he peered out the door the figures were gone but in their place was three scorch marks on the ground.
    Crimson scrambled from the floor and went to look outside herself. She couldnt believe that anyone would target her out in the open. She couldnt figure out either who or what she had angered so. She had to find out if Bella was well. Jaccob came running out of the back room to see what was going on. When he saw that Pol had succumbed to weariness from her magic he whirled and tossed and angry look at Crimson. They all looked at her as if she had brought the plague to the lands. She couldnt make any sense of what was going on.
    Sitting in the a chair near the hearth, Pol began to gain a bit of strength back. Shaking her head slowly she looked up at Crimson.
    "We have to try and get Bella out of that jail and get out of this town. It's too dangerous for us all to be here. Especially you Crimson. They fully intended to bring you down. That was definitely powerful magic they were using. Never have i had to use all my strenth to counter a spell before. It will take more than just us to rid the world of those things."
    Crimson could only stare at Polgara. She had no words to use. Trembling where she stood she knew that Pol was right. But she had no idea of what to do now. The dangers were greater than she had ever anticipated
     
  24. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Meyer slipped out the back door of the inn and headed to the tavern. He knew he had to find out if anyone had responded to Crimson's messages for help. He also knew he would have to find some powerful help against those hooded figures. When he entered the tavern there were a few faces there he knew from the old days. So some have come to help afterall. Walking slowly to the back of the tavern he sat down at one of the tables and some of those he recognized made their way towards him. Sitting down and clanking their mugs on the table they looked around to see if anyone was watching.
    One of the men slumped at the table and rested his elbows on top. "Hello Meyer. It has been a long time." Smiling he raised his mug to Meyer in salute.
    Leaning forward he placed a finger to his nose and twiddle the others a bit. The hidden code of thieves. Meyer had a bit of a time interpreting the code, it had been a long time indeed. After the second turn Meyer understood a bit more. Finally the man got aggravated and spoke to him in low voice.
    "Damn man. It has been a long time. You cant even remember the silent speech. I will just explain it to you so you can tell Lady Crimson."
    Watching some people on the other side of the tavern the man began to repeat verbally his message.
    "Tell the lady that there are a dozen ships moored in the distance of Skara Brae. They are out of sight from land as to not be detected. With more than fifty crewman on board each ship there is no way the guards could overtake them. They wait for the lady's word."
    With this news Meyer raised from the bench and headed back to the inn.
     
  25. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Entering through the back of the inn Meyer went to the parlor to check on his patron friends. Sitting in one chair Jaccob was sleeping. The low sounds of his breathing let Meyer know he was alright. At the table Polgara sat with her cards tossing them them from one side and the other. Disgust filled her face. Standing by a nearby window Kat looked out through the curtains ever with a watchful eye. Crimson was no where to be seen. Quietly he went to her room and opened the door. There is repose she slept. Peacefully. It had been three days and this was the first full rest she had taken. Atop the table by the bed there was a small green bottle. He reached for it and took it to his nose. The smell was familiar but there was a hint of something else to it. Part poison, part something else. Returning to the parlor he went to Polgara and handed her the bottle.
    Looking up at Meyer she took the bottle from his hand. With a slow grin she patted his hand. "No worries dear friend. It's not poison. I had Jaccob mix a sleeping draught for Crimson. It was necessary for her to get some rest and this was the only way. She will be fine rest assured. With all the happenings the last few days she was exhausting herself. She needed this rest."
    Taking a deep breath in relief he sat at the table with Pol. Fiddling with a card from the table he then told Pol of his news from the tavern. Katarina heard him and she came and sat beside him. Once he was finished they sat in silence. All working their minds on what to do next.
    Behind them they could hear Jaccob mumbling in his sleep. At first they paid no attention to him for they were certain he was only dreaming. But after a few turse comments he made they realized he wasnt dreaming he was talking to someone and having quite a conversation. This old man has always been a puzzle to them. He had many a strange way about him. He had always remained a bit of a mystery to them all. They knew nothing of his past when he joined them on the Black Rose but they had always depended on him. He was always at the ready for them one way or another. They just attributed his talents to the fact that he was old and very worldly. Never suspecting anything else of him.
    Soon Jaccob was laughing and who ever he was speaking to he told them that they were listening. The old fool. He was asleep but still aware that the girls and Meyer were next to him. He said his goodbyes to his dream person and then began to snore again. At this Pol, Kat, and Meyer all looked at each other like the old man had finally cracked. It must be an affliction that came with old age. Standing they all went back to what they were doing by the table.
    "Katarina dear. You will need to try and get to the jail and tell Bella what is going on. That the ships have come and we will soon have her out of there. But do not and i repeat do not tell her about what happened today. That will only resolve her to try and fight harder than she needs to. Tell her to be wary and keep an ear open to her surroundings."
    With that Katarina went to the kitchen and out the back door. Meyer looked at Polgara strangely. "What should I do my lady? I am at your and Lady Crimson's service as always. I will not fail you."
    "You my good man have done plenty. Keep an watchful eye on Crimson for now. That is all i expect of you. When all hell breaks loose here you will know what to do as you always have known."
    Meyer stood and nodded his head. Walking over to Jaccob he draped a shawl over the old man and went to the kitchen to prepare the next meal.
    Pol gathered her cards once more and shuffled them. With a light blow from her lips over the cards she then started dealing them out on the table. For the most part the same cards appeared but then this time there were a couple new ones that appeared. The White Knight and the Black Ship appeared. With a smile on her face she sat back in her chair. This was indeed good to see. There was hope for their futures now.
     
  26. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Creeping through the brush near the town hall Katarina noticed there were no guards around the perimeter. This was good. When she reached the edge of the building she could see that only one guard stood outfront . Slipping back into the afternoon shadows of the southern side of the building she reached the window of the room in which Bella was being held. There Bella sat on the cot wringing her hands and fidgeting about. She was indeed nervous.
    "Psst....Psst. Bella come to the window."
    Looking around the room Bella went to the door first and put an ear to the door. No sounds from outside. Stepping as quiet as she could with chains on her feet she went to the window. The sight of Katarina's angelic face made her feel a bit better. She reached through the window and dragged the girl inside. Falling to the floor together they both held their breath waiting for a guard to come. After a moment the relaxed. No one heard them.
    "Katarina, are you insane coming here. Those guards will take you as well if you arent careful."
    "Oh calm down cousin. Unfortunately I have been taught to sneak around like a thief in the night so well that i could probably walk through that door and no one see me." With that comment Bella laughed under her breath so she couldnt be heard.
    "I have brought you a bit of food to eat and some news as well. Polgara has shown up in town along with Jaccob. We have also recieved news that several ships are moored in the distance near Skara.
    With the forces we have on the seas it should be no task at all to lay seige to the guards and get you out of here."
    Settling back on the floor and taking a deep breath Bella felt at ease for the first time. She knew that Crimson would do something to try and free her. Yes with their friends out on the ships coming into town it should be no hard deed to free her.
    "Please Kat. Tell the girls that i am well and i will be waiting for a sign of the attack. Have there been any decisions made of when this will take place. I heard the guards earlier talking about moving me to Britain soon. If this seige isnt soon i fear we may have to take this battle out on the public roads. And you know once we cross the harbor to the main land it will be very difficult. "
    "They havent decided as of yet. Pol had to put Crimson to bed with a sleeping draught. The toll of the last few days has weighed on her a great deal. She was beginning to show signs of fatigue and Pol thought it best for her to rest. You know how Crimson is. She will keep going until the end. She never knows her limits."
    Looking sorrowful Bella nodded her head. This she did know and that made her feel terrible inside. She never wanted to cause trouble for Crimson. All these years of trying to put her past behind her and now she was having to deal with it all again. The guilt seemed to wan on Bella more and more every passing hour.
    "Well, i guess i will just have to wait and bide my time until the plan is put into action. But please give me some warning if possible. Now little one you need to get out of here before the guards come by . They check on me very often as of late." With that she gave Kat a kiss on the cheek and tossed her out the window. Looking out the window she saw Katarina stand and rub herself from the fall. A quick glance back Kat saw the shimmer of a smile on Bella's face and then she was gone.
     
  27. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Once again slipping through the brush towards the inn Katarina instead made her way to Superior Ships. She had to get to the ship shop and get a spyglass. There was a great need to find out how many and what kind of ships were out there. No one seemed to be around the shop so she entered quietly and walked about. In the back room she could hear someone pounding on wood. Probably the shipwright working as usual. But there didnt seem to be anyone else about. On the table near the door were several spyglasses. Looking out the corner of her eye from side to side she quickly took one of the items from the table, dashed it under her cloak and left the building.
    Under her breath she muttered, "Oh great. Not only have i been sneaking around like a thief now i am taking things as well. Humm i may have to change my occupation."
    Pulling her hood over her head she went to the point out behind the shop and held the glass to her eye. She scanned the area she could see and off in the very distance she saw at least three ships to the south and three more off to the west. Without going to the other side of town she had no idea how many lay in wait there. With the sight of those ships though she felt a shiver of excitement go down her spine. Soon. She remembered what Bella said. Soon it had to happen.
    She had to get back and tell Pol what Bella had said and they had to begin making the final plans. When she turned around to leave the shoreline she straight into a tall dark hooded figure. The first sight of the black hood startled her and her first thought was that of the figures they had encountered outside the inn. Trying to back away and around this figure she started to stumble. A strong hand reached out and caught her before she fell. When she looked up at the hand she trailed her sight to the hood which was no longer there. Staring into the deepest blue eyes she realized this was no wraith or demon trying to take her. She was looking deeply into the ocean blue eyes of none other than Bloody Jack, the pirate.
     
  28. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Standing and putting her self right Kat looked again at the man. This is not right. Why would Jack be here. This could prove dangerous for all if he was spotted. Quickly she grabbed the collar of his cloak and pulled him into the bushes.
    "Well now little Katarina. I didnt know you were so taken we dear ole Jack."
    "Shut up you fool. You want to be spotted. What the hell are you doing here anyways. You are supposed to wait for a signal."
    Deep within his chest he let out a low chuckle. Leaning closer towards Kat he whispered in her ear. "I am the signal my dear. The others are waiting in shore boats for me to send out my call."
    Standing hunched over behind the bush he pulled Kat up from her knees.
    "Lets get to the inn so I can speak to Crimson. I must tell her of my plans to free Bella. And it cant wait much longer."
    The two of them hid within the shadows and entered through an open window at the back of the inn. When they walked into the parlor Pol, Jaccob and Meyer jumped in suprise. The look Pol gave Jack was that of disgust. Jaccob and Meyer grinned from ear to ear. They knew things were about to get very exciting and soon.
    "Well....Look what Kat dragged in and I dont mean that in gest."
    "Oh Polgara. Always the charmer arent you." A bright grin took his face as he approached and bowed graciously.
    "Stand up you fool and stop trying to impress me. I know your suave ways all too well. Remember it was I who introduced you to my family in the first place. And what a mistake that has proven to be."
    Throwing back his head with a boistrous laugh he once again bowed to Pol only this time he removed his hat and waved it to his side.
    "Well...I can see you havent changed abit. But honestly I have more important things to do right now Pol than to bicker with you."
    With that comment they all went to the table and sat. As if on que Meyer was there setting bottles of ale and glasses about. He left in a flash and returned with a tray of meat, cheese and bread. Almost magically the table was filled with enough food for an army and almost as much spirits to drink.
    "Thank you Meyer. You never forget do you." Meyer stood back with a satisfied smile on his face. He knew what the Captain liked.
    Taking a deep swallow of ale Jack cleared his throat. "Where is Crimson? I have important details to work out with her and it cannot wait."
    "She is sleeping and you will not disturb her for now. You can discuss your plans with us and we can fill her in later. She's been through quite a bit the last few days. You , yourself know how determined she can get and its taking its toll."
    Polgara looked deep into Jack's eyes. She didnt see the same things the others did. She only saw a man with the utmost disrespect for people and a man that was only out for as much as he could get for himself. Leaning into the table she continued to stare into his eyes.
    "Pol, must you do that? You know that makes me nervous. I feel like you are looking right through me as if i werent here and it is very disturbing."
    Slowly she leaned back into her chair and reached for a glass of ale. Oh how she hated the stuff but she drank anyways. Stuffing her face with some meat and cheese Katarina chewed quickly and drank just as fast of the ale. After a struggled swallow she cleared her throat to speak.
    "Both of you shut up please. I talked to Bella and she told me they intend to move her very soon. She is very nervous about this as they plan to move her to Britain itself. You know there is no court in that city that will give her a fair trial. We must move quickly for her sake."
    Pol and Jack looked at Kat and then back to each other. Both nodded in agreement. They knew they would have to move as quickly as possible.
    "That my dear girl is why I have come here. I would never risk my life in this fashion for just anyone. Bella means more to me than any of you will ever know and for this I have brought the forces that Crimson had sent for. Meeting many of them on the seas we have all poised ourselves in position to take over the town hall and remove Bella from their possesion."
    Pol looked at Jack like he had lost his mind but nodded in agreement. She knew that he would be able to handle those forces and get Bella out. But she also knew that Jack had to be careful to not cross with Crimson. This had to be of her choice and doing as well as his.
    "Jack you are forgettting one important factor here. ....Crimson. If you try to take charge of this endeavor she will strike you down where you stand. She wont tolerate mutiny now no more than she would when she ran the Black Rose."
    Jack sat back and contimplated Pol's words. He was very well aware of Crimson's wrath and had no intention of stepping out of bounds with her. Taking another drink he leaned the chair back and rocked it to and fro.
    "Well then my friends I think it's time we wake the sleeping rose and tell her of our news."
    The group looked around the table at each other for a moment and then all began to chuckle loudly.
     
  29. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Hearing the laughter coming from the parlor caused Crimson to waken. Raising on her elbows she tried to blink the sleep from her yere. Looking at the window she could see the sun was just about to set. The yellow and orange hues seemed to blanket the skies.
    Throwing back the thin blanket she swung her legs over the edge of the bed. Sitting slowly there was a slight lightness to her head. "Damn you Polgara", she cursed. She could hear the light voices outside the door. There was a new voice in the room she couldnt quite place. Grabbing the post of the bed she stretched abit and tried to work off the the drugged feeling she had. Her mind began to fume thinking how stupid she was to not pay attention to Polgara more. It was just like her cunning cousin to slip a sleeping agent into her cider. Crimson rarely touched stronger spirits as she always tried to keep her mind clear and it was obvious Pol had drugged her. The wave of dizziness passed as she reached for the doorknob and went out to assemble her group fo what they had to do.
    As she entered the parlor she noticed the new member who had joined her band of friends. Flaming red hair hung to his shoulders. Short red growth upon his chin. Arrogant chiseled jawline and that ridiculous captain's hat hanging from the knewl of the chair. It couldnt be him. As she came closer Jack raised his eyes to meet hers. When their sights connected a broad grin crossed his face. Raising his arms and linking his fingers to cup the back of his head he stretched and leaned back in the chair and began a slow rocking motion.
    "Ah. Seems we dont need to bother waking the lady after all. I do hope you had a well deserved rest as we have plenty to do."
    Standing frozen in place she could only stare at Jack. Looking into that smircking peacock's face did more than waken Crimson from a foggy sleep. She felt her blood begin to boil.
    "You crazy fool. What the hell are you doing here? Do you have some sort of death wish or something? What a pompous idiot you have become. If you are caught this whole thing will be for naught."
    "Oh Crimson love do calm down. No one knows i am here but who is present. Oh and the crew of miscriants you have assembled who are waiting off shore."
    Crimson didnt know what to say after that. The others seemed to grow quiet. Just like that hush before the storm. The friction which now filled the room caused one to wonder if the walls would burst into flames. Seeing Jack sitting there angered Crimson. Here this rogue sat safe and reasonably sound while her sister sat in a jail waiting her death.
    Jaccob rose from his chair and went to Crimson's side. Leading her to the table he pulled the chair out for her so she could sit. The gentleman pirate he would forever be. Immediately Meyer was there at her side with a fresh tray of hot food and a pot of her favorite tea. The man was amazing. Always at the ready without a word said. Glancing up at the two men Crimson simply smiled and nodded her thanks to them. Ever faithful, ever true. The oldest remaining members of her crew. They left the Black Rose the same time she did. That must of been when Jack and Bella helped Meyer with the inn. At that moment Crimson realized the common thread between her and all that was present that day. Devotion and loyalty. Even from Jack.
     
  30. Guest

    Guest Guest

    While Crimson sipped her tea Kat explained to her the news that Bella had sendt. Jack also stated that he and the others out on the sea were ready to come into the city when she was. Polgara said nothing. She only stared at Crimson trying to determine her reaction to the news. Jack stood up quickly turning over his chair as he did and began pacing the floor. Pol couldnt tell if he was nervous, anxious or both.
    "Please Jack, do sit down. Wearing a groove in the floorboards will not help us in our task." Snapping his head around in Pol's direction he made a snorting sound in disgust.
    "And sitting here sipping tea and cordials isnt going to help either, Pol. We need to make ready and be prepared."
    Kat watched Crimson all this time and saw a slow smile form on her face. Before Pol could reply Crimson cleared her throat to get their attention.
    "if you two would hush for a moment I might be able to think."
    The two stopped and looked her way. It was the fiest thing she had said since she sat down and the calmness in her voice was puzzling to them. Setting down her cup she rested her hands on the table. Then at once with a hard slap to the surface she stood.
    "Its time to get ready. Call everyone to the parlor and we will set our plan in motion."
    With a yelp of enthusiasm Jack jumped and went looking for Jaccob and Meyer. Kat and Pol headed towards one of the bedrooms. Crimson went back to her room as well.
    Changing into her old clothes brought back vivid memories of her seafaring days. Trousers, fancy shirt, leather thigh boots. Her sash still fit well too. Amazing after ten years she felt quite comfortable in these clothes. Shaking her head she had to remind herself that she gave up this way of life for a reason. She was no longer that person and after this was over she would return home.
    With crickets chirping outside her window she knew it was well into the eveing. Everyone had gathered once again in the parlor. When Crimson entered the area all turned and looked at her. With approving smiles from everyone she walked to the table and placed a map of Skara Brae on top. Opening the map she took pen to hand and began marking spots all over surrounding the town hall. This is where Jack had said the men were waiting. The island was indeed surrounded. If the group assembled outside along the banks was a large as Jack said it was there should be very little trouble taking over the guards and getting Bella out of town. As they began to discuss the plan there was a soft knock at the front door. Meyer slowly opened it and let a small wisp of a girl enter. Leaning against the wall next to the door the girl tried to catch her breath. Looking around she noticed Jack poised by the table and she went to him. Throwing her arms about his waste with a hug she then quickly stood back and erect like a soldier.
    "Captain. The men are at the ready. They await the signal when ever you and the ladies are ready to begin. Upon the hour of eleven I will light the town beacon which will be their sign to attack. The orders you have sent out to them will be followed to the letter ,sir. " She smiled slightly at Jack and then continued. "Horses are being held across the bay at the woodcutters cottage. They are ready for your escape sir. My brother Benjamin is there as we speak."
    Lowering his head he glanced at Crimson from the corner of his eye. When he saw the smile emerge on her face he knew he had done well and she approved of his plans. Standing tall he patted the little girl on the head and bent to her height. With a light flick of his finger on her nose he smiled at her.
    "Well done, Bernadette. Now little one you remember. Once the light has been set you are to run. Run as fast as you can and take cover. Stay hidden until things settle down and then you may join your brother . Once you two are together you go to the meeting place and board the ship. Then you will be safe."
    When Jack straightened the girl smiled and curtsied. Nodding to him she understood she went to the door. "Be safe Captain. And good luck." With that she slipped out the door into the dark.
    Once the door closed all looked at Jack. He just shrugged his shoulders and went back to looking at the map like there was no change in their plans. This was a side of Jack none had seen before. Shaking her head Crimson turned to Meyer and Jaccob.
    "You two dear souls are to make ready and leave the city immediately. I dont want you here when this starts. Head to the coastline of Britany Bay. Aletta waits for you there. Once we are in safe keeping I will send word to you. Is that understood?"
    The two men looked at Crimson with disappointment. They couldnt understand why she was sending them away.
    "My lady. I cannot leave my inn. I will stay and protect what is mine. They will give me no trouble. And Jaccob can slip back to his cottage and none will be the wiser."
    "NO! Meyer my dear friend. You will be the first they come to when this is over. There are some around that know your and Jaccob's past. Most certain there are spies about as well. Dont's forget there is more out there than the city guards to worry over. You two need to be safe from Skara Brae as much as us. I want you to go to Aletta and wait for word from me. Please do not argue with me. My mind is busy already without another obstacle. Please do as I say."
    With much regret the two went about gathering their meager belongings. They didnt need much. Aletta would provide anything they needed. As they came back into the parlor Jaccob came face to face with Jack. With a crooked finger he poked Jack in the chest.
    "You! You devil in disguise. Best you take care of my girls. See no harm comes to them during this fight. If i be finding out you let one of them get hurt there wont be a place anywhere you can hide from me. Remember this. I may be old but I know many."
    Meyer nodded in agreement to Jaccob's claim. And with that Jack placed a hand on each man's shoulder. "Have no fear, friends. If its the last thing I do , and it very well may be I will protect them with all that I have and all that I am."
    With a grunt Jaccob looked over his shoulder to the girls. Lowering his head he and Meyer slipped out the door and out of sight.
    Wiping a tear from her eye Polgara reached out and touch Crimson's arm.
    "Are we ready to go , cousin?"
    "Aye. We are ready!"
     
  31. Guest

    Guest Guest

    As the two older men reached the docks Meyer turned and looked back to the inn. One by one the lights went out inside. Taking the small ferry across the bay was the hardest thing he had done in quite a while. Jaccob patted him on the shoulder and nodded towards the open sea. There in the distance they could see spots of light. In all the directions they could see there were lights bobbing along the waterline. The ships had moved inland a bit closer. Once on the other side they climbed out of the small boat and crossed the docks. Walking towards the road Jaccob pulled Meyer close to him.
    "We must get to Luna. I have great need to get there. We must make our way to the Brit gate and cross over to Malas."
    Meyer looked at Jaccob like he had lost his mind. This old fool had no idea what he was asking. Never had Meyer gone to Malas. There was no way he could take such a trip. And if Crimson found out she would have their heads.
    "Come Meyer. Dont be frightened. I have friends in Malas. Nothing will happen to you there. Especially Luna. The City of the Paladins is great and welcoming. We must get there quickly. Come we must make haste. We will stop and see Aletta before we cross over to Malas. But we must hurry."
    Taking the road to the right they headed towards his cottage. They could get horses there and make their way to the Brit coast. If they hurried they could reach the coast by day break.
     
  32. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Late morning sun gleaming off the last of the dew in the trees made for a very tranquil morning indeed. Aletta decided to drag her spinning wheel out to the balcony before starting her spinning. After constructing the rail around the roof of the stables she had made a bit of a garden spot there. Hiring someone to build the stone oven was the best thing she had done in years. And with the sturdy oak logs underneath there was no fear of the roof caving in. Birds chirping in the tops of the trees right next to her made her feel so at ease.
    Off in the distance she could hear the nicker of horses as they approached. Peering through the fence she could see two riders coming. Surely they werent coming there. The neighbors must be expecting guests for she certainly wasnt. But the riders were coming straight towards her. Odd she thought. Everyone she knew was either in Skara Brae or heading that way. She had recieved orders to stay there and not come to help. What help would a tailor be in this fight.
    Putting down her wool she stood and headed down to the first floor of the house. She would meet these riders at the door. But once she went through the door and saw who it was she screeched with joy. Quickly she ran and opened the stable gate and helped lead the weary horses inside. Jaccob and Meyer both looked worn to the nub. It was obvious they had rode all night long.
    "Come the two of you . Come in and take your rest. I will tend the horse quickly and then come in and tend to you." With a smile from them both they went through the door and collapsed in the soft chairs inside. Loooking around them they could see this was indeed a safe place to be.
    As fast as she could Aletta unsaddled the horses and led them to the water troughs. Pulling out the feed sacks she bridled one then the other to the horses so they could feed. The fresh breeze from the ocean glided gently over the sweating horses. They shivered lightly from the wind but continued to eat and let themselves be made over. Once she was certain they were cared for Aletta went into the house to care for her guests.
    Walking from one man to the other she took great pains to see that both were alright. Tired and hungry was all she could see. Letting them rest and regain some strength she went upstairs to get them some food and drink.
    Within a few minutes she returned and in tow she carried a tray laden with food stuffs and drink. Setting it on the table between the two men she then came round and sat on the floor infront of them and watched as they ate.
    "When you have had your fill you must tell me whats going on. I have been going insane here alone and not knowing. With you two here I can only assume that things have been taken into hand and are progressing well."
    They both nodded and continued to eat and drink. With his last gulp, Jaccob wiped his mouth with his sleeve and sunk back into the soft cushions of the chair.
    "Aye my lassie. Things are going for sure. Of what direction we dont know. Your cousin sent us on our way before anything began. So the outcome we are not certain. She bade us to come here and stay til she sends word to us."
    "Ah. Twas a good deed she has given you. You shall be safe here. No one is aware of who we are here and where we came from. You shall be at home here as long as she sees fit."
    "No my dear. I myself have a task that must be completed. Crimson knows not of this. The dangers that they face in Skara Brae are minor compared to that which awaits them. I must get to Luna and quickly. Meyer may stay here if he wishes but I cannot."
    "Luna. Why in the world would you need to go to Luna? The stone city is no place for you Jaccob."
    "You are wrong my child. Luna is the one place I need to be. There is one that resides there that can help in the task that follows."
    Looking with concern to Meyer he began to tell Aletta about the hooded figures that attacked Crimson at the inn. He told of how he knew a man in Luna that would be able to help dispatch these evil creatures. As he went on the feeling came over Aletta that this was not going to be the end of trouble with her family. It was actually only beginning
     
  33. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Going to the trunks stacked in the corner Aletta pulled out some clothing for Meyer to change into. They had to wear fairly regal clothing if they were to go to Luna without being too suspicious looking. And from the looks of those two old men they would stand out for certain. Inside the bottom trunk she pulled out a long yellow gold robe, and some other items for Jaccob. Handing him the clothing she smiled and stood there staring at the cloth. After a moment she excused herself and went to change her own tattered dress. When she returned she gasped in suprise when she saw Jaccob standing there. Straight and noble looking holding onto a long gnarled staff he looked so much like her father. Jaccob turned and his long beard and hair had been smoothed. With a glint in his eye he could of passed for Aletta's father any day. She turned and went to her bedroom quickly.
    Kneeling down she reached under her bed and pulled out a long blanket wrapped object. Carrying it in her arms like a fragile child she went back down stairs. Slowly she approached Jaccob and extended her arms to him. Taking the object from her he unwrapped the bundle. What he saw suprised him totally.
    There in his hands was the most eloquently carved staff. The head bore a small carving of a dragon. Along the shaft runic markings were carved. And there just under the dragon head was the unmistakable sign of Aletta's family crest. A large carved and painted rose embedded into the staff. It looked so real. Cradling the staff to him he saw that a small tear rolled down Aletta's face.
    "I thought this was lost long ago. Never did i believe it would still be in the keeping of the family."
    His comment puzzled Aletta greatly. How would he know about the staff? No one knew she had it for she kept it hidden even from the other girls. The man seemed to know exactly what it was and who it belonged to. Family. He said family. What did that mean?
    "My brother, your father held this with him always. When he died I thought the staff was lost. We searched high and low for it. Where did you find it dear Aletta?"
    Still abit shocked by this revelation Aletta came closer to Jaccob. She could see the resemblence even more now. Jaccob was her uncle. Thoughts filled her head. The only brother her father had was Crimson and Bella's father. Her eyes grew bigger when she realized that Jaccob was their father and they didnt know it. It all began to come into place. When her father died Jaccob suddenly appeared and stayed with the girls always. She never knew either. She had not seen her uncle since she was a very small child. Living the way they did she never questioned the devotion and affection he always paid them. Now it all made sense.
    "I went to where father had died. Under the cover of leaves and grass i found the staff. I knew it held great power and that if in the wrong hands it could be very dangerous. ..So i hid it. The others dont even know i have it. I intentionally kept it from them. They had no idea what power it holds."
    Shaking his head and laughing loudly she put his arm around her shoulder while still holding the staff closely. Giving her a great squeeze she could feel the power that the old man still had. He may look like an old man but he was as strong as ever. Playing the part of an old galley dog fit him well. Hiding his strength was done very well. This old man would be a great advisary.
    The two of them went down to the parlor where Meyer had been waiting. He looked at the two of them in suprise. He had known Jaccob for a long time but he now saw him in a different light. This was no feeble man standing before him now. This was a vibrant man with much strength and his fears began to slip away bit by bit. He no longer felt the old man insane. Shaking his head he laughed at how foolish he must of sounded when Jaccob mentioned going to Luna. This trip indeed would bode well.
    "My lady. I took the opportunity to ready the horses. We are short one horse but I would be honored if you would ride with me. I think my horse will carry us both nicely."
    "Thank you Meyer and stop with all the fancy talk. I am still the same puny girl you used to chase off the mast lines when i was younger. Although now I know a bit more of my heritage I am still the same."
    Smiling greatly Meyer went to the door and opened it holding it for the others to go outside. When they went to the stable the horses were indeed ready. Leading them out to the front of the house they mounted up and headed west to the moongate. It was a short ride from the coast and as they grew closer Aletta could feel the tension mount in Meyer's shoulders. Gently she patted him on the back trying to reassure him things would be ok.
    As they reached the gate there were several riders standing about. One that looked vaguely familiar to Jaccob. When the dark cloaked woman turned on her horse her firey red locks flew freely from her hood. When she saw them come closer a broad smile crossed her face.
    "By the gods I dont believe it. Jaccob. Meyer. And Aletta too. But how ...how did you get out of Skara. The gates are so heavily guarded."
    Drawing to a halt Jaccob dismounted and went to the lady. Wrapping his arms about her he laughed. Standing back he surveyed the woman from all angles and hugged her once again.
    "My, my. Scarlett you are a sight for sore eyes. It has been a long time."
    "Yes it has..and if things dont go well this eve it will be even longer for some of us."
    "What? Dont tell me you are heading to Skara Brae. Oh indeed this would be a fight worth watching. But I got my orders from Crimson herself to leave and come here to the coast. She sent us to Aletta and bade us to stay here until she sent for us."
    "Well old man. If memory serves me correctly the coast it in the opposite directions." Laughing she pointed to the way they had come from.
    "Your memory is fine sweetling. But I have pressing business in Luna. I dont have time to explain now. Only this. The trouble you head for tonight is only the beginning. There is a plot about us that must be stopped. This with Bella is only a ruse i am afraid. And none of you girls are safe. There is more to this than the folly in Skara Brae."
    Looking into Jaccob's eyes she knew he was serious. This man was never known for dallying with words and such. So she took his warnings to heart.
    "Be wary and careful Scarlett. If the tide of battle changes to the worst take who you can and flee quickly. Remember there is something far worse out there. Take heed my words girl. It will save your life one day."
    With an impish grin Scarlett hugged the old man and quickly mounted her steed. Her followers paced about the area of the gate inpatiently. With a small salute she yelled out for the others to follow her and inside the gate they rode. The crackling sounds of the gate shook Meyer to the core of his being. When he opened his eyes again they were all gone. The gate stood shimmering like a ghost.
    "Come you two....we must be off through the gate."
    With that he threw himself up on the horse and pulled the horse's head towards the gate. Having not been through a moongate in a long time he trotted around it nervously.
    "Remember Meyer. Concentrate on where you are going when you enter. You too Aletta. I dont need to be gating around lookin for the two of you if you get lost."
    "I know Uncle. I am not as rusty at gate jumping as you think. Why do you think i moved so close to this one. I use it all the time." Laughing she reached around Meyer and grabbed the reins. Kicking the horse in the sides she steered the horse right into the gate. Meyer slammed his eyes closed and held his breath.
    "Luna. Luna. Luna." He repeated this over and over hoping this whippet of a girl really knew what she was doing. With a loud laugh Jaccob too kicked his horse into stride and entered the gate behind them.
     
  34. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Hunching behind the woodpile Crimson could see the guards gathering infront of the townhall. Thinking to herself they must be getting ready to move Bella. There was no time to waste...It would be daylight soon and there was no way to turn back now. She tried counting how many there were but she kept losing track of them when they moved. Damn she was out of practice at this stuff.
    Suddenly she felt something touch her shoulder. Frightened chills ran up her spine as she turned her head slowly. There in the moonlight a whimsical face appeared. Katarina.
    "Damn you Kat. You trying to give me a heart seizure or what?"
    With a faint giggle she snuggled closer to Crimson behind the stacked wood.
    "Sorry. I had to sneak up here. There are guards all around the city. They are waiting for something to happen. Last i counted there were at least fifty guards throughout. And....there are three Royal Guard ships on the north east side of the docks. They are moored up the coast a bit."
    A groan came from deep in her chest. Crimson was getting very impatient. And this news wasnt making her feel any better. Kneeling there in the cold damp night she had to think of what to do. They had to get into the town hall quickly once things broke loose.
    "You sound like a sick bear when you make that sound Crimson."
    With that comment she jumped a bit. Turning her head she saw Jack squatting next to her.
    "Damn you Jack. If one more person sneaks up on me I will go insane. I am gonna strike out at the next sneaky voice i hear from behind me. "
    Jack and Kat both giggled a bit under there breath. They truly enjoyed driving her crazy.
    "Just thought i would let you know that the Royal ships are taken care of. One of your groups out there successfully boarded all three ships and have taken control of them. Wasnt too hard. There were only about ten men on each ship. They got em in the holds for now. Once the fighting starts they intend to sail them out into the harbor and break the rudders so they sail off into the horizon." Laughing lightly he waved his hand to the side. "Off into the sunrise and not a thing they can do til they hit land. Seems fitting dont you think."
    Crimson rolled her eyes at his dramatics. But a grin came to her and she couldnt help but chuckle a bit herself.
    "Did you happen to be able to count any of the guards while you were sneakin about Jack?"
    "Aye. There are about 10 guards around the bank. A dozen or so at the moongate and then of course there are about 20 or so at the docks. Then those there by the townhall. I couldnt get anywhere else."
    "Ah the ones i counted were near the stables and some scattered in the edge of the woods. Jack, you and Crimson gonna go in from here?"
    "Yes. I intend to get into that building one way or another. There has to be guards inside as well. You stay near the docks so you can get away as quick as possible, Kat."
    "Aye aye, captain. There should be plenty for me to take care of there for certain."
    With a sturdy look towards Kat Crimson ground her teeth.
    "No heroics, cousin. And where the hell is Polgara. I havent seen her since we left the inn?"
    Jack sniffed the air a bit and leaned closer to Crimson. "She headed towards the docks when we left. I think she was planning something but who knows what. That lady actually scares the pants off me sometimes. She is one creepy lady. Does she have to always be so mysterious?"
    Both girls gave a wink to each other and giggled quietly.
    "Why, Jack! I didnt think you were afraid of anyone. And to be afraid of Polgara that is funny. She pretends to be mysterious as you put it. Its part of her disguise. She is about as theatrical as you most times."
    "Ha! She just gives me the creeps thats all. ALways staring at me like she can see through me."
    "She cant see through you she just can see past you thats all."
    With that comment Jack groaned himself. Kat and Crimson smiled at each other and continued to look out at the guards. Jack looked up at the stars and saw that it was well past midnight. Something had gone wrong. Bernadette was to light the signal at eleven. Damn he thought to himself. She must have gotten caught.
    No sooner than he thought this the skies near the town hall lit up with fire. The beacon had been lit. Through the trees and bushes he could hear movement. The men from the boats had started their approach. It was time to move in.
     
  35. Guest

    Guest Guest

    From the shadows Crimson could see the men moving forward. Looking over her shoulder she could see the outline of Katarina as she moved back towards the docks. All at once the yells and sounds of metal against metal could be heard. Grabbing Jack by the arm they made their move towards the townhall. All hell was breaking lose and they had no time to lose. Reaching the window of the room where Bella was being held they could see that a guard was inside with Bella and had her pinned against the wall near the door.
    Looking over the guards shoulder Bella could see Crimson peering into the window. With his knife at her throat it was impossible for Bella to make a move at all. Crimson nodded to Bella and with that she tried to lean slightly away from the guard. At once the thrump of a bow string could be heard and Bella could feel the impact of the arrow as it entered the guards back. As he slid to the floor at her feet the edge of the knife knicked her neck but it was nothing serious. When the guard lay dead on the floor Crimson climbed in through the window and ran to Bella. A shadow appeared in the window behind her and Bella held her breath and knelt to retrieve the guards knife. When she stood and made to throw the knife in the shadows direction she dropped the weapon when she saw the bright grin on Jack's face.
    "Now there dear...I dont think you be wanting to kill Jack right this minute. After all I be here to rescue you. Your sister just came along for the fun of it all."
    With that Bella ran and threw her arms about Jack's neck and kissed him roughly on the lips. Crimson turned her head away and went to the door to listen for the guards outside. It seemed all too quiet.
    "Let's get out of here. There being about 10 guards out that door I dont want to be facing them just yet." She turned back to Crimson with her arm linked with Jack's. Still listening at the door Crimson reached behind her not looking and handed Bella a sack.
    "Here. Put these things on. And your sword is inside too. You might be needing it soon." With that Crimson looked over her shoulder to Bella and smiled.
    "Bel. This isnt gonna be easy getting out of here. We cant go out the window or we'll be seen. Its out the door or nothing. Do or die time, sister. Do or die."
    Both Bella and Jack grinned brightly to hear such words come from Crimson. The years away from the Black Rose had not taken the fighting spirit out of her after all.
    Once Bella was dressed she came behind Crimson. Jack stood next to the door as well. From the sounds outside there was a mighty fight going. The screams of townfolk and that of men dying was overwhelming. It seemed to charge the feelings in the girls and Jack. Itching to get into the action Jack reached for the door knob. Turning the knob slowly he looked one last time at them.
    "Do or Die, ladies. Do or die."
    All three had their cutlass at the ready. Holding them high and ready to attack as soon as the door flew open. Throwing the door open they ran out into the open hallway of the townhall. What they saw was amazing to say the least.
    Standing in the middle of the hall was a woman clad in the darkest blue. Her cape flowing massively about her. The raven black locks of her hair seemed to float in the air sending charges of electricity throughout the area. At her feet and around the room the guards lay motionless. As she lowered her arms the calm began to return to the room and the wind that surrounded her subsided.
    Crimson stood ready for battle, frozen in place at the sight before her. Bella and Jack stood next to her cutlass in the air and mouthes wide open in suprise.
    They were all shocked at the sight before them. They had no idea such power could be used like this. Lowering her arms to her side the woman looked at the trio and smiled. Then she collapsed to the floor along with her victims.
    Crimson ran to her side and cradled her head in her lap. She had no idea.
    "Polgara..you fool. Are you alright?"
    With a light flutter of her eyelids she rolled her head from side to side. As Crimson tended her cousin Bella and Jack went to the door at the front of the hall. They could hear running and scuffling outside. Jack opened the door slightly and peered outside to survey the area. There were bodies everywhere but he couldnt tell from the darkness who was who. The town beacon was dying down leaving very little light to see clearly. The street lamps were so low it gave off very little to see by. Coming towards the townhall was a band of men on horseback. Shutting the door he and Bella tried to barricade it so no one could enter.
     
  36. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Standing with their backs against the door they tried to catch their breath. Crimson looked up at them with confusion in her eyes. They shook their heads to her letting her know that there was no way out except the way they came in. Polgara began to stir and she slowly sat up.
    "I..I'm alright. Just need to let myself regain some composure. That spell took alot out of me, otherwise I am fine." Taking a deep breath Crimson looked a bit relieved. This was indeed going to be tricky trying to get out of the hall. And with Polgara weak it would make it harder.
    "Crimson. My bag. Get it for me please." Reaching for the blue bag on the floor she pulled over to Pol. Once again she looked at Bella and Jack to see what they were doing. Jack had crawled over to one of the front windows and peaked through the arrow slot. The riders had dismounted and there what seemed to be standing guard. A few guards came towards them but were quickly dispatched. Looking back at the girls he shook his head and then continued to watch outside.
    Pol pulled a bottle out of her bag and drank it quickly. Within moments she seemed to be back to normal. Standing up and brushing herself off she looked about the room at the damage she had done. With a shrug of her shoulders she bent to gather up her bag. Pulling out her kryss she slid it into the sheath at her side and tied the bag to her belt. She was preparing for battle once again.
    "Those riders have posted themselves outside the door. They seem to be on our side. But they aint making no move to come inside." Jack twisted his head on his shoulders making an awful cracking sound. Holding his cutlass in his hand he stood ready. Bella was quickly at his side.
    Crimson and Polgara stood side by side waiting for what was to come through the door. Looking out the hole again Jack could see two more riders joined the group. The last one to dismount looked about the grounds at the carnage before them. Then coming to the door the dark cloaked one pounded ferociously on the door.
     
  37. Guest

    Guest Guest

    The pounding continued on the door. For a moment they thought it would cave in but it held. Then a voice from the past shouted out to them. This voice made Bella jump. With that she began tearing at the chairs and tables blocking the door. Jack began helping her as she seemed frantic to get to the door. Once the last was removed she threw the door open. With the faint lamppost light shadowing the figure it began to enter the hall. Two others followed close behind. As they moved in Bella and Jack back away to where Crimson and Polgara stood. When the last one entered and closed the door he stood infront blocking it. Pulling the hood down and shaking its head about , long amber locks of hair flowed about its shoulders. Slowly raising its head they could see this figure was a woman.
    With suprise in her eyes when she saw the four of them standing in awe she spread her arms out in welcome. With this Bella ran to the woman and hugged her tightly. Pol stood and stared with that never ending glare of mystery. Jack crossed his arms across his chest and smiled. But Crimson had the look of contempt to her face. This woman was one she didnt expect to see and had hoped not to.
    "Well this is a fine welcome. I come across miles and miles of dangerous ground for this reunion and only one seems to be pleased to see me."
    "Oh it is a pleasure to see you Scarlett but we have very little time to talk."
    Bella pulled away from her sister and stood back from her shaking her head in agreement.
    "Yes we need to get moving. On your way here did you see how the battle was going out there." Crimson was getting impatient again and Pol seemed to be abit beside herself as well.
    Looking at her twin sister Scarlett crossed towards her.
    "Yes i saw. When we came through the moongate we had to take care of the guards there. Had to of been at least twenty men there. But it was no bother really. Getting into town was a bit of a challenge. Seems whoever you have angered was determined to keep hold of you baby sister. But with the forces out there I do believe the path should be clear."
    "Should be or could be. From the sounds out there the fight is still going strong." Jack seemed anxious to get out there .
    "Aye, Jack. But its of no bother to me. My men can handle whats out there."
    With that Pol choked back a laugh. She always had thought that Scarlett was rather arrogant. Time and time again she had to prove her wrong and was punished for it greatly. They were never permitted to fight with one another for their fathers always forbid it.
    "Well we need to get Bella out of here and down to the docks. There are horses across the bay waiting for us. We just need to get past all the chaos out there."
    "Crimson the world would be nothing without chaos. I do my part to keep it going but there's only so much one woman can do."
    With that the men with Scarlett let out a laugh. Bella and Jack joined in on the humor. But from the looks on Crimson and Pol's faces there was no way to humor them.
    "You two have no sense of humor at all do you. Has the world of finery and propriety warped you so much that you cannot enjoy a bit of jest.?"
    Shaking their heads they began to adjust their weapons and make way to the door. The one man guarding the door stood fast. He wasnt about to let anyone pass one way or the other without word from Scarlett.
    "If you could have your man get out of my way we might be able to get going. I dont have forever to stand about talking. We must be on our way."
    Slightly shrugging her shoulders Scarlett turned and nodded for him to move out of the way.
    "I do tell you , sister you are undaunting to say the least. Hurry , hurry , and no where to go. The docks are still cluttered with guards. We need to clear a path there before we can cross."
    "We. Where does this we come from. I dont remember asking you to come and help. Your kind isnt going to make the situation any better. It's bad enough I had to call on pirates to help as it is. But since a pirate got into this mess i figured a pirate should help get her out. I recieved your letter when i first got here but i didnt send a reply. Why did you come here anyways?"
    Everyone stood looking at Crimson like she was a mad person. Never had they heard her raise her voice so. The situation was indeed taking a toll on her. Pol tried to calm her but there was nothing going to soothe her anger. Crimson was angry and there was no stopping her.
    "I came here to help my sister. Thats what family is for Crimson. Not turning their backs on one another. Yes we each went our seperate ways but with the knowledge we would be at each other's backs when needed. Or did you forget that pledge? You were the one who made it and made us swear to it."
    Pulling Scarlet aside from the others she had to seperate them before they came to blows. Away from the others she explained to Scarlett the events of the past few days. The hooded figures. The attack. The secrecy about this man Bella supposedly killed. She had to make Scarlett understand why Crimson was acting like she was. When she was done talking Scarlett turned to her sisters but said nothing.
    With a few hand gestures she had her two men leave the house. Turning with a grim look on her face she spoke softly.
    "My men will check the perimeter and the docks. As soon as we have words we can begin to move out. We must get to the Britain coast as quickly as possible."
    With that they all made ready and waited for the signal from the Shadowlord men who came with her.
     
  38. Guest

    Guest Guest

    For what seemed like forever they all stood in silence til there was a knock on the door. Jack went to look through the window slot and saw that it was one of the men traveling with Scarlett. He opened the door slightly to confirm who it was. With a nod Jack let the man enter. Approaching Scarlett he said something to her and then went back to the door.
    "It seems all forces have merged to the docks. Looks like we are gonna have to fight our way through to get across. Unless you'd rather swim across." With a devilish grin she winked at Bella. She knew there was no way Polgara would do that. She had always hated the water. Even sailing on the ships made her somewhat nervous. It wasnt that she didnt know how to swim she just didnt like it.
    Crimson sinched up her belt and straighten her clothes. She was as ready as she would ever be. The others made themselves ready as well. Once again Jack made that terrible crackling sound with his neck and went to Bella's side.
    "No matter what happens out there we have to get Bella..and.. Crimson out of here. For some reason those two have become targets and that is our main focus."
    Everyone looked at Jack and nodded in agreement. And with that they headed to the door. When the door opened the cool night air met them. They had been inside for so long they had no idea what the weather was like. Even Scarlett noticed the change in the air. It had grown cool and damp. The darkness seemed to deepen as well. Each one as they stepped outside tried their best to blend into the shadows. Almost in single formation they skirted the edge of the townhall and across to the trees behind it. From there they made way to the back side of the inn. They could hear the shouts and clashing of blades towards the docks. The first thing that came to Crimson's mind was that Katarina was down there. In silence she gave a small prayer that the girl was alright.
     
  39. Guest

    Guest Guest

    With silent motion Crimson started pointing out positions and trying to get everyone into place. With a nod they moved out towards the battle. When they rounded the side of the inn they could see the fighting on the docks. There were so many bodies on the ground and so many fighting they couldnt believe what was happening. Guards by the score it seemed appeared from no where. Pirates and others were swarming the banks and heading straight into the fray. Crimson's small group looked about and found where they needed to be. With a raise of her hand they followed Crimson towards the docks. As they came closer , yelling as they went they raised their blades and fell into the fight.
    Jack and Bella side by side took the guards down one by one. Crimson and Scarlett with backs to each other fought furiously at the men who ran to them. Running across the docks as if she was flying Polgara made way to her ship. As she ran her kryss sliced a way through the men. They tumbled into the waters off the docks and she finally found her way to the plank. Running up to the deck she turned at the top so she could see the whole battle. There in she dropped her weapon and stood straight. Raising hands above her head she started chanting. After a few moments creatures began to appear and began attacking the guards. The demonish monsters tore and shredded the guards so badly that the men began to retreat a bit. Some foolish ones decided to try and fight the monsters. But they too soon fell. When the major part of the guards were laying about the ground dead or dying Polgara yelled to Crimson for them to make way to the edge of the docks.
    Reaching the edge there were several men standing guard holding back the throws of guards and protecting the boats. On the other side of the crossing Crimson could see more of their men fighting there as well. The enemy seemed to never stop coming. When they approached the men at the boats they seemed to step aside for them. Fighting their way through they jumped into the boats and started to make way across the water. From somewhere arrows came flying. As they rowed to the other side they had to continually duck the arrows. Only a few feet from the other side Bella yelled out to Polgara but Crimson couldnt tell what she said. All at once the banks of their escape were set aflame and the screaming of men could be heard. Pol had seen then where the arrows were coming from and set the banks on fire. The once hidden men jumped into the waters to escape the fires. Bella turned slightly in the boat and signaled to Polgara.
    When they reached the other side most of the enemy were taken care of. Jack helped Bella out of the boat to shore and then quickly went to help Crimson and the others. Standing on the docks they looked out over the sight of Skara Brae. Demon creatures still chased and clawed at the guards and soon the men that had come to help their escape began to disappear into the shadows as quickly as they had appeared.
    Crimson could see Polgara standing on the deck of her ship as it pulled away from the docks. The other ships began to move out as well. Pol waved with enthusiasm as her ship pulled out. Crimson smiled and waved back.
    Within moments they began to run through the woods towards Jaccbo's house. There they would get their horses and make way to the Britain coast.
     
  40. Guest

    Guest Guest

    The silence in the woods as they made way to Jaccob's was unnerving. Not even the regular night sounds could be heard. The fine hairs on her neck stood on end as Crimson weaved in and out of the trees. The others followed close behind her and they too could feel something wasnt right here. In the distance Jaccob's house could be seen. A light shown from one window and as they grew closer a figure could be seen moving about inside. They knew Bernadette's brother was supposed to be there but they didnt really think the boy would be foolish enough to make his presence known. Not with them heading that way.
    Jack motioned for them to stay back a ways and he went to the window that was lit. Inside he saw someone cloaked pacing back and forth. He couldnt tell who it was. There seemed to be no one else in the room. Sliding down to the ground and crawling back to where Crimson and the others were he had a strange feeling about what was going on.
    "There is someone in the house but i dont know who it is. They are cloaked and very agitated about something."
    Crimson could hear the concern in Jack's voice. But they had been delayed long enough. They had to get to the horses and get moving soon.
    "Well leaving Scarlett and her men traveling the road near us might not have been a good idea. An ambush will make her very angry. I say we approach and try to take the person inside and find out whats going on." That comment confused Jack. Crimson wasnt usually so forward and rarely moved with out planning ahead. But he agreed. They didnt have time to stake out a master plan now. Their only plan was that of getting as far away from Skara Brae as possible.
    Stooping low and moving quietly through the brush they made way to the house. The small log cabin was only one floor so there was no fear of being seen or attacked from above. Not unless someone was hiding in the trees and that was doubtful. The trees in the immediate area were quite small. Newly planted saplings to replace the larger older trees that Jaccob used for his craft.
    Once they were below the window Bella and Jack made way to opposite sides of the porch. Crimson herself moved slowly to the front. As softly as she could she gained the stairs and made way to the door. Jack and Bella crawled below the windows on the front and stood guard on either side of the door.
    With as much force as she had Crimson raised a leg to kick in the rough huned door. The sound of splintering wood was almost deafening in the silence that fell upon the forest. Hanging by only the top hinge the door lay to the side. The cloaked figure turned quickly and was standing in the middle of the room.
     
  41. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Standing , facing the hooded stranger sent chills down Crimson's back. Jack and Bella stood the ready next to her. The three were ready for anything this person was willing to throw at them. With a flourish the hooded one threw back the cloak and hood and stood smiling at them.
    "Well its about time you got here. I have been waiting for you all to arrive."
    The astonished looks on their faces was more than Kat could stand. Doubling over in hysterical laughter she almost fell to the floor. When she stood up she was looking right in Crimson's angered face. Before she could react Crimson's fist connected with the middle of her face knocking her flatly to the floor. Standing over her cousin with so much anger built up in her she saw what she had done. Crimson then couldnt help but laugh herself. There before her sprawled upon the floor in a clump was the most comical sight. Jack and Bella both burst into laughter.
    Bella went and knelt next to Katarina. Slowly shaking her head and holding her nose the curses were barely audible. But Bella could hear them and it made her laugh even more. Jack composed himself and went to help pull Kat from the floor and set her in a chair to survey the damage Crimson had caused.
    As Crimson watched the two take care of Kat she could hear rustling in the bushes outside. Snapping her fingers to get their attention she motioned that something was outside. Leaving Kat sitting in the chair the others took positions in the room. If someone was to come into the house they would be ready.
    Soft booted steps made way up the steps of the porch and crept into the open doorway. As the intruder moved into the room Jack jumped out and grabbed for the figure. But Jack no sooner grabbed hold of the intruder than he went flying across the room skidding roughly along the floor. When Bella and Crimson jumped out from hiding to attack a bright light shone in the room and they were frozen in place.
    The dark blue robes fluttered about and when the hood fell to the shoulders Polgara stood ready for more action. When she looked about the room she realized what was going on. Waving her hands she cast a spell to release her cousins. Then she broke out into a haunting giggle.
    Jack scurried to his feet. With an angry look he went to Bella to see if she was alright. Pol approached Crimson but was wary to how close she got. She was not going to be within arms reach of her until she knew it was safe.
    "Damn you Pol. Do you have to keep doing that all the time? And you know how i hate that spell. " Bella sputtered the words. She truly hated being paralyzed like that. It took some time for the numbness to wear off and it always made her ill afterwards.
    "Sorry sweetling. But I have to keep prepared for anything you know. How was I to know you all would jump me when I walked in."
    "You've been working out Pol. We wont mention to anyone that a woman threw me across the room now will we." Jack said with a low chuckle.
    "Of course not Jack. But do remember that you were bested by a woman like me though. I shant try it again unless i deem it necessary."
    They all looked at Pol like she had gone crazy. But all in turn began to laugh about how nervous they were behaving. Pol looked at her sister sitting in the chair and somehow knew what had happened. Quickly she went to Kat and began cleaning up the blood on her face and checking for a broken nose. Fortunately it wasnt broken . Pol turned her head slightly and glared at Crimson. All Crimson could do was shrug her shoulders and smile. Like it was nothing out of the ordinary for her to belt someone in the nose. Bella and Jack went and stood beside Crimson and watched as Pol took care of Kat.
    After a few moments they began looking about the large open room. Jaccob was so minimal in his life they didnt expect his home to be so comfortable. Bedstead on one end , large fireplace and stone oven on the other end. Numerous chairs and tables about and a small curtained area that held a wooden tub with washstand as well. Modest but comfortable.
    There was no sign of Benjamin anywhere. Jack decided he would go outside and check the stables and see if he was there. Surely he would of heard all the commotion they had been making. This worried Jack very much.
    When he entered the stables Jack could see that all the horses were gone and there was no sign of Benjamin. Something wasnt right here at all. He knew this boy wouldnt take off without leaving some word somehow. Searching the barn he tried to see if there was any form of warning left behind. On the floor near the feed box he saw there was something scratched into the dirt. Moving a bit of hay from the floor he saw that there was an arrow pointing and the letter "E" was scratched near the point. Smiling he knew what it meant and stood to go back inside with the ladies. At the thought that crossed his mind he smiled even more. Ladies. That was an understatement if he had ever made one.
    Once again Crimson had an odd feeling come over her. Walking to the doorway she looked outside and towards the barn. She could see Jack's shadow moving about. Then off in the distance not too far away she could hear hoof beats on the ground. Riders were coming in. She whistled to Jack to get his attention but she was too late. He had heard the same thing and was heading straight for her.
    As he ran upon the porch he grabbed her arm and pulled her inside. Jumping across the room he doused the lantern light and they all stood in the darkness.
    "Five. Maybe a few more. They are riding hard. " Trying to catch his breath he took post by one of the windows. Bella stumbled to the other. Kat stood and shook herself as she made way to the back door . Reaching to the table by the stone oven Crimson grabbed up a bow and quiver of arrows. Slinging the quiver over her shoulder she pulled an arrow out and pulled the bow string tight. Setting the arrow in place she stood in the middle of the room ready for whoever or whatever entered. Pol stepped up and took place beside her. They werent going to be taken by surprise this time.
     
  42. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Louder and louder the hoofbeats became. Closer to the house they were coming and not a thing to do about it. Suddenly they stopped beating and the scurried footsteps could be heard outside the door. Many feet trampled along the porch and stairs but became silent infront of the door. Low murmurs could be heard from the other side but Jack nor Bella could make out what was being said. To see who was out there was difficult as well since darkness had taken the forest in total.
    The door began to open slowly. The intruders entered the room warily. The only light was that from the hearth. The low embers put off very little warmth or light at all. They were barely into the room when all at once a bright blue light was cast above them showering the room in raindrop size lights. Like tiny fireflies buzzing about they began to cling upon the strangers putting them in a glowing aura.
    Trying to fling the mites from their clothing they began flailing about the room. Finally the leader of the group moved into the doorway and looked at the sight. The boisterous laughter seemed to take everyone off guard. And with a quick wave of a hand the leader set the hearth to full blaze sending light throughout the room. Turning and pulling back the hood from the cloak stood an amazingly enraptured auburn haired woman.
    With great disgust Crimson lowered her bow and walked to the woman.
    "If you dont stop scaring the hell out of me Scarlett I swear by father's grave I will beat you to a pulp. Why do you persist in using all this fan fare when you make an entrance."
    "Dear sister, this fan fare you call it is to keep me from being killed. My men do all they can to protect me and would never let me enter anywhere without going in first. So please enough with your whining."
    With anger in their eyes the rest of the group all rallied around Crimson. The looks they gave Scarlett could almost set her red hair on fire. Shrugging her shoulders she walked to the hearth to warm herself.
    "Well at least you made it this far without being tracked. The guard have reassembled and have moved out onto the roads towards Britain. There will be no way for you to go towards the cross roads and into that area. Travel across country is the only way you will make it. Hell, they even have the moongates guarded now."
    Sensing a bit of concern in Scarlett's voice. Crimson went and seated herself near the fire. Not only had the horses disappeared but they were now almost certainly trapped.
    "Crimson. I found a sign from Benjamin in the stables. He moved the horses away from here to the east. From the sign it looks like he is waiting for us near the hedgemaze."
    With that information from Jack Crimson's spirits picked up. Nodding to him she understood she looked about the room at the ones waiting for her next move.
    "Well if no one is objecting and everyone thinks we can make it to the maze on foot, I think we need to be moving out. There's no time to rest. With the guard already on the move we have little time to spare."
    They all nodded hesitantly in agreement. They were all tired and frazzled to the end but knew they had no choice. Gathering up a few items each they prepared to head out once again.
    Looking at her sister with pain in her eyes Crimson touched her arm lightly.
    "For your sake sister I do hope your information is right. If we go across the land the way you want it could be just as dangerous as facing the guards."
    "No worries, Crimson. We should be able to cross with hardly any trouble. If we stay south of the maze and head to the river we can make our way across to the coast. Since they dont know that you live there it will be fine."
    Patting Scarlett on the arm again they headed out the door to make way to the coast. Pol had taken good care of Katarina as she was very lively and ready to get moving. Bella and Jack looked like they had seen better days but they too seemed anxious to move out as well. Once she saw they were prepared she signaled it was time to leave. Scarlett and her men split into groups. One scouting ahead one to stay with Crimson and the other to bring up the rears. Two men to each group wasnt alot to help but it was enough to make Scarlett feel she was doing what she could to protect her family.
     
  43. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Weaving in and out of the trees in the dark was not an easy task. There was no way they were going to use torches to see their way through. To keep hidden in the shadows was their best chance of reaching the maze. Just as they reached the small clearing south of the maze the moon came out from behind the clouds that had been hanging in the skies for days. Shining brightly on the open patch of grass seemed to lend open invitations to anyone to see them when they approached. Stopping just short of the clearing they looked about to see any sign of Benjamin. He wasnt there. Deciding to stayin the treelines they moved further east always keeping the hedge in sight. Finally they reached the entrance at the southeastern edge. There they saw a young man watching the tree edges intently. They could hear the nicker of horses not far from where he stood.
    With a low whistle Jack signalled the boy to let him know they were coming in.
    When the boy caught sight of Jack his smile beamed. He seemed overly happy that the group had finally made their way to him.
    "Ah, Captain. Tis good ye made it safely. I was afraid you didnt see my sign i left for ye. With those hooded ones traveling about I wasnt sure if it would be safe for ye and the ladies to come to Jaccob's."
    "Good call lad. You have smart head on yer shoulders. It was wise of you to move out and not stay around waiting for us."
    Crimson approached the two of them and gave the boy a questionable look. He seemed familiar to her but he couldnt place where.
    "Benjamin. I do thank you so much for taking on such a task. You are a brave one at that. Did you happen to notice the direction the hooded ones had gone to before you left?"
    "Nay me lady. They moved about in several directions. Was hard telling where they went off to. I hid up in the trees til I heard they had left the area. Then i crawled down gathered up the horses and headed out. Leaving Master Jack the message was the last thing i did before high tailing outta there."
    "Ah. Well that is good. Once we get underway you can make your way back to Skara to your sister and be safe there once again. Once they figure we have left the area I am certain the city can get back to normal."
    "Nay. That city will never be the same again. As i was leaving i heard tell they were gonna kill the mayor and take over the town themselves. They intend to put their own people in charge there. Not even Britainian authority will ever be able to help Skara Brae again."
    With that comment everyone in the group almost knew he wasnt lying. There was evil work afoot and it might be spreading throughout the lands.
    "Iffen you dont mind madame I would be liking to bring my sister and coming to stay on the coast with you and yours. She is too young to take to ship but I would greatly appreciate getting her and myself away from Skara."
    Putting her arm around the boy she nodded in agreement. There was no way she could deny them . Without their help they might not of gotten Bella out of town and away from the harm intended for her. The boy loooked up into Crimson's face and smiled. There it was again. That familiar look. She returned his smile and after shaking hands with Jack the boy was off into the dark forest and back to retrieve his sister.
    Gathering up the horses and mounting up they began to head east. The next leg of their journey should be quiet but Crimson had learned in the past few days to never underestimate the future.
     
  44. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Reaching the river Crimson knew it wasnt much further to the coast. As they headed along the northern shore and around the river bend she remembered how close they were to the moongate. Signaling the others they kept to the river's edge and headed south. At the edge of some trees they pulled the horses to a halt and Crimson had one of Scarlet's men go to the bridge to check out the area. It was known from past experiences that people liked to hand around the bridge to waylay travelers from Britain to Trinsic. Upon the man's return he told her there was no one near or on the bridge so it would be safe.
    Quickly they made for the road at the crossing and continued on through the forest. The familiar night sounds made them all feel a bit more confident. The ride from the bridge crossing north east to the coastline went without incident.
    The sun was beginning to set as they approached the strip of grasslands that divided the forest from the coast. As they passed the small villa Crimson noticed that the large tower that sat behind it was unusually dark. No light at all came from the tower. That was odd. But the forest sounds kept her questioning at bay. Crickets and nocturnal creatures made the area seem so friendly even though she knew danger was only a few miles away.
    Around the back side of the tower they could see the darkened outline of the house. No lights. No sign of inhabitants. That worried all of them. They knew that Aletta, Jaccob and Meyer should be there. Crimson dismounted her horse and dropped the reins. Running up the steps towards the front door she could feel something wasnt right. Where could they be? Her mind began to runaway with horrible thoughts. As she passed the forge hut she saw that the embers in the forge were low. Very low. Aletta never let those die down. Slowly she came to the front door and entered. The hearth was cold. No embers at all. That too was unlike Aletta. There was no reasoning for this. Running through the house she cried out for the three. But no one answered.
    When the others entered the door Crimson stood in the middle of the parlor shaking uncontrolably. The frightened look on her face worried the others as well. Looking about the room Polgara saw a parchment tucked wrecklessly under a ship model that sat on the mantle. Taking the paper she began to read.

    Dearest Crimson,
    We have set out upon a most urgent mission. Do not worry for I have great company with Jaccob and Meyer. They were insistant that we make this journey. It is vital that you not worry. We will return with haste once we have accomplished what we set out to do. Please take your rest if you can and make everyone welcome. There is plenty for all. I saw to restock provisions. We shall return quickly but if delayed will send a message.
    Faithfully, Aletta

    Handing the note to Crimson she turned to the others and smiled. They knew then that all was well and there was nothing further to worry about. But once she told them what the note said the ominous feelings returned. They all were wondering in their own minds what Jaccob and the other two could be up to.
    Scarlett sat in one of the comfortable chairs and tried to relax. She felt safe enough to let the men go out and tend the horses. They agreed and said they would set up camp outside in the forest but would be ever watchful of the area around them. She couldnt help but agree with them. Seeing that the others were as weary as she was she bade them all to go and get some rest. A short nap before supper would do them all good. Scarlett motioned to Polgara and the two went upstairs to the patio kitchen to get some food together.
    Jack pulled one of the cushioned chairs to the hearth and started a new fire. Before too long the roaring flames had begun to lift the chill from the room. Bella retrieved a blanket and placed it over Crimson as she sat and slept. Then she led Katarina upstairs to the bedroom and helped put her to bed. She still had not recovered totally from her head injury the day before. Tucking her into bed she then went to the kitchen to check on Scarlett and Pol.
     
  45. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Coming through the moongate had muddled Meyer's senses abit. He had only used them on very few occasions and those times he hated it as much as he did now. But what he saw when he came through the other side amazed him. Never had he seen such sights. The sandstone colored walls were so high and they seemed to stretch forever. The gate being on the inner wall of the city seemed to be crowded with all sorts of people. Warriors, merchants and many other regal looking folk. They all ambled about the courtyards that were within the walls. Ornately dressed guards stood at the entrance to the main hall. Thinking to himself these must be the paladins for which the hall was named. This indeed was a sight to behold. Sitting atop his horse he kept looking about like a child at would do. The entire visage of the city was amazing to him. Ahead he saw Aletta and Jaccob riding slowly towards the wall. There he could see the stables . Giving his horse a light kick he moved to catch up with them.
    Dismounting they entered the stables. Jaccob handed the stable boy some coins and reins to the horses. The boy smiled and gladly lead the mounts away.
    Dusting himself off he turned to Aletta and Meyer.
     
  46. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Reaching to dust off Aletta's shoulder he smiled brightly to her and then looked questionably at Meyer. The man had the strangest grin on his face as though he had just won the prize pig at the Moonglow Festival. Smiling and shaking his head he started walking slowly towards the market area. As he past the guards at the bottom of the stairway he nodded to them and they returned the gesture. Aletta looked at the guards then Jaccob. It was becoming apparent that he was familiar with this place more than she thought.
    "Aletta. You and Meyer can walk about the hall and browse about while I tend to some business. I wont be long dear so dont worry. No harm can come to us here believe me."
    Coming along side the man she took his arm and stopped him.
    "Uncle. Please. I would rather stay with you. I have seen the shops before and would rather not be kept in the dark about this so-called business of yours."
    Her comment suprised him. More so that she had openly called him uncle. At first he didnt think it wise to take her along to the Paladin Hall but then it was her family after all that was going to be the topic of discussion. Patting her hand which still held his arm he nodded.
    "Aye my girl. You may go along with me. But no matter what is said you must hold your tongue and not speak to anyone. This matter must be approached delicately. Tis not often that these folk are asked what i must ask."
    With curiosity whirling away in her head she nodded her understanding. They both looked at Meyer as if they were waiting for him to ask to come along as well. He looked at them both and grinned.
    "Iffen you dont mind, I would rather wander around abit. I dont understand most of those fancy words you will be using up there. I best be staying down here with the some what common folk. You can find me in the shops when you are done." With that he walked on up the stairs and into the market area.
    Shrugging their shoulders they followed Meyer up the stairs. At the entrance there was another set of stairs leading upwards. Looking to the left and then the right Jaccob lead Aletta to one of the sets of stairs. Quietly they made their way up to the next floor.
    At the top Aletta could see that the walls inside the hall were still that which made the city walls. But these were adorned with rich colorful tapestries and paintings. The history of the city could be seen in every corner of the items. Trophies hung on walls all about along with ornate weapons and shields. This indeed was a magnificent place. Thinking to herself this must of been what Trinsic once looked like long ago. Amazing how things had changed over the years.
    Walking down the long hallway they reach a set of doors that she could only quess opened into the meeting hall itself. Voices could be heard from within making the idea of entering a very scary venture. Jaccob seemed to have no indication that it was frightening. In fact the closer he came to the doors the more righteous he appeared. This was definitly a side of Jaccob she had never seen. His entire demeanor had changed. Ever since he saw and held the staff. Stronger. Brave. Was this the power of the staff that made this come about. It must be.
    The golden handle of the door turned before Jaccob could reach it. The broad evenly carved doors opened and were held open for them to enter. Jaccob did so and as he passed the man at the door they nodded to one another. Aletta followed close behind nodding to the man as well. Once inside the doors were closed again.
    Never had she seen so many noble and prestine people standing about. Women in colorful, fancy clothing. Some even garbed in shiny armor as well. The men looked spectacular in their platemail with long capes flowing behind them. It was like going to a grand meeting at Lord British's hall. She was amazed by the entire company in which she stood.
     
  47. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Walking into the gathering of men and women they seemed to part to the sides like a ship through the waves in the ocean. Reaching the center of the room many of the men came towards them. Many patted Jaccob on the back and shook his hand. Jaccob was well known here and Aletta didnt even know it. The woman seemed to stay back a bit from him but they had broad grins on their faces. They knew him as well but apparently for other reasons than the men. Jaccob was always such a ladies man, or so he said he was. His tales of his youth were tattered never giving much a clue to what he used to do but the one thing he did account for accurately was the ladies.
    Staying as close to her uncle as she could she continued to watch all the people gathering closer. All but a small group in one corner of the room had eventually greeted Jaccob. The others she noticed showed no willingness to greet this man or the young girl with him. That set Aletta's nerves on end. As they looked over Jaccob and herself she could feel there was some ill will with them. Thinking to herself she decided it was best to be on guard and to keep a watchful eye on them.
    Soon the crowd dispersed and went back to their conversations from before. One lone man then came to them. Standing tall and very formal he walked to Jaccob and took his arm in greeting. They stood there for a long time not saying a word . Jaccob broke the silence with a huge laugh.
    "Thrano you old devil. Tis good to see you once again. You are the one person who I came looking for."
    "Ah, Jaccob. Tis been a long time and you look no more worse for the wear."
    "Aye. I have kept myself busy over the years. Retired in Skara I did. But alas things have come to pass and I have need of your service and freindship."
    The man lowered his head as if he knew what Jaccob was talking about. Lifting his eyes slowly he looked straight into Aletta's eyes. The sorrow she saw in them made her feel funny inside. It was as if he was looking into her soul. Quickly she looked away and shide behind her uncle. The man then reached around Jaccob's shoulder and lead them away from the crowd to an ajoining room to the side of the meeting hall.
     
  48. Guest

    Guest Guest

    As they entered the room next to the meeting hall the two men went and sat in the cushioned chairs on the other side of the room. Aletta stayed by the door but was within hearing distance of them. Both men slumped into the chairs as if they were worn and fatigued. The pretense in the other room was just that. An act of some sort for those in the hall. Hanging his head low the knight seemed very tired. Jaccob watched him for a few moments but then he straightened in his chair and cleared his throat to speak. Before he could start the man sat up and spoke first.
    "Jaccob, I know why you have come. Our conversation the other night was unexpected but then again i should of known you would come."
    "Thranos, I told you I would come to Luna to speak to you..but there has been another development in the situation. There is more here than we originally thought."
    Thranos looked at Jaccob and then looked towards Aletta. He seemed agitated now by Jaccob's words.
    "More. What more could there be? Jaccob, I have enough on my mind as it is. The world is coming to chaos and theres little any of us can do. Since Lord British left the world there have been things happening all over. The discord in Yew and Cove. The attacks on Britain itself. The vermon invading Jhelom. Its all that the Royal guard can do to keep up. The call to arms is almost nightly. My men and those of the guard are tired. I cant even think about leaving the city to help in this skirmish you have come up on."
    Looking again at Aletta he couldnt help but think he had seen this girl before. She looked so familiar to him yet he couldnt place it. Turning back to Jaccob he poured them some ale and sipped slowly at his cup. Jaccob refused the drink but offered it to Aletta. She also refused. Her mind was set on listening to Thranos.
    "Jaccob, dont get me wrong friend. But your troubles are quite minor to those of mine. The trouble with those kind of people are of no concern to me right now. How do i know that Bella and the others arent involved with the likes of those in Jhelom. I know its unlikely but she does run with the wrong sort."
    "Thranos!! Bella doesnt attack cities and small towns for her entertainment. She has always kept to the seas and you very well know that. Jack is the same. They keep their wars and such to the waters. Besides this recent incident had nothing to do with their piracy. This was done out of revenge ."
    With those words Aletta jumped. The paladin was of an accusing nature. But she had heard about how paladins react to such activities. If it was for the crown or for the gods they were against it. With the flush of anger setting in her cheeks she continued to listen.
    "Well I am sure there are many a folk out there that would be seeking some sort of revenge on her kind. The whole lot of them are wanted in one part of the world or another for their acts."
    There it was again. That insulting tone and words. Aletta was indeed getting angry with this man. She started to move towards them but Jaccob held up a hand to stay her. This was the last thing he needed right now.
    "Dear friend, you must listen to me. This is beyond me and the girls to deal with. You have to hear the whole story from the beginning."
    "Alright Jaccob. I will listen to you, but i tell you now I do not think I will be able to help. From what i have heard those damned Shadowlords are involved in this as well. That is another area i dont feel like getting involved with. The factions fighting over the cities is just another part of this upheaval of the lands. The Shadowlords and Minax would just love a chance to get us involved in their fights. The Council of Mages have been breathing down our necks as it is about them. That is one aspect I will not be dealing with."
    Frustrated with the turn of the conversation Jaccob took up his cup and swallowed the entire contents in one gulp. It would take quite a bit of talking to convince Thranos to help him. Maybe once he finds out the rest of the story he will be more inclined.
     
  49. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Crimson sat on the patio overlooking the stables and stared blankly at the ocean in the distance. The smell of the salty air wafted through her senses. Recalling the old days when they all were out there sailing and having what she thought was a good time. Then the day came when she decided to leave the Black Rose and try for a different life. Try to be normal. But indeed what was normal. True , things she had done lately were not considered normal but they were a far cry from those days on the seas.
    Running through the door Bella came crashing and from the look on her face she was quite upset. Panting and trying to catch her breath she sat down roughly on the bench near Crimson.
    "You....have to stop her. You just have to stop her. Scarlett is leaving."
    "Where do you think she is going, Bella? If she feels the need to leave then that her decision , not ours."
    "But you said we should stay together til Jaccob returns. You said we have to keep watch over each other and not let anything happen to us."
    "Yes. I did say that but I am not about to strong arm Scarlett into staying. She has never listened to me in the past and i dont think she will ever listen to me now. She has her own things to take care of."
    "But, Crimson. ..."
    "No, Bella. I wont stop her if she chooses to leave. And if she doenst want to tell us what she is up to then that is her business. But remember this. If she falls to trouble I wont be able to help her. The trouble she would find is more than i would be able to deal with. I have no mind or stomach for faction fighting and that is what she is heading into."
    "Jack said the same thing. He said we would be best to stay put and not meddle in her business."
    "And for yet a second time I agree with Jack." With those words she let out a small laugh. She and Jack had more in common than they both were willing to admit. But of course they both have been through the same things in the past. This was something she hadnt realized til now.
    Standing , Crimson walked to the edge of the patio and looked down upon the grounds below. There Scarlett and her men were mounting up and preparing to leave. With the turn of her head Scarlett looked up to see Crimson standing there. With a curt wave and a smile they headed out through the woods. For a while Crimson could here the hoof beats as they raced through the forest. Closing her eyes she raised her face to the sky and gave a silent pray for Scarlett. Praying they would reach their destination with no trouble. But she knew they were in for a long trip. They would have to travel all the way south to Trinsic to find an unguarded moongate to cross through. And then those perils were going to be endless.
     
  50. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Heading down the edges of the forests Scarlett and her men kept a watchful eye out for anything out of the ordinary. Crossing the bridge just south of Crimson's house was not an easy undertaking. With guards and creatures about they had to be very careful when crossing. But it was easy to make their way over and then up the coastline again. Staying on the water's edge they made their way south towards Trinsic. Scarlett knew not many guards would be found at that gate so they could easily cross over to the dark side of the world.
    After spending a small bit of time with her sisters she decided she would resign from the shadowlords and try to rebuild a relationship with her family. She had been gone way too long and it was time to heal those wounds. All the girls were young when their uncle was killed and their father had disappeared as well. Never knowing what happened to him the girls seemed to bond closer together until the day they set sail and came to Britania. Once they arrived they took on identities that would forever mold who they had become. The rest was a mystery at why they turned out the way they did. Since not having any men in the family to guide them and their mothers long gone it was left to the eldest to make a way for them. Thats when Crimson, Scarlett and Polgara decided to get a ship and hit the seas. They knew there was nothing for them on land but the desolate lives of servitude and that was one thing none of them wanted. They had seen too much of that growing up. Once they established themselves in the shipping and fishing business the funds were then available for those who wanted to leave to be able to. Pol was the first to go. Putting herself into the apprenticeship of a mage was what she had chosen. But she was the only one who did so. The others stayed behind and continued on with the business. One by one a few of them drifted but they always came back. The only one that truly stayed on land was Aletta. She had become well noted for her woodworking, tailoring and other useful crafts. This wasnt possible for her being out to sea all the time. She decided she would tend the homefront and be there to welcome the girls when they came inland.
    Scarlett remembered all those things vividly as they travelled through the Trinsic swamps and began to skirt the edge of town. Since after the seige years ago on the city it had fallen to very few citizens. Many had moved back now but it was still much a ghost town. Only a few guards and very few merchants remained there. Trinsic, once a very beautiful city was now sparce with civilization. Sad. She had loved coming to trinsic when she was younger.
    The sun was beginning to fall behind the trees when they reached the moongate. Only two guards stood on watch. Quckly her men dispatched them and they were able to enter the gate. Her thoughts as she entered the gate were still drifting back to that time when things seemed so much more simple.
    When the gate began to shimmer a ghostly red she knew they were reaching their destination. Pol always referred to Feluccia as the dark side. Laughing to herself Scarlett couldnt help but agree. Only the lowliest of beings lived here. A mirrored image of the other world but devoid of the beautiful foliage and nicer sort of people. Thieves , murderers, rogues of all sorts lived here. And here was where the factions decided to keep their fortresses.
    Quickly before they reached the exit they made a shift in their direction. Learning to navigate the moongate had been hard for her but she soon became expert to it. The exit was in view and once they came through the darkness was in full sight. Always she got a eery feeling when they came here.
    Shaking off the gloominess she shook her head to clear it. Looking to the west she could see the faint glow of light from the Abbey. The monks were always awake. Turning her horse she lead the way to the east towards the crypts. Shadowlord headquarters. She wasnt sure how they would recieve her since she had been gone so long. Not only gone helping her family but gone all together. She hadnt been there for months and had no contact with anyone as well. Hopefully she could get in leave her message and get out before being seen.
    No sounds. No lights. The area around the entrance to the crypts was too quiet. Everyone must be out stealing the sigals again. With a roll of her eyes she slowly approached the outer wall of the crypt. She had grown tired of the contant battles and attempts to control the cities. The men who followed her were also weary of such events and is why they decided to stay with her. Only three of them but that was enough for her. They were comardes regardless of what they did. She often referred to them as the "brothers she never had."
    And they enjoyed that title greatly. These three men had no families to speak of and were content on following Scarlett.
    Noting that no one was about the area she set guards at the door and took one with her inside. Reaching the main room was easy once they got past those damned skeletons. Dismounting she came to the stone where they left messages and kept track of what was going on within the faction. With great tension in her hands she laid the parchment out on the stone. At least she could leave her resignation without having to face anyone there. That was one thing she didnt want to do.
    Turning around and getting back on her horse she made her way out of the fortress. This was easier than she had thought. Once they met up at the doors they heard the beating sound of fast moving horses. Someone was heading their way. Quickly they rounded the building and headed north. This way they could skirt the area and round back to the gate without being seen. If the incoming riders were who she though there was no way she wanted to get caught in the crossfire between factions.