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The Traveler Chapter Seven

Discussion in 'UO White Stag Inn' started by FaelynRose1, Oct 16, 2004.

  1. FaelynRose1

    FaelynRose1 Journeyman
    Stratics Veteran

    May 6, 2004
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    The Traveler
    By Faelyn Rose
    Chapter Seven

    Patrick appeared on the lawn of the large sandstone house known as “Mountain View” and hurried up the front steps. Without knocking he yanked open one of the massive double doors to the entrance hall. He was met by the manservant Owen.
    “Owen, quick fetch me a box of lucky lock picks!” Patrick commanded. “Lord Seamus has need of them!”
    “I am sorry sir, but I don’t know what you mean.” Owen replied. “My Lord keeps his lock picks in a chest in his study but ‘lucky lock picks?’…that is an odd request. Perhaps I should consult Lady Amanda.”
    “Aye, consult her if you must but do it quickly! Lord Seamus awaits my hasty return!!”

    Patrick burst into Seamus’ study and began to rifle through chests as Owen watched with curiosity. “I said quickly, man!!” Patrick barked, sending Owen running towards the stairs. A mighty growl of frustration escaped Patrick as Owen scurried up the staircase.

    In the dining room on the second floor Amanda was seated at the head of the table surrounded by her female relatives. Breakfast was over and the list of potential homes for Bronson was being finalized.
    Amanda addressed the group as she reviewed her notes. “Now ladies, let us keep in mind that Bronson lives alone. He won’t need a large home so we can rule out many of these properties, sight unseen.”

    “He may be living alone now” Kayla said with a twinkle in her eyes, “but things have a way of changing.” She looked over her spectacles at Jeanne Rose. Jeanne’s cheeks turned a bright shade of red and young Shana Rose began to giggle.

    “Aye, Bronson is going to need a much larger house than you think, Amanda.” Katie Rose said with a teasing smile. “A certain lass has captured his eye.”
    “And his heart too!” Shana Rose added. “It is sooo romantic. And Bronson is very handsome, don’t you think?”
    A murmured agreement followed as everyone beamed at Jeanne Rose. Jeanne helplessly blushed and fidgeted in her chair.

    “I think you are all getting a little ahead of yourselves...” Jeanne began defensively, but at that moment Owen came trotting up the stairs and went directly to the head of the table. The servant leaned close to Amanda and whispered something into her ear. Immediately the smile left Amanda’s face and she gave a soft gasp.
    “You must excuse me. I am needed downstairs.” Amanda announced and hurried away.

    Jeanne Rose and Kayla looked at each other across the table. “Something’s amiss.” Kayla said as she stood. She wasted no time in following Amanda down to the first floor. The remaining women sat for a moment in silence. Then they rose up in unison and dashed towards the stairs to catch up with Kayla and Amanda.
    The ladies became wedged together in the stairwell, a tangle of pastel colored dresses, unable to move for a second. Then the human log jam broke up and one by one they made their way to stand outside the doorway to Seamus’ study. Quietly they listened.

    Inside the study Patrick paced back and forth. His voice was rough with the urgency of his mission.
    “A nasty business, there is no doubt. His own brother! I can not believe it, m’lady, his own brother.” Patrick stopped pacing and shook his head.

    Amanda was seated in a chair by Seamus’ desk, her hands folded in her lap.
    “Please tell me exactly what message my husband sends, Patrick,” she said calmly “word for word.”

    “Seamus said that he had need of thirty lucky lock picks. They were to be brought to the Eiffel Isle in Felucca. ‘Tell Amanda I need thirty lucky lock picks’ Seamus said, that was all.” Patrick told her “But where would I find these lucky picks?”

    “There are no lucky picks, Patrick. It is a code that Seamus uses when he is in danger and wants my help” Amanda replied “The number of picks he asks for represents the amount of time I am to wait before coming to his aid.”.
    She was silent for a few seconds, as she digested the information.
    “You will bring my husband some lock picks to avoid arousing the suspicions of Jack.” Amanda said thoughtfully “And you must be sure to play along until the trap is sprung.”

    “Aye, that Jack is a clever one, milady. But we’ll not fall prey to his deadly plans.” Patrick growled.

    Amanda’s eyes narrowed. Her hands clenched in her lap. “So you both knew that Jack was a murderer all this time and did not tell me?” she questioned quietly.

    An audible gasp was heard from the doorway and the women inched closer.

    “Aye, tis true” Patrick answered, looking down at his leather gloves. “Seamus did not wish to alarm you. Jack is his brother, after all.” He shook his head again “Who could have guess it would come to this?”

    “Indeed.” Amanda’s voice was touched with sadness. She closed her eyes and flexed her clenched fingers. Then she opened her eyes and stood up.

    “Ladies!” Amanda said turning to those gathered in the doorway. The entire group of women fell back a step.
    “There has been a change of plans” she glanced at the clock “and we haven’t a minute to waste.”

    The wall of pastel dresses parted as Amanda swept out of the room and back towards the staircase leading up to the second floor. The women trailed behind her whispering among themselves. Patrick was left standing in the study with only the ticking of the clock to keep him company. He stood listening to the sound of the women speaking in low voices in the room above him for a few moments. Then with another growl of frustration he made his way up the stairs to join them.

    Bronson guided Nox through the red moongate and into a forest of leafless trees. He circled the spot where Seamus was preparing to dig, looking for the best terrain from which to attack the guardians of the treasure chest. He chose a small clearing several paces north of the chest and took a position next to a gnarled oak tree.

    Jack followed him, bringing his ethereal mount to a halt nearby. Bronson dismounted and began to arrange his pack for battle, placing bandages to vet his mare where he could easily find them in the heat and confusion of the fight.

    Suddenly, Nox reared up striking Jack with her deadly hooves. Bronson grabbed the reins attempting to control the nightmare. He managed to pull her away from his brother but not before the monster had spit out a fireball, causing Jack’s sleeve to burst into flames. Jack batted franticly at his robe until it was only a smoldering shred of charred cloth. He backed further away, cursing under his breath.

    “I am sorry, Jack.” Bronson called to his brother “Nox has never done that before.”
    “Keep that foul beast away from me.” Jack hissed.

    A chuckle came from Seamus. “The mare is a good judge of character, I’ll wager.” he said as he pulled out his shovel.

    Bronson tried to calm his pet. He was confused by her behavior. Temperamental as she was, the mare had never attacked a human who wasn’t a criminal.
    Bronson leaned close to his nightmare. “Show me Mistress Nox” he whispered to her “Show me what you have seen.” He looked into her magical red eyes and began to meditate.
    Instantly her telepathic reply appeared. In a dream like vision Bronson saw the beach near the Gauntlet in the dungeon of Doom. He saw it through the eyes of his mare. Bronson saw the Doom Boss being led by the rider in a black hooded robe out of the tunnel and directly towards himself. He saw the monster approaching his blind side; he heard Jeanne calling out to warn him. Bronson saw himself turning around just in time to see the Dark Father…the hooded rider slipping a magic ring on his finger and vanishing. Bronson relived the moment of panic as he chased after Jeanne Rose while she lured the Doom Boss back into the tunnel. But the vision continued. There on the spot where the murderous hooded rider had disappeared, a man dressed in black leather armor reappeared. The hooded rider had removed his robe and dismounted while still invisible so that when he reappeared he would blend into a crowd of warriors fighting on the beach. The man turned towards Nox and his identity was revealed.

    “Jack!!” Bronson exclaimed “It was Jack!!”
    “What is it fledgling?” Jack asked, thinking that Bronson was calling him “Is that beast sinking her teeth into your flesh? Shall I save you from your own pet?” he sneered.

    Bronson was irate. He said nothing as he walked over to where Seamus was digging for the treasure chest. He hid his angry contorted face from Jack.

    “Seamus,” he said in a low voice, “it was Jack who tried to murder me in the dungeon Doom!” He glanced over his shoulder before continuing, “My mare has shown me what really happened. It was our dear brother who led the Doom Boss out onto the beach to kill me, then disappeared.”

    Seamus continued to dig as he answered “I believe you lad. And the worst is yet to come, I fear. This island is crawling with Jack’s minions. We have been led into an ambush.”
    “What are you planning to do?” Bronson whispered.
    Seamus stopped digging and wiped his brow with the cuff of his sleeve. “I have dealt with the likes of Jack before, lad. Just keep your eyes open and be ready to fight for your life.”

    Before Bronson could ask any more questions, Patrick appeared a few yards away from Seamus’ dig.
    “You are just in time.” Seamus called out, greeting his returning friend. “Did you find the lucky lock picks my boy?”

    Patrick approached Seamus carrying a large leather sack over his shoulder. “Aye, your fair wife helped me find them.” He dropped the bag near Seamus’ feet with a wink. “She sends you her love and says to tell you that the winds of fortune will be in your favor this day.”

    Seamus chuckled “Aye, a fine and resourceful wife she is, Patrick.” He turned and shouted to Jack “Are you ready, brother?”
    “Ready and waiting” Jack answered loudly. He glanced over towards the heavy brush bordering the clearing they were in.

    “ALL HIDE NOW!!” Seamus bellowed.
    Bronson and Patrick moved a safe distance from the nearly uncovered chest and cast the spell of invisibility on themselves. Seamus excavated three more mounds of dirt and quickly hid as the first four chest guardians appeared.

    A lich lord, two daemons and a poison elemental materialized around the chest.
    “OG ATTACK!!” Seamus commanded, pointing to the daemon named Beelezabubba.
    “OG ATTACK!!” He pointed to the second daemon and moved beside his wyrm to heal the pet as it fought.
    “NOX KILL!!” Bronson sent his mare towards the poison elemental as he and Patrick took aim at the lich lord with their bows.

    The poison elemental was quickly reduced to a slimy green puddle of spent energy. Nox began to charge towards the lich lord when Bronson’s vision was blurred by a noxious green cloud. A powerful poison choked off his wind pipe. Before he could turn to see what was killing him, a flame strike brought him to his knees.

    “WE ARE BEING ATTACKED!!” Patrick shouted. He immediately turned his heavy crossbow on the group of murderers emerging from the trees. His aim was true as he hit a mage that was casting another spell on Bronson. Patrick’s bolt broke the mage’s concentration and knocked him backwards into a tree. A cutlass wielding brigand on horseback charged Patrick. Patrick let fly another bolt knocking the rider from his mount as he side stepped the deadly poisoned blade. Og teleported onto the dismounted brigand clawing him to death instantly.

    Seamus rubbed the pet summoning ball in his pack and when his mare appeared he yelled “ALL GUARD ME!!” Then he chanted “An Nox” and targeted his dying brother Bronson before ducking under his mare.
    Bronson was lying on the ground gasping for air when Seamus’ cure spell took effect. As soon as he was able to breathe again, he quickly rummaged through his pack for a greater heal potion. He pulled the cork out with his teeth and gulped the yellow liquid down. Immediately Bronson regained his strength.

    “NOX KILL!!” He motioned towards another rider who was bearing down on Patrick with a deadly poisoned cutlass. Nox hurled a fireball scorching both the horse and rider. The rider quickly changed direction, heading back into the safety of the trees.

    By now the red mage was back on his feet and shouting “In Nox Grav”. He cast a poisonous fog to cover the retreat of his comrades. An archer fired a bolt that exploded as it hit Patrick square in the chest. Patrick glanced down and saw the ragged edges of his leather tunic and the red sheen of his blood on the steel tip of the bolt as he yanked it from his gear. Quickly looking back towards the tree line to defend against the next volley, he caught a glimpse of the archer as he retreated into the brush with his comrades. Patrick dropped to his knees wounded and exhausted. Bronson rushed to his aid.

    There was a lull in the fighting. Seamus assessed the damage. A quick scan of the battlefield revealed the chest guardians’ dead bodies strewn around the chest. Only one was still laden with loot. Apparently the marauders looted the monsters before retreating back into the underbrush. One attacker lay dead on the ground under Og’s right claw. Bronson and Patrick were stunned but appeared to be regrouping for the next attack. Og was slightly wounded but alert. The wyrm and the mares were on guard for the scent of the bandits. But Jack was nowhere to be found.

    “Get ready men…they’ll be taking another run at us. Has anyone seen Jack?? “ Seamus wondered aloud.
    “Not me.” “ Nor I.” the other’s shot back.
    “Did he turn tail and run for his life?” Patrick asked with obvious disgust.
    “I doubt it.” Seamus said, as he began to apply a bandage to Og. “I’ll wager the loot in this chest that he is the brains behind this gank squad.”

    Patrick glanced over at Bronson for his reaction to Seamus’ remark only to see Bronson nodding his head in agreement.

    “I expect that they are licking their wounds and reinforcing their numbers for their next assault.” Seamus told them as he finished healing the wyrm “That should take them a few moments. Let’s quickly open the chest and hide the $5000 in gold in the bushes south of here.”

    Clickety-click...the lock popped open.

    “Ort Por Ylem”

    KABOOM!! The chest was untrapped and Seamus was hauling the gold to the south. Bronson had heard of Seamus’ prowess as a treasure hunter but never had he witnessed such efficient looting of a level 5 chest. Seamus disappeared into the underbrush for a few moments. When he returned he pulled his watch from his sleeve, looked at it and smiled.

    “I think it’s time for the winds of fortune to start blowing our way, lads.” Seamus chuckled.
    “Amanda and the girls?” Patrick raised his eyebrows in anticipation.

    Bronson looked from Seamus to Patrick “What are you saying?”
    “The words ‘lucky lock picks’ are a secret code between Seamus and Amanda which means ‘bring help’.” Patrick grinned as he reloaded his crossbow “Let us hope those fair ladies arrive soon.”

    “Aye, but brace yourselves for the next assault…it won’t be long now.” Seamus told them as he adjusted his golden helmet and picked up his shield.

    Suddenly the tree line to the north erupted with attackers. Cries and unearthly howls made the air vibrate. Seamus spotted the red mage that had led the first attack. The murderous mage was conjuring up a poison cloud to envelop Patrick and Bronson as the screaming horde of red riders closed in on them.

    “OG KILLl!” Seamus gestured towards the red mage. Long ago he had learned that your chances of survival are greatly increased if you take the leader out first.

    “JAI ATTACK!” Seamus ordered his mare to attack the archer who was protecting the red mage.
    From behind, Seamus felt the sting of a blade penetrating his flesh through the studded leather tunic. He pivoted around to parry the repeated blows of a brigand with his valorite shield. But the lightning fast speed of the attacker’s kryss began to overcome him. Seamus went down on one knee fighting for his life. The murderers knew the first order of engagement…take out the tamer to neutralize the pets.

    Patrick and Bronson were several yards away, surrounded by blade wielding swordsmen. Their armor was runic but it was beginning to fail. Bronson’s mare was fighting off a conjured Energy Vortex but was losing the battle. The situation looked bleak.

    All of a sudden there was a thunderous explosion followed by the howling sound of a tornado. One of Bronson’s attackers went down…knocked out by the combination of explosion and energy bolt. Like a banshee’s wail, the sound of a woman’s cry was heard above the din of the raging battle. “ALL FOLLOW ME!!”

    The attackers and the defenders all paused and looked to the south. A host of heavily armored women emerged from the trees.

    “MIST KILL!” Amanda trained her dragon on Seamus’ attacker. As the attacker fled towards the trees Katie Rose pulled bolos from her pack and knocked the fleeing rider from his mount. It was a swift end for the ‘would be’ looter under Mist’s powerful claws.

    At the same time Jeanne Rose drew her sword and galloped into the fray. She charged the group attacking Bronson and Patrick. Shana Rose equipped her poisonous heavy crossbow and loaded a bolt. She took aim and struck a mounted attacker, knocking him from his horse. He halted his attack to heal the poison wound and recover his mount. But before he could resume the fight Katie Rose cast “An Ex Por” to paralyze the brigand. She dismounted her mare and watched it stomp the wounded attacker into oblivion.

    As Jeanne reached the tangle of horses and men she took down the first attacker she met with a deadly blow from her Holy Sword. She halted her mount beside Bronson and quickly killed two more attackers with the magic weapon.

    Kayla circled the perimeter with a wand of greater healing for her family and a bag of greater explosion potions for the bandits. The tide of battle began to turn. Contrary to the popular cliché there is no honor among thieves. As more bandits fell, their surviving comrades began to flee in all directions.

    Seamus called his pets to guard him while he recovered his strength. Amanda took up a position next to her husband. The red mage leader managed to survive Og’s attack by running and hiding. But his body guard, the archer, was not so fortunate. Seamus caught a glimpse of the red mage as he ran off to the west.

    The ladies held their ground but did not give chase to the fleeing band of criminals. They surrounded Bronson and Patrick to protect them and helped heal their wounds.

    As the group looked around for stragglers there was a collective sigh of relief. The battle was over. The family survived.

    “WHERE IS THAT SCOUNDREL JACK!!” Seamus shouted.


    Jack sprinted out of the trees and into a clearing in which a ram shackled wooden cottage stood. The cottage belonged to one of his men. He made his way towards the house, determined to escape the loosing battle his cohorts were fighting nearby. He could hear the roar of his brothers’ pets and the death cries of his men as he rounded the corner of the cottage.

    But Jack’s retreat came to an abrupt halt when he found himself face to face with a lovely young girl. She was standing in front of the cottage steps. For a moment Jack thought he was looking upon a fairy grown to human size. Her perfect face, framed by short braids of flame red hair, startled him. Her large green eyes looked up at him and a single tear slowly traced the shape of her cheek. Suddenly Jack realized that he knew this girl.

    “Shana Rose?”
    “Aye, my lord Jack” she answered softly.

    For a moment Jack forgot about the battle in the clearing to the east.
    “Why do you weep?” he caught her tear on the finger tip of his glove and wiped it away.

    “I weep for you, Jack, and what you have done.” Shana took a step backwards. “You have ruined everything” she turned away from him then. “Seamus will ban you from the house and I will never be able to see you again.”

    Jack frowned. “And this makes you weep?”
    “Aye” she sniffed.

    A grin spread across Jack’s face. That this innocent girl would miss him touched something long hidden in Jack’s cold and ruthless heart. He chuckled to himself.

    “You laugh at me?” Shana Rose whirled to face him “You find my sorrow amusing, Jack?” With clenched fists she confronted the murderer.

    “Nay, lass, I find it much to my liking” Jack admitted. He surprised himself with such an uncharacteristic display honesty. Why was he telling her this? As he looked upon her young face Jack saw the promise of the woman Shana Rose would one day be. He began to realize that his blind jealousy over Bronson and Jeanne had caused him to burn his bridges with Seamus and his family. Jack would never see this lovely ‘Rose’ come to full bloom. The thought of missing out on the rest of Shana’s life made Jack feel an emotion he had never felt before…..regret.

    But it was too late…the damage was done. Escape was his only option now.

    “Should you ever need me, Shana,” Jack heard himself telling her “make your way to the heart shaped clearing south of Yew in Felucca. I have a tower there.” He seemed to have lost control of his tongue. He had never told anyone about his tower before “Do you know the place?”

    “I am not sure….” She started to answer.

    But the sound of something very large crashing though the woods caused them both to look to the east.

    Jack turned once more to Shana Rose. He caught her hands and gave them a squeeze “I must be off, lass. But remember what I told you.” Then Jack moved around her to enter the cottage. He went inside and closed the door, leaving Shana standing alone.

    Seamus burst into the clearing. “ALL FOLLOW ME!!” he commanded and Og responded to his command with a mighty roar.

    Upon seeing Shana, Seamus called out “Which way did Jack go?”
    Shana stood as if frozen for a moment and then her eyes glanced at the cottage door of their own accord.

    “Inside hiding is he?” Seamus spat out as he hurried to the door. “COME OUT YOU COWARD!!” He opened the door and started to go inside. Shana covered her face with her hands. This would be the day she saw Jack die.

    But Seamus stopped just inside the door and made a deep growling sound in the back of his throat. Shana peered around Seamus into the interior of the tiny house. It was empty except for a chest and an old worn out chair. She suppressed the urge to smile.

    Jack was gone.


    Bronson and Jeanne Rose rode side by side up a gentle slope of grass towards the large grey stone building which had once been an Inn. They drew their mounts to a halt near the stable attached to the Inn and dismounted.

    “This appears to be the property Amanda wanted me to look at” Bronson said as he opened the stable gate and led Nox to a stall. He closed the stall, commanded “All Stay!” and hope that his adventurous pet would still be here when he returned for her.

    Bronson took Jeanne’s hand and together they entered the large double doors. The entry hall was wide and led to a cozy dining room in the back of the house. Off the dining room was a kitchen with a stone oven.

    “I don’t think a man living alone needs a kitchen this big.” Bronson said. He raised an eyebrow to Jeanne “Do you my lady?”

    Jeanne looked around the kitchen and smiled “Nay, my lord. This kitchen is far too big for a man living alone. You would need to hire a cook and a house keeper to manage.”

    Bronson cleared his throat “Ah hum…he would indeed…unless…”

    “Let us look at the rest of the house!” Jeanne interrupted and taking his arm she propelled him to the stairs. Her child like excitement at exploring each house on Amanda’s list made Bronson grin.

    The second floor was the area of the Inn where guests could gather. There was a large room with a fireplace, a piano and a door which led to a balcony which ran along the entire front of the building. Jeanne made her way out onto the balcony. Bronson followed.

    “This is wonderful!” Jeanne exclaimed as she stood by the balcony railing and looked out over the country side to the south “Oh, Bronson, what a lovely view!!”

    Bronson came to stand beside her. He leaned his hip against the rail and looking down at Jeanne said “I couldn’t agree more, my lady, the view is quite lovely from where I am standing.”

    Jeanne smiled and blushed.

    “So what do you think, Jeanne? Shall I buy this Inn? Shall I become an Inn Keeper?” Bronson teased her.

    “You could no more be an Inn Keeper than your older brother could be a waiter at the Tree Fellow Pub!” she laughed.

    Bronson chuckled “You wound me, lady. Do you think me incapable of settling down?”

    “I think, sir, that you love to travel across the land looking for adventure just as much as Seamus does.”

    “Ahh, but Seamus has a home….and a wife. Could I not have the same life as he and still enjoy the thrill of the hunt?” Bronson asked taking her hand again.

    “Aye, you could manage that, I am quite sure, milord.” She answered softly, looking suddenly shy.

    They stood silently together on the wide porch, looking into each other’s eyes. Bronson took a deep breath and said “Someone very wise once told me that when something is right, you just know it.” He drew Jeanne into his embrace “I think that I have found something very right, my lady.” He placed a gentle kiss upon her lips “Could you find it in your heart to be my wife?”

    Jeanne smiled up at Bronson and with tears shining in her eyes answered “Aye Bronson. I would be honored.”
    Bronson and Jeanne Rose were married in the roof top garden of Mountain View. The ceremony was followed by a feast the likes of which none in Luna had ever seen before.

    The couple moved into the large stone building and, after several months of remodeling, opened their new business with another family celebration.

    To the cheers of all the Rose ladies, Seamus, Patrick and Kayla they put up a freshly painted sign naming the Inn on the top of the green hill. The wooden plaque swayed in the morning breeze, welcoming all to the home of Bronson and his lovely bride.

    The sign read “Journey’s End.”