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The Spear of Destiny

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  • The Spear of Destiny

    This is a short bit of fiction I pounded out for a fiction challenge on another forum. It was supposed to be with a Valentine's Day theme, so I kind of worked that in. One of the proposed themes was World War II, which I used as the setting. Its really kind of rushed, and I did minimal research on it. Not to mention, I kind of made up the characters as I went along. However, I started to really like the characters and I realized I would probably like to expand on this story, or make the details more realistic.

    My knowledge of the details of World War II is not extensive as I would like it to be. I guess writing this is one of the ways I can research some detail. Also, my knowledge of German is negligible as well as my knowledge of Italy.

    Basically, this got me thinking about the Prototype I project Perdix is doing with DeeCrowSeer. I think I might like to use the main characters from this story again, and perhaps submit the final work as self-contained sequel. Or, if I were permitted, I could give this story a serious revamp. Any critiques or suggestions would be welcome.


    -----------------------------------

    [b]The black devils are all around us every time we come into the line[b/]

    It was the 14th of February, 1944. Valentine's day. And with my luck, I got to spend it behind enemy lines. Cisterna wasn't one of the worst places to be, and was actually quite picturesque. I stood before la Fontana di Biondi admiring the statue of Ferona. With a raised olive branch in her hand, she embodied the beauty which was Cisterna. She was an old Etruscan goddess of fertility and nature. I think I might have offered a silent prayer to her.

    The allies had been trying to take Cisterna, with very little success. I was informed that two battalions had been lost to the Reich's 715th Motorized Infantry. Two days after the battle I had been brought in embedded with The 1st Special Service Force, which would come to be known as the Devil's Brigade. A week ago, a few men and I managed to infiltrate Cisterna. My mission was not an easy one.

    I was sent to locate and extract a holy relic known as the Spear of Longinus. Officially, the spear was in St Catherine's church in Nuremberg, having been liberated from the Hoffburg museum in Vienna back in '38. However, according to the Catholic Church, the spear resides in St Peter's Basilica in Rome. Another spear is said to be in Glastonbury Abbey in England, and was said to once be wielded by Parsifal. So then, what was I doing in Cisterna?

    I was enlisted by the allies to be an advisor on occult matters. When I spoke to Churchill he clarified that, "by advisor I mean field operative". My expertise in such matters was a double edged sword. I am good at research and know the probable location of many artifacts and relics. Unfortunately, I am also the most likely candidate to retrieve them intact, especially ones of interest to Himmler and the Reich. I have traveled in many occult circles, and have met notable personalities such as Aliester Crowley, Dion Fortune, and as a youth I even got to meet Wynn Wescott. Of less Notoriety, I have met Heinrich Himmler on a few occasions in Berlin and Nuremberg. I have kept such contacts from within the axis, and have found them to be quite useful.

    One of the atrocities I had discovered were the medical experiments which were going on at Auschwitz in Poland. People who called themselves Doctors, such as Josef Mengele and Carl Clauberg were undergoing studies which mostly amounted to finding out the tolerance people had for death in its various forms. Children were quite often the victims. Less despicable yet much more dangerous were experiments performed on their own people, the Ubermensch Programme. The Nazi doctors were trying different methods of making their own forces superhuman.

    Which brings me back to Cisterna. I knew that the SS had been dispatched, and as well I had known for many years that this was a likely location of an authentic Spear of Destiny. What had disturbed me to no end, however, was that word also reached me that an Ubermensch prototype was brought along for testing. I hadn't heard from any of the men who came in with me for several days now, and I feared the worst.

    Fortunately, I was much better at blending in with my surroundings. I have the ability to learn languages quickly, and I can pick up local dialects as well. So, its not difficult for me to come across as almost any sort of westerner. My brown hair and brown eyes along with a light complexion makes me seem rather generic. This was to be to my advantage.

    I took a last look at Ferona before going on my way. My nerves had me on edge, but a shot of brandy from my hip flask calmed me down a little. I walked toward the inn which I knew had been appropriated by the SS. I was more terrified than I looked, and I thanked the fact my complexion made it difficult to tell if I had gone pale or not. To make matters worse, I wasn't carrying any weapons. Traveling unarmed often allowed me to talk myself out of compromising situation.

    As I approached the inn, I adjusted the spectacles I was wearing. I didn't really need them, but they made me appear more vulnerable. Not that I wasn't already.

    When I had arrived, I made my way into the tavern. It seemed normal enough, and there were several patrons. The locals acted oblivious to the two SS officers which sat at a table in the corner, though I spotted the odd glance. Like myself, no one wanted to draw too much attention to themselves. I took off my jacket and had, and found a seat at the bar. I ordered an anisette and asked for a menu. I may have been a spy, but I was a hungry one.

    Sipping on my drink, I watched the SS out of the corner of my eye. There was a man and a woman. The man remind me of some sort of rodent, his hair mousier even than mine. The woman however, was picturesque. Long and lean, with blond hair tied into a bun. As if sensing me, she glanced over and for a moment my eyes met hers. They were piercing blue. The word blitzen, lightning, came to mind. They were electric.

    I quickly cast my eyes down, but it was too late. I had drawn her attention. She got up from her chair and walked over to me, slowly. Her walk was very precise. Disciplined. She stopped a couple of steps short of my right shoulder and spoke in perfect Italian, "You. Stand up and face me".

    I got up slowly and turned around. I raised my head slowly and looked into those eyes. They seemed to almost shimmer. I wondered if somewhere behind them was a soul. And she asked, "What is it that interests you?"

    "I am sorry I stared. Its just that you reminded me of the statue of Ferona at la Fonatana, Frau..." I spoke.

    Surprisingly she proffered her name, "Lemko". A Ukrainian name! I was surprised and must have flushed, which seemed to work to my advantage. I sensed rather than saw a smile, but her face softened if only a little. She continued, "So, you admire me when you should fear fear me? Do you not fear the SS, Mister..."

    Acting in kind, I have her my name, my real one. I have no reason why, I just felt compelled. "Valentine. Paul Valentine".

    Frau Lemko laughed at this, and slapped a hand on my shoulder. It hurt and my knees buckled a bit. "Aptly named for a day like today, eh, Mister Valentine? Though I would venture to say Lupercalia is a more interesting one."

    The rat-faced officer scowled. Apparently he was not impressed. Though I only glimpsed it, his gaze seemed more set in stone.

    Foolishly, I spoke to her again, "Lupercalia isn't until tomorrow, Frau".

    "Then perhaps I will find you then, Mister Valentine." she winked. At this, the other SS made a horrid hissing sound. She nodded and turned on her heel, "Now if you would excuse me."

    I regained my composure as I regained my seat. The bartender poured me another drink, telling me it was on the house, as was my meal. When I questioned him about it, he warned me that Frau Lemko was sometimes referred to as Frau Kreuzotter, or Lady Viper, and that any man she had taken an interest in was never seen again. I hesitated to speculate too much on it.

    After finishing my dinner, I set back to the abandoned farmhouse I had been using as a base, and thought out my plans. With the attention of the SS, I was sure to run into trouble sooner than later. As expected, I saw the occasional glimpse of a couple of German soldiers who were following me. Losing them wasn't particularly difficult, especially since I had a week to explore Cisterna before tonight. When I reached the cottage, I retrieved my bag of gear and waited for dark. It was just before eleven when I set out again.

    ------------------------------

    I heard a whistle on my way back to la Fontana di Biondi. It sounded like a bird, but it had a much more beautiful sound than that. It was a signal from one of my allies. I didn't quite know where they were, but that meant the enemy wouldn't either. The trip was much longer, as I was taking many different back alleys and side streets in order to avoid detection. Also, my outfit was dark and well suited to the particular mission. I wore very sturdy canvas trousers and cotton shirt, with long black tanker's boot and a well-fitting bomber jacket. On my head I wore a snug bowler which was clipped to my hair, making it difficult to come off. And rather than use the shoe polish employed by the Devil's Brigade to hide my face, I preferred a simple highwayman's mask. I fancy I made a rather dashing burglar.

    There was a German patrol close to la Fontana. I was forced to wait while they worked their way far enough that I could slip in. I didn't have to wait too long, and it was still a good half hour before midnight that I was able to make my way to the small entrance. Once inside, I pulled out a small prybar and began to tap lightly on the stone floor. I eventually found what I was looking for, and located the thin stone which concealed a secret compartment. The stone slid down and then to the side. And there it was.

    The Spear of Destiny.

    I immediately pulled it out and had a look at it. Aside from its excellent looking condition, it was a typical looking bronze age spear. And despite the cool of the evening, it felt warm in my hands, even through the gloves I wore.

    I then set the spear down, and began to replace the stone panel. It was then that I felt something. A hand that grabbed me by the collar. Tremendous force pulled me out of the chamber and lifted me off the ground. I found myself face to face with Frau Lemko.

    Beside her was the other SS officer. Only, neither of them were wearing their uniforms. Instead they sported more stealthy black outfits. The Lady Viper had tremendous strength, and seemed to be able to lift my entire weight one handed without much effort. And then she spoke.

    "Mister Valentine, what a pleasant surprise", she then tore my mask away with her other hand. "I knew we would meet again. And look, you have a gift for me."

    The other SS Officer spoke. His voice was very disconcerting, and reminded me of some sort of congested ermine. "Quit wasting time, Sophia! Kill him and let us retrieve the Spear. I wish to return to Berlin."

    "Herr Rattegesicht, you are such a boor. You never take the time to enjoy things." she sounded quite condescending.

    Ratface fumed and snapped, "Don't call me that, Kreuzotter!" His fists balled and he started to approach here. "We are here to recover the relic for the Fuehrer!"

    Frau Lemko dropped me, and looked down at me, speaking softly, "Don't run away now." And then turning to Ratface she said to him, "You might like to be a lab rat for the Fuehrer, but I for one do not like to be treated like a weapon. I am a woman you know?" They were speaking German now, which didn't stop me from understanding them.

    "Yes, I know. And I don't understand why you need the company of foreigners. I am more of a man than any you have had." I hadn't realized how Frau Lemko was taller than Ratface. He sounded jealous.

    Frau Lemko's face grew red, and here eyes narrowed to slits. I started to understand where she got the name Kreuzotter. "And is that why you never let me have a lover? Why you kill every man I take a fancy to? And foreigner? In case you haven't noticed, I am not german."

    It was then that their spat was interrupted. From out of the shadows came a couple of my allies. I didn't see any more and had no idea if there were. They leveled Thompsons at the two SS officers and opened fire.

    Bullet holes appeared in their black outfits. However, very little blood seeped out. Even more disturbing was the fact that neither Nazi fell. They just stood there for a moment. A dead silence loomed and for a moment all I could hear was the sound of my hard pushing my blood hard through my veins. Before the allied soldiers could fire again, Ratface took a few steps and grabbed one of the soldiers by the throat. I heard a sickening breaking sound, as the nazi let the soldier drop to the ground, relieving him of his Thompson. The other soldier fired at him, but the bullets were having little effect on Ratface who casually pointed the submachine gun and fired. I turned away and scrambled for the little chamber.

    I emerged not a moment later, with the Spear in hand. Ratface had gotten much closer, and I felt a futile pang of fear as he pointed the Thompson towards me. I thought I had heard Kreuzotter call out, but I wasn't sure. I watched as he squeezed the trigger.

    Nothing happened.

    He had expended the clip when he killed the soldier. Enraged, he threw the weapon at me, with force enough to dent a tank. To my surprise, my hands moved to parry with the spear. It batted the submachine away as if were a tin can. Shock washed over his rodent features. I may have been holding an magic spear, but I knew he had me overpowered. I slowly backed into the chamber again.

    And then the unexpected happened. Kreuzotter grabbed him from behind and began to struggle with him. I heard her voice shout out, "Mister Valentine. Get out while you can!"

    I wasn't a fool. I bolted from the chamber with the Spear in hand and started to sprint towards my escape route.

    Ratface shouted at her, "Traitor! I see you hang for this!"

    "Hang from what? What can kill an Ubermensch then, Herr Rattegesicht? We cannot even kill each other!" was her reply.

    Then all I could hear was curses in German and Ukrainian. In the distance, I could hear the sound of german boots.

    I stopped. If I waited too long, the Germans would have me in their sites. But, guilt stopped me. I couldn't abandon Kreuzotter.

    Instead I turned around and charged back, and yelled out, "Frau Lemko! Turn this way!"

    She turned around, still struggling to hold Ratface from behind. And she shouted back, "You Idiot! Do you want to get yourself killed?"

    "No, but I think I know how to kill an Ubermensch!" was my reply. I felt a surge as I raised the Spear, looking at Ratface. I think I saw fear in his eyes, before I close mine and pushed the spear into his chest.

    He died instantly. I had barely pulled the spear back out when I found Kreuzotter and myself surrounded by german soldiers. I'm not quite sure what happened next. I saw a blur, and heard gunfire before everything went black.

    ----------------------------------------

    I woke up later, and found myself in a church. The Spear of Destiny was beside me. In the corner, I heard a heavy breathing.

    It was Kreuzotter. It looked like she had a medical pack of some sort and was trying to treat her wounds. I asked what she was doing. She told me that if the bullets stayed in, that it would be very uncomfortable when she healed. I told her to lay down. Finding a basin filled with holy water, I washed my hands and then brought a cloth and a bowl to her. I did my best to clean her wounds and extract the bullets. I'm sure I had got most of them. I was glad she stopped bleeding quickly, as I've never had to piece someone back together before on this level. I must have done well as she fell asleep. I covered her with my jacket to keep her warm.

    I began to doze off as well. I wasn't sure whether the priest I had seen was a dream or not. Not until morning.

    More blankets covered us, and I awoke to the face of acolyte. He was delighted to see us awake, and ran off to fetch the Priest.

    I turned to look at Kreuzotter. She was awake and smiled at me. Her first words were, "Happy Lupercalia Mister Valentine."

    "We're in a church, that's blasphemy you know?" I smiled back.

    She sat up and raised an eyebrow. "I'm not the one who prays to Ferona in his sleep".

    I was about to respond when the acolyte returned with the Priest. He asked if we were feeling well, and it after we had assured him that no permanent harm had come to us that he asked about the Spear. I explained things as best as I could, and the Priest seemed satisfied with my explanation and seemed to consider me the Spear's Guardian. I was about to argue, but Kreuzotter hushed me quiet.

    She told me where we could find some clothes and new some hiding spots the germans hadn't discovered yet. I asked if she would consider joining to return allied controlled territory, but she violently disagreed. She said that she would never be able to live normally in allied territory. And I was inclined to believe her. Instead we decided that would leave Cisterna together, and go where the Spear led us. It was after all the Spear of Destiny.

    But for the day, all Sophia Lemko wanted to do was spend Lupercalia with me, her Valentine.
    Yuki says, "Krimson used to be known as Kommando, but he rarely uses that name anymore. Sometimes he appears as Krimson Gray as well. Do not be confused, he still loves cats and bagels."
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