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  • lemec
    replied
    I had to quit this story because I was not able to finish it in time.

    I could not complete it for personal reasons.

    I deeply apologize.

    The Story Challenge itself will continue.

    Thank you,

    lemec

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  • lemec
    replied
    Chapter Twelve

    Gulley of the Lost

    General Acees rode through the great wilderness. He was surrounded by sixty-thousand soldiers. The troops crossed at a ford on the Valsan River, a watercourse on the northern boundary of Dacrenkandroon.

    Beyond a line of pine trees, the unit moved into a gultch. Red and yellow flags were present and unfurled. They were attached to wagons and other conveyances.

    A scout, holding a brass telescope, rode swiftly over to the general. "Sir, I have spotted a banner! It appears to be from The First Kadrameerah Infantry! They were here, we may yet be able to find them!"

    "Excellent, Mister Blavet, let us pray that the group still lives. Spread out some of the men and search for our missing brothers," Acees ordered. "If they are well to fight, they will really help out numbers against the enemy. If they are wounded, we will have a squad or two carry them home for treatment."

    Blavet commandeered a few carts and horses and gathered together a hundred men and began to probe the region. The bulk of the army made camp and rested.

    * * *

    Elkan Lambert sat in a cushioned chair beside a brick fireplace. The inn provided food and refreshment and offered a groom service for his horse. He had travelled for twenty miles in one direction, then twenty miles in a different direction, in his quest for oddities. He tried to find signs of a plague, so he could identify it and report it.

    "I knew a girl like you, but that was over thirty years ago," Elkan said to a serving maiden. He drank purple wine from a silver goblet.

    "So you were always this charming, you did not have to work at it?," the maiden, Sennene, replied. Lambert chuckled softly.

    "That was an easier time for me, not so easy for the rest of the world, though," Elkan said. He bit into a piece of jellied bread and took another drink. The girl sat down on a wood bench, near the roof's middle support beam.

    "I remember a day by the river, it seems as though it only happened yesterday," stated Lambert. "I fell in love with a dark haired woman, of course, like many stories told my many men. The water was so clear, we were alone, never bothered by anyone. We found an old chair, made up of some kind of oiled cloth. It was soft, we sat there, together, for several hours. We watched leaves fall into the water and spin. It was early afternoon when we arrived, deep night when we made for her parent's house. If only I could feel that way again, but it only happens once, you see? Too many complications and burdens now. The mind is never free, like it is in youth. The weather was even special, perfect, neither cold nor hot, perhaps a gentle cool breeze, I think the climate stopped in that place, I never felt so comfortable before or since that day. I was lucky enough to spend a few weeks with the woman I loved, but I had been forced to abandon her. She was born into a family that had strong political ties and she fell in love with another from her elite circle. I made a few mistakes when the relationship began, I was too young and foolish, I was never able to repair the damage done. Nothing will ever make me forget the feel of her body or the taste of her lips. The fragrance of her fine hair haunts me when I pass certain perfume stands. She married and had a beautiful child. I moved on with my life and had many wonderful times and was as happy as I could be for the most part. I always liked to think that she was truly happy, I hope she was. I desired her to quickly forget about me, that would have been best. I never will know if she is happy or not. Oh well, let the past be the past. It's been a decade or more since I really thought of it, strange how surrounding bring old memories to light." Elkan finished the contents of his cup and the maiden poured him more wine from a dusty green bottle, which had a leather case surrounding the glass.

    "It does sound like that you found true love once, and that you know what a real romance is like," stated Sennene.

    "Yes, I had a few of those, but I never had a day that was more magical than that one day in the woods where the trees, creek and atmosphere were so sweet," Elkan Lambert commented. "There is one lady who is as important to me, she lives in a glowing tower. My current relationship has been a much longer one, that I would not trade for anything. The scholars, where I was born, say that one has to be wounded in the past to really appreciate the present."

    * * *

    Blavet reached the top of a hill and looked down on the low fields. He was temporarily frozen in fear at the sight below him. He then regained his senses and called for the men to approach.

    Hemlock trees were broken and rotten. The blades of grass were full of tiny holes and an infestation of blue arthropods wiggled through sumac and purslane.

    The scout fell off his horse as he looked upon what lay strewn across the valley floor.
    Bones. Human and horse skeletons, mixed with ruined equipment and tattered yellow and red cloth. It was the remains of the First Kadrameerah Infantry.

    "All. Dead. How? Disease? It would have to be rapid, a more advanced virus that this world has seen," stated Blavet. "That's it, it must be from a different world. I,I....would like to have been able to collect some information for the families of those that died in honerable war duty. No, we can not do it. Fall back! Avoid this area! Alert General Acees that this land must be placed in a quarantine."

    * * *

    Avonaco fought like a trapped wild animal. Blood streamed down from a knife cut and flowed into his eyes. William's arms and hands were cut and scratched.

    The two companions continued to defend their lives against the unyielding deacons. Daller was out of objects to throw or smash upon heads. A full score of priests remained unconscious on the heavy floor boards. More deacons and men in gray suits rushed inside from obscured portals.

    Avonaco struck a man with his elbow and the man's face cracked. A lead weighted net was tossed over Bill, but he struggled free of it's grip just in time to punch a clergyman in the belly.

    One priest was bald and wore a yellow robe. He stood beside an older man who had a red goatee. He wore some type of dark blue tunic with kilt, and had a black and yellow balmoral on his pate. This man was using sign language and it appeared as though he were attempting to organize the minions.

    * * *

    (under construction)
    Last edited by lemec; 11-02-2008, 08:30 AM.

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  • lemec
    replied
    Chapter Eleven

    Belligerency


    Arthur Oat picked up a large rock and smashed it hard against the side of the winged wolf statue. The action caused a small crack to form. He struck it a second time , then he hit it again for a third time. The wolf cracked into five pieces. Oat searched inside one of the chunks. He reached inside the head part and found what he was looking for, a clay centipede.

    * * *

    A silicon caterpillar was gently placed in the jar, beside the dragonfly. Meaklataf cut into the flesh of a dead spotted owl. He was in the act of dissection. He needed to gather more elements for his potions and powders. He took select parts of the avian creature and placed them inside small black glass bottles.

    * * *

    "When you reach the hundredth level of power, you will be able to use the cylinders," stated Nocu, who sat on a large metal chair.
    He showed his student two hollow pipes, five inches long and one inch in diameter. "These are weapons that do not need ammunition. They emit a long stream of purple fire, the energy comes from inside of you, and the Gods. You will note that there is a single rune, engraved on every inch of the tube, five runes per weapon, they represent the Five Gods. The devices are useless to those who are untrained."

    * * *

    Gressen stood by and watched his hired workers dig up a statue that had been buried in the sand for many years. It was the item that he seeked, an antelope made of granite.

    He had followed footprints that were made by the priests, they had been close, but did not find the artifact. Uloomont thought to himself that he would no longer bring about any more misery into the world. He had done enough damage. If he could take the antelope and hide it from Sekkawir and his minions, maybe that would count for something. He wanted to spend his remaining days in peace and now that he had enough money to retire, he would try his best to stay out of reach, stay clear of society.

    Two of Gressen's friends lifted the statue and placed it in a large oak box on top of their wagon. They covered the signs of their passing, the best they could with shovels, then headed north. Uloomont rode beside them on a black gelding.

    * * *

    The agents and priests set up the ambush inside the saloon, after they had learned that the two men were to meet a contact there. The enemies waited behind the inner doors to the gambling hall, they hid behind the coat check and under tables. They tied the bartender, and the other employees, to a long brass rail that had been fixed to a loading ramp in the rear storage room.

    * * *

    Tecumseh Gamble parted company with General Keese, shortly after the council members had finished their inquiry. He quickly threw off his suit and after a hot bath, a few minutes later, he was dressed once more in his deer skins. Feeling comfortable and relieved, the scout placed all his equipment and weapons on his person, making sure that he did not leave anything behind in the appointed motel.

    Keese chose a path that would take him back to the fort. He rode in a sleek buggy, this time.

    Mister Gamble acquired a white stallion and rode to the southern portion of Strattonopolis, to deal with some of his contacts. He soon learned some vital information and was told that The Middle Order had made many preparations to further their plans. He discovered details of the artifact hunt and knew that Sekkawir was getting closer and closer to a complete victory over humankind.

    * * *

    Malbring Station is in the heart of a prosperous community. The wars had not fully touched them. Doctor Laoch and Wenda Fegkari purchased brown horses from the master of an inexpensive stable and corral.

    They were about to begin their journey after the midday meal, but there was a shout of alarm behind one of the buildings that had a marble facade. The pair left the mounts tied to a side street post, then ran to see what trouble set off the cry for help.

    A workman had been lifted from a maintenance pit, which channeled water for one of the city's factories. One of the main pipes had broken and the pit had been filled with tons of water within a few seconds. A few men held their breath beneath the sudden flood waters then jumped clear of the trench, while others jumped out as soon as they saw a crack form on the copper artery. A burst of fluid hit the one man in the face and water poured into his lungs after he fell under the cold surface.

    Henry swiftly went into a frantic action in order to save the man. He used a technique he had learned from a traveller from the sister Earth, CPR. The man was revived and taken to rest on a cot in the sun. He was fine, the residents thanked the doctor after being astonished to see the drowned man live. They were certain that it was too late to save the laborer, by looking at the color of his face, but fortunately they had been proven wrong by someone who had many skills in the biology field. Laoch saved many lives in his time, young and old souls.

    * * *

    Avonaco ducked as one deacon threw a weighted net towards him. He then tossed a different priest over his hip and kicked out at the man's ribcage. "No more relaxation, Mister Daller! It seems the threat has caught up with us! We must escape! We must bring the fight to their commanders!"

    William delivered a quick snapping kick to the groin of a gaunt clergyman, the man's cry of pain was muffled as he tried to exhale through his closed mouth. A very strange sound came from his narrow nose and he collapsed on the saloon floor. "I only wanted to try the local ale.....,I think they locked the front door, look for another way out of this trap!"

    A man wearing a purple robe picked up a chair and broke it over Daller's back, Bill fell to the floor. Avonaco ran to the rescue, he rapidly punched one deacon three times in the head, then pivoted to strike a man in the
    belly. The alternate world native managed to lift the enemy up off the boards. He threw the man over his left shoulder. "Watch out!"

    Bill only could see a violet blur, then he saw a large foot coming towards him. William blocked the foot with his right forearm and turned his upper body to striked out with his left fist. Daller jumped up and caught the man with his right elbow, then William made his fist like a hammer and continued to pound the diakanos on the head, shoulders and neck, until the Middle Order leader stopped his struggle.

    Bill looked up to see a large number of deacons emerge from multiple hidden positions, then begin to close in on the pair.
    "How many of these twisted and mislead devils are there?"

    Avonaco reached William in time to ward off several wild swings from a heavy set priest. "Far too many! Too many join the herd of mindless fools who only do what others instruct them to do!" Avonaco brought his knee up and struck the man in the stomach. As the deacon bent over in pain, Avonaco performed a vicious uppercut that sent the man backwards. Avonaco struck again and again, the man fell on a wood table, which broke in four places.

    William ran to a small, auxiliary, bar and pried the latch of of a liquor cabinet that he found there. Daller started throwing full bottles of brandy, whiskey and gin at his many opponents.

    * * *

    Nocu patiently watched Gallembranc train the man. Ten other men, wearing light brown robes held an informal fighter college. These men helped to educate the dimension traveler.

    "Next, you will learn pain, then you will learn to fight with pain, afterwards you will learn how to give pain," stated Gallembranc.

    The student took up a position on the north side of the great gymnasium. One of the war monks stood ready in a red circle.

    "Begin!," shouted Nocu. The monk crouched in a low battle stance.

    The man from the other world possessed
    many physical attributes that were similar to William Daller, body,face and mannerisms were very close. The paramount difference being hair and eye color. The skin was somewhat alien to Bill's Earth as well, subtle variances, like a reflection on the suraface of a contaminated lake. He ran forward and entered the circle from the right side, after a left feint.

    The monk anticipated his move and countered by a quick pivot and backstep. The teacher closed in quickly and brought his arms together after throwing them out in a wide arc. Both of his open palms slammed hard onto the sides of his pupil's head. The man dropped to the floor.

    "Get up you lazy dog dropping!," exclaimed
    Gallembranc. He walked closer to the circle to observe the injury. The were red marks near the man's temples, but there was no blood.

    The learner exhaled then jumped to his feet. He threw a right jab toward the monk's jaw and a straight left punch to the instructor's chest. The monk calmly slapped away both feeble attacks.

    The master of hand-to-hand combat formed a flat fist with his right hand and shot it at the student's abdomen, which connected solidly. The man bent forward involuntarily, so the monk moved in close, putting his back, low, against the man's waist and threw him over his hip. The teacher stomped down on the man with his right foot.

    The learner attempted to rise and was beaten back down by a flurry of strikes. The man leaped up and tried to push the monk to the floor, he got a knee in the belly for his efforts.The student swung his fists wildly, each blow was deflected by the master's forearms. The teacher returned the assault with a sharp strike to the back of the man's head,after a short sidestep. The monk then placed the man in a choke hold, then pushed him back down to the crimson floor.

    * * *

    "The Soul Thread has guided me to this land," stated Elkan Lambert as he stood in a dark concert hall. He had ridden for three weeks to reach his present location, Valdarje County. He had relentlessly searched for clues, hints and signs that might lead to some knowledge of great events on the continent.

    By using occult language skills and devices, that were part of his specialty in his particular field of science, he hoped that certain folk would be more willing to talk. He hoped he would be viewed as a stranger seeking information and not a threat to the population.

    "The musicians will not be here for another hour or two, what are you up to?, what is your business here?," the usher inquired.

    "My name is Elkan and I am in this region to investigate some odd rumors and to hear of tales of the unnatural."

    "Oh?,I see. The name's Garrows, good to meet you. An educated man,eh?" The escort officer replied, "Crowds been usual around here."

    Lambert nodded, then asked,"Have you heard of anything bizarre that has happened on the roads? Any eccentric characters about? A man told me at a horse camp, a few days back, that there were some kind of manifestations in the mist, mostly to the south, have you heard of anything like that at all? Please, good sir, it is important."

    Garrows scratched at his cheek and looked at Elkan's well travelled clothing. He swatted a mosquito that had hovered near his stained podium. "Can't say I have of anything out of the ordinary. Work's been good. Peope have been tending to their own affairs. They have tried not to think of the war. We are not close enough to it, I suppose. No cannon fire here, mate."

    "I am relieved to hear that. It would do my heart good to be able to report back to my colleagues that all is well in Valdarje, Lambert said. I am glad the battles are not near this place of culture, sir. This year it's not just the soldiers who are being put down in early graves. I hope that everything is working out fine for your neighbors. I'll look into a few more minor incidents, then return home."

    "Very well," replied Garrows. "You look like you need something to quench your thirst. Too much road dust,eh? I'll give you a nice refreshing glass of chilled berry wine, free of charge. It will be something to remember us by, maybe you will return some evening and buy a ticket for the show. It is an excellent beverage, please enjoy." The usher opened up a small closet that contained corked bottles, high glasses and a huge block of ice. He prepared a bottle, poured some of the liquid neatly in a tall blue glass and handed it to Elkan. "Here you go, sip it slow, mate."

    * * *

    Next: Chapter 12
    Last edited by lemec; 09-22-2008, 04:48 PM.

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  • lemec
    replied
    Chapter Ten

    Discovery


    A month had passed on Acamaurp. Large army forces moved across the lands. There were several skirmishes among Akoopan, Dacrenkandroon and the various factions on the northern continent. Mazeeki and Zajurac combined their troops to make a few strikes into enemy districts.

    Gressen Uloomont purchased a large parcel of land on the coast of Ulantek, on the The Impet Sea. He also bought a yacht and a cargo vessel. If anyone were to learn of his treachery, he could sail to the old country. In the meantime, he had several cousins and their families to protect him.

    A colonial style house was being constructed for his residence, further inland. He presently slept in a brick farmhouse. A wood stockade surrounded the property.

    One of his kinsman intercepted a deacon of The Middle Order as the man attempted to cross their land to report on ships in a nearby harbor. Spies where everywhere these days. There was a struggle and the deacon had to be killed.

    Gressen examined the body of the diakonos. He only found some strange syringes at first, that the clerics used to inject their sustenance packs, or liquefied herbs.

    He then found some papers, ink vials and quills. There were a few crude maps drawn on the paper, along with some notes written in an unknown language. A few hieroglyphs were also present.

    Uloomont was a corrupt man, but he was also a curious one. He took his kris dagger and cut open the corpse's mouth. The cavity released a noisome odor.

    There was something connected to the man's tongue. Gressen set about some oral
    surgery.

    A twist of the blade and an object rolled out onto Uloomont's free hand. He submerged the item in a bucket of cold water. He turned an oil lamp on, as it was becoming dark.

    Gressen studied the hard material, it was a piece of polished jasper. On the gem's flat bottom, there was a picture etched into it's surface. The small image was that of an antelope.

    * * *

    A cool morning breeze passed of the acre of tall grass. Seven-thousand soldiers, Idladur's First Marauders attacked three-thousand forces in Bacrada.

    Parrot rifles and twelve pound howitzers were used to defefend a port fortress. The stationed Barcrada troops fought their adversary with old Model 1842 Springfield Muskets and 1853 Enfield Rifles. The enemy had eight-inch guns and a variety of small arms.

    Two of Sekkawir's high ranking deacons watched the battle unfold. They had arrived in a black carriage that was equipped with shovels, picks, pry bars, hammers and wooden chests.

    The wall of the fortification took several direct hits. It did not take long for the Marauders to take full advantage of a breach on the western bulwark and stronghold partition. There were only a few casualties on each side. The guardians surrendered and the Dacrenkandroon corps placed them in a makeshift prison, allowing the Bacrada company to live.

    * * *

    General Keese and Scout Gamble had been ordered by President Harzawern to travel to Strattonopolis. They were instructed to provide detailed information on the Emeegicousians. Tecumseh and Theodore had to dress in the formal attire, black suits, white shirts, neckties and black top hats. They walked from their buggy up long stairs to the court house. Inside, they sat for ten hours at an uncomfortable table in black armchairs. They only had two twenty minute intermissions. The council members asked question after question and listened to the men's responses.

    Major Krefall and Meaklataf were given supreme command of Fifth Army until it was decreed that Keese would return to Fort Bredathord. The soldiers of both nations,camped in the fort area, held position and did not attack.

    Tecumseh thought to himself that he should have made an excuse not to leave the fort. He worried about his co-conspirators. The Grand Inquisitor might be able to extract their plans from the men. Mister Gamble prayed that his friends were not suspects. He told them to avoid the deacons if they could and to try to get assigned to duties that would take them to the outer regions, or at least send them to one of the nearby hidden bunkers or even the hunting lodge.

    Francis Wolford was already free to carry on the team's work. His first job was to study the security forces of the politicians and other public officials. His second task was to investigate The Middle Order and learn about and define their actions. He needed to discover their next moves and also find the truth behind their increased movements. The private had eavesdropped on many conversations and had travelled to four villages. Francis presently slept under some cover at a ranch. The other men were to secure additional arms and slowly began some sabotage work. They were to render certain equipment and guns useless, when the time was right. They had to do these action when everything would work in their favor, not when a foreign force was about to beat them down. They would need to perform a coup, Tecumseh thought. He knew it was going to be tricky to get the general populace on his side.

    * * *

    Warriors from The Great Steppe wielded stone and steel tomahawks. They slaughtered a squad of Middle Order infantry. The natives also killed six priests, after they had trespassed onto their Holy Death Grounds.

    A tribal fighter brought one of the deacon heads to the chiefton. He pulled the jaw down and removed a piece of polished jade.

    "This man carried one of the rocks. A green stone. It bears the symbol of the fox," stated the man.

    * * *

    McDaniels was promoted to sergeant after his role in bringing, to town, what remained of the expedition soldiers. Sekkawir had promised him that he would become an officer some day soon. The Overseer set about work on a new mission project.

    Barret Jahn distributed order pamflets at the barracks in Cattlesburge, the municipality nearest to their next goal. The 18th, 21st and 43rd Infantry Units were stationed there, and just outside the township, the 11th Cavalry were camped at a permanent outpost.

    Sekkawir aquired a new carriage and Barret acted as teamster once more. This time, the coach was protected directly by one-hundred Dragoons and a mounted rifle troop that numbered fifty-three, officers included. The overseer declared total emergency authority over all military units in the province.

    * * *

    Entry 102-

    'Avonaco and I enjoyed a peaceful interlude at the free zone. We made it safely to Calem. I was able to sleep in a nice hotel for a change. Trade is good in this region. The people are easy o get along with. I asked Avonaco when I would be ready to encounter The Middle Order again, he said that we are never really ready for anything, life just happens and we react to the world around us. He did say that I would know what to do when the moment was upon us.
    We need to make a few more stops, talk to a few faction leaders, then go from there. We are going to exchange some of our medicine crates for tools and rifles for the uprising. I suspect that a few boxes were packed with some kind of narcotics, but he failed to comment on those. I did notice that the special crates were given to the more shady fellows. He told me that I would do the right thing.....'

    * * *

    The stilletto whirled through the air. Arthur Oat did not have time to reload his revolver, he had fired his five shots. A cougar had surprised him and he had been forced to kill it, but it took five rounds before it dropped dead.

    Earlier, he found the terrain that he had sought. He had seen the fountain, he expected it to be dried up, but water poured from nine different levels. A brass sundial, that had a marble base, was partially hidden by green hedge walls. He had leapt over some tangled bushes in the effort to get closer to the grove of evergreen, purple ash and river birch trees. Toxic gas streamed from a hole in the top of the sundial, from a small tube. A metal valve had been set into the face plate, in the center, near depictions of the sun, the moon and the stars.

    Mister Oat watched his blade smash into the pipe's device and, fortunately for Arthur, halted the flow of venomous gases.

    * * *

    Meaklataf smiled as he looked at the thing in his palm. He held a silica dragonfly beside an oil lamp, that had been fashioned into the shape of an hourglass.

    He sat on a divan inside one of the fort's bunker chambers. A private area had been set up for him, behind black curtains and an iron partition.

    The Inquisitor placed the object inside a glass jar and slid a metal cap on it. The two pairs of wings seem to have moved for a split second. When held closer to the light, there was a crimson sparkle on it's delicate elongated body.

    * * *
    The castle had a total fifteen floors with the foundation included. It had been built three
    centuries ago in a secluded forest, a woodland that could only be reached through a limited and treacherous mountain pass.

    The fortress had a combination of slanted block walls and curved stone barriers. There were reinforced brick walls as well as huge slabs of solid rock.

    The place was surrounded by deep chasms and a moat. Between pit and water, there were several killing zones. The buildings had been placed at a multitude of different angles and strategic positions. Nine tall towers and five short spires helped guard the land.

    A two-story monastery had been established on the northern courtyard, inside the walls of the colossal stronghold and keep. There were indoor and outdoor training facilities where men and women could learn the military arts and gain knowledge of warfare.

    Nocu Jiant and his associates lived and worked in the castle and they hunted and fished on the outer grounds.

    "First, you will never use a name," stated Nocu, as he stood in a practice hall. "Second, you will act as my operative in all things."

    "Yes, Master Jiant," replied the unknown man."

    "You will be taught how to properly use the longsword and other blades. You will learn to use a variety of weapons. You will learn about the energy that is stored inside your body, you make best use of the power that is trapped in your soul. You will learn about The Soul Thread and gain skills that no one else may know. You will walk the corridors of the ghost realm. I will sharpen your mind and strengthen your body," Nocu continued to talk and waved in another man that had been standing in the antechamber. "You will have many instructors. This tutor is Gallembranc, he will teach you the art of stealth and give you a mastery of calisthenics , to increase your agility and speed."

    Gallembranc, "A pleasure to meet you, we will begin immediately. I will also take you to see the monks, they need to help with the exercises and fill you in about the temples."

    * * *
    Last edited by lemec; 08-02-2008, 11:59 AM.

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  • lemec
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    Chapter Nine

    Sacrificial Centipedes


    Three score of warriors roamed the far southern plains, an uncivilized territory six-hundred and eighty miles away from the boundary of Kadrameerah.

    There was not one man under seven feet tall, in the group. The bleak landscape matched raw, pale faces. Their eyes were narrow, their noses measured at least a full six inches in length and their ears were flat as the grasslands. The men had wide, thick jowls and muscled torsos, legs and arms. Their teeth looked liked rusty metal squares.

    Some of the massive fighters were naked and some wore dark green tunics, while others wore knee breeches, high boots and bear skins.

    The men carried large rectangular shields made of heavy iron. They also had longbows, arrows with metal points, quivers and pouches on their broad backs.

    They each held an axe with a ten-inch blade head. The men were also workers of the forge and they had crafted a rough four-inch obtuse maul on the weapon's opposite side.

    The huntmaster, Gakklin, looked out over a yellow and green range. Above the expanse the sun turned a shade of lavender and began to set behind a patch of baobab and marula trees.

    "What is this balderdash about abnormal drifters?, asked Gakklin.

    "A sennight ago, I saw a group of fourteen holy men, then I lost their tracks," replied Ghip, a Parvooni of the prairie barbarians. "I have heard many tribes speaking of these intruders. There have been tales of men in black dresses, or men garbed in the heavy gray clothing with bright hats, who search for trinkets and other baubles in the dirt."

    "One tribal old-one has claimed that once, one of the northern holy men had captured a woman of The Great Steppe and they, along with men who fired the long guns, questioned and badly whipped her. When the leader was finished, the men burned the woman after having tied her, alive, to a fence post. They did not even scatter her ashes to the winds," stated Wayfek, who was another tracker and trapper of wildlife. A few paces away, the other men talked to their clan marshal and walked over the grasses in search of animal or human.

    * * *

    The steam locomotive cut through mountain summits on it's southern route. The train passed into Mazeeki by moving over a bridge.

    Snow settled everywhere. The span of the gap was slightly over six-hundred feet. Rail and wood was heavy and strong. The engine spouted long streams of dense gray smoke.

    Wenda and Doctor Laoch rode together in a dining car.

    "When we reach the Malbring Station, we can head on horseback to the southwest, our investigation should begin there," stated Henry.

    "Yes, we must learn the cause of the disturbance. If it is a disease, precautions and other actions will be taken," said Wenda Fegkari.

    * * *

    The squad of Cheyenne men had been forced to retreat. Three of the twelve died from multiple gunshots, the other nine warriors fled into the woods.

    McDaniels fired six shots as they ran, but he did not hit any of them. The corporal quickly organized the men and decided to continue movement on the path. The dead soldiers were slung over saddles and tied to mules.

    The wounded were treated by Sekkawir, his herbs would keep them alive until they reached a friendly town.

    Barret took point and searched the region for additional attackers.

    * * *

    The men sailed and paddled their rafts further to the east. They passed through Shoshoni territory. There were a few log cabins in the region as well as wooden structures that were built up from a collection long planks. Many dwellings were temporary and could be easily transported. Canvas and animal hides covered tents, which had been arranged in clusters. Many families lived in simple,bark covered, conical huts. Some buildings were domes and they were protected by earth or yellow leafy branches. Men, women and children worked and played in the sun beams. The members of the phratry waved at William and Avonaco when the pair passed close enough to the north bank.

    "Some of their homes are like mine. They are underground,or at least they store food and equipment beneath the soil. "Avonaco said as he positioned the rudder so that he would arrive at a circular dock that had been attached to a stone quay.

    They secured the rafts and tied down the sails. When the men climbed up on the pier, they noticed that there was a large two-story building, made of heavy wood boards. It was painted white and it also had a blue steeple. A black cross,standing ten feet high, had been placed on the east wall of the structure. Two square windows were set deep into the wall, just below the top piece.

    "It's a church! A regular church?," asked Daller.

    "Yes, this is one of your places of worship," replied Avonaco. "It is a House of God, from your world. Missionaries had erected that one, some time ago. There were many churches built over the last fifty and one-hundred years. I would say that there are at least eight hundred of them on this landmass. That one is active, but some have been abandoned. They serve the Christ."

    "That is absorbing, and stimulating," stated William. "I may have to pay a visit to one soon. The Golden Rule does seem to have been applied to this small locale, at least."

    The men walked off the dock and four young adults ran over to greet them.

    "Hello and good day to you,Doyadukubichi',"
    Avonaco said as he held his arms outward and waved.

    "Greetings Avonaco, it is very nice to see you again, it has been many moons," replied the man called Doyadukubichi', who was a hunter and sometimes river worker.

    "Please, you are welcome to some of my many boxes. Take two crates that are marked with a painted 'M', they are for you medical stores. Take the one that is stamped, 'Treats', you will find fruit in them, as well as candy,"Avaonaco said warmly.

    "I am happy that you had a safe journey on the twisting river. I thank you, greatly for the gifts,"Doyadukubichi' replied earnestly. The quartet of laborers unloaded the chosen cargo from raft, then set about their other work as five kayaks and a small, but heavily laden, rowboat was steered into port by a man who had a bright orange beard.

    The group walked over to a rest area that had been set up near a low fire pit. Bill and Avonaco sat down on varnished stools and drank water from glazed ceramic cups, that were placed on a nearby round table.

    * * *

    "According to the gypsy lore that I learned in my travels, The Lost Age began two-thousand and thirteen years ago and lasted for twenty years, two decades of destruction caused by the Mind Fever," stated Elkan Lambert. He was inside Cassandra Lykofos' massive bed chamber. It was one of many rooms used by officials at the palace.

    "The Lost Age, but I need to know more about the era that was ten-thousand years before that age, I want to learn about the Origination Age," stated Cassandra. She sat on a dark blue couch, while he read from his notebook while sitting, at an angle, on an elaborate throne.

    The chair was carved from a redwood tree trunk and it contained bas relief figures on it's sides and front. They were depictions of kings,queens and scenes of battlefields from cultures of antiquity. It also had hundreds of tiny pictures that showed a wide variety of wildlife. Fifteen white lanterns hung from the high ceiling. A colonnade surrounded the lavish bed.

    "Yes, Origination, when the fabric of the cosmos was meddled with...," replied Elkan.

    "Continue," ordered Lady Lykofos. "This revolution is not going to be won by brute force alone. We need an edge. We need mystical assistance."

    "The ancients of Nalkezar were known as The Ebsafin," Lambert continued to read from his diary. "They called themselves Tiogan Lanesh'prokim, 'Scholars Under The Star Canopy'. Nalkezar was once a thriving civilization before it had vanished. The populace of Kadrameerah have intertwined The Ebsafin timeworn religion and archaic knowledge with their present society. Their community strongly believes that they are the true progeny of the Tiogan Lanesh'prokim. They feel that they are the only relatives that had survived the First Apocalypse."

    "What about the insects?," inquired Cassandra.

    "It is rumored that there are nine of them," answered Lambert. "They were hidden and are to be used in some majestic ceremony. There are supposed to be three silicon dragonflies, three caterpillars and three centipedes. They were kept in secret in areas all over the mainland. They are supposed to be encased in sculpture or monuments. The artifacts were laid in a dormant state inside statues of animals. These creatures are said to be a painted two-headed black bear, a chimpanzee with bright green eyes made of jewels, an antelope, a butterfly, an eagle, an eel, a fox, a lion and some kind of winged wolf."

    "We will write up papers about all this, tomorrow," stated Lykofos. "The public will be well informed. We will continue all avenues of investigation."

    "All this talk of the great mysteries has me thinking of dark times once more,"Elkan Lambert said, stressfully. I do wonder that when, or if, I make it to the Happy Hunting Ground, Heaven, Valhalla, Netherfalls, Fajloorm or some other afterlife, do we get cured of our regrets and guilt? Sure, our souls can transcend, but can the pain of the mind ever go away?"

    "Elkan, who knows? It is not for us mortals to over worry about such matters," replied Cassandra. "Now, walk over here and spend the night with me. Kiss me, for this may be the last time that we are together in this world."

    * * *
    Last edited by lemec; 07-30-2008, 12:38 PM.

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  • lemec
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    Chapter Eight

    Infinity


    The hunters returned to Fort Bredathord. The sky was very dark, the night stars could not be seen. Soldiers feasted on large portions of meat from deer and from golden pheasants. They also had corned beef and cured grizzly bear meat, available in the supply depot. They were forced to ration cauliflower, peppers and string beans.

    "Who knows what this is all about, no one ever knew, there never was anyone, from any world or Time that had the answers to the grand mysterious," stated Yebb Foundraen as he sipped some spice tea.

    "One thing is for certain, we are connected by some cosmic means to the other Earth. I heard that the priests have learned that we are connected to over a thousand Earths," added Warren Helm.

    Eli Bray drank apple cider from a tin cup. He said,"I reckon we ain't born to know these things. It's been best, in my experience, to stay ignorant of these things. The more that is learned of the universe, the more misery and confusion it brings to us. Death, violence and injustice are the constants of nature and the galaxy. War is ever-present, history repeats itself and even though we are blessed, or cursed, with intelligence and self awareness, we humans can never improve life to the point where the only thing that we need to conquer is hunger, illness and disease. Nothing ever changes. Greed and hatred are all too common. Greed is the only thing in this world that has been perfected, and from my studies, it is present on the other worlds in high quantities."

    "I am glad that you finally joined the conversation, your silence was resounding, Eli," Tecumseh said. "I promise you that we will change things. We are getting together the greatest minds from all the continents to help guide us. A new way must be learned and accepted by everyone."

    * * *

    William and Avonaco each rode on top a single raft that possessed a twin, triangular, sail. The men had taken up Marteau on his offer to take what they needed. Bill immensely enjoyed having a full sack of summer pears with him on the crude vessel. They had loaded crates of food and medicine supplies from the dock of one of ةtienne's contacts.

    The river turned to the southeast and the water began to move more swiftly. Avonaco was in the lead, he had to point out a few rocks so that Mister Daller would not collide with them and tear the bottom of the raft. The wooden boxes had been fastened with thick hemp ropes, but the cargo could easily be lost in a rough spot, if the men were not careful. The native told William that their final destination was a small strip of land called Celem, a nation that had been established on the northwestern border of Dacrenkandroon.

    Avonaco also informed Bill that he had many friends who lived along the river. One of his benefactors was a tribal leader. There was a Free Province that they would pass through during their voyage. The territory was populated by direct descendants of the Comanche and Shoshoni Indians. The Kiowa lived in a region further to the north. There were several more ungoverned lands to the south. These untainted domains, below the pure firmament, were home to Arapaho and Sioux.

    * * *

    Corporal McDaniels was relieved to see Barret and Sekkawir return after their very long absence. The coachman and cleric had to take a circuitous detour to the camp.

    Mister Jahn knew that men and dogs, from the city, had tracked the pair and almost caught up to them. The citizens had already
    found part of the soldier's route.

    McDaniels became alarmed and outraged when the Grand Sire told him that the city dwellers killed his commander and brothers-in-arms. The corporal gave orders to withdraw, then double checked his revolver. Sekk' and Barret jumped on fresh stallions and began to ride towards their homeland. The detatchment of one-hundred men quickly packed up their weapons, gear and sustenance packs. The carts were set in motion. The troops began their march to the eastern ridge. McDaniels rode in front of the column, on a brown mare.

    The group travelled two leagues. At a place where a goat trail intersected with a ravine and an orchard, the soldiers were ambushed by a dozen Cheyenne warriors, who fought with .58 caliber muskets. Tallvandra had sent word to the tribes, her request was that they search the land for any additional invaders and drive them out, expel the evil ones from Kadrameerahdan soil ,if possible.

    Ten of McDaniels' riflemen were instantly killed during the first attack, as the weapons were discharged. Two other men were severely wounded. The skirmish continued while riders fired their revolvers from horseback. Barret shot one of his enemies in the shoulder and turned his horse in front, in order to protect the overseer. The infantrymen scattered and searched for targets.

    * * *

    Pink, green and blue lights oscillated inside the Falgionac Temple. There was an internal explosion and thick orange smoke wafted through the doorway. A tall figure was hurled from the building. It was a man with auburn hair and flavescent eyes. His body rolled on the ground to strike a tomato stake. He sat up and faced a bearded man with black hair.

    "Welcome, you have been pulled through the portal, prematurely, there has been a rare and unexpected undulation of event critical lifelines," stated the man with the full beard that had grown down to his belt. He wore a simple white cloak over a dark brown robe. "My name is Nocu Jiant and I have averted your death with my skills and arcane knowledge. You may repay my efforts. It is my desire that you perform a function for me. If you refuse my emplacement, there will be consequences."

    * * *

    Ten female and five male council members sat on high metal armchairs with four inches of red padding. They held a meeting inside a stone tower that stood one-hundred feet above ground and extended to twenty feet below ground level, in the commonwealth of Akoopan. Lady Cassandra Lykofos leaned on a rectangular table, she is the Administer and had final say on civil and military matters.

    "It is said that the members of The Middle Order have achieved supernatural weapons as well as occult powers. I do not know how they came by these mysterious armament and instruments, but they are as dangerous as the armies that they command, perhaps more lethal," said Regulator Elkan Lambert.

    "Understood. They must be captured or cut off from Fort Bredathold," stated Cassandra. "Zajurac is eager to join the fight, they will be assisting Mazeeki very soon, I think."

    "That is good. As long as the Dacrenkandroon force does not receive aid from the oversea governments, then Emeegicous will surely prevail," said Superintendant Wenda Fegkari.

    "Reports from the far west tell of many disturbing things, that physical matter is expanding and tools, vehicles, even solid iron has lost some of it's cohesion, everything seems to be falling apart down there!," exclaimed Doctor Henry Franklin Laoch. "This may be the effect of an enemy device. Steam engines have frozen, rust forms and corrodes much more rapidly, trams break down in large numbers and sometimes burst into flame. Flesh does not hold to bone."

    * * *

    Entry 74-

    'Avonaco has told me that The Battle of Gettysburg was a vital key, a time event in at least two worlds. Cosmic power controlled the enigmatic forces within the temples. A limitless puissance was confined in the core of planets. Some of this energy has been channeled into living beings and also stored inside inanimate objects.'

    * * *

    Arthur Oat sat comfortably by a metal rail on a steam powered barge. Sekkawir knew that he could rely on him, so the overseer sent him on a relic hunt. The forty foot paddle boat moved steadily to the south on the Esdriborm River, located in the center of The Western Reaches.

    Arthur presently wore a dark green paisley shirt with brown trousers and brown suit jacket, along with black half boots. His stilletto was sheathed inside the lining of the jacket. A holster hung from the right side of his black belt. It contained a small revolver with a brass frame. The barrel of the sidearm measured three and one half inches. It had a walnut grip and it was a five shot handgun,
    .31 caliber.

    Mister Oat placed Andy Kepler in charge of The Jackal's Maw, back in Carrington. Kepler would check in from time to time to make sure everthing was running smoothly, after he had performed his routine civic duties. A lean man namned Alchugar Hailstrom, who was indigenous to the region, tended the bar and acted as manager. He possessed some mixed Onondaga and Cherokee blood in his genetic makeup.

    The barge was unwavering in it's course. Arthur had booked passage for seventeen silver dollars, they were unmarked by nation name, one ounce coins, the chosen currency on the continent. The rounds could be used in any country, they were also legal tender in many kingdoms that lay across the sea and oceans. The small vessel carried a cargo of furniture, it's destination was the port city known as Gannetlore built on the east bank of Profondeur Sauvage, one of the inner seas.

    The captain walked from the stern and talked to Arthur. Captain Corin ةglise kept his gray beard neat and his thin hair short, under an azure cap that matched his coat and fatigues.

    "I believe that the artifact that you seek is ten miles beyond the marsh, once you cross the sea," stated ةglise. "The area that you need to find lies another three miles past Constellation Chasm. I was there in my youth. Something in the air made me very weak. I was the only one to brave the beasts of the zone. I tell you, man, nobody else was there! I climbed a hillock because I saw some sort of statue, it appeared to be made of amethyst. The large gemstone was life size and carved into the shape of a dire wolf, only that it had four wings, big versions of falcon wings."

    Mister Oat considered the captain's words.
    "The wolf is a massive footnote in the high legends. So, you never got near the hidden grove or sculpture? Did you see a fountain or sundial?"

    "No,sir," replied Corin. "I did not reach the figure, I saw nothing but trees,bushes,rocks and weeds, replied the captain. That is when I was struck by the sickness. I did not actually walk through the grove, it that woodland was the secret coppice. My mind swam through syrup, I turned upside down. Rays of sunlight passed through my skin and entered my bloodstream. It was though I had eaten twenty pounds of sugar in one gulp. My stomach ejected it's contents. Energy shook by body and soul, my muscles contracted, then expanded. I had intense ringing in my ears. The ground contained something of phenomenal, ancient power. A great magnitude of energy, that has not been felt in the world for over a hundred years. Invisible waves struck my bones. I floated outside my own flesh, I could almost see my own body from an eagle's eye view. It must have been hours before I fully recovered. It was dark, a night without any light."

    * * *

    A group of five diakonos moved stealthily inside a public building. They gathered various fragments of information on the populace of Akoopan. The men stole some exceedingly important and valuable books.

    It was written, on some of the very old pages, that the temple energy could be used for a multitude of different purposes. This power source could be gathered, altered and efficiently utilized.

    The members of The Middle Order found maps, taken from cartography gallery, that would guide them safely through The Poisoned Wilderness, a ghastly wasteland that covers a wide patch of soil in Zajurac. A contagion overlaid the vegetation. Native habitations had decayed.

    * * *

    The Kadrameerah Avenger Corps, K.A.C., numbered sixty-thousand strong. There had been no word from the First Kadrameerah Infantry, they vanished from enemy territory without dispatching any letters or igniting emergency beacons.

    The soldiers did not receive any messages from their other army units, but they were determined to press on and march into Dacrenkandroon.

    A shooting star streaked across the night sky, the veteran conscripts were lead by General Acees. The troops traveled by the light of candles.

    The detachments were well prepared this time, they had learned from past engagements that they needed to bring more armaments, so this time the men and women brought everything that was available. This attack was not going to be a probe, it was intended to be a full onslaught.

    The troop transported twelve-pounder cannons, with 4.62-inch bores, six-pounder cannons with 3.67-inch bore, thirty-two pounder field howitzers, teams of horses and mules, black carriages, blue painted limbers and caissons.

    Addition ammunition, weapons and supplies were carried on green wagons and brown carts. Red and yellow flags fluttered in the cool wind.

    Each regiment and battalion had their own banners. Each banner had a single blue stripe on top and three other stripes, the color depended on the unit and their function. Some emblems had swords or rifles on them, other ones had animal pictures or musical instruments.

    One brigade carried a thousand Ten-pounder rifled cannons and other original native artillery, such as the five-inch gun and the twin two-inch bore cannons. They also towed eight and one half inch bore siege guns.

    * * *
    Last edited by lemec; 07-24-2008, 09:07 AM. Reason: still adding material

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  • lemec
    replied
    Chapter Seven

    Ideology


    What remained of The Army Of Harp's River crossed safely into Mazeeki. General Keese felt that the fort, and the land that it guarded, would turn out to be a vital position. He had contemplated the situation. The combined armies would have to push the enemy into the sea. He schemed to divide Emeegicous in two, then cut up the rest of the nation.

    If he could get some help from foreign governments, a combined force might be able to utterly destroy their military. A coalition, for a few years, to make certain for all time that the current oppostion was crushed and could never be reformed. After a short interval rewards could be given to the people of the upper echelon, payment for their secret deals.

    Major Reelaj Krefall ordered Scout Gamble to take some men on a hunting expedition.

    Tecumseh had been tracking animals for two weeks. Any game that was killed, during that time, had been sent to the fort on wagons. He knew that the farm hands were also sending wagon loads of food to the fort to stock up on the supplies for the soldiers.

    Idladur's Fifth Army conducted drills at their temporary camps that they had set up on the estate, on the grounds outside the fortification. They had brought with them a wide array of tents and fence poles.

    Lookouts were placed on top the western hill. They were instructed to report the arrival of any friendly armies. Additional men had been placed at several log outpost locations.

    They were to report any signs of trespassers or troop movements. Men with large brass telescopes watched over the land in key areas.

    Mister Gamble sat near a fire pit beside an isolated, camouflaged, one level lodge. The building was mostly hidden in the earth. It was comprised of four oak walls and a flat roof made up of corrugated steel. Inside, the floor was dirt and bags of sand lined the walls. The sand was hauled from the beach of a large lake, a score of miles to the west.

    The lodge contained two picnic tables, ten hammocks, three work benches and three stools. An ammunition locker and four rifle cabinets had been placed by the corner of the eastern wall. Gun ports had been placed in the walls, and in the iron door, during construction.

    Nine soldiers walked to the campfire, from the fields, and sat down near Tecumseh. They did not find any prey during their investigation, but the men would make another attempt before nightfall. Gamble had selected this team, because they showed some hints of discontentment. He had been working on their emotions and sympathies in the effort to tear down some of their rigid military discipline. Frank had already been convinced by Tecumseh to join his campaign, but remained back at the fort for further instructions.

    "I tell you that this movement will be successful," stated Tecumseh. "We will not harm the innocent, we will not harm fellow soldiers, we won't even need to harm most of The Middle Order. I won't mince words, though. I will kill the leaders if I am forced into that position. Our goal; however, will be to capture the leaders. Look, we already have a general on our side. We have members in all military ranks, many commanders, many naval officers."

    Private Thomas Irwin said, "You are in charge of spreading the word and getting more troopers to join? Who was it that started this mission?"

    "Yes, I am in charge of this region, but we also bring non military personnel to our cause, as well. I can not tell you who the instigator is, it would be a breach of security. That person would be hunted down and torn apart," replied Mister Gamble.

    "Thomas, what he says does have a ring of truth," stated Private Isaac Rowley. "There are many unfair and unjust laws. This governement has made several, known, questionable action over the last five years."

    "I shudder to think of what the politicians do with their power, and our gold, when we are not able to monitor their activities," Corporal Reuben Zook added.

    "We are not going to start a new civil war with our countrymen, only conduct a revolution," Mister Gamble said, urgently.

    "The Middle Order will only continue to make things worse for us and make us fight in unjust wars!, " shouted Sergeant Warren Helm.

    "That is a fact." replied Tecumseh. "Several reports show abuse of authority by The Middle Order. Sekkawir and his lot have sacrificed many of our comrades for their own private agendas."

    "I have become enraged, yet still feel a sense of duty to the present constitution and the various holy documents, we have all sworn oaths," stated Private Salg Maldrex.

    "I fully understand your feelings, Salg, if you wish not to join us, I respect your wish," replied Mister Gamble. "I would like to point out, that an oath may be broken in face of broken principles. If those in control do not hold true to their promise of sustaining public interests and maintaining the safety of the populace, then I say that the allegience is no longer binding. They have gone against out morality. Any tyranny must be overthrown. We must examine our own lives, look at the harsh truths, we have become slaves to the problem. It is up to us to resist these evils and fight back. We have gradually become the oppressors of the world. We unknowingly support despotism."

    "What are we to do?," asked Private Suil Enrok.

    "We fight in any capacity that we can. We put an economic strain on the leaders. We engage in combat in key areas. We bring the world to see out cause. We gain allies and push the fight on, with any plans that are dreamed up. I need a handful of men. This is not anything that goes against your country, it goes against the government, but only those who in a position to run the entire show," stated Tecumseh.

    "The penalty of what you propose is death and probably a long drawn out torture," interjected Private Edward Strawn.

    "The action we are about to take will be beneficial to the innocent. Some people may die, but in the future their offspring will have more freedoms than we do now," Mister Gamble replied.

    "It does sound like a very worthy endeavor to me," stated Private Yebb Foundraen.

    "It is a chance that most of us are willing to take. I think that even the ones who do not join the struggle will agree that freedom and a good life is worth the risk, worth a chance, even if it means risking their lives," Tecumseh said.

    Private Eli Bray nodded in agreement. He was a man that did not talk often, but he worked hard and was one of the most courageous soldiers. He had been loyal to the government up until this moment in time. He admired Tecumseh and decided to help him with the revolution. He felt that things needed to change, and they needed to change soon before more acts of atrocity could be unleashed upon the innocent.

    The other eight soldiers mostly felt the same way. They each joined the cause that night and swore new oaths to the movement.

    Mister Gamble and the men went inside the lodge and they had one shot of whiskey, each, only one.

    There was much to be done.

    * * *

    ةtienne Marteau shook hands with Avonaco, then patted William on the shoulder as he greeted the men. They had climbed from their canoe onto a narrow worn dock. The three men smiled and walked, on shore, to a small stone wall.

    A wooden ferry, that had been attached to ropes, could be seen on the river, further downstream. In the distance, Avonaco could see a brick tool shed, and outhouse and several other buildings, that were fashioned together with scrawny logs and bony branches.

    Marteau, operator of a raft and ferry service, motioned for the men to sit down on a long
    curly maple bench. ةtienne had worked on this river, and others like it, for over fifty summers. Avonaco formally introduced Mister Daller as one who is fresh from the temple, an outworlder. They all sat down. The seat overlooked a pond that was covered with aquatic plants, thick water lilies,
    floating moss and duckweed.

    William recognized a grove of Chickasaw Plum trees. There were also some cherry and sickle pear trees nearby, on a wide green yard. There also was a single story shack, that looked to be made from beech timber.

    "How is business?," Avonaco asked.

    "Good, very good, thanks," replied ةtienne.
    "Many folk and beasts need transport to the new quarry mines. Plus, I get my fair share of roving hunters, settlers and soldiers. An outlaw or fugitive on occasion."

    "Any word on The Ministers of Nalkezar?,"
    Avonaco asked with trepidation.

    "I am sorry to report that I have had news of Levallesburgh, from a message rider," stated Marteau. "The elders have been massacred along with many citizens."

    William and Avonaco were stunned. Bill was sick in the stomach. This was all his fault, he thought. He allowed Sekkawir and his minions to pass through the locked portal.

    "I am deeply saddened by your loss," William said.

    “Thank you.Tough to make peace," stated
    ةtienne. “Even if there were only two people that remained on the planet, I think they would fight each other to the death.”

    “I do not know if what we are attempting will matter in the distant future, but the near future will be benefited," Avonaco proclaimed.

    “Difficult to say, replied Marteau. “We might get it right one of these cycles.”

    “All living beings must try to change things for the better," Avonaco added.

    “What are the next steps?," Bill asked, trying to be helpful. He had great respect for Avonaco and William thought that this new friend shined venerableness in his character.

    “We must organize the nation, perhaps get help overseas," answered Avonaco.

    "Agreed," stated Marteau.

    "If only we had the power and weapons that I read about in my academy days," ةtienne said. We could put a quick end to those men who commit such heinous acts. Bombs and missiles that could destroy an entire city."

    "Don't be so sure those would help, it did not seem to help things improve in my world," William said. "There was the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste disaster that happened three years ago in Twenty-Ten. The repository was never made to contain the materials or withstand the intense radiation, from their new power plants and weapon experiments,not done properly. The leakage and seepage was devastating. Scientists had warned of the danger, but as usual, there was not anyone in the government who would listen. Just as long as it was not in their back yard, they did not care. People did not rise up enough to stop things like that. It could have prevented one disaster if they did become united."

    "That is terrible and inexcusable!," shouted
    ةtienne. "We must not let it happen here."

    "Often humankind creates their own doom," stated Avonaco. We must study and learn from all histories. Those sort of unharnessed powers of destruction will not be unleashed in my land, so long as I live. We will work with all the people,urban districts and rural areas, to add strength to our defenses.The tribes will be convinced to help everyone in the world who stands for justice and liberty."

    "True reciprocity among democracies and kingdoms is the path all should follow," Bill added. "There must be a factor that would bring everyone together. All nations, all people must become unified in some way. We should all assemble and work towards what is good. We must establish a common code and moral rules that we all acknowledge and really live by, not just say that we live by our scruples. We really need to act each day on what we hold dear, we must hold true and remain steady to our defined principles."

    "It would be a start merely to live by common courtesy and kindness," stated Marteau.

    "That it would," replied Avonaco. "Generosity
    and charity. Cohesion, work together for a goal that would help everyone. Every day we could try to make this globe a little better to live on, after the revolution, a new...adventure for all humans, a fresh beginning for shattered and victimized lives."

    "It's finally time that groups of individuals are rising to the challenge and doing something about our prest existence!," exclaimed ةtienne. "We must ascend! I am quite excited by the prospect."

    "Excellent, let us pray that everything falls into place for us," Avonaco said. "May we camp on your shore for the night? We need to make additional preparations and gather supplies for the next stop on our journey."

    "Of course, you can stay! I would enjoy your extended visit," replied Marteau. "In fact, you and Mister Daller may stay as long as you so desire. You may even borrow a raft or two, free of charge, if needed. Please, come inside the house, come eat and drink with me. You are my guests. Please, make sure that you each fill up a bag of pears. Take them, I may forget. They are incredibly delicious this year."

    The associates walked through the threshold.

    * * *
    Last edited by lemec; 07-12-2008, 03:37 PM.

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  • lemec
    replied
    Chapter Six

    Failure


    Avonaco and William rode downstream in a canoe. The water was pale green and trout could be seen under the surface. Swift currents lapped against the sides of the bark covered boat. Each man used a short flat paddle.

    "It's good to excercise my upper body, it heightens my senses," said Bill.

    The Kadrameerahdan nodded and replied, "I am happy that you are learning to relax and enjoy the simple pleasures of my land."

    "Yes, now that you have explained this world in a truthful manner, I have renewed hope of getting home some day," William stated. I can also see alternatives to ending war in this region and I will throw in my efforts, until I return to Earth.That is, if there there is anything that I can do to help that does not cause any deaths."

    "Let's continue your history lessons," instructed Avonaco.

    "All right, teacher," Mister Daller commented. He chuckled and smiled at the warm sunshine. The sky was partially cloud covered, the air smelled of alfalfa and manure.

    "There is a nation on the eastern coast," Avonaco said as he continued to row. "The
    Impet Sea strikes it's shores. I am told that The Impet is much like your Atlantic and that the nation, Emeegicous, is similar to your Eastern Seaboard, but is less mountainous in certain areas. It was established about seven-hundred years ago. This continent is called Acamaurp."

    "Understood, but it is still the factions that hold much of the power," replied Bill.

    "Correct," Avonaco said. "From north to south, there are twenty-six commonwealth districts."

    William interjected,"Ah, provinces or states."

    "Yes," Avonaco continued. "They all touch the sea. From the top of the map to the bottom, they are Ulantek, Lefennu, Ceffoda, Nosqebi, Rahawir, Akoopan, Mazeeki, Zajurac, Bacrada, Datinnu, Isprexm, Veamoic, Emmgexi, Hovcenl, Fenezan, Qezzera, Secinak, Xuvbren, Jasstac, Gawspra Kepkauv, Okreina, Tewawan, Wehesim, Pabbeku and Yaokann."

    "That's a lot of strange names for a place that is so like America, but this is a very different place," William said.

    "Yes. Perhaps that is so ; however, this world used to be exceedingly disparate. That was before the contamination from your homeland." replied Avonaco. "I would say, if I had to compare cultures, that my birthplace was more akin to your early Renaissance, more like the Fourteenth Century. Akoopan, Mazeeki and Zajurac share a border with Sekkawir's land. His nation is called Dacrenkandroon."

    * * *

    Fort Bredathord was built on a expansive plain. A high slanted hill rose from the earth on it's western edge. Sentinels watched over a vast woodland to the north.

    A trench surrounded the base. It was thirty feet across and twenty feet deep. Large cannons faced an empty field to the east. There was a dirt road, that cut through another field, that lead to the south gate. Behind the ditch, a series of breastworks were in place.

    The angeled walls were made of gray and white bricks. Iron plates covered the cannon ports when the guns were not active.

    There were thirty-two walls, that made up the bulk of the fortress. The walls came to a point in two places to the east and two places to the west.

    A long steel bunker contained barracks behind the north wall. There was also an armored command center on the west side. Both structures had two entrances each. Extra guards were placed over the four powder magazines. The fort was equipped with seven large cannons that could be pivoted.

    A sally point had been set up at the gate and an armory building served as a blind,so it made it impossible to glimpse at the fort's interior from the outside. Wood planks had been attached to the inside of the walls. Rifleman stood on the boards behind a barricade made up of gravel filled animal hides that had been sewn together like sacks.

    There were four medium cannons and twenty small guns stationed at intervals behind the walls. A dozen mortar pits had been placed in strategic areas.

    An officer's club had been established the the eastern grounds along with a fire pit for cooking and a garden. The stable was kept in the southern yard. Three wagons and two carts were maintained by the soldiers. These were used for fort business only. They also had five wheeled cannon with caissons.

    Tecumseh Gamble sat inside an inner trench. One month had past since he found the survivor at the temple. He was now dressed in a complete doeskin suit and was wearing a fur hat made from a young brown bear. A fringed leather sheath contained a heavy hunting knife with a fifteen-inch blade.

    He had two holsters on the same belt. One held a six-shot cap & ball revolver with engraved ivory grips. It possessed a ten inch barrel. The second one held a twenty gauge shot pistol. It had a smooth bore and the barrels had been fashioned side by side. It had two hammers to strike percussion pins. It could also fire pellets or slugs. The overall length was eight inches.

    He carried a three-inch pig sticker in the small of his back and fillet knives in a rear belt pouch. Just above ankle level, on his left leg, he had tied a balanced five-inch throwing knife. He had a nine-inch dirk attached to his lower right leg and one more weapon, a two-inch palm dagger, hidden inside his trousers. He knew what kind of men that he had to deal with, he was determined to be prepared. The events of the near future were going to be a tremendous risk to himself.

    As part of his daily gear, he made certain that, at all times, he carried three powder horns, dry rations, two waterskins and a full pack of other supplies, caps, patches, grease and ammunition. He could either live off the land or survive in a wasteland if the situation arose.

    Mister Gamble, at the moment, had time on his hands. An enemy army from Mazeeki had encircled the fort. They camped far out of range for the entire month. The military units arrived shortly after Tecumseh delivered some important dispatches to the fort commander, Major Reelaj Krefall. Gamble thought that he might as well play along and be a good scout and messenger for his country, until the time came when he and others would attempt to overthrow the government and imprison most of the members of The Middle Order.

    * * *

    The siege army numbered fifty-thousand. It was lead by Major General Neil Colderwood.
    The Army Of Harp's River was made up of a corps of riflemen and one scattergun division and a small artillery battalion.

    The enemy base had refused to surrender.

    Colderwood knew that he would suffer a massive loss, if he charged the fort, that is why he had decided to starve them out. He was forced to sacrifice four-hundred of his men during an initial clash that went horribly wrong. He failed to see a hidden post and was ambushed by men in grey uniforms, each was armed with a blunderbuss. They fought like devils. After their deaths, he fought on to secure a perimeter and cut the base off from the outside world.

    Idladur’s Fifth Army marched from the south. The came from the city of Strattonopolis in an elevated area of Dacrenkandroon ,a community proud of their military history and militaristic nature. Many world famous leaders came from that region. Seventy-thousand warriors were commanded by General Theodore Keese.

    Fifth Army did not attempt to hide or undertake a complex strategy. Instead, their present tactic was to march straight north. They walked in range of a line of soldiers who were making haste in the attempt to break apart and pick up their lazy camp.

    The southern line had been stretched thin. They feared that the First Cavalry and the Seventeenth Army Group would sweep down on them from the north and west. They had transferred some of the southern guard to reinforce northern ranks.

    The Emeegicousians feared the northern forest, which was made up of spruce, pine and cedar. There was a lack of visibility beyond a few yards.

    Nine-thousand Mazeeki troops rushed around site as their sergeants shouted commands for the men to get into formation. They grabbed their muzzleloaders and ran to their battle positions. The ground was open and flat.

    Keese ordred his men into lines, three men deep. From the rear, a left flanking wing ran to the front to offer their fire power in a diagonal course.

    As the armies marched into range, the lieutenants shouted orders to fire. Three volleys came from the front of Fifth Army's lines. Two volleys came from the wing and two volleys came at the main formation from the campsite.

    The white smoke roiled and the sounds of the rifle fire muffled the screams of the impacted soldiers. Lead spheres tore through flesh and smashed bone. There were only a few explosions from small, smooth bore, cannons.

    Theodore Keese marched beside his men and ordered them to push forward. They closed the gap as the men with the expended rifles switched with the fresh warriors. The second exchange of slugs decimated the southern Mazeeki force.

    A third exchange, only moments later, and the Emeegicous riflemen were routed. An undisciplined charge, brought on by an adrenaline surge, destoyed most of the men who were in retreat. Some of the more adventurous attackers broke rank to chase the ones who tried to flee. When a combatant was caught, he was bayoneted on the spot. General Theodore Keese thought that the bulk force of his adversary would not be defeated so easily. He said a silent prayer that he could engage those soldiers on this battleground, rather than having to fight them as they moved into their own territory.

    The siege had failed. Keese thought, 'Perhaps Major General Neil Colderwood would be willing to become a prisoner of war. Perhaps not, he might be the type of comandant that would make his troops bleed only for his own glory, or at least have his men put up a fight so that Colderwood and his highest ranking officers could escape. Unlikely, all reports indicate that Neil is a man of honor.'

    * * *

    Inside the fort, men cheered. "That sound means that we have been rescued," Tecumseh Gamble said matter-of-factly. He had been playing Gin, the game immigrated to this world in 1912, with one of the soldiers, Private Francis Wolford.

    "You see,Frank,I had no doubt," Mister Gamble commented. "The siege was doomed from the start. Sure, it held us poor sods in place, but the lines were never compact enough. Our enemy never brought enough troops to take us if we did not run out of food and water in time. They obviously failed to realize how close our armies were located. Otherwise, they could have had us in less than six months, depending if they killed us a little at a time. They underestimated our determination as well. One of our western expedition armies, or those of the north, would surely have cut through their defense before we died behind locked gates." Tecumseh discarded the 'Four of Hearts' and picked up a card from the deck.

    "You may have been saved from a Mazeeki bullet, but you have not been rescued from my hands! Gin!," cried Private Wolford.

    "Damn," replied the scout.

    * * *

    General Theodore Keese was greeted by hundreds of warm shouts of victory, when he rode his roan stallion through the sally port. He waved his grey, wide brimmed hat in the air and smiled. He was accompanied by twenty officers on black chargers.

    Soldiers celebrated with a small ceramic cup of brandy. Major Reelaj Krefall walked over to meet Theodore. They soon were at the command table swapping tales and enjoying a decent meal, food that was brought by the roving army.

    The Mazeeki army had become restless. Officers, NCO's and enlisted men worked hard to get the band organized. By looking through a telescope, the gun crews at the fort determined that the enemy had abandoned the idea any siege strategy. They looked very unsure of what move to make next. Their anger could almost be felt, much like a heat wave could be sensed.

    A man from The Middle Order lurked about the inner trenches. He was dressed in a black cassock with black leather boots and a very soft yellow hat with a red tassel. He went by the title of Grand Inquisitor. He was a spry man, nearly eighty years old. His current name was Meaklataf, nomenclature can change in the priesthood, on the situation during advancement into the higher knowledge.

    Meaklataf took note of Tecumseh and Frank as they continued to drink and play cards. The private first class and the reconnoiter ate poultry meat from a pheasant. The clergyman gazed at several of the soldiers.
    There were many clerics that travelled with The Fifth Army. Some of them began to set up temporary homes inside and outside the walls of the fortification.

    Meanwhile, the Mazeeki legions had molded
    their units into a six row configuration and started to march to the east. Their spirit was not broken. They possessed a majestic energy. Their warriors were feeling even more ebullient than before the slaughter of their comrades-in-arms. A sense of hope stirred in the men. They felt that the fallen heroes would be avenged. They felt righteous and true in their cause. They greatly desired to put down an evil empire before it's arms did any more damage.

    The soldiers wanted to destroy the power hungry enemies. Furthermore, the fighters thought of this day as a day of hard won erudition.

    * * *
    Last edited by lemec; 07-04-2008, 10:35 PM.

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  • lemec
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    Chapter Five

    Acquaintances


    Bill drank from the gord, the brownish water was
    refreshing. Avonaco had locked the coffer and shoved it into a hole in the clay wall. He guided William through cramped subterranean galleries.

    Avonaco held the lantern in his left hand and carried a flint knife in is right fist. His bow and quiver rested on his back.

    "I've sent runners to the city. My message might help the dwellers repel the invaders," stated the Kadrameerahdan. "The standing army is many leagues to the east, they could never return in time. The army is biding their time.They harass the enemy with probes.The bulk of the horde are awaiting orders near one of the key cities."

    "What you are telling me is that you and the people who live in Levallesburgh are really the ones who are morally correct?,"asked Daller. "What makes you think that?"

    "Sekkawir wants to turn his nation into a dictatorship. His government is weak and can be influenced to do the will of the priesthood," replied Avonaco. "His country was never a true democracy."

    "How I am supposed to believe you?" Bill responded.

    "Believe anything that you wish. It makes no difference. We are all free here. Search your heart, you may discover the real truth, stated Avonaco. "You can't just show up here one day and set out to change things that you know nothing about!"

    "Yes, you are right about that. It is very unlike me to do such a thing," Mister Daller commented. "Do you think the teleportation injured my brain or way of thinking?"

    "No,it is possible,though. No. The deacons gave you medicines to revive you,did they not?," Avonaco asked. "You have become a slave to one of their potons,I fear."

    "Yes," Bill replied,feeling sick in the stomach. "That would explain a few things. Sekkawir did give me additional drinks and bizarre herbs in the coach. I have poor judgement, I think it will be best for me to find a way home and promply
    journey there. I really do not know anymore of what to make of all this. I am very confused in this world."

    "I am sure he spoke of other factions,well, we are one of those, but there are other nations who oppose Sekkawir as well. The distant plain
    barbarians and the tribes of the Great Steppe will have nothing to do with the priesthood's land. No trade,no aid and no communication," Avonaco stated.

    They quickly came to a room that housed a stone well. The antechamber had wood planks on the floor and was equipped with furniture. There were people in the rear hall and the area contained a long table, five chairs, cabinets and two sleeping pallets. There were four lamps that illuminated their surroundings.

    A woman and two children approached. There was one boy, about nine years-old and one girl who looked to be ten years-old. The female was in her early thirties. They smiled formally.

    "This is my wife,Tallvandra," Avonaco proclaimed. "This little flower is, my daughter, Mo'eha'e. The young warrior is, my son, Heoveaenohe. Please join us for supper."

    "A wonderful pleasure to meet you," William said. "Thank you for your hospitality."

    Entry 31-

    'The mother and son had bright blonde hair with grey eyes,the daughter had raven hair and green eyes. I felt wholly at peace in their presence. The only people who could calm my nerves after learning that the world had turned upside down once more.'

    William sat down with the family and enjoyed cooked venison, lettuce, corn on the cob and pear wine.

    "Please allow me interrupt our meal one moment to tell you of a man, who is not pleased with the hierarchy of The Middle Order. He has empathy towards the other world powers. He is a champion for all those who are oppressed," Avonaco said. "His name is Tecumseh Gamble."

    * * *

    The priest and the coachman broke into the entrance of a restaurant's wine cellar. Some of the bottles cracked open as pieces from the door fell on the racks.

    A man sat on the cold cement floor. His body shook uncontrollably. He was an exceptionally nervous person. The Overseer threw a leather sack of gold on the man’s lap. The man winced in pain.

    “Your intelligence was correct. Here is your reward, seventy troy pounds of gold ingots,” Sakkawir stated contemptuously. “Barret, this confidant is my informer. His name is Chairman Gressen Uloomont, remember it in case he tries to double cross us.”

    “I will not forget his plump visage, Grand Sire,” replied Mister Jahn. He rested his palm on the slender handle of his pistol.

    “Th-thank you, Lord Sekkawir,” Gressen said. “You will not have a problem with me,
    I will leave this city and never return. I won’t even cross paths with any of my countrymen ever again!”

    “That is good, bloated traitor,” said The Overseer.

    Jahn and Sekk’ walked up a flight of stair to street level. A large bell was ringing and other mechanical alarms had been set off and were making a clamor. The city erupted into disorder. Half of the population that lived in the city ran about and searched for the invaders. Not knowing what to expect, many inhabitants rushed to obtain weapons and dashed to move fortifications into place.

    The invaders who now manned the cannon, randomly fired into any house or government structure that remotely resembled the description of the sect leader’s residence. Two other cannons and a mortar had been captured and their destructive force was turned against the city they were meant to protect.

    Colonel Hash’s men stole weapons, ammunition and supplies from the militia armory, then destroyed the rest. They began to torch barns, stores and cottages. Men, women and children panicked to a greater extent when their livestock started to burn.

    Partisans, devoted to the city’s clerical leaders, formed a crew of sixteen matrons and husbands. They fought off some of the assailants with their antiquated matchlocks.

    “Pull aside one of these wretches,” Sekkawir ordered.

    A young man, who carried two buckets of water, ran down the avenue. Barret stepped out behind him as he sprinted towards a burning corral and side habitations. Jahn raised his cudgel and pressed down on an onyx stud that was embedded on the top of the stick, with his thumb. A barbed needle launched from the bottom of the wooden club. The missile was coated in a mild tranquilizer. The dart struck the running man near his shoulder blade. It’s drug worked instantaneously and the substance was swiftly circulated through the blood stream.

    The man hit the pavement. Barret slid his weapon through his belt. He ran to the man posthaste. He picked up the body in a “fireman’s carry,” walked back over to the overseer and set the man down against a stucco wall.

    “Look at me, man!,” Sekkawir commanded as he observed their captive. “Are all the ministers present today?”

    “Go to the Arch Fiend!,” the urbanite spat.

    Sekkawir withdrew a ceremonial blade from a folded silk sheath that he wore under his forearm. He flashed the dagger in front of the city dweller’s face. “Tell me all that I want to know about their council.”

    “I’ll tell you nothing, you are few, you will be in our prison soon,” the man said.

    “Then die like a swine!,” shrieked the overseer. Sekkawir drove the poignard deep into the man’s belly. The man screamed and writhed in pain and is life-force began to flow from his torso. The priest wiped the blood from his weapon onto his sleeve and gingerly returned the
    dagger to it’s place. “This will create a good omen for us, I will be able to portend our future and solidify our victory. Let’s head to the market square and beyond. When the men find and clear out the ministry, then we will quit this foul place as fast as possible.”

    “We are running out of time, gentlemen!,” Josiah shouted to some of his men who he saw darting in and out of burning buildings. The troopers razed a few more huts and office units, afterwards, they found their primary target, the Ministers of Nalkezar.

    “Drag the ministers out and execute them!,” Lieutenant-Colonel Josiah Hash ordered. “Hurry! You must make haste, the townsfolk will surround us and cut us off soon! We are about to be lynched!”

    Women and men from all professions gathered around the flames in the attempt to extinguish them and save their city. Hundreds of people were now armed. They held spears, swords, axes, butcher knives, staves, pitchforks, meat hooks, rabbit-ear shotguns and pitted flintlocks.

    Hash’s men were being shot on sight. Many of them were taken down and ripped apart by groups of individuals. The city folk swarmed the soldiers. In most cases, each trooper died from twenty to thirty wounds.

    Josiah Hash ran out of ammunition. He saw a handful of his soldiers enter the ministry building. Angry men were soon upon him. He beat some of their heads in with his rifle stock. He slammed the brass butt plate of the weapon into another man’s skull.

    Hash desperately tried to fight his way to freedom, but the mob pressed in on all sides. A man from one of the bakery shops, who never raised a hand in anger during his sixty years of life, became so enraged that he picked up a hatchet and hacked at Lieutenant Colonel Josiah Hash’s neck so many times that his head, connected only by a thin strip of muscle tissue, hung off to the left side before his corpse fell to the ground a few seconds later.

    Barret used his spyglass on his surroundings. He saw that the people had taken the advantage. He knew that they had the upper hand and that all the soldiers would be dead or captured.

    “We only need to confirm the kill. If you see the swift end to the ministry elders, we will vacate the alley and meet up with our reserves,” stated Sekkawir.

    Nine old men in white, roseate and gold robes stumbled from their house. The last twelve soldiers that remained alive formed a semi-circle around the religious and political representatives, then summarily shot them to death. The invaders ran their bayonets through the council member bodies for an uncountable amount of times.

    One of the twelve was killed as lead shell shot violently tore through his midsection.

    The other eleven troopers ran away as another one of them cried, “Every man for himself!”

    “That was it, Barret! It is done!,” exclaimed Sekkawir. The two villains ran a serpentine route through the city streets and partially covered thoroughfares.

    * * *
    Last edited by lemec; 06-29-2008, 11:26 AM.

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  • lemec
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    Chapter Four


    The Battle of Husk Creek


    "This is inexcusable,Colonel Hash!," Sekkawir screamed at Josiah and the soldiers. Barret backed away, it had been quite some time since he saw the overseer this enraged. "It is a simple matter! Where could he have gone? He was going along with our plan,he did not leave by his own accord! He must have been abducted! If he was taken,that means that we have been detected! We will have no chance at surprise!"

    Hash could not argue the point. He stood at attention and obeyed his master.

    "By all that is sacred, someone is going to be sentenced to the rack before all this business is done! Continue the damned march, we must strike before the leaders can flee! We must overwhelm them before any resistance forces can be assembled. I can not believe that he ran off alone, Daller's life is of monumental significance to us. First to destroy all of our rivals and political dissidents, then The Middle Order can rule the entire globe with an unbreakable reign. You make sure, Hash, that all the men know that this is no simple skirmish. This might be a small raid, but this will effect the populace for several generation. The events of this week could impact upon the future for all
    eternity," Sekkawir said. He began to calm down.

    "Double column,men!," ordered Josiah Hash. "Advance,double-quick! You will crush anyone
    who dares to oppose us. Show no mercy, hit them with the cold steel if we are overrun,then push them back! I want all buildings to be razed. We will give them only destruction. Kill all without thought or slight prayer. We will not hesitate! We will hit them fast, confirm our kills and return to our homes. You have my permission to use all ferocity maneuvers that I have taught you! Alternate lines when reloading. Attack on sight!"

    "We will show them the true meaning of brutality!," Sekkawir shouted.

    * * *

    Chunks of dirt rained down on William's head. His mouth was dry,but instead of reaching for his canteen, he immediately reached for his knife and pistol. The items had been removed. He sat on a three-legged stool beneath two torches and many layers of earth.

    Mister Daller's eyes slowly adjusted to the gloom. A figure squatted in the corner of the dark chamber. The silhouette became a man after Bill looked at him for a minute.The man drank some kind of liquid from a yellow gord. William could also see that his weapons had been placed in an open coffer with a maroon lining, the wooden box had been positioned beside a half shuttered oil lantern.

    "Nice side arm," the man complimented Bill.
    "My name is Avonaco, you have chosen the wrong friends."

    "What are your intentions? This place gets stranger and stranger! Why have you brought me here?" asked Daller.

    "I have brought you here to offer my assistance," stated Avonaco. "I do not intend to kill you, although you are a trespasser."

    "I've heard something like this before," Bill said.

    "They call you William?" inquired the man.

    "Yes," answered Mister Daller. "Let me guess, you want me to look at your point of view of this world. You are here to help me and show me the true illumination. You are lucky that I still possess my sense of humor, or you might be faced with a gibbering dunce."

    "I am here to help,if you are willing to help my brothers," Avonaco replied. "You really got yourself into a big mess. It is not your fault. I am sure those priests and soldiers seemed very charismatic and on the up and up. You should know, coming from Old Earth, that during times of war, no side, power or nation is truly evil. Some of my ancestors come from your world, they hit the energy fluctuation in the late Nineteenth Century. They were teleported to the Falgionac Temple in Eighteen Ninety-One. You have been deceived by the ones who call themselves The Middle Order."

    * * *

    Lieutenant Colonel Josiah Hash was too late. The small battalion arrived at a stream that cut through the countryside. The diminutive city of Levallesburgh had been established on the other side of the rivulet. The bridge had been demolished.

    The metropolitan community was spread out on the flat plain between high mountains and cliffs to the north and the creek to the south. Forests of spruce and pine grew up vibrantly to the west and the east held large pockets of maple and white oak trees.

    There was an assortment of government buildings, schools, blacksmith, houses, liveries, taverns, hotels,theaters, factories, storehouses, shops, auction platforms, a market square, fountains and hundreds of huts, barns and small apartments. Near the embankment,there was a militia house and barracks.

    Sekkawir, Barret and the servicemen were met with a harsh welcome. A paramilitary unit, comprised of three-hundred men, held position on the north bank.

    Mister Jahn's breech-loader was surprisingly efficient as Barret laid down four shots of cover fire, to protect the overseer, in only thirty-five seconds.

    The two men fell into a panicked retreat. Josiah stood firm with his men. Hash thought that there still could be a chance to break through and engage in guerrilla warfare.

    Sekkawir, Barret and the servicemen were met with a harsh welcome. A paramilitary unit, comprised of three-hundred men, held position on the north bank.

    The urban soldiers wore magenta uniforms with blue caps. Their front rank fired then swiftly reloaded as their back rank shot into the flesh of Hash's force. Thick smoke rolled over both banks of the stream. The rigid warriors of both factions started to drop one by one into the light green moving water. Blood from deep wounds and lacerations covered the round river stone.

    The invaders also stood at two ranks deep, except that their ranks alternated and the front line fired from either basic kneeling and prone positions. There would be no sneak attack and at this time, Sekkawir doubted that any of them would be allowed to escape.

    * * *

    "Section B,wade into the water! We must cross this obstacle to survive! The rest of you, maintain your volley!," commanded Hash.

    One-hundred jumped into the creek and held their rifles over their heads as their comrades continued to fill the enemy with lead minié balls.

    Fortunately, the water in the shallows only came up to shoulder level. There was still a slight undercurrent that tugged at their legs.

    A few of the assault group managed to squeeze a shot off in order to make the defenders flinch and duck as they approached.

    Men on both sides continued to fire muzzle-loading weapons. Josiah Hash picked up a rifle from a fallen trooper and targeted one of the inimical officers. The shot took the adversary through his heart. Hash gave no thought to reloading and fired another shot into the ranks.

    A cannon was wheeled out from a city stable, it looked to be a three-inch ordnance rifle. The gun meant certain doom for Josiah's battalion, unless they could capture it. The weapon was well known for it's outstanding short range accuracy.

    In the span of only a few deadly minutes, the militia had killed one hundred and forty seven men and wounded fifty others. The Overseer's soldiers inflicted sixty casualties during the initial onslaught. They meted out an additional twenty-eight deaths as their fellows crossed the rivulet.

    Four men drowned, after they lost their foot hold on the river bed, as they tried to swim to the far bank.

    To Lieutenant Colonel Hash's relief, the tactic worked. Ninety-six soldiers charged into the bodies of the city watch. This is skill that Josiah's men excelled at performing. They had
    superior strength and agility. They fought best during close quarter combat. The troopers were masters of hand to hand techniques.

    A horrible blast from the cannon mutilated six soldiers and tore a long gash in ground. The combatants continued to exchange fire. The projectiles were devastating, the men were bunched too close together. The shrill cries of the dying sounded horrendous to the ears of the city inhabitants.

    There was another shot fired from the cannon and two more men expired, their blood seeped into the soil.

    With fixed bayonets, Sekkawir's soldiers impaled the defenders.They frantically stabbed below the ribs, in abdomens, in groins and in throats.They expeditiously weilded the nineteen-inch spikes. The troops deftly moved their rifles much faster than their enemy could reload or put up a decent fight with the knives that they carried on their leather belts.

    There was confusion on the battleground. Josiah took full advantage of the situation.
    He thought to himself that if he could cross into the city, his men could spread out and fight as individuals in the attempt to seek out and eliminate the city's leaders before the real army showed up and before the citizens brought out their arms.

    Shots were fired back and forth and a few of Hash's men fell victim to friendly fire. When the smoke cleared, the city's company had been killed in action. The cannoneers were nearly cut to pieces by the overzealous bayonet squad. The invaders seized the artillery.

    When Josiah stood on the north bank, he signaled to his men to scatter. Six of them remained with the cannon and those who could walk quickly moved away in all direction to find shelter and to discover the whereabouts of those they sought.

    Fifty men,from Josiah's group, formed a platoon.
    They were selected to go on special duty. They sought out anyone who was in a position of authority,or anyone who had means to defend themselves. As soon as they were ready to fight, the soldiers stormed into the constable's office and shot a score of men before they could offer much of a resistance.

    A clique of hunters had returned with their game animals and birds. The carried longbows and .50 caliber muzzleloader rifles. They heard the sound of battle then saw the large scale carnage. They ran from the woods and started killing anyone in an enemy uniform.

    The platoon acquired more and more targets, which they destroyed, until the huntsmen arrived in the core of the metropolis. The platoon became the targets.

    One of Hash's corporal scurried from house to shop to government structure. He planted dynamite then wildly leaped out of the way of th explosions. He murdered two families who could not evacuate in time. Buildings exploded in all quarters and shrapnel flew in all directions.

    Many of the invading warriors went insane with bloodlust. They killed and died, not even remembering how the fight and the ensuing chaos started. Horses,cattle and other animals
    laid dead in the streets from gunshot wounds. Many animals were set loose from burning liveries and farm lots, if they moved in the way of the mortal contest, they were destroyed.

    The city became filled with white smoke from the black powder weapons, and thick black and grey smoke with debris from hundreds of rampant fires. Lead flew everywhere, at high velocities.

    The people who lived in the city never imagined that their energy barrier could be overcome. They had not prepared for open warfare in their home.


    Sekkawir and Mr. Jahn waited until the engagement was over, then crawled out of a grove of bald cypress trees that they had found by accident. The overseer was astonished and greatly pleased to learn that there was still a small chance of success. Barret tended to the wounded.

    One-hundred-thirty-one men, out of the four-hundred soldiers involved, had survived the conflict. The populace began to cautiously step out from behind previously locked doors.

    * * *
    Last edited by lemec; 06-29-2008, 03:18 PM.

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  • lemec
    replied
    Chapter Three

    Passing Through The Keyhole


    One battalion of five-hundred infantry marched closer and closer,over flat rock country to their destination. They wore beige uniforms to match the desolate tan landscape. Sakkawir was also dressed in desert garb and they brought horses, mules,two-wheeled carts,water and equipment.

    William and Barret wore loose white outfits. Another man,Lieutenant Colonel Josiah Hash commanded the soldiers and the overseer reigned over all.

    The corps carried percussion rifles, cap & ball revolvers, powder flasks, rations, leather pouches, supplies, bayonets and dynamite.

    Bill chose to use a pepper-box pistol and a small steel knife for self protection during the mission. Mr. Jahn carried a decorated wooden club on his belt and he also wore a holster that contained an anomalous single shot,breech-loading weapon.

    The unit came upon a ravine. The entrance to the valley was blocked by lines of obelisks. Each stone stood at twenty feet and almost reached a natural rock roof. A monolith, with a carved angel on the face, rested in the center of the stockade. A visible electrical discharge,the color of an emerald, danced over the rock, tract and pillars, which created a protective dome of electromotive currents.

    "This is it," said Sekkawir. “It is a barrier that leads to the headquarters of one of the hostile sects.”

    “The Gods of this world don’t seem to mind the murder of men,” William commented. “Doesn’t the assassination of the entire head of an organization bother you at all? Is this really the means that we must take to end the strife?”

    "It is the only way,the radicals must be stopped and the leaders must be eliminated. The wars have been waged for a a very long time," replied Sekk'.

    "Only an Out-Worlder has the energy stored in their skeleton. Many of the descendants from your realm joined with the opposing forces. They have implanted a code in these stones,and in other places. Only one like you can deactivate the mystical cipher so that we can gain entry to pursue these madmen," Barret added,a little excitement and triumph tinged the teamster's voice. "You are fresh from the power source inside the temple. The potency for most of the population has either been dissipated or completely drained. You will make great accomplishments in these early months!"

    * * *

    A cold layer of air passed over the men in the hot atmosphere. Sekkawir had shown a diagram of the barrier device to Mr. Daller. The book had thirty pages of arcane illustrations. The overseer kept several of these casebound tomes in his backpack and pouches.

    William found crystal rods and sliding levers beneath the angel carving.The illustration showed that he needed to rotate the bars clockwise over the fulcrum until the levers touched the yellow and blue crystals. Bill took hold of the bars and turned them accordingly to the right. A harmless green flame formed energy spheres over his hands and when the rods were in place the barrier field instantly collapsed. The mysterious fire vanished and the
    obelisks emitted a low rumble.

    The troops gathered near.The stone fence separated in the center and formed a gateway,
    which expanded to an expanse of twenty feet.

    * * *

    The regiment and their livestock travelled uphill for seven miles. They encountered no resistance up to this point in time. The soldiers split into two companies of two-hundred and fifty warriors and marched in a two line formation.

    Josiah Hash rode along the right flank on top of a large white stallion. The landscape was primarily aged greyish-brown rock. Some red stones jutted from the flat surface to reach heights of hundreds of feet. Trees and vegetation were sparse. There were, however,an abundance of pink wildflowers in sunken damp patches that were evident every forty yards in all directions. There was also a showing of greasewood, creosote bush and cocklebur.

    "The encampment is much further than the old reports indicated," stated Lieutenant Colonel Hash. "Feed and water these animals. We may be forced to leave the mounts and donkeys behind. I do not wish to push them in this dry heat. Yes,that is what we will do. We will proceed lightly. Sergeant Sewell, see to it that the men carry out my instructions. I want a detachment of one-hundred men to remain here and set up a base camp. This will be best. We can make a quick raid then return here with some minor cover fire,if necessary. Have the soldiers dig in the best they can. Make certain to use some canvas as cover and create a redoubt beyond those weeds there," he pointed," and a few rifleman positions. Place Corporal McDaniels in charge of this defence."

    Barret found a hole of fresh water and William offered his services as a groom to the horses. It is amazing, Bill often thought,
    that so many things learned during his childhood have become very useful in adult life. The sum of his experience growing up in the country near farmlands and on ranches has extraordinary helped him in his life,not only has it built strong character, but the activities of his past have also been a practical benefit. He knew a few things about animals. He had learned many things from going on camping trips with his uncle and cousins. His family hunted bucks during muzzleloader season,so he knew about some primitive firearms,as well as some modern ones. Daller's father even performed a part in the annual reenactments,as did many of his relatives. They all drove up to Winchester to enjoy the festivities.

    "Sekk', I've been thinking. You don't seem to be such a bad fellow. I,more and more,feel that I am doing the right and upstanding thing in supporting your cause. At least I can say that I was a part of something good and true," William said as he ate a slice of ham with some hardtack. The biscuits were astonishingly packed with flavor,a salty blend of spices, unlike their American counterparts. Bill even liked them better than stromboli,even though he was extremely fond of Italian food. He noticed,so far,that there was not that much of a variety of food here. Before he left town,he noticed that most of the types of nourishment closer resembled Spanish,French,British and American cuisine. He thought to himself that this fact was not such a bad thing,but he does prefer a more diverse selection. "The people here are very honorable souls. They are friendly and they are generous. Much of my adventure has become a nice vacation, aside from the threat of violence. The loss of life in your nation has saddened me,if I can alter this conflict of death so that all will prosper,it will be a good thing, an august achievement to be a part of,a small cog in the gearwheel. I really want to help the community."

    "Your spirit is heading in the proper direction,thank you," stated Sekkawir.

    The Overseer walked out of Daller's sight and joined Hash at his makeshift command post. He said,"Josiah,I know I do no need to tell you this. Protect,our humble guest, William at all costs."

    * * *

    The company of four-hundred made their way over the rugged terrain.The desert eventually gave way to a high grassland. A forest of beech and birch could be seen on the horizon. As the priest and his forces moved further west and north, they encountered a prairie full of wildlife.

    There seemed to be an inexhaustible amount of
    birds, insects and mammals.

    "This would be a good place to collect herbs for medicine and potions that are used by my conclave and the external priesthood," observed Sekkawir.

    Bill smiled and breathed in the fresh oxygen. He
    said," A small scattering of cabins and cottages would blend in well here,after the war. I could spend a lifetime in a beautiful environment like this one. Not too many houses,of course, a limited amount for a nice nature retreat."

    Barret interjected,"I say that it is best to leave it as we find it. Only temporary campsites should be allowed. A few tents, maybe. I could get by here just with a blanket."

    Josiah, now on foot, added,"Yes,what a wonderful thing it is to dream. Gentlemen, let me remind you to keep our guard up in this region. Let us not be lulled into sleeping by the surroundings. The place does, in fact, have a spectacular view. I must admit that even the sun has taken on a special delightful quality."

    The sun was golden with hints of crimson and carnation. William took note of the many creatures that inhabited the rich plants and grasses. Bluestem,dropseed,and wild rye covered the soft soil. Wild Bergamot, a brilliant shade of purple, could be seen in verdant thickets.

    The men saw different colored squirrels, voles and scarlet foxes. Much of the life was camouflaged, including a hidden man with an olive complexion, eyes the color of burnt umber and long dusky hair.

    The being lurked beneath three wooden planks which covered a compact trench,that lead to an underground passage. He peered at the troops above him and remained silent.

    He witnessed all the activity and was unobserved by the party as they continued to walk deeper into the territory. Gaps between the boards would allow him to make a quick shot with his short bow, if he so desired.

    He is exceedingly skilled at hunting,having
    over forty years of practice. He knew, beyond doubt that he, Avonaco, could kill at least five of these arrogant invaders and still be able to escape unscathed.

    Avonaco, a Cheyenne name meaning "Lean Bear," had great grandparents who were born in what was the Oklahoma Territory. His mother was Caucasian and his father was a native to the land of Kadrameerah,on this Earth.

    "Colonel, I can see a lake through my telescope," Barret stated as he gazed at the level landscape and the rising hills. "This looks like a good spot for resupplying the unit. Sekkawir could check the water, make sure it's not tainted by anything. We could then fill our waterskins and canteens."

    Mr. Jahn faithfully served under the overseer and as a result, he did not have to worry much about military ranks. He could speak freely and only be commanded by Sekkawir or a few top deacons.

    "Very well," Hash replied. He then turned to one of his men and gave orders. "We will take a rest here, Private Farrow. Do what you must to ensure the safety of the water," the Lieutenant Colonel firmly commanded. Tell everyone to also see if we can gather any fruits and vegetables that can be of use to us on the trail. We will scavenge anything of value along the way."

    The concealed observer watched intently as the soldiers examined the water and investigated his land. Two Black-tailed Jack Rabbits leapt over his position and almost caused him to sneeze, but he still kept as quiet as possible. He looked at the men as they filled their containers with water and food. The war makers chose a rough path, which was formed by migrating Pronghorns, then proceeded to saunter in a northwardly direction.

    * * *

    Josiah led the group up a steep incline. The domain narrowed into a corridor. The flourishing countryside gradually became populated with more animal species as the soldiers continued to walk on their excursion.

    Hickory and cottonwood trees were present. Tracks and prints of skunks,deer and wolves were evident and were clearly identified by the men.

    William Daller wandered toward the west while Barret Jahn and Sekkawir searched for any land arteries that could be taken as a circular route.

    Lieutenant Colonel Hash did not find any side passages. He thought,'There is only one way to travel now,to the North,straight into the enemy's arms.'

    "When we find their city,the main building that we are looking for is made out of red brick. It is a two-story office and residence structure. It is fashioned in the design of colonial architecture," the overseer stated. "That is where we should strike first,that is where their Holy Men live. The house will have a banner. There are four color bars on it. From top to bottom,the stripes will appear as violet,green,red then orange."

    "Yes,Sekkawir,I understand and will carry out your agenda and put your stratagem to action. As always,Grand Sire."

    Bill discovered some mineral deposits in a
    location where the ground had been divided, probably from an earthquake. He became
    alacritous and turned around rapidly in order
    to shout to his companions and alert them of his find. He was startled to learn that he was totally alone. The infantry,the colonel and his new friends had already climbed to a higher
    elevation.

    William crouched low and picked up a loose jadeitite rock. He stood back up,stretched his back and placed the gemstone inside his trouser pocket. He was getting ready to run to his companions,when he was abruptly grabbed by the legs by very strong hands.

    Bill had no time to scream when,a split second later he was yanked underground through a foliage covered trap door.

    Air escaped his burning lungs then Mister Daller vanished ,without making a noise, from the sunlit world above him.

    * * *
    Last edited by The Cosmic Balance; 06-27-2008, 12:28 PM.

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  • lemec
    replied
    Chapter Two

    Infiltration

    Barret,Bill and Sekkawir ran from the ornate carriage as a spherical shell ripped through the roof and door. The projectile detonated on the dark top soil.

    "Damn those Paxtons!," exclaimed Jahn.

    "How in Creation did they get past the picket?," the overseer asked,slightly winded.

    As he swiftly dodged some debris,Bill answered,
    "Sappers would be my guess,if your lines had no holes! Tunnels,undetected by your men."

    "That would have to be on interminable passage!," Sakk' countered.

    "I suggest we find some cover and worry about this mystery at a later date!," returned Daller.

    The three men jumped over the two-foot wall,after the trio had closed the distance from wagon to property lot. They dove head first into a wet furrow,then pressed their bodies against the back of the rough blocks.

    William stole a glance up at a Lilac covered ridge. He instantly saw four guns with limbers,caissons and their crews. The artillery men wore rich crimson coats,green caps and ultramarine slacks with a single ocher stripe on each right leg.

    "Not to worry,they just made a lucky shot when they discovered our range. Those cannons can't be rifled,they are probably smooth bore," Sakkawir stated.

    Barret handed Mr. Daller a platinum field glass. Bill focused on the distant images.

    Each ofensive position was comprised of eight cannoneers. There also was an unknown number of horses,further up the hillside,beside some type of cairn.

    A covered wagon,by the look of it's canvas and wooden poles,obviously doubled as a command tent. They had prepared themselves well.

    Two tall figures,one male,one female, wore old-fashioned binoculars and waved their arms about and pointed to the targets below. They both had lieutenant bars pinned to a maroon uniform. The yellow stripe was also present on their suits.

    Fires began to ignite inside all corners of the enclosed oppidan settlement. A bugle sounde off sharply near the militia barracks. Women,men and children ran out of households and shops and leaped into reinforced ironclad shelters.

    The triad rolled and crawled towards the town. The men split up and made a dash towards the rear gate,which now swung in the wind on ruined hinges.

    Soilid shot and explosive shell combined. The ordinance dropped steel and heavy lead upon the villagers. The onslaight came down in intervals, as fast as the teams could reload.

    Dense clouds of pure white smoke obscured the ridgeline. The sonance was appalling, yet magnific as the sound waves carried the roar of the enemy througout the open fields,the closed dwellings and the bountiful terraces.

    * * *

    The coachman,the priest and the sojourner gazed through a bunker slit at the attackers. The haze only drifted slightly in the breeze and the assailants remained obscured. Their volleys lasted for one hour then ceased.

    Sekkawir explained to William that the outer force with the horsemen had finally caught up to the hostile ranks and eliminated them, saving the town. The mayor,Andrew Kepler, had informed the group that there were casualties,five men dead,one lady suffered an arm wound and a boy had taken some minor shrapnel in the leg. Doctors and the undertaker tended to their work. Introductions were made. The visitor felt welcome.

    A fruit ale was served to the quartet as the folk of the residence made repairs and activated the region's guardians to full battle alert. Twenty minutes had past and Bill was very thankful for the taste and effect of alcohol in any form.

    Mr. Arthur Oat,the barkeep,was kind and boisterousness lurked beneath the surface of his wrinkled and moustached face. He stood at four feet with his heavy boots attached. Smudged apron, frilly white shirt,brown vest with brown cotton pants covered his wiry body. A stiletto and a,lead filled, snakeskin sap were suspended from frogs on either side of his gold belt buckle. He was one of the hardest working individuals that the hamlet had ever known. He had a past too, a stint in the navy.

    Arthur made sure that the waitresses provided everything the men required for the men's refreshment. He could not help but smile despite the horrific events that take place there, harassment and probes by their adversary. He smiled because every time he saw Andy Kepler wearing his formal duds,(black top hat complete with a fuchsia suit decorated with white pin stripes and a yellow scarf),it humored him to no end. In addition to this Sakk' and Barret were dear comrades.

    The mayor would appear foppish to the untrained eye, but was not regarded as a dandy,for in his youth he had his jaw broken once while brawling and his nose had been bashed in thrice during three separate bare knuckle fights. There was also a day,while working on a river barge,a crate fell and snapped his humerus. Jahn was responsible for Keplar's cracked molar,but whiskey and a fiery brunette were the chief instigators in that little incident.

    Oat walked away to clean the place,'The Jackal's Maw', while the four men became better acquainted.


    * * *

    "Many people in this parish are descendants of your Confederate States and United States. Andy and Barret have ancestors from your hemisphere,and beyond. I am a native. My inhabitants integrated well with your folk. We did not have certain knowledge of warfare. We had no firearms,for instance. Your culture introduced black powder,new weapons and new outworlder technology. That was before this society was divided and before there was the formation of a multitude of factions. I know things have changed drastically since The Great Crossover,but my Earth is in grave peril. We have had several portal transfer survivors in the span of one-hundred-fifty years. We were kept informed of your planet's progress," Sekkawir commented.

    "There is nothing that I can do about all this. I all can do is find a way to earn a living until I can get back to Virginia," Bill said. He felt helpless and the reality of the situation started to effect his brain. "You said this was a world of lies,maybe this is all one elaborate trick. I have no clue as to why anyone would go to such trouble over me. Where am I? I demand that you tell me what is really happening and what purpose do you all serve!"

    William Daller became languid then fainted. Without warning,his head slammed down on the table.

    * * *

    William regained consciousness. The smell of mildew drifted on wind currents through an old brown doorway,which lead to a basement and a sub-cellar. He had been placed on a wide walnut bench with red pillows. Daller sprang up from his seat and executed a quick right hook.The punch connected squarely with the overseer's forehead.

    The cleric reeled backwards,but planted his feet so as not to fall.

    "Take it slow,friend! We will have no more of that!,"
    shouted Barret. "I'm starting to lose patience with you. You will regret an engagement of fisticuffs with me,stranger!"

    Bill prepared himself for a brawl. He thought to take advantage of the confusion,throw a feint at Kepler,then push through Sekkawir,making an escape route toward the main door or the side picture window. He was surrounded by numerous desks,chairs,lamps and rows of bookcases.

    "You are inside a library!," exclaimed Andrew. "This is no hoax! "How would we create such a wild fantasy? Take a look for yourself,study our history. This is not your country,this is not your world! Don't be a fool,you must cooperate with us. We did not orchestrate these events and only the Gods know why the temple generates it's nomadic exchance! We are simply here to aid those who come across to our land,we invite you to be a part of our life,our culture. Life is fickle,if we want to survive we must continue to adapt and do what we must, so we can later thrive until there is no more,no more worlds. Do your part, use your knowledge of your Time and Space to assist us. Facilitate our cause, our mission,so that we can end this war and all the people can flourish on this planet. You must accept things as they present themselves,you must accept this as your life. This is life,we can only make some changes to improve quality of that life. This is naturalism. How do you want to be remembered? Do you want to be a man who does not help his species?"

    The overseer recovered from the blow and said,
    "In any case,all that aside,Mr. Daller,you are now in our homeland and you are presently at our mercy."

    Bill walked slowly to a wood panel that housed five book shelves. He withdrew a random volume and began to flip through it's delicate pages. He nodded his temporary renunciation of freedom to Sekkawir.

    "You have my attention,priest. I will work with your group to help this society in any way that I can,by any possible means. If I learn of any deception,any oaths that I may take will be considered invalid. Anything done in your company that is against my principles and I shall become your enemy. Any tricks against me,threat or attempted violence against me or someone that I care for,then friends,all bets are off!"

    The mayor saluted William and smiled in approval.

    "That is all that we require of you,sir," stated Sekkawir. "Thank you."

    * * *

    The teamster and the mayor played a version of chess for six hours while Sekkawir studied some scripture and William read whole parts and scraps of many different books and encyclopedias. The game consisted of seven boards.

    The main board,or Center,was comprised of ninety spaces. The game markers on each side had miniature statues of two deacons, two horsemen, two citadels,two hawks, ten pike men, one Emperor and one Empress.

    The adjacent board, Air,contained ten metal balloon playing pieces on each side. The next board, Water, contained ten pewter war galleys. The Fire board was composed of catapults and torches, which had varied movement capabilities and could be transported to any other game board. The Earth board was made up of five fortifications and five pit pieces.

    The boards that remained on the outer zone were Archery and Monsters. The former had archer and ballista units, the latter contained ten different mythical beasts for each player.

    Bill had to admit that these tomes did not look like falsified records or fictional material. It all appeared to be real and factual. Even after several methods to cross check the facts, everything fit into place, as it should. It could be almost any library in America. There evidently were many parallels with Earth’s history and the past events of wherever this place was located in the vast Universe.

    Entry 2:

    'Most of the languages of Earth are represented here in some way, English, or a close form of it, is dominant in this region. There are also an incredible selection of indigenous languages including various dialects used by the priesthood.'

    William walked behind the overseer to see what was inside the cleric’s book. Sekkawir was reading from right to left and the pages contained a series of glyphs.

    “What exactly is your religion?,” Daller asked with genuine curiosity.

    “I worship The Five Lords,” answered Sekkawir. “There are Four Demi-Gods and One Supreme God. They created All that there is. All power is at their disposal. They have granted all mortals free will, but could Control any or all of us, at any time, if they so chose."

    "The Four argue constantly amongst themselves, The One takes responsibility on selecting all final decisions. This is somewhat compatible with some of your world’s beliefs, but you can see many problems can arise from our version. I assure you that there is more that the One. There are Five. They represent on end of the spectrum to the other."

    "We refer to the One as God, Himself, the other Four are known by my sect as Caharosh, Di’ Hoorn’ Ar Na’ Er, Mi’ Dleem’ El Dim’ Re and Lahawrishe."

    “That seems somewhat familiar, something ancient, old campfire tales or something ingrained upon human memory. The instinctive belief in God and Gods,” stated William Daller.

    “I feel that you are not far removed from the Infinite Truth,” replied Overseer Sekkawir. “There is much to debate and discuss, and much more for you to learn. If you are interested ,we will provide further education for you, in the future. You can go to on of the Temples and the supernatural and spiritual worlds will all be unveiled to you. Open your eyes and heart and receive the Holy Words of The One. The paranormal and what you think of as Reality, are in fact all one thing, one system, Life and Death are connected, united by The Soul Thread.”

    “Captivating. After reading some of your historical documents and studying some maps, I agree that my spirituality can wait to another time. That is, of course, if any of us survive the ending of all hostilities on this continent,” Bill said with a shrug of his shoulders.

    “Yes. I thank you for your compliance. Have you formed any plans today as you studied? Do you have the beginnings of some good ideas?” Sekk' asked.

    “One or two thoughts. Nothing really important. I am waiting to hear what you and the others have planned for me,” William muttered.

    * * *
    Last edited by The Cosmic Balance; 06-27-2008, 12:27 PM.

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  • lemec
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    Story Challenge Serial: The Reflection And The Interloper's Misstep

    The Reflection And The Interloper's Misstep

    by Lemec

    Chapter One

    Advent of Another Recruit or Dupe

    The lightning broke across the cloudless night sky. Rain
    came down at impossible angles and nearly penetrated the gathered men's thick skin. An incandescent light radiated from the old temple's brass doorway.

    "This one lives!," Tecumseh Gamble exclaimed to a quartet of black clad priests. One-hundred bodies lay strewn about
    the yard and garden enclosure. The structure eminated a
    powerful radiance,a strange alien sensation that chilled the bone when anyone approached within a fifty yard radius of the religious building.

    A team of four mares had been linked together with green
    dyed leather bosals and a virid harness. They pulled a heavy carriage made of cedar and ebony wood boards. Two silver lanterns adorned it's flanks.

    The grim teamster,who was dressed in a gray wool suit,stretched out over his bench and box. He also wore a short crimson necktie,which often gave him the appearance of being fresh from the axeman's block. The water soaked through the man's jacket and plastered stringy blond hair to his head,but he showed no concern at all.

    One of the priests wore his sable cassok with gold trim around it's skirt and a skufia on his pate. He stepped closer to Mister Gamble. The torrential spray struck Tecumseh's gray coat and buckskin leggings.The yellow shirt beneath the vesture was torn and it hung raggedly when the wind did not blow on it's front. The clergyman,Overseer Sekkawir, motioned to his followers to help the living man to his feet. The clerics rushed to obey and they soon had the man standing erect and treating him with water,medicine and salves. The diakonos administered care without speaking a word. Their mouths had been ritualistically sewn shut over six months ago.

    Four oxen,connected to a long pine wagon, slowly began
    to pull away from the perimeter. A single survivor did not require the driver's assistance,for there was ample room in
    the coach. The illumination from the portal abruptly ceased.

    A handful of men in gray uniforms turned dials on oddly shaped oil lamps. As the man was revived,he noticed that
    the men appeared to be soldiers,each armed with a sabre hung from the left hip and some unusual type of blunderbuss on the back.

    Sekkawir calmly gave orders using hand signals. He then said,"Place him gently in our conveyance,brothers." The deacons obeyed their master and the stranger was energetically inserted into the buggy. The man felt exceedingly groggy and did not protest.

    Tecumseh wiped the inexhaustible liquid from his brow. The deluge finally began to slow. The reconnoiter looked around the estate to ensure that everything was in place. He seemed pleased that there was no unobserved danger and quietly spoke to the conscripts,"That is all we are going to receive this year. I've got a long walk to the river to retrieve my stallion. If that snappish colonel has any more order packets for me,tell him that I'm on my way to Fort Bredathord. Have a momentous expedition,gentlemen.Good-bye." He gave a curt wave to the priests and strode purposefully past the structures and started a dash down the first hill to the east.

    Overseer Sekkawir walked over to the small company to provide further instructions. The men looked on with interest. "Grab your shovels and bury these corpses in the field that faces the thicket of juniper." The team went to work without complaint. The clerics followed to administer their rites.

    The teamster,Barret Jahn, leaned over and stated,"He will have full use of his senses soon,Overseer." He reached under his seat and opened a small panel. Barret then twisted and withdrew a cudgel,three feet long with tiny carved animal images on two sections of it's haft. "In the event of flight,eh?"

    "Very well. Keep that thing hidden,but near",Sekkawir commanded. "It has reached that time.Elucidation," he offered as he climbed into the carriage. "The rally,the rally. Alert me when the burials are complete,Barret," the preponderant priest dictated as he closed the door.

    * * *

    The guest sat on a magenta cushioned seat. As his eyes began to focus more and take in his surroundings,he started to fidget and search the pockets of his blue jeans.Empty. In addition to this fact,he saw that there was nothing remaining in his black t-shirt pocket. He ran his fingers through his short brown hair and looked up at the cleric through watery hazel eyes.

    "Was there an accident at the contruction site? What happened to me? Did I take a fall from the scaffold?",the
    newcomer rattled off the series of questions.

    Sekkawir replied,"Please sir,settle yourself,you are not injured and I suspect that the people you left behind will be fine."

    "What?"

    "You have been through a harsh shock,a direful transfer,"stated the overseer. "What is your name?"

    "Transfer?",he asked. "My name is William,William Daller.
    I prefer to be called Bill. Now,what's going on? Did you cause this? Are you an extremist or some insane kidnapper? Where is everyone? He looked out an undersized oval window. Why have you brought me to this place? Where are the paramedics?"

    Overseer Sekkawir held up his hands,palms outward,in placation. "In time Mister Daller,in time. Please,allow me to help you. Clarification will take an interval to absorb. We are not here to harm you."

    "Are you with the government? Are you with a church? Some kind of crazy bishop in that costume?,"posed William. "Maybe you sabotaged our work?,"he accused.

    Sekkawir laughed heartily. "No,no,nothing of that sort."

    "I can literally state that neither my colleagues nor myself have been in
    over a thousand leagues of your home. I have no intention in interference of
    your career or intrigue upon your nation. In fact,no man or woman brought you to us. I am simply here to assist you and to check for those souls who do not get lost on their way to the temple."

    "So! You are some kind of psychotic,devout,hallowed nut-job!," William shouted caustically. "What the Hell are you selling?,some Word of some Lord or
    some doctrine of ancient apostle?"

    "Please,sir,I am not here to spread any influence. I am a man of religion,but it is unlike your belief systems",the overseer continued to speak calmly and reassuringly. "Listen carefully to all that I must tell you,because I offer you the Truth in a World of Lies!"

    A skeptical expression was clearly etched into Bill's face,but he leaned back and appeared,for the moment,temporarily resigned to gaining as much information and intelligence as possible.

    "Let me begin in earnest. What year was it when you woke up this morning?",asked Sekk.'

    "What? This is not making me increase my confidence in your sanity,man!,"exclaimed Mr. Daller. "OK,OK! Fine! I'll play if it gets me cooperation. This is probably some poor attempt at getting back for the election.
    OK,it's Two-Thousand-Thirteen."

    "Very interesting,"stated Overseer Sekkawir. "People have been arriving in this particular location since Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-Three."

    "Oh? Why? What for? Well,go ahead,continue," said William.

    * * *

    The carriage was pulled in sight of a hamlet. Three hours ago,Overseer Sekkawir had been informed of the completion of grave ceremonies and Barret had guided his team clear of the grounds and onto a red stone road.

    The deacons and soldiers attended to their respective modes of transportation. The military had an array of carts,mules and horses at their disposal,hidden in The Outer Woods. Priests,land troopers and cavalry chose a
    parallel route to the coach,a quarter league away and toward The Western Reaches.

    Bill and Sekk' exchanged some vital information,but both kept many secrets. The overseer provided the man with ink,quill,stitched leather satchel and a ream of unusually thick orange coloured paper.

    Mr. Daller decided to write down some notes in the event the missives could be delivered to his sweetheart,family and chums. As he began to collect his muddled thoughts,he became determined to create
    a concise chronicle of his experience. This narrative outlasted the entire grand ordeal and still exists in fragments to this day.

    The Daller Journal

    Entry 1-

    I woke up in a stange place and was helped to recover my health by some very odd priests. All that I once knew and held dear has changed. I will need to reevauate my old passions. I love you all. Please forgive my disappearance. I am well. I hope and pray that you are all well. Jacinda, I cherish you and you have my oath and vow that I will see you once more before I leave either 'World'.

    Tell Crandon that he would love it here and that he should bring his Kona for some good biking. Much to tell. No idea of were to start. I am here,though,and the worse thing that you can think about me is that maybe I am under a hallucination. A man in these parts,respectable I think,has told me a magnificent tale. He might be a little on the crazy side, but I might as well see where he wants to take me. I want to talk to many more people to learn what is really going on,so,as we near a town,I write this from inside a warm buggy on a bumpy road.*

    *For a complete restoration of the Entry 1 account,please turn to Page 435 of Tovalard's Lost Colonies & Turmoil.

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

    "Jahn,avoid the primary gate,take the postern and get us a fresh matched team," Sekkawir instructed.

    "Gee!," cried Barret.

    The conveyance rumbled as it crossed from track to
    pasture. William looked out the aperture at a two-foot
    block wall,that spanned about five-hundred yards from
    one blue farmhouse to a quarry-faced outbuilding.

    Beyond that,a corral with an additional livestock enclosure. A copper weather vane spun in the wind above an abnormal stable,which possessed three floors with adjoining ramps and platforms.

    Mr. Daller looked at the habitation in curiosity,and was just catching a splendid view of southern portion of the municipality when the overseer started talking once again. He attempted to fill in a few gaps of knowledge.

    "It is a passage,or channel," Sekkawir began anew,"One that sprouts into existence with many entrances,but only one exit."

    * * *

    Bill's eyes narrowed,then he commented,"I heard about these things being theoretically possible,but I am no expert of the field. I used to watch cable shows on such things,read a book or two on weird subjects...,this sort of thing is unlikely,yet I am here,as you sit there."

    "Cable?,iron cable? Steel?," Sekkawir asked politely.

    "Nevermind,you must not have it in your country," William retorted. "Oh no!, please,please,please tell me that you have recorded music!," he demanded as panic resurged in his voice. "No proper communication!"

    "Music? We have sheets and many songs and books on how to play instruments,all stored in the library of records," the overseer stated.

    "I've lost civilization!," shouted Daller as true despair hit him for the first time since his arrival. "Do you have any other transportation that is more efficient than beast and horse power?"

    "We do have the steam engine and several trains go to certain key areas and cities," Sakk' responded.

    "Well,that is at least a start,a comfort," William returned. "As a supervisor,I was quite attached to all the modern conveniences,but here.....,no matter,I will do as I must. I have many years of carpentry under my belt,so I won't starve. Not sure where my people skills will come in handy,but I do have some grasp of engineering as well."

    The Overseer smiled cordially and said,"Most excellent. Very helpful to be certain. Outstanding,sir. I congratulate you on your fine achievements."

    "So...,varying locations,you say?"

    Suddenly,from an unknown origin,the report of a bronze 'Six-pounder' disturbed the peaceful,rustic locality!

    A tremendous explosion shatterd part of the town's log fence,then a terrifying cry of alarm rose up from the inner avenues and tightly packed alleys!

    * * *
    Last edited by lemec; 11-19-2008, 08:58 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • lemec
    replied
    Originally posted by voilodian ghagnasdiak View Post
    Hey....that Maxim Arturovitch Pyatnitski has a kung-fu grip.
    Looks like your having fun Lemec.
    It will be interesting to see your project completed.
    Good luck.
    Thanks,VG!

    Ya,it's something different to focus on,a fun distraction.

    I knew that I could not draw the scene,so I thought I would try this,to see how close I could come to making a representation of the character,trying to see what it might look like in a movie,haha!

    I was selling a few things on eBay. I saw all the wild stuff people had on there for custom figures,so I got the idea to throw some things together,but I am not too good at it,not like the hobby enthusiasts that I have seen,who make their own plastic heads and accessories.

    Someone even had a Sean Connery figure that looked like his character from The Untouchables.

    I guess I should have contacted that guy for a more realistic costume!

    Oh well,I will use what I have,maybe it will show a potential,what it could look like if I had more skill. hahaha!

    I am thinking it might look all right when it is all together,as one picture.

    If the figure comes to life at night and begins to draw up blueprints for inventions,I'll let ya know!

    Oh,as a side note,in my search,I did find a Lemmy Kilmister figure!

    Last edited by lemec; 11-06-2007, 09:35 PM. Reason: making room,image not needed

    Leave a comment:


  • voilodian ghagnasdiak
    replied
    Hey....that Maxim Arturovitch Pyatnitski has a kung-fu grip.
    Looks like your having fun Lemec.
    It will be interesting to see your project completed.
    Good luck.

    Leave a comment:

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