Michael spotted something amiss at the main house, an open window on the side and immediately started that way. He spied Matthew coming around the corner of a shed, and waved him over, “Something’s not right, they would not leave a window open,”said Michael. They stopped by the boat in the yard, and at the same time, both heard sounds of thumping and something falling coming from the house, and just before racing to the house, Matthew spotted a figure running towards the front from the fence. He saw it was a Brak and raised his suppressed AR and shot it twice in rapid succession in the chest, crumpling it in a heap on the ground. Michael was rapidly approaching the back corner of the house as he heard the suppressed shots, but did not look, knowing that Matthew was handling whatever he needed to. Michael could hear sounds of a struggle inside, and turned the corner running headlong into a huge Brak knocking it onto its back. Without slowing, Michael drew his Sig pistol, and shot the Brak twice in the chest and one in the head.
Matthew and Michael then both made it to the back door and counted to 3 and swung it open entering quickly, one going left the other right and were met with a familiar voice from in the house “It’s alright, Boys. Get in here and help me with your mom and Trinity will you?”
Lee had seen the Wrack collapse, taking Trinity down with it, and paled, seeing blood coming from the heap of bodies on the floor. As he stepped towards the Wrack, he heard gunshots outside, and then the back door swinging open. Spinning, Lee drew the Ronin, and facing the hall from the darker end by the den door, then seeing Matthew and Michael breach the room, breaking left and right as they entered. He greeted them, exhorting them to come help with their mother and Trinity.
Lee heard “Eww! Gross get off me!” coming from Trinity under the Wrack, and he rolled the big creature off of her and pulled her up.
“Let’s take a look at that neck, Kiddo,” he said checking her neck that was covered in blood.
“I’m ok” she said.
“Not really, Kiddo, though most of that is that thing’s blood. He did manage to cut your neck fairly deep on this side, so hold still a minute.” said Lee.
Matthew and Michael had got Elena up and onto a chair. She was groggy, but fine, so Lee continued treating Trinity. He cleaned the blood off her neck, and applied insta-clot to stop the cut from bleeding, and then patched it up with a few tape stitches then a large bandage.
“Well, hopefully it won’t scar kiddo” said Lee, and Trinity went to the bathroom to clean up and change clothes. Elena explained she just had laid down, and was awoken by the Wrack spraying something in her face, and she passed out and did not awaken until the boys were untying her.
Later that day, everyone gathered at Liam’s to discuss the situation. Lee explained what he saw and learned when he was away, then listened to what had been going on here. After being filled in on the events over the past few days, Lee said “We are going to have to make some decisions, as to what we need to do to put an end to this mess. We cannot continue to be on the defensive for much longer. I’m going to go to the study at the main house. I have a few things to ponder, and you all probably do, too.”
Lee left with Elena and despite him being there, Trinity followed along, “I said I would stay with her and I mean to do just that.” she said when asked.
Natasha had worried and tended Trinity’s wound again, and told her she was to be extra careful, and “No more heroics with those wooden swords!” To which most everyone agreed.
Lee added in front of everyone, “I am so very glad you were there, Kiddo, and had those wooden swords with the skill to use them, because if not, who knows where your Aunt Elena would be now, at the hands of that thing. But, I agree whole heartedly that we cannot put you in that kind of circumstance again.”
Trinity started to protest “But, I…”
However, Lee cut her off with a smile, “We will have to come up with a better solution for you”.
Later that evening in his study, Lee was going through the Legion book, and found what he was looking for on the pages Elena had marked for him. Both of the knives he recovered from the assassins attack on the Tresland, were in fact a set belonging to a Legionnaire that disappeared from everything, back in the times of the crusades, and he was listed as missing, but most thought he had been ambushed and killed. But if that were the case, how did these, wind up in the hands of an assassin, on another planet, Lee pondered?
Lee then did what he always did when trying to figure things out. He closed his eyes, and went back through what he had been told, what he had seen and even things he felt. His mind kept going back to the painting he saw in the fortress, something about it was nagging at him, but he could not put a finger on it. The battle, the soldiers the swords the armor, wait! That face, it was the same face he saw in the woodline, and the same face of Trendar the “valued staff” of the Premier. “How is that even possible? And that’s three times that face has come up surrounded by questions. That’s two, too many times for me to think it’s not related. This Trendar character needed to be questioned.”
It was going to be tricky doing so without ticking off the Premier. Lee had the beginnings of a plan, and would discuss it with the others in the morning. He headed out to the kitchen, and got a glass of iced tea and noticed Trinity sitting and staring at the hallway. Lee asked her, “What’s on your mind?”
Trinity almost jumped, because she had been replaying the fight over and over in her head, to see what she could have done differently. “Oh, Hi! Nothing. I was rehashing things in my head.” she replied.
“I’m not sure how much of the fight between you and that thing I missed, but the parts I saw were impressive. You move well, and control your fear better than a lot of men I have known. You seem to know how to handle the swords you were using. Not a lot to go over, Kiddo.” said Lee.
“Yes, but I lost in the end, and would have been dead, if you hadn’t intervened,” replied Trinity.
“Ok, if you want critique, I’ll give you this tidbit,” said Lee. “Knife work of any kind needs to be fast and violent. The longer it draws out, the more advantage a stronger opponent has, because as you tire, you slow, or even worse, you make mistakes. Mistakes get you dead,” Lee continued, “You put yourself at a disadvantage when you used wooden blades. I know it’s all you had, and that you knew the only ending was going to be stabbing him, or someone intervening. You did a great job of keeping him off balance, but when you had the tactical advantage, Murphy showed up and you slipped”. Lee looked at Trinity “Thank God I was there to intervene, or it could have ended much worse than a cut, and we won’t leave you at that disadvantage anymore, if I can help it. Now go get some rest, it’s my watch.”
The next morning, Lee gathered Elena, Matthew, Michael, Liam and Trinity in the main house, leaving the rest under the care of Van and River.
Lee declared, “The answer to this riddle lies on Tresland, I’m pretty sure, but there are still enemies here, and questions that need answering here. Liam I need you and Natasha to talk to ‘Lena and find out what she knows. She’s seen these things before, of that I’m certain. I’m just not sure where or how. With your permission I am going to ask that Trinity accompany me to Tresland.”
Holding up his hand to cut off the protest he saw coming not from Liam, but from Matthew and Michael, “Hear me out first, Trinity would throw anyone looking for an advantage off, as they would assume, like the last assassin did, that she was not any threat” Lee continued, “I need someone over there, that can help watch people, as well as be ignored by the adults. The answer is in or at the fortress I’m sure of it, and she can help discover it, or at least help me frustrate the enemy until we find out how to end it”.
Liam sat and thought quietly before commenting, “How much time do we have, I’m going to have to think this over as well as discuss this with Natasha”.
“There’s time. I’m not due back at the portal for another day and that’s just to check that all is still good” said Lee. Lee turned to Matthew and Michael “Time for you two to get on the hunt. We need you to set up and eliminate any of these things that come through. I am counting on you to clog up the portal with their carcasses as they come through. Eventually, they will try and find a different portal, and hopefully by then we will have news. Sounds going into the portal will not be heard on this side so there is no worries about people near it, calling the Police. The hard part is, it’s both day and night, so you are going to have to schedule teams, and hopefully, I can find a way to close them from the other side. Don’t worry I’m not closing any, until I know we can get home through another.”
Liam started to get up to go, but Lee asked him “Can you stay a couple minutes more, there’s something I want to do, and I want you in on it if you don’t mind?”
Liam answered, “Sure, what is it?”
Lee went to a desk and pulled out a cloth roll, and sat it on the desk. Lee turned to Trinity who was watching and listening to all the goings on, saying, “Kiddo, I told you I would not leave you at a disadvantage if I could help it, so if you are willing, take these,” he said, as he uncovered the two blades he took off the assassin in Tresland. “Hopefully, they will be of as much. if not more use, than your wooden training swords. They are a bit shorter, but much sharper and stronger, and can be thrown, if needed.”
Trinity looked at the twin blades, jagged on the spine, like a dragons back and super sharp on the edges, with cord wrapped handles and loops for the wrist. She took both blades in her hands, and immediately smiled, nodding, “Wow! These are really awesome, thank you!!” as she took the knives.
Liam took Trinity with him, to talk things over with Natasha, while Matthew and Michael went back to their houses with their families. Lee and Elena talked over a few things, as they ate a light lunch. “Is there no way to get more of the stuff the bag is made of?” asked Lee.
“I’m not sure,” replied Elena, “I was told there was no more, but, who knows what’s true anymore?” she continued. “I’m going to ask the Loarn, if there is something he can do or find out. He has connections on both sides of the portals. Maybe he has heard or knows different news about the material,” she said “What do you have in mind?
Lee replied “What we have to do is find the nut responsible for wanting us and our kin removed from existence, and deal with him, and that’s going to be a whole lot easier if we can get more firearms through to the other side of the portal. I’m not talking about arming the natives, I’m talking about a surgical strike probably from longer range to cut the head off the snake, then a hasty, but well thought out route of escape”.
The next morning all the families were gathered and it was decided that Trinity would accompany Lee back through the portal and they would return to the fortress and find out what they can about the mural on the wall and who or what this Trendar character was really up to. In the mean time everyone here would do what they can to plug the portal up and give the Loarn time to see what he could find out through his network here and on the other side. Elena, Natasha and ‘Lena were now going to always be accompanying each other, with Liam being their over watch when they were doing things. Matthew, Michael, and to some extent Van, were tasked with formulating a plan to stop the enemy from coming through the portal, and also to hunt down those remaining that had already gotten over. For this they were given the Loarn’s help and already the scouts were searching the property perimeter and surrounding areas for them.
Elena had taken to wearing twin knives, in a sheath on her back everywhere she went, 18″ long, curved with gold embellishments, black handles wrapped in soft leather. Lee had seen them before, but never saw his Elena wearing them. “You expecting trouble, Sweets?” he asked
“I hope that was rhetorical,” she said with sarcasm dripping off her voice. Lee could not help but chuckle
“Be careful you don’t cut y…..” the words were cut off by Elena’s lightening quick drawing of the blades and faster than the eye, in a continuous motion slinging one underhand, and sticking it in the door frame, its blade sinking in a good two inches. At the same time, with the other, she had spun away and to the left, moving the blade in an arch across and around her body in a slashing motion “you were going to say something smart-aleck?’
To which Lee replied “Nope, not me no ma’am, but I am not fixing that hole you made!”.
Lee and Trinity left early the next morning, slipping out through the long tunnel from the main house to the old stump outside the fence, but still on Lee’s property. They stopped inside the stump, and watched for several minutes for any signs of danger or being observed. “Always wait and look, Kiddo, and when you have looked until you are durn sure there is nothing amiss, pause and look a couple more minutes. Better a bit late, than not at all” Lee said.
Trinity nodded that she understood and smiled a little, “Are we going to be gone long?” She asked.
“Nope just a day, with enough time to look at that mural again, and see the Premier about Trendar. They exited the hidden tunnel, and got in Lee’s truck, and he quickly drove to the hunting club, opening and closing the two gates, before finally parking under a pine tree. “Come on, Kiddo,” he said as he was grabbing his backpack out of the back seat. Trinity grabbed a smaller daypack, and they locked the truck and headed off, Trinity following Lee, as he lead in a long, big half circle before pausing under a huge oak and kneeling there. Lee pulled out a pair of binoculars and scanned the area around the tree he loved to sit in to hunt, for anyone or anything out of place, “Over there, 150 yards see that tree growing parallel to the ground?” He asked Trinity in a low whisper.
“Yes” she replied.
“That’s where the portal is. We will watch from here, and wait for Falan, Rotar, or someone they send to appear” said Lee.
25 minutes later, Lee saw Rotar suddenly appear in the clearing and he prodded Trinity’s foot “We got company, Kiddo, time to go. Are you sure you want to go on?”
Trinity nodded and said “Yes, if I can help I want to go on”.
Lee got up, followed by Trinity and they made their way to the clearing, where Rotar was watching them approach.
“I see you brought reinforcements” he said half jokingly until he saw Lee’s eyes.
Lee said matter of factly, “Without her, Elena would be in the hand of the enemy”.
Rotar look at Trinity with a bit more respect as he said, “I meant no offense, and I am grateful that you were there when needed. We have much to discuss Bevan…Lee that is, and we should go,” continued Rotar.
“Lead on” said Lee looking at Rotar, then Trinity. “Here we go, Kiddo, remember to try and say very little about back here or any family, and keep those ears open for any news at all”.
Trinity gave a half sardonic teenage grin and said, “I had planned on discussing family history with complete strangers, Uncle Lee, now I have no idea what I will talk about”.
Lee chuckled “Sorry, habit!” Then through the misty, out of focus portal they stepped.