Well if I am to expect any ideas as to where to go I should say which states, so Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Colorado, Kansas, Utah, are for sure.
Anyways, thanks yall
Well if I am to expect any ideas as to where to go I should say which states, so Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Colorado, Kansas, Utah, are for sure.
Anyways, thanks yall
Sometime here in the near future Peach and I will depart for a road trip that will at a minimum encompass 8 states in this awesome country of ours. We will leave Florida and drive and eventually wind up in Utah, it is a trip that is overdue and we cannot wait to start. We have a vague route in mind but we can vary wildly as there is no reason to be super strict on the route. Peach and I have contemplated this trip a while and want to make the most of it. All along the highways and byways there are interesting and beautiful things to see and do. We will be making it a photographic expedition as well as a “goof off” (something I am some what of an expert at) expedition, I will bring Peach’s and my fishin poles on the off chance we see a fishin hole that we just HAVE to fish (Peach always catches bigger fish much to my chagrin) and we most definitely have those “what’s that?? We have to stop there and look at that” moments. The thing I am looking forward to (besides spending time with my pretty girl cooped up in my pickup) is the fact that there is no hurry at all, we can take as much time as we please. Most trips are rushed because of time constraints, but not this time, we are free, Youngest son is staying at the house, he will take care of it the dogs and the chickens, and Peach and I are free to explore.
We plan on doing a daily travel blog, so if you ladies and gents have ideas for us to try and stop at places, or ideas of what info you would like to see in the travel blog, let us know so we can do our best to add then. We will put in info on hotels we stay at, places we visit, restaurants we may visit and anything else we can think of, and of course there will be tons of photographs included.
“Well Peach it’s getting closer every day till time to start, hope I don’t drive you batty along the trip with my silliness”
Lee felt himself dragged into the open and realized he was in the grasp of a Dragon, he quickly pulled this blade and shoved it in the claw that was holding Him and the dragon roared and dropped him. Lee landed on his feet and rolled away turning to face the dragon in the chamber his back to the wall, the dragon had spun sideways and coiled its neck like a snake looking at Lee. To lee the dragon looked immature, but what did he know about dragons. It’s size was smallish and not well developed and it seemed not as sure of itself as lee assumed a mature dragon would be. “Mature or not it can definitely kill and eat you” Lee thought to himself. Lee grumbled that he did not bring a bigger knife than that of the Legion and he saw his bow by the cave entrance “well that makes it complicated” he thought and just as he finished the thought the dragon roared and lunged at him it’s mouth wide open in an attempt to bite, Lee dove up and over the outstretched neck and rolled into the entrance grabbing his bow. The dragon spun snake quick and again lunged at him. Lee dashed past its open mouth back into the cavern in order to gain some room to work, and the dragon roared in frustration spinning to face him. Lee released the arrow that he had drawn and it slide down the outside of the dragons mouth and neck it’s razor sharp broad-head slicing a groove between the dragons thick scales and it again roared this time in angry pain. Lee drew and shot again but this arrow bounced off the thick scales of the dragons chest and had no effect, the dragon extended its neck forward towards lee and roared again advancing, Lee tried to dodge but underestimated the dragon who swung its tail and knocked Lee across the cavern into the wall knocking his breath out. Before he could recover the dragon was on him and grabbed him in its claws pulling him up roaring as it opened its mouth to bite him. Lee pulled the Ronin off his hip and shot the dragon in its mouth up towards the roof in the back trying to hit something vital. The bullet went through the dragons mouth and into its brain and stopped it instantly and it collapsed in a heap with Lee hopelessly buried under its bulk.
The guards far down the tunnel could hear the sounds of the dragon roaring long before Trinity made it back to them and they had sounded the alarm bringing up squads of soldiers with shields and spears. Trinity tried to speak but was out of breath and the old guard said “it’s ok lass, take a moment catch your breath”. Trinity finally got out “Dragon!!! Uncle lees fighting a dragon we have to help!!!!”. About the time Trinity got the words out Rotar and Falan and another squad arrived “what did you say Trinity??? Rotar asked “where, where is he how long “ago??!!” He asked sharply. “5 tunnels down” she said “hurry!!!” And took off running. Rotar yelled commands to the sergeant of the chamber guards to summon more squads and seal the chamber and protect it at all cost. Falan was already running to catch Trinity shouting to the squad of soldiers “come on you lot, the fight is this way!!”
Lee was slowly squirming his way from under the dragons weight when he heard rushing wind and flapping, he felt a strong force of wind blowing into the chamber and then heard heavy steps and a low rumbling and he realized he was hearing another dragon. “Well crud, this is going to make things a mite tricky there Lee, what with being stuck under this thing” he thought to himself and about the time he was finishing that thought the other dragon came into view, it was massive dwarfing the one he had killed. The dragon was black like the night and had cracks and creases in its scales as if it had been burnt many times, there were scars along it’s body and several old arrows and spears broken off long ago still stuck in them. The dragon rattled as it move as if growling and bubbling like a cauldron. Lee could see it had one eye scarred over and he could see the hilt of a knife protruding from the corner of the bad eye. The dragon had a head the size of his pickup truck and teeth 10-12 inches long it looked huge. Lee was trying to get his arms free when the massive dragon spotted him and let out a roar so loud that it hurt lees ears and echoed and reverberated down through all the tunnels all the way up to the entrance from the main fortress.
Trinity was just turning into the side tunnel when the roar hit her like a wall making her stop for a second, just long enough for Rotar to grab her shoulder and drag her back “hold on a second, let the others catch up then we will go” he whispered. Trinity started to protest as she turned but she saw the rest of the soldiers lining up behind them. Rotar told Falan “take half the men to the next side tunnel and come in from the side I’ll send half to the one we passed, and we will go in here, go now hurry!” Falan gave his orders quickly and silently and he and half the men ran to the next passage and disappeared into it, as the other half did the same in the previous tunnel they passed getting here. Rotar looked at Trinity “do as I say and do, we will find your uncle but we must be cautious” he whispered and Trinity nodded that she understood. Rotar gripped a spear and shield and slowly moved into the tunnel, Trinity following close behind. Rotar stopped several feet from the end seeing the body of a dragon lying in the chamber partially blocking the entrance “well, he killed it, it seems” he whispered to Trinity and as he did a second more powerful roar erupted from within the chamber shaking the walls with its strength. Rotar saw that the chamber was destroyed and open to the surface, something or someone had dug it up and made a path to enter the tunnels without their knowledge. Then he saw the dragon, dark against the night sky and seeming massive and invincible. The dragon was fixated on something on the floor near or under the dead one. Trinity gasped “Oh no it’s uncle Lee!!” Before realizing how loud she was and the dragon jerked its head around looking at the tunnel they were in and it roared again moving closer. Suddenly from both sides soldiers started appearing in the chamber amongst the rocks and boulders, some shooting arrows at spots that were listed as weak points on the dragon. This infuriated the dragon who fought back slashing at some with its huge claws and knocking boulders and rocks around with its tail. Several soldiers were wounded some severely by the onslaught. Rotar saw Falan dragging wounded soldiers to safety and he himself was bloodied by a claw from the dragon. Rotar looked at Trinity “you stay here! There is nothing you can do against this beast, and I cannot keep an eye on you and him at the same time, so promise you will stay here!!” And Trinity who was afraid but determined to help somehow but knew her short swords were of no use against a dragon, finally nodded and said “ok I’ll stay here” Rotar nodded and slipped out into the chamber using the dead dragons body as cover. The dragon swung its tail at several soldiers behind some boulders and missed smashing instead into the body of its dead relative.
Lee was struggling to get free when all heck broke loose there were soldiers everywhere and the dragon was distracted trying to kill them using its claws and tail with great efficiency as weapons. One such swipe struck the dead dragon he was pinned under and he was suddenly free but his legs were so numb he couldn’t get up. Trinity suddenly saw her uncle Lee struggling to get up and did not hesitate, she dashed out into the chamber dodging the dragons tail then his claws as he tried to grab her. Rotar saw Trinity run out and yelled “No!” And dashed out into the open as the dragon was reaching to grab Trinity, he flung his battle axe and it stuck in between two overlapping scales on the dragons arm causing it to roar in pain and anger and it swung the same arm and wing back striking Rotar’s shield and knocking him flying several feet back into a wall where he fell in a heap under his shield. The dragon coiled it’s neck and spewed fire at Rotar’s body as it lay there under the shield. Trinity saw what happened and screamed “Rotar Nooooo!!” She hesitated then again dashed the rest of the way to Lee and started dragging him back and away towards a tunnel but he was a big man and very heavy and she was having a hard time, suddenly Falan was there and he grabbed Lee and helped her drag him to safety. Trinity stopped and looked where Rotar had landed but saw nothing but fire as the dragon again belched fire. Several soldiers all attacked again with spears, swords and arrows some penetrating spots on the dragon others bouncing off harmlessly. Trinity turned to check on her uncle and as she did she saw out of the corner of her eye something flying through the air from the rim of the chamber.
Jondar heard the dragons roaring as he was laying on his bed recovering, he heard the alarms and heard soldiers rushing past. Jondar said “healer! wrap this bandage tight and hurry!!” And the healer said “you can’t leave you will tear the stitches out!!!” To which Jondar said after another roar “do you hear that? That is a dragon, and an ancient one by the sound of it, in a few minutes it will have destroyed this entire place, now WRAP THIS BANDAGE TIGHT so I can maybe save a few lives!!!”. The healer complied wrapping the wound and padding it as best he could “it won’t hold much but it should help some” he said “thank you” Jondar said as he was putting his armor back on. Jondar knew by the sounds of the fight that the dragon was in the tunnels and the only what that could happen was if there was a breach, so he grabbed his weapons and as quickly as he could manage headed out, not towards the battle but to the surface. Jondar hurried to one of the exits he alone knew of and grabbed a few archers to take with him, as they went he taught them how to attack a dragon and possibly live to tell about it “shoot for the base of the neck on the underside, and the area where the wing joins the body it’s a spot the size of a dinner plate and it takes several hits to break the scale but it is thin there and flexible and will give if hit enough, shoot and move do not stand still”. The group made there way towards the back slope of a hill that put the chamber in a blind spot from the fortress. As they reached the summit they saw the chamber had been exposed and could see fire being spewed from a massive dragon. Jondar stopped for a second and said “I thought this one dead long ago, but it seems I was mistaken and I should have made sure”. “Yes” he answered a soldier, “I have seen this dragon before and we have done battle, it was me who gave him the scar and it appears we will do battle again”. Jondar sent the soldiers quickly around the rim and they started attacking with arrows, Jondar saw the dragon spew fire again at a spot on the ground by the wall and it puzzled him for a split second, then he recognized a shield that was taking the brunt of the flames and heat. Jondar dashed around to the side of the rim closest to the dragon drawing his short battle axe as he ran, and he launched himself into the air towards the dragon on its blind side as it drew its head up to roar again. Jondar aimed his axe and himself to where the head joined the neck and his axe bit into the dragon, slicing between the scales protecting the dragon and he landed on its neck hanging on. The dragon screamed in pain and anger and spewed fire into the air and all around as it tried to get to the axe in its neck, Jondar hanging on by a thread pulled his sword and plunged it into the neck in the gap caused by the axe “you should have died ages ago you will die now Gwandar, by my hand!”. The sword severed the spine of the dragon and it collapsed in a heap on top of the other dead one in the chamber, flinging Jondar across the room into a boulder.
Trinity saw the figure attack the dragon but did not recognize it as Jondar and as soon as the dragon collapsed she ran to where the person was thrown “are you alright” she said and then “Jondar? how? what are you doing here??!!” And he said with a groan and smile “just happened to be in the neighborhood”. Jondar said “help me up lass, I’m stuck” and Trinity helped pull him to his feet, he thanked her and then said “stay here a second, I need to check something” and headed towards the shield covering the person against the wall. As soon as Trinity realized where he was going she gasped “Rotar!!! Oh I forgot” and Jondar muttered to himself as he flipped the shield away “had to be Rotar, no one else could tick off an animal that much but him” and much to his surprise Rotar’s voice answered from what appeared to be a crevice by the wall apparently created when the chamber was being destroyed “I told you to stay put!” He said to Trinity as he was crawling out. Trinity started to say something but changed her mind just glad that he wasn’t cooked.
Hours later after the dragons were set on fire and burning and the tunnels leading to the destroyed chamber were securely blocked and guards stationed, everyone else met in the mural room. “It seems things have escalated quickly” said the Premier, “not in ages beyond remembering have the enemy gotten so close to entering the fortress”. “The watches have been doubled, and the old hidden observation posts outside the fortress have been reactivated to give advance warning Premier” said Falan. “We must double and triple the soldiers training on fighting these beasts, as well as the other enemy” the Premier said as he looked at Jondar. “I have sent word Premier, to the others, they will be here by nightfall to help with the training of the soldiers” Jondar replied.
As the plans were being made Trinity was listening intently and sat off to one side out of the way. Her mind was going back over the painting she saw of the chamber and the scene. She remembered the woman fighting with creatures and the girl on the seat, but there was something in the background in the darkness of the tunnel behind the enemy that she could not make out but felt it was there. She got up and was looking at the wall mural and was stunned to see the last painting had changed again to one with the fortress besieged by numerous dragons spouting fire while soldiers tried to keep them at bay. There were hundreds of enemy also attacking. Off to one side in a dark tunnel she finally saw what was hiding in the other painting, it was monstrous and huge, with two large fangs and black as death eyes, it was a Serpent! And it was in the main tunnel headed to the secret chamber but between it and the chamber stood a lone figure, the bodies of soldiers and enemies all over in heaps and piles, the figure had in his hand a bow and on his back arrows in a quiver and a solitary knife, and on his side a sword, the bow drawn and aimed at the beast and she recognized the figure as her uncle Lee!
Matthew 27:62 – 66
62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,
63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.
66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
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 am going 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. I need 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”.
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.
Several hours later Lee was talking with Rotar and Falan in a dining hall about the days events and what was next when suddenly a horn sounded and everyone started to get up and head out.
“Hold on you two,” said Lee “What’s going on and where are you going?”
Rotar answered “Alarm! We are under attack! We have to get to the wall!”
“Welp, I cannot sit here while everyone else is fighting, so I’m coming with you, but I need to get my bow, where do I meet you?”
Less than 10 minutes later, Lee was on the top of the Fortress wall standing between Rotar and Falan. He was fully dressed in his cloak, hidden soft body armor, and carried the blade of the Black Legion upside down on his back in a sheath under his backpack and the Ronin on his hip hidden from view. “Going to be hard for them to do much damage having to cross that open water in boats then scale the wall, if they can” said Lee. Falan answered “the Brak can climb the wall as easy as we can walk in the woods, but they haven’t mastered swimming so if we can disrupt their boats they will not have the chance”.
As they were talking there was a bleating horn sound and several dozen boats were pushed into the 200yard wide body of water surrounding the fortress. Lee was watching waiting for someone to shoot an arrow or something but everyone held their fire “been my experience that if you break an enemies back early, you take the initiative, why are you waiting?” He asked. An unknown soldier said “we cannot soot accurately at that distance” and Lee said “it’s your war bub, but since I’m stuck here on this side I think I can risk a miss or two rather than give them a free pass over the river”. Lee drew his bow and sighted along an arrow across the distance at a figure who was seemingly directing Braks into action. He slowed his breath, closed his eyes then opens and was still aligned on the figure, Lee released the arrow. The bow may a thump sound as it launched the arrow at roughly 400fps flying in an arc but with a true flight it crossed the distance in little over a second striking the figure dead center of the chest burying deeply as the steel broadhead bit into flesh. The figure dropped as if pole axed and several of the other figures froze in disbelief. Lee was already releasing a second arrow by the time the first struck and this arrow missed its mark but did strike a Brak in the thigh causing him to knock over a lantern setting several tents on fire and causing several explosions.
The Treslander’s were astonished at Lees’s ability to shoot accurately at that distance but were soon shooting on their own as boats came into range. Rotar was moving up and down the wall giving orders and directing fire from the archers, as boats got closer to the walls the archer’s Moved back on the parapet and soldiers with swords and axes moved to the front line, archers shooting over their shoulders or heads. Lee could see several soldiers collapse from hits by enemy arrow fire and then saw for himself how fast the Braks could scale the sheer wall as several scampered up easily only to be cut down at the top. Suddenly there appeared a boat loaded with six huge figures covered by shields heading to the wall below where Lee and Falan were, it plowed forward despite being targeted and hit by numerous arrows, four of the figures eventually were shot out of the boat but the final two made it to the wall and began climbing, seemingly focused on getting up and over at this point whatever the cost.
Falan said “Tryaks!! So they have also joined against us, that’s a heavy blow they are relentless and twice as hard as Braks to kill”. Lee saw motion out of the corner of his eye and for some reason it caught his attention as Falan was making his statement, he looked and caught a glimpse of a figure disappearing into a side door and into the shadows and he thought “what is he doing here?” He was 99.9999% sure it was Trendar the one that gave him the feeling of someone not to be trusted. Lee heard a shout and turned to see a Tryak coming over the wall and he shot it in the face with an arrow causing it to fall backwards off the parapet and down into and through a boat carrying several Braks sending them all to the bottom. The second Tryak breached the wall and swing his huge sword taking out two soldiers and knocking Falan off the parapet down into the fortress. The Tryak spotted Lee and let out a roar and started forward, Lee saw this thing was over Seven feet tall and well over 400 pounds and he reached for an arrow but his quiver was empty “well crap, that’s going to make things interesting” he thought as he backed up to gain some space. The Tryak sang his sword and Lee dove and rolled to the side drawing his blade. He gained his feet in a crouch and dove down at the Tryak’s legs sliding past he let his blade slice through the huge leg he slipped past causing the Tryak to collapse onto its knee, Lee spun about to slice the neck of this enemy but Rotar appeared suddenly behind it and with a swing of his sword beheaded the beast. Nodding quickly at Lee he was off again shouting orders and helping attack any enemy that got over the top of the wall. The battle lasted another hour with the Braks and Tryaks finally retreating back with their wounded.
Standing on the wall after the battle Lee watched as these creatures or people or whatever retreated, trying to find a pattern or clue as to what prompted this attack and some clue as to who was the mastermind that was behind this “war”. He pulled his binoculars out from his backpack that was still laying against the wall where he left it and searched the groups retreating and those individuals who stood on the outskirts and watched. He saw a darkly cloaked figure at the tree line, never getting out of the shadows, the figure was looking at the returning troops but seemed to be not seeing or hearing what he looked for. Lee saw the figure suddenly stiffen and slowly it’s head turned facing the fortress, it’s face mostly concealed by the hood on his cloak, Lee saw enough to know that the figures eyes were looking directly at him and that whatever / whoever this was he looked remarkably like the “trusted friend of the Premier” Trendar. “Now that’s an interesting turn of events” he thought to himself “I’m going to have to find out more about this fella I think, if I want to get to the bottom of this mess”.
Hours later as the fortress returned to normal Lee was talking with Rotar as they went to the infirmary to check on Falan, “that was a long way to fall, lucky there were people down there to break it before he hit the ground” said Lee. Rotar said “he’s still young and bounces good I’m sure he’s fine” they both laughed as they entered and saw Falan sitting up, looking bruised but no worse for wear. “Told you” said Rotar and Lee agreed “glad your ok Falan that tumble looked pretty bad”. Falan said “yes for a mere mortal or normal Treslander it would have been fatal, but since it was me” and they all laughed. Lee, Rotar and Falan talked a long time about what occurred and how things were progressing at a rapid pace which was worrying Lee “I need to get back and check on my kin, I’m leaving later today but before I go we should see the premier once more”. Rotar agreed and said he would arrange it quickly and he left immediately. Lee turned to Falan and hesitated “what I’d it Lee? You can speak freely with me” said Falan. Lee thought for a second and then told him what he had seen both on the wall and in the wood line. Falan agreed that it was troubling and swore he would get Rotar involved and together they would watch Trendars every move when they could and would talk to their closest friends both to have the guards close to the premier and his family be extra cautious, and they would find out all they could about Trendar and his past. “Give him enough rope to hang himself and I’m sure he will take it, but not so much to do something unthinkable and then climb the fortress walls to escape” said Lee.
One hour later Lee was headed out the tunnel with Rotar and another soldier who were taking him to the gate “I will meet you at the same gate in two days time, unless we can find a gate nearer the house, I’m not keen on using the same one over and over as it forms a pattern” said Lee. Rotar replied “when I get back I’ll consult with the map keeper and see if we can find a unused gate and I’ll get word to you, if not in two days we will be back at this one”. Lee nodded and walked into the blurry gate and popped out back in his hunting club.
Lee ducked into the brush but it was unnecessary as the Treslanders had posted a squad there and they had the area secure. Lee talked a few then headed to his truck and found it were he left it, he watched the area carefully for almost an hour before satisfied it was not being watched, and he then slipped silently closer and gets his key from where he hid it in a hollow log. Lee gets in and drives towards his house as the day wanes towards evening. Lee pulled into a secluded spot at the rear of the property near a retention pond that was not visible from the house, he gathered his things and realized he had not texted Elena that he was back. Lee got his phone and the Ronin out of the pouch and texted “be there quick, using the old entrance don’t be surprised”. He made his way over to a giant cypress tree stump and he sat and watched the area for a while, Lee spots something near the rear fence that looks unfamiliar to him and focuses on that spot for a bit. “That’s not natural” Lee thought to himself “looks like someone forgot to change the wilting camouflage today” he muttered as he watched. “Either it’s abandoned or whoever was using it is very sloppy” Lee thought. He slowly scanned the area around the odd spot each pass moving out from it another foot, using his binoculars to try and find signs of recent activity. Just before thinking the area was clear Lee caught glimpse of something out of the corner of his eye, movement but barely perceptible. He continued to scan the area them came back over the territory again this time concentrating on the spot and slowly he started making out details, it was one very well camouflaged Wrack, watching the area towards the house intently as if expecting someone to show up. Lee realized the trap, the wilting camouflage was purposely done to catch the eye of someone in the area, they would investigate and be easily within bow, spear or sword range. “Clever” he thought “hopefully wouldn’t work with anyone in there, if they were thinking they would use binoculars like I did”. Slipping an arrow and drawing his bow aiming at the spot that moved Lee shot and immediately moved drawing another as he was switching positions. Lee thought “could have just used my gun but did not want to put everyone on edge” as he took up a different position and studied the spot. He need not worry, his first arrow did the job striking the Wrack in the side of the head instantly killing it. Lee checked the site, retrieved his arrow and quickly slipped into the tunnel by opening the side of the giant cypress stump with his key.
As Lee emerged from the tunnel in his and Elena’s room he immediately heard sounds of a fight and thought he moved fast he moved cautiously down the hall where he saw Elena lying, she was not dead he could see that so he concentrated on what he saw before him. He saw Trinity strike a Wrack on the neck and forearm with some kind of wooden short swords and he was turning to help her but out of the kitchen burst a Brak and Lee had to turn and deal with this before he could help his niece. Lees did not hesitate he drew his small knife and at the same time the Legion blade from his back, the Brak hesitated seeing the blade for a second to long, Lee threw the Legion blade underhand striking the Brak in the chest burying to the hilt. The Brak rose in his toes and started falling back and Lee moved closer in a flash pulling the Legion blade out and simultaneously stabbing his short sheath knife up into the Braks throat and twisting it. Without hesitating Lee spun in time to see the Wrack behind Trinity and his sword moving by her throat, Lee threw the Legion blade, striking the assassin in the back of the neck where the spine meets the brain and he collapsed in a heap taking Trinity down with him.
Slipping quietly along the game trail as the first hint of daybreak shows the figure, is indistinguishable in the dark, his ghillie suit blending completely with the dark and vegetation. Carrying a full sized backpack, and a handmade bow, he slips onto his favorite tree, one that’s very alive but laying down along the ground with an upturn that his back comfortably rests against. Silently unhooking the backpack and setting it on the tree the Hunter settles to wait. The forest sounds become a constant din of noise in the background and the forest slowly wakes, still an hour before full daylight but light enough to start making out shapes and movement quite easily for the experienced woodsman who has spent his life in the woods whenever he can escape the daily grind.
Rugged looking, 6’ with hair graying but with still more brown than gray. Bearded face with piercing clear blue eyes that have seen many horrors and many tender moments, slight smile in the corners as if he knows something funny that no one else does. Well past being youthful, the hunter has many scars, and many wounds, some that ache and always will, and some that are tucked away inside his mind where no one is allowed to see. Just an ordinary, humble man, but one look tells you, that if you are looking for trouble, best look elsewhere because as the saying goes “it’s the quiet ones that you need watch”, and an old man still surviving in a young man’s world is not one to quarrel with. The Hunter silently checks his gear out of habit, on his belt on the left hip a sheath knife given to him by a good friend many ages ago, Damascus blade hand crafted and razor sharp, he never leaves without it. On his right hip, is a “Ronin” 45, a present given to him by the one love he’s ever had in his life who is at home still asleep as he hunts for whatever comes by. Strapped to the backpack is a wicked looking knife 20 inches long, curved blade of stainless with serrations on the back resembling a dragons spine, inside it has a fire starter, rope, a hooded cloak gray and woolen as the archers wore in days gone, by the type that is water repelling and seems to blend into any background, 2 spare magazines for his pistol with 2 boxes of bullets in the bottom that he did not know his “Elena” had put there “just in case”. There are other things that have found their way into the pack over the years that may become useful at some time. The Hunter runs his hand over the smooth wooden bow that took months to make, one that until he practiced with for ages he could not even fully pull back. His arrows, wooden and hand made fill the leather quiver that he carries on his back so drawing is easy. Calloused fingers caress the wood as the Hunter smiles at old comments on the size of his hands…
…Suddenly his eyes jerk towards movement to his right and down one of the game trails that converge 25 yards to his front, and he sees a gray fox trotting along the game trail towards his perch. Watching curiously as the fox comes closer and looks at him before just curling up in a comfortable spot close to his feet and going to sleep as if it was completely normal. “Well, Bub, I won’t bother you if you don’t spoil my chances”. The fox strangely payed no attention apparently already asleep on the soft grass. The Hunter sat silently contemplating on the oddity that was the wild animal, coming over and sleeping like that, did not appear sick, looked well nourished, so it was a conundrum he pondered. The hunters eyes flicked up as he started sensing something working it’s way down the trail on the opposite side of the clearing. Catching a glimpse of a small but legal to harvest whitetail deer, he slowly begins to draw his bow as the animal is obscured by some blackberry bushes. The deer walked past the bushes and stopped just out of the clearing in the woods, it’s tail nervously twitching and it’s eyes looking all around. The Hunter thought to himself “that deer senses something, winds in my favor so it’s not me” as he settles his aim on the area behind the front shoulder, low to try and hit the heart for a fast kill. Settling into a perfect rhythm between himself and the bow he no longer thinks about the motions or his movements as his fingers start to roll off the string to release it, everything is just how it should be, broadside 25-26 yards away, no wind, undetected, the Hunter releases the arrow and watches as if in slow motion it’s flight towards the deer.
The Hunter watches and suddenly notices a disturbance between him and the deer, something is weird, his view to the deer is interrupted by what looks like heat waves coming off asphalt on a summer day and as his arrow enters the heat wave it vanishes and as soon as it does the heat wave dissipates and there are 4 figures standing in the clearing facing away from him all looking at a 5th, but this one was not a man it was something like you would see in a movie as an ork or troll. This one fell over backwards and it was only then that the Hunter realized that two of the four had swords drawn one an axe and the last a spear all facing the other creature who had one of the hunters arrows sticking out of his neck. All four suddenly turned around and spread out facing the Hunter but it took a few seconds to find him as he blended in so well, weapons pointed in his direction and the Hunter remained quiet his bow half drawn as he had already readied the bow with lightening like speed from months of practice to be ready for a follow up shot at a wounded animal, all this took place even before the four had got totally into view. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed the fox was awake and intently watching but had not moved. One of the four slowly lowered his sword and made a motion like putting his hand over his chest and bowed slightly, the other 3 followed suit but none of them looked the least bit relaxed.
Years of reading people and judging threats, the Hunter could tell these were soldiers of some type, they were dangerous and could handle themselves in a fight. The Hunter lowered his bow relaxing the string holding both, arrow still strung in his left hand and his right hand on his thigh near his hip where the Ronin was holstered. His advantage lies in the constant multiple assailant practice scenarios he drilled into himself, and his family. He was relaxed but knew things could go south quick and the chances are he would not get out unscathed if they did. So he remained silent and examined the four. All were tall, silver blonde hair long and down over their shoulders, wearing cloaks like the one he has but these constantly changed it seemed even more to become the same as the background, leather like moccasin type booths laced up to the knees, clear grey/blue eyes. They reminded him of woodsman from an age long gone, but their garb was more well made, with silvery thread, their shirts were covered with leather armor tightly woven, with layers of overlapping pieces to make penetration difficult.
The Hunter got the distinct impression that these “men” were reading and judging him as he was them. The one who initially lowered his sword said something to the others and they sat on the ground where they were while he approached. The Hunter stood up now, still relaxed looking but balanced, weight on the balls of his feet, bladed towards the strangers and hand hooked in his belt by the holster containing the Ronin. The stranger stopped after getting to about six feet away and said “Bevan?” In perfect English. The Hunter remained silent and the stranger repeated “Bevan?” And looked at him curiously.
The Hunter knew Bevan was welsh for “archer” from one of the books that his Peach would laugh at him for reading at one time or another, but he also knew it wasn’t his name nor was he welsh. “Not sure who you think I am bub, but names Lee, not Bevan”.
The stranger looked slightly confused but did not let it dismay him “I am Rotar, I was sent along with my trusted friends to find Bevan, the archer, we need his help”.
“Well Rotar, all I can tell you is that my name’s Lee, I do use a bow to hunt sometimes, but I do not know anyone named Bevan”.
The soldier named Rotar began telling a tale to the Hunter as they stood in the clearing deep in the woods, and the hunter interrupted by holding up his hand, “Perhaps, before you get into a long drawn out story, you could tell me who or what that thing is?”, as he pointed at the creature with his arrow protruding out of its neck, obviously dead.
Rotar said “You don’t know an enemy when you see it? This is a Brak. It’s a foot soldier of our enemy, not very smart but very deadly with its axe”.
“Ok, so it’s your enemy, what does that have to do with me?” asks Lee in a calm voice, “Where did it come from, where did you come from?”.
“We followed it to the portal to try and stop it crossing into your time, but we were too late, and it opened the portal and we had to follow” says Rotar.
“Portal? What portal, and why would it want to come here?” says Lee.
Rotar replied with a solemn voice, laced with a bit of urgency “It’s mission was to come here and find the Bevan and kill him, and anyone related to him, down to the last of his bloodline”.