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”
The fortress and all its occupants were in a more hurried state now, guards more vigilant, lookouts scouring the countryside and the skies. Rotar, Falan, Lee and Trinity say with the Premier in the conference room, the men discussing what occurred and what was possibly next and Trinity, was listening but not saying much, she suddenly asked “where’s Jondar?”. Rotar answered “he stopped by the healers to get his bandage fixed and said after that he was going to see how the training was going”. “Thank you” she replied “Ok if I go watch Uncle Lee, I won’t get in the way?” she asked. “Sure kiddo, stay in the main fortress though, what with dragons around it’s the safest place” Lee responded. Trinity left to go watch the soldiers train to fight dragons.
Lee and the others discussed what had happened and what should be the next steps that they should take. Soldiers were being trained in where dragons could be vulnerable, as well as normal combat skills. Tunnels that are disused were scheduled for blocking up as soon as the workers from the village could be hired and begin. Several squads now patrol the known tunnels looking for any signs of dragons or other enemy. The observation posts mentioned before were strengthened with their escape routes and tunnels cleaned of obstacles and debris. Lee was going over the most recent maps to look for safe routes to the known portal locations near the fortress, trying to find one that is the safest and has the most cover. “Unless someone can figure a way to open one of these from inside the fortress, this one” Lee said pointing at the map “looks like the best route and most concealed, the downside is it’s easier to set up ambushes along the way so we will need scouts coming and going”. “Have your men been getting messages through to my family?, I do not need them worrying” Lee asked. “Yes” replied the premier “daily, and there has been no sign of trouble on that side”. Lee nodded that he was thankful and that line of communication has been constantly open. The rest of the day was spent with the treslanders going over troop numbers and food and supply amounts and shortages. Lee excused himself and made his way to his quarters. Once there he wrote a quick short note to Trinity, gathered his bow and backpack and left the room headed to a tunnel exit nearby. Lee chatted with a guard for a second then slipped out through the tunnel, pulling his ghillie suit over the cloak he quickly became invisible in the afternoon shadows. Lee became the hunter again, slipping quietly through the forest towards an area he saw on the maps that he knew was the edge of friendly territory. Moving silently but swiftly he covered lots of country with his steady ground eating gait not swerving or twisting but headed in a straight line. The hunter stopped by a small creek and drank, not on the wide sandy area, but kneeling down where the bushes leaned out over the water. He tensed suddenly in the crouched position hearing hushed voices, the sound coming from the other side of the creek and to his left towards the sandy area of the creek. Lee slipped back and stood bow in hand arrow nocked as he listened watching, totally camouflaged and unseen unless he makes a mistake and moves. Lee waited and finally crossed the creek following the voices carefully as they were going the direction he was headed. Lee stopped and climbed into the split of a tree and looked ahead with his binoculars from his pack, and saw two Wracks walking ahead. Lee climbed down and followed carefully, staying well back but near enough to hear or see the two. His plan was to see where these two were headed and if possible find out who or what they were reporting to. Four hours and many miles later the two stopped by a creek, Lee slipped up a tree to keep an eye on them while they were stopped and he ate some jerky while looking around at the area, large boulders and rocky crags were all around, with the exception of the woods they were in, the landscape was pretty barren. Lee noticed several cuts or valleys going off to the sides as far as he could see forward, like spidery veins off the main part. The forest they were in was about a half mile wide and did not appear to thin, it seemed to keep its shape as it winded and twisted between the rocks and mountains. Lee was debating taking these two out of the picture and seeing what they were carrying, but decided to wait until at least tomorrow. Lee watched as the two moved off to one side of the high speed trail and started setting up their camp secure in their belief that they are alone. Lee made himself comfortable and settled in to wait as the wracks let themselves relax more. After two hours Lee let himself out of the tree and silently made his way towards the campsite. Lee moved closer circling around the campsite and slipping up towards it from the side until he could see and hear clearly what was being said. Lee learned a few things but nothing seemed important except they were to meet someone here tomorrow. The two must have felt very secure in their camp as they posted no guard and were both snoring to wake dragons within the next hour. He waited another 90 minutes then made his way back to his tree, where he got comfortable and rested. The two woke as the first light was breaking and they prepared some food as Lee, the hunter munched on jerky from his back-pack watching. He noticed movement well past the two wracks and he lifted his binoculars to focus on that area. Lee saw someone or something coming winding their way along the weaving path. Lee noticed that the figure was clad in dark clothing under a darker hooded cloak, walked with a shuffling gait and covered ground pretty fast. The figure approached the two and they both stood up as he approached. The three stand around and talk for a long while and the cloaked person, “if it is a person” Lee thought to himself, handed each of the two something and they both intently stared at them and appeared to ask several questions. A short while later one of the two original wracks started gathering his things and said a few words, one of which Lee clearly heard “portal” to the other two and headed out of the camp in a direction towards the mountains to the right side of the trail. Lee marked his direction and noticed he was going quickly but kept stopping and checking his back trail. “That fella does not trust one of these two” Lee thought to himself as he watched, eventually the cloaked figure got up and headed back the way he came from leaving the solitary wrack by itself. Lee watched the cloaked figure until he was 1/2 mile away up the winding trail, then turned his attention to the solitary wrack left at the camp. He debated with himself about what he should do and came up with the only obvious answer “he’s an enemy of my family so he must not be allowed to cause one of them harm” Lee thought to himself. He debated shooting him from here a bow shot he knew he could most likely make but decided to get closer, where he was positive he could eliminate the wrack without and fuss at all. He slipped quietly down and circled nearer using what he found yesterday about the terrain as his guide. The hunter stopped about 30 yards away looking through a natural shooting lane he did not hesitate he drew the bow and with a near silent whisper he released the arrow and it sped towards the unsuspecting wrack striking him in the head and slipping clean through before the wrack even knew he was dead the hunter had another arrow nocked on the bow as the wrack collapsed in a heap on the ground. Lee waited for almost 30 minutes before approaching, he quickly checked the body and found a few One useful thing, a sheath knife hidden in a upper arm sleeve “sneaky and smart” he thought. Lee wrapped the wracks head in canvass he found that he was using for bedding, this was to keep it from leaving a blood trail, he then picked up the wrack and carried him several hundred yards off to the side of the trail and dumped it in a slight crevice, he made his way back careful to cover and marks or tracks he found. Back at the campsite he carefully scooped the bloody dirt up and took it several yards away and buried it. Once that was done he scattered leaves around the campsite and picked up the wrack’s pack and headed off in the direction the cloaked figure went. The hunter moved cautiously for an hour putting several miles behind him. He found a secluded spot off the path and sat and ate carefully going through the pack he had grabbed, he saw the item that he believed the cloaked figure handed him and it looked like a thin book, setting it aside he took out a hand drawn map showing what Lee guessed to be fortress defenses and look out posts. The map was drawn with precision and a great deal of detail that took skill. “This guy knew his scouting business really well” Lee thought. The last thing he pulled out was another map, this one made no sense to Lee but seems very familiar “I’ve seen this place before but where?” He Said to himself. Lee put both maps in his own pack and discarded the wrack’s pack under a tree stump. Lee took the book and opened to the first page which was filled with numbers and symbols that he could make no sense of, and he turned the page and was stunned. There on the second page was a almost picture quality drawing of Trinity in the Lost Defender armor standing in the classic guard position, knife across her body in one hand and another held low and pointed out towards a threat. “How in the blazes did anyone get this? Where? When was this? Why is this given to the wrack?” All these questions and more Lee was thinking as his mind raced. He turned the page and was stunned to see his own face in his hooded cloak, on the next page was Elena in a dark cloak with a hint of something green under it her face set with determination and she was reaching back as if she was gripping something or someone by the hand but her hand was torn with the next page.Lee turned the next page was ripped out and the last page was blank and he was totally confused. Lee looked at the back of the book and saw scratches on the back in cryptic writing “all must die”. Lee debated heading back immediately but decided he would rather try and catch Mr. Cloak and see what he could find. Lee finished eating because he knew he needed the energy, then he packed up but before leaving he climbed a nearby tree and took a slow methodical look around starting from 3 o’clock to 9 o’clock and then he turned and looked from 9 to 12, seeing nothing. Lee then started at 3 and worked back towards 12 and about in line with the path ahead but a long way up he thought he saw a faint tendril of smoke float up. “Gotcha” he thought to himself, he finished his scan and climbed down, grabbed his pack and headed out towards the smoke, slipping along the rock face far off the trail, it was tougher going but he was much less likely to bump into anyone. Lee became the hunter again stalking silently along and around trees and bushes in his path, slowing edging closer. Stopping every few yards and methodically taking apart the surrounding woods and rocks with his binoculars looking for any signs of activity. He stops and puts away his binoculars and checks that nothing is loose and could make a sound before he starts to slip closer, the smell of woodsmoke guiding him. Lee slipped up a large oak type tree and watched and finally after several minutes he found the cloaked character. Before he could act movement about a half mile ahead caught his attention and he dug out his binoculars again and looked that direction and saw what looked to be an army, there were spearmen, archers and many more behind, there were siege engines and wagons of stones, but worst of all there were 3 very big dragons walking behind way off but clearly visible due to their size. “Well shoot, that don’t leave me much time to find out what this clown is up to” he said to himself . He again focused on the cloaked figure and slipped out of the tree moving closer, he wasn’t sure who or what it was but he was sure it was not friendly. He decided that he did not have time to waste, the hunter set his pack down and drew his knife and worked his way to the edge of the camp and waited, the cloak figure was muttering to himself about “special” and “must not reach fortress” “portals, interfering humans, soon they will be gone and then the Caecilius will have his revenge on these upstart Treslanders” Lee watched the cloaked figure as he slowly put things in his bag and he saw the last thing looked like one of the books he had given to the wrack. After hearing what he heard and seeing the book Lee did not hesitate he sprang into the camp and the cloaked figure spun catlike around but Lee was on him in an instant the legion blade silencing any noise as he eliminated another threat to his family. Lee gathered the bag of items and turned and retraced his steps to his pack, grabbed it and put the bag in it before heading off back towards the fortress. As he neared the spot where the two wracks separated he slowed and perched in a rock formation and scoured the area for any signs of life. Not seeing any immediate threat Lee took out his pad and added to the map he had been making on his scouting trip. He ate a bit of jerky and then again headed out wishing he had stopped the other wrack to see what he was given. As he was walking he was going over in his mind what he had observed, heard and had done and he suddenly remembered “Caecilius” and was reminded he needed to remember it to pass it in to the Premier when he got back. Lee continued moving in the direction of the fortress when suddenly he heard the sounds of swords and a fight ahead. Lee jumped up on a big rock and looked and saw a single soldier fighting with 4 wracks at one time. Lee could not tell who the soldier was but he knew the wracks were enemies and immediately shot the farthest with his bow. The others fighting did not notice and continued to attack the soldier who was doing an excellent job of defending against to many enemy, and Lee shot a second wrack before they got out of his sight as the soldier moved around. Lee ran towards the fight trying to clear the line of site and as he got closer he shot a third wrack as the last managed to get a sword thru the soldiers defenses and stabbed him in the shoulder. The soldier dropped the short knife as he was wounded but parried with his sword and at the same time kicked the wrack between the legs making him squeal and his knees buckle and the soldier swung his sword beheading the enemy. Lee cautiously approached and the soldier dressed in buckskin leathers and a green camouflage type cloak turned to face him, sword at the ready. Lee said “whoa there fella, I mean you no harm, names Lee and I am no threat to anyone that these things are against” he said waving his arm at the dead wracks. “I do not know who you are or what your game is, but I was headed back to the fortress when I stumbled on your little set-to here” Lee continued. “What do you know of the fortress, how would you get in?” The soldier said as he favored his wound that was bleeding. Lee said “I have unlimited access to the fortress granted by the Premier, Rotar and Falan are two who can vouch for me, as well as Jondar” he continued “I have been here a few times as it’s my bloodline these things want to erase I came to see who I was up against”. “Now you can stand there and bleed till you pass out, or I can help you, it’s your choice”. The soldier had been listening and said “I have been scouting for months, I have not been to the fortress nor spoken to anyone in the same amount of time, but you know names and things you could not if your words weren’t true, I am Carr one of the “far walkers” that’s how do you say..” “Lee said “scout correct, your a info gatherer?” To which Carr replied “yes that is correct” as he leaned against a tree. Lee said “I can stop that bleeding and we can get back to the fortress tomorrow if you will let me help you”. Carr nodded ok and Lee dropped his pack and began to patch Carr up. A few hours later and a couple miles away they settled into the same hidden spot Lee used earlier and made camp. Once they had eaten and Carr had fallen asleep, Lee suddenly remembered the bag and the book and he pulled it out, sat by the fire and opened the book and was dumbfounded to see Trinitys sister Lana’s face, her arm was stretched out and the torn off page of Elena’s hand was there holding it. Lana’s face reflected fear but determination as she was lead by Elena to somewhere that Lee could not figure out. Written in red cryptic letters on the page were the words “The next Minorcan” and in bold letters “Must be stopped at all costs” . “Lana? So she’s the one! I have got to get back there as soon as I can!” Lee thought to himself. Early the next morning after sitting in a tree and checking the area with his binoculars Lee climbed down and he and Carr began heading to the fortress again taking their time due to Carr’s injury but still moving at a good pace. “I could see the smoke from their camp, so we have to go as fast as we can” Lee said “yes we can go faster don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine” answered Carr. The two kept going all through the day and finally started seeing the hidden markers Carr pointing them out and said “Come we will go this way”. He led them on a winding route up along the base of a boulder strewn hill and suddenly stopped “it is here”, and reached between two rocks and did something and within a few seconds Lee saw two guards materialize as if out of no where up the side of the hill one said “Carr, you were expected last week we thought the worst” and turned and looked at Lee and saluted “Bevan, the young warrior is not happy you left her behind I would not want to be you when you two meet up” he chuckled. They then were led in a hidden passage and up a narrow side tunnel that opened into the main one. Carr and Lee said their farewells and Lee headed to his quarters to contemplate, rest and find Trinity.
After a couple minutes of listening to Trinity harp at him for not taking her with him she finally relented when he reminded her she was supposed to help sort out the mystery in the fortress not do everything he was doing, and when he asked if she discovered anything new she replied “just a couple things uncle Lee, the paintings keep revealing a huge battle it seems here inside the fortress, and there are more dragons and what looks like a huge snake which will have to be dealt with”. Lee replied “well one things for certain, there’s going to be a battle and I think I saw the beginnings of it headed this way” and he saw Trinity look a bit nervous as he said it “don’t worry kiddo, you and me, we are headed home shortly after I report what I found, can you load up our packs and meet me in the big chamber quick as you can?” He asked . Trinity said “yes I’ll do it and I’ll be there in a couple minutes”. Lee said thanks and turned and headed to find Rotar, Falan or the premier or all of them. Lee found them all when he was admitted to the premiers conference room and Carr was there also giving a report. Lee told what he saw and thought and looked at the 3 dimensional map and saw it had been filled with troops and such at different locations on two sides of the fortress but quite a ways off still. The Premier said “good, we now can guess their strategy, they are coming up the eastern valley thinking it will give them cover for surprise” Rotar added “it’s a good plan, if we weren’t ready”, and looked at Falan “how long before the old routes are fully cleared?” Falan said with a smile “the last one was cleared just before I arrived”. “All routes along the ridge top now are open and being stocked with equipment for the troops, the access ways are primed and when we want we can exit and have the advantage of surprise from above and behind the enemy”. Lee saw that they were talking about underground tunnels with numerous exits extending almost a mile on each side of the eastern valley. “Trinity and I must get back, there are things that need doing and preparations we need to make” The Premier said “the map maker found a portal, it opens inside one of the hidden tunnels here in the fortress and it also exits inside your fenced in homestead, it’s one that has not been used in at least 4 decades”. Lee was startled but also grateful, another mystery unveils itself and he thought “I have enough mysteries I need to start getting answers”. “Thank you, who is to take us to the portal?” Lee asked and Rotar said “I will take you there, and we will be preparing for war while you are away, any idea how long you will be?” He asked. Lee responded “I wish I knew, but as it stands there are so many questions and details we need to work out before I can return, hopefully not to long”. With that, he nodded to the others and exited the chamber and met the waiting Trinity who was staring at the painting and he said “let’s go kiddo” to which she replied “ok uncle Lee” but did not move as she watched the battle unfold between the figure that looked like her uncle and the giant snake while in the background she saw Jondar, herself her aunt Elena fighting off enemy troops as her sister sat in the “Chair” looking lifeless as the whole interior of the room glowed blue. Trinity suddenly snapped out of it and followed her uncle and Rotar. As they were getting ready to enter the portal Rotar said “be careful both of you, the scouts reported large numbers of the enemy massing in groups all over, and it looks like they are near portals, it looks as if they are sending armies through we can’t say where to but chances are it’s to your home world”. Lee said “thank you for the info Rotar, you be careful while we are away, I think it’s going to get very very interesting around here pretty fast and I don’t have time to make new acquaintances that I can trust” Lee paused and looked at Trinity “you ready kiddo?” And she said “yes let’s go I want to see mom an dad”. Lee then turned and walked through the hazy portal with Trinity one step behind.
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.