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The Bevan- Spy Exposed

Part IX

As they exited the portal Lee, Trinity and Rotar stopped and waited. “You could have told us it was raining” Lee said as he and Trinity pulled their cloak over their heads.

“I would have had I known it was raining” smiled Rotar, as he too, pulled on his hood, to cover up from the rain drops the size of acorns. “Come on,” he said “Let’s get moving before the rain slacks. It will cover any noise, and hide any sign we ever passed.”

The three started off, Rotar in the lead and they wound their way in a large circle, headed up and around a hill. Trinity was silent as she trudged along behind Rotar, and Lee was constantly looking around, and behind, while falling back several yards at times, to listen for any signs of being followed.

About a half mile from the portal they paused in the forest, under the thick canopy which slowed the rain some. Rotar had blended into the dim light, up against a huge tree trunk, and was listening intently, as he was sure he heard something nearby. Lee had stopped about three feet behind Trinity, who was leaning against a different tree, seemingly intently listening, but with her eyes closed and head hung down a little. Lee recognized the pose as one of concentration, and slipped silently, closer on the wet leaves covered ground, moving painstakingly slowly until he speak quietly to her. “Whatever has your interest,” he said, “it appears Rotar has also heard, let’s just relax and see if either of you can find anything, don’t speak, just nod if you understand.”

Trinity had been concentrating on trying to find the sound, so she almost jumped out of her skin when her uncle’s hand touched her shoulder, to alert her quietly as he approached from behind. Once she caught her wits, she nodded almost imperceptibly that she understood.

Lee became hyper-vigilant now, with both Rotar and Trinity possibly hearing something which his partially, deafened ears did not catch. They all stood, melded against the trunks of the ancient trees, as the last of the light faded, and the rain slowed to a drizzle and drips, still listening, seemingly not sure if they should move yet. Rotar ever so slowly started to draw his sword, he was positive that someone or something was approaching . Lee could see Rotar drawing his sword and again put his hand on Trinitys shoulder “Stay here!” he whispered and then slowly faded off into the darkness back the way they had come a bit before.

Trinity kept perfectly still against the tree, and saw Rotar slip off into the brush, with the darkness leaving her alone in the pitch black forest. She suddenly noticed movement in the brush, off to the side of where they had been walking, She could not see if it was Rotar or Lee, or what. The sounds and motions were coming this way, slowly, as if someone was sneaking along and stopping every step, or so. Trinity pressed herself back against the tree more, in an attempt to blend into it and try and remain unnoticed. Then she saw them. Three very big figures coming out into the path from the bushes, and one of them within a couple feet of where she was standing, with it’s back to her. She could hear them speaking to each other, “I tell you they were right around here, I heard them before they stopped,” said the one.

“Yer hearin’ things! They were farther up the trail, I tell ya,” said another. Suddenly, as the three were debating, an arrow struck one in the head, dropping it instantly.

As the other two stared in disbelief, Rotar appeared, sword drawn and Woosh! Down went the second one, while the third stumbled backwards, past Trinity and onto the ground. Rotar moved on to engage the second one, while he still off balance and trying to regain his footing. A heated battle, with swords clanging together, ensued. Rotar parried a sword blow, and quickly reversed his sword angle, chopping off the sword hand of his opponent, then suddenly spinning around to his left and decapitating the creature. Then the third one which had fallen, swiped at Rotar’s leg, striking his shin guard with it’s sword, and the force of the blow knocked Rotar off his feet. Before the last assailant could follow up, another arrow flew into the creature’s chest, flattening it back to the ground.

Lee appeared seconds later, and immediately moving to check on Rotar, who was still on the ground. “I’m fine” Rotar said, “The guard stopped the worst of the blow,”

Lee knelt down and said “Still, we can stop that bleeding, and wrap it up to prevent it getting infected.”As Lee was pulling off his backpack to get insta-clot, and a bandage, he said “It’s ok, Trinity you can move now, kiddo”.

Trinity had watched the quick and brutal battle unfolding within feet of her. She actually wasn’t idle, either. She had drawn the two blades she was given by her uncle, and was trying to figure out how to help, when it was suddenly over. As she was moving forward to help Lee with Rotar, she saw movement on the trail. She was hearing her uncle say it was ok to move, as she realized what she was seeing on the trail, was another of those things that had attacked her Aunt Elena and her back at the house, and it was aiming an arrow at either Rotar or Lee!

Without thinking, and falling back on her practice with swords and knives, Trinity flung a blade towards it, the black steel cutting through the air, without so much as a warning glint, while striking the assassin’s bow string, severing it with its blade, as it slid past, with the knife sinking into the creature’s chest. The Wrack had a look of surprise on its face, as it fell over dead.

Lee and Rotar both dove to opposite sides, as they heard the assassin’s bow string ‘TWANG!’ as it was severed. Trinity stepped out of the shadow of the tree, a bit shaken, but with enough teenage spunk to say in a shaky voice, “It’s ok! You can move now,” to both of them.

Lee glanced at Trinity, then the dead assassin, and resumed bandaging Rotar’s leg, “Nice job, Kiddo,” he said dryly.

Rotar nodded, “Really nice, and thank you. I’m sure we never saw him until you impaled him, and with Tryaks? This is a new alliance that I have not heard of”.

Lee helped him up, glancing at Trinity, who was even in the darkness, a bit pale. and he said to Rotar, “Give me a minute to check on the kid.”

He walked over, and sat down across from Trinity. “You ok, Kiddo? What you did was necessary, do not ever think otherwise. You saved Rotar and, or me, and I for one, am very thankful”.

Trinity looked at him and nodded, “It’s just not like a game, it’s for real. I really did that,” she said with a bit of bewilderment.

“Yes, Kiddo, and I’m sorry you had to. Remember it. Taking life, no matter what the reason, should be hard. But, if it’s to protect someone, it should be done quickly, and with no hesitation, Ok?” asked Lee, “Just like you did.” He assured her.

Trinity paused and looked at the dead assassin, and again nodded, “Ok, I promise, but can you get my knife? I don’t think I’m ready for that yet”.

Lee chuckled a little, “This one time, Kiddo, after that you’re on your own”.

Shortly after, all three resumed their path, Rotar a little slower, and with a limp, but still leading the way. They arrived at the boulder without further incident, and Rotar led the way down, and entered after making sure there was no sign that they could be followed. They quickly entered, going through a series of doors, and trap rooms, until exiting into the chamber, at the tunnel end.

Once there, they were met by Falan, who was up and around already, and two of the staff guards. “Glad to see you up and around, Falan” said Lee, “Hopefully, you can avoid falling from high places in the future!” he laughed.

“Thank you, Bevan” Falan responded, “I agree, I do not want to go through that again! I have bruises on my bruises,” he said. Who do we have here?” Falan asked, looking at Trinity, who was standing beside her Uncle Lee, still with her cloak hood pulled on.

Lee said “Can we discuss this someplace more quiet?”

Falan nodded immediately, “Yes!” and then quickly in a more subdued voice, added “Follow me, I have your quarters ready for you, we can talk there”.

Lee, Trinity, Rotar and Falan all walked through the winding passages, and flickering candle light. As they walked, Lee, Falan and Rotar talked in hushed voices, Lee explaining who Trinity was, but nothing more on why he brought her. Falan revealed what little he found about Trendar, while Trinity looked at dark murals on the walls. Their figures danced in the dim candlelight. She could see that each painting was a person or two, and as they passed a certain one, she stopped for a second, the face looked familiar. She quickly sped to catch up with the others, as they turned a corner, and entered a wide room with doors on both sides.

Falan led into one, as they all followed him in to the quarters for Lee, “Of course, young lady, I will get quarters for you prepared through that door!” he pointed to an interior door. “It locks on the other side, and also has a door to the hall” said Falan, as two guards left to go prepare the room.

“When you are settled, Lee, we can meet in the great hall,” said Rotar.

As they departed, a couple minutes later, there was a knock on the inner door, Lee opening it cautiously, and one of the guards said, “The young lady’s room is ready, if anything else is needed, do not hesitate to ask, as there are guards in the hall”.

The last statement caught Lee’s interest, “Excuse me, Sergeant,” he said “There were no guards in the halls last week, may I ask what changed?”

The guard replied, “Several small incidents make the higher ups think there are security issues, so we are doubling the guards and taking precautions to protect the secret chamber, the library, and the Premier’s family,” with that he left, silently closing the door behind him.

Later, Lee and Trinity sat at a small table, and he started to say something, but Trinity uncommonly interrupted, “Did you see the painting in the hall? The ones on the way here to our rooms?” She asked.

“I did see them, but I did not pay attention to them. Why do you ask?” he responded.

“There was one, with a man’s face, wearing like a hooded cloak like a monk, you know the kind?” Lee nodded yes, “I didn’t look long because I didn’t want to get left behind but something about it I swear I’ve seen before!” Trinity declared.

“That’s very strange, Kiddo, are you sure?” Lee asked.

“I’m sure it caught my attention, as someone I have seen before yes, but it was pretty dark in there,” she replied.

“Do you think you can find it again?” Lee asked. to which Trinity nodded, yes.

“Yes. I can! It’s seven pictures back down the hall” she asserted.

“Come on,” Lee said!as he got up, and they both headed out the door, and into the open space.

“We were wondering if it would be alright to go back down the hall a bit, and look at the paintings?” Lee inquired of the Sergeant.

“Certainly, and if you need to know anything, let me know. Just remember to keep the lowest part of the ceiling on your right, and you will wind up back here,” said the guard.

Lee and Trinity thanked him, and strolled down the hall from whence they had originally come. Lee was looking at the paintings and Trinity had gone ahead a bit and stopped, and she looked completely dumbfounded. Lee walked up and saw her expression, and before looking at the painting said, “What’s up?” He looked up as he asked his niece, and saw the mural was a painting of a field with several knights riding across it.

“I don’t understand,” said Trinity going to the next, and then the next painting. “This can’t be! These are not what I saw on the way in!”

Lee studied the paintings and said, “I do not doubt you, Kiddo, something is weird here. Let’s go back, and see what we can learn,” said Lee. They made their way back, and Lee stopped and asked the Sergeant about the paintings, and saw the man frown and he looked a bit intimidated as he answered, “I’ve been told they were painted long ago, by wizards and sages. Back before such folk were put out of the fortress, for trying to influence decisions made by the Premiers. I don’t look at them much, they always seem to change. Do not laugh! I’ve seen it with my own eyes. One minute a tree or lake scene, the next a battle”. The guard shifted on his feet nervously, “I do not speak around them, I feel they are watching and listening. I know it’s a wild tale, but that’s my feeling about the paintings on the eastern tunnel wall,” he said.

Lee thanked the guard, and he and Trinity retired to their lodgings for a bit.

“Ok, so what did we learn?” asked Lee. “You see a painting of someone that looked familiar. We go back, and the painting is no longer there, or has been swapped out. Why?” he asked.

Trinity looked thoughtful, but puzzled, and shook her head, “I wish I could place what looked so familiar about it, but I only glanced at it. Maybe tomorrow will give me us some more clues, as we get to see more of the fortress. We are going to see more, aren’t we?” She asked.

Lee nodded in the affirmative, “Yes, we are, I want to see as much as we can. We need to know what goes on here and why, before we can make a decision on how to act. Are you still up for this? It’s going to get very boring for you, if I am stuck with the Premier and his family,” he replied.

Trinity nodded, “Yes, I’m ready and want to help figure this out. I’m sure I can help in some way,” she replied, “Can we go outside in open space? I’d like to practice outdoors, but privately, if I can?” she asked.

“From what I gather, Kiddo, we can go anyplace we want, and I know they have several places for sword practice, solitary or with partners. I’ll make sure you are granted access in the morning, till then, off to bed. I need to think and rest myself”, answered her Uncle Lee.

“Goodnight,” saluted Trinity, and went into her quarters.

Lee went over the events of the past few days, and tried to see a pattern which would help him figure the best course of action, for them to take. “It is obvious that Elena will have to come through the portal, and to the fortress,” thought Lee, “but there are still many questions to be answered first, like when? Is it safe? How long would it take? Who comes with her? Can the war be ended just by her sitting in some seat? And reading the correct verses?” Lee laid back on his bunk, arms behind his head, staring at the ceiling, and fell asleep pondering these and many more questions.

Lee was awakened by a tap at his door. He got up and answered, to find a servant with breakfast for him and Trinity.

“Should I wake the young lady by her door sir, or is leaving it here ok?” asked the servant.

“Here is fine, and thank you!” Lee replied, taking the large breakfast tray full of fruits, bread, eggs and thick slices of bacon. Before Lee ate, or woke Trinity, he showered, dressed in his woodsman’s outfit, and then tapped on the adjoining door calling out “If you’re hungry, Kiddo, you better hop to it before I eat everything!”

He heard muttering and grumbling about it being so early, and walked off laughing to himself. Trinity came out shortly, and sat and ate some breakfast.

“Take your time. I have to meet Rotar and Falan this morning, and make a few arrangements. It will only take 30-40 minutes, I reckon, then I’ll come back and we can take you to where you can practice. Now don’t forget, I will need you later to poke around the outer chamber hall, while I am talking to the Premier,” said Lee.

“Ok, Unc, that will give me time to do a few things I need to do, but I will be here when you come back,” replied Trinity.

Lee reminded her, “Don’t go far, Kiddo, until we get a better feel for the place. It’s easy to get turned around in here,” as he was walking out the door, closing it behind him.

Trinity waited till Lee was gone, ate a few more pieces of fruit and bacon, and then went to her room, showered and got dressed, to include her knives and cloak, then she headed out the door. She smiled at the guard, as she walked past him, on her way back to the pictures on the wall in the passage. Once there, Trinity leaned against the opposite wall, and stared at the painting she was sure was the one that caught her attention at first, and she waited.

It suddenly dawned on her what the painting was; a dim lit room, with what looked like a throne made from tree roots coming up out of the ground and wall. There was a woman, dressed in shiny green leather armor, sparkling in the candle light and glowing with some other sort of light, while she held two blades, one dripping blood, the other blade parrying a sword blade, as she fought with two big creatures. There were others fighting in the chamber, but Trinity’s eyes were drawn to the woman, who looked remarkably like someone she knew well. The woman looked like her Aunt Elena, and there was a young girl on the throne, she had her eyes closed, and looked limp, as if she was sleeping, but there was a red glow emitting from her, and the throne around her. There was a book in her lap, with pages open. Trinity was stunned to see that the girl in the chair looked like her sister ‘Lena, or her twin! Trinity was stunned! She was suddenly snapped out of her staring, however, startled by a voice out of the dark hallway, farther down, “Hello, I see the paintings interest you,” the voice said, “Allow me to tell you about them, if I may”.

Trinity was instantly on alert, something about the voice made her sense of danger alarms ring in her head, and she slid a hand up behind her, gripping one of her blades, the movement hidden under her cloak.

“Oh, Hi, I did not see you or hear you walking up? Where did you come from? and who are you?” she asked cautiously.

“I am Trendar,” the voice replied, as the figure moved closer up the hall, “My apologies for being silent. It’s a habit I learned long ago, and I still find myself doing it,” he said.

Trinity knew something was off about this person, her senses told her that, but she was willing to listen to what he had to say about the painting. “The painting!!???” Her mine was screaming at her inwardly. It had changed to a different scene! Now it looked like monks, or at least people dressed like them, were being forced out of the fortress by armed men.

Trendar looked at the painting, and then the young woman, “Ah, the reckoning. This was when the wizards and sages finally overstepped their bounds, and were forced out into the wilds,” he explained. “It was a bad time for all, but the wizards and sages more than most, unable to find food or shelter, as it was winter, most wandered and were lost forever. Too bad really, they were not all bad and had uses, but paranoid men make powerful enemies. Funny you should stop at this particular painting, Young Lady, For it is called the “telling” painting, you have undoubtedly seen that it changes, they all do. But this painting when it changes, only reveals truths. It is said that it shows who is true, who is false, and reveals past and future events. Have you seen anything interesting in it?” He turned to face her, his voice changing to a bit more urgent tone, and Trinity at once recognized the man in front of her, as the same man she saw in the painting on the way in.

Trinity answered hesitantly, “Not really, it’s just interesting in the fact that I’m an artist myself, and seeing different styles interests me”.

Trendar looked at her for a few seconds more in silence, and her hand gripped her blade handle tighter, but then he said, “My apologies, I never got your name, it’s so rare we have visitors here, and I tend to ramble without thinking,” he said with expectation.

Trinity said, “My name is Trinity, I came with Lee, and we are friends of Rotar and Falan, and I do not wish to be rude, but I am late getting back. Thank you for explaining the painting, it was interesting,” Trinity turned, and walked back up the hall not looking back, but could feel his eyes staring at her, until she rounded the corner. Trendar glanced at the painting, then back down the hall as he retraced his steps until he came to a candle, pulled its handle and slipped inside the passage that opened.

Trinity went back to her room, and locked the hall door. She was a bit mad at herself, because she realized she was actually frightened for a few minutes. “I just need to go practice, and work on some things, that’s all,” she griped as she began to calm herself and focus on what she saw, and what she was told.

As Lee was returning, he came back up the same hall, and heard a voice like Trendar’s, so he stopped and waited in the shadows around the corner, listening.

“You will do as you are commanded! Take this vial, and pour it in the Royal Family’s noon drink! Now go! And you can be thankful I do not think of some other punishment for your family’s past failures!”.

Lee heard a muttered, “Yes, Cailleach,” and then heard footsteps approaching, so he slipped back down the hall to an intersection, and ducked in one. A couple seconds later a figure passed, and Lee followed it up the passage and as it entered the dining hall, the figure passed a guard and smiled “Almost time to eat, Eh?”

Lee recognized him as a cook’s assistant, as he went into the kitchen, Lee quickly grabbed the guard, “Listen, that guy is going to poison the Royal Family! Summon help! And hurry! We must catch him in the act so we can find out who sent him!” he urged.

The guard looked a bit concerned, but had seen Lee before with the Royal Family and also Rotar and Falan, so he pulled a cord to summon his Sergeant, who immediately came in from another room. All was explained, and Lee and the Sergeant watched the cook’s assistant through one of the serving slots, and so far he was unable to get to the drink dispenser, the guard was sent to fetch the royal guards, and bumped into Rotar instead, he was filled in, and hurried to the dining hall, as the guard continued. Rotar joined the Sergeant and Lee, and they all soon saw cook’s assistant take a blue bottle out of his waist band, glancing around surreptitiously. As he approached the drinks, Rotar, the Sergeant and Lee all three, burst in the room, and grabbed him before he could pour the contents into the drinks!

Several minutes later in a side room, the assistant was bound secure in a chair, and was being questioned by the Premier, and his Chief of Security. Lee left to go meet with Trinity, and tell her all of what had occurred, and apologize for taking longer than expected. But, as he was leaving, he again saw Trendar slipping away down the hall. Moving very much as if he did not want to be noticed, causing Lee to remember the voice he heard. Could the voice he heard have been Trendar?

Lee went in his room, closed the door behind him and knocked on Trinity’s door, which she immediately opened, “Oh my gosh! I got stuff to tell you, Uncle Lee!!” she exclaimed.

Lee held a hand over her mouth for a second and whispered “Not here,” and then said in a normal voice, “I apologize for being late. I got held up longer than expected, the good news is that you and I both have free reign of the entire fortress, without escort. Now if you are ready, we can go and I’ll show you the practice area”.

“Oh, it’s ok! I got a couple things done while you were away, and yes, I’m ready! I need to practice, and feel some sun on me!”, responded Trinity in her normal sunny manner.

They left the room through Trinity’s door, and Lee led her through several winding turns and twists, explaining along the way, “They built it this way to confuse any enemy that might get inside. They could wander for hours if they did not know the correct way,” as they exited a door into a courtyard, which had several practice dummies, along with swords, spears, shields, bows and other weapons in racks around the perimeter.

Lee went and sat in an alcove to give her space, and only occasionally glanced up to see how she was progressing. Lee was joined by a Treslander, he had not met, who introduced himself as Jondar, the head instructor for new recruits, in service of the Premier. Lee took an immediate liking to the friendly, confidant way Jondar spoke and held himself. He was watching Trinity spin and strike a dummy in the thighs, with two practice mid length blades, and then tuck and roll backwards, springing up and twisting and then stabbing a different dummy in the chest, while slinging her other blade into the chest of a third. “That young lady has talent!” he remarked, “Are all taught how to fight like that where you are from?” he asked, and then quickly said, “Wait don’t answer! I do not want you to think I’m prying, or gathering information!” he quickly interjected.

Lee smiled, “It’s ok! I spoke to Rotar and Falan, who both trust you, so I think I can trust you, as well. The answer is, I’m not sure how many are. Each family raises their children how they see fit. Some teach them to be strong, and show them how to take care of themselves, some don’t. Others, like that young lady, her parents taught her both how to be a girl, and also how to defend herself, but I believe as far as her blade skills, she has taught herself those”.

Jondar was even more impressed when he heard that she was self taught, “No formal training at all?? That’s amazing.” he said in amazement. “She moves like some of the ancient fighters we have in legend, back when there were supposedly dragons, and such, if you believe in those things,” he continued. “Do you think she would take a bit of instruction from an old teacher like me? I’ve spotted a ‘tell’ before she attacks”

Lee replied, “The dip of the blade towards her center? I saw it too, and to answer your question, I do not know, let’s ask. Trinity?” he said loud enough to get her attention, “Come meet a friend when you can spare a moment!”

Trinity went through her practice routine quick but efficiently, feeling her muscles work and limber up, as she attacked and parred from different angles and sides. She mentally worked on speed, but accuracy in the blows, striking vital joints and nerve bundles, to incapacitate or disarm before striking a killing blow. She took a short break to go over by her Uncle Lee and meet this “friend” greeting him with a simple “Hi”and quick wave to the stranger, as she plopped into an adjacent chair.

Lee introduced her, “Trinity, this is Jondar, he is a friend of Rotar and Falan, and he is also the head blade instructor for the Premier’s recruits.” Jondar stood and bowed, arm across his chest, as he was introduced, “At your service, my lady! You have an abundance of talent with a blade, and Lee tells me you are self taught! That’s incredible,” Jondar greeted her energetically.

Trinity flush from the exertion of the training said, “Well, thank you! It’s nice to meet you, and yes, Sir. I learned all I know by teaching myself, trial and error,” she shrugged. Trinity poured a glass of water from the jug on the table, and was drinking as Lee said, “Jondar has spotted something in your attack, that If were noticed by a combatant early enough, may lead to you getting the short end of the stick,” to which Trinity raised an eyebrow as she was drinking.

Jondar offered, “Not a critique, just an observation from years of watching and teaching. If you would allow me to show you, I think with your ability, you would correct it pretty quickly”.

Trinity looked at her uncle and then Jondar and grinned gamely, “I’m always willing to learn more! So, yes! Please show me what it is, and I will try and work on it.”

Jondar stood and smiled, “Good! That’s the spirit I wish we had more of around here!”as he walked to a rack drawing a practice sword, and a very short knife. Lee noticed Jondar had a very slight limp, that he would later learn was one of many injuries the highly decorated soldier had obtained in battle, before he was made chief instructor.

Lee watched the scene as the two squared off. “You have speed and flexibility on your side, said Jondar, “Use it to your advantage. Most here fight with short swords, and they may be lighter, but they also take time to change direction. In a battle, tenths of seconds can mean the difference in being cut or not”.

Lee admired Jondar instructing Trinity as they sparred. He could instantly tell this man was a very good teacher, and knew how to impart the wisdom if the student was willing to learn.

Trinity was warily sizing up Jondar, as they circled. He was a big man and yet moved lightly on his feet, always seemingly in balance. She did pick up on the slight limp and stored that in her head. She suddenly made a move to attack, feinting to the left side, and seeing the normal reaction of Jondar’s sword starting to move, but she instead stopped that attack, and spun her whole body around, bringing both swords around to the right side. To her surprise, Jondar had moved back out of her reach, and she missed striking him at all. Astutely, instead of leaving herself open for attack, she followed through the spin, diving and rolling and then springing back up on her feet, before he could adjust his attack.

“Splendid!” Jondar exclaimed. “Ok, now face me, and attack. Let me see if I can show you the small thing I saw”.

Trinity faced him with one sword held low and the other angled up, and across her body, as she watched for an opening. She saw him lean his weight on the side of the limp, and she lunged, at which point he swept her sword out and away from his body with his sword. Then swiftly pulled her past him, striking her side with the short knife, as she tumbled and rolled back up again, facing him with speed.

Jondar smiled at her, and nodded “Again,”and again Trinity tried to attack him, and each time, it was as if he knew what she was going to do, before she did it. Trinity was not getting frustrated, but she was getting confused as to how he could know, and finally, Jondar said, “I have to hand it to you, young lady, you have struck me more times in this short match, than I can remember being struck in months of teaching, but now let’s take a break, and then I will show you what I found”.

They both returned to the table by Lee, and sat and drank an abundance of cool refreshing water. “How was that, Kiddo?” Lee asked.

Trinity drank her water, and said “Confusing! I mean it seemed like every attack I tried, he knew I was coming!”

Lee asked “So, what does that tell you?”

Trinity just shook her head, “I have no idea!”

“Allow me to explain if I may,” Jondar said. Lee and I noticed something when you were practicing, which did two things for me. One told me that Lee is a very observant person, for it was very very subtle, and two, told me when you were going to attack”.

Trinity again looked confused, “I don’t understand? What is it I do that tells you I’m going to attack??” She asked exasperatedly.

“Easier to show you. One more demonstration?” Jondar asked.

Trinity exclaimed “Yes!” getting up and following Jondar to a practice dummy.

“Put your guards up like you are going to attack, and hold them there,” said Jondar. Lee was curious how he was going to demonstrate such a subtle move to Trinity, as it’s barely perceptible. Jondar watched Trinity move to one of her guard poses, and he took two thin pointed rods, and stuck them at the points of the swords, and Trinity started to move, “No, don’t move. Hold that guard position!” Jondar said. Trinity resumed the position and Jondar moved behind her, and said “Now, when you are ready, attack, but don’t knock my pointers over”.

Trinity tried several different guard positions, and each time she set up, Jondar would put the pointers at the ends of her blades, and each time she attacked, she would knock one or the other, or both over as her attack started. “Do you see it yet?” Jondar asked, “It’s very subtle, but it’s there on every attack,” and Trinity started to see what he meant. Her blades moved almost imperceptibly, as she started her attack.

She was astounded that anyone could notice it, as it was such a minute move, “How on earth did you see that?” she asked both of them. “I had no idea I was even doing it”.

Jondar answered “Any time you can watch a possible opponent, you should look for weakness, your ‘tell’ was the only thing I could see that would give me an advantage. Now that you know of it, you can work to eliminate it”.

Trinity practiced several hours more, while Lee and Jondar talked about old tales, both here and on the other side of the portal. They talked about weapons, and wars, and soldiers, and Lee learned that there was a legend of an archer, “the Bevan” who would bring several chosen people through the portal. There would be a huge battle, and the fortress would be breached, but in the end, the words would be spoken, and the planet would heal itself, swallowing up the evil.

Jondar eventually got up to leave, and said “I, with your permission, will send an outfit for her to her room. She needs leather protection while here. It can be worn under her cloak, as it is often done, and she deserves it. Anyone that can get through my defenses that many times, deserves a prize”.

Lee stood and shook his hand, and Jondar said “There are stories of another female warrior with skills such as your niece Trinity’s, but she has not been seen in a long time. I’ll have the leather made after that fashion, it suits her,” and with the warrior left, and Lee stared at his back, and then at Trinity, thoughtfully as she was finishing up decapitating a dummy with a swiping blow, and a giggle “Whoops!”

Later that evening, Lee and Trinity were discussing the days events, and she told him everything that happened earlier, to include meeting that “creepy” Trendar person, and swearing it was his face in the painting, and that she had seen him before, back at home but how that’s possible, she really could not say. There was a knock at the door, and Lee answered, and was handed a package of clothes as he smiled, “That was fast, Jondar!”he said out loud, as he turned to Trinity, “These are for you! Seems you impressed the instructor. He felt you needed leather armor and an outfit while you are here”.

Trinity took the bundle and said “Seriously? Not really my style to wear leather.”

Lee laughed, “I said I’d give it to you, I did not say you would wear it”. They talked a few more minutes, and then each retired for the night.

Early the next morning after breakfast, Lee and Trinity headed to the great hall. Lee did not chide her for wearing the leather armor vest, dark tan, slightly reddish in color, adorned with black round discs made to stop sharp objects, shin guards and forearm guards, that were given to her by Jondar, but he did ask “Why the change of mind about the outfit, “Kiddo?”

“Not really sure. It’s funny, I thought it was too small, but now it fits like perfect. Will take a little getting used to, but it’s light, and my cloak covers it. Besides, it reminds me of the one I saw in the painting, to be honest, except that one was green”.

“We are going to the great hall I told you about. I’ll be stuck talking with the Premier, so while I’m in there, you look around, especially at that mural. See what you can find,” Lee said. Lee and Trinity both were surprised, that when they passed a guard, he would snap to attention upon seeing the outfit she was wearing. “Looks like that suit must represent something special, Kiddo!” Lee joked.

As they entered the great hall, the two Premier guards snapped to attention, and Rotar and Falan both bowed with their arms across their chests, “Welcome, Lee and Trinity! I see you are wearing the armor of the ‘Lost Defenders’. It has been ages since Jondar awarded that to anyone! Besides showing a warriors prowess, it means you show great skill, and the willingness to learn. In the fortress you can come and go as you please, and answer to only the Premier, if he so needs,” said Rotar with respect in his voice. “And Bevan, your catching of the traitor has lead to many other spies being found out, and we are still looking for the others, you too, of course have free passage in, and to and from, the fortress. We are in your debt, but now we must go and make plans with the Premier. Come, Lee and you also, Trinity if you wish,” he said.

“Thank you, no” answered Trinity, “I think I would rather stay and look at the paintings, and see what else I can find of interest, if that’s, Ok?”

“As you wish, my lady, ring any bell you see anywhere, if you need anything at all,” replied Rotar.

As they turned to go, Lee looked at Trinity and said in almost a whisper, “Stay on your guard, and out of mischief,” and he followed them into the other chamber.

Categories
adventure danger family fantasy mystery Sci Fi series SyFy writing

The Bevan – Forward

Part VIII

Michael spotted something amiss at the main house, an open window on the side and immediately started that way. He spied Matthew coming around the corner of a shed, and waved him over, “Something’s not right, they would not leave a window open,”said Michael. They stopped by the boat in the yard, and at the same time, both heard sounds of thumping and something falling coming from the house, and just before racing to the house, Matthew spotted a figure running towards the front from the fence. He saw it was a Brak and raised his suppressed AR and shot it twice in rapid succession in the chest, crumpling it in a heap on the ground. Michael was rapidly approaching the back corner of the house as he heard the suppressed shots, but did not look, knowing that Matthew was handling whatever he needed to. Michael could hear sounds of a struggle inside, and turned the corner running headlong into a huge Brak knocking it onto its back. Without slowing, Michael drew his Sig pistol, and shot the Brak twice in the chest and one in the head.

Matthew and Michael then both made it to the back door and counted to 3 and swung it open entering quickly, one going left the other right and were met with a familiar voice from in the house “It’s alright, Boys. Get in here and help me with your mom and Trinity will you?”

Lee had seen the Wrack collapse, taking Trinity down with it, and paled, seeing blood coming from the heap of bodies on the floor. As he stepped towards the Wrack, he heard gunshots outside, and then the back door swinging open. Spinning, Lee drew the Ronin, and facing the hall from the darker end by the den door, then seeing Matthew and Michael breach the room, breaking left and right as they entered. He greeted them, exhorting them to come help with their mother and Trinity.

Lee heard “Eww! Gross get off me!” coming from Trinity under the Wrack, and he rolled the big creature off of her and pulled her up.

“Let’s take a look at that neck, Kiddo,” he said checking her neck that was covered in blood.

“I’m ok” she said.

“Not really, Kiddo, though most of that is that thing’s blood. He did manage to cut your neck fairly deep on this side, so hold still a minute.” said Lee.

Matthew and Michael had got Elena up and onto a chair. She was groggy, but fine, so Lee continued treating Trinity. He cleaned the blood off her neck, and applied insta-clot to stop the cut from bleeding, and then patched it up with a few tape stitches then a large bandage.

“Well, hopefully it won’t scar kiddo” said Lee, and Trinity went to the bathroom to clean up and change clothes. Elena explained she just had laid down, and was awoken by the Wrack spraying something in her face, and she passed out and did not awaken until the boys were untying her.

Later that day, everyone gathered at Liam’s to discuss the situation. Lee explained what he saw and learned when he was away, then listened to what had been going on here. After being filled in on the events over the past few days, Lee said “We are going to have to make some decisions, as to what we need to do to put an end to this mess. We cannot continue to be on the defensive for much longer. I’m going to go to the study at the main house. I have a few things to ponder, and you all probably do, too.”

Lee left with Elena and despite him being there, Trinity followed along, “I said I would stay with her and I mean to do just that.” she said when asked.

Natasha had worried and tended Trinity’s wound again, and told her she was to be extra careful, and “No more heroics with those wooden swords!” To which most everyone agreed.

Lee added in front of everyone, “I am so very glad you were there, Kiddo, and had those wooden swords with the skill to use them, because if not, who knows where your Aunt Elena would be now, at the hands of that thing. But, I agree whole heartedly that we cannot put you in that kind of circumstance again.”

Trinity started to protest “But, I…”

However, Lee cut her off with a smile, “We will have to come up with a better solution for you”.

Later that evening in his study, Lee was going through the Legion book, and found what he was looking for on the pages Elena had marked for him. Both of the knives he recovered from the assassins attack on the Tresland, were in fact a set belonging to a Legionnaire that disappeared from everything, back in the times of the crusades, and he was listed as missing, but most thought he had been ambushed and killed. But if that were the case, how did these, wind up in the hands of an assassin, on another planet, Lee pondered?

Lee then did what he always did when trying to figure things out. He closed his eyes, and went back through what he had been told, what he had seen and even things he felt. His mind kept going back to the painting he saw in the fortress, something about it was nagging at him, but he could not put a finger on it. The battle, the soldiers the swords the armor, wait! That face, it was the same face he saw in the woodline, and the same face of Trendar the “valued staff” of the Premier. “How is that even possible? And that’s three times that face has come up surrounded by questions. That’s two, too many times for me to think it’s not related. This Trendar character needed to be questioned.”

It was going to be tricky doing so without ticking off the Premier. Lee had the beginnings of a plan, and would discuss it with the others in the morning. He headed out to the kitchen, and got a glass of iced tea and noticed Trinity sitting and staring at the hallway. Lee asked her, “What’s on your mind?”

Trinity almost jumped, because she had been replaying the fight over and over in her head, to see what she could have done differently. “Oh, Hi! Nothing. I was rehashing things in my head.” she replied.

“I’m not sure how much of the fight between you and that thing I missed, but the parts I saw were impressive. You move well, and control your fear better than a lot of men I have known. You seem to know how to handle the swords you were using. Not a lot to go over, Kiddo.” said Lee.

“Yes, but I lost in the end, and would have been dead, if you hadn’t intervened,” replied Trinity.

“Ok, if you want critique, I’ll give you this tidbit,” said Lee. “Knife work of any kind needs to be fast and violent. The longer it draws out, the more advantage a stronger opponent has, because as you tire, you slow, or even worse, you make mistakes. Mistakes get you dead,” Lee continued, “You put yourself at a disadvantage when you used wooden blades. I know it’s all you had, and that you knew the only ending was going to be stabbing him, or someone intervening. You did a great job of keeping him off balance, but when you had the tactical advantage, Murphy showed up and you slipped”. Lee looked at Trinity “Thank God I was there to intervene, or it could have ended much worse than a cut, and we won’t leave you at that disadvantage anymore, if I can help it. Now go get some rest, it’s my watch.”

The next morning, Lee gathered Elena, Matthew, Michael, Liam and Trinity in the main house, leaving the rest under the care of Van and River.

Lee declared, “The answer to this riddle lies on Tresland, I’m pretty sure, but there are still enemies here, and questions that need answering here. Liam I need you and Natasha to talk to ‘Lena and find out what she knows. She’s seen these things before, of that I’m certain. I’m just not sure where or how. With your permission I am going to ask that Trinity accompany me to Tresland.”

Holding up his hand to cut off the protest he saw coming not from Liam, but from Matthew and Michael, “Hear me out first, Trinity would throw anyone looking for an advantage off, as they would assume, like the last assassin did, that she was not any threat” Lee continued, “I need someone over there, that can help watch people, as well as be ignored by the adults. The answer is in or at the fortress I’m sure of it, and she can help discover it, or at least help me frustrate the enemy until we find out how to end it”.

Liam sat and thought quietly before commenting, “How much time do we have, I’m going to have to think this over as well as discuss this with Natasha”.

“There’s time. I’m not due back at the portal for another day and that’s just to check that all is still good” said Lee. Lee turned to Matthew and Michael “Time for you two to get on the hunt. We need you to set up and eliminate any of these things that come through. I am counting on you to clog up the portal with their carcasses as they come through. Eventually, they will try and find a different portal, and hopefully by then we will have news. Sounds going into the portal will not be heard on this side so there is no worries about people near it, calling the Police. The hard part is, it’s both day and night, so you are going to have to schedule teams, and hopefully, I can find a way to close them from the other side. Don’t worry I’m not closing any, until I know we can get home through another.”

Liam started to get up to go, but Lee asked him “Can you stay a couple minutes more, there’s something I want to do, and I want you in on it if you don’t mind?”

Liam answered, “Sure, what is it?”

Lee went to a desk and pulled out a cloth roll, and sat it on the desk. Lee turned to Trinity who was watching and listening to all the goings on, saying, “Kiddo, I told you I would not leave you at a disadvantage if I could help it, so if you are willing, take these,” he said, as he uncovered the two blades he took off the assassin in Tresland. “Hopefully, they will be of as much. if not more use, than your wooden training swords. They are a bit shorter, but much sharper and stronger, and can be thrown, if needed.”

Trinity looked at the twin blades, jagged on the spine, like a dragons back and super sharp on the edges, with cord wrapped handles and loops for the wrist. She took both blades in her hands, and immediately smiled, nodding, “Wow! These are really awesome, thank you!!” as she took the knives.

Liam took Trinity with him, to talk things over with Natasha, while Matthew and Michael went back to their houses with their families. Lee and Elena talked over a few things, as they ate a light lunch. “Is there no way to get more of the stuff the bag is made of?” asked Lee.

“I’m not sure,” replied Elena, “I was told there was no more, but, who knows what’s true anymore?” she continued. “I’m going to ask the Loarn, if there is something he can do or find out. He has connections on both sides of the portals. Maybe he has heard or knows different news about the material,” she said “What do you have in mind?

Lee replied “What we have to do is find the nut responsible for wanting us and our kin removed from existence, and deal with him, and that’s going to be a whole lot easier if we can get more firearms through to the other side of the portal. I’m not talking about arming the natives, I’m talking about a surgical strike probably from longer range to cut the head off the snake, then a hasty, but well thought out route of escape”.

The next morning all the families were gathered and it was decided that Trinity would accompany Lee back through the portal and they would return to the fortress and find out what they can about the mural on the wall and who or what this Trendar character was really up to. In the mean time everyone here would do what they can to plug the portal up and give the Loarn time to see what he could find out through his network here and on the other side. Elena, Natasha and ‘Lena were now going to always be accompanying each other, with Liam being their over watch when they were doing things. Matthew, Michael, and to some extent Van, were tasked with formulating a plan to stop the enemy from coming through the portal, and also to hunt down those remaining that had already gotten over. For this they were given the Loarn’s help and already the scouts were searching the property perimeter and surrounding areas for them.

Elena had taken to wearing twin knives, in a sheath on her back everywhere she went, 18″ long, curved with gold embellishments, black handles wrapped in soft leather. Lee had seen them before, but never saw his Elena wearing them. “You expecting trouble, Sweets?” he asked

“I hope that was rhetorical,” she said with sarcasm dripping off her voice. Lee could not help but chuckle

“Be careful you don’t cut y…..” the words were cut off by Elena’s lightening quick drawing of the blades and faster than the eye, in a continuous motion slinging one underhand, and sticking it in the door frame, its blade sinking in a good two inches. At the same time, with the other, she had spun away and to the left, moving the blade in an arch across and around her body in a slashing motion “you were going to say something smart-aleck?’

To which Lee replied “Nope, not me no ma’am, but I am not fixing that hole you made!”.

Lee and Trinity left early the next morning, slipping out through the long tunnel from the main house to the old stump outside the fence, but still on Lee’s property. They stopped inside the stump, and watched for several minutes for any signs of danger or being observed. “Always wait and look, Kiddo, and when you have looked until you are durn sure there is nothing amiss, pause and look a couple more minutes. Better a bit late, than not at all” Lee said.

Trinity nodded that she understood and smiled a little, “Are we going to be gone long?” She asked.

“Nope just a day, with enough time to look at that mural again, and see the Premier about Trendar. They exited the hidden tunnel, and got in Lee’s truck, and he quickly drove to the hunting club, opening and closing the two gates, before finally parking under a pine tree. “Come on, Kiddo,” he said as he was grabbing his backpack out of the back seat. Trinity grabbed a smaller daypack, and they locked the truck and headed off, Trinity following Lee, as he lead in a long, big half circle before pausing under a huge oak and kneeling there. Lee pulled out a pair of binoculars and scanned the area around the tree he loved to sit in to hunt, for anyone or anything out of place, “Over there, 150 yards see that tree growing parallel to the ground?” He asked Trinity in a low whisper.

“Yes” she replied.

“That’s where the portal is. We will watch from here, and wait for Falan, Rotar, or someone they send to appear” said Lee.

25 minutes later, Lee saw Rotar suddenly appear in the clearing and he prodded Trinity’s foot “We got company, Kiddo, time to go. Are you sure you want to go on?”

Trinity nodded and said “Yes, if I can help I want to go on”.

Lee got up, followed by Trinity and they made their way to the clearing, where Rotar was watching them approach.

“I see you brought reinforcements” he said half jokingly until he saw Lee’s eyes.

Lee said matter of factly, “Without her, Elena would be in the hand of the enemy”.

Rotar look at Trinity with a bit more respect as he said, “I meant no offense, and I am grateful that you were there when needed. We have much to discuss Bevan…Lee that is, and we should go,” continued Rotar.

“Lead on” said Lee looking at Rotar, then Trinity. “Here we go, Kiddo, remember to try and say very little about back here or any family, and keep those ears open for any news at all”.

Trinity gave a half sardonic teenage grin and said, “I had planned on discussing family history with complete strangers, Uncle Lee, now I have no idea what I will talk about”.

Lee chuckled “Sorry, habit!” Then through the misty, out of focus portal they stepped.

Categories
adventure danger evil family good mystery nature Sci Fi SyFy travel writing

The “Bevan” – Intruders

Part VI

Michael was watching the cameras and saw a flicker on the screen, it was quick and moved swiftly along the fence until it finally disappeared from sight. He did not immediately jump up or sound an alarm. He did what he was supposed to do, he kept watching, because as of yet, there was no need to make the others worry. Several minutes later, Michael again saw the flicker, but this time it was inside perimeter, and near the main house. He immediately recognized it as the Loarn, one of the portal watchers, and he was now on the deck of the main house. Michael alerted Matthew, His mother Elena, Liam and Van, telling Matthew and Liam to meet at the main house where Elena and Trinity were.

As the others were gathering at the main house, Van was not idle, he was gathering supplies via the internet, to have them dropped off at the property, and all the while guarding the young children and other wives. Van knew that despite wanting to rush off and help the others in case of some confrontation, he alone was the last protection for the rest of the extended family and he would not let anything happen to any of his wards if he could stop it.

Michael got to the main house first, and was met by the Loarn and Elena his mother, she relayed the message that 3 Braks and a Wrack had passed through the portal nearest the house about an hour ago, where they were now he did not know, but his scouts were looking for them, as Elena was relaying this message, the Loarn turned and looked towards the east fence and watched as two of his kind slipped through, and avoided the traps that they were warned of, as they headed straight to him. The Loarn met them, and there was a conversation between them that Elena could only hear part of, the Loarn turned and relayed the scouts’ message that six more total had passed through different portals, 2 more Braks and 4 Wracks, bringing the known total to 5 each. Elena told the others, who had now all arrived, and paused turning to the Loarn “Thank you my friend!! We will be ready for them, but only because of your help.” The Loarn then turned and he and his kin left.

Michael, Liam, Matthew, and Elena moved inside and sat at the table, “Well, things are accelerating quickly it seems,” said Michael. “Ok, we need to really tighten security up I think” and the others nodded in agreement.

Matthew said, “Mom, the first thing we need to do is get you and Trinity,” looking up at the teenager that had slipped in and was standing behind her dad Liam’s chair. “ The first thing we need to do, is move you to one of the other houses, as surreptitiously as we can, and set this one as the trap for as many as we can. It’s obvious they know where you are, and in which house, so we can use that to our advantage.”

Liam said, “I agree, Sis. Let’s put her in my house for now,” he said addressing his nephews. “That way there are several people who can help keep watch, in the same place. I also think we should move her from place to place, so as not to let them pin her location down.”

“Are you ok staying with her Trinity? I know it’s got to be a bit tough and stressful”.

Trinity replied in that quiet voice she has, “Wouldn’t have it any other way, Dad, I think I could help, if need be, but I will stay with Aunt Elena as long as you want me to, or until I am needed someplace else.” Trinity was also thinking to herself, that she needed her wooden practice blades, and if they moved back to their house, she could grab them and have them handy, not cutting sharp but they were formidable weapons to strike with, and could be used to stab if she needed.

Elena started to protest not just the moving, but putting Trinity into such a precarious spot, but Michael said before she could, “Well, that’s settled. Let’s make the move in the next hour or so, as I think they would expect us to stay quiet during the day”.

Van heard the sound again, like something dragging across a screen very slowly, so you hear each time it hit a new square. He was busy sending emails to a network of people asking for reports on anything that he could relate to the Braks or Treslanders. Van slowly tore his eyes away from the computer screen, after hearing the noise again, seemingly coming from outside the window. Turning his head towards the window in the room, he faintly saw movement through the curtain and blinds. Van picked up his pistol and as silently as he could, he stood up and backed out of the room. Stopping in the hall just outside the bedroom door, Van was noticed by River who immediately realized something was wrong. River quickly and silently, gathered all the kids and others together in the den.

Van stood by the doorframe for a second, then glanced down the hall to the den, seeing River had everyone there, he slipped down the hall to the den, “Stay here,” he said to River. “Look after them, I’ll be right back. Do not leave this room, ‘til I get back and use that,” he said, nodding towards the shotgun by the door. “Point it down the hall, and if anyone comes, just shoot, don’t think, just shoot,” and with that he was gone, slipping out the side door.

River picked up the shotgun and pointed it down the hall like she was told, and waited. Van slipped around the opposite side of the house quietly, silently thanking whoever thought to leave the area closest to the house covered in pine straw, as it was pretty silent to walk on. Looking around the corner, he saw a figure crouched by the window with a blade, slowly cutting one tiny square at a time, trying to be a quiet as possible.

The Wrack was cutting the screen. He had done this before, plenty of times, when searching for his prey over the years. These unsuspecting humans were so self secure in their lives, that they could not believe there were other lives out there, and things that could, and would, take their lives in an instant, if the price was right, and this price was the highest ever heard. As he continued cutting, he suddenly got the sense of danger but he did not stop, he slipped another knife out with his other hand under his cloak and prepared to meet the danger he felt.

Van hesitated for a half second, as whoever or whatever it was at the window, could just be a stupid burglar who picked the wrong house, and shooting him would lead to all kinds of issues. But in that hesitation, he did slip his gun up and point it at the figure. Once he was set, he said, “Door’s around front, Mister.”

Faster than he would have thought possible, the figure spun away from the window, slinging a knife Van had not seen, towards the sound of the voice. The knife hit the wall just short of where Van was standing, and glanced off, sliding past so close, that it nicked his shoulder that was exposed. Van was caught off guard for a spilt second, and the Wrack moved with lightening speed away from the house, slinging a second knife while trying to get an open view of Van, who was still protected by the house corner. The Wrack saw no knife or bow in the humans hands, but did see something he was not familiar with, yet it did not look like a weapon to him. He thought this stupid human would be easy to deal with, as he started drawing his skith, a wicked looking curved short sword, thick bladed and serrated on the back half.

Van felt the blade nick his shoulder and twisted back a bit, amazed that anyone could move so fast, as then a second knife struck the wall, where his head had been milliseconds ago. He then saw the face under the cloak and realized it was not human, seeing whatever it was drawing a nasty looking sword thing, Van hesitated no longer. He took aim and shot two times for the center of the chest, both striking, and the figure raised on his toes, then collapsed in a heap.

Everyone in the main house at the same time said, “Gunshots!!” and started to head that way, but Matthew said “Hold on!! We can’t all go running out there, it may be a trap!” Quickly it was decided Matthew and Michael would go, and the rest would stay and wait for word.

Michael and Matthew checked their weapons, then slipping out the back door, and starting to work their way towards the direction the gunfire came from. The rest of the families were supposed to be at Van and Rivers, so that’s where they headed, but they would circle around!and check the others, just in case, on their way.

Working in the bound method, they took turns moving, while one covered the other. They worked around two houses, and at the second house, stopped and watched the third, which was Van’s, and then both moved forward, Matthew towards the front corner, and Michael towards the back, both reaching them at the same time.

Michael immediately noticed a cloaked figure crumpled on the ground by the far corner, a large wicked looking knife/sword laying beside him. He signaled Matthew with his hand, got a negative hand sign, and then signaled that Matthew should move around the front, to the far side, and they would both meet on the farthest corner, where the figure was. Matthew started moving, and Michael counted 30 seconds, then started moving, keeping his weapon trained on the figure. They timed it perfect, except Van met Matthew, as he rounded the corner, and they both met Michael back at the figure on the ground.

All three examined the figure, and Matthew asked “You alright, Uncle Van? You look a little pale,” Van nodded yes.

“It’s not that I shot hi..it..whatever, it’s just unbelievable it really happened”, declared Van.

“Well, let’s get inside and check on the rest of the family.” Michael said.

Van cautioned, “Be careful! River has a shotgun, and I told her to shoot anything she saw in the hall”.

Matthew stayed with the Wrack, “I’ll be along in a couple, kids don’t need to see this.”

Van and Michael went around front, opening the door a bit, and Van yelling in “River? It’s me dont shoot!!!” To which he got the reply “Of course it’s you! I saw you in the mirror I set up, you and Michael come on in! We are all ok”.

Matthew studied the creature for a couple minutes, and took several pictures of it with his phone. He also collected a total of eight small throwing type knives, QQ and the weird sword. The sword had a snake with red eyes that glowed when light hit them and it had 36 lines down it’s body reaching less than half way like it was incomplete or something. “Well, you ain’t finishing it now are ya, Bub? Let’s get you outta sight,” Matthew said to the corpse, as he was dragging it away from the houses, and towards an out shed.

Matthew arrived at the house a bit later, at the end of Van filling the others in on what occurred. Michael had already texted Elena and Liam to let them know all was well. While doing so, he noticed that Uncle Liam’s oldest daughter ‘Lena, who was named after his own mother, had her sketch pad and he caught a glimpse of a cloaked figure she had drawn. He also noticed she was looking at him, like he had caught her doing something wrong. He did not say anything, and smiled as he turned and joined the others in plans as what to do next.

Matthew and Michael left everyone inside with Van, and they went to the house closest to them, which was Liam’s. Once sure it was safe, they went and got everyone from Van’s, and escorted them to the new place. They put the timers on in different parts of Van’s house, so the lights and TVs would come on at different times, in different rooms, and even on different days.

Michael went to the main house, while Matthew returned to the shed, and started up the tractor, “Funny, Dad always harped on needing a tractor, but I don’t think he meant for this,” he said to himself, as he dug a hole and dumped the Brak’s body into it.

After he was done, Matthew returned to the main house, and they all moved Elena and Trinity back to Liam’s. Now that everyone was in the same place, Michael, Matthew, Liam and Van, all sat at the table, and devised a plan to move everyone in two groups, from now on. Different houses each night. Sometimes even, both groups staying at the same house, at the same time, on occasion.

Trinity had gone to her room as soon as she could, and retrieved her two practice blades slipping them into the two sheaths she made that fit on her back. Handles down where she had easy access. She put on an over shirt, much like the one her Uncle Lee was always wearing, so it covered the blades perfectly. Trinity smirked at herself in the mirror, then went back out to where everyone was, and joined the group.

It was decided that for the night, everyone would stay here together, where there was safety in numbers. According to the Loarn, they had at least nine more “things” that had come through the portal, and were intent on stopping their family bloodline, from existing any more.

Matthew and Michael set several wireless trip alarms around the main house, before going to the house Michael and his family had been staying in. They slid the pivoting bookcase away, and went down a flight of steps, with the bookcase closing behind them. The brothers turned right, towards Uncle Liam’s home, heading along the tunnel that Lee had constructed, between all the houses on the property. They emerged in one of the spare bedrooms, after first stopping to listen for any signs of danger. Then they joined the others in the den, and kitchen. “Matthew and I will watch after dark tonight, and see if we can surprise any unwanted visitors. Have we decided who’s staying where, starting tomorrow?” asked Michael.

Liam had devised a plan, where every house was numbered. This one was #2, for example, and the groups would roll a dice and where it wound up is where they would stay. That way no one had prior knowledge, and no one could be forced to tell.

That night went by without incident for the group, and the next day they split into three groups. Elena, Trinity and one of the men would take turns being with that group, Van, River, Liam, Natasha and Elena would be in another, leaving Matthew and Annika with their infant, who would stay with Michael, Sophia and their six children. That way there is always a male with them, also.

As luck or fate would have it, Elena’s group drew the main house as theirs for the day, and prior to dawn, they made the move back, this time using the tunnel. The other groups moved to their locations, but did so normally, so that if there were watchers, it would seem that Elena and Trinity were still in Liam’s house. Matthew stayed with Elena his mom and Trinity as they settled. He then said, “Back in a couple. Have to check the triggers and traps. Don’t go outside, I’m going through Dad’s tunnels, and coming out of the shed, and I will come back the same way when I’m done”.

30 minutes later, as Trinity was alone in the den doing a bit of practice, she suddenly heard a strange noise come from the room her aunt was resting in. She got up heading rapidly towards the door, and as she got there it was flung open, and almost knocked her down. She saw the most scary, disfigured face, and the body of a man, and it was dragging Elena, who was either unconscious or almost so.

Trinity hesitated a second, and before she could cry for help, the Wrack drew a curved sword dropping Elena at the same time, thinking to himself that he could get rid of this brat quickly and make a bigger bonus. Trinity saw the blade, and she paled and her blood seemed to turn cold, but instinctively she backed away and out of the hall into the open den. She drew one of her practice blades as the Wrack lunged at her, trying to stab her in the chest. She swatted his blade with hers, knocking it off line, and it slid past her as she spun past the Wrack. Her blade kept going with the spin, and came full circle, striking the Wrack with the sharp edge on the back of his neck, and with enough force to knock him over the couch.

The Wrack made a grunt and growled, as he quickly sprang to his feet, twisting to face the young girl, and his eyes narrowed as he moved around the couch, to have a clear shot at her. Trinity knew this was no longer some computer game, and that she could easily not get out of this, but she was determined to stay and fight. She drew the second blade from its sheath, while at the same time the Wrack attacked again. This time swinging his blade straight from over his head, in an attempt to chop her in half, or split her skull.

Trinity barely arched back enough as the Wrack’s blade sliced through the air, and the tip barely knocked her shirt, cutting a hole in it at her waist. Trinity took the advantage, as the Wrack had over extended himself, and the move made him lean forward so much, he was almost off balanced. She swung one blade down with all her might, striking him in the neck area where it met his shoulder, and without slowing, the other blade swung and struck him in the forearm which was holding his sword, and he dropped it, as his muscles were temporarily stunned.

The Wrack lunged forward with his body, and hit Trinity in the stomach with his shoulder, driving her against the wall, and taking her breath away. He then grabbed her and slung her across the room into a coffee table. Trinity realized she was not going to be able to take much of that as she got up, her small body was bruised and she was breathing hard. The Wrack picked up his sword in his left hand, and slowly started to approach, sensing his opponent was weakening, and it wouldn’t be long before he could finish her off.

Trinity had somehow managed to hold onto both blades, was desperately trying to buy time, so she could catch her breath. She kicked the coffee table towards him, and he kicked it out of the way. There was now nothing between him and her, as he circled warily, several times lunging at her, and each time Trinity was able to knock his blade away, or dodge it. The last time though, he swung his sword at her, and she barely stopped it, slipping on something on the floor, giving him the opportunity he needed.

Trinity knew it was over as she slipped. She could not defend against him grabbing her from behind, and wrapping his arm around her waist, pulling his sword up to her neck to finish her off.

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adventure family fantasy mystery nature reading safety Sci Fi SyFy travel writing

The Bevan — Moving Pieces

Part IV “Moving Pieces”

As soon as Michael and Matthew got back Elena started contacting her family. Liam responded positively almost immediately saying “I need to talk to Lee asap there’s some strange stuff I may need help with”. River, Elena’s sister, who has never handled a gun and is not sure she wants to, was a bit more reluctant to leave their home, but finally relented saying she and her husband Van would come over and see what it was all about.

Liam, his wife Natasha and his girls Trinity and Elena (named after his older sister) all arrived several hours later, and were met by Matthew, who let them in the locked gate. An hour later Van and River arrived and were let in.

Once all the families were settled in their lodges, they all walked over to the main house, where Elena started telling what it was all about. The entire group looked in disbelief as the story was relayed to them, and did not know what to think, until Elena showed them the pictures Matthew had taken of the ambushes in the woods, and Michael and Matthew described what they saw.

The faces around the table had that stunned look, at seeing something so foreign and hideous, all except one of Liam’s girls, but she held her tongue. Elena was watching and thought she saw a look of recognition in Liam’s face “Liam? Have you seen someone like these?”

Liam replied in a hesitant voice, “I have seen someone dressed like that one,” pointing at the woodsman, “and that’s what I wanted to talk to Lee about”. Several times over the past months and with increasing frequency he had been seeing someone resembling the person in the picture. “I wanted to see if they could have someone check him out and see what his deal is”.

Van said “You know, I saw one of them several times, near home and near the office”. River chimed in “Yeah, now that you mention it, I did keep seeing someone like that when I go running or walk the dogs”.

Van got up and walked to the kitchen with his phone and making several phone calls, arranging several crates of ammunition to be shipped to there where everyone was staying, as everyone began to realize this may be more serious than at first thought. “I thought it best for us to get stocked up on ammo and anything else you guys think we need. I’m going to be contacting some business friends discreetly and see if I can find out if any strange things have been going on,” said Van.

Matthew was outside along the eastern fence line, when his attention was drawn to what appeared to be a cut in the fence that was tied together with cord making it seem like it was whole. He moved closer and saw it appeared fairly recent, and on the other side of the fence there were broken and trampled branches, where it looked like someone had stood or perhaps sat for an extended time. He immediately recognized it for what it for what it was, an observation spot. Someone here could easily see the gate and the front of most of the houses, and would be out of easy view. Matthew sent a text to Michael “I’m over by the east fence, near the spot where the boat used to be, and I’ve located an op. Do me a favor and get two of Dad’s steel traps and meet me over here will ya?”.

Michael told the others what was up, and headed out to the shed, Liam started to follow but Michael said “Uncle Liam we really need you to stay here, that way there will be two here at the main house, that can handle anything that may pop up”.

Uncle Liam hesitated and then acquiesced, “You’re right. I also need to sort out Natasha, ‘Lena (pronounced Lay-na) and Trinity with weapons. Holler if you need me!”

“Will do!” with that Michael headed out back and got the traps, then went to where his brother Matthew was waiting. “What do you have in mind?” He asked Matthew.

“Well, I figure if someone was going to try and crawl through the fence that’s cut over there,” he pointed to the spot “we could leave a surprise or two on this side for them,” and then he hesitated.

“Sounds like a plan, what’s got you bothered?” asked Michael.

“Did you ever really pay attention to Pops when he was showing us how to set these things?” asked Matthew of his brother.

Michael shook his head “To be honest, no not really, did you?” He got the same head shake back, then both young men grinned and laughed. “I guess we will have to figure it out!” said Michael.

“Without pinching our own fingers!” replied Matthew. “Might be a good idea to set these on all the obvious travel routes to and from the houses and building, and come up with a marker, so everyone that needs to know, knows where they are placed,” said Matthew, as he was camouflaging the last of the two they just buried right inside the cut of the fence.

“Already on it, Bro. I brought several and Dad has lots more in the shed,” answered Michael.

They paused long enough to let their mom know that no one should wander around, until they can be shown markers designating where the traps are set.

An hour later, everyone was back at the house, and they made plans. They would all stay in their separate lodges, to try and keep some sense of normalcy, but always careful. Those who knew how to handle firearms would always carry. Liam tasked Trinity with staying with his sister. her Aunt Elena at night so no one would be alone during dark. Neither protested the arrangement. Elena was glad, as she might could sleep a bit more, not having to be on guard alone. Trinity did not protest, because she could practice her skills at knife fighting, something she picked up from a video game, of all places, and she had secretly become very good at.

Elena’s sister River, and her husband Van, headed quickly back to their place for clothes and their dogs, as they had not initially planned on staying.

Michael took charge of a watch system, using the cameras that their Dad had strategically placed along the perimeter of the property, and the redundant ones concealed 25 yards inside the perimeter, as well as the two separate sets of infra red trip alarms, in line under both sets of cameras. He set up a schedule where someone was always watching during the hours of darkness. He, Matthew, his Uncle Liam and Uncle Van would all take two hour shifts watching. They agreed to alert all the others by the intercom system, installed in the lodges, if there was a breach or suspicious circumstance.

Elena, who was trying not to act worried, as she was in the kitchen making a tossed together dinner for everyone, finally got a message from Lee, it was short but positive. “Made it through, ammo did as well, it’s daylight here. We will only move at night. Stop worrying”. She replied with a short but informative run down of all that happened, and the plans that were laid.

Elena felt herself relax just a bit now that she knew Lee was ok, and she made sure to pass the information on to the boys. She finally laid down, and went to sleep around 1130 after being hyper tense and worrying for such a long time.

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adventure family fantasy hunting mystery nature Sci Fi SyFy writing

The “Bevan” — Plans

Part III “Plans”

As Lee pulled into the yard through the gate he saw Elena his wife of so many years standing on the front porch watching him, and as he got out to close the gate he was astounded to see her petting the head of a gray fox! Lee drove his truck to the normal spot, got out and before he could speak Elena said “I hear you had some visitors today, I have been worried more and more lately, I am so glad your home”. She looked at the fox and made some sound and word and it immediately ran down the deck and slipped off into the brush. “Come inside Lee and get cleaned up, we have a lot to talk about”.

Lee came up the steps and hugged and kissed Elena “I was hoping this was all some weird dream, and when I got home all would be normal, but seeing that fox again…”.

Elena interrupted “His name is Loarn, and his family has been watching and bringing information to me since I was old enough to understand.”

Lee said, “Anyway, when I saw Loarn standing on the porch, I had confirmation that it was not a weird dream.” He did not comment on the fact that he saw the rifle he had built for her, just inside the doorway within easy reach.

Several hours later, sitting together on the deck, Lee and Elena had talked, and many things were revealed. Elena told a long tale that was passed onto her by her grandmother, the former possessor of the knowledge, and she has kept it secret all her life. Elena knew there was the possibility that one day these events would happen, so she always watched and kept alert for any sign. She was aided by Loarn (more properly The Loarn, Gaelic for fox) and his family before him, they are portal watchers of the forest and brought news of anyone coming or going through the portals that they knew of. Each time a new portal was discovered, a new member of the Loarn would be tasked to watch it and report any incidents to Loarn himself.

Lee absorbed all he was told without interrupting Elena, and when he was sure she was finished, after pausing a few seconds, asked “I get that you did not want to tell me this, I mean how could you, without being looked at like you were a half bubble off level, but the question is who else may have your abilities? I mean you have brothers and a sister and each of them have daughters, and let’s don’t forget our two grown sons and their families, is there a chance one or more of them have it?”

Elena answered “I’m not sure Lee. I have been for years, trying to discover if any of them do, but I’ve drawn a blank”

Lee replied, “Well, we are going to have to figure out some way to tell all your family, so they can be cautious, and it’s such a wild tale, who would believe it? I have messaged my family, but you know as well as I, none of them are easy targets, nor would they really be focused on them. If I was this evil person/thing whatever, I would focus on you, and your family and squash any that stand in its way to getting at them”.

Elena contemplated their discussion and said “I will take care of Liam, and his family, and River and her family. We both know Michael and Matthew will do whatever it takes to watch over their families. I am just concerned for you, Lee. You have no one to take with you, to help you. I know you too well, Lee, you will want to go and confront this, at the point of the spear, and nothing I say will dissuade you. I will tell you this, the portals will not allow you to take your modern weapons, knives, bows, and crossbows, can pass freely, but not your guns.”

Lee interrupted “What? How can that work?”

Elena answered “It was designed that way to keep the enemy from getting hold of modern weapons, and using them to turn the tide in their favor”.

“So, if I try and go through with them, what happens?” asked Lee.

“You will pass through, but they will not, and when you return, they will be with you again.”, replied Elena.

“Well, that throws a kink in the plan, but we will work around it” Lee answered, and as he did, Elena was holding out a shimmering bag the size of a modern zip lock bag.

“If you can fit it in this bag, it can travel through. It is the last of its kind, there is no more material, from which it’s made, left anywhere”, said Elena.

Lee took the bag, and immediately had a thought, he drew the Ronin off his hip and slipped it in the bag and it closed, his eyes smiled as he looked at Elena “Well, that makes me feel a bit better, so the gun can go, what about ammo?”

Elena said “No idea, Lee, all we can do is try, put your phone in it to, who knows if it will work and I seriously doubt it, but we can try”.

“Great idea! and on that note I’ll add the brick (for charging) and only try when I know a portal is open”.

Elena stiffened looking out into the darkness, and Lee who was looking in the bag immediately looked up and caught sight of the fox sitting just out of the firefight, and he came closer and sat by Elena, and she explained “A portal opened!”

Lee quickly said, “Get inside, and stay there with your rifle, and leave that Glock on your hip!” Elena hesitated wanting to argue and stand by her man, but knew he would be more distracted trying to keep an eye on her and that would dull his edge. As Elena went inside she saw Lee slipping off into the darkness, a place where he always told her he liked to work.

Lee made sure Elena was inside and then slipped out into the darkness into a circle of ferns and up against an ancient oak where he melted into the background, the Loarn looked at him and in a clear voice said “Be wary Bevan, it is a Brak.”, then he slipped off into the night. Lee muttered to himself “Well, I didn’t think it was the Amazon delivery guy,” and he contemplated what he should do, ultimately deciding to watch the Brak, at least for a few minutes once he saw it, so he could ascertain how it moved, and what weapon it had if any. As he was thinking this, he spotted movement out against the tree line and his eyes locked on the moving object, it was about his height and around his 250lb weight, moving slowly and a bit stiff, it was working it’s way along, staying out of the firelight, as it made its way towards the house where Elena was, consequently bringing itself closer to Lee at the same time.

The Brak slipped within arm’s reach of where he was concealed, Lee’s hand unsheathing the blade on his hip as he noticed the strange axe the Brak was carrying. Lee slipped out and said, “Bit late for a delivery, Bub,” as he did the Brak, with speed belying it’s size, spun counterclockwise, swinging the axe in a lightening fast move, that Lee was barely able to avoid. The axe bit deeply into the oak tree and stuck for a second. Recovering quickly Lee, kicked with the flat of his foot straight out into the stomach of the creature causing it to double over, but not let go of the axe.

Lee struck the forearm of the hand holding the axe, with the hilt of his short knife, numbing the nerves in that arm for a few seconds, causing the Brak to lose its grip on the axe.

The Brak swung a huge fist at him from the opposite side, and Lee moved under it, and as he did, his knife slid along the underside of the Brak’s arm at the shoulder, slicing deep. He kept moving past, as the Brak spun, and gripped the axe handle, pulling it free of the tree, its one arm damaged but not useless. The Brak made a upward swing causing Lee to arch back to avoid the impact, and as soon as it was above Lee’s head, the Brak reversed its course bringing it back down and across. As the axe swooped down Lee kicked at the Brak’s knee with a side sweep to try and get it off balance, the effect worked. The Brak losing just enough balance that Lee could move in close, too close for the axe to be of much use, and as Lee did, he slid his blade along the side of the Brak, continuing past it, as the Brak recoiled from the deep gash and pain.

Lee did not hesitate. As soon as he was past, he spun as he crouched, because the Brak swung the axe around, while turning to face Lee, and as it’s momentum carried the axe past the crouching Lee, he stood up and stuck the knife to the hilt in its throat, “You shoulda stayed home,” and watched the Brak’s eyes widen with surprise and pain, before it collapsed in a heap at the foot of the steps.

Lee took a moment to check that there were no more of the enemy around, and then said “It’s ok, Elena, you can come out,” the door opening quickly.

Instead of congratulating him she said “What were you thinking? Why didn’t you just shoot it!!?”

Lee smiled a smile that did not make it to his eyes, “I could have done that, yes, but if I have to confront them on their turf, and I cannot be sure I’ll have a gun or bullets, I needed to know what I was up against”. He looked at her and winked “Although, next time, hopefully I’ll have a bigger knife!”.

The next morning at dawn Matthew and Michael both showed up at the house, and as they sat and listened to their mother Elena, tell them the story. You could see they both thought it was a joke, and were starting to laugh, while looking for the punch line, until their father Lee said, “I figured it would be hard to swallow, and I was just going to show you a picture I snapped, but I think this will be better. Come with me”.

Lee and Elena, followed by Michael and Matthew, went outside, and Lee led them to the brushy corner of the property, and there in a hole he dug last night, lay the body of the Brak, “Figured it would just be easier to show you before I buried it.”

Both sons were stunned to speechlessness until Elena spoke, “These and others are out to destroy our family, and that by the way, means your families, too! So you need to get over the disbelief and pay attention!”.

Later that day, with plans made, and the arguments as to why he had to go, and the why of how no one could go with him, at this time was settled, it was decided that Michael and Matthew would bring their families to the parents’ property, and stay in the guest houses. This bolstering their defenses, and at the same time giving Lee peace of mind that Elena would be safer. Lee took to organizing his gear, getting rid of hunting calls and such and packing essentials, including six boxes of .45 ammo, it was a pretty big increase of weight, but taking off unnecessary things almost evened it out, and he wasn’t even sure it was going to make it through the portal.

The kids and their families had arrived, and were settled, and everyone was sitting around the table talking and Matthew asked “Now that we know what is going on, why not just wait for them to come through the portals? I mean something that weird will obviously be noticed, and normal people will take care of them, don’t you think?”

Lee answered “I wish, Son, but look around at the normal people, they think guns are evil, and if we take them away from everyone, then everyone will live happily ever after, and the Brak, if they start coming through, all those normal people are not going to help you, your families, or your mom against them. No, we have to prepare here, and there. So, I’m going to go get a lay of the land, and of what we are up against. When I’ve gotten that, I’ll come back and we will decide our next best move”.

Lee loaded things in his truck and kissed his Elena “I would love to stay, but I want to be near the portal and watch at least 6 hours to see if there is a trap. I will text just before entering, and I’ll try when I get there, every hour at 5 after. I do not think it can be far for us to travel to get to the fortress, there I can see what we are up against. You are to never go outside unless you have a gun and you keep it on your hip EVERYWHERE, inside or out. I have spoken to the boys and they will do the same, try and get your brother Liam and his wife Natasha to bring his family and your sister River and Her husband Van here, also. There’s food enough for a sustained period, for all of you, and the other two guest houses are vacant, just like we planned for in case of some emergency. Tell them to bring all their guns and every bullet they can find, and you will explain why when they arrive”. With that Lee and Elena hugged again, and he climbed in the truck, “I’ll leave the truck in the club where we always park it, if y’all need it come get it, but leave me something to get home in. I’ll either be in a hurry or too tired to walk it. The plan is to go through tomorrow, I’ll spend 6 days and come back on the seventh, I will keep to the schedule. Whatever you do, do not let anyone of the family follow me, or come looking. Hold the fort, and I’ll come back with better insight.”

With that, he backed out and waved as he drove to the gate where Michael and Matthew were standing, “Take care of your families and your mother, Boys, until I get back. She has the plan we set, also the cameras are up and working, as well as the silent trip alarms, and it’s piped into, Y’all’s houses, so you should not be caught off guard”.

30 minutes later, Lee was slipping through the forest, taking a long semi circular route, to come at the clearing, from the direction opposite of his truck. Lee stopped 100 yards away, slipping off his pack and climbing up one of the old stands with his binoculars. He sat and watched the clearing, slowly picking apart each small section of it, and the surrounding brush looking for anything abnormal or unusual. What he saw was disturbing, Jagar and Trend lay obviously dead shoved off to one side of the clearing and he saw the reason why. A Brak and something that resembled a woodsman were hidden 45 degrees apart from each other on different sides of the clearing where if the portal opens they could ambush anyone coming thru before they could act. “Alright, let’s make sure there aren’t any more surprises hiding before we deal with these two,” Lee thought to himself. Lee pulled out his phone and texted Matthew “Bring your brother and the two suppressed rifles, I have need of your expertise. Make sure all the families are in the main house ‘til you get back. Tell Michael to bring you to his stand I’ll be waiting there”.

Matthew replied, “30 minutes” nothing more.

Lee chuckled “Guess he got the gift of gab from me”.

33 minutes later, as he was still watching the clearing, having seen no other threats, Michael and Matthew materialized as if by magic under the stand, and Lee thought to himself, “Glad they didn’t forget what the Army taught about camouflage and stealth.”

He signaled them to climb up, taking a risk that the stand would hold all of them at the same time. Both climbed up silently, and he explained the situation to them, letting each take a look with the binoculars and identifying the threats. “Michael, if you sit up here, and take the Brak, I’ll take Matthew to the far stand, and I think he will have a clear but farther shot at the woodsman, then I’m going to come half way back and make some kind of racket so they both get up to see what it is. That’s your cue to fire, got it?”

Both nodded yes and he and Matthew climbed down, while Michael settled in and got ready. 15 minutes later, after Matthew assured him his lane was clear, Lee found himself halfway back between the stands and set about making a distraction. He lit a palmetto limb on fire, letting it smoke and waft in the breeze. As it burned down, he lit another, the breeze not quite blowing the right direction, but swirling, and he saw a patch head right in that direction and he ducked and put out the embers.

The woodsman smelled smoke and immediately tensed, and started trying to see where it was coming from. The Brak smelled it as well, but instead of staying hidden, it got up and started sniffing, trying to pin point it. The woodsman tried waving the Brak back into his hide out, but was too late. A near soundless pop, and the Brak head exploded from the rifle round, and before he could finish the thought that he had messed up, a second round entered his brain bucket and silenced him forever.

Lee stood, and looked at Michael’s stand and got the hand across the face symbol, then the same from Matthew. He then slipped smoothly into the direction of the clearing with the faint hope that Jagar and Trend may be just wounded. Lee slipped into the clearing and checked the threats first but both were neutralized, he ran to Jagar and Trend, Jagar was dead, Trend managed to say “The portal…to open…just say ‘for peace.” then he succumbed to his wounds as Michael and Matthew arrived.

Lee told his sons who they were, and he and the boys drug the Brak and woodsman looking thing to where he remembered the portal opening. “They should get sucked in the next opening”, Lee said.

Michael asked, “And them?”, pointing at the Treslanders .

To which Lee replied, “No, they will stay with me until someone from their people shows up. I’m sure their families would want to have a funeral or whatever they do. Now boys, you know what you’re up against, and this one”, he nudges with his boot, “As you can see looks almost human. Be extra diligent. I’m counting on you and so are people we don’t even know”.

An hour later the hunter is back on his tree, the two soldiers covered by their cloaks, laying off to one side and he waits silently for dawn. Almost at the same time dawn is breaking, the portal starts shimmering and Rotar and Falan appear just as before. After a brief exchange, the two fallen soldiers are moved to the portal and Lee texts Elena “Going through,” slips the phone in the bag with the Ronin, 3 spare magazines and the charger and walks through following Rotar and Falan.

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adventure fantasy hunting mystery nature outdoors Sci Fi SyFy writing

The “Bevan” – Discoveries

Part II “Discoveries”

Several hours later the hunter and the strangers, who were supposedly from a place not unlike earth, called “Treslan“, had talked and the story they told was as full of mystery and intrigue, as it was danger. According to Rotar, they were sent by their military leaders, to stop the Brak from crossing over thru the portal, but the Brak somehow knew the passes and incantations to open it. They followed in hopes of stopping it before it could do any harm, and during the journey the Brak was struck by an arrow.

The Brak warriors were but a small part of the growing threat to all the Treslanders, as more and more there are skirmishes with several different enemies, none of which, until recently, had worked together. Something or someone was gathering them, and using them to attack the Treslanders, never seriously, more it seemed, like they were probing the resistance.

Still not convinced that he was who they were looking for, Lee silently listened, a skill that he learned over many years of dealing with people from whom he was trying to gather information. Listening as Rotar, Jagar, Trend, and Falan each told parts of the story of how they came to be here, in a clearing in the woods, with a dead Brak and a skeptical hunter.

“So, if I am understanding you right, your nation is under constant attack, and that whatever it is, laying over there, is but one of many enemies doing the attacking” Lee stated, “Still, I do not see how we get to the part where it wanted to kill me and basically erase my bloodline. I’ve never heard of Treslan before you showed up, and I durn sure would have remembered bumping into one of those things before”.

Rotar said “He is not the first that has come through the portal hunting you, there have been many others with the same mission, and we feared many times that they had succeeded, but by either luck or skill, each one attempted, while you were doing what you call being a Police Officer. Is that the term?” Lee nodded yes and Rotar continued “Each of them in different forms, but the mission was the same, eliminate you, then all your kin, but they ran afoul of your customs and laws, and either you yourself, or others put them in what you call cells, once there, we vanished them forever.” Lee took “vanished them” to mean they would no longer be an issue. “Over time we got a grasp on them and for several of your years, no longer could the enemy get through the portal in any form, but that of a Brak and even in their primitive mind, they knew that would not work.

Lee pointed at the dead Brak “He seemed to think it was ok”.

“Yes.” said Rotar “It shows that they are getting desperate in their attempt to destroy you and all your kin”.

“Might seem a bit redundant of me, and I have been called obtuse, but I will ask again anyways, why would a thing not from around here, one I’m sure I would remember if I had met before, why would it want to destroy me? Much less my whole bloodline?”, asked Lee.

“For that answer, Bevan” quickly holding his hand up to cut off the protest sure to come, and calming him that, “I mean Lee! I cannot tell you, other than if they succeed in doing so, they can then destroy the one thing that they fear the most, which is something you hold more precious than your own life”. Rotar saw the man he called the Bevan’s blue eyes darken to a steely gray-blue color as he finished, “Elena as you call her”.

Lee’s posture changed entirely, and in such a manner, that the other three who had been silent, suddenly got to their feet in expectation of conflict, as Lee said in a voice thick with power and forcefulness “And why pray tell, would they even know of her, much less want to destroy her?”

“She is the key that will start the downfall of all evil on Treslan. Our world has lost most of its good, and evil has seeped into its very core, her knowledge and kindness, can crush any evil and they know it, it is why she was brought here so many years ago, with the knowledge that one day she would bring peace to Treslan for all time” said Rotar. “She is of the line of Minorcans, and on Treslan, she needs but to sit in the protected chair, from the living earth and speak words of grace and kindness and in doing so, those two things will energize the very planet and destroy all evil there, if at the right time she can be brought to the fortress, and into the reading room, where she will read and teach understanding. The enemy knows this, and knows to get to her, they must destroy you and all your kin, for they cannot risk that one has the same power as her, only then can they destroy her, and their rule of Treslan will be guaranteed”.

Lee stared at Rotar with piercing eyes listening to the information as it is told, his mind racing in two directions, the first thought in his mind is from the practical side “This guy’s nuts” then the other the more pragmatic thinker side weighing what he’s been told, with what he has seen, and not liking the outcomes of either. “If what you have said is true, and I’m still not sold on it yet, when is this ‘right time’, but more importantly who is behind it and where are they? I may need to have a chat with them”

One of the other soldiers made a sound like a suppressed laugh and immediately found himself under the coldest deadliest stare he ever felt, “You got something you want to get off your chest, Boy?” Lee barked, “I may not be as young as I once was, I have seen and done many things in my life, and have been pieced back together, with plates and pins, but two things you can take to the bank from me. I do not make idle threats, and no one or thing will ever harm Elena, while I can draw a breath to stop it! If that means I need to have a chat with the chap or whatever that is heading this up, then either follow me, or get out of the way because I will go through you if I have to, but I will have that chat!”

The soldier nodded “I meant no disrespect, and I have no reason to doubt you, but just hearing you say that made me smile, not as a jest, but as a ‘I hope I’m there when this guy does that’”, and he bowed putting his right hand over his chest, “I am Jagar and I am at your service.”

Lee nodded at the young soldier and turned to the others who both bowed with the same gesture, “I am Trend” said the older of the two, and “ I am Falan” said the last, and both said at the same time, “At your service Bevan”.

“Name’s Lee, if you holler “Bevan” I may not answer. I appreciate what you have apparently done and been doing, but if everything is as you say, I need to be getting home to check on things.” and at that Lee swiftly pulled his pack onto his strong back and shoulders, “Don’t mean to be rude, but can you do something with that thing over there, hate for someone to stumble over it”.

Rotar nodded yes but said “What are your plans besides checking on things at home? At some point more will come through, unless we do something to stop them.”

Lee hesitated a second “I am going to have to think on it a bit, and make some plans and contingencies, and only then will I know what’s best to do, I rarely do anything in haste, leads to bad decisions. As for more coming through, if what you say is true and they will look like that, I will have fair warning, because people will see them, unless these portals move, do they”?

Rotar said “This portal opens here only but there are an innumerable amount of portals and they are at all different locations, there is a map at the fortress that has many but no one knows where all are. They can only be opened, if one knows the proper words to say, and each portal has its own words”.

Lee nodded “Well then, I will be back here in two days time with whatever decision I make, will you wait, or will you return to Treslan”?

“We have to return, and tell of these developments, but one or all of us will return in two days to this place. Be cautious Bevan, the enemy has many guises, and on Treslan, or while the portal is open, can look just like any other Treslander”.

Lee answered in a firm voice, “I am of the Black Legion, my family has been champions for the oppressed and preyed upon, for as long as there have been people on earth to defend. Where the Knights Templars were well known, The Black Legion was secretive and more deadly, if whoever meets me here, does not know of the Legion, then I will, how did you put it?, oh yeah, vanish them”.

At that, and without any other words Lee turned his back and headed out of the forest walking swiftly and confidently towards his truck parked some 1/2 mile away. Quietly, the fox slips off working it’s way along through the woods just off to the side of the hunter, forever watchful of the area as it tags along.

“Whatcha think so far Peach?”

Categories
fantasy hunting mystery outdoors Sci Fi SyFy Uncategorized writing

The “Bevan“ — The Beginning

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”.