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Bevan danger family fantasy Heritage Protection safety Sci Fi series SyFy writing

The Bevan – Power Moves

Part X

Trinity smirked at her Uncle’s last “Stay out of mischief!” comment and watched them all go into the conference room, and the door close. One big guard going in, and one blocking the door from outside.

Trinity looked at the wall mural and found what looked to her like the beginning of a story, and started trying to picture what was going on in the painting. As she studied the painting, Trinity was drawn in to the scenes of battle, towns being built and destroyed, knights battling men and other odd looking creatures, there were even dragons. At times the knights and soldiers looked to be winning, and further in time, they looked to be losing. She slowly moved down the wall and saw a chamber with a throne-like seat made from what looked like the roots of a tree, still growing its tendrils into the earth, all around it. Trinity studied the scene, it was similar to the one on the tunnel wall, only this one had a woman sitting on the throne, dressed in blue leather armor that was glowing, then Trinity realized the woman was not only sitting on the throne, it appeared as if the throne was blending with her. The story continued, and Trinity was looking at a huge battle scene, soldiers, knights and weird creatures were all battling, and in the background was the very same fortress that she was in. The soldiers and knights were defending the fortress while the creatures and even men were attacking. The defenders were outnumbered, and were being slowly driven back towards the river surrounding the fortress. From the fortress she could see hundreds of arrows flying, and striking the enemy. One archer, standing on the parapet stood out from all the others, he was tall, and held a longbow. Trinity could see his arrow in flight flashed a greenish tint in the sunlight, on its way to strike an apparent leader. The bowman took his time, like a sniper, and continually shot anyone that looked like they were giving orders. Trinity noticed vaguely, that his outfit resembled her Uncle Lee’s, right down to the soft moccasin style boots. She slowly moved along the wall, seeking something that would give her a clue as to how they could end this conflict, and she could tell her uncle she found it.

Inside the conference, Lee was filled in on several steps that the Treslanders were taking in preparation for more conflict. Though never directly asked, Lee could feel tension in the air as the conversation wound it’s way towards the secret chamber, the throne and it’s use throughout their recorded time. Lee found out that the Premier and his family had been, for as long as the records go back, guarding the throne, and protecting those that could control its power. One of which, was killed by a betrayal, but not before she had a child, who in turn had children, to keep the line going. Now as another lifetime rolls past, the Treslanders look to the legends and myths to help protect them. Lee knew where the conversation was headed. Eventually, it would come to Elena, and when she would come to take her place on the throne and restore peace. Lee redirected the conversation for the moment, away from that, and asked who was the most likely responsible, for this latest outbreak of violence, and where on the map on the table did they think he or she was holed up. The others around the table all looked perplexed and unsure how to proceed, then the Premier said, “We are not exactly sure. We have heard rumors of one of the expelled wizards stirring up this last round of violence”. The Premier continued, “We are not sure how that is possible, as it was ages ago when they were expelled. I have begun sending scouts out, in hopes of gathering more information, so we can have a better picture. It will take time though”.

Lee nodded in affirmation, “It’s a big place, I suppose, so I think you’re right in trying to get information. At least then we have a direction to go. I know you all wish Elena would just come here, and somehow do whatever is done to make this go away, but I will not bring her or anyone else besides Trinity, through the portals, until I know for certain what we are up against, and how we are going to keep them safe.” With that Lee looked each member in the room, straight in the eyes, to make sure they understood.

“I have my own reasons for bringing Trinity, and she and I alone know them. She also understands the risks, and I think can help me figure this puzzle out”. Lee looked at Falan and asked, “What have you found out about what I saw during the attack?” Falan glanced around and looked a bit pale.

“What is he referring to, Falan?” asked the Premier. Falan looked past Lee at Trendar, who was pacing around in the background, then at the Premier

“Sir, I request before we discuss this, the room is cleared except for yourself, Lee, Rotar and me.” Trendar visibly stiffened when he heard Falan’s request to the Premier, and started to object, but the Premier nodded at Falan.

“Clear this room immediately. Guards, make sure no one enters until I say”, commanded the Premier. The guards snapped into action and hustled the scribes and servants out, along with Trendar, who was glaring at those who remained. Falan waited until all were gone, and even then he hesitated, as he then explained what he was told by Lee to the Premier. Lee waited with interest, on whatever new information Falan had learned.

Trinity faintly heard the commotion of people exiting the private room behind her, as she studied the wall mural, when suddenly she felt the armor she was wearing stiffen, and she was quite startled by it. She glanced at it under her cloak, and it appeared as if it were faintly glowing a red hue! Then she heard, “Hello! If it isn’t the curious artist!” behind her, and immediately she jerked the cloak closed, recognizing the voice as the same one in the hall earlier.

Trinity turned and smiled, “Hello, again. I thought you would be in the ‘big meeting’?”She saw the anger in his eyes, belying the fake smile he had on his face.

“My services were not needed at this time, so I am taking a break.” Trendar replied.

Trinity could tell he was fuming behind the smile, “That’s cool. I’m sure you are not missing any important stuff,” as she turned back to the painting.

Trinity was just starting to focus on the painting again, when suddenly raised voices came from the secure room, and she heard “TRENDAR!!! Get in here now!!!!” And at the same time, she was shoved forcefully from behind, into the wall which was opening into a dark room or hall, and then closed behind her, with Trendar locked inside the hall with her.

Trinity stumbled forward and rolled, popping up on her feet, facing Trendar in the dark room. She could hear shouts, and banging on the closed hidden door. “It’s just you and me young artist,” Trendar said sarcastically. “I have to wonder, why of all the people the Bevan knows, why he brought you, hmmm?”

She kept silent, as she looked for a way out or a way to open the door. Trinity watched him, as she was searching, and she kept quiet as he kept asking questions of her, yet more or less to himself. “He has so many warrior friends.” Seeing her look of surprise, he explained, “Oh, yes. I know all about the Bevan and his life through the portal. They are not the only ones who can travel back and forth. Some of us have done it for ages…”. He suddenly cut himself off, realizing he had perhaps revealed too much.

Trinity had been scanning the dark room for a way out, and found it to her right. It was a dark corridor, but it was at least an option, if she could not get the door she was pushed through, back open. She could feel the leather armor pulse, and the arm gauntlets tighten on her, and she was glad her cloak was closed as not to reveal it to Trendar. She wasn’t sure why, but she thought it best kept secret from him, for the time being.

“Oh, there’s hundreds of ways out, but I am afraid I can’t let you go, until I get what I need.” taunted Trendar, as if he could read her thoughts. “So, tell me, young artist, why did the Bevan bring you, instead of anyone else!?” his voice taking taking on a very sinister tone, echoing deep through the dark room. His eyes were seeming to glow a dull orange.

Trinity inwardly gasped at the change, and her vest and gauntlets all stiffened, and could she feel them warm, as her hands slipped back behind her, and she gripped the handles of her blades. “Why don’t you ask him?” she inquired in exasperation. Following up in a firm, but shaky voice “Or are you scared to?”

Trinity saw his head snap up, and he growled, “Watch your words, Child, you have no idea what I am or what I am capable of!!”

Trinity caught the slip of “What I am” instead of “Who I am” and she saw Trendar’s eyes seem to glow dark red, and she suddenly saw the knife in his hand, long curved and thin dark yellowish colored blade with cryptic symbols on it. She also noticed his hands did not look normal, they had super thick-looking skin, and his fingernails were round, and pointed like an animal’s. Trinity backed farther away, as Trendar appeared to slowly get taller, and bigger, and more like a creature, compared to how he previously appeared.

“Now you will tell me what I want to know, or you will suffer great pain, and agony, and in the end, you will tell me anyway!!” roared Trendar in the tunnel. Trinity was taken aback by the sheer forcefulness of his voice. She moved parallel in the room, to gain distance, as it was longer than it was wide. She suddenly felt somehow lighter, and the armor that Jondar had given her started vibrating against her, and she could “feel” as if it were alive!

Trinity slid the blades from their sheathes on her back, and moved to a guard stance. “I’m not sure who…what you are, but I’m telling you nothing, and I’m leaving! So, get open that door, or I will when you’re gone”

Trendar saw the black blades, and had a sudden thought that he had seen them before in the past, but could not place them at the moment. His eyes narrowed, as his glance caught a glimpse of what looked like leather armor under her cloak. “I see that old fool Jondar has been meddling again. It won’t help you, in the end. You will see”.

Trinity did not answer. She held her guard position, trying to see what he would try first. She knew he was stronger and much bigger, but she relied on her speed to make up the difference. Remembering what her Uncle said, “Fast and violent is the advantage,” she readied herself for his first move.

It came so fast, she almost missed blocking it. She was dumbfounded at the lightening speed of his attack. Trendar thrust his short sword straight at her right arm, not trying to kill her, but to disarm her. Trinity had her right arm bent at the elbow across her body with her blade up protecting her chest, and her left arm out in front, pointing at him.

Her defense was to pivot her right side back and away, and thrust at his blade with her left blade. The effect knocked his blade off line, and past her arched body, as she spun around to face him again, while he drew back from the thrust, and swiped his sword again, at where her arm would have been.

Trinity realized that despite being big and ugly, her opponent had really good skill, and she was evenly matched, much to her surprise, as she thought of him, previously, as kind of weak the few times she saw him.

Trendar did not hesitate. He again attacked, this time swiping at one of her legs, and she dropped a blade down and flat against her thigh, as his blade struck, blocking it from cutting. She immediately swiped at the blade hand with her other knife, but he pivoted away. Trinity took the opportunity to sling her cloak off, and at him for a distraction, but she didn’t need to, as Trendar saw her exposed armor, with it’s glowing reddish hue, and he visibly paled. She heard him mutter, “Lost defenders’ armor! It’s not possible!”

He again stabbed at her arm, straight thrust — not holding back, the tip striking her left gauntlet, but it did not penetrate the leather, but instead, the force shoved her arm into her mid section. Trinity gasped at the force of the blow. She just knew she had to be deeply cut, but the gauntlet vibrated on her arm. and the armor did the same on her chest, and torso. She reacted instinctively, and spun her other blade in an arc in front of herself, striking his wrist, and the blade not even slowing as it cut through the skin, muscle and bone, severing his hand at the wrist.

Trendar roared in pain, stumbling back, gripping his wrist, and screaming so loud the walls felt like they were vibrating, as he stumbled and staggered backwards, turning to run down the tunnel.

“Lost defender or not, I’ll have my revenge!!!!!!”. Trinity kicked his severed hand away, and stood there trembling for a couple minutes, unsure If she should go after him, or try and get out.

As Falan revealed what he had learned of Trendar, the Premeir grew stiffer and more angry. “That man has been by mine and my family’s side, longer than I can remember!” he growled. “You’re telling me, that he could possibly be the reason we are again at war? A spy? A traitor??” He continued, “Get him back in here IMMEDIATELY!!” bellowed the Premier. “Guards!” he shouted, and the doors were forcefully opened, and the other guard came in, sword drawn, scanning for an enemy and looking to protect the Premier. As the guard rushed in, Lee, Falan, and Rotar all spotted Trendar standing behind Trinity, by the mural, and as the Premier shouted “Trendar?!? Get in here now!!!”

But, before they could act, the wall seemed to part, and Trendar shoved Trinity into the dark void, and followed. Then, as quickly as it opened, the passage shut again, not leaving so much as a hint of where it was! Lee and the others rushed over and shoved and pushed on the walls to no avail.

The Premier said, “How did he know of these passages? They were supposed to be sealed after the priests were banished. If he knows of these, the treachery is worse than I thought. He may have found passage to the Chamber!”

The Premier continued as he quickly made his way back into the meeting hall, “Rotar, get your trusted guards and secure the Chamber at all costs!” Lee was still trying to find a way into the passage to help Trinity, and only left that when the Premier called to him, “Bevan? You will not get in that way, come, we will get the old text, and find a way in. It would be easier if there were someone that knew the old passages.”

Rotar left to assemble the guards for the protection of the Chamber, while the others looked through a huge, old, hand-written book, that had hand drawn maps, and what looked like incantations all written in a dialect foreign to Lee. The page was turned and Lee immediately saw the mural room, and there was the open passage with more foreign writing. Falan asked, “Can you read this, Premier?”

“Some, I can,” answered the Premier, “These tell of the uses of the passes and the meaning of the murals. I’ve read this, when I was but a lad. The others are in a language of the priests, and I cannot decipher.”

Lee was becoming more frustrated by the second, and said “The let’s get some tools, and some men, and knock a hole in the wall! My young kin is trapped in this space with him, and we need to get in there NOW!” Lee walked back out of the doorway and was surprised to see Jondar coming into the mural room.

“Rotar told me what happened. I came as quickly as I could.” Jondar explained. The Premier and Falan had come back into the room, joining Lee and Jondar. The Premier carried the ancient text. Jondar saluted him, “Sir, unless you can speak the language of the priests, you will not get that door open with that book. It was written for them to use to pass on the escape and spy routes.” As he was talking, Jondar was running his hand over the mural, where the hidden door was, and said, “Some of these passages were used after the priests were expelled, but not for spying or escaping, but for quick movement of the Lost Defenders”. As he said that, he pushed a spot with his finger on the mural and the door flung open!

Trinity heard a click behind her, and quickly spun bringing her weapons up to her guard position, not yet sure if Trendar had somehow managed to get behind her and open a new passage. Jondar, her Uncle Lee, and Falan, all came rushing in! Trinity dropped her guard and Lee grabbed her, “Are you ok? No injuries? What happened?”

Before Trinity could reply, Jondar said, “It looks as though Trendar is a SkinWalker, and not who he seemed,” as he pointed his short sword at the severed hand and knife. Jondar retrieved the knife and looked at the inscriptions and designs. “Nothing of interest. It’s all curses for it’s victims, more important, is the fact that a SkinWalker still survives. They were thought to be hunted to the last one, ages ago. Very powerful they are, very skilled, but not, I see, a match for you, young lady,” he said to Trinity. “I was correct when I sensed something in you, and I am justified in giving you the armor of the Lost Defenders for sure now. Premier, there’s not much hope of catching him, but I will follow and see what I can find, if that is your wish?”

“Yes, Jondar, take who you need, and find that traitor and destroy it, or bring it before me!” directed the Premier.

Jondar saluted and rapidly walked out of the room, headed to his quarters to get his weapons and gear, “I’ll be back in a couple minutes,” he said as he left.

Falan had gone a short way down the tunnel and came back, “He’s leaving a trail a blind Brak could follow, maybe he will bleed out before too far,” he said.

Jondar came back in as he said that, and replied, “SkinWalkers rarely die easily, they take a lot of killing. I’ve seen SkinWalkers take on entire squads and win. I’ve seen them stuck full of holes that no one would survive, and they just kept going. I’m hopeful his injury slows him down, but I have little hope he’s expired.” Everyone turned as Jondar walked back in the room, wearing bronze colored leather armor with dark red highlights, he had a short spear in his left hand, and a sword in his right, on his back were two short doubled-bladed axes.

Falan immediately snapped a salute, as the Premier said, “Not since I was a child, have I seen the armor of the Lost Defenders’ Destroyer Squad, Jondar. I was wondering how you knew so much about the shapeshifter and the hidden passages. It is truly an honor to be in your presence, I had thought that line was gone long ago.”

Jondar inclined his head in a slight bow, “There are, as you see Premier, still a few of us left. We remain hidden, but ready to serve when needed. We watch, teach, and always prepare, and try to find those with the inherited talent to become a Lost Defender.” As he spoke he was looking straight at Trinity. “Tell me, Trinity, did you feel anything unusual when you were in danger? Anything at all?”

Everyone in the room was suddenly looking at Trinity, and she blushed a little, but quickly spoke up, “The armor, it felt, how do I describe it? Before I knew he was there the armor tightened, then during the fight, it constantly felt like it was changing, like it was ALIVE!” she exclaimed.

Jondar nodded, “Then you truly have inherited your skill from a Lost Defender, for only with them does the armor meld with so completely. Now, I must go, if I hope to have any chance of catching him in the fortress. I will report back with any news.”

The Premier nodded, and as Jondar started down the passage, Lee, Falan and even Trinity all said, “You can’t go alone!”

“This is what I do,” Jondar explained looking back at them over his shoulder, “what I’ve always done, protect at all costs, from evil, this fortress, and it’s Premier, and family. You three must now find what it is you are supposed to do,” looking at Trinity again, “If what I suspect about you is true, your job is here as a Defender. There will come a time you will have to make an impossible decision, but this isn’t it.”

With that, Jondar walked into the dimly lit passage.

Categories
adventure Bevan family fantasy mystery Sci Fi series SyFy writing

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 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.

Categories
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.

Categories
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
danger Fear hunting life styles nature peace photography Uncategorized

Hunter or Hunted

Batman Says:

All my life I have, as have millions of others have, hunted things. Be it animals or pictures or items, hunting is ingrained in my soul. I have hunted with my eyes, numerous cameras, rifles, shotguns, bows, crossbows, fishing poles, traps, and cages, you name it and I have probably tried it. The degree of success depends on what you think the outcome should be. There are times when I could walk out my door and trip over something I wanted to hunt, and there have been times that entire seasons have gone by without me getting any game at all. Both to me are victories as I get to participate in a sport/hobby/lifestyle that I love. I have written a few times about being out in the wilds and finding my “peace”, and sometimes it applies when I’m hunting, not always though, as it’s a different mentality to me.

There’s not a lot of danger hunting where I do, yes there are some bear at times, and wild boar, and even a white tailed deer can mess you up if you get it cornered and are careless. But for the most part it’s accidents, the occasional snake or your own clumsiness that will be your undoing. There are ways to make it challenging and even the playing field a bit. The object of hunting is to take game to consume (for me anyways I DO NOT trophy hunt, you can’t eat horns) and to do so in a humane fashion. Granted I could shoot an animal from 500 yards away with today’s modern rifles, but in my humble opinion, this is not hunting in the true sense, it’s more sport shooting. I have NOTHING against this way, it’s just not hunting to me. I prefer the close combat hunting where I pit my stealth, woods knowledge and skill against an animal that lives there, where it knows all the paths and ways. Out foxing a wild animal at close range in its “home” to me is the definition of hunting. Slipping up on a sounder of wild boar within 20,15, 10 yards armed with a bow or crossbow or even a handgun, is thrilling and scary as all get out, especially if all you’re doing is taking photographs and the “weapon” you have is not really adequate to stop a determined charge of a boar or momma sow with piglets. My point in this being, given the right circumstance even modern hunting can be challenging and dangerous. I can describe things like this and people might get it, here wait, come along on a hunt with me and see…

Quietly closing the truck door in the darkness after getting all my gear out and on, I look up and listen to the night sounds. 05:30 am, still at least 2 hours before first light, may have gotten here a bit early today, but it is the first day of the season. Silently slipping into my back-pack and then cocking the crossbow I get set, and take a few quiet moments to look up at the sky full of millions upon billions of stars and thank God for another day. Some days you just feel “it”, there’s something here not quite right today, but you shake it off and begin to make your way to the ground blind that Peach and I set up a few weeks ago, this will be the first stopping point until it gets bright enough to see to legally hunt. Moving slowly along the trail, listening to try and make sure I don’t spook any early morning game on the way to the blind. Hearing the softest sound of a footfall in the palmettos and briars to the side of the trail and immediately freezing, to try and determine what it could be. It’s pitch black, I truly wish there was a better description of the kind of dark it gets in the deep woods before dawn, an inky blackness that blocks all light, it’s like swimming in black paint at times. At times like this it’s the other senses that I trust, closing my eyes I listen, and try to catch a whiff of any scents (animals do have distinct smells and we can sometimes pick up on them) that may be drifting on the almost non existent wind currents. Time slowly ticks past, and here and there the errant mosquito buzzes around and still I stand perfectly still like an old oak tree with its roots firmly sunk in the rich earth. There is a feeling something is there but no sound, no movement, no smell to give it away, so I wait. Slowly the feeling subsides and the night creatures go back to making their soft noises, and I, even though I cannot shake the feeling that I’m being watched, move on down the trail towards the blind. Finally I reach the blind and settle in one of the two camp chairs slowly relaxing and waiting on the first signs of daylight.

Waiting in the blind, listening to the world wake slowly, the feeling is still there, muted, subdued but still there, the feeling of watchfulness. The first hints of daylight start showing through and yet I still wait, not time to move yet, cannot legally hunt. Slowly things start to take shape in the graying light and something moves across the trail I just walked 25-30 yards away, low but moving like silk undulating in the wind without making a sound. What was that? No idea, but it was quick! Silently putting my back-pack on again and picking up my crossbow I emerge from the blind. Put a bolt (crossbow arrow) on the crossbow and stand still preparing to begin my hunting.

Today I’m “still hunting” which unlike its name, involves moving. Taking two preplanned steps I settle and look, slowly all the way around me, starting close up and moving my eyes in ever widening arcs over the terrain. It never ceases to amaze me how animals can be standing right in front of me and I don’t even see them until I make a mistake and get too close or move when I shouldn’t and they bolt. Still hunting brings into play all the senses and skills learned.

Ever so slowly I move in the same pattern, 2 steps, stop, look slowly around me. In this fashion I take a great deal of time to go anywhere. The sun still hasn’t breached the horizon, so the world is a gray pallet and distant things blend into the background. Making it to the fork in the trail I have to decide to either go into the deeper woods or stay along the edge. Today I enter the trail that will eventually take me past a ladder stand and into the woods deeper eventually running into the creek and swamp parts. Slipping deeper into the woods I stop by the ladder stand and just wait, watching an open area where game travels at times, partially due to its location near wild persimmon trees. Squirrels hop about gathering the abundant acorns and chasing each other and I slip quietly on. The sun finally erupts over the horizon behind the trees in a burst of color like blood and orange all across the sky behind the trees lighting the woods. Carefully I move trying not to be noticed by the animals seen and unseen that I know are here as I can see and “feel” them. Freezing mid step I see a flicker of movement ahead, and try to determine what it is. Bird? Or maybe it’s the tail of a feeding white tailed deer. It’s a deer! Walking away it hasn’t noticed me, not in a position to shoot either, walking away, to much growth between us and farther than I like. Winds ok, blowing to me off my right front so it won’t smell me, so I ever so slowly, like the decay of time, inch forward on the trail behind it trying to stay where I can keep it in sight. It’s amazing how they can brush past bushes but make no sound, if I could do that I’d be the most efficient hunter in the world. Despite my trying to, I’m unable to keep the deer in sight and be quiet, so it fades off into the trail ahead, not spooked that I can tell, just feeding along. I slip along, hoping to catch a glimpse but never do again. Breaking through to the edge of the creek line the woods are darker but the undergrowth much thinner, making visibility better but not as much as one would think. Slinking along in the same fashion I make my way through the woods cautiously, stopping every 2 steps just as before.

I stop and watch a raccoon family tromp past and cross the creek 15 yards to my right, never noticing I am there, too involved with whatever thoughts raccoons have. Slowly and steadily, I make my way in a long circle eventually coming back to the opening in the woods, by the persimmon trees, again this time from the opposite side and as I approach the hair on my neck stands up and I know I’m being watched. Freezing in place I start methodically picking apart every piece of cover, searching for whatever it is causing the creepy sensation, my senses in full alert as my heart pounds in my chest so loud I think it’s audible. Nothing! I can’t see…wait There it is, holy cow He’s huge!! And he’s looking right at me!!! Bobcat “Lynx Rufus” aka “red lynx” Florida’s #1 ambush predator, sneaky, stealthy, ghostly killer, efficient at its art. Not normally a threat to humans unless trapped or cornered. This is what I have been “feeling” since I first arrived, why is it not slinking off like normal. Watching it sink lower almost flat to the ground it’s floating shoulder blades allowing it to almost appear flat, claws digging into the ground to get a better grip it is getting ready to charge! Honestly I can’t believe what I’m seeing, leveling the crossbow scope on his shoulder I hear the audible click as the safety clicks off not even realizing I did so and at that instant he explodes from cover, leaping 5′ before I realize, I drop the sights rapidly catching up to him and release the bolt and it travels the 20′ left between us in seconds hitting home and passing completely through. He somersaults mid-stride Breaking off his charge and dashing towards the briars where I hear thrashing and growling for a few more seconds then silence. I had no idea I had backed up so far as I try 3 times before I can get another bolt from the quiver and cock the bow never taking my eyes off the spot I last saw him. Letting my heart sink back outta my throat I finally slowly (and I cannot stress how slowly) I move towards the spot. Scanning scanning don’t see him, gotta be there, where.. there he is, not moving, not breathing. I drag him out and look at him, big “Tom” bobcat, looks healthy, why did he act so odd? Bolt hit him right in the shoulder and passed clean through, he was dead before he knew he was hit. The scared ****less shakes hit, and subside with time and I gather the “cat” and slowly make my way back to the truck. I will skin, and sell the hide as I am also a trapper and bobcats are in season.

Funny how hunting goes, sometimes when we think we are the hunters, we become the hunted. I did nothing to the bobcat mentioned earlier, for some reason he chose to stalk and eventually try me. Today was my day, next time…

I’m a creature of the woods like all the other creatures God put here, I’m at home there as much as I’m at home in my house. I know there are dangers in hunting as in every walk of life, but with the “Armor of God” and faith in Him I will continue to hunt and live my life with Peach.

Next time you get to tag along Peach, 4 eyes see more stuff than 2″

Categories
bible danger Faith Fear human trafficking Life missing safety Uncategorized

“Feelings”

Batman Says:

Not what you think I am willing to bet, unless you are in tune with the way my mind works and honestly, not many are (including me sometimes).

Sitting in a restaurant, when suddenly you get the “feeling” someone is watching you, walking down a street, there it is again. Late at night at home, you get the impression that something isn’t quite right, what is really going on? Wander along with me while we explore the possibilities of what these things could mean, and how we can handle them, be it a figment of the imagination, or something else…

First and foremost, I am not nor have I ever clamed to be an “expert” or doctor of ANY kind, the best I can do is Army first aid, and first responder first aid training, never been a fan or believer in “head doctors” Psychiatrists or the likes, that’s just me. I was brought up to believe in God, and I have NEVER waivered from that belief, anyways, wanted to point out that the ramblings here are from a person not trained in mental anything.

So back to those “feelings”, the ones that make us feel uncomfortable, or unsafe, what are they really? For this old boy, they are indicators of something dangerous, something unsafe or amiss. See, I am from the school that believes that the human body and mind can sense things, like danger prior to actually seeing it, can “feel” a dangerous person in the room or area. This can also be animals or areas, that for some reason the mind knows are dangerous even though there are no outward signs. I haven’t fallen off the deep end, I do not believe in the ability to read minds, or the like. But I do believe that some of us have learned not to suppress the abilities that God gave us to sense danger or harmful events, people, or animals. While eating out with your friends or family, I honestly believe everyone at one time or another has been effected by the sudden “feeling” something was wrong or someone was staring at them , I know I have on several occasions. Why is this? What is occurring that causes this “feeling” and why do some people get it more than others? Bigger question is, why do more people NOT react, instead they put it down to anything else, and continue with whatever they were doing.

As a hunter, and I have hunted wild animals, and men (still do as a Police Officer) I have been “hunted” as a Soldier and as a Police Officer, and it is, to put in plain speak, scary to know someone is “hunting” you with the intent to harm you, until you have been there, its a “feeling” you cannot understand. As a relatively normal person (shush Peach) I like to enjoy my time out with Peach and with family and friends. But because of being hyper-vigilant most of my adult life, I have developed the “feeling” for danger, and it helps keep me on my toes. Chances are that you will go through your entire life and never be confronted with a dangerous situation or person. This does not mean it won’t happen, but the chances are pretty good it won’t, and to my dismay, this is why people ignore or suppress the “feeling” that comes over them at times. This “feeling” is suppressed so often by the average person that it does not even get recognized anymore. This is a shame, and may lead to unnecessary events that could be avoided if they would only pay attention to what they “feel”.

Gong back to the previous post about Human Trafficking, and using your eyes and ears for danger, if you allow your sense of “feeling” danger develop and do not block it out or ignore it, it would be one more tool to use. Animals all have this sense, and all use it all the time. Granted the oblivious armadillo, or opossum, or raccoon wander into the roadways and get taken out on an hourly basis, but observe them in the wild and you will see a side of them that is pretty interesting. Here, let me give you a personal example; I was in a ground blind last year, hunting deer with a bow. It was a slow morning and the woods were still, birds were all over singing and flying around and there were a couple of squirrels playing around 15 yards or so away. I suddenly “knew” a predator was around, I hadn’t heard anything, or seen anything but I knew without a doubt that I was not the only hunter in that immediate area at that time. The hairs on the back of my neck felt like they were standing straight out on my arms to, and I became hyper-alert. The squirrels and birds were still feeding and playing and then everything stopped. It was as if someone threw a switch, birds melted into oblivion, the squirrels froze in place and it was apparent they could “sense” the danger I felt seconds prior. I looked down at something in my blind and when I did I heard a thump out in front of me, as I looked up a bobcat (seen a lot of bobcats in my time this one was HUGE) was coming down from the tree he had jumped into chasing one of the squirrels. Flabbergasted is the only way I can describe my thoughts, there was less that 2 seconds before NOTHING around for 40-50′ in a pretty wide open area, and “poof” there was the largest bobcat I have ever seen coming down from an unsuccessful “pounce” after a squirrel. I “felt” his presence 20-30 seconds before his beaming down from wherever (how else he got there without me seeing his approach I cannot explain), the animals also picked this “feeling” up and acted upon it. Over my years as an outdoorsman and hunter, I have had this “feeling” numerous times, I sometimes suppress it if I am with others so as not to frighten them, but I remain on alert.

What does all this mean, why the ramble and why all the fuss about a “feeling” that most people will deny they ever get? Because I feel in todays time and atmosphere that people need to be extra careful of danger. People need to trust their instincts about people or situations, their senses should play a part and not be ignored. God gave us the ability to think, reason, prepare and defend, we should use ALL His gifts to help us do so.

Pay attention to your surroundings, pay attention to people, places and things. Lock your doors and windows when you are home and in your car, “listen” to that nagging voice, or feeling, listen to a trusted friend when they warn you of something. Who would warn you against a potential danger, except someone who has your interest in mind.

As a lifelong hunter of the evil most say “does not exist” my hope is none of you ever come face to face with it, as its ugly and violent and has only evil in mind. Take care of yourselves, take care of your family and friends, watch out when you have that “feeling”, it really is there to help. Myself and other “hunters of evil” will always do our best to keep you and yours safe, but do not think evil can’t find you even still.

“Put on the full armor of God, so that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” Ephesians 6:11

Peach have you seen my batman socks?

Categories
children danger exploited family Fatherhood Fear human trafficking Life missing parents safety Uncategorized

Find the Missing

Batman Says:

I’m not sure why, but I’m sure it is going on, most of the world turning a blind eye to “Human Trafficking”. Where are the outcry’s of rage? Where is the supposed “news media”, where are the family members of missing loved ones? Where are the Police? Where are the elected officials? Where for Gods sake are the red blooded American citizens who should be beating down the powers that be’s doors?

There are an estimated 800,000 missing children EVERY YEAR and these estimates are lowballed and do not include adults. There are evil people out there, snatching kids off the streets, playgrounds, and even yards, to sell as slaves and sex objects. It is not a new thing, it has been going on for ages, in the background, silently and stealthily, people are being snatched and disappear hourly.

Where is the outcry? It makes no sense, with all the families of the missing, there should be marching in the streets. Where is the so called news media, that says they have the public’s interest at heart in their “news” stories, one would think something like this would be front and center DAILY so people would see the severity of the problem and rise up to begin to stop it. They are not reporting it because it’s not sensational enough, there are no bad cops to show, nor politicians whose ideas they don’t agree with to bash, therefore they do not care. Folks to fix the news media is another story all by itself, but emailing and writing may help, I suggest something radical that I’m sure not a lot will do, but it would work, stop watching the news, stop watching that network, the one thing I do know these people want is ratings, without you they don’t have that, then they send out polls as to why and you can express your opinion and tell them why, but this is about the missing not the biased news.

This is no fantasy story, nor something happening only in lower class places, this is something that effects us all. Human traffickers care about only one thing, money, and to get money they need live bodies, boys, girls, men and women are ALL targets. We as people have GOT to make a stand and start thwarting these (and I won’t use foul language) lowest of life forms on the planet, by EVERY means available to us.

Here are a few tips:

Moms and Dads know where your kids are at all times

Watch your neighborhood, call the Police over suspicious people and / vehicles

Go places as groups not alone

Look at your surroundings as you move about, look up, not at your feet

Always tell someone where you are going to be, and when to expect you back

Let someone know your route you plan to take.

(Where it’s legal) Carry pepper spray, mace, or a stun gun, in your hand Anytime you are walking or running.

Park your car as close to the store you’re visiting as you can get, under a light if possible.

Do not park next to a van or truck, especially if it is between you and the store front.

When you leave the store Know where your vehicle is prior to wandering all over the lot.

(Where it’s legal) Walking to your vehicle have your pepper spray / mace/stun gun in your hand until you are in your car, with the door locked. Look at your car, does it look like it’s been disturbed? Is there a car or truck or even a car with dark tinted windows around it? If so, ask a store worker to walk you to your car.

There are hundreds of things we can do to make ourselves and our children and friends “hard targets” but it takes constant vigilance to do it.

As a Police Officer, I am appalled at the lack of concern, lack of public knowledge, lack of commitment by most anyone on this subject. It’s a disgrace and should not be allowed to stand.

Folks, if you know ANYTHING at all that could lead to finding even one missing person, one human trafficker, one location, or anything, I beg you to tell a Law Enforcement Officer, or anyone you can that may be able to help…if you’re afraid or don’t want to get involved, message us here privately and we will get the right people to the right places.

Together we can stop this horrible crime and maybe rescue someone’s loved one in the meantime.

Use the tips I posted 24 hours a day 7 days a week, pass them to your friends and family, pass the word around, information and diligence is key and together we can win.

Peach and I are both available to speak to groups about personal safety, just shoot us a message and we will see what we can come up with.

God bless you all and please be safe.

Your stun gun is fully charged Peach, is my hair sticking up?”

Categories
bible Faith Fear grace Life Uncategorized

Scared

I see a lot of scared people theses days, some are scared of the so called pandemic, but most I see, are scared at the unrest.

I see people that are afraid to leave their houses, afraid that someone will loot their business, rob them, and or harm them. These are normal everyday people, good people that should be able to rest easy and get on with their lives without fear.

Some of these people come to see Peach and I to get trained in how to protect themselves. They want to learn how to shoot, how to defend themselves against someone who thinks they are a lesser person. These are everyday people, moms and dads, store managers, retirees, whatever. Peach and I help the ones we can with good safe training and teaching skills to improve awareness, plus shooting skills that are relevant in real daily life.

But what we really see needed is a return to Godliness, a return to following Gods teachings and more faith and grace. I’m by no means a preacher, I know I have faults but I pray every night to be forgiven and every morning that I do better than the last.

If the world would stop trying to deny God’s existence, and just for 1 month follow His word, I guarantee there would be no need for people to want firearms training, no need to be afraid, only the need to live in grace.

Till then (if it ever happens), Peach and I will teach the skills needed to defend oneself and others against the evil that exists out there.

Word to my brothers and sisters in “Blue” “Cowboy up and do your job, you took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of your state, and of your agency or department, do not let crime happen if you can stop it, millions of people are counting on us to Do Our Jobs and Protect them, if you cannot or will not do that, turn your crap in and find a different line of work”.

If this offends you, tough, we do not stand by and watch people attacked by mask wearing punks and do nothing, if you do you’re no better than they are.

Anywho, I’m climbing off my podium and gonna hang out with Peach, you all have a blessed day/night/whatever.

“See Peach, it wasn’t that bad of a tirade”

Categories
bible Faith Gratitude Life thankful Uncategorized

Thankful

“Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good: His Mercy endureth forever.” — Psalm 107:1

Peach says:

Hey, Everybody! Not entirely sure of how this will come together, but it’s on my mind and I have to try!

A lot of things are coming together this year. No Covid can stop the move of God. When He says “Grace!” Grace is coming! It’s pouring! It’s rushing to heal. To fill, to refresh, to replenish and to restore! It just washes away the obstacles.

His Grace. It’s always here, right where we need it! Sometimes, where we need it and HOW we need it, is more like a trip to the ER, court, chemotherapy or radiation or a root canal, or two. It’s more like long term physical therapy or visitation, or unemployment. In other words it’s in our pain and our suffering, our desolation. it’s what keeps us going, helps us not be overcome, but instead to overcome. It’s the salt in our water we are faithfully treading. Giving us much needed buoyancy. It’s the spiritual CrossFit training chiseling the freshly flab out of our souls.

Thank God for it!! Because of THAT Grace, we make much needed progress, and LIVE to SEE way better days!!

We last to live to see the days our hearts long for, that we dream of. We KNOW we are experiencing much needed GRACE when we experience these much longed for victories, when we achieve accomplishments we struggled for, when we can’t wipe the silly grin off our faces, because He DID it! He brought our hopes to pass! He restored us, refreshed us, vindicated us, brought us out and INTO our much better place!

But, that Grace? Is a result of the first Grace. Which is not near as fun, and if we aren’t mindful, we may miss it altogether. And that would be a shame, because we NEED the memory of His faithfulness in the times of our darkest pain, our most pressing darkness, our most infuriating injustices. We need to tie that memory to us like a tourniquet around our arm, keeping the life blood of our faith from running out.

I like to take a breath and look around, outwardly and inwardly, and try to take stock of alllll the many ways His goodness is popping up and showing out, little details, that I know are not happenstance. Big things, that I wouldn’t have even known to pray for, but He did them anyway!

Last year and the year before, were challenging times. That’s the most I can really stand to say about them. For now. At the end of the year as we approached 2020, I was strongly impressed by the Lord, that where 2019 has been all about work, survival mode, it was preparing us for a 2020 that would see us thriving! I have to say, 5 months in, and I see the benefits all around me, tendrils of plants peeping up through the soil, some flowers already starting to unfurl.

If you are in survival mode, (or even coasting or thriving mode, this works all the time!). I encourage you to hold onto Him and His faithfulness, scream in your car on the way to work if you have to, cry in the shower, turn the Praise and Worship music on to Def Con 12, and give the devil a migraine! Read your Bible relentlessly. Listen to powerful and BIBLICAL teaching, every chance you get.

And in the process of time you will begin to feel a shift in the weather. He is faithful and knows we need changes in our seasons. And He’s a GOOD Father. So He does much needed work in us during the hard times. SO THAT the good times coming, don’t wreck us!

Look around, savor the signs of His faithfulness. Celebrate with Him, the beauty of His Grace. Don’t be ashamed to testify, someone most likely needs it.

While Samuel was offering the sacrifice, the Philistines came within range to fight Israel. Just then, God thundered a huge thunder clap exploding among the Philistines. They panicked—mass confusion!—and ran helter skelter from Israel. Israel poured out of Mizpah and gave chase, killing Philistines right and left, to a point just beyond Beth Car. Samuel took a single rock and set it upright between Mizpah and Shen. He named it “EBENEZER” (Rock of help), saying “This marks the place where God helped us.”— 1 Samuel 7:10-12 The Message

Happy Sunday, Y’all! God bless you and keep you and give you great JOY!

Peach