Friday, March 28, 2014

Friends and Enemies // Chapter Twenty Four // News of Attack

   "Ouch!" Willow complained as she tried to turn the spit with the pheasant over the kitchen fire. "I hate cooking," she muttered under her breath as she wiped her hands on the neat apron tied on over her mid-calf length tunic.
   "What was that?" Hyaline trilled as she pulled a fresh loaf of bread out of the brick bread oven.
   "Nothing," she replied sullenly. Then she sighed. "I just don't see how kitchen duty helps."
   Aliatha twirled her ankle length skirt away from the fire and smiled at her grumpy friend. "The fighters need to eat, correct? Well, than they cannot fight without being strong from healthy nutrition. So that is how this helps."
    "I know," Willow puffed, trying to peel the pheasant off of the spit. "Eesh, this thing's hot. Anyway, I've been wondering where Teclemith, Killian and Immer are. I mean, it's been like a week."
   Bréda trotted into the stuffy kitchen with a basket of apples on her hip. "Here are the apples, Hyaline," she announced, sliding the woven basket onto the table top. "Betro promised to teach me to sword fight!" she told the trio of older girls excitedly.
   "Cool," Willow affirmed, reaching for a bottle of sauce to pour over the successfully cooked pheasant.
   "That is probably for the best," Aliatha commented softly. "Though I detest the thought of such youths handling such weapons of war."
   Hyaline bobbed her head in agreement. "They should not grow up on war," she murmured.
   "Where is Betromith?" Willow inquired, scooping up a handful of apples for peeling.
   Bréda shrugged. "He is speaking with the prince, I believe. He's concerned about Teclemith and Killian still remaining in Gossgath."
   Hyaline glanced longingly out the window towards Gossgath. "I am concerned as well. I do hope 'Clem is doing well." Her expression held fear.
   Willow caught it and shook her head. "I'm sure they're fine, Hyaline. Maybe Sir Jehonathan is collecting money for our cause, and that is what's delaying them."
   Hyaline didn't look convinced, but nodded anyway.
   Willow peered out the window. "Looks like Asharlah's having fun," she remarked, obviously rather annoyed at being left to be a kitchen maid. Asharlah's greenish blue eyes danced as she and Emmeth playfully practiced with their swords.
   "Willow, your next pheasant is burning," Aliatha noted.
   "Gah!" Willow gasped and grabbed for the spit, burning her fingers on the hot metal. "Hot, hot, hot, hot," she muttered through clenched teeth, sticking her hand into the bowl of water next to the window. "Ah."
   The other girls giggled at her plight. "Here, next time, use the mitt," Aliatha snickered.
   "Lunch is served," Willow announced, balancing one tray of tasties on her hip and one on her hand.
   "It smells wonderful," Emmeth replied, reaching for a pheasant.
   Asharlah batted his hand away. "Cousin, you really must learn better manners!" she teased.
   Emmeth grinned as he filled his plate. "Whatever you please, dear Cousin."
   Willow rolled her eyes at Hyaline over his head as she took a seat next to the princess.
   "Get anything done today?" she asked pointedly, sticking a fork into her pheasant.
   Asharlah shrugged. "Not much, but we did practice a little with our weapons."
   "Nice," Willow interjected, trying not to feel annoyed at Asharlah not helping in the kitchen.
   "So , Emmeth, have you heard anything from Teclemith, Killian, and Immer from Gossgath?" Willow asked.
   Emmeth shook his head, a worried expression flashing over his face. "No. I am starting to worry. It has been a week."
   Asharlah started to look worried as well. "What about Ganymede? What if something has happened to all of them?"
   Hyaline's eyes grew fearful. "Should we send someone?" she suggested softly.
   "I'll go," Willow volunteered, taking a bite of pheasant.
   Emmeth shook his head. "We cannot have you cavorting around the land all of the time," he disproved.
   Willow sighed dramatically. "You guys never let me have any fun," she muttered.
   Emmeth reached over Asharlah and patter her hand teasingly. "Maybe soon there will be something "fun" to do."
   He didn't know how right he was.


   Willow rolled over for the twentieth time, trying to find a comfortable spot on her bunk. She heard Aliatha grown under her, from the bottom bunk.
   "Willow, must you move so?" she complained. "It makes such noise!"
   "Sorry-" Willow started, but was interrupted by a shout of "Rider Approaching!"
   Pillows and blankets flew through the dark room as the five girls tossed their bedclothes out of the way and made for the door. Bréda grabbed Hyaline's hand as they pushed through the wood door and hurried towards the wall.
   "Who goes there?" shouted the night watch, leaning down with his torch to try to get a look at the rider's face.
   "Immer of Loriath," came the reply.
   "Let her in," Willow called to the guard manning the gate. "I can vouch for her."
   The gate screeched as it was lifted up, and a grey speckled horse galloped through with a purple-cloaked rider. Immer jerked her horse to a halt and slid down, tossing the reigns to a guard.
   "Willow!" she called, her eyes wide with fear. "I need to see the prince, I have urgent news from Gossgath."
   "C'mon, I'll take you," Willow grabbed Immer's hand and hurried to the prince's quarters. "Emmeth, we have a messenger."
   The prince stuck his head out of the door, his hair matted and rather comical, and squinted at the girls. "Is something wrong?"
   Immer nodded hard. "Yes, you must call a council. Gossgath is in grave danger."


   "Mistress Immer, if you would kindly explain the message you have," Sir Richard requested. You would never have guessed that he'd been sleeping twenty minutes ago. He looked like he'd been up for hours with the calm expression of slight concern on his face.
   Immer stood up and cleared her throat. "As you might have known, Sir Jehonathan has been appointed Knight of Gossgath in place of his brother {here she nodded to Sir Richard}. Fortunately, we {ahem, Teclemith, Killian and I} have investigated and he appears to be on our side. Unfortunately, the so called "king" has discovered this and has sent warnings by messengers that Gossgath will be sieged if the Knight does not comply. And just yesterday morning, news was sent that there are troops of orcs and the military that are marching."
   Muffled protests were heard as Immer paused to let her words to sink in.
   "What should we do?" Kadesh blurted out, glancing at his father first, then the prince.
   Sir Richard appeared deep in thought. "The so called king is obviously serious about this. It appears that he believes that a show of strength and power at Gossgath will bully the people into silence."
   "Well played, " Willow muttered.
   Emmeth stood and turned to Immer. "Does Gossgath have adequate means for defending itself?"
   Immer nodded. "They are hurriedly evacuating all women and children and are stocking up on food supplies."
   More murmurs rippled through the group. "He has no right!" cried one. "Make 'em leave!" "Chase 'em off!"
   "Silence!" Emmeth yelled. He drew in a long sigh. "What do you recommend?" he asked Sir Richard in a low voice.
   "I recommend helping Gossgath defend itself. It will show our strength and unity to the people," he advised.
   Emmeth nodded, than threw a fleeting glance at Willow, as if to make sure she approved. She gave an ever-so-slight nod.
   He turned to Immer once more. "When do you expect the soldiers?"
   "Within two days," she replied.
   The prince sighed. "We leave at dawn. I want everyone who will be going to have a bow, quiver, a dagger, and a sword. You are all dismissed."
   As the rest of the council got up and made their way out of the turret room, Emmeth caught Willow's arm and waited until the rest of the group had gone.
   "I am going to be leaving Sir Richard in charge. I would like you to come with me to advise me. You have the most experience with the Shadow and orcs, and that knowledge may be invaluable," the prince requested.
   "Prince, I do not believe that bringing a lady along would be the best idea-" Sir Richard began.
   "I know, Sir, but her knowledge may be indispensable," Emmeth argued.
   "I'll go," Willow interrupted. "I know I'll be able to help."


   "Bow, quiver, dagger, sword," Willow recited as she picked up each item.
   "Are you sure that this is a good idea?" fretted Aliatha, handing Willow her grey cloak. "I just think that you would be much safer here with us in Essgarothe."
   "Promise not to do any actual fighting, and to stay far away from anyone who might hurt you?" Hyaline questioned, handing her a canteen.
   "Sure, sure. I'll try," Willow assured them, hitching her quiver over her shoulder. "See you when we beat them." She hugged each girl in turn.
   "Be careful," Bréda whispered into Willow's ear as she bent down to wrap her arms around the little girl.
   "Cross my heart," Willow whispered back. Than standing up, she gave them a cocky salute, than hurried down to the courtyard to join the others.

   Hey guys! Sorry about last Friday, we were busy and I didn't think about doing a quotes post until after Friday, which was kinda dumb. Anyway, now is now.
   But next week D and I have a week of rehearsing for a small play that out homeschool group is putting on. We {and our friend} are playing Southern Belles, and I just got my dress yesterday. Maybe we'll do a photoshoot and show you our awesome outfits!
   So D probably isn't going to post because of the intense schedule of the newt week, but I hope to post my next chapter next week. I'm going to be working on it this weekend, so I hope it's finished by then. If it isn't, know that it is a monumental chapter and its implications are large.

   Be a friend, not an enemy,


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Watchmen Files // File One // Chapter Nineteen // Descent into Danger

Hey guys!

Another Wednesday, another chapter of the Watchmen Files!

   So, here we have the beginning of the end. Well, of this file. But we're getting very, very close to finishing File One. I started writing this back in September of 2013 (or so my blog tells me) and now it's March 2014! Time had been flying and the story has, too. Maybe sometime in between now and the second file I'll write up a little how-I-got-to-writing-this-book post. Or not. I dunno.

    But anyway, onward and forward!

   The clouds were thick, perfect for hiding the small Watchmen manned plane as it flew speedily through the overcast night sky. The dark stormy clouds blocked their view, and other than the sonar, they were going in blind. The sky lit up with a bright flash of white light, and five seconds later it erupted with a boom of thunder.
   "It sure has been a rough flight," Mason stated the obvious. Craning his neck to see into the cockpit from the middle-half of the plane, the whole ship rocked and dropped a short distance before leveling out again.
   Conner gulped and gripped the his seatbelt tightly. He hadn't gotten over their last flight (technically, it was a crash, which explained his nervousness), and the ordeal made his stomach churn.
   "Conner, you haven't opened your eyes since we lifted off," Mason observed with a sarcastic eyebrow-lift.
   "Don't worry," Jared, their pilot loudly reassured from the cockpit. "It's only our first mission flight ever!"
   "Wait, what?" Mason scrunched up his nose in confusion. "You're not, like, specially trained for this?"
   "Nope," Jared shouted in a surprisingly cheery tone. "We're ground troops. But ya know, the Watchmen are running short on pilots and the like, so guys like us have to fill in," he chuckled like it was no big deal.
   Conner closed his eyes tighter. "How can you be laughing at a time like this?" He was more worried about the flight than the deadly mission itself.
   "I'm not afraid of heights!" Jared answered with a smile.
   "I'm not either," Gabe shrugged from the co-pilot's seat.
   Mason wasn't scared, not about the flight. But he was afraid of the missions success. Ava, the only family he had left was on the line, and the ever watchful eyes of Hydra were on her. He covered his fear of failure with a sarcastic wit. He couldn't let them see him internally screaming, he had to keep face and keep the guys' spirits up. "Once, my class was on a field trip and some guys were challenging each other to climb over the supports that held up this bridge that was over a river, and I climbed about halfway before the teacher caught me."
   "You're all insane!" Conner insisted, his eyes still shut tightly.
   After that, a long silence followed as Jared carefully directed the plane through the rough weather, keeping her steady and just about the cloud line, to keep them from being spotted.
   At first, Mason thought his partner was just scared to open his eyes, but then he noticed how Conner was mouthing words and his hands were clasped together on his lap. Finally Conner's eyes opened, and he watched curiously as Mason ran his hand through his curly hair and breathed deeply, his arms starting to pulse a faded light blue. "You okay?"
   "Oh, yeah," he answered, looking away and out the windows at the pouring rain outside. "I'm fine." Then, appearing kind of awkward, he turned back. "Did... did you pray? For me?"
   "Yes, yes I did. Is that okay-"
   "No, I mean yeah, it good, erm, fine, you know-"
   "Mason?" Conner cast a long, knowing look his way. That look your parents or great friend gives you when they really do want to know what's wrong, when they can see right through you and the false front you've put up. "I know you're scared, and so am I, but we've both got to put those thoughts behind us in the present situation. You have to remember, fear is not real. It's a product of the thought you create. Don't misunderstand me, danger is very real. But fear is a choice, a feeling, something that will keep you on your toes and ready. Yes, it actually can help you. But you can't let it control you. Don't be the monster they think you are." Then, pausing his inspiring speech, he rummaged through his pocket, pulled something out, and placed it in his friend's lap. "She's counting on you."
   Mason's brown eyes started to glaze over as he gently rubbed the little face of a brown well-loved teddy bear, Ava's teddy bear. He remembered how she had asked him in that sweet little six year old voice of hers to play tea party with her and that bear, how she would put him on one of the chairs at the table while they ate dinner, how at night she would fall asleep on his lap as she clutched the stuffed animal tightly. She had wished him goodnight and good morning every day and had run to the mail box, full of anticipation for a letter from her daddy. But he would never take her home. She didn't have a family, no dad, no mom, they just had each other. And he wasn't going to give that up. Nothing was going to take away the girl who would drift into dreams on his lap, not now, not ever. They had already taken so much. His dad, Ava, any hopes for a normal life, and for all he knew his mom as well. Hydra had plagued his life for long enough, it was time to take it back.
   "Okay guys, get ready!" Jared ordered over the intercom as the ship slowed, the rain still pelting the sides. The lights suddenly turned off and a red light replaced it, alerting the pair to get ready. "One thing's for certain, they aren't gonna expect us to launch anything on a night like this!"
   "The element of surprise," Conner mused and started unbuckling his seatbelt in preparation for their decent.
   Mason, having been startled out of his memories by the pilots announcement, quickly tucked the small teddy-bear into his pocket, also unbuckled, stood up and took a large parachute like pack off of the wall of the plane.
   Pulling the parachute on like a backpack, they both buckled the straps across their chests and under their arms to keep it secure for their jump. They had trained for this before, but not so thoroughly as they had hopped. It was completely new tech though, a S.H.I.E.L.D. luxury for valuable agents. Luckily, the Watchmen had been commissioned only a select few, and the weather for this drop off was in dire need of them.
   "Good luck guys! Whatever you do, don't die!" Jared hollered a word of advise from the cockpit.
   "And be careful, ground troops are already on their way!" Gabe added helpfully.
   Conner finished and stood awkwardly as the plane swayed, leveled, then eased farther down for a better shot for their descent. "Whatever happens down there, I'm sticking with you."
   As he spoke, the light turned from red to green in an instance and the back wall of the plane opened to the raging storm outside.
   "I know. If I don't get through this, I just wanna say you're the best friend I've ever had, Conner. Thanks for that. And if something goes wrong, I want you to get out of it. Don't wait for me." Mason spoke quickly, breathed deep, and turned for the jump. He strapped on some goggles and was ready for flight.
   Before he jumped, Conner grabbed his arm, his green gray eyes filled with a peaceful security. "I'm not leaving you! Especially if you're in trouble!" The stubborn Irish side (or Scottish or British or whatever European country he was from) was showing.
   Mason smirked at the reassurance. "Fine, but you better keep up!" Then turning back to the opening, he made a running start for the cloud cover outside. Gaining speed, he was almost out of the plane when he activated a button and the pack on his back sprouted mechanical winglike mechanisms. Once his feet left the ground, he was literally flying through the storm. The rain pelted his face, but the goggles made it more of a nuisance than a pain. Also, they were Watch Goggles, which meant they had a mini screen and earpiece installed.
   "Welcome agent M.W.K.," a mechanical voice addressed him out of nowhere. "Your flight gear is working 100 % accurately. Autopilot taking control in three... two... one..."
   The wings stiffened and he turned significantly to the right. The wind was strong and it had been hard to control his flight pattern, so he was grateful for the help of the autopilot.
   "Hey Mason?" Conner's voice came in. "Hello? Halloooo? Mmmaasssssooonn-"
   Rolling his eyes even though he knew Conner couldn't see them, he answered with a smirk, "I'm here, I'm here! How does it feel to be flying?"
   "Oi! I thought I'd lost you for a minute there!" Conner breathed a sigh of relief. "It feels good, I think. We haven't crashed yet, so that's a plus..."
   "And a first! Hold on, my thing is saying it's gonna land me, so I gotta go. See you on Earth!" Mason shouted as the wings directed him down to the dark, tree covered ground below.

   After landing in an evergreen tree and falling face first out (and making Conner swear that he would never tell a soul), the two of them hiked through the dark green, shadowy, and not to mention dense forest to a fence Hydra had put up around their site. They rushed over to a group of bushes and hid behind them, peeking through the leaves at the huge building that was twelve stories high. Search lights examined the ground around the building's base and Hydra agents patrolled the perimeter.
   "Okay, ready for this?" Mason glanced back at Conner, who nodded back. He waited until the patrol had passed and then darted to the fence.
   Problem: there was only one entrance, and that was the gate in the front.
   Solution: a group of trucks were coming through. They speedily hopped into the covered truckbed, hunched down and pulled a special kind of blanket over them that would block the heat sensors Hydra used to check their incoming goods with.
   Once the car started up again, Conner peeked out from under the luggage and watched the Hydra agents patrol right passed them, not realizing the immanent danger they were in.
   The two of them crawled out of the truck and scurried over to the base of the building, heading for the exit door. The rain and darkness were their friends in the case of concealment, keeping them out of sight as Conner placed a lock-picking device against the door. They didn't have much time until the troops busted in, and they needed to find Ava before that.
   Suddenly, it opened and Mason smiled triumphantly and gestured to the door. "After you."

    Meanwhile, inside a dark security room filled with computers, flashing red buttons and other such security tech, a Kruger threw the steel door open and marched across the cement floor to an agent sitting in front of dozens of screens. He was wearing the traditional officer uniform, black with red undertones in the badge and cuffs of his sleeves.
   Noticing his superior officer (second in command, for that matter) standing by, he and all the other security personnel immediately stood and held out their right arm at an upwards angle and shouted, "Heil, Hydra!"
   "An der Mühelosigkeit," Dominik Kruger shrugged, he didn't have time for ceremony. "Was ist das? (What is it?)"
Sir, wir gesichtet haben das Watchmen versucht, ins Gebäude brechen durch die Ausgangstür, (Sir, we have spotted the Watchmen trying to break into the building through the exit door,)" he explained hurriedly, gesturing to the security video cameras. "Sie zogen den stillen Alarm, Sir. (They set off the silent alarm, sir.)"
   The Kruger leaned over and watched as the two Watchmen entered the building, splitting up in different directions. His eyes grew wide as he thought of the consequences for this. What in Schmidt's name were they doing there? In such a command center as that, there should be a whole force, ready to bust the walls down to get in, not a single team of two. Then, an idea popped into his mind. A cruel, vile idea. Just the kind he needed.

   Ava screamed and kicked as they Hydra agents dragged her out of the cell and started down the hall. "Lemme go!" she demanded, her eyes filling with tears. "You're hurting me!"
   "Stop!" An Hydra dressed in black who she recognized as Sven ran through the hall with another man who looked very similar to him, but more snobby. "Eine Situation entstanden. (A situation has arose.)"
   "What are you doing?!" her fellow prisoner shouted as three more agents grabbed his arms and dragged him out into the hall as well, then shoved a shot into his arm,
   "This is my plan," the snobbish one spoke eloquently and in English, but his eyes blazed with anger. He examined his nails with apparent boredom and stated dully, "Mason Kruger is here, Doctor."
   Dr. Kruger's sharp blue eyes widened and he whispered with disbelief, "What?"
   "Ah yes, but he's not going to get you." Looking up from his gloved hands, he smirked and spoke rapidly in German, and as he went on, his bored smile became more of a sneer of hate.
   Dr. Kruger lunged forward, and the guards had to hold him back as he fought them violently. "No!!"
   "Oh yes, my dear uncle," Dominik turned on his heels and started off. "Poor boy, he's had such a sad, short little life. But it must end here. He brought it on himself, you know. Signing with the Watchmen. Bring Der Verräter with me!"
   Sven turned to the guards, a solemn look in his eyes. "Put the Mädchen back in her cell."
   "No, please!" Dr. Kruger continued to fight them as they dragged him down the hall after Dominik. His eyes were full of a mixture of fear and hate, but a helpless look was there too, especially when he shouted, "Sven?!"
   Sven didn't turn to look at him, just took Ava's little arm and led her back into the dark, empty prison.
   "I don't understand," she asked in a shaky voice. "What's happening?"
   "The end of a life," he whispered and closed the door behind him, and the room filled with complete darkness.

Okay, there we go! Chapter nineteen. Any ups, downs, whatever? Tell me what you think! And I take action tips! I need 'em, btw. Action scenes are coming in chapter twenty. Wow, I never thought I'd say that...

Anyway, on to announcements...
 Willow is going to try and do a chapter for F&E, and there's suppose to be a battle coming soon, too. All very exciting :)

And that's it for today! Thanks for being my faithful readers :)

Always Watching,