Friday, April 11, 2014

Friends and Enemies // Chapter Twenty Six // Finding the Shadow

   Willow choked and gasped for air. A handkerchief had been laid on her face, cover her mouth and nose. The scent of the sleep-inducing herbs still stung her nose. Another, sweeter smell came from the square of cloth, but she couldn't identify it.
   Rolling onto her side, Willow tried to remember why she was laying on the cold stones of the watchtower. Her mind felt foggy, and her eyes felt gritty. Blinking rapidly, she glanced around.The damp night air was even blacker than she remembered. Her crossbow lay with the string broken about a yard away. A twinge of fear chilled her, but still she couldn't remember. I must have fallen asleep, she assumed.
   Than it all came rushing back to her. The Shadow Knight. The giant crow. Getting knocked out. All of it. Realizing she needed to warn everyone, she opened her mouth and started to shout a warning.
   Nothing came out. It was as if her voice had abandoned her. Grasping at her throat, Willow started to panic. Then a flutter of white caught her eye. The handkerchief that had been on her face when she woke up was being played with by the wind. Crawling over the hard stones, Willow snatched the square of white fabric and held it to her nose. She suddenly felt tired, and her eyes started to droop. Her throat also started to feel odd. Stuffing it into her pocket, she understood that whatever she'd been drugged with, it had kept her unconscious for at least an hour, and had weakened her voice to a tiny whisper.
   Coughing hard to try and reactivate her voice, Willow leaped to her feet. A bout of wooziness forced her to grab the stone balcony's edge. Once it passed, she wrenched the dark wooden door to the winding staircase inside the watchtower open and raced down the steps.

 Willow rushed into the Planning Room, her knee-length skirt twirling around her as she halted in front of the prince.
   "Willow! What is wrong? You look very pale," Emmeth inquired, glancing at her face
    "I..." Willow tried to speak, but her voice was so soft that it wasn't even a whisper. "Shadow..." she tried again. Then the dizziness came back, and the room spun. Trying to take a step, her ankle turn and she collapsed, and the room disappeared in a flash of black.

   A strong smell jerked Willow out of her dreamless sleep. Her eyes opened and a blur of faces appeared around her.
   "Are you alright?" Ganymede's voice asked, and his face came into focus to her right. He was tucking a small bottle of smelling salts into his pocket.
   "And why is this in your pocket?" Killian's harsher, British-accented voice asked to her left as he waved the handkerchief. His reddish hair came into focus first, and than his face. His greenish-blue eyes were suspicious, but a hint of concern showed on his face.
    Emmeth came into focus in front of Killian. "Why did you faint?" he asked {more gently than Killian had}.
   "Water," Willow croaked, trying to speak loudly enough for them to hear. Emmeth nodded at Killian, who gave him an annoyed look, but did fetch the water. Handing her the glass, everyone watched her quickly sip the liquid.
    "Ahhh," she sighed, her voice raising to its normal volume. "I was hoping that'd work."
    "What happened?" Emmeth interrupted.
    "I was watching for the enemy, when one came at me from the sky! It was a Shadow Knight on a giant crow," Willow hurriedly explained. "He knocked me out and broke my crossbow. But didn't you see him? I lit his cloak on fire..."
    "There was no alert raised," Emmeth stated, sounding concerned.
    "He must be hiding in plain sight then," Killian put in.
    "That's not good..." Willow trailed off.
    Emmeth chewed his lip. "This must be part of their plan. But how would he go about pretending to be one of us?"
   "It can't be that hard, I mean, it's so dark out and he's wearing black. But he is wearing a facemask," Willow pointed out.
   Ganymede pointed to Willow. "But where is your cloak, Willow?"
   Willow felt her shoulders. Her special eleven-given grey cloak was no longer settled protectively over her. She felt a chill. "He must have taken mine," she confessed in a small voice.
    "That helps explain it," Killian decided. "He took Willow's cloak, which blends in by the elven design, to hide."
    "Then all we have to do it find the person who is wearing the elven cloak, and we have our man," Emmeth suggested.
    "I hope so. Unless he dumped it. Or traded it," Willow pointed out.
   Emmeth shook his head. "I doubt it. I have seen you wear it, and you blend in so well just in Essgarothe that I barely notice you. He would wear it if he knows its handiness."
   "We should start now, then," Killian urged, glancing around the empty, candle-lit stone room.
   "I agree," the prince nodded, offering his hand to Willow to help her up.
   "Here's a cloak for you to wear so you won't freeze to death," Ganymede offered, handing her a long dark gray cloak.
   Grasping it, she wobbled off of the windowseat. "Thanks."
   Slipping out into the dark courtyard, the group headed for the barracks, where most of the fighters were situated. Throwing open the door, the prince stepped into the dimly lit room. "All right, everyone! Wake up!" he shouted, rousing the sleeping soldiers. Grumbling, they slid off their beds and headed into formation.
   "See him yet?" Killian murmured at Willow, who had drawn her hood up over her head to conceal her identity.
   "Nope," she answered softly.
   "Form up!" Ganymede ordered, folding his arms and eyeing the fighters.
   As they lined up, they glanced at each other in confusion. "Is the enemy approaching?" one of the guys asked.
   Ganymede glared at him. "Silence," he ordered. The fighter blushed and remained silent.
   A familiar sound of a cloak swishing reached Willow's ears. Glancing to the side, she caught sight of the middle grey cloak against black trousers as the wearer tried to slip past the foursome. Willow dug her elbow into Emmeth's ribs, and glanced pointedly at the cloak-wearer.
   He spun around. "Stop!" he ordered, pointing at the grey-cloaked person. Ganymede leaped in front of the door to block it. The Shadow Knight tried to run for the back door, but the group of fighters surrounded him and subdued him.
   "The Dark Lord shall fall no more!" he shouted, his eyes boring into Willow. She stepped back in fear, but Emmeth stepped in front of her protectively.
   "Keep your sentiments to yourself!" he ordered. "Take him to the dungeons!"

I would like to thank everybody who prayed and asked after me regarding mah braces.
And just to update you, they still ache a bit, but don't hurt like they did the first day.
I actually wrote that whole chapter last night, with a minor {one sentence} edit this morning :)
Any questions are welcome!

Be a friend, not an enemy,


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Watchmen Files // File One // Chapter Twenty // Liberation at Last

Hey everyone!

It's D again :)

   Whew, it sure has been a busy week! Well, technically, last week was the busy one, with drama practice all day. But it was super fun! I loved it :) I wasn't scared at all when I said my lines, which was a major relief!

   Though I am sorry I didn't finish my chapter last week. It had to be perfect!

   I gotta rush to post this thing because Willow is getting her braces in today! If you would please pray for it to go well, I know she would be very appreciative :)

   Well, here we go!

   Conner stepped forward into a dimly light hallway of the fifteen story Hydra building, stun-gun in hand and nerves on edge. There were no agents patrolling at the moment, which calmed Conner's nervous enough to signal Mason to follow him.
   The cement floor and black metal walls gave a menacing feel to the dark and seemingly endless hall. There were columns sticking halfway out of both walls, which he assumed was to hold the structure's weight. They also arched over the path, though high enough up that no one would bump their heads on them.
    Finally, the two of them reached the end of the hallway and found a staircase and a branch off hall. Mason gave a nod at Conner, who did the same and started to climb the stairs as his partner slipped down the corridor, with his crossbow-like weapon that he had grown so fond of at the ready.
   Silently, Conner ascended two flights of stairs, careful to not let his footfalls be very loud. He was almost to floor three when suddenly, a door slammed a flight above him and lots of scuffling feet could be heard.
   "Schnell!" A deep voice commanded as Conner flattened himself to the wall as so not to be spotted.     Thankfully, the Watchmen had been commissioned a new tech earpiece that translated foreign languages to English for whoever was wearing it, which happened to be Conner.
   Thanks to the earpiece, he understood the voice repeat harshly, "Hurry, we do not have much time!"
   "But sir, he is too strong!" another more raspy voice countered quickly as the struggle continued above.
   "Give him another dose!"

   There was a shout of pain, then a clump and more scuffling as the German shouted for them to continue up the staircase.
   Conner stood frozen, his back to the cold hard wall inn fear of being found. He didn't know what was going on, but he had to hurry and freeze the cameras and sensors so the Watchmen forces could get in and take the building. He cautiously climbed another flight and entered the door, then found the security room.
   The room was dark except for a low red lighting that shown on computers, keyboards, and flashing buttons in black cubicles that filled the room from wall to wall. Surprisingly, there was no one in the cubicles, but there were three men sitting wearing Hydra uniforms in chairs in front of a wall of security screens.
   After breathing in deeply, Conner held his breath and carefully navigated through the cubicles. After getting within ten feet of the Hydra, he quietly took out a hand held device and looked about for the main computer grid.
   Finding it near the floor, he army-crawled silently on his stomach so as not to be seen up to the grid and carefully inserted it into the drive. A minute later, the security screens flashed and then continued as normal, though in reality, they were just re-running some old tape so the agents wouldn't know that the Watchmen were sneaking in. The stage was set for the oncoming attack.
   "Sir!" A Watchman dressed in black armor whispered through the cold night air at the commanding officer of the mission, M.B.G. "I have news."
   Graham didn't take his eyes off of the gate protecting the Hydra base from them as he nodded for the young man to continue.
   "C.J.M. signaled that he's finished, they can't see us now."
   The Sargent too a deep breath, but still sat and watched. He remembered past battles that turned out a win or lose like this one would be, full of the counter-attacks of the enemy. It was war, but it needed to be fought. Hydra was growing stronger every day. He couldn't pass-up the opportunity to slow their growth by such a large blow, and quite possibly capture their second-in-command, Dominik Kruger. It was now or never.
   "Give the order."

   "Thanks guys," Mason whispered to himself as he heard the guards shout in rapid German at each other in confusion. There was an all-out battle going on in the ground bellow, with Watchmen and their stun-guns and the Hydra who had been caught completely off guard and were now scrambling for orders.
   That was his cue. The Hydra agents had run down to the chaos bellow, and that meant clear hallways leading to where they were keeping Ava, five stories up.
   He had to click through files upon files on Dominik's computer, hack into more accounts than he cared to remember and had finally found the one telling exactly where she was being held. Now all that had to be done was to free her and high-tail it out of there.
   Sticking his head out of Dominik's office door, Mason looked right and left for any wandering Hydra. All clear. Okay, it's time to move.
   He went from long strides to a full out dash as he navigated the halls and climbed the staircases until he found himself on the sixth floor. Luckily, he had grabbed a clearance card from his cousin's office, so he easily got passed the locked doors with a swipe of the card.
   The hallway was long and dark. It's walls were not like those of the rest of the building, but the light colored paint was peeling off of the walls. The floor was dirty, with cracks and even a few scattered gravel pieces over it. Mason guessed the radical change of decor was because they didn't want their prisoners to know where they were when they were brought to their cells.
   He didn't see any doors, which was odd. This is suppose to be a cell-block..? he wondered to himself. It was kind of suspicious. Wouldn't they have guards to protect their most prized prisoner?
   He moved slowly down the passage, pulled his stun-crossbow weapon, watching for even the slightest movement.
   The silence was deafening, and the only sound to be heard was the gravel crunching under his boots. Mason was listening intently, but his heartbeat was pounding in his ears as well. He could feel his heart-rate go up by the second. Okay Mase, keep it cool, he mentally coached himself.
   Then, in the seemingly endless hallway, he saw a door opened into the hall from the right wall. The door itself must have been at least three inches thick. Suspiciously, he peered in the dark lighting to see the words 'Der Verräter' carved in red on the door.
   With his weapon raised, Mason turned the corner and stepped into the cell. No one.
   There was a switch on the wall, for a single lightbulb hanging from the ceiling of the cell. He switched it on and found only two beds on opposite sides of the tiny room.
   He breathed a sigh of relief. But if not there, then where was Ava?
   Suddenly he heard the door scraping across the floor as someone on the other side tried to slam it shut.
   Mason's lighting instincts kicked in and he shoved his leg through the door, painfully stopping it from closing.
   Shoving it open again, he came face-to-face with Sven Kruger, who held little teary and gagged Ava under one arm like a football and with the other hand a gun pointed at Mason.
   Her eyes were pleading, and streams of tears ran down her cheeks. Her muffled shrieks broke Mason's heart.
   "Setzdass nach unten!"
   Mason's heart was pounding, bu there was no red or blue glow this time. He was afraid, but he wouldn't let it show.
   Sven himself looked pale, his eyes wild, and there was even a sense of fear in them. His voice was hoarse as he shouted, "Setzdass nach unten!!"
   "Let her go!" Mason insisted, not knowing what his cousin was saying but keeping his eyes fixed on Ava.
   "Put it down!" Sven shouted, keeping the gun pointed at Mason.
   "Just let her go, man-"
   "Später!!" He shouted louder and squeezed Ava tighter to him, who whimpered under the pressure.
   Mason knew enough German that he understood the command. He held the crossbow by its handle, and dropped it onto the ground in front of him.
   Sven watched carefully, then pointed the gun behind Mason. "Zurück!"
   Mason didn't move. Sven waved the gun again, and repeated, "Zurück!!"
   He stepped back, one foot behind the other as he moved slowly backwards and away from Sven.
   "Okay, let her go now. I'm disarmed," he held his hands up as proof.
   Sven watched suspiciously, then finally (without lowering his gun) leaned to one side and let Ava down to the ground. Immediately, she raced away from him and ran into Mason's embrace.
   He got down on his knees, tears spilling out of his dark eyes and a joyous smile on his face. Immediately, he yanked the gag off of her mouth and kissed her cheek. "Ava!" He could hardly breath, his chest was heaving with sobs of joy. "I've got you now, I got you... you're safe..."
   She wrapped her arms around his neck and cried into his shoulder. "I love you," she sputtered in between sobs.
   Finally, he had been fighting to find her for so long, and now here she was, in his arms at last. It felt like heaven to hold her again, her hair tickling his neck, her tears rolled off of his chest armor as she hugged him tightly. "I'll never put you in harms way again, Av... I promise..."
   Ava couldn't answer. She shed many tears, and they were happy tears.
   It felt like this moment would last forever, frozen in time: Mason on his knees with Ava as they embraced and cried, reunited at last.
   But then he heard a click.
   Mason's head rose slowly, and his tears stopped flowing immediately.
   The light from the single lightbulb in the cell illuminated the figure of Sven, who was standing and holding his gun with both hands to steady it. But his hands were still shaking noticeably as he put his finger on the trigger.
   It all happened in an instant.
   Mason moved protectively over Ava and tensed up, preparing for the bullet.
   As Sven straightened his aim, Mason spotted movement in the shadows near Sven. His eyes widened with a mixture of terror and fear as the gunshot rang out and he yelled with his voice cracking, "Conner! Noooooo!!"

 Aaaaannnnddd there we have it! Chapter twenty :) You'll have to wait till next week for the little mini cliff hanger in this one.

Yay! Ammelia Gabriella has a new chapter up of Without Cause! Which is very exciting :)
Willow might not have time (or feel good enough, with the braces in and all) to do a chapter this week, sorry 'bout that :(

Well, I hope everyone has a good day! Don't be too mad at me for the cliff hanger here :) I (or Will herself) will give you guys an update about her braces, hopefully.


Always Watching,

Monday, April 7, 2014

// Without Cause // Half-Chapter Five // Flight In The Dark //

Hello everyone! Ammelia here. So sorry it's been so long. Twas kidding and hatching season upon our farm, among other things, meaning we've all had our hands full here. 
So about my story... I've been working on several chapters for this book, yet haven't finished most of them. I'll be working extra hard on finishing them for the next few weeks, while I have some free time again. 
Anyway, here's the rest of chapter five. Hope ye like!

   We took off into the sky, and I took in my surroundings. The interior of the helicopter was actually inviting. The tinted windshield made it look like it was nighttime, and no matter how much I craned my neck or squinted, I still couldn’t see out. Four seats occupied the helicopter, two in front, two in the back, where Ethan and I sat. The pilot sat on the right side, wore a full helmet, which I assumed made him see out the window better, and made the copter move using two joysticks. Lots of little lights and buttons were the only source of light that I could see, but it was enough to see Jim’s lips moving, and the pilot nodding. Obviously they were talking.
   Ethan and I couldn’t hold a conversation, there was no way we could hear each other, as the headsets weren’t attached to anything, they were just to block out the noise. I tried finger-combing my hair, which didn’t really work, so I resorted to sitting still and thinking.
   It was beyond me how Jim thought we were just going to do whatever he said. True, we had just climbed aboard his sweet helicopter, but we really didn’t have much of a choice. We could have made a break while everyone was watching the helicopter land, but I probably wouldn’t have gotten far. I’d end up sprawled on the ground making the sounds of a dying walrus.
   While I was thinking, a thought struck me. What if we’re just going to crash land? Will I die? What would happen if that hap—I stopped. I already knew what would happen. I just didn’t want to think any more about it. Shoving those thoughts out of my mind, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Then I felt tired. Like the exhausted kind of tired, but I was not about to let myself sleep.
   I opened my eyes again in time to see James' seat spin around and face Ethan and I. Ethan looked disgusted, but I marveled at how in the world his chair could do that. Jim held out two connector cables, motioning for us to plug them into our headsets. Ethan did absolutely nothing but glare, therefor I followed suit. Jim rolled his eyes and laid the cables at our feet, then smiled and turned himself and his seat back around. I pointed at the cables, but Ethan shook his head.  
   I figured the cables connected our headphones to his. No way that was gonna happen. I was done hearing his voice.
   Before long, noisy silence and the vibrating swift, motion of the helicopter was the only thing filling my head. Time had elapsed, but I had no way of keeping track of how much. An hour. Maybe two.
   I zoned out, staring at my feet. Ethan stretched his leg out and nudged my foot with his. I gave him a confused look. He yelled and asked if I was okay, which didn’t do much good, since we couldn’t hear each other. But I understood, giving him a small nod and turned back to staring at my feet.
   I let out a sigh, which turned into a gasp as the chopper dipped to the left. Immediately a red light lit the interior. I plastered myself to the seat and looked toward Ethan. His expression may have passed as funny, had this not been a serious situation. He had the seat belt grasped in both hands, a petrified expression frozen on his face.
   The pilot and James were flipping switches and pressing buttons all over the place, when the chopper dipped to the right, leveling it out, for the most part. James swirled around in his chair, hastily unstrapping himself. A scraping noise made its way up both sides of the chopper. James moved to the door and gripped a metal bar across the top of the frame, reaching for the door seal. Before his hand could reach it, the door flew open and wind ripped through the cabin. I clamped my arms over my head, knocking off the headset.
   The chopper made a slow turn, tipping the cabin, open door side up. I screamed, but couldn’t hear a thing. A man wearing a helmet and some sort of jump suit jumped through the opening, scrambling to the cockpit controls, elbowing the pilot out of the way and taking over operations. The helicopter spun around once before becoming level again.
   James recovered from the jostling around and tried to into attack the new pilot. A second man climbed up through the opening, and motioned for Ethan and I to come to him. When we both responded blankly, he pulled himself the rest of the way up and began unhooking Ethan’s seatbelt.
   A third person climbed through the door, this time a woman, who helped me undo my seatbelt. As soon as the seatbelt was off, a different sort of harness immediately took its place. The women turned me around and clipped various things, then placed her helmet on my head, which not much could be seen in. The noise was drown out and a female voice simply stated, “Do not panic, you’re going to jump. You’ll be safe, just don’t panic.”  
    Before I had time to react, the woman wrapped her arms around my waist and jumped out the helicopter door backwards. Seconds later, Ethan and the other guy jumped out. The helicopter moved on at a rapid pace, and the people who had us deployed their parachutes.
   As we neared the ground, a field with several trees, the voice in the headset prepped me for landing. “This may hurt.” Well golly, thanks. I thought.
   The ground grew closer until we hit it, the woman taking the brunt of the fall, ending up on her back with me crushing the life out of her, and smacking her face with my helmet.
  When the harnesses and cables were all taken off, the women removed my helmet. A few dozen yards away, Ethan and the other guy, a tall, dark haired dude, were doing the same.
   “Are you alright?” The woman asked. She was a bit taller than me, with blonde and a kind smile.
 “I… don’t, uh…” An explosion surged not far from us, and Ethan ran towards me.
   “You OK, Kyles?” I nodded.
   The man ran over to us. “We need to get you guys to safety. Follow—”
   Behind us, several armed men stood, ready to fire. The blonde stood, unmoving, meanwhile, the guy cocked his gun. One by one, each of the men fell. A man dressed like the two who had pulled us from the copter jumped from his perch in a far off tree.
  Blondie turned to us. “There’s going to be lots more of them, we have to move.”

And that's the end of chapter five!
For the will of Cause,