Friday, April 18, 2014

Friends and Enemies // Chapter Twenty Seven // A Battle Won and A Question Asked

Willow was silently praying as she stared glassily out of the four story window of the castle in the city of Gossgath. The door at the end of the massive hallway was thrown open and Ganymede, looking exhausted, rushed in. "You're needed with the archers," he informed her, panting. "The prince says that he hates to ask, but very few of our men are trained only as archers, and we need more in the foot-soldiers area than the archer area."
   "Of course," she answered instantly, already grabbing her quiver and bow, which lay against a window seat, as she hurried after Ganymede.
   He was right. The battle was about to start, and every fighter looked tired, with bags under their eyes and outfits wrinkly and hair mussed. Right outside the wall, several lines of orcs were preparing to charge and ram the wall, and others were chomping at the bit {not literally} to tear at the Gossgathian fighters.
   Ganymede pointed to the wall, where the tower she had been in last night and early that morning stood. "The prince requested that you be there. We believe that it is the safest."
   Willow nodded. "I'm on my way," she assured him, walking quickly to the tower door and letting herself in. Then after hurrying up the winding steps, she took her place at the top of the tower. It stretched at least ten feet about the top of the wall, where the other archers were awaiting orders from their leaders. She knew the orders, but waited just the same.
   The enemy blew their horns as their signal to charge.
   "Oh Author, have mercy," Willow whispered, whipping out an arrow and setting it the her string.
   A tremendous crash rocked the wall, and the horrible shouts of the evil orcs added to the confusion. The archers were taking aim and firing, and finding that they had aimed well, but their enemies drew back to ram the wall again.
   In her mind's eye, Willow was back in Helms-Deep, waiting for the armies of Saruman. She shook off the memory and aimed for an orc.


   "The battle is won!" cried Emmeth, beside himself with excitement. The battle had ended earlier that day, at about noon. The enemy had not broken through the wall, and they had driven them away. Now, all of the leaders were gathered in the dining room of the castle, and were celebrating their success. Willow had retreated to a corner of the long table, away from most of the people.
   "I propose a toast! To the Author!" the prince called over the din.
   "To the Author!" echoed the group, toasting each other and sipping their apple cider {Tashra's traditional celebratory drink}.
   Willow raised her glass as well, but a nagging sensation had been itching to come to her mind, and she finally could ignore it no more. Slipping out into the hallway, she hurried down two twisting passageways before she came to one that she knew she would not be disturbed.
   And then her thought ran wild. Why had they given up so easily? The battle was fairly simple, and the planning strategy on their enemy's part was very lacking. They were clever enough to send a Shadow Knight on a giant crow, but not clever enough to break down the gate? she pondered. She had also been disturbed by the message that the Shadow had given her. And not just to anyone, directly to me. Why me? What did that phrase mean anyway?
   "The Dark Lord shall fall no more. The Dark Lord shall fall no more. The Dark Lord shall fall no more," Willow muttered out loud as if on repeat to herself as she paced the plush rugs. "What in the world is that supposed to mean? Concentrate, self!"
   "Books, that's what I need," she concluded, chewing on her right thumbnail without thinking.
   A ray of sunshine from the dawn flitted through the heavy drapes to her right and reflected off of the golden ring she wore on her right ring finger. The elven etchings lit up in the sun, than faded as a cloud passed over the dawning sun.
   She gazed at her hand and sighed. "Lots and lots of books."
   Footsteps sounded behind her and Teclemith poked his head around the corner. "I thought I saw you go this way," he commented as she glanced at him. "Why are you not celebrating with us?" he inquired.
   "You know that phrase that the Shadow Knight used?" Willow asked softly.
    "I didn't hear it," he replied.
   Taking a breath, and slowly letting it out, she whispered it so low Teclemith had to strain to hear. "The Dark Lord shall rise again."
   "What in the world does that mean?" he wondered.
   "I don't know, but I definitely need to find out," she replied. "Say, do you guys have, like, a really big library somewhere on this planet?"
   Teclemith thought for a moment. "There is one. The Great Library. It is about a two days ride from Essgarothe, in the province of Tionia, lies the Library. It is kept by an old adviser who no longer serves in the Council of the King."
   "Fascinating. Can you give me directions?" inquired Willow.
   "I am sure that you could get someone to take you there. The province is mostly small villages and rural farms," Teclemith suggested.
   "Thanks, Teclemith." Willow sighed and glanced out the window.
   "Now, I am sure that we are missing a rather boisterous party. Shall we rejoin it?" he asked.
   "Of course," she answered with a smile.

I know this is kinda short, but it works :)
I'm really excited for the next few chapters, because the Trick is coming up, and the library one before that!
On to announcements - D posted chapter 21 of TWF. Ammelia should be posting chapter 6 of Without Cause this Monday.
Quick update on mah bracez - I'm going to an oral surgeon today to discuss two of my poor toofies getting removed to make room for the other toofies :( 
Any questions are welcome :)

Be a friend, not an enemy,


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Watchmen Files // File One // Chapter Twenty One // Eight Minutes

Hey guys! It's D :)

Wow, another chapter. So close to the end! It's exciting :)

   A little personal update, Willow had her braces in! She's feeling okay, she likesish her braces. I think they're cute :) Though I'm glad I don't need them. But anyway, she's got pink bands, and she thinks one of her teeth is getting straighter already. Thank you to everyone for your support for Will! You're all so sweet and she is so thankful for you all <3

   Well, last week I left you out on a cliffhanger. Yep, I know how you guys just love those ;) But anyway, I hope this one is satisfying for you. Or not.

Chapter Twenty One, here we come!

   "Conner!" Mason raced over to where his friend was practically laying on top of Sven to keep him down. Conner had wrestled the gun out of Sven's hand, but at what cost?
   "Are you okay?" Mason grabbed Conner's arm and pulled him up in an instant, looking him over. There were no obvious wounds, but he was wearing black, so it would be harder to spot. He nodded back vaguely, but reached down to feel his leg.
   Before he could ask again, Mason spotted movement in the corner of his eye. Sven was attempting to sneak away while they were occupied.
   Immediately, the feelings of hate and revenge filled Mason's mind as he lunged after the Hydra, football tackling him from the back.
   Sven fell forward, smashing into the cold hard ground face-first.
   Seconds after Sven's nose was broken on the cement, Mason had grabbed him by his shirt and was pounding him against the wall. The pounding into the wall hurt his head tremendously, and he almost lost consciousness.
   All while he was doing this, Mason was shouting everything that he could think of. Everything that they had taken from him. Years of heartache came spilling over as he smashed Sven into the wall tortuously. "You took everything from me!! Dad, Mom, Ava, everyone! My family! You stole my dad away, you gave me that serum, you took Ava away from me, you've ruined my whole life!!"
   "Mason, Mason stop!" Conner grabbed a hold of Mason's arm and tried to yank him away as Ava let out a little shriek at the violence and buried her head in Conner's shirt. But Conner knew he wouldn't quit, and this wasn't an accident. Mason's dark brown eyes were full of revenge, his arms pulsing a blood red, and even though the tears were still falling, the memories of what Hydra had done spilling out, it had to stop. It wasn't right.
   "Don't be the monster they think you are!"
   Suddenly, Conner's hastily but all the more carefully picked words broke through Mason's shell of burning anger and fear. He stopped, still holding Sven by the collar, but not moving him. Then he let go, letting Sven fall a foot or two to the ground, where he crumpled in a heap of pain. Mason was breathing sharply, and Conner knew he had chosen the right words.
   Conner gently took Ava's hand and put one of his own on Mason's arm. "What's done is done. Only God can truly repay what is due."
   With a deep breath, he turned and nodded silently at Conner and patted Ava's light brown hair. "I'm sorry you had to see that, Av. I... I've got problems."
   Ava stared up at him, her eyes glassy with tears, but a small smile on her face when she saw him let Sven go. She latched on to Conner's leg for security, and he suddenly shouted with pain.
   Ava jerked away as Mason moved closer. "What's wrong?"
   "I... I think he got me..." Conner whispered through clenched teeth as he reached down and touched the side of his left leg. Wincing, he looked down at the hand which he had touched his wound with. Blood. Conner had to breath deeply to keep from fainting. Yeah, the pain was bad, but the sight of blood was worse.
   Mason handed Conner the gun and had him aim it at Sven so he wouldn't try anything while they weren't looking as he carefully looked over the bullet wound.
   It was hard to tell, but he couldn't find the bullet itself. It looked like the bullet grazed Conner's lower thigh as he had forced Sven's gun down. He told Conner what he had found, and wrapped it up in some gauze from his mini medical kit.
   All the while, Conner was not only holding Sven at gun point, but was also watching his odd body language. He was shifting uneasily, and his eyes kept darting from Conner (or more importantly, Conner's gun) to the watch on his wrist and back again. He looked scared, but Conner had the feeling that it wasn't the gun that frightened him.
   "Got it," Mason reported as he finished wrapping his leg.
   Conner tilted his head slightly, then smiled to Mason. "Well, that's that. We better go, I bet the Sargent will be pleased to know our mission was a success."
   Mason nodded and hugged Ava as she giggled. "We're finally getting you out of here, Av."
   Sven's eyes grew larger and flitted about nervously. "What about me?"
   Mason helped Conner to his feet as he answered, "Well, I suppose we'll just tie you up and leave you here for a Watchmen to pick up later."
   Sven shifted nervously. "Oh?"
   "Oh." Mason confirmed and checked his phone. "It's passed your bedtime, Ava. Better hurry back."
   He grabbed Sven's arm and dragged him into the cell, handcuffing his hands together with one leg of the bed in in between so he wouldn't escape. "Don't go anywhere, the Watchmen are swarming this building already. Come on Con, let's get outta here."
   Mason took Ava's hand and they started walking down the hallway toward the stairs, but Conner stayed behind, not taking his eyes off of Sven the entire time. Sven started to look desperate.
   "What's wrong, scared of the dark?"
   He didn't say anything, and his jaw muscles tightened.
   Conner shrugged, then turned on his heels and started after the pair.
   "Mason, get back here!" Conner retorted and turned back to Sven. "Talk."
   He spoke fast, not wasting a second. "We knew someone would catch up to us eventually. Dominik had explosives hidden all through the first five floors of this building. If he couldn't have it-"
   "No one could..." Mason finished for him, his mind racing. "This place is rigged to blow!"
   Sven nodded and continued, "He already started the countdown."
   "How long do we have?"
   Sven checked his watch, then answered, "Eight minutes."
   Conner grabbed his cell phone and quickly called Sargent Graham.
   Graham's voice was calm and even had a tint of boredom. "M.B.G. here."
   "How many men are in the building?" Conner was quick, his question pointed.
   "Uh, gimme a sec..." There was a few seconds of pause, then the Sargent's voice came on again. "About three-hundred fifty, and more on the way."
   "Sarge, you need to get those men out of here or a lot of people are going to die. I don't have time to explain, but this place is going to blow in eight minutes!"
   "What?!" He was obviously listening now. "Okay, I'm on it. You boys get out of there! That's an order! Understand?"
   "Yes sir!"
   Ava, who had been standing beside Mason and clutching onto his leg watching in fear as the phone conversation went on, turned her little head up to look at her cousin. "Mason?"
   "Just a minute Av, we've got to get out of here," he turned and replied rapidly as he grabbed Conner's elbow and started forward.
   Sven, who had remained handcuffed to the bed the entire time saw them leaving and shouted, "Wait, what about me?"
   Mason had no clue as to what to do about him. "If we let him go, he's going to get away."
   Conner whispered hastily to him, "We can't just leave him here, he'll die."
   "But we can't let him go!"
   Conner thought for a moment, then shook his head. "We don't have time for this. If we let him run, there will be Watchmen on the ground that will catch him immediately."
   Moments later, they had freed Sven and he raced down the hall toward the staircase.
   Mason was about to follow suit when Ava tugged hard on his sleeve again. "Mason, wait!"
   "You have to wait. Conner, let's get out of here. We don't have much time."
   "But what about Doctor Kruger!" Ava's little high pitch voice shattered his thoughts of escape.
   Time itself seemed to stop at her words. His heart that had been pounding in his ears suddenly was silent. His heart-beat slowed to a small thump. His eyes were wide and his mind was racing with emotions and memories from the past. "W... what?"
   "Doctor Kruger," Ava repeated quietly. "He was in the cell with me, but they took him away! I don't know where."
   "Your dad?" Conner questioned softly, knowing that he was treading on unsteady ground.
   Mason's eyes were soulful, tears welling up in them but not flowing over. "He... he was here..?"
   Ava nodded, and suddenly Conner recalled his escape in the stairwell. "Oh! I almost forgot, there was a row in the staircase on my way up. I think it could have been Dominik! He's probably got the Doctor!"
   Heart still racing like a freight train, Mason's mind snapped to attention and he knew what he had to do. "The roof! There's a helicopter pad up there, Dominik is probably escaping with Dad in one."
   "Six minutes," Conner checked his watch and shook his head. "You're never going to make it in time!"
   "I have to try-"
   "Mason, you can't!" Conner insisted, interrupting before him could finish. "You couldn't make it up and back down that fast! We have to get out of here now, Sargent's orders!"
   "I can't leave him!" Mason shouted back. The room fell silent as the clock ticked mercilessly. Taking a deep breath, he continued in a shaky voice, "I can't. He's my dad, Conner. There's so much..." he paused to gather his emotions so they wouldn't see him cry, then cleared his throat. "... there's so much I never said. We never did. I cannot leave him now." Putting his hands on Conner's shoulders, he stated in a whisper, "There is no choice, Conner. Not for me."
   Conner didn't answer, but they just stood there, staring into each others eyes. Conner could feel the tears coming on as he thought of what was to come. "Alright," he replied gently. Then he smiled as a tear rolled down his cheek. "Don't you die on me now."
   Mason smiled back and chuckled lightly. "What can I say? Danger must find me simply irresistible."
   Ava held onto his leg tightly, tears pouring down her plump cheeks. "You can't leave me."
   Kneeling down, he used his thumb to wipe them away and smiled softly.  "Conner is my best man, there's no one else I could trust more."
   They hugged tightly, and he kissed her forehead. Then he had to carefully pry her fingers off of himself and gave her to Conner, who picked her up and held her in his arms.
   Then Mason turned and started dashing down the hallway leading to the elevator, not looking back at the saddened faces behind him. He wouldn't let them see his tears, for he knew how this rescue could end. Ava buried her face in Conner's shoulder as her dear cousin disappeared from view.
   Conner closed his eyes tightly and whispered, "Oh God, protect Mason Kruger."

And on that bombshell, it's time for us to end! Hehehe... I'm going to resolve that in the next chapter. Patience, readers! I know, once we finish one, we start another. But really, we don't actually have that many. You did want action and suspense, right? :)

By the way, the traditional Watchmen uniform looks like this... Awesome, no?

I really shouldeth have revealed this to you prior, but alas, I forgotith! But moving yonder, the attire is as dark as the winter night, and that fine knight is Sir Jason Gray, and I'm tired of talking like the Queen of England, so yeah :)

 Well, on to announcements....
 Willow is going to post another chapter of Friends and Enemies next week if she can.
 Ammelia posted a chapter last week, and I think she's gonna try and post one again next Monday, too.
 And, most likely, I'm gonna have another chapter next week, hopefully.

Also, if I have forgotten to respond to any of your questions or comments, please remind me! I'm kind of bad at remembering stuff... I love your guys' support, it's the best! :) You rule!

Have a good week, everybody!

Always Watching,