Friday, July 4, 2014

Friends and Enemies // Chapter Thirty // A Message and an Accusation

Tajoreth dipped his goose quill into the ink jar, tapped it lightly against the rim to get rid of any excess ink, then set it down on the tiny bit of foolscap paper. After penning a quick message, he rolled the paper into a tiny scroll, and tucked it into his sleeve and meandered out into the hall and down to the gardens. There he found his brother conversing with Hyaline about their "future".
   "Mind if I sit down?" Tajoreth asked casually, sitting down before his brother had a chance to disagree. "Lovely weather today, is it not?" he remarked.
   "Why yes," Hyaline replied, giving him a tiny but grateful smile.
   "Kedemeth," she laid a hand on his arm. "I am rather famished. Would you..?"
   "Of course, my dear," Kedemeth agreed, patting her hand, rising, and exiting.
   "You have the letter?" she questioned.
   "Yes. But I do not understand how you will get it to your friends," Tajoreth remarked, handing her the tiny scroll.
   Hyaline's eyes sparkled. "Do not worry," she assured him as she took the scroll. "All will be well."
   He watched her as she secreted the scroll away on her person.
   "Here you go," Kedemeth's voice startled them, and he sat down between them and offered Hyaline a plate and glass.
   "Thank you," she smiled, and lifted the fork to eat.

  A knock sounded on Hyaline's door the next morning. "Come in," she called, yawning and stretching.
   "Your breakfast, miss," the dark haired servant offered. Then he lowered his voice to a whisper. "And I am here to take your message."
   She nodded and withdrew the tiny scroll from her person and handed it to the messenger. She had seen him before, and Willow had mentioned using him, so she wasn't afraid of treachery.
  "This scroll must get the Resistance Headquarters as soon as possible," she instructed.
   "Yes, miss. I am going there right after I leave," he assured her.
   "Very well. Thank you."

   Zethan rode up to the almost completely covered in ivy gates of Essgarothe. The gatekeeper gave him a solemn nod and allowed him to enter. Two children were waiting for him, a young boy and girl. The boy took his horse without a word and the young girl smiled at him.
   "You are to follow me," she explained, and turned on her heel and trotted off at a brisk pace. Zethan followed, and was soon led to the center tower, and up the stairs to an old wooden door. The little girl knocked.
   "He's here!" she reported breathlessly, bouncing up and down with suppressed energy.
   "Enter," a familiar girl's voice called from within. The little girl gave a curtsey and raced back down the stone stairs. Zethan let himself in.
   The room was circular, and had several mahogany tables, covered with books, maps, papers, and pens. Scattered about the room in no particular  order were comfortable looking chairs, one of which had its back facing him and two legs were sticking out on one side and a long dark braid hanging down on the other.
   In a moment, the feet swung down, the braid bounced and a young women stood before him. Her height wasn't impressive, she came up to about his shoulder, but her deep dark eyes darted over him, and her braid bounced as she inclined her head at the chair across from hers.
   As he seated himself, she let herself fall back into the chair and crossed her petite legs. "Thank you for coming, Zethan. I'm glad Immer was able to convince you to help," she thanked him in a cheerful voice. "I think you'll remember me, I'm Willow." She smiled.
   Zethan smiled hesitantly back, and pulled the tiny paper from his sleeve. "Here is your message."
   She thanked him and took it. "Oh, by the way, Aliatha can't wait to see you," she added with a grin.
   His eyes lit up and he rushed excitedly from the room. Willow watched him pick Aliatha up around her waist and twirl her around. Aliatha looked like she was about to faint, she was so happy.
   Willow wished she be happy with them, but the note was serious. Propping her feet up on the table, she unrolled the miniscule note and picked up a magnifying glass.
To Whom It May Concern,   I am writing as you requested. What assistance do you need? I will gladly help, although sending in Hyaline was a bit foolhardy on your part, I believe. Please know that I am being watched by Zemerah at all times, it seems. My sister Asharlah arrived earlier this morning with Cousin Emmeth. I do not pretend to know your plan, but am willing to take the risk. I await instruction, and expect the utmost secrecy to be maintained.
   "Awesome!" she whispered, relief filling her. Now all she had to do was get a message to Tajoreth about the next step in their plan.
   Grabbing for her pen, she started to compose her message. Writing furiously, she barely looked up until a tap on her arm made her jump.
   "Supper time!" Bréda crowed in her ear.
   Willow couldn't help laughing. "Thanks Bréda," she commented, carefully tucking the letter into her leather journal, then tucking the journal into a drawer and locking it.
   Bréda cheerfully took her hand and the pair hurried down to supper. But halfway there, Betromith caught Willow's elbow.
   "Bréda? Would you go tell Brédin it is time to eat, please?" he requested. His little sister nodded brightly, let go of Willow's hand, and skipped off to find her twin brother.
   "Willow, I saw the Outlaw come with the message. How is Hyaline? Did the note mention her?" Betromith inquired.
   Willow shook her head, her braid whipping back and forth. "Yes, it said that sending her in was a bit "foolhardy" on my part. But I'm sure she's doing fine, try not to worry so much."
   "Worry so much?" his voice started to escalate. "She is in the very heart of danger, and you tell me not to "worry so much"?!"
   Willow tried to calm him down. "I was just trying to-"
   "No," he snapped. "You were just trying to meddle. You know that I care for her, and all you want is to use her for your insane plans!"
   "Hey, it wasn't all my plan, you know," she shot back. "Emmeth came up with most of it, and-"
   "Of course, blame it on our prince. You know, he was never this foolhardy before you came," he commented bitterly.
   "Well maybe you didn't know him that well," she suggested, her eyes fiery.
   "Oh, precisely. You have put your meddling finger right on the problem! Silly me. But I have known him for years. And you have only for a few months. Why don't you just leave? Go back where you came from, if the Resistance is so important to you! Or has the prince become more that just someone to help?"
   "Would you just shut up!" Willow cried, her eyes brimming with unshed tears. "I'm only trying to help, and it was mostly his idea! You guys don't even know how dangerous this could be! And all you can do is accuse me of trying to steal your prince! Stay away from me!" She spun on her heel and ran away.
   Betromith could feel his chest heaving, as if he'd just run a long way. He didn't know why he blew up at her, she just seemed to annoy him. She is just so different from us, and will not conform to our ideas! And she has so much influence on the prince, why is that? He is so naiive, that is why.
   A strangled sob interrupted his trying to justify instigating the fight. Bréda stood there with her eyes huge and watery.
   "Bré-" he started, reaching for her hand.
   "Stay away from me!" she cried, covering her face and sobbing as she ran in the direction of the kitchen.
   Stay away from me, stay away from me, stay away from me... the phrase seemed to echo in Betromith's ears as he walked mechanically towards to dining area. Maybe they should stay away from me...

Now THAT was emotional! It took me awhile to get around to writing it, and I finished it on Wednesday, and was so excited to post it, I was disappointed that it was only Thursday the next day.
I am sorry for taking a while, I just wasn't feeling it. And then we started watching some of BBC Robin Hood last night and I started feeling the inspiration again ;)
Anyway, the next chapters should be really exciting. If you watch my F&E Pinterest board you might get bombarded with medieval party dresses and masks.... spoilers!

Anyway, D and I are still working on the cosplay/fanart site, but it's mostly done. And even though none of you will know what this means, I'm probably going to get the screen accurate Hide dress off of  this week, and I'm so excited!
Billie and Ammie are still at camp, working. Still waiting for updates :)
D is progressing rather well through TWF The Christmas Special, and is busy drawing little "chibis" people to go with the story.
I am debating whether to start TWF Shades of Reason. I think I may be able to handle both {and maybe another....} but I wanted to know if you guys would read it if I put the backbreaking effort into it ;) Please let me know on that. You can find the rundown in "Upcoming Books".

Oh, and happy Independence Day! I think we should always say Independence Day, and not Fourth of July. We don't call Christmas December 25th, nor anything else. But the founding of our majestic country? Independence up, and call it Independence Day ;)

I think that's all!

Be a Friend, not an Enemy,


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Watchmen Files // The Christmas Edition // Chapter Three // A Bell Rings

Hey, people!

It's D again.

   And yes, this time I have a chapter! Yea! I'm excited to move on to the shopping scene, love that one... but I'm still not completely sure how it'll work (order wise).

   Anyway, in my last post I told you guys about our upcoming website. We've been working on it (Willow has lots of Clara cosplay stuff), and we're nearly ready to publicize it. We've got a date, on either Saturday or Sunday we'll post about it on here and let you know how to find it. This is so exciting! :)

   So, on with the chapter!

   The dark gray pavement was mostly hidden by a thick layer of fluffy snow, except down the center of the road where tires turned it to gray mush. A few vehicles spotted the town streets, but most were gone on a holiday vacation or simply didn't want to slip and slide on the icy road.
   But one of the brave vehicles on the streets that day was a gray van with a newly cut Christmas tree tied on top. The car was filled with little giggling girls, two young men, and a lady and her husband at the wheel, who were all fully dressed in wooly coats and warm boots to fit the weather.
   The children complained of heat as the boys tried to keep them entertained with stories of the Watchman life. They had heard lots of those, seeing that Mr. Harrison had formerly been a Watchman in the field before retiring to a stay-at-home worker (due to his injuries). But the boys were new to the business, and full of adrenaline pumping tales to tell the energetic little ones.
   "So there we were," Conner continued with his adventure from the row of seats directly behind the first. "Cornered by at least twenty InterTech agents who (from our ingenious make-up) thought we were simpletons. They were sure to shoot us right then and there."
   Ava, Tessa, and Abbie pulled their seat belts to the limit from the very back row of seats to hear the climax.
   "Bang!" Mason shouted, making them jump. "We were shot to death, right on the spot!"
   Addie's eyes filled with disappointment. "What?!"
   "Mason!" Mrs. Harrison scolded from the passengers seat.
   "That can't be true!" Tessa objected, folding her arms defiantly.
   He chuckled to himself as Conner shot him a friendly glare before correcting him, "Actually, Jared and Gabe swooped in their plane to our rescue, and we made it back to safety with the asset."
   "You mean the nice girl," Ava butted in.
   Mason shrugged, "The 'young woman', yeah. Thankfully, she was still blindfolded the entire time."
   Addie plopped back into her booster-seat and sighed with relief. She was very taken in by their stories, and could be frightened easily.
   Mrs. Harrison also enjoyed their tales, and listened intently to them all. "You boys sure put yourselves in a tough spot doing that. She must've been so grateful!"
   Conner shrugged and answered, "Not really, she was too flustered at the time to talk to us. She nearly took Mason's head off with a crowbar, actually."
   He crinkled his nose at the memory. "Ugh. She was totally out of it."
   "Well, we're almost home. What should we do until then?" Mr. Harrison questioned the group as Conner wrapped up his story.
   "Ava should practice her song," Mrs. Harrison suggested.
   Mason wasn't completely convinced about Ava singing in front of their whole church on Christmas Eve. She was his cousin, and he knew that Hydra agents were everywhere. Why not at their church? They knew who she was and what she looked like. It sounded sort of ridiculous, but one had to take every precaution to stay out of their far reaching web. It wasn't like he didn't want her to have fun and do something for the church Christmas concert, but he was worried for her safety.
   Mrs. Harrison pulled the disc from the glove compartment and put it in. Beautiful piano and cello music started to play from the speakers all around, and Ava sang along with it as the others listened to the Christmas song.
   He was very proud of his young cousin, doing something with her talent like that. Sure he was worried for her, but hey, what could possibly go wrong?

   After a quick stop at the store for some groceries, they arrived back at the pleasant house. Tiny flakes of snow fell lightly on their cheeks as the group dismounted and lugged the bags of food inside, leaving the unpacking in the (fairly) capable hands of the boys.
   Conner eyed the noble tree warily. "Okay, how do we get this thing down?"
   "It can't be that hard," Mason reasoned and untied the ropes securing it to the top of the van. "This is why I always had a plastic tree..."
   "Spit spot!" Conner encouraged from the opposite side as Mason unstrapped the trees bonds. "Careful not to-"
   He pulled the last one off, and in the process pushed the tree itself a tittle too far, which sent it rolling off of the van and down on top of Conner, who stopped mid-sentence and squeaked as it pushed him to the ground.
   "What was that?!" Mason shouted from the other side.
   Finding Conner lying on the ground seemed quite amusing to him, he laughed very hard as Conner tried to push the tree off of himself.
   After dragging the heavy noble onto the porch, they found a bucket full of water waiting and shoved the tree trunk inside, sprayed it with bug spray, and headed in with the others.
   Stomping the snow off of their shoes, they found Ava and Tessa battling over movies. Apparently, the girls had decided it was movie night and wanted to watch things like 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer', "The Little Drummer Boy', or 'A Christmas Carol'. The battle grew thicker when Addie refused to watch A Christmas Carol, since she thought it was too scary for her, and the fight continued.
   Mason, who wanted to watch 'A Christmas Story', was tired of asking and went to go make some popcorn.
   Suddenly, Mrs. Harrison dug an old movie out of the box and called, "Hey, what about 'It's A Wonderful Life'?"
   The room grew quiet as Mr. Harrison agreed, followed by Abbie, Ava, and a reluctant Tessa. Conner smiled broadly and nodded, "Sounds good! I like that one."
   Mason returned with the bowls of the delicious, buttery snack he was stuffing his mouth with. "Wad I mif?"
   Ava ran over, got her bowl of popcorn and plopped down on the couch, dibbing her favorite spot. "It's a Wonderful Life!"
   Mason's shoulders slumped as he whined, "Aw c'mon! Not that one! It's so... boring!"
   "What, if something doesn't explode every ten minutes the movie is immediately dull?" Conner defended, snatching his bowl and settling comfortably on the sofa. "Besides, there are children present."
    Mason grumbled and got the last seat, in between Ava and Mrs. Harrison as Mr. Harrison got it started.
   "They probably have credits at the beginning of the movie for heavens sake, it's ancient..." Mason mumbled to himself as it began.
   In truth, he didn't remember much of the movie at all. Especially since he slept through three quarters of it, and the rest was full of being used as a handkerchief by Mrs. Harrison who was just bawling, and trying to stop Ava from squiggling and asking too many questions.
   "Is that really how angels get their wings?" She pulled on his arm for an answer, eyes still locked to the screen.
   Mrs. Harrison sniffed and wiped her eyes with Mason's sleeve as the end credits rolled. "That was so beautiful, wasn't it... Mason? Are you asleep?"
   Ava glanced up to find his eyes closed and mouth slightly open, sleeping quite soundly. She poked him in the arm, but he didn't stir. "He sleeps like a rock."
   They picked up the empty bowls and went to get ready for bed, opening another day on their advent calendars and finding a small chocolate inside.
   Mrs. Harrison pulled a warm wooly blanket off of the top shelf and spread it over the sleeping Mason, tucked him in, and moved back. Pulling her Canon camera out of its bag, she snapped a picture and snuck away with a smile on her face, leaving him to sleep until morning.
   Heading to her bedroom, Mrs. Harrison noticed Ava standing next to a stray box of decorations that Isaiah had brought up in advance. She was fishing through it, searching for something in particular.
   "What are you looking for?" Mrs. Harrison asked gently, though still startling her in the process.
   She shyly reached her arm toward her, reviling a small silver bell in the palm of her hand. Her eyes shined with guilt, which Mrs. Harrison found odd.
   Hanging her head in shame, she causing Mrs. Harrison to wonder, "What's the matter, dear?"
   She looked up, eyes glinting with tears. "I'm sorry, I just wanted to give the angel his wings."
   Mrs. Harrison smiled, taking the little girl in her arms and hugging her tightly. "It's okay, sweetheart. I'm sure he's very grateful." Picking the small, silver bell up, she handed it back to Ava with a smile. "Here, why don't you keep it?"
   "Can I?" A goofy smile covered her face. She assured her that it was fine, and the six year old rushed back into her room with the bell in hand, jingling it merrily.
    Mrs. Harrison shook her head, still smiling. Flicking off the lights, she left the living room dark, only lit by the moon's glow which cast long shadows behind the couch where Mason snoozed.

Willow will try to get her chapter up, but her jaw is really bothering her because she just got new wires.
I'm going to shoot for the next chapter (which will include a dog, btw) and also work more on the website.
Speaking of, we're going to publicize our cosplay/fanart website on either this coming Saturday or Sunday, so watch out for a post about that!

Well, I think that's everything... thanks for reading! :)

Always Watching,