I was a very bad person yesterday. I ended up resting on the laurels of the weekends progress. I do however intend to remedy that tonight and maybe make a push for the goal line. It seems like each time I get too far ahead I let myself relax and skip a day. I started off this two chapters ahead and over time that lead dwindled to nothing. However at this point I am less than 5000 words away from the finish line and hopefully tonight I can buckle down and finish.
Here is the tale so far for those catching up, once again posted raw and unedited.
- Shadowed Stone
- Little Giant Girl
- Birthday Wishes
- The Gifts
- The Incursion
- The Watch
- Rough Landing
- Dragon Bone
- People of the Storm
- The Lady
- Cambridge Beneath
- Prisoner of War
- Parting the Veil
- People of the Earth
- The Pack
- Brittagus Escape
- The Lightskimmer
- The Nightlords
- Best Laid Plans
- The Siege
25 – Serendipity
Merowyn had been badly wounded from her act of sacrifice to free her wildfae children. As a result Jace decided that they should spend the light in the keep and hopefully by morning she would be able to move on. The sprites lovingly nursed her throughout the night, wrapping themselves around her, and in the morning she seemed invigorated. Jace did not really understand what had happened, but he was happy to see that she was doing well and seeming in better spirits than he had seen her on the journey. He was also happy to see that Dimcy more or less was doing well.
Her sacrifice the day before had also had consequences, but it seemed that she had been reborn as a child version of herself. The younger Dimcy seemed to be quite a bit more playful than her previous self and delighted in buzzing around their heads as fast as she could making a little halo of flame. Kale delighted in this and as they walked Dimcy spent most of her time resting on the large girls shoulder. It was the love of Kale that rekindled the firesprite and the bond only seemed to grow stronger.
As they exited the keep Jace noticed that a large storm had appeared shrouding the Fort in the distance. As they moved closer to it he began to hear sounds from within the mists. It sounded as though a battle was waging. He looked over to Merowyn and she returned his it with a worried glance. “Someone is fighting at the Fort” Jace said feeling like he was stating the obvious. “I sure hope they are friendly, and not an even worse army than the Orts.” Merowyn could not imagine who would be striking against the keep. The elfen armies were in a state of disarray after the Winter War, and no other standing army had the power to strike back against the keep. The Valkore were powerful enough but they were scattered in individual clans, and seemed to lack the will to band together against anything after being driven out of their homelands.
The Sasquatch were also powerful enough, being able to wield the power of their earth where their shamanistic geomancy. But they were scattered and tribal and once again lacked the force of will to join together to face anything head on like this. Merowyn wondered who could possibly be behind the strike, and if they would be willing to help them achieve their own goals. “We have to continue, and hope for the best.” She proclaimed as she pushed forward with her army of sprites in tow. “Too much rests on us reclaiming the queen and protecting the summerwall.”
As they neared the keep they heard a great commotion from the western face as something erupted in fire sending great plumes of smoke rising up from the ground. Jace could see what looked like a boat hovering over the fog bank. “What is that? Some sort of airship?” he said pointing up at the shapes above the fog bank. Mero looked at where the boy was pointing and sure enough it was a fleet of Valkore Skyships. “I guess that answers the question, the those are Valkore skyships. They are dropping fire down on something below them.”
Merowyn watched in horror was she saw a bolt strike out from the fort and hit the ship in its hull sending it crashing to the ground. She was uncertain if she just saw what happened. Another bolt came flying out catching another ship and sending it to the ground. She watched the magic more closely this time. She saw a plume of flame wrapped in lightning. It made sense, but that meant that the traitor had managed to harness the power of the queen. “They are using stormfire!” she yelled fear lacing her voice.
She had heard of it in legends but never thought that a person could actually wield such power. “Baigan has harnessed the queen and is now using the most destructive of magics, the combined strength of summer and winter. He is using stormfire and is destroying those ships.” She watched as a group of ships broke off, diving down below the fog bank for cover. They sped along the ground for a long ways and came to a stop on a flat spot just ahead of them. “We need to go see if anyone is hurt” yelled Jace already breaking into a run heading towards the ship.
As Jace got to the ships, he saw a woman in leather and fur armor disembark the ship, sword drawn and held high as though she was rallying her crew. Following closely behind her was another woman with black hair, bright pink highlights and dressed in a manner he was not expecting for the shadowlands. She was from his world, there was no mistaking it… and the Doctor Who t-shirt if nothing else was a dead give away. He waved his arms while running screaming “Is everyone alright? We can give assistance!”
Pico watched as a boy and very tall girl closed in on their location. Much to her shock she recognized both of them. One of the dirty secrets of the watch was the fact that they kept files on all betweeners. While they might not know the significance of each they cataloged their abilities. The boy was Jace, he was a known woodbinder but had not really come into his own ability at the last the file was updated. The girl was Kale, she was half ort and with it had all the powers of a small giant. Her 6’10” stature tended to make her stand out as being something different. She wondered what exactly they were doing, and why they were being followed closely by an Elfen woman and literally hundreds of forest sprites.
Barret stepped in front of Pico raising pointing her sword out in front of her and staring down at the oncomers. “Who are you? What side are you with?” she screamed making sure the others understood her clearly. Jace slowed his pace and held his hands out to his sides showing he meant no harm “We didn’t know there were sides? We are coming to save my mom… err the Summer Queen.” he motioned to the keep “We have to get in there and save her. Can you help us?” Jace looked at the captain pleadingly.
Barret lowered her sword and could not suppress a chuckle. “It seems you are a bit behind the times boy.” She motioned to the fog behind her “There is a battle waging, and we too have come to rescue this queen and save the summer wall. We have a joint force of Valkore, Sasquatch, Elfen… “motioning to the army of sprites behind him “and it appears we have a whole slew of Wildfae as well, all trying to accomplish the same task.” She looked at her crew, and they gazed to the other ship crews that had begun to assemble. “We do have a few wounded, we would appreciate any assistance. When everyone is bandaged up we can push to the fort and cover you.”
Merowyn motioned to her sprites and they spread out throughout the crowd mending those that could be mended and stabilizing those who could not. Pico rushed up to Jace and held out her hand “Hi, I’m Pico”. She gave a sheepish grin “I did not expect to see betweeners here.” Jace thought for a moment, Kale had used the term before but he never really thought that he too was a betweener. Kale had joined him and whispered in his ear “I think she is with the watch, be careful” Jayce nodded and looked Pico over carefully. He had also heard about the Ward Watch from Kale, and was a bit leery.
“How exactly did you get here Pico?” Jace questioned trying to make small talk as the sprites tended to their the Valkore. “It’s a really long story, one we don’t really have time for right now. Hopefully after this is over though Bemel will hold true to his word and get me back home. If not I might need to beg one of you betweeners to shift me across.” Jace looked dumbfounded and replied quickly “Did you say Bemel? He’s okay? He’s here?” Pico nodded “He is leading up the strike from the south. This entire alliance was his idea.”
Jace’s mind reeled, maybe they all made it out okay from the farmhouse. “What about Benj, Josah and Morrow?” He had watched Oaks fall to Baigan, but maybe the others were fine. All this time he had expected the worst. Maybe everything was going to be just fine. “I’ve not heard the name Benj, but there are two other Elfen named Josah and Morrow. They are leading up a force of Valkore striking from the east.” She looked at Jace with a puzzled look on her face “Are they family of yours?” Jace nodded with a wide smile “Yes they are, they are my aunts and uncles.” Jace hoped that Benj was fine as well, surely we all ended up here at the same time for a reason. For the first time in a long time he felt like maybe everything was going to be just fine.