Chapter 6 : Trudging Towards Destiny
Scene 5 : Trudging Towards Destiny 1
Gramstaf led the way riding his grey mare. He was closely followed by Cedical and Kilabra astride the white stag and Denzred upon his white stallion. Trailing a little distance behind them was Hindral, as she clung uncomfortably to the back of the dire lynx as it loped along in the damp November fog that covered the hills of Northern England. They had been travelling for the past day and a half since they met up with Cedical. Something had nagged at Denzred ever since the encounter with the dire lynx. As he rode slowly he glanced at the fresh poultice on Kilabra’s left hand and it suddenly came into focus. He clicked his tongue and sidled up beside the pair on the white stag. Before he had the chance to break the silence the Daouine Sidhe’s imperious amber gaze impaled him.
“Is there something you require, Man?”
Denzred scowled slightly at her tone as he spoke,
“You know my name fay, so why don’t you address me as such?”
“Isn’t it obvious? Names are wasted on the ephemeral. Mountains, seas, forests…Fay. These things are forever, they deserve names. You do not, the best you can hope for yourself is that you earn your name. Until then to me you are simply… Man.”
Denzred scowled deeply and almost reached for his sword to silence the faerie’s insolence. But then unbidden, his mind’s eye was filled with an image of an enormous pile of burning elven corpses. He sighed and let his steed slow down as he became lost in his revelry. Kilabra faced forward once more as she rode on, a slight smile on her lips.
That should keep him off-balance for awhile at least. Silly mortal gave himself away by constantly glancing at my hand. He would make a terrible gamesman…
It’s been a week or so since the last instalment of Fellowship of Fear and I just wanted to apologize. Between an upswing in work and family activities (compounded by an annoying bout of writer’s block) I have not been as creative as I would have wished. Things should settle down into a better rhythm and today I shall be posting a new scene for you to enjoy.
Thank you for your patience,
Chapter 6 : Trudging Towards Destiny
Scene 4 : Veeva
It was so warm…the deep rumbling…the soft furry quilt. The warmth increased…the rumbling grew louder…an avalanche? Hindral shifted in her sleep. Darkness and yet so warm, the rumbling even louder now as she sneezes. Her proboscis making a noise that sounded like an out-of-tune fiddle mating with the shrill scream of a plummetting eagle. The heat and rumble suddenly withdrawn as her eyes sprung open. Hindral gasped for air as she rubbed her proboscis vigorously. She noticed the dire lynx crouched down next to her, its enormous green eyes inscrutable as he gazed at her. His purr still a low rumble as he breathed.
“Good morning, kitty. I guess I have you to thank for my cozy night’s sleep.”
Hindral slowly got to her feet as she ineffectually tried to brush all the cat fur off her garments. The humans began to stir from their slumber, the Fae just sat and stared implacably at the cat and the gnome. The big cat just sat and stared at Hindral as it purred endlessly.
“You didn’t slip off into the night kitty. Why is that you suppose?”
“Yeah, that’s what I thought too. You must feel some connection with the Svirfneblin that saved your life.” Hindral smiled and winked at the dire lynx. The big cat yawned In disinterest, showing off its mighty incisors. Hindral boldly strolled up to him and made note of the thin white line of fur that hid the sword scar on his side. Then she reached over and scratched behind his ears and between his shoulder blades. The purring increased in volume.
“Well, here’s the deal kitty. If you want to come along you have to hunt for your own meals. But with those teeth and claws I don’t suspect that shall prove to be a problem for you. And another thing, what’s your name?”
“What’s that you say? Your name is Veeva? Well, it’s most splendiferous to meet you sir, I am Hindral.” Hindral reached out and scratched under his chin. Veeva squinted his eyes shut and his lips pulled back in a feline grin.
“Well that settles it then. Welcome to the quest, Veeva. We’re all damned, doomed, or stupid here.” Hindral then leaned in close to Veeva’s pricked up ear and mock-whispered.
“But be careful of that one. She is way too darkly mysterious to be trusted.” Hindral pointed at Kilabra and smirked as she spoke. Hindral then strolled over to the smoking ashes of the fire and added a few branches and tried to get it started up again. She raised her voice as she looked at Gramstaf finally sitting up and rubbing the sleep from his rheumy eyes.
“So Grammy, what’s for breakfast?”
I just wanted to post an apology for anyone following Fellowship of Fear. I had a wicked head cold last week for 4 days that kept my must at bay. Then this week I have been dealing with 10-11 hour shifts (this tends to sap my creativity as well). I should have another scene posted by Sunday at the latest, so I am begging your patience until then.
Chapter 6 : Trudging Towards Destiny…
Scene 3 : Saving Lynx
With each gasp of air a slow pump of blood would flow from the twin wounds in the beast’s sides. Hindral looked up at Gramstaf with despair in her eyes.
“Is there anything you can do Grammy?”
Gramstaf knelt next to the fading animal as he questioned Egl to himself, Well is there, demon? If we can do this Hindral will enter the fold for certain.
Yessss, and maybe even the young bard. I can do this but it will cost us both a little bit of our soulssss
Do it then, Hindral does not deserve this grief.
Gramstaf scowled to himself as the interior argument continued. He knelt down next to the mortally wounded animal and gently placed his palms on either side of the sword wound that still continued to leak blood.
“I’ll do what I can Miss Smik. But I make no promises…and even if I do succeed there will be a cost, there is always a cost…”
The old priest held Hindral’s gaze with his glimmering blue eyes for a moment more before nodding slightly and harumphing. He stared intently at the wound as he mumbled under his breath. Hindral could not tell what he was saying but by the tone she would have sworn he was having an argument with himself. Then her vision was dazzled by another bright blue flash, this time from the old priest’s hands. The air filled with the stench of ozone and cat-fear. There was a weak mewling from the big lynx and then its eyes closed and breathing slowed.
“You killed him!”
Hindral’s face reflected her growing panic. Gramstaf placedd his hand on her tiny shoulder to reassure her.
“Calm down, Miss Smik. The beast is merely sleeping off its panic. Look here, the wound is healed. Better than my expectations.”
Gramstaf directed her gaze to the bald white scar surrounded my blood-matted fur. She smiled and realized there would be a matching scar underneath him.
“We won’t know until the morning whether I healed the beast on the inside as well as the outside. So I suggest we get some much needed rest before our quest begins in earnest.”
“Grammy, you never did get around to mentioning where we are supposed to be headed…”
“Yes, I was rather rudely interrupted wasn’t I? We are heading to the final resting place of the Holy Grail and the birthplace of mortals here in the Celtic lands.”
“That is if we even want to go anywhere with a Demon of the Void, Man.” Kilabra grumbled in disgust. Gramstaf scowled slightly as he glanced in her direction.
“Don’t keep us in suspense Grammy. Where is that exactly?”
“We are headed to the Isle of Man, of course!”
His four companions looked at him in amusement and then it slowly dawned on him that he wasn’t making some kind of terrible pun. Hindral palmed her face as she shook her head in disbelief.
Chapter 6 : Trudging Towards Destiny
Scene 2 : Circling Kitties
The huge felines circled around the group, surrounding them on all sides without getting too close. Denzred and Kilabra faced off against them, he with his longsword and shield and her with dual estocs. Hindral looked around in a panic as she searched for a way out of this predicament.
“Any of you tall folk have a plan?”
“We keep killing them until they leave or stop attacking. Seems pretty simple.” Denzred tried to smile down at the Svirfneblin but it only came across as a scowl.
“That’s not very reassuring human.”
“They are being controlled by Satan, knight. They will not stop attacking until we are all dead.” As Gramstaf spoke he tapped his staff on the ground to once again throw blue radiance in every direction.
“That’s not right! They are kitties. You have to be able to stop them, Grammy!”
As Hindral spoke one of the dire lynxes leapt over Kilabra’s head straight for the little gnome. In a blur of motion, the Daouine Sidhe swept her arms upwards and impaled the cat through its sides and pulled it down to land at Hindral’s feet. Her swords were yanked from her hands and flew out beyond the fire with the momentum of the animal. The lynx howled as a red glowing mist flowed upwards from it into the night sky. It lay there bleeding and purring in agony, its eyes once more a bright green. Hindral knelt down and cried out in despair.
“Grammy! Make it stop! Now!”
The remaining dozen lynxes continued to circle the group warily now as Gramstaf looked on in confusion.
“I can do nothing without time and peace, friend Hindral.”
Then a few quiet notes were played, hanging in the air as if they had substance and weight. More notes followed them as the cats circling slowed. A dozen pairs of red glowing orbs focussed on the girl on the stag as she began to play. Her head bowed as she focussed her full attention on her dulcimer. Her playing was slow and soothing, the cats settled and sat back on their haunches as they tilted their heads as one and watched her. Gramstaf’s creased face broke into a grin as he nodded in approval.
“Yes, thats exactly what I needed Cedical Basian.” And he raised his staff skyward as he bowed his head and began to mumble under his breath in latin. As she played his mumbling became clearer and firmer, his strength growing as the blue light brightened. The beacon almost blinding in its purity as he chanted louder and louder, drowning out the soothing melody. With one final word he slammed the staff down and shouted.
“By the power of Christ I compel thee!”
In the next instant, the blue light flowed outward in a silent blinding explosion, enveloping the big cats. They howled in unison and once more red glowing mist poured forth, from all the cats and skyward. Even though their eyes were dazzled by the brilliance the assembled company could see the red mist flow south over the fields. There was a moment of silence as the night returned to the clearing and then the lynxes, excepting the wounded one, stood up once more and slowly sauntered back into the forest.
Hindral looked on in wonder, and then heard a weak yowl issue from the cat at her feet as its enormous rough tongue licked at her boot. She gazed down at it with tears burning in her eyes then she scanned the faces around her as she spoke.
“Grammy save this kitty or I swear I will make sure Satan turns the world into the Hell that he wishes!”
Hindral knelt down and made comforting sounds as she stroked her small hands through the thick silky soft fur of the dire lynx’s slablike skull. Tears dripped from her proboscis as she cooed and tried to comfort the wounded beast.
Chapter 6: Trudging Towards Destiny
Scene 1 : Meeting Cedical
Hindral gazed up at the small human female, impressed by the size of her mount.
“So who are you supposed to be?”
The young woman played a few notes on her dulcimer, Cedical Basian.
“Did I just hear that right? Did her instrument just say her name?” Hindral looked back at her companions in confusion.
Yes, Cedical plucked a couple more strings.
“But how? Thatis impossible!” Hindral stepped closer as the white stag pawed the earth and begin to graze calmly.
The Great Oghma taught me. I am mute. He taught me a great many things…
“”This is incredible! I’m not sure how that is even possible but-”
“Did you say the Great Oghma taught you?” Kilabra looked at Cedical quizzically.
Yes, but there’s no time to explain.
Cedical pointed toward the forest where a pack of dire lynxes with distinctive glowing red eyes were slinking towards them. Denzred swiftly drew his long sword as Kilabra set herself ready for the oncoming attack with her bronze estocs at the ready.
Hindral took a step back as she whispered,”Oh shi-”
The wolves leapt…