Nenothtu, Ben, and Sslar had been traveling for 3 days towards the Badlands, the area on the rim of the Wastelands, which had been devastated in a
long ago nuclear exchange, and which was only slowly healing. The horse trading had gone well, what with the combined fear of Gert's witchly ire and
the sudden shock of neno's reappearance after so many years. He'd gotten a fine horse, and Ben had bargained and horse-traded his way into an animal
that was not much an inferior to it.
The horses shied at the appearance of Sslar, but couldn't run away as they were tethered in the first night's camp. Sslar languidly strolled towards
the rebelling horses, who squealed and showed the whites of their eyes in response. She squatted on her haunches in front of the horses and locked
gaze with each in turn. Nenothtu had no way of knowing what had passed between the animals, but after that they tolerated one another, if warily on
the part of the horses.
They had crossed the river at Black's Ford, riding up over the shoulder of Big Arrod Mountain and dropping into the Indian Creek watershed, which
drained into Rusty Fork, which ran through the Breaks of Spruce Mountain, a large wooded canyon beyond which the badlands opened up. At the foot of
Spruce Mountain, nenothtu reconsidered the wisdom of going through the Breaks, which was the easy way into the Badlands. The "easy way" was usually
watched and guarded in most places, and the Badlands and Vandalia were neither one an exception.
Instead of running that gauntlet, the party headed along the foot of Spruce Mountain upstream along Rusty Fork until they encountered Birch Gap
several miles from the Breaks. Birch Gap was less likely to be under guard. it was a gap in the mountain all right, but a more rugged, less hospitable
one that was less well known. Nearly everyone trying to get through went all the way south to the Old Cumberland Gap or all the way north to the
Breaks, skirting Spruce Mountain altogether. Only crazy people picked a gap in the middle to try to force their way through the mountain.
Crazy or crafty, that is.
They made a camp with a small fire among the rocks and cliffs that framed the gap, and spent their last might in Vandalia on the ridge of the mountain
before descending into the badlands beyond. Speaking to his companions over the fire after supper, neno said "aiight. if we get outnumbered, or it
looks like we're about to be surrounded, you two need to sky out, break through any encirclement, and get scarce. If that happens, I'll keep 'em busy
whilst you all get away".
Sllar narrowed her eyes, not liking that idea much, and Ben flat out stated "I ain't 'bout to leave ye to yer fate like that and abandon ye! What
kinda fella you think I am, anyhow?" Sslar seconded that sentiment with a low growl.
"Well Ben, I prefer you're a live and free fella to a dead or enslaved one. You KNOW how some of the folks over in here think! And Sslar, they ain't
NEVER seen a critter like you, and everyone and his cousin will be trying to make a rug outta you, so you two SKY, DAMMIT! I've got a secret..." he
paused and cleared his throat "... weapon, anyhow. Works best without distractions. 'Sides, if it comes to that, it'll be a mighty big help to have
outside help for an escape, rather than trying to ALL of us bust out from inside, y'know?"
Ben couldn't argue with the logic of having a man on the outside, or not turining Sslar into a rug, but instead of admitting that, he narrowed his
eyes and said "What kind 'er 'secret weapon' you got?"
Neno looked sheepish at having come so close to spilling his secret, but instead of elaborating in response to the question, he said indignantly "Now
Ben, what kind of 'secret' weapon would it be iffen I told what is IS?" As soon as the thought of his immortality crossed his mind, Sslar's eyes
widened. Because of her communication methods, and her mind link from the bond with neno, she knew immediately what it was when the thought entered
Sslar, however, wouldn't tell, either.
"Alright then." Ben replied. "I don't like it, not even a little bit, but yer a hard-headed one. We'll stick with ye to the end of the journey, unless
we get attacked by raiders on the way, and iffen we do, we'll follow and spring you at the earliest opportunity." Nenothtu had no idea how he knew,
but he had a bad feeling that this wasn't going to be an averageable cake walk.
They turned in for the night, taking turns keeping watch for intruders, and in the morning as the sun rose in the east, but before it warmed the camp
on the western slope of the ridge, they saddled up and set forth, down into the rugged, convoluted, dangerous area known as the Badlands.
edit on 2011/12/28 by nenothtu because: (no reason given)
..................................................~Waiting In The Wings~..............................................
Sir Mordred waited in the shadows and watched the interlopers creep along the landing,
the demon leading the two-man rescue team brought fearful thoughts to the bastard-son
of the Pendragon.
The shadows seemed to mock the man who had stood in his father's shadow for all his
life, his Mother had foretold that he would slay the King and take his throne and Morded
licked his lips a the anticipation of that day.
Guinevere was merely a stepping-stone to that day.
He had already entered into talks with Ogier the Dane to assist in ridding Avalon of Arthur's
dreaded Knights and now, with the capture of the Devil -himself, he would have all the
Tarot cards in his hand.
Camelot had baned Mordred for his entire life, he had watched along with his brothers as
the environs had enjoyed prosperous times under his Father's guiding hand.
Gawain -the favorite of Arthur's had gone on to be one of the Round Table Knights and
Agravain, Gaheris and Gareth-the-good-hands had followed in his footsteps.
The pale-skinned boy with the blanched hair could only look on and see how the man that
had cared for everyone of his realm and yet, gave an impression of a strong Ruler -would
pass by on his travels and not even offer a smile to his tear-stained son.
Mordred sought solace in his Mother's arms and the comforting whispers from her lips had
told him that his time would come.
Even though his brothers would become his enemies, his destiny must never be threatened,
the creeping Demon in the red dress could be used as a tool to assist that destiny.
Morgana had hinted that the 'Man-Woman' would invade his life and due to her Fairy
heritage, her strange predictions had often come true.
"You will be visted by the Devil and he will confuse his body..." the half-breed Fay had said
"... the Hell-born will laugh as he takes what you hold dearest" The young blonde-haired
Albino had suffered nightmares of the grinning Horned-One for weeks after Morgana had
related the prophecy.
The guards waited at the Queen's bedroom door and the grey-eyed Mordred pondered
how they would react to this black-haired supernatural-being and the small Elf, the two
slipped down the stairs without a sound.
Boy In A Dress felt the man's presence as he touched the first step of the stairway and urged
himself not to look into the dark place on the otherside of the landing. The Man/Girl also felt
the touch of fear coming from the shadows and accepting that he had walked into a trap, he
searched his mind for a way of using the fear to his advantage.
Gerald stayed close and BIAD could hear his scared breathing in the quietness of the night,
the stairs didn't creak as they made their way down to where the bedrooms awaited.
..........~*~If Wishes were Horses~*~..................
Adam, mesmerized by the flames, was aware of feeling disappointed when they remitted outside the hut's door. When the crackling had subsided and the
walls of heat moved on, he heard a strange sound coming closer to him.
He rubbed his eyes, and dug each pinkie into its respective ear canal to be sure he was hearing clearly, and sure enough, a most incongruous scene
First, a tall pole with a white banner came into view, then a group of unseemly figures indeed. One man was carrying two halves of coconut shells and
knocking them together while also burdened with an enormous wooden chest. He was followed by a man playing a recorder alongside another who was
singing...it was clear they were "practicing", because they would frequently stop, then start up again.
The mist and smoke had cleared enough for them to see Adam from about ten meters away, and they all stopped and looked at one another, then in unison,
smiled. The recorder-player jammed his elbow into the minstrel's ribs.
"You see? I told you we'd find him. He isn't bright enough to get away from us, much as he would like to," he muttered. This remark, though
not meant to be audible to Adam, was heard by him. He frowned, his brows drawing together. Was he hallucinating? Or were these persons actual flesh
"There you are, good sir! Through the long nights of winter have we faithfully sought you out, and nearly lost our faith in your utter
bravery and chivalry! I confess it now, we've more than once thought it perhaps better to bugger off, thinking it an impossible quest, but now, in
our darkest hour, we have found you!"
"Aye, aye,.....yea, verily, good sir,......," the others responded. (Except the one carrying the trunk and coconut shell-halves. He said only,
The spokesman, noting Adam's bewilderment, began again. "Of course, we have heeded your orders, good sir knight, and been practicing a new ballad
written just for you. And we heartily apologize, from the depths of our hearts for having in any way misrepresented you in song. But our most
Merciful God has led us back to your side, our rightful places, through his Grace and Patience, as you can see!
"We humbly and with utmost heartfelt humility beg you to allow us once more to sing your praises as you continue your noble quest." The group
nodded and smiled, with more murmuring of "yea, aye, your Grace," and so on and so forth.
Adam cleared his throat and looked around to ensure they were addressing him, and not Charon or someone else.
As they stood looking expectantly and hopefully at him for several moments, it was clear they were awaiting his response and no one else's
He lifted his hand and touched his index finger to his chest. "M-- me? You've come for me?"
This was answered with enthusiastic nodding and murmured agreement and positivity.
"You --- you know of my quest?"
"Indeed, good sir knight," said the minstrel. "Prithee, toy not with us, sir! You know full well that we are commited in thought, word, and deed to
helping you achieve that greatest thing of all...and the Chalice Well is nearby."
"The Chalice Well?" asked Adam.
"Sir, have you a fever? Some evil force dwelling within you that has robbed you of your senses and your Quest's importance? Good sir, arise, come
you, we shall sing your praises and within a few short moments we will have arrived at Avalon!"
Adam scrambled to his feet then. "Avalon! Yes, that is my destination! I...I was......testing you, you see....to... erm...to make
certain you were no impostors or tricksters! I expected you to arrive in a barge is all."
"But...sir, your Barge is here, right here, as ever. Leg up, sir, leg up!, and off we shall be to Avalon!" said the minstrel, and the fellow with the
coconut shell-halves and large trunk nodded eagerly.
Adam looked at the group and again his brows drew together in consternation. "I see no barge," he said.
"Good sir! Torment us no more, we pray thee! Come hither, and leg up, and hence shall we go to victory!" Adam watched as the minstrel demonstrated
"leg up", a maneuver in which he lifted his left foot up, his leg bent at the knee as does one when inserting a toe into a stirrup, lowered it again
and then swung his right leg in an arc, bent his knees and posed as if he were holding reins.
"I see," said Adam. He mimicked the odd sequence of motions (having nothing better to do, and no other way of reaching Avalon). The group smiled,
their chests puffing up proudly.
"Very well done, sir," said the minstrel, "and now, we are on our way!" Adam remained still, so the minstrel demonstrated the sort of skip-hop a man
uses on a hobby horse. The Barge knocked the two half-shells together. Ah, thought Adam, a strange ritualistic dance. Very well,
then, and willingly he obliged.
"Which way, then?" he asked.
The minstrel pointed toward the west. And so they left the hut. Adam accepted the escort without knowing why they had never asked his name. At the
time, it did not seem worth the bother to advise them. (That's what he told himself, anyway. It was really because he was too ashamed of himself to do
He was to grow suspicious, however, as they moved further away....that perhaps it was a case of mistaken identity...
edit on 31-12-2011 by wildtimes because: the usual formatting, extra character space required, and corrections to spelling. Also left coconut
shells in edit room.
edit on 31-12-2011 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)
The gun jumped from Pip’s hand to lay spinning in the corner. Mac, blood gushing from a fist sized hole off center of his gut lay on the floor
curling in on himself his mouth opening and closing while the heels of his shiny black boots tapped out a staccato message against the floor. The
almighty would have to answer that SOS. The pupils of his eyes dilated, two bottomless portals into the next world then glazed over.
‘Son...you did it...’ Gep’s voice sounded like chickens scratching.
‘But Pa...I...’ Pip, confused and in shock looked from the dead man to his father and back again. His father didn’t see him shaking his
‘Go, get out of here...find...Margo.’ The scratching stopped. Gep had passed out, or died. Pip frozen in place was stood too terrified to step
over the lake of the dead man’s blood to reach his father and find out which it was.
‘What the hell you up to boy!’ A large hand seized Pip’s shoulder spinning him around. Taggart had waited just long enough for uncertainty to
set in before speaking up from where he‘d stood in the doorway. Now it was time to cement a new truth into the kid’s head. Pulling Pip off his
feet by the shirt front he lifted him into the air forcing their faces so close he could smell the boys breath. Fear in Pip’s eyes made him look
ridiculously like a baby owl Taggart thought shaking him angrily.
‘You killed him you filthy little bugger!’ Taggart snarled reinforcing the lie, ’You killed Mac in cold blood!’ Taggart’s eyes went wild
in mock rage.
‘Sir, I didn’t, I swear I...’ Pips teeth clacked together when Taggart shook him so hard his neck seemed ready to snap.
‘Put the boy down!’ Margo called from the doorway, the same doorway where Taggart had waited until just the right moment to liver-shoot his
Turning to Margo with the boy still clutched in his hands Taggart’s eyes widened when he saw she had nothing in her hand but a knife. ’And what
are you going to do with that little sticker?’ Taggart bust into a rusty laugh. ‘All ya had ta do is ask nice Miss Margo’ Taggart
sneered tossing the boy at her feet and faster than her eyes could follow Taggart pulled his weapon aiming it straight at her head. Margo’s eyes
flicked from the gun, to the dead man on the floor and back again to the gunman. She didn’t know how but she had no doubt Taggart had killed
‘The boy shot Mac dead,’ Taggart countered reading the accusation in her eyes. Taggart kicked Pip viciously. Margo screamed for him to stop and
dropped her knife. Stepping over Pip to block her way Taggart advanced to Margo’s retreat until the smooth skin of her shoulders scrapped against
the rough wooden wall. Taggart pressed the barrel of the gun none too gently into her forehead his elbow raised high as if to drill the piece right
through her skull.
‘You want the boy to live? The father to live?’ He hissed sending yellow spittle from the corners of his mouth to fleck her cheek. ’Then get
the hell out of here.’ He barked the last word. ’I’ll take care a this and be back in Mac’s office before sundown. You be there!’
Taggart reinforced his words with the tip of the barrel.
‘You wont kill them?’ Margo’s eyes flashed defiant, she had nothing more to loose.
‘Me?‘ His tongue darted out over his lips oily as a snake. ‘No, I wont kill them...’ The gun barrel pivoted in his hand to begin a
leisurely trace of the twin mounds of skin showing above the lace of her dress. ‘That is, if you make it worth my while.’ He smiled with clear
This wasn’t the time, or the place Margo through already planning Taggart’s death. Nodding meekly her stomach recoiled at the cold steal on her
skin but the corners of her lips lifted in a smile. ‘Sure Taggart. Sure hun.’ Brushing out from under the gun Margo sashayed away from the man
knowing his eyes were on her hips and legs. She knew Taggart especially liked her legs. Turning she smiled, a pouty practiced smile reminding him of
something he wanted. Her strength came from knowing he’d never get it.
‘You swear not to hurt them?’ Margo asked letting her eyes go smoky with promise. Repulsed she watched the knot at Taggart’s throat rise and
fall as he swallowed. The fool believed her.
‘Not a hair on their head.‘ Holstering his gun Taggart bent and lifted Pip to his feet even going so far as to brush the boy off. ‘Now go on
and get out of here and let him and me clean up this mess.’ Taggart thrust his chin in the direction where she’d come from and with no other
choice Margo fled.
‘Grab a leg boy!’ Pip did as he was told his eyes frightened his teeth bared in fear. ‘What about my Pa?’ Pip barely made himself heard.
‘Just you shut your trap and grab a leg! We’ll come back for him later.’
Taggart never saw the boy pocket Margo’s knife before tucking the bright black heel of the dead man’s boot under his arm and start pulling.
The trio had traveled for a day and a half, wandering more or less aimlessly, since nenothtu had not the slightest idea what he was looking for beyond
the Breaks - only that he was to be there. His best guess was that whatever it was, it would find HIM, not the other way around.
Toward evening of the second day in, when they were looking for a campsite for the night, Ben espied a rock overhang near the crest of a hill, what
has been known for aeons in the area as a "rock house". It was on the high ground and commanded a view of the area, so seemed the perfect place to
make camp. They moved up the hill to it, and unpacked bedding and grub for the evening meal. Well, technically Ben did the unpacking while neno built
a small fire. Sslar, not being of much use for anything at dinner time, checked the surroundings and the recesses of the rock overhang.
Neno packed the coffee pot and hung it over the fire on a stick jammed between two rocks while Ben busied himeslf with some salted beef and odds and
ends with intent on a stew - of sorts. Sslar, for her part, came forward dragging a backpack, looking insufferably pleased with herself. "This
belongs to the Silo" she thought at neno, who, for his part, was still coming to grips with the direct form of communication used by Sslar and her
kind which bypassed the need for speech, or even language. Thought, not being composed of actual words but rather symbols and concepts, doesn't need
"How do you know that?" nenothtu thought back at her as he reached for the backpack and dragged it towards himself.
Sslar would have rolled her eyes, had that been a habit of her kind. "It has her scent." As neno dragged the backpack, a medallion fell out of it.
the Green man. There was no doubt, and Sslar was right. It was Silo's.
Ben looked up. "What's passin' between you two? I kin tell it's something, by yer expressions."
"Silo's been here. This is her pack. I reckon this is why we're supposed to be here. We'll start tracking at first light, see if we can track her
down. When we find 'er, we'll have four of us gathered up in one place, then see if we can find the rest."
Ben grunted "sounds like a plan to me. Now you gonna pour that coffee, or at least git it off the fire so's I kin warm this here stew up?"
As neno reached for the coffee pot to pour a couple of cups, he commented "You've got a lot of damned nerve calling that concoction a 'stew'
ben fixed his big eye - which at the moment was the right one - on neno and replied "Ever body's a food critic these days. You ain't gotta eat it
iffen it offends you so, y'know."
nenothtu didn't look up from the coffee pouring as he replied "I reckon I kin probbly choke some of it down - long as I got this wondrous coffee ter
worsh it down with."
Ben snorted "Wondrous? Yer coffee could be used to lubricate engines with!"
Neno grinned, and Sslar laid down with her head propped on her forepaws, waiting on her share of the stew. She'd probably never understand the odd
bonding rituals these humans engaged in.
By the time the sun broke over the horizon the next morning, they were packed up and moving back down the trail from the rock house. Neno reasoned
that Silo had followed the trail down as the path of least resistance, and they would stop at the next intersection or fork to look for prints and
There was an ambush party waiting at the forks of the trail. This was a high traffic trail that they watched constantly, and this site near the rock
ledge was a favorite spot to waylay travellers. the rock house itself was fairly defensible, but it was pretty unlikely that campers there would leave
any other way than along the trail, so when a fire was seen there by trail watchers, ambushes were set up on the trail rather than assaulting the rock
Sslar was scouting out to the flanks, perhaps 50 meters or so into the brush, and the ambushers hadn't seen her. When they sprang the ambush, neno
scream "SCATTER! Make 'em split up if they want to catch us all!" he dropped his reins and drew his pistol, assaulting straight into the ambush to
throw them off while Ben and Sslar made their escape.
The ambushers didn't seem interested in splitting up. Since neno had issued the order to split up, they took him to be the leader of the small
troupe, and concentrated on him. If they could catch the leader, how far behind could the followers be?
He shot two of the ambushers before they shot him right out of the saddle with some sort of incapacitating weapon along the lines of a taser. Neno
tumbled backwards over the horse's hind quarters, and the horse made the leap over the ambush, and kept on going, running for all he was worth, which
was considerable. Ben, for his part, had bent low over the neck of his horse and ran as instructed. He disappeared, and kept on disappearing.
Sslar, for her part, went after neno's horse. He was going to need that beast whenever she killed every living thing to get him out of wherever they
were taking him.
Gert was nearing the cave of enchantments, and trying to focus on the task at hand, but an intrusive message kept popping into her head. Again. And
"Stop it! Jess shut it!" she called out. "Dagnab that boy! Thinks he's Leonidas again, for pity's sakes." She shook her head in frustration.
Neno (Freddy, Leo, whatever), she thought, annoyed. He jest ain't gonna quit them efforts to get hisself kilt. He ain't! Ever!
Well, there was nothing she could (or would have, in any case) done for the immortal at this moment. And she had her two kids to deal with, as well as
this "Adam" character.
Oh yes, Bridget and Bella had sent their message, in the bell chime. It was a moment Gert had waited for for eons. And she was not about to let an
impulsive immortal interrupt the ongoings.
"Stuff it, then, fer now, ye Spirits!" she said aloud, and the echo bounced around her. As she turned the next corner the light became bluer,
brighter, and then she arrived at the bank of the lake. She slogged into the water and splashed her way to the narrow archway without ado. She felt
the Spirit messenger hang back and pout.
She smiled at the sight of the cavern. It was one of her favorites, midway between the Naica cave and that of Enchantments. Her smile was brighter
than during her last visit, though, because she was excited to see her kids. The ancient woman -- the crone -- shifted, just for fun, into the very
favorite of her glamours, and when she emerged into the cave of enchantments, she was duly gratified to see the mouths of Dag and Brittle both drop
open in adoration.
For there, in front of their eyes, stood the most beautiful thing they had ever seen.
Adam, meanwhile, was skipping on his hobby horse with his troupe of minstrels, and heartily sorry he had done so. He was on the brink of dismissing
them in a rude, loud, and belligerent manner when suddenly he stopped.
So did they.
For in front of them lay a wall of mist, and within the mist they all heard to sounds of creaking trees, and rushing wind, and the roaring as of a
He turned to look at his companions and noticed that they were smiling false smiles that did not reach their eyes, and were twitching.
"Here?" he asked them. "Here? This is the entrance to Avalon?"
The minstrels nodded.
"Well, then, damn ye, come on! Let's go!"
But they did not budge.
"WHAT?!" he thundered. "What now?!"
The singer was the only one who answered. When he did, it was in a whisper. "Milord, there are....there is no....we cannot, good sir. We cannot."
He looked at his troupe who all nodded in agreement. "You see? This journey is yours alone. We were not expecting the mists...we thought we would
reach the Chalice Well without having to enter the mists. But go there? We cannot. We MUST not."
"Why in hell NOT?" shouted Adam.
"W -- we, just, we can't," said the minstrel, and without further remark, he whirled round to his troupe and waved his hand toward the direction
from which they had come. The whole lot of them buggered off.
So Adam was left there alone, again. No Charon, no Fiona or her Nana, no tedious and idiotic minstrels. Just Adam and the mist.
And so he stood, waiting, thinking. Thinking he would never again see Dag. Wondering who she was with, if she was alive. And then a blue light
appeared to come toward him out of the mist. He heard a very subtle splashing sound, and then a black form issued forth from the mist. It was the
It pulled nearer to him, and though he tried, he could not discern the faces of the oarsmen. Or even if they were men. But he was unafraid (and proud
of that). They back-paddled when they reached him and simply stopped. They made no greeting in word or gesture. He climbed aboard, and they
maneuvered the barge back round toward the blue light.
Adam wondered what it was that fate would deliver to him next, but he had no fear. And he had a feeling that he would see Dag very, very soon
The iron spike sunk through the skin and Bernard -guessing he'd missed the bone,
brought the hammer down one more time to bury the wrought nail deeper into the wood.
Boy In A Dress lay still on the makeshift cross and Mordred's House-Guard wondered
if the beating-up had killed the strange-being.
"Now hoist it up... it's getting dark and we've the Queen to find before we'll dare
breakfast" Scanlon shouted to his men, Mordred had already hauled him over the
coals for the debacle back at the fortress.
Bernard stepped back and watched the slumped body of BIAD rise into the air, the T-
shaped scaffold swung back and forth as the Guards pulled on the ropes.
The dull thud of the main support dropping into the wood-lined hole made the young
fair-haired man's stomach turn and Bernard felt a pang of pity for the long-fringed creation
in the short red-dress.
"It had gone so well -dear brother..." Death sighed and glanced across at Boy In A Dress,
the long black hair hung straight down as he perused the smooth skin on the backs of his
"... You rescued the Queen, aspired to the noble act of donating your steed, stood your
ground and sought to delay Mordred's men, a feat of a true human" Death tittered at the
end of his speech and loosened his string bow tie.
Clarke Gable showed a lop-sided smile that would rival Nenothtu's, but the pencil-
moustache softened the sneer that was intended, BIAD looked up from where his
crucifixion wounds should be and pondered what his brother was driving at.
"You told me a long time ago that I am immortal... so what am I doing here" BIAD asked
and enjoyed the light-breeze on his face.
The Georgia landscape told of cotton plantations and white-man wealth, a small buggy
waited under a laurel tree and the brown pony grazed on the lush grass.
Death tucked his hands into his pockets and displayed a silver watchchain on his waistcoat,
a coin with a familar bearded-face hung from the links.
"Oh, you're not dead, no...no, you're merely unconcious and frolicing in limbo" the Rhett
Butler character chirped and pushed back a strand of hair from his well-barbered head.
The deed was done and the creature that had dared steal Mordred's bargaining-chip
and take on his House-Guards, now hung in the air. Scanlon spat at the foot of the
scaffold and looked up at the dying thing.
"Thy will think on your actions as you wait for the crows and when you return to your
Hell-home, thee can tell your Demon-friends that Scanlon sent you back" the hooked-nose
Man-At-Arms laughed and showed an evil smile at the unconcious Boy In A Dress.
Unknown to all, Morded watched from the small window of Guinevere's bedroom and
showed similar features.
It's a pickle alright..." Mr. Gable mumbled and flicked the ash from his thin cigar, "... what
is a God to do" a carriage holding two prim ladies passed by with a large black man at the
Death and BIAD waved and the ladies waved back "Fiddle-dee-dee" the Man/Girl muttered
and showed a weak smile to his brother. "So...? I'm nailed to a post and left as carrion, what
will happen?" BIAD said lightly, he knew that the event was a quandry.
Clark indicated with a nod of his head that the hermaphrodite should accompany him to the
buggy, the thin wheels rocked slightly as Death climbed nimbly aboard. "I still need Arthur's
sword for a certain task, you can't die and leaving you hanging there wouldn't be appropriate
for my favourite-brother... so I think it's time to visit Scareltt" Death announced and held out
a well-manicured hand out to a puzzled Boy In A Dress.
The daylight seemed a long way off and though the rain had gone with the wind, Bernard
pulled his cloak over his shoulders and shivered, the Devil on the cross seemed dead but the
young man that had joined Mordred's employ only a month ago -guessed something else was
happening up there in the night sky... but he dared not think what it was.
"Come on wretch" Scanlon barked and slipped into his saddle, Morderd expected results and
from the gossip that the young maid that Scanlon sometimes visted, his boss was smitten
with the young Guinevere.
Bernard half-heartedly saluted and reached for his waiting horse's reins, he wanted to be
away from this place, the temperature was dropping rapidly.
Pandora touched the silk gown on her hips and felt the tightness of the corset, Death enjoyed
his little theatrical scenes and the Goddess -who yearned for a place in reality, endured her
part without complaint.
Pandora secretly enjoyed the props and ran her long-nailed fingers across the fine cloth that
stretched across her pointed breasts.
The thin-paned window faced West and the raven-haired beauty could see the tiny buggy
making it's way to her mansion. A group of slaves made their shoulder-sagging way to the
small shacks that slumped near the copse of whiteback maples.
"The prodigal brother returns..." she said huskily and reached for her small pearled purse
"... the fool in the dress seeks the ways of the U-man, but frankly my dear... I don't give a
By the time nenothtu could move under his own power again, he couldn't move under his own power. He had been trussed up like a Christmas turkey and
unceremoniously draped across a horse, and the ambush party was on it's way to somewhere else. After an indeterminable amount of time - neno guessed
it was a couple of hours - they had arrived at a fortified compound where neno was taken to some sort of outbuilding that would pass for a jail - or a
dungeon - in most places. It had a dirt floor, rock walls, and a single entrance - a heavy oak door bound with iron straps and iron bars in the
smallish square window opening.
In this cell-house, neno had been chained upright to a wall by wrists and ankles, and left there. The sound of a bar sliding across the door from the
outside had an awful finality, a period at the beginning of his sentence.
Half way through his second day of hanging there without food or water, the bar slid again, this time to open the door to admit two guards and a
cruelish looking man. Nenothtu recognized Taggart at about the same time as Taggart recognized neno.
"Well, well! What have we here, boys?" Taggart crowed. "I thought I'd never see you again, the way you scooted out ahead of the law all those years
ago!" The men who had accompanied Taggart looked perplexed, but gathered that these two had met before.
Neno glared at Taggart and said "Never thought I'd see you, either, Taggart. Hell, I thought I'd killed all you cockroaches. Might've known there's
always one that skitters into a dark crack somewhere. "
Taggart chuckled. he had his old enemy right where he wanted him. "I reckon yer killin' days are done, Freddy boy. I'm gonna kill you slow, and love
every second of it."
"You'd better" neno replied. "Once I get loose, you're done for. If I was you, I'd kill me fast, just to make sure I don't get loose by accident,
'cause when I do, you sure as hell ain't gonna be enjoying anything any more."
Taggart actually smiled. "Yeah, you'd like me to kill you quick, wouldn't ya? Avoid all that pain I'm gonna deliver to you." His voice got hard and
gravelly. "Naw. It ain't gonna happen that way. I'M calling the shots here - you ain't in no position to dictate terms."
"Neno gritted his teeth and said simply "Bite me."
Taggart replied "I'm gonna do better'n that. I'm gonna powder you. Won't be a solid bone left in yer body when I get done." and with that
pronouncement he delivered a backhanded blow to neno's jaw with a closed fist, causing neno's head to snap to the left.
Then the beating began in earnest. Three hours into it, Taggart was just about worn out. Neno was limp and bleeding, but still defiant. "Izzat all ye
got, Taggart?" he slurred out through split lips. "looks like yer wearing down, boy". Taggart hit him again, but the blows were getting weaker
as Taggart tired. Neno replied to the blow with "YER A MOTHERFU..." and Taggart hit neno again before he could finish the defiant taunt.
"I can keep this going for days, Freddy, and I will. I told you, I'm gonna ENJOY beating you to death." Then Taggart tagged out, and let the henchmen
take turns beating neno.
Three hours later, after the henchmen had taken an hour and a half turn each, Taggart felt rested up, and stepped up again. "Days. This is going to
stretch out for DAYS. How d'ye like that, Freddy?"
"S'ok by me" neno replied. "I ain't goin' nowhere, it looks like. I got time, ye sumbitch."
Taggart recoiled in mock horror. "You don't know my momma well enough ter call me that!"
"I weren't talkin' about yer maw" neno said. "I meant yer paw. When I kilt him, he begged, like a whiny little..." BAM! Taggart hit him again, and
neno continued from where he'd been interrupted with "Far as I know, yer maw was a fine woman. Just plain fine. Why, my daddy often said that if he'd
had an extra quarter when he went to the cathouse that night, you coulda been a Carpenter!"
Taggart's entire head turned purple when neno said that, and nenothtu grinned through his swollen and split face. It hurt to grin, but he couldn't
help it. He'd scored a direct hit on Taggart, without even being able to swing a fist. "Gotcha, you sumbi..."
Whatever Taggarts intended reply was got lost in the inarticulate roar that escaped him when he drew his knife and plunged it to the hilt into neno's
chest, cutting off his last words with a grunt. Neno slumped, couldn't even gasp, couldn't draw enough breath to cough. He just hung from the irons
and bled, profusely, until even the attempt to breathe stopped.
Nenothtu hung there in the cell-house, dead as a doornail.
"DAMMIT!" Taggart roared. "He won again! Didn't even get it stretched out for a SINGLE day afore I killed him!" He shook his head and stared at the
top of nenothtu's dead, slumped head and said "Ye might've won in a way, but you ain't gonna be killin' JACK no more. So much fer yer hollow promise
to me, eh?" He retrieved the knife, which was so solidly impacted the he had to pin neno's carcass against the wall behind with a forearm and grunt
and tug several times to free it. "Come on, boys. We're done here. We'll take his carcass out at first light and dump it fer the buzzards and coyotes
to feast on in the Badlands. It's too dark and I'm too tired right now. First thing in the morning will be soon enough." He paused and then added
"Like he said. he ain't goin' no where."
The tired men filed out of the cell-house, closing the door, not bothering to throw the bar. Dead men don't escape prison except feet first, and never
under their own power.
edit on 2012/1/5 by nenothtu because: (no reason given)
Margo jumped from the chair where she’d fallen asleep her eyes wild, but not frightened.
‘Taggart?’ She whispered before striking a Lucifer putting light to a lamp.
‘Sorry I’m late,’ Taggart moved across the room like he’d just finished a long distance race - him carrying his horse instead of the other ay
‘What’s wrong?’ Margo, afraid he might have taken out his anger on Gep and Pip tensed ready to kill him if she had to use her own teeth and
Not bothering to answer her directly Taggart fell into the chair she’d just exited and held out his hand for a whiskey. Margo complied.
‘You’re a lucky woman Margo I’ve got to give you that.’ Taking the tumbler of amber liquid Taggart tossed it back and sucked air through his
teeth at it’s bite. ‘I wasn’t sure how I was gonna explain Mac bein’ kilt without blaming it on the boy.’ Taggart watched her closely to
see if she knew the truth of it but she didn’t flinch, she didn’t color up and her hands didn't shake so he continued on, ‘But, ladies luck
struck again. We had some...visitors...brought into the compound. I’ve no problem blaming one of them for Mac’s death. No one will doubt me.
It’s only you, me and the boy who know the truth.’
And Gep, if he’s still alive... thought Margo without batting an eye though Taggart has made his implication clear. Shut up or die.
‘And these...visitors? Are they aliens?’ She asked.
‘One of ‘em aint. And he’s already dead. We’ll make sure word gets around he killed Mac. I’m sure you’ll think up some kind of
story.’ Taggart’s shook his head as his eyes began to close against his will.
‘Pip and Gep? What about them?’ Margo pulled the heavy crystal tumbler from his hand before he dropped it. Taggart hardly noticed.
‘They’re back in the cabin, both a them. I sent someone over with food and water. They’ll keep.’ He yawned and moaned moving around in the
chair trying to find comfort and failing. Standing on shaky legs Taggart gained his balance and turned to Margo. ‘Now, about you and me.’
Margo waited a moment, then another. If she’d judged the amount of sleeping powder she’d mixed with the whiskey in conjunction with his
exhaustion just right? He should be hitting the ground just about...Taggart hit the floor face first...‘Just about now.’ Margo chuckled aloud
and ran for the door.
Margo entered the cell house. Against the far rock wall of it, she saw a bloody, battered figure slumped in the shackles dangling from the wall, not
moving. It didn't appear that the man was even breathing. She hurried across the dirt floor to check his pulse, but she couldn't find one to check.
She was too late - Taggart had been right - the man was already dead. She turned to leave, and just as she crossed the threshold she heard it, behind
her. A long, gulping, ragged gasp, something one would expect to hear from an underwater diver, one whom had stayed under for far too long.
Rushing back, Margot found a pulse. Weak and fluttering at first, it stumbled and skipped, then picked up to a strong, steady beat. Nenothtu, feeling
a gentle hand probing for his carotid artery, looked up and gasped at the vision before him. "You... you... you're dead."
Margot was confused by that momentarily. It wasn't her who was dead - it had been the stranger. Clearly the beating had left him delirious. She could
only hope it hadn't permanently damaged his mind. Trying to be flippant, so as not to point out his mental deterioration, Margo said "No. Of course
not - but YOU were! it seems you had no intention of staying that way."
Neno coughed, and spat out blood, clearing his rapidly healing lungs. "I gather it's not a matter of intent. It's a long story" was his dry but
cryptic reply. Can you get me a pry bar or something so I can pop these chains or work 'em out of the wall?"
Margo was again nonplussed. After what he'd been through, this man was in no shape for that sort of work, but she was curious. "What are you going to
do once you're loose? There are guards everywhere. You'll never make it out of here in your state."
"Out of here?" neno replied, puzzled. "Who says I'm going out? I'm gonna hang around so's I can kill Taggart, of course!"
Margot stepped back and examined the stranger. Clearly his delirium ran deeper than she had first evaluated. "You're in no shape for that sort of hard
work. You don't know who you're dealing with. Taggart is the meanest, cruelest man I've ever met. He's not as easy to kill as the average villain. You
of all people ought to know that..." Margot paused to indicate his battered, bloody frame before continuing "... and if you were in your right mind,
you WOULD know that. That's the very reason Mac hired him to begin with."
Nenothtu grinned a feral grin. How he could smile at all, Margot could not fathom. Then he spoke through the tight grin. "Oh, I know Taggart all
right. Cruel he may be, but he can't even begin to comprehend 'mean'. It's about time fer his last lesson in that. Now are you gonna get me a pry bar
to pop these fetters, or what?"
Margot shook her head. "I can do better than that - I have the key. You're going to need some rest and recuperation, though, instead of going off
half-cocked and mentally destabilized, thinking you're going to prevail over Taggart in your shape. We'll have to find another place to hide you until
you're in shape to escape."
Neno eyed her, and through gritted teeth said. "You just get me loose. I'll take it from there. You let ME worry about my mental state. I told Taggart
I was gonna kill him when I got loose, and that's just what I meant. Ain't gonna be no 'escape' to it."
Margot shook her head again, more violently this time, and said simply. "he'll finish this. He'll kill you for sure."
Neno hacked and spat blood on the dirt floor again and said simply "He done tried that once."
edit on 2012/1/5 by nenothtu because: (no reason given)
Helping him up wasn’t easy. Slipping in his blood and sweat Margo found purchase under his armpits, his shirt torn, the skin raw, but seemingly the
only place on his body that wasn’t cut, bruised and bleeding. Once his arm was around her shoulder they got along better, but not well, one of the
man’s leg’s was so badly bruised, if not broken, it dragged behind them drawing a line in his blood.
‘Where you taking me.’ The stranger said between coughs and suppressed groans. For one reason or another he was still trying at being a ‘he
man’ instead of allowing himself to succumb to the pain she thought. Then again? After taking stock of his broken body Margo couldn't help but
agree wit him. It had to be sheer will and starch alone keeping his skin and bones in place.
‘I’m taking you to the one place he’ll not be looking for you.’ Margo clenched her teeth under his weight and kept him moving.
‘That didn’t tell me where you’re taking me did it Margot.’ The way he said her name made her shudder where the weight of his body did
‘I’m taking you to his rooms. He’s too stupid to think you’d be there, if he thinks of you at all.’ Turning another corner between tightly
packed cabins Margo waited in the shadows catching her breath.
‘Look. We’ve got to make a run for the main house. There’s more than a few hired hands about. You think you can do it?’ She wanted to lift
his chin with it’s days worth a whiskers to check his eyes but she couldn’t take her hands from supporting him.
‘Yeah... You just point the way Margot.’ He swallowed audible between words the pain coming near to getting the best of him. Margo shuddered
again at the way he said her name.
‘Look you foolish man, I’m not pointing the way, I’m leading you...’ Her words fell on deaf ears as the stranger righted himself, took in a
deep breath, held it and stepped out into the floodlights guarding the main house.
‘Come on Margy, get a move on! There’s a bottle a whiskey with our name on it waitin’ inside gel!’ The stranger called overly loud and
sauntered to the steps. A stableman and two guards passed between Margo and the stranger taking no notice of either of them as if they were
invisible. Rushing across the muddied path to his side Margo fell into his embrace, or she hoped it looked so as she neatly caught him before his
legs gave way under him.
‘Lean closer...’ The stranger whispered under his breath when her cheek brushed his. Margo tucked her chin into the ‘y’ between his neck and
shoulder and listened, liking his scent.
‘Forgive me Mam but yer gonna have to help my legs get up them steps. There’s three goin’ up and that’s two two many fer me in my present
condition.’ He sighed into her hair. She was sure he felt his lips linger longer than necessary but that was foolishness, he was out of breath not
taking in her scent as she had his. Blushing furiously Margo notched her shoulder under his once again. ‘Just lean on me. We’ll make it.’
Margo giggled loudly in case anyone was watching.
It was a drunken dance of marionettes they made up the stairs. If anyone had been watching they’d been found out, but, as the stranger said
‘hiding in plain sight was better than sucking shadows like a dog’...
Once onto the wrap around porch of the main house Margo kept the stranger moving around the side where they could use the back way up to Taggart’s
quarters at the rear of the mansion. The stair would be a challenge, but, at least they’d have no onlookers.
‘How much farther we got to go?’ The stranger asked measuring his steps.
‘We'll get there from here don’t you worry.’ Margo hissed telling him to save his breath.
‘Thank you Mam.’ He drawled against her shoulder where his head had begun to tip.
‘You wont thank me when we get there so save your breath.’ Margo hissed again.
‘Why ever not?’ The man sounded punch drunk. He was.
‘Cause Taggart likes to collect things that‘s why.’ Margo huffed taking him up the last of the stairs and onto the landing. The stranger made
a noise, a cross between a question and a moan.
‘Come on! Don’t you give out on me now!’ Margo frightened he might drop couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if she had to move him
herself. She couldn’t move him is what would happen.
‘Collects what?’ He finally spit out around a moan.
‘Something called anacondas. You ever head of a anacondas?’ Margo almost tumbled to the floor when the stranger finally collapsed his full
weight against her.
Three more yards and she’d have him in Taggart’s rooms and in his bed...Just three more yards.
...............................................~Gin And Juniper~...........................................
Georgia waited in the afternoon for the two beings from beyond to alight from the
buggy, Pandora waited also -but her patience was a lot less than the illustrious South
-Eastern State of North America.
"What has become of Gerald and Guinevere?" Boy In A Dress asked his brother in the
card-playing-gambler suit, his Clark Gable impression was one of his best -BIAD believed.
Death showed his easy smile and answered "Oh they are safely in Camelot with many
shining Knights around them... you succeeded in your quest"
The mansion dripped of wealth and human-toil, huge tracts of land lay away to the west
and promised a bumper cotton-harvest. Pandora stood at the top of the marble steps and
dripped with pearls and a feminine-guile.
"Good day Gentlemen..." the beautiful temptress in the starling egg-blue gown cooed and
curtsied in a way to make Death's breathing laboured. "... and what may I assist my love's
favourite-brother with? she said and played her best smile.
The red-dress of the Man/Girl was no match for Pandora's lavish attire, but BIAD still plucked
it's hem and curtsied back "Clark -here, says you can help me" he hissed and showed a snake-
smile in the afternoon sun.
The pony gave a snickered point of view to the fake-proceedings and caused all three to
glance at the beast-of-burden, BIAD grinned with genuine humour at the long-maned
equine and muttered "how true"
The coolness of the lobbyway was welcoming and the small silver tray on the baroque half-
table held two tall glasses of clear liquid, BIAD reckoned it was Gin.
"Rest a while my men... cool your jets" Pandora said easily and the hermaphrodite nearly
sprayed the tonic-laced spirit onto the lady's dress at the words.
"Jets haven't been invented yet..." BIAD coughed and wiped his red lips "... humans have
barely broke into the steam-age!" Death frowned and nodded with agreement, but made
sure his eyes showed some compassion for Pandora's ignorance.
Without another word, Pandora whirled her many-layered dress away and the ends of the
lace fichu flicked as she made her way to the parlour.
BIAD and Mr. Gable clip-clopped after the angry woman.
The high ceiling rolled with plaster-scrolling and semi-religeous frescos, Saints and Angels
pointed weakly at each other and fluffy-clouds held pink-assed cherubs with small harps.
"BIAD... my brother, is at this moment trapped on a cross in the reality and due to his unique
condition, will not be able to acomplish his promise" Death said loudly, the large parlour
made Clark Gable's voice boom and caused him to finish the statement with a weaker
The Scarlett O'Hara look-alike sipped sherry from a thin-stemmed glass and nodded with
concern, BIAD was becoming a little bored with the ham-acting. "I think I can help" she said
and raised a dark eyebrow.
Boy In A Dress looked around at the wealthy trappings and contained his anger at the way
the two entities played out their act with a back-drop of slavery and oppression, he knew his
brother would be picking up his annoyance.
"First, I promised nothing... and second, who the hell are you?" BIAD asked and put his hands
on his hips "And when we finish, I want Gerald to be placed back in his own time and place"
he said and again, he figured Death would feel that his demand would be met.
Pandora flicked her eyes from the long-fringed Man/Girl to the taller dandy with the pencil
moustache and seemed to struggle with a response.
The bell that notified the slaves to return to the cotton fields clanged as the Lady of the
House collected herself and BIAD deliberatly placed the chilled-glass of Gin and tonic onto a
Turquoise-Inlaid table, the condensation busied itself making a water mark.
"I am Pandora, I am a divine-being, the first female and an advisor to the one you know as
God" the haughty Scarlett said and carefully placed her sherry glass onto the metal mantle
below the massive mirror behind her.
"The Elf-child is already back with his Captain and the woman..." Pandora flicked her hair
and arched her neck slightly "... the Queen is with her King, you've done a man's job Sir"
she said and offered BIAD her best side.
BIAD scratched his ass and pulled his hem down.
A small girl in a brown dress that was slightly lighter than her skin passed the far doorway
and the large bunch of flowers brought a welcoming scent into the parlour, Pandora blew a
a cool breath with her bottom-lip pushed out.
edit on 6-1-2012 by A boy in a dress because: (no reason given)
"When you return to your body, a man will find you and bring you back to health... the man
is a holy-man, so be careful" Scarlett said softly, Death passed by BIAD and went to stand with
"You see brother? all will be well again" Rhett Butler said easily and leaned against the huge
mantle around an empty fire hearth, the coin on his watchchain showed again and BIAD felt
that he really need to see who was portrayed on the metal token.
"We need that sword... it will bring a great deed to pass and this world and many others will
benefit from his acquirement" the woman agreed with Death and BIAD saw her gently touch
the well-manicured hand of the Clark Gable beside her.
BIAD stepped towards his brother and the raven-haired woman and smiled broadly, he
watched their features as he neared them.
"What is it with the sword...? why don't you just get it yourself?" he asked gently and peered
at the small bearded face minted on Death's coin.
"Oh, I thought you knew, brother..." Death said with a real concern "... we cannot exist in
reality in the way you can. Actually, your existence -as I've mentioned before, is an anomaly
in itself" Pandora's gambling dandy smiled with a small gap in his front teeth.
The hermaphrodite sighed and turned back towards the hallway, the sun was sending rays
of it's light in through the high doorway onto the mezzanine tiles.
The coin showed the Green Man and this revelation bothered BAID, he guessed the rabbit
hole went deeper than he thought.
"Do as you please, put don't hold your breath on the subject of the excalibur... I think you're
lying" BIAD hissed as he stepped out of the parlour and dropped onto a snow-flurried ground,
his hands and feet sang with pain.
He was back.
edit on 6-1-2012 by A boy in a dress because: (no reason given)
It was the hissing sound issued by the barge moving through the water that Adam found most disconcerting, which was strange, because the entire
situation was cause for alarm. He had been separated not only from his friends, from what he had understood to be the reality of Earth, and he was
not the most staunch of loners.
Further, he was entirely unarmed and had no gear whatsoever, no provisions, no compass or map; facts that did nothing to assuage his deep
embarrassment. He was, for the first time in this life-cycle, utterly humiliated. He wanted to ask, like a little child, "When will we get there?"
but what difference would it have made? Better to simply allow the unfolding of the event. Or was it? What if this was not the Avalon barge? What
if he was being abducted again by demons? What would he do then?
It was foolish not to confirm for himself that he was being taken to Avalon and to Dag. So he swallowed his pride with an audible gulp and cleared his
throat. But how to begin? In what manner should he commence the interrogation? He thought back to his training, scanning his memory for direction.
… but found none. Instead, he felt himself blanche in the twilit mist, suddenly aware that none of it, not one moment of his training had prepared
him for this. It had never been part of the curriculum that he should be in a place that was not well-organized, self-sufficient, and fully staffed
with competent assistants.
Still, they were moving further away from where he had started. And in order to devise some sort of plan, he needed to have a concept (even if only
the most abstract or cryptic of concepts) of what was to come. "Excuse me," he said, and paused. One of the oarsmen looked at him, which was what he
had wanted. The only tools in his belt at the moment were the gift of speech, and of eye-reading. The eyes that met his, however, had no pupils, no
irises. They had no whites, either. Instead they were a solid, dark color, like marbles rather than eyeballs.
Spice! Melange! he thought. He had heard legends of a race of humanoids that had developed long, long ago on a planet called Arrakis. They were
called Fremen, Zensunni wanderers. He recalled a passage which had been one of his favorites in the stories of Frank Herbert, one of the ancient
writings of the Galactic Federation's History, and widely considered to be a primary source rather than a post-millennial chronicling of oral
tradition (though it had never been proven to be so, for all the space exploration of modern times):
Arrakis ... Dune ... wasteland of the Empire,
and the most valuable planet in the universe.
Because it is here — and only here — where spice is found.
Without it there is no commerce in the Empire, there is no civilization.
Arrakis ... Dune ... home of the spice, greatest of treasure in the universe.
And he who controls it, controls our destiny. ”
— Princess Irulan, Frank Herbert's Dune
(as recorded in the year 2000 of the former calendar.
Date of original journaling unknown.)
And so, Adam had at least one answer now. He was being taken to somewhere by Fremen, or at any rate their descendents; the addiction to spice, or
Melange, caused the eye to darken like ink had been spilled into it. And whether or not this oarsman was an addict, or had inherited the gene from
some long ago ancestor, made no difference. Blast! he thought now. He could not read those eyes, which reduced his toolkit from two to one,
and it was that one that would have to do. I should really be getting used to myself by now, he mused. After all, it is exquisitely apparent
that I was filled with false pride and arrogance until we arrived here. Even carpet's occupation of me did not make it clear, or Dag's heroic
determination to save my life. I am…am…unworthy.
The gaze of the Fremen had dropped away now, (probably for lack of his having added anything beyond his "ice-breaker", which had not been a question
anyway.) But Adam had got a good enough look at the Fremen's face to realize that while pleasing in appearance, it was indistinguishable as male or
He thought back to Dag and his first encounter with her, before she had solidified into the lusty all- female from her former androgenous state. Were
these biodroids? That seemed the most likely, based on Adam's catalogue of knowledge. They must be, he thought. This was due to his
indoctrination, which held as its first and foremost rule of science: Only when all else fails, should one use Occam's razor.. In other
words, there was only the slightest chance to be considered ever, that the most obvious explanation was the right one. This was part of the oath he
had sworn as a youth, just as memorized and emblazoned into the brain as was the pledge of allegiance for schoolchildren on Earth in the days of
nations. Once recited, it was never forgotten. Even the one-time smash hit "The Lord's Prayer" could be forgotten after years of non-use, but
never The Pledge of A.D.A.M.s.
The Fremendroid looked up at him again, and the somber countenance broke into an enormous grin. The other looked up as well, simultaneously, and then
both in unison laughed out loud.
"WHAT!" Adam demanded. "How dare you mock me?!" He was so angry he felt he should destroy them both immediately, just as he had been sent to destroy
Silo13, that rogue droid from the LAB. In his rage he forgot that Silo was one of his friends, had been kind and of critical importance to him. And
before he thought about it, his arm pulled back and then swung round and clocked the nearer Fremendroid up side the head, knocking him/her overboard.
The other Fremendroid, in response, lifted an oar from the water and knocked him in the head with force. And then Adam was, once again,
edit on 7-1-2012 by wildtimes because: fit it all in and come up with a spiffy title.
edit on 7-1-2012 by wildtimes because:
(no reason given)
"Do you think he's guessed yet?" Pandora whispered, even though Boy In A Dress had faded
from their sight and gone back to the reality, she felt a suspicion that someone may be
Death slipped back into his natural form and the surroundings followed suit, Scarlett O'Hara
became the beautiful Goddess of the tall Harbinger of Doom's dreams again.
"He lives the reality he frequents... he has no idea" Death hissed and stepped towards the
large book on the lecturn.
Pandora sighed with relief and looked towards the huge doors with ornate hinges, the metal
showed carvings of torment and pain. A well-groomed hand reached out to touch the deep-
whorled wood and the sudden voice made Pandora jump.
"LEAVE IT ALONE..." Death snapped and shook a finger at the white-dressed wonder "...you
don't want be going in there" his voice eased as he went back to reading the list of names on
the flesh-stretched pages.
Pandora pouted and straightened her gown, she wasn't used to being denied anything -but
guessed Death was warning her for a good reason.
The small slave-girl with the large bunch of flowers finished placing the long stemmed tulips
into the tall crystal vase and then readied herself for Death's closing of the meeting.
One by one, the characters that made the false-reality -dropped away and the small large-
eyed child in the brown dress watched the mansion disassemble itself.
Long drapes bleached their rich hues away and the window-frame slipped away like the
retracted legs of a hermit crab, the walls that held the front door actually 'popped' in their
As the winding staircase faded step-by-step, the child changed also, the African skin faded
from the smooth tanned-colour to a dull grey and the kinked hair that The Splitter had
enjoyed running his fingers through -straightened and offered a metalic lustre.
The scared-eyes of a girl became wise and almost glowed with their quicksilver sheen as the
being that maintained time showed his true-self.
The Splitter looked around at the blue-greyness of the surroundings, he was in that strange
place known as 'Nothing' where reality and dreams wait to unfold into, the Time-Mechanic
knew it well.
"The Green Man indeed" he said to himself and squinted to see where he'd left the 'Hobbit-
Door' a low blanket of mist stirred as The Splitter wandered the void.
Leaving Death's creation, The Splitter crawled through the foot-high door with the rusty-ring
handle, he stifled a giggle as the battered-wooden barrier creaked in it's closing.
"I've got to get these guys back together" he muttered in the Maintenance Tunnel's darkness
and rubbed his chin in-thought as the bare bulbs above him spluttered their illumination.
edit on 7-1-2012 by A boy in a dress because: Left a bunch of flowers in Edit Room.
"I see we nearly had that Nenothtu character in my Waiting Room..." Death hissed and
tapped a bony-finger on the scrolled name, the ink was already fading in it's self-correcting
nature. "... that's the last thing we'd want, that thug crashing the party" the seven foot-tall
monster muttered and unconciously rubbed his cheek.
Pandora wondered if she suited starling egg-blue and pondered if she should manifest a
corset similar to the one from the 'Georgia Meeting' the restraints made her skin tingle -she
The long locks of she -who had dared peek into 'The Box' lay like contented snakes across
her shoulders as Death watched Pandora preen herself, he loved her -but sometimes she
brought a rage that could make him devastate planets in one-sweep.
"Will Jenovah still go along with our plans?" Death whispered in the quiet room and Pandora
sighed dramatically and turned to face the robed-figure at the stone lecturn.
"He trusts me... he has no reason to doubt my actions" she cooed and showed a wicked smile,
"Anyway, he's busy fishing in the Tervil Deeps" she said with a secretive hand beside her
Death eased his poise and slid silently towards the black-haired woman in the low-cut
dress, a firm thigh also revealed itself through the split in that 'come-hither' gown.
"So we're ahead in the game -my sweetness" he said and his form swirled in a flurry of
rhinetones and tassles.
Elvis Presley lifted his upper-lip and sneered at the grinning beauty before him and
huskily said "You are always on my mind"
What light existed in Death's Library changed from it's baby-poo green to a sultry blue
as Pandora shivered the dress from her shoulders, the fabric dropped onto the grey floor
and copied the action of the surrounding light... it became a starling egg-blue.
Elvis stared at Pandora and moments later, Prescilla looked into the King of Rock and Roll's
eyes and somewhere faraway from this romantic episode, Boy In A Dress felt a tender-hand
cup his chin.
"Drink son... sip from the Grail"
‘You’ll be fine here if you can rest with those things around.’ Margo shivered and finished patching up the wounded man best she could
before tucking him into Taggart’s bed.
‘Those things?‘ The stranger nodded towards a terrarium running the full length and height of the wall where two anaconda’s lay sleeping
under a red lamp spilling heat, ‘Those aint nothin’ but a bunch’a overgrown night crawlers. I’ve gone fishin with bigger critters than
that.’ Neno let his head rest against Margo’s soft palm supporting his neck and drank again. The whiskey was strong. And it was working. Margo
hated to force the man but if she didn’t get him liquored up enough to stay put he’d be out of bed - which had taken her more than a half hour to
get him into - and back after Taggart ruining all her handwork in trying to patch him back together. Plus, if he was gonna try and kill Taggart she
wanted him in good enough condition to finish the job.
‘You gonna tell me you name and why you’re here?’ Margo asked plying him with more whiskey.
‘Margot luv, don’t go callin’ me stranger. You known me too well for..’ He sputtered choking on the rest of his sentence along with the
drink she’d nearly drown him with. She got all goosey every time he called her ‘Margot’ his bruised brain registered a moment before he
‘Look you. I don’t know you from Adam!’ She blustered and wiped his stubbly chin, ’All I know is Taggart hates you and that makes you a man
worth saving.’ Her palm caressed the back of his neck - the only other part of him besides his armpits that seemed to be untouched by Taggart’s
‘Adam? You know Adam?’ Beat as he was Neno felt the thrill of jealousy unnerve him.
‘Everyone in the New World knows about Adam. You fool you’re outta your head.‘ Margo chuckled and pushed the glass back to his lips. ‘Now
you gonna tell me your name and why you’re here or not?‘
The stranger’s eyes rolled, he blinked hard and tried to focus on her but failed. ‘You tryin’ to get your Neno drunk Margot?’ He smiled an
achingly beautiful smile, a little lopsided but it was all Margo could do not to press her mouth against his instead of the rim of the glass. This
man had magic in him she thought, her tongue darting out to whet her lips. Then another man, hurt and probably dying flashed through her heart
splitting it near in two. She spilt more whiskey over him and the bedcovers again.
‘So you’re Neno. That’s a start.’ She quipped, ’Now if you’ll just tell me who’s this ‘friend’ of yours your lookin’ for is
maybe we can get you settled?‘ Afraid to give him any more whiskey she downed the last of the amber liquid feeling the heat steady her nerves
before she refilled the tumbler with a shot of water from the nightstand and dose of something from a vial tucked under her skirt.
‘I’m here for a girl,’ He answered around the rim of the glass, ’Well she’s more than just a girl...’ His took a sip, his eyes cleared
for a moment in a startled expression before Margo pulled the cup free. ‘Laudanum!’ He mumbled. Margo felt him go tense then relax again.
‘Yes it‘s laudanum. You’ve got to rest, and heal. If you get up now you’ll do nothing but drop dead.’ She wiped his chin with the hem of
her dress. ‘Now if you promise to relax I'll go get your friend.’
‘You know her?’ Neno mumbled again through cracked lips before the full weight of his head fell back on her hand. He’d succumbed.
‘Yeah Stranger, I know her.’ Margo whispered lowering his head to the pillow. Why hadn’t she thought of it before? His ‘friend’ must be
the ‘alien’ girl. She had to be.
Leaving Neno in what she hoped was a pain free sleep Margo shook her head then her skirts and left the room. How she was going to do it she hadn’t
a clue but somehow she would get the Girl, Neno, Gep and Pip out of the compound before anyone else got hurt.
The click of the lock following the shutting door gave Neno his queue. Rolling onto his side he sat up and expelled the laudanum in a long thin
stream of milky spittle right across Taggart’s fine blood red carpet. So much for dropping dead he thought downing the rest of the water from the
pitcher by the bed stand and falling to all fours in search of his boots.
‘You’re awake?’ The dark eyed U-Man female asked. ’I’ve been waiting for you to wake for some time now.’ She smiled down at the waking
girl her voice soft and kind.
‘What happened?’ Maggie roused as fear clutched her insides. She new the voice - one of the ’attendants’ that had caused her such pain.
‘Oh Jenovah, leave me alone!‘ She moaned. The last she remembered she’d been with Margo changing clothes and refreshing herself with food and
wine waiting for ‘Mac’. Now she was back in the clutches of the Examiners. Maggie's hands crept out from under a warm soft blanket reaching for
her aching head her tongue rolling around in her mouth like a fat cotton ball smothered in something she normally would have scrapped off her
‘You’re not in the examining room my dear. We’re through with that.’ The female understood her fear, had been ready for it. ’You’ve
only been drugged. Margo thought to save you from Mac.’ The U-man replied. ‘Margo didn’t know with or without the tainted wine I’d of not
let harm come to you.‘ The U-man backed from the bed allowing the confused girl some space.
‘No harm? After what you did to me!‘ Maggie would have screamed if her head didn’t threaten to pop right off her neck to drop on the floor.
Maggie reluctantly left the warmth of the covers behind to sit on the edge of the bed her head held in her hands.
‘Drink this my dear. You’ll feel better.’ The U-man was not offended when the girl cursed and flashed her middle finger but instead chuckled
and left the small vial of fluid within reach on the nightstand. ‘I understand. After what you’ve been through you’ve no trust, but it’s
simple fact we’ve been waiting for you for a long time.’ Her long thin fingers touched together as if in prayer, she brought the pointed ends to
touch her lips in reverence. ‘Please forgive our...experiments. We had to be sure.’
The U-Man‘s words filled her aching head with too many questions. Maggie jumped to the most important. ‘So you’re not with...Him?’ She
looked up from under her hands pressed against her temples remembering the handsome face of the devil who’d ordered her into the examining room.
‘No. We let him believe so, that we’re nothing but his slaves, but who is truly the slave - other than the master?’ The U-man reached out and
touched Maggie’s cheek gently and Maggie didn’t pull away. Her cheek tingled where she’d been touched.
Shaking her head at the pain and mystery of the situation Maggie tried to rise. If the bed had not caught her she'd have fallen. ‘Look, I’m
sorry, honest, but, I don’t have time for all this. I’ve got to find my friends.‘ She tried to rise again but the room began to dim, the pain
was too great, she was on the verge of passing out. Beyond caring Maggie took her chances and downed the liquid from the little vial in one swallow.
It tasted sweet. The U-man was right, she felt better almost instantly. ‘I gotta get me some a this.‘ She whispered to herself standing on her
own two feet feeling the pain melting away.
‘Your things are here.‘ Motioning to a small tightly wrapped bundle on the dressing table the U-man waited patiently as Maggie tore into it with
one hand while tearing out of the dress with the other. In moments she was back in Pip’s clothes, her hair tucked up under a floppy hat crushed on
her head, her knives strapped to her thigh. Maggie thanked the U-Man reluctantly. ’Now where’re my friends?’
‘We will go to them now...Silo.‘ The U-Man’s large dark eyes turned darker still. Maggie could see her reflection there.
‘Silo?’ Maggie wondered if they were alone in the room. Catching her reflection in the U-Man’s eyes she stilled as something behind her own
eyes burst in an explosion of stars. ’Silo?’ She repeated her mind swirled with memories near and far. Neno, BIAD, Dag and Carpet. Ship. It
was all coming back to her now. Blinking she looked deeper into the U-Man’s eyes and found herself there. ’But...I’m Silo. How do you...know
me?’ Shaking her head the last of the pain disappeared and the last of her confusion along with it. And then she knew. It was as simple as that.
‘Yes, Silo, we know you.’ The U-Man female smiled watching comprehension fill the girls face with wonder but didn‘t quite answer her question.
‘And, the Neno is here also. He came looking for you.’ When she said his name her face glowed with something like maternal pride.
‘He’s what!’ Silo crouched ready to attack her knife already in her hand. ‘You didn’t!’ Silo dreaded thinking of Neno going through the
same ‘testing’ she had.
‘No! No no no no...’ The droid chuckled without even blinking at the knife. ’There is no doubt about our Neno. He went through no exams such
as you. But he’s been through his own pain.’ When Silo started for the door the U-Man’s voice called her back. ’The Neno is fine and
resting I assure you. Margo has seen to that much as she did with you. No, I’m sorry Silo, it’s Gep who’s dying.’ Silo’s heart slammed
painfully in her chest, her eyes stinging with tears.
‘Come now. I’ll take you to him.‘ The U-Man moved past her and down the hall with Silo in tow. Ducking into a side closet the female filled
her arms and Silo’s with supplies. ‘We’ve done our best but your Gep is still fading. We hope you will be able to help where we have
failed.’ Silo followed the U-Man down the hall and out into a pale rainy morning. She didn’t know what she could do to help but Maggie's heart
that still thudded in her chest compelled her to do all she could, and more.
....................~~The Map is Not the Territory~~..........................
Gert, lovely as a butterfly on a sunny morning in a dewy meadow, approached Dag first and kissed her cheek.
"Gia, my beautiful daughter," she said. "You do resemble your father, still, even all these centuries later and through so many life-cycles. I
regretted you having to endure androgeny this go-round, but of course you would not have learned the lesson without the test first and then the
Dag's eyes narrowed, but not with suspicion. "My father?" she said.
"Aye," Gert sighed gently. "Aragorn was his name." And she left it at that.
Dag lifted a finger to stop her, but instead stopped herself. Clearly she would discover the things she needed to know, of that she had no doubt.
Gert had approached Brittle now, who had sunk to his knees in awe of her. Gert smiled at him, rather sadly. "Tsk, tsk," she said, and placed a hand on
his bowed head. "And you, my son. You have done well, but are not progressing as swiftly as I had anticipated. Your father's legacy has not yet
revealed itself to you. Nevertheless, the temple vow was well-executed, and you did find Gia."
Brittle looked up at her now. "Aragorn would have done it differently, then?"
Gert was momentarily puzzled, but quickly regained her poise.
"Oooohh. No, no no, my dear. Aragorn was not your father. The priestesses at Avalon may have as many children as they wish, but never with the
same man as father. Your father was Lancelot."
"I thought I was Lancelot," he said childishly and Dag and Gert both grinned when his lower lip stuck out in a pout.
Gert sighed again. "And you are. As his son. He lives on in you. But you are not your own father, no matter how magical the system seems to you. We
were all given birth, and we all had a mother and a father. Whether you meet up with them in any dimension seems entirely random, but I assure you it
is anything but. The plan is so complex, the threads so fine, that no one can see the entire tapestry. This is why humanoids believe in Jenovah.
For surely someone must know what the finished work will be…that is how we think when we are young. As we get older, and our souls gain more
experience, we realize it will not only never be finished, but that the pattern is subject to change with every soul's rebirth."
Dag had listened to this revelation with attention. Now her brows drew together. "Rebirth? Don't you mean reassembly, or repair?" For Dag was yet to
grasp that she was not a LAB creation.
Gert turned back to her and smiled. "Of course my dear, but not in the sense that you mean it. I will look forward to spending time at Avalon with
you, and we shall wander in the lovely air there and I will do what I can to explain it. But for now, we are not there, and we must get you two there
Dag spoke up now. "Look, I am here because my friends are here. I mean to find them, and I'm getting a little irritated with all of you total
strangers thinking you can send me on your errands or do your bidding."
Gert smiled at her daughter and drew her hands together in a praying fashion, touching her longest fingertips under her chin. "Yes, you see now," she
said. "Your strength, your focus. Those are the things that drew me to your father. Adam is already in Avalon, separated -- just as you are -- from
the rest of your mutual friends. Others are assisting him much as we have been assisting you."
Dag's eyes lit up. "Adam? Is he well?"
Gert frowned slightly. "Well? He is alive, I assure you. He has not fared as well as you have, by any means. But he still seeks you, and has exhibited
a strange sort of foolish bravery and courage in doing so. But one can only fault him for his gullibility. You, at least, ask questions before you
agree to the agenda presented to you. That is why Adam will fail without you. He already questions his own integrity, and without you, he will
succumb to despair."
"So—" Dag started, but Brittle cut her off.
"All right," he said, "Mother. What do we do to get there?"
"You must learn the chants required, and no one save the Native American deities can teach it to you, dear. You are Lancelot, of Camelot, and a son of
Avalon, but you are also of his ancestry, and it goes far back in time to when all peoples intermingled peaceably."
"Do you know where the others are?" Dag asked impatiently.
Gert's reply, though, was enigmatic and vague, as far as Dag was concerned. "He who was destined to rule in teamwork with the Most Feared is there.
But he is being made aware of his part in the fracass that is now on this planet, indeed throughout the Universe. Long ago there was no rift between
the sacred, no intolerance of other systems. Shamans worked with druids, priestesses with wizards and seers. All in harmony, and toward the common
good. The doings of the Evil one created the breach. But as I understand it, he is enduring his own epiphany even now, and is in Avalon as well."
Dag was not enlightened by this explanation, and it made her nervous. Who was Gert talking about? Dag did not know anyone in league with the Most
Feared. Did she?
Brittle, though, having little interest in the plight of Dag's friends, pressed Gert for further instruction.
"How do we get there? Where do I learn this chant?"
"You must first go back to freshness, out of the caves, and make your way to Fairy Stone Mountain. There, someone will find you, teach you the
mantras, and you will go through the Vandalian portal to Avalon and find yourself there. Gia will go with you in my stead, for it is time the keepers
of that portal met the future Lady of the Lake."
The waters of the Cave of Enchantment now began to vaporize into a cloud of white. Dag and Brittle both heard the slogging of Wellies retreating from
where the woman who claimed to be their mother had stood, and when it became silent once more Fiona re-entered the cavern from where she had been
waiting in the antechamber.
"Come with me," she said. "I'll show you out, your horses are ready. Fairy Stone Mountain is two days' ride. The wranglers have a map for you and a
compass as well. But you must remember, foremost and always, this: The map is not the territory.
edit on 11-1-2012 by wildtimes because: find a bigger box in edit room
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