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Link Posted: 1/25/2019 3:26:15 PM EDT
[#1]
And the plot just got real. Something other worldly is now in Kentucky with @buck19delta.
Link Posted: 1/25/2019 3:56:38 PM EDT
[#2]
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Originally Posted By zoe17:
And the plot just got real. Something other worldly is now in Kentucky with @buck19delta.
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@zoe17
I just added more, might want to go look, its getting interesting.
Link Posted: 1/25/2019 4:36:10 PM EDT
[#3]
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Originally Posted By buck19delta:

@zoe17
I just added more, might want to go look, its getting interesting.
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Interesting is RIGHT!  The hook is firmly set!  Keep writing MOAR or we may have to send an Orc or 7 after you!
Link Posted: 1/25/2019 5:24:06 PM EDT
[#4]
Ah I was not looking in the last one. Thanks @buck19delta
Link Posted: 1/25/2019 6:04:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: buck19delta] [#5]
Something cold was pressed against Jake’s forehead, his eyes popped open in alarm and he lunged at the person who was touching him.. Well he tried to lunge, but he only managed to move a few inches before a strong hand pressed against his chest and pushed him back onto the soft mattress. “Easy there Rambo.” A soft feminine voice voice whispered to him. “You hit your head again, your going to have to start wearing a helmet Jake dear before you get brain damage. Cant you fall some other way besides on top of your head? Maybe do a ranger roll or something next time? Anything besides landing on your head or your face will be a improvement. She leaned over and looked at him with her big blue eyes full of concern. “How are you feeling?”

Jake tried to speak but his voice cracked, and he just wheezed. “Oh sorry, Here’s some water.” A straw was placed against his lips and he sucked greedily on it, the cool water washing the crud out of his throat. “How long was I out?” He asked. “Not long Emily replied. Jake wrinkled his nose. “Is that bourbon I smell? Have you been drinking?” Emily snorted. “Well duh, I really needed a drink. You did give me the code to the kingdom after all.” Jake sighed then grinned. “Got any for me?” Emily looked at him sternly. “You should not drink with a head injury.” Jake gave her a sad look. She exhaled loudly. “Oh fine, here drink.” She placed a glass against his lips and he gulped down a big swallow before she could stop him. “Hey get your own!” She squealed. Jake sputtered as he choked on the liquor. “Jeez woman, that’s straight bourbon.” Emily shrugged. “Its been a bad day, what can I say?” Jake lay back and just nodded. “Agreed, what a fucked up day. Are you ok?” Emily shrugged. “I’m physically okay, just worn out, mentally Okay, after that little girl incident? Oh fuck no. I’m definitely not mentally okay.” Jake looked confused, oh shit, the little girl, how is she?” Emily looked at him with a incredulous expression on her face.

“You didn’t SEE all of that shit that happened?” Jake shook his head, I woke up, and saw the woman standing over you, and you were crying, and I shot her with my taser, then I woke up here. Wait, I gave you the code to the facility?” Emily nodded. Jake sighed. “Jeez, I don’t remember any of that at all. Wait, did something happen to the little girl?” She just looked at him and bit her lower lip and looked like she was going to cry. Jake raised his voice. “Tell me Emily !” She just shook her head sadly. You will never believe it if I just tell you. Do your video cameras record everything.” Jake nodded. “Yes, they run twenty four seven, and record to a highly encrypted hard drive, why?”

Emily just shrugged. “You will have to watch the video, no way you will believe me if I just tell you.” Jake tried to stand and almost face planted into the floor, luckily Emily caught him before he fell on his face. She helped him out of his bed in the medical bay and to his office as it was much closer than the control room. She got him into a chair, as he typed in his password on the computer on his desk, and worked to bring up the video recording from the control room. Emily plopped a tall glass of straight bourbon on his desk next to him, and she had refilled hers.

“Whats that for?” Jake asked. Emily took a big gulp of her bourbon, pausing to swallow it before she spoke. “Trust me, you are going to need it.”The look on her face kept him from making a smart assed comment, he just nodded. Jake hit play on the screen, then fast forwarded until he saw the portal open and they stumbled into the room carrying the injured little girl. He let it play normally from then on, then paused it when Emily was dragging the unconscious woman out of the room. Emily handed him the tall glass of bourbon. Jake took it from her hand and taking several big gulps swallowed half of the glass. “Jesus fucking Christ.” He exclaimed.

Emily jabbed him with her finger hard. “Don’t take the lords name in vain, Jake! That’s a new rule, I don’t like it.” Jake rubbed the spot where she had poked him. “Sorry Emily.” He said. “I wont do it again.” Then he looked at the ceiling and spoke. “Sorry lord. Just a bit stressed, please forgive me.” Emily nodded her head in approval. “Hope for you yet Mr Reynolds.” He looked at her questioningly. Your religious?” Emily nodded. “Twelve years of catholic school. I don’t always make it to church, and I’m not perfect, but I don’t tolerate taking the lords name in vain, gotta draw the line somewhere.”

Jake nodded. “I understand. I don’t usually say what I said, but dammit, what the hell was that thing? It reminds me of the monster from a movie called “The Thing”, where a shape shifting alien from space lands in Antarctica and starts killing people. It kills them and copies their bodies perfectly, then sneaks around killing other people. Extremely hard to detect.” Emily shrugged. “I saw that movie, pretty damn good description of it, except this one is apparently a lot easier to kill, and thank the lord for that. The Elf claims its a demon, that’s good enough for me. A portal to another world, Orc’s, Elve’s, why not demon’s as well?” She paused to take another sip of bourbon. “You are going to need to stock up on liquor Jake, buy it by the barrel and Valium too, this place is fucking stressful.”

Jake looked confused. “Elf? What Elf?” Emily shrugged. “Her Ladyship Bru something or the other, of the high something or the other, of the something of the other. Shes pretty damn pissed off at us between you tasering her, and me stripping her naked and locking her in one of those cells of yours.” Jake raised his eyebrows. “You stripped her naked?” Emily punched him. “Get your mind out of the gutter son. I stripped her because I didn’t have time to check her for weapons, or more of that crazy burning powder of hers, lord knows what other surprises she had in her clothes. I was not taking any chances after I saw her cloaking device.”

Jake looked surprised. “Cloaking device? What are you talking about?” Emily shrugged. “She was invisible and in the room with us, talking to us, don’t you remember?” Jake nodded. “Well, yeah, I remember talking to someone I could not see, but I figured it was a trick, maybe they hacked the intercom or something. I don’t think she was invisible though, you sure?” I well, hell I don’t know what I thought.” Emily nodded. “Well, she was invisible, she has a cloak, or a poncho thing, a piece of clothing that literally, makes her invisible. Its a lot like the predator movie, works a lot the same except it works way better. Totally invisible, at least as long as the person wearing it does not move, you move and you can be seen. Its fucking bad ass, be worth a billion dollars to the defense industry. Hell watch the video again, its on the video, watch it again.”  Jake did just that, he rewound the video and hit play again. Suddenly a woman appeared from thin air. “Son of a bitch Jake breathed, I didn’t notice it the first time because I was focused on the child monster thing” Emily nodded. “Told you, anyway, I didn’t know what else she might have had on her, so I stripped her naked. It was the fastest way. I didn’t know how long she would be out.”

“I left her a robe, its not like shes sitting on the cold floor butt assed naked or anything.”  Jake just rubbed his eyes and gulped more bourbon. “Man, can this shit get any weirder?” Emily shrugged. “I have no clue, this is your circus, and these are your monkeys, your the ring master Jake, you need to get your shit together before something really bad shows up and fucks us bad.” Jake nodded. “I agree, which is why I hired you in the first place, we are going to need a lot of help, and it needs to be really good help. Top notch highly skilled people.” Emily nodded, all in due time. Now, about the crazy Elf lady we have locked in our little jail cell. What about her?”

Jake looked concerned. “Is she okay? I mean that taser I was using, its a heavy duty model used for large animals, like bulls, its much stronger than a regular one, it can kill a regular person. I mainly bought it for large animals like Orc’s, I never considered it might be used on a human, or human sized animal.” Emily shrugged. “She seems fine. It knocked her out just long enough for me to get her in a cell and strip her, she almost grabbed be as I ran out with her clothes. Shes tough as hell, covered with scars as well, the woman’s a fighter Shes also strong as hell, I thought she was going to kick the cell door off its hinges.” Jake shook his head. “That’s impossible, its a high security model designed for biohazard containment of livestock and other animals. I doubt even a Orc could kick it down, they put bears and rhino’s in them.” Emily shrugged. “I thought she was going to, shes strong Jake, don’t underestimate her.

“Emily.” Jake began. Emily turned to look at him. “Yeah, Jake?” He continued. “Um, are we good? I know this is way more than you probably signed on for, hell its been more than I signed on for. It’s been dangerous as shit, terrifying, traumatizing, and probably going to give me nightmares. There’s also no telling what might happen later, and I cant guarantee anyone’s safety, not even my own safety. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I like you Emily, and I don’t want anything bad to happen to you, and id understand if you wanted to bail on this project, or at least do it from long distance, and never come back here again.” He felt ashamed he had put her in such danger.

“Jake, look at me.” Emily replied. Jake turned and looked at her. “Emily could see Jake felt bad for what happened to her, and from what she had learned about him, knew he likely felt guilty for putting her in danger. He was a good man, and good men usually wanted to protect woman at all costs, put them in a place of safety, because they could not stand the thought of a woman getting hurt. It was chauvinistic as fuck, but she knew it came from a good place. He didn’t feel that way because he didn’t think she could not carry her own weight, as it was obvious he respected her, it was simply because he wanted to keep her safe from harm. She sighed heavily.

“Jake, the last few days have been scary, horrifying, terrifying, and nightmare inducing, for me. I have traveled to a alien planet, almost died of hypothermia, almost been murdered and raped to death by terrifying monsters, almost been strangled and replaced by a shape shifting demon, and almost had my ass kicked by a invisible Elf woman.” Jake started to speak. “I know that’s why…” Emily held up her hand, raised her voice and cut him off. “BUTT !” Then she spoke quieter.

“Butt, I have also seen things no living person on earth has ever seen before, I have seen a alien world, incredible beauty, I have been held in the arms of my dead mother, or something very close to it, and felt pure love so strong it made me cry, and it somehow healed a heart wrenching soul crushing pain in a instant, I felt real love, that was possibly even a living spirit, iv experienced exhilaration, excitement, wonder, and so many other positive emotions I cant recall them all.

Iv encountered many new species of life that I never dreamed even existed, and much much more. I understand your worried about me Jake, but if you think for one minute I am walking away from this project, your out of your mind. We are greater explorers than any that have ever come before, we have seen more alien life that any of the astronauts, seen more new species than Darwin, traveled father than Columbus, seen taller mountains, and crazier shit than anyone else in history, and this was just our first trip ! We are part of a discovery greater than anything else to have ever been discovered. I’m here for the long haul, you could not drag me away. If anything ever happens to me because of this project, its on me and it will have been worth it in exchange for what it has given me.Understand now?” Jake smiled. I agree with everything you just said and I feel the same way. Welcome aboard Emily, my second in command.” Emily rolled her eyes.

“You better not call me your number two, because if you do ill kick your ass.” She smirked. Jake held up his hands in mock surrender. “Never dream of it.” He grinned. “Shall we go check on our Elf guest now?” Emily shook her head. “No, let her stew for a bit, she needs to calm down before we talk to her. Lets get cleaned up first, take hot showers, put on clean clothes, brush our teeth and all that. I feel grody as hell. We can take her some dinner and eat with her, how does that sound to you?”

Jake nodded. “I could order some pizza, think she would eat it?” Emily beamed. “Oh that sounds heavenly to me. I’m sure she will, everyone loves pizza.” Jake nodded. “Everything you need to get cleaned up is in the female barracks, its fully stocked with everything from bathroom necessities to women’s sized clothing.” Emily was already headed down the hallway. Jake spoke a bit louder so she could hear him. “See you in the mess hall in a hour?” Emily turned around as she walked and yelled back to him. “It’s a date.” Jakes heart fluttered.
Link Posted: 1/25/2019 6:21:05 PM EDT
[#6]
Humm, naked Elf lady and Emily. Cool thanks for the update.
Link Posted: 1/25/2019 7:10:01 PM EDT
[Last Edit: buck19delta] [#7]
I added more to it, so might want to reread it. Im really liking how the story is going right now. I like it a lot better than what I had originally created. I still have all the sexy dwarf women stuff and will fit it into the story before long. I don't plan to change anything with what iv written, probably just go through it again at a later date whe its all finished, and add more details to it.

im done writing for today. im planning to write for a few hours tomorrow, but then ill be done until Monday.
Link Posted: 1/25/2019 9:31:17 PM EDT
[#8]
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Originally Posted By buck19delta:
I added more to it, so might want to reread it. Im really liking how the story is going right now. I like it a lot better than what I had originally created. I still have all the sexy dwarf women stuff and will fit it into the story before long. I don't plan to change anything with what iv written, probably just go through it again at a later date whe its all finished, and add more details to it.

im done writing for today. im planning to write for a few hours tomorrow, but then ill be done until Monday.
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YES!!!!!!!
Link Posted: 1/26/2019 6:34:01 AM EDT
[#9]
im loving the updates
Link Posted: 1/26/2019 6:46:38 AM EDT
[#10]
Are you up and writing yet @buck19delta
Link Posted: 1/26/2019 8:36:15 AM EDT
[#11]
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Originally Posted By zoe17:
Are you up and writing yet @buck19delta
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Just woke up  
Link Posted: 1/26/2019 1:09:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: buck19delta] [#12]
This is all for today, ill post the next update on Monday. have a good weekend.

A hour later Jake and Emily strolled into the facilities detention area carrying a case of cold beer and four pizza boxes, they dropped their treasure onto the security desk as a angry female voice blasted them from nearby.

“YOU DARE TO HOLD ONE OF THE ELVISH ROYAL FAMILY IN A CELL LIKE A COMMON CRIMINAL?! “It is a insult of the highest order, and such a insult will not go without harsh retribution, flogging would be the least allowed punishment for such a insult! You need not worry about having the skin flayed from your worthless bodies however, as the assault on my body alone is punishable by death ! You will both be dealt with most severely, I will see to that personally, I promise you.” Jake looked at her and rolled his eyes in annoyance, but he took a good look at her in the process while she continued ranting.

The woman was tall, almost six feet tall, and had a slim athletic build, the white robe she wore only came to her thighs and long well muscled legs could be seen. She had large blue eyes, that were even larger and bluer than Emily’s were, something he didn’t think possible, her lips were full, and red, and her ears came up to end in delicate points, just like a Elf from a bedtime story. Her silver hair was down to the middle of her back in a thick braid. She was beautiful, but her beauty was not the most striking thing about her, the tattoos were. Every inch of exposed skin he could see was covered in gold tribal tattoos, her arms, legs, and even her neck, her face was tattoo free except for a small gold infinity tattoo on her left cheek. She continued screaming at them, and her high pitched voice was grating on his nerves. He flipped the intercom off, cutting off the woman’s enraged ranting. He nodded in satisfaction at the sudden silence. “There, that’s better, now we can eat in peace.”

He placed his beer bottle against the desk and struck it with his palm, popping the cap off of it, then took a deep swig of the beer. “Oh man, that’s good.” Emily nodded beside him as she gulped her own beer.” Hell Yes it is, and this pizza will be a welcome change from all that fruit. God it smells so good. Can she still here us?” Jake nodded as he opened one of the pizza boxes and pulled out a large slice of pepperoni pizza. “ Yup, she can here us, we just cant here her annoying screeching anymore. Easier for us to talk to her, maybe she will calm down enough to listen to reason.” He placed a pizza on a chair next to the woman’s armored glass cell, and opened a vent. “Your going to torture her with pizza? Shes probably starving Jake. Just give it to her.” Jake shook his head. “I will happily give her some, she just has to ask for it first.”

Emily rolled her eyes. “you turned off the intercom, we cant here her ask for anything.” Jake smiled. “Ill turn it on in a minute, just as soon as we explain ourselves to our guest, maybe she will calm down a little bit. He took a bite of the pizza, and a swig of beer, chewed and swallowed. He saw the woman sniffing the air, obviously having caught the scent of the hot delicious pizza. “Now.” Jake began. Lets get started. Lady, you are in my private residence, on my private property, the building you snuck into is a high security area, and intruders are highly frowned upon.”

“You are little better than a burglar, or a thief in the night as far as I am concerned. A honest person would have approached us openly, and not slunk in unannounced.” The woman in the cell was apparently screaming, as her mouth was moving and she was flailing her arms in a animated way.” Jake shrugged and continued. “Screech all you want, we cant hear a word you are saying. Anyway, I’m sure if you really are some kind of royalty, your own home, where ever it is you come from is likely protected by a lot of security.

How would they react if I were to suddenly pop into your thrown room, or your private residence? Even were I royalty from another country I’m sure they would react badly to such a breach in protocol.” He glanced at the woman and saw her looked a tiny bit guilty. “I thought as much.” He continued. “Furthermore, when you showed up unannounced, we were in the middle of a bit of a crisis, you dropping in as you did, added even more confusion to a already highly stressful scenario. You did not help things at all, and in fact contributed to your being assaulted.”

The woman was gesturing enthusiastically and flailing her arms again, obviously arguing some point. Jake continued. “Yes, you did try to warn us about that, terrible creature, and for that I thank you. However, I had been seriously injured before you could introduce yourself, and when I was injured the last thing I thought I saw was you threatening my partner here. He gestured towards Emily, who smirked at her through a mouth full of pizza. Jake continued. “So I just reacted as any of your own guards would have in the same situation of a intruder standing over one of your royals and I shot you. Shot you with a nonlethal device I might add, when I had a very lethal one available to use. I could have easily killed you, instead I only stunned you.” Jake glanced at her in between bites of pizza. “I don’t expect a thank you or anything for not killing you, but I would like you to honestly consider our point of view, and gauge our restrained response to a unknown threat, that’s all. Now, are you hungry? We wish you no further discomfort, and will provide you with whatever you wish to be comfortable. However, we wont be letting you out of that cell until we have some answers, and feel that you are not a danger to us. I hope you understand, and will be patient for a few more hours.” Jake held up the pizza and beer to the window, and the woman nodded yes.

“He opened a door that was designed to send items into the sealed room, placed the pizza and several opened beers in it, and closed it. Then he hit a button that opened the inner armored door. The woman took out the beer and pizza and placed them on a small table that was bolted to the floor of the cell. She took a piece of the pizza and sniffed it suspiciously, watching Jake as she did so. Jake sighed. “If I wanted to drug you, I could do it through the air entering the cell, the food is fine, ill take a bite of it if you wish.” The woman took a small delicate tentative bite and slowly chewed the pizza, suddenly her eyes rolled back in ecstasy as she chewed it, she swallowed and took a much bigger bite.

Emily laughed at the scene. “A woman after my own heart.” She joked. “That’s some damn good pizza.” She continued, I bet it tastes wonderful compared to whatever you have been eating in the wilderness for the last month. Right?” The woman nodded in agreement as she chewed. She paused to take a sip of beer, and her eyebrows rose as she tasted it. Jake smiled. “Its Boston lager, its my favorite, its got a good taste to it, right?” She nodded again and took a bigger bite of the pizza. Jake left the room for a minute and returned with a set of surgical scrubs, and placed them in the airlock.

“There are some clothes for you that you might find more comfortable than the robe you are wearing. My partner took your clothes earlier because she feared you might have weapons hidden in them, there was no offense intended, it was purely a security precaution.” The woman looked at him angrily as she chewed. Jake smiled. “I’m sure you do not have any weapons hidden in your clothing that would have made that decision the correct one, do you?” The woman still looked angry. “Well.” He continued.” We have not touched any of your belongings.”

He gestured towards a large plastic tub where they were located. “However, perhaps we should search them very carefully after all.” The woman looked concerned and shook her head no. Jake smiled. “So, you admit you were carrying dangerous hidden weapons, and my partners decision to take your clothes was a wise one.” If you admit that, then we wont search your clothing. The woman rolled her eyes and nodded her head yes. Jake grinned. “Excellent !” He paused for a moment. “I know you wont like this, but we are both exhausted, and will be going to bed in a moment. We will continue our conversation in the morning.”

The woman looked angry again. Jake shrugged. “I apologize for your inconvenience, however as I said we are exhausted, and exhausted people make mistakes, and are not in the most patient of moods.” Jake switched on the intercom. “I would prefer to finish this when everyone is fully rested. I can offer you a hot bath, and shampoo and soap, so you can be clean and rest comfortably tonight. Would that be acceptable, we can here you speak now. “Yes.” The woman said. If I must be here all night a hot bath would be most welcome.”

Jake nodded. “I will have Emily here bring you soap and shampoo, and towels for bathing. Do you take long baths?” The woman nodded. “Yes, the longer the better.” She chuckled. Jake smiled. “That’s not a problem, I will leave the water running for thirty minutes. The water will come out of the ceiling in the corner of the room you will see a red and a blue button on the wall, pushing the red button makes the water hotter, and blue button makes the water colder. The bowl in the corner is for relieving yourself, and the paper is for, um, wiping your butt.” He blushed. “Push the button beside the bowl and the waste is flushed into the sewer, understand?” The woman looked at the toilet and back at him a little confused, but then nodded her head yes.”

Jake continued. “We will meet again in the morning over breakfast. I don’t want to make a enemy here, I would much prefer to make a friend. I apologize for any harm or insult that has happened while you have been here, and starting tomorrow would very much like to release you and talk to you as a equal. I believe we have a lot to offer each other as friends. Do I have your promise that if I release you in the morning, that you will behave as a guest, and not attempt to harm either of us?” The woman shrugged. “I could easily lie, what difference would my agreement make?” Jake shrugged. “Would you break your word?” The woman shook her head. “I would never break my word, but you don’t know if I’m speaking the truth.” Jake shrugged. “Its important to me, and very important if we ever can be friends, I will not lie to you, you have my word on that.”

The woman looked angry. “It displeases me greatly to be kept here all night. For someone wishing to be a friend, you seem treat your supposed friends terribly. I will be civil to you, only as long as it takes for me to be released, after that you can be sure we will be enemies for life, my treatment here is unforgivable.” Jake shrugged. “I have apologized, I have explained, and I have started offering you my hospitality, there is nothing else I can do to make amends.” The woman just stared at him. “Much too little, and much too late, you will pay dearly for mistreating one of the royal family like this. And you eat like a pig, you have soiled your clothing.”

Jake looked at his pizza grease stained t-shirt, and shrugged. He grabbed the bottom and stripped it off over his head and tossed it into a laundry hamper in the corner. The woman’s jaw dropped as she gaped at his chest in open astonishment. “See something you like?” Jake joked. Emily chuckled. “ I think she likes you better undressed.” The woman spoke softly. “Where did you get that.. that.. tattoo?” Jake looked down at it. “Never seen a tattoo before? He asked her. The woman nodded. “Oh yes, many thousands, I have never seen such a colorful tattoo though, or one, with that particular image before, does it mean something important to you?” Emily spoke up, “I didn’t know you had a tattoo, lemme see.” Jake shrugged. “It’s just something i had done in Iraq during the war. A friend of mine had been suggesting I get this particular tattoo, I had said no. He was killed a few days later in a attack. I just wanted to pay tribute to him, and so got this tattoo. He said it showed dedication to being a soldier, a commitment to a higher cause greater than yourself, sacrificing you life for the safety of others, and putting honor above all else.” He rubbed his chest. “It hurt like hell, that’s for sure”. The tattoo was large and in the center of his chest, and in full color. The image was of a large skull with wings, wearing a red airborne beret, with a dagger thrust down through the top of the skull with the words. “Death, Before Dishonor” written below it. Jake turned to leave. “Emily, will you take care of our guest” I”d do it myself, but I think its more appropriate you did it, with her being a woman and all.” Emily nodded, and then smirked. “Probably doesn’t help anything that’s shes a gorgeous woman either does it, and one who’s ogling your manly body?” Jake grinned. “Nope.” Then he turned and left.

Emily gave the woman shampoo, and towels, and left her for the night, and a moment later water streamed from the ceiling. “Brunella Datildamore Quintilla, High Princess of the royal house of Quintilla, stripped and stepped into the shower, and pushed the red button until the water was almost scalding. She sighed in happiness at the waters heat as it relaxed her muscles, the muscles of her body relaxed, but he mind was anything but relaxed. Her belly was full and she was at least being well cared for, the cell she was imprisoned in would be considered a luxury anywhere in the realm, many kings did not eat and live in such luxury, much less the peasants under them.

These people had odd ideas about prison cells, and prisoner treatment, if they treated prisoners like this, my how their royalty must live! The man had been correct however, had he suddenly appeared in her apartments, her guards would have shown him not mercy, and likely killed him on the spot. She replayed his words in her mind over and over considering things and his words. Her anger and thirst for revenge had completely evaporated but not because of the words he had spoken of friendship. No, in the end his words and what he had said mattered not one bit, he bore the mark, and that was all that mattered and because be bore that mark, she was duty and honor bound to serve this man for the rest of his life.

She had grown up with that one image hammered into her mind by her teachers, hammered into her head over and over, year after year, century after century, a very distinct and strange image, and one only known to a handful of people in the entire realm. The image of the winged skull of honor with the dagger through it. The image appeared in the great prophesy of Ibold, which was written down over five thousand years ago by probably the greatest Elven mage and seer to ever live, Ibold the great. Every last one of Ibold’s earlier prophesy’s had come to pass, which made this one all the more important. This one spoke of defeating the dark ones, when they again came into the world to wreak their vengeance, and finally destroy the clans. Different prophesy’s had been written down by various other powerful seers over the centuries, and all of these agreed on one thing. First the warrior appeared, and soon after the dark ones. She shuddered at the thought of the dark ones walking across the land again, the devastation they would cause would be incalculable.

Ibolds great prophesy however contained but a single line of prose, and that prose held information no other prophesy contained, information about the warrior, the other prophesy’s mentioned him, but not how to identify him, or what he would do,. Ibolds however did, It consisted of the image, and a single line of words and those words echoed through her mind over and over. “And Lo, in time of desperate need, a great warrior bearing the mark shall appear from another world. This warrior with Elven princess counsel, shall unite the clans, destroy the dark ones, remake the world, and bring ten thousand years of prosperity.” This mark would identify the one warrior, who would deliver the world from the dark evil that was to come, and come soon. Brunella had a icy shiver run down her spine, in spite of the scalding water that was running over it. She had in a mere instant gone from a enraged Princess who planned revenge on this man to a willing life long servant of him. Brunella stood naked under the scalding water of the shower and did something she had not done since she was a young child many hundreds of years ago, she broke down into tears and wept.
Link Posted: 1/26/2019 1:45:09 PM EDT
[#13]
Thanks for the update. Story is taking shape.
Link Posted: 1/28/2019 9:01:04 AM EDT
[Last Edit: buck19delta] [#14]
The next morning the lights flickered on just as the human female had said they would. They were such strange lights, powerful and bright even here in this windowless cell, surely some magic she had never seen before. She bathed herself and dressed then sat waiting for the female to come for her. She had thought long into the night as to how to handle this situation. It was obvious to her that this warrior did not realize he was anything special, since that was the case she figured he would react poorly to her blurting out a five thousand year old prophesy, claiming he was some sort of a savior of the world. He would probably think she was insane and attempt to distance himself from her, which was something she could not afford to happen.

The prophesy said a Elf princess shall guide the warrior, so she had to ensure this happened. She could not afford to alienate this man, and as much as it galled her to her core she knew she had to befriend him in some way and earn his trust before revealing the truth. She knew that time was short however and the dark ones would be returning not long from now, she had her work cut out for her. She stood and smoothed the odd clothing she had been given to wear, trying to smooth the wrinkles out of it, and becoming frustrated when that failed. The material was strange, the stitching was amazing, the stitches so close together she could not even see the individual threads. The cloth looked to be very expensive to her, however it was shapeless, and fit her like a sack, something that made no sense to her at all. Could this be what they dressed their prisoners in? It was a insane thought and she pushed it from her mind, perhaps it was just the style here, something that made more sense by far. Brunella had herself calm and poised, sitting on the edge of her bed when the man and woman arrived to get her.

The man and woman were wearing their strange multi colored clothing of greens and tans, and they were both wearing identical green shirts, and black boots. They were also both wearing what she assumed were holstered weapons of some strange design. The man smiled a friendly smile at her.

Jake smiled. “Good morning, I hope you slept well, would you like to join us for breakfast where we can break bread and discuss things? I hope your hungry, I made a big breakfast as I didn’t know what you might like. There’s hot coffee, orange juice, eggs, toast, biscuits, gravy, sausage, bacon, jam, and pancakes.” He watched the woman’s expression carefully, and was pleased to see she seemed calm and collected this morning, a stark change from last night.

Brunella stood and smiled at the man. Then wrinkled her brow slightly. “I do not know what coffee, orange juice, and pancakes, are. However eggs and sausage do sound delightful to me as I am indeed very hungry this morning.” Jake nodded. “Do I have your word you are not a threat to us, nor will you try to harm us or escape if we let you out to dine with us?” Brunella nodded. “You have my word, I will bring no hard to you or your woman.”

Emily laughed. “We are not a couple, and I’m definitely not his woman, we are purely business partners.” Then she looked at Jake for a moment. “And we are friends.” Jake nodded. “Just what she said, just partners and friends.” Brunella nodded. “I understand, please forgive my mistake. Shall we go eat now?” Jake nodded to Emily who stepped to the other side of the room, while Jake punched in the code to open the door. The thick door slid open and Jake stepped aside giving Brunella room to exit, she realized they were putting her in the middle and standing far enough away she could not attack them both at once. It was smart, and she approved of the tactics. Emily stepped into the hall and Jake smiled at Brunella and gestured down the hallway to their right. “After you.”

She followed the human female down a few hallways and through more of the strange doors that used no keys. She was astonished that everything was so clean and in such good repair, and also noticed that these humans decorated much the same as human royalty did where she was from. They painted wood skillfully to look like steel, it was a old tradition to create the illusion of wealth. Everywhere she looked she saw skillfully painted wood that resembled steel. She had to admit it was very skillfully done as she would have sworn it was actually steel, instead of painted wood, something which was preposterous of course. Soon they entered a dining room of some sort, there were tables and chairs and the smell of fresh cooked food made her mouth water.

Jake ushered the woman to a seat, and he sat across from her, while Emily sat a few seats down making sure one of them was always out of the woman’s reach. They were not taking any chances with her she realized. If they had any idea of just how deadly she was in even unarmed combat, they would have never released her from her cell in the first place. “You have never tasted coffee?” Jake asked her as he poured a cup of fresh coffee and held it out to her. Brunella shook her head, then sniffed the steaming beverage, wrinkling her nose at the strong odd smell it had. Jake smiled. “Here, let me fix it for you, do you enjoy sweet drinks, or less sweet? Brunella smiled. “Sweet please.” Jake nodded and added several scoops of sugar and cream as well, stirred it and handed it back. Brunella sipped it and was delighted to find the drink delicious.

“Its wonderful.” She replied. Jake nodded, as he poured himself a cup and passed another to Emily. Coffee is a kind of stimulant, our people drink it in the morning, and during the day to help wake themselves up, or give themselves a energy boost.” He scooped food generously on a plate and handed it to her. You don’t have to eat all of this, I just put a little of everything on your plate, you can try it all to see what you like.” Brunella nodded. “Thank you”. Jake began eating, and Brunella followed suit, tasting a small bite of each kind of food and was pleasantly surprised to find it all quite delicious. Everyone introduced themselves, and Breakfast was eaten with a little small talk mixed in, soon enough the food was gone and the dirty plates were cleaned away. Jake poured all of them another cup of coffee and they sat quietly for a moment.

Brunella was the first to break the silence. “What is this place, and what was that, that darkness I stepped though to get here?” Jake glanced at Emily, and she simply shrugged, indicating it was his show. Jake cleared his throat and began. “Well, this building that we are in is something I recently built to provide better security, and facilities for the exploration of the portal, and the world beyond. The darkness you referred to is basically a portal from my world to your own. My family discovered the portal about sixty years ago, and I just recently took charge of it, and restarted the program. I can see by your expression you don’t believe a word of what I just said.”

Brunella nodded. “It is a lot to swallow, and quite a story, can you prove it?” Jake smiled, I think that’s easy enough. Bring your coffee and follow me.” He led them to the recreation room, and motioned for her to have a seat, then he went to a computer monitor. He typed for a few moments, and suddenly a video started playing on the big movie screen. Brunella sat in stunned silence as moving pictures appeared on the wall in front of her and a voice spoke from thin air. The pictures moved showing planets, and the solar system, something she understood from her knowledge of astronomy, but these planets were strange.

The voice explained the planets and their names and focused on one particular planet called earth, the scene changed and the speaker noted the major land masses, then proceeded to name the countries and much, much more. Thirty minutes later the video Jake had pulled off you tube, that was designed to explain the world around them to curious children ended. He turned to Brunella. “I think that explains our world pretty well, much better than I ever could. You just saw the planets, solar system, this planet, land masses, oceans, countries, different races of people, religions, land and sea animals and a hell of a lot more.”

Brunella was stunned. “I have seen some impressive displays of magics before, and illusions, but never have a seen anything such as this, the illusion was so clear and so detailed ! Your people have the ability to fly through the air, and even travel to other planets ! You also have such vast amounts of iron, never in my wildest dreams would I imagine such enormous amounts of iron could exist. Truly this is a alien world from my own, such a wife variety of humans, and wildlife, you have convinced me of that to be sure. You must be a great mage indeed to wield such magics, it also explains how you could have such a portal to travel to other worlds at your beck and call. Please forgive my disbelief earlier, I meant no disrespect magi.” She bowed her head forward in what must be some kind of a sign of respect where she was from.

Emily snickered from across the room, and rolled her eyes. “Brunella, Jake is far from being “The great and powerful Oz”, I can promise you. He’s more like the man behind the curtain.” She joked. Brunella wrinkled up her brow in confusion. “I do not understand the references you are making Emily, do you mean to say you do not wield such magic? If not you, then who does wield such powerful magics, that can create such wonders? Who is your master who can do such a thing?”

Jake sighed. He searched for a video on technology, or important discoveries from the beginning of history, and hit play again, starting another video on the movie screen. “ Ill make some popcorn.” Emily volunteered. “Who wants a beer?” Jake and Brunella both nodded. They watched video after video for hours, as they drank beer and answered Brunella’s many questions. Jake sighed. “Think you understand it now?” Brunella nodded. “Yes, I believe so. Your magic devices are manufactured by your slaves who toil in these factories?” Correct?  Jake shook his head. “We do not have slaves here, those people are paid for their work, they can leave at anytime they wish.” Brunella considered this new information. “So, peasants then? Employed by your Royalty, to do the manual labor that is beneath them? Yes, we have a similar system in my own homeland.”

Jake shook his head, I don’t think you understand. In this country in particular, we are all free men and woman, we are all equals, woman have the same rights as men. We may live anywhere we choose, we earn our own money, we may own as much property as we can afford to purchase, we can take any profession we desire. Everyone goes to school from a early age for twelve years and many persue advanced educations, in science, medicine, and more. We also do not have any royalty, we elect our leaders from the common people. We have the right to vote, the right to bear arms, and to seek happiness.”

Brunella looked very confused. “You have no royalty at all?” Jake shrugged. “Some nations still have Kings and Queens, but they are for the most part figureheads only and their nations are ruled by elected leaders. In my own country we do have elected leaders who think of themselves as royalty, but they cannot rule on a whim, nor punish people without a trial by their peers.” Brunella shook her head in confusion. “I don’t understand this at all Jake, is there another of those, movie things that can explain it for me?” Jake grinned. “Yup, lets watch a movie about the creation of the United States of America.”

More beer and a hour later the movie ended. ‘Got it now Brunella?” Jake asked. Brunella was simply stunned. “ I believe so, yes. Basically, anyone of your common citizens can be chosen by the rest of the people to lead your entire country, and you choose a new leader every four years. You have no royal lines at all. I do not understand how such a country is not in chaos at all times. I find overthrowing your English King, to break away from the crown very disturbing as well. Royalty leading the commoners is a much better system.”

Emily shook her head. “You are wrong Brunella. Tell, me, you are a princess correct?” Brunella nodded. Emily continued. “So, if you were to become the queen, you would have to be married to the king, correct?” Brunella nodded. “Of course.” Emily nodded. “Tell me Brunella, what would happen if the King died?” Brunella thought a second and spoke. “Well, obviously I would have to choose a new male royal to marry, who wound then become king himself, and I still remain his queen.” Emily nodded, and what if there we no good choices, what if all the male royals were idiots, what if you refused to marry them because you feared they would bring ruin to the country.”

Brunella shifted uncomfortably in her seat. “Well, I would be removed, and a new King appointed anyway. Emily nodded. “Because you are not as smart as a man? Or because you are unable mentally to make the hard decisions necessary to run the country because you yourself are a idiot, or because you are simply not able to make those decisions because you are a woman?” Brunella grew angry. “I am as intelligent as any man, I could make those decisions, I would not be allowed though, because its tradition.” Emily rolled her eyes. “Its tradition women are treated as second class royals, not because they are not equal mentally, but because its tradition? Would not a intelligent woman make a better ruler in that situation than a male idiot?”

Brunella nodded. “Obviously, but tradition would not allow a woman to rule for more than as long as it took to find a suitable King.” Emily groaned. “So a woman is a fine ruler in a emergency, and can do a good job at it, but only until a man can be found to replace her? Tell me Brunella, does that seem right to you, or fair?” Brunella shook her head. “It is tradition, I did not say I felt it was right, or fair.” Emily nodded. ‘Now, take that unfairness your feeling as a wealthy, entitled royal princess, and imagine how the common people feel when they have a bad King. Be a man with no hope of ever aspiring to anything more than a ditch digger, not fit to lick a royals boots, or a commoner woman who has no hope of anything besides being a broodmare to some idiot wife beating husband.”

“ Or even a woman of noble birth, a highly intelligent, fair, just compassionate woman who has to sit by while some drunken cruel idiot of a man gets to rule in her place simply because he has a dick between his legs. In this country a woman has the right to refuse a man, if a man hurts her, or rapes her, he will be imprisoned, even executed, a woman has the right to choose her husband on her own, to choose if she wants children, choose to work, or choose what type of work. She can vote to help choose who represents her in government, she has rights over her body, the freedom to chose her future. Tell me Brunella, were you a commoner woman, with daughters of your own, which system would appeal to you?”

Brunella wanted to be outraged at Emily for daring to criticize a system of rule that had lasted for many, many thousands of years, everything in her upbringing made her want to lash out at her, to hit her for saying such things about royals. However her feelings as a woman told her that Emily was right. She had seen many such abused woman in her travels, and had not really given them a second thought, sitting here now as she considered what it would be like to herself, to be locked into such a hopeless situation in life, or her daughters be in such a situation. She began to get a small glimpse of what had made Jake and Emily’s ancestors overthrow their own royalty, and instead of the country descending into chaos as she would assume, it had instead apparently flourished to become the greatest nation in this worlds history. Her head was spinning from everything she had absorbed in the last hours and her emotions swung from wanting to smack Emily in the face to slap some sense into her, to hugging her for showing her there was another way, another system that worked. She realized things were getting out of control, and far off topic, she needed to befriend these people, and quickly, not get into debates over politics and systems of governing.

Brunella spoke up. “Jake, Emily, may I be excused to return to my quarters? I need some time to compose myself, and to think about all of this.” Jake could see Emily had really rattled Brunella with all of her women’s rights talk, it was probably more than a little unsettling for a woman from what was essentially a dark ages lifestyle. “Sure Brunella, Ill take you back to your cell and we can take a break for a while. I believe we have made some good progress so far today, and look forward to talking to you more later today.” “Yes.” Brunella agreed. “I have learned much about your people, and believe we have come far towards becoming friends. This is just a lot of information to make sense of at once. I need to contemplate what i have learned today, that’s all.”

Jake smiled. “I understand.” Jake nodded. He escorted her back to her cell and she stepped inside. Jake smiled at her. “ Brunella, as a sign of good faith I’m not going to shut the door, I will leave it open, you are free to move around and stretch your legs if you wish. You are free to walk the hallways, however I ask you to only attempt to enter two places if you do. You may return back to the recreation room where we were watching movies, or to the mess hall to get something to eat, and of course your room here. I would ask you to not attempt to open any doors except those two doors I mentioned. Im going to trust you. Ok?” Brunella was surprised she was being given so much freedom. “Um, Okay Jake. I appreciate the kindness, I will not abuse your hospitality.”

Jake returned to the mess hall and informed Emily. “Is that a good idea? We just met her.” Jake shrugged, everything’s locked tight, its not like she can go anywhere, plus all the weapons are well secured, including everything she brought with her.” Emily nodded. “Gotta trust a little bit sometime I suppose.”

Jake sighed. “I think you broke her brain with all of that women’s rights stuff. Maybe you should cut back on that a little bit.” Emily glared at Jake with sudden anger in her eyes. “Oh, does that make you uncomfortable Jake? Rather your women be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen where they belong. I bet this old school world where women know their place must really appeal to you huh?” Jake stood up and pointed his finger at her. “Hey now, you need to get your shit under control Emily! I believe everyone deserves equal rights and equal opportunities and a say in their life and I have never suggested otherwise. In fact, I went to war over those same ideals and the support of them. Iv given my blood, sweat and tears and almost died for those same beliefs, and many of my friends did die protecting them!”

“I hired you, because I was told you were the best there is, anywhere, period, man or woman. You saved my life several times here recently and I don’t think it was in spite of you being a woman, I think it was because you’re a intelligent, passionate human being. I wont stand here and be spoken to like that by anyone, least of all not someone who’s supposed to be a friend of mine.” He glared at her angrily. “How dare you suggest I feel that way Emily, how dare you! I was just suggesting you don’t overwhelm her with too many things at once. Your basically pissing all over everything shes ever known, her only way of life shes ever had, and worse shes one of the royals who benefits the most from that society. Your basically arguing to congress about how they should give themselves less power and add some term limits, as if all the other culture shock was not enough to swallow at once. We don’t want to alienate her right off the bat, you can work to bring her into the sisterhood all you want, just slow down a little.”

The pain that appeared on Jake’s face was clear as day to Emily, as was the anger that followed. Her comments had pierced something deep within him, and she immediately regretted what she had said to him. “Jake.” She began. “I’m really sorry. No you have not acted in anyway since I have known you to suggest you think like that, it was wrong for me to project my feelings onto you. I have just ran into so many people and cultures in my life that do feel that way, and resent woman’s rights, and everything about it. I have experienced a lot of that attitude, and it just really pisses me off is all. I’m sorry I over reacted. I wont do it again.” Jake nodded. “Apology accepted. We still friends?”

Emily nodded, Hell yes! Always. I need to make a few phone calls and start getting to work on the business side of this mess, is it all right if I make a few phone calls? I need to check in with a few people. Also, you need to start thinking up names for your new businesses so I can get started on the paperwork for this place. A list of the types of personnel you want to hire will be needed and ill suggest more if I think you are over looking something. I will have a contract printed off and ready for you to sign before I walk out of here, and I’d like my one million bonus in gold by then as well if you don’t mind.”

Jake nodded. “Sure, yes to all of that. You can use the logistics room for your calls, no other way to call out of here, the building is designed to block all radio signals for security purposes, no GPS signals, no cell phones, no eaves dropping bugs, no people wearing wires, or other unauthorized transmissions of any kind either in or out can get through the walls except through the hardwired networks. Just pull up secure dialing on one of the computers, and input your personal security code I gave to you. Only you and I are authorized to make calls out of here.”

“The program on the computer will spoof your number over the internet and make it look like your calling from another state, or even other country, I figure the fewer connections there are to tie us to this place the better. We will be coming and going from here obviously, and communicating a lot, but I want to try to muddy the water as much as possible so it were.” Emily nodded. “ Its smart thinking. I have a few apps we can use on our phones for secure communications to and from each other.”

“ They were develops by DarkWater for secure communications in hostile countries, and they work much the same, as your computer calling program, except with a cell phone. It places your call over the internet instead of the usual cellular network, it spoofs the number to hide location of call, and the calling number and encrypts the call as well. Its like the call was never made, the program also deletes every aspect of the call as soon as the call ends, or however you set the system to do it, so, its almost impossible to get any information even if someone were to get one of the phones, it would have nothing on it.”

Jake whistled. “That’s bad ass, yeah lets get that installed on all of our phones as soon as possible. Hey, do you Think you could stay for a few more days and work from here? I really want to get a good feel for Brunella and value your input. I think we have started off decently, but we still have a long way to go. You might see something I miss. Besides, there’s something off about her. She went from wanting to murder both of us, to being quiet and wanting to be buddies within one night. Hard to believe she did such a big turn around in one night, it just feels funny.” Emily nodded, and then smirked at him. “I was wondering if you had noticed that change, or if you were just too blinded by her big blue eyes and tight ass to notice. Sure, I can stay for a while longer, after all your my employer now, so, whatever you say goes boss man.” Jake just shook his head.

Brunella laid on her bed and replayed everything through her mind, much of it was disturbing, but she thought a lot of it was intriguing, and even exciting. This world had some very powerful magic.. no they called it technology, but to her it was pretty much the same thing. The prophesy said the warrior who wore the mark would being great change to the realm with his rule, such change as Emily spoke of was terrifying, and could bring great chaos. She wondered what her world would be like should royalty were to ever be replaced by a system such as Jake’s.

The thought of such a thing was both exciting from the point of view as a woman and the doors it would open, but terrifying from the point of view as a royal and the doors it would close. Her emotions were at war over how she felt about it. However, the prophesy also said his rule would result in ten thousands years of prosperity to everyone, which indicated to her that whatever change’s Jake and Emily might bring to her world would be very beneficial, instead of chaotic. She decided finally to just not worry about that part of it and instead just focus in the immediate issue of making friends with them. None of the other things would matter if she could not accomplish that part of things.

She was going to need to get on Jake’s good side, something that would have been much easier were Emily not around. A man was easily manipulated by a beautiful woman, and Brunella knew he found her attractive, that did not work so well when there was another woman watching, however, so that plan was off the table, at least for now. She was working on a plan to get things rolling, she might not be able to just openly tell Jake he was the warrior of prophesy, but she could lay the ground work for it.
Link Posted: 1/28/2019 10:57:27 AM EDT
[#15]
Seems like a plausible way to tie the story together.  I rather enjoyed it. But I am here for the story because I enjoy reading. So, yeah keep writing so we can read it.

@buck19delta
Link Posted: 1/28/2019 1:07:37 PM EDT
[#16]
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Originally Posted By zoe17:
Seems like a plausible way to tie the story together.  I rather enjoyed it. But I am here for the story because I enjoy reading. So, yeah keep writing so we can read it.

@buck19delta
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^^What zoe said!  Much, much better than the first draft, and that was pretty dang good!  Keep it up!
Link Posted: 1/29/2019 3:33:18 PM EDT
[Last Edit: buck19delta] [#17]
The next week went by fairly quickly, the days were spent mostly asking questions and learning about each others culture, while the nights were spent watching movies and drinking. Emily spent much of her free time handling paperwork for the new businesses and a few days later Jake was able to make a bid on a large lot of military six by six trucks as well as some other surplus equipment he could either use on the project, or flip for a profit. Movie night became a fight over what movies to watch. Brunella had became  addicted to horror, and hallmark movies, while Jake preferred action, and Emily preferred  crime and police type mysteries, which resulted in some lively debates over what to watch each night.

Jake and Emily were busy preparing dinner one night when the topic of business came up. Emily spoke up. “I am going to have to leave in a few days to handle some of this paperwork. There is only so much I can do from here, and I need to meet with some people about those special permits. That is if you really want to proceed with purchasing, and importing surplus weapons, and ammunition. Do you?”

Jake nodded. “I do. We have both already seen how dangerous is can be on the other side of that portal. I need to turn that castle into a secure base of operations and to do that successfully we will need weapons and ammunition, lots of them. We will essentially be creating our own army to accomplish it. I could just buy weapons from normal gun dealers, or through the new sporting goods company we are starting, but I really don’t believe that it will be enough. I have thought about this problem a lot, and I just don’t believe commercially available weapons are going to cut it, and civilian legal machine guns are way too expensive to buy in large numbers.”

“We will need access to bigger, and heavier weapons to handle Orc’s, and probably need armored vehicles with working heavy weapons to handle large numbers of them. You heard what Brunella said, when the Orc’s begin their migrations next summer there will be thousands of them moving through the area and groups of hundreds of them are not unheard of. Having our base located in a actual castle with its heavy costruction and  castle defenses will go a long way to protect our people on the ground. However, just to keep it secure from a force like that we will need some good weapons. We could probably keep the castle secure and safe with commercially available civilian legal weapons, however to leave the castle under a threat like that would take armored combat vehicles with working heavy weapons.”

Emily nodded. “You realize that generally it takes years to get permits to purchase weapons and working military equipment from our own government, much less import the same from foreign countries.” Jake nodded. “I suspected as much, yes.” Emily nodded. “Generally it does if you go through normal channels. However, I know a few people in high places.” If you were to make a few “generous” contributions to some reelection campaigns, I believe we can have those permits fast tracked and possibly in our hands within a month or so. I have seen my uncle do it several times. Its definitely doable.”

Jake shook his head in disgust. “Bribes you mean, our government is not supposed to work like that, that’s a banana republic, corrupt way of doing business.” He said with a disgusted look on his face. Emily shrugged. “No, its not supposed to work like that, but it does all the same. Do you want me to proceed?” Jake sighed, then nodded. “ Ill give you full access to one of the accounts to use as a business slush fund. Feel free to use it for your personal expenses, as well as any business expenses you need money for, such as those bribes you mentioned. Of course we wont have any money in those accounts until your guy buys those gems from us.” Emily nodded. “I was planning to take the first shipment with me, and hand deliver them to him. We should have the money by tomorrow night, ten million dollars will kick things off nicely.” She said with a smile. Jake nodded in agreement.
“Yup, that’s a nice start.” He turned his head and looked around. “Wheres Bru at?” He asked.  Emily rolled her eyes. “Watching a hallmark Christmas marathon.” She snickered. “Woman’s got it bad, shes addicted to them. Why?” Jake shrugged. “What do you think about Brunella so far?” He asked. Emily carefully considered the question for a moment as she chopped onions for their stew.

“Well, I think she is extremely intelligent, beautiful, and strong as a horse. She is one of the most disciplined people I have ever met. She carries herself well, and is pretty opened minded considering the culture she comes from, and I like her a lot. She has been a good guest while she has been here, been very open about answering our questions, and given us no reason to distrust her, in fact just the opposite. But, I’m not ready to trust her just yet. We barely know the woman.” Jake nodded. “Pretty much what I was thinking.” Emily turned to look at him. “What are you going to do with her when I leave tomorrow?” Jake shrugged. “I was considering asking her to go with me to the castle, so I could inspect it better.”

“I would be pleased to accompany you.” Brunella said from the open doorway. “I am sorry, I did not mean to intrude on your conversation.” She held up a empty beer bottle. “I was looking for another beer is all.” Jake shrugged. “You might as well join it. You would not mind accompanying me there then?” Brunella shook her head. “Id be pleased to.” She replied. “In fact, I was about to suggest something similar to you myself. I was also going to suggest something else to you afterwords.” Emily raised a eyebrow in concern eyebrow. “Do tell.” She said.

Brunella smiled. “Well, you said that you wanted to learn more about my world. I thought you would be interested in meeting your nearest neighbors, there is a large settlement not far from the castle.” Jake looked surprised. “Neighbors?” He said. “I thought we were hundreds of miles in the wilderness from any civilization as it were.” Brunella nodded. “That is true, yes. The border of civilization as it were is several hundred miles away where you will find the nearest human settlement, and that is considered one of the most backwater areas there is. The countryside there is however mostly safe, and its several hundred miles past that to any real city. However, you have a large settlement of Dwarve’s just a weeks ride from here.”

“Dwarves?” Jake snickered. “You mean the little fat guys with the beards, about yay tall? Love battle ax’s? Those guys?” He held a hand about waist high. Brunella shrugged. “They are a bit taller than that, but yes, those are of which I speak. However, id strongly advise about making any comments about their height. Its considered a, what you would call a racist remark, for humans or elves to comment on their height in jest.” Jake raised a eyebrow. “Seriously?” Brunella nodded. “They take it shall we say, deadly serious.” Jake nodded. “Point made. Yes, id very much like to meet them, cultivating some friends or allies in the area could be very beneficial to us.”

Emily dumped her chopped onions into the pot and turned to face Brunella with a serious look on her face. “I think its time we discussed something. Will Jake be safe out there alone with you Brunella? She asked. You were ready to murder him just a week ago.” Brunella shrugged. “Traveling anywhere is a risk, Traveling in the wilderness a much greater risk. I will do my best to advise him, and keep him safe.” Emily was not done. “You still don’t wish him harm over how her treated you?” Brunella shook her head. “No, I do not. True, I wished harm on him when we first met at the perceived offense I believed he caused me.”

“ However after careful consideration I considered his side of the situation, and believe he acted within his rights, and meant no offense to me. He was right when he asked if my own people would have reacted much harsher under the same situation. They most likely would have killed him outright, and if not, imprisoned him under harsh conditions, which I realized he himself could have done. He had instead shown great restraint, and mercy, by not killing me, something I am grateful for.”

Emily nodded. “I admit its a reasonable explanation, and I really hope you mean it.” Emily smiled a friendly smile. “We truly wish to be your friends Brunella.” Then she looked serious again. “However, I need you to give me your word Brunella, that you will not allow him to come to harm.” The tall Elf bowed her head slightly forward. “You have my word of honor Emily, that I will do my best to keep him from harm, do nothing to place him in harm, or allow him to be harmed, by the goddess I swear it.” Emily nodded. “Good. Now lets eat dinner, and put this behind us.

Once dinner was over and the dished cleaned, Jake and Emily approached Brunella. Jake cleared his throat, and slid a large plastic tub onto the table, and removed the top. “Brunella, we would like to return your equipment, armor and clothing to you. We were wondering if you would mind showing us how your cloaking device worked. Brunella nodded. “I would be pleased to.” She slowly reached into the rub and removed a silver necklace from inside. Jake realized that it was very much like the one he had taken off the dead dog creature. Brunella placed the necklace around her neck and clasp it with one hand. “Ready?” She asked? Jake nodded, and suddenly she just simply vanished from sight.

Jake whistled. “That’s simply amazing.” Brunella suddenly reappeared to their view out of thin air, and smiled. “Yes, it is a very useful device, as you can imagine. Jake said. ‘Please excuse me for a moment.” He quickly left the room and returned with the silver necklace he had taken from the dog creature. He held it up for them to see, and explained where he had gotten it. “Brunella raised a eyebrow in surprise, but took the necklace and examined it closely.

“It is indeed a magical device of some kind.” She confirmed. “The word on the back is Elvish for ….compulsion.” She said. Brunellas expression seemed to darken slightly, and her lips became tight. “ Tell me, did anything strange happen while the dire hounds were attacking you?” Jake thought for a moment. “Dire hounds?” Emily interrupted. “What exactly is a dire hound?” She asked. “Well.” Brunella replied. “A Dire hound is a particularly nasty creature, very fast and powerful for their size, and tend to run in packs. Honestly I’m honestly surprised Jake survived their attack at all. They truly are a fearsome opponent. While they are highly intelligent, they are slaves to their base instincts of kill, eat, and reproduce. It is believed dire hounds used to be people once, and when attacked some can be infected by them resulting in being painfully transformed from human into Dire hound.” Emily blinked. “Like a freaking werewolf?” She blurted in surprise.

Brunella nodded. “Much the same yes, except Werewolves are solitary, the better comparison would be a Dire wolf, which are pack animals as the Dire hound.” Jake just gaped at her. “I cant believe I was basically fighting werewolves, damn, what freaking else from myth and legend lives in your world?” Brunella shrugged. “My world holds a vast array of different creatures, some are just dumb animals like dogs, deer, or bear. Many are some supernatural combination such as Were bears, or Dire hounds, or even were wolves, while still others are pure creatures of magic such as dragons for example. To make matters worse, there have also been many strange creatures created through use of magic by various powerful mages through out history, with little or nothing known about the creatures that were created. Plus my own world has its own creatures of myth and legend, sometimes it gets very difficult to determine where one begins and another ends.”

Jake whistled in surprise. “Holy shit.” I Knew there were probably some strange things to be found over there, but never in my wildest dreams considered there could be so many.” Emily shook her head. “I’m sorry I asked. Yeah, ill be making those weapons permits my first priority Jake.” Jake grinned. “Id say that’s probably a smart idea.” Brunella nodded in agreement. “I would advise you bring your most powerful weapons should you settle in the ruins of ancient Camelot, you will need them.”

“ Now, tell me Jake, did anything odd happen when the Dire hounds attacked you? Did you feel like you were doing something you didn’t want to do perhaps?” Jake nodded. “How did you know about that? It seemed like a dream to me, and not really real.” Brunella nodded. “It was this amulet. I can give a demonstration if you would like? You and Emily must agree, no one will be harmed, but I would not make use of a compulsion without permission.” Jake looked at Emily, I’m game, you? She said it was safe.” Emily shrugged. “Sure, why not. Its not….….”

Emily suddenly stopped speaking and just stood there with her mouth held open. Jake stared at her. “Emily? You ok?” Brunella stepped forward and stood next to her. ‘She is fine Jake, its part of the demonstration. You both need to understand just how powerful this device you have is. As a royal princess I received extensive training in the use of, and defense against magical devices such as this. I used my thoughts, and told her to be still and silent. You can see that she is.” Emily stood there totally quiet, with her mouth still open, staring off into space.

Jake nodded. “Jesus, that’s freaking creepy.” Brunella nodded. “You can make the subject do things purely with your mind, however its extremely difficult to do, and does not work well. The best use of your mind is to order a single command to the person your concentrating on, for example to still them, and then tell them what you wish them to do.” Brunella whispered into Emily’s ear for a moment, then she turned and took Jake by the hand and led him to a chair. “Sit here.” She said. Jake was confused. “Why? Whats going to happen?” Brunella handed Jake a beer and sat in the chair next to him, as she popped the top on her own and pointed at Emily. “Watch. You will see.”

Jake turned to see Emily walking across the room towards the entertainment system, swaying her hips seductively as she did so. Emily looked at the mp3 player and selected a song, and pushed a button, then she turned. The music started playing and it was the theme from dirty dancing, Brunella’s favorite movie. The music started playing, and Emily began dancing, first just regular danging, but it quickly turned, well, dirty. She slunk across the floor and laid her head in Jake’s lap, looked up with him with her big blue eyes and licked her lips, then she began gyrating against him, as she pressed her firm ass against him and rotated it slowly. She swing around and wrapped her arms and legs around Jake and planted a soft sensuous kiss on his lips. Jake just sat there stunned, not sure what to do, obviously loving the attention of the beautiful woman. Suddenly Brunella spoke “Awaken, Emily.”

Emily suddenly blinked and pulled back a few inches and found herself basically nose to nose with Jake. She could feel his warmth and hardness against her, the smell of his body, and she liked it. Suddenly she realized she had no memory of getting there, and suddenly squirmed out of his lap her face red. “Jake, um, I, I don’t know how, I mean.” Brunella burst out laughing. “Its all right Emily, you did nothing, except what I told you to do. Do you see how dangerous and powerful this device is?” She said. Emily looked stunned. “You, you told me to climb into Jake’s lap? I don’t believe it.” Jake nodded. “Hear the music? You were dirty dancing for me before that.” Emily turned a bright red color and Jake didn’t know if it was from embarrassment, or rage.

Then she giggled. “Holy shit that’s crazy.” Why don’t I remember any of it?” She asked. Brunella shrugged. “Because I knew you would not want to, so I told you to forget what I told you to do. I could have told you to remember everything just as easily.” Jake laughed. “That’s awesome.” Emily nodded. “Hell yes, the ultimate party trick!” Brunella leaped to her feet and roared in anger. “No, no its not a party trick ! “Jake and Emily were silent, stunned at Brunella’s outburst. Brunella leaned against the wall and sighed. “I am sorry my friends, I did not mean to alarm you. I am trying to explain the seriousness of the matter.”

“You don’t understand just how powerful it is, and just what it can make someone do. Emily would have done anything I told her to. If I had told her to fuck you Jake, she would have, had I told her to tell me all her secrets, she would have, had I told her to seduce and murder you Jake, she would have, or even killed herself, and she would never hesitate as she did so. This terrible device gives you total control over someones mind. Great evil can, and has been done with devices like this one. “Jesus Christ.” Emily gasp as she realized the truth of what Brunella was saying. She suddenly looked horrified, and quickly looked upwards and whispered. “Forgive me father.”

Jake shook his head. “If its so powerful, why didn’t the Were hounds make me do things?” Brunella shrugged. I suspect they were hungry, they are at the mercy of their base instincts and the only holding it could not concentrate well enough to use it fully, if it had been anyone else wielding it against you, you would have been lost. Jake. It truly is a terrible device. You should consider destroying it, lest it fall into the hands of a enemy.” Jake nodded, ill consider it. He left the room and returned without the necklace a moment later, but carrying a long box in his hands, which he placed on the table. “Jeez,” Jake exclaimed. “Lets move on to happier stuff.”

“May I see your sword Brunella?” She nodded and removed a short sword from her belongings and handed it to Jake, who drew it partially from its sheath. “Its made of copper or bronze I’m guessing, and not steel or iron?” Brunella nodded. “The very finest bronze. Steel weapons are extremely rare where I come from, in fact Only a king can afford to carry a sword made of steel.” Jake nodded, and sat the sword aside. “I thought so, I got a look at it when you first arrived. We wanted to do something nice for you, to show you how much we appreciated your friendship, and so, Emily and myself got this present for you, which just arrived today. We hope you like it.” He handed her the box and stepped back.

Brunella reached into the box and drew a long sheathed blade out of it almost three feet long. She drew the blade with one swift motion, that showed her extensive skill with weapons such as this. She laid the blade across her weak side arm and examined it carefully. “Its blacked steel.” Jake explained. “Buts its definately high quality steel. Made by a place called zombie tools. Its a good quality blade, perhaps not the best, but its supposed to be very good and not just some mall ninja sword. That particular sword is called a Apokatana, its a version of a traditional Japanese sword known as a Katana. I know its very sharp, there are two other blades in the box as well, the larger knife is called a Scyllis.”

“ I figured you would need a good fighting and work knife, and lastly is the Traumahawk, which is a fighting ax version of a traditional Tomahawk, for chopping things.” He grinned. Brunella slowly examined each of the three weapons, swinging each around in different fighting moves before she tested the edge and moved onto the next one. She was totally silent as she did this. Brunella eyes the workmanship of the blades with a keen eye, she followed the lines of the weapons, and examined the edges with a thumb, easily drawing blood. These weapons were as fine of a blade as she had ever seen in her life, and she could easily trade all three for a entire estate back in the Elf lands. It was beyond belief such weapons actually belonged to her. Even her well controlled emotions threatened to burst from her in joy.

“I will understand if you do not like them.” Jake said. Brunella laid the weapons back into the box and turned around, she clasp her hands against her chest and bent very low at the waist in a very formal bow and nodded to each of them as she spoke. “ You honor me greatly Jake, and Emily with your wonderful gifts. I humbly accept the gifting of the blades and I swear to put them to good use in my service to you for many years to come.” She smiled at them. ‘ Even as a princess I have never been given anything of such value in my long life. Those weapons are beyond compare and I will treasure them always. Thank you.” She suddenly lunged forward in a move that alarmed both of them, she grabbed them both tightly in her arms and squeezed hard. Jake felt his back pop, and tried to reach for his taser but could not draw it. Suddenly Brunella kissed each of them on the cheek and gave them a huge smile. “Thank you my friends! Now, let us celebrate !”
Link Posted: 1/29/2019 8:17:26 PM EDT
[#18]
I was about to bust your balls about updates. Cool deal, thanks for the updates. You are going to hate me, I am a power reader. So, update for the @buck19delta.
Link Posted: 2/1/2019 10:24:23 AM EDT
[#19]
So @buck19delta are you frozen in? Helping kid who is stuck in the mud down by your house? Making cedar beams? Working on shop? Screw all thanks, start typing.
Link Posted: 2/1/2019 4:38:01 PM EDT
[#20]
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Originally Posted By zoe17:
So @buck19delta are you frozen in? Helping kid who is stuck in the mud down by your house? Making cedar beams? Working on shop? Screw all thanks, start typing.
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Aye! Break's over, back to work!
Link Posted: 2/2/2019 9:54:19 AM EDT
[Last Edit: buck19delta] [#21]
I got my account locked for 48 hours a few days ago.  just got back into it this morning. I wrote a little bit, but unfortunately some stuff at home came up in the last 2 days as well. I should be posting a new story update on Monday.
Link Posted: 2/2/2019 10:11:53 AM EDT
[#22]
Buck WTF man? Really, no story for this long. It only super bowl weekend. Okay guess we wait.
Link Posted: 2/2/2019 10:22:04 AM EDT
[Last Edit: NoImpactNoIdea] [#23]
Are you able to host this somewhere in a printable format?  Just scrolling through all this on the computer hurt my eyes!
Link Posted: 2/8/2019 4:36:04 PM EDT
[#24]
Please sir...can I have some more
Link Posted: 2/8/2019 4:53:44 PM EDT
[#25]
@buck19delta Stop looking at .mil rides and start writing again.
Link Posted: 2/9/2019 11:26:25 AM EDT
[#26]
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Originally Posted By zoe17:
@buck19delta Stop looking at .mil rides and start writing again.
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Iv been working on the story. Had stuff going on and a headache for three days, but iv made progress. ill post something up next week.
Link Posted: 2/9/2019 11:42:15 AM EDT
[#27]
Okay, okay... Sheesh you let life get in the way of a SF story.
Link Posted: 2/12/2019 4:43:43 PM EDT
[#28]
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Originally Posted By zoe17:
Okay, okay... Sheesh you let life get in the way of a SF story.
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Yeah, what gives?  It's like you have a family and bills and stuff!  Bollocks to all that mess!  We wants MOAR!
Link Posted: 2/12/2019 5:36:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: buck19delta] [#29]
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Originally Posted By GreenGiant:
Yeah, what gives?  It's like you have a family and bills and stuff!  Bollocks to all that mess!  We wants MOAR!
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Originally Posted By GreenGiant:
Originally Posted By zoe17:
Okay, okay... Sheesh you let life get in the way of a SF story.
Yeah, what gives?  It's like you have a family and bills and stuff!  Bollocks to all that mess!  We wants MOAR!
im working on it. I don't want to post it up yet, because I would just be redoing it over and over anyway.      well, fine. heres what I have so far.

Im starting over back when they came home thru the portal and updating the story from there.. brunellas name has been changed to Allandra. ( still not sure if i like that name either ) im still working on every inch of this story honestly. im new to writing and trying to figure out what works best for me. somedays im good to write for 8 hours straight, while other days I struggle to write more than 30 minutes. something that seems to work well though, is to just write for a while, then take a break and run the story through my mind. when I do that I think of ways to make it better and make notes, then go back later and add new material. I will try to push the story ahead for you guys though, vs jeep posting the same section over and over, I need to get the final storyline laid down as badly as I need to update everything with more detail. its actually a lot easier and faster to just hammer out a storyline, adding the needed details later though takes a lot of time.

like I said though, its a slow process to get the final version. the only part im actually satisfied with mostly is the dragon attack on the convoy in the beginning. everything after that will need a lot of work. I am happy with my story line in general though. I have to keep reminding myself this is going to be a REALLY long project, that will be a series, so its better to move slower and have lots of information, than rush the story and burn through ideas, and scenario's, etc.

Hope you guys understand, and enjoy.  I will be paying a arfcommer to get me some cover art. something like below, except with a Sherman fighting a dragon battle scene, etc. his GF can REALLY draw.

( not her stuff, just a example for the cover art style )

My idea for the cover art, is to have a Sherman tank like below in black and white. one one side you have the tank, with jake on top firing the .50,, and bru / allandra the elf girl on the ground beside the tank with a sword in one hand and a pistol in the other. both of them shooting at charging Orc's / a dragon, etc, maybe with castle ruins in the background.

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Emily shot out of the portal with the bleeding, crying little girl clutched tightly in her arms. Jake pointed towards a corner. Medical supplies are over there!” Emily didn’t even hesitate, she ran to the table in the corner and placed he little girl on the table. She grabbed the medical cart and dug into it searching for supplies. Jake stood beside her unsure how he should help. Behind them both a large inky black blob exited the portal  just a moment before the portal blinked out of existence behind it. The blob quickly moved into the corner of the room where it froze, it almost instantly changed color again to exactly match the white wall behind it, rendering it completely invisible, as if it was not even there, impossible to detect with the eye.
.
Emily rummaged through the first drawer finding that it was filled with drugs, everything from pain killers to include morphine, to anti seizure meds, atropine, and everything in between. The next was bandages, the next was filled with intravenous iv solutions. She grabbed one along with the correct tubing and catheter needle. She hung the bag, cleaned the little girls arm with a alcohol wipe and started to insert the needle into the girls tiny little arm.

The small weak little girl suddenly became much stronger as she fought against Emily and the needle. “Noooo, Nooooo, don’t hurtttt meeeee!” She wailed. Emily tried to comfort her, its okay sweety, this is medicine, it will make you better.” The little girl was not having it, she screamed louder. “Noooooo, Jake, shes hurting me ! Please make her stopppp!” Jake’s heart was breaking. Emily, do you have to do that right now? Shes terrified.” Emily turned on Jake. Its important ! Her veins could collapse, and we might not be able to get the needle into a vein later, she needs these fluids now !” He looked shocked. “Oh, ok. Hey, look sweety, aunt Emily is just trying to help you, its ok, we wont hurt you.” The little girl fought harder.

Suddenly a fierce female voice called out scaring the hell out of both of them. “You are in danger, step away from the child, now ! Emily was fighting the little girl,and could not turn to look, but Jake raised his rifle and swept the room, ready to engage the strange woman, but found the room behind them totally empty. “Who is it.” Emily asked? “Did someone follow us through the portal?” Jake was flummoxed. “There’s no one here.” He replied nervously as he searched the empty room with his eyes and rifle muzzle. “The rooms empty.” Emily was still fighting the little girl. “Well I heard someone !”

The fierce voice spoke again, the sound seeming to come out of the thin air. “You are in great danger foolish humans, you do not know with what you meddle! Step away from the child!” Jake gripped his rifle tighter. “Did you hurt the little girl? We will not let you have her whoever you are.” The voice seemed to be coming from everywhere at once. “Tis not a child fool, tis a demon, step away before it is too late !” Jake looked around wildly, but could not see anything. “Its a child, any idiot can see that.” He exclaimed.

“Show yourself woman.” Suddenly Emily screamed as the little girl bit her. She lost her grip and the little girl crawled up her back and wrapped her little arms around Emily’s neck. Emily started making choking sounds. Jake turned to help Emily, jeez cant she handle just one little girl? Emily’s face was turning blue and the little girl had a demented look on her face as she choked her with her tiny little hands. Jake tried to keep his rifle pointed in the direction of the voice, as he reached with his other hand to dislodge the girls grip on Emily. The little girl grabbed Jake’s extended hand and yanked hard launching him across the room to smack into the wall ten feet away. The little girls cries turned into a shrieking ear splitting squeal not of this earth.

Emily thought she was about to die. She could not breath, she could not break the little girls super human grip, she was incredibly strong. Emily thought she was about to pass out, and likely die when suddenly the air swirled around her and a beautiful golden haired woman dressed in medieval looking armor appeared from thin air. She knew it was all over now, as she was hallucinating, and likely about to pass out.

The woman pulled out a silver necklace with a red stone in it and she deftly dropped it around the little girls neck, and spoke a single word as she released her grip on it. “Adraplyle!” Instantly there was a flash of light, and a wave of heat rolled over Emily’s face. The little girl immediately released her crushing grip on her neck and fell onto the floor writhing in agony. She was frantically tugging at the necklace that was around her neck. Emily fell onto her hands and knees a few feet away and vomited onto the floor, she worked her mouth like a dying fish on land as she struggled to breath for a long moment, but was unable to.

Suddenly her lungs decided to work and she sucked in a huge lungful of sweet delicious air, which she gulped greedily in huge deep breaths. The little girl screamed in agony in a way that tore at Emily’s heart, and looking up she saw the girl clutching at the silver necklace. She was stunned to see the necklace appeared to be glowing bright red, and searing the flesh around the girls neck, and hands as she frantically tried to remove it. The stink of burned flesh filled her nostrils as she gazed upon the terrible scene still to weak to do anything to help the girl.

She took another deep breath of air, and started crawling towards the pitiful screaming girl to help her, when suddenly something happened that froze her in place in fear and shock. The little girls face seemed to bubble and run like melting wax to reform in only seconds into that of a old bearded man. She gazed in shock at the scene, the little girls scrawny body with the face and large head of a old man, then her face changed again into a beautiful Elf woman with red flowing hair. She heard a curse from close by and a booted foot swung in smashing against the small body sending it tumbling away from her.

Then the body changed as well first into a dog, while retaining the same beautiful Elf woman’s face, then into a pig, then the face changed into a baby Orc, then the entire body and head melted into a tentacle creature from nightmares.The entire time the creature screamed in agony, the voice changing as its appearance changed, the tentacle creature flailed away with powerful tentacles in every direction, one of them flipped over the heavy medical cart as if it were a toy, one smacked the strange warrior woman and sent her reeling, and another long hideous tentacle slammed into the floor inches from Emily splattering her with a awful smelling fluid at the impact.

She Screamed and scooted away from the thing stopping only when she hit a wall, she drew her pistol and pointed it between the strange woman who was scrambling towards her and the nightmare creature on the floor. “What the fuck is that thing!?!” Emily screamed. The woman had regained her feet, and was concentrating on the shrieking monstrosity, she dumped a sparkly bluish powder of some kind over the creature, and spoke a unintelligible word, and Instantly it caught fire, burning fiercely with a flame that changed colors as it burned, orange, blue, green and even purple. The smell was simply horrendous, like that of burning sewage, tires and rotting meat, the combination was too much for her, and Emily leaned over and vomited again from the sheer awful stink of it. The creature writhed and squealed in pain, but the fire only grew hotter, the creature made one last screech and it trailed off, with only the roar of the fire as it consumed the hideous body. “What the hell was that thing?” Emily asked. The tall woman turned her head and wiped a tear from her eyes with one gloved hand. she gave her a look of pity and spoke in a gentle tone. “Tis a changling, lass. Sometimes called a dopple ganger, a terrible creature of lies and murder.” She turned and gazed at the burning creature for a moment in silence watching as the fire consumed the bubbling smoking body faster than seemed to be possible. The woman spoke in a sad voice as she wiped at her tears again.

“They murder loved ones and replace them with a exact copy, then create fear which they feed on, then later murder those closest to them.” She looked sad, then a moment later her face took on a look of anger and rage. “This one killed my dear sister a month ago, I have been tracking it ever since, to take my…our.. revenge.” There was nothing left but ashes less than a minute later which should not have been possible.The woman looked at Emily again with a sad expression. “It is done, the murderous creature is no more. What place is this?” How do I return to where I”…….

Suddenly the woman jerked and appeared to have a seizure, her slim body arched in pain, and suddenly she collapsed into a heap on the floor unconscious.” Behind her, Jake lay on the floor a taser gripped tightly in his hand, blood streamed down his face. Emily ran to him and pulled him into her lap. He whispered something to her a number. “ 24246” What was that Jake? I cant hear you. “The code.” He gasped. “24246”, lock her in a cell before she wakes up”….. Then Jake’s eyes rolled back in his head and he was unconscious.

Something cold was pressed against Jake’s forehead, his eyes popped open in alarm and he lunged at the person who was touching him.. Well he tried to lunge, but he only managed to move a few inches before a strong hand pressed against his chest and pushed him back onto the soft mattress. “Easy there Rambo.” A soft feminine voice voice whispered to him. “You hit your head again, your going to have to start wearing a helmet Jake dear before you get brain damage. Cant you fall some other way besides on top of your head? Maybe do a ranger roll or something next time? Anything besides landing on your head or your face will be a improvement. She leaned over and looked at him with her big blue eyes full of concern. “How are you feeling?”

Jake tried to speak but his voice cracked, and he just wheezed. “Oh sorry, Here’s some water.” A straw was placed against his lips and he sucked greedily on it, the cool water washing the crud out of his throat. “How long was I out?” He asked. “About six hours.” Emily replied. Jake wrinkled his nose. “Is that bourbon I smell? Have you been drinking?” Emily snorted. “Well duh, I really needed a drink. You did give me the code to the kingdom after all.” Jake sighed then grinned. “Got any for me?” Emily looked at him sternly. “You should not drink with a head injury.” Jake gave her a sad look. She exhaled loudly. “Oh fine, here drink.” She placed a glass against his lips and he gulped down a big swallow before she could stop him. “Hey get your own!” She squealed. Jake sputtered as he choked on the liquor. “Jeez woman, that’s straight bourbon.” Emily shrugged. “Its been a bad day, what can I say?” Jake lay back and just nodded. “Agreed, what a fucked up day. Are you okay?” Emily shrugged. “I’m physically okay, just tired. Mentally, after that little girl incident? Oh fuck no. I’m definitely not mentally okay.” Jake looked confused, oh shit, the little girl, how is she?” Emily looked at him with a incredulous expression on her face.

“You didn’t SEE all of that shit that happened?” Jake shook his head, I woke up, and saw the woman standing over you, and you were crying, and I shot her with my taser, then I woke up here. Wait, I gave you the code to the facility?” Emily nodded. Jake sighed. “Jeez, I don’t remember any of that at all. Wait, did something happen to the little girl?” She just looked at him and bit her lower lip and looked like she was going to cry. Jake raised his voice. “Tell me Emily !” She just shook her head sadly. You will never believe it if I just tell you. Do your video cameras record everything.” Jake nodded. “Yes, they run twenty four seven, and record to a highly encrypted hard drive, why?”

Emily just shrugged. “You will have to watch the video, no way you will believe me if I just tell you.” Jake tried to stand and almost face planted into the floor, luckily Emily caught him before he fell on his face. She helped him out of his bed in the medical bay and to his office as it was much closer than the control room. She got him into a chair, as he typed in his password on the computer on his desk, and worked to bring up the video recording from the control room. Emily plopped a tall glass of straight bourbon on his desk next to him, and she had refilled hers.

“Whats that for?” Jake asked. Emily took a big gulp of her bourbon, pausing to swallow it before she spoke. “Trust me, you are going to need it.”The look on her face kept him from making a smart assed comment, he just nodded. Jake hit play on the screen, then fast forwarded until he saw the portal open and they stumbled into the room carrying the injured little girl. He let it play normally from then on, then paused it when Emily was dragging the unconscious woman out of the room. Emily handed him the tall glass of bourbon. Jake took it from her hand and taking several big gulps swallowed half of the glass. “Jesus fucking Christ.” He exclaimed.

Emily jabbed him with her finger hard. “Don’t take the lords name in vain, Jake! That’s a new rule, I don’t like it.” Jake rubbed the spot where she had poked him. “Sorry Emily.” He said. “I wont do it again.” Then he looked at the ceiling and spoke. “Sorry lord. Just a bit stressed, please forgive me.” Emily nodded her head in approval. “Hope for you yet Mr Reynolds.” He looked at her questioningly. Your religious?” Emily nodded. “Twelve years of catholic school. I don’t always make it to church, and I’m not perfect, but I don’t tolerate taking the lords name in vain, gotta draw the line somewhere.”

Jake nodded. “I understand. I don’t usually say what I said, but dammit, what the hell was that thing? It reminds me of the monster from a movie called “The Thing”, where a shape shifting alien from space lands in Antarctica and starts killing people. It kills them and copies their bodies perfectly, then sneaks around killing other people. Extremely hard to detect.” Emily shrugged. “I saw that movie, pretty damn good description of it, except this one is apparently a lot easier to kill, and thank the lord for that. The Elf claims its a demon, that’s good enough for me. A portal to another world, Orc’s, Elve’s, why not demon’s as well?” She paused to take another sip of bourbon. “You are going to need to stock up on liquor Jake, buy it by the barrel and Valium too, this place is fucking stressful.”

Jake looked confused. “Elf? What Elf?” Emily shrugged. “Her Ladyship Allandra something or the other, of the high something or the other, of the something of the other. Shes pretty damn pissed off at us between you tasering her, and me stripping her naked and locking her in one of those cells of yours.” Jake raised his eyebrows. “You stripped her naked?” Emily punched him. “Get your mind out of the gutter son. I stripped her because I didn’t have time to check her for weapons, or more of that crazy burning powder of hers, lord knows what other surprises she had in her clothes. I was not taking any chances after I saw her cloaking device.”

Jake looked surprised. “Cloaking device? What are you talking about?” Emily shrugged. “She was invisible and in the room with us, talking to us, don’t you remember?” Jake nodded. “Well, yeah, I remember talking to someone I could not see, but I figured it was a trick, maybe they hacked the intercom or something. I don’t think she was invisible though, you sure?” I well, hell I don’t know what I thought.” Emily nodded. “Well, she was invisible, she has a cloak, or a poncho thing, a piece of clothing that literally, makes her invisible.”

“ Its a lot like the predator movie, works a lot the same except it works way better. Totally invisible, at least as long as the person wearing it does not move, you move and you can be seen. Its fucking bad ass, be worth a billion dollars to the defense industry. Hell watch the video again, its on the video, watch it again.” Jake did just that, he rewound the video and hit play again. Suddenly a woman appeared from thin air. “Son of a bitch Jake breathed, I didn’t notice it the first time because I was focused on the child monster thing” Emily nodded. “Told you, anyway, I didn’t know what else she might have had on her, so I stripped her naked. It was the fastest way. I didn’t know how long she would be out.”

“I left her a robe, its not like shes sitting on the cold floor butt assed naked or anything.”  Jake just rubbed his eyes and gulped more bourbon. “Man, can this shit get any weirder?” Emily shrugged. “I have no clue, this is your circus, and these are your monkeys, your the ring master Jake, you need to get your shit together before something really bad shows up and fucks us bad.” Jake nodded. “I agree, which is why I hired you in the first place, we are going to need a lot of help, and it needs to be really good help. Top notch highly skilled people.” Emily nodded, all in due time. Now, about the crazy Elf lady we have locked in our little jail cell. What about her?”

Jake looked concerned. “Is she okay? I mean that taser I was using, its a heavy duty model used for large animals, like bulls, its much stronger than a regular one, it can kill a regular person. I mainly bought it for large animals like Orc’s, I never considered it might be used on a human, or human sized animal.” Emily shrugged. “She seems fine. It knocked her out just long enough for me to get her in a cell and strip her, she almost grabbed be as I ran out with her clothes. Shes tough as hell, covered with scars as well, the woman’s a fighter Shes also strong as hell, I thought she was going to kick the cell door off its hinges.” Jake shook his head. “That’s impossible, its a high security model designed for biohazard containment of livestock and other animals. I doubt even a Orc could kick it down, they put bears and rhino’s in them.” Emily shrugged. “I thought she was going to, shes strong Jake, don’t underestimate her.

“Emily.” Jake began. Emily turned to look at him. “Yeah, Jake?” He continued. “Um, are we good? I know this is way more than you probably signed on for, hell its been more than I signed on for. It’s been dangerous as shit, terrifying, traumatizing, and probably going to give me nightmares. There’s also no telling what might happen later, and I cant guarantee anyone’s safety, not even my own safety. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I like you Emily, and I don’t want anything bad to happen to you, and id understand if you wanted to bail on this project, or at least do it from long distance, and never come back here again.” He felt ashamed he had put her in such danger.

“Jake, look at me.” Emily replied. Jake turned and looked at her. “Emily could see Jake felt bad for what happened to her, and from what she had learned about him, knew he likely felt guilty for putting her in danger. He was a good man, and good men usually wanted to protect woman at all costs, put them in a place of safety, because they could not stand the thought of a woman getting hurt. It was chauvinistic as fuck, but she knew it came from a good place. He didn’t feel that way because he didn’t think she could not carry her own weight, as it was obvious he respected her, it was simply because he wanted to keep her safe from harm. She sighed heavily.

“Jake, the last few days have been scary, horrifying, terrifying, and nightmare inducing, for me. I have traveled to a alien planet, almost died of hypothermia, almost been murdered and raped to death by terrifying monsters, almost been strangled and replaced by a shape shifting demon, and almost had my ass kicked by a invisible Elf woman.” Jake started to speak. “I know that’s why…” Emily held up her hand, raised her voice and cut him off. “BUTT !” Then she spoke quieter.

“Butt, I have also seen things no living person on earth has ever seen before, I have seen a alien world, incredible beauty, I have been held in the arms of my dead mother, or something very close to it, and felt pure love so strong it made me cry, and it somehow healed a heart wrenching soul crushing pain in a instant, I felt real love, that was possibly even a living spirit, iv experienced exhilaration, excitement, wonder, and so many other positive emotions I cant recall them all.

Iv encountered many new species of life that I never dreamed even existed, and much much more. I understand your worried about me Jake, but if you think for one minute I am walking away from this project, your out of your mind. We are greater explorers than any that have ever come before, we have seen more alien life that any of the astronauts, seen more new species than Darwin, traveled father than Columbus, seen taller mountains, and crazier shit than anyone else in history, and this was just our first trip ! We are part of a discovery greater than anything else to have ever been discovered. I’m here for the long haul, you could not drag me away. If anything ever happens to me because of this project, its on me and it will have been worth it in exchange for what it has given me.Understand now?” Jake smiled. I agree with everything you just said and I feel the same way. Welcome aboard Emily, my second in command.” Emily rolled her eyes.

“You better not call me your number two, because if you do ill kick your ass.” She smirked. Jake held up his hands in mock surrender. “Never dream of it.” He grinned. “Shall we go check on our Elf guest now?” Emily shook her head. “No, let her stew for a bit, she needs to calm down before we talk to her. Lets get cleaned up first, take hot showers, put on clean clothes, brush our teeth and all that. I feel grody as hell. We can take her some dinner and eat with her, how does that sound to you?”

Jake nodded. “I could order some pizza, think she would eat it?” Emily beamed. “Oh that sounds heavenly to me, I’m sure she will, everyone loves pizza.” Jake nodded. “Everything you need to get cleaned up is in the female barracks, its fully stocked with everything from bathroom necessities to women’s sized clothing.” Emily was already headed down the hallway. Jake spoke a bit louder so she could hear him. “See you in the mess hall in a hour?” Emily turned around as she walked and yelled back to him. “It’s a date.” Jake’s heart fluttered.

A hour later Jake and Emily strolled into the facilities detention area carrying a case of cold beer and four pizza boxes, they dropped their treasure onto the security desk as a angry female voice blasted them from nearby.

“YOU DARE TO HOLD ONE OF THE ELVISH ROYAL FAMILY IN A CELL LIKE A COMMON CRIMINAL?! It is a insult of the highest order, and such a insult will not go without harsh retribution, flogging would be the least allowed punishment for such a insult! You need not worry about having the skin flayed from your worthless bodies however, as the assault on my body alone is punishable by death ! You will both be dealt with most severely, I will see to that personally, I promise you.” The woman was speaking English surprisingly and had a very odd accent of some kind, the closest he could describe it was a sort of a mix of Aussie, and British, and very feminine, it sounded very hot coming from her he had to admit. Jake looked at her and rolled his eyes in annoyance at her enraged ranting, but he took a good long look at her while she screamed at them.

The woman was tall, almost six feet tall, and had a slim athletic build, the white robe she wore only came to her thighs and long well muscled legs could be seen. She had large blue eyes, that were even larger and bluer than Emily’s were, something he didn’t think possible, her lips were full, and red, and while her ears looked mostly normal, the tips came up to end in delicate points, she looked just like a Elf from a fantasy story. Her long golden hair was down to the middle of her back in a thick braid. She was beautiful, but her beauty was not the most striking thing about her, the tattoos were. Every inch of exposed skin he could see was covered in gold tribal tattoos, her arms, legs, and even her neck, her face was tattoo free except for a small gold infinity tattoo on her left cheek.

Jake attempted to talk to her. “ Hey, listen lady, you broke into our house, we were within our rights….” The woman raised her voice even louder drowning him out. She continued screaming at them, then her accented English switched to some strange musical sounding foreign language and she ranted away at them totally unintelligible. Her high pitched voice was starting to grate on his nerves as well. He tried again. “Look….Hey.. Are you going to let me talk?…” She continued ranting in the strange language. “ I don’t understand whatever language your speaking lady, your wasting your breath.” She continued screaming at them in the strange language with no sign she was going to stop anytime soon.

Jake sighed and he flipped the intercom off, cutting off the woman’s enraged ranting mid sentence. He nodded in satisfaction at the sudden silence. “There, that’s better, now we can eat in peace.” The thick plexiglass window rattled violently behind him causing him to jump in surprise. He spun around to find the angry woman smirking at having startled him. “Told you.” Emily said. “Shes strong as a horse.” Jake just shook his head and turned back to his dinner. “Strong or not, shes not breaking that four inch plexiglass. You hungry?” Emily nodded. “OMG, I’m starving, that pizza smells amazing!”

He placed his beer bottle against the desk and struck it with his palm, popping the cap off of it, then took a deep swig of the beer. “Oh man, that’s good.” Emily nodded beside him as she gulped her own beer. “Hell Yes it is, and this pizza will be a welcome change from all that fruit. God it smells so good. Can she still hear us?” Jake nodded as he opened one of the pizza boxes and pulled out a large slice of pepperoni pizza and slid the box towards Emily who eagerly grabbed a slice of her own, and took a big bite of it. “ Yup, she can hear us.” Jake confirmed. “We just cant here her annoying screeching anymore, I love her accent, just not at 150 decibels. Easier for us to eat in peace and maybe talk to her, maybe she will calm down enough to listen to reason.”

The woman became even more angry at the realization that they not only could not hear her words, but that they were mocking her, and were even ignoring her to eat. She kicked the thick plexiglass window over and over causing a loud thumping sound with each of her violent kicks. Jake turned and looked at her. “Kick it all you want missy, its pretty much unbreakable, a dozen Orc’s could not break out of there, much less one skinny little girl.” He turned back to the food, and smiled at Emily as a rapid series of angry thumps sounded on the glass behind him. “Your evil.” Emily smirked through a mouth full of hot pizza.

Jake shrugged. “Maybe she will wear herself out, I’m not trying to talk to her over all that screaming. He placed a pizza on a chair next to the woman’s armored glass cell, and opened a vent to let the smell in, then turned back to the table. Emily raised a eyebrow. “That’s your master plan, to torture her with pizza?” Jake shrugged. “Gotta start some place, I bet shes hungry, no way was she eating this good out in the woods.” Emily just shook her head. “Shes probably starving Jake. Just give it to her.” Jake shook his head, but turned his head slightly so her could see the woman from the corner of his eye, and raised his voice slightly. “I will happily give her some of this delicious food, she just has to stop screaming long enough to ask for it first.”

Emily rolled her eyes. “You turned off the intercom, we cant here her ask for anything.” Jake smiled. “Ill turn it on in a minute, just as soon as we explain ourselves to our guest, maybe she will calm down a little bit and listen. He took a bite of the pizza, and a swig of beer, chewed and swallowed. He saw the woman sniffing the air, obviously having caught the scent of the hot delicious pizza. He spun around in his office chair and faced her. “Now.” Jake began. “Lets get started. Lady, you are in my private residence, on my private property, the building you snuck into is a high security area, and intruders are highly frowned upon.” The woman just stared at him in anger, but at least she was not screaming anymore.

He continued. “In this situation, you are little better than a burglar, or a thief in the night as far as I am concerned. A honest person would have approached us openly, and not slunk in unannounced.” The woman in the cell started screaming again. Jake watched slightly amused as her mouth was moving rapidly and she was flailing her arms in a animated way.” Jake shrugged and continued. “Screech all you want, we cant hear a word you are saying, this is a one way conversation missy. Anyway, as I was saying. I’m sure if you really are some kind of royalty, your own home, your palace, or castle or whatever  it is that you live in is likely well protected by a lot of security.”

“How would they react if I were to suddenly pop into your thrown room, or your private residence under similar circumstances? Even were I royalty from another country I’m sure they would react badly to such a breach in protocol, and invasion of privacy.” He glanced at the woman and saw her face had a slightly guilty look to it. Jake nodded in satisfaction. “I thought as much. Furthermore, when you showed up unannounced, we were in the middle of a bit of a crisis, you dropping in as you did, added even more confusion to a already highly stressful situation. You did not help things at all, and in fact it was your own sneaky behavior and lack of protocol that contributed greatly to your being physically assaulted.”

The woman was gesturing enthusiastically and flailing her arms again, obviously arguing some point. Jake continued, pretty sure what her point was. “Yes, you did try to warn us about that terrible awful creature, and for that I thank you. However, I had been seriously injured before you could introduce yourself properly, and when I was injured the last thing I thought I saw was you threatening my injured partner here.” He gestured towards Emily with his beer bottle, who smirked at her through a mouth full of pizza. Jake continued. “So I just reacted as any of your own royal guards would have in the same situation of discovering a intruder standing over one of your injured royals and I shot you.” The woman’s face turned angry again.

Jake sighed. “Shot you with a nonlethal device I might add, when I had several very lethal one’s available to use. I could have easily killed you, instead I only stunned you.” Jake glanced at her in between bites of pizza. “I don’t expect a thank you or anything for not killing you, but I would like you to honestly consider our point of view, and gauge our restrained response to a unknown threat, vs how your own people would likely have reacted in the same situation, had they discovered me, standing over you as you lay injured on the floor. That’s all. Now, are you hungry? We wish you no further discomfort, and will provide you with whatever you wish to be comfortable.”

“ However, we wont be letting you out of that cell until we have some answers and feel that you are not a danger to us. I hope you understand, and will be patient for a while longer until we are satisfied you pose no threat to our safety.” Jake held up the pizza and beer to the window, and put a questioning look on his face. The woman’s face looked angry for another moment, then she appeared to reconsider things. Her expression turned more neutral, her tense body posture slumped slightly appearing a little more relaxed and she nodded yes.

“Excellent.” Jake exclaimed. “Its really good pizza.” He opened a door that was designed to send items into the sealed room, placed the pizza and several opened beers in it, and closed it. Then he hit a button that rotated the food around in a kind of armored lazy susan until it was on the woman’s side of the glass. She stepped forward and took out the beer and pizza and placed them on a small table that was bolted to the floor of the cell. She took a piece of the pizza and sniffed it suspiciously, watching Jake as she did so. Jake sighed. “If I wanted to drug you, or poison you, which I don’t, I could easily just do it through the air vents entering the cell. The food is fine, ill take a bite of it if you want.” The woman took a small delicate tentative bite and slowly chewed the pizza, suddenly her eyes rolled back in ecstasy as she chewed it, she swallowed and took a much bigger bite.

Emily laughed at the scene. “A woman after my own heart.” She joked. “That’s some damn good pizza. I bet it tastes wonderful compared to whatever you have been eating in the wilderness for the last month. Right?” The woman nodded in agreement as she chewed. She paused to take a sip of the beer, and her eyebrows rose as she tasted it. Jake smiled. “Its called Boston lager, its my favorite, its got a good taste to it, right?” She nodded again and took a bigger bite of the pizza. Jake left the room for a minute and returned with a set of surgical scrubs, socks and slippers and placed them in the airlock.

“There are some clothes and shoes for you that you might find more comfortable than the robe you are wearing. I admit they are not much, but they are better than that robe. My partner took your clothes earlier because she feared you might have weapons hidden in them, there was no offense intended, and at no time did any male see you undressed. It was purely a security precaution.” The woman looked at him angrily as she chewed. Jake smiled. “I’m sure you do not have any weapons hidden in your clothing that would have made that decision the correct one, do you?” The woman still looked angry. “Well.” He continued.” We have not touched any of your belongings.”

He gestured towards a large plastic tub where they were located. “However, perhaps we should search them very carefully after all.” The woman looked concerned and shook her head no. Jake smiled. “So, you admit you were carrying dangerous hidden weapons, and my partners decision to take your clothes was a wise one.” If you admit that, then we won’t search your clothing. The woman rolled her eyes and nodded her head yes. Jake grinned. “Excellent !” He paused for a moment. “I know you wont like this, but we are both exhausted, and will be going to bed in a moment. We will have to continue our conversation in the morning.”

The woman looked angry again. Jake shrugged. “I apologize for your inconvenience, however as I said we are exhausted, and exhausted people make mistakes, and are not in the most patient of moods.” Jake switched on the intercom. “I would prefer to finish this when everyone is fully rested. I can however offer you a hot bath, shampoo, soap, and a warm soft bed to sleep in so you can be clean and rest comfortably tonight. Would that be acceptable? We can here you speak now. “Yes.” The woman said replying in her oddly accented English. “If I must be here all night a hot bath would be most welcome.”

Jake nodded. “I will have Emily here bring you soap and shampoo, and towels for bathing. Do you take long baths?” The woman nodded. “Yes, the longer and the hotter the better.” She chuckled. Jake smiled. “That’s not a problem, I will leave the water running for thirty minutes. The water will come out of the ceiling in the corner of the room you will see a red and a blue button on the wall, pushing the red button makes the water hotter, and blue button makes the water colder. The bowl in the corner is for relieving yourself, and the paper next to it is for, um, wiping your butt.” He blushed. “Push the button beside the bowl and the waste is flushed out and into the sewer, understand?” The woman looked at the toilet and back at him a little confused, but then nodded her head yes.”

Jake continued. “We will meet again in the morning over breakfast. I don’t want to make a enemy here, I would much prefer to make a friend. I apologize for any harm or insult that has happened while you have been here, and starting tomorrow would very much like to release you and talk to you as a equal. I believe we have a lot to offer each other as friends. Do I have your promise that if I release you in the morning, that you will behave as a guest, and not attempt to harm either of us?” The woman shrugged. “I could easily lie, what difference would my agreement make?” Jake shrugged. “Would you break your word?” The woman shook her head. “I would never break my word, but you don’t know if I’m speaking the truth or not.” Jake shrugged. “Its important to me, and very important if we ever can be friends, I will not lie to you, you have my word on that.”

The woman looked angry again. “It displeases me greatly to be kept here all night. For someone wishing to be a friend, you seem treat your supposed friends terribly. I will be civil to you, only as long as it takes for me to be released, after that you can be sure we will be enemies for life, and the royal family is a very deadly enemy to have. My treatment here has been unforgivable.” Jake shrugged. “I have apologized, I have explained, and I have started offering you my hospitality best I can until we better sort things out. There is nothing else I can do to make amends at the moment, and again, were the situation reversed I doubt I would be as comfortable or as well treated as you are being right this minute.” The woman just stared at him. “Much too little, and much too late human, you will pay dearly for mistreating one of the royal family like this. You are like all humans, violent, small minded and do not have the sense to show respect to your betters, and you eat like a pig, you have soiled your clothing.”

Jake looked at his pizza grease stained t-shirt, and shrugged. He grabbed the bottom and stripped it off over his head and tossed it into a laundry hamper in the corner. The woman’s jaw dropped as she gaped at his chest in open astonishment. “See something you like?” Jake joked. Emily chuckled. “ I think she likes you better undressed, takes her breath away.” The woman spoke softly. “Where did you get that.. that.. tattoo?” Jake looked down at it. “Never seen a tattoo before? He asked her. The woman nodded. “Oh yes, many times, I have never seen such a colorful tattoo though, or one, with that particular image before, does…does it mean something important to you?” Emily spoke up, “I didn’t know you had a tattoo, lemme see.” Jake shrugged. “It’s just something i had done in Iraq during the war.”

“A friend of mine had been suggesting I get this particular tattoo, and I had said no. He was killed a few days later in a attack. I just wanted to pay tribute to him, and so got this tattoo partly in his honor. He said it showed dedication to being a soldier, a commitment to a higher cause greater than yourself, sacrificing you life for the safety of others, and putting honor above all else. I don’t know about all that, I agreed with the sentiment, but it just looked kind of cool to me.” He rubbed his chest. “It hurt like hell though, that’s for sure”.

The tattoo was large and in the center of his chest, and in full color. The image was of a large skull with wings, wearing a red airborne beret, with a dagger thrust down through the top of the skull with the words. “Death, Before Dishonor” written below it. Jake turned to leave. “Emily, will you take care of our guest” I”d do it myself, but I think its more appropriate you did it, with her being a woman and all.” Emily nodded, and then smirked. “Probably doesn’t help anything that’s shes a gorgeous woman either does it, and one who’s ogling your manly body?” Jake grinned. “Nope.” Then he turned and left.

Emily gave the woman shampoo, and towels. I will be back to get you in the morning for breakfast, the lights apparently come on at six, and I will be here to get you a hour later. Please take this time to calm yourself, and consider things, breakfast in the morning could be the start of a friendship, which we would prefer to the alternative. The woman nodded absently, seeming to have her mind on something else. Emily shrugged and left her for the night, a moment later water streamed from the ceiling.

“Allandra Datildamore Quintilla, High Princess and first born daughter of the royal house of Quintilla, was furious. She so badly wanted to kill these humans who had manhandled, and defouled her with their disrespectful touch, and the way they had treated her. She had killed humans for much less than what these two had done to her. She eyed the hot steaming water as it streamed from the ceiling, and yearned to be clean again. She stripped and stepped into the shower, and pushed the red button until the water was almost scalding. She sighed in happiness as the hot water loosened her sore muscles. She had never bathed in this manner before, and she found the way the water blasted forcefully against her knotted muscles as it relaxed them. The muscles of her body might have relaxed but he mind was anything but relaxed, her mind ran over everything that had happened to her since she had stepped into this strange world. Her belly was full and she was at least being well cared for now, despite how they had treated her earlier. The cell she was imprisoned in would be considered a luxury anywhere in the realm, many kings did not eat and live in such luxury, much less the peasants under them.

These people had odd ideas about prison cells, and prisoner treatment, if they treated prisoners like this, my how their royalty must live! The food was delicious, she was getting a hot bath and had a comfortable bed, and her cell was even warm and dry. She considered what the man had said to her earlier. He had been correct, had he suddenly appeared in her apartments, her guards would have shown him no mercy, and likely killed him on the spot, if he had not been killed he would have been languishing in a miserable wet cold dungeon, sleeping with rats and fleas, and likely not even being fed at all, much less well, and not to even think of the torture he would experience.

She replayed his words in her mind over and over carefully considering everything and every word he had spoken to her. Her anger and thirst for revenge had mostly evaporated but not because of the food he had given her, or the words he had spoken of friendship. No, in the end his words and her treatment made little difference to her change of mind, all that mattered was that he bore the mark, and because be bore that mark, she was duty and honor bound to serve this man for the rest of his life.

She had grown up with that one image hammered into her mind by her teachers, hammered into her head over and over, year after year, century after century, a very distinct and strange image, and one only known to a a handful of people. The only ones in the entire realm who knew this symbol were the ones who possessed copies of Ibold the greats prophesy and there were only three copies created all those centuries ago. One copy stayed with the Elves, one went to the Humans and another went to the Dwarves. Only royalty, or their most trusted adviser could read such a valuable and rare book and as such only a very few who were living had ever seen that symbol, or read the prophesy that went with it.

It was the image of the winged skull. The image appeared in the great prophesy of Ibold, the great, which was the greatest mage and seer to ever live. It was written down over five thousand years ago. Every last one of Ibold’s earlier prophesy’s had come to pass, which made this one all the more important. This one spoke of defeating the dark ones, when they again came into the world to wreak their vengeance, and finally destroy the clans. It was a end of the world prophesy. Different versions of the same event had been written down by various other powerful seers over the centuries, and all of these agreed on one thing. First the warrior appeared, and soon after the dark ones would come. She shuddered at the thought of the dark ones walking across the land again, the devastation and death they would cause would be incalculable.

Ibolds great prophesy however contained but a single line of prose, and that prose held information no other prophesy contained, information about the warrior. The other prophesy’s mentioned him, but not how to identify him, or any information about him at all really. Ibolds however did, It consisted of the single image of the winged skull, and a single line of words and those words echoed through her mind over and over. “And Lo, in time of need, a warrior bearing the winged skull will appear. He shall with Elven princess counsel, unite the clans, destroy the dark ones, and his rule will result in ten thousand years of prosperity for all.”

The mark of the winged skull would identify the one warrior who would deliver the world from the dark evil that was to come, and a princess of royal blood was destined to serve and advise him. Allandra had never in her long life ever seen a winged skull tattoo, or ever heard of one being seen by anyone. The fact it was her, a royal princess as mentioned in the prophesy who had been the one to stumble upon such a tattooed warrior could not be a coincidence. The man did not seem like such a great warrior, but the prophesy was clear, and could not be ignored, too much rested on it. A icy shiver ran down her spine in spite of the scalding water that was running over it. She had in a mere instant gone from a powerful enraged Princess who was planning her revenge on this man to a willing life long servant of him. She stood naked under the scalding water of the shower and did something she had not done since she was a young child, many hundreds of years ago, she broke down into tears and wept.

The next morning the lights flickered on just as the human female had said they would. They were such strange lights, powerful and bright even here in this windowless cell, surely some magic she had never seen before. She bathed herself and dressed then sat waiting for the female to come for her. She had thought long into the night as to how to handle this situation. It was obvious to her that this warrior did not realize he was anything special, since that was the case she figured he would react poorly to her blurting out a five thousand year old prophesy, claiming he was some sort of a savior of the world. He would probably think she was insane and attempt to distance himself from her, which was something she could not afford to happen.

The prophesy said a Elf princess shall guide the warrior, so she had to ensure this happened. She could not afford to alienate this man, and as much as it galled her to her core she knew she had to befriend him in some way and earn his trust before revealing the truth. She knew that time was short however and the dark ones would be returning not long from now, she had her work cut out for her. She stood and smoothed the odd clothing she had been given to wear, trying to smooth the wrinkles out of it, and becoming frustrated when that failed.

The material was strange, the stitching was amazing, the stitches so close together she could not even see the individual threads. The cloth looked to be very expensive to her, however it was shapeless, and fit her like a sack, something that made no sense to her at all. Could this be what they dressed their prisoners in? It was a insane thought and she pushed it from her mind, perhaps it was just the style here, something that made more sense by far. Allandra had herself calm and poised, sitting on the edge of her bed when the man and woman arrived to get her.

The man and woman were wearing their strange multi colored clothing of greens and tans, and they were both wearing identical green shirts, and black boots. They were also both wearing what she assumed were holstered weapons of some strange design she had never seen before. The man smiled a friendly smile at her.

Jake smiled. “Good morning, I hope you slept well, would you like to join us for breakfast where we can break bread and discuss things? I hope your hungry, I made a big breakfast as I didn’t know what you might like. There’s hot coffee, orange juice, eggs, toast, biscuits, gravy, sausage, bacon, jam, and pancakes.” He watched the woman’s expression carefully, and was pleased to see she seemed calm and collected this morning, a stark change from last night. He wanted to make friends with her if possible, but he was more than prepared to defend them from her if need be, and chuck her pretty little ass back through the portal if it came to it.

Allandra stood and smiled at the man, she knew she might only have one chance at this, so she had better make it good. She wrinkled her brow slightly and spoke with warmth in her voice. “I do not know what coffee, orange juice, and pancakes, are. However eggs and sausage do sound delightful to me as I am indeed very hungry this morning.” Jake nodded. “Do I have your word you are not a threat to us, nor will you try to harm us or escape if we let you out to dine with us?” Allandra nodded. “You have my word, I will bring no hard to you or your woman.”

Emily laughed. “We are not a couple, and I’m definitely not his woman, we are purely business partners.” Then she looked at Jake for a moment. “And we are friends.” Jake nodded. “Just what she said, just partners and friends.” Allandra nodded. “I understand, please forgive my mistake. Shall we go eat now?” Jake nodded to Emily who stepped to the other side of the room, while Jake punched in the code to open the door. The thick door slid open and Jake stepped aside giving Allandra room to exit, she realized they were putting her in the middle and standing far enough away she could not attack them both at once. It was smart, and she approved of the tactics. Emily stepped into the hall and Jake smiled at Allandra and gestured down the hallway to their right. “Please, after you.”

She followed the human female down a few hallways and through more of the strange doors that used no keys. She was astonished that everything was so clean and in such good repair, and also noticed that these humans decorated much the same as human royalty did where she was from. They painted wood skillfully to look like steel, it was a old tradition to create the illusion of wealth. Everywhere she looked she saw skillfully painted wood that resembled steel. She had to admit it was very skillfully done as she would have sworn it was actually steel, instead of painted wood, something which was preposterous of course. Soon they entered a dining room of some sort, there were tables and chairs and the smell of fresh cooked food made her mouth water.

Jake ushered the woman to a seat, and he sat across from her, while Emily sat a few seats down making sure one of them was always out of the woman’s reach. They were not taking any chances with her she realized. If they had any idea of just how deadly she was in even unarmed combat, they would have never released her from her cell in the first place. “You have never tasted coffee?” Jake asked her as he poured a cup of fresh coffee and held it out to her. Allandra shook her head, then sniffed the steaming beverage, wrinkling her nose at the strong odd smell it had. Jake smiled. “Here, let me fix it for you, do you enjoy sweet drinks, or less sweet? She smiled. “Sweet please.” Jake nodded and added several scoops of sugar and cream as well, stirred it and handed it back. Allandra sipped it and was delighted to find the drink delicious.

“Its wonderful.” She replied. Jake nodded, as he poured himself a cup and passed another to Emily. Coffee is a kind of stimulant, our people drink it in the morning, and during the day to help wake themselves up, or give themselves a energy boost.” He scooped food generously on a plate and handed it to her. You don’t have to eat all of this, I just put a little of everything on your plate, you can try it all to see what you like.” Allandra nodded. “Thank you”. Jake began eating, and she followed suit, tasting a small bite of each kind of food and was pleasantly surprised to find it all quite delicious. She thought befriending humans such as these would be tiresome and annoying, but it was easy and actually pleasant so far she discovered. Everyone introduced themselves, and Breakfast was eaten with a little small talk mixed in, soon enough the food was gone and the dirty plates were cleaned away. Jake poured all of them another cup of coffee and they sat quietly for a moment.

Emily was the first to speak. “Allandra. Tell us about the creature you killed, what did you call it? A changling? You said it killed your sister? Where did it come from?”

Allandra’s face was expressionless, but her body tensed up at the question. She sat silently for a long moment. Jake and Emily sipped their coffee and gave her time to collect her thoughts. Allandra’s face suddenly took on a sad expression, and she took a deep breath and sighed heavily.

“No one knows where changlings come from, the underworld is as good as a guess as any I suppose and many would agree with it. Changlings have only been spoken of in legend and mythology, to be honest and a few months ago you would have been laughed at should you speak of their actually existing.” The woman took a drink of her coffee, and continued. About a year ago there was whispers of strange happenings in the realm of the banished ones. A clan of disavowed Elves who lived far to the east on the edge of the world. There were strange stories of creatures that could take your likeness, the likeness of friend or even a animal, and which fed on fear and murder.”

“Many were calling the creatures changlings, claiming they were the very same creatures from legend. It was considered ridiculous of course, and none in the capital believed the stories to be anything but the ravings of lunatics, which many of the banished ones were, insane that is. The stories persisted, grew more horrific and Some even claimed the creatures had returned to life to bring torment to the banished ones as punishments for their sins. The King finally sent a emissary, and soldiers to investigate the stories, and after a few months the emissary returned and reported the stories were simply the ravings of the mentally ill, confirming what was suspected all along. Or so we thought at the time.”

She took another sip of her coffee and continued. However, many of the soldiers who had also returned reported something quite different, some even claimed to have witnessed even seeing one of the creatures. The King took the word of the emissary over mere soldiers however as he was one of the royal family, and said the matter was settled. The Emissary was my sisters husband, and soon after this she began claiming her husband was acting strangely, and making strange accusations towards him.”

“Not long after, the husband just disappeared, he was nowhere to be found, and my sister began acting strangely. We thought she had taken ill with a fever, which explained her odd behavior, perhaps that was what was affecting the banished ones, false visions induced by fever. I thought that as well, until I found my sisters dead rotting body hidden in the catacombs of the family home. I was heartbroken and believed she had been murdered, however, something startling happened to me as I was on the way to inform the guards. I ran into my sister, alive and well. You can understand how…unsettling…such a thing could be.”

“ I felt great relief of course and thought for a moment I had somehow mistaken another woman’s body for that of my sister. However, when I mentioned it to my sister, she instantly attacked me, and while defending myself realized it was not my actually my sister, but some creature resembling her, and I immediately knew the strange stories we had been hearing were all horrifyingly true after all. Guards came to my assistance, and my sister, or the creature pretending to be my sister, leaped from a high window, and vanished into the forest. When I realized I had not believed my sister, that I had thought her ill, all while she lived with that, that thing, and was murdered and replaced by it, I became enraged, completely obsessed with revenge, and avenging her death.”

“ I tracked it for many leagues and months, either following the trail its self, or word of someone acting strangely when I lost the trail. Along the way I learned more about these creatures, and how to kill them, from ancient legends. The creature had last killed a child, and taken her place, and while running from me, had been captured by those Orc’s you killed. It would have eventually killed and replaced one of the Orc’s, but you intervened. You saw yourself just how convincing they are, I arrived just as I saw you carrying it through your portal, and I followed in order to destroy the creature. Which brings us to right now. I had no intention of harming you, and I apologize for my outburst last night, finally confronting the creature brought back a lot of memories and emotions and the loss of my sister has taken its toll on me.”

Emily wiped a tear from her eye, reached over and took Allandra’s hand in a comforting way. “We are both very sorry for your loss Allandra, if there is anything we can do for you, please feel free to ask. I never in my wildest dreams could think something that awful existed. We are in your debt for saving us from it as well.” Allandra gently pulled her hand away and nodded sadly. “I only wish I had believed my sister, and perhaps she would still be alive now. I failed her.” Emily shook her head. “No dear, you didn’t. How could anyone anticipate that something like that creature was pretending to be a loved one? It was a inconceivable situation and anyone else in the same position would have done the same as you did. There is no shame in it.” Allandra nodded. “Perhaps. My mind says you are correct, but my heart does not.”

Emily looked worried. “Do you think that was the only one of those creatures?” Allandra shook her head. “Nay, tis not the only one. The stories we heard indicated there were more than one of them, even if you discount half of the stories it still points to several of them at least. Truthfully there could be dozens, or hundreds for all we know.” Emily shuddered. “Well that’s horrifying.” Jake interrupted. “These creatures, they take the victims exact form?” Allandra nodded. “To the smallest detail, every mole, and wrinkle. They can be a small child, or animal or even a grown man or large animal apparently, they seem to have few limitations.”

Jake thought for a moment. “Do they take the victims thoughts and memories as well as their appearance?” “Allandra considered the question. “Nay, I do not believe so, which explains people behaving strangely, as they cannot follow the normal routines, as they must lack the knowledge to blend in perfectly. However, the stories from legend if they are to be believed, claim the creatures have the ability to read thoughts, which would allow them to get pieces of information from those around them, to help them blend in.” Jake cursed. “They can read peoples freaking minds?” Allandra nodded. “Aye, at least a little, I do not think they can read it well however, otherwise they would not stick out as much as they do while impersonating someone.”

Jake sighed. “Well that’s at least something positive.” He turned to Emily. “Building this facility is looking like a better idea all the time. We will need to start using code words to help weed out creatures such as this if they attempted to come here, possibly even put tattoos in a easily missed location, like the bottom of the feet for example, I doubt the creatures could tell if you have a tattoo unless they actually see it, their transformation much be dna based or something like it. When someone comes through the portal we keep them confined to that secure room until they show their tattoo and answer a few questions.”

“ We can use a computer monitor to ask the questions, as it cannot be mind read, set up a database of basic information on everyone with security questions like you have on a bank account, mothers maiden name, childhood pet, childhood friend, etc.” Emily nodded. “Seems like a good idea, I think it would work pretty well. You mentioned a movie about a creature like this, did they discover a way to figure out if someone was a creature or not?” Jake shifted uncomfortably. “Yes, they did, and it gives me some ideas, however in that movie called, “The thing”, dealing with the creature turned out badly for everyone in almost every instance. Lets just hope these creatures are not as fearsome, if they are were going to be in trouble.” Emily sighed heavily. “Fucking awesome.” She said sarcastically.

Allandra sat up higher in her chair, stretched and looked around the room seeming to take everything in for the first time. “What is this place, and what was that, that darkness I stepped though to get here?” Jake glanced at Emily, and she simply shrugged, indicating it was his show. Jake cleared his throat and began. “Well, this building that we are in is something I recently built to provide better security, and facilities for the exploration of the portal, and the world beyond. The darkness you referred to is basically a portal from my world to your own. My family discovered the portal about sixty years ago, and I just recently took charge of it, and restarted the program. I can see by your expression you don’t believe a word of what I just said.”

Allandra nodded. “It is a lot to swallow, and quite a story, can you prove it?” Jake smiled, I think that’s easy enough. Bring your coffee and follow me.” He led them to the recreation room, and motioned for her to have a seat, then he went to a computer monitor. He typed for a few moments, and suddenly a video started playing on the big movie screen. Allandra sat in stunned silence as moving pictures appeared on the wall in front of her and a voice spoke from thin air. The pictures moved showing planets, and the solar system, something she understood from her knowledge and study of astronomy, but these planets were strange to her. Their planet only had a single moon which she found very odd.

The voice explained the planets and their names and focused on one particular planet called earth, the scene changed and the speaker noted the major land masses, then proceeded to name the countries and much, much more. Thirty minutes later the video Jake had pulled off you tube, that was designed to explain the world around them to curious children ended. He turned to Allandra. “I think that explains our world pretty well, much better than I ever could. You just saw the planets, solar system, this planet, land masses, oceans, countries, different races of people, religions, land and sea animals and a hell of a lot more.”

Allandra was stunned. “I have seen some impressive displays of magics before, and illusions, but never have a seen anything such as this, the illusion was so clear and so detailed ! Your people have the ability to fly through the air, and even travel to other planets ! You also have such vast amounts of iron, never in my wildest dreams would I imagine such enormous amounts of iron could exist. Truly this is a alien world from my own, such a wide variety of humans, and wildlife, you have truly convinced me of that. You must be a great mage indeed to wield such magics, it also explains how you could have such a portal to travel to other worlds at your beck and call. Please forgive my disbelief earlier, I meant no disrespect magi.”

She bowed her head forward in what must be some kind of a sign of respect where she was from. In truth Allandra feared she was dealing with a powerful magic user, and sought to appease his vanity by showing him some submission, almost every magic user she had ever met were full of themselves, and usually responded well to a submissive woman. She shuddered at the stories she had heard, of how some power mages liked to use and abuse women for sport, best to play it safe.

Emily snickered from across the room, and rolled her eyes. “Allandra, Jake is far from being “The great and powerful Oz”, I can promise you. He’s more like the man behind the curtain.” She joked. Allandra wrinkled up her brow in confusion. “I do not understand the references you are making Emily, do you mean to say you do not wield such magic? If not you, then who does wield such power, that they can create such wonders? Who is your master who can do such a thing?”

Jake sighed. He searched for a video on technology, or important discoveries from the beginning of history, and hit play again, starting another video on the movie screen. “ Ill make some popcorn.” Emily volunteered. “Who wants a beer?” Jake and Allandra both nodded. They watched video after video for hours, as they drank beer and answered Allandra’s many questions. Jake sighed. “Think you understand it now?” Allandra nodded. “Yes, I believe so. Your magic devices are manufactured by your slaves who toil in these factories?” Correct?  Jake groaned and shook his head. “We do not have slaves here, those people are paid for their work, they can leave at anytime they wish.” Allandra considered this new information. “So, peasants then? Employed by your Royalty, to do the manual labor that is beneath them? Yes, we have a similar system in my own homeland.”

Jake shook his head, I don’t think you understand. In this country in particular, we are all free men and woman, we are all equals, woman have the same rights as men. We may live anywhere we choose, we earn our own money, we may own as much property as we can afford to purchase, we can take any profession we desire. Everyone goes to school from a early age for twelve years and many pursue advanced educations, in science, medicine, and more. We also do not have any royalty, we elect our leaders from the common people. We have the right to vote, the right to bear arms, and to seek happiness.”

Allandra looked very confused. “You have no royalty at all?” Jake shrugged. “Some nations still have Kings and Queens, but they are for the most part figureheads only and their nations are ruled by elected leaders. In my own country we do have elected leaders who think of themselves as royalty, but they cannot rule on a whim, nor punish people without a trial by their peers.” Allandra shook her head in confusion. “I don’t understand this at all Jake, is there another of those, movie things that can explain it for me?” Jake grinned. “Yup, lets watch a movie about the creation of the United States of America.”

More beer and a hour later the movie ended. ‘Got it now Allandra?” Jake asked. She was simply stunned. “ I believe so, yes. Basically, anyone of your common citizens can be chosen by the rest of the people to lead your entire country, and you choose a new leader every four years. You have no royal lines at all. I do not understand how such a country is not in chaos at all times. I find overthrowing your English King, to break away from the crown very disturbing as well. Royalty leading the commoners is a much better system.”

Emily shook her head. “You are wrong. Tell, me, you are a princess correct?” Allandra nodded. Emily continued. “So, if you were to become the queen, you would have to be married to the king, correct?” She nodded. “Of course.” Emily nodded. “Tell me Allandra, what would happen if the King died?” Allandra thought a second and spoke. “Well, obviously I would have to choose a new male royal to marry, who would then become king himself, and I still remain his queen.” Emily nodded, and what if there we no good choices, what if all the male royals were idiots, what if you refused to marry them because you feared they would bring ruin to the country.”

Allandra shifted uncomfortably in her seat. This was a discussion she had had many times with her female sisters and cousins of course, in private, but to criticize the crown around commoners was highly frowned upon, and in fact had severe consequences were you caught doing it. She remembered her poor cousin Allieth who had made the mistake of getting caught doing this exact thing, and she shuddered at the memory of what had been done to her.

She thought carefully before she spoke. “Well, I would be removed, and a new King appointed anyway. Emily nodded. “Because you are not as smart as a man? Or because you are unable mentally to make the hard decisions necessary to run the country because you yourself are a idiot, or because you are simply not able to make those decisions because you are a woman?” Allandra grew angry. “I am as intelligent as any man, I could make those decisions, I would not be allowed though, because its tradition.” Emily rolled her eyes. “Its tradition women are treated as second class royals, not because they are not equal mentally, but because its tradition? Would not a intelligent woman make a better ruler in that situation than a male idiot?”

Allandra nodded. “Obviously, but tradition would not allow a woman to rule for more than as long as it took to find a suitable King.” Emily groaned. “So a woman is a fine ruler in a emergency, and can do a good job at it, but only until a man can be found to replace her? Tell me Allandra, does that seem right to you, or fair?” Allandra shook her head. “It is tradition, I did not say I felt it was right, or fair.” Emily nodded. ‘Now, take that unfairness your feeling as a wealthy, entitled royal princess, and imagine how the common people feel when they have a bad King. Be a man with no hope of ever aspiring to anything more than a ditch digger, not fit to lick a royals boots, or a commoner woman who has no hope of anything besides being a broodmare to some idiot wife beating husband.”

“ Or even a woman of noble birth, a highly intelligent, fair, just compassionate woman who has to sit by while some drunken cruel idiot of a man gets to rule in her place simply because he has a dick between his legs. In this country a woman has the right to refuse a man, if a man hurts her, or rapes her, he will be imprisoned, even executed, a woman has the right to choose her husband on her own, to choose if she wants children, choose to work, or choose what type of work. She can vote to help choose who represents her in government, she has rights over her body, the freedom to chose her future. Tell me Allandra, were you a commoner woman, with daughters of your own, which system would appeal to you?”

Allandra wanted to be outraged at Emily for daring to criticize a system of rule that had lasted for many, many thousands of years, everything in her upbringing made her want to lash out at her, to hit her for saying such things about royals, not to mention the fear she felt for daring to have such a conversation with a commoner. However her feelings as a woman told her that Emily was right. She had seen many such abused woman in her travels, and had not really given them a second thought, sitting here now as she considered what it would be like to herself, to be locked into such a hopeless situation in life, or her daughters be in such a situation.

She began to get a small glimpse of what had made Jake and Emily’s ancestors overthrow their own royalty, and instead of the country descending into chaos as she would assume, it had instead apparently flourished to become the greatest nation in this worlds history. Her head was spinning from everything she had absorbed in the last hours and her emotions swung from wanting to smack Emily in the face to slap some sense into her, to hugging her for showing her there was another way, another system that worked. She realized things were getting out of control, and far off topic, she needed to befriend these people, and quickly, not get into debates over politics and systems of governing.

Allandra spoke up. “Jake, Emily, may I be excused to return to my quarters? I need some time to compose myself, and to think about all of this.” Jake could see Emily had really rattled her with all of her women’s rights talk, it was probably more than a little unsettling for a woman from what was essentially a dark ages lifestyle. “Sure Allandra Ill take you back to your cell and we can take a break for a while. I believe we have made some good progress so far today, and look forward to talking to you more later today.” “Yes.” Allandra agreed. “I have learned much about your people, and believe we have come far towards becoming friends. This is just a lot of information to make sense of at once. I need to contemplate what i have learned today, that’s all.”

Jake smiled. “I understand.” He escorted her back to her cell and she stepped inside. Jake smiled at her. I enjoyed talking to you today, I think we made good progress today. He shut the door sealing her in for the night. Allandra lay back on the soft bed and replayed everything through her mind over and over again. There was just so much to think about. Allandra laid on her bed and replayed everything through her mind, much of it was disturbing, but she thought a lot of it was intriguing, and even exciting. This world had some very powerful magic.. no they called it technology, but to her it was pretty much the same thing. The prophesy said the warrior who wore the mark would being great change to the realm with his rule, such change as Emily spoke of was terrifying, and could bring great chaos. She wondered what her world would be like should royalty were to ever be replaced by a system such as Jake’s.

The thought of such a thing was both exciting from the point of view as a woman and the doors it would open, but terrifying from the point of view as a royal and the doors it would close. Her emotions were at war over how she felt about it. However, the prophesy also said his rule would result in ten thousands years of prosperity to everyone, which indicated to her that whatever change’s Jake and Emily might bring to her world would be very beneficial, instead of chaotic. She decided finally to just not worry about that part of it and instead just focus in the immediate issue of making friends with them. None of the other things would matter if she could not accomplish that part of things.

She was going to need to get on Jake’s good side, something that would have been much easier were Emily not around. A man was easily manipulated by a beautiful woman, and Allandra knew he found her attractive, that did not work so well when there was another woman watching, however, so that plan was off the table, at least for now. She was working on a plan to get things rolling, she might not be able to just openly tell Jake he was the warrior of prophesy, but she could lay the ground work for it.

Jake sighed. “I think you broke her brain with all of that women’s rights stuff. Maybe you should cut back on that a little bit.” Emily glared at Jake with sudden anger in her eyes. “Oh, does that make you uncomfortable Jake? Rather your women be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen where they belong. I bet this old school world where women know their place must really appeal to you huh?” Jake stood up and pointed his finger at her. “Hey now, you need to get your shit under control Emily! I believe everyone deserves equal rights and equal opportunities and a say in their life and I have never suggested otherwise. In fact, I went to war over those same ideals and the support of them. Iv given my blood, sweat and tears and almost died for those same beliefs, and many of my friends did die protecting them!”

“I hired you, because I was told you were the best there is, anywhere, period, man or woman. You saved my life several times here recently and I don’t think it was in spite of you being a woman, I think it was because you’re a intelligent, passionate human being. I wont stand here and be spoken to like that by anyone, least of all not someone who’s supposed to be a friend of mine.” He glared at her angrily. “How dare you suggest I feel that way Emily, how dare you! I was just suggesting you don’t overwhelm her with too many things at once. Your basically pissing all over everything shes ever known, her only way of life shes ever had, and worse shes one of the royals who benefits the most from that society. Your basically arguing to congress about how they should give themselves less power and add some term limits, as if all the other culture shock was not enough to swallow at once. We don’t want to alienate her right off the bat, you can work to bring her into the sisterhood all you want, just slow down a little.”

The pain that appeared on Jake’s face was clear as day to Emily, as was the anger that followed. Her comments had pierced something deep within him, and she immediately regretted what she had said to him. “Jake.” She began. “I’m really sorry. No you have not acted in anyway since I have known you to suggest you think like that, it was wrong for me to project my feelings onto you. I have just ran into so many people and cultures in my life that do feel that way, and resent woman’s rights, and everything about it. I have experienced a lot of that attitude, and it just really pisses me off is all. I’m sorry I over reacted. I wont do it again.” Jake nodded. “Apology accepted. We still friends?”

Emily nodded, Hell yes! Always. I need to make a few phone calls and start getting to work on the business side of this mess, is it all right if I make a few phone calls? I need to check in with a few people. Also, you need to start thinking up names for your new businesses so I can get started on the paperwork for this place. A list of the types of personnel you want to hire will be needed and ill suggest more if I think you are over looking something. I will have a contract printed off and ready for you to sign before I walk out of here, and I’d like my one million bonus in gold by then as well if you don’t mind.”

Jake nodded. “Sure, yes to all of that. You can use the logistics room for your calls, no other way to call out of here, the building is designed to block all radio signals for security purposes, no GPS signals, no cell phones, no eaves dropping bugs, no people wearing wires, or other unauthorized transmissions of any kind either in or out can get through the walls except through the hardwired networks. Just pull up secure dialing on one of the computers, and input your personal security code I gave to you. Only you and I are authorized to make calls out of here.”

“The program on the computer will spoof your number over the internet and make it look like your calling from another state, or even other country, I figure the fewer connections there are to tie us to this place the better. We will be coming and going from here obviously, and communicating a lot, but I want to try to muddy the water as much as possible so it were.” Emily nodded. “ Its smart thinking. I have a few apps we can use on our phones for secure communications to and from each other.”

“ They were develops by DarkWater for secure communications in hostile countries, and they work much the same, as your computer calling program, except with a cell phone. It places your call over the internet instead of the usual cellular network, it spoofs the number to hide location of call, and the calling number and encrypts the call as well. Its like the call was never made, the program also deletes every aspect of the call as soon as the call ends, or however you set the system to do it, so, its almost impossible to get any information even if someone were to get one of the phones, it would have nothing on it.”

Jake whistled. “That’s bad ass, yeah lets get that installed on all of our phones as soon as possible. Hey, do you Think you could stay for a few more days and work from here? I really want to get a good feel for Allandra and value your input. I think we have started off decently, but we still have a long way to go. You might see something I miss. Besides, there’s something off about her. She went from wanting to murder both of us, to being quiet and wanting to be buddies within one night. Hard to believe she did such a big turn around in one night, it just feels funny.” Emily nodded, and then smirked at him. “I was wondering if you had noticed that change, or if you were just too blinded by her big blue eyes and tight ass to notice. Sure, I can stay for a while longer, after all your my employer now, so, whatever you say goes boss man.” Jake just shook his head.

The next morning was a repeat of the day before, they had breakfast, and spent the entire day asking each other about the others world, and everything about it. The day went well, and before they knew it the hour was late and Jake escorted Allandra back to her cell. “ Allandra, as a sign of good faith I’m not going to shut the door, I will leave it open, you are free to move around and stretch your legs if you wish. You are free to walk the hallways, however I ask you to only attempt to enter two places if you do. You may return back to the recreation room where we were watching movies, or to the mess hall to get something to eat, and of course your room here. I would ask you to not attempt to open any doors except those two doors I mentioned. Im going to trust you. Ok?” Allandra was surprised she was being given so much freedom. “Um, Okay Jake. I appreciate the kindness, I will not abuse your hospitality.”

Once Jake had left Allandra lay on her bed and replayed the day through her mind. They had introduced her to something called. “Movies”. They were truly a marvelous invention, that showed peoples life stories in moving pictures. You could see a persons entire life, a entire war, or a love story all in just a few hours. It was truly amazing, and she very much enjoyed them. She had not forgotten her plan to become friends with these people, but at the moment things seemed to be going well. They had even shockingly given her some freedom to move about, which was definately a sign they must like her somewhat. It could all be a trap though, she knew they had the power to see everything that happened inside this buildings, and could likely be watching her even now looking for any sign of treachery from her. She didn’t intend to give them any reason to distrust her, she rolled over in her bed and went to sleep.

Jake returned to the mess hall and informed Emily. “Is that a good idea? We just met her.” Jake shrugged, everything’s locked tight, its not like she can go anywhere, plus all the weapons are well secured, including everything she brought with her.” Emily nodded. “Gotta trust a little bit sometime I suppose.”

The next week went by fairly quickly, the days were spent mostly asking questions and learning about each others culture, while the nights were spent watching movies and drinking. Emily spent much of her free time handling paperwork for the new businesses and a few days later Jake was able to make a bid on a large lot of military six by six trucks as well as some other surplus equipment he could either use on the project, or flip for a profit. Movie night became a fight over what movies to watch. Allandra had became  addicted to horror, and hallmark movies, while Jake preferred action, and Emily preferred  crime and police type mysteries, which resulted in some lively debates who what to watch each night.

Jake and Emily were busy preparing dinner one night when the topic of business came up. Emily spoke up. “I am going to have to leave in a few days to handle some of this paperwork. There is only so much I can do from here, and I need to meet with some people about those special permits. That is if you really want to proceed with purchasing, and importing surplus weapons, and ammunition. Do you?”

Jake nodded. “I do. We have both already seen how dangerous is can be on the other side of that portal. I need to turn that castle into a secure base of operations and to do that successfully we will need weapons and ammunition, lots of them. We will essentially be creating our own army to accomplish it. I could just buy weapons from normal gun dealers, or through the new sporting goods company we are starting, but I really don’t believe that it will be enough. I have thought about this problem a lot, and I just don’t believe commercially available weapons are going to cut it, and civilian legal machine guns are way too expensive to buy in large numbers.”

“We will need access to bigger, and heavier weapons to handle Orc’s, and probably need armored vehicles with working heavy weapons to handle large numbers of them. You heard what Allandra said, when the Orc’s begin their migrations next summer there will be thousands of them moving through the area and groups of hundreds of them are not unheard of. Having our base located in a actual castle with its heavy construction and  castle defenses will go a long way to protect our people on the ground. However, just to keep it secure from a force like that we will need some good weapons. We could probably keep the castle secure and safe with commercially available civilian legal weapons, however to leave the castle under a threat like that would take armored combat vehicles with working heavy weapons.”

Emily nodded. “You realize that generally it takes years to get permits to purchase weapons and working military equipment from our own government, much less import the same from foreign countries.” Jake nodded. “I suspected as much, yes.” Emily nodded. “Generally it does if you go through normal channels. However, I know a few people in high places.” If you were to make a few “generous” contributions to some reelection campaigns, I believe we can have those permits fast tracked and possibly in our hands within a month or so. I have seen my uncle do it several times. Its definitely doable.”

Jake shook his head in disgust. “Bribes you mean, our government is not supposed to work like that, that’s a banana republic, corrupt way of doing business.” He said with a disgusted look on his face. Emily shrugged. “No, its not supposed to work like that, but it does all the same. Do you want me to proceed?” Jake sighed, then nodded. “ Ill give you full access to one of the accounts to use as a business slush fund. Feel free to use it for your personal expenses, as well as any business expenses you need money for, such as those bribes you mentioned. Of course we wont have any money in those accounts until your guy buys those gems from us.” Emily nodded. “I was planning to take the first shipment with me, and hand deliver them to him. We should have the money by tomorrow night, ten million dollars will kick things off nicely.” She said with a smile. Jake nodded in agreement.

“Yup, that’s a nice start.” He turned his head and looked around. “Wheres Allandra at?” He asked. Emily rolled her eyes. “Watching a hallmark Christmas marathon.” She snickered. “Woman’s got it bad, shes addicted to them. Why?” Jake shrugged. “What do you think about her so far?” He asked. Emily carefully considered the question for a moment as she chopped onions for their stew.

“Well, I think she is extremely intelligent, beautiful, and strong as a horse. She is one of the most disciplined people I have ever met. She carries herself well, and is pretty opened minded considering the culture she comes from, and I like her a lot. She has been a good guest while she has been here, been very open about answering our questions, and given us no reason to distrust her, in fact just the opposite. But, I’m not ready to trust her just yet. We barely know the woman.” Jake nodded. “Pretty much what I was thinking.” Emily turned to look at him. “What are you going to do with her when I leave tomorrow?” Jake shrugged. “I was considering asking her to go with me to the castle, so I could inspect it better.”

“I would be pleased to accompany you.” Allandra said from the open doorway. “I am sorry, I did not mean to intrude on your conversation.” She held up a empty beer bottle. “I was looking for another beer is all.” Jake shrugged. “You might as well join it. You would not mind accompanying me there then?” Allandra shook her head. “Id be pleased to.” She replied. “In fact, I was about to suggest something similar to you myself. I was also going to suggest something else to you.” Emily raised a eyebrow in concern eyebrow. “Do tell.” She said.

Allandra smiled. “Well, you said that you wanted to learn more about my world. I thought you would be interested in meeting your nearest neighbors, there is a large settlement not far from the castle.” Jake looked surprised. “Neighbors?” He said. “I thought we were hundreds of miles from even the hint of what could be considered civilization.” Allandra nodded. “That is true, yes. The border of civilization as it were is several hundred miles away where you will find the nearest human settlement, and that is considered one of the most backwater areas there is. The countryside there is however mostly safe, and its several hundred miles past that to any real city. However, you have the Dwarf nation just a weeks ride from here.”

“Dwarves?” Jake snickered. “You mean the little fat guys with the beards, about yay tall? He held out his hand about waist high. “You know, they Love battle ax’s? Those guys?”  Allandra shrugged. “They are a bit taller than that, but yes, those are of which I speak. However, id strongly advise about making any comments about their height. Its considered a, what you would call a racist remark, for humans or elves to comment on their height in jest.” Jake raised a eyebrow. “Seriously?” Allandra nodded. “They take such insults shall we say, deadly serious.” Jake nodded. “Point made. Yes, id very much like to meet them, cultivating some friends or allies in the area could be very beneficial to us.”

Emily dumped her chopped onions into the pot and turned to face Allandra with a serious look on her face. “I think its time we discussed something. Will Jake be safe out there alone with you Allandra? She asked. You were ready to murder him just a week ago.” Allandra shrugged. “Traveling anywhere is a risk, Traveling in the wilderness a much greater risk. I will do my best to advise him, and keep him safe.” Emily was not done. “You still don’t wish him harm over how her treated you?” Allandra shook her head. “No, I do not. True, I wished harm on him when we first met at the perceived offense I believed he caused me.”

“ However after careful consideration I considered his side of the situation, and believe he acted within his rights, and meant no offense to me. He was right when he asked if my own people would have reacted much harsher under the same situation. They most likely would have killed him outright, and if not, imprisoned him under harsh conditions, which I realized he himself could have done. He had instead shown great restraint, and mercy, by not killing me, something I am grateful for.”

Emily nodded. “I admit its a reasonable explanation, and I really hope you mean it.” Emily smiled a friendly smile. “We truly wish to be your friends.” Then she looked serious again. “However, I need you to give me your word Allandra, that you will not allow him to come to harm.” The tall Elf bowed her head slightly forward. “You have my word of honor Emily, that I will do my best to keep him from harm, do nothing to place him in harm, or allow him to be harmed, by the goddess I swear it.” Emily nodded. “Good. Now lets eat dinner, and put this behind us.

Once dinner was over and the dished cleaned, Jake and Emily approached Allandra. Jake cleared his throat, and slid a large plastic tub onto the table, and removed the top. “Allandra, we would like to return your equipment, armor and clothing to you. We were wondering if you would mind showing us how your cloaking device worked. Allandra nodded. “I would be pleased to.” She slowly reached into the rub and removed a silver necklace from inside. Jake realized that it was very much like the one he had taken off the dead dog creature. Allandra placed the necklace around her neck and clasp it with one hand. “Ready?” She asked? Jake nodded, and suddenly she just simply vanished from sight.

Jake whistled. “That’s simply amazing.” Allandra suddenly reappeared to their view out of thin air, and smiled. “Yes, it is a very useful device, as you can imagine. Jake said. ‘Please excuse me for a moment.” He quickly left the room and returned with the silver necklace he had taken from the dog creature. He held it up for them to see, and explained where he had gotten it. “Allandra raised a eyebrow in surprise, but took the necklace and examined it closely.

“It is indeed a magical device of some kind.” She confirmed. “The word on the back is Elvish for ….compulsion.” She said. Allandra’s expression seemed to darken slightly, and her lips became tight. “ Tell me, did anything strange happen while the dire hounds were attacking you?” Jake thought for a moment. “Dire hounds?” Emily interrupted. “What exactly is a dire hound?” She asked. “Well.” Allandra replied. “A Dire hound is a particularly nasty creature, very fast and powerful for their size, and tend to run in packs. Honestly I’m honestly surprised Jake survived their attack at all. They truly are a fearsome opponent. While they are highly intelligent, they are slaves to their base instincts of kill, eat, and reproduce. It is believed dire hounds used to be people once, and when attacked some can be infected by them resulting in being painfully transformed from human into Dire hound.” Emily blinked. “Like a freaking werewolf?” She blurted in surprise.

Allandra nodded. “Much the same yes, except Werewolves are solitary, the better comparison would be a Dire wolf, which are pack animals as the Dire hound.” Jake just gaped at her. “I cant believe I was basically fighting werewolves, damn, what freaking else from myth and legend lives in your world?” Allandra shrugged. “My world holds a vast array of different creatures, some are just dumb animals like dogs, deer, or bear. Many are some supernatural combination such as Were bears, or Dire hounds, or even were wolves, while still others are pure creatures of magic such as dragons for example. To make matters worse, there have also been many strange creatures created through use of magic by various powerful mages through out history, with little or nothing known about the creatures that were created. Plus my own world has its own creatures of myth and legend, sometimes it gets very difficult to determine where one begins and another ends.”

Jake whistled in surprise. “Holy shit.” I Knew there were probably some strange things to be found over there, but never in my wildest dreams considered there could be such a wide variety of them.” Emily shook her head. “I’m sorry I asked. Yeah, ill be making those weapons permits my first priority Jake.” Jake grinned. “Id say that’s probably a smart idea.” Allandra nodded in agreement. “I would advise you bring your most powerful weapons should you settle in the ruins of ancient Camelot, you will need them.”

“ Now, tell me Jake, did anything odd happen when the Dire hounds attacked you? Did you feel like you were doing something you didn’t want to do perhaps?” Jake nodded. “How did you know about that? It seemed like a dream to me, and not really real.” Allandra nodded. “It was this amulet. I can give a demonstration if you would like? You and Emily must agree, no one will be harmed, but I would not make use of a compulsion without permission.” Jake looked at Emily, I’m game, you? She said it was safe.” Emily shrugged. “Sure, why not. Its not….….”

Emily suddenly stopped speaking and just stood there with her mouth held open, frozen in place. Jake stared at her. “Emily? You ok?” Allandra stepped forward and stood next to her. ‘She is fine Jake, its part of the demonstration. You both need to understand just how powerful this device you have is. As a royal princess I received extensive training in the use of, and defense against magical devices such as this. I used my thoughts, and told her to be still and silent. You can see that she is.” Emily stood there totally quiet, with her mouth still open, staring off into space.

Jake nodded. “Jesus, that’s freaking creepy.” Allandra nodded. “You can make the subject do things purely with your mind, however its extremely difficult to do except for simple commands such as stop, freeze, ete. The best use of your mind is to order a single command to the person your concentrating on, for example to still them, and then tell them what you wish them to do.” Allandra whispered into Emily’s ear for a moment, then she turned and took Jake by the hand and led him to a chair. “Sit here.” She said. Jake was confused. “Why? Whats going to happen?” Allandra handed Jake a beer and sat in the chair next to him, as she popped the top on her own and pointed at Emily. “Watch. You will see.”

Jake turned to see Emily walking across the room towards the entertainment system, swaying her hips seductively as she did so. Emily looked at the mp3 player and selected a song, and pushed a button, then she turned. The music started playing and it was the theme from dirty dancing, Allandra’s newest favorite movie. The music started playing, and Emily began dancing, first just regular danging, but it quickly turned, well, dirty. She slunk across the floor and laid her head in Jake’s lap, looked up with him with her big blue eyes and licked her lips, then she began gyrating against him, as she pressed her firm ass against him and rotated it slowly. She swung around and squirmed into his lap, planting her ass in his lap, wrapped her arms and legs around Jake and planted a soft sensuous kiss on his lips as she wriggled her ass against his crotch. Jake just sat there stunned, not sure what to do, obviously loving the attention of the beautiful woman. Suddenly Allandra spoke “Awaken, Emily.”

Emily suddenly blinked and pulled back a few inches and found herself basically nose to nose with Jake. She could feel his warmth and hardness against her, the smell of his body, and realized she liked it. Suddenly she realized she had no memory of getting there, and suddenly leaped out of his lap her face red. “Jake, um, I, I don’t know how, I mean.” Allandra burst out laughing. “Its all right Emily, you did nothing, except what I told you to do. Do you see how dangerous and powerful this device is?” She said. Emily looked stunned. “You, you told me to climb into Jake’s lap? I don’t believe it.” Jake nodded. “Hear the music? You were dirty dancing for me before that.” Emily turned a bright red color and Jake didn’t know if it was from embarrassment, or rage.

Then she giggled. “Holy shit that’s crazy.” Why don’t I remember any of it?” She asked. Allandra shrugged. “Because I knew you would not want to, so I told you to forget what I told you to do. I could have told you to remember everything just as easily. The effect only lasts as long as the person remains in close proximity to you, it fades with time and distance. ” Jake laughed. “That’s awesome.” Emily nodded. “Hell yes, the ultimate party trick!” Allandra leaped to her feet and roared in anger. “No, no its not a party trick ! “Jake and Emily were silent, stunned at Allandra’s outburst. Allandra walked away clearly agitated. She took a deep drink of her beer and leaned against the wall and sighed. “I am sorry my friends, I did not mean to alarm you. I am trying to explain the seriousness of the matter.”

“You don’t understand just how powerful it is, and just what it can make someone do. Emily would have done anything I told her to. If I had told her to fuck you Jake, she would have, had I told her to tell me all her secrets, she would have, had I told her to seduce and murder you Jake, she would have, or even killed herself, and she would never hesitate as she did so. This terrible device gives you total control over someones mind. Great evil can, and has been done with devices like this one. “Jesus Christ.” Emily gasp as she realized the truth of what Allandra was saying. She suddenly looked horrified, and quickly looked upwards and whispered. “Forgive me father.”

Jake shook his head. “If its so powerful, why didn’t the Were hounds make me do things?” Allandra shrugged. “I suspect they were hungry, they are at the mercy of their base instincts and the one who was wielding the amulet could not concentrate well enough to use it fully, if it had been anyone else wielding it against you, you would have been lost. Jake. It truly is a terrible device. You should consider destroying it, lest it fall into the hands of a enemy.” Jake nodded. “I’ll consider it. He left the room and returned without the necklace a moment later, but carrying a long box in his hands, which he placed on the table. “Jeez,” Jake exclaimed. “Lets move on to happier stuff.”

“May I see your sword Allandra?” She nodded and removed a short sword from her belongings and handed it to Jake, who drew it partially from its sheath. “Its made of copper or bronze I’m guessing, and not steel or iron?” Allandra nodded. “The very finest bronze. Steel weapons are extremely rare where I come from, in fact only a very wealthy noble, or even a king can afford to carry a sword made of steel. I have only seen a few dozen steel blades in my entire life.” Jake nodded, and sat the sword aside. “I thought so, I got a look at it when you first arrived. We wanted to do something nice for you, to show you how much we appreciated your friendship, and so, Emily and myself got this present for you, which just arrived today. We hope you like it.” He handed her the box and stepped back.

Allandra reached into the box and drew a long sheathed blade out of it almost three feet long. She drew the blade with one swift motion, that showed her extensive skill with weapons such as this. She laid the blade across her weak side arm and examined it carefully. “Its blacked steel.” Jake explained. “Buts its definitely high quality steel. Made by a place called Zombie Tools. Its a good quality blade, perhaps not the best, but its supposed to be very good and not just some mall ninja sword. That particular sword is called a Apokatana, its a version of a traditional Japanese sword known as a Katana. I know its very sharp, there are two other blades in the box as well, the larger knife is called a Scyllis.”

“ I figured you would need a good fighting and work knife, and lastly is the Traumahawk, which is basically a kind of a tomahawk. Its a small fighting ax that’s also useful for chopping things.” He grinned. Allandra slowly examined each of the three weapons, swinging each around in different fighting moves before she tested the edge and moved onto the next one. She was totally silent as she did this. Allandra eyes the workmanship of the blades with a keen eye, she followed the lines of the weapons, and examined the edges with a thumb, easily drawing blood. These weapons were as fine of a blade as she had ever seen in her life, and she could easily trade all three for a entire estate back in the Elf lands. It was beyond belief such weapons actually belonged to her. Even her well controlled emotions threatened to burst from her in joy.

“I will understand if you do not like them.” Jake said. Allandra laid the weapons back into the box and turned around, she clasp her hands against her chest and bent very low at the waist in a very formal bow and nodded to each of them as she spoke. “ You honor me greatly Jake, and Emily with your wonderful gifts. I humbly accept the gifting of the blades and I swear to put them to good use in my service to you for many years to come.” She smiled at them. ‘ Even as a princess I have never been given anything of such value in my long life. Those weapons are beyond compare and I will treasure them always. Thank you.” She suddenly lunged forward in a move that alarmed both of them, she grabbed them both tightly in her arms and squeezed hard. Suddenly Allandra kissed each of them on the cheek and gave them a huge smile. “Thank you my friends! Now, let us celebrate !”

The next morning Emily checked herself in the mirror and nodded her satisfaction. She was dressed in her usual professional business attire. Her skirt was perfect, with her little Glock 9mm snug in its concealed holster. Check. She adjusted her white silk blouse until it was perfect. Check, her hair and makeup were just right. She picked up her briefcase and with her heels clicking loudly on the epoxy sealed concrete floor she headed for the dining room. She stepped into the room, and gasp in astonishment at the scene. “Are you insane Jake?” She blurted.

Jake almost dropped the sword he had been swinging around as he copied the scene from Conan the Barbarian, where Conan twirled a sword around in a figure eight motion. Allandra snickered at his goof up. “You owe me ten bucks Jake.” The tall woman said. “What the fuck do you think your doing Jake?” Emily demanded. Jake carefully slid his sword into its sheath on the belt of his tactical vest and shrugged. He carefully adjusted his pistol, the sword and spare magazine pouches to get everything just right. “I figured that since we would be dealing with a society that uses swords, that I should carry one as a backup, you know, just in case.” Emily gave him a stare that said he was a idiot. “Oh, you mean carry it in case you need to have a sword fight?” She said. Jake nodded.

Emily rolled her eyes as she dropped her briefcase on a table and started pouring herself a cup of coffee. “I was in the military too Jake.” She said. “I must have missed the day where they taught sword fighting, your going to cut your dick off playing with that thing. Should you actually have to sword fight someone, you will be dead in seconds, those things take years to learn.” Jake smiled. “No I wont, well I hope I wont cut anything important off. Allandra said she will teach me, and she also said in her society, no one will take a man seriously unless he’s proficient with a sword, and carrying one as its considered a badge of honor. Just the fact I’m carrying one will help a lot when dealing with the locals according to her.”

Emily turned to Allandra. “Is this true?” Allandra nodded. “It is indeed Emily. The society I am from values strength, and proficiency with arms, mainly the sword. While your guns are obviously superior to swords, the people of my world do not know what a gun is. You cant exactly go around shooting people to show them how deadly they are, at least not in a social setting. He needs to learn this, and I can teach him. He wont be a sword master, but he will at least know which end to hold, just looking proficient and carrying a sword will go far in his acceptance.”

Emily took a moment to look Allandra over, as she realized she was once again dressed in her tight fitting leather armor she had arrived in. Her tight fitting leather outfit reminded her very much of the outfit Wonder Woman had worn in the most recent movie. The top of the outfit was a snug fitting leather corset, made from some kind of tough battle scarred  looking brown leather. The corset pushed her ample bosom up exposing a tantalizing amount of cleavage to the eye. The bottom of the outfit consisted of a matching leather skirt that stopped just above her knees, and high leather boots rose up leaving only a few inches of smooth bare skin of her knees to be seen. There was a wide leather belt around her waist that held a sword and a dagger, as well as a pouch.

Emily smiled sweetly. “I love the outfit.” She said sweetly. “I like men myself, but that damn outfit looks so good on you, it makes me want to like women.” Allandra cheeks flushed slightly, but she bounced right back. She leaned in close to Emily and spoke in a soft sultry voice. “Well, should that time come, you know where to find me.” Allandra stepped past Emily and slapped her firmly on the ass as she passed her, bringing a squeal from Emily and a chuckle from Jake. Emily spun around and faced him.

“You keep your mind out of the gutter Jake, and don’t let her outfit distract you enough to get yourself killed.” Emily eyed the sword Jake has holding in his hand. “Where did you get that thing anyway? Jake grinned. “I made a large order to that Zombie Tool place where I bought Allandra sword. I figured swords would have a place, and I should probably keep some in the armory.” He held it out for her to see. “Do you like it? Its called “The Deuce” its another Zombie Tool’s design, basically a saber design. Its a little shorter than her sword and figured it would carry well, and not get in the way of my rifle too badly. It fits great on the weak side of my belt.” Emily just rolled her eyes again. “It’s okay I suppose.”

She pointed to a table next to them. “What about those other swords? What are all of them for?” Jake turned and picked up a larger sword that the handle was almost as long as the blade. “I was just showing them to Allandra. She said the Deuce was a good sized sword for me to carry, but she also said that this larger one would be better for fighting due to its much greater reach and chopping power. I was going to take some extra stuff with us in case I needed to barter with someone, or even use as a bribe should it be needed, I’m also taking a few steel blocks along for the same reason, trade fodder and bribe material.”

“I can get a sword for you as well, just look them over and pick one.” Emily shook her head. “I am not going to be sword fighting anyone, I will just shoot them, and I don’t plan on doing much of that either. Its to early to be dealing with this sword shit.” She took a bite of a sausage biscuit, and gulped some coffee and picked up her briefcase. “I have a flight to catch in a few hours, will you help me take my stuff to the car?”

Jake grinned. “That big cash bonus too heavy for you?” Emily grinned. “Its heavy, yes. Plus I have other stuff to carry, besides id like a word before I leave.” Emily turned and headed for the door. Jake turned to Allandra. “I’ll be right back.” Allandra nodded. “Ill be here eating breakfast.” Jake followed Emily to the office where the duffle bag containing her million in cash was sitting. “He scooped it up and slung it over his shoulder, and fell into step beside her.

Emily sighed. “Jake, are you sure its a good idea to go off alone with her? I like her so far, but honestly we barely know her.” Jake nodded. “I know, and your right, it is a risk. I don’t believe she means us, or me any harm however, and will keep her word to watch out for me.” Emily nodded. “Its not exactly that I think she will hurt you, I just get the feeling she has some other motive shes not sharing with us. I don’t like it, plus she can probably get you to make some stupid assed decisions as long as shes wearing that damn wonder woman outfit of hers.” Jake chuckled. “It is kind of distracting.” He agreed.

“However, I have a feeling the sexy look is to distract people from the fact shes a highly trained killer.” Emily was silent for a moment. “Your sure shes capable in a fight?” She asked. Jake nodded. “Her hands are covered with thick calluses, the muscles in her arms, are highly developed from heavy work, and shes very comfortable with that sword. Yes, shes capable. We have to trust someone eventually. I took a huge chance in trusting you, and that’s worked out well.”

They exited the building and stopped next to Emily’s rental car. “I suppose.” She exclaimed. It just makes me nervous is all. I will get to work on our staffing issues as soon as I get back home. I hope to have a full crew of ten people for you within a month,  with more to follow as soon as possible. Ill have security set up here within a week, they will be top notch security people, not mall cops, so be prepared spend some money, as they damn sure wont be cheap. They will however be top notch highly trained people, and can handle about anything. How long will you two be gone? Jake thought for a second. “She said it might take us ten days to reach the Dwarf settlement, so, ten there, ten back, and some time on sight. Lets say I should be back in about a month, so the timing should be good for the arrival of the new crew.”

Emily nodded. “Yeah, that should work. I will be having them get some training as a group at a top notch S.W.A.T training school before they come here, weapons, tactics and such. To get them all accustomed to working together as a team. They will come straight from swat training to here, inside a windowless bus just as you requested.” Jake nodded. “Sounds awesome, I should have thought of the training myself.” Emily smiled. “Little details like that is why I get the big bucks, besides, you need to delegate, as there will be too many small details in a operation like this to oversee everything yourself.”

Jake nodded. “Speaking of big bucks. He hefted the heavy duffle bag of cash. “How do you plan to get that big bag of money, and the bag of gems through airport security?” Emily grinned. “I chartered a private plane, they don’t search your luggage and treat you like cattle when you fly private, I wont even have to go through security.”

Jake sighed. “I shudder to think what that will cost me.” Emily smiled. “You can afford it, besides, I know this pilot, he owns his own charter business, and even has a cargo plane. A private plane and pilot, especially one with a cargo plane will come in very handy for some of the things we are planning.Trust me. Its best we get a arrangement set in place with him asap, and get a contract signed. Hes also ex military and I think he will be a good fit for what we are doing here. That’s part of the reason I’m flying private today, so ill have a chance to talk to him alone.”

Jake opened the door for Emily and smiled. “You never cease to impress me Emily, always thinking. Safe travels.” Emily nodded, then smirked at him. “Someone has to do some thinking around here.” Then her smirk turned soft and she smiled at him, and patted him on the arm. “Please be careful Jake.” Jake smiled a big smile. “Aw your worried about me.” Emily nodded. “I’m worried about how I will get paid if your dead is all, so don’t get killed.”

The knobby tires of the six wheeled drive Polaris Ranger slung mud everywhere as Jake gave it gas to power through a particularly muddy section of trail. He wrestled the steering wheel as he guided the nimble off road vehicle back and forth as he avoided downed trees and other obstacles in the ancient abandoned roadway. The heavy rain that had started a hour earlier only made things much more slippery and slimy, but so far thay had not encountered any real problems. Mud flew twenty feet high at times as the powerful machine spun its wheels furiously searching for traction. Once clear of the deep mud he let off the gas and slowed the vehicle down to proceed at a much slower, safer pace. He could tell by Allandra’s body and the way she suddenly relaxed she appreciated the much slower saner speed. The windshield wiper smeared mud across the windshield as it struggled to keep the windshield clear, at least the heavy rain was helping keep the mud off somewhat.

He had bought the vehicle just a week earlier, and had it outfitted with a lot of after market accessories to make it a more capable off road machine. He had upgraded the factory tires to a much larger and more aggressive mud tire, added a winch to the front and rear as well as front and rear bumpers. There was a extended roll cage added to the bed, a large cooler was mounted, there were racks added to the front and rear for tools, and other off road recovery equipment. He had added a roof, and windshield, to help keep the weather off them, a storage basket was mounted to the roof, off road lights were mounted all over the vehicle as well. The final touch was to paint the vehicle a woodland type camouflage pattern that helped it to blend into the trees.

The rear of the vehicle was piled high with their camping gear and supplies for the month long trip. He had outfitted Allandra with some modern camping gear, such as a warm sleeping bag, and goretex wet weather gear which she was grateful to be wearing right now in the heavy downpour. The windshield and roof kept most of the cold rain off of them, but the gusting winds were blowing it at them sideways and if not for the high tech rain gear they would have been freezing. He had suggested stopping when the rain stopped, but Allandra had shook her head and told him not to. This section of road was in low ground and was likely to flood if it rained very long, they needed to push on, at least until they reached some higher ground.

They had explored much of the ruins the day before, and had gotten a good look at what they were dealing with, if he wanted to proceed with cleaning the place up. He was pleased to discover that despite the places age, it was actually in pretty damn good shape. There needed to be a lot of clean up, and a lot of buildings needed new roofs, doors and other things like that, but the stone buildings them self were in great condition, and needing only minor repairs. He was especially pleased to discover the castle its self would make a perfect secure base of operations. Once they had gotten a good look at what they were dealing with Jake had decided to cut exploring the ruins short, and head to the Dwarf settlement.

The road that led from the castle was very old and called appropriately “The old Road,” as Allandra had informed him. The road while extremely old, and lacking any maintenance was actually in pretty good shape all things considered. It was about twenty feet wide and paved with flat stones which could be seen in the areas where ground clutter had been washed away by the heavy rain. The biggest obstacles to following the road were downed trees, thick layers of fallen leaves and occasionally mud from a mud slide, such as they were driving through right now.

Oddly however, there were absolutely no plants, or trees growing up through the road anywhere. Oh there were small trees and plants growing in the places where there was a thick layer of dirt on the paved surface, but not a single plant grew out of the cracks in the stone surface as one would expect. Traveling the road was reasonably easy in the six wheel drive Ranger, however they had to go pretty slow most of the time due to the various downed trees, branches and such that constantly blocked the road, but they were able to cover a lot of ground all the same. Jake had considered bringing horses, but once Allandra informed him that there were intact bridges on the old road and they would not have to ford or swim them his decision to bring the Polaris Ranger had been a easy one. It was faster, and more comfortable than a horse and could easily carry much more equipment as well.

About fifteen miles south of the castle ruins they came to a intersection and he was instructed to turn right, there would be no more turnoffs for the next three days. There was only one main road, and it ran north, south, east, and west. All other roads that ran off the main road were minor roads and most of those were long reclaimed by the forest. Allandra Gripped the roll bar tightly as Jake swerved the camouflaged machine around a downed tree, she spoke loudly to be heard over the racing engine. “Your people have some truly amazing technology as you call it Jake, but sometimes the best way to get something done is the old way. We should have brought horses.” Jake laughed. “If the road was much worse I would agree with you, however we are doing fine.” He motioned to the heavily loaded rear of the vehicle. “Besides, we could not carry as much gear on horses. Your just scared of my driving is all.”

Allandra nodded. “Well ya. I am surprised you have not killed us honestly.” The road was clear for a few hundred yards and Jake stepped on the gas. The vehicle shot forward and flung dirt and leaves with the rear tires as the vehicle quickly accelerated. He glanced down at the speedometer just before he had to brake for a upcoming dead tree and was pleased to see they had hit almost fifty miles per hour. “We were just now going almost twice as fast as the fastest horse can gallop.” Jake smiled. “That’s probably the fastest you have ever went in your entire life.” He glanced over at Allandra and saw her knuckles were white she was gripping the roll bar so tight.

“Yes, it is.” She exclaimed. “But do we have to go so fast!?” Jake laughed. “We could go a lot faster were the road clear.” He let off the gas and slowed quickly to a crawl as he carefully drove the vehicle over a foot tall piece of log, jolting the vehicle sideways as the wheels crawled over it. “But you’re right. I need to slow down. We are over twenty miles from the portal, and a busted axle, would really suck about now. How much farther is the Dwarf town?” Allandra breathed a sigh of relief at the slower speed. “Its difficult to say in the forest, I have only been this way a single time, and that was a very long time ago. I seem to recall it taking a week on horseback to get from the ruins to the entrance of the Dwarf City. We can probably make it in three days if the road ahead is like what we have already traveled.”

Jake laughed. “A very long time ago? You make it sound like it was forever ago, hell you’re a lot younger than I am, iv got socks older than you are.” He joked as he steered the mud splattered machine around another fallen tree, and slowed the machine to a crawl for several hundred yards as he carefully maneuvered the vehicle across, around and through fallen branches. “Maybe we can make it in three days.” Jake sighed. “Its taking forever to crawl through these downed trees, but I guess it could be much worse.”  Allandra leaned closer to Jake before she spoke. “Jake, how old do you think I am?” She asked with a little smirk on her face. Jake glanced at her for a moment as he was driving. “Um.” He began. “Id say your probably 28 years old.” Allandra laughed. Jake grinned at her cute musical sounding laugh. “Well, am I close?” He asked. She shook her head. “Jake dear, I turned 28 years old over a hundred years ago.” Jake stomped on the brakes throwing them both into their seat belts as he turned to stare at her in shock.

“You’re fucking with me.” He said. She shook her head. “ I am not, as you say, fucking with you,whatever that means, I am serious. I am one hundred twenty nine years old.” Jake laughed. “No way in hell.” Allandra nodded. “I am.” She assured him. “Jake, I am a Elf, we might look like humans with pointy ears, but we are as far from humans as a house cat is from a tiger. We are very different creatures, in more ways than you could know. One hundred twenty nine years old is young for a Elf, my grandfather is almost a thousand years old.”

Jake shook his head in disbelief. “So, when was the last time you were here then?” She thought for a moment. “It would have been the first time I was allowed to go on a diplomatic expedition, so, about seventy five years ago or so. My people send out a diplomatic expedition to the wilderness about once every twenty five years to foster relations with the Dwarve’s and other peoples who live in the wilderness.” Jake nodded. “I believe you.” He took his hand and carefully touched her cheek. Allandra froze at his touch, not sure how to respond, a tingle ran up her spine. Jake took his hand away and had a large piece of mud on his finger he had obviously just removed from her face. She felt herself blushing for some strange reason. “You look a mess.” He joked. “A beautiful mess, but still a mess.” The rain had stopped, and the sun had even come out, he pulled the vehicle over and parked it next to a clear fast moving stream that was swollen with rain water. “Come on, lets get cleaned up and grab a bite to eat.”

Jake started lunch while Allandra peeled off the gore tex clothing, and worked to clean herself up. He tried to keep his eyes on the food, but he could not help but to gaze at the beautiful, tall woman as she peeled the clothing off her long shapely legs, and pulled the top off and shook out her long damp golden hair that was in the usual thick braid. He watched as she stretched her arms above her head and arched her back in a most tantalizing way that made her chest seem much larger. He suddenly realized she was looking right at him with her large blue eyes. She had busted him. Jake quickly focused his eyes on the camping gear and pretended he had not been staring at her.

Allandra smiled as Jake quickly averted his eyes from her. She had felt him watching her from the beginning, and had put on a little show for him to see how he would react, something she had completely avoided while Emily had been around, because she knew Emily would have taken it badly. Since Emily was not around though, she could experiment a little bit. She could tell by his expression and body language that if she wanted him, she could easily have him at anytime she wished. It was obvious to her he had not been with a woman in quite some time, and it showed on him. She washed her face in the clear cold water as she debated if she should seduce him or not.

She had little doubt that she could win him over completely if she used her womanly wiles on him. Something in her felt uneasy at the prospect though, why was that? He was just a human, there was no reason she should feel anything emotionally for this man. He had been kind to her though, and had treated her with non of the prejudice she felt when other human men looked or talked to her. Yes, they were attracted to her looks, and she was often attracted to human males occasionally, but as soon as they realized she was a Elf, she could see them change mentally.

Many would immediately stop talking and quickly walk away in disgust, while others would only want to continue talking to close the deal and lay with her for some supposed supernatural benefit. She had heard most of their ridiculous superstitions over the years about what sleeping with a elf would bring them, everything from increased life span, to increased male virility after their manhood had been dipped into the essence of Elf so to speak.

Jake had no such prejudices about Elves nor superstitions about what benefit sleeping with one would bring. She had seen much of his culture and while there were references to Elves in movies, she had never heard any of the familiar superstitions about sleeping with a Elf, something which she found as a enormous relief for some reason. She just wanted to be judged by her character, who she was as a person, and not for what people assumed she was from her ears. She realized suddenly that she respected Jake, and she wanted him to respect her as well, she was going to have a long relationship with him, and she would not sully it with a casual sexual encounter.

True, one could make things better between them much quicker, but it could also bring great complications, especially if Emily had feelings for Jake herself. She was happy just being friends with him, he was pleasant to be around and she found herself liking him more all the time. He was all right for a human she thought, then she frowned at that. No, he had treated her better in many ways than any male had ever treated her in her life, Human, Elf, or Dwarf, he treated her as a equal, and she liked that very much. She stood and walked back to Jake with a smile on her face. “Is lunch ready?”

The old road passed along high ridges, that allowed them to see for miles sometimes, and down into valleys, where the visibility into the woods was as little as a few feet. They passed over several smaller rivers, and streams luckily the ancient bridges were still up, otherwise the trip would have taken a hell of a lot longer had they been forced to ford them. If the bridges had been down there was no way the Polaris could have made it and they would have been forced to return home and try the trip again with horses.

They road through large rolling fields, and massive groves of trees of all kinds. Sometimes the trees opened up and they could easily see for hundreds of yards on all sides of them. Jake enjoyed these times as it really allowed him to get a good view of what these forests had to offer in the way of wildlife, and they had seen all manner of wildlife, to be sure. To his relief most of it was the kinds of things he was used to. There were deer, elk, and even a moose, several wolves, a bear once, and birds of all kinds. The wildlife seems to ignore them for the most part, which was fine with Jake, he was especially glad the large brown grizzly bear they had seen had ignored them, it has been simply enormous.

They stopped next to a river to stretch their legs, Jake sat on a large rock with his rifle laying across his lap, drinking gatorade. He took a deep sip of the drink and glanced across the narrow river in time to see another massive grizzly step out to drink from the fast moving water. The river here was deep and fast, and he had little to fear from this bear at the moment. The massive bear suddenly swiped a huge paw through the water and yanked a large fish out onto the river bank. The large speckled fish flopped on the bank for a moment before the bear grabbed it in its massive jaws and sauntered back into the woods to eat its meal.

Jake was simply amazed at the world he found himself in, it was so wild, and raw out here. Everything here was a mystery to him, unlike his own world back home. Sure, he could travel to the wilds of Alaska and experience wilderness and even grizzly bears, but it was really not mysterious, not nearly as wild as it was here. Even in Alaska he would know there was a city filled with modern conveniences just a few miles away from him no matter how far out he was, and there was no mystery about the wildlife there. The wilderness here, hell this world was a entirely different thing, for all he knew he could walk three thousand miles in a random direction before he ever found a human settlement, and even if he did, it would be a extremely primitive one.

That was not even considering the wildlife, Alaska had bears and wolves, true, however this place had those and much much more, best he could tell there was no end to what he might encounter out here. He could as easily find a Werewolf, or a Orc out here as easily as a white tail deer back in Kentucky, and those were apparently on the tame end of what lived here. The thought of that both terrified him, and thrilled him, he just felt so damn alive here. Life back home was filled with the same old same old boring stuff everyday, this place offered new things and experiences at every turn. He was living a life right now, that would have the greatest explorers to ever live on earth green with envy, and he was loving every second of it. He knew already that if he had to choose between being stuck back on earth with every modern convenience, and living a primitive here with the clothes on his back, he would choose this new world in a moment.
Link Posted: 2/12/2019 6:10:54 PM EDT
[#30]
I also got myself a new monitor, and I love it.  ill have a new computer soon as well, as my laptop keeps crashing. I REALLY need the new computer.

Attachment Attached File
Link Posted: 2/12/2019 7:04:51 PM EDT
[#31]
Thanks for the update/rewrite. Keep up the good work.
Link Posted: 2/13/2019 11:45:05 AM EDT
[#32]
Great update!  Keep up the good work.

Editing note:  {Emily held up her hand, raised her voice and cut him off. "BUTT !" Then she spoke quieter.

"Butt, I have also seen things no living person}  -- I think you might be using the wrong butt here!  I like your description of Allandra, but that's not what is going on there.
Link Posted: 2/19/2019 7:43:31 PM EDT
[#33]
Buck you still with us? @buck19delta
Link Posted: 2/20/2019 10:22:00 AM EDT
[Last Edit: buck19delta] [#34]
Trying to work out Allandra the Elfs, and other people from the new worlds way of talking. im going to probably try to use some old english as their way of talking. everyone from there has their own languages, but all speak " common", to talk to other races and common is based on old English.  but anyway here is all I have right now. been having a lot of sinus headaches, and its been preventing me from writing. should be back with the dwarf women in the next update.

Allandra walked over to him and sat on a nearby rock. “Contemplating life Jake?” She chuckled. “You seem to be thinking about something.” Jake nodded. “I was just thinking about how amazing this place is and how if I had to choose between my own world and this one I would choose this one. It is just so wild and untamed here.” Allandra nodded. “I would choose this one as well, the air in your world has a flat dull feel to it, I never realized just how alive the world feels here, until I left it for your own for a short while. When I stepped back through the portal and returned here it was like waking up from a sleep.” Jake nodded. “I didn’t think my world felt dull, but I agree this one does feel more alive, the air almost feels electric, and the colors seem brighter as well, the blues bluer, the greens greener. I like it for the wildness the place has to offer, thats absolutely something I cant get back home.”

Allandra nodded in agreement. Aye, tis wild and untamed to be sure. Is also extremely dangerous as well, dangerous animals, murderous creatures, violent war tribes, disease. There are a vast amount of ways to die here, many here would give anything to live in your world. It might have its own problems but it seemed a paradise to me while I was there.” Jake nodded. “I suppose it is in many ways, my people have mostly eradicated hunger, and disease in my country, and many live easy lives free from hard work, and easily live into old age. I also suppose its just the nature of most intelligent species, to want what you don’t have, and see the grass as greener on the other side of the fence as it were.”

Allandra smiled. “A appropriate comparison to be sure. I admit I have often wondered and even dreamed of being a commoner to be free to live life as I wish, instead of having so many responsibilities.” Jake nodded. “And by sacrificing your royalty, and the benefits that come with it, you would open yourself up to hunger, starvation, disease, and other dangers your royalty protects yourself from.” Allandra nodded in agreement. “ Yes. My mind knows I have a better life because I am a royal, however my heart still yearns for the freedom abandoning it would provide.” She sighed again. “Come Jake, we have far to travel before dark, let us go.”

They had seen dozens of long abandoned farms and houses as they drove the old road, the condition of the ancient homes was much the same. Some of them were little more than piles of rubble, while others from a distance looked almost normal, and could actually offer shelter. It was at one such abandoned farm that they stopped at a few hours before dark on the first day.

“We shall stay here for the night Jake.” She said. “We can shelter in the ruins of that old stone barn, there should be room for us and this vehicle of yours if we move some of the fallen timbers out of the way.” Jake looked at the barn and sighed, every part of his body hurt. “It would be a lot easier to just camp out beside the barn wouldn’t it?” Allandra nodded. “Aye, so it would. Tell me Jake, if that bear we saw earlier, or a few Orc’s were to show up in the middle of the night, where would you prefer to be? Behind the stone walls of that barn, or out in the open?”

Jake nodded, feeling stupid for his comment. “Your right of course, inside the barn is a much more defensible location.” Allandra nodded. “You need to retrain your way of thinking Jake. You are used to being safe at home in your society. From the movies I have seen even in the forest and wilderness of your world there seems to be little danger or threat of attack by hostile creatures. I promise you that such is not the case out here. It is in fact just the opposite, there is great threat of attack out here, and it can come at almost anytime. I strongly advise you to think and behave as if you are at war in enemy held territory, and make every decision accordingly. You need to carefully consider every action you take, from going to the bathroom, to sleeping and cooking dinner, as your life literally depends on it.”

Jake shook off some of his fatigue and tried to pay more attention to his surroundings, looking more carefully for anything that could be dangerous. He nodded. “I should know better after the Orc attack I experienced, I agree I need to get my head out of my ass, before something kills me. Thank you for the warning Allandra, I will do better.” Allandra snickered. “It is a interesting visual to be sure, but also a wise decision. You always want to camp at night in the most fortified place you can find, its bad practice to just plop down and set up camp just anywhere, there are just to many dangers out here. I am pleased you listen to my advise.”

“ Emily would be very unhappy if you get yourself killed.” Jake climbed out of the Ranger and stepped into the barn to clear a space for their camp. He moved several tree branches and a few smaller beams, when grabbed one thick beam that was in the center of everything and would need to be moved. He grabbed it and pulled on it, only managing to slid it a foot to one side, then it stuck tight and he could not budge it further. He grunted and strained against it, but it was stuck fast. Allandra stepped beside him, and grabbed hold of it. “Here let me help.”

Jake let go and stood up to stretch his back. “No way you can move that thing. Let me get the winch cable from the Ranger and…..” Allandra grunted, and extended her legs lifting the heavy beam off the ground easily by herself. She stepped sideways while holding it, and rolled it into place blocking off a hole in a wall and opening up floor space for their camp. She dropped the heavy beam and it thudded into place. Jake whistled in surprise. “Id never have believed a little lady like you could pick up that monster.” Allandra grinned. “Oh, I could have probably picked up twice that much weight, most female Elves are similar in strength to a strong human man. You might want to remember I can kick your ass.” She joked. Jake looked shocked. “I would never have guessed you were that strong.” Then he smirked. “ I find that both arousing, and disturbing at the same time.”

Allandra laughed. “Perhaps you should stick to doing the cooking then?” She suggested and leave the real work to me.” Jake laughed. “I think we should share that job, as well as this one, here help me move some more of these big ones.” Together they quickly cleared a campsite, and had taken the fallen beams and used them to close up holes in the walls. When they were done had made a little fort of sorts, and Jake backed the Ranger into the opening they had made, and covered the vehicle with a small olive green parachute he had picked up at the surplus store just for this exact job. Once covered it just looked like a dull lump that blended well into the debris of the barn.

He worked to build a fire while Allandra fetched firewood. There was a lot of wood in the ruined barn that could be burned as well. Darkness fell quickly so did the temperature, Jake could see his breath as the sun set, he slid closer to the fire as he prepared their dinner. Soon the only light to be seen was from their campfire reflected back at them by the stone walls of the ruined barn, he didn’t suggest they light a lantern, as it could have been seen from a long distance. Once the water was boiling he poured boiling water over the dry crumbling dehydrated food and closed the foil pouch for a few minutes.

Allandra watched the entire thing with a frown on her face. “that looks disgusting, maybe I should do the cooking after all.” Jake shook his head. “Give it a few minutes, you will be happy you did.” A few minutes later Allandra sniffed the air. “What is that smell?” She asked. “It smells wonderful.” Jake grinned. He took a moment to explain dehydrated food to her, and how it was made, then handed her a pouch of food and a spoon. She took a tentative bite as he explained what they were eating. “Its called lasagna, made from meat, cheese, and noodles made from wheat.” She nodded and groaned in pleasure as she chewed the first mouthful. “That sounds complicated, however it is delicious.” She scooped the hot food into her mouth and chewed happily, groaning in pleasure at the rich taste of it.

“It is so good.” She groaned. “A far cry from the dry tasteless traveling rations I am used to having while in the wilderness, those are mostly dried nuts, fruits, and meat, it is filling, but lacks taste. This is as good as, or even better than even the finest meals I have eaten in the capital.” Jake grinned. “Glad you like it.” She nodded. “You are a good cook, you will make someone a excellent wife some day.” She smirked at him. “Ha Ha.” Jake said. “So very funny.” She grinned. “Or perhaps a fine husband.” Jake sighed, looked away and became quiet. “Did I say something wrong?” She asked. Jake sighed again. “I was a husband once, it didn’t turn out so well.”

Allandra nodded in understanding. “Did your wife die then?” Jake shook his head. He told her about what happened, and the divorce. She spat in disgust. “I have never heard such a thing! What kind of woman behaves like that?” Jake shrugged. “It happens a lot in my world unfortunately, my story is not a rare occurrence.” Allandra looked at him with a soft expression. “Only a horrid creature, devoid of love and compassion could treat her husband so. I am sorry Jake, you deserve better.” Then she smiled. “You should take a wife from my world, no women from here would do that to her husband, even the unhappy ones loyalty is unquestionable.”

Jake sighed. “I don’t know if I’m really interested in dating again, much less marriage. My last wife and her bullshit broke me I think, every time I think about getting close to another woman it terrifies me.” Allandra watched him closely, then finally nodded. “You need to get back in the saddle my friend, you need to bed yourself a bunch of woman, there is nothing better for working through those kinds of issues than carefree sex.” She said. Jake shrugged. “I have not had sex in so long iv probably forgotten how.” He chuckled.

Suddenly he noticed Allandra seemed to be intently looking out into the darkness, and had placed a hand onto her swords grip. Jake pulled his rifle into his lap, but otherwise didn’t move. “What is it?” He whispered. “I thought I heard something.” She explained. “There.” She nodded slowly towards the way they had entered into the abandoned farm. Jake stood up and placed his rifle against his shoulder and flipped on the powerful tactical light that was mounted on the hand guard, instantly illuminating the entire area with the super bright light.

There in the beam of the light was a huge fat Opossum, rummaging through the leaves. Jake broke out laughing. “Yeah, hes a monster all right.” Allandra sighed in relief, and took her hand off her sword. “That light you have is amazing, never have I seen such a thing.” Jake grinned. “Nice right?” He rummaged into a pocket of his vest and handed her a small black object about the size of a finger. “Here, you can have this one.” He turned it on and a powerful beam of light cut through the night. “That button there turns it on and off.” She smiled in gratitude.” It is a wonderful gift, I do not know how I can repay you for such a thing.” Jake smiled. “No problem, its what friends do for each other.” Allandra smiled back. “Thank you, I’m sure it will come in very useful.” He nodded. “If you like that, then you will love the night vision goggles…”

The night passed without incident, and the next day they broke camp and followed the road south again, the road here had fewer trees in it and they were able to go a bit faster and cover a lot more ground. They stopped beside a stream for lunch and to stretch their legs for a bit.

“So.” Jake began. “Whats the deal with these Dwarves?  Why do they live so far out in the wilderness away from everyone else? Allandra Sighed. “It is a long painful story.” Jake shrugged. “Well make it short then.” She nodded. “Dwarves as a race have been used as slaves for thousands of years, as long as recorded history. They are mainly used for mining, as their being build shorter, and stockier than the other races makes them ideally suited for tight spaces, not to mention their natural almost supernatural ability to locate mineral deposits, it makes them very valuable.” Jake took a bite of his lunch and chewed slowly before swallowing. “Slavery is allowed here? That’s horrible.”

Allandra nodded. Yes, we have slavery here in various forms, mainly indentured servitude where people must work to pay off a debt that either they, or their family owes. The Dwarves however are the only race that is used as actual slaves. About a thousand years ago there was a major revolt where thousands of Dwarves rose up in defiance against their human owners. Those Dwarves abandoned civilization and fled into the wilderness. They were hunted by their owners, and some recaptured, but most of them were never found. Those that escaped capture were fortunate enough to discover a hidden valley out here, and they made it their home.

They built their own Dwarf Nation, called “Dwarf Haven.” A civilization they built with their bare hands, they have built cities, towns, and even their own army in that hidden valley. These Dwarves are legendary, and considered  heroes among the Dwarves still in captivity, and many of them each year try to escape into the wilderness to search for the hidden Dwarf Nation. Some succeed, and those that do are offered sanctuary by the the Dwarf Nation.” Jake swallowed a mouthful of water. “I would think the slave owners would occasionally try to find this Dwarf Nation, to destroy it.” Allandra nodded. “True, they have and they do, The Dwarf Nation deals with intruders most harshly, and their military forces are well trained, their main strength though is that their valley is well hidden, and well fortified.” Jake turned to look at her. “They deal with all intruders harshly? Why do I get the impression that they don’t like humans at all, and wont be happy to see me?|

Allandra shrugged. “They still occasionally deal with the Elves, as the Elves have traditionally frown upon slavery. We trade with them occasionally, and as a princess I have occasionally traveled there for diplomatic reasons, but no, they will likely not be happy to see a human.” Jake stood up and walked over to the Ranger, to get another drink out of the cooler. “So.” He said. “Why the hell are you taking me to meet people who wont want to meet me?”

Allandra turned to face Jake. She had many reasons for wanting Jake to meet the Dwarves, it was a big part of her plan for dealing with the coming trouble and assisting Jake, the warrior of legend. However she could tell him none of this just yet. She cleared her throat. “I believe you have much to offer each other, you have access to cheap steel, for example, and the Dwarves have manpower to offer you, which side steps your security issues with bringing more of your people here. They can supply the people to get that fortress repaired and up and running quickly, they are excellent miners and can mine large quantities of gold for you, as its valuable on your world, and they are also excellent blacksmiths and metal workers. In return you can pay them in steel, which they can forge into weapons which will give them a enormous military advantage over those who seek to enslave them. I do not believe they can afford to turn down your offer of friend ship, if you were to make them a deal such as I just mentioned. They would be fools if they did.”

Jake sighed. “So I wont be in any danger from them when we make contact? She shrugged. “Probably, yes. However I was planning on going in alone first to make contact and explain things before they see you, it will be much safer that way for everyone.” Jake grimaced. “I don’t like this at all, you should have told me about how they would react to my presence before we even left home. I feel like your playing with me.” Allandra shook her head. “No, Jake, I am not. I would not have suggested the meeting if I thought you would be in any real danger, and I did not think they would make you a excellent neighbor as well as a very strong ally.”

Jake considered what she had said carefully before he responded. “I will go ahead with this meeting this time Allandra.” He said. “However in the future I want the full story up front, and nothing kept from me. Do you understand? If this happens again its going to hurt our friendship very badly, I don’t tolerate lying, or abuse of my trust. Do you understand what I’m saying? She nodded. “Yes I think I do, and I am sorry if you felt I was keeping something from you, that was not my intention at all, I’m just not used to sharing what I’m thinking with others. I promise it will not happen again.” Jake nodded and patted her on the shoulder. “Good, I wont keep secrets from you, friends don’t do that to each other.”

Allandra turned away to get another bottle of water from the cooler and sighed as she did so. If he was upset over this small omission about the Dwarves, how would he handle the big secret she was keeping from him, that she knew he was the warrior from legend who would save them all? Not well she guessed. However her duty was to her people, and handling this just right would save possibly millions, and Jakes friendship paled in comparison to that. She must do her duty first and foremost.

The next morning after a few hours of driving Allandra held up her hand. “Stop here Jake.” She said. “We are nearing the entrance to the Dwarf valley, it is only a few miles ahead, it is not safe for you to get any closer.” She pointed to a clump of thicker brush about a hundred yards off the road. “Drive us behind that brush, and part there.” Jake turned the wheel and steered the six wheeled vehicle off the road, and parked behind the brush a minute later. “Now what?” He asked. Allandra had already climbed out of the vehicle and was strapping on her sword belt. “You wait here where you will be safe, and I will go to see the Dwarve’s alone. I will bring back a representative and you can introduce yourself, and make your offer to them. I expect they will be interested, and escort us back to their capital, so you can make the offer in person to their King.

Jake sighed. “Think it will be that quick and easy?” Allandra nodded. “Mostly. However it wont be quick, you can expect us to be in their capital for at least a week, possibly two weeks.” Jake sighed again. “That long, really?” Allandra nodded. “Yes. The Dwarve’s will need to debate your offer, the King will need to meet with his elders to do that before the official decision can be reached, and getting the elders together takes a few days. Then if they agree, there will be a celebration planned and you will be expected to attend, to not attend will be a great insult to them, so don’t even consider skipping it. However, we are getting the cart before the horse as it were, first I have to get a representative to agree to come out here with me, it wont be easy, but I know someone.”

Allandra grabbed her pack out of the back of the Ranger and pulled her arms through the straps, then picked up her bow. “It will take me a hour or more to get there, then wait a hour, and a hour back. So, to be safe expect me back here in four hours. It could be longer, but I will return. Make yourself comfortable, but keep your weapons close to hand, your eyes open and for the love of the goddess don’t kill any Dwarves.” Jake grinned. “Ill do my best.” Allandra rolled her eyes and slipped away through the woods silently as a deer, and was quickly gone from sight.

Jake sat in the seat of the ranger for a few hours or so and started to get hungry, just as he started to get out of his seat though, a noise in the distance froze him. Something big was headed his way as the sound of breaking branches got closer and closer. Suddenly something large came charging through the trees in his direction, giving him brief glimpses of something brown running in his direction. He grabbed his rifle and started to raise it, he saw a blur of fur and suddenly a huge animal burst from the brush nearby. It was past him before he could react, a musky animal smell filled his nostrils, and he could hear the animal breathing heavily as it passed him, no more than a dozen steps away. He exhaled the breath he had been holding as he realized it had just been a deer of some kind,  and not a bear or something worse.

He realized it had been a huge Elk that had to weigh close to a thousand pounds. The Elk tore ass through the woods and quickly was lost to view, no sign it had been there except for the occasional breaking branch as it fled into the distance.

Everything became very quiet as all the nearby wildlife, small birds and such were totally silent from the sudden disturbance. He realized with a start that something must have been chasing that Elk, and Just as he had that thought, and turned to look at its back trail a huge wolf ran past not far away, also heading in the direction the Elk had disappeared. Jake’s pulse raced at the sight of the huge wolf, but it was gone as quickly as the Elk.  His heart was pounding and he remembered the recent conversation that wolves around here were not always wolves and freaking werewolves actually existed. Could they come out in daylight, or were they night creatures as in movies?

He wished he had asked those questions now. Everything was silent for a few minutes, then just as the birds were beginning to sing again when a loud eerie howl echoed through the forest, from the direction the Elk, and Wolf had vanished. It was a very loud howl at that, and it cut through him and sent a powerful shiver down his spine, and goose bumps on his arms. The hair on the back of his neck stood up as the eerie sound awakened some ingrained deep seated biological fear from deep within him, something that was in his genes, a fear of predators that was passed down from his ancient ancestors of long ago.

A moment later that howl was answered with another howl indicating another wolf seemingly a long distance away, then several more howls were returned from even more wolves from different directions and distances, some of them quite close, with a shudder he realized a pack was coming this way. He grabbed his tactical vest and pulled it on quickly and glanced around frantically looking for something. He spotted what he was looking for off to his right not far away and he took of at a sprint for the huge old oak tree.

He crashed through a few bushes and was quickly at the massive old tree, it was simply enormous and had to be many hundreds of years old. He chose this tree for its many limbs one of which was almost touching the ground, as he ran towards the massive low hanging limb more howls echoed through the forest several very close by now, he had little time left. Jake bunny hopped and grabbed the thick limb as he smashed his stomach into it, for a terrifying moment nothing happened as he fought to pull himself up, and fear coursed through him that he was about to fall backwards onto the ground. He pulled harder and realized his vest was hung on the branch, he wriggled his stomach and the vest pulled free and he pulled himself up onto the branch. Just as he was pulling his leg up something slammed into his foot and almost pulled him off the branch.

He fought for balance and yanked his foot onto the huge branch, he stood on the wide chunk of wood and carefully started walking quickly up the massive tree limb, gaining height away from the ground. He kept all his focus on the branch ignoring whatever had attacked him, below he could hear brush breaking and angry enraged growls. He stopped when the huge limb reached the main tree trunk and formed a wife flat spot, he turned around and knelt in the spot and glanced back the way he had come. Jake gazed downward at a enormous black wolf, who was staring back at him. It was huge, black and its fur was bristling as it growled at him. The huge wolf sniffed the air, and looked around, then with a short powerful leap it jumped for the low limb in the same spot Jake had climbed onto it. The Wolf scrambled for a grip but slid off the other side of the branch and landed in a bush on the ground. Jake laughed out loud at it, and the creature snarled in anger almost like it understood what his laughter meant. It spun around and made a second attempt but this time its front paws scrambled for purchase but could not quite get its back legs up, and fell back to the ground a second time. The Wolf sat on its haunches and stared at him as it growled a low menacing growl deep in its throat. Jake grinned. “Jake Reynolds wont be your dinner today Mr Wolf.” He patted his rifle for emphasis. “I could kill you right now with this weapon, and I will if you force me. However I have no quarrel with you, and mean you no harm.”

The massive black wolf obviously didn’t understand him, but talking to it made Jake feel better. The animal bared its large teeth and kept staring at him for a long moment. Off in the distance from the direction the Elk had fled, came another long drawn out howl, followed by a momentary high pitched squeal Jake recognized as a Elk bugle, the wolves must have caught the poor animal. The wolf ignored the howl and the  Elks bugle and instead kept staring at Jake as it licked its chops. Jake pointed his rifle in the direction of the Elk. “Sounds like your Wolf buddies caught that Elk, you better haul ass over there if you want a bite, before they eat all of it.”

The Huge Wold glanced quickly in the direction Jake had pointed almost like it had actually understood him. What a stupid idea he thought to himself, animals don’t understand English. That didn’t stop him from continuing to urge the huge predator to leave however. “They are going to eat all of that delicious Elk without you. Mr Wolf.” He taunted. The huge black Wolf glanced back at him quickly, it growled a long menacing growl at him while showing its huge wicked teeth even more than before, and then did something that totally stunned him. It took one of its massive paws and pulled it slowly across its throat in the universal sign for, “You’re dead.”

Jake was shaken by that gesture. He blinked in astonishment, sure he had been mistaken at what he thought he had seen. The huge Wolf seemed to grin at him at his startled reaction. “No way.” He exclaimed. You cant understand what I’m saying to you, can you?” The wolf took its massive head and slowly nodded its head up and down, and then repeated the paw across the throat gesture again as it stared at him. It leaned its head back and let out a long mournful howl, turned and ran off at full speed in the direction of the Elk. A stunned Jake watched the strange Wolf as it entered thicker woods and vanish from sight and only after it was gone from view did he consider that maybe he should have killed it when he had the chance. Did he just make a dangerous enemy? He wondered. His heart suddenly started racing and his entire body started shaking as a shot of adrenaline hit him hard from the recent encounter.

He slid down the tree trunk onto his butt and placed his back against the tree, as he had no intention of climbing down anytime soon. He turned his head to get a better look at the foot the Wolf had hit while he was climbing and was startled to see a deep gash and teeth marks running down both sides of his heavy leather boot. The Wolf had tried to rip his foot off, and likely the only thing that had saved him was the fact it apparently didn’t get a good grip on his foot with its teeth to do it. He breathed a sigh of relief however as he discovered its teeth had not penetrated his combat boot, nor break the skin of its foot inside it. Had that been a fucking werewolf? He asked himself. He took a shaking hand pulled out a canteen and gulped a deep drink of water, choking on some of it in the process. Jake stayed in the tree for a long time, too scared to climb back down.

“Something brushed against his cheek gently, and Jake shot upright in a panic fighting to raise his rifle. A strong hand pushed him back against the tree trunk pinning his struggling body firmly in place and simultaneously ripped his rifle out of his grasp. In a panic he reached for his pistol with his free hand while looking up at his attacker, a foot pinned his hand in place on the grip of his pistol preventing him from drawing it, and at the same time he found himself looking into the large blue eyes if Allandra. Jake froze for a moment, but then relaxed his body back against the tree and breathed a huge sigh of relief that it was her, and not something… worse.

“Be thy well, Jake?” She asked him, with concern in his eyes. “The stench of Wolf is upon thee, what happened here?” Jake felt like he was being pulled into her eyes, unable to look away. “You’re hurting me Allandra.” She smiled slightly in embarrassment and the pressure on him eased. She removed her foot from his hand, laid his rifle across his lap and leaned back in a squat that left her looking eye to eye with him. “My apologies to you, I only intended to restrain you from harming me when you woke in such a panic. Startling you had not been my intention.” Jake nodded. “Its okay. I understand, and you did the right thing. I had a very unsettling encounter with a Wolf while you were gone, and no telling what I might have done when you woke me up.”

Allandra nodded. “Aye, these Wolves do not be like your own from what I have seen, the ones here are often more than wolf. Tell me what happened.” Jake retold the story in detail. “ Lucky you be.” Allandra said. “Had it gotten a good grip on your foot, we would likely not be talking right now, as ya would be in the wolfs belly.” Jake shivered at the comment. “Tell the rest.” She encouraged him. “It be good for ye, methinks.” Jake nodded and told the rest. “That’s it.” He said. “When the Wolf did the throat cutting motion it really freaked me out.” Allandra shook her head. “Thou art Either very brave or a fool for taunting the Wolf folk, and from the looks of thee, and your shaking, id say ye be a fool.”

Jake turned angry. “I’m not a fool or a coward, how the fuck was I supposed to know there were intelligent Wolves here who could understand what I was saying?! Had I known that, I would have said something different.” She shrugged her shoulders. “No matter, the die is cast now, what will be, will be.” Jake nodded. “Well at least its gone now, it will probably forget all about me once its belly is full of Elk.” Allandra nodded. “Hopefully.” She said. She leaned her head sideways indicating he look at something. “There be business to attend to.” He looked down and saw a heavily bearded man standing below them watching them intently. “ Jake nodded at the man, who nodded back. “Allandra went to stand and Jake grasp her arm holding her in place. “What do you mean hopefully?”

He asked as he stared into her deep blue eyes and she stared back into his. She shrugged her shoulders, and spoke softly to him, almost gently as if she might pity him. “Sometimes…The Wolves…they… hold a grudge when insulted.” She said. A entire pack will take offense when a member is insulted, and take the offense upon all of them. They have been known to harass those who have insulted a pack member for many years, and do everything possible to make their lives…miserable. Kill their livestock, destroy their crops, kill their children, and maim the one who offended them, but never kill them. They want them to suffer.” Jake exhaled heavily. “Son of a bitch.” He exclaimed. “I think I really fucked up.” He said. I should have killed that Wolf when I had the chance.”

Allandra nodded. “Aye, ye should have. It be too late now, as the pack knows as well, killing the black Wolf now would accomplish nothing, but bring more retribution upon thee.” She smiled a small smile. “They do not always do this.” She continued. “They might let it pass, or have more important things to worry over. Nothing more may come of it.” Jake shook his head. “No I think it will.” He nodded to the woods behind her. Allandra turned just in time to see a enormous black Wolf watching them intently from the forest nearby. The massive Wolf gave a loud huffing sound, and vanished into the forest before either of them could move. She turned back to Jake. “Aye, ye be fucked.” She breathed. “Best we leave from this place quickly.”

Jake dropped from the branch onto the ground and followed Allandra over to the man who Jake realized must be a Dwarf. The man was maybe five feet tall, stocky and heavily muscled. He had brown eyes, long brown hair and a huge bushy black beard just like he had stepped out of a dungeons and dragons story line. He was wearing leather pants, a leather vest, white shirt and a wide leather belt from which hung a sword. “Allandra nodded to the Dwarf. “Thoran Stonecutter, let me introduce Jake Reynolds, the man I spoke about. Come, we must depart this place at once, we can talk on the move.”

The dwarf looked at her with obvious annoyance. “I do not take orders from you Elf. Princess or not, you have no power here, nor over me.” Allandra looked at him and whispered. “He offended the pack while I was gone, I just saw one of the pact over there a moment ago.” She nodded to the woods to her right. “The Dwarf turned pale, and looked at Jake with a odd expression that was part anger and part pity. “Blast ye, ye damn fool.” He nodded. “Aye, we should leave at once.” Allandra nodded. “Follow us, we have…transportation.”

Thoran looked at the contraption before him with suspicion and disbelief. Then when Jake started the engine he stepped away from the grumbling machine with a slightly fearful look in his eyes. “Allandra climbed into the passenger seat next to Jake. “Get in Thoran.” She urged. “It is perfectly safe, we must leave.” Thoran took another step away from the infernal contraption and shook his head.” Nay. Tis not natural, Walk I will, before getting into… that… that… infernal contraption.” Allandra shrugged. “Have it you’re way.” She nodded for Jake to drive and he applied gas moving the vehicle forward. Somewhere very close by a Wolf howled, which was quickly answered by many more howls all around them. A shiver ran up Jakes spine, and every fiber of his being screamed to stomp on the gas and get the fuck out of here.

Allandra yelled to be heard over the engine. “The pack comes ! Come along, or die here Thoran, the choice is yours, but we are leaving! She said. She urged Jake to move faster. “Go Jake! Get us away from here ! Go ! Go!” Jake stepped harder on the gas, and the howls grew quickly louder, the sheer noise was incredible, and it actually drowned out the engine noise it was so loud as the howling sound echoed through his head. He twisted the steering wheel turning the Ranger onto the old road towards the Dwarf settlement and as he stepped on the gas, just as the ranger began accelerating the machine jerked as something heavy hit it, and he stomped the gas to the floor as he glanced behind him in a panic.

He caught a glimpse of short stubby legs kicking in the air, from where the Dwarf had dived into the back of the ranger and as holding on for dear life. Dark shapes loped through the trees around them, as the pack moved in, and Jake floored the vehicle, rapidly accelerating to their top speed as he recklessly drove around obstacles that were in the road slinging dirt and mud every which way in the process. They drove for several miles like this before the Wolf pack finally tired and fell behind them and were gone from sight. Jake slowed a little to prevent wrecking the vehicle but kept the speed up as much as possible.
Link Posted: 2/20/2019 6:59:06 PM EDT
[#35]
Thanks @buck19delta. Good read.
Link Posted: 2/21/2019 8:37:18 AM EDT
[#36]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By zoe17:
Thanks @buck19delta. Good read.
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Yes, Thank you Good Sir!  (may we have another?)
Link Posted: 2/22/2019 6:58:57 PM EDT
[#37]
@buck19delta, have any story updates for the weekend?

Thanks.
Link Posted: 2/28/2019 12:30:34 PM EDT
[#38]
sorry I have not posted much lately. had a lot of freaking sinus headaches. the story is moving though, and im pretty happy with it. needs cleaning up, but I like how its going.

“Something brushed against his cheek gently, and Jake shot upright in a panic fighting to raise his rifle. A strong hand pushed him back against the tree trunk pinning his struggling body firmly in place and simultaneously ripped his rifle out of his grasp. In a panic he reached for his pistol with his free hand while looking up at his attacker, a foot pinned his hand in place on the grip of his pistol preventing him from drawing it, and at the same time he found himself looking into the large blue eyes if Allandra. Jake froze for a moment, but then relaxed his body back against the tree and breathed a huge sigh of relief that it was her, and not something… worse.

“Be thy well, Jake?” She asked him, with concern in his eyes. “The stench of Wolf is upon thee, what happened here?” Jake felt like he was being pulled into her eyes, unable to look away. “You’re hurting me Allandra.” She smiled slightly in embarrassment and the pressure on him eased. She removed her foot from his hand, laid his rifle across his lap and leaned back in a squat that left her looking eye to eye with him. “My apologies to you, I only intended to restrain you from harming me when you woke in such a panic. Startling you had not been my intention.” Jake nodded. “Its okay. I understand, and you did the right thing. I had a very unsettling encounter with a Wolf while you were gone, and no telling what I might have done when you woke me up.”

Allandra nodded. “Aye, these Wolves do not be like your own from what I have seen, the ones here are often more than wolf. Tell me what happened.” Jake retold the story in detail. “ Lucky you be.” Allandra said. “Had it gotten a good grip on your foot, we would likely not be talking right now, as ya would be in the wolfs belly.” Jake shivered at the comment. “Tell the rest.” She encouraged him. “It be good for ye, methinks.” Jake nodded and told the rest. “That’s it.” He said. “When the Wolf did the throat cutting motion it really freaked me out.” Allandra shook her head. “Thou art Either very brave or a complete fool for taunting the Wolf folk, from the looks of thee, and your shaking body, id say ye be a fool.”

Jake turned angry. “I’m not a fool or a coward, how the fuck was I supposed to know there were intelligent Wolves here who could understand what I was saying?! Had I known that, I would have said something different.” She shrugged her shoulders. The Wold packs are not true Wolves as you might think, many packs have inbred with mixbreed werewolves through the ages bringing human, Elf, and Dwarf level intelligence into the formerly pure bred Wolf packs. Pack leaders are always the strongest and smartest among them, it is wise to assume every Wolf you encounter here is as intelligent as you are, and likely even more so.” Jake shook his head in frustration. “Great, I wish I had known this earlier.” Allandra shrugged. “No matter, the die is cast now, what will be, will be.” Jake nodded. “Well at least its gone now, it will probably forget all about me once its belly is full of Elk.” Allandra nodded. “Mayhap.” She said. She leaned her head sideways indicating he look at something. “There be business to attend to.” He looked down and saw a heavily bearded man standing below them watching them intently. “ Jake nodded at the man, who nodded back. “Allandra went to stand and Jake grasp her arm holding her in place. “What do you mean mayhap? Does that mean hopefully? You mean they might not forget about it?”

He asked as he stared into her deep blue eyes and she stared back into his. She shrugged her shoulders, and spoke softly to him, almost gently as if she might pity him. “Sometimes…The Wolves…they… hold a grudge when insulted.” She said. A entire pack will take offense when a member is insulted, and take the offense upon all of them. They have been known to harass those who have insulted a pack member for many years, and do everything possible to make their lives…miserable. Kill their livestock, destroy their crops, kill their children, and maim the one who offended them, but never kill them. They want them to suffer.” Jake exhaled heavily. “Son of a bitch.” He exclaimed. “I think I really fucked up.” He said. I should have killed that Wolf when I had the chance.”

Allandra nodded. “Aye, ye should have. It be too late now, as the pack knows as well, killing the black Wolf now would accomplish nothing, but bring more retribution upon thee.” She smiled a small smile. “They do not always do this.” She continued. “They might let it pass, or have more important things to worry over. Nothing more may come of it.” Jake shook his head. “No I think it will.” He nodded to the woods behind her. Allandra turned just in time to see a enormous black Wolf watching them intently from the forest nearby. The massive Wolf gave a loud huffing sound, and vanished into the forest before either of them could move. She turned back to Jake. “Aye, ye be fucked.” She breathed. “Best we leave from this place quickly.”

Jake dropped from the branch onto the ground and followed Allandra over to the man who Jake realized must be a Dwarf. He looked a lot like a short stocky human, the only thing that suggested otherwise was his nose. The bridge of the mans nose featured several odd looking ridges that ran from the tip of his nose to his brow. He wondered if they were a typical Dwarf feature, or if this man was different for some reason. He tried not to stare at the mans ridged nose it lest he offend him.

The man was maybe five feet tall at most, stocky build and heavily muscled. He had brown eyes, long brown hair and a huge bushy black beard just like he had stepped out of a fantasy novel. He was wearing leather pants, a leather vest, white shirt and a wide leather belt from which hung a short sword made of bronze, and gripped in his hand was a short double bladed bronze ax. “Allandra nodded to the Dwarf. “Thoran Stonecutter, let me introduce Jake Reynolds, the human I spoke about. Come, we must depart this place at once, we can talk on the move.”

The Dwarf looked at her with obvious annoyance. “I do not take orders from you Elf. Princess or not, you have no power here, nor over me.” Allandra looked at him and whispered. “He offended the pack while I was gone, I just saw one of them over there a moment ago.” She nodded to the woods to her right. “The Dwarf turned pale, and looked at Jake with a odd expression that was part anger and part pity. “Blast ye, ye damn fool.” He nodded at Allandra. “Aye, we should leave this place at once.” Allandra nodded. “Follow us, we have…transportation.”

Thoran looked at the contraption before him with suspicion and disbelief. Then when Jake started the engine he stepped away from the grumbling machine with a slightly fearful look in his eyes. “It be possessed!” He exclaimed. “Allandra climbed into the passenger seat next to Jake. “Get in Thoran.” She urged. “It is perfectly safe, we must leave.” Thoran took another step away from the infernal contraption and shook his head. “Nay. Tis not natural, Walk I will, before getting into… that… that… thing.” Allandra shrugged. “Have it you’re way.” She nodded for Jake to drive and he applied gas moving the vehicle slowly forward. Somewhere very close by a loud Wolf howl echoed through the forest, which was quickly answered by many more howls all around them, all very close by. A shiver ran up Jake’s spine, and every fiber of his being screamed to stomp on the gas and get the fuck out of here.

Allandra yelled to be heard over the engine. “The pack comes ! Come along Thoran, or die here! The choice is yours, but we are leaving!” She said. She urged Jake to move faster. “Flee Jake! Get us away from here quickly! Go ! Go!” Jake stepped harder on the gas, and the Wolf howls grew quickly louder, the sheer noise was incredible, and it actually drowned out the engine noise with its intensity as the howling sound echoed through his head. He twisted the steering wheel turning the Ranger onto the old road towards the Dwarf settlement and he stepped on the gas, just as the ranger began accelerating the machine jerked as something heavy hit it, and he stomped the gas to the floor as he glanced behind him in a panic.

He caught a glimpse of short stubby legs kicking in the air from where the Dwarf had dived into the back of the ranger and was holding on to the cargo strapsfor dear life. Dark shapes loped through the trees around them as the pack moved in, and Jake floored the vehicle, causing it to rapidly accelerate down the over grown roadway. They quickly hit their top speed of almost sixty miles per hour as he recklessly drove around obstacles that were in the road ,slinging dirt and mud every which way in the process. The rugged off road vehicle bounced over the rough ground violently and he prayed they didn’t break down, or crash with the wolves so close to them. They drove for several miles like this before the Wolf pack finally tired and fell away behind them and were soon gone from sight. Jake slowed a little to prevent wrecking the vehicle but kept the speed up as much as possible to keep putting distance between them.

A little while later Allandra yelled to be heard over the racing engine. “ Turn your vehicle here, we need to go this way!” She pointed her finger to the right. Jake nodded, stomped on the brakes and twisted the steering wheel. The six wheel drive vehicle was quick to respond and all six tires ripped at the ground as they powered through the tight turn. He stepped on the gas pedal and the vehicle surged forward putting the main road behind them. This side trail was covered in leaves and didn’t look as if anyone had traveled it in a long time. Jake had to slow the vehicle to a crawl in order to safely maneuver past fallen branches, and trees, they traveled for almost a mile this way and just ahead of them Jake could see the sheer wall of a cliff rising high above them when Allandra tapped him on his shoulder to get his attention.

“Stop here, Jake.” She said. “Tis not safe to proceed further.” She gestured at the Dwarf clinging to the back of the vehicle. “Not until Prince Thoran here notifies the guards we are friends and not foes.” She nodded ahead at the wall of rock. “We be watched even now, id advice against sudden moves, lest ye attract arrows.” Jake nodded, but didn’t see any evidence of guards, a road or even anything which suggested anything was here at all. The vehicle shifted as the Dwarf climbed out of the back of the off road vehicle, and planted his feet onto the ground. He smoothed out his wrinkled clothing, and walked forward slowly, careful to keep his hands away from his body. He stepped slowly up to the rock wall and seemed to be talking to himself.

Jake kept glancing in the rear view mirror, worried he would see a wolf appear at anytime, if they didn’t get moving soon it was quite possible the wolf pack would catch up to them at any moment. Just as Jake began to be concerned the Dwarf walked back to the vehicle, except this time indicated Allandra should scoot over so he could sit in the front seat. She slid over next to Jake, placing her body against his to make room for Thoran. The Dwarf climbed in and sat down. “Ahhh. Thats much more comfortable, sorry but I refuse to return to my home looking like a piece of cargo strapped to the back of a wagon.” Jake sighed. “What home? All I see is a rock wall.” Just as he finished saying that a rumbling sound started and a huge thick section of rock wall slid slowly sideways, revealing a dark tunnel.

“Proceed slowly.” Thoran instructed, there are a few dangerous spots in the tunnel that must be navigated carefully.” Jake nodded, he flipped on the headlights and drove slowly forward. Just before he stepped on the gas a loud Wolf howl echoed through the woods around them, the pack was very close. Jake gave the vehicle gas and quickly drove into the tunnel, and a moment later the rumbling sound started and the light from outside disappeared. “Hopefully the Wolves get bored and leave after a few days.” Jake suggested hopefully as he steered the vehicle carefully down the tunnel.” Allandra turned to look at him. “Mayhap.” Was all she said, which did little to ease his new Wolf driven anxiety.

“Ye need not worry about Wolves while ye be the guests of the Dwarve’s” Thoran said proudly. “Dwarf Havens defenses be impregnable. I would not get comfortable if I were ye.” Thoran turned and looked directly at Allandra as he spoke. “Ye wont be here more than a hour at most be my guess, its only by official Royal request of her highness here. You are being allowed in at all” Thoran’s voice turned menacing. “That is if we allow you to leave at all.” Jake glanced at Allandra. “Just great. You could have just killed me yourself while I slept, no need to bring me all the way here to get murdered by these grumpy Dwarve’s.”

Thoran guffed. “Aye, would have been best fer everyone.” Allandra elbowed Jake in his side. “I spoke the truth Jake, this be a good move.” She eyed Thoran. “Despite what Prince Thoran is implying, ye be quite safe. Dwarve’s or not, they must follow protocol, ye be my guest, and as such be given every hospitality I myself receive. Should they fail to do so, or allow you to come to harm while under their hospitality it would be a great insult to the Elves, a serious blow to them diplomatically, not to mention a serious embarrassment to all Dwarve’s sense of honor. You are quite safe here, it is Thoran who should be worried, were I to report his rude behavior it would go poorly for him.” She turned to look directly at the dwarf prince. “Mayhap he should appologize to ye, before things go farther.” Thoran glared back at her for a moment, but then he looked away and exhaled heavily. “Aye, it would. My apologies to ye human.” He took a moment to take a deep breath with a look of pain as he said the next part. “I mean no disrespect to ye, only foolin about as it were, why should I harbor anger over my peoples enslavement at the hands of humans?” Allandra interrupted him. “I suggest we call it good with the apology, and move on. I see no reason to report any disrespect to the King if none occurs henceforth.” Jake could cut the tension in the air with a knife. What the hell had he allowed Allandra to get him into?

The tunnel was easily twice as large as the Polaris ranger, probably large enough for a deuce and a half military cargo truck, which could be a very useful feature in the future, he noted mentally. The tunnel was carved from the living rock, and from the look of it had been carved entirely by hand, a impressive work of engineering that must have taken many years to accomplish. At regular intervals bright beams of bright sunlight came out of the ceiling helping to illuminate the dark passage, also at regular intervals the bottom of heavy metal portcullis protruded from the ceiling.

The portcullis was basically a heavy metal gate that could be lowered from the ceiling to seal off the passage and stop attackers in their tracks sealing them in to prevent them from advancing or retreating. He glanced at one of the sun lights and noticed a heavy metal grate covered it preventing anyone from attempting to climb up the shaft to the surface. He realized with a sudden start what the holes in the ceiling were for. They were not sun lights at all as he had first thought, in reality they were what medieval people had called murder holes and sunlight was only a side benefit to their true purpose.

While the sunlight was definitely useful for lighting the tunnel, he guessed the true use for the holes could be to pour boiling flaming oil onto attackers trapped in the tunnel. The thought of being a soldier trying to attack down this narrow tunnel of solid rock, and having those heavy portcullis drop blocking the tunnel while boiling flaming oil poured down upon him sent a uneasy shiver down his spine. The boiling oil would turn the tunnel into a slaughter house, or a better comparison he supposed, was a crematorium. It would was a extremely brutal defensive tactic he thought from a human perspective, but his military mind approved of it as in addition to being brutal it would be extremely effective as well.

He would damn sure hate to be one of the people who had to attack through that fucking thing however. They drove for several hundred more yards past at least a dozen more murder holes and several more portcullis gates when suddenly Thoran advised him to slow down even more. He soon saw why as the tunnel opened up slightly into a larger room, and he discovered they were about to cross a bridge. The bridge was about fifty yards long and constructed from heavy wood beams. While driving across the bridge the roar of fast flowing water came from far below them, as well as a strong cool misty breeze. They were driving over a underground river, which was both cool, and another excellent defensive feature, if the bridge were burned it would be a extremely difficult obstacle to surmount he knew. The tunnel turned to the right slightly and ahead of them he could see sunlight, which indicated they were about to exit the tunnel finally. Sure enough a few moments later the vehicle exited the tunnel and entered a small grass filled valley with steep rock walls on each side. He squinted his eyes against the bright sunlight and realized they were not rock walls at all, but instead tall grey stone walls. They were not in a valley at all, but in a man made holding area, a kind of entry control point of some kind. A heavy stone door slid closed behind them with a rumble sealing the tunnel off, in front of them was a heavy gate that kept them from exiting forward.

The tall stone moss covered walls had dozens of arrow slits cut into them from which he imagined crossbow armed soldiers could fill invaders full of holes, glancing to the top of the walls revealed dozens of crossbow armed, grim faced Dwarf soldiers pointing their weapons at them. Even with modern weapons this would be a tough nut to crack without heavy casualties. Thoran slowly held his hand up in a stopping motion. “Do not make any sudden movements.” He said. “I must speak to their commander, they will not be happy to see a human. Not happy at all.” Jake nodded. “No argument from me, not moving a muscle.” He replied.

Thoran slowly climbed out of the vehicle and walked to the massive gate, a small man sized door opened in the stone wall and a dwarf dressed in gleaming copper armor stepped out to face him. They were talking to each other in some odd sounding language that sounded something like a record player being played in reverse, which reminded him a lot of Russian. The Dwarf commander was gesturing wildly with his arms and pointing towards Jake. Thoran raised his voice and bellowed back at the man gesturing with his arms as well.

The heated argument went on for a few seconds, when the Dwarf in the shining armors body language changed. Jake had spent a lot of time in the military and he could tell Thoran had just pulled rank on the Dwarf commander, by the way the man suddenly exhaled, and he slouched slightly as he admitted defeat, not because his argument was faulty, but by being simply outranked, it was a bitter pill to swallow and he felt a kinship with the soldier at that moment, as he had many similar experiences himself.

He might be in charge of this gate, and even have a god argument for refusing entry to Jake, but he was outranked by a royal Prince. The commander nodded at Thoran, and the rattle of metal striking metal reached them as the man hit himself in the breastplate with a closed fist. Thoran returned the gesture by hitting himself in the chest with his own closed fist. Jake figured it It must have been some kind of military style salute for these people. The commander shouted towards the top of the wall and he stepped back through the door he had entered and slammed it behind him. A moment later the huge gate in front of them cracked apart, and was slowly pulled open. Thoran climbed back into the vehicle and nodded forward. “You may proceed Human, but go slowly, we will have a full company of Knights to accompany us and we do not wish to startle them, having a human here will be stressful enough, we do not wish to give anyone a reason to…overreact.”

A hundred fully armed and armored Dwarf Knights, half of them riding in front of them and the other half riding behind them escorted them away from the gate and towards a fortified city high on a hill in the distance. Jake didn’t know if he should feel good about the one hundred man escort and consider it a sign of respect, or be worried and consider it a sign of hostility. He was well armed with his modern weapons, but even with them fighting a hundred armed soldiers at close range would likely not end well for him. There was little he could do about it right now he realized, so might as well just try to relax. The valley opened up ahead of them and extended far to the right and left of them as far as he could see, ahead of them were the usual snow covered mountains that rose high above them disappearing into the cloud cover. They drove slowly down a stone paved country road as they traveled, the stone was flat and closely fitted resulting in a smooth road very much like pavement.

The road was lined with fruit trees of several types, and he could see apples, pears, and plums as he drove, the air had a sweet smell to it from all the heavily laden fruit trees. They passed fields of various crops, as well as other fields filled with livestock of all kinds. Jake saw cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs as well as chickens when they came close to homes. He saw many homes as they drove, most of which seemed to be farm homes, featuring the usual farm houses and barns and other outbuildings the farmers needed for farming activities.

There were the occasional people in the fields tending the crops, or herding livestock and they all stopped and stared as Jake drove past in the ranger, obviously the first non horse powered vehicle they had ever laid eyes on, he was likely making history here right now in more ways than one. He had to admit the Dwarve’s had themselves a beautiful country here, and he was greatly enjoying seeing it, it reminded him a lot of fantasy movies he had seen before, such as lord of the rings and other such fantasy movies. The city on the hill grew closer and looked like something straight from the medieval age, built entirely from a grey stone and heavy timbers. The main gates of the city could be seen as their highly polished copper clad doors reflected the late afternoon sun brightly.

Thoran pointed at the town. “ That town is called Mill Creek.” He said proudly. “It was the first city founded in Dwarf Haven and its also our capital city, as well as the largest town in the entire valley. This valley is home to over one hundred thousand free Dwarve’s.” He said proudly. Jake thought the place looked prosperous, the livestock looked healthy, and farmers were busy planting their fields. “How much land do your farmers plant with crops?” He asked. “Thoran smiled. “Man thousands of hectares.” He replied. The crops change based on what the land owner thinks will be needed most and will earn the best money that year.” Jake thought for a moment. “Do you mean what the farmer thinks will sell best, don’t the farmers own the land they farm?”

Thoran laughed. “ Heavens No! Farmers do not own the land. Land is owned by the King, and what is not owned by the King, is owned by Royalty. Dukes, Barons, and Lords own the land under the farms, and towns, and homes. People pay rent to their betters, for the privilege of living on their lands. There are many ways to pay rent however. Farmers for example usually pay their rent with a portion of their crop, usually fifty percent, what is left they keep to feed themselves, or sell. They enjoy their lords protections, and pay them for the benefits they receive.” Jake frowned at hearing this. He was about to tell Thoran what he thought of their system, but didn’t have the chance as Allandra elbowed him and whispered into his ear. “ You seek to debate him on this. Do not, it will end poorly and we are here for a reason, remember?” Jake sighed heavily and simply nodded. Jake cleared his throat. “ Its a beautiful country you have here. Prince Thoran, your people should be proud they have done so well for themselves.” Thoran looked at Jake with a sneer. “Aye, we have done well for ourselves, In spite of the efforts of Humans such as yourself, and your endless efforts to recapture us, and return us to serving under the whip in their mines.”

Jake stomped the brake hard bringing the vehicle to a sudden stop and throwing Thoran and Allandra forward till they almost hit the dash, both of them looked around in surprise trying to figure out why they had stopped so suddenly, the mounted Knights riding close behind them yanked hard on their reigns as they fought to stop their horses, resulting in a small scene of chaos for a moment as they fought to control their neighing horses. Jake stuck his finger in Thorans face and spoke in a soft but firm voice.

“You listen to me, Prince Thoran. I have never condoned the slavery of any people, and I am disgusted and highly offended by the mere accusation of such a thing. My ancestors fought and died in a great war several hundred years ago to rid my own homeland of slavery, and to free those slaves. I will not sit here and have you speak ill of their noble sacrifice, by implying I their ancestor, support slavery in any form. Do, you understand? Accuse me of supporting slavery again and we will settle it with our fists, prince or not, we will fight. Do you understand?”

Thoran was surprised at the quiet rage the human was projecting, most humans would openly admit to supporting dragging everyone from Dwarf Haven back into bondage, the few that didn’t support it would remain silent. He had never head of a human who openly spoke against slavery, much less being offended by the accusation of it. Allandra elbowed Jake again and whispered urgently in his ear. “Ye be insulting these Knights Royal Prince, they will fight to defend his person guest or not !”

Jake glanced back at the knights and realized he had apparently spoken a little louder than he had meant to, and many of the closest knights had apparently heard what he said. He saw them looking angrily at him, with weapons gripped in white knuckles, ready to draw them. He turned back to Thoran. “Do we understand each other, Prince Thoran?” Thoran nodded. “Aye lad, I think we do.” Jake turned and stepped on the gas again.

The city was surrounded by a high defensive wall, and in the center was a castle, the towers of it rose high above the city and long colorful streaming banners fluttered from the tips of the towers. People were streaming into and out of the city by the main gates, the knights turned away from the main gate however, and went around the side of the city. They followed the road around and soon and approached another smaller gate into the city, this one seemingly closer to the castle than the main gate had been, probably a military only gate he thought. Their procession entered through the gate and the gate guards gawked openly at them as they passed by in their off road vehicle.

The engines noise echoed loudly off the stone city walls as they drove along which brought everyone out of their homes and shops to see what the strange noise was. The entire city seemed to come out to watch them pass which gave Jake a good look at what Dwarve’s were really like. He got to see Dwarves from all walks of life. He saw soldiers dressed in their armor, he saw what must be the wealthy people dressed in their fine colorful clothing of soft fabrics and fine leather, he saw the poor dressed in their much less fine clothing, consisting mostly of rough spun looking drab colored fabrics, and battered looking leather. The men were all much the same, bearded, stocky, heavily muscled and standing around four and a half feet tall on average.

The woman were short as well, but they were not nearly as stocky as the men, he found many of them to be fairly attractive except for the odd ridges on their noses, your average dwarf would not look out of place back in the United States. All of them openly gaped at him and his vehicle as they drove past, he supposed they made quite a sight. A human man, sitting next to a Elf princess, and a Dwarf prince, escorted by a hundred armored soldiers. The people began talking to each other and not long after someone pointed at him and yelled something, the crowd around them began to look less friendly.

Allandra leaned over and spoke to him. “The Dwarve’s just realized a human is driving the strange vehicle, its going to get interesting now, be alert.” The noise of the crowd increased greatly as people talked among themselves as they apparently realized Jake was a human, the mounted Knights split apart and riders placed themselves on both sides of the ranger Jake was driving, placing themselves between the crowd and Jake’s vehicle. The crowd began shouting and sounded a bit angry but just then the procession passed through another wall through a gate that separated the castle from the city, and they left the shouting people behind them.

They continued through several more gates and walls until they ended up in a small stone walled courtyard that featured several small buildings one of which was a stable on one end of it, directly across from the stable were a pair of huge wooden doors mounted on the side of the main castle building. Thoran climbed out of the ranger and stood to one side. “If you would please follow me, I will take you to your quarters so you may be refreshed from your journey.”
Link Posted: 2/28/2019 7:23:49 PM EDT
[#39]
Thanks for the updates @buck19delta. Do you already have more written?
Link Posted: 2/28/2019 8:18:49 PM EDT
[#40]
When can I buy it on Amazon?
Link Posted: 2/28/2019 11:22:36 PM EDT
[#41]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By DFARM:
When can I buy it on Amazon?
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Probably be a while !  Lol
Link Posted: 3/1/2019 6:02:10 AM EDT
[#42]
awesome, thanks for the update. I love the story and have read every time you've posted.
Link Posted: 3/1/2019 11:19:09 AM EDT
[#43]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By 2T2_Crash:
awesome, thanks for the update. I love the story and have read every time you've posted.
View Quote
I agree!  Keep up the good work Sir!
Link Posted: 3/1/2019 1:50:31 PM EDT
[#44]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By GreenGiant:
I agree!  Keep up the good work Sir!
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View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By GreenGiant:
Originally Posted By 2T2_Crash:
awesome, thanks for the update. I love the story and have read every time you've posted.
I agree!  Keep up the good work Sir!
Glad im creating something that does not totally suck ass at least !

I will probably have another update by Wednesday. Dwarf girls will be back in the story at anytime.
Link Posted: 3/4/2019 10:29:10 AM EDT
[#45]
Doubt I will have a update until the end of this week.  going to be really busy the first half of this week. sorry guys. I hope to post something by Thursday or Friday though.
Link Posted: 3/7/2019 5:50:37 PM EDT
[#46]
@buck19delta, any progress with updates? You know if you hurry up with the book and put on Amazon you could get the 50 BMG supplies you want.
Link Posted: 3/13/2019 12:29:45 PM EDT
[#47]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By buck19delta:
Doubt I will have a update until the end of this week.  going to be really busy the first half of this week. sorry guys. I hope to post something by Thursday or Friday though.
View Quote
Ok, Mister.  That was LAST week, break time is over!  Get to writin' or else!  (or else what, I have no idea.  Perhaps a curse of the Fleas of 1000 Camels Infesting YOUR Armpits??)
Link Posted: 3/15/2019 3:26:59 PM EDT
[#48]
Yo @buck19delta did you give up on us?
Link Posted: 3/20/2019 1:47:58 PM EDT
[#49]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By zoe17:
Yo @buck19delta did you give up on us?
View Quote
^^This.  Where are you @buck19delta?? Come out and play!

Please??
Link Posted: 3/21/2019 6:05:28 PM EDT
[#50]
Sorry I have not updated yet. Im working on the story, just have had a lot of life stuff going on, preventing me from getting much writing done. I have been watching a bunch of zombie, xena, action movies , and scify flicks, but just for research. I start n stop the movies and take notes while watching, writing down ideas, descriptions of people, outfits, armor, etc to make the story more juicy.

Ill post a new update soon.
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