Shortly thereafter the Colonel came walking up. The armor was gone. He wore khakis, had a huge beef steak in one hand and a bottle of Scotch in the other.
Perching on a convenient rock, he offered the Scoth to Cad and took a healthy bite of steak.
"Well, good Friar, we thank you for your generosity in sharing the fruits of your kill. However did you manage to kill this monster"?
A cook came to e-Berry, offering her a platter of steaming steak, baked potato and hot bread.
May 14th, 2003, 05:44 AM
Cadfael took the heart from the monk, looking at it... his face reflective. he then looked at the Colonel...
"Simple really..." he nodded to the scant remains of the Black"I killed it with my sword, it was hard I grant... but I just got a lucky stoke in." His eyes locked with the Colonel, a small smile plying across his lips... daring him to contradict.
Deep in his mind... Cadragon was already sending the call... would they come?
"You used a sword!!" The Colonels voice was incredulous "Come man!! Do you expect me to believe you could take down that with just a sword!" He took a swig from the bottle, Cad felt his stomach lurch as he once more tore into the cooked flesh.
They come!... the words nearly knocked him to the ground, so powerful was Cadragon's exaultation. Cadfael relaxed... now it begins.
"However... this is what happened" he shrugged his shoulders "Now.... we need your men. First we need to rescue my friend, and second we need troops to take on the Old Witch. I have decided to use your men for this."
"YOU HAVE DECIDED!!!" Octavius Lucius almost choked on his meat... his face turning red with anger "last I loooked I was in command of this mans army. They go where I decide they go"
"Then I am telling you to order your men to fall in" Cadfael rose to his feet and walked over to the old monk... "we have not much time to waste"
"You are telling me to..." the Colonel's words trailed away" are you looking for death Monk! By what authority do you do this!!!"
Cadfael ignored him... and spoke to the old monk "Tell me Brother... why did you refer to me as a Dragon Lord, also... why are you so keen to have me eat this heart?" The old monk opened his mouth to reply... and Cadfael thrust the heart into his face, forcing the bloody red meat into his mouth..."Tell your mistress... I do not eat the flash of my own kind!"
Many things happened then... Octavius Lucius drew his sword, men began to advance upon e-Berry and Cadfael... and high above the camp.. the air exploded with sound. In flashes of white... Dragons began to appear... first one, then two... and pretty soon the sun was blocked by their flight. The men on the ground began to shout... some reaching for bows.
Cadfael and e-Berry... now stood upon the rock... stand silent as fifty Red Dragons land around them..."Who... what are they Cad?" e-Berry asked him... her hands clutching his arm...
"The are the Imperial Flamewing of Drago Prime..." Cadfael replies "and they have come to take something precious home with them... NOW COLONEL!!! Will you get your men fell in, my authority just arrived. You have a new contract now... tell your mistress you have a new boss!"
May 14th, 2003, 06:16 AM
Standing at the Mad Monk's side, e-Berry felt both shock and pride......shock to find that he had such magnificent friends ready to assist him, and pride to be counted among such stalwart men and dragons all......A'maelamin, she thought, can you sense our hearts and minds straining to find you? We come, men, dragons, and your Woman.......take courage!
Colonel Lucius, stunned, groped for a response.......
May 14th, 2003, 06:38 AM
The skinny monk was furious. He glared at Cad.
"I believe the Old Woman was right", he said through clenched teeth. "For a Dragon Lord, you aren't very bright". He held the heart gingerly.
"First of all" he continued, "the Colonel never heard of the Old Woman, much less being in her employ".
"Second, you old fool, that Black is not one of your kind, but a manifestation of The Old Woman. And I don't work for her either".
"Third, if you knew the first thing about Magick, you would realize she paid you a high compliment by offering her heart. You are what she considers a Worthy Advesary".
"Luckily you ate a little of it and that is enough. Check it out the next time you cast a spell". He spun and stalked off, fuming. He stopped and said,
"By the way, you and she are Linked now. You can't hide from her. But then, you couldn't in the first place. But now, she can't hide from you either. You two are destined for Mortal Combat".
May 14th, 2003, 06:47 AM
The Colonel stood, arms folded. His men were in battle array, frightened to death, but standing their ground.
"I am a man of honor" he said, "a professional soldier. I see your host, and they are quite impressive. I will not order my men into a suicide fight with them".
"I fight for men I can respect, mot merely for gold. Now if you think you can bully me, you fat old fart, you are sadly mistaken".
"I suggest you take off that sword and try me man to man. You whip me with your fists, and we will ride with you. If I whip you, well I get the pleasure of taking you down a peg".
With that, he took off his shirt, strode to the middle of the valley and stood waiting, arms crossed, eyes blazing fire. Cad looked at that upper body torso. Fighting him would NOT be a good idea, he thought to himself.
May 14th, 2003, 06:58 AM
Thinking quickly, e-Berry drew her sword and stepped in between the Colonel and her friend the Monk.
"Colonel Lucius, I have a better, more interesting proposal," she said with perhaps more boldness than she felt. "I will take you on, sir, sword to sword. If you win, you may have me for a night and then take your men and continue to whatever boring venue you were seeking. But if I win, sir, then you and your company will join our quest to recue the Stranger....what say you, sir?"
May 14th, 2003, 07:05 AM
The Colonel flushed.
"Very well, Warrior Maid. I accept your challenge, since the old man has not the cojones for it".
"But I will not 'have you for the night'. I want no woman on a debt. If I win, I get the white Arabian. Agreed"?
May 14th, 2003, 07:40 AM
e-Berry thought a moment....should she view that as an insult? Was she not tempting enough for Lucius? But then, her intuition told her he was sincere, a man of too much honor to ravish another man's woman for one night out of obligation.
But her beautiful horse, Stranger's gift? Ah well, it was his life itself she bargained for......
May 14th, 2003, 08:08 AM
The Colonel nodded curtly. "Lieutenant, bring me a long sword", he barked curtly. In a flash he had a weapon, and the men began forming a circle, their eyes bright. This looked to be good.
He tested the blade with a few whipping motions, they squared off and saluted one another, then tapped blades.
A brief pause, then.......e-Berry darted in. Jab to the face, blocked, he backed away. She came at him, high-low high-low.
Their blades rang out, the Colonal, off hand on hip, backing, stepping easily, feeling her.
Jab-slash-jab. He circled right, taking the blows on the tip of her blade, wrist motion, always there, driving it away neatly, not attacking. Just watching.
A little smile played at his lips. He was enjoying this. He wielded the long sword like it was a rapier, quick and lightly. e-Berry sensed she could not drag this fight out. He was too strong, and when she tired, he would overpower her.
And that ws just what he was doing; toying with her, letting her exhert all the energy while he laid back. He had not known of all those mornings on the beach with Stranger. e-Berry was just getting warmed up.
For a good ten minutes they went at it, until the Colonel began to realize what marvelous physical shape she was in. Plus, she was damn good with that blade. The smile went away and he got serious.
May 14th, 2003, 08:38 AM
Just as the Colonel began to imagine she was finally tiring, e-Berry suddenly switched to her left hand and began a series of freshly energized thrusts and parries that stunned him.
"I thought....you.....were....right-handed....lady!" He almost spit out the last words.
"I am......but I neglected to .....let you know...." thrust, thrust, spin. "that when it comes....to swordplay.....I.....am ambidexterous!"