The Elves find Morgolic
|Chapter 8 Morgolic
Scene 1 or 8: Bedelia and Pluto pass Tier Two.
It was not a happy day for the Tier Two qualifiers. Each team in turn had gone down before the onslaught of the Troll, gnomes and bat wraith. At last there was but one team left.
This shouldn’t take long, Demetrio chucked to himself as he sent Pluto and Bedelia onto the field.
The three gnomes rounded the corner. Bedelia stepped from behind Pluto, notched an arrow and fired. The gnome on the left fell. Two more times, in quick succession she fired, dropping the other two before they closed half the distance. Then she turned and fired a forth arrow as the bat wraith came swooping down from behind. The wraith collapsed, as the shaft zipped through its body, spiraling into the ground. Pluto stood with his sword at ready awaiting an action that never came.
Then around the corner came the troll and two gnomes. Again Bedelia fired twice. The first shot ripped through the forehead of one on the right and the second through the throat of the other. The troll continued down the street. Bedelia stepped to the side, notched another arrow and prepared to fire once more.
“Hold,” said Pluto. “This one’s mine,” and stepped off walking towards his adversary. The Troll paused, unsure of his opponents intentions. A student behaving offensively was definitely outside the box. At ten paces Pluto broke into a double time and before the Troll could react he was inside its guard. With one forearm he countered its shield and with his sword hand blocked the wrist that held a huge mace. Bringing his hands together he pushed up and under the Troll's chest straining with all his might. With a grunt he lifted the giant into the air. Then, gaining momentum, hurled him backward to the groud and plunged his sword into the neck. He pulled his blade out, wiped it on his pants leg and walked back to where Bedelia stood waiting.
He smiled when he saw her jaw hanging open.
Around the corner came the last Troll flanked by two more gnomes. This time they were running at full stride towards them. Again Bedelia fired and a gnome fell. Then, as she notched another arrow, she slid behind Pluto pressing her back against his. From there she saw the wraith boring in for the kill. She fired her second arrow, and before it even reached its mark, drew her sword. The wraith fell to the street writhing spastically. The gnome stopped ten feet away and began to circle. The troll bore down with a single minded purpose. Pluto wiggled his shoulder and began moving forward as Bedelia backed behind him. She squinted her eyes bracing for the collision. It came sudden as the two powerful bodies slammed together. The motion of both countered one another and she could feel the two straining. Then with a surge Pluto lifted the troll as before and hurled him onto his back. This time he drove his sword deep into the beast’s chest. The remaining gnome stood apart not knowing quite what to do. Bedelia looked a Pluto and he at her. Pluto nodded and Bedelia shot the gnome through the temple.
Demetrio exhaled, his brow wide eyed in disbelief. The other students began applauding and ran out onto the field showering them with praise. Demetrio followed putting an arm around each.
“Congratulations on passing Tier Two,” he said.
Bedelia took her doll out of her backpack.
“See?" she said lovingly, “I told you there was nothing to worry about."
As they walked together back to the gym, Pluto put his arm around her shoulder.
“I’m so proud of you,“ he said, “I simply don’t know what to say.“
Scene 2 of 8: Martha loved Guiles: Female Cadets set up Guiles.
Martha loved Guiles from the moment she set eyes on him. It was all she could do to control herself. Fortunately, she was strong emotionally, because without the exercise of great willpower, she would have groveled before him in adoration. Luckly for her, Guiles was oblivious to her feelings and treated her with the same indifference he did everyone else.
They had met at Finsterwald during a demonstration of sword fighting skills. While the females were not seen as serious competitors, techniques for employing various weapons were of common interest and sparring was permitted to reinforce teaching points.
In her years at Bellmont, Martha’s prowess had been so dominating that her sisters had never seen her bested by a woman. In a test of arms, regardless of the weapon being used, she was unstoppable. Only her instructor, Squire Rogoletti, was able to stand up to her and by the second year, their sparing always attracted a crowd. The margins got closer and closer and everyone wanted to be around when their day of reckoning came. However, Rogoletti left Bellmont before the issue could be resolved and as a consequence the other women always wondered just how good she really was. If there was ever a chance to find out, the time had arrived.
Martha was a particularly talented practionier of the Elven Blade, which was a hand and a half, main battle sword. She was one of those women who seemed to excel at everything. In additon to being stunningly beautiful, she had exceptional strength and stamina. However, what set her apart, was quickness and the ability to take her skills to the next level, under the pressure of a trial. Her Sisters at Arms suspected that if she chose to extend herself it would take an exceptional male to withstand the onslaught. Guiles Standaloft was exactly that sort of man, and Martha’s friends wondered what would happen if the two were matched in a contest.
Guiles was the Senior Fencing Instructor at Finsterwald and Martha held the equilivant position at Bellmont. That day the two walked among the pairs commenting on technique, making critique and offering commentary aimed at improving the skills of the students. The thought never occurred to either that they would soon be drawn into a serious competition.
“Excuse me Instructor Standaloft," said Naomi, Martha’s best frined, “but we’re confused about what Martha teaches and some of these theoretical ideas that you keep coming up with."
"What are you referring to?" asked Guiles not realizing he was being set up.
"What I mean," continued Naomi, " is that Martha teaches a practical, structured approach to sword fighting while yours is abstract and confusing."
"You think so?" said Standaloft scratching his head. "Can you be more specific?"
"Its hard to put into words really... but Martha is so down to earth and you are so....up in the clouds." There was a titter from both the male and female students.
"I didn't realize I was being vague...."
"I don't mean to criticize," she went on, "I mean its clear to everyone that you know your stuff, but I think some examples would better show what you're trying to explain."
"Perhaps if you demonstrated your teaching points with Martha, we could better understand what you’re getting at."
"I’m willing if Martha is," Guiles replied. "I agree that showing is often a more effective way of teaching. If we take it slow and easy I’m sure I can choreograph the techniques I seem to have difficulty explaining."
"Slow and easy my petutti!" hollered Susan, "We want to see it "Real Time...Quit pussy footing around and give us a free sparing demonstration."
Guiles shrugged… "Are you up for it Martha? "he inquired. While he didn’t intend for it to sound condescending..., it did.
"I'll give it my best,” she replied.
Their eyes gleamed as the Bellmont girls smirked in anticipation.
Scene 3 or 8: Liope and Cateyln talk.
Up the trail Kira waited. When Liope arrived, she saw a narrow path leading Northeast. They followed it for about a thousand yards until it opened into a clearing. There stood a small cabin. In front was a fresh grave with rocks piled on top. Next to it a stream flowed with a sluiceway. Above was the entrance to a mine shaft with ore scattered about.
Go inside, she’s expecting you, Kira channeled.
Liope walked up onto the porch and opened the door. She saw her mother leaning over a cot spooning broth into the mouth of Morgolic. With a sigh she stood up and turned to her daughter. Cateyln opened her arms and Liope rushed to embrace her.
"It’s been so long mother" she exclaimed, tears rolling down her face. Cateyln pushed back to get a better look. Her daughter towered over her, easily a third again taller.
“I found you I found you! At last I found you!" repeated Liope.
“You were never far from my heart," answered her mother.
“Why did you ever leave us?" Liope implored
“It's a long story, Pumpkin, but someone had to take care of your grandmother."
I’m so sorry! I never even got to meet her.
"It’s OK, Gabby died serving the Coven."
"I keep hearing that word and I don't know what it means."
"Don’t fret about that now," said her mother. "Let's just say she died doing the work she loved."
"How I wish we could have met."
"You're alot like her Sweetheart."
"Will you be coming home to live with us again?"
"I’ve been considering that very possibility."
"Will you? Oh will you please?".
"If your father will have me back."
"He will! He will! I know he will."
"Well, put in a good word for me."
"When are you coming?"
"After.... That is if, Morgolic ever wakes up."
"Do you think he'll recover?"
"Hope springs eternal.... Did you get to meet him?"
"Yes, he flew in on a huge bird and gave me some things to keep."
"And what were those?" her mother asked.
"He gave me this pouch, filled with jewels. I swear they must be enchanted."
"Show me," demanded Cateyln, her voice straining with excitement.
Liope untied the pouch from around her waist and walked over to the table. She emptied the contents. Cate stepped forward and lifted up the ruby. She held it for but an instant and dropped it suddenly. A qusical look came over her as she picked up an opel. This too she dropped almost immediately.
"They are enchanted and seem very particular about who handles them," said Cate, "now put them back in the pouch."
Liope scooped them up and returned them to the purse, pulling tight the drawstring. With the cord, she tied it once more about her waist.
"What else did he give you?"
Liope winced. "He gave me a Scarab along with the stones... Told me it was OK if I tried it on later. It bit me...Look where it fastened on."
Liope unbuttoned her blose and showed her mother. To her dismay it was not longer attached but hung loose between her breasts. She took off the chain and handed the relic to her mother. The legs of the beetle hung loose drooping through the straps in the setting. Cateyln took the heirloom holding it to the light, squeezing gently. As she did there was a cracking noise and dust poured out from the bottom.
"I killed it "Liope gasped.
"I don't know about that," Cate answered, "but it's definitely dead."
"What should I do?" asked Liope, looking nevously over at Morgolic.
"I think I know who it belongs to," answered her mother. "You better let me keep this until I can figure out how to make things right."
"Oh thank you. If Morgolic wakes up tell him I didn't mean to kill it."
"I'll see that he gets the word." Changing the subject she reached down scratching Kira's ears. "Do you like my protector?" she asked.
"Such a beautiful dog."
"A wolf, not a dog... They take pride in the distinction. "
"I’m sorry Kira."
Apology accepted..." Kira replised, "For Frog too.... who could really care less what you call him."
There was a pause and then Liope blurted the question.
"Did you leave me because you thought I was ungifted?"
"Ungifted! Dear Girl, whoever told you that?"
"I tried everything and could never summon any magic... then when I wore the ruby I discovered I could move things about."
"No surprise there..."
"Please tell me mother where the power comes from."
"A place that is very dark Pumpkin… very dark indeed."
"Am I a dark and evil Witch?"
"No honey your’e not…. Its just that your powers come from the darkness rather than the light… you can call out to the light until cows sprout wings and nothing is going to happen. The road to your powers leads through the darkness. If you wish to summon them then that’s where you go."
"But I don’t want to be a dark Witch."
"I’m encouraged you feel that way. It was one of the reasons I left you with your father."
"So you would have a childhood, and learn values and principles…Your father's a very principled man and so are you. With principles you can control the power by putting goodness in dominion over evil."
"You can use the elemental power of the great emptiness, for the good of those around you. It will take some practice because a dark witch is inclined to the direct exercise of dark forces but it’s a predisposition that can be overcome with character, strong principles and the exercise of will. You see my dear there is nothing inherently bad about the darkness just as there is nothing particularly redeeming about the light. There are White Witches I won’t turn my back on and dark ones I trust implicitly."
"What Kind are you mother…?"
"All the witches of our line are Black. They always have been and probobly always will."
"How come I’m not beautiful like you?"
"I think you’re beautiful. You have a lovely face and the strength I always loved in your father. It’s greater than mine and greater even than your grandma Gabbys. That strength is going to be important because your potential is great. The darkness will give you all the power you can handle. That’s where strength and principle come in. You must gird yourself in the armor of humility and never forget who you are and where you come from. Soon you will need to exercise your gift for the welfare of those around you. There's a lot to learn and the task will seem overwhelming."
"How do I summon it?"
"By calling out....When you do, it will answer and you’ll feel the surge moving inside."
"I love you mother," said Liope.
Cateyln sighed.. "And I love you more than you can ever imagine...now you need ti get home before your father does."
"Yes, Yes.... if he knew I was so far from town... he'd be really upset."
"Give him my love... and tell him I'll be by to see him."
"I'll tell him, and he'll be overjoyed."
"Frog will escort you to the edge of town."
Liope embraced her mother again, turned and ran out the door.
Scene 4 of 8: Albiana and Varnack pick up the matrons.
Albiana and Varnack met up with Karla and Walinda on the hill east of Dead End. It was evening and the sun was setting. The new female elves were not accustomed to travel and were weary. They had wasted no time getting to the border and were in bad need of rest. Still they were excited about the mission that awaited them.
"So what’s the plan?" Albiana asked them.
Walinda was the most outspoken and answered. "I'll search for the gemstones and Karla will determine if Liope and Morgolic did the Kabookey dance.”
"What!" Exclaimed Albiana...
"Yes," Walinda answered, "I'll listen for the resonance of the stones...."
I got that part...
"And I'll sniff for Morgolic's essence about the girl."
"That's the dumbest notion I ever heard... Where do they come up with these crazy idea?"
"You’ll have to ask the Council... "
"Speaking for both of us," said Walinda, "We both think the sniffing is a waste of time."
"But the council thinks otherwise?"
"No stone unturned," they told us.
"That is bizarre."
"It'll be easy enough to check out."
"I suppose it will."
"Tell us how to proceed, Albiana... we've never been to Nirvana and have no idea where the girl lives."
"She lives in a stone house on the edge of town."
"When she goes out tomorrow, can we can get close and maybe check out the house?"
"I don't see why not. Now get some rest.... we must rise early. There's still twenty miles to cover and we want to arrive before nightfall."
While the two matrons were preparing to sleep, Albiana motioned to Varnack and they both walked out from under the willow tree. It was a starry night and the moon was rising.
"That was a bit of a surprise," Varnack vized.
"Indeed... do you think its possible."
"A very thin chance... the Elders are just tying up all the loose threads."
"Its hard to believe they would even consider such an alternative."
"That’s what they do....cover all the possibilities."
"And the impossibilities?"
"Are you going to channel your report now?"
"I was planning on it. Is there anything you want me to tell them."
"Tell them the matrons arrived safe, no further progress on the stones... oh and of course you plan to explain what you know about Liope's mother."
"That will have them scratching their heads."
"I expect it will."
Scene 5 of 8: Liope questions her father about taking her mother back.
Liope got home with plenty of time to spare. She had run like a deer and her head was filled with the wonder of finding Cateyln andMorgolic still alive. When she got to the house she replaced the pouch in the keep and set about preparing dinner. Her father was late getting home and when he arrived she took it steaming from the hearth and set his plate in front of him. It was rabbit stew, his favorite, hot bread smeared with grease, fresh radishes and a steaming mug of ale. She sat across from him and watched as he ate and when he finished quickly cleared the table.
"That was good," Orin said with his hands to his stomach... "very good indeed."
"Thank you," she answered.
"How did your day go?"
"I had a wonderful day." she replied.
There was a pause while he lit his pipe.
"Father?" she said....What would you say if you found out that mother wants to come home?"
"Why do you ask?"
"Just wondered," she answered noncommitally.
"I don’t know. That would be a tough one to answer."
"Why did she take Guiles away and leave me here with you?"
"Your half-brother was her first son. The boy's father told her what to do. She acted in accordance with his wishes."
"Who was mother's first husband?"
"Not sure they ever married... but he was a Templer. Took her off with him to Cornith."
"Why did she come back?"
"He must have got tired of her."
"Lucky for me I guess."
"I suppose," he grumbled.
"I know it wouldn’t be easy.... but if she wanted to come back, you'de take her...wouldn’t you?"
"Why are we discussing this?"
"Because I want to know, That’s all, I just want to know."
"Damn her! What do you think? She walked out on us."
"Maybe she had to take care of Grandma."
"What do you know about her mother?"
"Well everybody has one don’t they?"
"At some point in life.... a father too for that matter."
"If she knew you’d take care of me, maybe she decided her Mother needed her more."
"She never spoke to me much about who her Mother was.... seems if she were still alive, Cate would have said something."
Her mother was still alive.... That's why she left us."
"How do you know that?"
"She told me."
"When did you see her?"
"Why didn’t you just come right out and say it instead of all this beating around the bush?"
"I wanted to break it to you slowly."
"Why didn't you come and get me?"
"She said she'd be by later... guess she wanted to speak to you in person."
"What did she have to say?"
"That her Mom, Gabrial had passed away and she wanted to come home...."
"That she wanted you to forgive her."
"This is all very unexpected."
"Do you still love her."
"I'll never stop."
"Please give her another chance Daddy.... for me."
"I’ll give it some thought."
That night she put the ruby on and listened. She heard her father weeping and experienced the fullness of his anguish. It was a long time before he fell asleep.
Scene 6 of 8: Elves discover that Morgolic is alive.
Varnack woke everyone early and they departed soon afterwards, making a fast pace for Nirvana. As the sun was coming up they came to a high bluff and were joined by two other elves, in search of them. They were very excited and could hardly contain their enthusiasm.
"What is it?" inquired Varnack
"We have unbelievably good tidings," said Margolese.
"Yesterday, in the late afternoon, we were moving down the high bank along the river, looking for stones. Suddenly we saw this big human girl running along the river. She was really stepping it out and next to her ran a wolf."
"Twice the size of the biggest dog I ever saw."
"It was the one Albiana calls, Liope... you know the one she interviewed with the Magistrate..."
"Go on go on."
Anyway I said to Tarkus... "That’s Liope, the girl everyone is so interested in. What do you suppose she’s up to running along the river....? And Tarkus replied..."perhaps we should find out."
"What did you do?".
"I followed her to Nirvana and Tarkus backtracked to find out where she'd come from."
"I’ll let Tarkus tell you the rest."
Tarkus took up the report. "When we first saw her she had just crossed the river... with the wolf."
I got that."
"I skirted wide so as not to leave sign and crossed upstream. I then worked back on her trail and followed it North. It turned off into a path that led to a clearing where there was a hut."
"In the house was this woman, nursing someone on a cot."
"Goodness is right.... It was Morgolic."
"What kind of shape is he in?"
"He's alive but just barely."
"How do you know that?"
"Because the woman tending him, saw me in the window and said... "what took you so long?". Then she told me to get a healer... that she had done all she could... and that she feared for Morgolic’s life. I joined Margolese outside town and we spent half the night trying to find you."