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by Jonn
Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Fantasy · #2118701
Sticky notes on the floor, posted here so that I won't forget them.
For your consideration, random stuff from an incomplete project concerning an intoxicated circus of unruly characters vying for survival in the final edit and an uncooperative plot. Grammar and Punctuation were last seen putting out a fire in the kitchen. Posted here for your amusement and thoughts. Please let me know if you find something worth keeping. And thanks for slogging thru the swamp with me.

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XXXXX Harold XXXXXXXXXX

         Bartholomew lead May to the bottom of the tower stairs. He supported the Highland Prince down the spiral staircase and through the door into a bathing room. The room was gorgeous, three windows with the light streaming in, a marble-tiled floor, and an elevated carved stone bath. In front of the windows stood a padded table.

          Bartholomew built a small fire in an iron contraption, he called a "stove." He put a large pot of water on top of the thing. May had never seen such a curious device but she had no time to study it. May opened the polished wood cabinets and found towels and soaps, one cabinet contained medical supplies.

         She turned to see Prince Harold sitting on the table with Bartholomew tending to him. He ran his fingers through the Prince's hair looking for blood and wounds. Harry did not complain. May found the scene oddly appealing. This beautiful young man barely older than her teen son, the blood, and courage, all illuminated by a twilight sun.

         Bartholomew went to the cabinet and returned with a vial of clear liquid and handed it to Harry. "This is a powerful medicine, it will help you heal and allow us to clean your wounds without further pain."

         "If you say so," and without hesitation, Harold drank it down. Within minutes, the tension and stiffness left his body and he seemed more relaxed and... younger.

         A knock at the door and in walked seventeen-year-old Mary-Rose carrying clean clothes. Bartholomew looked at her sternly, "Eldest Daughter. Smile for your prince and introduce yourself. Then please help me get these filthy clothes off him."

         Mary-Rose awkwardly performed her best curtsy and said, "Your Royal Highness, I am Mary Rose, I am at your service."

         This brought smiles to everyone except Prince Harold. He looked at the blushing, ill-at-ease young woman and had sympathy for the girl's plight. It was the price of royalty.

         "Rose, I am glad you are here. I...I am too exhausted and injured to get this gear off unaided. I need your help."

         Rose calmed, a look of concern on her face. She walked over to the prince."Sire, you will sleep better when you are clean. Once we get your Highness a bath and into bed, I will prepare some hot food for you.

         "Thank you, that sounds wonderful Mary. I will tell my mother of your kindness, the Queen will be pleased." Mary-Rose beamed.

         The task required heavy scissors for leather that refused to yield and a knife where grime and dried blood cemented torn flesh to cloth. Rose had good hands but it was delicate work and took time. The experts in the room did not offer to help nor was their assistance requested. Harry tried not to wince, Mary tried not to cry. No tears before the brave, she knew that much.

          Prince Harold slipped out of his rags. He placed his feet on the cold stone and tried to stand, his knees buckled immediately. The strong girl beside him swiftly spun about and grasped his waist and placed his arm over her shoulder, completely supporting his weight. "I'm sorry Rose," he gasped softly; then added, "God, you smell nice."

         He was dirty, covered with bruises from the left shoulder to his hip, and welts striped his back. All signs of a leather club and whip. May sucked in a breath and let out a curse when she saw the nasty discoloration that covered the right side of Harry's scrotum and inner thigh.

         "I'm glad they are dead, those men, who did this" May mumbled under her breath. "Aye," Bartholomew whispered.
"It was my son... who killed them. Is it not?"
"Aye, he and his Uncle"
"I'm glad," she replied grimly. Abruptly, a warrior Queen appeared supporting her King. His armor bent and broken. Before them, two young women, armed and armored, crouched ready to strike. Slim swords and daggers in their hands. Not enemies... no. Daughters protecting their parents, about them a battle raged.

         "May!.. May, can you hear me. Here, give me your arm. Steady now."
"Yes, Bertalan. I can hear you. I am here. I saw something."
He held her eyes for a long moment. "Ah" was all Bartholomew said and slipped his arm from May's shoulders.

"Bertalan, where is my husband? His brother James? My son? I am worried."
"May, I am worried too. But I know no more than you. I would tell you if I did and I have no instructions to the contrary... May..." Bartholomew wavered. "I feel compelled to be very impolite and ask if you saw something disturbing during your 'Dream Walk.'"
"I don't believe in Dream Walking, Bertalan. But, well... if I did. I would say... it was a glimpse of a future many years hence."
"Indeed," replied Bartholomew. He followed May's eyes to the Prince and Mary-Rose. "Indeed."

There a young Knight, naked, wounded, was struggling proudly to stand... and failing. Lean, well-muscled for his age, he stank pungently of an ill-kept barnyard. This was no product of long hours in the field, no, he had the odd asymmetrical build of someone trained to fight from the time he could walk; sword, shield, spear, bow, and horse. His squire, the girl fiercely determined not to weep, steadied him. She did not take her eyes from her charge lest he should fall. Was it a mother worrying over a sick child or perhaps, a lover's embrace? May could not determine which she saw, maybe both.

         The Knight pushed his squire away and swayed unsupported, his trembling legs set, the back straightened, and his eyes focused straight ahead. Harry disappeared, in his place stood Prince Harold, Heir to the Throne; but only for a moment.
"Rose!" the Prince called weakly, "I need you!" His Royal Highness began to list dangerously to starboard.
"I got you Harry. I got you."
Rose instantly regretted her choice of words as she put an arm around the Crown Prince of all East Andora, Master of Sails, Emperor of the Five Lands, Lord of The Undiscovered Countries, and King of the Highlanders (disputed).

Rose half carried the Prince to the bath. Once there he caught his breath and spoke.
"Rose, my name is Harry, It's very nice to finally meet you." Prince Harold smiled wickedly. Rose blushed.

         "Alright," May said "Let's get this man into the bath so we can remove this filth on him. I don't know what the night will bring but it can wait."

It required a team effort to lower Harold into the bath and to bathe him once submerged.

         "Lord Bartholomew, eh, will 'everything' heal rightly?"
"Yes, Sire, the Royal equipment is intact and there is no bleeding. None of your ribs are broken either and your lungs are clear, which is far more important."
"If you say so." Harry sighed and closed his eyes.




XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX END






May interrupted Bartholomew.

         " All I have ever wanted is a comfortable, normal future in the same village I was born in, Wideon-Glen. There, I had the childhood every child deserves, an ancient village of low walls and buildings built of old worn stone. Prosperous farms and good people... people a child could depend on to keep everything right; if hard times had ever come to my village no one remembered them. Year by year, spring embraced the heathland with blooming purple heather that stretched on to the horizon and in the short summer tall rows of barley covered the hills and blew waving in the wind thus completing my illusion of paradise. There was a river at our feet and mountains to the north."

         But today trouble found me anyway; that is the way of things in James' world, is it not? A rider came galloping today into the courtyard of the inn at Fallsmouth, a village very near here, I'm sure you know it. I was waiting there for Jonn and William to return from the city. The mounted man pulled his horse up so short its iron-shod hooves went sliding and clattering on the cobblestones. I knew something was terribly wrong. The rider's white pants were spattered with blood and when I looked again upon the riders face, only then, I realized it was William. He looked older somehow and was an appalling sight.. I ran from my chair and grabbed William's leg with both hands, I gazed up into my son's eyes and his countenance was grim, both man and beast were covered in sweat and breathing heavily."

          "William dismounted and I knew he was hurt. He put both hands firmly on my shoulders and instructed me to remain calm. He said, " I have been sent to bring you and Father to Uncle James' house. There has been trouble and we must hurry." But my husband was not at the inn. Forbidding times had found me at last and so my dreams of a peaceful life vanished."

         "And so, Bartholomew, that is how today I was removed from my fantasy of a charmed life, at the end of the valley, until the end of my days."

         "A good dream," said Bartholomew, "I am sorry to see it interrupted. This situation is far beyond the power of James to change. We find ourselves within a new history that is being written and we are a part of it. This chance of fate cannot be undone"

         "Of course, it was all a lie," May confessed, "a pleasant personal dishonesty. I knew from the beginning that my husband could not be an ordinary man and his calling would catch up to him eventually. I don't care, I am proud of him and would have no one else, trouble or no."

         Bartholomew said, "You are lucky, May. Few enjoy such fortunate and full lives."

         "Alas, that's all gone now" I replied.

         "Mother!--" William interjected from the table he lay upon, He sat upright. "it is hardly that dramatic." From the expression of concern on William's face, this conversation was hard on him.

         "Yes, unfortunately, I think it is dear. Now, rest quietly, and let me tell the rest of the story"

          "In our shire, I am the woman whose husband kept two cannons in the barn and gunpowder in the cellar. He is a man of secrets and I know but a few. Before we married he told me he was a Paladin. I think I had guessed at something like this.

"Well,I was shocked. Who wouldn't be The last thing I expected was to have a man like that living in my house, such men are known to be forever leaving home and never returning on time. I wanted someone to call my own who would stay on the farm. Jonn was different and that difference scared me"

"William," said Bartholomew, "Understand...The Paladin is a secret order of fearsome priests mostly known for their good will and good deeds. But these men are not welcome everywhere that they go. They are reputed to be ferocious warriors who believe in the merits of revenge, paradoxically, they are the most proficient practitioners of the extraordinary art of healing as can be found anywhere. William, you should be proud of your father, even among the Paladin he is considered exceptional."

"I don't understand what you mean by that, Bartholomew. Why would William not be proud of his father? Paladin or no. 'Fearsome' or not. Bartholomew, I didn't mean to say that there is anything wrong with the Paladin. I believe them to be good men. I was just surprised to be marrying to one, that's all."

"My Pardon, Lady May."

May continued on, "They say a married woman should always keep a side of herself hidden from her husband. I have had no time for that. Our marriage was filled with long days by the lake under the willows and wherever there was music he took me dancing. He loves to dance, and he danced with me to any music at all but his favorite was a waltz. We had many late nights at the ale house where he taught me to drink like a lady. I liked to talk and he liked to listen. With romance in his eyes, he listened intently, remembering everything I said and I told him all there is to know. Over the years he has earned my complete trust and that will not change now."

         "Relax, Lady May, the worst is over, William will be good as new once I am done here and you are both safe at the Royal Hotel Drummond. Some tea perhaps?"

         "Thank you, Bartholomew, for all your help. I am surprised James owns a place like this. I didn't know he was so wealthy"

         "Sir James does have great deal of money and a unique concept of style and... organization"

         "Is 'Sir James' still in the service of the king"

         "Why, yes, of course. King Clarence and he are the closest of friends. It was the King who asked him to circumnavigate the Arctic Sea. Sir James has only recently arrived home after a ten-year absence."

         "And this is where he lives?"

         "Yes Ma'am, in between adventures, of course."

         As May saw it, James-- 'home,' consisted of one huge room resembling a poorly run warehouse, everything was everywhere. Expedition gear covered the walls, leaving not one scrap of empty space, and the tables were worse. It was mayhem and in the middle of it all sat a naval cannon aimed at the square outside. The gleaming bronze cannon rested in a low-slung carriage which was attached to the wall will block and tackle as if were on the deck of a Man-o-war.

         Bartholomew continued to treat Williams wounds. He had two nasty lacerations on his chest which required sutures, May did not say a thing, it was not a woman's place to fuss over the injuries of a warrior and men need their secrets.

Earlier, when May and William arrived at James' home in the late afternoon William gave Bartholomew a very short rendition of what had happened that day. May was sure had she not been there they would be having a lively discussion about what really happened. But it would not be right for her to push them for information now.

         However, one question, needed answering, "Bartholomew, where is my husband? I want the truth." May tried to keep her voice even but it trembled despite her efforts. "What do you know?"

         "Your husband, and James and William, were all here today before the trouble happened, Sir Jonn left us to go out into the city. He said he had business to attend to. I have not seen him since and I do not know where he is now. But I am sure he is well, I cannot think of a more daunting man than your husband. He has many... uh-- unique talents, which will keep him safe."

         "Lady May, come, take this cup, I have some fine rum. Tell us more about your husband. I do not know the tale of his early years."

"Neither do I," said William expectantly.

         "I will tend to Lord William's wounds while we talk. William you should take this medicine I have for you, it will take away the pain."

         William said, "I can't be drowsy now, not till we know what to expect next. Just do what needs to be done."

         "A brave and responsible choice. I'll begin now, these cuts need to be cleaned and closed. Courage William."

          May did not know where to begin,

"I don't know anything about Jonn's childhood except that it was a happy time."

"His father gave him to the service of the King and at the age of twelve he sailed with a King's commission, hunting pirates and doing battle upon both sea and land. His ship was the Osprey, a three-masted caravel commanded by his brother James. Jonn can spend a day talking about that ship, how it was put together, and all the places they had been. Unfortunately, while he was away at sea, his mother, Martha, died from a sickness of the soul, not even a Paladin can cure that and the sorrow overwhelmed her. She chose poison."

"I never knew that about Grandmother," William said, "I never met her, they say the soul sickness runs in families."

"It does my dear, it does indeed. Your Fathers mother died before you were born."

"Apparently, after ten years or so. Jonn was called home by his father, Ferdinan. He then suddenly retired from the seafarer's life and renounced the wanderlust of a sailor who loved the sea. Jonn would only tell me he went North to the land of his family where his father dwelled. There, at the sacred home of the Paladin he studied their ways, till one day he took to wandering again and it was then that I saw him outside my window."

XXXXXXXXXXXXX May back ground XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX


" All I wanted as a girl was a comfortable future in the village I was born. There, I had the childhood every child deserves, prosperous farms and good people... people a child could depend on to keep everything right; if hard times had ever come to my home no one spoke of them. It was a wonderful, ancient village of low walls and buildings with thatched roofs.Year after year spring embraced the heathland with blooming purple heather that stretched on to the horizon and in the short summer tall rows of barley covered the hills and waved in the wind, thus completing my illusion of paradise. There was a river at our feet and mountains to the north.

"Once in winter, when I was young, four unlikely companions boldly dressed in fine reindeer furs strode into my village; two priests, a wizard, and a wise man. Their leader was a priest, Father Ferdinan, recently the mayor of Cairntarry Town, a village far to the North-East located on the coast of the Great Silver Sea. I could tell he was one of the Order of High Priests. They were called the Paladin and birthed out of legends. I did not know how I knew this. It was always said that I was a gifted one. Now I believed it. He was accompanied by three young men, his sons, who spoke the common tongue with the sing-song accent associated with the people of the North. I remember the Father possessed a broad, pleasing smile and said they were on a great journey of exploration."

"One of the sons was very tall and a priest like his father. He had the unique look of the North-Men, blonde, lean, angular, and tough. He was Jonn. His people were reindeer herders and widely scattered throughout the mountains far from my valley. Oddly, many holy men come from these rare, nomadic tribesmen who live at the end of the known world."

"I fell in love at once with this tall priest. You must understand. My love for Jonn was not a choice, though often, I told myself otherwise. I tried to fall out of love with him but I could not. I was aware that these men were known for their wide wanderings and it was told they only settled down in their last years. I did not comprehend why I should want a man like that; this was during my latter teenage years, I knew little about men or myself and remembering makes me smile."

This holy man who was, "just passing through," did not leave. When his father and brothers left, he stayed and settled in as the village priest, he purchased a farm and opened a trading company.

He taught me how to build an amazing boat from the bark of a Birch tree and we spent days paddling on the rivers and lakes, camping out at night. He was patient and kind. We went on long walks in the forest and he showed me the secrets of water and wood, life and death. He was an amazing man with an element of danger about him. I ignored the danger but I also liked it, it soon became clear he was a Paladin as his father


Two wonderful years passed by and it was his thirtyish birthday, he did not know exactly how many years had passed, but I thought, maybe, he was planning to stay here in the village for the rest of those years. That day was our wedding day. I liked to think, "Jonn's the village priest, how much trouble can we get into?"

The battle raged around us. Fire and blood. The thatch burned and the barley fields were trampled down.


XXXXXXXXXXXX Parseval and the dargons XXXXXXXXX


And there atop a mighty spire, its parapets scorched and battered, one man and one dragon held each other gaze. Below them upon a wall lay the Dragon Bartholomew. He heard the words spoken by his master, the Deacon.

"When the Old One touched the still pool and put into motion space and time; the dragons were there."

"And now, what have you become," spoke Parsevall, "You have answered your call to duty and we have battled all this day. You are defeated and the four apostles you seek abide yet in this tower. We can fight from this day till the last day and you will not defeat me."

'Look upon the mighty Draconis Gemot; all of you lying wrecked and exhausted on the roofs of my castle. I know you are mortal; perhaps I should kill all of you now and be done with this"

"Peace... Parsevall, peace," said the Deacon sadly. "Did you expect dragons?"

"I do not believe in dragons," said Lord Parseval, Priest, and master of the Druids

"Close your eyes," the Deacon said, "and you will."

"My brothers and I have been waiting for you. You are not responsible that we are enemies. That has been determined by others in other stories. We ensure all things are held in balance but the accuracy of the scales cannot be foretold. We are here to repair the damage you have done but we have failed"

"You have brought forth a great new power among men. We will call it Magic and those who wield it will be Mages and their masters... Wizards; fair names for a foul business. Such power is a wild thing that cannot be tamed."

"Yes,this war is over and we are defeated. I name you 'Wizard' the first of your kind and Master of the Magic. This is your legacy and your world will be changed forever."

"Beware, should you choose to destroy us, a new Draconis Gemott will appear in due time and the young dragons will not know what they are doing. Armed with the best of intentions they will raise armies of men to do what we could not. You know of what I speak, the strength of men unbounded. They will murder each other in the millions to own the secrets held by the four lost apostles that you have stolen. I fear that even the Paladin cannot prevent this."

" I will not return the four apostles to you, my people need them here. With this power in the hands of men a new era of prosperity will be born. I am not afraid. The Magik has always existed, awaiting someone to bring it into the light, its nature cannot be changed."

The Dragon raised his voice slightly, "Parsevall... greatest of Priests, you understand better than all your peers that the nature of the Magic will only equal the will of the mind which wields it. Take heed, even you in all your glory is constrained by the 'Old One, Lord of the Other World,' She alone writes the law which will bring forth something altogether new from the nothingness."

" I will not return the four apostles to you, my people need them here. With this power in the hands of men a new era of prosperity will be born. I am not afraid. The Magik has always existed, awaiting someone to bring it into the light, its nature cannot be changed."

"I, the first Wizard, will dedicate myself to controlling the Magik. I will tame it to my will and ensure that it is not ill used. I will forsake the old ways. You must trust me, let me make a peace."

"Alas," spoke the Deacon, "I have no choice but to trust you. Keep the existence of the Apostles a secret, known only to you. Hide them so they will be safe for all eternity. As a token of our goodwill the Draconis Gemott will now defend you from any enemy and we will trust you in all things. I put our fate in your hands"

"You, Parseval, are master of the world."

XXXXXXXXXXXX

XXXXX Harold XXXXXXXXXX

         Bartholomew showed everyone where a bath was at the bottom of the stairs. He got the Highland Prince down the spiral staircase and through the door and into a bathing room. The room was stunning, three windows with the evening sun streaming in, a marble tiled floor, and an elevated stone bath. In front of the windows stood a padded table.

          Bartholomew came in with new clothes and he built a small fire in an iron contraption, he called it a 'stove'. He put a large pot of water on top of the thing. May had never seen such a curious device but she had no time to study it. May opened the polished wood cabinets and found towels and soaps, one cabinet contained medical supplies.

         She turned to see Harry sitting on the table with Bartholomew tending to him. He ran his fingers through Harry's hair looking for blood and wounds. Harry did not complain. She found the scene oddly appealing . This beautiful young man, the blood, the courage and the picture of it all illuminated by the twilight sun.

         Bartholomew went to the medicine cabinet and returned with a vial of clear liquid and handed it to Harry. "This is a powerful medicine, it will help you heal and allow us to clean your wounds without further pain."

         "If you say so," and Harry drank it down. Within minutes, all the tension and stiffness left his body and he seemed more alert.

         A knock at the door and in walked Bartholomew's eldest daughter, eighteen-year-old Mary-Rose. Bartholomew looked at Mary-Rose sternly, "Smile for your prince and introduce yourself. Then please help me get these filthy clothes off him," said her father.

         Mary-Rose performed her best curtsy, and said, "Your Highness, I'm Mary Rose and I am at your service."

         This brought smiles to everyone except Prince Harold. He looked at the embarrassed, awkward young woman and felt sympathy for the girl's plight.

         Rose, I am glad you are here. I am too exhausted and injured to get this gear off unaided. I need your help."

         Rose relaxed, a look of concern on her face. She walked over to the prince."Sire, you will sleep better when you are clean. Once we get your Highness a bath and into bed, I will prepare some hot food for you.

         "Thank you, that sounds wonderful Mary. I will tell my mother of your kindness, the Queen will be pleased."

         Mary-Rose smiled.

          At last, the Prince stepped out of his clothes and into the sunlight where Bartholomew could examine the full extent of his injuries. He was covered with bruises from the left shoulder to his hip and welts covered his back. All signs of a leather club. Rose sucked in a breath and let out a curse when she saw the nasty discoloration that covered the right side of Harry's scrotum and inner thigh.

         "I'm glad they are dead," May mumbled under her breath.

         "Oh yes, so am I, I could barely walk when I got here but now I feel much better. Bartholomew, eh, will 'everything' heal rightly?"

         "Yes, My Lord, there is no bleeding and none of your ribs are broken either. You will heal quickly and that potion I gave you should greatly speed the process."

         "Alright," May said "Let's get this man into the bath so we can remove this filth on him. I don't know what the night will bring but it can wait."


XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX END


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