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Thread: The Reborn - Finishing What Was Started IC [M]

  1. #131
    Minkasha's Avatar
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    Calamity Isis Mae Sensibility, Gina Wright & Panos Lambros

    “You could be an actor Panos, you know that?” Gina commented, once they had left the guards some distance behind. She had hoped that a little praise and the chance to take back some control of his situation would have raised the young man’s mood, but she was disappointed. Together the teenagers had managed to leave the room but Panos would not keep any eye on Gina. Calamity sighed in the hammock.

    The rest of their journey was coldly silent, and the castle around them seemed to match the heavy atmosphere. The frosted windows were half covered by snow, and the bare stone corridors were chilly enough to raise goosebumps on Gina’s arms even through her heavy gown. The flour trail eventually led them to a tower with a winding set of mason steps.

    “Careful.” Gina said as Panos began to shuffle backwards up the steps, tilting the stretcher, but again frosty silence and averted eyes were her only answers. By the time they had navigated their way to the top, Gina’s arms were burning from taking the brunt of the stretcher’s weight. Panos kicked the heavy wooden door open with his heel, and Gina saw a room hung with blue Sauver tapestries, embroidered with swirling red blood-trails. The marchioness’ pierced claw sigil was painted across the window’s closed shutters, dripping red. It was not a room Gina would have chosen to sleep in, but a bed dominated the floor. A large wardrobe against one wall was the only concession to furniture.

    “Let’s put her on the bed.” Gina suggested. Once Cal and the halberd stretcher were resting safely on the pelts, Gina ran back to the door and heaved it shut, slamming the bolt into place. She sighed and started to flex the pain out of her aching fingers.

    “Okay Cal.” she said quietly, returning to the bed. “We’re here.”

    While Panos stuck close to Cal’s bedside, Gina teased Melvin’s tarot card out of her sleeve. One tap to alert, two taps to relay communication, three taps to close channel. Remembering what the robot boy had shown her, she gave the image of the High Priestess an experimental prod.

    Calamity, now with open eyes, let her body sink on the bed. Curiously she looked over to Gina, while holding Panos' hand. The royal male, not used to physical work, collapsed on the bed as well, waning his hastened breath.

    "We have to fix my mistake." the marchioness told Gina, giving some direction to new conversation.

    “We will.” Gina affirmed. She was less confident than she made herself sound, but she could feel the beginnings of optimism stirring inside her as she worked through the events. “You sent the foreign advisor off to make peace. We made the king see sense. We’ll find the Drac. Once you can walk again, we can start waking people up, and they’ll see. We’ll get the unexpected change that the Note Writer wanted...I mean, what else is there to do?”

    She looked down as the picture on the card in her hand dissolved and reformed.
    Gina saw the rather disarming appearance of the young boy who accompanied the actor impersonator - yet still with the same detached stoicism he walked around with. Gina took it to mean that Melvin was listening, and able to talk. As her card reverted back to the High Priestess, she tapped it twice more and held it up to her mouth, balancing it on her palm.

    She wondered what it said about things, that talking to a mute robot on a magical iPhone was still only the third or fourth craziest thing that had happened to her today.

    “Melvin.” she whispered into the disguised Tarot card. “We made it back to Cal’s room. So far there’s no sign of the Drac anywhere.”

    The image shifted again, this time to a green check mark as if to acknowledge her statement. Gina moved to the bed and sat down next to Cal and Panos, holding the card so that it could pick up their quiet conversation.

    “For now...I guess we have to wait a bit.”

    Though taken along for the interdimensional journey, Panos was behind on fundamental understandings of how the symbols on his arms functioned in their quest. That irritation, among the other negative feelings festering inside, turned to a stare set on Gina and Calamity, back and forth.

    "What are we doing with Uranus' symbol? If it has anything to do with the king's death it should be done." the teenager insisted again against King Kinglos.

    "The symbols give us clues on what we should do." Calamity replied with some tiredness within her voice, but she took a moment longer to think about Gina's hint, unexpected change. "If we don't want the council, and the king cannot do what I've made him…"

    Gina rested her lips on her clasped hands for a moment, thoughtful. “You don’t think he can?”

    "I...could take more leadership."

    Gina looked at her friend and realised that it was true. Quite apart from her magic, Cal was born for this kind of thing. She had been showing it more and more over the recent days. She had a different kind of strength from the brutal Sauver marchioness she was impersonating, but as far as Gina was concerned that was a good thing. And now she had the marchioness’ army and the marchioness’ street cred to work with.

    “You could.” she agreed. “The king seems willing to listen to us now, and he’d do better with you advising him than Hedspeth and Avery.” She smiled slightly. “Like the old joke, do you want to speak to the man in charge or the woman who knows what’s going on.”

    She glanced at Panos, and sensed the unspoken question hanging in the air. And if the king still needs to go?

    Gina pursed her lips. There were still doubts about the king’s strength, to be sure; even if she had no doubts about Cal’s. But then she thought of Editha’s half-baked plan for a coup, and of vengeful armies screaming down into Greywall as everything spiralled out of control.

    “We’d have to be careful, though.” she reasoned aloud. “Hedspeth and Avery might be out the way, and I don’t think that Charlie bloke means any harm, but there’s still the military advisor...Theodore Dutt. The council were trying to get him and his army onside too. I spoke to his daughter though, and he doesn’t sound much like the plotting type.”

    She looked down at the card.

    “Melvin, you and Jeon saw the council. If the king gets better and the people go back and spread the word, would they let Hedspeth call off the plan? Do they want what’s best for the kingdom or do they just want to rule?”

    The Probe sighed someplace in N-Space, then sent the image back of several crowns sitting in a crimson pool. After a few seconds of that, it then sent a picture of Jeon lying on the ground, stabbed with a dozen blades in his back while a healthy king stepped over him.

    Gina bit her tongue, hoping that she understood. More than one leader would be chaos...but if the king didn’t die, the councilmen might hold Jeon responsible.

    Calamity nor Panos saw the foreboding card, thus Panos shifted on the bed to Calamity's direction.

    "This is a debacle, it would be stupid to try taking more power. It'd be social suicide." Panos was scolding her, but still he kept close. Calamity's stomach twisted inside; was this what her mother felt? It was disgusting that, for a brief moment, her own mind humanized her mother's tactics. I left him alive, and now it turned into something out of my control. Was my mother bloodthirsty or just doing what she must to remove complications?

    But her mother was outright cruel, that wasn't effective leadership. "It's not over yet, and now we know the intentions the king has because I made them." For a moment the teenager paused, unnerved by such power, "When he's sober he will do the best he can." she reassured them all, including herself. Closing her eyes, a sigh filled the room.

    Panos conceded, "Better him than you..."

    The image on Gina’s card shifted to a question-mark.

    “Cal used her power on the king.” Gina explained to the robot on the other end of the line, and laid the card in her lap so that Cal and Panos could see it. “So he’s gonna be sober from now on and do what’s best for his people.”

    It was still an uncomfortable thing to say out loud.

    “Course, if he’s gonna have a chance he needs to stay alive, which is why we need to keep Hedspeth and O’doln the hell away from him. And why we need to find the Drac.”

    She bit the inside of her cheek again, thinking.

    “What if…?” She looked up at Cal and Panos. “The people came here ’cause O’doln promised them they’d see the king taking action. Once Cal’s up and about again, we can start waking them up - what if we let them go back and start spreading the news that the king did something right for once. Let the council hear that, then convince advisor Dutt that it’s no longer the time for a coup. They went to him and Cal because they didn’t dare move until they got both of them onside - they wouldn’t dare if you went back to supporting the king, right? Not if the folk in the street were starting to shift opinion too. They couldn’t blame Jeon for that.”

    "The king solving Calamity's mistake isn't going to be enough." Panos said with clear cut cynicism. "They want power and the people are selfish. He should do more than capture the prisoner." Laying down, the Grecian royalty locked focus onto the ceiling, "If he executes him and declares war, history shows it the stupid will rally and cheer his name."

    "Panos." Calamity held his hand supportively, even when she felt she wanted to cry and be held in her crippled state, "He won't do that. He will do what is best, and that kind of politics isn't for the people: it would be for self interest."

    But it wasn't like the person whose role she jumped into wouldn't have supported further open war with the Draconains. The hated sentiment among the masses, at least here, was present. She glanced to Gina, wanting to hesitate about executing someone - their hands already bloody.

    “I can see him wanting the Drac dead.” Gina admitted, unhappily. She couldn’t bring herself to knowingly cause another death either. If Cal’s men even manage to take him alive in the first place, that is.

    Cal hesitated. “There were other Draconian...bodies, in the torture chamber. We could use a decoy…”

    Gina shivered. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

    She rested her lips against her fist, turning her thoughts to the less grisly half of the problem.

    “The witnesses too. We can wake them up one by one, so it’ll be easy enough to gauge their reactions. Play it by ear, y’know? If we have to talk tough about Avery’s mission being to put the elves in their place and that Cal’s going to crush any Dracs that come near Whitebar then fair enough. It’ll satisfy the folk who are angry without actually having to do something suicidal.”

    Cal clearly wanted to believe her.
    "If he listens to the people and helps them, it will sway them." But what if the people wanted war? Then what?

    Gina could see the doubt in her friend’s face. Even though she did not want to believe Panos’ more misanthropic take on the situation, she couldn’t help thinking of the bloody frescoes plastered all over the Dutt mansion, proclaiming the human kingdom’s victories over all the bestial other races. Hello, ‘War on Terror’...

    “I mean…” she began, almost trying to convince herself now. “How would we even go to war with the Dracs anyway? I don’t know anything about them apart from Avery saying that it’d be a really bad idea, and she can’t be the only one. Where even are the Dracs? Do they have a kingdom too or what?”

    "Kashar, is the name." Panos remembered from the mocking, annoying Commander of the Guard.

    Calamity closed her eyes, wanting to sleep. The two royals now laid side by side on the bed, the prince looking more peaceful than Gina had seen as he was attempting to gain some rest. Gina could feel herself with some systemic exhaustion after all the shock she has endured, along with the fall, and the magical manipulation of her mind through unpracticed magic.

    "My...her duty," Cal gestured to herself to indicate the young girl she had taken place of, "Was to hold Kashar back from raiding the empire."

    "The Draconian's actions are an act of war." Panos told the girls, "If you do not claim to your people you support some sort of counter attack, you'll be seen as weak." His father was always the bombastic and powerful politician - now he got to act out his influence. It was a highly disliked revelation.

    Gina shook her head, ginger hair bouncing around her shoulders. “Avery said attacking the Dracs would bring their whole race down on us, and that we wouldn’t be able to win. I don’t think she was lying either, ‘cause she was worried her home would cop it first.”

    The tarot card in Gina's hand beeped. The picture on it changed to tiny figures of the king (with tiny crown) and the councillors who wanted the king dead facing a smaller army of the Drac.

    The figures of the councillors clustered behind the king, producing their own swords to face off the Dracs.

    The Probe hoped its message was clear. Present a threat that threatened all and put the king and the councilors in front of it. Either they united and stand as one - or they perish, ending the problem.

    “All well and good.” Gina said, slumping her chin onto her hands. “Except we don’t have a Drac raiding party on hand.”

    Among them a soft breathing began to cycle and the ladies realized Panos had worn himself and fallen asleep. Gina had never seen the pale prince look as peaceful and easy to lay eyes on as this moment. But alas he was a sleeping tiger, sleeping through the girls' conversation, but verbal claws glistened with each subtle shift of his lips during slumber.

    Calamity, glanced to her now presumed husband but kept conversation with Gina - trying her best to keep up and be of use as she had been. The most mundane mortal among the three could witness the heavy-eyelid princess clenching her teeth intermittently to think with depth.

    "I could make an army. When...I am well enough to have my legs again I could make everyone believe an army had come. They would believe King Kinglos and the Council worked together!" Her burst of voice excited her, then rapidly startled her when she stared at Panos. Luckily the prince didn't move. "If they think about it the memory would be real to them." She said it confidently, but she was still guessing the full extent of her power. Her wayward or disconnected parents never helped anyone.

    Gina twisted her hands in her lap. “Maybe,” she allowed, “But that would be a big bit of magic...I don’t want you getting hurt again...”

    Gina glanced down at the sleeping Panos, and then back at her equally weary companion.

    “Listen, why don’t you sleep for a bit? I’ll keep an eye out. If they don’t find the Drac in the next hour or so they’re probably not gonna, and we can see about a decoy. If that’s not enough to satisfy everyone when we wake them up, then you and the king can talk tough about killing Dracs - and once they’re back in the city who are they to say you didn’t whack a whole load of them somewhere out in the mountains?”

    She leaned over to squeeze Cal’s hands between her own.

    “When you’re up and about again we can see what we need to do. Can you feel anything yet?”

    She looked down worriedly at Cal’s feet.

    The Probe also known as Melvin felt itself relax a fraction of a percent point. The Humans could do it, masquerade a Drac army. Still, it wouldn't hurt to prep something, just in case.

    Calamity leaned her head back, almost falling asleep if she had not jerked her heavy head side to side. Biting her lip, Calamity nodded to Gina's question. "Something, yes..." the teenage girl clearly didn't want to elaborate on her crippled condition. Maybe if she rested long enough, she would wake up well.

    However, glancing at Panos who was in no threat of waking up, this was her only time to tell Gina. The most mundane of the three teens could see Calamity's face grimace, her fingers curl tighter around Panos'. "I'm sorry he's he is...I have to tell you...something happened to him while he was with..." The other dead traveler, "Vahsi."

    “Oh…” Gina’s thumbnail went between her teeth at the unexpected revelation. “I knew there was something up with him, he okay?”

    The question was automatic, but a glance down at the sleeping prince all but answered it for her. She thought back to Vahsi, so abruptly taken from them after storming away from the group on Valkure. She had never truly gotten the chance to know him, because he had never let any of them see beneath his prickly exterior. He was a killer though - she knew that much.

    Me killing apparently shocked the hell out of him.

    Panos seemed to attract killers, Gina thought somberly. His first husband...emperor Lycas...Vahsi…

    You’re a killer too, Gina. Hiss. Shriek. Bang. Gina realised she had crushed a handful of the bed pelts in her fist, and uncurled her fingers with an effort.

    Vahsi was gone. The protection he had offered Panos was gone. But other things could linger.

    “What happened?” she asked Cal, barely above a murmur for fear of waking the prince.

    Melvin frowned ever so slightly. Who was this Vashi? The two girls talked over the sleeping prince. Calamity's voice hitched under breath, she even stammered, but she managed her wits and explained, "He was brutally attacked by a man...he was..." She couldn't continue, using her eyes as the cryptic, yet tragic messenger as they moved down to Panos' hips to deliver the impression on what sort of attack it had been.

    “Oh…” Gina said again, more faintly. Her hands went to her mouth, while the anxiety in her chest drained away, dragged down by the sinking feeling in her stomach. Helpless empathy for both Panos and Cal flooded in to replace it.

    “I can’t even imagine.” she whispered through her fingers. She couldn’t, and it wasn’t a good feeling for someone who usually fancied herself good at intuiting other people. The worst she and her friends had ever had to deal with were overly-handsy schoolboys running up and slapping their arses. Not the same at all.

    “I…” she hesitated. “I promise I won’t say anything. I know he doesn’t trust me the same way he trusts you...but is there anything I can do? Anything at all?”

    Melvin's lower lip became firmer. What were they taking about? Calamity brought Panos' held hand near her chest, seeing their imposed wedding rings shining side-by-side. Looking at him a last time she closed her eyes.

    "Forgive him for his behaviour." What else was there to do? "If you make the same promise I did, things might change. Promise..." Calamity yawned, "To not leave him."

    It was the best advice she had to offer. Panos was intelligent, and Cal knew if they could recruit it and not have it turned against Gina all the time, more could be done.

    Gina nodded quietly. “Alright.” She looked down at Panos, then squeezed Cal’s hand. “Get some sleep. I’ll keep an eye out.”

    Gina was left alone as Calamity fell into exhausted sleep. She now could see the two remaining companions about her age, both beaten in their own ways by the perilous multiversal journey finally resting. Gina pulled the fur blankets up round both of them and pushed herself off the bed, the Tarot card hanging absently from her hand.

    Beyond the locked door, everything seemed silent. Gina padded quietly to the window, rubbing away the ache around her eye sockets with the heel of her hand, and unlatched the shutters. Behind the painted wood, snow lay like fat white caterpillars across the bottom of the glass, and the castle and its surroundings stretched away below under a cloak of white. Gina folded her arms over the sill, rested her chin on them, and let her thoughts drift along with the snowflakes.
    Thank you MayhemsCurse <3

    Spoiler: Memorable Quotes 

  2. #132
    Minkasha's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    In a world I struggle to understand.
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    Jeon Smythe

    Jeon shut the door firmly after them. "Well, won't this be fun?" he asked. "How are you feeling now, my lord?"

    Glancing down at the Probe, he nodded towards the people on the ground. "Best to check them all out, I don't want any avoidable accidents."

    The Probe was scanning the next group when it felt the tap on Gina's card. The human probably expected some sort of response, so Melvin changed the picture on the card from the High Priestess to its current shell for five seconds, then reset the eCard back to the High Priestess as it listened from the card to what was going on in the other room.

    "We'll have to come up with some sort of sling to make you comfortable," Jeon was saying to Kevin. "At least a little more dignified."

    The councilman huffed and buried his hands in his face.

    "I'm going to be joke of the others. We can't tell the others this happened, promise me!" Based on the defeated and humiliated expression of Jeon's sudden new lover, he must have been referring to the rest of the council.

    "Now now, don't be like that," Jeon said, trying to comfort Kevin. He glanced at the king, then had an idea.

    "Admittedly, it's not a place anyone would wish to be wounded, but there's something you've not realized. Out of everyone in this room, aside from some bumps and bruises, you are the only one who has any injury at all! Clearly, you managed to get in someone's way!"

    Kevin frowned.

    "Those quills went in deep, which means considerable force was used. Some sort of assassin's device, no doubt," Jeon conjectured. "Had it struck you in the chest or head, there would be little I could do. You may have even saved the king's life!"

    Kevin looked very annoyed by Jeon's attempted uplifting narrative. It was clear, after all, that the councilman had wanted to murder the king - not spare his life.

    "All the more reason why people such as me should..." he glanced at the cognitively diluted king and back to the doctor "Manage things." he said with a thin veil to keep Kinglos out of the conversation.

    "Merely the blind leading the blind," Jeon whispered back, shaking his head. "You need him, and he needs you and the council. Combined, you have power. As it is now, you are both seeing it slip from your fingers.”

    The Zayan's words were clearly meant to impress the king, but they made the probe roll its eyes.

    It paused over the body of the wizard, still barely alive, flesh turning gray and slack, heartbeat sluggish, almost non-existent, breathing almost imperceptible. Easy to mistake for dead or near death's door, to use the human expression - and still the most dangerous human in the room.

    From the card, 'Melvin' heard the teenage girl whom he had helped from her nervous system damage, speaking out loud.

    Pressing its right finger and thumb together, the Probe gave a loud whistle, four notes to signify distress, and waved at Jeon as it listened in on the card network. Others lay in the room waiting for treatment, the stone not a welcoming landing for any who had fallen, small trickles of blood could be seen in the hair of some, or on their faces, but nothing of any fatal concern.

    Jeon sighed after checking the court wizard's vitals, glancing at the Probe to see the slightest of nods. He then went to work, checking on the status of the other people in the room, accepting dressings and gauze from the Probe's incredible pocket.

    "How are we feeling?" he called out to the King and Kevin as he worked.
    King Kinglos' speech was drawn out, tired "Getting better..." it was not convincing and he sounded as if in the grip of a stupor, but he had responded to Jeon aptly.

    Meanwhile Kevin replied with a huff, then a pause and he smirked, adding flirtatious groove in his voice "Better knowing I'm under your care" his eyes threw daggers at the royal across the table from him.

    Jeon was amazed that any of the Council had survived this long.

    Gradually the doctor was tending to the men, women, and one teenager among the gathering of dozens. 'Melvin's' endless doling of supplies made Jeon's work continue without trouble.

    "Should have gotten you a very large carpet bag," Jeon muttered as they worked. "Eventually someone's going to notice you're producing all of this out of thin air."

    The Probe paused, then reached into its pocket to produce an origami rabbit.

    Jeon stared at it, then at the Probe. "It's a magic world, I get it. But a rabbit out of your pocket? Is that some kind of pun?"
    The doctor, acting apothecary was able to suppress the harm of the wounds, leaving him in a room filled with his accomplishment and only the company of a robot boy, a sobering up mind-numbed king, and his short sighted, backside-prickedlove he had been stuck with since waking up.

    The Probe stared at Jeon for a long moment, then pulled out one of the "tarot" cards it was using for communication. The image of the Tower was replaced by a pile of heads, with Kevin's on top, and a separate one of the king's head, still wearing its crown, on a pillow.

    "No," Jeon growled, eyes flashing. "I can't allow either of those to happen. They're both important, I don't know how or why, but they are. We need to somehow bring them all together."

    The probe's human shell frowned. There might be a way, and it wasn't going to like it.

    Jeon rose, then turned to face the king.

    "How about yourself, your Majesty?" Jeon inquired, spreading his hands as he approached to a respectful distance. "You took a bump when we all collapsed, I'm sure. Are you in need of assistance from me or my companion?"

    The black haired man gradually turned his eyes onto Jeon and 'Melvin'. He didn't return a word, looking back down to his hands. He seemed to be trying to search within himself something Jeon wouldn't know. The man was more intensely focused on his own thoughts than seen before. "I need my wizard." the regal man finally said. Though Jeon could still hear his slight slur, and see a bruise near a temple, the man looked at him rather seriously. "Can you bring me him?"

    "I'm afraid it would be better if he stays where he is, for now," Jeon said with a sigh, spreading his arms and rotating his palms up in a gesture of supplication. "While I have some small skill, I am no mage. Some things are simply beyond my skill to fix."

    He couldn't keep the bitterness in his voice out with that last.

    He did glance up at the king for a moment. Was he, himself, a wizard? Were there any on the counsel who hired him? Just what were their skills? The king's face of disappointment answered none of Jeon's questions.

    Some sense was coming back to the king who looked around to everyone Jeon had bandaged and mended. Wobbly the man got himself to his feet, pushing back his wool cape. "I need to rally the men! It may better their search!" There was passion in his voice, center of purpose. Calamity's newly installed personality was taking action.

    Melvin frowned, turning his full attention to the king, readying the drug darts.

    "Ah, I am please to hear it your Majesty," Jeon nodded. "But you are still recovering from whatever befell all of us and not yet firm on your feet. Until you are clear headed and firm of step, you are better here."

    "Understand, your Majesty, that some might mistake your current bearing to be a sign of intoxication, not of an attack by an unknown hidden adversary. We need to you look regal and in command of yourself, a paragon of the kingdom that all look up to. A few minutes to recover is a small price to pay."

    "Please understand, it is your welfare that concerns me. Rumor and innuendo is as dangerous a weapon in politics as a blade is in the battlefield."

    Jeon sucked the air out of King Kinglos. Shoulders slumped, eyes glared with tension at the door but gradually he returned back to his seat. While the king did not see, the pain he was experiencing proved to be sweet for Kevin who smirked in delight.

    The doctor began rolling up his sleeves, baring his arms.

    "Melvin," Jeon called out to the Probe, "I'd like you to find me a clean basin of water, say 46°C. I need to wash my hands for this next examination."

    The Probe arched one eye at him. It supposed it could drop its pants and reroute the plumbing in its shell to provide fresh hot water, but that would be going too far in front of two witnesses.

    Melvin began checking for any fresh water it could possibly heat in the room.
    In the goblets upon the table which had not been knocked over water could be found. There were two filled brass pitchers. The others spilled their liquids off the table or were strewn off near the chairs.

    Kevin watched with boredom, in need of any attention or entertainment, what Jeon was doing.

    The probe found a brass pitcher filled with water. Checking the room, it found a second and brought them over to Jeon.

    "Soap, if you please Melvin?" Jeon asked, holding out his hand. The Probe reached into its pocket and produced a bar of soap, no packaging.

    "Thank you! If you could heat the water, there's a dear."
    The Probe sniffed, but it placed its hands on either side of the pitcher and used the emitters in its hand to rapidly shift the water inside the container, causing it to heat and froth.

    "Ah, I thought...." Jeon blinked, then shook his head. "I'm not sure what I was thinking. Could you pour a little?"

    Picking up the steaming pitcher, the Probe helped Jeon to wash his hands and forearms.

    "Sorry about the mess!" he called out as the Probe rinsed the soap off. "Important to be clean. Germs, you know. Or do you know?"

    Shaking his hands to get rid of the excess, he turned and walked over to the king, pausing at a respectable distance to bow.

    "Your majesty, I have examined all your subjects in this room and rendered them what aid I could with my apprentice, here. Now I need to check you for injury, with your permission?

    Getting approval, the doctor’s years of expertise were put to work. The king, an objectively overweight man did not show signs of malnourishment, but from his slightly sweaty body, dilated eyes, and weak posture it was clear he wasn’t perfectly sober.

    He complained of aches in his body, in back and head. The bruise on the side of his head was a minimal injury compared to the others Jeon had treated.

    "You're in reasonably good health, your Majesty. Some leafy green vegetables at the start of a meal, a little more fiber in your diet, and spending a good hour working out with a training sword should get you into fighting shape very quickly," Jeon said. "Some water to flush the toxins from your system, two aspirin for the pain and you'll be steady and ready to take on the world, I shouldn't wonder."

    He paused. "Does your normal physician have aspirin?"

    "I would offer," Jeon sighed, spreading out his hands with the palms up, "But a king should be careful about what people give him."
    Kevin busied himself snickering at Jeon's lifestyle suggestions for the king. Though in actuality the good featured councilman wasn't any healthier himself. They both lived comfortable lives.

    King Kinglos leered at the doctor. "What are you talking about apothecary? Will it wake my mage?" they rounded back to the subject more important on the king's mind.

    "Aspirin is just a medicine to relieve pain," Jeon explained sadly, glancing back at the mage. "Whatever struck us down affected him most of all, he's barely clinging to life at the moment. I'm afraid that any form of stimulant or even moving him may be too much. Best he lay there as comfortable as we can make it for him until he regains his strength." The king ran a hand across his face with worry.

    And with any luck, Jeon thought, one of the others would have a plan on how to handle the king and escape this mad house before that happened. What do you know about the Draconians?" he asked. "Tracks were found in the snow, so the prisoner managed to escape it seems, but I don't know how his people will respond? From the carnage below, my concern is that he may return in force." Kevin looked quizzically at Jeon, taking a break from glaring at Melvin with jealousy.

    The finely dressed royal stared at Jeon with gray eyes of agitation, lowering the hand touching his face.

    "The warning Draconians? They will do what they've done always: attack. They won't stop until we are bled out" his stressful groaning gave way to how overwhelming their presence was to his rulership.

    "Of course they are going to attack" Kevin spoke up, shifting on the table he lay upon. "It's unfortunate the Marchioness has let this happen, if anything were to happen to us..." Kevin looked to be trying to find a way around Jeon's warning: rather than arrange something to put the king in jeopardy, he was smearing Calamity's reputation through thinly veiled worry.

    King Kinglos took the words of his councilman with a glance down to his hands with reflection.

    "So why are we fighting with the Draconians," Jeon asked, shrugging. "Since they're such fierce fighters and all? Did we start it, or they?"

    The probe frowned ever so slightly. What was that idiot doing?

    "We do know what required this castle to be built out here, don't we?" Kevin and King Kinglos glared at Jeon. The gentlemen were equally offended as the handsome doctor could see. Yet, the pair were drawn off the scent of Kevin's prior trick.

    "They are marauders, nothing but lizards with swords!" His royal leader spat.

    "Jeon dear, why are you insulting us?" Kevin asked through clenched teeth. Locked in their eyes was a palpable prejudice to the race Jeon had seen mutilated in the basement.

    "Wow," Jeon muttered, shaking his head. "And they claim doctors are arrogant."

    Turning his head away the royal shoulders slouched, "Get the guests accommodations...the floor is...not comfortable for my subjects"

    "No," Jeon said, shaking his head. "They can be revived and sent to quarters here or back to the capital by whatever means I was brought here, but at this time we can't afford to divert men from this castle's defense."

    The probe frowned slightly, turning to stare at Jeon's head. Scans hadn't shown signs of a concussion....

    "Melvin? You've never left this room, right?"

    The Probe scowled, but shook its puppet head.

    "How many guards are there outside that door?"

    It held up seven fingers.

    "My 'apprentice' has very acute senses," Jeon explained. "He remained sensible when everyone else was affected, here in this room. Yet he could not sense this invisible Draconian."

    "You don't get it still, do you?" he asked, throwing his hands up in the air. "Raiders you can buy off, if they're just after stuff they don't have back in their lands. How long have you fought them? Why haven't they given up and passed you by?"

    "It's the blind," he paused, staring at the king for a long moment before turning to stare at Kevin. "Leading the bloody blind. What if the reason the Dracs are invading is because someone else is nipping on their heels?"

    "How long before something the Drac runs from is standing here?"
    Jeon had pressed his luck too far. Both men looked at him with such ire that the doctor may have provoked them to agree on something for once.

    "What are you doing?" Kevin asked with shock and exasperated anger. The widening of his eyes was trying to gesture something to him, perhaps to reinforce Jeon's behavior was grossly out of place.

    King Kinglos, though crippled by internal and external factors stared with the full expectation of his position.

    "Apothecary you have heard my word, do as I said. Now."

    The Probe glared at the doctor, wanting to break his legs. Instead, it loaded tranquilizer darts - although to be honest, it wasn't sure if it should shoot the king and the councilman - or Jeon.

    Jeon sighed, shaking his head, then threw his hand up in disgust.

    "Very well, your Majesty," he said, with a bow, then turned towards the door. "After all, it's never the apothecary's fault when a patient refuses to listen."
    Thank you MayhemsCurse <3

    Spoiler: Memorable Quotes 

  3. #133
    Minkasha's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    In a world I struggle to understand.
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    Calamity Isis Mae Sensibility, Gina Wright & Panos Lambros

    The fur pelts bunched and discarded littered the bed Panos and Calamity had risen from. The snowy world outside the bedroom windows continued to be isolating in the two hours which had passed, the curt symbols of power engraved on the glass ever an overt sign of Calamity's given dominion. The prince was quiet, watching the two girls with prideful silence. There was something he wanted to say as expressed by his face, yet he held it back.

    The three of them could feel Jeon approaching, drawing closer to the royal bedroom. Panos stared at the door, pushing himself to his feet and adjusting his attire.

    Calamity, able to stand again was fully able, albeit eyes weighed with the distant desire for further sleep.

    Doctor John Smythe

    Sharing the journey through the lengthy, intimidating masonry halls with 'Melvin', the doctor could begin a noticeable shift of status quo with men's voices echoing over one another from the floors below. As his steps brought him before the door the shouting continued, giving hint that whatever the problem was, it wasn't a brief affair.

    "Something's not right here," Jeon scowled as he followed the Probe. "You could cut the tension with a knife."

    As they reached the door, the Probe let go, turning to face Jeon and holding its right hand palm up as it pointed at it.

    "So, this is it?" Jeon asked, some lingering doubts in his voice despite feeling the draw towards three figures that he knew were somehow behind this door, while stretching behind him he could "feel" Kevin and the King. His hand rose to knock on the door, but he paused, glancing down at the younger imitation of himself. "So how does one address a 'marquis', anyway?"

    The Probe rolled its eyes, then knocked for him.

    "Hello? It's the doctor!" Jeon called out. "Mind if I pop in for a few moments?"

    Calamity Isis Mae Sensibility, Gina Wright, Doctor John Smythe, 'Melvin' & Panos Lambros

    There was the sound of a bolt sliding, and then the door creaked open and half of a familiar face peeked out. The door swung back to reveal Gina, with Cal and Panos close behind. Cal was back on her feet, seemingly no worse for wear.

    “Whatever you gave Cal, it worked.” Gina informed Jeon, sounding relieved, and Cal echoed the relieved sentiment with a grateful smile at the doctor; to her, still barely more than a stranger - but a stranger who had saved her from a terrible fate.

    The Probe scowled ever so slightly. It was its nanite cocktail, not anything that Jeon had done.

    Gina’s cautious smile turned to creases on her forehead as she registered the distant shouting.

    “Have they found something?” she asked Jeon hopefully. “What’s going on?”

    Panos, the young man eyeing the single adult in the room grabbed Calamity's hand with the new closeness of friendship. The fair prince's glossy brows raised while he listened to the commotion.

    "That is not the help, those are the guards." the Lambros remarked in response to the overwhelming noises of men's voices and clanking footfalls.

    Gina accepted Panos’ assessment with a nod. “Maybe they caught the Drac?”

    "Are they coming up here?" Jeon scowled. "What's going on?"

    Gina leaned further down the mason stair, trying to make out any voices among the commotion. The disorder of the sound was too difficult for her to hear anything clearly, but the guards were clearly moving urgently.

    “Are you both okay to move?” she asked, glancing back at Panos and Cal. “I think we should see what’s happening.”

    Cal nodded. "I think so. Panos?" she looked to the other royal. Her promise from the carriage ride flickered through her thoughts. It seemed her legs were healed now - but in her still weakened state, would she be able to fulfill it? While he took a moment to hesitate, Panos pulled his eyes to the nearby wall and nodded.

    "Do any of you know why they're fighting the..." Jeon fumbled, then pointed at Gina, "...the Dracs? Who invaded who?"

    "Does it matter right now?" Panos asked, a mild tone of skepticism flavoring his words.

    “It’s not really a war.” Gina offered as they hurried down the stairs, “From what the adviser said, the Dracs just raid. If there was a real war the whole Drac nation would come down on us, which is why we were trying to convince the king to do something else...”

    “From what I've gathered, this conflict has been going on a long time.” Cal continued. “They speak of the Draconians as though they're savage monsters, but if you'd seen what's within the dungeons of this fortress…” She shuddered. “I'm not sure who the monsters are. Maybe their raids began it all. Maybe they're retaliating because of what's been done to them.”

    Cal stopped abruptly, the conversation calling forth a memory until now forgotten amidst the chaos. She grabbed Gina's arm, looking alarmed. “I forgot!” she said, “Rangel - the captain of the guard, he said the Dracs were planning a counter strike! We were going to keep the prisoner as a hostage, use him as leverage, but if he's escaped... If he gets back to his people, there's nothing to stop them attacking!”

    There was a slap as Gina’s palm collided with her forehead. “That would have been good to know!” she blurted, twisting her fingers through her hair. “Oh jeez...we’d better find your captain right now!”

    Some of the metal footfalls took more presence in the conversation as it drew close. Rounding the steps to Calamity's tower came three armored men. Confusedly they saw the gathering of people but brushed it to the side as they nodded to Calamity.

    "Marchioness, the escaped Drac somehow helped an army of his bastard-folk inside our walls!"

    "Maybe a portal, ma'am!" one of the other young men guessed aloud. At hearing this Panos' stomach knotted up. The first guard continued.

    "They are in the first ring, our men are holding them back but innocents are in the crossfire. We've closed the gates to the castle. Sir Rangel is at the gate waiting for you. What are your orders?!"

    Suddenly the fae-blooded teenager was thrust with the responsibility of her previous choices, and now a slew of new ones. On the exposed faces of the guards was sharpened focus and fear, intensifying their urgency for direction from Calamity.

    “I... Uh..” Cal's face was stricken and white, panicked at the pressure thrust upon her. The girl struggled to process the information thrown at her, her heart pounding.

    “The king, is he protected?” she said, sounding surer than she felt. Court matters and barking orders she could accomplish with ease, but of war she had no real experience. “Ensure he has a guard at once! And get as many innocents inside the castle as we can, there must be another way in? I will attend Sir Rangel... you three,” she turned to her companions, “You should get somewhere safe. This is my fault... None of you should die for it.”

    Two of the three men briskly left in two different directions: one down the hallway ahead of them and the other from where the men had come from, going downstairs.

    Gina’s expression wavered as she looked at Cal - wanting to argue, unable to do so in front of the guard. “As you wish, marchioness.” she said at last. “If there’s any way I can help, I will.”

    "Kevin's friend Charlie carried me here through some sort of portal," Jeon said, glancing at the two. "I'm afraid I was unconscious at the time, but assuming the Dracs aren't using it now to get here, we could get the king and the others and take them through that back to the Capital?"

    Gina nodded emphatically. “I’ll help you wake them up.”

    "Melvin, do you remember where the portal that brought us here is?"

    “You were in the kitchen when I found you.” Gina said, remembering Jeon laid out on the floor, and Charlie’s jovial explanation. “Just off the main hall.”

    She looked to Panos, wanting to see if he would rather follow Cal’s suggestion or stick close to her side. She could hardly grudge him the latter. “Sir? What will you do?”

    Panos crossed his arms, suppressing the rapid beating of his heart with a cool mask.

    "Your army will be enough to push them out. It's only a desperate move from animal-men." The young man attempted to use his cutting words in a way to reassure Calamity. As his crystalline eyes turned away, the concern was evident however.

    The Probe shrugged. Holding its hands in front of its face, it rotated both hands as if two doors were opening.

    "Doors?" Jeon asked. "Back at the hall we left?"

    The Probe rolled its eyes, then held up its hands in front of its face, this time palm out. It then lowered the hands until the palms faced the floor.

    "A... drawbridge?" Jeon demanded. He looked up at the others. "Is there someplace where there's a drawbridge?"

    Cal thought quickly, trying to remember if she'd seen a drawbridge anywhere within her... or rather, the real marchioness’ keep. "A drawbridge? I don't..." she stopped herself. She didn't recall a drawbridge anywhere, but in the presence of the guard, she could hardly say she didn't know if one was to be found here.

    "Are you sure that's what he means? Boy?" she turned to Melvin. "Is it a drawbridge you are implying with your gesture, or something else? A trapdoor?"

    The Probe shook its head. At least they didn't ask if it was blowing a kiss.

    "Very well." Cal looked at the remaining guard. "Well?" she demanded, "What are you waiting for? Escort us there, first. I will continue to Sir Rangel when we have ensured my companions get where they need to go."

    The man at her command furrowed his bushy brows as he stared down at her with great confusion.

    Panos looked up to the man, then glared at the mute boy and to Calamity, She's making a fool out of herself!. Intervening, the prince grabbed Calamity's hand, squeezing it and grimacing. The urge to scream in fear and frustration was growing, but instead he urgently looked at his friend.

    "Love, why do you not send them to the task and we meet with the Guard Captain?" He suggested with annoyance shot at Gina and now Jeon for the first time. Standing as he was, the guard shifted hips and cleared his throat.

    "Marchioness, where was it you wished to go?" he asked with nervousness running through his voice.

    "Marchioness," Jeon interrupted, "If I may? That bump you took may have left you a little confused. We do need to rescue the King and as many of his entourage while protecting their escape. Perhaps this man knows how they can get home so we can concentrate on fighting the enemy and calling up additional forces?"

    Cal swallowed, her brow furrowed as the others spoke, each statement asking more from her, making her question herself further. She shook her head, trying to clear it.

    "Guard," she spoke, still unsure of the right thing to do, but knowing she had to make a decision, "Take us all to the king. If you know of any way we can spirit him away, safely; inform my companions of it as we go. When I have seen them safely delivered to the King, we will continue to Sir Rangel. We have already had one invisible assassin amongst us; no-one should be wandering about without a guard at hand."

    Plus, it would be quickly obvious I still hardly know my way around this place, if we go wandering off without a guard! she thought, regretting sending two of the three away so quickly, when they could have made unwitting guides.

    The guard nodded obediently, though the steadfast impressions of his metal armor didn't outweigh the hesitation on his face. Turning quickly he led the party down the hallway straight ahead. Panos never let go of Calamity's hand, the blanched royal looking to his left and right occasionally as Calamity took the lead in their steps. The sounds from the lower floor thinned the further they continued and the steps of the men became fewer and fewer as they exited the castle.

    "This is the safest place to be." the man leading said to Calamity, with a mix of overwhelm and nervous obedience.

    "What stops them from entering?" Panos asked critically, taking the risk for Calamity to ask and thus saving her leadership.

    "The gate, no one's going to get through it."

    The way in which he said this had more confidence and matter-of-fact knowing, and Panos narrowed his eyes in on it. Placing a bet that things were hectic, and that he himself was far smarter than the man in armor, he wove a question to learn more yet not expose his ignorance.

    "Is that what the Guard Captain says?"

    "No marquis, but what I saw wouldn't be enough. They'd need more cold-blooded bodies to be butchered at the gate to get in."

    “If they haven’t figured that out already they will soon.” Gina said as she hurried along with the others. “There isn’t any other way they could get in, is there? No-one’s seen them anywhere except at the gate?”

    "No miss, less they cheat with more magic..."

    "Perhaps they created their own gate," Jeon shrugged, glancing around. "Or they found another way in? An escape tunnel, perhaps?"

    The Probe frowned at the doctor, then began scanning the area. If the attackers were cold-blooded, however, it was questionable what its sensors could pick up.

    "So, how do we convince the king that now's the time he returns to the Capital?" Jeon asked, glancing around. Of course, if the King showed up alive in his palace, who knew what the Council would do to him? After surviving an attack here, he might decide to lay low for a while, again.

    The guard leading the group kept silent moments after Jeon spoke, noticing no-one replied to the brown haired man the Zayan's questions were left behind. Coming into view within the expanse of a new masonry hallway ahead were three doors, tended by standing men with hands on their swords.

    Three other metal-clad men were walking down the hallway of doors and around the corner of another hallway. Moving at a much quicker pace were humble aids carrying cloths, and buckets of water rushing from door to door. The man Calamity had sent off to protect the king came before the protected door on the left before the party.

    "Our commander had already got things set for the king and your guests." he said with relief, the guiding guard looked back to Calamity herself, waiting for command.

    One of the help, a middle-aged brunette, stopped as she noticed the arrival of these key figures. She was being followed by a young man no older than twenty with similar domestic attire and similar features, and together they hurriedly lowered their heads for the marchioness.

    "Marchioness we've been told you wish to house your people being put in harm's way. Without Lady Lyina awake to heal them we will have difficulty..." Her faded-lined face looked hesitantly at Jeon. "Chatter says he's the man who healed the guests...we could use him.”

    Panos turned his head to the side to conceal his irritation. Great, then separate us again. And they would lose the one adult among the collective of dazed teenagers. But, Panos knew if Jeon or Calamity resisted it would make things tense for both. Every one of Cal's decisions was going to create cause and effect with her power. Why is a woman in charge? he asked himself with a fluster of frustration.

    Cal nodded, thinking quickly. She had hoped they would be able to remain together - but they were in the midst of battle now, and if they did nothing to help...

    "Jeon, will you stay, and assist with the injured?" she asked. Their means of escaping this world, already unclear to begin with, were slipping further from reach, but if they just left without trying to help, wasn't that tantamount to causing this misery? At least here, Jeon would have the protection of the guards nearby. And once they had sorted out this mess... if they could, if they made it out of this alive... they would know where to find their new companion.

    "Of course," Jeon replied, assessing the scene. "Of course, I wouldn't say no to...."

    "We will attend the King, before I meet the Captain."

    "...some assistance." Jeon sighed. "This is a long way from the shuttle." This remark earned Jeon a confused look as the domestic help stared at him with urgency.

    Gina clicked her fingers, suddenly remembering. She fished around under her cuff and brought out the corked vial of smelling salts that Melvin had given her to use on the king.

    “Maybe wake adviser Charlie up first.” she suggested to Jeon. “He’s got rank, he can help you get the others moving.” And unlike the others he’s not trying to kill the king. Probably.

    "Excellent suggestion!" Jeon smiled wanly, surveying the crowd. "I'm sure he's around here somewhere...?"

    Gina glanced down at Melvin, and hoped that the silent robot had more tricks up its sleeve than the walkie-talkie card that was currently up hers.

    “I don’t suppose you can help us kill a bunch of Dracs...?” she murmured to the robot out the side of her mouth.

    The Probe let its right eyebrow arch, then took a step back to stand closer to Jeon. What the doctor's connection was with these children it didn't understand, but absent orders from its masters, its duty was to protect Jeon and not let the Zayan out of its reach. If something happened to him, it would surely be stranded here. Besides, where was Jeon going to get all those ammonia inhalants?

    These people are idiots. Panos' brows furrowed and he studied the guard and servants exchange of eye contact: Jeon and Gina seemed entirely oblivious.

    "I am sorry marchioness." the homely brunette servant lowered herself with her opening words, "If it were possible, if the apothecary were able...awaking Lady Lyina would be absolutely helpful."

    Though this name was brought up a second time in this conversation, the multiverse travelers had thus far not been introduced to a woman of that name. Panos thought about it carefully, but many details were jumbled by the trauma of one catastrophe following the next.

    Using his lowered status once again, he helped the group, "And why is that? How will she help any more than an Adviser now if she's to be just awakened?" It was specific enough, yet vague enough to imply and search for what they would need, hopefully.

    "Well, marquis," the woman hesitated, keeping her eyes down, "Mayhaps her healing magic would tend to her and others."

    A flick of Panos’ blanched hair revealed his intense gaze upon Calamity while more decision making was set on her.

    "Another healer, very good," Jeon said enthusiastically, nodding his head. It would be interesting to watch a healer at work, especially if they used magic. Maybe he could pick up a few pointers...? Of course, would any magic here work back home? "Good woman, could you point her out, I'm only recently recovered myself and I'm not very good with names....?"

    One of the guarded doors opened and another servant came out. As he saw Calamity and the others he approached with a desperate smile, a cloth and a wooden water bucket at his side.

    "King Kinglos' magician is beginning to stir." he said promisingly. He looked at Jeon, meeting eyes with the woman and young man briefly who nodded. "You must be the apothecary, it would be a great help if you gave him your care, sir." He bowed at the hip in submission of Jeon's class superiority.

    "Maybe he could blow the fork-tongues to pieces." the group's escorting guard gritted his teeth, exhaling air to punctuate his statement.

    "He needs rest," Jeon scowled, ignoring the guard. "Whatever knocked us out, he seems to have taken the brunt of it. With attackers in the keep, it's more important that we first revive this healer, Ms. Lyina? Yes. I could do with another set of hands, certainly. And tea, hot, with honey. She'll likely need it."

    The young man who had come with the older relative hurried away at Jeon's word.

    Gina squeezed her hands together. The castle was under attack and Jeon was talking about tea. Even she wasn’t that British.

    This is an urgent emergency!

    She gasped as the memory clicked. A woman with healing magic...she was suddenly sure she knew who lady Lyina was.

    “The lady at the dining hall door.” she blurted at Jeon. “The blonde one, the one who said she’d healed the prisoner before we all got knocked out!”

    She knew what she was looking for now - adviser Charlie in his silver and brown waistcoat, and lady Lyina with her blonde hair and pretty but tired face. She bolted from one archway to the next with the flask of smelling salts in her hand, shoving the heavy doors open and peering through just long enough to see if they were inside.
    Her path was initially blocked by the guardsmen who did not look down at her with trust. However as Calamity with Panos at her side approached the man opened it. Inside were the bare furnishings that the cold and dreary castle hosted for all its rooms. Lady Lyina lay on the bed with a woman sitting next to her.

    "She is healing her." Calamity explained to the woman while Gina came up to the healer.

    When presenting the smelling salts, the change in the blonde woman’s breathing told Gina it worked. Weakly pushing off some of the furs laying on top of her, the robed woman looked up at Gina with no recognition.

    For a moment Calamity, behind her false stoic face, thought about this situation and decided to approach closer beside Gina. Panos, whose dislike of Gina was so potent, kept a few feet back with his arms crossed to keep away from the other teenager. Lyina's expression relaxed some at Calamity's sight, indicating familiarity.

    "Lady marchioness. What happened?" the magic woman asked through a tired whisper, blue eyes searching the teenager through the candlelight.

    Calamity hesitated, glancing at Gina to buy time. She decided that avoiding the question outright would be the best thing to do. "We are being invaded by Draconians. I need your healing now." She pressed a touch of leadership in her words, and the blonde woman was distracted enough to forgo her own question and begin to sit up.

    Though Calamity still didn't know the layout of the castle and didn't know if the healer would heal the soldiers out in the field or the innocents caught in the middle of all of this. Either were just as 'innocent' in this case. Defaulting to buy more time, Calamity looked at Gina again.

    "Would you bring her to the apothecary? I need to speak with the king." In this way she hoped Jeon would better direct the woman than she could.

    "Everyone who was affected experienced a profound shock to their systems, myself included." Jeon said. "I've had a chance to recover, somewhat, but it'll help if when they're revived they can get some tea with honey in them, or failing that, a slug of brandy."

    He paused to glance at the nearest guard. "You do have brandy or some sort of strong alcoholic spirits?"

    The young woman with tan skin who had once been tending to the unconscious Lyina looked to Jeon, who could only find the guard outside the door, and he was unresponsive.

    "O’doln had fallen..." The blonde woman gradually got to her feet, Calamity using a natural instinct to help the woman. She looked rather surprised but said nothing of it while she went on. There was a noticeable shift of tone in her voice as she spoke his name, one of deep concern and personal care.

    "If I may, marchioness." She looked to Calamity. "See his condition and tend it?"

    Panos wondered why everyone was obsessed with the wizard. It was best he kept down...

    The black haired, fey-blooded Calamity shifted in her dress and recalled Jeon's words. His reasoning wouldn't work on a woman who could heal people with magic. She hadn't thought the woman would be focused on the red-haired man too.

    "The king told us to keep his people safe." Gina broke in, taking an opportunity to divert the conversation. "The adviser, the cheerful one, Jeon says he used a portal to get here - could he use it again to get everyone back to the city?"

    "The portal is one way." Lynia explained quickly, looking down and onto Gina while awaiting her answer from Calamity. "He would be able to return them."

    'And expose us meanwhile' The pale prince bitterly thought.

    Gina nodded firmly. “Then I’ll go wake him up.” Spying the guards at the doors, she looked at Cal and added for their benefit, “With your permission, marchioness.”

    Calamity waved a hand tersely, turning on her heel to set her amethyst eyes on Gina. "Yes, go ahead."

    Gina broke away from the group to resume searching the other rooms.

    “Which room did you put adviser Charlie in?” she called speculatively to Cal’s servants, in the hope of speeding up her search.
    Taking her out to the hallway, the man pointed two doors down to the left.

    As Gina disappeared, the young brunette man entered with a small bowl of honey accessorized with a wooden spoon. Hearing everyone speaking, he kept silent but raised the bowl for the doctor to take.

    "Ah, excellent!" Jeon said, taking the pot of honey from the young man. "Lady Lyina will need this to keep her strength up, as will all the ones affected. Thank you!"

    "Sorry sir, we will get the tea as soon as we can." the man promised the pleased doctor. Lyina, hearing her name, returned to focus and gradually stood up.

    "Take the apothecary's help." Calamity instructed the blonde woman, using him as the distraction she intended. Walking away from the two of them, Calamity returned to Panos.

    The blonde healer furrowed her brows, but nodded and set her blue eyes on Jeon, waiting for his assessment.

    The Probe watched the newcomer impassively while secretly scanning him and the honey. There were assassins around, after all. There was nothing foul about the man or the honey, luckily.

    "So, second order of business is to get someone to rig up a portal to return the King and his guests back to the capital while we do our best to help the defenders. Tell me, do you know what Lord Charles looks like? I could use a hand in finding him."

    Lynia crossed her arms, worry growing on her face.

    "Gina is already fetching him." Panos replied to Jeon, with a clenching of his bright teeth.

    The healing magician nervously eyed Cal once, but it didn't stop her from heading to the door and thus away from Jeon.

    "If I do not mend O’doln the guests cannot be saved." the woman said; her voice was filled with regret was going Cal's direct command.

    Cal's teeth found the soft skin on the inside of her lip. Waking O'doln was a risk, but if they could not save the innocents here without him... with a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach, that they may live to regret what she was about to do; if they lived through this at all; she called after the woman.

    "Very well, Lyina. Wake O'doln, inform him of my instructions. As many as can be saved, through the portal to safety. He should go make the preparations as soon as he as able. And you should return, to tend the wounded here, as soon as you have ensured he is well."

    Now the princess turned to Panos, still ever aware of the responsibility she had to keep him by her side, and safe. "Now, we need to find the King, and tell him of our plan; get him out of here, too." It would not do for the King to fall, just when they had broken him of his drunken ways; not when she had damn near killed herself to do it. She nodded to the guardsman at the door.

    "Lead the way. We will attend the King now."
    Lyina was very pleased, a quick apologetic glance at Jeon and the healer was quickly out the door. Having the doctor and the two royal teenagers follow the guard, Lyina quickly converged with them as their destination was shared: the guarded door next to them.

    In this room the king was sitting bedside over O'doln. The man's pointed yet softly rounded ear was seen through his straight red hair as the magician twitched and shook in small movements.

    King Kinglos and his security saw the important gathering of people and frowned at Calamity.

    "All I have to offer him are my prayers." the man's regretful face held onto hers, his convictions beyond his bottle. Lynia ran over to O'doln's side, a hand to rest at the side of his face while she lowered herself next to him.

    Panos observed the passionate look on her face. But his crystalline eyes returned to where they were glued - on O'doln. The long red hair pulled back to a memory all to fresh for Panos and his healed body. Against Calamity his hand held tighter.

    "She is a lover of his, use her to keep him distracted" Panos nervously whispered into Calamity's ear. It would be in their best interest to keep him away from them - afraid of what the magical figure could do. His mind worked both in self preservation and crippling fear while he stared on. Cal squeezed his fingers in return, letting him know she heard his council.

    "My Lord," she addressed the King aloud, "do not fear. Lyina is very capable - if there is a way to help him, she will find it. In the meantime, I have people organising an evacuation route from the castle. You should take it, My Lord. We will repel the Drac here, so have no doubt, but you should not be placed at risk, in the meantime."

    The probe scanned O'Doln, noting his vitals. It was clear the drug was wearing off, as expected. How quickly he recovered from his treatment, however, it couldn't tell.

    Glancing sideways up at Jeon, it wondered how the council would react. Would they accept that the situation had changed, or would they blame him for this 'failure'?

    And how would it protect Jeon if they decided to go after him? It was only a probe assigned to watch over the Zayan castaway, it wasn't provided with the sort of weapons and defenses a combat unit would have.

    Of course, a combat unit would never had to face something that could work magic.

    "So how's the patient?" Jeon asked, his hands itching to see an eChart. "Been keeping him warm and comfortable, I trust?"
    Lyina had shut her eyes, beckoning into her palms a soothing white light bright enough to sharply pull attention which despite its brightness was tender to look upon rather than agitating. Her palms turned to O'Doln's chest and she leaned over, keeping her eyes on his face.

    "It's startling, these monster men have never used a poison such as this. It is not was their mistake" Panos' throat tightened. The entire situation was a staggering maze of suspense. Between the death by a thousand cuts that was their building suspicions in the castle and the encroaching warfare outside which was the easier one to deal with?

    The king's eyes shifted over to Jeon a few times but looked firmly away. It was evident the man was displeased with the Zyan doctor. "No, this is the time to be here. Finally, with my people instead of always hiding" The black hair man nodded carefully to his rallying words. "I will be beside you young marchioness. Your leadership has always been the sharpest for this generation. I will rally your soldiers and you will defeat them and let those bastards know they will never come into Whitebar again"

    'Was he an alcoholic or a martyring stupid idiot?' Panos had to speculate which was worse to deal with. Eyeing the magician nervously the young Lambros prince his jittery mind created many guesses as to what magic could do.

    "A portal is open," Panos began with teeth clenched, "it wouldn't be difficult to think seeing our king would prompt them to bring something or someone from it to size the opportunity" he cast into King Kinglos' valor a possible and very painful pitfall.

    "Mouthy," the king also found Panos to be an irritant, "O'Doln will know, I am lucky I keep him near me always" set in his newly adjusted ways, the royal man turned his head and attention onto the recovering magical man.

    "You could stand to have a few more good people around you," Jeon observed, walking and kneeling at O'Doln's side, opposite of Lyina. The drone, with a faint scowl on its lips, followed him.

    "Will it affect yer gift if I take hold of his wrist to check his pulse?" he asked the healer. "It lets me know how he's doing."

    "Come to think of it," the doctor added, glancing at the Probe, "Melvin, have you a stethoscope in that pocket of yours?"

    Cal was shredding the inside of her lip again, almost ready to simply fling her hands in the air and tell them all to do as they wished, and be damned for it! It seemed they were destined to be one step forward, two steps back on this journey... saving the king from assassination only to find he was killing himself slowly with his alcoholism, turning him to a better life only to see him determined to place himself on the front line of battle.

    "I feel certain O'doln would agree with me, Lord," she said, her voice polite, just a hint of her frustration creeping from it. "No-one could doubt your bravery, or your commitment to your realm, but your people will be frightened, disoriented, when they flee here. They need you there to guide them, to let them know all will be well."

    Gina Wright

    She saw the Advisers in bed together. A guard inside the room was watching them, for both were in a sad state. Kevin whose arse had been the subject of Melvin's quills lay face down with his head resting on his arms. Above the layers of blankets and furs he looked very uncomfortable and was keeping his face away from Charlie.

    The finely dressed man was unconscious, breathing rhythmically, his black hair tossed in several directions in contrast to his dapper clothing. Kevin looked up to see who had entered.

    "Tell him I won't forgive him." the cleanshaven late 40-something said with a huff, as if expecting Gina to be his messenger. "He shouldn't even have sent you, little girl." he said with hurt and offense caught in his voice.

    I’m eighteen. Gina thought irritably, wondering what the king or Jeon had done that was so unforgivable. But she didn’t have time to waste.

    “Sorry sir.” she said, forcing herself to keep her voice civil. “I was sent to fetch your colleague.”

    She popped the cork on the flask again, and slipped a hand under adviser Charlie’s head to gently lift him towards the smelling salts.
    Kevin slapped at her wrist, knocking free the vial she held. Gina yelped in surprise as the vial went tumbling onto the ground. Cracking, its grainy contents spilled at her feet.

    "And what is he needed for?" Kevin demanded an answer. As lame as he now was from his wounded backside, he still gave Gina a fight. The guard at the door watched the exchange with much more focus, and Gina could feel his eyes on her.

    She bit back the urge to swear as the acrid smell of spilt ammonia tingled her nose and made her eyes water.

    “The castle’s under attack, sir!” she snapped at Hedspeth. “They’re holding the Draconians in the first ring but we need a portal back to the city, and someone to see the guests safely through!”

    Rebuked, Kevin looked down at Charlie.

    "Getting him involved, is this a part of Jeon's foolishness? My dear apothecary could have used what you let slip onto the floor because he needs to wake up!" The councilman grunted in frustration. "Before you listen to anything he says maybe someone ought to check his health, his mind is out of it!"

    Aware though she was of Hedspeth’s hatred for Charlie, something about his words began to nag at Gina. She began to worry that she had made a mistake.

    “You should stay here sir.” she told Hedspeth, hurriedly. “It’s probably best that people don’t see you like this...”

    Hoping that that would be enough to keep the injured, angry councilman out of the way, she rushed back out to rejoin the others.
    Thank you MayhemsCurse <3

    Spoiler: Memorable Quotes 

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