Post # 7
It didn't take Andrew long to bring both Noir and his mother through the
doorway, rift in time, to the northern part of the lands above the
Northern Tier where he felt the ones had 'landed.' Spit out from another
dimension as closely one could call it. There was definitely evil there
in that other dimension where they had been. The night
surrounded them as they stepped foot on a grassy field. He kept
them both close in case anything else had escaped through that window of
time but he didn't really feel so, the wards would have reacted in a
negative way too, disposing of such things. "They are here
someplace," as he started searching the shadows. There was a good
hundred acres of woods and fields in this section.
Honeee had tear stained cheeks and hadn't bothered to wipe them clean
when accompanying Andrew and Noir. Anxious was one of the words that
would describe her presently as she stepped through the time
displacement door with her son and daughter. "Karl," she
couldn't help calling out as she shot forward but not too far from her
son. She didn't want to worry him or have him chase after her either.
It was instinctive that Noir's hand fall to the hilt of her sword as
they stepped through the doorway. She brushed back strands of hair that
the breeze caused to tickle her cheeks and looked around. As Honeee
started forward, she looked at Andrew and smiled then quickly set off
after her. If anyone would know where they were, it would be the Queen.
Karl had not moved from his kneeled position except to ease the weight
of the body he carried from his shoulders to the ground. His hand rested
on the man's shoulder, sitting on his heels, his head back, his eyes
closed. A mist had settled around them, feather-light and gently veiling
their skin with moisture. Almost a relief from the deathly, bone-dry
existence they had escaped from. He heard his men moving as best they
could around him. Vincent and Lazare lowering the man they supported to
the ground, then one of them crossing to assist Dana to the comfort of
welcoming earth. Even the miniscule droplets on Karl's eyelashes felt a
burden, and his eyes remained closed still. He had dreamed of her face,
of her touch, of her voice so many, many nights, that when he heard her
call to him, he thought he was at first just dreaming again. That his
need to be with her, that which had kept him alive and fighting
still these past months even when his body begged for death's release,
was yet again, just keeping him filled with the desire to press on. The
impending storm off in the distance had silenced their surroundings, and
voice was so crystal clear to him, and nearer than he had ever imagined
it before. His lips managed a smile and he willed her to call to him
again, just so he could keep her with him.
"Tis the Queen!" But it was Vincent's voice that would break
Karl's fantasy. "She is near." He forced himself to stand, and
squinted through the darkness. Surely she had not come alone. He
shouted into the darkness, his voice hoarse and his throat raw with
dryness."Here!" Was this yet another mirage to their pleading
minds? His hands had raised to cup his mouth to call, and in doing so,
he noticed his ring. The Griffin had claimed they were home, and the
glow confirmed it, this was no illusion to a dying man's soul.
"Call again, we are here!" He forced himself forward, toward
the sound of her voice.
Karl shot to his feet, energy returning where it had only just moments
before forsaken him. "Vincent, stay with the men." He barked
the order, motioning the Dragon back to his comrades as the King strode
forward toward the voice with a determination that none could
match. Her call had circled them in this silence, but if she was near,
the Black Griffin would go directly to her.
The shadows played tricks in these parts where trees would break into
clumps of forest then field again. She heard voices as she turned one
way then another. Her gown of ivory white looked surreal in this light.
The mist a cooling addition laid like silver spun thread over golden
streak hair. Hair that was left unbound reaching her waist.
"Karl!" the lilt of her voice would carry as she went flying
through the field as if her feet had sprung wings. They had in a way but
then the Elf could move so quickly like a breeze, one that barely
stirred that which was about her in passing. "Andrew, Noir, over
here," she was sure she was making out the form of a man, and
hopefully it would be Karl's arms that would surround her soon.
Andrew was swift to follow and ready to defend it they were being
mislead. Noir at his side as he spoke on a concern he picked up on,
"I think they are hurt, some more than others." He too made
out the form of a man but it was uncertain by sight which one it was at
this distance. He used his other sense and picked up on his stepfather
so didn't stop his mother as she advanced on the misty form that would
grow clearer the closer they got.
Trevor pressed on no matter how late it was getting and the need for a
respite. His ring glowed even more and knew he was getting closer. The
mountains had seen a lot of rain and the ground softened having areas
with landslides. So the going was slow as the rains ceased to a mist
with yet another storm to threaten in the distance. His horse as weary
as the one riding with a hood drawn up. He could sense his healing
talents would be needed and so the pressing forward relentlessly with
Bannon in tow. The young squire would be learning first hand about
perseverance when there was such a need. To push the body beyond its
limits when life and death hung in the difference.
Bannon was to the point where he was nearly falling asleep in the saddle
when he suddenly got his second wind. Excitement took over and he coaxed
his horse to keep moving. He'd feel it all later and his sleep would be
likely be deep but right now, nothing else mattered.
Noir nodded when Andrew spoke, her eyes narrowing slightly as she peered
through the mist. "You may need to use your abilities then."
She said softly as they followed after the Queen. She felt nothing evil
and had relaxed a touch as they neared. And of course, she too,
would do all she could.
She was to him at first a spirit, floating in the mist, a graceful
vision of flowing white. His chest tightened with the clenching of his
heart. His throat constricted with words that forced their way upward,
but knotted in his throat. He couldn't run, but his stride never eased
as his gait carried him to her, dropping to his knees just before her as
he wrapped his arms around her, pressing the side of his face to damp
fabric against her hips. "If I have died, My Queen, and you are but
an illusion, I pray to whatever God governs this realm that you do not
drift away from me. " From the tight hold he had on this woman,
even were she spirit, she could not manage to sift away.
Since Vincent was ordered to remain, Carno followed at a good pace
behind their liege until he saw the embrace, and then he paused,
dropping his gaze and taking a step back. Movement caught his eye, and
it was the Crown Prince and his wife that he noticed as he
sought out the reason for it. He offered a bow, as best he could with
more than one rib that screamed from fracture. "Prince
Andrew." He whispered, words barely audible from a throat not used
to uttering them lately. "Tis good to see you, as always."
Though more so now. He'd smile, but his lips would crack. He'd drop to a
knee, but he wasn't so sure he'd make it back up again. "Your
Grace." He offered to Noir, even as he remained bowed to Andrew,
then slowly, with great effort, straightened. And then, the wetness of
breeze brought to him the sound of horse hooves, and lips be damned, he
smiled, cracking a crater or two on his mouth, but it was a sound that
spoke of brotherhood.
She was not spirit so there was no way for he was holding onto flesh and
blood. He would be able to tell by the warmth of her skin and the scent
of lilacs that had always been part of her makeup. The strangled words
wrought in tears that flowed down her cheeks in a mixture of emotions.
"It was thought you were dead but I continued to hope for my heart
would die within my breast if you were taken from me." Hands
curling into his hair as fingers delve in a hold as sure as the one he
had around her waist as she cradled his head to her bosom. "You are
hurt m'love.." more a statement than a question as they would need
to see what they could do here before getting them back. Karl was
probably immune to rift riding by now and that which was not so easily explained
in the so called normal world. Her essence gave off healing waves as if
will alone coupled with her deep love would restore his health, flesh
and bone along with his spirit was it was uplifted with hers.
Andrew kept on moving past where his mother greeted Karl, she had
healing powers too that he was sure she would be using. The kind of
which would drain a person if there were many that needed of its healing
qualities. Luckily that would not be the case. "Lazare, good god
man," as he rushed ahead to help the man before he collapsed. A
hand moving to pause over his cracked rib. The healing power already
started as he asked a few questions, at least the pain should be ebbing.
"Is this the worse of it for you and what of the others?" He
could sense them near and picked up on agony but hard to tell which was
Trevor and Bannon arrived from the other side, coming upon Vincent, Dana
and a couple others as he drove his horse into a gallop to reach them,
dismounting before the stallion had completely stopped. "Vincent,
Dana.." all he needed to get out as he was quickly over to them,
"Bannon, help as you can.."
Noir smiled at Lazare, amazed at the resilience of the man though not
totally surprised. He was, after all, one of the king's men. "It's
good to see you, Lazare." Her voice was husky as she spoke, eyes
bright. The reunion of Karl and Honeee had nearly done her in as it was.
She quieted so the man could answer Andrew, though she too, heard the
sound of horses.
"Aye, sir." He was quickly down from his horse, grabbing a
canteen first of all. "Sir Vincent, Sir Dana, I... " was all
he managed to choke out before he was offering out the canteen. He
wouldn't trust himself to speak more, not yet.
Karl tugged against the hold on his Queen, the essence of her healing
providing him with the strength needed to pull her to his lap as he
kneeled back. "I feel no pain." He muttered close to her cheek
before he pressed his lips there, cool against the warmth of her flesh.
Her scent, the taste of her, the feel of her, her nearness as she
enveloped him with love and homecoming, healing of not only the body had
begun. Whether he was in pain or no, mattered not at all to him. Indeed,
pain was but a physical sensation, and such had been overloaded, taxed
to the borders of no return, that he cared little to notice physical
discomfort. His soul had been returned to him. And she was now in his
The depth of bones began to knit with Andrew's administrations, not a
pleasant feeling, but a necessary one. "Aye, for the most part. A
punctured lung, I'm thinking, but I've another." Even that felt as
if it meshed and filled again, even as he spoke. "I'm the best of
the bunch, in my humble opinion. The other two with Vincent and Dana,
they be the hurting ones." A motion of head indicated the two men
unconscious on the ground behind them. Carno offered a guarded look to
the King and Queen, then along with Andrew and Noir, started back to the
Like his brother-in-arms, Vincent felt Trevor's approach even before the
man came out of the darkness more into sight. The thud of fist to chest
for his comrade was not as hearty as it once had been. "Life is a
conscious continuity..." He began, looking to the young squire who
crossed toward them. "Mouse." The hard line of jaw, the sharp
glint of eye, seemed to ease with the realization that his squire had to
ride hard to keep up with Trevor. There was a very slight limp to his
step, not to say he was not injured, but Vincent was one more likely to
mask his pain than acknowledge it in any way to anyone. Even the large
chunks of flesh that had been sliced from his arm, from his chest, the
flogging strap marks which had cut and would scar his back in stripes he
showed no mention to. He crossed to the now man, once mouse, and, well,
gripping him by an arm, pulled him in for an embrace. "My family,
Bannon?" But he didn't wait for his reply via words. "Where
are we and is your horse too exhausted to take me from this place to my
ladies?" It was the Prince of Heathfield, though that ceased his
questions, breaking his hold from Bannon to bow to him. "My
Liege." He offered to both the prince and his wife, remaining bowed
until Andrew moved more fully to them.
Dana couldn't stand at this point, once he was down, he was down. But he
dipped his head to the Prince and Princess.
She would envelope them in a white healing aura that spanned a few feet
around them. Honeee would take care of her King. Andrew and
Noir could help his esteem men as well the two loyal guards that had
stayed with Karl into the uncharted woods filled with beasts of an
ethereal kind. Later they could tell their tale of what happened over
those ten months or more before they escaped the devil's playground.
Tears ran silently down her cheek that nestled against his, she could
just squeeze him to death but that would not do. Instead, she soaked him
in on many levels especially as lips found his, his finding hers and one
that traversed a year's worth of missing him, of loving him. Her heart
swelling in her chest that it was amazing she could still breathe.
"I will take you home by means of the rift and see to your healing
for as long as it takes." Lips parting long enough to soft spoken
words before they devoured his once again. At least his weren't cracked!
She also knew he would heal not taking a long time for there was one
thing about Karl, he was duty bound not to be bound to a bed until
he was better. So better he would become quicker.
Trevor embraced Vincent but he left a bit of moss behind that would
begin its traveling to sores and wounds where flesh had been parted to
make new flesh. A little trick he had learned and his comrade would not
be aware until later when he took his clothes off and found the layering
of moss covering his body! Wouldn't Julia be surprised? Leaving
Vincent to Bannon as he was over to work on Dana. Possibly he would not
be as stubborn that he needed alternate ways.
With Lazare on the mend, he guided Noir with him to see to the two
unconscious ones as Trevor was seeing to Vincent and Dana. "There
will be ones arriving soon if your horse is not too worn to leave
Vincent to ride him back.." It was a suggestion as he further
warned. "When the Wards went off we came as quickly as possible so
your wife knows not you are alive, Vincent." A hand giving a clasp
to Vincent's shoulder as he remained bowing even under these
circumstances, the hand straightening him with a gentle but strong ease.
He was also aware of a healing moss growing but said nothing, giving
only a glance Trevor's way. Later he would let out the good hearty
laugh! "See to it and them, you will heal fast as the Warrior you
are, Sir Vincent," and the moss... there was the moss! He was over
to help with the unconscious men and best they were for the type of
healing Andrew performed. Some got spooked by it but really what he did
was put their natural healing abilities to work at their best
performance which most were only in tune to about five percent of
He would have to explain to Noir about the moss! "Welcome back,
Vincent. The joy that fills us will be felt tenfold by Julia when she
sees you again." And hopefully she'd not faint when he found her.
She smiled at Bannon before moving with Andrew to assist him with the
two men. In a day or two, the king's field would be a different place
than it had been of late.
"Your family is well. Lady Julia is sad but she hides it as best
she can. And you won't believe how big the twins are." He waited
until everyone had moved on to answer. "We pressed the horses to
arrive here as quickly as possible so I'm not certain how tired mine
is." He lowered his voice. "I watched over Lady Julia and the
girls as best I could. I ... it's hard to say how glad I am right
now." He felt like he was babbling and fell silent again, though he
Although Vincent was no longer embracing the younger man, he was well
aware of him. He stood with Andrew's permission. "She does not
know? Aye, then, I would wish to remedy that as soon as I am able,
Andrew." His back had begun to itch, and he shifted beneath the
torn, worn, grime-laden weight of his shirt in an attempt to ease that
feeling. It just seemed to spread instead. "Thank you." As
soon as the others arrived, Vincent would be gone. Leaving Dana, Carno,
Karl and the other men to the healers, he had his own healing to see to
which would be better served in a particular chamber back at the castle.
Amazing how just the presence of these they knew, and the knowledge that
they were home, and all would soon return to 'normal' pumped them with
energy they had just moments before been depleted of.
Karl's voice lowered, not that he needed to, there were none near, but
because he and his wife were wrapped so close, one to the other.
"Let us away, then, My Queen." He wished now only to be back
in the castle walls, bathed, salved, a moment to greet his children,
then to mend ... and hold tight to the one that had, even with her
absence, rescued him, rescued them all since she kept Karl pushing them
with his need to return to her.
It would be another hour before the wagons came, men and extra horses.
Bannon's horse might well be refreshed enough before the others arrived.
Andrew could feel Vincent's anxiety, his need to be with the woman
he loved. He knew his love for Noir and couldn't fathom such a
separation. They would load the two guards onto the wagons, as well
Lazare and Dana unto another. He noticed that his mother and the King
were gone and knew they had taken the short cut. Vincent, was gone as
well at this point.
That kiss was like no other as in the depth of it she had opened the
rift for them to take right to their chambers. A bath would be drawn for
him which she would see to his soaking and cleaning then a light respite
would be sent up for his physical nourishment while she saw to all his
other needs once the need of any staff help was no longer.
"You did a good job Bannon," they would ride back together
alongside the wagons. "In a couple weeks time, I'm sure the King
will see to your knighting." Which was what the mouse had wanted
that had grown into a Lion before them.