Revis and Matticus Save the Kingdom, Chapter 20

The portal shimmered, revealing a brilliant flow of colors. Those colors swirled until they turned into a blurry image of the dungeon cell where they had left Jaded.

Jaded slept in the corner. A loud sound echoed through the hallway, waking her up. She watched as a shadowy figure walked up to the bars. No, not walked. It glided up to the cell’s bars. There were no feet or legs coming out of the shadows to touch the floor.

At first, Jaded smiled as the figure came closer. Then, when the shadow got next to her, Jaded lunged, trying to grab the figure through the bars. “You never told me that they’d turn me human,” she spat venomously, her voice sounding strange coming from the portal.

The shadow laughed. “I told you they were more formidable than you’d give them credit for. You still did good to get them to go through the portal. How long have they been gone?”

“How the hell should I know? I’ve been locked in here since they left, and there are no watches in this universe.”

“There’s no time to lose. Take this,” the shadow ordered, holding out a vial of red liquid. “Throw the liquid on the portal and it will keep them from being able to come back through.”

Jaded scoffed. “The last time I did as you ordered, I got turned into a human.”

“I can change you back…”

“Don’t lie to me.”

The dark figure did not respond beyond a further offering gesture with the vial.  Jaded took a step back, her eyes flicking between the vial, the cell bars, and the face lost within the shadows.  It was obvious from her body language that she was tempted by the offer.  Even if she no longer trusted her cohort, the prospect of no longer being human appealed to her.

Revis and Matticus exchanged a nervous glance.

“Should we jump through before she makes up her mind?”  Matticus whispered, unsure if his voice would carry through the open portal.

Revis didn’t answer right away.  His gaze was fixed on the unfolding scene, waiting, watching, trying to decipher what the right move was.  He certainly didn’t want to get trapped forever in Twindaddy’s world.  The thought terrified him so greatly he almost lunged through instinctively.  But, his training kept him from following through on the impulse.  He needed a plan.

The Knight sensed Matticus growing restless beside him.  If he didn’t think of something, or at least answer quickly, the Jester might do something stupid.  He shifted his gaze from the portal to see Matticus chewing on his lip.  A bad sign.  A very bad sign.

Jaded grabbed the vial out of the shadow’s hand and removed the lid. Revis immediately grabbed Matticus’ arm and dragged him towards the portal. The two men hit the portal just as the red liquid did. A powerful force hit them both head-on and they felt themselves being thrown backwards. Roughly, they hit the ground.

When they opened their eyes, they saw that they weren’t in Twindaddy’s closet anymore. They also weren’t back in the Kingdom, either. Looking around, they saw that they were in a forest at night. Although, there were some of the horseless carriages from Twindaddy’s world not far away. There was also an impossibly tall metal fence.

Suddenly, an ear-splitting roar filled the air. Revis grabbed Matticus’ arm and signaled him to remain still, and quiet. They watched as the metal fence came down. A strange looking dragon came crashing through, attacking the carriages.  It had no wings and short arms. The dragon attacked one of the carriages, pushed it over the side of the fence, and ran off.

“Wait a minute,” Matticus said once he was sure the dragon was out of earshot. “How is there a now huge drop off right where the dragon came running two minutes ago?”

“Stop pointing out plot holes in other stories,” Revis commanded. “If you do that, people may start finding them in ours.”

“Like what?”

“Like how we’ve been to a few universes different than ours and we all just happen to speak the same language. Seriously, how long are the odds that would actually happen?”

“I hadn’t thought about it like that.  Yeah, that is weird…  Also, I have no idea what you are talking about.  What stories?”

“Never mind.”

“Fine,” Matticus responded petulantly.  “So, now what?”

“Well, we should probably get out of this rain, and find some shelter before that dragon comes back, because it will be coming back.  And then we should figure out how to find another portal.”

Matticus furrowed his brow, and looked skyward, noticing the rain for the first time.  “I suppose you have some kind of plan for that?  Something from your magical bag of tricks?”

Before Revis could answer, the dragon let out a mighty roar that caused the hairs on their arms and the back of their necks to stand on end.  They couldn’t help but swivel their heads the direction of the sound.  It sounded close, and hungry.

A moment later there was a loud thumping noise, accompanied by a percussion impact in a nearby puddle.  Matticus looked at the tremors in the water quizzically, and then, as understanding settled in, his expression turned to one of terror.  He turned to Revis to ask the obvious question and his Knight was already on the move.

“Time to go.”

The Jester did not need to be told twice. As soon as he got up to full speed a bright light burst in front of him. Now that he had been blinded, he tried to stop. Instead, his foot found a small hole in the ground and he tumbled forward. When his vision returned, he expected to see the dragon standing over him, about to strike. Instead, he found that he was in a completely different forest.

It was now daytime. It was no longer raining. There were no horseless carriages.

Revis grabbed him from underneath his arms and began lifting Matticus to his feet. There was blood running down from the Knight’s forehead. “I found a tree after the light blinded me,” Revis explained before the Jester had a chance to ask. “I’ll be fine.”

A noise off to the side caused them to duck. They saw a man in armor, a man in priest robes, and a dwarf walking. The man in armor said something that they couldn’t hear. In apparent frustration, the dwarf grabbed the armored man and spun him so they were face-to-face. “If you don’t stop asking questions, I’ll cut your tongue out and shove it up your nose,” he threatened.

The light flashed again. Now, they were standing in a room with a bed. The only other thing in the room was a woman, who acted like she didn’t notice them.

“Isn’t that Drun’s stalker, Zoe,” Matticus asked.

Revis nodded his head. Zoe, still not noticing that two people had magically appeared in her room, went about her business. She reached into her pants and scratched her butt. Then, she pulled her hand out and sniffed it. Before the men could voice their disgust at her behavior, the light burst once more and they found themselves standing next to a pair of metallic looking rails laid over wooden slats that stretched towards the horizon in both directions.  A little ways away, there were two men talking to each other excitedly.  They couldn’t quite make out the conversation, but the younger one kept calling the older one, who had shock white hair, “Doc.”  There were two of the horseless carriages resting on the strange tracks.  The young man got in the smaller of the two, and the old man got in the larger, then smoke began to pour out of chimney looking thing and the two carriages started moving down the track.

Revis and Matticus turned to each other, eyebrows raised, and then the light flashed once more.  As their vision cleared they lost their balance and stumbled onto a bench of some sort.  A man there, dressed in all white, held out a box to them and asked, “Would you like a chocolate?”

That sounded pretty good to Matticus so he reached to grab a piece, but the light flashed again and his hand passed through nothingness.  His curses were lost in the transfer, hurtling forever in the unknown void between the infinite worlds.

Revis and Matticus Save the Kingdom, Chapter 18

Revis grabbed Matticus and Drun and shoved them both through the open portal.  Matticus, having already experienced his Knight’s shenanigans before, expected it and went peacefully.  Drun, on the other hand, and more than slightly inebriated, was not amused and his string of expletives was cut short as he transferred from one side to the other.  Revis gave a short laugh and then stepped through.

All was dark, and soft, and there was a peculiar odor in the air.

“Where are we?”  Matticus whispered as he reach out and his hands grasped what felt like fabric.  Based on Drun’s dire warning right before they had been pushed through the portal, Matticus was on edge and the darkness was playing tricks on his minds.  He’d have sworn he was holding an article of clothing, but that didn’t make any sense.

“We are in one of Twindaddy’s closets,” Drun drunkenly whispered back.

Matticus felt the man stagger forward and then heard him curse again, a little less like a whisper, as he knocked around looking for a way to open the door.

“Quiet you fool,” Revis whispered fervently.  “You’ll give away our element of surprise.”

Drun stopped trying to open the door and, to the Jester and Knight’s horror, began a deep roaring belly laugh.  “Oh, don’t you worry,” he said as he continued laughing, “there will still be a surprise.”

“Shut up, Revis commanded. “If you keep doing that, Twindaddy will know we’re here!”

This made Drun laugh even harder. “He already does.”

They heard a click sound from above their heads. Suddenly, a light blinded them. When their eyes finally cleared, they saw Drun holding a string that was attached to one of the magical lights that needed no fire. Drun was no longer wearing his armor. He was now outfitted in a strange type of clothing.

“What do you mean,” Matticus hesitantly asked.

After looking at the Jester in annoyance, he announced, “I’m Twindaddy.”

“But…. you’re Drun.”

“I’m both, you twit.”

“Hey! There’s no need for name calling….. Ummm, what’s a twit?”

Matticus knew what a twit was, but the exasperated look on Twindaddy’s face was worth acting like he didn’t. “Ok,” Revis broke in. “This story is getting off track. We should probably get back to the plot.”

Before Matticus could ask him what the hell he was talking about, Twindaddy responded with, “You’re right. It’s kind of dragging here.”

“Then get on with it,” the Jester snapped, irritated that the brothers always seemed to know what each other was talking about.

With his eyes adjusted to the light, and tired of being in the cramped quarters with Drun/Twindaddy and Revis, Matticus figured out how to open the door and stepped out into the room beyond.

“Hey!”  Twindaddy yelled and tried to stop him but he was too inebriated to succesfully grab the Jester.  “Where do you think you are going?”

Matticus did not answer.

The closet opened into a larger room that was obviously part of a dwelling, but unlike anything Matticus had ever seen.  It seemed fairly useless as a home.  There were too many unguarded windows.  The walls seemed paper thin.  It would not be easy to defend.  He found himself wondering how someone who obviously lived a soft life could have managed to unleash so much chaos into his kingdom.

Anger coursing through him, he turned to confront Twindaddy once and for all.  He pulled his sword, spoke the magic words to get the flames going, and started to say, “Twindaddy, how dare you send the vamp…”

Matticus’ voice trailed off, however, as he realized that his sword hadn’t burst into flames as it should have.  As it had without fail every other time he had called upon it over the course of the quest.

“Futbol rules,” he said, again, and still the sword did nothing.

With a shake of his head, Twindaddy sighed. “This is The Real World,” he said. “Unfortunately, magic doesn’t work here.”

The Jester turned to his Knight. Revis looked down at his ring. For a second, he just stood looking at it, but nothing happened. He also shook his head, confirming what Twindaddy had told them.

“Well, even without its magic, my sword is still very sharp. If you don’t want to find out just how sharp it is, you better start talking. Why did you send all of those sparkly vampires to The Kingdom?”

“Look, those sparkly bastards just started showing up one day. They’re creepy and weird. I sure as hell didn’t want them to stay around here, so I started shoving them through the portal. I didn’t care where they ended up, as long as they were nowhere near me anymore.”

“So you just infested my homeland, and endangered all of my people’s lives, just because you didn’t want to deal with them?”

“When you say it like that it makes me sound like a bad guy.”

Matticus sputtered for a few seconds, trying to convey his contempt for the man, but it all came out unintelligibly.

“I think what his Jesterness is trying to say,” Revis jumped in, “is that yes, intentionally or not, you do appear to be the bad guy.  So, now that we are all on the same page, how are we going to resolve that?”

Twindaddy shrugged.  Matticus continued fuming.  Revis noticed that the Jester was eying a peculiar looking sitting contraption with some malice, and instructed Matticus to sheath his sword before he started turning things into splinters.

“There’s no need for your sword, your Jesterness, go ahead and put it away.  I’m sure we can work something out without resorting to further violence.”

Again, Twindaddy shrugged his shoulders.  Matticus eyed him suspiciously but reluctantly returned his sword to its sheath.  He knew where it was should he decide he had need of it later.

“Okay Twindaddy, if that is your real name, obviously, we can’t allow you to continue shuffling the sparkly vampires through the portal into my kingdom.  I know they are annoying.  I understand your desire to be rid of them, but there has to be someplace else we can ship them off to.  Can’t you send them over to Drun’s side of the portal?”  Matticus asked, only mildly sarcastically.  “There are already a ton of weirdos over there.”

“I don’t control where they go once they hit the portal. I didn’t invent it. I just found it. I have no idea how that thing works. I assumed that they’d do what Matticus said and go into Drun’s world. Originally, I was going to have my squad mates use them for target practice.”

“You’re constantly saying your squad mates have bad aim,” Matticus interrupted. “Are they really that bad?”

“They suck at life,” Twindaddy said dismissively. “Once I figured out that they weren’t going to my other world, I honestly stopped caring about where they were.”

“Why didn’t you go in at the same time as them? Wouldn’t that take you to the same place as them?”

“Nope. Every time I go through the portal, no matter who else is with me, I go straight to Drun’s world. It won’t take me anywhere else. Besides, it’s over anyways. They stopped showing up once I sent their leader through.”

“Their leader,” Revis asked. “Who is their leader?”

“She said her name was Jaded…”

Revis and Matticus Save the Kingdom Chapter 16

Because of the suddenness of the Jester’s attack, the man in shiny bone armor didn’t have enough time to aim the shot from his wand. Even so, the bolt struck Matticus. It was not enough to slow his momentum and he bowled into his target. After the collision, the man got to his feet. Matticus did not.

He looked around for Revis, but didn’t see him anywhere. With a shout of anger, the Knight struck him hard from behind with his daggers. The man crumpled to the ground. Revis kicked the man’s wand into the corner and tied his hands together behind his back.

Turning Matticus over, he saw that the bolt had struck him in the stomach. It was on the right side of his torso, so Revis hoped that meant it had missed all of the important parts inside of him. The Knight pulled a vial out of his pack and poured some of the liquid into Matticus’ mouth.

“Ow,” the Jester groaned as he regained consciousness. “Remind me to never do that again.”

Revis held the vial up for Matticus to see. “This is the last vial of healing potion I have. We need to save the rest of this, so please be more careful in the future.”

“Me?  More careful?  You!” The Jester stammered and staggered as he found his feet, swaying dangerously.    Revis reached out a steadying hand but Matticus brushed him off, and fell to his rear as a result.  “Ow!”

“Come on,” Revis said, offering a hand to help Matticus back to his feet.

The Jester refused the gesture and went into a rant, “If you hadn’t rushed in here in the first place.  If you had launched your attack with some sort some semblance of a plan. If you hadn’t let him get the drop on you.  If, if, if.  But, I’m the one that needs to be careful?  Knight, you need to watch yourself.  I’m considering demoting you to squire or stable-boy or something equally demeaning.”

Revis offered his hand again, with an accompanying smirk, “You can’t demote me, Jesterness, nobody else would take the job in my place.”

Matticus took his Knight’s hand and together they got him back on his feet.  “You might be surprised, Revis.”

The knight bowed slightly to show deference to his liege, but the smile never faded from his lips.

Matticus scowled, and then his face scrunched up to show his confusion, “Wait, I thought you used the last of the healing potion to cure Jaded?”

A groan from the magician interrupted their conversation, and Revis said, “Let’s see what we are dealing with, shall we?”

“Hey,” Revis said, nudging the man with his foot. “Are you the one who keeps sending those sparkly things through that portal?”

“Not that one,” He replied. “The one in my other universe.”

“So, what do we call you, Mr. Two Universes?”

“My name here is Drun Kenman. In the other universe I’m known as Twindaddy.”

You’re Twindaddy,” the Knight asked with a voice dripping with anger.

“You know him, Revis,” Matticus questioned incredulously.

“Revis,” Drun said, deep in thought. “Revis Edgewater?”

“How does he know your last name?”

Ignoring Matticus, Drun looked directly at the Knight. “Your mother never told you what happened to your brother?”

Responding, Revis shot back with, “She told me enough. She told me you killed him.”

“No. I am your brother.”

“That’s not true…… That’s impossible!”

“Search your feelings, Revis. You know it to be true!”

“No! Nooooooooooooooooooo!”

The two men stood staring at each other for a few seconds before Matticus interrupted them. “That was….surreal.”

“You guys are brothers?”

“No!”

“Yes.”

“And there are multiple uinverses, and the you from the other one is responsible for all the annoying sparkly vampires?”

“Yes and yes.”

“Crap, this is confusing.”  Matticus saw what looked like a seat across the room, contemplated walking over to it, decided he wouldn’t make it, and fell to his rear again.  “I’m not sure I’m recovered enough to process all this.  I’m just the Jester…”

“If that’s your attitude,” Drun commented dryly, “then you are surely doomed.”

Revis ignored Matticus’ plight and turned to face his brother, “If you’ve known about me, why didn’t you reach out?  No, never mind, that isn’t important.  I just want to stop the flow of vampires, and get home to my wife and daughter and forget this ever happened.  I have no brother.”

Revis brandished his daggers menacingly, “Tell us everything you know about what Twindaddy is doing!”

Drun looked between Revis’ face and the daggers and back again, “I’ll tell you everything, of course, but only after you admit that I am your brother.”

Revis’ face drained of color and then flushed a bright red as anger coursed through him.  Despite his dazed state, Matticus could tell there was going to be trouble, but he couldn’t react fast enough to intervene.  The Knight snarled and pulled his daggers back preparing to plunge them into Drun Kenman.

At the last second, Revis altered the angle of the strike. His daggers struck the floor, inches away from either side of Drun’s face. To Matticus’ surprise, the man didn’t even blink. He just looked up and smiled, “Well?”

With a curse, Revis pulled his daggers up and walked away. Matticus got to his feet and walked over to where the Knight was continuing his cursing tirade. “What’s the big deal,” Matticus asked. “All you have to do is say he’s your brother.”

“I won’t do it.”

“You don’t have to mean it. Just say it.”

“No. I won’t.”

“And if I make it an order?”

“You wouldn’t….”

“We need his cooperation, Revis. Now, as the reigning Jester of the Kingdom, I order you to go tell him that you’re his brother.”

Revis continued his cursing. Matticus tried to hide his smirk. Putting up with all of Revis’ slights was sometimes a pain, but it was moments like this that made it all worth it.

After he walked back over to stand next to Drun, Revis looked down at the tied-up man and said, “Fine. You’re my brother.”

“Was that so hard?” Drun smiled wryly, his words dripping with sarcasm.  “Now help me up.”

Revis laughed in the man’s face.  “That wasn’t part of the deal, brother, and if you think I’m going to treat you any different than I was a minute ago, my daggers will show you how wrong you are.”

Drun’s eyes flicked to the Jester, but Matticus just shrugged.  He agreed with his knight for once.  A deal had been made, and Revis had upheld his part.  Drun needed to tell them about Twindaddy or Revis would be free to extract the information however he saw fit.  The glint in the Knight’s eyes indicated it would be messy.

For the first time, a hint of fear crept into Drun’s face.  He struggled to sit up but the injuries he had sustained earlier, along with the bulky armor, inhibited his movements.  Revis and Matticus watched him collapse into a heap on the floor again with more than a bit of glee.  While this man wasn’t directly responsible for the sparkly vampire invasion, his alternate universe self was.  Matticus secretly hoped any pain Drun felt would also be felt by Twindaddy.  It would serve him right.

“I need a drink,” Drun sighed when he finally righted himself.  “Let’s go to the cantina.  I’ll tell you everything once we are there.”

Revis and Matticus Save the Kingdom, Chapter 14

“What the what?”  Matticus stammered and fumbled but couldn’t get out the right words to express his amazement.

“Calm down,” Revis urged, placing a hand on the Jester’s shoulder, “and put your sword away before you hurt yourself.”

Matticus glared at his knight but extinguished the flaming sword and returned it to its scabbard without comment.

Thundering footsteps pulled their attention away from the marvel they had just witnessed to the approaching dragon.

“Thank you for your help, Grayson, and could you tell Rara that we are going to need some more of the healing potion.  A lot more.”

The dragon’s massive head nodded once and then he pushed his way free of the rubble he had created at the edge of the building.  With a giant leap and two quick beats of his wings he took to the air.

Matticus, mesmerized by the beauty of a dragon in flight, watched it’s progress until the remaining walls blocked his view.  Only then he did notice that his jaw was gaping open.  He closed it, but not before Revis had seen and started to ruefully shake his head.

“Not a word,” Matticus warned as he and his knight returned their attention to Jaded just as she opened her eyes.

“What happened,” she asked.

“We’ll get to that after you tell us what we want to know,” Revis stated. “Now, you said someone is giving you all of these other vampires. Who is he, and where do we find him?”

Jaded ignored him, looking over her body. Suddenly, she started freaking out. “What did you do to me,” she screamed, looking back and forth between the two men.

“I’ll tell you after you answer the questions.”

“I won’t answer your questions until you tell me.”

“I won’t tell you until you answer the questions.” When Jaded shot Revis a defiant glance, he continued, “There are plenty of other vampires we could get this information from. We, on the other hand, are the only ones who know what happened to you.”

Matticus looked at Revis in disappointment. He certainly didn’t want to keep tracking down individual vampires and asking them questions. It was already getting a little old. Revis gave him a “trust me” gesture and looked back at Jaded. She began to sob as she began telling her story.

“I come from a different realm. All of us do. We were sent here through a portal. The only difference is that, while the ones who came before me took off right after they got here, I stuck around and convinced the ones that followed to join up with me.”

Matticus opened his mouth to ask something but Revis silenced him with a glance.  Jaded was on the verge of giving them everything and he didn’t want the Jester to mess that up with an ill-timed question.  There would be ample opportunity to ask follow-ups after she finished her tale.

Jaded, unaware of the brief exchange between Matticus and his knight, continued.  “Even though I had been forced here, I found this world to be a bit of a lark and decided to say for awhile, rather than trying to find my way back.  When more of my kind, more vampires from my realm were forced through the same portal I convinced them to stay hidden and do our best to go undetected as we built our lives among the humans.

You were weak, scattered, and easily manipulated.  It was a breeze for us to infiltrate all manner of industries, regional government and security forces.  But, those were nothing, for us to truly rule we needed to take down the kingdom.  We needed to replace Matticus with one of our own.”

Jaded glared at the Jester and there was so much animosity behind her eyes that Matticus took an involuntary step back and his hand reached for the hilt of his sword. Once again, Revis calmed him with a gesture. “Who forced you through the portal, and why,” the Knight asked.

“I don’t know his name,” she answered. “All I know is that he scared me. As for why he did it, as he was forcing me through the portal, he muttered under his breath that nothing his emperor could do to him would be any worse than having to put up with us ‘sparkly’ vampires.”

While Matticus suppressed a chuckle, Revis continued his interrogation. “Vampires aren’t normally afraid of anything. What exactly was so scary about this guy?”

“He was covered head to toe in armor. His armor was white, like it was made out of bones.”

“So what,” Matticus interjected. “I’ve heard many reports of barbarians outside of The Kingdom that use bone armor. It’s not that uncommon.”

“He also had a weapon, one that he could hold in his hand, that could shoot fire,” Jaded countered angrily.  “Even you would be frightened at that.”

Turning to Matticus, Revis broke in, “He is a wizard, then. He must have a wand of fireballs.” When he saw the Jester start to shake his head, he asked, “What is it?”

“I’m the king, dammit! Why does everyone get cooler toys than I do?”

“Shouldn’t you have more pressing concerns right now, Jesterness?”

Matticus glared at Revis for the pointed slight.  It was true that he wasn’t actually King and it was also true that he probably should be more focused on getting rid of the invading vampires than anything else.

“Fine,” he mumbled and then turned his attention back to Jaded.  “Where can we find this wizard?”

She shook her head, “I’m not sure if you can get to him or not.  I can only take you to the portal where we all came through on this side.”

Matticus glanced over at Revis, “You probably have some trick up your sleeve or in your bag that can help us along from there, right?”

Revis shrugged his shoulders, “I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.”

“Have I told you everything you need to know?” Jaded queried, propping herself up on her elbows in preparation of standing up.  “Can one of you please tell me what the hell you did to me?”

Matticus was about to tell her what had happened, but Revis cut him off, “Not until you lead us to the portal.”

She rose and stretched her limbs, probing at the areas on her hand and leg where her wounds had been healed.  Satisfied, she flicked her eyes between Revis and Matticus and stepped around them towards the gaping hole where Grayson had entered and exited her fort, “Follow me, boys.”

Jaded stepped over some of the rubble, leading them deeper into the building. They went through so many twists and turns that Matticus began to think that the woman they were following was lost. At last, they came to the dungeon. She opened one of the doors and stepped inside.

The former vampire began reciting poetry. Revis was only paying half attention to it. His eyes darted back and forth, looking out to make sure she hadn’t led them into a trap. She ended her poem with a line about something with red wings when the back wall of the cell slid away, revealing a  small room. It was only ten yards long, ending with a wall made of white light.

“There it is,” Jaded said. “Now, tell me what happened to me.”

Before Revis could interrupt him again, Matticus told her everything they knew. She had held up her end of the deal and he didn’t want his Knight to keep putting it off. Instead, Revis grabbed the cell key out of her hand and shut its door. “Stay here,” he commanded. “We’ll be back as soon as we check out the portal.”

Matticus was looking at the portal when Revis walked up to him. “Maybe we shouldn’t…”

The Jester never finished the thought. Revis pushed him into the portal. After waiting ten seconds, to make Matticus start freaking out a little, he followed.

revis and matticus save the kingdom chapter 12

Revis and Matticus exchanged a confused glance. “What do you mean Jaded is just a soldier,” Revis asked. “From everything we’ve heard, she’s the one in charge.”

Len shook his head. “She told me that there was someone above her, someone who kept sending her minions. I never heard her say their name, but there’s definitely someone else.”

“Either way, we still need to find Jaded,” Matticus stated. “Tell us where she is.”

“I was supposed to meet her back at her fort once I had captured you. I would assume she’d be there.”

“Thanks,” Revis smiled as he flourished his daggers. “Now that you’ve told us where she is, we don’t need you anymore.”

Len looked to Matticus for help, but the Jester merely shrugged. The Knight slowly brought his weapons closer to Len’s face. When the daggers got to within an inch of his cheek, the foreman’s eyes rolled up into the back of his head and he fell to the ground. The two men looked at each other… and laughed.

“I can’t believe he fainted,” Matticus said when they had finished their chuckle.

“It probably had as much to do with his injury and blood loss than his fear at what I would do to him,” Revis confessed.

“What do we do now?”

“It looks like we’re heading back to Jaded’s fort.”

“Oh goody, more walking.”

“Hey, I’m not enjoying this wandering around anymore than you are.  If Jaded would come out and face us, that would be just fine with me.”

“I know.  It just doesn’t feel like we’ve accomplished a lot.  And we are a long way from home.”

“Buck up, Jester.”  Revis clapped Matticus on the shoulder, “The sooner we capture Jaded, the sooner we can learn what exactly is going on here, the sooner we get to head home.”

“Fine, let’s go.”

Matticus began to trace their steps back to Jaded’s fort, cursing under his breath at every tripping root and snagging branch that reached out at him.

Seeing that, hearing that, and remembering the Jester’s range of emotions from the quick burning rage to come to his rescue, and then the depths of fear when Len mentioned his wife and child, Revis determined that his liege could use a bit of a pick-me-up.  “And, if we run across any vampires on our way, I’ll let you take care of them.  How does that sound?”

The Jester smiled darkly, his hand resting on the hilt of his sword.  “Yes, that would do nicely right about now, thank you.”

Jaded’s fort came into view just before dawn. Unlike their last trip here, which was less than a day ago, the fort was heavily manned this time. Sparkly vampires were everywhere. Revis turned to the Jester, “I don’t think invisibility will work this time. There’s just too many of them. There’s no way we’d make it inside without running into at least one of them.”

“Good,” Matticus replied. “I didn’t want to go through that again anyways.”

“Time for the backup plan,” the Knight sighed as he pulled a few pieces of Len’s armor out of his pack.

“That’s your plan? Dressing up as Len?”

“Shut up. Do you have a better idea?”

“You do realize that Len is a head taller than you, right?”

“I’m hoping that Jaded’s lowly gate guards don’t know that.”

“This is one of the worst plans ever.”

“So what? If it doesn’t work, we’ll just have to kill a bunch of them to get inside. I figured you’d like that part.”

Matticus couldn’t argue that point, so he went along with it. Revis wrapped a length of rope around Matticus’ wrists, but didn’t tie it, leaving the Jester able to get his hands out. They reached the front door with Revis standing behind Matticus, holding the flaming sword at his back.

Yawning, and rubbing sleeping from his eyes, one of the gate guards bent over the side of the wall to peer down at the duo.  “Len, what took you so long?  Jaded has been waiting all night for you.”

Not wanting to attempt sounding like the foreman, Revis merely grunted and jostled the Jester a bit to show his impatience to get going.

The guard yawned again, chuckled to himself, and righted himself off the edge.  His voice still carried clear enough in the morning air so that Matticus and Revis could hear what he said.  “Go on, open the gate then.  She’s already pissed with the foreman, we don’t need to face her wrath too.”

A moment later, a grinding of gears signaled the portcullis’ assent into its housing.  Knowing the noise would cover his voice, Matticus said, “So far so good.”

“Yep, hopefully they won’t need to escort us to her chambers and we’ll be able to walk through without further scrutiny.”

The gate lifted high to clear their heads and Revis pushed forward on the Jester to get him moving.  Matticus, never afraid to play a role, played it up a bit, “Watch what you are doing there, idiot!  I know you know who I am!  When I get free, I’ll have all your heads!”

“Simmer down,” Revis whispered, “we don’t want to draw too much attention to ourselves.”

It ended up not mattering though, because once they were through the gates, they found the grounds crawling with the sparkly vampires, including a patrol specifically to take them to Jaded.  The group stepped forward and Revis and Matticus both tensed for the inevitable fight.  They were too close not to see that Revis wasn’t actually Len, and that Matticus’ hands weren’t really tied. The latter became apparent when the rope around his wrists simply came loose and fell off.

Cursing, Revis tossed Matticus the flaming sword and pulled out his daggers. The closest vampire, still confused as to what was happening, didn’t get his sword up in time to defend himself. Each of Revis’ daggers stabbed through one of its eyes, blinding it. In one fluid motion, the Knight sheathed his daggers, grabbed the sword out of the vampire’s hands, and chopped its head off with it. He briefly considered dropping the sword and switching back to his daggers, the weapons he was most comfortable with, but they were too short to cut through a vampires neck in one slice. That was key, because decapitation was the only thing they had found so far that killed these things quickly.

The vampire closest to Matticus was not as slow to react as the one Revis had killed. As soon as he caught the sword, he had to use it to block the vampire’s first swing. Matticus ducked under the next swing, stabbing his sword into the vampire’s leg as he did so. Looking down at the sword in its leg, the vampire laughed. “Is that really supposed to hurt me,” it asked.

“Nope,” Matticus answered. “This is. Futbol rules!”

His sword erupted in flames. The vampire let out a screech of pain. Distracted by its burning leg, it didn’t notice that the Jester had pulled the sword out. Before it knew what was happening, Matticus separated the vampire’s head from its body.

The Jester and his Knight quickly dedused there were too many vampires to simply stand and fight out in the open and they kicked and slashed a hole wide enough to race towards Jaded’s quarters.  They had to hope they could either use her as leverage to get out of the compound safely, at best, and at worst, use her has a human shield to slow down the onslaught.

As his flaming sword cleaved air, sinew, flesh, and bone, leaving traces of orange and yellow scarring his vision, Matticus began to feel another berserk rage come on, he fought against it as well as he could, knowing that he would need to keep some semblance of rational thought if they were going to survive.  He caught glimpses of Revis, always from the corner of his vision, as his Knight and he swirled around each other.  At times they were leading the charge, at times they were covering their backs, and always they were advancing towards their target.

With a mighty kick, Revis knocked down the door that would lead them into the main part of the compound.  The tight quarters of the hallways would bottleneck the fighting and make it easier for them to fight the superior numbers.  He pulled the Jester away from a group of slashing blades and hurled him inside, then used his stolen sword, and a few well placed strikes to open up a space between him and the nearest vampires.  He turned to follow Matticus down the hall only to find that the Jester hadn’t advanced very far.  Then, through the rising tendrils off the flaming sword, Revis saw why.

“Hello, Matticus.  Hello, Revis.”  Jaded stood at the end of the hall, calmly blocking their path, eyes blazing.

My Weekly Soundtrack 11/19

It’s time for everyone’s favorite segment! No, it’s not Blunt Life Coach….It’s not one of Jaded’s posts either…

Hmmm…well, since you have to settle for one of my posts, I shall try to entertain you with some of my music.

Up first is a song from the first half of my namesake, Revis. Here’s their song, Reuse.

Next, we’ll listen to a song by the other part of my namesake, Edgewater. Now, it’s time for Circles.

Third is Burden of a Thought, by Epidemic.

The fourth song of the night is Show Me a Sign, by Breaking Point.

Our fifth song is Happens All the Time by Cold.

In the sixth spot tonight is Earshot with Wait.

Finally, we have Tool with their song, Schism. HEHEHE….I said ‘ism’.

That’s all for now, my friends. Sorry it’s not as interesting as what the other authors put up here. At least this gives you something to do in between their posts.

revis and matticus save the kingdom chapter 8

“You’re a spy,” Revis asked incredulously.

“How did you guess,” Steph returned. “Did me telling you that give it away?”

“Sarcastic comments are a good way to get a dagger shoved up your….”

“What my knight meant to say,” Matticus interjected, “is that you’ll understand if we don’t trust you right away. Too much is at stake for us to just take your word for it.”

She gave Revis a quick dirty look before turning to Matticus. “And how am I supposed to earn your trust?”

“First, you have to answer all of our questions.”

“I have no problem answering your questions. Your knight can take his questions, turn them sideways, and shove them up his….”

“Revis,” Matticus interrupted again, “can you give us a minute?”

The First Knight pulled Matticus aside. He handed the Jester a vial. “Drink this.”

He did as he was told, but he gave Revis a weird look as he did so. “What was that?”

“A truth potion. Now, whenever someone tries to lie to you, you’ll hear the truth anyways.”

“Really,” Matticus asked, deep in thought. “What did you think of that mermaid girl who gave us the wrong directions?”

Revis said, “Uhhh, I don’t want to do this,” but what Matticus heard was, “She was hot.”

Hiding a smile, Matticus stated, “Ok, now I can ask her the questions.”  Revis stepped away to keep watch, and Matticus returned to Steph to begin the interogation.  “Sorry, Revis can come off a bit rough sometimes.  They don’t teach charm in Knight school anymore.”

“That’s okay,” Steph replied, shrugging her shoulders.

Matticus smiled as he heard the truth, “He’s an idiot.”  Then he began questioning her, “Do you know where we can find Jaded?”

“No.”

That was all he heard, she’s was telling the truth.

“Why did you start spying on the vampires?”

“I  noticed things changing around here and wanted to see what was going on.  In the beginning there were just a couple vampires and they were throwing money around trying to buy their way into positions of power.  The guards and the citizenry, for the most part, were happy to take the gold and silver.  I got swept up in the ferver and decided it was better to hide in plain sight, see what they were really up to, and then figure out how best to either get away from them or bring them down.”

Again, she was telling the truth.

Matticus thought for a minute about what to ask next.  There was so much more he and Revis needed to know, the lack of information was daunting.  “What have you learned?”  It was a simple enough question that would hopefully fill in a lot of the gaps in their knowledge.

“From what I’ve been able to gather, all of their time and effort have gone into moving people and equipment to Kuzco Groove, the island out in the middle of the Golden Sea. Although I’ve helped them arrange transport, they never did tell me why they needed it. Plus, none of the people have returned yet, so I haven’t been able to ask them. ”

“Any theories?”

“There’s something on that island that they need, but they can’t find it, which is why they need all of the equipment and workers.”

“Do you have any idea what they might be looking for?”

“All they said was that once they found ‘it’, the kingdom would be theirs for the taking. They never said anything about what ‘it’ might be.”

“Hmmm, we need to get out to that island.”

“I can get you two on the next ship they’re sending out there. It leaves tomorrow morning. That’s what the meeting tonight was supposed to be about: who was going to be sent to help the search effort.”

“Are you sure you don’t mind helping us?”

“I’d do anything to help the kingdom,” Steph said, but the potion added, “Plus, it’ll get your knight far away from me.”

Matticus was pleased to know the potion was stll working.  “Won’t they be suspicious about the warehouse fire?  Could that mess up us getting on the boat undetected?”

Steph thought about the two questions for a long time, and the Jester felt his mind start to wander again, as it was apt to do when there were lulls in conversation, eating, playing, adventuring.  Before he could stray too far though, Steph brought him back to reality, “It should take them awhile to sift through the remnants of the fire to try and figure out if it was an accident or not.  The vampires are very arragont and probably won’t believe it possible that anyone could have started the fire and trapped so many of them in the warehouse without detection.  And, they certainly won’t want to delay their search, so would send the next ship out to the island anyway.”  The potion added, “I think” and Matticus frowned.  “I should be able to get you onto the ship and hidden.  Once you make it to the island you’ll be on your own, though.”  Again the potion added, “except for all the vampires already out there organizing the search efforts, of course,” and Matticus’ frown deepened.

Despite his uneasiness with the truth behind Steph’s words, he thanked her for her help and signaled to his knight that he could rejoin them. When Revis got back to their side, Matticus filled him in on the plan to go to Kuzco Groove. The three of them silently made their way to the ship. Steph wanted to get them onboard, and out of sight, before any of the other vampire helpers boarded. She got them situated in the back corner of the cargo hold.

“The trip should only take a day, maybe a day and a half. You two should be all right until then,” she informed them.

“Thanks again,” Matticus replied. “Also, again, I’m sorry for how my knight acted towards you.”

“That’s ok. I’ve dealt with worse,” she said, but the potion added, “At least he has a nice ass.”

Matticus watched her walk away, but only because needed a few seconds to keep himself from laughing at that last statement. Once he composed himself, he turned to his knight. “Sorry, we kept you out of it, but you should’ve been nicer to her.”

“That’s ok. I’ve dealt with worse,” he echoed. Matticus couldn’t stop the laughter when the potion put more words to his sentence too, “At least she has a nice ass.”

A few minutes later movement and voices from the deck above them were the duos warning to quiet down and tuck themselves completely into their hiding spot.  The early footfalls and half heard murmurs turned into a torrent of creaks, groans, and shouted commands and the ship’s crew boarded along with the rest of the vampire helpers and the boat was made ready for the sea.  The sails were raised and the slight rocking motion of the ship was strengthened as the vessel left the shallow waters of the harbor.

Revis and Matticus longed for a window, to catch a fresh breath of air, to watch the rise and fall of the waves to better steady their feet with the swaying ship, but their hiding place offered none of those comforts.  They tried to find respite in sleep but their minds wouldn’t relax enough to allow it.  They tried to speed the passage of time through meditation but neither were very good at it.  In the end, they gave up and resigned themselves to the tumultuous nature of being blind in the belly of a boat.

After hours of the torture, when the commotion on deck was sure to cover his whispered voice, Matticus turned to Revis and said, “I hope what we find on the island is worth this.”

“Me, too.”