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.

Revis and Matticus Save The Kingdom Chapter 10

Matticus, with his left hand on Revis’ shoulder, and his right hand on the pommel of his sword, kept vigilant watch for any sign of trouble as they snuck into Jaded’s fort.  He knew they were invisible and so they couldn’t be seen, even by the vampires, but knowing and trusting are two very different things.  He kept swinging his head down look where his feet touched the ground until to nearly stumble when he couldn’t actually see his feet.

Ahead of him, Revis sighed, and whispered, “Stop that!”

Their invisibility didn’t cloak them in silence though, and despite Revis’ attempt to urge the Jester quietly to cease his infernal shenannigans before he pull them both over, the words sounded far too loud to both their ears.  It set both Jester and Knight on edge.

Every creaking step thereafter caused them to flinch and cringe.  Their grips on their swords tightened and Revis could feel Matticus’ left hand grasping even more firmly on the armor of his shoulder.  The Knight sighed and shook his head, not for the first time questioning how a Jester became ruler of a kingdom.

They succesfully navigated the drafting hallways of the fort, and came to the expasnive, jewelled and rune covered, door of Jaded’s bed chamber. After making sure that none of her minions were around, Revis let himself become visible again. “When I count to three,” he instructed the Jester, “kick open the door.”

“Why do I have to kick it,” Matticus complained. “That sounds like a knight’s job.”

“For two reasons. One, it’ll end your invisibility spell when you attack the door. And, two, it lets me check for traps really quick before we go inside.”

“Good call.”

“Ok. Here we go. One…Two…”

“Wait. Are we going on three, or is it one…two…three, then go?”

“You go on three. We always go on three,” Revis whispered before pausing in confusion. “Have we had this discussion already?”

“No.”

“Weird. It feels like we have. I guess I saw it somewhere else then…. Anyways, let’s go. One….two…three!”

Matticus put all of his weight into the kick against the door. His foot hit right next to the doorknob. Instead of the door flying open, however, Matticus flew backwards. When he next opened his eyes, he was greeted with a grand view of the ceiling, with a few spots covered by his feet sticking up in the air. At least the kick accomplished one of the things it was supposed to, he thought after seeing parts of himself again.

Revis rushed to his side. “Are you ok,” the Knight asked. “Did it shock you?”

“No,” Matticus answered.

“Then it wasn’t magically sealed.”

Revis thought for a few seconds. He grabbed a candle off of a nearby table after an idea came to him. Using the light to peer inside of the lock, he began quietly laughing when he was done inspecting it. Matticus shot him a questioning glance. In response, Revis gently turned the knob and the door opened easily.

Upon looking inside, they saw that the room was empty.  The curtains on the far side swayed lazily across the open window.  Fresh candles burning cleanly in sconces in the corners provided ample light to banish any shadows that might have held their prey.

Picking himself off the ground, Matticus advanced to the end of the door, then feigning that he needed to give his sore leg a moment longer to recover he motioned for Revis to take the lead, “You were going to make sure there were no traps set for us, right?”

With a snort Revis quickly scanned the room and then stepped across the threshold, the Jester on his heels.

“Where is she?”  Wondering if his failed attempt to kick down the door had given her time to escape through the window, Matticus stepped to it and peered outside, but there was no sign of her.

The Jester backed away from the opening so he wouldn’t be seen by anyone happening by, and then stopped to soothe the ache from his leg.  The real pain had taken a few moment to settle in and now that he was moving around and putting his weight on it, his leg had decided it wasn’t happy with him at all for trying to kick down the door.  Not for the first time, the Jester wondered if he was getting to old for this s…

“Hey, come take a look at this,” Revis interrupted Matticus’ train of thought, and the Jester went to join his knight at a large oak desk.

Revis handed Matticus a piece of parchment that had been sitting on top of the desk. It read:

Jaded,

We found something at Site B. You need to come see this for yourself.

Your foreman,

Len

“Where is Site B,” Matticus asked.

“I don’t know,” Revis countered. “You have the map.”

Matticus raised his eyebrow. It was now his time to pay Revis back for all those slights. “Yes,” he stated, his voice dripping with sarcasm. “I have the map. You know, the one you put in your pack.”

Revis threw the Jester a disbelieving look as he opened his pack. He started to admonish Matticus, “It’s not…” His words died down as he pulled the map out of his pack. Looking up, he saw that Matticus’ face was one big smile. The Knight chose to ignore it and started looking over the map.

“It looks like Site B is the closest one to this fort. It should only take us a couple of hours, at most, to get there. We should probably hurry, too. Something tells me that we don’t want them to find whatever it is that they’re looking for.”

Revis shoved the map back into his pack while Matticus muffled his laughter behind his hand, disguising the action as a cough.  Revis rolled his eyes and told the Jester to “grow up.”  Matticus missed the comment because he was too busy coughing, though he quickly regained his composure as he saw that Revis was ready to depart.

“Do we need to make the journey invisible again?”

“Would probably be smart, at least until we are safely away from Jaded’s fort and on the trail to Site B.”

The two men went through the process of disappearing again, with Matticus once again holding onto his Knight’s shoulder, and then they slipped through the fort undetected.  Once they were safely beyond the lights of the fort, the Jester and Knight resumed their visibility, and smacked their lips as if to remove a bad taste.

“Let’s not do that again.”

“What?  The invisibility?”

“Yes.”

“Why not?”

“Well, it’s just weird.”

“We’ll see.  Come on, we need to hurry.”

“Fine.”

The Jester and Knight trapsed across the island, with Revis occasionally consulting the map to make sure they were headed in the right direction.  Matticus had his doubts that Revis was reading the landmarks correctly, but wasn’t sure he’d be able to do any better so let the Knight forge ahead.  Then at least if they were led astray he could place the blame on Revis.  The thought of having something else to laugh about at Revis’ expense made Matticus smile again, and he nearly stumbled in Revis who had stopped suddenly in front of him.

Revis pushed Matticus back behind a large tree, joining him a second later. Each of them peered around an opposite side. Up ahead stood a camp, with all of its inhabitants gathered around a man on a small platform. The man, Revis assumed it was the foreman Len, was talking to his workers.

“Congratulations, everyone,” he exclaimed. “Our esteemed leader, Jaded, has assured me that we did indeed find what she was looking for. Tonight, we open up our kegs in celebration! Drink your fill, for tomorrow, we shall take our place at the front of Jaded’s new empire!”

As the crowd cheered at Len’s proclamation, Revis and Matticus exchanged a look. They were too late. Before Matticus could ask what their next move would be, Revis handed him his pack. “Stay here,” he instructed. “I’m going to sneak in there and try to find a few things out.”

“Like what?”

“We need to know where Jaded is, what they found, and what the thing they found does. Hopefully, I can figure it out without alerting them to my presence. I’ll be back as soon as possible.”

Revis disappeared from sight. Matticus peeked around the corner. A few seconds passed when, suddenly, a voice from beside him made him jump. “By the way,” Revis warned, “don’t touch anything in my pack. There are dangerous things in there and you don’t want to get hurt.”

Matticus gave a big sigh. How did Revis know that he had planned on doing that? So, instead he focused his attention on the camp, hoping that it would keep him from being bored.

That’s when the world erupted. A blinding light made him close his eyes as the force of a huge explosion threw him backwards.

revis and matticus save the kingom chapter 6

Just another reminder that Queen Creative’s awesome badges are on the bottom of both the Matticus and Revis sites.  Make sure you grab one and then show Rara and Dave some love.  
And now?  On with the next chapter:
 

Revis studied the poems and gibberish, trying to decipher the rhymes and find additional clues in the nonsense, while Matticus pulled up a stool and poured himself a beer.  Looking up from the parchment, Revis asked, “I thought you were in a hurry to be away from this place?”

“Well, they’ve already searched it, right?  And you’re studying that, so I might as well take the edge off.  We are far from the Kingdom now and we probably have a ways to go still before we can return to our homes, our families.  Besides, it doesn’t make sense to just wander around Bruges anymore until we have a solid plan.  We don’t know how many more vampires are out there and it’s become obvious that the vampires are working with the city guards for some reason so we don’t know if there are any citizens left in this town who will come to our aid if we need it.”

Revis thought about it for a second and then responded, “Well reasoned.”

“Thank you.”

“Pour me one too, would ya?”

“Of course.”

Matticus poured a second beer and slid it over to Revis as the Knight pulled up an adjacent stool. Revis set the parchment down in between them so Matticus could read it too. The first knight took a drink of the beer, then immediately spit it back out. “Ugh. Why didn’t you tell me it was beer? Beer is disgusting,” he exclaimed as he reached over the counter to grab something a little stronger.

Revis took a long pull off of the whiskey bottle to get the taste of beer out of his mouth. A second later they heard a voice say, “That’ll be ten gold pieces for all of your drinks.”

The two men looked over the bar. Sitting on the floor, cleaning a glass, was the bartender. Before they could ask how they, and the guards, had missed him, he added, “And how do you not know how the guards are connected to those stupid sparkly things?”

“Give us a break,” Matticus replied defensively. “We’ve only been here for an hour.”

“And how do you know it,” Revis asked. “You’d think that would be something they’d keep secret.”

“Don’t you know anything,” the bartender scoffed. “You want to know what is going on in any city you go into, you ask the person working the bar. They know everything. My name’s bardictale, by the way. This is my tavern.”

Matticus looked around the place and was going to say something snide, but Revis noticed the look of mischief in the Jester’s eyes and put his hand out to keep him quiet.  Matticus swallowed the insult but noted that was the second time that Revis had been rude to him, and he would definitely get his revenge at some point.  It’s just a matter of time.

Revis caught Matticus’ rueful smile, and knew what it meant, but didn’t have time to deal with it then.  Instead he turned his attention back to bardictale.  “Can you tell us more about what’s going on here?”

“Show me the color of your interest and I’ll fill your heads with fitting stories.”

“Huh?”

“He wants us to pay for the information.  I’m ruler of the Matticus Kingdom, tell us everything you know about the sparkly vampires, the Bruges Guards, and Jaded, and you will be reimbursed for your troubles.”

Setting the glass aside, bardictale moved to stand behind the bar.  “No, I’ll take that coinage now, or I’ll happily call out for the guards to return.  First the ten gold for the drinks, and then another 10 gold for each answer for question trade.”

Revis reached inside his armor and produced a coin pouch. With a sigh, he tossed it down onto the counter. bardictale scooped it up and, after looking inside of it, almost fainted. “This is almost as much as I paid for the tavern.”

“How about you just keep that and answer all of our questions?”

“I think we have an understanding, sir.”

“What do you know about the sparkly vampires?”

“They started showing up here a few weeks, maybe a month, ago. They’re led by a woman called Jaded, but she’s not actually here in Bruges.  Jaded left Bruges in the hands of the captain of the city guard, Steph. Now, Steph isn’t a sparkly thing herself. She’s just some kind of sparkly thing groupie.”

“Do they have a base of operations,” Matticus asked.

“No, but a big group of them gather once every other night at the warehouse on Pier 12 at midnight.”

“Tonight?”

“Yeah.”

“Then we’ve got a couple of hours to get down there and get hidden before their meeting starts,” Revis stated. “Then, we can listen in on their plans, and figure out a way to disrupt them.”

Matticus thanked bardictale while Revis checked the street to make sure it was clear to leave. When the way was clear, the two men took off into the night. As they walked, Matticus turned to Revis and said, “I’m glad we got all that information, but I’m sorry it cost you so much to get it.”

With a smile, Revis replied, “It didn’t cost me anything.” In his hand was the bag of gold he had given the bartender.

“Another trick of your ring?  Or just a magic money bag?”

“The money bag always returns to me.  Good way to not have to worry about pickpockets.”

“Nice, but, where do you get all those wonderful toys?”

“What?”

“And why don’t I have them?  I am ruler of the Kingdom after all?”

“Well…  The Queen decided, due to your silly streak, you probably shouldn’t be trusted with them.  I didn’t want to say anything but it was her decision.”

The Jester fumed, but knew better than to question a decision made by The Queen.  Plus, he was a Jester, so, it made sense.  He’d probably try to do something silly with the magic pouch.  Bad things would happen.  It was his curse.

Matticus and Revis made it down to the docks without without running into anyone, and then quickly found their way to Pier 12.  Based on the position of the moon they still had some time before midnight, but wanting to be in position before anyone else showed up, they slipped into the warehouse and hid themselves behind some stacked boxes against the far wall.  There they settled into a comfortable silence and waited for Steph and the sparkly vampires to make their entrance.

“Revis,” Matticus asked as midnight drew nearer, “What’s a groupie?”

“I have no idea.”

“Maybe they’ll talk about it during their gathering and we’ll find out.”

“Maybe. I doubt we’ll be that lucky, though. With the way this has been going so far, they’ll probably talk about unimportant, boring things for a couple of hours, and we’ll learn nothing.”

Matticus didn’t think things were going that badly, but he would admit that some things hadn’t gone according to plan. He was going to point that out, but, just then, a sparkly vampire walked into the warehouse. Then, another walked in….and another….and another. The duo lost track of time as more and more poured in. The sound of a sword hilt banging on the floor called the meeting to order. The hand holding the sword belonged to, who Matticus assumed, was Steph for she was the only one in the room who wasn’t sparkly. Looking at Revis, Matticus couldn’t help but feel like they were in way over their heads.

Revis just shook his head at the sight of around one hundred sparkly vampires.