I have stopped writing this book again until I hear requests 🙂 Smok
It was long after midnight and halfway along the beach that was a forefront to the house. The moon was slowly drifting across the sky, intermittently hidden by clouds of sliver scuttling in the opposite direction blown along by an unfelt wind high above, its gentle light turning the sand to a silver in the darkness of the night, the waves broke ever so gently up the beach each time landing with a quiet swish of water along the whole shore front, and the retreating water carried small pebbles down the beach each chasing after the receding water, all of it adding to the cacophony of small sounds. Kasia drank in every second of it the noise like a full orchestra playing quietly yet building to a crescendo that never came, the bark from her dog Bambi broke her revere and adding to it was her son Magic chasing Bambi up the beach, both of them frolicking and cavorting in waves, the dog barking at each return of water and Magic cheering him on into the surf, both of them avoiding the waves where they could and at other times being caught in the tidal rush up the beach. Kevin stood just behind her hands on her shoulders, she turned just as he bent down a little to plant a kiss on her forehead. Kasia turned back to watch her child play and rested into Kevin’s enfolding arms, she felt a little shiver, not a feeling of cold but of a little fear this idyllic night would end all to soon
The main doors to the grand hall exploded inwards as Ami rushed in to the meeting outnumbered and overwhelmed by the sudden entrance the thirty odd guards of the Cortacrek were quickly placated by the invading group. The room now secured Lord DaeDann and the Lady Ka-An calmly entered the chamber. Standing now in front of the whole assembly, the Lady Ka-An bowed to Lord Ahel. “My lord we came to listen to Corta’s wisdom in this affair of the Ta-Ami population I feel sure he will tell us all what it is that so threatens us that it is worth the destruction of such a noble family. Is that the truth of it Corta”? The familiarity of using Corta’s first name was not lost on the assembly all heads turned to see what the reaction would be.
At that Lord Gil and Lord Aeladin entered with more Ami troops, as by the minute more and more ruling lords appeared. And as each party entered the hall they moved off to take up sides, in the event and the possibility of the ensuing battle to come.
Corta shook his head as if in weary resignation of the fact all was now undone “I had at least hoped the brethren would hold together as long as the threat was great enough I see now I was wrong. The great threat I speak of is not from the Asov though that is real enough I fear, no even now we feel the presence of an even greater enemy one I believe we cannot fight and which will be the end of us all.” A great shout came from all assembled within the great hall, “what could be worse than the Asov finding our last refuge”. Corta’s voice rose above the shouting in the great hall, “let all save for the ruling lords and ladies and the inner Cortacrek leave the hall”. Lord DeaDann and the lady Ka-An nodded to their respective warriors to leave as did other lords and ladies. When the hall was quiet and all had left Corta spoke to the assembled parties. “It is not that I will not tell you the danger, it is that we don’t fully understand it ourselves. Whether it’s the survey party itself or something they bring, or even if it is something that follows them we are not sure. But for months now the Cortacrek have been having premonitions of a holocaust let loose upon the Ami’s here, you may not be aware but to a great extent the Cortacrek’s powers have not been as they should. Alas we fear the fey power of magic may be about to finish altogether and leave us totally defenceless to the Asov. That was in main the reason why the survey party was sent out to see how or if we could maintain some other sort of warning if the Asov come upon us. This was to be repeated in all directions and some sort of relay would have given some warning of the approach of any invader”. Again a great murmuring started in the hall as nobles talked to nobles as to what should be done. The lady Ka-an stood forward “Lords and Ladies I think it is time that Corta and his Magi stood down it is time for the nobility to lead the way. I suggest we form a council and take control of our own affairs”. Lord Gil was but a hairsbreadth behind Lord Aeladin who took control of the floor. “What need have we in a council it is well known that my family stand next in line to the thrown I have the support of many ruling Lords and Ladies I say we reinstate the Crown. I stand before you and propose my position as Furste Leader of all the Ta-Ami, who will second me”. As if rehearsed before Lord Gil of the pathfinders called for seconding of the title of Furste. Once again lines began to be drawn those supporting A call for a council and those for an ultimate leader in the Furste. Many nobles wanted the Furste but were not prepared to support Lord Aeladin and his Clan, as this would leave him in total control of everything. But some of these Lords were as suspicious of the role of council. Many of the smaller Clan leaders stood back taking no side to await the outcome without committing one way or another hoping to take best advantage. All eyes once again turned to Corta sitting on his dais above all the rest he surveyed all sides in the dispute. “Neither I or my Cortacrek can readily give up the warrant given to us ages past, to protect and lead the Ta-Ami so I cannot support either your call for council or a reinstatement of the Crown”. Several Lords and ladies huddled in-groups with their respective leaders. On numbers alone Lord Gil and Lord Aeladin held the majority. The quiet Lord DaeDann who had stood in support of a call to council now took his turn on the floor. “My lords and ladies we are at an impasse Lord Gil and his faction hold the majority, a majority I cannot and will not support but I will not start a civil war and put Ami against Ami just to stop him. Instead my Clan and I will absent ourselves from these halls and welcome any that wish to leave with us. I must also tell Lord Aeladin without the full consent of all the ruling families he can never be crowned and as Corta will not support him either he is no further forward than he was. So with your leave I go to join my Clan in self-banishment from these halls and any that will accompany us goodbye”. Lord DaeDann walked out of the halls followed by many minor Clan Lords and the lady Ka-an. “I hope my Lord has a safe abode for all that follow “. The Lady Ka-An walked along beside Lord DaeDann as lost in thought as he was.
Thinking “it wasn’t as if we planned this”, at the same time knowing from the moment she saw Kevin naked in the room after his shower she had yearned for it. Shaking the cobwebs from her mind Kevin and Kasia made their way carefully back down towards the hotel, all the time Kasia’s heart had been pounding in her chest first from the lovemaking and the subsequent feelings it aroused for Kevin and also for the guilt of leaving Beata unprotected. Reaching the hotel Kevin gave Kasia the pass key to the interconnecting doors between the rooms, Kasia entered as quietly as she could. The bed was empty! Oh god no thought Kasia, at the same time spinning around towards the on suite bathroom door as it opened, there stood Beata fully naked in the light of the door. Kasia gently closed the door behind her and spoke softly to Beata, “are you ok? I look around and see the bed empty and thought” as Kasia spoke she walked across to the window and checked it, turning around she was confronted by Beata climbing back into bed, “Kasia you seem to have sat down on some dirt the back of your dress is filthy” Beata was smiling knowing full well she had caught Kasia out. Kasia practically ran from the room mumbling apologies about disturbing her, just as the door was about to close she heard Beata’s last remark, “just to let you know I fall asleep pretty fast and am usually a sound sleeper.” Kasia closed the door and walked over to the window where Kevin was standing smirking with a Cheshire cat grin on his face. Kasia was mortified, both of them were laughing at her, Kevin knew instinctively what Kasia was feeling at that moment, encompassing her in his strong arms he whispered “of course she knows what we were at, she may be young but she’s proved she not altogether stupid” with that Kevin lifted Kasia into his arms and walked her to the king size bed, Kasia still smarting a little from Beata’s observational comment, was just about to protest as Kevin’s lips found hers and at the same time switched off the bed reading lights, the only illumination in the room. With a deep sigh of resignation Kasia surrendered to her emotions for the final time that night. Kasia and Kevin spent the rest of the night entwined in each other’s arms their physical passion spent for the night, at the breakfast table the next morning the atmosphere was a little strained, it wasn’t until Kasia put down her Knife and fork and with a deep sigh turned to Beata. “Have we upset you?” asked Kasia, “No damn it neither of you have upset me, it’s just me being jealous of what you both apparently have, I just wish I could find someone and have what you two have,” Kasia looked at Kevin surprised and Kevin as surprised looked at Beata asking, “what exactly do we have Beata? You think there is more to this than just two old friends spending a relaxing night together?”? Beata smiled at Kasia and looking at both of them as she leaned back in the restaurant chair, “if you two can’t see what’s going on between you then you’re both blind deaf and dumb, or you think everyone else is”.
The hunt quickens
Urgo had raced back to the main Asov encampment now beginning to resemble a more permanent base. Ill at ease with the assumptions he had made he must now report to Arinis Lord of the invading Asov army, and that walking slime bag Paduk his first lieutenant. Challenged by patrols all the way from the river bank Urgo became irritated with the delays but knew arguing was a waste of time with his fellow Asov. At last reaching the command tent he prostrated himself before Arinis. “My Lord I have news of the Ami’s but so far they have eluded us. It is my thought they have taken to the river to avoid leaving a spoor trail to follow. I came across a battle site late last night and found six of your Asov slain with arrows and then poorly hidden in the grass at the side of the path, as if done in some haste. Lord what worries me is that we could find little or no trace of the Ami’s that shot them full of arrows. And the blood trail we found from one wounded Ami stopped suddenly and just disappeared, like he had been plucked up to the sky”. Fearing to move at all Urgo kept his head pressed to the ground in supplication. It was Paduk that offered the solution; “perhaps it was death from the sky that took your wounded Ami”. A reference to the owls that plagued the Asov and Ami hunting parties at night, swift and silent in their hunting the Asov hated and admired them. “As Paduk says perhaps it was death from the sky but there is more to tell yet I think. Out with it what else have you found you miserable trail rat”? Arinis kicked the prone form of Urgo as he lay on the ground brining a whelp of fear from him. “Lord I think the Ami’s had some strange conveyance, we found tracks leading from there up river along the path. We followed them and at a site some distance up river we again found Ami track but when the track crossed the hard ground that leads down to the riverside the elf tracks stop. I think the Ami’s took to the river to escape us”. At this point Paduk jumped atop the prone Urgo flailing him with his fists. “You are lying trail rat to save your own miserable skin for failing to find the Ami’s and concoct this story to appease your Lord”. Tethus appeared beside Arinis watching the display of violence meted out to the nearly unconscious Urgo. “There is some logic to what your servant says, I can feel something is slipping away from us. I am not sure what it is yet but with each passing moment it grows dimmer to me, that it is of some import to us I have absolutely no doubt, we must follow it with all haste Arinis. The speed at which it diminishes from us is much faster than an Ami party on foot with possible wounded to attend to”. Tethus bowed to Arinis, “revive Urgo and send one hundred warriors with him up river. I want this party of Ami’s found” Arinis pointed to Paduk. Orders were quickly issued to nearby runners; Tethus removed one of his hands from the voluminous sleeves and wiped his face bringing his fingers together over the bridge of his nose. Under his breath so none nearby could hear he whispered “when they catch up with this party of Ami’s have runners inform you of where they are and how they travel make sure no-one is seen and have them follow at a distance reporting back at regular intervals”. Arinis turned to Tethus a rage within him building; about to unleash it he wisely thought the better of it. Through gritted teeth he hissed, “Think not to order me mage or interfere in my commands. Should it cost me my whole army I will destroy you and all that stand with you, now leave me I have work to do”. With that Arinis marched away accompanied by his personal guard leaving Tethus standing there. Thalis his body servant to Tethus approached she seethed at the way Arinis had spoken to her master Tethus even though she had not heard the words uttered. Tethus patted her hand in a kindly fashion. “Save your anger control it I may yet let you loose upon this puppy Lord. Then will he learn what it is to face my might and my right hand.” Smiling now both turned away to the main camp, others in his party following.
Then moving on to the main course Apáki a beautifully prepared dish of lean pork marinated in vinegar, then smoked with aromatic herbs and shrubs, and packed in salt. Kasia was beside herself as always Kevin had won his way to her heart through her stomach, it was all too much for her, “enough Kevin I couldn’t eat another thing, no not even the Karydopita,” this was a cake of crushed walnuts, soaked in syrup. Agreeing to disagree he got up came round the table to Kasia and helped her leave the table removing her chair as he did, dashing and a gentleman as always thought Kasia to herself, but that was Kevin’s winning way with the ladies it was how he had caught her the first time she remembered, “The concierge has told me there is a beautiful walk across the cliff path to a vantage point overlooking the islands I thought you might like a stroll that way, just to walk off the meal I mean”, The pair set of at a moderate pace up the steps leading to the old and somewhat worn path along the cliff edge. They had rounded a bend when Kasia leading had stepped towards the cliff edge calling to Kevin “look at the moon, isn’t it beautiful so full and round and bright” Kevin said nothing but stepped forward grabbing Kasia by the arm and pulling her roughly away from the edge, just as a piece of ground that had been under her foot gave way and slipped down into the water far below. Kevin worried about Kasia so near the edge had pulled harder than he thought and stumbled back onto the path at the same time catching his foot on a half-buried rock. Falling backwards and pulling Kasia down on top of him as he went, even then letting her fall on top of him rather than risk her hurting herself in the fall. Lying atop of Kevin she could feel his breath on her exposed neck, hot and moist she was overcome with breathlessness, Kevin lay there making no attempt at getting up and as Kasia turned her head towards him her lips all but brushing his as they stared into each other eyes, it seemed to Kasia she was sinking in a sea of warm comforting water her emotions were rising up and flooding over her, her lions were heating up in a way they hadn’t for many years. Kevin gently placed one of his arms around the back of her head and pulling her down to meet his lips by the last few centimetres, as Kasia tasted Kevin’s lips on her for the first time in years she gave in and succumbed to her feelings, they lay there kissing for the longest time. It was Kasia that eventually gave in and gently sat up and began undressing claiming she didn’t want to spoil her nice new dress, Kevin’s smile was golden in the moonlight, he watched as Kasia freed her perfect breasts and reached up tenderly to touch them gently caressing them, Kasia was silhouetted and outlined in the moonrise behind her. Kevin was mesmerised as she dropped her dress and the nearly panties she was wearing, sitting up now still cupping her breasts in both his hands Kevin began to make up for lost time and stripped hurriedly to catch up with the now naked Kasia. Lying back down Kasia now underneath Kevin and gently massaging his manhood, Kasia guided him to her “little cave of love” as Kevin had always called it. Slowly they made love in the moonlight no haste or frantic groping, just gentle and slow. Lying in each other’s arms Kasia felt an afterglow and looked at Kevin’s face the smile of satisfaction told her all she needed to know. Lying there in Kevin’s enfolded arms Kasia felt safe from the world and all its perils, easing herself down his prone body a little, she began fondling Kevin arousing him yet again, all the time watching his face contort in ecstasy, then covering his chest in kisses and her hands wantonly wandering all over him Kasia sat astride Kevin, holding his manhood in her hand she was carefully manoeuvring into position and then just as suddenly began thrusting him deeply inside her, causing her own body to arc back and away from him, she let out a cry from deep within her that had seemed to come from her very soul. Their passion spent and collapsing down together they relaxed and let the feelings of their simultaneous orgasm flood over them. It was Kevin that roused first, “we have left Beata to long on her own said”, Kevin dressing as he spoke, Kasia felt a little guilty at leaving the girl unattended and unguarded.
All aboard the boat watched the until now tranquil waters start to foam as the rush of water past the outcropping of concrete beat the water into a furious mass of seething froth.
“Ahattra Goddess of travellers protect us,” muttered an Ami on the bridge, “we need all the help we can get this is going to be hard on the boat and us, have the Ami’s below check all is securely lashed down we don’t want to lose anything in this maelstrom”. Kevin’s instructions were carried out, and then all that could found as safe a haven on or in the boat as there was.
The boat began to turn full head on into the swirling water and slowly as he could Kevin eased the boat on, buffeted from every side and swaying heavily in the water the boat began to make slow but steady headway. It was soon obvious to Kevin he would have to increase power to the engine to make it up what appeared to be a ramp of water. But he knew this very act had been his undoing every time he had attempted it in the past with his son as they ran along the riverbank.
The boat began to tremble under his feet, but the engine never faltered the propellers at the rear turning as steady as ever. Every fibre in Kevin’s body screamed, “More power to the engines”. He willed the boat on in the water then just as it seemed they were clear the boat gave a mighty lurch to the portside as the bow struck a submerged stone in the river. With the bow now threatening to turn across the river. This would be the end as the river race of water caught them it would turn the boat over in the water drowning all aboard. Few could survive this stretch of rapids but he resisted and again willed the boat back to course. Kevin felt the power of his mind turning the boat gradually it came about and with the bow of the boat back into the main drive of water it made the top of the ramp. It felt as if it jumped into the now slower running water.
Kevin could feel the sigh of relief coming from all on the boat, many ran to the sides and looked back into the inky darkness little was to be seen. Kevin himself felt as if he was going to pass out with the mental strain of keeping the boat right in the river.
In the now slower running water the boat was making good headway against what little current there was.
Harris had gone below to where the injured Ami’s were quartered so only Soste and the signal crew remained. Soste smiled at Kevin “good work Kevin I think you serve us well, are there any more such obstacles to overcome”?
The passage up the ramp of water had drained Kevin; he had willed the boat on overcoming the surge of water with his own force of will pleased now that he hadn’t increased power as he had so often tried to in the past.
“There is a first time for everything, and that was the first time I have ever managed to overcome that particular weir. But to answer your question fully yes there are a few more hazards to take yet, and I have always made it passed these with some little amount of difficulty”.
As if to make a liar of him the boat lurched in the water and keeled madly over to the starboard side throwing all askew. Kevin regained his feet and ran out the port side exit looking a little aft of the boat he could see a large tree branch floating into the gloom behind them, they had struck it unawares. Soste placed sentries with good night sight in the fore of the boat to look out for anymore-such dangers and give forewarning in advance. The boat carried on upstream sedately, “time for a battery check “Kevin mumbled to no one then headed below leaving a frightened Soste in command of the boat.
On Kevin’s return he called a meeting of Soste and Harris. “As I see it we can carry on as far as this battery will take us till it is depleted then change back to the battery we changed at the weir its got about half a charge in it that leaves us one full battery in reserve. Hopefully the sun will be full up in the sky by that time and we should be able to start to recharge some of the battery power.
There is an old river bend just up ahead that this battery will take us to it’s an offshoot of the main river and is calm so we can make our change there. But I don’t understand why we have been able to run so long on this battery”? At this point Harris reminded Kevin of the earlier conversation about relative time for Ami’s and humans and how in his present condition his perspective on time was a little different.
“Well now that you have reminded me of that I think a change of plan is called for, we pull in to the same river bend but when we have changed the batteries we will rest up. It will help the electric motor cool off and give us a bigger margin of safety on reserve power. By the time we come to changing over batteries again the first will be partially recharged from the solar recharging panel”.
Soste and Harris merely nodded in agreement as neither truly understood what Kevin had explained to them, Kevin was happy that this was the best course of action so Soste was happy with that.
As Kevin was the only one with any paper identification Kasia left it to him to organise and hire a car to take them to Athens and the regional office, there she could hand Beata over to Bronski’s operatives who would take care of her and return her home to her family in Warsaw. As it would soon turn out, things were not going to be so simple much to Kasia’s dismay. Thinking ahead Kasia asked Kevin to find a local hotel and suggested they stay there for the night. Arriving at the cliff top hotel Kevin pulled his tote bag from the boot of the hired car, it was an old Mercedes diesel and when it had reached halfway up the hill towards the hotel so much smoke was pouring from the exhaust that it completely wiped out any sign of the road behind. Entering the hotel the party approached the reception desk. The manager a fat short man with what Kasia thought was the most terrible moustache she had ever seen. “Ah hello Mr Smith, I was correct in guessing the make-up of you party, I have put your beautiful daughter in a single room and given you and your lovely wife the best connecting double room next door.” Kevin was just about to object when Kasia tugged at his arm, sensing more than seeing that Beata was happy about the room allocation she whispered to Kevin “let it go.” Following the manager they made their way to the rooms, Beata was exhausted both physically and mentally, at this she cried off going for something to eat, Kevin warned her to keep her door locked at all time and open it only to either him or Kasia and then only after they had given the prearranged code word. Kasia headed for the shower and a clean-up. Both had cleaned up well and Kevin suggested to Kasia she take his card and go see what the hotels boutique held in the way of ladies garments for her, skipping off very quickly Kasia headed downstairs and shopping always something to distract a lady with a problem. Kevin was his usual fastidious self when it came to his personal hygiene. Kasia had returned from shopping and could hear Kevin humming a little Irish ditty she knew so well from him, slipping out of her dress and changing from the skin out she was just fumbling with the rear zipper on the dress when Kevin left the bathroom, nothing but a towel wrapped around him he gave a long slow whistle as Kasia pirouetted in front of him. “Let’s go eat and perhaps a short walk before bed to settle our digestion down,” suggested Kevin. Kasia had to turn away as she mumbled “yes a good idea”, Kasia had felt her face began to redden and couldn’t understand why, as lovers they had seen each other naked before, but now Kasia could feel butterflies in her stomach, she dismissed it as hunger pains but knew better. Having eaten a hearty meal and Kevin as always had ordered for both of them, starting with Orektiko as an appetizer.
Lord Ahel returned to the main feast joining with his advisors to inform them of what must now be done. Caith oldest living Ta-Ami in all the clans and first advisor to the new lord Ahel listened closely to what his master had to say of the meeting. “And now my lord in a few moments you will be cordially summoned by the Cortacrek, presumably to answer questions of treason to the high council”. His words not fully finished Caith turned his back on his master and stared at the main door to the chamber. The doors opened with a flourish and a full squad of the Cortacrek guard swung through led by an officer all in full armour. Lord Ahel turned to Caith “how did you know they would come”? Caith smiled “I presumed in the chamber my lord Gil enacted the spell of cloaking which doesn’t include this hall and as you can see there is no longer any secret in this gathering. And the Cortacrek watch all with vigilance, especially such a gathering as this”. The plumed officer of the guard approached Lord Ahels Company. “My lord if it pleases you will you accompany me to the chambers of my lord Corta”. The young officer was polite and bowed to lord Ahel then standing back and with a wave of his arm indicated to lead him from the chamber.
Lords Gil and Aeladin both stepped up to the young lord and bowing in front of him spoke in unison “may you speak on behalf of us all”. Lord Ahel nodded and with his advisors turned to leave the hall to face the coming inquisition, under no illusion now that he had been thrown to the lions to face the Cortacrek on his own.
No lord whether strong or weak enjoyed the privilege of a meeting with the Cortacrek, and in the main hall and throne room with Corta himself present made the meeting all the more uncomfortable as it was designed to be.
The officer and his guard wheeled about and escorted the young lord and his advisor through the corridors.
“Ah my lord Ahel we believe you have a request to make of the Cortacrek”. Began Tase; always the first to assault a victim, secure in he knowledge he was safe within Corta’s chamber.
“Enough Tase we know well enough Lord Ahel is the sacrificial goat to Gil and Aeladin, what mischief are they up to now my lord”. Wiydif acting the friend at court approached lord Ahel in a friendly manner, But Caith watching from beside his master could see the feral light in his eyes he was only playing with him in the hope to gain all that needed to be known sooner rather than later. Caith signed a warning with his eyes to lord Ahel. For all the young lord was new to his position he had taken minor parts in the game of council since an early age by his father’s side, and was not taken in by the friendly demeanour of the mage Wiydif. Carefully taking in the fact that he was alone and without any personal guard and there were thirty or more of the Cortacrek’s personal bodyguards about him all fully armed. Lord Ahel addressed the assembly. “It has come to our common knowledge that we prepare for war, strange orders have been issued. And now the strangest of all to kill the returning survey group. Before they can even tell us what they have found if indeed anything, I understand your powers and that you have a foresight the rest of us lack but those powers should be to aid us not to have us destroy the very thing we all seek. Information! What is it that the survey returns with that puts us all in such jeopardy, if the Asov have landed then we need to know this thus we can make better preparations to defeat them. Instead you would have us murder the very Ami’s that bring us information. And what of the promise of the Cortacrek, that this at last after our many years of wandering. This the Promised Land where all would be fruitful and where we could live in peace from our mortal enemies the Asov”. Caith nodded in agreement at the statement His Lord Ahel had made.
Corta sat above the assembly his eyes staring off someplace as if not listening to a word uttered, slowly his head turned to face the young lord making eye contact with Caith in the process and pausing for a second as if looking into his very soul and causing Caith to shiver involuntarily. “Make no mistake that I know the authors of this treason young lord and that they will be punished there is no doubt. But you sir I cannot let pass scapegoat or not it is common knowledge that you are here in this hall to challenge the Cortacrek and myself. At whose bidding is irrelevant I cannot let you challenge me now or ever. It is the mandate of this body to protect all Ta-Ami by whichever method or means we can.
To this end I cannot let this challenge go unanswered”. Corta barely nodded to Tase who stepped forward and began to raise his arms.
As he began an incantation all in the hall could feel the hair on the nape of their neck rise a sure sign of magic being invoked.