Hidden Empire - Book III of the Dark Falcons Chp12 Pt1

Post your Battletech stories and read & rate the tales of others!

Moderators: AVA MANGO TWO, Ravion Hawk, Typhoon, trboturtle

BeoWolf
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 270
Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2005 9:58 am
Location: South Africa

Post by BeoWolf » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:19 pm

I think its time for a Talon update Rayo.
Stay true to the dream of the Kerensky's, now and always.

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Post by Rayo Azul » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:43 pm

BeoWolf wrote:I think its time for a Talon update Rayo.
I hear you - sorry mate I've been busy publishing stuff, so have fallen a bit behind...will try and fulfil your wish as soon as I can

Cheers

Rayo

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Post by Rayo Azul » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:07 am

... end of chapter


Jax stared anxiously at the now quiescent complex. The lost men and women sat like some dark bile, eating away at his insides. Billy would pay, but for now they needed to regroup. Elias and the others would return, and when they did Billy needed to be inactive. Battle chatter resounded briefly on his communicator, before it finally died away. Many Dark Falcons had given their lives for him to escape and it irked him that his revenge would have to wait.

“We will make Billy pay,” said Elana, reading his obvious thoughts.

“That we will,” agreed Jax, “but right now we need to regroup. What of Esteban?”

“We have a coded transmission. It appears that he has something to show us.”

Jax nodded, his curiosity assuaged by his anger, “Get us there fast,” he said, turning to stare back at the smoke rising from the complex. A pair of Visigoths roared alongside, another two behind and one in front of the shuttle. The Dropship would recover what forces it could and join them later.

With a malicious grin on his lips, Jax reached for the Shuttle´s communicator.

“Billy?” he said, “I would invite you to come with us, but I know you´re a little busy right now. Don´t worry though, we know exactly where to find you…”

He ignored the scream of rage which echoed around the cabin. Whatever Billy had been looking for was now in Jax´s hands. That it would be interesting was in no doubt.

*

Billy brooded. Nothing was quite going to plan. He did have his captive Ice Hellions, but they were little consolation for the loss of the laboratory. It was time to dig in, strengthen his defenses and prepare for Jax´s return. He understood the concept of revenge. In fact, his recently terminated relationship with Maggie had thrived on it. The Dark Falcons, though, had a record of overkill when related to collecting debts and Billy was once again enjoying life.

His questing senses found the saKahn and her depleted minions as they piloted their stolen Mech´s from the complex. At least he could have some fun with them.

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Post by Rayo Azul » Sat Nov 26, 2011 6:41 am

Chapter Nine


“So…” asked Jax, “what is it?”

He had arrived earlier, his dropship flanked by fighters, and his landing by Esteban’s troops.

“We have found little,” replied Esteban, “and were hoping that David would help.”

“I have sent for him”, commented Jax, turning to gaze at the quiescent thing, that once had been Jonti, “we will abandon the fort and set up our base here. These tunnels will give us some protection.”

“They will,”agreed Esteban, “and there is a lot of this complex yet to uncover.”

“What about lights, power…?”

“Under investigation, although we have traced the power grid from this chamber and are gradually clearing areas for use.”

“There are more like this?” asked Jax.

“At least two more chambers, yet they are inactive,” said Esteban, “we are rather looking for the point defense controls and anything else we can use to deter Billy.”

“It won´t be easy,” mused Jax, “this base has been dormant for a long time.”

Then he turned in sudden decision, “Let´s get up top and talk with Elana. Bring Jonti with you.”

*

The ABWS that had once been purely Jonti Dumfries listened and calculated. It felt a debt to these men; Jonti was still a major part of it, yet his mental limitations limited those of the system. It looked on Jax with awe, felt reverence for the Dark Falcon symbol and knew hate for its once God Billy. In comparison with the vessel which housed it, the adaptive bio-weapon took decisions quickly. It followed, moulding its thought patterns to that of its warrior companions.


“Sir…” said Esteban quietly, indicating Jonti´s amorphous chest.

Jax stared as the mass bubbled just above Jonti´s right breast. Colour entered the grey flesh, twisting and writhing. It concentrated in one spot, the darkness hardening into a clearly defined symbol. Jax smiled.

“Well,” he said, “it seems as we at least know his allegiance.”

Esteban laughed in relief, the Dark Falcon symbol sat proudly on Jonti´s chest. He was now one of them.

*

Billy had always been arrogant, self-centered and childish; most AI´s were. None of them could understand how their creators could be so weak and intellectually-challenged. Starting from that point, egomania was a given. What galled, was that Jax and his puny force had outwitted him, and Billy was brooding.

For a short while the pleasure of tormenting the Ice Hellions kept him occupied, but child-like Billy quickly lost interest. What he wanted was to be acknowledged as the superior being he was, to pull the strings of all the players in his little game and to be worshipped. Maggie´s insanity seemed to have rubbed off and was gnawing its way deep inside.

Tanks he had. Mechs, too. What he didn’t have were followers. The loss of the secret technology put paid to his dreams of empire, yet not if he could act quickly. With Billy thought was action, and messages were sent. Across the planet the God began to speak once more, and disused communications arrays began to beam a distress signal out into deep space. Billy had his plan. Now, all he had to do was wait.

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Re: Hidden Empire - Book III of the Dark Falcons Chp9 Pt2

Post by Rayo Azul » Tue Jan 13, 2015 9:50 am

Guess what I found when I was looking through my files


The local priest watched on with awe as the “God Box” began to speak for the first time in living memory. Flickering lights of green and gold announced the God’s awakening, before the box spoke. Religious fervor took hold of him and he sent his acolytes running to spread the word, Evil had entered the land and the God called his followers to arms. They would not, could not, refuse.

All across the planet, in each location where the voice transmission software could activate the old machinery, Billy sent out his call to arms. He was frustrated with the lack of response of over half of the system, but even half would serve his purposes. What he needed right now were shock troops, cannon fodder, whatever you might call them. They had to mobilise and arrive in time to make his point. His drones would add to the mystical effect, and the sound of his voice emitting from such inexplicable “creatures” would give credence to his tale.

Jax and his stupid morality would aid in Billy’s labour, as the massacre of these sub-humans would stick in his craw. Billy only needed this hesitation, this refusal to destroy his human shield and he would take Jax’s new fortress. Perhaps, there was still an option to win this hand before he had to resort to stronger methods. If not, then so be it.

As he managed his messages, reveling in the gullibility of the locals Billy picked up a message from space. Not the message he was hoping for, but one which might just play into his hands. Plans were to be changed after all, and there was nothing like chaos for enhancing the thrill ride.

After a moment’s thought he continued to transmit his message into deep space, ignoring the request for a reply. Let them come, and the chips fall where they would…

*

Queen Aleesha D’Abaye listened to the jabbering priest and smiled languidly. Being careful what you wished for was an old, but true, adage. Relief from boredom was a tenuous and generalized desire, but the universe had decided to shake up her world with a vengeance. The “God Box” speaking was an unexpected, and welcome, introduction to her tedious existence. Her war of expansion into the surrounding area was waning and as there were no enemies of interest left, and her troops were getting restless with the lack of fresh meat to kill. This at least would get the Generals out of her hair and if she played it right, the annoying priests as well. With a self- satisfied smile she motioned the chief priest to rise, and gave him her most enthusiastic and regal approbation.

The Generals were summoned and she gave them a rousing speech and carte blanche in the mobilization of her troops. This time she would stay at home. A pogrom carried out in the name of the God would help rid her of her local political enemies and fulfil her less savoury desires. There was always a silver lining to everything…you just had to find it.

*

“We are seeing a large and unusual amount of movements from the natives,” said Elana as she and Jax opened their morning meeting.

“Oh?” asked Jax, distracted by the silent figure of Jonti whose appearance still clashed with that of the others gathered in the room they had converted into his office.

“Yes,” she continued, tapping the table slightly to focus his attention, “and it seems that we have Billy to thank for this…”

Billy?

Now she had his interest and she nodded, reaching forward to activate an icon on the screen in front of him.

“This is the message we intercepted and which is being broadcast at broad beam for all who can listen.”

He held up his hand, forestalling her. “How can the natives hear it? They have no technology of this level…”

The God Box…” hissed Jonti, “he has activated the God Box…”

The what?” asked Jax, swiveling in his seat to look at the newest convert to the Dark Falcons.

“In many of the villages, there is a box of lights, which belongs to the God, or at least that is what we are taught. We first heard the voice of the Evil One through it, and were sent to spy on the Dark Falcons. He must be doing the same to others.”

“And the people will listen to his voice and do what he wants?” asked Elana incredulously.
“Of course,” agreed Jonti, “they think the God has spoken.”

“Then,” said Jax with a sigh of exasperation, “we know where he is sending them. What we need is a plan, and quickly.”

Turning to Jonti he asked, “Are there others who do not follow this teaching, who we might appeal to?”

Jonti seemed to think for a moment, then nodded, “There are others…the Heretics…but I do not know whether you should talk to them.”

“Why?” asked Elana sharply.

“You fought them once, and destroyed their major leaders,” said Jonti, “they may not wish to speak with you again.”

“Fought them?” Jax seemed puzzled, “When?”

“Too many battles, and so little time,” replied Elana with a grin, “remember the medieval military pieces, the demons and monsters tag…?”

“There was nothing left of Emperor Julian’s forces,” replied Jax, his brow furrowing in puzzlement.

“True,” replied Elana, “but I was talking about the rebels. We never did find out how many there were…things got a little bit hectic if you remember rightly.”

“Getting there might be a little bit difficult right now,” mused Jax, “what’s your idea?”

“We have a few people at the keep still; the last of the recruits, a couple of our older warriors and a handful of techs. They should be able to do something.”

“And how will we communicate with them? Billy will be listening after all…”

“I think that we can waste a couple of the smaller spy drones. Fly them there and crash them with a message pod on board. That should work.”

“Okay,” said Jax, “get on with it whilst I listen to what our erstwhile friend and maniac Billy is saying about us.”

She grunted in reply and left to organize the message. She was trying to remember exactly who she had left at the keep and whether her confidence was misplaced.

Jax watched her leave and activated the icon. No doubt Billy’s message would be as entertaining as usual.

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Re: Hidden Empire - Book III of the Dark Falcons Chp9 Pt1

Post by Rayo Azul » Tue Jan 13, 2015 9:51 am

Depending on the interest I may just be convinced to give this a whirl... :wink:

Cheers

Rayo

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Re: Hidden Empire - Book III of the Dark Falcons Chp10 Pt1

Post by Rayo Azul » Thu Jan 15, 2015 12:00 pm

Chapter Ten

Older warriors would have described only one of the remaining people at the keep. The rest were new recruits finishing the last of their training and a handful of Techs who had remained to close down the facility. Lars, or Swede, as the rest of the crew called him behind his back, was one of those chosen to form the training cadre. He was not an Elemental, although large, had been reduced to the Tech caste and reassigned by Elana when she was informed about his past history. He was something strange within the Clan structure, a Mechwarrior, turned sibko trainer, turned Tech and now given the task of training spheroids.

None of the locals knew why he was called Swede, although his round head, protruding ears and constant purple face did remind them of a local root vegetable. He was treating the last recruits to his own peculiar style of encouragement when the incoming ball of fire was drawn to his attention.

“What is it?” asked Nuria, one of the more promising locals.

“Is it a bird? Is it one of ours? Is it…?

“Be quiet!” roared Lars, as he noticed the silvery flash and the spit of blue fire which hit the now ballistic object.

“Weapons! Form ranks!”

The recruits’ training kicked in and they scrambled to obey, as Lars saw the fighter wheel away as the smoking ruin thumped to earth.

“Someone did not want us to receive this parcel, whatever it is,” he muttered to himself, as he led his team at a jog towards the smoke. “Must be important…”

No-one answered him. They were used to his solitary discussions and had learnt early that his ruminations were not to be interrupted nor questioned. They would find out soon enough.

Crossing the open expanse of ground in front of the keep and reaching the small foothills close by was a short jog compared to the training the recruits had been through in the previous weeks. They did not forget the harsh lessons as they rushed through their objective, setting up a protective cordon with weapons ready. Lars closed upon the remains of what had been a spy drone and poked at it with the end of his rifle. He grunted as he recognized the Dark Falcons symbol and pulled out his belt knife. It took only a few moments to separate melted metal from the core of the machine, which contained a silver message tube. Inside would be something important. He wondered how many drones had been sacrificed to get them this.

“Back to the keep at the double,” he shouted, not waiting to see if they followed. His was secretly gratified to see Nuria outpace him and take point. At least one of them needed no encouragement to do what was expected.

*

“Did we get through to them?” asked Jax, when Elana stumped back into his office.

“Not sure,” she said, “One drone got within site of the keep, before it was shot down.”

“So that’s a maybe, then?” he mused, turning to study the latest information projected into the holo-tank.

“I think,” she said coldly, “we should assume it is a no…and plan accordingly.”

“Agreed,” replied Jax, “which means we have some serious planning to do. These movements mean we will have a bucket load of trouble arriving here within the next couple of weeks.”

Elana leaned closer and grunted in agreement. Overwhelming force against there sort of immovable object. It would be close and would depend upon the resources Billy committed to the task.

“Will Lars follow your orders…?”

Elana laughed, “If he stays true to type, and the message did get through, then the answer is no. However his unpredictability could well become the defining piece in this game of chicken with Billy.”

“Well,” said Jax, smiling ruefully, “If nothing else, this will be fun…”

Elana roared with laughter, startling the Techs near to the holo-tank. Life with the Dark Falcons had never ever been boring. Why change the status quo now?

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Re: Hidden Empire - Book III of the Dark Falcons Chp10 Pt2

Post by Rayo Azul » Mon Jan 19, 2015 10:06 am

Lars ignored the curious glances as he organized his team for their next assignment. The message cylinder had been specific and in a way dismissive of their chances of survival. So be it. He was a Dark Falcon and knew his duty. What he had to deal with was how he was going to cause the most mayhem and destruction in the least possible time. He needed bodies, and Elana’s ideas were far too conservative. Lars had a plan, but no-one was going to like it, least of all his own people who would soon have a very different opinion of their erstwhile leader.

“Mount up!” he roared, indicating one of two hover trucks, “We are going to do some recruiting.”

Nuria made as if to speak, but Lars walked straight past her, climbing into the cab of the truck next to the Tech Trevor. She shrugged. The Swede would tell them when he wanted them to know. Recruitment was already underway, but was slow and specific. He obviously had another idea, and as she climbed into the back of the truck she wondered what new madness he would have them doing.

*

The local city was still in ruins in part, in spite of the work carried out in rehabilitating the damage caused by their attack on Emperor Julian’s forces. Lars signaled the truck to park in the main square and led his squad towards the temporary holding pen, where some of the more recalcitrant of the Emperor’s forces were located.

A crowd began to form and Nuria twitched when she saw a group of what must have been soldiers sidle out from a nearby bar. The locals avoided them, which only caused them to smile in self-appreciation. Whatever Lars was going to do had better be effective. Firepower was okay, but brute force would overwhelm them in a stampede situation.

“Open it,” Lars commanded, and one of his men ran to obey.

The rapidly growing mob began to grumble but he paid them no heed.

“Front and center!” he roared, and the soldiers training kicked in. He signaled his squad to set up a perimeter and they widened the cordon, protecting the hated Emperor’s men. Lars moved to stand on the back of the hover truck and faced the crowd.

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” he began, speaking over the boos and catcalls, “we have a little problem with which I am sure you can help. It seems as though our friend Billy has become a little unstable and we are needed to support the Dark Falcons in teaching him a lesson. Therefore, I am here today, to make you all an offer…free pardons for all those who sign up today!”

He beamed with pleasure with the silence that greeted his announcement. The shock had turned the crowd mute for now, but Nuria gripped her rifle tighter, waiting for the explosion she was sure to come.

A man strode forward from the group which had left the bar, pushing aside locals who seemed more afraid of them than Lars’ pronouncements.

“Why should we?” he asked, turning to face the crowd, “Have we not given enough? Our homes, our wealth, our lives? First it was the Emperor Julian, now it’s the Dark Falcons…what next? I say the answer is no!”

His men moved to back him up, and Nuria now noticed they were carrying weapons. Blades and clubs to be sure, but they were weapons none the same.

The man continued, “These men and women are criminals!”

His expansive gesture included the ex-soldiers who bridled at his remark. It seemed as though they knew him.

“Why should they be freed? And if we are going to free them, why do we need you to help us?”

Nuria watched the locals move further back, as Lars stepped down from the truck, still smiling.

“Excuse me,” he said politely as he moved through the prisoners. His politeness shocked Nuria more than his smile, if that was at all possible.

Without pausing in stride, Lars passed her squad and walked up to the leader his face set in what now looked a maniacal grin. He stepped up, drew his pistol and shot the man in the head.

“Must have been an Officer,” he grumbled as he turned away from the falling body, “I hate Officers…now, where was I?”

There was a moment’s silence and Lars glanced backwards his pistol still in his hand.

“Any of you gentlemen real soldiers?” he asked, staring down the disreputable group, “If so, get in line. The offer includes you…”

Nuria stared open-mouthed as the group cast furtive glances at the returning crowd, the row of rifles facing them and the maniac in front of them…then sheepishly moved to join the prisoners.

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Re: Hidden Empire - Book III of the Dark Falcons Chp10 Pt3

Post by Rayo Azul » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:17 am

Lars looked over the group of ex-Imperial soldiers and thought he might just be able to make something of them. Where before they had been down trodden, lackluster and resigned to their fate, there was now a spark of something else. Even the group of thugs might just be able to be used, or abused depending upon his needs. He was just congratulating himself on his cleverness when the still grumbling crowd parted, revealing a small group of tribesmen. An older man, a young girl and two young men forced their way through.

The older man, his grey hair unkempt and framing a face lined with the effects of age and weather turned to kiss the young girl on the forehead, clasped hands with the young men and then strode forward to the barrier of raised rifles.

“Havre you come to join us?” asked Lars, grinning at what he saw as a weak old man.

“No,” replied the man in a deep voice, “I have come for justice…”

“Justice?” asked Lars, puzzled now with the intrusion.

“There are those within your ranks with whom I have accounts pending. They must pay for their crimes.”

Lars frowned, “I have given all a free pardon for helping us combat a threat to all our freedom.”

The man shook his head, “these crimes are not yours to pardon. Tribal law must be respected…”

Lars began to colour, his temper getting the better of him.

“I will decide who I pardon…”

“Not this time,” the man said clearly, “these men need to pay…and pay they will.”

He pointed towards a number of his recent recruits, those who had followed the now deceased loudmouth from the tavern.
“My daughter requires retribution…”

Lars pointed at the young girl, “this is your daughter? Let her speak.”

“No,” replied the tribesman, “Fiona is not my daughter. My daughter cannot speak for herself, not after these men finished with her, yet her friend can point out the men who raped and killed her. These men are now standing in your ranks, but not for much longer.”

“I have given them my word. You are not one of us, therefore they now fall under my protection. There is nothing I can do.”
“You can die…” replied the man, “or you can give me justice.”

Lars laughed. This puny old grey hair was threatening him. Thin and emaciated, threadbare clothes, no visible weapons and him surrounded by his troops, and yet still he was being threatened.

“With one word, old man, I can take your life. Why should I not do so?”

“It is not our way,” replied Nuria, moving to stand by the tribesman, “We are Dark Falcons. Justice is something we live by. A Circle Of Equals will determine the right of this.”

“He is not one of us,” snapped Lars, “he has no rights.”

“Then,” said the old man, “I will join you and have my justice…”

Lars started to speak, but the faces of his own showed clearly what they expected, and he knew what to do.

“Very well, old man. It no doubt will be a short recruitment, but I will give you this opportunity.”

“My name is Jared, once of the Hawk Clan,” said the old man, shucking off his cloak to reveal twin knife handles in his belt, “and I would that this was quick.”

He pointed out three of the thugs, signaling with a gnarled forefinger, “Let us make this quick. I hear we have places to go and things to do.”

“Very well,” said Lars, impressed despite himself, “it is your funeral.”

Jared shook his head, “You are mistaken,” he said as he drew his blades, “it is my pleasure.”

A feral grin crossed Jared’s face as he entered the hastily constructed circle as the three pulled clear blades of their own. He would make it reasonably quick, but these three needed to suffer and the others to see what justice meant to one of the Hawk Clan. His daughter would be revenged, and blood would stain this ground.

User avatar
Steve Ronin
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 5224
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2003 2:40 pm
Location: Virginia
Contact:

Re: Hidden Empire - Book III of the Dark Falcons Chp10 Pt3

Post by Steve Ronin » Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:48 am

Ok. Wow.
Rayo is posting cool Dark Falcons fanfiction.
Again.

today suddenly got a bit better. :thumleft: :mrgreen:
Image

REPLY to RONIN'S RAMBLINGS HERE

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Re: Hidden Empire - Book III of the Dark Falcons Chp10 Pt3

Post by Rayo Azul » Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:51 am

Posting and with a bit of momentum...a little darker than normal, but just as messed up :lol:

Next instalment below

Cheers

Rayo

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Re: Hidden Empire - Book III of the Dark Falcons Chp11 Pt1

Post by Rayo Azul » Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:53 am

Chapter 11

Jared Handerson was an enigma. His own people had believed him dead, his family and clan destroyed by treachery and greed. None but a chosen few knew of his continued existence and thirst for revenge, although many in the tribal lands used his name as a reason for ill deeds and to scare impressionable youngsters. It had taken him ten years to find the killers of his wife and two sons, his daughter protected, or so he thought, in the arms of a revered friend. His vengeance had all but been sated until two young girls tried to be older and made a simple mistake in a city environment outside of their simple knowledge. Strong drink and stupidity had led to rape and murder, Fiona fleeing in fear when things got out of hand. Now he would give strength to his legend and close this page of his family life.

That he had committed himself to further bloodshed did not bother him. He felt his life was over, and a campaign against mythical monsters would perhaps end his torment once and for all. First though, he had a blood debt to recover and he was determined to exact a high price.

As he entered this Circle Of Equals he looped a thin leather cord around his long hair, pulling the ragged strands away from his face and tying them into a pony tail. His face now clear of obstruction, he grinned at the advancing thugs, causing them to pause in perplexity for a moment. For a man outnumbered, he seemed too confident. He took the momentary pause and his signal and struck.

Lars was shocked at the speed of the old man, he seemed transformed the moment he entered the circle. The bent and gnarled body straightened and seemed to firm as he watched and the blades flashed in a deadly silver arc. The first cut slashed an outstretched arm, the second eyes and then a flurry of blows other limbs in a fountain of blood. Two men were down and Jared stood quietly studying his screaming foes. The third man backed away as Jared advanced.

“I heard,” he said quietly, as he avoided a wild swing of a rusty blade, “that she pleaded for mercy. That she begged you to stop…you ignored her.”

His opponent began to babble incoherently as Jared swayed away from a shaky thrust, and cut down across an exposed wrist.

“You know,” he continued conversationally as he spun away, dropping to one knee and slicing through a hamstring, “she was a good girl. Naïve but well meaning, kind to even the meanest of people.”

He pulled back on the thug’s hair, exposing his throat but ignoring the opportunity and reversing his blade. Jared struck twice with the pommel of his weapon, destroying the man’s vision as he moved away.

“You touched something you shouldn’t have defiled,” he said as he studied his mewling opponents, “you looked on beauty which should have been treasured and despoiled it, and now we come to this…”

One man stood, swaying on his feet and tried to speak. Jared shook his head.

“I said that I would make this quick, and after all, a promise is a promise even if I would like to discuss the better points of philosophy with such gentlemen as yourselves.”

Three slashes ended their misery and left blood staining the rough ground. Jared wiped his blades clean on their corpses, sheathed his weapons and walked from the Circle, ignoring Lars. He approached the two young men and spoke.

“Tell your father that it is done, it is over. He should not look for me as I will go with these people as I promised.”

The elder of the two reached into a knapsack by his side and pulled free a bundle.

“He told me to give you this, when it was done, and to say that the time for mourning is passed. Wear these with pride once again.”

The second young man pulled a sheathed sword from over his shoulder and unwrapped the pommel, presenting it to Jared.

“This, I believe is yours, Laird. It is time for the Hawk to fly once more.”

They then turned and left, leaving a smiling Jared watching their departure. He pulled the bundle apart, placing an ornate ring on one finger, belting a plain leather sword belt around his chest and over one shoulder and finally adjusting a feathered bonnet on his head before turning back to face Lars.

“Who are you?” asked Lars in amazement.

“I am Jared Handerson, once Laird of the Hawk Clan and I believe I have a promise to fulfill.”

He walked slowly to join the ranks of new recruits, who moved nervously out of his way.

Lars heard the muttered words of the crowd, Jared’s name resounding ever more loudly in his ears. He could smell their fear and wondered what he had done. This man was known, was someone and he needed answers. Looking at the now cooling corpses he decided perhaps it was best to find out some information before he spoke with the strangely attired tribesman. Curiously he noted the emblem on Jared’s bonnet. It was a striking hawk in silver. The resemblance to that of the Dark Falcon’s was uncanny, yet somehow he knew this man was trouble.

“We leave now,” he roared, anger taking over from his unquiet, “we have a war to win…”

The recruits lined up and trooped after his own men, Jared falling into an easy stride amongst them. It was strange, thought Lars, how the others gave him space almost trying to ignore his presence in their midst. Now and again one of them would glance at the smiling tribesman then quickly look away. He called Nuria back to join him and listened to the story of Jared Handerson and the trail of death he left behind…

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Re: Hidden Empire - Book III of the Dark Falcons Chp12 Pt1

Post by Rayo Azul » Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:49 am

Chapter 12

Jax stood watching the preparations below as his people salvaged what they could from the last battle. Moore had done well and his force had been augmented with more power armour than Mechs. A search of the installation and had not revealed any hidden caches of Star League material, apart from a number of other rooms filled with non-powered cylinder installations. Movement by his side caught his attention and he smiled as the thing that once had been Jonti, shifted. It seemed as though Jax now had a constant shadow, one that cast a miasma of fear over those who knew not what it was.

The temptation to ask for volunteers to enter the chambers had been strong, but the stories of Jonti’s transfiguration gave Jax pause. In any case, he would not ask any of the Dark Falcons to do something he was not prepared to do himself…unless of course things got desperate.
A rapidly approaching Hellion Prime on the open land below caught his attention and he tensed inwardly, until he recognized the emblem blazoned across its chest. Hopefully his Techs could find him something else about this installation, something useful he could use to his advantage. As if in response to his wish the ground began to tremble and he jumped to one side as earth and rock split aside. From the ground twin constructs rose, their upper surfaces splitting an opening that the petals of a newly blossoming flower. The Hellion Prime moved again and missile platforms deployed, turning to track the now speeding Mech.

“Please no,” breathed Jax, as the platform locked onto its target and warning lights flashed.
Jax’s hand flashed to his belt, he activated his comm unit and bellowed “Elana!”
Too late. Motors burst into life and missiles fired in sequence. Three were already in flight when a crackled “we have shut it down…” sounded from his hand.

Jax pulled his pistol free and began to fire in despair. A blur of movement signaled Jonti’s reaction, as he powered forth with phenomenal speed. Hands outstretched and reforming before him. What did he think he could do?

The Mech began evasive action, missile defenses sparking into life, but these rods of destruction would not be deterred. Running footsteps signaled Elana’s arrival, but there was nothing she would be able to do to stop this. It was an ill omen to an already desperate situation, and Jax watched sickly as the weapons closed in on their prey.

*

Lars sipped quietly on his drink, for once contemplative. His original plan was slightly compromised; Jared Handerson and his romantic tragedy, the retribution meted out by the aforesaid gentlemen, and Lars own need to capitulate in front of his people had lost him face. He was a simple and brutal man and so there was only one solution. A quick stop by his confederate’s tent buoyed him; Bones was a squint-eyed, sallow and wiry man whose future depended much on his following Lars around. His own vicious needs were served by the larger man’s temper and so he picked up his rifle and followed. They wandered slowly through the camp, stopping at various fires to chat but inexorably approaching that of Nuria and Jared.

When they arrived a voice called out a challenge, one with a rough accent and four men emerged from the shadows. Tow carried bows and the others bare blades. Lars stopped, confused. These were tribesmen and ones he did not recognize. They wore similar outfits to Jared, their belt clasps displaying the Hawk symbol.

“Who are you?” gruffed Lars, his hand sneaking to his belt.

“I wouldn’t if I were you,” said a soft voice from the darkness, and Nuria emerged her rifle in her hands.

“What is this?” snapped Lars. “I do not know these men!”

“New recruits,” replied Nuria, “recently arrived to join their Laird.”

“Their Laird?” he asked confused, “You told me that the Hawk Clan were no more?”

“It seems,” said Nuria, watching Bones as he edged to one side, “that there are a few younger sons of old retainers still around. They got here a short while ago and have pledged themselves to our cause. Useful in Recon I would think…”

She had given him a way out, one which he was loathe to take as he peered past them to the solitary cloak-wrapped figure by the fire.

“You will explain this to me further in the morning,” he snarled, thwarted in his act of murder.

“Of course,” she replied, her rifle twitching towards Bones who froze in the act of finding a better angle on Jared, “and perhaps we can also discuss the reason for your visit at such a late hour…?”

Lars nodded curtly and turned away, the four silent tribesmen gazing after him hungrily.