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Short Story: Kiara, The Final Episode

December, 2016

kiara

 

Kiara, The Final Episode

 

Kiara allowed herself to be placed roughly into the chair. The field around her made her feel disoriented at first, but she curled her mind into a small hard sphere inside her head. She had foiled the goblin’s machine before and she felt quite confident that she could again. When she sensed Moira approaching in the form of a spider, Kiara quickly protected her from the machine. They communicated briefly, then Kiara sent her back up to the relative safety of the web above them,. She allowed a small amount of her energy to be drained, until she could find a way to protect the matron and Annabelle. Goblin warriors were pouring through the portal. Somehow, the goblins had breached the shield and were transporting a new type of warrior breed through it. She watched and waited.

Droc was working feverishly at the controls of his machine. Using the magic of the princess, he had opened a wormhole through the faery web that was around his planet. His troops were pouring through now. They no longer had to wait for bodies to be constructed. He sent them off to arm themselves and clear the manor of any humans left. His keen hearing could detect the noise of doors and furniture being smashed, then the sound of squabbling as they found the pantry, presumably. It was well stocked, he had made sure that it would be. This was their base to conquer worlds and send materials and food back home. He wished,- not for the first time, that engineering the warrior goblins had not made them so stupid. Still, he had his vanguard with him. His most loyal soldiers. They would lead the armies while their bodies stayed safely back in the mountain.

Lights started to dim on the console and Droc swore. He was checking gauges and turning dials to no avail, too preoccupied to see a small orb fly across the room. Then the chair died and the lights flickered off. When they came back on, the faeries body was slumped forward in the chair.

He went to check the body, and as he touched it, Kiara’s shell seemed to shrivel and then crumpled into dust. He was cursing as he returned to the console. The two goblins who were holding Matron and Annabelle, both died at the same moment. They fell forward just as a circle of orbs appeared around Kiara and her two charges.

Mandrell appeared first. He was almost as tall as Kiara, with jet black armour and helmet. Reaper was already in his hand and his eyes were blazing. He looked at Kiara and then to the door leading to the armoury. She drew her sword and prepared for any returning goblins, gesturing to Annabelle and Matron to stay behind her. Then Azira manifested. She was as tall as Kiara, with flaming red hair and green leather armour. She had a crossbow and was already firing into the goblins with a steady stream of bolts, as they appeared from the portal . Each bolt seemed to be replaced as soon as the last one was fired . Gortek was as round as he was high with a huge axe. He swirled into the goblins, creating a circle of decapitated bodies. His armour was bronze coloured and studded with large spikes like a porcupine. Azul was a giant, even by warrior standards. Eight foot tall and wearing only light leather armour, he carried a small circular shield and a mace. Any goblins who got past the other three were quickly crushed by the giants blows.

Drawn by the noise of battle, goblins started to return from the armoury, to be cut down by Kiara’s flashing sword as they came through the door. Another half-dozen or so faeries appeared and circled around the door in front of Kiara. Mandral sent them to secure the armoury and to clear the house and grounds of goblins. Kiara followed behind them, protecting Matron as she ran to check on James. He was weak from loss of blood but his wound was already healing rapidly from Kiara’s touch. Matron knelt beside him and cradled his head in her lap.

Mandral and the Gortek were carving a path though the goblins as the Azul and Azira ensured that none escaped from the room. Azira fired a stream of bolts that pinned Droc to the console, sending sparks flying and frying the goblin as the energy blasted into him, shorting out the equipment. The portal died and no more goblins came flooding through. Mandral and Gortek hacked and slashed their way through the oncoming troops and a stream of bolts killed any goblins beyond their reach. By the time the last of the remaining goblin troops had been slain, there was only a charred husk remaining of the king of the goblins. The large room was by now filled with corpses and the stench of charred flesh was sickening.

Gortek stood guard by the portal. Azul and Azirah went to help clear the house and to prepare for an elder to come and consecrate a new guardian tree. Moira dropped from her web and, resuming her habitual appearance, she went to her great uncle.

When two of the other faeries, Graela and Driff came back to report the house cleared. Kiara asked Graela to guard the room and went with Driff to see Mandral. Kiara was sickened by the sight and smell of the bodies. She opened out her arms and the bodies and blood vanished as the room changed into a large brightly lit marquee with chairs and cushions. She left the console and the portal in place. While waiting for Driff to give his report, she sat down on the chair which had been used to steal some of her power. She had been brought to this manor as a confused child, but now she was every inch a princess of the Fae.

Moira brought Mandral to her. He bowed, “Thank you Milady for helping us in our hour of need”. Kiara smiled, “Thank you Milord for your timely arrival. I believe we may have much to discuss”.

Several more chairs appeared beside them and she invited them to sit down. “Thank you Moira for bringing me back to my old self. Without your warning about the goblin, things may not have gone well.” Turning to Mandral, she asked if if he realised that the goblin king and his generals were still very much alive. He nodded, “They have to be dealt with, Milady, and their machines must be destroyed”. He looked grave. They both knew the cost of a sustained war with the goblins.”It is very much in my hands”, he said.”I must raise an army and invade their kingdom. Their are many outland Fae who will join me, but to insure a large enough army I need a princess by my side.” He looked at Kiara, “Milady, we have not had a warrior princess for over 10,000 years. I know that I ask a great deal, but there is much at stake. The goblins plan to spread their empire once more. When they are strong enough they will attack our home world. Win or lose, the light of the Fae will be dimmed for many aeons to come, unless some of us sacrifice our light for the many.”

They sat in silence for some time. There were tears in Kiara’s eyes as she thought of the hundreds of years of happiness that she was leaving behind,- perhaps forever. She wanted to be with Jeremiah, playing silly games and laughing at his jokes as they wandered in the woodland. She had been a carefree child for 500 years. Faeries seldom love as humans love, but that love had blossomed between them during a summer of delight. She had hoped for an eternity of joy with Jeremiah by her side. She had changed much already. Would he even know her when she returned?

“ Milady!”, Mandral spoke with urgency in his voice.”We must follow them through the portal and destroy their machinery. If we do not, then none of the worlds will be safe”.

When Kiara looked at him, her voice was cold, but, the blazing coals were burning in her eyes again. “Very well!, call your army!”. As she spoke, the console came to life and the portal began to glow.

*****

Short Story: Kiara, Episode 12

September, 2016

Kiara4

 

Kiara: Episode 12
Alice felt much better after a good nights sleep. She had slept well much to her surprise,- having James outside the door made her feel much safer. She thought of that night she had seen him hanging around beneath the gas light, obviously up to no good. She had thrown him a shilling, thinking to keep him out of gaol for at least one more night. Then something in his expression had struck a chord with her. She remembered her own rebellious childhood. She thought she had found love but had been forced to run away from home in disgrace. The kindness of one person had saved her and she had worked hard for many years until she became a matron in a large hospital. In all that time, she had closed her heart to everyone. Then something in the roguish urchin touched her, and she decided that perhaps it was time to pay back for the gift of a new life that she had been given herself. Not for a moment had she imagined just how much she would come to depend on this scruffy urchin in the years to come.
Annabelle stirred. “Go back to sleep, sweetheart” she said.” Later, after breakfast, I want you to go and sit with Kiara in the infirmary and to stay there until I come for you. Bring a book and read it to her. It will comfort her”.
There was a softness in her voice that Annabelle had never heard before. She had been forced to have dinner with the servants the previous night. Mama had dinner with James and she had never done that before. Although she had said it was to discuss the household, both of them seemed different somehow, when they had escorted her to her mamas room to sleep for the night. As she drifted back to sleep, she wondered what had happened to Kiara. There had been a fire in the woods and Kiara had been injured, but no one would tell her what had happened. Perhaps Kiara would tell her later.

James straightened in the chair and his eyes flew open as Alice unlocked the door and stepped into the hallway. She smiled at him and he smiled back. “Come and have a hot drink with me in the kitchen before we tackle Docter Boglins quarters. Who knows what will greet us there”. He crooked the open shotgun on his arm and they walked slowly down the quiet corridor to the kitchen. Their hands brushed together by accident as they walked and she felt herself blushing. She was almost thirty years his senior, but he looked twice her age. She knew that the goblins treatments had a cumulative effect and she might have years of youth before they wore off. She did not know what would happen then. Would she begin to age again, or would she wake up one day to find a lady in her seventies peering back from the mirror?. She refused to entertain the question any longer. It seemed pointless, when he could reappear at any moment to take a terrible revenge on them all. She knew that she loved this man whom she had known since he was a child, but that was another problem that would have to wait. She knew that he loved her and that was enough for now. The future would sort itself out,- if indeed they had any future at all.

Despite the early hour, cook was up, and there was fresh bread and jam with their early morning tea.
There was an energy between them that made them feel breathless, but both of them were afraid to speak..Alice and James sat opposite each other and said little until cook went upstairs to relieve Maria and bring a fresh poultice for Kiara. “We will need something to break the door down”, Alice said, “It is quite solid and he always keeps it locked”. James left the shotgun open on the table near her and went to the garage to find what he needed. A few minute later he came back with a wooden wedge, a pry bar, a sledgehammer and some thick gloves, and they set off for the goblins quarters.

The goblin had taken an entire wing of the massive old manor. In many ways the building was constructed to look like a castle, with an exterior made from huge stone blocks, but using modern materials and design to allow much larger rooms on the interior. It had been some rich man’s folly,- built on the flood of wealth that had poured in from the empire. It had been totally sealed of from the rest of the house with solid brick walls and a small oak door on the ground floor giving access. Beside this door was the entry to his office. Dr. Boglin would see the children in there and there was some equipment in those rooms. Many would then be sent back to their parents, cured of many nervous diseases and thereby building the wealth and prestige of the home. Those who went through the little door , however, were never seen again.
Matron had a key to the office and a quick check revealed nothing unusual. James handed the shotgun to Alice and set to work on the door. There was no room to get the pry bar near the lock.
He placed the wedge against the base of the door and tapped it in with the sledgehammer. It took several large blows to force a gap. The noise echoed around the hallway. They paused and listened for sounds within, but it was impossible to hear much through the thick door. James managed to get the pry bar into the small gap near the lock, but even with all his weight behind it, it refused to budge. He hammered the end of the bar into the gap then using the wooden wedge between the lock and frame, he swung the sledgehammer with all his strength until the door flew open with as the jam splintered apart.
They stood amazed as they walked into the anteroom. It was lit by what looked like electric light bulbs. There were racks all around the large room filled with medieval armour and weapons. They stood there for a moment, puzzled. The armour looked much larger than the doctor or his fellow goblins. James, who was almost six foot tall would have found them large and cumbersome. There were bows, arrows, crossbows maces and huge swords. James picked up a sword, it was incredibly light and gleamed blue in the strange light.. He decided to keep it just for the moment and tied a scabbard around his waist to free his arms for the shotgun. Without a word, they pressed on. They did not even know what they were looking for. But the goblins had gotten here somehow. They needed to find out how and destroy his machinery. Otherwise, they suspected, there was no place on earth that they would ever be safe.
As Droc stepped out if the portal which was attached to the Cradle, he beamed with satisfaction. It had taken him thirty years to build it, but now, from the tiny gap in the shield around his planet, he had created a highway. Once he boosted its power with the magic from the faery princess he could transport many troops at once and make a new base here on this planet. They would harvest it’s resources to prepare for their invasion of the faery home world. He paused for a moment as he tried to remember the name of the home word of the Fae. It slipped through his mind like quicksilver. Never mind!, he thought, they had found a way in and they would find many others as they prepared for the final assault. First ,there was a hag to kill and an entire planet to feed from.

He picked up a chair and tore it apart. He was pleased,- perhaps he would not kill the weasel, Hrirc after all. He went to a rack and donned his armour, adding a belt of razor sharp knives and a long broad sword. He tested the sword, slicing through a table with a single blow. He had to stoop down to get through the door to the next room. Others would follow soon, when the power had built up, but he had no patience to wait. He would go and find the princess and get his plans moving. For an inferior race, the humans were proving to be less easy to control that he had imagined. He had lost four days and his biggest fear was that the faeries had somehow saved the guardian tree. For all he knew they might have warriors waiting in the woods to surround his troops and put a stop to his plans. He remembered nothing after the blow to the head that had crushed his old body. He needed to find out what had happened. He also needed to feel his claws dig into the neck of that treacherous hag.
He checked the instruments in the room and patted the chair fondly that was attached to them. From this spot, the empire of the goblins would be rebuilt, and he, Droc, would be their greatest ever warlord and Archdeacon.
He heard the noise of the door to the rest of the manor being breached. He could smell her, and that lackey of hers. That lapdog that she had kept with her for far too long. She had resisted every attempt to remove him. She must have planned treachery even then. Let her come into his cell. He would have some fun with her, away from distractions, while he waited for his troops. She would tell him all he needed to know before she died. He unsheathed a knife and hid behind one of the large control panels to wait.