SUBSCRIBE

Short Story: Kiara, The Final Episode

December 1st, 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.

*****

Kiara

 

Her reverie was disturbed as Kiara tossed and turned in her sleep. The girl was fighting the drugs and she wondered how much longer she could avoid the trouble that she could sense was coming.
Had she been able to see Kiara’s dreams she would have been very concerned.
The girl settled and she returned to her memories.

A very different character had appeared after about a month. The creature looked quite human, although still rather small. She wondered how he had harvested the corpses to create the quite believable facade, but decided against asking. She had been dozing in her chair and the sound of coins spilling on the floor had woken her up. They gleamed and glistened in the lamplight. Her wardrobe was opened and he gestured to it. “ I love your elegant new costumes!” he said, but how is my new house getting on?” “ I had to find a way to disguise my youthfulness she said, and I needed the clothes to..” He cut her off,- “No matter, buy what you wish! Have you found a place?”
“ I have !”, she said,” but it needs work”. “You have more gold!. Sort it! “. I need papers”, he said,” Make me a doctor. Bribe who you must. There is more gold,- if you need it. He paused and looked at her. “Come here!” When she reached him, he grabbed her face and put something into her mouth. This time she did not resist. It slid down her throat and she resisted the urge to gag. “Fix my house and make me a doctor”. He left again in a blur of movement.

For matron, the next few months had been a blur. Moving to the country and setting up the strange clinic had been exciting and exhausting. Doctor Boglin, as he now titled himself, brought strange machinery into the clinic. She had seen nothing like them ever before. Huge coils of copper and glass globes that lit up. It was as if she had entered a different world.
Then the strange children started to appear. Some looked normal, some looked like idiots and some looked quite grotesque. They all had one thing in common. None of them could speak. Some made noises, some babbled, but none of them could communicate in any normal fashion. The doctor cured them all. It was then matrons job to recruit and oversee an ever-changing rota of temporary tutors whose job it was to teach them to read and write. The doctor would then spend hours with them, asking questions and making them write down everything they remembered from their early childhood. Some were very difficult, but matron found the old cell in an unfinished part of the building and life got much easier. She had even paid some urchins to collect rats for her and they lived happily in the room. All males, of course and she replaced them as necessary.

The only real upset had been in the early weeks, when the doctor returned from a walk in the woods in an agitated state. He demanded that she go to the local blacksmith immediately and insist he made him a bucket of nails straight away. He had loaded a pile of the copper metal that he used into the little carriage they used and sent her off to wait for the nails. It took only a few gold coins to keep the smith working all night. She had dozed in the carriage. It was just as well, as he had led her straight to the woods on her return. He pointed to a tree from a distance and watched as she hammered nail after nail into the trunk. It made her feel quite ill to do it. Every nail seemed to send her into spasms as she hammered them in. By the time she was finished, she felt too weak to stand. She had to take to her bed for several weeks after the incident.
She stirred herself. The child had settled and was in a deep sleep. “Time enough in the morning to decide what to do”, she thought. She went to her own room and was soon fast asleep.
“Kiara! Kiara!”. Kiara awoke, startled by Moira’s frantic whisper and her hands shaking her shoulders.
“Am I dreaming?”, she asked. Moira silenced her with a finger to her lips. “Get Dressed!”, I will explain on the way. Not sure if she was dreaming or awake, Kiara quickly dressed, and they slipped out through the kitchen and headed for the woods. The moon was full and they tried to keep to the shadows and out of
sight of the doctor’s room. The air felt damp and cold. Kiara pulled her coat tightly around her as they walked in silence.
Finally, they reached the edge of the woods, and they relaxed a little under the protective cover of the trees. Moira stopped, and holding Kiara by the shoulders, she gazed into her eyes to make certain that she was being understood. “ Listen carefully, we have much to do and little time. The elders have given me human form for tonight so that I can help you. I need your help. We are half-way between worlds, neither human or Fae. We must work together to protect the guardian tree and allow the forest guardian to return”. Can we go home then?, Kiara asked. “Hush!, Moira looked at Kiara with a hint of impatience, which quickly turned to affection. She pulled her to her and hugged her. She spoke slowly and earnestly. “Yes, we can go home,- but first we have an important job to do. You must be brave, and you must remember who you are. The goblin has returned your powers to you, but for his own ends. He means to use your power to claim the land of the Fae as his own. He knows who you really are. He has been stealing the power from changeling’s for many years to increase his own magic. Now that he has a princess of the Fae to stand by his side, he thinks that he has all he needs to hold his claims,- once his armies have swept across our realms. He means to bend you to his will and take you as his queen. He believes that with you by his side, none will be able to contend with him.

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.

KIARA EPISODE 13

kiara

Cook carefully removed the bandage to change the poultice as Kiara slept. The child was no longer feverish and was in a deep peaceful sleep. When she cleaned the area and saw no sign of either a wound or a scar, she began praying and making the sign of the cross over and over again. Just at that moment the door gave way to the goblins lair and she jumped with fright as the noise rang through the house. Kiara awoke and smiled at her. Somehow, the smile brought tears of relief. Then the girl was standing beside her and gave her hug. “Thank you! You must be exhausted ! Why don’t you go to the kitchen and make yourself a nice cup of tea!”. Before she knew it, cook was heading to the kitchen.

“You’re taller!”, said Annabelle accusingly. Kiara laughed. It was like the sound of a hundred tiny bells tinkling. She grew taller still and a pair of beautiful wings appeared . They sparkled and shone with rainbow colours that made Annabelle’s eyes go funny, and then they vanished and Kiara stood before her again, looking just like her old self. Annabelle rushed across the room and hugged her.

“Hold on Hold on! I must dress” said Kiara laughing. She stepped back for a moment and she created a beautiful silver frock with bows and ribbons and two big pockets. As she put the daisy into one pocket, she realised that the dress was a little long, so she grew into it. “That’s better!”, she said.

“Put your hand out!” Annabelle put her hand out and Kiara placed a bright red pebble into it. “Now, say Elsewhere!”. She did what she asked and found herself on the far side of the room.

“Listen carefully, you must go with cook and stay in the kitchen. If anything should happen, or you get scared, grab her hand and hold the pebble and say elsewhere! Okay?”

Annabelle nodded , and giving Kiara a last big hug, she ran after the cook.

Kiara had, of course, almost returned to her old self and in typical faerie fashion she only had a vague memory of what had happened. She remembered the boy and promised herself to visit him, once she had dealt with the silly goblin. Then the memory flooded back of the fire and the destruction of the goblins in the woods. Her shine dimmed a little, but she pushed it out of her mind. After all, she thought, they were not real bodies. It was just like breaking toys that belonged to naughty children. She brightened up for a moment, then realised that unless she smashed the machines, she might have to kill a lot more of the goblin troops on their own world, where they would be very real. It was a promise that she had avoided making just yet, but she knew that she could not abandon her own kind when they needed her. On impulse, she took the daisy from her pocket and turned it into a small earring which she placed in her ear, for safekeeping.

James opened the next door and the stench that hit them was overpowering. It as a large room filled with large heavy tables and benches. There was a large pipe with an open cover in the corner of the room where the smell seemed strongest. It had to be some sort of waste pipe, judging from the bones scattered around it. James held his breath and went to check it. They quickly moved on and shut the door behind them. They heard a humming sound from the next room and realised that they must be near the goblins machinery. They stood still, listening for any sounds before opening the door. James carefully closed the shotgun and handed it to Alice. Indicating that he wanted her to stay and watch the door. He opened it quietly and stepped through. He looked around in amazement at the lights and dials set into what looked like large wooden cupboards spaced all around the walls and joined by some sort of tubing. Seeing the next door open, he cautiously approached it and looked through.

There was a chair similar to the one in the doctors office, with tubes leading from it to a cabinet and from there, to huge covered cubicle. He checked the room carefully before calling Alice to come in. “ I think I found it!, he shouted. Alice followed him in quickly, not wanting to be outside on her own. They stood and inspected the room, wondering what exactly they could do to put the equipment out of action.

James was very unsure of what would happen if he sliced through the tubes. He knew nothing about electricity except that it could be dangerous and that metal conducted it. He looked at the cabinet that lit up the wall behind the chair. Alice seemed to read his mind. “Let’s go back and get the sledgehammer”, she said. She handed him the shotgun and he led the way.

As they stepped back through the door, the goblin pounced. The knife flashed between them and by the time James had turned, the broadsword was sweeping through the air. He blocked it with the barrel of the shotgun. It was almost torn from his hands by the impact, but he somehow managed to swing it back up and fired both barrels at the goblin. The noise was deafening and Droc stumbled backwards, giving James a chance to remove his sword from its scabbard. He shouted to Alice to run, but she stood near the door, frozen in fear. “Run!”, he screamed above the roar of the goblin.

Droc was a terrifying sight with his armour blackened and peppered with shot and one side of his cheek torn and bleeding. He raised the huge sword and James knew he moments left to live. James swung low with his sword and slashed across the goblin’s leg as he rolled out of reach of the sword. Droc ignored the wound and swung downwards as James got to his feet. He blocked the swing, but it sent him reeling backwards across the room. The goblin stepped forward, trapping Alice at the doorway.

He began to swing the sword down on James but as James raised his sword, Droc kicked out and sent him sprawling against the wall. Alice tried to take out her gun from her pocket, but the goblin was too fast and pinned her hands together. He swung her around and onto his hip as if she was a child and walked over to James. He kicked him over onto his back and casually thrust his sword into his belly. Alice screamed. “scream all you like, hag! You will scream much more before this day is through. He carried her back into the portal room and threw her onto the chair before sheathing his sword. He flicked a switch and she was trapped in the chair by invisible cords. Numb with shock, she hardly felt the tingling of the energy that held her in place.

“I think I will let you watch your little brat die before I show you what this little toy can do to ungrateful hags, he said. He turned a dial and searing pain flowed through her whole body. She felt blood in her mouth were she had bitten her tongue. He turned the dial back down. “Ah!, I see I have your full attention”. He smiled, showing two huge canines. “I think you had better let her go!,- said a voice from the doorway, making him turn around. There stood Kiara, still in the form of a child, and leaning on a sword that reached up to her chin. To hear a goblin laughing is a terrible thing. His bellow echoed across the whole manor.

Kiara began to laugh too and before he realised it, Droc was laughing until there were tears in his eyes. He was still laughing when the flat of her sword crashed down on his helmet. He screamed out in rage and frustration as he fought to remove the battered metal pressing into his skull. The leather strap tore away and he flung the crushed helmet at her and charged forward swinging his sword. All thoughts of needing her alive had vanished from his mind in his fury. She vaulted the huge arc of his swing, but he carried on in a huge circle of flying steel like a scythe. By the time he had swung around in a full circle, she had turned and blocked. The swords met in a flash of sparks and a piercing screech as metal slid against metal. As he powered through her block, and her sword slid away, she again vaulted over the swing and struck him in the face with the handle of her sword as she leapt to the other side of the room.

He spat blood and shook his head to clear it. Kiara was leaning on her sword in front of the cabinet, and laughing as if it was a great game. His rage knew no bounds. He ran across the room and sliced down in an effort to cut the arrogant faerie in two and silence her maddening laughter.

At the last moment she sidestepped and his sword bit into the cabinet, sending a pulse of energy back though the sword that knocked him off his feet. She turned to face him, when Alice started to scream. As she looked at Alice a goblin came out of the portal and pinned her arms from behind.

Droc smiled as he ran her sword right through her. He looked totally bewildered as he stared at the goblin warrior skewered on his sword. Kiara had vanished and was at the portal. She struck another goblin with the flat of her sword as he came through,- sending him sprawling across the room. With a wave of her hand a huge sticky web grew across the opening to the portal.

Kiara turned to look at Droc as he drew his sword from the dead warrior. “Enough!”, she said. “Release the matron and I will allow you to return to your world”. As she stared at him, Droc felt all the fight and the fury drain away. How could one little girl thwart all his plans? He was thinking furiously as she spoke. In the portal chamber more troops were arriving and soon they would be crushed by their own numbers. He put his sword down. “Okay faerie, You win”, he said, and walked slowly over to the control panel. He turned the dial up to full and Alice started to scream as the chair tried to draw energy from her body. Kiara rushed over and as she drew near, the energy field from the chair arced towards her, and began drawing on her power. He knocked her to the ground with his fist and ran back to pick up his sword. The web disappeared and goblins started to flood into the room. Kiara jumped up and switched of the machine. It as all or nothing now, she decided, and manifested her warrior form. Before the eyes of the goblins, she grew to seven foot tall and long black braids of raven hair, tipped with razor sharp blades hung down the silver of her gleaming armour.

The sword she had used earlier, now looked like a child’s toy in her hands. She threw it at the goblin and drew a long curved katana that glowed with a dull red, almost the colour of drying blood. Her eyes glowed like large black pits filled with glowing embers. Instinctively, the goblins backed away.

Kiara

 

Kiara, Episode 8

Matron almost dropped the poker to the floor as she woke. Oddly, as she lay it to the floor to allow herself to stretch and awaken properly, she felt calm, – despite the initial instinctive lunge to catch the poker. She badly needed a cup of tea and a chance to freshen up. She got up and pulled the cord to summon a servant. She needed someone to stay with Kiara while she washed and dresses in fresh clothes. She had much to do. She felt the girls forehead, she was warm to the touch. Still, she was young and strong. She would send for Maria to sit with her, the young servant girl was quiet and somewhat withdrawn, but dependable. There was a quiet tap on the door. She walked over and opened it, pressing her finger to her lips as James entered. Beckoning him to the end of the room away from the sleeping child, she opened a small cupboard and took out a bottle of brandy and two glasses. She poured a large measure into both and handed one to him. He slowly raised the glass to his lips and waited for her to speak, as he took a gulp of the brandy. He knew there was trouble, – just not exactly how much. “James”, she said softly,” We have known each other a long time”… she paused to sip her brandy and he nodded. “I need to know that I still have your full support,- things have changed much since yesterday”. “Always! Madam”, he said, in a soft voice. Matron had taken him as a starving urchin from the streets, and had brought him here. It had taken him many years, but he had gone from rat-catcher to her personal assistant under her care and guidance. He knew that he would do anything for her.

“I take it that you have noticed our little blaze?” He just nodded in reply. “I need you to go to the woods and remove any evidence that you might find that would cause embarrassment or awkward questions”, she continued. He raised an eyebrow. “I am afraid that the good doctor is no longer with us. You may need a spade and a wheelbarrow”. In less than a heartbeat, he reached his conclusions as to the previous night’s activities. “You may leave it with me, Madam”, he said. She took a deep swallow from her glass and stared at him for a moment, – “there may be quite a few bodies!”. Her face was unreadable. He simply nodded. He was sure that he would know all in good time.

“First, I would like you to send up Maria, and arrange for a bath, and my breakfast to be brought to my room in 45 minutes. Oh! And arrange for dinner for two in my private quarters for 7.30. I have need of your agile mind and we have much to talk about.

Maria arrived just as James was leaving the room. Her little sparrow eyes darted all around and settled on Matron’s blood stained dress for a moment, and she twitched like a little mouse. “I am Fine, Maria!””, Matron said in a firm but quiet voice. “I need you to sit and watch over Kiara for a while. Get a bowl of water and a cloth and cool her forehead, but do not let her get chilled. I will need that fire relit. Then stay with her at all times and ring the bell if you need any help. Do you understand?” Maria bowed slightly, “Yes Ma’am”. “Well get to it! I will be back as soon as I can.

Matron locked her door when she got to her room, and pulled a stool over to the wardrobe. Pulling down a small travel chest, she threw it on the table and quickly opened it, removing a small well-varnished, wooden box. She removed the smith and Wesson ‘Ladysmith’ and placed six rounds from the neat row of indentations inside the baize lined box. She had bought it on impulse, but the gun still frightened her. She wondered how much use it would be if the goblin was still alive. Having seen his speed and strength, she doubted that she would get a chance to use it,- should he somehow reappear. Still, it made her feel safer to have it near her. She placed it in a drawer for the moment, and returned the boxes to where they had been. There was a knock on the door.

Matron waited patiently as the tub was brought into her bedroom and filled jug by jug. She again locked the door and placed the gun on the bed as she removed the layers of stained clothing. She would feel better once she had bathed and had a good breakfast.

James gave the servants their instructions before changing into his working clothes and fetching a spade and a wheelbarrow. He had performed many dubious deeds on the Matron’s behalf since their first meeting, but he was guessing that today would mark a new milestone in their strange journey together. He wondered if he was now about to be an accomplice in mass murder. It did not matter to him. He would gladly hang in her place if need be. All he would ask in return was her gratitude. James had no religion, unless his devotion to the matron could be counted as one. In the forty years he had known her and the strange doctor, neither had aged by a minute. He knew that the doctor would have slit his throat to keep their secret safe, but for some strange reason, the matron had trusted and protected him from the very beginning. Many staff had come and went, but she had always favoured him , first by insisting he learn alongside the succession of children who passed through the manor, and then eventually promoting him until he had finally reached his position of personal assistant.

James took the long route to the forest through the fields. As he slowly trundled along he had to admit to himself, that even he was not too anxious to face what he might find in the shelter of the trees. He thought back to the day he was standing in the foggy street and the large black carriage had stopped beside him. He was about ten, he reckoned, and picked an uneasy living by any means possible. He was fast on his feet, with an equally fast mind. which was why he had not ended up in a prison or workhouse like many others. He would lure the occasional drunk into an alleyway in return for a cut of the purse, when the unfortunate man had been mugged.

He was about to run away when a shiny coin was thrown to the pavement by his feet. A beautiful young lady leaned out of the window. “Boy! Would you like some more coins like that, and a hot meal and dry bed?”

He bent down and grabbed the coin as he prepared to escape. But something about her made him stop dead in his tracks. He heard himself say, “Yes Ma’am”. “well, climb up with the driver”, then she added,” Quickly boy!”, and he ran to the rear of the carriage and climbed on as it began to move off.

He knew that he had loved her from that first meeting, and that he still loved her. His loyalty was total. He could never untangle his feelings for her. From his first hopeless, childish crush, to the friendship and trust that had grown between them in their strange situation, his feelings for her had grown until she was the centre of his world.

He shook away his memories as he drew near the forest. Luckily, it had rained during the night. When he was near enough to see through the fog, he could tell that the outer trees were still sound.

He could catch the acrid smell of wet ash as he walked through the trees. Then another smell which made him want to gag. It was the smell of burnt flesh. As he passed the partially scorched trees and into the clearing created by the fire, there were charred trees all around. Some had fallen, making it difficult to move with the wheelbarrow. He abandoned it to search for the bodies that he could so clearly smell. It was overpowering and made it impossible to trace the source easily.

When he found the first body, he thought it was a child. But enough of it was left to realise it was something else entirely. He decided that the simplest approach was to dig a hole beside each body and lever it in with the spade. The bodies were naked and quite inhuman, with large heads and bulging bellies. He pulled his scarf tighter around his face and began digging.

By the time he was finished it was almost dark, and he was more tired than he had ever been in his life. Ignoring the wheelbarrow, he used the spade as a makeshift walking stick and made his way back through the gloomy forest and went straight to his room.

Kiara, Episode 14

kiara

 

The moment that Kiara touched the daisy, Moira became aware of her. She watched as she changed the daisy symbol she had given to her and hung it on her ear. The long corridor seemed dark and much too quiet. Moira could sense the servants huddled in the kitchen. She felt their uncertainty and drifted into the kitchen. Although they were unaware of her, they seemed to brighten a little under the influence of her presence. Cook was sitting at the big old wooden table in the centre of the room. The servants were all sitting around the table. Jed, the gardener, sat at her right, facing the big sink and worktop where the sunlight was beginning to seep in His son Michael sat opposite with the light shining through his fair hair, forming a halo effect around his head. Moira paused to admire the lad. He was broad shouldered and handsome, with a round friendly face. Annabelle sat further down the table beside Maria, holding her hand for comfort. They both looked pale and nervous. Two shotguns lay on the table between the gardener and his son. She stopped and listened to them for a moment. Michael broke the silence. “I should go and see if mistress needs any help”, he said. Jed shook his head. “ No!, we are to stay here and protect the youngsters”. He spoke kindly, but with an edge in his voice. Matron said that we are to leave her behind if necessary and take ourselves and Annabelle as far away as possible!”. Like his son, it made him feel like a coward, but his instructions had been very clear. He was not sure what was going on, but he knew it was bad. The purse of gold, handed to him by Matron, had convinced him of that. He would stay here until forced to leave, then he would return to help once the children were safe.

Moira returned to Kiara and noted the many racks of armour in the anteroom. She realised that she must report it to Mandral as soon as possible, but the noise and the roars from one of the rooms ahead, pushed everything from her mind. Kiara rushed through the door and she followed her.
As she passed the body of the servant, James, Kiara leaned over him and touched the wound and the blood stopped flowing. He was very weak and Moira was not too sure if he would survive. She hovered over him, sending healing as Kiara stepped into the next room. She followed as far as the doorway and watched as Kiara challenged a giant goblin. She felt no need to intervene as she felt that Kiara was more likely to find her a hindrance than a help.. The huge size of the goblin in the room still surprised her, despite seeing the armour in the anteroom. Kiara, however seemed totally unconcerned, so Moira continued to watch the scene without interfering. She almost gave herself away as Kiara’s fight with the goblin made her giggle. The magic of the royal faeries was legendary, but Moira had never expected such an easy victory. As Droc hung his head in defeat, she broke off her contact and sought out her great uncle. She needed to let him know that the goblins seemed to have amassed an army of giant warriors. Although the princess had foiled the goblin’s plans without any real effort, this was still worrying.. She left the scene behind as she focused on her home world.

******
In the kitchen, the calm that had settled on the occupants was short lived, after Moira had left. The initial breaking of the door had startled them, but both Jed and his son grabbed the shotguns as the roar of the goblin echoed through the house. Alice’s scream rang down the long corridor next making them feel sick with fright. Annabelle pulled away from Maria and ran from the kitchen shouting for her mother.
Michael ran after her, calling to his father to take the rest to safety. He grabbed a belt of cartridges from a hook near the door and slung it across his neck. Annabelle was already down the corridor and passing into the goblins lair as he left the kitchen. He hurried after her, but by the time he reached the anteroom, there was no sign of her. It went deathly quiet. He paused and listened. He could hear muffled voices somewhere ahead. A huge creature was growling as it approached him from the doorway ahead of him. He loosed both barrels into the creature and it collapsed in the doorway. A second goblin was trying to get past, and Michael quickly reloaded. As it climbed over its comrade he fired again stopping it in his tracks. More creatures were fighting to get through the doorway and he backed away as he loaded again. They tore the furniture in the room apart and started throwing it at him, forcing him to retreat further.
He retreated to the armoury and propped the door with anything he could find. First, he jammed some spears against it. He then put the shotgun down and pushed over one of the big racks to brace the wooden door. As he picked up the gun again, the goblins were pounding at the door. He heard what might the huge table from the room beyond being used as a battering ram. He realised that they would be through the door very soon. He took a sword from the rack and left the armoury. Closing the damaged outer door, he used the sword to jam it shut by sliding it through the iron handle. He checked the kitchen, which was empty, and left the manor to search for the others. When he got to the gate, Jed was waiting for him in the car with the others. They all sat there, reluctant to leave without the others. They decided to wait until the very last moment in case anyone should escape. Michael went back down the access road to keep watch. He hid behind a bush at a bend in the road, and watched the house carefully for any sign of activity.
As Kiara stepped forward to attack, the goblins started to growl, building themselves into a frenzy.
At that moment, Annabelle ran into the room and was grabbed by a goblin who was nearest the door. As kiara darted a glance at the girl, Droc grabbed Alice from the chair and placed his sword across her throat. “Put your sword down or they both die!”, he screamed above the growling.
The room grew silent as Kiara paused. There was no way to reach them both in time. The hellish fires in her eyes began to die down. She seemed to shrink as she dropped the sword from her hand.
“Put her in the chair!” commanded Droc, and in seconds she was trapped by the energy field.
The machine began to glow as it greedily sucked the magical energy from the faerie princess.
She seemed to be shrinking as she returned to the familiar shape of the little girl who had first come to the manor. Droc finally relaxed. He threw Alice to another goblin. “Guard these two with your lives!, I have plans for them!. He ordered the rest of them to get themselves armed and ready, and they headed to the armoury. He was distracted by the sound of a shogun in the entrance room, and he never noticed the small spider slipping through the energy field and landing on Kiara’s head.
It dropped down behind her left ear, where she had placed the earring earlier.

******

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply