Chapter 13: Repurposing Legionnaires
“Welcome back, and yes I am going to speak first.” Fiera said as I walked into the room, mouth slightly open as I tried to beat her to the punch. Clamping my mouth shut, I walked up onto the stage to stand beside her.
“Thank you (I think). Now, are you going to ever let me devote an entire chapter to Nick’s story?”
“You’ve never tried that before.” Fiera said. “So how is it my fault you’ve never done that?”
“Because I spend the entire chapter making up for ignoring you so long.” I told her.
“Will you stop worrying about your ‘said’ replacements?” Fiera snapped. “It’s not that big a deal.”
“Fiera, only you and I know I’m even doing that.” I said.
She folded her arms and rolled her eyes at me. “Yeah, but it’s distracting you.”
“From you.” I said accusingly.
“No, from the story. Focus already, okay?”
“All right.” I said.
“Great! So now that you’re ready to focus…” she said, prancing over to the globe projector. “Tell me what the geography of Onya is like. I have this thing, and I can’t tell what half the landscape is like.”
“That’s because it’s still under development.” I told her, activating the machine and watching the sky blue sphere float in the air, generated by the three holographic projectors.
“I was Onya to name Nick’s world, now I’m going to be Onya to name this machine, and give Onya some good landscape. Anything else I’m missing?” Fiera asked.
“Fiera, I think the Viewers got the message in the last chapter.” I said.
“Yeah? Well what about the Skimmers? Maybe they missed it.”
“I don’t think there are any Skimmers at this point, Fiera.” I said. “And before we go off on that tangent, are you going to let me focus on the story or not?”
“Fine, crabby boy. Write your stupid story for all I care.” Fiera pouted.
“So, Overthought Tower is right on the coast, which is only, what, three miles from the park Nick saved? And the mountain range in between those run into the ocean in the north, so…” Fiera said, glancing down at the topography on the sphere [“Show off.” Fiera muttered. “I am not; that’s what it’s called.” “Whatever.”]. “Well, what’s the ocean’s name, what’s the mountain range called, and where’s Nick going?”
“Nick’s going to a small village north of the mountains.” I said.
“What’s the village called? Wait, don’t tell me. Show me.” Fiera demanded.
“All right. Here goes.”
Nick rode Portia into the Path Mountains, searching for the village that had just been hinted at. As he ascended up the pass [“Pause!” Fiera shouted. “I am not waiting for you to ride all the way there. So…majorly skipping!” she fast-forwarded through all the mountain trails, arriving at the scene where Nick is just reaching the end of the trail and can see the village in the distance].
“Well, that was an interesting ride.” Nick commented as they trotted off the mountain. He looked up, and saw a castle silhouetted in the horizon, with small houses constructed in the surrounding countryside. Portia cantered past the nearest farm, and entered the outskirts of the village. A few of the plebs, seeing Nick armed and riding on a fine horse, began to leave off their work and gather in a tentative group behind Nick as he rode towards the center of the town. As he neared the town square, a short, bearded man with scroll in hand came running out to see what all the commotion was about, then pulled up short when he saw Nick.
“Not again.” he muttered glumly as Nick dismounted in front of him. “Well, you found us.”
“Found who? Oh, you’re that Dwarf from earlier. Well, I wasn’t exactly looking for you.” Nick said, then glanced around. “Where’s the Marquis dude?”
“In his royal sufficiency’s castle up yonder.” the Dwarf replied in tired monotone.
“Huh. So, what exactly is this place?” Nick asked.
“This is Diminsh village, where Monseigneur the Marquis’ serfs live.” the Dwarf said. “And I get the illustrious task of being the overseer.”
“You look thrilled to pieces.” Nick said, grinning.
The Dwarf sighed and said, “I would rather have my beard shaved off. Now, since you are not one of the serfs, you are either going to have to state your business and get approval from the Marquis, or move on. Please don’t make my day any worse than it already has been.”
“Hey, you need a little excitement to liven up the daily bore right?” Nick elbowed the Dwarf good-naturedly, and pulled Portia’s reigns over to a hitching post, where he tied her up. After securing her, he turned back to the Dwarf and looked at the crowd which had slowly begun to congregate around them. “I take it you don’t get many visitors?”
“None of the good kind.” the Dwarf replied flatly. “Well? State your business and get on with it.”
“Um, okay, well I found this Sword.” Nick said, and with a collective gasp of shock the majority of the crowd hit the ground in terror as Nick pulled the Sword from its scabbard. Of the few that remained standing, one individual, a tall male with velveteen antlers and long, thin deer legs, stepped forward shyly, eyeing the Sword.
“Ah, is that…would that…is that Sword Elytron?” the deer changeling asked.
The deer changeling scuffed the ground with his hoof. “I see. Well, I…ah, that is, that Sword is…has a very dark past. It has been used…ah, that is, wielded to great destruction in our world in our, ah, past. It would be very bad…things would go badly for us…if the Marquis should get ahold of it.” [“Oh you are not putting my Changelings in there without including me!” another Moderator jumped into the auditorium, her black hair flying out behind her as she landed. “Eclipse, not now!” I snapped and pushed her back out. She growled at me and said, “This isn’t over. Fiera, I’ll be back to tag team with you.” Then with a wink she was gone.]
“Oookay, and that means what exactly?” Nick asked.
“Ah, well…ah, it means…” the deer changeling stammered.
“It means that thing is very powerful, and that we would hate you indefinitely if you gave it to his royal insufficiency the pain…I mean boss of my life.” the Dwarf said.
“Well, don’t worry.” Nick grinned broadly. “I don’t plan on giving this to him. It’s supposed to be for someone else.”
“Who?” the deer changeling asked.
“I don’t know yet.” Nick replied, then shrugged. “No big deal. Fiera will tell me when she finds out.”
“Who’s Fiera?” the deer changeling asked.
“Me.” Fiera said, appearing beside Nick. The few people still standing immediately fell down, either in faint or shock, and the deer changeling bounded away, terrified.
“Well that went over well.” the Dwarf said.
“You really need to lighten up.” Fiera told the Dwarf, then turned to Nick. “I didn’t find out who the ‘Chosen One’ is yet, but I know what needs to be done next.”
“Really? What?” Nick asked.
Fiera turned towards the castle. “He needs to go. Vive le Resistance!”
“All right! Sabotage!” Nick exclaimed, and jumped onto Portia, spurring her towards the castle.
“There’s going to be so much paperwork now. Thanks so much.” Dward said.
“Hey, no problem. I try my best.” Fiera flashed him a dazzling smile, then took off after Nick. They raced towards the castle, Nick astride Portia and Fiera running beside them. As they neared the castle wall, Nick jumped off Portia, and he reached the wall itself at the same time as Fiera. Stride in stride they ran through the brick wall, streaking into the courtyard and stopping behind a group of soldiers standing in ranks, their backs to the newcomers. Fiera silenced their arrival, but the speaker on the platform took notice of them.
“Knaves! Who art thou that darest to enter the abode of Monseigneur the Marquis?” the Marquis shrieked in indignation.
“Yep. Hasn’t changed a bit.” Nick commented as he and Fiera adopted fighting stances when the entire unit did an about face.
“Didst thou not hear? Or art thou barbarians as well as cretins?” Monseigneur the Marquis thundered angrily.
Fiera stood up and tossed her hair over her shoulder. “I am not going to let your morons…I mean minions,” she clarified with a smile, “ruin my dress. And just look at those uniforms! What kind of a sick fashion sense do you have?” The soldiers were all dressed alike in hauberks, with dark green shirts pulled over the chain mail. A sword was attached to the leather belt of each person, and a triangular shield, ornamented with a yellow duck on a field of blue, was held to the left. Each helmet was crested with a red plumed, and bright pink stockings came up out of dark leather boots, reaching the soldier’s knees. Fiera strode to the nearest soldier and shook her head in disgust, her hands on her hips. “I really want to burn the lot of you for even consenting to that rubbish.” she said, still disbelieving that anyone would be so cruel.
“Milady, er,” the soldier stammered, glancing back at his furious commander, “we wear what we are commanded to, and bear the device of the illustrious Monseigneur the Marquis with pride.”
“Oh really? Are you sure that faceplate isn’t hiding a grimace of embarrassment?” she asked, playfully reaching for the metal guard. “Why don’t we find out?”
“Er, milady, that is not permitted.” the infantryman stammered out, backing away. Fiera laughed, and looked up at the Marquis.
“If I didn’t know better, I’d say you’re color blind.”
“’Tis nothing to be ashamed of.” the Marquis said proudly. “’Twas how I was birthed, and none shall dishonor the memory of mine mother, may God rest her soul, for mine ailment.”
Fiera hid a grin behind her hand and said to Nick, “How did you even put up with this guy? He’s hilarious.”
“Um…I just did.” Nick said, scratching his head.
“I like him. As a pet, that is. Let’s not throw him out too hard. He might come in handy later on.” Fiera said.
“What is it that thy head doth concoct against mine personage?” Monseigneur the Marquis said, his eyes narrowing suspiciously.
“Oh, I’m really going to enjoy this.” Fiera said, rubbing her hands together. “Nick, what special treatment should we give this Marquis?”
“I don’t know. What do you want to do?” Nick asked.
Fiera held her chin in her hands and studied the Marquis. “How about a nice rubber ducky suit, since he seems to prefer that symbol?”
“We could. Or, I was thinking something more along the lines of public humiliation. How about turn him out in just his boxers, and hang him from the top of the keep?” Nick said.
“No, too been-there-done-that.” Fiera said, shaking her head. “How about…”
“Thou shalt not touch me!” the Marquis shrieked.
“I wasn’t done yet.” Fiera said coldly, staring up at the noble with icy eyes. “You deserve extra special treatment.”
“He’s got to have a dungeon, right? How about we lock him in it?” Nick asked.
“I’ve got a better idea. He thinks he’s so great? Let’s lock him in his own little kingdom. He always wanted to be a monarch anyway.” Fiera said, grinning wolfishly and walking through the ranks towards the platform.
“Never shalt thou touch my royal personage!” the Marquis cried. “For I am Monseigneur the Marquis, Lord of the…”
“Okay, your accent was cute for a few minutes, now shut your trap and listen to a real girl speak.” Fiera snapped. The Marquis stood aghast, his jaw threatening to detach itself and fall to the ground, [“Now that would be a funny sight.” Fiera commented] and Nick chuckled.
“She just called you a girl.” he snickered.
“Thou shalt be reprimanded for thine insulting of my most revered personage.” Monseigneur the Marquis said. “Guards! Arrest the prisoners!”
“Oh, they could hog-tie me faster than you can blink.” Fiera said, tapping one foot impatiently and crossing her arms. Two soldiers cautiously advanced, and the braver of the two reached out and tried to grab her arm. After letting his hand swipe through her arm several times to no effect, Fiera finally glanced over and acknowledged the man, as if he were nothing more than a breeze she found interesting. “You’re brave. I’ll give you credit for that. Come here.” The man took a step back, raising his shield. Fiera sighed and said, “I am not in the mood to repeat myself. Come HERE!” she shouted, and the man scurried in front of her, standing at attention. “Kneel.” The man quickly did so, lowering his head submissively. “From now on you are to be known as a knight. My knight, I might at. What is your name?”
“Rin Fell.” the soldier replied.
“Sir Fell. I like that.” Fiera said.
“Thy knight has nothing on mine.” Monseigneur the Marquis said haughtily. “Knights! Report at once.”
Five men in plate armor advanced towards the rear from the front line, their visors lifted to reveal haggard faces. The foremost had a hard expression, and for a moment Fiera thought it was directed at her until he said, “Don’t say my name. Just don’t.”
“Pray tell, who are these?” Fiera said as Nick walked up to stand beside her.
“These are my knights, Sir Kit Ree,” the Marquis began, and the sour faced knight gritted his teeth, “And Sir Coom Stanseal, Sir Tenn Dume, Sir Tain Leigh, and Sir Vie Vahl.”
“Pathetic.” Fiera flicked them away, and they flew into the nearby barracks. “Why don’t you send me some real soldiers. Then we’ll talk.”
“Uh, Fiera, you were going to show me what you had in mind.” Nick said.
“Oh how thoughtless of me!” she said, holding her cheek [“And no cute comments!” she yelled up at me]. She turned to face the Marquis. “I could drag this out and chase you down, but by my edict you are forbidden to set foot outside the castle grounds. You do know what an edict is, right?”
“For the sake of your honor, lady, and for mine I shall not allow my royal anger to be aroused, lest I lash thee with words unsuitable for the weaker sex’s ears.” Monseigneur the Marquis said. Fiera’s nostrils flared angrily as she glared at him.
“I take that back. You are confined to your keep, immediately, with no food or water for three days. Perhaps then you’ll learn some respect.”
“Thou dost not command…” the Marquis began, then with a gasp he hurled off the platform, flying through the air, and into the keep. The door slammed shut after him, and with a loud thud the crossbar locked him inside the tower. The soldiers all took a step back, and Fiera looked at Sir Fell. “Before we go, I’m fixing your wardrobe. Silver uniform, teal highlights.” The suit changed as she made the changes, and she nodded. “Your shield, a silver feather on a field of turquoise.” After making the final adjustments, she turned to Nick and said, “Come on, let’s go. There’s a garrison of Goup to the north that we have to deal with, and then we can find the Narrator’s Chosen One.”
“Milady, what are my orders?” Sir Fell asked, kneeling. Fiera stopped and turned back to the knight.
“Tell the villagers that they are free from the Marquis’ rule, by order of the Lady of Teal.” she said.
“It shall be done.” the knight replied. “Farewell, milady.”
“Goodbye.” Fiera and Nick said, then walked back out of the castle through the wall, Nick once more mounting Portia.
“So. These Goup. What are they?” Nick asked.
“I don’t know exactly, but I’m starting to get an idea.” Fiera said, then looked up at Nick. “I need to go dismiss the Narrator so I can go through his files. Get to the garrison before I get back.”
“As you wish.” Nick said with a grin. Fiera stuck her tongue out at him, then jumped back into the auditorium.
“Well, you’ve pretty much taken over Nick’s story. It’s not his story anymore, is it?” I said.
“Hey. You’re the one that tried to write an entire chapter on Nick.” she said, folding her arms. “Now get out so I can read ahead.”
“Oh, so you think you can control me, do you? What would happen if I tried my full abilities as Head Moderator on you? Not to mention the fact that I’m the Narrator.”
She narrowed her eyes and said, “If you don’t get out now, I’m going to make the next chapter absolute misery.”
I laughed and said, “All right, Fiera. Have fun trying to decipher my notes.” And with that I saved the document.