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The otherworlders chapter 23.... final...well almost....
this is a stagecoach i started with the fabulous poetry girl. unfortunately, fate has intervened and i have lost contact with her. i pray all is well. in a traditional stagecoach story, because i wrote the first chapter, she would finish it. well, the ball has been left in my court. so i will attempt to finish what we started. i in no way cannot compare myself with her writing. but being the old baby boomer that i am, i also cannot let a thing go unfinished. so without further rambling, i will write the story to its conclusion, and as with all stagecoaches, the story tends to write itself. for those that have followed us on this journey, i pray that you enjoyed it, and i hope you will not be too disappointed.
Gerrard gently laid a hand on his Princess' shoulder.
"We must go."
Julianna stealed herself and took a step on the seemingly fragile floor, This gives a whole new meaning to that old adage, a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step...as she felt the floor solid under her feet. Feeling Gerrard's hand gave her comfort as she took another step, and then another, soon they were flying across the narrow passageway with the tail of the proud tabby infront of them, meowing his confidence to his pets.
Gerrard followed quietly. His thoughts traveled back to the time he actually challenged the sweeper. Smiling to himself that he had not stuttered a single word when he called the huge metallic thing the child of a garbage truck. He ran for his life and the life of the Princess depended on it. He ran for it was all he could do against the sweeper. Geared with audio equipment that could pick up any sound, Gerrard noticed it had stopped as Julianna had screamed out his name. He took his canteen out and threw it at the machine challenging it to decide just which sound it should follow. Then he took off running as loudly as he could, slapping his feet hard against the pavement, cringing at each step due to five hundred years of silent training... hoping his father would forgive his son for breaking the rule of silence.
Frazier stopped abruptly as he heard Gerrard's voice as clear as a bell. He turned and pointed Stephanos to the safe house, whispering the words, "I am going to help my comrade." He sprinted down a parallel street barely able to keep Gerrard in his sites as they passed the cross alleyways. He had to get ahead of him.... for his plan to work he had to get ahead of him.
Gerrard had reached his limit. It would be over soon. The sweeper would be relentless. Gerrard knew they would be on automatic mode. There would be no stopping until the sound was eliminated. He turned to face his destiny.
Tiger, being the good hunter that he was, found his sweeper on a lateral street above where his pet had stopped. The two legged fellow was kind enough to feed him and smart enough to follow him when they went out on their hunts. His stuttering also felt like a purr to the tabby. The cat screeched as the sweeper turned towards the sound.
Frazier found his sweeper at the cross street above where he last saw Gerrard. He took a rock and threw it. As he turned the corner, Frazier thought to himself what the hell, Gerrard is just standing there. He grabbed the man and pushed him into the crevice between two buildings. The impact was so great they fell. As they righted themselves. a great yellow tabby landed into Gerrard's hands, purring loudly.
As the two men and one cat turned toward the street. The three sweepers collided into each other. The explosion shook the area. The comrades thus safely returned to the safe house.
Mikhail, with his sword raised, stood beside the two Generals. What can we do against these machines?
"General Mikhail, go. You must go. Follow the pathway. We will hold them back." whispered Justin.
Where did Frazier go? Where did Steve go? Mikhail/Michael struggled within his mind to understand the situation. As the two old men grabbed him, shoving and pushing down towards the entrance fo the passageway, Jonas whispered, "Mikhail... do not fail in your duty to the princess. You did not fail all those years ago, you must not fail now."
Shaken that the two men knew of his past, Mikhail sorrowfully hung his head.
Justin slapped the top of his head. "You did your job five hundred years ago. You could not save the royal family...no one could. But you saved the heirs. Now go and fulfill you duty, soldier." He turned him and kicked the boy's backside as he closed the door behind him.
Frazier smiled. He had not used this thing in years. He hoped that it would still work and prayed that his mother would be proud of him as he saw the six sweepers infront of the safehouse waiting for a sound. There is nothing like automatic mode... those men would not be able to stop this. Without sound, they would not move. He took the key and wound it. Just as he finished he heard a slamming of the door. The six machines turned and started to smash the safe house. Stopping suddenly as silence once again entered the area.
Click,click click..... A small music box with a ballerina turning on the top.... a soft small sound filled the air... a beautiful little melody ... old, crisp, clear... made all six sweepers turn around.as they carreened towards the sound... the crashing of the metal brought more sweepers, and soon the street appeared to be nothing more than a metal recycling center.
Frazier counted. Thirteen in all plus the three lost in the encounter with Gerrard. Only four were left in the city. Then he saw the safe house. He quickly went to the place that had been home for so many years... and found the Generals....
"Get off me, you old fool." he heard the whisper of Justin.
"You get off me... you old coot." the whisper of Jonas.
Frazier stiffled a laugh as he pulled off the cot that had fallen on both of them. The two brothers held each other. Frazier stood smiling at them.
Both whispered, "What the hell are you smiling at, Private?"
Private? thought Frazier... I am a second lieutenant... or at least I was....
Stephanos felt coldness enter slowly into his body as he was lifted up onto the tier of wood. Tolidesa's arrow had been true. He reached for the stone and held onto it with the last of his strength.
"Ssssisssster... we can get our revenge now. He was the one who abandoned usssssss sssoooo long ago...... "
"Yessss..." As Aola lit the torch...
"I am sorry." Stephanos spoke quietly.
"What???" shouted Tolidesa. "You dare to speak now???"
"I am sorry the royal family abandoned you and your sister."
"Ha!!!! You are only trying to stay alive."
"No... whether I stay alive or not... I apologize to you. You were placed in harms way. We underestimated the enemy and overestimated our ability to handle it."
"You have just come to understand that now???? You and the family were fools. We told you not to trust those two."
"We did not listen. We did not understand. We had been at peace for so long. We thought that was all that anyone would want." Steve's eyes watered as tears fell in his sorrow... of remembering just how foolish everyone was.
"Excuses.... Excuses... That is all you can give ussssss!!!!!" Aola screeched at the man. "My sister and I tried to diffuse that bomb.... But it exploded just as we touched it. When we woke up... all that we knew was gone. We only had Fitz and Patrick. They saved us.... and turned us into thissssss." Tears streamed down the face of Aola.
"You are right and just in what you are about to do." Stephanos whispered quietly. "I want you to accept my apology from the royal family."
Aola trembled... years of hurt, of disgust, of living just to live came flooding into her and our to her.
Tolidisa hissed. "Do not waver, sissssterrrr.... " Seeing Aola's hand trembling as it held the torch.
"One thing that was broken will be fixed." Steve whispered again. "I am so sorry. You were faithful to us until the end. We did not see it. We were too prideful."
"Pride? You refused our counsel. You refused to help us. You refused to listen to us." shouted Tolidisa as she watched her sister Aola fall onto her knees, tears streaming down her face.
"Sister, it hurts soooooo much.... I cannot .... bring myself to light the pier."
Tolidisa steeled herself. "You always were the weak one." as she took the torch she came up to lean over Steve. "You think you can make this right? Five hundred years have passed since the royals died. Just because you and your sister came back??? you think you can make this right????"
"All I know is that I have to try. All I know is that one thing that is broken will be fixed."
"Ha, ha ha, don't make me laugh. Don't you know it is all broken? That old prophecy means nothing. Nothing, I say..... Just an old fairy tale, frightened parents would tell their children... The Patrick is too strong. He holds life and death in his hands. How can you go against a God?"
"I can try. I have to try. One thing that is broken.... IT WILL BE FIXED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Stephanos shouted as loudly as he could.
Aola grabbed her sister's leg, "Pleeeaaaassssseeeeee, sisssster... make him stop. It hurts... It hurts.... " Tolidisa looked at her sister. She dropped the torch and grabbed her into a hug.
"I.... I accept your apology. We accept your apology. Your sacrifice of blood is payment enough." Tears started to flow from Tolidisa.
Ameerah sat on top of Cyprus.
"What is happening?" she whispered.
"A miracle." Cyprus gently placed Ameerah down to the ground.
Cynder stood up and stretched. The Judas tree stood even more proudly.
"Our daughters... "
"Yes... it is time... Don't you think?"
Gazing at the twin moons just a few hours away from their conjuction. The festival would soon begin... and usher the end or more hopefully, a new beginning for this world caught in this strange place....
"Just a little further." whispered Gerrard.
"Where will we be at in the palace?"
"I am not sure. I have never been there."
"Gerrard? You think I am gonna remember?" Julie trembled as the narrow way led to a flight of stairs. "How old was I when I was sent to earth? Can you tell me that?"
"Why you were just a younster.... about a hundred or so. Why?:"
"Well on earth, I am only fourteen.... I am a thief by trade... do you really want a princess like me???"
Gerrard laughed. "You are truly are Princess...you and your brother were rather rebellious in your youth. Now is not the time to second guess the prophecy."
"I... I cannot do this alone. I have always worked with MIke... Just where is that guy when you need him."
"He will be here. Your brother will be here. Have no fears... Princess."
The tabby stood at the top of the stairs glaring at his slow pets. Two legged creatures always took so long.... He purred encouragement to them and as they reached him, he pawed at Gerrard to have his spot behind his ear scratched.
Julie closed her eyes.... trying to imagine the palace... It had been five hundred years. How much would have changed? As she know took the Judas staff and placed it against the door.
"One thing that was lost will be found." She whispered. Hoping it would be just enough. The door slowly started to glow... then melt silently away. Hummnnnn.... control is in the effort... thought Julie as she poked her head thru, feeling more like a prairie dog, she saw on a national geographic, than a princess.... No one seemed to be around.
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE HAVE LOST SIXTEEN SWEEPERS!!!!!!!" shouted the Patick into the intercom, as he ran to the mirror to survey the damage. He leaned his forehead against the cool glass.
"Brother did you see? Are you there?"
"I am here. I am on my way. The conjunction is only a few hours away and it appears the storms have ceased. This world will never be the same after tonight, Patrick. We will see to it."
Mateo watched as the sisters were no longer there. The android blinked as he tried to understand. Two golden maples were in the place of the two sisters. Was it those arrows? He thought as he hid himself when he heard rustling of the one known as Ameerah running towards the pile of wood that Stephanos lay upon.
"What is happening?" Steve cried out for the silence in the forest seemed more frightening than anything he had felt in his life.
Ameerah grabbed the cold torch and hit the support of the pier, the wood with her beloved gave way and she shielded him as he fell towards her. The poisonous arrow of Tolidisa still lay deep in his chest. She caught her breath and steeled herself. Tears would not help here.
"Lay still." She commanded as she saw the Golden maples. She gently placed Steve flat against the ground. His blood oozed dripping into it. "You are a royal. Your blood has been shed. The very ground will help you. Lay still and feel its strength." She stood up ;and touched the bark of the two trees. "Sisters?"
Ameerah placed her head on the heart of the tree.
"Thank him for us. Thank him." the humming came into Ameerah's mind. She leaned closely to the next one.
"Tolidisa? How can I counter the poison?"
A sorrowful voice entered her soul. "I do not think you can. We placed our own blood on that arrow."
Ameerah took it in. "Fine. I need to borrow a leaf from each of you."
"Sister? Do you think that will work?"
"It will not hurt. right? I mean... as long as there is life, there is hope... right?"
"Take as many as you need." came the unison response.
"Prince Stephanos.... do you believe in me?" Ameerah spoke stoically.
"Ameerah, you are my life. Who else could I believe in?"
:"This is going to hurt. Don't move. You cannot move. You must be as still as the ground you lay on."
Ameerah centered herself. She took the two leaves and then bit her thumb, her blood oozed as she smeared the leaves centering over the arrow, she held it still with one hand and pierced the bloodied leaves sliding downward along the shaft to the chest, quickly pulling the hand away and grabbing the shank she yanked it out with lightening speed as she shoved the leaves deep into the wound. It happened so fast that when Steve cried out in pain, Ameerah took her thumb and shoved it into his mouth, falling on him with her entire wieght on his chest she whispered, "You must drink."
Mateo stood in the open, completely in awe.
Cyprus bent down beside the android who jumped startled.
"She is repairing him." Cyprus stated to the machine.
"But if she is one of the tree spirits... like her sisters.. she does not have much blood."
"Hummmph... She is the last of our kind. We shall see where the prophecy leads..."
"You know.... for a machine... you don't seem to be very smart.... Sister Ameerah.... the conjuction is at hand. The fires have done their work, Teregahn is open. The conjuction is only a couple of hours away. It is time for the forest to move." He bent down and pulled the sacrificial lamb off of the royal. "Now is not the time for a nap." as he placed her quietly in the crook of twisted limbs, then reached down and picked up Steve, depositing him to a safe place beside her. Both had fallen into a deep sleep. As Cyprus turned..... He cried out in a long low moan.... as the wind seemed to pick up... the humn could be heard all the way to Teregahn.
(I had hoped to finish this, but will continue later..... take care and i hope you enjoy this as much as i enjoyed writing it. poetry girl.... i hope i did it right... take care.)