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Posted: 19 Oct 2005, 00:40
"Arse!" yelled Beith at Crow for picking up the comb. "You've done it now. Here we are, in a graveyard, on a dark night with Az's body, and you just have to pick up the Banshee's comb! Didn't I tell you never- NEVER pick up a comb you see lying on the ground? The consequences are-". She was cut off by the sound of a small popping noise, followed by a large 'whoosh' and a dark shape towered overhead.
"What did you do that for?" demanded Beith angrily, letting herself down from a branch.
"Instinct" replied the Yew tree, shaking out his fronds after the shape-shift. "It was the mention of the graveyard, the dark night, and the corpse that did it...I got excited and changed back. I am afterall, the guardian of the gateway to the Otherworld. This form is more appropriate".
"Fine" grumped Beith and re-commenced chastising Crow for his impulsiveness. "Where was I?"
"err...that bit about not picking up a comb?" volunteered Dryadia
"Why's that?" asked GreenDruid.
Beith rolled her eyes. Did these people know nothing? Exasperated she began the lecture:"It is said in Irish lore, that one should always steer clear of discarded combs"
"Right" agreed Selene, a specialist in parasitology and zoomorphic diseases,"It's unhealthy. You can catch things...lice and the like"
"No!" snapped Beith, not ready to have her folklore dismissed in cross-species contamination discussions."It's not just unhealthy - it can be terminal! The comb is believed to belong to the banshee, the harbinger of death, bringer of dire warnings, keener of sorrows, and occasional washer-at-the-ford" explained Beith.
"I always knew women were good at multi-tasking" whispered Alferian.
Beith ignored him and continued: "to take the banshee's comb is to encourage death. She leaves it for the unsuspecting, like a lure".
Crow stared at the thing in shock.
"Maybe if we just bury it?" suggested Lorraine
"Good place for a burial, a cemetary" nodded Mike sagely.
They froze. A strange tingling shot up each and every spine.
"What was that?!" exclaimed Dryadia
"I thought it was Carragh singing" replied Alferian
"No.. no it sounded more haunting than shrieking-in-the-shower" replied Selene.
"OooooOOooooOOOooo" came the sound again. Nearer. A high pitched mournful keen, rising audibly above the wind.
"I don't like this" stammered GreenDruid, wishing she'd stayed in the B&B "out here. in the dark. at night. in a graveyard.with the dead and strange backing vocals"
"Wha..wha..what is it?" implored Dryadia, nervous and trembling.
"I think" intoned the deep voice of the Yew tree "It might be Her".
They stared above and there, on one of his branches, sat a pale fairy woman, with tousled long white hair. The Banshee.
The pale one stopped keening and cast an immortal gaze on those below.
Her gaze fixed on the body of Azrienoch and she swooped low to kneel over him.
"You're late" said Az. "I've already been and gone and returned from the Otherworld"
"Oh I know, I'm terribly sorry" replied the Banshee. "Bit of a bad hair day you see, in a terrible tangle and of course I dropped my comb somewhere and..well you know girls.." She shrugged and smiled at the women in the group.
Each absent-mindedly ran their fingers through their own hair and patted it down neatly.
Beith stared, unsure whether to be relieved or disappointed. "Aren't you supposed to scare us? Cause terrible harm to the bearer of the comb? steal away a soul to the Otherworld or prophesy doom?" she demanded.
"It's my day off" replied the Banshee. She rummaged somewhere amidst her flowing robes and pulled out a small diary. "I've got a manicure booked at 2pm and a hair appointment thereafter. Next available slot for harbingering death is Tuesday".
"So what am I supposed to do in the meantime?" said the head of Azrienoch. Alferian had thoughtfully carried it back to its body.
"Well" began the Banshee ponderously. "If you've already been to the Other Side and returned, then you might as well get on with living". She reattached his head and vanished - then reappeared briefly, snatched her comb back from Crow and disappeared again.
"What now?" asked Selene.
"Good question" said Alferian, "perhaps if we....."
Posted: 19 Oct 2005, 02:34
"Just go back to the B & B and get on with the ritual everything will return to normal again" he finished.
"Normal!" screeched Crow "You call that freak show in gossamer normal? Your as mad as that hat you have on"
Alferian took sore offence at this remark but, being a wise (ish) Druid of high (ish) standing he chose to treat the remark with the only response that a wise old Druid could be expected to employ. And, rather than sink to the level of matching the insult he simply lifted his staff hich above his head and brought it down hard upon Crow's beak. Or at least, that is what he had meant to do. Unfortunately (for Beith) Crow, being a foreteller of gloom, had anticipated this reaction and hopped to one side just as Beith bent down to tie a shoelace and inadvertently placed her head in the direct flight-path of the aforementioned staff.
Crrrack!! Went the staff as it made contacted with Beith's skull - Dowwn!! Went Beith with the sort of crash that only a falling Birch tree can muster and the little group of friends fell silent at this shocking turn of events.
Lorraine, once again first to recover her composure, reached into the folds of her apron for a mobile telephone.
"Hello, ambulance? Yes I am so sorry to trouble you at this late hour but you see an old Druid wearing a Bishop's Mitre has just assaulted a Silver Birch tree with his staff. Where? Where what? Oh I see you want to now where to come too! Well we are all in the grave-yard, of course he did not mean to hurt her - he was actually aiming for a journalist disguised as a Crow"
The others waited to see what the ambulance man's response would be and soon guessed from Lorraine's next words,
"How dare you sir! Of course I have not been drinking - I am a vegetarian!" and with that she hung up.
"So how long will the Paramedics be then?" enquired Az
"They are not coming" snapped Lorraine, still smarting at the suggestion that she was a drinker.
"Any of us First Aid Qualified?" asked Mike "There is sap everywhere and it is starting to congeal in a most unpleasant fashion"
"I am" answered GD "I will just run off and get my first aid kit, don't get into any more adventures whilst I am away - I don't want to miss what happens next!"
Posted: 19 Oct 2005, 04:20
"No, GD," said Kat-L. "I can help Beith. I have all the first-aid right here in my 007 collar. You need to recover from that faint you took. Now don't look embarassed, everybody faints from time to time..."
"I didn't faint!" screamed GD at Kat-L's astonished face. "I never faint! I am stronger than the whole bloody lot of you and I never faint! Got that! Never! Never! Never!"
GD was really having a hard time hiding how afraid she was. She had just yelled at Kat-L, one of her best friends in all this rubbish.
"I'm sorry Kat-L," she tried to take back her outburst. "I only meant that I never faint..."
Kat-L turned to Beith and began to work quickly. "She's coming around," said Kat-L after two tense minutes had gone by. "I think she will be fine, but she needs complete bed-rest for a day or so. The spell on that staff really made her lose all strength. She won't be able to run or even walk fast. No high-healed shoes for awhile in case you take a nasty tumble."
"Nooooooooopooo!" screamed Beith, sounding eerily like a banshee. "I must have my shoes!"
"Never," said GD suddenly. "Pick up a shoe that you see lying around, I think that's as dangerous as picking up a comb."
There was a deathly silence and then...
Posted: 19 Oct 2005, 04:35
"Can anyone else hear that gurgling sound? It sounds just like water to me" said Az "Yes look what luck, there is a river running straight through the centre of the cemetary and there is a rowing boat too, lets use it to make our escape from this nightmare!"
The little group ran to the boat and one by one climbed aboard the rowing boat. Mike and Anonymous took the oars, Crow went straight to the Crow's nest (hoping to find a lady Crow already there), and Az (who had discovered this wonderful means of escape) took the rudder.
They cast off and were soon racing down stream but suddenly found themselves being chased by a wicked looking Pirate ship.
"Quick!" shouted Underground River "Make for the bank!"
"Not there" screamed Alferian "I am overdrawn!"
The pirate ship was closing in on them fast and in desperation Kat called out;
"Stand by to repel boarders!"
"How do you repel boarders?" asked Mike
"Stop changing the bed-linen!" answered Lorraine
Then came a shout from the Crow's nest:
"Land ahoy!" this shout was followed by a huge crunch as the little vessel ran aground "I guess I should have said that earlier" apologised Crow.
Posted: 19 Oct 2005, 04:56
"Hmmmm i suppose you should have," mentioned Daigh finally snapping out of his silence. Once again removing his sword he whispered a short incantation and it burst into bright neon blue flames.
"Could have used that earlier," mentioned Crow who shook his head at the thought.
"Aye but then we wouldnt have had the pleasure of running aground," replied Daigh jokingly with a sly half grin.
Daigh looked around forgetting to wave his sword to allow the others to see properly. "Some place you grounded us Crow." he muttered softly.
"Amazing how we cant see anything and you make such claims Daigh," replied Alferian only half joking. "Not all of us inherited darksight."
"Darksight what are you talking about," joked Daigh. "My father was a fire sprite, and my mother was a bird, its amazing that i dint turn out as a box of KFC!"
Crow shook his head and responded, "Well then at least brighten the flame so we can see."
Daigh brightened the flame as GD replied, "funny thing about fire.....
Posted: 19 Oct 2005, 05:12
"Stop right there, you miserable boat-load of scared druids!" bellowed the captain of the pirate ship through a set of loud-speakers mounted on the side of the ship. "Prepare to be boarded. You will not be injured if you surrender the pumpkin medalion and all your money. If you give us these, you will be left to yourselves."
"Surrender the pumpkin..." Selene started to say, a look of absolute dread on her face.
Before she could finish, a grappling hook caught the boat and they were rammed by the much bigger ship.
A bunch of masked men began to file a-board their little craft.
"Please don't hurt me," GD begged, not having heard much of the man's speech over the loudspeaker. "I'm only a green druid. Please don't kill me. I never did anything to pirates, I won't report you, please just let me leave alive."
The men went straight for Selene and the pumpkin medallion.
They yanked it off of her before she could react and one of the pirates put it on.
They next went around, emptying wallets until all were penniless.
They then hauled the grounded boat back into the water and raced her down-river toward the sea...
An hour later they reached the sea and their little boat was set a-drift with them in it far from land. They had no idea where they were, all their navigation equipment having been taken by the pirates. "We can't have you lot gettin back ta shore before we's a-sailin away," a big kind-faced man mumbled to Kat-Lady.
When the pirates left the little boat bouncing up and down on the slightly rough sea, the passengers wondered what they would do next...
Posted: 19 Oct 2005, 07:52
No ship’s crew in maritime history was more ill-prepared for sea than were the passengers of the cemetery scow, who found themselves already out of sight of land as the sun rose blood red in the east.
“Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning,” muttered Alferian to himself.
“Whew, Alferian,” said Selene, who had overheard. “Thank the gods that you’re a sailor! I thought we were in big trouble there for a minute!”
“Actually, that little saying is the sum of my knowledge about the seafaring life,” said Alferian, "and I heard that during a meteorology class in Minnesota. It’s a landlocked state, you know.”
“What will we do?” cried Kat Lady, who was famous in some circles for her fear of water. The others had gathered around, and none of them looked any less afraid than their feline friend.
“Not to worry,” said Dryadia. “Sailors we’re not, but we are Druids, and Druids know about the elements, and what is sailing but working with the elements? We’ll be fine, won’t we, Alferian? Tell them we’re all going to be fine!”
“We’re all going to die,” replied Alferian.
This caused momentary panic, but Carragh returned their thoughts to the present when she exclaimed, “i’m hungry. what’s for breakfast?”
“Breakfast!” shouted Lorraine. “Oh gods, I have guests back at the house, and they’ll be rising soon and wanting their breakfasts!”
“Don’t worry about them,” said Selene. “Your guests will find something to eat, surely.”
“I’m not worried about that,” said Lorraine. “What worries me is that since I can’t provide their breakfasts, they won’t pay! Oh, woe is me. Just look at this mess! All I wanted to do was have a simple little Seven Veils Ritual to rid my cellar of thumping and bumping, and the next thing I know, I have intruders in my house; holes knocked in my walls; I’m sent walking through a cemetery in the middle of the night; I’m accosted by a headless man; I’m assaulted by a banshee; herded onto a ship and chased by pirates; and now, since my guests won’t get their breakfasts and therefore won’t pay, I’ll end as a penniless beggar in a watery grave.”
“I guess that accurately sums it up,” said Alferian.
“Please everybody, stop talking about food,” said Kat Lady, looking up miserably after retching into the scuppers.
“Since we’re all as good as dead anyway,” said Beith, who was feeling more chipper than anybody had a right to after being hit over the head with a wand, resuscitated in a foggy cemetery, hustled onto a sailing ship and pursued by marauders, “I’d like to understand why a cemetery should have a major river running through it, complete with sailing ships and pirates! Why is that? Does anybody have an explanation?”
“Who cares now?” said Mike. “Don’t you have something better to do? Why don’t you go sit on the poop deck and conjugate or something. I don’t want to think about any of this anymore. I just want to die in peace.”
“Just because we’re all going to die doesn’t mean we all have to die dumb,” said the redhead, but she soon gave it up when she saw that her perfectly reasonable questions had sparked so little interest.
“It was such a simple thing, I thought,” repeated Lorraine to no one in particular. “Just an easy little Seven Veils ritual to rid myself of the noises in the cellar, and the next thing I know, there I was …”
Just then there was a cry from Crow in the crow’s nest: “Land ho! Four points on the larboard beam!”
“Larboard beam? What the deuce does that mean?” asked Daigh Cahan.
“What difference does it make?” said Alferian. “Even if we knew what that idiot meant by 'larboard beam,' nobody knows how to turn the ship in that direction. No, friends, don’t get your hopes up. We’re all doomed to sail aimlessly about the ocean until we strike a rock and sink, or failing that, until we starve to death. Personally, I’d prefer to sink.”
Despite Alferian's doomsaying, the others ran frantically about the deck, trying to figure out how to turn the ship, and which direction to turn it to, should they discover the means.
Crow alone didn't worry about how to change the ship's course, because from his vantage point, he alone could see that no change of course was needed, as the ship was headed right for the land.
Indeed, he also wasn't worried about one thing that everybody else should have been worried about, if only they could see what he'd seen. For Crow knew that he alone had the ability to fly lightly to shore just as the ship broke itself on the jagged rocks up ahead.
Although he already had a pretty good idea, he still wondered what would happen next ...
Posted: 19 Oct 2005, 14:20
"Wait a minute," said GD suddenly. "You guys are telling me that we have to sail this thing? I mean, there's no motor? Don't most modern boats have engines for backup? Surely you guys know how to work a boat engine. I mean, how hard could driving a boat be if you can drive a car?"
"It would be easy," said Kat-L. "The little problem is that this boat isn't exactly modern."
"Oh," muttered GD.
"Good guess though," said Azrienoch.
GD sat back in the stern, knowing she was doomed to death at sea. She put her hand in the cold water and tried to imagine the place as a motherly peaceful spot to die. A song about being lost at sea dashed through her head and she wailed out her fear and misery to the rising sun...
Posted: 19 Oct 2005, 15:50
Kat started to shriek and Beith was gabing for her bag as AnonyMoose got up from the seat where he'd been rowing. "Don't you bunch know anything about wildlife other than swiling mead and scarfing cooked food? Here, run a loop of that rope around my antlers and give me some room... Moose are excellent swimmers for our size!" With that he plunged off the bow of the boatr and began churning towards the direction Crow's wngtip pionted.
"We're moving!" squealed GD.
"Yup, but no speed records..only one moosepower," chuckled Alferian, as the boat took a sudden lunge forward more than doubling speed.
"I heard that you wood-carving tree peeler!" snorted the moose as he swam them toward shore. When we hit land I'll give you a 3 bush headstart and see if you like the view when a moose in rutting season is playing Druid tossing!" Alferian sat quietly after that.
"But what about my pumpkin medallion? cried Selene, staring back in the direction the pirates took off in. "I..."
"ahoy there!" called a familiar voice from overhead, "missing something?" Wolfwalker called down from his saddle on the back of Chessie, his favorite trans-Atlantic dragon. "I spotted an old pirate ship as I was flying to Stonehenge, and one on the stern as waving this about, he said, holding a pumpkin medallion aloft with a wolfy grin. "Chessie distracted them by setting their ship on fire, and I took the medallion and jumped for it... It looks like yours Selene. It has all the official OBOD marjkings etc on it, and an autographed snapshot of Philip stuck to the back..."
Selene blushed as she shouted, "yes it's mine! but where... how...? Who were those pirates anyway?"
"Looked like roving missionaries from the USA to me" laughed Wolf as he dropped the medallion into her hand, as Chessie swooped low over the boat. "you're almost to land, and there's a nifty little B&B called "The Ossified Ovate" I saw nearby where we can get brekkies... I'm starved!" So it was they landed on the quiet beach a few minutes later, Snarg having forgotten to remain invisible when there was another dragon around.
"Onward to breakfast!" called Beith, "and a pint of Guines!"
Hear, hear!" muttered Alferian, still eyeing AnonyMoose nervously.
Crow was near the rear of the group scribbling furiously in his notebook;if he was quick, he could just get this called in for the Morning edition of the Pagan Press...
Posted: 19 Oct 2005, 17:30
As anyone who has been lost at sea aboard a wooden sailing ship and then rescued through the heroic efforts of a swimming moose will quickly attest, there was a certain sense of euphoria among the friends as they left their vessel and set foot once more upon terra firma.
But their good feelings didn't last long.
Crow fluttered from the crow’s-nest and into the branches of a nearby date palm, where he again took out his notebook and began to scribble the details of their miraculous salvation. On the sandy beach beneath him, the rest of the party began to take stock of their situation, which you will not be surprised to learn had them soon wishing that they were back aboard the ship and careening headlong for the rocks.
“Where the devil are we?” asked Daigh Cahan.
“You’re not going to believe this,” prefaced Selene, who was studying the GPS reading on her now-restored pumpkin medallion, “but the map shows that we’re still on the open ocean. There is no island charted at our present position.”
Kat Lady, who had been on more pub crawls than she cared to remember, had no trouble believing it at all. “Does it really matter where we are?” she asked. “The main thing I want to know is, how do we get back home, and where’s the bathroom?”
“She’s right,” said Lorraine. “None of this gets me any closer to solving the mystery of those noises in my cellar, and none of this helps me to collect payment from my customers. They’re probably pilfering my towels, too!”
“Look! Up there!” cried Alferian, pointing to a stone building a quarter mile away that was nestled amid lush, tropical vegetation that would have had a less-disconsolate Greening Gaia moderator champing at the bit to explore. “That building looks like an inn or a tavern or something,” continued Alferian. “At any rate, I can see a sign swinging above the door, though I can’t quite make out what it says.”
“If it’s a tavern, I’m there,” said Beith, who without another word started walking toward the building. There was nothing to do but follow her, and so everyone did.
Soon – in about the time it takes to walk a quarter mile, in fact – the reluctant adventurers arrived outside the building. They could now easily read the sign, which was creaking as it swung in the breeze: The Ossified Ovate, it read in gilt letters next to a picture of a skeletal arm and hand extending from a green sleeve, with one bony finger pointing downward toward the door.
“Look, I’ve been in a few tough bars in my day,” said Dryadia, “but this place even makes Singapore Louie’s look like a candy store. I think if we set foot through that door, we’ll find nothing but hard men swilling rotgut liquor and looking for trouble. Right inside that door we’ll find unparalleled vice and corruption. Life is cheap and death is quick in a place like this. Clearly, this is a den of iniquity that has no equal on this world or any other.”
“Do you think they serve chocolate milk?” squeaked GreenDruid fearfully.
“Only one way to find out,” said Beith. “If it’s wet, I’m drinking it. Get out of my way.”
“burning leaves,” said Carragh.
And so, led by the small Irishwoman, the others nervously stepped inside.
Crow didn’t have long to wait before learning what would happen next …
Posted: 19 Oct 2005, 18:38
It was at that moment that Dryadia had the strangest feeling...that ever since they had boarded that boat in the cemetary...things didn't seem quite 'real'. She turned to look back at the water, and saw a strange misty fog...no it looked more like a thin veil!
"Oh my goddess!" exclaimed Dryadia. "You will never believe this!" "We have crossed over the veil to the Otherworld!"
"WHAT?" the rest of the group chimed in unison.
"No need to panic." replied Alferian. "I feel it now also."
Beith then recalled the Banshee incident with the comb. "Perhaps when that Banshee appeared in the graveyard..." Beith began. "she inadvertently brought us all here to the Otherworld!"
"But can we get back?" asked GreenDruid nervously.
"Yes" replied Alferian. "But that's not the only problem."
"What do you mean?" inquired Daigh Cahan, anxiously.
"The time difference." replied Selene. "You see, 2 days in the Otherworld , is equal to 2 years in the mortal world."
"Oh no! My Patrons at the B & B!" shreiked Lorraine. "I only have a 2 year supply of tea and canned beans!"
"Not to worry." Dryadia calmly reassured everyone.
"burning leaves" said Carragh.
"Ok, Carragh, what's up with that?" Kat Lady asked puzzled.
"Yeah" added Crow. "Why do you keep saying 'burning leaves'?"
"Because that's the ingredient we shall need to complete the spell to return us to the 'real and apparent world'. The burning leaves allow the 'space/time continuum' to roll us back to our proper time and place."
"You are so right! "Marvelously articulated!" Alferian replied. "And with a wave of my magic wand, we shall be back in time for Samhuinn."
"But where do we find 'burning leaves'?" asked Mike.
"Hmmm, that could be a problem." answered AnonyMoose.
"Well, we better start looking then..." responded Azrienoch.
The group of friends began the search for the 'burning leaves', and wondered what would happen next...
Posted: 19 Oct 2005, 19:25
I do not squeak fearfully btw. :P
"I don't want to go in that tavern," said GD. "It's probably full of dead ovates casting spells."
Posted: 19 Oct 2005, 20:44
GreenDruid stood trembling under the Ossified Ovate sign, though no doubt she would have stood elsewhere if only she had known that the bony finger on the sign was now pointing directly at the top of her head. Only Selene remained with her, as everyone else had followed Beith inside the door to whatever fate awaited them.
GreenDruid had been scared in the cemetery, where she had imagined all manner of ghouls, ghosts, banshees and zombies that might jump out from behind a tombstone to inflict bodily injury. But at least in the cemetery, she thought, whatever horrible creature might attack them would probably be stone-cold sober. Here, at this horrible tavern, whatever mayhem would be perpetrated would likely be done by creatures in a state of drunkenness!
And so you will perhaps forgive GreenDruid for the terrified squeak that she made when Selene pushed her into the tavern, then stepped inside herself and shut the door behind them.
Once Crow’s eyes became adjusted to the gloom, he saw rickety tables surrounded by hard men drinking rotgut alcohol, and they were all staring at the quiet little group that had just invaded their domain.
Dryadia, who before becoming a Druid had been a belly dancer on the wrong side of town in old Marrakesh, was first to regain her wits. “Stay here everybody, and don’t make eye contact with anyone, and don’t say a word to anybody. I’m going to go see what I can find out,” she whispered to the others.
Dryadia walked up to the bar and was soon in deep conversation with a rough-looking character.
“burning leaves,” said Carragh.
“Will you please shut up!” whispered Lorraine. “And besides, I looked at the greenery on the way over here, and there’s not a leaf here. There’s nothing but fronds, and when you’re talking about a ritual like this, leaves vs. fronds does make a difference. Now shhhhhh.”
Dryadia was soon back. “We’re in luck,” she said. “I’ve made contact with a man who is in the black market leaf trade. He smuggles leaves to the island. Honestly, I don’t know if we can trust him, but I don’t think we have a lot of choices. He said he'd meet us outside. Now let’s just back up ... that’s right … Selene, please open the door quietly …”
Crow thought they might actually make it out of the tavern in one piece, but just as that thought crossed his mind, several large men in dirty green robes stood up from a table in the darkest corner of the room and started to approach them. The old reporter didn’t even want to think about what might happen next …
Posted: 19 Oct 2005, 22:52
At which point a huge shaft of light shot down from upon high and in it's wake two figures emerged from the gloom.
"You sure that this is the right place?" said the first to re-energise Star-Trek style from the energised light.
"Yep, this is it" said Hotspur (the second of the two figures to appear)
"I am sure we are a day or two early in that case" said the first, glancing at his digital wrist-sundial "St Crispen's day is not til the 23rd, and this contraption assures me that today is the 19th!"
"Oh what the hell" said Hotspur "So we celebrate Agincourt a day or two early - who cares anyway - no Brits will remember the exact date anyhow - ungrateful sods that they are! And to think, if it were not for us they all be speaking French today"
"Well it darned well matters to me" said the second man "I am after all Henry V - the greatest King of them all and this is my day. What do you mean they wont remember? I paid that bugger Shakespear a fortune to record my deeds - did he cock it up like that c**p story he wrote for cousin Richard the Third?"
"Excuse me" said Lorraine to the newcomers "But who exactly are you two guys?"
"Who are we!" screamed Hotspur, in a rage, "Who are we? You lot called for the ancestors in your ritual, should you not at least have the decency to realise who we are? We are the ultimate ancestors, the geniune "Old ones" (as you weirdo hippy types call us) - I am the famous Hotspur (forever immortalised in the second part of the name of crappy North London Soccer team - I do so wish that Man Utd had adopted me and not bleeding Tottenham - it is SO embarrasing to be forever associated with under achieving no-body's) and this" he gestured to his companion with an exaggerated bow and tug of his cap "Is no less then King Henry V of England - circa 1415 - the greatest King that England ever knew!!"
"1415? Just a bit past his sell-by date then" said Crow "Do Tesco's still give refunds on goods that long out of shelf-life?"
"Impudent bird!" exclaimed King Henry "Hotspur, take him to the tower at once and let the Ravens at him - and as for the Druids, burn 'em, burn all the heathen rabble at the stake! And find that Shakespeare dude - I am going to rack the b*****d - that 3k sterling was paid to him in good faith!"
And with that a contingent of Henry's Archers grabbed the hapless band of friends by the short and curlies and led them away to the stake - where, as luck would (or would not) have it....
Posted: 20 Oct 2005, 00:17
Rofl you guys... Get out of my head Crow you really do know me too well.
GreenDruid knew she could help them escape.
"Oh great and mighty warriors," she intoned as they dragged Crow away to meet his birdly death. "Oh great kings of England. I have read a mighty account of your heroics at the battle of Agencourt (sp too lazy to check). I can hear the battle in my mind, can almost see the terrified enemy running away and I know that you have liberated England for all time!" (To any French reading this I do not mean what I am saying).
Long live 1415 in the memories of all!"
"Wow, " said the king. "This lady knows her history. Maybe we shouldn't kill them all, let them all go except that old Crow."
"Great and noble magesty," GD said, bowing before the mighty monarch. "The Crow is indeed old, and his feathers could really use cleaning (jk crow), but we require him for our ritual this evening. Please may your magesty restore him to freedom. Long live his magesty the King!"
King Henry smiled down at GD and said "granted".
Crow and the rest were liberated and sent on their way...
(No, I am not that patriotic in real life and I am not even in the UK. If anybody finds this a bit overboard I will delete it.)
Posted: 20 Oct 2005, 07:38
"bloody brittish," mumbled Daigh under his breath, still a little more then bitter about having his precious scottish ancestors slaughtered by the bunch.
His sword and robes flickered dully with flames. "Its mazing how highly these blokes think of themselves, Ill be back in the pub having a drink until the rituals start, always good for a young vate like me to be a little loose for those sorta things anyway." As he turned to walk away Kat Lady stopped him.
"You've really done it now," she said voicing her opnion on his behavior for the first time.
Daigh turned around to see Henry V glaring at him. "You all can go, except him" he said angrily pointing at Daigh.
"but--" Greed Druid startedbut was cut off by Henry _V again.
"It seems one of you needs some reeducation."
Crow cocked his head to the side rather coyishly. "---" as he opened his mouth Alferian shushed him.
Daigh turned to walk away but was quickly sezed byt Henrys men. As they seized his arms to small oak leaves fell out of Daighs robes.
"Funny i dont remember putting those there," muttered Daigh. "I think ive really done it this time."
Carragh just looked at him shocked. "All this time...."
"Maybe," replied Daigh, "But then again maybe not." His eyes sparkled as he was dragged off to the tower, unsure of how he was gonna get outta this one without his precious leaf stash.....
Posted: 20 Oct 2005, 17:55
“Stop!” cried Henry V. “I’ve changed my mind again! Take them all, truss them to stakes and burn them. Make sure you stake them out in a circle. They’re Druids, they should like that much about it anyway, haw haw, I do care about my image!
“Nooooo,” screamed GreenDruid. “You promised to let us go!”
“I did nothing of the sort,” said the petulant king. “I granted your wish, but now I’m un-granting it. I am a king, I can do anything I like. Burn them!”
The king turned on his heel and went inside the tavern. The friends were roughly seized and hastily tied to stakes that were buried firmly in the ground. Men from the tavern gathered wood and oil, and soon there was a huge pile of highly combustible material gathered round the hapless victims’ feet.
“Alferian, you’re a Druid, can’t you do something?” asked Azrienoch.
“Unfortunately, the battery’s gone dead in my wand. Looks like it’s going to be a hot time in the old town tonight, my friend,” replied Alferian.
“Sir, sir, couldn’t you just please remove my shoes first?” asked Beith, trying in vain to catch the attention of one of the men who was throwing more oil onto the wood. “Really sir, there’s no sense in ruining good shoes.”
“Couldn’t you just wait a minute?” said Kat Lady. “I really, really have to go to the litterbox. I’ll come right back, I swear it!”
“If you’ll all just let us go, I’ll give each one of you a free weekend stay at The Wayward Druid Bed & Breakfast … and a guest for each one of you, too, of course! You’ve heard my jingle on the radio, perhaps?” said Lorraine, but the men just laughed at this and seemed even more eager to get on with the task at hand.
Just then a man bearing a torch ran up and thrust the flaming brand into the oil-soaked wood. Flames roared up around the struggling victims.
“burning sticks,” said Carragh.
“I really don’t like this at all,” squeaked GreenDruid.
“Bloody British,” said Daigh Cahan.
“I can’t reach my pumpkin medallion!” said Selene.
“I should have known better than to go pub-crawling,” said Mike.
“Stop, I’m getting dizzy,” said Anonymoose, who had been tied to a rotisserie instead of a stake.
“I told you all that it looked like a rough place,” said Dryadia.
Through the smoke, Crow saw the band of executioners go back inside the tavern, confident that the spreading flames would finish the work that they had begun. Evidently, burning Druids at the stake was thirsty work and they preferred drinking to standing about and watching.
Then, just as things were starting to get really uncomfortable for the adventurers and all hope had been abandoned, Crow saw movement from the corner of his eye, and turning his head in that direction, he saw a man leap through the flames and into the center of the ring. From the man’s clothes, Crow recognized him as the same one that Dryadia had been talking to at the bar, but inside the dark tavern, the old reporter hadn’t recognized him.
Now, standing inside the ring of fire, the man bowed politely and said, “Konnichi Wa to All.” He then drew his katana and, with a glittering sweep, the bonds that tied them all to their stakes and to the rotisserie were cut. The adventurers were free!
“big bilious bags of burning leaves!” said Carragh.
“Ki No Ronin, I don’t know how you got here, but thanks,” said Lorraine. “I’d like to invite you and a guest to spend a weekend at The Wayward Druid Bed & Breakfast, at slightly reduced rates.”
“Do Itashi Mashite. Domo arigato gozaimasu.” said the bardic samurai, winking at Lorraine as he sheathed his katana.
Switching deftly to English, he said, “Please to follow me.”
Leaping through the flames, the adventurers raced after Ki No Ronin, who headed into the jungle.
“Ki No Ronin, what are you doing here?” asked Selene.
“I am a purveyor of sacred eucalyptus leaves to this island,” said the bard. "Eucalyptus leaves are absolutely essential for conducting rituals for crossing the veil, unless of course you happen to have a sailing ship that departs from a cemetery dock. I am taking you now to a place where we might conduct a Sacred Eucalyptus Leaves Ritual, and thus get back to your own side of the veil.”
“Thank you, Ki No Ronin,” said Mike.
“Do Itashi Mashite,” replied Ki No Ronin again.
“Toire wa doko desu ka?” asked Kat Lady, who had pulled a Japanese phrase book out from under her 007 collar.
“Just go behind a bush,” said the samurai, electing to answer in English this time.
After a long march, the party came to a rock face. There was nowhere to turn.
“Ki No Ronin, you’ve led us to a dead end!” cried Selene.
“Do not fear!” cried the bard. “Sacred eucalyptus leaves are not the only kind of leaves I carry!”
From a bag he wore at his waist, Ki No Ronin removed a handful of small leaves and sprinkled them on the ground in front of the rock face. “Open sesame!” he cried, and instantly a doorway formed in the rock, with rough-hewn steps leading down into the earth. The friends rushed inside. Ki No Ronin sprinkled another handful of leaves and intoned, “Close sesame.” Instantly the doorway closed, and the group was plunged into darkness.
Crow wondered what would happen next …
Posted: 20 Oct 2005, 22:01
"Ah! Welcome to my grove" said a voice and an old man dressed in a blue robe, holding a black staff and with a tabby cat draped over his shoulders emerged from the darkness.
"I am Merlin - the orginal Druid that you all seek to become" he continued, iddly playing with the rabbit skull attached to his belt "I understand that all of you are from OBOD and are seeking the path of the Druid - am I correct, or are you just yet another bunch of Gardners's Wiccans who have become confused?"
"My lord" said Alferian, bowing his head in respect " You are correct - we do indeed seek the path that you offer, but we have become lost in recent hours - the Pirates and the English King have confused us and we no longer know which way, which path, leads to your inner wisdom"
"So you are definately not Wiccans then?" asked Merlin with a trace of suspicion in his voice.
"No" said Mike "We are true OBODies and seek only the path of the wise ones such as yourself"
"I see" replied Merlin "Well what advice would you wish me to offer you in order to help you escape your current dilema? You are clearly in need of help, blundering as you are from one disaster to another, it is obvious that you have much to learn of the Druid's way and so, seeing as I am such a generous man I am prepared to offer you one simple bit of advice and no more. It is up to you how to intepret my words and how you choose to act upon them - if you are true Druids you will have no problem dealing with this conundrum!"
"Be warned" announced the tabby cat sat on Merlin's shoulders "He aint as generous as he makes out - he ate a whole Salmon to himself last night - not a single morsal came my way!"
"Silence Tom!" said Merlin "I told you yesterday - stop visiting that Witch's house for extra tit-bits (Anyone else noticed that cats always seem to have two homes?) and I will feed you - til then you can go without!"
"My Lord the advice we seek from you is simple" announced Lorraine in response to Merlin's offer "How do we get home safely and without further incident?"
"In order to gain your wish you must (as any Druid knows) make a sacrifice to the Gods - sacrifice something of value and in return your safety will be assured" answered Merlin
"So then" asked Kat L "What would be considered a worthy sacrifice that would appease the Gods?"
"Ah - I cannot help you there - one of you must decide what is so very valuable that the Gods would wish it for themselves" answered Merlin
At which point a bell rang -
"Sorry" said Merlin "Gotta go now, that will be Nimue ringing for her chicken soup - that girl has never been the same since the Saxon King Aella blinded her - can't do anything for herself anymore - sad really, if only someone would invent brail recipes she could cook her own dinner!"
And with that he was gone
"Good luck!" said Merlin's cat Tom as the pair of them disappeared into the darkness "Oh and if you catch a nice trout do please save some for me!"
"Oh dear" said Anonymoose "What do you think he meant by sacrifice?"
Posted: 20 Oct 2005, 22:40
“In modern terms, we could call it an offering,” said Alferian.
Mike said something under his breath about politically correct Wiccan types.
Daigh said something under his breath about the ‘bloody british’
Lorraine muttered something under her breath about certain people she wouldn’t be inviting for a free stay at her lovely British B&B, oh no. They’d never get to enjoy her rashers now!
Ki No Ronin said something under his breath in Japanese.
“Could you translate that?” said Selene.
“All your base are belong to us. Take off every ‘zig’,” said KNR to the complete incomprehension of everyone. “Sorry, that was a literal translation,” he added, bowing politely.
“All right, let’s consider what we can offer, or sacrifice if we prefer,” said Dryadia. “What is it that you have that you most value?”
There was a deathly silence, but the body language of certain people in the room spoke volumes.
Lorraine clutched at her apron.
Selene, Kat Lady and Az all put hands (or paws) up to their necks, but while Selene clutched her pumpkin medallion, and Kat Lady fingered her 007 collar, Az touched his neck. Losing his head wasn’t something he planned to experience twice.
Beith reached down, touching her shoes.
Alferian tucked his wand into a corner: Daigh Cahan sheathed his sword.
Ki No Ronin tucked a sheaf of paper under his robes.
Crow, observing all this, guessed it might be one of his Philosophical Essays. Crow noted to himself with just a little bit of satisfaction that there was nothing at all that he was worried about giving up.
Dryadia noticed the way Crow was fiddling with his notebook. Clearly he wasn’t going to give up that one without a struggle...
Posted: 21 Oct 2005, 00:30
"They do have braille recipes," said GD to herself. "Wish I could have given Merlin some of them even though I didn't like his I'm so generous attitude. I am sure the blind lady he knows would love them and wouldn't have to have that mean guy cooking for her anymore. What would I sacrifice/offer...hmmm, not my piece of quartz, noooooooooooo!"