by Philip-Todd Franklin
At other places in London, Morgana’s boys — Samuel Davis, Percy Sheldon, and Mordred le Fay — were leading their present army of freed convicts. Each had an army of one hundred, and just like their brother Jason Lincoln, they were in the process of destroying any type of resistance before it could become a real problem. Still, what should have been an easy job for each of them had become complicated, not only by the locals unwilling to cower in their homes, but also by a member of Britain’s team of action-heroes known as the Union.
Sam Davis was pressing his small army hard, all in an effort to continue receiving his mother’s fickle praise and love. Having been the earliest of all his siblings born to Morgana La Fay and some English noble who was later disposed of, Sam always felt he had been her favourite son. Yet over the centuries, he’d seen her turn on any of her children who displeased her, and he’d even had the pleasure of being the instrument of their own destruction, ensuring his own special place beside his mother.
His small army was pressing through what had only a few days ago been the financial district of London, and he had sent his men slowly throughout each and every building, destroying anyone who would try to oppose Morgana’s rule of England. Things had been going his way, and his assignment was turning into a rather easy snooze, when two of his men came flying back out of what had once been the local branch of the Bank of England. “What?!” he gasped.
“No-one shall injure those who are under my protection — so says the Steel Maiden,” said a young, cocky warrior woman standing within the open door of the bank.
Sam looked at what was his first true conflict through the eye-slits of his own black armour. After taking a moment to look round at his other men, he barked out orders as he slowly withdrew his dark blade and stepped toward the Steel Maiden. “Everyone, continue as ordered! Remember that your queen is always watching, and I shall handle this confused wench and show her her proper place in life.” A few of the freed convicts near him snickered at his words and continued fighting.
Without saying a word, the Steel Maiden began to smile and slowly gestured for the black-armoured figure to come at her. As his sword cleared its scabbard, Sam screamed in a fit of rage as he quickly charged the defiant woman standing before him, his sword held high over his head. Steel Maiden just continued to smile and gestured with her left hand as she cocked her right behind her.
Elsewhere, another battle was taking place at the same time in one of London’s residential areas not far from the Thames. Percy Sheldon already had his glowing sword free of its scabbard and was presently trying to locate his foe, who was even at this time still causing his army of convicts to become confused and separated from each other, making them easy prey for the small resistance group that he had been sent there to crush.
“Where are you hiding, my little gnat, that I may squash you like the bug you are named after?” said Percy as he continued to look round.
Will o’ Wisp had either been lucky he was in the area when the whole mess had started, or was unlucky in the fact that none of the items given to him by Miss Wright seemed to be working, leaving him alone against what at first had been a hundred released convicts. If it had not been for the few locals who had started to stand up against the army, he would have had no help at all. I have to continue leading this joker’s force away into the men awaiting them, he thought. I don’t dare at this time confront their black-armoured leader. I will never forget the price of the young man who gave his life when I first confronted him. “Come and find me, you stupid git — if you think you’ve got it in you!” he said just before he moved on to another place to continue splitting up the advancing army.
Angela Wright, the government’s liaison for the British team of action-heroes called the Union, continued to sit within her darkened office with the door locked. She had upon her lap an old army-issue handgun as she listened to the loud sounds being made someplace down the hall from her own office. This can’t be happening, she thought to herself. None of our technology seems to be working, and now some jokers seem to have decided to take advantage of the confusion brought on by that Morgana woman’s actions.
Her thoughts were interrupted as a familiar chill filled her office. In that darkness she couldn’t see the figure within, but she would know that chill anywhere. “Nightstalker, you have no idea how glad I am to see you,” she said. “Well, at least to know you are round.”
“No harm shall come to you as long as I am able,” said the young, haunted ghost of a nobleman.
“I believe you,” Miss Wright whispered to him. “What’s the present score?”
“Score?” said Nightstalker. “What do you mean by score?”
Frowning for a second, she responded, “How many are in the building present?”
“At present I know not, but shall attain to find out,” said Nightstalker as the unnatural chill slowly began to exit her office.
Outside the building, a strange battle was taking place. What had once been a large, invading army of convicts who had been slaying anyone who resisted them seemed in moments to begin to turn on each other, one by one attacking those who had been their comrades mere seconds before. Mordred le Fay could not fathom what had happened to his army and at first had tried to instill order back into his convict army, with little effect. After having knocked out a couple of his own men who had fought against him, he noticed a rather small figure about six inches tall with gossamer wings fluttering round one of his men.
I’m glad I decided to not leave my armour as ancient as my brothers did, or I would never have seen that dangerous faerie, he thought as he turned, quickly beginning to advance on her and his now-mesmerised convict. Seems it’s been causing all my problems.
The fairy in question was Piskie of the Union, in reality the alter ego of Victoria Bonham, one of the most famous women in England. She enjoyed using her fairy powers to entrance men even as she knew just how dangerous the present situation really was. “Glad I’ve been able to turn at least some of these dangerous men to my side,” she said to herself. “The few locals would have been slain by now without the extra help.”
Mordred quickly headed toward the six-inch figure and, with a mighty swing of his glowing sword, knocked his mesmerised man to the ground, missing Piskie by only inches as she fluttered away into the open door behind her.
Back within Miss Wright’s office, Nightstalker quickly returned and said, “I’ve news of the present siege. Would seem that at present a large assembly of men armed with muskets is tearing into each other. Within the building proper, I have spied at least six, counting the three upon this floor and the rest within the yonder stairs. Ah, and it would seem that a black-armoured figure has also entered the building, following, I do believe, Piskie.”
A happy smile broke across Angela Wright’s face as she looked at the direction of Nightstalker and replied, “Finally, some good news. Time for you to give your teammate some assistance, if you are able. I’ve got more than enough to protect myself with the information you’ve provided.”
Nightstalker bowed before her without saying a word and was quickly gone from the office.
“Woo-hoo!” Matthew le Gros screamed. The land round him seemed to flash by as he rode upon a swift horse, streaking across the ground. His companion, friend, and old teacher, Roger Knight — who had begun to accept the name of Roger Pendragon as his true name — rode upon his own quickly streaking horse. But the look upon Roger’s face was ashen, as he held his teeth clenched tightly together, trying to keep from tossing the very meagre food they had partaken from the town’s local pub.
The pair had ended up walking all the way back to Tintagel, Roger’s worry rising with each step they took. Within seconds of reaching town, Roger had quickly acquired two rather large-looking stallions from a local farmer, and if not for Matthew’s pleading words that they eat before they hit the road toward London, he would have demanded that they leave immediately.
After the light lunch, Roger and Matthew had led the two fine horses to the back of an old barn on the farmer’s fields. Within seconds of arriving, Matthew activated a device and within seconds was once again wearing his white armour. Reaching into what looked like an old, small leather coin purse, he removed first one glowing silver horseshoe, then several more, until he had two full matching pairs of horseshoes. Roger, not having any idea how to help, just stood and watched his former student whilst he held onto the reins of their horses.
Matthew walked up to the first stallion, a dark brown, noble-looking steed with a white fleck of hair in its mane. Taking hold of the horse’s leg, he lifted it and gently pressed the glowing horseshoe to the one the horse already wore. Reciting a word he had been taught as a young boy, he watched as the silver shoe seemed to melt and engulf the other shoe. In minutes, he had both horses shod.
Taking the rein to the brown stallion, Matthew quickly mounted the horse and waited for Roger to follow sort. “You can do it, Dr. Knight, and we both know this is the only way there is any hope of reaching your endangered family.”
“Please, m’boy,” said his mentor. “If we’re going to go through with this, the least you can do is call me Roger.” He looked at the horse before him, a black stallion flecked with silver, then gazed back toward the town and then into the distance in the direction of their abandoned lorry. Sighing heavily, he mounted the horse with all the grace of a tap-dancing elephant, but somehow he was able to stay on the horse. Taking a tight grip of the rein in one hand and a handful of horse mane with the other, he looked at Matthew and nodded.
With that action, Matthew gently kicked the side of his horse as he turned it to face the direction toward London. With a speed and grace never seen before, the brown horse took off in a blur. Only seconds later its black and silver companion followed. Whilst Matthew squealed with delight, Roger only wanted to stop and allow his stomach to catch up with him. But at least they were on their way.
Within the former government building that had housed the Parliament of the United Kingdom sat Morgana le Fay. Hovering above the ground, she continued to stare into a large crystal ball floating before her. Within the ball could be seen the different battles between her previously released prison inmate army and what seemed to be an ever-growing resistance army. Only hours ago it had seemed that her sons were each going to achieve their present goals, but in moments she had seen all of her carefully set plans crumble and had been contacted by each of her sons but one. It seemed that for some reason she was unable to either contact Mordred le Fay, nor was she able to focus her crystal ball upon his figure, and that was a mystery that Morgana le Fay did not enjoy.
She continued to watch as her sons Samuel Davis, Percy Sheldon, and Jason Lincoln each continued to confront their personal action-hero, and with her magicks available to her, she knew all that she could uncover of at least two of the heroes, leaving the warrior woman another mystery to her. As she continued to watch the battle between Steel Maiden and Sam, her crystal ball flashed a bright crimson red moments before the scene within changed.
In seconds she was looking into a quite small cottage in the rural countryside far outside London. Upon two identical cots in the living room were two teenage children, and lying between them was another woman, obviously their mother. At first Morgana was unable to attain why she had been led to this particular location, as the warning she’d just received was only supposed to sound when the only weapon upon the whole of England that could truly harm her had returned.
As Morgana continued gazing into the ball, she began to look for anything that would have drawn her warnings toward them so she could properly decide how to proceed. At first the scene singled out the young female child, and within seconds Morgana was able to make out a circlet of water flowers, ones she had not seen since before having trapping that old idealistic fool, Merlin. “Those look like the flowers of the Lady of the Lake,” she muttered just as the scene began to once again change and in seconds was centred upon an ancient-looking great sword.
Without warning, the ancient sword flashed a bright white light, blinding Morgana for a moment even through her precious crystal ball, which in seconds zoomed across the large chamber and, in a musical jingle, exploded.
“No! That accursed sword,” cried Morgana to the empty chamber. “If that worthless urchin has it, he must have some connection to my witless brother Arthur. But that can’t be. No son or daughter of my brother’s was ever born of his wench Guinevere. I took proper actions to see to that myself. What can this truly mean?”
Slowly she arose from her throne, and without a worry on the great height above the chamber floor, she walked on air away from the throne as if descending a spiral staircase. I shall have to attend this threat personally, what with my worthless sons failing in such simple duties as quelling a riot. And with those thoughts, she slowly stalked from her throne room.