The Pendragon Ladies (Episode 2, Cont.)

(read Part 1 here!)

Cerdwwr arrives at Terrwyn’s pavilion. "I thought you could use an escort," he tells her. She thinks about it for a moment, then shrugs.

"Why not?"

He walks her to King Lot’s pavilion. There, she sits down to dinner with Cerddwr and her body double Liam, in front of King Lot and his wife, Morgawse. The woman’s dark beauty is haunting.

"My wife wants to speak with you," Lot says. Terrwyn looks at the woman. A deep darkness in her eyes.

"I want your knight," Morgawse tells her.

Terrwyn doesn’t know what to say.

"I saw him on the field today," she says. "And he impressed me greatly. I will pay well for him. Enough for you to buy five more knights." She looks at Terrwyn’s body double and smiles. As bright and wicked as the moon. "I want him."

Terrwyn shakes her head. "I’m afraid I can’t do that," she says. "He’s been with me for quite a long time and I…"

"I want him," Morgawse says again. "I will have him."

Terrwyn tries to think of a way to politely decline again. Turning down the Queen of Orkney has all kinds of dangerous implications.

Then, Liam speaks up. "I’m in love with Lady Terrwyn," he says. "I cannot leave her."

Morgawse looks at both of them. Then, she smiles. "I shall not pursue my request further, then," she says.

After dinner–a cold, quiet affair–on their way back to the pavilion, Terrwyn thanks the young man. "You did not have to say that," she says.

Cerddwr smiles, "Ah but it would have been so convincing if there was not a seed of truth in your words. Isn’t that true?"

Terrwyn looks at Liam and sees the slightest hint of a blush.

* * *

On the hill behind the tournament, Anwyn stands with Uther. Uther/Cornwall. Uther/Cornwall/Jacob Collins.

"I’m Uther," he says again. "How fascinating."

"Yes," Anwyn tells him. "And it’s time for you to go and sleep with Igraine." Her voice rushes over the words.

He looks back at her. "I don’t think so," he says. "If I do that, I will no longer be the King of All Britain."

Now Anwyn’s heart feels the pangs of fear. "You have to," she says. "If you don’t, this new world doesn’t like you breaking the rules. It will find out and it will punish you."

"How exciting," he says, his smile shining in the moonlight.

She takes a step back. "The world died," she says. "This is the new world. And you have to do what you’re supposed to do."

He takes a step forward. "The world died. Hm." He puts his hand on his chin. "Sounds like a reason to celebrate." His eyes then glow in the darkness. Anwyn recognizes that glow from the old world. Deep beneath the seeming of Uther and Cornwall, Lilith recognizes the eyes of Jacob Collins.

"COME HERE," he tells her. And she steps forward.

"Now, TAKE OFF YOUR CLOTHES," he says.

Anwyn and Lilith struggle to resist, but her hands begin working. Her mind races. In that world, she thinks, I could not resist him. But in this world, I am an Enchantress of Britain.

"I am an Enchantress of Britain," she says, her hands stopping. "Apprentice to Merlin. Your powers cannot affect me."

Uther/Cornwall/Collins frowns. "Very well," he says. "We will do this the old fashioned way."

Anwyn looks around for help. She’s alone up here on the hill. Not even within shouting distance of the tournament.

So, she runs.

She doesn’t get five steps before he’s pulled her down to the wet grass. She feels a pain in her knee as it smashes into the ground. She screams for help, knowing there is no one to hear. She feels his hands pulling at her clothes.

And then she hears a thump. And his body’s weight falls against her. She pushes him off and looks up.

And she sees Sebastian’s face looking down.

"My Lady," he says. "Are you injured?"

She stands up with his help, kicking the man lying on the ground as she does. "Yes. I’m okay."

Sebastian looks at her.

"I’m fine," she says.

"Who is this villain?" Sebastian asks, turning the body over. He sees the face and takes a step back.

"Jesu’s wounds!" he says. "It is the Duke of Cornwall!"

"Uh," Anwyn sputters. "Uh. No, it’s… I mean, yes it… I mean, we should get him back to his tent."

"I never believed Cornwall could be such a lout!" Sebastian says.

Anwyn tries to think of something to say. "He was drunk," she says. "No harm, no foul, right?"

Sebastian looks confused. "Drunk, my lady?"

"Yes," she says. She recovers her wits and remembers why she was up here to begin with. "He was drunk. And we should get him back to his tent. Right away."

"As a pagan knight, I am bound to serve your will," Sebastian says. "I serve the faith." He lifts the unconscious body and carries it back to the tournament.

Anwyn watches him leave. Then, when he’s out of sight, she runs back to her tent, her hands covering her tears.

* * *

On the way back to her pavilion, Cerddwr and Terrwyn speak.

"I do not trust Uther," she says.

Cerddwr nods. "Nor, do I."

"What do you do in London?" she asks.

"I assist the monks there," he tells her. "In the library."

She turns her head. "Library?" she asks. "I thought there weren’t any books in Britain?"

He frowns. His brow curls. "No, there are many. In London… many…" his voice trails off. "Many… books…"

Then, his eyes light up. "Misty! You have to stop them! They’re going to kill Cornwall!"

And his eyes dim. "I’ve been in London all my life. I’ve heard some say I’m nothing more than a scholar-knight. A city knight." He smiles. "But I am a man of arms, just as the others. The monks need protection, too."

Terrwyn stops walking. "Cerddwr," she says. "Take my hand."

He hesitates. "My Lady, I would not be so bold to presume…"

She shakes her head. "No. I don’t mean that. Take off your glove and take my hand."

He touches the hand with the ring. "I do not know where this came from," he says. "And Merlin will not tell me."

"Trust me," she says.

He takes off his glove. He puts his hand in hers. The rings touch.

His eyes take a different light. "Misty," he says. "Uther plans on killing Cornwall tonight. He’s arranging a secret meeting on the west side of the river. He has a small army there. He’s going to kill Cornwall. If we don’t stop it, there’s going to be war."

Then, his eyes change again. "I was glad to escort you and hope to do so again," he says. He bows. "Have a pleasant evening."

Terrwyn watches him leave. Then, she turns to Liam. "Get the men together. We’re going across the river."

* * *

On top of the hill, surrounded by stones, Brangaine waits for Sebastian. When he arrives, she leaps on him. He winces.

"I was in the tourney today, my love," he says. "Be gentle."

"You’ve never asked me to be gentle before," she tells him.

"Aye," he says. "But I was injured today and that injury was aggravated by carrying the Duke of Cornwall back to his tent."

She looks at him. "Why did you need to carry my uncle back to his tent?"

He hesitates. "I was sworn to secrecy by an Enchantress."

"Which one?"

"Anwyn," he tells her.

"She and I are friends. You know that. Tell me."

Sebastian tells her the story. The attack. Clubbing him on the back of the head. The terrified Enchantress. Carrying Cornwall back to his pavilion.

"That doesn’t sound like my uncle," she says.

"It was. I saw it with my own eyes."

Brangaine throws away a dangerous thought and kisses him.

* * *

Later, lying under the moon, lying in his arms, that dangerous thought comes back.

"We should speak to my cousin Tristan."(1)

Together, they get dressed and seek out her cousin. When they find him, he is playing the harp. He smiles when he sees them. "What can I do for my favorite cousin?" he asks.

"Tristam, we need to see the Duke of Cornwall," she tells him. "I do not have the authority to ask, but you do."

"Very well," he says. "I trust it is important."

They nod. He escorts them to the pavilion.

But the guard refuses them entry.

"No," he says. "The Duke of Cornwall is with his wife and they cannot be disturbed."

Tristan turns to them. "Sorry," he says. "That’s one thing I can’t interrupt."

"I understand," Brangaine says. They walk away from the tent.

* * *
Across the river, Terrwyn and her archers approach a small, makeshift camp. There, they find fires and bodies. Among the bodies are the Duke of Cornwall and Meliodas, his chief lieutenant (and Tristan’s father).

Terrwyn orders the bodies be collected and brought back to the tournament. Then, she climbs on her fastest horse and rides.

* * *

Brangaine and Sebastian find Anwyn sobbing. When they ask her what’s wrong, she looks at Sebastian. She tells Brangaine everything.

"He tried to use vampire powers on me," she says.

Sebastian looks confused. "Vampire powers?"

Brangaine holds Sebastian’s hand. "Do you remember when you were a wolf?" she asks.

"I was a wolf?"

"Yes. And you protected us in Dinkytown. Do you remember that? The vampires? We were changelings. And you and Barnabas were in that bar together…"

Anwyn touches Brangaine’s hand. "If you do this, the world will notice," she says.

Brangaine ignores her. "Do you remember, Sebastian? Remember the Rubik’s Cube?"

A light shines in Sebastian’s eyes. He looks at the girls. Then, he frowns.

"You and Barnabas are married?" he asks.

She nods. "Yes, but that isn’t important right now. The Prince is here. And he’s Uther."

"But you and Barnabas are married?" he asks again. Then, he puts his head in his hands. "This is very complicated."

That’s when Terrwyn walks in. She looks at them and says, "The Duke of Cornwall is dead. Uther murdered him."

All of them look up. Sebastian asks, "Does she remember?"

The girls nod, "Yes."

"That’s impossible," Brangaine says. "Uther is the Duke of Cornwall."

"It was a secret meeting on the other side of the river. They’re all dead. All of Cornwall’s best men. It was an ambush."

"Who’s left?" Anwyn asks.

Terrwyn thinks for a moment. Then, she remembers a small detail.

"Leodegrance," she says. "He’s talking with Walk–Cerddwr now." She doesn’t waste any time. She’s out of the tent, running for Leodegrance’s pavilion.

When the guards try to stop her, Terrwyn throws them aside. She rushes in and sees Leodegrance talking with Cerddwr.

"The Duke of Cornwall is dead," she says. "And you are in grave danger."

Leodegrance stands. "That’s not possible. The truce…"

"It’s as dead as he is," Terrwyn says. "We have to get out of here."

* * *

Outside the pavilion, Merlin touches Anwyn on the shoulder. She nearly jumps.

"What did you do?" she asks him.

"I did nothing," he says.

"What did you make me do?" she asks.

"You made your own choices," he tells her.

She pauses. "What did I do?"

He smiles. "You put the future in motion." Then, he steps away, vanishing into the night.

____

(1) A note for Arthur scholars: I have taken the liberty of making Tristan a nephew to the Duke of Cornwall. While this may be confusing to purists, it allows me to put Tristan into the story and it, even though it is chronologically incorrect, it is fitting in many ways. Trust me; everything will sort itself out.

The Flux: Pendragon Ladies (Episode 2)

One moment, they were Changelings living in a vampire-infested Twin Cities area, and the next, they find themselves in 5th Century Britain bumping shoulders with Uther, Igraine, Leodegrance and Merlin.

They’ve undergone something called “the Flux.” The entire world changed and nobody noticed. Everyone entered the new world with complete lives and memories. What’s more, some of the folks they knew back in the Twin Cities have shown up in Britain as well. Changed just slightly—some more than others—but still familiar. Familiar strangers.

Our cast of characters includes:

  •   as Brangaine, a Cornish lady married to a Christian knight having an affair with a Pagan knight;
  •   as Anwyn, an Enchantress of Britain and apprentice under the Great Enchanter, Merlin;
  •   as Terrwyn, the Cambrian lady who disguises herself as a man to participate in tournaments; and
  •   as Ysbail, the Norman lady with merchant contacts in both Britain and the continent.

All of us missed  this session. She’s at home with her beautiful new baby. We know we’ll be seeing her again, but until then, we miss her much. And, Emily, there’s always an empty seat at our table for you.

Also, for further context, be sure to check up on what the boys have been doing!

* * *

… the next morning.

Anwyn stands very still in the corner of the pavilion while Uther screams.

"I must have her!"

His voice echoes through the small place and rings in Anwyn’s ears. She watches as Merlin speaks.

"You will wreck everything I have worked for. Britain is united! At last! And you would throw all of it away for what lies between her thighs!"

Uther’s eyes grow dark. His voice drops to a growl. "You’re the wizard," he says. "The next words you speak to me will be how I will bed that woman without breaking the truce." And then, Uther leaves.

Merlin looks at Anwyn. "Well then," he says. "I thought that went well."

"What are we going to do?" she asks.

Merlin ponders for a moment. Then, he says, "You are skilled in glamours, are you not, dear?"

Anwyn nods. "I am."

"Good. Meet me tonight at the standing stones just outside the tournament." He begins to leave, but then pauses. "And wear a disguise."

* * *
 

Brangaine serves her wounded husband breakfast. "Here you are, Barnabas," she says. "Is there anything else I can do?"

"Stay with me," he says. "All day. Your company is salve enough for my wounds."

Brangaine thinks about her lover, Sebastian. He is jousting later today in the tournament. She missed his joust yesterday. She does not want to miss it again. She looks down at the eyes of her husband and sees his unquestioning devotion to her. She tells him a story.

A story about four girls living in a small kingdom. They were surrounded by darkness all around. A darkness filled with monsters. One of the girls had to go into the faerie lands to rescue a friend in danger…

Barnabas listens to her. His smile is warm.

* * *

Across the tournament, Terrwyn sits on a horse, dressed in black armor. She waits the command. The flag drops and she lowers her lance. Her aim is true and it slams into her opponent’s chest, throwing him from his steed. He slams into the ground hard and under her armor, Terrwyn winces just a little. "Such a useless sport," she thinks to herself.

She brings her horse back to her squire and he leads them both to the black knight’s pavilion. She changes into her usual garb and retires to her own pavilion just a few feet away.

A servant tells her that a messenger from King Lot is there to see her. He wishes to have dinner with her and her knight. Both of them. Terrwyn sighs. "Very well. Tell him I will be there." Then, she turns to one of her men. "Time for you to be my cousin again," she says. Her man bows his head.

"Of course, my lady."

* * *
Anwyn finds Brangaine in her tent. "Merlin wants me to do something," she says. "I’m not sure I should do it. I mean, I don’t know." She asks, "Have you seen Walker? I have to find Walker."

"What does he want you to do?" Brangaine asks.

Just then, a man steps into the pavilion. Anwyn sees him and her eyes open wide.

"Hello cousin," he tells Brangaine. He carries a harp. Anwyn’s knees shake.

Brangaine turns to Anwyn. "Anwyn, this is my cousin, Tristan."

"H-how do you do?" she says, curtsying.

He bows to her, then looks back at Brangaine. "I brought my harp," he says. "I hope to ease your husband’s pain."

Brangaine smiles. "You’re so thoughtful," she says. "He’s right in there."

Tristan enters the room and sits. He greets Barnabas and then begins to sing. His fingers play across the harp strings. Anwyn sits. The enchantress, enchanted.

With her husband distracted, Brangaine leaves the pavilion and starts off for the jousting arena.
 

* * *
Terrwyn goes looking for Merlin. She wants this ring off her finger. As far as she’s concerned, that "old world" is just a nightmare. The sooner she can forget it the better. And the first step to putting it in her past is getting rid of this damned "lady fate" ring.

She meets up with Cerddwr, the knight she went to dinner with when Uther and Cornwall signed their peace treaty.

"My Lady," he says, bowing. "I come to ask a favor."

She eyes him with suspicion. A part of the past. That "Walker" detective with the Lord Strange ring. But he does not seem to remember who he was. Only who he is now. "What can I do for you?" she asks.

"I seek an audience with Leodegrance," he says. "It is in regards to the peace treaty signed last evening."

She nearly spits when she hears him say it. "Peace with Uther," she says. "That day will never come."

"I agree," he says. That surprises her.

"Are you not a knight from London?" she asks. "One of Uther’s vassals?"

He nods. "I am. And I do not trust this treaty. Merlin may have arranged it, but there is no way Uther will keep it."

Terrwyn decides she likes this knight, despite his connection with the old world. "I will arrange that meeting," she says.

And just then, his eyes change. Panic fills his face. He grabs her wrist.

"Misty!" he says. "You have to help me! It’s gone wrong! I can’t stop…" His eyes change again. His voice softens. "Excellent," he says. "I look forward to meeting him."

Cerddwr leaves her then. And she stands watching him.

 

* * *
 
At the joust, Sebastian wins again. Brangaine does not cheer. But she smiles from the stands and he sees her as he makes his victory circle. She watches him whisper something to a page and the page vanishes.

Making her way back to her pavilion, the page finds her. "My lord wishes to tell you to meet him at the standing stones just outside the tournament."

"When?" she asks.

"Tonight."

She undoes a ribbon from her hair. "Give this to him," she says.

The page nods and rushes off.

When she comes back to the pavilion, her husband is asleep. A servant tells her that her cousin wished her well and hoped to see her again. She remembers Sebastian’s smile and she sighs. Then, she hears her husband stirring in his bed. No, he still sleeps. She sits down at his bedside and touches his brow.
 

* * *
Later, Terrwyn speaks with Leodegrance. He and her father were old friends. His shaved head and short beard are something she remembers well. When he speaks, she knows why men follow him.

"This knight… what was his name?"

"Cerddwr," she says. "From London."

"A scholar-knight, then," he says. She nods. "Why did he not go to Cornwall himself?"

"He knows I have a relationship with you," she says. "Perhaps he hopes to convince you so you can convince Cornwall?"

Leodegrance nods, his hand on his chin. "That makes sense." He walks about the room in silence. Then, he turns to her. "Tell your scholar-knight that I will meet him. Tonight, after dinner."

She nods and bows (she never curtsies). "Yes, sir," she says. Just as she leaves, Leodegrance tells her, "I hear you are meeting with King Lot this evening?"

She nods. "Yes, I am."

"Be careful with him," he tells her. "He is a cunning man. His wife, also. They would not have invited you if they did not have… plans."

She leaves the pavilion and makes her way back to her own.

* * *

Nightfall…

Anwyn waits at the standing stones. In the distance, she sees the fires and pavilions of the tournament. She’s wearing a mask made of twigs and leaves. Merlin arrives. "I see," he says, looking at her disguise. "Well done."

"What do you want me to do?" she asks.

"Uther will be here soon," he tells her. "I want you to use your glamour to give him the semblance of the Duke of Cornwall."

"Why?"

"That way, he can satisfy his lust and we can maintain our truce."

Anwyn nods. "Okay," she says. She sees Merlin’s confusion. "I mean, ‘very well’."

Merlin nods. "I will not be here. I have other things to attend to." Then, he looks down the hill. "Here comes Uther now." Anwyn looks and sees him walking up the hill. She turns to ask Merlin a question, but he’s gone.

"Where is Merlin?" Uther asks.

"Merlin sent me," Anwyn says. "Just stand there. I will take care of everything."

In the middle of the standing stones, drawing power from the earth, she begins the ritual. Her words fill her body with power. Power that she’s felt before and never felt before. And Uther begins to change. Transform. His cruel, hard face softens. His steel gray eyes change to blue. His jaw, his cheeks, his hair. All of it is different. Anwyn finishes the ritual and her body is drained. A heavy sleep fills her brain. She never knew such a simple act could be so exhausting.

And then, Uther says, "Lilith?"

Anwyn’s eyes snap open. "What did you call me?"

"Where am I?" Uther/Cornwall asks. "What am I doing here?"

Anwyn begins to panic. She looks at him, but the glamour is so complete, she cannot recognize him. Not the way she recognized Kiera or Misty or Melanie.

Uther/Cornwall looks at his hands. He touches his face. "I’m Uther," he says. "Uther Pendragon."

Anwyn guesses. "Fix?" she asks.

Uther/Cornwall’s eyes shine. "No," he says. And she recognizes the voice.

"Collins," she says. "You’re Jacob Collins."

Uther/Cornwall nods. "Yes. I am."
 

END OF PART 1

Blood Boys to Noble Knights (The Flux: Part 2)

 Something has happened to the Blood Boys. Something odd happened. The whole world changed. One moment, they were vampires living in the Twin Cities area and the next… they were somewhere in the 5th Century bumping shoulders with characters straight from Arthur’s Britain.

They’ve undergone something called “the Flux.” The entire world changed and nobody noticed. Everyone entered the new world with complete lives and memories. Only three of the Blood Boys remembered the past world and retained their memories. Roman did not. As far as he knows, the whole world has always been 5th Century Britain. And the Boys can’t find a way to change that.

Confused? Not as confused as the Blood Boys are.

What’s more, some of the folks they knew back in the Twin Cities have shown up in Britain as well. Changed just slightly—some more than others—but still familiar. Familiar strangers.

Our cast of characters includes:

  • Ben as Gwillym, a knight under Uther of Logres. Giant in stature, hideous in appearance,
  • Lee as Cysgodian of Cameliard. Leodegrance’s personal advisor and mentor to his child, Morganna,
  • Fabien as Dominic of Gaul. An Occitanian knight who has a subtle and secret agenda in Britain,
  • Dan as Gwinas of Cameliard. A devout Christian knight who serves under Leodegrance, and
  • Nick as Gideon of Trent. A godless and villainous man, the greatest knight under Uther of Logres

Our story continues…

* * *
The Boys (in their new identities) meet up in a pavilion to discuss what’s happening. With them is Ms. Lethe in her new identity, Lady Elaine.

"We have to get out of here," she says.

"What do you mean?" asks Dominic. "You mean out of this Changeling trick?"

"No," Elaine says. "Out of Britain." She looks at all of them. "Listen to me. Don’t you recognize the names? Uther? Cornwall? Igraine?"

The boys look at her blankly.

"Well, yes," Will says. "It’s Camelot."

She shakes her head. "No. It’s not. It’s before all that. And there’s going to be a war. A big, bloody war. And everyone is going to die. And it’s going to be chaos for ten years with no king. And the French are going to invade and the Vikings are going to invade and the fucking Irish are going to invade." She pauses. "No offense, Don," she says.

"None taken," he says.

"It’s the only time in British history that the Irish actually invade Britain. It’s all building to a climax right now. And it’s going to be ugly."

The Boys think about that for a while. Dominic asks, "Where do we go?"

She doesn’t hesitate. "China," she says. "They have literacy and medicine and fucking hygiene."

"What if this is it?" Dominic asks. "I mean, what if the world is just Britain? And nothing else?"

"Do you want to stay here?"

There’s a long pause. And all of the Boys look at Dominic. Finally, he says, "Let’s get together everyone we know and try to get out of here."

"What about the Dinkytown Girls?" Gwillym asks.

Cysgodian shakes his head. "No. We don’t know if they’re a part of this or not."

Gwillym frowns. "They’re just as screwed up as we are," he says. "Misty… she doesn’t even remember the past world."

Dominic nods. "I agree. We just need to find people we trust."

"I found Walker," Gwillym says. "He’s messed up, too. He said something was wrong."

"All right," Dominic says. "Let’s figure out what’s going on. Find people we know. And prepare for getting out of here."

"Oh!" Gwillym says. "I forgot. Uther and Cornwall signed a truce last night!"

Elaine’s eyes go wide. "Did Uther see Igraine?"

Gwillym shook his head. "No. She hasn’t shown up yet."

Elaine looks at Dominic. "When Uther sees Igraine, it’s all over. We need to do whatever we’re going to do before that happens."

 

* * *
 
The one person Gideon wants to find is his granddaughter. He walks the tournament looking for a familiar face.

After half a day, he sees something out of the corner of his eye. He rushes forward, pushing people out of his way. Then, he sees a young knight–about his age–with long hair and a fair face.

"Do I know you?" the knight asks.

Gideon shakes his head. "I don’t think so," he says. The eyes. This knight’s eyes. They are the same as his granddaughter’s.

The knight offers his hand. "I am Mathias," the knight says.

Mathias. Mathilda.

"Gideon of Trent," Gideon says.

"Are you certain we’ve never met before?" Mathias asks.

Gideon shakes his head again. "I’m certain."

"Very well." The young knight smiles. "Will thou be at Uther’s celebration this evening?"

Gideon’s memory rushes back into his mind. He is Uther’s greatest knight. I am Uther’s greatest knight.

"Yes," he says. "I will be."

"Then I shall see you there," Mathias says. "Well met, sir."

Gideon watches the knight walk away.

Mathias. Mathilda.

 

 * * *
"There’s another problem," Gwillym tells Dominic. "That Finger guy is here."

"That’s impossible," Dominic says. "He’s dead."

"No," Gwillym says. "Lilith–I mean, Anwyn told me that Finger is a French lady. And she’s–I mean, he’s–I mean, I mean Finger is here."

"A French lady?" Dominic asks. "From Gaul?"

Gwyllim nods. "I think so. Her name is French. It means ‘little finger’ or something like that."

Dominic’s eyes go dark. "Auriculaire?" he asks.

Gwyllim lights up. "Yeah! That’s it!"

Dominic covers his eyes with his hand. "Merde," he whispers. Then, he looks at Gwillym. "That’s my sister."

 

* * *
All this time, Cysgodian has been testing things. If he can remember who he was, can he still do the things he used to do?

Walking through the pavilions, he tries to vanish. He does.

He tries using his Mekhet sight. He does.

Excellent.

He arrives at the Duke of Cornwall’s pavilion. His young student, Cornwall’s daughter Morganna, is there.

"You look different," she tells him.

"In what way?" he asks.

"I do not know," she says. "Just different."

The Duke of Cornwall enters. Cysgodian bows. "My Lord," he says.

"I am sorry I made the decision without you," the Duke says. "I know I should have talked to you first. But the moment was there." He touches Cysgodian’s shoulder. "I will never make that mistake again."

"I hope not, sir."

The Duke leaves the room. Morganna tugs on Cysgodian’s robe. "Will Merlin be there?" she asks. "At the party?"

"I suspect he will."

"What is he like?" she asks.

Cysgodian considers his answer. Then, he says, "Never let him touch you."
 

* * *
At Uther’s celebration, all the greatest knights in the world gather. Leodegrance is there. Uriens is there. Melodias and his son, young Tristan are there. And, of course, the Duke of Cornwall is there. And with him is his wife, Lady Igraine.

All the knights look upon her. Their eyes grow wide. Their jaws fall slack.

The Most Beautiful Woman in the World has entered the room. And everything changes.

Uther looks upon her…

… and the knights know their time to escape is running out.

Blood Boys to Noble Knights (The Flux: Part 1)

Something has happened to the Blood Boys. Something odd happened. The whole world changed. One moment, they were vampires living in the Twin Cities area and the next… they were somewhere in the 5th Century bumping shoulders with characters straight from Arthur’s Britain.

They’ve undergone something called “the Flux.” The entire world changed and nobody noticed. Everyone entered the new world with complete lives and memories. Only three of the Blood Boys remembered the past world and retained their memories. Roman did not. As far as he knows, the whole world has always been 5th Century Britain. And the Boys can’t find a way to change that.

Confused? Not as confused as the Blood Boys are.

What’s more, some of the folks they knew back in the Twin Cities have shown up in Britain as well. Changed just slightly—some more than others—but still familiar. Familiar strangers.

Our cast of characters includes:
Ben as Gwillym, a knight under Uther of Logres. Giant in stature, hideous in appearance,
Lee as Cysgodian of Cameliard. Leodegrance’s personal advisor and mentor to his child, Morganna,
Fabien as Dominic of Gaul. An Occitanian knight who has a subtle and secret agenda in Britain,
Dan as Gwinas of Cameliard. A devout Christian knight who serves under Leodegrance, and
Nick as Gideon of Trent. A godless and villainous man, the greatest knight under Uther of Logres

Our story begins…

* * *

… in a tent. Dominic’s eyes are closed and he feels a woman’s lips on his own. He opens them. Standing before him is Ms. Lethe… but not Ms. Lethe. She screams. He steps back.

"Where are we? What’s happened?" she asks.

"I don’t know." He looks around. He’s wearing some sort of mideival clothing. So is she. He nods. "This is another Changeling trick," he says. "Like the cockroaches."

He calms Lethe down. Together, they agree they are in some kind of strange waking dream. "We have to find a way out of here," she says.

Just then, all the memories of their current lives rush into their heads, pushing past memories out. Lethe and Dominic try to hold on to who they were. They look at each other. "Do you remember?" he asks. She nods. She remembers. He tells her, "We have to find the others. Maybe together, we can get out of this."

She nods and rushes to push aside the tent flap. She sees the sun and falls back… but she is not burned. Her eyes go wide. "The sun," she whispers. "Oh my god, Don. Look at it."

He comes to the flap in the tent. He looks out. The two of them look at each other. Heartbeats. Warm skin. Dominic closes the tent flap and takes her into his arms.

* * *

"Who are you?" Cysgodian asks.

"Gideon," Gideon tells him. "Of Trent."

"That’s cute," Cysgodian says.

"Weren’t you _____________?" Gideon asks.

Cysgodian nods. "I was. And you were Trent, right?"

Gideon nods. "Yeah."

"Just making sure." Cysgodian looks around. "Where are we?"

"I don’t know." Gideon looks around for a pistol. He dosn’t find one. He finds a sword and picks it up.

Cysgodian points at the sword on Gideon’s belt. "You already have one of those," he says.

Gideon looks at the sword on his belt and the sword in his hand. "I’ve got two hands," he says.

"We have to find the others," Cysgodian tells him.

Gideon nods. "Let’s go."

The two of them leave the tent.

 

* * *

Gwinas sits on his horse. He looks down at his squire. His squire looks terrified.

"My shield," Gwinas says.

His squire looks about him. His hands are shaking. "Where am I?" he asks.

"You are standing beside me and you are holding my shield," Gwinas tells him. "This is no time to lose your nerve, boy."

The squire, no more than twelve, looks up at the knight. He lifts the shield–the wrong way. Gwinas takes the shield and turns it. "Hand it to me this way next time," he says.

The squire nods. He looks like he may break out in tears at any moment.

Across the field, another knight waits. The flag falls. Gwinas kicks his horse. The two men race at each other. Gwinas’ lance strikes true and knocks the man off his horse, flipping head over heels. He lands flat on his face. Out cold.

When the man recovers, Gwinas is there. "You joust well, sir knight," he says.

"You mock me," the knight tells him.

"Christ has taught me humility," Gwinas says. "No such action would be possible from me."

Gwinas lifts the knight to his feet and helps him back to his horse. When he is sure the man is well, he returns to his squire. "Help me back to my pavilion," he says.

Gwinas’ squire takes the shield and lances… his hands quivering.

 

* * *
 

Gwillym remembers last night. The feast. The truce. He is smiling as he walks.

"I’m a knight," he says to himself. "I’m a knight."

"Good sir knight?" a voice from behind him asks. Gwillym turns. He sees a knight he recognizes… somewhat. He must have seen him last night. Yes!

"You were the knight sitting with Misty!" he says.

The knight tilts his head. "Pardon?"

"Uh… I mean… um. What’s her name? You were at the party last night!"

The knight nods. "Aye. I was at the truce."

"What’s your name?"

The knight extends his hand. "I am…"

He pauses. His eyes flutter. Then, he reaches out and grabs Gwillym by the shoulders.

"Will!" he shouts. "It’s me! Walker! I can’t contr–something’s wr…"

Then, the knight’s eyes refocus. "Very well, Sir Gwillym. It was good to meet you again.

Gwillym watches as the knight walks away, lost in the crowd.

END OF PART 1

Changeling to Pendragon (The Flux: Episode 1) (Cont.)

When we last saw the Glamour Girls… well, something odd happened. The whole world changed. One moment, they were Changelings living in the Twin Cities area and the next… they were somewhere in the 5th Century bumping shoulders with characters straight from Arthur’s Britain.

They’ve undergone something called “the Flux.” The entire world changed and nobody noticed. Everyone entered the new world with complete lives and memories. Only three of the Girls remembered the past world and retained their memories. Misty did not. As far as she knows, the whole world has always been 5th Century Britain. And the Girls can’t find a way to change that.

Confused? Not as confused as the Girls are.

What’s more, some of the folks they knew back in the Twin Cities have shown up in Britain as well. Changed just slightly—some more than others—but still familiar. Familiar strangers.

Our cast of characters includes:

  •   as Brangaine, a Cornish lady married to a Christian knight having an affair with a Pagan knight;
  •   as Anwyn, an Enchantress of Britain and apprentice under the Great Enchanter, Merlin;
  •   as Terrwyn, the Cambrian lady who disguises herself as a man to participate in tournaments; and
  •   as Ysbail, the Norman lady with merchant contacts in both Britain and the continent.
  • And, tonight, a special guest.   as Sir Gwillym.
* * *

Barnabas begins his joust. Unfortunately, it does not go well. Not only is he thrown from his horse, but he is horribly injured as well. The Ladies rush down to check on him. Brangaine helps her husband back to his feet and moves him back to their pavilion. However, that means she misses her lover, Sebastian, in his joust immediately afterward.

(In Pendragon terms, she had to make a Loyalty/Love check. Awesome.)

Elsewhere, Terrwyn meets up with a strange man in rags and feathers. His robe jingles as he walks, the baubles making him sound like a junk band. He is paper thin and carries a long staff. At the end of the staff is an intricately carved dragon.

"Who is this?" the man asks. He looks over Terrwyn with his crystal blue eye and his blood red eye.

"Merlin?" she asks.

"The very same!" he says, bowing slightly. "And who are you?"

Terrwyn lies. "Terryn," she says.

Merlin smiles. Then, he sees the ring on her finger. "And what is this?"

Terrwyn shakes her head. "I’ve never seen that before. How did that get there?"

Merlin laughs. "Fate," he says. Then, he wanders away. He wanders away into Anwyn.

"I hear you have been looking for me," Merlin tells her.

Anwyn nods. "Yes," she says. She checks for a "Lord Strange" ring on his fingers. He has none. "Damn, it isn’t him," she mutters to herself.

"And exactly who am I not?" Merlin asks.

"Oh, nothing," Anwyn says.

"I need you to do something for me," Merlin tells her. "I need you to go to the Duke of Cornwall’s pavilion and convince him to accept Uther’s invitation to dinner this evening.

"All right," Anwyn says. The hesitation in her voice makes Merlin frown.

"Do whatever you need to do to convince him," Merlin says. Then, he looks at her with his burning red eye. "Anything. You understand?"

She nods. "I understand."

* * *

After Barnabas is put down to rest, after his wounds are healed, Brangaine sneaks off to Sebastian’s tent. He’s there, waiting for her.

"You weren’t at the joust," he says.

"I had to tend to Barnabas," she tells him. "He’s a good man. A good husband."

"You are lucky," Sebastian says, removing his armor. "Many arrangements such as your marriage end sadly."

"He’s a good man," she says again. "He cares for me. But ours was only a political marriage."

"He still does not know you have a lover?" Sebastian asks.

She shakes her head. "No," she says. "It is best that way."

He steps toward her. "I have a present for you." He lifts a veil from a cage. Inside the cage is a white raven. "I trapped it while hunting."

She smiles. "It’s beautiful."

"That is why I got it for you," he says. He touches her face. "You are so beautiful."

He kisses her. And they don’t stop there.

* * *

In Cornwall’s pavilion, Anwyn sees the Duke for the first time. He’s a handsome man. A strong man. He speaks with a voice that makes you want to follow him.

"The invitation did not come from Uther," Cornwall says. 

Anwyn shakes her head. "No. Merlin would like you to attend."

"I am sure he does," Cornwall says. 

Just then, another woman enters the room. All the fires burn brighter. Anwyn looks at her and sees her perfect hair, her perfect eyes, her perfect skin. Deep inside, Lilith thinks, She looks Photoshopped.

"Igraine, my wife," Cornwall says. 

Igraine looks at Anwyn. "Has Merlin sent another of his whores?"

Anwyn stands still, completely shocked.

"My wife," Cornwall begins. She interrupts him.

"Send her away. We want nothing to do with that wizard." Then, she leaves. The room grows a little darker.

Anwyn tries to smile. "Merlin says the meeting is most important. He hopes you will attend."

Cornwall nods. "I will see what I can do."

* * *

Later that night, Cerddwr escorts Terrwyn to Uther’s party. When he sees her, he is startled. "You are more beautiful than your cousin said," he tells her. She doesn’t know what to say to that.

"Have you hear the rumor of ladies dressing up as men to compete in the tournament?" he asks.
She stumbles a step. "I have," she says.

"If a woman were to do such a thing, she must come up with a clever disguise," he tells her. "Most women just tuck their hair up under a cap and wear trousers and call themselves ‘a cousin’ or some other nonsense."

Terrwyn shakes her head. "Shameful," she says.

"If she were caught," he tells her, "it could ruin her reputation."

Terrwyn looks up at Cerddwr. Her eyes narrow.

"Unless she was discovered by a man who was sympathetic to her cause. And could help her better hide her identity next time."

Her eyes lessen their glare. 

"Look," he says. "We are here." And the two of them enter Uther’s pavilion.

* * *

 

All the Ladies are present. Brangaine arrives with her husband. Anwyn arrives with Merlin. Ysbail arrives with Sir Gwillym. And Terrwyn arrives with Sir Cerddwr.

At the meal, Uther shows himself for the first time. The man is built like a fort. His head is shaved, his beard is short. He wears dull clothes and his eyes are keen. He looks like he was pulled from a forge by a blacksmith.

He sits on one end of the table. Cornwall sits on the other. The Ladies notice that Cornwall has not brought his wife with him.

"I am glad you accepted my invitation, Cornwall," Uther says. He looks at the other guests. "I am glad because I want to offer you a chance at peace."

Cornwall smiles. "For years, you have tried invading my lands, Uther. What makes you think I will trust you this time?"

Uther looks at Merlin. Merlin nods. "I offer you all the lands to the west of the river," he says. "No Logres man will cross that river without your permission."

Cornwall laughs. "And what sacrifice must I make to accept such a peace?"

"Call me King," Uther says. "And we shall have peace."

Cornwall looks across the table at Uther. A long moment of silence between them.

Then, Gorlois, the Duke of Cornwall says, "Very well. I accept your peace."

Uther says, "Then say it."

Cornwall nods. "Uther," he says. "The Pendragon."

A tense silence breaks in the room. Everyone realizes they have not been breathing.

And just then, sitting between two powerful men–one on the east side of the river and one on the west side of the river–Terrwyn’s memories rush back into her head. Misty. Bess. Lady Fate. Her mother’s murder. Her abduction in Arcadia. Walker. The coffin. Mister Finger. 

All of it.

She catches her breath. Cerddwr touches her hand with his gloved hand. "Are you ill, my Lady?" he asks.

She shakes her head. A single tear rolls down her cheek. She doesn’t know what to say.

Uther shouts, "Let us feast to peace!"

The other guests shout as well. The men remove their gloves.

Cerddwr takes off his. And Terrwyn sees, on his left hand, the ring of Lord Strange.

 

Changeling to Pendragon (The Flux: Episode 1)

When we last saw the Glamour Girls… well, something odd happened. The whole world changed. One moment, they were Changelings living in the Twin Cities area and the next… they were somewhere in the 5th Century bumping shoulders with characters straight from Arthur’s Britain.

They’ve undergone something called “the Flux.” The entire world changed and nobody noticed. Everyone entered the new world with complete lives and memories. Only three of the Girls remembered the past world and retained their memories. Misty did not. As far as she knows, the whole world has always been 5th Century Britain. And the Girls can’t find a way to change that.

Confused? Not as confused as the Girls are.

What’s more, some of the folks they knew back in the Twin Cities have shown up in Britain as well. Changed just slightly—some more than others—but still familiar. Familiar strangers.

Our cast of characters includes:

  •   as Brangaine, a Cornish lady married to a Christian knight having an affair with a Pagan knight;
  •   as Anwyn, an Enchantress of Britain and apprentice under the Great Enchanter, Merlin;
  •   as Terrwyn, the Cambrian lady who disguises herself as a man to participate in tournaments; and
  •   as Ysbail, the Norman lady with merchant contacts in both Britain and the continent.
  • And, tonight, a special guest.   as Sir Gwillym.
* * *

Still a little shaken from the Flux, Brangaine (Kiera) and Anwyn (Lilith) talk about the changes they’ve seen. Many familiar faces in new roles.

“Have you seen Walker?” Anwyn asks.

Brangaine shakes her head. “I haven’t,” she says. “I don’t even know where he might be.”

Brangaine looks at her husband’s crest on his shield. A tower and boar. Barnabas. In the old world, he was a father figure. Now, in this world, he’s her husband. A kind, gentle man who adores her.

“Barnabas is your husband,” Anwyn says. “Is that weird?”

“It depends on which brain I think with,” Brangaine says.

Anwyn sighs. Then, she asks, “Have you seen Merlin?”

Brangaine thinks about that question. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen Merlin.”

“I have,” Anwyn says. “I’m his apprentice.” She frowns. “Part of me is remembering that I’ve never seen Merlin ever do any magic.”

“Isn’t he supposed to be the greatest magician in the world?” Brangaine asks.

Anwyn nods. “But I’ve never seen him do any magic. He always has one of his apprentices do it.”

Just then, Ysbail (Melanie) rushes into the room. “OMG!” she shouts. “Guys, I met Mister Finger!”

The blood rushes from the Ladies’ faces. Anwyn asks, “Where?”

“She’s a lady!” Ysbail says. “I mean, he’s a lady. From France.” Ysbail thinks for a moment. “She was really sweet.”

Anwyn’s eyes almost pop from her head. “No!” she says. “He’s not sweet! He’s a monster! And he wasn’t supposed to Flux into the new world!”

Sir Barnabas of Cornwall enters the tent. He needs to duck when he enters. “Is there a problem, my wife?” he asks. “I heard shouting.”

Brangaine shakes her head. “No, sweetie. Everything is okay.”

Barnabas looks at her, confused. “Oh-kay?”

Anwyn steps up. “Everything is fine. Just fine.” Barnabas nods and leaves the room. Anwyn turns to Brangaine. “We have to stop saying that word,” she says.

* * *

Meanwhile, on the other side of the tournament, Terrwyn is dressed in trousers. She tucks her red hair under a cap, dons clothes too big for her and brings her bow to the archery tournament.

Of course, she wins. The crowd cheers. The other men—“other men”—scowl. The champion from last year’s tournament gives her the prize: a white bow carved from the wood of a sacred tree.

Terrwyn bows as she takes the prize. The man holds on to the bow for an extra moment, looking at her with piercing eyes.

“Your name, sir?” he asks.

Terrwyn says, “Terryn.”

He nods, still holding on to the bow. “Who is your liege?” he asks.

Terrwyn says, “The Lady Terrwyn. From the Cambrian Isles.”

The man nods again. He smiles. “Tell your Lady I would like to have dinner with her tonight.”

Terrwyn frowns at him. “Your name?” she asks.

“Cerddwr,” he says. “Of London.”

He releases the bow. She steps back. “I will let her know,” he says. “But she is very busy.”

“I want to tell her a secret,” he says. Smiling.

Terrwyn backs away, her prize in her hands.

* * *

The other Ladies go to watch the jousts. Brangaine wants to watch two knights in particular: her husband Barnabas and her secret lover, Sir Sebastian.

But before either of them joust, a young knight named Gwillym sits on a horse, waiting for his opponent to be ready.

Gwillym looks around him. Just a moment ago, his name was Will. He was sitting in a bar, talking to a bartender. Detective Walker told him to wait there. And now, just as Walker leaves the bar, Gwillym is here, on a horse, with a lance in his hand.

All the memories of his new life spill into his brain. Ahead of him, his opponent signals he is ready. Behind him, his squire slaps the horse’s behind. Gwillym’s horse rushes forward. And Gwillym does all he can to hold on.

The lances crash. Gwillym’s lance strikes the other knight solid, nearly knocking him from his horse. His opponent’s lance strikes Gwillym hard. He falls, but catches himself at the last moment, his foot caught in the stirrup. Then, as the horse continues his ride, Gwillym falls to the ground.

Dazed, he looks up at the sun. His opponent rides to him.

“Sir knight,” his opponent says. “You joust very well. I cannot accept this as a clean victory. I insist we make another pass.”

Gwillym’s head is in a fog. “Another pass? Yes. Of course,” he says.

“I must know your name,” his opponent says. Gwillym tells him. He asks the same in return.

“Uriens,” the knight says. He drops his lance down, offering it to the fallen knight. Gwillym takes the lance and lifts himself up.

The knights have another pass.

This time, Gwillym’s lance shatters and slams a large piece of wood in his shoulder. He falls. His opponent is also knocked from his horse. The two knights lay still for a moment. Then, Uriens pushes himself up and sees to his wounded opponent.

“Sir,” he says. “I do believe another pass would not benefit either of us.”

Gwillym, in pain, nods. “I yield,” he says.

Uriens shakes his head. “We were both unhorsed,” he says. “Come, let me take you to my pavilion so my healers can treat your wound.”

Gwillym nods and accepts his aid. As he does, he looks out to the audience. He sees the Ladies. He sees Anwyn. He sees Brangaine.

And then he sees Ysbail. Will sees Melanie.

Ysbail rushes out to the field. Her friends follow her. She looks to Anwyn. “Can you cure his wound?” Anwyn says that she can. Ysbail holds his hand. And then, his helmet comes off.

A deep, ugly scar cuts across his face from the back of his scalp. One eye is milk white. His mouth is curled into a scowl. Ysbail’s eyes flutter with surprise.

“Come,” Uriens says. “I will have your wounds cured.”

Gwillym goes with Uriens. The Ladies stay to watch Barnabas joust.

END OF PART 1

Changeling, Episode 20

As the Prince drives away, the Girls start discussing what to do. They have a contract with the Prince of Minneapolis and now they’re starting to think about having a contract with the Prince of St. Paul.

“He’s always been fair with us,” Lilith says.

“But a contract binds all vampires,” Misty says.

The Girls think about that for a while. But, it’s late. Time for bed.

Misty turns to Lilith. “Do you want to look at the mansion?”

Melanie asks, “The crime scene mansion?”

“I think the lady who owned it was my mom,” Misty says.

“Then I’m going with you,” Lilith says. Melanie agrees.

Kiera tells the others she’s going to sleep. After they leave, she asks a few birds where the limousine went. “To the scary building,” they tell her. So, she heads off to the Cathedral.

She climbs up to one of the higher windows and picks the lock. When she enters, she feels an overwhelming sense of dread. Like a cat pounced on her.

She looks around the upper rooms. She pockets a few items. Then, when she comes out to the corridor, Jacob Collins is there. Waiting for her.

* * *

Meanwhile, across town, the other Girls drive up to Elaine Tennyson’s home. There’s a gate and a long driveway that leads up to the house. The Girls break the lock on the gate and drive up to the house.

“There’s a garage,” Melanie says. “If your mom had a big house, maybe she has a bunch of cool cars, too.”

The Girls break into the garage. Inside, they find eight cars and a motorcycle. A Jaguar. A Mercedes. A…

“Hold it right there!”

They all turn and see a tall man with an M16 machine gun. They raise their hands. The man recognizes Misty. “I’m sorry,” he says. “I didn’t recognize you.”

Misty smiles. “It’s okay.”

“Did you forget your code again?” he asks.

She nods. “Yeah. Sorry.”

He asks for a new code and reprograms the security system. “There you go,” he says. “Don’t forget it this time, okay?”

“Okay.”

The Girls head up to the house. They use the new code to get into the door. Misty checks out the library.

* * *

Kiera looks at the Prince. “I was checking out your church,” she says.

“I just signed a contract with you,” he says. “And you break into my home and steal my possessions.”

Kiera shrugs. “The contract doesn’t say anything about stealing.”

The Prince… smiles. “Yes. I suppose you’re right.” Then he asks, “Would you like to come downstairs into the Cathedral proper?”

Kiera tilts her head. “Sure,” she says.

They walk downstairs. In the Cathedral, she says many figures in red robes. “I’m afraid you disrupted a ritual,” the Prince tells her.

“Can I watch?” she asks.

“I’m afraid it is rather a private ritual.”

“Oh,” Kiera says. “One of those.”

“We could make you a part of it,” he says.

She shakes her head. “No,” she tells him. “I’d better go.”

“Very well,” he says. “Come back any time.” He pauses. “Oh, and please leave the things you stole.”

Kiera empties her pockets, smiles and leaves the front door.

* * *

Misty is looking for anything that will trigger a memory. She walks into the woman’s bedroom and smells perfume. Nothing. She looks at pictures and dresses in the closet. Nothing.

Lilith is in the library. She looks at this book and that. Then, she sees a woman opening a secret panel. The woman disappears.

“Misty!” Lilith screams.

Misty and Melanie rush downstairs. Lilith points at the secret passage. “Yeah,” Misty says. “I know about that.”

“But a ghost was here,” she says. “She opened the door.”

Misty opens the secret passage. Only Lilith sees the woman standing at the end of the small chamber pointing at the wall. She tells the other Girls. They close the door. A black light turns on, showing them a symbol that Lilith and Misty have seen before.

“The Tree of Life,” Misty says.

“Why would she point that out to us?” Lilith asks. “I don’t understand.”

* * *

Kiera returns to the coffee shop. Jack is there drinking coffee with someone Kiera has never seen before.

“Hi,” the woman says. “My name is Mathilda.”

Kiera sees Mathilda’s Seeming. “You’re a changeling,” she says.

Mathilda nods. “I’ve been living in St. Paul for ten years. I never knew you were here.” She nods at Jack. “Until I met him.”

“I brought her here,” he says.

Kiera nods. “Good. We need more of us. Too many vampires.” She looks around. “Have you seen Barnabas or Sebastian?” she asks.

Jack nods. “They went out to get a drink.” He smiles. “Male bondin’ or some foolishness like that.” He points at the bar. “They left ya a note.”

Kiera looks at the note. She calls a bird. “Go find Barnabas,” she says. The bird flies away.

* * *

Back at the house, the Girls are looking at the rune on the wall.

Misty says, “I want you guys to bring up Bess. Maybe she remembers some of this.”

The other Girls don’t think that’s a good idea, but Misty insists.

Lilith says, “Rumplestiltskin.”

Misty’s face darkens with confusion. “Where—where am I?”

And that’s when something in Lilith’s pocket clicks… clicks… clicks…

Bells and thunder. A hundred thousand churches and a hundred thousand lightning strikes.

“Oh no,” she says. “Oh no!”

The other Girls look at her. “What?”

“Can’t you hear it?” she asks. She can barely hear her own voice though the clamour.

“Hear what?” Bess asks. “Where am I?”

“Rumplestiltskin,” Lilith says, shouting over the sound in her ears.

“Why are you shouting?” Melanie asks.

Lilith looks at Bess. Nothing’s happened.

“Rumplestiltskin!” she shouts again.

“Why are you saying that?” Bess asks.

Melanie and Lilith look at each other. Lilith grabs Bess. “We have to get out of here.”

Lilith starts dragging Bess out of the house. Melanie runs after them. “Where are we going?” she asks.

“We have to get Kiera,” she says. “And Walker.” She looks at the watch. “And we don’t have any time.”

Her phone buzzes. It’s Walker.

“Where are you?” he asks.

“At the Tennyson house,” she says. “Where are you?”

“Nowhere near there,” he says. “It’s started.”

“I know!” She can’t hear anything anymore. She just shouts through the noise. “Where can we meet?”

She hears “cathedral” on the other end of the line. She shouts into the phone, “We’ll meet you there!”

She hands the phone to Melanie. “Call the coffee shop. Have Kiera bring all the changelings to the cathedral!”

Lilith sees Melanie’s lips ask, “Why?”

Lilith looks at Bess. Her terrified tears roll down her cheeks. She holds on to Bess’s hand and says to Melaine…

“Because the world is about to die.”

* * *

Across town, Kiera’s birds find Sebastian and Barnabas. Kiera steps into the bar. The two men sit in a corner, drinking beers.

“Beer is good,” Sebastian says.

Barnabas laughs. “But not as good as coffee.”

Kiera steps up to the booth. “What are you two doing here?”

“Bonding!” Sebastian says with a smile.

Kiera shrugs. “Both Walker and Lilith called me. They said we have to get to the Cathedral right away.”

Barnabas shakes his head. “Why?”

“I don’t know,” she says. “Something about the end of the world.”

Barnabas and Sebastian laugh. “Sit down,” Sebastian says. “Sit here next to me.”

Kiera does. He puts his arm around her. “Stay a while. You don’t need to go anywhere.”

Kiera feels the Wolf’s arm around her. He’s large and strong and warm. Like a nest. She smiles.

* * *

At the Cathedral, the other Girls begin hearing the sound. Bells and thunder.

“What is that?” Melanie asks.

Lilith doesn’t hear her. She looks around. Where are they?

Another car pulls up. Walker jumps out. “We’ve got seconds left!” he says. He reaches out. “Hold hands!”

Before she takes anybody by the hand, Melanie takes out a pen and starts writing things on her arm.

“What’s that?” Walker asks.

“Phone numbers,” she says. “I don’t want to forget them.”

Walker looks at Misty. “Misty, are you okay?”

“Who is Misty?” Bess asks.

Walker’s eyes fill up with tears and understanding. He reaches out with his hand. Their rings touch.

And at that moment, Bess and Misty see each other. They know each other. They are each other.

The clamor around them thrashes their bodies. It rips at their grip, trying to tear them apart. And just when the sound is too much…

… standing in a tent. The smell of grass and recent rain. There are voices outside.

The Girls look at each other. Lilith, Melanie and Bess/Misty. But they aren’t.

Lilith asks, “Where did Walker go?”

Bess/Misty cocks her head. “Who?”

Lilith looks down at herself. Her body is smaller. She wears a dress made of cotton and wool. Her skin is lighter. Pale. She… she…

“My name is Anwyn,” she says.

“Why am I here?” Bess/Misty asks.

The three Girls are still holding hands. Anwyn/Lilith’s head is full of memories. Memories of learning in the woods. Memories of blessing the water. Memories of…

“I’m blessing you,” Anwyn/Lilith says. “For luck in the joust.”

Bess/Misty nods. She wears black armor. She carries a sword. She wears no heraldry on her armor. That way, the men will not know she’s a woman.

“I’m blessing you,” Anwyn says again. “Lady Terrwyn.”

Lady Terrwyn nods. “Are you finished?” she asks.

“I am,” Anwyn says.

Terrwyn salutes her. “Thank you,” she says. And Anwyn sees that Terrwyn still wears Lady Fate’s ring.

When Terrwyn leaves the tent, Anwyn looks at Melanie. “Melanie?” she asks.

Melanie nods. “What happened?”

Lilith tells her. “The world ended. It became something else.”

Melanie asks, “Who is Ysbail? Why do I know everything about her?”

“You are Ysbail,” Lilith says. “Ysbail of Leon.” She gestures at herself. “And I’m Anwyn.”

Melanie looks at Lilith. “You’re a witch?”

Lilith shakes her head. “No. I’m an Enchantress. I’m a pagan priestess.”

Melanie looks confused. “I’m confused,” she says.

Lilith sits her down. “The world ended,” she says. “And was born again. A new world. And we’re these people in this new world.”

“We have their memories and everything?”

Lilith nods. “Yes. We are them. They’re us.”

“When did this happen?”

“Apparently, it happens all the time.”

Melanie points out the doorway of the tent. “What happened to Misty?”

Lilith shakes her head. “She doesn’t remember the old world. All she remembers is this one.”

“Maybe that’s a good thing,” Melanie says.

Just then, Lilith stands up. “Oh my gosh!” she says. “We forgot all about Kiera!”

* * *

“You don’t look well, my wife,” Barnabas says.

Kiera looks at Barnabas with wide eyes. “Did you say ‘wife?’”

“Was I supposed to say something else?”

In a tent elsewhere, Sir Barnabas and his wife, the Lady Brangaine sit with their lunch.

“Wait a second,” Kiera says. “This is weird.”

“You are not well,” Barnabas says. “Let me fetch an apothecary.”

Kiera shakes her head. “No, no. I’m okay.”

Barnabas looks confused. “Okay, my wife? What manner of foreign tongue is that?”

Kiera’s temper starts to boil. “I’m all right. I’m…” she pauses. “I’m… Lady Bragaine.”

“You aren’t well,” Barnabas says. “I will fetch an apothecary.”

Kiera tries to protest, but he sits her down in the bed and leaves the tent.

A few moments later, he returns. With the Enchantress Anwyn.

“She says she is well, but I think she is ill,” Barnabas tells Anwyn.

Anwyn nods. “Leave me alone with your wife for a moment,” she says. Barnabas nods and leaves.

“What’s going on?” Kiera asks. “What happened?”

Slowly, Anwyn explains the story again.

Kiera/Bragaine nods. “Okay. Then who am I? Kiera or Bragaine?”

Anwyn smiles a shaky smile. “Both,” she says.

“Where’s everyone else?” Bragaine asks.

“Melanie’s with me. Misty doesn’t remember the old world. She only remembers who she is here.”

“Where’s Walker?”

Anwyn shakes her head. “I don’t know.”

* * *

In her black armor, Lady Terrwyn sits upon her horse. Lance in hand, she looks down the field at the knight who faces her.

The herald announces the next joust for today. “Here,” he says, pointing at the knight on the other side, “is a young knight! His first joust! The fair and strong son of Sir Ector. Sir Kay!”

The crowd cheers a little.

The herald points at Lady Terrwyn. “And here stands ready to joust is his opponent! The unknown… black knight!”

The crowd cheers a little.

The two riders salute each other. They kick their horses and rush forward.

When the lances crash, Sir Kay is downed but the black knight remains in the saddle.

“The winner! The unknown… black knight!”

The crowd cheers a little more. Under her helmet, Lady Terrwyn breathes a little easier.

* * *

Ysbail of Leon returns to her tent at the tournament. Her eyes show more than a little confusion.

“Madame,” her servant says. “A Lady here to see you. From France. She says she has business with you.”

Ysbail enters the tent. A slight, slender woman sits. Her face is sharp and beautiful. Her skin is pale and smooth. She stands and courtseys.

“I am sorry,” Ysbail says. “But I do not know you.”

The Lady bows her head. “It is true,” she says. Her accent is thick and difficult to manage.

“I speak French,” Ysbail says.

“Merci,” the Lady says. She continues in her native tongue. “Your family has had dealings with my husband. But, he has been killed and I have taken up the duties of the household.”

“I am sorry to hear it,” Ysbail says. Then, Ysbail remembers that she’s Melanie. A changeling from the Twin Cities. She doesn’t know any French.

“Stay focused,” she says to herself. And Ysbail’s memories converge in her mind, eclipsing Melanie’s. She speaks French again. “What was your husband’s name?”

“Bouyant of Champaigne,” she says.

Ysbail remembers the man. Tall, handsome. Strong. “A shame,” she says. “An honest shame to lose a husband so young.”

The Lady nods. “I hope our families can continue our trade,” she says.

Ysbail smiles. “I’m sure we can.”

The Lady stands. “I must leave,” she says. “I have others to notify of my husband’s passing.”

“What was your name?” Ysbail asks.

The Lady pauses at the door. “Auriculaire,” she says. She blushes. “A nickname my father gave me when I was young. I’m afraid it has remained with me all these years.”

Ysbail smiles and pours herself some wine. It is only after a few moments that the cup slips from her fingers and smashes to the ground.

Auriculaire.

“little finger.”

Blood Boys, Episode 9

(Because Adidas_Fiend was in Aruba this week, he was not present. Thus, there will be no Roman this game.)

In the nightclub, after talking to Mr. Clay about the symbolic importance of the Cathedral, Don turns to Will and says, “Let’s talk about your girlfriend.”

Will shifts in his seat. “I don’t see why we have to,” he says.

Don asks, “How far is this going to go?”

“You mean third base?”

Don sits for a moment in silence. Then, he says, “No. Not third base. You are going to parties. When did you get a personal life?”

“I had a personal life!” Will protests. “I have four characters on WoW at level 60!”

“This is dangerous,” Don tells him. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to insist that you put an end to it.”

Will shakes his head. “Look. It’s not dangerous. It’s just hanging out, you know. I’m not endangering the Masquerade or…”

“WILL!!!” the petite blonde in the tight leather pants shouts, nearly spilling her drink all over her baby tee. She rushes over and hugs him. She looks at the others. “Is this a party? Can I join?”

Before Will or Don or _________________ can say anything, she jumps in Don’s lap. “I’m Daphne!” she says.

“You know her?” Don asks Will. Daphne is already texting Melanie.

HEY GF! I W/UR WEERD BOI!

“Of course he does, silly!” Daphne says. “We hang out all the time.”

Don asks her, “You mean with Melanie? Will’s girlfriend?”

Daphne laughs. “Melanie has a lot of boyfriends,” she says.

Don looks at Will. Will lowers his eyes.

_________________ says to her, “Come here, Daphne.” She obeys. He walks her down to the bathroom. She follows him. When he drinks her blood, she forgets and wanders away. _________________ returns to the others. “We don’t have to worry about her anymore.”

Don’s phone buzzes. It’s Trent. “He shot Laura,” Trent says over the phone.

“What?” Don asks.

“He shot Laura,” he tells him. “But he’s dead now.”

“Who?” Don asks. “Trent. Are you all right? Who’s Laura?”

“He shot her,” Trent says.

“I’m sending someone to get you,” Don says, looking at Will. “You’d better go get him. He sounds like he’s been drugged or something.” Then, he talks to Trent again. “Listen. Meet Will by the West Dinkytown Bridge.”

Will grabs his messenger bag and heads to the stairway leading up to the roof.

* * *

Meanwhile, across town, Trent makes his way to the Bridge. On foot. When he gets within a few blocks, he notices someone is following him. He dodges into a dead-end alleyway. He waits.

A slim figure in a heavy coat steps in front of the alleyway. Trent squints to see who it is. Then, he decides he doesn’t care. He pulls out his gun and fires. A shot at the leg.

The bullet hits its target, makes the sound of metal on metal, ricochets into a wall. With a woman’s voice, he figure at the end of the alleyway says, “Thank you for shooting first. It means I won’t break the contract.”

She drops her overcoat. The armor under it lights up the alleyway with a brilliant blue. She draws a sword two times bigger than she is. She screams a warrior’s cry and rushes into the alleyway.

Trent fires again. Another ricochet. She slices him with the sword making a deep wound that bleeds blue fire. He turns the pistol in his hand and smashes it into her face. The move catches her off guard for a moment and he rips the helmet off with his left hand, thrusting the barrel of the pistol against her naked forehead.

And he stops. The woman’s face is almost identical to the little girl he saw murdered not an hour ago. Same eyes. Same hair. Same…

She slams the sword into his belly. Trent has never felt such pain. He falls to his knees. He looks up at her.

“Laura?” he asks.

She shakes her head. “Laura is my mother’s name.” She twists the sword in his belly and he writhes. “That’s for dirtying my mother’s name with your vampire lips.”

She kicks Trent to the ground. She puts her foot on his chest.

“Laura?” he asks. “He shot you. He killed you.”

“Too bad for you he didn’t,” she says. She raises the sword.

Up above her, Will shouts down, “Mathilda? Is that you?”

The woman in the armor looks up. “Will?” she asks.

“Don’t hurt him!” Will says, jumping down from the rooftop. “Please! Don’t hurt him!”

She looks down at Trent. “He shot at me,” she says. “That gives me the right to defend myself.”

Will reaches the street. “Please don’t hurt him. He’s confused. Can’t you tell?”

She looks down at Trent. He’s saying the same thing over and over again. “He killed you. He killed you. He killed you.”

Mathilda looks at Will. “Get your friend the fuck out of here. And don’t come back.”

Will nods. She leaves, taking up her coat. She puts it back on her shoulders and the armor and sword disappear.

* * *

“What the fuck happened?” Don asks. He’s looking at Trent. The wounds on his chest.

“He got hit by a lightsaber,” Will says.

Don frowns. “Dinkytown girls?” he asks. Will nods. Don shakes his head. “I wish we never drove into that place.”

(Somewhere, Roman is kicking something.)

“She’s dead,” Trent says. “She’s dead. He killed her. She’s dead.”

“What’s he babbling about?” Will asks.

“He went to see his great-great-great-granddaughter,” Will says. Then, he thinks about it. “No. I think it’s just his great-great-granddaughter. And someone shot her. So, he killed her.”

_________________ touches Trent and looks with his Mekhet sight. He sees everything Trent has seen the last few hours. He nods. “That’s right,” he says. “He’s been watching his family. Someone shot the little girl. She turned into sticks and strings.”

“A fetch,” Don says, shaking his head. “His great-whatever-granddaughter is a Changeling.”

_________________ nods. “And he killed the man who did it. Detective Ben Schullson.” He points at Trent’s jacket pocket. “He still has the badge.” Then, he tilts his head. “But Schullson was talking to someone inside the house. Someone Trent couldn’t see. Someone sitting next to him. Invisible.”

Will says, “She said he shot first. So, she didn’t break the contract.”

Don nods. “A good thing we don’t have a contract with Dinkytown…”

The other vampires glare at him.

“… except for that one, of course. Of course that one.”

Will scans Don’s face. _________________ scans his aura. After a moment, they both nod.

“All right,” _________________ says. “We pissed them off again. We don’t want them blowing up the club.”

Will says, “We should meet them. Clear things up. Make sure everything’s cool.”

Don nods. “And after that, nobody goes into Dinkytown. Never again.”

* * *

Will has Mathilda’s phone number. He calls her. Arranges a meeting at the bridge. He promises they will not cross it.

An hour later, the four Boys are standing at the bridge. Waiting.

Mathilda shows up. She’s not alone. She’s got a white-haired man with her. He looks like he’s made of scars.

“Hello, lads,” he says. His eyes and grin are Bedlam.

“We don’t want any trouble,” Don says. “What happened tonight was a misunderstanding. My friend Trent was confused.”

Trent reaches out with his hand. He puts it on her shoulder. He says something the Boys have never heard him say before. His voice is like a china cup.

“Are you okay?”

Mathilda looks at his hand. She slaps it away. She holds up an old photograph. She thrusts it into Trent’s face. “Is this you?” she asks.

He looks at it. Years of memories flush up into his heart. Memories of breath. Memories of laughter. Memories of tears and joy. Memories of the simple pleasure of laying down after a hard day’s work. It’s almost too much for him. A crimson haze passes over his eyes. But he sinks it. Ties it to an anchor and sinks it down into his belly.

“Yes,” he says.

Her eyes are like the blue fire of her sword. “You think just because you’re in a picture you mean something to me?” she asks. She throws the photo down at his feet. He watches it tumble through the air.

Then, she takes out another one. She doesn’t show it to him. “You want to see a picture of her?”

That red mist rolls over his sight again. He fells the other Boys’ hands on his shoulder. He swallows it down again.

“You mean nothing to me,” she spits at him. Then, she throws the other photo to the ground. She turns and walks away.

The white-haired man grins. “Good night, lads,” he says. “Don’t come back.”

* * *

Dawn. Sleep. Darkness.

In the middle of that darkness, Trent awakens. The white-haired man is there. Trent reaches for his gun, but it isn’t there.

“Shh,” the white-haired man says. Then, he takes something out of his pocket. It’s a photograph. Her photograph.

“Listen, lad,” he says. He takes a flask from his pocket. “Where I come from, if a family don’t have problems, it ain’t a family.” He drinks from the flask. He looks at Trent. “You know what I’m sayin’?”

Trent nods. The man offers him the flask. Trent drinks from it.

And he tastes it.

Then, a swirl of darkness. Sleep. Darkness.

* * *

Come darkness, Anton Fix is the first to call.

“Have you seen the Sheriff?” he asks.

Don is grateful the Mekhet cannot see him on the other end of the phone. He tells Fix, “No.”

“He’s gone missing,” Fix says. “We’d like him located.”

Don says, “If we see him, we’ll do something about it.”

Fix thanks him and hangs up the phone.

Lethe arrives shortly thereafter. “I was on my way somewhere else,” she says, “and thought I’d drop in and say ‘hello.’”

Don shows her the picture from Will’s phone. The picture of her putting the St. Paul Sheriff’s body in the Prince’s trunk.

“Anton Fix called,” he tells her. “The Seneschal of St. Paul would like to know what happened to his Sheriff.”

She shakes her head. “I have no idea,” she says. “And, if a recognized vampire of St. Paul was attacked and dispatched, I’m sure the Prince of St. Paul would have a legitimate complaint against the regency of Minneapolis.”

Don nods. “Understood.”

Lethe says goodbye. Don turns to say something to Will… but Will is gone.

* * *

Tex-Mex Burgers with Cajun Mayo! (from allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 1/3 pounds ground beef sirloin
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 slices pepperjack cheese
  • 4 hamburger buns, split
  • 4 leaves lettuce
  • 4 slices tomato

Directions

  1. Preheat grill for medium-high heat. In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the ground sirloin, jalapeno pepper, onion, garlic, 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, and Worcestershire sauce using your hands. Divide into 4 balls, and flatten into patties.
  3. Lightly oil the grilling surface, and place the patties on the grill. Cook for about 5 minutes per side, or until well done. During the last 2 minutes, lay a slice of cheese on top of each patty. Spread the seasoned mayonnaise onto the insides of the buns. Put burgers in the buns, and top with lettuce and tomato to serve.