You are either not logged in or not registered with our community. Click here to register.
March 17, 2018, 09:35:50 AM

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

Click here if you are having problems.
Default Wide Screen Beige Lilac Rainbow Black & Blue October Send us your theme!

       Now open for stories.
                                            ~a mentor project

Wiki Blogs Dicebot

Author Topic: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]  (Read 813 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Online ValerianTopic starter

The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« on: July 22, 2017, 02:00:53 PM »
The waxing moon hung low over the fields, giving just enough light for the young man to find his way, though he clearly knew the trail he followed well.  Beneath the finely made doublet he wore could be seen the faint gleam of chainmail and a helmet covered his dark blond hair.  As he drew nearer to the ruins of what had once been a small fortified keep at the base of the hills, he slowed his pace, his right hand moving to silently draw the short sword that hung at his side.

Thus armed, he left the path, approaching the half-fallen walls from the side, keeping a wary eye out. Nothing untoward presented itself but he did not lower his guard, continuing to inch closer to the structure.  Then his sharp eye caught movement in the shadows to one side and he spun, sword at the ready in an instant.  "Come forward, brigand," he hissed.  "You shall find me ready to face you in fair combat.  Though perhaps that is not to your liking, since you seem to so much prefer to strike from the shadows at the helpless!"

As he spoke, the target of his wrath did indeed step forward into the dim light, and as the outline of the figure was revealed the young man's bravery fell away.  Certainly his opponent was of intimidating size, a good foot taller than the young man, who was at least of average height; but it was not this alone that gave him pause.  No, the creature he faced -- for it was assuredly not human -- gleamed from head to foot as did the man's sword and helmet, more heavily armored than any knight, yet moving as though not burdened in the slightest.

Recovering somewhat, the young man again raised his weapon, though he no longer had the strength to taunt his adversary.  "What manner of..." he began, his voice trailing off in confusion.

The creature, meanwhile, was silently studying the man, seeming to reach a decision after a moment or two.  "Approved," it said, in a voice that crackled like distant thunder, causing the young man to flinch.

Still, when the creature raised its arms as though to grapple its opponent, the man did not hesitate to defend himself.  His sword flashed out expertly, landing a blow that would surely have rocked any normal adversary.  But though sparks flew, the creature did not seem to notice the weapon, instead focusing all its attention on the man wielding it.

A silvery hand gripped the man's right shoulder and he cried out, only just managing to keep hold of his weapon.  Unable to break free, he switched the sword to his left hand and once more lashed out with some skill, but again the beast ignored it.

Now the creature seized the young man's other shoulder, causing him to cry out, and the sword fell to the ground.  He continued to resist, however, struggling uselessly against his captor until a brief pressure on his neck sent him into unconsciousness.  The entire encounter took barely a minute.

With one smooth, effortless motion, the strange being swept the man up over its shoulders and turned to retreat back into the shadows.  Then it tilted its head, paused, and turned back, also scooping up the fallen sword.

A few moments later, there was no sign that anything out of the ordinary had ever happened there.

Isabel Pennington knew better than to eavesdrop on her father's conversations, but tonight she felt compelled to make an exception.  There had been another development in the mystery that had plagued the village and its surroundings for weeks now -- no doubt someone else had vanished -- but her parents had been increasingly stubborn of late about discussing the situation with their youngest daughter despite the fact that she was twenty and more than capable of handling bad news.  As the only child left at home her father often told her that she was expected to look after and help her mother, but in practice it was far more common for Isabel to be treated as if she was still an infant, a fact she quietly resented.

So now Isabel sat in the crook of the back stairs, just outside the reach of the flickering firelight, listening to her father and two of his closest friends discuss the situation.  Except, maddeningly, they had so far only hinted at the most recent disappearance.  Worse, though she was sure they must think themselves alone, they spoke quietly, at times too low for her to hear, and she dared not sit any closer.  Tucking a strand of dark hair behind her ear, she stifled a sigh and leaned very slightly forward.

"When it was only the peasants going missing, you were ready enough to forget it all."  This sharp comment came from Sir Henry, their next door neighbor.

"The lower classes are irresponsible," was the equally tart reply from Lord Bertram, which was only as Isabel expected -- he seemed always at odds with Sir Henry, no matter the subject.  "Thoughtless!  It is hardly a surprise when one or two of them wander off, no doubt drunk, and get themselves lost.  Generally they have the sense to wander back, but this time they must have simply --"

"Fallen into the caves, yes, yes," Sir Henry interrupted.  "We have heard all this before.  But even you must grant that this cannot be the case.  One or two might be so explained, but five?  The situation has greatly changed."

"Yes, and that is why I asked you here tonight.  Not to relive the old arguments."  This gently chiding reply came from Isabel's father, Lord John, as always the calmest and most practical.  "None can now deny that something must be done, quickly.  The townsfolk look to us for leadership and we must give it."  Then he sighed, lowering his voice so that Isabel barely caught his next words.  "I can scarcely speak to that myself," he admitted, "since I have as yet lacked the courage to tell Isabel of the matter."

"You have not?" Lord Bertram said, clearly surprised.  "Why should it signify to the girl?  The betrothal is long dissolved, as well it should be.  The boy's family turned traitor!"

Isabel only barely smothered a gasp, forgetting all about the rest of the conversation.  It was William who had vanished, William de Burton, and now she understood her parents' silence.  Until his family had thrown in with the Yorkist rebels, they had been intended to marry.  Since then Isabel's matrimonial fate had been uncertain.

But she had liked William and had considered herself lucky to be marrying someone she might call a friend.  The wars had changed all that and she had not seen him for two years, but she still thought of him fondly.  And now he was gone, and this could not be blamed on too much drink -- not that she had ever believed that to be the solution.  No, like many young men William could be reckless, ever determined to prove himself, but he would surely not have worried his family by disappearing... had he been allowed a choice in the matter.

It was not a long walk to the ruins, and the moon was well up in the sky when she arrived.  The men had talked of armed expeditions and other such plans, but she was too impatient to wait.  William might yet be alive, all the missing might be, and there was no time to waste.  Besides, stealth was what was needed, the chance to gather information, and there she would do far better than armed men.  She wore her riding clothes so she could move more easily, and carried her bow and arrows.  Though she did not entirely care for hunting, she had been glad to learn to shoot, and now the skill might serve her well.

There was no hope of finding any trace of his passage, but she was sure William had come here.  The villagers already thought the ruins haunted, always talking of odd lights and shadows there, and of late they had also spoken of strange sounds as well.  Whatever force was at work, it began here, she was sure.

As if on cue, a beam of light shone up from the ruins, far too bright and blue-white to be fire.  It looked like a moonbeam, though one amplified far beyond nature, and she flinched slightly at its power.  What could make such light? she wondered, beginning to doubt the wisdom of her plan.

Then a shadow moved through the beam and she flinched again, chiding herself for her nerves.  The ruins held neither ghost nor monster, and she could face a human enemy if she had to.  She readied her bow, approaching cautiously as the shadow moved again.

Stepping around to a gap in the half-collapsed walls, she caught sight of what was casting the shadow -- an ordinary man, as far as she could see, tall and fairly lean, silhouetted against the light.  She squinted, unsure of her ability to get a clean shot if it became necessary, though the man did not seem to be armored.

That was when she stumbled over a stray block of stone, the faint sound like thunder in the darkness.

She stopped herself from falling, at least, but any hope of observing quietly was gone.  Resettling the arrow, she aimed her weapon squarely at the man's chest, her heart beating in her ears.  "Stand back!" she ordered, though her voice quavered slightly.  "Where is William?"

Online Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2017, 02:56:07 PM »
'I'm back! I'm back.' His arms raised. What other option was there when a weapon was pointed at you? He was no fool, he knew how fear worked. It turned men and women into its companions far too often. Though this? This was a new one...

Something had disrupted his ship on takeoff and had flung him back here... Which was beginning to turn into a pain, since here was proving to be in the past, and the past had certain technological disadvantages. Not even a telegraph pole in sight. Very few satellites in the galaxy to bounce signals from, which meant that testing receivers to the TARDIS was tricky... But something was clearly unsettling her, and disrupting her temporal stability matrix...

'Unfortunately, I'm rather sure the Williams that I know are likely to not be the William you are thinking of. But, I assure you... There is no William here. Nor any reason to be pointing that at me...'

From behind him, the light faded, reducing the ruins visibility to that granted only by the moon once more.

Damn. Not even a passing rogue flight to bounce signals from...

But with the moonlight taking over, it gave him a better look at her. And, similarly, a better look of her to him. His own outfit was hideously out of place... A leather jacket stretching past his waist, a t-shirt underneath, jeans and boots. But her garb gave a good indication of when he was... For any doubts that had entered his mind.
'Aren't you a little old to be playing in the ruins in the middle of the night?'

The truth was, he hadn't actually expected anyone to venture in here. If his memory was correct, which it rarely was and always was both simultaneously, there was a legend that these ruins were haunted by a man who ached for revenge after losing his wife and his riches in the same night. He walked the grounds shouting and screaming in anguish.
Funnily enough, there had never been any body found...
(The truth actually was a previous version of himself had set the rumour up after playing the spoons in an Inn way back when, and it appeared that it had spread. His other selves did indeed come in handy sometimes, even if they could prove to be a problem when he appeared in the same place at once.)

This young girl could prove to be a bit of a problem.

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2017, 07:20:21 PM »
The man was certainly not armored, Isabel discovered as the light returned to normal, but exactly what he was wearing was another question.  She'd never seen clothes like his before, and his speech was proving to be equally strange, making her feel as though she was perpetually a few words behind in understanding him.  His last question, though, was clear enough, and she raised an eyebrow as she looked him up and down once more.  "I might ask the same of you, sir," she replied, crisply, without thinking.

Then she shook her head, reminding herself of what was truly important.  "William disappeared near here, along with four other men, over these last weeks.  You must know something of what has become of them.  What was that light?"  Reasoning that he was being at least somewhat cooperative, she lowered the bow a fraction but still kept a wary eye on him.  "Who are you?" she added, realizing that she had no idea of how to address him.  His clothes seemed more like a labourers' but something about his speech suggested that he was an educated man.  There was more of a mystery here than she had expected, it seemed.

Online Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2017, 01:32:31 PM »
She had sass. And she was Northern. That much was obvious, even in this day and age. He smiled, though it was not a long lasting smile. News of disappearances were never good. Not only for the many, many reasons of what could be the cause of those disappearances, but purely because... Well.
Missing people were missing people. No more to it than that.

It was a slight relief she lowered her weapon, though it was still a little too close to comfort. Better that than gun, though arrows were still pointy.

'The light is nothing to be concerned about. Five men gone missing in a just a few weeks? Just men? Any similarities? All healthy?' He paused slightly. 'It is haunted up here, they say. They could've fallen victim to an angry ghost...'
She wouldn't be here if she thought that was the case.
'As for myself, I am the Doctor. Nothing more, nothing less. Unarmed, too. Quite aware you have the advantage here.'

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2017, 02:08:33 PM »
Isabel was forced to admit that she had not taken the time to think her plans through very well and hadn't really known what to expect, but she would never have expected this.  Sheer proximity argued that this man had to be involved with the disappearances somehow, yet far from behaving like a guilty man he stood firm in the face of an arrow and questioned her closely as to what had been happening.  It was quite perplexing, and she lowered her bow still further without realizing it.

Her eyebrows climbed still higher as he mentioned an angry ghost, but since he did not pursue the subject she forgave him that foolish suggestion and focused instead on his name, or rather title.  "Doctor?  A churchman, hiding in ruins as a cutpurse might?"

Ordinarily she might have laughed, but as serious as things were she only shrugged; if he wanted to call himself a doctor of divinity then let him, it made no difference to her.  "And yes, only men.  Four labourers from the farms nearby, and William de Burton.  His family has lands just down the river," she added, nodding in that direction as she scrambled to recall all of his rapid-fire questions.  "They were all hale enough, I imagine.  William is a good hunter and fighter.  None were very old... and younger men are growing scarce; more are being called into service for the wars every day.  Do you really claim to know nothing of these men?" she added, once more studying him closely and wishing she could see more of his face.  His every word was difficult to believe, yet they also rang true.

Online Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2017, 02:43:05 PM »
It was best not to push his reason for being there, nor correction of his title. There was no reason to keep attention on himself, and so, the Doctor let it drop. It could be something that was corrected at a later date, if things went that way.
He was more interested in the missing persons. Young men, fighting fit...

'Not the sort to be scared of any ghosts, then.'

She wasn't in the mood for jokes, but he couldn't resist.

'No, I know nothing of these men. Nobody has set foot in a good mile or so of here in days. Do you know miles, or are we working in yards? Hectares?' And now he certainly wasn't doing himself any favours. Nor was his ship, which again, lit up behind the pair of them, light stretching to the sky. He carried on as though it hadn't happened.
'Has anybody been out to look for these men?'

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2017, 03:05:59 PM »
Barely stifling an exasperated sigh, Isabel frowned at him.  "You know as well as I that there are no ghosts here," she scolded, though to her own surprise she did not sound nearly as annoyed as she probably should have, the subject already seeming like something of a shared joke.  "Unless you have convinced the villagers that you yourself are a ghost," she added.

"Miles, yes," she replied, hesitantly, her confusion growing.  What in heaven's name was a hectare?  Was it French?  He didn't seem to be French, though that might explain something of his odd way of speaking.

Then the light cut through the darkness again, and she flinched, squinting, her bow lowering still further.  There was a shape beneath the light, shaped vaguely like a castle turret though much shorter.  Perhaps it was meant to be a beacon of some sort, except they were much too far from the coast for this light to be of any help to passing ships.  All it seemed designed to do, in fact, was to blind her.

"Of course they have been sought," she replied, vexation winning out over confusion.  "Their masters have sent other men to search.  I am here to look for them as well, though admittedly my presence is... unofficial," she added, diplomatically.  "But what is that light?  It is not fire.  How can it be so bright?"

Online Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2017, 03:26:32 PM »
Well, she wasn't far wrong.

He couldn't help but grin.

'A hectare is a unit of measurement. Two point four seven one acres. Ten thousand square metres. It is a metric measurement. Equivalent to a hundred areas. I'm... Well.' Not in modern day, or any relatively close time to modern day.
'Ah, so you're worried. Naturally so... Tell me, did those who went to look for these men return?'

He paused for a moment. His intention here was not to attract interest, but the human mind was indeed a curious beast. She would be back. His ship had taken her interest, and she would be back, whether she wanted to or would even be aware of it or not.

'Could you tell me what year we are in?'

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2017, 03:49:44 PM »
"Metric?" Isabel echoed the word awkwardly, wondering how they had found themselves discussing measurements while standing in a ruined keep in the moonlight.  Of course she'd expected this to be an odd and eventful journey, but not in this sort of way.  She felt like an ill-prepared student left to flounder by a distracted teacher.

"Return... yes, they returned.  But they went searching in pairs, in the daylight, for safety's sake, where the lost men vanished in the darkness, alone.  There was no sign among the rocks except for some odd scrapes here and there.  Metal on stone, they said."  She had almost forgotten the light, though she still could not stop herself from looking at it now and then, still trying to puzzle it out.

Then he asked his most incomprehensible question yet, and she frankly gaped at him.  "You say you are an educated man and yet do not know the year?  Fourteen hundred and sixty, of course.  The nones of June," she added, with exaggerated patience, trying to anticipate at least one of his endless questions.

Online Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2017, 04:03:50 PM »
Metal on stone?
Again, the light from behind faded, just as suddenly as it had appeared. They were back to moonlight being the only source of light. Metal on stone, though... That was curious. There was something foul at play, here, and he couldn't ignore it. Perhaps it was fate, or sheer coincidence that he had ended up stuck here when he had.
But, what... And why?

Jumping to conclusions was not a part of this bodies thought pattern. Which, in quite a lot of respects, was very good. You could start awful things without thought. The destruction of Skaro, for one... Yes, if he had his time again, that would probably be-
'I'll have you know that it is very easy to lose track when you are me. Nor did I ever say I was an educated man. I merely gave you my name, you are the one who assumed my education. Fourteen hundred and sixty... Northern England, I do assume? Regardless of the century, that one is easy to tell. Quirks of language, accent. Liverpool, you know, is one of the very few people in the North West that has a distinct accent, purely for the amount of Irish immigration that occurs. In the future. Not...'
He shook his head.
'Anyway. You said metal on stone. Are we talking sword on stone, or something sharper? What do you think?'

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2017, 04:25:49 PM »
"Your name is no name, but a title!" Isabel objected.  "You said you were a doctor, and that means an educated man of the church."  But he was already well off onto other subjects, and she stamped her foot in frustration.  Trying to keep up with his speech was like chasing a butterfly and almost as tiring.  Irish immigration?  The future?  Her head was beginning to ache.

"This is Lancaster," she managed to say during a pause.  "Or rather, that is Lancaster," she clarified, gesturing towards the town proper.  "And that is my family's estate," she added, pointing out the dark shadows of the turrets, though she was not sure why she was being quite so helpful, especially since he hardly seemed to acknowledge most of her answers.

"I did not see the marks myself, " she admitted, blushing faintly.  "I have not been allowed to aid in the search and I have only heard the men talking."  Those conversations, too, had mostly been eavesdropped upon, but she was certainly not going to mention that.  "Something metal and heavy, they all seemed to agree on that much."  She paused, considering the matter, then continued, "If you wish to see for yourself, perhaps we can search for the marks with your light."

Online Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2017, 02:18:16 PM »
His brain worked fast, and in truth, it had been some time since he had spent any time socialising with humans. They were slower, they needed to... Well, take in, keep up. A lot of them felt this way. As such, when she finished, he paused for a long while.
Lancaster. So, correct in the North West.

Where to begin?

'...My light is not a moving entity. It, or rather, she... Is a vessel. A ship. Stranded, at current. Though I would certainly like to see these marks for myself. I feel if I was to refuse, you would venture in search of them anyway.'
She had that curious aura about her. The ones all humans tried to keep hidden. Much like every other woman he had ever come across who had been told they were not allowed to do something, they had to go and do it. This was just the way things were. Those were the ones who would, throughout time and space, would push the boundaries.
'Shall we just say I am not from around here, and leave it at that? Where I'm from, doctor is not a church title. It is an academic title. And my name.'

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2017, 03:30:57 PM »
This Doctor might have felt at a disadvantage earlier, unarmed as he was, but that had certainly changed, Isabel thought wonderingly.  In some subtle way, he seemed in charge now, or perhaps more accurately he was simply aware of having more resources at his command.  It was the same with any powerful lord, who knew that he had more money and men than those of lesser rank, and could afford to be magnanimous.

Thankfully, however, he at least did not seem to be condescending towards her simply because she was a woman, which was perhaps the real reason why she was inclined to forgive him his more frustrating habits, that and the fact that he was not dismissing her concerns and telling her to go home.  His story of the light being attached to a ship, for example -- that was clearly ridiculous, and she wondered vaguely if his wits were lsightly addled.  But it seemed that he might actually be of some help in her search, and she had no one else to ask for such assistance.

"I have already ventured far from my home in the night," she replied, unable to hide a wry smile.  "Venturing further in search of more clues is only a natural next step, I would imagine."

She put away her arrow, though kept her bow in her hand, looking over her new acquaintance once more.  "You are most certainly not from anywhere near here, that much is clear," she continued, still with her wry smile.  "You do not know the year or the place, you dress more strangely than a clown on the stage, and most weighty of all, you are taking the words of a mere woman seriously.  No, indeed you do not belong here, Doctor."  The name -- or title, or whatever it was -- felt strange on her lips, but if that was what he wished to be called she would indulge him.  "And my name is Isabel Pennington, should that information be of any use to you."

She sketched out a curtsy, then turned to look out at the countryside.  "We might start there," she suggested, indicating an area further down the hillside.  "There are caves in that direction, and dark and mysterious caves are always worth exploring, are they not?"

Online Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2017, 04:31:42 PM »
'Dear Isabel, you are not a mere woman. You know that, and I'm not having you lower yourself like that.' He grinned slightly. 'Though yes. You are quite right. Dark and mysterious caves are always worth exploring, even if they do often turn out to be ominous caves of death and doom.'
He took a glance back. The TARDIS would be okay on her own. She was hardly going to go anywhere. Given this new development, it wouldn't surprise him if she had broken on purpose.

'So.' The Doctor started as he began to move. 'Nobody missing during the day, only at night. What were these men doing out at night? Are you aware of any work going on down in these caves? Quarry work, mining... Anything of the sort? Are we up to that point...? Though I suppose that is really timeless. I apologise. I haven't been Earthbound for a good while. Memory isn't too good in the old age, either.'

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2017, 06:33:39 PM »
"If you could persuade my lord father that I am not a mere woman, I would be most grateful," Isabel said, gravely, turning to follow the Doctor.  "But I must warn you that that is not a task to be taken up lightly."

Her eyes were no longer dazzled by the Doctor's mysterious light, but even so it was not easy to find her way over the grass and rocks by the moonlight and she moved cautiously.  "Dame Rumour says that most of the missing were engaged in poaching, though it may be that some of them also hoped for ill-gotten gold or silver from the caves.  They are on the King's land and only he should have the right to mine them, but as even you must know, rights are not always respected as they should be.  I suppose there are not the men to spare for mining."

She glanced at him sideways, unsure how much of what he said was meant to be in jest.  "Earthbound?  Are you usually seabound, then?  Or perhaps airbound?"  She kept her tone light, though she was not entirely joking.  "And you must surely be some years younger than my father.  It seems strange for you to blame a poor memory on age."

Online Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2017, 01:57:23 PM »
'I could try and persuade him. I assure you I have spoken to more formidable foes.'

Poaching? No, that seemed... Unless these men were selfish, which was possible. There could've been any such plot or reason they were in the caves. But here, Isabel obviously cared... Especially about William. She had guts, and it seemed unlikely she was interested in a rogue. That ruled that out, but he didn't announce it. To appear to assume anything was never a good idea. Still, was her concern in William alone or the others, too? Or both?

Truthfully, he wasn't sure how much to tell her about himself. He'd said a lot already, but it was arguable how she would take it. 'Yes, airbound. That's a good way to put it. In regards to age, I am a lot older than I look. I'd go as far as to say you wouldn't believe me if I told you. It borders ridiculous.'
He paused, reaching into his jacket and pulling out a torch. With a click of a button, the path in front of them lit up.

'As I said, I am not of this time.'

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2017, 02:28:31 PM »
"I think my father would be quite saddened to learn that he was not your most formidable foe," Isabel observed, and there she was not joking in the slightest.  Though truthfully not quite as stern as some other nobles, he had long ago learned that at least the appearance of ferocity could save a great deal of time and trouble.  Unfortunately that was not the sort of leadership that could be helpful here, where the enemy was hidden and mysterious, unable to be cowed or even studied.

She slowed her pace slightly as he spoke, sensing that he was perhaps on the verge of some revelation that might explain a great deal.  And in a way she was correct, though when that revelation came it was not at all in the form she would have expected -- a startling deed rather than any further bewildering words.

It was not as bright nor far-ranging as the light on his ship -- was it a ship of the air, is that what he had meant by airbound? -- but it illuminated far more than the moonlight, a beam slicing straight and true ahead of them to light the ground.  She strangled a gasp, staring in amazement for a moment... then recovering almost as quickly and hurrying over to the torch.  This prompted a host of questions indeed, but for now she would content herself with the immediately useful.  "You can move the light!  How does it work?  What fuels it?  Tell me," she said, somewhere between a command and a plea.

Online Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2017, 02:35:23 PM »
It came as no surprise her father was one of those sorts.


She was fuelled by her curiosity, and he was all prepared to indulge that. It was harmless to tell her everything. Like it was to tell any of the other countless people he had travelled with who had eventually discovered the truth.
'Ah, now we're getting complicated. It is very much a she. She is fuelled by...'

...Oh, no, she was referring to the torch.

'Oh, you mean this? This is a different light than the one back there. This is powered by a little pack of energy. This is a torch.'

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2017, 03:12:11 PM »
"Energy?" she echoed, unfamiliar with the word as the Doctor used it, though she'd learned enough Latin -- both openly and secretly -- to at least guess at the word.  "Energia, you mean, force?  But how does that become light?  How long will it last?"

Then she paused, momentarily distracted by what he'd said earlier.  "Your ship is a she, you mean.  Is she fuelled by this same energy?  Does everyone have these wonders, in -- in the future?"  It felt strange and awkward to say it and she felt a little mad herself for accepting the idea so readily, but as perplexing as it was, it also made a perfect, unsettling sense.

Online Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2017, 03:28:45 PM »
'...Yes, yes, force. Force from the battery completes a circuit and the rush of energy goes out into a bulb, which emits light. It'll last as long as the battery will. Which... I think this is a good torch and battery, so a while. Once it runs out, it will need to be plugged in again to regain the lost energy. Or force. Think of it... Like your bow. When you let go of the arrow, it flies forward using the strength you used to pull it back.'
Oh, it had been a while since he'd travelled with anyone from the past...

'...Ah, well. That is a little more complicated, but yes. Similar energy, but more powerful. The torch, yes. My ship, not everybody has that wonder.'

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2017, 03:46:03 PM »
Isabel felt faintly dizzy as she contemplated the sheer depths of what lay before her.  Not just the torch, so unlike any torch she was used to, but all the knowledge and study that had led to such marvels, and no doubt a whole host of other achievements that she could not yet imagine.  Over the years, one way and another, she had managed to learn almost as much as her brothers and had been quietly proud of it, but now she glimpsed a vast array of subjects that no one else in the entire world knew of -- only the man who stood before her -- and was breathless with the possibilities.

She understood his analogy as far as it went, but like most such comparisons it left far too much unsaid.  Her fingers itched to take apart the torch and discover its workings, though even then she supposed she wouldn't be able to grasp the finer points, an idea which frustrated her no end.  And... they were not there for the Doctor to answer her endless questions; there was work to be done and no one else to do it.  "You will tell me later," she finally said, reluctantly but firmly.  "Will you not?" she added, again halfway between pleading and commanding.  "After we have discovered what has become of the lost men?"

If she had been confident of success before, now she was certain of it, for anyone who had such devices as this torch must surely be able to solve any mystery, as long as he had her help in understanding the ways of her world.

Online Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #21 on: July 26, 2017, 03:57:56 PM »
'Yes.' He smiled at her. She was so confident, but so desperate, too. Bossy, yet respectable and eager to learn. She was ultimately a woman who was out of her own time, too. She reminded him of another who had been much the same, though not as far in the past as Isabel. But just as strong headed.
He passed the torch to her. It was a metal one with a simple black switch, and a hole at the base for a charging stand.

'You know the way, so it seems a better option to let you lead. But I do get a feeling that we won't be alone when we reach the caves.'

Be it from the missing men, or whatever had gotten hold of them in there.

Metal on stone...

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #22 on: July 26, 2017, 05:02:05 PM »
That simple yes flooded her with relief, and it never occurred to her to doubt his word, even though he'd been a complete stranger only a few minutes ago.  She took the torch almost reverently, surprised at its weight, and hefted it gently.  Cautiously, she flipped the switch off and then back on again, inordinately pleased with herself when the light obeyed this simple command, first going dark and then returning as bright as ever.

Then she shook herself, again remembering the importance of their errand.  "Yes, I will lead the way," she said, quietly, steering them towards the caves.  Now she realized that the light had its drawbacks, too; anyone anywhere nearby would see it at once and realize there was something moving across the fields.  "The villagers will think I am a ghost," she added, wonderingly.

She walked quietly for a moment, then continued, "William, at least, would not have been poaching, you understand.  His father is also a lord.  But he was headstrong when I knew him and I doubt much has changed since.  He was probably forbidden to search, as I was, and came to do so on his own."

She frowned, then stopped in her tracks as a rock glinted oddly ahead of them.  "Look, there," she said, eagerly, focusing the light.  "That mark -- that must be what the searchers found."  And indeed, it did seem as though something ponderous had impacted the stone, something of metal that had either left traces of itself behind or exposed some metallic vein within the rock.  "Do you know what might have caused this?"

Online Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2017, 03:42:19 PM »
Yes, they would indeed... But that would at least make sure they were undisturbed by any curious locals, or any who deemed it a good idea to come and wander out this late at night. It came as no surprise she did indeed have a stake in one of the men. A friend, perhaps a lover, though he was unsure how relations worked in this age.

The Doctor was quiet as he went through things in his mind. Considering, thinking... Wondering. Until she saw something, and the glint took his interest. Whatever it was must've been strong, it didn't look like anything of the time. He reached out and ran his fingers over the mark. It had rendered the stone smooth, and he frowned at it.
'Nothing of this time, I can tell you that... Nothing of this time could do this much damage to stone. Look, see, it has completely turned into something else. Almost a metal. It feels cold, too...'

From inside the caves, they were being watched by a set of eyes. Not traditional eyes, but sunken ones in a metallic head. Watching every move.

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #24 on: July 27, 2017, 03:57:49 PM »
Isabel knelt and reached out hesitantly to touch the mark, nodding and frowning.  "It is cold.  How strange."  She held the light at different angles, tilting her head as she studied it.  "It must have been something quite heavy indeed," she mused.  "And sharp, perhaps?  Yet it does not seem to have been done purposefully.  What could have done this so carelessly?"

As she moved the beam, she caught sight of a similar mark on another patch of exposed stone some distance away and gestured to it.  "The caves are in that direction, and not very far from here.  It must have gone there... whatever it might be.  Perhaps we have a great many visitors here not of this time," she added, hiding a shiver.  Though she would sooner have died than admitted anything of the sort, the closer they drew to the caves the more her nerves troubled her.  If the enemy was something as inexplicable to her as the Doctor and his ship, then her bow and arrows -- not to mention all her determination -- suddenly seemed an empty, foolish gesture.