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Author Topic: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]  (Read 940 times)

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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?"

Offline 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.

Offline 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.

Offline 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?"

Offline 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.

Offline 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."

Offline 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?"

Offline 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."

Offline 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.

Offline 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.

Offline 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.

Offline 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...

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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?"

Offline 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.

Offline Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #25 on: August 02, 2017, 08:52:01 AM »
'Mm, perhaps...' It would explain why here, and why now. His ship did have a mind of her own when it came to breaking in certain places... But to outright say yes, that was probably it, seemed too outrageous. There was always a chance Isabel could run in fear. Humans did indeed do some peculiar things when scared. At least he was a little more prepared for what could be.

Just like what was inside was absolutely prepared for them. It was a lone, single scout, but it could raise alarm. The female was of good body and could be taken for upgrading, but the male scanned as useless. It remained still in the darkness, calculating and planning the best way to grab the female with it's current handicap.
It only had one arm.

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Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #26 on: August 02, 2017, 09:15:49 AM »
Though she sensed that the Doctor's reply was deliberately cautious, Isabel did not question him more thoroughly on the subject.  Strangely, she did not mind assuming the worst and believing that there were indeed a whole host of enemy visitors nearby, but somehow knowing that was the case seemed more than she wanted to face at the moment.

She led the way for a few more steps in silence, searching for more marks despite knowing where they must lead.  Then she slowed her pace for a moment, convinced that they were being watched, though she was reluctant to raise the light to try to spot the watcher.  "Do you have a weapon, Doctor?" she asked, quietly, assuming the answer would be yes.  The future must have an amazing array of weaponry, after all, ones she could not imagine, and men of her time were rarely without something with which to defend themselves, even if it was only a knife.  "I am a fair shot, but I do not know if arrows will be of any use, however well-aimed."

Offline Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #27 on: August 02, 2017, 09:22:11 AM »
'Yes. Sort of, anyway. And a weaker one, which can at least explode lights. Comes in handy. Probably not good here, though, given that we need our light...' He paused too, glancing around. There was something incredibly off, here.
'It depends just we are up against. It may not be hostile. Though judging by that mark outside, I would say it is at least aggressive. You don't just accidentally damage stone with a gentle impact, it must've been hard...' Then, he pressed his hand to the rock.


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Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #28 on: August 02, 2017, 09:47:53 AM »
Isabel drew breath to ask what a 'sort of' weapon might be but quickly thought better of it.  Again, she was not sure she wanted to know.  "The capture of five men is at the very least aggressive, yes," she agreed, dryly.  "I think we had best assume that it is quite hostile," she added, now wishing she no longer had the responsibility for the torch so that she might ready her bow.  But as the Doctor said, they certainly needed their light.

"What is it?" she asked, hovering closer as he put his hand to the rock.  At first she focused all her attention on that, then remembered the full situation and began both watching and listening for signs of anyone -- or anything -- approaching.  Most likely their foe would not be quiet, given its apparent ability to damage heavy stones so easily, but all the rules were changing and she was certain of much less now than she had been just an hour ago.

Offline Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #29 on: August 02, 2017, 10:22:55 AM »
'...The rocks are vibrating. Gently. Just gently.' He hesitated for a moment. 'We can't be sure whatever is in here is the reason for the men disappearing. We don't know if they've been captured. It becomes tricky when... Different creatures are involved. They could be prisoners, they could still be alive, just lost in the caves, or they may not even be of this time any longer. You're assuming.'
Another pause as he pressed his head to the rock.
'Though, granted, it usually does end up being the hostile explanation. Peace, Isabel, is a mere illusion. And these rocks are definitely vibrating.'

Vibrating rocks meant machinery.

But how was it running...?

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Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #30 on: August 02, 2017, 11:03:16 AM »
Isabel bristled faintly at this.  "Yes, I did assume that most people do not travel across time the way others travel the seas, and that ordinary humans were the only things to be feared here.  Forgive my ignorance."  But the revelation about the rock thoroughly distracted her, and she put her hand next to his, giving him an odd look as he also pressed his head to the rock.

"That peace is an illusion is something I know well," she murmured, absently.  "Fighting is commonplace now and the entire kingdom is shaken.  But what makes this happen?" she finished, wonderingly, staring at the rock as though she might also see it vibrate.  "Is this energy as well?"

Offline Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #31 on: August 02, 2017, 11:55:32 AM »
He couldn't help but grin at her sass, and he nodded. 'Yes, this is energy. I'm a little confused as to how they're producing such a thing in a cave... You need a power source, of course... As I explained before. You can use wind and water as a source, but depending on the tech, this doesn't always prove to be enough. As we get closer to the source, there's a good chance it'll turn into a gentle hum.'
Slowly, he pulled his head back and he sighed.
'The fighting never really stops. It is honestly the one constant I have found throughout time and space. Disagreements turn to violence. Always violence.'

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Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #32 on: August 02, 2017, 01:27:33 PM »
"Tech?" Isabel echoed.  Most of his more perplexing terms she'd been able to work out by context, but this one puzzled her.  "There is water in the caves, but there is no room within for a waterwheel or windmill.  Perhaps they have a -- a battery, as the torch does," she added, proud of herself for remembering the unfamiliar word.

His words on fighting saddened her, but she could hardly call them a surprise.  Many things must have changed by the Doctor's time -- whenever that was -- but the fact of battle would not have been one of them.  "Those who have power want more power," she said, simply.  "Or at least they desire not to lose what influence they have.  The Duke of York wishes to take the throne, while the King wishes to keep it and rule over a peaceful kingdom again.  Rather, his wife the Queen wishes this," she corrected herself, dryly.

She paused, frowning down at the light in her hand before looking back up at her new acquaintance.  "Shall I ready my bow, Doctor?" she asked, gravely.

Offline Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #33 on: August 04, 2017, 02:22:46 PM »
It was a good way of looking at things, yes. She had also given a good, straight time of when they were. The War of the Roses... Messy. He rubbed his chin for a moment, and nodded. 'Yes, that is probably for the best. Waterwheels are not common in the future, I must say. The tech... Technology has developed quite considerably. The first torch was not that small.'
He lifted his head from the rock, to step down further, and he repeated the action... Pressing his head once again to the rock, just to confirm it wasn't a mistake.

Had to be sure, you know.

'Cover my back for a moment, I'm going to venture a little further down. I want to double check we're moving in the right direction.'

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Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #34 on: August 04, 2017, 03:09:00 PM »
"Technology," she repeated, slowly, considering each syllable.  "Is that Greek?" she wondered, mostly to herself.  Her Greek was not as good as her Latin, but she instinctively began trying to parse the word.  Teckhno meant an art or craft, and logy was to study... yes, it made sense, though the word seemed to have much broader implications as the Doctor used it.

But she was letting herself be distracted again, and refocused on the task at hand, watching in some confusion as the Doctor moved very slowly along the rock face, pressing his ear against it over and over.  This seemed rather more testing than was strictly necessary, but now did not seem the time to mention the subject.  It would probably only lead to more words she did not understand, in any case, she thought with a quiet sigh.

His phrasing was unfamiliar, but she caught his meaning when he asked her to cover his back.  How to manage that with the torch in her hand was another question, however, and she fumbled slightly as she experimented with ways to manage both light and bow at once.  One way or another, however, she would not fail him, and began keeping a sharp watch for any signs of an enemy.

Offline Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #35 on: August 09, 2017, 11:52:56 AM »
Sure enough, the further he moved down, the greater, and louder the vibration became.

A gentle clanging could be heard behind them. It was a little similar to a windchime, but a large windchime. And then, a hand was placed upon her shoulder. A human hand, except for the lack of warmth of skin. The grip of it increased sharply.

'This is certainly the way to go, but I am concerned about what we are going to find down here. I have suspicions, but... I'm not sure I want to frighten you.'

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Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #36 on: August 09, 2017, 01:05:49 PM »
It wasn't long before Isabel could also hear the vibration, even far away from the rock, and she couldn't help but try to imagine what would cause such a sound of such volume and steadiness.  Even the wind could not do that, and she marveled anew at this strange 'technology'.

When she heard the clanging, she could not at first guess what it might be.  It was not the sound of armor, nor of weapons clashing, being a more delicate noise than either of those.  But it was certainly behind them, she decided, and slowed her pace to determine exactly where behind them.

She turned one direction, slowly, carefully aiming the light... and then the hand descended upon her opposite shoulder and she froze, realizing the depths of her failure.  "Doctor," she said, quietly, then bit back a cry as the hand's grip intensified.  "We have been found ourselves."

Her bow useless now, she let the arrow fall and concentrated on the light.  It was dazzlingly bright, especially to someone whose eyes were accustomed to the moonlight, and it might now be a better weapon in any case.  As quickly as she could, she turned the torch onto the face of her captor.

Turning herself enough to see the enemy was another matter as long as he had hold of her, but she did her best and caught a glimpse.  It was still a human face as far as she could see, with eyes, mouth, and nose, but beyond that at least part of it also reflected the beam in a way that should not have been possible for ordinary flesh.  The eyes did seem to squint against the glare, but it was far less of a reaction than she'd expected.

And worst of all, there was something familiar about the profile.  She had not seen him in years, but there was still something... "William?" she gasped, only barely managing to keep her grip on the torch as it threatened to fall from her hand.

Offline Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #37 on: August 11, 2017, 01:47:37 PM »
He turned, finding her face to face with the one thing he had suspected, but hadn't really want to believe. Yes, he'd had a feeling it would've had something to do with Cybermen, but it had been like a bad smell he had tried to ignore.
And now look.
What was worse was that it was a poor conversion, they barely had the complete metal to finish him off. He was, at best, a twisted hybrid. An experiment.

A pained one.

His grip was desperate on Isabel and static came through the speaker. His mouth did not move, but whatever he had inside of him that had replaced his voice box was broken. Long since dead.

What words could he give to her, truthfully? The Doctor floundered, but he reached for Isabel's hand, the one still holding the torch. 'Don't... Don't panic. It is unable to do much damage in this state, but he will have intense strength. Don't struggle, don't panic. Let me think.'

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Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #38 on: August 11, 2017, 02:26:15 PM »
The strange, tinny sound made Isabel wince, in equal parts fear and confusion.  Something about William -- if it was truly him in any real sense anymore -- made her realize that he, too, was afraid and confused, even panicked, but given his painful grip upon her shoulder this was not as reassuring as it might have been.  If he would not let go then she had no chance of breaking free.

"But what has become of him?" she whispered, utterly bewildered.  She turned to look at the Doctor, her dark eyes wide, and her hand trembled as she brought the torch closer to his outstretched hand.  "How can this be?"  Again her captor tried to make himself heard, and again there was only that desperate, wordless sound.  With little other choice, she obeyed the Doctor's words, though she could certainly not stop herself from shaking or her heart from racing.  The William she had known would never have hurt her, but the being next to her could hardly be the same person.

Offline Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #39 on: August 13, 2017, 10:46:42 AM »
'There... Is a belief this is the human form. Perfected, without emotions. They clearly do not have the capability for a full conversion... And so he has been left... Like this.' He mumbled. There were no words of comfort he could offer. It was what it was, a sad attempt at a Cyberman.
Perfect human form, indeed...
This being still had emotions. He was afraid, he was so afraid and he needed help.

The sound repeated, longer, drawn out. As though even the speaker that was giving it a voice was giving up.

'I am... So sorry.'
Though whether he was speaking to Isabel or to William, it wasn't clear.
'He seems to have far more of his humanity left than he should.'

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Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #40 on: August 13, 2017, 11:25:06 AM »
"Conversion?  Into what manner of being?"  Isabel was ready to collapse into tears, but that would hardly help and she struggled to think calmly, doing her best to focus on what the Doctor was saying.  "And how can a man without any emotion be thought perfect?"

Her own words made her hesitate for a moment, realizing that the current sad state of the realm might well have been avoided if some of the leaders of the land had used their heads more and their hearts less, but even so whatever had happened to William was clearly, deeply wrong, and whatever or whoever had done it had to be stopped, quickly.

Belatedly, she seized on the Doctor's last sentence.  "If he is still human, then he can be saved, can he not?  We can save him."  Again she was somewhere between ordering and pleading, for though she was used to having most of her requests carried out, this was one occasion when she realized that obedience might not even be possible.

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Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #41 on: August 15, 2017, 09:46:48 AM »
Exactly. Humans without emotions... It was hard to explain the justification they used to any human. They were all so driven by emotions that the concept of losing them being classed as an upgrade was ridiculous. They were right, of course. Emotionless beings lacked the drive and passion and reckless behaviour that allowed for survival.
Even creatures of lower intelligence had emotions.

And oh.

Her pleading broke his hearts.

Slowly, he shook his head.

'The only saving we can do is to end his suffering.'

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Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #42 on: August 15, 2017, 10:07:18 AM »
It took a moment for Isabel to fully grasp what the Doctor had said -- not because of his odd manner of speaking, but because it was not what she had so hoped to hear.  "But... in the future, there must be physic to heal all wounds and illness!  You can sail through time as others sail the sea, you must be able to aid him!"

The last word was cut off as the pressure of William's hand increased and again she cried out in pain.  Whether he understood her or it was simply the tone of her voice that had disturbed him, she couldn't guess, but she quickly stopped speaking, biting her lip.  Beneath her protests she knew that the Doctor would not lie to her about something so important -- despite such a short acquaintance she was confident of this -- but even so she could not yet accept it.

"Are you certain?" she asked, whispering, her eyes filled with tears as much from sorrow as from the pain of William's pleading grip.

Offline Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #43 on: August 21, 2017, 08:54:27 AM »
'There's... A lot I can do, but I cannot save anybody so far gone. I couldn't make him a full man again, the process...' He shook his head. He'd never seen so much humanity still in a Cyberman before. It made it worse than ever. The process was foul, but coming face to face with the true nature of the beast...

'...I don't like death, but sometimes... It is necessary.'

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Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #44 on: August 21, 2017, 01:37:11 PM »
Isabel blinked, hard, quickly brushing away a teardrop that threatened to roll down her cheek.  "I had thought to save him, all of them," she whispered, more to herself than to the Doctor.  "To brave what others would not and deliver them from this evil.  My lord father was right, I am a foolish girl."

Then she shook her head, decisively but slowly, keenly aware of William's grasp and his own fear.  "What must be done, Doctor?" she asked, somewhat more steadily.  However unhappy she was, there were far more important things to face, and no one else who could face them.  If death was William's only possible rescue, then that was how it would have to be.

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Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #45 on: August 25, 2017, 02:03:45 PM »
The Doctor felt for her. She had wonderful intentions and had come to solve something nobody else had cared enough to pay interest in, and she had found this. It was likely she had never killed before. Now, she was face to face with ending the life of somebody she likely cared deeply about.
What was the best way to do this?
He rubbed his chin.

'A short, sharp pulse. He isn't fully converted, I don't think he needs anything too violent. I may be able to make something. I'll need one of your arrows...'

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Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #46 on: August 28, 2017, 02:28:42 PM »
Hunting had been one of the few things Isabel had been allowed to learn openly alongside her brothers.  Many noble women were excellent shots and could hunt well.  Isabel had painstakingly gained a good deal of skill herself over the years, for the sole reason that she could not bear any ill-placed shot that would allow the animal to suffer overmuch.  More than once she had hastened to finish a badly wounded deer, tears in her eyes.

But she had never yet struck the first blow to any creature herself, despite often having easy shots presented to her.  Her brothers teased her unmercifully for this, but it wasn't as though they were in need of the food, after all.  She could shoot or not, as she chose.

Now, of course, there was no choice at all.

Most of what the Doctor said meant nothing to her, but she was growing used to that by now.  Gingerly and slowly, she drew an arrow from her quiver and presented it to him.  "If you could spare him too much violence, I would be grateful," she said.  William's grip relaxed the slightest fraction -- or she thought it did, she couldn't be sure -- and she wondered if he understood at least that they had his best interests at heart.

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Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #47 on: August 29, 2017, 02:21:57 PM »
He nodded, and took the arrow. His hand dipped into his pocket and he pulled out a small wire, which was wrapped around the head of the arrow. Then, a long, silver device came out. With one simple press of a button, a whizzing sound came from the end, and it was put back into his pocket.
Prepped and ready, he took a glance at William.

Necessary violence.

Death was better than how he was currently existing.

Some had defined him as a pacifist. The Doctor knew he was nothing of the sort. It was an impossible belief, an impossible way of life. He had far more blood on his hands than he would ever like to admit, and that didn't count for technicalities.
He murmured words of a distant language, words foreign, utterly alien, and he pushed the arrow into the metallic chest of William. A charge sizzled, and he was no more, releasing Isabel and falling backwards.

'He did not suffer. I assure you... Not in the end.'

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Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #48 on: August 29, 2017, 03:35:41 PM »
For once, Isabel had no heart for asking questions.  She had expected whatever happened next to be strange and terrible, and it was indeed both, but this time she could only watch and wonder in unhappy silence as the Doctor performed his grim task.  Only the strange words he spoke just before he struck the killing blow truly caught her attention.  Her thirst for knowledge meant that she had learned at least a little of quite a few languages, even Greek and a little Arabic, but this language sounded like nothing she had ever heard before.

Nothing from this earth, she thought, and in that instant the blow was struck and William fell with a strange crackle of energy.

She wavered, only just catching her balance, and looked down at William quietly for a moment.  Then she realized the Doctor had spoken, this time in English, and she gave him a quick, grateful glance.

For a moment she knelt beside William, relieved to see that his eyes had closed of their own volition.  Perhaps that was a sign that he had found some measure of peace even in the moment of his death.  She murmured a brief prayer, then stood, still faintly unsteady, and turned to the Doctor.  "What manner of creature has done this and how can it be stopped?" she asked, quietly but with determination.

Offline Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #49 on: August 30, 2017, 02:42:10 PM »
'They will look like him. Except fully metal. Human only in shape. There will be at least one who is fully metal, even if the others look like William. We call them Cybermen. As for how to stop them? That's... Harder. Short electric blasts work. But in order to do that, we will need to go further in. I think we are going to get lucky, I don't think there are... Lots of them.'
He hoped, anyway. Dear god, he hoped.

'Do you need a moment? There won't be any time for resting or hesitation the closer we get to wherever they are hiding. I don't know what we will find, I need you prepared for anything.'

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Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #50 on: August 30, 2017, 03:19:36 PM »
"Cybermen," Isabel repeated, nodding her head as she affixed the name of the enemy in her mind.  There would be more victims like William, that much was clear, but with luck and determination they would find the true menace soon enough, the Cyberman made all of metal, and he would pay the price for what he had done.

She paused a moment before continuing, taking a clean handkerchief from her sleeve and kneeling to place it gently over William's face.  "I had not seen him for years," she said, quietly.  "We were betrothed for a time before his family changed its allegiance.  Naturally we could not ally with Yorkists."  Her voice was somewhere between serious and sarcastic, unhappy with this aspect of her world but accepting it as something she could not change.  "But William was always kind to me, and I am sorry he is gone."

Then she took a deep breath and stood, drawing another arrow from her quiver and setting it to the bowstring.  "I am ready, Doctor.  Will my arrows harm them at all without your lightning power?"

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Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #51 on: September 23, 2017, 02:03:30 PM »
It wasn't as he suspected, but he understood. There was likely some sort of feelings hidden underneath, though he assumed she would never admit them. Not even if it was socially acceptable to do so. There would be a time to dwell fully later, now was not the time, and she understood.

With a nod, he shone the torch further down the path. 'They will stun them, which should be good enough. It'll stop them instantly lunging for us, at the very least.'

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Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #52 on: September 24, 2017, 05:35:44 PM »
"Then that will do," Isabel said, standing straighter and letting her gaze wander ahead down the path.  It was really quite an ordinary path, giving no hint of what lay at the end of it, yet the Doctor's words made it seem strangely ominous as well.  Whatever happened, by the time this night was over she knew nothing would be the same again.

"I flatter myself that I am a fair shot, though I will allow that I have never been tested in... quite such a fashion," she added dryly.  "But my lord father assures me that I am the most obstinate young woman in all the shire, so be assured that I will do my best, Doctor."

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Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #53 on: January 24, 2018, 02:27:32 PM »
'That's good enough for me. You never really quite know what you're made of until you're standing in front of something that wishes to kill you, I find.'
Turning the torch off would give them the advantage of stealth, but it was also a risk in that they would be unable to see traps or holes. Though if the Cybermen truly never expected to be found, it seemed unlikely they would be watching for any humans, and they were not exactly the type to set traps.

It was a tricky one.

Without further warning, he stepped ahead, moving onward.

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #54 on: January 25, 2018, 09:43:54 AM »
Perhaps it was simply because William's body was still so near, but the reminder that some thing would very likely soon do its best to kill her left Isabel strangely unaffected.  She'd known she was moving towards danger the moment she'd left her home, and this was far more important than a single life.  She set off after the Doctor as he moved ahead again, slightly hesitant at first in the dim light but slowly gaining confidence.

Soon the opening to the caves loomed not far ahead of them.  It was a small opening for the first two or three yards, one that would force even Isabel to duck a little, but it opened up quickly into a larger space, as she recalled from her furtive, forbidden explorations of the caves as a child.  Beyond lay more than enough room for these Cybermen to work their terrible mischief on the countryside, unless and until they were stopped.  She was still not sure she was up to the task of stopping them, but she did not allow herself to dwell on that thought.

As they drew nearer, the noise of the vibrations became a gentle hum, as the Doctor had predicted, a steady sound that seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere, like the humming of a huge, hidden swarm of insects.  And inside the opening she could also barely detect a faint light, a glow that seemed to suggest a much brighter light that was mostly hidden from view.  Something gave her the sense of movement inside as well, though that could just as easily have been imagination, and she looked to the Doctor for guidance as she slowed her pace.

Offline Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #55 on: March 16, 2018, 02:39:40 PM »
He had also drawn to a halt when they reached what he highly suspected was the heart of the Cyberman colony. Was colony the best word? It seemed too buggy, but it was the best he could really think of. Tomb didn't fit, though he strongly suspected it would look very, very similar to the Cyberman nest on Telos. Which had been, in its very purpose, a tomb, though a tomb for humans.
Nest didn't fit either.
Maybe tomb really the best thing to call it.

But they had work to do.

It was going to be hard to get a grasp on what their setup was without really giving themselves away. He glanced back to Isabel, and then towards the tomb.

Oh, he couldn't.

Could he?

'Do you class yourself as brave, Isabel?'

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #56 on: March 17, 2018, 05:53:22 PM »
The question surprised Isabel, but she didn't show it, simply standing up a little straighter.  "Brave enough to leave my home alone to seek the truth in the dark of night, when the men of the shire would do no more than talk and wonder," she said, quietly and crisply.  Then she half-smiled, nodding at the Doctor.  "And brave enough to throw my lot in with an unknown man who has led me to the very heart of the trouble.  Yes, I dare to call myself brave, and foolish as well, for there is often little difference between the two," she admitted.

"I know there is great danger, Doctor, and I am ready," she added, more seriously, glancing towards the cave.  "What would you have me do?"

Offline Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #57 on: March 18, 2018, 12:41:46 PM »
Oh, she was brilliant. So clever, a woman beyond her time to recognise the similarities between bravery and foolishness. One did not exist without the other.

'I am... Very sorry to have to ask this of you. If there were any other way... Alas...' He paused for a moment. 'I'm going to have to ask you to be bait. Offer yourself up to the Cybermen. No harm will come to you, I assure you, I will rescue you before any conversion. But I need to know what we're facing, and they'll kill me rather than use me. I would like a little more stealth in this mission than I can provide us. You won't be alone, though.'
He reached into his jacket, and pulled out a small, individual earphone. And in another moment, out came the screwdriver once more, and he held the two together. A quick, simple device. He could do the twin momentarily.

'I need you to put this in your ear.'

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #58 on: March 18, 2018, 06:00:25 PM »
Though all too many of the Doctor's words were strange to her, "bait" was a word and a concept that Isabel was all too familiar with.  She raised her eyebrows, surprised that he was bold enough to make such a request on so little acquaintance, though upon further reflection perhaps she shouldn't have been surprised at all.  If there was any man in the world daring enough -- or perhaps foolish enough, she thought with a smile -- to speak his mind without thought to consequence, it was the man standing in front of her right now.

Doubtful but ever-curious, she watched closely as he produced a small, mysterious object and performed some obscure procedure upon it.  "You seem very certain that they will slay you on sight, yet not harm me," she said, uncertainly, stowing her arrow and reaching for the object as he offered it to her, no doubt more of his 'technology'.  "And will this keep me from being alone?" she asked, still more doubtfully, sure that she must have mistaken his meaning, hardly for the first time.  "What wonders does it perform?"
« Last Edit: March 18, 2018, 06:17:04 PM by Valerian »

Offline Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #59 on: March 20, 2018, 02:42:43 PM »
'Yes, yes. I'll have another, same frequency. You'll be able to take directions and tell me what is going on, but try not to give anything away. It'll carry my voice right into your ear. I'm incompatible. No reason to keep me alive. I'll put an end to this before they harm you. I promise. You have my word.'
This truly was the best way to infiltrate. A camera might've offered more support, but he lacked one of those. Endless pockets and yet no camera.

'This will be all over soon.'

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #60 on: March 20, 2018, 06:18:52 PM »
Automatically, she tried to parse the word frequency but was quickly forced to give up as the Doctor kept on talking.  Apparently this tiny object would allow him to talk to her and hear what transpired from a distance, though she could not imagine how.  Her vague ideas about how something like that might be possible were each more outlandish than the last, and she reminded herself to ask the Doctor about the workings of the device later.  Assuming there was a later, of course.

But she had known all along she was moving towards danger, and while this was a far different sort of danger than she had imagined, in the end it would hardly matter to her if she died at the hands of an outlaw or through the strange science of a Cyberman.  Still, she shuddered to think of being transformed as William had been, without even her mind her own, and she studied the Doctor unhappily as he spoke.  "I will trust you in this, Doctor.  If this is what must be done to put an end to these Cybermen and their cruelty, then I will do it."  She reached up and fitted the earpiece awkwardly into place, then turned towards the cave.  "I hope this will be over soon," she added, touching the earpiece gingerly.

Offline Theta Sigma

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #61 on: March 21, 2018, 02:51:40 PM »
'It will. They will not take another life. You're very brave, very... Strong.' He said, for lack of a better word to describe her. They could pounce her the moment she stepped out, or, as he suspected, they would be sluggish and capture her only once they realised she was human.
That would give him enough time to finalise a plan of attack and get everything sorted.

'They're old, decaying and dying. They'll be slow. They'll be stupid.'

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]
« Reply #62 on: March 21, 2018, 08:34:37 PM »
"Very stubborn," Isabel corrected, dryly, recalling the many times her father had said exactly that of her -- then wondered if she would ever hear him say that again.  But this was not the time to think of that; if she let herself be distracted that would only make her even more likely to be killed, and the chances of that were already high enough.

She nodded at his description of the Cybermen, hoping he was correct.  "Slow and dying would be very useful," she remarked.  "And we need some advantage.  We may be sorely outnumbered.  But I shall divert as many of them as I can, and I trust you will be ready to act."  Again she looked uneasily towards the cave, then back at the Doctor.  "You are ready to act, are you not?"