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Author Topic: The Wizard of Lancaster [Thete and Val]  (Read 1083 times)

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Offline Theta Sigma

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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.

Offline ValerianTopic starter

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."

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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.

'Hmm...'

Offline ValerianTopic starter

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.

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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...?

Offline ValerianTopic starter

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?"

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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.'

Offline ValerianTopic starter

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

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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.'

Offline ValerianTopic starter

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.

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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.'

Offline ValerianTopic starter

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.

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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.'

Offline ValerianTopic starter

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.

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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.'

Offline ValerianTopic starter

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.'

Offline ValerianTopic starter

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.

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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.'

Offline ValerianTopic starter

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...'

Offline ValerianTopic starter

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.'

Offline ValerianTopic starter

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.

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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.'