Intermission #3

The day the Order was Issued…


Kane awoke with a start, roughly shaking the images of the nightmare from his mind… The loud hammering at his door was desperately urgent, it was still dark outside and the cat resting at the foot of his bed glared at having her rest disturbed, hopped down and slipped through the open french doors vanishing into the night as Kane pulled on garments in a rush… A thousand thoughts flooded his mind, panic, annoyance and curiosity… He flung open the door to be greeted by a nervous looking maid accompanied by two guards in Regal uniform.

“You are summoned to the Royal Palace.” The taller guard spoke firmly. “At Once.”

“Dad?” A young six year old lad rubbed sleep from his eyes, standing at his doorway down the hall… “What’s happening?”

Kane simply tilted his head to one side and the Guards parted to allow him to attend to the boy. “I need to work.” He knelt by the lad. “You need to guard your sister while I’m away…” Kane glanced at the awaiting soldiers “…You know what to do.” He added. The boy nodded, slipping back into his room silently pondering over the secret command.


At Fenroux Palace in the centre of the Capital City, known as the Northern Heart. The streets were filled with celebration and wonder. It was mid-morning by The time Kane arrived from the Clan Territories and the city was buzzing with a party spirit. Queen Roux had given birth to a healthy bright baby boy, a Royal Prince and Heir.

That news alone gave Kane the understanding of his summons, he wasn’t a fool and he knew this day would come. For near seven years he had held, in secret upon his estate three ‘guests’ three legal Royal Heirs who, in all intent and purpose were already dead publicly. They had only survived these last few years in seclusion upon the whim of Queen Roux, who had personally halted the death sentence upon her only son and two grandchildren. Now, with a new Prince born to the legal King… Jago, who should have been ruler, and his twins Kol and Indigo were insignificant. The traditional order of the throne had been manipulated to suit Fendor’s ambition.

Kane was kept waiting, while Nobles and Knights arrived in mass to congratulate the Royal couple and hope for a glimpse of the tiny Prince. Finally it was Lord Darkfire who greeted Kane in a silent side room. The giant barbarian leader eyed Kane distastefully, clad in traditional clan garb, a tan tunic and dark blue kilt, Kane had adopted the ways of the land he ruled instead of dressing like an outsider. To Lord Darkfire the kilt was offensive and he openly mocked the older, yet smaller man. Kane ignored the remarks.

“Are you going to get to the point?” He shrugged off any insult.

“The Order has been Issued…” Lord Darkfire confirmed Kane’s speculations.

“Very well.” Kane stood to leave.

“Where are you going?”

“Home, I have arrangements to make.”

“I shall be accompanying you!”


“Do you think the King trusts a lackey in a dress?”

Kane stepped right up to the Barbarian, standing chest to physically belly, as Lord Darkfire towered over him. “Do you want to try your luck?” Kane spoke softly, hand resting comfortably upon the hilt of his sword.

There was an uncomfortable silence until the larger man simply took a step backwards.

“You know it would have been easier to have simply sent the order with the Royal Guards instead of dragging me all the way here to the palace.” Kane sighed, bored with the waste of time.

Lord Darkfire grinned then half chuckled as he spoke “We needed you away from your home, to make some security arrangements. To ensure you go through with the order without any resistance.”

Kane kept his expression calm, his mind calculating the amount of time it would take to return home and a thousand more racing thoughts, yet he could not afford to dwell on the threat… “Do you doubt my loyalty to The King, one of my oldest, closest friends?” He spoke without hesitation. “I am perfectly aware of my duty when it was issued to me six years ago. My only concern is why it took so long to act?”

“For the Queen to conceive?” The Barbarian let slip what Kane had guessed.

“Ahhh… What do we know about the cycles of a ladies body?!” Kane grinned slapping the barbarian on the arm then… “Shall we go get this nasty business dealt with? I see no purpose in hesitation, it will be dusk by the time we return. We can get this done this day and break open some spiced wine to celebrate the babes birth.”

He marched past Lord Darkfire, causing the larger man to trot along to keep up. He was spluttering details of his orders as they headed to the courtyard and awaiting transportation. Kane was hardly listening, his mind was tumbling over the empty threat that hung in the air and he pondered over what could possibly await him at home…


Anne Harrison 24.05.17

Intermission #2

Out in the Wilds


“Something has been killing my sheep!” Brynn pursed her lips in a defiant pout as she expressed her concerns to Hera. They were reclined around the fire-pit in the clearing outside Hera’s den, secluded in the wilds of the Deep-Wood Forest. They shared a sweet mead as Brynn continued to recount her drama.

“So I decided to lay in wait, I’m not a bad shot with my cross bow and any beastie, I thought I could ward away. Now wolves I can deal with, naughty wild cats can sometimes take down a sheep, alas tis five of my flock I’ve lost… All slaughtered, all torn apart, viciously gutted. I was thinkin’ me foe to be a bear, but no grizzlies venture this far north. Perplexed I was, sat on guard, cold and sleepy. When I’s hear this frightful cry, like a shrill howl, but laced with more pain than ever a beast could hold in its soul. Even the wolves yelped and fled at the sound. Why, I could hardly hold by bow straight for trembling with utter fear!” Brynn paused to sip her mead.

“Well, Hera, well… when the creature came into sight I was stricken with dread… Twelve foot high I would say and near as wide, black as the depths of the well pit and covered in matted hair… I tried to get a shot off, I screamed, my flock scattered, the beast howled… What can I say Hera… I’ve never been so frightened, t’weren’t natural I’m telling ye!”

Hera refilled the shepherdess’s glass, half amused by Brynn’s dramatic rendition of events… Brynn sipped the mead grateful.

“An idea jumped to mind and I dashed towards the old well, screaming as I ran, the thing blundering after me, I swear I could feel it’s foul breath down me neck… At the last moment I sprang and cleared the mouth of the well in pure desperation… The thing at my heels, tripped, stumbling over the low crumbling bricks and fell with a mighty crash down the old pit, splashing into the stagnant water!” She drained her glass with triumph!

“Is this creature still down the well?” Hera asked bemused…

“Why yes, yes it is, it growled and howled and sobbed. Yet I threw over the old lid and weighted it down with bricks from the old wall. Then I came straight here, I needed to calm my nerves!”

“Shall we go and see what kind of beast you have caught?” The Witch took a burning fagot from the camp fire and, with a very nervous Brynn at her heels, lead the way through the forest to the deserted well, where soft mourning sounds echoed within.

The ladies carefully pulled back the weighted lid to peer within holding the brand aloft to shine into darkness.

Within a man glanced upwards towards the fire light, a large man granted, but no shaggy beast, naked and covered in slime and grime. He trembled, hugging himself…

“I know that face!” Hera gasped, He glanced towards the sound of her voice. A rough beard half obscured his features, but the Lord of the Barbarians was distinctively recognizable.

“Grave? You’re supposed to be dead?”



Anne Harrison 18.05.17


Part 67

A Cage without Bars


The room was not locked, the door left mockingly ajar, clear laughter heard from beyond. Yet Indigo could not move an inch towards freedom. Wards and glyphs, runes and sigils, painted in goats blood adorned the walls preventing her from approaching the door. Like a magnet that repelled it’s polar partner, Indigo was forced back from the door by the power of the bloodstained symbols. Attempting to leave caused her to feel nauseous, dizzy and faint. Whoever had painted the walls had a very strong understanding of her craft, particularly the more negative side of magic, the forbidden rites, manipulation, control, the alteration of will power.

Sickness and disease stained the darkened blood, traits that only strengthened the negative energy that restrained Indigo stronger than any rope or chains ever could. She resigned herself to such a gloomy fate, seated herself directly in the centre of the room where the effects were less obnoxious. Yet she felt a heavy weight push down upon her, increasing her discomfort, glancing up Indigo noticed an exceptionally nasty symbol which drew her magical energy from her very soul.

Eventually she was forced by the surrounding negativity to curl in a curled fetus position, which made the harrowing darkness just about bearable… Kept on the edge of consciousness, demonic shadows clawing at her pure mind, carving out her bright energy for their own foul desires.

Such was her cage without bars…


Anne Harrison 11.04.17

Part 65

The Rift

A stunned silence fell over the arena, only the shrill cries of Alleia’s baby shattered the still. The General nodded a command, a prearranged deception, executed flawlessly. His troops rounded up the survivors, they were bound securely and then divided to individual holding cells. Novana and Indigo both numb with shock,  Kol was barely conscious.

Kane kicked off as soon as the guards tried to restrain Alleia, Fendor anticipated his desire to protect the family he had mere moments ago been reunited with and The General circled to slam the hilt of his sword into Kane’s temple as Kane has stood to square off against the soldiers. Kane dropped like a rock.

Alleia was hysterical,  her son dragged from her arms, he was wailing, Alleia screaming in panic. Though the whole episode was over shortly, with each hostage removed, restrained and contained in different parts of the vast palace.


Finally only Fendor stood alone, surrounded by three bodies and an unconscious Kane…

He spat in the dust and nudged Kane with his boot. “Are you awake?”

Kane stirred, scratching his head and coughing. “You didn’t have to fucking hit me so hard.”

“It needed to be convincing.” Fendor extended a hand to help his Captain to his feet. “You look dreadful.”

“I need a drink.”

“Ooh you’re funny.”

Kane just raised an eyebrow…

“Whisky Captain?” Fendor suggested

“Aye General.”

The two men turned and left the arena, discarding the carnage behind them.
There was still much to discuss …

Anne Harrison 06.04.17

Part 61

The Calm Before the Storm


Six people gathered around the table, before them coffee was brought and served. Only Pepe refused a hot drink, demanding alcohol, even though it was just past dawn. His demand was refused, so he rejected refreshments.

Circumstances were tense before Indigo arrived with Kane, now a heavy silence fell across the table as their lands stood on the pinnacle of conflict and this gathering might prove to be the trigger point or resolution.

“You realise my Father can not accept your claim to his throne.” Indigo broke the silence, her words were not unexpected. Jago had every right to inherit the crown from his Grandfather and the lands it governed.

“I see he didn’t have the balls to attend himself and sent a little girl instead.” Pepe sneered. His bitter words caused stunned expressions across the table, Pepe was supposed to be a Royalist, a devout loyal subject to King and Country.

“You knew of Fendor’s plan? To assassinate my Great-Grandfather?” Indigo narrowed her eyes. Her words were actually speculation, her family still unsure of the traitor, yet her investigation had lead her to this conclusion and the fact that Fendor had support within the court.

Pepe just smirked.

“Fendor approached us seeking allies.” Grave spoke up, spilling the truth. “We saw countless refugees make the difficult journey through the wastelands, neglecting the Capital City and heading South seeking sanctuary. The corruption within the Royal household near destroyed the people and the land. Fendor was a revolutionary, initially, he saw how great the North could be once more, but this he could not do alone.”

“Where is Fendor? Why does he not speak for himself and defend his traitorous actions?” Indigo enquired.

“He fell victim to the bottle, guilt and stress plagued his mind. His only escape was drink. He’s currently under guard while he sobers up.”

“This is ridiculous!” Pepe fumed interrupting the exchange. “Lets keep things simple shall we? The King was a corrupt bastard who had prolonged his life and his reign through magical properties. Fendor sought an end to his destruction and his life. Fendor should be ruler, not this brute! The barbarians were just brought in as muscle, not to take over!” He huffed… “I want my land back, I want my wife and the babe and I want Fendor to assume command.”

Kane tensed by Indigo’s side and she placed a hand on his arm to still his temper at the dandy’s words.

“You are in a position to demand NOTHING!” Grave was fast loosing his patience, slamming his fist on the table. “You’re a vile little coward of a man, who made underhanded bargains to secure your own comfort.” His tone raised in fury.

“How dare you… you… you..” Pepe stood, but was interrupted by Kane…

“…I dare…” He slid papers across the table as evidence, signed and sealed by Pepe with the Montoto wax seal, which placed command of The Northern Clan Territories under the leadership of Master Davenport.

Pepe shrugged…

“Davenport is dead, by Clan law what he commanded reverts to his killer as his property.”

“You?! You killed Davenport? You.. You.. should be dead… Not Davenport!” Pepe licked sweat from his top lip. “This is utter nonsense.”

“The Princess Alleia has requested a divorce.” Indigo spoke up. “Which would prevent you from any claim to her or her son.” She glanced at Kane.

“I challenge you, by combat, for the rights to your land and your wife… The babe…” Kane smiled, “He’s already mine.”

Grave laughed, a deep belly rolling howling laughter as Pepe near fainted at the words… “You can’t challenge me, you have not right!” His voice broke, a pitiful plea.

“He has every right.” Novana replied having glanced through the papers. “You see your new pretty estate falls within his boarders, so he can challenge you for all you own, including your wife… So you can either scoot away as a coward or fight with honor. Which will it be?”


Anne Harrison 05.04.17







Part 58

Midnight Conversations

Kane wrapped a sheet around his waist and perched upon the soft bed, there was only one chair by the table, so the woman took the chair and lit the lamp thereon, while her companion stood guard by the door which led into the complex, his sword now sheathed yet his hand rested easily on the pommel.

Kane blinked against the light, rubbing his eyes…

“What happened to you?” She asked, leaning forward in the chair, her eyes grazed over his scars, stitches, bandages, emaciated frame…

“Davenport happened to me.” As he replied, a petite grey cat slipped in gracefully from the courtyard, padding lightly over to Kane to plop down upon his lap, kneading with a low rumbling purr.

The arrival of the cat served to diffuse the uncomfortable atmosphere  causing a light hearted ripple of soft laughter.

“I don’t wish to sound arrogant, but I believe I know who you are.” Kane spoke, fussing the cat. “I believe you are Jago’s Twins, Indigo and Kol.”

The laughter died away to stunned silence as the twins glanced at each other bewildered.

“How did you come to that conclusion?” She narrowed her eyes as she spoke.

“You were correct in your observation of military, so, when you’re stood in the corner of a room for hours on end, your face half obscured by a helmet, stood to attention with a halberd that’s actually more for show than any practical use. You get used to being ignored, you become invisible. So you watch, listen, learn… You visited The King with your father last year for ‘The Worlds Range Games’ and I was on duty. Simple as that.”

The twins glanced at each other, then smiled.

“How did you end up ruling here?” Kol asked, stepping closer to engage in the conversation.

“I killed Davenport, there really is just so much you can take before you snap.” The cat arched its back and hopped to head-bump Kane on the chin.

“Then if you know who we are, you could hazard a guess as to why we are here?” Indigo’s unusual eyes still appeared to glow in the low lamp light.

“You want to know where the Northern Clan Territories stand if, or when, war breaks out. You want to know if we’re allies or an added threat.” He sighed, “Is Jago going to attempt to claim the throne from his Grandfather’s murderers?” Kane switched the direction of questioning.

“It would be his duty to do so.”

Somewhere out in the courtyard a clock struck the hour and the shrill call of crickets resonated during the lull in the conversation.

“I don’t want war, but I would say that is unavoidable.” Kane was starting to feel more fatigued and reached for a glass of water by the lamp. “Maybe this is not the hour for such deliberation.” He stifled a yawn. “I should like to consider both of you my guests and resume our discussion over breakfast.” Kane escorted the twins to a guest room personally, then returned to his too comfortable bed, discovering the grey cat curled up right in the centre.

So he returned to his slumber on the floor, listening to the crickets and savoring the feel of the breeze on his face…


Anne Harrison 31.03.17

Part 53

With the Spirit of the Fallen…


White hot pain burned between her legs, blood ran down her thighs. Her mind blinded by fear, her voice, a scream felt miles away. The flagstones, hard, cold, slick and unfriendly against her straining body. The edge of consciousness, threatened to consume her with welcoming blackness as the whole room was blurred through tear rimmed eyes…

A carrion crow swept down from the rafters, perched upon the chair back and called a shrilling cry, echoing throughout the tower drawing her mate who landed closer to Alleia.

“It is time.” The female crow morphed into a most unusual looking woman, jet black and naked, save for a cloak of feathers which cascaded down her back. Her hands were claws, her feet claws. Nose long and sharp, keen eyes. She approached Alleia and cocked her head, the Crow-Woman’s actions were so bird like. Her mate shook off his feathered disguise and knelt to lift Alleia into his strong arms.

“Where to?” He stood, spread his cloak of wings, bending his knees to spring.

“To the Grave. Where it ended, is where it shall begin again. Our Mother has prepared the land and her silent summoning has drawn The Dragon Prince. She will be safe there.”

The Crow-Man nodded in accord and with Alleia in his arms they took flight, right through wood and stone as though they were nothing but dust in the air.

Alleia herself was half dazed and amazed, her rational mind tried to explain the event as an illusion, an hallucination on the verge of death. She imagined she dreamed of a glade, surrounded by so many wild flowers, curious bees, butterflies, exotic birds. It was dusk, yet the sun was warm upon her skin and the Crow-Woman proved to be a gentle midwife. Moss soft at her back, the pain subsided, or became more bearable… She wasn’t sure which…

A Dragon stood guard, keeping the menfolk at a respectable safe distance. Though Alleia hardly saw them… Panting… Pushing… Straining… Following the Crow-Woman’s constant words of encouragement. Alleia felt the final breach as her babe drew breath and wailed with life, tiny strong lungs shattering the still. Hot tears poured down her face as the Crow-Woman handed Alleia the tiny wriggling boy…

She almost expected the glade to vanish, for the illusion to fade and return again to the bitter empty tower alone, but the sun softly set, bathing the sky in a warm red glow. It was beautiful, everything felt beautiful and peaceful…

“He will need to feed.” The Crow-Woman aided the inexperienced mother, helping to get her cleaned and comfortable. The Dragon thoughtfully provided a generous lump of burnished coal from her fire-throat to keep Mother and babe cosy.

“You will be safe here. The menfolk will guard us.”

Though Alleia could not find sleep, she watched her child nursing peacefully and silently wished that his life would be perfect. In that moment, she held in her arms true love, unconditional and innocent.

Alleia knew the face from Kane’s old sketch… Yet the girl she saw at that moment was not flesh and blood, she was ethereal, she glided without moving her feet over to Alleia, her smile was warm and generous. This was her grave site after all and the babe was part of her magic. It appeared fitting that she blessed the birth with her presence, but she soon vanished into the star light…


Anne Harrison 22.03.17

Part 25

Those Awake

As the chaos dulled into a peaceful silence, the sapphire glow pulsed and hummed with a shimmering radiance than showered upon the feasting guests rendering each one harmlessly into a deep natural sleep where they stood, sat or danced, they fell and snoozed.

Hera stood unaffected by the magical glow, she blinked startled, witnessing each person tumble and doze. Turning in a slow lazy circle she noticed the caged animals sink into slumber. Only the proud noble Phoenix stood awake on his perch. The Prince lightly touched Hera’s arm, causing her to near leap from her skin…

“You’re awake?” He blinked against the fading light.

“So are you…”

Off in the distance they could hear the thunder of boots as the palace guards approached the scene swiftly.

“How curious…” The Queen mused, stepping down from the throne dais, lightly tip-toeing over fallen celebrants towards Hera and her son. The noise of the heavily armed troops edged closer to the hall.

“I believe we should fake a faint…” The Queen suggested, though her expression indicated a questioning that would demand answers once all the chaos had dissipated.

They fell, eyes closed, pretending… waiting…

As a score of fierce soldiers poured into the banqueting hall… Only the Phoenix stood proud screeching against his confinement, causing the troops to flinch as they searched the room for any danger…

Anne Harrison 06.02.17

Part 23

Magical Stirrings – The twin stones awake…


Pride of place, upon a high centerpiece upon the banquet table, The clear blue crystal, presented to the King by his triumphant Son in a dressed up farce of a ceremony, stood as crowning glory at the celebration, which was showing no sign of slowing down any time before dawn. Lords and Ladies, Viscounts and neighboring Kings congratulated the Prince, admired the captured stone and lusted over it’s mythological magical properties.

The story of recovering the crystal was recounted and exaggerated as the evening became more drunken, the death of the Child of Prophecy and her Guardian were seen as the end of the war – incidentally, the Prince also took credit for the death of The Guardian too – The whole affair was disgusting to Hera, who remained by the Priests side, acting as his loyal consort, the only way she could stay safe and hidden was right among the people she despised.

The Prince appeared forlorn, having ceased drinking hours ago, a resigned embarrassment consumed his dull thoughts. Hera picked up on this when he displayed mercy for the Phoenix, she would watch that young man with interest… Had her magical healing altered his conscience?

Without warning the blue stone started to hum upon its perch, most party goers was unaware of this subtle action. Then it stared to vibrate and finally glow, a bright blinding light erupted from its heart with a ear piercing cry, like nails on a chalkboard.

People dropped glasses to cover their ears as the cry intensified, the glow enveloping the whole hall…


The red stone was kept wrapped in cloth in Kane’s left hand pocket, though his clothes were currently discarded along a grassy path in a twisting maze, the magical stone was connected to him. It pulsed, like a steady heartbeat, rolling free from the fabric, glowing and moaning to be with its owner. Finally resting against the lovers bare flesh, Kane felt its call and reached out a hand to grasp his ‘lucky charm’ the power from it wrapped them both in a deep red light, magic flowing through the common soldier, the married Princess. Their lust reached it’s peak Kane held the crystal to Alleia’s breast, over her heart…

As they cried out together, the crystal sank into her flesh…


Anne Harrison 01.02.17