Wizards and warriors — future history installment 2



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WIZARDS AND WARRIORS — FUTURE HISTORY - Installment 2

by Lee Gold (301) 306-7456 or leeway@mediaone.net


Note: This is part two of a continuing and unauthorized continuation of the series, based on the eight episodes shown, on further background obtained from the series' creator, and on my own warped imagination.
Episodes are preceded by an approximate season and month. It is assumed that the episodes shown spanned the late spring and summer of what may be termed Year One. Keying these continuation episodes by date allows me to indicate continuity but not imply that nothing of interest occurs between one episode and the next one written up.
THE DEAD RETURN
FALL (October — Leaves are turning colors up North, but the South is still green. Fields are stubble after the harvest in both areas. The sky is as apt to be grey as blue.)
In Castle Blackpool, Bethel uses her Monocle to weave a web of protection around the Castle to protect it from further direct sendings from Vector. (Interlaced silver lines glow momentarily around the many-towered castle, like a spider's web, then fade out.) This protection will use up a good deal of the witch's power to maintain, but under the circumstances it's obviously necessary.
Dirk mentions that he was unaware that his two "advisors" had been keeping the Book (in two halves) in the Citadel. Does Bethel have any other interesting secrets? Just what is Vector capable of now that he possesses both halves of the Book? (It certainly seems obvious enough to both of them in retrospect that it was due to his access to the complete Book that Vector was able to achieve such effects as casting the Crimson Plague without a Monocle.)
Bethel's answers are not entirely satisfactory to Dirk (but should fill the audience in on a number of facts about Book and Monocles — see W&W Background). The two part on outwardly amicable terms.
And dissolve to later that night, to see Dirk leaving the castle secretly. (Well, observed by Neville, his new Captain of the Guard, but not by Bethel. She's busy trying to remember and write down everything she ever read in the half of the Book she once possessed.)
And dissolve again to find Dirk dismounting in the Mountains of Madness, Vector’s new home — to plead with Vector to return to Castle Blackpool. He promises to explain to the Council that he took no offense at Vector's various attempts to kill him; it was all merely part of Castle Blackpool's normal lifestyle, designed to make sure that the ruler was on his toes. Now he needs Vector back. There's no way he can achieve conquest of Camarand with only Bethel to aid him — particularly if most of her time is taken up with warding off Vector. He promises Vector again that once he conquers the South, he'll give him his Monocle back. And Bethel's as well.
Vector says he'll return as an advisor if Dirk is now at last willing to help him take Traquill's Monocle or, if that proves impossible, drain some of the white wizard's magic power. Dirk agrees and asks what is involved. Well, for a start, the Mountains of Madness are too far north. The two link hands (and powers) and arrive at Vassar Ridge, site of this spring’s battle, the one that began the escalation of the war between North and South. It's midnight, the time that the powers of Vector's Monocle are at their highest. The two are standing on an earth mound, marking where the soldiers who fell in this battle were buried. Dirk holds the Monocle in his hand. As it glows a pulsating blue, Vector seizes it (and the glow changes to violet).
But the target that Vector directs the magic forces against is not Traquill but the battle dead who lie beneath them. He summons them to arise and to destroy Baaldorf and Blackpool, dealing death to all who seek to resist them. Dirk struggles to wrest the Monocle away, but is too late. When he does succeed in breaking Vector's grip, he attempts to direct a beam of power at him, but it bounces, parried by Vector's own, in a shower of sparks.
The dead rise and move away, marching in groups, silent and menacing. Vector casts one final spell, then teleports off laughing as Dirk finds himself caught by chains (a close up reveals these as composed of links that resemble black spiders), held by a demoness. (This is much the same figure that menaced Erik in the September episode.) She tells him that she is woven from his fears and is there to kill him so Vector can finally regain his Monocle.
Dirk defies her, saying he fears nothing — and therefore she has no power over him, but still finds considerable difficulty in breaking the chains, then slumps to the ground in exhaustion. The demoness disappears in a puff of fire as the chains finally break. He cannot kill her — as she isn't real, merely a projection from his own mind energized by Vector.
***
And turn the page to the Baaldorf area at dawn, as the dead troops return homewards and are welcomed joyously by their friends and kindred — until they start slaying anyone who attempts to detain them on their way to the Castle.
Erik and Marko are sent off to help the troops rally and regroup to defend the Castle, and to evacuate the countryside. Justin and King Baaldorf escort the castle's womenfolk (Ariel, Lattinia, Cassandra, etc.) to nearby Rainbow Grove, as a place of refuge. (This is the area where we saw Traquill in the September episode. It is apparently a place where Undead and other such evil beings may not enter; it's unclear if this is due to Traquill's power or to some characteristic of the Fountain itself, which seems to be a relic of a bygone era.)
***
And turn the page to find Neville at Castle Blackpool. He is attempting to get into the dungeon/torture chamber complex, but finds it magically locked and under a guard independent of his orders. (This guard was probably originally responsible to Vector and is now virtually independent since Dirk has been somewhat too busy of late to reorganize things — or have the leisure time to visit the torture chamber for his own amusement.)
***
And turn the page as Dirk awakens on Vassar Ridge to find himself on a ghastly battlefield with the living fighting the dead. The dead are moving somewhat woodenly but still menacingly, using their swords and other melee weapons. The living are using torches. [In this culture, I think, the dead are normally cremated, but after a battle there just wasn't enough time — or wood — for normal rituals, and the corpses were thrown into a trench and buried there.]
Dirk finds Geoffrey in charge of the army detachment — along with Bethel (who was summoned by messenger when Geoffrey found that his detachment guarding Suicide Pass was having to fight off walking corpses.) Bethel kindled the fire that was used to light the torches he sees. The mop up operation here at Vassar Ridge is completed by now, but the Pass detachment is down to only a platoon or so. Dirk sends it back with instructions to summon reinforcements and to guard the Pass at all costs.
Meanwhile the dead are regrouping. And it's impossible for Bethel to teleport them back to Castle Blackpool itself, because the protection she wove will keep her out too. Instead Dirk, Geoffrey and Bethel mount — there are a number of riderless horses straying about the area — and ride south, under a flag of truce. (Dirk wonders whether the dead will meet with more success in their attack on Castle Baaldorf. With luck, Vector may have succeeded in doing him a favor in spite of himself.)
And dissolve to see Dirk and Geoffrey and Bethel meeting Erik and Marko — as the dead regroup and push southward, driving the Camarand army (and the others) back. However, the dead are now heading not against Castle Baaldorf but against the Rainbow Grove area, following their instructions (just as they were heading north to attack Saris Blackpool). Dirk and Bethel cannot enter the Grove area comfortably. (Geoffrey seems somewhat less bothered.) And everyone agrees that the present situation is intolerable.
As the dead mass about the Grove area, the sky begins to darken. Lightning hawks flock overhead, spitting out bolts of lightning towards the Grove below. (Most of these are shielded off by Traquill, but as one and then another gets through, people’s sense of safety begins to ebb away.)
One hawk seems to be hunting Ariel in particular. (She’s sneaked away from the mass of the people in order to get a better view of the fighting.) Geoffrey picks up a longbow from a fallen archer and disposes of this hawk as it hovers over her in an attempt to improve its aim. Ariel impulsively kisses him in gratitude (and he looks about nervously to make sure that Erik didn’t noticed. Or Dirk.)
The other Lightning Hawks are concentrating their fire at one area of the Grove. As the trees begin to flame and fall, the dead follow — some of them also dying from lightning bolts, the others pressing on, uncaring. They have evidently managed to open up a narrow pathway into the Grove area. Erik and Marko stand side by side, fending off the spearhead of the attackers.
Finally — with utmost reluctance — Traquill, Bethel and Dirk (holders of the three extant Monocles) — join forces (and hands) to disperse the forces that Vector summoned. The triad breaks up almost instantaneously, flinging all three aside in different directions, but it was enough. The spell was truly cast and the menace is quelled.
The dead bodies lose their animation, fall to the ground, then slowly dissolve into dust and blow away. The Lightning Hawks fly away, leaving the sky clear and blue again. But part of the Grove is still scorched and Traquill is evidently disturbed. And Dirk and Bethel round up a somewhat reluctant Geoffrey (who's talking with Ariel) and teleport off (presumably northwards).
and fade out


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