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Author Topic: Secrets that bind[Finished]  (Read 1954 times)


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Secrets that bind[Finished]
« on: 09 September 2021, 21:02:37 »
[Author]Time for my own little something unusual.  Will it be super science or will it be super natural?  For now only I shall know but for the observant there is at least one hint.  Have fun!  [/Author]

Dunrobin Castle
Northern Scotland
June 6 3072

Adept Damien Moore was still confused by his orders.  He had been told to come to this rural area of Terra after he had passed many trials that had proved he could be trusted with one of the Word's most ancient secrets and to guard it.

His expert eyes were able to tell the Castle was allowed to look poorly kept from the outside but not to the point it would be compromising the actual structure.

As he adjusted his pack and entered the Castle grounds proper he could tell he was under the watch of remotely operated cameras but these too were well concealed and would take someone with training and talent to spot.

The main door opened for him.  Another carefully crafted illusion for anyone who might come this far.  This was not what he expected.  He expected some sort of carefully concealed research compound or military base.  This was a carefully concealed prison.

"Welcome Adept Moore.  You may call me Fenrir.  Step this way please.  Adept Matsu will see to your belongings while I brief you on your new assignment."  A tall dark well built dark skinned man announced from a doorway.

Damien handed his bags to the small Asian man that approached him before going into the room indicated.

The small office looked very bear.  That is when it struck him.  There were communication terminals, displays, and even books but no computers of any sort.

"I see you have noticed our peculiarity here at Dunrobin prison.  I have often wondered about it myself but it was a decision made by the prior warden of this prison, or perhaps the one before that.  I am no longer sure.  The lack of electronic records has lead to a lot of oral history surrounding this place and it is difficult to keep it straight at times.  Hell I can no longer tell you for sure how long this place has operated as a prison.  Would you like something to drink before I continue?"  Fenrir's deep voice seemed at odds with his relaxed delivery.

"Some water would be welcome.  Do I just address you as Fenrir or something more?  It was not included in my orders."  Damien answered.

Adept Matsu entered the office with a tray, a pitcher of water, and two glasses.

"As I indicated there are a lot of stories about this place but let me tell you the ones that matter.  We currently hold only one prisoner.  According to the former Warden she was here when he came here.  Given some of the tech for life extension here on Holy Terra that may be possible.  I've met Terrans that I'd swear were only in their 20's that were actually 120.  He could not tell me why she was held here.  I only know we are asked to send a blood sample from our prisoner once a year and that is sufficient for people higher in the order to justify the expense of keeping this place operating with a full Level II of Battlearmor for prison guards and a full support staff."  Fenrir broke to drink some water.

"By Blake that is some serious investment for one prisoner."  Damien reeled.

"This is our prisoner.  We do not know her real name.  Some guard long ago said she reminded him of his sister Theresa.  So that is what everyone since then addresses her as.  For the most part she has been a model prisoner so we allow her some comforts.  For reasons that escape me she is fond of fantasy novels.  Ah excellent we are just in time to watch her daily chess match with Adept Jackson.  She seems to enjoy chess and if she thinks you have promise she'll even tutor you.  Jackson here when he came here had an Elo rating of at best 1000.  Now he routinely defeats Grand Masters of Elo rating 2000 in his spare time."  Fenrir turned on one his remote monitoring stations.

Theresa looked no older than 25, possibly 30 to Damien.  Tall, platinum blonde hair, fair complexion.  A very athletic build but something about the way she carried herself and her posture just demanded attention.

"She's well behaved as long as you only look but don't touch.  But watch."  Fenrir sensed Damien's focus.

Damien wasn't much of one for the ancient game of chess but the speed the two as they traded moves, then eventually pieces was still something to behold.  Damien quickly understood that there was an artistry to two high level opponents playing the game that even an inexperienced person like him had no choice but to appreciate.

Adept Jackson admitted defeat after 3 minutes of exchanges.

"Now that I have shown you our prisoner on to the thing most driven into me by the previous Warden that he insisted be driven into everyone here.  In case of emergency where I am injured, on the brink of death, or my finger is severed but out of my reach the ring on my left ring finger is to be put on your left ring finger as quickly as possible.  It is never to be taken off.  Even when you bathe, make love, or any other reason.  I do not know why but I have done as the previous Warden has instructed and there have been no issues.  Come.  Time to get to work.  Theresa has earned her hour of outside time."  Fenrir said as he held up his hand to show a simple iron band on his left ring finger.

Fenrir led them through a maze of rooms and corridors until they eventually came to Theresa's cell.

Damien locked eyes with Theresa then suddenly he felt a sheer terror overcome him, losing his balance and footing.

"That wasn't very nice Theresa."  Fenrir admonished her.

"Apologies.  He had the look of wanting to touch and I couldn't help myself.  Still at least he didn't soil himself like the last one."  Theresa bowed.

"Hmmm...  Likely true but I still must punish you for such a lapse.  I know.  I will withhold the latest novel in the Dragon's Den series you are so fond of for 24 hours and apologize to Adept Moore.  He is going to be with us a while.  Adept Moore apologies for not warning you about that.  She does that so rarely I often think it is a fragment of a dream rather than reality.  Now accompany her on her walk outside so you two can start getting to know one another.  I will return to my office.  Adept Matsu will show you to your quarters once you finish.  Peace of Blake be with you."  Fenrir walked off.

"I do apologize for my lapse.  I do hope you are not too discouraged."  Theresa extended her left hand where an identical simple iron band could be seen on her ring finger.

"I am fine."  Damien knew better then to make contact with a prisoner, especially one as odd as this.

"You find this incredibly odd don't you?"  Theresa asked as she showed Damien the way outside.

"I can only guess you must be a very unusual prisoner, no that doesn't seem like the right word with all the luxuries you have.  Hostage seems more apt, especially in the classical sense.  I don't know why I'm talking this much to you.  I really shouldn't."  Damien answered.

"It is okay.  I have that effect on people.  I either scare the hell out of them or they like telling me things.  Fenrir seems to appreciate a less formal arrangement too and that makes it easier."  Theresa smiled.

"Then tell me what are you here for?  Who are you?"  Damien couldn't help his curiosity.

"It is better for everyone that I do not tell you.  The last time I did something terrible happened because no one believed me."  Theresa's smile faded.

Damien sighed.  He knew he was not going to get answers today.  Still somehow it stung less since the day was bright and clear with a woman that many would consider quite attractive at his side.
« Last Edit: 16 September 2021, 22:00:18 by monbvol »


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Re: Secrets that bind
« Reply #1 on: 09 September 2021, 21:07:06 »
"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams


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Re: Secrets that bind
« Reply #2 on: 10 September 2021, 00:14:50 »
2nd Ping
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
Growing old is inevitable,
Growing up is optional.
Watching TrueToaster create evil genius, priceless...everything else is just sub-par.


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Re: Secrets that bind
« Reply #3 on: 10 September 2021, 03:23:31 »
Interesting!  :thumbsup:


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Re: Secrets that bind
« Reply #4 on: 10 September 2021, 09:59:46 »
[Author] Now to tackle something I'm pretty sure people will eventually notice.  Hint: I haven't read a whole lot of stuff from the perspective of actual members of the Word of Blake.  :P [/Author]

Guard's lounge
Dunrobin Castle
Northern Scotland
6 June 3072

"Welcome Adept Moore.  I am Adept Jackson but I suspect you already know that.  I am the senior guard here.  By Blake's Blessing I have served here for nearly thirty years now.  I know Fenrir is getting a bit forgetful himself and likely failed to tell you his two rules.  Since we're so isolated from any other settlements he's more lax on the regulations about who we can date.  Pretty much as long as it isn't another guard and it doesn't become a problem he doesn't really care even though everyone here is technically in the same chain of command.  Rule two is just do your job.  Now for the reality check.  Despite how lax Fenrir is this place is as much a prison for us as it is for our actual prisoner.  You will eventually notice it, especially how most of us are not as, shall I say devout, as most would expect but we are all loyal.  But don't be surprised if when on those rarer than rare occasions that a member of the order not from this post comes out here and finds subtle ways to hint that this is a place where borderline Adepts are sent to languish."  The Adept that Damien had watched play chess against the prisoner introduced himself.

Close up he couldn't help but notice how old the pale, wrinkled old man was.

"Here I thought I had proven myself for something greater."  Damien lamented.

"Ah but that's the trick.  This is still a closely guarded secret in the order.  Not even every member of the First Circuit even knows about this place.  So you have in a way.  It just seems like you have not because this place is shrouded in so much mystery and secrecy."  Adept Jackson smiled as he sat on a couch across from Damien.

"Wait... You have been here since before the schism?  By Blake then you must know more about our prisoner and why she is here than anyone."  Damien was wide eyed as he just now realized the implication of Adept Jackson's introduction.

"Here is what I will tell you that I know for sure is true.  This place, especially after we had to remove the computers and stop keeping digital records, seems to have an effect on one's mind.  Personally I don't think it is anything supernatural.  Just the sheer isolation.  As much as there are nearly a hundred members of the order here between guards and support staff it is still really isolated and that messes with one's head given enough time.  The other thing that I know is true is all efforts to try and get the prisoner to tell us more about herself have ended in failure.  We even tried drugging her food to see if we could get her to be more talkative and receptive to the teachings of Blake.  By Blake's mercy that was a narrowly avoided disaster."  Adept Jackson leaned back into the couch.

"So why did the computers get removed?  This place seems rather devoid of technology.  Hell I just noticed what technology we have is what one would call analogue or antique."  Damien leaned forward.

"That is another thing about this place.  It is not kind to technology.  Especially the more advanced it is.  Personally again I believe it to be that this place is old, especially the wiring, and well once the season starts changing you'll see how unkind the weather can be to everything.  Enjoy the sun while you can young man.  It is a rare thing in this region.  Or it could be that this place is supernatural.  Who knows.  Well I must be off.  It is taco night in the commissary.  Peace of Blake be with you."  Adept Jackson stood and exited the lounge.

Damien found himself wondering just what this place was.  Any notion of this being an ordinary prison was well and truly dismissed now.

He had all the luxuries he could possibly want with this posting but he could already sense the truth of Adept Jackson's warnings.  This place was isolated and that did indeed make it near as much a prison for him as it did their prisoner.

"Blake preserve my sanity."  Damien lamented.

Brother Jim

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Re: Secrets that bind
« Reply #5 on: 10 September 2021, 12:09:18 »
Track with Passive Sensors, ready the Active Sensors to go Hot if needed.....


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Re: Secrets that bind
« Reply #6 on: 10 September 2021, 16:20:12 »
[Author] This is the fourth time today where work seemed to indicate I might have enough time to sneak in a bit of writing while on the clock.  Let's see if it'll actually let me this time.  [/Author]

Designated prisoner walking track
Dunrobin Castle
Northern Scotland
7 June, 3072

Damien wasn't surprised at his assigned duties, well most of them.  He was the new guy so of course he got to bring the prisoner her meals, laundry, rotate books, and see to her other needs.  What surprised him was he was designated her escort for her walks.

It did confirm another of Adept Jackson's warnings though.  The sun had to burn through the morning mists before it made itself known.  Damien had spent most his life in what used to be French Algiers.  It was much different than Scotland was proving to be.

"Yesterday was a bit much wasn't it?"  Theresa broke Damien's train of thought.

"I will admit it will take a lot of getting used to this place."  Damien answered.

"Perhaps you should ask out Adept Hildred from medical?  She seems nice and I happen to know she's single."  Theresa smiled.

"It is too soon for something like that."  Damien tried to quietly shut down the topic of romance.

"We'll see about that."  Theresa's presence took on a wicked aura.

"Trust me it is fine.  I can see to my own love life."  Damien shifted uncomfortably.

"Either you are a massive prude or...  Oh my.  I forget I have that effect on people too at times.  Now I feel even worse about yesterday.  Do not worry.  I shall keep your secret."  Theresa frowned.

Damien's preferences in a romantic partner were not strictly against the teachings of the Order but he knew there were enough old school traditionalists that if who he preferred to date got out they'd be more than happy to use it as the basis of a pretext for assigning him to a far less desirable posting.

He could say nothing.


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Re: Secrets that bind
« Reply #7 on: 11 September 2021, 21:42:18 »
[Author]  Now back to it.  [/Author]

Guard's Lounge
Dunrobin Castle
Northern Scotland
7 June 3072

"There must be an answer..."  Damien allowed himself to mutter out loud.

"To what young man?"  Adept Jackson's pale wrinkled face came into focus on the couch across from him.

"This place.  Everything except for how we treat the prisoner screams prison hidden under a comforting illusion.  She must be someone or done something but without computers to check I am at a loss."  Damien wrestled again with the contradictions of his new assignment.

"All we need know is someone has deemed it so.  Even if it is merely a test of our faith."  Adept Jackson answered calmly.

"I suppose you are right and I am just still adjusting to this new post.  How isolated we are out here may yet drive me mad."  Damien shook his head.

He still yearned to know more but he knew there was truth in Adept Jackson's words.  Perhaps this was one last test to prove himself worthy.

It made a lot of sense really.  The only odd thing he could not explain for sure was how Theresa frightened him when they first met in person.  Perhaps a different kind of pheromone infuser implant or other inhaled substance?

Only theories but they were all he had.

Perhaps he would test just how elaborate of a test this was tomorrow with Theresa.

"I believe I will be turning in for the night.  Peace of Blake be with you."  Damien stood.

"Peace of Blake be with you."  Adept Jackson nodded.

Designated prisoner walking track
8 June 3072

Damien looked up at the sky.  Clouds and rain.  He knew weather modification technology existed.  It was the key to taming more than one world.  But that he was getting rained on made him wonder why he was getting rained on.

Even before there was a Word of Blake, or even Comstar, this area was all but uninhabited.  Maybe if there were a few more farms in the area or some other reason it need rain now he could understand.

"Judging from your actions I am going to guess you grew up in a somewhat more arid environment and have not spent much time in such a climate since joining the Word of Blake."  Theresa brought his attention back down to the ground.

"An accurate enough guess.  Still it seems with the technology available to the Order on Holy Terra we could be enjoying a far more pleasant day."  Damien replied.

"Perhaps but I for one actually enjoy getting rained on, at least when it is a bit warmer like this.  Though it is also a torture in a way.  It reminds me I cannot stay out here."  Theresa sighed.

"That makes me even more curious as to what you did to end up here as our prisoner."  Damien looked Theresa straight in the eyes.

"I suppose since I coaxed a truth out of you yesterday I can give one of similar value to you.  It is actually quite simple.  I was on the losing side of a war."  Theresa sighed again.

"That is impossible.  Adept Jackson has been here since before the schism and the next most recent war fought on Terra was Kerensky's liberation from the criminal Amaris."  Damien stopped walking in shock.

"Hahahahaha.  Oh you believed that story from Adept Jackson?  He has not been here thirty years.  He's been here three.  He loves to get young Adepts with that one."  Theresa smiled.

"That is a relief.  Now things make much more sense."  Damien. relaxed.

"Now Fenrir on the other hand..."  Theresa smiled.

"Sure.  Haze the new guard.  See if he decides to hold back your next novel in retribution."  Damien wickedly smiled back.

"I apologize.  I merely sensed how difficult it is for you adjusting to this new posting and thought some humor could help."  Theresa looked appropriately petrified.

"Blake teaches us to be forgiving and patient with the unfaithful so I accept.  Come our time is nearly up."  Damien picked up his pace.


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Re: Secrets that bind
« Reply #8 on: 12 September 2021, 00:38:33 »
Helm, Station Keeping.


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Re: Secrets that bind
« Reply #9 on: 12 September 2021, 09:50:41 »
[Author]  One more bit of interaction before I start doing some time jumps.  Also cutting down on something I think is a bit redundant at this point.  No need to keep reminding people that this is taking place at Dunrobin Castle in Northern Scotland on Terra since it is a prison.  [/Author]

Guard's lounge
8 June 3072

"Adept Matsu may I talk with you about your service here?"  Damien bowed.

"I do not mind.  Please sit."  Adept Matsu answered warmly.

"The first question that makes the most sense to ask is how long have you been serving here?"  Damien asked hesitantly.

"Four years.  I think I can guess your next question.  There are just enough of us here to keep each other in check when it comes to our sanity.  At least for me.  It is good you are starting to expand your social circle beyond the prisoner and Adept Jackson."  Adept Matsu replied warmly.

"I must admit it is helping already.  I was afraid I was going to fail this test of my faith with the conflicting stories I had been told."  Damien nodded.

"I see.  Consider something then Adept Moore.  Which source has given you words of truth and which has reason to make you mistrust?  This talk was most welcome but I think you need dwell on that before we speak again.  I will offer one other piece of advice.  They may be print but the books in the library here are available to us as well.  Peace of Blake be with you."  Adept Matsu stood and left the lounge.

Damien thought about it.  Theresa as well behaved as she was was still the prisoner.  Adept Jackson was a loyal member of the Order.  Yet if this was an elaborate test of his faith and loyalty it was still possible that either could be the one speaking true or be testing him.  If it was an elaborate enough of a test they each could be speaking some truth, just enough that when they planted the seed of doubt it would take root.

Damien shook his head.  Even if that was the case Adept Jackson did speak one undeniable truth.  He had his duty and all he need do is carry it out.  That was all that really mattered.

Fenrir's office
6 June 3073

"I asked you here to ask how your first year at this posting has gone."  Fenrir asked.

"I must admit it was a struggle to adjust, so much so I may still be adjusting some.  I still find myself curious about the prisoner at times as well, to know why she is worth such an elaborate setup."  Damien answered honestly.

"Your curiosity is natural Adept Moore.  I too despite being the warden here do not know our prisoner's full story.  But I have noticed your growing connection with our prisoner.  So has our benefactor.  They have issued orders to not dig into the matter.  Our benefactor has clarified you may still converse with our prisoner as long as you do not try and uncover any more of her secrets."  Fenrir sighed.

"I obey Blake's will."  Damien sighed.

Fenrir's office
sometime after the Coalition landed on Terra

"We have new orders.  We cannot allow our prisoner to fall into the hands of the interlopers.  All pilots to your Battlearmor.  The last communication I received from our benefactor indicated commandos may already be heading this way.  There is no way to know if their objective is here or if they just intend to setup a net so members of the order cannot escape into the rural wilderness.  Either way it does not matter.  Support staff begin evacuation protocols.  Adept Moore you will come with me.  Blake protect us all."  Fenrir briefed.

Fenrir lead them to the armory.  Normally Damien didn't carry much on his walks with Theresa.  Just the bare minimum required by the regs.  But this time he knew.  A fight was coming and he would need to be ready.

He quickly gathered up as much as he could carry with his combat armor.

They quickly began walking to the cell but were quickly interrupted by an explosion hitting the Castle.

"Report."  Fenrir barked into his personal communicator.

"*bzzzt* Shadow vision *garble*"  It was unclear if it was jamming or this place's effect on technology but enough came through that both men knew.

Their former benefactor was not willing to take any chances.

"We still have our duty to perform."  Fenrir grumbled as more explosions rocked the castle.

The constant rumbles of explosions and falling debris made it difficult for them to keep their footing and make good time to the cell.

Then it stopped.  Gun shots could be heard.

"I think things actually got worse for us Adept Moore.  I think our benefactor's insurance policy has backfired and brought Coalition forces here."  Fenrir said as he drew his side arm.

Almost as if summoning them gunfire quickly sprayed in the direction of the duo.

Fenrir despite wearing the same combat armor as Damien still went down.

Damien took cover.

"Take it quickly.  I will not last much longer.  You must get to the prisoner.  I will hold them as long as I can."  Fenrir grumbled as he took off the ring and rolled it to Damien.

Damien wasn't sure why it mattered at this point why it mattered if he put the ring on but he did.

He did not believe it at first but somehow the ring fit over his combat glove covered finger and then somehow melded through the glove onto his finger.

The weight of it was there but it was not uncomfortable.

Another sense he had trouble describing as something other than ancient came over him.

"Now go Adept."  Fenrir growled.

Damien took advantage of the cover fire being laid down by Fenrir.  He doubted he got more than a few feet before Fenrir was finally truly dead.

Damien entered the cell.

Theresa was sitting at her table which remained undamaged with no debris near her.  Somehow an oasis of tranquility and order in a sea of chaos.

"Sounds as though you have a choice to make Adept Damien Moore.  You can kill me but that would certainly seal your own death.  Spare me and I can at least offer a chance at survival.  I do hope you take the later option.  I actually find myself fond of you Adept Damien Moore.  Even if I am still a bit upset that we do not talk like we used to.  Plus I have never been too fond of the guilt by association concept that those who have come here obviously practice."  Theresa looked Damien in the eyes.

Damien somehow felt the truth of what she said.  He knew she may not be able to save his life but he knew for sure that he was a dead man once those commandos found their way down here.

"Blake forgive me but I find I cannot kill you.  I have failed his final test."  Damien almost let out a laugh.

The door flew open and Damien was knocked off his feet.

As his vision cleared he could see a handful of commandos.

"Soldiers stay your weapons.  I have placed this man under my protection."  Theresa stepped between Damien and the commandos.

"Who are you some Blakist sympathizer?"  One of the commandos snarled.

"As a matter of fact I am a prisoner here.  This man has discharged his duty without malice or injustice.  As such I will not stand for his summary execution."  Theresa measured the tone and pacing of her words carefully.

"Fine.  CO will want prisoners who can talk anyway to find out what this place is that Blakists would shell their own.  Check them for trackers and put hoods over their heads.  The fight for Terra isn't over yet."  The same commando barked.

Damien felt a needle also pierce his skin before his world went truly dark.


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Re: Secrets that bind
« Reply #10 on: 12 September 2021, 12:51:49 »
[Author]  I do rather enjoy these rare times when I feel like I just have to write and I have a story I want to tell.  Of course I am still figuring out the ending a bit.  [/Author]

Damien awoke in blackness.  The hood was still on him.  He could tell he was in the back of some sort of transport.

Welcome back. A feminine voice broke through the fog.

Damien recognized the voice.  Theresa.  But then he realized he didn't hear it.  It was in his mind.

Stay calm.  This will likely be the only way we can communicate for some time.  Short and oversimplified version is it is due to the ring Fenrir gave you.  I doubt they will let you keep it once we get where we are going.  I wish I could explain more but seems we are out of time.  Theresa's voice faded from his mind as he felt the transport stop.

Damien steadied himself, glad that he did not startle too much.

"Come on.  Time to talk to the CO."  An unfamiliar voice and hand prodded Damien to carefully disembark.

Damien allowed himself to be led to where ever it was they were going.  Eventually he could tell they entered a field tent.

"Strip.  Everything in the bin.  Replacement garments are on a table to your left." The voice barked.

Damien did as he was instructed.  Until he got to the ring.  He hesitated.  Something about it kept him from wanting to take it off but he knew he had no choice.

The guard in the tent with him picked it up and looked at the ring.  He ran a scanner over it and began feeling around it.

"Don't worry you will get it back soon enough now that I am satisfied that there is no tech and no hidden compartments.  Besides it's only iron and not worth stealing."  The guard placed the ring in a separate bin.

Damien was searched before finally being allowed to dress and being led to another field tent.

A small pale man with bright red hair and piercing blue eyes looked at him sitting at a table in the tent.

Damien was cued to sit in the chair across from the man.

"Name?"  The small man said with a small high pitched voice.

"Adept Damien Moore.  Assigned to Dunrobin Prison.  It is likely still listed as Dunrobin Castle in your official records."  Damien attempted to get ahead of the next obvious question.

"Well there is some good news for you Adept Damien Moore.  Our intel sources and what records we were able to capture back that up and we cannot link you to any war crimes.  The bad news is you are one of two living sources that can tell us what did happen in that place, why you are holding that woman, assuming she is not some sort of plant, and if we do not like the answers we may just string you up anyway for prisoner rights violations or even human rights violations."  The man nodded.

"The information you seek is largely compartmentalized.  There was no need for me to know the specifics of what crime our prisoner committed.  But I never mistreated her and everything we did was in compliance with any convention you may wish to invoke regarding the treatment of prisoners."  Damien answered knowing his answer may have just doomed him.

"So you can tell me nothing?"  The small man scoffed.

"Our prisoner did tell me once that she was on the wrong side of a war and that was why she was there.  With all the mystery of the place I had just assumed it was a test of my loyalty and faith.  That no longer seems the case."  Damien answered honestly.

"All right.  If your prisoner confirms your side of the story I will have to figure out what to do with you because some of us remember there are people in the Order who did not commit the atrocities that have driven many in the coalition to a murderous rage and thus will have to be re-integrated into society somehow once this is all over."  The small man nodded.

Theresa's perspective

"This way ma'am.  We will get you looked after."  The large woman dwarfed Theresa and the booming voice that accompanied it was unsettling.

"You are a most unusual one."  Theresa commented.

"I am a trueborn Elemental.  I was taken Bondsman by Lyran forces and have served in their medical corps since.  Off with the clothes so we can check you for injuries, implants, or other hazards."  The woman answered with only a hint of annoyance.

"I am uninjured I assure you.  Nor do I have any implants or hazards to my health."  Theresa countered flatly.

"Oh you misunderstand.  The CO is concerned you are a plant or have been rigged in some way to cause problems for us.  Even if it was without your knowledge or consent.  So strip."  The woman said sternly.

Theresa had hoped this humiliation would come to an end after leaving Dunrobin Castle but she complied.

Wearing nothing but her two iron rings and her choker she spread her arms and legs to prepare for the search.

"Rings and choker too."  The woman growled.

"I cannot."  Theresa answered meekly.

"Oh you will or I will make you wish you had."  The large woman growled again.

"Now you misunderstand.  I said I cannot, will not is another matter.  I would remove them if I could."  Theresa answered with a mix of anger and sadness.

"Ah yes.  I should have been more observant to your word choice.  For that I apologize for my failure.  Still they must come off."  The large woman seemed to soften in her tone some.

"You are welcome to try."  Theresa answered knowing the discomfort she was about to endure.

CO's field tent an hour later

"You are sure they will not come off?"  The small red headed man looked at the report.

"Yes sir.  They are no implant that we know of but we tried everything short of harming the woman or removing her fingers that we could think of.  Nothing worked."  The elemental woman answered.

"Very well.  I will take a chance.  Send her in."  The small man nodded.

The elemental woman left the tent then returned with Theresa.

"Well you seem to have presented us with a mystery.  Please sit."  The man gestured to the chair across from him.

"Thank you."  Theresa sat.

"So what is your name?"  The small man asked as he started frowning.

"The guards took to calling me Theresa since I reminded on of his sister.  Due to my lengthy imprisonment I fear I now identify with that name more closely than my real name.  My real name would translate into English as Dawnstar of the Goldscales."  Theresa answered as she started reading the man.

"Odd name but I have heard stranger in my travels."  The man became fixated on his noteputer in front of him scowling.

"Is there a problem mister, I am afraid I do not know your name?"  Theresa sighed.

"Colonel James Wallace.  My noteputer is not letting me take notes anymore."  Colonel Wallace grumbled.

"Perhaps for now you should use something a bit more old fashioned?"  Theresa frowned.

Theresa knew she would have to measure out how much to tell this man to keep him from thinking her a mad woman or initiating another tragedy.

"Yes I suppose you are right.  Every time someone says we are in a digital society now I have a new form to fill out in triplicate to authorize the use of the digital form."  Colonel Wallace lamented.

As the two sat there quietly eventually an orderly brought paper and writing implements.

"There now we can get to the three big questions.  Why were the Blakists holding you?  How long did they hold you?  Did they mistreat you in any way?"  Colonel Wallace began writing on the paper.

"What did Adept Moore tell you?"  Theresa gambled.

"I want to hear your side."  Colonel Wallace answered not swallowing the bait.

"I told him I was on the wrong side of a war.  Which is true.  I do remember that much.  Dunrobin was chosen as my prison precisely because it is so remote and I would be lying if I did not say that gnawed at my sanity and memory greatly but it is also true that I was a psychological mess going into prison.  I also think it was not my first prison.  I wish I could tell you more but all I remember from those early days is bits and pieces.  Though I suspect you want to know more specifically about Adept Damien Moore in terms of mistreating me.  He did not.  He was a perfect gentleman, performing his duties without malice or injustice."  Theresa gambled a partial truth about her past would be less troublesome than either a complete lie or the whole truth.

"Well this is troublesome.  You could be suffering from a form of Stockholm syndrome trying to protect your former captor.  Or nothing out of line did happen to you at the hands of Adept Moore.  There must be something you can tell me to help settle things one way or another."  Colonel Wallace stroked his forehead.

"Perhaps there is one thing I can offer.  Adept Moore could have killed me before your commandos showed up.  He did not.  That should be sufficient proof he is at least something of a good man."  Theresa offered.

"I suppose there is that.  I am willing to believe you two.  But that still leaves the matter of what to do with you two as the Order is fond of deep cover long term plants and I can't just let you two off into the wild unsupervised."  Colonel Wallace sighed.

"I may have a solution.  Dunrobin Castle.  It is a bit of a mess but still livable after the conflict.  Only people up these parts are farmers so it is not like we could grow some massive cult or insurrection.  It should still have functional systems to keep an eye on us."  Theresa offered.

"That just may work."  Colonel Wallace stroked his chin.


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Re: Secrets that bind
« Reply #11 on: 13 September 2021, 08:28:46 »
hmmm... Iron to bind.  Faerie??
"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

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Re: Secrets that bind
« Reply #12 on: 13 September 2021, 09:02:00 »
Resident Smartass since 1998
“Toe jam in training”

Because while the other Great Houses of the Star League thought they were playing chess, House Cameron was playing Paradox-Billiards-Vostroyan-Roulette-Fourth Dimensional-Hypercube-Chess-Strip Poker the entire time.
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Re: Secrets that bind
« Reply #13 on: 13 September 2021, 21:41:08 »
[Author]  And here we go again!  [/Author]

Entrance hall
Dunrobin Castle
Northern Scotland
15 September 3084

"The shrinks I can get a hold of tell me this is a terrible idea if you really do have some sort of Stockholm Syndrome young lady but I just do not have anything to do with the two of you yet with the fact I still can't rule out you two being plants or some other sort of troublemakers.  We've made the place livable and we've hooked into the systems so we can keep an eye on you from our base in the area.  So we don't drive you insane ourselves with the isolation we're getting a shrink up here and eventually probably other borderline cases we're not too sure about.  But for now it'll be just the two of you.  Good luck."  Colonel Wallace shook his head then left with his guards following shortly after.

Once Damien was sure they were alone he turned to look at Theresa.

"I am not sure this is better than death."  Damien lamented.

"I think you mean 'Thank you Theresa for saving my life' my dear Damien."  Theresa chided him.

"At the very least I suppose you have bought me some time and as long as I am alive and there is time to act there is hope.  I suspect it will take some getting used the change in dynamic to our relationship now that I am just as much a prisoner as you now.  Thank you for the extra time Theresa."  Damien bowed.

"There is a certain truth to the saying that a prison also makes prisoners of those who guard the guilty.  From that point of view I suspect the only thing that has changed is we are on a more even footing then before."  Theresa smiled.

" I do not think I have heard it phrased exactly that way but I have heard and even thought similar."  Damien started looking around the hall.

"Shall we find some jackets so we may take a walk outside?"  Theresa offered.

"It is better than staying in here all day."  Damien responded.

The rain gear left for them was not the best but it was better than nothing.  The duo donned the coats and stepped out into a cold torrential downpour.

"They probably bugged these jackets too."  Damien offered once they started walking their familiar track.

"A chance we will have to take for now.  Besides even as a prisoner I learned how technology of a certain sophistication seemed to develop trouble functioning properly around the castle.  I am no expert but I suspect anything that could be hidden in a jacket such as these without being easily noticed would qualify."  Theresa had to speak louder than usual to overcome the noise of the rain with her soft voice.

"That would explain why they wanted someone to walk with you, close by enough to hear."  Damien also thought back to some of the support staff he had traded idle chatter with and how they complained how often they went through parts for the Battlearmor stationed at the Castle.

"I may regret this but I suggest you put the ring back on."  Theresa offered.

"I already did when they gave it back."  Damien held up his left hand and looked puzzled.

"It is a fake.  This is both good and bad."  Theresa sighed.

"How do you know?"  Damien answered still puzzled.

"Because you would have heard just how un-lady like my vocabulary can get.  Plus here, you can see it does not quite match the coloration of my bands.  Oh my dear Damien you dismissed our short moment as a hallucination did you not?"  Theresa grabbed Damien's hand.

"By Blake that was real?  I was sure it was an after effect of what ever they hit me with."  Damien shook his hand free.

"Yes and only possible while you were wearing the ring.  Fenrir never knew it could do that because he never got properly taught how to use the ring and with that I could keep my mind shielded from him.  I chose to reach out to you in hopes I might have had more time to explain much more to you as I thought it might aide both of us in the long term."  Theresa almost laughed.

"This must still be some test.  Even if the Order is vanquished as a political or military power our faith in Blake's teachings must endure."  Damien shook his head.

"You are being a silly goose again Damien.  But that is part of what makes me fond of you."  Theresa smiled.

"This does raise the question of what now?  We are still stuck here."  Damien countered.

"For now I suppose that is true but that can change depending on what we wish for an end goal.  Keep in mind Damien Moore I have placed you under my protection.  So until you die I am honor bound to stay with you and do everything in my power to prevent your death by injury or poison.  Perhaps disease.  Depends on how nice you keep being to me and how nasty of a disease we are talking here."  Theresa's smile grew.

"Ha ha.  Still I concur.  The sooner we can leave this place the better but escaping does us no good if we have no plan beyond that and no place to go.  I think given my past and what is happening now here on Holy Terra I may have to leave.  The only place where I may blend in with my faith may be somewhere where Comstar still has a presence and something of a reputation."  Damien nodded.

"I cannot leave Terra."  Theresa frowned.

"Why not?  We could pick a day and leave.  I doubt they would really expend all that many resources in chasing down two fugitives.  The only hard part would be getting the travel papers to hop on a jumpship out of here."  Damien frowned.

"You will not believe me."  Theresa sighed.

"Tell me or I leave without you.  Hell for that matter for this to work I will need answers to a lot of other questions."  Damien finally snapped.

"Fine.  If someone puts on the ring and I am in another solar system from them it will almost certainly kill me.  Anything more than a mile from the wearer and I get small little snaps of pain like laying in a bed of sharp rocks.  Not anything serious but uncomfortable enough I notice.  Before you came here Fenrir had to depart to where I do not know for sure but until he got back I had the worst headache you can imagine.  It took all I had to hide it's severity from the staff here as I did not wish to make my imprisonment worse."  Theresa sighed.

"I believe you believe this.  I for one have a different faith.  We best go inside before our watchers get even more suspicious."  Damien scoffed.

"I may not be able to share my thoughts bound as I am with you since you do not have the ring but there is something I can do that I think will make you believe me.  Take my hand Damien."  Theresa extended her right hand.

"Why am I doing this..."  Damien muttered to himself as he took Theresa's hand.

Then suddenly he felt it.  A strange sensation started coming over him starting with his hand.  As it moved up his arm it came more into focus.  It was the impending terror of a bad death.  Like he was staring death itself in the face and the chill of the grave washed over his body.

Suddenly as it started it ceased.  A warmth came over him.  Like life itself was being restored to him.

"Just what are you..."  Damien stammered.

"I am sorry about doing that to you Damien.  I truly am but I have few options that cannot be dismissed as something else and the others are far more deadly to one such as you bound as I am.  As for what I am that is a complicated answer.  Grandpa on mom's side was a Dragon from the east who got struck by some wanderlust and grandma a Greek water nymph.  Eastern Dragon's shapeshift.  Mom then was a shapeshifting water nymph with these little gold flecks on her skin that seemed to make her even more beautiful than the other water nymphs.  Dad came from a lineage that is responsible for your tales that caution one about making a deal with the devil and the incubus and succubus.  Not as evil as a lot of mythology you humans came up with make them out to be.  Still their early relationship is best explained as working by saying there is a reason you humans named a certain psychological condition nymphomania and well Eastern Dragons despite me calling it Grandpa are such absolute shape changers they can be either male or female and similarly despite me calling it dad incubi and succubi were the one and the same.  So yeah if I were not bound I could be whichever gender I wanted.  I was going through a female phase when I was bound.  I almost turned one of my first prison nurses lesbian without meaning to because no one taught any of my wardens how to actually use the rig to fully suppress my abilities or enhance the ones they wanted.  So I had to do so myself.  Still that was the other parting gift from my parents.  I also got double whammied with a weakness to cold iron.  I think that is enough revelation for today.  Peace of Blake be with you."   Theresa let Damien's hand go.

Damien stood in shock for a moment letting everything sink in before he followed Theresa in.

Temporary monitoring station some distance away

"Damn it.  10 percent of their total conversation?  That's hardly anything!  Have the audio tech go over what little we got.  Those bugs were supposed to be some of the best we had.  Water proof to a kilometer even!"  Colonel Wallace railed.


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Re: Secrets that bind
« Reply #14 on: 16 September 2021, 10:09:13 »
[Author] Just a nice short little snippet while I wait for a software update at work to finish.  [edit] Just a quick bit of dialogue touch up as I failed to properly complete Colonel James Wallace's thought there.[/edit]  [/Author]

Field HQ
Some distance away from Dunrobin Castle
Northern Scotland
16 September 3084

"Sir honestly I did not think conventional interrogation would be productive and as much as it may go against recommended procedure I took the woman's suggestion because I realized it might just give them enough rope to hang themselves if I were right about them and if I were wrong it would be better than throwing them both in a real prison.  As you can see from the transcripts and reports I may have been right."  Colonel Wallace sighed.

"I tend to agree but we need more information.  Send a team you can trust."  The order may have seemed vague but both men knew what it really meant.

James Wallace looked at the transcripts.  The woman talked of Dragons and Incubi.  She must know about some cache of mechs and Battlearmor.  It would explain a lot about why the Word kept her prisoner.

Then there was the odd outages of technology where ever she went in the camp.  She must have some sort of new implant that they could not detect via conventional means.

She also seemed concerned about the ring removed from Damien Moore.  That was the oddest mystery of them all.  Every test he was able to perform on it here had revealed it to be nothing more than an ordinary cold iron ring.  Still it seemed wise to issue orders to have it sent off for further examination if she was concerned about it.

Now though he was going to get real answers one way or the other.  Not many in his command would even bat an eye at him coming back with two body bags and orders for two autopsies to be done.
« Last Edit: 16 September 2021, 20:26:14 by monbvol »


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Re: Secrets that bind
« Reply #15 on: 16 September 2021, 21:59:59 »
[Author]  Feeling inclined to not explain much more of the weirdness in this story.  As such it feels like I'm nearing the end.  If not this post probably one or only if something really unusual happens two more.  Doesn't feel like one of my better works but it flowed well so even though I tend to be rather down on my own efforts even I admit some good bits here and there.  Not sure what to write next though.  Too many ideas, too little time, and too little focus.  But somehow I do feel like it will not be quite as long as a break before I start something again.  [/Author]

Meanwhile at Dunrobin Castle
Theresa's perspective

Theresa felt guilty.  She had scared poor Damien to the point that he was avoiding her.  She couldn't really blame him.

When the Word first took over as her guards their attempts to pry her secrets from her or bend her to their views had nearly ended with her being stuck in a laboratory again.  When humans were first chosen as her prison guards she had spent a long time in one.  If not for the intervention of her original captor masquerading both times, more recently as an extremely powerful member of their order she probably would have been kept in one again.  Where her original captor was now she did not know but she knew they were alive.  She could feel it in her bones.  Worst yet she knew without someone wearing the ring they would eventually be compelled to come here.

As if on cue she sensed them.

"I am surprised you waited this long."  She turned to face the one who bound her, more accurately their projection.

"I wanted to wait until you were alone.  That Damien fellow really took it poorly when you gave him a small dose of what you could do did he not?  Shame humans never change when it comes to things they do not understand."  The ethereal voice shifting tones and pacing.

"I had hopes for him and I admit I grew fond of him.  Probably for the best.  I probably would have had him as a snack eventually."  Theresa sighed.

"The crazy thing is I was going to set you free soon.  I think you learned your lesson.  Trouble is that the ring is not here and I listened to a most interesting radio dispatch.  Seems that Colonel James Wallace is on his way here.  Without the ring even I cannot free you.  This man Wallace seems intent on answers.  I cannot stop them this time.  Not without revealing too much.  So you have a terrible choice.  Tell this Colonel James Wallace the truth and he will either think you mad or force you to prove it."  Her captor almost sung.

"Which will force me to do my best to get them to kill me as that would be preferable to going back to a laboratory."  Theresa sighed.

"The alternative is to lie to him.  But given his mood and the communication I listened to he would still likely put you in a lab or just kill you then put you in a lab for study anyway.  Terrible fates.  Then there is poor Damien who you promised to protect.  He will likely die now because of you and who he used to work for.  It is such a divine tragedy!  I love it!"  The projection danced.

"The only way it could be more tragic is if we were lovers."  Theresa sighed.

"He is not your lover?  Most odd as most human men would simply find you divine and there is nothing stopping you two!  Oh he is one of those sort is he?  Now I will have a regret from this whole affair."  The voice lamented.

"I must at least try to reconcile with him before our fate catches up with us."  Theresa started walking for the door outside.

She found Damien out at the grave site where his comrades had been buried.  She knew he could sense which body belonged to who, at least those still intact enough to count as a body.

"I want to run as far away from you as I can but they are coming for us now are they not?"  Damien growled.

"Yes.  Since we are likely to die I owe you an apology and as many answers as I can give before our fate catches up with us.  It is almost enough to drive one to a fit of insane.  My secrets have bound us both to a poor fate yet those who come to execute us think they are doing it because of the Word of Blake's secrets."  Theresa tried smiling but failed.

"Who imprisoned you and why?"  Damien wasn't pulling any punches.

"My father.  Since we are pressed for time I shall just say we had opposing views on humanity's nature and we became the inspirations for a few of your legends.  We are still not sure which one of us was the inspiration for Merlin but we know one of us was the inspiration for Merlin and the other Morgan la Fey.  Not long after that was when he gained the upper hand and bound me so that I could actually observe humanity without interfering with them.  I must admit I doubt I would have learned as much about humanity as I have if he did not do that.  Oh my I rambled more than I wished to and wasted precious time."  Theresa sat on the ground.

"So was it always you then that caused technology to not function properly?"  Damien sat beside her.

"Actually that is the bindings.  I believe there is a saying you should know.  Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.  It is true and so is the inverse.  To contain my power these bindings will put off a field that messes with sufficiently advanced technology.  I am no where near enough of an expert on the matter and the one bound by them so I cannot tell you where exactly the cut off point is or what kind of technology could actually detect the field."  Theresa rested her chin on her knees.

"They are almost here are they not?  So why were we drawing your blood and sending it off?"  Damien chose his last question carefully.

"Yes I do believe that is their vehicle we are both hearing.  Even stuck in the form of a human and thus denied many of my abilities some still function.  One is my great lifespan.  Eastern Dragons are known to live for tens of thousands of your years.  Nymphs many thousands.  Incubi similar which makes many think they are an off shoot of Nymphs.  I believe I am the source of the medicines that allow humans to live many times longer than they would otherwise."  Theresa rocked to her feet.

"Yes I suppose we should meet our fate with some dignity."  Damien rose as well.

The APC stopped just inside the gates.  The troops hastily poured out.  The gunshots filled the air.

Theresa felt the heat of bullets penetrate her as her vision faded to black.

Colonel James Wallace's perspective

"That's right sir.  By the time my men got there they were dead and the place a torched ruin.  I must accept full responsibility for the lack of proper precautions for failing to secure the place against extremist anti-Blakist activity."  Colonel James Wallace had decided enough was enough.

No answers.  No autopsies.  Just another odd foot note in history that would soon be forgotten.  He had decided it would be better this way.


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Re: Secrets that bind[Finished]
« Reply #16 on: 16 September 2021, 22:07:23 »
Well that's all for this one folks.

I thought about a happy ending but decided, nah I've had too many of those lately.  Need to change it up.

Also thought about doing a few things there at the end like having Theresa's father or even grandfather show up and dishing out some retribution or having him change his mind about the ring and putting it on and having the last bit be his eyes going wide in shock but not revealing the exact nature of that shock/what he saw/felt.

It could probably do with a tad bit more world building but I kind of like leaving the mystery of what I didn't cover.


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Re: Secrets that bind[Finished]
« Reply #17 on: 17 September 2021, 23:52:43 »
not the ending I expected..  but  :thumbsup:
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"