Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Steelhead Adventures: Journey To Fusang Part Twenty Two

Here and Here

Near The Bank Of The Yalu River

The soldier was hidden but a few yards from where the blond stranger was running towards the bridge. He lifted his weapon and aimed. As his finger touched the trigger, he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned to find a werewolf behind him. He smiled and said something in his native tongue. He turned to aim, again and froze as the werewolf replied in Moldavian.

He quickly spun around, only to find the back of the Fuzzwolf's hand slap him. The soldier flew a few feet and hit a nearby tree. Fuzz looked down and raised an eyebrow.

"What is that you're carrying?" he asked

Dogg was running up to him, dragging a blue ribbon in her mouth. Fuzz took the ribbon and looked at it. On it, Dogg had placed his sheriff's badge and the knight's head stick pin.

"Figured it was important for you to have," Dogg replied "seeing as how we're now in over our heads."

"You could have stayed on the boat."

"I'll take my chances with you." she glanced through the grass over at the river "Seems Hotspur's been found. I've got a funny feeling that he's not going to want to turn around and head back home."

"If he did, then that isn't Hotspur, and our mission wouldn't be complete. The situation is more dangerous than we feared."

"That great evil you were talking about?"

Fuzz nodded as he placed the ribbon around his neck, "Thank you for bringing my badge."

Dogg looked up at Fuzz, "We're not going back to the boat, then?"

"We'll meet up with them in Fusang. For now, there are other matters that need attending to."

As the two headed off, Fuzz looked at Dogg

"By the way....how DID you get the badge and stickpin on the ribbon on your own?"

"Wasn't easy, trust me. But, I'm a super intelligent cat. I prevailed"

Inside Purdie's TARDIS

Purdie flipped a few switches. The screen on the wall of the console room only showed static. Koen shook his head.

"BAH!" Purdie said

"Scanner's still on the fritz?" Koen asked

Purdie pulled the lever on the console and the doors swung open. The two looked to see what was outside. Purdie gave a sigh of relief as they looked at the forest outside.

"Good," Purdie said "we're not in the castle. Still, we should be careful."

Koen began sniffing the air as they stepped out of the TARDIS and into the forest. The air was thick with smoke, no doubt from the war machines that the Fusang army was using.

"We could probably stick close to the trees and use this smoke to help hide." Koen suggested, "On the other hand, they could use the same method, too."

Purdie nodded, "Yes, quite right. Perhaps once we head far enough south, we may be safe."

Before Koen could say anything, a shot rang out. Koen spun around to see the Time Lord drop to his knees clutching his chest. He ran towards Purdie and noticed the wound. He looked up to see four Fusang soldiers emerging from the shadows of the trees nearby. Koen frowned. In a puff of smoke, he disappeared. Only to reappear over the soldiers. Driven by rage, Koen's paws tore into the throat of the first soldier. The other soldiers tried to grab Koen, but learned that the last of the Bloodtail tribe, when angered, was a force to be reckoned with. The second solder, his throat was slashed. The third, deep cut into the chest, ruptured heart. The fourth, was done quickly as Koen twisted the soldiers head, breaking his neck.

Koen looked up to find Purdie was gone, blood trail leading to the TARDIS. Then the familiar sound of the TARDIS engines started.

"NO" Koen shouted, "PURDIE!"

Koen ran, but was too late, as the TARDIS dematerialized and vanished. Without the TARDIS being present, the words of the soldiers heading his way were not translated, but Koen knew that he had better not be seen. With tears in his eyes, Koen disappeared in a puff of smoke, to search for a safe place to hide.

Inside Purdie's TARDIS

Purdie slumped over console. He could feel one of his hearts racing as the other one began to slow down.

"It's ok, Koen" Purdie said, smiling "Time Lords have a way of cheating death...."

Purdie looked around, then realized he was alone.

"Oh no...." Purdie whispered

He tried to reset the TARDIS' coordinates and return to retrieve Koen, but he fell to the ground. He now realized the reason he had seen the shadowy figure before leaving Steelhead. He was close to the end of his first life. Suddenly, Purdie's hearts stopped beating, and all was quiet, except for the hum of the TARDIS engines.

It was then, that Purdie's hands began to glow....

Near The Yalu River

"You know, you could have told Lunar and Tensai that you had planned on doing this." Dogg said as the two walked through the forest, "Of course, they'd have figured it out on their own. But they hate it when you keep secrets from them."

The werewolf looked down at the super intelligent cat, "I told Katt what I was doing."

"You did? What did she say?"

"To be careful. Oh, and I have to pick her up a souvenir." Fuzz replied, "Of course, if she wasn't busy, she'd probably have insisted on coming along. She hates it when the rest of us have all the fun."

Suddenly, Fuzz bent down and grabbed Dogg, holding her close. He looked around, sniffing the air. He then looked as five werewolves came out of the darkness, fangs bared, claws ready for the attack.

"This is where you die." one of the werewolves snarled

The Fuzzwolf merely snerked.

To Be Continued

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sometimes You're Feeling Really Depressed And Down....

And then someone hands you a notecard with this conversation

[21:41] Magdalena Kamenev: When do we not expect unfriendly lycans?
[21:41] Annechen Lowey: always good to be prepared, and make *sure* of your target, first.
[21:41] Frequency Picnic: well, at Steelhead meetings :)
[21:41] Eva Bellambi: our lands have been free of them for a time
[21:42] Magdalena Kamenev: Not that they're all unfriendly, but they do get grumpy. Almost as grumpy as Jaegers.
[21:42] Annechen Lowey: Negotiation is preferred if they be lawful.
[21:42] Hotspur Otoole: Well one of the better werewolves I know is the sherrif of my home town. :-D
[21:43] Eladrienne Laval laughs...In Steelhead they ARE the law
[21:43] TotalLunar Eclipse: *smiles*
[21:43] Emilly Orr: And he's very good at his job, that one.
[21:43] Hotspur Otoole: And rapidly becoming an old China hand, too.
[21:43] Eva Bellambi grins
[21:43] Magdalena Kamenev: Fuzzball Ortega is a werewolf?
[21:43] Eva Bellambi: Mags!!! LOL
[21:43] Emilly Orr: Oh, goodness. You didn't know?
[21:43] Hotspur Otoole: (new adventure in Fusang ready soon)
[21:43] TotalLunar Eclipse: Aye, he is. ANother reasy he is called Fuzzy.
[21:43] Kamilah Hauptmann: A cute one too.

Oh, and for the record......I really despise being called "Fuzzy"......some Blingtardians from the Mainland kept calling me that a couple of years ago....but Steelheaders call me that out of affection......I think...

Steelhead Money....

That's right, available from Franklin's mint.....Franklin was arrested for counterfeiting....we bring you Steelhead's new currency.....which'll be put in use after we take over the grid. First up, the Sheriff Ortega Dollar.

The Classic Ortega Edition, representing when the Lycan cowboy arrived in Steelhead City.

And the Sheriff Ortega 1890 Edition.
Start collecting today

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Crazy Caledonians Add Some Charisma To Christmas

So, I come home, and find some Caledonians have been in my house. Tree in the corner, fireplace installed with a stocking, snowman out front, and below the mistletoe hanging over my bed, was this portrait

This is the best Charisma present ever.....I mean, this is the best Christmas present ever.

Steelhead Adventures: Journey To Fusang Part Eighteen

(Damn, this is a long one)

Read This and then This to get caught up.

The Lead Boat On The Yalu River, Late Evening

"Never married?!?!" Angus asked, "He was such a ladies man back during the Brigade days."

Darien shrugged, "I've seen him dance with Miss Katt a couple of times at a few balls, but for the most part, Fuzz just hangs in the back, guarding the refreshments."

"Someone broke his heart," Angus guessed "I'm sure, in time, we'll learn more. Unfortunately, these things have a habit of turning up sooner or later. Like Sideman being married to six and a half women."

Darien's eyes widened, "He was married to half a woman?!?!"

"Aye, from the waist down"

Darien wasn't sure if he wanted to learn more, and was relieved when Kim Chang walked over to them with food.

"It is not much," Kim said, handing bowls to the two, "just rice. But it is good."

"Thanks, Kim" Darien said, "Have you seen Fuzz?"

"He has....how did he put it? Wolfed Out?"

Darien nodded

"He then jumped onto the shore and went into the forest." Kim looked at the bowl of rice, "Perhaps to find some meat to go with the rice."

"Wish he was here, now." Darien said, "Biggles is a nice guy, great to get along with. This Smith fellow.....too damned uppity."

"He is not happy with you being here," Kim said "he would prefer the Americans to stay out of it. He feels that you are too brash in how you do things. He feels that you would do more harm than good."

"Do ye believe that, lad?" Angus asked

Kim shook his head, "I have seen what Lieng has done. The deaths. Whatever help you can provide to stop this mad man would be welcomed, no matter how brash."

Angus smiled, "Well, it's not like we have weapons of mass destruction."

"I was working on something.." Darien began

"Shut up and eat yer rice, Darien."

"What? It's just that...."


The Forest Nearby

The Fuzzwolf sniffed the air, seeing if any humans were about. He was glad to have some time alone to reflect on what had transpired.

"Hotspur's a friend," he whispered to himself "He's in trouble. This is a dangerous area. The British and God knows who else are turning the situation into one large powder keg. Anything else? Oh yea.....I'm supposed to be resting in San Francisco, Lunar's orders. Heh, good thing I only listen to Katt, or I'd be dead from boredom. Can only beat Paladin at chess so many times."

Fuzz sniffed the air, again.Then chuckled.

"Now I know why they call you Soft Paw," he said, turning to look at the female werewolf walking into the clearing "You don't make a sound."

The female didn't respond. Fuzz noticed that she held her hand behind her back. Fuzz's eyes narrowed at her.

"What are you up to?" he asked

Her response was a jump in the air, she spun around and threw a silver dagger at Fuzz. Fuzz quickly dodged the dagger, which hit a tree behind him.

"THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?" Fuzz snarled

"Nothing will stand in the way of my Master's plan." Soft Paw replied

"Master??!? What does your tribe have to say of this?"

"My tribe is made up of old fools. Some of us are looking for a new future. One our Master can provide us. And you, Fenris' Bane, stand in the way of that."

The two werewolves took battle positions as they faced each other.

"I will kill you." she said

Fuzz gave a grin, "We have a saying in Steelhead City. 'You feelin' froggy? Jump'."

And with that, she lunged towards Fuzz, fangs bared

The Dungeon In Fusang Castle

Purdie looked outside his cell to see if any guards were nearby, then walked over to the cot.

"Ok, Koen" Purdie told Koen, who was still paralyzed "this isn't going to hurt."

With the first two fingers on each hand, Purdie poked Koen in different areas of his chest. Koen was able to move, as he rolled off the cot, grasping his chest.

"OW" Koen said, "You said it wouldn't hurt."

"I'm sorry, Koen." Purdie replied, as he sat down on the cot, "I lied."

Koen got up and looked at the Time Lord. Purdie was having trouble breathing. Koen's keen hearing could hear one of Purdie's hearts beating eratic. Koen sat down next to him, very concerned.

"Are you ok, sir?" Koen asked

Purdie looked at Koen and managed a smile, "I'll be ok. We just need to get out of here."

"I heard everything after that guy paralyzed me." Koen said, looking around the cell "Who was that guy? He never said his name, did he?"

Purdie shook his head, "No, but it's evident that Lieng is not the one who's running the show here. This guy......whoever he is, is the mastermind."

Koen looked at Purdie, "And the cowboy werewolf that was mentioned. That was Sheriff Ortega, right?"

Purdie nodded, "They mentioned his tribal name. 'Fenris' Bane'."

"Tribal name....didn't know that. Course I always thought werewolves travel in packs, not tribes."

"The Lycans are more civilized than the stories give them credit for. The werewolves, werecats, wererats, werebears.....few others I can't remember them all.....anyway, they live in tribes. Much like the tribes of Natives you find north of Steelhead. There's a chief, there're scouts, warriors, and a shaman."

"Interesting. And the tribal names?"

"When a lycan is accepted into the tribe, after the rites of passage, there's a ceremony. The shaman of the tribe using the mystic mumbo jumbo jiggery diggery powers that he's born with, communicates with the spirits of the Great Chiefs Of The Past, and gives the lycan their tribal name. Fuzz was given Fenris' Bane as a tribal name."

"Bane......means curse. And Fenris......."

"During the ending days of the rule of Asgard, Fenris was a great wolf that devoured Odin, and in turn was killed by Odin's son Víðarr. I recall both Piotr and Ilyana were not happy with that tribal name. If there is a reason for that name, it hasn't surfaced yet. At any rate, we need to find Fuzz, and then find Colonel O'Toole."

Koen helped Purdie up, "You have a plan on getting out of here?"

"Oh yes." Purdie said, putting his hand in his pocket, "Guess what I have?"

Koen shrugged.

"Pockets. Great big pockets." Purdie pulled out a device and pushed a button on the device. He looked at Koen and smiled, "Bigger on the inside."

Koen suddenly heard the familiar sound of the TARDIS, and smiled as the familiar sight of the console room materialized around them.

"We teleported to the TARDIS?" Koen asked

Purdie shook his head as he walked over to the console, "It's a remote control device. I brought the TARDIS to us. The chameleon circuit has the exterior looking like the cell we're in. We'll be gone before they notice."

Outside the TARDIS

The two guards looked at where the cell was, or rather where it was supposed to be.

"What......is that?" one guard asked

"I do not know." the other replied, "But it is a very bright pink color."

The two then heard a strange sound and watched as the bright pink object disappeared, revealing an empty cell.

"It ate the two prisoners." The second guard noted

The first guard nodded.

The Forest Near The Yalu River

The lifeless body of the Chinese werewolf known as Soft Paw lay at Fuzz's feet. Fuzz bowed his head, unsure on whether to ask Lycoan to grant her passage into the Great Beyond, or to not hold her tribe responsible for her foolish actions. He looked up to see a wolf, an actual wolf not a lycan, walk from the darkness of the forest.

*I am Fenris' Bane of the Tribe of Gaia* Fuzz said in Wolf Speak

The wolf bowed her head, *Greetings. We have been told that you had arrived in these lands. Why?*

*One who is of the humans I have been sworn to protect has been taken here against his free will. I am here to bring him out of harms way* Fuzz looked at Soft Paw's lifeless body *I have since found things that have angered me*

*Oh yes. The Pact has been broken. Great dangers await you, Fenris' Bane.*

Fuzz walked towards the wolf and looked down at her, *Please tell me more*

The Lead Boat

"It's been over two hours," Nayland Smith said, looking at his pocket watch, "how do we know he hasn't been captured?"

"If he was," Darien said, "I'd feel sorry for his captors. For a werewolf, he can be a real horse's ass, sometimes."

"That is not funny" Smith said to Biggles, Angus, Feng, and Kim who were all chuckling, "These Americans have no idea how dangerous the situation is."

There was a thud behind Smith. He turned to find Fuzz standing directly behind him, looking down at him.

"Actually," the werewolf said, "the situation is far worse than you think you know."

He walked over to Kim, then looked back at Smith.

"And you were right. There is a puppet master behind all this."

He turned back towards Kim and dropped the silver dagger at Kim's feet.

"Tell me." Fuzz continued, "Are you here to save the innocents from a madman?"

Kim Chang looked at the dagger, then looked up at Fuzz, "Yes."

Fuzz smiled, having sensed Kim was telling the truth, then bowed to Kim, "Forgive me for doubting you. The she wolf you introduced to me......wasn't."

"I am sorry, Ortega." Kim said, bowing to the Fuzzwolf, "I was not aware of her true intentions."

"Well," Biggles said, smiling, "at any rate, it's good to have you back, old boy."

Fuzz looked at Smith, motioning towards Biggles, "He always this chipper?"

"You get used to it." Smith replied. "I would appreciate it, however, that if you are to help us, that you quit disappearing. This is a troubling situation, and we've gone past the frying pan and have been sitting in the fire for some time, now......"

Fuzz quickly turned his head towards the northeast. He growled, then leapt off the boat onto the shore and ran off into the woods on that side of the river.

"How does he keep his job as sheriff?" Smith asked, exasperated

Darien shrugged, "Miss Katt likes him."

Biggles looked at the area where Fuzz disappeared, "I'm more concerned about the scent he sniffed out."

"Aye," Angus added, "we best be prepared for anything."

To Be Continued