The Buccaneer Chronicles:
By Keith Dunn (despite interference by Tony Gallichan and Adam J Purcell)
Part Two - Don't go out tonight for it's bound to take your life, there's a bad moon on the Rise
Chapter Three - The Mourning After...
Macfadyan slowly came round, to the blurry sight of Cre'at staring down at him.
* Remain motionless you have breakages in two ribs. *
Macfadyan shook his head to clear it, realised that the dancing Indian elephants inside it would just enjoy themselves even more and thought better of it.
"I'm sorry Adh, but I think the planet fell on me!"
* Not Adh, Cre'at! *
Macfadyan sat up to get a closer look at his surroundings.
The sounds of the injured echoed off the ballroom walls. People wondered around tending to them in a strange mix of last rights and triage.
At a discrete distance was a group of military personnel gathered around one of the few remaining tables. Spread out in front of them was a map of the land. From their conversation it became clear they were trying to find a convenient sight to congregate their armies. Prince Jalke was a picture of towering rage as he slashed and stabbed at possible sights on the map. After watching for a few minutes whilst waiting for the elephants to calm themselves down, Macfadyan entered a rapidly heating debate. He rudely pushed past some generals and stated firmly,
"Lead your men on this crusade your Majesty and they will die if you're lucky!"
The crowd round the table all turned in Macfadyan's direction. Jalke pulled his sword and spoke with barely suppressed rage,
"You may be here under a flag of truce with the house Avorever but I will not stand for flippancy or cowardice."
Macfadyan looked at the sword then at the face wielding it with contempt.
"Of all the ungrateful, ignorant, primitive..." he tailed off as he noticed several men's hands move to their swords. He held up his hands in a placating gesture. "Okay! Where's Aralan, can I speak to her please!"
Prince Jalke replied his voice rich with frustration,
"She has been taken from us!"
"Really? Taken not killed?" Macfadyan looked at Crillia for confirmation, who stood there with a black eye and cleaned cut on his cheek, gently nodding his head.
"Now that is interesting", he breathed.
Suddenly Macfadyan went into lecture mode, raising his voice slightly to address all the generals gathered around the table,
"And why do you think that is mmm?" he poked a general in the chest, "Hmm?"
General Gordanas replied, his mutton chop moustache bristling in indignation,
"They fear us. Our coming alliance could destroy them utterly!"
There was mutterings of agreement from round the table. Crillia and a few others however kept their own council. Macfadyan rolled his eyes and muttered perfectly clearly,
"Over a million worlds and still you have to have a full frontal lobotomy to be in the military".
Ignoring the sword Macfadyan placed his hands on Jalke's shoulders. This seemed to have a calming effect and he lowered his sword.
"If that was true they could have just killed her and there was more than enough opportunity to have done that over a thousand times on our journey here ". He looked the Prince straight in the eyes. "This attack was done just to provoke this type of reaction", his hand indicated the map.
"What would you suggest "? asked Crillia.
Macfadyan looked in to the middle distance for a few seconds,
"I think a little misdirection is called for. Gather your forces. In fact, make a great show of it. Meanwhile I will take a small commando force in the TARDIS to Rablan's H.Q., free the Princess, defeat 'the beast' and be back before you can say 'Bob's your aspidistra'".
It was at this point that Crillia leaned forward,
"Your travelling crystal has been taken also".
"WHAT!! Cre'at is this true!"
* Yes the TARDIS is missing. *
Macfadyan dived for the nearest window overlooking the courtyard. In it, people were still clearing up from the chaos and terror of the night before. The cart that the TARDIS had been strapped to was just a pile of chard wood.
In a shocked and shaken voice Macfadyan whispered,
"Cre'at why didn't you say something before?"
* You did not ask. *
Macfadyan stared delving deep in to his coat pocket,
"We'll soon see about this. No one is poking about my ship!" He pulled out a fat rod-like object from his pocket. There didn't seem to be an area that wasn't covered with touch-sensitive slides or buttons. He tapped a few controls and there were musical tones in acknowledgement. Then there was a rude sounding noise as access was denied. He looked at the remote control in disbelief, "What? Well that shouldn't have happened. Analyse."
There were a few more tonal burblings from the Stattenheim remote rod and Gallifreyan hieroglyphics floated just above the rod. Macfadyan glared at the readings,
"No, no, no! They can't do that. It is not allowed! I will not allow it!"
* There is a problem? * Cre'at floated closer.
"The ship is caught between to alternating time fields and its confusing the hell out of the poor old girl."
Macfadyan spent a few frustrating minutes tapping the controls producing a cacophony of musical notes, until he finally whacked it against a wall. With a deep sigh he began entering new information and instructions.
"She seems to be located about two thousand miles away. Hmm, that's quite far". He sighed, "We will have to do this the old fashion way. I've closed down the dimensional bridge, so no one can get inside her".
He stared morosely at the rod for a few moments then sighed deeply and shoved it deep back in to his pocket. He turned back to the generals surrounding the table,
"Right then, gentlemen, what will need is a small group of your best men and some transport. I have no small knowledge and experience in such matters and I lay them at your disposable."
It took long two hours for all the details to be argued out on who would go and who would stay behind to assemble the main force if things didn't go to plan. It did end up with a few bruised egos, but the small force finally consisted of Macfadyan, Cre'at, Blanche, Crillia, Prince Jalke, Alamour, captain of the guard for the house of Glastonvay and nine champions of the sword. They were due to set off at first light on the following day. Organised chaos descended on the town as provisions were made for a journey that would take an unspecified length of time. Plus people were still trying to clean up after the preceding night's celebration and brutal attack. Through all this Macfadyan stalked, with a purpose towards the rooms where Magyar was quartered. Like the rest of the citadel this area also showed signs of being ransacked. Tapestries were slashed.
Carpets had been singed where firebrands had been overturned. Magyar himself had healing burn and stab wounds where the invading Chell had tempted to end his life. Macfadyan righted one of the overturned chairs and sat down. Ignoring the feted cloying smell of decay he leaned forward and fixed the sightless eyes with a penetrating gaze,
Magyar flinched and returned the gaze with eyes that were alternately clear, milky cataract white or capillary bursting blood red.
"Because the lady Aralan asked me not to tell anyone"!
"WHAT! I mean, why would she want to keep the news of that kind of slaughter quite?"
"Because if we had prepared for their coming the devastation would have been total. We both know that these are the first steps in the redemption of our planet".
"And now because of your conspiracies they have taken my ship. Now I am embroiled in this tawdry little drama whether I like it or not!".
"I can aid you in the recovery of your ship".
Macfadyan looked closely at Magyar for a few moments then in a quiet voice said,
"Yes I'm sure you can. How old are you Magyar?"
The bruised flesh stirred on the sleeping pallet,
"I was old when Rablan first entered this world. I'm now approaching my tri-century."
Macfadyan leaned back in to his chair, eyebrows rising in surprise,
"As old as that? My, my. And how long have you have you served Aralan and the house Averoura?"
"I have served the house Averoura for just under 2 centuries and Aralan for these past four years, why?"
Macfadyan leaned forward, at that moment existing only to explain his thoughts,
"Its just that I have seen symptoms like yours on countless worlds and they were flushed down the toilet as failed cloning or genetic experiments. Which does open up a few questions. Those that were allowed to live didn't last longer then about five years. Now! The thing I need to know is are you merely a dupe for Rablan or are you a full blown traitor?"
Magyar struggled to get of the sleeping pallet with a scream that ended in a wet cough.
"I am no traitor!"
"Well I'm glad to hear it. That means you're just a dupe and I can give you a chance of revenge on those that did this to you ."
Macfadyan looked at Magyar earnestly, fixing him with his eyes,
"Tell me all you know!"
It was only after Macfadyan had left him that the words of an old folk song came to Magyar. It was a song so old that it was sung to small children to frighten them into good behaviour.
"The Judder Man will kill,
And the Judder Man will maim,
And when everyone's dead,
He'll say no to the blame,
So little one please take heed,
And run very fast,
For only through shadows,
Is there justice at last."
And a cold sweat broke out on his skin. The Judder Man wasn't coming.
He was here.