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 BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm

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PostSubject: BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm   Thu Nov 19, 2009 8:19 am

Elija and the rest of the Shoddy End Gang made their way to the cabins assigned to them. "Awright mates dibby up." Elija said when they had all gathered in the boy's cabin. The gang emptied their pockets on the bed. There was a collection of licorche, rock candy, chocolate, jelly beans and cookies spread out of the bed.

After dividing the spoils of their work, they gang split up to explore the boat as it slowly made its way down the river. Sam and Elija were walking past the main salon, when Elija suddenly stopped, then darted past the door and ducked down and peered around the door frame. Sam continued to walk and turned to say something to Elija. "Waught ya ......." he stopped suddenly and crouched next to Elija.

"Bugger me." Elija whispered as he pointed to one of the gambling tables. "Bloody 'ell if it ain't that boardsman (a card shark) "Slick Boards" an 'is bonnet ( A covert assistant to a Sharp ) Belle."

Elija scanned the patrons of the salon for Scounger or Splevey worriedly.
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PostSubject: Re: BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm   Thu Nov 19, 2009 6:17 pm



"Do not fear the future." Raj replied with a warm smile, "Look at this perfect day." he pointed out, "After all we have endured would you have imagined us to be in such a place?"

The warrior readjusted the sword on his belt. Though wearing a fine suit, he always carried his weapon. 'Sworn to the quest', is how some put it or perhaps the man wore it to remind himself of that fact. During the time he and Colleen had spent together the two had grown close, perhaps too close. They were after all not in a relationship, and never could be according to the custom of his people and so often he felt guilty for taking advantage of her company which he always enjoyed. His vow of celibacy had always prevented him from forming friendships with women, a fact contrary to popular belief that closing the door on the carnal would enhance a relationship between genders. In his own experiences had been quite the opposite.

Raj watched the blue waters flow past the ship then his eyes turned serious. He thought about Baloc and the dangers it held. If he had his way, he would take the boy back to his home where he could ensure his safety, but that was not his destiny, nor Colleen's and he respected that.

A couple strolled by, arm in arm. They smiled pleasantly at Raj and Mrs. Smith, offered them a good day and carried on with walk about the deck. They were a pleasant sight to see. So alive, so in love despite the reality of the world around them. The Dragons could at any moment lay waste to the land. Everyone was aware of this and yet life went on.

When they were done their iced tea. Raj offered an arm to Mrs. Smith in his usual brotherly manner. "We should probably check on the children, but first, shall we take a stroll?"

The sun was beginning set. Orange tinted light filtered through the trees along the shore, colouring the shimmering waters gold as the river boat steadily made its way down the river Rathilm. The beautiful scenery was breath taking but no one ever considered what lurked beneath the waters. Far down the river something stirred. A flock of frightened ducks bedding down for the night took to the air. Something rose from the river and walked from the shore to the woods toward a small town on the east side of the river. A town where people gathered at the dock awaiting the river boat to take them to Baloc.
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PostSubject: Re: BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm   Fri Nov 20, 2009 10:09 am




Colleen let her gaze take in the world around her. Raj was right. It was absolutely beautiful and the peaceful serenity that came from such beauty did wonders at settling her nerves. The gentle movement of the boat beneath them made it all the more relaxing for Colleen.

As the happy couple strolled by, arm in arm, and greeted them, Colleen felt a pang of regret wash over her for a moment. That could have been her and Angus at one time. If he had survived the attack on their town those few years back. Or her and someone else, if fate had seen to it she found someone who accepted her for who and what she was.

As the couple turned the corner out of sight, she glanced at Raj and couldn’t help but shake her head mentally. Obviously she was not his type and that was fine. Colleen had gotten to know the handsome, dark stranger better than she had gotten to know anyone, other than Elija, in a long time. Keeping their relationship completely platonic allowed her to see the man beneath the warrior in a whole new light. One she was certain she wouldn’t have been able to see had things taken a different path.

While Colleen didn’t know about his beliefs or traditions, she never asked him why he didn’t court her as men usually do. It simply wasn’t her business. And she respected his privacy. But truth be known, she simply didn’t want to deal with the rejection if she had pressed the matter with him. As it was, things had grown very comfortable between them and she thought it best to let sleeping dogs lie.

When Raj offered his arm to her, Colleen smiled brightly and nodded. Standing, she took her place beside Raj, looping her arm lazily under his own. The setting sun was painting the sky awash with brilliant colors, using the fading blue backdrop like a painters canvass. As she looked out over the darkening water and saw the brilliant colors of the sky reflected in the dark, mirror like surface, she felt a chill slip down her spine and her fingers clutched Raj’s arm a little tighter. When the warrior glanced down at her with a concerned look, Colleen smiled and patted his arm with her other hand.

”I just felt like I was loosing my balance there for a moment. No worries, though. I was able to right myself with your help. Let’s finish our stroll so we can find the children. I haven’t seen them in a little while and I worry what they may be up to.”

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PostSubject: Re: BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm   Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:41 pm



Raj was pleased to have been able to offer Colleen support. Resigned to his vow, he nonetheless had great affection for the woman in a form he could not easily put into words. All he knew was that she and Elija had renewed his sense of purpose in the world, given him a place in their hearts and he would protect that trust by his own death if it came to that.

"Yes," he agreed, "we should see to the children." Lasekura then smiled warmly. The thankful smile of man who was grateful to be accepted as caregiver for those Colleen, the Mother had sworn to protect and nurture.

Colleen lead the way back to the children's rooms and Raj followed closely behind. Walking back, the warrior was ever alert. While his heart floated in the clouds, he mind did not and he was ever aware of the dark forces that would conspire against them. Now that the Dracomance had been revealed it would not be long before the magic that connected all things whispered his name to both those who would protect and seek to destroy or control the boy.
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PostSubject: Re: BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm   Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:56 am

Belle looked up over her cards and towards the doorway, just as Elija ducked to the side. She looked back at her cards and raised the wager in the card game. Looking back towards the door, as Sam peered through the widow, she gave him a little wink, then tugged nonchalantly at her necklace.

Sam ducked quickly down below the window and looked at Elija "Bloody hell, tha scratch an itch of a speeler buttoner laid her blinker's on me. ..... Weeze gots ta hide weeze does, she tells ole Slickboardsan' he tells Scrounger for shur."

Elija's face drooped, "Bugger me an Scrounger be tellin' Sleavey, shur as rain down a gutter."
They both jumped to their feet and ran along the deck.
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PostSubject: Re: BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm   Fri Dec 11, 2009 1:00 pm




Colleen strolled along smoothly with Raj. Looking from the outside they appeared to be a happy couple, much like the one that had passed them by earlier. It didn’t bother Colleen to appear this way. If it meant men would not look twice, not that she expected them to in the first place, they wouldn’t because of Raj’s intimidating presence. In a sense, Raj was her buffer to all things heartbreaking except for those in her inner circle.

The sun painted the sky with it’s brilliant fire but as it dropped even lower and left the sky all but dark, a chill began to move across the water as the boat chugged along at a nice pace. It was only typical for this time of year for the air to grow cooler in the evening, especially after the sun set.

Shrugging her shawl up over her shoulders a little more, Raj had just led her down the stairs to the lower deck when she heard the familiar sound of smaller feet pounding as they ran. Knowing, even before her eyes caught sight of them, who it was. Or more specifically, what group they belonged to.

Sure enough, when Sam and Elija come bounding around the corner only to come to a screeching halt when they saw Colleen and Raj walking arm in arm, Colleens brows furrowed letting the boys know she wasn’t all that pleased with the way they were acting. Glancing up at Raj, she spoke softly so only his ears heard what she had to say.

”I hope they have a good excuse for this.”

Closing the gap between them, Colleen waited until she was in front of the boys before she asked, in a lowered voice, what they were doing.

”Sam. Elija. To what, might I ask, are you running from? It sounded as though you were trying to escape the hounds of Hades. You have to remember the walk ways of the riverboat aren’t wide streets and you have to make way for others. Suppose another couple had met you right at the corner? Someone would have ended up in the water and that would have been very bad. Now. Out with it.”

Colleen’s dark blue eyes pinned both boys where they stood with the intense look she was giving both of them.

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PostSubject: Re: BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm   Fri Dec 11, 2009 1:16 pm

Elija and Sam came skidding to a halt, their feet slidding along the deck as the both stopped just short of running headlong into Collene and Raj. "Weeze ain' done nutthin Mum." Elija said as he glanced at Sam, both boys panting and pale in the face. Sam just shook his head up and down, then made a quick glance over his shoulder.

"That roight weeze ain' done nuthin. ........ Weeze jus wants ta get ta bed ....... weeze right tyrd weeze is." Sam added.
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PostSubject: Re: BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm   Fri Dec 11, 2009 1:51 pm




Colleen was born, but not yesterday. She knew the boys were up to SOMETHING, but obviously they weren’t ready to share with her or Raj what it was. When they glanced behind them, she let her eyes follow where they were looking and found nothing pursuing them. Her brows furrowed even deeper and she gave them each pointed looks again. She remained silent for a long moment as she contemplated what to do. Finally her features softened ad she nodded.

”Very well, then. If you’re off to bed, then don’t let us hold you up. Remember to wash behind your ears and scrub your hair well when you get your baths. I’ll check in on you when I get there. Just remember, when you get there, you’re in for the night. If I catch you out of the room after you told me you were going to bed, you will be in BIG trouble. Lock the door and don’t let anyone in that isn’t supposed to be there.”

Stepping aside so they could pass by, Colleen never took her eyes off the boys.

”Off with you now. And remember what I said. All of it.”

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PostSubject: Re: BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm   Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:06 pm



Rajinder's reaction to the two running boys was for more intense than their Mother's. "Who's chasing you?" he demanded, quickly breaking in after Colleen's calm question, his hand falling to the hilt of his sword.

With the fall of night upon them the fighting man had immediately expected the worse. There was no telling what foul predators lurked on the riverboat and he was prepared to deal any of them. Frantically he ran past the boys a few steps and nearly drew his sword on an innocent passenger who was just trying to make his way clear of their obstruction.

"Pardon me, sir." Raj apologized with a humble bow.

Sheepishly he strolled back over to Colleen and the boys. "I am sorry." he told them, "I did not mean to frighten you, but we have to be vigilant against those who mean harm to you, Elija, and not only you. These people would use those who you care about to get to you, so Sam, you must be very careful as well. Both of you must avoid strangers."

Raj looked up then, distracted by the slowing of the ship. The river boat was pulling near shore toward an approaching dock at small town. A bell rang and a voice shouted, "Last stop before Baloc!", and the warrior was positively beside himself.

"What! Another stop!" he cursed then turned to Colleen and the boys and explained, "If you all would excuse me, I must see who is boarding."

Lasekura then darted to the other side of the boat and awaited to go ashore.
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PostSubject: Re: BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm   Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:26 pm



Colleen was thankful for Raj’s presence once again. Elija and Sam had to know how important it was for them to be extremely cautious. While she knew these kids had “street smarts” she knew that in the long run it was all about who was strongest. And Raj was right….those who would seek out Elija would have no trouble using anyone the boy was close to to gain what ever they could from him.

When Raj nearly jumped the passerby Colleen put her fingers to her lips to prevent herself from letting out a yelp of surprise. As the man passed on by, a bit more flustered now she apologized as Raj had.

Colleen had just dismissed the boys too to their rooms when the announcement was made the boat was making another stop and Raj took off to see who was boarding. Calling after him to be careful, she decided to fallow along behind the boys at a short distance to make sure they made it to the rooms. Giving a curteous nod to the man who had tipped his hat to her, Colleen kept moving unaware of the conversation the man and woman had about the boys. Once the boys were safe and sound, she would wait for Raj to return and tell her what he knew before she decided on her what she would do next.

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PostSubject: Re: BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm   Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:35 pm

After Raj had quickly stepped to see who was boarding, Elija and Sam nodded then walked quickly until they reached the stairway. Then they ran up the stairs, along the deck and down the passageway to their cabin. Running inside and locking the door behind them they sat on the bed.

As the boys reached the stairway, a couple rounded the corner walking arm in arm. The woman was saying ..... "I bloody well tells ya I seed 'im plain as day. It was that Sam boy what worked with Scounger....... He 'ad another lad looked like the one that Spevevy's got the mark on.
Scounger's favorite that El......" She stopped talking when she saw Collene and the big man pass by her. She fluttered her fan and said demurely to the gentleman she was walking arm and arm with "A chamer you are ta be sure." The gentleman tipped his hat to Collene and they walked on down the deck towards the dinning room.
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PostSubject: Mallethden's Arrival   Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:05 pm


Raj bowed cordially to the handsome couple as they passed by. If he had thought to use his mystic talents upon them to divine their intentions he may have had just cause to meddle in their affairs but as it was they were no different than any other couple strolling the deck and paid them little mind. He was far more concerned with getting a good look at the late evening boarders and was quite content to find that only three people came aboard, two women and an older chap. Of course, appearances could be deceiving and Lasekura began to chant softly to himself, speaking the words that allowed him to call upon the 'sight', allowing him to see what others could not. His deep green eyes passed to each of the passengers as they walked up the gangplank lugging their belongings along with them and each were just as they seemed. Although a powerful enough magician could fool his magicked-eyes it was unlikely that they could thwart his gaze for the amount of time that he had to scan them, even if they were Mermadon.


Mallethden was just such a sorcerer. His powers of concealing himself surpassed most his brethren but even his skills were not infallible, he especially was aware of this, which was why he decided not to attempt to board under the guise of one of the townsfolk. Instead when the starboard side of the boat was free momentarily from prying eyes the Mermadon had silently leapt out of the water and gracefully straddled the ship's side. As he landed on the deck his transformation was instantaneous and his garments instantly dried. His clothes, which of Human craft remained the same but his green skin grew dark and he took on the semblance of a Komburan man. Dark skinned with broad noses and tall builds the race was a good disguise for the Mermadon who shared many physical similarities despite being aquatic.


Alerted by a creak in a floor board, Mallethden spun around towering over a little rotund man fierce was the Komburan that he practically choked down his pipe from the start.

"Sakes Lad! Can't a body take a stroll without being startle half to death!" Griped the old man.

Mallethden's faced softened and he bowed apologetically in the customary fashion of the Kombura people which he intensely studied. "My maust 'umble opologies." he offered in a thick Kombura accent, befitting of the Ganthtu dialect he spoke.

"Eh!" Questioned the old man, squinting defiantly. He didn't feel like waiting for a translator so he kept on walking muttering to himself, "Damn, foreigners."

Mallethden grinned delightedly. The man's insult was compliment to his disguise and feeling confident that he could blend in with the other passengers proceeded along the deck, humming an ancient tribal tune to himself.

Finding the boy would be quite easy on the steam boat. All he needed was a few moments alone with him and the legendary Dracomance would be no more, unfortunately Lord Yassun had to complicate matters. He wanted the boy alive and so he would have to abduct him and kidnapping required much more thought and planning, but he had time. The would not reach Baloc until mid-morning and his task could always accomplished in the city should an opportunity not arise in the near future.

While Mallethden casually strolled along the main deck on the starboard side of the ship, Lasekura politely followed behind two slow moving women on the port as they admired the dwindling light of the day shimmering across the inky black water.

"Oh my. Are we slowing you up." One said to Raj when she noticed him trailing behind.

"Not at all." Replied Raj with a bright smile, "It is a lovely evening."

"Yes it is." The woman agreed, then continued to gaze out over the rippling waters.

Raj really was in no rush. His fear of some unsavory assassin boarding had been alleviated and he could now just enjoy the evening. Eventually the two women turned into the dining hall, and Raj continued on to the stern after bidding them both a good evening. He could get used being the fine gentleman and rather enjoyed all the formalities, which was naturally in contradiction to the way of the warrior, but that was a path that he did not choose but rather fated upon him. Gazing up at the sky he imagined what life would be like if could leave his sword behind...

"Gah!" Sceamed a little old man as he and Lasekura near collided when rounding the corner. The sound of the paddle wheel had masked his foot steps and Raj had been too busy daydreaming to notice.

"I'm so sorry." Raj apologized, feeling doltish. If there had been an enemy lurking round the corner he'd probably be a dead man, and that would not do Elija any good.

The man looked up and scowled. "Another foreigner!" He cursed, then started to make his way by grumbling to himself.

Raj thought nothing of the prejudice. While the world was fairly progressive such ignorant ways of would always exist in some form or another and the old man was more comical than offensive. Something, however did trouble him. He hadn't seen anyone else aboard with a complexion as dark as his and while this passenger may have only just emerged from their cabin his intuition told him to make sure.

"Pardon me, sir." Raj called to the old man's back.

He reluctantly turned and awaited the tall Korvidian man to speak.

"Who was this 'other foreigner', you spoke of?" Inquired Raj.

"What? I expected that you two would have probably known one another, but then again he didn't talk as fine as you do."

"His accent was foreign as well?"

"Yeah, from that far southwestern place....uh...."

"Kombura." Raj filled in.

"Yes, that's it. Atrocious accent. Ran into him just around the corner on the other side of the boat."

"Thank you." Said Raj as he hastily made his way round the corner to the starboard side, the side of the boat that had been facing away from the dock on the last stop.

Lasekura slowed down and scanned the deck. After ten or so paces he found what he was looking for and his heart sank into the pit of his stomach. There was a large puddle of water on the deck, as if someone had boarded and drip dried on the spot. He could see the old man's tracks through it then there were a few other sets that walked off in the other direction and one of them climbed up to the second level!

Wasting little time, Raj sprinted up the stairs, fearing the worst but Mallethden was not a rash creature. As the finely dressed warrior disappeared up the steps, he appeared around the corner of a door way in the middle of the ship. He knew that when swimming into unknown waters one should always check for sharks and he had just found one.
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PostSubject: Re: BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm   Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:14 am


Colleen remained on watch just outside the boys rooms just in case they decided to get adventurous and leave, even though they had been instructed to remain in the rooms for the night. And Colleen really couldn’t blame them. they were used to coming and going when ever they pleased back at Fort Glory, but that was before she given them a home and structure.

Taking a seat near the railing of the deck, she glanced towards the rooms once again before she looked out over the waters as the boat began to move once more. It seemed like a lifetime ago now, all the things that had happened at Fort Glory…and before.

Colleen was a naïve young woman when she came to the place and set up her own black smith shop. Of course she took much ridicule and was the talk of many a ladies circle not to mention the woman all the men used as an example of the type of woman NOT to get tied to. But….they couldn’t deny her smithy abilities, no matter how much fun they made of her otherwise. She had proven herself time and again and it had paid off for her.

But if it hadn’t been for Angus, Gods rest his soul, she would never have had the courage and skills to open up her own smithy. Did he see something in her she didn’t? Even then? Colleen had always thought her husband to be a very intuitive man, almost as if he could see things that hadn’t happened yet, and now, as she went through the series of events that happened, she couldn’t help but wonder if he knew she had abilities.

Unwelcomed tears came to her eyes as she thought about Angus. Most found his mannerisms harsh and abrasive but when it came to Colleen, he was as gentle as a fawn and there was no doubt he loved her with every ounce of his being. Even when they discovered they couldn’t conceive, he merely told her it just wasn’t meant to be and they would find a way of expanding their family in other ways. At the time, Colleen brushed it off as Angus trying to make her feel better but now…she wasn’t so sure.

She missed him terribly. Even now Colleen felt the ache in her heart losing him had given her. And it was times like this, when she was quiet and nothing to occupy her hands and mind, when she thought most of him. He would have loved to see all the children she had taken under her wing and he would have made an excellent father like figure for them. If only he could be here to see how their ‘family’ had grown….Colleen knew he would be chest puffing proud.

But the harsh reality of this world set in and Colleen felt her heart constrict within her chest. Angus was gone. It was only her now. Her and the children. And Elija. The special little boy who had weaseled his way into her heart allowing the other children to find room in there as well. And to think this special child could be in some kind of danger frightened her more than she could explain. All she wanted to do was keep them sheltered and protected away from the dangers of the world they lived in, but if she did that, they would never learn to defend themselves and make their own way in this world. So all she could do, right now, is shower them with all the love and affection she could and they would allow.

Yes, there was no doubt in her mind Angus would have been the perfect father for these wayward children.

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PostSubject: Re: BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm   Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:39 am

Elija silently opened the cabin door of the boy's small stateroom and crept up behind Collene as she sat in the deck chair. Gentely he rested his hand on her shoulder and spoke softly....... "Don' ya be worryin yur head Mum, weeze gonna be right as plum puddin', we is. I ain't gonna lets no Trasseno ( evil person ) cause ya ur me mates no 'arm. I swears it." Elija then looked up and down the deck nervously
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PostSubject: Re: BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm   Thu Jan 07, 2010 1:06 pm


As Colleen's mind lamented her lost love the vision's of Angus were forced to face when Lasekura come running frantically down the hallway toward her. His face calmed when saw Elija standing beside her but he was still concerned about the other children.

"Are the other's safely in bed?" the warrior asked, suddenly feeling as if he were intruding upon a tender moment.

Both mother and son really didn't know why they wouldn't be and this put Raj's mind at ease for the time being. So long as the family was all in one location they could offer a good defense to whatever had boarded the ship.

Sensing that Raj had 'grown-up' things to discuss with his mother, Elija instinctively turned to leave.

"Stay, Elija." Requested Lasekura, "This concerns all of us."

Lasekura spoke to the boy as one would address a man, for soon he would have to become one.

"There is an intruder upon the boat. He will appear to be a tall Komburan man with skin as dark as mine, but he is not a man, but a Mermadon. You must avoid this man, and if you see him alert me immediately. He is very dangerous."
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PostSubject: Re: BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm   Thu Jan 07, 2010 1:38 pm


Colleen pulled herself from the past and wishful thinking when she felt Elija’s small hand gently touch her shoulder. His quiet voice penetrated into her mind and she turned her dark blue gaze to him, smiling trying to keep the sadness from her smile. Her hand came up to cover his smaller one and she leaned forward letting her forehead touch his for a moment as she closed her eyes and regained her composure. Pulling back, she smiled again, this time a genuine smile.

”I know you won’t Elija. And Raj and I will protect you and the others with our very lives if it comes to that. I just wish….”

What ever Colleen was going to say was forgotten when she looked over Elija’s shoulder and saw Raj frantically running down the hallway. Instantly she was worried and quickly stood up, taking Elij’as hand in hers subconsciously holding it close to her in a protective manner.

When she informed Raj all the children were accounted for and in their room, she gave a concerned look to Raj. Before Elija could let go of her hand Raj told the boy to stay for it was a concern for all, Colleen once more took a firm but gentle hold of his hand fearing the worse.

When she heard what Raj told her about the Mermadon on board, Colleen gasped softly. The Mermadon were wasting no time in trying to get their scaly extremities on Elija. Dammit! Why couldn’t they just be left alone and allowed to live their lives? It was just too much to ask for, Colleen surmised.

Resolve found it’s way into Colleen then and she looked down at Elija with a very determined look on her face. Thank the Gods William had the foresight in getting adjacent rooms for all of them. No doubt it would be a sleepless night for both he and Raj. Looking down at Elija, she spoke to him as an adult, just as Raj had done.

”Elija…go tell the others what Raj has just told us. Make sure they all know NOT to come out of their rooms tonight, no matter what. Raj and I will keep watch over all of you until we get to Baloc.”

Looking back up at Raj, she nodded firmly.

”I’m not a warrior like you but I’m not afraid to stand up to some two legged fish either. I’ll split the watches with you so neither one of us get too exhausted to do anything in case it comes to that.”

____________________________________________________________________________________
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PostSubject: Re: BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm   Thu Jan 07, 2010 1:49 pm

Elija was about to tell them about and when they Raj told him about the Mermadon and Collene told him to inform the others. He decided to wait until morning, or until they arrived at Baloc. He noddded and quickly went to the girl's room and knocked softly. When they opened their door, Elija told them to stay put and not go messing about. Elija then returned to his and the boy's room Sam and the other boy's were fast asleep. Elija decided not to wake them but sat sat in a chair in front of the cabin door.
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PostSubject: Re: BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm   Fri Jan 08, 2010 12:30 am


Mallethden now knew that his quarry was on the second deck and that they would be on guard. No doubt the Korvidian had warned them of his presence and so it would be best to allow them to settle into a false sense of security before he struck. Walking into the dining room the young Komburan man found himself a vacant table next to a handsome couple. He bowed formerly to the pretty blonde woman and then nodded to the man before he sat down and accepted the menu from the server.

"Would you care for a drink sir? Something from the bar perhaps?" Asked the server.

"Wine pleaze." Mallethden requested then he turned to the couple and attempted to make some polite conversation, "A beautiful evenin' iz eet not? I have nyot seen so mony stars since bock home in my village when I wuz a boy."

_________________________________________________________


Lasekura gave the boy an encouraging nod then smiled at Colleen.

"I shall not need rest this night." he told her, "But I trust you shall hardly close an eye as well knowing what lurks aboard the ship. Please try and rest though, for tomorrow I will sleep by day. He will be less likely to strike then."

Raj drew his sword and tested the sharpness of the blade with his thumb then sheathed it once again. "I trust I need not tell you to arm yourself, you should check on the girls and if it is alright I would like to speak with Elija for a moment."

Lasekura, lightly knocked a few times on the cabin door and wasn't surprised to find that Elija was standing guard. He gestured that the boy step out momentarily then he kneeled down before him. The warrior then reached into his pocket and produced a silver ball the size of a sovereign, he handed it to Elija and curiously enough he found it to be rather light.

"I know you probably have a knife Elija, but these Mermadon are vicious and are not to be trifled with. If you see one I want you to run and if you ever find yourself alone and trapped I want you to seek out an exit then throw that ball at the ground. It will produce a cloud that burns eyes and lungs so you must hold your breath and close your eyes tightly. Do you understand?"
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PostSubject: Re: BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm   Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:03 am

Elija jumped slightly, sttod up, reaching into his trousers, placed his hand on the hilt of a six inch knife and slowly opened te door. Seeing Raj standing there and motioning him ourside, Elija stepped out and closed the door behind him softly. Relaxing his hand Elija, reched out a took the sphere from Raj. He listened closely while examining the sphere and nodded that he understood. Elija then looked Raj coldly in the eye and said ...... "Eyez dinin want ta worry Mum but their be two others aboard we needs ta be keepin' our blinkers on. Slick Boards and Belle. They be knowin' Spleevey an Scounger they does. Ole Slick Boards he be tall wit Black hair and brown blinkers. He be a Boardsman ( card sharp gambler ) an' Belle be 'is Buor Buttoner (Woman Assistant who entices dupes) right cheats they be. Eyez thinks Belle she be layin 'er blinkers on Sam an me. They be pinchin' the gold nashers frum a deadman's gob ur the flatch ( half penny) frum 'is blinkers as quick as 'is dead roight enough."
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PostSubject: Re: BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm   Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:33 am


Colleen smiled at Raj and nodded.

”I’m glad we had the foresight to put some of the weapons I forged in our baggage. I’ll be sure to keep one or two of them discretely on my person as well as placing some others about the room in places I can get to quickly.”

Glancing towards the door Elija had disappeared behind, her smile faded and she spoke softly, as though she didn’t want to wake someone from a dream.

”He’s so young to carry such a heavy burden already in life. I just hope he doesn’t decide it’s too much and abandon it.”

Looking back at Raj, she smiled slightly once more the nodded again.

”I’m going to turn in for the night with the girls.”

Colleen hesitated a moment before she added.

”Be careful Raj.”

Turning, she slipped into the room she had with the girls, closed and locked the door behind her.

____________________________________________________________________________________
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PostSubject: Re: BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm   Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:43 pm


Raj recognized the symbol of the Crimson Dragoons on Elija's blade and smiled. He figured, Basha Mandek must have given it to the boy before he died. If only he were here now. The old warrior would know how to sniff out the Mermadon, the man had exceptional instincts Raj would trust over experience any day.

Raj had wanted to speak with the boy about the Mermadon, but when Elija informed him about Slick Boards and Belle he figured right then and there to deal with the immediate problem. For a moment he was silent, but one could see the anger behind his eyes. If Elija had never suspected it, he would be sure at that moment that the Sergeant had no tolerance for 'slavers'.

Deep in thought, Raj considered the best course of action. He looked briefly at the boy then turned away as if reconsidering a thought, then he focused on him once more. With an audible sigh the soldier seemed to resign himself to a heavy decision then he spoke to Elija, "I've dealt with their kind before, Elija. They would never risk open confrontation. Killing in the shadows is what they do best, and I just can't murder them in the night. We can, however, get them off of the ship, but I'll need your help. Yours and Sam's. What do you say, Elija? It's up to you."

Raj stood up from his crouched position and checked the deck. Something had caught his attention and crooking his neck he listened intently and peered down the stairway which was about fifteen or so strides away. He dismissed whatever he had heard as the wind, then looked back down at Elija.

"I am going down to the main deck. I'll wait for you and Sam at the bow, Elija. It is your choice and should you not choose to come I will understand. Talk it over with Sam."

Raj left the boy to make his decision and quickly made his way down the stairway. Truly he did not want to have to involve the boy, but these were dark times and Elija would need all the experience he could get to survive. Besides only he could point out this couple that was after him, and the closer he kept the boy the better he could protect him.


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PostSubject: Re: BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm   Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:11 am

Without hesitation, Elija walked over a woke Sam up and said softly "Gits yur arse up. An keep yur hole shut, we gots ta 'elp Raj." ....... Sam dressed quickly, Elija arranged some pillows on the chair and covered them with a blanket, to make it appear as if someone was sitting next to the door, Sam did the same with pillows and the blanket on his bed. It appeared someone was sleeping in Sam's bed. Then he and Sam slipped quietly out of the cabin, locking the door behind them. Slient as two church mice they made there way to the bow of the riverboat. Hiding behind a stack of cotton bales they waited for Raj.
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PostSubject: Re: BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm   Sat Jan 30, 2010 5:09 pm


The chill of the night air hung on the breath of the two boy while the awaited Sergeant Lasekura to find them. The soft flickering glow of lantern light offered barely enough light to see by and from where they were hidden the ships bright gaslights did not reach them. Some time had passed while they sat quietly in the darkness and a grown man would have started to grow anxious, let alone two highly imaginative boys aware that an evil Mermadon could set upon them at any moment.

A dark hand reached out and grabbed Sam by the shoulder and it was all the boy could do to not scream aloud when it quickly became apparent that it was Lasekura and not the Komburan man they were warned about.

"Calm down, Sam." Said Lasekura in his usual placid voice, "Sorry, I am late. I found Slick Boards and that woman, Belle. They are back in the parlor, sitting down and playing... what do you call it? Poker?"

Raj stood up and looked around cautiously. He waved for the boys to follow him and as he lead the way, Sam slightly slipped on a small puddle of water that had accumulated where Lasekura had stood.

"Com'on." Whispered, Lasekura, "This way round the port side is another entrance." he explained as he lead the way to a narrow corridor with a stairway that lead down to a door to the hold and awaited the boys to follow.

The hold of the steamboat offered many passages to other rooms that utilized the area for storage. The saloon and dining hall especially, had their own access to the hold which could allow a person to access a room without being readily noticed.
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PostSubject: Re: BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm   Fri Jul 02, 2010 9:15 am

Elija and Sam crept behind Lasekura, as they made there way along a corridor to the supply door of the saloon. Opening it slowly the crept like two mice into the saloon and hid behind a crate stacked under a stairway that led up to the balcony that circled the saloon. There, peared over the top of the crate watching Slick Boards and Belle.
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PostSubject: Re: BOOK 3 - CHAP 4 - The Riverboat on the Rathilm   Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:40 am


While they crept below decks, Lasekura at one point directed the boys to move ahead of him. He figured that they were less likely to be seen, which made perfect sense to the two former cut purses. As Elija and Sam moved to the front and found their way into the saloon they did not notice the strange expression that befell the Sergeant's face.

The boys had not suspected why exactly Lasekura's arrival on deck had been so late. While they had hid, the Sergeant had found Mallethden. The fought and in the beginning the Eastern warrior had the upper hand. His swordsmanship was superb and the Mermadon was caught of guard but they unfortunately they tumbled into the river where the tables turned.

They were below the dark waters for many minutes. Far beyond that which a man could hold his breath. The water stirred, then and a dark head emerged. It was Lasekura, but he seemed different. As he climbed back on board the river boat, he found a blanket which he used to as a towel to dry himself off. He had lost his jacket in the fray, but truthfully it was because Mallethden had failed to retrieve the garment from the body before it was carried away downstream.

Checking his appearance in a nearby reflective surface, Mallethden scrutinized his disguise. Taking on the appearance of the Sergeant was an easy transition for the Mermadon since they were roughly the same size and shape. His skin tone was even similar to that of his common Human guise.

As the boys crept near the crate, Elija noticed the water that was collecting at his feet. He had noticed a few puddles before, but had thought little of it, them being on a ship and surrounded by water and all. There was a lot of water though which was strange. It was as if the Sergeant had gone swimming, and where was his jacket?

There was no way the boys could guess that their protector was truly their pursuer in disguise. While they were made aware that the Mermadon could look like a Human it occurred to them too late that he could make himself look like anybody. Even the Sergeant.

As Elija had his revelation both he and Sam were grabbed by the back's of their coats and pulled backward. Roughly they were drawn back down the steep stairway they climbed up to the saloon. They were then both tossed through the air and stopped hard as they struck a firm wall. They both fell to the ground, dazed and before they could gather their wits, Lasekura picked them up once more and threw them both into a dark room and locked the door behind them.

"Now I have you.... 'Chosen One'. My master will be most pleased." The monster that was not Lasekura laughed.

Mallethden secured the heavy lock on the storage room and made sure that there was no other way out (as far as he could see). The room seemed escape proof, unless they boys were able to transform themselves into rats, which he figured was not a possibility.

"I shall return shortly." Mallethden promised, his voice now sounding like his own. "I have yet another gift to retrieve but pray the other's do not interfere, else they will feel my cold blade across their throats!"

The boys could hear the Mermadon's creaking steps fade away and knew that he was headed up to the top deck to deal with Miss Smith. The door was locked tight and even their combined strength could not budge it, nor was the lock able to be picked, in fact there was no door knob at all on their side of the door.
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