BNN: Tales of Ice and Fire

March 20, 2009

Battles are sometimes won with bloodshed. Others are won in the silence between dawn and dusk. And sometimes there is a peace that lasts centuries. This is not one of those times.

Often even the boundaries of an uneasy peace are tested with time. But not even time can heal the wounds of a battle fought between this plane and others.

Spring was early this year. With the eyes of his companion set more on their destination than the means of getting there, the pace they strode would collapse a knight’s steed. Any onlooker would gather that the two shadows moving in the lavender light must be planeshifting to move so quickly. Blink. A league passed. Blink. Three leagues.

Each silver-grey cloak gathered about the massive shoulders of each slender form. At this distance they could have been taller than shire horses. Then again, the light at this time of evening did play tricks on the eyes. They strode shoulder to shoulder, never breaking stride, never checking to see if the other were lagging or tired. They moved with purpose, and as if they’d known each other longer than the sun, or any other thing in the heavens.

They stopped. Their motion coming to an immediate halt seemed not out of place, nor did their breathing seem labored. They ... simply ... stopped. One crouched as if testing the earth for a place to lay, his palm outstretched his body and eyes set on the ground beneath, and what stretched to the horizon before the pair.

An ancient language swept from one, "Tenpiswo ui wer ouith ..." "I feel it too," his companion agreed. "The wound is here ..."

***** ******* ********

Casca had been playing this game for several weeks now. The moves of his opponent were methodical. The pigeon brought one move each day for one player. With the latest, Casca had lost a knight to a pawn. Sloppy, he thought. Sloppy play. Where was his mind? Perhaps the invasion and all his machinations were having an effect on his decision-making.

Panting, Threwort ran in and brought himself quickly to attention. Opening his mouth to speak Casca raised his hand.

"My liege ..." Threwort tried to interrupt.

"What are you up to?" he spoke to himself. He traced each path of every piece with an extended finger, forming move upon move in thin air.

Threwort rocked on his heels impatiently. Exasperated Casca turned to Threwort. "What is it?"

"The Trammel Barrier, My Leige. It is restored. The Crimson are falling back, as if they suddenly found more pressing matters."

"But I didn’t. There was no word to ..."

Casca’s stomach churned. Looking at the chessboard, his tongue folded against the roof of his mouth, as if tasting iron and oil.

"What do you mean, it’s restored? Of course it’s restored! Certainly, all according to plan. This! This is the era I have spoken of. Our planets are aligned. Our destinies sing of prosperity, magic, and muffins!"

"Our next step is now easy. Onward now to Yew Abby!"

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