Saturday, July 16, 2011

Achtung, Baby! Part 3

Ciara explained a little of the history of this town. Relatively new, as German history goes, having been founded in 1805, in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars. The founder of the town apparently had a problem with Goblins. Some sort of deal was worked out involving the giving up (read: sacrifice) of one child a year to ensure the peace. Also, evidently something happened in 1943. A Nazi unit moved into this little corner of of Germany known as Wolfsheim and apparently never left. It's like that wild story of one of those Japanese soldiers found in the 1960s on a deserted Pacific Island who thought the war was still on and killed one of his "rescuers", an American soldier if I recall.

As we exited the Library, Ciara and I were accosted by a well-dressed American man in English, who was being handled rather roughly by some of the guards in field gray SS uniforms. Ciara caught on, and shouted something about a Goblin attack, in German, at the top of her lungs. Her voice seemed to carry and echo and take on a life of its own, spreading a general sense of panic throughout the town. All but one of the (Neo?)Nazi guards left the American's side in search of the non-existent Goblin invasion. The American motioned towards us and I could overhear him haggle with the guard...."you don't understand, I NEED those two to pull this off!! If the Goblins get them, I'm telling Krieger it's your fault!"

The guard looked frustrated, then turned to Ciara and I and motioned with his rifle towards the tavern entrance.

Sie beide! Hinein ins Gasthaus! Sofort!

Ciara and I nodded and circled round to where the American was standing. The guard impatiently pushed us along with his rifle at port arms, and closed the tavern door behind us.

The tavern owner looked up quizzically and asked what the devil was going on?

"Your humble village is under attack by Goblins", said the American, in perfectly accented German. He even looked a little "aryan" with his neatly styled blonde hair and grey-blue eyes.

The tavern owner's eyes went wide with terror and he seized a large 18th century musket of the sort that probably fired on Napoleon's advancing armies around the time this town was founded. I had assumed it was a decorative piece of art when I'd seen it, but now that I looked at it more closely, it was clearly a fully functioning and well-maintained piece of Napoleonic era military equipment.

He motioned for us to get behind him, stating he would do his best to protect his guests.

We made our way to the rear of the tavern, to the store room. Brief introductions were made. The American's name was Harlan Gray. He knew I worked for Interpol, based in Lyon, France, having risen up the ranks of the Irish GARDA. He also knew Ciara was the daughter of an Irish War Goddess, and that I was a son of Ogma, also of Pantheon Tuatha de Danann. "As for me, well, like you, I also have a divine parent and special abilities just like you do."

Harlan explained his having arrived in Wolfsheim ahead of us, and his meeting with Colonel Krieger, the SS commander of this area, whose office is located in the munitions factory upon the hill. Harlan further explained that he has been told that once someone enters this particular Terra Incognita, it is evidently impossible to leave. Harlan bragged that he managed to bluff Krieger into believing that he (Harlan) had the ability to cast a spell to open up the Terra Incognita to the rest of the world again, but that he was going to need our help to pull off the next step of his plan against Krieger.

"Oh, and I almost forgot the most important part. The Nazi guys? They're all werewolves in Human form. So if you've got any silver weapons, that'd be a good thing."

I showed Harlan my silver dagger. I'd decide later whether or not to reveal the silver bullets I'd crafted for my firearms. I hadn't even told Ciara that.

"That's all well and good," I said, "...but for the time being, do you think we can get the feckin' hell out of this crazy little village?"

Ciara agreed and we managed to slip out the back door and into the woods. We made our way back to the clearing where we'd seen the fairy circle of mushrooms. Harlan was skeptical of the alleged barrier..."I mean, maybe it keeps in humans and wimpy werewolves, but I'm a Demi-god, and you two are high level Hero Scions. I say we test this sucker."

Having survived the SoCal Terra Incognita and the Battle of Mag Mell, I wasn't quite so eager as either Harlan or Ciara to put this to the test. "Suit yourself," said Ciara in Gaelic..."What's the worst that could happen?"

The two set off side by side down the gravel road towards where the barrier was reputed to be. As I stood watching them in the distance, they both suddenly lost consciousness and crumbled into a heap on the road ahead.

I assessed Ciara's health first; She was alive, but her pulse was weak, breathing was very shallow and it was clear she was out cold, coma-like, and utterly unresponsive. Harlan was similarly incapacitated. I rifled through his pockets and came up with his photo ID, a driver's license from "Alexandria, VA", which I knew was a suburb of Washington DC and home to many employees of the US Federal Government. Mr. Gray could be anything from State Department to a Senator's aide, from Homeland Security to FBI to CIA to any of the other "alphabet soup" agencies the US is famous for, or some odd combination like that.

I hoisted both of their limp bodies upon my shoulders like sacks of potatoes. I found my way back to the abandoned pick-up truck we'd found on the road earlier that Ciara had checked was still running. I dumped Harlan in the bed of the truck, and the laid Ciara gently across the passenger's seat...I let her head rest gently on my shoulder as I drove the truck to the edge of the clearing. She drooled a bit but I wouldn't tell her that. I'd gotten far worse on my GARDA jacket over the years...hell, the past few months in New Orleans, for that matter.

It was one of those long truck seats that's really more like a bench, so I was able to lay Ciara stretched out in a comfortable resting position after I stopped the truck. I balled up her jacket like a pillow and put it underneath her head. I opened the windows a crack on both sides to allow ventilation. I then locked both doors and put the truck key in Ciara's pocket, then shut the doors behind me.

I floated up into the trees using my runic Celtic tatoo and perched on a branch, well concealed in the tree canopy. Night was falling, and soon it would be completely dark in the forest. Time crept by. I reached instinctively for my whiskey flask but remembered again that it was with Dad...because Aisling was with Dad, too. My heart ached as I realized how much I missed her; How much I wanted her to be there with me in that tree, so we could talk, tell jokes, pass the time.

I had figured that if the Nazis and the Goblins were mortal enemies, if Harlan was telling the truth about that...then our best bet would be to run into some Goblins tonight...hopefully a Goblin patrol would find us.

I was very surprised when the mushrooms of the Fairy Circle began to glow in an ethereal light and two short, stocky figures emerged from the raised mound. I kept completely silent, just observing. I heard a guttural language that was almost like German, but very rudimentary and crude...imagine if such a thing as German "ebonics" existed...or maybe the way Traveler's Shelta sounds compared to formal and proper Gaelic...

They found Harlan right away and hefted his body out of the truck. They had a bit more difficulty figuring out the lock on the truck, but in time they managed to jimmy the lock with a thin wire with a loop...they used the crack I'd left for ventilation, ironically, to hook round the unlocking knob and pull it up and open.
Carrying both limp bodies back over to the mound, they grunted "...must take to his majesty...", and they began to...dance? A crude Germanic jig of some sort...? The light grew brighter, there was a blinding flash that lit up the clearing almost bright as day, and then they were gone.

Very interesting. I wasn't worried, though. I figured that the best place for two unconscious scions to be was as far away from Nazi werewolves as possible and in the hands of enemies of said Nazi werewolves. Enemy of my enemy isn't always my friend, but it often tends to work out that way, at least in the short term.

Curiosity got the better of me, though, so I decided to take to the air and see what I could see of the factory, maybe swing in a little closer for a better look, see if there was anything special about the type of munitions being made there...

It looked heavily guarded, not unlike a prison compound...not unlike The Order's compound in Northern California, actually. Lots of search lights scanning the air...for what? allied planes?? Sheesh, probably security protocols unchanged since 1943 as well.

As if by way of answer, I flew straight into a flak barrage...or more accurately, as I was lost in idle thoughts like these, one of the big beams illuminated me completely and the Gerry Werewolves opened up on me with M-16 rifle fire on fully automatic. I had my bullet proof vest on, and I started to dash up and away nearly immediately, but still some of their rifle shells managed to penetrate. For the record, bullets still feckin' hurt...a lot!

I made my way back to the open clearing where the Goblins had taken away Harlan and Ciara, evading active Werewolf patrols and wishing now I'd asked the Goblins nicely to take me as well...feckin' hell..

I landed back on the same tree with the excellent canopy cover and clasped my hands together and began to pray to my heavenly father, Oh Ogma most wise....guide and protect me in this my darkest hour...I decided not to heal myself just yet...I felt as though the pain would underscore my piety in that moment, that I was willing to endure great suffering for his sake...I switched from English, to Gaelic, to Old Irish. I notched sacred Ogham script into the tree with my silver dagger and kissed them. Even though she can't read Ogham, I scratched Aisling's name in Ogham and kissed that as well. I scratched my name beside hers, along with the Old Irish word for love. Oh, Ogma how I love her so. I need her so...please....please....

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