The one who had been giving orders up to this moment, stood there as he waited for the woman in armor to stand before him. “The Orders from the King are clear, they are to be executed for violating our King’s most sacred law. Behead him!” He ordered the executioner but the woman raised her hand at the man with the giant axe.
“You will not!” She bellowed before glaring hard at the guard. “Do you not know who I am? I am Lady Medalla, Grand Knight to our King, Protector of our sacred land, and a General to you, Sergeant.”
The Man’s mouth hanged open and he started to protest, “But I am the Headmaster of this Prison Camp.”
She then swung her right leg so that her foot contacted the back of his left leg behind his knee that forced him to kneel before her. “Not anymore!” She yelled at him as she pulled out a letter from the side of her satchel and held it up for everyone to see. “This is a letter sent by our King! You can tell because it has our King’s Seal on the back of it! AND IT IS UNOPENED!!” She shouted to everyone then she looked down at the former Headmaster. “And do you know where I found this?” She didn’t give him a chance to respond, “On the very center of your desk, where it could be seen as clear as day. You know that any letter from our King, is to be opened and read immediately.”
The man kept his head bowed, “I am sorry, m’lady!”
She spat down at the ground near him to see, “It is far too late to apologize now, Sergeant. I did a little bit of investigating, and I found several more of these letters from our King, unopened. For that, you have been stripped of your duties and will spend a month in the dungeon, with no pay!”
He looked up and grabbed her armored clad legs, “No please! I need the gold, for my family, please!”
She stepped back out of his reach and gestured with her head at the guards. “You should of thought of that rather than neglecting your duties and ignoring the orders from our King. Take him away.” Then she looked at the guards near Ryker. “You two, get him onto his feet, now!”
They moved quickly, grabbing Ryker by his arms and lifting him up onto his feet as instructed. They were then instructed to remove the shackles, freeing them from what could have been the very end of their adventures.
“Four of you, come. We have much to discuss.” She said as she began to lead the way, the four of them looking at each other before they hurried to catch up and follow this woman. On their way to wherever she was taking them to, she had ordered a couple other guards to get their gear.
They made it all the way to this office that apparently used to belong to that guy who was now spending time in the dungeon at this…prison camp. More like a prison fort really, but none of them were going to say anything unless they were asked, as none of them knew what was going on or why. They simply just looked at each other and had an understanding to keep quiet until they had an opportunity to talk alone, or if this woman talks directly to one of them.
Medalla stopped in the center of the room and let out a heavy sigh before turning around to face them. “On behalf of my King, I would like to extend our sincerest apologies. We had thought our message had been made clear, that you four were to meet me at Lornketh, the village just on the edge of our Kingdom’s border, to be escorted secretly to our King’s castle, where he would meet with the four of you in private. And when I realized what had happened, I reported to the King and he had sent this letter here, so that the Headmaster knew not to harm either of you.” She then tossed the letter into the fireplace. “Unfortunately for you, he was an imbecile. So you four are incredibly lucky that I came here to make sure that the King’s orders were being followed.”
The four of them looked at each other, and then Vakai cleared his throat as he had chosen to speak for them. “We are most gracious and appreciative for your rescue, General. But you must understand when I say, we do not have a clue as to why we are here or why we were requested.”
She smiled. “Please, just call me Medalla. And of course you wouldn’t. The letter sent to the Mercenary Guild, that was meant for your group, was brief. The King was going to inform you of everything you needed to know. But since we are here, at this place, close to the very thing that we need your help with…I might as well be the one to give you what the King wanted to do himself. Besides, he trusts me with his life, on account of I have saved it once.” She bragged with a grin. Suddenly there was a knock on the door and two guards entered with two large crates full of gear. “Ah. Good. Set them down there and leave us.” She then noticed a letter on top of the gear in one of the crates and she went for it, opening it up to read what it said then she visibly shook her head. “Unbelievable. I am going to have to have a talk with that messenger. The King was very clear as to what this letter was suppose to say, and the messenger forgot the most important detail. And that was the meeting at Lornketh.” She sighed and shook her head once more. “I am surrounded by imbeciles.” She said as she rubbed the bridge of her nose.
“Excuse me, Gen…Medalla. But please, tell us, why are we here?” Vakai asked, hoping that maybe she would say more than what he thinks she will tell them. Like why they were in this strange world, a world that looked so primitive. Some part of him had hoped that maybe, she was that alien they met on that planet before all of this began.
“Of course. You see, we’re in trouble. All of us. Not just this Kingdom but our entire realm. There is an evil force, a dark vile force, just west of here about three months walk. We don’t know exactly where it began, but what we do know is that the dead are living again, and they have been terrorizing villages, just slaughtering the innocents and burning them and the buildings to ash. We need your help to investigate these monsters, and find out where the source originated from and to see if we have any chance of eliminating that source, to stop these atrocities from continuing.” She explained.
Vakai frowned and looked at the others before looking at her. “So you need scouts. Those who could go in behind enemy lines and gather vital information.”
Medalla nodded her head. “Exactly. And the Mercenary Guild told us that your group is the best. Not only that, but the Guild keeps information, like what jobs you take and how you handle those jobs. The King’s reasoning for hating mercenaries so much, is that most of them will take on any job and do anything necessary to complete the job. Your group doesn’t. Your group has taken on the most noble and honorable jobs, saving lives, defeating foul beasts that threatens hundreds if not thousands of innocents, and you do it without risking hundreds more to complete the job. The King sees honor in all of you, and that is why he chose you to do this task.”
Suddenly in a burst of massive blue flames beside Medalla, that soon vanished as it appeared, was a man in long, thick robe and a pointy hat. Kind of like a witches hat. They could see Medalla’s hand on her chest and then rolling her eyes at the man. “For goodness sake, Vimire, could you not do that?!”
The man chuckled heavily, “I apologize Lady Medalla, but I wished to speak with these four individuals in private.”
“What could you possibly have to say that wouldn’t befitting for my ears, Wizard?” She asked.
Vimire shook his head, “I am sorry, Lady Medalla but you know the rules. The King listens to the Wizards of the Realm and we govern all. How else is peace maintained throughout the realm? If it wasn’t for us-”
“Yes yes, if it weren’t for you and your band of magic spitters, we would still be at war with our neighboring Kingdoms.” She let out a sigh, annoyed. “Fine. I said all that was needed to be said. I hope the four of you will agree on this quest and help us.” And with that, she left the room, slamming the door behind her.
Vimire sighed with a smile, “Such fiery spirit.” He chuckled some more then looked at the four with an even bigger smile. “Why, hello there, Vakai. James Ryker. Sivol. Ashley Gomez.”
All four of them looked at each other in confusion before looking back him, Vakai stepping forward. “You know who we are?”
Vimire chuckled loudly, “Of course! I brought you four here.”
Their eyes widened and Vakai approached the man, grabbing him by his collar. “You!!” But then the man vanished from his grasp and reappeared behind the desk in the same fashion that he appeared in the first place.
“Now now, Vakai. No need to get so aggressive.” Said Vimire.
“Explain yourself then. Why are we here? Why are we in this place? What is it that you want from us!?” Vakai did his best to hold back his temper, but he was furious, furious that he allowed this to happen to him and his away team, furious that he has no way to contact the ship and inform them of what’s going on.
Vimire sighed and then gestured with his hands to calm down. “Relax, Vakai. You will get all your answers in due time, but you do not need to be hard on yourself. It was not your fault, none of this is your fault. All four of you are here, because I wanted you to be. So there was nothing you could of done to prevent it. And trust me, your ship, won’t even know that you were gone.”
Gomez frowned, “The hell is that suppose to mean? We used the transporter, we beamed down to the planet. We saw the trees, the plants, the cave…your machines.”
“All illusions.” Vimire told them.
Sivol stepped to Vakai’s side. “Telepathy.”
Vimire bobbed his head from side to side. “Something like that, yes. It’s an ability that my people have. I’m getting ahead of myself,” he chuckled again. “So, to your questions. You are on the planet Roquesia. It is a mythical world dated pretty close to your current timeline, but they’re still experiencing the joys of the medieval age, with some side effects.”
“Side effects?” Ryker asked.
Vimire chuckled, “Ah yes. You are all well observant and already know. You’re even thinking it now. On this world, in this reality, there is magic.”
“But how is that possible?” Vakai asked.
Vimire shrugged, “Anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Like those who are incredibly telepathic, are capable of creating illusions like this. Now what was that species name…oh I do forget…but it’s one that one of your Starship Captain’s have encountered in his time…but that was like…over a hundred years ago. Anyways, it doesn’t matter. Point is, you all know that some species are simply capable of doing things that they are born with. It’s no different here on this world, people being born with special gifts.”
“Okay. Now why are we here.” Vakai asked.
Vimire raised a finger, “Ah, yes that question. You see, I want to test you. Well not you in general, no, but you as who you represent.”
“United Federation of Planets?” Ryker asked.
Vimire tilted his head. “Mmmm…close.”
“Starfleet.” Sivol answered.
Vimire pointed at her. “Correct! I always did enjoy the Vulcan intelligence. So smart your people are.” He chuckled.
“But why?” Gomez asked.
Vimire shook his head. “No more questions, I am afraid. We’re getting too far ahead of ourselves. I will happily explain everything at the end of the story but for now, you must play along.”
Vakai frowned, “And what if we choose not to.”
Vimire sighed, “I am afraid you must. With the tests my species give, there is no stopping. No pause button. No simple off switch. Once it begins, it cannot end until you complete the story.” Of course he lied but he wasn’t going to tell them that, he wanted to see what they do in the next several centuries.
“Then when does the story end?” Ryker asked.
Vimire shook his head again. “Ah ah ah. What did I say earlier, my friend? No more questions. At least, I won’t answer anymore. I will at the end of the story, though, I promise.”
“What if we asked about the story? Like what exactly are we suppose to do?” Gomez asked.
Vimire shook his head once more. “You will have to figure that out on your own. It wouldn’t be a test if I gave you all the answers, now would it? Trust me, it will be fun! Besides, each and every one of you has their own unique powers as well.”
They looked at each other before looking back at Vimire, “What do you mean?” Sivol asked.
Vimire chuckled, “Ah, now there is a question I can answer and I am glad you asked it. You, my dear Vulcan lady…actually I have to confess to you and your Romulan friend. Neither of you are the race that you are.”
They all looked at Sivol and Vakai, and both Ryker and Gomez were surprised. “I can’t believe I didn’t see it till now, but…Vakai…your ears.” Said Ryker.
“Sivol’s too.” Said Gomez.
Both Sivol and Vakai looked at each other and saw that they both looked human. All four of them looked back at Vimire, all wondering what the hell is going on.
Vimire smiled, “Yes, all four of you are human. Well, there are other creatures on this world but I felt it would be more fitting if you four were the most dominant species on this planet, which is the human race. Plus it just makes more sense in your roles. Vakai, you are a paladin, your skills with the sword are magnificent but you also carry abilities that help heal your allies and bolster their defenses, as well as holy abilities that can entrance your blade with holy fire, anything that is dark and evil would be smite down with ease. Sivol, you madame are quick and deadly with a bow. Not only can you throw objects at great distances, like potions for when your allies are in need, but you can hit any target miles away, or shoot multiple arrows at once to take out multiple targets. James, you a battle mage, technically just a mage, but you have been known to fight right alongside your friend, Vakai, with a mace bolstered with holy spirit. And when your friends need it, you have the power to heal and rejuvenate them from any illness that they may befall on, except for those that are severe, like the black plague…no mage were able to stop such a vile disease.”
Ryker raised a brow, “Huh. So even this planet suffered from a virus called the black plague.”
Vimire shrugged his shoulders. “It’s not the same kind of virus that you’re thinking of that your home planet suffered thousands of years ago. But it is what they call it here. And it was just as deadly. Anyways, Ashley. You’re more of an elemental. You can create any weapon or tool out of the ground, dirt, mud, or even wood and rock…anything around you, you can use.”
They all stared at Vimire blankly, trying to understand what was said now. Vakai took a step forward, “So now what?”
Vimire smiled, “Now you get your gear, grab necessary supplies that you need, I am certain that Lady Medalla will give you all that you can carry, and travel to the west. Carry out your quest and report back to the King.”
Ryker groaned, “Three months? By foot?”
Vimire chuckled, “Oh no. Three months by horse. Four months by foot.”
“Well, that really wasn’t very specific, until now.” Gomez told him.
Vimire smiled, “I apologize but you all will have horses, so not to worry. That is why we said three months.”
Vakai sighed heavily, “Do we have any other choice?”
Vimire shrugged his shoulders, “You could go back to getting your heads chopped off if you want, but then that would ruin the test all together and I would really prefer that you complete the test.”
“Why? Is this a game to you?” Gomez asked.
Vimire shook his head, “Of course not, dear. As I said, it is a test. Now go on, chop chop. Quicker you leave, faster you can complete the job. Good luck!” And with that, he vanished in blue flames that disappeared as quickly as they had appeared.
Vakai sighed again before going over to the two crates. “Guess we better suit up.” He told them and they all put on their gear that seemed appropriate to them, and that also fit to their bodies. Most of it were either leather or metal armor pieces, but none that seemed to hinder their movements all that much. Vakai though, got his sword, as Sivol got her quiver full of arrows and her bow, where Ryker got his mace and Gomez…well she had some knives but they all knew she could easily make any kind of weapon she wanted.
Ryker then started to smile, big time as they began to walk out of the building. “You know what? I’m getting it now. This whole thing seems like a real life fantasy game.”
Gomez frowned, “Excuse me?”
Ryker chuckled, “Have you ever heard of Dungeons and Dragons?”
Three of them shook their heads ‘No.’ Ryker sighed, “Seriously? Vakai? Of all the history you know about Earth, you haven’t once read anything about DnD? And Vulcans don’t have anything similar in their past?” Again they shook their heads ‘No.’ “Man…okay look. It’s not just about it feeling like DnD, but it also makes me think of another game, what they call a video game back in the twentieth century on Earth. One in particular that was very popular was a game called Final Fantasy. Where key characters of the story had powers or abilities and were destined to save the entire world from great evil.”
Gomez groaned, “So this is a game…god damnit.”
Ryker shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t know if it is or not. Maybe we’re in a simulation. Maybe we’re playing out real people from a real world that doesn’t exist in our home galaxy. I mean, think of it guys. We all know that our universe contains billions upon billions of galaxies, and each galaxy contains billions of stars. So what if there was a planet named Roquesia that had people who were born with abilities? It’s not like it is impossible, it’s just we’ve never encountered it. No one has. Sure we’ve encountered species with unique abilities, but nothing like this…right?”
“Your theory is quite logical, Ryker but as Gomez has already exclaimed, your theory makes it sound like we are in a game.” Said Sivol.
Ryker shrugged again, “I don’t know. All I know is, that is what I feel like this is. We have abilities that we never had before until we came here. So either it is this planet that gave us these abilities or we’re playing out characters that were born with them.”
Vakai grunted, “Let’s just find Medalla, get the supplies, get our horses and get going. Sooner we get this done, sooner we get back to our reality.”
Gomez growled, “But you don’t understand! It’s going to take us three months, three months!! To get to where our so called ‘quest’ is. We will never get back to our reality like this…we’re doomed to never return to our normal lives.” Her voice trailed off near the end.
Ryker moved to her side, as they were all still walking. “Look, whatever this is…I bet you that this isn’t real and once it’s over, we will be back to our normal lives like it never happened.”
“You’re thinking about the Kataan Probe.” Said Sivol.
“Exactly! So maybe we will be okay.” Ryker smiled.
“But how is this okay?” Gomez asked.
Vakai stopped, and then the group stopped. He turned to look at the three of them, “Whatever this is…it is best that we stop thinking about it and just do it. Like I said. Sooner we get this done…sooner we get back to our normal lives. So focus on the task at hand.” Vakai told them before turning back around and resumed on walking, the three looking at each other before quickly following behind Vakai. Vakai didn’t like it any more than Gomez did, but he had already put all the pieces together and he didn’t like the outcome at all. But he knew that one day, it will end and they will be back to their normal lives, problem is he doesn’t know when that day will come and thus he is quite annoyed by it. So he chose to do exactly what he told them, pushing it all out of his mind and focusing only on the task that they were given. Hopefully time will go by quickly…
-So now the Away Team found out who the lady was and where they are at. Is this really a lot like Kataan Probe? Will they experience years of adventure but it only happening in several minutes of their real lives? And what is this mysterious foe that is plaguing the lands? Stay tuned for the next Chapter of the Centaur!