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Authors: Jill Campbell

Celtic Rose (27 page)

BOOK: Celtic Rose
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“Don’t you dare break that couch, Gabriel; I’ll get my shotgun!” Hope yelled from her bedroom. Everyone laughed. Gabriel already had his eyes closed but he chuckled roughly; a good laugh to end a long heart-wrenching day.


We have to prepare for battle!” King Nicolas shouted to the council. The council consisted of the Irish and Scottish royal families, the heads of guard for both, William, Merrick, and Serena.

Is there no other way to avoid war?” Talus’ mother asked.

No my love, we’ve already heard the captives. The roman soldiers are planning an invasion of this territory, and then they move to Scotland, to our territory. We must stop this now!” Talus’ father answered.

Our troops are ready when you need them, my king,” Maulro spouted.

As are ours, sire,” Gabriel added.

Very well then; but is there no way to talk this out peaceably? I mean, look how well our families worked our problems out,” Queen Lilith stated.

Yes, Mother, but I don’t believe there is anyone left to fall in love with one of theirs, unless Gabriel is willing to give it a shot.” Kallisto laughed and jabbed Gabriel in the side. He smiled at her evilly and grabbed her knee, making her jump and squeal.

Stop that you two; this is no time for your tom-foolery. Our daughter is right, my love. Our families have only been halted in our war because our children fell in love, and now we know we have commonalities between us. We won’t be that lucky again,” King Nicolas said, patting her shoulder lovingly. Kallisto looked at Gabriel; the evil sneer was still present and his eyes were squinted with planned mischief. .

He thought at Kallisto. ‘Now look what you did; you got me in trouble’.

Me! You were the one who grabbed my knee and made me squeal like a mouse’
Kallisto stuck her tongue out at him.

You better put that tongue back in your mouth before I yank it out’
Gabriel’s mental voice growled, the grin disappearing.

You wouldn’t dare!

Kallisto shouted the thought, but she put her tongue back in anyway. The malicious grin returned on Gabriel’s face.

Everyone was oblivious to their conversation except for Kalan, who’d been paying enough attention to be able to read every thought. He burst out laughing but turned it into a cough quickly.
No one was fooled. They looked at him and then over at Gabriel and Kallisto. Talus fought a grin. Kallisto guessed Kalan had filled him in. She noticed he’d looked at him intently. Then Kalan looked at William and William just about spit out his drink; instead he ended up choking slightly, with Talus smacking him on the back.

Now if you are all quite done, we need to start strategizing,” King Nicolas said. Gabriel and Kallisto looked at each other and thought at the exact same time.

Insolent child’! Gabriel thought.

Insolent dog’! Kallisto thought.

They grinned at each other and walked in opposite directions. Strategizing was a man’s work, as King Nicolas had said. Queen Lilith, Talus’ mother, Ramina, Serena, and Kallisto were escorted out by those they loved and pretty much left to their own devices. Kallisto noticed Merrick had escorted Serena out. It was odd to her that everyone seemed to be getting along so well, but who was she to complain? She stared a little too intently at them and caught a glimpse of shared thought; they were thinking to one another. She hadn’t known they could do that. All she heard was:

Everything is moving according to the plan’
Merrick thought to Serena. Kallisto jerked her attention away immediately. It was rude to eavesdrop on someone else’s conversation. If she were caught listening it would be considered un-princess like and shameful. At that time she was an ignorant child who had no knowledge or understanding of betrayal. She never knew people that she loved could actually hurt her and her family in the worst imaginable way. In the background Kallisto, as the observer, started screaming for the dream Kallisto to realize what was happening, to tell Gabriel, to stop everything from happening. It was all to no avail. The dream Kallisto thought it was only an errant thought about how the strategizing was going against the Romans. She was so innocent, so pure. What caused these two healers to go against the couple and the wedding when it was all so pure and innocent? The observer knew they fed off the rage and anger to keep them alive for years; Gabriel had told them that. But where was the reason for it? When they had such love
and family, why would they sacrifice all of that for years of life, when all the ones who loved them would be dead?

The dream moved on to the time of the battle. They were on the line; Gabriel, Maulro, William, Talus, Kalan, Merrick, Serena, Ramina, and Kallisto; some in armor, some with weapons, and some with shields, whatever the preference of the fighter; ready to fight for their territory.

Kallisto was an observer again, watching as her past self stood in full armor. One arm wasn’t covered with armor; there was a glove the observer recognized from the night back on the ship. Her gauntlet was on the ground laying next to a quiver of arrows for her crossbow, which was held in her armored hand. Everyone stood in the line surrounded by soldiers waiting. The observer didn’t know what they were waiting for. They stared at the horizon and up into the sky above them, then there were cries along the line.

Here she comes! She’s coming!” The words were cried up and down the line, and Kallisto looked up and smiled. A hawk flew straight for her and landed on her arm. Kallisto was in her body again smiling with her past self at the beautiful hawk.

There’s my Lady, where have you been? What have you seen today?” Kallisto stared intently at her hawk and several images started flowing through her mind, images of where the hawk had flown and what she’d seen. Just over the ridge about five miles ahead of them was the Roman army, heading their way with several thousand soldiers.

There, coming over the ridge five miles to the east. They’ll come with the rising sun. They want to hide in the rays of the sun in hopes that we won’t see their attack,” Kallisto shouted, pointing to indicate the direction. Everyone who had a crossbow put down their primary weapons and grabbed their crossbows off the ground at their feet, preparing for the attack.

Fly away and be safe, my Lady,” Kallisto whispered and pushed her arm up. Lady took flight and flew back toward the castle.

It wasn’t long before the Roman soldiers were coming into the horizon. If the royal forces hadn’t known they were coming, they wouldn’t have seen the Roman army. The sun was bright in their eyes and all they could see were shadows in the distance. The soldiers without crossbows brought out their weapons and got into their fighting stances, ready and waiting for the fight to begin. Those who had crossbows held them at the ready, pointed up for maximum distance as Gabriel had taught them. They waited for Gabriel’s signal. The Romans were around 100 yards away by the time Gabriel yelled, “Fire at will!”

They fired their first shots. As the shots flew, shield soldiers from behind came forward to block the shooters; one shield in front and one shield on top. They could duck under and behind them while they reloaded their crossbows. Merrick and Serena let fly with one energy ball after the other, as fast as they could pull an arm back and push the other forward like they were punching continuously. Twelve energy balls would fly, six from each of them, in the time it took for the shooters to reload, and they were fairly quick at it. The Romans let fly with arrows also, but the Royal forces distance shots were far longer than the Romans. For every ten to fifteen Romans they got, the Romans got one to three of theirs. The energy balls were direct hits every time, so Merrick and Serena would kill twenty-four to twenty-six Romans between the crossbow shots and the Roman’s shots. By the time the quivers were empty hundreds of Roman’s littered the ground, but thousands were left. The Irish and Scottish had around two hundred soldiers on the ground, significantly less than the damage done to the Romans.

It was time for hand to hand combat. The soldiers with their weapons ready flowed out in front of the shooters as they pulled their primary weapons. Their forces started forward at a steady pace, and then started running. War cries filled the air as they ran for the enemy. Merrick and Serena stayed back from the fight. They had no armor to protect them from the blades the opposition was undoubtedly carrying, but it was said that no metal could pierce them because of their awesome powers. As a reminder of that, an energy ball would be seen flying into an enemy at any clear shot. Kallisto had her doubts about their safety, but she was innocent and believed all that was told to her.

The fight was grueling; soldiers fell all around them. Kallisto was in the center of the battle but she wasn’t alone;Talus, Kalan, William, Ramina, Gabriel, and Maulro were fighting alongside her.

Gabriel, with a flick of muscles that only a werewolf could move separately, sent blades out of different areas of his armor. His muscle movements caused a blade to pop out in the middle of his back, both knees, both elbows, both toes, both heels, both wrists, three blades popped out of each shoulder–one facing up, one facing forward, and one facing to the side on each shoulder. He was a human Swiss army knife. He swung his war hammer and battle- axe with perfect precision, taking down several soldiers with each swipe, and only used the blades on his armor if someone was unfortunate enough to breach his defenses.

Maulro used a battle-axe and war hammer as well, but when they were lost he reverted to the two swords crossing his back or the halberd in the center. Using a whip that had been on his side, Maulro snapped weapons from three soldiers’ hands at once. A Roman soldier was just about to slice the throat of a royal soldier when Maulro grabbed a throwing knife from the line across his chest and threw it into the Roman’s eye.

William used his shield with his family crest for both defense and offense, slamming it into any Roman soldier that got too close. He used his halberd efficiently, but eventually it was lost and he had to use his backup weapon, a sword that had been sheathed at his back.

Talus fought several soldiers at once by whipping the chain blade around. He seemed to use it more as a whip than a sword, but it did damage more extensively than any whip could have. He was the only other one with a shield, and it sported the Scottish royal crest for all to see. The Romans who saw it widened their eyes. Apparently, they hadn’t expected the two countries to be working together.

Kalan had two swords at his back for a double cross draw, but he hadn’t even gotten to those yet. He had two belts of throwing knives across each shoulder that looped around his body, one around his waist, and a belt on each arm and leg. Only one belt was empty and he had just started on the second. He wouldn’t be running out of those anytime soon. He was ambidextrous, so he used both hands to throw his knives at two soldiers that were running at him from the sides. They both went down, and he never faltered in his run through the opposition.

Ramina looked more like an Amazon woman than Kallisto ever thought she could. She stood in full armor, her hair braided down her back concealing a hidden sword, a whip curled at her side, and sais in hand. No shield for Ramina; she had to have her hands free for the sais. She was crouched down in a fighting stance, and the look on her face was feral as she stared down her opponent. He jolted forward with fierce speed, but Ramina was ready. She jumped out of his way and slashed his ribs as she went. He fell to the ground but was still alive, struggling to get up and continue the assault. Ramina cart wheeled over him, pushing him back down as she went, and
when she landed on the other side the sai was sticking out of his back. She grabbed the whip and
used it to retrieve her sai.

Kallisto’s sais were still on her hip as she was using her sword and the sword breaker dagger to fight. Every soldier she came up against lost their sword before she was done. The broken piece that was left in their hand could still do damage, but it seemed to shake their confidence a bit and Kallisto was able to take them down easily.

A loud scream filled the air and Kallisto knew it was Serena. She whirled around in her direction and saw Merrick lying on the ground, Serena bent over him. The group turned from the battle and their soldiers took the men that they would’ve fought. They ran back through the fighting to Merrick and Serena. Merrick was bleeding profusely from a deep puncture in his chest; a Roman had thrown his sword at Merrick and before he could react he was struck. Serena had his head in her lap and was crying hysterically. Kallisto could tell Merrick was dying and anger flowed through her. As she looked to the others she could see the anger in all of their faces. Kalan and Kallisto bent down and each grabbed one of Merrick’s hands. They were on each side of him and Serena sat behind him holding his head. Talus and William both placed their hands on Kallisto’s shoulders and Gabriel and Ramina placed their hands on Kalan’s shoulders. Maulro stood back, facing away from them, while he protected them all
from attack while they mourned. Other soldiers surrounded them, but Maulro was at the point where all the Romans would hit him first. Any that he missed, which weren’t many, the other soldiers would get.

Their anger was so strong that they hadn’t even started to mourn yet. Merrick grabbed their hands strongly to the point of pain. He squeezed and looked at Serena; something in his face gave her a signal and she placed her hands on Kalan’s and Kallisto’s heads. The river flowed but it was a burning, painful experience instead of a loving, comforting experience like they’d had before. It flowed from the others through the hands that touched their shoulders. As it flowed through it felt as though it was ripping something from them on the way, and then it flowed into Serena and through her into Merrick. They saw him start to glow red and his wound started to close. He blinked his eyes and took a deep breath. The pain stopped and Serena took her hands from Kalan and Kallisto. She smiled at Merrick and he smiled back. They never looked at the others, who were in awe but happy that he was alive.

BOOK: Celtic Rose
6.59Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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