Prince  Toreus Rhann  and the Thuvian Rangers

Chapter 17: The Steeple of Death

Toreus, Shakhorja and Colin moved quietly though the shadow of the alleys. Somewhere up ahead a dark cat moved across their path and moved on.The Thuvian Prince for a second,that perhaps this was a sign that a member of the Legion-maybe Uncle Arenjun was somewhere up ahead.But the Thuvian Prince was wrong-very wrong.It was just someones house cat or so he hoped.If the Wallaces had a member of the Legion of Time Sorcerers,such as Baron Han Karza or Darghen Shaitanus about,this cat might am Atlantean spy,working for the opposition.

‘’Just a cat,Tor.’’Sharkhorja tele thought to the Thuvian Prince.’’Smells like he was salvaging through some trash cans for fishheads.’’

‘’Fishheads-Fish heads fish heads,Roly poly fish heads.’’Prince Toreus began to sing quitely,some old Terran Song.Singing often broke the tension of waiting for something uphead to come along.

‘’Fish heads fish heads,Eat them up yum.’’Colin O’Brien continued,holding his rifle.Hanley,Saunders,Cage,Little John,Kirby ,Nelson,Braddock and Doc all of King Company moved behind the two big,hulking Thuvian commanders,softly pounding sound insolated soles across the darkened aspalt.

Moving on foot, always keeping a wall or building between themselves and the church steeple Prince Toreus Rhann and his Thuvian Rangers moved ahead slowly,quitely-effortlessly. The Thuvian Prince and other Rangers infra red macroscope visors spotted something ahead moving about inside the churches high wall,dipping up and down near the enclosures iron spiked fence.It was a small,spherical object about two meters and silently moved about,making a small paragravity hovering noise,coupled with tiny repulsor thrusters,about two rings-one above and below the droids tiny work arms,which held in each Moonthorn 180m mega mechine pistols.Oval antenna moved around,wirling at different angles,trying to scan the local environment for any sign of unfreindly visitors.Toreus Rhann wheeled like a cat, his great sword flashing into one hand and pistol in the other,readying himself ready to fight to the death,if needed.

Various images flashed on Prince Toreus Rhanns visor rapidly,trying to assertain which type of robot device this was.The Grimeires Warbook-a database of known friendly and enemy ships,devices,droids  in the military database,accessed through the scanner equipped used and worn by the Rangers in field opperation.This robot was a T1 Spy Drone 150-manuefactured by Moonthorn Robot Technologies,Inc.Prince Toreus and his Rangers stopped,to prevent the robots accute hearing to detect their movement over the high,brown stone wall..

The bot had no thermal site—or so they were able to determine by having Ulysseas examine it close.The Thuvian Hunting Falcon circled above the church steeple,keeping a keen birdseye upon the spherical robot moving about the inner St.Martin Milners church wall. That meant that the bot would not be able to see them through walls and hit them with armor piercing rounds.Prince Toreus Rhanns keen ears could hear the droid moving about.It began to make small eletronic vocal noise-boot-bebot bot.Boot and moved on.The bot began to slowly move on around,through some trees beyond the left church courtyard and dissappeared.

Prince Toreus Rhann and his Thuvian Rangers of King Company began move forward again,once the robot guard had left.Colin O’Brien waves his team to follow the First Son of Thuvia and Shakhorja,while above Ulyseas hovered above.The Thuvian Crown Prince moved like a human lion-almost stalking his prey,

They encountered a uniformed Vhan patrolman taking a leak in an alley between the.Toreus Rhann  quickly moved up behind the man as he zipped his fly. The big Thuvian chopped the man across the back of his neck.

The blow killed the cop.Toreus Rhann  cradled him up and dropped the body in a dumpster.

The Prince, the Ranger and the cat moved on.

There was a courtyard below street level and in it were two Kai’Vhan troopers. This area was heavy with foot patrols. It probably meant nothing more than that the local garrison commander was a go getter who didn’t let any grass grow under his feet. Unusual for a Kai’Vhan.

This time Shakhorja and Colin  O'Brien moved in and killed the mercenaries. They never knew what hit them as the Silver Lion iron like razor sharped claws cut into the first Khy’Vhann.The mindless soldier felt without a scream.His dead body toppled to the floor,like so much of a sack of weat.Colin O’Brian moved in quickly stabbing the zombie mercenary next the first.He too fell,atop his partner.

‘’Look,kitty cat.’’O’Brien joked’’they fell like those voodoo cards.You know,the lovers ?’’

Sharkhorja simply gave the big Thuvian his lions eye kisses and on.O’Brien looked about astonished that the great silver lion did react to his joke,as a human would.

‘’Guess,he didn’t get it boys’’O’Brien commented to his rangers.’’Or maybe he did.’’.The big,belicous Thuvian Ranger followed Prince Toreus into the darkenned alley.Cage and Little John just grinned behind him and followed into the darkenned alley.

Of course that meant that the dead troopers would drop off the team net and someone might come to investigate when they didn’t answer thought radio challenges. But that had to be risked. They had to get to that tower.

There was a stone staircase that led up to the steeple entrance and the street that ran by the church. A guard walked on the landing there, his back turned to the courtyard. No sign that he was aware that his comrades had dropped off the net. Maybe the net was down for maintenance. A foolish thing to do while in the field. But another word for Kai’Vahn was fool.

Crouching low Toreus Rhann  sprinted up those stairs and caught the guard from behind. He pulled the man back and tossed him into the courtyard below. The man landed with a thump and Shakhorja pounced on him biting his throat.

Colin O'Brien and Shakhorja sprinted to the landing and joined Toreus Rhann . The prince hand singled them to stand guard inside the steep entrance and then he took the spiral stairs two steps at a time until he reached the top, where the sniper machine stood—alone and unguarded.

‘’My prince’’O’Brien commented ‘’These Vhann are just weird.They rarely scream out as they die.It just isn’t natural.if you know what I mean.’’

Toreus Rhann simply nodded and said ‘’Their weird,by Thrull-what can I say.Come on.’’

He tilted the deadly machine over the side and let it drop to the ground below with a crash that resounded in the quiet of the night. He then descended to join his cat and the mercenary ranger.

I hope no one heard that, Colin . thought radioed, indicating the smashed machine.

Toreus Rhann smiled. Someone might find the dead guards any second. Let’s go.

They headed for the entrance of the church and entered. There was no one in the dimly lit knave.Prince Toreus and the Great lion,could see,by way of the night light visors filter,various tappestries waving in the cool breeze that followed the two throught the great open Arcadean oak door.

Toreus Rhann and Shakhorja moved down the row of pews as Colin . positioned himself to watch the doors.Holographic candles flicked upon marble alters in front and on huge iron stands to both sides of the church.The Thuvian Warrior spotted a small figurine,setting atop the middle of the alter.At first,he thought it was a statue of Thrull Khonn,but he had never or rarely heard of his worshippers outside of Pangea.Whoever this guy was with long hair and a beard,it was sertainly not Great Lord Thrull Khonn.Well,whoever their many holo gods upon Terra-Prime,from all over time and space.This guy,whoever he was,was no threat his beliefs in a great warrior and prophet of his people.

The Prince mounted the altar dais and turned right heading for what he hoped would be the entrance to the rectory house.He moved passed more wooden chairs,some discarded banners and other items thrown about the area.

Something flashed from his right side and hit him. He stumbled back, stunned by the impact of a foot against his temple.Instintive,the Lord of Lions midway backwards,landed upon his feet and great spring like iron muscles carried him up a few feet into the church balcony above.

He cleared his head quickly and looked down to see a woman with black hair pulled back in a pony tail and big, almond eyes facing off against him in a classic martial arts combat stance.Above Toreus Rhann surveyed the area-watching the figure move toward the door causiously.

Suddenly the woman’s fierce facial expression relaxed as Shakhorja her on the dais.The Thuvian looked down and smiled.Seeing who it was,the Thuvian Prince grabbed the thick wooded railing and leaped down back into the church alter area.

“Hello, Lois,” said Toreus Rhann . “Glad to see you—even if you just kicked me in the head.”

“Toreus Rhann ?”Lady Lois Taylor turned and looked over the tall,handsome prince.

“At your service, Duchess.”The Thuvian greeted her.’’I’m here to rescue you.’’

A priest entered the dais. He carried a gun which was aimed atToreus Rhann .

“Relax, Father Phil,” Lois said to the little man. “This is PrinceToreus Rhann , come to help us I have no doubt.”

The priest lowered the gun. “Thank the Gods.”

“Pleased to meet you, Father,” said Toreus Rhann .

“And I you, “said the priest.

‘’Your here to rescue me ?Just you and Shakhorja here ?’’the Arcadean Duchess asked.

‘’No,me and Shakhorja here are the scoutting party.’’The Thuvian First Son imformed her.’’I got some Thuvian Rangers will.Best back up soldiers on Pangea and beyond.’’

Toreus Rhann looked at the woman. “Lois, where are the boys?”

Lois led him into the rectory. The two Taylor brothers were standing there, the younger one with his robot bear. Both looked scared. He had not seen these two in years but despite their position in the scheme of things they looked like noting more than two young boys—two scared young boys.

The older one—Nathan—looked on the verge of manhood but just barely. The other one was just short of diapers. No much older than that but still a little kid. They should be having a childhood, not preparing to fight a war.

Toreus Rhann felt a little melt of sympathy in his heart.

But, then again, when he was Leo’s age he had been in the mountains of Thuvia with nothing but a knife and a cat—a cub himself-- to keep him alive. Childhood is a relative thing. Some childhoods end sooner than others. These boys had a destiny and the sooner they faced it the better it would be for everyone.

“Hello, boys,” he said. “It’s me, your cousinToreus Rhann . We haven’t seen each other since my brother’s wedding. You two have gown.

Leo smiled at Prince Toreus Rhann .The Thuvian seemed to feel he and boy,had a kind of kindred spirit to one another. Nathan still looked like he’d been drained of blood.

“Are you ready to move? We’re off on an adventure.”

“We’ve been off on an adventure,” said Nathan.

“Yeah,” said Leo. “Now that you’re here we might just make some progress.”

Toreus Rhann laughed. That was the spirit. That was the Taylor spirit. Yes, these two would make it. There was no other choice.Toreus Rhann  did not believe in failure and anyone who accompanied him had to accept that. Even children.

“Very well,” he said. “Gather only the things you really need and abandon everything else.”

“What about Timmy?” asked Leo indicating the bear.

“We have no need for toys, Leo,”Toreus Rhann  said.

“He’s not a toy. He’s a friend. If he stays here I stay here.”

“I agree,’ said Nathan. “Timmy is as important to us as Shakhorja there is to you. We go no where without him.”

“Okay,”Toreus Rhann  said not wishing to waste time on this argument. “But nothing else. He can walk and run or else I’d insist you leave him behind.”

“And you would lose,” said Leo. “Timmy’s not a toy—he’s almost human.”

The machine seemed to be glaring at Toreus Rhann . Yes, this was a machine with Seraphian spirit in it. Not just a walking toy. The Duke had brought this gadget from far away.

Saraphean. magic again. Where did not those beings show up?

“What do you say, machine bear?”

“I go where Master Leo goes,” said the machine in a  deep voice.

“Can you keep up the pace?”Toreus Rhann  asked.

“And fight if need be,” said the machine waving its little paws in a fighting gesture. “I am programmed in multiple techniques of hand to hand and armed combat. I also have a Tesla generator.”

Toreus Rhann  smiled. “I welcome you to the mission, sir warrior.”

Toreus Rhann contacted the Rangers.

The troopers blew up a transformer plunging the neighborhood into darkness.

“Let’s go,”Toreus Rhann  said and led the way back down the knave to Colin ..

Lois and the boys followed, each bidding farewell to Father Phil. The team moved away into the night.

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