Thursday, January 1, 2009

Return to Fusang: The Cold Iron of the Chief

Follows directly from HERE

What in God's name just happened?

I looked around my new surroundings. Lien Bao was no more. All that remained of the 400 year old wu-jen were still smoking ashes. I am in his laboratory in what seems to be his palace. Quickly I grabbed Claidheamh Ghaidhealtaehd Flath (or Claidheamh Flath as it is generally called), the sword given me by my father upon his death, for I was not certain when the guards of the palace would be upon me.

It seemed oddly quiet to me. I could hear the hum of a busy palace, but could not hear any evidence that anyone was aware of my presence or the death of the old wizard.

I walked over to the window and tried to carefully get my bearings. And I started trying to piece together the events of the last half hour or so.

How had I traveled here? Lien Bao had been working his way through the rift that Amber had created with her incantations and there was no way that I could let that happen even if it meant my death. He would have killed Amber, who was there only at my request. And I certainly could not let his evil loose in Caledon.

I felt Claidheamh Flath in the snow at my side. I had trained with the Sword of the Highland Chief as soon as I was strong enough to wield it. James, my father and chieftain, insisted that I use his ancestral sword - passed down from the ancient chiefs of the Fraser line. Raising the sword I yelled out to Lien Bao to leave Amber alone - and then I struck him.

Pick my sword up, mo nighean - the sword of your forefathers. Claidheamh Flath forged by the ancient chieftain, Simon of Oliver, himself. It is the sword he carried to victory at the Battle of Roslin after Wallace's death. Forged of the star iron found in the fields around his home in Aberdeenshire. Many years before he had it made a star fell from the skies - large pieces of iron were uncovered in the fields as he built his keep. I picked the sword up from the sand practice field and held it with two hands as my father had shown me. Good stance, bheag. This sword has protected our family from attacks and dangers at many times in the history of our clan...both from physical, human enemies, and fae or demon intruders.

At my puzzled look he reminded me that the cold iron is especially effective against fairy folk...binding them, and even capable of killing them. This cold iron...the enchanted iron from the heavens holds power over the fairy folk and demons alike, Eva. Never forget that as you wield this weapon, nor as you hang the cold iron horse's shoe over your door.

That must have been it! Claidheamh Flath carried with it the ancient powers of my family and the stars, and it had carried me to Fusang along with Lien Bao. And it had killed the ancient wu-jen.

We fell through the rift into the laboratory in Lien Bao's palace.

The sword stayed true.

As we fell out of the realm of the spirits and into the real, I lost my grip on
Claidheamh Flath.

I was thrown backwards by the closing of the portal and Lien Bao fell to the floor.

The Ancient began to transform before me.

OK - this is good, I thought to myself, now I just need to get myself out of this lab and find Dau and LaFevre so we can extract Hotspur and get home. As I started out the door, I heard the noise of artillery coming from outside. I ran out to the balcony to see smoke rising from the river. I decided to watch from this location until I could determine who was attacking and what was going on. The firing kept up and suddenly I heard shouts emanating from just below me. Chinese, English, Gaelic.


Ancient Gaelic....shouted in a deep,
resonant voice. Strange, but somehow familiar. Who? I leaned over the railing of the balcony to get a better look.

Och! Is that Hotspur shouting in our ancient tongue? Whoever it is looks like Hotspur, but much taller and with claws at the ends of extremely long fingers. Sharp, jagged teeth. Red bristling, unkempt hair, and even redder skin.

I closed my eyes and looked again. I knew.

My God! What next?

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