XVI – Furrys, Seraphim And New Friends

Well, the Titans didn’t get half as chewed up as I’d thought. There were some nicks and scrapes all around, but only one guy had been hurt. He’d been clipped in the left side by a Furry spear.

“Lot of blood but no serious injury.” At least that’s what the Doc said as he finished bandaging him up.

Our shields had gotten new decorations in the form of lots of spear shafts sticking out of them. The guys were busily at work pulling said shafts out and grumbling about the damage.

One soldier was heard to say “Look! Ruined!” as he held up his punctured shield for all to see. I walked over to him and a slap to the back of his head calmed him down somewhat. He looked shamefaced and immediately started to plug up the holes with a gummy material the Furrys gave us that they used to patch up their own shields.

When applied, the stuff dried fast and was as hard as the rest of the shield. One good thing came out of it. We had plenty of spears, plus almost all of our pilums back.

The Furrys didn’t seem to mind us keeping their hardware, however. Most likely they had a lot more things to throw in addition to the spears. It was amazing to me that such little guys could throw their spears with so much force.

One side note here. On closer inspection of the Furrys’ spears, I noted some interesting differences from our own. Take the spear tip, for example. I’d seen some nasty spear tips in my day, but these were really remarkable for their nastiness. Thin, barbed, and sawtooth sharp; I could understand the damage done to that one fellow’s side. If he had been hit one inch to the right it would’ve been just too bad for him.

Regarding the Furrys; size apparently didn’t mean much, because, in addition, the little guys showed us some really advanced, hand-held spear throwers. At that moment my respect for Furry ingenuity went up several notches.

However, they did complain about the pilums stuck in their shields, so we straightened the bent tips and pulled them out. Soft metal tips can be a wonderful thing.

So it went for the next couple of days. We and the Furrys became good friends, swapping war stories (the little guys had apparently seen quite a bit of action; all of it against the Elohim and Nephilim) and a lot of tall tales. We had the edge in the war story department.

Seems we lived more violent lives than the people underground.

It was on the third morning after the battle that we got introduced to the Seraphim. Four of them walked into the Furry camp, creating quite a stir. The little guys bowed deeply and stayed that way until their guests gave them permission to rise.

As to the Seraphim, they were real eye openers. They had two arms, two legs, and a head. That was where their resemblance to us ended. Take their faces for example. They didn’t have one. Except for a bump where the nose should be, their faces were missing everything a face should have. Eyes, mouth, etc.

Their bodies were also devoid of any clothes or anatomical features. The best way I could describe them was unfinished statues. What’s more, they came in different colors. I was told later by Lanni that the colors represented different elements of nature. In this case – red, white, blue, and brown – red for fire, blue for water, white for air, and brown for earth.

Some kind of energy played over their bodies in constantly changing patterns and gave me the impression that they had some kind of transparent wings. The shapes were never the same twice however.

When they spoke to us, I heard them in my head. More confusion over things I didn’t really understand. I found out after the fact that Lanni had been feeding me mental images to help me understand certain concepts I’d never experienced before. Just when I thought I had him figured out, Lanni managed to come up with a new trick or two.

It wasn’t until much later that I realized that our meeting the Seraphim marked a change from our original mission.

For good or ill, we were on the path toward a very different destiny than the one we had originally chosen.

Chapter XVII

Published in: on June 27, 2010 at 5:26 PM  Comments (1)  

XV – Elohim, Seraphim, And What The . . .

During that long and fruitful conversation, something kept nibbling at the back of my mind. It was one of those nagging, persistant thoughts that was just out of my reach. It was when the subject of protection came up (apparently these guys had quite a few enemies) that the nagging thought crystalized.

I immediately spoke up.

“Um, Lanni? Something just popped into my head and I need you to explain it to me.”

Lanni’s mind trick beat me to it.

“You want to know why we attack you first. Silly man. Reason is very simple. You came out of darkness and we mistook you for Nephilim or Elohim. Once we got clear look at you, we stopped attack.”

Lanni’s explanation was really good, except for one small detail.

“Lanni? The glowing plants all around us pretty much light up everything. There wasn’t enough shadow for us to be mistaken for nine foot monsters. Plus, we had a really serious spear throwing contest going on for some time. You mean to tell me it took you that long to realize we weren’t the bad guys?”

Lanni said nothing.

Had I gone too far and pissed the little guy off? The odds in another fight didn’t look like they were exactly in our favor. However, Lanni just sighed.

“Weren’t supposed to tell you this so soon. First, needed to make sure you weren’t sent by ‘them’. We watch path and defend it. No way of knowing for sure who is who. Fight told us what we needed to know. You stopped when we stopped. ‘They’ wouldn’t do that. ‘They’ would’ve killed us all rather than stop.”

Okay. Things were starting to get a little complicated. Who were the ‘They’ that Lanni was talking about? The little guys seemed genuinely afraid of whoever ‘They’ were. Also, who had assigned them the duty they were on?

Things were getting complicated, and as you already know, I hate anything complicated. Messes up my thinking processes. Figured I’d better ask.

“Lanni? Who exactly are ‘They’ you keep talking about, and why are they so darned dangerous?”

The little guy wasn’t having any of it.

“Can’t tell you. Told not to speak of it. Others will explain.”

I started to ask another question but Lanni put up his hand in the ‘shut up’ gesture and stared at me. Okay. Got it. That part of the conversation was over. Lanni decided at that moment to volunteer some other information.

“Seraphim should be here in couple of days. They will explain all.”

Wonderful. Another group thrown into the mix. Who were these Seraphim and why did Lanni put so much trust in them? As I went back to my lines to check on things, once again I found myself thinking of Tiny and home.

Chapter XVI

Published in: on June 20, 2010 at 1:16 PM  Comments (1)  

XIV – Furry Thoughts And Roman Confusion

In a matter of minutes I’d found out more than I was really prepared to digest all at once.

Okay, we had the name of the creatures we’d been sent to take care of, and that was a good thing. But that good thing came with a lot of attachments. In addition to the Nephilim, we were dealing with an undetermined number of furry, short, well armed guys who were apparently being backed by another bunch known as ‘The Great Lords’.

The name itself didn’t fill me with much confidence or comfort. I’d known people with the description of ‘great’ before. Believe me when I say that such people invariably turned out to be anything but great. More like kill crazy nut cases.

Still, I was trying very hard to keep an open mind about everything. After all, look where we were. In a huge underground tunnel the likes of which we’d never seen before, talking with a bunch of furry dwarfs about other people we’d never even heard of until recently.

Once the language barrier had been breached I felt it was a good Idea to introduce ourselves. Around our group I went, pointing at my men and saying their names loud and clear. Subconsciously I just didn’t seem to be able to wrap my had around the idea that our furry friends could really understand what I was saying. I kind of thought of them as super intelligent mutts.

Boy was I ever proven wrong. As the introductions on our side were finished, the other side stepped right in. I’d thought our names were difficult to digest, but what they introduced themselves as had my head spinning. Their leader spoke into the sudden silence.

“Welcome Romans. We are the Valparta. Simply put, ‘the people’. I am Lanniputonicudda. First Speaker of our clan. These others with me are Tumminastocudda, my brother, and Phredinomtullas, my fourth cousin.”


My mind went into a spiral and then tried to lock itself down. What names! I figured I’d better shorten them up a bit to save confusion and brain burn. This is how it went.

“Hiya guys. Uh, look. Would you mind if I shorten those names of yours to save discussion time and confusion? What say you?”

The head furry looked at his welcoming committee and nodded.

“We agree.”

“Alright then. Lessee . . . Your name is ‘Lanni’. The others are ‘Tummi’ (I heard snickers on that one which I silenced with a glare at my troops), and ‘Phred’. That should make conversation go a little easier.”

Lanni stared at me with those hypnotic blue eyes of his and smiled a very toothy smile. I hadn’t noticed, until then, how pointed his teeth were. It was while I was continuing to speak that a nasty thought hit me right between my eyes.

“Well . . . I’m glad we got that straightened . . . Hey! Wait a minute! How did you guys know we were Romans!? I sure didn’t tell you and you haven’t been talking to anyone else. Have you?”

Lanni smiled even wider.

“Your thoughts told us what we needed to know. We knew you before you spoke even one word. That is also how we learned your language so quickly. Do not your people have the same skills?”

I was flummoxed. If these characters could read minds, we were at a decided disadvantage. Most of my men weren’t mentally complicated or clever. I’d picked them for size, power, and skill. Nothing else.

“Uh . . . well . . . we’re not as good at it as our people back home. Us being the military and all that.”

I waited with baited breath for Lanni’s reaction. If he saw through my white lie, we would be in a heap of serious trouble. Lanni smiled still wider (How did he do that without cracking his face?) and nodded.

“I see. To save embarrassment, perhaps we should stick to verbal communication. That way, face is saved by all.”

I sighed with relief. That had been close. What else could these characters do that we needed to know about?

Chapter XV

Published in: on June 13, 2010 at 1:15 PM  Comments (1)  

XIII – Spears, Fur, And . . .?

And the day just kept gettin’ better and better.

Those @#@%$ spears kept coming in ever increasing numbers which put me an’ my boys in a very bad way. We couldn’t stay turtled forever, plus we were using the wrong shields for that type of formation. Needed rectangular scutas instead of the oval types we were carryin’.

As a result, some enemy spears got through our protection and winged some of us. I could hear the low cussing going on as some of the guys checked for battle damage while maintaining the turtle. We, of course, had immediately returned fire, and the air was thick with Roman Pilums and enemy spears we picked up and returned to their owners.

The exchange went on for what seemed like hours and we began to soak up casualties. Whoever those guys were, they were pretty handy with their weapon of choice . Just as I’d had enough of this #$#@ and was about to order a full scale charge, the spears stopped coming. We, in turn, stopped throwing and settled in behind our shields.

Of all the things I expected to happen next, the reality wasn’t in my play book. Out of those dangerous bushes, a small, furry hand waved what appeared to be a halt, as some sort of gibberish passing for the spoken word accompanied the hand signals. At that point I could’ve lived with a cease fire of any kind.

Out of those bushes appeared a trio of the strangest critters I’d ever set my eyes on, and believe me, I thought I’d seen most everything there was to see. They were covered from head to foot in what looked like short canine type fur. As they got closer, I was fairly certain they couldn’t be more than four feet tall.

This was confirmed when I broke formation and walked very cautiously up to them with Acteus and a trooper in tow. Sure enough, I had to look down at them while they strained their necks to look up at us. They all had blue, little round eyes that oozed innocence. Reminded me of Tiny.

All I had to do was remember the injuries my people had just received from these guys to set my head straight. The Shorties, as I called them, wore no clothes except a large sack hanging from right shoulder to left hip. No weapons were in sight. At least nothing that I though of as a weapon. At least the missile toss had stopped.

Then the next stumbling block popped up. Aside from hand signals, neither us nor them could understand one another. As I tried my best to verbalise the problem, the Shorties only exchanged gibberish among themselves then looked back to me. Just as it appeared we would never get past the language barrier the weirdness got weirder. Out of seeming nowhere, the lead Shorty looked up at me and, believe it or not, spoke.

“Why are you here?”

I stood there completely stunned. The little guy had just spoken to me in down home latin. Hoo boy! I had to answer fast so as not to seem rude. Gods only knew what else these guys had hiding in those bushes.

“Well . . . we’re looking for somebody. Big lizard type with large fangs and long claws. Smells pretty bad too.”

The Shorties gibbered among themselves and their leader looked slightly scared.

“Sounds like you met Nephilim. Very bad types. Kill for the thrill. Go home! You’re outclassed!”

Nephil what!? What had we stumbled into? I continued.

“Sorry guys, but we can’t get back home. The way is blocked.”

Shorty looked even more scared. He said two words that made no sense. At the time.

“Great Lords!”

What in Caesar’s name was going on here? I had cause later to regret that question.

Chapter XIV

Published in: on June 6, 2010 at 12:47 PM  Comments (1)