Fantasy-Drake-Rider: Call-Up

Heart of Telmerath "Ever Loyal and Vigilant"

Drill-Master Varis bent over the map laid out on the table, blunt finger jabbing at lines denoting a hill overlooking a river. “If we can push them back and take this hill it will give us an advantage.”

Horse-Captain Gale frowned and shook his head. “The problem is they hold it, giving them the high ground. If the Drake-Knights were available to soften the Tremalaine defenses, I might consider it. As it stands now…”

Varis grimaced. The war had taken its toll on everyone, but the enemy’s new ballista system, designed to shoot multiple missiles and built in massive numbers, devastated Telmerath’s aerial guardians. Now some of the kingdom’s best warriors were relegated to courier missions and ineffectual high-altitude boulder drops. “Maybe a small group, under cover of darkness-”

Gale looked at him sharply. “Telmerathian soldiers do not skulk about like some back-alley mug-hunter, Drill-Master. Is that clear?”

Varis’ lips tightened at the rebuke, but he refrained from speaking. His Majesty’s Cavaliers, comprised of nobles, wouldn’t know how to sneak in anyway. Unless the sneaking consisted of backroom deals and visiting ladies of questionable virtue. He shook his head to drive out the unproductive musing and turned back to the map, eyes searching for some thrust that could set Tremalaine on the defensive.

The tent-flap furled and one of the guards, Leftenant Wexler, poked his head inside. “Sirs, Drake-Lord Miathes is here to see you.”

Gale straightened up and smoothed out his red tunic bearing the insignia of the Cavaliers, a purple shield bearing a rearing horse. “Show him in, Leftenant.”

A tall man with broad shoulders, clad in the sky-blue tunic and trousers that marked him as a Drake-Knight, but without the purple trim that would proclaim him Drake-Lord, strode past the sentry without fanfare, a grim look on his face. “Gale,” Miathes said without preamble. “I need to call up some of your Cavaliers for my unit.”

The horse-captain opened his mouth, but the larger man slapped down a rolled parchment made of vellum, bearing the Royal seal. “Here’s the King’s writ, in case you were thinking of protesting.”

Gale frowned and turned away from Miathes. The Drake-Lord let it go; he knew no officer worth their salt liked losing men, no matter the circumstance, but especially with a war on.

Varis snatched the parchment, broke the seal, and scanned the contents. “Ten?” He winced at the tone of his question, but plowed on. “Normally, it’s one or two. Ten will put a huge hole in our lines.”

Miathes nodded at the scroll. “That authorizes you to fill your losses by shuffling soldiers in from other Cavalier units.”

Gale turned back around, eyes blazing. “Why us? This will gut our effectiveness for at least two months! Transfers, training, integration…” He tossed his hands in the air. “Why?”

Miathes scowled. “His Majesty heard about the breakthrough led by two of your men. That, plus other successes, swayed the King to the idea his Drake Knights would be wise to draft from this unit.” The drake-lord held up his hands in a placating gesture. “I know this a hardship for you, but it is a great honor for those chosen. Would you deny them that?”

Gale deflated, rubbing the back of his neck in weary defeat. He flicked his head at Varis, who took up the conversation. “Milord, we have several long-time veterans-”

Miathes shook his head. “I’m breaking protocol on this recruitment. His Majesty’s Drake Knights have been stagnant, and we need to adapt. I want…need younger soldiers. Soldiers with fire and ideas. I’ll start with the two that broke through the Tremalaine lines.”

Gale tensed again at the thought of losing his cadre of youthful warriors, but Varis murmured, “Captain, it is well-known that Leftenents Damon Forester and Yallo WindFern dream to one day join the Drake Knights. They are good men, but we shouldn’t fight to deny their goals.”

Gale’s fists clenched. “Fine. Make a list and give it to him.” He gave Miathes a short, curt nod, and said, “If you’ll excuse me,” before storming out of the tent.

Varis watched his commander leave, a pained look on his face. “My apologies Lord-”

Miathes waved away the apology. “Don’t. I imagine I would react much the same way.”

“Still, etiquette and all that.” He managed a weak grin. “You really are getting two of our best. I had my doubts about Forester, but he’s proven to be a voracious learner and one hell of a Cavalier. And Yallo is the standard to which I hold a Cavalier in this unit.”

Miathes smile came more naturally. “Good. That just leaves eight more, eh?”

The two men huddled closer to the table, intent on their task. Neither noticed Wexler, third son of Pelias, Earl of WindFern, narrow his eyes in hatred at the praise heaped upon his elder brother.

***

For the rest of the story so far, click here or go to the sidebar and click Fantasy: Drake-Rider. For Yeah Write’s Moonshine Grid. Head over and check out some great writers!

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Welcome To The Family

Thursday 2:10 p.m.

Tony’s pencil drummed on his desk as the clock refused to move. He smacked his gum and blew a huge bubble, the snap from the pop drawing eyes from all over the room. His teacher, Mr. Franklin, glared at him, then went back to reading his paper with a slight shake of his head. Tony grinned and chewed louder. One more month and he could drop out of this place.

A soft knock on the door interrupted the wasting of time. Mr. Franklin hauled his carcass out his chair, put-out expression firmly affixed. Tony watched as Mr. Franklin spoke with the school secretary. He stiffened as he saw her mouth form “Abbatiello.”

Mr. Franklin turned back to his now-whispering students, and jerked his thumb at the door. “Abbatiello. Principal. Now.” A soft, “oooohhhh,” came from the bowl full of losers that made up the low-track.

Tony gathered his books and sauntered over to the door. “What’d I do, Mr. F. ?”

“Don’t know, don’t care. I’m sure you’ve done plenty. The question becomes which one did you get caught for?”

Tony frowned as the class laughed. Fat bastard. Better watch your back.

He straightened his shoulders and walked out of the classroom, head high.

Thursday 2:35 p.m.

Tony strolled, whistling, into Mr. Kroeger’s office. “You were supposed to be here twenty minutes ago! Where have you been?” the principal barked.

Tony shrugged. “Eh, I dropped my stuff off at my locker and hit the john. Emergency, ya know?”

Mr. Kroeger’s face turned an unhealthy shade of red. Before he could explode, a cultured voice from behind Tony said, “It is quite all right, Phillip. May we use your office?”

Mr. Kroeger licked his lips as beads of sweat formed on his forehead. “Of course, Mr. Fianchetti. Please give the Family my regards,” he said as he scurried out of the room.

Tony stayed frozen through the whole exchange. He recognized the voice. A tall, thin man with slightly gray temples and wearing a tailor-made Gucci suit stepped into his line of sight, confirming his fears. “Do you know who I am, young man?” Fianchetti said in a low, dangerous tone.

Tony shook his head. The guy couldn’t know he was the one.

Fianchetti grinned, and it reminded Tony of a cobra he’d seen at the Bronx Zoo. “Well, let me refresh your memory. I’m the man you used your little quick fingers on to steal my wallet.”

A beefy hand, attached to an even beefier arm, clapped on his shoulder and squeezed. Tony felt his knees buckle and he allowed the hand to guide him into a chair. Fianchetti studied his manicured nails. “Normally, I would have Bernardo here take you somewhere and ‘teach’ you a few facts of life.”

Tony’s neck craned back as he looked up at the unsmiling face of his captor. Bernardo grunted and flicked his head toward Fianchetti. Tony turned back as Fianchetti spoke again. “I’m sure you plan to protest your innocence, or you ‘not guiltiness’ as the case may be. Do not bother to waste my time doing so, or I may change my mind.”

Tony gulped and stammered out, “Ch-change y-your m-m-mind?”

“Yes. You will meet Bernardo here at Franco’s Bar, you’re familiar with it?” At Tony’s confirmation nod, Fianchetti continued. “You will meet him at precisely 8:00 tonight. Understood?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good.” Fianchetti nodded at Bernardo, and Tony felt the pressure release from his shoulder. “Don’t think about missing the appointment, Mr. Abatiello. Something…unfortunate may happen.”

Thursday 8:00 p.m.

Tony hunched his shoulders deeper under his jacket, hands firmly in his jean pockets. He jumped a little every time the door to Franco’s opened behind him. Keep it cool. They aren’t going to beat you down. Keep it cool.

A dark sedan pulled up to the curb, stopping right in front of Tony. The window rolled down and Bernardo’s florid face stared at him. Tony shuffled over and leaned down. Bernardo handed him a package, rolled the window up, and the sedan took off.

Tony’s hand shook as he tore the envelope taped to the plain brown wrapper. The note read:

Take this package to Wong’s Diner on 39th. Go to the alley entrance and ask for Bo Han. Open the package before he comes to the door.

Thursday 8:40 p.m.

Tony kept glancing over his shoulder as he eased down the alleyway. A cat screeched from behind the restaurant dumpster, sending Tony up against the filthy alley wall, heart racing. He gulped and forced himself to keep moving. He reached the doors, hearing sounds of kitchen-work coming through the thin metal.

He pounded on the door. A short Chinese man wearing a stained apron opened the door. “What do you want?”

“I-I h-have a package for a Mr. Bo Han.”

The man eyed Tony suspiciously for a moment before muttering, “Wait here.” The door slammed in his face.

Tony tore open the wrapper to reveal a plain brown box. He flipped the lid open, and a Browning Hi-Power nestled inside with a small note on top that simply said:

Kill him

The door opened back up. “I’m Bo Han. What do you want?”

Tony’s hand grabbed the grip and he fired. Bo Han and the box hit the ground at the same time.

***

This story comes from a request by lexborgia at Nerd On The Bridge. He liked the character of Tony Abbatiello and wanted more of his life. I figured where better to start than the beginning of his career. For the story of Tony’s demise click here. For his character sketch, click here.

Hope you enjoy, and if anyone else happens to like a character and wants to see more, please feel free to let me know.

Happy Reading and Writing!

J. Milburn

Federal Bureau of Superhuman Affairs: Power Profile #006-Ice Diamond

Beatrix Kalte aka Ice Diamond

Gender: Female

Power Classification: Machinist/Enhanced

Sub-Category: Elemental Gadgeteer

Power Level: C-Class

Location: Operates in the Midwest. Currently at-large.

Affiliations: Solo Operator

Powers: Various devices that allow for the creation of various cold-related phenomenon. Her main weapon is her “Ice Gun”.

Synopsis:

Ice Diamond (hereafter referred to as I.D.) is a 30-year-old former weapons researcher for BranTech Industries. Her area of expertise lay in using cold-based phenomena as a means to shape and control future battlefields. On her 26th birthday, her family surprised her in her lab. It is unclear exactly what happened, but footage shows that her youngest son, Jakob, went unsupervised long enough to mix some volatile chemicals.

Ten people died in the ensuing explosion, and I.D. fell into a coma. She awoke two months later with a marked shift in personality and physiology. The chemicals leached all pigment from her skin and left her with enhanced strength. When informed of her family’s and co-worker’s demise, she went on a rampage in the hospital, injuring several doctors, nurses and security before making her escape.

She appeared five months later with her current nom de guerre in an attack on a BranTech research facility. She attacked at night, as her skin is now pained by sunlight, and murdered whomever she found, mostly security and janitorial services. After that attack, she fashioned a suit that would protect her from the sun’s harmful effect.

I.D. directed her next attack BranTech corporate headquarters, located in Chicago. She was foiled in her attempt by the hero, Boost (see Power Profile: Boost). During her trial I.D. was found mentally incompetent and was sentenced to The Ravenswood Institution for the Criminally Insane, the maximum security mental institution for powereds.

I.D. recently escaped and her whereabouts are unknown. It is believed she is heading back to Chicago for a second attempt on BranTech Industries or a confrontation with Boost. Possibly both.

Relationships: Johann Kalte-husband (deceased), Katrina Kalte-daughter (deceased), Jakob Kalte-son (deceased), Karl Astor-father (not believed to be in contact), Hilda Astor-mother (not believed to be in contact)

Threat Level: Orange

I.D. is an active threat targeting research and industry vital to our military infrastructure. Her strength is formidable, but it is her engineering genius that serves as the biggest threat. All due caution should be exercised when trying to apprehend her. Powered backup is advised when possible.

Federal Bureau of Superhuman Affairs: Power Profile #005-Boost

Tara Jean (TJ) Acevedo-Torres aka Boost

Gender:  Female

Power Classification: Innate

Sub-category: Speedster

Power Level: B-Class

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Affiliations: The Keepers of the Gateway (affiliate membership), Equality NOW

Powers: Super-speed. Boost has been clocked at speeds of up to 500 m.p.h.

Synopsis:

An 24-year-old Innate, Boost is one of the rare true speedsters in the world (speedster being defined as self-propelled movement of 250 m.p.h. or greater). She originally comes from Los Angeles, but her family moved to Chicago when Boost turned 12. Her powers manifested at age 14 during a robbery of a store she was shopping in.

Boost’s parents immediately enrolled her in the Academy, where she joined with the TeenTeam (see Power Profile: TeenTeam). She served with that team for three years and graduated from the Academy with Honors. She moved back to Chicago, where she acts as a solo hero.

With her speed she also serves with The Keepers of the Gateway (see Power Profile: K.O.G.), based out of St. Louis, as an affiliate member.

Boost also actively works with Equality NOW, an non-profit organization that deals with a variety of civil rights issues, but focuses mainly on LGBT issues.

Boost has made many contacts in her 10 years as a hero and is a respected member of the Powered community.

Relationships: Maria Acevedo-Wife, Reyna Acevedo-Daughter, Professor Quark-Leader of K.O.G., Rockslide-Member of K.O.G., FastTrack-Member of K.O.G., StormCell-Member of K.O.G., Flora-Member of K.O.G., Fauna-Member of K.O.G., numerous contacts with various heroes (see various Power Profiles for more analysis).

Threat Level: Yellow

Boost’s speed makes her a tactical planning nightmare. Her reflexes, heightened to a level able to deal with super-speed, make her almost impossible to hit. Her speed makes her almost impossible to defend against. Add in her activism and her contacts in the powered community, and her potential to cause trouble for the government is high.

Federal Bureau of Superhuman Affairs: Power Profile #004-Aeromancer

Tad Whitemore III aka Aeromancer

Gender:  Male

Power Classification: Innate

Sub-category: Elemental control

Power Level: B-Class

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Affiliations: The Preservers (see Power Profile: Preservers)

Powers: Aerokinetic, which gives him control over air. This ability allows for flight and creation of any air (wind) based phenomenon, including tornadoes. He can force the air to become denser, creating an almost impenetrable shield, or cause it to dissipate, depriving an enemy of oxygen.

Synopsis:

Aeromancer is the son of the prominent Chicago businessman, Tad Whitemore II, and grew up in the lap of luxury. He attended the best schools and had every opportunity to succeed. Yet, he didn’t. Aeromancer is not a very bright individual and only passed high school due to his father’s money and influence.

Despite his intellectual deficits, his father gave him a high-level position within his company. Aeromancer kept that position despite numerous sexual harassment suits brought against him, again, due to his father. His only real accomplishment came when he foiled his own kidnapping by manifesting his powers.

His psych profile suggests that Aeromancer is cruel and sadistic, with a hatred of women that is almost pathological. It was the recommendation of the FBSA that Aeromancer not be certified to operate. We were overruled.

He leads a team called the Preservers, based out of Chicago. This group is comprised of powers hired by Tad Whitemore II to give his son, and by extension the Whitemore name, the prestige of leading a team.

The team as a whole has done some good, but scandal constantly plagues it. Due mostly to Aeromancer’s antics. Many of his “arrests” are suspect, as are the “confessions” he has elicited.

Relationships: Tad Whitemore II (father), Rapidfire (teammate), Umbra (teammate), Tek-Knight (teammate)-see individual Power Profiles for more information

Threat Level: Yellow

Aeromancer by himself only rates a level Blue threat warning, yet he is rarely by himself. The team his father has surrounded him with effectively act as bodyguards/nannies, and are well-paid to follow Aeromancer’s lead. Fortunately, Tad Whitemore II has yet to find a magician willing to join the Preservers. If he ever does find one, the threat level will be moved to Orange.