Wages of War – The Fairy Wars Continue.

I have been holding out on everyone. Perhaps this will get me back on track with writing. It is raw, it’s unedited (mostly, I polished it a bit). 

In 2012, I wrote another 45,000 words (give or take) to the follow up to Broken Silences, Wages of War. It was supposed to be the second in a trilogy called,  The Fairy Wars. I’ve been sitting on it for nearly six years and I think it is time to let it go out into the internet aether. 

So, to all of the dozens of folks who were so kind as to read my first novel, I will release here in chapters the next novel. Enjoy… 

 

Wages of War

copyright 2012 Jason Robert LeClair

 

Chapter 1 –    Blood and Stone

 

     I couldn’t shake the feeling of powerlessness. Sitting looking at the stone floor recalling the worst days of my life as if I were there in some shadow seeing it all silent and unobserved, cold and unfeeling; separate from the world I’m viewing, but my senses have declared my mind a battleground.

     Seconds before I was simply sipping a glass of red wine when a sound startled me and it spilled. Not dramatically with a crash of glass and the like, but a simple tilt too far and liquid met with gravity’s power until it splashed upon the cobblestone underneath my feet. It mesmerized me, preventing any attempt to look away. A wave of emotion met my every thought. Memories are horrible things. I struggled to bring myself into that moment. I was in a bistro on a quiet street in a quaint French village, not in an archaic prison cell.

     The fight for this moment was lost and the past threw it to the ground and took over. Feeling of being an observant shadow staring at myself flooded my entire body. For me, this was familiar, it had been occurring now for months. Images, sounds, smells, tastes and feelings rampaged my being as I slipped, trancelike, backward into my past but as a viewer, not a participant.

     The blood is caked to my hair in matted clumps and from this angle high above the scene, my bruises looked much worse than I imagined. None on my face, never the face, my captors were sure to keep the face clean for photos ensuring the North American Empire that I was well and just being detained. But the blood on the stone floor of my cell was all too real. Just when the last batch dries and no longer has life, I’m taken out for questioning which always results in the floor being refreshed with a new coating of dark red liquid when I’m brought back.

     My recollection of the time is clouded but as I stared at my reflection in the wine on the sidewalk it became clearer.

     Cold and dank, the memory was as cell-like as the physical location. In what I can only assume was a former monastery, there was little in the space but a ravel of cloth on a makeshift cot. The only source of light came from a slit no bigger than my forearm near the ceiling. Questions went through my mind, parading like a line of grim reapers in fanciful dress each revealing a skulled face beneath the hood, “What is your plan for attack on Berlin?” “When did you last see Cavan Anstruther?” “Where is he now?” “How many of these fairy abominations are there?” “Did you think the godless creatures would save you?”

     I had spent the last two months in that cell avoiding the questions asked about my involvement in the ongoing Fairy Wars as the newspapers called them. Most especially trying not to engage my captors about my best friend, Cavan. He is the first human connection to these winged predecessors of humanity. I can still remember the first encounter we had with them.

     Cavan, his girlfriend Sonia, and I were trapped by a band of cutthroat mercenaries in the jungles of Ecuador. We three were following the trail of Cavan’s father, Doctor Hermius Anstruther (the man that started all of this god forsaken madness in the first place). Wandering for hours in a circle, we thought we’d never find him or the new species of fairy he was after. It was as if all of our fears were realized in one fell swoop. Appearing phantom like, the mercenaries that had kidnapped us, mutinied, and then released us appeared out of the jungle holding us at gunpoint. The leader, a Mr. O’Donnell looking smug and swaggering with swashbuckling prowess declared we were all to die now that we’d led them this far toward the good doctor and his discovery for which, no doubt, they were promised a handsome reward from someone. Just as the last words etched out of his lips his expression fell. I saw something move barely within my periphery. The flutter of wings at the back of Cavan’s head and the feeling of a small breeze on the nape of my own neck petrified me with fear.

     Paralyzed by instinct I watched the largest fairies I’d ever seen cascade in from every side of the jungle and attack our assailants with more speed and accuracy than the best marksmen in His Majesty’s Army. Within seconds, the men were dead and left in bloody heaps only a few meters from our feet. There were no screams, just the sound of wings and metal impacting and lacerating flesh. Guttural burbling came from the crumpled bodies as I tried to assess whether we were next.

     Waking from the memory back to the nightmare, I was in a cell with stones slick and covered in my blood. It mixed with the condensation that fed the mildew lying on the mortar. There would be no more questions that night, of this I was sure. There needed to be time for me to heal enough to walk and speak. Tomorrow I was to be filmed and played as a newsreel for the people of the First Reich. The triumph of capturing such a prize as His Majesty’s Minister of European Strategy Mister Jules Dermsford must be a feather in the Reich’s collective pointy caps. The fact that I’m only some nineteen year old kid with a head for numbers and a connection to what are now know as “Anstruther Fairies” or by my captors, “devils of death”.

     Humans believed we were the only intelligent life on this planet. Fairies were just small human-looking insects that we used for pest control or pets. Most were no bigger than ten centimeters high. People noticed them about as much as you notice a sparrow on a fall day. There, but inconsequential. Only one man ever asked why they look so much like us – Dr. Hermius Anstruther. Once he found the Harcos, a species of fairy hidden for hundreds of years in silence; larger, stronger and more intelligent than any fairy on the planet, and with a full-blown society to boot. These fairy warriors protected the secret of human origin in the rainforests of Ecuador. Once those secrets came to light the world changed forever.

     Just the theory of their potential existence sent all of humanity into a tumultuous war spanning four years. Men died by the tens of thousands every day fighting on the basis that either we were alone as the one true self-aware creation of God, or as science had proven; that there was another race of sentient being sharing the world with us. The theory, so controversial that it sent a world to war with fanatics of religion and science ordering army’s at each other’s throats, was proven with the existence of the Harcos. To make matters worse, another, older and more influential being was revived from 4,000 years of sleep.

     This “Great One”, leader of the Harcos people was something no one, not even Dr. Anstruther, could have guessed existed; a fairy standing a full meter high. His wings span over one and a half meters. Just his existence would have been enough to throw the world into shock. The fact that his kind not only developed before us, but also taught our early human ancestry all it knew of fire, language, architecture, science, and more caused the war to escalate beyond the nightmares of anyone living. Cavan, Sonia and myself marched these creatures into an unsuspecting humanity. The chaos that followed enveloped us.

     This is what my captors wished me to speak of for the months I was held in custody. They wanted to know how we managed to move a force of 10,000 fairy warriors from the jungles of Ecuador to the capitol of the North American Empire in Philadelphia. I told them all I knew which was everything the world knows.

     “We marched out of the jungles to Quito in Ecuador. Riots broke out and the people either ran or went mad from panic. Seeing ten thousand armed giant fairies in formed battalions marching into your city can’t be a welcome sight.” In retrospect, we should have played it a little safer before introducing the Harcos to the world. The introduction should have been done in stages. Time was not on our side for that. The bustling center of market business that was Quito would have to cope with their latest immigrants. A wave of humans poured away from the city center toward the side streets like water rushing down tributaries as the dam overflows the banks of a river. Countless Harcos warriors, called Towhay, flying in filled the gaps.

     The swarm, as it truly was, over took the city in a matter of minutes. The few humans that stood to fight were subdued, but not in typical Towhay fashion. This was a mission of peaceful reintroduction, not a hostile takeover. Humans throwing objects from their homes missed nearly every target as the Towhay took evasive action performing aerial acrobatics the like of which I had never imagined. Those fairies that were taken down by gunshot made no sound save the impact of their bodies when they hit the ground. It was bedlam. An expedited eternity no longer than a quarter hour finished with a hush as the leader of the Harcos Towhay – Inkaritath, the Great One, took position at the top of the fountain in the main square. He alighted on the statue of a cherub standing his full meter high equaling the statue. Slowly, people began to open shutters, just a peek to see what this creature and his kind wanted.

     “People of the city of Quito, I am Inkaritath, leader of the Harcos Towhay. We are the people of the forest, guardians of your Inca heritage. No doubt there are elders among you who have carried the stories of our peoples’ lives together as one. I have come not as a conqueror like Pizarro, but as mentor and friend in the way we did countless generations ago to your ancestors, the Inca people. Let us now join with you again to face this world of war and strife as one force to bring peace.” He sounded as an elder statesman who had rehearsed the speech for months even though he had only awoken from 4,000 years of sleep mere days ago. By the time Inkaritath concluded, the waves of people had begun to return and the peepers in the shutters now stood dumbfounded. Perhaps it was the shock of seeing a fairy the size of a Great One or the fact that he spoke with such power, conviction and prowess.

     None of this was new to my captors, it was public knowledge. What they really wanted to learn was what happened in the meetings that followed between the heads of state in Ecuador, Cavan, and Inkaritath. I was not a part of any of that. It was my duty to maintain the Towhay troops in supply and rations. I am no statesman, but numbers and strategy those are my fields. I leave the fine-tuning of diplomacy to my betters and men of great passion, like Cavan. Sonia helped on the human end with creating a better understanding between the Harcos and the people of Quito. She was much happier now than she had been since the day we left Providence port for Ecuador. Cavan needed her and she felt the strength of her character coming back. We all did.

     The next two weeks were spent making all of the arrangements to meet with King James and Prime Minister Wilson in the capitol, Philadelphia. Appropriate that this meeting should take place in “the city of brotherly love.” Airships arrived to carry us across the ocean to North York Province. Giant armored airborne freighters made for cargo transport over unwelcome waters (as most waters were these days). Once all of the Harcos Towhay, Cavan, Sonia and myself along with Inkaritath, boarded the last of the dirigibles, we began our journey.

     This is what the world knew and all I told my German captors. What followed is what I never told them, no matter how they tortured me. As I remember staring at my reflection in my own blood upon a mildewed stone floor I called out in my thoughts, “I hope to all that is pure, this is worth it.”

 

 

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