Subject: FRONTIER: The plot thickens

SD 71204

Angus kept walking until he was sure that he was out of the other's 
sight, then he slumped down by the foot of a tree and buried his head 
in his arms. It wasn't long before he heard footsteps behind him, He 
didn't look up but he had a fair idea of who it was.

"Are you alright Angus?" Leana asked.

"I'm just not ready for this.  I'd only graduated from basic training 
ten minutes before getting this assignment, I've been trusted in 
command twice, and someone's died under me both times."

Leana took his hand, "You can't blame yourself, there's nothing you 
could have done."

"I don't suppose there was, but when you're in a command position the 
lives of those under you are your responsibility, so I've still failed

"The fact is there's still people alive and you still have a
responsibility to them."

"You're right of course, I just..."

Leana could tell that she was getting to him so she continued to press
her advantage, "You can go into emotional breakdown when we get back 
to the Frontier, but right now you have a duty."

Angus laughed humourlessly, then he stood up and swept his hair back 
with both hands, "We don't know where we are, we don't know where 
we're going, but I want to get there sometime soon, c'mon, let's get 
back to the others."

They reached the clearing where Katie's funeral pyre was burning, 
casting a ruddy-orange glow to the dim light penetrating the thick 
clouds gathering above. The others in the group, who were clustered at
the far end of the clearing, stood up as Angus approached, and soon 
they were on their way again.

The day slowly drew on and the wind picked up, a chill began to blow 
through the trees, "Looks like we're in for another cold night." Angus
commented to Leana who was walking as close to him as possible. For 
what it was worth he put his arm around her, "I think we better stop 
when we reach the next clearing, we're going to need some fires 

Before long, however, the trees began to thin out and it became 
evident that they were approaching the edge of the woods.  The light 
was poor so Angus sent McVyker to scout ahead, she walked cautiously 
for about half a mile and then the woods ended abruptly.

Stretching out for miles there were rolling grassy hills, punctuated 
occasionally by fields. One of the hills was surrounded by a high
stone wall, beyond which, on top of the hill stood a tall stone
citadel. McVyker could see numerous red heat-forms atop the 
battlements, and she shrank back behind a bush to avoid the risk of 
being seen. She watched for a few minutes and then ran back through 
the woods to report what she had found.

Angus pondered the discovery for a moment and then turned to the 
others, they were all shivering and some were actually blue with the 
cold, "I think we should pay a trip to this castle, it's far too cold 
to be sleeping outside and if the owner is hospitable he might put us
up for the night, otherwise we may have some very serious problems

The group went through the woods to the castle and were soon standing 
outside the huge gate. Angus lifted the heavy brass ring on the door 
and banged it three times. Eventually a man appeared at a gap over the
door, "Who art thou? And why dost thou seek to gain entry to this 

Angus thought quickly and then cleared his throat before replying,
"Kind sir, we are travellers from a far-off land, we seek refuge from
the elements on this bitter night. Prithee advise thy lord of our
presence, make haste for the night draws ever in."

The man disappeared from sight and before long the sound of heavy 
bolts being shifted came through the door. The door swung back slowly 
on its hinges to reveal a stocky man in a black leather hauberk. He 
looked over the group and then turned to Angus, "My lord will grant 
you an audience, your companions may wait inside." With that he turned
and led them through the gate, they walked across a wide courtyard and
into the keep beyond all but Angus remained in the attrium and he was
led up a spiralling staircase to a small chamber.  The room was nearly
bare except for two chairs and a table, and a bookcase that stood
against one wall.

In one of the chairs sat a man, he appeared to be human but a closer 
inspection would reveal him to be a culmination of many races. The man
stood up, he was a little taller than Angus but much more heavily 
built and he looked at Angus with piercing blue eyes. After a moment 
he gestured for Angus to sit down and then spoke to the doorman, 
"Prepare food and beds for our guests."

"Yes my lord," he replied and then left the room.

"I thank thee for thy hospitality on behalf of myself and..."

Before Angus could finish the larger man cut him off, "I don't know 
how you got here without my knowing Terran, but I know who you are, 
why have you come to this planet? There is no business of yours here."

A confused expression crossed Angus' face, "I assure you that I don't 
know why we are here, or even where here is, you see, this entity 
named Q..."

The man's face turned to anger, "Q? Q brought you here?"

"Yes, he did."

The man stood up and thumped the table, "Damn him, damn him and his 
petty games, I swear when I catch him I shall take his head from his 
shoulders for this!"

Angus took a deep breath then asked, "Where is this place? And who are

"Where this place is you are better not to know, as for me, I am Baron
Wildantor of the house of Tarkaromir. How long have you been here?"

"Q brought us here yesterday, he never explained to us why, or what we
are to do, we witnessed a battle and so we followed one of the armies 

"That was the army of my brother-baron Kelltic, I allowed his army to 
camp in my land before their long journey home. What is your name 

"Murray, Angus Murray."

"Well Angus Murray no doubt you have many more questions but they can 
wait until tomorrow, now you must rest, I will take you to your

"You said that you will have Q's head, I assume you know that he is a 
being of considerable... talent."

The baron laughed, "Pfaah! Be not over-awed with his parlour tricks,  
you overestimate his power," he looked down at Angus with a glint in  
his steel blue eyes, "Else you underestimate mine."

                       Respectfully submitted;
                        *  Allan MacLennan   *
                        *                    *
                        * [Lt.] Angus Murray *

          "Put your faith in God and keep your powder dry."
                           Oliver Cromwell

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