Monthly Archives: April 2017

Professor Filibuster and the…Dragons?

Another snippet of an idea of a thing that never went much further. Maybe one of these days…

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The Captain watched with growing consternation as the stranger pranced across the deck of his airship. His long, ungainly legs carried him from the port railing to the starboard and back, his spindly arms flailing about as he muttered to himself.

    The stranger had come aboard in Cardiff with a letter of marque signed by the newly-crowned Queen, although he was certainly no pirate. “I’ll be going as far west as you’re sailing, Captain,” he had said in a cheery tone, adding “perhaps a tad less.” He had kept to himself, mostly, studying the stars above at night and staring at the billowing clouds below during the day. The only belongings he brought with him–other than the outlandish clothes on his back–was a battered leather satchel covered in grease stains and scorch marks. The Captain was certain he had seen the hole from a musket ball, as well.

    “Sir!” The Captain had emerged from the wheelhouse moments ago and was now slowly making his way towards the bow. “Sir,” he called again. “Please. We’re heading into a nasty patch of weather.”

    The stranger paused mid-stride. Spinning on his heel, the tails of his too-large overcoat twirling about him, he turned to face the Captain. “Really? Are you sure?”

    “Aye,” was the only reply the Captain gave. He started barking orders at his crew, who jumped into action without question.

    Dodging the crewmen as they ran about their duties, the stranger approached the Captain. “Thunder? Flashes of lightning? Swirling, howling winds?” The Captain narrowed his eyes and nodded once in reply.

    The stranger shook his head of bright orange hair, swatting away the Captain’s response with a long-fingered hand. “Nothing as commonplace as a storm. Something magnificent. Something wondrous,” he said, his green eyes wide with excitement.

    “You’re a madman.”

    “Professor Reynard Quincy Filibuster is many things, sir. A madman is not one of them.” He stormed off, stopped after a few steps and turned around. “Actually, now that I think about it, maybe you’re right. Yes, yes. I like it. Professor Reynard Quincy Filibuster: Madman. Very good. Thank you, Captain.”

    Professor Filibuster returned to the port railing. He reached into the pocket of his pinstripe trousers and pulled out a pair of goggles. Once the goggles were in place, he leaned over the side. He hung like that, head over the side of the ship and skinny legs pointing up toward the sky, for several minutes. Eventually his head popped back up, a wide grin showing off his slightly over-sized front teeth. “Irregular,” was all he said.

    The Captain couldn’t argue with that. “Did you hear me, Captain? I said it’s too irregular. The time between what you think is lightning and what you assume is thunder.”

    The Professor took a pocket watch from his vest and studied the face. He glanced up at the Captain for a second before returning his attention to the watch. “Three seconds,” he said, holding up a finger. He continued to announce the time between each flash of lightning and the corresponding clap of thunder. “Now six. Four seconds that time. Oh, ten seconds.”

    Scurrying across the deck, the Professor collected his satchel and checked to make sure it was fastened before throwing it over his shoulder. He attached his pocket watch to a strap on his wrist, so he’d have both hands free, but could continue to keep time. He picked up the airship’s mooring line, played out several yards, and then tied it around his waist.

    “What are you doing? What’s going on?”

    “What’s going on?” Filibuster asked. He had climbed up onto the portside railing, his arms stretched out at his side to help him balance. “Dragons, my good man,” he said. “Dragons.”

    And he was gone.

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The Dagger of Tiamat, Part Four

Do you remember what happened the last time? What’s the deal with that sword-wielding redhead? Who is the Champion of Avalon? Answers await you, gentle reader, in:

 The Dagger of Tiamat, Part Four

Brendan took in the vision before him. Gwen Sinclair, his college girlfriend, decked out in some kind of eldritch armor. Complete with sword and what appeared to be an enchanted cloak.

“I’m guessing this–” he waved his hands around to indicate Gwen’s new appearance– “is why you disappeared at the end of the semester.”

Gwen nodded. Her armor dissolved back into her modern clothing and she sat back down on the sofa.

“My mother,” she said. “Mom was seriously wounded in a battle with a rakshasa. The Healers of Avalon were concerned she would never fully recover, so I was summoned home.”

“Avalon? The Arthurian Avalon?” Brendan turned to Ferguson, hoping the professor would throw him some kind of a lifeline, but the older man was listening to Gwen with rapt attention.

“Yes and no. Avalon is an extradimensional realm, a waypoint between our world and the Otherworld of Celtic myth and legend. It’s a garrison, of sorts. A bulwark acting as the first line of defense between our world and the darker dimensions.”

“And you’re from there?”

“Don’t be stupid, Finn. I’m from Scotland.”

Brendan shrugged. “I walked right into that, didn’t I?”

She smiled. “Since the beginning of time, the women of my family have been called to Avalon to act as protectors of the mortal realms. We stand between the shadows and the light. We fight the things of nightmares. We are the Champions of Avalon.”

“I was a Knight of Columbus.”

“Finn!”

“Sorry. Sorry.”

Gwen continued: “My mother was getting older. Slower. She was almost one hundred and twenty when I started training, eventually she would fall in battle. So, I spent the last five years studying mystical and martial combat. Shortly after I took my mother’s place as Champion, I felt the sinister pull of the Dagger of Tiamat–”

“And that’s when our Ms. Sinclair contacted me,” Ferguson added. “And I called you, Brendan.”

“Okay, you guys are clearly in the driver’s seat here, so what’s the plan?”

Ferguson lifted himself out of his chair and headed straight for the bookcase by the door that led to the flat’s small kitchen. He ran a finger along the spines on one shelf, then a lower one. He finally located the book he was searching for–a battered, leather-bound tome–and pulled it from the bookcase.

“Ms. Sinclair and I believe that our best course of action would be to focus our search on the well-known mystical sites across the British Isles.”

The professor opened the book and laid it on the table between them. Although yellowed with age, the pages clearly showed a map of the British Isles. Red dots marked many of the stone circles, burial mounds, and cairns scattered across England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and numerous other islands. Brendan was familiar with many of these sites, neolithic Britain being one of his major interests back in college.

“Great,” he said. “Where do we start?”

“On that, we’re not entirely certain,” Ferguson said with a resigned sigh.

Brendan looked at Gwen. “Wait. I thought you could feel the– What did you call it? The pull of the dagger.”

“No longer. Once the Dagger of Tiamat was reunited with Malcolm, it fell silent. They could be anywhere.”

Brendan removed his glasses and massaged the bridge of his nose. “I’m going to ignore the way you’re referring to the dagger like it’s a living thing,” he said.

“It’s not uncommon for magical items to develop a certain level of sentience,” Ferguson said. “The Dagger of Tiamat is certainly capable of independent thought. Among other things.”

“Not helping,” Brendan growled. “Look, under the right circumstances, I could track Malcolm, no problem. But I need something to work with.”

“We could start at the remains of the Pierson home,” Ferguson offered.

“No!” Gwen stood, her eyes and fingertips crackling with an unearthly energy. “We don’t have time to stumble around England, checking every place Malcolm could be.”

“I have an idea,” Brendan said, fishing in his pocket for his phone. “Let me make a call. I have a friend who might be able to help. One way or another.”

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