Chapter 14- Infiltration
600ad, Inside Magus's Castle
Keltar walked wearily into the large room which Magus used to meet with his generals. It was empty, save for the his dreaded master himself who was leaning over the large table that took up most of the room.
"You haven't found him yet have you," Magus asked in a calm tone that sent a feeling of dread down Keltar's spine. "You're already three days overdue."
"My lord, please let me explain!" he said, sensing the end of his life nearing. "He disappeared from all the sights of my spies! It's not my fault!" Magus rose from his position by the table and walked over to the frightened mystic.
"Was it not you who let him escape in the first place?" the wizard asked, still in a calm tone.
"Sir! I came to report that we have found him though!" he said. "He almost seems to be heading towards this castle!"
"Really?" Magus asked. "Are you sure, because from what I've heard, this man is not a lunatic. He seems like more of a soldier than a fanatic."
"It's true, my lord," Keltar said, his chances of walking out of this room seeming to be growing. "He is with four others. They were sighted in the town of Truce earlier this day and heading south. I'm sure of it. I'll have him for you yet!"
"What makes you so certain?" Magus asked coldly, starting to walk menacingly around Keltar. The mystic was starting to sweat bullets. This pleased Magus that he made him so nervous. He had to be feared, that was how you keep control.
"I swear that he will be in your hands by this time tomorrow!" he said, still extremely overcome by fear of his commander. "I lay my life on this wager."
"Keltar," Magus said with a cold grin. "I was going to kill you if you don't bring him in anyway." He walked back to what he was looking at on the table when Keltar walked in. "Now, be gone," he commanded quietly. Keltar obeyed, leaving the room as quickly as possible without running. He would have the blue haired man, or he would be dead, and he didn't like the second option much at all.
600ad, Gate to Magus's Castle
"I'll enter through one of those windows up there," Jack said, pointing to the upper floors of the area around the entrance. "If I don't come down and open the door in 45 minutes, use this to try and get it open," he handed Tristan the black bag. "You and Sarah should be able to figure it out but you might have a little company when you use it," he told Tristan.
"How are you getting up?" Rayith asked.
"Just a little twentieth century ingenuity," he said, pointing the pole device at one of the spikes protruding from the front wing of the castle. He hit an unseen button and the grappling hook on the top separated from the rest of the pole, shooting upward and taking a black wire with it. As the hook arched over the spike, it latched on to the rope and locked into position. Jack then hooked the other end of the pole onto his climbing harness.
"I'll see you all in 45 minutes," he said, activating the device and starting to rise up as the pole began to retract the rope, pulling Jack upwards.
"Is okay in the head?" Rayith asked Sarah. Sarah shook her head with a grin.
"No, not really," she said somewhat jokingly, somewhat serious. "I don't think he's insane yet, he's always been somewhat like this. This whole Lavos thing is just what he needed to completely snap."
Jack could see the window that he was to enter through. At this point he could also see that it was protected with bars. 'Wish I could have noticed that sooner' he commented to himself. 'No big though…' He continued to on the cable, the others below him growing smaller by the second. 'Sarah should be able to handle everything if I don't make it out,' he thought as he eyed the shrinking blonde. He didn't want to leave her just yet. Not now, not like this. He'd make it. They'd make it together.
As he reached the bars he flipped open a pocket on his vest and took out a small cylinder. He pointed the tip of it at the bars and activated it, causing a cutting laser to heat through the bars. After removing enough so he could fit through, he punched the bars inward. The clattered on the floor of the room he entered shortly after.
"He is wacko," Rayith commented on the ground below, looking at the black clad infiltrator crawl through his self made entrance.
"Yeah," Sarah said, smiling inwardly. "The wacko who's gonna save the world."
Back at the top, Jack had made his way into a room that was clearly a prison cell. Odd that it would be held up high, rather than in a dungeon. Must have been for important guests like the skeleton that lay in one corner of the room, his bones still in shackles. Jack walked to the door cautiously and tugged the handle, finding that it was locked from the outside.
"Just my luck," he said, taking another cylinder from a leg pocket. He popped off a cap to reveal what looked like the nozzle for a spray paint can. He pressed on the nozzle, causing a foam like substance to come out of the can. He placed a line of foam around the frame of the door before putting the can away. To finish it off, he pulled a piece of wire from yet another pocket and stuck it in the foam. Jack uncoiled the wire, taking one end with him, and then placed his end in a small box which he had taken out earlier. He hit a button on the box and a fuse was lit. The spark went along the wire until it reached the foam, at which point an explosion ensued, blowing the door completely off it frame.
Jack stepped into the hall to be met by two guards, one on either side of the door, who stood in shock as the freshly destroyed door fell down and hit the floor. Jack didn't waste any time. While the guards started stupidly at him, he rushed over to the guard on his left and elbowed him in his stomach. The second guard then finally realized what was happening and rushed at Jack with his sword drawn. Using the first guard as a shield, Jack blocked the oncoming blade which severed the first guard's head. Jack threw the first guard away and quickly dispatched the second one with his sword. As the second guard hit the floor, Jack sheathed his sword and ran off down the hallway, knowing only one direction to go: down.
The time ticked away on the 45 minute limit that Jack had given them. Tristan looked at the unopened black bag uneasily. He wanted to know what it was, but something was holding back from opening it.
"Does anyone else want to know what it is?" Tristan asked impatiently, his curiosity getting the better of him.
"Jack said that you and I would know how to use it," Sarah said, "so I think we can assume that it's a piece of SSAF equipment."
"I just can't wait another 40 minutes!" Tristan exclaimed. "I gotta know!" Without further warning, he unzipped the bag and removed the device that it contained. Rayith and Aragorn stood clueless as to what it was, but it was clear to Sarah and Tristan.
"Oh good," Sarah said somewhat sarcastically. "He left us a bomb…"
Jack peered around the corner to find two guards on patrol. Ducking back behind the wall, he started searching for something that would take them out quietly. He had already gone down many flights of stairs, but had an internal estimate that he was still far away. He hoped that Tristan would have fun with the gift he brought. 'That'll open the door for sure,' he thought. The bomb was designed to cancel out the magic field, hopefully removing the magic shield and allowing the door to be blown open like a normal door. He just hoped it worked, and that no one got hurt in the process. He was in charge now and he couldn't have casualties this early in the mission. Finally finding the item he needed, he jumped around the corner and pointed the shock baton at one of the guards. As a jolt of electricity shot from the device and pummeled the guard, the guard went into a spasm and fell. The other guard rushed at Jack, but Jack easily dodged the attack, ending up behind the mystic as he pressed the baton to it's neck and hit the button. He surveyed the guards in thought.
"Wait a minute," Jack thought out loud. "Why did I use that? I can use magic…" He shrugged and put away the cattle prod, heading down the stairway to his right. He could use the practice with magic anyway.
Jack made his way down about seven more flights of stairs unfortunately catching the attention of number of guards along the way. Soon, he was running from a growing group of Mystics. It was only a few more levels down before he hit a dead end. To make matters worse, there were about ten Mystics following him at this point. They had him in a corner and this proved to be problematic. The mass of guards rushed him and while he managed to cut down the first couple, they soon started to pile on him. More guards came. Jack had never really learned how to take on a mass of people, making this more of a problem then it already was. They weren't using swords but bashing him with their rather large fists. The built up hatred of humans that dwelled within the Mystic species was coming out in the hazing that Jack was receiving.
It wasn't long before he had been beaten to the floor. He could feel a rib crack as he tried to fight them off. Then went his collar bone. Another rib. He screamed in pain as he tried to summon Force Tech energy but failed due to lack of concentration. He let out another scream, trying to reach for his sword but his hand was met by a giant foot. How could he have been beaten by such a lowly band of guards. This couldn't be it, could it? Was this his fate? He wouldn't except it. He didn't believe in fate. He controlled his life.
"Mega Brando!" he screamed as the entire passageway was filled by a pillar of fire. The magical energies flowed through him as he powered the spell. He could feel the bodies of the Mystics around him being incinerated by the flame. He could also hear their screams as their skin was melt off of their quickly deteriorating interiors. As he ran out of power for the spell and the Mystics around him were disintegrated, the pillar grew narrower and narrower until it ceased to exist. Jack examined the damage. The entire floor had been hollowed out by the pillar. He looked up and found himself looking through a hole that went up over twenty floors, revealing the night sky above.
"Wow," he commented to himself. "When did I learn that spell…" He didn't think about it too long before standing up, being met by a stinging pain from his broken bones. He could feel at least one of the broken ribs poking into his internal organs. He didn't scream, but rather concentrated on pulling from a healing wind. As he summoned the energy to him, he felt his broken bones set into place, all his wounds close up and all of his internal bleeding stop. "I'm getting good at this," he said, marveling in his own growing mastery of magic. He checked to make sure his sword was still there before running for the nearest exit. Twenty five minutes to go.
"I'm getting worried," Aragorn commented. "The window wasn't up that high. He should have been out by now…" He started to pace back and forth. The group had been mostly silent. Sarah was sitting down against a tree, while Tristan was busy loading up his guns, drawing them from his seemingly endless number of pockets and replacing them.
"This is Jack we're talking about," Rayith said. "You've seen him in combat. You know what he can do. I'm sure he's fine."
"I don't know," Aragorn answered. "I still think it's been to long."
"I'm sure he's okay," Sarah said. "He's got to be."
"Time shall tell," Tristan remarked somewhat cryptically before returning to fiddling with his weapons.
"Yeah," Rayith said with a pout, "but I'm not patient enough to wait…"
Ten minutes left. Jack knew that he was closing on the ground floor. He could have sworn that the window wasn't as high up as the amount of levels he had gone down, but then again, maybe the entire thing was one big magical maze. He was getting tired from running from all the guards and tired of killing, just to get some information. He didn't want to kill all of these Mystics. He had no particular dislike for the species, it was just what had to be done.
He rounded a corner and spun around to see if he was being followed. Nothing. He then examined the hallway, almost having a heart attack when he saw when was there. Right in front of him lay two dead Mystics, both with sword wounds. One was missing his head. Between the bodies was a door that had been blown off of it's hinges. The markings of an explosion were evident.
"Oh shit!" he screamed. "I'm back where I started! Damn this castle!" Jack never did go up a flight of stairs, but yet he stood in the exact hallway he entered through.
"I've had enough of this castle!" he screamed, gathering all of the magical winds that were available. He cupped his palms together and a mass of shadow energy gathered around them. "Just die!!" he screamed at the castle, jumping off the ground and pointing his cupped hands to the floor, letting loose a blast of energy four feet in diameter. The beam blasted easily through the floor, continuing through each floor below it. When the beam subsided, a perfectly round hole had been formed through the floor, going straight down to the ground. While the stairs in the castle wouldn't work, Jack decided it was best to make his way of getting down.
"Well, so much for being subtle," he said, examining the hole. "This will work just fine though." Without another word, he jumped into the hole and fell towards the ground floor, using some Force Tech to slow him down as he reached the bottom. He landed in a two floored room with a large staircase in the middle and a door on either end of the landing. Turning around, he found what he needed, the inside of the double doors, as he walked victoriously towards them, he noticed a beeping sound coming from the outside of the doors…
"Don't worry Jack!" Aragorn screamed towards the doors, not knowing that Jack was actually right behind them. "We'll save you!" As the bomb on the doors ticked away and the group stood huddled behind a large rock, the doors suddenly opened, revealing the black clad figure of Jack, standing in the entranceway.
"Hey guys!" he said, the beeping sound getting louder. "Hey, what's that sound?" he asked. As the others noticed what was happening, all of their eyes shot open.
"Oh shit!" Tristan yelled. "Jack, get down!"
Jack stared at the gunslinger oddly before figuring it out. "What the…" he said, looking helplessly at the bomb that was attached to one of the doors.
"Uh oh…" he mumbled, breaking into a sprint for the rock. As he neared the rock, the timer went off and the bomb exploded in a fiery blaze, sending a shock-wave through the air.
"Oh f-!" Jack started to say but was cut off by the sound of the explosion as he jumped for cover, being helped along by the blast of the bomb. He landed safely behind another large rock, a little burnt but otherwise unharmed. As the smoke cleared Jack rose up and walked over to the others looking pretty pissed.
"Do you see this!" he screamed, pointing to his watch. "There were eight God damned minute left!" he screamed, pointing to his watch over and over again. "Eight minutes!" he kept screaming while Rayith started to talk.
"We couldn't wait," Rayith said shyly. "We thought you were in trouble…" Jack didn't let up, continuing to give the others the verbal thrashing of their lives.
Tristan slowly rose and examine the blast site. After about a minute of Jack's screaming at the rest of the them for nearly blowing him up, Tristan started to giggle as he looked at the doors.
"What the hell is so funny!" Jack screamed, he voice squeaking in anger as he spun around to yell at Tristan.
"Look," Tristan said, pointing to the doors. Everyone except Jack soon started laughing too. The now open double doors and all of the castle that was his by the bomb looked as good as new, totally unharmed by the explosion.
Jack looked in shock at the totally ineffective attempt at opening the doors. His shoulders went limp as he let out a sigh. "Wonderful," he said weakly. "I almost get killed by a bomb that wouldn't have even opened the doors anyway. What a day…"
600ad, Inside Magus's Castle
A tall Mystic walked cautiously into Keltar's quarters. He knew that when Magus wasn't happy with Keltar, Keltar was an unforgiving commander, especially when the news that was coming was bad. This news, which was most definitely bad, would not make him happy. He found his commander sitting in a chair by the window.
"Sir?" the Mystic asked, looking for permission to speak.
"What is it?" Keltar answered grumpily. "Come on. Out with it."
"Sir, we have a problem."
"It better be really serious or you're going to be sorry you bothered me with it."
"Sir, there's an intruder."
"What do you mean, 'an intruder.'"
"He's already killed over a dozen men. Or at least, we've found over a dozen bodies. There might be more. Also, part of the south wing has been destroyed, apparently by magical means." Keltar rose from his seat.
"What does he look like?" Keltar asked, walking towards the Mystic.
"No one knows sir," he said. "Everyone who might have seen him is dead."
"Everyone." Keltar walked back to the his chair. He wondered if it could be the blue haired man. He knew that the blue haired man was a skilled warrior and that he had also been sighted heading towards the castle. The chances were slim, but he had to find out who this intruder was.
"Find him," he told the guard bluntly. "Find him and bring him to me."
"Yes sir," the Mystic said before turning and leaving the room.
"Maybe today isn't a good day to die after all," Keltar said to himself as he sat down in his chair again and turned to gaze out the window.
600ad, Gate to Magus's Castle
"Okay," Jack said. "We're going in now. I think it would probably be best to split up temporarily and meet back at here after a certain length of time."
The group was standing in the entrance hall to Magus's castle at the base of the large staircase. Everyone was busy getting pumped up about the mission while Jack, currently the self-designated leader, was relaying the information that he had.
"How will we split up?" Rayith asked. Jack thought about it for a moment before answering.
"I'll go with Sarah down the path to the left. Aragorn, Tristan and Rayith will go down the right," he said. There were no objections.
"We should meet back here in one and half hours," Tristan said, looking at his watch. "We can share any information and then set out again."
"Good," Jack said nodding. "Now everyone get ready. Keep in mind that this castle is like magic maze. I should know, I've been a victim of it. Just be ready for anything. Got it?" Everyone nodded.
"Then let's do it!" Rayith shouted. Everyone let out a similar cheer before breaking off in their set groups and heading off down the designated corridors.
'See you all in 90 minutes,' Jack thought to himself. 'Hopefully.'
"Life is a Journey, not a Destination" -Aerosmith
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