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  • TWT-BK-02 Amulet of the Chosen

    Te'rue Wererat Tales

    Beast Knights, with Dominic Douglas
    By Darrel James Vanwinkle (Pouchlaw/Ratseye)
    Started on 12/4/2015

    Episode Two - Amulet of the Chosen

    Chapter One

    "Whatcha working on today, Mr. Gilepsi?" asked an American teenage boy as he walked into the antiques and relics shop owned by an old Serbian man he had befriended some months before. The young man had short brown hair, fair skin and green eyes. He was wearing a white tee shirt with a red stripe around the torso, a wristwatch, blue jeans, while socks and sneakers.

    "Just trying to polish an old amulet that was sent to me by a museum curator friend of mine," he replied. "Come on over and have a look at this thing, Dominic. You will likely never see something like this again."

    The young man walked over to the edge of the work desk and looked down upon the old mud encrusted amulet. "Looks like you've been trying to break off the outer layer without damaging the prize within. Need some help?"

    The old man smiled. "I was hoping you might ask me that, Dominic. I remember how good you are with cracking open walnuts. Now remember... we don't want to damage the amulet within the caked on dirt layer."

    Dominic then got a cup of water and a precision needle point tool and he carefully dipped the amulet into the cup of water briefly before using the needle tool to try to gently press a hole through the outer layer. As he made slow progress, he would again dip the amulet into the water before continuing. After a few hours, he was making some excellent progress as a crack formed across the face of the caked layer of the amulet. At that point, he began to gently pry off the layer of dirt from the amulet until the metallic surface began to appear to the light of the room for the first time in centuries. As the last of the caked on mud became free of the metal amulet, Dominic dipped the amulet in a tray of oil this time before gently using a cloth to try to make the etchings and writing on the amulet more clear to observe. "Moon - Beast - Shield - Male Symbol - Sundial - Paw Prints - Treasure Chest. What do you think that means, Mr. Gilepsi?"

    "Why don't you make a charcoal rubbing of the amulet and its markings and you can work on this later at home? I have to get this amulet back to the museum curator. I think he will be thrilled to see this in such fine condition." The old man grinned. "And when you solve that riddle, you come back to me and let me know what it means."

    One pencil rubbing later, Dominic headed off for home although along the way, he did stop in at a friend's tattoo parlor to visit with another person he knew well. "Hey Stanley! You in here somewhere?"

    From a curtain in the rear of the shop came the reply. "I'm just cleaning up some needles from the last customer I worked with. Come on back here, Dominic. Have you decided on a design so I can place a tattoo on your body? You said you wanted to wait until you were seventeen before getting one and you've been seventeen for the last few weeks except you have been avoiding the shop. I thought we were friends." He was smiling as he said that last part as Dominic stepped through the curtain to directly speak to him.

    "The only design I have with me is this strange mystery I got from Gilepsi's shop down the street. It's a puzzle of symbols but I am sure it spells out a message of some sort or even a map to something important." He pulled out the paper and allowed the hippy looking Stanley to look it over.

    Stanley's eyes sparkled as he looked at the rubbing design. "This is totally awesome, Dominic. I could have this made into a tattoo for you and then you would have something unique that no one else would have. Hands down; this is an excellent design. I can even give it the old Celtic design touch to make it even more unique. I even have a few choice colors that would make this even more spectacular to anything else I have ever done. Please say yes, Dominic. This is a dream come true in designs. This way, even if you lost the paper with this rubbing on it, you would still have a copy permanently on your body that no one could take away from you. You just choose the location and I will professionally place it on you."

    "Either my chest or my back or even in my ass crack as long as my parents don't see it. I still have to live at home; remember?"

    "You are a funny one, Dominic," said Stanley with a chuckle. "All the time giving me dirty ideas. But you have a point. Pull off your shirt, have a seat on the throne and then pull the gas mask down and inhale deeply. I will place the tattoo while you are unconscious. Believe me, it will be a work of art and you will be popular."

    It was very late when Dominic began to regain consciousness as he realized that Stanley was turning the sign around to the closed position in the front of the shop. He also noted that he was entirely naked on the tattoo table with drying towels wrapped around his front and back and covering his groin and rump like a thong. "Stanley... what have you done? Where are my clothes? What time is it?"

    Stanley replied, "Calm down, Dominic. I got a little carried away. And don't worry, I called your parents to let them know you were helping me and you would be in soon. It is nearly seven P.M. As for your clothes, they are nearby and nothing is missing. The tattoo turned out so good, I wanted to do it again. So... I went a little overboard and gave you duplicates... one on your chest, one on your back, one on your tail bone and the last encircling your cock and sac. You can be sure no one will see that one. I placed the one on your back in light phosphorous yellow while the one on your chest is in multiple colors. You almost cannot see the one on your back at all. The one on your tail bone and the one around your privates are also in phosphorous yellow. I am sorry I went that far, Dominic, but it turned out so good, I couldn't stop myself."

    Dominic was now removing the drying towel from his front side so he could see this tattoo for himself. When the towel finally came free from his chest, his anger almost became heard all over the neighborhood; the tattoo covered his entire chest from just under his neck all the way down to his mid-section and as wide as his entire torso. There was obviously going to be no way to hide this tattoo. "You stupid crazy bastard! My parents will have a cow! They will see this!"

    Stanley quickly came over and held Dominic down on the table. "Calm yourself. You said you were about to move out anyway. I don't know what the big deal is. You said I could tattoo you."

    Dominic was almost beyond consoling. "One small tattoo, yes! Not the Mona Fucking Lisa all over my chest! It does look good, but carried away is not a reason for covering my entire body with this amulet printing! My family will find out about this and then your life will be in deadly peril! Mom almost killed Uncle Carlyle once for painting the car to look like a garden!"

    End of Chapter One

  • #2
    Chapter Two

    Getting his clothing back on, he figured he would just go confront his parents and tell them the truth. As usual, Stanley got carried away. What further truth was there to tell? The tattoo artist did have a point; he was about to move out on his own anyway. But he was still gathering money for the move. He in no way had enough for his own place as yet. Hopefully his parents would only be as upset as he had been and not back out from assisting him with a loan to help him get his own place.

    At the dinner table, Dominic steeled up the courage to finally reveal what was on his mind as he showed his parents the monstrosity that Stanley had placed upon his chest. "I gave him permission to put a small tattoo on me; not something this fantastically gigantic. And you better believe that I gave him a piece of my mind when I woke up from my induced nap. Anyway, the print is a copy of an amulet's engraving that Mr. Gilepsi was cleaning for the local museum. I hope you guys aren't mad at me for ending up with this thing."

    His father's reaction was not in the result that he was expecting. "So this is what my boss was so excited about this afternoon. He wouldn't let me examine it. Now hold still for a moment." He moved closer to look over the tattoo on his son's chest. "Moon - Beast - Shield - Male Symbol - Sundial - Paw Prints - Treasure Chest. A moon beast is a lycanthrope. The term shield male indicates a knight of olden yore. Sundial and paw prints literally means time to travel or time travel. And a treasure chest at the end implies the enjoyment of arriving at your reward location. In effect, this is some sort of ancient treasure map or a arcane inscription for traveling to a forgotten knighthood for were beasts."

    His mother regarded her son's eyes as she said, "I can see that you are telling us the truth, Dominic. Everyone in the neighborhood knows how crazy Stanley can get when he has a masterpiece design to work with. We cannot fault you for Stanley's idiocy, son. But since you are stuck with this tattoo now, what are your plans for the future?"

    "I have not changed my plans for getting my own place and a job of my own. I cannot continue to live here for free despite being your obedient son. It isn't fair to you and dad."

    Mr. Douglas then said, "If this is part of an arcane rite, then the chant under the light of the moon goes something like, Oh great Luna in Heaven's drape; Open the way of passage through a knightly place; to travel to... insert a place name here in a far away time; and in a distant space. If done properly and with proper preparation, a magical portal of sorts would appear and the gateway to the reward would open. That is... IF one believes in magic in the first place. I don't know what this reward would be, but the ancient people who made this inscription are long gone and only their relics remain to denote their passing. They lived naturally within the vastness of nature or in some cases, beneath the streets of ancient cities or within the ruins of said places. They were more in tune to their beastly namesakes than to humanity itself."

    Dominic then asked, "How would one return to Earth if they went to the reward place and the gate closed behind them?"

    Mrs. Douglas looked to her husband with a knowledgeable gaze. "A good question for any researcher. What of it, honey?"

    "To return to Earth, the phrase would be something like, Oh great Luna in Heaven's drape; open the way of passage to a modern place; to travel to Earth in a far away time; and in a distant space. And that should open the return passage to Earth. Although your landing could be anywhere in the world. These incantations are not location specific. Again, if you believe in magic it would be possible."

    Dominic smiled. "Sounds like an expedition for the Majestic Adventurers Club... that role playing group I joined some years ago to keep my mind occupied so I didn't end up in a street gang instead. And heaven knows... those gang members tried hard to get me to join them several times. Although I did befriend Timmy when I fixed his older brother's motorcycle."

    Mrs. Douglas then said, "You are supposed to meet with them tomorrow night for your weekly gaming session. Why don't you make plans and collect gear as if for an expedition, then go spend the weekend with your friends. There is to be a full moon tomorrow night, you can try this chant to see if a gate opens or not. If nothing happens, it could give your game master ideas for a future role playing session. If a gate does open, just remember that you do not have to travel through it. Human free will and all. Just use some common sense. Think with your head and not with your penis. Although I know you don't ogle the girl's when they wear their adventuring gear. Do you?"

    "Mom, no. Becky would kill me if I did, not to mention what Ricky would do if I looked at Janice that way; although she has real martial arts. Deryk and Wally are okay and the most curious and Orion being the game master keeps us from killing each other. Barbara is just too beautiful to make any eyes at whatsoever. When I look at her, I feel outclassed. Every time I head over to the Adventurers Club, Mike asks me if I have changed my mind about joining the gang."

    Mr. Douglas said, "When you see him this time, just tell him that you are considering it since you recently came into possessing a real treasure map and a few bandits might come in handy to help collect the treasure. And if he scoffs at the mention of a map, just lift your shirt up and show him the tattoo. That is sure to shut him up if not shock him into silence."

    Dominic then said, "Crazy Stanley is one of the role players, guys. Are you sure you want me to take a chance at letting him near me with more needles? If I hadn't complained, he might have started working on placing a tat on my face."

    Mrs. Douglas said, "You tell him that he's off the hook as long as he never mars your pretty face with any tattoos. Otherwise, we will hire Janice for pay to put him in his place."

    Friday morning was spent in the oddest way possible as his father assisted him in packing up for what had to look like an all weekend camping trip. It was an expedition backpack with all the tools on it; which included a team tent and a change of clothes just in case of dirty accidents. Deodorant, rations and canteens of fresh water were included. Since the Majestic Adventurers Club were a L.A.R.P. group (Live Action Role Players,) camping equipment made more sense if this incantation was for real. They could be away all weekend or longer. Two first aid kits were included in the backpack just in case as well as a heavy duty battery and a short wave radio kit if they needed to make contact with the Earth home base for any reason.

    The addition of the inflatable raft was Dominic's idea since he didn't want to have to swim any deep rivers if a waterway had to be crossed in the other world.

    His father handed him the ultimate survival tool; a package of several rolls of duct tape. "The Myth Busters proved that you cannot live without duct tape. Good luck with your friends."

    End of Chapter Two


    • #3
      Chapter Three

      True to his father's suggestion, Mike did make the join request as Dominic was heading to the Role Playing session. When he revealed the tattoo to the gang member, he found Mike and the others following him to Orion's open forest role playing zone. When Dominic arrived at the site, the other friends were already gathered and wearing their adventuring gear. Orion greeted Dominic and asked, "What's with the entourage and camping gear, Acrobat Douglas?"

      "My father wants me to try something mystical under the full moon tonight. And I figured you guys would want to come along for the ride. That's why I have camping equipment. The moon is already up and I need to get the rite set up for us. Let me get the inflatable barge set up and then everyone can get aboard. Then I will show off my sexy bare chest to you guys. As for the entourage, they are coming along to protect the camp in case we get attacked."

      The inflatable barge was unpacked and inflated in the middle of a clearing with a clear view of the sky. Everyone then got aboard with Mike and his boys sitting down around the edges. Using the duct tape, Dominic secured his feet and legs to the middle of the inflatable barge and then he had his friends form a circle around him and join hands. Then his shirt came off and everyone saw the larger than life tattoo as Dominic raised his arms toward the sky and began to chant the mystic rite.

      "Oh great Luna in Heaven's drape; Open the way of passage through a knightly place; to travel to..."

      At this point Orion whispered the word, "Toonscape."

      And Dominic continued as if uninterrupted, "Toonscape in a far away time; and in a distant space."

      Mike was heard to say, "This is dumb. I want to see the treasure."

      Just then, the entire inflatable barge lurched somewhat as the wind began to blow around their location as everyone aboard the barge hung on to whatever was available and then, it seemed as if they dropped down through a hole in the Earth as the inflatable barge passed through a vortex of swirling energy and lightning before appearing in the sky over another world in a distant time and far away place. Then the inflatable barge fell straight down and seemed to hit something spongy before bouncing sideways across what seemed like a forested jungle as it made a forced bouncing landing in a clearing next to a wide river before sliding off into the strong current and being swept downstream. The barge went faster and faster as they once again experienced the fall at the end as the inflatable barge went over the waterfall at the end as it dropped down and crashed through the canopy of trees just off to the side of the river at the bottom.

      Dominic grabbed his shirt and as he was pulling it back over his head, he asked, "Is everyone okay?"

      Wally remarked, "What an awesome ride! Can we do that again?"

      Becky slapped Wally pretty hard at that point. "Are you insane? We are lucky to be alive! We are not doing that again!"

      Dominic glanced across at Becky. "Be careful with those slaps, Becky. We only have two first aid kits. Unless you want to have to trust local medicine remedies." He then bent down and unstrapped his feet and legs from the duct tape bindings. "Okay Orion. We need to get our tent set up for the base camp."

      Mike said, "Every one of us inside one tent. Talk about your college phone booth prank. Why can't we just use a cave or something like that?"

      Dominic then said, "We don't know what might live in those caves, Mike. But if you want to try to find us one, be my guest. Just try not to lose track of where the rest of us are. If you get lost, we won't know where you went."

      Mike said, "Don't worry, I'll find us a cave like Land of the Lost had." And he headed off through the dense trees and bushes.

      Orion remarked, "Not the best reference to use, Mike. Come on, guys, let's get some of these bushes cut away so we can make a space for the tent."

      But before they could get started on cutting bushes, they all heard Mike's voice as he shouted, "Hey guys! You aren't gonna believe this! Come have a look!"

      Deryk said, "'e 'asn't been gone long enough to make up a story, mates."

      Janice said, "I'll go see what his problem is. And if it is a trick, I'll drown him in the river myself." And not long after she went through the dense bushes, everyone heard her say, "Well, it's not a trick guys. But you won't believe this unless you see it for yourselves. Come have a look."

      Ricky said, "Janice wouldn't go along with a trick, guys, so let's go see what they are looking at."

      As the small group parted the bushes, cutting them away as they went, they saw the wooden fence lining the edge of the forest and the abandoned farm and untended vegetable gardens. There was even a barn near the farm house itself.

      Dominic said, "New plan, guys... We build up the fence around the property to become a palisade wall and we have a wooden gate in the front. Then we clean up these gardens while the others are making sure the buildings are truly available for us to use. This sure beats sleeping in a tent next to the river. Since I brought the tools, I'll get started on building up the fence. If anyone wants to help me, that will make the job go faster. I am still going to bring the inflatable barge into the farm property since we don't want to lose it."

      End of Chapter Three


      • #4
        Chapter Four

        Moments later, Timmy and Stanley were heard saying, "We have a problem. The farmhouse is full of sticky cobwebs. The damned stuff is everywhere in there. Its like a horror show."

        After that, Barbara was heard when she let out a scream and this was followed by the sound of a gun shot as the role players then beat baby spiders to death as they poured out of the giant spider that had been shot by Mike's revolver.

        Dominic said, "Enough is enough, guys. I've gathered enough seeds to start a garden elsewhere. Lets get the inflatable barge back to the river and head on downstream and find a safer area to set up camp."

        Becky then said, "I guess we now know why the farm was abandoned. That thing was ghastly and it had come from the area back up the waterfall we had come over. I think our barge bounced off of its back and it wanted revenge."

        Before departing, Orion lit a torch and threw it into the farmhouse which ignited the horrible webs and the house itself immediately. After that, the group launched the barge back into the river and piloted it with oars downstream putting distance between themselves and the spider horror as much as they could.

        Eventually, the barge raft entered into a large almost still bay near the coast of the continent where to the left they could see what looked like the docks of a port city. But it was an old European styled port city. "Guys..." started Dominic as he began rowing the barge toward the docks. "It looks like we found our port. Now remember: we don't have any local currency so we will have to use barter to get by until we can earn some local currency. And Mike... please don't get the group in trouble. This is not the place to show superiority. If we can even speak their language. So we need to be careful while in their world. Even one ally can help us get ahead in this place."

        Once they had tethered the barge under one of the docks very securely, their group walked up the docks and soon entered the gates into the city itself. Their group came to a stop just inside the gates of the city when they saw the animal people in the fur and none of them were wearing any clothing at all. Only the humans had clothes.

        Mike muttered, "We've gone to Hell."

        Dominic said, "I don't think so, Mike. Aside from the spider we had to kill, did you see any flames or volcanic lava flows or any lakes of fire. In fact, by getting rid of that spider, we likely did this people a favor."

        At that moment, a horse man and a tiger man approached their group as the horse spoke with a Germanic accent. "You vanquished the Fell Spider upstream?"

        Dominic replied with a smile, "Yeah, we sort of had to since it attacked us. Self defense and all that. Then we set the webbing on fire."

        The Tiger man said in a Greek accent, "Come. All of you. For ridding us of the spider, you have earned a reward from Port Moonscape. Free lodging, a good meal and a ship of your own to use as you see fit."

        Dominic shook hands with the tiger and the horse. "Thank you for this hospitality. A few of our people are tired from the journey. We are actually lost and we do not know where we are."

        Moments after that, the group were being treated to a large banquet type of meal at a nice table within the largest house in the city. There was even wine being served. However, while most of the rest of the group were focused on their reward, Dominic and Ricky were exploring the back streets of the city trying to get some idea on why there were no humans within Port Moonscape at all and why none of the animal people wore clothes like their friends had arrived wearing. "Thanks for coming with me, Ricky," said Dominic. "There is something odd about this world we landed in. There should be some sign of a human other than us somewhere in this city."

        "Orion said that none of us should be out and about by ourselves while on this adventure and I agree with you, Dominic, regarding signs of a human. Not that I am complaining about these animal people but I did notice a painting of a human standing with animal people. And in the painting, the human was clothed while the animal people were not. When I asked one of our hosts about it they told me that the painting was done shortly after the founding of Port Moonscape. And that means humans have to be around here someplace."

        As the two spoke while walking past a large hole in the alleyway's cobblestone, they heard a voice call out to them. "Is someone up there? I could use some help. This old metal support beam fell on me and I will repay in triple if you help me get out from under it."

        Dominic said, "Come on, Ricky... this could be the ally I mentioned before coming into the city. If we save him, he will be more likely to help us with what we need to find out." And then Dominic and Ricky began to descend into the hole in the alleyway dropping down into the sewers beneath the streets. To the side of the collapsed tunnel under a heavy though slender metal beam was what looked like a rat man with a backpack on his back and a belt sash with a dagger and scabbard fastened to his waist. "Hang on, we'll get you free. I'm Dominic and he's Ricky. What is your name?"

        The rat man said, "My working name is Te'rue. If you want to know more, get to know me first. Since you boys are helping me, I will honor my offer to repay you by indenturing my services into your quest no matter what it may be. And just a warning... even though I started out as a human rogue, I am a wererat through infection. I looked for a cure and the quest was futile. Then one day an evil priest sent me through a gate to this world. I've been here ever since."

        Ricky said, "We are from Planet Earth where the technology has long since overrode times of adventure and treasure hunting. Although a group of our friends have chosen to dress up as adventurers and role play as if it were still the good old days. Dominic recently acquired a power and that is why we are in this world now. He opened a gate and our group landed in this world where our first adventure was to slay a giant spider, burn all of her webs and squish her icky spiderlings."

        End of Chapter Four


        • #5
          Chapter Five

          As Ricky was gripping the familiar feeling metal support beam, Dominic grabbed a hold of Te'rue and pulled him clear of the pinned down position of the beam. Once free and standing upright, Te'rue said to the young men, "I think we should gather your friends and get them out of this city before moon rise. Don't wait until morning because if you wait until then, chances are that none of your friends will be human by sunrise. All of the animal people in this city are lycanthropes. They are being polite for now because you vanquished the Fell Spider. I wouldn't trust the food either if they have offered you any."

          Dominic said, "They offered us a banquet meal, free lodging and our own ship to use however we saw fit. Ricky and I forewent the meal and decided to explore the city. Then we found you. Now you are telling us that our group may be in danger?"

          Te'rue nodded his head. "That is what I am telling you both. We should claim the ship along with that spongy boat you people arrived in, then you can escort me back to my island retreat where I will try to get you people back on track. Someday I would like to return to my own world. But I have given my word to help you people for now."

          Dominic then said, "Te'rue, I will personally make sure you get home to your own world even if I have to escort you there myself. I promise and cross my heart. Now, lets see about sneaking our friends back to the docks and setting sail on our new ship." He then saw the look on Ricky's face. "You have a strange look on your face, Ricky. What's on your mind?"

          Ricky released the metal support beam only to have it snap back to the floor with a somewhat loud mouse trap strike. "Does that answer your question, Dominic? This bar was set up like a mouse trap. This didn't just happen to Te'rue. This was deliberate. Someone tried to get rid of him."

          "Since he gave us a warning concerning what is going on in this city, it makes sense," replied Dominic. "Te'rue is obviously a good person despite his infection. He didn't just let being a rat change him on the inside. Now lets get back and drag the others back to the docks."

          Te'rue then led the way through the sewers as they returned to the banquet house in the center of the city. In the basement of the eatery Dominic and Ricky were almost surprised by the jail like dungeon cells they found with human skeletons within them. "See, this is what I was telling you about earlier. Now lets get your friends out of here."

          Quietly emerging into the banquet hall, Dominic and Ricky gathered each one of their groggy friends and got them down below to where Te'rue was waiting on them. The wererat could not take a chance to be seen topside since no one knew who was trying to off him. He was making sure each friend was tethered together by their waist lines with a secure rope. Apparently this was something he had to do once in the past back in his home world.

          Once the last of the friends were gathered down in lower area and tethered to the others, Ricky soon returned with the packs belonging to their friends. Then came the journey to the docks via the sewers where the inflatable barge was tethered to one of the ships at the docks and then everyone was sat down on the deck of the ship and Te'rue demonstrated another one of his learned skills from his home world as Ricky and Dominic hauled the anchor up and locked it into the up position. Te'rue then pulled a single rope and unfurled all of the sails on the masts as he began to steer the ship away from the port. Moment's later by using Mike's revolver and a well placed gunshot into the gunpowder kegs back on the docks, they left the docks in a massive fireball. Te'rue seemed impressed by the non-magical fireball. "Not quite like my old friend, the battlemage of fire," said the wererat as he piloted the ship. "But impressive none the less. Good job."

          Te'rue then said, "Any chance of opening another gate for us, Gate Master Dominic? My home world is called Faiala or often nicknamed the Magical Earth. It is a fantasy world of magic and adventure. I would sure love to see my old adventuring party once again. I'd even kiss the paladin. Just aim for a body of water if you can. I don't want to land lock this ship we're on."

          Dominic stepped out to stand at the main mast of the ship as he had Ricky tie him to the mast and then secure the others so no one fell overboard during the gate trip. Then he lifted his head and arms toward the three moons in the sky. "Te'rue, you might want to plant your foot claws into the deck and hold on to that wheel securely. We don't want to lose you." Then Dominic focused on the moons as he began to chant the mystic rite.

          "Oh great Luna in Heaven's drape; Open the passage for us to escape; to travel to Faiala, a fantastic place; and land upon the sea with lunar grace."

          As the first time, the entire ship as well as the inflatable barge lurched somewhat as the wind began to blow around their location as and then, both vessels were lifted into the sky above a waterspout before being plunged down through a hole in the center of the vortex as the sailing vessels passed through a swirling energy and lightning passage in time and space before appearing in the sky over an ocean in another world and dimension where the vessels floated gracefully down into the waters of the sea and a distant land lay in the distance just ahead. Dominic untied himself from the mast as he shouted, "Ricky! Te'rue! Did everyone fare the trip okay?"

          Te'rue smiled as he straightened up at the ship's wheel once again. "That trip was far better than the original one I was forced to make months ago. And I recognize the star constellations. We are indeed in Faiala, Gate Master. I could kiss you. But for now, I will focus on getting us to a friendly port. We can't just port at any dock and we may have to sell the ship after arriving to get funds for travel. My intended destination is the fellowship hall where Sir Argos Rhodes has his base at. And if memory serves me correctly it has a dock of its own but no ship as yet. So if we can find that port, Argos will be overjoyed to receive a sailing vessel for the fellowship's usage."

          Ricky checked out everyone along the ship's railing. "Everyone made it, Dominic. And a few of them are starting to snap out of the drugged food they ate. Speaking of food, we are going to need something to eat soon ourselves. Unlike the others, we skipped out on the meal."

          Dominic said, "Good thing we did or we would be in the dungeon cells ourselves by now." He then went up the wheel where Te'rue was steering the ship at and he gave him a hug and kissed him on his wererat muzzle. "Now you can say you got your kiss, Te'rue. Are you good at fishing too?"

          "Yes," he replied, "but Dominic, you really shouldn't have kissed me on the muzzle under the light of the full moon."

          End of Chapter Five


          • #6
            Chapter Six

            Te'rue then said, "We weres are quite contagious in our fluids. If you become a wererat yourself, I truly apologize for being the source. As I told you before, I looked for a cure myself in vain. No one except my fellowship wanted to help me. After a while, I simply accepted what I had become. I won't let anyone starve on this cruise, but please be more careful. Maybe we got lucky this time and you didn't catch anything from me. If you do become a wererat, you will lose a lot of weight initially to become lean and spry like me. In truth, it is actually a lot of fun at first. But you can only be intimate with others of your own kind. And I never knew a lot of female wererats. Nearly every wererat I ever met was a guy."

            Dominic stood with Te'rue anyway. "If I become one, we can look for the cure together. I think you know I can be trusted to watch your backside. Besides... I like you, Te'rue."

            "Although I do have an idea for where we can look for a cure even if it sounds a bit strange," continued the young man. "Have you and your fellowship friends ever heard of a unicorn?"

            Te'rue nodded his head. "The half elven priestess, Ericho of Faiala, was often mentioning them when I first joined the fellowship. What is up with a unicorn anyway?"

            "Legends in our world say that bathing in the charged waters of a unicorn's pool will cure you of anything that ails you," replied Dominic. "Sad part is... you have to bathe in the pool at night. And since the moon in your world seems to be in full view nearly all the time, a night bath may not work unless the pool was indoors and hidden from the moon. You have to bathe in your human form and I haven't seen you in your human form since we encountered you. You look like a handsome slender and spry rat man."

            "If this legend works," said Te'rue with a smile at Dominic. "Sir Argos will likely reward you with anything you ask for. I am sure we can arrange for this attempt to work even if we have to build a tent over the unicorn pool to block the moon light. As for my staying in rat man form, remember when I said it was fun at first, over time it become easier to be a rat man and harder to shift back until one day I woke up stuck in this form. So you see, I've been stuck in this body for a while. Full cross over, you might say. I still look for a cure, but it isn't so easy since I also have to force shift back to human to get the cure and most people just call me a monster without hearing out my humble request. Again, if you end up like me, I will support your transition and help you in improving the rogue skills I sense in your body." Then he whispered, "You are quite handsome yourself, kid."

            "Hey!" It was Becky who was now more awake than before. "What's with the guy in the rat costume?"

            Ricky said, "We rescued him from a trap and we are escorting him back to his home across the sea. He was responsible for warning us to get out of Port Moonscape for our own safety. His name is Te'rue and Dominic is monitoring his activities while he is with us. Besides, he is the only one who can pilot this ship. If we could do it ourselves, we wouldn't need him at all. And ixnay on atinghay the atray... ominicDay likes imhay."

            Te'rue grinned at Dominic as he focused on steering the ship. "Your friend Ricky seems to have forgotten how to speak Common. I guess the hunger is getting to him."

            Dominic chuckled. "It's Pig Latin which is a code language a rogue might use to speak in front of others to a friend when a private message needs to be said openly. I might teach it to you after I ditch the others. In the meantime, What do you think your fellowship's response will be to me and my friends?"

            "Likely the wonder will be... when are they going home?," said Te'rue as he rubbed one hand on the young man. "But I like you personally, Dominic. You, I could vouch for. And maybe we could also figure out why your gate power acts like a leech to pull you through it. The priests don't get swept through when they use the same power."

            "What do you think might be the cause?" asked Dominic out of curiosity as he gently held Te'rue around his waist.

            "Ericho could tell us after she gets a chance to examine every one of your tattoo markings. I think one of them may be imprinted incorrectly and it could be altering the gate spell from operating the right way. Therefore it would pull you and anyone with you through the gate. In other words, remove the bad tattoo and the suction effect would no longer happen."

            Just then, Te'rue said, "Take the wheel and hold it steady, Dominic. I think this may be a good time to do some net fishing so you people can have a decent meal." And once Dominic took the wheel and held it to course, the wererat went down to the deck and sprinted over to where the fishing nets were bundled up and unrolled them off one side of the ship for about ten minutes, then he began cranking a winch to haul the nets back up to the deck where Ricky and the others saw several fish of all sizes caught in the net as well as what looked like a rather cute otter man who was struggling to free himself from the net. When he was untangled from the net by Te'rue and Deryk, the wererat said, "My apologies for netting you like that, good sir, you may depart if you wish. I was catching a few fish for my starving friends."

            The otter said, "No harm done, sir wererat. Praise Ocealla that I encountered good people for a change. I am Lu'trane the sea druid, long infected by a wereotter to become one myself. Although she was killed by pirates not long after, I have continued my druidic duties beneath the waves while looking for a cure to my condition. What of you, wererat?"

            "I am Te'rue the rogue formerly of Sir Argos Rhodes fellowship and I too seek a cure to my infected condition. But since you have the clerical ability, are you familiar with gate markings?"

            Lu'trane nodded his head. "Indeed I do, Te'rue. I have studied many over the course of the last few years."

            Te'rue then said, "My human friend was imprinted with several Gate Master markings upon his skin and one of the few we suspect may be imprinted incorrectly for it is causing a suction surge in the spell whenever the gate is opened. Might you look over my friend and find which marking is at fault and then we may find a way to remove that marking so it cannot interfere anymore when he goes to use his power. Ricky? clean the fish and prepare them for cooking over the ship's cooking spit. Lu'trane, please come with me, Dominic is up here at the wheel. And please note, I may have accidentally infected him when he kissed me earlier tonight before I could warn him not to."

            As Te'rue took the wheel, Lu'trane had Dominic disrobe entirely and lay on the floor of the deck so he could examine the markings carefully. The one on the chest was the benchmark example to compare the others to. Stanley came up to the wheel deck and explained every location where he had placed a copy of this medallion marking at on his friend's body.

            End of Chapter Six


            • #7
              Chapter Seven

              "I haven't seen that many gate markings on someone's body since a crazy heretic tried to set himself up as the god of travel some years ago." Standing to one side of where the examination on Dominic was occurring was a werewolf who was working on removing the last of a loose shackle from his wrists and ankles. "Good thing you guys stole this ship. I was locked up in the hold awaiting transport to the Isle of Execution for not agreeing to join the campaign of evil the city priests whom were commanding the weres to perform on all non-weres."

              Turning toward the werewolf, Te'rue used his rogue skills to remove the last of the locks on the shackles while holding the ship on course with his rat's feet. "There, those nasty things are off of you. Are you an infected like the rest of us are are you a pure born?" He turned his attention back to holding the wheel steady with his hands.

              "Sir Randall of Suncrest, former human kingdom fighter until cornered by a werewolf and introduced to the night that never ends," he replied. "While I am not lawful good like paladins, I am still good which is why I could not simply accept the fate the evil priests had in store for me. Those pretenders of Torm-Katholos. They wouldn't know Torm-Katholos if a true Minotaur kicked them in the ass. Everyone knows the priests of Torm-Katholos are Minotaurs. There are no humans among their priesthood, although I had heard they did have one human paladin."

              Te'rue smiled. "Sir Argos Rhodes is that paladin. I know him well. A good man." He then turned his attention toward the were-otter. "How goes the examination, Lu'trane?"

              The were-otter druid said, "I have located the pesky incorrectly applied gate marking and I am in the process of removing it as carefully as possible. Whomever placed it shouldn't have attempted to place it at this location."

              Dominic asked, "Where is it located, handsome?"

              Lu'trane stated, "It is on top of your head under your hair. Not being able to see the drawing field would have made placing it here very difficult indeed. I may have to cut your sexy hair in order to remove it properly. May I have permission to do this?"

              Randall remarked, "Before I became a kingdom fighter, I had been an accomplished barber back in my home city. One time, an Amazon tribe hired me to shave a barbarian bald. I am glad he was unconscious when I did it. His head and body were as smooth as a baby's bottom when I was finished."

              Dominic smiled. "As funny as that sounds, I do not want to be that bald; but I will permit you to help Lu'trane in trimming my head hair so that he can remove the tattoo that Crazy Stanley the tattoo artist placed upon my head. Luckily, Earthian human hair can grow back over time."

              Randall got to work making the hair on the boy's head the same short length all over his head. "For a limited time, your hair will be as short as Te'rue's fur. But as you said, head hair grows back over time. Of course, if you were infected by Te'rue even by accident, during your first transformation, your hair will grow back to its original length. But as long as you didn't get any of his saliva in your mouth during that kiss you gave him, then you got lucky and avoided the infection. Our lives are not fun after a while. It may seem fun at first, but then normal people stop trusting you when they learn that you are a were-beast."

              Ricky and Mike then approached watching to see what the beasts were doing as Ricky remarked, "You could have waited to get a hair cut, Dominic."

              Dominic replied, "Stanley placed the suction gate marking tattoo on top of my head under my hair, guys. Do you want to get a ride like that first one every time I open a moon gate? If not, then I have to temporarily get my hair cut so the were-otter druid can remove the mark from my head. It is that mark that is causing the suction. Randall, I promised Mike a treasure before we made this trip. Would you happen to know where any lost treasures are... somewhere on Faiala?"

              Randall replied, "The ruins of Draekon are being guarded by a were-dragon or were-lizard man or whatever he is. We know he can breathe fire. And he HATES priests. He has a pack of hounds that patrols the island itself. Adventurers have attempted to go after the treasure many times, but none have ever returned."

              Dominic said, "New idea... if the adventurers' ships are still parked near the island, then we can do the were-dragon a favor by salvaging the ships and whatever is aboard them and getting them away from his island. We wouldn't even have to go ashore. We get a treasure and his shorelines get cleaned up and everyone wins."

              Te'rue smiled. "I can see that working. And you are right, we would not be out there to collect HIS treasure. We would only be removing the eye-sore ships and debris from his shores. Although how could we let him know that we only came to get the ships?"

              Lu'trane said, "I have been to the lagoon of his island and while he hates priests, he is okay with druids. And you are right, there are many ships parked in the waters near the island. I can speak to the were-draconian and let him know that we only want the ships and have no intention of bothering his island home. Also be warned, he can fly. As for the patrol hounds around his home, many of them seem to be were-beasts themselves looking much like a sexy humanoid Hellhound than a normal night hound."

              Dominic grinned. "A sexy Were-Hellhound might make an interesting adventuring partner. But I am sure they would not be interested in traveling with a zoo of adventurers like us."

              All three of the Were-beasts arched an eye as Randall asked, "What is a Zoo?"

              Ricky chose to explain it in medieval terms since they were on that sort of world. "It is a collection of exotic animals gathered from all over the world for a Nobleman to display to visitors for a small visitation fee. Normally the animals are well taken care of but make no mistake, they are still wild. There was a Zoo back in our world where the keepers chose not to treat the animals well and the animals ripped the nobleman apart one night when no one else was around."
              End of Chapter Seven