Thursday, August 8, 2013

Insert MIA Agent Here (part 1 of 4)

The dust motes drifted in the air, illuminated by the last rays of the day's sun as it sank beneath the trees. Slowly people moved around the room lighting sconces on the wall in preparation for the night's festivities. The only things not in high motion were two figures sitting at a long table in the darkest section of the hall. None of the other people took the slightest notice of their presence, and soon, as the motes shifted from shimmering white to lustrous gold, the shadows in the hall moved to small diminishing portions against the walls. The Elven decor was notable in the swirls and intricate patterns that adorned everything, from the simplest metalwork, to the most elaborate fabric.

As the hall slowly emptied, the two figures, still unmoving, were joined by a third. This figure was clad in black, a hooded cloak concealing the face. It leaned towards the pair, engaging them in conversation.

"Do you understand..." the third figure, now seated at the head of the table, was female, "... that this is of the utmost importance?"

The two figures nodded as the female threw a roll of parchment onto the table. It was a map, a map of their homeland of Avalorn. The female looked up at the pair for the first time.

"My Lords, do not under estimate the danger that this woman could bring to you and to the Everqueen herself. She is allied with the forces of chaos."

The two gentlemen murmured. It was clear from their expressions that the forces of chaos were not tolerated in the halls of the Everqueen.

"Does she work with the Druchii?" the larger of the two men asked,

The woman shook her head. The hood, so carefully balanced on her hair, began to slip. Pale hands shot out from beneath the cloak to pull it back into place. The movement exposed a long medium-brown plait laid expertly across the lady's shoulder.

"We all have a part to play into this drama, my Lords. But each of us must play their role to perfection; else the final act will not be worthy of the stage on which it is to be performed."

The Elven Lords nodded.

"Prince Tyrion," the female turned to the bulkier of the two, "if all goes as planned, you will find the woman on the outskirts of Avelorn." The prince nodded.

"Will she be carrying weapons?" it was the one question he had been longing to ask from the very mention of Senlui's plans.

"Likely. She will know who awaits her, but is too cowardly to come unarmed."

"Senlui?" the gaunt elf sat opposite the golden-haired Prince Tyrion spoke. His entire aura was utterly different from his brother's. Where Tyrion was fair, well-built and clearly a seasoned warrior, his brother, Teclis, was sallow-skinned, weak, but containing a hidden magical strength to rival any.

The woman looked around. It was clear on what the two princes could see of her face that she had great respect for Teclis, despite his outwardly weak appearance.

"Yes, my Lord Teclis..."

"My part in this," he gestured with his hands, "performance..."

"Ah yes... after your brother has performed his role, you will have the opportunity to prove to those weaklings that you are the most powerful mage that has ever existed."

Teclis smiled. He didn't yet know what Senlui was planning, but he trusted her well enough. Both princes trusted Senlui, they couldn't help but trust her. She had been made ward of the Everqueen upon her first arrival, and had defended Ulthuan ever since.

"She will no doubt be arriving soon, so I suggest... my Lords... that we conclude this meeting for this evening. There are festivities to be had, and I know the Everqueen herself has asked for you both to attend."

Both princes bid farewell to their companion, and left her to her musings. Once the two elves had left, Senlui raised her pale hands to her hood, and slowly lowered it.

Merle rested her elbows on the table, deep in thought. Everything was going perfectly for now, and if the two princes performed their roles, she would soon be able to take her revenge on the traitorous little wench Mirani...


Louise tapped the controls in the Monitor Room. She was on duty, and browsing through the numerous fandoms in search for any Sue-like activity that wasn't canon. She knew there was the occasional fandom where the canon characters were so similar to Sues that it was almost impossible to find a non-canon infiltrator. Tash has told her that these were usually black-listed fandoms, and if she detected a Sue in one of those, she should inform one of the senior agents.

Louise had no problems obeying this order, but for one Sue. Merle had been the bane of her life since she had joined the Society, and whilst they now had Robert locked securely in their basement, she knew that Merle was not going to rest. She was now more dangerous than ever.

If Merle appeared in a black-listed fandom, she would take all the punishment that Tash or the other senior agents could throw at her upon her return. Merle was her problem; one that Louise felt it was her duty to solve.

Her eyes roved over the various screens. Currently they were showing her ten different fandoms. She recognised some, but others were out of her general knowledge bank. She watched the glimpses into the Harry Potter, Stargate, Star Wars, Warhammer and Lord of the Rings. All screens looked calm, and perfectly normal...

Louise's eyes were drawn to the view of the Warhammer Fantasy fandom. She knew Merle had an interest in this fandom, but even to the untrained eye, the scene displayed looked wrong. She froze, hands hovering over the ivory tiles.

"Oh for the love of all that's holy!" she cursed. As she watched, Louise saw a figure march onto the screen. She was covered from head to foot in a black cloak, but it was impossible not to know who that was.

"Merle!" Louise hissed under her breath. A few taps of the keyboard brought the particular fandom full screen. "Warhammer Fantasy... how foolish of me to assume you wouldn't return to your old haunt. What have you done to the fandom this time?"

She didn't wait for the computer to inform her of exactly what Merle's infiltration had caused. She was a little grateful that it wasn't a black-listed fandom; she hadn't really wanted to face Tash's wrath. Louise launched herself from the office chair, and headed for the Monitor Room door. She knew that, if she wanted to face Merle alone, she would have to avoid her friends and fellow agents. Thanking the Gods that all the American agents were currently asleep, she slipped out of the room and headed for her office.

She made it there unnoticed, seeing no one en route, until she arrived outside the door.

"Lou..." came a weak voice from the door beside her. Alice staggered out, her arm still in the sling that Phoenixia had given her. Louise was mildly glad that her friend no longer needed to move about with a drip-stand. She smiled briefly at her. "Do you fancy coming to play Mah-jong? We can go and find Tash and Dave..."

Why did she have to be here, right now? Louise was desperate to get moving, but didn't want to push her friend away, not in her current condition. Even though she had been terrified for her friend's life on many occasions over the last two weeks, Louise was mildly grateful that Alice had been injured in her latest mission. It meant there was no chance of her demanding to go with her.

"I can't, dumpling, I'm sorry." Louise gave her friend a quick hug, careful not to further exacerbate her injury. Her mind raced for a plausible excuse. "I'm going back to Real Life. I need a bit of a breather from all this craziness for a while. I'll be back at the weekend."

"Okay..." Louise hated to see the sadness in her friend's face. For a second, she was seriously tempted to stay behind, and ignore the fact that Merle was causing havoc, but no... duty called, and this Sue was her problem. She bade her friend farewell, and slipped into the office.

Once inside, Louise collected her pistol, not caring for historical inaccuracies this time. She had demanded that in the Legacy of Kain fandom, and all that had happened was that Alice had been beaten within an inch of her life.

She was out of her office again in less than five minutes, and hurtling along the corridor towards the Automatic Tailorisation Machine that Alice had found, and had proved so useful in subsequent missions.

As she approached a corner in the Library, she heard a door open. Louise threw herself into one of the many side rooms. A quick glance told her it was the History of Espionage section. She peered around the door, and saw Rhia and Cristoph appear from inside the opposite room. Both agents had huge grins on their faces, accompanied by flushed looks and slightly mussed hair and clothes.

She watched them wander down towards the nearest kitchen before continuing round the corner and up the stairs into the costume section. She wasn't sure whether she would need the ATM, but was prepared to give it a shot.

Warhammer and particularly this branch of it was, Louise knew, high fantasy. She would likely encounter elves and potentially other races too. Appearing human wouldn't be a problem, but she needed a costume...

Louise ran her hand along the many versions of cloaks and woodland costumes, before selecting one that she hoped would do. She would have taken a chance with the ATM, but having never used it without Alice's guiding hand, she wasn't prepared to risk a wardrobe malfunction now.

She pulled herself into the muted-green outfit, and fastened the woollen cloak around her shoulders. Looking in the mirror, she concluded that it was unlikely that she could have done much better. She should blend into the woodland well enough.

As she descended the steps from the costume area, she wondered whether the Library had an armoury. Her pistol was all well and good, but what she really needed at her side was a blade, even a small dagger would do. She knew Merle well enough to know that she was not going to play fair, and if the enemy was going to break all the rules, then she would too.

She wandered around the corridors, hiding from the patrolling British agents. She encountered Tash and Valerie conversing in a dark corner, so she took the long route around them. She spotted a sleepy Jess on one of the couches in a main atrium that she had never been to before. Tip-toeing around them all, she finally found her way to the armoury.

Selecting a small dagger, and a scabbard to hang at her waist, she made her way back to the Monitor Room. She took a second to collect her communicator and a handful of prohibitors. She had forgotten her communicator on her first solo mission, and vowed never to be without it again.

"Well... here goes nothing..." Louise pulled her hood up, raised the plothole generator to eye level and squeezed the trigger.


Louise landed in a very green space. Trees, taller than the giant Redwoods she had heard of in America, towered above her. The canopy was lush, and the occasional drop of water landed on the leaf littered floor below. It was not overly dense woodland, with plenty of space to walk between the giant trunks. On the ground, large ferns grew everywhere; providing adequate shelter should anyone pass by.

Louise knew a little about the fandom, and guessed that she had landed in Avalorn, in the High Elven lands of Ulthuan. This fact both pleased and alarmed her. The elves were a generally friendly race to humans, who lived in the Old World (equivalent to our Europe), and they were only hostile against Dwarves, Chaos and Dark Elves. The latter lived across the ocean, in the land of Naggaroth. Louise smiled subconsciously; she knew that Naggaroth was located in a similar place to the United States from her own world, and fought back a laugh at what the American agents would have made of this.

She was alarmed because this was exactly the place Merle was most comfortable. As a self-insert gone wrong, she had no real home fandom, but if there had to be a place where she started, and where she felt at home, it would be here, in the Warhammer Fantasy land of Ulthuan; and more particularly in Avalorn, home of the Everqueen.

Despite being completely paranoid about getting lost, Louise set off in the direction she was facing. She knew that eventually, she would come across something that would help. She didn't particularly fancy encountering any of the canon characters. Merle would no doubt have some sway over them.

The ferns were fairly easy to walk through, and the dense underbrush softened her footfalls until even the elves would have had a problem tracking her. She pulled her cloak around her, and slipped into the green web of the Avalorn forest.

It was not long before Louise came across a path crossing her own. This one looked like it had been made for riders on horseback, and she checked each way before scurrying across it. Deciding that the path most likely led to a settlement, and therefore a greater chance at finding Merle, she turned and began to move parallel to the trackway.

She was right. After about an hour of slow moving, Louise came to the outskirts of a small village. She watched the elves going about their business. Nothing looked overly out of place, but this was only an outlying settlement, and any changes were most likely happening in the larger towns.

Moving around the edge of the village, Louise could see evidence of the Maiden Guard, the Everqueen's personal warriors. A number of them stood in conversation in the centre of the settlement, and the other elves were giving them a wide berth out of respect. She was surprised that they were not at the Everqueen's side, but maybe, Louise pondered, this was proof of the influence that Merle was exacting.

As she watched the Maiden Guard, there was a crunch of dried leaves in the forest behind her. She stiffened; her hand flying instantly to the dagger at her side. She was untrained in its use, but was not stupid, so knew the basics.

Deciding that it was safer to confront the potential attacker rather than allow them the luxury of creeping up behind her, she turned around with her dagger in her hand. The forest appeared deserted. It was quiet... too quiet.

A rustle of leaves, a snap of a twig, and a strong pair of hands seized Louise from behind. She spun around, determined to fight this attacker tooth and nail. A swing of her dagger told her that she had impacted flesh, and the following curse told her that her attacker was an elf.

"Let go of me!" Louise screamed as her dagger cut the elf's skin again. Turning within the grasp, she slashed out with her dagger, and there was a bloody gash across her attacker's cheek.

Despite her best efforts, Louise felt herself being dragged further into the forest, away from the potential assistance in the village.

"Get your hands off me!" she screamed with all her might, but it wasn't enough. As she felt herself dragged out of the ferns and onto a path, there was a swoosh, and a long blade found itself next to Louise's throat. She froze.

"There now," a male voice from somewhere behind her spoke. "She is exactly where Senlui told us she would be."

Louise's arms were restrained, and her dagger forced from her hand. She was spun around, her back pushed against the nearest tree, and she was finally able to get a good look at her attackers. A quiet gasp escaped her lips as she realised these elves were High Elves, and more than that...

"Prince Tyrion...?" she asked nervously,

"Do not speak, girl!" the rider dismounted, and removed his helm. He was fair and well-built; clearly a seasoned warrior. Louise knew that this was Prince Tyrion, fabled defender of Ulthuan and personal champion of the Everqueen herself. She swallowed hard.

"Bind her." Tyrion's words came with such finality that Louise couldn't help but wince.

"Please my Lord. I..."

Tyrion slapped Louise across the face as his soldiers bound her wrists together behind her. "The prisoner will not speak unless spoken to." With her hands now firmly tied, she was helpless. The elven soldiers looped a rope around one of the giant trees, and forcing Louise to sit, attached her to it as additional restraint.

"Please..." she tried pleading with one of the junior soldiers, but to no avail. "Please... there is a woman..." The soldier looked at her. "I'm correct, aren't I? She's human, with long brown hair, and is in the favour of the Everqueen..."

Tyrion seized the young soldier's uniform, hauling the unfortunate to his feet. "Senlui has ordered no communication with the prisoner."

"I bet she has..." Louise murmured under her breath.

Tyrion continued, "She is a worshipper of chaos, and as such will attempt to corrupt your minds..." the address was now being made to the entire assembled company. "You will NOT talk to her, nor allow her to talk to you. If you feel you are at risk of corruption, you have my permission to gag the prisoner."

Louise watched in horror from her leaf-litter prison. Tyrion's speech had condemned her in the eyes of the other elves, and as they went about their jobs, many of them gave her side long glances of fear and mistrust. She could hardly blame them. The influx of chaos into the world had been a thing of fear for many elves, especially here on Ulthuan where they suffered frequently from Dark Elf raiding parties.

Tyrion gave orders for the woods to be searched in case their prisoner had brought any others with her – Louise sighed, grateful that she had not thought to bring Alice with her. Whilst she was still feeling guilty that she had basically abandoned Alice to her fate in the Shadowleague fandom, she was thanking her infrequently lucky stars that Alice was currently back in the Library recuperating.

"My Lord..." Louise tried again, "I am no worshipper of chaos..."

"SILENCE!" Tyrion shouted.

"Please..." Fear was driving Louise recklessly onwards.

Tyrion seized a wad of material from a horse bag, along with a strip of fabric torn from Louise's own cloak, he roughly shoved the wad into her protesting mouth. Wrapping the fabric around her head, he gagged Louise. She struggled all she could, but in the end it was worthless.

Before long, the other elves returned and naturally reported that they had found no sign of any other infiltrator. Tyrion ordered Louise removed from the tree. The elves then procured a cart from the village, and forced Louise onto the back of it. Bound and gagged, Louise could do little to protest this. When she struggled, they hit her. When she tried to resist by going limp, they merely picked her up and placed her on the cart. Even on the cart, Louise fought; she kicked out at any elf that got too close.

Tyrion, now mounted back on his horse, was getting tired of his prisoner's resistance.

"If you resist any further, I will be forced to take greater measures..."

Louise didn't stop. She knew, or had a rough idea, who had ordered her capture, and didn't particularly fancy a meeting with her.

There was no communication, but the elves suddenly hauled the prostrate Louise into a sitting position. Tyrion brought his horse around to the back of the cart.

"I told you that things would get worse for you if you resisted. Now you leave me no choice." He turned to a young elf at his side. "Do it!" he ordered.

The young elf climbed into the back of the cart, and Louise stared at him with increasing fear. He laid a hand on her head, despite her protests, and slowly she felt her vision blur, and eventually the young elf placed the unconscious prisoner back down on the cart.


Louise came to still bound and gagged in a large hall. The sunlight slanted in at a shallow angle. She pondered how long she had been unconscious. The room was quiet. The only sounds she could hear were the faint splash of water falling from a height, and the gentle hum of birds and insects through an open window.

She looked around the hall, fearing who she might see. The room was lavishly decorated in greens and browns. A throne stood at one end, hung with drapes in what appeared an ornately patterned gold silk. Smaller chairs sat on either side. Both of these were equally garnished with elaborate silks, this time in a dark green. All three chairs were made of a dark wood, possibly something akin to mahogany from Louise's own world.

From where she had been dumped, Louise could not make out any engraving on the wood, but she knew enough of the fandom to know to whom the throne and small chairs belonged. Alarielle, Everqueen of the High Elves, ruled the land of Avalorn; the smaller chairs must therefore be occupied by Princes Tyrion and... Louise swallowed hard... and Teclis. She knew the backstory to the two princes in sufficient detail to know why they were held in such high esteem.

Tyrion was the guardian and personal champion of the Everqueen, whilst his brother was known across Ulthuan and the Old World as one of the finest mages in the civilised world.

Louise's musings were cut short by the sound of footsteps approaching on the flagstone floor. She glanced over, and regretted it instantly. Coming across the room, in regimented columns were two lines of High Elf soldiers. As the rank and file fanned out, they revealed a group of four people.

In the front, Louise recognised the contrasting forms of the two princes. Tyrion was dressed in full armour, his helm tucked under his arm and his sword in his other. The large wing adornments of the helmet caught the last of the sun's rays as he crossed the floor.

Beside him marched his brother. It was the first time Louise had laid eyes upon the fabled mage of the White Tower. Like his brother, Teclis was dressed primarily in blue, but unlike his brother he wore his helm proudly on his head, and in his hand he held a long staff. Whilst Louise knew that the two princes were brothers, it was easy to see why people assumed they were not. Tyrion was blond and tanned. From what she could see of the mage's hair, Louise could tell it was dark, and his skin was pale.

As the brothers parted, heading for their respective seats, Louise's eyes were drawn to the second pair approaching. She could hardly refrain from letting a little squeak escape. As different as Tyrion was from his brother Teclis, the two women that approached could not have been more unlike.

The Everqueen was fair; to the point of being dazzling to look at. Dressed in a beautiful gown of lustrous silk, she was adorned with numerous gems and brooches. She held her stave firmly out before her.

Her companion... Louise swallowed hard again. Her eyes locked on those of her foe. Merle was dressed as she had seen her many times before. Whereas the Everqueen wore lady-like fashions, Merle was clad in all black; clothing more appropriate to the Dark Elves fortresses, rather than the wooded halls of the High Elves. And yet none of the elves present saw any problem in this.

Damn you and your Sueish powers, Louise cursed to herself.

Merle's chocolate brown hair hung loose, the front scooped up in a delicate clip at the back of her head. Despite the fear that was now coursing through her system; she could not help but be taken aback by her beauty.

As Merle continued to stare at her, the Everqueen and the two princes took their seats. Alarielle looked down at Louise from her throne.

"So this is the chaos worshipper you told us about, Senlui?" she asked, watching as Merle approached Louise. The Everqueen's ward seized the back of her quarry's hair, and yanked hard.

"She is..."

Louise could do little to protest this accusation. She tried to struggle, but a blade appeared in Merle's hand, and was soon pressing its point against her throat. She fell silent, and waited for the Everqueen to pronounce judgement on her.

"Do you feel she is a threat to our lands?" the Everqueen asked.

Our lands... thoughts whirled through Louise's head... she doesn't belong here anymore than I do.

Merle did not answer verbally, but Louise could guess from Alarielle's reaction that Merle had merely nodded.

"Then I will leave her in your hands." The judgement was passed, and Louise felt her fate move into the hands of her enemy. She hated feeling out of control at the best of times, but with her future in such jeopardy, it took all her will not to fight tooth and nail against her captors.

The Everqueen, despite only just arriving, stood – as did Princes Tyrion and Teclis – and floated from the hall. The two princes stayed behind; their eyes lingered on Louise, before rising to meet those of Merle, who remained towering over her.

"What will you do now that you have her, Senlui?" Tyrion asked.

Merle removed the blade from Louise's throat, but retained the firm grip on her hair. "Oh, I think a trip to the White Tower is in order for her..."

Teclis nodded, and Louise, realising what this meant, struggled as Tyrion and Merle forced her to her feet.


Louise recoiled from Merle's vicious backhand, wobbling a little in the direction of Prince Tyrion. He seized her shoulders, and held her still for a second smack.

Tears began to roll down Louise's cheeks, both out of pain and fear. She knew what a trip to the White Tower meant. It was Teclis' home whilst in Ulthuan, and that could mean only one thing...



The road to the White Tower was long and bumpy. Louise had been forced into a cramped compartment of the wagon, and now her claustrophobia was beginning to tell. With the gag still in place, she could only breathe through her nose, and this came in rapid pants.

She could not move. It was not just her hands that were bound now. As they had loaded her into the wagon, Merle had ordered her feet bound as well. So, confined in a small space, Louise's only indication that they were indeed travelling was the bump of the road, and the passing shadows of the trees.

The journey wouldn't have been too bad, except for Merle's continuous taunting. She kept dropping hints about what they were going to do to her; so Louise's mind was racing with fear at the fate in store for her.

"You know, Mirani..." Merle taunted from above, "... I prefer you down there." Her smile made the hairs on the back of Louise's neck stand up. She knew that Merle was only talking to her in order to taunt her, and make her feel increasingly scared. It was working. The fear building somewhere south of Louise's chest was not going to be easily quelled.

Merle climbed out of Louise's line of vision, and the sky was all she could see. It was an almost clear day, from what she could glimpse between the branches of the trees of Avalorn. The sky was becoming a hazy peach colour, and Louise guessed it must be approaching sunset. She had no concept of actual time passing, merely the gradual motion of the sun across the sky.

As the sunlight finally drifted out of her vision, the wagon left the cover of the trees. Louise wondered whether Merle intended to travel on into the night or find a place to stop, but the wagon kept trundling onwards.

In the dark, Louise could hear the various creaks and groans of the wagon, the soft whisper of the wind as it blew through the grass to the side of the road, and closer now, the quiet voices of the driver and his assistant.

Louise wished beyond anything that she was back in the Library, in the company of her friends. A silent tear leaked from the corner of her eye, dribbled down her face and settled in her ear.

A silhouette passed across the dark sky. Louise could only tell it was there due to the blackness against the otherwise bluish night.

"Well..." Merle's voice was colder than the bitter night air. "I wonder whether they will bother coming for you..." as she voiced this, the same thought went through Louise's mind. "I don't know what you were able to give them, Mirani... but I doubt they will be put at any disadvantage by your absence."

Louise had always believed herself to be one of the weaker agents, but to have it spelt out like this. A steady flow of tears were soon pooling in her ears, dampening her hair as they spilled out.

"You were always weak, girl!" Merle's voice cut across Louise's musings, and delivered the phrase that crushed her soul. "I don't know why I ever spared your life when Richard killed you the first time."

No comments:

Post a Comment