Loyal readers, before this chaper starts, I have to give you all a bit of bummer news. I swore I would never abandon this story, I promised I would not leave it unfinished. I stand by that promise, but here's the thing: recently I've been sort of losing the urge to write this story as quickly as I have been. It's not because of lack of support or anything, I'm very pleased with the support I've been getting, but Tinker Bell in general has just been slipping from my interest. I just haven't been able to put my heart into this as well as I should. That said, after this chapter, I'm putting this story on hiatus for a while. I don't know how long exactly. I just need some time to take a break and collect my thoughts. I am NOT abandoning this story! I'm merely taking a break from it. If I try to continue it in the state I'm feeling now, it woulnd't turn out as well a I would want it to. I would rather you all have to wait a long while for something really great instead of rushing out something really half-assed every week. It sucks, I know, but it just feels right. Please don't think poorly of me! I have been deeply touched by the kind words I've gotten on this story! I promise that you will see the end of it, it'll just take a little longer than I originally intended. Thanks for your understanding!
"We can end this if we stand together!" The voice rang out. "Stand up for what you know is right! Clarion will lead us to victory if we simply all agree to follow her! Mother Dove herself as declared it! We must follow her to glorious freedom!"
The voice became louded and more pronounced as Vidia and the others got closer to it. They soon came to the edge of Tinkers Nook, where a small group of fairies was gathered around a makeshift wooden platform, smaller than the exection one in the middle of town. On it was a young firery haired Tinker, shouting her speech loudly and with real gusto, waving her hands in grands sweeps around the crowd that had gathered before her.
Vidia took this time to gage the expressions on her two companions faces. Maria looked as annoyed as she always did, but Irving seemed almost genuinely ammused by the young renegade before him. He even managed to give what sounded like a chuckle. Vidia turned back to look at the firey speaker.
"Veronica and her soldiers have tormented us for too long now!" She cried out "We are large in number! All we must do is stand up to them! Show them that we will not be pushed around any longer! We can defeat them if we stand together, united under Clarion!"
By this point, General Irving had decided he'd heard enough. He stepped forward, Vidia and Maria following close behind. The crowd turned to look at the three approaching fairies. When they saw who the sparrow-man was who was leading the two fairies, they immediately parted to allow them through. Many decided it was better to just go back to their jobs of creating weeapons and armor. Whatever Irving was planning to do with this insubordinate fairy, it was something they knew would not be pretty. It wasn't long before the whole crowd had dispersed, leaving only the three newcomers, who stood there watching the young Tinker on the platform. She continued her speech as though she hadn't noticed that she no longer had her crowd.
"Rise! Rise up in glorious revolution!" She roared. "United under Clarion, Veronica will fall!"
At that point, Irving brought his hands together in a slow clap. This caught the young Tinkers attention. She gazed down at the three fairies before her with a look of deepest loathing on her face.
"What a stirring speech!" Irving announced grandly. "Can't say I agree with it, but your vocabulary has certainly improved since you first began these little acts of insubordination!"
The Tinkers brow furrowed as she glared at the arrogant General. She spat bitterly at the ground in front of him, cursing herself for not being able to land her loogie on his boots. Irving didn't seem the least bit phased by this. In fact, his grin became even wider. The firey haired Tinker bared her teeth angrily at him.
"You cannot keep us down forever, Irving!" She shouted defiantly. "Our numbers are growing every day! Soon you will be out-numbered and over-powered, and Clarion will take her rightful place as Queen of Pixie Hollow! Mother Dove Herself has decreed it!"
Now Irving was laughing hard and loud, joined by Maria, who was chuckling nastily. Vidia remained blank-faced, not knowing exactly what to make of the situation.
"Oh that's rich!" Irving said, gasping for air. "You honestly think we give a damn about what that bird thinks? I mean, she did such a wonderful job selecting our first Queen, did she not?"
"Mother Dove knows all!" The Tinker cried. "The hardships we had to endure were all part of Her divine plan for us all! It would've worked out in the end had we been patient! But now Veronica has gone against Her divine will! She has tainted this land with her evil! Mark me, Irving, her actions, your actions... will not go unpunished! We will win through in the end! It is Mother Doves will!"
The laughing stopped, and it was eerily silent now. Maria turned to look at Vidia with an annoyed expression.
"You see what we were talking about earlier?" She said to her. "This is the kind of ungrateful attitude we have to put up with everyday from these fairies. They reject our willingness to help them because a magic bird says it's wrong! Unbelievable!" She turned to the Tinker. "You have been warned three times now to stop with this disturbance of the peace! Now our patience as has reached it's end! You will leave now or you will die!"
The Tinker appeared to plant her feet more firmly on the platform. The look of defiance in her face was more apparant than ever.
"Never!" She shouted. "I have sworn on Mother Dove Herself that I would never abandon this post until the day Veronica has fallen, and I will honor that promise no matter what! I will never abandon this post!"
Maria exhaled sharply. She drew an arrow and and crossbow, which was the weapon of choice for Veronicas army (more accurate than a standard bow) and took aim at her.
"Have it your way!" She sneered.
Before she could fire, however, Irving forcefully lowered the weapon, much to Maria's shock and confusion.
"Now, hold on one moment, Maria," He said. "I personally see nothing wrong with her staying on this platform, doing what she's doing."
Maria gave him a blank stare. Had he just lost his nerve or something? Because this was a hell of a time to go soft!
"You... what?" She stuttered.
Irving snickered at his partners confusion. He turned to look at Vidia for a second, and saw that she looked almost as confused as Maria, which ammused him even more.
"Hey, if she has indeed sworn on her beloved Diety to remain here, then who are we to tell her otherwise?" He explained. "However, she is only a mere fairy like the rest of us, and we are all bound to make mistakes from time to time. One day she may find herself unable to stand up there much longer, and she may very well leave her post, thus breaking the oath she swore. That would certainly be no good. We can't have promises that are made on beings as 'powerful' as her Mother Dove broken. So... I say we help her out a bit taking a certain... extreme measuse to ensure she never leaves this platform."
Maria's confusion seemed to melt away when she gaged the expression on Irvings face, which had suddenly become frighteningly sinister. Almost as if Maria could read his mind, her mouth stretched into a devilish grin. Vidia could feel her heart pounding harder and harder as she began to realize that this was going to end nastily. Meanwhile, the firey haired Tinker remained as defiant looking as ever.
"Vidia?" Irving said, turning to his new recruit. "I've a task for you. A relatively small one, so don't be too nervous. I want you to go into that building over there," he pointed to one of the large tree-like buildings that made up Tinkers Nook. "And I want you to fetch me a hammer and four nails. There should be plenty lying around in there, and if anyone asks you what you are doing, just tell them General Irving sent you."
Vidia could barely hide the fear in her eyes at hearing irvings request. Just what exactly did he want with four nails and a hammer? Horrible images began to fill her mind, but she kept her face straight and gave Irving a nod. She then started towards the building he had indicated.
When she got inside, she saw a vast arrangement of long tables lined with hundreds of Tinker fairies, all of them hammering away on large plates of snail shell armor and swords. Vidia noticed on a smaller table seperate from the longer one was a pile of thick, long nails, much more resembling todays railroad spikes. Vidia grabbed four of them, cringing at how rusty and jagged they felt. She looked around to see if any Tinkers were curious to her presence, but none of them seemed to pay her any mind. They were appeared to tired and beaten down to care about what she was doing.
Vidia then noticed a spare hammer lying on the floor next to one of the seated Tinkers. Deciding it would be better not to bother her, Vidia snuck up behind her and swiftly snatched up the hammer. She then turned and bolted for the exit. She was only too happy to get out of there, it was simply to depressing.
Vidia flew back over to Irving and Maria, who were eagarly awaiting her. Irving held out his hand, and Vidia handed over the objects he had requested.
"Thank you, Vidia." He said briskly. "Now, prepare yourself for a little demonstration of our 'tough love.' "
With that, he and Maria started towards the firey haired Tinker, who still hadn't budged an inch since Vidia had left. Vidia felt like she was about to pass out now. She was starting to have a pretty good feeling of where this was going. She wanted to look away, but for some reason, she couldn't will herself to do so. It would've been the equivilant of watching a train wreck: a horrible catyclysm of destruction, yet at the same time it's hard to look away.
Irving and Maria where now standing on either side of the Tinker, and without a single word, Irving land a devesting punch right in her gut. The Tinker collapsed to the ground, gasping for air. Maria immediately seized this opportunity to hold her down. She forced her to hold both her hands out palms down directly in front of her. The Tinker began to breath intensly, but she never screamed or made any attempt to beg them to stop.
Irving brought one of the nails directly above one of her hand and pressed it in slightly. He lifted the hammer above it, waited a few moments with an animalistic grin on his face, then slammed thye hammer down on top of hit.
The sickening clack it would've made was drowned out by the shrill scream of pain the ripped through the air. Vidia watched in horror as Irving brought the hammer down again and again, driving the spike further and further into his victim. Blood oozed out from the top and bottom of the Tinkers ruined hand. She screamed and shrieked non-stop until Irving finished hammering. He then took a second nail and repeated the process with her other hand, causing her screaming to resume.
Vidia was devestated. How could she stand here and let such a horrible act of crulety take place?
'Because it's not part of the plan.' She reminded herself.
She cursed the two fairies before her. She couldn't wait to make them pay for this atrocity! She knew that day was still far off, but it would come eventually, and when it did, she would savor every moment of what she would put them through.
With the hands firmly nailed into place, Irving and Maria moved to the rear of the hysterically sobbing Tinker. Grabing another nail, Irving positioned it right over the back of her knee. This time, Vidia managed to turn away. There was no way she could look at that, no matter how hard she tried to keep watching. However, she was unable to plug her ears before the sound of the large spike smahing through the Tinkers knee reached her, met with what sounded like the howl of a dying animal. Vidia squeezed her ears shut and just stood there, waiting for it to end.
It was about a minute later when she felt a hand fall gently onto her shoulder. She turned to see that Irving was standing right behind her, looking rather apathetic. Maria, on the other hand, looked as annoyed as she always did.
"I'm sorry," Irving said almost sincerly. "That may have been a bit too much for someone as young as you. I just thought you should have a visual example of how we deal with those who stand against us. Are you alright?"
Vidia could only manage a weak nod. She took a quick glance behind him to see the firey haired Tinker in a kneeling postion, bleeding profusely from her injuries and sobbing and shaking violently.
"Tough love, Vidia, tough love." Maria said, snapping the Fast-Flyers attention back to them.
"Now then," Irving began. "We'll have to end our little tour here. I was planning to take you back to your barracks, but I wasn't expecting to have to deal with that Tinker today. As a result, I'm late for overseeing an expansion plan in Buttercup Canyon, and as you know, Maria needs to check on her new prisoners. I trust you can find your own way back?"
Vidia nodded again, a little more stongly this time. She was starting to get a lay of the land. Besides, the baracks were reight next to the Home Tree, and the Home Tree was pretty hard to miss.
"Alright then," Irving continued. "I'll let you have the rest of this day to gather your thoughts. Tomorrow, though, you begin your work for us. I'll come find you early in the morning and explain more then. Is that clear?"
"Yes." Vidia said solemnly.
And without another word, Irving and Maria took off in different directions. Vidia remained motionless for a while. She couldn't take her eyes off the pile of agony that was the Tinker on the platform. Other fairies that passed by gave one quick glance at her and quickly looked away. They had seen enough evil for one day. Vidia, however was unable to look away. Despite how badly injured the Tinker was, she didn't appear to be anywhere near death. In fact, it was going to be a while before she she could even bleed out properly.
Vidia finally managed to tear her eyes away from the hideous display. She sighed sadly and took off for her home, the Tinker still whimpering loudly as she flew over her.
Vidia sat silently on her soft bed. Her mind was racing with a million thoughts, but the one that stood out the most was like a loud voice in the back of her head.
'I want out!' It shrieked.
It was true: Vidia no longer wanted to do this. She no longer cared that it would mean the end of Veronica if she did. She couldn't bring herself to take part in acts such as the one she saw today. Barely two days old, and she had already had a tremendous burden thrust upon her, and it was a burden she no longer wanted to bear.
Then she remembered: tonight was to be her first rendevous with Creed at their designated location. There was a lot she wanted to tell him, and the thing that took point over all else was that she wanted out, and she was going to get what she wanted, even if it turned ugly between them.
This is NOT goodbye! It's more like "See you again in time." I just need a break is all. Please continue to check this story once in a while. I promise it won't go unfinished! I'll see you all again in time...