Authors Note: This is a AU fantasy piece, written for the Bad Girls universe.
Summary: Nikki Wade and Helen Stewart meet after strange happenings. How is Nikkis' family connected, and where does Helen fit into the puzzle? With the help of their co-workers and friends they travel to places they never imagined existed. Making new friends - and enemy's - along the way. Not to mention a whole host of new creatures. Sit down, hold on tight, and brace yourselves for the adventure of a lifetime!
This was my first ever fanfic, which I published over at the Nikki and Helen Message Board. © 2005 revised 2011.
Last year I did a rewrite, and I plan on reposting to the Nikki and Helen board, but I've decided to take the plunge and post here are well. I'm a bit nervous as I've learnt so much since then, and I can't help but hope that this first effort isn't too dismal.
If you like it I'll carry on posting, the chapters are complete, I just haven't had chance to check them over for errors, and I'm sure there will be a few!
Disclaimers: Bad Girls, Nikki Wade, Helen Stewart and the associated characters belong to Shed Productions, this was written for fun, and not profit and I promise to return them to their rightful owners safe and sound. However, all other ideas, and copyrights associated with those ideas, belong to me and may not be reproduced in any form without express permission from myself, or from the owners of the Nikki and Helen Message Board.
This hasn't been beta read, so sorry for any glaring errors, please feel free to point out any that you might find.
Edited to add, a few errors have been pointed out, and after accidently hitting delete I'm having to re-submit the story. Hope it doesn't confuse
Offhand I can't think of anything else except: I hope you enjoy.
The Deceit of Garos
It was one of those sunsets that appeared to defy nature, it was the sort that bored right through your skull and hit your brain without seeming to pass through your eyes. The overall effect became a myriad of red, pink, blue, purple, grey and black hues. Its effect was evanescent and peaceful. Indeed this was no ordinary scene; it was one of many eternal images that were around this magical place.
In a small building tucked away on the outskirts of one of the main areas that were occupied by the those that lived here, a tall, slim, dark man stood at his window and looked out over the domain that belonged to Garos and he wondered if the world below could cope with what he was about to do. Could the people handle the truth about The Grith? He himself harboured doubts about whether the human race was ready for the action he planned to take, but too much wrong was being done. The time to act was now. He, as the Guardian of light to do something, he had to protect mankind.
Looking around surveying the carnage of the battlefield Lucan found it hard to believe that it had only been 24 hours since the opposing sides had confronted each other. Many had perished in fierce fighting that followed, the beautiful sunset now marred by bodies piled up high, pools of new, fresh, bright red blood quickly congealing over the caked dried blood that had already seeped into the ground, mingled in with this were the swords and shields of the dead littered all over the ground. It was a horror landscape; enormous craters replaced what had been sweet green fields. The wonders of the previous smells now obliterated, the fresh grass, the newly cut hay, the flowers and the dew now all erased in a new overpowering smell and emotion of death, death masked all.
Sat astride his white charger Lucan oozed an almost visible power, both he and his steed appeared bathed in a blue haze, an aura that could not be broken. The halo above his head beamed radiant silver. Blazing a light as it had never done before. This vista made even more powerful as it was all lit brighter by the lightening flashes which accompanied the thunderstorm that was raging, this was no ordinary storm, this had been created by the enemy to try and thwart Lucan's grand plan. The rain was yet to join its brother and sister of thunder and lightening but would be there shortly.
All those alive felt that when that happened, a shift in the balance of power would take place in Garos's favour. Up until then he had been losing despite the fact Lucan's forces only numbered a third of his own. Lucan felt no despair it was far from over. He knew his enemies had placed far too much confidence on the approaching storm; the real victory would not take place here if this battle were lost.
The Guardians of The Grith carried on fighting relentless in the battle. Among the toiling fighters a Guardian, (a man to look at in all respects), glowing a golden colour thanks to the aura around him, broke off and went to Lucan's side.
Speaking in rushed tones he looked up to Lucan, "My Lord, the left flank is hard hit, we can hold for now but we look to your guidance." The clash of swords and shields as well as the many death cries almost drowned out his words.
With a graceful bow of his head Lucan replied. "Fear not" The reply soothed instantly with the gentle tone of his voice. Yet, despite the soft speech the voice cut through the noises of the battle with ease. "We have a certain amount of time on our side we may use the horses off the central column to bolster those weakened forces. I myself will command by leading those mounted into the fight."
"But my Lord, if you are lost then the battle is all but over"
"We only need to halt the advance for a short while my old friend, there are some issues which I haven't yet talked to you about, however shortly I hope to be able to reveal all. Do you trust me Carod?"
With a wry smile that almost became a laugh Carod replied. "Lucan my dear friend, if I didn't trust you I would hardly be here now."
That comment in turn caused Lucan to smile. "You always did manage to bring lightness to everything. We have been through so much you and I, but now we must concentrate our efforts on this war. If we lose this war then mankind is doomed."
As if noticing the noises being made in the background for the first time, Lucan raised his head, looking at the battling troops he motioned with his hand towards the centre of the field where the main battle forces were.
"See the false prophet; he marshals those around him making them believe he is the one true Guardian. It is telling that those who back him are mostly young Guardians. Less than a thousand years old in many cases. If those Guardians had been here at the very beginning of time, they would have realized the truth and seen behind his deception. As for those few older Guardians, I can only assume that they think they can add to their own greed and wealth by supporting Garos."
Lucan paused as if to gather his thoughts. "If I lose this battle people for many millennia will believe me to be the false prophet, they will be led to believe that it is me that has a wrongdoers heart beating inside him. History is written by those that win and Garos is so good at making people believe what they want to believe rather than what they should believe it will be hard for anyone to mount a defence against those sorts of charges. However, I hope that the plans I have put in place can prove, if not straight away, that I am indeed the true ruler of this Realm."
With a slight shake to bring him self out of the revere he appeared to be in his beautiful face hardened as he spoke to Carod. "Come my friend, it is time to muster our mounted forces to that left side, please go and tell them of my intentions."
Hoisting his sword out from its scabbard and the shield from across the pommel of the saddle Lucan spurred his mount forward.
Wasting no time Carod started to make his way back to the battling forces he had left moments earlier. Bravely they still fought against overwhelming odds, the clashes sounding even louder now as if all involved sensed a new urgency to the fight, even if not fully understanding why they should feel this way. As Carod reached the edge of the melee an opposing Guardian broke through the ranks and headed in his direction.
Hoisting his shield to a defensive position Carod automatically placed his feet to create a solid stance to greet his foe head on. His one main advantage lay in the fact that he was on stable even ground where as the attacking Guardian had to cross uneven earth made slippery by the spilt blood of those already wounded or killed which meant he would reach Carod off balance.
The spilt second that was used for this information to be processed by Carod's brain was all the time his enemy needed to reach fighting distance. With no sound and only thoughts of regret that yet another Guardian would almost certainly be killed in this fading evening light. Carod reached forward to parry the sword strike that was being hefted his way. With a clash the sparks flew as the two weapons met.
With no conscious thought Carod easily deflected the opposing sword away and was able to strike a decisive crippling blow to his opponents arm. Not willing to kill unnecessarily Carod, as always, decided he would give his opponent the chance to yield.
With a heavy heart the question passed from his lips. "Do you wish to yield? If you do I promise no harm will come of you."
The answer was short, defiant and was almost spat out "I will never yield to those who think they are the one true Guardian."
The sorrow Carod felt was immense as he replied. "Then may there be mercy on your eternal soul." He dealt the swift, instant deathblow.
Looking around Carod soon spied Kealad, a dark haired man who was the very capable and brave commander of this flank and who, at present was busily engaged in fighting two of the enemy. He was holding his own, but in the time it would take to defeat both of them his strength was going to be sorely sapped, to the degree that it may leave him in danger of being overwhelmed. Holding his sword and shield ready for more action Carod shouldered his way through the throngs of fighters to aid him.
A nod from the commander was all Kealad could afford to give in acknowledgement of Carod's presence as sparks once again flew from Realm swords hitting defensive shields made out of the same unearthly material. Much lighter than steel but with ten times the strength the metal here shone with a rich hue. Flashes that were created lit the sky and sparked all the colours of Earths most spectacular rainbows.
The parries of all four of those involved were fast and furious, but thanks to Carod's help the two opponents were quickly weakening and at once, in quick succession both fell to Carod and Kealad's blades.
Knowing that Carod would be bringing word from Lucan Kealad turned and said. "Quick, over here," he pointed back the way Carod had come. "We should be safe from the fighting back there for some while."
The breath from all those around sent steam up into the cold night time air as Kealad and Carod headed for the relative safety of the higher ground.
As they turned to face each other Carod was struck by the look of pain on Kealad's face, worried he hastily asked, "Are you alright?"
The reply was laden with total grief. "I almost feel like my soul has died today, I wish my brother had believed what was truly going on. I had hoped we would not meet on the battlefield but unfortunately fate was to deal us a cruel blow by forcing us to fight each other. I have now killed my precious brother Abrais, and my heart is weighted down with this terrible knowledge."
Reaching out, Carod placed his hand on Kealads's shoulder. "My friend, many of us have been pitted against others in our family or against old and valued friends, but I know your closeness to your brother was immense, I feel for your hard loss now."
"Your kindness has touched me greatly Carod, and I hope to be able to spend time later to grieve Abrais properly, but now I must put my personal feeling aside as the most important business is to try and win this fight without too much more bloodshed."
"Aye, that must sadly be our thoughts now." Carod agreed as he glanced around. "And to that end I bring news from Lucan. He is mustering horses from the central battle which he will lead over here himself to command."
Kealad visibly paled at that news. "But if Lucan is killed during the fighting then our cause is surely lost!"
"Have faith Kealad, I am not privy to Lucan's exact plans but I feel there is yet more to come, the troops he is leading should be here soon."
"I hope you are right in this matter Carod." Kealad sighed before carrying on in voice made weary by the violence that surrounded them, "I do so hope that you are right."
Meanwhile at a different part of the battlefield Lucan had arrived at the head of the mounted column, which consisted of five hundred Guardians with steeds as black as the night that was now totally upon them. Lucan soon found Jaris the leader of the troops. A tall Guardian he was easy to spot due to his immense physical stance. Few men got to tower over Jaris. Lucan was one of those few.
Unusually for a Guardian, Jaris spoke with quite a harsh, gruff edge to his voice. As one of the first Guardians to arrive in The Grith his life had been made very hard by Garos. Only Jaris, Lucan and Garos knew exactly what had transpired to make Jaris feel this way. Jaris would refuse to talk to others about it. When asked he would just cite personal reasons but it had left him very bitter about the ruler of a place that in Jaris's mind should have been full of love and understanding but quite often was full of suspicion and an underlying fear of the terror that Garos had proved himself capable of inflecting.
Although Jaris was mounted he still bowed his head in deference to Lucan as overall commander of this revolution. Many felt Lucan had been robbed of his true place as the overall divine spiritual leader of The Grith and in turn Guardian of Earth.
"Sire, do you bring news from other areas of the battlefront?" Jaris, as normal, was forthright in the way he spoke. Very few would have got away with his brusqueness.
"I do," was Lucan's assured reply. "The left flank is severely weakened but not yet over run. I intend to lead your troopers into the battle to aid them."
"Sire, as you wish." Jaris was the one whom Lucan knew would never question his orders or motives. The consummate soldier, Jaris was hardened by many years of enforced hard labour in penance imposed by Garos as a punishment for the personal issues that had happened between the two men.
Being the only other person that knew what had happened Lucan felt grateful that Jaris was on his side. Simply Garos had used Jaris unjustly. In needing a scapegoat on Earth to cover up a bad mistake made by an important prophet Garos had un-mercilessly thrown Jaris to the people on Earth who had vilified him forever. The real breaking point had been when Jaris had objected to being used in this cold hard hearted way and it had been that objection which had earned him the punishment.
"Are your forces ready to move?" Lucan asked, hopeful he would get an affirmative answer as speed was now of the essence.
"Yes sire," as hoped the reply was swift. "I can give the call to arms straight away if you so wish"
"Then please do so without delay"
"Sir, yes Sir."
Jaris turned to his troops. Somehow in the way typical of all military officers he managed to make himself easily heard by all five hundred men even with the noises of battles going on. "Troop, the call to arms has been made. Lucan himself will be taking direct command. Remember keep the battle formation tight and be accurate. Take as many prisoners as possible. No-body here wishes to kill any more than they have to."
As one unit there was a rousing response of. "Yes Sir." This was followed by the clang of metal, the squeak of leather and the general rustling of cloth as each man made a last quick safety check of their equipment. The failure of basic but important items could not be an issue in the heat of battle.
The horses started to sense that the time for action was finally upon them. Many started to stamp about with their hooves, eager to be moving. The sound of horseshoes hitting the ground became almost overwhelming to any that were in earshot.
Lucan decided he would speak before he moved the troop forward and in that same soft voice that seemed to just float above the loud background he commanded. "Men" there was a slight pause while they all turned around to listen. "Many of you may not return from this fight but be aware that this tyrants rule must be brought to an end. Garos is not the good kind being that he has led the human race to believe he is, he is a deceiver, a most malicious thing indeed. Huge numbers will suffer if he is not stopped now. This is something we can and will do. We must do. May those that perish while trying to defeat Garos have peace on their eternal soul. I bless each and every one of you."
Knowing enough had been said Lucan turned his horse towards the left flank before giving the first of many orders to the troopers that night. "Troops top speed to the left flank, March."
As they looked towards the people fighting below them from the higher ground where they still stood, Carod and Kealad both heard a new sound. Seemingly it punctured its way through the air, cutting its way into the storm and battle. Together they turned to look behind them and witnessed the columns of mounted troops being led by Lucan heading their way. Lucan seemed to show against the background as radiating whites, silvers and blues. Colours seemed to bounce off him at all angles despite the blackness of the night.
The sound Carod and Kealad had heard was the thud of the horse's hooves beating on the ground and with that sound came the vibrations being felt from underfoot as the troopers made their way towards the weakened battlefront.
The opposing side seemed to be suddenly aware of the reinforcements, which caused them to redouble their efforts. Knowing that if they made no real headway soon then things could bogged down for some time with no real indication as too the final outcome.
The noises of the horses making their way forward was getting louder, the clamour of the hooves on the ground mingled with the sounds of leather, metal and horse flesh moving at a steady speed. Combining with the ever increasing vibrations it made an impressive, even frightening sight. Carod and Kealad felt relief for a brief second.
However, this was tempered by the knowledge that they still had a long way to go, but they hoped the extra reinforcements would provide them with the much-needed incentive to push the advantage forward in their favour.
They could see the column splitting into three to provide greater cover. Lucan had obviously given the order ahead of arriving in the middle of the fight knowing that would be the most effective use of the manpower available to him. Carod and Kealad were also starting to hear snippets of Lucan's orders. His voice carried so clearly over every thing else. As the middle of the three columns drew ever nearer the order to engage the enemy could be distinctly heard. Looking at each other Carod and Kealad knew that the time had come to join the fight. They'd both had the luxury of being away from the carnage for a very short time and they felt that it was already more than they deserved.
Hours later the fighting had broken off, many more lay dead, dying or injured on the battlefield, as the night had got blacker the full force of the thunder storm had hit. No man could see to engage his enemy in such conditions, rain slanted down as though it were sheets of glass, clothes soon saturated to the point where people could hardly move under the combined weight of heavy cloth and armour. Orders had been issued allowing the two opposing sides to cease fighting. Field commanders on both sides would be using this lull in proceedings to allow the regrouping of men and to take stock of what had happened to their respective sides. Mud as thick and as black as the night itself clung to everything.
The ground already saturated with the spilt blood of those who had perished, was now an unrecognisable quagmire. Any remnants of lush, green pastures that had graced this place before were now long forgotten. Lucan stood, still mounted with his three commanders around him. They looked weary and each must have felt despondent even though they didn't show it. The battle, even with the extra mounted troops, had not gone in their favour; the overwhelming odds were just proving to be insurmountable for those involved in the fight. Lucan decided the time had come to inform them of his long-term plan.
Looking at each man in turn he spoke their names. "Carod, Kealad and Jaris, you are all my loyal friends for which I thank you. No words can express my gratitude to each of you and no words can portray the loyalty you have shown to the cause and me. We have lost many and although we have right on our side, we may lose this battle,"
At this the three started to protest, Lucan held up his hand to silence them. "Please my friends let me continue, as I said the battle may be lost but I believe the war can and will be won. Unbeknown to you I have found a secret so great Garos put to death any who discovered it. Such is its threat to his power. I believe this secret can aid us in our fight and may win us the war. It may take time to win the next battle but I believe that battle will be decisive. The reason I choose today to start this war was the important of the sky. We have an ally in the thermosphere, which Garos has forgotten about in his overconfidence. I refer to The Great Comet. It is one of the most powerful bodies in the universe and tonight the comet is at its strongest and for the purpose I have in mind I will need all of that strength."
Lucan knew he had amazed the three in front of him. Unable to hide the astonishment in their faces, Carod seemed to pull himself together the quickest and asked. "My Lord, I have heard stories of such a thing but I have never heard anything that could be called proof, just rumours and no more. I do not doubt your word but I find myself doubting The Great Comets power. Surely this astrological body does not have the ability to make such a difference?"
"Aye," Jaris agreed. "I also heard such things when I was doing my hard labour, but nobody every thought it more than fanciful talk used to give hope to those incarcerated."
Noting Kealad had yet to speak. Lucan turned towards him and asked of him. "Kealad, I notice you have not spoken on this matter. Yet you look troubled, please speak your thoughts without fear, your counsel is always valuable to me."
"It is true I am troubled by this news Lord," looking at the others Kealad carried on. "I had also heard such rumours as you. Indeed I had also dismissed them as fanciful talk, and I then lost a friend to a sudden and unexplained death. This friend had told me just before he died he was in search of information to prove the rumours to be true. I never heard from him again and yet, even knowing that, I find myself doubting the ability of such an object to create the awesome power to which you are referring."
"Ah, well." Lucan smiled gently, "my friends, in your honest counsel lies part of the answer I can now share with you. The secret was is so heavily guarded it has taken me many years to perfect the objects needed to harness the power in the only way possible."
With those words he removed from his sodden robes, which were under the protection of his armour, a small wooden box, unassuming in its look, plain and unadorned.
Opening the box up Lucan carried on talking. "The box its self is of no importance, it is simply a vessel made with the sole purpose of protecting the sphere inside. This sphere could be one of the most important things in the history of The Grith and Earth."
All eyes were now on Lucan's hands as he carefully removed the inner material that covered the object inside. The expectation was so great by those watching it was almost tangible. Then it came into view. A glass sphere that seemed to show many different colours at once, a small luminous orb that caught the eye while it took the breath away due to its sheer beauty, a mist seemed to flow within giving the illusion that it was alive. The lightening that was still flashing around the battlefield lit it up, and they could see it looked as if the orb was trying to grow, straining against an unseen leash. It had a wondrous strength. Yet, somehow, that was tempered with a gentle vulnerability.
Looking up from his task Lucan smile gentled at his friends' wonderment as he carried on explaining the plan. "This sphere has the ability to transcend the realms of The Grith and Earth, but it can't travel by normal avenues as their power is not strong enough. If it can be sent to Earth using the power generated by The Great Comet it will change shape and form, a complete metamorphosis. Then it will have become objects that can be used on Earth to challenge Garos's authority. These objects will reveal and then prove his word as false."
Lucan could see that fascination now gripped those around him He paused from his task to look directly at Carod, "and now," he said. "I arrive at the hardest part of my plan as it involves me asking you to make a great personal sacrifice."
Carod nodded, indicating his desire to hear the rest of what Lucan proposed before he would make comment.
"The sphere cannot travel unguarded, it is too dangerous. The method of travel used means the sphere is unprotected leaving it vulnerable to damage. Such damage would render it useless. Unfortunately this box is not stable enough to use on its own. Somebody must take the sphere to ensure its safe arrival, and once they reach Earth they will become mortal with no hope of return. What do you say my friend, the risk is great but the rewards will, in time, be immense. I feel you three are the only ones I can trust to tell of this task and Carod, you especially. I feel for such a matter of importance you are the only one I can really ask to become the messenger."
The silence that followed what Lucan said seemed to last half of the night that remained but in reality could not have been more than thirty seconds.
Taking a swift glance at the others Carod drew in a shaky breath before he would trust his voice. "Lucan, I address you now as an old friend, not the holder of titles. You say the courier will become human with no hope of return, but does the job involve more than just being the carrier of the sphere to Earth or will more be required once Earth is reached?"
"A valid question my friend, yes there will be more required but it should be small matters in relation to the task that has already taken place. The sphere after it has changed will need hiding and guarding for a while. If you decide to go I would also hope that you would be able to live your life in a complete and happy way. Maybe some kin for you with a life free from the horrors of battle? Some good should come out of this sacrifice."
Jaris was the next to speak. "And the sphere, what does that become?"
Lucan laughed a pleasant light sound. "Forgive me, I do not meant to make light of the situation but as always Jaris you are the practical one. In answer the sphere becomes scrolls, one of which will be able to guide Carod, if he agrees to go, in what he should do next."
"I thank you for that answer," Jaris said. "However, please allow me to be practical once more. What is the catch?"
"Ah yes," Lucan's expression softened greatly. "I am afraid you are right, there is a catch, the scrolls will be sent back to a time where their use would be pointless, and they would not be understood. Upon this matter I have no control. They must stay hidden until such time as mankind can understand their message."
Kealad then spoke. "My Lord, the power from the Great Comet sounds immense. How do you hope to harness such a thing?"
Lucan knew his answer would be the one that could make or break this happening. If all three commanders felt it would work then they would back the plan. "The way to harness this lies in a simple object that is made using not such simple materials. The secret I found, the one your friend would have died for Kealad, was the use of certain rare metals and minerals in the forge process while a shield is being made. You have all often commented on how much more my shield shines in certain lights, the way it often refracts light in a way different to others. These metals and minerals are the reason why. When this shield is held up to catch the light rays from the Great Comet during the Comets brightest hour on the correct night of the correct year the reflected beams will create an energy field that will cause a portal to be formed between the two realms. Whereas this portal is stable, its short duration also means it is only open for a very limited time. It stays open long enough for the single journey to be made one way, but like I said, no return. It is also the energy beams created inside the portal which, once passed through, make the traveller mortal and the scrolls visible. My friends do you support me in this action?"
The silence that followed seemed to encompass all other sounds for some distance such was its strength. Then the replies came.
"I pledge myself to this plan," was Jaris's gruff response. "Let us go and make this portal. If Carod feels he is unable to go I would go in his stead."
"There is no need for that kind offer Juda," Carod's voice was firm. "I shall willingly make this journey and hope that it creates a healing tide for all to use."
"I also pledge myself to this course of action." Kealad turned to Carod and spoke to him directly. "Go in peace, may you have a safe journey and a long and happy life on Earth, my thoughts and prayers are with you. May there be mercy on your eternal soul."
Lucan looked at his friends with immense pride. "Then let us forge ahead and deal the blow which should defeat not just our enemy but the enemy of all mankind. The time for action is upon us."