The Amazing Tales of Princess Amelia – Chapter 7

Characters may be based on imaginary real people, perhaps.

Duke Anthon was beaming ear to ear with joy at the safe arrival of his grandson Bastion Grey, best friend Merklin the wizard, and his faithful messenger Rook. As they reached the beautiful emerald granite and sandstone-paved entrance courtyard to the Oz Castle Keep, he spun around and said to them, hardly able to contain his excitement,

“Now could I ask you all to sit here by the fountain for just five minutes, whilst I go inside and ensure that no one spoils the even bigger surprise. I promise that you will be truly astounded! Amelia, please make sure they behave themselves” he joked with a wink. He rushed inside before they could answer, and called for the guards to ensure that no one approached the courtyard until further instructed, and to not spoil the surprise he had planned, under any circumstances.

He quickly explained to Queen Emeralda, Saphire and the others in attendance, to spread the word that no one was to say anything to Merklin, Grey or Rook about the events of the last few weeks, while they were given a chance to bath, change and eat. He would personally take them to meet the ‘Red Witch’ Tallia immediately after. He also asked the whereabouts of the Master of Arms, and was told that he was inspecting his soldiers in the north court. He instructed the head butler to please bring the guests in and see to their needs, before rushing out to discuss with Roger the report of this new Terraloon that had attempted to abduct Merklin, and so badly scared Grey and Rook.

“Oh no, not again!” groaned Roger, smacking the palm of his hand against his forehead, “This must be the one that Tallia couldn’t contact. We must warn those in the cavern immediately and just hope we’re not too late”. Just at that moment a royal Jewel-Castle horseman, resplendent in his white and blue light-armour, galloped in through the court gates, dismounted painfully from his glistening black steed, and rushed over limping and wide eyed, to inform them that a really gigantic Terraloon had crashed its way past them, toward the caverns, but amazingly it had not seriously injured any of them. Anthon felt his blood run cold and his spine tingle at this dreadful news. He and Roger decided that the guards be instructed to remain vigilant and set the traps to the Keep, but for now to avoid full castle shutdown, unless they spied the monster, or if he hadn’t returned within the next half hour.

Anthon activated his anti-gravity device and rapidly flew off into the distance and over the crater ridge. Just ten minutes later sergeant Toodles galloped in and excitedly informed Roger of the latest news at the cavern. The very last Terraloon was safely aboard the Red Witch Tallia’s craft and would no longer be a threat. Roger felt immense relief sweep over him. He put his arm around the sergeant’s shoulders and said “You’re one of my finest men Toodles, let’s go for a drink. C’mon all you men! It’s time to finally relax and celebrate this great news.”

A fortnight later:-

There had never been such a great gathering in the kingdom before. An exciting fairground, food stalls, trading shops and  tents were set up in the castle grounds. Visitors and villagers from throughout the kingdom, including Castle Jewel and Star Lake, were all invited to come and stay for the weeks of celebrations, and to marvel at the many new wonders to be shown them. Some invitations were even sent to select friends and dignitaries from neighbouring kingdoms.

It was decided that much of the knowledge revealed by Talia should be shared for the future benefit of all mankind. Secrecy was no longer an option, considering the numbers of soldiers and villagers already spreading stories of events over the last few weeks. The probability of attack by warring tribes was high, but the royal family were confident that such reckless behavior would soon be successfully dealt with. All will learn that peace is by far the better option.   

Fireworks were exploded at dusk, musicians filled the air with sound, colourful dancers pranced, swirled and spun around large crackling bonfires and children ran about playing, shouting and laughing until their bedtimes. The grounds were filled with tall circular tents and other forms of accommodation, for the three-week stay, although many slept out under the stars.

One early evening Grey, Breese, Harold, Amelia and their young visiting cousin Archer were all laying on raked-out straw, looking up at the stars, waiting to see who would first see the next shooting star. They made a game out of everything, and now argued about who was quickest to shout out and point. There was no moon and it was a clear night, so the stars were really bright away from the fires. Every shooting star brought loud excited yells as they turned their heads to spot them before they rapidly disappeared. One really bright green sparkling light shot across the heavens for a good ten seconds, and the kids shrieked with delight and just a hint of fear as it flamed brightly just above the ground in the distance.

“Do you think it actually hit the ground?” yelled Grey. “We must remember the exact direction from here, and ask it we can go and look” he added excitedly, to the agreement and noisy commotion of the others. They fell silent and continued laying back and watching the night sky.

“What’s that?” asked Amelia, pointing at a very large dark object moving across the stars. It was certainly strange and they decided it definitely wasn’t a bird, and even seemed too large and far away for a cloud.

“It’s creepy the way it moves!” said Grey, and Amelia felt a chill run up her spine. Breese could feel goose-bumps rise on her arms, and hugged against Harold. Harold stared with eyes wide and said in a low voice

“It’s stopped!” He was right, the object had moved across a cluster of stars and then had just stopped moving. Archer just pointed at it wide eyed. They waited for what seemed like ages for it to move on but it didn’t.

“It’s watching us!” whispered Breese. Now they were all starting to feel a bit scared to move, even with the sounds of the music and crackling fires just over the rise behind them. “No one will believe us!” said Grey “Now that it’s not moving, it just looks like a dark part of the sky”.

“What’s up children? You all look a bit serious” said Merklin from behind them, giving them all a bit of a fright.

“Quickly lie down and look up there Merklin” said Amelia. “We’ve all seen a big black oval shape move across the stars and now it’s stopped in one spot over there. See there, just to the right of the three bright stars in a row?” Merklin lay down next to Amelia and looked hard at the night sky. It took his eyes a while to adjust and then he saw it! He knew the sky well and whatever was blocking the Angel Speckles and Syrus Cluster was large indeed. He would have presumed it was a dense cloud of sorts but from the kids’ description of its movement and the lack of any light edge, common to clouds at night, he realized that it must be sitting in outer space, and as large as a kingdom.

“Wait here kids, I must chat with the others about it and will be right back”

Soon King Jaygon, the ‘Red Wasp’ off-worlder Tallia, grandfather Duke Anthon and wizard Merklin were laying down with the children examining the dark shape. Tallia spoke softly

“Ok, I have now just ordered Mog to go dark. To shut off all power to my craft, and the whole craft bay area. He will also reinstate the inert black wall. The ship type is unknown to our data but is an ovaloid just over two hundred miles long, fifty miles diameter and very close. It may be hostile and is very likely scanning this world, but in search of what I don’t know”. Tallia continued in a low voice

“While it is here it is important that we do not use the levitation devices nor any special power items such as your exCaleebra swords. We should urgently place such items under the black cloaks we made” she said, meaning the folded pile of lead based black material now in the armoury “and Amelia please place your pendant and ring in this bag and pull closed the drawstrings”. Amelia exclaimed that the bag felt strangely heavy but did as she was told and hung it back around her neck.

King Jaygon rose and ordered Roger to urgently take his and the other Azlan powered weapons to the armoury, place them all under the heavy black cloaks, and then report back with the Marshall, Lukestar and Eltor.  

Roger was also to ensure that no one else be alerted nor alarmed at this time, but continue with the celebrations. The Queen, Princesses and ladies were to be told that the men were teaching the children about the stars, if they inquired. Normally they would be informed immediately of all urgent matters, but until they had a better idea of the risks, it seemed awful to spoil their joyful evening at this time.

As soon as Mathem, Lukestar and Eltor arrived with Roger, they too sat or lay down and were informed of the large spaceship. Tallia continued quietly, turning over onto her stomach

“It is highly likely that they can see in great detail and possibly even hear our voices, so please all turn onto your stomachs as I have done and try not to stare in their direction, as that may draw their attention. The chances are that they have already begun seeding the atmosphere with devices to learn a great deal about this world including our languages.”

“I told you it was watching us!” whispered Breese to Grey, Archer and Amelia.

“They will consider us primitive I imagine” continued Tallia “but they may take an interest in the large airship in the crater. We will just have to wait and see. Amelia and Grey, lay on your backs again and without staring too obviously at it, tell me if you see any movement. We should all take turns doing the same, to avoid arousing suspicion. Keep your voices low and aimed at the ground if talking about the ship”. Within less than a minute Grey drew breath loudly and flipped onto his stomach, as did Amelia.

“There are some tiny light circles coming out of it!” Amelia whispered loudly before her brother had a chance to say a word. Everyone immediately turned to look at this astonishing sight, before remembering not to stare. Tallia turned onto her side and watched the three approaching craft out the corner of her eye. Two were heading straight for the crater and the other to a position high above the celebrating crowd. She warned Mog to cease all communication with her unless the strangers breached the black wall. She hoped that these new-comers would presume an ancient civilization had come and gone, and not attempt to penetrate the black wall. Her spacecraft was the only hope she had of ever seeing her planet again. Amelia touched her arm and whispered

“So sorry Tallia!” Tallia embraced her in a hug.

“Thank you little one. I think it will be all-right. Don’t fear anything ok?”    

King Jay, his brothers, father and the wizard were stunned by the enormity of this event in their lives. It was hard enough to cope with the discoveries in the caves, never mind the giant airship and then actually coming face to face with the beautiful alien ‘Red Wasp Witch’ Tallia and all she revealed. And now there was an unbelievably large alien vessel, that if hostile could destroy them all!

“What on earth do we do guys? Any ideas because I’m getting mighty restless right now?” said Eltor. King Jay got up and stated loudly “Well there’s not much we can do but enjoy the party. I’m going to dance with my beautiful wife. Do you kids want to have a bit of fun? Say nothing about this yet but let’s go and dance hey?” The children immediately got up and ran to the dance floor laughing again, relieved that their dads weren’t acting fretful. Tallia also decided to rejoin the celebrations and accompanied Anthon and Merklin to the dance floor. She whispered to Anthon to please hurry and bring her the Golden Rod. She had the expertise if it were needed as a deadly weapon. What will be will be, she decided, wrapping the large silk robe and hood around her body and head, to hide her glowing red hair and green skin from the skies above.  

The queens were gently advised of the situation by their husbands during the dance, but before they had time to react or resolve a course of action, one of the villagers shouted out loudly

“What the blazes is that?” pointing up at the sky. There was loud murmuring and yelling, mostly in fear, as the crowds stopped dancing and even the musicians stopped playing one by one, as they noticed the crowd’s reaction with so many of them pointing upwards. Children were running up to their parents to cuddle and feel safe, husbands and wives clutching one another.

As the tension grew, there was a mixed hubbub of anxious and excited voices, dogs barking, some children crying, becoming a cacophony of increasing volume, but then a sudden hush swept the crowd! Everyone stood in awe and stunned silence as they witnessed a strange glowing red and yellow striped egg- shaped craft silently dropping down toward them, from the impossibly-large black circular craft in the sky with its glowing white outer halo. This gigantic haloed craft remained ominously suspended in a fixed position, about a mile above the ground.

The smaller striped craft stopped and hung silently about thirty yards above the ground. There was no sound for a few seconds and then from its base and intensely bright white light-beam shone straight down, fixed on a point on the ground, in the middle of the field of celebration.

Pandemonium rapidly then followed. Prince Eltor yelled out for the crowd to move back from the circle of bright light. The knights and other soldiers, led by Roger, Paulus and Lukestar, were rapidly ordered into a large circle around this point of light and to keep their weapons lowered until further instruction. Many in the crowd screamed and ran away in fear, dragging their loved ones with them, but rather bravely, or in stunned curiosity, most villagers remained rooted to the spot or moved in around and behind the soldiers, muttering quietly in anticipation of the totally unknown. A low hum could now be heard as the beam of light began to glow red and expand to about ten feet in diameter. Amelia clutched her brother Grey’s arm in excited suspense, as they stood behind their parents.

Tallia was more aware of the dangers that such an advanced civilization was capable of, if hostile. Some could destroy an entire planet with a single device, or even start the rapid decay of a star, like the Sun, which she had personally witnessed in her learning tube as a child. Talia remembered that her people had immediately set out and destroyed the attacking craft. Furthermore they enforced a total surrender from the attacker’s home world, placing armed-monitors in orbit around their world. The small number of remaining survivors from the attacked world were relocated, before their planet rapidly froze and hurtled off into oblivion.

Most advanced species thankfully were peaceful and many did not interfere with young civilizations, remaining almost entirely invisible. The group of Azlantids had come from too vast a distance to return to their home world. It was a deliberate choice by their exploration team to remain permanently and even keep their genetic code alive by experimental testing to artificially interbreed with early mankind, which took a long time to achieve some reasonable success.

Tallia’s husband, the spaceship’s captain, had decided to secretly investigate the obvious signs of an advanced civilization on this planet Earth, as their group of explorer ships navigated into the solar system. The Azlantids had attacked without warning, destroying much of their fleet in seconds, before they could take any evasive action and arm up.

After that initial surprise attack the remaining Mog fleet continued in battle over many years, but were eventually overcome. Remaining crew were captured and tortured for information and the stubborn ones put to death, including Tallia’s husband. Tallia and her remaining crew had managed to escape in her spacecraft, hiding in a deep sea-trench with a contingent of her guard warrior ‘Terraloons’. There was not enough power remaining in her craft to risk heading back to her home world, especially without her support fleet.

After many years she risked rising to the surface as far from the enemy as possible, in an area uninhabited by human nor Azlantid, and they survived in the jungles as best they could. A surprise attack by a group of hunter Azlantids caught them offguard, but after destroying the first group she had time to instruct and send her Terraloons into the jungle to hide off-coms for a period of time. A larger attack group arrived within an hour and her spacecraft was taken by the enemy to be studied and concealed. They would take no more chances.

Tallia and her remaining crew were deeply interrogated and she was put into freeze stasis for many years, whilst the Azlantids diminished in number through disease and wars. The remaining Azlantid ‘Gods’ continued to rule mankind unopposed and created many great and powerful civilisations.

The escaped Terraloons had waited in hiding for many years as instructed, before intermittently reconnecting coms in very short bursts, to seek Tallia’s location and ensure she was alive. They travelled in small groups across much of the world, including great seas and mountains to find Tallia. This careful and secretive approach took a very long time. If they were caught they would send a blip message to the other groups and fight to the death.

By the time the first group reached Tallia’s location, few original Azlantid ‘Gods’ remained and their war satellites had decayed and crashed to Earth. The well-armed guards in the facility were killed without mercy and the few terrified Azlantid specialists were grabbed from their hiding places and forced to bring Tallia out of ‘freeze’ stasis. They claimed to know nothing of her crew, nor whether any had survived.

After a slow recovery Tallia was driven by a deep hatred of the Azlantids, and then too of the human armies trying to hunt her down. She carefully exacted her revenge, over countless years, accessing Azlantid technology and weapons, and later discovering even more ancient weapons from earlier visitors, such as the ‘golden rod’, which had risen up out of the bare soil in a derelict religious site in the distant southwest continent. It was totally unmatched in power.

Now in this present situation, she realized that she actually felt a great deal for these local people, who had changed her heart from hostility toward the human race, to a loving understanding. Amelia especially had melted her heart. She thought of all the possible moves she could make to defend them if these aliens attacked. She had her very powerful weapons at hand, but her science, so beyond the knowledge and capability of the humans, was ancient, and in all probability unlikely to match the technology and weapons of these new visitors.

On her command Mog would have the roof slides snap open, her craft fully armed and in orbit within just five seconds, ready to fire simultaneously at all enemy craft on her next command. Talia held her breath.

The royal family and Talia had moved to the raised dias, with their children close at hand, and the circle of soldiers, guards and knights now moved into a horseshoe shape to allow them full view of the yellow craft and its focal point of light changing to red on the ground. Apart from the almost inaudible low humming sound, the silence was deafening as Jaygon felt his heartbeat thumping in his ears. Amelia was now clinging to his leg while still clutching her brother’s arm, and Emeralda squeezing his left hand. He regretted not having their exCaleebra swords at hand and felt far less capable of defending his family. Tallia had her arms folded, hands up her wide sleeves of her dark robe, her right hand wrapped around her golden rod, within the concealing heavy black cloth. She knew she was high-trained and extremely fast if needs be. Within half a second she would have blasted the yellow egg-shaped craft on full power, enough to remove the side of a mountain.

Another brighter beam sparkling with gold and silver flecks appeared within the red light and a metallic humanoid-looking creature rapidly appeared, as though rising up in bits from the ground. The light beams then disappeared but the yellow craft remained hanging silently in the air above them, as did the giant black haloed circular craft which sat suspended far above it. The silvery material on the creature seemed to shimmer and move like mercury, until a harder shell formed like a knight’s armor, in patterned silver and deep blue. The head was helmeted in silvery segments like an orange from the shoulders to the top, and the front face was a curved smooth reflective gold crystal, a little like the light spheres in the caves Anthon thought, which Tallia had called power-glass. The creature slowly turned until facing the raised dias and stood quietly. Then it spoke, seemingly from the air above, in a calming voice.

“I Kyra. No harm to you. Come here to me… this man” he said pointing to one of the soldiers, who looked to his captain in surprise.

“You know our language?” shouted Prince Eltor slowly and clearly. “What is it you want here? Do you come in peace?”

The figure wavered a little like an unsteady image. Then spoke again.

“Little time! Need this man here … now!” he reiterated, pointing to the man and then the gold circle appearing in front of him. The royal group had a brief discussion, uncertain of this odd behaviour and request, nor how they should react in turn. Did it just want to see a human up close? Eltor then asked the soldier his name and if he would willingly and voluntarily stand in front of the Kyra creature as requested? It was not required that he do so!

The soldier named Thomas saluted and without hesitation moved across into the gold circle, bravely facing the Kyra creature. Almost immediately, without the slightest warning, the Kyra moved its hand rapidly across the soldier’s arm. Thomas yelled out in shock and some pain, stepping back from the glowing metallic creature. The Kyra had cut off a small chunk of flesh and was moving an object around between its hands! It then held forth a small silvery cylinder which seemingly held the flesh sample from Thomas’ arm. A flash of blue light surrounded the cylinder! A split-second later the Kyra creature and the beams of light entirely disappeared. The yellow ship shot rapidly upward and disappeared into the giant circular halo craft that hovered above.

“What on Earth was that?” yelled King Jaygon. “Let me see your wound soldier” he said as he walked down to the dazed man. It was a neat cut an inch long, a quarter inch wide and half an inch deep. Strangely it was not bleeding, as though cauterized, but not blackened. This was a worrying development! This act was carried out without permission and without warning! There were no words, sounds or gestures indicating thanks or apology for the act. This was not a friendly gesture, that was certain.

The large halo spaceship remained unmoving above the crowd. The two that had sat above the crater now moved back toward the mother ship, but remained outside of it. Everyone felt uneasy and many in the crowd decided to move away quickly. People were starting to panic. King Jaygon addressed the crowd.

“Dear people of our Kingdom and guests from afar. Whilst some of us will now meet in the privacy of the Keep to discuss the strange events of this evening, and monitor the Off-worlders, may I suggest that we continue with the main festivities tomorrow? Please all move away from the dance area and return to your homes or accommodation if you so wish. Food and drinks will still be available at this time and throughout the night, and you will be notified if this changes. Musicians may still perform in the food area surrounds, but we ask that the volume of your revelry be kept low from midnight as before. Bless you all and good night!”

The Royal families with Tallia, Merklin, Roger, Lukestar, Paulus and a few others, gathered in the Prime room while a number of soldiers and guards kept a careful eye on the night sky, reporting in with any change in the position or movement of craft. The exCaleebra weapons were brought in but remained under the black cloaking cloths. Urgent discussions were held, opinions expressed and options gone through. The first report to come in was that the remaining halo craft above the dance area had shot up higher into the sky and out into space. That news brought feelings of relief to many. It had moved back alongside the ovoid ‘mothership’, but as with the other two, it did not disappear back into the ship.

“Until the great ovoid ship moves on and out of the solar system,” Tallia said, in her clear and lilting voice “we cannot presume that the threat has passed. May I suggest that I return to my craft and prepare for the worst?” Amelia felt deeply alarmed at this suggestion and a fear of impending loss began to overwhelm her. What did she mean?

“The behavior of the Aliens is concerning to me. May I suggest that you place the Keep in lockdown readiness meanwhile, and bring in all the villagers and visitors you can, especially the children. Hopefully the aliens will just move on in a few hours and all will be well. “

“Do you have space in your craft for another?” asked Merklin a little sheepishly, his face turning noticeably red, much to the amusement of the group. Anthon had a wishful surge of adventure rush through his heart, also wanting to join Tallia, but knew there were great risks in any potential combat. Although entirely eager, he reminded himself of his own present responsibilities to the family and grandkids.

“I would be honored and most pleased to have your company Merlin! After all, I have been chasing you for awhile” she added with a smile and chuckled, as did most of the group. “We should leave immediately! To be quick we must risk using our devices to ascend the crater wall out of direct sight of the ovoid ship. Is that acceptable to you my friend?” Amelia felt some relief that the wise Merklin would also be going along and Tallia not be alone to face the scary creatures. She rushed over to hug them both before others had a chance. Tallia swept her into her arms and told her that all would be well and not to worry. Merklin chuckled, took her from Tallia’s arms and kissed her on the cheek. She could feel herself blush. The children all said their farewells and were then led to the upstairs nursery by the nannies, much to their muttering disapproval, but they understood the safety rules.

Merklin and Tallia quickly said their farewells and that they would maintain surveillance and verbal contact from her craft. The Talk-box had been set up in this room a week ago thank goodness, and many of them now knew how to send and receive voice and moving images. Just one of the many amazing wonders shown them by Tallia of Mog.

Soon after they left, a most worrying report came in, which had them all rush out onto the balcony. Older folk, children and mothers and some fathers were still being brought into the Keep and window and door thick planking being set in place for lockdown. There were now eight of the gigantic haloed craft observed outside the Ovoid ship. Mathem rushed back in to the Talk-box to inform Tallia. He then instructed two of his men to listen for responses and two others to act as runners, maintaining communication.

Back out on the balcony he suggested to the others that all soldiers arm up and report to the main courtyard for briefing. It was agreed, and Roger immediately shouted out the orders. Anthon suggested to the royal party that it was time that they too don their light armour and special swords. The queen and lady royals must prepare to hastily move to the fortified royal chambers adjacent to the nursery, as soon as alerted to do so, to join the children.

A moment later, Amelia, Grey, Archer, Breese and Harold rushed out onto the balcony, followed by rather breathless and frazzled nannies Margs and Mishe, both weakly calling them back. The kids had obviously led them on a wild goose chase from the nursery.

“We want to watch too!” yelled Amelia, accompanied by the supportive yells of the others. They all looked up and noticed the additional haloed craft, now ten in all.

“What are they doing dad?” asked Harold

“We’re not sure yet but will let you know” Eltor answered truthfully. All the adults were feeling intense anxiety but didn’t want the children to fret. “I think we agree that you head back up to your rooms and play some games meanwhile, with your nannies watching”. The other adults nodded in agreement.

“Nannies Margs and Mish it is past their normal bedtime but under these excitable circumstances I think let the ones sleep that want to, but the others can continue to play in the playroom as long as they wish” Emeralda added after a quick nod of approval from Saphire and Jenny.

“Yay!” yelled the kids and rushed back inside, except Grey and Harold who hesitated, looking up at the events unfolding in space, and asked to stay a while longer and ask a load of questions. The haloed circle craft were moving along the edge of the ovoid ship before halting in an evenly spaced and perfectly straight line. A blue light now connected each craft to the mothership.

“What on Earth are they doing now?” asked Eltor. “Grey and Harold please head off and join your siblings and cousins immediately. We need to discuss some urgent matters, adults only! Head straight up to the nursery and inform your nannies and your door guards to perform urgent lockup. Do you understand? We are relying on you and will let you know as events change. You may need to help protect the nursery Grey. Show the others the weapons unit, but don’t let them touch any, unless you judge the time has come. You know what I mean. Harold please help Grey as he requires, and help ensure that the others know he is in charge. We love you all and will let you know what’s going on as soon as we can, so don’t worry too much. Your mothers and the ladies will join you soon. Go quickly now boys!”

Everyone had eyes on the night sky. The connecting blue light switched off simultaneously to all ten haloed craft. After a brief pause these ten incomprehensibly large craft moved away from the giant ovoid ship, seemingly in slow motion travelling out in all directions. One of the craft headed in their direction, dropping down into the atmosphere and surrounded by fiery radiance, as the air screamed its objection to such intrusive size and velocity, and the thunderous noise was truly deafening. The blast knocked many to the ground before the 5-mile-in-diameter craft stopped, suspended silently about half a mile above their heads. After a minute the similar red and yellow striped egg-shaped craft dropped from the haloed craft until it hung just 50 feet above the courtyard. Again an identical Kyra creature appeared, but twice the size of its earlier form, seemingly rising from the ground and spoke, looking directly at the royal party.

“Our king-queen say we tell you. Because it fair. Tell only you. Not others, not other places. We take half you with us. Half all you on planet. We come now collect. You choose what ones. Give half them in building. All sizes, big, small, baby ones. Both types, man, woman. Choose. We come.” Again the creature disappeared rapidly and the yellow craft shot back up into the black Halo craft above.

“Blistering Blubbering Bum! Is that critter saying we must offer up half our people, men, women and children, to be taken away on board their ship? That’s what it sounded like to me!” yelled Anthon incredulously, to the stunned and suddenly silent group.  

“Outrageous and not on your Nellie!” shouted the King. Some of the nervous lady royals headed urgently for the safety of the fortified royal chambers. People were shouting and frantic to enter the overcrowded Keep while the guards shouted for order and kept the queues of villages from trampling one another as they entered through the three court areas.

The King Jaygon Joshua, Princes Eltor, Mathem and Duke Anthon urgently discussed first tactics for defense with Lukestar, Roger and Paulus. They in turn loudly instructed their men on the placement of soldiers around the castle grounds and the Royal Keep and in defensive perimeter semi circles at every entry. However, the remaining civilians must not be hindered from entering.

Louder yelling brought their attention to the myriad of lights appearing on the underside of the halo craft hovering silently above, mostly around the outer edge. Suddenly hundreds of cylindrical shapes popped out from these lit openings, and dropped toward the ground, in a circle some four miles wide, encompassing the outer village and farm areas as well as the castle. Eight cylinders dropped directly into the court area where the dances were held, and others fell like rain into the outer accommodation areas.

“Hold tight but be ready for battle!” Tallia yelled over the Talk-box. “We need to see their next move unfold. Move your men into the Keep and court areas and attack if they approach!”

The cylinder-shaped capsules, about nine foot tall, one and a half feet wide, rounded top and bottom, began glowing silver and floated about a foot above the ground, moving apart to create a large nine-sided shape, some eighty feet side to side.

“The outer cylinders are somehow gathering villagers, men, women and children, and forcing them in your direction.” Tallia continued. “They can change shape and enter buildings and homes, using some form of electrical shock to push folk outside. They seem to have no interest in livestock or plant food. I would surmise that they intend to corral them into that dance area, before possibly transporting them away. This is happening elsewhere too, around this kingdom and others. I am accessing the rather simple data system on the Halo sitting above you. Await interpretation. Merlin says hi!”

A little earlier, the kids were playing knights and damsels with eight other children. It was getting rowdy with a great deal of laughter as Grey challenged three other boys to best him. Cloth-wrapped yew-tree wooden swords only. The first to strike him would win the hand of the first damsel Maria, pretty eight-year-old daughter of visiting Earl Robin. The loud boom of the alien craft entering the lower atmosphere froze them in fear of the unknown, and many screamed out. Harold took that moment to strike the blow and win the hand of Maria. Nannies Margs and Mishe rushed through to console the kids, but they were yelling in excitement not fear. Harold continued to secretly hold the willing hand of Maria behind his back, as the nannies looked their way.

“What was that noise?” asked Amelia, rushing over to the arrow slit window with Grey and peeking through the gap in the fortification shutters.

“Please stay away from the slit window kids. It might be dangerous!” warned Nanny Mishe. “We will ask the guards if they know what happened. We will all be fine I promise. Please carry on playing and your mummies will be up soon.”

Grey called Harold over with a flick of his head in the direction of the weapons unit. That built up another round of excitement as the children followed to see what their older ‘leader’ had in store for them, with a babble of a myriad questions. Grey was enjoying the excitement and challenge of leadership and must carefully choose which weapons to hand out to which children under his command.

“Warning!” Tallia’s voice interrupted the Royal party’s discussions. They had again gathered in the Prime room, but many standing at the doorway looking out. “My interrogation of the alien Halo craft is complete, with its links to the great Mother Ship. The Mother Ship has on board a variety of possibly ‘super-wealthy and self-important’ species types, on a type of adventurous food-tasting exploration of areas of the galaxy. The human flesh is a match for over 80 percent of them. Basically they like how you taste! They intend to eat and breed you on board for the hundreds of years of exploration ahead. I hope that you agree with our decision to attack them immediately! Defend yourselves!”

“Lords of Life be with you Tallia and Merklin! Come on men, let’s return to the balcony” the King yelled amongst the rising pandemonium and they rushed back outside. They were just in time to see Tallia’s glowing yellowish craft rapidly rise upward from the crater area and rush at enormous speed toward the giant Mother Ship, pulsing with bursts of light. Instantly the large haloed craft exploded in the upper atmosphere and they could see other haloed craft urgently racing back toward the Mother Ship before they too exploded in bursts of intense light. Those watching the spectacular assault let out loud cheers, screams and laughter, and many women had to be held up, overcome with the rush of adrenaline and tears of pure joy.

Disobeying yells from mothers, guards and nannies, and before they could catch up, the kids rushed out to join the men on the balcony. Amelia could feel thrills of elation and excitement rush through her little body, as she was jumping up and down, again and again, and realized that the long high-pitched screaming sound was coming from her own throat. Grey grabbed her, and she hugged him furiously with joy as they watched the skies.

“She’s winning, she’s winning! Tallia we love you. Thank you, thank you! Please don’t die!” she cried, refusing to let her brother go. People were now rushing back out of the Keep to watch the most amazing battle in the skies and join the exuberant shouting, clapping and back-slapping.    

The Mother Ship was attempting an escape but was sliced in two by a powerful red beam from the Red Wasp’s craft. Various enemy blasts around Tallia’s craft did nothing to slow her down as she continued to slice up the Mother Ship from end to end. The balcony and courtyards exploded in cheers as they bore witness to their saviour above. They could not see her actual craft at such a distance, but could see the flashes and the dark ship now glowing in fiery bits of destruction. They could also hear Merklin’s voice yelling out all sorts of joyous expletives from the Talk-box inside.

Harold and Reese rushed over, in fear and excitement, hugging grandfather Anthon from both sides, before he could rush down the court stairs to join and help his sons. Jaygon, Eltor and Mathem had begun attacking the floating cylinder-shaped capsules with the exCaleebra swords, with success. They were no longer emitting the powerful controlling shockwaves in defense and one by one fell to the ground and toppled over. Other soldiers tried to help the attack but their swords and arrows could not damage the hard material of the cylinders.

“Tracking the remaining five alien craft and in pursuit! The cylinders lose power once their Halo craft are destroyed. You’ll be pleased to know all towns in the Kingdom are now safe from their control, including Apple. Speak Soon! Merlin behave yourself!” Tallia yelped and laughed.

“Your majesties, they are now harmless, Tallia has assured us. You can stop wasting your energy and come back up here to celebrate. Apple is safe too!”  Anthon called out to his sons below, who were still swinging their singing sword-blades into the shrieking metal of the hard cylinder shells. They stopped and sheathed their swords.

King Jaygon looked back to the balcony, at his family, friends and his people, then fell to his knees in humble thanks for the lives of the Kingdom. The other men all followed suit and the Ladies curtsied and bowed their heads in great respect, and each person whispered or mumbled their own words of thankfulness.

As the night wore on, more people quietly joined the gathering, from inside the Keep and others still walking in from the village and outer areas. The light from the many burning torches, within and without the Keep and courtyards, cast a flickering warm glow on the mostly silent but joyous and thankful folk of the Kingdom. Most kept an eye on the heavens, awaiting the return of Tallia and Merklin. There would be the most tumultuous welcome. Some, including Amelia, Grey and Anthon, were starting to feel a little concerned that they had not yet returned after quite some time.

“Please be okay!” Amelia whispered quietly to herself.

The End of Chapter 7

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