All words presented in this blog are purely opinion, not fact - unless specifically stated otherwise in the post.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Harry Potter and the Studio Tour

So today's going to be another one of those days where I have too much to do to post a proper blog post. I'm off to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in london.
I'll be taking many pictures.

Hopefully I'll be able to pust again tonight when i get back but no promises.

As way of an apology, here is the next chapter of that Prince/Pauper post story thing I put up a couple of weeks ago. (I chose to add to this one and not others cos it has the highest number of views)

Enjoy;

---



Chapter 4


Alduain stood out in the cool morning air. He hadn't mingled at the party for very long two nights earlier in the equinox festival, instead choosing to retire as soon as all of the formalities were over with.
As expected the people had been dull. The entertainment crass. The food... surprisingly exquisite, but not enough to save the night.  The following day had been equally tedious, having to listen to the governor and his wife blustering and complaining about 'lazy lantines' taking the day off of their sacred duty while their daughter- a horse faced young noblewoman with blue and yellow eyes, black hair and very pale skin -fawned over Alduain, trying to impress upon him her status as a well sought after bachelorette. A statement that Alduain prayed for his race was a lie.
If he had had his way he would have returned on the equinox, but there was nobody to lead his carriage, nobody to take his bags in. Without the lantine slaves the Nobility really were incapable of operating, yet the twice yearly reminder didn't remotely point out the fact to the Noblemen Alduain had met.
The Prince looked up from his musings and caught his reflection in the glass of the carriage. He wore a long brown coat,  buttoned up to the collar obscuring the navy blue travel suit and autumn orange waistcoat, less formal and more comfortable than his usual suits, but far more uncomfortable than the scruffy trousers and shirts the Citizens and lantines were allowed to wear. He could see the handle of his sword poking out the front and the tip at the base of the coat.
His eyesight backed up to take in the four person horse and exquisitely crafted black carriage with his seal on it as Xelaria, still as confusingly beautiful as the first night he had seen her, directed the Governors lantines to put Alduain's travel chest on the top of the carriage.
Xelaria had proven herself to be a highly competent servant, agreeing to work for him on equinox day when she really didn't have to. Alduain had promised her a day off once they were back in the Central Counties, but she had assured him that it wouldn't be necessary. Of course he intended to give her the day anyway.
He looked back to the larger, but significantly less ornate carriages lined behind Alduains, they would carry his Inforcers once they returned. He hadn't seen them since he sent them to deal with the Drell farm issue. The day before Alduain had assumed that they were taking the day, as they always did, for themselves. The Nobility had no right to expect anything from the lower classes on Equinox days, however while he wasn't concerned before he was starting to worry now.
They were the finest warriors in the kingdom however- except perhaps for the Kings personal guard -it was unlikely that they had been killed by a small terrorist cell. Still... they had standing orders to report in at seven in the morning every day and it was almost nine.
“She is a remarkable specimen.” the governor pointed out, coming up beside Alduain, nodding at Xelaria.
Alduain cursed internally. He had hoped to leave before the governor awoke. He had been na├»ve. “A fine gift.” Alduain acknowledge.
The Governor nodded in his pompous way. “I'm sure a gift of that magnitude would earn your favour.” The governor pointed out, not at all subtly. Alduain eyed him as he continued to nod. “Are you sure you must leave so soon, your highness?” He asked, turning to Alduain. “You and Merianda appeared to be getting along so well. She will be saddened that you had to leave this morning.”
Alduain forced a smile and drew on his tobastick. He blew it out a moment later, making sure not to blow it on the Governor. “It is with deep regret, of course, that I must return to the central counties my lord, but there are matters that require my urgent attention.” he lied. It wasn't that he wasn't needed in the central counties- he was sure that there was some terrorist group somewhere for him to round up -but there was no regret. Had he been forced to sit with young Merianda any longer he might have been forced to drown her in her own moisture.
“A shame, she will have to come visit you in the central counties soon.” He offered.
Alduain was certain that the horrified shock extended to his facial features but the governor didn't seem to notice. “Of course.” Alduain forced. “However I am often elsewhere, I fear that my attentions would be too widely dispersed to do Miss Merianda justice, perhaps at the next court affair?” the next court affair would not be for at least four months, and really if Alduain hadn't thought of a decent excuse by that point he didn't deserve to get out of it.
The governor nodded. “Of course. When do you leave?”
“As soon as my Inforcers arrive.” Alduain responded as Xelaria returned to his side, her head bowed to avoid the two lords attention.
“Ah, I've always wondered about your men, are they Noblemen?” The governor asked.
“The captain is. Of a very low house however.” Alduain answered.
“And the others are Citizen.” The Governor concluded.
“No, actually. A few of them are Citizen, but the majority are lantine.” Alduain corrected.
“Really?” the Governor asked, surprised. “And they make you wait?”
Alduain frowned. “Never before.” he admitted, thinking back. “They're good soldiers, disciplined, strong, the strongest and most loyal I've known...”
“And yet- perhaps the freedom that we suffered them yesterday grew too intoxicating for their feeble minds?” The Governor offered, bristling at the idea of the lantines freedom.
“Perhaps...” Alduain admitted, looking out at the city. He picked the pocket watch from his vest and popped it open. Nine-thirty. “However I am growing worried that the terrorist cell we found in your town proved too much for them.”
The governor frowned, looking sidelong at Alduain. “I doubt any terrorist cell in my city would be large enough or have enough momentum to kill all of your Inforcers. My Legionnaires are not quite so incompetent.”
Alduain nodded. “Still... I would know where I might find Drell farm.”
“Drell farm?” the Governor repeated. “It's just outside the town, one of the smaller farms, grows speciality items tobacco mostly. I can have a Legionnaire show you, if you'd like.”
“Perhaps... I'd rather not risk the life of another. If you could just point me in the right direction I'm sure I'd find it.”
“I can show you, My Prince.” Xelaria said, quietly behind him. “I know the farm a little.”
Alduain considered. He didn't want to risk the lives of the Legionnaires, good hard working men, but a lantine? Lantines were replaceable, even one so... confusing. He nodded and crossed the driveway to his horse and carriage. He reached up into the bags tied to the roof and drew a long belt with tubes of water from his clothes chest. He inspected them quickly for cracks, but found none. Some of the tubes had small objects in them others were just plain water.
He strapped it over his shoulder and around his waist before climbing back up onto the carriage and rummaging around. He jumped down with three bottles of water with, what looked like, holsters and attached them to his belt. The first time he'd put the bottles on he had thought he looked ridiculous, and he did, but he was happy to sacrifice a little aesthetic beauty for the power that the bottles held for him.
“All right.” he said, walking back to the governor and his lantine. “I would appreciate the use of a horse, Governor Ferron.”
The Governor nodded and pointed towards a nearby stable. “Just tell one of the lantines to saddle one for you. I... I think I'll wait inside.” He dabbed his head. “Good luck to you, son, may the fallen watch over you.”
Alduain nodded and turned to the stable, striding quickly. Before long they were on their way, riding as quickly as Alduain could while following the lantine girl's directions.
Soon Alduain came to a stop in front of a small farm. The farm house was at the front of the property and the barn at the back. Everything seemed fine at first but on closer inspection Alduain noticed that the crops were dead. The earth was dry for anything to grow. The rebels had chosen this place specifically because of him, or another Soaker.
“Stay here.” The Soaker ordered, climbing off the horse and un-holstering a bottle of water. He landed and the dirt seemed to crumple beneath him, throwing up dust in every direction.
“What're you going to do, my Prince?” the lantine asked, slipping off the horse beside him. “Do you require any assistance?”
Alduain eyed the girl and frowned. “I do not require your help. Wait here and only come if you need me.”
She looked up at him with intelligent eyes and nodded, stepping back to the horse. Alduain checked his sword, bottles and water tubes quickly before turning for the barn and sprinting through the dead crops.
He looked back over his shoulder to catch Xelaria pulling a sword free of the horses saddle to wait. A very confusing lantine.
Alduain returned to the task at hand, leaping over a fence and slowing down as he reached the land surrounding the barn. The air was dry and he could smell burning. They had cleansed the area of water. A soaker would be powerless in such conditions but Alduain would not be deterred.
Another smell came to his nose after a moment as he crept to the door; burnt flesh. He froze, frowning and then there was a scream.
The Prince leapt at the barn door and forced it open. Three men in lantine workers clothes turned to him, one held a hot poker, standing in front of the bound body of Alduain's Noble captain.
A quick look around the barn found the bodies of Alduain's men piled up on one side of the room and a few of the lantines laid out reverently on the other side.
“My- My Prince...” The captain sighed, looking up.
Alduain's expression darkened as the three men turned away from the captain, tied to a crucifix at the back of the room. The one holding the poker threw it aside. It rolled into a bale of hay and set it alight. The fire spread instantly around the room, blocking Alduains retreat and burning away any moisture left in the air.
Alduain had no plans to retreat, however. That was a Lord of Galledar- from a minor noble house, perhaps, but noble none the less -the lantine mongrels were torturing. He would no more leave a friend and ally to the mercy of a pack of ravenous dogs than he would leave him to the lantines.
“Black Prince Alduain of Galledar, we've been expecting you.” One of the men announced. He stepped away from the torture victim and stood with his back straight and hands clasped behind his back. He was a proud man, prouder than the Prince had ever seen a lantine.
There was something wrong here, it wasn't just a terrorist cell. At least not a normal one. His captain was important, but what was happening might have been even more so.
Alduain took a breath, closing his eyes, and vanished to be replaced by the Black Prince. “You've probably noticed the lack of moisture here.” The proud man told him. “The men you sent were certainly skilled, but they were no match for my people.”
The Inforcers were the finest soldiers in the kingdom, if they lost here then there had to be some factor that the Black Prince was not seeing. He uncorked one of his bottles and downed it before any of the men could stop him. Instantly he felt the warm refreshing sensation of having all of his magical reserves replenished. He could feel the well of energy within him, he felt like a bubble about to burst under the pressure as the the magic begged to be released. The man talking clicked his fingers and six more men stepped into the room. “We know about your powers. You work on moisture, you can sense it, you can control it... well we've removed all the moisture from the area, you're powerless are you not?”
The Black Prince didn't converse with lantines. He simply dealt with them. He moved quickly, pulling two of the water tubes from their belt across his chest and threw them out in opposite directions towards the two groups of men that had entered at the lead's command.
They moved like arrows across the room, swiftly traversing the barn and exploding into many pieces just before reaching the targets. From the outside it would have looked like an incredible throw, but it wasn't. The Black Prince could manipulate the water. So long as he had a reserve of liquid energy inside him he could manipulate or create any amount of water he wished.
The Prince forced the water to carry the tubes across the room, applying pressure to the front to propel it forward, only to press outwards at the last moment and smash the glass apart. The Black Prince grabbed the glass with the water and rocketed the jagged pieces into the enemies, cutting through cloth and flesh alike.
Two of the lantine fell, shards of glass cutting their throats with a quick flick of the water, and the Prince moved onto the next. The water, blood and glass melded into two shafts of liquid, swimming through the air. They moved like vengeful snakes as they chased their targets down for what the animals had done to their betters.
The red snakes of glass and water shot at their next targets, covering the mouths and noses of a pair of lantine as they attempted to attack. The lantine tried to breath but instead sucked the snakes down their throats, drowning them and cutting them apart from the inside.
The Black Prince pulled the water back from the lungs of the two lantine, killing them as the others grabbed up weapons and attacked in earnest.
The snakes had doubled in size, drawing blood from the four lantines that they had killed. The two large red and clear snakes swam around the Black Prince, circling him protectively as he gathered his senses. Normally he'd not need to use his human senses, he'd be able to sense everything from the moisture in the air, but without that he was nearly blind. The water in people was still visible to him, however the weapons and their surroundings... He shook his head and forced his eyes open, moistening them against the dry heat with his power. He flexed the snakes and took a quick moment, looking to the power inside himself. He found it had diminished to around three quarters compared to what he had had.
Manipulating water didn't use the power up as quickly as creating it, which is why Alduain carried his tubes. The weapons cut down on power waste, but in extended fights he still had to replenish his reserves, hence the holstered water bottles.
Of the five remaining lantines two held sword and shields while the others held spears. The Black Prince considered quickly how to deal with them, the shields would pose a problem if they knew how to use them. The swords and spears less so.
The Black Prince imagined water coating the swords, holding tight to them and hindering the blades movement and the water complied. The two snakes split into four and two of them charged the swordsmen. They raised their shields and the water crashed off of them. It took effort to re-form the snakes, but the Black Prince commanded and the snakes complied.
Two continued to circle the Prince protectively creating a perimeter a meter around him but the other two slipped onto the blades of the men and stuck tight. A more skilled or powerful soaker would have been able to stop the molecules of the water, freezing the swords in cases of blood and ice, but Alduain wasn't that powerful. A soaker that powerful hadn't been seen in well over a century, except perhaps for the King, but an element like the Princes father could do many things that others would think impossible.
The three spear men darted forward and the Black Prince drew his rapier. The two snakes that protected him concentrated into orbs and blocked the spear tips of the two to the sides. The spears penetrated the orbs- they were just water after all -but were stopped soon after by the opposing force of the water. The Prince couldn't grab the long, hard heavy spears with the water like he had with the glass, he knew that, but trying to thrust a spear through water wasn't an easy thing to do. The third spearman thrust toward the Prince, but he dodged to the side, batting the weapon aside with a flick of his sword.
The spearman swung it low to trip the Prince, stepping forward to hook his legs, but the Princes training was broader than swordsmanship and his powers. He threw his sword into the air and flipped backwards, over the spear. A small portion of each water snake shot from the larger snakes, darting to the sword and catching it. The Black Prince landed on his feet and extended his hand as the fifth snake slipped the sword back into his hand.
The snake splashed to the floor, wetting the dirt to mud. While Alduain was incredibly skilled a fifth snake was just a little too much. He had to focus on each one, a snake on each side blocking the spearmen's attacks, a snake on each swordsman's weapon to keep them from engaging, and another to carry his weapons? It was just too much. Most people couldn’t have handled more than one or two constructs and yet the Prince held four comfortably and a fifth with strain.
When he'd started learning he would focus on one and spit it in two, then focus too much on the second and allow the first to wilt, splashing to the floor. Now though he was far more controlled.
The Prince shot forward before the spearman could recover and slashed across his chest, cutting through his simple shirt and knocking him backwards before finishing him off with a thrust of his own, skewering the man's heart on the tip of his sword.
The spearman dropped before him, only to be replaced by one of the swordsmen. He'd dropped his water-clogged weapon and charged the Prince shield first. He leapt over the body of his comrade and swung with the shield. It hit the unsuspecting Prince across the jaw and he was knocked to the side.
All of the water splashed down into the dirt as he lost concentration. The men moved to attack him while he was down but he reacted quickly, rolling backwards to his feet and grabbing the second bottle of water.
His magical reserves were low, he'd not noticed at first but the constant fighting in the heat of the fire around the room had drained him more quickly. He downed the water before anyone could stop him and analysed the situation.
The Prince was surrounded by four men, two with spears and two with sword and shield. The room was walled with fire, drying him out quicker than normal and his captain was dying on a crucifix.
He was down two glass shots and two bottles, but he had everything else still attached. The proud man who had spoken was the only one who hadn't yet attacked. There was something strange about him. An air of confidence. His men had been dropped one by one and yet he was still confident. There was something here he didn't understand.
The Black Prince was confident in his ability to defeat these men, but there was a small matter of how. Within the tubes of water he had placed a variety of different things. A couple had metal darts, others had poison capsules, most were just water with glass tubes, they were simple but very dangerous, however there were two, the first looked just like the regular water ones, but it had a secret, prepared just incase he had to fight another soaker and the other one… it had a black, air tight, metal tube that could only be opened from the inside by a push of a soaker. He had only been forced to replace the contents once, and never wanted to have to again.
The Prince waited as the men stepped closer and then moved his hands away from the tubes. The muddied water leapt from the floor behind his attackers and launched at the men. The swordman that had hit him and the two spearmen didn't know what hit them. Bubbles of water grabbed hold of their heads and refused to let go. The Black Prince watched as they fell to their knees, scratching through the water at their own faces until they lay still in the muddy floor; drowned.
The last man, however, remained unaffected. The water that attacked him vanished within a few inches of his face. That's what the Prince had missed. This man, whoever he was, was an Elemental.
The Black Prince breathed deeply as his reserves went down to half of what they had started at.
“Fool.” the man sighed. “The only reason you are not yet dead is because I did not wish to harm my people, and I had hoped to speak with you.” He sighed.
“What are you?” The Black Prince asked, ignoring the man's statement.
“I am you.” the man stated. “Or at least, the you that should have been. I am Harrison Charles.”
“How did you evade my attack?” the Prince continued. He had to be a burner, or an incredibly powerful soaker, able to vibrate the molecules so quickly that they evaporated.
Chargers, Augmenters, Breezers and their amalgamations wouldn't have been able to do it. Avoid it, perhaps, but not make the water vanish entirely.
In answer to the Black Princes question the fire around the room flared, circling him. The man was a burner, which implied noble birth. Charles was not a well-known house, however the Black Prince was unaware of many lesser house names
The fire attacked, coming from all sides towards the Prince. Thinking quickly he forced all the water back at him, soaking him through. He dived through the fire and rolled close to Charles, drawing his sword.
His quarry drew his own sword simultaneously and their blades clashed. Fire spilled towards him from behind, causing him to dodge aside. The fire swam into Charles, but he absorbed it, spitting it back out his free hand towards the Black Prince.
He cursed, pulled the water and moisture up from the quickly drying bodies around the room and slammed it into the fire. The water barrier evaporated into steam, forcing the Prince back a step as he searched for more water to block with.
The Black Prince didn’t have it. Even if he did there was too much fire. He had to end it quickly if he was going to live through the day.
He pulled a glass tube from his bandoleer and threw it threw the deteriorating water barrier. It splashed through the centre and then soared through the flames. The Black Prince could feel the water boiling, bubbling against the glass as it weakened. The glass exploded at high speed and the water evaporated. The Black Prince watched as the water barrier vanished and the fire spilt free and leapt at the Prince.
Inches from his face the fire dissipated and a scream sounded from Charles. The fire all around the room simmered down to a low burn and, across from the Black Prince, Harrison Charles fell to the floor.
The Black Prince stumbled to his feet and walked over to the fallen enemy. He coughed against the smoke and grabbed the man by the back of his clothes. A quick look up at the captain of his Inforcers told him that the man was already dead. Burned to a crisp by the Burner in the Princes grip.
He weighed up the pros and cons of saving his captains body, but the building was already falling apart and he was certain that the minor lord would have preferred that he do his job and find the terrorists.
The Prince dragged him back to the side door and kicked it through, dragging him out into the open as the barn crumbled.
The Black Prince looked up at the crumpled building and sighed. He was alone. He had no Inforcers and he hadn’t even fully destroyed the terrorist cell. He cursed, took his last flask of water from its holster and downed it. “You’ve killed them all.” The Black Prince sighed, turning back to Harrison Charles. He was awake and, though he was dying; he looked calm. The Black Prince had seen that look before. He knew he was going to die, so he had no reason to give up anything he didn’t want to. The Black Prince could torture the information out of him… but there was always a risk that he’d die before giving anything up. The Black Prince was no longer able to help here.
He took a breath and Alduain returned to the forefront. “Are you happy?” He asked. “You’ve killed good, honourable men… hard working men… You’re a Nobleman, correct?”
“No.” He coughed, blood spilling down his front. “I’m Citizen.”
“But with your powers…” Alduain argued, looking down at him.
He shook his head. “Nobody knew.” Charles said. “We made sure of that.”
“We?” Alduain asked, turning away from the body to look back over the quickly deteriorating barn.
“The resistance-”
“You mean terrorists.” Alduain corrected, cutting him off and turning his head to the man.
He chuckled and raised an eyebrow, wincing slightly at the pain. “You really believe that don’t you?” he asked. Alduain’s eyebrows narrowed and he nodded his head. “Then the damage is already done. You’re father would be disappointed.”
“You do not get to speak about my father!” Alduain growled, a flash of anger passing through his eyes. He crouched down in front of the older man and grabbed him by the front of his shirt. “He unified this nation and brought peace to the warring lands. He is your savour and-” the man’s head lolled back. Dead.
Alduain threw him to the floor and rifled through his pockets before standing up. He brushed himself off and stared down at the body. He frowned, scrunching his face up before spitting on the body and turning back to the horse and his servant.
The two animals were where he had left them, but not as he left them. The girl sat cowering against the side of the barns surrounding fence. She held the sword she had taken from the horse bloodied in her hands. A rebel man laid in front of her, dead, though the fear on her face and the way she held the sword towards him suggested that she believed otherwise.
Alduain passed the man and crouched down beside her. Her eyes never left the body, but when he drew near she dropped the weapon, allowing herself to cry. He’d seen similar actions before from people who had killed for the first time. It wasn’t uncommon, but he found it increasingly more difficult to think of lantines as mere animals when they mimicked Human emotion so flawlessly.
He lifted the girl in his arms and placed her up on the saddle. He climbed on behind her and turned them around. He had had his doubts about keeping her, but now… she had killed a terrorist. She had earned her place in his staff.

- James

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