warnings: some violence, nothing too graphic
pairings: Melian, Kalanthony
Chivalry Refuge Camp was a large house in a quiet town, standing on the edge of it, surrounded by the forest, though it felt as though it were the edge of the world. For those in hiding from Evil Queen May, it was a godsend.
You see, there is another world beyond ours, another world full of magic, another world that was taken over, and the rebellion had nowhere to go but this dimension. And now here they were, a bunch of children, fighting to gain strength so they could lead the revolution their entire world was depending on. If one took a count of this young army, they’d find:
The Elders, the youngest being thirty and the oldest being forty, the group that lead the entire organization.
The Stealth, the group that moved quietly in and out of the place they were expunged from, The Life Dimension.
The Army, a rag-tag bunch of misfits in training, trying to get good enough to take out the Evil Queen.
The Bureaucrats, those who kept things running.
The Insiders, those who helped the wizards blend in with the humans.
And so all these people lived in this house on the edge of the woods, the big brown one with the mossy roof and the creaking floorboards and the massive rose garden that was surrounded by a decaying brick porch. Now don’t get it wrong, Old Widow Martha kept the place in great condition, the floor shined and there wasn’t any dust and there were lace tablecloths and hand-knitted blankets everywhere, but that didn’t stop the house from being old. And if one were to inquire as to who was in this house, they’d find among others:
Mari Takahashi, a strong-willed bureaucrat who’d been with the rebellion for six long years.
Melanie Moat, leader of The Army, and considered one of the most powerful witches in both dimensions.
Kalel Cullen, a powerful Stealth member who had strong magic, but was too young and new to the team to be very well respected.
Anthony Padilla, who was only in the army a year but advanced in his training faster than any other student.
Ian Hecox, an Insider who lived in Chivalry when he was a child. Though his magic was weak, he was both well studied and helped the wizards blend in excellently.
All of these young wizards would be instrumental in the biggest battle of magical history, a battle that we go to now.
. . .
Loud, distant blasts sounded everywhere around them, causing the window panes to shake and the ground to vibrate beneath their feet.
“Hurry up with that silencing charm!” Ian heard Mari screaming behind him as she ran about the house. They were under attack, and it was his job to make sure the humans didn’t hear what was going on and get suspicious, so he and the other Insiders were putting up shield after shield to keep them away. They stood in the kitchen, watching through the window as an odd haze started to form around the house, the shields taking effect. The Stealth were putting up shields to protect them from magic, and they all had to hope that would be enough. Ian could hear The Army outside, yelling and casting fire and lightning, keeping the evil force outside at bay.
They heard the back door creak, and an Elder rushed in, looking panicked.
“Everyone listen up! Tell the others of what I’m about to tell you!” She shouted, and everyone within earshot became still. Ian was petrified.
“It’s the Queen’s Elite.” She said it loudly, but they could hear the soft defeat in her voice, and many sighed. Ian felt suddenly numb.
“And unfortunately, it’s the Queen herself.” She said, and more sighing went through the crowd, heads bowed in understanding of what was happening. “We think she’s come for blood. Everyone, this is the hardest we’ll ever work, and we need to be brave and stick together. As long as we do what we were trained to do, we should be alright. Okay everyone, let’s fight!” She yelled as though she was commanding a great army with a great speech, and while many cheered as she ran back out the door, and they ran around grabbing supplies and getting ready to do battle, Ian knew they were in serious trouble.
He saw Anthony run in from the back door and rush in his direction, so he called his name.
“Anthony.” He said, and his friend looked at him with terror in his eyes from across the room. He crossed the den, the hallway that led to the basement door, and rushed into the kitchen with Ian, with no intention of slowing down. “Whoa, wait.”
“I have to get supplies.” He said, looking frazzled. “I have to find Kalel.”
“Wait, come on, wait.” Ian grabbed him by the shirt and pushed him against the fridge, looking up into his deep brown eyes. Anthony had only come to the Refuge Camp a year ago with his girlfriend, but he and Ian became immediate friends. Ian looked around to see no one paying attention to them, too busy tied up in their own business, and he lowered his voice.
“Is it as bad as The Elders say?” Ian asked him, feeling desperate, and Anthony looked unexpectedly morose.
“Worse.” He answered, quieter than his friend, knowing those who heard him would lose hope just as he had. “I need to say goodbye to Kalel.”
Ian stared at him, stunned. He was willing to part ways with the love of his life, and go outside and die for his cause, for his people. They’d probably all be dead by nightfall. But Ian knew something they all didn’t, and with a sudden realization, he knew he could possibly save them all.
“I think I can help us. We need Kalel.”
Anthony looked doubtful, but nodded, and rushed through the kitchen and to a ladder sitting against a wall. He climbed up into the attic and Ian followed, temporarily marveling at the magic like he always did. Keeping the house the same size it always was, they built apartments upstairs for most of the wizards to live in. It was big but not massive, with every surface covered in an ugly grey paint, and housed nearly 200 people, half of them out fighting now.
“Kalel!” Anthony yelled, rushing to her room, and Ian took off after him.
“Anthony!” She yelled back, rushing out into the hallway, and he scooped her up into a hug.
“It’s the Elite.” Anthony said as he set her down.
“So I’ve been told.” She nodded. “Apparently Queen May’s set up base at Wading Pond.”
“That’s only a mile away from us.” Ian said, and they all looked terror-stricken yet again.
“Ian thinks he has a plan to save us.” Anthony looked to Kalel, and she seemed as doubtful as he did, but turned to Ian.
“What’s the plan?” She looked serious and ready for a fight. Ian thought a moment.
“Come with me.” He walked back to the ladder and climbed down, rushed through the kitchen, and threw open the basement door. They rushed down the creaky, rickety, curving stairs together and into the basement. Ian switched on the light to reveal his bedroom. Because he had grown up in the house, he didn’t stay in the apartments like almost everyone else did.
“Kalel, you said the queen’s at the pond in the woods?” He asked with urgency. She nodded. “Okay.”
Ian’s bed was against the wall to their left, and he rushed over to it, pulling a backpack from underneath it. Directly behind him and next to the stairs was a closet, which he opened and began rummaging through.
“You know what a portal is?” Ian asked, and Anthony nodded.
“We can’t take a portal out of here, that takes powerful magic.” Kalel pointed out as Ian took some coats from the closet and stuffed them into his bag.
“I know.” Ian answered. “But a portal already exists here.”
“So we can escape.” Anthony said in a questioning tone.
“No. Kind of.” Ian grabbed some socks from a dresser on the right side of the room. “There’s a portal in this house. The only way in is through the closet upstairs, and the only way out is through the one down here. It opens with five different doors into five different pocket dimensions. That’s how we save everyone.”
“Just tell us what to do.” Kalel said as a large blast sounded outside. Ian rushed into the closet, grabbed a rope and a flashlight, and stuffed them into his bag.
“We can’t hide our people in there, if the queen destroys the house she destroys the portal. But there are people in those pocket dimensions, people who would be willing to fight for us. We can’t win on our own, but with all those armies we stand a chance.”
Ian turned and looked at Anthony, who stood straighter and felt all the importance of what was happening weigh on his shoulders.
“I can’t go in alone. As a portal gets older, it’s not as stable. I need someone to come in with me and help me.” Ian explained, and Anthony nodded.
“Go in, get an army, get out.” Anthony said.
“Where’s Mel?” Kalel asked suddenly, and Ian’s breath hitched.
“She’s outside, leading the fighting.” He said, and knew that he couldn’t go out and say goodbye before they had to rush into the portal.
“Oh.” Kalel answered simply, trying to hide the pity in her voice, so Ian continued in a rush.
“But if the portal gets knocked out by the queen, the dimensions collapse, and we die.” Ian said, realizing the risk they were really taking. “And we won’t have contact with the outside world, so we have no warning and no way to escape if it happens.
“Kalel.” Ian turned to her, seeing the worry etched into her face. “You have the most important job.”
“I do?” She asked, and he nodded and rushed over to the other end of the basement. There was a bar there, with less than two feet of space behind it. He grabbed a few of the old bricks that the basement floor was made of and pushed them aside, then lifted a piece of wood to reveal a narrow set of stairs, going down into the darkness.
“I used these tunnels to sneak out as a kid. I could never ask Martha what they were for because I didn’t want to get caught. You go down and the path splits -- if you go left, it’s a four mile walk to the beach. If something happens to me and Anthony, take everyone you can and evacuate through here.”
Kalel looked to Anthony, then gave Ian a solemn nod, and he continued.
“Now if you go right, it’s a two mile walk to Pond Park. No one goes there anymore because a kid went missing there a long time ago, but it’s only a mile away from the queen’s hideout so there’s a chance she could find it. If that happens, there’s sensors in the tunnel, so this light will turn on.”
He pointed to a small bulb just inside the entrance.
“If that happens, you need to cave the tunnel in to stop them from getting to us. Do whatever you need to do. It’s a rough path so it’ll take some time for them to get to us, but as soon as you see that light, you need to take care of it.”
“See the light, collapse the tunnel.” Kalel repeated back just as Anthony had.
“That’s not your only job.” Ian said, grabbing some water bottles and granola bars off the bar where the group kept them for storage. He tossed them in his bag and zipped it up. “Come with me.”
They all rushed back upstairs to find the house relatively empty, but with some people rushing around the kitchen and running out the front door to go strengthen shield charms. Ian ran over to the kitchen table and grabbed a radio, then shoved it into Kalel’s hand.
“You need to stand in the closet. When you’re sure no one’s around, check on the light downstairs, then come back up. Stay hidden in there, put up some silencing charms, make sure no one gets in, then use the radio to convince people we’re all out there fighting. We can’t tell anyone about this.”
“Why not?” Anthony asked.
“Because if someone’s captured and interrogated, and the queen finds out about us trying to get more armies, she’s going to destroy the portal, killing us and our entire rebellion.” Ian said, as serious as possible, then opened the closet door. He bent down and slid open a small door, only a foot high, that hid very well against the wall.
“I’ve never noticed that.” Kalel said.
“Displacement charm.” Ian replied, and slid into the small space.”Distracts you from looking at it.”
He turned on the light that was just inside the tiny door and saw a familiar sight: the four tight, bright white walls and the long drop that he only escaped by keeping his feet on the edges. It was a cramped space, pretty claustrophobic. He wrestled to pull the rope from his backpack, then tied it to the hook that rested just inside the door.
“Ant.” He called up, and saw Anthony kneeling in front of the door. “Climb down by keeping your back on the wall and your feet on the opposite, don’t rely on this rope too heavily.”
“Someone’s coming.” Kalel whispered, and stepped into the closet, closing the door. The light in the tight space Ian was wedged into was blinding for him, and though they were in the dark, shone on Anthony, who was sat in front of the little door, and Kalel, who was standing, but her face was visible at Ian’s position.
“Why is it so long? It looks like a five story drop.” Anthony said, peering down.
“The portal needed that much room, so it made that much room.” Ian said, looking down himself. The long white walls ended at a black panel, the top of the downstairs closet.
“How do you know so much about this?” Kalel asked, and Ian pulled a penknife out of his jeans.
“I made it. A friend and I.” Ian opened the blade and punctured the plaster paper that had been used to seal up the door so long ago.
“You made it?” Anthony asked, astounded. “What friend?”
“Matt.” Ian paused for a moment. “There’s no time to explain. Kalel, start your incantations.”
“Right.” She turned and faced the closet door, so that the kitchen and front door were on her left, and the den, living room and back door were at her right.
“We’ll hopefully be back in a few hours.” Ian said, slicing into the plaster paper some more.
“I love you.” Anthony said to Kalel.“I love you, too.” She answered as Ian shut his knife and pulled the door open to reveal bright sunlight. He grabbed the rope behind him, and with shaking legs, swung into the brightness.