Chapter Nine

Mordred had descended into the human encampment to launch his final attack, but they were ready for him.

Flashback

"Whelp of Arthur the Cursed," Mordred's tone was gutteral but the words recognisable. "Weyland's Weapon will avail you none. You will beg and plead for my mercy as I rip you asunder. Just as your impure brother howled like a girl child when I devoured him."

"He's trying to unsettle you Tony," Tangle whispered at his side

"I know! But this time we are in the ascendant," he raised his head and answered Mordred

but not directly, instead he glanced behind and in a loud almost jovial tone jeered

"Oliver, I'm shocked! You begged like a girl?" his brother swaggered out

"You lie abomination!" Clearly Mordred had not expected Oliver to be present, he took a step back then the man he named Impure held up something. Something that wriggled and gave off a thin terrified wail. Oliver was not yet sure what would become of the innocent pawn he was about to so viciously exploit. He felt a little sorry for the infant but.

"Needs must when the Devil drives," he thought. Mordred almost shrank in shock then he raised himself to his full height and bellowed

"Blood of my Blood! Seed of my Seed!"

End Flashback

"Now Rhys!" Oliver ordered. The tall Welshman released his bowstring. Mordred snarled as the arrow thudded into his hide then yanked it out Rhys let loose another then another. Tony was impressed with how fast he could pull a dart from the earth notch it to his bow and release it to accurately strike Mordred. But he could see they weren't really harming the monster just distracting him. Roberts waved to his Lieutenant

"Troops form up!" The young adjutant barked "Take aim! Fire at will!" Mordred staggered back under the burning hot missiles. Tony grimaced and tightened his grip on Hylbian, chaffing with

impatience, as he awaited his brother's order. Oliver had been explicit Tony was not under any circumstances, to advance until he said so. To do so could endanger him and the mission.

Oliver was watching the creature, half of him wished it would break off and leave. He despised himself for inflicting harming on an innocent baby. Even the offspring of a loathsome cannibal like Mordred. The monstrosity tried to rush at Oliver, to rescue his child but he found he couldn't move. A voice to his left seemed to be chanting.

"Yconiglio Ortaion Mecoidez Tricorum Oudre Ventais Estia

By the power of Weyland's Sword I bind you.

By the light of Truth I blind you

With my words I halt you

As the wind rise I trap you

I call upon the Great Koasati, Guardian of the lake to sanctify

all here present and protect them from your evil

With this cord I seal my charm.

By my will so mote it be."

She held up a long black silken cord into which she tied a single tight knot. Then she repeated her chant and tied in a second knot then a third and a forth.

Tangle's voice rose as her confidence grew, her words seemed to echo all around Mordred. Robbing him of his strength, sapping his speed. Again he heard his infant cry out to him.

He struggled vainly against the invisible bonds that held him fast. Oliver noted this, and looked to his Welshman.

"Rhys hit him again and this time make them stick. We have to weaken him." Tony tried to get some of the action.

"Oliver let me take him on!"

"No! Not yet. I want to give you the best chance possible. So stand fast and wait! Your turn will come." Tony scowled but recognized the wisdom of his brother's words. Then Mordred spoke again his tone still deep and animal like now held a note of contempt.

"You are afraid Whelp, just like Arthur was afraid. I could smell his fear and I can smell yours.

You reek of it." Tony was afraid but there was no way he was going to let this ungodly ogre

know it. He sniffed at his own armpit then looked shocked at his brother.

"Oliver? Do I smell?" His brother rose to the situation and bantered back.

"Well I was planning to lodge a complaint with Director Burleigh about your over use of cheap

aftershave."

"Cheap?" Tony acted outraged. "I'll have you know this brand is a hundred dollars a bottle."

"Sounds like you have more money than brains and a very poor sense of smell," Oliver quipped back. Mordred looked back and forth as the two men conversed. Somewhere at the back of his

mind he sensed they were mocking him.

"Raaagh!" He roared again half to intimidate the humans and half to return their attention to him,

their discourse detracted from his glory. "Puny humans you are fit only to grovel at my feet

as slaves and when I demand it food to satisfy my hunger." Tony looked back at the creature.

"Do you mind I'm talking to my brother? Didn't your parents ever tell you it's rude to interrupt, when your betters are talking?" Mordred was infuriated by their seeming indifference but this was what Oliver wanted. Keep the monster distracted long enough for the other squad members to catch him off guard. Tony now regarded Mordred and in the same mocking tone

tutted and wagged a finger.

"Dear me Mordred not only bad mannered but addicted to junk food," he pointed back at his brother. "And you really ought to lay off his sort. He's so filled full of Cholesterol he'll

block up your arteries something chronic." Oliver again raised an eyebrow. Tony's words bordered on the insolent but he decided to let it slide as his plan was working. The combination of wailing infant, Tangle's binding charm and Tony's banter were acting together to blind the monster to his true intent. He gave a low sign to Colonel Roberts. He in turn signalled his men to begin flanking Mordred. The thin track he'd been forced down only moments before was now closed off by armed soldiers. Mordred was encircled and trapped as yet he hadn't noticed, his gaze was drawn to the small chattering rat on Tony's shoulder.

"Do you ugly humans really believe Weyland's pathetic contraptions can overthrow me?"

Percy leapt from Tony's shoulder to a nearby tree stump and screeched at Mordred. It was a mistake. The creature finally burst through the invisible bonds Tangle had laced around him.

"Arthur's Kitchen Rat," the ogre spat in derision then he raised a three fingered hand and back slapped Percy from the log. The blow lifted the tiny animal high into the air. It gave off an anguished howl of pain as it flew against a tree. Oliver visibly winced as he heard the gut sickening crunch of the rodent crashing into the large Oak. All the colour drained from Tony's face as he watched his favourite toy/pet slide down the bark to lie in a crumpled heap at the base of the tree. Tony forgot his brother's warnings He forgot everything except.

"Percy!"

"Tony hold your position!" Oliver barked but it was too late his brother had leapt forward stepping directly into Mordred's path. The gigantic monstrosity stretched out his claws, to grab

the one he feared most, but this time it was he who made the mistake. Tony was so furious at the abuse meted out to his little pal he instinctively swung Hylbian up in a defensive arc. Mordred was taken by surprise he let out a roar of pain mixed with disbelief, then stared shocked almost

mesmerised by the blood spurting stump, that a second before had been his left hand.

"Rhys now!" Oliver took advantage of the sudden advantage. Roberts did too.

"Open fire! He barked the order at his men. The bullets still bounced off Mordred's toughened hide but their intensity and sheer number coupled with the loss of his hand now affected the beast. He cowered under the rain of stinging projectiles.

Rhys slid his hand into his jacket and pulled out something new, like Hylbian it was an ancient and sacred weapon. The generally accepted story in the Prideri family was that it dated back to the time of King John, although Rhys' father said it was even older than that. A sacred symbol of the Saxons. A beacon keeping hope alive under the yoke of the Norman invaders. Above the moon had risen its light glinted on the long silver shaft. Rhys notched it to his bowstring.

Twang! His bowstring sang loudly as he released it sending the fatal arrow winging towards its target with deadly accuracy.

"Unaargh!" Mordred staggered then gasped, a strange gargle issued forth from his lips as the Silver Arrow plunged deep into his throat. Blood flecked foam began to bubble from his mouth

But he didn't get to make a second sound. Tony swung Hylbian around and cleaving Mordred's head from his shoulders, finally despatched the evil creature to the dark underworld whence his kind belonged. The great body seemed to hang in the air for a moment then the knees buckled and it pitched forward striking the ground with a very satisfying thud.

Epilogue

For several seconds silence reigned then the enormity of their victory began to dawn. Robert's men began cheering. Oliver felt his own legs sag slightly as relief spread through him. The infant in his arms wriggled reminding him of its presence. A living reminder of the great evil they had overcome. Oliver signalled to Thomas. He carried the crate over to his boss and Oliver slid the Baby Mordred into it.

"What will become of it?" Tony had walked up behind him. Oliver noted he was virtually covered from head to foot in blood but his sword he'd clearly wiped clean It was already back in its scabbard. Oliver looked down at the sealed crate.

"A place is already being prepared for the little demon."

"Place?"

"You have no need to worry it will never break free."

"Whatever the circumstances of its birth? It is technically an innocent child." Tony said softly.

"It will not be harmed," Oliver replied. "Just kept secure. In fact I'd go so far as to say it will have a better life than many normal children. Okay it will never leave the confines of the institution but it will have a luxurious life style. Good food, toys possibly even some sort of education if it is capable of learning. Things that revolting creature could never have given it."

He nodded in the direction of Mordred's body, soldiers were pouring gasoline over the corpse.

Then Oliver changed the subject, his eyes grew hard

"But if you ever disobey one of my orders again you'll find yourself in deep trouble, is that clear?" Tony was slightly startled by his brother's change of mood. He gave a small nod.

Then Oliver switched back to a more genial demeanor. He pointed to the remains of Percy that Tony was cradling in his arms. When we get back to base give that to Martin he's a whizz with all things mechanical. I don't doubt he'll be able to fix it." Tony smiled at this hopeful news but

his brother had turned away to begin a formal debriefing with Roberts. Behind them the burning

remains of Mordred's body now lit up the night sky.

Fin