“I take it you have had dealings with my misguided brothers yes?” the Platypus noted, gesturing towards a table, “Take off the hoodie,”
“I sent more than a few to their gods,” Jerry offered little more than a growl and even turned the cane around like a sword.
“How unfortunate, now either take off your hoodie or I will remove it for you,” the platypus stated rather calmly, not insulted at Jerry’s hostile posture.
“Jerry,” Chase scolded, and the male Fox shot her a glance, his ears still flat. “Be nice to Doctor Hyde.”
“It’s Legion,” Jerry observed like it was a swear word.
“And Aila Swiftwulf sends her Regards,” the Platypus, Doctor Hyde, again stated in a calm and controlled manner. “Now pull off his hoodie so I can see what he has done to himself,”
Jerry blinked at the name of the MARS Healer, then swore quietly as Chase yanked the blue clothing off him.
“My my, Mrs. Swiftwulf has outdone herself this time,” the Legion Doctor observed, shoving Jerry over to a counter. “I am sure you would be pleased to hear that you will not have any NEW scars, though well this is fascinating,” they rattled on regardless of Jerry’s less than appreciative manner.
“You have a very unique scar pattern across, oh my,” Hyde paused, leaning back further as they looked down to the Fox’s feet, then upward, reaching to peel up one of Jerry’s ears to inspect it.
Chase’s own ears perked forward, worry on her face.
“You’re not related to a Duckington are you?” Jerry asked disgruntled, his other ear still flat as the other was toyed with. He tried to scoot away from the Doctor, unnerved at the cold gray hands as they touched him.
“No, though I do know of one, he told me to sedate you if you got out of hand,” continued, now checking to see if Jerry sustained any other injuries. “Nothing torn, nothing broken, nothing new from the brief medical record I did get from Mrs. Swiftwulf, I see you are healing quite nicely beside the fact that you had just survived a round with the Twins.”
“More like my ass got handed to me,”
The Platypus looked Jerry over again, then turned away, heading towards a cabinet, “Other than a diminished lung capacity, and an inaccurate medical record, his fit as expected and recovering nicely.”
“What inaccuracies?” Jerry asked curiously. He was always wary of any sort of record of him.
“There was nothing mentioned about your extensive scarring. They appear to be chemical in nature. May I ask the cause?”
Jerry offered nothing other than a halfhearted shrug. It was the same answer he gave Chase, and it appeared he was not going to be forthcoming to a complete stranger either.
The Doctor regarded Jerry for a moment more, then wrote a note on a piece of paper in a vanilla folder.
“Noted,” Hyde said as if Jerry had answered them. “Don’t put him back into your barbaric little circle again too soon.” they directed, this time, towards the Raccoon.
“Yes Dr. Hyde,” Wune spoke in a fatherly tone, “I promise not to feed him to Jen and Jun again, though they do enjoy fresh meat,”
“Yeah yeah, I get the hint,” Jerry snorted, leaning back again as this Dr Hyde stripped him of his gauze with frightening efficiency. The Platypus wrapped him in fresh bandages, then turned away from him once more.
“His bandages have been cleaned and replaced, you may leave now,”
“Thanks?” Jerry asked, wincing at how tight the gauze had been wrapped before slipping off the counter to put the hoody back on and quickly made his way out of the cottage.
“So you don’t know what you bathed in to scar you like that?” Chase inquired, following her brother.
“Nope, though I do appreciate you bringing up a time in my life where every waking moment been unending agony,” Jerry commented sarcastically, snatching his cigarettes from her as she sought the words to apologize for bringing it up.
He then leaned close to a smoldering torch, lighting the chemical relaxant. After inhaling the smoke, settling a sudden mad craving, he glanced at Chase who was again frowning at him disapprovingly. So was Master Wune.
“That’s not healthy for you,” Chase pointed at the lit object between Jerry’s lips.
“Neither is married life, what’s your point?” Jerry countered, then noted that Chase was not smiling at the crack about marriage.
Oh yeah, he hit another nerve there. There was more about Chase’s responsibility here then she initially told him.
“Jerry, there’s something you need to know-” Chase begun, but before she started to say anything further, her eyes snapped up towards one of the guards who was coming from the woods. When they were within shouting distance, they had been a brief exchange of words in that Dragon Land language before Wune turned towards the crowd and shouted orders.
They were scurrying, and the way they were arming themselves from a nearby armory, they were expecting a fight of some kind. Spears and curved, blunt weapons that looked like training swords more than clubs. Some of them were dawning themselves in an odd sort of armor.
This was obviously some sort of Fight.
“Give me my sword, I can help,” Jerry held his hand out for their Father’s saber.
“No, this is a local matter and you are not fighting fit,” Chase held the sword away. Instead, Chase guided Jerry towards her home, opening the door to push him inside.
“Stay inside, whatever you do don’t come out,” she instructed her smaller Brother, thrusting their Father’s blade in Jerry’s hand. Jerry gawked as she unmounted a sword that was just as long as she was tall, double-edged, thick and undeniably heavy from its resting place over the door. “If someone wearing purple tunics tries to get inside, promise me you won’t hurt them badly,”
Jerry was still in shock at the size of weapon Chase was carrying, and he dumbly nodded.
“Good, there will be guards outside the door, you should be safe,” Chase offered as parting words, then rushed out.
The Fox suddenly felt utterly useless, standing in what was a mix between the living space and the kitchen. What was going on that warranted such a destructive looking sword? Who were these purple tunic beings he shouldn’t hurt?
A Local matter? Ha! Jerry knew when he was not wanted for a Fight and settled down in a chair, leaving the saber on the tabletop. Wait a second, he asked for water! Did anyone bring him any water?! Jerry glanced around, looking for something to drink. He noted the cottage as clean, well kept as his Mother’s Home, there were flowers, fresh and pink, bottles.
Bottles? Jerry straightened as his eyes focused on them. Baby bottles. His gaze swept the room, spotting two doors on either end. Jerry raised himself up and made his way towards the first closesd door. It was ajar, and he pushed it slowly open with his cane.
There was a bed inside, large enough for two. There were decorations, old Family Battle Standards on the wall with a rapier and saber hanging between the two. One had been the Voxholm Crest, silver, twin sabers crisscrossing behind a palm supporting an acorn-shaped object on a royal blue backdrop.
The other had a single, silver rapier with hilt modeled as a rose at the end, and six Acorns on either side of the thin blade on a dark velvet background. The Jakuul Family Crest
Jerry’s brain tried to wrap around what he was seeing. This was his Sister’s home. But there was a Jakuul flag in her room?
Jerry turned to the other door, staring at it intently as he made his way to it. The world grew still as he finally reached the door, and pushed against it.
Well oiled hinges opened the door silently, and inside was a room brightly colored with flowers and other decorations. His eyes shifted down to the occupants, and Jerry removed his cigarette from his mouth, dousing it immediately into the door frame.
Inside there was a young Mobian teenager, Feline, creamy white fur, standing protectively before a crib that held a jiggling child. The Feline was making demands of Jerry in her native tongue, but the Fox was not understanding, nor was he paying attention.
Instead, his eyes were on the crib, on the child inside. Jet black fur, golden locks, round golden eyes, and sharp ears stared back at him in wonder. The child was at least three years of age, the crib was barely large enough for her, a girl, though there seemed to be work on a new bed for her in the corner.
Then, Jerry’s own golden eyes drifted back to the room on the far end.
“There is something you needed to know,” Chase had started to say right after the crack about ‘marriage’.
The implication. The scandal! Jerry put his hand on his chin as he looked inward towards the child once more.
Their Fathers would never have approved.
Jerry’s attention snapped back towards Chase’s bedchambers again. A window had been opened. He could hear the wood floor creak. Jerry turned back about to the teenager, who also heard, pressed his finger to his lips then closed the door.
As Jerry turned around, there were two Mobians in the room with him, rapiers drawn and they were wearing Jakuul’s crest on their tunics. They said something. Gods Jerry grew annoyed at the fact that he did not understand everything everyone else was saying. But he knew they were trying to question who he was and to stand aside.
Jerry leaned against his cane, putting the somewhat crooked cigarette back in his mouth. His sword was out of reach, he was tired from the fight with the Twins, and he was in his Sister’s home.
Just this once, Jerry tried to be diplomatic, but he knew it would not work. They seemed to be thinking along the same lines, the problem was that they honestly thought it would.
“You are not welcome here,” Jerry said, there was an edge to his words, and his tone was more than menacing, “Go out the way you came,”
“You are not from the village,” one of them spoke.
“Your powers of observation are astounding,” Jerry replied, his eyes focused on a spot between them. “Now leave, quietly, the youngling is not to be disturbed,”
“We’re here for the Lord’s Daughter,” the other stated, stepping forward, “Stand aside,”
The temperature in the room seem to drop dramatically for them as those predatory golden eyes shifted between both of them. It settled on the closest one and they nearly withered beneath the murderous glare.
There had been no smile. No sense of impending enjoyment the Fox normally would have in combat. No. Instead, Jerry hissed a single word they both understood meant that the diplomacy had failed.
When Chase arrived with the local militia, she knew it was a distraction. Three Power Suits had set fire to the fields, but they had set fire to the ones that needed to be cleared of the underbrush anyway. There was some taunting from either side, but in the end, they simply lured her further from the village.
Chase had a sick feeling in her stomach and ran from them when they started to run from her. When she returned to the village, Chase’s cottage had a smashed window and the door was wide open. The guards were nowhere in view of her home. Panic blinded her as she entered, shouting out the name of her nursemaid, but found the house void of any form of life. All that was in there was an arid scent of Jerry’s foul cigarette smoke; and blood. She could smell blood!
Quickly inspecting the room, she spotted Jerry’s cane shattered, with nicks all along what was still intact. The table had been smashed, the cabinets were caved in. There was the blood on the floor. Someone had been laying here bleeding in the ruined shards of a glass window.
Chase exited the Cottage, on the verge of tears, when she noted that Master Wune stood near the Healer’s Cottage, motioning her over. The guards she had left at her door were there as well, standing with prisoners.
There were also three Loyal members of Kalm’s faction laying on stretchers outside of the Cottage being tended by their family. Her worse thoughts surfaced, but as she drew closer, she noted that they were severely beaten, an arm broken, a nose at an awkward angle, yet they were breathing.
Master Wune smiled at her briefly, before gesturing towards the door. Oh gods, Jerry was in there. So was her daughter. He knew! He had to know now. Was he alright? Was she alright?!
Steeling herself for the worse, Chase entered. She heard the babbling giggle of a happy child and an odd cooing sound. What she found immediately disarmed her.
Jerry having an arm wrapped with a bandage, while the other held her two-year-old child.
“A light scratch, hard to see where the bleeding starts and ends with his fur,” Dr. Hyde stated as they noted Chase standing there. “Edwina is also alright, noisy child,”
Jerry glanced towards Chase, still jostling playfully with the child with an arm.
“Jerry,” Chase started, speaking with a tone of fear in her voice that Jerry caught on, and now looked at her with disappointment.
“Edwina eh?” Jerry asked with raised brows.
“If you had let me known sooner, I would have brought her candy,” the Fox announced, and with his other arm free, begun tickling Edwina, who squealed merrily.
Chase felt as if a weight had lifted from her shoulders, and settled next to her Brother, holding out her arms for her baby girl. Jerry was reluctant but passed his Niece to his Sister with a grunt.
“At least tell me you kept your last name,” the Fox frowned, sounding a tad annoyed.
“I thought Chasen Voxholm Jakuul had a ring to it,” she murmured, cuddling her Daughter close.
Jerry rolled his eyes up to the ceiling, snorted and slid off the counter again, “A fucking Jakuul,”
“Language around my Daughter, you hear me?” Chase frowned some.
Jerry again rolled his eyes, heading out of the Healer’s cottage, “Yes mam,”
Chase’s home was being looked after by the carpenter, which would take him a good two days to fix the damage Jerry had inflicted with the Kalm’s Infiltrators. She was here in Jerry’s Cottage, their Mother’s home.
The Family Home.
Edwina was asleep in her Uncle’s bed, Jerry had cleared the whole room of everything that could be construed as a weapon and left it under lock and key in the closet far out of her reach.
Chase had cooked them dinner, stewed fish, filling the Cottage with more scents of the past.
“So, you were going to tell me,” Jerry started the conversation as Chase sat down. She hesitated, looking away from her brother before placing a plate in front of him and sat opposite of him.
“When you came clean about your wounds, yes,”
“You suspected yeah?”
“We knew you were on the front line somewhere Jerry,” Chase nodded, poking at her own fish, “Prower kept us up to date, as well as Horus from time to time, he was Hallax’s best friend,”
Jerry frowned some, again, Horus was mentioned, Prower he ignored. Jerry wanted nothing to do with the Traitor at all and quickly dismissed them from his thoughts.
“I keep hearing of Horus, but not seeing him,”
“Master Wune thinks he is ashamed,” Chase explained, hoping her Brother would elaborate further.
Jerry turned from his food.
Chase taking the hint, continued. “Anyway, after the War, Horus found us and let us know to stay low when the Warlord turned on the King. We thought you had died, then again, Horus returned to inform us that you were a part of those derobotized, and you returned to your post as a Royal Guardsman.”
His Sister offered a soft smile. “Kalm was proud to hear that you were carrying on the Family Tradition,”
Then Jerry partially turned towards Chase, grunting the obvious. “Then the Civil War,”
“Yes,” Chase frowned darkly, her hand drifting to the scar on her face, “Kalm did not take the news well,”
Jerry’s thoughts did not take the implication that Kalm did that none too well either.
“The Dutchess, Mooria Jakuul, you remember her yes?”
Jerry nodded, knowing each Jakuul like he knew everyone who had fallen around them.
“Yes, well, Mother told her of this place, much to Master Wune’s disapproval. The Duchess set up a fortification south near the entrance to this valley in order to guard against nearby bandits and the Dragon Land Clans, Master Wune told them there was no need, but Mooria wouldn’t listen,”
“Horus told us about the end of the Great War, and the Horror in which this Robotnik was bringing forth,” Chase spoke grimly. “Robotnik’s forces were coming up the Valley Road, following refugees who were fleeing from the hoard of steel and metal,”
Chase frowned and shook her head slowly.
“Mooria and the Jakuul Guard met the SWATbots head-on in the valley, buying time for the refugees to hide within the Forest.”
“History repeating itself,” Jerry summarized.
Morten Jakuul had seen what the Overlanders did at the Battle of High-Low Tower first hand. While it had been a general order after that fiasco to avoid open battle with the Overlanders, Morten lead half of his House Guard and volunteers to the Village of Mina, the next of many in a long list of villages the Overlanders would sack and burn.
When the Overlanders arrived, they found grim-faced Mobian Soldiers instead of ripe civilians. The battle lasted six days, with only five out of the hundred and thirteen Mobians who volunteered to go reporting back. Morten Jakuul fell on the second day, his last words to his forces had been to buy time for the children. None of the five survivors were of Jakuul House Guards, nor the Royal Guards who went with him.
Because of the six-day battle, most of the villages from Mina to Mobotropolis were cleared of their occupants and robbed the Overlanders of their sick sports. The King awarded the Knights Cross of Acorn to Morten’s Widow, as they had done with Jerry’s father. Warlord Kodas took both of these Royal Guard Officers’ sacrifices into a rallying call that would be later be shouted by Amadeus Prower during.
Remember Mina! A name now many would associate to some pop star, Mina Mongoose.
“Where was Kalm?” Jerry demanded, growing impatient.
“With me,” Chase nodded, again tracing her scar.
“Some of those things came up through a cave, and we headed them off. We fought well together, and we collapsed the cavern roof on the whole lot,” the big vixen smiled proudly at the Glory she had won.
Then it faded.
“Kalm tried to save his Mother, but she killed herself before she would be turned into a machine.”
There was a moment of silence, before Chase continued, a fleeting look of guilt on her face.
“We destroyed the robot versions of the Jakuul Guard, we did not know they could have been turned back,”
“Better to be dead than being one of those things,” Jerry offered, pushing his plate away, “What’s going on now?”
Chase closed her eyes, frowning as she tried to put into words what she wanted to say.
“We did small things against the Iron Dominion that eventually came to rule these lands. We offered shelter to those who ran, wiped out a few patrols that would come through. Then they stopped coming, they were more interested in fighting each other in their own private little wars then deal with the likes of us,”
“Then about two years ago, Kalm found a cash of robots that looked like those things, SWATbots, but they were our size, equipped with blades on their wrists as well as laser weapons,” Chase started to rub her scar again, “There were four large ones, larger than I’ve ever seen, they had swords as I carry, they were junk, worthless.”
“Then the Brothers arrived little less than a month after, Dr. Hyde and Jekel, ex-Legion running from their former employers,” Chase shifted so she could like eyes with Jerry now, her expression once more haunted.
“Hyde is rough around the edges, but his a good Healer, a good person, but Jekel,” Chase shrugged helplessly. “Kalm talked Jekel into restoring a few of those robots.”
Now Jerry’s face had become cold. Chase did not know if her Brother cared or not, yet she continued regardless.
“He wanted to launch an immediate attack on the Republic of Acorn, secure the Throne, but the Villagers were undecided. I supported we destroy the machines, while Kalm wanted to use the tactics of our enemies. I had a strong case, the machines were still worthless, their programming base, I could destroy a platoon with ease. Then the Golems were brought to life, and then Jekel created the Power Suits. Every month something new was coming out of Jekel’s lab, and more and more of the Villagers sided with Kalm,”
“And then he did that,” Jerry pointed towards her face, at the scar, his expression now twisting into something dark and murderous.
“No, no no no, Brother no,” Chase was nearly in tears.
“Kalm didn’t do this, I did this,” she said, touching the scar, “I did this when I challenged the strongest of his machines, the Golems,”
There was another pause, and Jerry’s ears flicked. Yet his expression did not relent. Despite the Fox’s original’s feelings of his Sister before coming here, Chase was still his Sister.
And she had a Daughter. His Niece.
It did not take Jerry much to hate these Golems.
“I managed to destroy two of them before the others overwhelmed me. I was wounded badly, and Kalm had been livid in what had happened, but-”
“-But?” Jerry said, making a motion with his hand.
“He still wants to launch an attack Jerry,” Chase spoke softly now, ashamed.
“Who will defend the villagers against the Iron Dominion if they came or when they come back?” Chase demanded, “He wants to use that army he is building to reclaim the Kingdom of Acorn,”
Jerry’s immediate response had been “Good, let him reclaim it.”
Chase’s shoulders drooped.
“I hate the Republic,” Jerry stated flatly, insulted with her body language. “The Founders spat on the mountain of Mobians who bled for their King and Country.”
“And that Justifies more War and Suffering?” Chase demanded her own tone bitter. “How many more Innocent People have to pay for the Ambitions of One?”
Jerry shifted back against the seat, thoughtful on the question.
“I-” Jerry started, then stopped, rubbing at his eyes. He was uneasy. Out of place again. Jerry did not care if the Republic stood or was burned to ash. But, Jerry’s mind once more brought up how many Innocent Mobians were walked on by those who harmed them to simply harm them. How many were slain, left to rot in the Sun?
Rage boiled in him. And Jerry had to control it, gritting his teeth.
“-can see your point,” Jerry growled in defeat. The innocent were blameless. Yet, as he said the words, he mentally added But I’ll Fucking kill Amadeus Prower.
After another moment of awkward silence, Jerry asked: “Where is Kalm now?”
“In the Fortress in the South, we cut them off from Supplies, but they raid, take what they need only, and leave,” Chase gestured towards the Fortress’ general direction. “Sometimes we capture a few, sometimes they capture our own, we have exchanges and such, but no one really gets hurt,”
“Was this the first time he came for his Daughter?” Jerry asked, raising a brow.
The Fox sighed, rubbing his face some more, “Right. I’ll see what I can do on my end,”
“What can you do?” Chase inquired, somewhat frustrated with Jerry’s lack of empathy.
Jerry simply smiled, falling quiet and thoughtful. Chase knew that was a sign that her older brother was done talking.
Chase finished eating, said their good nights, and went to bed. However, when Jerry was alone, he contacted Control and informed her of everything he had learned.
Control was not pleased.