Title: A MEDIEVAL NIGHTMARE
Disclaimer: “SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron,” its characters and concepts are copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc and are used without permission.
At the castle…
“My Queen!” Lord Ferlin shouted as he charged into the hall, breathless and bursting with news.
“Have thee found them?” she asked anxiously, jumping to her feet.
“I am not certain, but I hope so, my Queen! It reached my ears about an old abbey with new residents. Those that had witnessed them say the strangers wore odd clothing and were carried there by horrible troll-like creatures. These creatures were seen entering the abbey with the strangers but leaving without them,” Lord Ferlin reported.
“It does sound as if thee has located our visitors from the future. Fetch my horse; we ride quickly to this abbey and pray they are still alive,” the Queen ordered, striding across the hall for the great doors.
Very quickly they were mounted up and racing north for the abandoned abbey. It took them some forty-five minutes to reach the old stone building. The Queen waited while her knights determined if it was safe for her to enter. After a cautious reconnaissance they signaled an ‘all clear’ to the Queen.
She dismounted quickly and strode across the overgrown courtyard and made her way inside. Lord Ferlin stayed close by her side as they investigated the interior. There were signs that the abbey had been abandoned for many years. Animals had left their mark, and storms had deposited a great deal of rubbish everywhere, but, surprisingly, the building was still sturdy and sound. They passed through the sacristy and on into the old cells where the monks lived. Most of them were filled with dust and debris, all except for two.
When they opened the first one with occupants, they beheld a peasant dressed in dirty, ragged clothing who bowed immediately upon seeing the Queen and not far from him a stranger dressed in unusual clothing. Though dirty and torn with a reek of urine the material was grey and blue and they were being worn by a huge Kat curled in agony on the floor. He wore a grey coat and long black boots as well.
Feral heard the voices but was unable to call out. His cellmate apparently was too terrified and had retreated to a corner of the cell. He prayed that whoever it was, they weren’t the ones who had imprisoned them.
When the door swung open, he forced his eyes open a slit but could only see their feet. Someone was wearing a pair of dusty boots and brown leggings and the other pair of legs was wearing a dress that hid her feet. The dress knelt down near his face.
“Sir, can thee hear me?” a beautiful female voice asked.
“Yes!” he managed to gasp out. “So much pain… please make it stop!” he begged, desperate to have an end to his agony.
“One moment more while I see what causes thy pain,” she said softly in concern and pity. Holding up her magical amulet, she passed its light over his body. To her horror she detected a very nasty spell.
“Tis an evil spell and t’will take me some moments to break. Please be patient but a little longer, sir,” she said as she rose to her feet and concentrated. Once she had the words of the counterspell firmly in her mind, she held up her amulet again and muttered the words to break the curse laid on Feral.
Feral felt a warmth pour over him that slowly pulled the pain away from his body. It seemed to take a very long time, but minutes later, he gave a grateful moan of relief. He pushed his body carefully to a seated position for the first time in hours and without pain.
He looked up at a duplicate of Ms. Briggs and gaped. It wasn’t Callie; he knew that, but the resemblance was uncanny. It certainly explained the fascination Pastmaster had for Briggs.
“I don’t know how to thank you. I’ve never experienced pain like that in my life. I hadn’t been able to move for hours,” Feral said humbly to the beautiful she-kat standing over him.
“Thee are most welcome, sir. Do thee know how thee came to be here?” she asked.
“Sorry, I woke up here with no idea how I’d gotten here,” Feral said, shaking his head.
“What is the last thing thee remembers?” she pressed.
“Uh… Well, the SWAT Kats were engaging the Pastmaster, and I was trying to take out the creep from behind and that’s the last I remember,” Feral said, rubbing his head.
“Ah, so thee are on the side of good as Sir T-Bone and Sir Razor. What be thy name, sir?” the Lady said.
With the help of a fellow as tall as himself, Feral regained his feet. He felt very stiff, but at least he could stand without assistance.
“My name is Commander Ulysses Feral, ma’am, and might I ask who you are?” he asked his rescuer politely.
“I am called Callista, Queen of Megalith City,” she responded.
“Megalith City!!!! Then, I’m in the past, and the SWAT Kats were telling the truth when they said they had met you,” Feral said in shocked amazement.
“Aye, they did indeed visit my time once. But, come, Commander, we need to find them for they are most likely here as well,” she said urgently, turning to exit the door and walk down the corridor once more.
Feral followed slowly and watched as the Queen’s guards opened every door. He noticed that there were many doors similar to the one he’d been in. “Where are we?” he asked.
“This is an old abbey and these are the cells the monks did their devotions in, but it has been abandoned these many years,” the Queen answered.
“My Queen, they are here!” a knight called further down the hall.
They hurried forward to the now open door and stared in. The afternoon sun fell across the one known as Sir T-Bone. Laying not far from him was Sir Razor. It was obvious they were suffering from the same curse that she had just lifted from Commander Feral.
This would drain her badly, but she didn’t hesitate as she stepped in the room and stood between the two warriors. Raising her amulet, she muttered the counterspell and a warmth flooded the pair. Moments later, as the Queen slumped in exhaustion and was held by Lord Ferlin, the SWAT Kats were finally able to roll to a seated position.
“Queen Callista!” T-Bone said, his voice still hoarse from his screams.
“Aye, Sir T-Bone. So glad we were able to find thee in time,” Callista said wanly. “Forgive me, but reversing the curse on the three of thee has severely drained my energy. Let us return to my castle where we may talk and recover,” she commanded.
“Sounds great and thank you for aiding us,” Razor said, moving carefully to his feet.
“Uh… what did you mean by the three of us?” T-Bone asked as he too climbed awkwardly to his feet and walked slowly to the door of their prison.
“She would be referring to me, SWAT Kat,” Feral rumbled, nodding at them as he moved slowly to follow in the Queen’s wake.
“Feral!!! How the heck did you get here?” T-Bone said in shock as he matched the Commander’s slow gait. Razor came up on the Commander’s other side and eyed him in surprise. Both of them wrinkling their noses at the pungent scent coming off him.
“Caught the same way you were obviously.” Feral grunted. “Save the explanations for later… too tired to talk now,” he said, exhaustion making his deep voice rougher.
“Good idea,” Razor agreed. It was taking all his concentration to put one foot in front of the other. The pain had left them all drained and exhausted.
By the time they reached the castle, the three warriors from the future could not stand on their own. The ride on horse back having taken their last bit of strength. The Queen’s knights helped them into the keep and on up the stairs to quarters that were hurriedly prepared for them. Each received a much needed bath, and Feral’s pants were taken to be cleaned much to his relief.
After being given plenty of water and food, they collapsed onto soft beds and slept as if dead. It was not surprising that they and the Queen slept the clock around until mid afternoon of the next day.
Finally refreshed though still a bit stiff, Feral and the SWAT Kats were escorted to the main hall for a midday meal with the Queen.
Even though the pepper pot stew was hot and very spicy, they dug in ravenously and drank copious amounts of milk. Pleasantly stuffed, the Queen gestured for them to follow her to her private study. They sat down on comfortably stuffed wooden seats covered with beautiful tapestry needlework.
Feral admired it a moment before sitting and turning his attention to his host. The SWAT Kats took a pair of seats not far from the Queen. A warm fire was crackling in the huge stone hearth.
Lord Ferlin also joined them but decided to stand, leaning against the fireplace and watching the visitors with fascination.
“Now, I would like to hear how this calamity befell thee,” Callista commanded.
They looked at each other a moment before Feral decided to start first.
“The Pastmaster had shown up in Megakat City in his usual abrupt style. Though instead of dinosaurs he flew in on some kind of gargoyle like creature, and, as usual, he made a grab for Ms. Briggs, who bears an uncanny likeness to you, Queen Callista. The SWAT Kats and my enforcers engaged him in an aerial battle, but this time something odd happened. I was attacking him from the rear when a strange orange glow hit my chopper. I remembered a flash of pain then nothing more until I awoke in that cell,” Feral finished.
T-Bone stared at Feral in surprise. Normally, the big tom would avoid mentioning them in a sentence and always played up his enforcers’ part in any action, but this time he went simply with the facts at hand. It was strangely refreshing and odd at the same time.
“We didn’t know about Commander Feral’s attack, but T-Bone and I were trying our best to take out that ugly little gnome when, just like Feral, we were struck by an orange light. Everything’s a blank after that except for the cell and the horrible pain. What caused that?” Razor asked.
“The Pastmaster cast an evil spell upon thee. It causes severe pain in those it is laid upon. Any movement the victim makes causes the pain to intensify. Because of that, they are unable to eat or rest and eventually die. It is a truly horrible spell,” Callista said with a shudder.
“Woah! Good thing you found us then! I’ve never hurt like that in my whole life, and I hope never to again,” T-Bone said fervently.
The other two nodded their heads in agreement.
“I too am very glad, but now we must discuss how to return thee to thy rightful place in the future. Alas, I used a great deal of energy to break the spell over thee. It will take me at least a week to regain my strength to send thee back,” she said unhappily.
“A week! Crud! What are we going to do during that time?” T-Bone said, looking around at the others for an idea.
“I would suggest we find the Turbokat and see what kind of damage she’s suffered,” Razor said firmly.
“I’d like to know what happened to my chopper as well,” Feral added.
“There I can help thee. Thy machines were found not more than half an hour’s ride from here. If thee would like, Lord Ferlin would be happy to take you there. I will give thee horses to take thee back there if thee are recovered enough for the trip,” Callista informed them.
“Great! Thank god they made it through with us and thanks for the offer. I don’t know about the others, but I for one want to see what shape our jet is in,” Razor said, relieved.
“I’m okay. I agree; let’s go see what the jet and chopper looks like,” T-Bone said eagerly.
“I too wish to go. However, I do have a couple of questions for you, Queen Callista,” Feral said politely.
“Of course, Commander. Ask,” she answered, smiling warmly.
“Do you know how we got to that abbey from our machines and what happened to my cellmate?” he asked.
“It was reported that some strange creatures were carrying strangers to the abbey. We simply followed up on that lead. More than that we don’t know,” she answered quietly. “As for the peasant found in thy cell with thee, I questioned him. He had sought shelter in the abbey and was trapped there by thy captors. I have given him a position here in thanks for his care of thee.”
“I see. Thank you, your majesty,” Feral murmured, happy the peasant was being cared for.
“Thee may go now. Lord Ferlin will take care of thee and lead thee there. I hope thy machines are not too badly damaged, although the strange machine that I assume is thy own, Commander, appeared to have suffered the most damage from its arrival. I will see thee all at evening meal.” She waved them out.
They nodded in grateful acknowledgment and followed Lord Ferlin out. He led them to the castle stables.
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Disclaimer: SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron is copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons Inc. All Rights Reserved. © 1995. All other characters and material within this page are the property of their respective creators.