Arkhaven logo

Book 1: The Siege of Fort Vagabond

Chapter 1 Part 1: Su Case Mi Casa

Six Years Later...

With a ding the hidden elevator inside the bright and cheery halls of the Knight’s Navy Country Club on the outskirts of New Venice City came to a rest. Past the third bar made to look like the interior of a Portuguese caravel was a full reenactment of said ship’s cargo deck filled with very usable wine kegs the size of a full grown moose.

At first only the ding of the seemingly invisible elevator marked its presence. A few seconds later the massive wood planks of one of the wine kegs swung open on smooth oiled hinges revealing metal doors that opened as well to reveal the elevator itself. There in the middle of the plush velvet cushioned walls, and fancy mirrors was Bohdan Blood. Seeing this bar always brought back memories to that fateful night when the committee was born. Trial by fire in the once, and now no longer, haunted Country Club.

“I see you’re waiting on your wayward flock again Blood,” Mr. Peters Senior rasped from behind the bar counter where he was ceaseless in his polishing and cleaning. Most days you could find Goggles’ great grandfather standing behind the bar in his never ending quest to make his corner of the country club spotless. Always standing, never sitting as he would say in his gravely tones when asked the ancient bartender would insist sitting is for the dead and the socialite. This was the inner sanctum sanctorum of New Venice City, and that space required a man of dedication.

This was where the elders of the town met to have a drink as normal men. As a rule, no one bothered the leaders while in their rest. That was a hard rule Bohdan could stand by. Being thrust into a leadership position himself, he understood what the elders were going through. Sometimes you just needed to get away from all the nattering problems and Sally said what about Susan nonsense which seemed to sprout up whenever more than two of God’s children managed to clear a foot of ground to live together on.

The Adventuring, Hunting, and Liquidation Committee that Bohdan found himself as the President of was the only exception, and even then they made a point of passing through to their place of rest in the secret underground beneath the basement without disruption. Their special status had been established that night they cleared the elders’ sanctuary of the taint of evil. Peters Senior had taken a liking to their crew after their little adventure which usually meant his ever grizzled advice whenever he wasn’t judging your performance from a distance. Might have been annoying if the geezer wasn’t the epidemy of sophistication.

“Yes Mr. Peters I am. Mind making sure Hadrian gets his head out of the clouds, and down the elevator when he gets here? I can only take so much more of Charlie’s bloviating no matter how varied his vocabulary is for a meathead.” Mr. Peters nodded his head solemnly. Brainiac might be a hell of an engineer prodigy for his age, but someday he was going to walk right over an open manhole cover. He was that absent minded when not in the field.

“Young Mrs. Blood to be came by while you were indisposed. Something about meeting her downtown for your rendezvous, and that she’d accidentally turn my best malt scotch into a molotov cocktails to be thrown into my wine cellar if I neglected to inform you. Passionate girl that Heidi I hear.” Bohdan smirked at his Fiance’s nonsense.

She was one of Mr. Peter’s favorites. Not that he would admit to the dotting, but she was allowed more leeway than the rest of the up and coming teens in town. Heidi also just so happened to be Harald’s sister, and neither he nor his sister made threats lightly. Peters was growing a tad forgetful in his old age. Although both Heidi and Bohdan suspected the ancient bartender was putting on more of an act to skirt responsibilities. Such duties that old men shouldn’t be forced to endure, but does since he’s a barkeep for active families and elders of New Venice City.

“Guess I better make sure Hadrian doesn’t make me late.”

“For both our sakes young Blood,” Bohdan chuckled at Peters Seniors’ personal joke with the old barkeep.

“Hold down the fort Mr. Peters.”

“Good luck with your Viking Amazon young Blood."

Bohdan shook his head as he took the case of root beer and ginger beer laid out for his boys in their usual spot, and headed back to the waiting elevator before any prying eyes from the Country Club’s Friday midday traffic showed up. The metal doors closed as the slow, steady thud marked the closing of the thick wooden doors disguising the entrance to their club headquarters. They had other entrances for safety concerns, but this was by far the most accessible. Be a pain to have to destroy it to hide the place.

Setting the cases of sugary drinks on the floor of the red velvet covered elevator Bohdan pulled out his keycard, slapped in the code on the touch screen, held his thumb on said screen to read his fingerprint, and finally verbally answered with the code phrase to go down into the underground. “I ain’t Afraid of No Ghost” vaguely translated into Latin which sounded something like this “Non timeo a nullo sancto.”

Was his translation and pronunciation atrocious? Yes, but the ridiculous nature of the passcode made him chuckle nevertheless. There was some voice recognition in there too. Wouldn’t keep out determined Fed types with all the time and money in the world, but at least they wouldn’t have any toddlers getting lost in the vast underground levels hidden beneath the Castle shaped country club.

Oh yes, as they’d discovered the hard way. There were multiple layers to the underground labyrinth beneath the Club, and even the town itself. Bohdan slapped the button and watched the multitude of lights and sounds enter the box as the elevator lowered past the seemingly endless basements and various other levels. They had cleared out most of the chambers in the vicinity of the country club with their fathers and town militia, but there was always a new storeroom or questionable tunnel to scurry through down here. Always another level or cavern where you never wanted to know what was lurking around in the dark, or splashing in lightless pools. Today the young Blood ignored them all. Today wasn’t the day for adventures, but meetings.

After a far longer descent than anyone could guess, the bell chimed, and the doors swung open to a plush cross shaped shrine turned committee clubhouse, or headquarters if one felt like larping. There was a small kitchenette to the left with restrooms and showers down a door next to the mini fridge, and on the right was a hallway leading to a circular room filled with passages snaking off in every direction. East, west, north, south, and more importantly deeper underground...

The Story Will Continue Every Saturday.

Click the image below to follow and support the Grizzly Clan, and keep the stories flowing.

Su Casa Mi Casa panel 5
Bohdan Blood was a busy young man. Being the President of the AH&L Committee in the middle of World War Three did that, but now rumors of witchcraft and Cartel incursions around his Ozark home were making things downright unhealthy. Together with his wily friends Bohdan and company will dodge drafts, hunt cryptids, and burn witches in style to keep their neck of the woods from looking like a New York hellscape. Just another day for the Adventure, Hunting, and Liquidation Committee.
List icon
Comment icon
Prev icon
Next icon
Fullscreen icon