(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Rockland Moore was written by Lisa Wooley.)
Rockland Moore checked the silver chains on the legs of his captive. The wolf was still out cold, and would pose no problem in the session. The Master had given him strict instructions, and did not want to fail. Failure was not an option. The dampness chilled his bones but he shrugged it off. Any sign of weakness was not tolerated in his subjects. Those loyal to him, had come to love the Master. But most had given in to the brain washing, and no longer thought for themselves. Basically, they were objects, extensions of the Master.
The high stone walls had no windows in them, only a metal door leading in and out. The only light, was what Rockland Moore had brought in with him.
He’d basically been trying to break the wolf for months now, and the pup would not break. But if he didn’t break soon…
The idea was that they still had the girl. She would be more malleable, but Rockland Moore had thought having the two of them would be better than just the one.
The chill in the air was affecting his subject, as the wolf lie shivering, he somewhat had sympathy for it. His Master would be arriving soon, to check on his progress. Usually he showed up via a hologram style vision, but sometimes he showed up in person. It added more menace to the message.
Rockland Moore was just finishing up when a portal opened, and Kelly stepped through.
She looked around, letting her eyes adjust to the dimness of this place, and she noted the…object on the ground, chained, but then she shifted her attention to the individual before her. Her looked confused to see her, but she smiled at him. “Cozy place. You must be Rockland Moore, and I’ve been told that I must call you by both Rockland and Moore because that is your preference. I’m Kelly Blanchard. So, where we are?” She raised her brows as she folded her arms and observed him.
Rockland Moore stared at the sudden apparition that came through the portal. He recovered quickly and smiled at her. “You shouldn’t be here miss. This isn’t a nice place for….more,” he pondered for a few moments, for an appropriate response,”…delicate lady such as yourself.”
Kelly placed her hand on her hip. “Well, this certainly doesn’t look like Hell, and you don’t look like a demon, and I’ve already been through that, so how much worse can get it?” She raised her brows. “Were you not expecting me?
“Oh right, you must be that interviewer that Lisa said would be coming. I tried to tell her that I wasn’t interested. But she is stubborn” he gave Kelly a look that said, “What can you do?”
Kelly smiled. “Yes, stubbornness is a common trait.” She then meandered around the place. “So what is it that you do exactly?” She cast him a glance then looked down at the chained, unconscious wolf before looking back at Rockland Moore.
Rockland Moore moved over to the wolf’s side, trying to get Kelly to back away. “That is not your concern,” he responded smoothly. “You should be more concerned with what we’ll do with you…but in deference to Lisa, I will make sure no harm befalls you by my hand.”
Kelly whacked his hand away and gave him a firm scare. “Nothing can happen to me. Neither you nor anyone else here can harm me—and that is a fact. Now then I am here to ask questions of you, and you are to answer.” She crossed her arms, refusing to back down. “Now, I asked, what exactly is it that you do?”
Shaking his hand lightly he glared at her for a moment. “Are you so sure about that Ms. Blanchard?” he replied sullenly. “My master might not be as…forgiving. He would be most displeased with me, if I were to respond to certain questions. Ask me about my misspent youth if you must. But some topics are off the table.”
Kelly narrowed her eyes. She didn’t like the limitations put on her questions because she wasn’t sure if he spoke the truth or if he was dodging, but she’d find out eventually.
Instead, she managed a bright smile, which she was certain annoyed him, and resumed meandering around this room. “So, Rockland Moore, who exactly are you? Where do you come from?”
He could see that she wasn’t put off by that smile, he knew she was not going to drop the original topic. But he decided to go with it. “I am from nearby. I am from the year of our lord well, in the 1800’s. I was a cowboy, a merchant, and a barber at one point.”
“Why are you so vague?” She tilted her head as she cast him a glimpse. “No names? Nothing definite.” She then admired a chain on the wall. “It’s almost as if you’re afraid…”
“I’m a man of mystery, that’s the way I like it,” he smiled self deprecatingly. “Though I will admit my name is Rockland Moore. And my parents died when I was young. Raised by my aunt and her husband.” The wolf on the floor began to writhe in pain.
Kelly moved to the wolf quickly, dropped to her knee beside it and put her hand on its head. “Sleep,” she told it softly, and it stilled. Then she looked up at Rockland Moore who had moved when she did. “He won’t wake for a while, so we may continue our conversation.” With that, she rose once more to her feet with grace. “So, how did you end up here?”
Rockland Moore stood stiffly, not moving for a moment. Finally he said, “You shouldn’t have done that, that is the Masters ‘pet.'” But he continued. “Do you know the history of this place?
“Your Master doesn’t frighten me, and no, I have no idea what this place is.” She motioned to their surroundings. “Because a certain someone,” she glared at him, “Won’t talk.”
Rockland Moore laughed mirthlessly, “My master would just love you!” He doubled up with laughter before he recovered. He was standing next to the wall, and leaned up against it. “All right, I’ll tell you. You are in an alternate plane but in your world it would be Superstition Mountain. It is east of Phoenix.”
Kelly just shrugged—once more unimpressed. “So? I’ve been to many alternate planes and dimensions and such. I mean, that’s what I do as a Muse.” But then she shook her head, not expecting him to understand. “So, is this the only room in this plane, or is it much more than this? And why are we here? And what is so special about it?” She doubted he would answer her questions, so she decided to throw multiple at him–maybe she’ll get lucky.
“Not so fast,” he smiled at her, “I’ve got to tell you about the mine. A gold mine is here in this mountain. I was prospecting in those days, everyone was pretty much. And the Dutchman came. He found the cavern of gold. But it was unlucky for him, he was never seen again.”
Gold mines being unlucky—some reason that didn’t surprise Kelly. “Let me guess, he literally stumbled into a portal that brought him here?” She motioned to their surroundings.
“I don’t know where the Dutchman went, but that is how I got here.”
Kelly just gave him a very confused look. “Come again?”
“I found the mine. I found the portal by accident, and I fell through. I’ve been here for a very long time.”
Okay, that made a bit more sense. “And you’ve never been able to return?” She raised her brows.
“Well, after proving how valuable I am to the master, he allows it.”
“You keep mentioning this master.” She drew near to him, looking up at him to read his face. “Who is he?”
Rockland Moore was silent as he pondered her. He shifted finally, almost as if he was remembering how to move. Looking around, he was looking at the door, and all around. Plainly beginning to be nervous. “He is the Master…he oversees this place and everyone in it.” Sweat started beading on his forehead, and he began to grimace somewhat.
Kelly saw the watch he avoided her gaze and sensed his nervousness, and she latched onto it and pressed with the question but asked softly, “Is he watching us now? Can he hear us?”
“He…” Suddenly he tensed, arms rigid and tense, he became board-like. His throat began closing slightly, and then before it closed totally, it opened fully again.
Kelly narrowed her eyes. She sensed power in the air. That wasn’t his fear responding, so she looked around and called out. “I know you can hear me! Come on in. Let’s have a chat, shall we? You don’t frighten me.”
Once again Rockland Moore started gasping, this time to the point his eyes were beginning to bulge out. The lights in the room began to dim, and then the wolf disappeared. When the lights came back up fully, Rockland Moore was breathing in the damp air, and bending at this hips, resting his hands on his thighs.
When he could get enough air to speak he spoke with another voice, “Impudent Muse. You dare come into my realm?” A low chuckle started coming from Rockland Moores chest, and crescendoed into full cackling that filled the cave.
Kelly put her hand on her hip and gave him a glare. “I was invited! So there. Deal with it. Now then, what is your deal?” She wrinkled her nose as she watched Rockland Moore act completely not himself.
Rockland Moore gave a jerk and almost landed on his knees. He composed himself, before he could speak again. “You, Ms. Blanchard, are full of surprises. But you’ve probably pushed my Master…too far. He doesn’t suffer fools in his realm.”
Kelly just looked down at him. “I am not a fool. I know exactly what I’m doing, and he’s not the first ‘evil bad guy’ I’ve encountered—trust me.” She used air quotations even. “And if he’s going to kick me out of this realm, I’m taking you with me to another realm where we can talk because we haven’t had a proper conversation yet.” She then shot a glare at the air around them as if to speak to the Master. “So deal with it.” Then she looked back at Rockland Moore, she softened her gaze a bit with concern, but she knew he might not appreciate that much. “So, can we talk now?”
“Bravery won’t save you if he decides I’m giving you too much information. You have no clue who, what you are dealing with. You may be able to leave, or he may decide to make you his next….pet. I have no control over that. And sadly, he won’t let me off my leash, and not out of his sight.
Kelly rolled her eye. “I am a Muse. I am NOT of this reality, of this realm, and I am utterly serious when I say he can NOT make me his pet. Let him try.” Kelly just wanted to whack the Master over the back of his head because she’d dealt with enough antagonists who thought they were so powerful, but they never seemed to realize that they absolutely couldn’t touch her at all.
“Ugh! You’re making us waste so much time!” She shouted at the air. She then crossed her arms and glared at Rockland Moore. “Okay, so since obviously there are some things he doesn’t want us to talk about, fine, but I’m casting a muting spell, and NO, Mister Master Guy, you will not be able to hear. I am sorry—not really.” With that, she snapped her fingers, and the spell fell into place. “Okay, he can’t hear us–at all, and no, he can’t hurt us either. Now, are you going to talk?” She raised her brows looking at Rockland Moore.
The walls began to rumble around them. “Uh oh, you’ve done it now.” Rockland Moore stood by the door to the cell, he pulled the keys out of his pocket. He indicated that Kelly should follow him, and opened the door to the cell. The ceiling started to crumble over them, and he indicated that Kelly should precede him out of the cell.
Kelly rolled her eyes. Seriously? The Master guy was a control freak. Here she was trying to do her job, and he was getting in the way. She reached for Rockland Moore’s hand and didn’t even say a word as she conjured her own portal into a world of her own imagining, and the gardens of Cuskelom surrounded them—a familiar sight to Kelly, and she let out a sigh of relief as she let go of Rockland Moore’s hand. “See? I wasn’t joking. Now we are in a world of my own creating, and the Master has no eyes, no ears, and say about anything here.”
Rockland Moore was stunned but recovered quickly. “I thank you for that, but I probably be punished when I get back to my world, even if I go to the human realm, they will track me down. Nobody thwarts the master and lives to tell of it.” he responded solemnly.
Kelly shrugged. “Well, if it makes you feel any better, I’ll be sending you back there, and absolutely none of this is in the realm of time, so…according to him, you might have just stumbled. I don’t care how powerful an individual is, when I’m sent to interview someone, I’m going to get that interview done!” Then she moved away from him and paced–thoroughly irritated with the Master, but now was her opportunity to perhaps have Rockland Moore open up to her, so she willed herself to take a deep breath and gestured all around. “Cuskelom’s gardens. You’re welcome to wander. Maybe you’ll enjoy what little peace this place can offer you.” And then she lowered her arms and spoke softly. “Now, can you please tell me about yourself?”
Rockland looked around the gardens, still not sure where or when he was. Slowly he relaxed, but only minutely. He decided to open up, only as much as he needed to. One thing was certain, he didn’t trust anyone.
“I told you the truth, about my past. I was a con man really, but the news of the mine intrigued me and a lot of other people, and we didn’t care about the legends. So I went with a few other investors (wanted not to have them come along, but they did because of their “investment.”) But they abandoned me, running away when the mine tunnels started to collapse, I was knocked back and fell through the portal.”
Kelly began to meander around the clearing in the woods. It was really nice to be out here with fresh air after being there. “Then what happened?” She glanced at him as she ducked below a low branch and finally pulled herself onto the branch to sit comfortable while watching Rockland Moore.
“I was taken to the Master, told that I had violated his territory and tried to take his ‘property.’ The gold was his he said. Then I was thrown into the cell where you met me. Not much more to tell really. I wasn’t sure how much time I was there in his realm. But it was 100 years before I was allowed to leave for his ‘business’.”
Kelly motioned to the surroundings. “Feel free to walk around if you’d like.” But then she softened her voice–not out of fear but rather awareness he might not walk to talk about it. “What business does he had you do?”
“Mostly gathering recruits for his cause. Supplies too sometimes. I don’t get to come over very often. And I can’t stay long. “ Rockland took out a amulet out of his pocket, it was ornate and very old looking. It had a carving in the gold that was hideous to view. “This,” he said, “Keeps me from being away too long.”
She looked at the amulet and first thought was, “that would be a nice addition to my Muse Shop,” but then again Kelly didn’t want to be responsible for anyone getting under the control of the Master. She glimpsed up at his eyes and furrowed her brows. “What does it do?”
He quickly palmed the piece back in his pocket. “It is basically attached to me, it might have done you harm had you touched it. But basically it ties me to the Master, and if he summons me, I’m forced to come to him… if I don’t, well it wasn’t pleasant the one time I tried to get away.”
“Well, I’m sure he’s trying to summon you right now, so I’m assuming that means it’s not working at this time, but I won’t keep you here too long since I’m sure that’ll probably be detrimental to you.” Kelly then hopped off the low branch and plucked a leaf off the tree and began folding it as she mused. “So, let’s not talk about everything you’re experiencing and such because…well, I don’t know how to change that, but tell me, in the past, was there ever someone you cared about?” She glimpsed his way.
Rockland was silent for a while, debating how much he should reveal. Finally he stood up and started pacing, taking his hand he put it through this blond hair, and had it sticking up on end. He wouldn’t look at Kelly, and finally came to a decision. “My mother was the only person I ever cared about. She was killed when I was very young. She was murdered by some Apache.”
Kelly watched him and asked quietly, “What was her name?”
“Rosa,” he forced between his teeth.
She tilted her head, observing his reaction. “Where you there when she was killed?”
His eyes took on a haunted look, and nodded.
Kelly’s gaze softened. She recognized she was dealing with a wounded soul–one who likely never had the chance to accept and heal. Fully aware he might lash out at her, Kelly took a deep breath and quietly drew near to him, keeping herself small and non-threatening. “What happened?”
Rockland Moore stepped away quickly. He started to pace but then stopped, and got really still. “I don’t remember.”
Kelly tilted her head. She wasn’t convinced. “You can trust me, Rockland Moore. No one here can hear anything you tell me, and I won’t ever repeat it to anyone. This is probably the only chance you will ever get to release that. Will you tell me?”
He chuckled, “Oh you’re good.” “But like I said, I don’t remember.” He smiled his totally in control smile, which doesn’t reach his eyes.
At this Kelly crossed her arms and gave him a look. “Well, I don’t believe you. If anything, you’ve blocked the memory because you don’t want to remember, and that in fact indicates to a part of your life you have no control over–by your own choice–and that unsettles you, and I bet you didn’t even realize that until just now.” With that, Kelly drew back, but she wasn’t finished with her questions. “So what is the one thing you most recall about your mother?”
Nonplussed, Rockland Moore stood facing Kelly. He decided to answer, “She loved to sing. While she worked on the house, when she worked in her garden, when she made dinner.”
“Do you remember any of her songs?”
“Mostly gospel songs, but I don’t recall specific songs.”
Sensing him closing up more and more, Kelly walked right up to him and looked straight up into his eyes. “And what one thing did she teach you that you never forgot?” She searched his eyes and face for whatever he might not say.
Again he stepped back, his eyes narrowed, “That you never should be rude and impertinent.”
Kelly smiled—certain she’d been rude and impertinent during their conversation, but she’d done what she had to do to get answers, so she stepped back. “Well, I’m certain that has served you quite well in service of your Master. Having said that, it’s time for you to return to him, and I apologize for any ramifications this interviews will cause you, but I’m sure you can understand when I say, I was just doing my job.” With that, she gestured and opened a portal back to his world. “It was nice to meet you, and thank you for what little answers you provided me.” With that, she motioned him to the portal.
Rockland Moore walked to the portal, but before he walked through, he turned to look at her, and with a wink and blowing a kiss back, he walked through.”
Kelly frowned as she watched him blow her a kiss. “What was that about?” She called at the portal but then gestured and let it close. That man was determined to be a mystery—so determined in fact that he was likely a mystery unto himself and that frustrated him which could lead to some insecurities, and of course he couldn’t allow anyone to know that. Kelly sighed. Sometimes people tried to hard hiding who they were that they revealed more than they realized. Oh well, it was an interesting interview.
Rockland Moore and the Master are antagonists in Lisa Wooley’s story ‘Stormraevyn’, which does not yet have a set release date. However, you may follow her Facebook and on Twitter for more updates! Also check out her blog.
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