The Black Bells Part 1
In the first of my new adventure series, two MI4 agents must journey to a strange little village, uncover forgotten secrets, and the learn the significance of an old and feared legend, simply known as
The Black Bells
There are many legends in our world. Some are explanations of incredible events that happened over the course of Earth's History. But some, are all very, very real.
900 years ago, in the vast landscape of northern England, in the age of knights and barons, kings and nobles, in that classic era of romance and danger, one place stood out above all others: The Glenarm Abbey. Home to an order of monks; The Sebestians, to the common folk, they were no more then holy men, healers and helpers of the poor and sickly, doing God's great work
But in secret, in the depths of night, they practised forbidden things and dared hell and heaven in their weird experiments. They delved into alchemy, uncovering things that even the Iluminati would have only dreamt of. But among their abominations were the church bells; led by their Abbot, Cassair De Montan, through a combination of sorcerey, voodoo and pagan ritual, they infused the ancient metal with darker power then any mere man could ever understand.
When locals became curious over the sounds emeinating from the abbey in the dead of night; the bubbling, the gurgling, the zapping and the crackling of things unknown, some dared venture inside.
They never returned.
As peasants began vanishing left, right and center, the local baron, Morgan De Beaufort, sent spies disguised as lepers into the abbey. Once having discovered the order's evil secret, he sent his army to crush the monks.
They never returned.
Former enemies and old rivals united and sent wave after wave of troops, armed to the teeth with anything available, to the abbey, and each time, they vanished. Eventually, a final alliance of all the nobles across England marched against the abbey, and after a brutal battle of swords and sorcerey, slaughtered the monks and destroyed all their secrets, burning the abbey to the ground. They thought that the dark secrets of these men would stay buried for eternity, save for one they did not guess .
London, UK, 2010
"You understood your briefing, Miss Velton?"
The evening streets of modern London were teeming to the brim with rush hour traffic, honking and hollering, swearing and shouting polluting the air faster then the exhaust. Through the heart of the bustling metropolis was the River Thames. The Nile of Britain, it was said. And along the banks of this 'British Nile', shuffling among the crowd of fancy suits and sultry chavs, were an elderly mammoth, his grand suit making no effort to hide his huge shape, and a golden fox, hair red as some asian spice, like saffron, dressed far simpler in jeans, shirt and jacket. "You are aware of his moods around women, agent Velton?" came the Mammoth's deep voice. "It wasn't too hard too discover that sir." replied the fox in a much softer, gentler voice. As the odd couple continued their 'robotic' banter, they approached that most iconic of British landmarks no, not Dick's Fish and Chips! Tower Bridge, its spires standing tall and proud, as if the city's beacon. Taking an underpass and stairs, they reached a large, iron door with the words "NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC" stamped in bulging blue ink on a snot-yellow card. "Excellent. Well, we're here. Tower bridge underpass. Right on time, eh what?" chuckled the elderly mammoth as he pulled a key that was tiny in his gigantic hand and unlocked the door. "Ladies first, miss Velton"
Obeying her superior, she promptly stepped inside and found her self inside a elegantly furnished hall, the army-green walls littered with paintings of every shape and size, electric lamps designed like the Victorian gas ones sprang out amongst the colourful mess. "Wow. He sure has a flair for art considering a man of his reputation." "Oh these? Consolation, Miss Velton. Do not forget, it's easy living under one of London's major sights."
Replied the mammoth, keenly eyeing all the nude models with the glitter of a young boy in his bulging eyes. Approaching a set of cherry-wood doors, shots boomed out from inside. "And there he goes, as usual. Do take a seat, Miss Velton."
As she sat on a green armchair next to a beautiful marble fireplace, burning with a cosy fire, the mammoth strolled across the room and opened a grey door. Inside was a green fox, clad in vest and jeans, firing away with a .50 caliber automatic at pale blue and red targets. "Excuse me, sir?" interjected the mammoth amidst the fox's shooting. "Sir, If I may ." he repeated.
''MAY I ASK YOU SOMETHING, SIR!!''
"Aaaahhh!" screamed the fox, his automatic hurling into the air, discharging random shots, narrowly missing the puma and the mammoth.
"Godammit, Monty!" screamed the fox in plain rage. "Why do you always pester me when I'm practising?!"
"I'd have thought that you would be used to our arrangements, dear boy."
Replied the mammoth, straightening back up, dusting off his front. "Now then, you have been set a new assignment, and a new partner, which I-"
"Partner? Um, Monty, remember?" the green fox whispered approaching the Monty, "NO BAGGAGE! That was my agreement with MI4 when I signed up for this mess-fest." he hollered flying back into his recent ramblings. "Oh I think she'll suit you just fine. Just try to be a gentlemen every now and then Dan."
Returning back to the living room, Dan caught the golden lady with his sharp eye. The glow of the fire gave her a somewhat-brilliant aura, like a perfect gold statue. "Mr Clancy, may I introduce Miss Risa Velton, our latest recruit, and may I say, our finest graduate." Monty annouced proudly. "Um, um, um " he fumbled, still awed by the somewhat strange sight, "honoured . Miss." "Yes well," coughed Monty, "Miss Velton, may I introduce our top man, Daniel Clancy." "The honour is mine, Mr Clancy" said the young woman with an air of respect, like when someone is at fancy party and has to be upright. Inside, she was comparing him to some of the campus lads at her university, with his sweaty vest and torn up jeans, like the athlete or biker punk.
"Ahh, bourbon. The Boston kind, too. Excellent" smiled the old mammoth, pouring himself a dozen glasses, and finishing just as fast. "Now then," he coughed, pulling a crisp yellow folder from his suit, spreading out an assortment of papers, charts and photos on a nearby desk, "Intelligence in the north of England has recently confirmed the disappearance of several children in the village of Glenarm, Yorkshire. Now from what we can gather, we " "Wait, wait, wait wait wait." interrupted Dan, putting his hands on his hips, letting out a small sigh. "You want me to go on a goose chase after missing kids. Look, Monty, I appreciate the offer and all, but umm can't the local PC Plum handle this one?" he questioned, putting his arm on Monty's shoulder. "That's just the problem, dear boy. They've sent three officers to investigate over a month ago, and none of them have returned to the station or been seen anywhere at all."
"You think something big's going down?"
"Ooh very possible. Glenarm isn't what you might call a typical crime spot. Relatively clean record, in fact." " Ah. So, how have the oh-so-great superiors prepared for this little endeavour"
"They have arranged a hotel for you two till your investigation is complete. Now in order to avoid any nuisances, especially from the local police force who are waiting like rabid dogs to pounce on this, we've had to arrange for three days. If you cannot uncover this mystery, then we shall have to declare it a cold case and organise a much more public operation with the Glenarm authorities. The papers will be all ablaze by then."
"And what if I say no?" smirked Dan, crossing his arms.
"Then you will be fired and relocated to a night job at Sam's Fried Chicken" "Oh, you cow, Baroness." Dan thought, refering to the big boss herself, Baroness Heidi Clarabel. A very uptight sort, awlawyas speaking in that damned posh accent! Why do rich people talk funny, he often wondered. "You just so want to irritate me with these dumb jobs. Everybody else gets terrorists, neo-Nazis and Coca-Cola spies. And I get lost kids and pranking cops. Just terrific!"
"Alright. Her cowne I mean, the chief wins. I'll go " he strolled past the overweight mammoth and faced Risa, standing a few inches taller then her.
"Just one condition. Don't to get in my way, kid."
"Is that supposed to scare me Mr Clancy?" she smirked with confidence, not intimidated by this gun-wielding punk.
"Maybe" he replied sharply, trying to end this challenge to his masculinity. "I'd be more scared of dormice then you." she answered with smugness.
"Yes, well, then." Monty interrupted, "I'll expect you at Kings Cross station tonight, Mr Clancy. I must head their now to arrange tickets on the first train for the evening. Come along, Miss Velton."
"Goodbye Mr. Clancy." she said, leaving the room behind her huge boss. Once they left, Dan crashed into a nearby armchair like a sack of rocks and pulled out a beer, snapping the top off with his claw. "Nice hair. Bit snooty and short, but nice hair" he mumbled chugging down the yellow liquid, staring up into the darkness of the high, high ceiling.
"Right, that's 18 quid, mate," came a voice from the front of one of London's many black cabs. "Here ya go, Joe. Keep the change." Dan replied, handing the driver a £20 note. "Cheers, mate." smiled the old driver. Now clad in a large, leather coat and wide-brim hat, Dan slung a rugsack over his shoulder and entered Kings Cross station. Inside was nothing but a sea of people, bustling around, going to trains, taxis and cafes, the overhead voice blaring time after time the same monotone announcement of trains coming and going. Amidst the crowd, he eyed Monty and Risa, complete with her indigo suitcase. "Ah, you arrived punctually, dear boy." the old mammoth greeted. "Did you expect any less."
"Of course not. Now, you and Miss Velton are to make your way to platform 3. The 11:49 express will be arriving in a few moments. Well, good luck to you both. Cheerio, and what, what" and with that, he departed into the sea of people, and vanished, like a fat ghost.
As the two agents walked towards their train, Risa turned towards Dan and said, "Is he always so so
"Out of date? Yep. That's Montgomery Mammoth in a nut shell. All cheerio and what-what."
Giggling a little, Risa then composed herself and asked, in a much more serious tone, "You seem a little testy about me, Mr C."
"Miss Velton, I very much doubt you scoped the situation like I can."
"I may be a rookie, but I passed the examinations with a grade A star."
"Well, its better then scraping through with a C on the fourth try."
"Wait a moment!" Dan yelled, feeling very much threatened and embrassed, "That information is highly confidential."
"With your rep, it helps to know a little back-story, and I "
Before she could finish the two heard a comotion among the crowd.
Turning they saw an old blue cat backed against a café window by a fat bear, dressed in battered jacket and stained shirt.
"But, its was just a mistake, sir." whimpered the old lady, holding her hands as if to defend her self.
"Aww, yeah ya think?!" he blurted.
"Oh please, Mr Bores. I didn't mean to upset you" she begged desperately,
"What a load of assburgers with a side of fries!" he moaned, flapping his arms as if acting. And very poorly, at that, it had to be said.
"Hold onto this for a mo, kid" Dan asked, lofting his bag into Risa's arms and walking towards the scene.
"What a bogus bunch of butt balls!" Bores continued, waving his arms around as the elderly woman was beginning to curl up, hoping the giant pest would go away.
"Excuse me a minute, mate." Dan asked Bores, tapping him lightly on the shoulder.
Suddenly, a punched crashed straight into the fat man's face, sending him flying into the window and straight onto a table of sushi and coffee, bringing squeals from spooked dinners.
"Plonker." he spat. "C'mon kid, lets make tracks."
Acting as if nothing had happened, the two boarded the train, found their cabin and set themselves up.
The whistle sounded, the bell clanged, the diesel engines moaned into life and the train slowly rode off into the night.
Finishing up a sandwich, Dan threw off his coat, hat and swung up to his bunk, "Well, I'm gonna hit the sack for tonight, kid. Try not to snore!"
Bemused, Risa changed into her bright pink Pyjamas and climbed into her bed, switching off the cabin's light.
"What?" he grumbled back, half buried in his pillow,
"Why did you, um "
"Why did I punch that plonker?"
"Cause I hate plonkers"
The morning was bright with sunshine, the air soft as cotton and little blue birds chirped, like a scene out of a Disney film. Along a quiet street, inside a restaurant with the words "Joey's Café" stamped over it, Rita and Dan were both consuming a typical 'Full Monty' fry-up, while pondering over the dossiers of the missing children.
"Ughh!" spat Risa.
"Whats up, kid?" asked Dan, swallowing a bit of sausage.
"I've spent yesterday, and the train journey before that, studying these bloody papers for any links between these kids and the cops."
"Not one. Different nationalities, different friends, different schools. Might as well be different planets, at that" she moaned, running her fingers through her long hair.
"Then it confirms my thoughts"
"What do you mean Mr Clancy?"
"Look, can we quit with the Mr B.S. Name's Dan. Always was, always will be."
"Sorry Dan. But what do you mean"
"That that church is connected in all these going ons"
"But the reports "
"Kid; rule number 1 about being a secret agent; never trust reports.
Since chameleons can change, theirs no doubt the good father is hiding something behind his fancy robes, and I plan to find out. All of the disappearances were within a radius of the local Church of all Saints. The priest, Father Sam, has been questioned. Clean as holy water, apparently." "Perhaps he could be hiding something." she whispered, eyeing Dan keenly,
"Wow you pick up fast, kid! Once you're finished, go out to the police station and pull out what info you can on Father Sam. Anything odd at all could give us a clue."
"But what about you?" she asked,
"It's 11:00 now, so he's finished morning service. I think I'll pay the good man a little visit "
So it's all a bit disappointing that this is so full of errors. The formatting of the story is, frankly, all over the place. It's important to get the basics right, first. Correct the indentation and paragraphing; fix the typos; check the text very carefully for inconsistencies and bits that don't scan. The quality of your prose and the quality of the marketing are grossly disproportionate.
I was also a bit confused about the characters. Are these literally foxes, mammoths and cats? Until about half-way through the story, I thought you were just being descriptive and stylish. I realise that this is a universe of magic, so I'm happy to suspend my disbelief. But I was confused about the nature of the protagonists - especially as you set the story in 'modern Britiain', with its chavs and suits. There's also nothing in the cover art or introduction to really set this kind of universe up - I really think you ought to ground the story in a deeper context first, otherwise you might end up confusing your readers.
If you get around to redrafting this story, let me know and I'll come and take another look. I'm sorry if this seems harsh - but I notice that you have a lot of content, a lot of ambition, and not many readers. Just wanted to offer some honest thoughts to help you improve
I am always working to improve the quality of the show, and feedback like this is extremely welcome.
However, I will not remake this story (mainly due to time constraits and outside factors like college) but, I am working on a sequel which will be a massive improvement.
I reccommend skipping ahead to Season 2.