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Myfanwy 2

December 2017

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Before the Fall - Chapter Six

Before the Fall - Chapter Six
Author: Milady Dragon
Series: Dragon-Verse
Rating: PG-13
Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto; Gwen/Rhys
Warnings: Language, Angst
Spoilers: Up through Series One, and Doctor Who S3 E11 and E12, "Utopia" and "The Sound of Drums"
Disclaimer:  I don't own Torchwood, I would have treated it better.  I also don't own Doctor Who.
Author's note:  This is the story leading up to the Year That Never Was.  Dating is, as usual, taken from "Ianto's Desktop" and the TARDIS Index File. 


Summary:  Darkness is falling, and the Great Dragons have called the four Dragon-Friends back to Ddraig Llyn.   Ianto is in charge of a splintered team as he tries to figure out how to stop the end of the world.




5 June 2008

                     

The four Dragon-Friends and Estelle left the inn, walking as a tight group toward the lakeside.  Out of the corner of Toshiko’s eye she could make out the villagers of Ddraig Llyn accompanying them, and she wondered if any of them had ever seen the Great Dragons before.  Then she dismissed it, knowing that Ianto had once said he hadn’t since his sister’s mating ceremony, and that he’d lived almost his entire life in the village.

She’d only seen the Dragons before in a half-formed state, although the Fire Dragon had seemed a bit more solid than her dealings with the Earth Dragon.  Now, though, the four appeared as solid as Ianto did, although very much bigger. 

The Air Dragon was a vibrant blue, with a single white horn protruding from her scaled forehead, almost like a unicorn’s.  Her calm gray eyes watched as they approached, and a sudden twitch of her wings caused a sudden breeze to flutter their clothing.

The Fire Dragon sat coiled beside the Air Dragon, her orange-red scales seeming to dance with small, internal fires.  She was different from the fiery creature who had appeared in Toshiko’s lounge, but she could feel the heat the Dragon was radiating against her face.  Laughing green eyes crinkled and she lifted a giant hand in greeting, a puff of steam rising from the white claws.

Next was the Water Dragon, glittering aquamarine scales shimmering in the sunlight.  He nodded, his eyes rippling like wind-whipped water.  He smiled, revealing teeth as long as Toshiko’s forearm, and a rich laugh echoed over the gathering.

And then, there was the Earth Dragon.

The enormous brown and green dragon was the largest of the Four.  Eyes as dark as the underground regarded them all closely, and a horned head – with actual moss growing from the horns – nodded in welcome.  He gestured with a powerful forelimb for them to come closer, and Toshiko found herself smiling as she did so, coming up to stand right in front of the Dragon who had asked her to become his Friend. 

“Welcome, Dragon-Friends,” the Earth Dragon said warmly, his voice sounding as if he were speaking through an avalanche.   “Welcome to Ddraig Llyn.  I would hope that, in some part, you would enjoy your stay here, but with the darkness coming that may be uncertain.”

His gaze met each of the Dragon-Friends, and Toshiko for the first time truly felt the sheer timelessness of the Great Dragons.  These beings had existed on the planet for millions of years, before even the extinction of the dinosaurs.  She wondered what it would be like to see the turn of all those years, and it suddenly struck her that Jack and Ianto would, someday, be as old as these Dragons were now. 

It about broke her heart.

“In days long past,” the Earth Dragon went on, “the Great Dragon-Friends were chosen with care, for they would share in our power.  You were also chosen with great thought, but the reasons have become a bit different.  While our powers have faded greatly over the millennia, you four have been granted such small gifts as we can afford.  However, that was not the main purpose of our choice.”

“It’s because of who we know,” Toshiko surmised. 

The Air Dragon laughed.  “You would be correct, Child of Earth.  You are all connected in some way to our only living son, and his mate.”

“If I’d known you came to me because of my dad,” Alice spat, “I never would have agreed to it.”

“I am sorry you feel that way, Child of Air,” the Earth Dragon answered sadly.  “Your father is a great man, who has a horrifically long life ahead of him.  Humans were not meant for immortality, and without support he would go mad.  Do you want that for him?”

Alice’s anger seemed to part for a healthy dose of confusion.  “Of course not!  But he’s hardly a great man.  Just because he doesn’t die, doesn’t mean he’s anything special.”

“That is not the reason Jack Harkness is special,” the Water Dragon answered.  “It is what he is going to accomplish that makes him great.”

“You see a flawed man,” the Fire Dragon continued.  “We see that as well, but we also see what he will aspire to.”

“You see the man who is blamed for all of your troubles,” the Air Dragon said.  “Surely even you know there are two sides to every story?”

Alice didn’t look very convinced, but she was quiet.

“Darkness is coming,” the Earth Dragon reiterated.  “It comes quickly, and we need to prepare.”

“It’s an alien invasion,” Kathy said.  “We heard on the radio on the way up here that there’s some sort of alien race coming tomorrow.”

The Fire Dragon nodded.  “While we could not make out the nature of the darkness, this indeed makes sense, with the Fae choosing to leave for the Lost Lands.”

“Why did you summon us here?” Toshiko challenged.  “You never really gave me much of an answer.”

“Yeah,” Kathy put in. “You four have made us drop our lives to come here.  And what’s worse…you made us leave our friends.  Both Tosh and I would’ve preferred to stay in Cardiff, where we’re needed.  I might not be Torchwood, but I’m a copper who has a duty to the people of my city. And, if something bad is really coming, then we should be helping.”

Toshiko was glad that Kathy was backing her, but then she’d gotten an earful from the detective on the trip up.  It was a bit different ranting at something not present, than to the actual person you want to rant at.

“As we have said,” the Earth Dragon answered, “our powers have diminished in the years since our children have all gone.  But here, in this valley, is where we are the strongest.”

“We cannot stop what is going to happen,” the Fire Dragon said, “but we can work to make Ddraig Llyn a haven for people who need it during the dark times.  To do that, we need your assistance.”

“How can we help?”  Rhiannon asked.

“We have it within our slight power to make this valley undetectable to outside eyes,” the Air Dragon replied. 

“Like a perception filter?” Toshiko asked, her mind ticking over the possibilities.  A natural perception filter would make Ddraig Llyn the best possible place to plan any sort of resistance to invasion…there were things she’d need to bring in, but she knew from Ianto that there were such things as internet and mobile phone coverage in the village…yes, they could make this work.

“I am not familiar with that term, daughter,” the Earth Dragon said.  “But I understand your meaning.  Yes, it is like that.  It will be as if the valley no longer existed.”

From the look on Kathy’s face, Toshiko guessed she’d come to the same conclusion that she had, and her words confirmed it.  “We can run any sort of fight from here and no one would be able to find us.”

Something was bothering Toshiko, though.  “But why would you have us come here, and not Ianto or the rest of my team?  We have the experience to deal with alien incursions, and a safe base would be ideal for that.”

“They will be needed outside in the world,” the Fire Dragon replied.  “While we cannot see much beyond tomorrow, that is something that we do know.”

“You’re just going to leave them out there, at the mercy of whatever’s coming?”  Toshiko was growing angry, even though the Earth Dragon had told her pretty much the same thing when he’d come to fetch her.

“Some things must come to pass, in order for the future beyond the darkness to continue as it should,” the Water Dragon said. 

“We cannot see if your family will not, some day, come to the valley as well,” the Air Dragon tried to soothe her.

“I’m sorry,” Kathy denied, “but that doesn’t cut it.  Sure, you told us that you needed us here, and that we had to come, but you can’t expect us to just follow blindly.  You also can’t expect us to forget our friends.”

“Wait a second,” Rhiannon interrupted, looking at her fellow Dragon-Friends.  “Shouldn’t we be looking at the bigger picture here?  Shouldn’t we be willing to protect the innocent, instead of thinking of ourselves?”

“I’m not thinking of myself,” Toshiko snapped.  “I’m thinking of my friends, and how they’re on the front lines of a possible Armageddon!”

“But they can defend themselves,” Rhiannon pressed.  “They know what to do when the darkness comes.  The majority of the people out there won’t.  Those are the people who’re going to be looking for a safe place, and it’s gonna be us who’ll be responsible for that.”

“That’s all well and good,” Toshiko argued, “and I understand the need to help those who can’t do it themselves, but I’m afraid hiding away in a secluded valley isn’t going to do much unless there are those out there who know this place is here.  We’re not going to be able to do a lot of good if no one knows we’re here.”

“There is more to consider,” the Earth Dragon cut across the argument.   “As I said before, you were all granted small gifts based on your Friendships with us.  While you are not aware of them, they are much a part of you.  However, those gifts have weakened us further, and we need you all here if we are to protect this place.  This does not preclude you aiding those outside this valley as you are needed; you simply cannot leave until the danger is past.”

“Plus,” the Water Dragon said, “you are our Named and Marked Dragon-Friends.  Our Pacts with you mean that we will protect you with all that we can.  But we cannot do that if you are anywhere beyond this place.”

All right, it was at least some form of explanation that Toshiko could understand.  She vaguely wondered what sort of power the Dragons meant.  She certainly didn’t feel any different.  “All right,” she said, “I’ll stop arguing about it.  I do understand the need to protect people; after all, that’s what I do.  And I also accept that my friends might be needed in Cardiff, even though I don’t like the idea that I abandoned them.  But even you have to admit that you can’t protect anyone if they can’t find the place.”

“We understand your concerns, Child of Earth,” the Fire Dragon answered.  “But we also trust you all to do what needs to be done, even if you cannot leave until the darkness is lifted.”

Toshiko nodded absently.  She really did need equipment if she was going to be keeping an eye on the outside world…”I have to make a run out,” she said, “and I’m going to need finances to get a few things.”

The Air Dragon laughed.  “I believe we can aid you there.”

“But hurry back,” the Earth Dragon warned.  “As of nightfall, we must prepare.  And Toshiko…?”

“Yes?”

“Thank you for accepting what must to be done.  We would truly do nothing to cause intentional harm to either our son or your friends.  Your support of them does you credit.”

“I just can’t help feeling guilty about leaving them out there, to fend for themselves, while I’m stuck here in this valley.”  She did, and she vowed that she’d help them as much as she could, from the valley.

There was no way she was going to let them fight on their own.

***********

They barely made it back before the sun set.

Johnny Davies had lent Toshiko his van, and then ended going with her to help with lifting…plus, he knew the way to Bangor, which was a three-hour drive from Ddraig Llyn.  It took them awhile to get what Toshiko thought she’d need to set up her own command center. 

As for funds, the Great Dragons had been right; that was the good thing about having a hoard.  The village was flush with cash, in many different forms, all of it something to do with what was left of Ianto’s hoard.  Toshiko did wonder just how they managed to sell all that gold without it doing something to the market…

The sun was sinking below Pedair Dreigiau as the van made its way back into the village.  On the trip Toshiko decided that she quite liked Johnny, and she was quite certain that a lot of Rhiannon’s complaining of him being lazy was just teasing.  She also had time to think about her strategy, and the first thing she wanted to do was connect to the Torchwood dedicated server.

It would be easy; after all, she knew the backdoor into mainframe, and had set up the ability to go remote if needed.  In fact, she had planned on going to Ianto and Jack – when Jack came back, that was – and to suggest setting up a remote site in case the Hub had become compromised.  She was aware of the total lockdown procedure, of course, and she could assume that Ianto would be preparing to do just that.  She trusted her Second to realize what was going on with the so-called Toclafane, and that he would have the team’s safety in mind.  As bad as she felt about leaving, she knew Ianto would do everything in his power to protect them, and the innocents in Cardiff.

It was still hard to accept, though.

Johnny pulled up in front of the inn, where Toshiko would be setting up.  Rhiannon had agreed that it was the best place, with the technical innovations Ianto had brought in with him during the time he ran the place.  The dragon had also seen that things would be updated regularly, and Toshiko’s PDA had given her all the data she’d need to set up her in-exile network. 

She and Kathy both felt that coordinating with Torchwood would be the best thing.  Toshiko was certain that Ianto would have gotten more information by now, and once things happened then she’d still have her backdoor into mainframe.  It did help that the detective felt the same as she did; Rhiannon had taken the big picture very seriously, but Toshiko knew that the big picture wasn’t always the best way to see things.  The devil was in the details, as her university advisor had been fond of saying. 

Her technical frame of mind wouldn’t let her disregard the details.

Saving people was fine, and Toshiko would always want to do that.  But they needed information on what was going to happen, and being stuck in isolated Ddraig Llyn meant that getting that would be hit and miss until she could set up some sort of network. 

You couldn’t save the people without knowing how to go about that.

Toshiko hadn’t wanted to argue with the Great Dragons, but at least it had gotten her what she’d needed.  They needed to Dragon-Friends there, because of their power.  Not that she felt like she had any power at all.  In fact, she felt distinctly powerless as she and Johnny began to wrestle her equipment into the inn.  The Earth Dragon could have said that in the beginning, instead of guilting her into coming there in the first place.  She just had to accept that the Dragons were so used to speaking in riddles that it was too hard a habit to break.

“Let me help,” a familiar voice said.

Toshiko smiled as she saw John Ellis.  “Thanks,” she greeted warmly.  She grabbed her own box, and led John into the inn.  “I heard about your son; I’m sorry.”

Ianto had told her that Alan had passed away in the spring, and she’d been deeply sad for the time-lost refugee.  His son had been the only thing he’d had left, and to lose him so soon…

He smiled sadly at her.  “We did get to spend some time together, and toward the end I think he did know who I was, so that was good.”  He put the box he was carrying down amid the others that she and Johnny had lugged in.   “Do you really think there’s some sort of invasion coming?”

Toshiko nodded.  “I do, yes.  That’s why I got all this, so we have some sort of chance of helping outside the valley.”

“If there’s anything I can do to help,” John said, “then let me know.”

“I will,” she promised, surprised at the changes in the man.  He’d been so belligerent before, but now, it was as if his son’s death had settled him somewhat.  Or perhaps it was being accepted among these people that had helped him come to grips with what had happened.  Any way it was, she was glad to see it.

“The Dragons,” Rhiannon interrupted, coming into the lobby.  “They’re back.”

Together, Toshiko and John left the inn, heading toward the lake.  The Great Dragons, who had left after their announcement before, had reappeared, but this time they were in their wraith-like forms once more.

“It is time,” the shadowy shape that was the Earth Dragon said.  “After tonight, the valley will be all but invisible to anyone who did not know where it was.”

The stars had come out, glittering coldly in the darkening sky.  As soon as the Earth Dragon had spoken, swirling clouds had begun to form over the peak of Pedair Dreigiau, looking as if a storm front was forming over the mountain. 

A song began to echo over the valley, the four Great Dragons singing their power into effect.  Suddenly, Toshiko could feel something within her rising, and the mark on her shoulder began to itch, and she had to resist reaching back to scratch.  Before she knew it she had begun to hum, and her other fellow Dragon-Friends as well, even though she didn’t know the tune that was coming from her mouth.

The clouds fanned out, cutting off the stars.  Only the lights from the houses along the lakeshore illuminated the valley now, as Ddraig Llyn was magically cut off from the rest of the world.

The power thrummed along Toshiko’s nerves, and she felt a hand on her arm; turning, she saw John Ellis staring at her in shock, and she smiled at him reassuringly even as she continued to hum.  She couldn’t stop though, not to give him any verbal assurance.

A hand slipped into hers, and she turned away from John to see Kathy standing next to her.  She squeezed the other woman’s hand as they kept up the song, and her eyes looked up to see the last of the stars vanish behind the cloud. 

The song faded away, as did the energy that the Dragons had called up.  And yet, there was still something left, and Toshiko could sense it at the back of her mind, signifying that what they’d done had worked. 

“We have done all we can,” the Earth Dragon said, his voice sounding weaker than usual.  “We must rest, but we shall return when we can.  The safety of us all is in your hands, Dragon-Friends.  Thank you.”

With that, the Great Dragon vanished.

Leaving Ddraig Llyn under its magical shield, hidden from all eyes.

Toshiko hoped it would be enough. 

Now, she had work to do.




Comments

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Yeah, first. *happy dance* So glad that john was there for his son in his last days. Wish i could have saw some thing like this in the show. love the story by the way!
Thanks, glad you liked my inclusion of John in this. And I'm happy you're enjoying the story! :)
Tosh, brilliant as ever. Gods I love that woman :)
Oh, I do too! :)
Always a good moment when I find the next chapter in this verse! And better still, when I read it!!!!
Thank you for this information that is very interesting!
This is kind of what happened in Greece during WWII. Little pockets of resistance hid in tiny valleys and crannies all through the very craggy landscape, and in out of the way inlets and caves. The Nazis did everything possible to hunt down these little defiant groups. People learned to live on whatever they could forage from the wild. People there still make dishes that are based on ingredients their grandparents depended on during the war.

The Nazis couldn't find a lot of these groups because they had no knowledge of local terrain. They would have had maps, but having maps and knowing the ground are two different things. Greece is a topological nightmare.
As is a chunk of Wales.
XOXOXOXO
Very cool! That's about it, I wanted to make Ddraig Llyn fairly hidden from the outside world, but in these days of GPS and satellites and such, anyone with a camera up in the sky could conceivably find it. I've seen lots of interesting Welsh features just using Google Earth.

Thanks! :)
I am glad that John has improved. I can't wait for Ianto to meet the GReat Dragon - talk of dramatic moments! I think that it is hilarious that the only one that is able to get through to Jack's daughter is a mythical dragon. I hope that Tosh is going to give that son-of-a-gun the Master utter hell and a run for his money! I love the mental exercise of extrapolating events from alterations in established events. a fore-warned and fore-armed Torchwood is a dangerous thing, surpassed only by a fore-warned and fore-armed Ianto. ;) I'm looking forward to the next episode! :)
Ianto does meet them officially at some point, and it should be an interesting meeting. Alice needs someone to give her the straight information...let's just say Estelle isn't finished with her yet. And Torchwood is as ready as it can be. We'll have to see if it's ready enough. :)
lovely tie in with John coming back in. Also, man, Alice really needs to flick that chip off her freakin' shoulder. FFS. *shakes head* God I love Tosh SO MUCH!
Glad you liked John's appearance. Ans Estelle isn't done with Alice yet! *laughs*

Aw...Aithusa! *hugs icon*
Great chapter. Love the thought of a secret resistance in Ddraig Llyn. Very fitting. And Tosh, as always, is brilliant!
Thanks! If anyone can tie it all together, it's Tosh! :)
Alice will have to go over all that and grow up a bit!
She can't be angry with her ​​father indefinitely and He is not responsible for his immortality!
Tosh should know that Ianto understands the need of this valley and its refugees.
I'm glad for J. Ellis.
Let's just say Estelle isn't done with Alice yet!

Glad you liked it. :)
I LOVE the Great Dragons :D

Sorry for the lateness yesterday was....eventful....
Thanks!

Oh? Hopefully not too bad...
Its like Brigadoon disappearing into the mist. Love all the dragons being there and that John Ellis is OK. Looking ofrward to what's next. I hope you liked the picture.
hugs
K
xx
Yes, I guess it is! Never even thought of it that way. *wonders about how Brigadoon would transfer to Reel TW*

Oh, I loved it! Please thank your friend for me.

*hugs*
Utterly awesome chapter - I lost myself totally in your world and now I'm waiting with bated breath...can't say how much I love this as there aren't words to do it justice!
D xxx
Thank you, hon. *blushes* I'm so glad you love it. :)
Fantastic. I'm sure Toshiko will be able to help from inside.
Tosh isn't about to let things pass her by, that's for sure. :)
I find myself hoping against hope that with the place hidden, Tosh will still be able to access what she needs from inside. I've a feeling Ianto and the others are going to need her.
Tosh isn't about to let anything stand in her way. We'll see just how much help she's going to be in the upcoming year. Because you know she isn't going to sit on her hands while her friends are in danger. :)
I'm glad that John is doing well. It looks like the time he spent with this son did him some good.

Yay, Tosh. I can understand her frustration with being in Ddraig Llyn, but I'm sure she will continue to be awesome no matter where she is.
He is, as well as he can be. We may see more of him later. :)

Tosh will be, she can't help it!
Finally got a chance to read this - it was wonderful. It's nice to see John doing so well, and Tosh was awesome as usual.
Thanks! Glad you liked it. :)
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