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Catherine Lore: ‘Catherine’s Mission’

Catherine Lore: ‘Catherine’s Mission’

  • SugarVenom
  • |
  • Mar 14, 2016

 

Catherine meets with the Storm Queen…


CATHERINE’S MISSION

The Storm Queen sat sideways on Catherine’s lounge chair, her legs slung over one arm, cloaked and hooded, a raven perched on her shoulder. With no lamps lit, the intruder was invisible in the windowless living quarters. Catherine was not a fan of extra entryways, yet the queen had made her way past the reinforced and locked front door. The queen swung her legs forward and lit the nearest lamp. The raven adjusted its feet but remained in place. “They are nearby. I assume this room is secure?”

“I thought so, yet here you are.”

The queen half-smiled. “You will assemble the Stormguard tonight.”

Catherine sheathed the sword she had been gripping with both fists since first entering her apartment. “Who is the target?”

“Targets. Twin targets, with remarkable magical abilities. You’ll remember their mother, my sister, Julia.”

“Your sister? She’s been dead for years.”

“So she would have us believe. Our spies have found her in southern Gythia.”

“That is tech territory now.”

“A hive of soulless machines and their engineers. Julia has made an alliance with them, hoping to supplant me. She’s even married one of their technologists and made some babies. Isn’t that sweet?”

“Twin babies?”

“Indeed. You will bring them to me so they can be trained.”

“Why is the traitor not a target?”

The queen stood, and the dim light seeped up into her hood, showing the stitches that crossed over the flesh where her eyes had been. They had been removed at birth, in the way of storm mages. “There are laws against royal murder, no matter how justified.” She stroked Catherine’s cheek with the back of her icy hand as she spoke, as if in lullabye. “I should execute you where you stand for suggesting it.”

It was said that evil doles out affection in tiny droplets, yet Catherine could not help her desperate thirst. In a frustrated whisper she said, “So, we take the children and leave their mother to plot your murder? Your sister will seek revenge. She will enlish the Gythians to help her if you do this thing.”

“Let us hope you are right. The Stormguard has never been stronger, and the Gythians are stretched thin fending off the technologists.”

“You wish for war again, my queen?”

“No, Catherine. I do not wish for war. I make it.” The queen’s hand dropped. “Now is the time. Now, while the technologists are a disjointed army of gadgets, while Gythia is an elderly collection of has-beens with shiny trinkets. They are a decade away from readiness and nothing without their toddling prodigies.”

Catherine stared into the raven’s eyes as she spoke. “As you will, my queen.”

“They have made their home in the farms northwest of Pompium. Vyn will accompany you.” Only then did the raven, the queen’s eyes and ears, move; with a quiet flap of its dark wings, it leapt from the queen’s shoulder to Catherine’s.

Catherine resisted the urge to shrug away the bird. “Yes, my queen.”

“I expect obedience.”

To be continued…

 


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