The Last Draconian 40: Lupine Hospitality

Previous Chapter

Lynai Elfblood

After evading questions for a half hour, I made an excuse about my head hurting and was able to get to my room. The Inn only had one room left so I was forced to share it with Michael. The room had a simple green rug, a lamp, a night stand, and one bed. I had Wolfgang put Michael on it since he needed the rest more than I did. Heidi brought me a spare pillow and I slept on the rug. It wasn’t uncomfortable, although it wasn’t anything close to being as nice as my usual sleeping accommodations.

I thought about a lot of things before drifting off to sleep. Why was Michael out for revenge against Sadow? The most likely reason was that Sadow had been involved with the annihilation of the draconians. But the very idea was almost incomprehensible to me. Ever since I was a child I had heard tales of Sadow. He had always been described as a righteous and just Magi. When a severe forest fire had decimated the northern outskirts of Het Wald, leaving several people homeless and even causing a few casualties, he had been among the first to provide relief for the survivors and aid in the recovery effort. We weren’t the only ones he had aided. He had a long history of such altruistic acts. Why would someone like that be involved in murder?

I also thought about Callie. She had worked so hard to get me my freedom and all she had asked was that I consider spending more time with her. Now I was going to her home, but the circumstances were all messed up. Ideally, my visit to see her should have been because I wanted to, but I was going because there wasn’t anywhere else. There was another issue that I hadn’t considered. Callie lived in Strecner, just like Sadow did. Would it be easy for him to find us there? I checked my map. She had circled the far north-western outskirts, just outside of the main city. That was good. From what I could remember about the Magi, Sadow took residence in the eastern area, fairly close to the city centre. So he would have to travel quite a ways to find us. And I didn’t think Callie would tell anyone we were there if I asked for her discretion.

I glanced up at Michael. He was sweating heavily in his sleep. I almost wanted to wake him up and hear his perspective, but I didn’t dare disturb him. Thinking about it, it was no wonder that that human in the lobby had mistaken him for a woman. He had very soft features. He also had very long hair. It wasn’t difficult to understand why the patrons had thought him a woman. Depending on where the human was from it might have been unusual for him too. And his armour hid his figure pretty well. You could tell that he was slim, but you couldn’t tell much more than that. Even I hadn’t been sure whether he was a woman or a man when we had first met. Heidi had known right away, but she wasn’t relying on her sight.

After a lot of thinking that only left me with more questions, I managed to fall asleep. I had a strange dream of twin dragonflies flying toward the sun. It burned their shimmering wings and sent them plummeting to the earth. I felt sorry for the poor things, but when I tried to catch them they fell through my hands.

I woke up with the sun in my eyes. Michael had been washed and dressed in new clothes. He didn’t show any signs of waking up. A plate of ham and eggs had been set out for me. It was kind of cold, but I ate it anyway. It was still good. I took the dish downstairs. Heidi was serving mutton and corn to a group of travellers. Her eyes brightened when she saw me.

“I’m so glad that you’re awake,” she said. “For a moment I was worried that you had a concussion and weren’t going to wake up.”

“Was I really out that long?” I asked. I felt embarrassed.

Heidi nodded. “It’s already mid-day. You must have been exhausted. I’ll have Amalia draw you a bath and Wolfgang can get ready for the journey. Oh, Amalia is our second oldest cub. We have seven in total. Hildegard, Amalia, Melitta, Rebekka, Gunter, Wilhelmina, and Johan. I wish that I could introduce you to all of them. They’re such sweethearts.”

I started to protest but she wouldn’t hear of it. She had a barely pubescent girl with almost black fur prepare a bath for me. I followed the cub into their lodging. Which only had five rooms as far as I could see. The main room, which had a toy chest, a bookcase and several chairs, a bathroom and three others. Bedrooms, I suppose. The bathroom had nothing but a large wooden tub that had been filled with hot water, a rack of clean towels, and a small elevated platform that had bottles of soap and shampoo on it.

“You’re welcome to use these,” Amalia said. “If you’d like I can wash your back.” It was a little surprising how soft spoken she was.

“That’s okay,” I said. “I can do it myself.”

She nodded. “Kay. I’ll clean your clothes while you’re doing that.”

“That isn’t necessary,” I said.

“Is a’kay,” she said. “I like to help. Mum says it’s important.”

I relented and let her take them. I had intended to take the bath quickly and get moving, but I had to wait until I could hear Amalia returning with my clothes which took about twenty minutes. As soon as I heard her foot steps I got out of the bath and dried off.

Amalia sniffed the air when she came in. Her tail was wagging. “Smells much better,” she said. “Isn it nice to be clean?”

“Yes, it certainly is,” I agreed. I took my clothes. They had been cleaned and dried. Judging by the heat on them she had used fire magic to do the drying. I dressed quickly.

Wolfgang was waiting for me in the main room. He was carrying Michael and had a belt with pouches on. He also had a canteen around his shoulder. He nodded at me as I came in and led the way out to the lobby. Heidi smiled at us as we came out. “Have a safe trip,” she said. She licked Wolfgang’s snout. “Come back soon.”

“Don’t worry,” Wolfgang said. “I couldn’t stay away from you or the cubs too long.” He nuzzled against her neck for a moment. “Let’s go,” he said.

I nodded and we began our walk toward Strecner.

Posted in Original fiction, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Voyages of the Cerberus 169: Bluffing Past Security

“I have a great plan,” Leon said. “I’ll cause a huge commotion up front, draw all their attention and you’ll sneak behind them and get inside. Where you’ll quickly access their files and find out what they did with the husband and kid. Then we scarper.”

“Two things,” Kat replied. “First off,there are two kids. Secondly, that’s a terrible plan. You’ll get yourself shot for certain.”

“I can take a few blasts,” Leon stated. “Wouldn’t be the first time.”

“And you’ve almost died more than once,” Kat reminded him. “No. We’ll use a more subtle approach.”

“Meaning?” Leon asked.

Kat sighed. “Lucy and I will doctor up some fake identities. We’ll go in posing as prospective clients from some major company that they have to deal with at the highest level and leave a bug with a localised stealth field in the head honcho’s office. If we’re lucky, we’ll be able to overhear something useful before they find it. Simultaneously, Lucy and Grace will work on breaking into their files remotely.”

“And how is that better than my idea?” Leon asked.

“Because, you Stubborn, Ridiculous man, it stands a chance of working,” Kat explained. “Come on, let’s get to it.”


“Our security is the best in this galaxy,” the representative explained. He was a chatty young man with half his face oddly covered by his hair. “I’m sure you’ll find it perfect for your company, Miss Smith.”

“Please, call me Sarah,” Kat said. “You don’t have to try so hard to pitch your company to us. Everyone who’s anyone knows Watchful Falcon.”

“Still, I’m surprised to see you here,” he continued. “I thought your lot owned the Vigilant Gryphon.”

“We do,” Kat stated. “But you’ve seen the latest standings. The Gryphon’s lost a lot of ground.  We used to be at te height of security. Now…” Kat took a pause and sighed. “Now we can scarcely even be called number five. And we’re still losing our share of the market.” She beckoned for him to move closer and looked around, as though checking for people listening. “I have something of an ulterior motive for my visit. We’re planning on shutting down the Gryphon and renewing our focus on textiles and manufacturing. I was hoping to talk with Madeline about a buyout.”

He looked around carefully. “Of course, I’ll go talk with her. I’m sure she’ll want to see you right away.”

He hurried off. Kat gave Leon a smug look.

“I still say my idea was just as valid,” Leon whispered.

The rep quickly returned. “Miss Masters will see you both,” he hurried them into the office.

“Sarah, so pleased to see you,” Madeline Masters greeted them, taking Kat’s hand. “So sorry to hear about the Gryphon. Charles, you may go.” Their escort bowed and hurried out.

“Nature of the business,” Kat said. “We’re still number one in manufacturing.”

“Of course,” Madeline said. “But that can always change later. I’m delighted that you came to do business in person. E-mails are just so impersonal.”

“I make it my business to meet with major business partners, even prospective ones, in person,” Kat said.

“Yes, I had heard the rumour,” Madeline said. “And, you want the buyout to make for a better announcement?”

“Naturally,” Kat said. “A buyout sounds so much better than an announcement of simply closing our doors.”

“And you could hardly be blamed for selling a subsidiary to the largest in the field,” Madeline said. “I trust you have the contracts?”

Kat held out her hand held. “Right here. I believe you’ll find them eminently fair.”

Leon waited until she was engrossed in the paperwork and quietly attached the bug to the inside of a lampshade. Not that anyone was paying attention to him. Masters hadn’t even looked at him once. Which suited him fine, he couldn’t passably talk business. He could barely feign interest while they were doing it.

“The terms look completely acceptable,” Madeline said. Kat noted that she was beaming. “I’ll have my lawyers go through everything and we’ll contact your people in a week, maximum.”

“And we’ll reply just as swiftly,” Kat said. The two shook hands.

“I do hope to see you at some social events, Sarah,” Madeline said.

“Certainly,” Kat responded.

After some pleasantries, Kat and Leon took their leave. They quickly returned to the Cerberus.


“So, we have about a week before they catch us, right?” Leon asked.

“A little more than that,” Kat said. “A week is how long it’ll take before we cause a panic at Abico’s corporate headquarters and they start frantically trying to get a hold of the people at the top. But, at that time, Miss Smith will be t a very important conference and won’t be able to answer them quickly.”

“So, you planned around that?” Leon asked.

“No, just fortunate timing,” Kat answered. “Frankly, I hope we don’t need that much time. The sooner we find out what’s going on with Mrs Wright’s family, the faster we can get this job over with.”

“Doesn’t sit well with me either,” Leon muttered. “Helping a scumbag so we can use her against bigger scumbags.”

“If it makes you feel better her family might be innocent,” Kat said.

“They’re probably assholes too,” Leon scoffed.

In spite of trying to hold it back, Kat chuckled.

Posted in Original fiction, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Last Draconian 39: A Friendly Inn

Previous Chapter

Illyana Fensen

I was supposed to be resting, recovering from my wounds. The cleric had done a good job of curing the burns, but the experience had left me drained. I couldn’t sleep. I had a vague premonition of disaster. Perhaps it was as simple as concern over Michael’s safety. He had surely encountered Sadow by now.

I wanted him to win and return so that we could go back to the way things were when we were children. To the long talks and friendly games that we had shared. For some reason I had never been able to feel as at ease with anyone else as I had with him. Not even Sylvie. Perhaps it was because he was my oldest friend or the quiet way he carried himself. Or it could be that he was one of the few people who had never treated me with pity because of my blindness. Kindness, yes. Pity, no.

Drake was fast asleep on my chest. I could feel his tiny chest moving up and down. I could hear a light tapping outside my door. Professor Mord had been afraid to leave me alone since Sadow had left a trap in my room. It was really a nuisance. I’m more capable of looking after myself than he is. Especially since I know who the  enemy is. He was driving himself crazy worrying about it, trying to grasp the situation. I wanted to tell him, but I had promised to keep Michael’s secret.

I struggled to let myself drift into sleep. But my mind was racing. If Sadow did kill Michael it would be up to me to stop him, I had promised. My best bet was to bring the issue to the rest of the Magi, but how could I make them listen? They wouldn’t easily believe that one of their own was a genocidal maniac. Michael had said that the evidence was at Drahaven, but how much proof was actually left? If he’d used magic there wouldn’t be much physical evidence of anything except for the fact that magic was used. Had Sadow left something behind to incriminate himself? If so why hadn’t the investigative team noticed it?

I said a quick prayer to Hecate, Themis, Nike and Zeus asking for Michael’s victory and safety. For the first time in my life I wondered if they were listening or even cared.


Lynai Elfblood

I scanned the main floor. There was a very simple eating area right at the front. It consisted of a counter with four stools laid out in front of it and three tables with four seats each. There was a door beside the counter whether it led to a room, an office or something else entirely I couldn’t say. Behind the counter was a door that most likely led to the kitchen. There were stairs leading up, presumably to the rooms. A lupine feralial was standing behind the counter. She had light grey fur and was handing out drinks. There were about a dozen people of various races sitting around eating venison and laughing. As I approached the counter their conversation dissipated and everyone turned to stare. Not at me, but at Michael. I guess they had never seen a draconian before.

The feralial’s ears perked up and she rushed out from behind the counter. I almost drew my daggers but I stopped myself. I was being paranoid. She wasn’t an enemy. She looked more like a concerned parent.

“The poor dear,” she said as she reached out to take Michael. “What happened to him?” Michael didn’t show any sign of regaining consciousness when she grabbed him.

“Well…” I started talking slowly with the intention of diverting her attention away from the issue.

“I suppose that isn’t important right now,” she interrupted me, possibly sensing my hesitation. “We simply must get his wounds cleaned and properly bandaged.” She gave me a quick sideways glance. “You need to be treated too.” She beckoned me to an open seat. “Sit down, Dear. I’ll bring you something to eat. Wolfgang, bring the first aid kit.” She gently laid Michael out on top of the wooden table and rushed to the kitchen.

I heard the guests whispering to each other. I couldn’t make out most of it but I distinctly heard a human male say: “Did she call that silver-haired girl ‘him’?”

A second lupine feralial quickly emerged from the first door. He was about a hundred ninety eight centimetres tall with snow white fur and bright red eyes. He had a medium sized box under his arm. He brought it over, nodded at me and began treating Michael’s wounds.

“Fire and lightning magic,” he muttered. He took a loud sniff. “Powerful stuff too.” He looked at me. “What happened to you two?”

“There’s no need to interrogate the poor girl,” his wife returned with a plate of venison, carrots and spinach. “They were probably attacked by bandits or something. But where are my manners?” she asked as she handed me the plate. “I haven’t introduced myself. I’m Heidi Esarosa, this is my mate, Wolfgang. This is our Inn.” She began treating my forehead as she talked. “I take it that you’re from Het Wald. Your companion is a surprise though. I thought that the draconians had all been killed by a falling meteor or some such thing.”

“Apollo,” Wolfgang corrected her. “Story says they were wiped out by Apollo.” He had removed Michael’s scorched armour and had opened his tunic so that he could treat Michael’s chest wounds. The human who had called Michael a girl earlier was glancing over, trying to catch a glimpse of what he looked like under his armour. I looked away, trying to show courtesy.

“If Apollo had done it then how did one survive?” Heidi asked triumphantly. “Answer me that one.” She turned her attention back to me. “What’s your name, Dear.”

“I’m Lynai,” I answered. “My companion is Michael. We met in the forest and decided to travel together for a while, but we were attacked by bandits. He was hurt pretty badly and I had to carry him here.” I felt bad lying to them, but I knew that the truth would raise a lot of questions that I just didn’t know the answers to and Michael was in no condition to explain.

Heidi smirked and nodded. “I knew it,” she said. “I knew that it was bandits. They’ve just been dreadful lately. Don’t worry, they wouldn’t dare show their faces in my inn!” She examined her work and nodded, satisfied. “You’ll be fine in a little while, Dear. It’s not that bad of a wound.” She turned to the rest of the customers. “And you lot, turn back to your tankards and mind your business.” There was a rustle of chairs as they started complying.

“I wish that I could say the same for him,” Wolfgang said. “He’ll live, but it’ll take him quite some time to recover.” I looked at Michael. The upper half of his tunic had been replaced entirely by bandages. The left half of his face had been bandaged as well. He also had a bandage going around his forehead. His legs had been mostly bandaged too. The bandages were already turning a light crimson. I hadn’t noticed that he was hurt that badly. It made me feel even more ashamed that I had almost slapped him. Even if he had kind of deserved it.

“Why don’t you two stay with us?” Heidi asked. “If you can’t afford it that’s okay. We’d never turn aside someone hurt this badly.”

“Thank you for your generosity,” I said, “but I have money.” I reached into my pouch and felt a folded parchment. Callie’s map. I came to a decision in that instant. It was mainly based off of my fear of Sadow finding us. “We’ll stay the night, but we were on our way to the home of a close friend and I think that he can recover much more easily there.”

“Of course,” Heidi said, nodding. “It’s much better to recuperate among loved ones. But the trip could be dangerous.”

“I think that I can manage,” I said. “I’m stronger than I look.”

“No, no. It’s far too dangerous for one person, ” Heidi insisted. “Especially since you’ll have to carry your friend. Wolfgang will escort you.”

“But…” I started to protest, she quickly interrupted me.

“I won’t take no for an answer,” Heidi said. “Don’t worry, he’s very dependable.” She put a paw on his shoulder. “Really, it’s no inconvenience.”

“I don’t mind,” Wolfgang reassured me. “Mighty Zeus himself decreed that a host should take care of his guests.”

Heidi nodded. “Then it’s settled. Where does your friend live?”

“She lives in Strecner,” I answered.

“And you were worried about inconveniencing us?, Heidi asked. “Why, Strecner is only a day’s journey from here. You really do worry too much, Dear.”

Next Chapter

Posted in Original fiction, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Voyages of the Cerberus 168: The Trashed Flat

“I’ve looked up the records of Mrs Wright’s family,” Lucy reported. “She didn’t lie to us. At least, not about them existing. She has a husband, Ricardo and two children Victor & Isabel. Right now, I’ve got Kat and Leon monitoring her activities.”

“I knew you’d come up with something,” Ophelia said. “Where’d you put her? Allison & Yuri’s old room?”

“I have her in the conference room,” Lucy answered. “I wouldn’t want Yuri to come back and see that her space’s been disturbed. Plus, it feels proper to let her decide what to do with Allison’s old things.”

“I understand it’s already been disturbed a bit,” Ophelia said. “Apparently, the little Baron bolted out of Grace’s room and ran right over there. He wouldn’t budge until she’d shown him inside and let him confirm that she wasn’t there.”

“That is both incredibly sweet and really sad,” Lucy said.

“I know,” Ophelia said. She sighed. “Losing her still hurts. I don’t know if it’ll ever get to the point where it doesn’t.”

“It will never stop being painful,” Lucy said, with complete certainty. “You still wake up at night crying because of what happened to Jane sometimes. Didn’t you learn at your fancy Alliance university that captains need to be dispassionate?”

“You don’t even believe that,” Ophelia challenged.

“No, I don’t,” Lucy said. “But you did, once.”

“The Alliance has that as a general rule because the captain of a larger vessel has a constantly rotating crew of hundreds,” Ophelia stated. “This… this is different. These aren’t just a bunch of employees coming in to work under me until they get promoted or transferred. They’re so much more than that.”

“I know that all too well,” Lucy said. “I’m thinking that Kat and Leon will be good choices to go with Miss Wright to retrieve her family. Any objections?”

“None,” Ophelia said. “We’ll be landing in Heyliiux’s port soon. You should let them know.”

“I’ll do it immediately,” Lucy said.


“Do I really need the both of you watching me?” Ellen asked. “I’m not going to run!”

“We don’t need both of us in case you run,” Leon said. “I could stop you from running by myself. So could she, probably.”

“I definitely could,” Kat said. “I’m a better marksman than you are.”

“By like, a fraction of a percent,” Leon stated.

“Then why are you saying ‘probably’?” Kat asked.

“Because you’re nice,” Leon said. “You might hesitate to shoot someone who’s unarmed. I’d just do it cause I don’t give a shit.”

“Well aren’t we edgy?” Kat asked. “In any case, Mrs Wright, we’re both here because EIG might be after you. After all, you know their secrets, right?”

Ellen gulped and nodded. She hurriedly led the pair down the streets towards her home. They eventually came to a rather nice  five story flat complex.

“We’re on the ground floor,” Ellen said. “The fourth unit. It was a little extra to be at the ground floor, but we thought it was worth it for the convenience.”

“Just lead us there so we can save your sprogs and husband,” Leon said, sounding irritated. “We don’t need a long list of why you bought the place.”

Ellen gave a grunt and gestured for them to follow her.

“Anyone ever tell you that you need to work on your people skills?” Kat asked.

“Literally everyone on the Cerberus except Lucy,” Leon said. “And she might’ve once or twice but I can’t remember.”

“No!” Ellen shrieked. Leon and Kat moved quickly in front of her. The flat’s door had been left ajar. The place was visibly in disarray.

“Stay with her,” Kat said. “And report the situation to Lucy. I’ll go in and take a look.”

She hurried inside. The search had been thorough with cushions being cut open and everything. There were valuable objects left lying around. Clearly, not a robbery.

The flat had a living area, kitchenette, small bathroom and three bedrooms. One had little stuffed toys that had been slashed open. Kat went through  the entire thing. Whoever had been there had left recently, There was no sign of the children or husband. The room with the plush toys had a small blood stain and a chunk of flesh.

The only clue she found was a piece of torn fabric with a piece of an emblem on it, but she couldn’t tell what the full thing looked like.

She came out of the flat to find Leon leaning against the wall while Ellen was absolutely freaking out.

“Couldn’t be bothered to comfort her?” Kat asked.

“How would I do that?” Leon countered. “Should I say ‘Sorry that your family’s probably dead? I can have my loving boyfriend make you cupcakes or something.'”

“Never say that to anyone,” Kat said. “It’s definitely not the way to go.” She sighed and moved over to Ellen. “It’s okay, Mrs Wright. Your family is fine. There were some signs of a struggle and they were obviously taken, but they wouldn’t have bothered taking them if they’d killed them. That means we can definitely get them back.”

She showed Ellen the emblem piece. “Do you recognise this?”

Ellen turned it over in her shaking hands. “I… it’s a piece of the patch from Watchful Falcon Securities. They’re an EIG subsidiary.”

“Then that’s where we’re going,” Kat said. “We’ll take you back to the ship first.”

“But I… I could…” Ellen began.

Kat gently touched Ellen’s shoulder and slowly shook her head. “You’re too distraught. Don’t worry, I saw your family portraits. We’ll be able to identify them. Trust Leon and me. We’ve been through a lot of difficult missions. We can save them, okay?”

Ellen nodded.

“Time to bust down some doors and bash heads!” Leon declared.

Kat sighed. She was significantly less enthusiastic about trying to break into a security company, but they really had no choice.

Posted in Original fiction, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Last Draconian 38: Carrying Michael

Previous Chapter

Lynai Elfblood

I wanted to prop myself against a tree for a little while, to rest and recover my stamina. But I didn’t want to risk it. He had been fighting a Magi! One of the five greatest living mages. I hate to admit it but I expected to see the Magi pop out of a tree, the ground or even the sky and vaporize us both with a single spell. I had never felt more frightened. My fear motivated me to keep moving.

After continuing for what felt like a long time I felt Michael stirring. I stopped and let him get to his feet. He moved very shakily so I let him put an arm around my shoulders and helped him walk. He looked at the sword in his left hand as though he couldn’t quite remember picking it up before sheathing it.

“Did you see another sword when you picked me up?” he asked. “It may have been on the ground.”

I shook my head. “Sorry, there wasn’t anything there.”

We struggled on our way in silence for a while. “Aren’t you going to thank me?” I asked.

“Why would I do such a thing?” he inquired.

“Well I did just save your life,” I stated.

“I did not ask for your help,” Michael said. “I told you to leave me alone.”

“You could show some gratitude,” I said. “Did you want to die?”

“I would have taken him with me,” Michael said. “If you had been paying attention you would have noticed that I had cast the binding breath spell. If you had not interfered I would have accomplished my goal.”

“But… but what about your life?” I stammered. “Is revenge really worth giving up your life for?”

“My life is inconsequential,” Michael said. “If I must sacrifice it in order to succeed, then I will do so.”

I stopped and pulled away from Michael. He was able to stand on his own, even though he was shaky. He looked at me with the curiosity of a farmer who finds an oddly shaped vegetable. I wanted to slap him, hard. The fact that he was injured stopped me from doing so. “Don’t ever say that your life isn’t important!” I cried. “Our lives are the greatest gift that the Gods give us. That’s why we have to live as best as we can and hold on to our lives for everything we’re worth. As long as there’s anything that gives us joy, anyone who cares for us, anything we can offer society, we have to keep going.” I could feel my cheeks redden. I didn’t want to be preachy or anything, but I just couldn’t bear to see anyone just talk so casually about throwing their life away. And for what? I glanced over at him wondering if I should give up and prop him up again. He looked like he would fall over if the wind picked up. He returned my gaze with an unchanged expression.

“I have none of those things,” he said. “I am having difficulty understanding your objection.”

I almost slapped him for the second time, but I stopped myself again. “What about that woman who you were talking to?” I asked. “Doesn’t she matter to you?”

“Not particularly,” he answered, turning his gaze to the sky as he said it. He started to walk past me, but his body convulsed and he collapsed to the ground.

I sighed and hoisted him over my shoulder. I couldn’t help but wonder if his lack of emotion was a draconian characteristic or just who he was. It wasn’t like I’d ever meet another one to compare. For a while I walked without really thinking about a destination.

It wasn’t until I realised that we were heading for Het Wald that I stopped to think about it. I couldn’t go back. Father would force me to marry, but where else could I go? I had always been so sheltered that I didn’t know of anywhere that I could go to find medical help. If I knew where the mystery woman, Illyana something or other, lived I could take him there. Even if he honestly felt nothing for her I could tell that she cared about him. But all he’d said about her was her name and there was no way I could find her with just that. It wasn’t like I had guards to send to search for her.

The road ahead branched into a crossroad. There was a fairly large inn beside the road. It had three stories and a stable beside it. Wicadia was to the east, I really didn’t want to go back there. Het Wald was to the north-west. I would only go there as a last resort. Strecner was to the south-west. Relna was about a dozen miles to the south east. I certainly didn’t want to go there, unless things had gotten better with the trolls. Although that was doubtful.

But where could I go then? There were some small settlements scattered around, but there probably wouldn’t be any clerics around there and any other medical help I could find was unlikely to be of much help. Still, it would be better than nothing. Michael was breathing in sort, ragged bursts. He definitely needed to rest and have his wounds cleaned. I dragged him to the Inn’s door. I had to put him down to open it, so I set him gently by the doorway, propped the door open with my foot and helped him inside.

Next Chapter

Posted in Original fiction, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Voyages of the Cerberus 167: The Would be Stowaway

EIG sent a familiar face to the negotiations, Malak Jordan. He had the same artificial smile he’d used when greeting them for their job.

“Good to meet you fine folks,” he said. “I am Malak Jordan, representative of the EIG. I sincerely apologise for the misconduct against your people. I assure you, it doesn’t represent our company or what we stand for.”

Ilyin and Jayla exchanged a look. Jayla accepted his outstretched hand. “We desire peace” she chirped. “If you wish to negotiate it, we can be persuaded to forgive the transgressions.”

“This time,” Ilyin added. “We will not be so forgiving of further hostilities.”

“Nor should you,” Malak said, speaking soothingly. “We’re the ones at fault, after all.” He glanced in the direction of the broadcasting camera. “You and yours were innocent victims of the reckless, unethical actions of a few bad apples. I assure you, we’ve made sure those at fault will never be in the position to cause trouble like this again. And if any authorities wish to press charges we will fully cooperate.”

Farah glanced at her hand held. There was a message from Lucy. It read: “laying it on a bit thick, isn’t he?”

Farah glanced at Lucy and nodded for just a moment.


Leon watched the monitors. He was well aware that the chances of anything actually happening were remote. He knew he’d been left behind solely because everyone else was better at diplomacy than him.

He was used to saying exactly what he thought at all times. Still, he wasn’t going to neglect his duties. He would protect the ship and Grace. Because that was something he was good at.

He lost his train of thought when he noticed it, a very slight, calculated movement outside of the Cerberus. A small stealth field?

“Leon to Grace, do you detect any strange energy readings outside of the ship?”

“Hold on,” Grace said. “Let me… Yes, I see it. Whoever it is, they’re trying to force the hatch open.”

“Lock engineering and arm yourself,” Leon said. “I’ll go deal with them.”

“Got it,” Grace said. “I don’t get it, though. Why would EIG take a risk like this when their image is already damaged as badly as it is?”

“They wouldn’t,” Leon said. “But they do have some very angry former employees who might have realised that our crew played a role in the leak.”

“Makes sense,”  Grace admitted. “It’s also possible that they’re just planning on stowing away to get away from potential inquiries.”

“I won’t let them get away with it either way,” Leon said. “I’ll call back in when it’s taken care of.”

He carefully made his way towards the hatch, pistol drawn. He could hear the very slight beeps of their would-be intruder trying to break through the electronic lock. He moved into position right beside it.

He was about to have Grace just open it and let them inside when they finally managed to break in. They were heading up into the Cerberus when they found his pistol against their head.

“All right, stealth field off, hands where I can see them,” he demanded. “Try anything even remotely suspicious and I will fire. I suggest you explain yourself very well, I am not known for my patience.”

His prisoner’s stealth field went down, revealing her face. “Please,” she pleaded. “You have to get me out of here. EIG… they’re going to silence me.”

“And why do you think that?” Leon asked.

“My… my name is Ellen Wright. I was in charge of the mines. I… I just followed orders,” her eyes were filling with tears. “But they don’t want any of us to testify so they’re quietly going to make us disappear.”

“And you think we’ll be sympathetic because?” Leon asked. “Orders or not, your team killed a whole lot of little alien ladies.”

“I… I can pay for safe passage,” she pleaded. “Please… I have a family. I…”

“Fine,” Leon said. “I will ask Ophelia if she’s willing to take your job. But until she returns, you’re under guard. Get it?”

“Y… yes, I understand.”


The meeting between the gnowlin and EIG went well. EIG agreed to control their organic by-products very carefully and the gnowlin agreed to grant them some basic mining rights if they stayed in very specific areas.

Ophelia and her crew were walking the gnowlin representatives home.

“Thanks to you and yours, we will have peace,” Jayla cheered.

“You should be careful,” Lucy said. “EIG may try and alter the deal once the scandal’s passed. I’ll give you a way to contact us, when that happens.”

Jayla studied her. “You are different from Obelia and the others.”

“That’s because they’re human and I’m akumillian,” Lucy stated.

“Then why do you journey together?” Jayla wondered.

“We don’t believe that partnerships need to be between members of the same species,” Ophelia explained. “Our crew isn’t restricted to just humans. Besides,” she put an arm around Lucy’s shoulder “Lucy is my other.”

“We understand,” Jayla said. “We will contact you as you’ve asked, should we have need.”

“You can contact us just to talk if you want,” Farah offered. “You know, as friends.”

Jayla smiled. “Then we shall. We will wish you all well.”


The Cerberus crew bid farewell to their new found friends and returned to the ship. Ellen being on board was a surprise. Her request more so.

“What do you think?” Ophelia asked.

“I think she’s terrified,” Lucy said. “I also think it behoves us and our new friends to have someone alive and well that EIG would prefer disappears.”

“They’ll expect her to try and go for her family,” Kat said. “She’ll just get caught if we leave her with them. Going there with her will be dangerous.”

“We’ll have to pick them up quickly and take her some place safe,” Lucy said. “I’ll find a list of options.” She looked at Ophelia. “If you want to take the job.”

Ophelia shrugged. “Not the most dangerous thing we’ve done recently. We may as well. Ellen, where’s your family?”

“The fourth planet of this system,” Ellen answered. “Heyliiux.”

“then I’ll set course,” Ophelia said. “Let’s do this.”

Posted in Original fiction, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Last Draconian 37: Emerging from Underground

Previous Chapter

Joseph rode quickly. Since he had left the front line he had been experiencing a foreboding sensation. Generals Fan and Nol were following closely behind him. A large group of troll soldiers were riding a respectful distance behind them.

“Calm down,” Zelma said. She was riding a workhorse behind him. “Garet won’t win the war by himself while we’re away.”

“Maybe he’s concerned about Garet’s safety,” Selene suggested.

Zelma laughed heartily. “There’s no way that Garet would be killed by the likes of the tree dwellers. He’s too stubborn.”

“Anyone can be killed,” Selene said. “I’ve fought against many who considered themselves above death. Their arrogance was always a fatal weakness.”

The three generals saw a group of troll soldiers walking down the road toward them. They looked over their shoulders frequently and moved nervously.

Joseph rode up to them. “What’s the meaning of this?” The soldiers froze and looked up at him. They didn’t respond to his question.

“Why are you walking away from the battlefront?” Joseph demanded.

One of the trolls walked forward slightly, wringing his hands together. “It wasn’t our fault,” he began “they were too much for us. We didn’t have a choice but to run. They would have killed us otherwise.”

“Who would have killed you?” Joseph asked.

“The elves,” The troll stammered. “They outnumbered our regiment. We fought as well as we could, but the General fell and we had no choice. We had to flee for our lives.”

“Garet is dead?” Joseph was incredulous. “How did he die?”

The troll shook his head. “I didn’t see much of his battle. I was too busy fighting for my life. All I know is that he was clashing with an elf one moment, the next his head was rolling on the ground. We knew then that we had to run. We stood no chance, not without the General.”

Joseph clenched his fist. “Very well,” he said, softly. “Reform as many units as you can. Have everyone who’s surplus join existing units. Except for one person who will send a message to Larick that I wish to see him immediately.” He noticed the fear on their faces. “Be at ease,” he reassured them. “We’ve each brought a fresh regiment. This time it will be the elves who have no choice but to flee before our martial might.” He raised his voice so that the soldier following could hear him. “We will avenge the loss of General Brun and win this war for the glory of the empire!” The soldiers behind and in front of him raised their arms and cheered.


Lynai Elfblood

I felt cold. My head was throbbing like crazy and my back hurt. I got up carefully. I was sore all over, but I could move. I could feel a warm trickle moving down my face. I examined the spot carefully. There was a large bump and a gash running along my forehead. I tore off a scrap of my tunic and wrapped it around my head to stop the bleeding. I would have to clean it later. Michael was sprawled across the ground a dozen or so centimetres away from me. He had a sword in his left hand. I could see his face twitching and hear his breathing. He was still alive and well enough.

I crouched down beside him and did a quick examination. He had cuts and burns all over. There were probably even more beneath his armour. I put an ear against his chest. His heart sounded fine. Actually, it sounded like he had two of them. I made an effort to recall the stories of draconians and whether or not they were supposed to have an extra heart but I was drawing a blank. I tried to move him into a more comfortable position before looking around the chamber.

The hole that we had fallen from was pretty high up. It was pretty large too. How had no one noticed and filled it in? There were footprints in the dirt near where Michael had fallen. I followed them to a mostly solid rock wall. It did have a pretty sizeable crack in it. I knew that I could fit through it, but Michael would have trouble getting his wings in. The sides of the crack had blood flecked around them. Someone had gone through there, and pretty recently from the looks of things. Michael, perhaps?

I moved back beneath the hole and looked up. I figured that it would be possible to use magic to get up there, but how stable were the edges? I looked back at Michael. He probably wouldn’t last too long. His injuries had been pretty severe and the fall had just worsened his condition. I hoisted him up and carried him beneath the hole. Somehow, he kept a firm grip on the sword. Like it was somehow melded to his skin. I put my hands together and touched the soil. I sent as much energy as I could manage into the ground. The area I was standing on began to rumble immediately. A circular area of ground rose toward the sky and stopped just short of the hole. When I stood I could see the forest around me. I left Michael on the slab and tested the earth around the hole. It showed no signs of giving way beneath my weight. Satisfied, I decided to retrieve Michael and carry him into the forest.


Sadow stopped a travelling carriage. He was carrying Laina’s head beneath his robes with one skeletal arm wrapped firmly around it. An elderly vampire opened the window and looked out at him.

“Pardon my intrusion,” Sadow said. “My carriage was attacked and destroyed by a magic using thug. If you would be so kind as to take me the rest of the way to my Keep I would be glad to repay you.”

The vampire grinned. “Of course, Magi. It would please me greatly to provide assistance to one such as you.” He opened the door and moved to the side.

“I thank you for your kindness,” Sadow said. He moved beside the gentleman and closed the door behind him.

“I am Duke Hetan Perom,” the vampire said. “I am surprised that the Magi known for his great compassion and strong sense of justice would come under attack. It seems that even a foolhardy scoundrel would be hesitant to attack one as powerful as a Magi.”

“The rogue probably thought me a helpless traveller,” Sadow said.

Hetan nodded. “A grave error indeed. I trust that you turned the villain in to the authorities?”

“Unfortunately, she escaped with the aid of an accomplice,” Sadow said. “I attempted to chase them down but they took refuge in the forest beside the road. I could not find their hideout. Rest assured that I have every intention of catching them before they cause more harm.”

“I would not have thought that you would be capable of failure,” Hetan said. “I suppose that even the great Magi are not invincible.”

Sadow smiled. “Perhaps not. All we can do is work to the best of our ability to make the world a better place, one step at a time.”

Sadow felt a surge of relief. He was on his way home in comfort. Now, he just had to plan the best way of dealing with his problem. The blind girl… she had known. She must also be an accomplice. He would have to deal with her more quickly than he’d anticipated.

Next Chapter

Posted in Original fiction, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Voyages of the Cerberus 166: The Meeting Site

“Have we compiled everything from our little tour?” Ophelia asked.

“I’ve got a very professional report ready,” Kat confirmed. “Our first mission will be completed a couple seconds after I send it over.”

“Do they really still need the data?” Farah asked. “I mean, they were hoping we’d attack the gnowlins, right? And it’s not like they can do it themselves at this point.”

“Technically, our job was just to tour their mines,” Ophelia said. “They may not like it, but they’ll still pay up. Since we did complete the work they hired us for.” She grabbed her communicator. “Paul, how’s your work going?”

They waited for close to seven minutes. Then Paul’s response came through. “We’ve set up a full decontamination program to flush the water out of their systems. We’re also working on a filtering program to remove it from their food and the liquids they need to survive. It’s going to take some time for everyone to get back up and healthy, but I’m confident that most of the patients will survive.”

“Well done,” Ophelia said. She turned to Kat. “Lucy is already picking out a site for our second job. I want you to go meet up with her. Farah and I will stick with the gnowlins and safely escort them over, if they agree to the meeting.”

“Got it,” Kat said. “Remember what Paul said, don’t eat or drink anything of theirs.”

“We know,” Ophelia said. Her communicator signalled. “Ophelia here.”

“When do I get to do something?” Leon asked. “I should be helping with security or punishing EIG for their bullshit.”

“Leon, you’re guarding the ship,” Ophelia said. “We need someone strong and skilled over there. We can’t just leave Grace to mind the fort by herself. Especially since the EIG probably suspects that we had something to do with their leak. They might try to retaliate.”

“Please keep her safe for me,” Farah added. “I know Paul wouldn’t want anything to happen to his sister either.”

“Fine, I’ve got it,” Leon said. “You’ll see. The ship’s never been better guarded. He disconnected.

“Do you really think they might retaliate?” Farah asked.

“Not a chance,” Ophelia answered. “But we don’t need Leon coming along when we’re trying to broker a peace agreement.”

“Oh, yeah,” Farah agreed. “I can see that.”


The  neutral point Lucy had chosen was a small cavern betwixt the mines and the gnowlins’ village. She’d already brought portable electric lights in, all set to give off dim light. There was one visible entrance into the chamber, and a rather small one. It would be a tight squeeze for the EIG representatives, but easy enough for the gnowlins.

“Perfect, right?” Lucy asked.

“You mean besides the difficulty one side is going to have getting in?” Kat inquired.

Lucy shrugged. “They’ll manage. Besides, it’s their fault the situation is like this. Consider the tight squeeze a needed gesture of good will.”

“Then it is perfect,” Kat agreed. “No real places to hide. Nowhere to sneak in. Still spacious enough to fit us, the representatives and the EIG’s video transmitter.”

“All that’s left is the gnowlins agreeing to the meeting,” Lucy said. “You’ve been around them, do you think they will?”

“Most likely they will,” Kat stated. “They really want peace and even though they seem fairly skeptical by nature, I think our crew’s won their trust. Knowing we’re in charge of protecting them should give them some peace of mind.”

“Then we’ll have a smooth time of bringing them together,” Lucy said. “But I quite suspect that the meeting itself won’t be so simple. Even if the EIG thinks it will be.”


Jayla returned, followed closely by Ilyin. “The council has finished its discussion,” she reported. “We do not trust the others like you. We question whether or not they are sincere in their wish for peace. But, we do trust you, Obelia, and your crew. We also find peace highly preferable to the alternative. As this is the case, Ilyin and I will go along with one other pairing, Nillya & Jheyul.” She bowed. “We entrust our safety to you.”

Ilyin nodded. “Remember, this can not fail. If it does, there will surely be war. Your crew may even take some blame from some of the more rage prone among us.”

“We know what’s at stake,” Ophelia assured her. “I can’t completely guarantee your safety, but I vow that my crew and I will do everything we can to ensure it.”

“That is all we can ask,” Jayla said. “Let us make haste.”

“I’ll report that we’re on the way,” Ophelia said. “She brought out her communicator. “Lucy, we’re coming. Tell our employers and let me know immediately when they arrive.”

After a relatively short wait, they were joined by two other gnowlins. Ophelia headed the procession while Farah brought up the rear. They slowly and steadily made their way towards the meeting site.

Posted in Original fiction, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Last Draconian 36: A General Falls

Previous Chapter

Garet paced back and forth. His pike swung behind him as he moved. His troops sat back, trying to watch him without being noticed. He wasn’t saying anything but they could tell by his wrinkled brow and solemn expression that he was deeply concerned.

A broadsword was thrown from the trees into the camp. “Tighten up your defensive positions!” Garet ordered. He moved over to the broadsword and examined it. A few tears fell down his cheeks. “Gino,” he whispered. “I will avenge you.” Garet swung his pike in an arch. “Come down here and face me, tree dwelling scum. I will not show you any mercy!”

A volley of arrows came from the trees in response. The troll soldiers were already prepared. Garet swung his pike around and dashed every arrow that came close to him into the ground.

“Return fire,” Garet shouted. A group of trolls grabbed crossbows and fired into the trees. Not a single body fell. “Very well,” the general said. “Get the torches! Let’s burn this forest to the ground!”

As the trolls moved to follow his orders a group of elves and pixies marched out of the forest. They were fully clad in armour, and held their weapons aloft.

“Forget the torches, attack!” Garet cried. He rushed forward with his pike shining. The first soldier who approached him had his neck sliced open. The second suffered a severe stomach wound. Garet’s pike smashed through the third’s armour and ran her through. All around the field elves and trolls locked in combat.

Lang’s blade clashed with Garet’s pike. The two antagonists parried, thrust and clashed for several minutes as they both searched for an opening. Both knew that a single error could easily mean death.

Garet thrust his pike forward. Lang’s shield went up to block the blow. Lang saw an opening and slashed with his own sword while Garet’s pike struggled to break through his shield. Garet saw the blade coming and whirled the pike around in his hands. He hit Lang’s sword-arm with the butt of his pike. The force of the blow shattered Lang’s hand and caused his sword to fall to the ground. Garet took advantage of his superior strength and began hammering against Lang’s shield with his blade, trying to force it out of Lang’s hand. Lang held his shield tightly, but the steel itself was buckling under the force it was being subjected to.

Lang was saved when one of the pixies saw his plight and flew to his aid. She buzzed up to Garet’s face and cast a light spell, temporarily blinding him. Lang dropped to the ground, and rolled to retrieve his sword, abandoning his shield. He quickly scrambled upward and lunged at Garet, striking him in the chest. Garet pushed Lang back. He walked forward, bleeding but alive and slashed at Lang’s head. Lang blocked with his injured arm, sustaining a deep wound and thrust his blade into Garet’s stomach. Garet staggered back briefly but still managed to block Lang’s follow-up thrust.

Garet’s eyes were full of tears, but he could make out the pixie buzzing in the air. “Little pest, I’ll deal with you in due time,” he muttered.

The pixie ignored Garet’s threat. She saw that Lang would still run out of stamina before Garet and decided to further turn the tide. She waved her hands over the ground. Vines grew rapidly and entwined themselves around Garet’s legs. They quickly retracted, pulling the large troll to the ground. He tried to fight his way back up, but his stomach wound had left him weakened.

“Finish it,” Garet gasped. “Send me to my son..”

Lang brought his sword down on Garet’s neck, beheading the troll. “What an opponent,” Lang muttered. “He had great strength in combat and great courage in death.”

Lang looked around the battlefield. The remaining trolls had initiated a retreat. There were hundreds of trolls and elves dead on the ground. A few pixie bodies could be seen lying around.

“Forget about the retreating enemies,” Lang ordered. “Get the wounded treatment, quickly. those of you who are still well, I want proper burials for everyone who died in this fight.” He looked down at Garet’s body. “Even the trolls.”

The soldiers moved to follow his orders. One ran over to him and began tending to his injured arm. The uninjured without first aid duties started by digging two mass graves. One right beside the forest, the other several feet away. They dumped the elven and pixie bodies into the one close to the forest and the trolls into the one further out.

Lang turned to the pixie who had saved his life. She had short silver hair and bright blue eyes. “What’s your name and rank, soldier?”

She curtsied in mid-air. “I’m Squire Thorn Shimmerwing,” she said.

“You saved my life,” Lang said. “You have my deepest gratitude.”

Thorn blushed. “Not at all, Sir. I believe that we all have a duty to look after each other on the battlefield. And your arm was terribly injured.”

Lang nodded. “Spread the word to fall back as soon as we possibly can. Staying in the open for too long could prove fatal. I also want a count of how many we lost.”


Michael Ryufan

Lynai ran as quickly as she could. I tried to protest, to inform her of her error, but I found myself unable to speak loudly enough to get her attention. I was unable to discern whether or not Sadow was in pursuit. Judging by the careless manner in which she ran he either was or she was simply too frightened to stop. She eventually tripped over a log and we fell, not just to the ground, but through it. The very earth broke beneath us. I attempted to use my wings to slow our descent, but I was too exhausted. More importantly, my injuries were severe.

I lost consciousness for an indeterminate period of time. When I awoke I found myself spread out on top of Lynai. Her head was bruised and bleeding, the product of her foolish rescue. She had not yet regained consciousness. We were in a damp chamber. A faint ray of light shone through the ceiling. It was about seventeen feet up.

I tested my wings to determine if they could be used to reach the egress. A great pain shot through my body the instant I opened them. I realized that I would be unable to fly for quite some time. I examined the chamber more closely once my vision had adjusted. There was a stone slab in the centre with two blades resting on it. Ancient runes were written on the front. I was able to read them, in spite of the poor lighting. A rough translation would be:

Two were forged by the great Hephaestus.

Two to represent the duality that exists within all who live

The day and night, the orderly and chaotic

Both with their own power

Both able to choose their own wielder.

Here lie the Helion blade and the Phoebian blade.

Disturb them only in great need.

Curious, none of my inherited memories granted me any knowledge about the blades themselves. Yet if they were forged by the smith God himself I knew that their power had to be considerable. I scrutinised the blades. The Helion blade had a carving of the sun at the base of its hilt. The hilt itself was composed of ivory and copper that were intertwined and a third material I could not recognise. The metal forming the blade was unlike anything that I, or any of my race had ever seen. It was a very light silver colour. My hypothesis is that it is a metal that is not refine-able by mortal means. The Phoebian blade had a crescent moon carved into the hilt. The hilt was composed of intertwining onyx and silver with the same unknown material as a final component. The blade was a darker silver. They were the most finely crafted blades I had ever encountered. I reached out and picked up the Helion blade with my left hand and the Phoebian blade with my right. As soon as my hands closed around the hilts I felt a great pain coursing through my entire body. I found myself unable to retain consciousness.

Next Chapter

Posted in Original fiction, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Voyages of the Cerberus 165: EIG’s Damage Control

Farah made up her mind. She knelt down beside Jayla. “excuse me, but this is what we were writing.” She showed the screen to her hand held.

“Farah…” Ophelia cautioned.

Farah shook her head. “It’s better this way. We’re just straining things. At least this way they’ll know we mean no harm.”

“These are your secret messages?” Jayla asked. Ilyin looked over her shoulder.

“You can see that there’s been some question as to how much we an trust you,” Farah said, scrolling through. “But nothing actively hostile. Nothing that goes beyond the concern of a people who don’t know you enough to trust you completely.”

“Farah is correct,” Ophelia jumped in. “We apologise for being suspicious of your motives. It wasn’t our intention to cause unease. All we wanted was to be prepared.”

“Us also,” Jayla said, holding up Ilyin’s hand. “Our signals were settling what to do in case you were being deceitful. We did not fully trust you. Not after our experiences with the others like you.”

“Then let’s have no more secret communications,” Ophelia said. “Ladies, put your hand helds away. Anything you need to say, you can say in front of the gnowlins.”

“Us also,” Jayla agreed. “No more secret signs. It will disgrace our friends’ honesty.”

Kat clasped Farah’s back. “I don’t know how you manage it. Somehow, you always know just what to do to lighten the atmosphere.”

Farah smiled. “I guess I just know people.”

Kat shook her head. “It goes beyond just understanding. You have a way about you that puts others at ease.”

“Do I?” Farah asked, giggling slightly, her cheeks flushing. “That’s a rare compliment from you.”

Kat glanced at the gnowlins. She doubted they’d actually been able to read their language but they were still largely at ease. The difference from before was palpable. It wasn’t reading the words themselves that caused it. She was certain of that much. It was the gesture and the readily apparent sincerity behind it.

Farah really was amazing. Kat forced herself to look away. Allison had always joked about her feelings for Farah but Farah was spoken for. She had been then and she still was. She had no real choice but to keep her feelings in check and take solace in the fact that Farah was happy with the woman she’d chosen. Even if that woman was someone else.


Lucy was watching the news reports breaking with a great sense of self satisfaction. Civilised peoples everywhere were furious at the EIG.

The communications’ array signalled an incoming message. Lucy switched off the news feed and answered it. “Why, Mister Jordan,” she said. “Has something gone wrong with the away mission? I haven’t gotten any distress signals yet.”

“Have you, by any chance, seen the news?” Malak asked.

“News?” Lucy asked, managing to sound like she was puzzled and a little concerned. “Whatever do you mean?”

“Someone’s hacked into our systems and sent out some classified documents,” Malak confessed. “Documents we’d rather hoped to keep buried.”

“Oh my, that’s terrible,” Lucy exclaimed. “Did they leak your latest product?”

“Worse than that, I’m afraid,” Malak said. “Quite significantly worse.”

“Oh dear,” Lucy stated.

“We’ll recover. We’re already taking some damage control measures,” Malak said. “A few of our mines’ higher ups are already preparing their resignations and I’m being sent in to oversee that our company’s proper operating procedures are implemented immediately. To do that, I’ll need your help.”

Lucy’s yellow eyes opened just a slit. “And what, Mr. Jordan, do you need us to do?”


The mission was going smoothly. They had very nearly finished their report for the EIG when Ophelia’s communicator went off.

She looked at Jayla. “Do you want me to go elsewhere to answer it or can I speak in front of your people?”

“You may speak freely, Obelia,” Jayla said. “We will make silence.”

Ophelia nodded and switched her communicator on. “Go ahead, Lucy.”

“Love, you’ll never guess what just happened,” Lucy said.

“Whatever it is, you sound smug about it,” Ophelia said. “I’m guessing it’s related to some leaks?”

“You’ve got that right,” Lucy said. “The EIG is on the ropes. They’re having all the people in management positions over the mines resign and they’ve issued a statement that what happened was just the work of some over zealous managers in a single facility who lacked the patience for proper procedures. They’ve also promised to address the issue with diplomacy.”

“They’re going to make peace with the gnowlins?” Ophelia asked, glancing at Jayla.

“They want us to make peaceful contact with them and bring their leaders to a meeting at a neutral point,” Lucy said. “They also want us to take charge of security with a particular emphasis on keeping their leaders safe.”

“What do you think the odds are at this being a trap?” Ophelia asked.

“Remote,” Lucy answered. “I guarantee that they’ll be showing the negotiations live to demonstrate their zeal in addressing the concerns of people. If the gnowlin representatives were harmed, it would be a PR disaster for them.”

“All right,” Ophelia said. “In that case I’ll see what I can do.” She glanced at Jayla. “Well, you heard what they want. Do you want to try and make peace with them?”

“We must confer on this in private,” Jayla said. “we will all return to the settlement.”

Posted in Original fiction, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment