Fen’s Send Off

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In the starlit Field surrounded by most of Fen’s civilian residents, Captain Harper presented Fen’s troops to Queen Lilian the Magnificent.

“— and each Captain has their unit’s assignment. Daylight Land and Light of Day Aero forces deploy at sunrise. Nocturnal Land, Dark of Night Aero, and Hive Elite forces will deploy immediately following the Queen’s address. Your Magnificence, your troops stand ready.”

Scanning the assembled army, the Queen hovered before them.

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So It Begins

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Photo credit: Tim Fitzharris

It began with a single word served like a fine meal at the end of a soul-cleansing fast.

“Now.”

~~~

“Psst!” Sam’s hiss cut through Clifton’s dream, replacing a glowing image of endless flower fields floating in a lake of nectar, with sharp-edged silhouettes against an infinite spangled night that shone too brightly.

“What?” he mumbled, rubbing his eyes to wake his sleep-addled brain.

“It’s time to go,” she said.

He was instantly alert.

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Back In Line

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“…and I believe if we just position all our troops at the border, we will stop any hostile who dares to attempt to enter Fen on the ground or at the river as easily as we’ll stop them in the air, without mounting a full scale offensive,” Captain Avery concluded.

Smoothing the rough surface of her irritation with a smile, Queen Lilian waited to respond until the captain, blinking uncertainly, began shifting from foot to foot.

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Dawn Meetings

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The Golden Hour of morning was Lilian’s favorite time of day. “Vernon, my love, do you want to go with me to the Field for breakfast?”

Rolling out of bed, Vernon took her hand. “Nothing would please me more, my beautiful Lili, but the Alliance army trainers are coming home tomorrow and the Captain of the Hive Elite requested a dawn meeting this morning to coordinate our land and air forces’ next move. Then there’s a Runner’s report. How about brunch immediately afterward?”

“How is it the Queen’s Liaison is busier than the Queen?” she asked, arching an eyebrow.

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Taking Control

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Photo credit: Steven Falk

The days that followed were full. Clifton and Sam spent their mornings training stinging Fliers, and their afternoons being trained by Bog’s Knights and Fen’s Aero Squadrons in other forms of combat, weaponry, and tactics. After dinner, they met with other recruits who had created new moves, and worked into the night perfecting those skills so they could teach them the next morning.

The Sergeant joined them for breakfast each day.

“You’ve done good work,” he said between bites at the end of the week. “These green volunteers have become a real army. I’ll be proud to serve with all of you when the call comes, but for now, the trainers from Bog and Fen are going home. You’ll be working with the Freelands Forces, keeping them sharp, ready for what’s ahead.”

“Thanks, Sarge. We couldn’t have done it without you,” Clifton said. “It was genius to tap Sam’s gifts.”

“A sign of leadership is recognizing leadership in others. I suspect Killer’s even better at that than I am,” the Sergeant allowed.

“What makes you think so, Sarge?” Sam asked.

“You saw it in Clif, didn’t you?” he laughed.

Clifton felt the compliment and took the ribbing with a grin.

Kýrios the Most Revered, Queen Madalena’s eldest councillor, landed on the grass beside them.

Still smiling, Sam greeted him. “Kýrios! What brings you to the Meadow?”

Glaring at the three of them in turn to stop on Sam’s face, he said, “The Queen is gone.”

To be continued. . .

Previously, on Elliot’s Adventures ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Next time . . .

Tribunal

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Photo credit: Thomas Quine

The Aero Squadron Captains set down on either side of the Queen.

Watching the prisoner’s face, she said, “This would-be murderer has hinted that the lookouts might have been attacked. Start on the east side, please, and scan the perimeter.”

As they flew off to investigate, she continued the interrogation.

“Who is the General?”

No reply.

“Who is the Assassin?”

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Here a Scout, There a Scout

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Photo credit: Tanto Yensen

King Arnie led half his Knights of Service north through the bracken, paralleling the eastern road to the river. Lieutenant Terrance led the other half along the western route. Teams of scouts boomeranged from and between each division to update their leaders about the path ahead and the other’s progress.

“Your Greatness,” the King’s fifth scouting team reported, “there’s another vanquished red ten minutes ahead, but no sign yet of the Marauders.”

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