Commander Torlex

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Sini followed Viola to the salty playa where the Nocturnals of the newly formed Arids’ branch of the Alliance Army stood ready to deploy south to join the Freelands’ forces.

“—and my brothers will continue to coordinate the Alliance’s covert missions while the forces of Bog engage the enemy from the west,” Cahret said. Nodding toward the dignified iguana on his left, he indicated the next speaker. “Commander Torlex of The Arids.”

The Commander raised his chin, accentuating his underbite. “We who live in The Arids are tough. Our lives are hard, but we don’t abandon our homeland looking for something easier. Our ancestors handed us a history filled with scarcity and endurance, strength and survival.” He scanned the faces in front of him.

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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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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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Chloe

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The moon had set and still King Arnie was awake, conferring with the Knights and Officers, checking and double-checking the remaining supplies the army would take to The Arids, visiting with the soldiers drifting in the doldrums between preparation and action.

He knew the importance of high spirits.

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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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Captain Avery

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Scaling the tree next door to the Captain’s, Drago Galadeen called, “Captain Avery, sir!”

snoring scimitar beak snapped shut, a pair of gleaming citron orbs snapped open, and the feathery face surrounding them swiveled two hundred and seventy degrees, searching for the call’s source.

“Who is it? What happened? Did they attack?” the owl asked, now as alert as if he’d known Drago was coming. “What are you doing over there, Galadeen?”

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Captain Harper

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Captain Harper of Fen’s Hive Elite left The Arids the same way she’d arrived a week ago: hidden in plain sight among a cloud of desert bats. At the border, deepening dusk covered her departure from the colony to deliver her covert mission report to Queen Lilian.

The Queen granted her an immediate audience.

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