I’ve Been Through the Desert

Glad you could join us for the next scaly episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…

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“Man, maybe we should give Sam and her mom some privacy to work out their feelings. What about those snake guys King Arnie sent to The Arids on a secret mission? How’s that going?” You might be thinking.
“All righty, then. Meanwhile, out in The Arids…” Me, accommodating as ever.

~~~

“I hear you’ve been looking for me.” Girdliz’s soft, fuzzy voice drifted down from the boulder through heat-shimmered air onto Sirehta’s back as he slithered past over the relentless dust of The Arids.

Raising his head… his neck… his body to cock an eye at the stony little lizard, the viper nodded like a drowsy sunflower in a summer breeze. “Yes. I understand you are no friend of the General.”

Scrunching his forehead to scrape its scales together, Girdliz jittered from foot to foot. “He’s scary,” he confided. “Scary and mean.”

“And your fear makes you helpless?” Sirehta asked.

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Lost?

Glad you could join us for the next despairing episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…

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“What do you mean, ‘the Queen is gone’?” Sam’s cry traveled farther than she’d intended.

“She’s not in the Hiverarchy. She’s gone,” the elderly councillor repeated.

Unable to imagine why her mother would leave the security of home, Sam wanted answers. “When did she leave? Where did she go?”

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Old Scores

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Queen Madalena lifted her chin. “You do remember me. Good. I know I’m not welcome here, so I’ll stay only a minute. I have to ask you about the war your people are stirring up in the Freelands. Why? Why bring your troubles to a region where people just want to live in peace?”

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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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Gone

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Queen Madalena bided her time till the next night that Andre was on guard duty at the entrance. When he saw her, he stiffened to attention.

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Taking Control

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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 . . .

Training the Troops

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“I’m pleased you’ll stay with us, Recruit,” the Ambassador said when Sam and Clifton reported back at dusk. Smiling, he added, “Be sure to let Sergeant Stubbs know before you retire or he won’t be able to sleep.”

~~~

The sergeant rousted them out of bed long before dawn, shouting, “Eyes open! Up and out! Survivors get breakfast at sunrise.”

“But how are we supposed to fight if we haven’t eaten first?” asked a cottontail named Jared, one of the plumper trainees.

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