They’re Here

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Photo credit: Mark Hamblin

Dawn’s tender light bled across a sky of beating wings streaking, diving, charging crimson, brown, and gray toward the Hive, glinting off the snapping, stabbing beaks, battling members of both Aero Squadrons and the Hive Elite, ripping at the Queen’s home, skewering the drones who shielded its narrow entrance and swarmed to fight them off.

Trevor vanished into the melee yelling something Barry couldn’t make out beneath the buzzing-squawking din tumbling overhead that muffled but didn’t mask the tearing, shredding rasps that screamed the inexorable destruction of Fen’s soul.

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They’re Coming!

Glad you could join us for the next anxious 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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Photo credit: Kimballstock.com

At the Hive, Captain Avery’s screeching alarm yanked Vernon from his troubled dreams of nameless shadows creeping in from all sides, and threw him into a harsh reality of impending doom and death. How Lilian had remained asleep he couldn’t fathom, but leaving her to enjoy a few more moments of peace, he flew outside to find out what the hell was happening.

The Captain of the Dark of Night Aero Squadron flapped through the dwindling spatter, stark against the lumpy sky, lit in a final blast of lightning. Spying the Queen’s Liaison, he landed on a branch above the Hive.

“Sir,” his breath burst hot on Vernon’s face, “a patrol of grounded Flyers has discovered five slain Guards right here in Central Fen.”

“The General’s henchmen?”

“It looks that way, Sir. They’re too far apart and too recently dead to believe there was only one killer.”

Vernon closed his eyes. “And Cyrus? The Guard outside the Bower?”

“I’m not certain. If he’s one of the victims, he’s been dragged away and hidden. But we found another body — an enemy’s — close to the Bower.”

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Up Like Thunder

Glad you could join us for the next thunderous 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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Image credit: S.T. Ranscht

The Runners left and Lilian sobbed into Vernon’s chest. “How could this happen? They were under my protection and I failed them!”

The Queen’s fiancé held her. “Bog’s finest healers are working to keep the King alive. Lieutenant Terrance continues their search for the Princess, and Hive Elite teams are helping. They’ll find her. We’ll get her back.”

The Queen’s Guard announced, “Deputy Minister of the Alliance, Freelands’ Ambassador Arturo, requests an audience, your Magnificence.”

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Captain Harper

Glad you could join us for the next reported 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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Photo credit: National Park Service

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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Dawn Meetings

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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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Raindrops and Tears

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Photo credit: Wallpaperpassion.com

“…and Lady Lucy is dead.” Queen Lilian repeated in disbelief.

“Yes, your Magnificence,” the drenched Hopper said as rain dripped from his antennae to the floor. “She didn’t know the Assassin had escaped from the Freelands and beaten her back to the Arids. The General caught her in her lie, gave the order, and the Assassin carried it out.”

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Forced Retirement

Glad you could join us for the next inevitable 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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Photo credit: D.Parer & E. Parer-Cook

Anthony must have told him what really happened in the Freelands. Lucy’s options were few. Tensed for flight, she continued to watch alongside the General as the stingers in the hollow cleared away rubble. She took the only chance she saw. “What happened here?” she ventured.

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Wishes and Dreams

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Photo credit: Willi Rolfes

Finding Vernon, Queen Lilian’s Liaison, still awake, Lady Lucy delivered her passengers to him just outside Princess Cassandra’s bower.

“Can I have a word, Vernon?” the elderly bat asked.

“Certainly,” he answered. Addressing the refugees, he asked, ”Would you please excuse us for a moment?”

Vernon and Lucy moved away from Cassandra’s door.

“The Prince’s Knights captured General Hai’s messenger in the Freelands.” Lucy’s whisper carried as far as a fully hearing person’s normal speaking voice. “I think he followed the Prince there, but he saw me, so I have to get back to the Arids before the General finds out. I’m sure there were more spies than just that slimy Stinger.”

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Gate Crasher

Glad you could join us for the next inhospitable 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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Photo credit: Rasheed Bydousi

Having no weapon, Barry pulled a torch from the ground, and joined Clifton to take up positions slightly ahead of Ambassador Arturo and Prince Elliot. The dark shapes became three Knights surrounding a massive Stinger whose tail dragged behind him on the ground.

The crowd backed away leaving a moat of safety around the new arrivals. The Knights stopped a defensible distance from the Prince, pinning the prisoner down with the butt ends of their slicers.

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Honored Guests

Glad you could join us for the next official 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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Photo credit: Mark Berkery

As the sun touched the horizon, they followed the dry staccato of an ancient cough and found the venerable leader of Freelands’ wasp community plucking dinner from a stalk of grass.

“Honored One,” Elliot called, “please forgive us for interrupting your meal. Thank you for inviting us to continue our conversation about creating an alliance between the Freelands, Bog, and Fen.”

“Elliot?” the creaky old wasp squinted at him. “Elliot! It’s good to see you and your friends, young sir. We didn’t expect you until tomorrow. Here, join me — have a bite to eat.” He held out a wiggling morsel that Barry’s tongue found almost before the invitation was extended.

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