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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Sam

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

Elliot 191, Scott Bauer
Photo credit: Scott Bauer

Inside the hive, Sam slipped into a small chamber out of sight around a corner. The first creature to exit a short while later was a darkly exotic female, the like of whom Clifton had never seen.

“Come with me,” she said as she walked past him.

Feeling his heartbeat in his wingtips, Clifton stammered, “Uh, sorry. I… uh, I’m… waiting for someone.”

“Yeah. Me.”

“You’re Sam?”

“Yeah. What of it?”

“Nothing,” he assured her. “It’s just that… well, I was expecting a… a guy.”

Sam crossed her top arms and stuck her lower fists on her hips. “You males are all alike. Andre didn’t tell you he’s my little brother, did he? Well, half-brother really; Mother used to travel. Come on.”

Sam interrogated Clifton as she hurried him through a maze of empty honeycomb.

“So what’s this war about?”

Clifton felt a need to match his speech to the speed of his legs. “This crazy tyrant wasp in The Arids calls himself General Hai and claims he’s the rightful King of Fen. He wants to take back the Hive and take over Bog and the Freelands, too.”

“Is he?”

“Is he what?”

“The rightful King of Fen?”

“No!” Clifton exclaimed. “The Hive has been in my family for generations. There was a wasp uprising against Queen Lilian’s mother a long time ago, and that became the Great War. Another attack happened recently, but it was personal.”

Sam turned left into an unoccupied reserve storage room and shot Clifton a pointed look. “All wars are personal against somebody, aren’t they? What about the rest of the Kingdom?”

Clifton stood tall. “We support the Queen. We’re free to live the way we want to — within the law — but nobody thinks the laws are unreasonable. We’re happy.”

“Except for the wasps, apparently,” Sam commented.

“No,” he corrected her, “including the wasps who are citizens. Only the Great War’s exiles were unhappy. In fact, my aunt is engaged to a wasp.”

“What?”

“We have good lives in Fen,” Clifton told her. “I can’t imagine not having friends from other tribes.”

“We don’t need friends from other tribes,” Sam countered.

That belief must be so old nobody questions it, Clifton thought. “See, that’s what’s changing. If the General comes to the Freelands, it’s going to be a lot easier for him to take over if he only has to fight one tribe at a time. First he’ll conquer the wasps, then he’ll move on to the bees or the voles or somebody else. His army is greater than any of your tribes alone. If you guys don’t help each other, the Freelands won’t be free for long.”

Sam’s brow furrowed. After a longish pause, she issued an order.

“Take me to this Alliance of yours. I’m signing up.”

To be continued. . .

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

Kýrios

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Elliot 185
Photo credit: Steven Falk

They’d done it. The new Alliance Council had crafted an agreement every tribe in the Freelands agreed to honor. Well, every tribe but one. The Hiverarchy of Free Bees had declined all invitations to join the proceedings.

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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

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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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