Shooting Star Signs

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Photo credit: Quetsavia

Lying awake beneath the shimmering sky long after Darwin’s family had retreated to the shadowy corners of their web, Teddy wasn’t sure he was still glad his father had gone to the war, even just overnight. It was okay for Trevor and Barry — they were Knights, not dads. They didn’t have anybody counting on them for hugs and stories and tucking in at bedtime.

I hope Daddy didn’t think he wouldn’t be brave if he stayed home, Teddy fretted to himself. I hope he knows he’s the bravest Dad in Bog — in the whole world!

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Sergeant Bufo

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Photo credit: David Gray

“Hold on there, Jeremy!” A heavy voice rolling from a wide-mouthed toad on her way down the steps stopped him. “The prisoner stays right there. Go get the Queen’s Liaison.”

Jeremy hopped to it.

Sergeant Marina Bufo was a commanding presence. Even larger than the Crone, she filled the confined space with the illusion that Duggla had no air of her own to breathe.

“So you’ve got something to say, huh?” Sergeant Bufo asked.

“Not to you,” the Crone mumbled taking shallow, suffocated breaths.

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Flying Janesse

Glad you could join us for the next entrancing 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: Congok

Spending his last few minutes in Bog reviewing the responsibilities his deputy would shoulder, Elliot was confident nothing would suffer under Randall’s watchful eye.

“Do you have someone in mind to send with the shipment, sir?” the frog asked.

“No, I’ll leave that to you.”

Their faces a matched set of solemnity, Darwin and Teddy marched in step up the path.

“Halt!” Teddy cried. “Knight Trevor reporting with news, sir.”

“Hey,” Darwin objected, “you were Trevor last time. It’s my turn!”

“All right, but he’s my daddy, so I still get to say the news.”

“Okay,” Darwin agreed leaping with all eight legs splayed, over a knee-high rock in his best imitation of an airborne frog.

“What’s your news, Master Knight?” Randall asked.

Brow furrowed in concentration, Teddy saluted. “The Prince’s Flyer is here, sir!”

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Stuck

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Photo credit: Faysal Akbik

With Clifton winging his way west and the few land and air forces remaining in central Fen now following Sheela to the front lines, Queen Lilian looked inward. “None of the patrols reported any movement along those borders. Why didn’t I know this was going to happen?”

Shaking his head, Vernon reasoned, “They must have gone well north of The Arids before turning east, figuring no one would look for them coming from that way.”

Lilian’s brow wrinkled. “I should have thought of that.”

“My love,” Vernon persisted, taking her hand, unless you had sent patrols across the border, you couldn’t have discovered they were there. No one knew. None of the spies sent to the Arids managed to infiltrate the General’s War Council. Even Lady Lucy hadn’t gained enough of his trust to learn their strategy.”

The entrance Guard called, “Drago Galadeen and Madam Delilah.”

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Invaded

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Photo credit: Jayaram Jahgirdar

The urgent buzz of an approaching bee snatched Drago’s attention from the Crone’s trail. “Clifton!” he shouted as the Queen’s nephew shot past. “What are you doing here?”

Banking hard to reverse direction, Clifton dropped to hang in front of the Runner. “Drago — you’re all right! We were worried when we didn’t hear anything from Fen.”

“What do you mean, you haven’t heard anything? My shift is just starting, but two Runners went out yesterday. The first one should have reached you by last night.”

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Unmasked

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Photo credit: macrojunkie

“She says she comes from The Arids with information that can save Fen,” Vernon informed the Queen as he escorted her to the Audience Chamber.

“You sound doubtful,” she observed.

“No one here knows her,” he said. “I think it’s wise to be cautious.”

“I think you mean ‘skeptical’,” the Queen teased.

Vernon remained serious. “What if she’s one of the General’s spies?”

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Unexpected Visitor

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Photo credit: somepets.com

Princess Cassandra began every morning in Cassandra’s Clearing, its sweetly optimistic raspberry scent wafting through the crannies in her mind, inspiring pleasant thoughts and images wherever anxious imaginings tried to take hold.

Sitting with closed eyes and a calm heart, she could think of Elliot as she’d last seen him instead of worrying about what might happen to him because of this war. She could anticipate his return and becoming parents together, without impatience. She could spend hours daydreaming about what their child would be like when it finally arrived.

She attributed her serenity to the joyful aroma of raspberries, and believed others would find the same restorative powers here that she had. So even though Queen Lilian had designated Cassandra’s Clearing as a private space for the Princess, Cassandra welcomed anyone who needed a peaceful place to rejuvenate a worldweary spirit.

That’s why she felt no alarm when an unfamiliar voice glopped into her meditation. 

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