Just for fun I am going to put together a short story/excerpt of content in the first novel of the Lands of Mother series: “18”. You won’t find this anywhere in the novel, as written, but the scene will be. In the novel the scene is written with the King’s perspective, however in this short story it will be the same scene but from the Queen’s perspective. Ready? Okay, here we go!
Melanie took a last look at the clinic that held her family and walked through the gate. The gate guard and the men and women of the King’s force were taking a knee to her as she approached and she thought that absurd. These brave men and women who were here to wage battle with the approaching enemy. Here to defend the city, the citizens, her own children. They were bending knees to her. Queen or not, she was no more than a housewife. Broken from her old family and now from her new family, as well.
She was too embarrassed to give the ‘Rise’ command, so she stayed silent and just continued past them as fast as she could. It took many long minutes to get past the force, even with her path to the tree line being cleared as she went, but eventually she reached the woods and continued in along the path. She had not seen the King among his men, but she knew he was there with them.
Once she was about a hundred yards into the woods, she stopped and removed her shoes, merging with Mother. This gave her vision and hearing a boost, among other things, and she immediately heard the leaves cracking behind her. The cracking stopped quickly. She didn’t need to turn around to know who it was. It would be her Own. She had fired them, so they wouldn’t come with her and suffer harm, but they were, to the one, stubborn.
She put her shoes in her pack and continued on her way, keeping her senses alert, so that she could hide if she came upon the enemy marching on the Landing. She walked for only a few minutes when her hearing alerted her to a loud noise approaching, so she darted off the path and hid behind a large boulder. She didn’t want an altercation, she only wanted the Wilder Queen. The woman that had orchestrated the attack on Melanie’s King on Caruso. The woman that had sent her forces to attack Dawn’s Landing. The woman that planned to supplant Melanie. Well, here I come. Supplant me!
She hoped for a clear journey, but if need be, Sister Meredith had taught her how to stream fireballs, so that she might defend herself. Melanie knew she couldn’t hit the side of a barn with a fireball. Hell, she couldn’t hit the side of a Beast, and they were twice as large as a barn. She had, however, spent a lot of time on her own, merged and playing with the Queenstone, trying to compact, expand, twist or anything else that she could think of to make it pliable enough to use as a weapon, and she thought she may have succeeded, but she would need to wait until she got to a completely open area to try it. She certainly didn’t want to hurt anyone.
The noise turned out to be a single rider that was kicking his warhorse to frightening speed. It had sounded like a hundred horses to her. These elevated senses were going to take a while to sort out. In any event, she could only assume the rider was on his way to alert the King of how close the enemy was. She listened, but heard nothing, so she stepped back onto the path and continued her journey.
The woods were thinning and she heard them. She once again rushed off the path and began to climb a heavily forested hill. She worked her way around the trees and up the hill and then stepped out and looked down at a huge army of men, a few horsed women and an ungodly number of lions, tigers and other assorted members of the cat family. She gave some thought to trying the Queenfire to see if she could thin the enemy for her King, but she was trying to stay unseen.
Shit! She forgot she was merged. The Wilder could feel her when she was merged with Mother. One of the horsed women hurled a fireball right at her. She could duck, but then it would hit the Own. She concentrated on the air between her and the fireball, waved her arm and the fireball diverted to the side, exploding into the ground. She called the Queenfire to bear and pointed at the wilder woman. A blue flame shot from her fingers and cut the woman in half, exploding beyond her, sending dozen of men flying. Holy crap!
She heard the grunting and clanging of steel behind her and realized the enemy had tried to circle that direction and slay her. The Own sounded to be fighting for their lives. She had to get out of here. She had to get them out of here.
Another fireball, from a different direction. She repeated the bending of the air and fired at that wilder, but this time, just in front of her. Another loud explosion and more bodies flying through the air. Another attempt, this time from two different directions, at once. Melanie was unfazed. She diverted the balls and unloaded with both hands at anything and everything in front of her.
Suddenly, the army was in disarray and fleeing back the way they came, some being carried, some dragged, but a goodly number just being left where they lie.
Melanie stood, wide eyed, staring down at the plateau before her and the carnage she had created. She felt the urge to wretch, but stayed with Mother and the nausea soon quelled. She listened, but heard nothing behind her but heavy breathing. She walked down the hill toward a glen, away from the fleeing enemy. Maybe the Own would realized there must be a safer life than following her. She doubted it.
She crossed the glen and entered another tree line, but got no further in than a hundred feet when she heard the conversation behind her. Up until now they had been totally silent, or at least they had thought they were. Puzzled, she turned and walked slowly back to look.
There sat Kristen, atop her Rigger, challenging the Captain of her Own. Both looked ready to pounce on each other. Melanie didn’t want them harmed. She wanted them all to go back to the safety of the cities, but she could tell this conversation was escalating. She stepped out of the trees.
“When you two are done with your pissing match, I would like to be back on my way.”