Where There is Desire There is Gonna be a Flame
rating: +31+x

« Where There is Desire There is Gonna Be a Flame | Where there is a Flame Someone is Bound to get Burned | But Just Because it Burns Doesn't Mean You're Gonna Die »

Arcane lamps emit a soft red glow, illuminating immaculate decorated book cases and book shelves. Neatly bound books and scrolls made of sea grass paper lend a sense of organized fullness to the lofty rooms. A peaceful silence pervades, broken only by the occasional shuffling of a scroll by the lone occupant of the royal library and the ticking of a large ornate timekeeping device wrapped in golden eddies of crafted metal.

'22:42, 4889 YSSS.'1

The occupant, a young finnwoman, stands in one of the aisles, sorting through several books and scrolls on arcane-mechanical engineering. Golden scales glisten in the lamplight, their luster matched by the equally golden locks of hair that hangs in loose waves around her head. The royal crest, consisting of four Krakens arranged symmetrically around a four eyed woman holding earth forward, decorates her robes. A tome with a metal sigil is held in one arm, a webbed finger perched on her lips.

The crack of metal-shod boots on tile mixed with the splash of disturbed water heralds someone's approach. Her eyes snap towards the commotion, mouth open in a slight "o." Splashes of water from the canals running throughout the library draw nearer. A sigh escapes her lips, bracing for further disruption. Her hand moves through the air with frantic urgency, calling upon those ancient symbols of the elder language handed down by Queen Triemedes known as the Rustic. The symbol for extended sight lights in the air with a greenish tint before dissipating. The metal sigil on the book swims, before focusing on a clear image of two royal guards following…

Uh oh, uh oh! She fumbles the book. Did he detect it? No no, hasn't drawn any counters. He's already here.

She holds the book away and out of sight, turning slightly to have her back to the approaching group. In her free hand she holds a scroll open, watching the sigil out of the corner of her eye as she pretends to scan the shimmering, flowing characters and images.

The sigil shifts perspective, showing more guards entering the library, carrying canisters marked with the Rustic for fire. They begin pouring liquid along the ground, dousing shelves.

Oh. Oh no. Her stomach drops, hands trembling, precipitous fear coating her mind. The footsteps stop, the pungent odor of burning torches and slight crackle of flames audible over the sloshing liquid. They've got torches. What am I going to do, oh Mither I can't br—

"Your Majesty? Princess Hege?" Skreyja Holgota's greasy, charismatic voice slides across Hege's finned ears. Panicky thoughts drown out his voice.

There are eight, no, ten of them. Maybe if I—

"Princess Hege, it is rude to ignore the Steward when he is talking to you." A hand non-too-gently grabs her arm and spins her to face the green-scaled, sneering face of Skreyja. Were she not so revolted by the stench of unfettered ambition and slime on his breath, he might have been considered handsome.

"Oh I'm sorry Skreyja, I didn't hear you come in." She lies, her lips curving up into a forced smile, forgetting to breath. He's not even pretending to be nice. This is very bad.

"Don't play games with me princess, we both know your hearing isn't impaired. Don't apologize, just be better." The sneer doesn't leave his features, and becomes more contemptuous by the second. He releases her wrist having got her attention, and his hand goes to his robe, wiping. "You are to come with me immediately, we have very important matters to discuss."

"Ok, where do you want to go to discuss… the map room?" She steadies her shaking hand, holding it to her chest, keeping the book out of sight. Don't let them see fear. Cooperate, buy yourself time, think of a plan, if you can just get out of this space— wait how am I even going to do that with so many—

"No, I won't have any of that backtalk, don't ma— Sorry what?" He stops mid-sentence and blinks. His scaled brow furrows, and his lips purse.

"If it's so important that you have to find me after the glimmering hour, then it must be urgent. We shouldn't delay." She blinks back, looking between the guards and Skreyja. Their expressions reflect similar levels of confusion. That's how. She almost lets a small smirk of self confidence slip through. I'll distract him, make a break for it when it's just us. Just gotta keep up the cooperation.

Skreyja's eyes narrow, the confusion slipping from his visage. "What are you up to?"

"What?" Oh no, I was too cooperative. She backs up slowly, trying to shield the book. The panic starting to return. Plan B, what's plan B? Oh! I know! Iss vindr. She bites her lower lip, glancing around, trying to avoid Skreyja's gaze. I just have to buy time and find the right angle to—

Skreyja advances, keeping the distance close. "You never come when called, never acquiesce so easily," He hisses.

"No I'm just distracted and busy when you call," she lies. The mental drawing of iss vindr falters and fizzles in her head. Why can't I be better at lying. She grasps at the characters again, attempting to glue the fragmenting concept with the tips of her mental fingers.

"Lies!" He spots the book as her back presses up against a shelf, forced to bring it to her chest. "What is that? Give it to me now." He reaches an arm out, grabbing the book. She resists, holding it tightly as they engage in a small tug of war.

Her eyes dart to the Sigil, the other guards advancing on her from the sides, clubs drawn. Out of time. Vindr returns to her, a maelstrom forming in her mind around the character, and she reaches for the ice sheets.

Time seems to slow as Skreyja yanks the book from her arms, and sees the sigil as the lights begin to dance along Hege's scales. The air fills with the power of the Mither. "Magic! Stop her!" He stumbles back, the sneer broken by surprise and fury.

A shaky breath out, the air frosting as she grasps at Iss. Mither give me strength.

Skreyja leaps backwards, the stench of untempered magistry fuming from his fingertips as a barrier forms before him. The startled guards fumble the torches, dropping them into the canal where they extinguish.

Hege's eyes snap open, frost gathering along her fingertip. The ground sizzles as ice begins to creep from the soles of her boots, pulsing, carried by the maelstrom in her mind. Got it.

A crushing pain to the back of her skull. Warmth flowing down her neck.

"Imbecile! I said alive!" Skreyja's furious face swims behind the barrier.

Stunned, iss is lost. Aldrnari, burns as an inferno, plucked from the side of the containers, taking its place. A drifting mind is the most dangerous adversary to any finnfolk mage.

Her head turns slowly as she falls forward, a guard carrying through on their swing with the club. Her mouth jerks open, the character Aldrnari burning across her chest through her robes, a maelstrom of wind rushing from her throat. A single thought roars above the inferno. Help!

She screams. She screams as an inferno bursts from her lungs, carried forward by the wind. She screams as the guard disintegrates with a bloodcurdling scream. She screams as the typhoon of flaming winds ignites the vitrolic fuels. She screams as Skreyja scrambles from the building, robes aflame, skin burned. She screams in agony as the master character courses across her flesh, attempting to consume her. She screams as she impacts the ground. And when she can scream no more, everything goes black.


A sharp gasp crackles across the interior of the lightless chamber, accompanied by a brief spark of flame emanating from yellow lips. Princess- no, Queen Hege Aquailian sits bolt upright, scaled flesh covered in a thick sheen of sweat. Webbed hands shakily go to her head, holding it for what seems like an eternity. "Just a nightmare. He can't hurt you anymore. You're free."

Red tired eyes glance at the dimly glowing chronometer embedded into the crystalline nightstand. '08:43, 5017 YSSS.'

A shaky hand rises, drawing into the air the complicated symbol for light, the silver strands dancing in the darkness before the captain's quarters, with their teal tiled bulkheads, are lit by dozens of smaller enchantments.

A few more deep breaths come and go as she steadies herself. Sleep isn't going to return, it never does after the nightmare memories. Swinging her legs over the edge of the bed she pauses, staring at the royal robes sitting there in the shimmering light, the Kraken's metal groaning around her. A deep sigh fills the cabin. Pushing off the bed the beleaguered finnwoman proceeds to the restroom, washing away the sweat and fear in a cold shower. A few quick swipes with a Whaletooth comb brings her long hair into an acceptable arrangement.

Stopping once more, her gaze glides back to the royal robes. Biting back a few tears, the rattled Queen closes her eyes.

"Life must move forward. No matter how painful. It must go forward. Dad always said that."

Your father always deserved better than the hand he was dealt. Even I cannot alter fate.

Uncalloused fingers pick up the robes and don them, careful to not disturb the combing of her hair. She looks in the full body mirror, the robes fitting loosely on her frail, emaciated form, blueish bags sitting just beneath her eyes. I do not resemble a queen. I look a long departed, tired spirit.

You are so much more than your title or your appearance my child.

She slides her scale covered feet into short ankle boots which stop just below the frayed fins on her calves. Turning, she looks once more in the mirror, practicing a forced smile before letting the gesture fall away. That will convince no one. A heavy weight rests within her chest. Perhaps no one would notice if I did not emerge from this chamber. If I laid my head back upon the pillow and forsook the world beyond. I have earned rest have I not?

Perhaps more than most of my children. Alas, there is much to do.

Yet another exasperated sigh escapes her lips. Turning, the door looms, a threshold, a barrier between her and the perils of the journey's ahead. "If not now, then it will never come," she says in a soft but solemn tone, stepping forward.

The thick metal door slides open with a heavy groan, unveiling the corridors of the Kraken. Splashes of water and the click of her boots reverberate over the low hum of machinery and enchantments as she steps out of the room. Two guards in gold rimmed ceremonial armor come to attention, the butt of their tridents slamming against the metal beneath the layer of salt water.

"Your majesty!" Their voices boom in the hallway, the dual combination of sounds very nearly sending Hege's heart into her throat as she jumps.

Enthusiastic aren't they? You should give them a raise. Do Royal guards get raises?

Concern flickers in the eyes of the guard on Hege's right, a young Finnwoman named Brynhild, as she glances ever so briefly at the other Finnwoman. In a feat that would make even the most staunch traditionalist Finnfolk proud, the other guard manages to give Brynhild a withering glare without moving at all. The Queen attempts to regain what little composure she had to begin with, and gives a nod to both guards.

Turning, her footfalls set into a brisk pace towards the command center and bridge, the guards following behind her. Winding corridors widen into more intersections as they leave the crew quarters behind. Crewmembers mill about and stop, falling to one knee as Hege passes. They shouldn't kneel before me. I've done nothing to earn that gesture. She flashes a forced smile, burying the ache in her bones and stomach beneath it.

It's not about what you have done, it's about what you will do.

They step through and into the bustling command center, a short black scaled Finnwoman barking orders to underlings as the bleak muddy waters of the North Sea flow over the viewports. Grinwald, the glaring guard, bangs their spear on the floor emphatically. "The Queen has arrived, all hail her ma-"

"Grinwald please." The words leave her lips with exhausted exasperation, the commotion of the command center coming to a halt as those present drop into kneeling. "Please, don't let my presence intrude." A hint of dismay leaking into her word.

Hesitancy and confusion fog the air, uncertainty crowding across the faces of the bridge crew. Many decades had passed since the last time a royal had graced the bridge of a Kraken. Eventually, and with some trepidation, the bustling bridge returns to activity slowly. She stands awkwardly, attempting to make herself as small and unnoticeable as possible by stepping back and into a small alcove. The flare of her guards makes this virtually impossible. Stolen glances and inaudible whispers just out of earshot spur the fragile queen to glance down to her feet.

Lift your chin little one. Your spirit is of fire and stars, and your heart the size of a moon.

She exhales through her nose, and straightens, descending the stairs as a sudden inexplicable breeze blows her robes elegantly. She walks towards the black scaled finnwoman, an admiral's broach hanging around their neck. The admiral's lips part and turn up in a toothy smile, thick northern nomadic accent rolling off her tongue. "Oi, Mither's light yer Majesty."

"Mither's light to you as well Admiral Drengjar." A forced smile creases her lips. "How much longer till we arrive in the house of the bandigi?"

"Aye, not more than a blink of the eye yer Majesty. Was jus' about to send for ya." She indicates the viewport as the Kraken breaches the surface of the waves, piercing light of the morning sun shining through as a bustling human facility lies before them, a circle with three inward facing arrows emblazoned upon the structures made of human steel.

Amazing how far the humans have come. Perhaps they will be useful in the end of all things.

Klaxon docking alarms sound. "You'll be waiting when I return?" Fingers clasp anxiously together.

"Course yer Majesty. T'aint like I'd leave my Queen with Mudfolk." One hand is balled into a fist and slaps her chest. "I am wit you ta da end of Valhǫll." A small pause, and the cheery demeanor breaks and in a much softer tone she inquires "But are ya sure you are ready to go forward with dis?"

Yes, are you ready to face your demons my child? There is no hurry.

"There will never be a time when I am truly ready. If not now, then I may meet the gates of Valhǫll and find little joy in the eternal sun and seas. That demon will haunt me till the end of everything."

Beginning to wonder if I've lost my connection. Hmmm, I've never needed a router before, but perhaps I should invest some energy into one.

Must you comment on every. Little. Thing!? Hege screws her eyes shut in annoyance, walking away from the Admiral and towards the exit doors of the bridge.

I'll get back to you after I run the troubleshooter.

Once more with emphasis, Hege stands before the docking port on the bridge. The door opens, beginning at the center and spiraling outwards. The blistering fiery sun fills her vision.


Scorching heat and the roar of flames wreath Hege's senses, mind forcefully returning to consciousness. The opening of her eyes sends a searing bolt of pain streaking through her skull, vision swimming. Something warm and wet is congealed to the back of her skull. A slight shift as she tries to move forward spreads the agony across her entire body, lips parting to scream only for a dry crackle to escape. Aldrnari had done its job. Oh Mither I can't move. Every part of me burns. She slumps, eyes closing, unable to muster the energy to move and overcome the pain.

I guess Skreyja is going to get what he wanted.

Never expected to go like this. Her breathing slows, darkness creeping forward, a single bright light visible, fast approaching within her mindscape. At least I'll get to see Mother and Father again.

It's not quite your time my child. A cool wet tongue gently laps the scales of Hege's burnt cheeks. A strange but familiar, warm and loving, energy starts to flow from the licks across her seared flesh, slowly disseminating into her body.

Eyes open slowly, a slow pained moan escaping her hoarse throat. Four yellow eyes stare back, belonging to the slightly tilted head of a fisher cat. The frilled gills on its neck tremble slightly as it mrows at her. Its ginger fur is abnormally dry from the heat and it paws her nose with one of its six legs, finned tail swishing.

A small staring contest, the likes of which will be spoken about for ages to come, occurs between the previously mortally wounded finnwoman and the peculiar creature. What- Any internal questions are silenced as a wooden beam crashes to the floor in the inferno, a stream of thick black smoke flowing across the ceiling. The fisher cat bumps its head against Hege's bloodied face, and trots away, following the canal in the direction of the main entrance doors, before pausing and looking back, mrowing once more.

A shelf crumbles far too close for comfort, spurring Hege from stunned contemplation. Movement is painful, but she manages to crawl forward at an abysmally slow pace.

So fragile. I suppose it can't be helped.

In what must be a trick of the light, the fisher cat almost seems to roll its eyes, and returns to the princess trotting behind her and licking her legs several times. The abject pain in her legs lessens as crawling becomes easier. She looks at the fisher cat as it trots back around, plops in front of her and starts to lick one of it's paws.

Eugh, ash and blood. Why did I expect Finjold salmon.

Looking back, one leg starts to move invoking a wince from the princess, more manageable now, webbed toes curling. The princess steals a glance back at the fisher cat. Its golden orbs stare back, meeting her gaze. Biting her lower lip, she reaches out and scratches behind the creature's finned ears. "I don't know who or what you are… but thank you."

You aren't out of the woods yet.

It mrows, and bats at her hand with a paw, before headbutting it and then turning to trot on. Hege makes to follow, the inferno raging around them as timbers, shelves, books, and scrolls are consumed in the maelstrom of smoke and flame. The fishercat manages to find the safest passage each and every time it seems like there is no way forward, darting back to grab Hege's hand in its mouth and pull her along.

Cannot believe I am babysitting another one. You'll only have to do this once I said, you won't have to worry about it ever again I said. I guess this is what family does.

Tears roll down the scaled cheeks of Hege's face. A combination of the pain and the devestating loss of knowledge as she grabs any scroll or tome in reach that she can stuff into her robes, grieving for the hapless destruction.

Such a sentimental creature. I do hope that isn't lost in the trials to come.

The maze of burning material comes to an end as the odd pair reaches the main entrance. Hege crawls quickly for the exit, as the fisher cat rounds the corner into the freedom of open expanse. Relief and joy fade into horror as Skreyja steps into the door frame with two guards.

"She lived!?"

A strangled cry for help and alarm dies in her throat, head spinning from a blow to the head, second of the night. Stars swim across her vision, before consciousness leaves her.

A ginger furred fisher cat sits upon a nearby column watching as they drag the unconscious princess away.

Fate is a cruel thing.


Icey cold waves wash across the rocks of Site-212A's shores, as a brisk autumn breeze buffets Hege Aquailian's robes. The bitter cold of the Scottish air sinks its jaws into her bones. Shivers race untempered through her flesh, as the royal procession crosses the docks away from the Kraken, and towards the large and bustling human complex.

Brynhild steps closer, matching Hege's somewhat lethargic pace, whispering to her with a hint of worry as she offers a thick winter coat. "Majesty, take my seal skin, ya gone catch a sickness."

Hege winces at "Majesty" and gently pushes the seal skin away, turning her head slightly and offering a reassuring but forced smile to the red scaled royal guard. "I'm fine Brynhild, really. I would not be here if I could not handle a little cold." Why in the 13 hells did I not bring the sealskin in my cabin.

I seem to remember something about wallowing in self loathing.

A sigh escapes her yellow pigmented lips, and she shivers as the breeze makes another pass. The royal procession begins making their way across Site-212A, an expansive complex of docks, waterside hangars, several large warehouses, lowrise offices, and a large airstrip. Each building they pass has technicians, engineers, researchers in white coats, and security personnel coming in and out, all of whom stop to watch as the procession passes. A mix of high end digital and analog tech sprinkled around the buildings, ranging from flashing readout screens, weather maps, to static number displays.

"The Mudmen have come a long ways." Brynhild says in their native tongue, looking around. The procession starts to slow, the front guards tensing as a lone figure steps into their path.

"Mudmen built all of this?" Hege asks no-one in particular. Looking around, a quiet curiosity burns in her eyes. She fails to notice as the procession around her slows to a stop, looking off to one side. "I thought they… were murderous, and savage…" The Queen trails off, tridents dinging together in front of her, blocking her path.

"An understandable reaction, given what uh, the texts your people have been so kind to share with us about our shared history say," a scrawny man with brown hair, and large round rim glasses says nervously. He half eyes the tridents, and then the puckered faces of the much taller Finnfolk guards. He pushes the glasses up on his nose, and pulls his coat tighter on his form.

Grinwald peers around the front guards. "You again." She breaks her stoic accompaniment to groan, speaking with a thick mixed accent of Norse and Scottish in English. Her break in character causes the other guards to relax, removing the tridents. "The rest of your babbling shrimp, where are they?" she says, giving the man an evil eye.

"Just over there." He gestures in the direction of the runway, where a mid sized four engine prop plane is being loaded by multiple figures. "They're getting the plane ready."

"And why exactly are you here?" Grinwald squints. "We were not informed of- what is the phrasing you humans use- accompaniment by a gallery of seanuts."

"Uh, I think the phrasing you are looking for is either, traveling with a circus troupe, or input from a peanut gallery." His brow wrinkles, and then he frowns. "Hey wait a seco—"

Grinwald waves a hand. "Besides the point, why are you here."

He straightens and half coughs. "Command specifically requested us to escort you to Libya… given uh, you already know us, after the mission in 4700. There was also concern about a lack of fluency in English, which may cause communication issues. Considerations had to be made about a potential diplomatic incident." He states matter of factly, holding a finger up and closing his eyes as he relays the reasoning, communicating certainty that he is known and should be known by the Queen and her guards. The procession starts moving again, as the man starts walking backwards, the whole group heading for one of the low rise buildings.

"Who are you?" Hege asks, switching from Finnfolk to perfect English. The Queen purses her lips and looks at Brynhild with a scrunched brow.

"You don't remember me?" His jaw rather precipitously drops.

"No… Should I?"

"Majesty," Brynhild leans down and speaks into Hege's finned ear in Finnfolk, provoking a wince from the Queen. "He was one of the Mudmen who rescued you on the day of liberation."

"Oh."

Brynhild stands back up fully. "Her Majesty," another wince, "has no memory of the day of liberation."

"Oh." Hot embarrassment burns on the young man's cheeks. "Well, in that case I suppose I should properly introduce myself. I am Robert Sheffield, linguist, archaeologist, and anthropologist. I'm a member of Recon Team 1, under the employ of the SCP Foundation." Robert pushes his glasses up again as they slide down his nose from the bouncing motion of nodding his head up and down. "I've been tasked with escorting Your Majesty," another wince from Hege, "and her entourage to meet with O5-01-03."

Well he is certainly an odd one.

Hege and the guards stare at him blankly as they arrive in front of a pair of heavy metal doors at the base of an unremarkable squat square low rise building.

"…that would be uh, the boss of everyone here." He steps to the side, and gestures. "She's waiting inside."

One of the guards goes to open the door, and stops as Hege steps up and grabs the knob herself, as if to say 'I am not helpless, I can open my own doors.'

BONK


"Have you seen these logistics? How the hell did they hide any of this, even internally." Director and O5-01-03 Sherry Andrews enters the stairwell at a pace so leisurely a tortoise could have outrun her. Deep maroon curls drape both shoulders, fierce green eyes glued to a particularly thick Manila folder labeled in large bold text 'Operation: HIGH TIDE'. Beneath her right arm, a second Manila folder labeled "Finnfolk." Her head presses into her shoulder, holding a smart phone in place.

"I've scoured every inch of the files, Sherry. Compartmentalization, liberal use of amnestics, lots of redactions, coordination with local governments, and internal disinformation campaigns. It's just the usual tactics." Leep Andrews' urban Alabama accent rings through the phone and into their wifes ear. "Say what you will about that yellow bellied fucker who preceded us, but he knew how to organize all of this."

"Ooooooh, spicy! Leep Andrews, cursing like a sailor? That's not something I hear everyday," She teases, arriving on the second floor landing. "Hold onto that passion until I get back okay?" A shit eating grin spreads across her lips, flipping to another page.

A small embarrassed chuckle comes through the speakers. "How's Scottland?"

"Cold as hell. Edinburgh was really pretty, but the UK is muggy, cloudy, and miserable, and this place is out in the middle of nowhere. That said, the shoreline out here is gorgeous, and this place is huge. Walked into one of the dock hangars, it's the size of a Boeing 747 plant. You should see these anomalous vehicles, it's like a fusion of Atlantis the Lost Empire and Mass Effect."

"Don't get any ideas." A pause. "It makes sense that the Finnfolk would have advanced much farther than us. They didn't have a dark age, and they had an agricultural revolution and large urban settlements by 5000 BC."

"Huh?" Sherry asks, only half paying attention, as she flips another page, arriving on the first floor landing and begins walking down the hallway.

"Don't get any ideas Sherry."

Her lips curl up into a grin. "I simply have no idea what you are talking about dearest."

"Sherry."

"There's absolutely no way," she says, drawing out the no with her Tennessee accent, pretending to be utterly innocent, "that I could ever get ideas about possibly taking one of those hammerheads out for a spin."

"Sherry!"

"Relax babe, I'm just screwing with you. Anyways, the Finnfolk had agriculture before us?" She closes the Operation High Tide folder, and opens the Finnfolk folder.

A slightly exasperated sigh comes through the phone. "Yes, by about 10,000 years. If Humans hadn't driven them completely into the sea, they might already be colonizing Europa and Enceladus."

"Huh. That's wild."

"…Sherry have you read the Finnfolk file?"

"About that…"

"You fell asleep on the plane flight and didn't read it."

"No. No! There was an atmospheric anomaly, it knocked out the rest of the crew, and I had to fly the plane into Edinburgh. I told you that pilot's licence would come in handy." It's a terrible lie.

"Sherry, your license is for Cessna grade aircraft, not C-130s."

"Potato Tomato."

"Sherry this is important, you need to know these things to avoid a diplomatic incident. We might have swooped in and prevented the Finnfolk from being wiped out, but we have a long and violent history of forcing them out of their homes. Please take this seriously."

A sigh escapes the Councilwoman's lips. "I know, I know." She flips through several pages, reading impossibly fast. "Woah. So this Queen, Hedge, all this really happened to her?" She walks down the hallway.

"It's pronounced Hege. They're finicky about folks using her name, so the safer bet is to just call her 'Your Majesty,' or 'Your Highness.'" A pause. "Yes, everything in the file happened to her, that's only the things she can recall, and things that guards witnessed."

"I mean I can't blame her for wanting to do… whatever she is planning to do when we get to Libya. The dickhead deserves what is coming to him." A pause, her eyes widen and she almost lets the phone slip. "She's been hospitalized for eight freaking months!?"

"Yes, It's a miracle she's even able to stand on her feet, you're on page 34 right? Turn the next page." Sherry turns the page to detailed medical charts dated to eight months prior.

"Holy what the fuck, I've never seen malnutrition stacked atop this many injuries. How is she alive?"

"Sheer force of will, or something else. Our physicians, and theirs pitched a royal fit, no pun intended, when she insisted that she needed to travel." Sherry's phone buzzes and she closes the folder, tucking it under her arm, and grabbing the phone in a single smooth motion.

"Hey I'm going to have to let you go. She's here, and already docked and on the way."

"Remember the Na-" The phone beeps as she hangs up, and tucks it into her back pocket with a single motion. She fast walks to the door, boots clicking on the tile, and impacts the push handles far harder than intended, causing the door to woosh outwards.

BONK.

Sherry steps out into the Scottish sunlight, and quickly realizes she's surrounded by half a dozen very stunned looking humanoids covered in scales and drabbed in ornate ceremonial armor.

"Shit! Someone call a doctor."

Sherry's head swivels right towards the voice. On the ground, head bleeding, Queen Hege Aquailian. Two of the guards rush to tend to her. Sherry's eyes widen recognizing Robert Sheffield kneeled over the unconscious Queen.

A bunch of tridents are quite suddenly elevated and pointed at the befuddled O5 councilwoman.

Now that's just poor timing.

"Bugger."


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