Something a recapitulation of the last few installments but once this is book, I want those scenes clear in the reader’s minds as I’m going to gloss nearly their entire 600-mile ride and go immediately into imperium politics, internal, external, familial. There will suddenly be a lot of names thrown at the screen. In the book you will be able to flip to the front to the family tree and go, “oh, that’s who this is.” Not really bothering with that here.
Colour’s letter is in blockquotes but formatting WordPress is not worth the bother.
Easily an hour before dawn, after their morning toilet in a slit trench, the general indicated where their team would be gathering, near the stables.
“I’ll brief my legates then join you,” she said, sniffing a little. “Get your stuff and be ready to ride the moment you see me. Smells like rain and that could slow us down.”
“I’ll be ready, General,” Jansen replied for the eyes and ears in the dark. “I just need a cover letter for my nephew, for my report to the Council.”
Aurelia touched her friend’s hand and moved off.
With nearly two-score horses and a dozen men checking their kit, Colour found a place under a torch to dash off what she must to Filk.
My Dear Nephew, she began. This will be short as great things are afoot. No, they are not invading. She realized she could not discuss her friend’s whereabouts. I’m guessing you will read my official dispatch before you hand it over to the executive body. I wonder if they will read it out in Council? I cannot imagine them making the whole thing public, but who knows? Anyway, in there you will read not only the bare bones of our scouting old Boston but also our… Colour suddenly realized she said ‘our’… sudden shift northwest.
She tapped the pen onto the paper twice.
The princess got on very well, got that, nephew? Very well with the Archbishop of Montreal. We of the Northern Federation have always done with same with Quebec and the Maritime Provinces. It is my guess that the imperium… why didn’t I say, ‘their imperium’? Has she tampered with my mind?… might try to separate them from the rest of Canada. Diplomatically.
Dawn was just breaking. The last of their gear and provisions were loaded onto the spare horses.
After that, the princess and I took one of their spaceships to see the ice and then land in Nova Scotia. Yes, spaceships, Filk. I’ve been in space, the only one of our people who have. They really can offer us things we cannot imagine. Should I strike that? It sounds like advocacy. We pretended to be backpackers for a few days; yes, the General-Princess rucked her own pack next to me for miles. We had a nice meal then she, well…
She said not to mention his name. She damn near killed one of the local guys with her lust. I was a little drunk but certainly heard them in the early hours. It’s too bad you didn’t like her!
Colour smiled at the lightening sky. Time was short.
There… well, read my report. There was a pirate incident. This demi-human – most of their family is, did you know that? – killed twenty-seven men with a rifle, pistol, knife, and her hands. ONE twenty-five-year-old girl did that, Filk. And she leads an army of 25,000. Please, please, put your hot-headedness aside and help me! Impress upon the Council that they still want to play nice but one foot wrong, such as talking to Ottawa, could reap disaster for our country, our families.
She heard a legionary trooper announce, “all ready, General!”
I’m counting on you, nephew. And I know my trust is not misplaced. Love, Aunt Colour.
She stood and handed the paper to General Hartmann as she walked up to her.
“A cover letter to my nephew,” she explained. The princess folded it over twice and passed it to an aide behind her.
“Seal this and add it to the pouch going to Brunswick. I want it there in no more than two days,” she said, her eyes never leaving her older friend. “I told you I won’t read your mail.”
“I know. I’m sorry for ever doubting you.”
“Say that again in a month.” She turned to the assembled. “Mount up! Let’s try for a hundred miles today! Dinner on me in Albany for all who can keep up!”
“We’s get to see you’s bathe in the river next mornin’?” a trooper laughed at her. Colour was horrified.
“For you, Baruch? Just for you,” she smiled at the young man. “But that means up an hour early! No! Not that kind of up! Dammit, why are my horse scouts so horny!” With waves and salutes, they were out the south gate at a trot and immediately into canter.