Category Archives: Fiction

The Paragon Song of Dark Swan

“The ancient Greeks believed that swans only sang once: at the point of their death one beautiful last lament. Well, this is my last swan-like lament.”

―Hugh Laurie


It has always been my belief that my characters existed before I stepped into them and they will continue to live their lives as they would with out me there, without the medium that I met them in still being there. The end of City of Heroes is not the end of Paragon City, the Rogue Islands or Praetoria, it is simply the end of us viewing the world from that perspective…


So, I guess its now official that the characters that I stepped away from last November are not going to ever have me riding with them ever again in Paragon City/Rogue Islands/Praetoria… so I thought, it might be appropriate for me, as a self proclaimed Swan to be the first to sing a swan song for Paragon and thus, here the song begins…


Aysel “Lady Darkswan” Swan eloped with her long time fiance Wilhelm “Pyrite Von Magnus” Maynard after stewing over what she learned from Astrid’s magical chocolates given to her freely by Rosie Raina Montrenne a Christmas that seemed so long ago…


Nesrin “Lady Daystorm” Day Married her long time beau, Dominic “Dominus” Magnusson and they continued to fight their inner demons together, Nesrin with her art and being a teacher at Saint Raven’s, Dominic with his research in medicine and biology.


Aglaya Lyednika rediscovered how to feel, and went on to help Tempest Solutions become the go to source for computer security and intelligence.


Larisa Duska still talks to ghosts, but the whole precinct at KRPD no longer has issues with ghosts in their desks… or Circle of Thorns, when she is at work.


Leah Saga worked her way past the block on her powers that made them only be able to work outwardly, and in the process, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine with her work in the field of meta-genetics. She retired and lives happily with her husband in the Pacific Northwest, but keeps an eye on Paragon through her daughter Courtney.


Courtney Saga and her life partner are still busy watching out for their charge.


Sandy “Canadiene” Taylor surprised the world by getting over the ditzy blonde schtick, married her long time boyfriend Sean Stevens, and has Tenure at Paragon University at Salamanca as the head of elemental fire magic.


Anna Pavlova-Taylor found eventually that she was not aging, and watched her husband and children age and grow on. Eventually the ballerina faked her death for the second time, but the Red Swan still watches over her progeny and of course, the people.


Selene “Agent Dreamloom” Summers earned her halo becoming a full on guardian angel/cherub and immortal to boot, giving her plenty of time to tend to her daughter, and her two charges, they may not be redeemed yet, but they have an eternity to do it.


Seth “Knyght Shade” Rigby-Wu finally managed to rig up a time machine to save his sister Eve from the past, and then rocketed back to his correct time line and reunited with his foxy girlfriend princess.


Izumi Arashi took her house back over and started dominating in Kitsune politics with the help of the technical expertise and the sexy sledgehammer she brought with her after escaping Praetoria, she continues to play chess with Kiku…


Ashley “Labaredas” Maynard settled down with the other two members of her triumvirate, and is said to have settled somewhere in Germany where she always is glad to see Aria when she comes home, and keeps Alex as a house husband… oh and the eggs hatched eventually too.


Kaoi thrives always with her mistress, just as her mistress’s enemies fail to thrive for some reason once touched by the nectar of the blue lotus.


Jinlan Wu was offered a position at the University of Southern Florida and took it to be closer to her grandmother, moving the headquarters for Priam Laboratories to the Keys, leaving Ami to head the Paragon Branch. She has full tenure at the university and has put her robotic armor into retirement, focusing instead on taking care of her family (but gods forbid you mess with her family).


Rosie Montrenne had been already in her freshmen year in a high school music preparatory program put on by DePaul University in Chicago when Chris Montrenne died. Her first album containing her own compositions plus arrangements titled “Beyond the Bare Necessities” was dedicated to her mother, and went Platinum within two weeks of its release… Notable in the arrangements was a “mash up” of Amazing Grace and Send in the Clowns that it was said she assembled and sang at the funeral.


Meril flees the Shire

Meril grinned to herself as the last load of the first full issue of the paper to be printed since she woke up left Common Tater Headquarters. It was a good day, but it was also bitter sweet. She pushed away from her desk and wandered through the polished, but mostly empty caves until she came to the empty room that had been the paper’s library. One lone bookcase remained, a replica of one once owned by Bilbo Baggins that had been rescued from Hugo Bracegirdle’ s estate, who’s habit of borrowing books and never returning them had finally got him thrown in the lock-holes. (Apparently he “borrowed” a ledger from Sharkey’s men and got caught on his way back from the drop, but at least the resistance had a more detailed account of everything that had thus far been stolen from the Shire.)

Meril hesitated a moment considering the bookcase and the fate of its owner, then activated the hidden mechanism that she and her brother Drakoe had devised, and slipped into the hidden maze of tunnels that led down into Ranhoth headquarters. A few minutes later she emerged in Ranhoth’s quite full library from behind Hugo’s real bookcase which was kept empty in honor of his bibliophilic tendencies.

Meri stretched and then archived a copy of the new paper before stopping in front of the wall facing the entrance to the library and tried to hold back her tears. So many in the lockholes, more simply missing, and her heart always near broke at the list of confirmed lost. Scapegoat had been a Gaffer when the troubles started, and it seemed that things had happened during her enchanted sleep that had aged him further. Kae was gone, her son Cugine missing. Drakoe had gone to help mumsy with the rope yard while da helped move supplies under his old alias Mook the crook. Sila couldn’t bare to stay at HQ because of how quiet it had become, and Meril couldn’t blame her.

Morale and moods were subdued, there were far, far too many names on that wall. There was one in particular that hurt her the most, she perhaps a bitly unwarrantedly carried the guilt for it in her heart and it brought a great sense of personal loss that kept her going. Luth Proudfoot. The day Sharkey’s spell had hit her they were supposed to patrol together. He was dead because she got herself caught. Tears burned in her eyes and she clenched her fists. He had been her best friend, and the best foot groomer in the entirety of the Shire. Now all that was left of one of the finest hobbits she ever knew was his name on a wall and her memories of him.

The cry of a hunting horn echoing through the halls brought her to herself and she burst to Action, zig zagging through the mine shafts until she found Scruffy and looked to him expectantly.

“Ferny and Rocco were seen fording The Water and headed this way an hour ago with a large band and blood hounds” he said softly.

Meril nodded quickly and shot off into the un-excavated section of the tunnels until she ran into the tarnished shirriff.

“Ferny is coming, he’s probably after me but go make sure Saldo and the rest of Fatty’s guys are ready if my plan doesn’t work…”

The ex-shirriff raised an eyebrow. “Plan?, what’s the plan?”

“Not now Hrastan! Just go!”

Meril turned on a dime and launched herself back up the tunnel the way she came then into the barracks and grabbed her kit, then into the graffiti littered cave where they were keeping the weapons they managed to smuggle away from Sharkey and grabbed a man sized main-gauche that had served her well in the past as a rapier then rushed out just as quick, pausing only long enough to catch her breath and write a quick note for the bounders and everyone who was out ranging.

Once the note was safely attached to the board she grabbed a torch off the wall and a bottle of moon shine and rocketed back through the library and tunnels to CT HQ. Once she was back in what had been her library, she gave the place one last mournful look over, then doused the trick bookcase with alcohol and torched it, sealing the passage until such a time it was safe to return.

A blink and a half later she emerged into daylight from the main entrance of HQ, high up on an overlook reachable only by a hidden trail. She pulled a spy glass from her kit and scanned the river. They were heading west. Damn. It was time to act before Fatty Bolger’s cell got caught. Meril took a breath and fished a parcel out of her pack and unwrapped it and glanced at her special order of elven made enchantments and fished the note her contact had included.

Miss Softfoot,
Here are the items we discussed. They are attuned to the stone in your ring. Good luck!

Meri grinned and folded the note then pulled a small megaphone out of the box and hanging it around her neck and then, after finding the group of thugs again with her spyglass, she grabbed a vial of eagle sight potion from the box and took a sip.

“Gotcha.” She said once her eyes adjusted to the new view before touching the canary yellow diamond in her ring to the megaphone then putting it to her lips she coughed once, the sound reverberating through the hills.

“Hey Bill! Inquiring minds must know… how IS your foot feeling? I bet it just BURNS.”

Meril watched the mauraders carefully as Ferny raised a hand and the band and their horses halted and they began looking around for where the sound had come from. Then she grinned as she made out the form of Ted Sandyman in the group. Perfect.

“Speaking of things that burn… I heard the most awful rumor the other day that your wife’s death wasn’t an accident. Maybe you should ask THEODORE about it.”

Meril suppressed a laugh as Ferny’s eyesbrows arched in suprise and his glance fell to Sandyman.

“Oooh Ted, by the way, I have been dying to ask… how’s the Mill yard looking these days?, I got a most interesting piece of mail the other day post marked from BAG END signed ROCCO that requested any unwanted junk be dropped off at YOUR place. I went ahead and published it since that was obviously the intent.”

Meril’s grin grew larger as the son of Sandyman slowly flushed up in rage and began glaring at Rocco. Time to seal it.

“By the way, Rocky, buddy, pal! Don’t you think it incredibly convenient that WILLIAM has been cosying up to Lotho since he got kicked out of Bree?, I have it on good authority that he is after YOUR job.”

Rocco quite suddenly kicked his horse and pulled his club off his belt and turned to face Ferny who began talking very quickly to his angry companion, too fast for Meril to read his lips anyway.

“By all means Billy, do try to talk him down, Eru knows you got YOUR whiny ASS handed to you by a scrawny DWARF a few weeks ago. Regardless, I do not expect any of you to take MY word for anything. Check your saddle bags, I left you gifts.”

Meril smirked as Sandyman and Rocco instantly took the bait. Ferny on the other hand had turned his attention back to scanning the hills for some sign of where Meril was since he was smart enough to have figured out that she was watching. It was almost a shame that he’d throw his envelope in the river without even opening it as his had unfiltered truth in it, but the editoress had already arranged for the original to be delivered to his new quarters at the mill later. Rocco’s and Sandyman’s on the other hand were a little more varying in the quality of truth contained. There was truth there, but some of it was hidden in plain sight, some was forged, and some was worded so it seemed the way she made it sound. She expected Sandyman to figure it out later, he was gullible but not entirely stupid. Rocco on the other hand would believe all the correspondence she put before him, the real stuff, and the forged. Meril predicted that it would take about five minutes for the fuse she had just lit to start going off.

Three minutes, fifty-nine seconds later, Ted Sandyman looked up from the letter she had provided and quietly put it away and started studying Rocco intently with menance while he silently began untangling his sling. At four minutes, fifteen seconds; Ferny attempted to hide the fact that he was loading a bolt into his crossbow. At four minutes, fourty five seconds, Rocco ripped the piece of paper he was reading in half and started taking a swing at Ferny even while Sandyman started pelting Rocco’s horse with sharpened rocks.

Go time. Meril walked back to open entrance and grabbed the “staff” her elven contact had sent and touched her ring to it at the same time as she raised the megaphone to her lips one last time. “Boys boys, no need to fight over little old me!” The light gave off a bright flash, Ferny lit his crossbow bolt on fire and shot it directly at where she had been a second ago, directly into the crate of fireworks she had set up behind the potato vines. They immediately went up in a brilliant plume of light doing just as they were intended to, delivering both a message and covering the fact that she destroyed the trick bookcase.

“See ya later breakfast skippers!” She yelled like swearwords in pig-elvish to add to the confusion and then dived off the drop with the elvish kite designed to look like a giant eagle that had been hidden in the staff and started gliding to the south towards Longbottom, where a second set of fireworks went off moments later with an even bigger boom.

When she landed outside Tighfield some time later, Primrose jumped out of the bushes and gave her a hug. “How’d it go?”

“Couldn’t have gone better if I had planned it myself.” Meril grinned cheekily.

“But… Meril! You DID plan it yourself!” Primrose said and poked the editoress gently in the tummy.

“Did I REALLY?” Meril winked. “I can’t say that I know what you’re talking about.”

Primrose sighed then looked over her friend. “So what now then?”

“Draks has the rest of my gear and Ebony at the rope yard. I think I’ll give Sharkey’s lot a run around for a bit if they manage to find me, then…”

Meril somberly looked to the east and then started again softly.

“I have to leave the Shire, Primrose. I don’t just mean take a trip to Bree leave either. I have to go. I’m too visible. I put all of the Resistance at risk. If I hadn’t made this happen now, it would have happened when I wasn’t there, and right now the timing is critical, Roden says there’s a leak.”

Primrose nodded quietly.

“It doesn’t mean I’ll never be back, but its just too dangerous right now. Things need to cool down a bit. The elf that gave me this…” Meril motioned to the glider staff. “She said that there’s some sort of information network working out of Rivendell, and there’s a whole giant world outside the Shire, I think its maybe time I learn about it, and maybe I’ll find out about the truth about Sharkey while I’m at it.”

Meril shrugged.

“It’s not any one’s idea of what they wanted to do when they grew up… but I think that Bilbo, Frodo, Meridoc, Peregrin and my cousin had the right idea. Sometimes getting where you NEED to go involves leaving what’s comfortable and breaking some traditions. I’m bound to get people upset with me along the way, but I tried keeping them happy and it wasn’t working, I’ll settle for them being safe instead. For right now, as far as they’ll be able to tell Ranhoth is in Southfarthing, not East.”

Meril hugged Primrose once more.

“As the elves say: Galo Anor erin râd gîn na lû n’i a-goveninc. May the sun shine on your path until we meet again.”

Meril then quickly turned to her friend and slipped into Tighfield, pausing only once just inside the walls of the rope yard to wipe away a few tears.

Growing up was hard and she’d done more of it in the past year then she had in the thirty-three years before, and as the sun began to set in the west, she found herself looking east as the moon and evening star rose, hope filling her heart once again.

She ran into the Roper Mansion, kissed her mumsy, lifted her brother’s money purse, changed into some more stealthy attire, grabbed her pack, then rocketed into the stables and saddled her pony, then took off at a gallop out of town on a northeast heading, blew a clear crisp note on her hunting horn, and then activating the megaphone one last time she yelled so loud that almost the whole Shire heard…


A Hobbit Birthday Party in Bree

Based on my aunt Jackie’s birthday party at the beginning of July, this piece was published as coming from Meril in the July 28th Issue (I51) of The Common Tater. Note that Aunt Jackie only turned 65 though, Hobbits have a bit longer lifespans and come of age at 33.

A Hobbit Birthday Party in Bree
Meril Softfoot

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending my dear Aunt Goldie Broadbelt’s Grand 75th Birthday Bash.

The party was a traditional sort of hobbit occasion and was quite possibly the best party of its kind to occur in quite some time (I couldn’t say if it rivaled Bilbo’s Party, I am not near old enough to have had the privilege of having attended that event.)

In any case, I don’t know if I mentioned, but Goldie is a bit of a city gal nowadays, she lived in Edoras for quite some time with her husband Hamson, before his lack of sense walked him right under a falling printing press that was being delivered to their place of business. (Rest in peace Uncle Hamson… rest in peace.)

So Aunt Goldie has come back to the more sensible parts of the world, and while Bree isn’t any one else’s idea of a big city, she prefers it to Michel Delving possibly soley for the ability to acquire Rohirrim Cuisine. (And its a good thing too, I’m sure her business like manner and backbone of steel would have gotten her thrown into the lockholes just as quick as other upstanding hobbits.)

Where was I? Oh, The party! Yes. The party of course was in Bree as I have mentioned she lives there, so I guess you could say it was largely possible to have such a wonderful day because of the civic improvements done recently. Now I know no one thinks that lots was changed, but when do civic improvements ever seem huge after the initial inconveniences of blocked roads and construction noises? When my Uncle Andy petitioned to the mayor of Tighfield for a tree that got hit by lightning twice ( Both hits were recorded a certain same period of time before Draks and I’s birthdays… huh. Odd.) to be removed from town property in front of the rope yard right after my first birthday in 2986, the matter went to the town council and got filibustered about until Draks and I were tweens and lightning about went and struck that tree again. That’s about when they got the thing removed like Sharkey was chasing them. (Not that we knew about Sharkey then.) So considering Ferny was making all sorts of things impossible in Bree for a time and whatever else had been going on with town council politics and what not…those Bree improvements came faster then it took to get a dead tree removed in Tighfield. Primrose already made mention of it all anyway, but I think at the very least the grungy old feast hall getting knocked down after only after two-ish years of it being discussed is much faster then some old dying tree that took 15 or so years in Tighfield. And really, which do you think had more impact on how things looked?

Speaking of the feast hall, the party happened to take place where it had been. Boy was I surprised to see that big old magnificent cherry tree with its big pink blossoms. Makes you wonder who thought the feast hall had been a good idea anyway, but I digress. The grove was the perfect spot for the party, it was a really hot day for early March, but the shade from the tree and a slight breeze that occasionally caused a cascade of petals to fall really set the mood that was especially enhanced by the pair of bards she hired.

Food was catered by Mrs. Butterburr and included delicious sandwiches with ham and turkey on light, perfectly formed croissants; a salad made with pasta with vegetables, cheese and a light dressing; extremely thinly sliced taters that had been fried to a pleasant solid crunchy state; and a variety of bite sized sweet pastries for dessert. The drinks! Ooh! The Staddle brewing company has out done themselves. Not only did they bring in the best of beers from all around the Shire, including Nobottle’s famous beer that’s more like a mead… but they had most of their specialty brews such as the pale lager, cherry and blonde ales, and the stout. However! that wasn’t all! Apparently the master brewer is a widower himself and has taken to Auntie Goldie, because he broke out some of his experimental creations for the occasion that included beverages in the same vein as the cherry ale; malted, but capturing the flavors of other beverages offered to the tweens and children as soft drinks along with tea and water. The two most popular of these were the hard lemonade and something he called a wine cooler. Ah, tater rot. Now I’m thirsty.

Gandalf was nowhere to be seen, so we had no fireworks to speak of, but the conversation was pleasant and I was able to talk to many relations that seem to have conveniently forgotten about me while I was asleep under Sharkey’s spell in a cupboard in Bywater. The afternoon finished up as any good Shireling hobbit’s birthday party is wont to: presents.

I myself came away with a very specially selected gift: A watercolor rendition of what might possibly be Smaug himself, depicted flying over a full moon, painted by one of Goldie’s friends in Edoras. The verdict is out on if the artist witnessed Smaug’s sacking of Lake Town or not, but ask me if it matters. (HINT: It does not.) Every other guest went home with something as well, mostly small trinkets including large brightly colored daisies in clear glass dishes with luminescent glass beads at the bottom and small paintings of the flora of Rohan.

Such an event was a boon for all who attended, and it has also served as a boon for you as I, Meril Lily Softfoot of Tighfield; am now again inspired to spread the light that has been rekindled in my heart to wherever it may take.

(and… why not?)

The Wisdom of Dora Baggins #1

Some of you know that in the game I play, I am the editor of a Hobbit Newspaper. One of the new columns that I’ve started is something of an advice column. The way she says things applies mostly to things in game, but the general wisdom is something that maybe everyone could hear. Originally posted in the July 28th Issue (I51) of The Common Tater.

The Wisdom of Dora Baggins

Dora Baggins, paternal aunt of the infamous Frodo Baggins was legendary for her letters of advice. Her only niece; Daisy Baggins, has taken up the art and has agreed to write for the Common Tater.

On showing appreciation

Now a days it seems that there is a permanent state of uncertainty in the air. We go through our day to day lives and we try not to think about what’s going on because of either fear or indifference brought on what perhaps what seems to be the inability to make a difference.

In these times, we often forget to stop to show our appreciation for something someone else does for us, whether its a general thank you to the random passerby that returns something we dropped or gives us directions no matter how confusing or oblique they might be, kudos to someone who is playing their role in the community, or just simply telling someone (like your local Newspaper Editor) that you liked something they did.

Not only will they know that someone appreciates what they did when they might have not otherwise (especially because some people don’t particularly like to have to ask if you liked something), but they’ll also be more likely to continue to continue on in that fashion. Isn’t that what we want to happen with anything we appreciate?

Cordially yours,
Daisy Baggins

P.S. Thank YOU for reading!

Olanwa’s Reprise – Prologue

This is just the first draft, it WILL be edited.


Prologue: Returned by Sea

The fisherman dropped his sails and whispered an incantation before taking up his oars and maneuvering his small vessel into the hidden cove that his father had fished before him.

Once he was happy with his position,  he dropped his nets and shellfish traps then stretched and found himself gazing at the twilight sky, lost in thought.

He smiled as Eärendur’s star appeared in the West as the sun sunk below the water, and the moon soon rose in the east, thick and heavy as if Tilion was a bit drunk and was guiding it closer to the earth then usual. The elf didn’t think much of it at first, these were uncertain times, and while Tilion’s path was sometimes unsteady, the light of Telperion’s flower was ever bright, and the fish rose from the depths with its light, doing their part to feed the Teleri that still slowly filtered through Mithlond to the Lhun and made their last stop for supplies at Harlond before hitting open sea.

The thought of the sea brought the sound of the Belegaer pressing up and in against the barrier between it and the Gulf  from where it had only been white noise, and very soon he could almost feel the fear that his ancestors and elders had felt when they first encountered the Great Sea before the dawn of the first age at the end of the Great Journey. A shiver ran through his body  from the base of his spine as he suddenly realized he was not alone here, and he wasn’t imagining the fear… someone else was in his cove and she was badly injured.  His eyes flicked to the ancient reef lining beach of the cove, and when his gaze settled upon the wreckage of a small vessel his heart stopped before beginning to pump again with the release of adrenaline.  It looked like a lifeboat from one of the Swanboats of Mithlond. In a sudden blur of motion, he cut the lines to his nets and traps and inhaled deeply before drawing up the sails and summoning a wind to launch him across the water.

Within a five minutes he had almost flown his skiff the entire two mile length of the cove, given himself whiplash when he used his anchor as an emergency break to keep his boat from breaking on the rocks, then took a magic aided leap across the ridge to the shore. It was more power then he had tapped in ages and he would pay for it later. For now though, he sprinted across the beach with long strides, past the wreckage and up to the treeline where a crumpled figure was still trying to slowly crawl into the shelter of the woods.

The sindar inhaled and then bent down next to her, touching her shoulder softly.  His eyes went wide at the contact as she managed to turn her head and look at him with wild green eyes.

“Amarië?” his voice was barely a whisper.

Her eyes shifted to the indigo they had been when they were children. “Deltor…” her voice was raspy and her eyelashes fluttered hazardly as she tried to focus on him.

“Deltor…am I really here?”

“Shh… Kam… yes you’re in Lindon…” He lifted her and she stared right into his eyes as they flickered back to green momentarily until the color seemed to drain away from her eyes leaving them gray as hithlain as she smiled slightly and let the pain finally take her from consciousness.

Kamara the Teleri (Updated 2012 version)

The Origins and early life of Kamara Firalkar called Olwana have faded from the memories of all but those close to her. What is known is that she born near the end of first millennia of the third age, a daughter of the Firalkar Clan thought lost by her remaining family; her brothers Nathor and Natael and her cousin Polk, until III 2945 when she was reunited with them after traveling to the Woodland Realm of Thranduil following the call of the forest.

Later, it was said she left the forest with a heavy heart and lingered a while in Rivendell and it grew to be home. And yet, her name was written in the book of those who went west, thought to never to return…

Yet in time, the sea threw her back as it did when she was a child, onto the shores of the Grey Havens. They tried to keep her there, to find what had happened, but her memory was distorted and fogged, the only thing that she did know was she never made it to the undying lands, and that she needed to return home and turn her attention back to the east and the war…

Character info: Rosie Montrenne

The incredible origin of Rosie Raina TM (Now Rosie Montrenne)

When I started playing I had several friends that had come over with me from the scraps of what was left of our neverwinter nights persistant world community.

Rosie was part of an idea that a friend (Volpe) had  that consisted of themed characters that were living dolls made by Trevor Ansgrave as hinted at in Without a Pullstring. Volpe left the game and thus the demise of Susie Sunshine in that story, and the character had been shelved until I brought her out to check on Hreb’s highth for his robotic duplicate during a D meet((in the days before character costume files)) and Rosie met Chris and they hit it off, considering at that point Rosie’s main vocabulary stemmed from what a talking doll would say. ((“Are you my mommy?”and “You’re my best friend!” being the catalyst for the adoption of Rosie to the Montrenne family))

Wow that character has come a long way since then…



A single frozen tear fell down Aglaya’s cheek as she snuggled closer to Yuki on the couch while they watched a movie.

“What’s wrong Aggie-chan?” Yuki whispered to her.

“Nothing… I was just remembering what it was like when I was frozen.”

“Ah.” Yuki smiled then kissed her.

“Well, spring has come love… spring has finally come.”


It took just short of three months for Aglaya to convert her savings into liquid assets. She had plenty of time to get the intricate details of her plan together.

She had decided on a three prong attack on Sinclair’s attention.

Act one: An email to Praetor White revealing Sinclair’s involvement with the assassination attempt  made by Basilisk and Dragon on White five months previous. To be attached are files on Project Phoenix, including the six members, their mission files, Aglaya’s work on mopping it up and evidence concerning its reboot.

Act two: Files delivered to Praetor Tilman’s office at Mother of Mercy Hospital regarding the technology Sinclair had put in Aglaya’s head. The part about the dampener hiding her from the Seer network should really set the Praetor on edge.

Act three: The anonymous donation of schematics to the building where Belladonna Vetrano was being kept, including intel on guard rotations and patrols, security codes and just about anything else the Resistance would need for a break out.

Any one of the three might have been adequate to keep Justin from seeing what she was doing, but if all three happened simultaneously, there would be no way he could stop her. Not with Tilman and White breathing down his slithery neck and his secure facility broken into. Aglaya grinned, she almost regretted not being able to see the look on his face when the shit hit the fan. Alas, she would be otherwise engaged.

She had complete paperwork that would not only get her into the Rift Enclosure but would insure that she would be heading to the Rogue Isles. After she got on the other side, well, that’s where the plan ended and the guesswork began. She had some intel on how things were on the other side, but she suspected that it would turn out to be a lot different then the reports said it was. There would only be one way to really find out though.

She let the ball start rolling after planting a bug in Justin’s office to keep up on the play by play. Within an hour an anonymous email had been sent to White and two separate couriers had been dispatched to Calvin Scott and Mother.  Two hours later, intel had the Resistance starting to make moves for the facility, and Justin had just received an angry call from Tilman, with White on the other line. It was time to move.

She smiled and stepped on the Transit to Neutropolis and then caught the ferry to Keyes Island, all the while listening as Sinclair was getting into deeper shit. She rolled her suitcase behind her and presented her paperwork to the guard and found herself staring at a giant portal device, took the listening device out of her ear as Tami was reporting on Vetrano’s escape and casually dropped it in the trash before handing a USB drive with her “orders” to a waiting Tech and then walked through the portal once the crew had uploaded “Praetor Sinclair’s” orders to deposit her in the Isles.

She looked at her watch as she came through on the other side and the portal flickered on and off making a sickly whirling sound. It’d take them at least a month to figure out the virus she had just released on the Rift system with the forged orders…  no one would be following her. She smiled and stretched. “Bon voyage old life.”


Time seemed to have sped up when she wasn’t looking. As slow as that weekend was, it had been nice to have time to breath without Justin breathing down her neck. It was all well and good that she had Security Clearance now, but there was a big gaping hole in her plan. She had no time to execute it. She’d stay late but she had training sessions with Justin every night.  She was on the verge of giving up hope when an intelligence report on the Rift Enclosure fell almost quite literally into her lap.

It was two months after her “new” life had begun. She had almost handed the report off to one of her junior analysts when she had spotted Yuki’s name listed somewhere among the sheaf of papers. She about tripped over said analyst and wound up going back to her office with the stack. It turned out that Keyes had actually made a portal to go to Primal Earth, and the kicker was Provost Marchand was sending diplomats over to try to make peace overtures while Emperor Cole was talking about Invasion. It boggled Aglaya’s mind. What was more, Yuki was listed not as a diplomat going over but as confidential status. She immediately plunged her hand into that bag of cats and came out  with an eye widening answer. Yuki and Izumi were FROM Primal Earth, and had gotten stranded as the result of some sort of magical spell. They had taken Kitashi and Tiffany with them as diplomats. But the thing that was hard to discern was their place of residency in the Rogue Isles. If they were being diplomats, then the Rogue Isles was the wrong place to be. Aglaya shook her head. It didn’t matter. If Yuki Inaba was in the Rogue Isles that’s where she was going. It was only a matter of getting herself assigned now. She was technically still Power’s Division and White owed her a favor for going all the way on the investigation of the Destroyers. He’d inevitably be stepping on Sinclair’s toes, but he’d do that anyway, especially if she  revealed to him that the assassins that had targeted him three months ago had been Sinclair’s fuck up. She’d slip out while they were arguing about it, and then she’d be out of reach.

It would take some preparations. She’d invested some in gold and jewels, but most of her money was still in the bank, it’d take time to convert enough of it over to take it with her. She’d also have to give up her book collections, and it would probably be wise to upgrade her laptop and nPad. She would mourn the book collection, but at least she knew somewhere she could get a good price for it while getting digitized copies at the same time. She let out a breath. Well. She had a plan, and she’d have to do it slowly so Sinclair didn’t know, but so far he’d been so self involved that he hadn’t noticed she had formed an attachment.  Gods help her, she was actually starting to sympathize with Belladonna Vetrano.