SHORT FICTION

Thursday, 21 January 2016

SHORT STORY-THE FELINE SNOW QUEEN


Hello everyone. This short story is going to be in two parts-I hope. This takes place right after the flash fiction piece that I wrote. I hope all cat lovers will enjoy it. And remember if you want you can throw me some tea money in the tip jar at the end of the story. Have a great weekend!



THE FELINE SNOW QUEEN
 
 
Part One




THE SNOW QUEEN crept softly on the snow muffling any noise she made. Her senses were alive and were on alert for any danger. She had her forest cats with her. They were close by hidden, making themselves unheard and unseen to those foolish to believe that she was alone. The queen knew that he would be watching for her. She guessed he was antagonizing revenge and bloodshed. She wanted to know why. Was he planning war? Her blue eyes darted to the right. One of her forest cats made a noise like they came in confrontation with something. A high pitched squeal filled the still air sending the others over. For a second or two she didn’t move and then she felt something behind her. With one quick movement and a leap into the air, she was facing what was behind her. It was one of the winter fairies. She growled. That’s what her forest cat had encountered. The snow queen hissed at the faerie who appeared to be nonchalant about everything.
“What are you doing here?” The little winter sprite smiled at her with its sharp teeth. The white blue hair stuck out of its head in all directions. Silver eyes gleamed at her. “Why my queen, I might ask the same of you.” He threw up his hands into the air showing off his long claws. She didn’t know if he was going to come down and strike her or not. But then he let them drop along with his shoulders. “I’m here to warn you my feline queen. If you are here to avenge your forest cat’s murder, I think you should reconsider.”
She eyed him carefully. “What do you know?” He didn’t answer right away. His nose twitched and his pointy ears moved forward. She sighed. “What favor do you want in return for your information?” His smile was back. “Now, I don’t need much my queen.” His voice was soft and warm. The queen knew that tone was dangerous and she let out a low growl to let him know not to pull any tricks. There was now two forest cats beside her. He didn’t waver though because she knew he wasn’t alone either. He was smart and cunning like they all were.
He sighed. “Old Jesper here only asks for a wee favor. I would like permission for myself and a few others to cross your lands into the far realm. We could go around but going through your forest would be much shorter and save so much time. Not getting any younger you know.” He let out a little laugh that sounded like crackling fire in her ears.
Her ears twitched. “You may pass through with the eyes of the forest cats.” She tilted her head at him. “Just to make sure you make it through safely.”
He cringed for a second but quickly hid his annoyance at her mistrust. “That would be so kind.”
“So, what information do you offer on the one who has claimed the forest next door?” She waited patiently for him to tell her what he knew and all she could hope was that it wasn’t all lies. These winter faeries could take the truth and turn into a lie that you would believe.
“I have only seen him once since your gathering. He is gathering forces from other forests and word has it that the High Queen of the Mistwoods has agreed to hear him out. You know as well as I do how much she loves bloodshed.” He wrung his hands for a second while his jawline tightened. “The winter faerie courts do not want war or any kind of disruption at this time.”
She raised an eyebrow at him. “At this time?”
His marble brown gold eyes blinked. “We all want peace my queen.” The tone of his voice could take to mean a few things. Either they were planning on something and didn’t want this to disrupt their plans or they truly needed peace to survive. Their court was weak right now. “We all want peace Jesper. When is he to meet with her?”
“Very soon my queen. Probably in the next two nights. May we be on our way through your lovely forest now?”
The snow queen ran her lips along her bottom lip making him back up slightly alarmed. She threw up her head. “Tell me one more thing. Where is he now?” His shoulders slumped. The forest cats next to her crept out slightly towards him making him move back more. He cleared his throat. “He’s at the edge of your forest.”
“Are you to report back to him?” She shook her head not letting him answer. “Never mind. You tell him to meet me at the edge of the forest in the next morning.” She turned then leaving him standing there. “But what about passage”, he called out to her.
Turning her head back to him she said, “You will have your passage, just give him the message and my forest cat’s will you see you through.” She could see him grit his teeth. He did not want to go back. She thought this interesting. Did he threaten them? Maybe he was a dangerous foe after all. She could not let him go see the high court in the Mistwoods. She was too blood thirsty and she didn’t need someone feeding her promises of war and destruction. On the way back she could hear her forest cats hiss and snarl in the nearby bushes. The hairs on the back of her neck stiffened. She wondered if the winter faeries didn’t go back and were proceeding through. Then she heard one big howl and she ran toward the sound. She could see a large animal in the bushes dragging out what she knew was one of her forest cats. Her hind legs lifted her off the ground and she landed on the back of what was dragging her forest cat away. Her claws dug deep. It howled and let go of the forest cat. She hung on digging her claws deeper ready to rip the back of its throat out. More of the forest cats came out to help her. They piled on and with the combined weight of them all, pinned it down into the snow. “Tell me why you are here attacking one of my forest cats.” It was a large male cat.
 Twigs snapped as another one came out of the bush. “I will tell you.” She looked up and there he was. “Let him go and you and I will talk.”
Her lips curled back in a snarl. “Why should I let him go? He wounded one of my forest cats. I should kill him.”
“Do that, and you will have more trouble that you want.”
“What do you want?”
“Just to talk. I assure you no more trouble. My Tom was a little too aggressive. I am sorry for that.” She gestured for the forest cats to come to her side. They did letting the Tom go. He limped over to where he was standing. The snow queen glared at him. “I will ask again, what do you want?”
“You are direct. I like that. “I want an alliance is what I want. If you deny me, I will go like our little winter faerie friend told you and go for a little visit to the Mistwoods.”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “How does this alliance of yours help my forest?”
“In many ways my queen. We will be strong and united. No one will challenge us.”
“I don’t have anyone challenging me now.” She knew as soon as she said it what he was going to reply so she replied for him. “You are the first to challenge me in a long time. I have not thought of taking an alliance with anyone. As for the Queen of the northern Mistwoods, she will not form an alliance with you. She will use you to take what you have.”
He took a deep breath and his ears moved slightly forward as if maybe pondering her response. “You claim to know her better than I do then. If she is that deceptive, then it will be best for us to be the alliances.”
“And what then? Defeat her? That will cause all-out war. I am not interested in that.” Some large cats came out from the trees and joined him. She looked at each and every one of them. They were all twice the size of her forest cats but she knew her forest cats were agile and could just be as dangerous. “I do not want war either. I want a secure alliance to keep peace in our kingdom.”
Her eyes went a bit wider. “Our kingdom?”
“Of course it is. These forests belong to all the creatures here. The winter faeries reside here as other fae. As you know, there are also witches and warlocks. There are many different creatures and even more different kind of felines.”
The snow queen had heard stories of other creatures and also heard of the other felines. She wondered about them and what they were like but she never ventured out of her territory. She stayed within her own. This talk made her feel uncomfortable. “I am not ready to invite other creatures to this forest. It has always been just us and some of the winter faeries. That is all I need.”
His nose sniffed the air. “You need to let go of that and let in others or you will be taken over.”
She snorted. “By you?”
“You wouldn’t want me to do that. Trust me. I could take this from you but instead I am offering you an alliance that will allow you to keep what you have.”
“Your gift killed one of my forest cats so why should I let you be my alliance?”
“The silver ball I gave you was not to kill. It was spelled by one of the faeries, I assure you. My gift was an honorable one. It contained magic for the good.”
“How do I know you are telling me the truth? It could be just another trick to catch me off guard.”
“I give you my word it is not a trick. I don’t to such trickery. Why don’t you spend some time in the forest next door? I give you my promise that no harm will come to you nor any of your forest cats. Everyone will be safe.”
Her gut instinct told her that he was probably telling the truth and acting on good faith. “Alright then, I will come.”
He nodded his head. “Very pleased to hear that. I promise you will not be disappointed.”
They all turned around and was going to leave when this high pitched screech came out of the trees. A black raven like creature was flying right for the snow queen. Before it got to her, he leaped into the air and grabbed it. Black feathers flew into the air. They both landed with a thump. The other big cats were right there ready to shred the thing. Its large glass blue black eyes glared into his.
He hissed at the creature. “What do you want here?”
“I bring you a warning. She comes for you.”
“Who is she?” It gargled as he pressed his paw against its throat. The snow queen came up to the creature then. “Let it talk.” It looked over at her. The snow queen let out a low growl. “What brings you here to my forest?”
“I bring you a warning. She is coming."
“Why is she coming here?”
“War.”
  The snow queen sucked in air. She looked at him. “Kill it and send the remains back to her with a message.”
He looked at her. “And what is the message?”
“War will not be yours to have. I will destroy you before you lay one paw near.”
“Does this mean we have an alliance?”
“It means that if you don’t join forces with me, she will have what she wants and when she gets what she wants, then you will learn that it was a foolish notion to want to go to her for an alliance”
The other cats stirred. He looked at them and then at her. “Alright then, I will take your warning and join forces with you.”
“Good, I’m going back to the castle to talk to the others. I will leave you to the deed.” She walked away with her forest cats. She knew that he knew that this was a test to see if he was really loyal and one to keep his word. She heard one loud squawk and then silence. Not once did she look back.

***

The next morning a message arrived. The snow queen knew it wouldn’t take long to get a response to her action. The message was what she expected. The queen of the Mistwoods wanted to meet her and talk. She knew what her talk meant. She used her words like a wild cat used its claws. There would be no talks or perusal of any language other than bloodshed. She decided not to send a reply back just yet. She would wait and see if he would come to her with any news that might be useful.  
She had just finished her breakfast when one of her servant cats came in telling her she had company. “Is it him?”
The servant cat nodded. “Let him in then.”
He came in and sat down by her without invite. There was something on his mind she could tell. “Did you hear from her?” His gold eyes were dark. “I did in deed. She severely wounded the messenger. He barely escaped with his life.”
“She let him go.” He eyed her. “That was your warning telling you that next time she will deliver any messenger in pieces next time.” His eyes looked down at the floor.
“I knew she was cruel but I had no idea...
She let out a small laugh. “So, you regret threatening me to go to her for an alliance?”
“I may but still, this matter of her wanting war. Does she use black magic?”
“You don’t need me to answer that question. You know she will go to any means to get what she wants. My guess is, she has an alliance with someone else.”
His eyes went wide with shock. “Who could that possibly be that would side with her?”
“The winter faeries of course. I knew Jesper was up to something when he wanted permission to come through the forest. They don’t usually ask for permission for anything. They just take and use what they want. When you said the silver ball was spelled, that clued me in even more. They wanted to kill me to get me out of the way.”
He let out a puff of air through his nostrils. “These winter faeries are more dangerous than what they appear. If they have formed an alliance with her, then what did they get in return?”
She shook her head. “It could be anything but making an alliance with her is going far, even for them. I say they are desperate for something. We just have to find out what it is.”
“How do we do that without losing our tribes?”
She tilted her head at him. “Not all the winter faeries are on the same page you know. The winter court is always fighting within itself. They haven’t had a strong leader for some time now. So, I would say that whoever it was that offered out the olive branch is just as deprived of loyalty as she is.”
“So, we have to find a disgruntled winter faerie that is willing to tell all? I don’t want that job. The whole works of them are disgruntled.”
She laughed. “That, I will agree with but I have ways of weeding them out to find one that is willing to talk.”
He was still agitated. She smiled at him. “Did you think you could waltz in here and just have this fierce alliance and be the most powerful in all the lands? You who knew so much about the others creatures but not their ways? I understand all too well how others want to rule these forests. That is why I have kept this forest guarded. I respected their territories and they returned theirs.”
He nuzzled his nose into between his front paws for a moment. Then he raised his big head and his now clear gold eyes studied her for a moment. “I see that you do have more experience with the knowledge of others out there but I have had many encounters with many of them and they will listen to me. I can get their support and indeed we can become a strong front against her.”
She knew that she had not had a lot of encounters with too many of them but enough to get by. Maybe she would let him talk to these creatures and they would give support. She looked at him. “Okay, you talk to them and we will see what support we end up with.”
He got up then. “You know we never had a formal introduction. My name is Keshar. I’m the fifth generation in my cat tribe.”
“Please to meet you Keshar. I’m Sieska, snow queen of this forest. I am sixth generation of my feline tribe. I am the third queen.”
He held up his head. “Then you and I come from a long line of royal family members. It would make sense for us to be a strong alliance, no? If the queen of the northern Mistwoods is seeking war, we need a strong front.”
She knew he was making a statement to her to get his point across on what he believed should be done. Maybe he was right she thought and if she made another move, she would seriously consider this alliance. For now she needed his support to stage off this war. “Let us work together and see how we work together. If we are successful, then I will consider this alliance that you seek.”
He started to pad toward the door.
Sieska spoke once more to him. "Thank you for yesterday." 
Before de disappeared out the door he looked back at her.  You are most welcome and you will see that I am right and you will need me as much as I need you.”
With that he left. Her ears perked up. What did he mean by that? Her paws prickled.


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