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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/campfires/item_id/2024146-Game-of-Beasts
by Twiga
Rated: 18+ · Campfire Creative · Fiction · Animal · #2024146
A Mysterious Letter from Matoaka's past forces her to a planet of Intrigue and Incest
[Introduction] You like Game of Thrones? Here is Game of Thrones HUMANIMAL STYLE
(This story takes place immediately after Lee's death and Matoaka's coronation)

Matoaka had just arrived from her coronation, her herd following her, not only out of companionship, but now it was there duty to protect to New Queen of the Beasts from any danger.

Matoaka was not happy, how could she now be Captain of the Fellowship if all the Universe knew she was Queen of the Beasts?

Suddenly, a knock on window, it was Superman, in his hands he held a lacquered box.

"Your Highness..." Superman began to say

Tears stung the Unicorn's eyes "Don't call me that!" She nickered

"Sorry...Captain." Superman said "I'm sorry about...Everything's that's happened, I discovered this near the Old King's lair not far from where he died..."
"I did not check the contents, but think that it was some of his personal effects." Said the Kryptonian. "I believe that means they belong to you now?"

Feeling numb, Matoaka reached out and took hold of the heavy wooden container.
Matoaka sniffed the Box "It has his scent all over it, it's definitely his."

There was a key on a string attached to the Box.

Inside there was several parchment letters.

"Someone in this universe is using snail mail?" Bill murmured "This must be serious."

Matoaka read the letters, very slowly, there were eight letters in all

"These are back and forth, between my Dad and someone named...Ned Stark...Ned Stark is The King's Cousin...There are More Unicorns...On a Planet called...New Jakarta."

(This isn't exactly, Game of Thrones...The New Jakarta is inspired by the Mutants Down Under I got for Christmas)
"A whole planet of unicorns?" Breathed Bill. "Your Highn -Captain, did you know about this?"

"We, uh, don't mind you not telling us if you did, of course." Added Bob. "It's not for nothing that they've remained hidden, I'd gather."
"I had no idea about this..." Matoaka breathed "I never knew Dad had a Cousin...Or that there was a Planet of New Jakarta..."

"I'll start to Google it now." Bob said as he got in his computer

Matoaka read more of the letters "It doesn't seem to be a Planet of Only Unicorns." She murmured "This letter mention a Jamie Lannister, a Scarlet Dragon, who killed the last King and the New King made Humans and Humanimals equal as this letter says six years before our revolution on Earth."

"Captain!" Bob exclaimed "This was what I found "New Jakarta is a Planet that is mostly Toxic Swamp and only the Equator is habitable for Earth Life, the Combination of extreme weather Electricity eating microbes have meant..." Bob gulped "That the Humans and Humanimals live in a semi medieval level of Technology."

"Sheesh!" Bill said "Now I know why we never heard of it.

"That also explains how they got away with Revolution." Matoaka said "The Wranglers wouldn't touch such a Hades Pit because it's not worth it."

"What was your dad talking about?" Asked Bill. "Is the planet in danger? Why'd he never tell you that you had a ...a second uncle?"

"I wish I knew, Bill." Said the Queen. "I'm still reading through them; maybe there's something in here."
"Since there are Microbes that eat electricity, it must be hard for any Spacecraft to land on that Planet to deliver the mail..." Bob started to stroke his barbels "There must be some minimum of time a spacecraft can stay on the Planet before all the power is eaten."

"The last letter was sent three years ago." Matoaka said "Either something forced them to stop communicating or..." Matoaka looked to the distance

"I need to think about this some more. Superman I am grateful to you for bringing this to me."

"My pleasure."Superman said "King Lee was truly a Noble Individual protecting the Earth's wildlife at risk to his own life."
"And I'm sure I can trust you to make him proud." With one final smile and a whisper of wind, the Kryptonian was gone.

"Do you think we should pay this planet a visit, Capt?" Asked Bob. "Do you want to talk to your second-uncle?"
"First I am going to talk to Uncle Fossil...In his Shaman Wisdom, he should have some idea of what to do...And that will be tomorrow morning, for now everyone get some rest and take it easy, we've all had a big day." Matoaka and Zander then left for their chamber

Later in the evening, Ichabod and Marzipan were in their apartment, taking a bath together, Marzipan was in desperate need for a full fur wash, before the Coronation she only had time to wash her head fur.

As Ichabod lathered her up from head to tail, Marzipan purred and relaxed, suddenly to Ichabod's surprise she gave a violent shudder.

"Marzipan?" Ichabod was more then a little startled

"Oh Ichy!" Marzipan shivered despite the warmth of the water "I felt...It wasn't like a normal vision, where I see what is to come...It was...A feeling of coldness...Like walking into a graveyard...And I don't know why."

Ichabod stroked Marzipan's bangs "As soon as we're done with the bath I'll call Bob and ask if he's had a premonition. For now let's finish our wash."

Marzipan still seemed sullen, so Ichabod lifted his left foot out of the water and wriggled his toes in an attempt to cheer her up, Marzipan smiled faintly but there was still fear in her eyes
"Do you think is has to do with this new planet?" Asked Ichabod, rubbing along her shoulder blades, smiling as she arched her back and started up a rumbling purr.

"At this point, I don't know what else it could be," Said Marzipan. "Ichy, would you mind calling Bob now? This premonition is really giving me the creeps."
"Give me a few moments to dry before I do so..." Ichabod said as he made his way out of the tub.

A few moments later, Bob heard his phone ring, he was on the sofa with an ice pack on his head.

"Bob..." Ichabod said "...Marzipan had a premonition...But it was very vague...We were wondering..."

"Yes." Bob said quickly "Yes I have."

"What did you experience?" Ichabod asked

"Something that made me vomit and then bruise my forehead on the toilet seat." Bob said "I had a vision of two Dragons...A scarlet one, and green one making love...Normally that wouldn't be an ill omen...If it weren't for the fact my vision is informing me that Green Dragon is the Scarlet Dragon's TWIN SISTER!"

Ichabod nearly dropped the phone, he knew incest was one of the strongest taboos in Humanimal society...So much so that you don't even bang your Herd Siblings, or Cubs unrelated to you but grew up with you...And this Scarlet Dragon was banging his own TWIN!"

"Scarlet Dragon..." Ichabod murmured "Didn't one of the letters mention a Scarlet Dragon?"
"I think it did," Said Bob, obviously still shaken. "I think there was something about one killing the previous King."

"Well, I guess the culture's a bit different on that planet," Said Ichabod measuredly after Bob's outburst. Still, they were both members of Fleet, required to deal with disparate cultures on a daily basis, and this was no time to indulge the gay fish's seven-thousand year old stigmas. "Did you see anything that might actually be dangerous or important?"

"Well, they seemed to be having some exceptionally violent pillow-talk," Said Bob, gradually recovering himself. "Something about assassinations -and unicorns."

(Author's note: I got this idea from a Mud server called FurryMUCK. Think of a Empire-like herd of black unicorns who run a planet with an iron hoof so do speak, they are called the Black Unicorn Empire.)

Ned Stark was trying to boil water for his dinner until he heard pounding on the door, "Ned Stark! In the name of the Empire, you are under arrest for treason!" boomed a voice from outside the door.
As this ghastly murder was taking place, Matoaka was conferring with Fossil, Rodan and Tiamat.

"I've heard of Planet New Jakarta." Tiamat said "It's rich mud produces crops beyond anything Earth has ever known, so ever since the Revolution here on Earth, the Federation does trade with New Jakarta."

"What has been observed?" Matoaka asked

"No one stays very long on account they don't wish to lose power." Tiamat replied "But they have observed it looks surprisingly clean for a Medieval World, they at the very least have flush toilets."

"Let us come with you." Fossil said "I fear it might be dangerous if just your crew goes, you might need some more muscle."
"Thank-you, Fossil," Said Matoaka, smiling. "But the Queen of Animalia thinks she has enough bodyguards. I'll have a psychic, a Space Knight, an Avid Prince, Minsk, Ichabod, Bill -if I can count on anyone to protect me, I can count on them- and possibly a mage if Marzipan wants to come."

For a moment, she faded from sight, all but her smile turning invisible. "And I'm not without my own means, either. We're only going to talk to my uncle, and as trading partners, the locals will have a vested interest in not letting a visiting dignitary like myself come to harm. We'll be fine."

"Sister, that really isn't reassuring." Said Tiamat. "But even I'm not about to refuse a Queen. Still, I won't be far from Earth. Promise to keep me on the speed-dial."

"I always do." Said Matoaka sombrely.
"I know of someone else who might want to come," said Ichabod.

"Is that wolf right behind me?" Matoaka asked.

"No, but you know how James is, always showing up whenever trouble's to be expected."

Matoaka chuckled at this. "That is like him," she said. "If there is issues, I'll have no problems with him showing up out of the blue. I just hope he doesn't embarrass me."
Bill comes in "I did further reference to New Jarkata, one of the dangers of the planet is a imperial group much like the Wranglers." Matoaka says "Do they have a name?" Bill responds "I have no idea but their insignia looks like this." Opens up his laptop and it shows a huge yellow crown with a jet black unicorn rearing in front if it.
"Here's a possibility for their name," Bill said, busy with his laptop. "The Kotani."

"The Kotani?" Matoaka said. "What does it mean?"
"Maybe we should talk about this elsewhere." Came a Voice

"James?" Matoaka was surprised "You look...Surprisingly worried."

"Bob told me about his vision...And it took me a while for me to absorb it, but now I understand...And I'm worried." James said "I'm not a Humanimal, I'm from another universe, so it's taken me a while to learn the ins and outs of Humanimal Culture...And I now from experience how repulsed Humanimals are by the very notion of incest, the very mention of it, evokes a deep visceral reaction from from Humanimals that I can see is hard wired into their very being, so the fact to Humanimals are willingly committing incest is troubling, like a Species of OCD cleanliness willingly rolling around in manure, what causes a creature to do the thing they instinctively hate the most? I see in Humanimals something that I don't always understand...I was once with a Crocodile Humanimal named Dill we were trying to sneak into an enemy fortress, along the way, he saw a Teenager hitting a little toddler girl, we both heard her cries, but I knew we couldn't blow our cover, in Dill, I saw something...Something to this very day haunts me...Dill's eyes glazed over, his expression became determined, it seemed like something else was controlling both his mind and body, he walked over to the Teenager and punched him across the room blowing our cover."

James turned to Matoaka "I don't know if you realize this Captain, but I've observed that when Innocents are being harmed Humanimals seem to have something that compels them save the Innocent, it's preprogrammed by the thing that creates you and what force has the ability to reverse that and make Humanimals the opposite of what they are?'
"Something that could oppose the power of the Dark Crystal," Matoaka turned the flagrantly impossible concept over in her mind. "Is on that planet. And nobody else knows it's there." She said slowly.

"Then again, maybe this group practices what the ancient Egyptians used to to, which was to separate the boys from the girls, and raise them apart, so that there isn't that natural revulsion against the idea of taking on a sibling as a potential mate."

"What are you talking about, James?" Matoaka said.

"Something called the Westermarck Effect - named after some guy from Scandinavia or whatever," James said. "Basically, get a boy and the girl, who are like six years old, have them live together for the next ten years, and they won't feel like accepting the other as a potential mate - blood relative or not. That being said, take a boy, and a girl, who are brother and sister, raise them separately, with limited means of contacting the other, and when they do actually meet, there's very limited instinctive revulsion to the idea of accepting the other as a mate."

"Um, how do you know that?" Matoaka asked.

James chuckled nervously. "Did some research on it for a case. Let's just say that it involved a man who fell for a woman, who turned out to be a long-lost sister."

"What happened?" Ichabod asked.

"Let's just say that the case involved a jealous boyfriend, a kidnapped baby, and two nests full of hornets," James said. "I don't like talking about it, especially the parts involving the hornets, both the literal type, and the metaphorical type."

The Crew grimaced at this. "Painful?"

"To say the least," said James. "Let's just say I had to take some medication to deal with the swelling, and more for the headache I later got when blood tests were preformed."

"I would say so," said Matoaka. "Did this involve one of your relatives?"

"No, and thank God for that," said James. "And no, I wasn't the boyfriend either. I was just an investigator looking for the kid. Found a nest full of hornets. Kid had something. Doctors preformed tests. They told the parents. That's when the second nest full of hornets showed up. Bad day all around."
Bill remarked "Sounds to me that wasn't one of your best days."
"In my line of work," James said, "there were no best days."

Bill cocked his head to one side. "I'm not sure you have ever really spelled out exactly what your line of work was."

"It's a fuzzy line, my friend, with blurry outlines and ambiguous twists and turns. Also, I was never very good at spelling."

Bob laughed. "If you ever want to hide some information in plain sight, then give it to James. By the time he gets through with it you are left with nothing."
It was time to leave, as Matoaka and her crew boarded the Fellowship, Matoaka turned to Zander

"I've got a bad feeling about this." Zander said

"Why?" Matoaka asked

"I feel we're walking into the Devil's den." Zander said

Meanwhile, on Planet New Jakarta a Hooded Crow Humanimal named Littlefinger awoke

"She comes!" He gasped

(Author's Note: In case you don't know what a Hooded Crow looks like http://www.arkive.org/hooded-crow/corvus-cornix/)
He fluttered to his window, staring out at the cracked scab of a city and the endless fields beyond with avian contemplation. One wing rubbed at his temple, sore in the wake of his dream vision.

The unicorn was coming to New Jakarta, with a powerful but small group of warriors. What would the value of her influence be? Whatever she was, she was always yet another little ingredient to add to the swirling, simmering, explosive concoction of royal politics.
         As if things weren't complicated enough already; what with the last poor, stupid king having been 'assassinated' by the late Ned Stark, leaving the Lannisters and the Kotani to argue over the succession. What would the Starks and their vassals do when they heard that their liege had been executed for high treason?

Furthermore, how was he to handle the growing tensions between Jaime Lannister with his dragons, and the Black Kotani?

In the fortress courtyard below, two-hundred Black Unicorns were drilling with a vigour that one normally associated with life-or-death struggle. The clang of weapon on weapon, flesh of flesh, and amour on all sounded in time to the song they chanted.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJNz2QgSNsk

Projectile weapons thundered out, systematically destroying the fortress's supplies of practice targets. Even without the use of electricity, ranged weapons could be used, but the advanced alloys serving as body armour reduced their killing range and power drastically. New Jakarta was still the home of the cutting and the blunt trauma weapon.

Weapons which might still come into use, if he couldn't defuse the situation, or at least turn it to his advantage.
Meanwhile, on the Fellowship, James was busy in his room, checking on his weapons, and making reloads.

"You do realize that we have laser guns," said a voice.

"I know that Bill," James said, as he carefully poured powder into the casing for a bullet meant for a sniper rifle. "However, I like these things. They've never failed me."

"What happens when you run out of bullets?" Bill asked.

"Same thing when a laser gun runs out of power," James said. "Thing is, I don't need to worry about losing power to my firearms. Also, I can add a bayonet to some of them, and they'll function as a spear. Given that this planet drains energy, these will come in handy, in a fight."
Back on New Jarkata, in a huge fortress marked with the Kotoni emblem on the tapestries, a black unicorn dressed in royal clothes sits on the throne when one of the guards comes into the throne room and kneels before him, the royal unicorn says "You may rise." The captain stood up. "What news have you bought me?" The guard says "Ned Stark has been slain on the spot, as an example to those to dare defy the Katoni Empire." "Did you leave a message?" "Yes my emperor." "Good, first he slays the king so we can take power then he betrays us to Jamie Lannister, she will pay for this outrage."
The emperor walked out of the throne room followed by several personal assistants. He was almost never alone. When he reached his private chambers he stood by a window that overlooked the courtyard and watched the unicorns do their training. "They look good," he murmured to himself, "but are they good enough to go up against the dragons? Perhaps I can provoke a small skirmish that will serve as a test. Just a few unicorns against a few dragons. Then I will know for sure."
Meanwhile as the Fellowship was making its way to New Jakarta the crew had many questions.

"How long are we going to have to stay there?" Minsk asked

"Will we have to eat their food out of courtesy?" Bob asked

"If we do I hope the food isn't worm infested." Marzipan shuddered

"I don't think you have to worry." Ichabod said "I've printed this picture of an Old New Jakarta painting, of some of the various native baked goods."

Jim, who as the Son of a Baker Slave, had massive expertise in all things baked, took a look at the printing, his mouth started watering

"Oh yeah...They do know there way around dough." Jim licked his lips

"Reading reviews from Tradesmen who ate there..." Ichabod continued "Ttark Fiore, a Kangaroo Man mentioned trying the Lemon Cake on Sansa Stark's insistance."

"Sansa Stark?" Matoaka's ears perked up "Is she related to Ned Stark?"

"I have no idea." The human shrugged. "He's your uncle; if you've got a second-cousin, you should have a better idea than me, Captain."

A thousand light-years away, Jamie Lannister burst into the throne-room, easily glaring down the Kotani guard and passing a wink to the Lannister one as he marched up the aisle.

"What are you doing on that chair?" He demanded of the pitch-black unicorn lounging on the throne. "That seat is for the King, Tiberius. And we have no king!"

"Sorry if I leapt the gun a few days early," The unicorn smiled languidly, making no move to rise. "Would you mind blowing smoke somewhere else? It blackens my walls and smells terrible."

Jamie hadn't realized that there was, indeed, a thick tangle of smoke pouring form the edges of his mouth, but he couldn't find it in himself to care.

"I should execute you for treason, right now, Kotani." In the shadows, the guards performed a funny little dance as the rival Kotani and Lannister compliments tried to surreptitiously check their counterparts for when it formally came to blows. Any moment now seemed likely.

"Calm down. We were allies only recently; this is unseemly. And you know well that this throne will be mine before the month is out." The unicorn seemed completely relaxed, even with the angry dragon simmering above him.

"Ned Stark was our ally; see where that got him." Growled Jamie. "And nothing is certain for long." Realizing that he was about to issue another ]ultimatum, Tiberius rose to his hooves, taking the initiative.

"All right; as a symbol of good will, I'll find another seat until my coronation." He said calmingly. "Are you satisfied?"

(OK...Here are some of the Houses and the Species)

Littlefinger was the Master of Coin and had quite the hand in establishing trade with the outside world, as such he would personally greet the Queen of Animalia and her Warriors when they arrived so he could size them up and determine...Of all things he hoped would come from this, he wish the Queen's visit be short, sweet and under no circumstances be harmed, he was a known backstabber yes, but this time it was different, he knew what the outside world's technology was and he did not wish to risk the wrath of thousand worlds of Superior might, not for all the gold in the universe!

He took a moment to think about what had changed since the great otherthrow and Humanimals became equals to men, he had just barely grown his flight feathers when it happened,

The Unicorns both Black and White and the Dragons were the most powerful Humanimal Clans in New Jakarta, other Clans were House Tarly the Wild Boars and their Rivals House the Domestic Pigs, House Bolton the Gulper Eels and House Tully the Zebras, one of whom Catelyn had married Ned Stark...All their Foals except for Sansa had been born with Zebra Stripes and Unicorn Horns, only Sansa was pure white as Snow...Snow...And there was Jon Snow...Who was white except for his Black Mane and Tail Tassel...
Hopefully the Tarlys, Tullys, and Domestics, and the Boltons will be able to keep the Lannisters and Kotanis from each other's throats. Thought Littlefinger. Who'd have thought things would turn out like this? With the last King dead and heir-less, and his predecessor overthrown, that we'd have to reason things out democratically. It's unstable, and chaotic. He grinned at the mention of two of favourite words. Actually, come to think of it, maybe we should do it more often. And, speaking of chaos, there are the Starks to consider. How will they react when news spreads to them of the death of, ah, 'treasonous' Lord Eddard Stark?
Meanwhile, back on the Fellowship, James was doing some reading.

"Am I interrupting anything?"

"Not at all, Matoaka," said James. "Just doing some research."

"On what?" the unicorn asked, as she came into the room.

"Medieval Europe," said the wolf. "It's the closest analogy that I'm familiar with, outside of fantasy books, that could compare to New Jakarta, in terms of Government and politics, and even lifestyle."

Matoaka chuckled at this. "And just what would your research recommend in this situation?"

"Simply put, watch your back," James said. "Even close allies could turn on you. The guy you fight against in one battle might be your ally in the next, and the reverse is true as well. Keep your rivals at each other's throats, and they won't slit yours."

"That's what you have?" Matoaka asked.

"Could also be that the leaders of the various factions are relatives, but that's a can of worms I don't want to open, and I'm probably wrong," said James. "Then again, that's how the Royal families kept things in the family, like the land they controlled."
Bill says "There were many stories about Medieval Europe, but there is two of them are my favorites." James says "Which ones?" Bill says "The story of King Arthur, especially about the quest for the Holy Grail and the other one is Robin Hood and how he always outwit the Sheriff of Nottingham."
As preparations were being made for the Arrival of the Queen of Animalia, Littlefinger was speaking with a Human Wizard Sun-Set-Check who had created an force field spell that could protect an entire spaceship from the electricity eating microbes for a few days.

Littlefinger was also preparing Strong Belwas a Tyrannosaurus Rex Man to carry to Queen to the castle so she would not get muddy.

Strong Belwas was a powerful Dinosaur Warrior with many scars on his large body, he was almost as large as his natural counterparts

(Author's Note: Strong Belwas as far as I've seen has not yet appeared in the Game of Thrones TV Show, but I thought I'd include him

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Belwas)
"So, when it comes to this place, the best advice you have is to not trust anyone," said Matoaka, as she and James resumed their conversation.

"That would be correct," said James. "Not even those who claim to be your relatives, or allies. To these people, you're just a stranger, one who could be a liar, or, maybe, they have their own plans."

"You sound paranoid," said Matoaka.

James chuckled. "Better that than dead. There's an old saying somewhere, 'When you need it, and don't have it, you sing a different tune.' Basically, when you go hunting for rabbits with a .22 long rifle, be sure to carry a Smith and Wessen Model 29 in .44 Magnum for any bears you might encounter. Also, carry a knife - why - you never know if you need to cut a strip of cloth, or slit the throat of an enemy, or a steel item to help start a fire, which is why you carry a good piece of flint, and a magnesium stick. That, and a thing of matches in a waterproof container."

"You like being prepared for anything," Matoaka said.

"Keeps me from being too surprised to function properly," said James. "I may not know if a group of Wranglers is about to get the jump on me, but when they reveal themselves, I don't need much to beat them. After all, a knife means that I can ambush them, and take their weapons."
Ichabod says "We're approaching New Jarkata, the question is how do land on the planet's surface without loosing power?"
Just then a telepathic voice said "I Sun Sat Check, A Wizard of Great Power have developed a force field spell that will protect your ship for three days! We will guide you to the Landing Plateau."
Homing in on the psychic presence, Bob soon guided them down to the surface. From orbit, the planet was an ugly, mud-brown affair, with freezing, burning, toxic tempafrost making up most of the northern and southern hemispheres. Only a slender belt of green showed, wrapping neatly around the equator, and it was here, on the shores of a small ocean, that the Fellowship at last touched down.

Sun Sat Check, Littlefinger, an aide or two, and over a dozen honuor guards without House or Crown affiliation were waiting far off from the landing pad. They knew perfectly well what a ship was, but even Littlefinger still found himself feeling intimidated at the mighty cyber-platinum titan descending from the stars in a roar of particle-fusion reactors.
Sun Sat Check quickly set up the Force Field around the ship, as the Crew exited, they were greeted by an Ancient Saltwater Crocodile Man

"Greetings! I am Mace Tyrell the Master of this base you are perched on..."

"Mace!" Snapped his Wife "Give the Outsiders a moment to adjust to their surroundings!"

Littlefinger bowed to the Matoaka with much dignity Matoaka instantly detected the Hooded Crow smelled of mint he must have eaten a ton of the stuff beforehand.

"I have come to your world because I have discovered these letters that my late Father King Lee, wrote to Ned Stark...I wish to meet him."

Littlefinger gulped he had never known Ned Stark had ever communicated with the King of Animalia, he knew they were relatives, but he did not know they ever contacted each other...This was serious.

"Of course Your Majesty...Ned Stark is currently engaged in some very important business it may take some time..." The Hooded Crow eyed her crew, most were common creatures, a Bull, a Squirrel, a Catfish, a Gorilla, a Mink, Two Humans...Hopefully no reason to worry
"Please, allow me to show you to your quarters inside the city." They fell in behind, crew between two ranks of guard, Matoaka walking right next to Littlefinger.

"I am afraid that you find us at a difficult time, Your Highness." He said, making a conscious effort to keep his voice somewhere above his typical conspiratorial whisper. "In but two days time, the most significant nobles of the greatest Houses will have gathered in this city to decide upon the succession for the throne of New Jakarta. They can be quarrelsome when asked to share a confined space such as this." He gestured at the great city rising ahead, all dun brickwork and dusty roof-tiling.
"Excuse me, you Highness, but is everyone who rode that vessel with you, here?" Lightfinger asked.

"If you're talking about my crew, then all are here," said Matoaka. "That being said, one, who happens to be a good ally of mine, is not."

"What do you mean?" Lightfinger asked.

"Let's just say that my friend gave me some good advice, about keeping an ace up one's sleeve," said Matoaka. "Of course, since you probably don't play cards, the person is following us from a discrete distance, keeping an eye on the group."

"He's a tracker of some sort?"

Matoaka chuckled slightly. "Actually, he's more of an assassin. You do something wrong to me, you won't live to see the sunset."

Lightfinger raised an eyebrow at this. "Is he that good?"

"He's one of the best at what he does," said Matoaka. "He can't be found unless he wants to be found."

"I see," said Lightfinger. "Should someone try to harm you, you make sure that they won't be able to boast about it."

"That's one way to look at it."
Other then James, there was another. Above the trees one of Jamie's dragon spies hovers overhearing the conversation, "So, Littlefinger thinks he can help occupy the throne without in secrecy eh? I better tell Master Jamie about this."

(Author's Edit: It's not Mistress, Jamie is a male dragon and it's Littlefinger...Do you pay attention to anything?)
(But Hertzman was following BBWolf where it IS spelled Lighfinger.)


"Is that so?" said Master Jamie, as he listened the spy's tale. "Thank you, spy. You are very good at what you do."

"I serve at your pleasure, sire."

"Now, get back out there and do your best."
(Author's Note: Actually Hertz wrote Littlefoot, which is a Dinosaur from Land Before Time and I just noticed he refereed to Littlefinger as female when I stated Littlefinger is male)

Jaime knew Littlefinger was upset because his Jaime's son with his Sister Cersei Joeffery had been the one who had ordered Ned's execution Littlefinger wanted Ned alive and have him confess to treason, Littlefinger flat out said to Jaime "Your Son is completely uncontrollable...He will be the next Mad King I swear!"
(We all missread at times. Some are just bigger offenders. *Laugh*)

Meanwhile, as James followed the group, he was busy testing out a new toy developed by his Top Secret Lab friends - a personal cloaking device. It was just the thing for espionage and assassinations, along with other covert work. Of course, such things needed field testing, and a planet like this, that drained machines of energy, was one way to test just how resistant it was to energy loss.

"Power, 100%," the wolf whispered into a recording machine. He walked to a stream, to look at his reflection. "Turning cloak on." He vanished. "Device working. No sign of reflection in water." He then looked around himself. "No sign of shadow." He then touched the water with his foot, and noticed the ripples. "Note. Avoid water, especially still water. Ripples could give away user." He then started walking, and noticed his feet left their prints. "Wet feet leave prints, as does mud." He then looked at the recording machine. "Recording Machine is also functioning. Best take notes on pen and paper for backup references."

James then turned the recording device off. "Now for the real mission." He resumed following the party. After all, one could never tell with strangers, if they were friendly, or not.
Then James heard flapping sounds from overhead, "Hmm," he said, "It appears I'm not alone. By the sound of it, it's too big to be a bird. I'm going to try to surprise it."
Littlefinger then noticed a Humanimal who was not wearing the Federation Uniform a Cat Girl, not only that she was colored bright Pink and Purple, this could be bad he knew from experience freakishly colored Humanimals often contained great amount of magical power in their bodies. She was reading something

"Funny Creature...What are you reading?" Littlefinger asked

Marzipan's ears perked up "Are you talking to me?" She asked "My name is Marzipan."

"Of course." Littlefinger said hastily "What are you reading?"

"This is The City Jungle by Felix Salten..." Marzipan was not sure why this Crow was so interested in what she was reading.

Littlefinger took the Book from her paws, and thumbed through the Book, it indeed was a mere storybook not a spell book, so that Cat was OK...For now he handed her back her story book.

Ichabod observed all of that by Marzipan's side, he observed the Bird's motions and instantly became aware the Crow was suspicious of something
"Hey, Marzipan?" He whispered to her as a mighty stronghold of red brick and black iron loomed into the procession's view. "I'm not a great student on ancient history, but I remember that a lot of pre-industrial societies had a pretty dim view of magic and magic-users. And this place seems to put the emphasis on the 'pre' in 'pre-industrial."

"Hmm?" The cat said, nose wrinkling at the metropolis's over-taxed sewage system. "So what, Ichy? This is the capitol city; people here are bound to be more open minded than on most of the planet."

"All the same, would you mind being discreet about it? If only for my peace of mind."
"Why is that?" Marzipan asked.

"Let's just say that I don't trust that crow," said Ichabod. "There's something about him that I don't like."

"You're starting to sound like James," said Marzipan.

"He has a point," Bill whispered. "The less they know, the better. The only reason Matoaka mentioned that James was following us was to make sure that these guys stay on their best behavior."

"I guess you have a point there," said Marzipan.

"So, just what is the plan?" Ichabod asked.
Bill says "Right now, we just follow the crow but if he does something that seems treacherous, we fight back."
The metropolis loomed all around them as the crow led them deeper into it. Red brick and black iron. A grey sky. But though the city was gloomy, it was clean. In fact, it almost seemed unpopulated.

"Where is everybody?" asked Bill.

"Inside," said the crow.
"Why?" Asked Bill

"They are afraid to show there faces before the Queen of Animalia..." Littlefinger said quickly

"Why would they be afraid of me?" Matoaka asked

"They think you are some kind of Angel from The Heavens, they would be ashamed..." Littlefinger said

"I'm not an Angel..." Matoaka said firmly "I am a Mortal Humanimal just as everyone else is..."
Littlegfinger felt his unfamiliarity with the politics of other planets starting to bite. With a history noticeably lacking in off-world invasions and only a private fruit-trade, there had previously been little need to study, especially when so much energy was needed to keep abreast at court. Still, one of the first things that his guest had ever said to him was her lightly veiled threat that she'd sick her mutt on him if he became belligerent, and now was a time to keep the water still.

"All the same, my lady." He said. "You are deeply respected as the spiritual leader of all humanimals, even here, on what I acknowledge is our a rather isolated world. It is merely an attempt at showing a small fraction of that respect." He gave a mild gesture with a wing at a huge gothic bastion resting on a ridge ahead like an emperor on its throne.
         "Ahead lies the Crimson Castle, built over eight-hundred years ago by one of our first kings. All those who survived the building were executed, and the cadavers of over a dozen rulers and countless nobles have hung from the walls at some time or another." He said proudly.

How charming, Thought Matoaka, tactfully keeping the thought private.
Meanwhile, James was still observing, both the members of his group, those with them, and, of course, the other observer following them. The wolf took a quick look at his sidearm - at the moment, it, and his knife, were the only weapons he had that were under the invisibility cloak - to get to something like his rifle, he'd have to take his pack off, which would make it visible to any potential counter-observers, if not himself. For anything to be affected by the cloak, he needed to keep a hand on it, or wear it, or something. Thankfully, the cloak was still working, holding at 99% power, thus far. He then looked at the other creature.

He'd better not try anything, James thought, keeping his hand near the firearm.
As the group gets closer to the castle they pass a graveyard with a large mausoleum, Littlefinger points at it "There is where are previous kings are layed to rest." Ichabod asks "Who's your current king?"
Bill jabbed an elbow into Ichabod's ribs and said, "Shhh!"

"Ow!" whispered Ichabod. "Why did you do that?"

"There is no current king. That's part of the problem here."

"Oh. So we're not allowed to talk about it?"

"Let him bring the subject up first."

"Politics is so confusing."

"I will only discuss Politics with the Queen and her..." Littlefinger looked at Zander, who was holding Amalthia

"I'm Zander." The Ave said "An Ave from Planet Ava I am the Queen's Husband."

"So you are the King." Littlefinger said

"Not exactly..." Zander sighed "As I am an Extra-Terrestrial, no Earth Stock, I can not officially hold any Power over Earth's Species...At most I can be regent but I can not be King."

"Well that's...Informative." Littlefinger stroked his beak "...But anyway I will only discuss politics with the Queen and her Consort, the rest of you...You may entertain yourselves elsewhere in the Castle."
"We are the Queen's bodyguard." Said Bill, simultaneously smooth and stiff. "We can not leave her side."

"It's fine, Bill." Said Matoaka. "Why don't you go find some rooms? I'm sure that me and Zander will come to no harm in the Crimson Castle."
"I hope not," said Ichabod.

"She does have James keeping an eye on her," Bill muttered, as he looked out a window, trying to catch sight of the wolf. "That being said, I wish I knew where he was. You'd think that wolf was invisible or something."

"Maybe he has a new toy," said Ichabod. "He always has those."
"What do we have here?" said a voice "It looks like the Master of Coin found some new allies." Matoaka and Littlefinger looked around and saw 3 anthro black unicorns, 2 dressed like guards and the 3rd. like an emperor. Littlefinger wasn't too happy to see them, "What are you doing here? This isn't Katoni property."
"Not yet," said the 'emperor' unicorn. "But soon."

"What's that supposed to mean?" asked Littlefinger.

"You know what it means. What lies have you been telling this luscious unicorn queen?" He winked at Matoaka.
"If you haven't noticed I'm already mated." Matoaka said as Zander sheltered her with his wings

"What does that matter do me?" Asked the Black Unicorn

Suddenly and without warning the room filled with smoke.

Matoaka felt something touch her shoulder, she turned and saw a Warthog Woman

"Come with me..." Said the Warthog "...I am Brienne of Tarth."
Zander would later admit that he had overreacted, that perhaps he should have tried to think things out. But at that moment, confronted in unfamiliar and dangerous territory by an explosion, burst of smoke, and now with a fearsome looking intruder tugging on his wife, he did what any doting Avid husband would have.

But seconds later, the smoke had cleared, and Matoaka found herself sprawling on the cold floor, sprinkled with tufts of feathers and droplets of an uncomfortably familiar reddish substance. Over her stood her husband, panting, blood steadily raining from the warthog's head, clenched tight in his strong hands, to piddle and puddle on the ground. All at once, he seemed aware of the stares of guards and dignitaries alike.

"I hope you will find it in you to pardon me, m'lords and lady." He said apologetically, with as much grace as he could muster, gently letting the monstrous cadaver plop to the floor. "The intruder has been neutralized."

"Well, thank the Seven for that," Said the black unicorn, shaking his head at the soot-stained condition of his fine clothing, before turning to a bodyguard. "Seal off the room; there may be more assassins." He poked the corpse with one boot toe, while Zander helped Matoaka to her hooves. "This soldier, she wears no proper livery. Is she at all familiar to you, Littlefinger?"
Littlefinger had a blank expression on his face. "Doesn't seem familiar to me. Not that I'd remember such people anyways. One tries to avoid such company."

Meanwhile, James, who had been watching from a wall that overlooked the castle, muttered to himself. "Damned fool bird. That warthog wasn't armed. Then again, it wouldn't be the first time someone slipped a knife into one of these places."

"Hey! You say something?" asked a guard about twenty feet away.

"No," said the guard on James' other side. "But I heard something."

James quickly wedge himself in a crevice, as the two guards walked towards each other. The wolf held his breath as the pair looked at him, and then where he'd been standing.

"Must of been the wind," said the one guard.

"That or an echo from inside," said the other one. "Then again, nothing really happens on guard duty."

The pair turned around, and walked back towards their posts.

James let out a slow breath. It wouldn't have looked good to have been located by some medieval-type castle guards, not with his reputation. It would have been embarrassing.

The wolf then emerged from the crevice, grabbed onto the inner edge of the wall, and dropped, inside the castle grounds. Keeping to the shadows, he kept an eye on things, as he began moving towards the servants' door. With any luck, he could sneak in when they opened.
James heard two more voices, "I can't believe it, Brienne has been slain." "Who's going to lead this band against the imperial forces of the Black Katoni?"
Matoaka shook her head sadly as she looked at the bloody corpse of the warthog and whispered, "Oh, my impetuous husband, what have you done now?"

Then in a stronger voice she addressed the room. "She said she was Brienne of Tarth. Does that mean anything to anyone?"
"It was a Small House." Littlefinger said "Nothing particularly notable about them, other then they were the Ugliest House on the Planet."

"Ugly is in the eye of the beholder..." Matoaka said stroking the Warthog's mane and looking at her bright blue eyes "Another question is where was all that smoke coming from..."

The Black Unicorn King shrugged "Most likely some cook burning things in the Kitchen."

"I will make this very clear." Matoaka said looking at the Black Unicorn King "You may not have me...If you try to take me for yourself you will have to deal with the wrath of nearly a hundred worlds of superior might!"

Littlefinger murmured to the King "She speaks the Truth...I hear they can blow up entire Planets!"

That caused the Stallion to think twice.

"The Current Ruler of this House is Joeffry son of Cersei and Robert a Black Unicorn Stallion who died less then a fortnight ago...Something about the lemon cakes being poisoned..."
(Wait, I thought the King had had no child. Aren't the barons meeting to discuss succession?)

"...By Ned Stark." He shook his head. "Horrific, is it not? That a unicorn, of all creatures, should ever turn traitor. Fortunately, he was soon caught out and executed. You may have seen his head mounted on the ramparts as you came in."

"Uh.... Tiberius?" Said Littlefinger uncomfortably, wanting nothing more than to reach over to the blasted unicorn and pull his head off.

"What?" Said Matoaka. "You told me my uncle was away on business!"
"What is going on?" Matoaka, asked, all but making her question a demand.

"Well, this is something of an embarrassment," Littlefinger chuckled nervously.

Outside the room, specifically, the wall outside, James had heard every word. Holding onto the stonework, by having his claws in the cracks, He carefully turned his head, and saw the head of the dead unicorn. Well, that's one way to send a message to your people, and your enemies, he thought. Then again, things weren't that much different in Medieval Times on Earth.

The wolf then placed an ear to the wall to listen.
"I demand to know the truth!" Matoaka said.

Littlefinger fidgeted. "There are reasons..."

"Reasons to lie to me?" Matoaka. "Then tell me those reasons if you can't tell me the truth!"
Bill, Jim, Bob and Ichabod charged in

"We thought you might need us." Bill said "So we we never left the vestibule."

Ichabod noticed the Dead Warthog Woman "What happened to her?" Ichabod asked

"I'll explain later." Said the Unicorn
Matoaka looked at Littlefinger. "I'd advise you to tell the truth. My crew is here, and I have other friends nearby. Do I need to mention anything else?"
The crew of the Fellowship was able to make it safely back to their ship, no one followed them

Matoaka was shaken "Well...Some of my questions have been answered..." She said
"You really think that they felt embarrassed by a plot within in their own government, Your Highness?" Asked Zander.

"I told you to stop calling me that!" She swatted his arm playfully, virtually on reflex, before sobering back up. "I don't think it's impossible, Zander. A place with such slow means of communication as this can't have very stable leadership, and it might be considered a public humiliation if the plots of courtiers were revealed in front of a delegation of foreigners." She sighed. "Still, it would have been nice to at least talk to my uncle."

"That's it: I think they didn't want you to talk to him." Said Bill. "I think that maybe he knew something, and they found an excuse to off him before you got here."

"Well, what do we do now?" Asked Bob. "The shield outside will be half finished by tomorrow, and then we'll be stuck here. Perhaps should we explain that something's come up and we should but out."

"No," Said Matoaka firmly. "No, but thanks for your consideration, Bob. I think that Bill might be onto something, and I want to do some digging before we return to Earth."



"Unfortunately we can't..." James said "I saw the Wizard preparing to take down the Shield we need to leave now."

Matoaka sighed "I regret to have to say this..." She said "But this is no longer t-in the Fellowship's Herds hands...I'll call the Special Forces..."

The End!

"Unfortunately we can't..." James said "I saw the Wizard preparing to take down the Shield we need to leave now."

Matoaka sighed "I regret to have to say this..." She said "But this is no longer t-in the Fellowship's Herds hands...I'll call the Special Forces..."

The End!

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