White Swan, Queen of Rogues

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Prologue

Hunfried Hugo saw his father, Lord Wolfgang Heinrich Bergenee, stabbed in the eye by Prince Pyronious, then felt the She-Devils short spear slice smoothly through his neck. He knew he was dead, even before he slumped on his father’s legs. He saw his older brother die with Herzog Storm’s ax shattering his spine. Vater always said that a warrior never died in his bed.

“Come, my family, we have some matters to discuss,” spoke his grandfather, Druid Johan Bergen’nee. They were on a floating island with an endless fiery sky above and an utter infinite blackness below. Disc planets in of a few too many ringed about a common center stretched as far as the eye could see. Below them was what may be their Erde, but it looked different than in Vater globe.

Hunfried Hugo, his father Wolfgang, and his older brother Johan Henrich joined their grandfather, Druid Johan Bergen’nee, at the campfire. Still orienting himself, a forest appeared from nowhere. Hunfired was distracted by his older brother’s question, “Grandfather, was I not meant to head for the new lands with Karla Amelia to meet the White Crow woman, her wolf, and the TaReNee people?”

The Druid spoke, “Yes, you were Johan, and yes, you still can, but not in this time period. The four Apocalyptical Nature Eternals have put an end to our effort to prevent the Time of Sorrows in the New Lands. Currently, the Storms are on their way to keep Bergenee, and your sisters are about to die as well. If your mother, Dame Regine, survives Storms torture for a day longer, I will save her. If she then resists the temptation for revenge and if you all agree to be reborn again to help us one more time to avert a catastrophe in the Time of Wars, then perhaps, we can save this world from the Four Horsemen Eternals.”

His father, Johan, the elder, asked, “We did as you said, and now we are dead. What use are we dead if not to save our womenfolk?” The Druid scolded, “There is much more at stake than just your family, my son. Be patient. In a moment, we will see if we can still try to save this world.”

His sister Vergonia Maria materialized with an arrow in her heart, but this dispersed when she took a deep breath, looked around, and asked, “Where am I?” Hunfried stood and ran to his twin and embraced her, then Johan embraced them both. Her eyes revealed that she understood that they were dead. As twins, they often did not need to speak to understand the other. He took his sister’s hand, and they sat together by the fire.

Karla Amelia appeared next with a stiletto in her heart. Johan went to his twin and took her in his arms. She also understood the situation immediately and spoke, “Before Lord Storm could torture me, I made him stab me in the heart. So, we are all dead and are waiting for mutter?” She came to Hunfriend and Vergonia, embraced them, then sat beside Johan and their Vater.

Grandfather Bergen’nee spoke, “I feel her close to death, but Lady Regine is not ready to die. Are you all willing to try to save this world again? In your next life, you will not be the one family, but most of your paths will cross, unbeknownst to you. You will not remember who you are until you are on death’s doorstep.” Sitting around the fire, listening dumbly, nodding agreement, Hunfired Hugo hoped he would be with his sister Vergonia Maria in his next life. Even at his young age, he knew that together they could do anything.

The Druid explained, “You, Wolfgang Lord Bergenee, my remaining son. You will have the longest and loneliest path to walk before you are with your Lady Regine. You will prepare a place that will draw attention, and in this, you will be a distraction to allow me to work in secret unseen and not too far away from you. Vergonia Maria and Hunfried Hugo, you have two tasks and will have a normal life for the most. Karla Amelia, my granddaughter, you and your mother have to continue the family line, with my and my Oaks help. Then my Schatz, you Karla Amelia will have to keep Johan alive after you die.” Karla Amelia asked, “Grandfather, how do you know this? Do you know the future?”

The Druid spoke, “Just as you know that the rain falling on you will make you wet, millennia of life allows us Eternals to see with some clarity what the few most likely sequences of events will be, knowing what the other side wants to achieve. As we Eternals are ancient and set in our ways so you, human beings with such short lives are the surprise and the incalculable, the chaos. We set you on a path and help in unusual and unseen ways and hope that we can save the dominant species in this world. Otherwise, we three Life Eternals do not have a chance against the Apocalyptical Nature Eternals.”

The Eternal Druid Bergene’nee looked inwards and spoke, “It is time. Dame Regine is chained to an oak tree and close to death.”

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