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The white blizzard outside howled and moan against the grayish-black castle walls; the red colored windows shut out the cold air as every beast was kept warm inside. The long corridors were just as dark as their walls and the guards shivered as air came in through the cracks. At of all the enormous rooms in the fortress, only a single fireplace was built in and it was glowing brightly. The dancing yellow and orange flame illuminated the large room, and a large chair was placed in front of it. The strongly built vixen stared at the fire, the flame reflected on her brown eyes. Her pointed ears twitched as she listened to her guards outside the oak door; they were gloating about how far she's fallen. From a greatly feared young war-lady, to an older vixen, who's no scarier than a badgermum. But she didn't care about them; she wasn't in the mood to torture.

Melyz was once the greatest fear in the Northlands, but she now treated like a joke, and she hated it. She had to find a way to bring back the fear, to have the beasts of the Northlands to fear her once more. But how?

"The blizzard doesn't seem to let up, Melyz..." the stoat said from the desk in the corner. He placed down his ink quill and wrapped the blanket tightly around him as he stood up. He walked over to his Queen, and before he could comment about the weather again, he heard her mummer. "Milady..."

"Pardon me?" he asked, looking down at her.

"You should call me Milady! No one calls me one!" she said, turning on him with her lips pulled back to revel a vicious snarl. Melyz turned her gray-silver head back to the fire, staring at the beautiful flames and pulling the blanket around her.

The stoat, named Sloan, stepped back one step and cleared his throat. "Ahem, well, I'm sorry, Milady. It's just one has called you that in years; I had just assumed that the name didn't mean anything to you anymore." Sloan knew that it hurt her somehow, but her reaction wasn't what he thought. Melyz only got up, signed, and said, "Just don't call me Melyz." she walked towards the door, letting the blanket fall off of her back onto the floor.

"What's wrong, Milady?" Sloan asked, watching her leave the throne.

Melyz stopped at the door and pressed her ear against it. She stayed like that for several minutes until finally saying, " I don't hear my guards." suddenly the door flew open with a furious kick and she peered around. The guards sat slumped against the wall, two decorative daggers in their chest and gut. Their pools of blood seeped across the stone floor until they joined together slowly. They were absent of armor and weapons, like a wind came by and took it all away. The old vixen growled, and glanced to one of the windows. The freezing air swept in as the snow also came in.

Forgetting the chilling air against her fur and the blinding snow, Melyz rushed to the window and screamed, "Madluck!" the ground below wasn't seen, nor was the sky, but she heard it. The faint, happy laugh, coming from the forest.

Book One: The Need for Spring

Chapter 1

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