The Queen of Winter put down the book, rubbing her thumb across the spine in a way that couldn't help but be deeply unsetting considering the material it was stitched from. "You will leave this planet, with a retinue of three, and go to the address I have given you at the appointed time. You will not return to Nekheb for at least seven days."
"That's it – just go to a planet?" I replied, incredulous. "No impossible task? No crazy artefact you need me to recover? No mystery to investigate? You'll excuse me if I'm skeptical."
"And yet it is no less what I require of you, Warden." She replied, smiling broadly.
I shook my head. "No."
The Winter Queen chuckled, leaning back against the wide stone table in a way that accentuated her impossible curves. The pattern of black vines along her blouse grew and wriggled as she moved. "You think that you can deny me wizard?"
"That was the deal Mab. I get to pick which jobs I do for you and don't do." I shook my head. "I've done two jobs thus far. I know that whatever you've got lined up for my third must be big enough that it merits losing your hold over me. So unless you're planning on telling me why I need to be on this specific planet at that specific time – I'm out."
"Warden, you wound me. This is not a favor for which we bargained. This is simply friendly advice from one who has your best interests at heart." Her predatory feline gaze made me feel distinctly uneasy. I was glad that my eyes no longer betrayed emotion, my pupils would have been dilating with fear.
"You're not even paying me for this one?" I snorted. "Gee whiz, now I really want to go."
Mab's predatory grin never faltered. "You will go Warden, as the Queen of Summer has negotiated for safe passage into your kingdom. Even your godmother will not be able to stop her agents from arriving in full force."
"Ok, I'll bite. Why am I worried about the agents of summer coming here?" I sighed. It wasn't as though fairies showing ever meant anything good, but the Summer's agents were generally less malevolent than those of winter. I'd been enjoying relative popularity from both fairy courts, given that the legal route to fight the Goa'uld was through me and my armies.
"Because the Solstice is a week hence, and Queen Titania knows both that you are responsible for the death of her daughter and that to avert her daughter's death risks cataclysmic paradox." Mab replied. "As she can't avert them without risking the destruction of a quite substantial portion of history, she has elected to take her revenge upon the Goa'uld who set things in motion instead."
"What?" I screeched. "How!"
"I would have thought that part was obvious." Mab shook her head, sighing in exhaustion as though she were talking to a simpleton. "She knows that you are responsible, because I have told her that you are responsible."
UF: Stories written by users, both fanfics and original.
The following passage is an excerpt from the first chapter of the next book in the God's Eye series.