Serializations of the Hitherby Dragons novels

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In theory, the evil prophet of space would have a scroll of evil prophecy. It would speak of the things that were, and are, and will be.

She would brandish it to make an end to her enemies in this world.

It was to be waiting for her, at Mount Ararat, when she came to Earth. It was not waiting for her.

She uses an umbrella, and rock-paper-scissors, instead.

Over the holidays she visits the Bloody Cardinal. He’d been one of Maria’s targets — back when. Now he is a vampire curled up within his crypt.

She dramatically unfurls her umbrella in his direction.


She meets with Heather Steverns on the bridge that arches over Borit Lake. The wind blows. Their footing shakes.

“A long time ago,” Lucy Souvante says, “there was a contract on your family.”

Heather nods.

“My sister —” says Lucy.

“The Fan Hoeng?” Heather asks.


“What happened?” Lucy says.

“She was a good woman,” says Heather Steverns. “She — oughtn’t have been in assassination.”

The wind rattles the bridge. The board that Lucy Souvante is standing on rips free and plummets. She hangs there, over the endless emptiness, using the power of evil prophesy.

“In the end,” says Heather, “I do not think that she could bring herself to kill my father Drake and me.”

“I see,” Lucy says. She starts to turn away.

Then she turns back.

“I want her,” Lucy Souvante says, and she is crying, “to have a record. Do you understand? I want people to look at her assassination record and say, ‘that was an awesome assassin, Maria. What a Fan Hoeng.’”

“Do not do this,” says Heather.

But Lucy is shaking her hand. She counts off one, two, three. She throws paper.

Heather has also thrown paper, but it does her no good.

She is no evil prophet, to hang in the air above Borit Lake without her feet under her. From the moment she has released one hand from the ropes to throw paper, she is lost.

The wind blows. She stumbles.

She falls and she is lost beneath the waters of Borit Lake.

“Paper beats humanity,” says Lucy Souvante.

She floats away.

There is an elephant — almost a mammoth, really. It is fond of its drink and fonder of human prey.

She nearly cannot bring herself to kill it, but she likes cash and its tusks are ivory.

She leaves it twitching and dead upon the ground.

When she sees a goat, of course, she kills it. Goats are dangerous and tricky creatures. But she has given up on finding a goat that is worthy of being her opponent.

That is what makes it so shocking when one day, she turns around, and there it is.

It is Christmas-time and the world is bright and magic. The wolf has broken free and there are festive Christmas scissors falling, now and then, through the air. The wolf-magnet has not quite activated —

Though it will have done, at any moment —

And she is nibbling on a candy cane as she walks.

Then bam.

An evil feeling!

Which is, of course, for an evil prophet of space, the best, most beautiful, most Christmas-y way to feel.

She turns, and she sees it.

On a certain floor, on a certain building, on a certain street, in Ipswich, there is a rock-paper-scissors playing goat.



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