9 January 1939
Capt. Alastair Hawkesworth
HMAS Richard Lemon Lander
My Dearest Alastair,
It has been nearly seven months, but, finally, the Queen has been restored to her throne. You will doubtless have heard the tales of the battle that ended the reign of the usurper Cunningham, but you have not, I am sure, had a first-hand account of these events, and so I shall provide one to you.
You will recall that, after the Queen’s radio broadcast, our group sped towards Whitehall aboard the Royal Fortune, surrounded by the fierce storm that I had produced through the use of the ship’s Tesla coils and some added equipment of my own invention.
Upon our arrival high over the usurper’s seat, the Queen inquired as to our plan. I am not as savvy in military tactics as you, Alastair, so it will not surprise you that my plan was somewhat unsophisticated. My thought was to utilize the storm we had created, hurling lightning and Tesla energy down upon our foes to disorient, and possibly destroy as many of the usurper’s defenders as possible, and then to land our forces, fight our way past any surviving defenders, and create the opportunity for the Queen to behead the usurper with Excalibur. As I said, unsophisticated.
The first part of the plan went quite well; we rained destruction upon the defenders below, and also suppressed any anti-aircraft fire from them. Our mages, Jude and Colonel Rasmussen, assisted in this operation, and Jude assisted as well in using his “scrying” talent to find the precise location of the usurper. But the storm we had created made control of the airship difficult, and it came down in a barely controlled manner. However, luck was with us, and we came down in exactly the spot we needed to be, a courtyard just outside the Great Hall where resided Cunningham, along with his advisor, the traitorous Mr. Kelly of the Arcane Society.
During our descent and bombardment of the enemy, we were joined by two familiar faces. Lord Tybalt returned to us from Faerie, where he had been looking after my domain, and he arrived in the arms of one Mr. Pickton, who is the highest-ranking Singe Avion of the Autumn Court’s Armee de l’Air; in other words, a flying monkey. Mr. Pickton had unfortunate news from the Autumn Court; apparently my rule had been overthrown in my absence. I shall have hard questions for Lord Tybalt in the days to come concerning this matter. For his part, Mr. Pickton was overjoyed to see his monarch, and displayed the appropriate deference and manners that I worked to instill in him and his simian fellows, and I was much pleased for it.
As quickly as Mr. Pickton and Lord Tybalt had arrived, they departed to find their own way into the Great Hall. The rest of our group emerged from the airship and immediately found ourselves in battle. We all used our individual talents to best advantage. Jude called up fire to dispel a swarm of vile albino cockroaches that appeared to attack us. Colonel Rasmussen used his magical wand to produce the mystical equivalent of grapeshot to fell our enemies. Marcus fought superior numbers of enemy swordsmen with his blade. Elspeth calmly gunned down many foes. And I used my weapon to annihilate several threatening enemy soldiers.
We quickly reached the door to the Great Hall. The door itself seemed to be covered with both dangerous slime and demonic energy, whereupon the Queen cut through it with Excalibur, and into the Hall we went.
There we were confronted with a squad of riflemen, another squad of pikemen, a pack of hellhounds, the usurper himself, and next to him his puppetmaster, Mr. Kelly, along with a shadowy something lurking in the darkest corner of the Hall.
I took careful aim directly at Mr. Kelly with my weapon, and set it to Toten und zerstoren (“Kill and destroy”), in the hope that slaying the puppetmaster might free the usurper from his evil grasp and end the battle at a stroke. I cried out as I fired, “Witness the triumph of science over magic!” and the beam hit Mr. Kelly full-on, and he exploded into nothingness, completely destroyed.
But that did not, as I had hoped, end the battle. The usurper fought on, as did his troops, and we took up arms against them to clear the way for the Queen to kill him directly. As outside, all of my companions fought bravely, and well beyond the call of duty. Marcus slew many enemies, while Colonel Rasmussen and Elspeth felled more at a distance. Lord Tybalt took mental control of individual enemies, forcing them to fight against their fellows, and Mr. Pickton fought as a simian possessed, wounding and slaying several enemies in the name of his sovereign, while Jude busied himself with confronting the shadowy thing – which revealed itself to be a 50 foot tall demon.
Jude attempted to banish the creature, but his effort failed; as he explained later, his banishment would have worked on a demonic spirit, but we were faced here with a physical demon. At that moment, I made a fateful decision. Although we had seen how science overcomes magic with the destruction of Mr. Kelly, I knew that magic, and the symbolism of magic, does have real power. It occurred to me that Jude must be the one to slay this demon, and that my weapon might have its power magnified in his hands, in this particular instance. So I set it to the highest setting, Toten und zerstoren allenmann vollends "(Kill and destroy everybody completely”) and handed it to Jude. He fired, and to my shock – as I had never tested the weapon on that setting, and feared for the results – it worked, blasting the demon, apparently, back to hell.
Unfortunately, the blast had a side effect of attracting the voracious albino insects, which swarmed over Jude and injured him nearly to the point of death. It was only Colonel Rasmussen’s quick action that preserved Jude’s life, and kept the blood of another companion off my hands. The Colonel transformed Jude into air, thus rendering him safe from the insects until help could be brought to him. I then took back the weapon, which was perhaps unwise as it was covered in insects, which then proceeded to bite and attack me. I was able to fire one more time, destroying a hellhound, before I fell to the ground overcome by my wounds.
Mr. Pickton came to my aid, providing his best effort at medical assistance, which was not as helpful as it might have been (battlefield medicine is an area that is sadly lacking in the training program for my Singes Avion), and I observed the rest of the battle in a barely conscious state. The queen, with the assistance of Marcus, Elspeth and Colonel Rasmussen, finally killed the usurper; it was Marcus who struck the killing blow. But even that was not the end; the usurper had been taken over in some way by a demon or other nether creature, and the Queen thrust Excalibur into the spirit of that creature as it escaped the usurper’s body. And then it was over.
We have spent the past few days recovering from our wounds, assisting in the cleanup of the Great Hall, and working with the Queen as she goes about the task of restoring sanity and decency to the throne. We also remembered our fallen comrade, Lord Crabbe; I, for one, shall never forget him.
And now we await our next quest; there are several matters that must be attended to. Colonel Rasmussen seeks his original body, so that he may return to it, and the little girl whose spirit now resides in it may be returned to her own proper body. This will be a difficult task, as neither we nor the Colonel know the location of his original homeworld. There is also the problem of the Spanish Empire; consumed as we were by this now-ended civil war, we cannot forget that we are still at war with a larger and far deadlier enemy who, doubtless, still seeks our annihilation. And there is, if I may speak selfishly, the matter of the Autumn Court and my throne; I had never imagined myself to be a Queen, but, having been one, I do not wish to relinquish the role if it can be helped.
But all these tasks, and any others that may present themselves, can wait at least a short while, so that we may take time to recover and to at least briefly enjoy our accomplishments and our victory. In that spirit, I look forward with much excitement to our reunion; I have much to tell you, and I imagine you have much to tell me, that cannot be communicated in writing, but only in person.
Until that happy time, I remain your most devoted and grateful friend,
Genevieve Chantal Therese de Lisieux Lamballe