Winter Kill – Chapter Ten

Previous installments in The Azren Chronicles series:

{REMINDER: blogger characters personalities are fictionilised [particularly mine] and blogger characters past [such as mine and jmshistorycorner’s] are completely fictitious}


The light turned green and the trio crossed the road. As they reached the other side, Rue looked up at the building right next to her. There was a sign hanging above the door that read ‘Riverside Peace‘. There was a sign out. Peering at it, Rue saw that it was a library. Stories, poems, etc. Should check that out later. Looks interesting, Rue mentally noted.

As they went up the street, Rue spotted a sign up ahead. “That’s it,” Racquel said. “Comets and Debris.”

It should be pretty easy to spot her, Rue figured. A street seller with a black opal…

Oh, damn!

Reaching the corner of Comets and Debris, Rue groaned.

Street sellers.

Heaps of them.

All lined up, backs against the wall.

And none of them had any noticeable opal rings.

Clever disguise, she grudgingly admitted. Racquel and told both her and Bond in the elevator ride down about the message the PM had left them about the meeting with the contact. They certainly had chosen a clever hiding place for it. People were constantly passing them, though some had stopped and were either buying or taking a look at the wares on sale.

They all looked at each other. “Well,” Bond shrugged. “Let’s take a look.”

Rue studied the street sellers. They were all selling their stuff out of suitcases. A man with black, unruly hair and amber eyes flashed a grin at her. He had two missing teeth in the middle of the top row of teeth. A young boy – who looked merely ten years old – looked up at her and motioned to the toys he had infront of them. A cardboard sign sat in his laps.

5 Grivodes each

She smiled back at him and, fishing around in her jacket (which she had slipped on as they left her room), quickly calculated that 5 Grivodes were equivalent to twenty Argwens, and pulled out the appropriate amount of money and held it out to him. He grinned and took them from her, repeating something in his native language, which Rue realised was probably ‘thank you’. Bending down, she scooped up a stuffed teddy bear. It’s fur was dirty and had multiple patches and one of it’s button eyes was missing.

Like Sammy.

Her childhood bear.

That was one of the reasons why she had bought it – not just to help the boy, but for sentimental reasons. Many happy childhood memories filled her mind. Her, Sammy, and JonesI miss those days. Pure, innocent. No thought to danger. Winter’s words floated to the front of her mind.

“Because I took the fatal shot”

Her hands tightened. Her vision went red around the edges. I’ll get you. Get you and make sure you know how I feel.

“Hey? Hey! Miss!”

Rue suddenly became aware of a petite hand tugging at her arm. “Hmm? Sorry, yes?” she cleared her throat and looked up…then down. A short, stooped, grey haired woman with a necklace around her neck and a black shawl draped over her shoulders smiled at her.

“Would you be interested in buying some t-shirts or underwear? Hats? Jewellery?” the old woman asked. Rue’s ears perked up at the word ‘jewellery’.

“What type of jewellery?” Rue enquired.

The woman raised her finger. “Come with me,” she said. Turning, she shuffled back over to her suitcase and picked up a small wooden rectangular box that had been sitting in the middle of the suitcase, with neatly folded clothes and some hats around it.

Opening the box with fumbling fingers, the old lady pointed at all of the jewellery. “This necklace is an antique – guaranteed to have once belonged to Marie Louise, the Duchess of Parma – one of Napoleon’s wives. This bracelets – made of genuine gold. A real bargain – only $3!!” Rue raised her eyebrows. Only 3 bucks? Sounds suss. She then realised the woman was still rambling on. “…but the best one of all is this Black Opal ring! I’ll give it to ya’ at a discount!”

Rue picked up the ring, making sure she acted the part of an interested buyer. Really, though, she was studying the woman out of the corner of her eye. This is Mooney’s secret agent? Can’t be. “Where did you get this, if you don’t mind me asking?” she enquired.

“From my late grandmother,” the woman said. Rue nearly missed the slight emphasis on the last two words. A hint? She decided to test her theory.

“I would very much like to buy this ring. However, I would also like to know more your grandmother, the one that used to own this ring,” Rue stated, studying her face carefully.

The woman’s face lit up. “Yes…yes! You will find her very interesting. You and your companions follow me to my house where we can discuss her.” I never told her I had companions. She seems to be it. Motioning to Bond and Racquel, they turned and followed the old lady through the streets. Rue hung back around Bond and Racquel, who were also keeping a distance from the woman…just in case.

“That’s her?” Bond whispered out of the side of his mouth. “Isn’t she a bit…old for the spy business?”

Rue shrugged. “She may just be used for observation and the passing along of info,” Rue quietly speculated.

“Unless her aged look,” Racquel whispered, “is just a disguise. A cover.”

“Good point,” Rue and Bond whispered simultaneously.

“What are you all whispering about?” the woman politely asked. “Here we are,” she grunted as she unlocked and opened a gate. The trio paused and looked at the house.

Impressive, Rue thought.

It was a McMansion, had two garages and an stunning front lawn. There were a couple of statues infront of the front porch. Stone carvings of plato decorated the front steps railing.

“Are you okay? Do you still want to come inside?” the woman asked, drawing her attention back to the woman. Rue smiled.

“Yes. Sorry,” she replied and they followed her inside.

“Please sit,” and the woman motioned to the resting room. “I’ll get us some drinks. Coffee?”

“Yes, please,” they all replied. The woman nodded and left the room.

“Cool house,” Bond remarked.

Rue turned to Racquel. “Did the instructions say anything else? Are we supposed to say something first or her?”

Racquel shrugged. “Nope. Didn’t give any further details after saying to go meet her,” she replied.

A few minutes later, the old lady shuffled back into the room, carrying a tray with four steaming mugs of coffee. She sat down with a contented sigh and looked at them expectantly. “So, Nick Fury told me that I am supposed to help you,” she replied. Rue smiled at the quip, noting that her voice changed drastically from the old feeble voice to a much younger and stronger voice and tone of a youngish female.

I’ve heard that voice before….Arghh! Who does it belong to?

The woman smiled at Rue, looking like she was enjoying watching them struggling to remember who she was. She reached up and pulled her grey hair off of her head and red hair tumbled down. The woman then pulled a hanky out of her pocket and wiped her face. Lowering her hanky (which had make-up now smeared on it), Rue looked at the face…and her jaw drop.

What? Is that her?

She, Bond, and Racquel all said it at the same time.

Britchy!?!”


I have written a short story called Nine Lives that is a prelude to a future  Azren Chronicles story. If you want to read it, go ahead and click on the link.

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