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A New Quest

by on January 11, 2019

Note: today is the eight-year anniversary of the first episode of the Catrina Chronicles, A Princess Story. It has also been two and a half years since the most recent episode, In Which Catrina Wishes She had Studied Her Latin. The author apologizes for the delay; life, in all its fullness, intervened. Also a baby. In any event, in that last episode, our heroine had been deposited by the Swirling Vortex of Imaginary Time into the midst of World War Two. However, as it’s been two and a half years in real-time since then, and everyone’s forgotten the plot by now, I’ve decided to send Catrina on a new adventure. So here we go! 

Catrina, Princess of Shmirmingard, was bored. It had been some time since her last caper, “And boy, you’ll never guess how I got out of that one,” she remarked to no one in particular. The kingdom was going as smoothly as ever. Cthulhu hadn’t been seen on the beaches for months. Catrina’s arch-nemesis Susan hadn’t been seen around either. Catrina’s twins, Tamalyn and Timothy, were growing nicely. Her prince consort, Perry, was still definitely not a bear or an Atlantean clone, and hadn’t been for a while. She hadn’t even had to use Mlrning (the Shovel of Thor!), as the last winter had been remarkably mild. Her birthmark, shaped like Newfoundland, bothered her in no way whatsoever. All was well. Which, in Catrina’s world, usually meant that something was about to happen.

She was idly strolling about the courtyard (the twins were down for a nap, thank heavens), when suddenly, something did happen. A loud bang resounded from the castle gates. Catrina automatically flung out her hand; with a crash and a bump, Mlrning (the Shovel of Thor!) spun out of its closet, rebounded out of a window, and thwacked into Catrina’s waiting palm. “Ow!” she exclaimed. She’d forgotten how much that stung. “Right, who’s there?” she called.

“Merlin!” a voice resounded from the opposite side of the gates.

“Merlin who?”

A pregnant pause followed. Then, it gave birth. A blinding flash of light, and the gates banged open all by themselves. There stood a tall man in dark blue robes, carrying a long wooden staff. A long white beard tumbled nearly to his waist. “The Merlin,” he said, in an impressively rumbly voice. “Straight from Camelot.”

“Ride in on a camel, did you?” Catrina said.

Merlin glared. Evidently he wasn’t keen on puns. Catrina sighed. “Well then. How can I help? Would you like some tea or something?”

“No,” Merlin growled. “I require your assistance. I, ah, seem to have misplaced Excalibur.”

“Excalibur,” Catrina repeated. “You lost it.”

“Could happen to anyone,” Merlin said defensively. “Times have been busy. Lot on m’ mind. You understand.”

“I wouldn’t know, I’ve been waiting for my next story for two years,” Catrina said with a shrug. “So why do you need the sword now?”

“I’ve got to get Arthur back,” Merlin said. “Britain needs him. And to get Arthur, I need the sword.”

“Britain’s in trouble, is it?” Catrina said.

“Have you been there recently?”

“Not since 1913,” Catrina replied. “Time travel. You know. Has a lot happened in Britain since 1913?”

Merlin sighed. “You have no idea. But rather than retrace the entire history, suffice it to say that Britain needs Arthur back again. And to get Arthur-”

“You need the sword,” Catrina said. “Okay. When was the last time you had it?”

Merlin grumbled something. “I’m sorry, what was that?” Catrina asked politely.

“It got thrown into a bloody lake,” Merlin said. “Wasn’t my fault. Arthur had it, and he was dying, and I was stuck in a tree, and he goes and has Bedivere chuck the thing in a lake, and-”

“Stuck in a tree?”

“Long story.”

“Of course,” Catrina said, sighing. “So the sword’s in a lake.”

“Specifically, it’s with the Lady of the Lake. She caught the thing. Find her, you find the sword, retrieve Arthur, save Britain.”

“Seems straightforward enough,” Catrina said. “But what do you need me for?”

Merlin grumbled something under his breath. This time Catrina waited.  After a pause, Merlin sighed. “Nim and I…had a falling out.”

“A falling out?”

The great wizard scuffed his boots on the ground. Catrina gasped. “Oh-ho! You had a thing!” 

“Yes, we had a thing. It ended badly,” Merlin said. “The point is, if I ask her for the sword, she’s liable to take my head off with it. That’s why I need you.”

“I see,” Catrina said. “So you want me to find the Lady of the Lake, get the sword, hand it off to Arthur, save Britain. Is that about it?”

“That’s the idea,”  Merlin said. “Will you?”

Catrina’s trademark slow smile spread across her face. “Absolutely. I just need to let Perry know he’ll be on twin duty till I get back. He won’t mind.”

This has been another exciting episode of the Catrina Chronicles. Tune in next week for more exciting adventures as Catrina sets forth to seek the sword Excalibur! Little does she know….


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  1. It’s great to see you back – and Catrina, too! Great recap, especially the second line. And as always, funny and engaging dialogue.

    How exciting about the fullness of a baby intervening! Yes, life interrupts writing, and string me up as a heretic, but some things (gasp!) are more important than making progress on a story. I hope you’re enjoying getting back to writing again, even if it’s in smaller bursts for a while (like, 18 years or so).

    • Oh, I am definitely enjoying being back. And hopefully, the little one will provide lots of inspiration! 😉

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