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In Which The Lady of the Lake Appears

by on January 21, 2019

Last time in the Catrina Chronicles, our heroine had just agreed to join Merlin on a quest to find the Lady of the Lake, retrieve Excalibur, find Arthur, and in so doing save Britain from peril. Little did Catrina know that she wasn’t the only one looking for Excalibur….

The aquarium looked like any other aquarium. An assortment of variously colored fish swam in lazy circles, placidly ignoring the occasional person who took a moment to gape at them. A plastic castle adorned one corner. At night, when the rest of the medical office was dark, waves of blue-green light flickered over the walls. It seemed to be a perfectly normal aquarium.

Then the office door creaked open. A brown-haired woman in a black denim jumper stalked in. She marched up to the aquarium and banged on it with her fist. This is normally a very bad thing to do, as it bewilders and disorients the fish, but she was the last person on Earth who cared anything about fish welfare. “Right!” she called. “I know you’re in there!”

A tiny white figure emerged from the castle. It burbled something at the intruder. “I’m sorry, what?” she said. “I couldn’t make that out!”

There was a flash of white light, a bang, and a splooshing of water. A tall lady materialized in the office, clad in shimmering white fabric. “I said,” the lady said loftily, “I am the Lady of the Lake. Who are you that disturbs my repose?”

“But you’re not,” the intruder said.

“Not what?”

“The Lady of the Lake.  You just emerged from a freakin’ aquarium. That’s not a lake, sister.”

“Of course I am the Lady of the Lake!” the Lady said. “I am Nimue, Lady of the Lake, bestower of Excalibur, most powerful enchantress! I take refuge in this limited abode as my own lake was paved over for a vile creation of humankind! They refer to it as…” she shuddered. “A shopping mall.”

“That’s rough. I’m Susan.”

A short pause followed. Nimue blinked. “Susan who?”

“Oh now, that’s insulting,” Susan said. Without any hesitation whatever, she drew a laser pistol from its holster on her belt and blasted Nimue in the arm, blowing it clean away from her shoulder. Nimue shrieked in pain. The arm flipped through the air like a ghastly Frisbee, landing right on a pile of outdated Time magazines on a table. Susan stalked over to it and glanced at the magazines. “Oh, Herbert Hoover’s president now, I see. That’ll end well.”

“Return my arm!” Nimue howled.

“How are you planning to stick it back on?” Susan asked pleasantly.

“I have magic,” Nimue said, bristling. “Spells I learned from the greatest wizard of my age, Merlinus Ambrosius himself! I could turn you into a very newt if I wanted!”

Susan shrugged. “Yeah, I know that one. I’d get better. Anyway, how’s about a trade? I give you your arm back; you give me Excalibur.”

Nimue glared. “I cannot give you Excalibur. You are not the woman I am waiting for. She is black of hair and green of eye, and has a mark upon her that is the exact shape of-”

“Newfoundland,” Susan sighed. ” Yeah, of course. You’re waiting for Catrina.”

“I have foreseen it,” Nimue said. “She will arrive here by magic, in the company of my old teacher, Merlin himself. I will deliver them the sword Excalibur, and-”

“Yeah, that’s not going to work for me,” Susan said. “See, I want the sword. And it’d be real awkward if what’s her face showed up, so Id like you to bounce them magically somewhere else. Loch Ness, for example. The one with the big monster. That’d be fun.”

“And if I do not?”

Susan smiled evilly. “Then I blast you in your other arm. Then your head. See if you can stick that back on.”

Nimue’s eyes blazed. “If I can send the princess Catrina to the lake of the monster, what makes you think I cannot send you there?”  There was another flash of white light, and a bang. When the light cleared. Nimue gasped.

Susan was still standing there besides the magazines and the Lady’s flopping arm. “Oh, didn’t I mention?” Susan said. “I’m the Mistress of all Character Hell. I know some magic too. But I’ve kinda gotten attached to the laser pistols lately. So.” She took aim. “First, you send Catrina and Merlin to Loch Ness. Then the sword. Now.”

Nimue grumbled some very uncomplimentary words in old English. Catrina would’ve been scandalized had she heard them. Then the Lady of the Lake snapped her fingers. “There,” she said. “I have sent them.”

“Wonderful,” Susan said. “Now the sword. I haven’t got all day, sis.”

With another glare, Nimue plunged her arm into the aquarium. She drew out from its watery depths a gleaming sword, whose shining blade lit up the entire bland medical office. Slowly, the Lady of the Lake extended the sword towards Susan. She snatched it with a victorious giggle. “Oh, yeah,” Susan said. “This rocks.” 

“Now,” said Nimue, “I demand that you return my-”

Susan was still holding the laser pistol in her other hand. She fired, once. “I am Susan,” she declaimed to the now silent office. “You demand zilch of me. Zilch. You should learn that, or you’ll never get ahead in life.”

She snickered. “Pity you can’t appreciate that anymore.”  With a final villainous laugh, Susan turned and departed the office, leaving the deserted aquarium behind.

This has been another exciting episode of the Catrina Chronicles. Be sure and tune in next week when our heroine and Merlin confront the Loch Ness Monster. #DunDunDun….





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