Date: Monday 4 February 2041ce 0854z
Location: Queen’s Camp (Currently in western Aberdeen, South Dakota) (-0600)
Our time is coming!
Someone of lesser faith would not have understood the importance of the night’s raid.
Reja most certainly did, and how its success was entwined with the scrambler she held in her hand. Not from the message received, having import of its own, but rather from the device itself.
Once there had been many more, knowing of twenty-six during her youth before being anointed the Queen of Sin’s Vile Tongue. Now, there were just under a dozen, the mechanisms’ internal parts slowly breaking down.
The same was true elsewhere among the pack: The fuel trucks buried throughout the region were starting to dry up, while the working engines that used that fuel were growing older and fewer, guns were dwindling, and the stock was no longer easily replaced by picking up the ammunition of a fallen Federalist.
Someone of lesser faith would have seen that as a sign of trouble, that Aberdeen would not much longer stand. Yet this had been foreseen by the Queen, prophesied by her during the founding of The Pack. And as Her Vile Tongue, Reja was one of the few to have a full accounting of Aberdeen’s stocks, and the gradually falling numbers had filled her with expectation and pride.
A new Antichrist will rise to strike down the Betrayer!
“They return, Grandmother,” Reja said happily. “They bring sacrifice.”
She had spoken to a form laying on rugs worn from decades of use and travel. That form was curled up, near fetal, with skin pulled tight over bone, with barely a hint of muscle or organs. The face was locked in a diabolic toothless grin, dry and yellowed eyes staring blankly forward as if blind and useless.
Someone of lesser faith would have seen a withering corpse.
“Yes,” the hissing voice of the Queen whispered into Reja’s ear. “Prepare for ritual.”