Date: Monday 4 February 2041ce 1420z
Location: North-Western, Aberdeen, North Dakota (-0600)
“What do you see, Dorn?”
The two were huddled down far from the river, using the range finders their black-market contacts had provided despite the federalist-imposed embargo against it.
“Heavy patrols,” his mate replied. “Eyes above, too. See us now.”
“Let them watch,” Murcae said as he rolled over onto his back. “The Leashed mutts won’t cross the river, but we’re not going to make the meet.”
“Great Mother did this.”
Murcae heard her objection quite clearly.
My grandmother did this!
His pack was expected to produce for itself, but there would be no way to successfully navigate the border.
“Trade with other packs,” Dorn suggested while placing the range finders beside her.
“Can’t… There’d be too much. The Queen will seek answers.”
Trading in meth during minor shortages was easily explained away, claimed to be spoils from raiding a caravan or supply train passing through the Yellowstone Hazard Zone. But its value among The Pack was mostly in its rarity, his pack being the only steady supply and able to place the currency value quite high.
Truth was, his pack had produced quite a bit of it, and for the intention of trading with the black market.
That had been Murcae’s secret to keeping his pack healthy and alive, and so far, the Great Mother had not objected.
Once, he had no doubt of her power; He had stood in her presence and felt her will upon him. In the years since, however, the things he’d heard about her, of the dried husk her body had become, made him believe it likely that his niece, Vile Tongue to the Queen of Sin, was hiding the Great Mother’s death to keep herself in power. Such was his view when he first approached the black market four winters ago, and such has it remained as his continued bartering failed to draw the attention of the Queen’s All Seeing Eye.
“Spring storms coming,” Dorn said.
Those were still the most violent.
“We’ll have to wait for the next caravan,” Murcae said. “We’ve survived longer with less.”
“Pack won’t be pleased,” Dorn remarked.
“Nothing can be done about it,” Murcae insisted. “Greater Mother’s stirred up the federalists. Until they back down, we can’t cross the border.”
Dorn sat in silence for a moment, then, “We wait.”