Episode One: Liliyet Receives a Warning

Run Liliyet - Empire Universe

Liliyet Receives a Warning

Liliyet awoke with a start from another nightmare. The dark dream still held sway over her as she mechanically wiped the sweat from her forehead. She was still uncertain that she wasn’t in the darkened room she always found herself in, hiding behind her family’s rich tapestries in the castle they called home as agents of 1151 went from room to room searching for her father. She knew they were there to murder him but didn’t want to take a chance that they might be there to murder her, perhaps the whole Snorsgard family.

In her dream, as in real life, she hid behind a tapestry while guards were slain in a commotion outside her bedroom. She felt helpless, waiting to see if she would be next. The door to her room creaked open, and she jumped awake. Every time it was the same. She bolted upright in her bed, covered in a thick layer of sweat.

It was why she never let herself fall asleep anywhere but in her small bed in her tiny flat in the Wharves of Cascadia’s capital city, Pørtland.

Liliyet was a refugee of sorts. The scion of a once-proud family of Dukes and Duchesses from a once-favoured kingdom created by the mighty Empire of Australia. But a quarrel between her father and the Thirty-Second Empress of Australia had left her family dead or destitute. She was now the fallen scion of the world’s smallest failed state.

She was often just a few days away from poverty herself.

So, she did what she had to do to survive.

She had fled to Cascadia, the famed Land of Hope, and she put her substantial intelligence, wit, and knowledge to use conning idiots out of money they didn’t need or deserve. Cascadia was full of them. The Land of Hope drew them from all over the world, and she was there to feast where she could like the scavenger she had become. She was a lone wolf roaming the wilds of a land she hadn’t known for a long time.

She lived simply, partly to avoid unnecessary attention and because she sent almost every sovereign home to her family in the Duchy.

Her family, once proud, had fallen into ignobility long before the final break with the Empress of Australia. They were plagued by a madness that often rendered them incompetent imbeciles. Now, her grandfather was long buried, and with her father dead, it was just her to care for her afflicted mother and baby sister.

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Liliyet got out of bed and took the short walk across her one room to her kitchen sink. She splashed some water on her face and looked in the nearest mirror. She didn’t look like the victorious wolf who had just scammed an unsuspecting sheep out of the most significant score of her crime spree. She looked like a wreck. She would need to work on that. The black-market network she used to send money back to the Duchy was full of scavengers, some more dangerous than others. It would never do to show weakness in front of them.

She needed to show she was a strong wolf that they’d better not test. Not a wolf that had eaten her first meal in two days as part of her latest con.

She glanced over at the clock by her bed. At least she’d slept longer than average this time, gotten almost a whole night’s rest. It was 5:55am. How auspicious.

Abruptly, there was a loud knock at the door.

Suddenly, a note slipped under her door and slid across the room.

Hesitantly, she walked over to it and regarded it cautiously, almost as if she was afraid it was a rattler from the dusty hills of her home island that might bite her.

She unfolded the note and read it.

Run Liliyet. They know.