Lady Salishandra T’Kai shaded her eyes and looked heavenward.
“A lovely day,” she murmured, as she stopped to inhale the floral aromas of her most glorious garden and snip a bud from her favorite white Aloue. Its delicate petals were just now unfurling in the midday sun, giving off a rich sweet perfume. She lifted her face to bathe in the warmth of the sun when a streak of light in the sky caught her attention. She squinted her eyes and lifted a hand to shade them from the increasing brightness that was arcing rapidly toward her.
She inhaled sharply.
Would Hasang Dark Shadows attack here?
She peered intently at the sky, as the projectile appeared to burst into flames, growing larger and larger in her vision. Behind her, she heard the frantic yelp of Shen Sue, her first attendant and niece.
The object was heading directly toward them!
She needed to find cover!
Salishandra turned and ran as a heavy object smashed into the ground somewhere outside the garden’s perimeter wall, causing plants to wobble and her legs to shake. Tearing and cracking noises filled the air as she heard it bounce and skid along the ground, ripping up vegetation, crashing through rocks and soil. Suddenly, her most sturdy garden wall imploded and a glowing silver metallic something tore through it, damaging precious flowers, scoring a long gash in artfully laid stonework, careening heedlessly into her prized fountain and chipping the foot of her favorite statue that finally stopped its forward progress.
She blinked at the improbable object, watching smoke curl off its edges and ignite several pieces of nearby foliage. Curiosity overcame good sense and she took several steps towards it. She dropped the delicate bud that was now squashed in her clenched grip. Tiptoeing closer, she saw that the object’s shape was that of an elongated oval, and it appeared to be an electronic device.
It glowed red hot and made strange noises.
Bwap, beep, whirr, beep and then a breeep. The last sounding like a cross between a cry for help and a mechanical sigh. It winked out and fell silent.
Shimmering in the bright sunlight, it was not much bigger than a child’s cradle. Gathering courage and a deep breath, she eased forward, peered at it and saw her own curious features and long, dark cascading hair in its reflective surface. Interesting protuberances stuck out at various places and she leaned nearer to study them. A wave of heat hit her face and she jerked back, smelling the scent of singed hair.
A manic cry burst out from somewhere behind her. A screaming Shen Sue came hopping among the flowers and plants, waving a gurgling garden hose. The girl aimed it at the smoldering vegetation, dousing everything in sight. A small shower splashed over Salishandra. Eyes wide and breathing heavily, Shen Sue danced around spraying water everywhere. Hissing steam rose off the now silent invader.